Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Silent Night.

The snow is swirling.  The windows are rattling.  And I am sipping a late-night cocoa to pass the time.  I should definitely be reveling in sweet beauty rest, but the promise of an old-fashioned Iowa blizzard makes me giddy to say the least.  

Sleep eludes me. 

Last winter thoroughly disappointed.  I am glad this year she has decided to redeem herself.  And before Christmas of all things.

It is our first winter here on the homestead.  And, of course, our first big snow.  I am curious how long it will take our lonely stretch of road to be plowed.  I can imagine the snow drifts will be deliciously unrivaled.  My camera is eager and ready.

(A flashback from last year's winter:  Bring it on.)  

The girls are delightfully snug in their beds and undoubtedly dreaming of snow angels and hot cocoa.  The anticipation of such a lovely snow day is rich and welcome.  (Although a trifle unnerving, given my current physical condition.) 

Peaceful.  Quiet.  Still.  

A Silent Night.  

It happens to be their favorite.  The princesses three ask me to sing it nearly every night.  Year-round.  Christmas.  July.  Spring.  Whenever.  

"Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin, mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace."

And it's even prettier in it's native German...

"Stille nacht, heilege nacht
Alles schlaft, einsam vacht.
Nur das traute hoch heilege par.
Alder knabe im lockigen har.
Schlaft in himmlischer rue.
Schlaft in himmlischer rue." 

And since the lights are beginning to flicker, and I can barely hold open these sleepy eyes a moment longer, and a fantastical Winter Wonderland awaits me in the morning... I shall draw this day to a close.

Sleep in heavenly peace...

Love & Coffee.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Keeping Christmas.

"Keep Christ in Christmas.  Happy Holidays!"

That's what the marquee down the main street in town says.  Seriously.  Does that seem strange to anyone else?  I mean, I am all for celebrating Jesus, but to me this seems like an interesting (and probably well-meaning) attempt at political correctness.  I guess that after scrolling through that leading intro, I was expecting... something else.

Sometimes I say "Merry Christmas."  And sometimes I do say, "Happy Holidays."  I might even utter the occasional "Season's Greetings," too.  (gasp!)  I don't exactly understand why some people get so up-in-arms about that.  After all, we just gorged ourselves at Thanksgiving.  And New Year's is just around the corner.  There will be others celebrating various holidays in between, and while I may not share their sentiment, I do not wish them to be unhappy.  


Christmas is in full swing here at the homestead.  Well, actually that is a lie.  It's probably more like "half swing."  Maybe even a quarter.  Don't get me wrong, though.  The tree is up.  Presents are wrapped (mostly).  And we have already watched the Polar Express at least 13 times.  

At least.

It's our first Christmas in the country.  I envisioned it somewhat differently.  Fresh-baked goodness is not pouring from the kitchen like it normally would be.  Not even a trickle.  There are lists of homemade gifts and piles of supplies sitting lonely and unmade.  Perhaps, some time in the dwindling days before Christmas, I will manage to eek out a double batch of sugar cookies for my girlies to decorate.  Or maybe The Man will help me to dig my sewing machine out of storage so I can whip up a few last-minute surprises.  And maybe, just maybe, I will defy doctor's orders and bake a Bouche de Noel for Christmas dinner with my lovely ladies.

It seems entirely unnatural to be sitting still so much.  My sanity is slipping and my laundry basket is overflowing.  It's funny how rallying the troops (who are appropriately bedecked in pink glitter and lip gloss) and shouting marching orders (ever-so-softly) from the couch is consuming so much of my time. 

Thank.  God.  For.  Coffee. 

But my angels are sweet.  The Man is amazing.  And baby is well.  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Love & Coffee.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012


So I'm not exactly setting any records on keeping up here.  I'll be honest.  This pregnancy is so hard.  And complicated.  And now that my doctor has informed us that Baby will undoubtedly arrive early, I feel incredibly unprepared.  Yet, forced to rest.  Which is not all an easy thing for someone like me to do.  

The holiday season is upon us and my heart is full of thanks.  




As a family, we made something new.  A Thanksgiving tree.  I sent the girls out to gather twigs and branches from the yard.  I found the idea on an adorably inspiring website ( and printed out colored leaves with Scripture verses, each featuring thankfulness.  (You can find the template here:  Thanksgiving tree.)  I "laminated" each leaf with clear packing tape for posterity's sake, punched a small hole, and tied with a bow.  

