Friday coffee er Lunch ’15-6

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I think they like Jesus. There were more stickers on both back panels

Why hello there, thank for meeting me for lunch, my other plans got changed for an afternoon meeting. How are you today? Are you having a good week? Ours wasn’t super awesome, but it’s almost over and we’ve survived this far. Just a few more hours and tomorrow’s swim lessons and we’re out of here!

At least I am, I don’t know if Frank is staying or just dropping me off. I have to pick up my car from Momma’s house because I was driving hers while we had Brodsmontana.

Any big plans this weekend? I have some but can’t share them just yet. It’s a surprise! I am headed to Oneonta though to help put in floors at Mehmere’s old house so it can be rented for a bit until they’re ready to sell.

I also have to get ready to go to FL. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to getting a break and to be the hell out of dodge for a bit. I’m feeling antsy, stuck and we all know that’s never a good thing. I think I’m just sick of the weather. I know, I know, I live in Upstate fricken NY so I should be used to it! Normally, I’m okay I really am,  but this winter seems to be a little rougher than usual. Maybe it’s added pressures? Maybe it’s just the winter blah? Or the fact that I just haven’t felt well for a good chunk of time now? Don’t know. I do know that some sunshine, happy faces and my beloved Daytona Flea market are sounding pretty good about now.

What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

 

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Reading more: Saving Grace by Jane Green

book squareSaving Grace by Jane Green was made available to me by the publisher at no charge to me through NetGalley. The opinions are my own. You can see other books I’ve reviewed here.

I realized that I have a bunch of reviews started but not finished so I’m going to start posting them once a week. If you don’t like them, I invite you to go check out fun things here or find me an awesome Listverse post.

Although I was excited to be reading so much again for a bit, I hit a book slump again and haven’t been reading as much as I’d like lately. It turns out there’s only so many hours in a day. Go figure.

One I recently finished was Saving Grace, by Jane Green. She’s not one of my favorite authors (too chick lit for me) but I have enjoyed a couple of her books.

From Amazon:

Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue.  To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity.  With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.

This was one of those books that although it was engaging and moved quickly, it wasn’t all that great in my mind. I like twists and turns, not a plot I’ve seen in Lifetime movies time and again. There were times I just wanted to scream at Grace and tell her to open her eyes and get help. I grew frustrated with her and the plot line when she didn’t get help sooner.

I did like the recipes included in the book and might try them one day.

Is this a book you’d like to read? I think I’ve decided I like a little more fantasy or weirdness to my books.

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Good things 2015: Week #11

NSSP Bohemian Wrap

NotSoSweetPea sporting her Christmas gift.
I was asked to make another for a friend
because damn it, winter isn’t over yet

It’s important to remember the things that are good in life. It reminds me how blessed I really am and also helps to ease the sting of the bad. I’m incredibly lucky, there’s more good than bad (Knockonwood!) and I want to document how thankful I am for it.

Here we go (in no particular order of importance or timing):

  • Decent first run to start getting back into it even if my tush is a wee bit sore.  (I’m doing Couch to 5K and I started with the end of Week 2 because the first few days don’t seem to do much for me.)
  • A kiddo at the pool “swimming” underwater. (She was really just trying to kick with her face in the water, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.)
  • Supper with D’Lovely and her crew and smooshie hugs from Em and O.
  • My Board of Director understanding that the tech mishap wasn’t my doing and thinking I’m doing a great job.
  • A photo from Brody
  • Lunch with Sue between pool shifts
  • Mental hugs from afar.
  • Advil, Excedrine Migraine, and Zyrtec with a Coke to make my head less hurty.
  • Friends helping each other out
  • Dinner being ready when I get home from a long day and night at the pool.
  • Frank
  • Netflix to keep me company while I can’t sleep and/or don’t feel well. (Currently watching Leverage.)
  • News of babies, new jobs, milestones, and other great things for friends.
  • Alex Minsky‘s abs.

How have you been? What made you smile? Tell me about one of your successes?

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Good things 2015: Week #9-10

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Wake up Aunt Court! The sun is out it’s time to play.
It’s a good thing he’s cute.

It’s important to remember the things that are good in life. It reminds me how blessed I really am and also helps to ease the sting of the bad. I’m incredibly lucky, there’s more good than bad (Knockonwood!) and I want to document how thankful I am for it.

