Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We never win anything!

If I've heard those words once, I've heard them a bajillion times around our house. We never win anything. One year, we set out as a family to win the HGTV dream home. We bought postcards and sent those in. We registered online. We didn't win. I've always dreamed of Publisher's Clearing House showing up at my door with a giant check. We've never won. We've bought lottery tickets (when visiting other states) and we've never won. My sister has sent lottery tickets to my kids with their birthday presents. I can't say we've never won because our daughter did win $20 from the Texas lottery!

This fall, our daughter-in-law won BIG time. She won an all expense paid trip to London for five people to attend the red carpet showing of the new Harry Potter movie. I've seen her pictures and heard a little about the trip and she and her four friends were treated like royalty! She WON!

About a month ago, I received an email from Pappy & Co. They were having a sweepstakes. If you purchased a box of Bourbon Nib Brittle, you were entered into the sweepstakes. Mark loves all things Pappy so I thought, "why not?" especially when I read about the sweepstakes and it sounded like Willy Wonka. The winning brittle would contain a golden ticket! I thought that I would stash the brittle and put it in Mark's stocking or give it to him if he was having a bad day. When the package from Pappy arrived, I opened the shipping box and there was the brittle and a card that had "congratulations" written on it. I had not said anything to Mark about the sweepstakes so I emailed the folks at Pappy and said, "does this mean I won?" I promptly received an email back "Yes - You won!" I NEVER WIN but I won big this time!



Mark's grand prize arrived yesterday. A 12 year old bottle of Van Winkle.


Not just any bottle of Van Winkle but a bottle signed by Julian Van Winkle III himself. (his signature is also on the brittle box!)


I won! I can't believe it! I won! I've made my husband a happy man! Hubby has asked me to enter any sweepstakes they offer! 
Thank you so much Pappy & Co.!!  (Just FYI Pappy & Co is owned/run by women - triplets - you can read this article about them)
p.s. we've also purchased their bourbon balls - yummy!!
p.s.s. they didn't pay me to write this article - we won and I'm writing because I'm excited!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Random Questions from Sunday Stealing


I got these questions from Sunday Stealing who stole this from a questionnaire on Swap Bot.  Yes, I am very aware that it is not Sunday but I'm off for the next few days and needed a writing prompt tonight!
  1. What is your favorite animal? I am fascinated by BIG cats!
    photo from katmandu2

    maybe I love big cats because of this big guy!

  2. Your dream vacation? To stay in one of these (below).  I also would love to go to Australia and New Zealand.
    photo from Tahiti Overwater Bungalows
  3. Last person's house you were in? Besides my own this morning? We were with friends on a mini vacation over the weekend -- so I was in their farmhouse!!
  4. Worst injury you've ever had? I tore my hamstring a few years ago and that was really painful and in September of this year, I fell ON MY FACE.
  5. Last play you saw? We have season tickets to a small local theater and we saw a play a couple of weeks ago. The play was "A Funny Little Thing Called Love."
  6. Ever go to camp? I went to overnight camp one time when I was in elementary school. I remember how homesick I was . . .but I stayed! As an adult, I've been active in the Emmaus community and we "go to camp" for three nights. Don't tell anyone  . . . but I still get homesick!
  7. Were you an honor roll student in school? Yes, I was - honor roll and National Honor Society in high school and A/B honor roll in college. I remember receiving a B in English 102 and I had the highest grade in the class and the only B - isn't that crazy?
  8. What do you want to know about the future? I know who holds the future so maybe I don't need to know anything else.
  9. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne? NO! NO! NO! I have horrible allergies and perfume and cologne sends me totally over the edge.
  10. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit? I just went a couple of weeks ago and got a great report! Having lost 80 pounds over the last two years, I don't have to take blood pressure meds nor cholesterol meds anymore!
  11. Where is your best friend? I'm answering this in a weird way - with more questions. Are you asking if my best friend lives in the same town? If so, yes.
  12. Do you have a tan? My tan is fading rapidly. I love to have a tan and was very tan after our trip to the beach in September.
  13. What are you listening to right now? We've been listening to a lot of Lauren Daigle. We also have listened to Even If by Mercy Me (we've listened a million times!) and I love New Wine by Hillsong. I also love A Million Stars. We also tend to listen to Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons, and OneRepublic. I like Bruno Mars (hubby doesn't).
  14. Do you collect anything? I used to collect things - at one time, I collected thimbles and at another time, I collected angels and another time, crosses . . .now, I don't think I collect anything except dust bunnies!!
    photo from channelingerik
  15. Who is the biggest gossiper you know? I can't answer that question on my blog!!!!!
  16. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over? It has been several years since I've been stopped. I have a tendency to speed. 
  17. What does your last text message say? Thank you! The text that prompted it "Crosses from wedding are still on glass doors. I took down and they're sitting on some boxes in the foyer inside the door."
  18. Do you like hot sauce? I like Sriracha and I like Cholula. If you haven't watched the Amazon Prime Documentary on Huey Fong Sriracha, you need to watch it!!!
  19. Do you need to do laundry? Yes, we went out of town for that mini vacation mentioned above and there is laundry still to be washed. There is a load in the dryer. There is a folded load on the island and there is a load on the island that hasn't been folded, too!
  20. What is your heritage? If you had asked me this question six months ago, I would have answered "Cherokee" . . .but then I did 23andMe . . .and lo and behold, no Native American DNA at all. I'm British and Irish and a few other things!


