Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend, I ...
  • attended a last-minute meeting at church; we've got some conflict that this meeting was supposed to help resolve ... unfortunately, the mission wasn't accomplished.  I get a feeling (as do others) that there's more going on in this conflict than is meeting the eye, but without any concrete "proof", it's hard to know what to think or do.  If you all wouldn't mind, could you please pray for the body and for the leadership at my church.  

  • got some more T time ... had all 4 on Saturday for a few hours while mama & daddy took another look at a house ... that they made an offer on!  Yay!  

  • came down with a head cold that kicked my heiney the first 24 hours (Saturday night through Sunday afternoon); I stayed home from church Sunday morning.

  • got some more T time ... had the 2 littles Sunday evening.

  • instead of watching the Oscars (which is not my thing), we played with T#3 and T#4, then watched the last two periods of the hockey game.

  • I woke up feeling much better this morning thankfully since I had hoped to get some sewing done today and certainly could not have had I felt like I did yesterday.  This quilt top is such slow going, and piecing quilts is my least favorite part of quilting ... so it seems like it's never going to be done.  
 Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that your Monday is a marvelous one!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday's Fave Five

Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story hosts a weekly look back at the blessings of the previous week.  I like the idea of taking the time to intentionally look back to see how I was blessed, so I'm joining in this week and hoping to be able to make it a regular feature here at Empty Nest but Full Heart.  ;-)

1.  T Time - got to spend several days in the last week with the Ts ... all 4 on Saturday, 2 littles on Sunday, and again all 4 on Wednesday.  I always love my time with the Ts, and I was afraid that going back to work part time would mean that I wouldn't be available for as much time with them.

2.  Spring-like weather - We had temperatures in the (low) 70's on Sunday and were able to open a few windows.  It's supposed to get into the mid-60's again this Sunday.  I love the warmer weather and can't wait for spring.  (We're just going to ignore the fact that we got almost an inch of snow last night!)

3.  New recipes - it's so easy for me to get into a rut of cooking the same few recipes, especially now that I'm back at work.  I am determined to mix things up and try some new recipes more often.  Hopefully we'll find a few new favorites, even if we have to encounter a "dud" or two along the way.  Last night we had beer-braised beef short ribs, a recipe I found online.  They were good (DH & I both have never had them before!), and while preparing them will take some planning (they need to cook in the crockpot for 12 hours), I will make them again.

4.  My sweet hubby - yesterday when it was time to get off work, the weather was just plain ugly ... raining hard, very windy and cold - just plain nasty.  He called me and asked if he could come up, pick me up outside my building, and drive me to the parking lot ... save me the walk out to my car.  What a sweet guy.  He's always doing sweet, thoughtful things that show his love more clearly than any words could.  I him!

5.  Trip planning - seriously, half the fun of traveling is the challenge to find a spot we want to visit, find lodging that fits into our tight budget (yay for and, planning what sites to see, what restaurants to visit, etc.  We're currently working on our upcoming trip to Florida for spring training (we leave in 3 weeks from tomorrow! yay!), and since we're going to a part of Florida that we've never been to before, we've been having a lot of fun planning this trip. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

This week, Joyce came up with some really unique questions!  I don't know how she does it!  I can't wait to see everyone else's answers ... and if you can't either, just click on the button above.

1. Did you know there is a National Day of pretty much everything in the universe? February 23 happens to be National Inconvenience Yourself Day...when was the last time you were inconvenienced?
When you get right down to it, life is full of inconveniences.  And sometimes those inconveniences turn out to be blessings in disguise.  ;-)

Am I the only one who's boggled by the notion of a day created to inconvenience yourself?   Just how do you go about inconveniencing yourself?  
2. When a room in your house needs painting who does the job?
Me.  I love DH, but he just isn't quite as meticulous (isn't that such a nice way of saying anal-retentive?) as I would like.  I admit that I'm pretty very fussy when it comes to painting, so I get the job.  I don't dislike the job either ... as I use the moving of furniture in order to paint as an opportunity to do some pretty thorough cleaning.  So when I'm done, I have freshly painted walls (mmmm, love the smell of a freshly painted room) and a thoroughly cleaned room.  Makes me happy.  

