6/30/2014

Weekend Wrap-Up

CH & I had our June camping weekend this weekend.  We left on Friday after dinner since we went to a state park that is just north of Knoxville.  We didn't want to get stuck in traffic, so we ate an early supper at home, then got on the road.
It was actually a little bit of a bummer weekend.  When we think "State Park", we think woods and walking trails, and a river or lake.  Especially since the name of the park has "Lake" in it.  We made the best of it, though.
We had a very nice family on the right side of us, so we talked to them quite a bit. (You can see in the picture just how close they actually were!) And, we tried out a couple of new recipes.  The first one was a recipe I found through Leah @ CiCi's Corner; we just made it in the dutch oven:
It turned out really well...even the bottom of the bread wasn't burned!  The recipe calls for sausage, onion, and green pepper, and a frozen bread loaf.  I got the already cooked turkey sausage and forgot about the onion & green pepper.  Kroger has a frozen package with all of that already in it, but I had a brain fart when I went to the store & didn't get it.  And, I forgot a rolling pin, so I had to use a cup to roll out the dough, so it didn't get rolled out thin enough.  If we make it again (and I think we probably will), I'll use the french loaf in a can so the dough will be thin.  
I had also found a recipe for Grilled Ham & Cheese Pull Apart Sandwich Loaf.  
As you can see, I didn't spray all of the foil as much as I should have, and part of the loaf was burned.  The recipe says to put in on the grill for 20-25 minutes; I think 10-15 would have been enough.  The part that wasn't burned was good, though, and Laika liked the burned part!
It rained off & on on Saturday, so CH caught up on some sleep, and I finished another book.  I love to hear the rain on the easy-up/awning/camper.  It's so peaceful.  Since there was 4G at the campground, we were able to use the hotspot to watch the rest of  "Longmire" on Netflix.  On Sunday, after we got home, we switched over to "On Demand" and got the rest of the way caught up!  New episode tonight!
Hope you were able to get outside over the weekend.

6/27/2014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: 06/27

If you're looking for this week's Friday Fragments, click here.
Every Friday, Bacardi Mama is our host so we can show off our favorite picture of the week.  In her words, "The premise is easy.  All you have to do is show us your favorite picture you took over the past week.  It doesn't matter what it is.  If it is your favorite, that is what you post.  Pretty simple, right?  So here we go...." 
I snapped this picture of my small hibiscus that is on my back porch.  It had just stopped raining, and the water drops looked like little diamonds.  I used my phone, which is an HTCOne.

If you have a picture to share, leave the URL of your post in Bacardi Mama's comments.  

Friday Fragments

If you're looking for this week's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", click here.

Half-Past Kissin' Time
Mrs. 4444 is ready to help us declutter those fragmented thoughts we have running around in our head!  She does this every Friday so we can start fresh for the weekend!

  Laika wasn't too thrilled with our walk Wed. morning.  I had the leashes on her & Pepper and started out the door, but didn't notice that it had started to rain.  So, I grabbed an umbrella and we trudged on.  Laika kept looking back toward the house when we first started walking, but then she trotted beside me the whole way.  No pulling or trying to chase anything that morning!

  Last year, I talked about a duck couple that I kept seeing at the duck pond. There's a mallard couple at the fountain in the park this summer.  I've seen them every day; they're so sweet.  It really seems like the male looks out for the female, ready to protect her.  There's also a female & 2 male mallards (what's up with that?) on the other end of the park.  I've seen them for a few days.  One morning, they were in the creek where there's a high bank & where the dogs will go in to get a quick drink.  I didn't notice the ducks were in there until Laika was in the creek and the ducks flew out!  I don't know who was more surprised:  Laika or the ducks!

  Y'all have GOT to see this!  Ingenious!
http://www.scarymommy.com/cut-grapes-in-half/

 9 pounds down...28 to go!  Slowly but surely it's coming off.  It's not as fast as it was 10 years ago, but I am 10 years older!

  My favorite app developer sent me another free app yesterday to review on my speech blog!  This one is the first test to be standardized in an app format.  I'm super excited to get a good look at it and write a review!

  On Wednesday, I had a couple of people let me know that my pictures (header, background, and pictures in posts) weren't showing up on my blog, but I checked it on Chrome, Firefox, and Explorer and didn't have any trouble.  Now, the background isn't showing up on my speech blog.  My next step is to change the background and see if that does it.  That really stinks because I really like the background I was using.  

  OS' picture of the week.  He snapped this picture when he was flying home for a friend's wedding:
And then this one on his way back to Utah:

Have a wonderful weekend!  See y'all back here on Monday!

