Thanksgiving thoughts

It’s November. I love November, but for the first time in my married life, I’m not putting out one STITCH of fall decor. Really. I’m being serious. We’d have to go to the storage unit and find the Rubbermaids, haul them over here, unpack them, find a place for the items, pack up the Rubbermaids, and haul them back to storage. All of this for a few items because, honey, we ain’t got no room for no decorations. It’s a little liberating, actually. After Thanksgiving, we’re going to go get our Christmas decor and do what I just mentioned, because we aren’t ready to go without Christmas yet. Baby steps.

As I type this, Mr Darcy and middle son are doing Greco-Roman style wrestling on the floor. That’s how we roll over here. (Pun intended) The two other boys are having a lively discussion downstairs about country music vs techno music, and I’m debating if I should make an espresso or not, while rubbing my aching muscles from a push-up marathon last night. No, not the frozen sherbet treat…

Next week, we are going to head north to Chicago for the holiday. It’s just a couple of hours away and it’s our family tradition. I love it. We stay at a hotel that we love and have a great time. This year, I have several family bonding activities planned. We are going to make vision boards, do a silly scavenger photo hunt around the city, and bond. I’m trying to think of some fun snack foods for the room – any ideas?

Boy, I wish you could be here enjoying this wrestling match 3 inches from me.  Boys…

I invented a new family favorite dinner.  The guys like it so much.  I think I just might need to share it with you! It’s a crockpot dinner, so I like it. Take a roast and put it in the crockpot. (I put mine in frozen, even though there are varying opinions on the safety of doing so – what can I say? I like to live dangerously) I drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top. Then I start sprinkling on the following spices to cover the top of the roast: cumin, garlic salt, salt, cayenne pepper (not as much as other spices),and chili powder (not as much as the other spices). I turn that bad boy on high, put the cover on, and don’t think about it again. This morning, I put it in at about 7:30 and we ate at 5:00. About 1/2 hour we are going to eat, I shred the meat with two forks and take the lid off for 15 minutes. This lets the meat absorb a lot of the liquid.  I get out tortillas, avocado, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. I also made cilantro-lime rice. Wowza, this is good. When I see a cheap roast at the Krogers, I always buy it and put it in the freezer. This is Mr Darcy’s favorite way to eat roast. Let me know if you try it.

The wrestling has ceased, but the downstairs discussion has now moved on to Kanye West and his religious-undertoned lyrics. They don’t like it. Me neither, boys.

Because I’m now so cold that I’m shaking and trying to warm up with the heat on the bottom of my laptop, I think I’ll sign off for now and do my night-time chiropractic exercises. Oldest son just informed me that if my muscles hurt this bad after only doing the measly amount of push-ups that I did last night, it should tell me something. I told him I didn’t want to hear his muscle interpreting skills any longer.  He just laughed and flexed his biceps as he ran downstairs. He’s quite pleased with himself. So, I really feel the need to start my warm-up so I can show him my biceps.  I hope you are warm and no one in your house is wrestling at your feet.

~Janna

Thankful Tree

Today, I totally ripped off a great idea by another blogger.  She and her family made a Thankful Tree.  I saw it.  I had to have one.  Before you could say, “Pilgrim” I was cutting leaves out of scrapbook paper and putting my Cricut to work on the letters.

 

Our thankful tree (and H finishing the dishes...)

 

 

I have a lot to be thankful for.  While this year has been difficult for us emotionally, we try to remind each other how lucky we are to have had Nana/Mom/Nancy in our lives.  We are better for it.  We took a few moments today to reflect on that and so many other things. I loved seeing what they came up with.

C wrote that he was thankful to have people who loved us enough to come down and see us.  Don’t feel bad if you haven’t loved us enough to visit.  I am sure he will forgive you eventually.  He was also thankful for Genesis 1:1.  He wrote that because his brother had already “used up” John 3:16.

H was thankful for a fridge full of food, vitamins and all the animals in the world. I asked him if this included mosquitoes and he said male mosquitoes were okay.  I do not agree but I figured our thankfulness reflection time was not the time to debate this. I also did not think it appropriate to mention that some of the animals of the world were filling up our fridge.

T was thankful for basketball, sports and an awesome youth pastor. I kept waiting for him to write, “the best mommy in the whole wide world.”  I am sure the only reason he didn’t was because he was out of leaves.  Oh, he also is thankful for Air Soft.  That’s a gun for those of you with girls or small children. It shoots pellets. Tiny little pellets that wind up in the house.

I had a great time refocusing myself on my thankful items and noticed a great change in my overall disposition during our crafty time. Maybe I should cut out extra leaves for myself to fill out whenever I am feeling snarky…

The best part just happened, though.  Mr Darcy was not at home when we did our tree but we left him some leaves to fill out after dinner.  T and I were at basketball practice so we ate later.  I looked at his leaves and grinned.  Happy.  Who knew a leaf could make me blush?

 

Beige leaves are my new favorite color

 

What’s that? You can’t really see it?  Here, let me help you…

 

Up close and personal

 

There’s not much more I can say after that.

