The Horrible Day and the Silver Lining on That Very Dark Cloud

First of all, let me say that I have tons to post that I hope to get to eventually.  We had Easter and Muffin’s birthday party at my sister’s over the weekend, and it was a blast!  Muffin and my youngest nephew had a great time playing (they are 19 months apart) and driving my oldest nephew crazy.  ;)

But Saturday night, the night of the party, I knew that my sinus infection that so painfully had been in my cheekbones for months had decided to move up above my eyes so that I had “foggy head.”  Today is Tuesday, and foggy head is still with me.

I should note that I have chronic sinusitis.  Chronic.  And I take it until I can’t anymore and go to the doctor (or the walk-in), get an antibiotic (even let them tell me that regardless of the screaming pain in my sinus cavities that it must be fibromayalgia or, my personal favorite, tonsilitis…but by that point I don’t care as long as they give me the antibiotic), and get better for a bit.  The reason that I sit there and take it is so that I don’t become resistant to antibiotics.  (And, since I have something non-contagious, I don’t want to catch something contagious as I go to the doctor.  Yes, it’s a thought process, albeit a flawed one.)

Today ended Easter break and ushered in a return to work.  Still head foggy from the sinusitis moving upstairs, I really should have taken my own advice and called in.  Really.  I should.

Instead, my head fogginess coupled with driving to work in the dark (my choice, I admit it, but I tend to get more done before the school day starts than I do in the afternoon when I’m exhausted and beaten up by the day’s events) and the members of my neighborhood providing me a lovely obstacle course to drive around by parking in the street…while…I misjudged the distance from my passenger front fender to the truck facing me…and the truck won.

Really won.

My little baby hybrid and my legs…didn’t win.  I will spare you the picture of my bruised legs.  This is a food blog, not a never-eat-again-because-disgusted blog.

So, I called the school secretary and explained to her that I wasn’t going to be making it in today.  Ouch!  Contacted Josh who was at home with Muffin (thank goodness Muffin was not in the car with me).  Contacted the police.  Tried to contact the owner of the truck twice by ringing the doorbell.  Didn’t do so well with that one.  Contacted my assistant principal who had already heard from the secretary and was about to call me.  Contacted the insurance company.  Waited until a time when I wouldn’t scare my parents (and not wake them up) to call my parents.  Contacted the insurance company and the rental car company.  Again.  And then had Josh contact the rental car company a few times for good measure.  I have plans to go back to work tomorrow, people!

Declined medical care on site (which I think my sister, upon hearing about the accident, is still angry about).  Let me just explain my reasoning: 1) $500 deductible on car insurance + $500 deductible on hospitalization/ER for health insurance only to sit in the ER for hours because bruised shins and a scraped upper chest and an abraided arm probably don’t rate too high, triage-wise.  (And if I were a victim of a real emergency, I would be a bit put out with someone wasting hospital resources on something so trivial)  2)  I wanted to go home.  Keep in mind, sinusitis=feeling sick and woozy.  I wanted a nap.  3) I knew I was going to have to be on hand to deal with all the insurance stuff.  4)  I received my rental car at 2:30.  I was not going to have my parents have to be my chauffeurs in all of this.  So, I had no car to go to the ER or the doctor until then.  By then, I was completely worn out.

But the bright spots of the silver lining:

1) Muffin took care of me, bringing me “flowers” from the backyard and showering me with snuggles and smiles.  He felt very grown up and proud of himself for it.

2)  I have some of the best coworkers.  When one of us is hurt or in trouble, you can always expect an outpouring of calls and texts and prayers.  I appreciate all of those…and all of my coworkers…immensely.

3)  I won my first online giveaway, sponsored by one of my fave foodie blogs, The Slow Roasted Italian.  Yes, of the pretzel bites fame (in fact, when I told Josh and my mom about it, that’s how I presented it to them).

A picture of that lusciousness deserves repeating:

There.  That picture makes me feel better!

