Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Movie week

This week started out with a first for me:  I went to see a movie at the theater two days in a row.  Exciting, huh?  Yesterday Lily came with me to see Beauty and the Beast.  I am always a little surprised at how scary a Disney movie can be when I see it through the eyes of a 4 year old..  Beauty is rated 'G', but Lily sat with my hand over her eyes for a little bit.  She said, "Just move your hand when the bad part is over."  

Today, Jonathan saw Chipwrecked with me.  He liked The Chipmunks, but his favorite part of a movie is the popcorn and Sprite.

And, as if I had not been watching enough shows, I came home this evening and watched a DVR'd episode of Downton Abbey.  If you aren't watching that show, YOU MUST!  Rent the first season on Netflix, then  watch the ones playing on Masterpiece Theater on PBS on Sunday nights.  

Watching Downton Abbey makes me think I should drink more hot tea.  And dress up more when I am home.   And have servants to cook and clean house.  And speak with a British accent.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Time travel cookie day

Decorating sugar cookies takes me back in time.

For Ben's first birthday we gave him a Fisher Price barn set. It is the one with the hayloft door that says "Moo" when you open it.  Instead of wrapping the barn for him to open, I used it as a decoration and theme for his party.  I set it out on our built-in china cabinet and laid out the barnyard.  The horse ate out of his trough while the sheep munched on grass in its fence and the farmer rode his tractor.

That was one of my first adventures in icing sugar cookies.  I used gingerbread men cookie cutters and made little farm people to eat :)

That was almost 30 years ago, though, and I am out of practice, to say the least.  These cookies are for a party for Lily and Bennett.  I really wish I had done a run-through about week ago.  I would have made my mistakes on cookies for me to eat instead of on cookies for someone else.  I did find out that polka dots cover a lot of flaws.

While looking online for recipes I found a fantastic site.  The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle is a blog all about decorated cookies.  With her help my cookies didn't spread too much and the icing worked perfectly.  If she would just jump on over here and use her talent on the actual decorating, I'd be set!

They are pretty cute, though, aren't they?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winter strolling

Yesterday was a perfect day to be outside.  I have loved not having so many outside jobs to do every week.     That has left more time for getting some things organized around the house and for some sewing projects.  But when the temperatures are in the mid-70s in January, I just had to get outside for a while.

Our house must be fairly well insulated because there was a chill in the air inside, but the air outside was warm.  When I stepped out, I felt like I just wanted to put a blanket down on a sunny spot of clover and take a nap.

This tree is at the edge of our yard overlooking a steep drop-off down to the creek.  I have always wondered who lives in this hole.  Surely someone does.

I read a tip on how to photograph your animals and it said that if you will make a quiet little sound with your mouth, they will sometimes look at you and cock their head.  Wow!

In the case of my dog, she will cock her head one time, then run away.  To get her to look back at you one more time, you have to make a loud sound with your mouth.  Something like, "LOOK AT ME!"  That method works one time, too.

The log that Shiloh is standing behind is an old pine tree that fell in the woods many years ago.  At this point it is a whole tree of 'lighter wood', or 'fatwood'.  This stump is very hard and full of resin.  When you cut a piece off of it, it smells just like turpentine or PineSol.  Sometimes the smell reminds me of junior high.  They must use PineSol to clean up after junior high kids.  We use it as kindling to start our fires in the fireplace.

I think it is beautiful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Too early daffodils

We have been having a terrible, wonderful warm spell with no end in sight.

It is annoying to me and confusing to the flowers.

When I was looking through the pictures I took I noticed that all of them are of the back of the flowers.  The only way to see the front of these daffodils would be to stand on a steep slippery slope, but I was afraid of falling into a deep gully.  

I decided a that a different perspective would be just fine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy, rainy day

We woke up yesterday morning to see lightening outside our bedroom window.  I haven't been keeping up with the weather before it happens too much lately, so this was a little bit of a surprise to me.  Before long the rain started to fall.  I had a quick thought of heading off to the basement, but the worst of the storm passed us without any damage.  We did get a lot of rain, though!

We had already planned for Lily to spend the day with me.  I picked her up, we went to the grocery store and  when we got home, I told her that I'd like to get my camera to go back out and take some pictures of the mini-flood.  Her mama is a wonderful photographer so she was very willing to get back out and be my photography director.

"Drive down here.  You need a picture of the water over the road."

"Drive down the road and take a picture of how much water is around those trees."