I read them throughout the day.  We read them together at meal times.  And we think about thankfulness.  New.  Traditions.  I hope to continue this each year.

I have so much to be thankful for.  Always.  But I am especially thankful this year.  At this time last year, we were in limbo, having just moved once, and uncertain of our next imminent move.  Our family is so blessed to now own the home of our dreams.

Baby's latest pic!
I am thankful for my family.  My girls are sweet (all 4 of them).  My hubby is mine.  And we are so happy. 

I am thankful for good friends who are generously helping me out during this difficult pregnancy.  They bring meals for my family, surprise me with treats, and help take care of my little darlings.  

I have prayed incessantly that I would be able to spend the holidays at home and not in the hospital.  And God heard.  These are the first in our new home.  We are making memories.  Sweet, sweet memories.  I am completely thrilled to be hosting our first Thanksgiving here.  The dishes are prepared.  (And tempting.)  The house is clean.  (Well, mostly.)  And I have probably spent too much time on my feet today.  (Please, don't tell my doctor.)

We baked all day.  We made Pumpkin Coffee Cake.  The little girls helped.  It smells amazing.  And if it's a hit tomorrow, I will definitely be sharing the recipe here later.  (Oops.  Did someone sample that cake?  I'm sure it wasn't the starving pregnant lady...)

And here are the pies.  Yes, the crust looks too perfect.  They are store-bought.  But it couldn't be helped.  I really am trying to be good and stay off my feet so shortcuts are sneaking their way into my kitchen for the time-being!  Peanut did an amazing job helping me.  (Isn't she gorgeous?)  We had a beautiful time.

We also made 6 dozen homemade crescent rolls.  Give or take.  Can't wait to see my family tomorrow.  Hope your holiday is beautifully savored with a side of coffee and hearty helping of laughter and good company.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

1 Thessalonians 5.16-18 (The Message)

Love & Coffee.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted.

I really did.  I went bright and early.  Around 7:30 am, dragging the kids along with me.  The Man came, too.  And I even got a cup of coffee down the hatch first.  I am fighting a head cold, still on bed rest, and the kids couldn't even find clean socks.  But I voted.  And we all celebrated with donuts on the way home.  (Even though, I later nearly died choking on a sprinkle from the aforementioned donuts.)  

I am fiercely political, but you won't hear me ever discuss it with anyone other than The Man or a few close family members.  

I'll just say this:  Vote.  

Know what you're doing first... then just go do it.  It's easy.  It's fast.  And it grants you the right to complain about your government for the next 4 years.  (Not that you necessarily should...)

I am back home.  And counting the spare change in the jar.  I sent the kids on a "scavenger hunt" around the house to locate rogue socks.  It seems no one has socks.  Yet the hamper is nearly empty and the wash is mostly caught up.  Strange things happen when mama is laid up.
I offered them a nickel piece.  Ladybug said, "How about a quarter?"  Ummmm... no. 

Grab some coffee and go vote already.  And then have a donut.  But don't choke.

Love & Coffee.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Sitting Still.

I.  Am.  Terrible.  At it.

But sit, I must.  I listen to this creaky old house sing to me under the duress of a fierce country breeze.  I sip my coffee, drawing in every earthy note of flavor.  I sit here in the still of the morning, before first streams of light, before the pitter patter of little feet coming down the stairs, before the bustling day begins, and I ponder.  

Lots of things.  

Funny how things can change so fast.

Little more than a week ago, The Man and I went for our ultrasound.  The big one.  And you'll never believe it, but we will be welcoming another sweet little princess to our home.  I cannot tell you how thrilled we are.  I guess God thinks that we are starting to get the hang of it by now.  The Man is positively glowing and I am beside-myself-giddy.

But we also found out something else, a fairly serious complication that I wasn't expecting.  It's something called a complete previa.  The doctor said it would probably cause problems later on in the pregnancy and I would have to deliver by c-section.  New territory, but I figured we'd cross that bridge when we got there.  A few short days later, I was admitted to the hospital for problems already.  I was reluctantly released from the hospital under strict doctor's orders.  (And when I arrived home, The Man had a lovely fresh cup of chocolate coffee waiting for me.  How is that for love?)