Although in this house, we have rooms with vaulted ceilings ... and it's all I can do to muster up enough courage to climb a 6-foot ladder to do the cut-in work along the ceiling.  So when we'll need to paint rooms here, I imagine we'll call in the professionals (the painter we've used/recommended is a former co-worker; while he isn't cheap, he does an excellent job).

3. Are you friends with your cousins?
I have a cousin who is the same age as me, and we were close when growing up, but when we hit high school, my cousin was one of the popular kids and I was not ... so she really didn't have much to do with me.  In fact, I don't remember her even speaking to me at all until the last day of our senior year.  And now that our high school days are behind us, we're friends again.

4. Do you use an alarm clock? If yes-is it an actual alarm, music, or something else?
Yes, I use an alarm clock when I have to be up by a certain time (church on Sunday, work, etc.).  I set it to the local Christian radio station so I wake up to music.

5. What do you put ketchup on?
Nothing really.  If we do McDonald's (or GetDonalds as T#3 says), my cheeseburger comes with ketchup and that's ok.  But anything I prepare myself, I don't use ketchup.  Of course, we have ketchup in the refrigerator because when the Ts are here, T#2, #3, & #4 like hot dogs for lunch ... and T#3 has to have ketchup with his.  (T#2 used to ask for ketchup with hers, but when I fixed hot dogs for lunch on Saturday, she asked for no ketchup.)

6. What smells make you nostalgic?
My grandma always had a bowl of lemon drop candies out at her house, so any time I smell lemon, I'm reminded of her lemon drop candies and my grandma.

7. Have you heard about the high school English teacher recently suspended as a result of some things she wrote in her personal blog? You can read the story here but in a nutshell she vented a lot of frustration onto her blog. She didn't mention individual students by name but she did make some harsh comments about kids in general and their parents.

What are your thoughts-If you're a parent is your child's teacher online and are you 'friend' or 'follower' there? If you're a teacher are you on facebook and do you accept or friend students on fb? How about their parents? If you're a student are you friends with your current or former teachers online? Do any of them have blogs you read? If you're a teacher or a parent do you ever use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations with our educational system? So much to discuss...
I've read bits and pieces about that story.  I'm not sure what to make about it.  I certainly can understand her venting, but I'm just not sure that she made the best decision to vent on a public blog.  

I know that one of the reasons why my daughter chose to homeschool was the current state of our educational system

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Many of you thought that the picture of the birthday cake on yesterday's post was the cake served at cake day yesterday.  That was just a stock image pulled from Google images.  The cakes we had yesterday were a chocolate chocolate cake, white cake with chocolate frosting, carrot cake (YUM!), and dump cake (YUM!).  Can you tell which are the ones I chose because they are my favorites?  ;-)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Miscellany

I'm feeling like I should have stayed in bed this morning!  On top of it being Monday and my having to work, it's a rainy, dreary day and I woke up with a headache (that's only gotten worse as the day has gone on).  The upside is that today was cake day at work ... one day each month, we bring in cakes to celebrate all the birthdays for that month.  My birthday is in February, so we had cake today.  And since I was the lone February birthday, I got to choose what cakes we had.  I chose a couple that I really liked and a couple that I knew would be favorites of everyone else.  They were yummy!  And I snagged a piece of each of my 2 favorites to take home.  ;-)

We had a very good weekend.  We had all 4 Ts on Saturday and the 2 littles Ts yesterday.  I can't think of a better way to spend the weekend, and it was good for my Nana's heart after having to turn down DD's request to watch them on Friday. 

