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I know it has been quite a long time since I have posted here. Life has a way of keeping you busy and although I have had many different subjects and events that I considered posting, I guess I have been just lazy enough not to open up this laptop and start typing. Of course, until today.

I suppose recovering from gallbladder surgery will do that to you. There is not too much you can do on the second day after surgery. So… here I am, again. I will try to catch up on what has been going on for the past six months. I will say, during this time, there have been many different decisions made and then revised.

More on that later………… stay tuned, our adventures are not over yet!

Hubby & I were just sitting on the couch this evening.  I am not even sure how it came up, but we got to discussing paper snowflakes.  I mentioned that I didn’t remember ever making them and that sweet man of mine got up and pulled out some printer paper and proceeded to fold it up.  He then grabbed a pair of scissors and started cutting away.  After a few moments, he unfolded his little creation and low and behold, he held in his hand a paper snowflake! 

Oh my!  What a wonderful snowflake he had made!  I immediately said, “Let me make one!” He smiled. He folded another sheet of paper and handed it to me.  I was a bit hesitant at first, but then I just let the scissors go and as the bits of paper flew about as I cut, I felt a strange sense of joy. 

Such a simple concept.  I couldn’t help but continue to grin at this wonderful man.  I felt like a school girl as he taped them to our wall.  Isn’t it wonderful that the smallest projects can be so be so rewarding?!  Here is a photo of our little craft work from tonight….

snowflakes

As I mentioned in my previous post, the cafeteria I am currently working is going to be closing sometime next year.  It has caused me to have to rethink my options as I had originally planned on just working there until, well, whenever.  I have decided that going back into the hectic life of a locator/trainer in the utility business just isn’t the lifestyle I want anymore. I have decided to go back to college and pursue a degree in hospitality management and culinary arts.  Obviously returning to school after 30+ years is going to be a bit of an adjustment, so I am going to start out slow and take just one or maybe two classes.  It is a two year program for the associate’s degree, but more than likely I am looking at possibly three years to complete. 

I have struggled internally with the idea of continuing education and I know it is never too late to learn, but the idea of beginning classes the same month I turn 50 has given me pause.  In any case, with the strong encouragement from my dear husband and children, I will set aside my fears and doubts and push onward.  I decided that if I continue to put this off, then in another six months I will still be pondering over this and will be that much farther behind.  After all, I am turning 50 regardless of what I do or not do!

This will hopefully be a bit of an insight to a 50 year old…. no young… woman going back and chasing a long lost dream.  I hope you tune in to this new chapter and adventure in my life.

It seems a bit odd to me that I have not posted on here for about 8 months… and I just realized that I did not put in a 2012 review. My, how life marches on. Let’s see… where to start?

We have now lived in the Cleveland area for almost 2-1/2 years. In an effort to save some moo la, we have since moved from our almost 1200 sqf 2 bedroom spacious apartment, to a one bedroom 620 sqf, albeit less expensive, apartment. It is a good thing that hubby and I really like each other’s company! 🙂

I have also been working in a corporate cafeteria as a deli prep cook/cashier. I have decided that I really love working with other people and preparing food. It certainly doesn’t pay near as well as my former positions, but I have very little stress and I do not work nights or weekends. The only problem is that the company our cafeteria is located at announced this past summer that they will be transferring their facility to the Pittsburgh area “within 18 months”. We may be able to stay open until May 2014, but after the first of the year, I would imagine it could be any time. Just my luck… I find a job I really like and will be laid off probably less than a year after being hired. Oh well, I guess that is just the way it is these days.

I am also very proud to say that I started on Weight Watchers in June of 2013. I have lost 38 pounds so far and hubby is down 25 pounds. I went from a size 14 to a size 6/8 (depending on the brand)! I have about 7 pounds left to go, but I am just wanting to maintain through the holiday season. I must give kudos to WW as their slogan, “Because it works”, is very true! Maybe I will blog a little more on that in the future, but this is just an update.

Just a quick note for now. Hope to keep up on this more in the future! Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!!

1 pan roasted veggies
I have finally figured out a great marinade to roast veggies with! I think the big key in this is not only the Balsamic vinegar but also the addition of brown sugar. It adds just the right amount of sweetness and this is Hubby approved with two thumbs up!

This makes a very large batch, if used all at once, but I have found that the vegetables freeze very well after they are roasted and reheat fabulously in the microwave for future dinners.

Sweet Marinade for Roasted Vegetables

2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
2 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS Canola Oil
2 TBS Honey
2 TBS Brown Sugar
Put the above ingredients into a liquid measuring cup; add enough water to bring the level up to 3/4 cup. Then add:
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp chopped fresh basil
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
Marinade in cup
Stir mixture well and then microwave this for 30 seconds… Microwave 30 sec
Stir again to make sure brown sugar is dissolved and marinade is well combined.
This makes about 1 cup of marinade, which is enough for 2 large pans of veggies. Or you can use just some of the marinade and place the rest in the refrigerator for future use.
Roasted veggies
I like to use a wide variety like: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, butternut squash, grape tomatoes, onions, peppers, cabbage, kohlrabi, fingerling potatoes, etc. Use what you like best. Cut into large bite-sized pieces. (I have also used this marinade just on cut up new potatoes.)

To make it easier, I place the cut/cubed vegetables into 2 – 1 gallon Ziploc bags and then pour half of the marinade into each bag. Zip close and rotate and shake bag to make sure pieces are coated with marinade.

Place veggies on foil lined pans, cover pan with another sheet of foil and bake 1 hour in a 300 degree oven. Remove foil cover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Serve immediately or let cool completely and portion vegetables into freezer safe containers and freeze up to 3 months.

