The Fried Food Fiasco — May 13, 2015

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Every year, at least once, either David or I say, “You know what we should do this year?  Go to a Rangers game!”

And most years, it starts and stops with that sentence.

Some years I will go so far as to look at the home game schedule, but we never get much past that point.

This year, David hooked me in:

“Guess what the new ballpark food is this year?”  he says.

“OOOooooooh, what?!?!”, I reply, and suddenly the plans were on.  (He knows me well.)

So this year’s new foods are a large array of bacon products (which I will take a pass on…but really, now…bacon cotton candy?!), fried corn (yes!), and, what I wanted most of all, S’mOreos, which are deep-fried-oreo-smores.

So, off we went to Arlington and the Globe Life Park…to see the Texas Rangers play…and to fulfill our fried food mission.

We stopped in Longview along the way because we needed some fries to get us started, and we found our theme for the trip:

wpid-2015-05-13-18.48.09.jpg.jpegWe booked a room at the Howard Johnson hotel, which was right next to Six Flags and the Ballpark.  We mapped it out and realized that it would be a lot easier to walk to and from the hotel.  It was so close!  Why pay for parking if you can walk!

As we checked in, we found out that Arlington has a free trolley service from various hotels to the Ballpark, so we decided that would work just as well.

wpid-2015-05-13-18.46.53.jpg.jpegI had very strategically booked our seats at the ballpark.  Globe Life Park’s website is pretty neat because they actually let you see what food offerings are in each section!

It didn’t take long to see that the State Fare Stand in Section 41 was going to be our perfect seats…

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And here we are, Section 41!

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(You know how it is when you are too excited to hold the camera still!)

So, we decided to start off easy, with ballpark nachos:

wpid-2015-05-13-18.44.21.jpg.jpegEasy, delicious, and gets the appetite geared up for the goodness yet to come.

I had to be the one to get up to go get the nachos, so David took the task of getting up to get us some Fried Corn.

We were about 3 innings in by this point.  I started to look around to see who all else booked their seats based on the food offerings:

To the right:

wpid-2015-05-13-18.43.41.jpg.jpeghmm…..rather empty there….

To the left:

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Oh.  Seems like I’m the only one who scrambled to get into Section 41.  How interesting. :)

But the view was actually really good!  (Lucky accident, because we were sitting in 41 or else, right.)

wpid-2015-05-13-18.42.36.jpg.jpegWe did have some people in front of us.  They were really nice.  They shared their funnel cake fries with us, which was super, since I had them on my “maybe I will try….but maybe I won’t” list for the day.  (The funnel cake fries were pretty good.  They were a lot more chewy than regular funnel cake, but also not as sweet.  I probably wouldn’t choose section 41 again based on funnel cake fries alone.)

So, after nearly forever, David comes back to report that my State Fare stand was out of fried corn!!!!  What!!!!!

So I sent him after these beauties instead:

wpid-2015-05-13-18.41.40.jpg.jpegGarlic fries.  Stand back all vampires.  These things were so strong.

We shared our garlic fries with our funnel cake fry neighbors, since we were sure to be breathing garlic fumes on them for the rest of the game.  (Maybe THAT’S why they left early!)  They agreed that the fries were quite good.

That was a huge order of fries, so we took an eating break after that for a bit, and then….it was time for our main event:

S’mOreos!!!!!

It was my turn to get up, so off I went!

And……

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!  NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!  Why, cruel world?!  How can my S’mOreo dreams be crushed in one mere instant?  This is exactly how.  Closed.  CLOSED!!!!

It hurt me to have to share that news with David.  Of course, we couldn’t help but laugh.  Our main incentives for attending the game – demolished just like that.

So, luckily, the Rangers won:

wpid-2015-05-13-18.40.29.jpg.jpegAnd David surprised me by wanting us to walk back to the hotel instead of waiting for the trolley.  It really was an easy walk.  I would definitely stay there again — and now, we HAVE to go again because there’s still food that I must try!

————-

Also, thanks to my co-workers who decorated my cubicle at work today for my birthday:

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It was a fun day full of cupcakes, chips, and lot of nice wishes from everyone.  :)

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A Most Perfect Salad — April 7, 2011

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I had a friend comment to me recently that she doesn’t view eating out as a “recreational activity.”  I had to kind of think about that for while because I tend to view eating out as just that!  I think it’s the easiest way to plan an activity with someone, and it’s a nice way to get to know people better without necessarily having to invite them into your home.  I think that eating out has more intrinsic benefits that just the food aspect of it all.  Of course, I completely love the food, but there’s also a “quality time” side to eating out that doesn’t always happen with other recreational events.