Take.  It.  Easy.  (Ha!)

Things wouldn't be such a concern, except that I now have a condition that could cause a life-threatening hemorrhage at a moment's notice and I live a daunting ninety minutes from the big city hospital that is equipped to deal with that.  (Hello, Country Living!)  So as much as I adore living in the middle of nowhere, right now... not so much.

Another admission or two to the hospital and my doctor is ordering me to stay in the big city until delivery time.  Away from my lovely little family.  *sigh*

Thank God for devoted friends who are stepping into help me "take it easy."  Bringing meals.  Helping me clean.  Directing the Christmas kids' musical in my stead.  I am even more terrible at letting people help me.  But I'm trying to let my control-freakness go.  

Honestly, I am pretty much going berserk.  It's the holiday season.  I should be baking pies like mad, crafting to my heart's content, and decorating til the cows come home.   And Ladybug's birthday party this weekend?  Her much-anticipated homemade pinata will now be store-bought.  I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter.  Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

But here, I sit.  Awaiting the "official" bed rest order that is surely in my future.  I fully intend to not re-enter that hospital until at least February, with admission to the delivery side of the floor, not the bed rest side.  

I'll try to keep up here.  But my schedule is now strewn with even more doctor visits.  Theoretically, I should have even more time to blog... but we'll see how that goes.

I covet your prayers.

"You will keep in perfect peace
    him whose mind is steadfast,
    because he trusts in you."

Isaiah 26.3 

Love & Coffee.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Best.

I waited for it.  I could have settled for less.  But I waited.  And it was worth it.  

He is the best.  God's best.  For me.  

I often wonder if people really understood how tough marriage can be, would they go through with it?  So many quit just before it gets good.  There is a sweet certain something about having weathered something fierce together that tightens the marital bond.  And believe me, there have been moments.  Curve balls come.  Finances get tight.  Sleepless nights ensue.  But he is there.  And he loves me.  And he models His greater love for me.  

And it works.  

It's our favorite time of year.  And time to celebrate something special.  It's our date-a-versary.  

Twelve years.

And it's time he had a name.  Of course, he has a given name, but as of yet, in the blogosphere he has only been known "Sweet Hubby" or "Dear "Hubby" or any other cheesy sort of moniker I can conjure up at the given moment.  Of course, my girls are known as Peanut, Ladybug, and Lovey... but hubby?  I have no idea.  I have been thinking on this for some time and continually draw a blank.

Naturally, there are the ridiculously sweet sort of names such as Honey Buns, Pookie Bear, and
Love Muffin, but I don't think I want to go there.

He is unwaveringly devoted to technology and all things computer-related, but "Mr. Roboto" doesn't seem to jive with me. 

He is hopelessly analytical, but "Anal" doesn't seem the best way to go here, either.

He is enthusiastically drawn to all things outdoors.  He is a man in every sense of the word.  Tall, strapping, handsome, and makes-me-weak-at-the-knee rugged.  Perhaps, that would suit him best:  The Man.    

My dearest, you are heretofore known as "The Man."  As if you needed any confirmation.

Happy Date-A-Versary!  

(See Creature Comforts)

Love & Coffee.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

9 Lives?

So along with my profound love for the changing of the season, my sweet little ones are learning to deal with the seasons of life.  (Cue Lion King soundtrack.)   

As we were feeding the sweet little kittens recently, the girls noticed our sweet Fozzy wasn't there.  It wasn't unusual, because as country cats those critters roam all over and come whenever they please.  Later that evening, we discovered him in the road just in front of the mailbox.  Just like a pancake.  


I cried.  I'm pregnant.  So I really cried.  He was my favorite.  

When we arrived home from church later that evening we couldn't see him in the road. Ladybug said sweetly, "Oh, heaven has already come for him."  (Or a coyote.)  Nevertheless, bestill my heart.  I love that child.

And I miss my kitty.  
Loving on the kittens.

Boss Kitty (the gutsy, orange, and dangerously overweight cat who is Garfield incarnate) has been missing for weeks.  I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that he has tempted fate one too many times by wrangling with a combine or one of the free-spirited teenagers who speed down our road.  

In other news, I am officially declaring that I am giving up on giving up coffee.  It's simply not working.  I love this baby and I take pregnancy pretty seriously, but this girl has got to have a little more caffeine in the tank or life will not be possible.  Or at the very least, I will be a more pleasant person to deal with on a daily basis.  One a day.  And then it's on to decaf... ugh.  

