Sunday, May 31, 2009

Muddin' in a Cavalier

Wow - always seems to be some excitement when we all get together. My sister was here this weekend to make some more freezer meals (20 each this time) and it was also the weekend on our great-nephew's high school grad party so we worked really hard to get done and out the door by 3 p.m. to get to the party shortly after 4 - or that was the plan.
She had her Garmin and she offered to drive her Cavalier (I am so thankful for that!). We went along nicely until we were within about 3 miles of our nephew's country home. Garmin told us to take Doolittle Rd - it started out as a rock road but the road quickly diminished - and then it was dirt which of course was mud in places because of the many rains we have had. We came over one rise and we in the front seat could see ruts in the soft road that were about 8 inches deep - The driver did well to steer through them - and the back seat (DD19's boyfriend to be specific) noticed a mud/water hole ahead so told the driver that she would need to pick up some speed to get through the mud. We slipped through that and then noticed another vehicle up the road a ways - and a man walking in the other direction. The man was one of our brother's. He was stopped and taking off on foot for the last half mile or so. We honked and his wife waved at us to go back. He started walking back and DD19's BF offered to go see if he could help.
They got their vehicle turned around but then got mired in a mud hole. So we got turned around and took off to get to the party and send help back if needed.
As soon as we turned around Garmin popped up alternate directions and we made it safely to the party. Just before we got to the house, DD19's BF texted her that they found someone with a 4 wheel drive who was helping them, got out of the mud and then slid back into it. He said to not send any help yet. Shortly after he let us know they were on their way. It was sure a good story to tell to everyone at the party - the locals had never even heard of Doolittle Rd - which came out as a farm road about 1/4 mile from their lane.
So once again Garmin let us down - (last weekend DD19 and BF got within 1 mile of the church for DH's nephew's wedding and the highway was closed for construction - then tried to send them through a private residential area that had at least 10 PRIVATE DO NOT ENTER signs posted. They were only 2 minutes late for the wedding though thanks to his dad coaching them via cell phone.
Oh - and another brother started down Doolittle Rd but realized it was not going to be passable before we did - so he asked someone along the road if it was passable (they were probably out investigating why they had so much traffic :-) and they told him in the summer when it is really dry. He turned around before he got to the bad spots. Glad we did not come up on them while we were barreling up the hill through the ruts on our way out!
Thank God we all made it to the party safely and home again - and had something to laugh about all afternoon. The party was very nice and we had lots of fun catching up with relatives and enjoying the good food!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Miscellaneous ramblings

We had a delicious supper tonight - with some of my favorites and a new modified recipe.
I made Skillet Baked Fish with Dijon Sauce, Marinated Vegetable Salad and had watermelon and cantaloupe on the side. The sauce was supposed to be mayonnaise and salsa but I forgot to put salsa on the shopping list, so I improvised. That probably was better since I also did not have plain bread crumbs and used Italian ones :-) I like making changes to recipes and trying my own creations.
Next week my sister is coming to visit and make more freezer meals. We are going to do 20 meals each - 10 chicken, 5 beef and 5 fish (salmon or white fish). It will be fun. We made 25 each back in January and I only have 2 left in the freezer. They sure are handy when you work all day - as long as you remember to thaw them out :-) One of these times we are going to have to go back through all the recipe packets and do 'encore performances'.

Last week DH's aunt and uncle from CA came to visit DH's parents. They came up one night to see us and we went out to eat. Ironically sisters married brothers. DH's mom and aunt are sisters and DH's dad and uncle are brothers! Others in the picture are DD17, DD19 and DD19's boyfriend.
Here are 5 more hats I made for the pregnancy center - but I think the dark blue one is a little big so it may be sent to a children's hospital for a chemo cap. The bottom left and center were made from the last of some of my yarn - a good way to use up the scraps.
This is a bread cloth I made for a wedding gift for a young couple at church. I did not think about the double meaning of the verse when I picked the chart. The bride's sister is named Joy so it could also mean - "Invite your sister to supper some time."
I always think the 3 unstitched corners look naked - so I created a little accent design for them as well. I hope the young couple likes it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wellness Challenge

The hospital where I work has started a wellness challenge - over a 16 week period. At the beginning of the challenge, those wanting to participate had were evaluated for 'wellness'. Things like BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose were measured. We were also given the criteria that would be scored at the end of the 16 weeks.
BMI under 25
Blood pressure less than 120/80
Cholesterol less than 200
Glucose less than 100

Each parameter is worth a number of points. Other points can be received if you document 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week throughout the challenge and by doing 4 wellness activities (annual physical, mammogram, PSA, dental checkup, vision exam, weight watchers, or any of the wellness sessions they have scheduled).

