Friends, the end of the month has finally come...the end of what seemed the longest month EVER. It's snowing now, big beautiful chunks of snow, but I feel most of January was just plain grey. The clouds were stuffy grey, the weather was grey, and even the news was dark and grey. I felt like there was ALWAYS something "sad" happening in the news. Did you know there's even a day called "Blue Monday"? It's considered the "most depressing day" and it happens in January. Seriously! Google it!
If it's not one thing, it's another and as if the tragic helicopter crash or the Coronavirus (beer Virus as I call it) isn't enough to dampen the grey clouds, throw in my low carb NO sugar diet as the tornado!🌪 Fortunately I believe in surrounding myself with "happy" thoughts as best I can; and as most of you know, I'm a big fan of Instagram and Pinterest. I am constantly looking for pictures that inspire and motivate me and BOTH work magnificently. Sometimes, as Bill will vouch for, a little too magnificently!
And speaking of pictures, I was going back on my phone, wanting to upload some to my computer when I realized I had forgotten about a few. Matter of fact, if it wasn't for my camera phone, I feel like I would have forgotten everything I've done this month! Is anyone else like that or is my memory just that bad anymore? Sometimes I don't even realize how many pictures I've taken UNTIL I go to upload and/or get them printed.
So I decided to share with you everything I've done this month!😂 Let's go have a looksee shall we? We're actually going to go backwards-most current to the beginning of the year.
First, I finished my 2019 Backyard and Garden Diary. Since we've moved into this house, we've done a lot of work (actually Bill did most, but I'm the dreamer and plan co-ordinator!) I decided in 2013 to start taking pictures of basically everything happening around the yard. The diary filled up and it's something that I absolutely love doing now. I don't know if you remember me telling you of a magazine called Daphne's Diary (out of England) that I took a liking to and have been buying every month, but Daphne also came out with a daily journal so for 2019 I used that journal as my diary for the backyard and garden.
And seriously, doesn't the cover of this Diary just go perfectly for my project?
After closing up the book for one final time, I decided to share the above pictures on Instagram, you know, for inspiration for others! It's January and what better time than now to start something new for the year if you've never done this before. I got lots of compliments and interest, but imagine my complete and utter shock when I received a message from Daphne herself telling me she LOVED my idea and asked if it was okay for her to share it with her other WORLDWIDE followers!...um, aaaaa YES!!! YES YOU MAY INDEED! Sure enough, about a week and a 1/2 later, as I was scrolling through IG, I saw this!!!!🤗
AHHHHH!! I'm famous!!!! I can almost hear the british accent from here! In no way, shape or form is my name mentioned, but it doesn't matter...I've decided I'm FAMOUS! Did you ever see the movie The Jerk with Steve Martin? Remember when "the new phone books are here!"? He's "somebody" because his name was in print!😂 "MILLIONS of people read this book everyday. Things are going to start happening to me NOW!"...this is me!😂😂😂
And so the dream continues😂 Ironically, after completing the journal, I decided to start a Travel one. I bought a travel journal back in 2015, but really never did anything with it. I concluded that I'm really not a "journal writer", but more a "journal picture taker". I like to tell the story through my photos, but add-in some words for explanation or excitement. I have a Christmas one that I've kept since Bill and I got married and you would think that I would have figured out in almost 30 years that this is my style! I'm not a scrapbooker like by the definition of scrapbooker though. I'm a "just tape the pictures and go" kind of gal.
So to get back to my travel journal, I went through my phone AGAIN and pulled off pictures of all our weekend getaways since 2015 and other little fun adventures and sent them to get printed. Now, I'm not fussy about where I get my pictures developed; I've always found Walgreens does a fine job and they're right around the corner (actually on the "corner of happy and healthy" according to their logo 😂). Throw in the online coupons they're always providing, it hardly costs anything anymore to get a couple photos developed, I mean, we're talking like 10 cents each. Soooo, imagine my surprise when my total came out to be over $40...😳 Imagine Bill's surprise when I had to tell him🤦🏻♀️ Can I just say, the journal is filled! I filled that puppy up with our trip to Williamsburg, Va., Washington, DC, Arlington National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Destin, my impromptu tea party for two, our Downton Abbey Day, the Biltmore, and our anniversary dinner. And now I'm working on a new one! I'm starting off the new one with our first ever TRAIN RIDE!
