Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Fave Five

Because Thanksgiving isn't just for a day, I'm linking up with Susanne and Friday Fave Five, thankful for the blessings of the past week.

1. Texting with family.  We're all spread out, but we group text, text between individuals, facetime, and sometimes even break down and make a phone call!

2. Snow. It started yesterday and it's cold and shivery and a good day to stay inside and set up some Christmas decorations.  Maybe we'll be ambitious enough to get the tree up today!

3.  Cards printed and ready to write some notes inside.  One of my very favorite things, sending and receiving cards from friends and family.

4.  I discovered this book in one of Susanne's reviews.  I started it a couple of nights ago and I'm loving it!

5.  This face.  Just so thankful for our Lilly aka Lillian aka Darling aka Puppums . . . you get the idea. She is loved.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Eve

I've always loved this day before Thanksgiving.  Typically, the house would be busy with preparation for a big dinner tomorrow and filled with yummy smells from the kitchen.  I love doing Thanksgiving dinner, but this year I love even more that my stepmom is doing it.  She and my dad gallantly offered to have the whole crowd at their place.  It's been such a busy couple of months for us, that I am only too glad to hand it over.  Two of my kids will be with their in-laws, so there will be no babies.  Instead we'll get to focus on our eldest son who has good-naturedly taken a back seat this year at our family gatherings.

I'm going to work for a few hours today and Dan will, too. Later, we'll take in a movie, something we haven't done in ages.  Something light and fun, probably the new Diane Keaton and John Goodman Christmas movie.  Tomorrow morning, I'll watch the parade while making the dressing to take for dinner. Dressing is my favorite recipe to make on Thanksgiving.  I found it in our newspaper years ago, and it became my father-in-law's favorite.  I always think of him while I'm making it.  My dad likes raisins in his, so I make two batches.

With a snowy forecast for Thanksgiving and the weekend, several of our neighbors put their Christmas lights up early this week.  I love seeing the bright lights through the windows and sharing in their anticipation. This will be a good weekend to start the new Jan Karon book.  My friend Christine gave me a copy of it, and I've been saving it for a time when I can neglect housework, laundry and chores, and read it through in a couple of sittings. 

If you're someone who has to work tomorrow and Friday, many thanks to you for keeping everything going while the rest of us have a few days off.  Happy Thanksgiving to everybody, whether it's your first, or one of many!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

On commenting

Every so often, the question arises from family and friends who read my blog, that they would like to leave a comment but they don't know how.

If you are so inclined, here's a quick lesson.

At the bottom of this post, or blog entry, there's a shaded line that looks like this:

(NOTE:  The "No Comments" might show as "# Comments," if someone else has already left a comment.) 

 Move your mouse over the word "comments" and left click.

You will see a screen with a box to type your comment in.  You can include your name at the end of the comment, if you'd like:) 
Beneath the box, you will select an identity. Select "Anonymous."
Choose an identity
 Karen (Google Account) – Sign Out
 Email follow-up comments to
 OpenID OpenID LiveJournal WordPress TypePad AOL

Then, prove you're not a robot by clicking the box for "I'm not a robot," and click on "Publish Your Comment"

That's it!

Please don't feel that you have to comment.  I would love to hear from you, but I appreciate that you stop by here if you choose to comment or not!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Yesterday, the wind blew relentlessly from morning until night. I woke up to the sound of windows rattling and wind ripping through trees. As I drove to work the streets were littered with trash can lids and boxes that escaped from recycling bins. There were reports of 100 mph gusts along the foothills and a news reporter just about got blown over.

Wind is my least favorite weather condition.  Give me rain, heat waves, even a blizzard, any day.  They Call the Wind Mariah was a song that came out in the 1950s from the musical Paint Your Wagon.  If I were to give the wind a name, it wouldn't be something as beautiful as Mariah. 
The past couple of weeks, life has felt like a hurricane blowing through.  There have been so many good things happening, including birthdays, baby shower, wedding, a trip.  All good stuff, but busy just the same.  As we crawled into bed one night, Dan asked, "Will it ever slow down?"
"Not unless we choose to," I replied.  And then that word intention popped into my head.  I'm always striving to live more intentionally and to focus on what's important.  Granted, I wouldn't have given up any of the events of the past month.  But, perhaps there are some things that I can give up that would make the house I come home to more peaceful.
I pride myself on being a creative person with lots of hobbies and projects going at once.  I have a desk piled with writing journals, art journals, photos for albums, and magazines for sewing and craft ideas.  The sewing room holds a dozen projects begging to be worked on. 
Truth be told, it wasn't the planning for my daughter-in-law's baby shower or my husband's 60th birthday party, or the trip to New Orleans for a family wedding, that created the storm.  It's trying to do these things while keeping up with everything else that causes me such angst.  Planning a party menu on top of a pile of bills, a half completed writing project, an art journal that begs another entry and sticky notes with blogging prompts. 
I have an addiction.  I love hobbies.  But it's time to be realistic about how many I can keep up with, because there is a big part of me that craves order that is fighting with the artist side of me.  Does anyone else have this problem?
So, my next big project is to bring order to my desk. I'll start there.  After I go for manicures with my aunt this morning, work this afternoon, and meet my daughter-in-law's mother for breakfast tomorrow.  Yeah, I'll start after that.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Snow, grandkids and more blessings

