Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lately

1. Depression candy.  We've eaten so many batches of this stuff that I am actually too embarrassed to tell you about it.  OK...so 3 batches in 2 days.  The recipe is incredibly hard:

Lay saltine crackers, salt side down, in a large jelly roll pan. Melt 1 stick of butter.  Stir in 1 cup of brown sugar.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Pour over crackers.  Bake at 350 for 5 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with 1 package of chocolate chips.  Let melt for a few minutes and then smooth out with a spatula.  Refrigerate for a few minutes and then break into pieces, eating every piece that isn't perfectly shaped.

YUM.


2. Sunday morning cookie making with these two crazies.  The cookies were incredible, FYI.  

No. More. Sugar. Please.

3. This guy.  I like him SO much. 

4. This guy.  I like him, too.  He was home for 36 hours, though I saw him for 36 minutes.  It's ok...I'll take whatever I can get.

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5. Family dinner with our friends who are more family than friends.  Our families are so intertwined and the best part?  Our friends are now their friends and we have become this big fat greek (even though we're not greek) family and every single day I am thankful for them.  

The food.  Oh, the food.  OH, THE FOOD.

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6. Tis the season for christmas crackers and white elephants and cocktails and naps.

7.  It's cold in SoCal and once I get a chill, I just can't shake it.  I've resorted to (gulp) socks.  Yes, the flip flop girl has been wearing socks.  

Warm toes are a good thing.


Today brought coffee and costco and a roast loin of pork with fennel and then 5 hours working the basketball snack bar.  I'm home now and we're curled up watching the Family Stone, shopping online for a few last minute gifts for ourselves...mainly for an oven probe so I can cook some sort of massive piece of meat for Christmas.  

What today didn't bring?  Laundry, floor sweeping or house cleaning.  Tomorrow is a new day, right?

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Breathing


And just like that, we slowed down long enough to take a bunch of deep breaths.  Life has felt very fast lately; very full, too.  It's the season...not just the busy holiday season but also the season of our lives.  The middle part...the part where we work hard to keep our noses above water and laugh and play and shuttle boys to and fro.

I like this middle part of life.  

Even writing about life last weekend feels a bit crazy to me.  We've been busy...just last weekend there were 5 concerts, 2 parties, 2 basketball games and a partridge in a pear tree.

And actually, it's a crow in our neighborhood tree...and he crows all. day. long.

For reals.

All I want for Christmas is a bb gun.  And good aim.

The interesting thing about this season is that it doesn't feel rushed or overwhelming or stressful.  It feels...right.  We come home and grab what we need and head out and hope we're wearing the proper attire for whatever event we're going to.

I'm choosing this season to be present and to just roll with the punches.  I'm choosing to put my Jesus time first, to celebrate Him.  That baby being born?  Life changing.

The shopping, thanks to Amazon prime, is pretty much completed.  I didn't go overboard this year...in fact, just the opposite.  My boys are at the the ages where that flat green stuff is what they'd truly like so the amount of actual gifts bought was pretty minimal.  

But still...there will still be a few little things to open.

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And now...today.  Today things have slowed way down.  Last night that guy that I like so much and I bundled up and went to Disneyland.  I was a bit worried because parking was crazy but once in it wasn't so bad at all.  We had a quiet dinner at Naples and then just strolled both parks, watched the fireworks and magic snow and came home.

We were actually both pretty quiet...not the bad kind of quiet but the kind of quiet where we were both in our own thoughts but happy to be out together.  He's coming off a huge concert season and is now in Christmas prep and I'm still working this week so there are lots of things swirling around in both of our heads.

We needed quiet.  We needed to hold hands and walk and just be.  Just the two of us.


There are some errands to be run today...we need things like fabric softener and paper towels and string cheese which means we will be at our 2nd happiest place.  I actually get all a-fluttery when I think about Costco and can't wait to walk through those doors.

Other than that, while the tree is up it has no prettiness on it so that needs to be done.  Our little tree is so pretty this year that she almost doesn't need ornaments...wonder if anyone would notice?

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tis The Season

I've been quiet lately...on purpose.  In all honesty, I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Tis the season, I guess.


