Monthly Archives: December 2013

Week In Review~Christmas Catch-up and Recovery

So here we are on a Monday and I’m actually getting my Week In Review up and going on time! I’m pretty excited about this.  Be sure to check out the other reviewers over at Meghan’s party place, Clean Eats, Fast Feets.  Trust me, it’s worth it just to see what Meghan has to say on any given day.  So here we go!

As I’m sure it was for everyone, last week was pretty darned busy.

After totally procrastinating (read that to say that I had wrapped NOTHING!) I got to work on it.  I had felt really under the weather the previous week (still not sure why) when I Should have been wrapping so Monday was do or die.  I never even got out of my jammies.  I wrapped and wrapped until everything was finished, then I collapsed to get some more rest.  Christmas Eve was our big day and I needed to store up some energy.

Christmas Eve morning, we always go out to breakfast with Gail, Alice and Gail’s brother Ray.  Went to our favorite diner and forgot to take any photos!  Duh!  That faux pas will continue throughout the day!  We had a great time.  I was already missing them since they’d be leaving for Florida the coming Saturday.  I ate too much.

Lunch time found us out with Ralph’s daughter in law Heather, grandson Alex and grandson Patrick home from the Army.  We were very happy to see them all.  We Skyped with Ralph’s son Bill from the parking lot and I found out that I can Skype on my phone which made me very excited!!  I ate too much.

When 7 pm rolled around, we headed to my sister Ele’s house for our traditional Christmas Eve free for all where we open our presents.  Not as many bodies as usual, but we had a really great time.  I ate too much.

Wednesday, Christmas Day we slept in and I needed it.  Around 1 pm we headed to our new tradition, the recreation of the Chinese Restaurant scene from A Christmas Story.  It was great and we had a wonderful time.  I ate too much.

Thursday and Friday were designated as packing day for Gail’s trip to Florida.  I always offer to help but due to her broken arm, she needed a little more help.  We got a lot done Thursday, almost everything together, then on Friday, we packed the car.  It was not as bad as it might have been.  They don’t really need to take a lot since their condos down there are just like home.

Saturday the Girls left for Florida and I headed, a bit reluctantly to Weight Watchers. Part of my reluctance was the fact that I would miss Gail and Alice but also, I knew I had not been the best WW example throughout the week. I had a 1.6 gain which all told, was not so bad and actually better than I anticipated.  I was satisfied.

Speaking of WW, I wanted to share a photo of one of our members at our meeting.

Santa John


We call him Santa John.  He’s done a great job and just a few weeks ago he reached Lifetime status after losing 90 pounds!!  He had to get a new suit.  He is a sweetheart and in spite of his busy schedule, he visits us in costume every year.

After WW I picked up Ralph and we headed back to Ele’s to visit with another section of the family including Princess Colette.  We had great fun.  I ate too much.

Sunday I sort of crashed.  I planned to run errands but it was raining and I still didn’t feel great.  Since Ralph’s focus was on football all day, I went in a different direction.  At 5 am I started watching Law and Order.  That ran until 3 pm at which time I switched to Law and Order: SVU and watched that all evening.  I was a happy camper.

I want to share one more thing.  I forgot to do it last week and I want to share our Christmas card for this year.

Christmas Card 2013


We were pretty happy with it.  Just so you know, the symbol that Ralph used for the star is the Zia which is the symbol of New Mexico.

I hope everyone had as wonderful a Christmas as we did.  On to the New Year and all that we will discover!  Be sure to check out the other reviewers over at Meghan’s Clean Eats, Fast Feets.

Happy Monday!

Saturday Snapshot~December 28

It’s that happy time of the week again, the time for Saturday Snapshot. Christmas is over, I’m taking a deep breath and moving forward.  Be sure to check out all of the great photos that you’ll find for Saturday Snapshot over at Melinda’s blog West Metro Mommy Reads.  Thanks for being our hostess, Melinda!!



I haven’t been taking a lot of photos and I Will be getting into using my DSLR more in the New Year.  Once I figure out the whole resizing thing I’ll be all set.

I do have one pretty shot I took last Saturday morning on the way to Weight Watchers.



I miss the wide open spaces in New Mexico where I can get real shots of the sunrises and sunsets unencumbered by buildings and wires.  Hopefully this time next year I won’t be complaining because I’ll be there.  In the meantime, here’s a pretty one from in front of our house.

Happy Saturday Snapshot!!

No More Humbug~The Day After Christmas

I’ll say it before anyone else has the opportunity: I was a Humbug this year.  It doesn’t help to apologize. We all lived through it and in the end I did pull out some Christmas spirit.

