Friday, November 30, 2012


T is for "think" but this is not an ABC Wednesday post so that doesn't really matter.

This has left me thinking... thinking about what I think, about what others think, and about what I know... or at least "think" I know. :)

What do you think?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pretty Pictures

Hidden away in my mother's room is a folder full of papers, old news articles, pictures, and drawings. On a typical day Mom does word search puzzles, but today she had visitors instead. Priscilla stopped by for a bit and then my Aunt Margie.

Aunt Margie stayed for most of the afternoon. I don't know when or why the stack of papers came out, but they spent hours looking through them and pouring over articles. It was nice to hear Mom talking and sharing her treasures with her sister. I especially liked a couple of Mom's drawings. I don't have much of her artwork, so these were fun to see.

As they poured over the papers, they came upon a drawing, a page full of faces. Aunt Margie was impressed and I made her a copy to take home. I had caught just a snippet of them discussing the picture which my mother said she drew, but on closer examination, I am thinking this is one of my father's creations. I wonder what my sisters will think? (Rachel and her boys are quite certain this is "Grandma Lene's drawing. I'm glad my nephews were around when she was drawing with the kids she babysat.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It Was on a Wednesday

Today started out terribly sleepy, but ended on a better note. Aside from my terribly allergic feeling eyes (I've not been taking my allergy meds lately...), I am feeling pretty good. I did take two naps today, one this morning and another this afternoon, and then decided I needed to get something accomplished.

Since my dogs have a veterinarian appointment in the morning (oh, help me!) I thought I should give Sofie the Flea Magnet a flea bath, Into the sink she went with a fair amount of blue Dawn dish detergent. Jasmine had to be retrieved from Martin's house where she had gone sometime yesterday when I was out to Ladies' Prayer. Into the tub went Jasmine with another fair amount of blue Dawn dish liquid, but not because she has fleas.

By the time I was done washing dogs I felt like I too needed a bath and so I climbed into the shower. (No, I did not wash with blue Dawn...) After dinner another family member also needed a shower, and so I helped my mom up the stairs. I'm kind of glad the cats are self cleaning.  :)

T is for Tired

T is for tired.

Being sick really takes a toll on the mind and body. After a bout with headaches and an upset stomach, I am tuckered out. My tummy is fine today and my head is no longer pounding, but I keep finding myself drawn to the couch where my body relaxes, my eyes become heavy, and I drift off to sleep once again. Perhaps it is all part of caffeine withdrawal, although I did have a cup of tea this morning. You know, tea just isn't as much fun as coffee.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

It's a dreary kind of day. Every once in a while the clouds open up and decide to drop something snow-like upon us, but it isn't sticking to anything other than windshields. The trees are mostly naked now, colorless and bland.

This morning on my in from the bus stop I heard the cry of a red fox, and then I saw them, a pair, running through the orchard across the street, up the hill, and into the woods.

I've eaten enough Thanks- giving yummies for one year. I hope to take advantage of the few weeks between now and Christmas to gather up the momentum to put my eating habits back in order again. I find it not so difficult to enjoy the sights and smells of certain foods without actually putting them into my mouth. (At least that is what I keep telling myself... and there is something quite lovely about the smell of good food.)

I'm feeling tired and slightly headachy this afternoon. I suppose a short nap might be nice before the school bus returns.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Window Washer

I never thought much about washing windows. Dusting maybe, but windows? Well, I have to say that since I washed my windows last week (inside and out) I am seeing things in a new light. (Yes, I know. I made a funny...) I suppose it helps that I also removed all the screens, but then again, isn't part of the purpose of screens to hide the dirt that we are too lazy to wash off? What do you mean no?

My real reason for taking my screens down is that my camera doesn't quite know whether to focus on the screen or the birds outside the window. The screens are safely stowed in the basement awaiting a thorough cleaning in the spring when the weather gets warm enough to open the windows again. In the meantime I can sit inside where it is warm and toasty, and take all the winter photos I want without even putting my boots on. (I wonder where they are anyway...)

