There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hints, tidbits and a little look inside

Outside my is still dark. Lately the mornings have been blessedly cool while the days warm up to the 70's. If the sights and smells were right I could almost close my eyes and imagine that I was back home.  Unfortunately when I take a sniff the scent of turning maples and poplars is sadly missing.

I am thinking...about schedules and places that I need to be today.  It is not often that I go out during the day since I haven't a car regularly but today is full of appointments and errands and my brother has graciously loaned me his vehicle so I must needs make the most of it.

I am thankful sister Sharon and her listening ear, sympathetic heart, and affectionate hugs.

From the kitchen...the cooking will have to commence since there is nothing leftover from the weekend.  Perhaps some southwestern chicken stew and fresh biscuits is in order.

I am reading...Under the Banner of Heaven.  It is a story of religious zeal taken to the extreme. It certainly makes one think about faith and the authenticity of it.

I am hearing...crickets and the other night bugs murmuring their early morning greetings to each other.  The sound rises and falls as if there is some urgency to what is being said.  The neighbors behind us are up and about as the sound of their sliding glass door heralds the smokers out for their first cigarette of the day.  Next door another neighbor's dog gives a few morning barks as if to say "Don't forget I am here to sound the alarm if need be."

A few plans for the rest of the week...I need to get through today and all its concerns before the rest of the week can be contemplated.  There is always the usual, the routine, and the ordinary to keep me busy punctuated by the urgent, the unexpected and the novel that fills in the extra time.

One of my favorite things...learning something new.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you... (actually lots of pictures)

Two of my beloveds dressed in their best. That old man only gets better with age.

My daughter, Kim and Savannah. These bits of time that I capture with my camera are just snippets of the love that is celebrated when we are all together.

A rare picture of Jason sitting still and actually posing for the camera.

I don't know which of these two shots I like better, my guys being goofy or my guys being goofy.

Uncle and Niece reunion.  This touches even my not so tender heart.

The smiles of these ladies, just a moment captured for always. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hints, tidbits and a little look inside

Recently another of my sons got married out in Tacoma.  As with any large family any time together comes complete with all the essentials, food, high jinx, work, and more food.  This trip also contained a little of the elegant and a whole lot of time spent with people who love each other.

The mother of the groom got to spend an afternoon enjoying high tea in a VERY fancy hotel in Seattle.  The best manners came out of moth balls and a lot of fun was had by all the ladies present.

Of course there is always time for some real down home food and good times.  An evening spent at the Puyallup fair tempted appetites with barbecue, burgers, and cotton candy.

The high jinx included monkeying around while exercising.

Dad and daughter time was soaked in and stored away for later on.

Since we were in Starbucks country those of us who like coffee were tempted to indulge our fancies.

Lighthearted moments were hoarded with baby smiles and princess kisses.

The bride, though already beautiful, polished herself up in preparation for her groom.

And grooms got silly with nieces for the first time in forever.

New friends were made.

Laughs abounded and silliness spilled out of all the faces.

Grandpa and Uncle Ryan managed to get a little work done and a lot of chatting over a pile of stones and a truck load of pavers.

Uncle Jason cooked, and cooked and treated one and all to meatballs and sauce.

Of course a gathering of this family isn't complete without pizza.  Jokes, hugs, tears, and love were all spread around and shared over the family meal.

Hints, tidbits, and glimpses

Outside my is still dark and cool, oh so cool! When we were out in Washington we had a taste of nice cool weather, sweatshirt wearing, snuggle under the blankets, hot tea drinking weather. For this native of the North it was refreshing to experience real mid-September cool mornings and evenings and warm-ish days. 

I am pictures this morning. My head is full of falling leaves, sun dappled woods, and paths strewn with oak leaves and acorns. Yesterday's hikes took us into just such a picture.  There was a gentle breeze blowing which filled the day with the scents of oaks, evergreens, and the stream that flowed along the path.  The plop and plunk of falling acorns punctuated each step and gave the day its own unique song.

I am thankful...for a man who loves the mountains, forests, and adventure as much as I do. Yesterday we wandered our way along winding roads into the DuPont Forest in North Carolina.  One sign boasted that we were in the land of waterfalls and that didn't disappoint. The music of the water falling over rocks and making its way down cliffs and gorges sang its way deep into my heart and rests there now.

From the kitchen...I will be inaugurating the cooler weather with London broil, mashed potatoes, steamed zucchini, and perhaps something sweet for dessert. My husband is back at work and will no doubt welcome a hearty meal to finish up his day with.

I am reading...the Outlander series again for probably the third or fourth time.  I have been watching the TV series on Starz and I have to say they do a good job but it can never come close to the book.

