Green Bean Casserole, but Better

I combined a few green bean casseroles recipes and used them to make this recipe. It turned out so good!

I always have a hard time figuring out what to take to holiday dinners. Whenever someone asks what I want to bring, the old standbys are what come to mind for me. Stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, noodles, etc. None of these ever sound that exciting to me, even though I like all of them. They just don’t sound exciting to make.

Well, this year I decided to make stuffing and green bean casserole to take for  Thanksgiving lunch  at my son’s and daughter-in-law’s home. This was after I googled and Pinterest-ed recipes to find what I thought looked like good recipes. Both dishes turned out really well.

Green bean casserole usually tastes a little bland to me, but I found several recipes that sounded better than the standard back-of-the-label of French’s Fried Onions recipe. I combined my favorites parts of the recipes and came up with this one. I like that you don’t add a can of anything to it.

Then I found a couple other recipes that sounded really good, too. A few called for bacon. I mean, you can’t really go wrong when you add  BACON to something, right?

So, I used the original yummy recipe found here and added 2 slices of crumbled, crisp- cooked bacon. I mixed in half of the bacon in the green bean casserole and added the other half of each on top of the dish. This recipe makes enough to fill a 9×13 dish.

It was the best green bean casserole that I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve tried quite a few!

I’m planning to make it a couple more times this month.

The Comfort of Routines

The word routine has a bad reputation. It implies boring and old. But routines are a good thing. In fact, they are a great thing.

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Good routines are comforting in the same way that some foods are comforting. Routines help us to do things without having to put much thought into them. They make our lives easier.

Say that you got up for work in the morning and did not have a morning or evening routine. You would probably not have set your alarm, so you could be late for whatever you had planned for the day. You may not have any clean clothes because you may not have thought about this before hand. You may not know where your shoes are because you didn’t put them in a certain spot. You most likely would end up spending  a lot of time looking for something clean to wear and some shoes.

So, basically,  having a routine just means that someone has done a certain thing or set of things over and over basically the same way until it has become a habit. Just those few examples demonstrate how not having a routine can set you up for disaster.

One thing that I’ve found in life is that it’s pretty easy to start a new habit by doing something for a few days or weeks. Likewise, it’s also very easy to stop a habit (even a good habit) by getting out of your routine for a few days or weeks.

I once had a patient who (in my opinion) went a little overboard with his routines. He had his whole LIFE down to a schedule of routines.

This man was older, in his 80s, I believe. I was working in home health at the time. I or another nurse would go to his home to visit him a couple of times a week.

This man had his life down to a science. He was not in any way flexible. I figured this out when I called the first time to schedule a visit to his home and spoke with his daughter. I asked if I could go at a certain time and she said that her dad would be eating lunch at that time. So I said, fine, and asked her what time would be good for me to make a visit.

We worked out a time and I went to see her dad later that day, after lunch. Her dad was waiting for me in the living room. I did my assessment and vital signs, talked to him, did the rest of my job and left.

The next time that I called to make a visit (later that week), the exact same scenario played out.

Part of my job was to ask him about his meals, his bowels, urinating, medications, sleeping, etc. This man was very interesting; much more so than the average home health patient.

I found out that he got up at the same exact time every day. He had the same exact food for breakfast at the same exact time every day. He smoked one cigarette every hour on the hour. He watched the same tv shows at the same time every day. He had the same food for lunch at the same time every day. He took a nap at the same time every day, for the same length of time.

I don’t mean that he did almost the same things at approximately the same time every day. I mean he did all of the exact same things at exactly the same time in exactly the same way every day. He was extreme.

I guess that this extreme structure worked for him. Of course, most people are not that unwavering in their routines. I guess that, for whatever reason,  he found comfort in having this amount of structure.

I recently read that the reason that autistic people like/need  routine is that they aren’t able to predict the future. I really know very little about autism, but I do know that many autistic people do have many routines and can actually get very upset if their routines aren’t followed.

For someone who isn’t able to predict the future, it makes sense that a routine would be of utmost importance to them. It would give a sense of security because they would not have the uncertainty of what was going to happen to them next.

Of course, none of us can predict the future, but most of us can reasonably plan our days and have a good idea of how our days will unfold. This does require having a routine to a certain extent, though. Our days do usually involve planning in order to flow well.

