Saturday, December 29, 2012

Observing My Senses

For Today, December 29, 2012...

I am seeing...a cloudy start to the day.  The humidity is high this morning; I suspect we'll see some rain.

I am feeling...thankful this morning.  So much that God gives us, so much to be thankful for.

I am hearing...the coffeepot sputter, though the coffee has already been brewed.

I am tasting...bacon.  I love bacon.  Bacon rocks.

I am morning coffee, and bacon.  I love bacon.

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

Friday, December 28, 2012

Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun

Hilary at Feeling Beachie is hosting the Friday Fill-In for the 92nd week!  That's quite an accomplishment.  I'm gonna join in and hope you do too.

This week’s statements:

1. without fail, whenever I fly__
Without fail, whenever I fly I enjoy the experience.  I love flying.  I don't do it more often because of the price.

2. I used to be___
I used to be great at remembering things.  Now I'm lucky if I remember my name :P

3. When I ___ I ___
When I am at home I have to be doing something.  It's hard for me to just sit back and relax when I can think of 100 things that need to get done.

4. My greatest fear is ______.
My greatest fear is finding my house infested with mice.  I hate the little critters so much I'd have to move out.

Five Question Friday

As the year winds down, I realize how hectic my life has been this month.  Decorating, baking, church services, birthdays (3 in our house), Christmas Day, and we still have New Years to look forward to.  I'm gonna add some normalcy to my life by joining in the Five Question Friday hop, hosted by Mama M at My Little Life.

1. If you had to give 1 million dollars to just one person (not your spouse), who would it be and why?
I would give my 1 million dollars to Jesus.  He has given me eternal life, and after all everything we have belongs to Him.  I would use it to pay for the building our old church is going to start construction on next year so that more people can come to know Christ.

2. What bathroom stall do you typically go to FIRST?
I always go to the first empty stall furthest from the bathroom door.  It's one of those OCD issues of mine where things should be done in order, and picking a random bathroom stall or going for the one closest to the door is out of order.

3. How do you prefer to shop: In-store or online?
For clothing I like to shop in the store so I can try on the clothes before purchasing them.  I don't trust sizes and I don't like returning stuff.  Now, for other things, such as electronics, or books, or movies, that kind of stuff, nothing beats Amazon.

4. What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?
Our weather has been up and down this month.  It gets up into the 80's, down into the 50's, up into the 70's, down into the 60's, back up into the 80's and so forth.  We've had very little rain though a few humid days.  Mostly lots of sunshine.

5. Do you own a pair of Tom's and what do you think? Overrated, underrated or about right?
I don't own any but my daughter has about 3 pair, and she raves about them.  I got her a pair for her birthday and she is in shoe heaven.  As far as she's concerned, there are no better shoes on the planet.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another Special Day

What a privilege it is to be a mommy!  It is an honor to be entrusted by God with raising the blessings He's given me.  Today we get to celebrate the birth of my two youngest.  My daughter A turns 23 today (I still can't believe it!) and my baby boy E is officially a teenager at 13 (Lord help me!).  Thank You Father for these wonderful gifts!  There are no words to describe how much I love and appreciate them.

Happy birthday you crazy kids!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, December 26, 2012...

Outside my window...we are expecting a warm day followed by a drop in temperatures.  We've gone from 80's to 40's to 70's to 50's and back up again.  It's been hard to dress for.

I am thinking...of the wonderful blessed day we had yesterday with friends and fellowship and food and gifts and joy and love.

I am thankful for...God, who left His heavenly throne to be born as a baby in a barn and laid in a feeding trough, so that I could one day accept His gift of salvation and live with Him forever.  My mind cannot wrap itself around such enormous love, but I am so grateful for it.

I am be helping my son with all the homework he got from his teachers for winter break.  I was not happy about that - it's vacation time for Pete's sake!

I am pj's.  I'll get dressed shortly.

I am well my kids get along, and it makes me very happy.

In the kitchen...I'll be making Mexican style chicken and vegetable soup.  It's a family favorite.

I am creating...a picture in my head of how I'll be putting the furniture once the tree comes down.  It's a habit of mine.  I'm always looking for new ways to decorate my home.  Even as a teenager I did it in my own bedroom.  I guess I haven't outgrown it.

I am devotions and nothing else.  Just haven't had time to sit and read.

I am hoping...our friends have a smooth trip to their new home in Sweden.

I am looking forward to...more birthday celebrations - my daughter turns 23 tomorrow, and my son turns 13 the same day.  They are 10 years apart.

I am hearing...the silence of a warm winter's morn.  All I hear is the clock ticking and the computer fan whirring.

Around the house...I'll have to pull out the vacuum cleaner again because Molly is shedding.  Again.  Honestly, I pick up so much dog hair it's a wonder she's not bald.

A favorite quote of the day..."Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life." - Corrie Ten Boom.

One of my favorite things...being with my kids on Christmas morning.

A few plans for the rest of the kid's birthdays tomorrow.  We'll be going out to eat and possibly visiting friends.  Church on Sunday.  Not much else on the program.

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

Monday, December 24, 2012

Move It Mondays - Christmas Eve

Happy Day Before Christmas!  There's a turkey in the oven, the presents are almost all under the tree, the big surprise is at a friend's house waiting to be picked up, and I'm busy as a bee today.  Just stopped by to wish all my blogging friends a very Merry Christmas!  Remember the reason why we are celebrating - it's Jesus' birthday, and we should be so very thankful!  God bless you all.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Observing My Senses

For Today, December 22, 2012...

I am seeing...lots of bright sunshine, and the lovely flowers I received from a friend who will be moving to Sweden this week.  We had a party for the couple on Thursday and she gave me the bouquet as a thank you.

I am feeling...the cool air coming in through the windows.  I awoke to 46 degrees!  It's now 48 degrees which is frigid weather in South Florida, perfect for this time of year.

I am Snoopy clock ticking.  The one I got for my birthday that plays Christmas carols every hour on the hour.  I love this clock so much!

I am tasting...oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Something about cold mornings that make you wanna eat a nice hot breakfast.

I am smelling...the fumes from the oven.  Yuck!  It's a self-cleaning oven, which means the only time it can be put on cleaning mode is when it's cool enough to open all the windows.  Today is the day, but oh, that oven was dirty with all the baking that goes on in December!  I'm thankful I'm getting this done though, and the smells will be gone shortly.

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

I finished dyeing my hair and now I'm having dinner.  I'm gonna squeeze in some chat time with Patrice and Wendell before I head off to our Awana's Happy Birthday Jesus party.  Let's have some coffee and chats at Everyday Ruralty.

1. What would you like to see under your Christmas tree?
The new Tim Hawkin's comedy DVD.  That man makes me laugh till I cry, he is the funniest comedian EVER!

2. What is your best color for clothes?
I find I look best in shades of purple.

3. Tell me your favorite kind of cookie.
Chocolate chip.  The crunchy kind, not the soft ones.

4. What's in the middle of your dining table right now? (flowers, a lazy susan with condiments, Christmas decorations...)
A candy dish filled with colorful glass ornaments, and two reindeer candle holders.

5. Please help me spread Christmas cheer to my buddy, Wendell. Please a wish for him here. :)
Wendell, did you know your ancestors were the first to see the Baby Jesus when He was born?  They were in a stable, and the Baby was placed in a manger, maybe belonging to a distant family member of yours!  That makes you very special!  I hope you will think about that as you enjoy celebrating the birth of our Savior.  God bless you.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's been an incredibly busy week, but I've carved out some time to get my Wednesday Hodgepodge post up.  You can too - hop on over to Joyce, From This Side of the Pond, to join in.

1. How will you spend 'the night before Christmas'?
I'll be at home preparing a special present for my special little boy :)

2.  What is one thing you are not?

3.  Fudge-are you a fan?  Your favorite flavor?
Not a huge fan of fudge.  I prefer cake-like desserts like brownies.

4. Did you attend any craft/vendor fairs in the month of December?  Do you prefer homemade goodies or the more professional stalls? Are you giving any homemade gifts this year?
I'm not a craft fair sort of person.  When it comes to giving homemade gifts, mine come from the kitchen.  I bake cakes for my neighbors.