I have to say that there have been great moments of happy thrown in amongst the overwhelmedness.  Late night classic movies with that guy that I like so much in our little house on our little street.  I can't get enough of them...the costumes, the hair styles, the shoes, the glamour.  

Love.

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Another love?  My love for Vietnamese food has grown by leaps and bounds and we have so many great places all around us.  So many fresh veggies and rice noodles and the sauces are so yummy...add in the fact that the price is comparable to fast food?  

Win win.

I made some time to make some jewelry and it felt so good...Christmas music (loving Pentatonix!) playing, a quiet house and me and my hammer.  

I miss times of being able to create things but there just haven't been enough hours...but this week was a good reminder that I'm not ready to give up on it.  

I think this cutie needs a Christmas sweater.  Might have to make that happen.

Seriously....how did we ever live without a dog?  And please don't ask that guy that I like so much...his answer is most likely a bit different than mine.

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Homemade olives.

A moment of silence, please.

So early Monday morning I was out front with BuddytheDog (all one word) and it was cold.  We'd had a big, kinda crazy after concert party and there were some things left around my little house...a jacket thrown over a chair, a pair of socks, a fancy hair pin.

Normal, after party stuff.

I grabbed the (really cute and I'm totally going to steal this coat that was left at my house...I mean, you snooze, you lose!) jacket and threw it on over my pj's and was walking, barefoot, out front when my neighbor drove by on her way to work.  She stopped to say 'hi' and then said 'hey! That's my jacket!'

Caught red handed.  Bummer.

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The annual bible study brunch.  

These women bless me, pray for me, encourage me.  I'm thankful for each one of them.

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The rest of this week is full...and it's promising to be wet.  The storm of the decade is rolling through so I've stocked up on cookie making stuff and candles...not that we'll need the candles but then again, one always needs more candles.  In the midst of the busyness I am hoping for time to do some baking and maybe even some more classic movie watching. 

Next up?

White Christmas.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Made Me Laugh

This made me laugh.

Out loud.

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My day today?  Laundry, work, hike, cook a pot roast, sweep the floors, pay the registrations that are due for two cars, and watch silly youtube videos in between all that.

Happy Wednesday!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Concert Weekend


I'm coming away from this weekend with one main thought:

sleep.

I need more sleep.

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There were basketball games and errands and a house to kinda sorta clean and meals to plan and concerts to attend.  This past weekend was full...and fun.

My cousin and his wife came for the weekend to attend that guy that I like so much's concert.  After, in traditional Busch form, we threw open the doors and welcomed friends in and laughed the night away...and welcomed the wee hours of the morning.

Sleep?  Well...there wasn't a whole lot of it.

And then, just like that, last night was quiet.  I made a big pot of beef stew and after his 2nd concert (3 more next weekend!) that guy that I like so much came home and we celebrated with a bottle of bubbly.  As we were sitting at the table we heard jungle bells and noticed that Santa was walking outside our house, so we ran out to grab a selfie.

I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure this was not the real deal Santa...especially since I was old enough to be his mother.  In fact, Santa's voice had yet to change.

Just sayin'.

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This season?  It's good.  I'm a little anxious, but then I suppose Mary was at this time all those years ago, too.  I'm trying to embrace all that is being put before me...as a whole it looks overwhelming but when taken step by step it is more manageable and feels very doable.  

Fun even.  

One step at a time.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Finding Contentment

A few weeks ago I had lunch at a girlfriends new house that she and her husband designed and built from the ground up.

All 10,000 square feet of it.

Just a little house.

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Below?  Her front hallway.  No kidding. 


This house is a labor of love for them...they had it all, lost it all and then rebuilt it all.  I love stories like that.  She tells of stories of walking through ruins in Italy, hand picking every roof tile and fireplace (there's 8 of them) and of the wood beams that came from old barns in Wisconsin.

How. Cool. Is. That?

But as we lunched on the most amazing salad I have ever had, she talked of giving it all up for a relationship that she is longing for and it always amazes me that money really does not solve everything.

I always think that if my checking account balance were to hover a little bit over the poverty level that lots would be easier...not that life is hard but seriously, wouldn't a few extra dollars in the bank make it all better?

