Wednesday, December 31, 2014

on this last day of 2014...

I don't make resolutions. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I feel like they are a set up for failure. I'm not going to join a gym tomorrow, I'm not going to start a diet tomorrow, I'm not going to give anything up tomorrow.

I am, however, going to choose a word for the year. (I'm still thinking on it...) I've done this for the past few years and it's been good...a good reminder to do something intentionally and a good reminder to continually try to improve myself...whether it's January 1st or any other day of the year.  Rather than resolve to quit something I'd rather work toward something...

For the past several years I couldn't wait to ring in the New Year, I was ready for the new start that January 1st always promises because I was SO done with the prior year. But this year I'm not feeling that way...I mean, I'm fine that the New Year is here, but I'm not looking forward to it in as desperate of a way...if that makes sense. I guess I don't feel like things need to change so drastically as I've wanted them to in past feeling is that if we keep on this upward trend we'll be doing good. Our jobs are good, our health is good, our roof doesn't leak, our heater works, our cars run, we've got food (and plenty of it!) in the is good. I can't complain, ya know?

So here's to a safe and healthy and prosperous New Year...see you next year!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Good Sunday morning...

Good morning. It's Sunday and still quiet around here. I'm the only one up...Food Network on in the background (do you ever watch Heartland Table? It's my new fave.), essential oil books open beside me, coffee within's a good start to a lazy Sunday.

Things have settled down now that Christmas has was a good time. Lots of presents, family, food...oh my, the food!...and now...quiet. Time to settle in for January and I can't wait.

I know some people don't do Winter, but it is my favorite season, and January might possibly be my favorite month. It's cold and gray and wet and perfect. It calls for warm meals and layers of cozy clothing and time spent indoors. I love it. And it's time for homegrown citrus...aren't they gorgeous? They're from my friend's tree and she is more than generous. They are so good and can almost feel the Vitamin C seeping into your body.

January is also the time to plan the summer garden, but I can't ever seem to get it together enough to plan that far in advance. Each year I have the fantasy of planning an amazing garden, then starting my own seeds in plenty of time and planting our own seedlings come March or April. But the reality of this whole thing is...I don't have anywhere to start said seeds, nor do I have (or make) the time to actually do it and tend to them. The reality is I don't have a lot of space, let alone extra space for seed trays and grow lights and now that I am working full-time I don't have a lot of extra time, either.

So...the reality is...we will probably be buying 4 inch potted veggies come Spring time, and if it's like past years, we will buy them a tad too late. Luckily for us we live in California and have a long growing season.

And just because it's on my mind, I bought a couple tomatoes a week or so ago and they were AWFUL. So dry and mealy...terrible. Horrible. So bad I almost didn't even give them to the chickens. What a disappointment. I will try again because a BLT is just not the same with the T, but my goodness, I hope they're better than the last batch. Ick.

I've been off for a week and have another week to sure is nice. Have I mentioned how much I love working for the school district? It's the best. This next week will involve tidying up the Christmas mess, finding space for new things and taking the tree down and putting away decorations. I am really enjoying the decorations this year...I will miss them, if I'm honest. The lights are my favorite. This year I decided to have a better attitude about more dread, no more Grinch...and it really helped. A lot. Christmas was good...

And now it's time to think about ringing in the New Year...2015. Wow. Crazy. A whole year has passed again...and fast. I've been thinking of my New Year word the past couple of hasn't come to me yet, but it will. Matter of fact, one just popped into my head as I'm typing...I'll sit on it a bit and see what happens. I choose a word for the year, and then I don't really think about it much. But every now and then, as the year goes by, I am reminded of my chosen word, usually during a moment that I am actually doing it. And it reminds me that I am doing what I said I was going to do, but maybe not as often as I should be. But...that's OK. I don't want to live with "should's"...they're condemning. And I don't like that. I want to try and keep it positive.

Speaking of positive, today involves a pedicure...and I'm so happy about this. My feet are...well, um...let's just say they are terribly neglected as of late. So this will be really, really nice.

How about you? How was Christmas? Do you still have your tree up? (I do. It'll come down this week, though...I'll miss the lights.)


Saturday, December 13, 2014


Nellie and Sweetie...still going strong.'s 12-13-14! That's kinda cool, eh?

I feel like life has been so busy lately...go, go, go all week long and when the weekend rolls around I'm toast. I went to bed at 9 last night! On a Friday! Party animal, right?

We were supposed to have "the storm of the decade" (or something like that) midweek. As it turns out, it rained. Just...rained. I mean, it rained a lot. But still, it just...rained. We were warned to batten down the hatches, prepare with extra food, water, candles...clean those gutters and rake those leaves. People panicked...kept their kids home from school...called in sick to work...closed schools. And in the end? It rained. Admittedly, some areas of California did get hit pretty hard...flooding and trees uprooting...but our area? Rain. That's it. For the record, we cleaned the gutters and battened down the hatches and made sure we had supplies in case the power went out. But we also went to work and we went to school and...we survived.