Christmas Eve is really our busy day and except for eating Way too much I got through it.  I’ll give more detail on Monday in Week in Review but we had three food related events on Tuesday which had me at the far reaches of my Points after breakfast.  That was my own fault. Food wise it went down hill from there, but Christmas Spirit wise it went up.  That was actually more important.  I can handle the aftermath of the food.  I needed to pump up the Spirit and it improved greatly as the day and evening went on.

Christmas day is low-key for us.  Sleeping in was a good idea and Ralph and I both took advantage of that.  Dinner out with Ele and Jim was fun as always in our annual recreation of the Chinese restaurant scene from A Christmas Story.

chinese restaurant scene


It’s always fun and we go to a really great restaurant.  No smiling duck, Thank Goodness!

Now I’m looking toward all those projects that I set aside as I moped around prior to Christmas.  First I’ll be spending most of the next two days helping Gail and Alice pack up for Florida.  I’ll get Lots of exercise to help me work off everything I’ve eaten over the last two days.  Boy do I need it!

So this is me, facing the day with a positive attitude and a few thing circled in the sale papers.  I’m waffling (something I’m Very good at) over whether I should buy something or not.  We’ll see how that goes.

Happy Thursday!

Saturday Snapshot~December 21

We’re closing in on the last few days before Christmas.  I’ve had a tough time getting into the Spirit this year as I have for the last few years.  I finally succumbed to listening to the All Christmas Music radio station in my car which helped.  I also remembered that the music channels on our cable provider also has a Sounds of the Season channel.  That has helped and I’m listening to that as I type.  I’m getting there.

Saturday Snapshot is a great time to share little tidbits of life.  I like to use it to share things that make me happy.  This week’s certainly does.  Remember that Saturday Snapshot is graciously hostessed by the lovely Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads.  Be sure to check out what the other Snappers are sharing this week.  I’m sure they will help to bump up all of our Holiday spirits!


I’m sharing something that has been in my life for a very long time.  My sister, Ele currently has custody of it, but we’ve shared it over the years.  We were at Ele’s house for my nephew, Patrick’s birthday celebration on Thursday night.  As we were sitting there waiting for Patrick and his wife, Carrie to arrive, I suddenly realized what I needed to photograph.

I have no real idea how old he is.  I remember it being around when I was a child.  I remember rediscovering it at various points in my life in various basements.

Sleeping Santa


Say hello to Sleeping Santa.  I have no idea if that is his real name, but that’s what we’ve always called him.  Santa  is actually a bank!  There is a slot on the back of the chair.  We never put any coins in because there is no opening to retrieve the money and we would never think of breaking him open.  Santa was something that Grandmom and Grandpop probably found at an auction (they went to a lot of them when we were growing up) or he could be much older than that.  By the looks of him, I’d say he’s probably from the 30’s or 40’s before Ele and I were around.

I am so happy that he survived over these many years to brighten our Christmas on another year.  The only thing I know that I have that is probably older is a Christmas ball that had belonged to my Great-Grandmother.  I never met her and I think that is why Sleeping Santa is so special, because I knew Gram and Pop and loved them both so much.  I hope the sight of Sleeping Santa makes you smile the it does for me.

Be sure to check out all of the other photos over at West Metro Mommy Reads.  These folks are a great group!

Happy Almost Christmas Snapshot Saturday!

WIAW~Soup’s The Thing

Still trying to get my act together here and plugging along. But I can’t miss out on joining in with What I Ate Wednesday in spite of the hubbub.  Be sure to check out all of the fun over at Jenn’s wonderful Peas & Crayons.

What I Ate Wednesday: FALL into Good Habits

As my title would suggest, it’s all soup all the time around here lately.  One of my favorite things to do is to hang out at my stove cooking up lovely pots of soup.  Sometimes one of my crock pots subs in for the stove, but either way.  I love soup.  It makes me happy.

Last Friday I was raving about my new and incredibly easy black bean soup recipe.    It was So good that I whipped up another batch Monday (read that to mean that I already gobbled up the Other batch!!!)

BB soup in containers


Still doesn’t look very pretty, but I don’t care…it’s delicious!

I’ve been finding lots of great veggie recipes courtesy of Facebook.  There are lots of pages on there directed to veggie types such as myself.  I’ve been enjoying reading them and now trying some of them.

One of the ones I like the best is Veg Kitchen with Nava Atlas.  This is chock full of good veggie recipes.  I found one called Tomato, Lentil, and Barley Soup.  This was easy for me because I had most of the ingredients already.  I’ve been hanging on to that last little bit of barley Forever and there was just enough for this recipe.

It looked beautiful in the pot…

TLB Soup in pot


So colorful and it smelled so good.  I do think that it needed a little more seasoning.  I think I will at least doubled the Mrs. Dash the next time I make it and maybe add a few more spices along with that.

