Friday’s Fave Five

christmas FFFIt’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

We’re really feeling the winter cold this week, but thankfully no snow yet! Here are some highlights from the last week:

1. A new Christmas tree. I saw a mini white Christmas tree with pink and blue ornaments at a store and just loved it. Unfortunately that store didn’t have any more of that tree or ornaments, but after looking around I found what I wanted. I decided to put it in my bedroom – I have never had anything Christmasy in my bedroom, and I have gotten a ridiculous amount of pleasure from this. Ironically, I have been asking myself if there are ways we should simplify or cut back on our decorating, and here I go adding more. 🙂 One tip for others with mini trees: I have some in other rooms, too, and I store them individually in a container with the decorations still on. When we get them out again, all I have to do is fluff them up a little and put back on a few ornaments that might have fallen off rather than decorating the whole thing again. So that helps.

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2. Alexa. I wasn’t a big fan at first, but my husband enjoys having it, and he doesn’t buy any gadget without searching for deals on it. But what I especially love is that he programmed it to turn the Christmas lights on and off on our tree and outside just by speaking to it. 🙂 The one switch for the tree was in a hard-to-reach place, and the one for the outside lights is outside, and I always hated having to go out in the cold and dark night to turn them off. So having those switches programmed in is nice!

3. Surprise help with the dishes. I usually clean up the kitchen after dinner while my husband feeds his mom. One night I had gotten the dishwasher loaded but still had to hand wash the pots and pans and the blending equipment to puree his mom’s food. I had to step away for a bit, and when I came back, he had returned from feeding his mom and cleaned up her dishes plus everything else I hadn’t finished. A nice surprise! And I think I’ve mentioned before that he always does the Sunday morning breakfast dishes. I just don’t have time to tend to them – unless I want to get up even earlier – and it’s so nice not to have them still sitting in the sink when we get home.

4. Being almost finished with Christmas shopping and wrapping.

5. Timothy’s imagination. He was playing a fishing game with his dad on the couch, and the carpet was transformed into “freezing cold” water which he occasionally jumped into and even swam in. He had us all laughing without trying in the least to be funny.

Happy Friday!

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Friday’s Fave Five

christmas FFF

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s the first Friday of the last month of the year! And here are some of the best parts of the last week:

1. Christmas decorating was especially fun this year with Timothy, age 3 1/2. He brought his toy saw to help us cut one down. 🙂

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Then we went home to put the “ormanents” on and “so many colors” of lights. Throughout the morning he kept saying he was “having so much fun!”

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Mittu made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for us. I’m so grateful the whole family helps with this – it would take days if I had to do it by myself, and would be a lot less fun.

It was fun discovering ornaments in unexpected places. Timothy had some new ideas about decorating!

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Years ago the house where we lived had a hook in the ceiling, I think for a hanging lamp from a previous owner. One year one of the boys hung a snowflake ornament there, and that became a tradition. We don’t have such a hook in this house, so they improvised.

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2. Dusting cloths. I use a Swiffer duster for most things, but some of them benefit more from a little more attention. I usually use the dust spray and an old tee shirt, but decided to try these. They worked great!

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3. Non-Christmasy Christmas snacks. I don’t know how we got started having these around Christmas, usually shortly after putting up the tree. We could get them any time of year – but we only want them at Christmas.

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Chocolate covered potato chips are new to me and surprisingly good, unfortunately. I say unfortunately because they are ridiculously expensive. But I guess that’s good, because it will deter me from getting them too often.

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4. Turkey Bone Soup is a tradition a few days after Thanksgiving. Yum!

5. Celebrating my friend Melanie‘s birthday by going out to lunch.

Happy first day of December to you!

Friday’s Fave Five

fall FFF 1It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

The last Friday of November, and of autumn! Though technically autumn continues a few weeks longer, in my mind, Dec. 1 marks the beginning of winter. It also used to mark the beginning of Christmas season, but now the weekend after Thanksgiving ushers that in for us.

On to this week’s favorite highlights:

1. Thanksgiving: the food, the family time together and FaceTiming with the one absent; the opportunity for a special emphasis on what have to be thankful for and the One to whom we are thankful.

