Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday

While I make every effort to live with an attitude of gratitude, I still like to stop and take an opportunity to be intentionally thankful … thus Thankful Thursdays.

I’m especially thankful for:
  • public libraries … I love to read and definitely couldn’t afford to buy all the books that I’d like to read.  When I was a little girl, I thought I wanted to be a librarian … because I thought I could just sit and read books all day.  ha!
  • getting back into my normal routine … as I said a few days ago, I love to travel, but I love to come back home every bit as much as I love to go.
  • the signs of spring that are appearing everywhere (trees budding, green grass, longer days) … in spite of the wacky weather we’ve been having, I know that spring is not far away.
  • the beginning of baseball season … opening day is today.
  • Captain Hog’s BBQ this weekend.
  • the shop hop that local quilt shops are putting on this weekend and the opportunity to do some shopping with my friend.
  • Edy’s chocolate chip ice cream.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge – April Fools Edition

Once again Joyce has come up with some timely and interesting questions for this week’s Wednesday Hodgepodge.  I always look forward to Wednesday’s Hodgepodge questions, and since I missed last week, I’m really looking forward to this week!
1. April rolls in at the end of this week and in celebration of that infamous date (April 1st) answer this question-What is something foolish you've done?
I’m not much of a fool player for April Fools Day, mostly because I can’t keep a straight face in order to pull off the prank.
2. With April comes Easter and that classic edible treat known as tell me...what's your favorite way to fix/eat chicken? That wasn't what you were expecting, was it? I 'fooled' you. teehee.
I love Ina Garten’s Chicken Picata … it’s DH’s favorite way for me to fix chicken.  I think I’m going to have to set out some chicken to thaw so I can fix this tomorrow night!

3. What's the best museum you've ever visited? Or your favorite? Or the one you'd most like to visit?
Probably my most favorite is the Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.
4. You know what they say about April showers...what's your preference-a shower or a bath?
Definitely a shower.  The master bath in our house has only a shower, but that is definitely NOT a drawback for us.  If I need/want to take a bath, I can always use the tub in the guest bathroom.
5. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"...fact or fiction? Why?
Fact.  When we’re apart/away from someone/something we love, we tend to focus with longing on the wonderful memories that often are forgotten when together, facing the reality of everyday life.
6. What's your favorite product made/grown in your home state/province?
My favorite product from Illinois is corn … I do love me some homegrown corn on the cob in the summer!

7. What is going on in the world today that affects you the most?
What affects me most, I suppose, is the rising cost of gasoline.  Being retired and on a very fixed income, these dramatic cost increases have to come at the expense of something else in the budget. 
But what moves me the most is the continuing story from Japan.  
8. Insert your own random thought here.
It’s snowing again today … SNOWING!!!! Ugh!  Ok, to be honest, it’s great big flakes falling, covering all the trees, bushes, etc. … it’s actually very pretty.  And it’s above freezing so I’m sure it won’t be hanging around too long.  But still … winter, you’ve outworn your welcome!  We want spring!   

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We interrupt this blog

for the following rant:
Am I the only one left wondering when bloggers I’m following stop blogging without warning?  Today, I went to a blog I’ve been following for several months, and it doesn’t even exist any more! 

Am I the only one who’s still asleep when the alarm clock goes off … but awake at that time on the days when I don’t have to set the alarm? 

And along that same vein, am I the only one who has the motivation to tackle a major project (such as spring housecleaning) ONLY when I’ve already got a day filled with other obligations? 

Now, back to our regular programming.

It’s been a busy day here … had the 3 youngest Ts this morning and took my dad to an appointment to follow up on his cataract surgery last week.  DH & I are planning a nice, quiet evening together since today is the last day of my “vacation” … it’s back to work tomorrow. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Morning Miscellaneousness

It’s going to be a busy day today, thanks in part to our Lab.  She’s getting old, and this morning age-related incontinence met up with medicine-related incontinence, so I’ll be cleaning the carpet in the great room this morning.  It is all the more frustrating because we just had the carpets cleaned last fall.  But when we have little Ts here playing on the carpets, I want to make sure that they’re good and clean (and smelling fresh, too).  <sigh>  That dog … I love her, but she’s been a handful since day one.

And I may have an evening with the Ts.  DD & DSIL are trying to find some time to get away for a date night … and with all that’s going on in their lives right now, a Monday night might have to do.  It works for me!  Ha!

