Friday, November 30, 2012

Fragments on a Friday Night


Mommy's Idea


Better late than never, right? 


It was another busy day here at Chez Nana … the Ts were here.  We stopped at the grocery store for the Ts picked out donuts for breakfast.  After breakfast, there was a little crankiness (5 y.o. T#3 is the epitome of a pesky little brother, and 8 y.o. T#2 lets him get under her skin).  After a brief time out for those two, things settled down and the rest of the day went well.  We had lunch at McDonalds, made a visit to the library, and wrapped up our time together at the YMCA (or YMC-Hay as T#4 calls it) for swim practice. 


It’ll be another busy day tomorrow as I’ll be picking the Ts up at 7:30 to get them to swim practice at 8:00.  If it’s warm enough, maybe we’ll stop at a park for some play time outside on our way back to Nana’s house.



It’s hard to believe that it’s the last day of November … and that it’s supposed to get into the upper 60’s on the first day of December.  It’s just not right to have such warm weather in December.  At least not here in Illinois. 



I’ve tweaked a muscle in my back – about the middle of the back over on my right-hand side.  Not enough to keep me from doing what needs to be done, but enough to be a pain (literally and figuratively).  I’m not sure what I did … I don’t remember doing anything that should have made that muscle angry … hoping it eases up soon.



Today I’m thankful for:

  • Duplos – even the big kids love building with them


  • Ibuprofen – hopefully a dose at bedtime will help me get to sleep more quickly than I did last night – that achy muscle was just enough to keep me tossing and turning for a couple of hours after I went to bed last night


  • New neighbors – the new house behind us closed this afternoon


  • Pizza from the new pizza place down the road – quick and easy dinner this evening

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday


Can you believe that today is the last Thursday of November?  And what’s even more unbelievable is that after today, there are only 4 – yes, count ‘em 4 – more Thursdays in 2012!  Disappointed smile


I don’t know about you, but there’s going to be a whole lot going on between now and that last Thursday of 2012.  This time of year is always a busy one … but it’s filled with all kinds of good busy-ness.  Let’s not get so busy, however, that we lose sight of why we celebrate this Season.


We had a lazy day here at Chez Nana yesterday … even so, it was almost 3:30 by the time I sat down to quilt.  I had a lot of little things to do around the house … I was sure that it would only take me 3-4 hours to get to them all … but as is often the case, one thing led to another … and I didn’t get everything done that I had intended to.  At 3:30 I called it “quits” and sat down with my needle and thread and quilted a few more blocks of my I Spy quilt.  After dinner, we put Casablanca in the DVD player and had a nice quiet evening together. 


Speaking of my I Spy quilt, I still need to quilt about 5 blocks of the 99 blocks – and the surrounding sashing.  Then it will be time to quilt the borders.  I haven’t decided how I intend to quilt the borders.  This is a quilt for my grands, one I hope that they use … and since I want the fabrics to be the “stars” (it is an I Spy quilt, after all), I don’t think it needs any fancy quilting.


The next several days look to be busy ones.  Today we visited my dad.  He lives about 45 minutes from us, so we spent most of the day with him.  We had a nice lunch, played some Rook (I won 2 of the 3 games we played), and planned our route south … at the end of December, we’ll drive my dad down to the Alabama Gulf coast where he’ll spend a couple of months.  Tomorrow and Saturday will include more T-time!  I can’t wait!  Red heart



Today I’m thankful for:

  • Time with my Ts – it’s exhausting, that’s true but I Red heart it and wouldn’t trade it for anything!


  • That my dad is still able to live independently – he’s 89, and while his health isn’t what it used to be, he’s still living in his own home!


  • Getting home from our visit to my dad before dark – I just don’t like being out on the highway after dark … I guess it’s official:  I’m old!!