I am hearing...the morning songs of the birds.  In the past half hour traffic has picked up on the highway as people head out to work and two planes have taken off from the airport.  Soon the bus will come through the neighborhood and the kids will be off to school.  All of these sounds that play in the background of life around here remind me of the sounds that I am missing.  Ian chopped corn this weekend and filled the bag for winter feed. I missed the excitement, smells, and sounds of heavy machinery running on the farm.  I missed the wonder and joy on Layn's face as he took it all in.  I missed the pride and excitement that Ian shows at this very visible evidence of his ownership and hard work.  It is the work that he loves and I revel in his satisfaction.

 A few plans for the rest of the, order and routine that is what I have planned. Now that I have had such a glorious vacation it is time to get back to the daily tasks that mark my vocation and responsibility.

One of my favorite things...silent reminders of past joys.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

The smiles on their faces says it all for me.  My kids are truly happy to be in each other's company.

Friday, September 19, 2014

New yummies!

On a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest I came into the possession of some really yummy recipes courtesy of my daughter-in-law.  Tonight's offering was a new twist on Mac and Cheese.

Aelpler Magrona

2 quarts of water
1 1/2 tbs salt
4 c potatoes (cubed 3/4" thick)
1 1/2 c elbow macaroni
1 med onion (chopped)
1/2 c butter
1 lb finely grated cheese (Gruyere or Emmthaler or a mixture)
1 pint of heavy cream

In a large pot bring the water with the salt to a boil. Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer for four minutes. Add pasta and cook until tender.  Drain in a colander.  Brown the chopped onions in the butter  until caramelized.  Layer the potato/pasta with the cheese and onions.  Top with the heavy cream. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Glimpses into a life, 19 September 2014

Outside my is dark. It is the middle of the night, at least here on the East Coast it is. I think my body or my mind is having some difficulty adjusting to the time change. After 9 days out in Tacoma it just may take me that long to adjust back. In the meantime it is cooler here in the south than it was when we left it, which is good, and there is the barest hint of fall in the air.

I am thankful...for oh so many things. Thankful for the people that we met, got closer to, and were made happy by during our stay in WA.  Our family is growing and swelling with people that only make it happier and better.

I am thinking...about gifts and all of the different ways that a person can be gifted and can give to others.

From the kitchen...I am going to attempt my daughter-in-law, Kathleen's Swiss Mac and Cheese. That paired with a salad should make for a supper worth putting on the table.

I am reading...One Thousand Gifts. All of the time spent with family in the past couple of weeks and the time spent away from family has prompted me to continue to count my gifts.  Living a life that has been emptied and filled with thanks is becoming more and more my daily goal.

I am hearing...the night bugs outside singing their late summer lament.  The house and its occupants are all quiet for the time being and I am filled with the silence of beginning. 

A few plans for the rest of the week...well, since there is really little or no "rest of the week" to plan for I think I will just wing it.

One of my favorite things...pleasant surprises and grace that waits just around the corner.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

My son, Adam and his new wife Maryanne.  There is little that is so gratifying than seeing your child so very happy.

Monday, September 8, 2014

baby feet

There's something about them! When my kids were little I spent countless hours kissing and loving on their little feet.  I have to admit that even when they got old enough to walk outside bare foot or got sand in their little toes I still loved to snuggle those grungy feet.

Baby feet made me think of possibilities. The represent potential and future hopes.  Once those little soles come into contact with the floor and learn how to navigate the big world of walking there is no stopping them.

The Simple Woman's Day Book 8 September 2014

Outside my is dark! It's always dark when you wake up before the sun has had a chance to.  I don't know if it is "kid before Christmas" syndrome or the fact of our trip is finally sinking in but I didn't do a whole lot of sleeping last night. Now I am wired and haven't had any coffee yet. Let's home this energy succeeds in getting me to the end of this day in one piece!

I am lists!  Now the secret is out! This is where MK gets that tendency only I have learned how to tone it down over the years. (or I am so experienced that I really don't need that many lists anymore?)

I am thankful...for my family. Thankful that my children still care enough to share their lives and the lives of their offspring with my husband and I.  I am thankful for Face Time and Facebook Chat so that I can be a part of the lives of my grandchildren. I am truly thankful every time that I hear Savannah say, "Hi Grandma!" or see Kaycie smile and blow kisses.  I am thankful that Ian and Melissa share Christopher's first steps and Layn's first day of school.  I am thankful for the ultrasound of my soon to be newest grandchild (what a miracle that is!) and for the smiles and laughter of my soon to be new daughter-in-law.

From the kitchen...we will be scrounging for meals today in an attempt to clean odds and ends out of the refrigerator before we leave in the morning. My dear sister ReNee' is coming to care for mom and she is a full service caregiver! She will grocery shop and cook fun and nutritious meals for the two of them.

