Tag Archives: tiny details

A Blu-ish Christmas & Happy New Year

Blu-ish Christmas

Ever since our last day of school on December 19, I have been on an unplanned hiatus from blogging and most social media. I caught a cold before school ended for the break but thought I was getting better. The first two nights of our Christmas trip to visit Brian’s side of the family in Tulsa, I spiked a moderate fever. On Monday, I went to an urgent care center and was diagnosed with a sinus infection. Even with three prescriptions, it took me nearly a week to feel remotely normal again. I still have a cough but have much more energy and no longer sound like a frog when I talk.

Christmas Eve Bows

Off My Game

Once on antibiotics, I was not contagious so I still joined in on game night, dinners, and other gatherings with friends and family. Much of the week was fun but I felt mentally and physically fuzzy. I slept in, took naps, and sat around watching Doctor Who. If I saw you in the few days before Christmas and seemed sad or cranky, I just did not feel well and struggled to think straight. I was so out of sorts, I didn’t even drink coffee for two or three days because the taste was completely unappetizing.

Christmas

On Christmas Eve morning, we found out my mom had the flu. Since she and Dad did not want to get anyone sick, especially my elderly grandparents or two-year-old nephew, they decided to stay home for Christmas. On Christmas Day, Brian and I had breakfast and stockings with his parents his sister, Shanna, and then drove to my aunt & uncle’s house three hours away. In Ottawa, we celebrated with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, five siblings (counting the ones who married in), and a nephew.

Christmas Day Prep
Christmas Day Eli

Since it was on our way, Brian and I picked up Dad and Mom’s gifts for everyone else and dropped off the gifts to them on our way back to Tulsa at the end of the day. We also Facetimed with them so they could see and chat with everyone during gift-opening time. We intended to stay with my parents from Christmas Day until Monday but they suggested we visit another time, when they are less contagious. Brian and I (and Cola) came home on the 26th and have spent several relaxing days at home, resting and recuperating. It has been very nice!

Cola sleeps with her new toy

Happy New Year!

By New Year’s Eve, Brian and I were feeling much better. We rang in 2015 by playing board games with a few college students who were in town. We taught them how to play our version of Golf-the-card-game, played a Battle of the Sexes card game, and then split into groups to play either Settlers of Catan or Life.

How were your Christmas and New Year holidays?

 

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Lows & Highs: A Cold & A Christmas List

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.


Lows & Highs: A Cold & A Christmas List

Low: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

I have had a cold with major congestion for the past six days. It has reminded me how much I enjoy being able to taste my food, breathe easily, and hear clearly.

High: My Grown-Up Christmas List

I am not stressed out about my “To-Do Before Christmas” list. Even though I have had less time and less energy (because of work and my cold, respectively), Brian has been working hard to help with tasks that I do not have to do myself. He has been grocery shopping, wrapping presents, helping with meals, and much more while I bake cookies and make other seasonal preparations.

What are a low and a high from your week?

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Lows & Highs: Dancing & Sleeping In

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

 

Missed Sleeping Opportunity

On Wednesday, I was dragging and had to drag myself out of bed. It was not until I was almost to school that I realized it was a late start day and I did not have to be at school until nine. Instead of driving all the way back home, I drove a couple blocks farther to my favorite coffee shop, sipped a gingerbread Americano, and read a book. I really would have liked to sleep in, though!

Party Time!

We have had lots of seasonal social activities this week!

On Thursday, we met with our Barton students for our last Campus Christian Fellowship Bible study of 2014. We talked about celebration and treasuring experiences in our hearts and what we have noticed God doing this semester. I loved hearing some of the students share!

On Friday, Brian and I had a three-part date night. First, we went to the college Christmas party and visited with some of his coworkers with their spouses. Second, we had dinner at The Page. Finally, the highlight of the evening – and my whole week – was the Jingle Bell Swing! We danced and chatted and watched the Barton Hilltop Singers (show choir).

Jingle Bell Swing Date Night Tickets
Us on Jingle Bell Swing Date Night

On Saturday, we had First Friday Game Night that we rescheduled from Friday so we could have date night at the dance. Boy, was the house packed! We had raucous games going at two different tables at one point.

