Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Greetings of the Season from the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 55

I see Volume 55 and I think AARP and speed limits. Since I can't seem to tie either of those two thoughts into the Hodgepodge today I think we'll just get on with the questions. Be sure to link your own post at the bottom of mine and then go visit some of the friends and neighbors who have also played along today. Here we go-

1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so, about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)

Definitely. I love Christmas cards, both the sending and the receiving. I especially love the cards with a photo enclosed. Our friends and family are scattered far and wide so I enjoy seeing how everyone has grown up during the year. I'm not a letter hater either so go ahead and brag on your kids to me because I truly don't mind. Call me nosy or call me curious or maybe just call me a blogger.

I have a cute little card holder I keep on my kitchen desk and that's where the opened cards go. I'd like to do one of the cute displays I've seen on Pinterest but haven't had a chance yet. We send roughly 100 cards and receive about the same.

2. When do kids become adults?

Interesting. My girls are in their early 20's so I guess they're adults. Okay yes, they're adults. Sigh. Sometimes I like to pretend they're still 8 and 10. I'm a mother, what can I say? My girls are independent, thoughtful, compassionate women I am proud to know.

I'm not sure chronological age is always an accurate measure of adult-ness. I know plenty of people who left their 20's behind a long time ago yet they still manage to have lots of growing up to do. I think we reach adulthood, hopefully in our late teens and early 20's, but the process is started much earlier. We need our parents to be parents and nudge us in that direction all along the rocky road to being a grown up.

Its not easy making your babies stand on their own two feet when what you'd really like to do is swoop in and make their way easy, but how are they to become adults if we don't let them test the waters? Have confidence in the children you've raised (staying on your knees doesn't hurt either).

Did you come here for advice today? Sorry-it just kinda spilled out onto the page.

3. Does your 'beauty regimen' change with the seasons?

How many people do you think will begin their answer to this question with the phrase-"Beauty regimen? What beauty regimen?" More than a few I suspect. I guess the biggest change for me is in hydration...winter means slathering myself in lotion a couple of times a day and upping the moisturizer on my face because the indoor heat tends to really dry out my skin. I also apply lip gloss in abundance because chapped lips=ewww.

4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?

I love picking crabs and the process does involve a little bit of the gross in that you have to scrape off the lungs and some gooey mush before getting to the good stuff. I also love escargot cooked in a garlic butter sauce, mussels in white wine, and grilled octopus. There are people who turn their noses up at that but I say they don't know what they're missing.

When I was a little girl I went through a phase where I put ketchup on my rice. I don't do that anymore but I know it did kind of disgust my fellow diners.

5. Gloves or Mittens?

Depends on what I'm doing...gloves for winter walks, driving around town and of course for just plain style...mittens for playing in the snow. I can wear either for skiing. Mittens are supposed to keep your hands warmer but I'm a little dorky with a ski pole so for the safety of everyone around me gloves are probably the better option.

6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound so much nicer?

The longest queue I've ever seen was the one at the entrance to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. Seriously it went for miles. Or kilometers. Whatever-it was long! We were with a tour group going thru the museum and I recommend that to anyone considering a visit. We bypassed the ultra long queue and pretty much went straight in.

The longest queue I've had to stand in was probably outside St. Paul's Cathedral in London on Christmas Eve. You had to get there early in order to get inside and in spite of arriving at a ridiculous hour the line was still wrapped around the block. Was it worth it? It was St. Paul's Cathedral on Christmas Eve...of course it was worth it.

7. Besides Christmas, what is one thing you are looking forward to this December?

Hubs, daughter2 and I will be attending a wedding later this month. We know the bride and her family from our years in the UK. She and daughter2 went all the way from grade 8 thru high school graduation together. They also spent quality time bonding in scouting and Young Life so we definitely want to be there for her big day. Daughter2 is excited because a few friends from high school will also be attending and she hasn't seen any of them since her last Christmas in England which was 2008. I love weddings, even those that fall the weekend before Christmas in a city famous for its crazy snow.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I mentioned last week that hubs made a deliciously creamy wild rice soup as a starter to our Thanksgiving meal. Several people asked for the recipe so I'm posting the link here-

It came from the November issue of Family Circle magazine and I would definitely make this again-it was wonderful.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 55

Here are the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge...see you back here tomorrow to share answers.

1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)

2. When do kids become adults?

3. Does your 'beauty regimen' change with the seasons?

4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?