I still have a few windows that didn't get washed on the outside yet. They are the ones that are either too wide to reach across while standing on the window sill, or too small and obstructed by the kitchen sink. Neither did I crawl out the bedroom windows onto the roof in order to wash those windows. I'm not afraid of falling off the roof, I'm concerned instead about getting stuck halfway out the window. Kind of like Pooh Bear. Maybe I'll get Hannah to do it.

PS. Yes, I did take all of these pictures through the glass. It's going to be a great winter. Come on squirrels!

Sunday Scripture

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Matthew 5:45b

Because even if evil people are impossible for me to love, Jesus died to forgive them too. He loves them, and with His love inside of my heart, I am able to love and forgive as well.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It Was a Party

It was a nice party. It was loud and we could scarcely hear ourselves think, much less hear the person across the table, but there was food and drink and laughter. Yes, it was a nice party, a party to celebrate both a wedding and a soon to arrive baby boy.

Sweet baby James, a new cousin, will arrive shortly after Christmas bringing a bit of joy and cheer to a family who lost so much last year at this time and who struggles each and every day to accept the loss. I think last year was the saddest December of my life. I pray there will be much for our extended family to celebrate this year. It will still be hard, I know that, but perhaps this tiny gift will give them the hope and determination they need to face the days ahead.

I didn't get any pictures at the cele- bration today, but I did find another party on our way out of the park. Thankfully, this bunch didn't mind having a group photo taken.

Friday, November 23, 2012

On Being Thankful

I did not write multiple posts on thankfulness this year, but as I was looking through old Thanksgiving posts I found this quote, "Every holiday celebrated with my mom and dad grows more precious with the years" -November 27, 2008. How could I have known that would be our last holiday season together? The next year we would be missing my dad and I would write, "... we have bid farewell to a much loved and cherished family member this year,..." I've decided it's never going to be quite the same, but I also know that my dad will never really be too far away. All I have to do is close my eyes and he is close once again.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift. 
2 Corinthians 9:15 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Talk About Baking

Tomorrow is Thanks- giving (like you didn't know...). This afternoon I stirred up a batch of Boston Brown Bread to take to Bethany's house tomorrow. As I filled the cans with batter, a message suddenly appeared. I'm not sure why, but I immediately thought of Betsy. :)

S is for Song

S is for songs and singing.

Although I don't consider myself especially musical, I did grow up in a home where music was central. My dad learned to play harmonica as a small boy. He had a grandpa who played also, and they spent many hours playing together. As a teen Dad learned to play the guitar and so our home was constantly blessed with song.

I recall, even as a child, wondering about the day when Dad's instruments would be silent. It was hard to imagine a world without Dad's harmonica singing. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for a handful of old cassette tapes that bring his voice and instruments back to life.

(You can find the words to the song here.)
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Monday, November 19, 2012

It Was On a Monday

Aunt Cindy is visiting the area for the week. She traveled from Toronto by bus last Thursday to stay with My Darling's cousin. I'm pretty sure it's because she likes Thanksgiving, and since the Canadian Thanksgiving is over, this gives her a chance to celebrate another. That's some pretty good thinking if you ask me.

I went to Bethany's house with Hannah and Rocky and we walked to Angel's to see Aunt Cindy. It was a beautiful day for a walk so Josh got his bike out of the garage, we popped the baby into his stroller, set off. We had a nice visit and then walked back home again.

This afternoon I washed my windows. Figured I'd best do it while the weather was nice. Washing windows in the snow wouldn't be good, and besides my new cleaning cloths were clean and waiting. Now my windows are sparkling and I am ready to sit inside where it's warm and take photos through the window panes.

We took pictures at Bethany's house. Isn't that baby beautiful?

PS. The missing hearing aide has been found!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tummy Troubles

Years ago my small son's pediatrician remarked, "we should bottle his genes."  The child was rarely ever sick and had never even been treated for an ear infection. Now he has a much more severe health issue than any of my other children. He has ulcerative colitis. I don't know if this disease actually runs in families, but he has both a first and second cousin who suffered the same affliction on his dad's side of the family, as well as a second cousin on my side.

