Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Your Friendly Neighborhood Hodgepodge

Welcome to December and this week's edition of The Wednesday Hodgepodge! So glad you've stopped by to read, write, or comment here today. Newcomers are always welcome, simply answer the questions on your own blog, then hop back here to add your link to the party.

Here we go-

1. Let's talk holiday decorating. On a scale of 1-10, where do you fall? (1=Scrooge and 10= Clark Griswold). What's your favorite corner-room-table-space to decorate? Is it done? 

While I enjoy seeing all the elaborately decorated trees on Instagragm, in magazines, and show places, I prefer something simpler in my own home. I'm kind of old fashioned when it comes to Christmas and love the warm fuzzy way I feel sitting beside our tree. There's no theme, no real color scheme, no elaborate bows tucked between the branches. 

Just lots and lots of home made ornaments and special fragile keepsakes collected through the years. Every ornament tells a story and stirs up a memory of a person or place we've known and loved. I still have the same delicate Angel topper we bought our very first married Christmas. I remember the nursery where we purchased her and the tree she topped (light on ornaments, big on love).  

Our tree is up and most of the other decorating is done. I guess I like the tree best because it's part decorating, part stroll down memory lane. On a scale of 1-10 I'll rate us a 6. We don't go overboard in any room of the house, but we do decorate, and this year we also put a tree on the screened in porch and lights on the dock bridge, so definitely not Scrooge. 

2. Is there a nativity scene in your decorating somewhere? Post a picture or, if it's special to you in some way, tell us why. Or go both-it's Christmas! 

I have a table top nativity and a couple of smaller sets too that I put out at Christmas. Like our angel tree topper, the table top nativity has been with us since year 2 of married life. I bought it at one of those home parties people used to have back in the 80's, and it has traveled some miles since then. 

Joseph broke in our move from NJ to Maryland back in 1994 and I bought a substitute from a local shop. Hubs likes to say replacement Joseph has a pituitary problem because he's taller in proportion to the set, but he works. The angel standing watch over the manger lost a wing in our most recent move, and hubs didn't think he could fix her, but glued her anyway because he sensed I was on the verge of tears. She's back in the barn where she belongs, and you'd have to look closely to see the crack. 

I bought a small hand carved nativity at the German Christmas Market in Nuremberg one year and have that sitting in my kitchen window. 

My neighbor in Maryland gave me a really sweet version of the nativity and I love it still. It's the word JOY with Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus on the letters.  It's on the fireplace mantle in my keeping room in this new house.  

3. Do you live in a social neighborhood? Is so are you glad? If not do you wish you did? 

Well we're new to the neighborhood, but we hear it's social. We're going to a neighborhood Christmas party this week, and throughout the year there are monthly happy hour gatherings, a craft group, a wine club, a chili cook off, ladies spring luncheon, and more. I'll need to investigate what all is here, but the neighbors are friendly and people are out walking, so yes it's social, and yes we're glad. We're social too. 

4. As the saying goes, 'there's no time like the present'. How does that ring true in your life right now? 

Organizing this office/library space. I want to put it off til forever after the holidays, but it needs doing and there's no time like the present. The task feels a little overwhelming, but hubs helped me dig in over the weekend, so we're on our way.  

5.  Do you dread Mondays? Why or why not? 

Definitely not. I love Mondays...fresh start, new beginnings...what's to dread? 

6. Poinsettia, Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis-which on the list is your favorite holiday plant? Are any of these on display in your home right now? 

The Christmas Cactus is my favorite, but I don't have one in this house. YET! I do have a poinsettia I'm trying to keep alive. Such is life when you're a plant and I'm your caretaker. I've had it about two weeks, and so far so good. 

7.  Share a favorite quote from a Christmas movie.

Linus Van Pelt quoting the second chapter of Luke in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The only time Linus ever put his blanket down was when he read the words, 'And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not:'

''For behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2: 10-14)

'That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.' 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I posted this on my Facebook page, so some of you may have seen it there, but if you missed it watch it now. These third graders are so stinkin' cute-

Watch here. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 289

Welcome to another week of Hodgepodging. Why not take a break from the shopping and the decorating and the crazy parking lots and play along here? Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party. Here we go-

1. Let's talk holiday decorating. On a scale of 1-10 where do you fall? (1=Scrooge and 10= Clark Griswold). What's your favorite corner-room-table-space to decorate? Is it done?

2. Is there a nativity scene in your decorating somewhere? Post a picture or, if it's special to you in some way, tell us why. Or do both-it's Christmas!

