Appreciating the Ordinary (& a Giveaway)

Living Between Milestones | StairStories.com
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Sometimes it seems that we live only for highlights between ordinary days. Some of us live on weekends between work weeks or on holidays between classes. We seem in-between when we are out of school but not working, working but not at the jobs we want, working and not yet retired. We feel in-between when we are adults but not married, married but without children, have children who do not yet sleep through the nights, and so on.

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What I’m Into: February 2016

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Where is the year going?  It feels like everything is rushing by while I try to keep up with relationships and teaching and college ministry and church and housework. I have been brainstorming for some upcoming posts, so stay tuned while I try to find time to post more than once a month every couple months.

 

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What I’m Into: December 2015

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This was the first Christmas that I was teaching college instead of working at the high school, so it was nice to have the longest break I have had since I graduated from college. As I told Brian, this was the best Christmas I have had since we got married. The first Christmas, I had a cold and then threw my back out by coughing too hard. The second Christmas, I had a cold that turned into a sinus infection and sent me to urgent care two days before Christmas (my mom also got the flu that year, so she and dad both missed out on our family celebration). This year, none of us were sick so everyone made it and seemed to enjoy our time together.

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Candy Cane Coffee Syrup Recipe

Homemade Coffee Flavoring Syrup Gift Set

I like my coffee dark and sweet, preferably with a flavor. As I have written before, I like to experiment with making my own flavoring syrups. Since I have accumulated several favorite recipes, I suggested to Brian that we make our own gift sets for family members we would see for Christmas. Although many of them do not drink coffee, the syrups are also good in tea, hot chocolate, cider, and steamers (hot milk with a flavor add-in).

Holiday Flavors

I posted the recipe for Cinnamon Stick Syrup a while ago and found the Gingerbread Syrup recipe on AllRecipes. I invented the Candy Cane Syrup recipe, which uses actual candy canes. I much prefer this recipe to peppermint syrups I tried using peppermint oil or peppermint leaves.

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Spotlight: 31 Days to a Better Understanding of Football

31 Days Series Spotlight

31 Days to a Better Understanding of Football

Kirsten – of My Cracked Conclusion – is writing a fun, well-thought-out look at the nuts and bolts of football for her 31 Days series. In addition, there are plenty of diagrams and graphics to demonstrate and add to the written explanations.

What I Have Learned

High school and college footballs have a white stripe across each end and pro footballs do not. Jersey numbers traditionally reflect the player’s position.

Favorite Post(s) So Far

The Running and Passing and Receiving posts are both full of explanations and diagrams of running and passing plays. Someone new to football would do well to bookmark these two for reference while watching a game (or study them ahead of time).

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Who Would Enjoy This Series

Kristen’s series is especially for people with little to no practical understanding of football. Her practical, easy-to-read explanations will not have readers drowning in jargon.

31 Days Blog Cheerleader

Disclaimer

In my self-designated role of unofficial 31 Days cheerleader, I am spotlighting some of my favorite series. The opinions shared are entirely my own and do not represent the bloggers I highlight. Also, I only know what the bloggers have posted thus far and am not responsible if the series takes a strange or unseemly turn. I am doing this series merely to encourage bloggers who are working hard to keep up with the challenge of posting every day in October.

 

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Spotlight: 31 Days of Growing Up in Malaysia

 

31 Days Series Spotlight

31 Days of Growing Up in Malaysia

Rachel – of The Random Writings of Rachel – is sharing delightfully funny stories about growing up in Malaysia for her 31 Days series.

Favorite Post(s) So Far

“Can I Have Your Number?” and “Breaking and Entering” posts have made me laugh the most.

 Cola_Fascinating Stories

Who Would Enjoy This Series

Rachel’s stories are short, entertaining reads for anyone who likes a good story. Check out all the posts in 31 Days of Growing Up in Malaysia and let me know which is your favorite.

31 Days Blog Cheerleader

Disclaimer

In my self-designated role of unofficial 31 Days cheerleader, I am spotlighting some of my favorite series. The opinions shared are entirely my own and do not represent the bloggers I highlight. Also, I only know what the bloggers have posted thus far and am not responsible if the series takes a strange or unseemly turn. I am doing this series merely to encourage bloggers who are working hard to keep up with the challenge of posting every day in October.

 

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Blog Cheerleader Update

31 Days Blog Cheerleader

Cheerleading at Warp Speed

I have been loving the 31 Days series I am following and, wow, is it hard to keep up with my optimistically-overloaded RSS feed! I am doing my best to click over to blogs, read, and comment. If you want to remind me about yours or invite me to visit for the first time, please leave a comment.

Lessons Learned

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I’m a 31 Days Rule-Breaker

31 Days Blog Cheerleader

Happy October!

