Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - Reflections of a Year Gone By

I've thought about this post and run it through my mind a hundred times.  Reliving some of 2011 is difficult and painful.  It's been a year of ups and downs, with downs dominating much of the time.  There have been times when I thought I was Job, getting hit with bad news at every turn.  Still, I have seen the hand of God in my life, even in the worst moments, when I thought I'd reached the end of my rope.  There were plenty of times when I thought I'd write about it on my blog, but then I'd sit at my computer, and I couldn't.  I wasn't ready to.  Now, as a new year is ready to begin, it's time to record the year's events so that I can look back and be reminded of God's faithfulness and His promise to never leave me nor forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5)

 - We refinanced our house in January.  Let me back track a bit.  We looked into selling our house to an interested party back in October 2010, with the intention of moving to Central Florida where our daughter was in school and our oldest son was considering moving to because there are more job opportunities.  The deal fell through, but my husband decided we should refinance our current home, take some of the cash out of our equity, and use it to buy a new house.  With the savings we already had we could buy a house free and clear and rent out the house in South Florida.  I didn't like the idea of refinancing our house and increasing our debt, but my husband had already decided he didn't want to sell our current house, and with it being rented out it would be paid for, which meant it was an investment.

 - I spent a few days in Central Florida in February, where we found a couple of houses we liked.  One was a foreclosure, the other a short sale.  This is very common right now due to the economy.  We decided to put in an offer on the foreclosure home, but were outbid.  We then put in an offer on the short sale home, and our offer was accepted by the seller.  We were on our way.

 - Several months later, after packing up our house and waiting patiently for an answer, we found out the house we were trying to buy had 3 investors that couldn't come to an agreement on the cost of the house.  We continued looking at and bidding on houses, but were outbid each time.  By May it was clear to me this was not the direction God wanted us to take.  My husband, on the other hand, was trying to find any possible way for me and the kids to move.  I say me and the kids, because he'd decided he wasn't going to move up with us.  His job had originally been sending him regularly to Central Florida to work, and it was the reason we were looking there in the first place.  Now he was telling me he wasn't going to be traveling up for work very often, nor did he want to.  He intended on renting the South Florida house to his sister and living in it with her.  I argued repeatedly that we wouldn't be able to afford what he wanted to do, but he would get angry and start yelling, so I dropped the subject and left it in God's hands.  I knew if He wanted it to happen it would, and if He didn't, no matter what we did it simply wouldn't work out.

 - My daughter's lease on her apartment would be over in July, and with no other prospects I told my husband I was going to find another apartment for her.  My oldest son would be moving up with her.  I cried bitterly at the thought that both my children would be leaving, but I accepted it and did what I could to help them with their move.  We found an apartment just 15 minutes from the university, with plenty of room for both of them and very affordable.  We would be back to help them move in and get settled.

 - June, July and August were a blur, with us traveling back and forth from South Florida to Central Florida and back. It was a difficult time for me, trying to keep my youngest son busy and entertained, helping the older kids get everything they needed for their new place, and dealing with a cranky husband.  It was during this time that I discovered why my husband was so intent on us moving to Central Florida at any cost.  He was having an affair.  If that wasn't enough, when I confronted him about it, he acted as though I was making a big deal over it.  He never showed any remorse nor made any attempt to fix the marriage.  I was devastated.

 - Thankfully God has placed people in my life that love me, pray for me, and help me in those moments when my world seems to be falling apart.  I sat with my pastor and his wife, and told them what was going on.  Pastor Frank gave me biblical advise, but he didn't stop there.  He gave me two phone numbers: one for a lawyer (a Christian one in our church), and a counseling center.  It was overwhelming at the time, but I'm so glad he gave me those numbers, and thankful the Holy Spirit gave me the strength to call.

 - I spoke with the lawyer to get legal advise.  I just wanted to know what my rights are and what the law in Florida states.  It took longer before I made the appointment to see the counselor.  By the time I got in to see her, I was an emotional mess.  I was being filled up with anger, bitterness, confusion and distress.  Through counseling I was able to deal with the emotions I was feeling, It was helpful to understand I was grieving what was clearly the end of my marriage.  My husband was unrepentant and unwilling to make any changes, and I was unwilling to continue living this way.  There was no longer any trust, and after all the emotional and mental abuse I'd been put through I knew it was time to put an end to it.

 - It took a couple of months but Thanksgiving weekend, while I was in Central Florida with my children, my husband moved out.  Even though I knew it was coming, it didn't make it any easier.  It was especially hard to have to explain to my youngest son that his father no longer lived at home.  He knew we'd been arguing, and he was aware Mommy wasn't sleeping in the same room as Daddy, but it still caught him by surprise.  Again, the Lord has been with me, and my son has been dealing with the situation much better than I'd expected.  And although I've cried more tears in the past 6 months than I have in the past 6 years, the Lord has given me peace.

 - I was settling in to the idea of being a single mom.  I'd decorated the house for Christmas and made plans for the month.  I went to bed the night before my birthday feeling pretty good.  Then, at 10:30pm, just an hour and a half before my birthday, my daughter woke me to say my sister had called her.  They were taking my mother to the hospital with chest pains.  I was in a daze.  I told my daughter we needed to pray, though it was probably nothing.

 - I woke up several times during the night and prayed.  Then in the morning I texted my sister to see what was going on,  I was sure mom had gas or something simple like that.  Instead I was shocked to find my mother had had a mild heart attack.  As the week progressed, we found out my mom had complete blockage in one artery and partial blockage in 2 more.  Before we had a chance to react Mom was scheduled for open heart surgery.  I was so far away, unable to be with her, wondering how a 74 year old woman would handle such delicate surgery, and wondering what else could possibly happen?  But again, the Lord was with us, and Mom is back home after a triple bypass.

During this time, I've learned more and more to lean on the Lord.  Yes, there are times when I'm sad and depressed.  There are moments of despair as I'm overwhelmed with all that has happened in a short amount of time.  Yet I remember Job, who lost everything, including his children, in a matter of minutes, and still he never spoke against the Lord nor sinned with his words.  The Lord blessed Job with double of everything he'd originally had because he was faithful.  The Lord has already done so much for me, I have no doubt He will continue to walk with me through this ordeal.  There will be difficult moments in my life in 2012, but I also believe God will bring blessings to me and my family this year because He is good.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"

 -Psalm 34:8

Observing My Senses

For Today, New Year's Eve, December 31, 2011...

I am seeing...the sun shining brightly as another beautiful South Florida day begins.

I am feeling...thankful for all God has done for me and my family, thankful to see 2011 end, and hopeful 2012 will bring many new challenges and adventures.

I am hearing...cartoons.  My son just woke up.

I am tasting...a whole wheat pita with hummus.

I am morning cup of coffee.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings.  Won't you join me?

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Quick Prayer

Five Question Friday

Well, Christmas 2011 is gone, and today is New Year's Adam (because we all know Adam came before Eve).  Sunday sees the start of 2012, and I'm looking forward to it.  2011 was a difficult year for me, as I'll be posting about when I can.  I'm hoping for much better in 2012.  In the meantime, how about some trivia?  Visit Mama M at My Little Life to take part in the fun.

1. What's the oldest piece of clothing in your closet?
A pair of black slacks that I've had forever but still fit.

2. How many random blog readers have you met?
I've actually never met any of my random blog readers.  None live in my area.

3. Do you let your kids stay up till midnight on New Years Eve? (Or, if you don't have kiddos yet, did you get to stay up until midnight as a child?)
Yes, if they're willing to stay awake.  I don't force them to, though.  I have trouble staying awake myself.

4. What are the gas prices where you live?
Last time I filled up the tank it was $3.16/gallon.  Better than it was all summer, but still too high IMO.

5. What is one resolution that you know you should do but are too afraid to try?
I don't do the resolution thing.  I try to have realistic goals, but I don't wait till New Year's day to start on them.  Now, is there something I should do but I don't?  Probably try to turn my blog into more of a career. I know it's possible, but I'm unsure if that's the direction to go in, hence my fear.  Let's see what happens in the next few months.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, December 27, 2011...

