Friday, November 29, 2013

The Day After...

If you follow MY PHOTO BLOG, you've no doubt already seen my Thanksgiving photos.  People really did show up to grace that table.  I was really happy with the way it all came together -- thus all the photos, but... it was really just a representation of all that is beautiful and lovely in my life.

Those "grateful lists" that I've been making for October and November seem almost trivial now that I have had two days surrounded by those I love.  Not trivial as in I didn't really mean it.  Trivial in the sense that there's nothing like literally sitting in the the midst of and basking in the glow of everything that is good in your life. This Thanksgiving really seemed to be that.  Just stopping mid-bite and realizing that this life, these people are what it's all about for me.  Thanksgiving Day has a way of making all the stuff  fade into the background, showcasing the important... the "things" you truly could not do without.

Today?  Today is all about sleeping in.  No "Black Friday" for us.  Probably a crock pot full of chili.  Our "day after" has always been more about recovery(so to speak) than kicking off Christmas with a bang.  Christmas comes slowly around here.  That's not to say that I won't start bringing some decorations out from their resting places today -- but... no expectations, you know?  The tree waits until the first weekend in December.  That's just how we roll.

In recent years, we have learned to do what works for us rather than trying to keep up with anyone named Jones -- and most of all, to do what we do with GREAT JOY!

I hope that wherever this day finds you, that you are also living with GREAT JOY.  'Tis the season!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


~ Our Thanksgiving Table ~

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving '13

The big day is getting close.  Are you ready?  I'm not.  But, it will all work out.  Jill and her family will be going to her in-laws this year, but they were given a FREE TURKEY -- so guess what?  They shared it with us before we bought ours!  How nice.  Said bird is currently thawing in the refrigerator.  Other family members are bringing various dishes, so I have to sit down and figure out what's left for me to do.

Incoming weather threatens to keep some of those we love at home.  We're hoping that will not be the case.  On Wednesday evening,  we'll be gathering with my hubby's family, and I will be whipping up our Killer Hashbrown Casserole.  On Thursday, my Mom will be bringing the Cinnamon Applesauce Salad to our house, along with a bunch of other goodies.  My mouth is watering already.

Just a note about my "give thanks" spoon...  So many of you have commented on it when you've seen it in my photos.  I did not make it, but won it quite a while ago from another blogger.  She was purging, and giving away some special things that she no longer had room for.  Things that were just too precious to throw away.  Special, but past the time when they needed to take up space in her home.  And so, I "won the comment lottery" for this precious spoon.  I haven't been able to put it away since Susie gifted it to me.  Rather than a seasonal decoration, it has become a daily reminder.  Sometimes it is a place of honor in an arrangement.  Other times, it resides here at my desk in the pencil cup.  It brings a smile every day!

Well, I've got a lot of things to do around here before Thursday, so let me say it NOW...  I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy each and every moment with the ones you love -- and remembering how short life is, be intentional in your time together!

Love, Sally

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for my precious family
* grateful for our good health
* grateful for this season of the year, when we set aside time to gather together and celebrate
* grateful for all of the freedoms that we enjoy in this country
* grateful for my Lord and Savior and his sacrifice on the cross

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Be It Ever So Humble...

...there's no place like HOME!

I love this little bit of gratefulness that my 7-year-old niece shared:

"The thing I like best about me is everything.  Why?  I love myself the way God made me.  I love everything that God gave me: my nose, my mouth, my teeth, my feet and my head."

Wow.  What if we were all as grateful to be exactly who God made us to be?

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for safe travels for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law during the past week
* grateful for a safe and healthy week with my nieces
* grateful for health and safety for my own family while we were apart
* grateful for an "uneventful" trip home yesterday

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Update on Things 1-4 (Sweet Things)

AKA: I found a camera cord, so here's the "hat day" picture!

If you've been following along this week, you know I've been spending the week with my four nieces in Pennsylvania.  They are (top to bottom, left to right) Things ONE, FOUR, THREE, and TWO.  They came to these "nicknames" when they found t-shirts in the style of Dr. Seuss's Things One and Two (and up to FOUR), and it has stuck.

