Saturday, January 29, 2011

Perfect Saturday & Giveaway Info

Today was one of those just perfect days. They don't happen too often and I really enjoyed today! CC and I went to sleep really late last night, we were watching Titanic, then stayed up til almost 3 a.m. reading passenger lists from the Titanic and the effects that were found on the bodies that were recovered as well as photos taken of recovered wreckage. It was really so interesting. I was hoping to sleep late but woke up around 7:30. I played around on my phone for a while and finally went back to sleep around 8:30. AND Charlie laid on top of me....this is a HUGE improvement. Something made him mad and he wouldn't lay with me or let me pet him, so I was so very happy we are friends again! When I woke back up around 10:30 Papa Bear told me he wanted to go get us lunch because he knew I probably didn't feel like making breakfast. How wonderfully sweet was that?
After eating a late lunch and watching TV we girls called Mom and headed to the park. We are expecting lots of rain tonight and tomorrow and then a cold front in the middle of the week so we had to take advantage of the warm nice weather. Andre was with Mom, so they both met us there.
A new portion of the park just opened up and it is so beautiful!
We saw deer tracks all along the trail. I loved all the old big trees. They are so beautiful. Some of the trees had big holes where you could see some of the critters live.
Luigi absolutely loved it! I was afraid he wouldn't make it because it is a really long trail but he did just fine!!
Lena had a great time too. She found a huge stick that she carried and marked our trail with, kind of like Hansel and Gretel with the bread crumbs! Ha!
Andre talked to every single person that passed us! He is such a character. Looking at him you would never guess he is over 55!!
We were all so exhausted after that long walk we came home and took a nice nap! Then CC and I headed to Wal-Mart. I needed to pick up a few cleaning supplies and look for a bookshelf for Lena. Right now all her books are all over the living room and it's driving me crazy!!
I found her a cute bookshelf and I can't wait to find some cute baskets to put on the shelves to hold all her supplies!
~~CC also started her online homeschool, Global Student Network. She is absolutely loving it!! I can't keep her off AND she is doing so well! Her plan is to complete 9th and 10th this year and then 11th and 12th next year. At this rate I think she has a very good shot at doing it!
~~ On another note, I just reached 100 followers!! I was so excited!! I love blogging and I love making new friends on blogger. So, I think it's only appropriate to have another giveaway to celebrate 100 followers! What do you think? Any good suggestions? After all, this giveaway is for you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Terrific Thursday

Today it was so warm and pretty. The high was probably in the low 70's! I just couldn't pass up a moment for us to go to the park so Luigi could walk and so we could too! Luigi had so much fun and played in the dog park at least an hour before we went to the trails to walk.
I saw this beautiful dog in the dog park and then again on the trails. His owner told me he is an Olde English Bulldogge. All I know is that he is absolutely beautiful. This will be my motivation for finishing nursing school. I can't think of a better graduation present!
Luigi was going crazy with all the birds out today. He kept jumping on this tree over and over. I guess it didn't help that we kept telling him, "Go get it!! Go get it, Luigi!!"
Mom met us too, even though she had just come from the dentist with the beginnings of a root canal having just been done!
Tuesday Mom came over and we went to look for Lena a bookshelf or something to put all her book from TXVA on. Her computer came in today too! She is so excited. It's a brand new HP and has everything blocked on it that is not child appropriate, basically it's the same computer you would find in a school. Anyway, we went to Target to see what they had for storage and CC found this stand-up mixer on sale. Mine is old but in good working condition, except for the beaters. One is breaking and hanging off the stem, replacement beaters would be around $ Tuesday I bought a brand new one for......
Oh yes, I was so excited!! Today I opened it and used it to make us strawberry cupcakes.

And we decided to put chocolate icing....
with red sprinkles....
I'm not worried about eating them because I don't care for chocolate! Haha!!
And in my effort to make healthy food (especially after being so smart and making almost 2 dozen cupcakes) I bought chicken breast, seasoned them up and sauteed them in olive oil.
I have been so hungry for a fresh salad...