5. What's your favorite type of holiday gathering?
I like a small intimate gathering more than a large party.  Just a few friends/family is enough for me.  Lots of conversation and good food.

6.  We're approaching a new year...what's going to be different in 2013?
I haven't thought about it too much.  I prefer to take life one day at a time.

7. Share a favorite scripture, quote, saying, or song lyric relating to peace.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Our weather has been crazier than usual this month.  Our summer was hot and humid, October and November were gloriously cool and dry, but December has been an unpredictable mix of both.  For instance, this morning it was 62 degrees, cool but humid.  The high was a whopping 82 degrees, with the humidity having dropped to 64%.  Friday temps are supposed to get down to the 40's.  What next, snow in South Florida?!  We never know what to expect!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me

Welcome to Monday Quiz About Me - hosted by Acting Balanced and Touristic.

Here are FOUR QUESTIONS that everyone can answer and then you have the option to add a fifth question of your own for those who are visiting your blog to answer in the comment section, along with commenting on the four standard questions you answered!

1. What are your favorite h'orderves at a party?
I like just about anything, whether it's chicken or veggies or whatever.  I'm easy to please.

2. What Christmas song have heard too much already?
None.  I love Christmas music.  I could hear it all year long.

3. Do you have New Year's Eve plans?
Nope.  Most likely I'll be at home unless something else comes up.

4. What was the best blog post you read this week?
That would be this post by a previous pastor from our church, Pastor Dan Burrell.

And now a fifth question of my own:

5. What is on your Christmas menu?
After much discussion with my children, it looks like we'll be having turkey again.  That's 'cause my kids can't get enough of my stuffing :)

Move It Mondays

Happy Monday y'all!  It's the last week of school before winter recess - boy has the time gone by fast!  Not fast enough for my son, though; he'd like school to be over already!  He has several exams this week that he's been studying for, and it puts some serious pressure on a kid.  He's looking forward to the time off more than anyone else here.

I've been pretty busy preparing the house for a going away party this Thursday.  Friends of ours from church are moving to Sweden next week and we volunteered our home, since our yard is large enough to hold a big group.  It's sad for us, especially for my daughter, because she was just getting close to this sweet young lady.  She found out that, not only are they moving to another country, but they're leaving on her birthday.  She was pretty heartbroken about it, which is why this party is even more important to her.

Having people over means lots of cleaning and fixing up to do.  I cleared out a bunch of branches from the backyard.  It's possible the grass will have to be cut before Thursday, but I'm waiting to see.  There's lots of weeds back there, more than I care to look at.  Inside I've cleaned the family room and the dining room, but from here till Thursday there will have to be plenty more done.  What's most upsetting to me is getting everything cleaned up only to find that within a day the floors are filled with dog hair again.  Honestly, I don't know why this dog isn't bald.  The way she sheds, I could have contributed to Doggy Locks for Love and donated to several hairless dogs.

We had fish tacos for lunch.  I'm just gonna have a sandwich for dinner, and the rest will have something quick and easy as well.  The oven is gonna be used for baking very shortly; it's time for me to get those cakes in the oven for our neighbors.  I don't deliver them all at once.  I typically bake a couple and deliver those, then bake a couple more and take them, etc.  That way I don't have to worry about ants invading my home because of all the goodies.  They can take over very quickly.

I did some grocery shopping this afternoon before picking up my son from school.  I made a 2 week menu plan so that I don't have to go grocery shopping next week.  I want to spend as much time with my family and away from stores as possible.  I'll be finishing my shopping tomorrow.

Wednesday is our Awana Happy Birthday Jesus party.  The children have so much fun!  I have to remember to buy Capri Suns for the event.  We won't be having Awana for 2 weeks after that so I'll be missing my girls tremendously, but we'll all be having a wonderful time celebrating our Savior's birth.

It's a busy week ahead, and that's okay by me.  I hope y'all have an enjoyable Monday and a blessed week.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Observing My Senses

For Today, December 15, 2012...

I am seeing...rain, and lots of it.  The sun will probably try to sneak out in a bit, but right now everything is drenched.

I am feeling...such profound sadness as I think of parents in Connecticut who will be getting up this morning to prepare funeral arrangements for their children.

I am son clearing his throat.  I hope he isn't coming down with anything.

I am morning coffee.

I am smelling...pancakes and sausages, ready to be eaten.

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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Follow Friday Four Fill-in Fun

Time for my weekly fill-ins courtesy of Hilary at Feeling Beachie.

This week’s statements:
1. I usually ___ but never ____
I usually drink coffee in the morning but never more than one cup.

2. I was named ___because ___
I was named Arlene because my mom's boss was always bragging about his daughter Arlene and my mom thought it was so sweet.  She told him if she had a girl she'd name her Arlene, and she did.

3. I would never change _______about my body, but I would change _________
I would never change everything about my body, but I would change the parts that are not working to their full potential, like my eyes.  It would be great to not be near-sighted or far-sighted or have astigmatism.

4. The last time I said “I Love You” was to _________
The last time I said "I Love You" was to my youngest son this morning as I dropped him off at school.  He said I love you back but kind of under his breath.  He's at the age where public displays of affection towards parents is embarrassing :(

Five Question Friday

Welcome to this very special addition of Five Question Friday.  Why special, you ask?  Because it's my birthday!  I'm so extremely blessed and thankful for another year, another month, another day.  And so, here are my festive five questions courtesy of Mama M at My Little Life.  Let's give it a go.

1. If you bake during the holidays, what is your favorite thing to make?
I bake cakes and take them around to our neighbors.  I use Duncan Hines cake mixes but I jazz them up so they turn out better than going by the recipe.  My neighbors look forward to our yearly visits.

2. Present giving: Gift bag vs wrapped box?
I like the way wrapped boxes look under the tree.  Whenever I can I wrap, but some gifts require a bag just because of the shape.

3. What do you keep your thermostat on during the winter/summer in your house?
Hahaha!  I only just turned the air conditioner off today because the temperatures finally got down into the 60's this morning.  We have central heating and a/c, and when we finally turn the heater on (once or twice a year) the poor unit goes into shock, LOL!

4. When thinking of your "Christmas to-do list" what percentage "done" are you?
As far as shopping goes, I'm done.  Everything is purchased and under the tree, except for my son E's special present which will be here on Christmas Eve.  Next week I'll be baking and delivering cakes to my neighbors.  I might mix it up a bit and bake some banana bread or cookies as well.  I usually leave that till the week before Christmas though.

5. Do you do the "Elf on a Shelf"? If so, is your Elf naughty and what shenanigans has he gotten into?
I've never done the Elf on a Shelf.  My youngest is turning 13 this month and considers himself too old for that kind of stuff (though I'll bet if I did it he'd still enjoy it).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Y'all know what today is? 12-12-12.  How cool that a date like this should fall in the middle of the week?  Okay, maybe not to everyone else, but I think it's pretty nice.  It's time for my Wednesday Hodgepodge post, courtesy of Joyce, From This Side of the Pond.  Stick around, this should be fun.

1.  So, when did you last take a walk in the woods? A stroll along the beach? A drive going nowhere in particular in the car?
Hmm, let's see.  The park by my house isn't what I'd call a wooded area.  Other parks are but I haven't been to any lately.  I live near the beach but I rarely go.  Gas prices are too high to just drive around.  Oh dear, I've become a homebody.

2.  Are you sending Christmas cards this year?  About how many do you send?  Photo card or something more traditional?  How do you display the cards you receive?
I send very few cards in the mail these days.  I do give cards to my neighbors, but I like doing that in person.  There are about 6 neighbors that I visit and bring a card and a cake (baked by yours truly).  I go the traditional route, and usually use cards that benefit some charity.  I display mine in the living room.

3. What's a word you've heard too much of in the past week?
Not so much a word, but a phrase:  End of the world. I'll be glad when it's 12-22-12 and that part of history is over.

