Monday, December 26, 2011

The Aftermath

Happy Day-After-Christmas! Or for my Canadian/British readers, Happy Boxing Day! :-) I hope that everyone had/is having a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza!

I must say that our family had a wonderful Christmas. Spending time with family was tops on our list. Followed by all the awesome tasting food/drinks. Music. Lights. Seeing the reaction of peoples faces when opening gifts. Yes, these are a few of my favorite things. :-)

Here are some photos I took during this holiday season.

And this photo pretty much sums up how we all felt at the end of the day yesterday. lol!

My hubby and brother all pooped out.
And after consuming 10,000 calories in two days time, I am ready to go on another diet/exercise plan. But that is for another post.

I hope that everyone is blessed with good health, family/friends and peace this holiday season.

Thanks for looking in!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young,
compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.

George Washington Carver

Monday, December 5, 2011

Waving at Santa

My oldest brother Larry loves University of Michigan football, Tiger baseball, Red Wings hockey and almost every other sport. He loves to read about current events and politics. He also happens to be physically/mentally handicapped.

Not only does he love God, his country and the Wolverines, he also loves Santa. (Who doesn't?).  One tradition that he holds near and dear is to go to the local mall and wave at Santa.

Last Friday we boarded the bus and headed for our local mall.  After having lunch and shopping a bit, we decided it was time to roll past Santa and greet him with a wave.  Imagine our disappointment when Santa  was no where in sight. The sign indicated that he would be back in around five minutes. We thought we would shop a little bit more when down the corridor we spotted something in red.

It was Santa strolling toward us with one of his elves!

As he got closer, he noticed Larry and waved. :-) Of course Larry waved back.

Not only did Santa wave, but he came up to Larry and SHOOK HIS HAND! How cool is that?

What a thrill for my brother. He was speechless. I don't think he has washed that hand yet. ;-)

This is one of the many reasons why we love Santa. The fact that he took time out of his busy, busy schedule to make the day/month/year for someone like my brother gets two-thumbs-up in my book.

Here is hoping that everyone can have a special Santa in their life. :-)

Thanks for looking in!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bowling, Buffets and Birthdays

Whew, the last week has been a whirlwind of activity and preparation for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast.
Appointments, tournaments, getting together with family and friends and a Certain Someone's birthday has kept us busy.  But a good busy.

Saturday and Sunday was the city tournament for Ryan's bowling league.  He has been bowling with his buddies on a league for about four years now. It's been a tradition in our family for decades. (My in-laws, hubby and myself bowled in leagues off and on for several years). Anyway, his team came in first place in their division! Yay! Ryan did really well and I was amazed at the talent that I saw at that bowling alley. I can see some of those kids on the "Pro Bowlers Tour" someday. :-)

On Sunday, after finishing the tournament, we headed to my sister-in-laws for a family/friends get-together before Thanksgiving.  So much yummy food was served buffet-style. We spent the afternoon/evening laughing until our faces hurt and stuffing our faces until we couldn't eat another bite.

And we celebrated hubby's birthday! Doesn't he look hot good? I think so. :-)  Here is a card I made him from Ryan:

The inside sentiment reads,"Aren't you glad I have my driver's permit?" It's an inside joke and both Ryan and hubby got a kick out of it.

Well, I better go before I burn the pie that is in the oven as I'm typing this. :-P I wish everyone a Blessed and Safe Thanksgiving!

Thanks for looking in!:-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

Remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!

Henry Ward Beecher

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.

Ansel Adams

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembering Those Who Served

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land and sea.

First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title of
United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
from dawn to setting sun.
We have fought in every clime and place,
where we could take a gun.

In the snow of far off northern lands
and in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job,
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
which we are proud to serve.
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve.

If the Army and the Navy ever look on
heaven's scenes,
they will find the streets are guarded by
United States Marines.

The Marines' Hymn

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Hero

After having a busy, busy couple of weeks, I was looking forward to some extra shut-eye this past Sunday with the time change. My internal clock is still set on Daylight Savings Time and I woke up before the crack of dawn and was ready for bed by 8 p.m. It always takes me a couple of weeks to adjust to the time change every spring and fall.