3.  Do you live in a social neighborhood? If so are you glad? If not do you wish you did?

4.  As the saying goes, 'there's no time like the present'. How does that ring true in your life right now?

5. Do you dread Mondays? Why or why not?

6.  Poinsettia, Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis-which on the list is your favorite holiday plant? Are any of these on display in your home right now?

7. Share a favorite quote from a Christmas movie.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

You're Never Too Old For A Time-Out

So hubs decided he needed to organize and clean out the upstairs garage.

At 6 PM.

On a Tuesday night.

For some reason this really irritated me, and it's okay for me to say it because he knows. Let's just say when I'm overly tired and overly 'whelmed' I don't hide it very well. Our furniture and belongings were delivered just over three weeks ago and in that time we've also had overnight house guests, hosted Thanksgiving dinner, and put up two Christmas trees. Still, everything is not yet in it's rightful place and that makes him twitch a little. Prior to moving in he knew unpacking and figuring it all out would be a process, and he said sure, fine, he's okay with it, but...

We've been married for 32 years, 5 months, and sixteen days so I knew he would not really be okay with it. Hubs subscribes to the philosophy of a place for everything and everything in it's place, and if that means tackling a garage at 6 PM on a Tuesday night so be it.

I on the other hand, am more Scarlett O'Hara and will think about that tomorrow.

Thirty two years people. It works.

I wish I were more like him in this respect, but since I'm not I went ahead and gave myself a time out.

When my girls were young I didn't really use the phrase time out, but I did employ the concept. One daughter may have spent a large chunk of the third year of her life 'sittin' on the step' because my heavens she had a will of iron and needed the last word.

Her mother's daughter in every sense of the word.

It's why I know there are times I need to send myself to the proverbial step, and in this house I've decided that 'step' will be here-

My master bathroom.

Specifically my time outs involve filling that tub all the way up with steaming hot water, turning down the lights, and letting Calgon take me away.

Well not Calgon because do they even make that anymore? Truly I could sleep in this tub it is that comfortable.

Hubs doesn't quite get the concept of time out and interrupted me twice, but he needed that garage organized. Here's how it went... I'm soaking, regaining my equilibrium, and he comes in to the bathroom carrying an enormous bin of miscellaneous linens that I've purposely left in the garage because that's where we're leaving things we're not sure what to do with. I need to go through this bin and see what fits on the current bed situation, and decide what to keep and what to give away. Hubs says that sounds like it should take two seconds, which I suppose in theory it should, but I just with one more thing on Tuesday night.

So I asked him to put it back in the garage and he did, because 32 years, 5 months, and 16 days doesn't happen without both of you knowing when you gotta go left or turn right.

And because that's true, when my 'time out' ended I looked through the bin and made the call about what to keep and what to give away in about two seconds, and everyone was happy.

I'm telling you a hot bath is good for whatever ails you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The More The Merrier In The Hodgepodge

Welcome to the end of November and the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Raise your hand if your autumn flew by in the blink of an eye. Raise your hand if you've been moving house and haven't begun to think about Christmas. Except cards! My cards are done, but only because we have a new address and I wanted to get it out there. 

If you've answered today's questions add your link at the end of my post. And be sure to leave a comment for the blogger linking before you because the best way to spread Christmas cheer is commenting loud for all to hear...something like that. Okay here we go-

1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving).

Okay, that made me sweat. Way harder than I thought it would be when I wrote the question, but I think I promised we'd burn calories today so there you go. How about-

Blest fest in our new nest. 

2. When did you last say, 'the more the merrier'? Did you mean it?

We say that a lot around here. We're more the merrier kind of people, well hubs is anyway. Kind of his life mantra. Mine too, except when it's not-ha! Sometimes I just want solitude. But mostly we live with a 'more the merrier' kind of philosophy in our home. 

Probably the last time was Thanksgiving. We'd only been in the house a couple of weeks, I had family coming to stay, and we decided to invite some friends who live on the lake and were away from their own extended family to join us on the holiday. We meant it. If we say it we mean it. 

3. What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who is your same age?

Embrace it, take care of yourself physically, don't let little health issues slide because you don't bounce back like you did a decade ago. Do your best to keep up with new technology and current events.  You're never too old to change course, set a new goal, dream a new dream, embark on an adventure.

Dear Self-
See above.

4. You're ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?

Green beans, roasted okra, corn on the cob, and red ripe summer tomatoes-yum! 

5. Shop til you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?

I've shopped til I drop on occasion, but that's never my aim. I don't enjoy that sort of shopping. I prefer a couple of hours followed by a nice leisurely lunch out. We did not shop on Black Friday (never have). I'm usually tired on Black Friday and enjoy a low key relaxed day with leftovers for dinner. 