TLB soup in dish


I topped it with some shredded 2% cheese and I loved it.  I’ve eaten it two days in a row and I’m probably going for three! That’s one of the things I love about having soup in the fridge…there’s never the question, “What’s for dinner?”  I always know the answer…Soup!!  I’m going to do my best to keep at it with making soups.  They’re very filling and since I’ve been having the soup, I don’t feel so tempted to snack in the evening.  That’s always a plus.

Be sure to check out all of the fun going on over at Peas & Crayons.  We’re getting down to the wire around here with Christmas things so I’ve got to run!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!!

Tuesday Check in~Week In Review

So sorry that I had to miss out on Week In Review yesterday because I was experiencing computer issues.  As usual it was my friend, Alice to the rescue.  Seems to be up and running, just need to get some protection downloaded and I’ll be all good again.  Even though as my Gram would say, I’m a day late and a dollar short, I’m going to link to Week In Review anyway. Be sure to check out what everyone else posted over at the lovely Meghan’s Clean Eats, Fast Feets.

This won’t be a full review because as usual, I’m confused.

I was lamenting my lack of Christmas spirit.  I’m feeling much better about it now. One reason is we got our Christmas cards printed and I got them all out in the mail.  I will be sharing the card on here, but I like to wait until most people who’ll be getting them in the mail actually get them.  I don’t like to spoil the surprise.

I’ve still been spending time helping Gail through her broken arm.  She’s doing very well and will start physical therapy next week.  She can shower and dress herself now.  She’s so proud!

As far as shopping…there will be a lot of gift cards this year.  I’m only getting a few actual gifts and I really should get myself going if i’m going to get them in time.  I’m still struggling with having no ideas for anyone.  I always pull it out in the clinch but it’s making me crazy.  I’m trying hard to focus and get to it.

We had snow early in the week.  Fortunately, it was the kind that makes everything look pretty, but the roads were quite good in our area.  I did hear that there were some terrible accidents on some of the highways in the Philadelphia area.  Sadly those happen with or without snow.  I believe we had more snow overnight so I guess I’ll be clearing the car before I go anywhere today.

I did have food issues during the week and sadly on Saturday at Weight Watchers, the scale was not my friend.  I had a gain, but I’ve been working very hard since then to turn it all around.  I think I have my focus back and that’s important.

This isn’t a great week in review, but hey, next Monday is another day…and maybe I’ll actually show up on Monday!  Be sure to check out the other Reviewers over at Clean Eats, Fast Feets.

I’m off to make this a better week!!

Happy Tuesday!


Saturday Snapshot~December 14

I don’t know what the weather might hold for me on Saturday morning, but I do know that it involves Saturday Snapshot hostessed by Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads.


The past week has been crazy and I have no photos to share but I do have one that I love.  In recent years, Ralph has become the man in charge when it comes to carving the Thanksgiving turkey.  He’s always got a sharp knife and…well, he’s there!  I heard lots of giggling and laughter coming from the kitchen where he and my sister Ele were working while I set the table.  We’ve started to do the carving the night before which works well for us.  When I got to the kitchen, I was able to capture this shot.

Thanksgiving Ralph


I love this.  He looks happy and I’m pretty sure just before I got to the kitchen that he and Ele were sneaking snacks of the turkey.  It’s part of their routine.    See, he’s not just a terrific artist…he’s good in the kitchen, too.  This is one of my favorite photos in a long time.

Be sure to stop by at West Metro Mommy Reads to see what all of the other photographers have to share today.  Hope the weather is good wherever you are.  If not, be careful!

Happy Saturday!!

Strange But Good~It Started As Soup~December 13

Holy Cow! I’m writing this on Thursday in preparation for Friday’s Strange But Good and I just realized that tomorrow is Friday the 13th!  Yikes!  Not that I’m superstitous…just makes you think.

Anyway!  I love Strange But Good hostessed by the lovely Laura at Sprint 2 The Table.  I don’t participate as often as I’d like, but hey we do what we can. As I’ve said before, teaming up with the other Strange But Gooders makes  me feel not so strange. So Here Goes!

Sprint 2 the Table

I’m vegetarian…No news there.  My best friend Gail is also vegetarian.  She has a close personal relationship with WebMD.  Closer than she’d like.  She gets so many e-mails from them that if I were her, I’d be afraid they were stalking me.  She does find some really good and easy vegetarian recipes sometimes.  This one was one of the best and easiest.

Simply called Black Bean Soup it was so easy that in a hectic day when I planned all day to make it and then had many stumbling blocks, I still made it and it was done in short order. I had no cumin, tried Alice-she didn’t have any, tried Gail-she didn’t have any.  Resorted to going to the grocery store.  As I’m getting into the car, Ralph calls and says our Christmas cards are ready at the printer and I need to pick him up and we have to drive the 20 minutes to the printer.  We do, I come home and this soup sounded so easy I said what the heck, I’ll give it a try.

