Sunday, May 26, 2013

Serving Up Pasta Salad!!!

After chasing myself seven ways to Sunday yesterday, today took on a much slower pace!

Oh, I still have "the list" of things I wanted to accomplish this 3-day weekend!  And I by no means have all of it done!!!  But, after Eddie headed out to work before 7:00 this morning, the dogs and I crawled back in bed and snoozed.  I can say that we truly "slept in".....and it felt absolutely decadent!

At mid-morning, I headed out to work on some outside projects.  Picked up limbs and sticks that had fallen in this week's storms and high winds; weeded the front flower bed and swept the back porch and patio.

Now, that sweeping project took the longest because all the nasty, fringe-y "stuff" that falls off the mesquite trees every spring.....well, all that "stuff" blew off this week....and got rained on.....and turned into some sort of petrified mush on the concrete.  I had to get a rake to break it all up just so I could sweep it!!!  I was about worn out when I got that done......

After a nice, relaxing shower, I sort of felt like.....relaxing some more.  At first, I felt a bit guilty.  After all, there is that "list" I am supposed to be working on.  But, then I forced that feeling from my mind and the dogs piled up with me for a little quiet time under the afghan.  We were up and back to laundry and packing up sweaters and sweatshirts from the closet so there is room for shorts and tank tops by the time Eddie Dale got home from work.  So, see????  Some things on "the list" still got done, even with a break for a little siesta!!!

We wanted to eat light this evening.  It's hot and we kinda sorta ended up at Sonic this afternoon when my guy got home from the store.  (Have you tried their mocha/caramel java chiller?!?!?)  So, I pulled the ingredients out for one of our favorite standy-by, go-to meals for Summer - Pasta Salad.

Now, there is no set recipe for my pasta salad.  It's mostly what we have on hand.  I do like to use the tri-colored pasta twirls, so I usually have a bag of these in the cupboard.   Other than that, we like to include.....
  • chopped carrots (or matchstick carrots - which are almost always in our crisper)
  • chopped onion ( just a bit, because a little goes a long ways!)
  • chopped tomato ( I had a nice size Roma tonight, but it is good with halved or quartered cherry tomatoes, too)
  • chopped black olives (there is always a small can of these in the cupboard)
  • peas (a bag of these in the freezer lasts forever and I use them in all sorts of salads)
  • bacon (precooked bacon - love it! - again, always in our fridge with the coldcuts)
  • shredded colby jack cheese (or the cheese of your choosing)
  • Grilled chicken breast, cut into chunks (the package is convenient, but it's even better when you have some leftover from grilling the night before

First off, just get the pasta going......

Then start chopping and throwing it all in a big plastic bowl.  I don't measure a thing - just eye-ball it!!!

When the pasta is ready, simply drain, rinse with cold water to cool it down and throw it in the bowl with everything else.  Then stir it all up and season to taste.  I use these three spices to season just about everything - they are my favorites!

Just a note - I add the shredded cheese last so that it doesn't get too gloopy......

Then refrigerate until time to eat.  My favorite dressing is a light creamy buttermilk ranch, so I drizzle on a bit of that, set a few Club crackers on the side, and presto!  Dinner is served!!!

Perfect on a day like this!  And, it makes plenty for the next I get another break from cooking.  Yippee!!!

I hope you are enjoying this 3-day weekend!  What's on your menu?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

AUTUMN Has Arrived for Us!!!

May 17, 2013.....and Autumn Newley Powell finally arrives!!!

The day started early for my daughter, Bonnie, and her husband, Matt.  They arrived at the hospital before 5:00 am, while the sky was still inky dark. 

Progress was slow, but steady.  The epidural was waning in the last hour and all the last minute scrambling to supplement pain meds were largely in vain.  But, all the struggle and effort were soooooo worth it......

Big brother and sister arrived just as the baby was born.  They were ushered in to greet her when she was about 30 minutes old.  Autumn was quiet, no crying, very alert and weighed in at 6 pounds, 6 ounces.  So tiny!  She seemed to respond to voices around her as if she recognized them......

I love this shot of the little mother and her children!

Ansleigh and I held Autumn for the first time, gets no better than that!

An abundance of personality is already apparent, as evidenced by these photos I snapped with my phone's camera as I held her.

I don't think I've ever seen a baby so alert and responsive this soon after birth.  It was as if she was "hamming it up" for the camera.  I have a feeling she is going to be a real little pistol!

I am so thankful that everything went well and both Bonnie and baby are fine!  I am thankful that Eddie Dale and I were able to be there and be a part of this exciting event!  And I am so grateful that my sweet hubby ran to pick up the kids and got them there in time so I could stay at the hospital while everything was happening so quickly there at the end!!! 

