Our Only Dish for Thanksgiving

Since Luke works on Thanksgiving (screw you, Pak a Sak), we don’t go all out for our little Thanksgiving on Thursday. Instead, I’m celebrating with my dad’s side of the family on Saturday …. it’s gonna be a big ordeal. However, once again, my poor hubs has to work that day and cannot come. I figured I’d make some kind of casserole which includes veggies, protein, and a bit of naughtiness too (I’m looking at you, creamy soups and cheese) on Thursday so my man and I can have something special to eat together.

Enter ~ Mandy’s Exemplified Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 (10 oz.) can cream of chicken/mushroom mix soup
  • black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste (I’m liberal with it)
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 4 (14 oz.) cans French’s style green beans, drained
  • 2 cups Sharp Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups French fried onions
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 package of bacon
  • 1 large package of sliced mushrooms

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray your casserole dishes with a cooking spray (this will make at least one and a half dishes)
  • Spray a large cast iron pan with PAM and add a bit of butter – slice up onion, bacon, add to pan, then add mushrooms. Cook until bacon is done.

  • Meanwhile, a large bowl, mix together the soup, pepper, salt, garlic powder, cheese, and drained green beans.

  • Add the bacon, onion, and mushroom mixture to the bowl and stir.

  • Add the entire mixture to the casserole dish, and top generously with French fried onions (I even add a few into the casserole while stirring).

  • Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Luke came home after a terrible night of dealing with assholes (nearly at 1, and the store supposedly closes at 12), and he heartily approved of the casserole. The holidays are so hard on retail workers, especially gas station workers who are forced by greedy owners to stay open. So please remember to be extra kind to workers this holiday season.

~ M

A Silly Conundrum of the Yuletide and Birthday Variety

I have a conundrum on my hands, and perhaps writing about it will help me solve it … I have funds from Christmas and Birthday presents, HOWEVER, I do not have enough funds to net all of the goodies at the Nat that I want ~ a Balinese ram skull and a bar cart (see below).

Now the ram skull currently costs $285, but since it’s my boss’s booth, I can get 30% off and it would be about $216. I’d like to paint it and possibly sell it (depending on how attached I become to it) for profit. I could also wait after Christmas and see if she comes off the price anymore with our end of year sale. It’s not likely, I’d imagine, but it might be worth a shot.

The bar cart is $180, and it’s not part of my boss’s booth … so either I could call the booth vendor and ask if he would come off the price a bit, or I could bite the bullet and pay $180 (not likely since I’m sure I’ll call the vendor …. it’s my job to do that often anyway). A bar cart is something that I’ve wanted for years – I probably wouldn’t use it for alcoholic beverages but rather as storage for cool things that I’ve found, such as the two items below that I purchased for Luke – a flask and a cast iron bottle opener.

In theory, I’ll have $300 to spend … so I’d need about $95 extra to get both. I’ll see if I can’t save up a bit, as it’s possible to do so with my daily allowance for food- I rarely use it all. But which do I want most? I’m NOT SURE! I’ll keep this space updated throughout December!

~ M

Netting a Career at The Nat

My first day on the job at The Nat was AMAZING, and I went back yesterday to keep on learning about my new job!

I’ve learned how to check people out with cash or card at the cash wrap, hold items, am getting acquainted with the vendors and their booths, the lighting system, the daily and weekly procedures, etc. etc. – most importantly, I was introduced to three co-workers (such lovely ladies) and am getting to know the owner better too. I can already tell that I’m going to love this job – it’s soooo chill compared to Express Factory Outlet’s fast and stressful pace, and as a plus, I’ll be able to really spend time with our customers and help them out instead of just moving them in and out of the cash wrap like cattle.

Here is a minuscule sampling of a few of my favorite items here at The Nat – I have a ton of favorite things already!

I even bought this coyote skull for $20 – it was on clearance – and I started the cleaning process for it in order to start slapping paint on ’em!

Now, this fella is nowhere near ready for paint yet – I need to bleach him a bit more and keep on scrubbing and picking away mummified fur and skin, but the skull already looks 5X better than it did in the store. I also plan on finding some cow bones (hopefully skulls!) at the ranch when we go deer hunting, and perhaps we’ll even get some deer antlers. I also need to cut some wood slices to display my skulls on.

 I hope to do a blog post about deer hunting (we’re going in a week) and about my weight and how I’m losing some poundage – those are on my radar!

~ M

Metamorphosing in Several Ways

It’s time for major shifting in my life, you guys. I turn *gasp* 35 on the 12th of December, and I currently am in the throws of a life’s revolution (not a midlife crisis, no, but a major contraction, perhaps one might say). That’s one reason that I’m revamping Ye Olde Blog yet again – yes, it’s like the fiftieth time this year, but hey, now seems like an ideal time to do it once more.

