Friday Favorites

Friday, January 10, 2020

Are you ready for a short and sweet Friday Favorites because this week has been a rude awakening?  Ha!  

Here are my faves for the week…

Lotta from Stockholm website is where you can find these.  They passed the teacher test!  They are more comfortable than Danskos in my opinion and a much better price point.  As I get older I am really focusing on quality over quantity in my shoe wardrobe.  

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I had been hearing about these in the blog world.  They appeared at my Kroger!  That is another reason why I really do prefer to go in the store – there are always new products to be seen!  They are really good.  Anybody else tried them? 

I am hooked on meal prepping for my weekday breakfasts and lunches.  I love seeing my 10 containers in the fridge and they have made my life so much simpler.  I am fine to eat the same thing everyday but you could mix it up if desired.  I switched my quinoa to cauliflower rice and I love it, too!  This is so easy!  Mix your cooked cauliflower rice or quinoa with desired amount of enchilada sauce and a can of green chiles, add a bit of cheese and bake for about 20 min. at 350.  Yum! 

Kroger does it again with the 79 cent soaps.  Fresh snow!  Bring it, baby! 

My mom introduced me to Farmasi skin care and cosmetics.  Have you heard of it?  I really like the products I have tried so far.  I plan to try more and then do a full report. 

I have ruined so many clothes cooking so I am trying to wear an apron.  I bought this two pack from Amazon for 8.99 for both!  I love them and they wash perfectly!  

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I am also trying to use cloth napkins.  I  bought this pack and like them, too.  They do wrinkle quite a bit and I do not plan to iron unless we have company!  img_1171

I am still loving cashmere woods by Glade!  I have it in my classroom now, too.  img_1172

I keep needing more basic black tees to wear under things.  I am considering these two items.  So, they are not faves yet, but I thought I would show you in case you are in the same boat.  img_1173

What were your favorites this week?  Today after school something super exciting is happening!  Come back Monday to find out what it was!  I do not have many other exciting plans this weekend.  I am kind of sad because both of my boys are soooo busy!  Jack has a choir retreat until 10 p.m. tonight and Mason has a quick recall tournament Saturday and needs to leave at 6:00 a.m.  It is all good stuff, but our weekends definitely do not look the same anymore.  

Make it a great one!

Amy 

Wear Every THING Til Spring!

Thursday, January 9, 2019

Anyone interested in a challenge?  I mentioned it here yesterday in my What I Wore post!  Do you get bored with your winter wardrobe like I do?  I tend to wear lots of plaid and Christmas colors leading up to Christmas and then in January and February I wear lots of black and grey.  

Here are some outfits from last winter:  And, all of these pieces are still in my closet.  

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I will challenge myself to wear each and every piece of winter clothing before I can repeat a piece.  I hope to challenge myself to wear pieces in different ways and in different configurations.  I mainly plan to do this for work, but you could also include the weekends. You do the challenge the way you want to.  I hope this will keep me from shopping and breathe fresh life into my closet!  

My Rules:  

-Wear every piece of winter clothing before repeating.

-This does not include staples like black tops to go under or black pants or shoes.  

-Keep two bags – one for Goodwill and one for re-sale.  If there is a reason I don’t want to wear a piece it should go in one of the two bags.  There are a few exceptions – like if it’s a sentimental piece or if it’s holiday or non-work appropriate.  

-Take a photo of each outfit.

-After wearing a piece, move to different section of closet.

Let me know in the comments if you plan to join in!  I plan to do some other challenges this winter, too!  I did this last year, too.  Example:  Monday – leopard; Tuesday – plaid; Wednesday – vest – You get the idea!  It was so much fun and so helpful to me!  

Amy 

What I Wore Wednesday and Wardrobe Challenge Coming!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Happy Wednesday!  Here are a couple of outfits from break and one from back to school!  

I wore this combo a couple of different times.  Leggings, long tunic top, long vest.  So comfortable!  

Leggings and new Aerie turtleneck sweatshirt for a day at home

NYE outfit.  I could not resist this $12 Target blush blouse, black leggings and black sweater.

