Friday’s Fave Five

It’s hard to fathom that we’re at the last Friday of May already. Time goes by so fast! I like to stretch out the moments a bit by sharing the best with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story.

1. Family gatherings. Saturday, my son and daughter-in-law had us over to celebrate my grandson’s successful completion of third grade. πŸ™‚ We had pizza, salad, garlic bread, and this cute Oreo cake Mittu made.

Then Wednesday, we had everyone but Mittu over for dinner (unfortunately, she was nursing a sore throat).

2. Jesse’s travels. My youngest son is off to visit my oldest son in RI. This is the first time Jesse has traveled by himself and the first time any of us has been to see Jeremy except my husband when he helped him move. So far the trip has gone well. They’re not only both avid game players, but they like long strategy games that none of the rest of us usually plays. I’m sure they’ll have a great time playing, seeing sights, and meeting Jeremy’s friends, many of whom are also avid game players. One of these days, we’re going to get up to RI, too.

3. Eating out. On the way home from the airport, Jim and I discussed whether to eat dinner somewhere or get something to take home. After discovering one restaurant I’d wanted to visit had closed, we ended up at Cracker Barrel. That was a treat for me, not only because it is one of my favorite places, but it is not Jim’s. πŸ™‚ So it was nice not only to eat out with him, but for him to offer to take me there. He did find that he liked their lemon trout.

4. A light cooking week. If you’ve read here long, you know this is a favorite. πŸ™‚ Due to the party, taking Jesse to the airport, and various other reasons, I only cooked this week for dinner on Wednesday and breakfast Sunday morning. I think that’s a record. It almost felt like vacation. One of those times, Jim had an eye doctor appointment near a mall which has a Sarku’s (which we love. I wish they were located other places than malls). So he offered to bring some home.

5. A non-dairy treat. I’ve been lactose-intolerant for many years, but lately I’ve been trying to cut down on dairy products in general to see if that helps some stomach issues. I perused the non-dairy items in the freezer section and brought home this. I sampled a couple of spoonfuls before putting it in the freezer, and it was pretty good.

That’s my week. How was yours?

I hope you have a good Memorial Day weekend as we honor those who have given their lives for us.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s time to pause for just a bit to reflect on the week’s blessings with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story.

1. A pre-Mother’s Day dinner out. We stopped going out for Mother’s Day years ago due to long wait times. But I suggested this year going out all together some time before Sunday. So we did that Friday night. Even though the restaurant somehow didn’t have our reservation listed, they got us in fairly soon. I got a piece of Triple Chocolate Cake to take home. It was such a big piece and so rich, I had to split it over two days. The meal and time together were both great.

2. Mother’s Day breakfast. We’ve usually kept our Sunday morning breakfast routine on special Sundays just due to logistics. Saturday night, I was puzzled when Jason and Timothy came over around 9 p.m. They brought a wonderful Mother’s Day breakfast that Mittu had made which I could just reheat in the morning: quiche, fried potatoes, orange slices, grapes, and carrot muffins.

That was such a sweet and thoughtful thing to do. And it was very good! We could only eat about half of it Sunday, so we had leftovers for a couple more breakfasts this week.

3. Mother’s Day. Jim grilled burgers, Jesse shucked corn on the cob and other assorted things, Jason made Chocolate Pretzel Pie.

It was nice to have the day off in the kitchen, and everything was delicious. I received some sweet cards and gifts.

4. Hanging plants. Jim usually gets annuals in hanging baskets for me for Mother’s Day. This year he asked if I wanted to go with him to pick out the flowers. It was fun to do that together (he said it was less-time-consuming and stressful, but more expensive πŸ™‚ ).

Outside and inside view of hanging plants

Then, I had not yet planted the flowers I had bought the day before for the planters in front and back of the house. Jim helped with that by clearing out the old stuff. Plus he planted a few in an area by the mailbox. So often, over the years, we’ve had to “divide and conquer” things like this for various reasons. It was nice to do them together. Plus everything looks so nice with fresh flowers in.

This was a ready-made grouping of flowers at the garden center. I loved the colors and combination.

As we were walking around the garden center, we spied this interesting looking plant. We found it was a foxglove, so we decided to get it for the front porch. I didn’t know they grew so tall–about four feet. It has become something of a conversation piece.

5. Oven guards. Somehow I came upon a reel of neat things found on Amazon–and because I stopped to watch it, my reels on Instagram were then flooded with similar videos. But this sounded great, because I frequently burn my wrist on the top rack when putting something in the oven. Our family does “wish lists” for gift ideas, so I put this on my list, and my husband got it for me. I haven’t baked anything yet since I installed them, but I am looking forward to doing so pain-free!

I could list more, but I’ll stop at 5. πŸ™‚ It’s been a lovely week. I hope yours has, too.