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Sunday Stealing on Saturday night


1.       Just got these questions from Sunday Stealing and she stole the questions from Sleepy Rambles. It is Saturday night – not Sunday but I’m answering now.

2.       What is on your mind right now?It is 8:46 p.m. and I’m wondering how early I can actually go to bed. There has been something else on my mind today. My hubby is out of town and I’ve spent 98% of the day by myself. I’ve been somewhat productive but not as productive as I should have been. I’ve also been sort of lonely which is a rare thing for me. Mark has always hunted and worked at the farm and been away from home on the weekends and it doesn’t usually bother me but I’ve actually been lonely this weekend. I went to two craft shows alone. I’ve hung out with the cat on the screen porch.

3.       Do you know anyone who has attended Harvard University? I don’t think I know anyone but I have walked around parts of the campus!
  
4.       How many books are in the room you’re in?My kindle is sitting right beside me and it is LOADED with books. My Bible is on the table beside me and there are at least 10 other books in this room.
5.       Do you save at least 15 percent of your income? My husband is the saver and I’m the spender. I’m not sure if we save 15% or not but I put money in savings every pay period and so does he. I tend to take the money I save out to pay bills or make a larger purchase.
 
6.       When was the last time you had a rainy day spent at home? We had a rainy day this week and I was at work but I daydreamed about being at home curled up in a chair with hot chocolate and my kindle!

7.       When was the last time you stayed home from school/work? My hubby had a stomach bug two weekends ago and we didn’t go to church on that Sunday morning. Even though I’m not a “paid” employee on Sunday, I sort of feel like it is a workday.

8.       Do you write “yes” or “no” answers to surveys or do you explain more? Yes – hahahaha! Heck no, I have to explain on most things and my explanations are way toooooo long.

9.       Is there any type of medicine you can’t take? For what reason? I can’t take Codeine or synthetic Codeine – it makes me throw up. I also don’t take prescription pain meds well – same thing – makes me sick.

10.   Do you have a favorite pair of pajamas? What do they look like? I sleep in oversized t-shirts (now more of a sleep shirt)– a habit started back when I was in my teens.

11.   Would you rather have potato or chicken noodle soup if you had to? Potato unless it is “Butch’s Chicken Noodle Soup” – it is really yummy!

12.   Do you believe that when a person appears in your dreams, that person wants to see you? I don’t think so.

13.   When’s the last time you saw your mom? I’m 60 and my mom died when I was 14 or 15 so it has been a long long long time since I’ve seen her.

