Five for Friday – 10.17.08

Another busy week.  Another tiring week. 

We've got a 3 day weekend – no school on Monday.  Tom leaves tomorrow for a few days of Fall Retreat-ing with high school and middle schoolers.  The kids and I are staying home and, while we've got a few things to do, we're mostly going to take it easy.

So…what's made this week a happy one?

  • God's Blessing – I have been so aware of God's blessings this week, and of how abundant He truly is.   A phone call from Grandma Fee saying she's sending a bit of money for new clothes for the kids…a lovely reminder from our Women's Circle mentor (a lovely, wise woman that I've come to appreciate so much) that being a parent isn't easy or convenient…an email from a friend I haven't heard from in a bit…another email from a friend with a lovely surprise (I do love it when the Internet is used for Good and not to spread ugliness)…saying goodbye to a friend who is leaving today for Maryland to follow God's new call on his life.  I am so thankful.
  • WatchingTop Design on Bravo had become a bit of an odd family favorite.  I have been a fan of Jonathan Adler for a long time, but Hanna and Tom actually seem to enjoy the show even more than I do!  After a boring, disappointing season of Project Runway, Top Design has been a huge treat.  Part of me watches just to see what Kelly Wearstler is wearing and doing to her hair each week – you should hear the gasp in our living room each time she appears and the discussion that accompanies it.

  • Exercise – I realized this morning that I'm back at the point where exercise is a looked forward to necessity.  And that's good.  I've upped my daily walk to 35 minutes and have added 4 short jogging intervals.  I am a bit sore, but it's a good sore.  I was driving home from groceries this morning…debating whether or not to walk since it was a little later than I normally go out…and I just had this need that I couldn't deny. 
    In reality, this time of exercise is really my centering for the day.  I pray, I think through what needs to be done that day, I have a little worship time…good times. 

  • More Watching – We are big Mario Batali fans around here, and this show on PBS is lovely.  I'm still a bit amazed at the Mario/Gwyneth Paltro pairing, but it sort of works (and it's changed my opinion of her from incredibly boring to just sort of boring).  We realized last weekend that after years of watching lots of FoodNetwork, we only watch things with Mario and/or Alton Brown.  And if I could take a food tour with anyone, I think Mario Batali might just be tops on my list.   Of course, if this guy wanted to come along I wouldn't really mind either.  Or this one, of course.
    *side note: I continue to be bored and annoyed by the new programming (and more specifically, the quality of the new programming) on FoodNetwork. It's getting pretty pathetic over there.  I blame Rachel Ray.  OK, I blame Rachel Ray for most things (including global warming, the economic crisis, and anything else that comes to mind), but there was a definite shift in the quality of shows and hosts around the time that she blew up. 

  • This girl….

    Hanna 10 16 08 
    all of the sudden, she's so much more grown up…there's a maturity there I hadn't noticed before…she flips through stations on the radio in the car…she's interested in fashion and design…she's pushing herself to read harder books…she thinking about big things…she's trying new things, even when they're not easy or comfortable for her…she's making new friends.

  • And then there's this boy…
    Kids 10 17 08 
    who works so hard to make his sister laugh…who says sweet things like "Mom, I don't just love Papa, I like Papa!"…who is really starting to read…who is battling against his best friend in class to see who can read the most books…he is constantly drawing and writing…and building, always building…who makes me laugh and has a laugh (as seen in the photo) that is so contagious.

It's been a good week.

The it’s-been-a-loooong-week Five for Friday…

It's been a few weeks, so I figured it's time to share a few things that have made this oh-so-long-feeling week a little more enjoyable…

  1. Watching – a lot of the old regular shows – The Office, Bones, Criminal Minds, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory (which I'm actually finding even funnier than last season), Pushing Daisies (how awesome was that season premiere!).  Heroes is officially off my list and I have to say there isn't much new this season that I'm intrigued by.  Waiting anxiously for 30 Rock.   Yes, I am watching 90210…it's awful, it's terrible, no one can act, the wardrobe is atrocious, the girls look disturbingly anorexic and I love it.  My new favorite show?  The Mentalist.   I was so annoyed that it wasn't on this week due to the debate.  I was actually surprised by how much I loved it, but its become one of my most looked forward to hours of television each week.
  2. Obsessed withCakewrecks.  Stacey sent me this link a few weeks ago and I have been checking it daily ever since.  Some are a little inappropriate, but most are just so hilarious.  It really increases my desire to start taking the Wilton Cake Decorating classes when our Michael's opens up in a few months.