I’ve been in retail for quite some time now – I started out at James Avery, and then, as many of y’all know, I became an employee of Express Factory Outlet in Amarillo for about a year now – I started out as a sales associate in November 2018, and then I quickly climbed the rungs of the business and became management in February of 2019.

Now, I’ve enjoyed my time at Express, and I’ve learned an insane amount about retail management, floor set, payroll, scheduling, etc. etc. there, not to mention have made some amazing friends and mentors. However, despite all of the newfound wisdom and growth that I’ve incurred, I’ve also learned that I’m no great fan of being in the rungs of a big ol’ corporation. Retail corporations are profoundly notorious to be cheap on the dollar with their employees, not to mention that I’ve felt like a cheap commodity to be replaced effortlessly. I mean, seriously, if I died tomorrow, they’d have someone in my place the very next day.

I want to feel more valuable to my administrations and my workplace, for one, and I’ve been needing a metamorphosis for quite some time now. Do you wanna know something amazing? A transformation in my life is actually happening as we speak (or as I type).

In a fortuitous and rather blind leap of faith, I found myself on 6th Street for the annual Celebrate Noel gathering this last weekend, just “to put a face to an email” with the super sweet lady with this amazing “can do attitude” who owns a notoriously fabulous antique store here on Amarillo’s old Route 66 – I’ll divulge the name another day. As luck would have it, I received a job offer that day – one which seems extremely exciting, promising, creative, and fun, among other characteristics!

Now, I’m still with Express currently but I’ve given my two weeks notice, and I plan to stay on as an employee to just do floor sets (I’ll have Sundays off with my new job, and that’s when Express does it’s monthly floor set). That way I can still have my employee discount too and keep up with my friends 🙂 .

Now, accelerating ahead, I also want to touch base on my health as someone in her mid 30’s who used to be in shape. Not the best of shape, mind you, but in better shape than I am now. For about a year and a half now, however, I’ve been stagnating in the exercise realm. Part of it has just been lack of motivation, part of it has been my crazy schedule at Express which has seen me working mornings, afternoons, and into the night – all just depending on the day. It’s rather exhausting. And yes, I’d go with my husband and his friend sometimes and attempt to rekindle the spark, but with my schedule, the desire just never stuck.

Lately I’ve been feeling the need for change coming directly from my body – I feel achy-er than usual, and just flat out sluggish. I know my diet hasn’t been up to par (it’s so easy to grab sugary oatmeal at United for breakfast on my way to work, and the salad at Frulatti in the mall, although yummy, is surely a calorie bomb too). I need to start feeding myself healthier, lower calorie options, and that’s a goal that I’d like to set as I’m metamorphosing.

I want to start lifting weights again as well. I went with Luke this evening, and we did legs. Man oh man, was I wobbly, but I felt that natural high that comes with working those big glutes, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps … it was wonderful and utterly inspiring. Since my schedule is going to be much more steady, I’d like to work on my physique in the evening. I mean, truly, why wait to have a New Year’s Resolution with all of this when I can start setting some awesome resolutions today?

I’ll keep this space updated with aspects of my new career, with diet and exercise goals, with fashion (as usual …. c’mon, did you expect me to leave out fashion?), and, of course, trips to the ranch, amateur photography, and *fingers crossed* more skull painting as soon as I acquire a few!

I plan on not focusing so much on the past as I want to focus on the present and BEING present. 🙂

~ M

Whims and Moods

I’ve been in the mood to create and have a whim to get started again. I’m a painter, but not one that you might imagine – I paint animal skulls. Here are some past projects that I’ve sold ~

This is a picture that I cherish – my late Nan and my mom walking in to see my art!

And here are two that hang in my apartment ~

I don’t think I give myself enough credit for the soul and hard work I put into these, and I’d like to start my hobby anew and see what I can do! First things first – I need to procure skulls and animal bones. Now, thankfully, I have Route 66 and our ranch to search for skulls. I know we lost a few cows last year in the South pasture, so I’m gonna go take a look when we head out to shoot a deer this year, and I have my eye on this big ol’ gorgeous elk skull at The Nat ~

They also have a lovely ram skull as well! I’ll keep this space updated as I begin to create – I know I can at least grab some cow skulls from the ranch, and I’ll ask the deer processing place if they have any leftover deer heads that I can allow to rot at the ranch. I had a boar skull, but I gave it away, sadly, in a period of artistic despondence which has plagued me for a while.

Watch this space!

~ Mandy