How I’m Spending My Free Time! TWO Surprise DAYS OFF!

Oh ya’ll! I took a PTO day off yesterday, after being physically and mentally exhausted much of the week with lack of adequate sleep on some days. I have now slept 9 hours solid the last two nights giving me energy again. I also get energy from having self time and if I don’t get it, I basically cannot function properly as a human, lol. I did not tell anyone about the day off but my boss and George. I just needed to know that this day was mine and wasn’t going to be filled with anything else.

What I did yesterday was video “Spend a Vacation Day with Me at Home”. I think it turned out great. I used my iPhone for much of it but made myself use the EOS M50 for a few things. I did everything I wanted to do yesterday and nothing I didn’t want to do. lol I still did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, cleared out some things in the fridge, made a smoothie, fixed popcorn and watched a show or two, changed my sheets, packed for Hot Springs, scheduled the Amazon returns, ordered vitamins for me and for Mom, and worked many hours on the flooring video. I’m almost through with it but I will need to video a segment of our house all put together to end it. I also will need to work on thumbnail. I’m not sure when the upload will be. I’m not pushing myself. But I do need to figure out a way to catch up on the videos. I’m not getting the time I normally had, as you well know. And it makes me very sad, mad, disappointed to move at a snail’s pace toward my goals.

Homemade Smoothies

The smoothie was made with the following ingredients.

I used the entire container of individual size yogurt, threw in some frozen chopped spinach, some blueberries, strawberries and then added unsweet almond milk on top and blended. It worked! It was great. I should have put the remainder in the freezer though but I put in the fridge and even though the internet says you can still drink it the next day – it looked very unappetizing this morning. So next time I’ll freeze and have it the second day.

Because women enjoy watching other women’s make up routine, I actually filmed that too after I took a shower – no I didn’t film that part, lol.

The ring light is having some issues. The cube it’s plugged into is getting really hot. It turned off in the middle of filming. At least it did that instead of catching on fire. But I will have to watch THAT. Might need to research that and see if there is a better way. First of all I don’t want a fire and second of all I can’t have it cutting off on me in the middle of filming something. I had the iPhone on the other tripod.

Publix Makes a Great Salad

Publix Salad

I had bought a salad at Publix Thursday evening. It looked small for $6.99 but it looked good and fresh and I bought it anyway to have for my day off yesterday. I put it in another bowl and let me tell you, the salad exploded into about twice this size. The lettuce was packed in there. It had a lot of dressing and it hit the spot. I love this salad with blue cheese, strawberries, candied pecans, and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a favorite spring salad.

The Little Girl I Was.

Me as a Little Girl playing with cards. I saw this on Facebook last night – as shared by a cousin to me a few years ago.

Age 4- ish

So, I was only child for 10 years. And I learned how to entertain myself. I think it is the reason I really enjoy having self-time now. It’s just what I’m used to. I like for everything to be calm, no stress, and not a lot of activity. So Mam-ma showed me how to play SOL (solitaire) and Mam-ma called it “beating old SOL”, which I pictured as the devil for some reason. I guess because he was some spirit I couldn’t see that I was trying to beat. That made it fun. I was so happy when I learned how to shuffle the cards the adult way. Later I learned to play Go Fish, Old Maid, and up to about the sixth grade, enjoyed playing “War” with friends. I knew one magic trick with cards that someone showed me. I wonder if I can remember it.

On a trip – likely in Destin, FL – we bought these cards. It was fun for me to buy them because it reminded me of playing SOL with cards when I was little. I think today I’ll play an old fashioned game just for the memory and see if I can remember the trick. Mam-ma made the rat I think. I have several rats like this in my office as they remind me of Mam-ma and her whimsy. She was very crafty also. My Nanny could sew like a professional though and I wish I had spent more time learning it. It was always a desire and still kinda is but just one I’ve never invested in because well – you see how many hobbies I have already and don’t have time as it is. It’s a blessing to love to do so many things in life but a curse to not have time to do them all, lol!

As a young girl, I also loved to draw, paint, and do crafty items although there were not many crafty items to be crafty with except that Mam-ma taught me to embroidery on old pieces of clothing or old pillow cases or flour sacks and also taught me the basics of crocheting, and even quilt making. I’m so thankful to anyone who took the time to show me “how to” do things as a child which was mostly by grandparents. Grandaddy taught me to read at a very young age. My grandparents really invested in their time with me to show me these things.