I wanted to share a couple of pictures from Halloween.  It was spent at my moms' for a change.  We all gathered there and noshed on pizza, donuts and cider. There were around 200+ kids. We had some baby dragons, cowboys, princesses, ladybugs and a certain werewolf and vampiress. ;-)

I dressed as a "Mom of Teenager" which includes a spattering of grey hair from riding with a brand new driver. Yikes! Actually, I can see his confidence grow with each trip out and he is getting better. 

I managed to do one scrapbook page with all the busyness. Another "blast from the past".

I pulled from my stash to make this page.  I'm still looking at this layout and think I need to add something more.  But for right now, this will do.

Ryan was obsessed with superheroes for a time as a little boy. (Aren't they all?) He would dress in his "Batman" cape and mask and ride around in his "Batmobile" up and down the sidewalk.  He did a great job fighting for truth, justice and the American way. ;-)  One day I wanted to snap a picture of my hero and he stopped, kicked back and said, "I'm relaxing!" in his cute little boy voice.  He cracked me up then and he still cracks me up now. :-)

I'm going to go and try to get a few things done, even though I'm in a fog. *Yawn* I hope everyone can know at least one superhero in their life. I'm blessed with many. :-)

Thanks for looking in!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"I have a bone to pick with you."

Last night my mom called me.  The first thing she tells me is, "I have a bone to pick with you."  I was speechless.  My mind was racing, wondering what it was that ticked her off.  It takes a lot to make my mom mad.  A lot.  She then follows that line with, "Maybe I should say, I have a chicken bone to pick with you." lol!  I relaxed still puzzled at what she was getting at.  Apparently, she viewed my blog and saw my chicken and dumplings entry.  Normally I'll make enough to take some over to my mom and brother for their dinner.  This time it was raining cats and dogs so I did not get out.  I promised her next time I would be sure to take some over to her.  And next time I make them, I'll be making my "shortcut" chicken and dumplings and I will share the recipe for that. :-)

Please tell me that having a flock of buzzards circling around your house as they make their way south for the winter is good luck and not an omen. Not that I'm superstitious or anything.  There must have been 50 of them.  To my knowledge, we have never experienced this in our neighborhood.  It was kind of hypnotic to see them spiral around in the air above us.

Some good news.  I'm beginning to feel my mojo returning.  Since before my dad passed away, it went MIA and would reappear in fits and starts.  In the last few weeks, I've been getting some creative ideas going through my head.  I've made a few cards and a scrapbook layout here and there.  Now I'm wanting to hole myself up in my craft space for a day or two and get to work.  Or shall I say play. :-)  Here is a layout I worked on yesterday afternoon:

It is a "blast from the past".  It is a layout of some pictures I took some 11 years ago that I ran across.  I'll be sharing more of these types of layouts in the future. I've been sorting through photos and found a box that I had completely forgot about.  I've had so much fun traveling down memory lane.  There have been some photos that I feel a bit melancholy about as well.  Loved ones that have passed.  But many good memories.  I'm so blessed.

I am bound and determined to use what is in my stash to create layouts.  Although I am really digging the new "October Afternoon" lines that have just been released.  It will be very, very hard to resist the temptation to order their product. ;-)

Hope everyone can have as good a trip down memory lane as I have had.

Thanks for looking in!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Yum!  When the air starts getting a chill to it and the days grow shorter, I start craving comfort food. (Actually, I crave it even when it is warm and the days are long. lol!)  One of my favorites is Chicken and Dumplings.

This dish has always been one of my favorites.  I remember coming home from school and when I  would smell the chicken stewing, I would get excited.  And if you are lucky enough to get leftovers, it tastes better the next day in my opinion.

For the sake of trying to eat healthier, though, I make this every once in a great while.  I like to make it when it is a really nasty day out and you want something to stick to your ribs.

Enough gabbing. Here is how you make them...

Here are the list of ingredients:  One whole chicken or chicken cut into pieces, self rising flour, shortening, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, ground red pepper, chicken bouillon granules, milk.

Cover chicken with water in dutch oven or stock pot.  Bring to a boil and add salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme and ground red pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer for one hour.  Remove chicken, let cool.  Skim fat off broth and add chicken bouillon granules.  Bring to a simmer. Skin and bone chicken and coarsely chop.  You can either return to the broth or cover and keep warm.

When the chicken is about 10-15 minutes from being done, combine flour and poultry seasoning in bowl.  But in shortening with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Add milk, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.  Knead for about five minutes more or less.

Turn dough out on light floured surface.  Roll out to about a 1/8 inch thickness and cut into strips.