The only dressing we used was olive oil, fresh lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Oh. My. Word. It was soooo good!!!
~Tomorrow is school. I've been finding it really hard to find time to help Lena with her homework and make sure she is staying on top of it, help Papa Bear with his work, keep the house clean and clothes washed AND food cooked, study and complete my homework and blog... By 11 p.m. I am exhausted!! I used to go to bed around 1:30 - 2:00 a.m. just because that's how long it would take me to finish everything that needs to be done here at home. So now I'm going to be around 11 and sadly, some things just don't get finished here in the house. I guess it will take me a few weeks to get a schedule straightened out.
~I hope this weekend is a nice, slow, relaxing one. It's supposed to rain so I hope I get stuck in the house!! I love the sound of rain. I love hearing it hit my fireplace and pound on the windows. I want to just lay on the couch and listen to it.... Do yall have anything special planned for this weekend?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tarragon Trout w/ Lentil Bean Rice Pilaf

In our effort to cook more healthy foods we have had to explore new recipes and cooking styles. Living in the South and always seeing my mom cook huge amounts of food for our family and church family and friends, I am used to frying everything and making large amounts. The result for us has been larger and larger waistlines!! Not good!
~CC and I have been perusing Food Network and for healthy, tasty recipes. Sometimes it seems you have to sacrifice taste for lower calories and fat. So far though we have been really fortunate with the recipes we've found.
~Sunday evening I found a couple of recipes I wanted to try out. I bought lentil beans, heard they are really good for you. I found a recipe for Lentil Bean Rice Pilaf and Tarragon Trout. For the rice I sauteed fresh carrots, celery, garlic cloves (3) and one whole onion in olive oil.
After the vegetables soften I added in my lentils and vegetable broth. You will need to salt this some as the recipe doesn't call for any salt.
You are also supposed to add in uncooked rice but I only have instant. I just made it in a separate pot and added it to the mixture.
While that was simmering for 25 minutes I prepared my trout. Each fillet was brushed with olive oil, dusted with garlic powder and salt, sprinkled with tarragon (fresh is better but I only had dried) and then squeezed lemon juice. The recipe also calls for lemon slices to be placed on top of the trout. The two fillets I didn't place the lemon on stuck to the foil. Fold the foil up to form a pouch and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Everything was so delicious! Papa Bear made this wonderful sauce for the fish with plain Greek yogurt, spicy mustard and capers. It was so delicious!

I do think the pilaf was a bit heavy for this dinner. The trout would have better been paired with a salad but it was great nonetheless.

~~~~~~Today was class and then helping Papa Bear. I didn't cook but we picked up Koobideh Kebob from Pasha. My goodness, words cannot describe how wonderful that was. All of Lena's books for her homeschool came in today. There were boxes everywhere! She was sent a globe, jump rope, tambourine, kick ball and books galore! She was so excited to finally get on a steady schedule. I am so happy she is excited. I studied for about two and a half hours and needed to here I am blogging!

~Tomorrow I don't want to do anything but stay in and clean house. My cleaning has been neglected since I've been going to school and helping Lena with hers. The house is not in horrible shape but it's not in tip top shape. The floors need mopping, clothes need to be put up, the winter mantle needs to come down...Just little things that add up.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Family Time Saturday

We all woke up pretty late today (the girls at least). Seeing how busy we were all week that's really no surprise. I was so smart Friday night...I drank a bottle of Coke and drank a large coffee. Needless to say I was wide awake at 3:30 a.m.!! I woke up Saturday morning around 9 and it was non-stop!
~Papa Bear wanted to take us girls out to lunch today. So I put on my new crochet hat I bought on eBay and he nearly died. He made me promise to never step out of the house with him wearing it. I snapped one real quick pic in my restroom before we left to eat. I happen to like the hat.... is it really that bad?
We went to Outback for lunch. Everything was so delicious. We all shared cheesecake for dessert and took home a steak for Mom. After Outback we took Papa Bear home and us girls went to go visit Mom. I let Lena wear my hat over there. I think she looks pretty good in it too!