Outside my's dark, there's a breeze but it's still very warm.  Too warm, IMO.

I am thinking...about the birth of my two youngest children, 22 and 12 years ago.  What a blessing to have these 2 children in my life.  Happy birthday to my daughter A and my son E.

I am thankful mother who is recovering from open heart surgery at home, my kids who share a birthday today, my oldest son who was able to drive down and spend Christmas with us, my cousin who invited us to spend Christmas Eve with her and her friends and my aunt and uncle.  Life is not perfect, but there is still so much to be thankful for.

I am bed soon.  It's almost 9pm.

I am wearing...a yellow tank top, jean skirt and flip-flops.

I am grown up my son looks at 12 years old.  He's still my baby, though.

I am praying...for the Lord's guidance, so that I don't make decisions based on my wants but on my needs.

I am daughter and son have enjoyed and continue to enjoy their birthday.

I am pondering these words..."Thank the Lord when trouble comes, His love and grace expressing; Grateful praise releases faith, turns trials into blessing." - Egner.

From the learning rooms...still no school, till next week.

From the kitchen...since it was the my kid's birthday, they got to choose where we would eat.  They agreed to have Cracker Barrel which we love.  The meatloaf was out of this world!  E asked for an ice cream cake this year, so we had an Oreo cake.  Yumm-o!

I am reading...The Vigilante's Bride whenever I get a chance.  My kids take up all my time and attention.  And that's just fine with me.

On my oldest son who will be driving back to Central Florida tomorrow.  I miss him already.

One of my favorite things...the joy and laughter on Christmas morning.

A few plans for the rest of the son will be leaving tomorrow, which makes me sad.  Thankfully I still have my daughter and youngest son to keep me company.  I have to go to Kohl's this week - I have $30 in Kohl's cash that I don't want to expire.  The year will end on Saturday, but we currently have no plans.  If we stay home, that's fine.

Wanna join in the fun?  Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook.  God bless.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, December 20, 2011...

Outside my window...darkness, except for the Christmas lights.  This time of year is so pretty!

I am thinking...about how the internet was so unimportant to me 15 years ago and is so necessary now.

I am thankful...that our internet service is up and running again.  Someone was fixing something and knocked our service out.  We felt so disconnected!

I am bed in a little while, but first I think I'll watch a Christmas cartoon.

I am pj's.  It's almost 8:30 at night, I've already showered and can relax now.

I am noticing...the weather is drier and the breezes are nice, but it's not as cold as other years.  I wish we'd get some 50 degree weather.

I am praying...for my mom.  Her heart surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning.  Praying for her, the doctors, my siblings, and for us.

I am mother's surgery goes without a hitch and with no complications.

I am pondering these words..."Jesus offers us peace and rest.  No matter how difficult our life may be, God asks us to come unto Him, for He will carry our every burden, our every stress, our every anxiety."  - Kristy-Lee Lawley, Light (devotional)

From the learning rooms...we are on break, and enjoying it immensely!

From the kitchen...we had beef empanadas (patties) which my kids love.  We also baked a couple of cakes for our neighbors.  Yesterday I baked 2 and delivered them.  Today I baked 2 more but only delivered one.  The neighbors weren't home.  Hopefully we'll see them tomorrow.

I am reading...The Vigilante's Bride.  Just started it today.  And of course my Bible.

On my mind...there can't be anything on my mind other than my mom's surgery right now.

One of my favorite things...the comfort I find in Scripture.

A few plans for the rest of the week...we'd like to go bowling tomorrow, since my daughter got a coupon for a free game :).  We have tickets to our old church's Friday night service.  Saturday we're going to spend Christmas Eve with my aunt, uncle, and cousin.  Sunday is Christmas of course!  There's a Christmas Day service as well that we will attend, because it would be silly to celebrate Jesus' birthday but not go to visit with Him!

Wanna join in the fun?  Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook.  God bless.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Observing My Senses

For today, December 17, 2011...

I am seeing...a blue sky and palm trees swaying in the breeze.

I am feeling...sadness, because my mother will require bypass surgery and she is very upset over it.  Terrified, actually.  We are praying fervently.

I am daughter singing praise songs.  It helps to praise the Lord in these circumstances.

I am tasting...nothing right now.  Had a bagel thin sandwich, just salami and mayo.  Not too much of an appetite.

I am smelling...cupcakes that just came out of the oven.  Taking some to my son's Sunday school class tomorrow.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings.  Wont' you join me?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Four Fill-In

I was invited by Hilary over at Feeling Beachie to join in on this Friday meme.  Let's see how well I do!

1. ____ is my ideal winter night.
Cuddled up with a book and some tea

2. I don’t remember the last time I ___ but, I really want to.
Had a manicure and pedicure

3. I will never turn down __________
A free meal!

4. To save money I like to ____________
Check the weekly circulars, then prepare a menu for the following week and purchase only the items needed for that menu.

Five Question Friday

Happy Friday!  I'm counting down the days till Christmas (it's 9, if you haven't noticed) and it gets more and more exciting!  So in honor of this special season, let's answer some Friday questions courtesy of Mama M at My Little Life.

 1. What's the best Christmas present you've ever received?
I've gotten some really nice stuff over the years, but I have to say the one I've enjoyed most, even though I didn't ever think I would, was the Nook I got from my sister last year.  I was sure I would never use an e-reader because I like holding a book in my hand and turning pages and turning back to pages I'd read, etc.  Let me tell you, once that Nook was in my hand I got accustomed to it REAL fast!  I absolutely love it now!

 2. Worst/Funniest White Elephant gift ever received?
Funniest - I got a make-up kit from my husband's cousin, the same one I'd given her when she graduated high school one year earlier.  I recognized it immediately.  Didn't mention it to her of course.  Why let everyone in the family know I'd been re-gifted something worth $60?

 3. Is your Christmas tree plain and simple (white lights and matching ornaments) or is it wild and crazy (colored lights with lots of ornaments collected over the years)?
My tree is wild and crazy.  There are white and multi-colored lights and so many different fun ornaments it takes a good while just standing there looking them over.  Many of them are funny, like the Santa dressed in Bermuda shorts (this is Florida, after all).  Others are sentimental, like the ones my children made.  And others are inspirational, such as the nativities.  It's a diverse tree, just like God's family.

 4. "How" do you iron your clothes? The old fashioned iron/ironing board way, the shower, back in the dryer, etc.
I use the iron and ironing board.  I guess I can't get away from the old-fashioned way of doing certain things.

 5. How much baking do you do for Christmas and what are your "must make" items? (I'm looking for recipes here, peeps...)
I like to give my neighbors bundt cakes for Christmas.  I use Duncan Hines cake mixes but I jazz them up to make them special.  I have 6 that I'll be baking for them this week, plus cupcakes for friends and church.  I also baked chocolate chip oatmeal cookies which we all love.  I'd bake more, but I end up eating a lot of it if I do, and let's be honest, I don't need the extra calories.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, December 15, 2011...

Outside my's cloudy and overcast, but not humid.  It's breezy too.  It almost feels like fall.

I am thinking...about my mom, who is in the hospital.  She had a mild heart attack.  They're running tests to see what the appropriate treatment is.  At age 74, it's a longer recovery if she were to need surgery.  We're praying that won't have to happen.

I am thankful...for another year lived.  Yesterday I turned 48 years old.  Somedays I feel 84 ;).  Other days I feel 24.  I'm just grateful to the Lord I've lived this long.

I am watch Prep and Landing, the Disney Christmas DVD my oldest son R gave me for my birthday.  He also gave me a Muppet Christmas CD.  He knows his mama so well. :)

I am wearing...a yellow tank top under a yellow short-sleeve hoodie, jean skirt and flip-flops.  It's about 73 degrees out today.

I am nice my hair looks after a nice cut.  My ends were so damaged I looked like I was wearing a cheap wig.  It looks so healthy and pretty now.

