Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fast Food Frenzy

Earlier in the summer, I saw this sign, and thought - McDonalds has lost its way.  The sign is probably a little small in the picture, so it says:  Try one - Maple Bacon Dijon Sweet BBQ Bacon Pico Guacamole.  Wow.  What a list of items to be serving at a hamburger place.

I think this list is because have introduced a new sandwich on which the customer can get any toppings they want.  So we can add this to their salads, chicken, coffee bar,  Happy Meals, breakfast options (some all day), ice cream, occasional McRibs - and the list goes on and on.  McDonalds has lost its original purpose.

I remember as a child when Dad would take us all to the lone McDonalds in our area.  We children were allowed to get a hamburger, fries, and (I think) a milkshake.  Or maybe we shared the milkshakes.  Mom was entitled to a fish filet because she was Mom.  No such thing as special orders on the hamburgers existed.  We either ate the burger with ketchup, mustard, and onions, or we didn't. We ate it.  We enjoyed it.  We didn't think about what we liked or didn't like.  And we loved it.

I realize that McDonalds has just gone the way of every other fast-food establishment in standing on their heads to get business.

This summer, a colleague and friend of mine returned to her home in southern California.  She asked if I had heard of In-N-Out Burger, and she sent me a picture of their menu board.  People there love In-N-Out.  I think I can see why.

Now there is a burger fast-food joint that knows what it is about.  I wish we had one here!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday's Fave Five, 7/28/17

 LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. We had a wedding!  It's been a couple of weeks now, but we still don't have any of the "official" photography - just phone pics so far.  Showers started to fall about two minutes before the wedding.  Fortunately, the rain was not heavy, and stopped right after the procession was over.  

The officiant had a great ceremony - just the right length, and very appropriate for the occasion.  

I've been thinking about it and enjoying the memories ever since.

Mother of the bride standing for the bride to come in.  :-)
Daughter and Dad

This is very typical of my daughter's "style." 

It was a lovely time - the quick shower actually cooled the temps by about ten degrees - our daughter was radiant, and it was a joy to spend the evening with family and friends.

2. We really enjoyed meeting and getting to know our new son-in-law's family.

3. This week:  Quick, efficient navigation of doctors' appointments and some medical testing for both of us.

4. I am checking things off on my to-do list before going back to school.  Only eleven days left.  Why does summer go so fast?

About ten years ago, a former colleague made the comment that, for teachers, "After the Fourth of July, it's all downhill."  I saw her this week and told her that, ever since that remark, the second half of summer has been ruined for me!  She just laughed and said she's felt the same way, especially this year for some reason.  It's true, the summer does seem to be all downhill after the Fourth - but I'd never heard it quantified that way.

5. And finally, everybody needs to experience this wonderful taste sensation, when summer cantaloupes and tomatoes are both at their finest.  Try it - you'll be surprised at how good they are together.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Easy Smoothie

I have the easiest and best smoothie recipe around.  And it's very healthy also.

  • 1 individual cup plain Greek yogurt (I like Chobani).
  • About a cup to a cup and a half of fruit - your choice.  At least half should be frozen fruit, for the best consistency of the final smoothie.
  • A splash of juice - your choice - enough to make the blender run easily.
  • A couple of packets of Splenda.

My favorite lately has been strawberry-kiwi.  The strawberries were frozen last spring, and I bought the kiwis at the grocery.   But tonight I had watermelon-cantaloupe-frozen strawberry.  With a few frozen blueberries thrown in for good measure.  Good stuff.

Oh, and I highly recommend the Hamilton Beach smoothie maker.  It's so much easier than using a blender with its multiple parts.  And it was very reasonably priced also.

Very satisfying, very healthy!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday's Fave Five, 7/7/17

LINK to Friday's Fave Host Blog

1. I realize that this is not very exciting, but having been washer-less and dryer-less for three weeks, the delivery of these beauties yesterday was a definite high point of the week.

