One Worn Out YaYa!

I barely had time to recuperate from my trip to Cleveland and then I was "On the Road Again" to visit yet another grandchild!  Robby and I headed south to New Orleans to see Baby Beckett who would be turning 3 weeks old on Friday.  I was still feeling pretty rough and suspected that it was this ornery thyroid that was the culprit.  On my last check-up, the doctor upped my dosage of Synthroid because my TSH had gone up; not too high but he still wanted it to be lower.  Anyway, it is funny how I can always tell something is wrong with my TSH simply by the way I "feel".  Robby says I'm just one of those people who are super in touch with their bodies and can tell when any little thing is off.  Well, I decided to go have a blood test done before it was time for my follow-up appointment the day before we were to leave for New Orleans.  In the meantime, Parker Ann came for a visit and we went to the "Big Library" near my house...
This child loves books more than any child her age that I have ever seen!  She will actually sit and listen to you read the entire book and interact with you about the story.

And computers?  She most likely knows more about technology than I do!  She waited very patiently for her turn to get on the kiddie computer.

By the time I got home, I had the results to my blood work:  My TSH level had dropped to way below normal (ugh...); I was put on a lower dosage of medication that day.  For those of you who are not familiar with Synthroid, the bad thing about it is the fact that it does not work quickly.  It would take about 2 weeks for me to get straightened out (sigh...).  Oh well, we were headed south anyway!

We went to David and Codi's apartment as soon as we arrived; I couldn't WAIT to get my hands on my sweet new grandson...
                                Daddy went to work and Poppi and YaYa showed up to play each day!
                                        I love this photo of Robby and Beckett...Pure Love!
Of course, we had to make a trip to Babies R Us to buy "something".  That's what grandparents do, isn't it?

While we were there, Caitlin called to say that Holli was sick with a tummy bug...
                                                               My poor little Baby Luv...


But by the next day, she was feeling MUCH better!  She and Beckett even had a Face Time Date (What would we DO without Face Time?!)
Back to her normal cheerful self!  Yes, that is long sleeves you see her in; can you believe it is 68 degrees there?!
                                               Gotta LOVE that wild hair going on there!

We did get out while we were there but I still was not feeling well so I didn't snap any awesome pictures of New Orleans (I know...How COULD I not??  Sorry...).  We left for home on Monday morning and got back by noon.  After eating some lunch I got on my bed with a book I've been reading and before you know it, I had fallen asleep (I never nap...)!  When I woke up, it was over 2 hours later!  And THEN...I had to deal with this MOUNTAIN of clothes (ugh...).
             How bad do YOU hate doing laundry?  I'm sure it's not as bad as I do (sigh...).

Well, I will rest for a few days and then they will begin to come in to see ME this time!  Beckett and Parker Ann will be here this weekend and Holli will arrive in early August.  Ahhh...the life of a YAYA.  One worn out YaYa right now, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!


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Feelin' "Rode Hard and Put Away Wet"...

We have a lot of sayings here in the deep south.  For instance,when referring to a dishonest person you might hear, "He's as crooked as a barrel of snakes".  Well, the saying that best describes what I've been feeling for the past couple of days is, "I feel like I've been rode hard and put away wet".  Derived from a reference to the days when people used horses for transportation, rode them hard to their destination and then did not take the time to groom the animal before putting them away in their stall.  So, as you can see...I've been feeling pretty rough due to my travel delays, cancellations and jet lag.

I hated having to leave Caitlin and Holli in Cleveland but I had to.  And so I got up at 4:45 on Friday morning, grabbed a banana and a cup of coffee and the girls and I headed out to the airport arriving there at 6 a.m.  I knew from experience that I needed to get there really early because the security line at the Cleveland airport tends to be REALLY LONG.  I checked myself in quickly, deposited my luggage in the proper place and got in that REALLY LONG LINE.  It wasn't until I got through security that I remembered seeing something during my check-in; it appeared my first flight of the day was already delayed (sigh...).  I thought, "How could things possibly go wrong in the 'flying world' so early in the morning?"
                                   Snuggling with Baby Holli before heading to the airport...