Mom enjoyed having us over and I set up some accounts for her to pay her bills online. I also bought some songs she likes on iTunes; like "Behind Closed Doors" by Charlie Rich, "Delta Dawn" by Tanya Tucker and "Help Me Make It Through the Night" by Sammi Smith. She always says if she had a nickel for each time she danced to those songs she would be a rich woman! We came home and rested and relaxed. Tomorrow I'm not sure what we have planned but I know I need to find some good recipes for trout. I have never made it but I took it out and defrosted it today so tomorrow it's going to have to be cooked.
~That's really about it. Not much has happened beyond going out to eat and visiting Mom....uneventful and for that I am thankful!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pink Saturday

As most of you know I absolutely LOVE Pink Saturday hosted by the wonderfully sweet Beverly at How Sweet The Sound. I haven't participated in a couple of Saturday's and I am so ready to hop back on the wagon and join in on all the fun.

On January 7th (I know the date because it's saved on the picture files on my computer) the girls and I were going to our stores and as we were leaving we saw this amazing sunset.

None of these photos have been touched or edited. This is actually the way the sky looked. It was so beautiful!
It almost looked like a pink metallic foil. I've never seen a sunset like this!! I had to capture it!

It's times like this that I wish I had a better camera. These photos were taken with my cell phone. Imagine how nice they would have been with a better quality camera!!
~~ This week has been so busy and I've fallen behind on my blog. Lena started her virtual homeschool and has been so overwhelmed and swamped. I started back to college and have been so strained on my time between college, helping Lena with her school, giving CC her homework and helping Papa Bear with his stores. Today I went to school from 10-2, got home around 2:30 went straight to one of our stores to drop off a bracelet, was back at the shop by 3:45 to do invoices and help him finish up. Then we started off to our stores by 6 and didn't make it home til after 8. I just wanted to cry I was so tired. I told everyone I am off for the evening and to make their own dinner. We had an assortment of snacks...Gouda cheese on bread, soup, sushi, name it! But it was fun. I also did my first homework assignment for College Algebra and made a 100! Very excited about that! Ok...enough, I know I'm boring you!
~~So, please stop by Beverly to see more fun pinks and if you get a chance stop by and tell Donnie "hello" at her lovely blog New Blessing Everyday. She is featuring some of the cutest personalized greeting cards! I hope everyone has a Happy Pink Saturday and wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

College Update

I left the house super early to get some money out for the boy with blue highlights who was bringing me his book to use and stop by to get some water and Sprite. My stomach was so nervous I needed the Sprite. Parking looked hopeless again but I said a quick prayer and reminded myself I needed faith and about two minutes later a great parking place came available.
I waited in line for my parking pass but had to leave because I was afraid I would be late for my first class and I needed to meet the boy with blue highlights. I was afraid I would'nt find him. But he was there. So sweet. He gave me his book and refused to take any money from me. Can you believe it?? I was shocked. Happy and relieved but shocked. It was another answered prayer.
~~ Now you may laugh but I was up all night worrying that I would not fit in the desk. It's a small space and I am heavier than I have ever been. Again prayer all night. Well I fit. It's snug but I fit.

I'm Blogging from my desk now waiting for Mrs. Kennedy. My next hurdle is climbing all those stairs to my next class with out having a heart attack.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

~Tomorrow is my first day back at college. These are the last courses I will need to take before I can start RN school. I went today to get a parking pass and make copies of the first pages of the textbooks that I haven't received in the mail yet. I didn't get the copies but a very nice young man with shoulder length hair and blue highlights that said he would let me borrow his lab book until mine comes in the mail. We will see....
~I didn't get my parking pass because there were literally about 100 people ahead of me and I just needed to get home. I walked around at least 45 minutes and climbed 8 flights of stairs. My short fat legs were killing me!!! They felt like they were on fire!! I thought I was gonna die! Oh lord, it can only get better as the days go by! Tonight I ate a salad for dinner!!
