Friday, November 30, 2012

What I want my Nieces and Nephews to Know.

I am blessed to have some really awesome nieces (including a great-niece) and nephews.  They range in age from adults to young children.  There are a few things I want them to know:

1.  Uncle Jeff and I are so proud of you all and love you so much!
2.  We have been and will always be some of your biggest cheerleaders and supporters.
3.  Our home and arms are wide open to you at all times.  We love spending time with you.
4.  Every single one of you is so special to us and we count ourselves blessed to have you in our lives.
5.  We are excited for all the future holds for you.  Each one of you has many unique gifts to share with the world.
6.  There will be hard times in your lives and life will not always seem fair.  We will be here to help you through them.
7.  If you need us, let us know.  I don't care what time of day or night it is, we love you and will be there for you.
8.  You are covered in prayer.
9.  We do think you are all amazing people!
10. Again, because we never want you to forget this...we love you! :)

Much love, Auntie Debbie       

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beautyrest Memory Foam Topper Review

My husband and I both have back problems and had been planning on buying a new bed soon.  We were debating on a memory foam bed or one of the Sleep Number beds.  Upon pricing them out we decided that we just could not swing either one.  Plan B then came into play. 

On Black Friday I noticed a huge price drop at Walmart for the Beautyrest 2" Gel Fusion Memory Foam TopperAt a little under $30 we thought it was worth a try.  We put it on our Queen sized bed and then made the bed up as usual.

The first night, I noticed a big difference for me.  I slept better and did not wake up as sore.  I was also coming down with a cold at this time and I usually do not sleep well at all when I am sick.  I actually slept through the night.  My husband also slept better (he was also sick with a cold) and his back was not as sore when he woke up.  The following nights I found that continued to sleep well and actually started to wake up pain free and noticed that my husband's back was doing much better.  He has a job that is really hard on his back so this is a huge blessing.  One of the things that I had worried about was that the topper would be too hot.  I have not found that to be the case.  It is really comfortable.  I also worried that there might be a strong chemical smell to the topper.  We did not experience that at all.  Overall, I am very pleased so far with it.  It will be interesting to see how it holds up over time.

This was not a paid review...we were just very impressed with the product.  We bought it with our own money and were not given it to try out by the company. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Plan to Survive and Actually Enjoy the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is now a fond memory and the Christmas countdown has begun.  In years past I have been so stressed out by the time Christmas actually arrived so this year I am making it my goal to slow down, prioritize and to simplify.  

This year is very special to us all because it is the first Christmas for us being grandparents. :)  It has been such a joy to watch our grandson marvel at the holiday decorations and to see his smiles and hear his giggles.  He brings back the wonder of Christmas to us all!

Jeff and I started our Christmas shopping right after Christmas last year and have been planning out what to give or do for those precious people in our lives.  All through the year, when we have seen something that we know someone on our "list" would like, we have picked it up and put it away for them.  Another thing we have done is stocked up on baking and candy making supplies and pretty containers to package our homemade and delicious gifts in.  I love to both give and receive homemade goodies at Christmas and have found that the years that I have not given out my "signature" Christmas breads, people have missed them.  This year I need to make sure to take the time to make them and to get them out to those that appreciate them the most.

The other huge priority for me this year is to focus on relationships.  This year, probably more than any other, has made me so much more aware of how precious my friends and family are to me.  It has been a year where we have been blessed to add a grandson and new daughter to our family while at the same time gone through some things as a family that have shaken us to the core.  Some of these things have drawn us closer and helped us to reconnect with family and friends and sadly, these same things that should have made us all come together, have caused some division and hurt feelings.  Try and hope as we might, we cannot "fix" things unless everyone is ready and willing to try.  My prayer is that hearts will be softened and healing can occur during this special time of the year.  Until then, I am going to try and focus on those relationships that mean the most to me and enjoy all the wonder that this season brings. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Baby it's Cold Outside

It's that time of year when everyone in the family gathers near the pellet stove and snuggles up for the evening.  Daisy cozies into her spot on her daddy's lap, happy to stretch out on his lap and legs and his soft fleece University of Idaho pajama pants.  I think they both enjoy sharing the warmth. Can you feel the love that they have for one another? :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

So Thankful!

Thanksgiving is coming up and I have so much to be thankful for starting with my silly grandson Bradley!  How can you have a bad day when little Mr. Goofball makes faces like this at you? 

I thought I would make a list of some of the many things that I am thankful for, number one being Bradley in the picture above. ;)  Yes, I am a very proud and blessed Grammie.

~being married to a truly wonderful man who works so hard for our family and has sacrificed so much for us
~for all the years that we were able to homeschool our boys and that our children were able to learn at their own pace and pursue their own interests
~for my sons and my daughters (in-law), I am so proud of all of them and love them so very much
 ~for Jeff and I still having our parents when so many of my friends have sadly had to say goodbye to theirs, and yes, I realize what a gift this is
~for a warm and cozy home with low mortgage payments that has allowed us to do things we otherwise would not have been able to afford to do
~for cloudy and gray days because they make me appreciate the sunny ones all that much more
~for thrift stores, garage sales and other bargain hunter outlets
~my gardens that provide us with beautiful flowers, fruit and veggies to enjoy
~our hot tub that was gifted to us by Jeff's boss, we have enjoyed it so much and so have our children and their friends
~our hanai kids who are scattered all over the world and whom we love dearly
~friends and family that enrich our lives with their love, laughter and caring hearts

I pray that you all have a lovely week leading up to Thanksgiving and are able to celebrate with those you cherish most.  Be blessed!       


