Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Three Little Words

Not much happening.

Making this cake.
 Found it HERE.

Expected a storm.
 Basically got nothing.

Fred is lost.
Breaks my heart.  :(

Five days ago:
Seventy degrees today.


Mother Nature's menopause.  ;)

That is all.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Half Done

Seems like there are lots of things 
in my life right now 
that are only about half done.

The snow day we're enjoying today?
Only about halfway earned.
We barely have any snow at all!
But it's super cold and I guess 
there is some ice on the roads.
 (The above pic is actually an old one...we don't have quite
that much snow right now.
Can't post a new pic because Photobucket is having issues.)

Cleaning and organizing the kitchen?
About half done.

Sorting/weeding out the junk
in the spare bedroom?
About half done. 

Getting over this upper respiratory infection?
About half done.

Yes, it finally got me.
Made it through the holidays without
falling ill and that was my goal,
but I should have known
something would eventually attack me.
Don't get me wrong...
I've had far worse sickness in the past
than what I'm dealing with at the moment.
I can't really complain because
the worst of it lasted only 
a couple of days.
I got started on an antibiotic
just about the time my ears became 
involved and I think I caught it early enough.
My biggest issue now is an 
annoying cough during the night.
This, too, shall pass.

Hoping to soon be back to full energy
and ready to tackle the other half
of all those tasks that have
been put on hold lately.
I guess half done is better than
not even started, huh?  ;)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weaving Threads

I have something I want to share with you.  This video is so very precious to me and I wrote this post several months ago  but had issues 
with the video link when I published it.
Unless you are a relative of mine or you have some 
other connection to my family,
I know the video won't mean nearly as much to you  as it does to me,but I feel the need to convey to you  the importance of such family treasures.
It seems I'm feeling quite sentimental here the last few days.
A very dear cousin sent to me a video of a 
family get-together that took place in 1960, 
five years before my birth.  
I have to tell you.
I bawled like a baby.
It opens with my Daddy, smiling and enjoying his birthday celebration
with all the folks he held most dear.
There are many of my aunts and uncles, most of them gone now.
The almost-five-year-old version of my brother 
(he was 10 when I was born)
sitting with an ultra thin, oh-so-young version of my Mom.
It was a pivotal moment for me, seeing these people in this way.
One of those uncles I don't recall ever meeting.
I'm sure I did as a very young child, perhaps even a toddler.
He and his family moved away and then he died rather unexpectedly when I was very young.
Until watching this video, he had been merely a handsome face
in a handful of still photos stored in a cardboard box at my Mom's house.
But this video, this treasure, allowed me to see him 
really LIVING.
Laughing, joking with his siblings, having fun.
It made him so much more real to me.
And most importantly to me, there was my Daddy.
Alive, young, vibrant and happy.
The same with all those aunts and uncles 
who are no longer with us.
It broke my heart...
but in a very good way.
I miss these folks and I wish they were still here.
I wish I could have realized at a much younger age
what a gift it is to have a large and loving extended family.
I wish I had spent more time in their company,
listened more intently to their stories,
paid a little more attention in general.
It's just a few threads in the fabric of my life,
a snippet of time that I'm sure my Uncle Bob (the man with the camera)
never imagined would mean so much
more than 50 years down the road.
 But what an impact it has had on me.
I hope that when you watch this
it will make you stop and think
the next time you have a chance to spend a few minutes
with an aunt or uncle or grandparent...
Enjoy it.
Savor it.
The older I get, the more important
those fond memories become.
When loved ones pass on,
those memories sustain you.
Those little threads we weave in the springs, summers and autumns of our lives create a warm cocoon that will keep us warm even in the coldest of winters.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Recipe for creating S P A C E

The Great American Cookbook Clean-Out has begun! 

Well, it feels like it's that big a deal to me

I've been collecting these things for years
but I've finally decided that 
some of them must go.

In all honesty, there are many I haven't
even opened since I first brought them home.
It's just that I have this thing about
books in general...
I have a really tough time parting with them.

This clutter must go!

I didn't get a 'before' pic
and for that I apologize. 
It was a last-minute thing
and I just didn't think.

