A Spin on Mexican

Today was  a normal October Tuesday.  I began with a cold breakfast of cinnamon raisin granola.

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Plus some chai on the side.

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I had 2/3 cup granola, 6-8 Kashi Island Vanilla Wheat Puffs, a handful of frozen blueberries, 3/4 cup of lowfat milk, and a sprinkle of ground flaxseed.

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As I have been the past two Tuesdays, I attended a workshop away from my school campus.  Again lunch was provided.  I chose the roast beef on wheat.  It came with chips, a cookie, and an apple.

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I also had some milky way bite size chocolates.  The apple was saved for a snack when I got home.

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With some peanut butter in the middle for dipping.  I was having a bit too much fun practicing my photography skills using the corner of one of hub’s garden boxes for scenery.

After unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, and a bit of Oprah I got started on dinner.  At the grocery on Sunday I picked up some chicken breasts since they were buy 1, get 1 free.  I also purchased a jar of Peach Salsa and Gouda cheese.  That is where the Mexican comes in.  I simply baked the chicken at 350* after topping it with salt, pepper, and the salsa.  After 35 minutes I added some thin strips of Gouda (some went in my tummy on spot) and stuck the chicken back in the oven for five more minutes. 

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For a side dish, I roasted some butternut squash by cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds and pulp, and baking at 400* for an hour.  In keeping with Mexican, I used a spice common of the culture for flavoring—cumin.  In addition to cumin, I seasoned the squash with salt, pepper, and cinnamon after basting it in olive oil.

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Dinner was delightfully flavorful although the salsa lacked in the peach department.  I couldn’t hardly taste any peach, just a slightly sweet flavored salsa.  The squash was tender and flavored well.

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The squash tasted much like a sweet potato.

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As for the chicken and being a cheese lover, it was cheesy and tasty, but it was somewhat overcooked.  I always worry about undercooking poultry so often tend to overcook it causing dryness.

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My belly is full after eating the majority of this (and sharing a few bites of chicken with the pups)!  It was simple to put this meal together, but it does take some time to cook so I got other chores done in the meantime. 

Now I’m relaxing watching Biggest Loser and about to get back to washing and folding the massive amounts of laundry I desperately need to catch up on.  I don’t get to watch too much TV lately, but have some shows I like including CSI, 48 Hours, Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance, and Real Housewives, and of course all things Food Network. 🙂

What are your favorite television shows?

Thai’d and True

Breakfast this A.M. was a warm bowl of oatmeal in my fairly new deep, red bowl.  And guess what?  The bowl worked like a charm.  There was no overflowing oats all over my microwave, so the two bowls were definitely a good buy.

Included in the mix was:

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup almond milk

Pinch of salt

Drizzle of honey

1/2 of a Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffin Cookie, crumbled(add after heating)

1 tsp. of peanut butter(add after heating)

Small handful of blueberries(add after heating)

Eat Me Already

All Mixed Up Bite

Warm, comforting, and deliciously sweet. 🙂

Since I still didn’t make it to the grocery last night, I ate leftover BBQ Turkey Meatloaf, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and a fuji apple for lunch.

The meatloaf was even better today, which I find it always  is better on Day 2 because it has time to marinate in all its seasonings/sauces.

After work I headed to the gym and ate this small snack for some much needed fueling.  The remnants of this trail mix has been sitting in my kitchen cupboard for several months, so I finally finished it up.

My workout included 15 minutes on the true slider elliptical, 35 minutes of strength training (same machines as last Wednesday), and 15 minutes of warm up on the treadmill.

Then, it was on to the grocery store.  Before going inside, I checked my email to see which of the 8 international recipes (received from a wellness site) I wanted to create for supper tonight.  I knew I’d be a while at the grocery and also that I have not had much greens in my life the past few days.  So I definitely wanted a quick and simple salad.  I went with the Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad.  Truthfully, I have never eaten Thai food, so was a bit unsure as to what its distinctive flavors included.  I followed the recipe as seen HERE on Eating Well.

