Christmas Trees and Cold Weather

Brrrrr, good morning all from a very cold Kimmy’s Patio! It started out a chilly 22 degrees this morning and has now warmed up to a balmy 38 degrees, lol.

Oh yes, and I started the day by getting peppermint essential oil in my eyeball via my contact: lesson here is Wash hands after handling essential oils during oil pulling and before inserting contacts!!! Now on to the rest of my post.

It seems I have been setting up Christmas trees all week, and that is fine, I like to do it. First, I helped my dad and Sean (my oldest) set their tree up…

Dad and Sean looking for the plugs to turn on the lights

Once we got it up and decorated, it was really pretty. He still uses all the old ornaments from when we were kids and when Sean was little. That’s very cool.

The finished product

At first I thought he should go get new stuff, but after seeing his tree and how pretty it was, it is nice that he kept all that stuff all these years. Some people really care about tradition, I am more of a new-theme-every-year kinda girl.

Yesterday my brother called and asked if I would help with his tree, I did and then forgot to take any pictures. Doh!!!

I did take a pic of my breakfast though featuring the egg cups I made with the nutritional yeast flakes. They were good, but that orange was horrible! Super sour and weird texture, I kind of bit into each slice for a bit of juice and wound up tossing them out.

Egg cup and a bad orange

The night was not a good one for sleep, both my husband and I were up at different times, one of those, I snapped this pic of the radar, weirdest thing I’ve ever seen, southern Texas getting snow when we were not, however, we had no moisture to create any.

Strange weather in the south

That’s the news for today, wish me luck trying to get some of my flash fiction pieces accepted for publication, I got a rejection yesterday but I think it might be because I did my cover letter wrong. I will re-submit today and see how that goes. Happy Friday everyone, stay warm now, ya hear?!

 

 

Day 266-MET-We Did New Orleans With Children!

Oh my goodness, this place was hot, and I don’t mean just in the sense of live music, let’s party, in your face, good times hot, I mean 126 degrees in the center of town hot! Add to that, I love big crowds, throbbing dance music and crazy people, my husband…not so much. This is the scenario you must picture when I tell you the story of our trip to New Orleans with children.

The kids were young, Josh had just turned 15 and Chris was 13, yet I still saw them as babies. It was our first vacation somewhere other than Port Aransas and we set out to cover New Orleans, Biloxi, Lucedale and Vicksburg in one week. We wanted the kids to see what New Orleans was all about, the people, the history, the music, the food…well, they got all that and a whole lot more. We wanted them to get some culture but what they got was an eyeful, and we were seriously doubting ourselves as fit parents by the end of that trip.

Luckily, we did not go during Mardi Gras, we went in the middle of the summer and I cannot tell you how bad the city smells at that time. Think stinky trash meets dried puke from last year’s Mardi Gras meets hot port-a-potty, and you’ll be pretty close.  The heat made it unimaginable and dragging two impressionable boys around sin city seems so wrong right now yet it seemed like a cool adventure at the time. We visited the cemetery- not my idea- but they enjoyed it. Cemeteries creep me out, this one was ok during the day. It was interesting to see that no one is buried below the ground, due to the high sea level. The boys thought it was cool and marveled at how big some of the tombs were. We took lots of pictures and I think even they realized the historical significance of that place.

Later, after experiencing some delicious beignets and coffee, we ventured into Jackson Square and saw live music, magic and a  “freak” show that I will never forget. Of course, my boys thought the freak was awesome and seeing it may have had a profound effect on Josh, he really got into it the way some kids want to run away and join the circus.  I think he still views  what that guy was doing as a viable way to earn a living. Which it is not, unless you’re a drug addicted homeless person looking for your next meal.  Anyway, they ate it up and wanted to see more but we had to move on. Next stop was Pat Obrien’s so Mama could get a Hurricane…oh Lordy what a mistake that was! Alcohol and heat do not mix.