Thing One  is smart and techy, and fast becoming a teen.  Though she is growing up quickly, she is a snuggler at heart.  I love when she stands beside me and leans in for a hug, or lays her head on my shoulder.
Thing Two needs me to sit on her while she does her homework.  Luckily, we've been able to laugh about that so far!  Also, she has shared important cooking instructions with me.
Thing Three  often hovers close by (when she is here), and loves on me -- I think so I know she thinks I'm doing "okay" around here.  She is a great helper.
Thing Four  is the baby, but she is mighty, and she will NOT eat breakfast for me.  She just grins when I beg her.

These girls have traveled the world, and now they are (at least for a short time) practically in our back yard.  I'm so excited to have had this chance to spend more time with them.  We were all chatting in the car on the way home from school the other day, and they reminded me that it would be mere DAYS before I see them again.  Hurray for Thanksgiving!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for helpful blogging friends
* grateful for telephone chats with my hubby
* grateful for a new job opportunity for our son
* grateful for the anticipation of family time at Thanksgiving

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Things ONE, TWO, THREE and FOUR! (love 'em!)

Another successful morning (Day TWO) with my nieces, and everyone was delivered on time to school.  Today was hat day, so even as we scurried out the door, we stopped in the driveway for a picture.  But DRAT, I did not pack the cord that allows me to transfer my photos from camera to computer, so I am stuck.  Trust me, they were cute.  I'm pretty sure that by the time we reached school, 3/4 of them had switched hats and hair-styles.  Oy.

Many years ago, I babysat a fabulous family of FOUR children -- and the scurrying of this week has brought back many memories.  I used to tease those four (one girl, and 3 boys) and say that they were my training for motherhood -- and they really were.  My kids don't even realize how they have benefitted because of their… "predecessors!"  ha!

I've been getting up earlier than the girls (my usual waking time at home) and packing lunches.  By the time I wake them, I can help with their breakfasts and morning meds -- and today, I had time to make a cup of tea and sit and chat with them before we left for school.

In our chat, I asked "Thing Two"* if I was doing a good job of keeping things organized.  She said yes. Then I asked her if I was being too much of a DRILL SERGEANT.  I'm pretty sure her Air Force daddy has taught her diplomacy, because she was gracious in her answer.

* Referring to the Dr. Seuss characters, & what the girls often refer to themselves as… and they have shirts to prove it!)

My Paperwhites at home.  I'm sure they are much bigger now!

But… if Drill Sergeant is what it takes to get the job done in my short term assignment, then so be it.  At least I can say that I've gotten them to school on time, and have been there to pick them up on time each day!  Hurray for that!  I told their daddy that this household is a "well-oiled machine" -- and it truly is.  The girls really know how things work around here, and it has been absolutely stress free!  (Hurray for THAT, too!)

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for my FOUR healthy and happy nieces
* grateful for their mom & dad's chance to get away and do something special
* grateful for "timing" that allowed me to help
* grateful for nice weather this week
* grateful for four fabulous hugs I received this morning at school (the strongest from "Thing One") -- and "I love yous" all around!
* grateful for the sweet daily notes of encouragement that my daughter left in my suitcase
* grateful for a morning phone conversation with my son

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Note Card Party 11.20

This week, I am excited to be visiting beautiful Carlisle, PA to take care of four of my sweet nieces, ages 12, 10, 8, and 7.  I arrived yesterday, and today is DAY ONE "on our own" (without Mom or Dad) to meet all of the demands of the girls' daily schedules.  I'm very sure that they will set me straight if I forget anything -- they are four very smart girls!!  Hopefully, I'll have some stories to share, but for now, here's my contribution to this month's Note Card Party.

All photos are linked to their original posts.  I'll try to stop by and visit the other participants in between the twice-daily drives to school, being the homework and instrument-practice monitor and chief cook and bottle washer!

Thanks for stopping by!

[Photos are linked to their original posts.]