I am praying...for healing for my mom, and for a dear friend's grandfather who is also in the hospital and not doing too well.

I am hoping...this time in the hospital will be a time of spiritual reflection for my mom.

I am pondering these words..."What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God." - Monica Baldwin.

From the learning rooms...tomorrow is the last day of school, then E is off till January 2.  He is so excited!  They had career day at school yesterday, and he enjoyed learning about different careers.  He especially was impressed with the police officers and karate teachers.

From the daughter is making chicken and dumplings in the crock pot.  Mama gets a vacation from the kitchen again!  Yesterday, for my birthday, we had dinner at Cracker Barrel.  Oh, was that yummy!  Now I'll need to go on a diet again. ;)

I am devotional and my Bible.

On my mom, of course.  She lives in NY and I live in Florida.  I wish I could be there to help my sister out.

One of my favorite things...Christmas cartoons.  Whether it's new ones like Prep and Landing, or the old classics like the Grinch or Charlie Brown, I just love feeling like a little kid when I watch them.

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...
My little girl, and...

My boys.

Wanna join in the fun?  Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook.  God bless.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meet Me On Mondays

It's time for my weekly Meet Me On Mondays post!  Brought to us by Java at Never Growing Old.  Why don't you join us and make your Monday a bit more fun?

1. Tomorrow I'm going to _________?
Clean bathrooms.  Not very inspiring, I know, but guess what?  Everyone's always happy that it gets done.

2. Pudding or Jello?
Pudding.  Chocolate or coconut are especially delicious.

3. What book are you currently reading?
Just my Bible, and a small devotional called Light.  I've kept busy with Christmas activities and haven't opened my Nook in a while.

4. What is the first concert you went to see?
It was a Jose Jose concert in NYC, at Radio City Music Hall.  Jose Jose is a Mexican ballad singer.

5. What is your current weather?
It's probably about 77 degrees under cloudy skies.  We got some rain a couple of hours ago, and it looks like we're not done yet.

Move It Mondays

Happy Monday folks!  It's a rainy Monday here in South Florida, which reminds me of that song, Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down, only I'm not going to let the rain get me down.  I'm thankful for Mondays, because they are a day like any other if we have the right attitude.

Yesterday we went to our church's Christmas pageant, where lots of singing went on and we were reminded of the true reason for Christmas: celebrating the birth of our Savior.  I'm super thankful to our Lord for leaving His place in heaven to come to earth and die for me.  It gives me reason to live a life of gratitude.

I don't have a lot planned for this Monday.  I finished the laundry and I'm caught up today (yay!), and I vacuumed this morning only to have our dearest Molly come through and leave more doggy hair everywhere.  Oh well, we love her anyways.  I made Southwestern chicken soup today, though not to warm us up.  It's in the upper 70's here and will continue to be the rest of this week.  I just thought soup was perfect for a rainy day, and we all love it so much!

My daughter and I watched Elf a little while ago, and we're gonna watch another Christmas movie's Christmastime!  Hope ya'll have a blessed week of remembering the reason for the season.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Observing My Senses

For Today, December 10, 2011...

I am seeing...clouds covering the skies.  More rain expected for today and maybe tomorrow.  Too bad the temps are still in the 70's and low 80's.  I'd like them to go down for Christmas.

I am at having my daughter home, and sadness that my oldest son isn't here.  Hopefully he will be home for Christmas.  I don't think I could handle Christmas without all my babies near.

I am youngest son and daughter talking.

I am tasting...pancakes and syrup.  My son E insisted I make them for "his sister".  Sure, no problem.

I am smelling...breakfast scents.  My favorite meal of the day.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings.  Won't you join me?

Five Question Friday

Well howdy folks!  Yes, I know, it's Saturday.  Ya'll know I've done this before, posted a day late.  Yesterday I enjoyed shopping and gift wrapping with my daughter who got home from college Thursday afternoon.  I can't begin to explain how thrilling it is to have my baby girl here!  I forget about everything else when my chickies are nearby.  But I will answer my Friday questions, even if it is out of schedule.  Have a blessed weekend everyone!  And if you want to join in, visit Mama M at My Little Life.

1. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?
Tough question for a cookie lover like me!  I love anything that has chocolate in it, hence my favorite would be chocolate chip or chocolate frosted or just plain chocolate cookies!  Italian cookies are also divine and very Christmas-y.  Great, now I want to start baking!

2. What's your favorite holiday movie & why?
Oh man, another tough one!  I love Christmas movies!  My favorite?  Let's see, I love the original Miracle on 34th Street because in my book, it's kicks off the Christmas season.  I love The Christmas Story because it makes me laugh (Ralphie!!).  Christmas Vacation is another one that has me in stitches no matter how many times I watch it.  But the one that really tugs at my heartstrings is the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.  "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."  Yes Linus, yes it is.

3. Is there a gift that you bought for your kids that you wish you hadn't after they opened it?
I can't recall anything that they haven't enjoyed at the moment.  Of course there's always stuff they get that they absolutely HAD to have that gets thrown to the wayside just hours after opening it :P.

4. What is the messiest room in your house right at this moment?
The garage.  There's boxes on top of the pool table from stuff we received from Amazon and ThinkGeek.  I'll need to go out there and get that organized.

5. What is the furthest you have driven for the holidays?
Central Florida.  It's a 4 hour drive that is definitely worth it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, December 6, 2011...

Outside my window...the weather is totally opposite from the rest of the country.  It was 71 degrees this morning, and it's probably about 77 now.  Everyone else is getting cold weather but us.

I am thinking...about Christmas being more than just decorations and presents.

I am daughter is almost done with this semester.  She's finishing up her final exams and is due home Thursday.  Yay!

I am pick up my youngest son from school in a few minutes.

I am wearing...a yellow short sleeved hoodie, jean skirt and gold-toned sandals.

I am pretty a house can look with less decorations.  It doesn't take much to bring a house to life at Christmastime, just lots of love.

I am oldest son gets lots of days off this Christmas so he can spend more time at home.

I am pondering these words..."The coming of the Christ child is not a quiet, intimate event; it is a bold action by God to rescue His lost children from the enemy." - Light, a 4 week Advent devotional.

I am praying for...a deeper and closer relationship with God.

From the learning rooms...haiku.  Japanese poetry.  I am not a fan of poetry. :P

From the tacos!  Oh, I love those so much!

I am reading...nothing other than my devotional and my Bible for now.

On my aunt and uncle.  I'd like to spend Christmas with them for a change.

One of my favorite things...baked goods at Christmastime.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Awana on Wednesday, my daughter comes home on Thursday, maybe a trip to the mall on Friday?  Not to shop, just to walk around and spend time with my little girl.

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...our Christmas tree.

Wanna join in the fun?  Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook.  God bless.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

Happy Monday!  I'd love to meet and get to know you, and for you to get to know me.  Here's a way to get started:  visit Java at Never Growing Old and join in on this fun meme.  Have a great week!

1. Monday's are _________?
Blessed!  Just like every other day of the week.  It's not the day that's bad, it's our attitude.  Let's be thankful for each and every day!

2. What is your favorite kind of milkshake?
Vanilla.  Or something with peppermint.  But mostly vanilla.

3. What monthly bill do you most dislike paying?
The cell phone bill.  Seems like Sprint has trouble making their bills easy to understand.

 4. How many email addresses do you use on a regular basis?
Just one.  I don't have a need for more than that.

5. What color lights are on your Christmas Tree?
I have strands of multicolored and clear.  The multicolored give it a festive look, and the clear make it bright.  I love the combo!

Move It Monday

Wow, it's the first Monday in December!  This year has gone by in a flash.  Preparing for Christmas when I can still taste the Thanksgiving turkey has kept me busy, but I'm thankful that I have the energy to do it!  Here's what I accomplished today:

*Wiped down bathroom
*Vacuumed and mopped 3 bedrooms
*Vacuumed and mopped hallway, living room, dining room
*Vacuumed and mopped family room, moved some furniture
*Cleaned kitchen, mopped
*Made beef empanadas
*Went to library with E to return and take out books

The decorating is done.  I got new icicle lights for the outside of the house.  They're multi-colored instead of the standard white ones.  It was my kid's idea, and a great one - I like the look!  I kept the decorating much simpler this year.  I want the focus to be Christ and His perfect gift instead of whether I have enough ornaments on the tree.

