Friday, November 17

Take off

Yesterday the sun was shining and we were up bright and early to begin the trip south. Despite the attempt of our neighbor(owner) to the south to impede our departure at the last minute, we were able to exit with the motorhome and be on our way. It felt good to be on the road again and headed in the right direction.
Traffic was relatively light even in the Kansas City area. So we arrived at the Peculiar Park Place RV Park in the early afternoon.

The Gary and Susan Brooker household is active and hectic. I remember those days myself with activities of all kinds keeping the schedule full and constantly on the move. Looking back it seems to have passed quickly. So our goal now is to work in and around their busy lives for a couple of days before continuing our southward movement.

To back up a bit, I was mistaken about Elise's play. It is not in conjunction with the Harrisonville High school although she has performed with them on more than one occasion. This time she has joined a children's theatre group and it is an ongoing thing with one play being closely followed by another with only a week break. She is thrilled to be living her life's dream at 7! Her parents and grandparents may wear down long before she will especially as it nears opening night.
There are two age brackets for this and even though she is only 7 she is in the older group. It might be less polished than the high school group, I am still sure it will be highly entertaining.
Elise was at dress rehearsal last night so we didn't see her but we did have the pleasure of little Leo's company and that can be an adventure in itself. He talks nonstop and that is not an exaggeration as all family members can attest to. If he is not talking to a person he is talking to himself or a toy or perhaps just the air!
As it nears bedtime his mother limits his liquid intake. He said he was thirsty and was trying to get Papa Gary to give him water. Papa Gary said he could have a little bit indicating about an inch in a glass. That was not what Leo had in mind so he continued to negotiate. And then he said very dramatically, "All of this just because I MIGHT pee the bed." Oh and this talking thing? He inherited that from his Greatgrandpa Butch. Gary Brant, one of Butch's best friends and the best man at our wedding nicknamed Butch "Windy" for that reason.There are many other instances we could cite to support the claim.

Wednesday, November 15

Last Dr. Appointment and other stuff

Today was the last Dr. appointment and it was with the plastic surgeon, following up on the surgery I had before the other surgery. It has been very busy this fall! He said all was well but I do have a spot needing a biopsy so will be seeing somebody in South Texas to get that done as soon as I find someone I take a liking to.
So now we are getting the last bits done before take off in the morning. We are more than ready as it keeps getting colder each and every day. Oh and then there are the promises made by the weatherman. I know they are trying to put a positive spin on the forecast but all it does is tick me off when it is so far off the mark.
The overpass at Grand Junction( next town to the east) that began last winter was to be completed and opened for travel today at noon. We hoped it would be open by the time we returned from the doctor appointment in Ames. My appointment did not take very long so we were too early for the opening. Not even sure it is open yet. It really does not affect us however as we are heading south out of Jefferson and not east. Next Spring will be soon enough for our inspection.

Tuesday, November 14

Good Morning!

They promised 50 degrees yesterday. Didn't happen. They are promising the same today despite the clouds. It is starting out warmer this morning. OMG! It is 44 at 7:31 AM.
Yesterday we went to the telephone office and stopped the Internet on Thursday. Checked in at the post office to make sure my online address change had actually gone through. It had. Then to the grocery store for a few items.

I have several audiobooks on an MP3 player for us to listen to on our trip and we have started on one.
Skinny Dip, Carl Hiaasen

Listening to audibooks makes the miles go faster as well as being entertainment if your overnights happen to be in a dead TV zone.
Also for Netflix fans:
We recently watched Alias Grace. It is on the dark side but kept our interest through 6 episodes.
In addition to that, I am once again making bracelets. Hey, I have all these beads, you know! I have made 3 and working on a 4th.

Still Hunkered

Written yesterday:
Still cold. They say it should reach 50 degrees today but without a shred of sunshine, I do not expect it.
We are ready to go. Should not take long to get the final pieces in place on Thursday. Looked at the 10-day forecasts for the places we plan to be and I hope it holds true because it looks very promising. Experience tells me that when we arrive at our destination we will be acclimating for a few days. When a person goes from winter to summer in the course of a few days it shocks the body. Cold to Hot= severe sweat. Hot to Cold= severe shivering.  I prefer the first to the second and it all settles out in time no matter which way it goes.
The pictures from my perch in the motorhome.

 I wish I had caught this shot just a few minutes earlier when Piggy,(that is what Butch calls him) had his front paw(?)on top of the feeder while looking this way as if to tell Butch, "Hey, it's empty!"


Northern Flicker


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Saturday, November 11

Turkey for Two-reposted

Reposted but perhaps something you may want to make note of...

Turkey for Two
Did you have a meal with friends and family on the holiday and miss all the turkey and dressing leftovers at your house? Or there are just the two of you and you do not want to cook a big ol' turkey for two people. I discovered an easy way to have it all. Grease the sides of your crockpot or use one of those nifty slow cooker liners ( I swear by the liners). Place a small package of dry stuffing mix in the bottom. Sprinkle with a 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth. Slice an onion and dice a celery stalk and layer on top of stuffing. Place a thawed Butterball 3 pound turkey roast (found in your grocer's freezer) on top of celery and onion. Cook on low all day or high for 4-5 hours and you have the best of both worlds. A scrumptious turkey dinner for two with some for leftovers if you are moderate eaters.

Veterans Day

Oftentimes we get caught up in our own daily life and I must say that has been very true for me this past summer and fall. But on this veterans day I am brought up short and reminded of who is responsible for this cushy life I am living. So this is a time to be reminded of all we are grateful for and that includes our veterans.

