Saturday, April 27, 2013

Kicking Off The Weekend

Ron, Reece and Aubrey had the day off yesterday.  Ron worked in the yard, mowing the grass.

Reece and Aubrey played with the Wii, went swimming and went with me to Gran's.    

I planted the front flower bed with the pink begonias and green and pink potato vines I bought a couple of days ago.

In the afternoon, I made some bruschetta for a snack for the family, but it wound up being my dinner as well.  Everyone liked it, even the little girls.  

I made two kinds, artichoke/parmesan and parmesan with tomato and basil.  So simple to make, and so delicious!  I started with a skinny loaf of french bread, sliced it into 1/2" pieces and brushed each piece with olive oil.

For the artichoke ones, I mixed about 3/4 of a jar of marinated artichokes with about 1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Put a spoonful of the mixture on the bread and broil under the broiler for about 2 minutes, until the topping is bubbly and cheese is melty.  Eat it while it's warm.  Yummy!

For the tomato basil ones, each slice was brushed with olive oil, then put under the broiler to lightly toast.  Put a thin slice of parmesan on each toast and either stick them back under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese, or put them into the microwave for 30 seconds until the cheese melts.  I used smallish tomatoes, and topped each piece of toast and cheese with a tomato slice and a fresh basil leaf.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil and shake on some salt and pepper.  So good!  And healthy.

There are so many toppings you could make for these.  Tomorrow I may make some with avocado, tomato and rosemary.  I also have some ricotta cheese, fig jam and honey--I wonder if that combination would taste good on them?  

Ron and I went to Lowes in the evening.  We got some Hasta Gro for the yard, three bags of potting soil, some organic bug spray and a liner for one of my hanging baskets.  I'm going to plant yellow petunias and a blackie sweet potato vine in it.  Oh, and we got two red knockout roses.  I'm looking forward to getting those planted.

Then we stopped at Sonic for a small chocolate malt for me and a mocha java chiller for Ron.  It was a nice day.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Five

1.  I was at the BMT clinic yesterday.  I'm not even sure why I needed to go, but labs were done and I spoke with Dr. O for awhile.  He said that since no cancer was found in my spinal fluid, on the CT/PET scan, or on the MRI, he doesn't need to see me for 2 months.  I'll go back in 4 weeks to have my port flushed, but that's all they will do unless there is some problem.  

2.  Dr. O said that the MRI showed that I no longer have a spleen.  He said there was "just a little nubbin" where it was.  He said that the cancer and/or chemo destroyed it.  It's nothing to worry about.  I have to be careful anyway, because of my compromised immune system.

3.  I loved the coverage of the opening of President Bush's library and museum yesterday.  I've put one of my favorite quotes from his speech on my sidebar.  I miss him.

4.  San Antonio is celebrating Fiesta this week.  Today is the parade called Battle of Flowers.  The kids do not have school, and Ron has a day off from work.  It's a San Antonio thing.  :o)

5.  I ran by the thrift store a few days ago.  I got a couple of kid sized glasses (I've bought quite a few, but they have a way of getting broken), a set of four cute little footed glass dessert bowls that look so old fashioned, a tiny little ceramic bunny that I'll save for next Easter, and a small white statue of Mary that I'll give to Mom for a kitchen madonna.  The statue has wax around the bottom and needs a good cleaning first, though.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Date:  Wednesday, April 24, 2013. 

Time and Weather:  It's 7:48 AM, 50 degrees and cloudy today.  Once again we are hoping for rain.

Clothes:  Short pajamas and my fleece robe.  I'll put on jeans and a long sleeved red tee shirt in a little while.        

Food:  Nothing yet this morning.  Last night I had some turkey salad w/cranberries on Ritz crackers for a midnight snack.  I plan to make tonkatsu for dinner tonight.  Hope we have some bulldog sauce.   

Sounds:  Fox news is on the TV in my bedroom. 

Comings and Goings:  I went grocery shopping last night, after the girls and Reece went to sleep.  The grocery store was not crowded at all at that time of day (or night).  I got ground beef, stew meat, the pork chops for the tonkatsu, and some chicken thighs to make Asian chicken.  Also some baguettes to make bruschetta, some artichoke spread, a jar of fig jam, cheese, carrots and potatoes for the stew, Greek yogurt, blackberries, tomatoes, avocados, and lots of other goodies.  Josh and Cyrise usually do the grocery shopping, and I had not shopped for us in quite awhile (I shop for Mom, though).  So it was nice to take my time, and consider what I wanted to cook as I went along. 
Little Favorites:  My new wingback chair slipcovers.  I like them!  Here is a picture from the Sure Fit website.  They go well with my couch and the rug in the family room.



