Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Great Minds....

Yep! Think alike! Alex may not be the spittin' image of Jack that Jackson is, but they sure have the same taste in clothes! Go Carl! They were both kind enough to let me use this photo op for my blog o' the day. ♥ them~
Ps. The gym & this "making dinner" stuff are interfering with my computer time...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day Three. I'm Strugglin' Already!

This is every day....hmmm...what to talk about today? Ok, let's talk about weight loss. Jack & I started "Body by Vi" shakes (meal replacement) two weeks ago today. "How's it working?" you ask? (even if you didn't ask, you know I'm gonna tell ya) Actually, pretty darn well! Two shakes a day, you choose what meals you want to replace. We use the shakes for breakfast & lunch, and eat a good dinner. I cook "healthy" anyway (mostly fresh veggies and little meat), so we decided not to eat the poached chicken, steamed broccoli, etc, that the plan suggested. Oh, and we didn't want to give up wine! (shocker!) So this is OUR plan. We hit the gym 4-5 times a week, eat a healthy dinner (usually vegetarian) and have a little wine in the evening. Jack's loss = 6 lbs, my loss = 5 lbs. There are tons of recipes to change up the shakes; my favorites are Key Lime Pie & Butterfinger. Jack loves anything with chocolate (cocoa) in it! Wish us luck, we've got a longggg way to go! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

To Pee, or Not to Pee....

Hee hee. I know it's hard to imagine why in the world I would be interested in taking pictures of loos, but from my very first "stop", I was hooked! Call me crazy... (oh, wait, you ARE!)

My first pitstop at Heathrow Airport! What a thrill! So utilitarian! (that's my fave new word regarding all things European)

Guess where this is?! The Tower of London! (didn't see the real ravens, though, bummer)

London, somewhere! It looked Harry Potterish, on a small scale!

At Chelsea Tube Station. A nice guy showed us how to get in without paying. Ooops, did I say that outloud?

Hampton Court Palace in England. I took "nappy bags" with me all over Europe to collect rocks!

This restroom was of special note, because it's where the guy jeered at me for being in the men's room. REALLY?! Check the door, dude, there's a picture of a lady in a dress on it! We had a good laugh! In Edinburgh, at the Conan Doyle.

I liked the checkered floor.

My all time favorite bathroom, in Dublin. Now this one really looks Potterish! And the Dyson Blade (the hand dryer) is the BOMB! We loved it when we found a potty with a Blade!

Same restroom. Pull chain! : )

As if all that weren't neat enough, it was a glow-in-the-dark bathroom, too! Isn't that the coolest?!!!

Men's Room.

Ladies Room. In Cahir in Ireland. Love it!

Just liked it. At the Red Fox Inn on the Ring of Kerry. Now, I saved the best for last......

HARRY POTTER! At the Elephant House in Edinburgh, Scotland. I didn't make it to the restroom there, so my new friend Lauren let me borrow this photo.

Wasn't that a fabulous trip through the facilities of England, Scotland & Ireland?! This blog a day thing is gonna be fun! ; )

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stick to What You Know...

Well, I've made it to day two! I was finally gonna post the long-awaited "Bathrooms of Western
Europe", but maybe that will be tomorrow. Today, I'm sharing tonight's dinner. I was on Facebook (shocker!) yesterday, and saw that last year on this day, I made a post regarding a recipe for Lemon-Thyme Chicken that I found on the break room table, and it had been really yummy. So I dug it out of my handy-dandy homemade cookbook, and made it tonight. After a REALLY frustrating trip to Walmart (one, just because it's Walmart, and two, after we got all the groceries on the belt, the very apolgetic cashier said, "I'm sorry, my register is broken. I'll help you move all your groceries to the next cashier", ugh, really?!), then afterwards to Publix, for good meat & veggies, dinner was born.

The fresh lemon juice & chicken broth gravy. 

Browned chicken breasts, with garlic pepper. 

Fresh diced red taters, thyme, and carrot coins. Gimme a break on the carrots, we were hungry! I had to get this dish movin'!

Fresh sliced garlic on top of all the other ingredients, before adding the browned breasts and peas.

Dinner! Hmmm, I think the only thing missing was wine, so I had a glass instead! ; )
I can't find the recipe online; the magazine was called People Country (?). I modified it a bit anyway, so here's my version:
4 thin, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
juice of one whole lemon
Garlic pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1-14 oz can reduced sodium chicken broth
7 small red potatoes, cut into small chunks
1 1/2 cups carrot coins
3 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped & minced
1/2 bag frozen, small sweet peas
Generously sprinkle both sides of breasts with garlic pepper, and brown 3 minutes on each side in olive oil. Remove from pan, add butter and scrape up brown bits. Add flour to a few ounces of broth, shake and add, along with the rest of the broth & lemon juice, potatoes, carrots, thyme & peas, to pan. Bring to boil, then simmer and top with chicken breasts. Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. Uncover and let sit 5 minutes until broth slightly thickens. Serve.
See ya tomorrow!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Let's Try Something New...

