Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Quiet Saturday

It's much colder than we expected today. We thought we would have one more warm day before the cold temperatures settle in, however it is only 16 degrees out and the air is spitting bits of snow. Not really snow falling, just those frozen crystals flying around.

Dan took George back home this morning. His leg is healed and he's doing much better. That's how he ended up staying with us this past week. He fell on some ice and cut his leg. Since Joe and Sam were out of town, my mother-in-law was "George sitting," but it was a lot of care involved changing bandages, getting pills down, so we brought him here for the week. Dan and Emily took charge of it all, and yesterday we could tell he was pining for his home!

I'm using today to get some laundry done and set up my calendar for 2018. One of my favorite things to do, starting out with a fresh planner, setting some goals and intentions for the year, too. For the past few years I've been using the Staples Arc system planner, so I can customize it to my needs. It was a bit of an investment to start, since I bought the Arc paper puncher, but I can add whatever I want to it this way.


When I was shopping the after Christmas sales the other day, I bought some Belgian chocolate for hot cocoa. I don't drink a lot of cocoa, so I buy the really good stuff on sale after Christmas and it lasts the whole year.  Our tree is still up, so today calls for a movie and cocoa. And later on, we're going to Pam and Rick's for a Christmas/New Year/Holiday gathering.

How's that for a newsy post?  Happy Saturday all!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Closing the year with Friday Fave Five

The wind is blowing like crazy this morning, whistling and rattling the window next to my desk. This is a good time to turn to some positive thoughts and look back at the blessings in the week.

1.  Sawyer turned 2! ~ We are sooo blessed to have this little guy in our lives. How quickly the time went from this . . .


to this. . . !  His birthday was yesterday and we sang to him on Facetime;)


2.  So many happy moments at Christmas this year. It was a little different for us in that only one of our kids was in town. But it made it special to spend so much time with Emily and Marcus and their kids, just the six of us.

3.  A talented son-in-law. A couple of months ago, my son-in-law Sam presented me with a drawing of Lilly! He is such a talented artist, using colored pencil and ink. Yesterday, I got a mat and frame for it and it will be the focal point for a wall collage that I'm putting together.


4. Time with good friends. Last night, Dan and I met our friends Rick and Pam for dinner. We have such a long history and there is always so much laughter. Their presence in our lives is a blessing indeed.

5.  Time off after a holiday.  I've had the luxury of several days off this week, and it has been heavenly! Initially, I planned to use the time to get through a long to do list. However, I guess I got lazy, and instead did some errands, along with shopping some after-Christmas sales and just enjoying some downtime.

Happy New Year to all, especially to the Friday Fave Five crew! Wishing you joy and good health in 2018!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day

Basking in the memories of another lovely Christmas. It was most unusual this year, as we only saw one of our three children yesterday. But, we all felt connected, thanks to the wonders of technology.

Joe and Sam are on a road trip, exploring eastern Canada. We've been following along with Facetime and group texts that include Sam's parents, Michelle and Shawn. It's been great fun!

Miranda is wonderful about sending pictures and filming the kids. Between her updates and Facetime, we were able to see Siefer and Sawyer open their gifts and the see their expressions when they woke up and saw the piles of presents under their tree.



We spent both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Emily and Marcus and Brooklynn and Bentley.


On Christmas Eve, we gathered at my mother-in-law's. My SIL Carol was there, too, and my brother-in-law and his wife and their new grandbaby, beautiful Naomi.






Dan and I had our own little Christmas dinner that afternoon before heading off to see the Denver Botanic Gardens Holiday Lights. It was freezing cold as we walked through the gardens and listened to Christmas music and saw the amazing light display.



Another amazing Christmas for the books!



And now, it's a cold snowy day after Christmas. Dan is at work. I have Lilly and George (Joe and Sam's greyhound and our Christmas house guest) to keep me company. I'm looking forward to the quiet and to putting the house in order, and having some Christmas tea and cookies this afternoon. We'll leave the tree and decoration up until the New Year at least.

Happy Boxing Day!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Merry Christmas


We're celebrating Christmas with Joe and Sam tonight, because they will be out of town for the big day.  And so the festivities begin!  I'm going to take a blogging break, so just want to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I'm so thankful for all of you who take the time to stop by and read my blog. I'm especially thankful for the friends I've met online through our blogs.

God bless!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Sights and Sounds

Linking up with Friday Fave Five to share some favorite sights and sounds of Christmas from the past week.

1. Dan and I went to a nearby town's Winterfest last weekend with Marcus and Emily and the kids. There were so many things to see and do including a miniature Christmas village, an ice skating rink, groves of decorated Christmas trees, food trucks, and a Christmas concert with fireworks.  


2. A favorite any time of year, these four 'rode' on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, all sculpted from ice.


 3. Another favorite this week was reconnecting over a nice dinner with a couple we had been friends with when our kids were all in school together.  So nice to renew old friendships.

4. Instrumental Christmas music. I downloaded the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas, and it's become my favorite background music while working at my desk.


5.  Finally, I have really been on top of early Christmas preparations this year. Yesterday I went to the post office to mail a couple of packages. I love our post office, as they always make it worth your while if you have to wait in line, by passing out Christmas cookies or having a television set up with Christmas movies.

How was your week?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Chicken, yams, Brussels sprouts and apples


Sometimes when I'm feeling adventurous, I make a list of a few ingredients I have on hand, and Google recipes to see what I can make for dinner. Okay, so I'm not being adventurous, I'm just very disorganized, and don't have a clue what to make for supper.

Tonight I had chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts and yams. This would be a great start for those sheet dinners, which are really good, but I thought I'd look for something different.

Here's the recipe I found on WellPlated.com.  It was really tasty! It's also "Paleo" if that's your cup of tea.


Chicken, Apple, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Skillet

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high, until hot and shimmering. Add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Reduce skillet heat to medium low. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp and brown and the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate (I simply laid another paper towel on top of the plate with the chicken, then stacked the bacon on that). Discard all but 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon fat from the pan.
  3. Increase skillet heat back to medium high. Add Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, onion, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender and the onions are beginning to look translucent, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the apples, garlic, thyme, and cinnamon. Cook 30 seconds, then pour in 1/2 cup of the broth. Bring to a boil and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved chicken and remaining 1/2 cup broth. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in reserved bacon and serve warm.

Bon appetit!

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.