Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday, It Is!

Yes, it is.

Thankful Thursday.

I haven't forgotten.

Really, Randy, I haven't.

I am just a little behind schedule.

Every. Single. Day. Of. My. Life.

But even at 11:10 at night, I am thankful.

Thankful for...

  • Google.  I really don't know what I did before Google.  I wanted to make something new for dinner. I found a recipe but it involved an ingredient (a brown gravy mix) that I didn't have.  Quick Google search and I found a homemade mix I could make in seconds.  And it was DELICIOUS!
  • DVR.  It is the only way I get to watch some of the shows I want to watch when I want to watch them.
  • Zumba class.  One of our teachers started a Zumba class after school a couple of days a week.  It is a lot of fun (both the Zumba and hanging out with co-workers).  And even better, I get my exercise done earlier than 11 p.m.
  • The warm days.  Yesterday was not one. But some of them have been. I am so not a cold weather person.
  • Watching my youngest dance and sing.  I mean, what is cuter than seeing his sweet little face sing "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys..."
  • Sushi date nights with my hubby, even if they are last minute :)
  • Homemade bread.  I am thankful for it. I really am. I just wish I could resist it better.
  • Tomorrow is February...the January Grocery Challenge is over!  Woohoo!  I had four cents to spare. :)  (It was fun but I am so ready to do a little shopping for some much NEEDED items for our kitchen)
  • Pistachios.  I missed them.  (I have been out of them for about a week...I eat them daily)  Now that the challenge is over, I can get some again! :)
  • My students. They make me smile.  I love watching their minds work and grow and learn.
  • Friends.
  • Facebook. I know that a lot of people don't like Facebook. And it can be discouraging. Everyone else seems to live bigger lives, go on bigger vacations, have the new houses and cars, have superkids.  But I also find a lot of encouragement, a lot of advice, a lot of love.  
  • Pinterest.  I have found some really fun recipes on there as well as crafts for our house. :)
  • A chore list. I don't have to empty the dishwasher nearly as much as I used to.
  • Tomorrow is Friday.  I am SOOOOO thankful for that.
What are you thankful for today?


Lessons Learned

Earlier this month I mentioned the January Grocery Challenge.  I decided that I was going to spend for the whole month what we typically spend in a week at the store.  In fact, it was actually at the lower end of what we spend in a typical week.

So here we are, at the end of the month.

I have learned a few things.

  • It CAN be done. We obviously couldn't do this every month but once or twice a year, yes, we can.  We have 4 cents left over.  :)
  • I need to pay more attention to what is in our pantry and freezer. As the month wore on, I got more creative in my meals.  The other night I knew I had a package of pork chops and plenty of potatoes. So I did a little Googling and found a recipe that used those two ingredients.  And we had a dinner.  Our fridge is a lot less cluttered.  I got some items out of the freezer. And I used up some of my "stockpile" in the pantry.  I just need to inventory on occasion to see what we have.  Which brings me to my next point...
  • I am the one who makes the menu. I take a LOT of things into consideration when I do that including our plans for the week, time at home, different types of food, different meats.  But I will say that I tend to base most of my decisions on what I am in the mood for.  And that is okay sometimes. I make the menu, I do the shopping, I do the cooking.  There has to be some perk. :)  BUT that being said, sometimes I need to base my menu more on the foods we already have in our house.  Buying a big bag of potatoes is MUCH cheaper then buying a few at a time. But it won't do any good if I just use a few.  So I need to plan more meals (not necessarily back to back) that use those potatoes.
  • I have learned a LOT about food storage including what can be frozen.  I am still learning. I am so thankful to live in the world of Google where I can find what I am looking for with a few clicks. I have always had fresh herbs go bad on me because I can't use them all in a short period of time.  Never occurred to me that I could freeze them.  Or that I could freeze half and half which I need on occasion but not regularly.  I am learning.
  • I have discovered how much I can make "home made" with ingredients on hand. I have found two different sandwich bread recipes that I just LOVE.  Toward the end of the month, I told the kids we would not buy more bread to save up our money.  Instead I made it. At first, they kind of balked.  I think one child said, "I kind of miss store bought bread now that you bake it all of the time..."  But now that they have had a few tastes of the good stuff, they actually get excited when they see a new loaf on the counter.  I am not saying we will never buy bread again, but I plan to make it more than we buy it.  (That also allows me control in what goes into it...)
  • I have learned to prioritize.  I LOVE pistachios.  But they are not cheap.  And my Christmas stash ran out about a week ago.  I eat them daily.  Except not now since I am out.  So I started eating a pistachio blend I had in the pantry.  It is not the same thing.  Good but not the same.  However, it wouldn't be fair for me to spend all of that money instead of buying a gallon of milk for the family. :)
  • Never look a gift horse in the mouth.  When we went to Mississippi a couple weeks ago, I came home to find two gallons of milk and some from my parents. If they hadn't done that, I am not sure we would have quite met the challenge.  My poor son has been out of his favorite beverage for about a week now.  He is very grateful to have picked up a few from his grandma this week.  
  • I have learned a LOT about convenience foods.  We have moved away from a lot of packaged meals but there are times we do rely on convenience foods.  One example:  Uncrustables. I am not saying that I will not buy them again. I will.  But I have already told my dear daughter (who eats them like crazy) that I will be buying one or two packages for the month.  Otherwise, she can make her own.  Just today I was reading up on how to make my own chicken nuggets and microwave macaroni and cheese.
  • Simple is best.  We don't need 5 different bags of chips. Maybe 2 or 3 but not 5.  From now on I will have a couple of bags of favorites in the pantry and no more. We waste a lot of food because the kids will ignore one kind of chip while they eat up another.  The ignored chips go stale and get tossed.
  • Substitute with what I have.  The potatoes and pork recipe I just used called for red potatoes. But my potatoes were Yukon gold.  I went with the Yukon gold.  It didn't drastically alter the taste and I used up some food we already had.
  • I need to "prep" food more.  Like use meat bones to make broth.  Or chop up whole onions and freeze them until needed.
  • I need to watch flyers for sales and stock up when I see a much needed item (like chicken).
These are just a few of the lessons I learned from the January Food Challenge.