Every year since 2011, I have seen my blog feed and social media explode on October 1 with the beautiful, crazy, sometimes-messy 31 Days kickoff. This year, I am breaking the rules of participation and not setting out to blog every day with all the other lovely, dedicated bloggers.

Instead, my goal is to be an ardent cheerleader, reading and commenting on the posts that others are working so diligently on. Both times I have participated in 31 Days, I wished I had more time for reading posts and leaving encouraging comments. This year, that is exactly what I am going to do. You won’t see daily posts here, but I do hope to share links to some of my favorite 31 Days series so that you can follow some of these amazing people, too.

Help Wanted

If you want me to check out your 31 Days series or want to rave about another blogger’s series, leave me a comment and I will check it out!

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What I’m Into: July 2015

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Travel 

We made a short trip to Wyoming at the beginning of July.

Products

Method Pink Grapefruit All Purpose Cleaner is marvelous for getting grease and gunk off my microwave, stove, and counters.

Harvey Prince Ageless Perfume smells like summer and grapefruit and is my new favorite scent. As I am writing this, I just realized I must be in some sort of grapefruit-scented phase… There are definitely worse phases, though!

Around the House

I was out of my usual powdered buttermilk when making waffles, so I turned to these buttermilk substitutes.

As a kid, I always made tartar sauce out of mayo, ketchup, and relish. This month, I decided to broaden my horizons and made “fancy” tartar sauce, using Ina Garten’s recipe. Brian and I both decided that it is worth keeping in on hand to garnish the various fish entrees we have once or twice a week.

This week, I learned that grease-cutting dish soap plus hot water can unclog a toilet that has a fat- or protein-based clog. I’m not sure that it would work on paper-based clogs.

Watching

On my DVR: Rizzoli & Isles, Stitchers, Girl Meets World, selections from a Harry Potter marathon, Descendants (haven’t watched that last one yet).

On Netflix: Trying Army Wives for the first time, re-enjoying NCIS Season 1.

Listening

Brian says I soundtrack my life and I tend to agree. Highlights from my current playlist of favorites are:
The Likes of Us, self-titled album
Tyrone Wells, Best Of Sampler (especially Sea Breeze!)
Dave Barnes, Hymns for Her

Favorite Reads from around the Web

According to the NYTimes quiz, I am a Thinking/Social introvert.

How many English words do you know? This quiz estimates my vocabulary to be around 29,400, which I think is a bit low.

Exercise

Our local dog park has become a favorite evening hangout spot for us. We first took Cola when she was a timid four-month-old and she hid under a picnic table most of the time. This summer she is a slightly bolder, fun-loving one-year-old who tries to befriend all the other dogs and convince them to run with her. Two of her favorite running buddies are a wiry Italian greyhound and a peppy terrier. The dog park has not only been good for Cola learning how to socialize with other dogs but also for interacting with humans.

In recent months, she has been scared of many strangers and some of our friends whether we meet them on walks or whether they come to our house.  Since the dog park is so very fun and distracting for her, she does not mind the people there and even seems to like our fellow regulars. Next, we will try to get her un-terrified of children! (She had a bad experience with a “scary” four-year-old boy.) Video of Cola playing at the park.

Dog Park Rules Dog Park

What are you into this month?

I am linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

Disclosure: Some affiliate links included in this post. If you click through, any purchase you make supports this site.

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Adventures in Wyoming

Road Trip with an Emergency Room Stop

If you have been following my Instagram or Twitter, you know Brian and I traveled with my parents to Wyoming to visit Mom’s side of the family. On the way, we stopped to visit my grandpa in Loveland, Colorado, where he has been recovering from a fall and broken leg. Unfortunately, he fainted during physical therapy and we had to have our first visit in a nearby ER. After hours of tests, the medical staff determined that he was fine and sent him back to the rehab center.

Going to the emergency room

Sightseeing

While in Laramie, we took a few hours to have touristy adventures, visiting the Pyramid of the Plains and hiking at Vedauwoo. In a couple places, Dad and I climbed around on rocks while Mom and Brian stayed near the trail and took pictures of us.
Brian & I at Pyramid of the Plains

Pyramid of the Plains plaque

Vedauwoo Warning

hiking, rock climbing, Wyoming

Hiking, mountains, Wyoming

Hiking, rock climbing, Wyoming

Hiking, mountains, Wyoming

Hiking, mountains, Wyoming

Coffee & Books

During an afternoon coffee run, I took my parents exploring and found a lovely, homey coffee shop and secondhand bookstore in a hipster-esque neighborhood of Laramie. If you are in Laramie, check out Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse.

Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse

Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse

Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse

I had such a good time visiting with the rest of our Wyoming family that I didn’t mess with taking photos while we were with them, so feel free to use your imagination to see that part of our trip!

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