Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It must be Thanksgiving after-effects: I fell asleep in my desk chair early this morning and napped much longer than intended! But here are some favorites from this week:

1. Supplies. It seems like every grocery store online order or visit results in several unavailable items, necessitating a visit to another store to fill in. But we’ve not lacked anything major, even if it takes more effort and time to find supplies.

2. Thanksgiving Day, of course, with feasting and time with family.

3. A successful pie crust. I may have made pie crusts from scratch in early married life, but then switched to either frozen or, more recently, the Pillsbury refrigerated ones. Since my daughter-in-law and grandson have developed gluten intolerance, we’ve used frozen GF crusts, but they’re not very good. Sometimes they’ve bought fresh-made ones from a GF bakery, but the prices have gone up and they’re a distance away. So this year I tried a pie crust mix made by King Arthur flour. I didn’t roll the dough out—I just pressed it into the pie pan with my fingers. It held up well, and most important, tasted good.

4. Thanksgiving place mats. These were cute and entertaining. I set them around the table before everyone got here along with some crayons. Different ones gathered to color, solve puzzles, place stickers, etc., while we talked and prepared the meal.

5. A Thanksgiving tree. I did this a couple of years ago. Then I didn’t last year, and a couple of people mentioned missing it. So it made a return visit this year. 🙂 I taped several sheets of brown card stock together and then cut out a tree trunk and taped it to the pantry door. Then I used the cut-off portions for branches. I set out a package of leaf cut-outs from Hobby Lobby along with masking tape and a marker, and added a few leaves to start everyone off. Throughout the day, people would write or draw things they were thankful for and tape them up. It was fun.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Tomorrow we’ll be 2/3 of the way through November. It’s going fast! Here are some highlights of the week:

1. Thanksgiving turkey. We had heard that some Thanksgiving dinner supplies might be hard to come by. So I was trying to decide whether to go ahead and get a turkey, paying more than usual, or wait for the sale prices that usually come up the week or so before Thanksgiving. I saw an ad for turkey for $.98 a pound, and figured that was as good a price as I’d probably get this year. But when I went to the store, they had a couple of different brands of turkey for $.49 a pound. I got most of the other supplies for the meal feast while I was at it, so I am thankful to be pretty much ready.

2. Ladies Bible study. We’d had to meet via Zoom last month as COVID was running through the church. And it seems like I missed a time or two before that for various reasons. It was good to meet together. We discussed Romans 12-13, a very rich and full passage.

3. Christmas cookies. Mittu asked if we could do our Christmas cookie baking and decorating early this year, since December is often so busy. She brought over zucchini boats for dinner and sugar cookie dough. I had the equipment, icing, and sprinkles. It was a fun time.

Jason’s creations looked the best!

4. Getting my hair cut. My hair gets to a certain length and then just does not cooperate any more. For once, I made a point to get it cut before I got frustrated with it. I wanted to go a bit shorter than usual—and ended up with it quite a bit shorter than I had in mind. But it will grow out.

5. Warmth. It seems like we’ve had a short autumn and have jumped right into winter. We’re supposed to get down in the 20s most of the next several nights. I’m thankful for home heat at the touch of a button, decaf coffee, sweaters, throw blankets, and fingerless gloves so I can still type with them on.

I hope you’ve had a good week as well!

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Can you believe we’re more than 1/3 of the way through November already?

This has been kind of a strange week. By Thursday afternoon, I didn’t have anything in mind for today’s FFF. But that’s one reason I love this exercise: when I stop to consider, there are always blessings. Some might be overlooked if we don’t pause and think.

1. Veteran’s Day. I’m abundantly grateful for those who served our country and defended our freedoms and those who still do so today.

2. Finding a recorded program. I caught part of Elisabeth Elliot’s Gateway to Joy radio program while driving on Wednesday. BBN Radio plays her old radio programs at 11:15 a.m. weekday mornings. One thing she said really struck me, and I don’t remember hearing her say it before. The foundation that set up her web site has included many of her talks and writings, so I searched there, but couldn’t find the one I was looking for. Finally I looked up the program on BBN, and discovered they have the audio of her programs for the current week on their site. I was so glad I got to hear what she said again, and in context this time. (The episode was titled Reflections of a Granny #3: The Secret of Tranquility.)

3. Recording apps.Since the above-mentioned program was only going to be online this week, I wanted to record it in case I wanted to listen to it again later. I found a recording app in the app store and figured out how to use it.

4. Lunch with a friend. It had been a long time since we’d met for lunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed catching up.

5. Timothy seeking me out. I try not to spend time off in the kitchen when the family’s here, and everyone is good to pitch in and help when we eat together. But sometimes when I’m in the kitchen tending to something, Timothy will come in and see how I am doing or tell me something about his day. That touches my heart so much.

