Monday, August 30, 2010

Finally the Search is Over

Ranch salad dressing has long been my salad dressing of choice.

Over the past several months though, I've become very fond of southwest-type salads - the ones with grilled chicken, black beans, corn and tortilla strips in them. Yum!

In wanting to make a salad like that at home I have searched and searched for just the perfect salad dressing.

I've looked on store shelves many, many times. I've 'googled' for recipes. I've been unsuccessful. That is until about a week ago.

When there's something I really, really want I don't give up easily. On a shopping trip to the local Walmart I, yet again, went down the aisle I've searched before.

That day I found this - All Seasons Salsa Ranch dressing. It sounded pretty good to me and I bought a bottle.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Folks, we have a winner!

It's the perfect salad dressing for southwest salads, chicken wraps, dipping - you name it. It's Won-Der-Ful!

In the past it seems that - at least in my opinion - Wally World likes to get you hooked on something, then pulls the rug out from underneath you and no longer sells the item.

Determined not to have that happen this time I went to their website to send them a note. Not that my opinion would matter in the least little bit to them but I had to try.

And guess what?! There were comments from TWO years back saying what a great product this is.

WHAT??? How could that be? I have looked at bottle after bottle after bottle of salad dressings in more than one Wally World and I've never seen this one before. Am I blind? Maybe so. Regardless, I've found it now and I don't ever want it to go away.

But just in case it would - do you have a recipe for this type of dressing that you'd like to share?

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Find Inspiration In My Blog Friends

I'm always inspired by my blog friends who are consistent in exercising. I start exercising and keep it up for quite awhile, then things get in the way. This summer it was the awful heat. I do hope to start back up now that it's cooler.

Today after reading several blogs I was inspired to write this post.

Angela at Pickles on Pizza posted about a recent trip she made to Louisiana where she found an old Orange Crush sign. She didn't buy it but then, with the price that was on it, I wouldn't have either.

But that reminded me of a couple of scrapbook layouts I did some time ago.

Have you ever seen a car crusher in action?

And this one is one of my favorite layouts of G3 and G4. They don't often get to have pop with caffeine but I was able to get Son to o.k. some Orange Crush just so I could make this layout.

Lynn at For Love or Funny CLAIMS the only thing she cooks well is hot dogs. I don't believe that for one second but if it were true, this hot dog griller that I found at the Kitchen Collection store in Branson would be right up her alley. We have one and so does Son and Daughter. It grills great hot dogs!

LanyardLady was looking for a recipe for chicken parm or chicken cacciatore. I didn't have a recipe for her but it made me think of a wonderful little Italian restaurant called Brothers Railroad Inn in Independence, KS. They serve the BEST food! I'm not sure that chicken parm or chicken cacciatore is on the menu though. I'll have to look the next time we make a trip up there for dinner. Have you ever had Chicken Alfredo Pizza? Oh. My. Goodness! Theirs is to die for! Angela - if you're reading this, do ya'll make Chicken Alfredo pizza?

And finally, Joycee at Granny Mountain said in her post today that she was almost named Nola. She likes the name her parents did choose and is very glad that they didn't go with Nola. While I'm not crazy about my given name, one person in the family wanted me named Ernestine after himself. Although I loved that person dearly, I am SO GLAD that name didn't make the final cut. (Sorry to anyone reading this who has that name or has a loved one with it.)

So, if you're like me, in what way(s) do bloggers inspire you?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fun Times This Past Weekend

Last week I told you I was going to the Creating Keepsakes scrapbooking convention in Tulsa. It was held at the Renaissance hotel in south Tulsa.

I might add that it's a very nice venue for the convention but while you can see the hotel from the highway, unless you've been there before, it's kinda hard to get to.

I was glad AD came with me because parking was at a premium. He dropped me at the door, then left to do some of his own shopping.

While I was at the convention he went to Bass Pro, Home Depot, Sam's, Best Buy, a couple of tools stores and a shop that sells racing parts. And that's only the places he told me he went to. There could have been others that he forgot to mention.

Lots of ladies - and a few guys - attended the convention for classes and the vendor show. I've taken classes in the past but this year I just wanted to go to the vendor show. Most of the vendors have pretty good prices on their merchandise.

