Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Changing Traditions

This year was full of changed traditions, with a sophomore in college  and a sophomore in high school, family members ill, changing jobs... But I felt the changes most acutely during the Christmas season. All my blog friends with adult children can sympathize, I'm sure. Some traditions remained the same, as well.

  1. First, I didn't do our thankful feathers this year-I just was too busy to write up the letter, cut up the feathers, address the envelopes and send them out. My oldest daughter was sad.
  2. We cut our Christmas tree with all my husband's family, which is our tradition, but we went to a completely different tree farm. We've been to the old one for many years. At least 15, anyway.
  3. We put up our Christmas village, but it was my youngest daughter and I who put everything up and took everything down. Was another mix of kept and changed traditions.
  4. We did go up to visit my family, but we changed things up by just visiting for the day to fit it into our schedules.
  5. Our New Year's will be different as our oldest will be visiting her boyfriend and his family. Strange to have her not here, but not off at school. A whole different set of worries.
  6. I didn't watch either of my two favorite movies-It's a Wonderful Life and White Christmas-normally I watch them at least once. We did watch several Hallmark Channel Christmas movies which was nice and romantic. ;) 
  7. Our oldest daughter had to work, so our Christmas Eve meal was different-it was just three of us and my in laws. Usually the 6 of us eat and then attend church. This year our oldest wasn't out of work until after my in laws had headed home. So, just the four of us headed to church much later than normal.
  8. My mother in law continued her themed Christmas dinner, this year was Sesame Street Christmas, and we continued a new tradition we started last year of the adults drawing names, excluding my in laws.
  9. Since I was working at the office a lot, I wasn't home to bake (too many) cookies with my girls. They worked together and baked a few kinds without me. 
  10. I don't think I'm doing a one little word this year. I have done it at least the last 6 years. I am just not feeling it right now... Never say never, I still have a little time, right? ;)
I think there were a few more, but this was what I remembered. How about you? Changes or keepers in traditions this year? Kids growing older makes things different, for better and worse, doesn't it? Growth and change...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2015 Goals and "Resolutions"

I know "they" say don't make resolutions for the new year. You're bound to fail and be depressed-I did look at last year's list with a bit of disdain this weekend. :) But I like a goal for the future. Even if they aren't always reached. I also like to look upon the new year as a fresh, clean slate open for me to write upon. :) I normally pick a "One Little Word", as well, but I haven't done so this year... Not sure whether I will or not.

So, without further ado, my goals for 2015:

  1. Reach my weight goal by my birthday, 4/24-my 40th-and sustain it through 12/31.
  2. Run a half marathon under 1:45:00.
  3. Run a full marathon under 4 hours, if I can work through injuries and losing weight helps them.
  4. Run 900-1000 miles this year-to reach the yet unattainable 900 mile mark.
  5. Read the entire Bible. I've only tried to do this once and had a lot on my plate at the time.
  6. Complete a Bible study-either on my own, with my husband who said he would like to try to do so, or with a class at church.
  7. Read 24 books-I read 19 this year and am looking forward to reaching this goal-I enjoy reading and I'm happy to be working towards a goal to give myself permission to read for fun.
  8. Take our puppy to another obedience class-this time a "Canine Good Citizen Class" which is a step up from her last puppy obedience class.
  9. Purge our home and prepare for our move.
  10. Learn/try 3 new things. Possibly: skiing, a new language, a spinning class...
Get house ready for move
Working on my marketing job full bore to be successful
Continue using MyFitnessPal, which I have started again this week to keep track of calories
Continue working on funeral for church when they come up.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Resolutions Revisited

2014 Resolutions Revisited:

  1. Run 900 miles-this was my goal-and I have 26 miles and 2 days left to run this year... I won't make it, but again I will be close.
  2. Fall half marathon under 1:45:00-I ran a good half for how I felt, averaging 8:30 per mile, but not under my goal. 
  3. No new running injuries-I didn't have new ones, but I didn't fully heal the old, either...
  4. Read 24 books-I finished 19 and am in the midst of 20.
  5. Reach my goal weight-I continued the tradition of getting down to a better weight over the summer and then rising again. My goal is to be at said goal weight by April since I will be 40 then. 
  6. Make 1 craft from Pinterest per month-Not even close.
  7. Finish my 2013 Project Life-I did accomplish this and got about 6 months into 2014 before I took another break again.
  8. Mini albums-I made one of a fun trip in the summer... 
  9. Finish a rag quilt-I did finish the one I had started with my mother, although it isn't pretty-looks more like a bar graph than a tidy lined quilt.
  10. Send 1 card or note-I did send several, but I did them in spurts, and did about 110 Christmas cards... ;)
  11. Daily Devotionals-Again, spurts...
  12. Clean/organize one room or full item of furniture per month-I did make wonderful progress on and off this year! Donated 6 tubs of books to the library this week to cap off a nice purge. Also, cleaned out a tub of Christmas decorations and organized a few pieces of furniture.
  13. "This is an open goal. It is something I want to leave unknown and revisit later. It might be writing a book, entering a new profession, taking a sewing or knitting class, taking a college class, mentoring or volunteering, skiing... I don't know. I learned in 2013 that a year is a long time and anything can happen. I never thought I'd change my goals and dreams away from teaching but I did. I never thought I'd be content just... waiting... but I am. I am praying on it and I hope God will guide me." *This was interesting... I am in the midst of building a new home (well, a company is building it for us) and we will be moving in the next year. I completely gave up teaching and am a marketing/sales person in my husband's company... These are very big endeavors I would never have guessed I'd be headed towards at the end of 2013. 
A year is really a long time and many things can change... How did your plans/resolutions go?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Concord Grapes and Veteran's Day

I saw this post on the Food Network's Healthy Eats blog about Concord Grape Smoothies and it made me think of my grandpa. I've spoken about my small, spunky Grandma Polly. Her deceased husband, my Grandpa Red (yes, Red and Polly, adorable, hm? :)) once grew concord grapes in their backyard. They had a nice, big wooden arbor and grew the dark purple grapes in the summers. They would turn them into delicious, fresh juice. My brother and I stayed with them in the summers for many years while my parents were at work and we were out of school. I remember walking into their home and smelling coffee, hearing news radio and I still find those smells and sounds comforting. If I close my eyes, I can picture their home and feel that same feeling. They haven't lived in that house for 20+ years, but I can still picture it like I was there yesterday. I am not overly fond of grape juice, but sometimes, in the summer, it sounds so good, refreshing. I'm sure it is because of those summer days I had fresh juice at Grandpa's.