6/26/2014

Quiet

I remember coming home from work a few years ago and nobody was home:  my oldest was away at college, the middle was at football practice, and the youngest at band practice.  I just stood in my kitchen & thought, "What am I going to do when all of the boys are gone and they don't need me to be home?"  I mentioned that to CH, and he said, "You're going to take time for you."  
This summer (since I don't work in the summer), I'm really enjoying the quietness of the house during the day; I don't even turn on the tv, and it's REALLY nice.  I've always been the person who had to have noise...any noise.  The tv, radio, it really didn't matter.  I still have to have noise when I go to sleep (I go to sleep with the tv on; CH sets the timer when he goes to bed), but it's so nice during the day.  I hear the birds chirping, an occasional mower, kids playing behind us, and the cars going by the house.  And, if we're lucky, I'll hear thunder in the distance and the rain that sometimes comes along with it.  It's just nice.  
During this past school year, there were days when I would stay at school until 5:00...just because I could, and needed to.  I had such a crazy, stressful year that I needed to stay to get organized for the next time I was at that school, as well as to do paperwork.  With the change in one of my schools and a lower caseload, I'm hoping that won't be the case next year.  
On the days when I didn't need to stay late, I would go home and crash.  Sometimes I would practice my flute, other times I would just sit; because I needed to.  
I'm learning to take time for me.  MS' girlfriend mentioned the other day that I've been a mom for 1/2 of my life.  WOW.  I hadn't thought of that before then.  Half of my life I've been taking care of someone else; I've been responsible for another person.  It is time for me.  Even though YS is still living at home, he's doing his own thing, and we're trying to let him be as independent as he can be.  We only have another year with him at home, and then he'll be off for his last 2 years in college.  
So, I'm learning to enjoy the quiet, as well as doing things for me.  And you know what?  It's actually kind of nice.  

6/25/2014

Sunny Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. What summer activity most takes you back to your own childhood?
Swimming, since that's what we did to escape the heat during the summer weekdays.  (No air conditioning)

2. What's your favorite summer smell?
Suntan lotion with coconut.  Specifically, Hawaiian Tropic.

3. It's beach season in the US of A...so how do you feel about sand?
Let me put it this way:  The beach would be a perfect place if it wasn't for all that sand!

4. Sun tea, SunChips, sunflower seeds, Capri Sun, Sunny Delight, Sun-Maid raisins, sun-dried tomatoes...your favorite food or beverage with sun in its name?
Sun chips.

5. What's your favorite way to cool off on a hot summer day?
Being able to dip into a cool pool.

6. Share a favorite song with the word sun or sunshine in it's title.
I'm going with the first one I thought of:

7. Tell us about a time you had an exceedingly good or truly awful customer service experience. If it was awful, did you report it? Ever go back there again?
About a month ago, I went through the line at the grocery store where I do almost all of my shopping.  There was 1 person in line ahead of me (with not an unusually large order), and it took me 20 minutes to get checked out.  The cashier was extremely slow & chatty. At one point, I nicely suggested to her that she move the bar they use to separate orders so that the items would move closer to her. Since I've been going to that particular store for 10 years, the manager of the front line recognizes me when I go in.  I did mention it to her, and I prefaced it with, "you know I very rarely say anything".  Turns out the cashier was new (which is exactly what I thought).  I haven't seen her in there since, so I'm wondering if others complained or she just didn't work out.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Can someone please tell me if they experience the same thing I am on Bloglovin'?
1)  When I click on a blog on my list, sometimes the post opens in a new window, sometimes it doesn't.
2)  When I open a post, sometimes I can comment through Bloglovin', sometimes I can't.  If it won't let me, I have to put in the blog's URL and go straight through the blog.
Thanks in advance!  

6/20/2014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Week Ending 06/20/2014

I almost forgot to do this post today!  Every Friday, Bacardi Mama is our host so we can show off our favorite picture of the week.  In her words, "The premise is easy.  All you have to do is show us your favorite picture you took over the past week.  It doesn't matter what it is.  If it is your favorite, that is what you post.  Pretty simple, right?  So here we go...." 

Vietnam Veterans during a flag ceremony last Saturday in Mobile, Al.  What an honor it was to be in their presence.  It was heartbreaking at the same time, knowing that those men (and women) are just now being welcomed home.

If you have a picture to share, leave the URL of your post in Bacardi Mama's comments.  

Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

  I'm loving the new Frag Header!

  I'm off to the dentist this morning to get my long-awaited crown for my implant.  I should've had it a month ago except the lab messed up.  And then 2 weeks ago (when I should've gotten the replacement) they called to ask about the color (which they already had from the messed up crown).  I'll just be glad to have this ordeal over (and to stop having food get stuck in between my implant & my teeth)!

 I met a couple of friends last night at an establishment that has entertainment on Thursdays.  There was a local girl (she went to the Rival High School) & a couple of her friends from DePaul in Chicago who have started up a little band called "Ask Your Folks". They describe their music as "Appalachian Funk".  If you're in the Chicago area, definitely look them up.  They were very good!
This clip is not one of "their" songs, but they did play a few songs that they had written.
They have an album coming out in the fall.

