Friday, December 8, 2017

December favorites

A week of unresolved issues. . . Don't you hate those? In time, it will work itself out. All the more reason to join up with Friday's Fave Five and look for those blessings.

Dinner with friends. I was so happy to connect with two of my friends on Monday night. We haven't been together in months. We met at a new TexMex restaurant for a yummy supper and a couple of hours worth of catching up.  Love these two ladies.

Book Club and a new book. Our December book club meeting was on Wednesday, and we went out for our traditional Christmas Dinner and Book Exchange. I am SO excited to read my new book:

Dan baked rum cake! Dan spent the evening doing his annual 'baking of the rum cakes.' I came home to a house that smelled scrumptious! and rows of rum cakes lined up, ready to be packaged. (That's my job;)

Writing Christmas cards. I know many consider this a chore, and to be honest there are some years when I drag myself through it. But, I do love sending and receiving cards at Christmas time. I'm taking my time this year and including notes for those people that I only connect with at this time of year.

My own space. A couple of months ago, Dan generously gave up his space in the office and moved downstairs, so that I have a room of my own. This means the world to me. In fairness, he is building a workshop out back and claims that will be his 'room of his own.' But, I love having my own space where I'm surrounded by books and have room for a big desk (really an old table) and a chair. I'm working on putting it together a bit more, then maybe I'll share more pictures. For now -- keepin' it real! -- here's the desk where I'm blogging and writing out all those Christmas cards.

Hope you're all enjoying all the ho ho ho going 'round these days. Happy Friday,

Thursday, December 7, 2017

10 things

1.  In my last post, I still had Thanksgiving decorations up. Now, we're all decorated for Christmas.

2.  My favorite decoration is the string of lights around the door to my office. I did it on a whim, I'm the only one who can see them.

3.  Whenever I leave the house, I tell Lilly to "get in the kennel." She hasn't had a kennel for two years. She just goes to her bed in the office. I guess she thinks it's her kennel. Ha!

4.  I should have called this "3 things," and just stopped on that last one.

5.  I love Lilly.

6.  My new old favorite perfume is Ralph Lauren Blue. My mother-in-law gave me some for Christmas years ago and I loved it. I forgot how much I loved it until a bought a new bottle a few weeks ago.

7.  Yesterday at work, a young man was coming down the stairs. I didn't have my glasses on and I thought it was Luke. Even when I realized it wasn't, I ran over and hugged him. (Not really, but I wanted to:( )

8.  Enstrom's Toffee. It tastes like Christmas.

9.  Gingerbread Lattes.  They do, too.

10.  Madam Secretary is done for the fall season. Sunday nights are bleak.  Except:  Hallmark Christmas movies!! :)

I'm turning off comments, because I'm sure you just can't even think of a response for this post. However, I've overcome a bad case of writer's block. Thank you for listening.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hello, December

It's been a nice, quiet week.  I haven't jumped into holiday mode yet, except for some Christmas shopping. The house is still decorated with pumpkins, turkeys and fall candles. I am enjoying this 'in between' time.

Here are some simple moments that blessed me this week:

*  Yesterday, I attended a seminar for work. I drove for about thirty miles east of where I live. It was a gorgeous day, the sky was so blue and clear, the sun shining.  I looked in the rear view mirror and the view of the snow-covered Rockies was just stunning.  One of my favorite parts of living in Colorado is having both mountains and prairie, and the views each provide.

*  At the seminar, I got to meet two women who I 'work with' all the time on the phone, but this was the first time we met in person.  Both are so lovely, so dedicated. I'm grateful for what they do for our clients.

*  I 'discovered' a book on my bookcase that I bought last summer and completely forgot about! Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell. I read it in just a couple of days, and I'm excited to read the next one by this author. 

*  I have been dipping into some Hallmark Christmas movies in the evenings. I record them and fast forward through commercials. The stories are so predictable, but I love the big city decorations, the music, and there's always snow at just the right moments.

*   The Sonos wireless music system that we bought about a year ago has become one of my most favorite things. It was something Dan had looked into and I thought it would be nice for him to have it because he's the 'music person' of the two of us. I find I actually use it more, probably because I'm home more. We have speakers in three parts of the house, and I can turn on any one (or all) of them with my cell phone, and play my own playlists or radio stations.  Last night we watched the Pentatonix Christmas special, and I'm going to add a couple of their songs to our Christmas playlist.

Such a good week all around. Happy Friday to all.

Linking up to Friday's Fave Five.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sheila's Breakfast Cookies

Today I'm sharing a recipe for Sheila's Breakfast Cookies. The original recipe is from Martha S, but my mother-in-law found the recipe on line and we made a few adjustment, so that's what I call them. 

This recipe makes a BIG batch of dough, and the original directions call for making just eight cookies!  I've never done that, I think they would be the size of dinner plates! I make them BIG, but I still get about two dozen cookies from the recipe. I use a scoop that is about 1/4 cup to measure out the dough. The cookies freeze well, so it's worth making a full batch.

