Friday, August 31, 2012

I Can Sum Up Happiness In Five Words

Pain free for two days.

Forgive me if I am not around for the next few days.  The doctor finally discovered the perfect cocktail of medicine that allows me to feel no pain. At all - anywhere, at anytime

I have SO much to do so I will be busy busy enjoying feeling like the 'ol me again.  I honestly cannot believe it worked and Tadpoles? I couldn't be HAPPIER.

Finally.  I am off to get some sleep - YAY for pain free sleep.  I will see y'all on the flipside.  If you need me for anything don't hesitate to email me or call. I am going to be around - just busy catching up on all the things I have missed out on lately.

Sigh. It's good, isn't it?
Hugs, Skip

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meet Oscar

Well...Bert didn't want to leave "home", so Pooldad and I went for our next [and equally great] choice. . .


Meet Oscar!
He is a 2013 Chevy Spark.
He is a sub, sub compact - or as we like to say "3 hamsters and a rubber band under the hood."  heehee
 His color is "Jalapeno"
Cool, huh?
 Wallene took all the pics - very artistic, eh?

Here is Oscar parked next to Blue - our mini van.
I get the place of honor in the driveway. :)

If you don't see me around for a few days it's only because I am out driving the happiest car in Sterling, VA!
Or planning my upcoming roadtrip.
Now where ARE those passport papers?

See ya on the flipsdie Tadpoles! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Beep! Beep!

ETA:  SO COOL! I went out to the garage at 3 am [couldn't sleep] and set up my ON STAR and my hands free calling. How exciting is that?  And the calling is voice activated. Squeeeeee!  Except it wouldn't allow me to voice activate using my real name [for my phone] and Wallene's name [for her phone] because they sound too much alike.  Now most of you know our names - how weird is THAT? giggle So I just used "Momma" instead. Y'know in case someone else ::gasp:: is driving my car. :)

It is now 6:30 am and I am out of milk to make frosting for our cinnamon rolls so I am off to the store - then to take Wallene to work, next church - and finally a visit with our grandmama! Good day. Great day! Enjoy!

Bargains, Bargains, Bargains

Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we did shopping for the bargains.

Here goes:
In the above picture we have THREE absolute bargains - and Juli what WERE you thinking girl? I'm still giggling trying to imagine. :D
Number one is Pooldad's shirt - $5.00 new at Maxway's.  It a Russel Athletic shirt in Squirrel's college colors. Number two is the sweater I have on from JC Penny's. Again, $5.00 new!  So versatile and cool on a warm day. You should check out the bargains at JC Penny's for the month of August - all of their warm weather clothing is drastically reduced. Wonderful.  I also picked up a pair of running shorts and a t-shirt for $9.

Then the best - my sunglasses!  Which are prescription and I bought them with 3 other pair of eye glasses for the amazingly low total [incl. shipping] of $100.07! And they are NICE glasses.

I bought them from  Thank you Sapphireblue for the recommendation. SO GREAT!
Wearing the sunglasses
Gold rimmed single vision, pink bifocal and black single vision.
I had 1,500 options to choose from. I gave up after 3 hours and picked these. 
If you wear prescription lenses I beg of you to PLEASE go to Zennioptical.  Their glasses start at $6.95 and the most expensive pair are $47.95.  The bifocals and sunglass tint were an additional $5.00 each. BARGAIN of the CENTURY Tadpoles. I'm telling ya'. :)

Now, onto Goodwill in Orange, VA and Charlottesville, VA:

A 100% red wool dress coat. Velvet trimmed collar  Perfect condition - $9.00
I love this coat. I may never take this coat off.
I can dress it down with blue jeans and sweaters or dress it up for Christams.
A blue crepe dress, with matching blue leather shoes and a blue leather handbag. 
Total cost? $9.50  
The shoes and purse have never been worn/used and the dress is, again, in perfect condition.

Okay, below is scary picture time. 
I was really tired at this point [It was 2 am. Wallene and me - at it again.]
A 1950's hand tailored black wool coat, with a peter pan collar and bow in the back.
This coat is so heavy and warm I will never be cold again. It is lined in silk. No snags, tears, stains - perfect condition, including tags and buttons.
Price? $7.50
I know. I about fainted in the store too. heehee
All the clothes, the shoes and coats are very traditional - but they fit me well and are "my" style for when I want to dress up.

I have more deals I bought at JC Penny's and 5 Below but no pictures - and bargains without pictures [no matter how bad] are no fun.  OH! I almost forgot - 2 pair of leather sandals for $12.00 at Burlington.  With a $10 purse at Payless.

