Friday’s Fave Five

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

Well, I didn’t get as much done as I had wanted to this first week of December. But I did make a dent in Christmas shopping and wrapping and hope to start my Christmas letter and cards soon! Meanwhile, here are some highlights of the last week.

1. Christmas decorating. I love that the whole family pitches in to help, even those who don’t live at home. Timothy came equipped to help us with our tree. 🙂

Mittu made soup and sandwiches for lunch. It makes for a busy few hours, but it’s nice to get it all done at once. Plus I love the comments and reminiscences about the decorations, ornaments, etc.

2. Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals. I don’t like going out into the fray, but we found some nice online sales for some items from our list. Plus, I did some of my own shopping when I discovered some deals on personal items plus a dress I’d had my eye on reduced to half-price.

3. Jesse’s first week at work. I mentioned before that he was hired, but they said the background check would take a couple of weeks. He started on Tuesday and so far, so good. The first few weeks are just training, the very first one just shadowing and observing. But it looks manageable and seems like a good place. The company sponsored a bowling event that he enjoyed going to, a nice way to get to know people right off the bat.

4. Turkey leftovers. Turkey Bone Soup is a tradition, and I made Turkey Pot Pie for the first time this year (I don’t know why I had never thought of that before!) I used vegetables I had on hand rather than the frozen ones called for.

5. The Man Who Invented Christmas is an creative retelling of Charles Dickens’ writing of A Christmas Carol. Jim indulged me in watching last weekend, and we both really enjoyed it.

It does have a couple of places that were uncomfortable for me (the nanny’s ghost story, for one). This review goes into more detail. But overall it was a good movie.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

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

I’m full this week—with good food from Thanksgiving and with the riches of a great week. Here are a few:

1. Thanksgiving. All the special foods, time with family, FaceTiming with my oldest son, playing games, eating again. This year we added something new. I’ve wanted to set up a Thanksgiving tree for ages but just never got to it. I cut out a rough tree, bought some leaf shapes, then had them sitting on the counter through the week for people to write what they are thankful for on a leaf and put it on the tree.

2. Take-out is one of my favorite things, as I have mentioned. 🙂  We’ll often get something out on the weekend. But the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was catching a little nap in the afternoon after a very busy day. I’d had to make another run to the store for things the first store was out of, my laundry got pushed back because I was out most of the day I usually do it, plus I had a pie to bake and Thanksgiving dinner to prepare for. When I woke up, Jim mentioned getting dinner from a new Asian place he wanted to try. Not only did I appreciate not having to make or clean up dinner, but my heart was warmed by his thoughtfulness.

3. A breakfast date. Jim was off all this week, so one morning we went to Shoney’s breakfast bar. We spent almost two hours just talking after we ate.

4. Playing with Timothy. Mittu had suggested we might come by some morning this week since Jim was off work and Timothy didn’t have school this week. So we brought lunch and talked and played a while. While we were making shapes with kinetic sand (something like Play-dough, but a different texture), Timothy said, “Grandma, I love you.” Then later in the week at our house, he played chef and server with some amusing outcomes.

5. An early anniversary gift. Because our anniversary is right in the middle of Christmas season, we usually just exchange cards and go out for a nice dinner. But since this year is our 40th, we’ve been talking about doing something different. The kids got together and got an early anniversary card and Visa gift card to contribute to anniversary plans.

Bonus: Jim’s mom’s main bath aide from hospice stopped by to drop off something for us. The hospice group had had a memorial for the families they had worked with who had lost loved ones this year. We did not go: we had had two memorials already, and didn’t want to attend this one with mostly strangers. They had ornaments for each family engraved with our loved one’s name, and this lady brought ours to the house. It was good to chat with her again and catch up with what she had been doing.

What’s one special thing from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

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

Here we are near the end of November already, and Thanksgiving next week. But we don’t have to wait til Thursday to be thankful! Here are a few things I’ve appreciated the last few days:

1. My youngest son got a job! He has been working on it for a long time, and finally got a “yes!” He has to wait for results from a background check and drug test, but those shouldn’t be problems.