I've talked about Grandma before, but not as much about Grandpa. He's been gone since our youngest daughter was a baby. His name was Kenneth, but he was called "Red" because of his hair. He had the typical "red-head temper". Firey-was road rage before it had a name. I remember slumping down in the back seat as he gestured for drivers to pull over a time or two! He was a carpenter by trade, an excellent one. Could make things just by looking at them. I have a hope chest and a bread box he made. Both wonderful works of wood. He made toys, wall cabinets in lawyers' offices, tray tables-he had quite a gift. He had just finished a baby doll cradle for my youngest daughter the day before he died. He would challenge me to debates and switch sides halfway through... say things like, "just think." He liked to get me going on emotion and then cause me to think halfway through. I take pride in that he didn't do that with very many of his grandkids.

He was in WWII. He was in the Navy, the SeaBees. They were a construction battalion that would go in and get things set for the navy to come in behind them.  His stories were amazing and frightening. He went into the military before he was of legal age to, lying about his age. He told us stories of hiding under tankers as Japanese fighter planes flew over, shooting at them. I think of him even more acutely on Veteran's day.

He, like Gram Polly, had such a spunk, a fight in them. He wasn't a saint, he was ornery, thought boys could do things better than girls and wow, was his temper short, but he loved us and we knew it. He loved to play cards and the marble game aggravation. He and Gram were quite the pair.

Did you know your grandparents, Readers? I know many people who didn't get to. I was lucky enough to know all four of mine very well.

Friday, November 07, 2014

"What's on Your Home Screen", via TNW

I saw this interesting article on TNW (The Next Web) about "What's on Your Home Screen?" It caused me to think about my homescreen with several folders, each with several items inside them. I am trying something new, only having 15 items, no folders, on the home screen. I have:

  1. The App Store
  2. Calendar
  3. Settings
  4. The Weather Channel
  5. Clock
  6. Google Maps
  7. Music
  8. Podcasts
  9. Photos
  10. Pinterest
  11. Chrome
  12. Reminders
  13. Twitter
  14. Instagram
  15. LinkedIn
With Phone, Email, Messages and Camera down along the bottom. 
I have moved folders to the second screen.

What does your home screen look like, Reader? Any things you can't live without? What is the first item you open when you pick up your phone?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Doodles, Balloons and Great Photos!

Just wanted to send a shout out to fellow blogger, Thimbleanna. She took some wonderful photos of dogs and balloons in a recent post. Just excellent photos! Since the dogs are doodles like my goldendoodle, I got an extra big smile out of them. :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I'm currently reading Silkworm by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling. It is the second in the Cormoran Strike mystery series, the first being The Cuckoo's Calling. I read the first and thought it was a 3/5 star book. My mother-in-law had this book, and I love mysteries, so I picked it up to read, as well. The first book was kind of dark, nothing like the Tea Shop Mysteries I like so well. :) I enjoy Agatha Christie mysteries quite well, too. This Strike book is much more so-graphic and gory in spots. I  like to read books at bedtime and the last two nights I have found myself not wanting to. I am halfway and eager to finish it, to find out "whodunnit" and be done with it.

On the nonfiction side I am reading Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz Just started it and hoping it is a great resource for my new job(s).

What are you reading, Reader? Any suggestions on books you have loved, lately?

Thursday, October 30, 2014


It's funny. Sometimes I don't blog because I don't have anything new to say. In other instances, I don't blog because I struggle with the quality of my writing. In some cases, I am an absentee blogger because I am mired in the posts of social media. This is not a time like those.

My One Little Word for this year is "light". It should probably be "change" or "new".  It seems like I have had a lot of changes lately. This odd phenomena started when I had a mole removed. As silly as it sounds, it was a big change. I've had it all my life, on my right cheek, right up on the cheekbone. My mom once had an identical mole on the opposite side of her face-we had mirror-image moles. She had her mole removed when it got to be quite large. I did the same-bigger than a new pencil's eraser. It wasn't a "cancerous" mole, my dermatologists said. However, it would keep getting bigger, and my face is small, so it was quite noticeable. Once it was removed, it felt like a big change.

I also worked on another aesthetic change-getting my teeth fixed. I had braces from 8-12+ grade. I had them removed before my senior pictures, and replaced for a few months after my freshman year in college, but they didn't do permanent retainers, when they removed braces, then. I had the plastic kind that slipped over your teeth. Once I was expecting my first daughter, and had some morning sickness, I stopped wearing them. My teeth slowly moved out of their perfect places. However, over the last few years, they have moved exponentially faster and got harder and harder to clean due to their proximity to one another. So, I started the Invisalign procedure. I am so excited for the final product.

Sad vs happy changes... My big dog passed away and then we got a puppy-Quite big changes in the pet department. Both big changes to my heart, as well.

Changes in my profession also sailed along. I officially accepted the fact that I was moving away from teaching, cleaning and sorting my supplies. I stayed put in the realm of funeral coordinator. I still have that job, and happily, it's been a slow business lately-knock on wood. With that freed time, I wondered... "what else?" My house is quiet, when I'm not working on teaching Morgan commands, and even then, it is only I who speak. I started researching how to make my husband better at social media for his business posts. I found I really enjoyed the topic, reading and learning about business. Who knew? :) I talked with two women I knew in the business field, who knew me-my first "networking" appointments. They were adamant that I could make the transition. My husband had been saying this for a long time, but he's married to me so he has to say nice things, right? ;) I also set up a meeting with one of his partners, on my own, and spoke with him. He was in agreement. They are meeting about possibilities of me helping out in a more permanent capacity with their company. We will see what changes come from that. In the process, I am reading several books about marketing, mainly in the social media realm, and business analysis. This would be a huge change.

We are making changes in our home, as well. We had some companies look into remodeling, and after pondering the choices, we are building a new home. It won't be done until May or June and it is only about two blocks from where we currently live, but will have such better use of space. I am incredibly delighted. I have no reservations about this or the occupational jump. They both feel like the right steps to make right now. The right changes to make.