Children also need routines in their lives. They need the security of knowing that someone is going to be taking care of their needs; feeding them regularly,  bathing them, putting them to bed, etc. . Having security enables them to go about the business of being children and doing  all that being a child entails.

As an adult, having a routine helps me, especially since I am not blessed with organizational skills. Following my bedtime and morning routines helps me to have more brain energy to put into other things. And I can definitely use all of the extra brain energy that I can get.

Having an end of day routine helps me to relax and start winding down towards bedtime. Coming home from work, I take my shoes off at the door and put my slippers on. I put my purse and other belongings in my bedroom. I change into my comfy clothes; I have my comfy clothes in a certain drawer.  Then I do whatever it is that I need to do.

I have my routines and they may be different in ways from your routines. But I would guess that they are probably fairly similar in ways.

Here’s to routines!

Life Hacks

I’m not very organized. As in: I’m disorganized. As in: I (and probably many others) wonder how I manage to get through life as well as I do.

Therefore, I am constantly trying to find ways to semi-organize the messes in my life. I google things, I look on Pinterest, etc., and sometimes I find an idea that really helps me.

And sometimes I actually think up things by myself. This doesn’t happen very often, and when it does, I am SO PROUD of myself.

I guess that it stands to reason that the longer that a person lives the more likely they are to come up with some of their own life hacks. I thought that I’d share a few things that make my life easier.

1) Problem: Getting kids to hang their wet towels up.

Wet towels laying around are a pet peeve of mine. Especially if I find them all moldy and mildewed and causing other things to be moldy and mildewed.

Originally, I tried having the kids hang their towels up in the bathroom. When I did this, I would find towels in the hampers on top of clothes and on the bedroom floors instead of hung up.

Next, I  decided to just give each kid a towel to use for several days so that they would either have to hang it up or use a wet, nasty towel. This did not work either. They would just throw their towels in the same places as before and use whatever clean, dry towel happened to be hanging up in the bathroom.

Finally, what ended up working was when I put their towel hooks with their one towel on the outside of their bedroom doors. That way I can see that their towels are hung up. I also put a lock on the linen closet so that they can’t get to the other towels. I used Command hooks that hold up to 5 pounds each and these work great.

2) Problem: Dog hates riding in the car/vomits in the car.

I take my dog to get his nails trimmed once a month. It’s about a 15 minute car ride and he always, always, always gets sick and vomits several times on the way there and usually on the way back, too.

After stuffing him into a dog carrier and having a mess inside the carrier to clean up multiple times, I had an idea of what I could do to make it less traumatic for him and easier for me to clean up.

What I do is I grab my rectangular plastic laundry basket. I fold up two thick towels and place them in the laundry basket so that they cover the the bottom of it. I place this in my front passenger seat in my car.

When it’s time to go, I carry the dog out there, put him in the basket, and off we go. I keep my hand on him during the whole drive. He still throws up, but it’s less stressful for him than being stuffed into a dog crate (he hates that).

When we get to the dog groomer, I take him out of the basket and take him inside. Before we leave for our drive home, I just turn over the top towel so that a clean side is up.

After we get home, I shake (or scrape) the vomit off the towels and throw them into the washer. The laundry basket is usually clean, but sometimes I do need to wipe it off.

These are two ideas I came up with that have helped me a lot. Hope that they might help someone else! I’d love to hear some other people’s (easy) life hacks!

Deciding on Kitchen Style

We are building a house and it’s so exciting! I’ve never been up close and personal to the house building process or to a house as it was being built. It’s a lot to take in!

Right now I’m working out the details of my kitchen. Overall, I want a country/farmhouse/cottage vibe. I like the traditional designs also, but I want the house to be very ME, so I don’t think that traditional is really the way to go for me. The possibilities are endless, which makes it difficult to make final decisions. However, I do have a pretty good idea of what I want.

I’ve looked at SO many pictures of kitchens and I am usually drawn to the same type of kitchens over and over.

 

The pictures below are  my kitchen at this time! As you can see, it is a blank slate waiting to be decorated. It’s an overwhelming job, but I really can’t complain. Hopefully it will all come out close to what I’m envisioning!

 

It’s a little stressful, but fun to figure all of the details out. I will update as progress is made!