On a sad note, we lost one of our chickens a little over a week ago. I came home from work and went out to check on the girls and there was Betty, tucked into the corner of the coop, beak nestled in her wing, gone. It looked like she just went to sleep and didn't wake up. At least I'm hoping it was that peaceful. Of course, I cried. And then went in the house and told Ian...he helped me so was hard to reach where she was tucked away so he crawled back and got her then dug a nice big hole in the garden, by flashlight, so she could have a proper burial. I wrapped her up and placed her in a brown bag then made a cross out of pecan twigs. I don't like that part of animal keeping. I'm not good at it.

On an exciting note, I became a doTERRA Wellness Advocate a few weeks ago.  I am SO excited I just had to say something now...but I'll share more details in a separate post soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to place an order, feel free to follow the link above to my web store.

We're going to get our tree this weekend...I'm actually looking forward to it which is strange as I'm kind of a Grinch at Christmas time. But I decided this year to be cheerful and to enjoy the holiday that's what I'm doing. I gotta say, it's a lot better than being grouchy! So we'll get some lights up and decorate a little tree and set up the nativity scene and hang my favorite miniature wreaths on the kitchen hutch and I'll think to myself, "This IS kinda nice...Christmas isn't that bad."

What have you got going this weekend? Do you already have your tree? Whatever it is you choose to do, make it a great day while doing it!


Friday, December 12, 2014

God planned you, and has a plan FOR you...xo

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday morning. ..

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving....

Being grateful for... 
loved ones
good jobs
good health
everyone under one roof
(a sturdy roof)
reliable cars
(more than enough, really)
good friends
(really good)

Thanksgiving day will be full of...
Eating...a lot.
Laughing...a lot.
Catching up.
Picking up where we left off as if time hasn't slipped by.

Happy Thanksgiving...xo
(it's my favorite...)

ps...A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is on tonight at 8pm!
I can't wait!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday, Monday...

It's Monday...and I'm not at work. That is a glorious thing, isn't it? Have I ever mentioned how much I love working for the school district?

The weather has finally turned...the leaves are just about done falling from the liquid maple, but the pecan tree just keeps on giving. That darn thing...leaves, sticky sap, seed pod thingys that explode when they hit the ground and disintegrate into a chartreuse powder that gets e-ve-ry-where...oh, and of course, pecans. You name it, it drops it. All.year.long. It's a huge pain...but I'd miss it if it were gone. Isn't that so like a person...complain and complain about something or someone...but when it's gone, you miss it...

So I'm still in jammies (no surprise), sipping coffee (no surprise) and watching bad made-for-tv movies (no surprise). The only thing that must be done today is a doctor appointment...a teen and his knees, unfortunately I'm thinking he's getting that from me. Why must we pass on the bad stuff?

But there's good stuff, too...we'll focus on that instead. xo

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday morning...

Heading to church today...fourth week in a row. 
One week at a time... 
So far, so good.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do you ever wonder about the history of food?

Homemade croutons to accompany French Onion soup. Yes.

Do you ever wonder about the history of food? I do. Especially simple, delicious recipes. I think my fascination began years ago when I first started reading about the "simple life"...self-sufficiency, making food from scratch, growing your own, raising chickens, that kind of thing. It could get a bit overwhelming, I'll admit, but some of the info stuck with me.

I think what struck me most was the ability people had to make a little stretch a long way to feed a family. There is a video series I love, Great Depression Cooking. Clara is adorable, rest her soul. She had some great ways to make food stretch. This is another interesting video series, people really worked hard to feed their families. We've got it pretty good, I'd say.

Some of the foods that got me thinking recently were French toast and French onion soup. They are so simple and made with such few ingredients I can't help but think these were recipes born out of necessity...out of lack...someone used what they had in an effort to feed their hungry family and created something delicious. This utilizes two of my favorite things...good food and resourcefulness.

I decided to do a quick search and came across a site that lists the history of food... Food Timeline. I instantly knew I wanted to share it. I can't wait to really take some time to dig in and look around. I am intrigued with food history. A couple of summer's ago I read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder...partly because I hadn't read it since childhood and partly because I wanted to see if there was reference to how they cooked, what types of foods they prepared, what they ate during that time period. And she did...she wrote of making cheese and of making maple candy by freezing syrup in the snow, just two I can think of off the top of my head.

Feeding our families is a big job. And if we want to feed them good, healthy food, it's an even bigger job. I'm not gonna lie, working full-time puts a damper on the "make from scratch" ideal. I prepare my family convenience foods more often than I'd like to admit. But I try to balance it out...boxed mac and cheese with a fresh salad...or instant mashed potatoes (yes, you read that right!) with fresh steamed green beans and a seared steak. (I'm telling you, this meal can be ready in like 15 minutes!) I figure it's a good compromise. And my family's not complaining!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

possum in the hen house!