14.   What is one food you could eat for a month, straight, and not get sick of? French fries

15.   Have you ever spray painted something about your love somewhere? I don’t think so.
16.   Do you live in a town where basically everyone knows everyone else?  No, I live in a fairly large suburban area BUT I work and attend church in a smaller community and I feel like everyone in Homewood knows everyone else (probably not true but it sometimes seems that way)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Review of Katie's Plates

Happy Friday!! Several weeks ago, I wanted to take dinner to some friends of ours who were recovering from surgeries. There was NO way that I had time to cook and deliver food that week but the desire to do so was so strong on my heart. I googled "prepared meals delivered" and found a local site that sounded very promising. The name of the business is Katie's Plates.

I asked my friend to be totally honest with me after the delivery and she said the food was really good. Fast forward a couple of weeks and a co-worker was having a difficult time and I ordered a meal for her family of four. She said it was good but that some of it was cold and the sweet potato fries were limp.

I reached out to Katie and asked if she would provide a free meal for me and my husband and I would blog about it. She actually sent me an email and code for not one but TWO free meals! Before I tell you about the food, let me tell you about Katie and her husband. They are still newlyweds - they've only been married a little over a year. Katie started the business when she was just 23 years old!! She met her future husband in 2015 and they married in 2017. You can read all about them and even see their pictures on their website but my favorite part is the fun facts (I love good fun facts to know and tell!):

1. Katie has two Vizslas - Hungarian dogs! The dogs, Coco and Wrigley, even assist with deliveries sometime!
2. Katie grew up showing horses - that is so cool! She is passionate about horses, cooking, and knitting.
3. Katie is a huge Mississippi State fan.

So back to the food. There is a menu online each week and you can order one meal or two meals or five meals. You can order how many meals you need for the week! You can tweak your menu to be gluten free/paleo, etc.

For Monday night, we ordered the Asian Turkey Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce, Cauliflower Fried Rice, and Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts. If you didn't want paleo, you could have Jasmine Fried Rice. The website says the meals will be delivered between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and if you don't plan to be home to leave a cooler on your porch (remember that important fact). On Monday night, the delivery arrived at 5:20. The delivery person was polite. This is how the food arrived:
First of all, we did have to reheat per website instructions - food was not hot. This was not a problem -- just popped it into the oven while we exercised.

Let me tell you . . .my husband does not like cauliflower but he LOVED this cauliflower fried rice! The turkey meatballs were tasty. They were so tasty that I actually said to my husband, "why does my ground turkey never taste like this?" The Brussels Sprouts were really good, too! My husband's favorite part was the dipping sauce -- Sesame Lime to be exact. We had enough left over that my husband ate meatballs for lunch the next day so the portions were generous.

We had places to go and people to see every night this week so I had a hard time picking out another night. They don't deliver on the weekend so if you order food for Friday night or the weekend, it is delivered on Thursday night. We ordered Turkey Burgers with Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly, Sweet Potato Fries, and a Tomato-Cucumber Salad with fresh Dill and a lemon vinaigrette.
 Remember me telling you to not forget that fact about the cooler? My husband went home at lunch and placed a cooler on our front porch. In my mind, I assumed that the cold cucumber salad would be in its own container and the burgers and fries (warm food) would be in a separate container. We picked a cooler that we thought would be big enough for those items.

Hubby placed a Styrofoam cooler much like this one on the covered front porch with a layer of ice in the bottom.
We went about the rest of our day and met friends for dinner.

At 5:56, the delivery person for Katie's Plates arrived (we have it on the camera). She rang the doorbell and waited a moment or two. She looked at the cooler (once again - on the camera) and then placed the food on TOP of the cooler. She did make sure the lid on the actual food container was secured.

Our next door neighbors saw the delivery and at 7:43 (almost two hours later), they walked over and picked up the food (from the top of the cooler) and took it home. We arrived home at 7:47 and my husband walked over to get the food.


