Wednesday, November 19, 2014


We had another interesting week.

My friend and I went to an open house at a local home interiors store called Chinaberry.  So far, it has been the best attended open house that we've been to this season with cars lining the road.

Engineer entered the first annual Brewhaha homebrew competition hosted by Great Raft Brewery.  He made a jalapeno ale and managed to make top 10 with it.  He was chuffed with himself.

We went to the awards party (read:  excuse for a massive beer tasting) at a cool run-down looking metal building in an old part of Shreveport.  Apparently the set/prop designer for a local university owns the place and uses it as his workshop/storage area/party barn.  It was filled with oddities and neat furniture and vintage cars and all the weirdness you would expect from a prop/costume workshop.  And yes, you may remember that I don't like beer, I was the designated driver.  I wasn't the only one, there were a few of us wives who made sympathetic eye contact with each other from across the room.  A knowing nod was all it took to convey that we were there as sympathetic supporters as opposed to tasters.

The next evening was Engineer's Homebrew Club meeting.  Since the President of the club was one of the judges, he could give Engineer some feedback.  As it turned out, two of the three judges didn't like spicy tastes.  He was basically told that his entry would have done better with a different set of judges since the actual beer was very well done.

 After the previous week's announcement that Marshall was named an All-American City by National Geographic, the news that Marshall was named among 220 Great Destinations in National Geographic's new book was a shock.  I'm proud of whomever is doing the P.R. work for my hometown right now; they are rocking it!

Diva's school celebrated a schoolwide tailgate party on Friday.  The upper grades at Diva's school are divided into "houses" and each house was responsible for food and some sort of activity.  It was nice to meet other parents involved with the school.

I had been looking forward to Saturday all week.  Saturday meant brunch with my girls.  I have so missed our regular get togethers.  It was like breathing a big sigh of relief walking in to that room filled with my  dear friends.  I would sit back sometimes and just listen to all of the ladies chattering - music to my ears.

After brunch Team Moppins visited with the Operinos before heading out to have supper with friends.  Diva spent the night with them and went to a school function with her dear friend.

This week we will be eating:

Sunday - Dinner w/Friends:  Turkey, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Ratatouille, & Cranberry Sauce
Monday - Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, & Refried Beans
Tuesday - Cheesy Noodle Casserole w/Cabbage & Sausage
Wednesday - Eggplant Parmigiana w/Spaghetti & Salad
Thursday - Turkey in Plum Sauce over Rice w/Stir Fried Veggies
Friday - Hot Dogs, Fries, & Carrots
Saturday - Dinner w/Friends

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Perfectly Practical #212 - Pumpkin

I love the holiday season which starts the week of Halloween for Team Moppins.  It's not that we even go all out for Halloween.  I stick a pumpkin on the porch, Diva rustles up some obscure costume from our costume stash, and we pass out candy; yet, it begins the excitement of what is to come.

We are purists in that we don't start one holiday before the last one is finished.    We don't prepare for Thanksgiving until after Halloween. We don't decorate for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving, etc.

Our one exception for cross-over is for Christmas carols.  We listen to carols Thanksgiving night after the guests have gone home and they get turned off after Epiphany.  We don't sing or listen to them again until the following year.  Because of that, Christmas carols are such a treat and someone is singing or playing or listening to them constantly during that time.

Back to why I love the beginning of the holiday season.  Pumpkins.
That pumpkin I set out on my front porch for Halloween gets roasted and pureed which in turn becomes all manner of frugal deliciousness.

So far our one little ol' pumpkin that cost me $4.99 has turned into:

This Pumpkin Soup and
That Pumpkin Soup (we liked this one better)
This Pumpkin Risotto and
That Pumpkin Risotto (we liked this one better)
Pasta w/Pumpkin & Sausage
Some Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Diva's request
and I STILL have pumpkin leftover.
That is a lot of bang for your buck from one medium sized squash!

Other uses for the leftover jack-o-lantern:

Pumpkin Puree - this can easily be frozen and saved for later.  You can also make healthier box mix cupcakes and brownies by using pumpkin puree instead of eggs and oil.
Bird feeder - birds will love the seeds and flesh of the squash
Roast seeds - they are so easy to do and are packed with healthy goodness like zinc and magnesium
Compost Bin - when you are left with just the top of your pumpkin, toss it in the compost bin or wormery.


You could try some of these other recipes once you've pureed your pumpkin:

Leave it Alone French Toast Casserole
Pumpkin Butter
Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
Crumby Cranberry Swirl Pumpkin Bread

Of course, another reason why I love the holidays is because people show up at my door bearing gifts like Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates

and it would just be plain rude to not sample all of them.  ;)

This is part of WFMW.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Menu Plan

Last week was a fantastic one.

Sunday kicked off with a catch-up day.  That's always a good way to start in my book.

The next day I found out that my home town of Marshall, TX was named one of National Geographic's All-American Towns.

On Tuesday I sat in for one of Diva's teachers while she took part in an accreditation meeting.  It was a good opportunity for me to experience the class dynamic since I don't know most of the kiddos.
By that afternoon I was ill...must be allergic to Jr. High kids. ;)

Our last cross country practice for the season was Wednesday.

Diva had extra robotics practices during the week for her impending competition.

Engineer took Friday off to go hunting.  Unfortunately, there was a full-moon and NUTHIN' was moving.  He came home with no deer and a bunch of stinky laundry.

Diva went to a maize maze school fundraiser with friends.