2. Dinner and a movie at home. Jason and Mittu brought over dinner last Friday and then we all watched Klaus together. It was a pretty cute movie.

3. Ladies Bible study group met last Saturday. Always a joy.

4. Sweaters and throw blankets. This time of year, they add just the right layer of warmth.

5. Sleep. For some reason, I woke up in the middle of the night and then couldn’t get back to sleep for 2-3 hours. :/ I went back to bed this morning after Jim left, so I don’t feel quite as much like a zombie as I did at first. I’m thankful I have the kind of schedule that allows me to go back to bed, but I regret losing daytime hours to sleep that should have come during the night.

Bonus: A text from Jason about my grandson, Timothy. Looks like someone is eager for Christmas. 🙂

Friday’s Fave Five

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

I don’t know how we’re halfway through November already, but let’s stop a moment and think about some highlights of the week.

1. My oldest son becoming a homeowner. After about the longest journey to buying a house that I have ever known (trying to qualify for first-time homeowner’s assistance, multiple inspections and repairs, only not to qualify in the end due a requirement that was out of the previous homeowner’s hands), my son was finally able to close on his condo.

2. Figuring out my bicycle seat pads. This is one of those kind of dumb little things that did make a big difference. I had bought a pad for my exercise bicycle’s uncomfortable seat. It had a way to attach it, but since it was a different shape and size, I figured it wouldn’t work. So I just plopped the pad on top. But that meant adjusting it every single time I rode the bike, sometimes having to stop and adjust it in the middle of my exercise. I finally decided to see if the attachment would work, and it did! It’s nice to to start the day without that minor frustration.

3. A mild first snowfall. I know some of you have had major winter storms already. Our first snowfall was a bit early, but not bad. Since we don’t have all the equipment here for roads that those north of us do, I’m grateful when snowfall is minor and fades away quickly.

4. Texts from Timothy. My five-year-old grandson gets hold of his mom’s phone sometimes and sends me messages. 🙂

5. The 5 Below store. My son and daughter-in-law had told me about this store, but they only recently built one near us. It’s like a dollar store, but items can be anywhere from $1-5. I had just come from the dollar store when I went to this shop, and it was so much nicer in its contents and atmosphere.

Bonus: Operation Christmas Child. This is only my second time to participate, and this was the cause of my shopping yesterday. So fun! I really enjoyed reading about Susanne’s experience as a distributor. That helps me picture how these boxes are received.

What’s something special from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

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

Another Friday, another pause to reflect on the best parts of the week.

1. A visit to Cade’s Cove. I wrote more about this here, but we had a great time visiting this beautiful scenic and historic area on Saturday.

2. iCloud shared photo albums. Whenever we have a family event, we set up a shared photo album on our phones so we can each contribute our pictures to it. It’s so nice to be able to see everyone else’s photos fairly soon.

3. An extra hour. I am not a big fan of the time designations changing back and forth, but we have to do it. I hate losing an hour when Daylight Savings Time starts, but I do like getting it back in the fall.

4. Heat. We’ve had some nights in the 20s this week. When we first turned on our heater, it was making some clunky noises.That doesn’t usually happen, and Jim was out of town, so I turned it off again. When we turned it back on a day or two later, everything worked and sounded fine.

5. Leftover quiche for breakfast. I have oatmeal for breakfast most days, and we have scrambled eggs or egg sandwiches on Sunday mornings as a family. So being able to pop some leftover quiche in the microwave for breakfast is a break from routine, something special, and something much quicker than usual.

How was your week?


Friday’s Fave Five

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

Here we are in November! No matter what we do, we can’t change the speed of time. But we can enjoy the moments along the way. Here are some of mine from this week:

1. Pumpkin carving and decorating. A tradition we just started a few years ago, It’s always fun to see what everyone comes up with and how they turn out.

2. Lasagna. Mittu brought over lasagna for the pumpkin night—a favorite!

3. Caramel corn and apple cider have become traditions for pumpkin night as well. It’s a little tedious to make the caramel corn, but it makes the house smell wonderful and tastes so good!