I grabbed another cup of coffee and walked over to my gate to check out my flight status.  The lady told me that my flight was being cancelled because of a mechanical problem and she was going to send me from American Airlines over to United to get on another flight there...that would take me through New York before getting to Dallas (double sigh...).  I got on that flight and made it to my gate, noticing that I would only have 45 minutes before my next plane would take off.  I assumed I would have to put my running shoes on to get there but I had NO IDEA what all that would entail...

Looking around, I could not find a screen that had my flight information on it.  I asked an employee if she could help me and she pointed me in the direction of the exit.  Standing by the exit was a security guard and she asked me where I was going (Back to the American the terminal...) and how long I had to get there (45 minutes and counting...).  She sent me out of the secured area and down to the entire other end of the airport.  As I was watching the time and walking as quickly as possible it hit me..."I'm going to have to go BACK through security"!  Can you say PANIC MODE?!
Well, I literally RAN to my gate after finally getting through security again, caught my breath and settled down for my flight back to the south.  I read and dozed on the flight and thankfully rested a little bit because I had no idea what the rest of the day had in store for me.

I arrived in Dallas, smiling for a couple of reasons:  1.  I was back in my beloved south and 2.  I had a 2 1/2 hour lay over there and planned on spending some quiet time in The Admiral's Club reading and sipping cappuccino.  Since my gate was only three gates down from The Admiral's Club, I checked the status of the gate more than once before it was time for me to be there.  Leaving there in plenty of time to board my plane, I grabbed a snack, settled back down with my book and that's when it happened...all heck broke loose in my finally serene afternoon (ugh...).

The announcement came that our flight was being delayed for about an hour .  OK...I could wait for an hour; that would still put me home at a decent time.  And then suddenly another announcement quickly came...the flight was being cancelled (well, crap...).  I noticed that it was beginning to storm outside as I ran back down to The Admiral's Club to see if they could get me on another flight out of there (hadn't I just done this the other night?!).  They said I could not get a ticket back to Alexandria until the next morning.  At this point I dug my heels in and decided I HAD to get home tonight!  I asked how close to Alexandria they could get me...Shreveport possibly?  They could get me to Shreveport.  I called Justin to see if somebody could pick me up there and he said that Sarah was already there and could definitely pick me up.  I grabbed my ticket and ran to the Sky Link...only to find that because of the bad weather the Sky Link had been shut down (NOOOOOO!!!!!!).

If you have ever been in the DFW airport then you realize that it is HUGE and therefore riding the Sky Link is a NECESSITY!  Could this day get any worse??  I just wanted to get home.  And I was beginning to believe what a friend of mine told me..."You've just got some real bad travel mojo".  And so my trek by foot through terminal B and all the way through terminal D began.  I might want to mention that I was carrying a purse AND backpack, which held my laptop among other things.  By the time I got to gate 40 in terminal D...heading to gate 6, it hit me.  I wasn't going to make it.  If my flight left in the 45 minutes I had to get there when I left the Admiral's Club, I simply was not going to make it.  I wondered if anyone would look at me as if I was nuts if I just sat down in the middle of the floor and began to cry.  I trudged on, talking to myself aloud as I did so (OK...so, they probably already thought I was nuts...).  My back was killing me...I could tell I was getting shin splints and I was hungry, thirsty and exhausted.  I missed traveling with my hubby.  He always takes care of EVERYTHING for me.  This doing things by myself was for the birds.

I DID make it to my gate, however, that plane had been delayed by an hour now because of the weather, but it WAS on the ground and planning to take off.  I sat down, caught my breath and dreamed of getting back to my house and bed at some point that night.  The flight to Shreveport took about 50 minutes and Sarah and Parker Ann were waiting for me at the airport.  I jumped into the car with them and we headed to Natchitoches (an hour away...).  I would take one of their vehicles when I got there and drive myself the remaining 45 minutes to my house.