Nate has been plagued for several years now, attempting to keep the disease under control with expensive medication. Just recently he talked to someone who suggested a dietary alternative. It starts our pretty exclusive by cutting out dairy, fruit, raw vegetables, meat, and gluten. In the end, once his digestive system heals, he should be able to enjoy a varied diet with the exclusion of gluten. My boy is going gluten-free.

Being gluten free is something I have played with for a few years now, but I've not quite been able to break myself completely. In spite of my weakness, I have collected more than a few good recipes and gluten-free ideas. I even turned my 100 Delicious blog into a gluten free website, though I don't post there often.

I talked to Nathan the other day and he says he is already noticing a difference with his new diet. He has some great support from a loving wife. I'm glad Sabrina is so willing to work on this with him. I pray Nate is able to heal completely and enjoy a normal life once again. And I am thankful for a little inspiration to clean up my act once again, because I feel better when I eat gluten free too.

Pictured- two of my favorite gluten-free yummies! Carrot Cake and Pumpkin Muffins

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Several years ago, when we were still fairly new to the neighborhood, another family moved in up on the hill. They had a boy close to the age of one of my own boys and the two soon became friends. Kyle was about eight months younger than Joe and would often come down and hang around, looking for a bit of friendship and maybe a laugh or two. He always had a smile and a look of mischief in his eye. I never knew quite what he was up to, whether to believe his stories, or if he was giving me a line just to see my reaction.

As time went on we learned that Kyle struggled with a serious illness, cystic fibrosis. He did his best to never let it slow him down and I never heard him complain. He jumped on his trampoline with a snowboard, worked on his bike and rode BMX, and got into the kind of trouble that lots of teenagers do. Once when he was feeling ill I made him an apple pie. I expected he would share it with his family, but was told he ate most of it himself.

One of Kyle's passions was becoming a firefighter/ EMT. If memory serves me right, his mother got involved with the volunteer ambulance along with him, and I believe his step dad was already a fireman. At 17 Kyle became a Jr EMT and in his enthusiasm encouraged my son Joe to join up too. I think Joe went as far as to attend a meeting with Kyle but he never officially joined. All that was more than seven years ago now. In December of 2005 Kyle had a terrible car accident. Joe took the news hard. I think we all did. Teenagers aren't supposed to leave us so quickly, or so young.

I've been thinking a lot about Kyle lately. I think he'd be happy to know that Ben has been riding with the ambulance crew this year (I can almost see him grinning) and all his encouragement to Joe is finally paying off too. The local ambulance base has another young trainee, Josiah. Thank you, Kyle. I'm smiling too.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pumpkin Faces

Life is a journey, even for a pumpkin.

For some unknown and probably troubling reason, I have always been fascinated by the slow deterioration of jack-o-lanterns. Perhaps this is the hidden reason for my disappointment when the first pumpkins I bought for face carving rotted on my back steps before ever going under the knife.

Not to be dissuaded, I took myself back out to the farm market and purchased a slightly more expensive yet fresher specimen. I took it home under the guise that Hannah would enjoy carving a pumpkin while listening to winds of Hurricane Sandy. And, if we lost power, a happy pumpkin would make an excellent light source.

I am well aware that scores of smiling post-Halloween jack-o-lanterns get tossed into the street courtesy of local pumpkin smashing hoodlums. Although not quite as likely on an out-of-the-way country road, I opted to take the safe route and found the little guy a safe spot on the back steps where he shined his golden light on several dark nights. When the nights turned cold and frosty, I decided my friend might be better off in the corner of my flower garden, still close to the house but in a place where he could deteriorate undisturbed.

For several days of cool nights and temperate afternoons he sat smiling at passersby, virtually unchanged in appearance, and then one day he swallowed his hat and I knew the process had begun. He never got that toothless look that some pumpkins attain, and once his face started to droop the drop came in rapid succession. I suspect tomorrow there won't be much shape left to him at all.

