Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Musings

Today is Monday, November 25, 2012
Outside: Cool with gray skies
Listening to: Darius Rucker Don't Think I Don't Think About It
Feeling:  Agreeable

1.  I'm making turkey pot pie for supper.  That will finish up the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers.  

2.  I'm so thankful for a husband that is handy around the house and loves to do projects.  My dad was that way, too, so I always assumed it was something that all guys can do.  I guess I'm pretty blessed.

3.  Thanksgiving week was awesome.  All the kids were home and we spent lots of family time just hanging out.  

4.  I usually spend the weekend following T-Day putting up Christmas decorations.  For some reason, I just couldn't get there this weekend.  We put up our outdoor lights.  I found a Christmas candle to put on my desk, along with my Christmas box filled with cards, stamps, stationery, to start writing.  I'll ease into it this year.

5.  Saturday night, Dan and I had the house to ourselves and just 'chilled.' We watched a western on t.v. (Appaloosa with Ed Harris, Jeremy Irons and Rene Zellwegger -- good movie) and heated up some leftover burritos for supper.  I love evenings like that.

6.  I'm meeting my brother, Matt, at our favorite coffee shop this morning.  He is my youngest brother, the one who I cried when he was born because he was brother #3 and I SO wanted a sister.  But, he has become a best friend, and the sister I never had.  We drink coffee, gossip . . . if only he liked to shop.

7.  My friend Pam is putting me to shame because she is well into her Christmas shopping, and I'm not. Waah.  Okay, I'm going to go order a few things so I'll feel better.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 23, 2012

T-Day plus one

I love Black Friday.  Or, let me rephrase that.  I love being OVER Black Friday as a shopping day, and enjoy it for being a 'free day.'

There was a brief period of time when Kathy and I would get up at the crack of dawn -- in those days the stores opened at 6 a.m. -- and one of us would head over to  ToysRUs to get a place in line, while the other grabbed the Starbucks.  We loved "the thrill of the hunt."  Our kids were young enough that we didn't have to drop a week's worth of grocery money for a few toys and things to delight them.

This morning I got up early -- aroused from a tryptophan coma -- and had the house to myself for an hour or so.  Then Joe joined me and while he worked on his computer, I put away dishes from yesterday and organized my recipe box, sorting cards and clippings from yesterday.  I also printed out a couple of recipes for leftover turkey from All Recipes dot com.

I have a small file book that I use for favorite holiday recipes.  The Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Au Graten recipe from yesterday will go in that.  It was a big hit and one that we'll want to make again.  It now has a place of honor with our family's favorite stuffing recipe, my mom's cheesecake recipe and Aunt Mary's sour cream mashed potato recipe.

I also put yesterday's menu in the three-ring notebook that is my homemade cookbook.  There's a section devoted to holiday menus to help remember what I cook each year.  It's also helpful to have a menu already planned when I don't want to start from scratch.

A few years ago, we started a Thanksgiving tradition where everyone in our household is assigned a dish to  make.  It makes preparing the dinner a whole lot more fun for me, and the hope is that eventually I'll work myself out of a job:)  With my mother-in-law's fantabulous rolls, dinner was THE best.

For the rest of today we'll be putting up Christmas lights.  We'll have leftovers for supper and find a movie to watch tonight.

Happy T-Day + One to everyone!  How will you be spending your day?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Feathering the nest

Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of this piece before I started the makeover, but here is a picture of the doors to the small cabinet that I decided to turn into a bookcase. Because a house can never have too many bookcases, do you agree?

I left the doors off and filled the holes where the hinges were with wood putty.  Gave them a quick sanding, and then primed the piece.  I chose Behr's Straw Hat for the color.

Here is the finished piece, at home in the spare bedroom. . . for now:)

I'm linking up with Brenda's Tweak It Tuesday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Special moments

In this season of gratitude, I'm especially thankful to Susanne for hosting Friday Fave Five, week after week.  If you haven't joined in yet, take the plunge!  

Here are a few of the moments of grace I'd like to reflect on this week.

#1  On  Monday, I stopped at a new (for me) quilt store.  Before I knew it, I had lost track of time.  It's been ages since I've lost myself like that in a fabric store.  The colors and patterns and textures. . . eye candy!