I may have to break out the camera again after all. heehee

So until the next time - we'll see ya' on the flipside!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

...And It Isn't A Baked Goodie

I hate planning dinner. I swear, I do.  It is a whole bunch of things combined - but basically don't ask me what's for dinner because I will answer "Food" and you will be lucky to get that. [Do you hear me Wallene?]

We seem to eat the same ol' things over and over again, which isn't terrible, but sometimes it gets boring. Throw in trying to make stuff low sodium and well...phbbbbt! :P

And the cost of food? PHOOEY!

Tonight Pooldad had late shift and Wallene was at band, so the pressure was off to get dinner on the table at a certain time.  I checked the pantry and the leftovers in the fridge and decided I was in the mood for Broccoli Soup.  Broccoli Soup is probably my favorite soup but I have never made it . I used to wait until we went out to eat and order it.  I have had some good, some great and some meh Broccoli soups but I probably like the one from Ruby Tuesday's the best.  Although I haven't been in a Ruby Tuesday's in over 8 years I don't even know if it is still on the menu.

So...with that in my head I checked our stores and noticed that Pooldad had made boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli for dinner last night. Yes!  And we had $1 box of low sodium chicken broth in the pantry. Yes! Yes!  Oh - and garlic and onions from my beloved MIL's garden [not to mention the potatoes came from there too] Plus we had shredded cheddar and Monteray Jack cheese blend. HA! Soup was on the horizon Tadpoles. [For added inspiration I went to and checked out their versions]

I sauteed the onion and garlic in a TB of unsalted butter until soft.  Added the chicken broth, potatoes and broccoli to the pot and simmered it until the vegetables were really soft.  I took my immersion blender and blended it until it was a puree.  You can also do it in a blender, but I'm lazy. The handheld jobby worked great. I tasted it and added a bit of ground black pepper to my taste and viola!  That all by itself was a darn good soup - very low in sodium and fat/calories.   I put some aside for me [I will sprinkle a tsp of cheese on mine later] and added two cups of the shredded cheeses to the pot and stirred until melted. OMGOSH - that is some tasty, delicious soup. And easy?  Start to finish - maybe 30 minutes.  I did toss in about a cup of chopped up frozen broccoli florets to give it a bit more texture and darker flecks of color, but you don't have to do that.  The puree is just fine and dandy. YUM.

Sometimes I wonder if you guys don't laugh at me when I tell  you my "recipes" for things - like "Oh Skip, WE'VE been making that for years! Where have you been woman?"  But I don't care.  It is new to me, new to my family and it beats paying $8 a cup at a restaurant.  And maybe some of y'all don't cook or don't have time to cook - well, then, this is as easy, cheap and good for you as it can get.  Plus you get to use up leftovers. :)

I am going to serve it with roasted chicken sandwiches [leftover chicken from last night's dinner] on homemade wheat bread and thick slices of tomato from MIL's garden.  ::skippyhappydance::

Soup's on!  We'll see you on the flipside gang. Enjoy!

ETA:  Pooldad tasted it and well...he's pretty amazed too. :D

Tune in tomorrow for "BARGAINS"
Hint:  There are three in this picture.

Monday, August 20, 2012

This is Living. . .

Little did anyone know that when I felt well enough to drive that my whole world took on a new sense of purpose. 
A new sense of "drive" if you will....heehee I crack ME up.
Anyhoodle. . .I finally went and renewed my driver's license because I was feeling bad that Pooldad was doing all of the driving.  Then we were faced with the small problem of our one car family.  I have to take Pooldad to work if I want to toodle around town, so he told me to pick a car, research it, test drive it and when I found the one I loved we would go ahead and try to make the numbers work.

May I introduce "Bert".  
[Yes, I name all my cars. Doesn't everyone? ::wink::]
 It is a smart car passion fortwo
Kind of fitting, considering it will only seat Pooldad and me.
Here it is in our driveway:
 The hatch opened.
I could probably fit four bags of groceries in there.
Or the dog.
 THIS is what sold me on it tho' [well, besides the amazing gas mileage]
LOOK at the legroom in this sucker.
Pooldad will be riding in style.  
The driver's seat is positioned for me, but drops all the way back if he wants to drive too. Neat, huh?
 And for a little extra fun - it has a moonroof.
That's my hand laying on it.  I am a good bit taller than the car. :)
It may not be for everyone, but it is perfect for ME!
You have to understand - one of my great passions is driving. I LOVE to drive. I don't have to have a destination or a reason. I just like to get in the car and drive, listen to music and see the sights.  Once we get out of suburbia we have some gorgeous countryside and farms along some pretty windy roads to enjoy.  It was a great heartache to not be able to drive for so long - what? 4 years? - I have always had my license, but never the strength or stamina to get behind the wheel.