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Let me introduce you to my new clog boots.  I have been looking for something like this for months.  The traditional booties I own are old and just not exciting me this season.  I looked at Dansko but didn’t like the prices.  Enter Lotta from Stockholm and the Sanita brand. 

They are super comfortable with or without socks (Fun fact:  I hate socks and my feet start getting claustrophobic!)

Back to school outfit above from yesterday – I did a school trial run with them yesterday and success!  I plan to wear them with black, brown, grey and feel that they are neutral enough that I can do this.  

I have a winter wardrobe challenge coming your way tomorrow!  I hope you will participate.  It involves you wearing clothes you already own and it will help you to purge, too, if that is what your goal is.  

Thanks for visiting!  Any favorites?  Is it time for you, too, to go back to wearing “real” clothes?  Ha!

Amy 

Meal Ideas – Not Recipes

Tuesday, January 7, 2019

I like cooking!  I really do!  I don’t even mind the grocery shopping if I can do it early in the morning when it isn’t too crowded. 

When I get really busy this month I may go back to grocery pick up, but they screwed up so royally last time that it took me about three times the amount of time in the waiting for my order, making a phone call about all of my missing items, going back to get rest of order, and losing the prep time to cook the dinner I had planned.  I think I even had to buy take out that night!  Who has time for that? 

So, for the immediate future I plan on doing a very early Saturday or Sunday morning run.  Here is where I struggle the most – the ideas!  I simply forget what meals I have in my repertoire!  Are you like that?  I hope to make a comprehensive list of what I regularly make that I know my family of four will eat.  Adapt this to your family as you see fit and if you only get one new idea then I hope this post will be helpful.  This will serve as my list, too!

I have toyed with themes in the past:  Monday pasta, Tuesday Tacos or Mexican, Wednesday chicken, Thursday fish, Friday pizza.  I use routines in my classroom and here on the blog and think they can be helpful for meal planning, too!

*One of my goals for the year 2020 is less food waste.  I plan to do a better job with making us eat leftovers or freezing them and maybe also buying less food at a time at the store.  

These are all my own photos so don’t think they are stock photos just because of how professional they look, o.k.? Ha!  

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Double decker BLT for hub’s birthday

Sandwiches: (We will often have a sandwich meal on the weekend and I will serve these with soup, frozen fries, salad, broccoli)

BLTS or BLATS (add avocado – yum!)

Grilled cheese

Hot subs

Ham and Swiss on Hawaiian rolls 

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Bowls:  (This is kind of a riff off of the Qdoba naked burrito)

Southwest bowl (go to Momfessionals for the yummy aioli she has but I do shortcuts using rotisserie chicken, frozen corn, frozen rice from Trader Joe’s) and add her aioli with guacamole, beans, cheese, salsa.  Your family can make their own, too

Greek Bowl – rice, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon juice, tzatziki sauce, olives, feta

 

Mexican:  

Tacos, rice, beans

Quesadillas with side salad

Enchiladas

Mexican lasagna (use tortillas instead of noodles and do a mixture of beans, corn, salsa, sour cream, chicken and cheese – so good!)

Taco Salad with Doritos 

Fish Tacos 

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Easy penne and turkey sausage – make a cream sauce or simply EVOO , salt, and pepper

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Salads:  

Spinach, cheddar, green apple, red onion, with oil and vinegar from Polka Dotty Place Blog (shown above – my husband and I love this! – you could add a protein

Taco Salad 

Greek Salad

Cobb Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Feta, Avocado, Cucumber, lemon juice salad from Lisa at Coast to Coast Blog 

 

Italian:  (garlic bread and ceasar pre made salad is easy)

Penne with turkey sausage and olive oil in photo above

Spaghetti 

Baked Ziti

Fettucine Alfredo

Bacon Alfredo bake from Grace and Love Blog

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Open Face BBQ tostadas with red onion, pickles and slaw with a side of loaded mashed potatoes
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Low Country Boil on a sheet pan
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Mexican Lasagna with the Avocado, Feta, cucumber salad

Other:  

Quiche and side salad

Roasted vegetables on sheet pan – baby carrots, onion, red potatoes and a rotisserie chicken 

Chicken and Noodles 

Chili

Baked Fish with cajun seasoning and panko bread crumbs

Pioneer Woman Perfect Salmon

Brats, macaroni and cheese and green beans

Ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls 

Lunch for dinner (something you would typically make for lunch)

Breakfast for dinner (my family won’t do this!)

