Friday, January 29, 2021

Friday Fave Fives in the Middle of Winter

Hello!  It's Friday (night) and I am finally slowing down enough to finish thinking through and writing down my Friday Fave Fives.   I do love this exercise in thankfulness.  (follow THIS LINK and you will learn to love it, too.  There is so much encouragement in reading how other people see the blessings in their lives popping up.)

 1. and 2.  We scored a beautiful Amish made table!  It is living in our kitchen eating area.  There is a wonderful story that comes with it.  I happened to notice a lovely table and four chairs set on the local selling wall.  As I scrolled past, I realized it was being offered by someone we know.  I texted. She answered.  We bought it.  What I love most is (well, two things) that The New Boy remembers sitting at this table celebrating his seventh birthday!  AND when we went to pick it up, the owners said they are happiest that their table is going to a home where they know it will be used to celebrate more birthdays and family dinners for people who are their friends.

And Bananagrams has already been played on the table.

3.  I haven't been posting anything about my knitting lately.   But knitting is happening.  Mostly socks.  I love hand knit socks.  They are perfect foot wear for cold days.

4.  Planning my garden.  Since this year I am dealing with frost dates, I created a planting planning sheet for what I want to put in the garden.  You might notice through the weeks that I really enjoy my garden and am thankful that I have an area now that is large enough to actually grow a garden.

5.   I just have to mention the homeschooling again.  We are seeing how happy New Boy is.  For example, he read a book this week which he really enjoyed.  Would he have ever willingly picked up A Murder For Her Majesty and read it if it hadn't been part of his assignments?  Probably not.  But he liked it so much that he was sad when he was read that last page and closed the cover.  That's what I love about homeschooling.  I am so thankful to be able to have this experience with him.  (Which book will he love next?)

Bonus:  Did you notice that I didn't even mention how cold it is here?  Every time I leave home and then return, I think how thankful I am that I have a warm home and a furnace that keeps pumping out heat.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge

                                               From this Side of the Pond

A Wednesday Welcome to you!  Here at Willow's Cottage, it is very very chilly.  But inside our cottage, there is heat and light.  Wednesday Hodgepodge is always fun, no matter the weather.  If you wish to participate, click on the picture above, and the link will take you to our host Joyce's blog.

1. Have you done more binge watching this past year than in 'normal' years? Any plans to break that habit in 2021? Tell us one or two shows you binged last year that you really liked. 
    I haven't really watched any more TV or movies in 2020.  Usually, we will watch some kind of show or movie after Jeopardy on evenings we are at home.  We did watch all the Endeavor and Inspector Morse episodes, and now we have begun watching Inspector Lewis.  (Do you see a trend here?  We love British murder mystery shows.  Have you seen Foyle's War?)

2. January 26th is Australia Day. Have you ever visited or lived in Australia? Have you ever tasted Vegemite, and if so what did you think?  Is a trip down under on your bucket list? We answered a question about travel three months ago (the October 21st Hodgepodge), but let's revisit now...where are you when it comes to planning or even imagining travel this year? 

    I have not yet visited Australia (although The Professor and Dr. Mike have).  We lived on the island just north of Australia (New Guinea), but never flew in and out of there via Australia.  Yes, I've eaten Vegemite--I'm not a big fan as it tastes bitter to me.  Nutella is better.

    A trip in the future?  Hopefully, we will get to visit Alaska as it is the only US state we have not visited.  Also, a trip back to California and Oregon to visit friends and family is high on my list.  And I can't forget Tennessee where two couples who are close friends are now living.  AND...Florida, to visit my cousin.

3. Something that zaps your energy? Something that energizes you? 

    What zaps my energy?  Not getting enough sleep.   What energizes me?  I love my daily walks (which I haven't been able to take for the past four days due to rain, snow and ice).  

4. On a scale of 1-10 what are your eating habits like these days? (1=all junk food all the time and 10= juicing every green thing in the frig) Healthiest meal you've eaten in the last week or so? 