4. December 13th is National Cocoa Day-are you a fan?  Plain or flavored?  Marshmallows or no marshmallows?
I love cocoa, but being lactose intolerant means I can't have it unless it's with lactose free milk (not the same).  No marshmallows for me, thanks.  They give me a stomach ache.

5. What is something you do to help alleviate the hectic pace of the Christmas season?
I make sure I get most if not all of my shopping done by Thanksgiving so I don't have to go to any stores.  Grocery shopping is all I do this month.  I feel sorry for the folks with the shopping carts full of stuff frantically looking for that one item that evades them.

6. Besides jewelry, what's a favorite sparkly-glittery item in your home or closet?
I have a couple of glittery ornaments on the tree.  That's probably it.  I'm not much into glitter.

7. Share a favorite line or two from any Christmas carol.
"Fall on your knees,
Oh hear the angel voices.
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born."

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
God has come through in a mighty way today.  I've been wanting to buy my youngest son a drum set for some time, but they are expensive - in the $400+ range for just a shell set with no hardware, to $500+  for a cheap full set.  Not in my budget.  Well, a friend from my old church was selling his full drum set for $300.  That is a great deal, but I didn't have $300.  I had $150 to spare but that was it.  I asked the Lord to make it possible if it was His will.  I know E wants to learn to play, and I know God can make the impossible, possible.  The friend who was selling his drum set contacted me via Facebook and asked if I was still interested - he was willing to drop the price to $250.  I talked it over with my older kids, and they agreed to pitch in the balance.  God is blessing my son with a drum set!  I'm so excited, I'm almost afraid I'll give away the surprise!  We won't pick the drum set up till the 24th - that's a whole 12 days away!  God is so good!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

It's time for some chatting, so I'm joining Patrice, Wendell, and all the gang at Everyday Ruralty on the porch.

1. What's your favorite ornament on your tree? If you have no Christmas tree, please tell me about something pretty in your home that you enjoy.
I found an ornament a few years ago of Santa kneeling in front of the cross and praying.  It made me think of St. Nicholas who was a devout believer, and the Santa Claus the media has portrayed him to be.  If Santa were real, he would still bow before the Lord.

2. What do you do when a telemarketer calls?
Thankfully I no longer have a land line in my home, and I rarely get telemarketing calls on my cell phone.  If I don't recognize the number I don't answer.

3. What was the last kind of candy you had? Admit it- you had one tiny little bite. We understand:)
I had a pumpkin spice Hershey's kiss after lunch today.  I still have a few left.  They are so yummy!  I'm gonna miss them when they're gone.

4. Do you send out Christmas cards? If not applicable- do you use snail mail?
I send out only a few Christmas cards.  Most I give out to my neighbors in person.

5. Please finish this. I sometimes wonder___________________________.
I sometimes wonder why God puts up with having to teach me the same lessons over, and over, and over again.  He really must love me to be so patient.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, December 11, 2012...

Outside my window...the bright sunshine is still there, though only for another hour or so.  By 5:30pm it's just about gone.

I am thinking...of my daughter, and the trials she faces everyday working in a children's home.

I am thankful for...a pantry filled with food, and a home filled with love.

I am my son's school at 5pm to purchase uniform shirts.  He's grown so much this year I can hardly keep up.

I am wearing...a mint green top, green/brown/black geometric designed skirt, and black flip-flops.  It's a balmy 83 degrees out, with high humidity and dew points.  I miss last month's weather.

I am noticing...fewer homes decorated for Christmas this year.  However, the stores are more packed than usual.  I guess everyone's using their money for gifts, not decor.

In the kitchen...fried tilapia, plantains, rice medley (which my daughter said was really good), and a salad.  Oh, and broccoli.

I am creating...well, not yet, but I'll be creating some scrapbook pages for my son's scrapbook soon.

I am reading...very little lately.  I'm running around a lot.

I am hoping...the temps start to drop into the low 70s again.  It doesn't feel like Christmas when it's this humid out.

I am looking forward birthday celebration on Thursday, and my actual birthday on Friday.

I am hearing...a video game my son is playing.  He plays to wind down after a hard day of learning ;).

Around the house...I was able to get some dusting and vacuuming done, plus one load of laundry.

A favorite quote of the day..."How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, His precepts!" - Benjamin Franklin.

One of my favorite things...saving money!  I saved a bunch this weekend when I went to Kohl's to buy my son new school pants.  It was great!

A few plans for the rest of the birthday luncheon on Thursday, my actual birthday on Friday, and Friday night is our church's Christmas concert.  What a way to spend my birthday, listening to Christmas carols!  I love it!

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

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me

It's late, but there's still time for my Monday quiz post.  Here's how it works:  there's FOUR QUESTIONS that everyone can answer and then there's the option to add a fifth question of my own for those who are visiting my blog to answer in the comment section, along with commenting on the four standard questions I answered.  If you want to give it a try, visit Heather at Acting Balanced.

1. What is your favorite charity to donate to?
Samaritan's Purse.  The organization is run by the Graham family and helps communities all around the world, especially children.  You can learn about them here.

2. When was the last time you danced?
It's been so long I can't remember.

3. How do you show someone you care about them?
I cook for them!  Or bake.  Yummy food makes people smile.

4. Do you send holiday cards?
I like to but it seems most folks don't send cards anymore.  If I get 5 cards all year it's a lot.  I do like giving cards along with baked goods to my neighbors for Christmas.

And for my question:

5. Have you watched any Christmas movies this month?
I'm not a big fan of television, but I do love watching cheesy Christmas movies on Lifetime and Hallmark channels.  What can I say, I'm a softy when it comes to Christmas romance.

Move It Mondays

It's closer to the end of the day than the beginning, but I've been moving quite a bit despite not feeling well.  My stomach has been upset since yesterday, and actually kept me awake from 4am on.  I had to go grocery shopping though, so I drank some bicarbonate of soda and ran my errands.  I was able to accomplish much, and for that I'm thankful.

Have you started watching any cheesy Christmas movies?  I rarely watch network television these days, but I don't mind tuning in to a few Lifetime or Hallmark movies during the most wonderful time of the year.  Either that, or a DVD.  It can be a movie or a cartoon, I love both equally.  

Breakfast this morning was my new standard, pumpkin spice Eggo's.  Incredibly enough they are still easily found in stores.  I didn't think they'd be around this far into the Christmas season, but hey, I'm not complaining. :)  For lunch and dinner, we had fried chicken, stuffing, corn on the cob and salad.  I really should have thought that one better; I repeated that fried chicken so many times the very smell of it became repulsive.  It was delicious when I first ate it.  It was not good the second (or third) time around.

So, do ya wanna know something special about this week?  It's my birthday this Friday.  I will be turning 29 for the 20th time ;).  It's also my sweet brother-in-law's birthday.  He is one day older than me.  Since my daughter gets Thursdays off we decided we'd celebrate my birthday on my brother-in-law's birthday and go out for a late lunch.  Or early dinner.  Depends on your perspective.  Friday, my actual birthday, is our church's Christmas concert, so I get to hear my favorite kind of music - Christmas worship music - on my birthday.  Isn't that a wonderful blessing?

I'm looking forward to some fun this week.  Hope you have fun too!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Observing My Senses

For Today, December 8, 2012...

I am seeing...another cloudy day, though at least these aren't rain clouds.  Our weather has reverted to high temperatures and humidity again thanks to some rain we've been getting the last few days.  I'm not sorry for the rain, we really did need it, but I miss the cooler temperatures and having the windows open.

I am feeling...pretty good after my daughter's Wii Fit said my fitness age is 10 years younger than my actual age - almost 11 years younger, seeing as my birthday is less than a week away!  That sure brought a smile to this face!

I am hearing...the toaster oven ticking away as it toasts up a hash brown patty for my son.  Otherwise it's pretty quiet now.  My oldest son left for work a little while ago, my youngest is watching cartoons (I can just barely make out the sounds) and my daughter will be drying her hair shortly.

