Saturday, May 31, 2014

More Quirks

The other day I wrote about Bill and socks-off time.

I will now share one of my quirks that has nothing to do with socks but does have to do with off-time.

Don't worry, it's rated-G.

It has to do with jewelry.

I have pierced ears, so I wear earrings when I "go out". Depending on the top I'm wearing, I may wear a necklace. I also wear my engagement ring and wedding band. Depending on the event, I may even wear a bracelet.

Out of the fourteen years (in August) that we have been married, I have worked outside of the house for seven. For six of those seven years, I wore (and do wear) jewelry to work (I didn't wear jewelry when I had the furniture restoration job).

By the end of my day, or event, I am ready to take off my jewelry. I can't really explain it. But this is why I understand Bill's socks-off time.

I had a wedding today and by the time I got home I was ready to be jewelry-free. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy wearing jewelry and matching different pieces to different outfits. But there comes a time in the day when I'm ready to not be wearing it.

Aren't quirks fun?

Friday, May 30, 2014

mane of hair

I'm letting my hair grow long. It's not the longest it's ever been. That happened seven years ago before I chopped it off and donated it before my 30th birthday. That was when we went on our cruise, and you can see how long my hair was in the pictures.

I don't often discuss my hair because, well if you know Bill and me, you know who wins in the hair department. He tells me I'm bragging. Truthfully, I'm very thankful. Every time I curl my hair, I say a prayer of thanks. I'm not rubbing it in; I know I'm blessed to have this much hair.

Every time I go to a new stylist, I warn them that I have thick hair. They always brush (ha! pun intended) that statement off and nod and smile. Then, about halfway through the haircut, they say something along the lines of, "wow! You really do have a lot of hair."

Yup. That's what I tried to tell you.

Since I have discovered that I can french braid my own hair, I have started wearing it that way when I run.

Yesterday, for a change, I decided to pull my hair back into a ponytail instead.

Oh, right. That's why I braid it now when I run.

First, I had to use two hair bands just to keep the ponytail in place. It still slid down the back of my head as I ran. Then, as I was running, the side-to-side motion of the ponytail started to make me feel like a horse. It was pretty dramatic given that I'm not used to that much swing. I felt like a pendulum.

I wonder what I looked like…

Thursday, May 29, 2014

socks off

Bill has a time of day when it's time to take off his socks. We call it "socks-off time". Appropriate, don't you think?

I don't find it odd because I understand. I have quirks too.

Bill's time for socks-off usually happens in the early evening.

Which means if we go to visit friends, socks-off time is delayed. It can actually make him a teeny bit antsy.

As I said, I understand. Today I realized I may understand more than I had thought.

When I got home from my run I realized it was socks-off time for me. I thought about it for a minute and realized that warm weather is socks-off time for me. My feet are always covered up in the winter and I don't mind socks. I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I own enough pairs of socks to have fall/winter socks and spring/summer socks which I switch out with my other clothes.

But come Memorial Day/warm weather and it's no more socks. I'll wear them when I run, but then they immediately come off the minute I get in the house and take off my shoes.

Happy socks-off time. I'm thankful for socks-off weather.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

the escape artist

The other day Bill, Heather, and I were standing outside in the backyard. Heather was loading her truck with the flowers she bought while she was in town. Bill and I were helping as much as we could.

One of us had just gone inside and when we came back out, we didn't slide the screen shut all the way. Juliette was sitting inside the door, looking forlornly at us. Bill and I watched as she stuck her paw in that small opening. She got the screen open far enough that she stuck her head through. She looked surprised at what she had just discovered.

Before she could take another step, Bill and run over and shooed her back inside. We thought it was just a one-time thing.

Later that night, when Bill and I were ready to go to bed, he looked over at the sliding glass door and realized the screen was open!

I immediately assessed the situation. Juliette was gone.

We both went outside and started calling for her.

She was not in the backyard. I walked around the corner of the house, on the driveway side, and there she was. Sniffing around the side door as though freedom were her new-found friend.

The screen has a lock on it, but it gets bent. Needless to say, I bent it back and now the screen locks again.

I'm thankful that she didn't go too far.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

summer sales

It's the season for yard sales or garage sales. (My dad can be heard saying, "Look, they're selling their yard/garage!")

I'm not a yard/garage saler. I feel like those who are have a "sense" about where to find them. There can be little to no signage and if you set it out, they will come. It amazes me. It's as though they can smell it.

I'm not making fun, I'm actually getting to the point that those who do hold yard/garage sales need to work on their signage. I'm not a graphic designer, but I did go to art school; please make better signs. No one can read your thin-lined sharpie attempt at "Yard Sale". You may as well be whispering it. Bold letters people. Go over those lines several times with the fattest marker you can find. Then, tape it on the the wall across the room and back up until you're twenty feet away.