  • Being able to share some of our older coats and jackets – there are 600 people in the Head Start program of a nearby city who have only hoodies to keep them warm this winter


  • A nice quiet evening to spend with my hubby – maybe another movie night? 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Joyce reminded us that there are just 4 Hodgepodges left before Christmas … somehow I thought that with Thanksgiving coming so early this year, we’d have a longer stretch of time before Christmas.  Obviously not!  But it’s ok … I’ve got almost all my gifts ordered … just need to get something for my youngest sister and for DD.  

1.  With that being said I think I need to dive right in to some Christmas related questions, don't you? Which do you prefer-pretty gift wrap with a bow or a pretty gift bag with/without a bow?  What percentage of your holiday gifts are currently (as in right this very minute) wrapped in some form or fashion?
Under the tree, a pretty box with gift wrap and a bow just looks so pretty, so Christmas-y.  But truth be told, I’m not too particular about how my my gifts are packaged.  Winking smile 

And none of the gifts that I’m giving are wrapped … only 1 gift is actually in my possession, and it’s still sitting unopened in the original shipping packaging. 

2.  What is one item on your Christmas list this year?
Honestly, I don’t have a Christmas list this year.  I have everything I need and so much more.  I’ve asked DD and DH to use the money that they’d spend on a gift to help someone who is in need. 

3.  What makes a home?
Love makes a house a home.  However, our house isn’t our home without our stuff … not the furniture, but the keepsakes and mementos that we’ve accumulated over the years, items that are reflections of who we are … the sea shells we’ve collected on our trips to the beach, the counted cross stitch pieces I’ve framed, the night light that my grandma handed down to my mom who handed it down to me, etc.  Those things help transform our house into our home. 

4.  Motown founder Berry Gordy celebrates his birthday on Hodgepodge Day-November 28th. Are you a fan of the Motown sound?  If so, who's your favorite Motown artist and/or song? Here's a list in case you're stuck.
Oh, how I love me some Motown.  In high school, my sister loved the Beatles … I loved Motown.  If I had to choose, I think I’d choose the Four Tops as my favorite artist/group, although I’d have to list the Temptations as an incredibly close second.  To me, the song My Girl by the Temptations just epitomizes the whole concept of the Motown Sound.  The choreography, the lyrics, the rhythm ... classic.

5.  Red or green-which one is more prevalent in your closet?
Red.  I have to admit that I like red better to begin with, but the fact that my favorite baseball team is the Cardinals guarantees that there will always be several red items in my closet.  Winking smile

6.  True or false-bacon makes it better? If you answered true, what's your favorite dish made with bacon?
I don’t eat a lot of bacon, but there are a lot of things that can be perked up or improved by the addition of bits of bacon – green beans, baked beans, tortellini salad, broccoli salad, tossed salad, breakfast casserole, roasted veggies.  Now I’m hungry for some bacon! 

7.  Share a favorite holiday memory.
When I was growing up, we always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve.  I remember that after we were done cleaning up after dinner, my dad would take us downstairs to play in the basement.  After a time, we’d hear sleigh bells … which of course meant that Santa was here!  And a little later, my mom would run downstairs to tell us that Santa had come.  Looking back  now, it should have been obvious … if Santa wouldn’t come until we were downstairs (out of sight), why did he always come when my mom was still upstairs?  I don’t remember asking why.  Maybe I did and just don’t remember.  Maybe I was na├»ve.  Or maybe I just wanted to believe.  Winking smile

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday night the Ts came over for a sleepover at Nana’s … mama was working the Scholastic Book Fair bright and early Tuesday morning – for free books!  We met DSIL at the pediatrician’s office (re-check on T#1’s mono and OV for T#2 whose rash has spread from her chest to much of her torso).  After we had lunch, we drove up to the Book Fair where we had a brief visit with mama and picked out some books … a few for them to add to their library at home and a few to add to the library at Nana’s.  Needless to say, it was another exhausting day ... but one that made my heart just so full.  I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

There’s nothing on today’s schedule, which means a lazy day here at Chez Nana.  That doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty that needs to be done here around the house, but it does mean that we can take our time, get to them whenever we’re ready … and that there’s also time to perhaps get in some work on my quilt and to watch last night’s NCIS. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Ok, we don’t have snow (or any other precipitation) in our forecast, but it’s a gray day here … the kind of day where it looks like it could snow any minute.  And I, for one, would LOVE some snow today … it would really set the mood for Christmas!