#2  Last weekend, we had a completely empty calendar.  It was perfect for puttering around the house, doing some chores here and there, taking my time.  I started the week completely rested.  Ironically, I just read in this book about creating "white space" in your life.  Not to rest up or prepare for busy times ahead, but to just BE.  The author and her husband plan one weekend a month where they have no plans.  Love that idea. 

#3  Anticipating Thanksgiving and Christmas!  Oh, I love the holidays, and the anticipation of them is a big part of the excitement.

#4  This morning I met a friend at St*arbucks and had my first 'holiday drink' in the red cup:)  We sat for an hour and talked about writing and books and our goals.  So nice to have someone to share such passions.

#5  I may have mentioned this before, but one of my favorite things about where I work is that we have a therapy dog in the office, who works with our child psychologist.  I adore that dog.  She's a golden doodle, named Gadget, and she brings so many smiles to everyone who comes to see us.  I love watching how tender she can be with the kids, and she loves the biscuits I keep in my desk:)   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Monday Daybook

 For Today, November 12, 2012

Outside my window. . . The sky is blue, the sun is shining bright, and it is freezing cold.  Patches of snow lay in some of the shady spots.

I am thinking. . . how nice it is to have a hot cup of tea to drink as I'm writing this.

I am thankful . . . for all of the brave men and women who served and are serving in the military.  It's a sacrifice that the rest of us will never truly understand.  

In the kitchen. . .Baked chicken thighs, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots.  Standard fare, but one of our favorite meals.

I am creating. . . quilted table runners for Christmas gifts.  (shhhh. . . .don't tell!)

 I am hearing. . . the dogs give a noisy welcome to Dan coming in the door.

I am wondering. . . what to do about some Christmas gifts this year.  None of us needs anything!

I am going. . . to try not to over-think these questions as I'm typing:)

I am reading. . . Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano

I am looking forward to. . . meeting with my Spiritual Book Club tonight to discuss a few more chapters of  Abundant Simplicity

I am learning. . . to make pie crust.

Around the house. . . someone left the t.v. on, the laundry room looks like a tornado went through it, and I can't believe I just vacuumed two days ago.  (See 'dogs' comment above).

I am pondering. . . how this last election caused more divisiveness and hurt feelings than in years past.  There is so much anger lingering in the air.

A favorite quote for the day. . . "True ordinariness is tangible holiness. Find your own identity -- the one given you by God -- and then seek to be this same person with everyone."

One of my favorite things. . .this dish soap.  The Lemon Verbena scent is heavenly.  It costs a little more, but you don't have to use much to get lots of suds!

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . get the kitchen organized for the holiday ahead.  Clean out a few cupboards and the pantry, so I have space to put extra baking supplies and ingredients when I pick them up on sale.

A peek into my day. . .my 'books-to-be-read' pile.  I have absolutely no business ever buying another book, ever again! (But that won't stop me;)

If you'd like to join in and write your own Daybook, focusing on the simple things that make life extraordinary, here's the link

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One of my favorite things

I'm linking up with Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage this morning, to join in on her weekly post sharing favorite things.

This is one of my favorite things, that I wear almost daily.  It's a ring that belonged to my grandmother, that her father gave her when she was a young woman.  The carnelian stone in the center is surrounded by seed pearls.  My favorite part of the ring is the delicate design on the sides -- if you click on the picture you might be able to see it better.

Wearing this ring makes me feel close to my grandmother, and to my aunt -- one of my favorite people in the world -- who wore it often, before she passed it on to me.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Faves

I'm looking back over the past week for five favorite things, special moments, blessings big and small.  Some weeks are easier to find them than others.  This week was very easy. . .

1.  Having friends and family who share my love of quilting.  My sister-in-law, Jenny, came to stay last weekend and we worked on our family quilts.  On Monday, I met up with my friend Kristan at a quilt store, and we spent a couple of hours searching through fabrics and finding new treasures.  It was a great way to spend a fall morning.

2.  Cool museum exhibits.  Dan and I celebrated my aunt's birthday with her by going to the Pompeii Exhibit at our local museum.  It was fascinating.  Room after room filled with artifacts from an affluent Roman society, including beautiful pieces of art and sculpture, as well as every day utensils and tools. Just as we felt we were getting to know these people, the exhibit abruptly changed, detailing the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and how its destruction of Pompeii also preserved the very culture that it destroyed.  It was sobering to say the least, how fleeting life can be.

3.  And really cool performances.  Dan, Joe and his friend Liz, and I went to Cirque du Soleil. Wow, it held me spellbound.  The movement, the artistry of the human form.  I really didn't know what to expect, but the show was far beyond anything I could imagine.

4.  Modern Family, pizza and beer.  Dan and I joke about how the show, "Modern Family" is our therapy!  Laughter is such good medicine. One night this week, after a particularly frustrating day, we broke out a recently recorded episode and ordered a pizza, ate in our jammies and put the day's frustrations aside for just a while.

5.  Some special people who have come into my life.  Amazing how God will put the right people in your life, just when you need them. I can't say enough about how I am soooo grateful and thankful for their presence. God's plans are so spot-on.

If you have some favorites from this week, link up here!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thinkin' out loud

Since taking up blogging again a couple months ago, I seem to go at it in fits and starts.  It's the way I do most things, and it goes well with being a procrastinator.  Go great guns, put the project aside until a deadline looms, and then race for the finish line.

I'm working on a 'schedule' for my blog.  Daybook on Monday, free write on Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday (a photo), recipe on Thursday, Friday Fave Fives . . . how am I doing?

I guess I could write about Election Day today, but honestly we are so full up to the gills with politics right now.  Our phone rang at 10 o'clock last night and again at 7 this morning, both calls from candidates.  We gave up watching television last night, the ads ran ad nauseam, and this morning Dan changed the channel from our usual morning news program to the movie channel.  We had a pep to our step as we went about our morning routine humming "Oklahoma!" and "Surrey with the Fringe on Top."  I think we should start our mornings this way more often!

Daylight Savings is still throwing me off a bit.  Wouldn't it be great if when we moved the clocks back, we could move all of our scheduled activities back an hour, too?  Then, the day would be finished an hour earlier.  Does that make sense?   Lilly's thinking about it. . .
"I don't get it."

I'm wearing my U.S. flag pin today, the one I received at my brother's deployment ceremony five years ago.  A reminder that it's not about the phone calls, the ads, even the candidates today.  It's about the fact that we live in the greatest country in the world, and voting is a right and a privilege.  Happy Election Day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Daybook

FOR TODAY, November 4, 2012

Outside my window...It's early afternoon, the light is soft and diffused, trees are stripped of their leaves and November is here in all its naturalness.

I am thinking...of the wonderful visit I had with my friend Pam last week.  Oh my gosh, we had the best time.    
Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things.  It's laughing yourselves silly.  Remembering the smallest details about each other's kids when they were babies.  Cleaning up the kitchen together and knowing instinctively where dishes are stored and groceries put away.  Making dinner for your friend because she had to work late. (Okay, that wasn't a little thing, it was HUGE, and my family loved every bite AND the leftovers the next night). 

I am still laughing Pam and I put brown bags with holes cut out for our eyes, and went trick-r-treating at our friend's house.  Her reaction was priceless.

I am thankful...the election will be over on Tuesday.

In the kitchen...homemade bread.

I am creating...plans for Thanksgiving.

I am meet a friend at a new quilt store tomorrow, and then we're going to lunch.

I am reading..."Roxie and the Hooligans" by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, for this great program.

I am hoping...for an expected letter to arrive this week.

I am looking forward to...preparing my house for the holidays.

Around the house...fall candles, pumpkins, turkeys, and autumn colors.

I am pondering...lessons in "Abundant Simplicity" by Jan Johnson. I'm continuing a study of this book with a group of friends.  

A favorite quote for today...On the 'gift' of failing. . . "Flops are part of life's menu and I'm never a girl to miss out on a course." (Rosalind Russell)

Some of my favorite things...Watching my favorite t.v. show on Sunday nights (The Good Wife), Caramel Salted Mochas, old books.

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . A Day in Pompeii, an exhibit at our local museum, followed by lunch in celebration of my aunt's birthday.

A peek into my day. . .Lasagna Spirals -- find the recipe here.

Linking up to A Simple Woman's Daybook.