Bring broth to a rolling boil and drop dumplings into broth stirring gently.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring often for about 30 minutes.

Serve the chicken and dumplings with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots or sides of your choice.  Be prepared to experience bliss as you are dining and take time out for a nap afterward. ;-)

Since I make this dish from memory and measure the ingredients in handfuls and pinch of this, dash of that, I am sharing the recipe from the Secrets from the Southern Living Test Kitchens cookbook:

Chicken and Dumplings

1  2 1/2 lb. whole chicken, cut up
2 1/2  tsp. salt
   3/4 tsp. pepper
   1/2 tsp. garlic powder
   1/2 tsp. dried thyme
   1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
      1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules (I personally add 2-3 tsp.  If you are concerned about sodium, use the lesser amount)
3 cups self rising flour *
  1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  1/3 cup shortening (or as my mom taught me, "About the size of an egg.")
1 cup milk

Cover chicken with water, and bring to a boil in a large Dutch oven.  Add salt, pepper and next three ingredients; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Remove chicken, reserving broth in Dutch oven; cool chicken.  Skim fat from broth; bring to simmer.

Skin, bone, and coarsely chop chicken.  Add chicken and bouillon to broth.  Return to simmer.

Combine flour and poultry seasoning in a bowl.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.  Add milk, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.  Knead. 

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Roll out to 1/8-inch thickness; cut into strips.

Bring broth to boil.  Drop dumplings, a few at a time, into boiling broth, stirring gently. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring often, 25 minutes to half an hour. Yield: 8 servings

*If you do not have self- rising flour, for every cup of all purpose flour add 1 tsp. baking powder and 1/4 tsp. salt.

One of these days, I'm going to figure out how to make my recipes printable. In the meantime,  I hope you and your family enjoys this dish as much as I do.  Bon appetit!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate.  When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.

Shauna Niequist
from the book, "Bittersweet"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lions, Tigers and Wolverines, Oh My!

In the fall of 2011, the planets were in perfect alignment.  And snow flakes were flying in H.E. Double Hockey Sticks.  Or maybe it is due to good old-fashioned hard work and tenacity.  In any case the Detroit Lions are 4-0, Tigers are playing in the American League playoffs, and the Wolverines after playing a couple of disappointing seasons, are 5-0.

After watching Michigan stomp beat Minnesota in Saturdays game and the Lions narrowly defeating Dallas on Sunday, we have been biting our nails watching the Tigers against the Yankees the last couple of nights.  Quite a weekend and start to the week. I haven't heard so much yelling directed at the television since, well, since I don't know when.

We are really loving Michigan's new coach.  When it was announced that Brady Hoke would be the Wolverine's new coach, we were excited.  From what hubby knew about him, he thought he would be a good match.  And so far he is proven right.

After going for decades going, "Lions? What Lions?", it is exciting to see them finally getting their groove back.  When I was in Florida, a nice cashier I met in one of the stores was upset that his beloved Atlanta Falcons would not be televised due to not selling out the game.  I told him I was from Detroit and welcome to my world. :-/  It is so refreshing to finally see some wins.

And now the Tigers are in the playoffs. I love my Boys of Summer (especially Inge and Verlander). :-) I have many fond memories of going to the corner of Michigan and Trumbull as a girl and seeing the Tigers play every summer.  I looked so forward to getting a mini-bat and having a stadium hot dog.  I loved watching Al Kaline and Mark "The Bird" Fidrych play and hearing Ernie Harwell's voice on the transistor radios held to everyone's ear. (Okay, I'm really showing my age now. :-P).

At any rate, this has been a fun ride these past few weeks rooting for our home teams.  Speaking of rooting for teams, I need to go to root for those Tigers.

Thanks for looking in!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Hebrews 11: 1 NLT

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Honey, I'm home!

Aaahhh!  What a great week I had on the "Suncoast" of Florida.  I was invited by my sister-in-law to join her in Florida for a week of R & R.  It was wonderful!  I told her I had to keep pinching myself that it was real.  The weather was for the most part great, the water was inviting, the food was awesome and I had great company. :-)

I started out by flying into Hotlanta aka Atlanta, Georgia to join my sister-in-law for the first leg of our trip.  She picked me up at the airport and we hit the road.  Eight hours later we found ourselves looking out at the Gulf of Mexico with the palm trees swaying and the salty breeze blowing on our face.  How refreshing!  I felt bad for her though, because she drove through some pretty bad monsoons downpours that took expert driving skills to get through.  But we made it and it was worth it!