I was feeling a little puny last night – ‘round about 7:00 or so.  I thought sure I was coming down with something, but I’m feeling better this morning.  Maybe not quite 100% but close enough.  Winking smile 

I have a hair cut appointment this morning, but my hair seems to be growing more slowly than normal lately … I had to reschedule my September appointment because my hair just hadn’t grown out enough to warrant a cut, and I made this appointment for 6 weeks instead of the usual 5.  Am I going to have to make my appointments 7 weeks apart?  You know, as soon as I do, my hair will start growing like crazy, and I’ll desperately need a cut long before the 7 weeks are up!  ha!  I’ll call my stylist and reschedule for next week.  Thankfully she’s really good about that … in fact, she’s the one who suggested I reschedule back in September … I went in anyway, thinking she could go ahead and do just a light trim, and she suggested we just wait another week or two. 

With a rescheduled hair cut, that means there’s nothing on the schedule until small group this evening.  Right now, I’m feeling lazy … it would be a good day to just stay home in our jammies.  But I know that when the day is done, we’ll be glad we went to small group. 

No lazy PJ day tomorrow either … DD is working the Scholastic Book Fair tomorrow, so I’ll have the Ts.  Red heart

Nothing I wanted to order for Christmas is part of anyone’s Cyber Monday sales, but I went ahead and did most of my Christmas shopping this morning.  Got the Ts’ gifts ordered as well as a gift for my great nephew.  Now I just have to get gifts for DD and DSIL … and maybe DH (we have chosen not to give each other anything … our home improvements this summer will be our gifts to each other Winking smile … but I really want something under the tree for him to open on Christmas Day Red heart).

Today I’m thankful for:
  • A stylist who doesn’t take advantage of me … she is honest and will offer to reschedule when my hair really doesn’t need a cut

  • Online shopping … no crowds, no getting cold getting in and out of the stores, no searching for a parking spot

  • A lazy morning/afternoon

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday afternoon gratitudes

Ahh, it felt so good to have needle in hand yesterday.  I quilted while DH and I watched Jezebel on Turner Classic Movies (just love those old B&Ws from the 30s and 40s – especially the ones starring Bette Davis or Humphrey Bogart, my mom’s favorite actress/actor) … it was a perfect evening to a productive day. 

It looks to be another quiet day today here at Chez Nana.  I just finished my weekly “conference call” with my dad and my sisters.  Now that it’s out of the way, there’s nothing much on my agenda.  I think I see some time with needle and thread in my future.  Winking smile

A couple of years ago, I started a new tradition now that I’ve discovered Etsy … personalized Christmas ornaments.  Like I said yesterday, Christmas has really snuck up on me this year, so I had to scramble to find this year’s personalized ornament (2012 for the year and 6 stockings, not 5).  I used to buy individual ornaments for everyone, but it’s getting harder and harder to find character ornaments (not to mention fairly pricey). 

Today I’m thankful for:
  • Sunshine

  • Turner Classic Movies – and those old B&W classics

  • My sweet DH who has offered to cook our meal out on the grill this evening

  • Online shopping – I’ve got my list put together for the Ts' Christmas gifts and will place our order for replacement checks online, too

  • The sermon series that just ended – good to hear affirming messages taken straight from the Word

  • The in-door ice dispenser in our refrigerator – I LOVE my iced tea really cold, so I use a lot of ice … nice to be able to just stick the cup up to the dispenser and get more ice

  • Heated seats – took the chill off on the ride to church this morning

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Festive Saturday


It’s amazing how much good a full night’s sleep can do.  Obviously I was more exhausted than I thought last night … I was still feeling a little sluggish yet this morning, but I managed to find enough energy and stamina to complete our Christmas decorating.  I got a little bit of a jump start yesterday … but only a little.  Now we’ve got the nativity set, the Christmas village and the tree up.  And not a moment too soon because I don’t think I’ve got an ounce of energy left. Winking smile 


The good news is that there is nothing else that I need to do today … so my plan is to spend the afternoon quilting.  I haven’t picked up needle and thread since Tuesday … it feels like it’s been a lot longer than that!  Winking smile    I’ll get to enjoy looking at the tree while quilting … I think I’ll tune into Pandora to listen to some Christmas music too. 