I've seen people try the 365 Day Photo Challenge, and thought of doing it myself, but never did start. So I recently started following my first-cousin-once-removed's blog (hi, Kelly!), and she's doing her 365 Challenge with beautiful, thoughtful, entertaining photos....hmmm....I'm gonna do it! I'm gonna make my OWN challenge though! My "challenge", aptly named "127 Days of Blogs Till 2012 Challenge" is just to keep me in the habit (blogging for me is pretty darn cathartic). I haven't felt very interesting lately, since most of this year's vacations are behind me. This personal challenge probably won't be beautiful, thoughtful, or even entertaining, but what the heck! I'll bet you're really excited now! ; )
 Here goes Day 1!

This is my before & after of my "I'm letting my hair go gray phase" (which I really DID like, just wasn't quite ready for), with the "after" being just yesterday (I was looking for an app to do a split screen picture. Thanks, Tom!). Do I look younger? I think I just look crazier (my eyes are two different sizes for cryin' out loud! I stink at the app, too, sorry) 

Well, that's it! Let's see how long I actually keep this up...and see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Feelin' Old School

This short note accompanied a hand-written recipe for "Pork Kidneys", in an envelope dated January 1, 1974, from Jack's Grandma to his Mom. Mom E. & I went through a stack of old recipe cards last year, and I have yet to make one of these Ehrig family classics. (Ok, I'm gonna be honest, I'm not making the kidneys...) I have a number of these vintage goodies scanned, and every time I look at them, I miss my childhood, my Mom & Dad, and the wonderfulness of good old fashioned cooking. No worries about salt, fat, preservatives or grams of anything; just a fragrant kitchen in a happy home. It seems this note adapted the kidney recipe to a pot roast recipe : )

I love that when Jack's Mom opened the envelope, there were bay leaves inside; we actually had bay leaves in an envelope in our cupboard when I was a kid! And what a way to keep the original recipe to yourself: "I don't know how much sugar, so taste it. It may be 1/4 cup or a 1/2 tsp. I hope it turns out ok". What a hoot Grandma must have been! (and notice that she charged the new pad to the club!) Good one, Grandma W! ♥

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hysteria! (hee hee)

Last night's theme (thank you, Debbie): Pajama Party. What a great idea! No dressing up, not even in Dolce Girls t-shirts; just some comfy pj's/sweats/short & t's, whatever. So needless to say, we were all excited about this one! Instructions: bring your own adult beverage of choice, a pizza topping, and a box of your favorite candy, with the intent to watch a movie. Thirteen girls (and a designated driver), 12 bottles of  wine, 1 two-quart bottle of pre-made margaritas, 11 homemade pizzas, 1 large un-dressed salad, 3 games of Table Topics, 2 batches of chocolate chip-peanut-bacon cookies, 1 tray of turtle cookie bars, 1 bag of Heath bars, 1 box of Goobers, 4 YouTube videos and one BILLION laughs later (the television never got turned on), we called it a night. THE "funnest" group of gals on the planet! ♥  

Becky's amazing cookies. Many a baggie-full were toted home to share with hubbies! Yum!

I know this seems odd, but the squirrel (sqweel) is now our mascot, thanks to a ridiculously alarming, weird, shocking yet funny (to most of us) video. Sorry, that's how we roll. And we're blaming it on Kristyn, who introduced us to the video ; )

A totally unusual picture of me with my mouth open. Geez, that never happens. I would love to add more pics, but it gets me in less trouble to just make fun of myself.

Our Motley Crew (almost wild enough to be the actual Motley Crue!) Lord help the neighbors!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mission: Move!

Today was USF's moving day. I'm sure it was moving day on many college campuses, actually. Lindsay's "window" of actual moving time into her new place, was between noon and 6:00 pm, along with hundreds of other kids. So, we hit 7:30 am Mass, loaded up boxes that she packed last week when she was home, filled up the truck, and headed to Tampa. Thirty trips to the truck later, we were on our way to her first apartment! 

Thanks to Brandy's commandeering of a plumber's cart (that had a 2 x 4 on the top, and a clipboard, a lampshade and a wet plunger (ewww!) on the bottom), Jack took off toward the truck and car. This pic and the one below are blurry, since he was in no mood to pose for pictures! He's very single minded!

One of three major loads. The elevator was allllll the way at the other end of the building from the actual apartment, but it was still easier to walk the halls rather than traipse up three flights of stairs with all that stuff!

Last load! Wheew!

This is only a portion of the haul; some is in the hall and Linds' room. Hey, she might need some of this stuff! (poor kid, she's just like her Mom)

In Florida, moving day is extra hot. God bless him, he has salt rings on his shirt! (see their matching dimples?)

Our happy girl, starting the unpacking process. The place is bright and clean and her roommates are wonderful : ) (Hi Brandy, Lindsay and Chelsea!) Meanwhile, I get to re-decorate a bathroom and bedroom at home...but ya know what? I still miss my girl.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Loves of My Life ♥

Very short blog...but today has been a reminder for all of us, especially in Titusville, to love our children unconditionally at every moment, because they're the greatest gift that we can ever receive. God's comfort and blessings to all families that have experienced the loss of a child. ♥

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

If You Give a Moose a Muffin...

