November 30, 2022

Mocha And Movies

This little lady had a big day yesterday. She had to have her teeth cleaned and some possibly removed. I have learned that little dogs, especially Yorkies, are prone to periodontal disease. I dropped her off bright and early. Our vet is excellent, and the young lady I left her with put me at ease. They called me later in the day and told me Mocha was waking up and had done very well. She also told me they had to remove 15 teeth! 

I could barely wait until it was time to get her, and boy, was she happy to see me! Once her excitement wore off and we had our instructions and medication, we headed home.

After a happy reunion with Kirby, who didn't know what to do all day without her, Mocha settled in for the night. Right where she belongs.

This time of year does lend itself to cozy nights in front of the tree, doesn't it? It also reminds me of evenings long ago when I had a little Madison who loved Christmas as much as I do. I remember giving her a bath, dressing her in her fresh pajamas and robe, and sitting down with her by the tree to watch the classic Christmas specials. It was cold and dark outside but cozy and warm inside. Every evening starting around six o'clock or so, one channel played the classic Christmas movies like 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, Red Boots For Christmas, Jack Frost, Santa Clause Is Coming To Town, The Year Without A Santa Clause, and of course, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty The Snowman. Those nights with her are some of my most treasured memories. They must also be Madison's because she sent me this last week. It is a schedule of Christmas movies on AMC and looking closely, I see some of those very same memorable movies listed! And they begin early like they used to, so little ones can watch them before bed. There are others, of course, but so many classics and favorites. 

You can save this to your photo stream and enlarge it, or visit AMC's website for the details. This may be what we need this year. We can snuggle in, revisit old Christmas traditions, and reconnect with the calm, peaceful things that bring joy this time of year. With all the technology available and the pressure to constantly go and do today, we need to make a conscious effort to do something that years ago was the norm. That is, coming home after a long day of work or school and turning off the outside, so we can gather together on the inside and enjoy the peace of Christmas. And maybe some cookies and cocoa too.

Have a cozy day, my friends,
and thank you for visiting!

Billie Jo

November 28, 2022

Monday Morning Coffee Talk


Good Monday morning! Thanksgiving 2022 is but a memory now. We enjoyed the roast turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, and pumpkin pie for days. The fridge is now empty of leftovers and pretty much everything else, and the tablecloth is washed, folded, and stored away until next year. Suddenly, it is Christmastime! We have only a few weeks to enjoy Christmas music in the car, twinkling tree lights in the evening, nostalgic shows on television, and that general joyous feeling reserved for this time of year. I say this not to incite fear or a sense of panic but instead as a reminder that the joy of time of year is specific to each of us and our families, as is how we choose to spend it. This year, I choose simplicity, introspection, intention, and calm. That works for me, but not for all. Some people wait all year for the excitement, the shopping, the parties, and the crowds. That is joyous for them. Enjoy your time with your people, for it passes quicker than Santa flies back up the chimney.

Before the Christmas celebration began here, we celebrated the birthday of my firstborn, Madison Marie! My Madison turned 26, and as I type those numbers, I still remember all the excitement, happiness, and joy we felt in a hospital room on a snowy November evening. I remember holding the baby I had dreamed of and thinking she was mine. I was her mother. Madison has brought us joy from that day on, and I am so proud to be her mom and her friend.

Her husband Nicolas planned an entire party for her, which was amazing! Nicolas prepared the most delicious food ever! My favorite? Smoked salmon and cheese spread with radish on Brioche bread for an appetizer. And the dinner was fresh pasta with vodka sauce with the most delicious tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad. He served us and cleaned all the dishes. It was the most beautiful party for my wonderful girl. 

The cake? Oh, the cake! Madison is perhaps the biggest Taylor Swift fan ever, and Nicolas was inspired by a cake in one of Taylor's videos. He sent the picture to Peyton, and...well, I'll just show you.
This is the picture from the video...

And this is the cake that Peyton made...

Madison was so happy!

It was delicious.

 Just a little note to any mom who feels sad that her daughter is growing up. I validate you. I do. But allow me to let you in on a little secret. Grown children are a whole new kind of wonderful. Your child becomes your friend. You will step back and let others do things for them out of love, which will bring you so much happiness. I promise. 

Well, time for me to pour another cup and get going with my day. Today I plan on finishing my laundry, so my bathroom will be ready for the yucky hunting camp laundry. I also have some lesson planning to do. This week is pretty quiet except for tomorrow when my little Mocha goes to the vet for dental surgery to clean and extract some of her teeth. Poor little thing. She will be at the vet most of the day. I am nervous for her, but I believe in the people there who know much more than I do.

Have a cozy day, my friends. 
Thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo

November 25, 2022

There Was Turkey


Good Friday morning, my friends! I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Day! Our day was cozy, quiet, and filled with family, food, and fun. Our turkey dinner was a team effort. To this day, I don't know how my mother did it all those years. Thanksgiving morning, there was a semi-frozen turkey in the kitchen sink, and a few hours later, she served an entire Thanksgiving feast. Fortunately, I have several volunteers who help make the magic happen. I did set the table all by myself, though.

There were hiccups, of course. The pop-up timer had an off day, so the turkey needed extra time in the oven. This, of course, meant the side dishes needed to come out and wait a bit. But in the end, we sat down to a delicious meal and a wonderful evening. There was football, pumpkin pie, trivia games, and lots of laughter. Finally, the dishwasher hummed, the counters gleamed,  and the tree lights glistened. The Christmas season is here!

Mocha and I will be easing into it. How about you?

Happy Weekend, my friends.

Billie Jo

November 23, 2022

(Almost) Time For Turkey!

 Good morning! Well, tomorrow is the day. The day when many of us will perhaps prepare, season, baste, slice, enjoy, and then package up a turkey. Every year, as our family sits down to enjoy the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes all smothered in glistening gravy, we comment on the fact that we should and could make this meal other times during the year. We prepare some version of it at times, a chicken breast in the crockpot with some Hungry Jack mashed potatoes, a roasted chicken with Stove Top stuffing and doctored-up Heinz gravy, but we save the real thing for this one day in November. Tradition, I suppose. Whatever it is, I am looking forward to it. To all of it. And perhaps even more so, the leftovers!

I hope you all enjoy this Thanksgiving Day the way you like. Your day may not look like the pictures in magazines or the ones posted on Instagram. Maybe you carve the turkey in the kitchen and leave the gravy in a pot on the stove. Perhaps you don't dress in fancy clothes or forget the cranberry sauce that no one ever eats. It's ok. The only image of this day that matters is the one you create and hold in your heart. And who wants to clean a gravy boat anyway?!?

Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day, my friends. Enjoy and relax, for the holiday season has begun! And before you know it, these busy, exciting, festive days will be over and stored as memories in our hearts.


Before I go, on a sadder note, I want to share that I found late last night that the blogger friend I asked about on Friday, Linda, from Ramblings of a Retired Lady, passed on Sunday. I will miss her and pray for the family she loved so very much. 

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.
I am thankful for you!

Billie Jo

November 21, 2022

Monday Morning Coffee Talk

Good Monday morning! I hope you had a lovely weekend and stayed cozy and healthy. We celebrated this past weekend. What, you ask? Well, we celebrated a very special birthday for a very special young lady. Our Flynn Grace turned 13!!! Yes, the little one that answered my prayers and completed our family is 13. I could lament how I cannot believe it is possible, and it would be true. But I remember clearly rocking that precious baby in the glider in my bedroom, thinking, "Live in this moment. Breathe in the joy of rocking this baby. Don't let this time pass without being fully present, and one day years from now, you will feel peace because you will know you savored every single moment of having this precious Flynn Grace in your life."

So we celebrated our teenager Saturday by going to mass, where Christopher played his violin so beautifully, and then came home to dinner with the people who make Flynn's life so special. Dinner was Steve's marinated chip steak, Madison's homemade macaroni and cheese...the best I have ever eaten and steamed green beans. Flynn's choice! Dessert was provided by Peyton, who made three of Flynn's very favorites: fudge, pumpkin bread, and an amazing chocolate chip skillet cookie that she baked here and served warm with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Everything was as delicious as it sounds, believe me!

Flynn opened presents, we played a trivia game and visited far into the night. She was blessed with wonderful gifts: a pair of Rudolph sweatpants from Rhett and Kyrstin that she immediately put on and a pair of red Converse hightops that made her very happy! She received texts, calls, and cards from friends and relatives throughout the day, making it the best birthday for our family blessing, Flynn Grace.

Pictures to remember the fun:
Mom and Dad

Madison and Nicolas
Madison, who turned 13 a week after Flynn was born and secretly planned a beautiful surprise baby shower with her friends and their mothers that I will remember forever...

Peyton and Chris
Peyton, who prayed and prayed for a baby and loved Flynn so much she became her second mother from the day she came home from the hospital and continues to text with her every single day...

Rhett and Kyrstin
Rhett, who was just seven when Flynn was born, wanted a little brother so badly but changed his mind the minute he laid eyes on her in the hospital and introduced her to his love of movies, music, and Taco Bell...

Margie and Chris
Aunt Margie and Uncle Chris, who love all my children as their own and spoil Flynn with love and presents and will always play games with her...