I know I’ve said it before, but this year is really flying by.  It feels like it ought to be, at the latest, Labor Day … yet here we are with Halloween and Thanksgiving under our belts, in the Christmas season.  Slow down!! 



Today I’m thankful for:

  • The scent of a real Christmas tree


  • The twinkle of lights on the Christmas tree


  • Christmas music playing in the background


  • The reason we celebrate – Jesus


Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Fragments - Post Thanksgiving Day Style

Mommy's Idea

I'm a little late linking up with the Friday Fragments today ... but it's still Friday, so these fragments qualify as Friday Fragments!  ;-)

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at DD's.  Our experience with roasting the turkey in an electric roaster pan went better than I thought it would.  It didn't take as long to cook in the roaster, so "Tom" had to sit in the roaster to keep warm while we finished up all the sides ... which meant that our white meat was a little drier than we'd like.  The skin didn't brown up quite as much as it does in an oven.  Of course, it might have been a result of DD adding a can of broth to the pan so there'd be plenty of liquid for gravy.   No matter - no one cares that much for skin anyway.  ;-) 

We learned a few lessons: 

  • next year, start the turkey later so it will be done at the "usual time" (without having to wait on the sides)
  • put everything together the day before (all we had to do Thursday morning was saute the onions and celery, put together the stuffing and cook the turkey and sides - it made for a much more relaxing morning)
  • place all the Ts in plastic bubbles for the 2-3 weeks leading up to Thanksgiving so no one will be sick (this is the third year in a row that at least one of the Ts has been sick on Thanksgiving)

We've got the two girlies here today.  Mama has a vendor fair this weekend, and Daddy went in to the office today ("under the radar"), so the boys are with DSIL's mom and the girls are with us. This way neither grandma should be too exhausted from having the grands ... and we both get some time with the Ts.

I took down our fall/Thanksgiving decorations this morning.  Depending on whether DSIL needs to go back into the office/helps DD with the vendor fair tomorrow, we may or may not have the Ts again.  If we don't, we'll go get our Christmas tree and finishing putting up our Christmas decorations.  It'll be a win-win situation either way.  ;-)

Today I'm thankful for:
  • A wonderful Thanksgiving with my favorite people

  • Having my girlies here with me today

  • DH fixing a pot of chili for dinner this evening

  • A sunny day today - even if it is chilly and windy

  • A full tote of food to go to church on Sunday to replenish the local food pantry after Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

While Superstorm Sandy might interfere with the Hodgepodge, preparing for a Thanksgiving feast doesn’t keep Joyce from providing a set of fun questions for us again this week.

1. Turkey-love it or leave it?  White meat or dark?  What's your favorite thing to make using leftover turkey?
I’m not a huge fan of turkey, but I do like a turkey on Thanksgiving. I prefer the dark meat (which tends to be more moist than white meat which can be too dry).

2. Gotta burn off all those carbs the day after a holiday feast so which would you rather do-run a 10K or climb a mountain?
Neither.  But if I had to choose, I’d choose the run (and sneak in plenty of walking when no one is looking – ha!).  I am afraid of heights, so I just couldn’t do the mountain.

3.  Do you feel like social networking has made your relationships better or worse?  Explain.
For the better.  I’ve reconnected with some of my high school classmates.  It’s also made it easier to stay connected with my extended family.  I know that Facebook can be huge time-killers, but I make a very conscious effort to restrict my time online, so I haven’t found it to have a negative impact on my life or my relationships.

