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.

The days keep ticking by, and here we are halfway through December already! Funny how time keep the same pace, yet seems faster or slower than it really is. Friday’s Fave Five provides a time to slow down and savor a bit. Here are some favorite parts of the last week:

1. Lunch with a friend – not the friend I have often mentioned meeting with. We’ve had each other’s families over for dinner, but this was our first lunch get-together – and I look forward to more!

2. A family outing. My son and daughter-in-law invited us to a Christmas craft fair near the downtown area last Saturday. The craft fair itself was kind of a bust – a lot of essential oils, bath bombs, and home maintenance stuff, like gutter guards. Very few actual handmaid crafts (except I guess the oils and bath stuff might have been handmade, but, still – not at all like the craft fairs I used to attend. And artificial scents give me a headache anyway.) But right near the end we found some nice handmade items and a few gifts. The outing was fun even though the fair itself didn’t live up to my expectations. Timothy got some free treats. πŸ™‚ Then we went to lunch at a favorite downtown restaurant. I’m so glad Knoxville’s downtown area isn’t overwhelming like those of larger cities where we have lived. I brought this chocolate-covered peanut butter cookie home for later from the restaurant – sooo good!

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3. Ticking things off the ol’ Christmas to-do list. I finished the family newsletter and Christmas cards this week and got those sent out. I think I have most of the shopping done except for a few items I need to confer with my husband about. I’ve made a dent in the wrapping and have two packages to send out tomorrow (Friday – I am writing this Thursday). I make Christmas cards for the immediate family, so I need to start those – hopefully tomorrow. And somewhere in the next week I hope to get a haircut.

4. Free books. A few weeks back I won Adam’s quarterly mini-challenge for the TBR Pile Challenge, with the prize being the book of my choice from Book Depository (I chose 84, Charing Cross, one that has been on my to-read list for ages). I also won a copy of Karen Sebastian‘s book, The Power of Hope for Caregivers – I think as a result of a comment on her blog. An author whose newsletter I get offered a free Kindle copy of one of her books for subscribers, and Audible, as it does every December, offered its members a free gift. This year it’s The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. It’s quite good so far!

5. A snow day. I have to admit I don’t enjoy snow days as much as I did when the kids were young. Usually when it snows, my husband goes wherever he has to go anyway, and my mother-in-law’s caregivers or bath aides don’t come. But this time it snowed on Sunday. The caregiver did come and my husband didn’t have to be anywhere.

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As you can see, there’s not much snow at this point, but we did get more. Since the road situation was iffy, our church cancelled services. Though I missed meeting with everyone, it was nice to have an unexpected whole day of rest. Jason and Mittu sent us a video of Timothy enjoying the snow.

And that’s it for this week! 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.

The first Friday and FFF of December! Here are some of the best parts of my week:

1. “Christmas Tree Day,” as Timothy called it – the day we choose our tree and decorate it and the rest of the house for Christmas. I love that we still do this all together as a family. We set aside my oldest son’s special ornaments for him to add when he comes later this month. Mittu brought over chili and cornbread.

2. Rain holding off. The day we planned to get our tree, rain was forecast for the later morning. Then Saturday morning we woke up to steady rain. I prayed Friday night and Saturday morning that the rain would hold off at least until we got our tree home. It did – in fact, it held off until my husband got most of the outdoor decorations up as well. Our tree was pretty wet when we got it, but the drive home of top of the car dried it out pretty well. It touched my heart that God would grant that unessential, but heartfelt request.

3. Snowflakes on the ceiling – or decorating with boys. At our last house, there was a hook above where we set our Christmas tree, leftover from a hanging light or planter. One year one of the boys hung a plastic snowflake ornament up on that hook. I blustered about it but finally accepted it. Then it became a tradition to see who could get the snowflake ornament on that hook without my noticing. When we moved to this house, there was no hook on the ceiling, so one of them taped the snowflake to the ceiling. This year they took it up a notch:

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If you can’t quite see them, there are snowflakes hanging all around the room. πŸ™‚ One of the boys wanted to hang some from the ceiling fan blades…thankfully they didn’t go that far!

4. A movie with Jim. A week or two ago we watched An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, based on a Louisa May Alcott story. This week Jim and I watched its sequel, An Old-Fashioned Christmas. Jim is not all that into period dramas, so I appreciated his watching this with me. πŸ™‚ We watched these through the Hallmark channel app on our Apple TV, but I imagine they are available to rent in the usual places.

5. Impromptu get-togethers. Besides planned outings, activities, and dinners, it’s fun when Jason, Mittu, and Timothy come over unexpectedly. Sunday nights have been “fend for yourself night” in the kitchen ever since the boys were old enough to run the microwave. We usually have something leftover or in the freezer, so everyone rummages around for their own preferences whenever they get hungry. Another impromptu gathering occurred last night when Mittu texted and asked if they could bring dinner over. Always! It was very good! And since Jim had been out of town for a couple of days, and I had the full care of his mom, it was nice to have dinner taken care of.