I am morning coffee, along with my morning vitamins.

I am smelling...biscuits just out of the oven, sausages on the stove, and that hash brown patty.  No wonder breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, the aroma is tantalizing!

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

Friday, December 7, 2012

Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun

It's that time of the week again - time to get my neurons pumping as I figure out my fill-ins.  I'm up for the challenge - how about you?  Check it out at Feeling Beachie, courtesy of Hilary.

This week’s statements:
1. ___in the ___ is the ___
Walking in the park is the best form of exercise.

2. __is my____
My relationship with Christ is my most important relationship.

3. I like to think ____; but I know _____.
I like to think I'm in control of my life; but I know my life is in Better Hands.

4. If I just ______, then I could ______.
If I just stop snacking, then I could lose these lousy 5 extra pounds.  Easier said than done during the Christmas season.

Five Question Friday

It's Friday!  Yay!!  It means I don't have to get up early tomorrow morning ;).  It also means it's time for Five Question Friday, courtesy of Mama M at My Little Life.

1. How many times have you moved and do you have any tips?
Not counting childhood, it's been...7 times.  When stayed very little time in the apartments we rented.  Once we bought our condo we stayed put for 5 years until we bought our current house.  We've been here 12 1/2 years.

2. Do you have a budget for the holidays, or just keep sliding the credit card and have a heart attack in Jan?
I made it a point not to use the credit card for Christmas purchases.  This is something the Lord has laid on my heart, to stop using the credit card altogether.  It's a process; I used to charge pretty much everything on my card then pay the full amount when the bill was due.  I realized I was spending way too much money that way.  Now I use the card for groceries and gas only.  So I had to have a budget for presents, or else I'd be bankrupt.

3. What is the one medical thing you avoid like the plague?
Diabetes.  It runs in my family, so I do whatever I can to eat right and stay in shape so as to avoid it.  (This is said as I suck on a candy cane).

4. What your least favorite Christmas song?
Baby It's Cold Outside.  For one, it has nothing to do with Christmas.  Secondly, if any guy said to my daughter the things that guy says in the song to his girl, I'd spend Christmas in jail.

5. This Christmas are you spending more, less or about the same? Why?
I've definitely spent less this year.  I love giving gifts, but I also realize this holiday has become all about getting.  We've allowed Christ to be an insignificant part instead of the whole reason for the Christmas holiday.  I want to take the focus away from the gift and put it where it belongs, on The Giver of life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's the middle of the week - how about some Hodgepodge?  A little of this, a little of that.  Join in at Joyce's From This Side of the Pond.

1.  Share your traditions surrounding the Christmas stocking.
I don't put a whole lot of stuff in the stockings, just one or two special items.  It might be a gift card, it might be a video game.  These get opened at midnight on Christmas.

2.  How many hours of sleep do you average at night?  Is it enough?
I get 8 hours of sleep.  Well, I'm in bed for 8 hours.  Lately I've been waking up anywhere between 4:30 and 5:00am.  I toss and turn till it's time to get up.  I don't think my body approves of Daylight Savings Time.

3.  If you had to give up one thing for the remainder of this year what would it be?
Hmm, let's see, the remainder of this would do me good to give up snack foods.  Unhealthy ones, I mean.  It seems everywhere I go there's pastries or cupcakes or breads or something that is waistline unfriendly.

4.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (or Wills and Kate as I like to call them) have announced they're expecting a baby. Do you follow news of the Royals?
I don't, because I think a lot of what's printed is media hype.  I'm happy for them that they are going to have a sweet little blessing, but the media will not leave them alone for one minute, and that makes me sad.

5.  For me,  the sound of childhood is__________________.

6.  Fruit cake-yay or boo? What's your favorite dessert made with fruit?
I've never tasted a fruit cake so I can't vote either way.  My favorite dessert with fruit? Apple pie.

7. What is one thing you want to accomplish before 2012 comes to an end?
Lose 5 pounds.  Only I don't see that happening unless I apply #3.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I had my schedule for cleaning all planned out this morning.  Then God decided I needed a lesson in "planning".  My daughter reached for the chocolate almond milk to make her morning shake, when the carton slipped from her hand and went crashing to the floor, exploding on impact.  There was chocolate almond milk inside, outside, under, and in front of the refrigerator.  It took a good half hour to get it all cleaned up.  I'm happy to say I didn't get flustered or angry because my well-laid plans got waylaid.  That's what would have happened in the past.  This time we just cleaned it up and went on with our day.  It was a good feeling to know that a little mishap doesn't ruin my day anymore.  Thank You Lord.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

I usually visit Patrice and Wendell on Wednesdays, but they're having such pleasant weather today I thought I'd stop by earlier.  You can stop by for some chatting at Everyday Ruralty.

1. Do you have your tree up yet? If not, when will you put it up? If you don't have a tree, please tell me about another tradition you like.
Our tree went up the day after Thanksgiving.  That has been our family's tradition since our first Christmas together.

2. What was the best job you ever had? The worst?
Best job was my last job as purchasing manager for a cosmetics firm.  The people were a joy to work with, my vendors were the best, I learned tons of stuff while I was there, and the atmosphere was almost always pleasant.  The worst job I had was the complete opposite.  The atmosphere was awful, there was racism running rampant and the management did nothing about it.  I found out a few years after I left the management and company were sued for discrimination.  It didn't surprise me one bit.

3. Do you drive around and look at Christmas lights? If not applicable, tell me something you like to look at when you go for a drive.
We used to drive around to look at Christmas lights.  Then the price of gas went through the roof.  Now we walk through the neighborhood to see the lights.  It's actually better, since we can stop and admire instead of having to drive through.  There's more to appreciate on foot.

4. Does your tea kettle have a whistle?
Nope.  I don't have a tea kettle or a whistle.  I warm up my water in the microwave and toss the tea bag right in the cup.

5. Do you like boots?
Ugh, no!  I hate boots!  I'm so thankful I live in South Florida and never have to wear boots!  Though I must confess, I tried on a pair of boots at Kohl's recently that were very comfortable.  I would almost dare to buy them, but I don't think they'd get much use.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, December 4, 2012...

Outside my window...the rain continues.  After a very dry October and November, December has begun with showers.  They are much needed, as the grass was starting to turn brown.

I am thinking...of my birthday, which is only 10 days away.  One last year in my 40's.  Still can't believe I'm no longer in my 30's.

I am thankful...for the life God has given me.  It isn't perfect, but it's filled with hope.

I am get my hair done today!  I'm so looking forward to it.  My ends are so dry it makes the rest of my hair look unhealthy.

I am wearing...a black and white dress that has a sort of leafy print on it, and flats.  It's 73 degrees out with a light drizzle.  It's supposed to clear up in a bit.

I am noticing...that the plumbing issues in my home aren't going away.  Both toilets leak.  I changed the mechanism in the small bathroom but the leaking continued.  I changed the flapper on the second one but no improvement.  What I am noticing, is that when I shut the water off on the small bathroom the leaking stops in the master bath.  Obviously something is going on that only a plumber can fix.  Great.  :P

In the kitchen...we'll be having baked ham slices with rice medley, plantains and a salad.

I am creating...a simpler Christmas look in my home.  Less is more for us this year.

I am devotions, and still on Unglued.

I am haircut turns out better than my expectations.

I am looking forward son's science fair at his school tonight.  I am so thankful to be his mom!

I am hearing...a lawn mower outside, which is weird because even though the rain seems to have let up, the ground is wet.  Not the best time to cut the grass.

Around the house...I've gotten sort of caught up, though the bathrooms need to be cleaned.  My daily chore is vacuuming so the floor doesn't accumulate excess dog hair.

A favorite quote of the day... "Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change. And when we are right, make us easy to live with." - Peter Marshall.

One of my favorite things...a Christmas tree all decorated and lit up.

A few plans for the rest of the haircut today, Awana tomorrow, and that's all that's planned at the moment.

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

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me

Welcome to Monday Quiz About Me - hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced.

