Monday, October 26, 2015

Fancy Tacos

A few more fall scenes before all the leaves are gone. I've been watching them flutter to the ground for the past week, slowly and steadily.

We haven't had any windy, gusty rainy days so the leaves are hanging on. 

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That might be a good metaphor for life. When the storm is swirling around you, let go. Don't try to hang on to something that has to change.

Easier said than done, I think.
Because COLOR.

Just glorious.
Spent Sunday afternoon with Sissy and the girls. They came over to watch football with us. And eat food.

Lots and lots of food.

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I had a brainstorm trying to find something to have for dinner. Sunday nights are pretty casual at our house, as in peanut-butter-sandwich casual. Since we were having guests I wanted something a step up from peanut butter but it had to fit into the I-hate-to-cook life I've got going. 

I came up with tacos. But not your average, everyday run-of-the-mill tacos.

Nope. I call these fancy tacos.

I bought the super big burrito shells in the dairy case for the wrap part. I made taco filling with ground turkey and an envelope of taco seasoning. I had several other fillings to choose from: shredded cheddar cheese, queso blanco, chopped tomatoes, chopped green chilies, sour cream, and salsa. 

Everyone filled their burrito shell and I did some fancy wrapping to contain it all. We put them into the panini maker and pressed them for four minutes.

Wow. They were tasty. Everyone agreed that these would be made again, maybe adding guacamole or refried beans to the filling. 

Try them and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pumpkins and Gourds and Squashes, Oh My!

A few more shots from our corn maze adventure. Plump, round, orange pumpkin looked like it was being shunned by the curvy green gourds behind it.
I don't remember all these different colored things when I was a kid. 

Pumpkins were orange. And we only got one the night before Halloween to carve out and put a candle in to light it.

We didn't decorate with all these fancy-schmancy pumpkins and gourds and squashes. 

Does anyone eat these things? Or are they only for decorating?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Double Weekends

Ever have one of those weekends when you need a weekend after the weekend just to get some rest?

That's how this one was. The Man and I took my dad to see Tom Hanks in "Bridge of Spies" on Friday night. Excellent movie. Engrossing. Highly recommend.

K and I got up at o'dark thirty on Saturday morning to head to Beantown with both of my sissies and all the nieces/cousins. Long, fun day filled with some delicious Italian food, pastries, and lots of coffee. And shopping. Of course there was shopping involved.

Sunday morning was spent in church. Came home and took a {very} short nap and then sissy and her family came over, as well as my dad, Nana, and Uncle T. The last three are heading south in a few days so it was time to say goodbye for the long, cold winter. We had dinner together, talked a bit, laughed a bit. Nana tried to help E learn pig latin. E is obsessed with learning this secret language and spent most of Saturday quizzing me when she got a chance.

Does anyone outside my family speak pig latin?

J, K, and I ended the weekend watching Sunday Night Football. It was a long game. A very long game. Highly enjoyable. Great win for the Patriots.

You know what? I'm tired just typing all this activity. Seriously, I need another weekend.
A few scenes from a local farm.

Sissy and I took the girls to walk in a corn maze last week. It was a little bit scary. I don't like big tall things hovering over me. Especially corn.

Remember the movie Signs? Stay out of the corn.

The girls got us out safe and sound and Sissy and I sat at a picnic table while they went back in. I was very happy to be sitting outside in the warm sun, looking at all the beautiful color, and NOT surrounded by corn.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Memory Lane

I was talking with a friend tonight, remembering a story from a very long time ago.

When the Man and I were newly married he was working for a small family owned company. We all knew each other since it was a local company and employees' spouses would stop in to show off new babies and say hello to the owners. Christmas parties were cozy affairs at one of the owners homes, with big pots of soup on the stove, lots and lots of hot appetizers, a wide assortment of libations, and many delicious desserts. Sleigh rides through the woods with cups of hot chocolate for everyone, all of us bundled up and tucked under blankets to keep warm. Good times and good memories.

So we all knew each other since we socialized together throughout the year. The guys got along fairly well and they would take turns asking their wives to bake something to bring in to the office to share. 