I hope this is not a slippery slope... 

Love & Coffee.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012


I love the changing of the seasons.  I love preparing for the onslaught of the cold, biting wind.  I love filling my kitchen with the warm, toasty aromas of autumn.  I love everything about this time of year.  Almost.

It's that daRn calendar again.  That whole hiding-from-my-calendar trick didn't work.  (See:  Hiding It got me.  And I swear I am officially saying NO to everything else.  Everything. 

Please, don't peek into my laundry room.  Or my kitchen.  If you happen to drop by, you will be blindfolded and hastily escorted to my lovely dining room for a steamy cup of coffee and some sort of gooey baked goodness.  Because at the moment, my dining room is the only room that is remotely presentable.  And I am still blaming my calendar.  

I find myself relishing every sacred moment of the cool autumn air that has at last made a radiant appearance.  The trees are in full color and my coffee pot is working overtime.


However, in addition to my suffocating schedule, I have spent the bulk of my free time weather-proofing the house.  As anyone who has ever lived in a turn-of-the-century home can vouch for, there are old windows to be cloaked in plastic, doors to be wrangled with weather stripping, holes to be perfectly patched, and on and on and on.  And the windows... are gargantuan.  Lovely and grand and so entirely huge!  Just when I think I am almost done, I remember all the rooms I forgot.  

My sweet hubby and I tackled a few of them together one evening.  He measures.  And measures.  And measures.  I eyeball.  And estimate.  And eyeball.  And estimate.  I appreciate his precision.  He appreciates my free spirit.  And we both agreed we could better express our appreciation for each other by not working together on the windows.  Moving on.

My darling husband has been just as busy keeping up with the outside of the house and teh acreage despite the dwindling daylight hours.  He's a rock star.  

And tomorrow is field trip Friday.  One whole day to go exploring with my sweet angels, including the aforementioned hubby.  There will be brownies and coffee and hiking along the river.  (And my calendar is not invited.)

Love & Coffee.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

C is for Cookie.

It's National Homemade Cookie Day!  

It seems like there is a national holiday for just about everything these days, but I'm not necessarily complaining.  Life is short.  Why not celebrate the simple pleasures of life?  

(And while I am at it, I should probably address the fact that National Coffee Day occurred just this past Saturday, September 29.  I didn't forget.  I didn't miss it.  In fact, I was celebrating and cavorting lavishly on a beautiful weekend away with good friends, good music, and good food.  And of course... the coffee was flowing freely all weekend long.  It was good to unplug and disconnect for nearly three days.)

Today is a breathtakingly beautiful beginning to October.  The colors are just starting to turn, the country breeze is hardy, and I am watching legions of leaves flitter and float by the bay window.  I could only wish the temperatures were a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter, but all in good time.  All in good time.

The kitchen is positively crying out to be fired up and filled with the aroma of a warm, buttery cookie on such a day as this.  I can think of nothing better than my Grammy's Sugar Cookies, cut into pumpkins, leaves, and apples with a fine dusting of sugar.  

So I am off to craft some sweet kitchen magic with my three sweeties.  Enjoy the day.  Grab a coffee.  And be sure to eat a cookie or two.  After all, it is a national holiday... 

Grammy’s Sugar Cookies

Sift together:

2 ½ c. flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt


½ c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs (unbeaten)
1 tsp. vanilla or ½ tsp. nutmeg
1 T. milk

1.  Beat together on medium speed until well-blended (about 2 minutes). 

2.  Wrap in waxed paper and chill for about 2 hours.

3.  Roll to ½ in thickness on lightly floured board.  Use cookie cutters to cut.  Sprinkle with sugar.

4.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 5 minutes.

Song for a Monday...


Love & Coffee.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012



Please, don't tell my calendar I am here.  It scares me.  

I am officially in hiding.  I have gone a little AWOL as of late.  And every precious moment of down time I can wrangle has been devoted to my sweet angels.  (That would also include my hubby.) 

How did September get like this?  October isn't shaping up to be any better.  So I embrace the fullness of life and make the most of every moment.  Sans caffeinated coffee.