Friday, November 9, 2012

Frugal Friday Soup

   One of my favorite things to make on cold days is homemade soup.  There is just something so comforting about a steaming bowl of soup that warms and nourishes not only your body but your soul and warms you up from the inside out.
   Last night I made a venison roast in a red wine and Montreal Steak Seasonings marinade.  Today the leftovers of that roast, along with the marinade were transformed into a lovely soup.  This is one of those "throw together whatever sounds good" kind of soups.  Today I started with beef broth and added a package of frozen vegetables that had been sitting in the freezer for awhile.  Once that was boiling about 2 cups of quick cooking barley were added to the mix.  While that simmered away I added the broth from the roast and then cut up the leftover roast into smaller cubes and added that to the mix.  After taste testing, I realized it needed something else so I added half of a leftover diced beefsteak tomato. All this simmered away for an additional 10 minutes and lunch was ready.
   I love meals like this.  Since I made a large pot full, some will be eaten today and the rest will be divided up into meal sized portions for 2 and added to my "frozen soup basket" that I keep in the freezer.  I love having a variety of homemade frozen soups on hand at all times.  At the moment I have homemade chicken and turkey noodle, split pea and a hamburger vegetable soup in there so this will be an nice addition and provide more choices for us.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Welcome Changes Are Coming

   Today we had above normal temperatures.  It was one of those rare warm Fall days that you treasure before the big change comes.  I woke up to sunny skies with a nice breeze blowing so I took advantage of it to do some laundry and hang it out on the line to dry.  One of the loads was mainly my warm winter pajamas.  I wanted them to all be freshly washed and air dried before I wore them to bed.  There is nothing like the smell of air dried  sheets and pajamas to help me sleep well. :)  I also spent some time in the garden taking out the tomato cages and getting them and the gardening tools cleaned up and put away for the season.
   By this afternoon, the clouds started rolling in along with the darkness.  We just set our clocks back this weekend and I am having a very hard time with it starting to get darker around 3:30 p.m..  Rain is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow and then the temperatures drop and we will get snow.  I am hoping my husband can finish the hot tub enclosure's roof tomorrow before the snows come.
    This time of year brings many changes in our lives.  It is a time of slowing down and cuddling in for the long and cold Fall and Winter months.  Teas, hot cocoa, hot cider and coffee become our drinks of choice to warm us up from the inside out.  Hearty stews, casseroles, and soups served with homemade breads, biscuits and rolls are now on the menu once again.  Warm sweaters, scarves and gloves are pulled out, washed and ready to be worn to keep us from getting cold when we venture outside.  Soft and cozy throws are on the couches to cuddle under.  Our flannel sheets make their appearance on our beds along with extra quilts and blankets.  It is a time of year where we pull out our favorite old movies and settle in to watch them while munching on old fashioned, popped on the stove, popcorn.
   I always look forward to this time of year but am finding that this year I sorely need it.  Our Spring and Summer was so hectic and it seemed to have just flown byWe need this slower season to stop and catch our breath once again.  I'm looking forward to the slower pace and to the upcoming family holidays spent with the ones I love.  I am also planning on NOT making too many outside commitments during this season.  My husband and I need and welcome this change.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thoughts on Hurricane Sandy and its Aftermath

I have been glued to the news and weather channel watching Hurricane Sandy and the horrible damage and loss of lives that was done.  My heart and prayers go out to everyone that has suffered a loss of any sort but especially to those who lost loved ones.

Two things struck me through all of this.  The first is that despite the mandatory evacuation orders for some of the areas, some people decided to stay and "ride it out".   It really angered me to see how rescue workers and other ordinary citizens had to risk their own lives to try and save people who blatantly and selfishly ignored the evacuation orders.  It was especially heartbreaking to see the children, who did not have a say in things, being brought out and who were clearly traumatized by the whole ordeal and thought they were going to die.  My question as a parent is this:  How can a parent not do everything possible to keep their kids safe?   How can they risk their children's lives?  Honestly, it made me want to have all those parents criminally charged.

The second thing that struck me was how people did pull together amid the devastation.  It seemed to me that there was such a huge contrast to what we saw after Katrina where people in New Orleans were looting stores and taking anything they could including electronics and demanding that the government take care of themWhat I have seen with Sandy are stores giving away food to people, people that have electricity setting out power strips inviting others with no power to charge their cell phones, hotels inviting people to come and use their wifi so that family and friends can be notified of what is going on and that their loved ones are safe.  I have seen people pulling together and trying to help one another while the local, state and federal government try to get the mess cleaned up and get help for those that need it. 

Maybe, just maybe, most people learned some important lessons after Katrina.