Justin gave me the keys to his truck and I headed out toward home...finally.  Only 45 minutes until I was home.  I could barely wait.  And THEN, while traveling down I 49, I glanced down at a flashing light to discover that it was the low fuel light!  REALLY?!  For the third time that day I wanted to just cry my eyes out...and I don't cry that easily.  It was dark, beginning to rain and I was out in the middle of the highway with a low fuel light flashing.  Thankfully, I found an exit that had a gas station, put some fuel in and made it home...at 9:30 instead of 5:30.  I literally put my pajamas on, fell into bed and passed out.  

Needless to say, I slept in on Saturday morning, rested, drank water and ate lots of veggies in hopes of warding off jet lag.  At the end of the day I still felt sluggish.  I'm going to say it was jet lag and my age had NOTHING to do with it.  Robby flew in that night from Honduras and I picked him up at 10 p.m.  We were both back home and I was happy.  Yes, I was already missing Caitlin and Holli but they would be here visiting soon.   And for a few days I intended to stay home...just a few days.  Once again I will say, Dorothy WAS right..."There (really) IS no place like HOME!"












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Cooking Up Some MORE Pinterest Recipes!

I stayed true to my mission to keep cooking those pinned Pinterest recipes even while here in Cleveland.  Here are the ones I tried this week and my thoughts on them...

One of the two entrees I tried was a "Crock Pot Chicken Terriyaki".

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound of chicken sliced or cubed
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Terriyaki or Soy Sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 minced garlic cloves

Cut the chicken up and place it in the crock pot.  Mix the other ingredients together and pour on top of the chicken.  Set your crock pot on high and cook for 6-8 hours.  Whisk a little corn starch with hot water and pour over chicken mixture at the end of cook time to thicken up.  Serve over rice.


MY THOUGHTS:
Really good and simple dish to make, especially when you know you have a busy day coming up and need to have dinner ready when you get home.  If you decide to add broccoli and mushrooms to this dish, use fresh ingredients AND add them at the end so they won't cook apart.

The other entree' that I tried this week was actually found on Facebook; "Chicken Crescent Rolls"

INGREDIENTS:
2 cans of low fat refrigerator crescents
1 can of healthy low sodium cream of chicken soup(26oz)
1 cup fat free cheddar cheese
2 boneless skinless chicken breast

I boil my chicken breast then shred, roll out each individual crescent, place about a Tbsp of shredded chicken in center and roll it up.

Bake on 350 for about 5 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Pour Cream of chicken over the top bake an additional 10 min top with cheddar cheese and bake for 10 more minutes.



MY THOUGHTS:
This recipe was really good and super easy!  I would definitely recommend it.  Just watch those crescent rolls closely.  It took mine longer to brown and I had to flip them over once.

My FAVORITE recipe of the week, though,  was the "Baked S'Mores"! 

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 king-sized milk chocolate bars
1 and 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg, and vanilla together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into butter mixture. Press half of dough into a greased 9×9 pan. Set chocolate bars on top. Spread marshmallow fluff over chocolate and top with remaining dough.


MY THOUGHTS:
OH MY GOODNESS!  This dessert is DELICIOUS!!!  Make sure when you put the remaining dough on top, you press pieces of it it down flat with your hands first and then and lay it on top.  The marshmallow fluff will ooze up through this dessert and like the recipe says, "When was ozzing marshmallow ever a problems?!"

And so that's it for this week's Pinterest/Facebook recipe experiment...I can't WAIT to try some more out next week!!!






 

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Visiting "Baby Luv"

Robby had his trip to Honduras planned for quite some time before I decided to book my plane ticket to Cleveland.  Oh, I wanted to go visit Caitlin and sweet "Baby Luv" (The name I have picked up for Holli...) but I just procrastinated telling myself that there was a lot I needed to catch up on at home during that week he was gone.  Well, actually, there WAS a lot I needed to do, however, in the end my desire to see my daughter and grand-daughter won out...And here I am now, in Cleveland!

Caitlin has moved since I was last here.  She was living in a two-bedroom apartment which was a little cramped, to say the least.   While I was here, the search was on for a rent house with more room, a yard for Holli to play in and sidewalks to stroll on.  They found just that place right before I left, put a deposit on it and moved in the week after Ryan and Allison's wedding.  I was anxious to see the house and help Caitlin do a little decorating.