We've had our chickens for about 5 years now. And for the most part it has been easy. Feed them, give them fresh water, clean their coop now and then, let them out to free-range and forage from time to time. Simple, really. Not much to it. And in exchange they give us fresh, beautiful, brown eggs.

Sadly, last year we lost one of our girls. She got sick and we couldn't figure out why. We tried our hardest to save her...but after almost three weeks it was obvious that she wasn't going to get better. So we made the decision to let her go humanely. It broke my heart, but it was the right thing to do.

Other than that, keeping chickens has been good.

Well, at about 3am Sunday morning I was jerked out of a sound sleep by the sound of something animal of some sort screaming almost. I was half asleep so I couldn't discern exactly what it was but I was hopped up out of bed before I had a second chance to think about it. I asked Chris if he heard it and he sleepily replied, "Yes. It's a cat."

But I knew it wasn't a cat. And then I heard it again...this loud screech screech screech screech...over and over again. This time I was just about sure it was the chickens. I put on my robe, slipped on my flip flops and grabbed the flash light. I shone it out the back door to the chicken coop and there I could see my two golden Buff Orpington's, Nellie and Sweetie, cowering in the corner of the chicken run. I knew right away something was terribly wrong.

Number one, the girls go into their cozy coop at night. So for them to be out in the run at 3am was extremely abnormal.

Number two, where was Betty? She wasn't with the others.

I ran back to the bedroom and frantically told Chris, "Honey! It's the chickens!" He hopped out of bed immediately and we ran out to the backyard, me in my robe and him in socks. Chris cautiously peeked inside the coop and there hissed a HUGE possum. (I'm not kidding, he was HUGE.)

We formulated a plan, pretty much looking like The Three Stooges, but in the end it worked. Chris grabbed a rake and got that ugly possum out of the coop and I grabbed the girls one by one and took them to safety in the garage.

Poor things, they were so terrified and so groggy...ya know, chickens go into a trance-like state at night while they sleep. That's why they're so easy to pick off. Fortunately, the possum didn't hurt any of them. It wasn't looking good for Betty, however, as she was still trapped in the coop with him. She's lucky her frantic sister squawked like crazy to call for help, and she's lucky we heard it! Who knows what we could have woken up to? Chances are the possum was just looking for some eggs. But he was big enough to eat a chicken if he felt like it, so it's possible we caught him in time.

At one point, when we first got out to the backyard, we heard rustling in the trees and we thought for sure that whoever the intruder was had made off with Betty. We were SO relieved when we saw that she was still in the coop.

In the middle of all the craziness our phone began to ring. I didn't have time to answer it as I was running back and forth getting the chickens to safety and trying to keep an eye on Chris, making sure he wasn't attacked by a rabid possum. As it turned out it was our neighbor two houses down, "Michelle! Something's attacking your chickens! Wake up! Something is attacking them, bad!" That goes to show you how loud the squawks were.

In the end...all was well. The chickens were snug and safe and at peace in the garage. And Chris and I went back to bed...eventually. I gotta tell ya, that got our blood pumping!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

could it be?

Could autumn finally actually be here? 

The leaves are falling...that's a good sign. 
The temperatures are cooling...that's another good sign.'s raining today! My favorite sign ever. 

We're getting there...slowly but surely. Welcome to California.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Follow Him close
Do not stray

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

wooden spoons.

making Malt-O-Meal with Noni's wooden spoon
After Papa passed away, and Noni had been gone from us for two years or so, it was time to go through their hard-earned belongings, deciding what to keep, deciding who wanted what, what was to be sold and what was to be donated.

This was no simple task. Noni and Papa had a lot of stuff. Like, a lot a lot. It took months of sorting and organizing and remembering and crying and laughing and reminiscing. After the "valuable" items had been gone through and divvied up among the kids (the kids being my mom and her three siblings, and then on to us grandkids) it was time to hold an Estate Sale. As we were readying for it we had to go through all of their daily household gadgets, sewing notions, tools, paintings, linens, books...and decide what was to be sold and what was to be donated. Essentially, we were figuring out what held value, and what didn't. For me, this question turned out to be relative.

Value, as it turns out, holds different meaning for me. Some of my favorite treasures are everyday items from Noni's kitchen that I ended up taking on a whim...a set of Pyrex bowls, the yellow one that I use almost oval cutting board that serves as a backdrop to her old glass canisters that now sit on my countertop and hold sustenance for my family...and her dented aluminum salt and pepper shakers that I swear make food taste better when I use them. Especially soup.

But the items that are quite possibly my favorite are a handful of her wooden spoons. They were overlooked and in the donation pile. On a whim I grabbed them and took them home, adding them to my own crock of much used wooden utensils.