Friday, November 10

Crack of Dawn

Butch and I arose at 6:00 AM to be sure to make the 8:00 AM appt in Ankeny with my surgeon. She gave me the ol' AOK and said she will see me next Spring for a final assessment.
The drive into Ankeny was beautiful despite the 19 degree temperature. We kept the car nice and toasty warm.
We are back home now and waiting for it to warm up as the weatherman has promised. Butch managed to make himself a bit of work that he is waiting for warmer weather to tackle. At the Elks Club on Wednesday, he ran into a tree trimmer and since we have waited for another guy all summer that hasn't shown up Butch asked him to take care of a tree that has worried Butch for as long as we have lived here. He came yesterday! So now Butch has lots of branches to get piled up in an orderly fashion to wait for Spring and be out of our way.

Last nights trivia session was a disappointment. Some nights we know little to nothing. We did great the first half but the second half tripped us up. It is fun despite the outcome. We enjoy the visiting with friends as much as anything. And very much look forward to next Spring and more trivia.



SLOW COOKER MAC 'N' CHEESE RECIPE

This one is a proven winner. I put this recipe on Facebook and Marie Kelley (Marlene's Granddaughter-in-law) told me that it was a huge hit with her son Nolan. I asked Devon and Karla if they wanted to take home the leftovers and Devon enthusiastically nodded "Yes".  Butch and I thought it was mighty tasty. So it has the stamp of approval from several different directions.


SLOW COOKER MAC 'N' CHEESE RECIPE
INGREDIENTS
1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 cup 2% milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/8 teaspoon paprika
DIRECTIONS
Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Place in a 5-qt. slow cooker; add butter. In a large bowl, mix 3 cups cheese, evaporated milk, condensed soup, 2% milk and eggs. Pour over macaroni mixture; stir to combine. Cook, covered, on low 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until a thermometer reads at least 160°.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cook, covered, on low 15-20 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with paprika. Yield: 10 servings.
Originally published as Slow-Cooked Mac 'n' Cheese in Taste of Home February/March 2002, p13

Thursday, November 9

Details of Life

It is a little bit fun to have plenty of time to take care of the details of life. The weather plays its part being too dog-gone cold to do much outside. That takes care of about half our daily chores like walks, golf, and yard work.

The house is all set and we are living in the motorhome. As cold as it is, it would be more pleasant to be in the house but staying in the motorhome serves several purposes. There is a danger to the motorhome when temperatures are lower than freezing and by living in it, it is easier to monitor all of its systems and be sure they are up to snuff. Yesterday we were getting low on propane, our major source of heat. In Texas, the propane guy makes his rounds in the park and he fills us up and we pay him. Easy, peasy. In Iowa, it involves taking the motorhome to the RV dealer. The routine for moving the motorhome is the same regardless if it is moved one mile or 500 miles. It was good to go through our routine of getting ready to move. It is easy to forget details if you haven't done them in a while. We didn't forget anything and we are back in our spot waiting for the day to move south.
We are not forgetting any items this year. At least I believe that to be true. We have it all, right down to the clothespins. Neither of us can think of one more thing to take and we have had plenty of time to think about it.

Today it is supposed to be colder than anything we have experienced for several years. A high today of 35 and a low tonight of 18. We can endure in the motorhome but to say it is pleasant would be an exaggeration. We close off all the windows giving us one more layer of insulation, run an electric heater in addition to the propane furnace and wear several layers of our warmest clothing. Needless to say, it is similar to living in a cave and if you know me at all that is not on my want-to-do list. I can do it for a short period of time without complaint. The limits on it can get pushed easily and that is why I say I am a hot- house flower and we head south every fall.
 I did take a few pictures this morning through my tiny window. I haven't pulled the shade down yet. It was a beautiful sunrise this morning.



My surgeon changed my appointment from today to tomorrow. So tomorrow morning with the temperatures predicted to be 18 degrees we will be headed to the city for an 8:00 AM appointment. You can only imagine how thrilled Butch is about this development. That's the bad news-the good news is that it is our last appointment with her. And all is well.

Tuesday, November 7

Cheesy Bacon and Potato Soup-Slow Cooker

Cheesy Bacon and Potato Soup-Slow Cooker
“ I saw this recipe on Facebook and it looked simple and yummy so I tried to copy and paste it. It was a video so I tried to go to the website from which it originated and it was just another video! This irks me and most often I would give up, thinking it was not worth it. However having a bit of extra time I followed through, watched the video (grr) and wrote down the recipe by pausing after each ingredient and each direction. Rarely is this much effort worth it to me.” -Barb

Ingredients:
1 32 oz pkg Chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 bouillon cube
1 32 oz pkg frozen diced potatoes (hashbrowns)
3 C grated cheddar cheese
½ C real bacon bits

Directions:
Pour broth into slow cooker, add creamed soup and whisk to mix. Cube cream cheese and add to pot continuing to whisk it in. I found this step easier by letting this mixture heat up in pot first. Mix in frozen potatoes, and then the cheese, keeping some cheese for garnish. Cook on high heat 3 ½ hours or until potatoes are tender. Add bacon bits for last 15 minutes of cooking holding back some for garnish.

Rarely does Butch rave about a recipe but he did this one and I had to agree. Easy to put together and mighty tasty.
PS. I am not a fan of bacon bits, real or otherwise, so I cooked real bacon to extra crispy.
Enjoy!