Though the challenge may be over for now, I plan on using these little lessons to help me with my February Food Challenge...

cutting our regular weekly bill (monthly average) by 25%.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mississippi Memories

Long week.

 I really am sticking to most of my New Year's goals.  I really am. I am getting little projects done around the house. I am trying new recipes. We are eating cleaner.  I am exercising.   I am reading my Bible more (though still not where I need to be). I have been more purposeful with my kids. 

I am mainly still working on the blogging.

I am blogging but still not as regularly as I want.  Or maybe I am, just not on one blog.  I am spreading it out.  I am also working on that "going to sleep earlier" thing which interferes with the blogging thing...

Oh well.

I am a work in progress.

So today I want to remember a few things from our trip to Mississippi last weekend.

First of all, it was one of the best trips I have ever had with the kids as far as a peaceful ride.  Other than a little horsing around, the kids were champs about the travel.  And yes, I let them watch a couple of movies but I didn't let them do it nonstop. I had required "screen breaks".  On the way home, I had one child who kind of lost it (about half an hour from home of course) but otherwise, they did GREAT!

We saw lots of interesting things along the way including a "redneck wedding".  I don't know if that is where the wedding was taking place, but we saw a wedding party hanging out on pickup trucks by a field in the Delta.  That was something new for me to see. :)

We also saw an incredible sunset.  Child 2 had to keep reminding me to watch the road, not the sunset.  So she finally agreed to take some pictures for me.  Not too bad for a moving vehicle (with dirty windows).

 I also did something I have always wanted to do. I LOVE the trees growing in the water. I am always spellbound when I see them. This time, I actually stopped the car and snapped some pics.  This was one of my favorites...
 More sunset.  You cannot tell by the pictures but it was almost a red sunset.  What was neat was that later I learned that the night Uncle Paul passed away, there was an amazing red sunset.  I didn't know that. So it was kind of like he was with us as we traveled.
 We also saw a BUNCH of deer along the road, especially the interstate.  Thankfully they stayed by the road and didn't get on it. I have had a run in with a deer (like it literally ran into my vehicle) so I was very cautious.  I was also very thankful that the two lane curvy road we took between interstates (in the dark) did NOT have any deer. Mark had driven that same road a couple days earlier and said he dodged them the whole time. This was a HUGE answer to prayer because if we had been hit, it may have taken anyone a while to find isn't a busy road.

Another good memory is that this was the first time we attempted fast food with our food sensitive kid since changing up the diet.  We left after lunch so we wouldn't have to deal with two meals on the road, but I had done some research and learned what would work and what wouldn't.  Thankfully, both meals (one there, one on the way home) worked.

Though our reason for being in MS was sad, we still had some sweet time with family.