4. Choco-peanut butter dreams. A clunky name for a delicious cookie. I only make them once a year, because they’re a bit of work and they are too tempting. So good. Recipe is here.


5. A not-so-bad dental hygienist. 🙂 To explain, at my last dental appointment, I had a different hygienist than usual. The appointment just did not go well at all. I was consoling myself with the thought that this was the only time I would see her, when I noticed she kept mentioning “next time.” When I checked out, I asked the receptionist about my regular person and was told she had resigned. I was trying to decide whether to ask for a different hygienist at my next appointment, but decided to give this new person one more try. I saw her this week, and everything was fine. Plus, no cavities or other problems, and a bit of “flappy gum” was better.

Bonus: Timothy’s parents had taken him to a mall for trick-or-treating, and they dropped by afterward so we could see him in costume as Aladdin, complete with a small magnet monkey of mine. I didn’t get a picture, though!

This has been a food-heavy post, but one of the best parts of fall is its foods. 🙂 I could have also mentioned making some oven meals we don’t use during the summer when it’s too hot to turn the oven on. It’s fun to come back to those in the fall, with the coziness of warmth and good smells.

What’s a highlight of your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

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

It’s been deliciously cool this week! Here are some other high points:

1. Lunch with friends. Our church had a potluck dinner Sunday, then I met with a friend for lunch later in the week. Good times!

2. Water bottle rockets. We did these with our kids, and it was fun to do them with Timothy. It was fun to hear him count down and then get so excited watching them blast off and land.

3. A bit of color on two different fronts. We haven’t had much fall color this year, they say because we haven’t had much rain. The leaves in our neighborhood look mostly rusty. But as I was out yesterday, I saw some bright orange and yellow trees here and there. I miss the full-blown fall color we usually have, but that little bit cheered me.

Then I looked out the back door and was surprised to see my hydrangea with fresh blooms:

The roses and begonias are still going strong as well some of the petunias.

4. Lindt candy. Lindt milk chocolate truffles are my favorite candy. But my husband found and bought this Lindt variety pack last weekend. Usually with these kinds of candy collections, there are a few duds in the mix that no one likes. But these were all really good!

5. A special discovery. Several years ago, I made this little plaque for my mother-in-law. Since her passing, this was the one thing of hers I wanted to keep personally, but I had no idea where it was. Last weekend, Jim and I were going through some boxes of his mom’s things in our attic, and we found this. I was thankful.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

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

Fall has well and truly arrived here in eastern TN. It’s been downright chilly in the mornings, though we’ve not turned on the heat yet. Someone posted on FaceBook a funny meme that we get all four seasons in one day: winter in the early morning, spring mid-morning, summer early afternoon, and fall late afternoon. That’s about right.

Here are some favorites from the last week:

1. “Girl time” with Mittu. I met my son and daughter-in-law and grandson for lunch at the mall Saturday, and then Mittu and I saw a movie that none of the guys were interested in. We wondered that we hadn’t done more girl things over the years. With Timothy’s babyhood and then caring for my mother-in-law, there wasn’t as much opportunity. But maybe now there is!

2. Ladies group from church met Saturday morning. Always a joy to get into the Word of God with these ladies.

3. Family time. Jason and Mittu came over and made burritos Saturday night. Then Jim and Timothy shot off some rockets made from plastic soda bottle and propelled by water. By the time we got outside, it was a little too dark to see how far they went up, so we’ll have to do them again some time when it’s light outside. But Timothy enjoyed watching them take off and land. Then the next day we met for lunch and wandered around an antique show for a bit. Not all of it was antiques: many of the displays looked like things Chip and Joanna Gaines (from Fixer Upper) would use.

4. Toy Story 4 was part of our family time as well, but I wanted to give it its own slot. When I first heard they were making a fourth installment, I was wary. I didn’t want the franchise run into the ground, and I felt the third movie had wrapped things up nicely. But this fourth movie was really good and as heart-touching as the others.