But here is what remains:

Top shelf 
 Bottom shelf

15 years worth of  
Taste of Home magazines I must sort through.

The giveaway pile

Brie is going to see what she wants to keep
and the rest will go to the local Resource Center.

I will be spending some time going through 
the ToH mags, choosing which recipes 
I want to keep.
I haven't yet decided if I'm going to 
cut them out and create a binder
or if I'm going to take digital pics of them
and keep them on a disc.
I love having a file of my recipes 
on my computer.  But I suppose I'm also 
an old fashioned girl
because I love having a hard copy, too.

Maybe I'll just do both.  ;)

When it's all organized 
and I consider it a job well done,
I'll post the 'after' pics. 
Until then, tell me....
how do you organize your 
cookbooks and recipes?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bipolar Pinning

If you are following me on Pinterest,
you might agree with the title of this post.  ;)
It's just one of those days.

First I pinned this one to my board titled
Here's Your Sign:
I'm not mean and nasty by nature,
but this just struck me as hilarious
this morning!

But then I ended up posting this to my board
titled Words of Wisdom:
I'm thinking I'll heed the second.

It's just been a rough couple of days.  ;)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gettin' a Jumpstart on Feelin' the Love

I'm not usually a Valentine's Day kind of girl. Yes, I did make this heart-shaped meat loaf one year, but that was kind of a fluke. I've baked square and round cakes, cut the round cake in half and created a heart-shaped cake, too.  Those things were fun but this family just doesn't usually get totally wound up in the Valentine spirit.

(Actually, they REALLY made fun of the meat loaf! LOL!)

Oh well.  Not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, huh?  ;)

Except for Pinterest.  It has me wanting to bake more, cook more, craft more, decorate more, read get my drift.  And if you are on Pinterest, too, I'm sure you feel my pain.

I didn't find this exact idea on Pinterest 
but some of the ideas I did find
sparked this one. 
I think it turned out to be rather cute
and it was also very inexpensive to make.

You just need:

2 of the $.97 plastic tablecloths from WalMart
A wire coat hanger or some wire you can shape yourself
A pair of scissors
A pair of pliers to bend and twist the wire

Make the heart shape using your wire
or wire coat hanger.
If you're using a coat hanger, you need to
untwist the neck of the hanger
so you have both ends of the wire free.
You're going to need those ends
so you can poke through the plastic.

I opened the tablecloths to their full length,
cut them into quarters across their width,
then folded their length accordion-style.
Starting at one end of the long accordion fold,
I punctured the center of the plastic 
with the end of the wire,
pushed it through 3 to 4" and 
then pushed the end back through
the folded plastic.
Back and forth, back and forth,
just like sewing stitches down the center
of the accordion folded plastic,
until the full length of it was
on the wire.
I took the pliers and twisted the ends 
of the wire together in the center
of the 'V', then using my fingers
I fluffed and tweaked the folds
of the plastic until I had the shape I wanted.
It took 6 sections of the tablecloths
to cover this size wreath,
so that means I have two pieces left.
I think that means I have a head start on  another wreath.  :)

I later decided to add embellishments.
These are foam hearts I had
from an earlier project.
I plan to let Tucker take this to his teacher.  

I'm already imagining what I can do for 
St. Patrick's Day, Easter, etc.
The possibilities are only limited
by the colors of tablecloths they have in stock!

If I'm not clear enough on these instructions,
I will try to take pics of the entire process when I 
make my next one.
Just let me know if you're interested 
and I'll post them on here.  :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Couldn't Do It Again if I Tried!

Ever see this?
 Same goes for carrying things to the car, too.

I was leaving Brie's house, 
my hands full with a bag of craft supplies, 
an empty (yet bulky) soup pot, my purse 
and a large unsweetened tea. 

Anywhere you park at Brie's, 
you're on an incline.
This causes your car door swing shut, 
ready or not. 