Happy Friday!

 

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.

Let’s just plunge right in to this week’s faves:

1. An extra week. At first Thanksgiving felt too early, but I’m glad we had an extra week between Thanksgiving and December this year. We’ve started a bit of shopping, but it was nice to have a little breathing space between holiday activities.

2. Fantasy of Trees. We’ve never been to this before, but my son and daughter-in-law suggested going. It’s a fundraising event for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital where area businesses decorate a tree and people can buy the whole thing. Some of the trees were just generic Christmas, and very pretty! But some had themes, like the Lego tree:

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The UT tree:

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The one made of cross-stitch ornaments:

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One was covered in sloths. πŸ™‚ They also had a gingerbread house contest and display and booths for kids to make wreaths, ornaments, cookies, etc.

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And a carousel!

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It was a fun time and definitely ignited my Christmas spirit! Then we went out to eat at a pizza place downtown.

3. A bit of straightening. I have a place in my closet where I leave packaging materials in case I need to return items and other things I just don’t know what to do with yet. That place needed some straightening to hide away Christmas presents. πŸ™‚ So it felt good to get that done.

4. Rediscoveries. In the course of the straightening I found a clearance purchase from a Hobby Lobby trip several weeks ago. I remember I was rethinking this – it’s big and a little too shabby. But I guess the decision is made for me since it is too late to return it now. πŸ™‚ It was marked down to $5, and I like the sentiment, a line from “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I have some things on the other side of my laundry room, but this side was almost bare. This fit right in this empty space with a needed reminder.

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5. Online ordering, both for general shopping and groceries. I’ve ordered groceries online from WalMart several times now. I have only had problems a couple of times, but they have been very quick to take care of any issues. This morning I a trying Kroger’s online ordering, and I hope that goes as well. I liked that you could apply their online coupons in the process of shopping. WalMart’s grocery pick-up is always free: Kroger’s is only free for the first three orders. I really like ordering groceries online: I hope more stores make that possible.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

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

Are my American friends still in a food coma from Thanksgiving’s feasting? Or out the door at dawn to get the best Black Friday sales? Wherever you are, I hope you have had a good week. Here are some of the best parts of mine:

1. Thanksgiving, of course. Though we’re supposed to be thankful all the time, it’s nice to have this focus and to commemorate a special period in our country’s history. And to be with family and enjoy all the special foods! πŸ™‚ I forgot to get a copy of Jason’s picture of the table spread, but I enjoyed Timothy’s Thanksgiving dish.

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2. Successful experiments. Some time back I came across an easy recipe for gluten-free crescent rolls. Somehow I have never gotten them to successful crescent roll form – the first time they tended to fold rather than roll. But we remarked at the time that they were so flaky, they might be a good pie crust. So I tried the dough as a pie crust for the apple pie this year. When I took the pie out of the oven and saw the juices were boiling under the pie crust, I was fearful. But I figured if the crust didn’t turn out well, we could just scoop out the insides like a cobbler. But it was great! I liked it much better than store-bought frozen GF pie crusts. And then, earlier Jason had mentioned wanted to try roasted sweet potatoes, so I tried that for Thanksgiving dinner. Most of our family isn’t much into sweet potatoes, but those of us who tried them liked them.

3. Movies. So many movies contain unpleasant aspects these days, it was refreshing to see a couple that were both good and clean. I watched part of “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving,” based on a Louisa May Alcott story (thanks to whoever mentioned that recently), with Jim joining me for part of it. Then we all watched “Christopher Robin” together. My kids grew up watching Winnie the Pooh, so I loved that many of the characters had similar voices as in the old videos and that songs from them were playing in the background at times. A sweet and really good movie.

4. Lunch with a friend. We had to reschedule multiple times due to one or the other of us – or both – being sick, but we finally got together last Monday and enjoyed catching up.

5. Another burlap wreath. When I got the supplies for the last one, I noticed this pretty lacy burlap ribbon. I decided I wanted to make a wreath out of it, but it was twice as expensive as the regular burlap. So I got the two spools I needed with two different 40% coupons over two different weeks. πŸ™‚ I got the bow already-made this time, which I think is a little too big. But I wanted something simple in plain white, and this fit the bill. I put it on my mother-in-law’s door.

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Since Thanksgiving was early this year, we’re going to hold off on Christmas decorating til next weekend. But we’ll likely do some online Christmas shopping over this weekend. πŸ™‚ Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

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

Halfway through November already! And Thanksgiving is next week! As the days fly by, it helps to slow down, take a moment, and recount the best parts of the week so we don’t lose them altogether.