Friday’s Fave Five

Another week has flown by, and I’m pausing with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story to count its blessings.

1. Sunday lunch out with the family at a favorite local Asian place. Jason, Mittu, and Timothy came to church with us and then we went out for lunch.

2. First round of dentist visits over. Somehow I managed to get a cavity in what’s left of a tooth under a crown which is under a bridge. Tuesday the dentist took off the bridge and crown and drilled out the old filling and decay. She doesn’t think the remaining tooth is enough to support another filling and crown, but I’m going to an endodontist next week for a second opinion just to be sure. If not, it will have to be extracted, which will be another appointment with an oral surgeon. Then we’ll have to discuss whether to replace that tooth as well as the missing tooth that the bridge was covering with either a dental implant or partial denture. So, there’s a long way to go yet. But the first part is done, and though not particularly pleasant, it wasn’t awful. I’m also especially thankful for praying friends I sent notes to asking for prayer for calmness of heart, mind, soul, and body during the procedure.

3. A Chick-Fil-A biscuit. Jim had to go out one day for some early morning lab work while fasting. That doctor’s office is across the street from a Chick-Fil-A, so I asked if he could bring back breakfast from there. A treat!

4. Time with family. Mittu texted saying Timothy wanted to come over and play, and offered to make nachos. They brought his bicycle, and we set lawn chairs in the driveway while Timothy rode his bike. Granddad got out his bike and joined him for a bit, and Jason and Mittu and Timothy played basketball for a while. The weather was really pleasant as well.

5. Flowers for the planters. I got them yesterday but haven’t had a chance to plant them yet. It’s supposed to rain much of today, but hopefully I’ll be able to get them planted today or tomorrow. I always love how flowers brighten up the front of the house as well as the back patio.

I hope you have a good weekend celebrating your mom, whether she’s with you in person or in memory.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s been a pleasant week. We had a mild cold snap, but overall the weather was fairly comfortable. I’m once again stopping for a bit to recount the week’s blessings with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story. Feel free to join in!

1. A family outing. We all went to a “spring expo” at a nearby convention center with local crafts and small businesses. It turned out not to have very many vendors, but it was still fun to stroll through together. Then Mittu, my daughter-in-law, offered to make stroganoff for us. Jesse, my youngest, couldn’t come for that, but the rest of us enjoyed playing Uno Flip and Minecraft Uno.

2. Lunch with Melanie at a new-to-us place. We tried the Apple Cake Tea Room this month just to do something different. We decided it was too far away to go there regularly, but we enjoyed it. We had to have the namesake apple cake, of course, for dessert. Thankfully Melanie suggested splitting a piece. which turned out to be a great idea, because I was stuffed afterward. The quiche was good but the cake was luscious and just the right degree of warmth.

3. The first hummingbird sighting of the season. We have a hummingbird feeder right outside the kitchen window which had its first visitors this week.

4. The first roses of the season.

5. The biannual closet change-over. I love moving the darker, heavier winter clothes out and the lighter spring/summer clothes into my closet. These days, the off-season clothes are stored in the closet of the guest bedroom, so it’s not quite as big a deal as putting clothes into and out of boxes.

So the first Friday of May ends a week of mostly simple pleasures. How was yours?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s the last Friday of April already. Time to pause with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story to count our blessings.

1. Ribs. Jason and Mittu received a gift card to Honey-Baked Ham and got some ribs to share with the family. They brought over potatoes, vegetables, rolls, and peanut butter fudge, too!

2. Getting calls made and little things done. Some of these have been on my to-do list for too long. Two calls led to two appointments–so one item crossed off leads to another. But at least they are in the process of getting taken care of.

3. Customer service resolved. My husband had a question about billing and had to talk to three different people over a few days, probably adding up to a couple of hours of time. The first one told us wildly different things than the last two. But the final person seemed to know what was going on and could explain it satisfactorily.

4. Timothy wanting to show us his adventures. Timothy and his parents went to the aquarium in Chattanooga, and then he and his dad did some dam-building scenarios with sand and magnet blocks on their back patio. Jason put pictures from his phone up on the big screen via the Apple TV to show us. I loved hearing Timothy say, “Show them the one about. . . “

5. Cookie mix. I got a little package of peanut butter cookie mix, I think made by Betty Crocker, and added some chocolate and peanut butter chips to it. The mix only made a dozen cookies, which was good for just the two of us. It was nice to satisfy a hankering for a little something sweet without all the to-do of baking them from scratch.

Bonus: A picture that made me smile. Jim took this picture from the kitchen window of life imitating art–a bunny on the window sill and in the back yard.

