Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favorites

Time for Friday's Fave Five, a great way to wrap up the week! If you'd like to join in, link up at Susanne's Living to Tell the Story.

1.  Dan and I have been watching Ken Burns' The Roosevelts on PBS.  We both enjoy history, and the special is filled with original footage and photographs.  There's a story in our family about my great-grandmother and when she was a little girl, Teddy Roosevelt came to dinner at her house and she sat beside him.  This was before he was president.  It makes history more real, to hear anecdotes like that.  I was probably about her age when she passed away.  I would love to hear the story from her point of view.

2.  A good book.  Run by Ann Patchett.  I like stories that are character driven, and this one kept me reading until late at night.  It's hard to believe that this is the same author who wrote Bel Canto.  The books are so different.  I felt a connection to the characters in this book, and love the way she writes.

3.  I had lunch with a good friend this week.  We met as room mothers when our oldest kids were in Kindergarten.  They became best friends, and our friendship grew, and then their family moved in around the corner, and we became neighbors.  There's such a history between us, we spend a lot of time, "remembering when. . ."

4.  Spending time with my mother-in-law yesterday morning.  It's just in recent years that we've had more opportunities to talk, just the two of us.  She is such a smart, articulate, observant woman.  We have several common interests, including reading, sewing, and the well-being of one very special man who is close to both our hearts:)

5.  I made butternut squash soup this week (the squash is from our garden), with cheesy herb biscuits (a secret recipe), for supper.  Soups and stews and crockpot meals . . . just a few of the things that make autumn my favorite month of all.
Okay, here's the "secret recipe."

To all the other FFF bloggers out there. . . I hope you all had a good week!  Looking forward to stopping by and reading your favorites, too!

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Traveling is such a funny thing for me.  I am such a homebody.  I mean, I'm really a homebody.  I'd rather be in my house than anywhere else on earth.  But I do like the idea of seeing new places.  If only I could come home to sleep in my own bed at night.  Weird, I know.  And here's something weirder.  When I am preparing to go on a trip, I'm already excited about coming home, and how good it will feel.

All that said, when I get to a new place, I tend to adjust pretty quickly and leave all my cares behind.  (For about five days.  Then I'm ready to go home.)

Now that I got that out of the way. . .

Hawaii is beautiful. . . .

 My sister-in-law, Jenny, and I spent the week on Oahu.  We rented a car and explored all the beaches on the island.  Went snorkeling, ate lots of fish from the local shrimp trucks and restaurants, and did plenty of beach sitting. We went to volleyball matches (my niece Elsa plays for the University of New Mexico and they were there for a tournament -- which is why we were there in the first place), visited a coffee farm (so cool!) and ate lots of fresh fruit.  And fish.  Did I mention the fish?  Ahi, mahi mahi, opah and shrimp.

One day we visited the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.  It was quite sobering, and yet there is a reverence about it that is peaceful in a strange way.

In the center of this picture are ruins from bunkers that were built during World War II.  See the lighthouse at the top of the cliff?

There were surprisingly few people on the beaches, especially during the weekdays.  There are no private beaches on the island, so gorgeous views like this one are open for everyone to enjoy.  Since Oahu has only a handful of resorts, most of the people we met are residents of the island.

One morning we went to the Honolulu Zoo.  Jenny's friend is a zoologist there. (His wife greeted us with leis and flowers on our first night, it was so sweet).  The zoo is really nice and you can leisurely stroll through and see most everything in just a couple hours.  The flowers are beautiful and the animal habitats are spacious and well-landscaped.  There are some of the most amazing plants there.  This is a Eucalypt gum tree.  As the bark peels away, it reveals a multicolor trunk.  It looks like it was painted with watercolors.

The beaches are beautiful, and so are the rough, rocky shores on the island.  I could watch the water for hours.

 I enjoyed being in Hawaii, and especially enjoyed spending a week with Jenny and getting see Elsa play!  I wish I had more pictures of the volleyball, but my cell phone camera doesn't do well with action photos.  And since I didn't check a bag! . . . and did quite well, thank you, even though my suitcase was stuffed like a sausage . . . I didn't take my big camera.  Next time!


Friday, August 29, 2014

An ordinary week

It's been an uneventful week and sometimes those are the best kind.  Here is my list of things I'm grateful for. 

1.  I started back on my walking routine with my friend Joan.  We both had to take a break for a few months.  Plantar fasciitis for me and a broken foot for her!  So, we're starting out slowly.

