Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Top 10 Reasons I Love October ♥

All of my life I have loved the autumn season- especially the month of October. Even though I dislike winter more every year, I still love this time of year. For various reasons. Reasons that include:

10) I get to turn the fireplace on. I realize that "turning the fireplace on" is not quite the same as "I built a fire" but at this stage of the game - it works for me. This morning I sat in my chair, drinking my coffee, snuggled in my afghan and enjoyed the fire. Bliss.

9) The feeling in the air this time of year never fails to whip me back to my freshman year of college. I still work at the same university. That was a year that changed my life. It was this time of year that I met the man I would marry and there are so many places on campus that hold special memories of us. This time of year makes me fall in love with him all over again.

8) Because it gets dark earlier, I don't feel like I have to work so long. I don't feel guilty about parking myself in the recliner with some knitting or a book. If it was still light outside I would feel like I should be out working in the yard or the garden. But when it gets dark - it's time to quit. It's time to relax. It's time to be creative.

7) This time of year always makes me want to bake and cook. Recipes start sounding good again - salads have worn out their welcome. It's time for comfort food.

6) Pulling out my warmer clothes is always fun. Snuggling in sweatshirts and socks and long sleeved t's always feels good.

5) Flannel sheets.

4) Sewing and knitting becomes almost an obsession. Fabric stores are stocked to the brim with new earthy smelling textiles and yarn shops are brimming with colorful wools and blends that make my mouth water. I just wish I had more hours in the day.

3) Fall cleaning. I love getting my home all clean and ready for "a long winter's nap".

2) New Bible studies begin. This year we are doing Beth Moore's study on Esther - It's Tough Being a Woman. I just finished the first week and it is outstanding. God has already been talking to me. I love it when He does that!

1) But my very favorite reason I love October is because I can say this: "I will be seeing, holding and loving my Peru kids - NEXT MONTH!" That makes it sound so close. And my heart can hardly wait.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet Ava Claire and Other Bits and Pieces

Believe it or not, our sweet Ava Claire turned One Year Old yesterday! And what a day we had. Andrea planned a party for her and asked me if we could have it at our house as she didn't think their back yard would be big enough.

I said no.

Of course I said she could! So at promptly 3:00 many little guests, along with their parents started showing up and we had so much fun. Her theme was, can you guess, Tinkerbelle!

I ended up making her Tinkerbelle cake for her - Andrea bought her the darling costume that will double as her halloween costume this year. The cake was super easy to do although it looks like it wouldn't be. I like those kind of projects. Ava Claire loves the Tinkerbelle doll that was in the middle of the cake and ever since we took it out of the cake she has taken it everywhere with her - even to church this morning! Poor Andrea wanted to make it, but she ended up with the flu and ran a fever all day so the poor thing missed most of Ava's birthday.

We had a couple of Peter Pan's show up!

We played "Fairy Freeze Tag" and "Pin the Wings on the Fairy" and then served mini cupcakes and mint ice cream to all our guests.

Ava Claire got lots of sweet presents but I think the guest who was the most excited of all for her to open his present was Poppa! He could hardly wait until Miss Ava donned these:

Have you ever seen anything cuter? Poppa was very pleased. He and Miss Ava Claire have a ritual. Whenever she comes over the first thing she does is look outside the patio window to see the horses. As soon as she spots them, she starts pointing and leaning and making baby sounds that clearly indicate "Let's go see the horses". So Poppa always obliges and they go out and feed the horses some hay. It's what they do together. Every single time she comes over. So he is getting his little cowgirl ready for the day when she will no longer be content to just feed the horse, she will want to ride the horse. It will be a happy day for Poppa!

In other news, this week we went to our annual Ministry Team Retreat. I ended up spending most of my time in bed - sick. But I decided that even a sick day at The Ashley Inn is better than a healthy day at work!

BSU won against Bowling Green yesterday and we just heard that BSU has advanced to 5th place in both the AP and the USA Today poll! Happy Days! I think this is going to be a very good year!