Can you read it now?

Good, now run past it because cars are usually going five times faster than that and if your letters are bold enough, and large enough for you to read standing in your living room, the driver of the car may have a slight chance of realizing there's a yard/garage sale down your street and can safely turn without causing an accident because they had to come to a complete stop to read your thin-lined sign.

But it hardly matters because they can find the sale blindfolded due to that "sense". I'm the only one who doesn't appreciate the under-bolded (I just made that up) signage.

Wait, I have a better idea, hire me! I'll make your sign. Give me a sharpie and I'll make it stand out so it can be read from space. (Not really, but cars coming down the road won't miss regardless of their yard/garage sale sense.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

another craft

I wrote about a craft I had made. Here it is!
Flowers made from scrapbook paper, glued to a skewer, with a button in the center. I think it's too cute. I happen to have some skewers, so I'll be making more of these. I just have to start collecting buttons now… Anyone have a few extra to spare? And, if you have a button "collection" where is the best place to find them?
Here's another picture of the flowers with a cute-as-a-button nephew.

I'm thankful for the simple crafts.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

herb abundance

The lilacs are blooming.

When I got out of the car Tuesday night, I could immediately smell them.

When I'm out running/walking I can smell them.

Lilacs mean summer is near.

I bought herbs to plant in pots on our deck again. I'm looking forward to fresh basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, and cilantro.
 Here they are, waiting to be planted.
 This is not an herb (nope, it's not lavender, although I did buy that). I forgot what it's called. I'll let you know...
This one is a heliotrope. 

I also bought woodruff, which is not only a plant but also the last name of my high school drafting teacher. Mr. Woodruff was awesome.

I am thankful for the space on our deck to have potted herbs and I look forward to the abundance of freshness they will bring forth this summer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

a good cup of coffee

Every once in awhile, I pour the perfect cup of coffee. It has just the right amount of cream not too much, not too little. It is exactly how I like it.

This morning I got up early and drove to Farwell to meet Heather so we could go work (landscaping). I took two travel mugs with me. The first one had too little cream and the second one had too much. If I would have poured them together, it would have been exactly the right amount and I would have had the perfect cup of coffee.

Alas, that is not what happened. But it did make me appreciate that good cup of coffee when it happens. I like to be able to taste the coffee; coffee not being overwhelmed by cream. I am pretty sure that for those of us who drink coffee, we each have our own "perfect" cup. Next time it happens to you, give thanks because it doesn't happen every day, to every coffee drinker.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Skylar

Skylar turned fifteen today!!! Wow, where has the time gone?

I was there visiting last week and I took more pictures. Guess where they are? Still on my camera! And now I'm not home to retrieve them. I'll get them posted. This one is pretty sad or at least pathetic. Skylar hurt her knee last Sunday playing soccer. She is waiting to schedule a MRI to see how seriously hurt it is. It could be a torn meniscus. In the meantime she has a brace and crutches.

Mom, Dad, Bill and I gave her a sweet pair of headphones. They are not Beats, they are better than those. These are high quality. She let me listen to them. They are really amazing. She had the music turned up and I could not hear any outside noise once I put them on. When she was wearing them, you could not hear the music coming through the headphones. We had a dance party. Okay, she did not dance, but Spencer and I did. It was fun.

At any rate, she is a pretty amazing and special person and I'm very thankful that she is my niece!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

totally random Saturday post

Yup, the muffins are better with sugar.

Yesterday, Friday, I had a wedding rehearsal. I know the bride from Needtobreathe concerts.

With the rehearsal being yesterday, that means the wedding was today. It was a chilly May day here in Grand Rapids, and it started off cloudy. However it has changed over to blue skies and sunshine. The wedding ceremony was lovely and the bride was beautiful.

They were efficient with their photos and everything was all wrapped up by 3pm. That gave me time to come home and do some light housework (i.e. clean sheet day).

Then Bill and I headed out for date night at one of the local establishments, The Green Well. It was delicious. It's yet another farm to table dining experience. We have several and this one made the best places to eat in GR list.

The list is correct, the food was superb. I had the Cherry Street Pork Pesole and Bill had the special Spring Carbonara. We also tried their truffle fries. (Honestly, I like the fries at Brewery Vivant better, or the "crack" fries at Hop Cat, but you don't know until you try!)

We are now relaxing and watching the Tigers vs. Red Sox game on the tele. Speaking of tele, did you catch the ultimate match on Jeopardy Thursday night and last night? It was the champions of champions. If you like Jeopardy at all then you know who Ken, Brad and Roger are and they are the three who competed for the ultimate prize (I don't think it was advertised as "ultimate", I think technically they were calling it the Tournament of Decades but it came down to the ultimate show-down, at least in my book).