I even loved sewing in Home Ec – like I really LOVED sewing, but Mom’s machine was old and crotchety and neither she nor I had much patience in teaching/learning with me on that old machine-so my love for sewing quickly fizzled. Looking back, my mind was so open to learning new things. I loved to draw, sketch, and just decided I wasn’t too good at that either although Mom says I was. If I couldn’t make a living doing it, I gave it up because it frustrated me as I always went for perfection and couldn’t reach it. With art it seemed that you either had the talent or didn’t. I didn’t and didn’t think it was something I could improve. I could have been wrong. But it mostly seems to be a gift and one I didn’t really have within me. I mostly liked doing all my hobbies but always felt I was no good at them or never good enough to take off with any one of them. I was always interested in other countries and cultures through school but had very little information.

I wanted to be an ice skater, or a teacher when I grew up. I wanted to write on the chalk board and those projector things using flair pens. Oh my gosh – I never got to do that part with the projector – I missed out. lol But I do have a chalk board and dry erase board, lol.

Mom taught me how to house clean (lol) but Home Ec taught me how to cook – and George did too.

I also fervently wanted to learn piano, but was given a guitar instead and I tried to have an interest in that but I just wasn’t. I wanted to join the band and be a part of that community but was discouraged in that realm. I would have played the flute had I joined. I think I would have loved it back then. I would have loved being a part of that group and I think learning musical notes can impact your brain in a positive way making paths for learning more difficult things. I loved music, collecting and taping music on my cassette recorder – that was the coolest thing to record the radio and make cassettes. I also wanted to be a singer, but my voice was never high enough. I am a very heavy alto. But my range was never big enough to be valuable. I guess that was maybe 6th grade through 8th grade or so.

I did buy a keyboard and taught myself to play in my late twenties, learning the notes and all. But quickly gave that up when the computer scene hit. I was ALL ABOUT computer games, digital graphics, anything on line, and then one that stuck – something that I was finally good at -writing and blogging which lept a bit into dabbling in photography and now vlogging. I’m not a professional photographer or videographer and really don’t have time to learn it but have always just jumped in – to get a blog or vlog done. I like to watch other people’s videos and then go learn how to do what they did. I am itching to learn – and of course that is where the problem comes in – this itching of mine to learn and explore. I can’t travel as often as I’d like so I am thankful for our internet and YouTube to keep showing me things and taking me places.

And that brings us up to date I guess. lol

It Snowed Last Night

So it snowed last night and so Fancy’s trim is canceled for today and rescheduled for the Saturday after Hot Springs and Mom wants to look at furniture that day as we were supposed to do that today. The roads are very icy even though they look somewhat clear. I took these very early morning as the sun came up so they are twilight blue. I am so glad this didn’t happen during the work week. lol

I can’t decide if I am in the mood to do a snow photo shoot or not. lol I could go out in the cold and do one. I mostly just want to catch up on everything that I am behind in though. But we’ll see.

Miscellaneous Updates

Oh, I had my consult for the colonoscopy Thursday. And then followed with Chic Fil A drive through. I think Chic Fil A took about as long as the doctor, lol! Anyway my colonoscopy is scheduled for one day in May.

Katy and Cody and Little Roo are feeling much better from the flu. Little Roo is taking a few steps here and there. It’s so cute. We got to see him yesterday. He is also saying a few words now. And repeating more. I can’t wait to see him next week. Then it’s going to be hard leaving him again, because the next time is going to be a long time.

Today’s To Do List

First of all let me say how grateful I am to have three days in a row off! My psyche needed it, as you know. It was a secret day yesterday just for me. I didn’t want anyone knowing about it because I knew if they did it would make me feel guilty that I wasn’t spending my time elsewhere doing God knows what and I just need down time to rest and enjoy being home. Working FT takes so much out of you while trying to do so many things. We seem to be gone all the time.