I have gotten a little more knitting done - I'm STILL working on that monkey for Tyler's Christmas present. My Word. I had no idea how involved and difficult this would be. But I don't have too much left and I think I'm going to be done soon. I sure hope so because then I have to knit a gift for Ava, make my girls their ornaments, make two baby quilts, and four gifts.....all before Christmas!

I'm trying to decide how to decorate this year. We are celebrating Christmas at Thanksgiving this year with our kids because Brad, Michelle and Tyler will be here. And so will Tara. So it just makes sense to do it that way. But now I can't decide if I should take the time to decorate for Autumn (which is my most favorite decorating season) , or just wait and decorate for Christmas a little early this year. Decisions, decisions! I'm not sure what to do.

My reading has significantly decreased lately. I don't think I have ever gone so long without reading a book. Life just is so full these days, and trying to find the time is nearly impossible. But if you have noticed my new blinking icon on the right , you might have guessed that I'm going to have to start reading sometime soon - as I'm now "Blogging for Books". Click on the blinkie and see how you can join me. It's a pretty awesome program from Waterbrook Multnomah Press - I read and review books they send me for free - and they even have sent me some to send to you. So stay tuned, some great book reviews and free giveaways are coming soon!

This week looks to be a pretty quiet one. But then don't they all start out that way? I hope this stays quiet so I can catch up. I don't think I walked at all last week, and I actually missed it. I want to get started back on the path I forged this summer. And I want to get back into my sewing room again - now that the gardening is pretty much done, maybe that is a possibility.

This week we are going to have highs in the 60's which is about 30 degrees cooler than it has been. Hello winter. I am calling the furnace repairman tomorrow. Our furnace broke at the end of spring and we decided to leave it until fall. The air conditioner was working great and that was all we cared about at the time! Funny how your perspective changes.

I am going to leave one last sweet picture of my very favorite granddaughter in the whole wide world. To say that she has me wrapped around her sweet little finger would be the biggest understatement ever!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blue and Orange

I grew up in a very non-athletic family. There were seven of us kids - two boys and five girls. I think one of my brothers wrestled in school for maybe a year - I really don't remember. We just weren't that into sports.

My husband played football in high school but he has never been one to watch games on tv. He was much more interested in horses and roping and riding and all things rodeo. And while that is a sport in this neck of the woods anyway - I was always very, very glad I never had to put up with my husband "watching the game" every Monday night. Watching a few westerns with him is doable - but Lord have mercy - don't make me have to watch a game on tv.

Our oldest daughter became a cheerleader in high school and suddenly we found ourselves having to wanting to attend some games in order to support her. I endured them as much as I could. But sitting through a football game was pure agony to me. It was either stifling hot or freezing cold. People were loud - screaming in my ears. And I didn't understand one single rule of the game. No matter how much people tried to explain it to me - I just didn't get it. I would much rather knit one, purl two than figure how how many yards until the first down - whatever that means.

Life just rolled merrily along and I was doing just fine in my non-sports life thank you very much.

But then a very odd thing happened. In the fall of 2006 I started hearing much more than normal about our local university football team. Everywhere I went, every paper I picked up, every restaurant we frequented, people were talking about our team and how great the chances were that we could actually be a part of a BCS bowl. Again, I had no idea what that meant but I could tell it was something fabulous by the reverent way everyone spoke about it. My interest started peaking, if for no other reason than I like to be aware of what is going on in the world around me. That's the same reason I love watching the news, and reading the paper, and staying up on current events. I want to know what's going on.

At Christmas time of that year it became a done deal. Boise State was going to the Fiesta Bowl.

The hysteria was unbelievable. Blue and orange was everywhere - and I do mean everywhere. New Year's Day 2007 was the day. So I thought, in the interest of knowing what in the world was going on in my little world, I would throw a little football party and do something I had never, ever done in my whole 48 years of life.

I watched a football game on tv.

And I was hooked. Completely. Totally. Undeniably.

