September 29, 2023

September Ends


Hello! And Happy Friday! This was my view several times this week as we rode between the condo and the house. It is a beautiful ride from the ocean to the bay, and soon, I will be brave enough to do it myself. But not quite yet! We have been staying at the condo and working at the house doing simple things like making up beds and organizing cupboards. We plan on moving in this weekend, and then I can start decorating! 

Here is a sneak peek at our bedroom in the new house, and I am excited to finally sleep there! It needs a few more things, but it has a bed, and that is all I really need!

When we aren't at the house, organizing and arranging, I can be found in this cozy spot at the condo with my pup. 

Last night, we watched the first episode of The Golden Bachelor. Even though I have watched The Bachelor since the dawn of time, I didn't know what to expect when he was a seventy-one-year-old man. It was evident in the first few minutes that this would be a very different season, and we all loved it. Steve even skipped his longstanding date with Thursday Night Football to watch! If you are interested, The Golden Bachelor airs on Thursday nights on ABC. 

Tonight, I am going to watch The Miss USA Pageant. Every year after it ends, I swear I am never going to watch it again. And every year, I find myself on the couch, rooting for Miss Pennsylvania to make it to the Top Ten. It is a nostalgic thing, really. My sisters and I would watch every year when we were young, each choosing her favorite and marking down the scores. Bob Barker was the host, and we loved hearing him and his familiar "Come on down!" phrase he used at least once each year. So, I will watch it tonight for no reason other than my love of tradition. It airs tonight at 8:00 on The CW network. Will you tune in?

Well, have a lovely weekend, my friends. I plan on putting the finishing touches on the house and filling my kitchen with all things healthy and delicious from the local farmer's market. And although I am sad that September is ending, I am consoled because...

Thanks for visiting!


Google for the spooky image!

September 27, 2023

Word Fun Wednesday


Fill in the blank ~

Fall is _________________________.

Happy Wednesday!!


September 25, 2023

Monday Morning Coffee


Hello there! Happy Monday! Mocha and I are up early, sitting in the same spot we were last night. I will spare you the morning version of the photo, however. We were just wondering...

1. Have you ever watched Gilmore Girls?

Somehow, someway,  I have never seen this show. Is it all things I love, like cozy and home and holidays? Yep. Are we watching it together now and loving it? You bet! Am I singing the theme song in my head on a loop? Absolutely.

2. Do you have to have something sweet after dinner every night? 

I do. No matter what we have for dinner, I need even a little bit of something to end the night. Sometimes, we have an actual dessert. Other times, it is a fun-size candy bar I find digging through the pantry. Last night, I was reduced to a little Baby Ruth bar. But it did the trick.

3. Have you thought about Christmas yet?

I have. Sort of. I haven't entered full-fledged ~ Christmas Prep 2023 ~ mode yet, but I have cracked open the notebook I have to keep track of the gifts I have purchased throughout the past year. When I see something I know someone would like, and it is a good price, I get it and write the info down in the notebook. Then I stash it in my super secret hiding place until wrapping day.

4. Do you wash new mattress pads before you use them?

I want to say I do. And I actually want to. But I don't. Yesterday, Madison and I were making up the beds, and I opened the mattress pads I bought and decided I couldn't see washing them all. So there's that. 

Finally, I wanted to share some photos of the ocean during the tropical storm this past weekend. Thankfully, we were spared the torrential rain forecasted, but the wind was unbelievable. This was right before the storm arrived...

And this was during!

Yesterday, things had settled, and the sun was shining again. 

We ate breakfast at a Greek restaurant yesterday, and I had the most delicious avocado toast ever. The owner came around to visit and explained that he uses only fresh, healthy ingredients in everything he serves. 

Mocha hopes you all have a cozy Monday!
Thanks for stopping by.
I always appreciate it when you do!


September 22, 2023

Fall Is (Almost) Here!

That's right! Tomorrow morning, fall officially arrives. Why does that make me so happy? I could list all the things I enjoy about fall: The cooler air, the colorful leaves, the cozier evenings, sweaters, pumpkin spice coffee, apple cake, and soft throw blankets. But it is not simply the things associated with fall that I love. It is more of a feeling. For as long as I can remember, fall has been my time. To me, fall is the beginning. It is the beginning of a new year of school, a new season in life, a chance to gather our things and our loved ones, just as the squirrels gather their food and retreat to our homes for the winter, where we will all settle in together.

Before we do, however, let's take a quick look back at the last week of summer.


Mocha snuggled on my lap for the long ride to the beach.