I would also like to take this moment to state that my hubby is a rock star.  Numero uno:  He has resigned himself to decaf coffee for the duration of this pregnancy.  He claims it's for health reasons, but I think he secretly loves me.  A lot.  Point #2:  After 4 days without hot water, that smokin' hunk of a man fixed the water heater.  Fact three:  He bought me ice cream.

He.  Is.  My.  Hero.

Peanut is way too smart for her britches (she has bested me in science, but please, don't tell her that), Ladybug lost her second tooth (popped right out onto the table at breakfast last week), and Lovey continues to eat my deodorant (I stumbled onto her secret stash hidden behind the futon in the spare bedroom today).  *sigh* 

In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying the cooler fall temperatures and feeling especially inspired to whip up all kinds of tasty food.  I have a whole slew of new recipes to post soon.

I also have a freezer full of deer meat and nary an idea what to do with it.  I am open to suggestions, should anyone have some.

Love & Coffee.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

All gassed up.

As in fuel.  The 10% ethanol kind.  And a heck of a lot poorer, too.

So this whole livin'-in-the-country-drivin-20-minutes-to-town-every-time-I-turn-around-thing has seriously been causing me to have a mild coronary each time I pull into the filling station.  Add to that all the baby doctor visits I get to make to the big city that is just over 70 minutes away and I am in a bad way. 

$3.82?  For ONE gallon?  

I remember when Dad could flip me a twenty in high school and I was good for a full tank with enough spare change to score a box of Junior Mints besides.  (See Days Like This.)

I put in a twenty these days and can not even make it halfway there.  Bummer.

Please, don't take this as the pregnant-lady-who-hasn't-had-her-Dairy-Queen-fix rant (although, it sure would be nice if one of these sweet little towns around here would oblige me by building one).   It could also be the fact that I'm still subsisting on decaf, but I digress...

I am saying all this to say... I am about to eat crow.  

Most of the people who are anywhere remotely close to me know that I am probably one of Walmart's biggest anti-fans.  I just really dislike the entire experience.  The lackluster customer service, the missing shelf prices, the mis-labeled aisles, and my personal favorite... waiting twenty minutes (or more) to check out with my shampoo and razor blades because they choose to have two out of their twenty-something cash registers actually open.  I just don't get it.  And I will go anywhere else I can in town to get what I need before I resort to old W.  Unfortunately, in a small town such as this, there often isn't much of a choice.

But then...  I heard something.  In truth, I don't even remember it's source.  A commercial?  A print ad?  A friend?

Regardless, I stumbled onto the fact that when you use a Walmart gift card (which are awesomely reloadable) to pay for your gas at Murphy USA (the Walmart-affiliated gas station), you get $.10 off every gallon.  

Ten.  Cents.  Off.

True story.  No fees.  Nothing.  It's a straight up deal.

I raced to Walmart to pick out the prettiest card I could find.  Mine has mums (my favorite flower).  Hubby's is about as uninteresting can be.  Orange with a grocery cart.  (Boo.)

So for now, Walmart, you have won a little piece of my heart.  

Well played, Wally World.

I am fully aware that the jig is up on December 24.  There only forty-five minutes between me and Target.  I hope you have some other fancy trick up your sleeve by then or the love may be lost for good.  

Love & Coffee.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Patriot Day.

I am out of words really.  Tears speak louder these days.  Still so fresh.  I cried all morning as I watched the news footage.  Again.  

I cried all yesterday as I searched for some sort of age-appropriate activity or video to help my little ones commemorate this day.  In the end, it was better to just speak from my heart.  And show them a few photos.  And honor the heroes of the day.  

And, of course, squeeze them tightly with lots of kisses.

Peanut asked, "Were there children on those planes?"  Ladybug bravely stated, "If I saw a terrorist, I would beat them up and kick them in an important place."  Lovey just kept coloring.

My heart is sad, yet full of hope for the future.  

I do not think I can recount the rush of emotion from that day any better than I did in last year's post.  (I Remember.)  Still feels like yesterday.

So undeniably proud to be an American. 

Love & Coffee.

To view last year's Patriot Day post click on this link:  (I Remember.)  

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Has it been...

40 weeks yet?  *sigh*  No?

I admit this pregnancy is positively crawling along.  

I'm tired.  Dog tired.  Pregnant at 33 is a heck of a lot different than pregnant at 25.  Perhaps it's my age or perhaps it's simply the fact that I have three lovelies to chase around all day long.  Any way you slice it, I'm tired.  