One sweet time was watching the girls hang out together. Child 2 and her cousin J are close in age so they often hang out when we are together. But usually Child 3 is not included (she is a few years younger, so this is understandable :).  This time they included her.  They all put on make up (a very special treat :) and then put together a dance routine for us.  It brought tears to my eyes.  Very sweet memories.

Another very special memory I will treasure is watching Child 4. I am not sure the MS family realized how much this guy has changed since they haven't really been around him that much.  But I did. I noticed it right away.  One of the biggest changes was how interactive he was with his grandparents. In the past, he has tended to shy away from them...he is slow to warm up in new situations.  But this time he didn't.  He had SO much fun with them and really showed some of his fun personality.  It warmed my heart BIG time.  (He also played with his cousin who is about a year younger...that was a first!)

And while Child 1 didn't have his close in age cousin there, he entertained us with his fun and silly self.  I love to see him growing and maturing.

 It really was just a good trip of memories, even in just about 36 hours.

And of course, being with my husband, getting to visit with other family members, the warm weather...all "bonuses".

I just wish it had been for different circumstances. 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Whisper

As I mentioned recently, my husband's Uncle Paul passed away after a short illness recently.

The funerals (two services in two different parts of his home state) were this weekend.

Thankfully, Mark went back "home" right before Christmas to see his uncle in the hospital.

And now it was time for him to go back again.

Wednesday night, the night before he left, Hubby posted a very sweet status update on Facebook.  He stated that he was already missing me (his best friend) and that it was going to be a tough weekend, even tougher without me there.

And I heard it.

A whisper.

"Be with him..."

So I ran to the computer and looked up flights.

1100 dollars.


I just shook my head and thought, "This can't happen.  We have four kids.  I have work.  They have activities."

And I fell asleep.  Sad but resigned to staying home.

The next morning, I had to say good-bye.

He was leaving.

Leaving for five nights.

It is very rare for us to be away from each other for that long.

Before I rushed out the door for school, he pulled me to him and hugged me.

Not just a quick hug.

It was one of those long, tight hugs.  The kind you don't want to let go.

And then I heard it again.

The whisper.

"Go be with him."

At this point my head was spinning.

I kissed Mark goodbye and left for school.

And all morning, any free moment I had, I contemplated and questioned.

I wanted to be there.  He would be there for me if the situation were reversed.  I needed to be there.  I wanted to say "good-bye" too and hug his aunt's neck.

But how?

How was this possible?  Was I crazy?

I talked to a co-worker who is dealing with something similar.

She said it so well.

"It is that whisper telling you to go."

And slowly the answers started falling in place.

First roadbump:  Monday/school.  The kids were "off" of school, but I had in-service.  Other than possibly during a maternity leave, I hadn't missed in-service. I didn't know if that was "allowed".  I sent an e-mail to my principal asking her what happens in that situation.  She was very understanding and responded almost immediately.  "Life still happens, even on in-service days.  Do what you need to do."

Okay, first roadbump crossed.

Next one:  The dog and the kids.

I sent an e-mail to my mom.  I just told her my thoughts and asked if she thought I was crazy.

Her response was maybe a little crazy but that is what we do for our men.

And then she offered to keep the pup for me.

So then I tried to decide what to do about the kids.  Leave them here?  There isn't actually a long line of people wanting to keep four kids.  Trust me. I have looked.

So then I toyed with leaving two here and taking two.  I didn't really relish the idea of traveling completely alone (though normally I love some alone time).

Finally I just decided that all four would go.

Their response:  "Why are WE going?"  I responded, "I need to be there with Daddy..."  And they all said, "But why???" :)  

One neat thing was that Child 2 was at a sleepover on Friday night.  I knew she would mention we were traveling so on Saturday I made sure to mention that it was a "surprise" to the other moms there.  The kids had been asking me why it was a surprise. I just told them I knew that Daddy would tell me not to come even if he really wanted me there.  So when I mentioned it to the other moms, right away one of them said, "I would do exactly what you are doing...I would just show up."  That was more confirmation for me that I was doing the right thing.

The service would be during "naptime" so the oldest child could be left in charge of them while we were at the service.  It is much easier to be in charge if two of the kids are sleeping.  Or at least pretending like it. :)

Next roadblock:  my vehicle. It was badly in need of an oil change.  I called my Dad since hubby wasn't here.  It took us a while to figure out what my car needed but finally we did.  And the next day, my sweet Daddy took it for an oil change.  Now the car was ready.

Next roadblock:  timing.