To reheat from frozen state, I take them out in the morning and put them in the refrigerator to thaw. When I get home from work, all I have to do is put them in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 3 minutes, stir and then microwave for an additional 1 – 3 minutes depending on the wattage of microwave you have. They taste just as great as they do when they are first roasted and it saves me a ton of time!

Try it and let me know what you think… maybe not just for veggies?? 🙂

I have been noticing the price of goods going up, more and more in the stores, especially the “chain stores”. However, the quality has decreased so much in the last 10 years that I don’t even understand how people can spend the kind of money that they do! Let’s look at a few examples…..

Clothing – When did the thinnest t-shirt fabric in the world dictate a $20+ price tag? Or how about jeans that are worn out and ripped?? They can command over $40 and up! Back 20 years ago, that would have been considered rag material, or recycled into a rug… but certainly not FASHION!

Food products – Convenience seems to be the big ticket these days. I had the idea back when I owned my bakery, to make and package ready-made mashed potatoes, mac & cheese and such simple items. I didn’t pursue it as I thought, “Who on earth would want to pay so much more for a product that is so simple to make, other than time?” Boy, was I wrong!! $Amazingly, consumers think this is worth the $2.99 – $4.99 price tag for a $1.00 max worth of product! Not to mention all the additives that have been included with these “convenient foods”.

These are just two categories that I have reflected on, but I am not sure if there is any one out there that hasn’t been compromised by the demand of “instant gratification” over taking the time and effort needed to do it right. I am very thankful that my parents and grandmother instilled in me the ability and know-how to make things from “scratch”.

I don’t normally discuss political things, however, this fiscal sequester has gotten me wondering…. exactly WHAT does this mean? Do most Americans understand what is going on?

By definition, sequestered means:
se·ques·ter (s-kwstr)
v. se·ques·tered, se·ques·ter·ing, se·ques·ters
v.tr.
1. To cause to withdraw into seclusion.
2. To remove or set apart; segregate. See Synonyms at isolate.
3. Law
a. To take temporary possession of (property) as security against legal claims.
b. To requisition and confiscate (enemy property).”

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sequestered

Similarly, but with changes (obviously)… Congress has defined it as:

“Originally a legal term referring generally to the act of valuable property being taken into custody by an agent of the court and locked away for safekeeping, usually to prevent the property from being disposed of or abused before a dispute over its ownership can be resolved. But the term has been adapted by Congress in more recent years to describe a new fiscal policy procedure originally provided for in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act of 1985 — an effort to reform Congressional voting procedures so as to make the size of the Federal government’s budget deficit a matter of conscious choice rather than simply the arithmetical outcome of a decentralized appropriations process in which no one ever looked at the cumulative results until it was too late to change them. If the dozen or so appropriation bills passed separately by Congress provide for total government spending in excess of the limits Congress earlier laid down for itself in the annual Budget Resolution, and if Congress cannot agree on ways to cut back the total (or does not pass a new, higher Budget Resolution), then an “automatic” form of spending cutback takes place. This automatic spending cut is what is called “sequestration.”

Under sequestration, an amount of money equal to the difference between the cap set in the Budget Resolution and the amount actually appropriated is “sequestered” by the Treasury and not handed over to the agencies to which it was originally appropriated by Congress. In theory, every agency has the same percentage of its appropriation withheld in order to take back the excessive spending on an “across the board” basis. However, Congress has chosen to exempt certain very large programs from the sequestration process (for example, Social Security and certain parts of the Defense budget), and the number of exempted programs has tended to increase over time — which means that sequestration would have to take back gigantic shares of the budgets of the remaining programs in order to achieve the total cutbacks required, virtually crippling the activities of the unexempted programs.”

Now notice in the second paragraph above…. “In theory, every agency has the same percentage of its appropriation withheld in order to take back the excessive spending on an “across the board” basis. However, Congress has chosen to exempt certain very large programs from the sequestration process (for example, Social Security and certain parts of the Defense budget), and the number of exempted programs has tended to increase over time — which means that sequestration would have to take back gigantic shares of the budgets of the remaining programs in order to achieve the total cutbacks required, virtually crippling the activities of the unexempted programs.

So one could only come to a conclusion that these “across the board” cuts is not truly an honest statement as Congress also has the power to “exempt” any program they deem “necessary”. Now I agree that there are programs that should not be cut, mainly SS and defense.

But why, have we, as Americans, become so dependent on “Big Brother” to take care of our every need? What happened to communities and neighbors helping each other out? My own personal opinions are that we have become so “tech savvy” and isolated in our “own worlds”, but with the illusion that we are part of a “global community”, that there are very few communities that have actual, physical interactions among its residents.
.
I remember my early years, growing up in a very small town in west-central Illinois, where everyone knew who everyone was and children were governed and disciplined by whoever’s house they were playing at. There was a particular instance, when I had gotten my foot tore up by my sister’s bicycle, (I was riding on the back on the “fin” of the bicycle and forgot to keep my feet spread away from the rear wheel.) Two older teens, had seen what had happened and put me in their truck and drove me home immediately. I only remember bits and pieces of this, but I do remember that I didn’t “KNOW” them. But there they were anyway, helping out somebody’s kid, because that is just what you did. I wonder, what would happen in today’s world??

Now I have gone on a tangent….. back to the “Sequester” and what does it mean, or better yet, how can we change? Maybe this is not such a bad thing, especially if we, as individuals work together and help each other out. Is it possible to go back to a more caring and personable time, or is it just wishful thinking on my part?

I will stop for now… just wanted to put out a few thoughts today. I would love to get your take on this “situation”…. but please keep it family friendly…. 🙂