1. Operation Christmas Child. I had heard about it for years, but this is the first time we’ve been in a church that participates in it. And thanks to Susan’s post about shopping for OCC at the Dollar Tree. We have one nearby, but somehow I just never made it in there. It really helped my OCC dollars go much farther.

2. Having the house all to myself. No offense to my family when I say that! (I love you all! β™₯) But for years, since my youngest started school, I had been used to some quiet time and solitude during the day – amidst running errands, housecleaning, etc., etc. That’s been hard to come by the last few years with my my mother-in-law here, a caregiver and hospice help in and out, my husband working from home some days, and my youngest both working from home and taking classes online at home. Not complaining about any of that. But it made quiet and solitude a little harder to come by. I had to trust that “my heavenly Father knows what things I have need of” and enjoyed pockets of quiet time here and there. So to have a whole day was a treat! My m-i-l was still here, of course, and our helper for her was here for a few hours.

3. A movie night at home. We hadn’t had a movie night all together for a long time.

4. Prompt, helpful customer service has not been the norm the last few times we’ve needed it. Maybe that’s why an excellent customer service encounter this week stood out all the more.

5. Good progress on my book project. I’ve been chipping away in bits and pieces, but it felt good to get big chunks done this week.

Have a good weekend, and a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

Friday’s Fave Five

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

I think we’re finally on the mend from whatever we’ve had lately. Hopefully. Still coughing, but without the raging sore throat, tiredness, fuzzy-brained bleah feeling, and other symptoms.

1. A gift of art. My son, Jason, made this bird picture for me. I told about how it came to be here.

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2. An unexpected gift. I had to miss our ladies’ group at church due to being sick, and my pastor’s wife dropped by afterward and left this on my porch, with a card signed by the ladies.

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3. A gift of ham. We also had to miss the church potluck Sunday, and afterward our pastor and his wife dropped off a big pan of leftover ham plus a couple of other goodies. Such a blessing, as I did not at all feel like cooking last weekend. We’ve been eating from it all week.

4. Goodies. We invited Jason and Mittu over to eat some of the ham one night, as Jason and Timothy were sick, too, so wouldn’t be harmed by exposure to us. Mittu made a gluten-free pumpkin spice cake that was really good. Often GF cakes are on the dry side, but this was really moist and tasted so good. Then, I’m not real big on Little Debbies, other than Swiss Cake Rolls, but I keep some in the house for my youngest. I bought this new one to try, and it was really good.

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I try to hold off on Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but thought I could make an exception in this case. πŸ™‚

5. A husband who patiently fixes things. I had wanted to change the inadequate lighting in the sewing/craft room and found what I thought was the perfect light fixture, with three moveable parts that could be aimed at the work desk, sewing desk, and futon. But it not only didn’t shed any more light: it left dark shadows anywhere the light wasn’t pointing. So I searched for ceiling light fixtures online and found another one I thought might do. But I didn’t realize til it got here that it was for a ceiling fan. :/ I finally asked him to just put back the old one. He found an old light fixture that he had saved from somewhere else in the house that had a place for two bulbs and suggested a brighter LED light bulb. So we’re back in business with better lighting. In all of that he didn’t once complain or scold or even sigh – at least not in my hearing. πŸ™‚ And! While putting up the last fixture he found a wire in the ceiling that had been nicked and sparked when it touched the ground wire, so we were glad he discovered that and was able to fix it. Then we had a maddening leaky kitchen faucet for a few days, and he had to order a part to fix it (after having to search and compare pictures since nothing on the faucet itself identified what brand it was), and fixed it right away once the part came in.

So, all in all, a good week. I hope yours was, too.

Friday’s Fave Five

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 seems like we’re having round two of colds. Jim is mainly over his except for a lingering cough, especially if he talks a lot. But mine is starting up in earnest with a sore throat and congestion. :-/ I am hoping and praying it doesn’t get as severe or last as long as Jim’s.

On last week’s FFF, many of you commented on my mention of live streaming a wedding. I wanted to explain that the wedding took place in a church that was set up to live stream their services, and the church just offered that technology for the wedding as well. Since the couple has friends from all over the country, it was nice for those of us who couldn’t come to be able to watch.

On to this week’s favorites:

1. Early voting. Though there is something exciting about participating in election day with the whole country, realistically, it’s nice to vote when it’s not so busy and it fits in the schedule better.

2. An impromptu get-together. Our church gets out much earlier than my son and daughter-in-law’s but they had to leave early last week. We ended up being nearby each other and stopped for lunch together.

3. An unexpected gift. While my son and his family were out shopping one day, Timothy saw a little stuffed bird. My daughter-in-law said he kept walking over to look at it. They asked him about it, and he wanted to get it for Grandma. β™₯

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4. Store apps. It’s so nice to get coupons that can be scanned from your phone rather than having to cut out and keep up with several pieces of paper.