When I cook at home (we will use the term “cook” rather loosely!), I feel like David and I miss out on some of our bonding time.  The time I spend preparing the food is mostly a solitary process, and then we progress straight to eating, which doesn’t really bring a lot of conversation time into it all.  The act of going out to eat, however, brings an element of “down time” into the equation.  The time between when you place your order and when you get your food is the time when you are just sitting there waiting, and you might as well talk about something!  :)  Whether it is mindless ramblings with lots of quiet gaps, or an important discussion with constant conversation, I love the time of being forced to slow down and make conversation.  (And, when people follow my “no cell phones at the table” rule, all of this really works!)

Plus for me, eating out would be my chosen method of spending our “recreational” budget.  The last time we went to the movies in Longview, it cost us $9 a ticket!  $18 just to get us in the building!  I thought that was just absurd.  (And I have to quell a moment of rage when I think about it, even now.)  There is just no need for that!  The ironic thing is that we are the people who would normally buy something at the concession stand (where, of course, the cinema profits the most) but when we are paying nearly $20 just in tickets…..well, we just settle for a free  sip of water as we pass by the water fountains!  I would much rather funnel that $18 into my evening meal out than to use it for a movie.  I love going to the movies, but it’s not really “quality time” for me to go.  It doesn’t make me feel like I’m bonding with a person to sit in the dark and stare straight ahead, unable to talk, hehe!

——

Anyway!  That wasn’t my point for today.  :)

David and I were lucky enough to get most of Wednesday off together!  :)  We decided to spend the afternoon in Longview.  We had a gigantic to-do list, which even included a trip to the walking path!  I was so excited when David suggested this!  Not only did I get to walk the trail, which I love, but even more importantly, it means that David’s knee is so much improved!  Before his surgery, walking the trail would have been an exercise in torture for him with all kinds of pain afterwards.  Yesterday, we got some walking time in and other than being a little tired, he was doing fine.  That’s really great news.  He’s not 100% sure if he will pursue surgery on the other knee yet, but everything is so much better than what it was.

We ate lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger.  We are obsessed with this place right now!!  It has only been open for about a week.

Actually, our discovery of Cheeburger Cheeburger was pretty funny.  It was the night that David and Shane and I all ate at Outback a few weeks ago.  We were leaving and were crossing the parking lot to get back on the road.  David was driving and I was sitting in the passenger seat just kind of calmly looking around.  (“La la la la la la la”) All of a sudden, I looked across the street and I saw it:  the Cheeburger Cheeburger sign!!!!  I could not believe my eyes!! I wanted to just shriek out the good news, but I was scared I would startle David, so I was going, *Deep breath!!!!!!  Talk slowly!!!!* to myself.  I collected myself and said, as calmly as I could muster, “Okay, I need you to turn left.  Look over there.  Please, tell me, is that not a Cheeburger Cheeburger sign?????”

VVVVVVRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!  Pedal to the metal across the parking lot!!!  (Thank goodness I calmed myself beforehand, right? hehehehe.)  We were careening around corners, zooming down the street, and then flew through the Cheeburger Cheeburger parking lot on two wheels!!!  I was hanging on tight in the front, and Shane was “getting tossed around like a case of water” in the back, he said.

David hastily parked and ran up to the windows to look inside.  The employees were still setting up tables and chairs, but they came to the door to share in David’s excitement.  hehehhehe.

So, we have been there quite a bit since they opened.  :)  I won’t say how many times, but the owner is definitely getting to know us!   Love that place.  We have been going to the Cheeburger Cheeburger in Shreveport all along.  (It’s actually in between Albasha and Yeero!! Yeero!!)  We weren’t getting to go nearly as often as we wanted because it was nearly an hour drive one way to that location, so having this one open in Longview is great news for us!!  (This is actually only the second place they have open in Texas.  The other is in Houston.)

The greatest thing about this place is that everything is completely customizable.  For someone like me (who custom orders practically EVERYTHING), this is a perfect setup.  David loves to get his cheeseburgers just the way he wants them (usually bacon and lots of cheese!)  I only really tried the grilled cheese sandwiches before.  They were so perfect that I never tried much else.  I decided to get brave with the one in Longview and branched out into their salad selection.

