Monday, July 18, 2016

Current Favorite Lunch + Happy Sunflowers = July 2016

Howdy Ho, good neighbor!  With fresh produce from the garden available daily plus my  new low sugar/low carb eating plan, I am craving this fresh salad this summer.  I can eat it 3 days in a row, and still be excited about it.  Good crunch, zesty dressing, and tangy tuna.

I used to mix these ingredients together in a big bowl for my lunch, but the visual lost it's appeal halfway through eating it.  Ha ha!  So now I make a little Cobb Salad type of arrangement, and it looks and tastes great til the very end.  Pick 3-4 of your favorite raw veggies and cut them up into cubes.  I personally love radishes, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  Make a little pile of each on your plate.  I also love cold, white beans for this salad.  Rinse them out of the can, and use about 1/3 of the can for this plate.  Next, add a tasty pile of tuna (in water) for a yummy protein.  And last but not least....

I like to drizzle on my favorite homemade salad dressing.  I make this Italian dressing in a pint jar, and just stir and spoon it on to salads, cucumbers, or this favorite salad.  Tastes so incredibly much better than store bought dressing.  And it's simple, preservative free, and made with items from your pantry.  This salad is especially nice because you can customize it to your liking.  Use cooked chicken in place of the tuna.  Add feta cheese for a tangy twist.  Forget the beans and use cooked quinoa if you like.  The possibilities are endless.

Joanne Littlefield...if you somehow see this photo of your Italian dressing recipe, just know that I've been making it ever since you taught it to us in your cooking classes in the 1990s.  Delish!

We had some torrential rains today.  In fact we've had ALOT of them this summer in southern Indiana.  But even a rainy day view out our dining room door is a happy view thanks to this ONE Sunflower plant that is monsterously huge and full of sweet flowers.  The Goldfinches are a big fan...they are picking the seeds out of the flowers one by one.  :)

Thank you for stopping by!  Sleep Tight!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Last Day of our Summer a dining adventure at O'Charley's

Happy July 13!
Today was Day 3, our final day of our summer staycation.  After going lots of places the past 2 days, we had a more leisurely day today.  Even did alittle damage control at home, so I can start tomorrow feeling like the house is in shape.

First up, breakfast!  One thing I've enjoyed this week is trying out the new ceramic skillet my mom-in-law recently bought me.  It's dreamy for cooking eggs!  Just a tiny spray of cooking oil, and the eggs cook perfectly with NO sticking.  They say you can wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel when you are done...but I use hot water and soap.  Love that the skillet is flat on the bottom, so there is a large flat area for cooking.  Thanks Mom Hayden!

We left home today about 11:30 to go to lunch.  Eating out every day has been my favorite part of our staycation.  :)  Loved having a break from cooking.  We decided to go to O'Charley's (it's free pie Wednesday, after all!) but we had quite a weird adventure there.

We'd been seated and served ice water, when the 2 hostesses at front of the restaurant began coughing violently.  It caught my attention and I watched and wondered.  Then the table next to them began coughing.  Right after that I smelled it...a strong, chemical smell wafted past my nose and immediately made me feel like coughing.  I said,"Uh oh.  There's something going on.  Do you smell that?"  My husband immediately got up and said, "Let's go!"  Independent soul that I am, I sat there, because the smell seemed gone, and I hoped it was some kind of short lived episode.  I watched as different tables of people began coughing, and others stopped coughing.  The manager chatted with my husband up by the door, but didn't know what was going on and didn't call 911.  Then the smell came back, and I actually tasted it.  That's when I knew we wouldn't stay.

Our throats stung, we tasted a metallic taste, and my husband's asthma started to kick up.  So we left!  Honestly, we've continued to feel that sting in our throats today, and wonder what happened.  Our neighbor, a fire chief, heard our story and thinks it was chlorine gas coming through the HVAC system.  I sure do wonder if the restaurant had to evacuate or do anything to remedy it?  He said they should have called the fire department, because they have equipment that can tell what gas is in the air.  Maybe they did after we left. 

Plan B, turned out great!  We went to Biaggi's, a fine Italian restaurant, and had an amazing lunch.  Tanner loved his pasta with meatballs and Alfredo sauce.