    In general, my eating habits are 8-9.  I eat an almost completely whole food, plant based diet.  Lately, I've enjoyed a bit more chocolate since it was Christmas and then post-Christmas chocolate candy sale time.

5. What's your most often 'Back in my day....' thing to say? 

    Probably, I bring up memories from our years living in Papua, Indonesia.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

    Our grandson The New Boy (seventh grade now!) has started homeschooling.  The Professor and I are teaching him.  As I type this, he is sprawled on the floor reading a fiction book set in York during the reign of Elizabeth I. What a great way to learn!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Quietly Blessed

It has been a mostly quiet week here at Willow's Cottage.  Not boring; just quiet.  I like weeks like this.  Here are some FRIDAY FAVE FIVES from Willow's Week.  Follow that link to read and share with others.

1.  Now I can explain the hint I mentioned in last week's Friday Fave Fives about getting information from some new friends.  This is what has excited us.  The New Boy (who is no longer new at all) asked his mother if he could switch to homeschool this semester.  The result is that The Professor and I are back in the teaching positions.  We homeschooled our own children, and it feels good and normal to be teaching our grandson.

2.  We've had some sunny. albeit cold, days, so you all know what that means.  Yes!  Walks!  Outside activities like walking and hiking are PE, right?  So our walks along the river are logged as PE time.

3.  I am thankful for quiet evenings, too.  We have just finished watching all the Inspector Morris episodes.  I appreciate being able to sit and knit and watch a captivating movie or show from the comfort of my own home.

4.  Sunday evening we had the opportunity to help prepare and serve meals at the local Salvation Army.  Older Daughter and New Boy were there helping, too.  I love that serving others is a gift that is being passed on through our generations.

5.  Dr. Mike, our younger son, had a birthday this week.  Although we can't celebrate with him in person, we called and talked to him and wished him a happy day.

Not every week is exciting.  But every week has blessings to discover!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

It's a Good Wednesday Hodgepodge Morning

                                             From this Side of the Pond

Hodgepodge Wednesday is here!
Here are my answers to Joyce's questions.
You can join in by clicking on this LINK.

1. What's something we'd find you doing most afternoons? 

    Most afternoons right now, I am reading.  But once warmer weather arrives, I will be out in my garden or walking local trails.

2. Who do you take after? In what way(s)? 

    In coloring, I take after my very pale English/Irish ancestry father.  But I look like my mother even though she had black hair and olive complexion.  My love and talent for piano and voice came from my mother.  Love of gardening skipped my mom, but hit me hard, as both my grandmothers were gardeners.

3. 'After every storm comes a rainbow' or 'the calm before the storm'...which phrase do you relate to more right now? Tell us why? 

    This is a hard one for me because I relate to both.  There is the rainbow of our helping to school our grandson.  But then I think, "Hmmm, there will be smooth sailing for awhile, but when will the storm come?"  Actually, I don't think there will ever be much of a storm with him.  He seems very happy about the idea of learning with his Bapa.   

    Then there is the literal interpretation...we had snow storms last weekend.  Now it is clear and cold.  Is this respite from snow simply the calm before the next storm?  Since this is our first winter in this climate, it's all a learning experience.

4.What are your plans for the day after tomorrow? 

    Friday.  I will be spending most of the day with my grandson helping with his homeschooling.

5. Complete this sentence-"After all is said and done_____________________."

    God wins.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

    I love sunny days for walking along the river.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Five of the Best From This Week

 I'm a day late and probably more than a dollar short because I spent yesterday driving my Younger Daughter to a doctor appointment and to work and then returned later to pick her back up again  (fun times just chatting in the car).  But I have been thinking all week of my blessings and want to share them with you.  Here is Willow's Week in Friday Fave Fives.  (You know to follow the link to get to Susanne's blog.)

1.  When we drove in our driveway one evening, we noticed a box at our front porch.  We got mail!  The best kind of mail.  Older Son Chaplain Dan shipped us a box of his homemade limpa!  It's a traditional Swedish Christmas bread, and he has continued to keep up the tradition of making it.  Did I already say YUM?