As with many things I seem to show on Strange But Good, it tastes better than it looks.  I feel the need to warn you of that.  This is not pretty food, but oh so tasty.

Prepared BB soup


See…as I said, it’s not pretty.  The recipe calls for putting it in the blender, but I’m not a fan of blended soups, I like texture.  I have an immersion blender, but I didn’t feel like getting it out and probably ending up covered in soup.  I got out my trusty potato masher and mashed away.  It worked very well.  Smashed things up just enough, thickened the soup.  Excellent.

But I felt it need to be a little more substantial to hold me for the evening so I quickly cooked up some quinoa.  Who can’t use a little added protein?

I put the soup over the quinoa and added some of my ever-present Romano cheese.  A little cheddar would have been more appropriate, but I work with what I’ve got.  Also didn’t add the sour cream or cilantro for the same reason.

BB soup over quinoa


Again, not pretty but so good.  The prep time says 30 minutes but I don’t think it even took that long.  You can have most of the ingredients in your pantry ready for when you want to make it.  Believe me, I will keep them on hand All The Time.  It could also be a good basis for other dishes.  I like that in a recipe.  Give this a try, it’s worth it!

Be sure to check out what the other strange people are sharing over at Sprint 2 The Table.  You never know what you’ll find!

Happy Friday!!

Week In Review~December 9

Time for another Week In Review as sponsored by the spritely Meghan at Clean Eats, Fast Feets.  I have to say that I really enjoy playing along with WIR even when I don’t feel as if anything has happened.  I think this is one of those weeks.

As I sit here in the wee hours of Sunday morning trying to review the past week, I’m thinking about the weeks ahead.  I think I’m going to pause things for a while.  Not blogging, Not Week In Reviewing.  Projects.  Sorting and Packing…all of this unearthing of my life around here.

I don’t have a lot of Christmas spirit.  That’s nothing new.  I haven’t had much in recent years. Not really sure why.  I seem to pull it out in the end each year but not with a lot of enthusiasm and I would almost let it pass by without much fanfare.  I do hope that some year soon I’ll get it back.  I try each year, but…The season will show up with or without me so I do try.

My week should probably have been filled with shopping and decorating and general Jingle Belling.  It was not.  I’m trying to rev myself up and I probably will get there.

I spent a lot of the week with my best friend, Gail trying to be helpful while she has a broken arm.  I must say that she is a very good patient and only occasionally pushy (“I think it’s Snack Time!)  We watched lots of Law and Order: SVU (our favorite) and generally enjoyed spending time together, solving the problems of the world (well at least Our problems.)

I had a pleasant weigh-in at Weight Watchers on Saturday.  I lost 1.2 pounds so I’m feeling better in that regard.  I’m getting back to my pre-vacation weight which I’m happy about.  Saturday afternoon, my sister Ele had a Christmas Tea for some ladies we know.  This was the table.

Christmas Tea


I’m proud to say that the only thing I had was the cup of tea you see in the foreground.  I did indulge a bit at home later in the evening with the goodie box that I brought home for Ralph.  But I savored everything at home when I could really enjoy it.  It was a lovely afternoon.

I’ll be going out this afternoon with Ele again and seeing some of the same ladies.  I’m looking forward to it.

I will be  working to get some more spirit in the coming week.  To prove that I’m not a complete Humbug, I offer this photo.

Tiny Tree


This is our tiny Christmas Tree.  Not a great photo, but I wanted the lights to show.   It makes me happy.  The tree skirt is a treasure that my Mom crocheted for me many years ago.  I will be working on the whole Christmas Spirit thing in the coming week.  I think I can do it!

Be sure to check out Clean Eats, Fast Feets and see what all of the other Reviewers have to share.

Happy Monday!

Saturday Snapshot~December 7

I am very excited about Saturday Snapshot today.  I have something really fun to share.  Be sure to check out all of the other photographers at West Metro Mommy Reads.  Thanks, Melinda for being our hostess!!



It’s very interesting living with an artist.  I never know when I’m going to find something special on my kitchen counter or sometimes even on my pillow.

This was found on the kitchen counter this week when I came home from visiting my friend who has a broken arm.  I was surprised but not Surprised.  This is the kind of thing I’ve come to expect from Ralph.

Santa Face


Yes, that is a hand drawn Santa face.  To allow you to get a real feel for how small it is, I offer this next photo.

Santa Face in hand


That’s  Santa in my hand.  I am thrilled, but I’ve come to expect amazing things from Ralph.

Be sure to visit West Metro Mommy Reads to see what other great photos are being ordered.

Happy Saturday Snapshot!!