Bonus: I used to go fancy for holiday celebrations. The last few years, we’ve decided to simplify and decrease the work load. Many places have pretty and inexpensive holiday paper plates. I had found dessert paper plates and napkins for Thanksgiving at one store, but there were no dinner-sized plates. Then, when Jason and Mittu came over, they brought some dinner-sized Thanksgiving paper plates, but said their store didn’t have the smaller dessert plates. It was neat how it worked out.

Hope you’ve had a good week!

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It feels like we had a short autumn and dived right into winter, with nights in the 30s and days in the 40s. But I’m hoping fall isn’t done yet.

Here are some favorites from this week:

1. Family costume party. My son and daughter-in-law used to take my grandson trick-or-treating in public places like the zoo or mall. But then Covid came, and this year and last we got together as a family and dressed up in costumes. Here’s this year’s array:

We have Captain America, a cute fox, a mini Darth Vader, a pirate, a . . . he was going for a Mandalorian storm trooper, and Cyclops.

Pirates had grandmas, too, right? 🙂 I gave Timothy my pirate accoutrements after we got done.

2. Tilapia. I’ve only had it twice, and my daughter-in-law made it both times. Good stuff.

3. Fall color has finally come in the neighborhood trees. So pretty.

4. Light kitchen duty. Jim had a company dinner to go to one night and was out of town for two evenings. I made frozen pizza the first night he was away, got take-out Mexican food the second night, and Jason and Mittu brought hamburger pie over the third. Now that I think about it, I didn’t make dinners over the weekend, either: we had the tilapia with the family one night and got fast food Friday night and Sunday lunch. So I probably better come up with something good for dinner tonight, huh? On a side note, it’s amazing how many dishes get dirty even without making dinner and with using paper plates.

5. A party at Grandma’s house. Mittu texted me a conversation with Timothy. She mentioned that Granddad was on a work trip. Timothy said, “So we’re having a party at their house tonight?” Mittu commented, “Glad we have a child that thinks visiting Grandma by herself is a party.” Me, too.

Happy Friday? What’s something good from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

October is almost over. It seems like it has been a long month in some ways but has flown by in others. On Fridays I stop for a moment to remember the good things of the week lest I forget them in the blur of passing time.

1. A family outing. With various ones of us being sick and our traveling before that, it had been about three weeks since we had all been together as a family (those of us who are local). That’s a rarity for us. So it felt good in a number of ways to have an outing Saturday. It was good to be together and do something fun and get out. We visited the Pinta, a life-sized replica of Christopher Columbus’s ship (I wrote more about it here.)

Then we went out to eat, another thing we hadn’t done in a long time.

2. Grilled burgers. My husband had stopped at the store for me Saturday morning and noticed ground chuck was on sale. So he bought some and grilled hamburgers for us for Sunday lunch, then invited the kids for burgers Sunday evening. So we had a second family get-together last weekend.

3. My husband not only grilled twice on Sunday, but he loaded and ran the dishwasher, unloaded it, and reloaded it all in one day. He regularly cleans up the kitchen after Sunday morning breakfast while I get ready for church, and I appreciate that so much. But it was also a joy to come into the kitchen after dinner and find everything done.

4. A radio interview. I mentioned this unexpected opportunity last week. Thanks so much to those who prayed. It went well, and I felt God gave me the words to say. Some of you mentioned you’d like to hear it. My oldest son recorded it and made a link to it it here, if you’d like to listen.

5. Dinner and company. Jim had to go out of town overnight Wednesday, and Jason and Mittu offered to bring over some Mexican food for dinner. Then last night, Jesse brought over some peanut butter cake, the first cake he ever made from scratch.

Thus ends another week, and almost another month. I hope your October is wrapping up well.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s hard to believe we only have a week left in October. I enjoy these pauses every week to stop and reflect. They help time not to pass by in such a blur that we miss seeing God’s hand. Here are a few favorites from my week:

1. Feeling better. After being sick all week, I had a great Saturday. Then I had a horrible Sunday with head and body aches. I’m much better now. Jim still has a lingering cough from last week that’s plaguing him, but otherwise feels better.

2. Fall decorations. We finally had a day when we both felt like dealing with them–Jim getting the boxes up and down from the attic for me, and me placing them.

3. Sunday dinner with Jesse. I mentioned last week that we felt a little isolated, because we were trying not to share whatever illness we had. It felt almost like the beginning of the pandemic. Jesse asked to come over for dinner and a haircut, and since had been, was still a little sick, we felt it was okay to be together. It felt good to see him in person.

4. A cute new purse. I had not been able to find anything at my usual stores for months, so I looked on Amazon. This is a smidgen smaller than I usually have, but I think it will work okay.