It wasn't until I pulled one out one day to use while cooking dinner that I noticed something. One edge of Noni's wooden spoon had been worn down to an angle...the exact angle I was holding it at to stir the food I was preparing. And it made me imagine Noni standing at her stove, as I was standing at mine, preparing food for her family, as I was mine, and stirring with that very spoon. We were connected.

Who knew something as simple and mundane as an old wooden spoon could be so special? Or that the sight of that yellow Pyrex bowl in my dish drainer would make me smile each time I see it. But every time I see that cheery yellow, or use the spoons, it's as if Noni is right there with my kitchen, spending time, doing one of the many things that we had in common...taking good care of our families.'s a relative term, isn't it? What one person may see as old and useless could mean the world to someone else. To think I almost overlooked these everyday items of Noni's...and now they are some of my most treasured possessions.

Thank you, Noni...for everything. I miss you every day.

Monday, November 10, 2014

and suddenly I have something to say...

taking the long way home...
I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I've written...

I don't want to make excuses...or apologize for not being here...because I decided a while back to keep my blog going, but to let it be a creative outlet, not an obligation.

I took the photo on Halloween. It had been a long day, after a long week, after a series of long weeks and I needed to take a drive before heading home to do yet another load of wash and cook yet another hodgepodge meal.

Sometimes I can get stuck in my own head...and that's not always a pleasant place to be. I'm sure someone out there can relate...we can be so hard on ourselves, can't we? Focusing on the negative, dwelling on what isn't instead of being grateful for what is. It's a constant battle for me...I can be a bit of a pessimist. (Not surprising? I know.)

I went to church again yesterday...the second time in two weeks. It's been a long time since I've gone. And while it was slightly uncomfortable, for the most part it felt pretty good. The church was small, the people were friendly and the pastor was down to earth. My cup of tea, for sure. There wasn't a lot of bells and whistles, the worship was humble and heartfelt, no big light shows or smoke machines. Just a few people with musical gifts and a heart to play for God. It was a good combination...

I don't want to make a big deal of going to church. And I don't want anyone else to, either. It is what it is. I've been away from church for some time. And now I'm working my way back. Amen.

I spent Saturday at a women's conference put on by my dear friends. I wasn't going to go initially but one of them sent me a text at 6:30 that morning saying, "Come. Be my guest." So, I did. And it was good. Good friends, good food, good words of encouragement, good worship music, good prayer...God was present and moving and healing and speaking.

"Others are waiting for you..." is a truth I can't shake.

"You're a mountain-mover..." keeps ringing in my ears.

The bottom's not about me. It's about taking what God has done for me and sharing it to help others. I don't know exactly how it's going to look, but God does. So I'm waiting on Him...He'll let me know when it's time. And when He says "go", I'll go. But not before then. It has to be in His timing, not my own.

You know, there's more to life than just the daily grind. We've all been put on this earth for a reason and a purpose. What's yours? Do you know? Has God told you? Are you living it? Are you avoiding it? Wanna join me in following God's lead to do what He created us to do?

There's so much more to this's so much bigger and has so much more to offer.

Let's be brave, shall we? Let's run after all that God has for us. Come on...we can do it together. xo

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
    and the pleasantness of a friend
    springs from their heartfelt advice.
Proverbs 27:8

I love my friends...xo

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday morning...

my favorite scripture.

Well, hello Sunday morning...

It's been a while since I've been here...our internet was down and posting from a phone or tablet is just too tedious. So...I took a break.

It was encouraged me to get up off my butt, get out of the house and go for a few walks. I have been making excuses as to why I can't time, no exercise clothes, old shoes that cause shin splints...yada yada yada...blah blah blah.

Last Saturday I was going to go buy good walking shoes and a few pair of yoga pants (nope, I don't own one single pair) because I kept saying, "I need {fill in the blank} before I can exercise." But then it's like a voice inside my head said, "What you need to do is quit making excuses and for a dang walk."

So, I did. In jeans and my ratty shoes. And it felt good.
And the next day? I did it again.

I know. It's two walks. Big deal. But you have to start somewhere. And I did. Granted, I haven't walked since Monday evening (which actually makes three walks last week), but hey, the World Series is on and MY TEAM is playing! I'm sure I'm burning calories yelling at the TV and pacing the living room floor!

This is my plan...I'm going to walk regularly, 3-5 times a week, as time and life permits...and take one or two yoga classes per week. I need to get healthy. And strengthen this body of mine. I figure if Joyce Meyer can start at 60-something, I can certainly start at 40-something. ;)

Maybe I can squeeze in a walk today between seeing Seth off to school (yes, he was home for the mama's heart is happy) and tonight's game.

Enjoy your Sunday...xo

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

You’re blessed when you stay on course,
    walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
Psalm 119:1-2

I went to bible study last night. I love this group of women...what a crazy mix of ladies from all walks of life. We laugh, we cry, we share, we pray, (we eat!)'s good. 