One day, it was my turn to bake something. I had just gotten a recipe for blonde brownies from a coworker. I had made them several times to rave reviews and when the Man asked me to bake something for him to bring in to work, I chose this recipe. I made them one evening after work and sent them off with the Man the next day.

When he got home from work, he came in with the platter. Full of brownies.

"What's wrong with the brownies? Didn't anyone like them?" I asked.

"Oh, the first guy liked them just fine," said the Man. "Until he bit into a rubber band."

~~~~~~~~~~


Oy vey. I still don't know how that rubber band got into the batter in the first place. But I never had to bake for them again.
Some more photos from the walk the Man and I took this weekend.

I love walking. Clears the head.
K and I are in the middle of watching The Blacklist. Not usually a fan of James Spader but he is spectacular in this series.

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K and I like to binge watch television series. The Man hates binge watching. He doesn't understand how we can watch the same series from start to finish. We don't stop until we're up to date if it's series that is still running or have seen the whole series if it is over. He gets tired of a series very quickly, like after one episode. He's a throwback to the weekly series. He only wants to watch something once a week.

Unless it's one of his favorite movies. That? He could watch every night.
It's not really about binge watching. At least not for me.

I enjoy watching the shows we choose. But I enjoy the time I spend with her even more. We usually watch a couple episodes each night after the Man has gone to bed. We try to puzzle out some of the shows we watch and remind each other of forgotten details. We share laughs over funny scenes and sometimes get a little emotional over the heart-tugging ones.

A few nights ago we were watching something and I asked her a question about an episode. This tends to irritate her. But she's much more clever than I am and figures things out quickly so I ask her a lot of questions.

She looked at me and stuck her tongue out at me. Perfectly timed and message received. I giggled. Then a few tears welled up in me and I continued to look at her, even as she went back to watching the show. 

"K, do me a favor? On the day you get married, at some point during the day, look at me and stick your tongue out," I said, trying not let her see that I was tearing up.

She looked at me quizzically and said, "What? Why?" 

"Because then I'll know you remember this moment. Just the two of us sharing this moment," I said.

I'm sure I'll tear up on that day. Many times. But I'm looking forward to that moment and this memory.

Monday, October 12, 2015

On Solid Ground

The Man and I took a walk today just to see some of the pretty color out there right now and to enjoy another spectacular day.

I took my camera with me so that means we didn't walk very fast. On walks like this I usually stop every few minutes or so to take some pics. The Man keeps walking and eventually stops and waits for me. He is so very patient. He likes to walk super fast and take very long strides. I feel like I have to trot to keep up with him. For him to stop and wait for me? That's love.

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I've been thinking a lot about love lately. And how it changes over the years. I was talking with someone about this very subject and we were discussing how love feels when you first meet someone and how it feels after you've been married for a long time. 

When I first met the Man, my knees would actually get weak the closer I came to seeing him. I couldn't wait for that moment. I thought about him all the time and had a hard time getting anything done. I found myself daydreaming about him and smiling while remembering something he had said. I loved so many things about him. His kind heart. His great big smile. His sense of responsibility. His humor. He was bigger than life for me and set higher than any other man.

I don't know when that feeling changed into something else. Something more. When I felt so entwined with the Man that I didn't feel whole without him. He is as crucial to me as my arm, or my side, or my heart. The giddy feelings of youth were no longer there but something else was and it was good.

After thinking about that, I think I figured out what mature love is, at least for me. 

When I was first in love with the Man, there were so many things I loved about him. But after so many years of being together, I now feel that love in spite of so many things. 

I love him in spite of the way he always leaves the toilet seat up. I love him in spite of the way he knows how to push my buttons and does so at times. I love him in spite of the micromanaging (his need to be organized) and his propensity for leaving me lists of things to do. I love him in spite of the way he shifts all the laundry around to make sure his gets done, leaving laundry that belongs to someone else in baskets on the floor. I love him in spite of the way he forgets to pick up tools after working on a project in the house and I have to do it because I get tired of tripping over them.

See? All of these things could be negative and become reasons to be angry and hurt and be cause to argue and let those hurts cause distance between us. But not with a mature love. With that kind of love you understand that your mate isn't perfect. And it's okay. 