One last change that is fairly big for me, and then I will stop for tonight. I have always loved running. Long story short, over the last two summers of half-marathon training, I have battled injuries. I haven't given myself time to heal. This year's half was slower than I'd hoped and was by no means a personal record. However, I finished. Normally the thought of resting from running makes me sad and restless. This year I am going to keep running, but cut down on my milage and begin to try some other things like pilates and barre. I enjoy yoga, definitely, but am ready to try something new. With these as two new possibilities of cross training, running seems like a fun "extra". I'm hoping these will help me change my fitness level, away from the running only plateau I have put my tent up on. Once I feel successful, I know it will help me change some of my bad eating habits, too. That's how it works for me, it's all a cycle.

What changes are you experiencing these days, Reader? I hope they are good changes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jan Karon

I have professed my adoration for Jan Karon's Mitford series books many times, here. I have read the most recent book, #10, and continue to love the writing. I love how the books take me away to the small, quaint town of Mitford.  I got misty-eyed as I read, just like always. :) The newest book is Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.  Here is the synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
After five hectic years of retirement from Lord’s Chapel, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, from a so-called pleasure trip to the land of his Irish ancestors.
            While glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing: a pulpit. But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it. Maybe he’s lost his passion.
            His adopted son, Dooley, wrestles with his own passion—for the beautiful and gifted Lace Turner, and his vision to become a successful country vet. Dooley’s brother, Sammy, still enraged by his mother’s abandonment, destroys one of Father Tim’s prized possessions. And Hope Murphy, owner of Happy Endings bookstore, struggles with the potential loss of her unborn child and her hard-won business.
            All this as Wanda’s Feel Good CafĂ© opens, a romance catches fire through an Internet word game, their former mayor hatches a reelection campaign to throw the bums out, and the weekly Muse poses a probing inquiry: Does Mitford still take care of its own?
            Millions of fans will applaud the chance to spend time, once more, in the often comic and utterly human presence of Jan Karon’s characters. Indeed, they have never been more sympathetic, bighearted, and engaging. 

If you haven't read the Mitford Series, and then the books between #9 and #10 which are the Father Tim Series, with the same characters, you should. :)

I have also read (I got from the library) the latest Tea Shop Mystery #15 by Laura Childs: Steeped In Evil 

Next I am onto a book that should prove to be interesting, considering that I love mysteries and Agatha Christie. It is called The Monogram Murders. It isn't written by Agatha Christie, but her estate has approved it due to the writing. See a synopsis here:
From Barnes & Noble
When Agatha Christie (1890-1976) published her first Hercule Poirot novel in 1920, she could have not imagined that her mystery series sales would eventually top two billion copies. (Only The Bible and Shakespeare outsell her.) And when she ended the Belgian detective's run in 1975, enthusiasts despaired that the series would never be revived. But now the unbelievable has occurred: After almost forty years, the Christie estate has finally authorized a revival of this classic and they selected respected mystery author Sophie Hannah (The Orphan Choir; Kind of Cruel) to create a Poirot whodunit worthy of its origins. By every evidence, this suspenseful fiction remains true to the letter and spirit of Ms. Christie. Editor's recommendation.
What are you reading, today, Reader? It is currently rainy, dark, windy and gloomy here... in my opinion perfect for reading. :)

Thursday, October 02, 2014


Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. ~Seneca

Friday, September 19, 2014

iOS8 Updates

Today I updated my iPhone5 to the latest operating system, iOS8. Visually there are a few changes, but nothing drastic. First, my phone gave me a few tips and tricks such as:

  • If I'd like to use the swipe feature, I could just change the settings so it applied to mail, contacts and calendars.
  • I can now ask Siri "What song is this?" as opposed to opening Shazam, which will be much more "hands-free" friendly.
  • I can double-click the home button and then tap on a favorite or recent contact. 
  • I can now share apps, music, and other things with my family-once I have purchased something, I can share it with up to 5 people in my family. I love that! The girls and I like a lot of the same music and it will be nice to share apps/games we enjoy!
  • The camera has a self-timer now, and better editing features.

I looked up a few articles to figure out the best features or features I needed to know about on, as well. I found a few great articles with lots of information:

I also found an article about whether or not to upgrade to the iPhone6 on, here. I also found an article about how to use this new OS to help with battery life... maybe. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014


         I have been doing some reading about blogging. I found several articles linked in Pinterest and have been going back through reading them. I found a great graphic here, at Fabulous Blogging that has tips to increase blog traffic. I loved the simplicity of the graphic, which separates bits of information like food groups. :) It references marketing more than a simple personal blog, such as this, but I liked the information.

         I have been learning more about social media, as well, but researching to learn more of the business/marketing aspect. It has been a fun journey I look forward to continuing. Any new journeys or detours for you, Reader?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Cookin'

This week I am trying a few new recipes! I love to do that, especially when the weather turns cooler like it has, here, this week. Love this fall weather!

  • Yesterday we had grilled cheese with this Roasted Tomato Basil Soup - from Steph's Bite-by-Bite.
  • Today we are trying {Slow Cooker} Quinoa Tex Mex - from Master Cook/Chelsea's Messy Apron
  • Tomorrow we are having Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa - from the Cookie Rookie
  • Friday our youngest daughter, our vegetarian will be having her team dinner, so we will have Sliders with Red Onion Marmalade and Blue Cheese - from Tastebook
  • Saturday will probably either be leftovers or eating out, since our oldest daughter will be home (Yay! Her first visit since we dropped her off at college! Love having both my girls at home!)
  • And to finish off the week, we will be at a birthday party for my nephew and niece at dinner time. 

I will let you know how they turn out. How about you? Trying any new recipes? Or sticking with some old favorites?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dog Training

We have a puppy. A puppy who is growing like crazy-45 pounds and 8 months old. She is adorable, especially right after a nap. She is very smart. However, she is stubborn and likes to do things her way. We started a puppy obedience class last Wednesday and will be working on it for the next 7 weeks. The first week she seemed to catch onto commands quickly, until she was bored with our treats, spit them out onto the floor and laid down to watch the other puppies. That was fun. ;) However, the instructor had string cheese with her, and when she took Morgan to show her as an example, Morgan was enamored with the cheese. So, I have purchased string cheese, cut it up and have been keeping in my pocket-it has already improved her walking. She still has bad habits-it hasn't been that long... During the class, I was getting frustrated that she wasn't learning and the instructor said, "Remember, class, these are puppies! They aren't going to learn these commands in two minutes. They may, but then they may not follow through with them next week!" That was good for me to hear.

The instructor gave us the link to this video, explaining the method of training we are using. It is an hour long, no dogs are in it, and it is just a person talking... However, it was informative! It is Michael Ellis's Philosophy of Dog Training.