Or it could be that I have successfully (well, mostly) kicked my caffeine habit for the time being.  (Except a couple of nights ago when I absolutely went crazy and had a lovely cup of coffee with dinner and found myself still wide awake playing Yahtzee on my Kindle at 2:30 am.  Bad choice.)  

 New rule.  If I must cave to the caffeine, it must occur before noon.  Period.  No exceptions.  End of story.

I have been waiting for that mythical second trimester energy boost to kick in.   

Still waiting 

Mythical, I tell you.  

The good news is that after eight days of a nasty virus making the rounds here at home, we are finally well.  Finally.  

And I am nesting.  Early, I know, but nesting just the same.  I cleaned the rugs, scrubbed and polished the wood floors, reorganized the utility room and the pantry, and formulated a plan of attack for the rest of the house.

Come to think of it... maybe that's why I'm so tired.

Either way. 

I'm tired.   

Love & Coffee.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

School Days.

It begins.

Monday was the first day of school.  I am a home school mom and there are countless things I love about our school. 

In so many ways I am ready.  In others, not so much.  I am ready in the sense that I vehemently crave the routine that goes into a school day after a carefree summer.  It's funny how that school routine seems to carry over into other areas of my life.  Everything is on a schedule.  I plan meals more carefully.  Laundry actually gets put away.  Dishes are done.  Order is restored. 

I am not ready when I think about the fact that summer is essentially done and my girlies are now a full grade ahead of themselves.

Third grade.  First grade.  Preschool.

My sweet babies are... older.  How does this happen? 

As with most families this time of year, we have been riddled with doctor appointments.  Well checks, immunizations, dentist appointments, not to mention the slew of baby doctor visits I have since added to my schedule.  

It's been an amazingly healthy year for our family.  Until now.  

Funny how perfectly healthy people make visits to do the doctor to confirm they are healthy and two days later, the entire family is chilling with fever, subsisting on Tylenol, and overfilling every available trash receptacle with spent tissues.

It seems that everyone is now well.  Except me, of course.

No rest for the wicked, however.  The cupboards are bare and they won't fill themselves.  Off to the grocery I go....

Wish me coffee!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012


For a long time I was one of those people with loads of good intentions, purchasing hoards of healthy stuff at the grocery store only to discover by the end of a busy week that it was rotten beyond belief.  And into the trash it would go.


Apparently, I'm not alone.  A recent study showed that 39% of Americans feel the most green guilt over wasting food.  Not to mention...  money down the drain. 


Last week our family was pleasantly surprised (blessed!) with a small heap of fresh peaches from good friends.  I knew there was no earthly way we could eat them before they were bad.  What's a girl to do?  Peach crisp was the first thing that came to mind.  I made three.  And even after all my girlies' afternoon peach snacks, we were still drowning in peaches.  I cut and sliced until I was dreaming of peaches, and froze every last bit by the quart. 

And then, our sweet friends dropped by another round.  Oh, sweet peaches, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:  Crisp.  Cobbler.  Pie.  A la mode.  Shall I go on?

Mom called.  Her kitchen was overflowing with fresh, garden tomatoes.  Did I want some?  (Ha.  Is the Pope Catholic?)

I bartered a bit.  Peaches for tomatoes.  A fair trade.

I spent the better part of the weekend cooking down those lovely, red fruits into a savory sauce, which immediately fulfilled their destiny in a delectable veggie lasagna.  The rest went the way of the peaches, frozen by quarts.

No waste.  And a freezer full of summer goodness to be enjoyed well into the throes of autumn. 

Squeezing the daylights out of a ripe tomato.  Therapeutic.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crayons in the Fridge.

The house was still quiet.  The children all snug.  First light was barely streaming through the vintage lace curtains in the dining room. 

I opened the refrigerator, searching for inspiration for the morning's nourishment.  

And there they were.  

In the fridge.

Sitting atop the lettuce and aside of the bagels. 

How could this be, you ask?  For anyone already acquainted with my life (or this blog), there can be only one explanation... 3-year-old, Lovey.  Like they were heaven-dropped, just for me.  I could do nothing but smile.  Surely, this was a love message from my sleeping angel, meant to be stumbled upon at this precise moment in time.

Just for me. 