If you have some extra construction paper hanging around, you ought to give this a try.  I know we will enjoy having this conversation starter in our dining room for the month. Maybe even longer – who knows?

~Janna

What to say?

It’s Sunday night and my parents just left our house.  They have been here all day and I loved it. They are staying on the island, which is about 25 minutes from us.  I love being in the same room with them. It’s marvelous.

After church this morning, where my hubby preached a wonderful sermon on stewardship, we came home and ate a spaghetti dinner. Then my Mom and I went to Sam’s club. It was so much fun to go with her and walk slowly up and down the housewares section. We also tried on rings and tried some yummy apple cider.

Tuesday night, I am hosting my second annual Choctoberfest. I can’t wait!  Everyone brings something chocolate to share and the focus of the evening is try chocolate foods and talk. That’s it. That’s the whole agenda.  I bought my fall paper goods weeks ago. I still don’t know what I am making, though.  I wanted to have my flowered chair slipcovered by then, but it hasn’t happened. Oh well. I did get the dining room table primed, painted, glazed, distressed and poly-ed as well as the same treatment to a side table I bought over Christmas break. Happy Mama. The dining table is my favorite…I think because now drinks spilled won’t be absorbed by the very thirsty wood.

I am going to make these great casual (washable) slipcovers for the chairs. I would like to eventually paint them in crazy bright paint (maybe turquoise?) and move the whole setup to the breakfast eating area off the kitchen. I have to get Mr Darcy to build my NEW dining table before that happens, though!  It’s a good sign that he is looking at the plans right now, isn’t it?

Yes, I know these pictures are blurry. Again, it’s my cell phone camera. My digital camera is ALWAYS out of battery juice. What a bummer.

I will end this informative post with a question for you…do you buy coffee? We have wonderful friends that are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia. A great company, called JustLoveCoffee, has a program that pays them a great portion of each sale of coffee for people who go through their link.  The coffee is very reasonable and I can tell you that it would bless our friends. Would you consider it, please?   You will?   Thanks!    Here’s the link:  http://www.justlovecoffee.com/BlakeChristina

~Janna

Gratituesday – the big comfy green chair and more

It’s 9am and I have been up for over 5 hours. Anyone who knows me well is asking, “Did Janna have a trip planned today?”  That’s about the only thing I am willing to wake up early for (unless I’m actually on vacation- weird, I know).  So, I woke up several times during the night and finally at 4 am, I was up. UGH.

Yesterday, I was taking stock of my family room furniture. It was easy to slip into despair. That room just doesn’t look like “me”. Thanks for not saying I look like a couch. Seriously, I don’t feel like it reflects my personality at all. I’m not a natural at decorating, but I know what I like and what I don’t. So, I’m looking around, discouraged at the furnishings and getting more and more depressed. Now, before I go on, let me remind you that every upholstered piece of furniture in this room was given to us. Blessings, each one. Our old leather family room furniture didn’t make the move with us. We felt like that was best. It was rough looking. Alright, it was really rough looking. I was prepared to sit on folding camp chairs until we could get something new and was even pondering if we could sit on large cushions on the floor like the Bedoin.

Two weeks before we moved, my inlaws asked us if we wanted their leather furniture set. We said YES and were so thrilled to know we’d have something to sit on.  At Christmas, we were given a matching green recliner as well as another oversized chair.

With all these free blessings, I was still managing to complain to God. How come my room didn’t look like the Pottery Barn Catalog? Why doesn’t it reflect me – the keeper of the home? I was choosing to focus on what I thought was missing, rather than on what was overflowing! I thought I’d use the “Keeper of the Home” title to make myself seem more spiritual…but I don’t think I was fooling anyone.

Back to the wee hours of this morning. I stumbled downstairs. I guessed God wanted to talk to me since He wasn’t letting me stay asleep. I went straight to that recliner. You  know, the one I was complaining about yesterday? I curled up in the comfy seat and opened my Bible. I read. I prayed. I read some more. All the while, so relaxed and comfortable in my family room. I thanked the Giver of life for the precious 4 asleep upstairs and thanked Him again for my hand-me-down furniture. It may not reflect who I am, but the 4 who join me in that room each day and night do reflect who I am. Good and bad. It was an eye-opener for me. (And who doesn’t need that in the early hours?!)

I’m grateful for the generosity of those who could have sold their like-new furniture on Craigslist, but instead gave it away to us. I am grateful for the 3 boys who are doing their school on that furniture this morning. I am grateful for the amazing man I am married to who starts each day sitting on that furniture and talking with the Lord. I am thankful for the new friends who have joined us at our new house in our new town and sat on that furniture. Funny how the Pottery Barn furniture never has anyone sitting on it in the catalog, huh?

~Janna

I linked this post to the Heavenly Homemakers website. www.HeavenlyHomemakers.com

baking day

After an action-packed Monday, (really the whole weekend was full) I looked in the freezers and found them lacking. No bread. No muffins and the boys ate the rest of the breakfast cookies this morning. I knew it would be big batch baking day. We finished most of school (the boys finished it all up while I was mixing bread) and I got started.