From that time on I have never missed watching a single Boise State game. I cheer for them like crazy and act like I totally know what is happening on that blue turf. (Did you hear that? I used the football term - turf.) I even attended a game in person and hope to do so again this year. I wear blue and orange on game day. I have a little blue and orange teddy bear that rides on my dashboard through the season. I get instant text messages on my phone every time we score. And the sports section of the paper? The section I always used first for puppy-potty training? Now it's the section I read first.

I am a true fan.

Or I'm truly weird - I'm sure that is a point that could be debated.

And that Fiesta Bowl game? I have watched in clear through three times. Even when I know the ending - it's still a nail biter to me.

I still don't understand the rules, although I am improving. I have figured out the defense and offense objectives. I have the first down concept down (punny!) I know the difference between a field goal and a touchdown. That's about it. There is still so much I don't understand. There's no way I can keep up with the fast paced action of the players. I cheer when the blue and orange cheer and I boo when they boo. It works for me.

Now again there is more talk about another BCS bowl game for the Bronco's. So this year I find myself branching out. I watched part of the BYU/Florida game this weekend. I was happy when Florida won. I'm watching the poll numbers and learning the difference between the coaches poll and the AP poll. I talk football with my son-in-law. I listen to the sports segments on the radio as I drive to work in the morning.

It's like I've morphed into something I can't identify. My daughters are a tad bit concerned. But I'm not worried. I figure they will join me before too many seasons have passed. They will catch on - I know they will. And girls - when you do - I will be here for you - I'll teach you everything I know.

I do draw the line though - only college football will work for me. I will never get into professional football - I think the amount of money spent on something that is just a game is truly obscene. I can think of a million other ways that money could be used in much more honorable ways. So I will only enjoy the college boys - who do what they do for scholarships alone.

Except I hear that Ian Johnson is now on the practice squad for the Minnesota Vikings. Ian Johnson - #41. (By the way, his wife has a yorkie that is a half-sister to my yorkie - gosh - we are practically related!) I might just have to sneak a watch if he ever makes it to the actual playing field. What can I say?

Go Bronco's!

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Best Deal Yet

I've told you how couponing has become my new favorite hobby. I can't tell you how addictive it has become to me. I spend lots of lunch hours at the store seeking good buys. Today I think I got the best deal yet.

This picture shows you everything I got. If I would have paid regular prices for it, it would have come to a total of $108.29.

Are you ready for this? I paid a whopping total of $6.27.

Yep, that's right. $6.27. Let me tell you how it was done.

The first transaction was for two boxes of wheat thins. They were on sale for 2 boxes for $4.00. That is the first secret to successful couponing - finding items that are on sale. Next, I had two coupons that were for $1 off each box. This particular store, Albertson's was using double coupons this week - coupons that will double my $1 coupon and make it $2.
So I got two boxes of wheat thins for $1.18. Pretty good deal eh?

You can only use three double coupons in a single transaction, so I went on to transaction #2.

This was a deal a just stumbled on, meaning I didn't go to the store in mind to buy these. My number one rule of couponing is to never buy anything I don't normally buy or use.

I broke my rule. I would NEVER normally buy these motion sensitive air fresheners. They are nice but way too expensive. I just wouldn't spend that kind of money. But today...... well was a deal I couldn't pass up. You see these air fresheners normally sell for $12.99. But Albertson's had them on clearance for $6.49.

That's a pretty good deal but not good enough. I rummaged through my coupons and struck gold! I had $6 off coupons that I had cut out of the paper. In fact, they were almost expired. So I ended up getting them for 49 cents. So I bought three. While I was rummaging for my air freshener coupons I noticed I had three coupons for Glade soy candles for free!

So I got three motion sensor air freshners and three candles for a grand total of $3.27.

But this third transaction made me feel like I am truly a member of the Coupon Queen Court.

For this transaction I purchased three packs of Juicy Juice that is normally priced at $2.99 a pack. It was on sale today for two packs for $4.00. I had coupons that were a dollar off a pack. I paired my coupons with doublers and it came to a total of 18 cents!
But wait! Hold everything! Just when I was patting myself on the back for getting such a good deal the catalina machine spit out a $1 off my next order coupon. So basically Albertson's PAID ME 78 cents to take this Juicy Juice home. I can think of two little grandbabies who are going to think their Mia is pretty special for getting them their own juice.