Here's the recipe:

Sheila's Breakfast Cookies

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tps. salt
4 sticks of butter, room temperature
3 cups dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla
4 cups rolled oats

1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips
You can also add pumpkin seeds, coconut, banana chips, flax seed, whatever you like.

  1. Sift together flours, soda and salt. 
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla, mix. Then stir in the oats.
  4. Add flour mixture a little at a time. I use the mixer for this.
  5. Hand mix in the nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, and any other additions.
      Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, if you're using a 1/4 cup scoop.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Preparing for Advent

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

Advent begins on Sunday. I'm already thinking of how to be more intentional in embracing the peace of the Christmas season.  I dug out this little devotional book that a friend gifted me a couple of years ago. Can't wait to begin.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Talking turkey

It's the day after Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and yesterday's theme of gratitude is spilling over into today. I hope those of you celebrating Thanksgiving had a happy one, and for my Canadian friends that you had a happy Thursday;)

Onto Friday's Fave Five.

1. Number one, I'm so grateful for my family on this weekend of Thanksgiving, and every day. (I'll put at a note at the bottom of this post for those of you who were wondering how my plan for cooking the turkey turned out this year). Those gathering at our house yesterday: Dad and Carol, Aunt Ann, Joe and Sam, and Emily, Marcus and the kids. One of the things I look forward to on the holidays is the group family texts that going flying around. It makes me feel like we are all together, so it was good to have one of those round robins going with my brothers and Dad (even though he was with us;)  Also, texting with my friend Pamela and cousin Jackie while preparing on Wednesday, made it fun, too! By Thursday morning, Pam and I made a pact to meet halfway next year -- which would be somewhere in Kansas -- and have dinner at a Village Inn! Ha!

2. It was so warm yesterday -- (highs of 72 yesterday and today) -- that we started the afternoon outside.

3. On Wednesday, I walked with my friend Joan for the first time in months. It's so easy to fall out of a habit. It was so good to catch up with one another, and we have made a steadfast promise to get back to our regular routine.

4. I have a new young mom to mentor at the women's center where I volunteer. The center provides support to women who have unplanned pregnancies. I love working with the young moms, they are so grateful for a chance to sit with an 'old mom' and talk about their babies and motherhood, and I learn so much from them! It's the best part of my week.

5. Dan hung Christmas lights today. It's warm today, but a little bit breezy, so I'm grateful that 1) he didn't get blown off the ladder, and 2) that I have a husband who really gets into decking the halls!

* A note on the turkey. This year, I opted to order the turkey pieced out, so that I didn't have to deal with carving, and the messy carcass afterward. Some of you asked me to let you know how it turned out. It tasted delicious and was very moist. I roasted it with fresh rosemary and thyme, and slathered it in butter. Dan liked this method, because he's never been thrilled with the job of carving the bird. I'm not convinced it was all that much easier, though.  I suppose if I'd cooked it the day before, which is how the Pioneer Woman did it on her show, then the cleanup would be minimal on the day of. But, clean up is clean up. Using a foil roasting pan helped, so that -- and spending a little more for a fresh turkey -- would be the takeaway from this little experiment. 

Happy Friday to all!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Finding thanks

What a zoo at the grocery store today, shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.  I expected as much, the weekend before Thanksgiving. I considered waiting until tomorrow, when it would be less crowded. But on Mondays, everything is typically picked over and I was afraid of not getting everything I needed, as evidenced by the empty space where the turkey broth should have been. My other shortcut this year is to make the gravy the day before. Gravy stresses me out to no end.

When I made out my list at home, I noted at the top: Be Thankful. So, as I went through the aisles, cart swerving to miss other shoppers, this is what I came up with:

I'm thankful for parents who are trying to shop from their long lists while corralling kids, or juggling one on a hip. And grateful that I don't have to take kids with me to the grocery store anymore. I was never very good at that.

I'm thankful for the military families who had a table set up outside the store, handing out lists of items they need for care packages, and with Christmas cards ready to sign, that they will mail to the troops. It makes it so easy to support the troops this way, something that I love to do and usually put off until it is three days before Christmas, and too late to send a card. And I'm grateful that the veterans in my family all got home safe and sound.

I'm thankful that the whole reason for the hustle and bustle is so that we can all provide our families with delicious feasts and gather together for the day. It's easy to forget that this is something we get to do, and are able to do. Not everyone has that privilege.

I'm thankful for shoppers who keep their sense of humor, and for the young clerk who wanted to hear about how I make my dressing. And I'm grateful for pre-cubed bread -- yet another shortcut.

And I'm thankful for my husband (who I used to call DH on this blog, and for the longest time he thought it stood for 'damn husband' -- of course it's DEAR husband!). When I got home, we were unloading the groceries, and I announced that I'm not making sweet potatoes this year. "Are you disappointed?" I asked. "No, I'm not," he said. "But you will be, it's your favorite part of Thanksgiving."

And then he insisted he was going to make a pan just for me, with pecans and pineapple, and topped with perfectly toasted marshmallows toasted, the way I like it. 

Just kidding about that last part. But, how I do love that man. Coming home to him makes me most thankful.