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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Mac N Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf

Yep.

You read that right. Savory meatloaf stuffed with gooey cheesy mac and cheese.

Sounds dreamy, right?

I'm in a recipe swap group on Facebook that a friend added me to and it's been WONDERFUL watching all the recipes the women post! So many ideas and a BONUS is I'm not boring my family with the same ol' standbys anymore.

I made sure when doing my Walmart grocery list for pick up ...wait...let me talk about that just a minute. Do you know you can make your grocery list online, pay for it online, schedule to pick it up online and then just go get it?! I may or may not have picked up two orders while wearing my pajamas. They not only bring it to your car, but they load it too!  I'm picky with my produce, but when it's staple foods and paper goods it's a DREAM! No more wandering through the store or waiting in line or lugging the groceries out to the car. And they will substitute items with your permission too! Once I ordered a 5lb bag of potatoes and they didn't have it, so they substituted an 8lb bag at no charge. Come on! How can you NOT do this?

Ok, ok..sorry....back on track now.  ANYWAY, I made sure that I had all the ingredients either already at home or on my list and I was ready to make it!



The only big thing I changed was that I made my own mac and cheese. 
It's really simple - make a roux of butter and flour, season it, add milk
and stir. It's like making a cream gravy. Then you add your cheese
and cooked macaroni. Bam.


I made the 'meat bowl' trying to keep the 'walls' thick to hold up while baking

I filled the 'meat bowl', topped with mozzarella...

...and forgot to add shredded cheddar at this point.


But I have a whole lot of mac and cheese leftover for snacks!

Then I made a patchwork quilt of meat, if you will, to make the
'lid'. I later took a fork and blended the sides and top together. 
When I make this again, and I will make it again, I'll try
to make the top in one piece. 

Pay no attention to the black. I poured off the runoff grease, and when I 
put it under the broiler in the end the runoff burned.

Mac and cheese peeked through some spots, but for the most part
it held together. 

The cross-section is glorious!

Carb overload...but delish!


Click HERE for the complete recipe!


Monday, March 12, 2018

When Your Furbaby Needs Surgery


Oh lordy. How we love those fur babies! Am I right? They are family! And when one is not feeling well, it's just awful.

Our Maple has been with us for about three years...ever since the day she literally ran into our lives as a baby.
I mean, come on! How cute is she?!?

Very....she's very cute.

And she's my baby.

She turned three last August.



So when she started to seem to be having trouble making water one day, and wouldn't eat....we all got worried. I ran her to the vets as soon as I could. They wanted to take an xray to rule anything really serious out. Bad news  -  bladder stones. She needed surgery. We set it up for the next day and were sent home with antibiotics.



When we got home, I tried giving her the first dose of her meds. Nothing. Not even peanut butter could coax it down. When this furball has no appetite....BIG trouble is a'brewin. Then she started to vomit. Bells going off everywhere inside my head. Panic bells. Really loud, panicy bells that gave me anxiety diarrhea. TMI...sorry.

I called the vet back and they told me to rush her to the vet ER in our area. Once there, they ran more tests to make sure her other organs and kidneys are OK. Whew...they were. But she needed emergency surgery because there were also some stones in her urethra. We then ran her to the hospital, way in the boonies, for surgery. And when I say 'we', I mean my husband because I was no good to anyone at that point.

 Many, many hours later the mister was on his way home with her. She was out of the woods, but very groggy. I went the next day and got a bag/carrier for her and a car seat. She's not leaving my side...I mean, she's already glued to me....people say I should register myself as her personal comfort service person. She and I get each other.




It's been almost 2 weeks and she's pretty much back to normal. Thank the gods. She's on her last round of antibiotics, has prescription dog food and her scar is healing nicely.


She gave us all a scare. I mean, she really is our family. The kids were worried, as were 'mommy and daddy' and so many of our sweet friends. The vet's office was also a lifesaver.

