Thursday, October 29, 2009

Abbey Knoll

THANKFUL THURSDAY ....and I am so thankful for this house that we have called home for over fifteen years. When we moved here, our children were one, three and five. I remember, as we left the old house, thinking, "this is the house where all of our children were born" but, my goodness - this is the home where we raised our family! Many a milestone has been observed here, many (many) a memory made and just so much of life has been lived within these walls. And I truly thank the Lord for it all.

As I mentioned, the van will come tomorrow and load up all of these boxes and all of our stuff. And, while I appreciate that it is "stuff"...there is a lot "attached" to that stuff for me.

Our bed - that was such a great place to snuggle with sleepy little ones early in the morning....that was a good place to sit and have "one of those talks"....that could easily be turned into a fort or even an occasional trampoline!

The kitchen table - where fifteen years of family dinners have been shared. We talked, and laughed, and fussed. Sometimes corrected or reprimanded. Sometimes encouraged. And sometimes just ate - but always together. We've enjoyed many a great meal there - and endured several flops, as well.

The dining room table - that has been the place to celebrate so many life events....birthdays, graduations, holidays, special days and any other chance to "get out the good dishes"!

The couch....goodness, I had no idea how many memories I associated with our couch until I began to jot down these thoughts for today! I am so grateful for every morning we gathered there for family devotions before school. All of the guests we have entertained there. The times we have gathered around - just being together as a family. The naps taken there and all the sick days that have been made so much better snuggled under the yellow quilt on that couch. The list is too long.....

I thank the Lord, today, for this house. This neighborhood (that's a whole other post) - the neighbors we have known and the ones we currently enjoy so much. This home! And I am also grateful for the beautiful new home He has given - and look forward to all the new memories to be made.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BOXES!

Today is supposed to be "Wordless Wednesday" and I took some great pictures to give you a glimpse of my world....not that I would normally give anyone a look inside when things are as they are....but, I've misplaced (hopefully packed) the cord to upload the photos! So, let me see if I can just give you a little idea.

Think boxes. Then think more boxes. Now, think just a few more boxes. Boxes stacked three and four deep in every corner. Boxes completely covering all floor spaces, except for a few very narrow paths that barely fit my less than narrow body.

Then on the counters imagine a jumble of cleaning supplies, various household items, tissues for never-ending sinus issues and two coffee mugs (yes!)...

And there you have it - home sweet home. Well, at least for the next two days. The moving van comes on Friday.....let the adventure begin - and let the boxes be gone!!! (More thoughts on our move tomorrow!) Have mercy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Opportunity

We are in the middle of a Bible conference at church this week (well, until Wednesday) and what a blessing the preaching has been for me. Just a few notes to myself from last night -

Opportunity - each of us is given opportunity....every day. TODAY I have an opportunity to live for the Lord, to seek to know Him more and to be faithful with all that He has entrusted to me. Each day...as well as each "stage" of life...I want to purposefully use the opportunity I have. Whether a busy stay at home mom with three preschoolers, a new empty nester or perhaps, some day, even a widowed senior...there is no need to wait until a "better time" but, instead, look for the opportunities that are mine right now.

I also want to be careful not to make excuse (also known as whining) for not using the opportunity of today. No matter my age, my situation, my circumstance or any other reason, right now is the best opportunity I have - there is no promise of a better time down the road and I will never have the chance of yesterday again. I want to be faithful today.


I know these notes have really been for myself and I did not elaborate or fully explain them - but I pray that your today will be a great day....and that I will intentionally seek the opportunities that Christ has given to me this day and will use today to honor Him.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Apple Recipes for Fall

When life gets stressful..think food! That always seems to be my motto (some say working out really helps but, no, I tend toward baking..and eating! That could be part of the problem) Anyways, with fall in the air I'd thought I share a few apple recipes I am really wanting to try - and will if I ever get my kitchen unpacked. Let me know if you beat me to it - they sound so yummy.

Apple Bread
(my aunt used to bake the most amazing, moist apple cake but since I lost the recipe I keep trying ever recipe I can find to make something even close....this looked promising!)