 

What are your go to meals or methods of meal planning and cooking?  

Amy

 

 

Hello Monday

Monday, January 6, 2020

And, break is over!  Today we have just teachers at school and tomorrow students will be back.  I ended the break with a really fun weekend.  

Here we go!  

Thursday my friend and I ate lunch at Royal’s before going on …

a tour of Copper and Kings which makes brandy and gin and various other spirits.  We had both been wanting to do this for quite awhile!

Friday I set out to add some green to my house and started at Trader Joe’s.   I think everyone is in the same boat.  After the holiday decor comes down we want minimalism and natural decor? 

I had fun sprucing up the spaces just a bit. 

Saturday the whole family went to the Picasso exhibit at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.  This is the first time that these pieces have left Europe. 

Saturday evening I stopped by a gig with my student’s band.  He had asked me to come and it was on the way downtown to our dinner reservation.  They were really good! 

Then, we met our friends in The Galt House hotel’s new restaurant called Walker’s Exchange. 

It was really good and it was a fun way to end the break. 

Sunday I made myself do the grocery before the sun was even up! 

I spent a couple of hours meal prepping and doing school work.  I am trying to adapt my Mexican quinoa dish with cauliflower rice.  I think it’s going to be good! 

Meal prepping and refrigerator organizing going on…img_1141.jpg

And, that’s all that is worth mentioning, I think!  

How was your weekend?  I hope it was great!

My January calendar has never been so full.  I am nervous that I will make it through January without losing it!  Maybe there will be a snow day to help a girl out?  Ha!  What about you?  Do you dread January?  It is normally so cold but it looks like the first half at least will be warmer than normal.  

Make it a productive Monday!

Amy 

Friday Favorites

Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy Friday!  I really haven’t known what day of the week it is which is the best way to be during the break, right?  

My first favorite is simply the break.  I don’t take it for granted that I get these long breaks.  But, I will tell you that from August until December, it is a long stretch.  When the kids get days off the teachers often don’t.  Yes, we get out earlier in the afternoon than most jobs, but we cannot just leave during the day to go to an appointment or to even get real people food.  And, you are always on.  It is exhausting.  I love teaching, but it is exhausting. 

The unseasonably warm weather meant I could sit outside many days.  Give me a book, a drink, and a candle and that is my best form of self care.  This book was just meh but I didn’t have another option and I did see it through.  

I just started this below.  I have some more books ready for me to pick up at the library.  I love my library so much and I am still going strong not paying for any of the 50+ books I read each year!  

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I love the opportunity to catch up with friends. Monday night I met up with two ladies I met when our kids were in elementary school.  We were part of the “walkers” – kids who walked to school and the parents would gather at the back door to walk the kids home.  We chatted each and every day and even had nicknames for all the parents – in a nice way, of course!  So, they both have college kids and sophomores in high school and guess who is their Spanish teacher?  Me!  It’s so cool to teach kids you have known since they were tiny.

We had happy hour at Napa River Grill.  

We all had martinis.  Lemondrop for two of us! 

Their guacamole and homemade chips were excellent! 

Some product faves I have been enjoying as my skin has gotten dry.  I love this lotion that you put on before drying off.  I hate to take the time to do lotion especially when it is cold so I love this option.  I also switched to this facial moisturizer from Trader Joe’s and I love it. 

O.k., I am in love.  I happened upon a Glade candle called Cashmere Woods at Target and then proceeded to order the plug in and refills on Amazon. I want to bathe in this scent.  I want to plug this in in my classroom and every room of my house.  So far hub has not complained.  It says it’s made with essential oils and it is a slightly masculine spicy woodsy smell.  Please check it out!  I love it so much!  

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I haven’t decided if I will do a goals post yet, but one goal I have is to become the kind of person who wears an apron to cook in to protect my clothing.  I ordered a two pack from Amazon for 8.99 and I love the fabric. 