I managed to maneuver the driver-side door open
and drop myself into the driver's seat.
Then, halfway in the car and halfway out, 
I attempted to deposit my armload of cargo onto the passenger seat 
when suddenly I realized...
the door was closing.
With a good bit of force.
Two-door car...long, heavy door.
I was so preoccupied with rescuing my ankle 
(which was still firmly planted on the ground outside my door)
from certain painful injury that I didn't even consider 
the position of my left hand.

You know, the one in which I was holding
that large unsweetened iced tea.

I'm pleased to announce that my ankle escaped injury.
My cup, however, did not fare quite so well.

So how was your day?  :)


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wise Words Wednesday

I apologize for the crazy, changing font styles, colors and sizes in my posts. 
It appears that Blogger has a mind of its own.


Sometimes it's really hard to see the good.
When we're faced with hardships 
or disappointment,
we usually don't even think to look for it.
And we certainly don't feel as if we are
in any condition to actually contribute
to the world around us.
We simply want a magical cure 
that will make us feel better.
I have just the thing.


We hear all the stories about folks who choose to
make a difference;
folks who want to be a positive force
in an often bleak world.
These are folks who don't just 
sit around thinking about it.
They get up and they do.
They take action.
They make things happen.

The next time you're feeling 
down, disappointed,
disheartened or  just plain sad...


Drop some coins in an expired parking meter.
Help a neighbor carry in their groceries.
Make a little extra dinner and take a plate to a shut-in.
Offer a word of praise to someone who's struggling.
 Smile at folks in passing.
Just be kind.

And then...

see what happens in return.  :)  

*Gonna make a few copies of this sign 
and put one on my fridge,
one on the visor in my car,
one on my nightstand.
Reminders are GOOD.*


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back Into the Swing of Things


This clipart tells the story of my life.  
Pretty much.  

But I'm telling ya, a few days out of the routine and getting back into it is such a chore!  Christmas break ended last Wednesday, but with it being a short week and there being no practices or lessons or anything, it still wasn't our regular routine.  This is our first full week of 'normalcy' (and that totally depends upon your definition of normal!) and it's tough getting back into the swing of things.  Still, here we are, Tuesday already, and I'm doing what needs done.  Laundry, vacuuming, dishes, planning dinner, getting the Mom Taxi ready to run for after school pickups, drum lessons and a basketball game.  It's not even noon and I'm exhausted.

I would like to thank those of you who posted comments or messaged me regarding my last blog post.  I've tried repeatedly to reply to those comments but I'm having an issue with either Blogger or Discus.  Whichever it is, it's frustrating, to say the very least.  Regardless, I very much appreciate your comments and advice.  I have some pretty terrific bloggy friends.  :)  And I promise I'm working my way toward more regular posting of meaningful/helpful/entertaining content. 

Some days it's right there, 
begging me to spill it.  

Other days...well, you know.  

I am working on a post for tomorrow that I hope you'll enjoy.  I don't know if there is another blogger doing something similar (if there is, I haven't seen it...though I know that doesn't mean it doesn't exist) but I had a little idea and I'm hoping to make it happen.  As I've mentioned in the past, I'm pretty addicted to Pinterest (FOLLOW ME!) and all the cool things that can be found there.  Recently I've been seeing lots of pins that offer incredibly wise advice regarding life in general; thoughts and ideas that have touched me deeply in one way or another.  Some of these things are definitely worth sharing and I would like to do just that.  Therefore, tomorrow will be my first Wise Words Wednesday post. I hope you'll stop by and see just what struck my fancy this week.  :)  Every Humpday I plan to have a new thought or idea to share with you, to give you something to consider and possibly put into action to make your life just a little bit better.  There are so many fabulous offerings out there that I honestly think the hardest part for me is going to be choosing which ones to share!  

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to check it out.  :)  The first one is one I pinned several weeks ago but I can't seem to get it off my mind.  Definitely some wise words worth sharing! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

A New Year...A New Look...A New Direction

Happy 2013 to all of you!  :)  Hope your new year has gotten off to a good start.  My kids went back to school on Wednesday and I've been doing some major reorganizing in my kitchen and a couple other areas of the house.  Cleaning out, weeding through and getting rid of the unnecessary.  What is it about this time of year that always sets me on this path?  As much as I love Christmas, I also love the way my house feels when I get the tree down and all the decorations put away.  It's all clean space and a fresh start.  Feels good!

