Friday’s Fave Fives

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

Though it has been a great week, at first I had trouble pinning down five specific favorites items. But that’s one thing the FFF is great for: making the time to think over the week and recount the blessings. And if some of these are “repeats,” that’s fine – it’s good to be thankful for them as often as they occur!

1. My oldest son is visiting! It’s not only good to see him and spend time with him, but we also have extra time with the whole family when he’s here.

2. Spring days. Finally in the last couple of days it has started to feel like spring. Sunshine, nice temperatures, cool breezes. I see one more night in the 30s in next week’s forecast, but hopefully spring is here to stay. We especially enjoyed hanging around in the back yard yesterday evening while Timothy played.

3. Dogwoods budding! For some reason the buds in this picture came out darker than real life, and my attempts to lighten the photo distorted it, so I left it.

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In addition, the new little tree we planted last fall, that has just looked like bare sticks for months, is sprouting some new baby leaves.

4. Lunch at my son and daughter in law’s with the family. Always fun to spend time there.

5. Plans and preparations. A certain little someone’s birthday is coming up soon! And we have a few more family activities planned while everyone is here.

Happy Friday!

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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’s nice to be in April! Although we’ve had nights down in the 30s and we had to turn the heater back on, the days have been pleasant. I love this time of year before the heat of summer sets in. Here are some of the best parts of the last week:

1. Easter. We had a nice service at church, a good meal, and an Easter egg hunt with toys in the eggs for Timothy and money for the older kids.

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And a couple of candy-filled bunnies.

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And a real one came by!

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2. New furniture. I’ve mentioned furniture shopping on a few Saturday mornings. Our sofa and loveseat were getting worn: the sofa had developed obvious and growing holes on the seat. We finally made a purchase, which was delivered Thursday!

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3. A good report at the dentist’s and getting that over with for another six months. And though going to the dentist is about my least favorite thing to do, I am glad we have good dental care in our country.

4. Great-grandma speaking. Jim’s mom has been mostly silent for I don’t know how long now – a year, maybe more. All of a sudden the last several days, she’s been saying a few words here and there. We can’t always understand her, but often she’s clear, and it’s been nice to have that form of communication again.

5. Spring closet changeover. I always love getting my spring clothes out and putting the dark, heavy winter ones away.

Bonus: Tulips! This is the first time I have ever had tulips in my yard, and I am so glad they’re coming up and thriving!

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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.

Wow, this week has just flown by! But it has been a good one! Here are some of the highlights:

1. An unexpected lasagna meal. My daughter-in-law had made a few pans of lasagna for a large family welcoming another child into their home. She ended up with one extra and asked if she could bring it over to share with us for dinner one night. Well, their company and lasagna are always treats, but that offer occurred on an especially busy day, and it was such a blessing to have the time I would have spent preparing dinner available for the other tasks I needed to get done.

2. Having new friends over for dinner. We asked the pastor of the church we have been visiting and his family over for dinner one night. We enjoyed their fellowship so much, and had an opportunity to ask some questions concerning the church. They took some time to meet and visit with Jim’s mom.

3. New gluten- and dairy-free options. When we have people over, I usually stay with meals that I have done several times over and know they work. We had a number of different dietary considerations at the above-mentioned dinner, so I ventured into some new territory, and thankfully everything turned out well. I wanted to mention them because I know some of you are gluten- and/or dairy-free or have friends or family who are, so you might like to know about these, too. I made baked chicken breasts and a salad, and for a side dish, where I would normally have a starch, instead I made Sauteed Julienned Summer Vegetables. I had gotten a Spiralizer for Christmas and used that to make zucchini and squash noodles. I had shredded carrots on hand but decided to leave them out at the last minute: I think next time I’ll add them in. (We’ve tried the spiralized zucchini noodles in place of spaghetti, and they were a little different, but ok. So far it’s hard for me to get them done enough without going too far and making them mushy, but hopefully that will improve with practice.) Then for dessert I was going to make a fruit salad, but had a thought and searched to see if someone had found a way to make gluten-free shortcakes – and they had: Easy Gluten-Free Shortcakes! Bread products are the hardest things to come out right without gluten, but I was amazed that these turned out well and were easy to do. The only thing I’d change would be to take them out of the oven maybe a minute or so earlier, but that’s probably due to my oven – I have to do that with biscuits and rolls, too. Since not everyone could eat all the fruit I wanted to serve, I decided to do “make your own shortcakes,” with four different types of fruit people could choose from or mix together. My son and daughter-in-law had told me about a dairy-free whipped topping they had discovered for a friend of theirs who is dairy-free, so we tried that as well.