As I said, I hope to post much more of this weekend (well…minus the wooziness caused by sinusitis) shortly (including a post that I’ve been working on FOREVER that I should now be able to move from the Draft Slush Pile).

I hope everyone had a great day and that tomorrow is even better!

Meal Plan Monday: Try a New Recipe to Shake Things Up

Meal Plan Monday

Several blogs that advocate menu planning propose and promote the concept of a meal rotation. I am not organized enough for a monthly, weekly, or even bi-weekly menu rotation. Instead, I menu plan around what I have on hand, what has been recently on sale, or what our tastes and schedules are around a particular time.

Plus, it’s fun to shake things up every now and then with a new recipe. Now, I am not necessarily advocating something on the scale of The Spring Cleaning New Recipe Challenge every week. If you have the time, energy, and resources to do so, great! But, I’m talking about trying a new recipe once a meal plan or so—another way to break up the monotony.

The new recipe for this week is Crock Pot Gyros. I love eating gyros from the Red River Revel, the local arts festival that occurs in Shreveport, Louisiana, in early October, but they are so expensive! (Like $8 for the gyro alone). I am really hoping that this recipe works!


Anyway, here is the plan for the week with the new recipe added. I have two planned eat-outs, tonight (because we are traveling) and Saturday (Muffin’s birthday at Chuck E. Cheese).


Monday: fried chicken with the fixins

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday, baby!

Wednesday: brinner (breakfast for dinner)

Thursday: Crock Pot gyros from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

Friday: leftovers (If there are any)

Saturday: Muffin’s birthday celebration at Chuck E. Cheese’s

Sunday: Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken

As usual, I will be linking up at OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday.

What’s on your plan for the week?

Cent Saving Saturday: Garage Sale Mania!

Cent Saving Saturday

Last Saturday seemed to be neighborhood garage sale day in our area.  Our neighborhood and one just down the road had neighborhood-wide garage sales.  There was a craft sale at a nearby church, also.  I halfway thought of putting some stuff out to sell, but with getting ready for Muffin’s party and Easter and traveling to my sister’s…and shopping for the week…yeah, it wasn’t going to happen.

Instead, on the way back from getting the oil changed in the car (Josh and Muffin) and shopping for the remainder of items for Muffin’s birthday and Easter (yeah, right), we decided to peruse a few sales in our neighborhood.  I went through the sales with one item in mind:  wine glasses.  We didn’t have any.  And I wanted to make strawberries romanoff like at La Madeleine served in a nice wine glass and…well…drink wine from something other than a plastic cup.

My redneck only extends so far.

I started to feel discouraged after five or so in our neighborhood, but around the sixth one I hit the jackpot:  4 wine glasses for 25 cents each (much less than the cost one would have been in the store)!

Yes, this image from an earlier post is one of my new wineglasses!

That was definitely around my purchase price.

I know many bloggers mention keeping a price book, but I have a mental one for garage sales.  It may be a bit naive (out of date/insane), but I tend to follow the following as my max amounts:

magazines:  ten cents

paperback books:  twenty-five cents (Imagine my panic and perturbation when I saw some last Saturday selling for $5 each!  Or, rather, not selling.)

hardback books:  fifty cents, although I will go to a dollar

clothing:  fifty cents to a dollar a piece

craft supplies:  twenty-five cents to a dollar

electronics:  I think that electronics at garage sales are perhaps the best case of “let the buyer beware.”  I’ve gotten burned a few times, so I tend to shy away.

toys:  $1.00 tends to be my limit, unless it’s a big set.

DVDs:  $1.00

Dishes:  I tend not to want to go over a dollar for multiples.

When I was little, I used to go to garage sales with my dad.  Our limit was $1.00 each, and we used to come home with our arms full of stuff.  For us, it was a way to get out of the house, people watch, interact socially (you tend to see some of the same people at g-sales, and often times they will look out for stuff for you–”Hey, are you still looking for ‘x’?  I saw some at ‘y.’”), see a variety of items (It always amazed me if an item I had never seen before showed up in two or three of the same garage sales in one day), and buy stuff we wanted/needed that were out of our budget brand new.