After I got out to the car I found three more $6 off coupons in my folder for the motion sensor air fresheners. So you can bet I went right back in and bought the last three on the shelf!

If I wasn't already addicted, today would have gotten me hook, line and sinker.

And now I'm off to watch the Boise State game. Good times!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

So What Did I Love About Boston?

Last month Chuck and I had the pleasure of flying to Boston to attend our daughter Tara's graduation from grad school.

Wait a minute. That sentence makes is sound like the flying was the pleasure. Let me be straight - going to Boston to attend our daughter's graduation was the pleasure part. I wanted to take a train but I was out-voted.


We had never been to Boston before and we packed much activity into our four days there. Here are some of the things I loved particularly.

♥ The Freedom Trail - a must for anyone who ever goes to Boston. We spent one whole day following the red brick road and we enjoyed every minute of it. So much history to learn and so much pride in our forefathers. It was truly amazing.

♥ The T - otherwise known as the public transportation system. We don't have any of those out here where I'm from. We either walk or jump in a car. Or ride a bike or a horse. There are some taxi's at the airport for city folk who fly in - but I've never used one.

♥ Ice Cream! Tara took us to all her favorite ice cream shops from Northhampton to Boston. And I promise that ice cream cone wasn't as big as my head - the picture just makes it look that way. Really. I promise.

♥ The North District - in the Italian section of town. My. Word. I thought I was actually in Italy most of the time we were there. They don't even speak much english. We happened to be there on a major day of celebration for - well, I actually don't know what they were celebrating - but it included lots of confetti, lots of people, lots of food being given away in the street, lots of atmosphere and a parade that just kept circling around and around. We just soaked it in. After dinner I was even serenaded by two Italian grandpa's in the street. It was delightful!

♥ Italian sausages with grilled onions sold by street vendors. Oh. My. Goodness. Happiness on a bun.

♥ Touring the U.S. Constitution. Brought a lump to my throat.

♥ Visiting the Old State House and realizing that 225 years ago men and women used town hall meetings as the means of spreading democracy. Even all these years later with all our technology, it seems that is how democracy is still being practiced today. Amazing.

♥ The clam chowder. And I don't even like clam chowder. I ordered some because I was in well, you know, Boston and all. It was delicious!

♥ The policemen and women. My word they were so nice! The would ask us where we were from and tell us places we should see. One even offered to take pictures of us with our camera. They truly are Boston's finest.

♥ We had a blast finding the donut shops all over the place. Go figure!

♥ The part we enjoyed the most of course was just spending time with our Tara. Laying in bed one night Tara mentioned that this was the first time in her life she had ever spent this much time with us alone. I was surprised to hear that but it makes sense considering she is daughter #2 out of 4. We had a wonderful time together and she was a fabulous tour guide through the city she has spent the last couple of years in.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


It's been many years since I've made a paper chain. But the countdown to when Michelle, Brad and my sweet boy Tyler come home for a visit has begun. And I can't think of a better visual than a paper chain!

I made this chain with seven chains in one color so I can not only count the days but the weeks. I took this picture on Monday when there were 60 days to go. Or eight weeks and 4 days.

But tomorrow it will be just 8 weeks. Or 56 days. Whichever sounds shorter.

A good friend reminded me - "Isn't it much better to count down the days till they come home instead of the days until they left?"

It surely is. More than I can begin to express.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy Labor Day

I am honoring Labor Day today by doing things I want to do. Although the word "labor" tends to bring thoughts of, well, pain to mind, I am enjoying not laboring today. In both senses of the word! Today I slept in until 7:00, drank coffee with my husband, drank more coffee with my brother, and spent time in my sewing room.

Remember this:

Well today it looks like this:

A perfect bag to hold my "in progress" knitting projects! And the good news is that the yardage I bought will actually make two bags - one to keep and one to share.

I hope your Labor Day is enjoyable to you too!