Getting here was a horse of a whole different color though.  You know me and flying.  Since Robby was leaving really early for the airport on the same day that I was, I decided I didn't want to rush and would just take the later flight out.  After all, I would still get there by 5:30 that evening; in plenty of time for dinner.  Well, the airlines had another plan in store for me that day...

As I was waiting for my plane, the lady behind the counter announced that they were having some mechanical difficulties and would let us know more in 30 minutes.  Hmmm...OK; 30 minutes wasn't that bad.  And then in 30 minutes she got on her mic and announced that it would be 30 more minutes.  After the third announcement of the same I knew that this was not good (sigh...).  At the end of a two hour period of those same announcements, we were told our flight was being cancelled...

I could hear the lady saying that there were still some seats out there on other flights to Cleveland, but before she even got all of the words out of her mouth, I found myself in a line behind about fifty people at the counter to get one of those seats!  The next announcement let us know that only one person would be working that counter and we could go to another ticket counter or call a number to get another flight (ugh...).  I almost panicked for a minute because Robby always handles this stuff; I didn't even know his AA number.  And then I had a thought...I would take a chance and RUN (OK...walk VERY quickly...) down to the Admiral's Club and see if THEY could get me outta that airport! (Visions of Tom Hanks in "The Terminal" and my overnight stint in that Costa Rican airport ran rampant in my mind...).

At first I didn't they they would be able to get me out that night, telling me that the automated system had already booked me a ticket for the next morning.  I insisted they TRY since the lady at the counter said there were flights out there...I would take ANY option at this point to get there.  I was eventually issued a ticket for a seat on the direct flight out of there at 7:55 p.m.  By that point I had been sitting at the airport for EIGHT HOURS!   I arrived just a little after midnight and by the time I had my luggage in my hand and got in bed, it was 1:30 (Yawn...).

Caitlin let me sleep in the next morning and as we drank our morning coffee and ate our breakfast, I FINALLY  got to hold my sweet "BABY LUV"!!!
 Crazy airport lay-over and traveling over 1,200 miles...SO WORTH IT to get to kiss these chubby little cheeks! (P.S. Being a YaYa FILLS ME UP!)







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My Back Yard Renovation...It's FINALLY Starting To Shape Up!

 Well, my back yard renovation project continues.  It has been going on for the entire summer now and we have lived through dirt, mud and concrete...but I can FINALLY see things beginning to shape up and THAT makes me SMILE!

With a husband in the construction industry I have learned to not let the little things bother me about a construction job.  Things are pretty messy.  And they almost never get finished by the expected date.  But OH, how I LOVE to see a project come together.

Not only is the outer construction of the pool house up...WE GOT GRASS THIS PAST WEEK!
I know, I'm a little excited over the grass, but that means no more dirt and mud getting tracked into my house (BIG smile here...).

Here are a few photos of the progress...
                                                   Don't you just LOVE that copper roof?!
When I came home to find all of these pallets of grass in my yard, I almost physically JUMPED FOR JOY!
And once the grass began to go down, all I could do was just sit out there that evening and look at it.





While I am in Ohio this week visiting Caitlin, Kevin and Holli, I am told the framing will be completed and hopefully ready for sheet rock...and the brick layers!  AND...flowers and trees will go in.  I cannot WAIT to drive back up and rush out there to see what has been done when I get home!

I can just envision it now...sitting on the porch in the evenings after a swim.  Watching football games inside.  Sitting by the fire in the fall...Ahhh the anticipation of good things to come.

But in the meantime, Clementine and I are happy to drag one of the old chairs up, grab a good book and sit out by the pool anyway...








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OH, The Things You Can Make With Fresh Corn: A Pinterest Recipe and Southwestern Pizza!

I have decided.  "Why just keep pinning all of these great Pinterest ideas and never try them out?"  And so a couple of weeks ago, I started experimenting with some of the recipes I have collected.  Today I will share another one that I tried AND a favorite recipe of my own...that YOU might like to try!