We still have clothes that Muffin will eventually wear that I purchased at garage sales near my sister’s house before I was even sure I was having a boy (just really really REALLY hoping).

I don’t understand the “g-sale stigma” that some people have about garage sale items, such as clothing.  “I can’t stand the idea of wearing clothes someone has worn before.”  Oh, really?  How can you be sure no one tried on the clothes at the store where you just purchased them?  Or returned them before you bought them?

Grocery-wise, there were several interesting sales (involving ham, mostly), but since we will be out of town Friday-Monday, I’m not sure if I’ll partake.  I’ll do an amended grocery list when we return on Monday and will post it here.

What is your fave find at garage sales?  Or your opinion of garage sales?  Drop me a line below and let me know!

Funny Muffin Friday: A Blast Back to New Year’s Eve Past

Funny Muffin Friday

Did I mention that every New Year’s Eve we have a fiesta?  Usually the fiesta ends well before midnight (and Muffin is most definitely asleep well before midnight–as are the rest of us), but this past New Year’s Eve my two peeps and I were determined to stay up to midnight.  We managed to do it, but, as you can see in the picture below, Muffin and his dad…didn’t.

This was shortly before midnight.  They almost made it!

How do you like to ring in the New Year?  (Yes, I know it’s April, but I figured this shot was so share-able that I needed to share it)

We Plan Wednesday: Which Comes First?

We Plan Wednesday

Which does come first?  Planning the grocery list from ads and staples or planning the week’s meals?  It depends what your weekly grocery shopping entails, if you are stockpiling a loss leader (something the stores sell at a price so low that they lose money on it) or simply purchasing the items to get you through the week.

There have been weeks where I’ve been known to purchase 20 or so packages of dry pasta below 30 cents each or canned tomatoes at rock bottom prices (a case at a time).  Or last year at this time (hint, Albertson’s…it’s time to do this again) when I purchased bottles of ketchup for 29 cents a bottle.  I bought 40 of them.  I wanted a year’s supply.

(We tend to go through a lot of ketchup.  I have the gentlemen who put ketchup on their ketchup, after all.)

And then there are weeks, when Josh is working and on call, when I don’t want to be at the grocery store for very long with Muffin by myself.  And when I don’t want to have to lug groceries into the house.  For those weeks, I tend to buy only the necessities to make it through the week, the staples.  Eggs.  Milk.  Juice.  Bread.  Produce.

Regardless, my planning begins at the end of the previous month for meal planning.  I try to have a rough draft of the meal plan for the month ready in the days following the announcement of Josh’s schedule for the month.

I can count on no fingers the number of times that what is planned in that rough draft is 100% followed through the month.  Life happens.  Sales happen.  Tastes change.  Schedules (other than work) change.

On Wednesday mornings when the Big 4 circulars hit the websites (Brookshire’s, Albertson’s, Kroger, and Super 1), I make a preliminary grocery list based on the sales.  I usually don’t meld that with a more refined weekly meal plan schedule until closer to Saturday.  Just in time for shopping on Saturday and the planning for the week ahead.  By Saturday, the meal plan for the week is pretty much set.

On weeks when I’m only buying the necessities and staples (and perishables), I tend to keep meals pretty basic to ingredients I pretty much keep on hand.  (Usually with lots of leftovers)  This is usually not a week when I introduce a new recipe.

So, that’s how the planning goes, meal and shopping wise.

How do you handle it?