Have a blessed week everyone!  Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Observing My Senses

For Today, December 3, 2011...

I am seeing...the sun stream through the window this bright Saturday morning.  It's a cool 73 degrees out and the wind is blowing, keeping the house comfortable.

I am feeling...hungry.  Good thing I'm also having breakfast. ;)

I am hearing...Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  A cartoon my son enjoys.

I am tasting...pancakes and bacon.  Oh so yummy!  It made my son very happy too.  It's his favorite breakfast.

I am smelling...the clean fresh air coming in the windows, Log Cabin syrup on my pancake, and my morning coffee.  I love the smells of home.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings.  Won't you join me?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Five Question Friday

Hi folks!  It's been a busy week of decorating and tree trimming and exterior light installing to get ready for Christmas, and I haven't been on my blog as often as I like.  Oh, but my house is looking so pretty!  I love this time of year.  I love decorating at any time, but Christmas is so special!  Still, I knew I had to take a few minutes to post my Friday Five.  You can too - just hop on over to Mama M's at My Little Life to join in the fun.

1. What is your favorite Christmas decoration in your house?
Wow, that's a tough question.  See, I sold Christmas decorations through House of Lloyd for several years, then through Kingdom Treasures a couple more years, so I have decorations galore.  So many of them have special meaning, it's hard to pick a favorite.  Two come to mind that are particularly special:  a Nativity scene that I got for a party I did which is stunning, and the Lloyds, a ceramic family of rabbits all decked out for Christmas.  There's Grandma Flo, Grandpa Lloyd, Floyd and Flossie, and their kids Hip and Hop.  Of course I have about 7 Nativities in different sizes, Santas by the dozens, snowmen, polar bears, and my all time favorites, penguins.  I'm telling you, I love decorating for Christmas!

 2. Do you finish your Christmas shopping early or are you a last minute type?
I try to finish as early as possible.  Nothing is more annoying to me than to try and shop during the Christmas holiday.  The stores are packed, customers are rushed and tired and oftentimes nasty, sales clerks are exhausted and's not what I like to call the Christmas spirit.

 3. When do you turn on your heat?
When it gets cold ;).  And here in South Florida, that'll happen a couple days in January.  I think the longest we've ever had the heat on has been 5 nights straight.  Definitely not more than a couple weeks during the entire winter.

 4. Do you ever wish your blog was private?
There have been times, when I read of folks who steal information from a blog to post it as their own on another blog.  I've never had an issue though, thank the Lord, so I've chosen not to go private.  I enjoy reading other people's blogs; it seems only fair to let them read mine.

 5. Do you put your deodorant on before of after you put on your shirt?
After.  Even the "invisible" ones can leave a stain if the deodorant isn't completely dry before getting dressed.  I figure I'm better protected this way.

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, November 29, 2011...

Outside my's dark and the temperature is dropping.  We should be in the upper 50's by tomorrow morning.  That's cold by South Florida standards.

I am thinking...about my life, how even in the midst of storms I am blessed beyond measure.

I am thankful...that tomorrow is the last day of hurricane season, and Florida didn't get affected by any.  Thank You Jesus!

I am watch a Christmas movie on TV or DVD.

I am sleeping garb.  I showered, washed and dried my hair, and I'm ready to hit the sack.

I am noticing...the dryness in the air today.  It was rainy and humid yesterday.  It's like I'm in a whole other place.

I am daughter gets done with her research paper in time.  It's one of her last assignments of the semester.

I am pondering these words..."When joy and prayer are married their first born child is gratitude." - Charles Spurgeon.

I am praying family, my friends, my health, and a peaceful Christ-centered Christmas.

From the learning rooms...lots of math, fractions and decimals, and geography.

From the kitchen...since I was busy decorating the house, I kept it simple: burgers and fries.  The burgers were done on the indoor grill pan, and the fries were cooked up in the oven.

I am reading...a great devotional handed out at church this Sunday.  It's an advent devotional called Light.  I really am getting into it, as I want to immerse myself in Scripture this Christmas season.  I finished The Frontiersman's Daughter during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  It was a great read!

On my mind...changes that have happened, and the peace of the Lord.

Around the house...I've gotten lots of decorating done already.  The tree is up and it's beautiful.

One of my favorite things...decorating for Christmas.  This year I want to keep it simpler.  Every year I decorate like I'm moving to the North Pole.  This year I want to focus less on the decorating and more on the meaning of Christmas.  Yes, I know the meaning of Christmas, but I often get caught up in the whirlwind of shopping, decorating, baking, cooking, and I lose perspective of what's really important.  It's not about what I can do.  It's about what He's already done.

A few plans for the rest of the week...I want to put up the outdoor lights tomorrow.  Hopefully the weather will hold up (the weather lady said it's supposed to).  Awana tomorrow night, then we're pretty much free the rest of the week to watch more Christmas movies.

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...Cinderella's castle in Disney World, Florida.

Wanna join in the fun?  Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook.  God bless.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

Happy Monday!  It's been a busy day today, as I did laundry, cleaned house, and began putting up the Christmas tree.  Thanksgiving has come and gone, and it was wonderful.  Now to prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth, but first, how about a Monday post?  To join in, visit Java at Never Growing Old.

1. I really need to clean my _________?
Bedroom!  It's a dusty mess!

2. What food makes you think of Christmas?
Coconut rice pudding.  It's a staple in the Puertorican home at Christmas.

3. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
Hmm, let's see.  I was pretty hot when I was 22.  Of course I didn't have kids yet.  I'll say 36.  By then I had all three of my precious children.

4. What was your first paying job?
I did data entry at Chemical Bank.

5. Have you read the Twilight series?
Nope.  I'm not into that vampire/werewolf genre.

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Observing My Senses

For Today, November 26, 2011...

I am seeing...the sun shining through the blinds on a spectacular day.  God is blessing us with a bright sunny day!

I am feeling...excited!  We'll be leaving to Magic Kingdom in a little while.  My youngest son doesn't know it yet. Wait till he finds out!

I am daughter the chatterbox. ;)

I am tasting...Honey Bunches of Oats, with pecan clusters.

I am smelling...sausages, biscuits, coffee, the typical morning fare.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings.  Won't you join me?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday Thoughts (On Friday)

This is a post I usually do on Thursdays, but I was busy preparing our Thanksgiving day feast so I decided I'd leave my random thoughts for today.

*Yesterday was one of the best Thanksgivings ever!  Certainly the most relaxed one I can remember.  It was just me and my 3 children.  We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, salad, lots of gravy, and crescent rolls.  It may seem like a lot, but it was probably about half the amount of food I usually make.

*Since my son works in a grocery store, our turkey was really cheap.  All the employees got a $5.00 off coupon, so our 12 lb. turkey only cost $2.61.  Too bad it isn't that cheap all year long!

*I brined our turkey as in other years, but for some reason it was juicier and tastier than ever.

*Thanksgiving is usually a very hectic time for me.  We have about 20 people over, and I do most of the cooking.  I also have to get the house ready, move furniture, set up additional tables and seating, clean every nook and takes days to get ready for, and by the time I sit down to eat I'm exhausted.

*This year it was just the four of us.  The only thing I did ahead of time was brine the turkey and bake a cake.  Everything else was prepared at a leisurely pace, and we sat down to eat at about 3:00pm.  The house was clean but not perfectly neat, yet that was okay.  We got up for seconds (or in the case of my son R, thirds) and talked and laughed and watched Lemonade Mouth on TV.  Then we crashed on the sofa.  It was awesome.