The high yesterday was in the mid to upper 70's and our food sat outside for almost two hours. I am SO VERY SORRY to tell you that I wouldn't even let Mark taste it. I threw it in the trash. Mark had a VERY nasty stomach bug last weekend and I was so afraid that if either of us ate this, we would get sick. The cucumber salad with fresh dill smelled really good but because the salad had sat in the same pan with the warm food, it appeared to be wilted. The fries were soggy but I think with reheating in the oven, they would have crisped up. The turkey burgers were a nice sized portion. This could have been my dinner tonight and I'm disappointed. If the salad had been covered separately, the delivery person could have place that container in the bottom of the cooler. She could have slightly bent the outsides of the pan (aluminum bends easily) and slid the container into the cooler.

Lesson learned - do not have food delivered if you can't be at home to receive the delivery.

Now on to my thoughts -- YES, I would order from Katie's Plates again but only if I could be home within 30 minutes or so of delivery (unless it was really cold outside . . .but this is the south . . .and we don't have that much cold weather). YES, I would order and have it delivered to someone after surgery or after a new baby, etc. YES, I would order again because I love supporting LOCAL businesses. The dinner meals are about $32 for a couple and there is enough left overs for at least a lunch so basically, $32 for three meals -- DELIVERED to your door. I would recommend Katie's Plates to all of you and here is a link for you to use for 15% off your first delivery:
http://katiesplates.refr.cc/lisaelliott

If you order, I would love to hear about your experience! I think I'll be ordering again soon - just checked out next week's menus!!


Friday, September 28, 2018

Have I fallen off the face of the earth?

I had such good intentions! I was going to start writing again while on vacation. I was going to write whether I published or not but then I fell off the face of the earth. Sort of! 

We were on vacation and we were having a marvelous time with out lovely children and wonderful granddaughter. We enjoyed beautiful weather and the fishing was fine (according to hubby, son, and son-in-law).

On Monday (day three of vacation) I was out on the fishing pier early to check on our guys and to see what they were catching.


I checked on Fred - we don't know if he is the same bird or not but A bird (just like him!) has been on the pier every single year


I enjoy watching the sunrise! I decided to get in a few steps and started walking briskly up and down the pier. The pier is long and the pier is metal.



this was taken on another night but
you can see that it is indeed
long and metal!




Imagine my surprise when I found myself face down on the METAL pier. My flip flop evidently caught on a tiny lip of a metal plank and I was walking FAST and I now truly know what it means to FACE PLANT. I did it.

STOP HERE IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH! (No blood or gore or vomit (my worst nightmare!) but giant bruises galore!) I decided that I needed to document this crazy journey so this post is as much for me as anything.

I will tell you a funny thing -- Mark and I are not into PDA. After I fell, when he was walking me back down that long pier to go into the condo, he said, "here hold my hand." I had said that my legs were wobbly (as they should have been!). When he said those words, I thought to myself, "Sh*t . . .I'm going to die!" I figured if we were holding hands, my injuries must be fatal!!

We did not go to the hospital. We face-timed with our doctor and the ice packs began. My sweet daughter and daughter-in-law and my sweet hubby all took good care of me - actually, they all took good care of me. Even sweet Emma would curl up on the sofa with Gran and watch cat videos (there are some funny ones out there - did y'all know that??)


It wasn't THAT bad - ha! It was a huge rectangular goose egg. It was the biggest goose egg that any of us had ever seen and it was rectangular. I know I told y'all that two times - but who has a rectangular goose egg??? My nose was slightly scratched. My head hurt. My knee and elbow were bleeding. My belly was bruised and both of my hands had some bruising and scratches BUT I didn't break any bones or teeth. I swear that I think there is a small hairline crack in my skull!!

On Day two I had the most unbelievable black eye I've ever seen!! My eye was swollen closed.


By Day three, I was looking even rougher but the best was yet to come!


When I showed the above picture to a friend, she told me that I looked like someone about to be admitted to prison! I must admit that I don't look like myself. It hurt to comb/brush my hair so for a couple of days, I just let it airdry.