My apologies to our hostess.  Apparently I missed the request for a "box cover" this month.  As I am away from my home, and my own computer & photo files, I hope you'll forgive the omission.

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for safety in arriving at my destination
* grateful for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and their awesome example of teamwork in marriage

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Overwhelmed? Do a Sweep!

I don't know about you, but I live in my kitchen.  I don't have an office, or a craft room, or a finished basement. Now, none of this is me complaining.  Just statement of fact.  You can imagine that my kitchen "suffers" from all that goes on in it.  I'm not just cooking and baking.  I'm blogging, bill-paying, crafting, and seasonally decorating here in the kitchen as well, and from time to time it gets... overwhelming, and I have to STOP and do a sweep.

This kind of sweep doesn't involve a broom, but rather a trick I learned many years ago as a young mom. Perhaps it will help you get out from under things today.  Let me share what I mean -- it's so simple!

When things get overwhelming (meaning my kitchen is loaded down with stuff that A. doesn't belong here in the first place, or B. just needs to be put away), I have to take my eyes off the big picture (afterall, that's what is overwhelming me), and look at each separate area.

I start in a corner -- for me, it's the end of a counter-space -- and I work my way around the kitchen counter-clockwise..  I move in a direction that works naturally with the flow or layout of my room.

My first tiny counter-space involves the toaster.  Unplug.  Set back in corner.  Brush away toast crumbs.

Next, the stove-top.  Wipe clean, and work on any stuck on food spots.  Put away pots and pans and clean dishes that land here.

Onto a bigger area of counter-space.  Put food/dish items away.  Tidy up what belongs there.  Wipe down counter.

The sink... yada yada.  You get the idea.

The whole process doesn't take long at all, but it's amazing how I feel when it's done -- like my life is back in order again.  After tackling the counter-spaces, I finally arrive at the kitchen table.  Sometimes during the process, lots of odds and ends wind up here.  I make myself take the time to put things where they belong, and wipe down the table.

And now, I'm ready for whatever's next.  The cobwebs get swept out of my brain while I'm going through this routine, and I end up with a fresh work place!  A place for everything, and everything in its place, and aaaaaaah -- a big sigh of relief.

This kind of sweep works in any room, and it's a great way to tidy up in a hurry.  If you circle the entire room, it's hard to miss things.  I usually dust this way as well, so that I don't miss a spot.

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful to have caught up on so many things around the house, so that I don't feel overwhelmed when I return from my trip
* grateful for my sweet daughter who is ever my encourager
* grateful for that amazing "Billy Goat" that my hubby used to clean up all of our leaves, and for my hubby's hard work too
* grateful to see the Cleveland Pear trees turn to gold before my trip

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Little Thanksgiving Touches

I will be away from home for the rest of this week, so I've been trying to get things in order around here so that Thanksgiving week doesn't feel overwhelming for me.  My sweet hubby was out of town for two weeks, and I tried to use that time effectively, catching up on laundry, general tidying, and a little bit of Thanksgiving decorating.

Because I decorate for FALL as opposed to halloween, my seasonal vignettes carry over into the Thanksgiving season easily, and I can just add some last minute Thanksgiving touches.

You may remember THIS FILLABLE LAMP BASE PROJECT.  I thought it was time for an update.  I was happy to find some berry garland at Michael's for 80% off, and I re-filled my lamp base for a new look.

Also, if you follow me on Facebook (you DO, right??), you may have seen my post about the Tablecloth Dance. Over the years, I have had some ill-fitting tableclothes that I had finally had it with.  I decided that I would purchase a new one for this Thanksgiving, and I hit the jackpot at TJMaxx.

Well, actually... the story goes like this:

* I wasn't sure of my table's length (no wonder my other tablecloths were ill-fitting, right?), so I purchased two different lengths of a tablecloth I liked at TJMaxx
* Got home & realized BOTH were the wrong size
* Headed out later that same evening to HomeGoods on the other side of town (and where I could also hit a different TJMaxx), where I thought I might find the same brand/pattern tablecloth in the correct size
* Found a different tablecloth to "settle for" in the correct size & purchased it
* Headed over to TJMaxx to return the other "wrong size" tablecloths
* While there, spotted (under a HEAP of highly unorganized place mats) ONE tablecloth in the pattern and size that I'd really wanted.  Boom.  Happy girl!