I enjoyed my morning coffee in the condo with an amazing pumpkin-scented soy candle.

Then it was off to the house to start making it a home. First up, fall everywhere, of course. Not pictured: piles of empty cardboard boxes, towels, and sheets strewn near the laundry room waiting their turn, and a beautiful kitchen filled with things to be washed and put away, 

We all worked for a few hours and then returned for dinner and TV. Thursday Night Football for some, Big Brother for the rest. This is the view from the bridge as we headed back. The house is about fifteen minutes from the beach. We are planning on returning for a bit today, if only to pick up some things to bring back here to wash because we expect a tropical storm later this evening!

And I had to share this with you. My lovely mother is happy and settled in her home. She is doing so well and looks even better. Isn't she beautiful?? And so kind and sweet. And happy. And she is my mom!

Well, that is all I have for you today, my friends. I plan on pouring a cup of pumpkin spice coffee tomorrow, snuggling in, and visiting your blogs. Have a wonderful weekend! And thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo

September 20, 2023

Today Is The Day!


Good Wednesday morning! This is a picture from last night as we took our last boat ride of the season. It was so beautiful, if a bit chilly, on a September evening on the lake. The cool air, the quiet lake, and the early darkness confirmed that summer has finally relinquished herself to fall. 

Today, we are loading up and heading to the ocean! Our house is about fifteen minutes from the beach, on a quiet little road on the bay. And, as the lovely woman who built and owned the house told us, "It is a Pennsylvania house!" Strangely enough, she and her husband are from our hometown!!! We had just found out when we bought the house! No wonder I felt at home the minute I walked in the door! We will stay at the condo for a few days until the beds are made up, and the kitchen is put together. My first task? Decorating for fall and Halloween! Stay tuned. : )

This day begins a new chapter in our family's life. Our lives are less structured now, and I have always thrived on structure and routine. As I have gotten older, however, I realize that I can enjoy each day as it comes, regardless of whether or not I know exactly what tomorrow brings. I can enjoy a September afternoon without wishing it was Halloween. When Christmas comes, I will be ready. And if I'm not, I will enjoy it just as much. If I leave today to stay at the beach, and I am not sure exactly what day I will return, I am good. ( Sometime in early November. ) This is a gift that comes with age. And I am most thankful for it.

I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends. Thank you for visiting! I will see you on Friday!


September 18, 2023

Monday Morning Coffee

Good Monday morning, my friends! How was your weekend? Autumn weekends are my favorite, and this one was no exception. Friday night was free, so Flynn had friends over to hang out and visit. They had fun playing Brain Games and Worst Case Scenario, which are beyond my capabilities. When I was her age, my friends and I sat around and ate chocolate chip cookie dough. Oh...the 80's. Good times.

Saturday we attended the wedding of our lovely niece, Rachel. She is Steve's brother, Todd's daughter, and Madison's closest cousin. It was a gorgeous wedding and the most fun reception. In fact, I stayed the entire time! Steve and Todd are very close, working together for their whole adult lives, as well as being best friends. 

Flynn and I were so happy to have Madison as our personal hair, makeup, and clothing stylist for the day!

Steve took this as Rhett was taking pictures. If you look behind them, you can see their pup, Draper, in the picture!

Christopher played for the cocktail hour, and it was beautiful.

The reception was perfect, with lots of food, family, and fun!

Sunday, we drove down to visit my mother and had a wonderful visit! She was tired but still her happy, funny self. She ate, we talked and laughed, and then we played Go Fish. I keep a deck of cards in my purse, just in case I need them! This is my beautiful mom and my awesome sister Margie. She takes the best care of Mom, visiting with her every single day. After we got home, I threw in a load of laundry, changed into my cozy clothes, and snuggled on the couch to watch some Twilight Zone episodes. I promptly fell asleep before I could even turn the TV on!

There are some sure signs of fall around here, which makes me very happy! Pumpkin Spice scones for breakfast, colorful leaves on a dew-covered deck, and Mocha in her fall attire all mean autumn is in the air. The weather is cooling off, too! We are supposed to see temperatures in the high 60s this week. My favorite. 

Well, that was the weekend. As for the week ahead, Flynn and I will do school today and tomorrow; some of the guys are heading to the Steeler game tonight, we are taking a final boat ride of the summer, and we all need to get organized and packed for some time at the ocean. We leave Wednesday afternoon and will be there for several weeks, so I need to make sure I have all the things we need. 