I'm going to be honest. I decided not to allow this to ruin my vacation. I stayed inside for most of the first day and kept ice on my head/face. I wore sunglasses (which I normally have a hard time wearing) some - even in a couple of restaurants. I must admit that I freaked out a couple of folks who served our table in restaurants. I actually slowed down. I iced my face A LOT.


The picture above was on Friday after I fell on Monday. Both sides of my face were bruised along with the goose egg on the forehead.


The picture above was at work yesterday -- Day 17!!! The swelling is gone from my cheeks. My head still hurts (thank God for motrin and Tylenol!!). Each day, the goose egg is getting smaller.


This is yesterday (above) compared to about a week ago -- smaller!

I just haven't felt like writing. This is one of our busiest times at work so I've worked hard every day (that is a good feeling!). I've been riding my bike every evening for about 10 miles. After working all day and exercising, I've just wanted to crash for a little while and then go to bed!

Gran has a boo boo! Gran has a BIG boo boo!

Did I fall off the face of the earth? NOPE! I just fell on the pier.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Food, Food, and More Food!

Today's post does not count as "writing" but here are the questions from Sunday Stealing:
Food Again!

1.   Ever had ramen noodles? How do you fix yours? Do you add anything to them?  
My favorite way to eat ramen noodles is toasted with sunflower seeds and almonds . . .and then mixed with shredded cabbage, green onions, and a dressing made with vinegar, oil, sugar, and the dry seasoning packet from the ramen noodles! 
2.   Do you like spicy foods?
I can't say that I like ALL spicy foods - do you mean "spicy" or "hot"? I like things that are well seasoned but I don't like to eat things that burn my mouth.
3.   Crispy or grilled chicken on your salad? 
grilled . . .though fried would be delicious!
4.   Do you like corn on the cob?
Yes, I do! I like it without anything on it - just plain! Of course, it is yummy with butter. Let me tell you a weird thing - when I was a little kid, we put mayonnaise on our corn on the cob. I always thought that was the strangest thing when I realized that the rest of the world ate butter on their corn. A few years ago I found out that Mexican street corn has mayo on it!!
5.   Pumpkin or apple pie? 
mmmmm . . .both are good!
6.   Dinner rolls or crescent rolls?
Crescent rolls . . .yummy and flaky! Of course, you can't be a Sister Schubert's roll. For those of you not from Alabama . . ..Sister Schubert's rolls originated in Alabama!!
7.   How do you like your eggs?
scrambled or made into an omelet or deviled 
8.   Most expensive meal you have ever eaten?
Many years ago, Mark and I went to Las Vegas on a business trip and we ate at Emeril Lagasse's restaurant. We weren't paying for that dinner but that bill must have been astronomical. We had drinks and appetizers and desserts.
9.   Do you like stir fry?
Yes! When we were newlyweds (a million years ago), we cooked in a WOK quite often. 
10.  What kind of pots and pans do you use?
Last year, we purchased All Clad -- a whole set plus some extras including a waffle iron. I have cooked in cheap pots and pans all of my life and now I have GOOD ones!!
11.   Do you like Brussel sprouts?
Love them! Did not like them until a few years ago when someone served them to me ROASTED. Roasted brussel sprouts are a game changer! There is a "meat and three" restaurant in town that serves tiny brussel sprouts floating in butter . . . those are good, too!!
12.   Canned or fresh tomatoes?
Fresh tomatoes for the win! In the summer, I eat at least one tomato a day. We have a "farmer's market" truck in our parking lot three days a week (at work) and I buy tomatoes all summer long.
13.   BBQ Chicken or Ribs?
This is a weird thing . . .I don't eat ribs. I do love BBQ chicken and I love BBQ pork and I love brisket!
14.   Do you like coffee?
I like to smell it but I don't drink it.
15.   Cupcakes or ice cream cake?
Icing. So I guess that means cupcake but I would eat the icing and leave the cupcake. Actually, I haven't eaten dessert in 19 months so neither!
16.   Hot dogs or polish sausage?
Both!
17.   Do you like cinnamon toast?
Cinnamon toast makes me think of childhood! Yum.
18.   Do you eat dinner at the table or in front of the TV? 
We eat at the island in our kitchen which is open to the family room but we rarely turn on the TV during a meal.
19.   Do you like to BBQ?
We "BBQ" all of the time in the south - but BBQ encompasses grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, grilled steaks . . .We "cook it on the grill" and BBQ means smoked pork, beef, or brisket.
20.   Do you like cold cuts? I eat Hillshire Farms Turkey (no preservatives, etc.) almost every day. This may sound strange but sometimes I eat a turkey roll up for breakfast!
21.   Do you like rice?
I really love rice and beans at the Mexican restaurant. I don't eat a lot of plain rice. We ate in a cool outside restaurant tonight and I ordered my tacos in a bowl and they included the rice. The rice is in the trash can - not because I don't like it but I "drank" my carbohydrates!
22.   Macaroni and cheese?
This is the south. We serve macaroni and cheese at every family gathering in the south. 
23.   Key Lime Pie?
Yes! 
24.   Favorite Fair/Carnival Food?
Corn dogs, funnel cakes, popcorn, cotton candy - I love the SMELL of carnival food probably more than the taste!
25.   What kind of gravy do you like?
What do you mean - what kind? I like almost any kind of gravy!! I like sausage gravy on a biscuit. I love gravy on my turkey and dressing. I like brown gravy.
26.   Jalapeno Poppers?
maybe? I like the inside and the bacon around the outside but am not too fond of the actual jalapeno.
27.   Broccoli/Chicken Alfredo?
Sounds delicious! What time are you serving?
28.   Do you like cottage cheese?
I have to be IN the mood for cottage cheese. I do cook with it more than I eat it.
29.   Do you like lasagna?
I love lasagna - especially the best lasagna ever by the Pioneer Woman.
30.   Do you like hard boiled eggs? We eat them often. I'm not sure I really like them but I eat them. I don't think I realized that about myself until I typed it! Have you bought the pre-cooked ones? They don't smell!!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Where are you?