I'm thankful for all the great restaurants that support local farms, right here in West Michigan.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

the muffins redeux

I had two bananas left and I bought more flour (that's why I didn't try to make them again the other day, because I had exactly enough flour). This time I measured out the sugar and left the measuring cup where I couldn't miss it.

They seemed to have turned out. I haven't had one yet, it's too late. But I will have one in the morning. I'll let you know how the sugar changes the taste.

One thing is for sure, they are fuller and they look scrumptious.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

B.L.T.s and broccoli

I drove home from mom and dad's today. I had to go to the store for food. It's National Sandwich week so I decided to make B.L.T. sandwiches. Since Bill and I are both trying to be healthy and lose a few pounds, I roasted some broccoli in the oven too.

That's all.

I love B.L.T. sandwiches.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

corks and candles

I actually made this on Saturday. I think I saw something like it in a magazine. (I don't need Pinterest…)
We've been saving our corks now for at least eight years. I went through them and picked out the actual cork and ones that weren't ripped.

I've also had this vase for ten or twelve years but haven't ever used it because it's so tall (too tall for the photo). I couldn't reach down in it to light candles. It sat in the basement collecting dust.

Then I saw the cork idea.

I had hoped we had more corks then this to fill it higher. I guess this just means I have to drink more wine.

As I pulled out the corks, I set the plastic ones aside and used those on a glass dish, but I didn't take a picture of it.

I have one other craft that I worked on and I took a picture of it tonight. I'll post that soon...

Monday, May 12, 2014

just because days

If you read about our trip to Vegas (starting here), I mentioned that I did some baking and cooking for Bill's family.

Since I'm visiting my family for a few days, I thought I would do some cooking and baking for them. I offered two choices for dinner: Four Cheese Macaroni and Meatloaf or Lasagna, Caesar Salad and The Bread. Dessert will be Vanilla Rich Chip Cake.

The winning dinner is lasagna, salad and the bread. Yum!

Mom and I went to the store tonight to buy the ingredients. I can't forget the sugar this time, because there isn't any to add! (The cake uses a box mix, shh don't tell anybody. But it's so good, it doesn't matter.)

I'm thankful for dinner choices and spending time with family for birthdays, Mother's day and just because days.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

the chocolate muffins

I just finished reading my BH&G April issue. There is a section on baking muffins and several recipes. One of them is a dark cocoa muffin with banana. I looked through the ingredients and realized I had everything I needed to bake them. Since I am going to visit my parents, I thought they might like to help me eat the chocolate muffins if I made a batch.

I started baking them while Bill talked to his mom for Mother's Day.

I must have been paying more attention to their conversation than my baking.

I got the muffins in the oven and was feeling really good about the whole thing until I looked at the counter and saw the brown sugar sitting there.

Brown sugar that was supposed to go into the muffin mix, but didn't.

Brown sugar that had been sitting there the whole time. Right in front of me.

What could I do? The muffins were already in the oven.

I tried googling it, but apparently Google doesn't know what to do when one forgets to add the sugar.

I decided that they would either turn out okay or not at all and there was nothing I could do until they had finished baking.

It turns out that they turned out okay. I can only surmise that the muffins are relatively tasty because of the cocoa. And it turns out they're healthy since they're sugar free. I do recommend serving them with honey or even ice cream. But they really are okay, just on their own.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

flowers, the new camera and different lighting

I went outside after I blogged last night and used the last of the evening sun to take some pictures. Then I went out again this morning. I wanted to compare pictures. Here are the photos from last night:
 These tulips are in the front yard.
 This one is also in the front yard and is the only one this color.
 These are the tulips I was talking about in yesterday's blog.
 This is in the backyard and is the only one like it.

And here are the pictures from this morning (the light was better):

Yellow tulips through the flowering quince.
The yellow, pink, and red tulips in the backyard.
The same tulip in the backyard that I took the photo of last night.
The Bleeding Heart (which is behind the garage and I always forget about it).
The sunlight creeping into the backyard.

Friday, May 9, 2014

spring flowers

I had a picture, on my old mobile phone, of the pink tulips blooming in our backyard. I was going to post it here, and that is when I realized that it wasn't on this computer.

This also made me realize that I haven't taken any pictures of spring flowers with my new camera.

Guess what I'm going to do tomorrow? 

It's supposed to be sunny, which is usually bad for landscape photography, but our backyard is shaded enough that I think I'll manage to get a couple of good photos. I may even have to go out in the morning to use the good light (dawn and dusk are best for outdoor photography). 