For my salad, I purchased frozen, pre-cooked peeled shrimp to save some cooking time and ran them under cold water to defrost at home.  However, it really takes little time to cook shrimp, so it would have been just as much time as it took to defrost the cooked ones.  I picked up a red bell pepper, a cucumber, fish sauce, 2 limes, fresh cilantro (the basil looked old, so skipped it) and a box of light brown sugar since I was running low.  Once home, I whisked the juice of 2 small lemons, the fish sauce and oil, and spices together; then I added the shrimp, vegetables, and herbs.  (I did add some dry basil in the mix as well.)

I enjoyed a slice of whole grain bread on side smeared with a small bit of Brummel & Brown.

Shrimp Salad

Colorful Veggies Been Thai'd Up

My opinion of the salad is that it is very refreshing over a bed of lettuce. Having said that,  the fish sauce has a pungent smell and taste and may need some getting used to.  I have had fish sauce on my cucumber salads from Japanese restaurants, but didn’t remember it being that aromatic.  While eating I felt compelled to look up the influences of Thai food.  Regardless of what region influenced the cuisine, one ingredient prevalent in most Thai foods is fish sauce.  Much of Thai foods are enhanced with highly odorous/flavorful ingredients some being lime, cilantro, and spicy peppers.

Coincidentally, how ironic is it that my plate purchased for $3 at TJ Maxx before heading to the grocery and deciding on this recipe was “Made in Thailand?”  I didn’t even realize it until I got home and was washing my plate prior to using it.

Question of the Night:  Do you enjoy Thai food?  If yes, what is your favorite dish?  If no, what is your favorite international delight?

X’s and O’s, Anything Goes

I awoke once again to the sounds of the rain.  It seems as though someone up above is trying to remind us of the horrid Hurricane Katrina that devastated many lives five short years ago.  Thankfully, my family and I did not have to undergo any major effects of the torrential flooding.    To start my day on a more refreshing note, I began with a cold bowl of cereal composed of 1 cup shredded oats, 1/4 cup apple cinnamon o’s, a handful of frozen blueberries, and a cup of almond milk.  On side–a hot cup of tea.

Putting my desperation of needing to get to the grocery store aside, lunch was an anything goes kind of a meal.

Almond Butter + Blackberry Spread on Whole Grain Bread

Surprisingly, this was a satisfying lunch enjoyed in the comforts of my classroom.  Though it was not anything special, it conveniently allowed me to take a working lunch as there was no need for a microwave and I highly needed to get some tests graded.  I even saved my apple for an after school snack due to my sammie being so fulfilling.

Apple consumed after work.

Unfortunately, I forgot my workout clothes, so had to go home straight from work. 😦  Fortunately,  I made it home safely! 🙂  The streets were nearly flooded and I could hardly see due to the pelting rain.   In addition to my fuji apple, I had a handful of some mixed nuts when I got home.

That all too elusive question then popped in my head–what’s for dinner?  I knew I wanted to do something with ground turkey breast because earlier in the day I texted my hubby to ask him to take it out of the freezer.  I then remembered Julie of PB Fingers mentioning a BBQ meatloaf in her post last week.  I did not have all of the ingredients necessary to make her Cooking Light version, but knew I wanted to use my ground turkey to make a BBQ Turkey Meatloaf of my own.  So I pulled out all of the ingredients I wanted to incorporate into my loaf.

Ingredients

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf

1-1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey breast

1 medium bell pepper, chopped (from our garden)

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 tbsp. hickory smoked mustard (dijon mustard may work too)

10 splashes of worcestershire sauce (more if desired)

1 whole egg

1/2 c plain bread crumbs

1 tbsp. onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c BBQ sauce

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Mix all ingredients except for BBQ sauce; hands work best.  (You may opt to add some of the BBQ sauce in the meat mixture or just put on as topping before putting in the oven as I did.)  Once mixed, put into loaf pan.  Top the loaf with BBQ sauce.  Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until thermometer inserted reads 165*.