I am also trying to become a cloth napkin person.  I was unfolding them to wash them here.  img_1032.jpg

And, finally NYE was really fun.  Our boys both spent the night at friends’ houses and we went out with some of our best friends for Cuban food!  

And this meme applies to me. Crazy, right?   img_1050.png

What were your favorites?  

Happy Friday!

Amy 

My Christmas Gifts

Thursday, January 2, 2020

I received some really awesome gifts!  I love shopping for other people and cannot wait for them to open my gifts, but I must admit I really like to open gifts, too.  We had a small Christmas with my immediate family because of the renovation and then we enjoyed Christmas with hub’s family and with my family.  

Here are some of my favorites left to right:  

I cannot say enough about the brand Myra.  I have two tote style bags now and this clutch.  The prices are super reasonable and they are made from recycled fabrics.  They involve pattern mixing and I think they have a unique Anthropologie vibe.  I have been lugging one of the totes to school with me since early fall and I think the quality is great.  I would like to add a cross body bag for shopping or festivals.  You can buy these bags at boutiques or on Amazon.  Click here for Amazon Myra selections.  I love to carry clutches when I go out to eat and another trick is to keep the clutch in your big bag for when you run in and out of stores. 

The bee gold cuff is made by my high school friend and my mom bought it at an arts and crafts fair for me.  The artist/my friend uses vintage pieces to create jewelry.  I have asked her to be on the blog and she is working on getting an Etsy shop going.  She is seriously talented.  

The bronze colored leather earrings are from my sister and I have already worn them.  I think this color will work well with my winter wardrobe.  

My husband bought me a bracelet stack from local boutique Revelry which I love.  They are beautiful agate stones and I am really impressed that he picked these out.  

My mom gave me the leather and bronze hoop earrings that are really unique.  I really love them!  

And, my mom completed my Pioneer Woman cookbook collection with her latest.  

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Hub also had the boys get me new dish towels which I badly needed!  I was waiting until the kitchen colors were established but it really doesn’t matter.  For something that I use multiple times a day it is great to have nicer replacements.  

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My sister surprised me with a late birthday/Christmas gift of this awesome Aerie turtleneck sweatshirt.  I have been wanting one of these all fall.  I am now an Aerie convert!  I have always talked about the quality of American Eagle but now I am drinking the Aerie Kool-Aid, too.  This will probably be on my body as much as humanly possible this winter.  I also love the color she picked for me.  

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My in-laws gave me some money so I took myself to the dreaded mall with the Aerie next to the American Eagle.  Basically the store was 50% off of everything.  I found this super soft v neck and sized down.  And, these leggings are the best things I have every put on my body.  They are the 7/8 and now I’m wondering why I have settled for too long leggings for my 5’4 frame.  Here is the sweater and here are the leggings.  I cannot recommend these items enough!  

I feel very spoiled!  

Amy 

Happy 2020 and What I Wore Wednesday

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!  It may be strange to do a WIW post today, but, I have some outfit photos that you haven’t seen so I thought I would still share.  My mom is a loyal blog reader and she tells me these are her least favorite posts.  She does not care what I wore – ha!  You may not either but I personally love to copy off of my favorite bloggers’ outfits.  It gives fresh life to my wardrobe.  

Have you noticed that this mirror was moved to my new master bedroom for a bit?  It is the old door off of the guest room because we replaced the doors with nicer five panel doors.  Then, later you will see it moved back to the guest room and leaning against the wall.  We have not decided how to do a full length mirror in the new closets but I told my hub that it was a non-negotiable!  He does not want to hang on the back of the new closet door so we are looking for options.  

This is what I wore to school before break.  I love this old Liz Claiborne from JCP velour top, Steinmart elastic waist pants, Tory flats and Kendra necklace.  It was easy to throw on.  

And, you can tell the paint had started here! I changed from the silver boots to black before leaving the house because visually they cut off my legs.  A great trick to make your legs look longer is to continue the color from pants to shoes.  This tunic is new and I highly recommend it but only in this pattern.  The fabrics vary from pattern to pattern.  It is available on Amazon for $18ish and the brand is Lildy and I would go up a size.  I actually found mine at CVS (not where I normally do my clothing shopping!) and that’s how I know about the fabrics.  Here it is if you are interested. 