I like to think God does something similar.  Dropping love messages in completely unexpected packages at the most appropriate of times.

Just for me.

I really thought we had this figured out.  I thought I had a plan.  But there He was, right in the center of life, making it all a little more interesting.  

Come early March (or hopefully February), there will be one more of us.  If I have still left you guessing (and possibly because I am still wrapping my head around the idea and having trouble putting it all into words), this means... baby.  

Another one.

And believe me, no one could possibly be more surprised (or undeniably thrilled) than us.  (I get to decorate a nursery.  Happy dance.)

For me that also translates into massive coffee withdrawal.  I'm basically dying.  My 4-a-day habit has waned into a 1/3-cup-a-day-fill-the-rest-of-the-cup-with-skim-milk-routine that just isn't cutting it.  

I need a good decaf, preferably water-processed and chemical-free, so I can psychologically fake out my brain for the next 18 months or so.  

Taking recommendations now.  


Love & coffee. 
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Upon Returning...

The house was clean.  And intact.  My world did not implode without me here. I couldn't have been more impressed.


I didn't doubt my sweet hubby.  It's just that this has never happened before.  Me... leaving.  And I'm pretty sure it won't be happening anytime again soon.  Ladybug and Lovey didn't seem to mind so much, but Peanut melted into a puddle of tears as I and my traveling companions drove away.  I couldn't look.  

Like, I said... not happening again anytime soon. 

I had a great trip and now I am feverishly scrambling to catch up on life.  School begins in little more than a week.  There are lessons to plan, papers to file, and supplies to organize.  

I look forward to this time of year.  The temperature is already cooling and I am itching to entertain friends with a cozy bonfire and good coffee.  

So much to love.  

And there is one more thing I should probably share... but I'll save that for tomorrow.  

Love and coffee. 

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Monday, August 6, 2012


That's where I'm going.  Away.  I am utterly beside myself.  For seven long days, I will be road-tripping away from my family.  Yes, the three angels and my devilishly handsome husband.  This has never happened before.  Ever.

I never leave my babies.  I am just one of those mamas that is always... here.  It's a business trip of sorts.  Necessary and pleasurable.  I am blessed to be traveling with good friends.  I intend to keep myself busy enough to make it go fast so I can come home to my sweet girls and the aforementioned hubby.

He is certainly more than capable. I have no doubts about that.  But nevertheless, Honey... a few notes:

1.  Deodorant must remain under lock and key.  Or Lovey will eat it.  We both know this.  The number for Poison Control is on the fridge.

2.  Sharpies belong on the the high shelf.  Or Lovey will suck the ink out of those, too.  Again, the number for Poison Control is on the fridge.

3.  If Ladybug says her room is clean, one look under the bed and into her closet will prove otherwise.

4.  Peanut will undoubtedly refuse to eat if any food on her plate is touching another food on her plate.  You can also forget about it if you touch any of her food with your bare fingers.  Or speak in her general direction, causing spittle to possibly contaminate her food.  Germophobia is not genetic.  I swear.  

5.  Lovey can now scale the kitchen cupboards unassisted.  She is entirely capable of consuming an entire container of popcorn salt, colored sugar, or birthday sprinkles in about 10 seconds flat.  Stay on your toes.  If this happens, flush with water and brace yourself for the imminent sugar high to follow.

6.  It is Ladybug's turn to put the soap in the dishwasher, regardless of what anyone may try to tell you.  I have drawn up a schedule.  It's on the fridge, right next to the number for Poison Control.  

7.  There is a container of chocolate ice cream hidden in the back of freezer.  Feel free to self-medicate.  

8.  If Lovey eats my herbal face wash again, don't sweat it.  Jason from Poison Control says it's harmless.  Yeah, we are on a first-name basis.  I think you will like him!  And once again, the number is on the fridge. 

9.   Potty training for Lovey is not going well.  Consider yourself warned.  Good luck with that. 

10.  When all else fails...  coffee.

Kiss my babies.  Takes loads of pictures.  And call often.

Love & Coffee.

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Battle Update.

For anyone who may be wondering what became of the situation from this post:  This Is War.

The mouse... is toast.  

After arriving home with what I can only call the ultimate rodent death trap, that critter really didn't stand a chance.

Hubby gets all the credit.  And yes, he asked me to post this.  

He.  Is.  My.  Hero. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

First comes love...