Tip Tuesday: Research Different Restaurants’ Menus to Try to Make Copycats of Favored Items

Tip Tuesday

Recently, I have started to crave salads.  No, I’m not pregnant.  As the mercury (or alcohol) rises (and dips and rises and dips), my body seems to be pre-programmed to want cooler items, especially salads. Just one problem:  I’m not the world’s biggest lettuce fan.  I love veggies and all the other goodies on salads, but I so am not in favor of lettuce.  Especially iceberg.  Unless it’s part of a wedge salad with blue cheese.

But I love herb mixes and spring mixes and all of those leafy mixes (and usually try to get them on reduced produce day at Brookshire’s).  Especially arugula.  I could compose a sonnet for arugula.  Or a haiku.

Oh Arugula

My tummy’s craving in emerald

Slightly spicy yum!

Recently (and this shows how eerily in tune Josh and I are), I didn’t feel like packing my lunch but was desperately hoping that a certain chicken chain notoriously closed on Sundays would have their salads ready at 6:15 in the morning (so that I could purchase that and my breakfast at the same time).  I chose their new Cobb Salad.  It was Friday of testing week.  My duty day.  A day when I felt the need for a bit more pampering.  Plus I wanted to deconstruct the salad to create at home.

It has the chopped up nuggets or strips, lettuce (a romaine mix), grape tomatoes, Monterey Jack and cheddar blend, roasted corn, chopped hard boiled egg, baby field greens mix, bacon, red cabbage, and carrots.  Let me isolate the two most important words in that list…roasted corn.  I’m not sure I can eat a salad from now on without corn, roasted or otherwise.  The salad is huge!  And I gobbled it all down.

Flash forward to Friday night when neither Josh nor I were very hungry.  I knew the cause of my lack of starvation was the salad.  I finally came clean to Josh, and he cracked up.  It turns out that he also had purchased the same salad with the same dressing (not the recommended one) for lunch at Chick-Fil-A just that day, as well.

If that’s not a sign that we are in sync, I don’t know what is.  (But I bought mine first)

On Saturday, I knew that I was making the Chick-Fil-A nuggets but simply was not feeling the idea of fries with the nuggets.  I wanted…needed…desired…salad.  With corn, roasted or otherwise.  And tomatoes.  And green onions (because we are growing them in water…and yes…it works…as will become clear in a future Tip Tuesday post).  And cheese.  And kalamata olives.  With vinaigrette.

I may have inhaled that salad as well (as in, Hoovered it…not breathed it in).

Much of my time this weekend was looking up other restaurants’ salad menus, and trying to figure out how to make them.  There are several (hundreds) that I want to try this summer.

And this all falls in line with my need to not heat up the kitchen this summer.

I gotta go now though.  I have to find more salad to devour!

Meal Plan Monday: Falling Back on Old Standbys

Meal Plan Monday

This week’s meal plan takes advantage of leftovers and quick-to-make staples.  I actually did not purchase too many groceries for the meal plan this week.  Also, for Friday-Sunday’s meal we will be at my sister’s, so the meal plan is automatic.

I think I’ve stressed the importance of leftovers in the past.  They help fill in gaps in the meal plan.  This week’s plan also takes advantage of a few convenience items (pasta sauce and prepared pesto) to rapidly make a special spaghetti sauce.  Well, Josh will make it.

Without further ado, here is the plan.

Saturday (4/12):  My version of Chick-Fil-A nuggets, salad

Sunday (4/13):  grilled buffalo and barbecue wings, cole slaw, baked beans

Monday (4/14):  spaghetti and meat sauce (Ragu+pesto+a few extra add-ins)

Tuesday (4/15):  leftover nuggets

Wednesday (4/16):  leftover spaghetti with meat sauce

Thursday (4/17):  clean out fridge/hot dogs/breakfast–whatever the feeling is

Friday (4/18):  my sister’s chicken and dumplins (at my sister’s)

Saturday (4/19):  Muffin’s (early) birthday party (pepperoni pizza in keeping with the TMNT theme)

Sunday (4/20):  Easter dinner:  fish fry (I’m bringing Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars)

What is on your meal plan this week?

I will be linking up at OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday!