June 30, 2022

Weekly Wrap Up And Fourth Of July Weekend

Hello, and Happy Friday, my friends. Thank you for the prayers and words of support for my friend this week. She had her surgery Monday morning. Unfortunately, we did not get the results we were hoping for, but she took it in stride, as she does with everything. She was up and walking that first afternoon! She is seventy-three years old and has no family other than her brother, who she cares for. She is a happy, busy, amazing woman, and she will not let this setback stop her. Her doctor is wonderful and has already arranged for her to start chemo next week. The surgery was to remove a cancerous tumor in her colon, but unfortunately, the cancer had invaded her uterus, so she will have chemo to shrink the tumor, and we will try again in a few months. Please keep her in your prayers. 

Tuesday, after I checked on my friend, I decided at the last minute to pick up a couple lemonades and head over to visit my mom. She was getting her hair done and was so happy to see me! She said we must have a connection because she was thinking about me all day! So if you hear a voice in your head suggesting you do something, do it. God may be whispering to your heart. Look how awesome my momma is!


I had no plans for dinner that night, so I raided the fridge and came up with corn tortillas, Colby jack cheese, and a zucchini. I recruited Steve to grill some quesadillas and zucchini. Quick and delicious!


Wednesday, we celebrated our anniversary! Steve and I drove my friend home and got her settled. Then we went to dinner at one of our favorite places. Steve had a steak salad, and I had the same thing I get every single time I go there. It is a shrimp bowl with coconut rice and mango salsa. So good! Steve agreed to take a pic with me, and although my glasses have a glare, and this was the third take, I think it came out ok.

Now, while we were doing that, look what my children and their significant others were doing!

Yep! They took a Fourth of July party to my mom! She loves this holiday, and the fireworks are too late for her now, so Madison organized a party with burgers, fries, and patriotic music. Peyton made cupcakes that I heard were delicious! I was beyond touched and thankful to all my children for making Mom so very happy. I think about the love and care my mom gave each one of my children from the day they were born, and I am reminded of how roles reverse as time passes and our lives change. And just how quickly it happens.

What are your plans for the long holiday weekend, my friends? We plan on celebrating with food, family, friends, and fireworks. And a nap or two, of course. I hope you have a wonderful, safe, healthy, and happy weekend, whatever you are planning! Happy Fourth of July!

June 29, 2022

Let's Make Pizza And 31 Years!


We are pizza people. When the kids were little, we had pizza every Wednesday night for dinner. Sometimes we ordered out, but usually, Peyton and Rhett stood on stools and spread the sauce and sprinkled cheese from the Chef Boyardee Pizza Kit. (That is actually really good, by the way.) As the kids grew, they helped me broaden my horizons, and we began to make homemade pizza. Honestly, it isn't hard and tastes so much better. It is also a fun family activity, so there's that!

In our search for the best homemade pizza recipe, we have tried several different pizza crusts and have finally settled on one we love. It is actually pizza dough already made from the store. It is in the refrigerated section with the pepperoni and things. It comes individually wrapped in bags; you simply allow it to come to room temperature before spreading it onto the pan. While that is happening, make your sauce. Sautee a few crushed garlic cloves in some olive oil over low heat. I like to use fresh garlic and press it with a garlic press, but minced garlic in the jar works too. Add a large can of crushed tomatoes and a tiny can of tomato paste. Then add some sugar, dried oregano, basil, and parsley. Just do this until it tastes good to you! You can also add some fresh ground pepper. Allow that to simmer for about thirty minutes. Your house will smell so good!

Once the sauce is done, you can make your pizzas! Rhett likes using fresh mozzarella slices, fresh basil, and olive oil. Soo good! I usually opt for a simple cheese pizza. I add freshly grated parmesan cheese first and then freshly shredded mozzarella. Honestly, I get the good stuff here. The Kraft pre-shredded is good for some things, but with pizza, I think it is worth it to pay a little extra for the real cheeses. You will taste the difference, I promise. Have some fun with the toppings! Pepperoni, tomatoes, pineapple, whatever you want! Then bake according to the directions on the crust package. Let it cool a bit before slicing if you can! And be careful not to try it too soon! You will burn your tongue. Ask me how I know.

Before I go, I must post the one photo I have scanned of our wedding day, a sweltering, sunny, magical day thirty-one years ago today! Thirty-one! Looking back, I remember so many things about that day and how wonderful it was. My favorite memory, however, was the feeling I had when Steve and I drove off together, knowing we were beginning the life we had dreamed of since the day we met...This wonderful, blessed life I would be writing about thirty-one years later, while curled up on the sofa in a house on a lake. We didn't know about the joys we would share,  bringing four blessed babies home and watching each grow. We didn't know about the sorrows ahead, the sickness and death of our parents, or the pain of losing a baby before we had a chance to meet her. All that and so much more, the blessings, the laughter, the sadness, and the struggles, were out there, waiting. Those young people knew that they were very much in love. And they would tackle whatever came their way. Together. 

Have a wonderful day, my friends!
Thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo

June 27, 2022

Monday Morning Coffee Talk

Good Monday morning, my friends! I woke up with the sun yesterday and was greeted with this beautiful sight. Note to self: Slow down and appreciate the beauty God shares with us.

My kids requested raspberry muffins for breakfast. I was happy to oblige. They are as good as they look! I'd share the recipe with you, but I don't have one. If you want to try them...go to the store and buy this!

Yep. These! Sprinkle some sugar on top, and enjoy!


The muffins were good, but our smoothies were better!

We ended the day with homemade pizza. Rhett made the fresh mozzarella and basil, and I worked on the three-cheese pizza. We made the homemade sauce too. So easy and fresh.

Today I am going to the hospital to be with a dear friend who is having surgery. She is a wonderful person, and I am thankful to be able to be with her, as she has been there for our family many times over the years. Tomorrow Kirby has a vet appointment, and I am hopeful he will get some relief for the spots that keep appearing. He is fourteen years old, and the bumps bother him. Wednesday, we are planning on having my mom out for dinner! She loves the Fourth of July, and since the fireworks are way too late for her, Madison suggested we celebrate with her earlier. We will enjoy hot dogs, patriotic music, and sparklers on Wednesday evening! 

Later in the week, I will clean the bathrooms and put fresh sheets on the guest bed because we have some visitors coming in for the Fourth of July! Luckily, they are such good friends I don't feel like I need to clean the whole house. That is how you know you found a true friend, right? 

Well, I better get going. I hope you all have a relaxing summer day, my friends. Thanks for visiting! Stay cool!

Billie Jo

June 24, 2022

Friday Favorites

Harry's latest in my Jeep. On repeat...

Homemade waffles with local berries and powdered sugar...

Skies like this on the way home...

After watching a fun movie that played in our local theatre, which went all out...

And a candle I can burn during summer that smells more cozy and less flowery.

Weekend plans include everyone here for dinner tonight. Yay! Mass on Saturday. Possibly watching online. And a lazy Sunday before a busy week. I hope you have a great weekend, my friends. Stay cool and cozy!

Billie Jo


June 22, 2022

Random Thoughts On A Wednesday In Summer


Hello, my friends. Won't you join me for coffee on the front porch in the morning and dinner on the deck during the evenings? As you know, autumn is my happy place, but as I get older, I am also learning to appreciate the beauty of summer. My summers are probably different than many, and I let that bother me for many years. I don't enjoy the heat and the sun. I don't go to the pool in the afternoon or go out on the boat in the middle of the day. Summer for my family and me takes place in the morning and evening.

When the kids were little, summer mornings were spent outside, playing with balls and bubbles, riding bikes, jumping in a blue plastic pool, and eating breakfast on a dusty picnic table. Evenings meant dinner on the screened-in porch with Daddy, bike rides, basketball, walks down the road, and drippy ice cream on colored cones. The time in between was cozy. We played inside while the world went on outside around us. The hot sun was hidden behind blinds as we gathered on the couch to watch movies and tv shows together. 

I used to care when people asked me why we never went to the pool in the afternoon. It bothered me when they asked what we did all day and why we never had suntans. It doesn't anymore. I am so happy that we did summer the way we wanted to. The memories we made and the fun we had together on those hot summer days are some of the best. So...if you need to hear it today...You do You. And don't give a darn what other people think. 

Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo

June 20, 2022

Monday Morning Coffee Talk

 Good Monday morning! Welcome to the last full week of June! Can you believe it? Time waits for no one, right? This is beautifully illustrated below with this photo Madison sent me on Friday afternoon. She took Flynn to the hairdresser, coffee shop, and Father's Day shopping. Wasn't it just yesterday that Madison was twelve, and she and her friends planned a surprise baby shower for me right before Flynn was born? Look at these two now. They also visited with my mom and stopped to get her a favorite chocolate milkshake!

Doesn't she look great?! Little visits bring such joy. To all of us! Sunday, we celebrated Steve on Father's Day! He requested burgers on the grill, so while he did cook, the kids all helped with everything else. Dinner was delicious! Burgers, fresh veggies, and potato salad. There were gifts, games, and fresh strawberry pie, made by Madison. So good!

Today is cooler here in Pennsylvania, so I am putting some chicken breast in the crockpot for a much-requested meal of Chicken and Waffles. Today I have laundry and some vacuuming to do, and I am also planning on starting to look through Flynn's books for the upcoming school year, something I actually get excited about! I hope you have a lovely Monday in your part of the world. What is for dinner at your house tonight?

 ( This poor little thing was thinking the tiki torch was a tree. I think I know how he feels sometimes! )

Thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo

June 17, 2022

Weekly Wrap Up And Father's Day!

Well, summer arrived in all her glory this week. Man, it was hot! You know how much I love the sun and heat, right?? Evenings are my time these days, and we made the most of Wednesday evening this week with dinner on the lake and some swimming!

It was a beautiful evening with my people. In case you were wondering where the missing two are...

They are hiking out west and visiting beautiful places like the Grand Canyon, Sequoia National Park, and the Channel Islands. They are having a wonderful time, and I am so happy for them both. But I miss them too!

This Sunday is Father's Day. And it has me thinking about my dear Dad, whom I miss every day. 

Here he is with me, his fourth little bundle of pink!

He ended up with five! Can you guess which one is me?
Happy Heavenly Father's Day, Dad.

And  Happy Father's Day to this guy, the most amazing father I know! Sunday is his day, and he wants to cook on the grill! Madison is making strawberry pie, and I suspect there will be a few gifts too! 

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!
Stay cool!!!

Billie Jo

June 15, 2022

Wednesday Wisdom

Not that I have many, but it sounded good! When I was a young mother with four precious little ones at home, the days were filled with things to do, meals to make, games to play, shows to watch, and laundry to fold. I loved every minute, from breakfasts on the porch to afternoon movies, ice cream cones after dinner, and baths before bed. With three of my children grown and my baby almost thirteen, my days are far less busy and much quieter. If I am not mindful, I could start to feel sorry for myself and wonder what in the world I should do with my time!

Thankfully, Flynn enjoys spending time with her mom, and we have fun binge-watching shows, listening to music, and swimming in the lake. However, I still have a great deal of free time, so I am learning to embrace it rather than fear it. I find it helpful to get up and get ready for the day, even if the day holds no concrete plans. Another thing I do every morning is make my bed. Something about smoothing the sheets and fluffing the pillows makes me feel as if I accomplished a major task! I also remind myself that it is perfectly ok to take time for myself, whether that means spending time reading or napping in the afternoon. 

I try to plan and prepare healthy and delicious meals for my little family, even if they are not as elaborate or consistent as they once were. Last night I threw some leftover grilled chicken breast into some Barilla pasta sauce and steamed some store-bought green beans. Sometimes Steve or Rhett brings dinner home. And that is ok too. Our lives are full of seasons, I suppose. No sense hanging onto one when the time comes to move to another. Every season has beauty, right? Like the buds in the spring, the green in the summer, the glorious colors of the fall, and the barren beauty of winter, peace, and joy can be found in every season. The key is adapting, embracing, and being grateful for each one.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends!
Thanks for visiting.

Billie Jo

June 13, 2022

Monday Morning Coffee Talk

Good Monday morning! Welcome to summer! When I came down this morning and opened the door, I was met with that indescribable feeling of a perfect summer day. This week we will see summer temperatures arrive in our part of the world. Those sunny, sweltering days always bring memories of summers past, when central air conditioning was not yet a thing, and afternoons were spent behind my mom's heavy curtains to keep out the sun. Big box fans were set on the ground, and the lights were turned off. After dinner was outside time, playing kickball with our neighbor Ronnie or cutting through the jaggerbushes to the 3rd Street playground. Summers have changed, but the feeling of summer stays the same.

Not too much on the calendar for today. I will fill in my planner for the week, throw in some laundry, ice my hand, write out some cards and bills, call my mom, and make a few phone calls. Dinner is some chicken on the grill with some yet-to-be-determined sides. Any ideas? Have a wonderful day, my friends. Thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo

June 10, 2022

It's He** To Get Old And Other Stuff

"Billie, It's hell to get old!" My Dad used to say that all the time. And my young, naive self would smile and laugh. I can relate now, Dad. I get you. Yesterday morning, I walked outside with my Mocha, like I do every single morning, and somehow ended up on the ground by the front door. I am fine. Nothing is broken. Just sore and bruised and determined to be more mindful of my movements. And of the fact that I am fifty-two years old. Any plans I had of cleaning and organizing this weekend are temporarily on hold. Oh, who am I kidding! I had no plans!

In less "self-pity" news, the pups got washed and groomed and fresh for summer! We have a wonderful woman that brings her van right to your house. She comes to the door, takes your scruffy dog, and returns with a fresh-smelling, cute-as-can-be pup in a short amount of time. 

Easy summer meal Number One: Chicken and Pasta Alfredo with fresh green beans. Steve did some chicken breast on the grill Sunday, so I had him do extra for easy weeknight meals. I boiled some whole-grain penne - trust me, you won't even notice the difference - heated some of the cooked chicken breasts with some alfredo sauce -  sometimes I make my own, this time I used a jar - and combined it all with some freshly shredded parmesan cheese. Steve added some avocado oil and garlic powder to the cooked beans, and we were all set! Easy and delicious!

Well, that is all for today, my friends. I hope you have a wonderful summer weekend! Whether swimming, boating, hiking, gardening, or grilling, enjoy! I will be thinking of you!

Happy Weekend!

Billie Jo