*We took our dog Molly for a walk around the pond behind my kid's apartment building.  The grounds here are really beautiful and well kept.  E and I were thrilled to see big fish in the pond, then we saw a family of turtles!  Big ones too, at least a couple of them were about 2 feet long.  They came up to the edge and swam around.  It was so neat!  There were cranes too, and we enjoyed seeing God's creation up close.

*My youngest son E found his older brother's costume bin.  R gets dressed up for Halloween since he works at the store.  He's been Batman, Robin, and Dr. Wylie (from the Megaman video game).  E started dressing up in his brother's costumes and had us rolling on the floor with his antics!  He is such a funny little kid. He had a blast too, watching our reactions.

*Today's plans are simple.  We're gonna go see the new Muppet Movie at a local theater at about noon, since R has to go in to work at 3:00.  After that we're gonna hang out at the apartment.

*Tomorrow's plans are even better.  We have tickets to go to Disney's Magic Kingdom to enjoy the Christmas decorations there!  My two youngest kids and myself will be having an early birthday celebration since our birthdays are all in December.  I am so excited!  I love Disney, and I love Christmas.  The two together is like having cake and pie on the same plate!!

So much to continue being thankful for.  Thank You Jesus, for the life You've given me.  It's not perfect; there are trials and turmoil and disappointments along the way, but there is also joy in the knowledge that You are with me and have blessed me beyond measure.  God is good, all the time!

Five Question Friday

Happy day after Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone's Thanksgiving day was filled with gratitude for our many blessings.  We live in a free country, where there is abundance.  We often don't realize it, but we have countries very close by to us that are in extreme poverty.  Americans can have a day of thanks with a table filled to the brim with enough food to feed several families.  More food than some Haitian families will see in a month.  Think about it.  Be thankful.

Our Five Question Friday this week is about Thanksgiving (how appropriate).  If you want to join in, visit Mama M. at My Little Life and have some fun!

1. Is there a special dish you prepare that you are famous for?
My kids will tell you it's my stuffing.  I take regular Stove Top stuffing (I personally like the Savory Herbs one) and jazz it up.  I'll add some onion, celery, sage, rosemary, thyme, raisins, and either sausage or ground beef.  I kept it simpler this year and left out the raisins and meat, but it was still killer.  My husband's family says their favorite part of the menu is the ham, and the desserts.

2. Are you (did you) go Black Friday shopping ?
No Black Friday shopping for me!  I boycott the stores the day after Thanksgiving.  I especially will not go to a store that begins their sales on Thanksgiving evening.  Don't they get it?  Thanksgiving is a time of being with family and showing gratitude for what we have, not a time to be drooling over things we don't have and can't afford but we'll charge up the credit cards anyway.  If it were up to me, I'd eliminate Black Friday altogether.

 3. What are your strangest holiday traditions?
Strange, hmm.  Some of my decorating seems over the top to some people.  I decorate A LOT.  But I wouldn't call that strange.  I can't think of anything, probably because the stuff we do doesn't seem strange to us.

 4. Pecan or pumpkin pie? (She actually asked "Apple or pumpkin?" I just T-giving'ed it!)
This is a big debate with us.  I love all kinds of pies.  I think pumpkin pie should be a staple at any Thanksgiving meal.  We don't have it at ours, though, because no one else likes it.  My daughter is all about pecan pie, I am an apple pie lover (warm with a scoop of ice cream, yum!), and my son E is all about chocolate.  So we had pecan pie and chocolate cake yesterday, and there's chocolate cream pie and apple pie in the fridge for today.  I guess we can't ever have enough pie!  Thankfully my oldest son will pretty much eat anything.  I don't know where we'd put another dessert.

 5. When will you put up your Christmas tree?
Traditionally our Christmas tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving.  This year, however, we aren't home, so the tree will go up this coming week, Monday or Tuesday.  I love having the tree out as long as possible, and since it's a fake tree we don't have a problem with it drying out.  Looking forward to decorating it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm Thankful For

A sweet friend of mine from church has been doing a daily post on Facebook on what she's thankful for using every letter of the alphabet.  I thought it was a great idea, but she got started at the beginning of the month and I was away.  I've entered a few thankful thoughts on her Facebook page but I thought I'd do something similar here.  Ya'll can do it as well if you have time, or just meditate on what you're thankful for today.  I feel like thankfulness makes our day much more pleasant.

A = my sweet daughter A.Y.
B = the BEAUTY of creation
D = His DEATH on the cross
E = the gift of ETERNAL life, and my son E.N.
H = HEAVEN - worth looking forward to!
I = He is the great I AM
K = KINDNESS He shows me everyday
L = LOVE - that's what it's all about
M = the MIRACLES He's performed in my life
N = NATIVITY - the true meaning of Christmas
P = the PEACE that surpasses all understanding
Q = the QUIET, still voice of God
R = my oldest son R.A.
S = His STRENGTH is made perfect in my weakness
U = the UNITED States of America, and UNCONDITIONAL love
V = VACATION time in Central Florida!
W = WHERE would I be without Jesus?!
X = the eXtraordinary women He's put in my life 
Y = the YUMMY food we get to eat all year, not just on Thanksgiving day
Z = ZION, where I will one day be with the Lord

May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with gratitude for all the blessings in your lives.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  May the Lord bless you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, November 22, 2011...

Outside my window...the sun is drying off all the rain from the past couple of days, and the weather is sweet and cool.  Perfect for giving Molly her bath.

I am thinking...of President Kennedy, who was assassinated this day 48 years ago.

I am thankful much!  I've been thinking of all I have to be thankful for, and it's humbling.  God is so good, so generous, and so loving.  Thank You Lord Jesus, for all of my blessings.

I am continue packing and preparing for my trip tomorrow.

I am wearing...a light blue top, blue and white prairie style skirt, and white flip-flops.  Last time I checked, it was 70 degrees out so I dress light.

I am dark it gets.  By 6:00pm it's totally nighttime.

I am hoping...the weather holds up and we have a dry day tomorrow.  I hate driving in the rain.

I am pondering these words..."Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward.

I am praying for...a thankful Thanksgiving and a wonderful time with my children.

From the learning rooms...E gave his science project presentation yesterday, and it went well.  Tomorrow is a special day for 6th graders, sort of a field day with flag football and outdoor fun all day.  He's really looking forward to that.

From the kitchen...the standard for Tuesdays:  tilapia.

I am reading...still on The Frontiersman's Daughter.  I've only gotten about halfway through because with my daughter home and preparing for our trip I just haven't read as much as I like.  Of course I read my Bible everyday.

On my mind...the drive, which is 4 hours long, and the traffic, which I pray will be light.

Around the house...I'm gonna clean both bathrooms, give the floor a quick clean as well, and wash Molly's bedding.

One of my favorite things...Thanksgiving, and turkey!  With stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and corn and biscuits and....

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...

This was in my neighbor's front yard on Saturday - a hawk!  And it had killed a pigeon (that's all the feathers around it) and was eating it.  When we got a little closer it flew away with the bird carcass.  What a sight that was!  My son E was especially thrilled to see this incredible bird.

Wanna join in the fun?  Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook.  God bless.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meet Me On Mondays

It's time for another Meet Me On Monday entry!  Let's thank Java at Never Growing Old for this fun meme.  Give it a try - you might just get hooked!

1. I wish I had more time to _________?
Pack!  We're leaving for Central Florida in 2 days, and I need to get everything done already!

2. What is your favorite kind of soup?
Right now, it's Italian lentil and pasta soup.  It's so hearty!

3. Where will you eat Thanksgiving dinner?
At my kid's apartment up in Central Florida.

 4. What is your favorite time of day?
Mornings.  I'm a morning person.  I have lots of energy in the mornings, so I can get lots of stuff done.

5. Did you start Christmas shopping yet?
Yes!  And I'm almost done too!  I always try to do my shopping early because I hate the crowded stores at Christmastime.  Folks forget the true meaning of Christmas, which is a shame. :(

Move It Mondays

Happy Monday folks!  I've accomplished much today.  My daughter went back to Central Florida this morning, but it wasn't as hard to say goodbye since E and I will be driving up on Wednesday to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her and my oldest son R.  I've been packing and preparing, and doing a little Christmas shopping and wrapping too!  I think I'm back on track with my Christmas shopping.  There's a couple things I might still get, including the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book for my son, but that'll wait till next week.