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It’s in the freezer section of the grocery store, next to the other dairy toppings.

4. Playing with Timothy, my grandson. His mom had a doctor’s appointment this week, so he came to stay with me for a few hours. We had a good time. I don’t know why I am always a little afraid that he’ll miss his parents too much or get upset – he always does well. In the midst of the Little People we kept from when our kids were small, there’s one that’s a baby and a white-haired lady Timothy calls a Grandma. We had a lot of Baby and Grandma adventures – playing on the playground, fending off a marauding dinosaur, Grandma coming to the rescue in a helicopter. πŸ™‚ I was telling my son about it afterward, and he said, “Yeah, it’s fun that his play has narrative now.”

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5. Spring decorations. It’s nice to have them out.

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Bonus: This came up on my Facebook memories – so this isn’t the first spring like the one we’ve had this year, though this year seems more extreme. But it made me smile again:

INSTALLING SPRING…
β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘
33% DONE. Install delayed….please wait. Installation failed. Please try again.

I wish you a very blessed Easter weekend!

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’s been a crazy week weather-wise: warm, cold, rain, snow, and sunshine. Thankfully, though, we didn’t get anywhere near the bad weather predicted. Even though we had more wintry weather after the first day of spring, I love the fact that it’s officially spring now. Soon it will begin feeling like it! Here are some of the best parts of the last week.

1. Lunch out with the family. My son, daughter-in-law, and grandson discovered a new restaurant they liked, and my grandson in particular wanted Grandma and Granddad to experience it, too. πŸ™‚ We met there for lunch last Saturday and had a great meal and time together.

2. “Manager’s specials.” At the grocery store where I shop most often, sometimes I’ll find “Manager’s special” markdowns in the meat section. Last week I found some wonderful boneless beef ribs at a great price. I almost never make ribs at home, but I couldn’t pass up that deal! I tried this recipe, minus the cayenne pepper. I thought it could have used more of the spices and less liquid, but it was very good, especially with Sticky Fingers barbecue sauce on the side.

3. A Writer’s Survival Kit, put together by the pastor’s wife of the church we have been visiting. Such a neat and thoughtful gift!

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4. My husband’s car. He had been needing to replace his car for a while but hadn’t had a chance to do so yet. He finally got a moment to look last week, and at the first dealership everything was above the price he wanted to pay. Almost on a whim he stopped at another. He had not had a chance to research the cars of this particular company, but found one he liked that met his specifications, except that it was also too expensive. The manager “just happened by” at that moment and said they had a slightly older model of that car with very little mileage. Long story short, my husband got pretty close to the deal he wanted for a car that will meet his needs, and since he uses it for work, he receives a car allowance that will cover the payments. We’re so thankful for God’s leading and provision.

5. More light in the evenings. I don’t like the changeover to Daylight Savings Time, and in the middle of the summer it’s hard to wind down at night when it is light so late, but this time of year I feel like I am coming out of hibernation. πŸ™‚ It is nice that there is more light in the evenings now.

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.

It’s been another good but busy week. Here are some of the best parts:

1. Attending my first writer’s conference! That was the adventure I alluded to last week. It was a great experience, and I am still processing what I learned. I am sure I will be for a very long time.

2. My dear husband encouraged me to go, made it possible for me to go, took care of his mom alone while I was gone, and offered to come get me when I got sick.