4. How do you find and express gratitude for the hard things in your life?
I try to maintain an attitude of gratitude, so that when I’m facing difficult times, I can still be thankful. 

5.  In the US, the day after Thanksgiving has been dubbed 'Black Friday'.  Is most of your holiday shopping done live and in person, or is it done more through the magic of the Internet? How do you feel about stores opening at midnight Thanksgiving night? Will you be out amongst the masses on Friday?
I shopped on the Friday after Thanksgiving about 40 years ago – back before it was the “competitive sport” that it is now.  That was bad enough that I swore that I’d never step foot in a store on the Friday after Thanksgiving every again … and I haven’t.  I prefer to shop online … frequently I can find better prices, and thanks to’s Prime Membership, I rarely have to pay shipping.  I don’t have an issue with stores opening on Thanksgiving night … but I do think it’s a shame that many stores are opening Thursday evening.  Their poor employees are having to cut short their family get-togethers for the sake of the almighty dollar. 

6.  Speaking of the color black-which black item in your wardrobe would you say is your favorite?
My black capris.  They travel so well, and since our trips are all to warmer climes, they get plenty of use.  I like how I can take several different tops along, and when paired up with my black capris, I can maximize my wardrobe while minimizing my packing. 

7.  What do you appreciate about your life today?
There are so many things that I appreciate at this stage of my life, but the first thing that came to my mind was how much I appreciate the freedom of retirement.  It allows us to travel and frees us to be able to help when needed.  DSIL is off this week, and he & DD wanted to have a couple of days to themselves.  I was able to have the Ts here Sunday and Monday.  We’ll be able to help my dad to the Gulf Coast at the end of December (he doesn’t like to drive through larger cities, so our getting him down there makes the transition almost stress-free). 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
For the third Thanksgiving in a row, someone is sick at DD’s.  This year it is T#1 who was diagnosed yesterday with mono.   I had to call my dad – for the third year in a row – to give him the heads up … and once again, he’s had to choose not to join us for the holiday.  At 89, his health is too frail for him to risk coming down with mono.  DH and I will still be there to join DD and her family … I’ve already had mono (my senior year in high school), and besides, we’ve spent enough time with the Ts in the last 4+ weeks to where we’ve surely already been exposed anyway.  We’ll use some common sense (i.e., no sharing drinks or silverware, etc. and plenty of handwashing), but we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to spend this special day with the people we love. 

Today I’m thankful for:
  • Being able to work side by side with DD in the kitchen preparing our Thanksgiving meal

  • Hearing the word snow in the forecast for next week … I know it won’t amount to anything, but I’m so anxious to see snow falling!

  • Running water … we had to have our humidifier serviced this morning, and I can’t tell you the number of times I tried to turn on the water while the service rep was here … made me realize how blessed we are to have clean water whenever we want/need it

  • A day where we can take the time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for

I will not be blogging tomorrow, so I’ll wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Getting caught up

We had the Ts here Sunday and Monday … and when the Ts are here, Nana doesn’t spend much time on the computer.  I thought about trying to sneak in a Monday post last night after the Ts went home, so I could meet my challenge to post my thankfulness every day this month.  But by the time I sat down last night, I was too exhausted to think coherently (not that my thoughts are all that coherent under the best of circumstances – ha!).  So today I play “catch up”.

I had hopes of getting out with the Ts to do something fun, since the weather was supposed to be nice, but it never got quite warm enough to really spend very long outside.  But that’s ok … we made our own fun here.  We played games, watched a couple of movies, played with building blocks and Legos, delivered Scout popcorn, and just enjoyed our time together.  The house is just way too quiet this morning. 

Speaking of a quiet house, there’s nothing on my agenda today.  I’ve tidied up the house and got caught up on cleaning … nothing much else I that I need to do other than finish up laundry.  That means I should have my afternoon and evening free … I plan to take it easy – do a little quilting.  The next 5-6 days will be especially busy ones, so I’m hoping to rest up so I’ll be ready to go when the fun begins.  Winking smile

I’m thankful for:
  • Time with my Ts … which gives DD and DSIL some much-needed time together as a couple

  • Finding more apps for my iPhone … Star Wars Angry Birds … perfect for my Star Wars loving grandson!