Anyone who scores the maximum (100 points) will receive $200. I am on my way! At the beginning my blood pressure was 122/80 (the room was very noisy and everyone's BP was running high - I don't think the nurses could hear very well in the noise) and my BMI was 25.5.
Well, my BMI is now 24.5 and the last 2 times I have had my BP checked (blood drive and a dr's appt) it was 106/62.

I was already doing weight watcher online and I was due for my mammogram, dental exam ,vision exam and annual physical before June 23 (the end of the challenge). I also have been walking for 3o minutes at least 3 times a week.

While most of my weight loss was prior to the challenge - it has been hard getting down below 25 on the BMI. I want to get down to 24 so I have room to spare since things like Memorial Day, birthday, DD17's graduation fall between now and June 23.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Roses, Roses, Roses

This morning the rose bushes are filling out with blooms. I just had to snap a couple photos to share.

This is the bush that had the first rose to bloom this year. It is now accompanied by several more HUGE flowers.

And this yellow bush is packed with buds. In a couple weeks or less this one will be beautiful.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stitching and Reading

This is the quilt square I just finished for a child at Love Quilts I love the dog in this chart! I haven't been doing as much cross-stitching as in the past few years but this one was fun to do.

I also finished Latte Trouble recently. I liked it. The author includes so much information about the coffee industry and whatever other 'theme' is in the individual book. This one centered around the fashion industry.
And I got ten more scrapbook pages done tonight. It goes fairly quickly since I have the photos cropped, trimmed and grouped. The scrapbook is for DD17's graduation party. She wants to be surprised (I made one for DD18 so DD17 knows it is coming) but keeps asking me if she can come sit with me while I am working on it. She did see a couple pages tonight and liked them.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Roses are in bloom!

Our first rose bloomed today! I am not a serious gardener but last year did manage to have roses blooming all summer long. This year the bushes are full of buds again!

5/6/09 -the bud starts to open

5/8/09 open a little bit more

5/9/09 a.m - Open at last (I thought)

5/9/09 - p.m. Fully open - What a huge bloom!

Here are some more garden pictures taken today :

The plum tree has bounced back after the storm.

An 'aerial' view of the bench - taken from top of the retaining wall.

DH spreading some weed killer on the lawn. We had quite a bumper crop of dandelions this year. I have never seen so many - our front yard was a sea of dandelions and once they went to seed it almost looked like snow :-) - I'm sure our neighbors were not impressed!

Mother's Day Tea

Today was our church's Mother's Day Tea. Since DD19 was away at college I was one daughter short but DD17 accompanied me. We had a good time - and ate too much.

That picture made me realize how much different I look since losing almost 40 pounds. Here is our picture from last year's tea.

Granted I have more wrinkles than last year - the extra fat stretched out some of them before - but I will gladly take them. Last year I probably came home and put my feet up for the rest of the day ( I was the chair person in charge of the tea) but this year I went to the YMCA for an hour and then came home and helped DH in the yard. :-)

Friday, May 8, 2009

After the rain

We had a severe thunderstorm go through last night - pretty noisy with the thunder and hail hitting the windows. At least it did not last long but made a short night for sleeping.
This morning it looks like everything outside fared okay except the flowering plum is a little beaten - hope it perks back up :-(

The coral bells are still blooming strong though - I love these tiny flowers and once they bloom out the foliage is still interesting.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Simple, fast and healthy dinner