Here are the rules:  there are FOUR QUESTIONS that everyone can answer and then you have the option to add a fifth question of your own for those who are visiting your blog to answer in the comment section, along with commenting on the four standard questions you answered! Here we go:

1. When was the last time you had your picture taken with Santa?
Since we didn't celebrate Christmas when I was growing up, I've never had my picture taken with Santa.

2. Which do you prefer - ham or turkey?
Don't put me in a position to have to choose!  I love them both!  I love a good brined turkey, stuffed and roasted to perfection.  I also love baked ham with drizzled with glaze and chunks of pineapple.  No way I can pick one over the other.

3. Do you give more to charity in December?
I try to give all year round.  Any time I have the opportunity to give more I do it, and don't wait till the holidays.  It's nice to give extra at Christmas, but it's even nicer to give extra for no reason.

4. Which US City would you most like to visit and why?
I would love to visit Washington DC and see all the historical monuments.

And now for my fifth question:

5. Do you live in the same town/city/state you were born in?
I do not.  I was born in the Bronx, in New York City.  I now live in a small town outside of Miami, Florida.

Move It Mondays

Happy 1st Monday in December!  Can you believe it, this year is quickly coming to an end!  For those of you expecting the world to end on the 21st it may not be a happy time, but for those of us who believe Christ will come as a thief in the night with no forewarning, it's the greatest month of the year!  At our house it's even more special - not only are we celebrating the Lord's birthday, but mine, my daughter and my youngest son's.  It's always festive for us this time of year!

I got up this morning and had a pumpkin spice Eggo, bacon and coffee breakfast.  After dropping my son off at school I came home to get my daughter so we could go grocery shopping.  I needed to get a hair appointment but I couldn't find the girl's number, so I figured I'd call after I got home.  As I was driving to Walmart my daughter was checking out Facebook and said, "My hair salon has an event this week - bring in a brand new unwrapped toy and get a free haircut."  Now, my daughter goes to one of these upscale salons that charge $65 for a haircut and blow-dry, so I never go there to get my hair done.  I go to a place next to our Winn-Dixie, get the $30 shampoo and cut, then come home and blow-dry it myself.  When I heard this deal, though, I got super excited!  I know where the special clearance aisle is at Walmart, and they put some really neat stuff there at great prices - like the Sorry Sliders Cars 2 Edition board game I got for $11.50!  That's the game I'm taking to the hair place tomorrow to get my free shampoo and wash!  Blow drying would be an additional $35+ so I'll still be drying my own hair, but who cares?!  I'm getting a high end haircut for $11.50, so I know I can't go wrong.  That there is a blessing from heaven!

Lunch/dinner today is jambalaya which I made in the crock pot.  It's nice and spicy and oh so delicious!  After lunch I went to finish grocery shopping.  I get my canned and dry goods primarily at Walmart, but deli meats and cheeses I get from Publix (along with some gift cards to stuff in my kids' stockings) and meats I get from Winn-Dixie.  Of course I didn't need meat this week since I doubled up last week, but I went to Winn-Dixie for salad fixings and rice.  That's another thing I don't get at Walmart - produce.  It never looks as good as the produce at Publix or Winn-Dixie.  I think the Walmart produce is over-priced; the fruits and veggies are small and don't look nearly as fresh.  The salads go bad faster too.  It doesn't pay to save a few pennies if it'll get thrown out later on.

Well, Molly's been fed, E is watching some cartoons on his computer before starting his homework, and I'm munching on an apple.  I think I'll watch a Christmas movie with dinner again tonight.  I've watched just about all the Christmas movies on Netflix, and now I'm going through my own library of Christmas DVD's.  Some people think Christmas movies are cheesy, but they are my all-time favorites!

Have a fun filled rest of your Monday everyone!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Observing My Senses

For Today, December 1, 2012...

I am seeing...sunshine after a few days of clouds.  The Christmas tree all lit up.  Clothes waiting to be folded.

I am feeling...the breeze coming in the windows.  The joy of seeing friends and sharing sweet fellowship.  A tummy filled with delicious food.

I am hearing...some program my son is watching.  The rustling of the leaves in the breeze.  The buzzing of the computer fan.

I am tasting...nothing right now, since I pretty much stuffed my face at the brunch this morning.  It was a baby shower for a wife of one of the pastors.

I am son's lunch, a ground beef quesadilla he made in the toaster oven.

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun

Happy Friday!  Here's my challenging post for the week, the Friday four fill-ins hosted by Hilary at Feeling Beachie.  They appear simple at first glance, but they can get pretty complicated!  Here we go:

1. I have always dreamed of ____
I have always dreamed of traveling and seeing new places and cultures.

2. My ___ is my ____
My home is my haven that I get to share with those I love.

3. I love to ____ when I ____
I love to scrapbook when I get the chance.  I wish I'd get the chance more often.

4. I will never forget ____ with ____
I will never forget labor and delivery with my three kids.  I don't think any mom ever does.

Five Question Friday

Welcome to Five Question Friday, the blog hop that asks 5 questions every Friday, and I answer them.  Simple, right?  Then hop on over to My Little Life and join in.

1. What do you give teachers for gifts?
If it's lady teachers I might get a scented candle or gift basket, but typically a good gift is a gift certificate to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.

2. Do you text? One finger texter or total pro?
I do text, quite frequently since it seems to be the only way to communicate with kids nowadays.  I use my thumbs for texting.  Both of them.

3. Do you give back during the holidays? If so, in what way/which is your favorite charity?
Yes, I do make an effort to give during the holidays (and the rest of the year, because needy people are needy all year long).  I like giving through Samaritan's Purse.  This worthy organization is run by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham.  They help people all over the world who are in need.  Check them out.

4. If you would've been the sole winner of the 575+ million dollar Powerball jackpot, what would you have done with all that money?
I'd give most of it to a worthy charity.  See question #3.

5. Will you please take just a moment to spread the word and pray about my friend's missing family members? There still is no news, and I can't imagine their pain and worry. Facebook prayer page: Prayers for Trista, Shy and Matt.
You got it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Okay, I'm late.  It's Thursday.  But in my defense, I've been crazy busy decorating the house for Christmas.  I haven't even taken pics to post because I've been running around till I run out of energy (I'm no pink bunny).  I'll try to get back on schedule by getting my Hodgepodge post up, even if it's late.  You can too, if you hop on over to Joyce's, From This Side of the Pond.

Four hodgepodges til Christmas in case you were wondering.

1.  With that being said I think I need to dive right in to some Christmas related questions, don't you? Which do you prefer-pretty gift wrap with a bow or a pretty gift bag with/without a bow?  What percentage of your holiday gifts are currently (as in right this very minute) wrapped in some form or fashion?
I like gifts that are wrapped and topped with a bow.  Bags are nice too, but there's just something about stacking boxes under the tree that makes me smile.

All my gifts are wrapped.  They are all purchased too.  I have some books on order that haven't shipped, but otherwise I'm done.

2.  What is one item on your Christmas list this year?
The new Tim Hawkin's DVD, Push Pull Point Pow.  Tim Hawkins in the funniest comedian I've ever heard/watched.  He's a Christian, so none of his comedy contains foul language or sexual innuendos so common with today's comedians.  And yet he's hilarious.  I told my kids if they don't get me this DVD I will disown the three of them.

3.  What makes a home?
The people.  I can be at home in a dump so long as my babies are near.

4.  Motown founder Berry Gordy celebrates his birthday on Hodgepodge Day-November 28th. Are you a fan of the Motown sound?  If so, who's your favorite Motown artist and/or song? Here's a list in case you're stuck.
I was a fan back in the day, when I was a kid.  Not as much now.  I prefer rock music.

5.  Red or green-which one is more prevalent in your closet?
Green, definitely.  It's my favorite color.  I like pretty much all shades of green.  Well, except neon.  That's a bit loud.

6.  True or false-bacon makes it better? If you answered true, what's your favorite dish made with bacon?
True!  I like bacon with my breakfast, bacon on my burgers, bacon wrapped around pork tenderloin.  The flavor is like no other.