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 TBS vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 - Toast 1/2 cup of the pecans in oven at 350 for approximately eight minutes, until fragrant.

2 - Beat sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla for two minutes.

3 - Stir together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Add to sour cream mixture. Stir in apples and toasted pecans. Spoon batter into greased and floured 9X5 loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining pecans, pressing into batter.

4 - Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. May need to shield with tin foil during last 10 minutes to prevent over browning. Cool in pan 10 minutes. While cooling, bring butter and brown sugar to a boil over medium heat; boil one minutes. Remove from heat and spoon over bread. Cool completely (about one hour). Can be frozen for up to three months.




Skillet Fried Apples
(my boy, Jordan, could make a meal out of these!)

3 TBS butter
5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced (about 2 1/4 pounds)
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp apple pie spice

1 - Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients and saute 15 to 20 minutes until apples are tender.

THAT'S IT!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Funny for Friday

I thought a little humor was in order for today...at least, for me. Right now, my world feels not only turned upside down but as if it is hanging that way and being thrashed about by hurricane winds! Everything that gives my life stability - not the least of which would be order, a sense of direction, etc. - has been removed...goodness. What a crazy time -

So, I thought I would share this cute story I heard on the radio the other day. A good chuckle always helps!!!

A lady called in and shared this story: each time she and her three-year old grandson get in the car, they like to play a game called "What does the animal say?" She "quizzes" him with an animal and he makes the animal's sound for her. She had gone through her usual repertoire and was running out of ideas. Then she thought of the perfect idea to "stump" him (maybe ending the game?) and asked, "What does a shark say?" And in his best movie voice-over tone, he said "Dun Duh....Dun Duh...Dun Duh"!!!

You can't outsmart a three-year old!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beach Blessings

THANKFUL THURSDAY...I truly am grateful for the days that Hubbie and I had to get away to the beach. Yes, God's majestic hand of creation is very evident along the shores of the ocean...and a genuine sense of serene calms your soul and really lends itself to drawing closer to Him....and I appreciate all of that from our trip. However, God really blessed our time to be away...to be together without all the details "of life" that so easily steal our time and zap our energy. This new phase of "empty-nesting" is a learning experience - as with all the phases of life - but God is showing us the blessings - and even some of the rewards.





I am so thankful to have this "hunk" :) to spend this next phase of life with..........

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hilton Head 2009

As promised, some (very random) pictures from our recent trip to Hilton Head Island. One thing I have noticed, for sure, that travelling with just the two of us....our vacation photos are not nearly as cute, fun or interesting as they were when the kids were with us. Love my hubbie dearly, but he just does not "do cute" that well!! :) (I might have even heard some down right moaning towards the end of the trip when I'd break out the camera again.....nah, I doubt that!) I can only take so many shots of him.....so, we have pictures of

BIRDS!! The seagulls are actually cute...and not at all people shy!


Early on..and still being a good sport. Could be this is one of his favorite spots! At the end of the island (the "toe"!) there is a harbor...we love to spend time there - eating, shopping or chillin' in one of the many rockers:)


No - I have no idea who these kiddos are....but I watched them play one morning while we were out walking - and I was so caught up remembering the many trips to the beach with our own little ones. Such great memories of our two little red heads and their tow-headed brother!! Life was so good. Our boys LOVED to play - like these guys - in the little of channel of water left behind when the tide goes out.



This is how Hubbie and I usually pulled up to the harbor........NOT!! Oh my goodness, every time you think you've seen the best yacht ever - the next day, there is one bigger or even more amazing!! (Do people really live like that???)

My dad was a hibiscus lover!! These reminded me of him!!



Why does he always tan so easily??



I really like this picture - and I actually took it out a window through the glass. It was the view from the restaurant....and the seafood was as great as the view!!
Thanks for looking through my photos - maybe just a couple more tomorrow!!

Tony's 21!!

I do have a few pictures from the beach to share but that will have to wait until tomorrow - today we have a birthday to celebrate! My brand new son-in-law celebrates today!! Happy Birthday, Tony!