[...and see what I mean?  A DANCE! -- or a wild goose chase, you decide.]

Plus, what I didn't tell you is that I found a pretty Ralph Lauren floral table runner on clearance.  Hello?  Really happy girl.  Totally returning that "settled for" tablecloth!

How about you?
What are you doing around the house to spruce things up for Thanksgiving?

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for my wonderful mom, whose birthday we celebrated yesterday
* grateful for the chance I'll have to visit with four of my nieces this week
* grateful for prayer warriors
* grateful for successful heart surgery for a cousin
* grateful for my handy hubby & the car repairs he was able to do for our son

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Spool Awaits It's Fate

So, I think I've mentioned that it's been a bit of "musical vehicles" around here lately, since my hubby's been working on our son's car.  The other day, my daughter and I took my hubby's van grocery shopping, and came out to find this giant spool in the back of the van.

Oh my, did my wheels ever start turning!  I confess, when we got home, I did a search for "giant spool" on Pinterest and found THESE IDEAS.  A little premature I guess, since I didn't know where my hubby got the spoon, or who or what it was intended for.

Turns out, he was at a local DIY store, and saw an employee rolling the empty spool through the store.  He asked if he could have it, and  BOOM!  It's in his trunk!

I don't know WHAT he intended for it, but when my daughter accidentally slipped and told him I'd been Pinterest surfing for ideas, he said to me, "You'd better look surprised on Christmas!"  So, that's been the joke around here lately.

For today, it's sitting on my patio -- awaiting it's fate.

What would YOU do with it?

(It's not too late to link up with Tuesday's Thanksgiving traditions survey!)

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for a successful shopping trip with my daughter
* grateful for great life-long friends for my kids
* grateful for family dinner +1 with one of those friends

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Ruuuuude!

Ummmm, excuse me winter.  What you did yesterday?  SO rude!

Clearly, fall wasn't finished yet!

This is what we woke up to yesterday morning -- snow!  -- and much earlier in the season than usual.  It continued on all through the day.  Luckily, it only seemed to accumulate on grassy areas.  It's not often that we see fallen leaves on TOP of the snow!!  But, even after all the snow, we still have lots of leaves on the trees.  Our Cleveland Pear trees have barely started to change colors!

Go figure.

It's not too late to join up with yesterday's Thanksgiving traditions survey!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for new friendships
* grateful for our vehicles -- especially as we play "musical cars"
* grateful for my sweet sister, and for how like-minded we are when it comes to the important things
* grateful for my sweet hubby, and his many acts of service to me (may I never take them for granted)

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know (Survey Answers & Linky)

Before we get to the Thanksgiving traditions survey, let's do the the "gratefuls" so they don't get forgotten, and because I'm really trying to be faithful to this project, and to stay in the right frame of mind for Thanksgiving!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for a hard-working hubby
* grateful for a super-productive day yesterday
* grateful for my washer and dryer (it wasn't so long ago that my dryer wasn't working)
* grateful for our cozy home
* grateful that somebody got up when the alarm when off

Hello Friends.  Today is our Thanksgiving Tradition linky party -- and I told you I'd have the WELCOME mat out!  I can't wait to hear about the sights, sounds, SMELLS, and events of Thanksgiving at your house!  Here's a LINK to the original questions, and now... here's an idea of what goes on at our house.

 1. Where do we celebrate?  Thanksgiving has been ever-changing and evolving over the last several years in our family.  To try to ease some of the burden on our moms who were working so hard (and also hosted Christmas!), my hubby and I decided to have an open house for both sides of the family.  We asked everyone to bring a dish -- and it was pretty laid back.  We did that for three or four years, with different participants each year.  Then, in 2010, we had our celebration at Disney World (you can read about that HERE), and the following year, things got changed up again.  It's been a little back-and-forth since then, but this year, we are hosting again.  My mom is on-board to help me out, but Jill's family won't be with us this year.  Typically, they are with us on alternate years, and last year, they hosted.