Saturday was the robotics competition and if ever there was a concentration of geeky kiddos, it is at a robotics competition.  I'm telling you, I'm sure every child there was in the top 5% of their class and have high IQs.  The level of dorkdom was phenomenal.  Lest you think I am mocking these children, may I remind you I married a nerd and our nerdlette daughter was on an all girls team in the competition.  I love nerds.

My friend and I hit anther open house and some estate sales and ended up at Hobby Lobby before it was time to pick up children.

We had a wonderful time and I managed to score a box of vintage linens that consisted mostly of hand crocheted or tatted lace doilies, tea tray covers, dresser scarves, table runners, coasters, trim, etc.  140 pieces in all!  What I did with them all you'll have to tune in to find out.

I did have non-buyer's remorse - the regret that comes with not buying something when you had the chance.  At the last estate sale, there was a working Coke machine from the 70s.  I managed to bargain with the estate sale organizer.   I told him that I would try to get a hold of Engineer and ask him about it since the price, although down to an extremely reasonable price, was still over the threshold of what we buy without conferring with each other.  Engineer was of course hunting, so I couldn't catch him.  By the time I walked back in the house to leave my information with the seller, the guy in line behind me had already bought the machine.  Non-buyer's remorse stinks.  :(

This week we will be eating:

Sunday - Bourbon Chicken & Rice, Sweet Potatoes, & Ratatouille
Monday - Pumpkin & Sausage Penne w/Salad
Tuesday - Coq au Vin, Mashed Potatoes, & Green Beans
Wednesday - Tamales, Refried Beans, & Rice
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Tailgate Party
Saturday - Date Night

This is part of MPM.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Madly in Love

See that lonely, lonely cookie up there.
That is Engineer's doing.

Instead of eating the whole pumpkin cookie, he divided it.
Cut it exactly in half.
As any good Engineer would.

This little tableau made me grin when I passed by the cake dome.

It was a little reminder throughout the day of my dear and precise Engineer.

1-4-3 EM!

Monday, November 3, 2014


Last week flew by and slammed right into the weekend.

The biggest news is that we gained a member of our family.  This is our nephew Landon.

Cross country finished up for the fall season and Engineer and I attended a college information meeting at Diva's school.  Other than that, it was business as usual around here...until Friday.

We hosted our first Halloween party in our new house.  It was an intimate affair since we only invited the 3 other families in our neighborhood that attend Diva's school.  It's always nice to foster a sense of community, especially when you have a common bond.

Diva has a long-standing tradition of going as bizarre
characters and this year was no different.  She was
Violet Baudelaire from the books
 The Series of Unfortunate Events.
Halloween here in our hood was busy!  We had tons of trick-or-treaters and they didn't stop coming until after 9:15pm...and yes, I did have my porch light off by then but Engineer insisted on still passing out candy.  I think he secretly enjoys seeing the costumes.

I experienced something for the first time, I had two trick-or-treaters ring my bell then when I answered, jump out from the sides our porch in an attempt to scare me.  It was cute...ish.

Diva and her buddies did quite well for themselves as they came back with their sacks bulging with sugary loot.

Engineer worked cuckoo hours last week and even over the weekend.  :(

Diva had extra robotics practice for her upcoming meet.

And I spent the most fabulous day out and about in the SBC (Shreveport/Bossier City.)  My friend Holly and I attended an open house for a locally owned design business/boutique.  The food was wonderful and we had the most gloriously attentive and positive shopping experience.  If you are in the market for neat household furnishings, a kitchen redesign, or beautiful lighting, do check out Barrett Appliance and Home Products in Bossier City and in Tyler, TX.

Our main purpose for going out that day was to go on the Junior League of SBC's Kitchen Tour fundraiser.  I think there were ten kitchens on the ticket that you could go tour.  The innovation in some of those kitchens was rather impressive.

Of course, we managed to hit several garage/estate sales on our jaunt.  Between the two of us, we picked up some furniture, some shiny things, and some free stuff (because we timed it just right when someone was cleaning out their garage next to a curb.)

But the steal of the day was at the last place we hit.  It was late in the day (read:  everything was 50% off) and much of the inventory had left the building but I noticed some pretty crystal knife rests on a counter.  There were 5 in the set and at half price, I couldn't pass them up.

It wasn't until I got home and peeled the price tag off to wash them that I noticed the mark.
THE mark.
The Steuben mark.  
I paid a whopping $6.50 for 5 Steuben knife rests.
Man, oh man, I love estate sales of people with great taste and beautiful things.

On to our menu:

Sunday - Out to eat
Monday - Bacon Sandwiches, Broiled Tomatoes, Wedge Salad, & Boozy Mushrooms
Tuesday - Baked Potatoes, Baked Beans, Green Salad
Wednesday- Grilled Chicken, Spinach Salad, & Broccoli Casserole
Thursday- Sausage Stuffed Zucchini, Strawberry Salad, & Roasted Onions
Friday - Halloween party
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Roast Turkey, Sweet Potatoes au Rhum, & Cranberry Salad
Monday - Turkey & Broccoli Mac & Cheese and Cabbage
Tuesday - Pizza Rolls, Salad, & Carrot Sticks
Wednesday - Cheddar Turkey Casserole & Salad
Thursday - Corny Dogs, Fries, & Carrots
Friday - Turkey Spaghetti, Salad, & Garlic Bread
Saturday - Leftovers

This is part of MPM.

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