6. What's your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?

I have a couple, but currently it's this one-

Forgive the lighting, it was raining. Also I'm a terrible photographer when it comes to my phone. Anyway, this chair...we have another one just like it, and they sit on either side of the sliders in our great room. Hubs and I enjoy our morning coffee there while we watch the sunrise over the lake. I normally read my morning devotions in this chair too, and it's the perfect place to start my day. 

We've put our Christmas tree in front of the sliders for now, so the chairs are pushed a little bit further back than normal. I can see the tree and the lake so no complaints. Is there anything more relaxing than sitting in a room lit by Christmas light?

7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.

I grew up in church and was not the child that needed prodding to attend. I loved it, and still do. I could write a whole post filled with memories, but will share just one here today. And this one took place not in church, but in our living room. My parents called it Family Altar and they'd periodically gather us up into the living room after dinner to participate. Also participation was not optional-ha!  We only sat in the living room on holidays, for company, and for Family Altar so it felt special. My brother and oldest sister probably weren't too excited about the whole thing, but they were teetering into teenagedom and my younger sister and I were still fairly young. I'm sure the intention was to do this once a week, but I don't remember it happening quite that often.  

Anyway we'd start off with singing. Now you need to know that we are not a family of singers. We sing anyway, and what better place than in the privacy of your own living room? Our favorite was a song called Give Me That Old Time Religion and my dad would let us call out names to insert into the verses. It went something like, 'If it was good enough for (insert Biblical name here) it's good enough for me...' It's a lively song and we sang it with enthusiasm.  We always included Daniel, David, etc, but our favorite was to shout out Shadrach, Meshach and Abednedgo because we thought we were hilarious. 

After we settled down my dad would read a Bible story or passage, and then we talked about it and we'd finish up with prayer. It made an impression on me that's for certain. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

If you're a person who prays please remember the firefighters, emergency personnel, and residents of Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding Smoky Mountain area of East Tennessee where fires have devastated the beautiful landscape and many homes, buildings, and schools. The high winds yesterday contributed to the rapid spread and the photographs are devastating. It's a part of the country so near and dear to our hearts, and we have family not far from there. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 288

Let's burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories with the Hodgepodge, shall we? Blogging definitely burns calories. I know I sweat when I write the questions-ha! Here's the drill for anyone new here today...answer on your own blog, then waddle over here tomorrow (Wednesday) to share answers with the whole wide world. Our little corner of it anyway! Here we go-

1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving).

2. When did you last say, 'the more the merrier'? Did you mean it?

3. What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who is your same age?

4. You're ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?

5. Shop til you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?

6. What's your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?

7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's A Long List

We had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend and I hope yours was the same. Since I'm still unpacking the house and now have beds to change and bathrooms to clean following holiday company, and hubs pulled all the Christmas decorations out because why not? let's do our weekend recap in list form today. 

Things I'm grateful for lately-

Daughters in the house. 

Honestly if I'd spent the entire Thanksgiving weekend right here on the deck with my baby girl it would have been enough. And while we did spend a lot of time out there, we also spent an awful lot of time in here-

The kitchen. What is up with the Thanksgiving cooking y'all? Two full days on our end, and my guests all brought pieces of the meal, so maybe it's me? I couldn't do it without my girl's help, nor would I want to. I love the hours of easy conversation that flow when hands are busy. 

If your teenager doesn't talk to you, try cooking together. Mine is no longer a teenager, and she's always had plenty to say (ha! she is her mother's daughter after all!), but the concept works. 

I'm so grateful for daughters who love to cook, and also manage to look super cute in their mama's apron while they're at it. 

Grateful too for daughters who will take pictures with their mama in her apron, not looking quite as cute but definitely looking happy because A DAUGHTER IS IN THE HOUSE! 

While I'm at it, shoutout to Apple engineer Roberto Garcia, and his magical invention called FaceTime. Talking 'face-to-face' with your across the country daughter and her husband is the next best thing to being there. 

It was fun to have a dog in the house all weekend. My girl brought her sweet pup, all decked out in the cone of shame, but happy to be included in the party.   

Dogs make a house more something. 

Other things I'm grateful for...setting a big long table with real china. Hubs snapped this the night before, and since I neglected to take a picture when everything was in it's place, this will have to do.  I'm grateful for a husband who agreed we should have a dining room in the new house because it's one of my favorite spaces. 

This upside down apple pecan pie definitely deserves a spot on the list. Scrumptious! You'll find the recipe here, and you are so welcome. 

