Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: August 29, 2011



Monday: Scallops with Mushrooms and Spinach.
Tuesday: Stuffed pork chops in the Crock Pot, broccoli and salad.
Wednesday: Kabobs and wild rice.
Thursday: Linguine with Clam Sauce, garlic bread and salad.
Friday: Grilled fish, squash and noodles.
Saturday: BBQ chicken in the Crock Pot, rice and carrots.
Sunday: Leftovers.


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Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: August 22, 2011



Monday: (new recipe!) Creamy Chicken, asparagus and wild rice.
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage.
Wednesday: Grilled ham & cheese sandwiches.
Thursday: Leftovers.
Friday: Meatloaf Patties, mashed potatoes and green beans.
Saturday: (new recipe!) Barbecued Whole Chicken, Zesty Potato Salad and corn on the cob.
Sunday: Leftovers.



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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Want Wednesday: August 10, 2011

**I am positively drooling over these London Hurricanes from Crate & Barrel. I Want a set to decorate for the seasons & holidays. I love their decorating versatility!


**How gorgeous would two or three of these Crate & Barrel Zinc Hurricanes flickering cheerfully out on a deck? I Want to be sitting out there with them right now.


**The state of my kitchen towels has been declining over the past several months. They are still serviceable, yes, but some are faded or stained, others are frayed and a couple have sprouted holes. I would say about half are ready to be retired to the cleaning rag pile. A recent email from Crate & Barrel sent me browsing. If I were in the market for spending (I'm not--so what I have will have to do), these are the towels I Want to make their home in my kitchen. There is something so friendly about a cheery towel hanging in the kitchen. I'm not quite sure what it is, but I know it makes me smile.

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

The House that Built Me: Yellow Bedroom

The yellow bedroom. Gram always called it the west bedroom. At one time, it had been my aunt's childhood bedroom, but I always knew it as my own, and I inhabited it so often, it might as well have been.

The two windows overlooked the backyard. If you looked between the tree branches, you could see the orchard beyond. On sultry Summer nights, I would lie in the twin bed, listening to crickets chirping. There wasn't any air-conditioning, but with the windows opened wide, the occasional breeze would cool the room for sleeping, the gauzy pale blue and yellow curtains fluttering ever so gently.

I would fall asleep to the deep darkness you only find in the country, the serenade of the night sounds forming a lullaby. And in the morning, I would awaken to the muted morning light. I firmly believe this is why I still sleep with the blinds cracked. My internal rhythm responds perfectly, waking with the growing natural light.

The bed had the comfort of a familiar space. I knew exactly where the comfy spots were. The feather pillows were soft & somehow always cool. The sheets were worn with age, but not worn out, just that weathered softness of many washings, and they smelled of sunshine & fresh air. There was always a bedspread, though they would swap in & out with Gram's mood--sometimes white, other times yellow or pale green--and in the Winter, there was the softest lavender blanket. I remember, as a small girl, seeking out its edge to rub between my fingers while I grew drowsy.

Like my bedroom at home, it was yellow. I was never a fan of my yellow bedroom walls at home, but here, it was cozy & cheerful. The furniture was a warm brown, and laid out on top of the dresser, on an old mirrored tray, were all Gram's lipsticks, her "rouge" and her compact of pressed powder and her blue eye shadow. I would open & close them, listening to that satisfying snap, occasionally testing it out just a bit. Gram didn't use makeup everyday. It was for special occasions, trips to the mall, holidays and going to church. Gram was always beautiful to me, but she seemed even more lovely when she would change from her typical work clothes, accessorizing with her beads & her clip-on earrings, and then standing at that dresser, "putting on her face" from all those little containers in front of the mirror on the wall, as I watched her, perched on the edge of the bed.

On the wall, over the headboard of the bed, was a print of a little girl picking wildflowers in a meadow. As Gram would buzz in & out of the room, stepping over my paper dolls or my Cabbage Patch Kids, she would so often look at that framed print & recite to me: "There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid." I spent so much time in this room. Playing imaginary games, reading on the bed, recovering from various maladies--both physical & emotional.