I indulged. Enough said.

I was mainly looking for paper I could use to finish up my scrapbooks - yes, I meant to make 'scrapbooks' plural - of our 2006 trip to Disney World.

And yes, I did mean to type 2006. Between Daughter and me, we took something like 1800 photos on that trip. While I'm not printing or scrapbooking NEAR that many photos, it has taken me a long time to get the books put together.

I work on them - then get kind of burnt out on Disney (Whoa! did I just say that?!?!?) - and have to work on other layouts.

Eventually I make my way back to the Disney photos when I start thinking how nice another trip would be to "the World". Work on them some more - get burnt out again - well, you see how this goes and why it's taken me so long to get the books done.

I truly do love all my Disney photos and I would love to go visit 'the World' again someday. But not before I finish these scrapbooks.

Anyway, back to the convention. I was able to find enough Disney-type papers to finish the books up.

And get some other cute ideas for other projects.

Side note: I appreciate all the vendors who DO allow photos to be taken of the examples displayed. It really helps when you get home and want to re-create a page or project that you bought all the supplies for.

Several hours and quite a few dollars later I called AD to find out if he was in the vicinity. As it turned out he was just on the other side of 169 and it would only take him about 10 minutes to get back to the hotel.

Being the wonderful husband he is, AD asked if I'd like to go to Ted's for a late lunch. Ummm - let me think about that for just a . . .YES! (Like I'd ever turn down the opportunity for a trip to Ted's!)

For those of you in other parts of the country, Ted's Cafe Escondido (sorry, I don't know how to get that little accent mark over the 'e' in Cafe) is a Mexican style restaurant with the best chips, warm tortillas, salsa and queso served before the meal. Their food is so yummy and the service is always simply outstanding! Plus, there's a complimentary sopapilla for dessert waiting for you if you like.

If you're ever in the Oklahoma City / Tulsa area and like Mexican food - Ted's has my recommendation.

AD, G1 (in car) and his girlfriend.

Saturday night always finds us at the local dirt track to watch G1 and G2 race. Last Saturday both boys won their heat races.

This summer, on the majority of nights, the boys have placed 1st and 2nd in the feature races. There's been a bit of complaining amongst some of the other drivers about the boys' winning streak. NOTE: Some of the drivers are much older than either G1 or G2. In fact, back when I was a kid, one of them lived right across the street from my family.

The decision was made this past Saturday to invert the top 3 finishers of each heat race for the feature race. (My personal opinion is that the decision was made to try and stop the complaining. We'll see how that works.) That put the boys starting in the 5th and 6th positions.

Due to their driving skills, it wasn't long before the boys were running 1st and 2nd. This week G2 won and G1 came in 2nd. The boys are now tied for the points championship.

Who knows what will happen next week. It will be exciting to say the least.

Plus, I have even more excitement coming next weekend. Son is bringing G3, G4 and Girlie to our house for the weekend. So I need to get busy. Lots of plans to make!

Have a good week everyone!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Scrapbooking Wednesdays

Over the summer months, the closest scrapbook store to my house (roughly 21 miles away) has been hosting crops every Wednesday from 10am to 6pm.

If you attend the crop there has been a modest fee of $2 and everyone is asked to bring a snack to share with the group. That's a pretty sweet deal in itself. However the owner generously gives each attendee a small gift in the $2 range so the crop is basically free.

Plus she supplies water, pop and chocolate. And each attendee gets 15% off their (regular priced) purchase that day. WOW! Talk about a fantastic deal!

So that's what I've been doing most Wednesdays this summer.

Another activity that the store sponsors is a monthly layout contest. The store's customers vote on their favorite layout during the month, then the winner is announced and receives a small prize. This month I was the winner! WOO WEE! I was totally flattered.

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of my winning page. It's still on display at the store.

I can give you a peek at the layout I submitted for August though. I know I'm a little early in entering but Son had emailed me some pictures I'd requested and I couldn't wait to put the page together.

So I used the following 4 pictures with the title of " 'Girlie's name' found her Prince Charming and his name is Daddy."