Memories:  I learned to drive when I was 16 in my dad's red and white '55 Ford with a manual transmission.  We lived in an area where they had torn down a whole neighborhood of big two-story four-plexes.  The streets were still there, so my dad took me there to teach me to drive.  (I also took driver's ed the summer between my junior and senior years in high school.  Dad was a better teacher than the driver's ed teacher).  

I was a senior in high school when he bought me my first car--a big white '59 Ford.  I was so little I had to sit on a cushion to see out.  I think he got such a big car because he thought it would protect me if I was in a wreck.  

I drove that big monster all through college.  I forgot to put oil in it and transmission parts fell out on the highway one day.  I pulled into a station and called Dad.  He said that he followed the trail of my car parts into the station.  He was so patient with me.  

Dad kept the Ford (after he had it repaired), and I bought a little seafoam green Volkswagen.  I loved that little car.  It was the first car I ever bought and paid for on my own.  I still remember that the car payments were $44.44 a month.

I drove that car until after Jason was born.  Sometimes you had to push it to get it started.  I remember going to the drive-in in it, and letting it roll off the mound to start it when the movie was over.  Ron and I once got stuck on the beach at Padre Island and a bunch of people helped us push it on the sand.  

We brought 2 month old Jason home to Kansas in his little car bed in the back seat.  We were going through the Arbuckle Mountains in Oklahoma.  My little VW bug could hardly make it up the mountains.  The car was packed to the gills, and we had stuff on top as well.  It was cold and windy.  We got behind an 18 wheeler and he blocked the wind so that we could go as fast as he did.

I like to drive.  Sometimes if I'm stressed, I'll just take off by myself and go for a long drive.  I don't even mind long car trips, usually.  I'd like to take Reece to see some of the country this summer.      

Thank you, God: for the precious life you've given me and my family.  Amen

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend Roundup

The weekend has flown by.  The weather was beautiful.  The kids spent lots of time outdoors, playing in the yard or swimming.  Reece is already getting tan.

Kelly came over today and it was so good to spend time with her.  We went to Gran's and took her out to lunch.  We stopped at Lowe's and got some flowers.  I got some pink begonias to put in the front flower bed, underneath the living room window, and some sweet potato vines to put in between them.  The vine has smallish green leaves with pink edges.  Very pretty.

I got a large potted red geranium and some yellow petunias for the patio, and a little pot of mint (for our summer tea).  And I got three pots of yellow and pink lantana for the flower bed along the backyard fence.  But when I went out there to plant them, the bed looked so awful I decided to wait.  It's just so overgrown with the invasive rock roses.  The soil needs to be amended, too.  So I'll wait until Ron can help me.  Wish I had one of those little tillers.  I got one small pot of society garlic to put out there, too.  I tried to find perennials that will come back each year for that back flower bed.  It already has a large turk's cap, the jasmine, and those darn rock roses.  I think there are some dwarf lilies in there, too, and a patch of michaelmas daisies that will bloom in the fall.

No veggies this year.  The last two years have discouraged me.

The jasmine on the fence is blooming like crazy and smells like heaven.  The peace roses are blooming, too, but one vine has reverted back to it's original and has single petal red roses--not very pretty.  I wish I had enough to make rose petal jelly.

I was going to make something (I can't remember what it was now), and asked Ron to pick up some heavy cream at the grocery store.  The cream was sitting in the fridge and I decided to have some in a cup of coffee.  I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but oh wow, that cream made even Ron's strong coffee taste delicious.  Now I find myself craving a cup of coffee with cream every day.  Maybe I'll try some in my Earl Grey in the morning.  (Oh yeah, it was a cake I had planned to make with the cream, but never did).

Have a good week.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

This and That on Thursday

Here is Reece with his summer haircut.  I love it!  These are not the best pictures--we took them with Photo Booth.  He loves playing with Photo Booth.  He makes all kinds of crazy videos, mostly of himself making loud noises and funny faces.  Then he watches them and just cracks up.  Don't you love his eyebrows?  

Today I went shopping for Gran, then she went with me to pick up the kids at school.  She was so excited.  She said, "Oh, I'll get to see their school!"  They were surprised to see her in the van, and delighted.  They wanted to take her to our house, so we came here.  Gran played with them and watched them play games on the Wii.  They gave her lots of hugs and kisses, and she loved that.  Reece and Aubrey went with me to take her home.