The yellow bedroom was a cocoon, an oasis of sorts, from the trials & traumas of growing up. I played there and sulked there. I cried there and dreamed there and felt safe there. I dressed for school, took refuge there, spent precious hours there. That yellow bedroom remains one of the most peaceful places I have ever known.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Want Wednesday: August 3, 2011

**I have been drawn to the Rachael Ray 3-piece Bubble & Brown Baker Set ever since the first time I saw Rachael heft one of these to her oven. I Want it in red. Of course.


**I Want these Glass Canisters for my bathroom. First, though, I need a bathroom that can handle these lovelies.


**I Want an ice cream sandwich. Nothing fancy. Just the old-fashioned soft chocolate cookies and the vanilla ice cream sandwiched between them in the white paper wrapper. I haven't had one in ages.

**You will almost never hear me say something like this but I Want the Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette -- In the Nude. What can I say? I think I was sucked in by the words 'sparkly' and 'glittery' and 'diamond dust shimmer.'


**First, I Want more counter space in my kitchen. And then I Want Crate & Barrel's Two-Tier Fruit Basket.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: August 1, 2011



Monday: BLTs.
Tuesday: Marinated chicken on the grill, noodle side dish & some squash.
Wednesday: (new recipe!) Creamy Ham Casserole with a salad.
Thursday: Steak on the grill, mashed potatoes & green beans. (Could be moved to Saturday, pending possible plans on Thursday evening.)
Friday: Fish sandwiches with mac & cheese.
Saturday: Leftovers.
Sunday: Leftovers? Egg salad sandwiches?

Notes from last week's menu: Sunday's dinner became a pizza when we efficiently cleaned up all our leftovers over the weekend. The Honey Mustard Chicken was a keeper, although I think next time I will use equal amount mustard & honey (the original recipe called for 1/3 cup homey & 1/4 cup Dijon mustard but that was a bit sweet for my taste--I prefer my honey mustard with a bit more zing) but it was a tasty recipe for sure!

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Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: July 2011

A photo of me:

This is what happen when T tries to get me to smile more for photos. Things get silly quickly.

1) Candle scents this month:
Juicy Watermelon. Cherry Lemonade. Sweet Honeysuckle. Pineapple Cilantro. Island Guava. Fruit Salad. Storm Watch. Ocean Blossom. Beach Walk. Granny Smith. Island Spa.

2) What I am reading this month:
I am almost exactly halfway through "Atlas Shrugged" (Ayn Rand) & every time I put it down, I cannot wait to pick it back up again to see what happens next.

3) Top three songs I was drawn to:
"The Woman With You," by Kenny Chesney. "Life Ain't Always Beautiful," by Gary Allan. "I Never Told You," by Colbie Caillat.

4) Movies I saw:
Tombstone.

5) Favorite tv moments of the month:
The Meredith monologues at the beginning & end of the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, "Unaccompanied Minor"--some of the best in a long time.

6) Something yummy I made:
The sauce for the Brown Sugar Glazed Pork came out *so* good this time!

7) Restaurants where I ate:
Macaroni Grill. Gigi's.

8) Five things I am loving this month:
Mike Lowell making appearances at Red Sox games. Pinterest. Making my diamond sparkle. The Red Sox going 20-6 in the month of July, the best July record in franchise history. Peanut Butter M&Ms--seriously wondering if I need an intervention the way I can put these things away.

9) A goal I had for this month:
To actually tell my hair stylist I wanted to make some kind of change. Don't get me wrong. I still love my hair. And it's questionable to make a change when people still tell you how cute it is. But it's been more than eight years. So I asked her if we could change it just a *little* & see where it went. For now, we're just growing out the top a bit. We'll see what happens next.

10) This month I looked forward to:
Catching a weekend Sox series in Tampa! Got more than we bargained for when the Sunday night game went 6 hours & 16 innings. Also: the air conditioning for the entire dome is located on the press level. Bring a jacket if you ever sit there. Bonus: Got to have an early dinner with friends while in the area!

11) Something that made me cry this month:
It is an unbelievably helpless feeling to watch someone you love in so much pain & know that there is not a single thing you can do to make it stop.

12) A photo I took this month:

First really beautiful sunset I've caught in a long time. I miss having more than two windows that look at something more than directly into tree trunks.

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