Thursday, February 11, 2016

Madly in Love

Engineer is a particular sort of fella.
He has many protocols in place for how he structures his morning, how he coifs his hair, how he designs his journeys to be in a circle, etc.  Basically, he lives his life following self-implemented parameters that he has shaped and perfected throughout the years.

Mondrian Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow

If we think of life as a drawing, Engineer lives in a mathmatical M.C. Escher or Piet Mondrian piece whereas I live in anything from a dreamy Renoir to a cheeky Warhol to a chaotic Jackson Pollock, dependent upon the day.

Le chapeau épinglé - Auguste Renoir

It is my precise Engineer who makes our morning coffee.
And yes, there is a system.
No, it does not consist of tumping out a few scoops of Folgers and pressing a button on a Mr. Coffee where it percolates into a glass pot on a hotplate.  If that were the case, I would {also} make the coffee {sometimes} {maybe.}

Oh no.  This ritual consists of canned air, a grinder, a vacuum-sealed canister, happy coffee beans from a specific grower that have been specially ordered, and pressing a button on a coffee maker that gently awakens the beans before streaming the steamed juice into a thermal carafe that is NOT sitting on a hot plate.

Please understand four things:

1.  This is great coffee.
2.  I am grateful that Engineer is willing to make coffee in the morning.
3.  Waking up to freshly brewed coffee is the BEST!
4.  I love Engineer even MORE than coffee.  *Insert fluttering eyelashes here*

All of this to say that when Engineer is traveling for work, I am responsible for making my own coffee.  Gasp!

Because of that, never am I more thankful for the Keurig than when he is gone.  Oh sure, I'll use the Keurig every now and again for an afternoon cuppa and our guests regularly use it (it's in their room) but it really comes into its own when I roll out of bed and can just pop a cup in and press a button.  That's about all the effort I can manage first thing.

Does it compare to Engineer's specified coffee-making routine?  But it does keep me from awaking as a zombie and morphing into a dragon lady.

The worst part though is that I know if I'm using a Keurig in the morning, there is no Engineer around and that is very sad.

1-4-3 EM!  I am so thankful that you make coffee in the mornings; for without it, I would have no friends.  ;)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Madly in Love

Today Diva gave her peers a glimpse into our kooky family dynamic by leading a devotional that she authored entitled "Be the Ketchup."  Bless her heart.

Two-thirds of Team Moppins does not enjoy sauce on their food.  For example, I am the only one who eats salad with dressing.  The exception to the no sauce preference is ketchup.  Engineer insists that the only reason he eats fries is as a vehicle for ketchup.

Shortly after moving to Clear Lake, the three of us were in the car talking about our previous moves.  We were discussing how we could see why God had us in certain spots at certain times. 

Hindsight being 20/20 and all that jazz...

We could see how He impacted our lives directly, how sometimes He used others as His hands and feet to shape our circumstances, and how other times we were used to impact the lives of those around us. 

It was recalling the instances where we had been blessings to others that the idea of "being the ketchup" was hatched.

Engineer and I cited the many times Diva had been called out as a particular blessing to a child that needed a friend or to an elderly person who needed to feel loved and special.  Diva has a gift for befriending the lonely, for seeing the overlooked, and for embracing the quirky.  She has been a safe-haven and a source of joy for people of all ages since she was very young. 

Diva & Engineer continued with times where, looking back, I was the one strategically placed to be a blessing.

To those people, we were the ketchup in their lives - the extra ingredient that made their lives a little easier to swallow.

Engineer expressed that he felt like he was never the ketchup; he felt like his only contribution was that his job was the reason we moved every time.
He didn't see how important he was; but, how could he not know that he was the fries!  It was by his means that she and I were where we needed to be when we needed to be there. 

And besides, if there was ever a time when Engineer was most certainly the ketchup, it was in Bossier City.
After our conversation months ago, we have used the term "be the ketchup" as a call to action.  It is our reminder to be a blessing to those around us and to be obedient to the still small voice who gently nudges us in a direction.

As Diva gets out of the car every morning for school, I tell her I love her, to have a nice day, and to be the ketchup...which has caused more than a few strange looks from passers by in the carpool lane.

1-4-3 EM & DM for being my ketchup.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Summer Hats 2015

Here we are way into winter and I have yet to post anything about the summer hats we'd worn.
For shame.

I think that's what happens when you move, all sorts of things get packed into boxes and shoved in the corner...even blog posts.

Unusually, we had a good mix of new and estate sale hats.

So without further ado:

The cute orange cloche with netting at the top of the post was from an estate sale.

This pink ditty was found at Target

I love the cheekiness of this vintage hat with tassels that hang down in front

To me, this silver turban looks a bit like a Hershey kiss

Here's what Diva wore:

 This one was also bought at Target

This black straw hat w/feathers was a Christmas gift

As was this zebra striped fedora

And this adorable cloche 

This is part of WIWW.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ore-Ida Totchos

 *I received coupons for Ore-Ida products from Influenster
 All opinions and gluttonous family members are my own.