I also have been so lazy in training Morgan on our invisible fence. She is a puppy, so we would still have to keep a close eye on her-she would very likely eat things and get into things without supervision-but to have to keep her on the leash is a pain sometimes. She would really benefit from a good run around the yard! So, I have debated paying the Invisible Fence people to come out and train her (the lazy way to train her, as the harder way is to do it myself...) I also considered the cost and began to search for Invisible Fence Training videos. I found an actual Invisible Fence video online, but it kept saying it was illegal to copy or distribute, so I'm not copying the link here. ;) I did find this one which also seemed like a good resource.

Glad to be blogging again. :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Do Good, Be Kind

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ― Desmond Tutu

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer's End

Here we are again. "Summer" ends tomorrow. Now, I know the calendar says it's not over, the 84 degree, 94% humidity outdoors says it's not over. However, my youngest daughter started school last Wednesday and tomorrow we move our oldest back to college. There will no longer be teenager voices here during the day. No singing, peals of laughter, puppy scolding or puppy calling in their sing-song voices reserved for puppies and babies... No last minute trips out to lunch or for an iced coffee, no one tagging along for a day-time trip to the grocery, bike ride to the farmer's market or daughter along for yoga. No hugs and kisses during the day and "Mama, I will miss you when I go". I didn't think I would feel so sad-our oldest is ready-ready for her friends, her daily routine, her independence... I know that and I want her to be independent... but boy, I will miss her. I miss her sis, and I know I see her in the evenings, but that time is filled with eating and homework. But she will still be home... School year time is different than the summer. And I don't like it. It makes me teary.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blowing Off The Dust

As you can see, I haven't posted in quite some time. Up until a couple months ago I hadn't even sat down to read the blogs I regularly read, let alone sit down and put forth the energy necessary to string together thoughts for a post that someone might want to read. Not due to excessive accomplishments in my daily life... Just uncertainty-uncertainty of what to post, what would even be interesting enough to readers. Topics appeared in my mind, on and off, but how to piece together a few paragraphs escaped me. I wondered if I should just keep using my blog as a journaling tool, or to share specific information, crafting paragraphs for discussion... I am still unsure, but I am tired of the blog sitting dusty, covered in cobwebs, so I write. Today I start with a catch-up post, updating on those things that have been keeping me busy.
Things were happening in my small corner of the world, keeping me busy on and off. I have had the joy and exhaustion of the goldendoodle puppy-

she is an adorable fluff and definitely an energetic puppy. She is very smart, but doesn't always have the desire to please me. ;) I am excited to train her to be a service dog of sorts. I would love to have her visit elderly or children, people who would just benefit from contact with her. However, I haven't been diligent with her over the summer, so I need to dig in again, even more so as she becomes the dog version of a teenager. ;) She already loves to call the furniture her own, which we never let our other two do... She doesn't chew or dig on them, which is good! :)
Our two teenage daughters are both home for the summer, which has been nice. We have continued running, enjoying spending time together and even gotten ice cream a few times. :) I have been blessed with my daughters' company on yoga nights, ridden bikes with my oldest up to the town farmer's market and ran with each of them. My husband and I have gone on runs together and biked, gone to dinner and enjoyed new seasons of MasterChef and Royal Pains. Family time continues to be my joy. We have also been able to head up to see my family, including grandparents, some who have been ill and in nursing homes. It is sad to see my maternal grandmother not remember my name, but on the occasion she recognizes me, I take that and tuck it away in my heart.
My funeral coordinator job sat silent from December to May. Then I worked on five funerals from May to last week. There were a variety of circumstances surrounding them: two men who died unexpectedly, two people who had been ill for quite some time, but were still fairly young and one woman who had been a beloved member of the greater community. Some were celebratory-based on faith and belief in their life after they left this earth. Some were more somber-such an unexpected loss for them, that even though they relied on their beliefs and faith, their families ached from their loss. In each, I felt my calling to this job as fresh as when I started. I was so glad, I felt so blessed, to be there for the families in their time of need.
I finished my chaplain training, but haven't been on any visits, yet. I feel like the training helped my in my funeral job, though, in teaching me how to respond with grieving families. Both the training and job have been a blessing to me. They aren't where I saw myself a year ago, but I am glad I am in this spot in my journey.

 Where are you, Reader? I hope wherever this post finds you, you are well.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

My reading has changed a bit:

  1. I postponed Winter's Tale. So technically this book isn't "what I'm reading", it's "what I will read some other time". :) It was so big and so intimidating, plus I saw my time to read it before the movie was dwindling. Then I saw some reviews that weren't great of the movie. So, I gave myself permission to set it aside and pick it up again later, and rent the movie later. The book was good, it just took more attention than I had to give it these past few weeks. My mind and heart have been elsewhere. And let me say that I don't usually quit or postpone a book. I read it through, sometimes to the bitter end-a book I despise can drag out and make me dread picking it up, but I want to hope it might get better at the end. This year I gave myself permission to stop reading a book I dislike. Thus, two I've quit on and one I have postponed.  I must say it feels good. :) Are you a reader who wants to finish a book? Or a reader who gives themselves permission to set a book aside?
  2. I am still reading my devotional: The One Year Wisdom for Women Devotional: 365 Devotions through the Proverbs
  3.  I am also reading Jesus Calling. It's another devotional but from a different voice/perspective. I am really enjoying it!
  4. I have started a puppy book. I need to refresh my memory and work on being a better puppy owner/teach my dog better than I did the last two. I know looking back that Merlin turned into a wonderful dog, sweet and loving, but I didn't teach him as well as I could have and his first two years were very difficult. This time, I'm trying to prepare ahead of time and am starting with How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond by Cesar Millan It is good, thus far, but I'm only on page 11. :) I have 2 1/2 weeks until Morgan comes home, so time to prepare. I bought two puppy books at the store. My youngest daughter wants to help this time around, so she can read these, as well. :)
  5. I am readinOur Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring by Henri J. M. Nouwen for my chaplain training. It is giving me new eyes, as well. I'm only on page 19 in this book.
  6. I would also like to start reading The Lost Lake, which is by Sarah Addison Allen, who wrote The Girl Who Chased The Moon and Garden Spells, both of which I really liked. This is her latest book and I am looking forward to reading it. I have it here in my "to read" pile.
I started the year well, tackling and finishing quite a few books, but then I slowed to a crawl and then stopped finishing them/reading. I expect to finish at least two of these books by next Wednesday. What is in your "reading" or "to read" pile these days, Reader?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Social Media Monday

This week I checked out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram postings. I found a Sesame Street quiz to see what character you are and I was happy, loveable Grover, a local crime tracker which was interesting and scary at the same time, pictures of Morgan and some quotes re-tweeted. Here's one of my favorites for the week. :) Hope you have a great week, Reader!