  3. LovingE-mealz – this is our third week of getting menus.  I'd originally signed up for the regular Publix plan and well, let's say the meals left a bit to be desired.  I don't know about you, but my husband would not be happy with Hot Dogs in Sauce for dinner….so we switched to the Wal-Mart Points Plan and we've gotten at least 5 dinners we like a week out of it.  Every Friday morning I go online, print out the menu plan and shopping list.  Tom and I go over it on our Friday morning breakfast date and try to figure out what exactly we have going on during the coming week and what meals look most compatible with our family.  After that, we hit the store and pick up our groceries for the week.  I intend to try to get a bit more of the produce locally and I do switch up some items like canned chicken stock for stock I've made, but overall it's been a big success for us.  It takes a lot of the stress out of planning meals and has kept us from eating out as much as we had been. 

  4. Also loving – a few layouts I created this week to list on eBay…
    Fall Y'all Final 
    Family Tree Final 
    Getting Silly Final 
    Lots of creative time in the studio this week…just praying I can keep it up and continue to sell as well as I have been. 

  5. Thankful for – answered prayers and how quickly it happened.  Those Bible storybooks I asked y'all to pray about earlier this week?  Let's just God has taken care of it in the most amazing (and speedy) way.  I am so excited about this!

Five for Friday – the link edition

  1. Reading….this book.  Cannot put it down.  Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon…all singer-songwriter I love. I go through Tapestry phases and Joni Mitchell's Both Sides, Now is one of my favorite-ever songs. Telling the story of their lives and the lives of so many women their age.  Absolutely fascinating.  I may need a copy of my own.
  2. Blogginglove this blog.  I've mentioned it before, I know…but this post this morning is something that really speaks to me right now.  I'm commited to living a more responsible life, to making the best healthy food choices I can, but right now…right now, I'm having to make choices  due to budget constraints and this post gave me a lot of peace.
  3. More Reading…feeling a need to brush up on some parenting decisions.  The kids have been a bit difficult as of late (the boy in particular) and sometimes its just good to read something new.  In this case, the something new is a book I received at a baby shower for Caleb.  Yeah…almost 7 years ago.  I am forcing myself to read this slowly, to put each chapter into practice for a week before moving on and I'm liking it.  It goes along with what we already believe as parents, but don't put into practice as much as we should. It's been good.
  4. Making…I'm planning on putting one of these together little trees together this weekend (scroll down, it's at the bottom of the article).  Instead of Halloween, I'm planning more of a Fall theme and I'm going to cut a whole bunch of leaves for it.  Each night, we'll take turns writing down something we're thankful for and by Thanksgiving I think I'll have a pretty cool centerpiece. 
  5. Obsessively checking onthis blog.  My friend Stacey is mama to a couple of adorable one month old twin girls and two older boys, but I find myself clicking on it several times a day to see if she's added new baby pictures.  Which is kind of silly – she's got twin babies and I'm thinking any time not caring for them is probably spent sleeping. 
    I just want to borrow them for a little while. And kiss them and smell them and snuggle them.   For a little while..I promise I'll give them back =)

And a little question…has anyone ever tried this?  I think it's a really interesting idea and am considering giving it a go.  The recipes look like things we'll actually eat and I love all the different options.  What do you think?

Five for Friday – 09/12/08

because I haven't done this in quite a while, 5 things that are making me happy right now…

  1. Reading….coming off my summer reading binge, gearing up for a fall one.  My favorite reading from this season? Without a doubt this and this, both by T.C. Boyle.  Our friend Brian recommended them this summer while we were out in CA, and I think I owe him at least a beer for it.  He has steered me in the direction of many great books and authors I'd never had read otherwise and I am most appreciative.  Oh, and that first book – my kids call it The Booty Book because of the cover.  If I decide to become a hippie or run off to Alaska, that's the book to blame.
  2. TV….is anyone else happy about the return of Bones?  I find myself loving that show more each season.  I think Sweets has been a great addition and I always love seeing child actors all grown up and doing well – especially when they've actually grown up.  Hard to believe he's the same actor who played Sam in Freaks and Geeks!

