Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday's Fave Five #293

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  I'm so very thankful you have joined with me this week to take a look back over the week and find, recognize and be thankful for those things that were a blessing.

1.  Love a good quote that hits me right between the eyes, so to speak.

We desire lasting significance and influence and impact, but spend most of our time chasing temporal possessions.    -   Joshua Becker from this post 

2.  Love this idea.

I've heard of places in England, I believe, where they have taken old phone booths or boxed type of containers on streets and filled them with free books with the policy of help yourself to one and add one if you can.  I've often wanted to place something cute on the boulevard in front of my house for something like that.

3.  Incredible the form of a fantastic lightening show Wednesday night.  The skies around here were lit up for at least an hour of both sheet lightening and cloud to ground lightening.  Natures fireworks at its finest.  I turned off the lights and tv and just sat on the couch watching the awesome display.

4.  New blender...great deal.  Our blender sat forever and a day in the cupboard not being used.  That is until my daughter introduced me to delicious smoothies.  We very quickly blew through that inexpensive blender and  then purchased another cheaper one and in short order blew through that one too.  We tried making smoothies in the food processor but it just wasn't the same.  I just didn't want to spend or necessarily have the money right at this moment for a better blender that was made for being able to smooth those ice cubes or frozen fruit.  But as the weeks went by I was missing that smoothie for breakfast.  When we were visiting our daughter K. a few weeks ago, we did our usual trip to Homesense (we don't have one in our city), and lo and behold there was a KitchenAid blender there for $75.  Somehow that seemed like a good price to me so we splurged and bought it.  No one was more surprised than me when I came home and looked it up online and saw the regular price was $150 or more depending on the store.  SCORE!  We are now enjoying delicious smoothies once again made even tastier knowing I got a good blender for half price!!

5.  Week off starts tonight at 4:45 p.m. Mountain time!  Yipee.  It's my maintenance week to work on those things I can't do when the kids are there but still it's the thought of not having to be up so early, not having to hit the floor running, an easier pace and opportunities for bike rides, reading and coffee!

What are your favorite blessings this week?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Meme Come Back

Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom has resurrected good old fashioned blogging in the way of a meme.  Something that was very popular when we first started blogging way back when.  I miss those days of "friendship" blogging.  Memes were fun and nice way to get to know other bloggers and it "introduced" bloggers to each other as they got tagged and answered.  Bring the meme, I say.

I'll tag Barbara at Stray Thoughts, Karen at Over the Backyard Fence, Anne at Nikkipolani and Faith at Gold in the Clouds and anybody else who wants to join in.  Just let me know in the comments you've done it so I can come and take a peek at your answers.  Here's Sandra's housekeeping meme:

Aprons - Y/N If Y what does your favorite look like?
I do like aprons mainly because I tend to always get my shirts splattered with something as I cook.  My favorites are the bib kind.  This question reminds me of a funny thing that happened in dayhome.  One of the dayhome kids said I wore my "bathing" suit all the time.   Mortified at what he might be telling his parents, I thought what on earth?  I don't even wear my bathing suit when I'm working in the summer and we take the pool out.  Upon further questioning and examination, I realized one little word was lost in translation.  Here I present to you my "baking" suit (circa 2008)...

Baking - Favorite thing to bake?
I am so not a baker!  But I have to say my two favorite things to bake is Apple Crisp (I know that's a bit of a cheat) and Double Brownies (dark on bottom, blonde on top).  I know I can't go wrong with those two.

Clothesline - Y/N
I grew up with my mom hanging everything out on the clothesline and it is a smell that has stayed with me even to this day.  Love it.  I used to have a clothesline and used it for certain items but we finally took it down when it became a hazard for the dayhome kids.  In this business, everything is looked at as a potential for an accident and the line ran too close to my swingset/climber and there was no where else either one could go so down it came.  

Donuts - Have you ever made them?

Everyday - One homemaking thing you do everyday?
Is cooking a homemaking thing?  Then I say cooking and along with cooking....dishes and kitchen cleaning!

Freezer - Do you have a separate deep freeze?

Garbage Disposal - Y/N
Yes, love it.

Handbook - What is your favorite homemaking resource?
the good old internet

Ironing - Love it or hate it?
Hate with a capital H

Junk drawer- Y/N - Where is it?
Oh the junk drawer.  I have a stationary type junk drawer in the kitchen and a regular junk drawer also in the kitchen

Kitchen - Color and decorating scheme?
My walls a a bit of a boring beige but I had to find a color that went with my darker cupboards that have sort of a reddish background tone and I don't like grey so I was a bit limited.  But color comes in on my valences and patio door blinds with a color called nutmeg which is actually a bit like a burnt orange.  Love it.