5. Multi-tasking. A writer’s group I considered but decided not to join will still send me free videos sometimes. This week they had a series each weekday, but they were only accessible that week day–unless I wanted to pay $67 for lifetime access! No, thank you. When I wasn’t feeling well at the beginning of the week, I gave myself permission to just sit and listen. But I was too antsy to do that later in the week, so transferred stuff from my old purse to my new one and cleaned out files and old catalogs while I listened.

Bonus: an opportunity. Since some of you are only here for FFF, I wanted to mention something I shared earlier: I was invited to a radio interview next week, October 26, at 8:10 a.m. EDT. More information is here. It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking! I’d appreciate your prayers.

Hope you’ve had a great week!

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Is it Friday again already? This week has been a blur. Jim has been sick for around two weeks now, and I’ve been sick this week. We think it’s just a cold or maybe flu–we haven’t had the hallmark COVID symptoms of lack of smell or taste or trouble breathing. Still, it’s packed quite a wallop.

But there are always good things in a week, even when we have to look a little harder for them.

1. Soup and cookies. My son and daughter-in-law dropped off some chicken vegetable soup and peanut butter M&M cookies. Though she frequently makes meals for the family, it especially meant a lot this week when I had less energy.

2. Seeing our kids in person. We hadn’t seen them in a while, due to traveling for a memorial service and then being sick. We’ve Face-timed a couple of times, and though I enjoy that, I missed seeing them in person. When they dropped off the soup, we visited out in the front yard for a bit—like early pandemic days.

3. Naps. I can’t take decongestants due to heart rhythm issues, so I muddle through with cough drops, acetaminophen, and sleep. I’ve been letting myself doze off whenever the urge strikes.

4. Zoom services. Our church has kept the Zoom option open even when they resumed services. It’s been a help for those who are home sick or those who need to keep isolating due to heath issues. We’ve had four people in our small church test positive for COVID recently, so we’ve gone back to only using Zoom for a while. I’m glad that option is available. It’s more interactive for a small group than just using Facebook Live or YouTube, though I am thankful for those as well.

5. Jeopardy and AFV. America’s Funniest Home Videos just started their new season, and I am grateful for the laughs. And you may have heard of Matt Amodio’s 38-game winning streak that just came to an end. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, and I really enjoyed watching him play.

How was your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

I was so sorry to miss FFF last week. We were out of town for a memorial service. I took my laptop, thinking I’d be able to put together a post Thursday evening. But we arrived later than planned and went straight to bed.

Here are some blessings from the last couple of weeks.

1. Our short trip to OH. Jim’s former pastor from ID, the father of his best friend, passed away the week before. He was in his 90s and had been declining, so his passing was not unexpected. But it’s still not easy. The whole family is like a second family to Jim. He said he wouldn’t go to many funerals these days during a pandemic, but he would go to that one. I wasn’t sure about going at first, because I just don’t travel well. But I am so glad I did. Everything went well with safety on the roads. God gave me remarkable calmness. We had hoped to have time to visit with the family, and we did: we were able to eat lunch with them and then go to Jim’s friend’s house for a few hours after the service. It was like a family reunion in many respects. The service was a blessing—though we were sorry to lose this dear man, it was sweet to hear more about his testimony and life and to hear from each of his five grown children as well as a number of people he influenced. I shared more about it in Thoughts From a Memorial Service.

2. First night in the RV. Jim had heard that Wal-Marts will let RVs park overnight in their parking areas. He called ahead to the one where we’d be staying to make sure, and they told us where to park. I thought it would be noisy, but it wasn’t. The bed was pretty comfortable, though it was a challenge to get in it. 🙂 The shower—well, I wouldn’t want to use it often, but it was okay. The only meal we cooked was breakfast, but we had taken other food just in case. It was nice to have the bathroom with us everywhere we went. 🙂 And it turned out to be helpful in carting some of the floral arrangements (one of which was a tree) back to our friend’s house (a few were left for the church’s Sunday service).

3. Good doctors’ visits. I saw the cardiologist’s nurse practitioner rather than the doctor. I was a little miffed at that at first, but I guess that means I am doing well enough that he didn’t feel the need to see me. And I do like the NP. She said she really liked this kind of visit as well, with no problems to report since last time. I also had my yearly physical, and all my numbers were good. (Does it seem like physicals these days mainly just involve talking about lab work and have very little actual physical examination?)

4. Dinner and games with the family. The weekend before the trip, my son and daughter-in-law had us over for chili and cornbread and games.