2.  I totally canceled out any extra calories burned this week with eating out.  Argh!  Yesterday I met my friend Kathy for breakfast at this place.  I had an open faced omelet topped with goat cheese, spinach, tomato, roasted mushrooms and arugula.  It was to die for and actually quite healthy.  The not-so-healthy was going to the donut shop after exercising on Wednesday:(

3.  A new journal.

4.  Finding this website and writing some letters.  Such a great idea and I feel blessed to get to be a part of it.

5.  I'll leave you with a picture. This little guy feebly crawled on my pen yesterday morning.  After observing him for a little while, I gently placed him in the flower garden. 


How was your week? If you'd like to share, link up for Friday Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On my mind

It seems that Summer has decided to take a little break. We've had cooler temperatures all week and breezy nights that have been great for sleeping with the windows open.  It's nice to have that touch of fall for the first week of school.  Our street is very active now in the mornings and mid-afternoon, with the kids from the high school traveling back and forth.  It's one of those ironies in life that, now that we live only a block from the high school, none of my kids is attending.  All those years of getting them to and from school, life is funny that way.

I've mentioned my trip to Hawaii and yes, I'm excited!  My niece plays volleyball for the University of New Mexico and they have some pretty tough travel duty (ahem), like going to Hawaii for five days.  My sis-in-law, Jenny, and I are going to tag along and add on a few days for an extended stay. I'm going in the true spirit of island living, and taking one small bag with a few changes of clothes and several swimsuits.  And my journal.  And ipad mini loaded up with books. 

I'm back to planning menus, and boy does it make my life easier, even for just the two of us.  (Luke is working evenings, and on the two nights he doesn't work he's often out with friends.)  Cooking for two is fun and we've been trying some new recipes.  Often times we'll grill some chicken or meat and then make roasted vegetables with whatever is on hand.  Lots of zucchini and eggplant from our garden!

We're coming up on my favorite time of year. Fall is just the best!  I'm looking forward to cooler temps so we can get out in the yard and dig up space for  more gardens!  I have missed having a rose garden this year.  However, a month or so ago, I had occasion to go to our old house to pick something up, and saw that the roses were blooming and beautiful.  My first thought was to be sad that I was missing it.  But, then I felt good about having done something that others are getting so much pleasure from.  That goes for our last two houses -- rose gardens planted and left behind.  This next one is going to be ours to enjoy for a long time:)

I like to collect quotes, so I'll leave you with this one:

Life is one grand, sweet song. So start the music. (Ronald Reagan)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Daybook

 "Every day is a blank page."
FOR TODAY, Monday, August 25, 2014

Outside my window . . .A tad bit cool this morning with cloudy skies.  I sense that Fall is making it's way here, maybe just down the road a bit, suitcase in hand filled with colored leaves, pumpkins and crisp mornings.

I am listening to . . .Zac Brown Band, "Keep Me In Mind."

I am thinking . . .how nice it is to have a day off and nothing on the calendar.  Attacking the to-do list today.

I am thankful . . .for the good life I have.

In the kitchen . . .Bay scallops and tomatoes over spaghetti

I am wearing . . .shorts and flip-flops

I am creating . . .a writing plan. Trying to get some of my stories down on paper.

I am going . . .to Hawaii in one week!  My sister-in-law and I are going on a girls trip to watch my niece in a volleyball tournament and to play in the sun.

I am wondering . . .how I'm going to do the above without checking a bag!  It's going to be a challenge, to travel light and leave all the unnecessary stuff behind.  I'm excited!

I am reading . . . The Confabulist by Steven Galloway

I am learning . . . how to scrap journal.  It's lots of fun, lots of cutting and pasting.

Around the house . . . still working on outside stuff.  Dan put a sidewalk in on the side of the house, and now we're going to landscape that area a bit.
I am pondering . . .my naval.  Sorry.  That's the first thing that comes to mind when I read this prompt, so just had to say it.

A favorite quote for today . . ."If you don't like where you are, move.  You are not a tree."

One Some of my favorite things . . . Blake Shelton songs, Colorado peaches, fun postage stamps.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . breakfast with Kathy, haircut, renew my passport, start walking again with my friend Joan.

A peek into my day . . .I planted an assortment of veggies this year, just to have something in our raised beds that we built in May.  The eggplant is going nuts! They're really good when they're picked small (baby eggplant -- so cute!).  Also zucchini and butternut squash.  The rest of our stuff didn't fare so well.  Note to Marie:  the celery never really took off:( 

The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted by Peggy.  Click here for the link to join in.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sneaking in with last week's favorites

Before the weekend is over, I want to squeeze in my favorites from last week.  It's an odd assortment, but sometimes that's what life gives you!

1.  Amoxicillin. For the second time this year, I have strep throat.  I'm so grateful for this wonder drug that has me feeling better in a snap.

2.  Bagels and my friend Terry.  It's been way too long since we've seen each other, but when we do make a coffee date, we know just where we're going.  Our favorite bagel shop.