Last night we read Psalm 119 out loud, The Message version. Can I just tell was powerful? Man...God's word never fails. Ever. 

I will tell you, Psalm 119 is long. Really long. And if you look at it, you might talk yourself out of reading it, like I've done on a few occasions. But now that I've read it, I'm so glad that I did. 

I want to encourage you to take a bit of time to read it, too. Make a cup of something nice to drink, quiet yourself and read it yourself. You will be blessed...I promise.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

This weekend couldn't have come at a better time...

AT&T Park...home of the SF Giants
I took this photo when I went to a game with a friend a couple of weeks ago...this view, this stadium, this literally makes me happy. AT&T Park is amazing...and when I'm there I feel happy and carefree and...hungry.

I usually get a thing of nachos (with extra jalapenos!) because they're inexpensive and tasty...and that leaves room for the real reason I go to Giants games...the Ghirardelli hot fudge sundaes! I kid...I go to cheer on my Giants...but the promise of a hot fudge sundae doesn't hurt, either. And they're huge, so I usually share. Usually.

Speaking of the Giants...we're heading to mom and dad's later today to watch the game. I'm looking forward to that...I need a change of scenery...and mom and dad's house will be good for the soul. Melodramatic? Maybe. But it's been a rough week. Let's just say, this weekend couldn't get here fast enough.

As usual, I'm moving slow this morning. But I gotta get going soon...I have a 10:30 appointment to get my brows waxed, then a stop at the grocery store, then home to whip up a batch of baked beans to take to mom and dad's.

How about you? Any big plans for today? Are you a baseball fan? Will you be watching the game?

Friday, October 10, 2014

It's Friday!

Don't you just love Snoopy? Me, too.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Just let your pile of good things grow."

Life is happening. And it's happening fast. And it's happening whether we are paying attention, or not. The days can seem monotonous...get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, cook dinner, go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But in between all of that so many good things are happening. Like eating ice cream and laughing so hard we cry (and maybe even pee a little!). Watching sunsets and taking long drives to nowhere just to enjoy the view. Smiling at strangers and offering a helping hand when given the opportunity. Spending the early morning hours watching the garden grow and listening to the neighborhood wake up. Stopping in the middle of chores to notice that dusk is happening, and maybe even grabbing the camera to try and capture it. Loading up the canoe on a rainy day and getting out on the dimpled water to watch the herons fly and the ducks bob for their breakfast.

This is a small pile of my good things...and I'm adding to it, one good thing at a time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Monday, October 6, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

I's a little late in the day to share my Menu Plan Monday...but, better late than never? Maybe? I hope?

On the menu this week, and in no particular order....

Chicken fajitas with caramelized onions, peppers, mushrooms and cabbage
BLT's (just about a weekly staple) and asian slaw
Paninis (a definite go-to for this family) and fresh fruit
Chicken sandwiches and frozen fries
Oven tacos (I have yet to make these...I think I've had them on the menu three weeks in a row!)

Throw in a leftover night and a pizza night and you've got one week's worth of meals.

What are you making for dinner this week? I need some more inspiration!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday morning.

A to-the men.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

a small collection.

I've been fascinated with photography since high school. I was on the yearbook staff...selling ad space and creating layouts. It was pretty fun, really. But I always wished I could be one of the photographers, walking around school with a camera hanging around my neck, capturing moments and memories.

I've shared here before that I was gifted a 35mm camera when I was in my mid-30's. And what a gift it opened up a whole new world of creativity for me. Photography is a good hobby to have if you don't have a lot of space to store craft supplies. And I don't. So taking pictures has been a great way for me to capture and share with others what I find beautiful and interesting.

Over the years I have gathered up a handful of old cameras. It started about 10 years ago when Chris and I went away for a weekend to Burney Falls. We landed upon an old junk shop where I found two cameras...a Brownie Target and an old Polaroid SX-70 in a leather case. I bought them both and a collection was born.

Since then I've added three more cameras to the slow-growing old Kodak 2-A folding camera, a Herco Imperial that I picked up recently at the flea market and my favorite and most valuable, a Brownie Hawkeye.

The Brownie Hawkeye appears to come a dime a dozen and worth about the same. But the one I have is priceless because it was given to me by Noni. And it's even more priceless as it belonged to her sister, Aunt Betty, whom I never had the privilege of meeting.

It's a small collection...and it will grow as good finds come along. I don't really seek cameras out...but rather happen upon them, which makes it all the more fun to collect them.

How about you? Do you have a collection?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

I need this reminder...pray, pray, pray. 
God answers prayers. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I'm a fan.

AT&T Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants
I went to a Giants game with a friend the other night. She had an extra ticket and invited me to go. I didn't hesitate to say, "YES!". I haven't been to one game all season long and I was beginning to get sad about it. I am a fan of baseball, and especially the SF Giants.