I ordered some slipcovers for my wingback chairs and they came today.  I like them, but need to tweak them some more. They are very difficult to put on and get them looking nice.  I worked on them for awhile, and so did Cyrise.  The little girls were just beside themselves with excitement, first because there was a package, and then because they hadn't seen slipcovers before and were so interested in what we were doing with them.  It doesn't take much to entertain them.

This week has been filled with tragic news.  Please pray for the people of West, Texas, especially those who died in the fertilizer plant explosion and their families.  We drive through West when we travel north to Kansas.  I think it was settled by Polish and German settlers.  There is a yummy Polish bakery just off the highway.  

Continue prayers for Boston, too.  I've read some disturbing things on the web about the first guy who was a "person of interest," the one who was burned and taken to the hospital.  Of course you don't know what to believe when one source is saying one thing and another is saying something different.

Anyway, tomorrow is Friday, Reece's favorite day of the week.  He sings a little song, "It's Friday, Friday...something something Friday."  Aubrey likes it too, because Fridays are McDonald's day.  (For them, not for me).        

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Date:  Wednesday, April 17, 2013. 

Time and Weather:  It's 3:35 PM.  It's 79 degrees and cloudy.  Hoping for a good rain.  Supposed to get to 82 degrees.

Clothes:  Blue jeans, old pale pink boat neck tee with three quarter length sleeves, black SAS sandals.      

Food:  Toast for breakfast, a chicken fajita roll-up for lunch, and fried mushrooms for dinner.   

Sounds:  The kids are home from school.  They are sitting on the couch at the end of my bed watching the movie, Rio.  I hear the movie and the kids talking.  I heard thunder earlier, but don't hear any now.

Comings and Goings:  I went to see my new radiation oncologist today.  It was a six month follow-up.  My original radiation oncologist (the one I credit with keeping me out of a wheelchair) left the Army and is starting up his office in Austin.  I miss him.  

The new doctor is a girl.  She is so young.  She didn't have any answers about the increased numbness in my lower back and legs which causes me to have a little trouble walking.  She is referring me to another physical therapist.  She saw my MRI and said it looks good.  

Dr. O called yesterday to tell me it looked totally normal.  No sign of any cancer or deterioration of my spine.  That's great news, and now I hope that a little physical therapy will help me get back to some kind of normal.

After leaving the hospital, I picked up lunch and took it to Mom's.  I didn't stay there long because I had to get the kids from school.  But when I got home, Josh was on his way and said that he would get the kids.  

Mom needs a few things, so I'll probably go out again this evening.  
Little Favorites:  I have a tiny pair of gold and sapphire earrings that Ron gave to me in the early 80s.  He has given me other jewelry over the years, but these are special because we didn't have much money, yet he wanted to give me something beautiful.  I stopped wearing earrings during my cancer treatment, and the hole in one earlobe has closed, so I need to have them re-pierced.         

Memories:  One of the first times I went out with Ron, we went to a basketball game at our university.  Then he took me to a little hole in the wall bar.  Harbor Lights came on, and we danced for the first time.  He wore a blue sweater and gray slacks and he smelled so good.  His sweater matched his blue eyes.  His eyes would crinkle up when he smiled--they still do.  :o)  

Thank you, God: for Ron and our marriage of forty-four years.  I've always known that he is the one you had chosen for me.  I wouldn't change a thing.  Amen  

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Weird Monday

What a weird day.  I slept late today because insomnia kept me up half the night.  I didn't wake up to see Reece off, I didn't wake up to take Aubrey to school (Josh was home for lunch and he took her), and I didn't get to Mom's until after 2:30 PM when I picked the kids up at school.  They were delighted to go to Great Gran's!

We stayed over there until after 4, and Josh and Ron got home shortly after we did.  I watched the kid swim for a bit, then watched the news about the bombings in Boston (how horrible!) for awhile.  Prayers going up for the victims and their families.

So my day has seemed out-of-whack, if you know what I mean.  I'm going to try to get to bed earlier tonight, even though I'm not a bit sleepy after sleeping so long this morning.