"Minnie, that is beautiful.  Just beautiful."

 Lily has had a terrible cough and needs a little help to get over it.  She was so cute with the vapor rising around her head.  I couldn't resist this picture.
After our little photography session, we built a fire in the fireplace, toasted an English muffin, spread some butter and jelly on it, and sat down to enjoy our little snack in our cozy house.

It's a happy day on the farm.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The power of one word

I am still going to Boot Camp each week.  The first session finished just before Christmas and this session began on January 3.  I was pretty happy with my results the first time, but I really want to do better.

You see, I GAINED WEIGHT!  No amount of fat loss and muscle gain can make me happy with suffering through boot camp just to have gotten heavier at the end.  I know that my weight is just one measure of success, but I really want to succeed at that measure.

This time through I am doing a better job of watching what I eat and exercising more on the days I'm not at boot camp.  I have started doing the 5K101 podcast again and that should take me from where I am to running a 5K race.

Did I just write 'running a 5K race'?  That just sounds ridiculous for me.  I have been a fairly active person in my life, but never an athletic one.  I have never competed in sports of any kind.  And I have hated to run.  There is something about getting hot and sweaty that really gets on my nerves.  And, besides, running bores me.

I am persevering, though.  On Saturday morning, I dove headfirst right out of Week 7 of the podcast into Week 8.  Week 8 is the final week of training and has a 5 minute brisk walk for a warm-up, then a 30 minute jog, followed by another 5 minute walk.  Before I started exercising I could barely jog for 2 minutes.  That's how bad I was.  This morning, though, I didn't see any reason not to go the distance and jog for 30 minutes.

The jog on the treadmill began just fine.  I felt strong enough to make it at a slow pace, but by 10 minutes in I was getting tired of the whole thing.

Then the power went out.  And the treadmill came to a stop.

A month ago I would probably have taken this as a sign to stop.  After all, this is really too hard for me.  Tomorrow might be a better day to run.  Fiddle-dee-dee - I'll think about it in the morning. (Name that movie.) But, my word for the year is "Do".  My word isn't "Rest", "Relax", or "Easy".

I let the treadmill come to a complete stop before I jumped off -- and I started running in place.  My Ipod was continuing to play on a battery operated speaker and I just kept running.

The electricity blinked a time or two, but after about a minute it came back on to stay.  I got back on the treadmill and finished the 30 minutes of jogging.  I realize how small a thing that is to many people, but for me it is a huge victory.  I started a hard thing, was challenged to quit before I finished, and then stuck it out.

Now, if I don't lose some weight by the end of this boot camp, I may change my word.  But, I might not be able to tell you what it is.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pink roses

I love pink roses.

These were left over from a party we had last week and I have enjoyed them so much.  They are just the right touch of soft, feminine, natural, and beautiful.

So, why not keep some in the house all of the time?  

I think I will!

Friday, January 20, 2012

In search of broom straw

I know that most people go to Target when they need a new broom, and usually I would, too.  Today, though, I decided to take a couple of little people and go in search of broom straw.  I had been seeing some that looked about right in a field close to home so we went on a hike to check it out.

We have used the same straw broom for years to clean up around the fireplace, but it is getting a little frayed and I have been looking out for some straw to replace it.  One thing I was looking for was that it be tall enough.  Looks like this will be just fine.

On the way back to the house Daniel sang a little song that went something like this:

I am helping Minnie.
She likes it when I help her.
I am a good helper.

That is why grandmothers love grandchildren.

Bella made a little nest in the grass.

And here is the finished product.

 Looks like I need to use it :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Do it

A lot of people are giving up the difficult task of making New Year's resolutions and have chosen one word to be their focus for 2012.  Like a one word mission statement.  They have chosen words like 'awaken', 'express', 'dwell',or 'jump'.  You can go to this website and it will explain the whole concept.

Last year I think I spent too much time planning things, thinking about projects, dreaming about places to go, wishing to be more fit.  


My word for this year is "Do".

When an opportunity comes up to get in shape, I will do it.

When I get a great idea for a dress to make for Lily or Bella, I will make it.

When I am asked to address wedding invitations, I will jump at the chance to help someone.

I've already had my season of not knowing when to say 'no'.  That's not what I'm talking about.  I won't do what I can't do.  I won't do what I'm not supposed to do.

This year I want to procrastinate less and spend less time on the computer.  I want to use my time more wisely.  When the year is over I hope to have more to show for it.