The snow from yesterday has all melted.  Our grass greened up while we were gone, and my flowering pear has just started to bloom (I was worried that I might miss it).  Our flowering cherry looks like it has buds, and I can see that yes, a few of the lower branches have in fact died (they lost all their leaves late last summer and appeared to have died, but I wanted to wait to confirm that before pruning).  I see some of my hostas have popped up, and it appears that my lilac is showing signs of life.  I’m not sure about the dogwood we planted last fall … right outside my kitchen window (can’t wait to look out that window and see it in full bloom).  I would love to take a “walkabout”, checking out my plants, but it’s just been too cold for me to spend any more time outside than I have to.  Hopefully it’ll warm up later this week; in the meantime, we have more snow in the forecast for tomorrow.  In spite of what my plants are showing, spring just isn’t quite here yet. 

I downloaded Windows Live Writer this morning, and I’ve figured out how to post using it, but so far, I’m not really seeing much advantage over using blogger.  I’m sure that’s because I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the benefits to WLW.  I have a few questions and would no doubt have many more if I knew enough to ask them.  Ha!  If anyone has any pointers to share, I’m definitely open to learning more.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

No, no, no!

This is NOT the white stuff I requested:
THIS is the white stuff I requested:

The first is a picture of what greeted us when we returned from our trip to Florida this afternoon (and it's been snowing all afternoon/evening, so there's even more snow out there now!).  The second is a picture of the beach we left behind as we headed out from the Florida Keys yesterday.  I am not amused by this cold and snow (I love, love, love snow ... in November, December, January and February ... NOT in March!); how I wish I were still there, in my short-sleeved shirts, shorts and flip flops ... and yet I'm so glad to be back home.  I love to travel, but I love returning home every bit as much.  And I missed DD and the Ts.  It's good to be back home.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fabulous Friday

It IS a fabulous Friday!  Even though the sun is not shining, rain is in the forecast, and the temperatures are 20 cooler today than yesterday, it's a fabulous Friday!

I'm off work and took advantage of the break to do some thorough housecleaning. 
  • Furniture has been dusted
  • Carpets have been vacuumed
  • Hardwoods have been cleaned (may I put in a plug for the Rubbermaid Reveal? I used to use the Swiffer wet jet to clean the floors without the streaks left by my sponge mop, but I got tired of paying the price for their pads and cleaning solution and bought a Rubbermaid Reveal ... it works every bit as well as the Swiffer wet jet as far as getting the floors clean without streaks, but it has a rewashable pad and you can use your own cleaning products)

  • Oven has been cleaned (it was way overdue, I'm sorry to report ... I still need to clean the racks, but they'll wait for another day)
  • Laundry has been done (as soon as I'm done here, I'll fold it and put it away)
  • Refrigerator has been cleaned out (please tell me that I'm not the only one who finds old leftovers shoved way to the back or renegade veggies gone bad underneath the bag of spinach in the veggie drawer!)
As a reward for my hard work this morning, I'm going to go soak in the tub and get ready for the 31 party with DD this evening (if you're not familiar with 31 bags/purses, click on the link).

Have a blessed weekend! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Once again, it's my opportunity to take some time to be intentionally thankful.

I'm thankful for:
  • having the same church home as DD & her family ... it's so awesome to worship together ... and an added bonus is getting to help care for some of the Ts when I have nursery duty ;-)
  • spring-like weather ... it was in the mid 60s yesterday and will hit the 70s today ... even though I'm at work, it's still wonderful to walk out from work to warmer weather!
  • the opportunity to share my blessings with others ... my latest opportunity was to share some extra quilting supplies with a co-worker who's taking a quilting class
  • my iPod ... the computer I use at work doesn't have working sound, so I bring my iPod to work and listen to praise & worship music while entering vouchers
  • a day off tomorrow ... it will be nice to turn off the alarm clock, and even though I'll have a busy day tomorrow, I'm going to have a fantastic end to my day by going to a 31 party with DD

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - St. Patrick's Day edition

Joyce has come up with some more interesting questions for our Wednesday Hodgepodge.  I don't know how she does it ... but I'm glad she does!  If you'd like to join in the fun, just click the link above.  

1. What would you do if you found a pot of gold? Let's pretend this pot of gold is worth exactly $1500 (which would actually be more like a cup of gold at current values). Anyway, let's also pretend you have to spend it as opposed to making a donation someplace. Now tell me what you would do with that cup pot of gold?
$1,500 isn't enough for me to redo my kitchen, so I'd probably use it to spend two or three weeks on Hilton Head.  

2. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way, shape, or form?
Not usually.  But now that I'm back to work, I will.  The office I work in will use just about anything as an excuse to have a snack day.  