**Ground turkey has a distinct flavor, so you may want to alter the amounts of seasonings/sauces above to suit your taste.  Or, you may want to substitute lean ground beef which would work just as well, but cooking time may vary.**

Pre-Bake

The loaf was baking away; meanwhile, I peeled, chopped, and boiled two sweet potatoes to be used for mashed sweet potatoes.

Boil until fork tender and drain.

I then went to the archives and pulled out what was a wedding gift to my mom and dad 30 years ago–a mixer.

30 Years Old and Still Runs Like a Charm

I received one of my own at my wedding, but it just doesn’t work as well as this one.

To the drained, chopped sweet potatoes I added:

1/2 cup of almond milk

2 tbsp. Brummel & Brown Yogurt Spread

1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 tsp. of cinnamon

1 tbsp. of honey

I then whipped the potatoes until a desired consistency was reached.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Final Eats= BBQ Turkey Meatloaf + Mashed Sweet Potatoes +Steamed Brussel Sprouts

X and Os on a Plate 😉

As I was plating this, it reminded me of X O X O X O.  Funny how our minds relate to things–especially now having a blog I seem to find things throughout my day that I can relate to foods or other events in my lifetime.  Starting the blog has not just opened my eyes to healthy eating and living.  It has opened them to the world around me.  It makes me find the joys of my days, albeit small joys, rather than dwell on the negatives.

Question of the Night:  If you have your own blog, how has blogging changed your life?  And for those who simply enjoy reading blogs, how has reading them changed yours?

I look forward to hearing your responses. 🙂

XOXO,

Melissa

Honey, Where Are You?

When I awoke this A.M., I was feeling something warm for breakfast.  So I heated up a packet of Kashi Instant Honey and Cinnamon Hot Cereal.  I topped it with a sliced banana, a handful of blueberries, and a teaspoon of almond butter.  I had some hot chai tea on the side.  It hit the spot though my oatmeal wasn’t very warm once topping with cold nut butter and frozen blueberries, oh and snapping a couple of photos.

Lunch was similar to dinner last night– a turkey wrap.  But I did not go the mexican route.  I had two slices of Hormel Oven Roasted Turkey, L.C. Light Swiss Wedge, and spring mix all rolled up on a whole wheat tortilla.  On side I had some grape tomatoes and Chobani Non-Fat Greek Yogurt with Honey.

I bet you thought my title had to do with my hubby.  Nope, I was actually talking about my Chobani Greek Yogurt with Honey.  Side note:  I do not call the hubby “honey.”  Generally, he is either babe or boop, or Chris/Christopher.  He really hates when I call him Christopher though.  But seriously, where is the honey?  I do not taste it!  I do not see it!  I want more of it!  I need to contact the Chobani peeps and let them know they can’t call it “with Honey” if there is no inkling of honey.  If not I am going to have to stick with Fage Honey.  It makes my experience so much more tastier when I can scoop up some of that sticky, thick honey on the tip of my spoon and then scoop some of the yogurt on top.  Then I have to use my teeth to scrape the honey off of the spoon due to its gooey texture.  Mmmm, it is making my mouth water thinking about it.

After work I enjoyed a couple of snacks–a Kashi Dark Chocolate and Cherry Chewy Granola Bar and a handful of sweet, crimson-colored cherries.

After snack time and a short visit to the computer to catch up on some reading, I headed to the gym to pump some iron.  I did 15 minutes on the elliptical machine, 30 minutes of strength training on the weight machines, and ended with 15 minutes on the treadmill.  Felt good to get a full hour.  I feel like I’ve been slacking since going back to work last week.

Tonight I intended to fix beef fajitas with a corn and black bean side salad.  But I decided not to use my store-bought fajita kit and instead make up a Mexican Fiesta Bowl for dinner.