Things got a little busy and

Here we go (in no particular order of importance or timing):

  • Warmer temperatures
  • Dinner with my dad, bro and Frank (and Brody)
  • My pants being just a tiny bit looser.
  • Leaving the pool when it’s light out
  • Gluten free chicken wings
  • Googleable hex codes for colors I want.
  • Tiring Brody out a the doggie park
  • Booking a ticket to fly south for a get away
  • Being able to help a friend
  • A decent enough start to swimming lessons for this session
  • Corned beef, potatoes and carrots in the crock pot one day and chicken soup in the crock pot another day.
  • Unexpected snail mail
  • Picking up friends at the airport
  • Pancakes
  • My bro thinking we did a good job with Brody.

How have you been? What made you smile? Tell me about one of your successes?

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Friday Coffee Date ’15-5

Why hello there. How are you today? What’s in your cup? I just have warm lemon water at the moment, but you best bet that in a bit there’s going to be some coffee today with some almond/coconut milk and 2 sugars. I might even mix in some hot chocolate for good measure. It’s Friday, let’s go wild.

Not too wild, I might have to be at the pool for a 7am shift and those days of wild late nights and early mornings on deck are over. Heck with the sleep I’ve been able to grab lately, even late nights are gone. I think I was asleep last night by midnight!

I also went to an Ayurveda talk last night and it was interesting. My take away is that it’s about balance – finding it and keeping it so your world is “right”. We know I could use a little more balance. I’m better that I used to be, but not as good as I could be.  (There’s also a whole bunch of traditional medicine, but last night we really only talked about the basics and how they apply to ourselves.) I might write about it in the coming days.

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My bro and his dog.

Speaking of balance and righting ones world,  my brother misses his pup and is coming to get him this weekend. While this will likely make our house feel empty, it will make my brother’s world right again and that matters a lot to me.

Part of me doesn’t want to give him back, but in fairness, he’s one of the best things to happen to my brother and IS his dog so I will.

I have a feeling that I’m really going to miss Brodsmontana being my shadow. He really is my little buddy. He watches me cook (in hopes I drop something), we wrestle, we play with the ball, he’s my guard doggie in the morning and so much more. He’s getting better about taking photos too! Not awesome, but better. He’s also learned a couple of new things like, “relaxing”, getting a treat off his nose, and that he shouldn’t beg at the table.

It’s okay though, it looks like he’ll be back again in April and then again in May or June so it’s just a little break. He’ll be back before we know it.

Also this weekend? The start of a deep clean and taxes. The deep clean because it just feels like it’s time and taxes because Uncle Sam says so. (Can I tell you that I sort of don’t want to enter more information because really, we’re getting a nice refund at the moment and I don’t want the other info to ruin that. I have a feeling that Uncle Sam would catch on though and having Uncle Sam mad at you is never a good idea in my book.)

So what’s been going on with you? Have you done your taxes yet? Do you do yours or have them done? I was thinking about having ours done this year, but I’m going to try my best. If I break down and cry I will find someone else to do them for me.

That’s about all I have and I’m out of a hot beverage so I’m off for a refill. Hope you have a great weekend!

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Thursday Three – Three truths and a fib

Brody loved writing so much for you guys last week that he’s working on another post. He doesn’t type very fast though so hopefully it’ll be ready for next week.

frankicebreaker

Major difference between the introvert (Frank) and the extrovert (Me).
I love these games most often.

I was going to share Brodsmontana’s favorite foods since coming to live with us, but when Frank posted on facebook today that he hates icebreakers and I can’t help it, I really like them so we’re going to do an icebreaker today!

If you’re not familiar with “icebreakers” they’re those little getting to know you games that trainers and bosses use so people can get to know each other a little bit.

I’ve done some fun ones through the years at different jobs, events, retreats and what not, but I think my favorite one is three truths and a fib and it’s been awhile since I’ve done it so lets rock and roll!

Guess which of the following posts is the fib. Ready?

  • Saturday mornings I order two of the same thing from Dunkin’ Donuts on my way to the pool. One is hot, one is cold.
  • I have no idea what my “dream job” would be.
  • I delete all my emails promptly upon responding and never have more than 5 unanswered in my inbox.
  • I don’t really drink or use regular milk anymore unless I don’t have another option, but I do eat regular ice cream, yogurt, and cheese still. (Sometimes)

So which one do you think is a fib? How about you share three truths and a fib about yourself and I’ll guess too!