5. Gloves or mittens?

6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound nicer?

7. Besides Christmas, what is one thing you are looking forward to in the month of December?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happiness Is...

Years ago there was a cute little Peanuts cartoon that featured Snoopy hugging Lucy with a caption underneath that said-'happiness is a warm puppy'.

Do you know what else happiness is?

It's a day spent outdoors...

with little girls all grown up still walking arm in arm

on a beautiful blue sky day.

Happiness is sweethearts...

both the young and the 'not so young'.

It's an afternoon movie and a game of cards around the kitchen table.

It's bowling balls and laughter.

Happiness is daughters and a day set aside to give thanks.

It's a football game...

won in the literal last minute of play.

Happiness is a red velvet cupcake and a million dollar smile...

It's fathers...

and sisters...

and family...

and yes, happiness is most definitely a warm puppy too.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Thanksgiving might be my favorite day of the year. It definitely ranks right up there anyway. We had our usual feast with the addition of a wonderfully creamy and delicious mushroom soup the hubs added as a starter to this year's menu.

We woke up to beautiful sunny blue skies that stayed with us all day. Sunshine makes even the best days better.

So does pie. Daughter1 baked our traditional well-loved angel pie and Daughter2 made the pumpkin. She added a fancy crust this year.

Everyone hung out in the kitchen mixing and stirring and washing dishes...doesn't it seem like you wash the same mixing bowl ten times on Thanksgiving morn?

We watched bits and pieces of the parade and a lot of football. After dinner and dishes we dragged ourselves out to the firepit. Someone was in all their glory here...just sayin'.

When the fire burned down we moved from the outdoor couch to the one indoors for the traditional 'kick off to Christmas' showing of Home Alone. We've seen it at least 20 times but an iron in the forehead never gets old.

It was a day for full stomachs and full hearts. I hope yours was the same.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for all you Hodgepodgers-Vol 54

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I'm thankful you joined the party today and every all help make blogging fun. Here are my answers to this week's questions-

1. Let's start with something controversial...dressing or stuffing? What's it called in your house and what's included in your recipe? cornbread? oysters? sausage? chestnuts?

In our house we use both terms but I guess if we're getting technical it's dressing. My mom used to 'stuff' some in the turkey and make a tray to go beside but I've never 'stuffed' a turkey. I make a cornbread dressing and if I were to tweak it even a little bit my family would rise up in revolt. It is my favorite part of the meal.

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?

I try really hard not to compare. This has gotten easier with age although sometimes I have serious Martha Stewart envy. Not the person so much as the talent. She definitely has some serious skill. And a staff. Hmmm...maybe that's the part I really envy.

3. When was the last time you were in an airport?

Ha-if you read here regularly (and I'm sure you all do, ahem) then you know I kinda live at the airport. I was there last Sunday on a returning flight from my daughter's collegetown. I was back there again last night collecting daughter2 followed by a trip to the train station to collect daughter1 and her boyfriend. For all its many hassles transportation is still my friend.

4. What is the one dish that must absolutely be included in a turkey dinner?

See #1. That being said, if I make a turkey for a meal other than a holiday (which is pretty rare) then I might skip the dressing. In that case mashed potatoes would be my must have side with a roast turkey dinner.

5. What Christmas song do you dread hearing?

Santa Baby by Madonna or anyone else really...not a fan.

6. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money in a 'tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support at the holidays and/or year round?

Yes. Just the other night a man asked me for money at the airport. We were on the tram together, headed to the parking lot, and there were five of us in the carraige. He was neatly dressed and politely explained that he needed $11 for a bus ticket to get to his daughter's home. She was supposed to pick him up at the airport but had vehicle issues. The woman beside me was nervous-her first time to the big city. The two gentlemen in the carraige with us remained frozen. I forked over $8 which was all I had. Was this a scam? Perhaps. Did he want the money to buy something besides a bus ticket? Perhaps. But I don't need to know that. I feel like I'm only responsible for how I give, not for what he does with it.

If I have it to drop in a hat/tin can I usually do. I don't pull out my wallet in a situation that feels like my personal safety might be at risk and hey, most of the time I don't carry cash so this particular gentleman was lucky I had a piddly $8.

We support World Vision, Samaritans Purse and Young Life on a regular basis...these organizations all work to bring hope to a hurting world.