7.  Share a favorite holiday memory.
When my two older kids were little, we'd go to grandma's house for Thanksgiving and come home late enough that both were asleep or almost asleep.  Once they were in bed, I'd get to work decorating the house.  The tree would go up and get decorated, all kinds of decor would appear, and the stockings would get hung with a surprise inside.  I loved hearing them get up in the morning, hearing their oohs and aahs as they went through the house, then cheer as they found a special something (usually a cassette tape of Christmas music) in their stocking.  I can't do this anymore, since the tree is much bigger and it takes me a couple of days to decorate the house instead of a few hours, but it's a memory my kids and I still treasure.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
December is almost upon us, and so are birthdays.  My sweet brother-in-law has a birthday on the 13th, then mine is on the 14th.  My nephew's birthday is on the 19th.  We'll celebrate Jesus' birthday on the 25th, then my daughter and youngest son will have their birthdays on the 27th.  No, they aren't twins.  My daughter A turns 23 and my son E will be 13.  They are exactly 10 years apart.  For us, December is an especially special month.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, November 27, 2012...

Outside my's a little warmer today.  Or rather, the humidity is up so it feels warmer.  The temps have been steady these last few weeks.

I am thinking...of my friend whose son just got back into the States after spending 9 grueling months in Afganistan.  Praise God he is back safe!  I'm thankful to God for His protection, and to this young man for putting himself on the line to protect my freedom.

I am thankful...that my youngest son's science project got chosen for the science fair!  We worked hard to get it done and turned in on time, and his teacher said it was solid and great.  I'm so proud of my little boy!

I am do my hair in a little while.

I am wearing...a blue paisley top, jean capris and flip flops.  It's 77 degrees but the humidity and dew point are in the 60% range which makes it feel warmer and stickier.  Plus I was putting up Christmas lights so I needed something comfortable to wear.

I am noticing...a pain in my neck.  No, literally.  My neck muscles are sore from all the Christmas decorating.  I could really use a massage.

In the kitchen...we have leftovers.  It's leftover day.  My son, however, doesn't want leftovers.  He feels he deserves to dine out because of his science project going to the science fair.

I am creating...a warm and cozy home.

I am reading...very little lately other than my devotions.  I've been real busy decorating.

I am hoping...the lights look nice.  It took a couple of hours to get them strung around the roof line.

I am looking forward to...a friend's baby shower this weekend.

I am son singing.

Around the house...I've got my tree all set up and lit, the little village on the table next to it, everything looking festive and Christmas-y.

A favorite quote of the day..."Christ is not valued at all unless He is valued above all." - Augustine.

One of my favorite things...hearing my children sing.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Awana starts up tomorrow again.  Saturday is the baby shower, and church on Sunday.

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me

Welcome to my Monday Quiz post.  Hilary at Acting Balanced provides 4 questions, then allows me the option of adding a 5th question.  You can link up at her blog to join in.

1. Do you decorate outdoors for the holidays?
Yes!  It's a lot of work but worth the effort.  I love seeing houses decorated with lights.

2. What is the best thing about office Christmas parties?
Not having to work and actually getting to know your co-workers.

3. Gloves or Mittens?
Wow, I can't remember the last time I used either ones other than for gardening, and of course those would be gloves.  Ah, the benefits of living in South Florida!

4. What do you think of Secret Santas?
They can be fun, as long as the people involved are mature about it.  We had a secret Santa at work once and one of the employees insisted on writing up a list of what he wanted because he didn't want to get cheated out of a good present.  It was downright ridiculous.

And now for my question:

5. Did you or a guest bake your Thanksgiving dessert, or was it store bought?
I baked an apple crumb pie that was to die for!  Honestly, even my picky kids enjoyed it.  We also had a store bought gingerbread train kit for my kiddos to put together.

Move It Mondays

Happy last Monday in November!  The month is almost gone, Thanksgiving is but a memory, and Christmas decorating is in full swing.  I've decorated the inside of the home, but I still have the outside to go.  It won't happen today, though; today was shopping day.  Grocery shopping.  I usually go on Fridays, but there was no way I'd be caught in the madness of Black Friday.  So I got caught up with food shopping and I also gassed up the car at $3.39/gallon.  It's cheaper than it's been, but it still takes $50 to fill up the tank.

So after a trip to Winn-Dixie, Walmart, and Costco, I came home and put everything away just to start lunch.  We had fried chicken, stuffing, corn on the cob and salad.  Yum!  I have a happy tummy :).  I'm gonna clean up in the kitchen, then I'll be leaving to pick up my son from school in an hour.

I got a call from a dear friend today, which made me smile.  She was out of town visiting family and just got back, so we got interrupted twice.  It's still nice to get calls from old friends.

Hmm, maybe I can start putting up those lights this afternoon.  Let's see how much homework my little boy gets.  My sons and I can go out and do this together.  Have a blessed Monday, wherever you are.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Observing My Senses

For Today, November 24, 2012...

I am seeing...the sunlight as it streams in through the window all over the kitchen counter.  I see a half decorated Christmas tree in the living room.  I see decorations that bring good memories and bittersweet ones.

I am feeling...the cool breeze coming in through the kitchen window.  The stickiness of my fingers that got syrup on them.  The joy of seeing my house decorated for the holidays.

I am hearing...the coffee maker do its job.  Birds chirping in the trees.  And silence, because my offspring are still asleep.

I am tasting...bacon, waffles, coffee, syrup.  In that order.

I am smelling...very little.  The boxes that came down from the attic were covered in dust, causing my allergies to spring to life.  Thank goodness for Benadryl.  I would have had a sleepless night otherwise.

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

Friday, November 23, 2012

Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun

I'm thankful that Hilary is back after Hurricane Sandy interrupted her life.  As she gets her home back in order, I'll join in for some Friday fill-ins.  If you care to give it a try, visit her at Feeling Beachie.

This week’s statements:
1. I put ___ on a hot dog
I put brown mustard and either relish or onions on a hot dog.  Which isn't often, since hot dogs don't do well in my tummy :(

2. when it___ I ____
When it is sunny and warm out I wish we had a barbecue so I could cook outside.  What kind of person lives in South Florida and doesn't have a barbecue?  This one right here.  Hopefully I'll remedy that soon.

3. If my house____then I would be able to___
If my house were larger then I would be able to foster kids.  I need extra bedrooms.

4. If I was getting married tomorrow I would _______________ differently so we could ________________differently now.
If I was getting married tomorrow I would choose differently so we could live differently now.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not filled with regrets.  I just know now that I should have been more discerning.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my family and friends, may the Lord fill your homes with blessings this Thanksgiving Day and always.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

Now that I've got my baking done and my turkey in the brine, I think I'll relax with a cup of tea and some chats on Patrice's farmhouse porch.  Please join us at Everyday Ruralty.

1. What's the last thing you baked?
That would be the apple crumb pie that came out of the oven a few hours ago.  The kitchen smells heavenly when there's an apple pie baking!

2. What's your favorite condiment?
Mrs. Dash.  I like that it gives good flavor without a ton of sodium.

3. Do you have a smart phone, dumb phone, or no phone(we're talking about cell phones)?
I have a Blackberry that's 3 or 4 years old, meaning it was smart when it first came out but isn't anywhere near as smart as the phones that are available now.

4. Do you have a favorite card game?
Does Uno count?  As far as card games with regular decks of cards, I'd pick gin rummy.

5. Tell me ten things you're thankful for - please:)

1 - Salvation through Jesus Christ.
2 - My two sons
3 - My beautiful daughter
4 - My siblings
5 - My mom who is still with us after having heart surgery last year
6 - My home, which I get to share with my family
7 - My church family
8 - The beautiful state of Florida where I get to live
9 - Creation
10 - Electricity (you don't know how much you need it till you don't have it)

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Happy day before Thanksgiving!  I baked an apple pie that left the kitchen smelling scrumptious, and the turkey is in the brine.  Time for some Wednesday Hodgepodge, hosted by Joyce, From This Side of the Pond.