This week, as an early birthday present (since my youngest son, daughter and I all have birthdays in December), we'll be spending a day at Magic Kingdom enjoying the Christmas decorations!  I'm really looking forward to that!  We also hope to catch the new Muppet movie while we're there.  Many activities to enjoy!  In the meantime there's lots to finish up here.  This is my list to accomplish in the next couple of days:

*Finish packing
*Clean bathrooms
*One load of laundry
*Bathe Molly and wash all her doggy stuff (she's coming with us!)
*Return books to the library

Hope everyone has a productive week, and mostly a very wonderful Thanksgiving!  God bless you all!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Observing My Senses

For Today, November 19, 2011...

I am seeing...the sun start to go down on a nice day.  It didn't cool off as much as I'd hoped, but after a rain shower this morning the breeze picked up and it was nice in the shade.  The sun was blazing, though.

I am feeling...eager for it to be Thanksgiving so I can be in Central Florida with my kids.

I am hearing...Phineas and Ferb.  It's such a funny cartoon!

I am tasting...Little Caesar's pepperoni pizza.  We were in the area so we picked one up.

I am smelling...Crazy Sauce and Crazy Bread, courtesy of Little Caesar's.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings.  Won't you join me?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Question Friday

It's a dreary looking Friday today.  The rains started yesterday and are to go on until later on this afternoon.  The good news is, rain always comes before a cold front, and our temperatures are supposed to get back down again.  This week has been hot and humid, with temps in the mid to upper 80's.  With this cold front we go back to the 70's which is much more appealing.

Here I go with my 5 questions for today.  If you want to join in, visit Mama M at My Little Life.

1. Do you have a go to song that always puts you in a good mood?
Praise and worship songs always get me in a good mood, but this time of year it's Christmas carols.  I mean, who can't smile while singing Jingle Bells or Frosty the Snowman?!

 2. Are you a real Christmas tree kinda person or do you go with a real fake one?
Due to my allergies we go with a fake tree that already has lights in it.  Less mess, faster to put together, and no sneezing and wheezing.

 3. What are you thankful for?
My relationship with Christ.  Three great kids.  Family and friends.  Church.  And the fact I'll be spending this Thanksgiving in Orlando this year.  Sometimes change is good.

 4. Which fashion fad from the past do you wish you could wear today?
The one fashion fad I hoped would come back were prairie style skirts - and they did!  Now I own 3 of them and there's nothing else I can think of that I'd like to see come back.

 5. Do you wait until the "low fuel" light comes on before you fill up the gas tank?
No.  I've always been told that is bad on the car's fuel injection system (whether that's true or not I don't know) so I wait till the tank is just under a quarter and get it filled up.  Thankfully this new Sonata is way more economical than my Montero Sport was.  I fuel up every 3 weeks now.  With the price of gas nowadays, that's a big blessing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall in South Florida

One of the reasons I love living in South Florida:  You can still plant flowers in November and enjoy their colors, fragrance, and beauty.  Don't you just love soaking in the majesty of God's creations, even if they're in a small flower pot?

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, November 16, 2011...

Outside my window...the weather is being deceptive.  It's mid-November, but it feels like mid-May.  The temps have gone up, and although the humidity is down from yesterday, it doesn't feel like fall anymore.  I want the cooler temps to come back!

I am thinking...about my little girl who is coming home today for the week.  Yay!  I'm so excited to see her, and praying for her safe arrival.

I am thankful for...Miss Sarah Josepha Hale.  She rallied the presidents for 17 years and worked for 40 years to have Thanksgiving declared a legal holiday.  Just goes to show how one person can make a huge difference if they persevere.

I am do some quick cleaning around the house before my daughter gets home.

I am wearing...a black, tan and white top with a paisley print, black capris and brown flip-flops.  It's 76 degrees and sunny out.

I am noticing...the stores all decked out for the Christmas season.  Big Lots has tons of great stuff at really good prices.  I got E a little puzzle based on the movie Santa Claus is comin' to town.  It was one of my childhood favorites.

I am daughter has a safe and uneventful trip home.  She's about 4 hours away.

I am pondering these words..."It's better to suffer for the cause of Christ than for the cause of Christ to suffer."

I am praying daughter's best friend JB who went on a job interview this week.  Praying God's will for her, so she is in exactly the place He would have her to be.

From the learning rooms...E turned in his science project today.  Finally, it's done!  We've started our new character study today, sincerity vs. hypocrisy.  A good character quality to have.

From the kitchen...tilapia.  Yes, again.  We're eating more fish lately.

I am reading...The Frontiersman's Daughter.  I haven't had a chance to read too much, but so far it's pretty interesting.  And of course my Bible.  Today I was reading from Jude.

On my mind...Christmas, Thanksgiving, gift wrapping, food preparation, you know, the standard stuff for this time of the year.

Around the house...I need to vacuum again and basically just tidy up.  The house is pretty much in order.

One of my favorite things...Awana - that's tonight!

Here's a picture thought I'm and my siblings.

That's my brother, myself, my sister and her husband.

Wanna join in the fun?  Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook.  God bless.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Move It Mondays

Happy Monday folks!  It's a bit dreary out this morning, like someone turned off the sun because of it being Monday.  The weekend was gorgeous; sunny, cool, breezy, low humidity.  So pleasant to have the windows open and the breeze blowing in.  Today it's cloudy, a bit more humid, not very breezy, and we're expecting a high of about 83 degrees.  It's supposed to stay in the mid 80's all week till we get a cold front on Friday.  I'm a little bummed about it.  I really liked the weather this past week, but I'm thankful I'm not shoveling snow!

My daughter is coming home this week (yay!) so I'd like to get some stuff done around the house.  Actually, the house is looking pretty good.  This is what I have planned for today:

*Two loads of laundry
*Vacuum and mop floors
*Work on my daughter's Christmas present

I purchased something for my daughter which is only partially done.  It's gonna be very personal and hopefully something she really enjoys.  I won't say what it is, though, so it can be a surprise.  Don't you just love surprises?!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday, and a blessed week.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Observing My Senses

For Today, November 12, 2011...

I am seeing...another b-e-a-utiful South Florida morning.  It was 60 degrees when we got up this morning, and is probably only a few degrees higher now.  The breeze is crisp, the sun is shining, it's definitely fall - finally!

I am feeling...tired lately, thanks to Daylight Savings Time.  I'm dozing off in my chair at 8:30 at night.  I hope my body adjusts to this soon.  I'm up before the alarm clock goes off and asleep before the chickens. :P

I am son play with his Beyblades.  They're like tops, but much more sophisticated than the ones we played with when I was a kid.

I am tasting...the coffee I had this morning.  In a little while I'll be tasting some yummy holiday tea.  I got Candy Cane Lane this week, which has a peppermint candy cane taste to it.  Scrumptious!  Or maybe I'll have some more gingerbread spice tea.  Both make it feel like the holidays.

I am smelling...the wonderful smells of fall in Florida.  Folks plant flowers, myself included, to keep the air smelling nice.  I got some purple petunias on my front porch that are so pretty, I like to catch a glimpse of them through the window.  Marigolds in my backyard planter also smell like fall to me.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings.  Won't you join me?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Question Friday

Happy Veteran's Day Friday to all!  It's a gorgeous day here in South Florida.  A cold front is coming through, meaning our temps are down into the 60's.  Yeah, I know, some of you have had snow already.  Don't hate me.

E and I are gonna work on his science project today, but I thought we'd get some Friday questions in first.  If you're interested, visit Mama M at My Little Life to participate.

1. What's the last thing you spent too much money on?
Wow, that's a tough one, mainly because I'm so thrifty (or as my kids would say, cheap).  The only thing I spend too much money on is gas, and thankfully our new car is much more economical than the 6 cylinder Montero Sport I had before.  I can go three weeks without having to refuel.  That's a blessing.