Josh buzzed Reece's hair this evening.  He looks so adorable, and I like feeling his little round head.  He sure didn't want a haircut, but once it was done, he liked it.  Then he didn't want to take a bath to get all the hair off, but Josh insisted, and Reece was happy after his bath.  Reece thinks going swimming can substitute for a bath.  :o)

Aubrey had a bath after Reece was finished, and then I put the girls down for the night.  We read a story, sang a couple of songs, and I tucked them in.  Later I was going back upstairs with a soda and Aubrey and Camryn were standing outside their bedroom door.  I said, "Get your fannies back to bed!" and they scampered away like two little scared rabbits.  They will use any excuse to get up.  Tonight it was "Cammie wanted a hug from Mommy," who had already given her hugs and kisses before bedtime.  

We worked on Reece's math facts and sight words before bedtime.  Then we listened to Celtic music while he fell asleep.  He loved the sound of the harp.  I love that kid.  He has my taste in music.  :o)

Well, that's been my weird Monday.  Hope yours was great!    

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Five

1.  We've had a slow, quiet week, doing just the regular stuff.  I get up to see Reece before he leaves for school, take Aubrey to school at 11:15, go to Mom's, and pick the kids up at school at 2:30.  

2.  Yesterday I had an MRI at Wilford Hall.  I can only deal with the MRI by keeping my eyes closed and never looking at how closed in I am.  It takes so long, and is very noisy and uncomfortable, but isn't it an amazing discovery?  I won't find out what it showed until next week, unless my doctor calls me before that.

3.  Our high temps for today and over the weekend are to be in the 80s and 90s.  The kids are already in the pool.  

4.  There are so many projects that need to be finished around here.  I'm thinking of making a "job jar" for Ron and Josh.  :o)

5.  Do you shop at Tuesday Morning?  We have a small one near us, and I've found some great bargains there.  A couple of weeks ago I got a set of king size sheets w/king pillowcases for $60.  They were marked $350 before the TM markdown.  They are so pretty (light brown with little white polka dots), comfortable, and they fit our mattress.  Most of the fitted sheets we have are too small and the corners pop off.

Have a happy weekend!  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weekend Summary

It's been a pretty quiet weekend around here.  

Ron and I ate dinner on Friday night at The Lion and the Rose English pub near our house.  Ron had fish and chips, and I had a grilled cheese with tomato on pretzel bread with chips.  Pretty good.  We've eaten there before.  I tried the shepherd's pie that time, but wasn't impressed.  

We went shopping Saturday and got Mom a wireless amplifier so that she can watch TV without turning up the sound on the TV.  The office had called to let us know that there had been several complaints from her neighbors about the volume on her TV late at night.  I think she falls asleep watching TV and it stays on all night.  She turns it up very loud so that she can hear it.  Poor neighbors.

So we went to set the amplifier up, and it wouldn't work.  Brought it home and it worked fine on our TV.  Ron said that it had to be something about her TV (it was old), so today he went and bought her a new one.  She was delighted with her new flat screen, and the amplifier works great on it.  We put the TV on mute, and she can still hear through the headphones.  They have excellent sound quality, and she can turn them up as loud as she likes, but no one else will hear the TV.  Praying it works, as we don't want to disturb other people or have her asked to leave.  

I made sausage and tortellini soup for dinner tonight.  I thought it was good.  I love homemade soup, and the family liked it, too.  Here is the recipe.

Sausage and Tortellini Soup

1 Sausage link, cut in slices (I used an Eckrich Farm sausage).
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 C chicken broth (or beef or vegetable broth)
1/2 C red wine or cooking sherry (I skipped this b/c I didn't have any wine or sherry).
1 can diced tomatoes
4 carrots, chopped
2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary (or to taste)
1 bunch of fresh basil (I only left this in the soup for a short time because it had such a strong flavor).
1 zuccini, chopped
8 oz. of frozen tortellini
Handful of baby spinach (I used regular sized spinach leaves).
Parmesan cheese to grate over the top of the soup.  (Get good, stinky parm--it makes a difference).

Brown the sausage in a large pan for 10 minutes.  
Brown the onion in the grease from the sausage with a little olive oil added for 5 minutes.
Add the stock, wine, tomatoes, carrots, and herbs.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Add zuccini and tortellini.  Simmer 10 minutes or until tortellini is fully cooked.
Add spinach leaves 5 minutes before soup is done.
Ladle into bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese.
Serve with yummy bread.