I do not like the jeans with this outfit.  They are too slouchy!  I can’t remember where I wore this. It would’ve been better with black leggings.  I have on my consignment cape, black booties, and my Lou and Grey black knotted  bottom top.  I got this top on sale in the store a few weeks ago for about $15 and forgot to show you! 

This is my Christmas Eve outfit.  It was really warm.  I wore black old consignment pumps, my velvet Matilda Janes, my Target wrap, and my Old Navy plaid.  I am really disappointed in this ON plaid.  Look how short it has gotten.  It is really too short.  I need to order in a tall or just not shop them at all.  I feel like all of my stuff from them washes really poorly.  Anyone else?  I don’t even dry my stuff – just wash in the machine and line dry! 

This is what I wore to go listen to music.  I got new grey leggings from my mom that I love along with a Myra clutch – love!  I am wearing the trusty poncho and a matching old Nordstrom wine colored tee.  And, I am done with these consignment shoe/bootiess.  My husband said they sounded like I had spurs on when I walked. My eyes are closed because the kitchen is patiently awaiting its turn in the renovation project. I have always had the great appliances but I have had to live with a horrible floor, cabinets, and why did I think bright mustard walls were a good idea?  No offense if you have mustard walls but I am just tired of them and ready for a fresh and clean look!  

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This is an outfit that I wore to run errands one day and I don’t really like it.  I bought this sweater for $6 this summer and I’m wearing Hue jeggings and a hot pink tee.  Should I keep the sweater? 

So, these are far from perfect but it is real life here.  Any favorites? I have been lazy about documenting but I hope to pick back up again.  I see lots of leggings and tunics in my future.  

Thanks for reading and happy New Year!

Amy 

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy last day of 2019! Because I am a teacher, I tend to look more at August as the start of my year, but I guess this is a big one.  For many years the year 2020 has been looming over my head because it is the year of my twins’ graduation.  It also happens to be the year of my 20th wedding anniversary.  So, it’s a big one.  It didn’t click until recently that it also signaled the end of a decade until I started seeing it everywhere!  

So, we don’t usually have big plans for NYE.  My favorite is to spend a quiet night at home or at a friend’s home and play games and have good food.  This year I think we are just going out to eat with another couple so that will be nice, too!  

I can’t remember where I picked up these champagne gummies.  I will probably take them to the restaurant with me!  

Yesterday I changed from my Christmas green dip 

to a white with tiny gold speckles dip manicure.  I think I like it.  I am definitely more of a dark color person but it is nice for a change.  

So much has changed since 2010.  This is us celebrating our 10th anniversary going out to eat at a restaurant.  Our boys were 7.  

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This was 4th of July.  img_1019.jpg

This was on a boat ride with my parents. img_1021.jpg

And, this was at a family wedding with my niece Nora.  img_1022.jpg

So much has happened in these last 10 years.  My boys went from elementary school to getting ready to graduate.  That really puts it into perspective.  What changes have you experienced in the last decade?  

I will see you back here in 2020 tomorrow!

Amy 

Hello Monday!

Monday, December 30, 2019

I have missed you all!  This is the longest break I have taken from blogging since starting my blog in April of 2018.  I posted a family recipe on Monday, my menu on Tuesday , and our Christmas card on Wednesday of last week.  The blog world was pretty quiet and I took the time to unplug, but now I am back!  I have so much to tell you but at the same time I don’t want to bore you – ha!  Let’s see if I can give you the Cliff’s Notes version.  That reference probably really shows my age!  

We ended semester one on Friday, December 20 at 2:20.  This was exciting, but also bittersweet because my twin boys are seniors.  I knew this year would fly by and the first semester certainly did. 

Our staff had a happy hour at Drake’s and I attended that for an hour or so while my boys got their break started at home playing video games/listening to music/playing music!   

That week, our painting had started and it was finished on Friday!  What a Christmas present!  This is the mudroom where we will enter the house from the back and which leads to the kitchen.  I chose Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.  I love how the floor tile, the dog wash subway tile and dark grout, and the color turned out.  Now we wait on plumbing fixtures, moving the washer and dryer up from the basement, and picking out furniture (free standing wardrobe) and/or shelving units to store backpacks, coats, shoes, dog stuff, etc.  