  3. Wild Tomatoes…somehow we have a crop of wild tomatoes sprouting up.  Tom cleared everything out when we got home from vacation and added in our first batch of compost.  And somewhere in all of this we must have had a whole bunch of tomato seeds. Resilient little buggers!  They're growing pretty well and I'm looking forward to a nice crop of fall tomatoes =)

  4. Productive Days…This week, I got 7 two page layouts, 7 border sets and a single page layout done and listed.  It's been crazy, but I'm not feeling totally overwhelmed or worn out, and I've kept the laundry up and the house fairly together. 
    My favorites?  Easily this one…
    Treats Final 
    and this one…
    Owloween Final  
    Oh – and if you go here and leave a comment, you can maybe win that little bear piecing that's pictured there.

  5. Um….okay, I can't come up with a number 5 this week.  So what's making your week a happier one?  I'd love to know!

*Heart Happy* Five for Friday

  1. Heart Happy News – finally had Tom’s check up after the TEE he had last December and it was pretty good news.  Some numbers we were worried about haven’t changed since 2004 (which means the issue of another ICD is tabled for now).  Dr. M wants to send Tom up to Shands at UF in Gainesville just to make sure they agree with what his plan is. 
    And that plan? To just watch things for a while. 
    He was also thrilled when we brought up Tom’s snoring, his general tiredness and his ability to fall asleep just about anywhere.  Apparently, that all points to Sleep Apnea, which could be part of the reason that his right ventricle is enlarged and he’s getting a sleep study scheduled..  Tom is also supposed to be exercising, working on losing more weight and eating healthier. He asked Tom what he had for dinner last night and when Tom told him whole wheat veggie lasagna, a salad and a bit of bread with olive oil,  Dr. M asked if he could come over.  We explained my weight loss and health quest, and Dr. M told pretty much told Tom he was living with an expert and should  do whatever I tell him (insert evil laugh here).  I just adore that nerdy little doctor! 
  2. New Musicthis guy’s new CD arrived yesterday and I am rather hooked.  He’s playing in Orlando in May at a Catholic conference at the University of Central Florida and we’re trying to figure out if it’s open to the general public.  Love him.  Can’t wait to get it added to my MP3 player for jogging tomorrow.
  3. More New Music – so, I think I mentioned Micah Dalton in a recap of Youth Force.  He’s one of the Rebuilt Records artists we had the pleasure of getting to know a bit last week.  We also had the pleasure of picking up his CD Pawnshop and I can not seem to stop listening to it.  Rev. Ramshackle Run and We Came Alive Tonight are my favorites, but it’s all just good.  Really, really good.  And he’s a really sweet soul.
  4. British Invasion – a few weeks ago, I asked for recommendations to fill up my Netflix queue and my friend Stacey totally came through.  This week I’ve been enjoying Jeeves and Wooster and Peep Show (not for kids, but funny in a totally-inappropriate-British-sort-of-way) while working in my office.  Someday, Stacey and I are going to have twin mid-life crises and run away to London together.
    Plus, Robin Hood starts up with a new season on BBC-America at the end of the month =) 
  5. This picture….
    I’ve been shooting a lot in Aperture Priority lately and really, really like it.  I also pulled out my zoom lens (it’s a Nikon 55-200 mm f/4-5.6 – not that I really completely understand what all of that means).  I forget I have it, but it has been such a great little lens for the price.  A little soft when I zoom in all the way, but still good.  All of my water shots earlier this week and the one of Miss A from yesterday were taken with it.

That’s all for today – the house is clean, the groceries are bought and put away and I’ve got a nice, quiet weekend to enjoy!

Leap Day Five for Friday

It has been an exceptionally dull week around here, and that’s been good and bad.  A cold front moved through the other night and brought storms and colder weather, Caleb’s been home most of the week and we’ve spent more than a few days snuggled up on the couch.  It hasn’t been a terribly productive week, but here’s five things that made it a bit more enjoyable….