Let me just brag on our vet clinic. Cypresswood Animal Clinic for a minute. Not only did they see us right away, give tremendously awesome care and follow-up after her surgery while speaking with the surgeon from the hospital who performed the surgery....I was on a back-and-forth email marathon with them the night after her surgery up until almost 10pm and bright and early the next morning. The staff there are amazing. They know me when I walk in, they know how much we all love our furbabies and they seem to really care about them as much as we do. I don't know what we would've done without them. So THANK YOU to them...a million times THANK YOU.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Our Hurricane Harvey Story

While it's been 5 months since the hurricane, it's still fresh as a daisy covered with horse shit in my mind.

I'm so angry for so many reasons - losing everything, anger at the landlord for lying about area flooding, the craptastic crackerbox we lived in that flooded like it was made out of paper towels.

So                     Many                  Things

We had been in Central Texas for five years after my husband was transferred for his job. Five years later, he was transferred back to close to Houston. We moved 4th of July weekend 2017. It was a great time to move because we just found out we were living in a home with black mold and we were getting no where with the landlords. Part of the ceiling caved in, literally days before we moved, due to water damage we didn't know about; that added to a long list of repairs which the landlords never fixed. It was a nightmare that I am still trying to rectify with landlords ignoring our every request. At this point, I feel like giving up because my health has gotten somewhat better and it's wasted energy on my part to keep fighting this.

We found a home in Conroe for rent. Conroe - because I was not wanting to live any sort of 'city' life. I definitely didn't want to live in Houston again. It was a 2ooo sqft one story home in a large property that I thought felt perfect. It was country livin' with our own pump house and septic system. It was cute, quaint, private. It had a huge front porch that I couldn't wait to get decked out and drink my morning coffee on. I immediately put up several bird feeders to watch humming birds, blue jays and cardinals visit. Our dog was getting used to having a HUGE yard all to herself  and acquainting herself with the ginormous but totally friends neighbor dogs next door. We were getting in the swing of things.


Some getting used to, but in the little over a month that we lived there, we started to enjoy life again. I finally got the living room pretty much completed after my new bookshelves got delivered. The kitchen and dining room were coming together. I even envisioned where all my Christmas decorations would go.
Never got proper photos of the dining room. And thank goodness, I
never got my grandmother's table and chairs moved in yet.

I refinished a vintage table and made an acrylic floral
arrangement for what I wanted to become a little window reading nook.

The living room was coming together.

Adorable 'greenhouse' window for my daughter's
plants that she loved so much.

My grandmother's dresser made the perfect storage piece
for my kitchen. Thank the lawd I was able to save this.

It didn't come without challenges - like bugs ...BIG bugs every day and
night creeping in the cracks in the tiles. And septic issues and the above.
The guest bathroom shower was clogged via the prior tenant that
called for digging up a mess for more than two weeks leaving us to all share
one bathroom. 

In between burning boxes, we even made s'mores in the
sweltering heat because we could...and that's what was 
important. 



Then comes hurricane season.

Now, I've lived through every tropical storm and hurricane that has hit Houston since 1970; including Hurricane Alicia, TS Allison, Hurricane Ike. I've never lost anything except electricity and one time part of a fence. I've never been flooded in my home and never lost belongings. Harvey would change all of that.

We, like everyone in the area, were trying to gear up for the impending hurricane. I got water, candles, flashlights, food. Moved everything off the porch to inside. Secured yard tools. I did a lot of cutting back of shrubbery, weeds and overgrown plants that may just sit and hold water. The handyman came by to check the trees. We moved all the vehicles to the back of the driveway where it was the highest. All the things I've done for years.

Sunday morning, August 27th 2017, my husband woke me up saying we had to get out. Just like that. "The house is flooding! We have to get out!"

The house was indeed flooding. I quickly jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen to see water flowing inside like a river. I ran to the laundry room, the very back of the house, and it's flowing in more. At this point it was ankle deep and rising.

I go to my daughter's room and wake up the kids and tell them to get up, we have to leave. They had just followed us down from Central Texas. We all had still had things in boxes on the floor in rooms. The attic had a lot of stuff in it that the handyman hadn't cleared out yet, and having no garage, we had no one to store the boxes except on the floor for that time being.

We're all frantically packing a bag - I grab my computer, camera bag, as many photos as I can while everyone else is packing clothes. Then we grab the dog and the cat and all pack in my husband's car. The one thing I forgot to do in preparation, was gas up my truck.

We tried to make it out of the neighborhood, but were met with dead ends at every turn.