"What the heck is a totcho?"  That was the question my family asked when I announced that we would be having Family Fun Night complete with totchos.

Totchos are nachos but instead of tortilla chips, you use tater tots.  Could there be anything better?

I gave my people a choice between breakfast totchos, chili cheese totchos, and bacon and cheddar totchos.  Really, I didn't need to ask them.  I knew that as soon as they heard the word "bacon" they would pipe up.  I was right.

I'm sure this would feed a normal family of four but as we are decidedly not a normal family in any way, shape, or form, this fed the three of us until we were uncomfortably full.  (I would like to blame the full-as-a-tick-on-a-dog's-belly syndrome on the vegetable crudites that were also on offer, but I would be kidding myself.)

If you want to try totchos for yourself (and you'll want to, I promise) you can try my recipe below or one of the ones from the Kraft Recipes Totcho Hub.
One great thing about totchos is that they are a perfect vehicle for leftovers.
Leftover ratatouille?  Fab!  Cook the tots, throw over the ratatouille and cover with mozzarella.  Leftover chili or beans?  Perfect!  Cook the tots, pour over the chili or beans, and cover with pepper jack cheese.
Leftover ham?  Awesome!  Cook the tots, place the ham over the tots, and top with Gruyere cheese.  The possibilities are endless and the clean-up is a breeze too!  Love those one pan meals.

 Spicy Bacon & Cheese Totchos

32 oz. bag Ore-Ida Tater Tots
8 oz. bag Cheese cubes or shreds (it won't hurt if you sprinkle on a little extra)
12 oz. pkg. Bacon
1/2 c. Sour Cream
Good handful of cilantro, chopped
8 oz. tub of Pico de Gallo
Sliced jalapenos, optional

Cook tots according to package directions.
While tots are cooking, fry bacon. Drain fat and set aside.
Mix sour cream and cilantro. Set aside.
Once tots are done, turn off oven.  Take tots from oven and push them to make a pile in the middle of the baking sheet.
Sprinkle over cheese and place back in the oven with the oven off and the oven door shut.
After about 5 minutes, take cheesy tots from oven and crumble bacon over the top.
Spread pico over as well as the jalapenos.
Top with sour cream mixture.

This is part of Full Plate Thursday.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Catching Up

Truffles found a good sleeping spot

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  Just to get everyone up to speed, we are in our new home and have mostly settled in although the boxes in the garage suggest otherwise.

I had many planned posts documenting our final weeks in the hotel (10 weeks in all) and our first few weeks in our new house.  Despite all of the planning and the posts sitting in my "drafts" folder, very little was actually posted during the last few months. 

Here are some highlights to catch you up on things:

We chose the stain on the left

There was lots of cosmetic work done on the house and as with all previous moves, there are lots more projects still to do...and not just cosmetic.  It's only after one lives in a house for a while that one begins to find all of its particular quirks.  And our little mid-century mod home has plenty of quirks to keep us busy.

Yes, our kid got baptized in a Marvel comics t-shirt
We officially joined our church and Diva was baptized by immersion (she had been previously been baptized by affusion.)  She continues to help with the G.A. group at church and Engineer and I will be joining the choir in the new year.  I've been recruited to help with coordinating food for about 250 people during a weekend long youth event that is happening in a couple of weeks.  We are all still enjoying our respective Sunday School groups.

Diva & Ashley horsing around

We had visitors from Bossier, Tyler, and Marshall at different times come down.  With them, we experienced feeding stingrays, being the only people in a restaurant because of inclement weather, Black Friday shopping, a polo match, a painting party, and the neighborhood Christmas party.

We've thrown open the doors to host slumber parties, a Halloween party, a Christmas movie day, and our annual New Year's Day come & go celebration.

Engineer has traveled to Las Vegas, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, and West Virginia since relocating.

Garden club all about gourds

I attended a community garden club meeting and have completely fallen head over heels in love with our little neighborhood and its inhabitants.  I'm now a full fledged member of the Timber Cove Garden Club.

I am also involved in a Ladies' Bible Study group which has proven to double as my little group of testers for various samples I receive. 

Diva made it through her first semester in a new school and has made new friends. She got first chair in the All-Region Choir try-outs and this Saturday she will try-out for the All-State Choir.

That's what the floors used to look like
Diva also managed to fall down our spiral staircase of death (the same day as our New Year's Day party I might add) and hurt herself pretty badly.  Because of that incident, Engineer and Diva found out that the local emergency care place is very nice.

We all went sailing with an instructor during the early days but I decided it wasn't my scene (I'll stick to the garden club thank you very much) but Engineer and Diva started a proper course of lessons.  It was during those lessons where she saw her first jellyfish, had a pod of dolphins swim alongside their vessel, and had a front row seat as the Thunderbirds practiced maneuvers for an upcoming airshow overhead.  It's precious time for them to do something together without distractions.  But I know Engineer's true motive for getting Diva involved...he has already said there is no time to think about boys if her mind is out to sea.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2016!
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