  • Watching: way, way too much Phineas and Ferb with the boy.  We have every single episode saved on the DVR.  And while I generally don’t like much of anything to do with Ashley Tisdale, this little cartoon is pretty darn funny.  There’s just something so sweet about cold weather, a warm little boy, cartoons and snuggles on the couch.
  • Reading: lots and lots.  I think I’ve finished 3 books this week, including this one this afternoon (I think I’m at 19 for the year so far).  Another one I had started, set aside and picked back up out of boredom.  And then just couldn’t put down.  I’ll definitely be adding the rest of Ann Patchett’s works to my library requests.   
  • Eating: kind of a weird week food-wise.  I didn’t make a menu last week like I usually do and we’ve been paying for it with bad eating and too much eating out.  It’s on my list of things to do this evening so the kids and I can hit the store tomorrow.  We did check out a great little produce stand today that is mostly organic and either all grown there or as local as possible.  Love that.  Super friendly too. 
  • Planning: still working on our summer trip.  Planning a few things for our time in California – I want to do another sewing project with my Grammy (I’m thinking I want this Amy Butler layered skirt in some of these fabrics).  Actually, I’d like to make two of the skirts and two of the aprons that I could mix and match, and maybe a bag or two.  I should probably warn Grammy =)
  • Scrapping:  Snuck in a wee bit of scrappy time this week in between snuggling the boy and trying to get some work done.  I’m at this odd place with scrapbooking right now.  I’m feeling this real need to focus on the story, and to make sure there’s a story or message behind each layout and not just a cute photo.  I’m tired of the industry side of things and I’m so very bored with the magazines.  Trying to dig a little deeper and focus a bit more on what purpose it serves in my life.
    Here’s what I got done this week…
    love this one – check out those dimples!!!
  • And this other one is for my Mom’s Favorites album – it’s an 8×8" album I’ve been working on for a year or two of my favorite photos.  I only add a few layouts a year to it, the only criteria being that the photo is one that I absolutely love.  It’s one album that I’m doing just  for me and I love it.  It’s the one I plan on keeping close when I’m old and grey ;)

So, what’s been one of your favorite things this week?

Friday, Feb. 15th

After a spectacularly unproductive week, we’re finally at Friday.  We enjoyed a yummy Valentine’s dinner last night at a local sushi/fusion restaurant and I’m finding I really, really like sushi.  Even Caleb tried a little and didn’t gag – it was a big moment for all of us.  And today, I spent a lovely hour and a half at the salon and came home with a cute new cut and much nicer looking eyebrows.  I’ll try to share a picture once the redness goes down around the brow area.

Other than that, here are some of my faves from this week:

  • Watching: Freaks and Geeks, and holy cow! how has it taken me almost 10 years to get around to watching this?!?!  So, so good.  Such good writing, such a great cast.  It’s got that Dazed and Confused sort of cast that leaves you amazed at what all they went on to.  Only a disc or two in, can’t wait to watch the rest.
  • Reading: Finished A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby a few days ago.  Love him.  And I was so impressed by the different voices in this book.  I’ve got another of his on the bedside table and a few more books to pick up at the library.  Always enjoy his work.
  • Eating: Still working on getting back into healthier eating after being sick.  I’ve been trying to be conscious of our meal planning, and I’m trying to work in at least one meat-free dinner and one fish dinner a week.  Tonight, I made Asian Lime Tilapia and it was delicious!  Tom and the kids are not as big fish fans as I am, but everyone at least tasted it.  28 Cooks is one of my favorite food blogs, with predominantly vegetarian recipes, but some fish ones as well. I’m feeling this need to tighten the diet up – I’m really starting to think about cutting out wheat products to see if it takes care of some continuing health issues.  I may just have to jump in and do it for a week.
  • Wanting: this t-shirt.  Isn’t it cute?  I need some new t’s – I’m at the point where all of mine are getting a bit too big and I’m really having trouble finding any that I like in the stores.  They have a lot of other cute ones for bigs and littles.
  • Planning: Starting to get a bit more serious and date focused for our Widlund Family Summer Tour of 2008.  So far, we’re hoping to hit Savannah, Irmo, Athens/Atlanta, Nashville, Kansas City, Des Moines, and Mount Rushmore.  I’ve also been told there’s a distinct possibility of stops at Dollywood and Rocky Ridge Farm (where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote The Little House books).  They’re both places that I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember.  And after Mount Rushmore and the South Dakota Badlands, Tom’s mom, the kids and I are driving to California for a few weeks visit.  I’m hoping to work it out so we drive in through the Lake Tahoe area so the kids and I can spend a few nights with my Aunt Cindy (and see the petrified cat in Virginia City – it’s an important rite of passage) and then maybe a night or two in Sacramento with Aunt Janice and the cousins.  It’s going to be quite the marathon trip if it all works out, and one of those once in a lifetime things.  I’m waiting on Tom and Grandma Fee to get a few dates set so we can start firming up plans, but there’s a few of you who will be getting emails or calls soon about visiting. 