  One of the good things about walking in the park so early is that the girls & I have the park to ourselves.  This morning, we didn't see anybody else; we usually run into a couple of people who are smart enough to walk before it gets too hot & humid.  

  One of the bad things about being in the park alone is that I'm the one to clear the spider webs that are stringing over the path.  They aren't full-blown webs, just strings, but still...YUCK.

  OS made it in on Wed. without any problems.  He flew Frontier Airlines, and he said it was "okay".  There is a charge for baggage (whether you carry it on or check it), and no free food or drinks, so he was a little hungry when he got home.  As soon as I saw him, I may have had some tears in my eyes.  He looked really good; he looked like he had put on a little weight, and he was tanned.  I had to laugh, because he mentioned how humid it was, and he hadn't been outside yet!  Funny how quickly we forget things like that!

  Check out "Ask Your Folks" website; there are a few free downloads on there under the "Media" tab!  askyourfolks.com 

6/19/2014

Encouraging, Exercising, and Diet

Encouraging:
Yesterday I mentioned that I was getting a little discouraged with the whole weight loss thing.  This morning, I stepped on the scale and it said I had lost 2 more pounds.  That was definitely an encouraging sign!
When I opened my email, I had a message from Denise at Just Me, Being Me. When I visited her blog to reciprocate the Hodgepodge reading, I read her previous post as well.  She's inviting those of us who need encouragement to continue to exercise and eat right to join her!  Talk about perfect timing!  Hopefully she'll start a facebook page so it will be easier to give (and receive) encouragement.

Exercising:
I've done the "gym thing", and honestly, I just don't want to waste my money on a gym when I have a wonderful park right next to the house, as well as some hand weights.  I've been around the gym enough to know how to exercise, and what to do.  
I've also done aerobics, step aerobics, and aqua aerobics, as well as played quite a bit of tennis.  But, now that I'm older, my knees just can't take the tennis and aerobics (minus the aqua), and on top of that, I started getting headaches after working out.  I had a doctor tell me that it was probably due to dehydration, but I hydrated as much as I could before, during, and after.  And then I found out a couple of years ago that this happens to a couple of my sisters as well.
I went to a dietitian about 10 years ago when I needed to lose about 50 pounds.  On top of the diet (which I'll get to in a minute), she told me I had to walk 30 minutes every day.  30 minutes...that was all.  For overall cardiovascular health, The American Heart Association recommends:
  • At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150

    OR
  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

    AND
  • Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.
On Instagram, I follow a teacher who is documenting her weight loss/toning up journey.  Even though I could probably be her mom (age-wise), she is quite the inspiration.  Some days, she gives me the encouragement by just looking at her pictures and seeing the transformation!  I'm not so naive to think that I will end up looking as great as she does, but hopefully I can show some improvement in myself.
So, my exercise regiment goes something like this:  I walk 2 of the dogs in the park between 6 & 6:30 in the morning.  The walk around the whole park takes about 30 minutes.  Being in E. Tn., there are hills, so my upper legs/butt are getting a workout.  Walking so early means that I pretty much have the park to myself.  I may see a couple of people, but that's it.  And, Laika is doing a pretty good job (most of the time) of not pulling my arm out of socket!  After I get back to the house, I get my weights and do my arm exercises:  overhead press, triceps chop, dumbell curl, tricep kickbacks, and concentration curls.  After seeing 5 Low-Weight Exercises, I may add a couple more to my routine.  

Diet:
As I mentioned, I went to a dietitian some years ago on a physician's referral.  I was fortunate enough that my insurance covered the cost of most of her fees.  She was absolutely wonderful.  The first thing she did was sit me down, and ask me about my schedule:  when did I get up, eat meals, go to bed.  Then, she told me when to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat.  My eating plan looked something like this:
(Click for a bigger picture as well as the credit)

The exception was that I only have 1 snack in between lunch & dinner that consists of a starch and a dairy. The first couple of days are miserable, but after that, I don't even want anything sweet.  That's really saying something, because I have a horrible sweet tooth.  If I do want something sweet, I'll get a sugar-free popsicle, jello, or a mint.  (The popsicle & jello are "free".)
I'm a bit surprised that they have a fruit down as a snack. My dietitian told me to never have fruit by itself as a snack since it increases your sugar quickly, and then sends it crashing, making you more hungry.
As far as drinks, I mainly drink water.  I may have a diet green tea with dinner (Mixed Berry is my favorite), and I'll have a cup of coffee mid-morning.  I haven't given up my creamer, though!  I've pretty much given up diet cokes all together.

So, there you have it. I've lost 7 pounds so far; 30 more to go.  What is your diet/exercise routine?  Any suggestions for me are welcome!