Tonight was Lemony Crusted Tilapia and Raspberry Slaw. I had planned to have a salad and peas as the side dishes but have about half of a bag of cole slaw mix left from the other night. DH asked if I would make the Raspberry Slaw - he loved it! (He usually doesn't like dried fruit or nuts mixed in his food so that surprised me).
The tilapia was easy too - I had the ingredients all measured out in 2 small ziplock bags and frozen in a larger bag with the package of fish filets. I thawed it out last night so it was all ready to go.
I'm trying to stick closely to my Weight Watchers points menus. I have only 2 more pounds to go and hope to reach my goal! DD17 has decided to try to lose some weight - only she is counting calories. So in addition to the points I am now calculating the calories of our meals. It helps a lot that the freezer meals all have both the calories and the points listed for each recipe.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Menu Monday

Curried Chicken
Raspberry Slaw
Cheese stuffed tomatoes

Tuesday - Cinco de Maya
Mexican Chicken Salad
Homemade tortilla chips

Wednesday -
Lemony Baked Tilapia

Honey - Balsamic Salmon
Baked potato
Fresh vegs

Caesar's Burgers
Italian potatoes

Saturday (Mother's Tea at church)
Soup and corn muffins

Texas Casserole
Easy Fruit Salad

Sunday, May 3, 2009


DH and I don't do a lot of gardening but we have been working on the flower beds this weekend. We put in a large rock bed on the east side of the house 2 years ago and last year added the bench and a few plants

We planted the coral bells - 4 varieties last year and they are doing very well in that spot. This year we added the hostas along the retaining wall.

The green-leafed coral bell closest to the bench has blooms already. A friend at work gave several plants of that variety from her garden about 15 years ago (2 houses ago) and they did wonderfully in that bed. We had a coral haze all along the flower bed for about 2 weeks in May. I left most at that house but had about 3 or 4 at the second house - unfortunately we were only there 2 years and I never found the 'best spot' for them - but was able to bring one along to this house. I think I have found the spot. I am looking forward to splitting that plant next year and filling in more of the bed with them.

We tried a few ferns but there was too much morning sunlight for most of them. One did survive - I guess it was shaded by the bench and another one behind the bench at the base of the shepherd's crook, has a small sprout coming up.
In the 'bare area' on the right of the photo, I planted some lilies from the same friend at work who gave me the coral bells. She called them canna lilies but when I looked those up on the internet it had bulbs pictured and these were more like iris rhizomes. I read up on calla lilies and these sound more like those rhizomes - so I am anxious to see how what they are. I planted several here, 7 or 8 scattered throughout the rest of the bed and along the top of the retaining wall. We also put some out in the far end of the yard next to the weeping willow that we planted last year. They have to be dug up in the fall so we can always change their locations next year - for now I am hoping they will fill in between the perennials.

At the other end of the retaining wall, we placed 4 of these blue flowers. I believe they are delphiniums - they were not labeled. We had some delphiniums last summer and they did very well in this area but did not come back this year. I was reading up on them today and one article said they can be annual or perennial. These pots were marked as perennial. Behind these and along the top of the retaining wall we have a butterfly bush, flowering plum and several burning bushes.

We also made a semi-circular bed around the mailbox last year. We love this rock - it has a lot of deep color when it is wet. We had the center juniper plant and some grasses last year but the grasses did not come back. We added some more juniper for ground cover and alternated some white and pink flowers around the outer edge. (Can't recall the names but I did keep the information stakes so I can learn them).

Last year we also put in some rose bushes, just outside the kitchen door. We had roses blooming all summer long so I think we find the right spot for these :-). Look at all the buds on these - can't wait for them to burst open!
We will have red, pink, yellow and orange roses again this year.
And while we were shopping we could not resist this beautiful fuchsia hanging plant for the front porch.
Don't you love the purple and pink blooms? One gardening article compares them to ballerinas - I can see them spinning in the tutus.

We put in a rock bed on the west side of the house (along the garage) last year and will have to start thinking of what we want to plant there- but that's another weekend and paycheck :-)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Two More Hats

Here are 2 more hats that I made for the crisis pregnancy center. The green one is of a cotton yarn that is really soft. It was so nice to work with that as it felt so soft on my hands :-)
I have 12 hats now to use as prototypes for our knitting ministry - can't wait to get the other ladies started on this projects and compare all our different hats.