Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Red Fringed Boots

Back when I was in college, my grandma and great-aunt paid a visit to us in Ohio.  They were sisters, and as sisters often do, they shopped together.  It was a little tradition that at least one of the days during their visits would be spent somewhere shopping together -- all the "girls."

The particular visit I'm remembering was no different.  We headed to the mall.  At some point, when I was walking through the mall next to my Gram, she spotted a young woman with red boots.  These weren't just your ordinary red boots, though.  They had a row of fringe going down the back seam.  They were awesome.  Gram and I both thought so.  I don't ever remember seeing her admire something like that.  I told her that if she liked them that much, she should get a pair!

Right away, she brushed me off.  She didn't think she could pull off such a look at her age.  Gram was the youngest of my two grandma's by about ten years -- so I always thought of her as young, and totally didn't understand why she wouldn't "go for it" and look for boots like we had seen.

Fast forward to today.  Our daughter needed some boots with traction -- not necessarily warm snow-boots, but something that would provide more traction than the flat, short-cut suede boots that she has.  I had seen some really cute rain boots in our adventure to Tractor Supply the other week.  They were a great multi-colored polka-dot-on-black pattern that I'd long admired, and were less expensive at Tractor Supply than most stores.  When I reminded my sweet hubby, he stopped on his way home from work to look for our daughter's size.

He arrived home with not one, but two pair of boots -- the pair of rain boots that I had suggested, and a pair of cute, pink-lined, girly hiking boots.  Our girl went right for the rain boots, but when she tried them on, they were a little big -- and not really her thing.  The hiking boots on the other hand?  B-I-N-G-O!  She loved them.

I looked at the rain boots, unsure.

Could I?  Well, sure -- they were already purchased and sitting right in front of me.
Should I?  They might be "too young" a look for me.

And perhaps most importantly, WOULD I?  Darn right, Baby.  I'm keeping them!
You're only as old as you feel, right?  And I feel like multi-colored polka-dots-on-black.

I feel Gram smilin' down on me.

Today, I am thankful for:
1. safety and no power outages
2. a sump pump that's keeping up
3. a new dehumidifier that's helping
4. a quiet and uneventful day yesterday
5. homemade chicken noodle soup

Thought: If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get. ~Frank A. Clark

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Recipe ~ Meatza Pie

My mom and I got to talking about meal planning the other day.  We're ready to move into those cozy fall-winter kind of suppers.  We were trying to recall some old family favorites, and Mom remembered "Meatza Pie."  "Meatza" meaning: meatloaf + pizza.  I made it recently for dinner, and I thought I'd share the recipe with you.  Maybe it's exactly what you need for a cozy dinner while your riding out Hurricane Sandy.

Here in NEOhio, it has been raining and raining, with wind, and strong wind gusts.  School is cancelled for today (due to "uncertain weather conditions"), and we're praying that the electricity will stay on.  I know that many who have stopped by here are dealing with much more than that...  Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers!

Meatza Pie

1 lb. ground round
1 egg
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 T. ketchup
1 tsp. garlic salt

Mix egg, bread crumbs, ketchup and garlic salt with meat.  Pat lightly on sides and bottom of a 9" pie pan.

1/3 c. tomato paste
2 T. ketchup
1 T. instant onion (or fresh if you prefer)
1/4 tsp. oregano
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Mix tomato paste & remaining ketchup.  Spread over meat.  Sprinkle onion, & mozzarella cheese over sauce. Crush oregano into Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over all.  Bake at 375F  for 30-35 minutes -- or until you're confident that the meat is done.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.

TIP:  I like to let it stand tipped to one side w/ a utensil underneath... to let any grease drain to one side.  Since the meat-crust will shrink up a bit, you'll have room to spoon any grease away.

AND:  You can adapt this recipe to suit your spice or pizza-topping preferences.  Even use your favorite pizza sauce.  You get the idea.

I'm linking up with Sandi @ Rose Chintz Cottage for:

Today, I am thankful for...
1. Scripture that reminds me of God's great love for me
2. sweet bloggers who blog words of encouragement
3. the fact that we knew school was canceled last night -- so the kids could sleep in undisturbed this morning
4. our family :: at home in safety :: together

Thought: (borrowed from Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage) Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to it's neck in hot water, yet it still sings. ~Unknown

Monday, October 29, 2012

Homeschooling: Our Story - Part 4

Today, I was thinking back over our homeschooling story, and I thought I'd share what's going on currently. This fall, our son began his second (and SENIOR) year of public high school.  He has done well, adapting pretty easily.