Aunt Marian
"Aunt" Marian, who is a constant in Flynn's life, always seems to know the trends before we do and makes Flynn so happy whenever she visits...

Aunt Sally
Aunt Sally, who showed her love of Flynn before she was born by cleaning my house and making me dinner every week while I was pregnant, and who makes Flynn feel so special always...

Happy Birthday to my Flynn. She is the most easy-going, laid-back, caring young person ever. She loves drawing, music, hoodies, Halloween, and family. She is never in a bad mood and never falls asleep during movies. She loves homeschooling and is devoted to her love of our Catholic faith. She has friends of all ages and is always smiling. She loves dark chocolate, tacos, and being home. And we love her!

Have a wonderful Monday, my friends!
And if you are cooking Thursday, don't forget to put your turkey in the fridge!

Billie Jo


November 18, 2022

Random Thoughts For A Friday

Good Friday morning, my friends! Sometimes when I sit down to type out a post, I have a specific thought or idea to share. Other times, today, for example, I have several random thoughts swirling in my mind. So, here goes in no particular order, of course.


Time passes so quickly. Literally, I look out at the lake today, and I see it as it is. But in my mind, I feel like I was out there swimming, boating, and spraying sunscreen everywhere. I will never understand how time seems to speed up as we age. It hurts my brain to even try.


My calendar is filling up for the rest of November and December. I am trying not to get anxious about the days I am committed to being somewhere, even somewhere I want to be! I will take one day at a time and focus on being present wherever I am.


Ornament Day was a success! All the kids could come, and afterward, they came back here for a taco dinner and some family fun. As I get older, I am learning to accept help when I need it, and I am so thankful I have children who always offer to do just that. Peyton made the taco meat, Kyrstin chopped all the vegetables, Nicolas and Rhett got my Christmas tree down from storage and set it up, Madison fluffed all the branches, Christopher helped Steve install batteries in all the smoke detectors, and Flynn played with all the pups. 


This year is the first since 1997 I am not sending Christmas cards. I have sent photos or photo cards of our family every year since Madison turned one! This year, I am choosing to simplify and send just a few handwritten cards to people who may need extra joy this season. 


Well, that's it for today! I am off to get some cereal with blueberries and raspberries. I got the best raspberries at the store this week! What a treat. Thanks for visiting, my friends. Have a cozy weekend!

Oh! One more thing. I am wondering about two special blogger friends who have not posted in a while. If you know anything about Lorraine from Mamas Mercantile or Linda from Ramblings of a Retired Lady, could you please drop me a line? I have been thinking about both of them, as they are very good blogger friends.

Thank you!

Billie Jo

November 14, 2022

Monday Morning Coffee Talk

Good Monday morning, my friends. This morning's coffee is an old favorite, Maxwell House International Instant Coffee. I have been drinking this since college, and although my favorite flavor has changed through the years, currently French Vanilla Cafe, I still love a steaming hot cup of this goodness every now and then. 

Today I am thinking about Thanksgiving being next week. This time of year always seems to sneak up on me. Maybe because I am all about Halloween for so long beforehand, that once October 31 comes and goes, and I am still surrounded by orange, black, and bite-sized candy, I have but a couple weeks before Thanksgiving is upon us. At the same time, Christmas begins to appear, along with the urge to surround myself with all things jolly. Not that I am complaining, mind you. Just trying to appreciate the fact that we are entering the most wonderful season of the year, one I wait for all year long.

Adding to the festivities are the birthdays of two of my precious children, the one that made me a mother and the one that completed our family. Madison has her special day after Thanksgiving, while Flynn celebrates hers before. Steve and I took these beautiful ladies to dinner this past weekend, and we had the most wonderful time. 

Looking ahead to this week, we are getting some weather much more aligned with November. I plan to decorate the Christmas tree, decorate the house, and prepare for Flynn's birthday. Wednesday night is our annual Ornament Night, where we all meet at The Hallmark Store and choose an ornament for this year. This is the twenty-fifth year Steve and I have done this, beginning with a tiny Madison and continuing through this year with four children, two sons-in-law, and one sweet girlfriend. Each of the kids has a box of ornaments to keep, illustrating their childhoods from Baby's First Christmas to Barbie and Matchbox, from Monsters Inc. to Ironman, each representing a special moment or memory from a year of their life. Which passes way too quickly, don't you think?

Well, I have to run. The dishwasher needs unloading, as does the dryer. The bed sheets need changing too. These are all things I feel blessed to be able to do here in my little house on the lake. What are you feeling blessed to do today, my friends? 

Have a cozy day!
Thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo