Sunday, April 19, 2015

Simple Dinner - Bacon Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches

Sunday evening......

Clean house.  Grocery shopping done.  Dinner done and kitchen cleaned.  Windows open and the sheer curtains fluttering slightly in the breeze.  And here I am, curled up with Pepper in my lap, watching "Frequency" with Eddie Dale. 

It's been a nice weekend.  We had rain on Friday (well, some flash flooding, to be honest!) and again yesterday.  We went out to dinner last night with Bonnie & Matt and the kids, and some of their friends, to celebrate Matt's promotion.  Although he just opened the neighborhood market store in Merkel back in January, he has already been tapped to be general manager at a new store in San Angelo, that is about to be built.  We are so proud of the way he is scrambling right on up the management ladder and it was a fun evening!

After a day of housecleaning, I was craving something light and easy for supper.  Inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, I went on a search for the perfect recipe for Bacon Avocado Egg Salad.  I saw a photo, but there was no link back to a recipe.  I browsed a bit, finding several variations on the bacon/avocado/egg theme and culled the basic idea for this recipe.....

Bacon Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches

1 large, or 2 small, avocados - peeled and mashed 
Squeeze of lemon juice
4 large eggs, boiled and chopped 
1 Tbsp mayonnaise 
4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (I used black peppered bacon)

In a bowl, add a squeeze of lemon juice to the mashed avocado, to help prevent quick browning.  Gently stir in the chopped eggs, crumbled bacon and 1 Tbsp of mayo.  I used a bit of fresh ground black pepper and Mrs. Dash for seasoning.  

To build the ultimate sandwich - 

Toast sliced bread. Spread with a bit of mayo and plenty of the egg salad; top with sliced tomato and baby spinach.  

I simply cannot describe how scrumptious this concoction is!!!!

This meal is actually pretty healthy.  It is chocked full of protein and "healthy" fat; between the eggs and avocado, you simply don't need any meat with this meal.  And the ingredients are simple and almost always in my kitchen.

If you give it a try, let me know what you think!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and let's get the week off to a great start!!!





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wanting to do more than survive the routine....

Long time, no post!

I have to admit - the last seven months have mostly seen me in "survival mode".  Since returning to a full-time 9-5 job as the office manager and relocation coordinator at the real estate office where I spent four years as an active agent, I have had to make so many adjustments....

I went from being on call pretty much 24/7 to regular office hours.  Even though being a Realtor meant I could set my own hours, I was always at the mercy of others.  And, I felt like I was completely tethered to my phone or tablet all the time!  It could be so stressful and tiring, filled with ups and downs.  The income was great at some times, non-existent at others.  So, the offer from my broker to help him run the office was truly a blessing!  Now, I have a regular schedule every day and a steady paycheck every two weeks.  

However, there have been sacrifices.  I have lost a lot of the flexibility in my schedule.  After working 8 hours a day, I still have to keep up with things at home.  Cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping....it has to be fit in after work or on the weekends.  Some days, I am so tired after work that it's about all I can do to drop on the sofa after dinner and stay awake until dark so I can go crawl into bed.  I end up putting off a lot until the weekend.....

One thing I am learning to do is to keep one day on my precious weekend open just to have a little fun or relax.  That might be the day I get errands and shopping done; or take in Trayden's soccer game with Bonnie and the kids; or, maybe even just veg with Netflix or read a few more chapters of a book.  The other day is spent cleaning, catching up on laundry - in other words, working!  

While I am trucking along with the new routine, I do feel something is missing.  There's a part of me that wants to "create".  Whether it is writing or working on a project for the house, I enjoy "creating".

Finding the time to "create" is challenging, but something I realize is totally necessary.  So, it has to be a priority, at the top of my list.  Even if it is just potting new geraniums for the front porch, I need to find a way to fulfill my desire to make something....


Even if I pop over to the porch for a brief post - even one without photos - it is still a creative outlet.

So, bear with me if upcoming posts are not filled with decorating/home improvement projects or lots of photos.  I will try not to let the blog turn into a rambling online diary, but you never know....

For now, I am going to enjoy the warmer weather and the brilliant red of my new geraniums!

Back later.....




  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finishing February in a Freeze

The news for today......

It is cold.  Cold, gray and icy - just as it has been for several days now.  

As we slushed through the icy parking lot at the grocery store this afternoon, our breaths rising in little puffs, my husband reminded me that spring arrives in 21 days.

21 days.  

It can't come soon enough!  I've grown weary of the winter weather.  And it seems that we've had more than usual of the frozen wet stuff this year.  It all leaves me wanting a bit of warmth and sunshine......

Dreaming of tulips and green,freshly mowed grass...the smell of dirt freshly turned in the garden...the sun moving higher into the sky as the earth shifts towards summer.  

Perhaps a slight warming for a couple of days will thaw us out before another wave of cold sweeps down on us by mid-week.  

And, perhaps, this will be winter's final brutal assault on us for this season.....keeping my fingers crossed!  

Until later, stay warm and flourish!

    



Sunday, February 1, 2015

15 Minutes a Day in February....

January seemed to be a month of motivating organizational posts in the blogosphere!

I've been perusing organizational tips from a variety of sources - everything from decluttering the house for the new year to organizing cosmetics and getting my purse into some semblance of order.  And I have gleaned a few ideas to implement in 2015.  

But, mostly I've been drooling over the ever-so-lovely life planners from Erin Condren......



But, that's another post entirely!  So, back to the house.....

I don't just need to declutter.  I need to DECRAPIFY!!!  Yep, I'm in a "toss it out" kind of mood.  I don't know where the "crap" comes from, but I do know that it seems to breed and multiply once it arrives.  

One of the more manageable ideas I've come across (when I'm wasting time online rather than decrapifying like I should be) is the 15 minute theory of organization.  The concept is extremely simple: 

Spend 15 minutes a day organizing one small area of your home.  

Don't tackle a project that can't be accomplished in 15 minutes.  

Do it every day!

Sounds simple and doable for me!  The question is - will it actually make a difference???

Today, being the first day of February, seemed the perfect day to get started.  So, I tackled my sock drawer.  My sock drawer isn't large, but it was sure full of crap!  I swear, some of the socks I threw away were at least 12 years old...and hadn't been worn in at least 10!

I was ruthless - I chunked a ton of socks.  So many that I filled a large brown grocery sack!  And, I can't begin to tell you how satisfying it was to carry that bag to the dumpster and toss it in.  

It may seem like a small thing, but it was very motivational.  I enjoyed the feeling I gained in that 15 minutes so much that I am inspired to move forward with this tomorrow and tackle another 15 minute project.  

Perhaps that is the key to this project - the tasks are small and yet the rewards big enough to keep you moving forward.  

Do you have an organizational tip or method that works for you?  If so, I would love to hear about it.  Leave a message in the comments below and inspire me!!!

Now, back to wasting time online and dreaming about that life planner.....





Saturday, December 27, 2014

Keurig Convert....Perhaps???

Santa came to see me!  He did, he did!!

I know, it shocked the heck out of me, too!  I certainly wasn't expecting a visit from the jolly old man - much less a generous gift.  But, planted right there in front of the tree was a big ol' box containing a new Keurig 2.0.

Now, I didn't ask for any such thing.  In fact, I've had an ongoing love affair with a series of Black &
Decker and Mr. Coffee coffeemakers over the last five years since I took up coffee drinking.  (They never do seem to last more than a couple of years, have you noticed???)  But, there is something very satisfying about filling the carafe, pouring the water in slowly, setting the paper filter just right and scooping in the coffee grounds.....then listening to the sputtering contraption as it pours forth the 'nectar of the gods'.  Besides, those little K-cups are a bit pricey.......and I am the woman who rarely splurges for Starbucks unless I have a gift card!

But, as dusk fell on Christmas Day, I tackled the task of rearranging kitchen counter tops and finding a home for this beast of a coffee making machine.  I brewed the initial cup of hot water.  Then, I popped in a pod of coffee and watched the steady stream of blessed caffeine fall into a way-too-large cup.  I added some hazelnut creamer and thoroughly enjoyed my first cup of Keurig brewed coffee!


Although I love the convenience of having a single cup of mighty hot and tasty coffee ready in moments, I am hesitant to pack away my old Mr. Coffee.  I found a spot for it on a lower shelf, right there, steps from the new Keurig.....just in case I need to brew a pot rather than a cup.  Just for old times' sake......just because I am having a bit of apprehension and separation anxiety......just because I love the smell of it and am not quite ready to let it go.  

Having said that, I am ever so thankful for my new Keurig.  Santa (a/k/a Eddie Dale) done good, real good!  I only wish he was a coffee drinker and could enjoy a cup with me, but he can't stand the taste of the stuff.  So, this was truly a gift just for me - a very generous gift!  

Thanks, Santa Baby, from your forever sweetheart.....

Jane 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

It's a Wrap - Christmas, 2014

Christmas Day, 2014 - about to go into the history books, as it is already 10:37 pm.

But, it will go down as a terrific one!  

Our big family celebration was last night, on Christmas Eve.  As any empty nester knows, once your kids are grown and married, with families of their own, you must start sharing them with the "in-laws".  So, after attending Christmas Eve worship service, Eddie Dale and I came home to finish preparing a non-traditional TexMex dinner.  It was a fun, rather chaotic, affair here in our small and cozy cottage.  But, I wouldn't have traded it for anything!  

We stayed up late, watching "A Christmas Story" and slept in this morning.  Today was pretty low key, with a simple midday meal and plenty of time spent dozing in front of the final holiday movies on the TV.  