1. Turkey-love it or leave it?  White meat or dark?  What's your favorite thing to make using leftover turkey?
First off, love turkey!  Especially since I learned to brine it - what a difference it makes!  I prefer white meat both when it comes to turkey and to chicken.  I plan to make turkey pot pie with the leftovers, if my kids don't attack them first to make sandwiches.

2. Gotta burn off all those carbs the day after a holiday feast so which would you rather do-run a 10K or climb a mountain?
Ugh, exercise! ;)  If I had to choose, it would be the 10K.  I'd much rather run on flat land than try to climb anything.

3.  Do you feel like social networking has made your relationships better or worse?  Explain.
Social networking is cool, it keeps me in touch with family that's far away and I've found some friends from school that I may have never found again any other way.  You just have to be careful.  Some people put way too much personal information on those sites.

4. How do you find and express gratitude for the hard things in your life?
I remember what Jesus did for me on the cross.  No matter how bad things may seem, they're never as bad as what He had to suffer for me, and thanks to His sacrifice I know things won't stay bad forever.

5.  In the US, the day after Thanksgiving has been dubbed 'Black Friday'.  Is most of your holiday shopping done live and in person, or is it done more through the magic of the Internet? How do you feel about stores opening at midnight Thanksgiving night? Will you be out amongst the masses on Friday?
I will most certainly NOT be among the Black Friday shoppers.  I think it's a travesty, making hard working folks leave their homes and family to work in stores so retailers can show a good profit margin.  Maybe that's why our economy is so bad - we've put more emphasis on money than on people.  My own shopping is done before Thanksgiving even rolls around, some online and some in the stores.  The presents are purchased and wrapped already except for a couple of books I ordered that won't be released till next month.

6.  Speaking of the color black-which black item in your wardrobe would you say is your favorite?
That would probably be my black pencil skirt.  It goes with everything, making it a perfect go to item in a pinch.

7.  What do you appreciate about your life today?
I appreciate my relationship with Jesus.  I appreciate my family, those that live near and the ones that are far. I appreciate my church family.  I appreciate the men and women who are far from their families today because they're fighting to protect my freedom so that I can enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.  There is just so much to be thankful for.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
To all the servicemen and women who won't be home for Thanksgiving this year, thank you.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  Thank you for your selflessness.  You are in my prayers each day.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, November 21, 2012, Thanksgiving Eve...

Outside my one of the most beautiful days yet!  The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the breezes are blowing, and it is simply lovely out.

I am thinking...of all the things I have to be thankful for.  It's a very long list!

I am thankful for...God's goodness and grace.  His blessings which are innumerable.  And the fact that we can have a day dedicated to thanking Him for all these things.

I am brine my turkey today.

I am wearing...a blue long sleeved top, black capris, and flip-flops.  It's 73 degrees out, the kind of weather I like best.

I am noticing...all the little things I can be thankful for.  Those seemingly insignificant things, or the ones I take for granted.  Like a comfortable bed to sleep on.  A pantry filled with food.  A smile.  A wave.  All these things bring a little more sunshine into my everyday.

In the kitchen...there's tilapia, fried plantains, rice medley, and salad.  I'm keeping it light and simple today, because tomorrow will be a heavy eating day!

I am creating...the brine for my turkey.

I am reading...Unglued, and I probably will be for a few weeks more.

I am son is having fun today.  There's no class, just football the entire day.  He's been looking forward to it!

I am looking forward to...four days of family fun, giving thanks and decorating for Christmas.

I am hearing...tilapia sizzling in the pan.  Lunch is almost ready.

Around the house...there's not much left to do other than finish the two loads of laundry in the washer and dryer.  I've been getting the house ready since Monday.

A favorite quote of the day..."Strength, rest, guidance, grace, help, sympathy, love - all from God to us!! What a list of blessings!" - E. Stenbock.

One of my favorite things...homemade apple pie.  I'll be making one today.

A few plans for the rest of the Christmas shopping is pretty much done, so I won't be going out into the madness called Black Friday.  Instead, I will enjoy a quiet Thanksgiving at home, then spend the next 3 days decorating the house for Christmas.  This is my favorite weekend of the year.

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me

Welcome to my Monday Quiz post, courtesy of Heather at Acting Balanced.  Heather provides 4 questions, and I get to ask one question for my guests to answer on my blog.  Are you ready?  Here we go:

1. What are you thankful for this year?
That my two older kids don't have to work on Thanksgiving and we can all be together.

2. What was your special dish that your parents made for you while growing up?
My mother's lasagna was something we looked forward to.  She had to be in the mood, though.  She'd make her own sauce and shred her own mozzarella, and for a family of 6 it meant a lot of work.

3. How long are you willing to wait for someone before you give up?
For someone to what?  To show up when they are expected?  A half hour.  To call?  Maybe a little longer.

4. What is your favorite quote, poem, song lyric or prayer?
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6.

And my question:

5. New recipes for Thanksgiving, or tried and true ones?
I'm sticking with the tried and true menu that my family loves.  Turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn on the cob, salad, and crescent rolls.  You can never go wrong with the family favorites.

Move It Mondays

Happy Monday before Thanksgiving!  It's a week of thankfulness - what are you thankful for?  Today I'm thankful that both my older children will be off from work on Thanksgiving Day, so they can spend it relaxing at home with food and fun!  There are no 3 people in the world I'd rather spend my Thanksgiving Day with.

So for today, I've started getting the house ready.  I cleaned both bathrooms, vacuumed but haven't mopped yet because I paused to give Molly a bath.  She'd been digging in the backyard and had gotten quite filthy, but now she's as pretty as a peach.  Her bedding is in the washer, too.  I washed towels today, and tomorrow I'll be washing the people bedding ;).

In the kitchen I've got a pot roast in the crock pot and rice in the rice cooker.  The pot roast is ready; I put it in last night and it was done this morning.  I made it the easy way - potatoes, carrots, and Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix.  No muss and no fuss.  It allows me to get more things done around the house if I don't have to worry about cooking.  I moved the turkey from the freezer to the fridge to start the defrosting process.  I brine our turkey a la Alton Brown, and that will happen Wednesday night, so the turkey needs to start defrosting already.

I organized the presents in my closet last night.  Honestly, I just look for stuff in the stores, and when I find a good bargain or something I know my kids will particularly love, I go ahead and buy it, bring it home and wrap it right away.  Then I stash it all in the closet where I forget at least half of what I've bought, LOL!  There are 6 presents for my son R, 6 for my daughter A, and now 11 for my youngest son E (my daughter got him his present last night and she wrapped it up & put it with the others).  I've also got some books ordered for him from Amazon.  I think I've done pretty well this year.  I've purchased all the gifts without using the credit card so I won't have any balances to cry about for months on end.  There's a nice amount of presents and they're all paid for - yay me!  I made a promise to the Lord that I would do all my shopping without getting into debt, and I intend to keep my word.

It's noon, which means it's lunch time, which is a good thing because I'm starved!  Have a wonderful and thankful Monday.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Observing My Senses

For Today, November 17, 2012...

I am skies trying to peek through all the clouds.  It's supposed to rain today thanks to a low pressure system that's been hovering around Florida all week.

I am feeling...thankful already, even though Thanksgiving is 5 days away.

I am sweet son's voice, and sausages sizzling in the frying pan.

I am tasting...nothing yet, and I'm getting really hungry.

I am smelling...biscuits in the oven and sausages on the stove.

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Follow Friday Four Fill-In Break

Our dear Hilary over at Feeling Beachie just got her power restored on Wednesday.  Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc in her neighborhood, but thankfully they are back up and running.  Of course there's still much clean up work to be done, so there's no fill-ins this week.  Instead, let's continue praying for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, especially the folks who are waiting to have their power restored.  You don't realize how vital electricity is till it's cut off - trust me, I know.  Blessings to all.

Five Question Friday

Mama M is enjoying some fun time in Orlando, Florida (Disney World, yay!) so I got my five questions off of Pamela's blog, Troop Petrie.