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same. -Carlos Castaneda

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Well, I didn't have to dream for long. We had done our research, we knew what we had in mind... My husband and I knew we were leaning towards a goldendoodle. We were looking for a mild-mannered dog, since our last two were/are a bit on the neurotic side.

We had heard that people who get goldendoodles were concerned about the poodle parents. So, we took a trip-about an hour and a half drive-to meet the parents at a breeder's home. The breeder asked us the size range we were looking for, since she would have two sizes. We told her the larger (50-60 lbs) size. She then brought in the male/father/poodle. He was amazing. So friendly, sweet, and liked us better than treats! :) That sold it for us, I think. Then she brought in the mom who was also lovely, although she liked the treats. :) Then, the puppies.

When we went, we knew from looking on her website that they only had females available. But, someone who had a deposit down on the last male backed out. Since we had males previously and my weim was such a loving dog, I thought I would want him. My husband, younger daughter and I held and snuggled with all five puppies. The pup who cried and wiggled the most like he wasn't comfortable was the male. My husband had the biggest female and she snuggled into him and sat calmly. When I took her she gave me a kiss and snuggled more, eventually falling asleep in my arms. Adorable. My youngest daughter loved and snuggled her, too, delighted. Although we loved all the puppies, this girl was the sweetest and most calm, which-after the two guys we had before her-seemed great! :) Let's hope that is her personality as she grows.

On the way down my husband asked about name choices. When we got our first dog, he said we could pick the dog and he'd pick the name, eventually naming him Merlin, after Merlin the magician in the King Arthur stories. So, I reminded him of the precedent and he went to thinking. He said how about a girl could be Morgan-I asked if he meant the sorceress Morgan Le Fay from the Arthur stories. He said yes or Guenevere? I said definitely Morgan. We didn't even discuss a boy's name. So, we will welcome our lovely new puppy, Morgan Le Fay in mid-March. :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014


We have been discussing getting a puppy. The rational side of me thinks of the work, the mess, the being tied to home, and general puppy stress, let alone the stress it could cause Percy... But the dreaming side of my brain looked at puppy pictures on Pinterest and oohed and aahed. I checked the local humane society, as well, looking for a young dog that would fit in our home. My husband held firm saying no to any puppy that crossed our minds... until a labradoodle/goldendoodle was brought up. He made the mistake of saying he'd take one of those aloud and the hunt began. We have been checking/calling/emailing local breeders, calling our vet and beginning to research. Dreaming...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Recipes I've Tried This Week

This past weekend I sat down and planned the week's meals. I feel better when I do this, I don't buy as much junk and I don't have to make ten trips to the grocery store. On Monday I tried Spinach, Ricotta & Pesto Lasagna. This version of the recipe calls for you to make your own noodle sheets and I did not. It turned out delicious! All three of us enjoyed it-and leftovers this week, too! We gave it two thumbs up and will be making it again. 

I also tried cherry tomato and tortellini soup. I had purchased pre-made cheese tortellini for one night and then saw that we needed to use up tomatoes in our fridge-not cherry, but they worked. One other change: We had spinach we had to use before it went bad so I sauteed it with some garlic and put it in the soup, as well. YUM! :) Another recipe we all liked! I have one more recipe I'm trying, but I will post about it next week. :) 

Have you tried any delicious recipes, lately, Reader? Or have you brought out some family favorites?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What I'm Reading

I am still reading Winter's Tale. The movie comes out this week and I am nowhere near finished. It's good, but it requires more concentration and slower reading than other books. I do like it, though. So, I'm chugging along. Hoping to have it done by next weekend and that it will still be in theaters! :)

I am also still working on my devotional that I picked up last summer. It is The One Year Wisdom for Women devotional. I really like it.

I did start a new book that was given to me when I started the chaplain training. It's part of our reading for the course. It is called Our Greatest Gift-A Meditation on Dying and Caring by Henri Nouwen. The Care Ministry pastor said it was a great resource for him. I'm 1/4 of the way through it. This is where some of my Winter's Tale reading time has gone. :)

In other reading news, regular readers might remember how much I love the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. It was posted yesterday that she has a new book that takes readers back to Mitford coming out in September of this year! Totally made my day! Mitford books are my favorite ever. :)

What are your favorite books/series to read?

Thursday Helpful Sites

Feedly keeps me up to date on my favorite blogs.  This week, the last of this kind for a while, is under the heading "Inspiration", for me. I appreciate the authors and their topics.

  1. I love Life by Kal Barteski has wonderful inspiration for the eyes and the mind. I appreciate her point of view tremendously.
  2. I found this blog, Keeping Tabs, through someone who knows the author. She suggested her friends read about this Ohio girl who has/is traveling the world. She often posts wonderful pictures, too.
  3. I began following Lisa Leonard when some women in the scrapbook community suggested it. First, her jewelry was beautiful and connected with the one little word concept. But her faith and life story keep me reading.
  4. I'm not sure how I stumbled across Lisa Russo, but once I did, I fell in love with her art. Her photographs speak to my heart and style. I have been changing some of the design, here at my house, cleaning out spaces in our home, as well as extraneous decor and am dreaming of the day when I can add her work to our home. I haven't, yet, but I will. Once I fell for her art, I continued to read her blog and appreciate how similar we are. 
  5. Vicky and Jen: "What Really Matters"-I originally found them via their podcasts. I appreciated their home/mom advice as I listened. Then I began to follow their blog. There is some overlap, but not always, with the podcast. Two down-to-earth moms who work at bettering life.
  6. The next two blogs don't have posts too often, as they are busy people, so I can relate, but I appreciate glimpses into their family lives-their real life. They inspire me, both in different ways. The first is It Matters by Darci Dowdle, a mom of 5 kids and a woman journeying with her faith.
  7. Jenny Meyerson: Learn with Jenny-I first saw a video of her through a scrapbooker's blog-dancing. An amazing lady on a journey through life as a mom and wife.
Do you have blogs that you read because they inspire you? Hope you are well, Reader.