I have a pretty long list of things I want to do tomorrow, including cleaning the house, but taking pictures outside just took priority. 

Today I am thankful for the tapestry of blooming tulips in our yard.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

summer's here!

Wait, it's only May 8th.

While the rest of the country has been experiencing above-average temperatures, here in the great lakes region it's been chilly. Ten to twenty degrees below average. Until today. It reached 84. Blessed every saint that ever walked the earth; finally. No one complained, but we definitely exclaimed, "it's hot!" Because it was. Our house is not prepared for this. I had to search high and low for our window fans. Thank goodness for window fans. Have I been thankful for that yet?

On a side note, we had dinner with some wonderful friends, Jess and Jake (and their girls, Yael and Avah, I've blogged about that cutie patootie here. It didn't take much arm twisting when venison steaks were mentioned (which were delicious btw). The menu also included pretzels (hey Jess, I need that recipe), an amazing couscous salad (which I know was super easy to throw together, but I'm not that creative), a bowl of juicy, fresh fruit (did I mention today felt like summer, perfect!), and apple crisp with homemade french vanilla ice cream. Would you like to guess which dish(es) I made? It shouldn't be too difficult if you were paying attention.

The apple crisp and vanilla ice cream. It hit the spot. Man oh man. It was so good.

I had given some thought to strawberry shortcake, but had apples that unfortunately aren't fresh enough for regular snacking. I figured baking them would be the best thing for them. And it was.

So maybe I'm thankful for apple crisp too. Served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

to-do lists

This week started off innocently enough. And then… I'm not sure what happened. But I got very busy. I have a lot to do and not a lot of time in which to get it done. I'm thankful for to-do lists. They keep me organized and only slightly more sane.

On a different note, today is my dad's birthday. Happy Birthday Dad! I watched him via FaceTime open his gift from all of us (Cyndi & family, Mom, Bill and me). It's a new digital camera! I know he will get a lot of use out of it. Especially with Skylar (who's totally into soccer and is really good) and Spencer (who is learning how to kick a soccer ball).

With that being said, the dishes aren't doing themselves and the laundry is starting to walk on its own.

Monday, May 5, 2014

silly dates

Today is Cinco de Mayo which the media is reminding us is not Mexico's Independence day, but a silly made-up American holiday. But it does have to do with a battle and keeping the French from taking over (you can read about it here). I'm not even part Mexican, but I do celebrate gastronomically.

Tonight, I made the Mexican Skillet. Onion, chorizo, sausage, pinto beans, tomato, and corn make for the basis of the dish. Top it with cheese and serve it with lime, avocado and sour cream. Yum! It made plenty of leftovers too. I may have to make some burritos out of it.

More importantly, yesterday was the 4th. And, when you think about it, can be best summed up by saying, "May the 4th… be with you."

Every year I forget May the 4th. While I don't consider myself a Star Wars fanatic, I do know the movies pretty well. Maybe next year I'll remember May the 4th.

On another silly holiday note, Sandwich week is coming. I should start planning which sandwiches I'll be making.

I'm thankful for food, and my love of fixing it.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Congratulations Molly!

I survived the retreat. It was a great weekend.

Bill and I ended the weekend by celebrating Miss Molly's college graduation from Hope.
This was taken back in the fall.
There's Molly!

I'm thankful to have been a part of her high school, and now college, journey. I hope that we can continue to watch her grow into adulthood.

Friday, May 2, 2014

a retreat for confirmation

I am headed off for a retreat with the Jr. High. It's the last one for the Confirmation year.

It has been a good year. Our curriculum has made it oh so easy.

I'm not even stressed about the retreat. I have cut out stoles for each person to paint. I have a couple of lists of things I need to gather, but all of those items are in my closet in the church. I have snacks ready to put in the car. Really, all I have to do is load up the car.

I don't think I'll blog while I'm at the camp where we'll be staying. First, we're on Lake Michigan, the same place the Women at First had their retreat back in March.

I hope the ice and snow has melted. If not, I'll take pictures! Because we'll be so close to the lake, the chance of having service is minimal. Plus, I won't have internet access.

And I'll also be busy trying to keep ten Jr. High students from doing what Jr. High students do.

Annoy the other leaders.

Just kidding.

They like to annoy each other.

Except they really don't. I've bragged before about how amazing this group of students has been. They continue to amaze me. We helped with the Second Best Sale intake last Sunday and those students worked.

We'll be making Mother's day gifts next week. And then we're done! It's the end-of-the-year party on the 18th. Except Confirmation continues until June 8th, Confirmation Sunday which also happens to be Pentecost.

Today I'm thankful for the authors of the curriculum. They made it so easy.