College Student Game Night
College Student Game Night

On Sunday, I played with toddlers in the church nursery and we packed our table full of college students again for lunch.

College Student Sunday Lunch

College Student Sunday Lunch

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Lows & Highs: Video Game Edition

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

 

Lows

My low this week was the way my lower back has been cramping and aching from hours of sitting on the floor and cutting tulle as well as bending over various projects to make my costume. (It is getting better now.) A second low was that Brian’s costume, ordered online, arrived and was uncomfortably short. With my rudimentary sewing skills, I was able to alter the costume so he could wear it but that was a whole unplanned costume project to squeeze in before Friday.

Luigi & Princess Peach Couple Costumes |StairStories.com

Highs

Our Halloween evening was fun! We hurried home after work and got dressed because one of us was sure trick-or-treaters would start coming at four-thirty or five. (The waves of costumed kids actually began later.) We tried to make our house look welcoming with the living room curtains open and the porch light on. As families came to the door, we greeted them in our costumes (Luigi and Princess Peach). Sometimes the little girls would shyly tell me they liked my costume when I complimented theirs. The boys were funnier, gaping at Brian and telling him things like, “I like your game, Luigi!” and “Luigi, you’re my favorite.” Occasionally, we heard voices of kids who could see in the window before they reached the door, “Hey, look! Luigi’s in there!” He was extremely popular with the over forty kids who stopped by.

Around 9:30, we left to set up our popcorn table at the college’s dance party and to surprise students with our costumes. My favorite reaction was Lindsey’s. She saw us standing behind the table and said something like, “Oh, wow, you guys! I mean you, oh, and you, and… oh my gosh, you guys are just so adorable!”

How was your week? Did you dress up for Halloween?

Luigi & Princess Peach Couple Costumes |StairStories.com

 

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Lows & [Lots of] Highs

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

 

 

2014-08-19 21.19.24

 

One Low
Our sweet, adorable puppy killed a bird and then tried to eat it. Brian noticed and went out to dispose of the dead body, but Cola decided she wanted to chew on it and play “keep away from the human” instead. After a few minutes, I went out to help, which made us two disgusted people and one playful puppy. Eventually, she dropped her prize for a moment and I picked her up. That gave Brian an opening to make the bird disappear. Since then, Brian keeps promising Cola she will never be allowed to lick his face ever again.

 

Three Highs
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1. Brian and I put up new gutters on the back of our house.

 

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2. I made French Toast Roll-ups with blueberries and cream cheese. They were delicious and we want to have them again.

 

 

3. A barista was astonished to overhear me talking with a friend about making my own coffee syrups and asked for details, so I gave her my blog address. I have never directed a total stranger to this site before, but it was the easiest way to give her the information!


How has your week been?

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Techie Tip of the Week

How to get same day Instagram prints | StairStories.com
 
 

 

Temporary Photo Wall Project
Our student ministry welcomed students back to campus last weekend. We had a table in the official check-in line and wanted to make our area look inviting. I printed photos from the past year and then Veronica and Lindsey arranged them on our photo wall. They were impressed when I told them Walgreens now lets customers upload and print photos from Instagram (with same day service). I ordered a number of photos from my Instagram feed and both I and the girls were impressed with the convenience and quality. One of them said, “Man, that is amazing! I’m going to print some tomorrow!”
 

 

 
2014-08-18 17.54.41

 

What I Did
From the Walgreens photo page, I logged into my Instagram account, selected the photos to print, and chose the sizes. I used 4×4 inch squares, but they also offer 8×8 inch ones too. Most Walgreens stores will offer same-day service for a little extra fee.
 
 

 

Discount
Walgreens often puts discount codes in banners at the top of the page. In addition, you can use RetailMeNot or its smart phone app to look up discount codes. I found a code for 50% off any photo order, but they change often.
 
 

 

Side Note
You can also upload photos from your computer or from your Facebook account. I have tried the former, but not the latter.
 
 

 

Disclaimer
Walgreens did not ask or pay me to recommend their photo service. I am simply sharing my experience with a business.

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DIY Coffee Flavoring Syrup

Cinnamon & Vanilla Rum

I like my coffee strong, dark, and sweet, so I like coffee-flavoring syrups. Did you know it is easy to make your own, customized syrups that taste better than store-bought? I start with the most basic simple syrup recipe and add whatever suits my taste. Both microwave and stove top work well for me, so I have included directions for both.

