Farmhouse Christmases Past

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Several years ago, we stopped celebrating Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma’s farmhouse because they moved “to town” where they could have more help. The memories thirty Christmases before that are etched deeply in my memories. (OK, to be honest, I probably don’t actually remember the first two.)
When we drove through their tiny town and followed the curving highway out the other side, we would look across the empty fields to see the white barn. As kids, we always tried to be the first to shout, “I see the barn!” We would drive down the long gravel drive to park near the end of the sidewalk that led to the back door. As we unloaded food and gifts to carry them up the sidewalk, Grandpa would come out the door wearing his puffy warm vest over his work overalls and greet us with a loud “Merry Christmas!” and hugs at the top of the stairs. Sometimes we arrived and stayed several days before Christmas and some years we went only for the day, but the greeting was always the same.

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When Joy is Hard

Joy at Home
Sometimes the Christmas season is holly jolly, merry, and bright. Sometimes Christmas is hard and sad. It hurts when things do not go as expected, when we miss people who are not with us for one reason or another, and sometimes when traditions change.

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Things I Do When My Husband is Out of Town

"Hobbit" succulent

Last week, Brian went to a work-related conference for four days, so our dog, Cola, and I were home alone. I observed that my behavior and habits shift a bit when he is not around for several days. According to my observations, I am very productive when trying not to miss someone and I do not care about having a lot of variety in my meals. What do you do when your spouse (or roommate) is away?

  • Keep the doors locked unless I’m using them. Just in case a burglar knows I’m alone and tries to walk in.
  • Stick extra pillows on his side of the bed. The pillows are basically insulation because our bedroom is chilly at night.

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Virtual Coffee Date

Coffee please
If we were on a coffee date, we would probably meet at my house because my favorite iced coffee right now is my Aeropress-ed Candy Cane Iced Coffee. Plus, there’s almost always an open couch or deck seating. I would gladly make a coffee or tea or Italian soda for you, too.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask about your creative outlets, things you do to stretch and express your creativity. While we were traveling so much over the summer, mine was photography both on my phone and point-and-shoot camera. I have also enjoyed gardening while we were home. I do not know how much time I will spend on gardening and photography now that school is starting or if I will move on to something else that inspires me. I have noticed that I do not blog as much anymore. During the summer it was because I was experiencing and enjoying and intentionally left my computer at home. During the last school year, it was because teaching took up so many of of my words that I did not feel like I had much to share in blog posts.

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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

What I'm Into Logo

 

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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