For Christmas, all three of our kids went in on a unique gift. Knowing that we like weekend getaways, they purchased us dinner tickets on the Old Kentucky Dinner Train. And knowing that each table seats 4, my daughter called my closest friend's daughter and asked her if she wanted to surprise her parents as well and she did! So, all four of us made our way to Bardstown, Kentucky, Bourbon Capital of The World, on January 11th. It's about a 2 hour drive from our home so Bill and I boarded the dogs and booked us a room for the night in a historic tavern/Inn which was super quaint yet very modern. But the dinner...❤️
We met our friends Betty and Craig here where you could sit and have cocktails before boarding. Then they called our seating, so off we went...
Here's Bill leading the way, checking out everyone's table. The meals were chosen when the tickets were purchased (thank GOODNESS our daughter knows what we like) including appetizers and desserts...hence the reason the tables had food already on them.
Our assigned table had our appetizers waiting for us...along with a beautiful rose🌹
These were phyllo dough stuffed with spinach and feta with a dollop of sweet potato. I believe the drizzle was a balsamic syrup.
The kids also purchased us beer cheese with pretzels and veggies.
The train ride started once all the guests were seated and drinks served. The weather was a bit wet and chilly, but it's January! It was fun to go through a little town, see woods, homes, a distillery, and even a little house the outlaws Jesse James and his brother would secretly stay when "in town".
Bill also had a potato soup and I a salad, which were both delicious, but when they started wheeling the carts with the dinner plates, it was like the clouds parted and the angels sang...
I can't begin to tell you how THICK these prime ribs were❤️ And we EACH got one! I don't think I was ever so happy to be able to bring home left overs! I was sending pictures to my son who is a steak lover and he was begging for left overs lol. I probably could have finished mine off, but I knew we had dessert coming. Although I am doing the low carb no sugar diet, I did make an exception due to the fact that this was purchased for us, so how could I disappoint!
And how rude it would be to say no to Raspberry Chocolate Mousse and an Apple Dumpling! Lord, we were stuffed!!! And here are our friends Betty and Craig that made our dinner train experience so much more fun!! Love them!❤️
And, speaking of food, steak, and my son, I have to share another Christmas gift! I have never heard of this, but evidently, in all our son's "worldly" travels lol, he tried a steak at a restaurant that was so amazing that he just HAD to ask about it. When told how they cooked it, he immediately wanted to buy the device. So for Christmas, he bought it for us instead, but the family is convinced he says it's for us, but it's really for him!
Have you ever heard of a sous vide? Well, I haven't, but I have now! It's cooking in water at an even temperature. The "contraption" looks like an aquarium with a large heater, to put it in simple terms. You can cook steak, chicken, potatoes, vegetables, even boil eggs. So, for New Year's Day dinner, our son and his girlfriend cooked us a delicious steak dinner using the new sous vide!
I have to giggle because this is him trying to put together a hand mixer...🤦🏻♀️ At this point I can only imagine how dinner is going to turn out...
What we learned, watching the numerous videos on Youtube, is you season your meat first, and using fresh herbs is amazing! I used twigs of my homegrown rosemary and small garlic cloves. Then, if you have it, you place each steak in its own vacuumed sealed bag with the seasonings. If you don't have a vacuum sealer you can purchase bags that come with a little pump to vacuum seal it. As you are preparing the steaks, the water container is filled and the "heater" is reaching the desired temperature. I think we chose 129 degrees F. for this meal. Once it's at the desired temp (you set it), then the steaks go in. And for two hours you let it cook. (Here's Bill "guiding" him along...)
The heat penatrates enough to get it to a perfect medium rare, but the seasonings are divine. They penetrate from one side of the steak to the other...😌 After the two hours, cut open each bag, (you'll notice the steaks are "grey" in color) pat dry and throw it on a butter sizzling hot cast iron skillet to sear. And OH MY HEAVENLY COW...
They did good folks! Steak, twice baked potato, and green beans...😋 All cooked to perfection! Oh, and yes, we've had several steaks since then, all cooked amazingly and extremely delicious! I will say, when using fresh seasonings, the house smells incredible through to the next day!
And that brings me back to the beginning of the year in pictures from my phone! What can I say, I love pictures! Don't get me wrong, I also believe in living for the moment, but I love all the moments I get to share with my friends, my family, and especially Bill, so don't think less of me for wanting to capture it all "on film". I'm sure grey January has reminded each of us how short life is...I just want to make sure others see my happiness no matter what color the month is!❄️