2. Our kitchen is slowly coming together.  The new tile floor has definitely lightened things up.  Furniture placement is not exactly right yet, but we are getting there!

3. I've been enjoying this summer treat all week.  I got a baker's dozen at the Farmer's Market last Saturday, and it is great.  I'm contemplating getting two dozen this week and making creamed corn for when I entertain daughter's future in-laws this next week.  Creamed corn is a labor of love, but oh, so good.

4. We are going out to eat with dear friends this evening.  That is always on the favorites list!!

and finally,

5. We have a wedding next week!  Next Friday is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and Saturday is the big day.  My sister and I may be attempting a pretty fruit centerpiece for the reception; if it works, I will post a picture.  Next week will be full of things to do.  A FFF may not be on the horizon until the following week.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday's Fave Five, 6/23/17

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog - Living to Tell the Story

 1. I think we are about to survive the tilers.  They have been here all week, but Mike had everything moved out of the kitchen by Friday of last week.  So we have been living out of our den, with a mini-frig that holds just the necessities, and a laundry basket full of snacks and breakfast foods.  We've had to eat out more than usual this week (but who's complaining?).  This contractor has a great reputation, which is why Mike wanted to use him, but the erratic hours, the loud radio, and the noise of the tile-cutting saw have made for a long week. But the floor is really going to look nice when it is done!

2. This La-Z-Boy chair harks back to the late summer and autumn of 1988, when I was pregnant with our son.  I always thought pregnancy was great - until that last month.  I very much needed a comfortable chair, both for the end of pregnancy and when we had a new baby in the house.  We bought this chair that summer, when we didn't have two nickels to rub together - but the La-Z-Boy showcase store was running a three-months-same-as-cash deal.  So we bought it for $300, giving them $100 down.  As you can tell from the picture, this chair is well worn from much use over the past 29 years.  It has survived the childhood of two children as well as many other people using it.

Anyway - the linkage that raises the footrest broke.  Not a screw that came out, or something repairable like that, but the metal failed and it truly broke.  We were getting ready to get it hauled off.

Last Friday night, after taking my folks to the airport for their visit with my sister, Mike had to stop at another store - which happened to be right in front of the current showcase store.  I got to thinking - don't these have a lifetime warranty?  So I went in and asked, and was told, yes, they do, as long as the part is still carried.  So - after a phone call and several emails, it looks like the La-Z-Boy firm may actually carry that part.  If so, we will be back in business!

3. College baseball.  It's College World Series week.  Yes, we are almost addicted to watching college baseball.  Something about it makes it special to us.  Maybe because the players aren't being paid thousands of dollars for each swing of the bat.  Our team went out a long time ago (and we are getting a new coach) but we still are enjoying watching the games.

4. You will have to look closely at this photo, but it's our latest bird.  It's a prairie warbler.  We had heard from another birder that they were present in the scrubby woods near our favorite haunt.  It prefers to stay hidden, but I confess, we cheated a little bit.  Mike played an audio clip on his phone, and within five minutes it flew over our car.  I wanted a better pic, but sometimes you've got to be happy with what you've got.

Warblers are not easy, and we haven't seen many at all.  Many warbler species exist, but they are not common in everyday life - you've got to go looking for them most of the time.  Two species winter in our area and are common at our feeders, but most either just pass through, or are only present in the summer.  This was a little jewel for our life lists.

5. Finally, I saw this in an advertisement this week.  Not worth spending the $$ on, but the sentiment is still true, and mostly funny!!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday's Fave Five, 6/9/17

LINK to FFF Host Blog - Susanne's Space

1. Dickcissels.  And Black-Necked Stilts.  And Yellow-Breasted Chats.  This morning I got this picture of a dickcissel - we are on the very eastern edge of their range.  Any further east and they are considered rare.  We see them at the farm ponds where we go whenever time allows.  Right now they are singing brilliantly, usually from an exposed post or high weed.