As much as I wanted to, I just could NOT get to the first service.  It was on the coast, a couple hours past where the second service would be.  And it was Saturday morning. 

I casually asked Mark (planning on surprising him) where he would be all weekend. He acted a bit suspicious but finally laid out the plans.

The only problem was I really didn't know what time he would make it back to his parents' house Saturday night.

I didn't really want to arrive early if they weren't even there since we would have NOTHING to do until they arrived.

So I decided we would eat an early lunch then leave, getting us there around 8.  (It is about an 8 1/2 hour least for me)

Which brings me to the last major roadblock:  my "sensitive" child's diet.  We haven't traveled with him since starting. And we have only eaten out one time.  I knew that we would have to stop along the way for a meal. 

Thankfully I had a couple of days to plan.

I researched good places to stop (there are some fast food options for us).  And I planned. I packed up several snacks. I put all of the cold items we might need together. I threw together some quick dinner ingredients for our time away.  And then Saturday morning, I packed up a cooler...and then we were ready.

I will admit, I was a bit nervous. I have never driven that whole drive. In fact, I rarely drive any of it.  Mark usually does.  So just in case, I printed up directions.  In the end, I just checked my memory against the directions...I actually kind of knew what I was doing. :)

It was a good trip.  And I want to share some things about it later.

But I am going to fast forward 8 1/2 hours from the moment we left.

We were fed. We had gas in the car.  And my stomach was in knots from excitement. I was SOOO ready to see my honey.

Ironically, my dear husband called me twice and sent me multiple texts.  I wouldn't answer the phone because I knew he would hear the kids and/or the movie on in the background as well as the sounds of the highway.  So when I had a chance, I would text back or get Child 2 to text for me.  I played it cool.  And technically I never lied.  :)  I was also very careful about my Facebook updates. I knew if I didn't update, THAT would be suspicious.  So I updated a couple times but again, no lies. I really was enjoying the spring-like weather...just from inside the car. :)

Just a few miles from his parents' house, I posted one last update on Facebook.  I mentioned that "Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and follow your heart."  And I "tagged" my hubby in it.

I thought he might see it and start to put the puzzle pieces together.

It would have been really sweet if he had been peering out the door wondering if I was really coming.

It didn't quite happen like that.

He didn't see the post.

We arrived.  I ran to the door and knocked.  It took a while for someone to answer. 

He was sitting on the other side of the room and couldn't see us.

The rest of the family could.

"Oh my..." was all they could say.

Lots of shocked (but a good shock I think :) looks. A few questions.

And then I was in his arms again.

Right where I belonged.

More later about the weekend...


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Well, Of Course...

Of course it is 4 a.m.

And of course I am only sleeping halfway soundly because hubby is gone.

And of course that is when the battery in the smoke alarm right outside my bedroom door decided to die, chirping every few minutes.

Which of course caused the dog who had been sleeping soundly on my bed to start barking madly in the wee hours.

So of course I stumble out of bed to try to remedy the situation only to realize that alarm is at one of the higher points of the house.

So of course I have to turn off the security alarm to stumble through our very cold garage to find the tallest ladder, breaking a fingernail in the process.

And of course I got the battery changed, only to have it chirp at me a few more times.

Then of course I realized I might as well go to the bathroom since I am up only to find that I am out of toilet paper (I did have some under the sink...).

And now of course it is 4:41 and I am wide awake while the rest of the house snoozes...

Because of course my children will be bouncing around the house at the break of dawn.

Of course.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Celebrating the Little Things...

Due to the food sensitivities of one of our kiddos (that I really will address in part 2 of "Food for Thought" at some point), one thing we haven't been doing is eating out.

Now if you know us at all, we used to eat out fairly regularly.  I am not sure it was weekly.  But it was at least twice a month.  And maybe sometimes more than that.

At the beginning of October, when we changed up our child's diet, that all came to a screeching halt.

I will confess, once in a great while, hubby and I grab a bite to eat.  Those rare date nights.

And three of the kids have had a meal or two out with friends.

But our family eating out has been non-existent.

Much to the dismay of our kids.

It is funny the things we grow accustomed to.

I can't say they accepted it gracefully.

Almost every Sunday after church (a common time for eating out), our kids have asked, "Can we please, please, please eat out today?" 

Sometimes they even chant restaurant names.

I have tried to be VERY careful about how I address it.

I don't want one child to feel the brunt of the siblings because of it.

I mean, it isn't the child really.

It is us.

Us because we know the child and the needs.

It is our decision.

That being said, here we are three months later.