It struck me recently that the things that he takes in stride, our daughter often takes to heart.  She is not a drama-queen by any means, but her approach to starting public school this fall was completely different than our son's had been last year.

He was rarin' to go, and excited --plain and simple.  She was (if we're being honest) bitter, anxious, excited, claiming it as her own, begging me to continue homeschooling -- and we rode that wave before school even started!  All of those emotions continued well into the first few weeks of school.  It was a struggle, I won't lie.  The one thing that worked in our favor (I guess you could say) is that our daughter has a very strong sense of what is right and wrong.  When she is away from home, I may worry about her safety, but I never worry about whether or not she will do the right thing.  On the rare occasion when she "messes up" -- she knows it, and feels it strongly.  All that to say that I knew she wouldn't purposely make starting school a difficult experience.  She was simply processing all of the very real emotions that she was experiencing.

There were the nights of homework (a new chore for a former homeschooler!) that seemed never-ending -- but that was only until she got the hang of it.

There were the little "digs" she would gently HURL at Mom when she had a hard day... "This wouldn't be happening if I was HOMEschooled!" she'd say.  I still hear them occasionally -- but definitely less often -- and more gentle.

And the worst part of all?  MORNINGS.  And those are still hard.  She doesn't show any signs of accepting those any time soon.

But... once she's out the door?  She's golden.  Gosh, I'm so proud of her.  *sniff*  *sudden sob*

* no school band has ever had a better cheerleader
* no friend has ever had a stronger ally
* no lunch-time friends doubt where my girl stands in her faith

And the list goes on.

She has worked to follow her brother's first and most important piece of advice to her: work to build friendships with your teachers.  Look them in the eye, and have real conversations.  Give them the respect they deserve.

Yep.  I think it's safe to officially say... she has lived to tell the story.

And um... me too.

I'm linking up with Megan @ Fried Okra for

You can read the first three parts of our story here:
Part 1Part 2Part 3.

Today, I am thankful for:
1. the first quarter of the school year - DONE
2. new beginnings
3. an anticipated lunch-date with a friend

Thought:(spotted on Pinterest) It doesn't matter if the glass is half empty or half full.  Be thankful that you have a glass and grateful that there's something in it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thanksgiving 10.28

Saturday, I sat at my computer preparing a "thanksgiving" post for the day and thinking that I had so much to be thankful for.  Yet... putting that into words without making it seem sort of petty and ridiculous was difficult for me in that moment.  The things that I was thinking of were everyday kind of things, and yet to express appreciation almost seemed spoiled and pampered of me.  As if to say, "well God, of COURSE, I NEED that.  Thanks for givin' it to me!"  I don't know -- after all my "preaching" here on the blog, I just couldn't get into it.

And then the phone rang.  It was my sweet hubby, who had run over to church to pick up our daughter.  He had received a call from our son (on his way home from work) to say that he had hydroplaned, and spun out on the interstate.  Our son was fine, and so my husband went to meet him, to take care of the towing, and give him a ride home (his car was not fine).

Upon hanging up the phone, I immediately had a list of things to express thanks for that didn't seem so petty anymore.  And, now that I have gathered my wits about me... I can share them with you.

(this list continues from yesterday, in which I had already expressed thankfulness for our son's safety!)

Today, I am thankful for...

1. cell phones.  Since our son became a driver, I have become especially appreciative of them.  Friday night he texted to say "on my way home..." --and on Saturday morning, it was a call to say "I just hydroplaned on the interstate!"  Also, after hearing the news from my hubby, I could immediately call our son across town and hear his voice to "read" whether he was really okay.
2. seat belts.  They save lives.  'Nuf said.
3. no other cars involved.  Amen, and amen.
4. the man in the business suit, on his way to a "very important interview" that still took the time to stop to see that our son was alright.
5. that everyone at our house got a good night's sleep last night

Thought: Psalm 107:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thanksgiving 10.27

Today, I am thankful for...
1. my Savior, Jesus Christ
2. a morning to sleep in
3. protection for our son in a hydroplaning incident on the highway today (he was wearing his seat belt!)
4. God's hand in keeping me calm while I spoke to my son & he waited for his dad
5. My sweet hubby in his role as a dad
6. --which makes me so thankful for my dad, too, and all the times he was, and still IS there for me.

Thought: Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone. ~G.B.Stern

Friday, October 26, 2012

Autumn JOY

On the way to visit my parents, I drove through rain on a dreary morning.  By the time I arrived twenty minutes later, the rain had stopped, but the dreary continued.  However, during my visit, the sun appeared, and when we looked out into the backyard, our eyes met a beautiful sight.  The sun was shining brightly through the golden leaves, and it was nothing short of breathtaking.