~One of my textbooks came in the mail today. The other two (College Algebra) are supposed to come by the end of the week and my last Anatomy and Physiology lab workbook by Feb. 5. I know it's taking longer by ordering them but if I had bought them new from the college bookstore I would have spent near $600!! If I would have bought used from the college bookstore I would have spent $500!! So I ordered from Amazon and spent $364!!! I like that! And I can wait a few days for them to arrive!
Lena started her online homeschool program yesterday. Well, we started doing the work today because it wasn't available yesterday. She worked at least 6 hours straight and that's because we haven't received all of her supplies and book to do the rest of the courses. Had all of her supplies arrived she would be averagine 9 hours and 40 minutes of homework each day. Bless her heart...I thought she was ready to kill me after she saw everything listed under her Daily Plan. I think it's going to be ok though. Tomorrow she joins in the Travel Club and Writers Club. She's super excited about that!
~This evening I went to Target looking for some jeans and t-shirts but walked out with two trench coats, one kahki and one black for $15 each! I was soooo excited about that! I still need jeans though.
~I'm super nervous about tomorrow. Don't know why. I have the BEST Algebra teacher ever...she explains things so well. And I found where my Anatomy and Physiology class is (3rd floor and you HAVE to take the stairs!) so I shouldn't be nervous...but I am! This is crazy! I'll be at college Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11-2. It's not really that bad...I just need to get over tomorrow and then I know all will be well.....right?
~~And look at this fun giveaway by Bodda Bling, fun!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Food & An Unforgettable Thursday!

Wow!! This week flew by! I am waiting for something important to come in the mail and I keep telling Papa Bear, "It HAS to be here by Saturday because Monday is a holiday. So it HAS to come either tomorrow or Saturday...." Well, tomorrow IS Saturday!
I promised the family I would make breakfast pizza for them. So Thursday morning I woke up early and got to work frying bacon and chopping tomatoes and mushrooms.
It was delicious!!! When I was in middle and high school my mom and I would go to the little cafe in H-E-B and we would each grab a slice of breakfast pizza before she dropped my off at school. I love having those memories with her.
Mom and I had been wanting to go to Incredible Pizza to really just relax and talk. The pizza is not that great but the cheese sticks are and sometimes they have this unbelievable meatloaf! Yesterday was not the day. But we had fun anyway. Since we just had pizza for breakfast we mostly ate salads and veggies and of course their bread sticks.
We started talking about how Toby acts when he gets into catnip. Lena wanted to demonstrate to Mom how he lays on his back and kicks his legs against the wall then reaches back and grabs his cat nip mouse. When she was demonstrating this I did feel the booth move. When she finished her demonstration I tried to push the booth back to it's place and this is what happened......
I kept trying to fix it and it only got worse. I KNOW this was not all Lena...that's completely impossible!! I remember seeing a separation between the booths when we first sat down but I NEVER imagined something like this would happen. The final straw came when I gave it one last push and sat down and felt the back slip down. I got up and saw the seat moved from the wooden frame. I couldn't help it...I laughed and laughed and laughed so hard that I had to go to the restroom.
By the time I pulled myself together CC came in the restroom and showed me these pictures and the flood of laughter started all over again. FINALLY I was able to stop laughing and made my way out of the restroom. Mom and Lena had all ready left the restaurant and were in the car. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard.
Lena found this wonderful recipe for Mediterranean Salmon and Avocado, Tomato and Feta salad. We made it Thursday night. The salmon had to be broiled, which was something I had never done before...I was a little nervous. But it came out exceptionally good. Honestly, I think it was one of the best dishes I have ever tasted.....ever! I'm pretty sure marinating it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar was the magic trick!
Today I made Russian Borscht. It's soooo delicious and just perfect for this cold, wet weather!! I didn't bother taking any pictures tonight. I'll probably add some tomorrow.
~We don't really have anything planned for this weekend and I am so happy for that. I really need to clean my room. It is in desperate need of a good sweeping and mopping. I am actually looking forward to cleaning it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lena's 10th Birthday

Yesterday my sweet baby girl turned 10 years old!! So we spent the entire day doing exactly what she wanted. This is one of the major perks of homeschooling!!