2. A nice husband. He not only went to the store for me on Thanksgiving morning for a few items I hadn’t realized we were low on until then, but he also washed all the pots and pans that wouldn’t fit in the dishwasher – and there were many of them for Thanksgiving! He traditionally takes care of getting all the meat off the turkey carcass and then cleaning up roaster pan.

3. Plants. We’ve been wanting to do some planting along the fence we put up a while back, but hadn’t been able to get to it. My husband has been wanting to transplant some small bushes that were in a semicircle in another part of the yard, which was not only an odd place for them, but they impeded lawn mowing. So he transplanted those along part of the fence. Then he went to a couple of nurseries to look for the kind of tree he wanted in the corner. He ended up not getting that one, because it was over $400! But he found a group of trees and bushes for 75% off, and got one tree and three bushes for less than $30.

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A nice start! Now we just have the rest of the fence line to go…

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(The fence isn’t really leaning forward as it appears to in the photo – my camera angle was just wonky.)

4. Things that didn’t break when they could have. I was trying to work a small item into the full dish drainer one day and accidentally dislodged the lid to my big crock pot. I reached for it as it fell, but knew I wouldn’t reach it in time. Thankfully it didn’t break, though it made a lot of noise when it hit the counter. Then I dropped a glass pan in the sink while washing it, but thankfully it held together, too.

5. Thanksgiving leftovers. It looks like there was just the right amount this year: some to send home with Jason and Mittu, some for sandwiches and warmed-up Thanksgiving night dinner and Friday lunches, some for turkey bone soup some time this weekend, and the turkey salad my husband makes.

Are you shopping this Black Friday? I’m staying inside where it’s cozy and calm and warm and doing my shopping online – another thing I am thankful for!

Friday’s Fave Five

fall FFF 1It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

We’ve crossed the halfway mark of November, looking forward to Thanksgiving next week, and then the Christmas season! But before we get ahead of ourselves, here are the blessings of this week.

1. An outing. We went to a holiday craft fair on Saturday, which was actually overcrowded and many of the items were overpriced. Then we went to a restaurant for lunch, where my food was great, but my husband’s and daughter-in-law’s both had problems, and the waiter was weird and almost made Timothy cry by teasing him. But – even though all the circumstances weren’t perfect, I enjoyed the time together.

2. Extended time with Timothy. I watched him for the longest time yet this week, and all by myself! Usually either Jim or Jesse, or both, are home. Everything went well and we had a good time. One thing we did was to make some fall sugar cookies with leaf-shaped sprinkles. He liked the sprinkles part. 🙂

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Timothy sprinkles

3. A medical procedure that a family member had this week went well.

4. One-cup dessert mixes. I’ve mentioned before various recipes I’ve found online for making one serving of a cookie, cake, or brownie in a mug in the microwave. They’re nice when you want something sweet (and fairly fast) but you don’t want a whole panful in the house to avoid the temptation of overindulging. Recently I found the same idea in a ready made, just-add-water mix. Nice! There were several flavors, but I tend to go for the chocolate. 🙂

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5. Solitude. I love my family dearly and enjoy time with them, but some times of quiet and solitude are essential to my sanity and well-being. Those times have been a little hard to come by since we moved my mother-in-law here and have had hospice people in and out. This week I actually had the better part of one whole day to myself. It was bliss. My m-i-l was here, of course, and her caregiver was here in the morning. But even then it was a pretty quiet, peaceful day.

Happy Friday, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday’s Fave Five

fall FFF 1It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s been overcast and cool this week, and maybe that’s contributed to it also being a drowsy week for me. But here are some of the best parts of my waking moments. 🙂

1. Fall color in the neighborhood. I’d mentioned a few times that I had seen some fall color in other areas of town, but not in my immediate vicinity. It finally came last week! One day while out running errands, I stopped here and there to take some pictures of it, but none really captured it (it happened to be on one of those overcast days). But there are some lovely photos posted at the local TV station’s “Your Photos” section.

2. Time with Timothy. We baby-sat (or had a play-date, as his parents called it) last Saturday while his parents had some time to themselves. I’m always just a little apprehensive about watching him beforehand, in case he misses his parents too much or just doesn’t have a good day for some reason, but so far it has always gone well.