7. Share a favorite Thanksgiving memory.

They're all favorites. The menu doesn't change much and we typically have some assortment of family members round the table so what's not to love? Some that stand out in particular are the Thanksgivings spent in England. As you know the Brits don't celebrate this holiday-ha-but one year I made Thanksgiving dinner for hubs whole office and that was alot of fun. They were most interested in the pumpkin pie and my sweet potato casserole. One dish was more savory than expected and one more sweet. This was discussed in great detail and with much enthusiasm.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Question #2 brought this song to mind-
'You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His'....don't forget it.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


If you're looking for the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge you'll find them here.

A couple of bloggers are hosting a pin.ter.vention today. The idea behind the party is to post some of the things you've seen on Pinterest that you've actually made.


Some folks on Pinterest are what you might call serial pinners. That is, they pin for the sake of pinning, pretty much eveything they see. And that's okay but my pinning philosophy is a little bit different. I use Pinterest as a bulletin board/file cabinet for things I definitely want to try or that provide inspiration. You can follow me there by clicking here.

I've actually made quite a few things courtesy of Pinterest. I'm adding photos here but you'll need to visit my Pinerest site to get the actual links. That's one of the things I love most about Pinterest. You add the photo and the original website link just magically more wracking my brain to remember where I'd seen a decorating idea or recipe. Here are a few of my favorites-

This adorable cake I made for Daughter2's 21st birthday in September...I wrote about it here.

Super cute shark cupcakes, also for Daughter2's birthday celebration since she is a bit of shark expert.

My birthday is just a week after hers and my Daughter1 very cleverly looked at my style board on Pinterest and bought me a sweater and scarf I'd pinned there. She even included the picture from my board so I'd know where she got the idea. It was at that moment I decided I needed to start pinning great purses and jewelry in case hubs needs shopping inspiration.

I have three food boards-one for appetizers (Let's Get This Party Started), one for mains and sides (Cook's Corner) and one for sweet treats (My Sweet Tooth). I won't post pictures of everything I've made but here's a sampling-

Oven baked ham and cheese sliders for a book club party-definitely a keeper!

Banana cupcakes with peanut butter icing and butterfinger sprinkles-yes please.

A wonderful autumn-y apple cake with apples we'd picked from a local orchard-

Two appetizers for two different tailgates-both were well received-

Pretty champagne cupcakes with champagne icing for a sorority reunion weekend...our colors just happen to be pink and white and these were so light and delicious

I've also made homemade granola, a honey mustard dip, a coconut chicken main with apricot sauce, fabulous buttercream icing, and the veggie pinwheels. All were recipes I'd make again.

I especially loved these apple tea lights I used as part of a fall gathering and I've tweaked some of the centerpieces and front porch decorating ideas I've seen to fit my home and style. All this to say I think Pinterest is one of the more useful things on the internet. I find inspiration and motivation to try new things in so many areas of my life plus a way to organize a lot of what just floats around inside my head.

If you're not there yet and need an invite please don't hesitate to email me. I'm happy to share the pinning love.

Thankfully there are still questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 54

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the Hodgepodge now, would it? Here are this week's between the supermarket run and the turkey prep be sure to hop back over here tomorrow to share answers.

1. Let's start with something controversial...dressing or stuffing? What's it called at your house and what's included in your recipe...cornbread? oysters? sausage? chestnuts?

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?

3. When were you last inside an airport?

4. What is one side dish that absolutely must be included in a turkey dinner?

5. What Christmas song do you dread hearing?

6. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money 'in a tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support during the holiday season and/or year round?

7. Share a favorite Thanksgiving memory. If you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving share a favorite memory associated with food.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

To-do list? What to-do list?

Anybody else need to be doing something other than blogging this morning? I thought not. Go ahead and enjoy that cup of coffee before you take a deep breath and dive into your to-do's that should have been done. I'm not the only one am I?

I need to clean out my frig to make room for the various and hundred sides we prepare for our Thanksgiving meal.

I need to clean out my pantry to make room for the many ingredients needed to prepare those same sides.

I need to clean. Period. Or 'full stop' as they say in England. Sigh...they even make punctuation sound like something special.