                   John's baked ziti with seafood was terrific.

And my pasta dish and spinach salad was too.  Their unsweetened raspberry iced tea is a t*r*e*a*t!  Happy tummies!  And tomorrow it's back to my low sugar and low carb eating plan...totally blown the past 2 days.  :)  

We did some fun shopping, and I scored denim capris at Marshalls.  Yippee!  Then home to chill and do laundry til bedtime.  The day ended with a literal bang.  This severe T-storm blew in about suppertime.  It was beautiful, and thankfully it was fast and furious with no harm done.  A beautiful display of God's glory and power.

Tomorrow we hit the ground running!  An appointment at 8:15am, and then my first meeting/lunch for my new job.  Yes, after being a stay at home mom and homeschooling for 23 years, this lady has a job teaching Preschool!  It will be an adjustment, but so much fun.  I'm thankful!  And if I still have some energy after that, it's off to Ivy Tech to meet with an advisor to get Tanner set up with classes. This fall has so many changes ahead for us...but we know that the Lord will be our strength and help.  A new chapter in life!

Thanks for reading!  Blessings and sweet dreams!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Our Summer Staycation Day 2

Happy Tuesday!
It is Day 2 of our Summer Staycation.  To read about Day 1 and hear why we turned our summer vacation into a staycation, click here.

We had heavy rain today as we drove 45 minutes to spend the day in Owensboro, KY, but it didn't dampen our spirits...just my son's cell phone which (of course) fell out of his pocket as he exited the car, and landed in a small river gurgling beside the curb.  Dry rice to the rescue, once we got home.

But backing up a bit, we started our morning at home with coffee and Jesus.  Something new that has been pumping up my prayer life, is to write my prayers in a journal each day.  I get major ADD when praying, but writing my prayers has helped me focus and feel so much more in tune with God.  I'm looking forward to seeing in print, how God moves in our hearts and lives over the months.  Give it a try if you also have trouble focusing.

After breakfast and tidying up, we hit the road in the rain for the Kentucky border.  Owensboro is a beautiful town on the Ohio River.  We've enjoyed the gorgeous riverfront park in the past, but this was our first time to explore alittle deeper.  We started out at the city's museum.  $3 a person, or $10 per family is a reasonable entrance rate, and we enjoyed it very much.  Lots of hands-on exhibits for kids, plus things for adults.

One of the first things we saw was a tiny little door in the wall by the floor.  No sign..but we had to peek and see what it was.

 Awww, a little mouse house.  A delightful tiny surprise.  :)  I always enjoyed reading little mouse stories to my kids, and used to make up stories about mice families living in our backyard.  

And yes, we did enjoy most of the kid exhibits.  :)  This was a combination window/mirror.  Tanner was on one side unseen, and we were on the other.  But when you turn the light on to the right brightness, his face appeared as if looking through a mirror at us.  

Ladies, can you IMAGINE wearing a corset sooo tight that your waist was the size of a 5 year old's?  Oh my word.

John had a Go Kart simliar to this 1970s model as a boy.  He eventually sold it when he was older.  I'm now wearing it on my ring finger.  :)

This exhibit let you feel wind up to 78 mph so you'd know what a tornado might feel like.  The video I took of them is hilarious.  :)

Lunch time.  Moonlite BBQ is pretty famous around these parts.  The place was packed for their lunch time buffet.

Round 1

Next up we did a bit of fun browsing.  The Preservation Station is a well loved antique/vendor place located in an old elementary school.  It was so cute!  Every room hosted a different antique or handmade vendor's shop.  It was my first visit here, and I will be back!

This coal miner's lunch box captured my heart.
I didn't buy it...but loved thinking of the stories it could tell.

Kentucky is coal and tobacco country.  I don't like what tobacco does to people, but the farms were pretty.

Darling old churches are my favorite.  Dear husband pulled over so I could capture this one.  My goal is to make my own calendar of darling old churches one day.  Maybe for my birthday in December...sounds like a good goal.