As most know, Hubbie and I have two daughters - such great girls, sisters in the truest sense of the word and in so many ways...so much alike! Technically, they are "half sisters" which doesn't really mean much in the sense of family - I just throw that in to prove what I've said all along..."Totally like your dad!!"

What is so interesting to me is how much alike their husbands are?!? Similar in physical presence but even more so in temperament. Both computer brained?? Laid back. And really boys at heart:) And they love our daughters - and we love them!

We are blessed to have a new son-in-law. I hope this day - which is a busy one in many ways - is very special for him!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thoughts from Hilton Head 2009

Happy Monday - and the start of a new week! I just love Mondays!! We did make it back from the beach but, no, the computer did NOT get fixed while we were gone. I'm still using this laptop from my daughter which is actually working out fairly well (the keyboard is still either really small or my fingers are really fat!) I do have a few pictures from our vacation that I hope to post tomorrow (or maybe Wednesday)....today, just a few things I learned from the beach:

1 - At home, here, we have something I've always called "Indian Summer" - after a stretch of cool (or very cool) days, there is a surprise, sudden revival of summer with really warm temperatures that is so fun and enjoyable. It is a phenomenon that I have loved ever since I was a kid. Okay - I don't know what they call it at the beach but "Indian Summer" at Hilton Head is HOT!! The first few days we were there, it was 90 degrees with total humidity....and, no, I did not pack for that. I even did some sweating (and I DON'T sweat!)

2 - A drenching hot day in Hilton Head is still bliss!!

3 - Maybe its age...maybe its "size" or maybe its both!.....but there comes a point when you really should no longer perch (or wedge) your backside atop a skinny bicycle seat. Just not pretty!

4 - Going with the logic of "I don't know any of these people" (ha), I did it anyways. We rented bikes and rode the beach. Did you know they actually have extra wide seats?!? I don't know what I looked like....but we sure had fun! Note to self: be sure to ride against the wind on the way out! Whew.

5 - Activities that could be considered exercise are actually fun at the beach - that is so unfair. We took alot of walks on the beach - some for just walking and others for working out - and I just love walking along the water's edge.

6 - I actually told my hubbie (TWICE), "I really don't feel like shopping anymore!" What happens to a person at the beach!?!?

7 - The dogs playing at the beach are absolutely adorable. And as cute as my pup may (or may not) be, I don't picture him romping the waves and chasing balls on the beach. He is not welcome at the condo complex we stay at - imagine that!! - so he stays home; although I don't think he misses us nearly as much as we might miss him. He was spoiled!!

8 - Coming home from the beach and getting sick is extra miserable...two cases of "its not fair" makes the pity party even worse. Okay, so I'm not that sad yet but I have been really pretty lousy ever since we got home and now I have shared it with my hubbie. Goodness. Hopefully, this will be a healthier week for us.

Pictures to post soon. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dreamin' of the Beach

As I was driving through the neighborhood this afternoon, I noticed the leaves are really starting to turn. Several all almost completely bright red. And the evenings definitely have a briskness to them (perfect for our evening stop at Starbucks for that lite pumpkin latte!!). Oh..so fall - but I'm headed to the beach!! How cool!

Hubbie and I head to Hilton Head tomorrow for several days. The weather should be perfect and water still a nice temperature (not that I would ever get IN the ocean but I love to walk the edge of the beach and splash my feet). There will be no crowds - in the restaurants, on the beach, or in the stores! And I have lots of books and other reading material to simply laze the day away!! I can't wait.

Oh, and the computer, we believe, did not exactly crash but is broken. Yep, that's what they said. But it is going to the computer doctor while we are away and I should be sharing lots of great photos when I return. Praying everyone has a wonderful week!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Computer Woes

I woke yesterday morning - to a crashed computer!! How rude - oh, and how frustrating! And, doesn't it seem like just weeks ago this happened before. I actually had some thoughts ready for posts this week - but not sure when I will be back and posting (I'm just borrowing this laptop) - I did, however, want to tell everyone hello!! Praying that it is a great week for everyone - and that the computer is up and running quickly!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Apple Dumplings

I had a group of friends at the house last night for a jewelry party. I don't usually "do" those in-home sales parties - not that I have anything against them...I just don't have alot of success with them (something like yard sales!) But last night was a lot of fun - folks actually showed up (always a plus!) and I get lots of free jewelry! I always enjoy fixing some snacks and sweets to share and wanted to remember this recipe that found on Mrs. H's blog - so I thought I'd share it today. These are her apple dumplings but if you look through her blog, she has so many yummy recipes! I want to try about twenty!! The dumplings were a huge hit and so perfect for a cool, fall evening.


The Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings

2 granny smith apples
2 tubes refrigerator crescent rolls
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 can of mountain dew soft drink - really!
cinnamon

Peel, core and slice each apple into 8 slices. Unroll crescent rolls. Roll an apple slice in each crescent roll and place in a buttered 8x13 inch pan. Melt butter, add sugar and barely stir - you want the butter and sugar to be grainy and lumpy. Add vanilla; barely stir. Pour butter mixture over crescents. Pour mountain dew around the sides of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More than You Ever Wanted to Know About Em

THANKFUL THURSDAY....As promised, in honor of her birthday - some random thoughts and things about Emily (21 in fact!) that make me love her so!!

1 - My pregnancy and my delivery with her were a piece of cake - as much as being pregnant can be a piece of cake. Of course, she was my first and so I didn't actually realize or appreciate this fact at the time - but, I so do now. In fact, things went so well (minus that pesky pre-term labor and complete bedrest), I couldn't wait to be pregnant again! Mercy.

2 - She is a true to the core animal lover! She loves 'em all but especially dogs...and especially one overgrown pup named Baby Bailey (the word Baby here used VERY loosely!)

3 - She has the movie Enchanted completely memorized and can quote it along with the DVD..as you watch it for the 1000th time. Is this really necessary?

4 - She is seriously directionally challenged. Seriously. When giving directions in the car, turns are not right or left but are "driver side" or "passenger side"!

5 - She can fix her hair in more ways than I can even dream up to do my hair - straight, curly, up, down, to the left or right or somewhere in between. When she was little, I would check books out of the library with step-by-steps to fix it in new ways - especially creative braids.

6 - The girl knows how to accessorize - and why does my every day jewelry always look like a million bucks on her??

7 - She totally rocks stilletos...and wears them all the time (and I do mean all the time)!

8 - She can not tell time - unless its digital..but that's not really telling time, Em..that's just reading numbers!

9 - She has a super sense of humor, and

10 - She makes me laugh (alot)..which is a good thing.


11 - She is so much like her Mimi that it is sometimes scary:)


12 - She is a true "grazer" when it comes to eating - and eats everything out of the box...including all my cereal!

13 - She is a vegetarian but she does makes a mean pan of brownies....and some pretty tasty pasta. After that....well, I don't know! ha ha

14 - She is such a better driver than when she started. I suppose all of us are - but, when she started, she was bad and I am not exaggerating! She had an accident just a week or so after driving on her own (what were we thinking) and hit the one and only car parked in a large parking lot. Were you aiming for it??

15 - She likes decorating - yeah! This is a new passion and we have so much fun with it together. Her new house is really super cute and I'm so proud of all she and her new hubbie have done with it.

16 - She is a bit of a dare-devil - LOVES rollercoasters and other things that involve heights. She wants to try bungy jumping. Are you kidding me??

17 - Road trips with her are never boring. Long but never boring - mainly because we have to make a pit stop every 20 minutes (not kidding).

18 - She tends to be sarcastic - no really, you do. :)

19 - Growing up, she was never really athletic but she has recently gotten into running and I'm impressed! Of course, she just found out she has arthritis in her knee but she does her best. Who has arthritis at 21?

20 - She is a survivor and an over-comer! She has a sweet life but has also faced a lot of difficult things...things that are hard for folks much older and wiser than she...but she is continually growing, maturing and becoming a beautiful woman. She makes my heart happy!


and 21 - she will hate this picture (ha), but....it makes me laugh and just says so many things!! I love you, sweet girlie!!