Love - What is your favorite part of homemaking?

Mop - Y/N
I go between a mop, a refillable Swiffer type of mop and just getting right down on my hands and knees.  Depending on my time and how dirty the kitchen floor might be.

Nylons - Wash by hand or in washing machine?
I don't wear a whole lot of dresses anymore but I do wear nylons in the winter when I do and then it's handwash.

Oven - Do you use the window to check on things or do you open the door?
Definitely a door opener.

Pizza - What do you put on yours?
I don't make homemade pizza but I enjoy pizzas that have green peppers, black olives, feta cheese added to them and then after they are cooked, sliced fresh tomatoes and just letting the heat of the pizza warm the tomatoes through.  I also like adding hot banana peppers to a Hawaiian pizza.  But in all truth, I love just about any kind of pizza without anchovies or Italian sausage that has caraway.

Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
There's quiet moments in the day?  Not usually with running a dayhome.  But we do have a supposed quiet time where I do like to grab a hot cup of coffee and read a little bit.

Recipe Card Box - Y/N
No.  I don't like them.  The cards are too small.  

Style of house
I'm assuming Sandra means decorating style.  Is mish mash a style?  I always struggle with this because I like too many things.  But in general  I'm a bit eclectic with definitely a cozy look.  I love woods and tend to more of a traditional, definitely not modern, style.

Tablecloth and napkins - Y/N
I would love a tablecloth and use them for special occasions but for the most part hubby hates having a tablecloth on the table so I only pull them out when I'm having a big dinner with company.

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?
Definitely more on the organized side.  I have to be because of having a dayhome. Cannot have any cleaners or such under there.

Vacuum -  How many times per week? 
At least a couple times a week, sometimes more depending on how much we're in the living room with the dayhome.  The kitchen gets a daily sweeping if the vacuum doesn't come out.

Wash - How many loads per week?
I don't even know.  I just shove a load in when  (a)  I have enough for a load or (b) I'm running out of whatever it is I need to wear.  The kids do their own laundry now so it has considerably lessened my laundry load.

X's - Do you make a daily to do list and check it off as you do things?
I'm the to do list queen.  I love seeing chores getting crossed off and have been known to add a chore I just did that didn't happen to be written down just so I can see that item crossed off.  Gotta validate all that hidden work somehow.

Yard - Y/N - Who does what?
Hubby does the majority of outside work but the flower beds are my responsibility.

Zzz's - What is the last homemaking task you do for the day before you go to bed?
Sometimes hand-washing the plastics so that we don't have to wake up to a sink filled with them, but mostly I do a really quick straightening of living room pillows, folding blankets that might have been used, tidying the coffee table.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Porch Lights" by Dorothea Benton Frank ~ Review

Jimmy McCullen and his wife Jackie both have careers where they take their life in their hands.  Jimmy is a firefighter with the FDNY and Jackie is an army nurse who has finished 3 seven month tours of Afghanistan.    Jimmy plays the role of father and mother to their son, Charlie,  while Jackie is gone and they are a close knit family.  When Jimmy is killed in a horrendous fire both Jackie and Charlie are understandably devastated.  Finding it hard to move on and watching her happy, active and outgoing boy turn quiet and inward, Jackie decides to spend the summer on Sullivan's Island with her mother.  Hoping it will bring some healing time for her son, Jackie wonders how she herself will get along with her mom.   They are incredibly different people and Jackie feels her mom has never understood her or her choice of career.  

Annie is thrilled to have Jackie and Charlie coming home and fully prepares the house including turning the porch lights on until they make the long trip from New York.   Her quirky friend Deb helps her but Annie was not expecting the help of her estranged husband who walked out of her life 11 years ago.  While not together, they have not divorced and it stirs up her aggravation at him all over again when he comes back into their lives.  Add in Jackie's blaming  of her mother for the separation and it makes for awkward family relationships.  But for the sake of her grandson, who desperately needs the loving influence of his grandfather, Annie gives in to his presence in their lives.  Add in a good looking, single doctor who lives next door who Annie and Deb tease each other about and it becomes quite the summer.