Salad Lover's Salad

Look at this wonderful monstrosity!  The Salad Lover’s Salad is basically a plate of mixed salad (spring mix) and you build up from there.  Mine has: bleu cheese crumbles, water chestnuts, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, onion rings, garlic croutons, shredded cheese, shredded carrots, crispy noodles, and bleu cheese dressing.  You pay for the salad.  All of the toppings are free!!!  It doesn’t matter how many toppings you put on there, it is all the same price.  (And I barely scratched the surface on toppings!  There are many, many other options.)

On one of our trips David decided he wanted to try a milkshake.  (Again, there are a zillion choices….at least 50 flavors even before you start to mix and match.)  I am not normally all that crazy about milkshakes.  I never have been.  He gets them from time to time, and I will normally take a sip or two, but that’s all I really need.  He decided to get “blueberry pie” flavor.  I took one sip…..and he was lucky he even got to taste it!  It was so perfect.  I felt like I was eating a ripe, juicy, sweet blueberry.  We will be getting a large next time, or maybe we won’t attempt to share!  hehe.

 

And Then There Was a Resounding Thud — March 24, 2011

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I just love daylight savings time.  It’s so nice to have light in the evenings.  It just really improves my entire well-being.

The longer days also mean that Shane and I can finally get back on our walking schedule.  :)  Last year our walking schedule got severely interrupted by my leg surgery (since I couldn’t exercise much for a good while afterwards.)  This year, our walking schedule faces the threat of interruption again since Shane is about to transfer to his new store, but hopefully we’ll get a schedule under control soon so we can stay on our routine!

We went to walk the new trail in Longview.  We love this trail!!  This is the Paul Boorman trail we discovered last December.  We actually walked it last week as well, but between last week and this week they finally added mile markers! Yay! That makes the trail even more perfect.  The trail is linear and if you start at the beginning and go all the way to the end it is just shy of 3 miles.  We did the entire thing end to end, nearly six miles, and we had a good pace going this time around.

The funny thing about this trail is that we seem destined to encounter wildlife every time we go.  The first time we saw a snake.  Our second time (last week) we saw a huge number of tadpoles swimming around.  (That was neat.)  And then this time: caterpillars!!  Tons and tons of fuzzy caterpillars – everywhere!

The trail was very crowded last night.  It was the perfect weather to walk and everyone (and even their puppies) were taking advantage of it.  There were also a lot of people bicycling the trail, so we got used to hearing a bike come up behind us and then get over to get around us.

Well.  We had made it to the end and were about halfway back when I heard a bike come up on us.  It dawned on me that it sounded like it was very close to us.  I kind of dismissed the noise until I looked down between us and saw a bicycle wheel!  It took my brain a very long, slow second to realize what was about to happen.

THUD!!!

The bicycle crashed into us.  It took us by complete surprise!  Shane actually got the worst of the impact.  It hit me kind of in the arm and also put a small abrasion just above my left ankle. Shane had a huge splotch on his back where something hit him (presumably the handlebars) and then he also had a mark above his right ankle – likely from the rubbing of the tires.

We turned around to realize that it was a kid who had hit us.  He was staring at the ground – stunned, I guess.  Shane started asking him if he was okay but he wouldn’t answer or look up.  I just stared at him, probably fixating on him in a condescending glare, hehe.  We finally turned to walk off.  Kid didn’t even apologize.  Meh.

David joined us after our walk for dinner.  We decided to go to Outback!  YUM!  I just love their blue cheese pecan chopped salad.  It is so good.  I had already decided in my mind that I was going to get two salads!!  hehehe.  I decided I deserved it because: a. We don’t really go to Outback that often so I don’t get my salad all too often, and b. I was super hungry and the salads aren’t that large.

We walked to our table and I was thinking, “Salad, salad, salad, salad,” when I saw this sitting on our table.

OH MAN.  OH MAN.

Strawberry shortcake is really high on my list of favorite desserts.  It might be my favorite dessert that requires an eating utensil.  (Cookies are the top of the list of hand-held desserts.)  I immediately decided to do one salad and then this Strawberry Waffle Shortcake.

David and Shane both ordered burgers.  This is Shane’s:

It looks amazingly delicious, even to me!