1.  What snacks/drinks do you eat at the movies?
None.  I refuse to pay the astronomical prices for some popcorn and soda, especially since popcorn ends up messing with my digestive system and I don't drink soda anymore.  All the other stuff is so unhealthy I don't want to touch it.  We eat before going to the movies, and if it's an extra long movie, I'll bring some vanilla yogurt covered raisins with me.

2.  What's one food you refuse to try?
Mushrooms.  There's something about eating fungus that sounds unappetizing.

3.  What's your favorite nail polish color?
I like pinks, reds, and bronzes.  I totally dislike blue, green, orange, all the wild colors that are in style now.  I must be getting old.

4.  What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
Watching Miracle on 34th Street.  To me it kicks off the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving Day and the Macy's Parade and ending on Christmas Day.  It's such a heartwarming movie too.

5.  What are your least favorite words in the English language?
Two words I can't stand to hear my children say to me:  "Yeah, but..."  Their insistence on contradicting my instructions irritates me to no end.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

Thanks once again to Patrice and Wendell for entertaining us on their porch!  It's a lovely day, so I think I'll join up with them at Everyday Ruralty.

1. What's your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? For anyone not in the US, what's your favorite fall side dish?
Hands down, my family will say it's the stuffing.  And yes, it's stuffing.  As in, in the bird (though I make enough to fill a dish and bake it alongside the turkey).  Here's the thing:  I take Stove Top stuffing and add additional onions and celery, fresh sage and thyme, and raisins.  Then, instead of making it with water and margarine, I use chicken stock and butter.  Oh my, I can't wait!

2. What's the first thing you do when you have a headache?
Depends on the type of headache.  If it's a sinus headache I typically turn to my allergy medicine or sinus medicine.  If it's a migraine, I take 2 Tylenol and go to bed - do not disturb me under any circumstances.

3. Do you like to "people watch"? (Observe people in public while waiting for something or relaxing)
Not really.  I guess since I don't like to be watched I feel uncomfortable watching.  I try to bring some reading material if I have to sit around so I don't have to watch anyone.

4. Where's your family most likely to eat for a day to day meal? (Read= not holiday)
The dining room or the kitchen counter.  My youngest son likes eating in the family room or dining room, and my daughter will occasionally eat in her bedroom, as will her brother.

5. Tell me about your plans for Thanksgiving Day. Or tell me something special you will do soon.
Thanksgiving Day will be spent here at home.  I'll be brining the turkey again, so that will start the night before.  We'll watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning, prepare the meal in the afternoon, watch Miracle on 34th Street, play some board games, and relax as we enjoy each other's company.  There'll be no Black Friday shopping for us, so we can nap if we want to or stay awake, whichever is to our inclination.  I'm really looking forward to it!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Welcome to Wednesday, and to the Hodgepodge, which took some time off thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  It's back, and you can join in by visiting Joyce at From This Side of the Pond.

1.  What rule of life should never be broken?
Jesus taught us two rules; two commands in which all the commandments would be met.  "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." - Matthew 22:37-39.  These rules should never be broken.  I can only imagine what a wonderful world this would be if they were always obeyed.

2.  What's your favorite family recipe?
I think my favorite recipe that I make very similar to how my mom taught me is baked ham.  I like using the cloves and the pineapple, though I don't add the maraschino cherries.  There are many recipes my mom taught me that I've modified over the years to suit my family, so it's hard to call them true family recipes.

3.  Is the media manipulative?
Absolutely!  Depending on which television station you watch or newspaper you read, you will always get a one-sided story.  It's very unfair to the public, but after all the media is run by humans, and humans are easily persuaded.

4. Hubs and I saw Skyfall last weekend...are you a fan of the Bond films? If so, who's your favorite Bond?
I have watched many of the Bond films, though I haven't watched them in years.  I've always liked Roger Moore.  He gave the character a distinct sense of humor.

5. What is one thing you hope people never say about you?
That I don't care enough.  I'm an introvert, so sometimes it's hard for me to show people that I care.  I don't want anyone to think I'm selfish and uncaring just because I don't always know what to say or how to express my feelings.

6.  What's a nearby tourist attraction you'd like to see, but haven't gotten around to visiting?
I've lived in South Florida since 1987, and I've never been to Key West.  Hopefully when I decide to go it'll still be there ;).

7.  Where's your favorite tree?
All over the beautiful state of Florida.  My favorite trees are orange trees.  They have dark green foliage, which contrast the color of the oranges perfectly.  And the smell!  Oh my word, it's absolutely delicious!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I've got a nice little stash of Christmas presents already wrapped and waiting in my closet for the Christmas tree to make its appearance.  We always put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving.  Have you counted?  It's only 8 days till Thanksgiving - just over a week!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, November 13, 2012...

Outside my window...the sky is overcast which helps keep us cool.  The breezes are blowing and it's a nice fall day.

I am thinking...about Thanksgiving.  It's only 9 days away!

I am thankful...for more than I can relate.  My family, good friends, a home, a pantry filled with food.  Most of all, I'm thankful for Jesus.

I am find out where my oldest son is.  He was here just a few minutes ago.

I am wearing...a yellow jacket with a yellow camisole underneath, jean skirt and sandals.  It's 79 degrees out.

I am noticing...Christmas lights already.  I'm anxious to decorate too, but could we at least get passed Thanksgiving?!

In the kitchen...I made chicken fajitas.  I made them because I'm trying to use up some of what's in the pantry, and because bell peppers were on sale at Winn-Dixie.  The thing is, I wanted to use up a bottle of marinade my son had bought as well.  It's Balsamic Herb.  They were the sweetest fajitas we've ever eaten, but honestly, they were delicious!

I am creating...a mental picture of how I'm going to decorate this Christmas.

I am reading...yeah, still reading Unglued.  I'm on chapter 5.  I took the assessment test for the book, and it turns out I'm a Stuffer Who Builds Barriers.  That means I hold things in, like anger and disappointment, then keep people out so they can't hurt me anymore.

I am son gets his turkey coupon from the store.  Last year's turkey cost him under $3 and it was so juicy and delicous!  It was a 14 pounder too, not a scrawny little thing.

I am looking forward to...spending Thanksgiving with my family, and decorating for Christmas!

I am hearing...our dog Molly growling at something outside.  I didn't see anything so I don't know what's upsetting her.

Around the house...I need to clean up some areas where Molly drooled after her morning walk. :P

A favorite quote of the day..."I may not always understand
The way that You may lead,
But, Lord, in faith I’ll clasp Your hand
And trust You for each need. —Dean

One of my favorite things...the smells in the kitchen when I'm baking.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Awana tomorrow, grocery shopping on Friday to finish up what's needed for Thanksgiving and the rest of the week, and church on Sunday.

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

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me

It looks like it's gonna be a rainy day in South Florida.  Very different from the dry weather we've been getting the past couple of weeks, but my plants are loving it!  Here's a fun blog hop - Heather at Acting Balanced provides 4 questions, then I get to ask one of my own for you to answer on my blog.  Are you up for it?  Here we go:

1. What is your favorite kind of soup?
I like most soups, but I'm very partial to lentil soup.

2. When was the last time you saw snow?
1986.  That's the year I moved to Florida and have not seen snow since.  There are moments when I wonder...but they don't last.  I like my snowless existence.

3. What is a must have trait if someone is going to live with you?
They must like my cooking.  I will not have anyone living in my house that doesn't like what I prepare.

4. Who was your favorite James Bond?
Hmm, it's a toss-up between Sean Connery and Roger Moore.  Sean Connery was a debonair Bond, while Roger Moore added a slightly humorous side to the character.

And now my question:

5.  Christmas trees:  real or artificial?
We had  real trees for years, and I kept noticing that my allergies would act up in November right after Thanksgiving and go away after New Years.  I finally had to accept the fact that the problem was the tree.  About 6 or 7 years ago we got our first pre-lit artificial tree, and while my daughter has complained about it every year, I love it.  It's almost time for a new one, though.  Most of the lights on this one have gone out, never to brighten our tree again. :P