I finally decided that my time here may be limited, but that I wasn't going to let it get in the way of actually LIVING.  Sure, I could sit in my house and lament my fate. Boohoo about how unfair it all is and question what exactly did I do to deserve this sentence - but DAMMIT - that is NOT me.  I have a family to raise and a husband to love on - and a fine looking husband to love on I may add, and that is not just because he may be buying me this car, heehee - I have things I want to do and no amount of pain, or sickness or doctors prognosis are going to make me sit down and cry while I wait for the end.  Those of you closest to me know how scared I was initially and that did tend to make me hesitant to try to be the "old" me, but I found the longer I babied myself and allowed my family to do it the more independence I relinquished.  Once the doctors cleared me of cancer and we started the steps to get me on a transplant list I discovered that no matter what happens I can't just WAIT for an organ to show up, meanwhile watching all the good stuff pass me by.  Think of everything I would miss.  Think of how much I would be letting everyone down.  And sorry, but I LIVE for my family and friends.  All you all are what keeps me going.  I thank you.

And just imagine. . .if we can swing the deal on the car - I can start visiting y'all. :D  I figure I can start in PA, then move over to DE then head on up to ME and after that CANADA!  And let us not forget TN, NM, the Carolinas, FL - That would be one heck of a road trip.

Leave the light on Tadpoles. Skippy may just be hitting the road. ::wink::

Now. . .if I can just get that two hour driving distance limitation lifted I am all set. :D

Have a great Monday.  I have so much more to share with y'all, but this is what is happening today - and after my 2 hour test drive this morning I am a little pooped. I think I'll go bake something.

See ya' on the flipside Tadpoles.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Early Morning Baking

SO happy to be home. In our home, our bed [Don't you REALLY miss your bed when you are gone? I know I do.] and especially my kitchen.  I love my kitchen.  I have had some really small kitchens, but this one is a pretty sweet set up. Plenty of counter space, perfect triangle between the fridge, stove and sink and almost enough storage.  Really, it would have enough storage if I would stop buying stuff [::cough:: flours and sugars::cough] in bulk.

I really like it because I know where everything is and I can bake and cook to my heart's content.  I still find standing up to be the most comfortable position to be in and the two things I do best standing up are cooking and walking.  Just don't ask me to sit down, lay down or get back up again, mmkay?

This morning I woke up when Pooldad came to bed.  Bless his heart he tries so hard to come in quietly and lay down gently so he doesn't wake me, but.....Let's just say he has the quiet part down, but when he sits down on his side of the bed, sorry, but you are going to notice. heehee

With 3 hours sleep in my pocket I went into the kitchen to concoct.  Do you ever get a craving for something and you have to have it?  I am like that with sweets.  This morning it was 'Nilla wafers.  Stores are closed at 1 am and besides I don't drive anyway so  I searched the internet for a recipe and found what I thought was a good one.  It is this one:  Serious Eats.  It is such an easy recipe [hello stand mixer] and they taste delicious, BUT they aren't vanilla enough to be 'Nilla wafers and I even doubled the vanilla extract.  They make the perfect sugar cookie though, so bonus there.  Expect them in your cookie box at Christmas Tadpoles. Yum. [Very low sodium from the egg whites]

Next up were the really brown bananas taunting me from my kitchen table.  Pooldad's coworker loves my banana nut muffins so I thought I would use those up and make him his own personal loaf.  Again, easy peasy.  The secret, I think, is I throw in apple pie spice [nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice] and applesauce instead of oil.  They are still incredibly moist, but a wee bit healthier.  Topher, the coworker, gets one and we will eat the other. [Sodium free]

Knowing I was completely out of bread I started up the yeast while I was making the banana bread and by the time I needed to put together breakfast and lunch for Pooldad I had rolls and a loaf of potato bread.