 

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Friday Coffee Date ’15-4

LN last tweet

I was going to share NotSoSweePea’s ear cover I made for her,
but this seems more fitting. How lovely a sentiment.
I do believe I will check out his poetry now.

Why hello there. It’s quite nice to see you, I apologize for being late. What’s in your cup? I just have hazel nut coffee today with hot-chocolate, almond milk and 2 sugars and left over antipasta salad from Red Front because well, it’s lunchtime.

It is with great sadness that I tell you I just received a text from Frank that said, “Leonard Nimoy has died.” These 4 short words brought tears to my eyes because he was a hell of an actor and Spock was one of my favorites. I can’t say it surprised me, but even though he was 83 I thought he might live forever.

Deep breath. So what’s been going on with you? What good memories have you made this week? Do you have any of Leonard Nimoy/Mr. Spock?

This week, I made people and Brody smile. I laughed with Frank and friends. I decided to book a trip to see my mom and to make memories with my family.  I heard from D’Lovely and know she’s on the mend.  I sent some mail that I know made the recipient smile.

As far as Mr. Spock memories, the old Star Treks always make me smile. Their terrible effects, Shatner’s constant intense overacting, and clear political commentary are parts of vivid mental pictures of my youth. Memories of time spent with my dad and Mehmere watching old episodes brings lots of warm fuzzy feelings. Later watching the whole series again with Frank because it was one of the few programs we could agree to watch together brought back happy smiles and fond memories of my childhood nerdom. I wasn’t a Trekkie, but  I did love the series and almost all things sciency. A big part of that love was Spock. His logic, how he loved in his way, his incredibly dry sense of humor, and those adorable ears. Now thinking about it reminds me of our first year living together.

Goodbye Leonard Nimoy. You certainly gave us some good memories. Thank you for that.

UPDATE: I didn’t know he directed one of my favorite movies! Three Men and a Baby

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Guest Post – Brodsmontana here!

Every week, Brody sends my brother an email about the exciting things he has done during his stay with us. He told me he wanted to tell you guys about all his fun too.

Fotor_142325570479378Why hello there – WOOF – lovely Brody fans! Aunt Court said I have a lot of fan people and I love people SO much I wanted to say hello! I like to say hello to ALL the people I see.

Aunt Court and Uncle Frank are mostly awesome but sometimes are no fun. They try to do this thing called “relaxing” and it’s so boring. Mostly though I’m so happy to see them every day after work that we all shake our buts. Okay, I shake my butt but I can see they want to too.

Most things are pretty cool around here, I get to sleep on big beds and try foods while they cook. If I don’t beg at the dinner table, I get my own little plate of the food I can have. They seem to be hard asses about things like onions and chocolate. I’m a big boy, I can handle it!

So far, I don’t like oranges, spinach, blueberries and olives. I do like strawberries, oatmeal, carrots, broccoli, and pizza crusts. It should go without saying that I also love chicken nuggets and french fries but they’re pretty rare around here. Usually only when we go out to Grandpa’s house.

Like I said, it’s pretty cool with Aunt Court and Uncle Frank. They have people like Sue, Aunt Cassie and Grandpa come visit. Sue says I’m handsome and tries to slip me extra people food sometime, Aunt Cassie sleeps in the second big bed with me and Grandpa is great at throwing the ball a million times. I also went to meet Nyx and her people recently. She and her people are so pretty and nice!

There are a few things I don’t like about living here but it’s mostly because they put the garbage away so I can’t get it while I’m home alone. I also do not like that they won’t let me in the bathroom with them and I DO NOT LIKE IT when she says the word bath or she makes a fishy face and crosses her eyes. Woof! Uncle Frank seems to think that sandwiches are just for him and it’s just not fair! He also won’t give me a treat in my food every time. Just sometimes. Harumph! Also, I’m not allowed on the futon which I don’t understand. Aunt Court falls asleep there, why can’t I?

Fotor_142325502218696They make up for lameness by playing soccer in the kitchen and taking me to the doggie park sometimes to see my friend Ellie. I’ll write more about that later, it’s time for a snackeroni. Aunt Court said if you have any questions, I should invite you to ask them so I am. Any questions? Do you want to come play? I like to play! You can throw the slobber ball for me!

Love you all, you beautiful people.
Barkwoofbark,
Brodsmontana

There you have it. Brodsmontana’s own words about staying with us.