It is time to get up, get some more coffee, and get started on this beautiful September day. If you are a praying person, please add Steve's brother to your prayers. If not, good wishes are appreciated, as he has some health issues, and as it is not my story to tell, I do say thank you for your prayers for healing.

I will leave you with a picture of us from the wedding photo booth. When I talk about our family, this is what I mean. We love being together and doing things together. For any mom out there worrying about her little ones growing up, don't. I remember that feeling.  And I am here to tell you that the gift of family doesn't have to end. Grown-up kids are a whole new kind of fun!

Have a wonderful day!


September 15, 2023

Happy September Days


Good Friday morning! September days have blessed us with slightly cooler weather, and I love it. While many people thrive on the hot, sunny summer days, I relish the cooler autumn ones, just like yesterday.

If you have read here for a while, you may remember our beautiful friend, Blueberry Mary. We met Mary and her husband, Tom, years ago at church. We call her Blueberry Mary because she used to pick the best blueberries ever and would always bring us some. Tom passed away several years ago, and Mary often joined us for dinner and game nights. We haven't seen Mary as much since we moved, but we still have weekly phone visits, and at ninety-two, Mary is as sharp as she has always been. She now lives in an assisted living, and this week, Steve and I had the chance to surprise her with a visit!

We had the most wonderful time! She showed us all around, we sat and talked, and I showed her pictures of the kids. She is a wonderful, classy lady; we were so thankful to spend some time with her. Look what she had on her wall. She gave me permission to take a picture of it. Look at this beautiful photo of two young people, ready to begin a life together.

Yesterday morning looked like this. How fitting since yesterday was my birthday! I told you I am an autumn soul. This just sealed the deal. 

I had a fantastic day turning fifty-four. I was home, happy with my people, doing what I love: teaching. Flynn and I did homeschool, and Rhett and Kyrstin got lunch for us all. I sat outside for a bit, and then my best friend Heather brought the party to me! She made homemade chicken parmesan, garlic bread, carrot cake, and peanut butter pie! For all of us! It was so delicious! Then there were gifts and laughs and our family tradition of each person sharing something he or she loves about the birthday person and a special memory we share. We have done this forever, and I am always touched by what is shared. My sister Margie called when she was with my momma, so I was able to have a beautiful birthday visit with her on the phone. I thought back fifty-four years to when she was a young woman, bringing her fourth little girl into the world. I thought of all the things she has done for me over the years and how, on that day so many years ago, she wouldn't have thought that someday, that little baby would be a fifty-four-year-old, and she an eighty-six-year-old, and the two would be visiting on the phone. That is the beauty of the circle of life. Living in the moment, letting tomorrow be, and smiling when remembering the past.

I've learned so many things throughout my life, and not least among them is this. When you find joy in doing things for others, allowing others to do the same for you can be difficult. Yet, I finally realized that I cannot rob them of experiencing that same great joy of doing for someone, for blessing them with your care. And so last night, I sat down and let my kids and Heather do it all. They did the cooking, decorating, serving, and cleaning from start to finish. I was so happy and so blessed.

That ends the birthday celebrations for a couple months. Now, we settle into all things autumn. We are heading down to Maryland next week, so I plan on getting some things together and doing a few things around here this weekend. We have a family wedding on Saturday, a visit to see my momma on Sunday, a football game, and a lunch date. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, my friends. Thank you for visiting!

I am looking forward to visiting you this weekend!


September 13, 2023

Dear Fall,

Well, hello there, fall! Welcome back. You have been missed! I look forward to spending time with you and promise to appreciate every cool breeze and colorful leaf you offer. People sometimes ask me what it is about this time of year I love so much. I tell them I am an autumn soul. I am happiest surrounded by cooler air, vibrant colors, shorter days, and longer nights. Fall is earlier evenings together after dinner, with apple cake and cozy movies. Fall is soups and bread, pumpkin bars, and pumpkin bread. Our Spiced Pumpkin Yankee Candle returns and fills our house with the scent my children know as simply as Home. I love autumn for all these things. I love the soft throw blankets, the mums on the porch, and the trees' red, gold, purple, and yellow leaves, fluttering down in the wind, swirling onto the ground, and finally resting there to begin again. I love my grown children wanting to watch Halloweentown while making place and bake cookies with pumpkins on them. I tell people that autumn is my time. It is dark, cozy, and calm. Thank you, autumn, for all these things and more. Thank you for always returning and asking nothing of me except a short walk on a late September day down a quiet road with colorful leaves surrounding me. Welcome back. I've missed you.