I think next year I'll carve a whole row of pumpkin faces. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Week

Monday was my Saturday this week, although I didn't go grocery shopping. That happened on the real Saturday. On Monday I had no children to keep track of and nowhere to go, so I stayed home and climbed a mountain instead, a mountain of laundry. It isn't that I was behind on my washing, it's just that I was catching up with bedding and the weekend accumulation of adult sized clothing.

Tuesday arrived in Monday fashion with children to put on the school bus. I went to Ladies' Prayer for the first time in a few weeks, a much needed spiritual encouragement. Tuesday evening found James and I meeting my son's future mother in law fro dinner at Carrabba's. She was flying into Rochester for a business trip and it seemed the perfect time to get acquainted. We likely won't meet again until Jim and Michele get married in April.

Yesterday was Wednes- day. I had one of those crazy dreams in the night. You know the kind, the ones that leave you feeling stressed out and exhausted? I was so sleepy in the morning that I decided to walk my treadmill mile at 7:30 and see if it helped wake me up. I was just taking the girls out to meet the bus when Leta arrived with my grandchildren. I had four wildflowers for the morning (one of them being my regular "non-grandchild" charge). We played with my new box of Play-do, got out all the Hot-wheels cars, stepped over dishes, and moved window decals from the door to the fridge to the stove... I finished out the day by helping Mom with a shower where we discovered she is missing one hearing aide. Blah. I still haven't found it. I wouldn't be too concerned if she had been home all day like normal, but she went out with my sister in the afternoon and I have no clue when it went missing.

Today seems a bit more "normal" although my middle school charge will be arriving not long after noon. It's a half day for grades 5-12. Tonight I am heading over to Bethany's house for a Norwex demonstration. She is starting up a new business selling cleaning supplies with a focus on some really great microfiber cleaning cloths. I have to say, they really are very nice, much better than using old rags or paper towels. My windows have never been so clean and all I need to use is water.

Tomorrow will probably seem boring after all the other weekly activities. Won't that be nice?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

R is for Rodent

R is for rodent.

I am often at a loss as to what to post on any given week, and of course, such was the case with this time around. But alas! Wednesday is not over yet and today brought about the perfect opportunity for a great post on the letter R.

My grand- children came for the morning and I was fixing lunch; yogurt, PBJ's, and ... apples! I sent my daughter Hannah out to the back porch for a nice Crispin apple to cut up for the kids. She returned a moment latter and reported,
"We've been infested." My mind immediately thought fruit flies, or some other kind of insect, but on closer examination I found it must have been a pest of another variety, someone who took his time deciding which apple was best, someone who taste tested several different apples before deciding on one in particular, and someone who didn't care much for apple skins. Thankfully, he was someone who didn't prefer Crispins.
However, I think if we had not checked the box of apples today, he just may have invited his friends to the party and eaten the whole box!

 For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wedding Plans

My son and his fiance are have set a wedding date of April 27, 2013. For the first time one of our children is getting married out of town. We get to travel this time, to Minnesota. I guess you might say I am a little bit excited. I only wish April didn't sound so far away, but at least the long winter will be past and spring will have (hopefully) arrived.

As long as I will be visiting Minnesota, I think I shall endeavor to find a blog friend or two while there. I mean, I think it would be a shame to travel all that way and not meet up for lunch or something, especially if I bring my sisters along.

I haven't been to Minnesota since I was five. I can hardly remember back that far anymore, but there are pictures somewhere to prove it.

Photos courtesy of

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sunday Scripture

[We are] hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-- 
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Leaves don't worry when strong winds blow...

It's been a stressful week, but God is still in the driver's seat. He has everything under control. He holds me in His hand, and He loves me. Best of all, He loves those I love, and He has a plan.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Mom's Favorite Spot

My mother's favorite spot these days is her chair at her table in her room. If she has a Word Search book she will stay there for hours. She still reads her newspaper, but her main occupation involves circling words. She says it is a nice pastime.

It has now been over two years since she came to live with us. We've pretty much gotten used to each other. Episodes of wanting to scream, cry, or tear my hair out are fewer (I suppose that is a good thing), and she rarely tries to pick up after the kids anymore. Probably because she is busy doing Word Search puzzles.

