Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas Eve is in only 2 more sleeps.  :)

These next several days are some of my favorites.  School is out, which lowers stress all around. Finals are behind us, hooray, celebrate all A's for all three kids!  We have very few outside commitments.  It is time to bake, play games, watch movies, be creative, and wrap gifts.  I love having everyone home!!  

At our house, Christmas Eve day is an extravaganza spent at my parent's home followed by a trip to church on the way home. Christmas day we get up, open our gifts, and then drive 3 hours to Jeff's mom's house for more food, family, and fun.  We are so very blessed.

So, these days before the festivities are to begin take on a preciousness all of their own.  There is the added joy of anticipation.  There is the simple pleasure from quieter times.  For me, these are the best days of the season.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Let's Get Perking

As it happens often, I find myself rediscovering an old treasure, when faced with necessity.  Just last week, we happened to have a sample of this amazing coffee while out shopping one evening.

Problem is that we no longer own a coffee maker and this coffee doesn't come in the coffee pod we need.  And, I had to have some of this coffee because it is just that yummy.  So, I went home empty-handed yet determined to find a way.  Should we buy a small, inexpensive drip coffee maker?  Should we get some reusable coffee pods? I weighed the pros and cons of both options and decided to order some reusable coffee pods.  In the meantime, we went back to the store and got the coffee on another trip.

That brings us to today.  I had the coffee and the pods were still on their way.  So, I decided to dig out my stovetop percolator.  This was a gift to me many years ago from my kids for camping.  Turns out we never needed to use it to make coffee.  I used it for tea water, so it was not a bad gift.  But, I never had used it for coffee, always being a bit intimidated by the process.   I mean, I love my push-button coffee maker.  We are a perfect match.  It always delivers the exact same coffee, day after day.

But, I wanted to have my yummy coffee, so I got brave.  I watched a couple YouTube videos and then gave it a try.  Of course, it worked.  I was very pleased with the results.  I do need to tweak it a little, but that will come with practice.  It was a bit strong.  I will just use less coffee next time.  Hooray!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Favorite Webcam

I stalk a webcam.  Yes, I do. I even take screenshots, way too may screenshots.

The following are just from today.

The camera is sometimes focused closer to the beach and other times far away.  This camera is kind of like a friend to me.  It keeps me connected to an area of my state that is dear to my heart.  Tell me I am not the only one who loves a webcam?

Bonus:  this link goes to a camera on Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana   It is live!

Monday, December 12, 2016

50 Favorites Meme ... Why not?

  1. your favorite way to spend a Sunday~ Church, then lunch with extended family, back home to relax until time to go back to church for youth group and a date with Jeff.  
  2. your favorite outfit~Jeans and a pretty sweater
  3. your favorite cookie~ Chewy snickerdoodles
  4. your favorite holiday tradition~ Christmas Eve at Mom and Dad's
  5. your favorite podcast~ "What Should I Read Next" by Anne Bogel
  6. your favorite sound~ My kids laughing 
  7. your favorite color~ Apple green
  8. your favorite flower~ Sunflowers
  9. your favorite book~(fiction) Can't name just one!  I love Gene Stratton Porter, Barbara Pim, LM Mountgomery, Jane Austin
  10. your favorite movie~ Gone With the Wind
  11. your favorite dance move ~ I don't dance
  12. your favorite holiday memory~ Christmas Eve at my grandparent's
  13. your favorite memory overall~ Our wedding
  14. your favorite thing you’ve ever made~ ???
  15. your favorite museum~ Indianapolis Children's Museum 
  16. your favorite way to give~ Through church offerings
  17. your favorite trip to take~ To Lake Michigan
  18. your favorite person to talk to~ My mom
  19. your favorite dinner to eat when it’s cold out~ Homemade soup and bread
  20. your favorite quote~ Jer 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  21. your favorite thing to look at~ The sun setting on Lake Michigan or my cat's blue eyes
  22. your favorite act of self-compassion~ Give permission to say no when needing down time
  23. your favorite kind of weather~ Sunny and 60 degrees
  24. your favorite poem~ Something by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  25. your favorite way to brighten your day or someone else’s~ Do something nice for them
  26. our favorite time of the day~ Early morning
  27. your favorite fabric~ Cotton
  28. your favorite word~ Grace
  29. your favorite way to practice self-care~ Make time for being home
  30. your favorite place to rest~ At home on the couch 
  31. your favorite photo~ My grandparent's wedding photo
  32. your favorite beverage~ LaCroix
  33. your favorite blog~ Like Mother, Like Daughter 
  34. your favorite way to play~ At a state park
  35. your favorite piece of jewelry~ My great grandmother's ring
  36. your favorite work of art~ A painting my grandmother gave me that hangs in the dining room
  37. your favorite dream~ ???  
  38. your favorite mistake~ My cats!  
  39. your favorite part of your body~  My hands 
  40. your favorite topic to read about~ Getting organized 
  41. your favorite gift~ New tires for our van this Christmas
  42. your favorite way to feel loved~ Being noticed, treated with courtesy, treated with respect
  43. your favorite way to move your body~ Ride my bike
  44. your favorite song to relax to~ Jazz
  45. your favorite song to dance to like no one’s watching~  Still don't dance
  46. your favorite voice~ My youngest son's voice
  47. your favorite holiday scent~ Pine
  48. your favorite scent in general~ Baking cookies
  49. your favorite thing to read when you need a pick-me-up or pep talk~ The Psalms
  50. your favorite place to hang out, where you can genuinely be yourself~ HOME!!!  