2. What celeb chef would you want to make you dinner?
It's a toss between Miss Paula Deen and the Neely's.  The Neely's barbecue dishes look amazing, and Miss Paula Deen's desserts make my mouth water.  Perhaps I could have them both? ;)

3. Where do you hide things when visitors pop over or do you let them see the real deal?
I'm too OCD about my home's neatness to have to hide anything when folks come over.  Anything out of place makes me twitch.

4. Who is your oldest living family member?
That would be my mom's sister Carmen, who recently turned 95 and is in very good health despite her advanced age.  God bless her.

5. What is your favorite DQ treat and/or Sonic drink combo (ie: cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper)?
There isn't a Sonic near us so I haven't ever eaten at one (though there's one a couple blocks from my kid's apartment; maybe next time I'm up there), and DQ is for ice cream treats as far as I'm concerned.  Their blizzards are delish!  Too bad I'm lactose intolerant. :P

Happy Veteran's Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

The week has flown by.  This is what's going through my head right about now:

- Tomorrow is Veteran's Day.  It's not just another day off of school or work.  It's a day to be thankful for men and women who put their lives on the line for our freedom and protection.  Let's be thankful to these brave service folks.

- I had the privilege of teaching during Counsel Time at Awana yesterday.  God is so good to allow me to teach His precious children.

- Tomorrow we're gonna tackle that science project and hopefully be done with it.

- I've done very little Christmas shopping this year.  I'm usually more than half-way done by now.  I'm running late, but I'm still pretty organized (I think; I hope).

- I'm praying for Mrs. Michelle Duggar who is expecting her 20th child.  Her last pregnancy was very difficult due to pre-eclampsia, her baby was born extremely early, and a few months later she had to have her gall bladder removed.  That's a lot for a body to go through.  I pray she's healthy and strong so she can carry this new little life to full term.

- I'm also praying for the Maxwell's, who are going to be grandparents again - twice!  Their son Nathan and daughter-in-law Melanie especially need prayer.  Melanie has had 5 pregnancies, all have been challenging, and they are currently raising 2 beautiful little girls.  I'm praying this pregnancy will be a much easier one, that her body will respond well to treatment, and that they are blessed with a healthy baby.  The Maxwell's 2nd son Christopher and his wife Anna-Marie are expecting their first blessing.  What an exciting time for this family!

- My sister, brother and brother-in-law are still at Disney World.  I'm so glad they're having the time of their lives!

- I tried a recipe for Italian lentil and pasta soup today.  It is sooo delicious!  I had 2 bowls for lunch, and another for dinner.  It has no meat in it yet tastes meaty and hearty.  It's also very healthful - lentils have lots of iron and fiber.  I'm gonna have to make this more often.

It's been a long busy day/week, so I think I'll go relax for a bit.  After I clean up the kitchen. :P

Good night everyone!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Food ABC's

I found this on my sister's blog, which she got from here.  I figured it was worth a try.

A is for Apple. What is your favorite variety? 
 I love so many different types, but right now my favorites are gala apples. Tender and yummy!

 B is for Bread, regardless of nutrition, calories, or whole grains, what is your favorite type to have a nice big piece of?
I love multi-grain bread and French bread from Publix. Their bakery makes it so delicious, and in the mornings when it’s fresh out of the oven…mmmm. 

C is for Cereal, what is your favorite kind currently?
 Kelloggs Smart Start. It has 100% of the daily recommended iron, which I need because of my anemia, and it tastes really good with vanilla almond milk.

 D is for Doughnuts, you might not currently be eating them but what kind do you fancy?
 I’m happy with a plain cake donut, but right now Dunkin’ Donuts has pumpkin glazed cake donuts which are perfect for the season.

 E is for Eggs, how would you like yours prepared?
 Over-easy or scrambled. Or in an omelet, with lots of veggies and cheese.

 F is for Fat Free, what is your favorite fat free product?
 I’m not a fan of any fat-free foods. In my opinion, they’re not only fat-free, they’re flavor-free as well. I prefer to eat less of the real stuff than eat more of the tasteless variety.

 G is for Groceries, where do you purchase yours?
 I shop at our local Winn-Dixie for produce and meats because they have the freshest product at the most reasonable price. I shop for bulk items at Costco whenever possible, but with only 3 of us in the house now it’s not always the best choice. For the rest I shop at Walmart because it’s cheap. I like Publix because of the selections and the cleanliness of their stores, but their prices tend to be on the high end.

 H is for Hot Beverages, what is your favorite hot drink?
 I have to have my morning coffee everyday to avoid a caffeine headache. For the holidays there are some really nice herbal teas available; I got some gingerbread spice that is exceptional.

 I is for Ice Cream, pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.
 I love Haagen Daz vanilla swiss almond, and Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla. I don’t do toppings, though if I had to pick it would be sweetened condensed milk. Of course the calories would go through the roof which is why I avoid it.

 J is for Jams and Jellies, do you eat them, and if so what kind and flavor?
 I don’t eat jellies because most of them are made from berries which I’m allergic to, and the others are just too sweet. Grape is okay I guess. 

K is for Kashi, name your favorite Kashi product?
 I’ve never tried any of their products. They’re a bit too pricey for my taste.

L is for Lunch, what was yours today?
 Fried chicken tenders seasoned with Kirkland Organic No-Salt seasoning (which is amazing, by the way), Stove Top stuffing, corn and a salad. And a Butterfinger mini for dessert.

 M is for microwave, what is your favorite microwave meal/snack?
 Hot Pockets. The pepperoni pizza one. I don’t care for it, but my kids love them.

 N is for nutrients, do you like carbs, fats, or proteins best?
 I like my carbs. It’s true. Pasta, rice, breads, cereals, I love them. I’ve had to learn to eat them in moderation, of course, but that doesn’t change the reality of it. They are my comfort foods.

 O is for oil, what kind do you use?
 Olive oil, unless I’m baking, in which case I use corn oil.

 P is for protein, how do you get yours?
 Usually from red meat or fish. I have to have these because of my anemia, to boost my iron intake.

 Q is for Quaker, how do you like your oats?
 Sprinkled with cinnamon on top. I like plain oats myself. I’m not big on all the flavored stuff.

 R is for Roasting, what is your favorite thing to roast?
 Anything. Pork, ham, chicken, turkey, pot roast, veggies…I don’t think anything brings out the flavor of food more than roasting it.

 S is for Sandwich, what is your favorite kind?
 Turkey and swiss, with lots of lettuce, tomato, red onion, black olives, pickles, and Italian dressing.

T is for Travel, how do you handle eating while traveling?
 I usually eat light when we travel. I find if I’m running around doing stuff and I eat a heavy meal it drags me down. I prefer to eat a salad or a sandwich as opposed to a big meal.

 U is for Unique, what is one of your weirdest food combos?
 My oldest son and I like beef stew with a side of ranch dressing.

 V is for Vitamins, what kind do you take?
 One-A-Day Women’s vitamins and an Omega-3 supplement to help with my eyes which tend to be dry.

 W is for Wasabi, yay or nay?
 Yay, but not too heavy. I like spicy, not 5 alarm fire.

 X is for X-ray, what would we see in your stomach right now?
 My lunch (see l is for lunch above)

 Y is for Youth, what food reminds you of your childhood?
 Yellow rice with corn or Vienna sausages mixed in.

 Z is for Zucchini, how do you prepare it?
 In my Mexican style chicken and vegetable soup.

Obedience Vs. Willfulness

My son E and I have started doing a character study every 2 weeks to help us develop godly characters.  As his mom it's my responsibility to teach him; as a child of God it's my responsibility to make sure I'm doing the things I teach.  This first half of the month we are studying obedience, defined as, "Quickly and cheerfully carrying out the wise direction of those who are responsible for me."  In my son's case, it means obeying his parents.  In my case, it means obeying the Lord.