That's the kind of love I want and the kind of love we have. A love that accepts each other the way we are.

My knees may not get weak anymore when I think about seeing the Man, but I'm okay with that. Because my feet are on solid ground with him and that's enough for me.

Happy anniversary, man of mine. I love you.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Just Right Day

Today was one of those top ten days of the year.

Gorgeous sunny fall day. Lots of blue sky and the colors were out on the trees. The Waterlogue app showcased this photo perfectly with all those warm reds and oranges and yellows.

It was a rare lazy day - J and the Man went fishing, K was trying on bridesmaids dresses and I was left to my own devices for the afternoon. I did a little shopping, a little driving, and a little eating.

It was a just right day.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

And The Lights Came On

Left in the garden, abandoned.

We can only eat so many tomatoes.

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I got home late yesterday afternoon and walked in the living room to find everyone sitting in a semi-dark room. 

"What's up with the dark?" I asked, looking around the room.

"We have no power in the living room. But just the wall outlets. Not the light switches," came the reply. They were engrossed in their iPads, not really concerned with our electrical problem.

The Man and I were headed out for dinner, since our anniversary was yesterday. I wasn't too eager to get sucked into we-should-fix-this-problem-before-we-eat land. I told him I was hungry and skedaddled out of the room, telling J and K to find some extension cords and get everything switched over to plugs that worked in nearby rooms. 

When we got back from dinner, the Man called our electrician. He asked the Man a few questions, sent the Man downstairs to test some fuses, and then said he'd be out early this morning before I had to leave for work. 

And he was. Very prompt. He and his son carefully examined everything. The circuit board. The wiring. Switches. Relays. They tested the wall outlets. Dead, dead, dead. They turned on the light switches and everything worked. Dad electrician moved the sofa, stirring up a few dust bunnies as he moved it away from the wall. Thankfully I had vacuumed under there recently or I would have been mortified. He threatened to take pictures anyway. Did I tell you I know these guys from the library? They are a whole lot of fun.

Fun electricians. Every homeowner needs to have some on retainer.

They were puzzled. They had been in the house for about fifteen minutes and had come up with nothing. No reason for the power outage. They almost started scratching their heads when Dad electrician looked at the wall behind me. 

"Why are those two switches covered?" he asked, pointing to two light switches on the wall in the dining room. They have hard plastic cases covering them, stopping someone from hitting the switch underneath.

"Oh, those are the two switches Mom told us never to hit if we wanted to keep things working in here," I replied blithely. Then I blinked.

I looked at Dad Electrician. He was looking at me, smiling. He walked over to one of the switches and pushed it.

The lights came on.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies


My MIL makes the best chocolate chip cookies. I don't know where she got the recipe from or how old it is. She's been making these cookies since the Man was just a little punkin.

J and K asked, or rather pleaded, with me to make cookies today. I like to bake in the fall and had some time this afternoon so I agreed. It was rough. Since I don't bake very much they hovered around, sneaking bits and pieces of cookie dough as I was mixing it.  I think they ate half the batch of dough before I could get them into the oven. I didn't fuss at them too much - more playful fussing than anything. It was nice to have "kids" so excited about me baking something again. It's been a while since that happened.

Oy vey. Maybe I need to bake more so it's not some sort of national celebration when I do.

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies (printable recipe)

1½ cups Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375°. Mix shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla thoroughly. Stir dry ingredients together; blend in to shortening mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough about 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until delicately browned (cookies should still be soft). Cool slightly before removing from pan. Makes about 8-10 dozen small-med cookies or 4-5 med-large cookies.

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After they came out of the oven, they swooped in and half a dozen cookies disappeared very fast. Kate wanted to know if Grandma invented chocolate chip cookies. 

Then she said, "They taste like happiness and rainbows."

Yes, they do, K. 

Yes, they do.




Thursday, October 1, 2015

Playing With a New App

Found this super cool phone app for the iPhone today, Stateframe. The blogger who was writing about it used it for so many different travel and vacation scrapbook pages featuring her kids and husband.

The app has the outline of the United States and each individual state, plus Canada and the Canadian provinces. 
I had limited photos to practice with since I just cleaned out my iPhone. Can't wait to try it with some more state specific images.