We eventually lost the car to flood waters and pushed it to higher ground where we were saved by Fire and Rescue who took us to a nearby hotel.

Then shock set in.
We were relieved we had our animals and each other.

If we didn't laugh, we'd cry - my husband had to walk our dog
with my sports bra as a leash because I never grabbed it
out of the house.

We stood and watched the rain for days.



We were at the hotel for about three days. I don't think I slept but maybe a half hour in those three days. I just sat in a chair in the corner of the hotel room with a blanket and stared. My heart beating out of my chest thinking of everything we just lost.

We were able to make it back to the house after a couple of days when waters receded. It was a nightmare. I know others had far, far worse than we did...and I'm truly sorry for them, I can't imagine their anguish. This was just a first for us. It was empowering to see my city come together to help each other and watching Mattress Mack, Jim McIngvale, come to the rescue of so many victims and first responders gave us all hope. The lives that were lost are truly heartbreaking.


New furniture, personal belongings, things we've had for YEARS...just put out on the street. Everything else inside was getting ravaged by mold and mildew, so we had to work fast.

This living room was the highest part of the house, and didn't fill with water - but part of the 
ceiling caved in and rain water damaged what was in there. 
We could see the patchwork when we moved in and were told
it was all recent renovations and perfectly fine.

However, it wasn't and fell in which allowed the higher part of the
house not ravaged by flood, to be infiltrated with water from the hole
and water damage everything in the room.

We still had so many boxes from moving and the flood waters
toppled and soaked through everything.

The smell was horrendous and it was just awful to walk through each 
room looking at what was just trashed.



We saved what we could - dishes and some photos. A lot was just over taken by mold and mildew and just gone.

What hurt worse was seeing just how bad the house was to begin with.


All of those holes were not cut in or new damage from the flood. 
They were there previously. The siding on the house was trashed from the get-go apparently. 
This hole wasn't cut to allow these cords in, it's a hole that was there all
along.


As I was walking through the house taking photos for our insurance, I started to notice daylight. All those holes where you see sunlight are just that - HOLES. This was throughout the house! After the repair people who the landlord hired began to cut away at the drywall (the water damage went way above their cut line by the way) all these holes became visible.

Then I went outside to see the wood rotted away.





We truly believe if the house was properly maintained, as we were led to believe before renting it, we'd not be in this mess. If we were told that the house was easily flooded, maybe we would have moved everything to the higher level. I don't know, but seeing daylight through every portion of the house was frightening.

On top of all the personal things we lost, I lost everything to do with my business, sans my camera. All my product, inventory, molds, tools, packaging, shipping and labeling. I'm SLOWLY replacing everything to re-open my store and ship out the last orders prior to the hurricane. They were all ready to be shipped on Monday, until the hurricane took them on Sunday. I returned everyone's money but I'm determined to get their orders back out to them. Slow going...but I'm determined to rebuild everything I lost.

One thing that didn't get lost was a painting I was commissioned to do for a new restaurant to be opened up near Dallas, The Wharf. I was able to get it out of the house shortly after the hurricane and just do some touch up work on it. It's not happily hung in it's forever home.



Upset and anger just sits in my gut and still does. Moving back and trying to get settled and just being in the house for barely over a month to just lose everything? Yeah, sticks in my gut like a lead weight.

I'm sure, over time, it may fade to feel more like a lead potato....maybe. So, we'll see.

We're still displaced as my husband lost his job a little over a month after the hurricane, as did many at his company, due to the hurricane. It's been tough all around. So, we just gotta suck it up and move forward.

**UPDATE**  The beginning of May, 2018, we officially moved into a new rental house. Things are going great!

Friday, June 9, 2017

DIY Laundry Detergent

I've made my own laundry detergent since last October and have never looked back. I've tried several recipes and have found that this one works best for me.

I realized I didn't have a tutorial for this so after I made Snapchats of me doing the process for a friend, I decided to download them and string them together. LOL So I apologize for the lackluster video you're about to view.

The recipe makes ten gallons of concentrate that you can store as is, or dilute it at a half to half ratio into ten 1-gallon jugs.

I store mine in the bucket and dilute it in a pitcher as needed.