Let me remind you, it was 126 degrees-however we were not aware of that until,we were back at the hotel-and I believe I consumed one and a half hurricanes and they just about dragged me back to the hotel (I still say it’s because it was so hot) and once there I laid down on the bed in the cool air condition and that revived me a bit. Later on Dave and I visited the casino and the boys were actually good, hanging out in the room playing video games and watching tv. What is comical is that when we were walking around Bourbon Street, Josh was wary of the people coming up to his dad and acting like they knew him, or the street performers painted silver and standing still as statues, yet the “freaky” guy in Jackson Square didn’t seem to bother him at all! Kids. Go figure. Chris was more like me-eyes wide open, taking it all in…some things he should not have seen at his tender age (strolling past open bars and viewing half naked ladies within) but his Dad just took it in stride. He figured it would have been much worse had it been night time and just kept walking and trying to get their attention redirected to something more…historical.

All in all, it was a very memorable trip, we had a lot of fun despite the heat and I cannot wait to go back again. We tried at some point to go to the aquarium, but the line was too long, it was Africa hot, and we decided it would have to wait until next time. Of course, there hasn’t been a next time since the hurricane ravaged New Orleans, some day we will go back-maybe even this summer, but you can bet, it will be an adults-only kind of trip this time!

(PS-I’ve torn the house apart looking for our pictures and found only the Vicksburg pics and one other from New Orleans, I will have to add the pictures later, sorry)

(PPS-Joshua had a life-changing event, but that actually happened in Vicksburg on our way home-remind me to tell that story some day 😉) Never mind, he said no way could I tell that one. Oh well. 😂

 

 

Day 258-Free Days-How Was Your Easter?

The reason for the season

How has everyone’s Easter been? I hope it has been an enjoyable day of faith, friends and family.

I started the day with church and it was a lovely service. We as a congregation put a flower in a plain wooden cross and when it was done, it was beautiful. I didn’t take a picture because I had a bad vantage point from where I was sitting, besides, I didn’t know how the pastor would feel about me snapping pics during the service. The hand bell choir did a lovely number and then the children performed a song with the chimes. I could’ve listened to that all day.

David cooked all day and we had a delicious ham, pork roast and vegetables, fresh green beans and his home made potato salad. My brother and sister-in-law brought angel cake, fresh fruit and cool whip for strawberry shortcake. Unfortunately, they also brought a lemon pound cake, which I could not pass up, I made my shortcake with it. (It was a small serving but still!) Back to being good tomorrow! No one is perfect, I follow a Paleo lifestyle 80 percent of the time, and it’s a holiday.

I promised some before and after pics of the front yard.

Before-notice: bushes, ground cover and glass front screen door

I want to say this pic was from a year and a half ago, when we first moved in.

After-Bushes gone! New screen door, able to open for cross breeze!

Two days of work later, bushes gone and ground cover dug out. Love my new screen door! Now, we could sit on the front porch and see the neighbors if we want!

A different view
The left side of the front of the house-all bushes out

 Some pretty new flowers to greet guests.

All in all, it has been a great and productive weekend. How was yours? Tell me all about it in the comments, and join me tomorrow for Motivational Monday! See you then.

 

 

Day 257-Free Days-It's Bunco Time!

This post contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure.

The weather could not have been better for the continued work on the yard we had to do today. Although we are no where near done, we got a lot accomplished in the last two days. Friday evening we began the hard work of taking out bushes and 4 inch thick ground cover from the front of the house. David had chopped and cut the bushes down to stumps, today while I worked on digging out roots from the beds, he chopped and dug out five of the seven bushes he cut down. Whew! He will be sore tomorrow, he had mowed and weed-eated the yard right before that! I wish I had taken before and after pics…maybe tomorrow.

Getting my nails done

Then later on, I went and got a much deserved mani-pedi and attempted to work on a product review for the website. Bunco time came too soon however and so it will have to wait until next weekend. My thought was to have a feature called Saturday Spotlight where I would review a product, service or book-starting with SiteGround since I erased my previous post. I think it only fair to try again with them first. I want it to be right, and since it is not polished, I will wait.

Bunco could not have been at a more fitting house, it turns out Starla collects bunnies (among other things) and she had such a cute collection of them, plus the food was delish and we all got drunk on sugar from all the wonderful treats she had. Yes, I have to admit to cheating quite a bit tonight.

I only ate half, but still….😉
The lovely spread of goodies
These treats got labeled “crack”!
Some of Starla’s bunnies
Her centerpiece made out of real carrots!

I thought I was finally going to win a prize, I had nine “baby” Buncos and even had a big girl Bunco, but alas, it was not to be. 😔

He who gets a Bunco gets the pink dice

Here are all the winners of prizes, and they were wonderful this time too!