It took me a long time to get into the book.   The story is told from the viewpoint of Jackie and Annie alternating  between chapters.    Once I got past the first few chapters and got used to the "voice" that was telling the story it became better reading for me.  Each chapter has a verse that starts it off from Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Gold Bug" which is also worked into the main storyline.  In all honesty, not a thing that appeals to me as a reader and I found myself skipping that beginning verse.    I did, however, like how who Edgar Allan Poe was and what he had to do with the island and how that  was worked into the storyline.  Very interesting.   Another thing that I couldn't really get into in the story was the constant mention of alcohol and it's consumption.  They forever seemed to be purchasing booze for the bar, setting up the bar, deciding what drink to have and this part of the story, to me,  got to be unnecessary.  What I did like about the story was the lovely descriptions of the South and island life, the occasional humor that made me laugh out loud and the underlying love beneath the family issues that caused one woman to hang onto the hope of eventually seeing her family back together.   

Review is linked to Semicolon Saturday Review of Books  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday's Fave Five #292

Another week has just whipped by here at the Living to Tell household.  I had such great intentions of putting up at least a couple of posts, but alas, time had other ideas.  But I really don't want to miss doing FFF and purposefully looking for and being thankful for good things in my week.  It's almost most important to purposefully pause to do this discipline as things can go by unnoticed in a busy or stress filled week.  So please join in with me.  If you are new, welcome...the guidelines are here and then you can just join right in!

1.  K. was able to get a new place already.  After being flooded out of her basement suite, written about here, I have to admit I was fighting worry about her finding another place.  But find it she did, for a great price, out of a basement and into an apartment and one that will even allow her two cats.  She gets it August 1 and will have a leisurely 3 weeks to move in so she can really go through her things in the storage unit and make sure they survived the water without damage.  Praise God for his provision!

2. Playground Opportunity.  It has been smoking hot here this week and one day this week I only had 2 of the older dayhome kids so we had the opportunity to fly the coop and go to the playground at the lake.  It's a wonderful huge playground that is fairly new with lots to do.  The boys were running for the full two hours we were there burning off all their energy.  And it wasn't too hot because we went in the morning.  A nice peaceful afternoon followed.

3.  The best ribs I've ever made if I do say so myself.  Love, love, love bbq'd ribs but rarely make them because I'm spoiled with Tony Roma's ribs and mine never turn out quite tender enough or tasty enough.  But now I know the secret.  I followed this method, though I did not use her rub, I had some in my cupboard I needed to use up.  But I rubbed away, wrapped it in the foil and let it sit  24 hours in the fridge.  Threw them on a hot grill for a few minutes the next day and slathered them with this BBQ sauce and it was delicious melt in your mouth goodness.  Along with a fresh bowl of creamy coleslaw it was one good supper!

4.  Long Bike ride with breakfast out following.  Sunday Hubby and I and our T. went for a long bike ride.  And I mean long.  It was gorgeous out, I was with family and we were doing something we all enjoyed.  Couldn't have been more pleasant.  Topping it off with breakfast out at our favorite breakfast place was like the icing on the best of cakes.

5.  Lots of reading time.  With the weather being hot, I took the pool out for a couple of days this week.  The kids love it and spend hours playing and I get to sit on the deck watching them and reading while sipping a nice ice water or iced chai tea latte.  The best of summer!

What were your favorites blessings this week?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday's Fave #291

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Time to take a pause in our busy lives and ponder and be thankful for the good things that came our way during the last week.  Please join in with us.

1.  A great reaction to a gift you gave.  A surprise for my friend was met with happy squeals, big hugs and a lovely text follow up.  Was so worth it listening to my heart about it.  I love to give gifts and see the reaction when it is just right.

2.  The smell after a storm.  A thunder storm just rolled through here and left the most lovely smell.  So clean and fresh and now the air is cool and breezy and cooling the house off.

3.  Celebrating another birthday with my Mom.  I am so grateful I got to celebrate another of my Mom's birthdays with her.  She is now in her 80's and every year is precious.  She is still able be out and about and it is so nice to take her out for dinner and surround her with her family.  A dinner at her favorite Chinese food restaurant and some beautiful roses for a beautiful lady rounded out her day.


Coconut Macaroon Cheesecake from a favorite restaurant.  Oreo crust, housemade macaroon, coconut cheesecake, vanilla custard, chocolate, toasted coconut and whipped cream.  Are you drooling yet?  I sure am.  It was totally decadent and delicious!  And was a treat brought over by a friend.