3. Pi Day. March 14 is called Pi Day because 3.14 is pi. The last few years we’ve had a pie-based meal on March 14. I planned to go to the store that morning, but my other morning activities took too long. I looked at my list and decided grocery-shopping could wait til the next day. But I had forgotten I had planned to get ingredients for either Hamburger Pie or Chicken Pot Pie, so when it came time to start dinner, I realized I didn’t have what I needed. My husband suggested pizza pie – so that’s what we got! Then I looked through supplies and saw I could make 4 Layer Dessert – usually I make a half recipe in a square pan, but I put it in a pie pan this time. So we celebrated Pi Day after all!

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4. Online grocery shopping. A few stores in town allow for shopping for your groceries online, setting a time for pick-up, and then going to the store where they have it all bagged for you and put it in your car. I tried it for the first time this week – and loved it! It saved me so much time and eliminated impulse shopping.

5. Guest-posting. I had the opportunity this week to share a couple of posts at The Perennial Gen, a blog for “mid-lifers.” Yesterday I shared thoughts on Why Older Women Don’t Serve in the church, and today I suggested Ways Older Women Can Serve.

Bonus: Friends. I had let a few friends know about my trip and asked for prayer, and then texted one when I was sick in the hotel room. She prayed for me, sent encouragement, and checked on me throughout the day. Then I asked an editing question on Facebook and got some excellent advice from some who are much more proficient at grammar than I am.

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.

Whew – it’s been a busy week. And a colder one – we even had a little snow! Going from winter to spring is a back and forth business here. But spring is ever closer! Here are some highlights of the last week:

1. My husband’s birthday. We all enjoyed celebrating him on his special day.

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2. Ladies group at church. The church we’re visiting had a ladies’ gathering Saturday morning where we discussed a passage we’ve been reading together as a church and prayed together. It has been a very long time since I have been able to attend anything like that, and it was a special time.

3. Lunch at my son and daughter-in-law’s. Usually we gather at our house because of Jim’s mom’s situation and needing someone to be with her. But it worked out to go on a Saturday while her caregiver was here. It was fun!

4. Encouraging texts from friends.

5. An adventure!

Hobbit adventure

I often feel about adventures like hobbits do, but one came up this week! I’ll tell you more about it next week. πŸ™‚

 

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.

The sun is shining brightly today after several overcast, rainy days left fields looking like lakes. The beginning of March feels like spring to me, even though it won’t be “officially” until the 20th. Here are some of the best parts of the last week or so:

1. Sunday lunch with new friends. It’s been….ages since anyone has invited us to their home, so we enjoyed not only being out and having a wonderful meal, but a sweet time of fellowship.

2. A surprise visit. A friend stopped by this week just to drop off some flowers for me and my mother-in-law.

3. Puttering. I wasn’t feeling 100% Saturday and just wanted to stay home, so while my husband worked on outdoor projects, I puttered around inside and ended up with a productive but unpressured day. It’s nice to have those times when nothing is pressing and you can get to those odds and ends chores that keep getting pushed down the to-do list.

4. Sometimes it’s the little things – like finding a better way to organize a shelf.

5. FaceTime. We had not seen my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson in almost a week, and they FaceTimed last night, so we had a nice visit. πŸ™‚

HaveΒ  great weekend!

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 highlights of the last week or so:

1. Nice temperatures, mostly in the 60s, some cloudy skies but some sunshiny days, too. A great week weather-wise!

2. A church potluck. The church we have been visiting had an anniversary potluck dinner last week. I love potlucks – always good food. πŸ™‚ And a good way to get to know people.

3. Mittu’s birthday. Always nice to celebrate our daughter-in-law. πŸ™‚

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I had to smile at the party plates Timothy (3 1/2) picked out for his mommy:

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4. Shopping and lunch with my husband. We’re still looking for living room furniture, so we did that Saturday morning. I like that we can have fun no matter what we’re doing.

5. Girl Scout Cookies! It’s that time of year again!

Bonus: Getting a new high score on HQ Trivia! Maybe some day I’ll get all twelve questions.

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All in all a good week. We’ve enjoyed the Olympics, but we’re glad they’re winding down.

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.

