Five Things Friday

five little things that made my week

1.  Work is starting to pick up, it’s nice to be a little busy again.  I think I had just gotten use to my slower schedule and started making other plans for myself but this is a welcome change.

2. Taco Tuesday!

3.  Cooler weather means moving all the plants into the greenhouse.  I always dread the task, it’s a lot of trips from all over the house and yard to the greenhouse.  When it’s done I remember how  rewarding it is to have a place to sit, and enjoy ‘outside’ even in the winter.

4.   Tuesday is my errand running, spend time with myself day.  I also have started enjoying taking myself to lunch as part of it.  Sometimes the waitress will come to the table a half a dozen times, asking if I need something almost like pity cause I’m eating alone.  Other times, she just drops off the sushi and leaves.

5.  I found a Christmas record with songs from Liberace and Lawrence Welk, for a dollar at a thrift store.  I can’t even how happy that made me.

Five Things Friday

Five little things that made my week in no particular order.

1. This weeks flashback cinema was Clue, great fun seeing it in the theater.

2. The weather is beginning to cool down, the leaves haven’t started changing but he sky is so blue as the humidity begins to drop.   I love the anticipation of fall, holidays and family that comes with the cooler temps.

3.  Pansies make me happy.  Filled my planters with orange, yellow and purple.

4. My October Tea Runners box came this week.   So far my favorite is Golden Monkey; pure black tea that has a little peachy flavor to it.   If you have ever thought about doing a monthly subscription this is the one to do!  They are opening up for new members on Monday, only 150 spots available.

5. Today is the first day of my 20th high school reunion celebration.  I’m terrible with names and nervous that I’m going to go completely blank, but I’m still going!

Oh a Tapas Party!

Having tapas for dinner is just a fancy way of saying – I think I’ll make a meal out of the appetizer sampler plate.   Having a tapas party – that’s a guaranteed down right awesome shindig plus good food!  Disclaimer – not a professional tapa menu maker uper party doer, just sharing my experiences and what works.  With that said, lets get to it.

Our tapas night always about being traditional (here is a great traditional  menu  though) it is about whatever small bites speak to me and say “hey sexy, I’m  tasty”.  Yes, my food calls me sexy and sometimes I call it sexy back.  Moving on – My first line of defense is simple quick recipes/nibbles that guarantee deliciousness and not stuck in the kitchen-ness.  Once I build the the foundation of the menu with simple finger foods I pick out one or two items that will need real attention.  I know this will give me a menu that isn’t overwhelming but still makes the party guests feel special, like their host spent a little extra time to make sure they enjoyed the food.

So what qualifies as quick and tasty (and sexy)?  Usually I start with a fruit and cheese plate complete with salty cured meat of some sort.  If I feel spry I might even wrap prosciutto around a piece of fruit and cheese.  Little confession though – I hate goat cheese so you will never find it on/in/near anything at my house.  I do however love Spanish manchego cheese, its a sheep’s milk cheese that is tangy and nutty, if you ever get the chance try it.   Husband likes olives which I’m not fond of but sometimes they make an appearance or some marinated veggies.

Now is when I start to think about the more labor intensive part of the menu  My advice is try to include something that can be baked ahead of time and then served either warm or at room temp, something fixed on the stove top and something from the oven.  That way you aren’t shuffling things around trying to have everything ready at that perfect star aligning moment.   A few favorites in our house are stuffed mushrooms, garlic sauteed shrimp, roasted figs, and a nod to the traditional – tortilla espanola, empanadas and croquettes.

Probably my mostest farvoritest part; presentation.   Pull it all together with cute bowls, rustic wooden trays, small plates and nice napkins.  Then everyone comes out to the table, we pour wine, break bread and graze.

So to wrap it up, just have fun and do whatever feels right.  It really is just about having a good time and family and friends.

 

Five Things Friday

Five little things that made my week.

1.  When we found out that our sweet dog Kalie had a huge tumor on her liver we really weren’t sure what we wanted to do.   She is 14 and was showing no signs of it bothering her, but a good candidate for surgery.  It’s been a little over two weeks; she is recovering from said surgery, I’m pretty sure she isn’t holding a grudge and proudly displays her new “belly zipper”.  It was scary and difficult so seeing her in a good mood –  that made my week and then some.