3. A UT Vols win! I rarely watched football before we moved here, but it’s hard to escape UT fandom when you live right in the middle of it. 🙂 They had been having a rough time of it lately, and finally pulled out a win last Saturday night.

4. Getting an extra hour last weekend. I don’t like giving it back in the spring, and I am not fond of it getting so dark so early after the time change, but I do like having that extra hour.

5. Going through craft books. I hadn’t planned on any deep searching and sorting for the items I was planning to donate that I mentioned last week – it was more just a matter of pulling together items I had set aside or noticed and itemizing them. But I didn’t have them ready to go last weekend, and once I did, I decided to look through a few more places. One was the bookshelf in my craft/sewing room. I spent a very pleasant afternoon looking through craft books, and yes, I did set aside some to give away! That also got my creative juices stirred up!

Happy Friday!

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Friday’s Fave Five

fall FFF 1It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

November! “Ready or not,” the days and months keep coming! Here are my favorite parts of the last week:

1. An outing. Last Saturday, Jim, Jason, Mittu, Timothy, and I went to Vintage Market Days. It was fun to see all the “stuff” and to get some ideas for creative furniture painting if I ever get brave enough to try them. Jason and Mittu have done just a bit of buying, fixing up and painting, and then reselling furniture, so there was much to observe and take in. Timothy was good as gold.

2. A new Mexican food restaurant. I grew up in southern TX, where Mexican or “Tex-Mex” food is just a given, and I am not a happy camper without Mexican food occasionally. The two restaurants we had gone to since moving here closed (one even had the audacity to email me a coupon this week after closing their nearby location!!) After our outing on Saturday, we were headed for a burger place when we noticed a new Mexican food restaurant and decided to give it a try. We found out it was only their second day in business, and it was really good! Yay!

3. Jim going to the store for me. I had missed my planned grocery shopping Friday due to not feeling well and was planning to go out Saturday afternoon after our outing. Jim volunteered to go for me – and it was a rainy, drizzly day, so I took him up on it. I hate to ask him to go because he works long hours and has his mom’s care on top of that, so I greatly appreciated his volunteering.

4. Pumpkin Spice Cookies, just from a mix found at the store, but very good!

5. Running into an old friend even just for the briefest of moments. We used to go to the same church until her family moved to another area of town and changed to a church closer by. We keep up on Facebook but hadn’t seen each other in person for years. She was coming into the Vintage Market Days as we were going out, we were in the doorway in the rain, she had her hands full and people waiting on her, so we could manage a only brief few words and hug, but it did my heart good.

Happy Friday!

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Friday’s Fave Five

fall FFF 1It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s the last FFF of October already! Times a-flyin’! Here are some favorite parts of the last week:

1. Lasagna. I had gotten all the ingredients and was just waiting for a time when the kids would be here and I had the time and inclination. That all came together last Saturday!

2. Central heat. It finally got cold enough to turn on the furnace. I’m so glad I can just push a button and don’t have to deal with bringing in wood or cleaning out ashes (or having everything smell like wood smoke).

3. Clearing out things to give away. I have a box in the pantry for the purpose of tossing things I want to get rid of. That had expanded to more than one box, plus Jesse had a stack of clothes on top of his dresser that didn’t fit any more, plus a few other things had caught my eye. There was no major going-through of closets and such this time around, which was nice since I didn’t really have time for that, and it had been done earlier in the year anyway. But pulling out the things that had caught my eye did lead to a bit of sorting in cabinets and on shelves here and there. I’ve almost got it ready to take down to the thrift store. It’s nice to clear stuff out and get it to someone who can use it.

4. Having plans for the weekend. We’re not big goers and doers. Jim usually has something to do on the weekends (grass to cut, projects to work on, etc.), and I like spending them at home most of the time. But sometimes it’s nice to have something different to look forward to!

5. Bright blue skies after a few days of rainy and/or overcast ones. We needed the rain, and thankfully I didn’t have to get out in it, but it does my heart good to see blue out my window rather than grey.

Happy Friday!

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