As my and my son's energy was flagging, (my husband's energy does not fail him til does he do it?) we stopped at one last flea market.  Aqua is one of the happiest, most peaceful colors ever.  I would have loved buying just one of these cups and saucers, but they were sold in a set.  I always come home from antique shops with a great desire to drink coffee from one of my vintage cups and saucers.  Maybe tonight.

This made-in-England tea set was darling and inviting too.  I have no room for anymore pretties, so I satisfy myself by just taking photos of the eye candy instead.

But there is ALWAYS room for a few more old Golden Books for my collection.  These were all pretty old and will be fun to read to my granddarlings.  I'm calling them my souvenirs.  :)

We are home now, and recovering from our big day.  I don't have to cook supper since we all ate more than our share at the BBQ buffet.  I'm hoping we'll get out the old record player and vinyl albums we had as children, to enjoy this evening, plus a Christmas Hallmark movie and maybe some old family photos.  This damp, rainy-ish evening will be cozily spent at the BEST hotel in town...home.

Thank you for reading!


Monday, July 11, 2016

Staycation Southern Indiana Style...Day 1

Hello for the first time since last September!  

Rather than post a bunch of photos on Facebook, I decided to chronicle our Staycation through my blog.  Here's how it came to be...we had planned a vacation to the Smoky Mountains in TN for May.  But my poor mama fell at a garage sale and broke her hip in late April!  Our vacation was scheduled to take place during her first week back home after hospitalization, surgery, and a week in rehab.  So our trip was just not meant to be, since we needed to help her and my Dad daily that week.

Fast forward to June, and we realized that our summer was now pretty much booked up with other trips and responsibilities.  Trying to schedule a replacement vacation would be too hard.  I read a magazine article about how to have a Staycation, and make it feel like a vacation.  The idea sounded perfect for us, and my husband and son agreed!  No hassle of packing, boarding our dog, or driving for 6 hours!  So, we are taking the first 3 days of this week for our Staycation, and enjoying it very much.

The article suggested that you do the things that make a vacation special...eating out, no work, doing fun things, taking time to be a family.  So these are the the ideas that we came up with for our Staycation in our Ohio River city in southwest Indiana.

We won't have time to do ALL of these things, but it is fun to have choices.  Some are touristy type things that we have not done during our 6 years living here.  Others are just fun things we don't usually take time for.  I have a feeling that the simple, homey activities will end up being my favorites.  :)

What's a vacation without tasty treats?  My son and I picked out some snacks and treats at the grocery store to have this week.  And I baked some chocolate whole wheat zucchini bread with our garden zucchini, to have for a coffee/breakfast treat.  So that's how our day started on Staycation Day 1.

For Day 1, we did something so fun for lunch.  We went to Meijer and each chose some special lunch foods for a picnic lunch.  It was quite fun to look at all the possibilities and everyone pick their favorite.

There are so many individual serving sized drinks and food available these days.  Don't these little bottles of Lemonade in the refrigerated section look good?

Lots of meat and cheese packages in the deli.

I was tempted to choose a fresh roll from the bakery.

For less than $14, we all got what we wanted!

Along with a small cooler of fruit, we took off for the Ohio River front for our picnic.  It's a beautiful place to sit and relax or to walk.  Our picnic consisted of fresh popcorn chicken, jalepeno pretzel poppers (yum!), salad, fruit, drinks, and some chocolate for dessert.

We went up on the rooftop patio of our visitor's center, and the Lord was so sweet to give us the ONE bench that was in the shade.  Great lunch spot, with a cool river breeze blowing.

After lunch, there was alittle football tossing between John and Tanner.

The beautiful riverfront.

Loved the flowers around the visitor's center.

Next up, we went to see Finding Dory.  Awwww, so cute.  Baby Dory was darling!!

After the movie, we actually went laptop shopping for son.  And then, a light supper at Freddy's.

Thanks, Freddy's, for doing lettuce wrap burgers!  And wow, those skinny fries are my favorite.

So...That is Day 1!  We've enjoyed relaxing this evening and watching a Christmas movie on Hallmark.  I just love Christmas movies in July...the snow looks so refreshing on a 90 degree day.  

And now tomorrow...we are headed to Owensboro, KY for a museum, flea market, lunch, and their gorgeous riverfront.

Night, night!

Thanks for stopping by!



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