Here's what the page looks like all put together. Although you probably can't see it, there's lots of glitter all over the page. For those of you who scrapbook - I think you might call me the queen of Stickles. I just can't get enough of that product!

Friday there's a scrapbooking convention in Tulsa. Guess where I'll be . . .

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

AWOL and an Award

I've been out-of-pocket for well over a week now and if you're here reading this I thank you for stopping back by.

Honestly, while I've been very busy I haven't been doing anything that's very exciting unless laundry, housekeeping and grocery shopping are on your list of your most favorite things to do.

Today, though, began a new chapter in G1's life. He began taking online classes through one of the area community colleges and he's doing his work at our house. While the speed of our internet is far what we would like it to be, it is faster than the internet he has at home.

And I'm glad to have him. He arrived here early this morning and got right to work. Good thing too because it was a cloudy, rainy day which caused our internet to be up and down most of the day. All in all though, I'd say he had a very productive day.

Once he finished for the day and was on his way home I checked my email and blog. Lo and behold, LV from Meme's Corner had honored me with an award.

The "Cherry on Top Award" to be exact.

The rules are simple. The chosen bloggers are to feature a picture they truly love on their blog and pass the award on to five others.

This is the photo that immediately came to mind. I posted it awhile back but it is one I truly love - one of Son and Girlie. To me it reflects a father's love for his child(ren).

As for passing the award on - I read many blogs most every day and each one is special to me. Too many bloggers in fact for me to choose only 5.

So, I pass the "Cherry On Top Award" to each and everyone of the bloggers who I follow. You know who you are so please, accept this award with my deepest thanks for brightening my days, taking me places I might not otherwise visit, and for teaching me lots of new things. I applaud each and every single one of you. And pass, if you're so inclined, please pass it on.

Have a wonderful week. I hope to see you soon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekend In Review

This weekend was pretty laid back here on the home front.

I went to a scrapbook crop on Friday from 10 am to midnight. Grand total of pages completed in that time period - 8. It was a fun time to just kick back and enjoy creating pages along with others who share the same hobby.

Saturday AD and I drove into town and went to see the "A Team" movie. It was one he'd been wanting to see.

We also dog-sat for 3 of our daughter's dogs while she and her family took the opportunity to go on a float trip down the Elk river in Missouri. They seldom have an open weekend in the summer due to the boys' racing schedule.

E (in Elliott's bed) and Hollie stayed indoors and their outside dog, Tracker, kept Mikey company outdoors.

Note that E is in Elliot's bed. I'm not sure how he was able to fit himself in it comfortably, but he liked laying there.

Sunday morning we went to church and came right home afterward.

The only thing I really wanted to accomplish on Sunday was to take everything out of this old bookshelf which I did, before thinking that I should have taken a photo,

moving this set of shelves in to replace it

and then put everything back.

There were these scrapbooks

and all the scrapbooks on the bed, along with some of my other favorite things.

It all came together just as I envisioned.

Today I'll be working some more on the room I use when I scrapbook at home. Maybe I'll have pictures of that re-do sometime later this week. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tip for a Summertime Favorite

I'd wanted a french fry cutter for a long, long time but when I checked the price of one at my favorite restaurant supply store in Tulsa well, let's just say that pretty much blew it out of the water. NO WAY was I going to fork over that much money. (no pun intended) I could cut a whole lot of potatoes up by hand for what that one would have cost me.

Then we took a trip to Branson. I always check out the kitchen stores in the outlet malls when we go. And guess what! One of the stores had, what I believe to be, the very same cutter. The box was exactly the same. But the price was less than half of what the one at the restaurant supply store was. Needless to say I bought that baby on the spot.

So I get it home. And up until yesterday the cutter remained in my pantry unused. Not one single french fry has been cut with it. But then, we haven't been eating a lot of potatoes recently.

Then the other day while we were at the grocery store I picked up a bag of potatoes. Hey - it's summer and we haven't had any good potato salad. And I'd included it on the menu for this week.

Yesterday I was really busy all day. I had put some potatoes and some eggs on to boil while I doing other things.

When they were both done and cooled it was time to make that potato salad. And I was tired. Really tired. Was not looking forward to peeling and cutting up all of those potatoes one bit. The eggs wouldn't be so hard but the potatoes - that's a different story.