2. We have lots of December birthdays.   I managed to find something unique for one of them and not break the bank.    I would tell you what I got but that spoils the surprise and I love surprises.

3. While running errands yesterday I saw a pair of Clark’s ankle boots that I bought online for $40 priced at $120.  I immediately told my husband that by spending $40 I had actually saved $80.

4. I made, what we affectionately call, street meat for dinner this week and it was awesome.  I personally have never had Halal cart style food but my husband says mine is exceptional, good enough for me.

5.  I talked with my Gram today.  I appreciate her time so much!

7 favorite childhood movies that I never out grew

We all have them, those childhood movies we watch repeatedly and they still have the ability to entertain us.    “Oh man you’ve never seen this, oh we have to watch it”.  Those kind of movies.

Here are my 7 favorite childhood movies that I (thankfully) never out grew!

1. Spaceballs – always first on any great movie list
2. Wizard of Oz – not sure why we never owned it but I remember waiting every fall for it to be shown on tv.
3. Return of the Jedi – none of that new music redone Jaba palace scene mess- give me the original that I saw in the theater.
4. Star Trek II, The Wrath of Kahn – Kaaaaaahn
5. The Burbs – Is he eating animal crackers in full swat gear?
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – still cracks up when he rants; holy sh*t where’s the Tylenol.
7. Jump’n Jack Flash – funny but with a great underlying message about relationships and being an international spy.

Yep still have them, and on VHS no less.  What’s your favorite childhood movie that still captivates you?

Happy 250 (ish)!

You may remember that in practically another time and place I wrote about reaching 200 posts and also included what I hoped to accomplish in the time it would take me to write  201 to 300.   Here I am many years later writing #255.  Sadly life has a way of doing it’s own thing and my writing became debilitated as a result.   I’m getting back into the grove, moving on  and attempting to cultivate the inner me again so I thought I would revisit that list and update not only my readers but myself in many respects.

– Redecorate the bedroom to something that doesn’t have that, contractor poorly picked out the colors charm; Yes I made this happen, and it’s delightfully grey and fluffy, filled with texture and a few accents pieces in orange and blue.   Although I still need one more something something to go over the bed I consider it accomplished.  Here is the board I used for inspiration.

– try dying fabric, perhaps silk or linen; When did I want to do this?  *shrug*

– have someone over for tapas; as a family Tim and I make a meal of tapas pretty often, just this past week in fact, so I’m sure we have had someone over at some point.

– take an online cooking class; Yea never really made this happen, I feel like I still have an interest.  Perhaps I’ll put it on my Christmas list.

– return to Disney; We had a plan in place but sadly we had to cancel.

– return to the Phipps; Many many many times, it has to be one of the most captivating places I have ever visited.  Search my blog if you don’t believe me.

– get a degree in astrophysics; No comment

– become a Dr Who fan, it looks like fun; I did and it is.  Seriously sitting here right now in one of my favorite weeping angel shirts.  Can’t wait to meet the new Dr!

– finish a quilt for me; Done, I have a sweet little lap quilt and started cutting another one that I never finished.  That might be a good goal, finish a second quilt.

– get better at baking cakes; Lets just say I tried and leave it at that.

– reach 300 blog posts; getting there!

– learn to use the grill smoker; meh

– trellis a rose, and hopefully not kill it; Oooo yes I still want to do this but it’s going to need to wait till the spring.

– make something out of old keys, or new keys that look like old keys; Oh I did this, I wonder if I wasn’t stuffing the pipeline a bit with this one.  Anyway here is the post (with terrible photos?) where I made ornaments for my tree.

– run a 5K; I should just delete this one……

– start writing a cookbook with my mom; I forgot about this oh we still need to do this!  We have recently unearthed some of my Grandmother’s old recipes they would be a perfect platform.

– crochet something cool; ugh I’m hanging this one up; forget this mess, no seriously forget I even said anything.

Cake Stands – Cause I wanted to

Cake stands, not sure what it is about them but they are adorable.  I wouldn’t say that I have to have them in my life but there is always a little smile in my heart when I pick one up spin it around and day dream about a big fluffy cakes with buttercream frosting, a pile of scones or a lofty plant stand.