First, let me say...I LOVE CORN!!!  It is one of my favorite produce items of summer.  I pass cornfields on my way home each day and, although, I try not to indulge too much due to the sugar content it has, I just MUST have it every now and then.  And so, when I found this Pinterest recipe, I just HAD to not only pin it but make it as well.

PARMESAN CILANTRO CORN

Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (approx 6 large ears) (I used 4 cups of frozen corn)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter
  2. When butter is foamy add the garlic and corn, stirring to coat with the butter
  3. Cook stirring frequently for 2 minutes
  4. Add lime juice, cumin, and cayenne pepper and cook for 2 minutes more
  5. Stir in cheese, and then add heavy cream
  6. Continue to stir so corn won’t stick to pan
  7. Add salt and pepper
  8. Cook corn until most all of the cream has absorbed about 5 minutes more
  9. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and serve hot
This recipe linked to www.realhousemoms.com, where they have LOTS of yummy recipes I intend to try out.  This Pinterest find was a "Double Good Find"since I got a delicious new recipe AND a new web-site to visit for MORE good recipes!


On My next next yummy recipe I want to share with you,  I also chose to use FRESH CORN! (I told you I'm crazy about corn...).  I decided to make a home made Whole Wheat Southwestern Pizza.

I always try to stay with healthy choices...even when preparing pizza.  One of the things I do is to limit my intake of processed foods, therefore, I make my pizza crust from scratch.  And hey...It's not that difficult (this coming from a girl who doesn't call herself proficient in the kitchen...).  I'm going to share with you the steps it takes to create your own home made pizza...
 I like to start with gathering all of my fresh ingredients:  corn, tomatoes, avocados, onions, black olives, pesto, mozzarella cheese and my pizza yeast packet.

The first thing I do is to make the dough for my crust so it can sit and rest while I am preparing all of the other ingredients to add to the pizza.  Also, preheat your oven to the highest temperature setting, having your pizza stone in there heating up as well.
  To make the crust, I use the recipe provided on the back of the Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast:

INGREDIENTS:  1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat flour)
                              1 envelope Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast
                              1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
                              3/4 teaspoon salt
                              2/3 cups very warm water
                              3 Tablespoons oil
 I prepare it as directed and then mix this in my mixer until the dough sticks together and forms a ball.  Sometimes you might have to add a little more water or flour depending on how the dough sticks together.

While the dough is resting, I then begin to slice my veggies up...
Here is a really neat way to zip that fresh corn off of the cob.  Place a small bowl inside a larger bowl.  Hold the corn on the smaller bowl and as you zip it off of the cob it will fall into the larger bowl.

By the time you have all of your ingredients prepared your dough should be ready to roll out...
    Dust your surface with some flour and use a rolling pin to start forming your pizza crust.
Just continue to turn the dough as you roll it until you get it the desired size and thickness.  If it is a thin crust, you might have to trim it to fit your pizza stone.
Place your crust on a wooden pizza paddle.  Sprinkle it with a little cornmeal to keep the crust from sticking.  Now, poke a few little fork indentations in the crust before you begin placing the ingredients on it.  If I am baking this pizza in my oven, I like to stick it in there for just a couple of seconds and then take it out and add the ingredients.  However, this time, I was cooking the pizza on my Green Egg which gets to 1,000 degrees so I didn't stick it in there first.

 I like to use pesto for the sauce on my crust but you can use a tomato based sauce or anything else you would like to try...Be Creative!
                                                          Next, the fresh corn goes on...
                                                          Followed by the sliced onions...
                                                                           Avocados...
                                                               Some black olives...
                                                                    Mozzarella Cheese...
    And I like to put my tomatoes on top of the cheese so they won't make the crust soggy.
Place your pizza in the oven and watch it carefully because it only takes about 6 minutes to cook (less on the Green Egg...).   The cheese should be nice and bubbly and the crust brown.
            YUM!  There's nothing better than a home made pizza with fresh summer produce!












  






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