These below are black-necked stilts.  They truly are rare for our area, as we are well in-between their two ranges (eastern coast and midwest up the Mississippi River.  They seem to be gone now.
But the one that got away would have been a stunner of a picture of a yellow-breasted chat, with a breast so brightly colored yellow that it was almost orange,  A bird to take one's breath away.  But. . .it just moves too fast.

2. Hats.  And yarn.  I cannot get enough of hats or yarn right now.

These are not the most recent creations, but recent enough.  It's very relaxing to work on one while watching college baseball.  And they finish up so quickly.

3. Bathrooms almost done.  Kitchen coming along.  I will post pictures when they are finished.  It's so nice to be able to walk into an almost-finished room.

4. I am completely done with school for the summer - it is so nice to not have to set an alarm each morning.

5. Gone with the Wind.  I haven't read it since high school, which was, ahem, a long time ago.  It's been very interesting to re-read it after the perspective of a few years of life.  I had forgotten what a rich novel it is, both plot and characters, and I can hardly put it down.

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday's Fave Five, 5/19/17

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

FFF posts seem to be the only ones I am getting done these days.  Summer is just around the corner (a week from today I will be DONE), so maybe I can do other posts when I am not surrounded by school details.

1. I've used my new oven a couple of times now, and am very happy with the oven part.  The burners - not quite so much.  I did not realize that a glass-topped range would be so difficult to keep nice and clean.  But it may just be a matter of adjustment.

However - the oven worked very well and I look forward to many good things coming out of it!

The rest of the renovations are coming along - although right now, due to the tiling, we are down to one toilet in the house. :-)  Not used to that!  Speaking of the tiling,

2. The bathroom floors are done!!  The new tile looks so, so much better than the worn-out old vinyl flooring that was in there.  We hope to get the painting done in the next couple of weeks, so that the toilets can be reinstalled and we can get back to a semblance of normal at least in the bathrooms.

3. These are my "embryonic groundhogs," as christened by my sophomores, who had their annual "Babe Day" earlier this week with their biology teacher (my dear friend).  She has done this ever since she started teaching.  When the biology class finishes their pig dissection for the year, they plan a "party" with all pig-related foods,  This year they had bacon, cocktail sausages, pigs in blankets, BBQ potato chips (OK, so they stretch the theme a little, but you almost have to), real BBQ, dips topped with crumbled bacon, etc.  One girl brought piggie-face cookies.  Then, during their party, they watch the old movie Babe.  It's the highlight of the biology year.

Well, since the sophomores are my homeroom, and since I had a pig cookie cutter (left over from years ago when my own daughter made pig cookies for this same event) and since a package of puff pastry was staring out from the refrig, I decided to make some pastry piggies. And - they looked adorable when removed out of the oven.  The features of a little pig were perfect.  However, when I iced them with pink icing - this was the result.  Embryonic groundhogs.  But they sure did taste good!

4. On Tuesday night we celebrated a belated Mothers' Day with my folks at our favorite restaurant.  Always a pleasure.

5. I figured out how to make a messy bun hat!  I have been learning how to make these hats, but haven't done a messy bun one yet (the kind with a larger hole at the top to accommodate a ponytail or bun).  This one was tried on by several students just to make sure it was right - and they all said it was.  Maybe I will get some made for next winter.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday's Fave Five, 5-12-17

 LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Strawberries are in full force.  My parents have provided several baskets for me - when they go to get some, they ask if I want some also.  And I have put a lot of small bags in the freezer because of a new smoothie maker - much simpler than getting out the blender and putting it together, then taking it apart and washing it.  My current favorite smoothie recipe:  1 small cup plain Greek yogurt (I've been using Chobani brand), about 10 strawberries, partially thawed, a splash of orange juice, and a couple of packets of Splenda.  Very nourishing, very low calorie, and very delicious!