My salad doesn’t look nearly as wonderful as it tastes, but trust me, it is amazing.  They put this yummy salty/sweet dressing on it, and then the blue cheese chunks and the candied pecans just top it off.  YUM!

I ordered the dessert and the waitress told us that it would take awhile because they did not cook the waffles until just before bringing them out.  (We actually ended up waiting through two cooking cycles because they burned them the first time, hehe.)

Finally, our dessert came out.  Let me remind you of the picture we were looking at during our whole meal first:

Here’s what we got:

Here’s the example again:

Here’s what we got:

hmmm!!! Aesthetics aside, this was an amazingly delicious dish!  The waffles were perfect – slightly crunchy and chewy at the same time.  The cream in between the waffles was a thick almond-flavored cream and there were little slivers of almonds all over it as well.  The strawberries were also perfect, and the entire thing was not overly sweet.  It was just amazing!  I hope it goes on the permanent menu!!

 

Pine Nuts in Tea?? — February 17, 2011

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Shane and I had the opportunity to finally try the “other” Greek restaurant in Shreveport this week – Albasha. We normally go to Yeero!! Yeero!!, so we decided to try Albasha this time to see how it compares.  It’s funny to me how few and far between Greek restaurants are in this area, and then these two places sit within just a few miles of each other on the same road!

We are in love with this place now!  It’s a good bit larger inside than Yeero!! Yeero!! which is nice because you don’t feel like you’re sitting as close to everyone else in the place.  It’s a lot more open, although not nearly as pretty and decorative as Yeero!! Yeero!!.

We sat down and our waiter came to get our drink order.  I ordered water and Shane asked if they had sweet tea.  The waiter was like, “Well, yes, we have tea, but it’s different – it’s Lebanese tea.”  Shane was like, “No no, just give me a Coke!” but the waiter was very excited about this tea and said that he’d bring a sample to the table. heheehe.

So, here’s the tea:

Lebanese Tea

As you can see, there are objects floating in it!  These are pine nuts, oddly enough.

I decided to be brave and taste it first, because if I didn’t go first, I wouldn’t have gone at all. (Germs, you know….)  It smelled just like Fruit Loops.  I defintely avoided the pine nuts, hehe, but hmmm….I would not have classified that drink as sweet tea!  It was really more like a citrus drink.  It reminded me of one of my grandmother’s versions of tea.  She would always order iced tea at every restaurant and then would nearly run the place out of lemons with all her requests for extras!  It was just a really weird flavor.  We were not impressed, so Shane was glad he was warned!

We started out with the Grecian sauce, which was their version of Tzatziki.  (The sour cream/cucumber dip.)  Yummy!  Then Shane got the gyro sandwich with fries.  The fries were great – and a gigantic portion.  He said his gyro was better than what he had gotten at Yeero!! Yeero!! and considering how much he loved those gyros, this one must have been incredible.

Gyro and Fries - you can tell we got excited about the food and forgot to take pictures first!

I got the falafel sandwich.  I don’t usually get that at Yeero!! Yeero!! so it was hard to compare.  It was very good, but spiced differently from others that I have had.  (I really miss the falafels at Mediterranean Chef in Clear Lake.  If I remember correctly, they put pickles in their falafel sandwiches and it added a lot of flavor!)

My salad!

My favorite part of the meal, though, was the small salad that came with it.  It was really a simple salad – just lettuce, Feta cheese, and dressing, but wow, that dressing was perfect!  My first thought was that it tasted like the green sauce at Jalapeno Tree (which I am often tempted to pour over my salad there), but I later realized that it’s actually more like the Green Goddess salad dressing that I love!  This was a much better version though – lighter and a little more zesty.  It would be hard for me to go back to Albasha and not order a huge salad covered in this dressing – it was just that good!  I might just do that next time.  I definitely want to go back!

Anyway, our main reason for the trip to Shreveport wasn’t just to eat.  hehe.  We actually went because I had another follow-up appointment for the leg/varicose vein surgery I had last June.  All is well!  I am really excited about that.  :)  I would definitely recommend the Highland Clinic for anyone facing this type of surgery.  It was a really good experience.  The only thing I would advise is taking your own magazines with you to the waiting room!  hehehe.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but all the tables are covered with what must be every back issue of “Catholic Connection.”  hehehehe.  I think they’re catering to a pretty narrow audience with that one.  :)  I was able to rustle up one Star Magazine (from 2008!!!!) but I latched onto it and left Shane to his choice of issues of “Catholic Connection.”