First we had to stop by one of our stores. While Papa Bear was inside we girls listened to music and took some pictures to keep us from getting too bored!

Lena requested ribs for lunch, which I told Papa Bear she was going to want. I should have bet on it!! Papa Bear wanted to eat beef ribs so after calling lots of different places we finally found one that sold beef ribs AND claimed to have THE BEST beef ribs in San Antonio.....
They were right!! That's Lena's plate above. She couldn't finish her plate!!
And skinny CC ordered light turkey with double green beans. I guess we should have followed her lead but Lena, Papa Bear and I really wanted ribs!
This is Papa Bear's MASSIVE plate of beef ribs. We took home lots and lots of ribs!
After lunch Papa went home to place an order and us three girls went to Petland. Lena of course found the cutest Siberian Husky there. He is only 9 weeks old. She wanted him so bad and he was so cute but I've heard horror stories about training them. I just don't have the patience for it. CC found a long haired dachshund puppy. She was so cute!!! Even Papa Bear liked the pictures I sent him.
While we were in Petland Papa called me and told me we needed to stop by and get some watch batteries for him. I love the entrance to the building and had to take pictures!

You really can't imagine how huge the banana trees were!
So I had the girls stand in front of them.
This area smells so fresh and it's so cool inside. I just love it!!! I could stay there for hours!
Look at the size of that tree! It's HUGE!

It was really sad because Lena was off and on crying in all these pictures because of the husky. I understand they are probably one of the most beautiful dogs. However, we have Luigi and our back yard really isn't big enough for two big dogs! In Texas it gets really hot over summer and I don't know how a Siberian Husky will fare in our heat. But the bottom line is I have heard repeatedly from Husky owners and have read online that they are so stubborn. It's really life long training with them. They dig and run if the accidentally get loose. I just can't deal with that right now. And Luigi is such a perfect dog even if he is huge. He's so smart and pretty well mannered. I just don't think I could do a husky!
So, Lena was sad and didn't want to go to the mall. I needed to return something anyway so we went. She was crying in there too. I felt bad but what was I supposed to do? Buy a bad dog because it's pretty? It took some prodding but eventually she wanted to look for some Converse shoes. And we found them!! I went into Journey's looking to purchase Lena one pair of shoes. I walked out of Journey's with four pairs of shoes and three stacks of socks. I guess they know when they see a sucker coming!
Back home Luigi was enjoying his huge beef rib bones. Toby wanted in on some of the action but Luigi wasn't letting that happen.
The sales person that helped us at Journey's was the same sales person that helped Lena and Mom when Mom took her. He remembered Lena right away. The first salesperson asked Lena what she wanted, she described them and he immediately said no we don't have those. So Derek came out after seeing Lena, asked her what she was looking for, ran to the back and produced these.... exactly what she was wanting!
She's been wearing them all day inside the house. In fact, she just took them off. I also bought Papa Bear, CC and myself each a pair of shoes. I'm loving mine as well.
This evening on our way to our store we saw a tow truck carrying two vehicles smash and run off the road a Ford F-150 pulling a trailer. The tow truck driver didn't stop. Both vehicles were teeter-tottering and almost flipping. Papa Bear chased down the tow truck driver honking and flashing his lights and made him stop. I was on the phone with 911 and giving all the tow truck drivers information. Finally the two truck driver stopped and said he didn't know he hit anyone YET he was on the phone with his boss asking him what to do. It took about 30 minutes but the police finally arrived. The driver of the F-150 was a man from Mexico that hardly spoke any English and I'm sure would have had no voice against Texas Tow had we not chased the two truck down and called the police. I felt so happy that we were able to give a voice to one who other wise would not have been heard.
So now it's late. Dinner is served and dishes washed. The girls are playing Lena's new Wii game Thrillville. And I am about to go to bed. Hopefully tomorrow I can catch up on my blog dare 2011! (And it's sooooo cold outside! I'm loving it!)