I could end with the pie, but let's carry on shall we...fantabulous Thanksgiving Day weather and friends and family to enjoy it with. 

You knew I'd mention the weather, didn't you? 

Actually this was a day after Thanksgiving daughter, my mom, and my niece looking relaxed and happy on the covered deck. Outdoor spaces for the win! And yes my daughter is wearing a t-shirt on the deck in late November. NJ autumn snows we are not missing you at all.

Hubs has been eager to get my daughter's pup on the dock and this was the day. She's a tad fussy about where she'll put her paws, and doesn't particularly care for hardwood floors so we weren't sure we'd get her out there, but we did -

She seemed to like it.

Or at least tolerate it, and hubs was sure happy. We wanted to catch one more sunset from the boat before she's put to bed for the winter, so we bundled up and headed out.

Yup, Miss Priss came too.

I love the lake this time of year...fall has always been my favorite.

We found a perfect viewing spot, sipped hot cocoa, and floated while the heavens did their thing-

A beautiful sunset is worth the wait.

A gentle reminder we are loved by the maker of day and night, time and space.

Whose mercies are new every single day. 
What else can we feel but grateful? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

'Twas The Hodgepodge Before Thanksgiving...

Happy Thanksgiving Eve and welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've answered the questions on your own blog add your link at the end of my post, then go say hello to your neighbor. Grateful for many things, the community here being one of them. Thanks for playing along here today and every Wednesday.

Here we go-

1. What's something you might say runs in your family? eyes? Chattiness? Our skills with a knife? The women in my family are known for our clumsiness with a knife. Hubs says I'm not allowed to use sharp instruments when he's away. 

2. I read here a list of ten things you should do before 2017 arrives (in less than six weeks!)...which tasks on the list might you do? What would you add to your own 'before the year ends' list? 

visit your Dr. or dentist, deep clean your home, donate unwanted items to charity, look someone in the eye and tell them you love them, write an honest letter to yourself, clean up your inbox-desktop-photos, travel somewhere you've never been, compliment a stranger, watch the sunrise, think ahead to your goals/plans for the new year

I have a dental appointment scheduled, we're cleaning as we unpack boxes and also donating many items to charity, I'm sure I'll tell someone I love them, compliment a stranger, and will think about the new year. We watch the sunrise most mornings so I've got that one covered.

I'll be traveling in January to a couple of places I've never been before, but nothing between now and the end of 2016.  I do need to get a handle on my inbox and photos, so that's going on the to-do list for sure. I don't think I'll write myself a letter, but I blog and keep a journal which serves a similar purpose. 

What would I add? I'm going to say take some time to enjoy this new space. We've been going great guns since we moved in, and I'd like a breather before the new year rolls around. 

3. What's something other generations (not your own) misunderstand about your generation? 

We're still young on the inside. 

4. Sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread dressing-which would you miss the most if it weren't on the holiday dinner menu?

Cornbread dressing for sure, with mashed potatoes coming in a close second. Thanksgiving is about the only time we have dressing and I look forward to it every year. Mashed potatoes aren't on our regular menu rotation either, so that would be my runner up answer. I bake sweet potatoes fairly often. 

5. What are you overthinking right now? 

Probably logistics for the next couple of days. Even my lists have lists. What goes in the oven when? Who sleeps where? What do I need to pick up when I make my seven millionth trip to the store? 

6. Your favorite slang word lately? 

I was looking at a website where kids could weigh in on their favorite slang and one was quoted as saying,' "Kids create slang and adults make it un-hip.' 

Alrighty then. I'm going with 'hip'

7. Write an acrostic for the word grateful.

Afternoon tea
Technology and the people who make it happen
Early morning sunrise from my family room window
USA, her natural beauty and her freedoms
Little girls who grow into remarkable women

8. Insert your own random thought here.

So collards-yay or nay? Or never had em? Definitely a southern thing, and we've got a sink full. My daughter's in-laws have a bumper crop so hubs went over there today and picked some to add to our Thanksgiving menu. My mom loves them and was happy to hear it. 

Daughter1's father-in-law even gave hubs some hog jowl to add to the pot. I'm from NJ, but I still think that's the secret to delicious collards. They wilt down like spinach, but still we've got plenty. We cook ours with a little water, chicken broth, and tarragon vinegar and then add a pinch of red pepper flakes for good measure. I told hubs he needed to cook them today because a house needs to smell like turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving Day, not vinegar. 

Also I loooove my great big farmhouse sink. 

Happy Thanksgiving!