  • Getting together with family for Thanksgiving … working with DD to prepare the meal

  • A lazy day at home to get caught up on stuff around the house (including quilting Winking smile)

  • God’s grace Red heart

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunny Sunday


It’s going to be another sunny day here … with temperatures reaching into the 60’s.  Gorgeous weather for the 2nd half of November.


DH and I finally got over to St. Louis for his birthday dinner.  We drove within a few blocks of the Missouri Botanical Garden and talked about stopping … while it was warm for November, it just wasn’t warm enough to walk about the Botanical Garden (at least not for me Winking smile).  I brought home about half of my meal … I know what I’ll be having for lunch! 


I was able to spend a nice chunk of time quilting … I’m making good progress and should get this done in time for Christmas as planned.


The Ts will be coming here with us after church … for a sleepover.  Red heart  It should be a nice enough day for a visit to the park.



Today I’m thankful for:

  • A nice meal out with my hubby


  • Having the Ts here for a sleepover


  • My mom teaching me to sew, instilling in me a love for needlework


Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Weekend’s Here!


I’ve always thought that the weekend starts with Friday, but I guess “officially” it starts on Saturday.  Regardless of when we want to consider the weekend started, it’s here now!


We had T#4 all afternoon yesterday.  I just love that little one … and she loves her Nana.  Red heart Red heart Red heart  Of course, the downside is when Daddy came to get her, she didn’t want to leave … seeing her crying and reaching for Nana broke my heart.  On two levels … one, it broke my heart to see her cry, and it took every ounce of willpower I had not to snatch her out of DSIL’s arms to comfort her … and two, I’ve been in those shoes, seeing my child cry and reach out for someone else’s arms when it was time to come home.  Even though I knew that at that age, they only know what’s fun right now and resist leaving the current fun, it’s still hard on a Mama’s heart to see her child resisting coming back home (even if temporarily).  Crying face


After T#4 went home, we settled in for a nice quiet evening.  We fixed ourselves some dinner and watched another movie … this time from our Blockbuster queue.  We don’t watch many movies during the summer with baseball most every evening, so we’re a bit behind on our queue.  And with no hockey this winter (at least not yet), we’ll have plenty of time to get caught up on our queue.


As of right now, we have nothing planned for today … it looks like we might actually be able to do DH’s birthday celebration meal today!!  He is the “chief cook and bottle washer” for the men’s prayer breakfast at church and fixes a nice large breakfast, so I’m thinking that a late lunch/early dinner at his favorite restaurant is our plan.  That way we can order off the lunch menu – saving a few dollars while still getting plenty to eat.  I know what DH will order … he always orders to the chicken Spiedini Proscuitto.  I’m leaning toward either the tutte mare or the seafood ravioli.  Winking smile


I’m hoping to get in some quilting before and after we have our meal out.  And speaking of quilting, DD has put in a request for a quilt.  I have another wall quilt (for our dining area) already started, but I was at a loss what to make after I finish the I-Spy quilt and the wall quilt.  I was wanting to make something for DD … and now I have the design picked out for me.  Thumbs up  She’s asked for a two-color quilt … gray and creamy white … in a chevron or herringbone design.  Here’s her inspiration:



Today I’m thankful for:

  • The sun shining in as I’m sitting here with my laptop.


  • Finally getting our meal out to celebrate DH’s birthday.


  • Seeing new pictures of the Ts on Facebook … they had a photo-shoot last month, and the photographer posted a couple of teaser photos on Facebook … time for new wallpaper on my laptop and my iPhone!


  • DH’s thoughtfulness … he was very quiet when he got up this morning, so I could sleep another hour (he was up by 5:00 in order to be at church starting breakfast)