 "Riley - where are you? Riley! Riley!" "We can't find her." "Where did you last see her?" These were the comments and shouts I heard just a few hours ago from a frantic momma and her friends. A 9 year old child had disappeared from the beach. Two police vehicles arrived driving right onto the sand. The police began to canvass up and down in front of the various condos. People spread out across the sand looking for Riley. The mother cried and walked the beach continually looking. I won't make you bear the suspense any longer. They found Riley. She had been walking with her friend on the beach and stopped to look at something while the friend kept walking. Riley didn't know which way to go and walked in the wrong direction - lost. Another mother down the beach saw Riley and asked her if she was lost. The mom told her that she was the mother of a 9 year old daughter and offered to help her find her way back to her family. After 45 minutes or so of sheer hell on earth, mother and daughter were reunited.

I didn't help canvass the beach. I didn't really know what the little girl looked like though I had watched her play in the pool not ten feet away. As others searched, I actually sat in my chair by the pool and started to pray -- for safety, for God's care, for peace and comfort. I would get up and pace on the pier and look up and down the beach . . .and I would pray.

When mother and daughter came walking back to the pool, I realized that I had witness a tiny segment of grace.

God is our heavenly parent who loves us so very much and he relentlessly pursues us. He searches us out. No matter how lost we are - no matter how far we walk in the wrong direction, He never gives up on us. God would go to the ends of the earth for us. Heck - he died on the cross for us.

The words from this song have been in my mind since the incident -- especially "it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine:
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah


Y'all - God loves us. Earlier today, that momma was going to turn over every grain of sand on this big beach if she had to do so in order to find her girl. God loves us even more than that.


p.s. I'm going to TRY to write some this week while I'm letting my mind rest. Bear with me - my writing is very rusty. I should take a lesson from my friend, Brian. I should probably write and not publish every thought I have.