That’s all for today – we’ve got The Great Muppet Caper to watch this evening and Rocky Road ice cream in the freezer. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Just a little early…

Needing a little positive at the moment, so here’s this week’s highlights….

  • Reading: The Attack by Yasmina Khadra.  Actually, I read it in one night because I simply couldn’t put it down.  A perspective I’ve never read before, beautifully written and fairly heartbreaking.  I’m going through a bit of a Middle Eastern phase in my reading and totally enjoying it.  I’ll definitely be adding his other works to my never-ending library list.  They called today to let me know I have 7 books waiting for me – oh joy!
  • Watching: Dexter through Netflix.  I think it’s safe to say both Tom and I are a bit obsessed. It is a bit disturbing and difficult to watch at times, but the writing and the acting are just so good.  We should have received the last disc of Season 1 today, and I was cursing Netflix when it wasn’t in my mailbox this afternoon.  Can’t wait for Season 2 to come out, and I may actually get Showtime so we can watch the next season. 
  • Loving: Free Rice – a chance to do a little good and work on your vocab skills all at the same time.  I found it off of a link off a link off a link from some blog and spent a good 15 minutes whine-free this afternoon.  And it made me feel a little smarter, which we all need sometimes =)
  • Wanting: one of these – in particular either DB029 or DB 030 (scroll down about halfway).  I’ve been wanting to find some small piece of jewelry to commemorate when I hit my goal weight.  Right now, these are my top choices.  I’ve got 14 more pounds to go, though, and who knows what else I’ll find before I get there.  I do really like all of her stuff though – it could be addicting.
  • Planning: to get to Orlando’s still-sorta-new Ikea in the next week or so.  I’ve got about six things marked in the catalog that I want to look at, and I want to check out some of their frames too.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to one and I’m up for a day of wandering.

I am happy to report that not once did the Power Rangers grace our television today.  The kids watched cartoons, whined a little and played on the computer.  I’m crossing my fingers that at least one will be able to go back to school tomorrow. 

I was able to duck out for a walk this morning before Tom left for the first time all week and was reminded again how much I’ve come to rely on that quiet time.

Hoping for healthier days ahead~

Friday, January 11

Rather busy running around today getting ready for the big birthday slumber party tonight.  Cleaning, groceries, favors…but not decorating.  In a fit of brilliance, I decided I’d just buy some decorations and let the girls decorate while everyone is getting here.  According to Hanna, they are all quite thrilled with the idea.