I need to catch up on laundry that has accumulated due to our travels. What travels you ask? Well, I think I mentioned that my hubs was in China last week. He arrived home late Friday night to an empty house since I'd flown to South Carolina on Wednesday. Daughter2 had some minor surgery scheduled for Thursday and needed her mama close by. Or her mama needed to be close by...whatever. When daughters need me I scrap my to-do list and go, even if it is exactly seven days before a holiday that requires at least three days of cooking.

Her surgery went well and she is recovering nicely. We spent the weekend in R and R at my sister's house since she conveniently lives in collegetown. So thankful for my sister...she has a heart of gold.

I got home late last night. Okay, it was 9 pm but my kids can attest to the fact that 9 pm is late for me.

We seem to be on the go around here all.the.time. Full stop.

Today will be shopping and cleaning and a little bit of cooking in preparation for daughters arriving home tomorrow night, one with a boyfriend in tow. I am looking forward to the weekend which I'm gonna say officially begins around here tomorrow since hubs is taking the day and rest of the week off and my girls will be here.

Just writing that last sentence makes my heart happy.

Off to clean, cook, and count my blessings now...wishing you a week full of love and gratitude!

Friday, November 18, 2011

...they are precious in His sight...

Ever thought about participating in Operation Christmas Child sponsored by Samaritan's Purse? You'll find details on their website but essentially it involves filling a shoebox full of little goodies to be sent to a child in need somewhere in the world. They ask for a $7 donation with your box to cover the cost of shipping and if you pay this online you'll get a bar code to print and attach to your box. This way you can track it and see where in the world it ends up. There are collection sites all around the world and you can find the one nearest you by visiting the Samaritan's Purse website.

I finished my box up last week so I could drop it off at church on Tuesday morning. You're able to choose the sex and age category you'd like to buy for and I chose a girl, aged 10-14. My box included a pink toothbrush and toothpaste, a pink soap dish and a bar of soap, a purple washcloth, candy, stickers, an inexpensive pink watch, a package of colored pencils and a sharpener, a fun little notebook, a mini etch a sketch, and six pair of cute socks. You are limited by what will fit inside a shoebox. I also added a photo of our family with a note which is optional.

I have thought and prayed often about the recipient of that little shoebox jammed full of 'stuff'. I think about my own daughters too. I think about what makes them smile and how much love is showered on them all year round but especially during the holidays. So many friends and relatives who show genuine interest in their lives and plans, their hopes and dreams...dreams that can easily become reality with some hard work and perseverance. Can the same be said of the little girl who gets this box? I think about the fact that we get a free toothbrush every six months at the dentist and how I toss them in a drawer for guests without giving it a second thought. I think about a purple washcloth bringing a smile to a young girl's face.

I love the season of is my favorite holiday of the year. I like the time we spend focusing on all that we have as opposed to all that we want. While the shoeboxes are intended to be a Christmas project we fill them during this season of gratitude. Adding toothpaste to a Christmas box certainly helps put things in perspective for me at what is now the most 'commercial' time of year.

It's not too late to fill a box...collections run through Nov. 21st and even if you can't participate this year maybe you'll keep it in mind for 2012. Somewhere in this world a child will smile.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy New Year in the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 53

I figure it's technically a new year around here since we're into week 53 of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Everyone is welcome to join the party...if you're new you'll find the rules of play on my sidebar. Here are my answers to this week's questions-

1. What song reminds you of a specific time in your life and what is it about this song that makes you remember?

This question is almost impossible to answer because practically every song I know and love is associated with some specific time period in my life. I could write a whole post on this one but I'll refrain and will share just two. The first is Little Darlin' by Poco. Takes me right back to the labor room with Daughter1. This was the song we played over and over and over and over as I inched (centimetered?) my way to motherhood. Why isn't this video on youtube? I hear this song and I think of hubs and I so young and hopeful and the exquisite joy that poured down on me that day.

The second is Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane. I know Rascall Flatts did a remake of this song but fyi-they weren't around in 1992. At less than two years of age our precious and precocious Daughter2 developed an affinity for this song. Whenever I hear it playing I can see her sassy little blonde headed self strapped into her car seat- sunglasses on, head bopping, feet tapping, lungs going full blast as she sang along. Picture this little munchkin-

rockin' out to this song at age 2-

I'd like to be back in that car for just one day.

2. What's something you've given up on?

Washington D.C.
Not the city itself which I love, but rather those who 'Occupy D.C.'

3. What's something you'll never give up on?

God's promises and His faithfulness to keep them.