We hit the road as soon as I got off work, dressed in our Giants gear and ready for an evening of baseball. I got nachos, she got a Cubano and a little later we shared a Ghirardelli hot fudge sundae. (Oh, yes we did.)

The game was GREAT. The weather was perfect. (We thought it might rain...but it didn't, thank goodness.) And we had a lot of laughs.

We got back into town around 11:30 and I was in bed, sawing logs by midnight. And let me tell you, 5:30 came way too quick for this mama. I need at least 7 hours of sleep (preferably 8).

But it was worth it to be able to go to a game, hang out with a friend and watch my team get a (hard earned!) win.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Menu Plan Monday.

I concur.

So this is what's on the menu for the week, because we love to eat. I'll only plan five meals as we'll be eating dinner out on Tuesday for Chris' birthday :) and then one night will be a free-for-all.
  • Roasted chicken, mac and cheese and salad (I'll pick up the chicken on my Costco run after work)
  • Oven Baked Tacos with Chimichurri rice (from Trader Joe's...good and so easy!)
  • Crock pot ribs with baked potatoes and salad
  • Sandwiches and frozen fries
  • Pizza bread and salad
I prepped a few ingredients on Sunday. Everything else will be simple prep with a few items straight out of a bag like salad mix and frozen fries, or tossing something in the crock pot when I come home for lunch so it's ready at dinner time.

Doing my best to use up what I've got in the freezer and keep meals quick, simple and somewhat healthy.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday morning..


Saturday, September 27, 2014

well, hello there Saturday morning...I've been waiting for you all week.

Betty is having a bad hair day...aka molting.
The weeks have seemed so long lately...not sure what it is. All I know is that by the time the weekend rolls around, I am rea-dy.

The temperatures are steadily cooling...mornings are crisp and my toes are just a bit cold under the covers in the morning. It's almost time to switch to our cozy of my favorite moments of the year.

I'm still gathering a few tomatoes here and there...two this morning and four earlier in the week. There are a handful of green tomatoes still on the vine...we'll see if they ripen up this next week when the temps rise back up into the 90's. I'll sure be glad when it gets cold for good. Yes, I will miss garden fresh tomatoes...but they'll be back next year.

The chickens aren't laying many eggs. could be that a possum is getting into their coop and helping himself to a midnight snack. We're not quite sure yet. We have lots of trees in our neighborhood which means we also have lots of critters.

Just yesterday morning I had just got out of the shower and the cats wanted to go outside. I opened the front door and both cats were suddenly on guard and cautious and peering at something in the darkness. I could hear a scratching noise and thought maybe it was a possum. To my surprise it wasn't a possum, but rather a family of raccoon's! There were two clinging to our tree trunk and four on the ground. We all just stood there staring at each other. I didn't know what else to do, seeing as how I was standing in the doorway in a bath towel! Fortunately, the cats stayed on the porch, and one by one the raccoon's disappeared into the darkness and headed down the street. In the 16 years that we've lived here I haven't once seen a raccoon. Plenty of possums. But never a raccoon...let alone SIX! It was kinda cool...and a little scary.

So the weekend is finally here. And today's (very loose) schedule includes the usual; menu planning, a little grocery shopping, a bit of cleaning (my poor floors), and of course, laundry. When I first started working full-time I really didn't want Saturday to be a day full of chores and more work, work, work. But I'm finding that if I take it slow and play the Food Network or a good movie in the background that it's not so much a chore, but more just a time of taking care of me and my family.

Speaking of family, Chris is gone for the day at a conference, Ian is sleeping in and I am starting the day off with my usual coffee sippin', blog writin', hangin' in my pj's routine. Oh Saturday...thanks for showing up right on time. I sure do love you.

ps...I just glanced up at my ceiling fan and realized I need to add one more chore to the list...yikes, is it ever dusty!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

this morning...

this was from the other night...we took a little drive
This morning...
  • the coffee is hot and strong. I need it.
  • I awoke to rain coming down outside my window and instantly knew today was going to be OK.
  • lunches and snacks are packed...a mini cooler for the boy and a flowery tote for me.
  • I've been up for about an hour and I'm almost takes me a while. I get up early for the sole purpose of moving slow and taking my time. It works for me. 
So far, so good...
Have a good day...xo

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

I need a renewing...


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I am not a high-maintenance kinda gal. (At least not physically ;)

I keep things pretty simple...jeans or a maxi skirt, t-shirts layered over tank tops, flats, a scarf or necklace to jazz things up, always a pair of earrings and hair pulled back in a pony tail. (I try and try to wear my hair down, but it ends up driving me crazy, so up it goes.)

As for beauty aides? Simple drug store items work for me...Neutrogena face wash, a light moisturizer, Loreal mascara in Black, Jovan Musk and lipstick (I am currently using Mary Kay, Raisinberry) with a bit of Burt's Bee's gloss in Flutter on top for some shimmer.

Done. That's it.


What's your favorite beauty item?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Oh, Monday...

Trying to stay positive.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday morning...

Did you get that? It's O-KAY.

As a matter of fact, it's that little bit of brokenness that often times speaks to others. It draws them to you so that you can let them know that it's gonna be OK, that they're not alone on this crazy, wild, amazing, frustrating, exhilarating, adventure called life. 

So just be yourself. And go easy on yourself. 
We're all a little broken...and that's okay. xo

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I feel like I just keep talking about the same things over and over...

Work, the weather, food. Work, the weather, food. It seems that's all I talk about lately.

But I guess that's life, huh? Whatever season we're in is what we're going to talk about. (Even if it is boring and repetitive...)

When I started to blog in June of 2008 it was with the intention of sharing frugal meal ideas. That first blog was titled The Frugal Feast. And that's the season I was in...our finances were tight and I needed to get creative in feeding my family good food on a budget. And I did...I learned so much during that time, things I still employ even though finances are a bit more stable these days.

However, blogging only about frugality got old fast. I didn't like feeling like that was the only thing I had to talk about. I wanted to share more than just food and frugal ideas but felt confined by my blog title. So I stopped writing.

One day, months later, I was at a friend's house picking figs...we were talking about family and life and God. It was a good afternoon. We were under the canopy of her three, huge fig trees and I felt a nudge from God to begin blogging again. I liked the idea of writing again...but what would the blog be called?

I wanted it to be called something with biblical meaning but not religious. As I visited with my friend, picking figs, avoiding the ones the deer had nibbled, I began praying about a title and the words Give a Girl a Fig came to mind. Kind of like if you give a mouse a cookie, what are all the things it will do? It was sort of the same idea...that whatever was given to me, either by a sweet friend or by God, how would I make good use of it? How would I share it? How would I be a good steward of that which is provided to me? How would it grow and spread to others?

I came home that day with boxes of beautiful, sweaty and with dried fig leaves in my hair...and a full heart knowing that God was prompting me to start another blog, but this time with Him in the center of it. Not only was I to share about my life, but also about God.

So, shortly thereafter I created Give a Girl a Fig. And I've done my best to share about life...the good times and the bad. I've done my best to share about God...His goodness, His provision, His grace and mercy...that He's real and that He loves us.

Over the past six years the point of view here has gone from stay at home mom trying to stretch her pennies by making things from scratch and growing her own to... full time working mom who is going to take advantage of modern food conveniences all in the name of at least just getting something edible on the table.

But one thing that hasn't changed here is my love for God. And His love for me. And my reliance and dependence on Him. And His faithfulness and care toward me. That has remained the same. And for that I am eternally grateful...that I love a good God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Situations change and evolve, we change and evolve...and through it all, God is there, steady...guiding, loving, providing, teaching.

Maybe I should have said that all I talk about here, the weather, food and God.

Friday, September 19, 2014

It's Friday!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Love is everywhere.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, 
love one another, be compassionate and humble. 
1 Peter 3:8

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Donner Lake at dusk.

I need a little extra peace today... xo

Monday, September 15, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

So this meal planning thing is going pretty good. (For what? All of ONE WEEK? Ha!)

I don't necessarily cook everything I plan to cook. But it's good to know that the options are there and already thought out.

Last week we had the pizza (that was an easy one!). And I served the stuffed peppers with the leftover barbecue ribs to make thema bit more palatable for the guys. As it turns out they both liked the peppers, but agreed that next time I should omit the italian seasoning in the tomato sauce and add more cheese. Okie dokie! I can do that! (And honestly, I can't say when I'll make stuffed peppers again...I get a hankering for them about once a

Tuesday I decided to go to bible study at the last minute so everyone fended for themselves...cereal, sandwiches, whatever they could find.

Thursday Chris was gone for the evening, as was Ian, so we all just sort of did our own thing that night, too.

Then last night we went out to eat to celebrate some family birthdays. That was easy!

So...out of five meal ideas on the table for last week (Get it? See what I did there?) I used two of them.

That means that a few of them will go on this week's menu, making planning all the easier!

One thing that needs to happen, no matter what, is that I need to do our menu planning based on what I already have in the freezer. Our freezer is jam packed with food. Packed. Like, almost no room for anything else. I tend to stock up when meat is on sale. Couple that with not cooking and you get one full freezer. I keep adding to it without taking away. So...the next few weeks our meals will revolve around meats I already have. No biggie...

What's on this week's menu, you ask?

BLT's - either with salad, or frozen fries
Kielbasa and fried potatoes with salad
Greek marinated chicken thighs with couscous and salad
French toast with fresh fruit
Quesadillas, rice and black beans with cumin and lime

Nothing fancy...but we're not gonna starve!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sunday morning...

I'm trying.


Saturday is the new Friday.

I don't know what the perfectly round shiny little dot is.

