Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's time for another edition of  Friday Fave Five.  I love doing this little exercise in looking back on the blessings in my week.

1.  I'm participating in an online retreat for Lent.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to join in on this journey and for the incredible people I've met so far.

2.  I'm saddened by the loss of my Uncle Andy who passed on earlier this week.  He was one of a kind, a member of the Greatest Generation and just an all-around good man.  As my cousins have shared their memories of his life, I'm reminded of how blessed we all were by his presence.

3. I finished Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown, and met with my book club to discuss itIt is based on the true story of Mary Rowlandson, a minister's wife in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  In 1676, Mary is among a group of people captured by Indians.  During her three-month captivity, she finds herself drawn to the Indians' way of life, and upon return to her Puritan community she is deeply torn.  The story is both riveting and poetic.  Loved it.

4.  Exercising this week.  I managed to do something every day -- water aerobics on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and walking with my friend Joan, on Tuesday and Thursday.  I'm grateful that my schedule allows for me to start my days this way.

5.  Anticipating my daughter's baby shower on Sunday.  My sister-in-law Jenny is staying with us this weekend, my dear friend Pamela is coming from out of town.  I'm excited for Emily and feel incredibly blessed to have such loving family and friends.

What were your favorites this week?  Join up with the FFF crowd at Susanne's place and do share!

Monday, February 16, 2015

In the kitchen

For Christmas, my friend Mary helped me come up with an idea for my kids that is turning out to be a lot of fun.  My "kids" are all living on their own now, adjusting to life as newlyweds or students.  Of late they've all become interested in cooking, realizing that it is more economical and more nutritious to prepare meals at home.  Since they are all on tight budgets, I wanted to do something practical for them for Christmas.  They each got a 'fun' gift, too:)
So, my 'theme' was cooking.  For each of them, one of their gifts was related to cooking.  A hand mixer, baking pans, really good cooking knives.  I had fun filling their stockings with some of my favorite cooking gadgets.
Then, Mary helped me come up with the idea of having cooking lessons.  I let each "couple" choose a two- week menu plan from this book. 

The idea is that Dan and I purchase the groceries and set up our kitchen to prepare the recipes.  Then, each household gets to come over to our house to put together the recipes.  The kids go home with meals to fill their freezers.  And I get to spend time with my kids.  It's a win/win!

Joe and Sam were the first ones to take me up on my offer.  It was a good plan to have them start first, because they both already know how to cook, so I mainly washed dishes;)  Joe did most of the assembling.

Sam did the prep.  We talked about remedies for dicing onions so as not to weep uncontrollably.  But, we never did come up with a good solution.  There were lots of onions to dice for 14 meals.  He was a good sport!

I think they were pleased with their haul!  Next up, Miranda and Luke!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Valentine


I'm a day late, but I do want to post my five blessings this week, so here goes.  I'm going to take a tip from Susanne and, since it's Valentine's Day, post five ways I feel blessed by my own personal Valentine.  There are so many! but I will narrow it down to five;)

1.  He is completely selfless in his love for me and our three children.  After 30+ years of marriage, I have never doubted for a moment that we are the most important things in his life.

2.  While his cooking repertoire is limited, he uses it with gusto.  Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup.  Nachos.  Tacos.  And if he's not doing the cooking, he insists on cleaning up, which is 98% of the time.

3.  He can build anything.  This includes screened in porches at every house we've owned (partially fulfilling my desire for a house with a screened in porch overlooking the ocean. Even he can't bring an ocean to Colorado, but he would if it all possible).  He's moved walls and windows, built bookcases and garden boxes and fences.  He can fix anything and isn't afraid of electricity and wires and icky plumbing issues.

4.  He believes in me.

5.  He still makes my heart go pitter patter.  Watching him with our own kids when they were small, made my heart melt.  Now, seeing him as a grandfather, I'm falling in love all over again.  How I love this man!

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetie!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Daybook

 "Every day is a blank page."

FOR TODAY, February 9, 2015

Outside my window . . .another Spring day in February.  I could get used to this.
I am listening to . . . Peaceful Easy Feeling by the Eagles, on Pandora.
I am thinking . . . how much I like Mondays.  It's my day off and I get so much done.  Today has been very productive.
I am thankful . . . that my daughter's pregnancy has gone well.  Only a matter of weeks now and we'll welcome another granddaughter!
In the kitchen . . . chicken stroganoff in the crockpot with a green salad on the side. 
I am wearing . . .  capris.  In February.  Can you believe it?
I am creating . . . a photo album for my granddaughter, order out of chaos in the spare bedroom, and a calendar to plan my blog.
I am going . . . to the grocery store and Target today.
I am wondering . . . how I stayed so disciplined today to NOT watch the Downton Abbey episode that is recorded.
I am reading . . . Magical Journey by Kristina Kenison
I am looking forward to . . . more days like today.
Around the house . . . a pretty, new ironing board cover, fresh-baked oatmeal cookies, birthday cards to write out.
A favorite quote for today . . . 
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. (Anais Nin)
Some of my favorite things . . . homemade Valentines, singing in church, family photos.
A few plans for the rest of the week . . . appointment with the dermatologist, supper with Marcus and Emily, turn over a new garden if the weather holds out.
A peek into my day . . .