4. If you had to cook something from scratch in the next hour what would it be?

Well I do have a whole bag of toffee chips and a jar of peanut butter so it might be Heath Bits Peanut Butter cookies. You'll find the recipe here.

5. Have you started Christmas shopping? Decorating? Listening to Christmas music?

Oh you people putting up your trees already!! I think its ka-razy! Have people always done this and we just didn't know about it pre-internet? I think not.

I start my shopping with list making. The aunts, uncles, and grandparents all want some ideas for what to buy the girls so I dole their suggestions around which is kinda like me helping them with their shopping, right? I've picked up a few little stocking stuffers here and there but haven't purchased any of the larger gifts. I am not decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. I know people want to get a jump on it but why? It just feels waaaay too early for me. I'm not listening to Christmas music yet either. I love the fall and the season of Thanksgiving and want to celebrate that for a little bit first.

6. What do you know about your parent's wedding?

-It was simple...a small ceremony in my mom's big church in Albuquerque, her home town.
-My grandfather (dad's dad) was a Colorado farmer and because they married in July he couldn't leave the farm to attend the wedding.
-My dad had his mom there and a brother stood up for him.
-My mom had her sister as her only attendant.
-They had a quiet reception at the home of my dad's cousin who had introduced them.
-My dad wore sloppy striped socks under his suit.
-He was handsome....she was beautiful.
-Between them they didn't have two nickels to rub together.
-They were married over 40 years before my dad passed away at the too young age of 66.

7. I can't believe I___________________

'haven't finished off the left over Halloween candy while hubs was out of town.' Just keepin' it real people...believe me, I thought about it.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

We've had the prettiest sunrises this week...

You should know you miss a whole lot of amazing if you sleep in every day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 53

So apparently last week was Volume 52 but until someone mentioned it in their post it didn't occur to me that we were at the one year mark in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Happy belated birthday to us!

Here are the questions for this week's Hodgepodge...answer them on your own blog or facebook page and then hop back here tomorrow to add your link and share answers with the rest of the world.

1. What song reminds you of a specific time in your life and what is it about that song that makes you remember?

2. What's something you've given up on?

3. What's something you'll never give up on?

4. If you had to cook something from scratch in the next hour what would it be?

5. Have you started Christmas shopping? Decorating? Listening to Christmas music?

6. What do you know about your parent's wedding?

7. I can't believe I ___________________.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

As a Bee

So it's Monday. My to do list this week is long. Actually my to do list between now and Christmas is long and ever growing and I have to work hard not to let it overwhelm me. I mean that in both the literal and the figurative sense. I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night and think about my list.

anticipation-the act of looking forward; especially: pleasurable expectation

Hubs had a meeting in Phoenix most of last week. He got home late Saturday afternoon and left this morning for China. I wonder if he was awake during the night pondering his to do list? We had a one day weekend which essentially was spent on the sofa alternately napping and watching football. If we are going to carry on at this pace we need regular naps on the couch. I did laundry and sat with all of my recipes and cookbooks and planned Thanksgiving menus and shopping lists. I cooked a new and delicious recipe in my crock pot which is definitely a keeper (maple braised pork chops). Is it sad that the highlight of my weekend was a meal? Okay, maybe not the highlight but definitely a highlight.

joy-the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

While hubs was in Phoenix I spent a few days at my moms. I had a birthday dinner with my brother and sister in law, a birthday breakfast with my sister and nephew and did some Christmas shopping with my mom. Her to do list more than mine but I did manage to pick up one or two stocking stuffers. Hubs and I both have big families so there is lots of shopping and wrapping and shipping to be done plus I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 5 or 7 and I'm hosting my entire family, all 13 of us, for Christmas this year, and did I mention I have two little trips between now and Christmas so I really need to bring my A game when it comes to planning and organizing. Those thoughts belong in a run on sentence don't you think?

peace-inner contentment; serenity

When did this season of the year become so busy? My mother decorated and cooked and shopped and maybe she'd say it was all a little crazy but somehow I think we've managed to amp the whole thing up a few hundred watts. These days we need more than one beautifully decorated tree, side dishes that dazzle to accompany our meals, guest rooms with pillows perfectly plumped, coordinated gift wrap and clever packaging, and on and on it goes. Our expectations are so high and right along with those expectations come timetables and expenses and stress that somehow contradict the wondrous simplicity of a baby born in a manger.

love-a profoundly tender affection for another person

To be honest I don't know anyone who would say they aren't busy this time of year. We're all busy and somewhere along the road from there to here we've allowed the secular to overtake the real.