Monday, February 10, 2014


I looked at my social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to see what I have recently posted that I could discuss here on Social Media Monday. The last three or four posts were about the snow. We keep getting more snow. Just when it looks like it will melt and the roads will be clear, the snow moves back in. We have gotten quite a bit of snow and shoveling seems to be the only outdoor exercise I am getting. I'm ready for a melt and a run! Wednesday-Friday are supposed to be in the 30 degree range-wow, never thought I'd be so delighted to see freezing level temps! :) Fingers crossed that I get to get out and run these next few days. Also, not just the snow that makes it tough: we have a lot of places near us that are just sheets of ice. That will only make for injuries. I did get to the local mall and walk at a brisk pace for two hours which is great! :)

How is your weather, Reader? :)

Sunday, February 09, 2014


We went to my in-laws' house to celebrate my father in-law turning 65. Each family contributed a breakfast food and we all shared something that made him unique to us. My husband, niece and daughter went outside, while we were there, and created a "snow fort". We came home and shoveled the driveway, which is once again covered in snow. Then my husband and I got a nice, warm winter's nap in. Currently he is working and my youngest daughter is reading.

I have more Project Life to plug away at, determined to finish up 2013. I have bills to pay and paperwork on my desk to slog through. I have a few little tasks for my husband's company that I'd like to finish. I would also like to get more reading done on Winter's Tale. I have enjoyed it thus far, but have a long way to go. I have the usual laundry to catch up on, dishwasher to unload and house cleaning to finish up, as well.

Thinking & Dreaming About:
Climbing a mountain (well hiking)- my husband and I have decided we are climbing a mountain in 2014. By climbing I mean hiking, not using my fingertips, ropes, and toes to climb up the face of a cliff-no. I mean a hike somewhere. So far we have decided it must be in the US, and take a day or two-if there is a lodge halfway up. :) We are currently leaning towards Arizona, but we will see as we firm up plans, set goals, etc. Goals/motivation are on my mind. These snow days have slowed my progress and motivation, with running, house organization, task completion, everything. Well, except hibernation and eating too much, of course.

How are you feeling this February, Dear Reader?

Friday, February 07, 2014


Since I haven't posted any recipes in January, this is a link heavy post of recipes I have tried thus far. With all our cold, snowy days we've had time to try a few new things! :)

  1. Egg and Avocado BLT with Chipotle Mayo
  2. Greek Yogurt Banana Bread
  3. Grilled Garlic and Herb Shrimp
  4. Asparagus and Avocado Wrap
  5. Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  6. Lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing
  7. More Lemon cupcakes

Have you tried any new, yummy recipes lately, Reader?

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Blogs I Follow-Scrapbooking Inspiration

Today's blog links of "Blogs I Follow" are all related to scrapbooking. I haven't been doing much lately, except for Project Life 2013 (finishing), but I still follow the blogs for ideas and information, for when I get back to it. I would really like to take a trip up the local Scrapbook Store for inspiration and a jump start next week-I have been dreaming while perusing Pinterest, too.

Scrapbooking Blogs I Follow:

  1. Ali Edwards Blog- I have followed her for years, love her creativity and her style! She shows her Project Life and December Daily Projects throughout, as well.
  2. Becky Higgin's Blog-Creator of Project Life, which I love-when I remember to keep up with it...
  3. Cathy Zielske's Blog-Cathy has an awesome, simple style that I really like. She's also doing her own Project Life. She has such a great sense of humor, too!
  4. Elise Blaha Cripe's Blog-Just started following her not that long ago. She has great sense of style and an added bonus is to see pics of her new baby girl!
  5. Just Me, My Soldier and Our 4 Little Chicks-Stephanie Howell's blog-love her style, as well, and her realism on the blog. They are in Italy right now and it brings back happy memories!
  6. Just Us/Dear Lizzy-This family/scrapbooker are adorable! Such fun color combos inspire me, here!
  7. StacyJulian.com lady loves color and spending time with her family-both of which I love!
  8. Just Be Blogged by Tara Whitney-Tara is an involved mom and a wonderful photographer. Not scrapbooking per say but photo ideas for layouts of my own family.
  9. Jessica showcases digital scrapbooking, as well as photoshop. I love her perspectives!
  10. Scrapscription is a kit company that I have used in the past. I first learned of them from another blog where I won a kit in their contest. I tried it, loved it, and when I was lacking in inspiration I would get one of their kits and create something lovely! I still check monthly for kits that may speak to me. They had one that was "my dog" and I purchased pics of my recently deceased dog, thinking it would be a perfect way to honor our family's love for him.
There other pages I peruse like Making Memories, Studio Calico (LOVE their supplies, Pinterest boards, etc),  Basic Grey, Dear Lizzy, and Amy Tangerine to name a few.  Any scrapbooking sites you love? Hope you are well and warm, Reader!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

As I sit here drinking my green tea on another snow day, I realize what a stinky blogger I've been. This has been one of the last things on my list. Then I read a tweet by Stephanie Howell, whose instagram, blog and facebook posts I read regularly. Her tweet was a wondering about personal blogs-do people read/post on them anymore. I love to read people's posts. However, I have stunk at posting on my own lately.

Thank you to my dear readers who commented on the person who is dear to me that found out they had cancer. I am truly blessed by them and I am glad I get to (hopefully) be helpful to her.

Today, my post is to catch up on my "What I'm Reading Wednesdays". I haven't posted on them, as of yet, this year, and here it is February! I started the year out with a reading "Bang!" but have slowed down a bit as of late.