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You’ll want more of these gluten free iced molasses cookies

Iced Molasses Cookies

Iced Molasses Cookies
You can see which ones I rolled and which ones I did not.
Doesn’t that glaze look awesome?

I love cookies, most of them in fact, but I do have my favorites. One of my favorites that I’ve missed a bunch in the last year and a half of being gluten free was the Iced Molasses Cookie.

They’re just so darn tasty with the rich molasses flavor, the sweet icing, and the spice to make it interesting.

(Can I stop for a second and tell you that I’ve decided I need more molasses in my life? Well I have.)

I started with this recipe that I found on Pinterest and went from there.

What you’ll need:

For the cookies

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses (I think mine were blackstrap, unsulphered)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix (I used a gluten free version of the local store brand)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon allspice (You can add their list of spices, but I didn’t have all of them so I used allspice. I also sometimes add more because I like a spicier cookie. If you don’t like spice, leave it out.)
  • Up to 1/2 cup of water (You may or may not need this.)

For the icing (optional, but I think you’re crazy if you don’t make it. Sorry Mom!)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Sprinkles if you want them.

What you’ll do:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. If you’re not using non-stick pans spray them down with cooking spray.
  2. In your stand mixer (or big bowl if you don’t have one), beat brown sugar, shortening and molasses on medium speed until well blended. Resist the urge to stop there and eat with a spoon.
  3. Beat in eggs.
  4. Stir in remaining cookie ingredients until well blended. (Dough will be sticky.) If dough isn’t sticky, add water 1 TBSP at a time until it IS sticky. (No one likes dry cookies.)
  5. Roll balls of dough in your hands so they’re pretty. If you don’t care that your cookies are pretty you can just drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto cookie sheets. Spray your hands if you’re rolling them.
  6. Bake 7 to 9 minutes. I find it hard to tell if they’re golden brown as noted in the recipe, but I just trust that they’re done when I can smell them. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.
  7. In small bowl, mix icing ingredients until smooth. If it’s too thick add 1/2 tsp of milk and stir. You may need to do this more than once. You can drizzle icing over cookies or dip the tops. I prefer to dip the tops. This frosting takes about an hour to dry enough to pack them up.
  8. Enjoy. They’re really fricken good.

When I tell you they’re good, I’m not even kidding. My dear brother who is against everything gluten free loves this cookie.  Damn it, now I want one…

Questions? Comments? What’s your favorite cookie?

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Seeking: Vegetarian and gluten free recipes (or ones I can easily change to GF)

cow eat veggiesFrank and I were at the grocery store the other night picking up food for the week and something popped out of my mouth that made me sound a lot like Nanny.

“When did meat get so damn expensive?!?” (The 80/20 hamburger I was looking at was $5.99 a lb and didn’t even cook itself. We won’t even talk about the leaner packages.)

Seriously, when did the prices soar?

Now, I know we can probably find better deals, shopping the flyers and what not. I’m sure of it. I also know that by the time we get around to grocery shopping on Sundays, it’s basically the last thing I want to do. Most of the time we look at what’s on sale at one of the stores closest to us and try to develop a meal plan from what’s in the flyer. Admittedly not the most effective, but it’s not terrible.

Once we get a freezer for the garage, we can take advantage of bulk items that we’ve looked into, but in the short term, we’d like to save a bit of money on our grocery budget. One immediate solution I came up with is putting more vegetarian options in our meal rotation.

We ate a lot of vegetarian food when I gave up meat for Lent, but relied heavily on items that are not gluten free. This is no longer an option. A lot of pre-made vegetarian food is has wheat protein (gluten) or other wheat based ingredients (flour to thicken sauces, seitan as a protein source, barley for substance, malted barley for flavor etc.) We also relied a lot upon pasta last time around. An option, but Frank doesn’t love it.

I found this list of 25 vegetarian takeout makeover recipes that looks pretty good. (I think about a dozen of them sound really good and I’d try many of the others.) Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Baked BBQ Tofu sounded really good actually. (Not gluten free, but I can make it work.) It’s pasta, but Frank does like mac and cheese.

I know other vegetarian gluten free recipes are out there, I’ll just have to research to find them. I suppose trading research time and some work is worth the positive budget and health impact.

Do you happen to have any? What’s your favorite vegetarian recipe that’s already gluten free or that I can make gluten free?

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