It's been a couple of weeks since I've participated in Friday's Fave Five.  As always, it's so nice to reflect back on the week and be intentional about remember blessings, large and small.

1.  The first snow of the season.  Mother Nature wasn't shy.  No light dusting here, but instead a half foot of heavy wet snow that piled up on fence rails and turned the bird bath into a pedestal bearing a lovely cake made of snow.

2.  Arriving home on Monday afternoon and having the kids and grandkids come over for pizza.  Such a huge treat to see those baby girls!

3.  Having a few hours to work at my desk yesterday.  There's an enormous satisfaction in seeing the piles dwindle.  Bills paid, cards written, lists checked off.

4.  Last weekend, when we were in New Orleans, we visited the National World War II Museum. After seeing and hearing the stories of so many of the men who served, Veterans Day felt more poignant than ever this year.  I'm thankful for our veterans and those who have shared their stories.

5.  Seeing the WWII museum was a profound experience. As I've read the headlines this week of the horrors that continue throughout the world, the men and women in our military -- and those of our allies -- have been heavy on my heart.  I'm so thankful for each and every one of them, and their families who sacrifice for our country.


Friday Fave Five is hosted each week by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hello Again

It's been a couple of weeks since I've written anything here, so I'll just jump right in.

Dan and I got home Monday after spending a few days in New Orleans for a family wedding.  We stayed in a lovely historic hotel in the French Quarter, ate in some fabulous places, went to a picnic at Audubon Park, took cabs all around the city, and attended the wedding in a lovely old mansion on St Charles Avenue.

Yesterday morning I woke up, put on my favorite yoga pants, an old tee-shirt and some well-worn Sketchers, and felt a bit like Cinderella must have felt the day after the ball. I poured myself a cup of coffee and started on this blog post before taking on the pile of papers on my desk.

The best part of the weekend was getting to meet my step-mother, Carol's, extended family.  They are the loveliest, kindest group of people. They are a family that adores one another and there's lots of good natured bantering and story-telling.  Dan and I felt so welcomed and embraced by them all.  The groom is Carol's oldest son, she also has a daughter and another son, who both have families.  Since we all live in different parts of the country, we only see one another occasionally, so it was a nice reunion.

As always, it's good to be home again. After a quick trip to the supermarket and a few necessary chores, I worked yesterday afternoon.

And now, it's already Wednesday, and Thanksgiving is in just two weeks. Two weeks. But first things first. This Saturday, Emily and I are giving Miranda a baby shower. I'm so grateful to my daughter for pushing me to get most of the preparation done before I went to New Orleans.

Each year, I promise myself that I'll keep the holidays a little bit simpler than the year before. At the rate my family is growing, it's even more important to do so, or things will get crazy in a hurry. I've been learning to say 'no' to more things (including myself) and 'yes' to being more intentional about enjoying the simple pleasures. Hopefully, I can keep this going in the weeks ahead.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Pumpkin Patch

Sunday afternoon we gathered up the kids and grandkids for a visit to our local pumpkin patch. 
 We started at our house where Emily and Marcus's sister Ashley made caramel apples.  It was a first for us and so easy!  I used the little caramels and melted them in a sauce pan with a little bit of water. After dipping the apples, the girls rolled them in mini m&ms or chopped nuts -- the kind you buy for ice cream sundaes.

Then it was off to the pumpkin patch with these two little pumpkins:) 

We spent the rest of the afternoon on the back patio carving the dozen pumpkins we found -- well, the rest of the group carved pumpkins.  It is probably the ONLY holiday activity that I don't enjoy doing and was always happy to have Dan take charge when our kids were small.
Despite a small skirmish between my two younger "children" that involved the throwing of pumpkin guts at each other -- ahem -- it was a lovely afternoon with some cool results!

And someone even carved his freehand, can you tell?  (lol)

Aah, such a fun afternoon! Today the skies are gray and it's been raining nonstop.  Love having these memories to keep me warm.