February has been the month of doctor’s appointments for us!  I think I am finished for now, but all of David’s doctor visits are just starting.  He has knee surgery coming up next Wednesday.  I am pretty happy that it’s finally time for this surgery.  I know it’s going to be a long recovery, but hopefully it’ll be worth it and we definitely hope he’ll be pain-free in that leg afterwards!  He will be off from his parole job for about a week, but he’ll be off from Walmart for at least five weeks…goodness!  He’s very excited about the idea of being off right now, but I have a feeling he’ll be climbing the walls soon enough.  But….it’ll all be worth it in the end.

A Rare Treat — January 21, 2011

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Shane and I finally celebrated Christmas earlier this week.  hehe.  We were a little bit behind, but our schedules have been so opposite lately that it just took this long!

We went to Longview for lunch.  Originally our plan was to go to McAlister’s Deli, but we got there right around lunchtime and the place was just completely packed.  It amazes me how much business they do!  We were really craving McAlister’s though, so we even went inside just to see if we had any chance of getting a table.  There was a huge line at the counter and only about 3 empty tables, so we decided that ratio just wasn’t going to work out for us, hehe.
We decided to go to Newk’s Express Cafe instead.  I had only been there once before; this was Shane’s first time.  Newk’s and McAlister’s are pretty similar.  The people who owned McAlister’s sold it and then started Newk’s.  I would say that Newk’s is trying to be a more “upscale” McAlister’s.  Walking into Newk’s always reminds me of IKEA.  Everything is trying to be modern and new, and just a tiny bit “cold” feeling.  McAlister’s reminds me of Kohl’s —  classic and comfortable.

I got a really great salad:

This is the Newk’s Favorite – mixed greens, grilled chicken breast, gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries, grapes, artichoke hearts, pecans and croutons tossed with Newk’s sherry vinaigrette.  (I obviously did not get the chicken.)

It was yummy!  I think next time I might not get the artichoke hearts though.  They didn’t really match the rest of the salad to me.  They were pickle-y and just a tiny bit slimy…I don’t know.  I am in love with gorgonzola cheese though. I want extra next time!

Shane got a chicken salad sandwich with a salad.  He really liked it and we’re already ready to go back!

After this, we did a little shopping, and then came home to try out our Christmas gifts.  Shane got a new Chi for Christmas, and then he got me Wii Zumba.  hehehehehe.  I was talking about Wii Zumba with a friend a few weeks ago and her response was, “It would be a rare treat to watch you do Zumba.” hehe!  Yes.  Yes it is.

I really like it!  I would say that of all the Wii fitness games I’ve played, the Zumba is the most interesting.  It comes with a velcro belt that you wear on your hips.  A little pocket on the belt holds the Wiimote and that’s how it monitors your movements.  There are lots of different levels of difficulty and different lengths of time for the routines.  My favorite thing about Zumba compared to the other Wii fitness games is that the Zumba levels run continuously through.  The other fitness games I’ve tried have lots of pauses in between mini-games, activities, or levels.  You spend a good amount of time either pushing buttons through various menus to get to what you want, or else you’re waiting for the next activity to load.  That’s okay when you’re just playing around with it, but if you’re actually trying to do a workout….it’s just a lot of stopping and starting.

Of course, I guess you don’t really have to have the Wii version of Zumba to get a good workout!  Just like with lots of the Wii games, it’s easy to “cheat” and still get credit for the level.  The sensor bar only senses movement from the remote, and since it’s on your hip, it has no idea what you’re really doing.  As long as you’re moving around in some form, the game is going to assume you’re doing the movement correctly and will give you the points.  (I’d be curious to see what something like Kinect would be able to do!)  Either way, I enjoy it.  It’s fun, I work up a sweat, and the time really flies by.  You can’t ask for much more than that!

It should go without saying that we also had to try out Shane’s new Chi.  This was the first time he’s gotten to straighten my hair since it’s been short!  It takes way less time now, hehe!  I really like the side view – actually better than the front view.  I like the way the layers fall.  (But I’m not sure if that hairstyle would last all day – it really started curling/puffing back out really quickly!)

It Was ALL I Ever Hoped For!! — November 18, 2010

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My world will never be the same now that I’ve tried the new Fried Cheese Melt at Denny’s!! YEP.  I finally went and did it.  :)  And it was GOOD!