On top of that, DD had good news that they are under contract on their house.  They had it on the market this past summer, but after some initial activity, there was no interest, so they took it off the market.  Friday, their realtor called and said that she had someone who was looking for a house like theirs (they're out on 2 acres in the country, so it's not your typical property).  Turns out the buyers made an offer, DD & DSIL made a counter offer which was accepted.  Once again God has reminded us that His timing is not the same as our timing!  ;-)  Now their fun begins as they try to find a house in town, in a nice neighborhood, with enough bedrooms for 6, bonus areas that can be used as a homeschooling room and play room ... in their budget.  It may not be an easy search, but we're praying that God will lead them to the perfect home ... we are confident that He'll be faithful in bringing them through this.  I'm also praying that He will give DD an extra measure of peace through this whole process; unfortunately, she takes after her mama and has a tendency to fret and worry over details.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Playing catch up

This working full time is starting to interfere with the truly important things in my life:  blogging, quilting, time with the Ts.  What was I thinking by agreeing to do this?  Ha!  Seriously, though, I'm enjoying being back at work, although it did break my heart when I had to say no to DD's offer to watch the Ts today because I'd already scheduled myself to work.  :-(

With the winter we've all had, many of us have gotten into the habit of blogging about the weather ... I'm no exception.  Thankfully, though, our weather lately has been gorgeous.  DH had a couple of windows open when I got home from work Wednesday ... and we got out for a walk with the dogs.  It was delightful.  I am so ready for spring.

And I guess it must be here ... after all, spring training has started.  Four weeks from tomorrow, we leave for our spring training trip.  But I'm not counting the days or anything.  Ha!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Once again, Joyce has come up with some thought-provoking questions ... this week's questions really made me think.  If you'd like to see how others answered this week's questions or to play long, just click on the button above.

1. Your favorite chocolate treat?
I can take or leave chocolate, but I do like Turtles.  

2. What more than anything else makes you feel loved?
It's the little things that make me feel cherished ... like DH bringing me another Diet Coke without being asked or starting dinner when I'm in the middle of working on a quilt.

3. Cherries or blueberries?
Cherries ... but only pie cherries in a pie.

4. What is the one trait you most want the leader of your country to possess?
Courage - to do the right thing, even if it's not the popular thing.  

5. Are you a saver or a spender?
If I'm going to be honest, I'm a spender.  :-(  But I've been working on changing that ... and while I'm not where I want to be yet, I'm certainly doing much better.  I used to think about changing my spending habits, but being retired with a fixed nest egg has forced me to stop thinking and start doing.

6. If you gave a party for all of your friends would they already know each other?

7. Are you interested in antiques? 
No, not really.  With 2 large dogs, a DH, and 4 grands, our furniture gets used - and used quite well.  ha!  I'd rather have furniture that I don't have to worry about someone breaking or scratching (with their Matchbox cars or Legos).  

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
After two days of the 2 littles here, the house sure is quiet.  I miss T#3 asking me to play cars with him, the sound of him revving his engine, or crying out "breakdown Chugger comin' frough-oooo" (he's still having a little trouble pronouncing "th" ... still comes out as "f").  I miss T#4's little toddler feet patting the floor as she walks down the hall and her holding her little arms out wanting to be picked up/held.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all are having a wonderful Valentine's Day, spent with the one(s) you love.  It's always a wonderful thing to stop and focus on the one(s) we love and to be intentional in expressing that love.  But the emotion celebrated on Valentines, while a wonderful blessing from God, pales in comparison to how God expressed His love to us.

I have to confess that I stole borrowed this acrostic that Auburn Chick found online (why don't you head on over there and visit her blog after you're done here?).

I'm spending my Valentine's Day watching T#3 and T#4 while their mama and daddy take T#1 and T#2 to Chicago to see Legoland (and some of the museums).  T#1 turns 9 on Wednesday and just loves his Legos.  I can't wait to see to see the picture that DD promised of his face when he walks into Legoland.  My Valentine's Day may not be very romantic, but then we've never needed a Hallmark holiday to share a little romance.  ;-)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Ramblings