I ground two batches of wheat today. I wish I could tell you how much flour that is – but it’s a lot. I made 4 batches of sandwich bread, 8 hamburger buns and a dozen hot dog buns. After shaping these, I got started on mixing pizza dough. I doubled my favorite recipe and put three portions in the fridge (it works and tastes better if it gets this special time in there, for some reason I cannot remember). I took the last portion and made up breakfast pizzas. It made 18. I made 9 small pizza crusts and baked them at 500 degrees. I wish I knew how to make the degree symbol, but I just don’t. I split these in half. I probably won’t do that again – it was a pain. I made up a big pan of scrambled eggs and cooked up a tube of turkey sausage. I mixed those two and sprinkled it on the crusts. Taylor grated cheddar cheese in my Bosch and sprinkled that on top. I flash froze these and laster place them carefully in freezer bags. I don’t know how they will taste, but I figured if Jimmy Dean would make breakfast item that were frozen and contained scrambled eggs, so could I. Of course, Jimmy Dean probably uses all sorts of extra yucky things like preservatives and such, so who knows how this will wind up.  I’ll let you know.

I tried the Heavenly Homemakers new recipe for chocolate, chocolate chunk muffins. Haven’t tasted these either. Her recipe said it made 9. I made it go into 12. I shouldn’t have. They look more like brownies in muffin papers. The batter tasted yummy, so I am hoping that they will taste good even though they are puny. Again, I’ll let you know.

I had tortillas on my baking list, but I ran out of time today. I wasted (well, not really) a good hour moving furniture around in my breakfast area. I moved my desk. I am no longer next to the bathroom. That is a good thing. A really good thing.  I hung my giant fork that I got for my birthday. I wish I could explain the joy I feel when I see it.

The giant fork

Is there an item (non-human) at your house that makes you smile when you walk past it?

~Janna

crazypants

Listen, I know I haven’t been blogging much lately. It’s true. Can I tell you where I have been? Obsessively reading other blogs.  Seriously…Over Christmas I stumbled upon a blog that I fell head over heels for. That blog read brought me to another, and then to another and so forth. I think I may have 15 related blogs bookmarked on my laptop now. Crazypants.

“What kind of person does this?” You ask.  Well…my kind of person. I got to the first blog because I was looking for great things to make with my new Cricut.  Lord a mercy, people! There are some cree-ay-tive people out there in bloggieland.  One lady makes (and posts instructions for) copycat Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, etc furniture. It’s so amazing!

Inspired by these blogs, I have now: painted the downstairs bathroom, rearranged the family room, painted a lamp, painted napkin rings, gone to the thrift store and changed the master bedroom a bit. Oh, and I changed the mirror in the powder bathroom. Just wait until my payday!! 🙂

Mr Perfect is preaching on Sunday so he has been a bit later getting home. This means our dinners are less than stellar.  It’s hard for me to get razzle-dazzled about making a pretty dinner and table for just the boys and me.  Just is.

I’m already thinking about our Valentine’s dinner, though! I have various heart-shaped items to cook and bake in and all of these crafty blogs have me inspired! I know for sure there will be heart-shaped bread, heart-shaped cookie (my man loves him a giant cookie with frosting!) and some main dish in my heart-shaped Le Creuset pot. Any ideas? I am going to make cutie-pie surprises for the boys, too.  I’ll post pictures as I am making them in secret. Just know it involves pop-top cans from fruit that I will cut the bottom out of, drain, then glue back on.

Snow!! Here we are in the frosty air!

I wanted to share a picture of us in the great snow I promised you would occur. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!

That’s it for now, y’all.  Who’s planning on throwing a Superbowl Party?

~Janna

edited to add: I guess I should give you the blog that started it all….watch out!

http://shanty2chic.blogspot.com/

~J

Night time madness

It’s Saturday night and I just finished wrapping what seemed like 46,098 Christmas presents. It’s not that I don’t like wrapping presents. It’s just that I don’t like handling the paper, measuring, cutting, taping and ribbons. That’s all. I love the gift-giving part, though. The boys will surely be surprised when they come downstairs tomorrow morning and there are gifts under the tree. Let the imaginations begin! I’m pretty excited because I have most of the shopping done! Yeah for me!

On a sad, mad, really sad, really mad note….I just went outside to turn off the Christmas lights. We just put them up today. It was a sweaty ordeal and I broke two fingernails.  Anyhow, I opened up our three front doors (no kidding) and noticed that SOMEONE HAD RIPPED OFF SOME OF OUR NEW LIGHTS. I’m really, really angry. I hate that. I just hate it. I hate that someone thinks they have the right to do mean stuff. I’ll probably cry later on – it bothers me so much. I keep wondering, “is this a taste of what’s to come in this house?” I felt pretty safe. We are on a cul de sac, hardly any traffic. Man, I am steamed.

I am not going to be able to blog anymore tonight because of the fact I am so mad. Really.  Seriously. Really.

 

~Janna

Previous Older Entries