If you've ever read this delightful book by Laura Joffe Numeroff (I love her name!), you'll have an idea of how my evening has gone. If you haven't read it, it's the story of a simple act (a little boy giving a visiting moose a muffin to eat) that turns into a big mess: the muffins need jam, you have to go to the store for more, the moose needs a sweater since it's cold outside, the loose button on the sweater reminds him of his grandmother and sock puppets, which leads to sewing and painting, a puppet show, and a big mess. My simple act started like this: "Gosh, I need to get rid of some of these old jars of sauce in the refrigerator. Hon, can I just throw them away instead of dumping and recycling them?" No, I couldn't (Jack is a recycling kinda guy). As I found more and more items that needed tossing, Jack began to dump and rinse. The recycle bin was full, so he brought the second, empty one into the kitchen. The fridge was way yuckier than I remembered, so I began wiping the shelves. That wasn't a good idea; it just made a mess with the soapy water. So I emptied the shelves and took them out. And the holders in the door. So, till I was through, the kitchen rug was sticky and soaked, the floor needed swept and washed, along with the counter tops and kitchen sink. *sigh* Who needed a relaxing night anyway?

Ta daaaa! Sparkly clean!

Let's play "I Spy"....I spy with my little eye...Pepto Bismol beside the two kinds of hot sauce, two types of parmesan cheese (the boys like the soap-powder kind), three kinds of mustard, olives, milk and wine. WINE?! How'd THAT get in there?! ; )

Eggs, leftovers (that cappuccino mousse torte again!), salsa, fat free half & half, low fat coconut milk, cheeses, some berries and veggies. Oh, and Pelligrino and wine. More wine?! That must be Jack's.

It turned out to be productive after all. The fridge is now free of all toxins and antibiotics-in-the-making; the bag of absolutely unidentifiable brown liquid in the veggie drawer by the fuzzy jalapeƱo, and the carton of heavy cream from a recipe in March (did I make that chocolate souffle stuff that long ago?!) that was a solid block of...something. Like my Dad always said, "A little mold won't hurt you, Ter, just cut it off!" Thank goodness, Dad!  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Morning, Girls! ♥

These are the beautiful faces that woke to eat my pancakes this morning. At 10:15. Which is pretty darn early, I think. I love to make new "special" things when our girl(s) come home, so today's concoction was again from my hero, Pioneer Woman.

They hate getting their picture taken, it's such a shame.

Lemon-Blueberry Pancakes. Mmmm, they were more like crepes, but verrryyy yummy!

My batter came out kinda "bubbly"; don't know what that was all about, but I think that's what made them thinner. Good luck, they're definitely worth making! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Natural Beauty is Hard Work!

"How come it takes 2 1/2 hours to color your hair?!" my curious hubby asks as I walk in the door at 8:10 pm. I just wanted to show you fellas out in cyberspace who may check in on my blog periodically, what we girls go through to stay so beautiful! 

Before. Au natural gray with gray highlights! I really do like my actual color, but it was time for a change.

Lots and lots o' foils! That's what takes so long! She took me from all over gray to full color.

Even the little parts that don't get foiled need a separate color. A glass or two of wine helps pass the time. And fun convo with an awesome hairdresser!

After! Subtle blond with some extra flavors in between. Back next week for a few extra lo-lites for some extra dimension! Thanks, Danielle! I love it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

These Are Funny To Me...

I know that most of these aren't actually "funny", they're just, well, European. (mostly British) But they made me smile. : )

I just loved seeing "Lift" on a sign. And the little guy in the background? So many signs have "running guy" on them. Why?! Slow down, dude!

I took this in a hurry in the Tower of London bathroom. (people COULD think I was weird for taking pictures in toilets. To me, not much is off limits) Notice the award was given 10 years ago; trust me, it wouldn't have won in 2011.

And again, thank you England for marking every corner, otherwise, I would never have made it back alive. Really!

I loved the "Top Marks"! (sooo Harry Potter-ish!) This sandwich is good because our independent panel said so. LOL! Forget the FDA, we've got food experts!

We'll cut you a break if you eat this at home. But if you eat it here in the store, cough up an extra 79¢! Hahahaha!

No comment. ; ) I made two trips to get this pic in Scotland! (the first shot got erased when my camera ate some pictures at Edinburgh Castle)

I like that big trucks are called "lorries"! (I think big rig drivers here would be offended!) And apparently "derv" is diesel fuel.

"Fouling" and "offend" on a sign, isn't that cool? Very proper!


Apparently there's enough churches in Ireland that it's not a big deal to turn one into a tourism center! Wow!

There are two chip brands in England: Walker's and PRINGLES! They're crazy over Pringles! Seriously?! They're not even real potato chips!

Don't forget, I still have bathroom pictures to post! ; )

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