And, now I am sitting in Eddie Dale's recliner, Pepper snoring loudly beside me and the hubby snoring loudly in the bedroom a few feet away, watching "Julie & Julia" for about the 28th time.......

And plotting my approach for taking down and packing away all the Christmas decor tomorrow!  

I usually take everything down pretty quickly after the holiday.  My plan to get started first thing in the a.m. is intensified because an entire section of our pre-lit Christmas tree has apparently "gone out" this evening.  Being slightly OCD, this is troubling me greatly......

(A different section was not working when I dragged the tree in and started to decorate all those many weeks ago, which necessitated spending about an hour removing the pre-strung lights - stupid little plastic clips and all - and restringing it with more clear lights.  Trust me, it was frustrating and exhausting - and I only went to the trouble because it was sleeting outside that day and I was really feeling too strapped for cash to shell out money for a new tree when this one was only three years old!)

Anyway, my philosophy on un-decorating is pretty much like my philosophy on removing a band-aid - just rip it off as fast as possible!

Now that Christmas is over and done, I must admit I am ready for our home to return to "normal".  In fact, I am actually looking forward to dusting the surfaces of my furniture currently buried under layers of garlands, lights, snow globes and candlesticks - and, of course, a nice thick layer of dust!  

Before I go to bed and fall asleep to dream of the fresh and pristine place that our home will be by this time tomorrow evening, I will leave you with my favorite photo of our tree this year - by far, one of my favorite trees that has come together over the years.  This was taken last night after everybody arrived with their presents to exchange - and it is looking pretty apparent to me that the middle section of the tiny white lights was dead last night.....but, it's still pretty, don't you think?


Hoping you had a most wonderful and memorable Christmas, too!  

See you back here soon for another visit on the porch....

Jane


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Magnolia Fall Gathering

Before looking forward to Christmas - and all the magic it entails - I want to take a quick look back at one of the highlights of my Fall....

I was so fortunate to be invited to attend Magnolia's first ever Fall Gathering and Workshop! 

One of my sweet friends at work, Belinda, was lucky enough to snag two tickets to the event in Waco.  Since we are such huge fans of HGTV's hit show, FIXER UPPER, she asked me to tag along with her on an overnight trip to Waco.  

Have you discovered this program yet?  Chip and Joanna Gaines are an adorable couple in Waco, fixing up the most neglected homes in old neighborhoods and breathing new life into them!

We made the 2-1/2 hour drive in a state of giddiness, barely able to contain our excitement.  We checked into our room at the Hilton and were greeted with goody bags from Magnolia, including an old-fashioned bottle of Dublin Dr. Pepper, a delicious homemade cookie and lots of notes about some of Joanna's favorite hometown spots to visit, including coupons.  

After a quick "freshen up", we set out on foot to walk the three blocks to venue, the Phoenix Ballroom, a renovated brick structure right beside the train tracks. 


There, we joined 600 other fans in one of the friendliest lines I've ever witnessed.  We met lots of other women, from all over, who had made the journey into town just for the evening.  


While we waited in the mild evening air, Chip came out for photo opportunities......




And, finally, the doors opened and we were ushered inside the meeting hall.  The tables were lovely! 




There was a small stage set up and Joanna had staff in place to organize her greeting with each guest.  They even took photos with our phones for us as we posed with her! 


Then, it was time to eat....and it was just the sort of fare you would expect!  Tomato bisque with crispy croutons, homemade macaroni & cheese and tasty roasted pork sliders with a variety of chutneys and salsas.  There were delicious specialty cupcakes for dessert and freshly brewed pumpkin spice coffee.  We ate before the program....and again afterwards.  They made sure we got our fill!!!


Joanna shared their story and gave some terrific tips on entertaining simply in our homes.  We had the opportunity to make some table setting accessories of our own, using natural elements and materials that were supplied at each table.    


Each attendee received a bag of swag - a Magnolia tote bag filled with goodies to use at home.  

The next morning we got up and went shopping.  We found a great place to browse for just about anything under the sun, right across the street from our hotel!  


Even the ladies' room was decorated in this place......I couldn't resist snapping a photo! 


Of course, we went to Magnolia and bought some goodies!!!


We also took in Harp Design Studio.  For those of you who follow the show, Clint Harp is Joanna's carpenter, who creates many of her signature wood items.  He and his wife bought a home that was renovated in season one.  We had the pleasure of visiting with them at length in the showroom at their shop, right next door to the house that was the star of the show.  


We arrived back home with lots of great ideas to implement some of Joanna's ideas into our own homes and lots of wonderful memories.  And, to top it all off, I even heard from Joanna when I posted on Instagram about our trip to Magnolia.....


How do you like that?!?!?  I'm a fan for life!!!

Many thanks to Belinda for including me on this grand adventure!  You are such a blessing to me, dear friend! 

Blessings, friends.....



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