2. Small Paul spoke in our school chapels on Wednesday.  Anyone who knows him knows that he is decidedly NOT small - he is about 6' 7".  He is a wonderful chalk artist, and our students have looked forward to his trips to our school for over 25 years.  I have corresponded with his wife a little bit (they are now missionaries to South Africa), and it was nice to talk with her.  Their website is

3. House is coming along.  This week involved a few setbacks - neither the tile man, nor the man who is fixing the kitchen cabinet for the 2" too tall new refrigerator, could come as planned.  But next week much should be accomplished.  And as of this week, we do have new doorbells and new garage door openers.  

4. Mike had an MRI on his shoulder this week.  The orthopedist is out of the office right now, so he doesn't see him until week after next.  THEN we schedule surgery.  The wheels of medicine grind V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y!!

5. And finally - look what I got at school this afternoon!!!  Thank you, Mike, for my Mother's Day surprise!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday's Fave Five, 4-28-17

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Dad is doing a lot better, and he has helped us tremendously at the school by reinforcing some textbooks, new for next fall, with cardboard inserts and tape around the borders and spines.  It was a big project, and the books look great!!  We know Dad is "back" when he starts fixing books again!

2. New garage door openers on the way, work done on the drywall around the new tubs, new stove installed and hood to be installed this afternoon.  Slowly the work is getting done.  We'll have to put the other projects on hold for awhile due to the upcoming wedding.  But that's OK - other than the fact that our kitchen and bathroom walls look like we're living at a camp somewhere.  :-)

3. Well, this might not seem like a good thing, but it could have been so much worse.  Mike has had a partial rotator cuff tear for a long time.  But last Saturday he pulled the string on his weed eater, and that was that.  He couldn't move it and he was in terrible pain for three days.  We found out on Monday that he has a total rotator cuff tear that will require surgery.  At least the excruciating pain appears to be over with, as the injury now is only causing some pain especially at night.  That's good, since he can't get in to see the orthopedic surgeon for another week.

4. I finally got this picture framed.  Twenty years ago we visited Waterton Lakes Park in Alberta, Canada, as part of a 10th anniversary trip.  We stayed in the beautiful Prince of Wales Hotel for one night, which is pictured in the center of this watercolor.  My dear friend Gretchen gave me this little print soon after our trip - she had seen it somewhere and knew I would like it.  It's an unusual size, requiring an odd-sized frame, so getting that done has been one of those things that's been on the to-do list for . . . almost twenty years.  I got it done at Hobby Lobby and picked it up this week.  It is going to be featured somewhere in this house when we get the painting done.

5. Mike is getting supper for us at the Fruit Punch (a nearby sandwich shop) as I write this.  I came home from school very tired and with a nagging headache.  And the hood over the stove was being installed, so of course I couldn't cook.  This is the perfect solution.  :-)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday's Fave Five, 4-22-17

 LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. We are gaining a son in law!!  A week ago tonight, Mary Lee's boyfriend Alex proposed while they were with his family in Florida.  (He was going to propose on Saturday night, but couldn't wait.)  So this is a very exciting time!

I love a solitaire diamond and think it has a classic appeal that never goes out of style.

2. My dad was able to go to church this Wednesday night, for the first time in over 10 weeks!  Three hospitalizations during that time really took it out of him.  It was good to see him walking in and so many people greeting him.

3. I got out of school a little early today.  My entire last period class was signed out early because of the junior-senior banquet tonight (which will be very nice), so I got everything done and was able to leave.

4. This towel is a gift from a student.  It's been a running joke for the sophomores since early in their freshman year, when one of their vocabulary words was "vintage."  As I was explaining the meaning of it, which included something about it meaning something older, and yet with value - I heard a stage whisper from one of the boys - "Vintage.  Mrs. Bailes."  And it has come up several times to great laughter since then.  So when one of the girls found this in a gift shop, she had her mother buy it for me.  Classic!  It's hanging in my classroom right now, but I will bring it home this summer.

5. New stove installed Monday, all the wallpaper stripped, new bathtubs installed, tiler coming in early May.  We are making progress on our home update.

Happy Friday!!