Garden goodies!

Carol beat me out with 13 baby Buncos

It was a great night and I had a blast, even though I’ve yet to win a prize. My prize is getting to fellowship with these fun and crazy ladies once a month, eat food that is not necessarily “good” for me but really good, and play a silly dice game that brings us all together. Look out for May, I may be hosting at my house next! 😆

Disclosure: I only post links to products or services I trust or have used personally. 

Day 84-Free Days-Party Time!

The Birthday Boy-Chris
The Birthday Boy-Chris

Today was the birthday dinner/celebration of Chris and my Dad’s birthday, I thought I’d share a few pics.

My hubby Dave, preparing the meat
My hubby Dave, preparing the meat

Dave smoked a pork shoulder butt and then chopped some for sandwiches and sliced some for non-bread eaters like me 😊

My dad and Becky (Chris's girlfriend) serving themselves
My dad and Becky (Chris’s girlfriend) serving themselves

Everyone made a side to go with the meat and we all enjoyed a delicious dinner-slaw, jalapeño poppers, potato salad and tossed salad complimented the meat nicely.

Then it was time for gifts
Then it was time for gifts

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Funny cards, money and gift cards for Chris in addition to golf lessons his dad bought him to be taken as his schedule permits, plus an on field edition Cowboys cap from his brother Sean. Becky made him a cake and performed a cute little rap for him last night.

Dad got cards, some clothes from us and some wine from our friends Michelle and Kerry.

Funny boy's parting shot
Funny boy’s parting shot
Grandma (Momo) the puppy whisperer!
Grandma (Momo) the puppy whisperer!
My brother Kevin, and friends Michelle and Kerry
My brother Kevin, and friends Michelle and Kerry

A good time was hopefully had by all, we enjoy preparing and sharing food with friends and family.  Becky and I had fun surprising Chris with the banana pudding cake as well as making it together. I tasted a bite, it was moist and delicious!

Now it’s time to recuperate from birthdays and gear up for the holidays!!

 

Day 70-Free Days-

Some Sundays I have every intention of going to church and still don’t make it. Today was one such Sunday. I know that God understands that these things happen and He knows I love him. That being said, I pray that all those I care about and I have a good week in spite of it.

Later on in the day my hubby and I made preparations for dinner for ourselves and my Dad and brother. They came and we enjoyed the Cowboys victory while dining on Grilled bbq chicken, or pork chops, salad and roasted butternut squash, recipe courtesy of Healthy Seasonal Recipes, which you can find on Pinterest. After dinner, my dad, brother and I retired to the game room and played a few rounds of pool.

My Brother taking his shot
My Brother taking his shot

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Dad is the pro who taught my brother and I the skills needed to play the game. Here he is lining up his shot. The man is almost 83 and still shoots like a pro! I enjoy this time spent with family and only wish the boys could have been here too. Chris is on call with his job and Sean was with friends today. Josh is back at home safe in Ohio after a week traveling with his new job.

This morning my brother-in-law and his wife came over because he was helping the hubby install the new attic stairs. I wasn’t expecting Connie and had much to show her and we enjoyed our visit. She helped my fix the bow on my homemade wreath (as it was kind of floppy already) and later I went and saw her at her house as well.

Hubby handled the Sunday grocery shopping, for that I was grateful not to have to deal with, I finished up the laundry which freed me to help prepare dinner later. The dogs always enjoy company and the roasted butternut squash was a hit with them as well, lol. All in all it was a good day and to top it off, I saw another milestone today, 500 likes! Yea!! Thank you to each and every one who has liked my posts. I appreciate all of you reading and following along.

I hope everyone else had a good day and has a great week! See you all back here tomorrow when I tackle a new topic, yet to be determined on the patio. 😉

Day 63-Free Days-Autumn Delights

Aahh Autumn, the cool crisp air, the falling leaves and the ability to wear our boots and sweaters-NOT! Not today anyway, the temp currently is still 81 degrees and we had to turn the air back on. However, we can-and did-get to enjoy the flavors of fall today at dinner when we had some delicious baked acorn squash, grill baked pork tenderloin and a nice salad. I handled the squash, fixing it like I’ve been taught since going Paleo, smeared with grass-fed butter, sprinkled with some coconut sugar and pumpkin pie spice, then a nice tsp of pure, 100% maple syrup drizzled over each half, baked for an hour in the oven. Talk about something so good it could have been dessert! It could easily replace my beloved sweet potatoes if they weren’t so darned easy and cost effective to make. Dave was the usual grill master and turned out an excellent roast, moist and tender with yellow bell peppers and onion baked alongside for flavor. The meal made us feel like it was fall anyway.