6/18/2014

Summer Hodgepodge


1. Since you weren't Hodgepodging last Wednesday, how did you pass the time?
Just doing my summer routine that I started this summer. 

2. What's the first word that comes to mind when I say marriage? Yes, one word.
Love.

3. Summer officially arrives in the Northern hemishpere later this week. Does it feel like summer where you live? Describe your idea of the perfect summer day.
Not too hot, low humidity.  Just right for spending the day in the mountains and enjoying the fresh mountain air.

4. "Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."(Sam Keen) Is laziness ever respectable? Do you have a lazy summer planned, or something semi-ambitious?
I take this to mean that in the deep summer, it's just too hot and humid to be productive.  And, in that case, I think it's perfectly acceptable!
Since it feels like my summer is already half over, I've had a semi-ambitious summer so far:  I've read 10 books (I'll finish my 11th today), got a closet cleaned out, and got the house looking respectable again (for the most part).

5. Past or present, who's your favorite television dad? Why is he a favorite? Is he anything like your own dad?
Cliff Huxtable.  Funny, but no nonsense when he needed to be, and just a lot of fun.
He's not anything like my dad...my dad is a pretty serious man with a very dry sense of humor!

6. June 18th is International Picnic Day...share a favorite picnic memory.
In the summers, on Sundays (I think...I don't think it was on Sat., but it could have been), Mom & Dad would pack up the car & we would head for the mountains for a picnic and swimming in the cold mountain river.  We would find a place on the side of the road, pile out, and float in innertubes or just play in the water.  Good times.

7. The travel site Trip Advisor lists the top five islands in the world for 2014 as-Ambergris Caye in Belize CayesProvidenciales in Turks and CaicosBora Bora in French PolynesiaMarco Island Florida, and Lewis and Harris in The Outer Hebrides (Scotland). Have you been to any of these? Of those listed (and if price were not a factor) which would you most like to book for a holiday?
I've never been to any of them.  While the pictures from Bora Bora look amazing, I'll have to go with Lewis & Harris, because I'd really like to visit Scotland.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I've really made a HUGE effort the past 3 weeks to walk for 30 minutes every day, follow the diet that the dietician gave me 10 years ago (when I lost 50 pounds), and drink a lot of water.  In fact, except for a bottle of diet green tea every day, that's all I've been drinking...oh, and a cup of coffee in the morning.  I lost 5 pounds the first week, and nothing since.  Absolutely nothing.  I'm really starting to get discouraged.  I should have lost at least another 5 pounds.  I have to go back for blood work at the beginning of July, and she's going to check my thyroid levels.  I'm thinking that's got to be it, especially since I have some of the signs of an underactive one.  Getting old really sucks.
On a happier note, OS is coming home for a visit today!  A college friend of his is getting married this weekend, and he is part of the wedding party.  
A picture that he took yesterday:
Just in case you're wondering...that white stuff is snow.  It's hard to believe that he lives someplace where there's snow in June!
From his house:
It's supposed to be in the upper 80's - 90's while he's here, so he'll have a chance to thaw out!

6/16/2014

Mobile Weekend Wrap-Up

What a weekend!  CH & I left on Thursday to drive to Mobile, Alabama. The reason for the trip was to see my FIL receive an award (he actually got 2) from the Alabama Vietnam Veterans Association.  He received the Veteran of the Year for his post, as well as another award that I'm not sure of at this moment.

When we got to Mobile on Friday, we ate some lunch with my FIL; he had something to do after we ate, so CH & I drove out to Dauphin Island to check out a campground:

The campground was a lot less than what we were hoping for (we're looking for someplace to camp during Fall Break), but we did find a little piece of history there:

Not being from that area, I had never heard of "The Battle of Mobile Bay", but it was a pretty important battle during the Civil War.  Have you ever heard the phrase, "Damn the torpedoes...Full steam ahead"?  Admiral Farragut (I don't think he was an admiral at that time, though) said that during this battle.  Farragut was born not far from where I live...there is a town by that name where he was born.  The things you learn when you're not looking for it!

That night, we met a couple that are good friends of my BIL & SIL and ate seafood.  The sunset was really pretty...not "The Keys" pretty, but still pretty.

Saturday morning, there was a flag ceremony at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park .  There was also a 5K taking place, which was a little distracting hearing the guy talking over the loudspeaker as the ceremony was taken place, but I did hear him tell everybody about the Vietnam Vets being there.

On the grounds of the park, there is a Vietnam Memorial:


As well as a Korean Memorial:

We spent the day touring the USS Alabama:

A map of where she traveled:

The view from near the top of the ship:

We didn't go into the submarine (USS Drum):

That night was the dinner and award ceremony.  


Sunday was a long, uneventful drive home.  I read 2 books during the ride and started another, so that really helped to pass the time!
I was able to slide right back into my summer routine this morning, so I was pretty proud of myself!
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