3. Have you been bitten by the Spring Cleaning bug? What spring cleaning job most needs doing at your house? What spring cleaning job are you most dreading? 
A little?  I tried to convince myself that since we've only been in this house a little over 2 years, there's really nothing that needs a Spring Cleaning.  It may not need a thorough, deep cleaning, but it certainly needs more than a standard weekly cleaning.  I need to clean the windows, baseboards, trim, doors and blinds.  Of all those tasks, I hate cleaning the blinds most of all ... no matter how I try to do it, I just don't seem to be able to get them as clean as I like them (maybe it's because I don't have a device like in the picture?)

4. lime-shamrock-sage-forest...your favorite shade of green?

5. Thomas Jefferson once said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." you believe in luck or do you believe we make our own luck?  
I believe what some call good luck is a blessing from God, and I believe that we can avoid what some call bad luck by planning, preparing, and hard work. 

6. Monday (3/14) was Pi Day. Get it? Pi =3.14. Those math types are so clever aren't they? Since I'm not one of them tell me what's your favorite piE (the edible kind). 
I love pie.  I'd rather have pie than just about any dessert (not that I'm opposed to cookies or cakes ... I just prefer pie).  And I like just about all kinds of pies.  I guess my favorite would be an apple crumb pie.

7. That same date (3/14) happens to be the birthdate of the late physicist Albert Einstein. I bet he knew the value of Pi. So...what do you think is more important and or valuable in life... intelligence or common sense?
Can I choose a combination of both?  ;-)  I would think that it would be easier (and safer?) to have more common sense ... but to have all of one and none of the other would be a sure recipe for disaster.  

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
My heart continues to break for the people of Japan.  I can't even bear to watch the news any more ... it's just too heartbreaking.  I know that there are many reputable organizations that are raising funds for relief efforts ... I'd like to encourage you all to prayerfully consider joining in providing support for these relief efforts.  Even a small amount, when added together, can make a difference.  And of course, please continue to pray for Japan.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Catching up

As much as I enjoy more daylight hours in the evening, this time change is really kicking my behind.  Or maybe it’s the fact that for the last week or so, it’s been taking me a good 2-3 hours before I can *finally* fall asleep.  As a result, I was running on fumes yesterday when I unexpectedly had the Ts over for the day.  Their mama has THE WORST sinus infection ever, so I got a call late Sunday asking if I could watch them yesterday so mama could get some rest.  The day went well in spite of the fact that none of us had nearly enough sleep the night before (Nana didn’t fall asleep until after 1:30 and the Ts got up at least an hour earlier than normal).  And now I’m back to work today to rest up from my busy day yesterday.  Ha!

The surprise snow we got yesterday is pretty much all gone.  I’m not sure how much we got since it was frequently mixed with rain … and the ground was warm enough that much of it melted on contact.  It looked like we had maybe a half inch accumulation by the time it stopped.  I’m so ready for winter to be done!  

Hope you all are having a terrific Tuesday – and spring-like weather!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I heart Saturdays

Even retired, I love, love, love Saturdays ... and of course, now that I'm back to work part time, I love Saturdays even more!  And I'm really loving this Saturday!

I woke up to sunny skies and am looking forward to the warmer temperatures in the forecast for this afternoon. 

DH is at the monthly men's prayer breakfast at church, so I've got a few hours all to myself.  I'm definitely looking forward to his return, but it's always kind of nice to have a little bit of time where I have the house to myself ... not that I do anything different than what I'd do with him home.  I don't seem to be able to describe the feeling ... I hope you all can understand?

I'm getting a lazy start to the day ... and when I finish this post, I'll go get started on my day.  I've got a lot that I need/want to do:

*laundry ... there are just the two of us, and didn't I just get the laundry caught up a few days ago?  Where did all this laundry come from?  And that's not counting any clothes that I may need to wash to get ready for our trip (all our summer clothes have been tucked in the back of the closet since last summer ... the temperatures are in the upper 70's/lower 80's in Deerfield Beach, so we'll be packing the shorts, capris, sleeveless tops, etc.)

*housecleaning ... in addition to slacking on the housecleaning now that I'm working, I usually end up working on T#4's big girl quilt if I've got a day off where I don't have to do anything/be anywhere.  Piecing is my least favorite part of quilting, and this one seems to be going especially slowly so I am bound and determined to get this pieced together so I can start quilting ... since I hand quilt, that will take a nice chunk of time to get done ... and I'd like to have this to her before she goes off to college - ha!