We have learned a lot along the way. 

We are still learning.

But we at least have a pretty good idea about what works.  And what doesn't.

Since the holidays are over and things have settled down, I felt like it was time.

Time to try.

It used to be when we went out to eat that we would hop in the car and then try to figure out what kind of food we were in the mood for.

Easy peasy.

This time wasn't quite as easy. 

I had to do some legwork before.

I really researched both restaurants and menus.

Changed my mind a few times.

And finally settled on one.

Then I packed a few items up in a little "cooler".

Did a quick menu rundown with the child.

And finally we were ready to go.

I should mention that I post a menu in the kitchen every week, so the kids knew what we were doing.

And they were besides themselves with excitement.

One kid was counting down.  Daily.

The food sensitive kid could barely sit still Friday.

His teacher even knew that he was going out to eat.

So finally it was here.

We hopped in the car (with our little cooler) and went.

And it was good.

The kids (younger) were a bit out of practice with manners and took a bit of time to settle down.

But they finally did.

And we enjoyed every minute. Well, most minutes.

The ordering was a bit complicated but the restaurant handled it all with ease.

The food was good.

And I think the whole experience was much more appreciated this time around.

Happy and full, we came home and watched a little t.v. as a family before heading to bed.

The best part?

We didn't have any major fallout today (usually it is about a 12 hour delayed reaction).

It gives me hope.

We won't be eating out every week.  (We don't really need to anyway)

And our eating out locations will definitely be limited from now on.

But we now know it is possible.  We can do this.  

So today, we are celebrating the little things...


Monday, January 7, 2013

Check. Check.

Well, let's see how I am doing with my "goals" thus far...

Bible reading.  Check.  I even blogged about it. 

Prayer.  Check though it has still been in spurts.

New recipe.  Check.  Did that last night.  Good stuff.

Exercise.  Check.  Well, last night. Tonight is going to be my one "pass" night which I will probably regrets tomorrow because I will be more tired tomorrow. But for today, I don't want to move.

Eating healthy.  Hmmm.  To check or not to check. Fairly healthy but I have been in chocolate mode today (which is unlike me).

Organization project.  Check.  Got one Christmas box packed up.  Just a couple more to go.

Blog post.  Check.

Mommy goals.  I think I would get an X on those. It wasn't a fun evening over here.  Oh well, I will try again tomorrow. 

Early to bed...I guess I need to head that way.  School starts back tomorrow.  Ready or not!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Looking Ahead in 2013

I have never been a big resolution person.

Especially not on January 1.

At the same time, I think goals are important in life.

It was about this time last year that I decided I was going to commit to counting calories and exercising more.

And I did.

So as I head into 2013, I am setting a goal for the year.

And it all can be summed up with one sentence (thanks to my friend Jaime for posting this on FB...she said it perfectly!)...

My goal?

Be more dedicated, as a Christian, a mother, a wife, a teacher, and even to myself treasuring every moment.

I mean, doesn't that say it all?

So what steps will I make to do that?