(Recipe adapted from a recipe found here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Five

1.  I had a PET/CT scan on Tuesday.  I saw my doctor Thursday, and he showed me the scan.  There is no sign of lymphoma.  I was very relieved because I've been having some balance problems lately, and I was afraid the mantle cell had returned to my spine.  He drew some spinal fluid out through my Omaya port last week, and it was perfectly clear.  We're still not sure what is causing the problems with my legs, so Dr. O wants me to have an MRI.  I thank God that it is not a return of the cancer.

2.  I was scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy Thursday, but since the scan was clear I didn't have to have one.  So thankful for that!  They are painful.

3.  The PET scan showed that I have sinusitis.  I thought it was just allergies.

4.  Mom and I went out to lunch today.  Yesterday she had packed some of her things again.  She was feeling confused.  I asked her where she thought she was going to go, and she said, "I don't know, I guess I thought I was going home."  Makes me so sad.  She likes her apartment, but sometimes it must feel strange to her.  Home to her is Kansas.

5.  While we were eating lunch, a tall clean-cut man came in and sat in the booth across from us at the restaurant.  He was wearing a big gun.  Rather than feeling alarmed by the gun, it made me feel safer knowing that if "bad guys" came in there was someone there who could deal with them.  Mom noticed the gun, too, and raised her eyebrows at me.  :o)

Happy Friday to all!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Date:  Wednesday, April 3, 2013. 

Time and Weather:  We had a thunderstorm last night, and got a pretty good rain.  It's cloudy and a little rainy today, and the temp right now is only 56 degrees.  I'm loving the rain (and the thunder).  It's about 5:30 PM.    

Clothes:  Black pull-on velour pants, a tunic length top with blue, white and black stripes, 3/4 sleeves and a hood, black socks.       

Food:  I soaked a pot of great northern beans last night, and they have been cooking this afternoon with the leftover ham from Easter.  We'll have them with cornbread in a little while.  

Sounds:  The three little girls are running up and down the stairs, screaming and laughing.  Someone is scooting a chair on the tile floor downstairs.  I can hear Reece humming a little tune.

Comings and Goings:  Reece went to the zoo on a field trip today.  He said it rained on them.  I don't know whether they got to see the whole zoo or not before the rain.  I didn't go with them because my legs aren't working well lately and I didn't know if I could walk the whole zoo.  My balance is off.

I took Aubrey to school at 11:15, then went by the thrift store before going to Mom's.  I didn't find much--a little greenish glass vintage dish with a bunny lid and a pair of gray casual pants.

I spent most of my time at Mom's cleaning dog pee spots on her carpet.  Sometimes I can't stand Teddy.  I like big dogs that mostly stay outside.  

Picked up the kids from school at 2:30.  Ron had a dentist appointment, so he got home early.  And Josh is home from school, so we're all home now.  
Little Favorites:  Josh and Cyrise got me a little green ceramic birdhouse when they were in Rockport over the weekend.  It looks like a lighthouse, and is so cute.  I hope some of our birds will like it.  I have wrens in my little homemade birdhouse again.  Birds make me happy.

Memories:  When I was a child our vacations were always trips back to Oklahoma to visit relatives.  I loved being with my cousins, riding horses, swimming in the cold, clear creek, seeing my great-grandma with her gray hair in a bun and a big apron over her dress, cooking in her kitchen.   My great-grandpa would sit on the porch in a ladder back chair leaning against the wall, wearing a felt hat, an old brown suit jacket and smoking a pipe.  Certain tobacco aromas still take me back to my childhood sixty years later.  Grandma and Grandpa lived out in the boonies on Honey Hill.  We had to drive on rocky dirt roads, down into steep valleys and up high hills to get to their little house.  

If you've ever read the book, Where The Red Fern Grows, you can imagine the part of Oklahoma where my parents grew up.  My dad loved that book because he related to the boy in the story--his childhood was similar.  He loved to go 'coon hunting, and loved to hear the hounds baying as they gave chase.  I always think of my dad being wild and free as a young boy.  He was always outside, and never lost his love for nature.

Thank you, God:  for our family.  For all the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  For Ron, our kids and grandkids.  For our parents.  For Ron's brother and my sisters.  For our nieces and nephews.  May those who have passed rest in peace, and may those who are still living be blessed abundantly.  Amen

Monday, April 1, 2013

Student of the Month

Aubrey was chosen "student of the month" for March.  She was presented to the whole school at an assembly on Thursday.  Her teacher said she was chosen because she has grown so much academically and socially this year.  

Big brother sitting with his class at the assembly.

Aubrey with her cute teacher.

Aubrey being presented to the school by the principal. 

We are so proud of you, sweet Aubrey!