Not sodium free, not even low sodium - so for me I will make sodium free tortillas in a few minutes.  Those are also super easy and one of my favorite bread substitutes.  I find that you can put ANYTHING in a tortilla.  Sometimes when I am making them I don't dry pan fry the last one, instead I put a little oil in the pan and fry it up crispy, toss it in cinnamon sugar and drizzle honey.  It's the beauty of being the baker. :D

After I am done making the tortillas I will be finished for the day because I am now out of eggs and darn near out of sugar. :/  Ahhh, no worries. I can always walk to the store. ::wink::

Before I end my day with the tortillas I am going to sit down to a nice cup of homemade cocoa, a slice of banana bread with a spoonful of some delicious blackberry jam Pooldad bought for us. He found it at a roadside produce stand.  And THAT'S what I call a sodium free breakfast worth eating Tadpoles.

Oh and sorry that the "Wallene + Mom = Trouble" post is gone.  I had posted a picture I had doctored of what I thought were some random people modeling as a family.  Then I got to thinking they might actually BE a real family, so it would be best not to use the pic'.  Hope that makes sense.  No conspiracy or anything, just making sure I don't inadvertently post something I am not supposed to.

Have a great Wednesday Tadpoles.  Keep smiling and do just one thing that makes your heart sing, 'kay? You'll be glad you did. Promise.

"It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on Earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Skippy's Half the Calorie Damn Near No Sodium They May be Gluten Free Oatmeal Banana Yogurt Muffins

Oh and they're tasty good too. :D

We've been home for a few and since I have been thinking of y'all I thought I would share a recipe made especially for all y'all in the pond.
I had all the ingredients hanging around and the mix of flavors sounded good to me - so I went in search of possibilities.  Taking an idea here and a hint there I came up with these:
They are 97 calories if you make a dozen or 146 calories if you make 8 larger size.  Best part [for me]? 15/22 mg sodium per. SCORE!
As for being gluten free [maybe Juli can help us out here :) Jules?] They are made with oatmeal - and no flours.  Now there is a debate about whether oatmeal is considered to have gluten or if it can be tolerated by some celiacs - I don't know, but I am trying to learn more.
Besides being good for you and tasting yummy - they couldn't be easier to make.  And I am all about easy in the mornings, especially when I am craving something warm and sweet for breakfast.  You can't go wrong with these puppies, I swear.

Skippy's Half the Calories* Damn Near No Sodium They Could Be Gluten Free Banana Oatmeal Yogurt Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Use cooking spray to generously grease 12 serving muffin pan. Do not use paper liners. Tried that, didn't work out. heehee

Into your blender [in this order] put:
1 single serving container of plain Greek yogurt [any kind will do, I am sure - this is what I had]
2 medium eggs [can use larger, but it adds calories and sodium]
2 medium bananas, broken up
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sweetener [I used Nevella, but you can use regular sugar -still, more calories - or honey
1 1/2 tsp baking powder [I used sodium free]
1/2 rounded tsp baking soda [again, I used sodium free]
1 rounded tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats 
Make sure all the liquids are in the bottom so your blender doesn't have to work so hard.  Hit the mix button and process until well combined.  You might have to use a spoon to help incorporate the dry ingredients down into the wet. Make sure you turn off your blender if you do this.  When everything is wet go up to the puree setting and go until the oatmeal mixture is completely smooth.
Divide between 8 or 12 muffin cups and bake 17 -20 mins depending on your oven.  Done when golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Serve with Polaner [or similar] all fruit spread for no more added sodium goodness. :D  Notice that plate only has 7?  Yeah. That.  It is now down to 4.  The family was hungry this morning what can I say?

Calories for 12:  97  8:  146
Sodium for  8  :  15  8:    22
*Regular banana muffins have 280 calories and the sodium count just makes me weep.

You can add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, which I definitely will next time - but adjust the calories accordingly. I think it adds around 25 calories per muffin.

It's been a heck of a long week, but it was so nice to come home and read your comments.  Honestly Tadpoles, thank you so much for the good thoughts - but I promise to 'splain myself better before I go so y'all don't worry.  I miss you y'all and now I think I have a weeks worth of reading to get into before we leave again bright and early tomorrow morning. [There will be a end to all of this right? RIGHT?]
This time tho' I know that I will be back by Monday.  I promise. :D

Now, go make muffins. You know you want to. heehee
See ya' on the flipside. Or Monday - whichever comes first.
xoxo Skippy

Friday, August 3, 2012

Going "Out of Town"

Gosh. I wish that said "Going out ON the town" instead. heehee
I won't be around for the foreseeable future Tadpoles, but just wanted to let you know I will be thinking of you and wondering what you are up to next.
Behave yourselves [Don't I always say this? And who listens? None of you, that's who. yeesh] 

We'll see ya' on the flipside.
Love ya!
Smile and the world smiles with you.
Wear a goofy hat?
And you're on your own.

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012