I had learned to manage my time better in recent years and then now we are back to reshuffling again and trying to fit everything in. I absolutely refuse to give up my hobbies though because they are what make me the happiest and give me joy. Giving up work and sleep is not an option either but sadly all three of those things (work, hobbies, and sleep) have to give way at times to make room for everything else going on that pushes them out of the way. It’s all good, I’m not complaining about the responsibilities and glad to do them – just saying it is truly a time management issue – not that I don’t want to do it. A big adjustment process that I keep talking about because I have not truly found an answer. I’m just kinda limping along. Maybe that is the answer, lol. I’m dealing with it all (having no time at home) the best way I can. And that is to blog about it, lol. Sorry – not sorry.

So back to the “to do” list. I’ll work on these things today and tomorrow. They may not mean much to you or seem very productive, but to me these things mean the world to have time to do them. Because it means I’m home and able to be here and just BE! What does it mean? FREE TIME! YEAH!

  • laundry finish
  • iron
  • redo vitamin case for next week
  • check Hot Spring weather again
  • Do some Canon lessons
  • play cards the old fashioned way
  • set up the puzzle
  • transfer photo/video footage from camera
  • go through about 12 notes/lists and compile them
  • update my planner with some new dates/events
  • update to do lists so I don’t forget
  • vacuum
  • work on video – maybe even finish it
  • watch a show
  • read
  • clean some as necessary – I’m not overdoing it this weekend!

So who’d have thunk it? That I would have TWO sort of Surprise Days off in a row?

Thank you God. I love you for that! How’s the weather where you are? Did you make it this far down the blog? lol. And what is on YOUR agenda for the weekend. Love hearing from you.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad Recipe, Messy House Pics, and Moods

Healthy Taco Salad aka “Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad”

Oh ya’ll. I was looking for a taco salad – you know the traditional kind. And I said aloud “oh cilantro lime chicken” and both Mom and George said “yeah yeah yeah”. So I saved the recipe to Pinterest. (Mental note to go back and look at all those recipes I saved so long ago!). Well I fixed this last night. And let me tell ya. It was so good.

I had forgotten how good the George Foreman grill worked. Six minutes ya’ll to get the chicken done. I had marinated it and let it sit out for a few minutes NOT to room temp but just to let it warm and let the COLD COLD get off of it. Note: I would NOT make a good recipe writer. lol

It looks simple and well it kinda is, but it takes longer than it looks. The chicken was easy marinated for a bit but only 6 minutes as it cooks both sides at once. I washed and cut up a head of lettuce (you could use spring mix to save time), and I made the homemade vinaigrette that went with it (Fresh cilantro, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and lime – maybe a spice or two, but I’ll share link here in a sec). So yeah – that had fresh cilantro which meant using a food processor – which I had to find as we’d moved it into the sun room when we did the flooring. Everything is an Easter egg hunt these days! I also had to chop tomatoes, and well – that avocado that was supposed to go with it? Yeah it was too hard. George fought with it – no one – I repeat no one eats white avocado. Mom was in the background going “a white avocado? What’s wrong with it?” lol Oh well. Walmart was out of the “just right” and either had “gone too far past it’s prime” avocados or “not ripe enough yet”. So we wasted the money on that one. In the trash it went. The rest was just popping tops of cans. The yellow corn was great with it as it added a sweet flavor. We sat down and George said “where’s the tortilla chips”. I said “oh I don’t remember the recipe calling for it – go get ’em if you want ’em”. But we ate with out it. It was awesome!

So, it was really good and the link to this fine wonderful recipe is here. I hope to visit this site some more:

Cilantro Lime Chicken

It’s “The Stay at Home Chef” and looks like you can subscribe to have recipes to sent to your email. I will refrain for NOW though until I can get my email in order. I already have to many emails and not enough time to enjoy the fun ones. But I’ve pinned her site to Pinterest and I’ll be back.

Morning hazy sunrise on the way to work

Long Day at Work

I need a car wash. Not even on the “to do list” but I guess it oughta be at some point. This morning the sunrise was bright orange. Of course this did NOT do it justice. It was a BIG orange ball when I left my neighborhood. I had to do a triple take.

Today was one of those days where I really needed to sleep longer. But it was “go in early day” (Tuesday) to kind of make up for time that I’m having to spend taking Mom to appointments. And I just felt kinda off all day. I was sleeping so good when my alarm went off. And of course I didn’t get to do my blog nor work on the video and I always feel mistreated (lol) when I don’t get that time. I “lol” but it’s true. At least I also got in a bunch of extra hours due to quarter end when I got the reports late and had to rush to get things done. But it’ll all work out in the wash and I’ll have to use some of that time – we even out usually. I don’t keep close track but I try to make sure I get my hours in and my job finished. If I do that I know I’m heads above water.