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

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's so good to be back for Friday Fave Five.  I love doing this little exercise in looking back on the blessings in my week.

1.  I woke up to six inches of snow on the ground on Tuesday!  Normally, that would not be a blessing as I look forward to Spring, but it was a nice excuse to stay home for the morning.  My dogs had fun playing in the snow, so I got out the towel to brush them off and wipe their feet for the bajillion times they came in and out.  Having a second and third cup of coffee and getting work done at my desk was nice.  I pulled out a sweater and snow boots to wear to work in the afternoon.  Today, the snow is gone and the forecast is for a high of 72!

2. Changes at work.  Our business is growing with new people, new office procedures.  It's refreshing to change things up!

3.  Tuesday Night Soup and Sandwiches.  I work late on Tuesdays, so Dan makes dinner.  Grilled cheese sandwiches and clam chowder have become the tradition.  I really look forward to coming home on Tuesdays to my favorite comfort food!

4.  Reading Flight of the Sparrow, by Amy Belding Brown.  I'm so excited to read another book by this author.  She wrote Mr. Emerson's Wife, one of the most interesting and captivating historical novels I've ever read. 

5.  Saving the best for last!  My granddaughter turned ONE!  Here she is with Grandpa (she really does love him best, but I'm okay with that).  Luke and Miranda threw her a big party and it was a wonderful day.

What were your favorites this week? 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

On my mind

Outside:  Snowing
Listening to:  Van Morrison Street Choir
Feeling:  Relaxed

Reading back over the last few posts on my blog, I'm surprised I managed to write two whole posts for January! I'm determined to keep this thing going.  Writing about my days, whether the events are big or small, seems to help me live more intentionally and not have that feeling that time is just 'flying by.'  Perhaps it's because part of my job at work is to schedule appointments, but I seem hear a lot about  the passing of time -- Where did January go? Is it February already? Before you know it, summer will be here.  Stop!  I don't know where the time goes either, but I'm sick of hearing that there's never enough of it and we all have so much to do. And I'm as guilty as the next person of doing this. :/

I'm trying to become more conscious of things that just suck up my time, things that aren't productive or meaningful.  One of the things I struggle with, like everyone else, is spending time on my computer.  Sure there are games and social media that can be a big distraction.  But, more often than not, I find that I'm actually trying to accomplish something and before I know it, hours have elapsed.  One of my projects in the last week was to upload and organize all of my photos from the past year, so that I can make a little photo book for my granddaughter.  Honestly, I think it was easier in the old days, dropping off the film and picking up my 24 pictures a day or so later.  Now I have hundreds of pictures to go through, not to mention try to find on the computer, just to come up with a dozen for my project.  I find myself deleting a lot of pictures.  In the future, I'm going to delete them from my camera or phone as I go.

In other news, the baby blanket for Granddaughter #2, due at the end of March, is coming along very slowly! but I am pleased with it.  Yesterday, I cleaned my house from top to bottom and put out Valentine decorations:)  I found several things I bought on clearance last year, so I took some to work along with a jar of Valentine heart candy.  I miss having my kids at home to put things out for, but the kids that come into work seem to really enjoy it.

By the way, I mentioned in an earlier post that we bought a new coffee maker.  It was a replacement for the Keurig we had, which we loved, but it wasn't functioning properly. (Side note: I took it back to Costco and got a FULL REFUND, even though I bought it 3 years ago!)  So after a bit of research, we decided upon this Hamilton Beach model, which gives us the option of brewing a full pot (with a coffee filter and ground coffee) or just a cup at a time, using the K-cups or a fill-it-yourself little basket.  We've had it a few weeks now and we're so happy with it.  Pros:  less expensive than the Keurig model that does the same thing (and the carafe is a full 12 cups, not 6 like the Keurig).  Cons: it's a bit noisy and takes a few minutes to make just one cup.  Also, you have to fill it with water each time.  But these are things I don't even think about now.  (Note: This is not a paid endorsement, it's just my little ole opinion.)

Enjoy your Wednesday, and Happy Hump Day:)

Palm Springs

Looking out my window, there's a steady fall of snow. Every so often a car creeps by, the tires making a hushed sound on snow-covered streets. It's a far cry from where we were just a week ago.

Reflecting back on our trip to Palm Springs.  What a hoot!  The purpose of the trip was to celebrate my mother-in-law for her birthday.  I hope she felt that was accomplished (I know she did) and in the process it was sooo good to be with Dan's family for five days.  We toured the town and surrounding area in a LARGE van that my sister-in-law rented, and we had so darn much fun in that van.  Lots of laughter flowed;)  Especially on our own, self-guided celebrity house tour, where we packed a picnic lunch and ate it in a parking lot across the street from Sammy Davis Jr.'s house!  Here's one of Liberace's former houses (note the piano mailbox).

It was fun to see all the famous houses and imagine what the town was like back in the day, when Hollywood notables sought refuge from the big city.  We packed a lot into the time we were there, and made lots of good memories.