I started by browning the thinly sliced angus beef chuck in a tbsp. of olive oil.  Once browned I drained off the liquid/oil and added half a packet of store bought taco seasoning and 3/4 cup of water.  I also added 1/2 of a sliced onion and a small sliced bell pepper from the garden.  That simmered away until the veggies were tender.

Meanwhile, I cooked some whole grain brown rice.  Once the rice was cooked I added a bag of frozen corn that was sitting out for about fifteen minutes or so and a can of rinsed reduced sodium black beans.  Next I added a diced hot, red chile pepper from the garden and some grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise.  Naturally, some seasonings were needed.  I used approx. 1 tsp. of ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. of chile powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  To be honest no measuring was done, but I did taste a couple bites as I added the seasonings.

For my Mexican Fiesta Bowl, I layered a large cooking spoonful of the rice mixture, a few slices of beef, a spoon of onion/bell peppers, about a tbsp. of Sargento Reduced Fat Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend, and a dollop of light sour cream.  I was satisfied with how well and easily this meal came together.

Question of the Day:  First, what is your favorite type of yogurt?  Secondly, have you ever contacted a food company to make a suggestion about their product?

My favorite regular yogurt is Yoplait Light White Chocolate Strawberry ( probably not the greatest due to the aspartame) and my favorite Greek Yogurt (which I am currently on a Greek Yogurt Fix only) is Fage Honey.  And I have never contacted any food companies about their products.

No Phone Zone

Late this afternoon as she does on every show, Oprah coerced Lisa Ling, a celebrity reporter, to sign the “No Phone Zone” challenge.  On this day I would need no coercing.  At quarter to five this a.m., Herbie woke me up to let him out.  So as I got out of bed I heard my phone fall off the windowsill (as it does often) due to my tripping on the charger cord.  When I returned from letting the dogs out, I picked up my phone to make sure the phone card didn’t come out of its slot, and check that the alarm was still set on it.  The card did not come out, but sure enough my entire iphone screen was shattered!  Baaaah, I wined a bit and hoped that I would be able to get up without any alarm.  I fell back asleep and panicked an hour later when I awoke and thought I overslept until I quickly ran to the kitchen to find that I was up on time.

I was eager to have breakfast this morning because I did in fact purchase some rolled oats to again make some overnight oats.  I really enjoy the thickness, coldness, and creaminess of the overnight oats.  Late last night before going to bed, I added 1 6 oz. container of non-fat plain Fage, the same amount of plain almond milk. 1/2 cup of rolled oats, a tbsp. of honey, 1 small banana, and a small handful of blueberries.  That sat in the fridge all night and this morning my bowl was overflowing (literally, but I cleaned it up for pics) with the rich, dessert-like breakfast.

Along side I had a cup of hot tea, but actually waited ’til after eating to drink it.  My palate couldn’t get used to the mixing of the unsweetened, hot tea and the sweetened, cold oats.

I was quite full after eating this and felt like it was too much for breakfast.  Next time I may cut the recipe in half.

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Onto lunch at work– a salad and some crackers.

The mix contained baby spinach, carrots, celery, red and yellow cherry tomatoes (yellow cause I had three left in the fridge and wanted to use those up before opening new pack of red), roasted chinese eggplant from the hubby’s garden, strawberries, ounce of feta, and 2 tbsp. light raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

13 Wheat Thin Fiber Selects on the side.

I also had a small piece of honey bun cake (picture not captured) made by the Parent Coop Club for the faculty to enjoy.  They brought some fancy cupcakes that looked like the ones on Cupcake Wars too.  But I thought a small piece of cake might be less calories than one of the cupcakes, which were only chocolate with heaping mounds of icing by the time I got to them so I didn’t want one anyway.  I prefer yellow or white cakes over chocolate.

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When I got home from work was feeling pretty hungry so I ate a couple of snacks.

Carrots and hummus.  Wasa fibercrisp with the new Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco and Chipotle.

I was actually a little disappointed in the new L.C.  It tasted very much like the swiss with a small hint of bacon!?!  No heat came out s one would think with the name being “Chipotle.”