Finally when I was near the end of my 10th hour today I said “enough”. My “to do” list is so long and we had to finish moving things out of the bedrooms tonight. Here I sit blogging getting my blog time back. Mom has fixed spaghetti for us and we’ll eat soon.

Reality Blog at its Finest (or not)

Often people say that blogs are not real. They only show you how perfect things are. Well here ya go. You can see this REALITY blog for what it is. I also did some video shots (finally) for an upcoming video segment.

I still don’t have everything back in place from the luxury vinyl flooring that looks like the barn wood below. But we had to move the bedroom stuff out from atop furniture and clothes that hung down in the closets and such. So here is how messy my house is right now!

I’m considering a day off, but I have so many things “begging” for my PTO days but in the end we will have seen who/what gets it. Trips, putting my house in order, moving Mom again, my doc appts, Mom’s doc appts, those three or four or five trips we have been wanting to take the last 2 to 3 years but keep having to put off, the holidays, long weekends, what? Who knows. It makes my head spin to think about it so I keep saying “no PTO now, hold off”.

I’ve cried, stomped, and plotted over how to use the PTO this year and I finally just kinda gave up and prayed and hung on for dear life. It’s like this year is three times on steroids. But God has not given us more than we can handle. We only have so much time and we get the most important things done and then when we are totally exhausted we end up some how getting a few minutes of down time just enough to keep us spinning and hoping.

So then when the spare time comes do you read, watch a show, do something non-essential on the To Do list, work on a video. It’s up for grabs. Usually it depends on how much brain power is left.

How Our Moods Work

It’s noticeable that how much I sleep and what all I eat – can give me a good outlook or a bad one. Yesterday I was content and happy and on top of the world. Today I was just trying to get through the day and had to try and force a good mood. I really think it was sleep and I am considering that when I drink my greens my outlook improves. ha. So maybe I need to drink those daily.

I was born a serious person and take everything to heart. And when you add all of the “other circumstances” up which I won’t go into – I end up being a kindof melancholy sort with bursts of energy here and there. I am just an introvert with extrovert tendencies. But I usually have to force the extrovert side. I can talk if I’m genuinely into something – then get me to be quiet is hard. But a realist is what I am and I have robotic tendencies if you have noticed to push through my to do lists. I guess somewhere along the way I was taught we were good people and not lazy if we did our list. So I keep trying. I keep hoping.

But the best thing lately about each day is that feeling when I lay flat in my bed with lights out and the bedroom fan (side fan -not ceiling) and sometimes the ocean sound machine on too – it’s the best reward. I fall asleep in gratitude for the day, for what God allowed me to accomplish, and to watch over us as we slumber. It’s a grand and glorious feeling to fall asleep in such peace. So no matter what kind of day I had – it ends the same way – peaceful and restful.

But yeah – the carpet people coming tomorrow! ;-). Soon I can begin the process of putting it all together.

My Recreation Recipe of Legend’s Strawberry Walnut Chicken Salad

I recreated Legend’s Strawberry Walnut Salad with my own twist. And you know what? I think I beat it in taste! lol. Here is a side to side comparison.

Legend’s Salad on the left, Mine on the right

So I’m sharing with you my recipe in my recreation of this flavor explosive delish salad that I had recently at Legend’s Restaurant in Columbia, TN. And for the most part, it’s pretty healthy too. The prep time is very simple and minimal. And you can take short cuts, but if you want the best possible flavors, do it this way below. I’m not a professional recipe writer, but I think I can lead you in the right direction here! This will serve three people a good size dinner salad (for us two it’s dinner one night and a mini salad for each of us for lunch next day), but it would also be a wonderful side or salad course for a dinner party of six. It makes for a great spring salad as the strawberries start to come in early and our tastebuds are just awakened by their ripeness! The flavors of the marinated chicken, the blue cheese against against a crunchy bacon bites, and the strength of the balsamic vinaigrette along with the teriyaki taste of the chicken – just absolutely sends you to the moon over each bite. As said, you can vary this to your liking. But here is how I did it for the flavor enhancing experience. I wanted to post not only to share it, but so I can come back and do it again and remember what I did! Sorry I do not have exact ounces or sizes here.