  • The sun is shining today ... and it looks like Spring may be making a surprise visit next week ... temperatures in the mid 50's!  As you all may know, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE snow ... but I'm growing weary of all this COLD weather ... and am looking forward to some warmer weather.
  • I'm not scheduled to work for the next 5 days!  
  • And what wonderful 5 days they will be!  I hope to be able to get some piecing done today and tomorrow.  I'm just short of having half the blocks put together ... I've been working on this top since just after Christmas ... I know I'll get this done - eventually.  ha!
  • Sunday we'll be attending T#1's birthday party ... he turns 9 on Wednesday.  His mama and daddy are taking him (and T#2) on a surprise trip to Chicago (to visit Legoland - that boy LOVES Legos!).
  • Since mama and daddy are taking T#1 and T#2 to Chicago, that means Nana will get to have T#3 and T#4 here for a couple of days ... and those of you who are grandmas can imagine how excited I am at that prospect.  :-)
  • DH has a stress test scheduled for this morning; he's been having some chest pain that appears to have been resolved with increasing his Nexium, but his primary care doctor wants him to have a stress test to make sure that his heart isn't causing this pain (his cholesterol is high and he's got heart disease in his family).  
  • 5 weeks from tomorrow, we'll be leaving for our annual spring training trip.  We're going to be staying in southern Florida; our motel is just a short walk from the beach.  We're hoping to add in a day visiting the Florida Keys. 
Have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Valentine's Day Edition

Once again, Joyce has come up with some interesting and thought-provoking questions.  I just love reading what everyone else's answers ... and if you'd like to, too (or if you'd like to join in on the fun), just click on the button above.

1. What is more important-doing what you love or loving what you do?
I learned early on to try my best to learn to love what I do ... because then I can make sure that I'm doing what I love.  IRL, we aren't always given the opportunity to do what we love ... sometimes we have to do something else instead.  And while sometimes what we have to do is just plain impossible to learn how to love, but often enough, our outlook on what we do is within our control ... and we can learn to love it (or at least enjoy it) enough to be able to say that we're doing what we love.  

2. Do you like bleu cheese?
I'm not a huge fan of it ... but I do enjoy it if it's served in something else that "tones down" the strong flavor.  My favorite thing with bleu cheese is the bleu cheese slaw served at the Boat House on Isle of Palms (near Charleston).  Yummy!    

3. What is the most difficult emotion for you to handle?
Fear (and its cousin worry) ... if I allow myself to get caught up in it, it can be paralyzing.    

4. Fresh flowers or a box of chocolate?
Fresh flowers.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE flowers (even though, yes, they are a bit of an extravagance).  And they don't end up on my waist or hips like chocolate does.

5. What's a song you love that has the word 'love' in its title? It doesn't have to be a 'love song'.
My favorite song with the word "love" in the title is "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers.  I love the Righteous Brothers ("Unchained Melody" is my favorite song of theirs).

6. Are you the person you wanted to be when you grew up?
I'm not sure that I'm grown up yet.  ha!

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a school teacher.  It didn't take me long to realize that I didn't have enough patience to be the kind of teacher I wanted to be.  

7. Any special Valentines Day plans?
Yes indeed!!  I'll be watching the 2 littlest Ts while DD & DSIL take the 2 biggest Ts on a surprise 2-day getaway for T#1's 9th birthday.  I dare any of you all to top THAT!  ha!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I got a new cell phone last week.  I don't understand why there are so many changes in cell phones ... why all the buttons, settings, ringtones aren't the same from cell phone to cell phone.  By the time I get used to this phone, it'll be almost time to get a new phone!   

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

Another weekend has come and gone ... time flies by so quickly.  As do the week days, since it's now Tuesday and I'm just getting around to the Weekend Wrap-up.  ha!

Saturday I got some more work on T#4's big girl quilt.  I'm getting very close to having half of the blocks finished.  Here's a finished block ... the pinks in the lower right hand corner aren't quite as washed out IRL, but this does show how the browns capture your attention, and my goal was for the pinks to be the focal color:

I've learned a lesson in color selection with this quilt ... and to be honest, I'm tempted to say that the lesson I learned is to go back to selecting quilt patterns where the hue and value of the fabrics don't define the pattern like this one did.

Choosing fabrics I like in colors I like is difficult enough for me without having to worry about the hues, values, saturation, etc.  I enjoy quilting, and while I want to expand my horizons and grow in my quilting, I don't want to set myself up for disappointment and eventually reach a point where quilting is no longer enjoyable.  I admire those quilts that are literally works of art ... but I'm not creating works of art.  I want my quilts to be useful and to be a reminder at how much I love those who use my quilts. 

Ooops, I got a little sidetracked there ... back to my weekend wrap-up. 