I hope that you are taking the time to enjoy this season of God's creation, and making time to put the JOY in each day.  Some days, JOY comes easy... and other days you might have to look harder.  No matter how it comes... make time to find it.  It will change your outlook on the day.

I found JOY in the golden brilliance of God's creation.

Today, I am thankful for:
1. JOY in unexpected places
2. pumpkins of all shapes and sizes
3. blue sky & sunshine
4. several blue jays in the yard

Thought: God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Art Class ~ First Quarter

(sing to the tune of the first line of "The Twelve Days of Christmas")

After four weeks of Art Class, my sweet girl brought to me...

 Sketched items from nature, gathered from our backyard.

After eight weeks of Art Class, my sweet girl brought to me...

A fabulous watercolors painting, using a plastic bag technique...

Today, I am thankful for...
1. time spent scrapbooking with my mom yesterday
2. the sound of birds congregating in the trees
3. sunshine glowing through golden leaves

Thought: What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Radical Intervention

Very early in the season, I bought a heavy felt place-mat   Just one.  Perhaps you've noticed it here and there in my photos?  My plan was to use it on the kitchen table under a candle or some type of centerpiece.  This wasn't just any ordinary place-mat  though.  Perhaps you've see them?  The laser-cut place mats in various shapes and sizes...?  This particular one is round with a beautiful leaf pattern all the way around.  It's very pretty -- which is why it caught my eye.

 hidden underneath

So, for weeks, it's been on and off of our kitchen table, under various decorations.  Hidden.  Driving me a little crazy.

#1 - because at meal time, I always want to move it away, so it doesn't get food spills on it (I'm pretty sure washing it would mean certain death)
#2 - because it's beauty is hidden when it's underneath things, and shuffled around

pretty, but... sometimes in the way

And so, I did something radical.  RADICAL, I tell ya!

I hung it on the wall... behind one of my favorite word-plaques.  And now, when I walk by, I smile -- because it's not in the way anymore, and it's not hidden away anymore, and it's not going to get messed up, and I can see the beautiful laser-cut pattern of leaves.  Right on my wall.

Call me crazy.  The end.

I'm joining up with Sandi @ Rose Chintz Cottage for "HOME."

Today, I am thankful for:
1. My sweet hubby, who has been working long days... for his strong work ethic, and his unwavering commitment to supporting our family.
2. My daughter's "stick-to-it" attitude with her school work even in the midst of uncomfortable back issues.  She is rockin' her first year of public school!

Thought: (spotted on Pinterest) Be thankful for the bad things in life, for they open your eyes to the good things you weren't paying attention to before. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

Well, I promised I'd share some bargains from last weekend.  One of our stops was Tractor Supply.


Who knows!?

I've learned to keep my mouth shut, and follow my husband.  On occasion, there's something that he wants to show me.  Other times, he just wants to stop in...  Often, his stops are NOT ANYWHERE that I would just stop in.  And so... I always learn new things when I let him take the lead.

Yes - so Tractor Supply.  And what did we find?  Two great chairs for the patio @ $9.99 each, marked down from $29.99.  The seat is a bit higher than the Adirondack style chairs that we've had in recent years, and they'll be a great addition to our patio.  Since they are heavier duty, I won't have to worry about them blowing across the patio on blustery days.  But, because they are stackable, the paint has worn off a little in spots where the chairs rub together.  I think I will repaint them in the spring and start fresh!  (SUBLIME)  There was a little cafe table that went with them, but we weren't willing to pay the $19.99 (cheap, cheap).  We'll keep our eye on it to see if it gets marked down now that it has no chairs to accompany it.

Then, we were off to K-mart.  I'd mentioned that we needed new bed pillows, and my sweet hubby knew they were on sale there.  {My man is a wealth of information!}  We found our pillows -- oh yes, we did.  I'm kind of a flat pillow kind of gal -- so it was hard to know if I would be happy with a new poofy pillow.  Also-- it's not easy to test them in the store, you know?  Fast forward to Sunday morning, when I overslept because I was so darn comfy on my new pillow.  I think it's a keeper!  (SUBLIME)  P.S. I am totally using this Pinterest idea with our new pillows!