 2. Formal or casual?  Mom, Jill and I all use our good china when we host.  However, we are not above making things easy if circumstances call for it.  We'd rather be together than have things picture-perfect.  I have an all-white embossed turkey platter and large and small covered turkey dishes that were my gram's.  See the platter in the picture below?  The all-white theme has prompted me to purchase some other all-white decorations like the pilgrims you see in that picture.

 3./4. Turkey?  Yes!  We always roast it in the oven, and the little button ALWAYS pops earlier than we expect it too.  We have made many a phone call across town to say, "How soon can you get here?  We're running early."  It's kind of gotten to be a joke -- but it happens to all three of us when we host.  Does it happen to you too?

 5. Stuffing?  Yes!  I always make it outside the bird in a casserole.  Our go-to recipe is Stove Top. Years ago, we decided we wouldn't kill ourselves over the stuffing (we've never had any great family recipe), nor would we be embarrassed to say we just use Stove Top, because we all love it!

 6. Side dishes?  As a rule, our side-dishes are the same.  Mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cinnamon applesauce salad, cranberry jelly, homemade bread (if my hubby has anything to say about it), and usually a sweet potato casserole (if Jill's family is with us).  We don't experiment with recipes for Thanksgiving dinner.  What can I say?  We already know what we like. *wink

 7. Does the host/hostess do all of the cooking?  No!  In my family, we (almost always) ALL contribute to all events in some way.

 8. Dessert?  Pumpkin and apple pies.  Always.

 9. TV?  The TV may be on during cooking time before guests arrive.  But we (meaning my hubby and I) are more interested in peeking at the parade than football.  I still love those giant balloons!  When the guests arrive, the TV goes off, and we are a FOOTBALL(TV) FREE zone!  Seriously.  [I do remember one year that Jill & her hubby hosted.  At that time, my kids were the only kiddos in the family, and Jill graciously borrowed some family videos for us to watch together after dinner -- which was kind of a big deal at the time for our kids.]

10. Serving time?  We usually serve a "late lunch" meal -- planning to sit down at 1:00.

11. Any other traditional activities through the day?  Through the years, we have done various "thankfulness exercises."  Most often, before prayer, we go around the table stating what we are thankful for.  It's typically a little emotional...  After dinner, we often read the Christmas sale ads, sometimes sharing "wish lists."  We do play games, and usually stay together until evening, when we have been known to bring out some fresh appetizers and leftovers.  (Last year, it was a GORGEOUS day, and we all went for a walk together through Jill's neighborhood!)  Occasionally some friends will stop by in the evening, and join us for games and fellowship.

12. Anything else?  Hmmmm, let's see... Well, none of us are Black Friday shoppers.  That said, there might be a thing or two that we run out for.  But we don't typically camp out on the curb at our favorite stores or anything!  If I really have my act together, I like to have enough grocery shopping done so that I don't even have to leave the house on Friday!!!  It's like a Thanksgiving gift to myself!

Okay, your turn!

If you don't have a blog, you can like my Facebook page HERE, and follow along -- and of course, you can always leave a comment here on the blog sharing a favorite Thanksgiving tradition.

Feel free to add my button to your post to link back to our party!

Please remember to submit the link to your POST, and not to your blog's home-page -- and don't forget to stop by & visit at the other participating blogs.  
Thanks for linking up and sharing your Thanksgiving traditions.  ~Sally

This link-up is now closed.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Colors of November

Don't forget that tomorrow, you can link up for the Thanksgiving traditions survey!  You'll find the questions HERE.  Hope to see you all at the party!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for the color pallete that God uses for autumn
* grateful for "fall clearance" at Michael's
* grateful for old friends
* grateful for my hubby's safe arrival on Friday night
* grateful for the father-daughter time spent this weekend (my girl really misses her dad when he's gone!)
* grateful for another Second Sunday

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

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