What is your word?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Sometimes I just need to reboot my brain.

Several years ago I was working in my CPA job in a firm here in town.  I spent most of my days huddled over a computer or some green spreadsheets solving problems and getting the columns to balance.  After a couple of hours of intently focusing on the numbers I would need a little break.  I would get up, walk down the hall, come back to my chair and then I'd say,


I don't know why I had to say this, but somehow by taking the little break and by saying the word, I was rebooted and ready to go again.  Without it I would get a little paralyzed and not be able to think past where I was on the paper.

So, right now I am saying, "Okay".  Rebooting.

I've been busy for the past couple of weeks, not paralyzed at all, but I have felt like I didn't do quite enough to acknowledge the end of 2011 and the start of 2012.  Right now, though, I am putting 2011 to bed.  No need to rehash the good and the bad and to learn from it all.  No need to make some sort of big NewYear'sResolutionList.


One more thing, though, about the end of 2011.  On December 15, Daryl and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary.  For the past few years we have tried to take a picture of ourselves on our anniversary.  When I see this picture I am so grateful for the years we have had together.  I'm happy that we have lived long enough together to be bald and wrinkled and still in love.

Monday, January 9, 2012

An April weekend in January

I hope your weekend was as beautiful as ours!  The weather was unseasonably warm so we puttered around outside some.  Not much, just a little.

Daryl had gotten a good deal on some pansies so we planted them outside the front door.  The only problem with planting flowers is Shiloh tends to think of flower beds as dog beds.  She thanks us profusely, digs a little hole in the soft dirt, does about three turns, and then plops down on the fresh plants.  We have found some thin, green bamboo garden stakes that we usually put out among the plants  That works pretty good at keeping her out.  We're all out of those right now, though, so Daryl built a fence.  Don't you love it?

Don't worry, I'll be headed to Lowe's soon to find some more bamboo.

Saturday was The Girls' Day Out.  They love to peck around in the yard, and I feel like a better mom if I let them out to be free every once in a while.  Everyone was in a friendly mood and we had some up close and personal time together.

When we came home from church yesterday, the horse posse had returned.

I went out to have a little chat with them and made a new friend.  I think I'll call her Rose.

She was even closer than this picture makes it seem like she was.  Really.  We snuggled a little and had a good talk, and by nightfall, they were all gone again.  Are they running away from home or just visiting with some new friends?  I wish I knew.

Friday, January 6, 2012


On Monday all of the stars lined up just right.  Daryl was off of work.  Caleb was off work and was able to get the log splitter.  Webb was out of school and available to help us.  And one of the trees in the edge of the woods volunteered to keep us warm for the next few weeks.

Caleb is getting married soon and will live in a house with a fireplace so he is motivated to stockpile some wood.  Webb is agreeable and comes to help us for the price of a little food and a little cash.

In about half a day they were able to split enough wood for us and Caleb to get several good rows of firewood.

Isn't it just beautiful?  

I really love firewood.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year's blessing

Happy New Year!

I like the sound of 2012 so much better than 2011, don't you?  There's something about prime numbers that doesn't sit quite right with me.  Except for the number 3.  I was born on a 3rd and so that number is okay.  And, in case you didn't know, 2011 is a sexy prime.  You don't believe me?  Just look here.  It just means that you can either add or subtract 6 from the number to get another prime number.  2011 + 6 = 2017, which is also prime.


The new year has arrived and I'm looking forward to it.  There is so much to do and experience and I'm just glad to be here.

The holiday busyness and family fun took priority over blogging and I have some pictures I want to post, but for today I just wanted to share a couple I took at the hospital last week.

Bennett has a yet-to-be-diagnosed gastrointestinal issue and had to spend a couple of nights in the hospital for observation and to get a blast of IV fluids.  He was unbelievably good for a one-year-old with a tube stuck in his vein.  For the most part he was content to play on the big bed in his room and to go for little walks down the hall.

This picture was taken the first night there and his eyes still had that sunken, dehydrated look to them.

Bennett making his rounds.

When he gets older he will want me to have said that he doesn't usually have a pink blanket.  All of his blue blankies were in the laundry when he had to be admitted.

The doctor let him out late Saturday afternoon.  He has felt better, but we still don't know what caused him to be sick.  When the labs open back up tomorrow, we hope to hear something.

What a blessing, though, that he made it home in time to start a new year.