This year I want the real. I want to feel the anticipation. I don't want anything as trivial as a to-do list to steal my joy. And I definitely don't want to be the short-tempered, impatient, tired, wife/mother/sister/daughter/friend who was too 'busy' to love the people around me.

Most of all, I want to wallow in the peace ushered into this world by a baby in a manger on a long ago silent night.

this post is linked with the One Word Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollack

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

The weather last weekend was absolutely gorgeous so hubs and I decided to get out and enjoy it. We donned hiking boots and warm coats and we loaded up the dog and some water and some snacks and headed to one of our favorite State Parks-Waywayanda. Who else likes saying that word?

It was a perfect day.

We walked.
We talked.
We sat.
We looked.
We listened.
We thought.

And we both agreed that we need to be outdoors more.

Do you know what else I wanted to do?
I wanted to sing.

There is something about being in the middle of creation that just fills my heart up to overflowing and makes me want to burst into song. I don't (usually) but I did add some music to a few of our photos which makes me very happy.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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Another photo slideshow by Smilebox

music-David Crowder Band: Everything Glorious

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hurry Up into the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 52

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge...feel free to join the party. Answer the questions on your own blog or fb page and add your link at the bottom of my post. Here are my answers to this week's questions-
1. Of all the tools and gadgets you own, which do you most enjoy using?
I do love my label maker. There is something very satisfying about typing in letters and seeing words magically spit out the side. As far as the kitchen goes, my Kitchen Aid mixer is by far my favorite appliance but I will also give a shout out to my trusty mezzaluna -superb for chopping herbs and not fingers.
2. When (if ever) is impatience a virtue?
At first glance I'd say never but when I think about it as it applies to our life I might change my mind. Hubs could be described as somewhat impatient. ahem. He is a person of action and waiting around for life to happen is not his forte. Me on the other hand? Well, I might wait forever for something to happen that just won't happen unless someone demonstrates a little impatience. Enter the hubs. That old adage, 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease' is kinda true. That being said I sometimes get impatient with people who are always impatient.
3. What temperature do you keep the thermostat set to in winter? Do you have another way to heat your house besides a furnace of some sort?
68 degrees. I hate to be hot when I sleep but I hate to be cold when I get up. This is a nice happy middle.
4. Do/did you have a close relationship with any of your grandparents?
I started to answer this question and realized I have quite a lot of memories associated with my grandparents that I'd like to record. I think I might put those in a separate post so I have them written down somewhere.
For most of my life I lived a fair distance from my grandparents but I was always close to my maternal grandma. We lived with her for one year when I was about a year old and she helped care for me. My dad was overseas and my mom was distracted by my baby sister who was a wee bit difficult. My grandma also came to stay with my mom for months at a time in her later years so I really got to know and love her in my adult years too.
5. When did you last have a family portrait taken?
2005. We had a family portrait taken by a wonderful British photographer at the start of Daughter1's senior year of high school. The setting was the Windsor Great Park and the castle sits in the background. Can't really ask for a more perfect setting, can you?

The photographer had once even photographed the Queen (yes, the Queen of England) but I'm pretty sure we were way more fun. I imagine the next family portraits we have taken will revolve around a wedding someday. So glad we seized the moment back in 2005.
6. What does the word patriotism mean to you?
Loving your country is at the heart of patriotism but I think it goes deeper than that. Living in a foreign country made me realize that patriotism also means you personally identity with your home country. You worry, defend, promote, and act as cheerleader. You want to see her demonstrate all that is good and right in the world. Sometimes she lets you down but you love her anyway.
7. Do you like to play cards and if so, what's your favorite card game?
I think it has been established here that I like to play games and I guess my favorite card game would be Hearts. Now if only I could convince my family to play.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Today is my big brother's birthday. Actually he's my only brother but he's also older and since its his birthday that needs to be noted, right? Anyway, he is a good guy. A very good guy. I don't know anyone who doesn't like my brother.
I was looking thru my pics for one to post here today and I came across one that was taken on a trip he and my sister in law made to see us in the UK. We spent a day hiking out near Oxford and were cornered by some cows on our way to Blenheim Palace.
Such is life in the English countryside. It was such a fun, happy day. Hope your birthday is the same big brother!