Shane and I finally made the trek to the new Denny’s that just opened on the outer edge of Carthage.  It was really fun!  I haven’t been to Denny’s in ages because we’ve never had one close by since I’ve lived in East Texas.  I grew up at Denny’s, almost literally.  I had one set of grandparents who loved that place and we went there at least once a week.  (I will totally be one of those old people who are the “restaurant regulars” one of these days!  hehe)  There are many fond life memories associated with that place, and I will love it even more once it’s been there awhile and the “new building” smell is replaced with that Denny’s coffee smell that my nose loves.

$4 NEW! Fried Cheese Melt

Deals are Everywhere! — October 20, 2010

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Shane and I spent the day in Longview yesterday.  We planned to go to Longview originally because I had a doctor’s appointment, but over time our list grew to a huge fun list of activities!  hehe.

I had warned Shane earlier than this doctor’s office tended to be overrun with little old people.  Every time I go in there, it’s me and then an entire crew of them.  :)  When we got there, however, the waiting room was basically empty.  Shane chose his seat.  (The waiting room is L-shaped, by the way.  There are chairs all over both areas of the L shape – but once you choose your seat in one room you can’t really see the other part of the room to see who is over there.)

So, when I left the waiting room, he was just about the only person in there.  When I was finished and came back out — hehehe — one side of the room was still empty.  Shane’s side, however, was totally filled up with little old people! I couldn’t help but laugh.  He was in the middle of all of it.  On the way out the door I was like, “What happened back there?”

We had a gigantic list of errands, but we stopped early to eat lunch at Smashburger.

Neither of us had ever been there before, but I had a small personal victory right there in the parking lot.

Shane gets very tickled by some of my driving quirks – most notably the fact that I hate turning right into parking lots where you have to park “straight-in” (as opposed to parking diagonally.)  I think part of his amusement started on this day back in March when my parking plans went completely awry as I tried to turn right to get into  a spot:

Unconventional, maybe, hehe, but I am in the lines, am I not?

I had never noticed this about myself until he pointed it out, but it’s true!  I prefer turning left. You get lots more room in which to figure things out.

So on this day I brainlessly pulled into the parking lot and proceeded to park right in front of the door.  I was just starting to veer to the right when I heard Shane murmur something to the effect of, “Uhoh, we’re going right!!!”

That was when I was determined to do the most perfect parking job of all time!  Look at this!  TEXTBOOK work, it is!

I think I have redeemed myself in this regard now.  :)

Smashburger was good!

Shane got a barbeque burger with bacon and cheese, and I had a grilled cheese.  We both got fries, but I completely don’t know what happened – I was too busy looking at the menu and forgot to ask for seasoned fries!  Next time!!  The grilled cheese was quite yummy.  The bread was toasted perfectly and it was super cheesy.

We also discovered that we both love fried pickles, so we got some of those too.  These were extremely salty, salty, salty!  Good though.

The only thing we weren’t impressed about with Smashburger was the tea.  It was Tazo tea and the sweet tea was flavored with some type of fruity flavoring.  Meh.  It wasn’t unbearably awful, but sometimes it felt like you were drinking the essence of flowery air freshener.  I think I will stick with water here from now on.

The cool thing is that both of us got coupons on our receipts for free sides next time!  We already know that we’re going to do: get seasoned fries (for the fries that come with my kids’ meal,) then use coupons to get free seasoned sweet potato fries, and also free fried veggies.  (asparagus, carrots, and green beans!)  I get a drink as part of my meal which I will pass to Shane, and he will order water which he will pass to me.  We’ll only pay for my meal ($4) and then whatever main course he gets (burger or hot dog – no sides)  It’ll be a great deal!

From there, we started on our true mission for the day: my new coat.  :)  Shane got a really cute pea coat last year and I immediately wanted something like that for me.  We started our coat shopping too late last season so this project has been a year in the making!

Let me say this: everyone needs to recruit Shane when it’s time to go clothes shopping.  hehe.  We started shopping last week and continued this week, and goodness.  He buttoned up about a gazillion coats for me, tied the sashes, tightened the belts, and critiqued them all.  He also took pictures of me in the coats we liked so we’d know our final candidates when the time came for the real decision.  (Good idea, right!)

We finally found my new coat at JC Penney.  I really like it!  I’ve never owned a coat this nice, so I am going to feel ultra fancy this year.  It was even 50% off!