To help incorporate this character trait in my own life, I found these 5 principles to put in practice.

1 - I will obey my authorities immediately.
2 - I will have a cheerful attitude.
3 - I will complete all that I am expected to do.
4 - I will not complain.
5 - I will go the extra mile.

Admittedly, numbers 2 and 4 are the ones I struggle with most.  However, if I am to be the woman God has called me to be, and if I'm to be the mom who sets the right example, then it's something I'm going to strive to achieve.  Lord, help me!

A Special Wish

I want to wish my sister Laryssa and her husband E.D., who is the BEST brother-in-law in the whole world, a very Happy and Joyous 9th wedding anniversary!  They are currently at Magic Kingdom in Disney World celebrating this special day.  I love you guys, and I hope today is the Best Day Ever!!!

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, November 8, 2011...

Outside my's starting to drizzle.  I hope we get some rain but not too much.  There were areas in South Florida that got flooding a couple weeks ago.  Wouldn't want to see that again.

I am thinking...about Michelle Duggar, and her announcement that they are expecting baby #20!  What great faith they have.  After having a preemie with so many complications, I wonder if I'd be ready to have another little one so soon, but they are trusting God and praising Him for this blessing.  I want a faith like that.

I am thankful...for the wonderful time I had with my siblings and my children this weekend.  So many old memories recalled, so many new memories made.

I am clean another bathroom after this quick break.

I am wearing...a black blouse, grey skirt and flip-flops.  It's currently 75 degrees and cloudy out today.

I am our dog Molly gets stomach issues anytime her schedule is changed, even slightly.  I have to take that into account whenever we plan anything.

I am hoping...the weather in Central Florida is nicer than here.  My brother, sister, and brother-in-law will be at the Disney parks all this week.  I really want them to have a great time.

I am pondering these words..."When you keep your eyes on Christ, everything will come into focus."

I am praying for...God's will to be done in my life.

From the learning rooms...we'll be preparing the project board for the science project this weekend.  I need to get pictures printed, and find some nice construction paper for decorating.

From the'll be tilapia today.  Something quick and simple, since there's still so much to do around the house.

I am reading...nothing yet.  I finished One Imperfect Christmas and loved it!  Now I'm charging my Nook to decide what I'll be reading next.

On my mind...Thanksgiving.  It's just a little over 2 weeks away.  Where has the time gone?!

Around the house...I did quite a bit yesterday.  Four loads of laundry, floors, kitchen, cleaned the rug Molly had her "accident" on (thankfully it cleaned really well and there's no sign of her mess), and now today I've cleaned one bathroom done and one more to go.  I also did a little work in the front yard, pulling weeds mostly, but it looks like the rain won't let me do much else outside.

One of my favorite things...Christmas carols.  I've got them playing right now.  As far as I'm concerned, it's never too early.

Here's a picture thought I'm kids the day we arrived, playing video games.

Wanna join in the fun?  Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook.  Have a blessed week.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

Okay, I just posted that I was going to get moving on cleaning that rug, but I thought I'd answer some questions before I got started on that task.  No I'm not procrastinating!

1. Are you excited for the holidays or are you dreading them?
I'm excited because I get to be with family and because I get to decorate my house and watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas music, but I also dread how commercialized Christmas has become and how the focus is on the presents and not on Jesus.  I hate how store clerks aren't allowed to say Merry Christmas and have to say Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings instead.  It takes some of the joy out of the season if you can't acknowledge the reason for it.

2. Do you hit the snooze button or get right up?
I get right up.  I'm a morning person.

3. Do you still have your tonsils?
Why yes, yes I do.

4. What was the last piece of candy that you ate?
A Twix candy bar from my son's Halloween stash.

5. Do you shop at thrift stores?
No.  There aren't many in my area.

Now it's your turn.  Hop on over to Java's blog, Never Growing Old, and let's meet this Monday.  Have a blessed weekn.

Move It Mondays

And what a Monday it's been!  I've been non-stop all day, getting caught up.  This weekend was spent with my sister, brother, and brother-in-law in Central Florida where we had a WONDERFUL time together!  I'm so thankful to God for bringing them here where we could make new memories as we remembered old ones.

Friday I took my son E to the doctor in the morning because he kept complaining of a sore throat and his nose was so stuffy he couldn't sleep.  I didn't want to get caught far from home with a sick little boy, so I decided to play it safe.  His pediatrician said it was nothing more than a bad cold, praise the Lord, and it gave us the opportunity to leave on our trip early.  I'm glad we did!  My siblings are staying at a hotel in DisneyWorld, a good 45 minutes from my kid's apartment.  We wouldn't have been able to spend as much time with them on Friday night if we'd left later in the afternoon.  Instead we got to eat dinner together in Downtown Disney, where we talked and laughed for hours!  I'd forgotten how much fun my brother and sister can be.  My kids got a big kick out of some of the stories we told too.

The next day we picked them up and brought them to the kid's apartment so they could see where their niece and nephew are living.  While we were there we played a couple of games of Apples to Apples (our favorite family board game), then went to dinner and a show at Medieval Times.  We had a blast!  While they are serving a dinner, which consisted of tomato bisque, garlic bread, half a roasted chicken, spare rib, herb baked potato and apple turnover, you get to watch a medieval story unfold.  The performance was amazing, and my brother really got into it!  He was cheering our knight on like it was for real!  I was so happy to see him enjoying himself so much.

Sunday we went bowling after church, something my daughter wanted to do because she's taking a bowling class in school and her uncle E.D. is a bowling aficionado, so she wanted to get a chance to show off her skills.  Their scores were tied!  It was great fun, but then E and I had to leave.  I hated saying goodbye, as did my little boy (he got all teary-eyed), but we were also very grateful for the time we spent together.

Unfortunately we got home to some unpleasant news.  Our dog Molly had an "accident" in the house.  This is something extremely out of the ordinary.  She'd only had one accident before, and it happens to be that both times she's had accidents it's been when we're in Central Florida and she's alone with someone.  I don't know if it's because she misses us, or if it's because her schedule gets disrupted.  Both times she went on the family room rug, and it was runny.  Dad had to clean up the mess, which he wasn't too happy about.  The rug is outside waiting to be super cleaned - that's my next task for today.  This is what I've accomplished so far:

* Unpacked and put away all our trip gear
* Vacuumed and mopped hallway, living room, dining room, kitchen and family room
* Washed and put away 4 loads of laundry
* Dusted in dining room and family room
* Cleaned up kitchen
* Moved a bench from the backyard to the front yard
* Made lunch/dinner
* Picked E up from school  

Now it's off to clean that rug, then help my son with his homework.  Very busy day, yes, but I have my happy memories to keep me smiling, and with Christmas music in the background (I know, I know; I start early) my chores aren't a burden at all.  Hope everyone has a pleasant Monday and rest of your week too!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Five Question Friday

Good Friday morning to everyone!  I'm getting an early start on our trip this morning.  My son kept complaining of a sore throat and stuffy nose, and since he'd had strep throat last month I was afraid we might be looking at a relapse.  So I took him to his pediatrician this morning, who examined him and found it was just a bad cold.  Since he's technically sick, I decided to keep him out of school today and get on the road earlier, missing the traffic later on.  But before I do, here's my attempt at Five Question Friday!

1. What movie do you love to quote?
I usually quote cartoons, actually.  Mostly Spongebob Squarepants.  I guess I watch more cartoons than movies, LOL!

2. Have you ever ridden a motorcycle?
Are you kidding?  I haven't even learned to ride a bike!

3. What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Play a board game with my kids, or read a book snuggled in a comfy chair.

4. Do you prefer a bunch of small gifts, or one really big, (expensive) gift?
I think I like the bunch of small gifts better.  It's fun to open up something and be surprised.  The more opening, the more surprised, the more fun!

5. Do you ever lose track of days and show up somewhere wrong?
No, menopause hasn't caused that much brain damage yet, LOL!!

Now, hop on over to Mama M's at My Little Life for your own Five Question Friday.  Have a blessed weekend!