5. Surprise treats. Since I was away from home most of Saturday, I asked Jim if he would pick up a few things from the store for me. For the next couple of days, I found small packs of my favorite candy hidden in spots around the house. I hadn’t had them on my list—he saw them and wanted to surprise me.

Then when I picked up a grocery order from W-Mart, they handed me a surprise bag of goodies, too.

It’s been a great week! Hope yours has been, too.

Friday’s Fave Five

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

I’m going to just jump right in with this week’s favorites:

1. Cooler weather. After saying for weeks that it hasn’t felt like fall yet, finally we’re down into the 70s during the day, 50s-60s at night. By contrast, the week before we had three days of record high heat.

2. Rain. I don’t know the statistics for how long we’ve been without rain, but it has been quite a while. We finally got a bit last weekend and are due for more tomorrow.

3. Watching football. I never (willingly) watched football before moving here, but it’s hard not to get caught up in UT Vols fandom. We had been able to watch their games via the ESPN app on our Apple TV for years. But when we tried this season, a notice would come up saying that we’d have to pay more to watch, which we weren’t willing to do. Last Saturday night I checked, on a whim, and the game was on! I hope that continues.

4. Going for a walk. Last weekend when the kids were here, Timothy wanted to take a walk after dinner. It was nice out, and there were all sorts of crunchy leaves on the ground that I hadn’t noticed before (I remarked, “I guess it really is fall!”) I’ve noticed a lot more fallen leaves, but not much fall color yet. I so hope that comes before all the leaves go—I depend on that beauty to carry me through the barrenness of the winter landscape.

5. Timothy’s first lost tooth was an experience. 🙂 He was okay with it being loose until it started hurting and then bleeding a bit. He (and his parents) were much relieved when it finally came out.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

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

October is here! And though it’s still hot and muggy in eastern TN, cooler weather is in the forecast! I can’t wait! Meanwhile, I’m pressing “pause” today to reflect on some of the best parts of the last week.

1. Movie with Timothy and his Grandmas. My daughter-in-law’s mother came to visit, and she invited me to come watch a movie with her, her mom, and Timothy. They had tried taking Timothy to the theater a year or two ago, but he wasn’t quite ready for it yet. Most of the fun of this excursion was hearing his excitement. We were in a theater that has recliners and serves food, so he enjoyed eating pizza while watching. I especially enjoyed his comments and observations throughout the experience. I wish I had recorded all his comments, but the ones I remember are:

During each trailer: “I like this movie!”

“Why did they turn the lights off? It must be night outside.”

“I miss Daddy.”

2. A nice visit. My son’s family brought Mittu’s mom over for dinner last Sunday night. We had a good visit.

3. Bringing food in. Jason and Mittu came over another night later in the week and brought Mexican food from a favorite local restaurant. Jesse and I also got take-out one night while Jim was out of town. It was from a nicer restaurant and a little more expensive—especially as we splurged and got desserts. (Why do restaurant desserts cost so much?! I could have gone to the grocery store next to this restaurant and got 3-5 pies or cakes for the price of two of their desserts.) So we probably won’t be doing that again any time soon. But it was a nice treat. And the desserts did last two days (which does account for some of the expense, but not as much as they charged!)

4. A quiet week. The movie and dinner get-together were last weekend, and there was nothing on the schedule the rest of the week. I enjoy the activities, but I love just regular, ordinary weeks, too—and need them in-between busy times.

5. Wellness, or at least feeling better. Jim has been battling upper respiratory issues for about three weeks now. First a cold, then an infection. He feels immensely better, though he still has a hacking cough sometimes.

And, as a bonus, I had especially prayed for some encouragement for my youngest son’s job hunt. He had a phone interview that went well, so we’ll see if anything comes of that. Just having some response on that front is encouraging, but it would be especially encouraging if something would pan out! But we know God will connect him with just the right job at just the right time. I shared with him that my evening reading for Monday from Daily Light on the Daily Path was all about God’s guidance.

Happy Friday!