  • Read my Bible more.  I don't want to set myself up to fail (which usually results in me giving up altogether) by setting some ridiculous or unattainable goal.  I love the idea of reading the Bible in a year but if I miss a night or two, then I am already behind. Before long, I feel like there is no way I am going to make it all up.  So my goal will just be to read more.  To truly read.  To ponder those words.
  • Be a more faithful prayer warrior.  I do pray for others, usually on the spot because I might forget otherwise. But I want to do better about praying faithfully for those in need, those hurting, those with struggles.
  • Be still. I need to listen to God more than I do.  I need to take time to be still and know He is God.
  • Be more purposeful as a servant of God.  I do acts of service but I know I miss many opportunities by simply not noticing, not thinking, not realizing needs.  Of course, by hopefully being still and listening to God, I will be much more aware, much more purposeful in serving God by serving others.
  • Be more purposeful in my time with my kids. I cannot, simply cannot, play every single game they want to play. I have one child who would love for me to play games ALL day long.  But I need to say "yes" more.  I also need to save my computer time for when the kids are in bed.  And that means putting my phone up too...
  • Be more encouraging, more positive as a mom. I don't want to be the nagging mom.  I don't want to grumble and complain. And trust me, I have reasons to nag, to grumble, to complain.  I do know that part of my job is to address those bad habits, the negative attitudes. But I want to spend more time being positive, less time being negative.  
  • Teach my children.  Teach through words but also through actions.  One way we are hoping to teach is through a true allowance.  We have tried this a few times but we have had difficulty being consistent with it. We are hoping to teach some true financial skills through it (including requiring certain things to be paid with the allowance).  We have so many things to teach our kids.  I want to make sure I am the one teaching it, that I am not leaving everything to the church or the school.
  • Continue to work on cooking and eating "cleaner" as a family (eliminating artificials, preservatives, etc) which means cooking more from scratch. I am also slowing building up my kitchen with tools I need to do just that.  
  • Try one new recipe a week.
  • Update the pictures in our house (and include more of the younger two...that has not been on purpose. I just stopped having time after having four :)
  • Pray with my husband more.  I am not going to say every day but I do hope we will truly spend more time praying together for our kids, our country, our jobs, our marriage, our finances.
  • Find more time with my husband, whether it is a quick sushi date or even just curling up to watch a little TV together.  That means I will have to put aside the computer from time to time. :)
  • Pray for my students and my role as a teacher.
  • Seek new ways to be a better teacher.
  • Attempt to do at least one organizing and/or cleaning task for our house each day, whether it is cleaning out the "junk drawer" or wiping out the fridge.  I will never get the house where I want it to be.  But I can do my best, a little at a time, to get it closer to where I want it to be. :)
  • Continue to count calories, exercise, and take care of my body.
  • Get more sleep.  Oops, I may need to start that tomorrow. :)
  • Blog more.  I know that blogs are not the "in" thing anymore. And few people actually read this.  But my blog is my family's history as well as an outlet for me.  For that reason alone, I need to spend more time on posting.  It won't be daily but hopefully 3-4 times a week, depending on what is going on with our school/kid activity schedule.
  • Treasure each moment.  Each sunset.  Each laugh of my children.  Each day with our dog.  Each kiss from my husband.  Just treasure them.  Be in the moment (which is REALLY hard for women since we multi-task at all times...).
That about covers it. :)

So, what are your goals for the new year?


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thankful Thursday...The First for '13

I really have been blogging on the family blog (which is where these posts come from) but they were mainly picture posts which stay on the family blog.  (If you ever want access to that, just e-mail me and I will send an invite)

Anyway, on to today's post.

Thankful Thursday.

Okay, Randy, this is for you.

I was already to write about New Year's, goals, finish my "Food for Thought" post, etc.

But then you had to bring up Thankful Thursday.  On Facebook. 

So here it is. 

Thankful Thursday.

I think today is Thursday.

Is it?

I have a hard time keeping up with days when I am not in school.

Anyway, here are a few things I am thankful for thus far in '13 (and maybe some of the end of '12):

  • a clean bill of health after a scary test result
  • naps almost every day of my "break".  Even better, the pup is usually curled up next to me.
  • the fun Tenzi game we got for Christmas. It actually just arrived today, and we have had so much fun with it. I love that it is fast paced and all of us can play. Well, four of us anyway. :)
  • my new food processor. My little mini food processor died recently.  I was already fretting about how to grate cheese.  I haven't tried my new processor for cheese yet but I was thrilled with the way it chopped my crackers for tonight's dinner into very fine crumbs
  • my new can opener.  Last year at some point, our electric can opener died. So I bought a little handheld manual one. I hated it.  Hated.  It.  I was so happy to open a can the other day with the push of a button.
  • a warm house (because it has been not so warm outside)
  •  no more wrapping for a while :)
  • Christmas cards from friends and family
  • having hubby home a little more the past week (at least holidays)
  • watching my kids play games. They have played board games almost all of the break!
  • seasoned oyster crackers. Oh my, they are sinful. Thank goodness, they are almost gone!
  • not setting my alarm clock for the last two weeks
  • time with my sister, bro-in-law, and the cousins.
  • time with my parents.
  • an almost finished former toyroom that is now going to be the "sunroom" (still with toys but hopefully a bit more grown up)
  • pomegranate juice (if you are avoiding tomatoes, pomegranate juice can be a wonderful tool in cooking!)
  • leftovers.  Especially when you are trying to limit your spending grocery spending for the month.
  • a little fun reading time
  • my husband.  I am thankful he is a hard worker. I am thankful that he is an involved daddy. I am thankful that he is my best friend.  
  • Facebook.  It can be a time waster. And I have to watch that.  But it is also a huge encouragement to me.  Well, the people on it are. :)
  • projects done over this break.  Never as many as I would like but still, some are better than none.
  • a new year with new hopes, new adventures.
  • The same God.  The year changes, but He doesn't.
So, what are you thankful for this Thankful Thursday?