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It has been a busy weekend and we have a few more things completed in the master bedroom to report. First, Dave installed the base (cause it’s all about that base ya know), then we headed out for the great rug hunt, finally finding one we liked at Home Goods as well as some new bedding. We still need some king sized pillows to go with the new mattress and box springs we found at Sam’s and don’t have our headboard yet, but it’s coming along nicely. I decided on aqua and white bedding for a pop of color, I think it’s a nice contrast to the gray. I’m going to make you wait until it’s all done to post pics-sorry! 😉

I also started a couple of projects, an Autumn wreath, inspired by one I saw and pinned after viewing it on Home Talk, the artist is from Across the Blvd. She combined autumn with a coastal twist, I’m putting my own spin on it, I’ll post pics when it’s finished. I should have been done today but lacked a few pieces to finish it up. My second project is one I hope I have the patience to complete, my crocheting needs a lot of practice, but I’m attempting a baby blanket for my son’s girlfriend’s nursery. She is due this month or next-I have to work fast! They are going with a strange, yet evidently popular theme (I found stuff all over Etsy) for the nursery-A Nightmare Before Christmas. The colors are lavender, lime green, black and white. Hey, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Young people these days have waaaay different tastes than we did. Anyhoo, I couldn’t be 15 hours away for today’s baby shower, so I decided to try my hand at a home made project for her nursery.

With my Mother-in-law just coming back into town today and all the other activity going on, we decided to forego family dinner today and just had a relaxing meal and watched our Cowboys win, woo hoo!! Go Boys! It’s been a nice, productive weekend and although the weather has warmed back up for now, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. What makes for a special Autumn for you? Feel free to share in the comments and if you would like to view the wreath I’m copying creating, check out my Pinterest page, you’ll also find a version of the baked acorn squash (don’t worry Steph, I didn’t forget you!) that I changed up by subbing the brown sugar with coconut sugar. Not sure yet what I’m blogging about tomorrow, come back and you’ll find out! 😉

Day 55-Free Days-Fall Festival & Bunco!

Today was a busy one around the Smyth house, we got an early start with Dave heading out to play golf at 7:30 in Dallas and I went to help out with the Fall Festival at our church.

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There was sporadic shoppers, plentiful of goodies and crafts galore! Hopefully they did well, the jewelry I donated wasn’t selling when I left but was going to the craft store if it never did. Maybe it will do better for them there.

When Dave got home, we went to lunch-spoiler alert-I had a major cheat day because we were trying the new Pancho’s Mexican Buffet on Rufe Snow. This place was iconic since childhood,  they had all closed down around here until this new one popped up, and I just couldn’t help myself from having a couple of hot, buttery, flaky delicious soapapillas with honey. Mmmmmm! I’ll get back on track Monday. It was soooo worth it. 

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Everything tasted just the way I remembered it, and there is no “health” food there. I tried to be good, choosing the verde stew, baked chicken and 2 small flautas. Turns out they were made from flour tortillas and tasted like heaven. Another cheat, lol. Not to mention the small cheese enchilada-yeah, MAJOR cheat meal.

Then we were treated to a visit from my son and his girlfriend, whom I promptly dragged off to play my first ever game of Bunco! OMG, I don’t know what I was so nervous about. What a fun and easy game, we had a great time and Becky even won a nice prize. I will be anxious to play again next month, and luckily everyone was so nice and many of the ladies seem to live close to me. Here are a few pics from the game.

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Actually, I didn’t think to take pics until people were winning prizes at the end. It was great fellowship, food and fun and I’m so glad I went. You can’t go wrong with a room full of rowdy women, lol. This group is a mix of people that are friends of a girl my brother went to school with, that’s how I got invited. I was unaware there was an entry fee, and someone in the group (Tina) was kind enough to pay my way in and made Becky and I feel welcome and wanted.

All in all it was a great day and now it’s time to relax and enjoy the visit with my kids.

Have a good night and see you tomorrow when it’s likely to be raining on the patio. ⛈