5. Halloween is not my favorite holiday, but we have gotten into it more in recent years. Timothy dressed up like Batman, and his family went to the mall, where several stores passed out candy. It was nice for them to have a safe, free place to go. They came over afterwards to “trick or treat” at our house and showed us their pictures from the evening.

Happy Saturday!

 

Friday’s Fave Five

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

Here are some high points of the last week:

1. Healing. Thankfully we seem to be doing much better this week, though Jim still has a cough.

2. Live streaming. Jason was in a friend’s wedding out of state last weekend. I knew the groom: he has been at our home several times. But I had never met the bride. Thankfully they live-streamed the wedding, so I got to see not only the ceremony but also a glimpse of Mittu and Timothy when the camera panned the audience a few times.

3. A good trip for Jason, Mittu, and Timothy. They had safety traveling, they got to connect with a couple of old friends, Timothy handled everything really well, and they got to visit the Creation Museum!

4. Shopping is something I usually do at home online on purpose. But every now and then it’s fun to shop in town as well, especially when I find what I am looking for.

5. Fall/winter meals. I don’t use the oven a lot in the summer because the AC can’t keep up. So when the weather cools off it’s nice to get back to those oven meals plus “warm” meals like soup. We had soup a couple of times this week, a quiche, and hamburger pie. They not only make the house feel and smell cozy, but they are hearty as well.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

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

This week has gone by in a blur. Jim was out of town almost 4 full days. He usually gets up in the middle of the night to turn his mom over (to avoid bedsores since she can’t turn herself). I don’t know how he does that and still functions for work the next day – I felt like a zombie after just three nights, even with opportunities to nap in the daytime. But we all survived the week. Here are a few favorite spots:

1. My dear daughter-in-law came over one night with Jason and Timothy while Jim was gone and made nachos for all of us, then sent shepherd’s pie over another night. With having the full care of Jim’s mom, it was nice to be relieved in the area of cooking. And then they brought dinner over Thursday night as well!

2. Safety for all. Jim’s flights went well and we had no major issues while he was gone.

3. A helpful customer service representative. There was a problem on one of Jim’s flights that not only wasn’t handled, but both the flight attendant and the pilot seemed flippant about it. Jim contacted the airline after he got home. So often when you talk to a company about a problem, they just want to give you a coupon and be done with it, without really listening and addressing the problem. But the rep he talked with listened and took it seriously.

4. Gluten free blondies. Baked goods are the hardest things to make gluten-free with the right texture and taste. I tried this recipe, and they were wonderful! Some gluten free things taste ok the first day, but get worse by the day: these stayed good until they were all gone. Definitely a keeper.

5 Cooler temperatures. I’ve been saying for weeks that it doesn’t feel like fall yet – now it finally does! We have temperatures in the 60s in the daytime and 40s at night this week. I love having a space between the extremes of summer and winter.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

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

Here we are near the end of the first week of October. It’s still not looking too fallish outside. Some leaves have started changing a bit, but I am looking forward to blazing fall colors, hopefully soon. And crisp, cool fall weather! The temperatures have lowered some, but they are not in “cool” range yet.

Meanwhile, here are some favorite parts of the last week:

1. A dripping faucet fixed. The incessant dripping I heard every time I went into the bathroom was about to drive me buggy – on top of the thought of wasted water and money. My husband took care of it last Saturday – and then cleaned the tub and toilet while he was there. Nice man. β™₯

2. Sunshine. We had a lot of rainy or overcast weather for several days last week, and the sunshine this week has lifted my spirits.

3. A good visit with my daughter-in-law’s parents who were visiting for a long weekend and came over Sunday night for dinner.

4. A quick take-out lunch. I mentioned last week not cooking for three days in a row. I made up for it this week! I had some extra time in the kitchen last weekend. Picking up lunch after church from McAlister’s Deli was a big help.

5. New fall decorations. I mentioned last week that all the fall decorations were the same as the last few years. But this week I added to them. I have wanted to make a burlap wreath for years now and finally did so this week. I shared the process and the tutorials I worked from yesterday.

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Then, in looking through my autumn Pinterest board, I found a lot of free printables and printed and framed a couple. This one is from this site:

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I normally have a floral printable with a verse in that frame, so I just slipped this in on top of it. I may start rotating printables there with the season.

And this one is from this site:

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Thankfully I had an unused frame tucked in a closet. The “blessings” leaf and “Hello Fall” block are new, courtesy of a Hobby Lobby gift card. The little wooden pie cutout I have had for years and tuck it here and there. The little “Be Thankful” pumpkin was a birthday gift from a friend. The little rosy clock looks a little out of place amid the fall things, but that’s ok. Usually my decorations match it better, but we can make exceptions for fall and Christmas. πŸ™‚

All in all, a very good week. I hope yours was, too, and if not – may next week be better!