5. Low carb tortillas. I had mentioned a few weeks ago that we were trying to lower (not necessarily eliminate) carbs. It’s been helpful–my husband had his physical this week, too, and his blood sugar levels have been back in good range, and he’s lost 30 lbs. I found some low carb tortillas at the store recently that were only 50 calories each. They tasted fine and worked well in a couple of recipes.

How was your week? I hope you’ve seen God’s hand of blessing in large and small ways.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

As another week zooms by, I enjoy these Friday pauses to stop, think, and thank God for His provisions.

1. Dinner and SpaceX viewing.Timothy and Granddad planned to go fishing last Saturday, but plans got canceled for a variety of reasons. But he wanted to “hang out” with us, so later in the day Jason and Mittu brought over rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes. I have not kept up with the SpaceX flights, but Jason has. They were due to splash down that evening, so we watched the coverage. It was a fun time with the family.

2. The first day of fall came right on time with cooler temperatures.

3. Low carb experiments. We’re trying to lower our carbs–my husband’s blood sugar numbers were running a bit too high, and we could both stand to drop some calories. Frozen riced cauliflower has been a good substitute for rice in soups, stir fry, and even as a side dish with pepper steak. It didn’t work so well in a casserole–it doesn’t absorb liquid like rice does, so the dish was a little soupy. We may add more next time or use half rice, half riced cauliflower.

We had tried frozen pizza with a cauliflower-based crust in the past and didn’t care for it at all. And not having pizza is not an option unless we’re at death’s door. 🙂 But we tried thin crust pizza the last couple of times. Jim prefers pan pizza, but he said the thin crust didn’t raise his blood sugar significantly. I’m a carnivore, and the thinner crust seems to bring out the other flavors better to me. (I’d love to hear any other low carb tips and tricks you have, other than just eat more salad.)

4. Restoring order. My utensil drawers in the kitchen had gotten jumbled up, so I spent a few minutes taking items out, putting like things back together, and cleaning out crumbs that mysteriously gather in drawers that are mostly closed. It’s an oddly peaceful thing to do, and opening those drawers now brings a smile of satisfaction rather than frustration over not being able to find what I need.

5. Preorders of books can be often be had for a cheaper price than what the book will be upon publication. I just found out here yesterday that Christmas in Mistletoe Square is available at $1.49 as a preorder. I’ve only read one of the four authors listed, so I hope it’s good. But $1.49 isn’t a bad risk. 🙂

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

In contrast to last week’s quietness, this week has been pretty busy. Here are some highlights:

1. Grandparents’ Day. We had planned to get together with the family on Sunday. But two people in our church and three at Jason’s place of work tested positive for COVID this week. Just to be extra safe, we decided we should put off getting together. (The adults are vaccinated, but vaccinations aren’t 100% effective. Plus one can carry the virus even if not sick personally. And Timothy has not been vaccinated–and kids can get COVID.) Jason, Mittu, and Timothy dropped off a wonderful meal (ribs, potatoes, green beans, rolls, and cheesecake), plus pink roses for me and beef jerky for Jim.

2. Granddad book. Also for Grandparent’s Day, Jason, Mittu, and Timothy gave me a throw blanket for the living room to replace the one I’ve been using, which is so old the threads are starting to break off. They gave Jim the cutest book called Why My Granddad Is My Super Hero. Each page had a prompt for Timothy to fill in.

3. Jesse’s birthday. Love celebrating the family’s special days.

4. Cake reclamation. Jesse wanted this Lemon Blueberry Cake, which Mittu had made back for his “10,000th day” celebration. Cakes are not my best thing, especially from scratch. And replacing the regular flour with a gluten-free blend doesn’t always go well. But I gave it a try. To make a long story short, it did not go well. There were tears. I didn’t take a picture of it at its worst, but, once I stopped crying about it, we all had a good laugh. My dear daughter-in-law did a wonderful job redeeming it and even making it look cute–and it ended up tasting good, too.

To give you a clue of just one of the MANY things that went wrong in the course of making this cake . . .

. . .when I went to mix the wet stuff with the dry, I dropped the wet stuff bowl, and it splattered.

I so appreciated that Jim, Mittu, and Timothy pitched in to help clean up the kitchen, and Jim did some straightening around the house I hadn’t been able to get to before everyone came over.

5. Cake strips. One thing that did go right! The blogger with the cake recipe recommended cake strips, which you wet and put around the cake pan. Normally my cakes end up thin around the edges and domed in the middle. Evidently that’s because the outside edge cooks more quickly, and the cake strips help avoid that. They worked great! But I’ll share this tip: I bought the kind he recommended from Amazon, but then later I saw them for half the price in Wal-Mart’s craft section.

And a bonus: today there’s nothing on the agenda and nothing that absolutely has to be done, so I’ve already had a nap and am looking forward to some rest.

How was your week?