Sunday, I did a little sewing between church in the morning and the Super Bowl/birthday party in the evening.  I'm not a football fan, but any evening spent with the people I love is an evening well spent.  ;-)

My weekend may have been a little ordinary, but it was spent doing things I love and included the people I love, so it was a great weekend in my book.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today, I'm taking the time to be intentionally thankful for:

  • Road crews - the main roads are all pretty clear, and the secondary roads are passable.

  • Sunshine - after cloudy skies for the last 3-4 days, it's nice to see some sunshine today ... and the sparkling ice is pretty
  • Changed weather forecasts - while I am disappointed that we didn't get much snow, I'm very thankful that we didn't get the 1 inch (or more) of ice that was in the forecast on Monday.  Just 30-40 miles to the east, ice wreaked quite a bit of havoc.

  • My hubby - he drove me to work this morning and dropped me off at the door so I wouldn't have to walk in from the employee parking lot (a 10+ minute walk) in the cold (it was 0 here this morning); I have Raynaud's, and no matter how warmly I dress, I feel the effects of the cold.
  • Snow days - being a part-time, temporary employee, I don't get benefits, so I don't get paid when the University closes.  Even so, there's still something liberating about getting an unexpected day off.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Storm of the Century Edition

Joyce has come up with some interesting Wednesday Hodgepodge questions that will help take our minds off this major winter storm that blanketed most of the Midwest and is no doubt now heading Joyce's way.  ;-)

1. Would you rather be seen as a person who did their duty or forged their own path?
I would rather be seen as a person who did her duty.   

2. This week's Wednesday Hodgepodge happens to fall on Groundhog's Day. In keeping with that theme, if you could have a do-over of any one day out of the last seven, which day would it be and why. If you haven't seen the movie Groundhog Day this question will make absolutely no sense but that's can answer anyway.
I'll answer it if you can remind me what I did the last 7 days.  ha!

You thought my question was going to be weather related didn't you?
That's ok, I'll insert my own weather-related thoughts in #8.  ha!

3. Hot cocoa...yay or nay on the marshmallows?
Yay.  There's something about the foaminess of marshmallows in the hot chocolate (which I'm not a huge fan of -- but I'm not a fan of hot drinks, chocolate or milk).    

4. Do you wear makeup every day? What are the top two must haves in your daily makeup routine?
Most days ... and certainly on days when I know that I may be leaving the house.  If I know that I'm going to have a lazy day here at home by myself, I might skip the make up.  My must-haves are my Clinique Redness Solutions and my Eucerin Replenishing Lotion.

5. Is it more important to you in a relationship to be loved or understood?
My first thought was is it possible to be loved without being understood?  Then I thought about DH ... how I love him but DO. NOT. understand him.  So I'd really rather be loved than understood.  

6. Parsley sage rosemary or thyme... your favorite?
Thyme.  It's very flavorful without being overpowering.  

7. What do you do when you feel angry?
 I wish I could say that I act wisely, calmly, and lovingly ... unfortunately, God's not finished teaching me some valuable lessons on how to deal with anger and situations that cause it. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.
What wacky weather we've had the last couple of days.  We had freezing rain on Monday ... with an inch (or more) of ice forecast.  I woke up Tuesday morning to find out that we were under a blizzard warning ... with no more ice accumulation but 10-20 inches of snow with blizzard-like conditions.  That that the storm has pretty much passed through this area, we've ended up with 1/4 of ice, at least 3 inches of sleet and who knows how much snow (since the winds picked up overnight, the snow has blown all over the place ... we were forecast to get 2-4 inches of snow overnight).  It seemed like every 2-3 hours over the last 2-3 days, the weathermen would come up with a new forecast -- with some pretty significant changes, not just a slightly tweaked version.  And the hype surrounding this storm?  The St. Louis stations had nonstop coverage Tuesday from 4:30AM to 3:30PM.  Seriously?  The capper was when  I heard the weatherman on the local news last night during the 6:00 news trying to cover for all the media hype and missed predictions  by saying that they were giving us the worst case scenarios so we’d be prepared and  how thankful we should be now that the worst case scenarios are not panning out (as if they knew  all along that they wouldn't).  Whatever.