Bunnies

How about you? Any blessings from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

Another week goes by with a whoosh. I’m thankful Susanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts this weekly pause to stop and count our blessings. Here are a few of mine:

1. Timothy’s birthday!

His mom made this amazing Minecraft gluten-free Oreo cheesecake for his birthday.

We met them for lunch at Timothy’s favorite pizza place, then went to their house for a birthday dinner of fish tacos. All in all, I think he had a nice day. πŸ™‚

2. Internet work in the area completed. We received texts on several different days that our Internet provider was doing updates in our area which might cause an interruption or loss of service. It wasn’t noticeable most of the days, but wouldn’t you know the biggest loss of service occurred the morning I had a Zoom call. I was able to tie my iPad into the hot spot on my phone, and everything went well. We finally received a text that they were done.

3. Rummaging through old cards and mementos. I was looking for a particular picture that I had taken out of a photo album and then hadn’t put back in the right place (a bad habit that I am striving not to do any more!) I thought for sure I had used it on my computer or Facebook, but could not find it in on any digital formats. I checked the photo albums it could have come from, and it wasn’t there. I had a couple of boxes with old cards and letters with a few photos and looked through them. I didn’t find the picture I wanted there, but I had fun looking through everything else in the box. I didn’t let myself open every card and note—I didn’t have that kind of time. But I found a few treasures. And I did get them organized into groups from each recipient. (What do you do with old cards?)

4. Finally finding the picture I was looking for in time to use it in yesterday’s post. πŸ™‚ I had a copy of it in a scrapbook I had made for Jason when he graduated from high school.

5. Swiss Ham Ring-Around, one of our must-have dishes using leftover ham from Easter.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

It seems like April just got here, and now it’s half over. The days fly so fast, I am grateful for a weekly time to stop and think about favorite parts of the week before they fade out of memory. Susanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts us every Friday.

1. Easter, of course, has to be #1 this week, remembering Jesus’ death for us and the hope of the resurrection. I made an Easter playlist on my phone that I enjoyed listening to while getting ready in the morning. Church was really good. We had an Easter feast, then an egg hunt, then ate some delicious spice cake Mittu had made.

2. Family weekend. It’s not unusual for us to get together some time over the weekend. But last weekend, Jason and Mittu had us over for an impromptu dinner Friday, then came over here for hot dogs Saturday, as well as Easter festivities Sunday.

3. Dogwoods are blooming all over town. So pretty.

Pink dogwoods in our back yard
White dogwoods lining a road in the neighborhood.

4. An Amazon gift card won at Susan’s place.

5. Time with Timothy. Jason and Mittu asked us to watch Timothy last night. They brought over dinner and some pretty pink tulips. After they left, we watched some dam videos Timothy wanted to show us (it’s amazing how much he knows about dams), played checkers, talked, and watched a few episode of Bluey.

How was your week? Hope it was a good one.

Friday’s Fave Five

I feel like a lot of this week has been lost in a fog. I’ve been battling intermittent headaches since Tuesday. The first day was the worst, so hopefully this will fade out soon. I almost wonder if it’s viral, since Jim had a headache Saturday night and Sunday and Mittu had one Sunday.

Even still, there are blessings scattered throughout our days. I’m sharing a few with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story.

1. The annual Chalk Walk. I’ve wanted to attend this for years, but somehow we always missed it until now. It’s a day when people are invited to do chalk drawings on Market Square downtown. I’m not sure how it works–they have to sign up ahead of time and are assigned a number, and people can vote for their favorites. There are prizes in several categories, but I am not sure what they were. Some squares were done by professional artists, some just for fun, some by children. Here are a few I got pictures of:

This gives you an idea how big the squares were.

Some, like this one, took up two squares.

In all honesty, the event wasn’t quite as epic as I expected. It was incredibly crowded. We went in the later afternoon, when most of the artists would be done or nearly so. But I guess a lot of people had the same idea. πŸ™‚ Downtown Knoxville isn’t usually hard to navigate–nowhere near as bad as Atlanta–but with this and some other events going on, it took forever to get in and out of the parking garage.

Still, I was glad I finally got to attend. I don’t know if we will next year. We wondered whether enough of the drawings would still be visible the next day–we might be able to stroll around at more leisure then.

Jason, Mittu, and Timothy had gone with us to the chalk drawings. They’re more familiar with the downtown area than we are and recommended going for a late lunch/early dinner at Maple Hall. It’s a bowling alley in an old building, but they also serve great food, and most of the crowd would probably be going to other restaurants. That turned out to be true–the place was not crowded, though it was loud. Their turkey club sandwich was wonderful.

Then we went to a nearby chocolate shop for some take-home sweets. When Jim and I got home, we crashed on the couch and dozed off.

2. Another serendipitous coupon. I got a notice that I received a $3 coupon for a Kindle book due to their rewards program right when I was considering a book for $2.99.