*working on T#4's big girl quilt ... see above

*getting outside to enjoy this weather ... it's supposed to get up to 60 (or more, because our outdoor thermometer is reading 56 already!).  It's too early to do anything out in the yard, but I could just sit out on the deck and enjoy the lovely weather! 

Friday, March 11, 2011


Daylight savings time starts this weekend.  

I love daylight savings time!  Even retired, I love having more daylight hours later in the day.  During the hottest part of the summer, things cool off enough in the evenings that I enjoy getting outside after dinner.  Thinking about that reminds me when I was watching the Ts, and T#3 insisted that it couldn't have been bedtime because it wasn't (completely) dark yet when it was time for him to go to bed.  Which reminds me of his boo boo Wednesday night.  We were at church, and they have a motorized helicopter that he just loves to play with.  It's kept in a room off the main activity center, where we were, so I sent him off to get it.  One of my friends brought him to me, explaining that he'd had an accident with the helicopter and cut the inside of his lip (it was a minor cut).  He told me that he broke his lip.  ;-)  He is such a hoot ... I just can't get enough of him.  It doesn't hurt that he's still at the age where he just gets ecstatic when he sees me, still lets me hold his hand when we walk somewhere, is still free with his kisses and hugs.  That does this Nana's heart good.  

We woke up to a heavy frost this morning, but the sun is burning off much of it.  It's supposed to get near 60 today.  We're starting to get some warm weather every once in a while ... but as is typical in the spring here in the Midwest, that usually means major storms (including tornadoes) will follow.

Speaking of weather, I was saddened to read the reports of the earthquake in Japan.  A good friend has family in Japan, so we're praying that they are ok.  My sister is in Sydney (on business) and will be flying to Singapore later today; those areas are all under tsunami warnings, so we're praying that she will be safe.  And of course we're praying for all those who we don't know who have been or will be effected by this earthquake and resulting tsunami.  

This afternoon, I'll head to DD's to watch the Ts this afternoon.  She's heading to the Hearts at Home conference with a friend, and I'll be watching the Ts until Daddy gets home from work.  Today has all the earmarks of a wonderful day ... time to spend sewing, warmer weather, time with the Ts, and some quiet time with DH to wrap up the day.  I'm not sure what to segue this to other than I hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Lenten edition

Once again, Joyce has come up with some interesting questions ... and I can't wait to see what everyone else's answers are.  If you'd like to join us, click on the button above.

1. The season of Lent begins on March 9th this you participate and if so, in what way?
I've never attended a church that has observed Lent, so I've never participated.  

2. Traditionally pancakes are eaten on the day known as Shrove Tuesday which is the last day before Lent (March 8th this year). So....butter and syrup? Blueberry? Chocolate chip? ewww, no thanks!! What's your pleasure when it comes to eating pancakes?
Butter and syrup.  I do like blueberry pancakes, but only if the blueberries are in the pancake batter, not served on top of the cooked pancake.  I will say that I prefer waffles over pancakes.

3. Spring is coming. (It is coming, right?) What's your favorite springtime flower and do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Two questions I know, but they're lightweights.
I like tulips ... because they are sure signs that spring is here.  I have a lot of spring-blooming plants in my landscaping ... azaleas, dogwood tree, flowering pear tree, flowering cherry tree, lilac, and a couple of bushes that were here when we moved in.  This fall I'm definitely planting some bulbs for flowers next spring! 

I'm not certain whether I suffer from seasonal allergies.  I never used to, but the last 2-3 falls, I've had sneezing/congestion with no other symptoms.  I wonder if I'm developing a seasonal allergy.  Ah, gotta love this getting older business.  :-(   

4. "Our opinion of people depends less upon what we see in them than upon what they make us see in ourselves." Author unknown. Agree or Disagree? Why?
Yes.  :-)  Seriously, I suspect that initially, we base our opinion of others on what we see in them.  But as time goes by and our relationship grows, we find that our opinion of them is based on what we see in them and on what they make us see in ourselves (both good and bad).

5. Since it's "March" and also the season of Mardi Gras....have you ever been in a parade? What's the best parade you've seen?
I walked in a Halloween parade one year.  The town we used to live in had parades for almost any and every reason, and one of the annual parades was a Halloween parade.  Our church had a float, and I walked alongside it, tossing candy to the kids in the crowd.

I've not seen many parades, but the "best" I've seen would have to be the evening parade at Disney World when we were there with DD & her family almost 3 years ago.  I'm not a big parade person, but seeing it through the littles' eyes made it awfully special. 