After sleeping like a log, we awoke, got dressed and headed out to breakfast.  We ate at the "Blue Dolphin Cafe".  I just love it when you are in an area that restaurants have the words "Blue Dolphin" in the title.  You know you are in a tropical location with a name like that.  We then headed to the nearby Publix grocery store for food and supplies.  I just want to say this.  Everyone I met in Florida was so friendly!  I don't know if it is all of the vitamin D from all the sunshine, but at every store, restaurant, whatever, everyone went above and beyond what was expected of them to make sure you were a satisfied customer.  And I saw not one of the self-serve cash registers that are so prevalent in my neck-of-the-woods.  I have issues with those, but that is for another post...

My sister-in-law needs to go into the hospitality business, because she made sure I was comfortable and kept me entertained.  We shopped until we dropped, ate at some of the best restaurants and laughed until our faces hurt.  I also got a nice sunburn.  I cannot go out into the sun without a burn, so that was totally expected.  If I left Florida without a burn, that meant I either spent the entire time indoors or it was a bad week weather-wise.  At least now I do not look like I belong to the Cullen clan in the "Twilight" books. ;-)

We saw beautiful sunsets.

Listened to some great music.
Ate food that was (almost) too pretty to eat.
And spent time on the beach.

It was heaven!  But as much as I loved being there, I was also missing my family and anxious to get home.  Hubby was wonderful and assured me that everything was going smoothly back home and to relax.  I didn't doubt that he and Ryan could handle it by themselves, but I missed them.  My sister-in-law was missing her hubby, too.  We packed up and headed back to Atlanta for the final leg home.

I left my sister-in-law at the airport already missing her terribly, but with wonderful memories of our time together. She will never know how much I appreciated her hospitality and friendship that week.
After a week of sun and balmy temps, my hubby told me that Michigan was in for several days of rain and cool temperatures.  Was I crazy for coming back?  As the plane was circling around and making it's descent over the Motor City, I could not help but think how good it felt to be back home no matter what the weather.

Now I have to go and unpack.  I wish everyone to have love, friendship and sunshine.  And I'll leave with a quote by Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz".    "There is no place like home."

Thanks for looking in.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Girl Time

By this time tomorrow, I'm hoping to be situated on the beach with my feet kicked up looking out at this view.  Yep, I'm going to the Sunshine State to spend some girl time with my sister-in-law. Yay!  Can't wait!  It was a kind of spur-of-the-moment decision.  With Ryan starting school and driver's ed (still have a hard time believing that.), I needed to be sure that the boys could hold down the fort.  Hubby reassured me they would. Frankly, I think they are looking forward to some male-bonding time.  You know, not turning on the t.v. and having the channel set on HGTV or Food Network.  Never having to worry about putting the seat down on the toilet.  Not having to worry about picking up dirty underwear off the floor.  Wait, I'm rethinking my decision to go away. :-P  Okay, I'm going to perish that last thought...

This will be my first time flying solo as well.  It will be a new experience for me, flying all by my lonesome. I've always had hubby or family to fly with.  Hopefully I will not get turned around at the airport and wind up on the tarmac. :-P

I'm looking forward to doing some laying around on the beach and by the pool, dining, shopping, dining, laughing until my face hurts, dining, catching up on some reading.  Did I mention dining?  Actually, I'm hoping to be eating healthier with all the fresh fish and fruits and vegetables down there.  Plus my sister-in-law is very health conscience, so she will keep me in line.;-)

Got to get going and finish packing.  Wishing everyone sunshine, warm breezes and great company to hang out with.

Thanks for looking in!:-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

Do not tell God how big your storm is, tell your storm how big your God is.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waiting for Ryan

Yesterday afternoon, around the time I knew Ryan would get off the bus, I noticed our dog was patiently waiting by the front door.  What makes this unique is because our dog is usually more engrossed in what is happening with the squirrels in the backyard than what is going on in the front of the house.  Unless someone is walking their dog.  Or the UPS/Fed Ex man appears.

He let out a sigh and decided to get more comfortable.

His ears perked up when he saw his best buddy walking up the sidewalk.

You can't tell, but his tail is going 100 mph.  He even looks like he's trying to open the door. lol!