And on our way to the check-out...  spell check on aisle two!  We passed a sale cart with this sign:

and there were three bags.  My hubby grabbed my sleeve before I could get too far ahead of him.  "Look at this price!" he said to me with his eyes.  I smirked.  "How many should I take?"  My eyes said back to him.  Silly girl, I am.  He wanted all three bags.  We kind of have a thing with marshmallows and hot chocolate at our house.  And the "thing" is... we only buy sugar-free hot chocolate, and cheap, cheap, cheap marshmallows at the grocery outlet (or now, apparently K-Mart).  So 31 cents?  What, are you kidding me?  We couldn't pass that up.  These things are huge.  You eat one, and say, "Yep, I'm good until tomorrow!"  H-U-G-E, I tell ya!  (RIDICULOUS)  I teasingly said that for 31 cents, I'd take the kitchen scissors, and cut up my own mini-marshmallows!

I know what you're thinking.  I didn't go from the ridiculous to the sublime.  I went from the SUBLIME to the RIDICULOUS.  Oh well, you get my point.

Today, I am thankful for...
1. knowing when to be a follower
2. bargains
3. the changing leaves
4. a warm-up this week

Thought: (spotted on Pinterest) It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Recap, and Thanksgiving

Well, a week ago I told you that the next weekend was coming fast, didn't I?  And now that weekend has come and gone. Where does the time go?

Friday night, against my better judgement, I went to a football game with my daughter.  Rain was threatening, and my daughter was recovering from a cold and a pulled back muscle.  But we went... and had a good time, regardless of the rain and the cold, and seemed none the worse for wear the next day.  (Whew!)  We don't really need to go into details about whether or not we (meaning I) could feel our legs when we stood up to go home, do we?  No, I didn't think so. (Thank you!)

It was pretty gray around here on Saturday, but the leaves were GORgeous.  My sweet hubby and I took a drive, and ran a bunch of errands.  I SO enjoyed the drive.  The colors around here are really at their peek, I'd say.  We found a few bargains that perhaps I'll share with you tomorrow.  I'll keep you on the edge of your seat until then - ha!

On Sunday, we enjoyed a great morning of serving and worship.  My daughter and I have taken on a new roll as "check-in volunteers" for the KIDS department.  We stand at the welcome center, greet people, check kids and KIDS volunteers in, and print out security name-tags.  I enjoy it for a couple of reasons: it is a great way to meet new people and learn their names (more on that another time, too!), AND I get to be a computer-geek at church!  LOL

When we came out of church it was sunny with blue skies, and we headed home for a fix-your-own-breakfast-burrito lunch.  We chose from a few yummy "breakfast" options to make our own burritos.  My hubby planned the same lunch a few weeks ago when our son's friend joined us, and it was a hit.  It really filled those boys young men up!  Well, it sounded like a cozy option for this chilly weekend, so we planned for it again.  My hubby was the chief cook, and I was the sous chef.  That's my favorite way to do Sunday lunch -- no matter what's cookin'.  We love the time spent around the table with our kids -- and often their friends, as well.

Sunday afternoon was mostly... naps.  Aaaah, recharging for the week ahead!

How cute is this orange pumpkin filler?  I gave you a peek at it HERE.  I have these sweet pumpkins scattered around in a few places, but finally pulled the rest out and filled in around a white candle.  It sure takes the candle from boring to bling-y -- wouldn't you agree?

Well, Thanksgiving is one month from today.  But every day, I have so much to be thankful for.  I'm not sure how this will all pan out... but I'm going to make it a point to blog a little thankfulness every day between now and then.  Some days there might be other stuff to blog about as well... or not.  But thankfulness noted every day.  That's the goal.  Want to join me?  Please do!  If you've got a thankful post to share, I'd love for you to add a link in the comments!  OR, just leave a comment sharing something that you're thankful for in this moment.  Either way.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the daily grind, that we forget to be thankful for the every day things that we truly DO appreciate, but kind of take for granted day to day.  I know that I am often reminded of simple things to be thankful for when I read inspiring blog posts (or comments) from others!

I know you have things to be thankful for too.  Let's talk it up, shall we?  From the simple to the specific.  What are you thankful for today?

Today, I am thankful for:
1. our church, and a great Sunday morning of worship
2. friendship.  Years ago, one of our pastor/teachers said to us, "Never underestimate what we mean to one another!"  I have never forgotten that, and am so thankful for the friendships that have stood the test of time!
3. the opportunity to connect with and pray for on-line blogging friends
4. the freedoms we enjoy as Americans --including, but not limited to the freedom to express our faith on-line, via e-mails, etc. w/o fear of consequences.

Thought: (spotted on Pinterest) Instead of having a bad day, be thankful because you have the day!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Starry, Starry Night

Hats off...