So five things for this week…

  • Reading: Clapton: The Autobiography and really enjoying it.  I’m a huge fan (Bell Bottom Blues may just be my favorite piece of music ever, although it’s a close race with Wonderful Tonight) and it’s a treat to read.  I loaded up my request list from the library last weekend and picked up 5 books on Tuesday (one I’ve already read – meant to request #2 in the series).  I’m tracking my reading this year with a list over to the left of the blog.
  • Watching: not much.  Between new books, birthday business and the general craziness that comes with getting home from a long trip, tv has been a very low priority for me.  I was happy to watch a new episode of 30 Rock last night, which is quickly climbing up my favorite show list.  It could just be because I rather covet Tina Fey’s wardrobe, but I love the writing and performances quite a bit too.
  • Eating: lots of simple meals.  I think we’re having a bit of food fatigue after the holidays.  All I want is simple and fresh.  I made a big pot of veg soup last weekend and threw in a handful of barley, and ate it for a few days afterward.  Somewhere, I developed this odd habit of adding cheese to soup, and found that string cheese chopped into bites is really good in vegetable soup.  Planning to make another pot Sunday.
  • Wanting: a few of these prints or maybe some of these for the kids bathroom.  Haven’t decided yet, but I’m kind of leaning toward the first ones, mainly because I’m totally in love with this peacock.  Our bathrooms are a nice, soft yellow that would work with just about anything.  I’m on a decorating tear at the moment, making lists and plans….now I just need to start saving to make it all happen.
  • Planning: this party tonight.  I think everything is ready to go (well, once I finish getting the house cleaned up).  I’m also planning out my goals for 2008, which I’m planning to share next week.  I’m trying to break it down into categories – personal, professional, household.  I had started a master list last week while in CA, but then went and left it in the car on the way to the airport. 

That’s all for this week.

I’ll try to post a little party recap tomorrow =)

Five for Friday – late edition

Hmmm, so I seem to be running a bit behind this week.

Could be that I’ve done a dozen layouts for Ebay since last Monday (and still have more to go before I can start my 12 Days of Christmas listings on Friday). 

Or maybe that I’ve got six mosquito bites on my right ankle that are driving me completely insane.

Or perhaps that Caleb is starting off the holiday season in his usual style – sick.  I think we’ll probably be taking a trip to the doctor’s office tomorrow morning – coughing, low fever, headache.  Normal kid stuff for most kids, but he can go from that to an ER visit in an alarmingly short amount of time.

So… 5 things that made my week this week?

  1. Overflow by Matt Maher.
    I think obsessed is the right word.  It’s my go-to CD while working in my office, it’s on my Zen while I walk and it’s on the computer right now while I type.  Loving all of his stuff, but the production value on this disc is just better on this one than the others.  There’s an imagery and depth to his songwriting that I’m really enjoying and tend to find a bit lacking in many of the better known worship leaders that are popular right now.  The only problem is that I tend to want to worship right along – which is fine while at the computer or my desk… it’s while out walking that I worry about getting odd looks or run over.
  2. Veronica Mars, Season 3
    Oh CW, how you make me scratch my head.  You had one of the best shows on TV and dumped it.  And for what, I ask?  Beauty and the Geek, America’s Next Top Model, another installment of the Pussycat Dolls.  Oh well.  At least I can enjoy it on DVD.  Enjoying the third season even more on DVD than I did when it originally aired.  I so miss this show.
  3. Mrs. Meyer’s Geranium Hand Lotion
    I’m not a big smelly lotion person.  I’m pretty sensitive to smells, and tend to stick to light, fruity ones.  I found this at Cost Plus yesterday (we’ve got one within a half an hour now!) and couldn’t resist.  I love their cleaning products and took a chance.  Glad I did :)
  4. Thanksgiving!
    Can you be a Thanksgiving junkie?  I really think I might.  My favorite foods, spending time with people I love, a chance to pause and see all that I have to be thankful for.
    But mostly, I love this…
    Nothing like a boy in full grocery sack vest and fruit loop necklace costume.
    Oh – and if you asked him who he was, he said "South American".
    Not sure how well he pays attention in class.
  5. Christmas Card Photo – Done!
    So excited to have this done already.  Apparently, I picked the coldest, brightest morning of the season so far to do this, but we got through it and I’m happy with the final result.  I even spent a little time last night designing the card.  Just need to get them printed, write the letter, address the envelopes and mail them. 
    Here’s a few of the outtakes (straight out of the camera, so they need a little work still):

Dsc_0232 Dsc_0161 A bit bright, yes, but the kids were cold and requested sun.  They both look cute, but oh so bright!  And so much alike.  I don’t think I’ve ever realized exactly how much they look alike. 

Dsc_0175 Not sure what they were doing here, but the faces are so very them.

Dsc_0181 Tempting.  Oh so tempting to send this out as our Christmas card picture this year.  But no.  Not enough of Hanna.

And Caleb’s making a funny face. 

Actually, Caleb made a lot of funny faces.  I also got some individuals that I really like that I’ll try to share later this week.