I also cut up my chicken into more bite size instead of the thin finger slices so we don’t have to cut the chicken and send strawberries and walnuts flying across the room while watching TV . The chicken will need to be marinated ahead of time for best flavor and I’ve provided both the marinade and the dressings that I used here. And you may as well go ahead and crisp up the entire package of bacon when you cook it because you know if you don’t eat it on the salad, you or someone will later! Anytime you can cook extra at once, do it and add it to the next meal!

Strawberry Walnut Chicken Salad Ingredients:

  • Small Container of Spring Mix Salad
  • Chicken Tenders or Chicken Breast cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks
  • Package of Thick Cut Bacon
  • Package of Walnuts (I used big walnuts and broke them in half instead of chopped walnut fragments.)
  • Package of Dried Cranberries
  • Package of Blue Cheese crumbles
  • Package of Fresh Strawberries
  • Homemade Balsamic Vinegar Dressing*
  • Homemade Chicken Marinade**

A day ahead or 12 hours ahead. Marinate the chicken. You can do several steps ahead of time, if you want, which works great if you are having company. I just did the marinade and then did the rest an hour before we ate. It only takes about an hour to fix the salad in total time. About what it is for any meal at home.

So you don’t cross contaminate, I found it’s good to go ahead and put lettuce in the bowls first, wash and slice the strawberries and place them around the outsides of the salad for presentation appeal, break up the walnuts and add them, toss on the blue cheese, cranberries, and set the salads in the fridge while you make the dressing, and cook the bacon and the chicken.

So I used the best thick cut country style bacon I could find. Full on flavor and makes for hefty good chunks of bacon crunch in the salad. I cooked it in a black skillet. You can do your own variation but I’ve found this is my favorite way to cook the bacon! Make sure it’s good and crispy! Set aside on a plate with a paper towel to soak up the grease! This is probably the fattest part of the recipe – but aren’t they saying now we need our fats to help us absorb nutrients? So there’s that!

I then poured off some of the bacon grease and left only a little in the skillet, enough to cook the chicken in. Sorry, you don’t have to do this – you can use a different way to cook your chicken but this is what I did. The skillet was still hot and I poured in the chicken and its marinade and basically just “stir fried” it till it was done (no longer pink in the middle). There was a little bit of extra liquid left, but I used tongs to pick up the chicken and place onto the salads. I crumbled the bacon onto the salad. It’s ok to put hot chicken on a cold salad. George said “mmm the hot chicken on a cold salad is really good”.

Then I poured the dressing on the salad and used a “squirtable” balsamic glaze over the whole dish going back and forth in Z motions!

*Sonya’s Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

  • Olive Oil (2 – 3 Tablespoons)
  • Balsamic Vinegar (2-3 Tablespoons)
  • “Couple of Squirts” of Lemon Juice
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • A shake or two of red pepper flakes (I used “jalapeño dust” that George had in the cabinet)

Self explanatory here – just mix it all together. Most of this is a shake or two of each! The best cooks don’t measure right? This above was good for George and I to have a big dinner salad and a side salad for lunch the next day. It would also serve 6 people if having a small salad with your meal. Hope that helps.

**Sonya’s Sassy Honey and Soy Sauce Chicken Marinade:

  • Olive Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Honey
  • 1 Tbs Minced Garlic (I keep a jar in the fridge since we use it so much)
  • Couple of shakes of onion powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

I put in enough olive oil and soy and honey to cover the chicken. I placed it in a storage baggie, massaging it good to mix the ingredients. And don’t be shy on the honey either. Note: I plan to use this marinade for making a chicken dinner one night! The flavor was incredible of the chicken itself. Use the marinade for 12 hours or overnight. The flavors soaked in wonderfully in that amount of time. Hmmm, I bet this marinade will go with shrimp, beef, or pork too?

Well, there ya have it. I hope you enjoy it! Better get dressed and ready and head to work! It’s only Thursday but looking forward to the weekend. Have not been able to work on ANY of my TO DO LIST this week. Too many appointments and not enough free time. Then I cooked last night. And our dryer went down! George has ordered parts. I’m so proud of him! The parts come in today and hopefully he will be able to fix and we’ll be in business for the weekend. Clean and soft dry clothes are always nice! 😉