My girl has a plan...

She's starstruck...

Wonder what the pumpkin sees?

Being strung along...

Finally, a project complete.

Starry, starry night!

Linking up At the Picket Fence

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Note Card Party 10.17

If you were going to create a set of (4) notecards using only photos from your blog, what photos would you choose?  This is the question posed to us by Vee, the host of the party I'm linking to today.  I've linked up before, so you can see my first set of notecards HERE, and my second set HERE.  Last time, I went all floral.  This time is more of a mix.  I hope you like the ones I chose!  Clicking on the photos will take you to their original posts.

A Haven for Vee

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Philippians 4:8

Sometimes circumstances have a way of dragging me down... making me feel sorry for myself, or frustrated, or just sad.  There's nothing worse (for me) than when my kids are sick, and we've really been battling sickness this (school)year!

For me, it truly has to be a conscious decision NOT to let this stuff get to me, and to try to rise above it.  This scripture reminded me this morning:

So today, I'm choosing to think about all of the things I can praise God for.  Keeping my mind on true, noble, just, pure, and lovely things will surely lift my spirit!

What Bible verses help you keep things in perspective?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Morning Minute 10.15

This morning, I'm thankful for a great 4-day weekend with no obligations.  Around here, the kids had Friday off, and today as well.  Yesterday, I was happy to be able to remind my son (who had forgotten) that he didn't have school today.  This morning, the kids are both sleeping in, and I'm enjoying the quiet.

Friday was a quiet baking day around here, and then chauffeuring my daughter and friend to the football game. They absolutely froze, but had fun together.  I'm glad my girl had a buddy to go to the game with since I wasn't feeling up to sitting out in the cold yet!

On Saturday, we had a bit of an adventure --but no pictures to show for it since I forgot my camera.  In search of a specific birthday gift for a special someone, we visited Rubber City Clothing downtown.  It's a unique shop with lots of Akron-wear!  [For those of you who aren't familiar with our fair city, we have long been referred to as the historical "Rubber Capital of the World" or the more modern "Rubber City" because of Akron's association with companies like General Tire, Goodrich, Firestone, and Goodyear through the years.]

Also on Saturday, we did a two-minute stroll around a quiet, old, itty-bitty pumpkin farm, and then visited a nursery that was bustling with families and lots of kid-friendly fall activities.  The contrast was so interesting.  My favorite is still Kingsway!

Yesterday was a great morning of worship, followed by our traditional "second Sunday" lunch at my parents.  We enjoyed a great lunch, and as always, animated conversation around the table with all eleven of us.  There was even talk of Thanksgiving!  It will be here before we know it.  Last night, homemade applesauce simmered on the stove-top, courtesy of my sweet hubby.  Love those fall fragrances!

I'm not a hustle-bustle kind of girl, so this weekend was right up my alley.  Slow and simple.  I hope you enjoyed yours too!  We're still moving at a slow pace around here today.  Tomorrow will come all-too-soon in a "feels like Monday on Tuesday" kind of way... which (come to think of it) makes this a four day week.  You know what that means?  It's almost the weekend again!

In the meantime... I hear laundry calling my name.

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kingsway Pumpkin Farm

A friendly greeter!

 This is the first thing you see as you pull into the parking area.
I'm not entirely sure that this is part of Kingsway, but it's a pretty scene, yes?

I've never seen a more organized pumpkin patch.
Most of the larger (orange/traditional) pumpkins were in rows like this, organized by price.

I loved this wagon of goodies.
I took the shot, and then realized it was probably not "staged" -- but someone's purchases!  =)

Items that weren't in the orange pumpkin patch were grouped together in various ways
-- everything beautifully displayed!
Prices were clearly marked on all items.  How about that?
Nothing to wonder about. 

 Boom!  (or should I say "boo!"?)
This is one of the items that I've been looking for this year! (Check! √)
Love these Baby Boos.

Well, if the first scarecrow was a greeter, then these two seemed to say "come again!"
I'm sure we'll be back next year!

I loved this farm for it's attention to detail, and it's great displays.  I'm a visual person, so Kingsway gets BIG POINTS in my book!  Also, there were buckets of paper-pads and pencils scattered around so you could list your items and their prices.  By the time you got to the check-out, you had written up your own receipt, and just had to pay.  GREAT system.  Lovely people.  Looked like there was lots for kids to do there, too!  Since we don't have little ones anymore, we paid for our goodies, and were on our way.

I'm lovin' my green pumpkin!!!

(click here for more information)
Hartville, Ohio

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