Then comes marriage.

'Tis the season!  For weddings, of course.  I have never had a year full of quite so much bridal bliss.  I think the count stands at 9.  So far.  Add to that, the showers and rehearsals... this year has been hopping right along.

It is always exciting to witness young, committed love embarking on such an adventure.   It makes me happy, giddy, and weepy all at the same time.  

It gives me reason to pause and reflect back on my own humble wifely beginnings.  What fun to open all those gifts.  And oh, the bath towels.  We must have received at least forty.  In every shade of the rainbow.  Solids.  Stripes.  Prints.  Custom embroidered.  Monogrammed.  You name it.  And nary a one with a gift receipt.   To this day, in over 10 years of marriage, I have yet to purchase a single bath towel.  In fact, during our most recent move this past spring, I discovered a long-hidden-away-box with another set of 4 never-before-used bath towels! 

I eagerly anticipate another impending nuptial this weekend. 

I hope they all know it's worth the ride.  I hope they know it won't always be easy.  I hope they understand true love is much more than a feeling and most often a choice to love despite feelings.  

And consequently, I suppose the next year or two will be riddled with baby showers. 

Love & Coffee.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


It took me a long (loooonnnng time) to feel even remotely comfortable with the idea that an e-reader might ever have a significant place in my life.  

I.  Love.  Books.

I love the smell of paper and ink and leather and glue colliding in my nasal cavity.  (Seriously, it smells good.)   I love the way each grainy, fibrous page caresses my fingertips as I lose myself in an intoxicating story.  I love looking at page numbers and the sense of victory and accomplishment when slamming shut the cover upon completion of a 964-page monstrosity.

I.  Love.  Books.

I couldn't pass up a Barnes & Noble, if I tried.  And the library is my second home. 

When accompanied with a steamy cup of heaven (coffee, of course), there is no place I'd rather be than curled up with a wordy book.  

I am not sure what initially made me think about it, but I started reviewing and comparing e-readers... two years ago.  And guess what this girl got for her May birthday???  Kindle Touch!  And I couldn't be more in love.

L.  O.  V.  E.

Don't get me wrong, I won't be ditching any of my favorite books.  (My Jan Karon library is forever safe in my book case.)  The idea of having access to thousands of books in my handbag at any given moment makes me giggle with nerdy glee.

To date, I have accumulated several hundred books on my Kindle.  And I have only paid for two of them.  Yes, two.

I have since discovered that there are so many places to find out about free ebooks for my Kindle.  It's a little scary.  Like an addiction.  Almost overwhelming.  I have so much to read that I don't know what to read!  Classics, history, fiction, children's books, devotionals, and a plethora of pretty amazing cookbooks.  (Not to mention I now have three versions of the Bible.  So far.)

Nearly every classic is free which pretty much has me giddy as a school girl.  (I am completely lost in Little Women at the moment...) also lists their top 100 free books for Kindle which is updated hourly.  A serious treasure trove!  I could go on to list all my favorite places to find out such things, but that would take all day.

Don't have a Kindle?

Free Kindle reading apps are available for you phone, computer, or tablet here:  Free Kindle Reading Apps 

So here are links to a few of my favorite ebooks that are free at the time of this posting:

(These deals tend to change pretty frequently, so be sure to check the price before downloading.)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References)
Art Museum: Ancient Sculpture To Impressionist Masters
The Furious Longing of God
Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa
The Truth About Butterflies: A Memoir

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Scarlet Letter
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Francis Child (1828)
Circle of Friends Cookbook - 25 Burger Recipes
Out of Sight, Out of Mind - Easy Home Organization Tips and Storage Solutions for Clutter-Free Living
Salads for Every Season: 25 Salads from Earthbound Farm
SMART SCHOOL TIME RECIPES: The Breakfast, Snack, and Lunchbox Cookbook for Healthy Kids and Adults
Superfood Recipes (Healthy Eats)

The Children's Book of Christmas Stories
The Golden Acorn
If You're So Smart, How Come You Can't Spell Mississippi? (Reading Rockets Recommended, Parents' Choice Award Winner) (The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses)
Maebelle's Hat
The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter
The Ugly Duckling (Illustrated)

Its okay.  Grab a cup of joe, put your feet up, and enjoy yourself.  It's too hot to do anything else anyway...

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