And then I look...and this is my Advent season right now, to see what I have.  I'm feeling stretched...almost to the breaking point with work and home and sports and worrying for my boy who lives away and for my other boy who is preparing for a big move and the college search (and how to pay for it) for my third boy and stressing about how to maintain relationships and I'm tired.

I'm just tired.


And so, in the rain late last night, that guy that I like so much and I grabbed our umbrellas and our dog and went for a long walk in the moonlight.  We've been doing that a lot lately and that time has become so precious to me...our little house on our little street is always bustling and sometimes the only way to experience quiet is to leave for a bit.

But it gives us a chance to talk and let's face it, I'm a girl and I'm surrounded by boys and I neeeeed to talk.

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We've been talking a lot about feeling content and the talks have come after being with so many others who are searching for that very thing.  Is there such a thing as being truly content?  Is it wrong to always wonder about the next best thing...about moving to a bigger house?  Or buying a new car?  Or traveling to that faraway land?

I don't have the answer but I do know that aside form my checking account balance, I like where we're at.  But I still wonder, too.

Oh yeah...in her underground garage there is a little Ferrari.  

Just a little one.

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A lot of it is just that time of year that it is...the season of giving and buying and spending and having a huge time crunch to get it all done.

So I'm dreaming.  Dreaming of baking cookies on a rainy day in my pj's while a really good movie is on the TV.

I also dream of having someone come and organize my house...of cleaning out my kitchen cabinets and pantry and linen closet.  

Now THAT would be a great gift.

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The rain has ended and boy, do we need more.  I'm sure it will come, but for now I am going to enjoy the sunny skies and get my errands done today because let's face it, a big Costco run in the rain is just not fun.  

There are concerts this weekend and parties and visitors who will want to eat and boys who want to eat and a dog and two cats who want to eat.

The organizing of cupboards and a pantry can wait...my excuse is that the sun is shining.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving in Southern California?

Sunny and fair.  

Gloriously sunny and fair.

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Cooking for a crowd is something I do on a regular basis so this meal is nothing new.  First up was a pot of Italian wedding soup that I left simmering on the back of the stove for whoever needed something to eat throughout the day.

I'd never done that before but it proved to be brilliant...I just kept pointing at the pot and no one went hungry, which meant no one annoyed me with 'when are we eating' questions all day long.  I'm so doing this every holiday from now on.

It was so pretty outside and I love any holiday where we can eat in the garden.  

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The food?

All the standards...though I did make the Pioneer Woman's sweet potatoes (with vanilla in them) and they were AMAZING.


The pilgrims and Indians?

(are we allowed to say Indians?)

The usual suspects, minus Matteo and add in Alex's girlfriend Emily.

These two were thankful for Walmart being open on Thanksgiving Day.  Where else do you go when you need a new football?  


We ventured out late morning on Black Friday...shopped a little, had some coffee, window shopped a lot.  

Window shopping was in our price range thanks to an unplanned set of tires on one of the boys cars.

Fun.

Not.

We did break out the holiday decor.  No tree yet...I think that will come next week, but I just love, love, love our little house on our little street all the time, but especially at Christmas time.  The outside looks like a  little gingerbread house...so pretty.

Do you spy our new couch?  

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And then?  A surprise party for our boy in the middle.  Somehow he decided to turn 21 and he hates to be the center of attention, which makes a surprise party all the more fun.

He has good friends.

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This felt like a true weekend...we hung out with our boys and ate good food and played with friends and saw a movie (Mockingjay...soo good!) and went to church all together.  Now the push is on...that guy that I like so much is now working every. single. day until Christmas, but that's nothing new around these parts.

There will be parties and concerts and work and boys and basketball.

Ready or not, it's happening.  And I think we are ready.

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And just like that, the weather has changed.  Today is chilly and rainy and grey...it's Alex's actual birthday and the short ribs are roasting in the oven (his choice, to be turned into stroganoff) making the house smell heavenly.  

The Bronco's are playing and the fireplace is lit and the laundry is laundering and I'm in my pj's.

Nice.

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