I have given up on my mother ever gaining back the weight she has lost since Dad's passing, almost 30 pounds. She really isn't all that interested in eating. She eats her cereal around noon each day, takes a small snack midway through the afternoon, and then eats a small dinner. She rarely asks for seconds, but rarely turns down dessert. I wish she could gain the weight from one piece of pie that I seem to gain. I could fatten her back up in no time!

Cake in a Cup

I finally decided to try the funny little recipe for cake in a coffee cup. A package of Angel Food cake mix and a package of (in this case) dark chocolate cake mix and voila! we had an instant after school snack. (I am trying out some of those ideas I find on Pinterest.)

I decided it would be more fun if we drizzled a little frosting over the cakes and added some sprinkles. Sprinkles make any occasion more fun, don't they? Emma thinks so.

If you want to try it too, check out the directions right here!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Q is for Quarrel

Q is for quarrel. We've had enough of that for a while!

Two Little Kittens

by Anonymous (circa 1880)
Two little kittens, one stormy night,
Began to quarrel, and then to fight;
One had a mouse, the other had none,
And that's the way the quarrel begun.

"I'll have that mouse," sad the biggest cat;
"You'll have that mouse? We'll see about that!"
"I will have that mouse," said the eldest son;
"You shan't have the mouse," said the little one.

I told you before 'twas a stormy night
When these two little kittens began to fight;
The old woman seized her sweeping broom,
And swept the two kittens right out of the room.

The ground was covered with frost and snow,
And the two little kittens had nowhere to go;
So they laid them down on the mat at the door,
While the old woman finished sweeping the floor.

Then they crept in, as quiet as mice,
All wet with the snow, and cold as ice,
For they found it was better, that stormy night,
To lie down and sleep than to quarrel and fight.

 For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Flower Pot Daily (Or News from the Flower Pot... Hey! Maybe I should start a new blog.))

Babysitting does have its rewards.  Yesterday this appeared on my friend Jeannie's Facebook status update. I do think the fact that Andrew spent the day with us a week ago this past Friday had something to do with it, but I think it's pretty special anyway.
"Ivy- 'Daddy who are you going to vote for president?'
He gives response which is the opposite of me.  (Andrew's mother, that is...)
Andrew- 'I'm going to vote for Martha.'
Daddy- 'She's probably the best choice Andrew.'
Andrew- 'No I'm going to vote for Hannah'." 

I did tell Jeannie that I thought Hannah made a very good choice, although I was dis- appointed to be knocked out of the race so soon. I didn't even have a chance to face my constituents or write a party  platform. Shoot! I didn't even know I had been nominated before it was all over.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Sunday Scripture

 The name of the LORD [is] a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.    Proverbs 18:10

Your Name (Paul Baloche)

As morning dawns and evening fades
You inspire songs of praise
That rise from earth to touch Your heart and glorify Your Name

Your Name is a strong and mighty tower
Your Name is a shelter like no other
Your Name, let the nations sing it louder
'Cause nothing has the power to save
But Your Name

Jesus, in Your Name we pray
Come and fill our hearts today
Lord, give us strength to live for You and glorify Your Name

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Pumpkin Cookies

I should have made cookies much earlier in October, but first I was too busy taking autumn photos and then we were outside playing in the leaves instead. Oh, and I was making pie the other days. It must have been something about that hurricane, or maybe that jack-o-lantern that Hannah carved on Monday night, because on Wednesday  I really got thinking on cutout cookies.

Although the cookies were cut and baked on Wednesday, the frosting wasn't stirred up until this afternoon. I picked the right day because there were four eager kids here to frost and decorate after school. After dying the icing green and orange, and filling a few small bowls with candy corns and chocolate chips, we set to work.

I found my newer charges really enjoy this kind of activity, especially when they get to take the cookies home afterward. It is a good thing because the holidays are coming and this will give me a great excuse to whip up some more cookies.

In case you are wonder- ing, I did get in on the fun too. I even ate half of one cookie with a little bit of ice cream this evening. And, I walked a mile on the treadmill too. It's back home where it belongs and I intend to take full advantage of it and let My Darling know I'm grateful for it's return.