See, I like chunky potato salad. Not the mashed up kind. I want to be able to bite into chunks of potato.
But I don't want huge chunks, just the right size bite chunks. Kind of like that Goldilocks girl and her porridge. Just the right size chunks. And it takes awhile for me to cut those potatoes up to just the right size.

Then it dawned on me - my french fry cutter! I would / should be able to put those peeled potatoes right through it, then with a paring knife, quickly cut those sliced potatoes up going the other way for the perfect sized chunks.

And. It. Worked! Absolutely, beautifully! (insert a picture of me patting myself on the back for such a brilliant idea. I don't often have those.)

Well, if it worked for potatoes - shouldn't it work for boiled eggs as well?

So I put an egg in and presto - it came out every bit as well as the potatoes did. Made 3 or 4 quick cuts going the other way and the eggs were done too.

Stirred in the rest of our favorite ingredients and AAHHHHHH! - perfect potato salad to go with the perfect grilled hamburgers AD had made.

What a wonderful summer supper!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Traveling Doggie Spa

Earlier this year we were extremely disappointed to learn that our fur kids' groomer was closing her shop. She was the only groomer our sweet babies had ever been to and they loved her as much as we did.

She gave us the name of another local groomer on our last visit.

A few weeks later I telephoned the other groomer and had a nice, long chat with her. She is every bit as passionate in her love for dogs as we are. And she works part time at a local vet's office too. That was a big plus. So I had no problem taking them to her to be groomed.

And she did a good job. We were pleased enough with her work. Although I planned to return to her, luckily I didn't make a follow-up appointment when we left.

The very next day I got a call from our old groomer. She had decided to re-open her grooming business but with a twist. She now had a fully self-contained, mobile unit. She would come to our house!

She asked if we would be interested and willing to come back to her. My first questions were

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME??? You'll actually come to our house?

Followed-up by, Do you know just how far it is to our house?

And then - How much is this gonna cost? Actually that was mainly a question in my head to myself because of the distance she would be traveling, although I did ask her about the rates.

Her answers were: Yes, she would come to our house; yes, she knew how far it was to our house; and her rates were more than reasonable. YEA!!!! I was doing a Happy Dance, big time!

So, this past Saturday the doggie spa pulled into our driveway. We were all so excited!

And not just AD, Elliott, Smoke, Dani and me either.

Daughter's 3 fur kids were here too. They had also been customers. In fact, it was Daughter who told me about Jeannie when we first got Elliott.

This is Kasey after her turn. Being a Boston, she doesn't need haircuts. She gets a bath and her nails done. Saturday was a shy day and Kasey didn't much want her picture taken.

This is Earnhardt (Little E or just "E" for short). Isn't he handsome?

And this is Holley. She and Dani got bows in their ears instead of bandannas. (Poor Kasey doesn't have enough hair to attach bows to but then she can be a pretty wild girl and bows probably would last all on 5 seconds in her ears anyway.)

I wasn't sure how long Dani's bows would stay in either but today is Monday. I just checked and they're still in her ears.

Smoke was just worn out from his grooming. He immediately came in the house, jumped up on the couch and laid there for quite some time.

Although we were told that all 3 of our kids took naps while they were in the trailer. The gentle vibration from the generator lulled them right to sleep. Sounds like the generator provided a little massage therapy.

Which made it very nice for Elliott. Although he has always been good at the groomer's, he's never wanted to actually GO to the groomer's. He always kind of sensed it on grooming days and was very stubborn about getting in the car and then going in the shop. While the other kids jumped right in or out of the car, Elliott had to be carried.

Now that our original groomer is coming to us, I think he likes it MUCH better!

Oh, and I couldn't get him to look at the camera. After everyone was done, AD gave them all a treat and Elliott had much better things to do than pose for me.

The kids looked so nice and smelled so good! We're just ecstatic with this turn of events.

PS. I have passed the name of the substitute groomer on to my other friends who have dogs. Hopefully she won't miss us at all after only one visit. I wouldn't hesitate to go back to her if things were to change again. But it was just a no-brainer for us to return to our original groomer. We have a lot of history there.