Before I began working outside the home, and when the boys were younger, Friday was my favorite day of the week. I loved that we'd all be home and could hang out, watch movies, stay up late, have sleepovers and just relax. Something about Fridays made me let out a deep exhale.

Now that I'm working full-time, however, Saturdays have become my new favorite. Don't get me wrong, I do love me a Friday...nothing like turning off the alarm...for good. Nothing like the promise of the weekend ahead. Not to mention, Fridays can be a bit more relaxed in the work place, which is nice. But still, you are at work. And if you're anything like me, you're exhausted on Friday night after a long work week and can't really stay up to enjoy it.

So, that being said...Saturday is my new favorite.

Sleeping in (if I wanted to), slow mornings sipping coffee, reading blogs, watching cooking shows. Time to breathe slow, move slow and just be.

There's no rush. I like that.

Take today for instance. It's after 1pm and I am still in my pajamas. Now, this is not the norm as I usually like to at least get up, get clean, get dressed, get ready for the day, even if I am not planning on going anywhere. But today I guess time got away from here I am, still in pj's.

Even still I did some writing, I did some cooking, I did some washing...the day is not a total loss. And we have dinner plans with some new friends later this afternoon, so that is something nice to look forward to. I'm bringing dessert (even though I don't bake much)...looks like we'll be swinging by the bakery on the way to their house.

How about you? What's your favorite day of the week? Friday? Saturday? Or maybe you're a Monday person? (You never could happen!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Sometimes, when times are particularly dark, 
and words escape me, the only prayer I can think of is...
"God, please hear my heart."

And you know what?
He does.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

anxiously awaiting fall.

Donner...where temps are always cooler.

I am so ready for fall. SO READY. I'm ready for cool mornings and gray skies and rain. I'm ready for pots of soup and roasting dinner in the oven. I'm ready for closed toe shoes and sweaters. OK, maybe not close toed shoes, I'm never ready for those. But everything else? Ready. (Broken record, I know. But I can't help it. I'm so over summer!)

Unfortunately, the weather man doesn't agree as we are in for hot temperatures for another little while, hovering right around 95 for the next week or so (at least). It's not uncommon for it to be hot here even on Halloween. Or, it could rain. You just never know. With that in mind, I guess we could have to deal with hot weather for another 6 weeks or so. Oh, how I hope not!

Even still, changes are happening...the garden is withering away, the light is changing, the mornings and nights are cooler, there is moisture on the windshield as I head off to work. It's happening. It is. Just ever so slowly...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Menu plan Monday.

twice baked potatoes awaiting their second bake.
these got flash frozen for later use.
So I wonder if I commit to the whole Menu Plan Monday thing if I will actually create a menu each week? Let's give it a try, shall we?

pizza and salad (quick and easy for weeknight dinner guests)
Stuffed bell peppers
sweet and sour meatballs and peppers over rice
Sausage and fried potatoes

 I am going to assign meals for the week, but not necessarily for the day.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday afternoon...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

slow Saturday...

It's Saturday and I'm doing my usual, sipping coffee, catching up on blogs, doing a little blogging of my own and not rushing. Not that I rush during the week, I'm not a good rush-er no matter what day it is. I need time. I wake up early just so I can have time to putter, read, sip coffee, listen to Joyce Meyer and the news and wake up slow. Rushing stresses me out. And gets me off to a rough start. So I make sure that I don't have to.

We're going to head to a gathering later this afternoon...Chris told the host I'd bring pasta salad. I'm getting it going early...that way it's nice and chilled and the flavors have time to settle in together. I keep it pretty simple...tri-color rotini, red onion, bell pepper, olives, some tomato, maybe some parmesan cheese and whatever bottled vinaigrette I have on hand...I think I've got a Newman's Own in there that will be tasty.

In the meantime I guess I'll do the usual around here....tidy up a bit, tumble some laundry, wipe down surfaces and vacuum floors...the leaves are falling outside and we track them in faster than I can sweep them up. The price you pay for a gargantuan shade tree, I suppose.

We went to dinner at mom and dad's last night, an impromptu gathering. They remodeled their kitchen recently and are getting rid of lots of stuff so I went through a few boxes to see what I "needed". guessed it, nothing. I needed nothing. But did that stop me from bringing home a giant bag of stuff? No. No it didn't. I tried to keep my choices useful...things that I will actually use. And I did good, I practiced restraint. I did. But I also grabbed an item or two that aren't useful, but they are special.

One item is a cute plate that Noni got for mom as a gift years ago (it has a chicken on it!) and the other is a vintage light-up Christmas tree that was my dad's aunt's. I actually can't wait to display it at Christmas.

Hold on. Wait. Wait just a minute. Did I just say "I can't wait" in reference to anything Christmas?

Oh dear...this could be bad. I better go take my temperature...something must be wrong with me!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.  -2 Timothy 4:2-6