Hello again! It’s been a while since I have gone so long without posting – but it has been a busy week! It’s also been a rainy week here but the temperatures have been nice – in the 60s and almost 70! So no snow or ice, thankfully. We even had to turn the AC on as it got up to 75 degrees F in the house. Here are some other favorite parts of the last week:

1. Yard work in short sleeves in February! I had been needing to prune my rose bushes for ages but just hadn’t been able to get to it – either there was no time or it was too cold. I don’t know if this is the right time of year to do it, but I figured it would be better now than when it started budding. Then my two big planters by the front door were still overgrown with dead stuff from last summer, so I got that cut back. It was nice to get done something I had been wanting to do for a long time, plus it was a beautiful day out and felt so good. And! I noticed some bulbs I planted last year from an arrangement someone had given to Jim’s mom were starting to come up. This was the first time I planted bulbs, so that was exciting.

2. Valentine’s Day is a favorite at our house. πŸ™‚ My husband brought me some lovely flowers, my favorite candy, and a beautiful card, and Jason and Mittu and Timothy brought some goodies. I’ll show the cards I made next week. I made our traditional “meat hearts” and cheesy potatoes and salad, peanut butter heart cookies, and heart-shaped chocolate cupcakes.

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And, for a post-Valentine’s bonus – the day after Valentine’s Day, Jim remarked that I had been in the kitchen so much that day, maybe I’d like to get something out for dinner on Thursday. Love that man! β™₯

3. Valentines from Timothy.

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4. Encouraging words from a couple of fronts. “A word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (Proverbs 15:23).

5. The Olympics. I don’t watch sports much, but there’s something about the Olympics. πŸ™‚

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.

It just hit me that Valentine’s Day is less than a week away! I better get busy! Meanwhile, here are some highlights of the last week.

1. The gym is not necessarily a favorite in itself. I don’t usually look forward to going, but I am usually glad I went. I had only been a handful of times since my ablation surgery last August, but I’ve been there more the last few weeks. I need to work up to at least three times a week.

2. Headphones. With a shift in my dear husband’s work responsibilities, he’s working from home more. His mom stays in the room that used to be his office, so he does his work at the dining table. A lot of his work is done on the phone, and since my computer desk is just a few feet from the table, I can’t help but overhear. I generally have it quiet when I am writing – not even any background music on. I found some headphones that don’t block out sound completely, but they muffle it enough that I “can hear myself think” as my mom used to say.

3. Aloe gel. I accidentally sloshed boiling hot liquid on my arm while taking something out of the microwave. I’m thankful it wasn’t any more severe than it was. I was afraid it was going to blister, but now I don’t think it will. We had some aloe gel for sunburns on hand, and that’s been helping.

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You can kind of see the streaks where the hot water ran down my arm. I ran to the sink to run cold water on it, then used an ice pack off and on, then looked online and found out that’s not what you’re supposed to do. :-/ But I do think that helped cool it down.

(Update: In just a day the redness has faded quite a bit, though the area is still sensitive to hot and cold. Yay!)

4. Cobbled together meals that turned out ok. I thought I boughtΒ  a bag of shredded cabbage, but when I went to put it in the meal I was preparing, I saw that it was shredded lettuce instead. That wouldn’t work in this meal, and I had already started some parts of it, so I tried to think of what other recipes I had that used these same main ingredients. I came up with one, and then realized I was out of one of the key ingredients it called for, honey. A quick online search told me I could substitute the Karo’s syrup I had on hand for honey and that worked great – in fact, I liked it even better.

5. A restful Sunday. For some reason, last Saturday night I had trouble getting and then staying asleep. I thought I’d be struggling through church, but only got sleepy the last little bit. We got McAllister’s Deli on the way home for lunch, and my dear husband had loaded and started the dishwasher after breakfast, and it was so nice to just eat lunch and then take a good, refreshing nap.

Bonus: The Olympics!

Happy Friday!

P.S.: I’d love for those of you who are Christian fiction fans to share your thoughts on How Christian Do You Like Your Christian Fiction?