We stopped by Great American Cookie Co. to get our free cookies!!  You can do it too!  From now until the end of the month, you can take a new or used book to their store and trade the book for a cookie.  Yummy!  We traded in two books and each of us got a cookie.  That was exciting!  (Thanks Julie!)

We also went by Old Navy and found some amazing bargains for Shane.  His favorite work pants were on the clearance rack for 50% off of 50% off!!  He stocked up on those and a few other amazing deals.

After all this, we still decided that we needed to get in some exercise, so we went to the trail in Longview and did a little more than 3 miles.  We ran somewhere between 40-50% of it!! We hoped to beat our 5K time, but I guess the race adrenaline wasn’t with us (plus we’d also eaten a lot of food!), so we were moving a little slower than we wanted.

But the greatest deal of all came from our stop in Hallsville on the way home.  Brookshire’s has been running this crazy sale.  Gold Peak tea on sale for $1 a bottle!  That’s already a good price, but they also have been offering coupons for $1 off each bottle. FREE!  FREE GOLD PEAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FREE!!!

THEN, when you buy four bottles of tea, you also get three pounds of bananas for free.  WOW!

Marshall didn’t have very many coupons (although I used all 3 they had), so Shane and I decided to see what Hallsville Brookshire’s had to offer.

We nearly missed the Gold Peak display on the little section of the end cap, but we were in luck!  There were two tear pads of the $1 off coupons nearby!  Shane and I each had one hand on a tear pad as we looked at each other with the same glint in our eyes:  “Do we dare to take them all?”  “OF COURSE we take them all!”  “R-I-I-I-I-P-P-P-P!!”

THIRTY TWO coupons.  That means thirty two free bottles of Gold Peak!! That also means that I was potentially entitled to a gigantic number of bananas, hehehe.  I decided that nine pounds of free bananas would be more than enough, so Shane and I spent a pretty good amount of time running bananas back and forth to the scale trying to get as close to 3 lbs as possible for each set.

We headed for the checkout with a heady sense of accomplishment. I tried to explain to the cashier that the easiest way to check us out would be to split up our transactions into separate groups, but there was no listening at all and she was determined to do it all in one fell swoop.

You probably know that the register was not a fan of this because she was having to manipulate the prices of the bananas to make them free – since only it only allowed one free set of bananas per transaction – and of course the register thought there were way too many coupons for this situation!

She had to call a manager over, and the manager just looked very tired at even the thought of navigating this deal.  Hehe.  I tried to explain what I was doing and she worked at it for a bit, but it was too much to just step into blindly, hehe.  She was like, “You don’t really qualify for the free bananas because you haven’t really BOUGHT the tea.”

I started preparing myself to explain the difference between “buying” an item and actually “paying” for an item, hehehe, but she gave up before I even got the chance and said, “Well, what do you say you owe us?”

I knew I had gone wild on one set of bananas and went over the 3 lb mark, so I said, “I owe you four cents.”  She said okay, took my four cents and set us free.  Do you realize what an amazing feat this is!!  We were giddy.

We headed home in all our excitement.  As we got to the Marshall city limits sign, I saw something unusual:

Me: Is that an OWL on that sign over there?

Shane: What!  I didn’t see it!

Me: It HAS to be an owl!  That is so cool!!!  There’s nothing else it could be!  No other bird turns like that.  I saw all of the front of the body, but no head!  I’M TURNING AROUND!

We did a little twirl in the middle of Hwy 80 and then twirled around again to go past the sign.

Me: Aw man!  It’s gone!!

Shane:  WAIT!  There it is!  It’s on the power line!

Me: I’M TURNING AROUND AGAIN!!!!

Commence the second set of twirling.  Hehehe.  That made four complete twirls on a four lane highway, you might know.

Me:  I SEE IT!!  I see it!  Take a picture!!

It was so amazing!  We got to watch it fly and everything.  I’ve never seen an owl before and this was out in broad daylight.  It was so pretty!  We could even see its little yellow beak.

Finally, we made it home just a few minutes after David got home from work.  We were still pretty hyped up from our couponing and owl spotting adventure, so he got some kind of crazy mish-mash of a rundown, “My cute coat…..SMASHBURGER!……..pretty owl…..four cents!!!!!!…….cookies were free!…….bananas everywhere!….twirled around on Hwy 80 four different times…..yep, over three miles!…….FOUR CENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

hehehehe

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