What is your favorite coffee flavor?

Basic Coffee Flavoring Recipe

Basic Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

 

Cinnamon Stick Syrup
Add 1 cinnamon stick (3-4 inches long), broken into pieces

 

Vanilla Rum Syrup
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla (Mexican or some other really good kind), and
1 teaspoon rum or rum flavoring

 

Microwave Directions
Stir all ingredients together in a clear, microwave-safe container that holds at least four cups. (I use my four-cup Pyrex measuring cup.) Cook on high for two minutes, stir, and then heat until bubbling but not to a rolling boil. Stir about every minute and keep a close watch so it does not boil over. Cook at a “bubble, not boil” for about five minutes in total.

 

Stovetop Directions
Stir all ingredients together in a small saucepan that holds at least four cups. Heat to a low simmer, but not a rolling boil. Stir occasionally. Simmer for about five minutes in total.

 

Taste Test & Finishing
When the sugar is completely dissolved and the solution is thicker than plain water, you can check the flavor: Scoop up about a half-teaspoon of HOT syrup and let it cool before you taste it. If you prefer a more intense flavor, you can simmer for a little longer and consider adding a little more of the flavor add-ins. When you like the flavor, let the syrup cool.

 

If your add-ins are not dissolved (like the cinnamon stick), strain out the pieces with a strainer and cheesecloth. Pour the syrup into your preferred containers. I prefer easy-to-pour bottles. Use right away or store in refrigerator.*

 

*I always store mine in the refrigerator and have no idea how long it lasts because I use the syrup quickly!

 

 

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Lows & Highs: Exercise & Dirt

Low: This week, my low was the exercising-so-hard-I feel-like-I’ll-die feeling when Brian decided to rev up the pace on our Saturday morning walk. There are no pictures, but I was definitely hot pink, sweaty, and out of breath when we finished shaving a whole minute off our usual minutes-per-mile pace!

High: We celebrated Fathers’ Day with my family and I taught Eli how to use his new sand toys. He may have also learned a “fun game” from Aunt Abby that involves using the scoop to catapult dirt and sticks across the grass… he was going to put them in his mouth, though!

UncleBrian&Eli

Look how big Eli has gotten!

Eli&Toys

One happy toddler!

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Lows & Highs: Mission Trip

Low: There were numerous, random delays on our road trip from Memphis to Kansas but we made the best of it. With the help of Waze on my phone, we avoided one stretch of road construction but there was not a good detour around a second one. While we crept along in the two-lane construction zone, Brian noticed there was no traffic in the oncoming lane on the other side of the concrete dividers and guessed there was a wreck. He was right and we eventually came upon the scene of a semi versus car accident on a bridge with no room to get around in the narrow lane. We drove past about ten miles of cars stopped in the other lane, grateful that we were not headed that direction. 2014-03-21 18.32.38
High: My high this week was seeing what God did at Bible club on Whittier! It is so very easy to get attached to the kids in the few days we get to enjoy them. Also, I love seeing our college student team grow spiritually and emotionally during the week.

IMG_2323

Craft time is always hands-on, even for the leaders!

2-5 year-olds in a train!

Leading the youngest kids’ group (2-5 years) is like I imagine herding cats is. Sometimes we could get their attention by hollering, “Let’s make a train!”

Yoshi, Abby, Courtney

Yoshi (left) and Courtney are two-year-old who got attached to several of us and like to be carried around. It’s hard to see in this photo, but Courtney and I have matching purple eyeshadow.

 

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Lows & Highs: Car Repair

Low: I tried to fix a car and my attempted repair did not work… On the bright side, I am confident I did not make it worse! One of our college student friends could not get her car to start on Thursday, so I tried to help by asking the same diagnostic questions my dad has asked me when my car wouldn’t start. I checked her answers with my dad and then met her at the college with my tools. The battery cables and terminals were corroded and I was able to clean off one but the other would not loosen. The car still would not start when we tried to jump-start it, so it had to wait for someone more experienced than me.

High: Brian had a math educators’ conference on Saturday so I had a girls’ day with the same friend. We highlighted each other’s hair, watched a movies, and had a fun time chatting.

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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