Yay!  Ryan's home!  Time for jumping up and down in excitement.  That would be me. ;-)  (Good thing there is not a picture of that. lol!)

Ryan had a good first day of school.  He seems to like his teachers and classes.  I'm always anxious the first day, wondering what his day is like.  So far, he is always (kinda) glad to be back at school.  I hope he will continue to be this way.

Wish everyone would have a "welcome home" like this one!

Thanks for looking in!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School

It's so hard to believe that it is September and school has officially started.  Summer flew!  Even though it seemed that summer came and went just like that, I'm glad for the changing of the seasons.

We had a very busy weekend. Started Friday with spending the day at my sister-in-laws to take pictures of flower arrangements she will be making for my nieces' wedding.  They are gorgeous!  I will show them off after I get permission from my SIL.  Had lunch with my niece. Then just hung out and laughed and gabbed the rest of the afternoon.

Saturday was kind of a slow day.  Hung out around the house, did a little grocery shopping.  Sunday was spent at my sister-in-law's once again for a family get-together.  We had a great time eating, gabbing, eating, playing cards, get the picture.  Blew my diet to smithereens. lol!

Yesterday we hung out at my neighbors for a last summer get-together.  Ate, gabbed, ate, played Apples-to-Apples, ate.  Another day of blowing my diet to smithereens.  I felt like I had a brick in my stomach.  Still do. In fact, I'm waiting for my ginger tea to finish brewing, hoping that will help.

Got Ryan off to first-day-of-school.  He got up and ate breakfast and got ready with no problem.  I was so relieved.  You know teenagers and their reputation of sleeping till noon.  No, that would be me. lol!

Here are some pics of the first day....

Isn't he handsome?  I love that kid.....

And our dog wanted to get in on the action...

Just because I whip out my camera and take a zillion pictures of my dog, doesn't mean that he gets to be in this one. lol!  We love our dog, though, and it's okay. :-)

Hope everyone had a safe, happy holiday.  For those with kids still in school, I hope it is a great year!

Thanks for looking in! :-)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

                                                                  image source

Without labor nothing prospers.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

In The Garden

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I'd stay in the garden with Him
though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

We miss you, dad.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Leaky air mattresses, leaky tents, mosquitos.  What's to like about tent camping you ask?  Sitting after dark making smores and telling stories around a campfire.  Gazing up at a zillion stars at night.  Gaining a new appreciation for modern conveniences.

While I really do enjoy camping, my hubby and I decided that this year was our last year for "roughing" it.  Actually I made that decision around five years ago.  But I am sadly outnumbered by the males in my household.

Each time we camped, we would make note of something that was missing and made sure that we had that something for the next time we camped.  In the past, we have always had at least one cloudburst happen causing the leaky tent and sitting on a wet picnic table for breakfast the next morning.  So this time, we made sure that we had a shelter in place over the picnic tables to keep them dry for this camping trip.  Guess what?  Not a drop of rain. Isn't that the way it goes?  But at least we had peace of mind that we would be dry while eating.

That is one of many stories that create our camping memories.  We have the time that our camping "neighbors" kids decided to light all the campfires in the middle of the night.  Not only did it wake us up because the dad was swearing at the top of his lungs, but we were worried that our tent would catch on fire.  It was crazy! Or the time that we heard on the radio that "heavy rain will be moving into the area at 1:30 on Sunday.".  Was that 1:30 a.m. or p.m.?  I insisted that we break camp early, but hubby refused.  "It will be okay." Ha!  We woke up at 1:30 in the a.m. to the heaviest rain I think I had ever witnessed and it flooded us out.  We were drenched.  Or the time that we had a visit by a skunk.  Yeah, that would be this time.

But for every camping horror story, there is a good memory as well.  Making friends with your neighbors.  Laughing until our faces hurt. Trying out new "camping" recipes. Walking around the campground after dark and looking up and never remembering seeing so many stars.  The smell of the campfire.  Roasting marshmallows and seeing if you can get that perfect shade of brown.  Or burning it to a crisp. Those are the ones that keep us going back.

We have already decided that next year we will be renting one of the many cottages/cabins in the area or staying at the resort situated on the shore of Silver Lake.  Or in my mind, we will be in one of these.

Thanks for letting me share our vacation memories.  Whether you are "roughing it" or staying at a luxury resort, I wish all of you many happy memories on your next getaway.

Thanks for looking in!