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

That One Room

We have lived in our home for three years!  I say that with some amazement, as these years have really flown by.  For Thanksgiving, we moved the dining set into the dining area for the first time since living here.  I do not like eating on carpet, so we were using the dining area as a sitting room and eating in the kitchen nook.  Well, I finally decided to give moving into the dining area  atry now that we are all over 14 and I really love it. We have a lot more room.  And as an added bonus, I have a room in my home that stays pretty clutter free, too.  We all need that one room!  Here are some pictures.  It certainly is not fancy, but it makes me so happy to have this dedicated space.  I did not know what I was missing.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Big Birthday

We had a big birthday come and go for our youngest.  How can he be fifteen?  These teen years are zooming past us.  He wanted a zoo membership for his present.  We had not been in many years, so we really enjoyed our recent trip.

We also had a family party and he received a really huge expert level Lego set.  It was fun to watch him build it.  He had to build in his free time, so it took a little longer than the average set.  Do you know that I have never put together a Lego set?  That seems so weird in this house of Lego nuts!

Now I am in Thanksgiving preparation mode.  I really need to get out the carpet cleaner, wash windows, cabinets, and on and on the list goes.  This year I am trying not to let the holidays sneak up on me.  I love hosting Thanksgiving and I want to make sure it is a good day for my beloved family. Do you host Thanksgiving?  Are you ready?  

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Endless Summer

Wow, we sure have been having some great fall weather around here.  The flowers are still all in bloom, too, as we have yet to have a frost.  I did bring in my tender geranium starts.  They are happier inside anyway.  Below is a picture of our tomato haul.  I cannot believe how prolific they are in November!

In other news, we were forced to replace our water heater.  I am very thankful that we have a cousin who is a plumber.  We now have an almost endless supply of hot water again.  Time to build up another emergency fund before the next emergency presents itself.  That is life!

Tonight, as we wait on the election results, we are going to play games and have a feast.  I decided to roast a chicken, make stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and green beans.  This fretful night needs some wholesome activity in my opinion.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My Birthday Trip

I was blessed to go to my favorite lake for my birthday!  Here are some pictures.

These are from the first day, taken at IN Dunes State Park.  We played on the beach in the 80 degrees, then took a 4-mile hike back in the woods.  My Fitbit registered 24 flights of stairs from all the dunes we climbed.

Day two was a trip to New Buffalo, MI's city beach park, another pretty place to climb dunes.  Along the way, we stopped at a favorite orchard to pick over 21 pounds of Pink Lady apples.

That evening, we went to see the sunset at Michigan City, IN's city park.

And today, my actual birthday, we hiked a favorite trail at the IN Dunes National Lake Shore West Beach.

I always enjoy our trips to see Lake Michigan.  I will not be going back for some time, so this was an especially sweet trip.  I am very grateful!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Insignificantly Yours

Once in awhile, I struggle with feeling insignificant.  Here I am with the same old list of to do's: laundry, dishes, toilets, floors.  So, I strive to cheerfully remember to "do all to the glory of God." Mothering is a lonely job that is only noticed when it is not done.

And then the little attacks come.  "Are you really doing anything of importance with your life?"  "Look at so and so.  She has a career.  You gave up yours for your family. Now look at you, and they don't even appreciate you.  And you are forever needing more money.  If you only worked."  "I mopped today. The kids were educated.  We have clean clothes."  It doesn't seem like much, checking boxes on my list.

It is so tempting to give in to these thoughts.  Sometimes I struggle with feeling that I am uninteresting, simple, unneeded.  This is a battle I must win.  I am truly grateful to be home.  I do see the value.  But the struggle gets harder the older my kids get.

I think perhaps that I have been too busy lately.  I have been caught up in the world of band parent.  I have been making an extra effort to get my social kids to their church group an hour away two or three times a week.  I have been volunteering in Sunday school.  I am a small group leader.  I have a million things on my mind trying to get my oldest off to college next fall.  College is a huge deal and requires a lot of mental energy that I did not count on.  On top of it all is this crazy election that has me perplexed and upset at best.  Toss in a crazy hurricane and I am now officially worried about people I love in Florida.   I need fall break.  I am really looking forward to this fall break!!!