So if anyone is out there wondering what to get the Belle for a present I have a few suggestions.

concreteterrain
Rosalind+Mini+Beaded+Cupcake+Stand
glassWS
JaditeSurLa

Top – Adoring the cool tone and rustic look of concrete.  From Terrain.
Middle Left – Soft blue and very tiny, like cupcake tiny.  From Joss and Main.
Bottom Left – Classic glass, elegant and timeless.  From William and Sonoma.
Far Right – Something with a vintage mid-century flare , Jadeite.  From Sur La Table. 

9 things that totally gross me out

It’s Thursday and I’m feeling a little quirky, okay a lot quirky.  I was looking for new blog ideas and found this gem ‘write a blog about 9 things that totally gross you out’.   I honestly can’t decide if I’m getting grossed out or cracking myself up.

Things that totally gross me out
1. being touched by someones feet
2. runny egg yolks
3. someone dipping toast in runny egg yolks
4. the slobby licking sound the dog makes when she cleans her own butt
5. tuna fish salad
6. when grandma sucks her ‘teeth’
7. olives
8. boiled peanuts, especially when the juice gets flung onto my face
9.  the crunchy sound spiders make when squished 

So imagine what my worst nightmare would be like.  Someone touching me with their feet trying to get me to eat tuna fish salad, with olives topped with boiled peanuts and a soft boiled egg, all while grandma sucks her teeth and the dog licks her butt.  Then suddenly a big juicy spider runs out, the room falls to silence and someone steps on it.

And yes I said boiled peanuts are gross.  So indulge me; what is your grossy gross list?

How I meal plan.

I wish everyone could find the same joy in cooking and planing meals for their family as I do.  I love it, I think I’m just a happy planner and that’s all there is to it.  So This is my meal planning post and it is in no way suppose to be the end all best way to get things done, it’s just my approach.  I cook for two, which can honestly be great and it can be difficult at the same time.  

First I look in the pantry/fridge to see what I have or what might be near death needing used up.  Well no actually first I panic that there is nothing to cook or I have no idea what to make, then I look in the pantry.  Anyway – moving on; Nothing is worse than tossing something because I find it weeks later and think – oh I didn’t know I had this I could have used it – so I check my resources. Incidentally forgetting to do this is how I ended up with lots of onions this week – weird.  Anyway that’s where I start.

Then I move onto the weekly grocery store add(s).  Sometimes I find inspiration there, plan meals around what is on sale or see that toilet paper is on special an remember we are nearly out.

Last before making a grocery list I poke through my cookbooks or any book marked recipes, picking meals. Some friendly advice; for every 3-4 meals I plan to fix, I pick one new recipe to try and keep the rest tried and true.   I think limiting the experiments keeps my husband from wondering about dinner, and I still get to make an adventure meal here and there. Happy home am I right?

Anyway then I head off to the store, come home with my bounty and cheer myself on for planning a great menu.

One other thing that helps when planning meals – keep your pantry stocked.  I’ve seen countless lists and recommendations for what’s best to stock –  just do what feels right, and don’t get all crazy.  (Unless crazy feels right of course.) I’ve seen ‘saffron threads’ on a list as a staple – what no – I don’t buy that diamond and platinum priced spice unless I need it!   Think simple, you know your family this will be easy. For example, we really like a particular microwave rice packet, so I keep a few around.  

Point being, do what feels right and have fun.  If you are satisfied with the outcome, that is what matters.  If you’re not – well take your miserable butt back in the kitchen and fix it already.

Be Still

I know the best way for me to refuel and get guidance, whether it’s physically, spiritually or emotionally is to just be still.  I struggle with seeing that through, always feeling like there is something that needs my attention or like I have to find a way to keep busy when I’m not.    I have to make a pointed focused effort to be still, and the best way for me to accomplish this is what I call an analog day.

 

What’s an analog day?  It’s  day where all the digital stuff in my life get’s put on hold.  It’s not an anti social hide from the world day toss responsibilities to the curb experience, but a slow your roll kind of day.

What can an analog day look like?
– listen to records (the evolution of our record collection is a whole different blog)
– go chat with  a neighbor or a friend instead of texting
– read a real book, you know paper glue spine
– skip the online recipes and go for a cookbook, or better yet one of my Gram’s hand scrawled recipes
– send a piece of snail mail, enclose an extra  stamp
– anything that slows the pace, like a cup of tea

If I find myself having a hard time putting down the “busy” sometimes I’ll go where my phone doesn’t get a signal, like the belly of the aquarium.

Just a short list, what do you like to do to slow down?  I would love to hear!