Books so far:

  1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce-I thoroughly enjoyed this book. GoodReads had suggested it so I tried it-different than other books I read, but I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it ended! :) A good read. 4/5 stars
  2. The Fatal Funnel Cake by Livia J Washburn is the latest book in the Fresh Baked Mystery Series. I've read some by her before and they are quick read mysteries. I figured out the murderer before the "reveal" and still enjoyed it. GoodReads won't let you rate half stars so it, too received a 4/5, but should have gotten a 3.5 when comparing to my earlier reads.
  3. Gilt Trip by Laura Childs is the latest book in the Scrapbooking mystery series. It was very similar to the others in the series and, although I enjoy them, I like her tea mysteries much better. This too would have received a 3.5 out of 5. I figured out the killer before the reveal, here, too, but I enjoy all her talk about the scenery, etc. Another quick read.
  4. Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen was another book suggested to me by GoodReads. I loved it! I couldn't put this down, either. I had previously read her book Garden Spells and enjoyed it, too, so I picked this one up gladly. I got it in paperback and since finishing it, her latest book came out in hardback-I picked it up, hoping it's as good! It awaits on my "to read" shelf. 4/5 stars
  5. Similar to last year's goal to read an Agatha Christie, I set a goal to read a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes mystery. I read Hound of the Baskervilles. I enjoyed this mystery immensely! Terrific-kept me wondering the whole time. It required my reading early in the day, as a tired mind and tired eyes didn't work for this book-too involved. I loved it! (I have another Agatha Christie on my to read shelf, too! :))
  6. On my list I have two books I didn't finish. The first is Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. I had heard it was an excellent book and then saw it on the library's "Staff Picks" shelf. I, however, did not share the same interest and couldn't even get through the first chapter. It was so full of foul language I couldn't continue on with it. Granted, a word here or there that is defining for the character I can see, but this, combined with it's cattywompus thoughts did nothing for me. So, I stopped reading it. 0-1/5 stars...
  7. The second book I didn't like was a surprise... Many family members really like this series. I tried One For The Money by Janet Evanovich. Although I sometimes like cheesy mysteries I just couldn't get through this one. I am sure I could have but with a shelf full of "to-reads" waiting for me, that I probably won't even get through this year, plus our wonderful library's new books... I just didn't want to slog through this one. 0-1/5 stars...
Currently, I am in the midst of a very big book! I saw the preview for Winter's Tale-the movie- which is also a novel by Mark Helprin. I was moved by only the brief glimpse of the movie, so I went to the bookstore to get this book (I looked at our library but every copy was out!) I wanted to read before watching the movie, but then I picked up the book... It is 768 pages! It is large! And the movie comes out on Valentine's Day... I am not sure I'm going to finish! :) But, I'm working on it and enjoying it thus far.

What are you reading or looking forward to reading, Reader?

Friday, January 24, 2014


It's funny how you can be so excited about a new adventure, feeling your heart fill, and smiling a lot, and then suddenly, things change. I was enjoying posting more regularly again, and I still have a schedule of posts I'd like to write and publish. But about two weeks ago I had quite a week that threw me off a bit. On Monday of the week I speak, we found out that a family friend of my husband's had lost his 19 year old stepdaughter in a car accident. Tuesday my niece was badly burned by boiling water, with first and second degree burns on her hands, face, neck, chest and legs. She stayed in the children's hospital Tuesday through Thursday, finally getting her bandages removed a week and a day later. Wednesday we talked with someone dear to me (she hasn't mentioned all the information to all her family, thus the anonymity) let me know that some cells that had been tested were indeed breast cancer. Originally they didn't think they were anything to worry about. Then, that it was localized in the milk ducts, and then this week we have heard that it has spread and they are testing lymph nodes-proceeding quickly from a short surgery to remove ducts to at least a mastectomy... Scary stuff. Then Thursday of the week where I didn't like phone calls my daughter called from my in-laws' house to tell us they had a leaking pipe and standing water in their basement. My husband rushed over and they began to sop up the water. Over the next three days the daughters and I went over with our dehumidifier and we all took turns soaking up water from the carpet, bringing the towels home and drying them, only to return and do it again. They leak was small, and my husband was able to get it stopped by simply turning off the valve. But was something else added to that plate.

This was a week I spent deep in prayer. And I continue to be... I will be blogging more often, again. My oldest daughter has been here since Christmas and returns this weekend to her college life. It's good that she misses her friends there and her routine, but I will be sad when she isn't here anymore, sad that they days are lonely and quiet. And I will be back in prayer for her safety, as well. I have a list of things to do, though. I tried to convince my husband we needed a puppy for a while. But with the person tackling cancer, now, she would like visits and help from me. A blessing I don't have a full time job right now and I am so glad to be able to help.

I will keep you posted, dear readers.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Social Media Monday-Resolutions

On one of my social media spots I saw a link for this post by Aby at Simplify 101. It was called "Lessons Learned from Setting 13 Goals in One Year". I enjoyed her look-back at her goals and what she achieved. And, while I visited some of these during my One Little Word post from yesterday, I am setting 14 goals, here, now, as well. :) It is 2014, after all. :)

  1. Run 900 miles-this was my goal the past two years and last year I finally came close. 
  2. Fall half marathon under 1:45:00 
  3. No new running injuries and healing the old... Fingers crossed for that, please!
  4. Read 24 books-I finished one that I will tell you about on Wednesday and am in the midst of the second-this cold, pending snow weather helps! :)
  5. Reach my goal weight. Over the last three years I have gotten down close about July and then worked my way back up to the same weight I have started at by December. I want to reach my goal weight and stay there all year! :) {see "eat light" from yesterday}
  6. Make 1 craft from Pinterest per month-I always pin things I want to make or try and then never do anything with them. If I can't accomplish this goal, then my craft board from Pinterest will require some re-thinking in December.
  7. Make 1 recipe from Pinterest per week-I enjoy my weekly installment of "Recipes I've tried this week" here on the blog and I enjoy trying new recipes, so this is a set goal.
  8. Finish my 2013 Project Life-I did really well until July, then I didn't put any other pictures in... so hoping to finish it. I am not tackling it again this year; I always get disappointed when I don't get it done. 
  9. Mini albums or online albums. I have a few sites I'd like to try, and I think it would be fun to do a small, online or paper, album for each month's pictures for the year. Just a thought in the works...
  10. Finish a rag quilt-I actually have one I started with my mom a couple years ago. It got placed into a colored tub with a lid and I found it over the summer. I tackled it a few months ago and my sewing machine stopped working. I tried my daughter's and it quit, too. So, we had both repaired and the moment of truth is around the corner-will they work? Will I get it finished?? :) Hopefully-I'm thinking it would be nice to snuggle under as the temps dip below 0! {"lighten expectations" from yesterday's post}
  11. Send 1 card or note-not email-per week. Just one-in 7 days, 168 hours, actually, I should be able to find time to let people know I care! I did one on Saturday this past weekend, so one this week is done! :) {"leave the light on" from yesterday}
  12. Daily Devotionals-I got into a good habit of reading my devotional and Bible at the end of last year and I'd like to keep it going. {see "find my light" from yesterday}
  13. Clean/organize one room or full item of furniture per month {"lighten the load" from previous post}
  14. This is an open goal. It is something I want to leave unknown and revisit later. It might be writing a book, entering a new profession, taking a sewing or knitting class, taking a college class, mentoring or volunteering, skiing... I don't know. I learned in 2013 that a year is a long time and anything can happen. I never thought I'd change my goals and dreams away from teaching but I did. I never thought I'd be content just... waiting... but I am. I am praying on it and I hope God will guide me.
What are your resolutions? Do you make them? These are more like long-term goals, which I think we should always have, and revisit. I hope your new year has started out well, Reader!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