5.  Church picnic.  It's a special time of food and fun and getting to know people from the congregation.  So many new people and it's nice to get to chat with them in a fun setting.  And a bonus, I don't have to cook lunch after church.

What were your favorite blessings this week?



Friday, July 04, 2014

Friday's Fave Five #290

What a week it has been!  We took a little long weekend trip to another province to visit my oldest daughter.  We haven't seen her since Christmas so I was itching to get there and give my girl a big hug and have a nice relaxed visit.  Well, hugs it was but a relaxed visit...not so much.  Her province got an inordinate amount of rain.  Sunday her basement suite home flooded right before our very eyes.  With water pouring in we were scrambling to save her things moving it to a dry spot.  Then we had to rent a storage unit, on a Sunday no less, and move her out within a very short few hours.  Whew.  But in the midst of panic and craziness there were some moments to be thankful for.  Join us as we look for those moments even in the tougher weeks.

1.  We were there for her.  The first thankful moment was that we were there in the first place.  I'm so glad she didn't have to face that on her own.  We were able to offer both emotional support and a helping hand.

2.  We were actually in her place when the flooding started.  K and I had actually gone back to her place for something and were right there when the water started coming in.  So very thankful for that.  Had we not been her cats may have been in danger and things would surely have gotten wrecked.  Who knows when she would have gone back to her place, we could have been doing anything.  So thankful we were there and could act quickly.

3.  The fella moving in upstairs.  While the water came in the fella who was just moving in upstairs came down to use the dryer.  When he found out what was happening, he immediately got his two helpers and came down and moved the bigger items that were in the most vulnerable spots and moved them to the other end of the house, which was an empty room buying us some time.  So thankful for helpful neighbors.

4.  Coincidences, which I believe are not really coincidences but God's grace.  The fella moving in upstairs just happened to be in the sewer business.  He immediately knew it was not sewer back up but ground water pouring in.  He also knew that a hole in the floor was actually a former drain hole and knew there was a cap to take off.   The water started to immediately drain.   Thank God for his knowledge.  It helped to save a lot of K's things.  Very little was actually lost.

5.  An immediate place to go.  Even with two cats, K had an immediate place to go.  And she has a room to move to this weekend in the home of friends until she finds something permanent.  So thankful for the people she knows and their willingness to help her out in the time of an emergency.  It takes a lot off my mind.

So many more things to be thankful for in the midst of the emergency.  No one was hurt, little was lost, her landlord immediately gave her the ok to ask the property management company for her damage deposit back so that she can start right away to look for another place.  The property management company said she'd have her cheque within 5 working days.  We had a work van and our Envoy to help her move her things, her boyfriend and his brother to help us move, the storage company was actually open on a Sunday, we made it in before it closed for the day, they gave her a decent price,  just to name a few.   And no matter what, it was still time spent with our beloved daughter and it was still a getaway for Hubby and I.

What were you thankful for this week?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday's Fave Five #289

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Our weekly place to gather and share what has been blessings in our lives over the past week.  Being purposeful in looking for the good things in our lives is an exercise that gives us a grateful attitude.  And a grateful attitude is what can help pull us through when things are going rough.  Please join us.

1.  The gym.  I'm really grateful for the gym this week.  It's been a super stressful week at work and the gym has allowed me to really work off some of that stress.  By going and focusing on working my muscles as hard as I can for 1/2 an hour, it has released my mind from stewing for that bit of time. And working hard has allowed me to work out some of that pent up worry and frustration.

2.  A husband who encourages me to trust God when things happen with work.  That is worth it's weight in gold to me.  I tend to be someone who stews and rehashes the event and every possibility of the way it can go.  His reminders to keep my trust in God no matter which way it goes is a great encouragement and takes my mind off myself and puts it back towards the One who is faithful and in whom I can place my trust for the outcome.

3.  Cherries.  The cherries are here from B.C. and they are yummy!  Always look forward to this time of year when those wonderful dark red cherries make their way to my city in Southern Alberta.

4.  Reading time with the dayhome kids.  I love the time of day when we all pile on the couch and read stories.  I keep a fresh supply of books from the library every few weeks and it's a joy to read it to the kids and see their enjoyment of hearing the stories and looking at the picture.  Passing on a love of reading to children is a joy to me.

5.  First day of summer was truly a lovely summery day.  I started it off enjoying a coffee and my book on the deck under blue skies and sunshine dotted with a few clouds.  The perfect start to summer.

What were your favorite moments, memories or things from the past week?