2.  I am thankful for a warm home.  Just stepping into the garage to put recycle in the bin makes me feel frozen.  When I step back into the house, it's WARM.

3.  On Wednesday evening, we visited the home of new friends.  Older Daughter arranged for a meeting (more on that another day) to gather information we all needed.  We had a WONDERFUL WELCOME from this family and chatted for almost two hours, were served yummy chocolate cookies baked by their teenaged daughter, had a quick night time tour of their garden, and gained much info we needed.  The Professor was already acquainted with the husband, and that was an added benefit.  (And n,o we were not disobeying any health dept rules.  Yes, it is ok to visit people as long as we are observing social distancing.)

4.  Every day, I have been reading and collecting information on how to garden in my new climate.  I'm having fun and thankful for all the books and articles that are available for learning.  I am putting it all in a binder I have titled 

5.  I am thankful we had some sunny days this week.  That means we were able to walk the bike/hike path south of our daughter's home.  It also means beautiful sunsets.  

I have to admit that weather here is bi-polar.  Sunny one minute, stormy five minutes later.  

Even so, I love watching the weather.  It's all part of God's wonderful creation!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge

                                    From this Side of the Pond

It's Wednesday Hodgepodge time.  Click on the picture and it will take you to Joyce's blog where you can team up with other people who are writing about this or you can just hop on and read what they have to say (after you read my post, of course).

1. When were you last a guest at an event or in someone's home? Tell us about it. Do you enjoy having guests in your own home? 
        The last time I was a guest at an event or in someone's home (not counting my family) was last summer when my friend hosted the women from our church small group for a luncheon in her avocado orchard.  It was also partly a good bye party for me.  Oh!  I just remembered another one!  In August, a few days before we moved away, everyone in our small group was invited to a front yard going away party for The Professor and me.  We sort of shared dinner and just laughed and chatted like we always do.
2. What has you 'tied up in knots' currently or recently? Are you any good at tying actual knots? 
        We are painting our daughter's downstairs bedrooms.  Why would that tie me up in knots?  I want to finish each room all in one day, but I have to be patient until the first coat of paint dries before we can start the second coat.
        I am much better at UNtying knots than tying them.  People know that if their yarn gets in a tangle, they can just hand it to me and I will untangle it for them.  Evidently, untangling yarn is one of my super strengths.

3. What's something you've been wanting to do and have decided 2021 will be the year you 'take the plunge'? 
        I am planting a GARDEN!  Vegetable, herbs, berry bushes and probably a couple of fruit trees!  I've been wanting a big yummy garden for years and our property in Southern California was just too small.  In fact, I have begun assembling a binder titled "My Ohio Garden".

4. Something in your home that's old? Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue? 
        Old?  My grandmother's cedar chest.
        New?  The whole house is new to me.
        Borrowed?  Do library books count?
        Blue?  The new cushions for the IKEA chair and ottoman our daughter passed on to us.  Other than that, well, there's a lot of blue in my house because I love blue.  For example, these vases and candleholders.

5. Share a favorite quote, a verse of scripture, and/or a bit of wisdom for couples getting married in this challenging and seemingly unpredictable season we're currently/still experiencing.
        Whenever people ask me one question about marriage, I always answer, "Make sure you laugh every day."

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
        Becoming Minimalist posted this on social media this morning.  Quote by Paige Kellerman.

   Not everyone realizes this,
but if you clean the pile of receipts out of a purse
and stack them together...

it makes a teeny tiny book
 about why you're broke.

Wise words.

Friday, January 08, 2021

Cold January Fave Fives

 Good morning!  Is it cold at your house?  It sure is here at Willow's cottage.  They say that cold hands mean a warm heart.  So I must have a very warm heart today.  And, truly, there is so much to be thankful for.  This is why I focus daily and weekly on my blessings and why I join FRIDAY FAVE FIVES every Friday.