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After a short walk with the dogs, I came home to roast three split chicken breasts.  Two would be used in chicken salad.

As suggested by Ina Garten,  drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted at 350* for 40 minutes.  Cooled and skin discarded from two breasts for chicken salad.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts(roasted and meat removed from bone and shredded)

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup light mayo

1/4 cup light sour cream

1/4 roasted almonds and pecans

1/8 cup of dried cranberries

salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in food processor.  Pulse until mixed completely and desired consistency reached.

Chicken Salad Sammie and Side Salad

Spring mix salad with roasted eggplant, 3 grape tomatoes, < 1/2 oz. feta, light balsamic vinaigrette

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Unfortunately, I was forced to join in on the “No Phone Zone” challenge.  It has only been one day and I feel out of touch with people.  I normally talk to my mom and hubby all evening through texting/phone calls.  I haven’t spoken to either of them.  Well, perhaps, I am not at a complete loss of connecting with people.  I did conjure up a way to connect with Ina Garten, Food Network star.  I channeled  her via Internet to ask her how to roast the chicken breasts. Just kidding.  But I did write a post that hopefully people will look at.  Now,  if only I could come up with a question that readers may want to answer.

Question of the Day: If you could ask one Food Network Star anything, who would it be and what would you ask?

I feel like my students right now with the higher order thinking question.  I’m having trouble answering my own question.  Sheesh!  I have to think about it and I’m getting sleepy.  Good Night!

Chantilly Lace and a Pretty Face

Yesterday I woke up thinking it would be a pretty simple day.  I had an entire day to set up my classroom and prepare for the kiddos to arrive today.  Well, it turned into a pretty eventful day.

Simply made breakfast consisted of cereal, blueberrries, and 2% milk because my husband picked it up at the gas station on the way home and that’s all they had at the time.



Bad plating, bad photography.  Oh well.   And then I was off to work!

Let the celebrations continue!  It was the last day of opportunity for my coworkers and I to actually have freedom to go out to lunch without having to scarf down our food during a thirty minute lunch break (hence the reason we don’t get out much).  After that was brought to my attention I decided to forego my individual room 😉 (any Bachelor fans) my packed lunch and go out with three other teachers.  CiCi’s Pizza was decided on.  Man, I can’t even remember the last time I had pizza.  It is not a fine dining eatery by any means; just a quick family pizza buffet joint.

My Eats

A quick snap of the camera documented my salad of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrot, mushrooms, and lite italian dressing.  And I savored every bite of my 3 veggie, spinach, and pepperoni slices.

I told my coworkers about the blog and as to why I take pictures of my food.  I wonder if they think I’m nuts!?!  Their expressions gave off a sense of that.   I’ve also experienced a bit of mockery from some of my family.  Additionally, when I try to explain the website address and where they can check it out I hear groans of “Ugh, that’s too much to remember!”  Really people, it’s not that difficult.

Back to lunch…I honestly thought I would still be hungry or want to go back for more food being at a buffet, but once I ate the (aforementioned) food I was completely stuffed.  I could not have eaten another bite.

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After work I had plans to meet up with my sister (her son and husband too) and mom for some more celebrating of my birthday.  We went to Casa Garcia, a Mexican restaurant, for dinner.  Always gotta have some of the chips with not only salsa, but also the oh so tasty and warm bean dip.  The bean dip is my favorite thing when I go there.  This time it even had sliced jalapenos in it, which I don’t recall it usually having.

Oh Bean Dip, Where Art Thou?

Then I had some chicken tortilla soup.

I do not recommend the soup.  This was my first time having it and the broth tasted minty, not what I expected for tortilla soup. Though I did enjoy the shredded chicken and big chunk of avocado.  Lastly, for my entree I had an appetizer–chicken lettuce wraps.  The menu did not contain much of a description, but I figured it would be similar to fajitas with lettuce wraps.  It was good, but I felt like I was eating Chinese food rather than Mexican with the seasoned chicken chunks, chopped carrot,  diced zucchini, and shredded cabbage with a light sauce on side, which I did not care for.