God is good and His gifts are great!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Day Before Mother's Day/Last Weekend Before Autumn...

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I've already gotten a terrific present from Bonnie, Trayden and Ansleigh....  You see, I got their time, love and lots of laughter today!!!

They invited me to go to lunch and along on a surprise outing, guaranteed to be tons of fun.  Bonnie wanted to do something special with the kids since this is the last weekend before their baby sister, Autumn, arrives.  (Bonnie is scheduled to be induced this Friday morning, unless something happens between now and then!)

They were all in a fine mood when they arrived on the porch with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  We headed out to Mr. Gatti's for lunch.  Now, buffet style pizza is not the best fare, but the kids can get what they want and Bonnie said she was feeling like the bottomless pit today....and we had, Mr. Gatti's it was.  We stuffed ourselves and skipped the "game room" so we could head out on the next leg of the adventure!

 Of course, the kids can't resist a bit of goofing around in the car on the way....

 Don't you just love the excitement on this little face?

They had never been to this old-fashioned miniature golf park, tucked away in an older section of town.  But, it's been around since I was a kid and it truly feels like it's stuck in a time warp of the 70's.....

Trayden had played Putt Putt before, but this place is totally different and makes Putt Putt feel pretty bland!  Everybody, including us moms, grabbed a club and we were off.....but, only after a stop to do silly dances in the "fun house" mirrors positioned right before the first hole.

The weather was perfect for our skies, a few puffy clouds and a little bit of breeze to keep us getting too hot.  Bonnie and I did tend to gravitate to any shade we could find between shots, though!

I have to admit that I pretty much suck at miniature golf.....really!  I am awful, but I had the best time!!!

After finishing the course, the kids tried their hand at hoola hoops and Trayden really had it "going on".  Who woulda thunk a 9-year old boy could hoola hoop until you finally had to tell him to stop?!?!?

This place has all sorts of unexpected little twists and turns and the kids took every chance they could find to be goofy.  They are terrible little hams when the camera comes out!

After golf, we needed something to cool us down and Bonnie was craving a snow, guess what we had????   Perfect wind down to the cake with cream......delish!

I love this photo above all others from this afternoon......

I think Bonnie was secretly hoping that all the walking and activity would trigger labor.....but, I have the feeling Autumn is going to have to be forced out of that comfy womb on Friday.  We are all so excited for her to get here, but this final afternoon with just Trayden & Ansleigh, was really a very special blessing.

So, I feel like I've already celebrated Mother's Day pretty well.  Of course, I have something special to take over to Mom tomorrow.....and I sure hope the boys remember to give me a shout or text.  But, even without any fanfare tomorrow, I feel truly blessed as a Mother, Grandmother and Daughter!!!

Wishing each of a blessed day to honor your Mother or cherish wonderful memories of her tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The First Day of May....

The first day of May......and look at that view of the sky from my front porch!!!

The mesquite trees are totally leafed out and shedding that nasty stuff they shed each Spring....all over the yard and freshly mulched flower bed.  But, the vibrancy of their green hue is worth the temporary mess....especially when viewed against a brilliant blue sky filled with puffy white clouds.   But, changes are coming.....

Seems like we've just gotten past the cold snap we had last week and another one is barreling down upon us.  It's nearly 90 degrees outside this and muggy.  We had a very brief shower about 11:00 last night.....just enough rain to turn the dust on the cars into mud.  And, now the heat feels nearly oppressive with humidity, despite the occasional breeze.  And, we are waiting, waiting, waiting......for that cold front just to the north and west of us.  They predict the possibility of some volatile weather due to the incoming cold air colliding with the superheated air mass in place......

Perhaps the hardest thing about this time of year is the wild swings we can experience with the weather here in Texas.  Some days, you just don't know what to wear!!!   

I just saw a post from a friend who flew out of DFW this morning, on her way to see family in Montana.  She is stranded in Denver, in snow, in capri pants and flip flops!  Oh, my!!!  I guess she didn't check the weather report in all her excitement about traveling to her grandbaby's second birthday celebration.  I'm sure she has warmer clothes packed in her bags, but the journey in ill-suited clothes has to be miserable.....

Oh, well, the weather should bounce back quickly here.  By the weekend, we should be back in the 70's and warmer.  And they're not calling for snow or freezing precipitation here - we should not get below the mid-30's over the next couple of nights.  It's just going to feel a little weird this evening to switch A/C back over to heat before we go to bed. 

But, through all the wacky weather on this Wednesday, I give thanks for this beautiful day....truly, a gift from God. 

"To every thing there is a season, 
and a time to every purpose under the heaven...."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; 
we will rejoice and be glad in it."
~Psalms 118:24

Peace be with you.....

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