1.  Blue sky!  It has been overcast and cloudy for a long week.  Today, it may be cold and windy, but it's SUNNY, and there is BLUE SKY!

2.  HAPPINESS showed up in my mailbox this week.  This was the sticker on the back of the package.

3.  It was Little Warrior's birthday last week.  He chose (as usual) to have an outing to the US Air Force Museum.   It is a true blessing to be able to celebrate with him this year! 

And ice cream cake!

4.  Older Daughter loves the Air Force Museum, too.  She gets to visit one of 'her' missiles. (Yes, she is a rocket scientist!)  I'm thankful for how much she loves her job.

5.  Friday mornings are special for me.  I get to zoom with my four art buddies.  Yes, they all live in my old home town, but we do zoom meetings for two reasons--we can stay isolated and safe from covid, and we can meet early in the morning in our jammies.  Oh and the third reason--I can join in from thousands of miles away.

What have been some blessings in your life this week?

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Happy Hodgepodge

Good Wednesday morning!
Here we are just finishing the first week of January 2021.
Nothing new, huh?
Here is my Wednesday Hodgepodge.
Click the picture below to find more people.

1. What advice would you give yourself as we begin this new year? 

 Just last night, I read these words in my Bible from Job 28:28“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”   My first thought was, YES!  That is my verse for 2021.

2. If you could throw a themed party for yourself what would the theme be? 

I certainly liked Joyce's idea of a British tea (in England!).  I'm thinking that I will plan a lovely tea this spring, invite my two girls and grandkids, and serve it in our back garden.

3. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.

At that age, I was in college in Southern California.  Reading and reading and writing papers.  I was also singing-- college trio, college choir, college small ensemble.  Always singing with my two best singing buddies (our trio).

4. What's on the menu at your house this week? 

Leftovers planned overs and more leftovers planned overs.

5. What should you do more of this year? Less of? 

There will be more and more gardening this year.  I have a 'blank space' in my new home to create a garden and I'm excited about that.  We also hope to be able to travel to new places.  

Less of?  Hopefully, less junk food.  I don't eat much of it but I've gotten a bit lax about my food choices.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I keep a yearly list of the books I have read.  I also keep a list of the knitting projects I have finished.  Does anyone else do this or something similar?

Friday, January 01, 2021

New Year's Faves 2021

 Welcome, 2021!

It's New Year's Day, and the first Friday Fave Five of 2021.  Christmas is over.  Stockings and presents were opened.

And now begins a new year.  There's not much different here at Willow's Cottage.  More snow and ice.  But that's OK.  We have a warm, dry house and we are very thankful for that!

Here are my Friday Fave Fives to share.

1.  Family dinners.  Since moving near my girls, we've starting this tradition of having a family dinner one night a week.  Some nights, we cook, but usually, it's just leftovers.  Less work for everyone.  I think these times with my girls will always be faves I am thankful for.

2.  New Year's Eve dinner with family.  OK, we are not partiers. We had dinner and finished watching White Christmas.  But before we turned on the DVD,  we toasted the New Year in with sparkling cider at SEVEN PM.  Why seven?

3.  Did you stay up to watch the ball drop?  We didn't want to stay up until midnight, so we found a you tube live video of Big Ben in London and watched Londoners celebrate the New Year.  Midnight in London is seven pm here.  That was good enough for us.

4.  In December, I posted #photoadaydecember on Facebook.  Mostly, I found older photos from my files that fit each day's idea.  Imagine my surprise that the picture for MATCHING has already gained almost 120 likes and loves.  This photo of The Professor and me, wearing our matching flannel shirts.

5.  A week isn't complete unless we've been out walking and hiking.  Family (and grand-dogs) have joined us on several outings.  Older Daughter has always been one for wandering.  And if there's a downed tree trunk anywhere near, she'll be climbing it!  You can take the girl out of the jungle, but you can't take the jungle out of the girl.


And she is training her son and nephew well!

 I am thankful for these times to make memories.