I've even used some of the concentrate as a stain pretreater! It's gotten blood, grease and dog puke out of clothes.

You can add a scent via essential oil or fragrance blend, but I leave it as is because it already smells so clean!

The cost is virtually pennies per load. It takes me about a half hour to make the concentrate, and it is ready to dilute the next day!  Come on, it's too easy NOT to do this!


INGREDIENTS

1 Bar Zote Soap (14.1oz)

2 3/4 Cups Borax

2 3/4 Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)

1 1/2 Oxygen Cleaner

3 Tbsp Glycerin

*Optional - Scent Essential Oil






Thursday, December 29, 2016

Year In Review

Click below to view our Moody Year In Review blog!



Here is our Year In Review....I was afraid to hit POST because I might have to update the celebrity death toll...I don't think I can take anymore.

Monday, December 26, 2016

I got my very first tattoo in 1997.

I was 26 years old. My daughters were 9 months old and 3 1/2 years old and I was 3 months into a divorce that would take three miserable years to complete.

I felt like I was in a tornado of emotion and depression. I went from a married mother of two, to a single mother of two with hardly any warning. These two babies depended on me and I had to provide for them. My dreams of the future suddenly were thrown in the furnace.

I felt like my life was held together with strings the strength of wet noodles. I was sure of nothing and had trust in no one.

The only thing I was sure of was my daughters and my love for them. I decided to get a tattoo of their initials with a heart. I said, "Men may come and go, people may come and go, but my girls are my blood and we'll always be."

Almost 20 years on my skin.
Always in my heart. 


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Easiest and Cheapest Christmas Stocking Ever

I'm known for forever redoing Christmas stockings. I always say I want a set of matching stockings. I've had them before...and they last a few years. Then I switch them up...again and again. It's a habit now.

I wasn't going to do any stockings this year at all. I did semi new ones last year..re-purposed ones, I guess you could call them. But then I found myself at the Dollar Tree....go figure....and I saw the cutest stockings.

Cutest by dollar store standards. They are gunny sack material with a red glitter stencil.  I was taken aback because this didn't seem like dollar store quality...or look. They aren't glitzy or over done. They're not tacky or really cheap looking.



Gunny sack fabric on the front and felt backing. All I had to do was monogram them.

The first thing that comes to mind to a lot of people is, "Go get some glitter glue!!!"  Trust me. I have to fight that voice. Come on....who doesn't love GLITTER GLUE?!?  I have to tell myself that I'm a grown up now and do some adulting in this DIY project. (ʘ‿ʘ)

 I got five stockings. That's FIVE BUCKS, y'all. And I walked out. I didn't even go to the glitter glue aisle. I adulted my way out of the store.

I came home and held on to them for a few days. I wanted to mull over if I was going to do monograms or stencils or entire names or glue on felt. But the more I looked at the stockings, the more I wanted to go SIMPLE. Again...fighting the glitter glue voice. Must....Not....Get....Tacky.....

I decided on a monogram. While we have three 'J' names in our family, I always hang the stockings in order of age. They know who's is who's.

The next decision was font. I like to customize things when I can and I always try to find a way to do it all myself. Easiest way was my printer and computer. I played with fonts and sizes until I found what I thought looked good and printed out the letters. Then, with an exacto blade, I cut them out (saving any inside pieces needed for the stencil).

After that, I just lay the paper down on top of the stocking and paint. I used a sponge brush for the ease of 'doppling' the paint and gold paint I had. With the three 'J' stockings, I was able to use one printing of the letter. As long as you don't use globs of paint, plain paper stencils will work great!


All in all, it took about half an hour from beginning to finish, including printing and cutting out. That's not bad at all for a project that cost me $5.oo and came out looking great...in my opinion.



And even though they came out cute as buttons....I had to fight that voice again. "You have a TON of glitter in your desk! Go get it!! SPRINKLE IT ON!!!"  I fought the urge.

I know I'll end up at Michael's buying some sort of trim or something for the toe. I can't just leave them like this. I know I should, but I think I get possessed by Liberace and am compelled to add glitz. HALP.

I ended up adding one more element, miniature garland at the seam under the monogram. Simple, but it finished them off perfectly. I really like them hung altogether on the mantle.