One Little Word 2014- Light

Each year, since I read about Ali Edward's concept of the One Little Word, I have tried to set one for myself. A few of the years I have really tried to live it out. A few years, conversely, I have let it slip by unnoticed. This year I have resolved for it to guide me and be present in my mind and heart, to live it and I look forward to it. I also love reading about other people's OLW, how they chose them, what it means to them... all meaningful to me, like Stephanie Howell's blog post, here. And Elise's post, here.

I began to think over my word and what it might be, as I do every year. I was stuck. My past words were:
Faith 2008
Peace 2009
Grace 2010
Read (which I can't even remember thinking over... so this wasn't a particularly definitive word choice/year for me...) 2011
Brave 2012
Grow 2013

And this year, my word is Light. I popped onto Pinterest the other morning and the first thing I saw was this piece of art. I knew Light was to be my word for the year, my One Little Word. I began to pin a "One Little Word" board on Pinterest, letting myself be inspired and soaking it in. Many ideas began to swirl in my mind:

  • eat light-fitness
  • be light to others-sharing a good attitude
  • live light-live clean, get rid of the junk and think about what I choose to carry with me
  • find my light-seek light and seek my faith (with teaching a Bible study, chaplain classes and my funeral coordinator's job, I see this one coming to fruition-hopefully! :))
  • let my soul be light-with less worry
  • light the way-be a good example for my girls
  • lighten the load-less stuff, better budget, burdens of others?
  • leave the light on-connect with others
  • light streaming-work with my plants more-I love to work with plants, inside and out, but have let it slip away
  • travel light-go somewhere new? a trip or a new restaurant, a new museum for new ideas/sights?
  • lighten expectations-will I be a knitter or sewer/quilter? relax about it and if it doesn't come, remove those expectations from myself, as well as supplies I won't ever use and let them go
I let all these just come and wash over me, one triggering the next. Then, when no more thoughts like this came, I looked up common phrases with the word "light" in them. It was fun! I'm hoping to apply them throughout the year to something, although I'm not sure what just yet. A couple I found were:
  • guiding light
  • light as a feather
  • at first light/light of day
  • light years away
  • out like a light
I thought of some songs right away, as well:
  • This Little Light of Mine
  • Learning to be the Light
  • Jesus, Light of the World
  • Thy Word
For a few of my previous words I ordered a charm for a necklace or a ring to be a constant reminder. I still have and wear almost daily, my rings of the past words: grace, grow and peace. I ordered my light ring from the same place, here on etsy. I'm ready to tackle 2014 with Light. :) Do you have a One Little Word? Or are you still choosing one? 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Recipes I've Recently Tried

I got behind and haven't posted many recipes I've tried, so I will post a few and try to catch up over the next few weeks.
First, my oldest daughter had seen this, where else, on Pinterest and sent me the link so we could try it. It turned out to be easy and delicious!
One Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta
I followed the "tip" in the recipe and cubed the chicken...
One Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta
  • 2 cups shredded or diced chicken
  • 2 Tbsp minced green onion
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 can Manwich Bold + 1 can water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound of small dry pasta (I used penne)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. 1. Heat a small amount of oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and saute for one minute, then add cooked chicken* and saute for a couple of minutes.
  2. (*Tip: I happened to have cooked, shredded chicken on hand so I used that, but I think I would start with raw chicken next time and cook the diced chicken and in the pot).
  3. 2. Add chicken broth, Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce, water and pasta to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 25-25 minutes.
  4. 3. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheddar until well incorporated, reserving a handful to sprinkle on the top. Cover for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt, and stir.
  5. 4. Serve.

One other recipe for today: 
Once my oldest daughter came home, both girls requested we make cookies for the holidays. We usually do, and we usually use our traditional list. However, this time, we strayed from our list. I had never made these cookies before, but my family declared they must be used again the future because they were some of the best ever. :) Yay! :) I found the tip at the end about the baking time also true-they seemed underdone, but I followed her advice and it worked out great!

Soft Almond Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 C white sugar
2/3 C butter (cold)
2/3 C shortening (room temp)
2 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
2 3/4 C cake flour
1 C all purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
sugar in the raw (I like raw sugar for this, but any coarse sugar would work)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking sheet.

Cream sugar, butter and shortening.  Stir in eggs and almond extract.  Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and add to butter/egg mixture.  Use electric mixer to ensure dough is thoroughly combined.

Chill dough in fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll 2 tsp of dough (I used a small cookie scoop) into a ball and roll in raw sugar.  Place on prepared pan.

Bake cookies for 7 minutes.  Remove from oven and gently press rounded tops of cookies flat with the back of a spoon while the cookies are still warm and pliable.  The cornstarch will keep the dough from spreading, so this step just makes them look better!

Return remaining dough to fridge in between baking each batch.

Allow to cool on pan for 1 minute.

Remove to cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely.

A tip:
~DO NOT bake longer than 8 minutes!!  They may seem under-baked, but when they cool they will firm up.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I realized after my last post that I hadn't finished book number 22 of the year. I had a goal of 20 and had officially read 21, but hadn't finished the Mitford book I was re-reading for number 22. I had a book on my desk that my husband had read and passed along. Then my oldest daughter had read it and passed it along. My youngest read it and then I received it. They all said it was a "good, quick read". So, I tackled it, yesterday. One day-New Year's Eve, getting it read "under the wire" as they say. Actually, with time to spare before we headed to my brother-in-law's house for tacos. It was The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. I've read books by him before and liked them, but hadn't picked one up in a while. This was a good book and I'd recommend it. So, I completed my 22 books for the year and am looking forward to tackling 24 or more this year. Just like my running miles, I feel better when the total is higher. :) {Also, I ended with 850.99 miles running this year-yay! ;) }

Reading anything good to start the new year? Or set any reading goals? Happy New Year, Reader. I'm glad you stopped by my blog.