3.  Postage paid catalog returns.  Need I say more?

4.  Getting a mammo -- and knowing I don't have to go again for a whole year.

5.  This photo, taken at a baseball game earlier in the week.  See the heart?

Here's to looking for beautiful moments in the week ahead!
Thank you, Susanne!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bringing back the Meme

When I started blogging, years and years ago, there were lots of memes going around.  It was a lot of fun, answering questions and then 'tagging' other bloggers to do the same.  I met a lot of my blogging friends that way and the posts were always fun to do. 

Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom has brought back the meme!  I was tagged by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for this one, and I'm going to invite anyone who is reading this -- especially if you've never done a meme -- to join in.  Let me know if you post something (leave a comment), so I can come over and take a peek.

So, here goes, Sandra's Housekeeping Meme:

Aprons - Y/N If Y what does your favorite look like?  I have a couple of aprons, the plain style bib kind that I used to wear when I was a dishwasher in college, that were plain old white.  My favorite one is a red and white toile print.  I love that it's durable, easy to wash, and pretty, too:)

Baking - Favorite thing to bake?
Not much of a baker here. Other than chocolate chip cookies and Christmas cookies, I don't have much luck with things turning out the way they should.

Clothesline - Y/N
I wish I had a clothesline.  I had them at my other houses.  Once we get the backyard organized I'll put one in.  I love hanging out sheets, it makes them smell so good.  It's also nice to have a clothesline for airing stuff out, to throw some rugs over to dry, and who knows what else.  I miss having one!

Donuts - Have you ever made them?
No.  See "baking" above.

Everyday - One homemaking thing you do everyday?
Make the bed first thing.  It puts so much order to a room, with the least amount of effort.

Freezer - Do you have a separate deep freeze?
No (whine).  We left it behind and I complain about our dinky freezer on our side by side at least once a day.

Garbage Disposal - Y/N
Yes, love it.

Handbook - What is your favorite homemaking resource?
My friends.  If it's a cooking question, I call Kathy.

Ironing - Love it or hate it?
Love is a bit strong, but I do enjoy it.

Junk drawer- Y/N - Where is it?
One, in the kitchen, and it is surprisingly free of junk.

Kitchen - Color and decorating scheme?
Well, our new kitchen has thrown me for a loop.  Every house we've had has had a kitchen that desperately needed help.  Which I loved, because I got to paint the cabinets and jazz it up to my liking.  This kitchen was brand new when we moved in.  The cabinets are knotty hickory and the countertops are dark granite.  Not what I would have chosen, but my husband would disown me if I tried to paint.  The wood has actually started to grow on me (still getting used to the dark granite).  I've found some pretty towels and other accessories to lighten the place up and bring an element of 'fun.'

Love - What is your favorite part of homemaking?
I like decorating. I tend to be rather eclectic and don't like to spend a lot of money, so I have to be creative.  I also love to cook, especially for extended family and friends.

Mop - Y/N
What's that?

 Nylons - Wash by hand or in washing machine?
I can't remember the last time I wore nylons.

Oven - Do you use the window to check on things or do you open the door?
Definitely a door opener.

Pizza - What do you put on yours?
Anything and everything.

Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Have a cup of coffee or tea and write in my journal.

Recipe Card Box - Y/N
My husband made me one years ago, and I love it because it holds the larger -- 4x6? -- cards.  I like getting recipes from people when they're handwritten (doesn't happen much anymore).  It's like having a little scrapbook from all of my friends.  I have a lot of cards that were my mother's and grandmothers'.  I love to see their handwriting as I'm thumbing through.

Style of house
One story, brick ranch with a full, unfinished basement.  As for decorating, I guess I'm pretty eclectic, but lean toward cottage style with lots of prints and soft yellows and almost every room in my house has a small (or not-so-small) touch of red.

Tablecloth and napkins - Y/N
We use cloth napkins and placemats.  They're casual prints, but I have a couple of sets to switch out when I'm washing them.  I love fabric, so it's one more excuse to buy pretty prints and colors.

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?
Let me go look.  . . . not too bad right now:)

 Vacuum -  How many times per week? 
I should do it on the hour, as much as my older dog sheds. 

Wash - How many loads per week?
Now that it's just two of us, I do laundry one day a week, about four loads.

X's - Do you make a daily to do list and check it off as you do things?
Love lists!  I always have a couple going.  Need a list for my lists.

Yard - Y/N - Who does what?
He does the lawn and any heavy lifting.  I do the planning and the gardens.

 Zzz's - What is the last homemaking task you do for the day before you go to bed?
Save it all for the morning.  Seriously, I've gotten pretty bad about tidying up at night.  I really need to work on this.