6. You would jump up and down and shout for joy right now if someone told you___________?
that DD & her family were going to join us on our trip to Florida (Disney World and the beach).  I'm working on getting them to go with us next year. 

7. How clean is your car on the outside? Inside? Is there junk in your trunk?
My car is fairly clean on the outside (because I ran it through the car wash about a week ago).  I'm sure that it's not quite as neat on the inside; the Ts had dinner in my van on the way to youth groups a couple of weeks ago, so I'm sure that there are some crumbs and empty juice packs scattered amongst the books and toys in the back seats (a small price to pay for time with the Ts, I'd say).  The trunk area of my mini van is empty.  

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I am so ready for spring.  I'm tired of the cold wet weather that has replaced the cold snowy weather ... I'm ready for warm sunny weather, for walks through the neighborhood, for dinner cooked on the grill and served on the deck, for windows open, for short-sleeved shirts ... I'm ready for spring.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend I...
  • got out and actually worked in the yard ... I love working in the yard, especially after a long winter where I've been stuck inside.  It was windy but warm on Friday, so I took advantage of the break in the weather and cleaned up last year's growth on my hostas and daylilies and trimmed back my knockout roses.  I am still trying to determine if my butterfly bush needs any springtime attention, and I suspect I have 3 azaleas that will need to be replaced (they looked dead by Labor Day).  It also appears that the rabbits must have decided to snack on my variegated weigela.  So it looks like I've got some more work to be done in the yard ... yay!
  • spent most all of the day Saturday in the sewing room ... it had been a while since I'd been able to carve out a nice big chunk of time spent sewing, so it felt good to be able to get to work on T#4's big girl quilt

  • after church on Sunday, I got caught up on laundry and had a nice quiet evening with DH

It doesn't sound like an exciting weekend, does it?  My needs are simple, and it was a good weekend.

Today will be a busy day.  My dad has an appointment with his eye specialist whose office is just down the road from our house.  After the appointment, I'll drive him back home (I suspect that the doctor will dilate his eyes again) where we'll have a nice visit.  He's got a new freezer on order; we're hoping it will be delivered today so we can help him get the old one out and the new one in.  I'll wrap the day up by watching the hockey game tonight.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Marching into March Edition

Once again, Joyce has come up with quite a diverse collection of questions.  Seriously, I don't know how she does it ... but I'm thankful that she does.  This is so much fun ... why don't you join in?  If you want to see everyone else's answers, just click on the link above.

1. March 2nd is Dr. Seuss's birthday so I'm you like green eggs and ham? Okay-how about this do you like your eggs? Or don't you?
 I like my eggs over easy or poached soft.  I want the white done but the yolk  done but not solid.  I'll eat scrambled eggs, too, but they're not my first choice.
2. Is March coming in like a lion or something less ferocious where you live?
 Wow ... it's March already!  Something less ferocious.  I wouldn't say that March is coming in like a lamb, but it's certainly not coming in like a lion.  It was sunny and in the mid 50's today ... which is normal for early March.  

3. Do you work better or worse under pressure?
Worse, especially as I've gotten older.  If I'm under too much pressure, I get frazzled.  I need to be able to think and to focus ... and I find I can't do either when I'm under pressure.    

4. March Madness-are you a fan? It's college basketball in case you're wondering. And if you're outside the USA tell us-is there any sort of 'madness' taking place during March in your part of the world?
A bit of a fan, but not as much of a fan as I used to be.  I know I'm showing my age, but I prefer basketball when it was played the way it is supposed to be played.  I'm not a fan of the running with the ball down the court (whatever happened to dribbling?) and going for the dramatic dunks shots.  What they play now isn't basketball.   
5. Under what circumstances do you do your best thinking?
Must be when I go to bed at night because that's when my mind seems to go about a hundred miles an hour!  :-o

6. What item of clothing from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Jeans.  I wear them at home, I wear them to work, I wear them to church ... and in the summer, I'll wear my jeans shorts.  ha!  (Do you know how hard it is to find a blog-friendly picture of jeans on the internet?)
7. Do you use sarcasm?
I try not to as much as possible.  I've been on the receiving end of hurtful comments disguised as sarcasm.  And it's not the kind of speech/behavior that I want the Ts to pick up when they're at Nana's.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Spring must really be on its way.  I noticed what looked like buds on our flowering pear in the front yard this afternoon ... I ran out to check, and sure enough ... they're buds!
It may be another few weeks before Spring is officially here, but these buds give me hope that Spring is on its way.