3. Intersections of reading. I’m in Philippians, and a few days ago read in chapter 2 to “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (verse 5) and some of the surrounding verses about unity and humility. I’m using Wiersbe’s commentary, Be Joyful (Philippians): Even When Things Go Wrong, You Can Have Joy. A couple of days later, I started reading Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson. Her introductory pages mentioned the same passage. A couple of days later, I turned on BBN Radio while puttering in the kitchen, and Chuck Swindoll was discussing the same passage. Then a few friends from a church we attended when we were first married posted a sermon by the pastor there, so I listened to it–and he discussed the same passage.

Do you think maybe God wants me to hone in on this passage? πŸ™‚

4. Another Crumbl cookie. They change their menu every week, only offering six choices at a time. This week they had a glazed oatmeal cookie that was incredible.

5. My thoughtful husband got dinner out for us the day my headache was the worst.

So it was not a bad week, even though I wasn’t operating on all cylinders most of it.

Most of all this week, I am thankful that we celebrate Jesus’ death for our sins and His resurrection on Sunday. Happy Easter to you and yours.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s been a fairly low-key week here, which I love. Weeks with big occasions are fun sometimes, but I need quiet ones in-between. And even in quiet weeks, blessings are scattered around if we stop to look. Here are a few of mine. I’m sharing with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story.

1. Catching-up messages. One of my oldest friends, the maid of honor at my wedding, whose family I called my second family, messaged me one day last week for some information. That led to several messages back and forth. I enjoyed catching up with her.

2. Lunch with a newer friend, although Melanie and I have been friends for several years now, online at first, and then in person when she moved to Knoxville. We went to Cracker Barrel, always a favorite spot.

3. Letters from Timothy. He’s learning how to write letters in school and sent one to both his granddad and me individually. Not only are those letters treasures in themselves, but they reminded me of how much I enjoyed sending and receiving letters to my grandmother when I was a child.

4. Restaurant coupons. Domino’s had their pizzas half-price last weekend, plus I had enough reward points for a free one. Then later in the week, we got coupons from Subway in the mail and indulged in a free foot-long sub with the purchase of another (we always cut them in half to save for lunch the next day).

5. Something fun. I play Words with Friends with my sisters and another friend on my iPad mini. Each week the app has optional solo games you can play for tokens that can be used to exchange tiles without skipping a turn and other such things. The solo games are usually grouped around a theme, with some of the app players named for historical figures or made-up ones. Last week the category was Irish authors (I assume due to St. Patrick’s Day), with one of the players being C. S. Lewis. It was fun to seem like I was playing against one of my favorite writers (and I did beat him. πŸ™‚ ).

How was your last week of March?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s been another up-and-down week, weather-wise. We’ve had lows in the 20s and highs in the 70s. Thankfully the rain didn’t come the same nights as the hard freeze warnings.

Everything else has been more even, thankfully. Some of us enjoy pausing on Fridays with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story to reflect on the blessings of the week, lest they slip from memory too soon.

1. Belated Pi Day. Since Jim was away and I was busy on March 14 (3.14, or pi), we missed “Pie Day.” But later in the week, Mittu made quiche for dinner and a chocolate pie with pretzel crust for dessert. That met my craving for both pie and quiche!

2. Stretches. It seems like all my muscles are tightening up lately. I searched YouTube for “senior stretches” and tried out a few. They seemed to help. I also saw some other exercises I might try. I have some walking DVDs with Lesley Sansone, but I’ve used them so much I know exactly what she’s going to say. Even if I turn off the sound and listen to other music or an audiobook, I am just mind-numbingly bored. So trying different short exercise videos on YouTube might help with that.

3. Sunday lunch with the family. We picked up some whole pork loin on sale, and Jim put it in a teriyaki marinade in his sous vide cooker that Jeremy had made him, then finished it off on the grill. All our local kids were free to come over and eat with us.

4. A good Sunday. Jason Mittu, and Timothy came with us to the church we’re currently visiting; not only did I know all the songs, but they were some of my favorites; the sermon was really good; we had lunch with the family; and then I had a long nap when everyone left. Jim and I puttered around the kitchen for something to eat (which we usually do on Sunday nights) and then watched America’s Funniest Home Videos. It was just a really nice day all around.

5. A good critique group session. This week was my turn to present something. I sent in my “problem chapter” that’s been stalling my work so far. Even though I’ve spent more time on it than the other chapters, it still wasn’t coming together. I was able to pour a lot of time in it the week before, and after earnest prayer, tried some changes. The group didn’t think it was terrible, so that was encouraging. πŸ™‚ They gave me some great feedback and further ideas to shape it up better.

If you’re an aspiring writer, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to find or form a critique group!

And that’s it for a good week overall. How was yours?