I am reading...One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (again) I find it is a book that reveals more and more to me each time that I dig into it. At this time when family comes together to celebrate I want to be reminded to live fully every moment of our time.  I believe, as the author relates, that the concept of eucharisteo, or thanksgiving, is the key to a fuller, more meaningful, and grace filled life.

I am hearing...the crickets singing outside, the soft whirring of the ceiling fan, and the resting silence of the house before it comes awake.  It has been long in coming but this house is finally beginning to speak to me as I sit here in the early mornings. The house back on the farm was never reluctant to let me know its many moods.  Perhaps it is because this house is so new that it has little to say. The farmhouse had many decades of stories to tell and ghosts to reveal if only one takes the time to listen.

One of my favorite things...this picture of my daughter and her surrogate mother.  I thank God every day that my dear friend Mary and MK are close friends. I am thankful for the mothering that Mary gives to my daughter in my stead and for the love that she gives so freely to all the members of my family.

A few plans for the rest of the will be packed with laundry, cleaning, hopefully a dentist appointment, and packing for our trip. Tomorrow we fly out of here for the west coast to spend a week with family and new friends celebrating Adam and Maryanne's marriage.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

Tomorrow afternoon I will get to hug, kiss and generally cuddle these two little girls. What could be better than kisses from a grandchild.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

An arachnid!

I walked out the front door this morning to take out the garbage and got myself entangled in some spider web.  Not an unusual happening since they tend to build across short spans, especially ones that don't see too much traffic. (over night must have been just enough down time for this spider!)  When I looked up to see where the culprit was (not liking to actually come into contact with said spider) this huge specimen was just hanging there not bothering anyone.

I thought that taking the high road might be the best option for me since I am not a fan of multi-legged creatures.  I backed up into the house and decided to use another form of egress.  Out of consideration and affection for some of my more bug friendly friends I did get the camera and took this shot. (Thank you Jesus for zoom!) I think my husband will be doing a little spider relocation when he be getting home!!!!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mrs. Amelia and the woods

I frequently mention blessings and surprises that happen to me.  Things that I encounter around the corner that take me by surprise and bring a little joy to the day I consider means of grace for myself and for others.  One such means of grace happened this past Saturday.  We visited a park near here that had a trail leading to a waterfall.  Along this trail I took this picture, which doesn't do justice to the situation.

I have a friend who has a blog called My Forest Cathedral.  That name immediately came to mind when I walked through this little tunnel of tree branches.  I was instantly reminded of my friend Mrs. Amelia.  The sense of graciousness and peace that I get from reading her words and thinking about her filled me as I stood on this part of the path.  I knew that it was the Lord prompting me to pray for Amelia and give thanks to her for the friendship that she has bestowed on me over the years.

I truly believe that if one stays open to these happenings, these moments when that still small voice is speaking, there is a wealth of grace in store for the recipient.

The Simple Woman's Day Book 1 September 2014

Outside my window...the sun is making its feeble effort to shine and light up our world.  Though there is no call for rain today it is sure cloudy and gloomy outside.  

I am thinking....about age and changes and growing closer to the one you love.  As I sit here at the table across from the man I love I see not only his face as it is now but his face as a composite of all the times that I have gazed at him in this situation.  His beard is no longer red yet is still as thick and full as it ever was.  In younger years facial hair almost made him look like a boy trying to be a man. Now, however it makes him look like a man who is himself and content in that mantle.

I am thankful for...the life that he and I have gotten to live together.  There have been many ups and down but it is strange that the happy times and the love that we have shared predominate in my mind and memories and the bad times act like a frame that enhances the beauty of our love.

From the kitchen...burgers and fixins are on the menu.  I miss the Labor Day things that we did back on the farm.  In memory and honor of all those times I will cook like I have always done to commemorate this day.

I am reading...the Master and Commander books though I have to admit that it is a struggle.  Not because there is anything lacking in the storytelling but in the reader instead.  I am totally without knowledge or understanding of all things nautical.

I am hearing...the neighbor's dog barking her morning hello to whomever she scents on the breeze.  I hear the sounds that my mother makes as she eats her breakfast and my husband as he clicks through the pages of the online article that he is reading.

One of my favorite things...the little blessings and surprises that await us around every corner.

A few plans for the rest of the week...this week will be busy with finishing little projects, cleaning the house, and preparing for our trip next week.  We are in the final days before Adam and Maryanne get married and the Kraeger clan converges on Tacoma.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
We came across this sign when we were out on Saturday.  This is one of those little blessings and surprises that I encounter in my days.  Seeing this sign conjured up an image of my youngest grandson and prompted heartfelt prayer on his behalf.