In case you haven't noticed, I've updated my blog design just a bit.  I like the simplicity of it.  (That whole 'clean space, fresh start' thing coming into play again, I suppose.)  I searched around until I found something that is pleasing to the eye without being overly fussy.  I've visited many blogs where the background was so busy that I had trouble concentrating on what I was trying to read.  I hope you guys find this one as easy on the eyes as I do.

Lately I've found myself struggling with this blog, as evidenced by my lack of posts recently.  It's odd that when I first created this place, I couldn't get through a single hour of the day without coming up with a half dozen different things about which I thought I should write.  Every event, every occasion, every little happening seemed blog-worthy.  Nowadays I struggle to find something that I think needs to be said.  Don't get me wrong...I don't feel the need to be the go-to site for a daily dose of news/reality/current events/rambling thoughts.  While I would never presume that this little blog is a necessity in anyone's day, I would like to think that I could contribute something worthwhile on occasion.  And I suppose that's what it is that I've been missing:  something that I feel is more worthwhile reading and less random poppycock.

So here I am, gears grinding and steam rolling out of my ears, attempting to find a focus for this little corner of my world.  Writing is a passion and, in and of itself, it is not the hard part for me.  Give me a topic and I will find something, typically many somethings, to say about it.  I will study it, research it, dissect it and do my best to gain a perspective that others may not have considered.  Ask my opinion on a subject and I will politely (most of the time, anyway) and (often) emphatically share my thoughts.  But, left to my own devices and my wildly unfocused thought process, I will sit and spin my wheels for hours in an attempt to choose a topic about which to blog.  It's maddening, really.

I spent many years writing only for myself.  I have written more story starts, poems, short stories, articles and essays over the years than I have shopping lists.  Aside from a few previously published essays, this blog is really the first time I have written with the intention of sharing my words with others.  I thoroughly enjoy it!  Writing is a baring of the soul; a sharing of innermost thoughts and dreams.  My first posts were trivial things, just a way of getting my feet wet and discovering whether or not this blogging thing was really for me.  Then I began to take it more seriously and realized that this was an opportunity to put myself out there.  It was a chance I had to take, for myself, to prove simply that I had it in me.  And I wrote about something that wasn't so mundane; something that had meaning to me.  After much editing and many bouts of doubting it was the right thing to do, so openly exposing the real me, I hit that 'PUBLISH' button.  Then I did everything in my power to go on with my chores and errands, driving my mom taxi, having my ordinary day. And all the while, in the back of my mind, I was wondering who (if anyone) was reading it, what they were thinking, if they were commenting.

When I eventually allowed myself to take a peek, I found that someone had read it.  Actually lots of someones.  And some of them let me know that what I had written had touched them, made them think, gave them a new understanding, or even simply made them smile.  Only another writer can fully understand the pleasure of receiving that kind of feedback. 

There are just so many niches in this blogging world and I am one of those who considers herself a Jack of all trades, master of none.  It is a real struggle for me to narrow my options and yet I know that in order for this blog to have any quality content, that is exactly what I have to do.  So please bear with me as I figure out exactly where it is I belong.  Opinions are welcome!  Let me know which of my posts you enjoy the most.  I can sort of figure that out by the number of hits and comments received, but I am also aware of the fact that readers come and readers go.  There are a few of you who have been right here with me from the very beginning.  May I just say I LOVE YOU FOLKS BUNCHES!  :)  I've made some wonderful friends in this place.  But there are also a number of new folks who stop in because of a search they performed or a link they've discovered on Pinterest, etc.  I'd love to see them become regulars here, therefore I'd love to offer them the kind of content they like to see.

So speak up!  I'd love your help in making Countin' Your Blessings a place you like to visit.  I want to give you loyal bloghoppers the type of content you find the most useful and entertaining.  Let me know what you need and want the most.  Tell me what strikes your fancy and makes you look forward to coming back.  You can comment here or you can contact me via email with the link in my profile. 

I look forward to hearing from you!  :)