Hmmm....Chinese or Mexican

I ate about 1/3 and my stomach was stuffed.

But of course I made room for…..

DESSERT–Whole Foods Chantilly Lace Cake with Fresh Berries purchased by my sister.  Of course it is in fact chantilly icing minus the lace, but that’s what I always call it. 🙂  It feels like such an elegant cake and so moist and so delicious.

Chantilly Lace

My Slice

Chantilly Lace sure put a smile on my face! 😉

Question of the Day: About the whole mocking issue, does that ever happen to any of you?  Does it bother you?  Should I even be bothered by it?  How do you deal with taking pictures in public with people who just don’t get it?

It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Today is the day I was born back in 1982.  Gosh, I feel like I’m so old being so close to thirty, but when I see kids in high school and college I don’t feel that there is that much of a difference.  Woke up for work and had some b-fast before heading out–greek honey yogurt, handful of blackberries, handful of blueberries, and a handful of peanut butter granola.  Cold and refreshing!

Berries + Yogurt + Granola = :0)

Before the start of our faculty meeting, the entire faculty sang Happy Birthday to me.  As a kid that is the best thing ever, but as an adult a little bit embarrassing.  But it definitely brightened up my day!

After of a mornings of meetings (Umm, have I been drinking? No! Just got done exercising; I should be more clear-headed!), it was time for lunch.  I enjoyed turkey, laughing cow light swiss, and dijonaisse on a bagel thin.  On side I ate some celery and carrot sticks dipped in jalapeno hummus and a dark chocolate square.

Bagel Sammie Made by the Hubby--Thanks Chris!

Picture Snapped Before Anyone Else Entered Lounge

Since it was my birthday, another teacher bought me a cake, which I didn’t think to snap a picture; and that is something I should be snapping without being all secretive about it.  It was a marbled cake with fluffy white and purple icing.  I did bring a couple pieces (smashed) home, so took a picture of them so you could get a sneak peek.

Sorry Cake, I didn't mean to treat you so poorly!

I probably ate a piece about the size of the smaller one.  But might have more in a few.

Sweet Marbled Goodness

Ate a handful of these chips with salsa while I heated up dinner.

10 or so Chips with Don Pablo's Hot Salsa

After Dad visited for a while, I heated up some red beans I had in the freezer to enjoy over brown rice.  (The hubby is working late so we will celebrate with the family another day.)  I had a cup of the beans over a cup of rice with bits of pickled meat and one piece of smoked sausage.

Always Fresh...Never Frozen...Not!

Next, I decided to hit up the gym for some cardio.  I did 30/5/20 on the elliptical, stairmaster, and bike.  Then decided it was 10 minutes to 9 and I needed to get home.

So that’s how I rolled on this fine day of the year!  Not exactly a party, but I don’t really see a need to cry about anything.  I did get some fab things out of the deal:

1. A Happy Birthday Song

2. A Delish Cake

3. People Being Extra Nice

4. Over 30 Messages on My Facebook Page

5. A Check From Dad (and visit from Dad)

6. A Call From MawMaw Stating She Had My Bond

7. Several Texts From Hubby

8. Coupon For a Free Smoothie When I Checked In At the Gym

9. A Bunch of “Thank You’s” For Sharing the Cake

10. A Comment on Yesterday’s Blog Post

11. Goodies For My Classroom from the Account Clerk

12. A Sony Cybershot Camera from Hubby (got it Saturday though; he can’t ever wait for the actual day)

13. A Shopping Trip and Lunch with Mom (took place Sunday)

14. A Call From Sister (we’ll be meeting up tomorrow evening and Sunday)

15. Several Compliments throughout the Day

Thank you to everyone for making my day special!  I would say it’s been a good day! 🙂 And in the words of Martha Stewart, “it’s a good thing.”

Question of the Day:  What is one thing that brightened up your day today?