 

And, our new master bedroom is Sherwin Williams Egret White.  I love the fresh light paint with the dark floors.  Now, we wait for the closet fixtures to be installed. 

So, for Christmas preparations… December 13 I had zero gifts.  By December 23, I had everything in hand from either Amazon, local stores, or local big box stores.  Also, during that time period I came up with our card, printed it, and mailed it out.  I work well under pressure.  

Saturday, December 21 was a day of chores and just starting to get things ready and I have no photos.  

Sunday, December 22, was more of the same and a trip downtown for hub and I.  We purchased our last gift at Duluth Trading.  

The big city – only a 10 minute drive from our house.  

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Duluth Trading

I talked my husband into Zombie Taco at the new Moxy Hotel.  You check in at the bar for your room and there is a taco window open almost 24/7. 

Look at this cute interior fireplace

The tacos and chips and dips were excellent but my margarita was so bad they didn’t charge me.  It was very hipster and I would go back but they must train their people to make a margarita if they have a taco window! 

The next day, I finished this book and do recommend it.  It started to drag for me in the middle but then it picked up. 

On Christmas Eve day, my husband was excited to eat lunch at a deli that he can’t go to very often.  He has never had this many days off at Christmas.  He was off for more than a week.  He helped me shop, went hiking with a friend, and worked on our construction project along with making more trips to Home Depot than I can count.  Well, the deli was closed so I suggested Holy Grale which is a restaurant in a former church with German food.  One son was with us and we all really liked it. 

spaetzle

brussel sprouts

beer cheese and pretzel and fries and pork schnitzel sandwiches

I drank lots of coffee and sometimes with bourbon cream in the afternoon.

Christmas Eve candlelight service with just the four of us

Chinese restaurant after at son’s request

We had a very simple but nice Christmas morning.  The boys big thing was their Apple Airpods that they didn’t ask for but were thrilled to receive. 

I added some whipped cream to my Christmas coffee.

Traditional new family game

New tradition of a puzzle – We went here together in 2016

Then, around 3, Tom’s family came over.  His sister, her husband, my two nieces and a niece’s boyfriend, and Tom’s parents were all here.  The weather was so unseasonably warm that we were able to be out on the patio for part of the day.  I had Chex Mix, queso, charcuterie and then after presents we had ham and swiss sliders, green beans with ketchup, onion, bacon, and brown sugar, and potato casserole and sweets for dessert.  It was a really nice day. 

Thursday it was time to go to my side of the family at my mom’s house an hour away. 

Cookies that my mom bought – so cute. 

appetizers

My mom had calendars made for us and bought us windchimes to remember my Dad because he loved them. 

One of the highlights of the day was when my two sisters and I sat on the front porch where my Dad always sat.  We had about an hour with just the three of us.  Ernie was lying at our feet and this is the only picture I have to remember that time together.  We shared stories and it was really therapeutic.  I won’t lie – this Christmas had its hard moments as it’s been just over a year (December 18, 2018 was when my Dad passed away after a quick 7 week illness) but we were still able to laugh and find joy.

My mom had pillows made of my Dad’s shirts for each of the grandchildren. 

It was a fun day. 

It was crazy that we were able to uncover our patio furniture.  I enjoyed some candles, beverages, and some books. 

Friday night hub and I went to hear some live music for a couple of hours. 

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Saturday hub worked on our fence while Ernie and I watched.  

Yesterday, the rain came, but I still enjoyed some coffee on the covered patio.  We also went to the movies as a family.  

It’s a nice feeling to still have a week remaining after Christmas.  I didn’t stress myself out too much this year even though I could have.  So far, I am grateful for the simple pleasures I have been enjoying – time with family, time to read, candles burning, sitting outside, enjoying time to go to places we don’t always have time for – that sort of thing.  My boys have enjoyed each others’ company and that warms my heart.  

I hope to take down Christmas decor, spend time with some friends, do some decluttering and organizing, read a couple more books, watch some more t.v. and movies, among other things.  

How was your holiday?  I hope it was everything you wanted and more.  

Thanks for sticking with me for this long post!  

Amy