November 28, 2023

Welcome, Christmas!

Remember when it was September, and we could not believe it was fall? Where did summer go? And then, at Halloweeen, we said it was impossible that Thanksgiving was only a few weeks away! And now, we are at the beginning of the Christmas season. In the blink of an eye, we will be planting flowers and cleaning off porch furniture. I love this time of year and have decided to make a conscious effort to be in each moment and enjoy it completely. Then, when it is over for another year, I will be comforted by the fact that I savored each and every moment of Christmas 2023. 

I am going old school this year. I am not going to be influenced by the influencers to buy, spend, and consume. I am going to use what we have and cook what we like. Rather than riding the social media train, speeding through the season, scrolling, buying, and feeling pressure, I am hopping off. Instead, I will stroll through this beautiful time of year with my family, doing what we like together. Just like my mom used to do. 

Happy Wednesday!

Billie Jo

November 27, 2023

Monday Morning Coffee

Good Monday morning, my friends. Thanksgiving is tucked away in our memory now, and the fridge is empty of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. People sometimes comment on how much work a Thanksgiving meal takes to prepare, and I cannot disagree! However, in this house, we reap the benefits of all that planning, cooking, organizing, and cleaning for several days afterward. This year was no different. For many, many years, our Thanksgiving weekend has followed a familiar and cozy pattern. Steve and the guys head to hunting camp, and the girls and I enjoy cold turkey sandwiches and hot turkey soup. We celebrate Madison's birthday, and the Christmas season begins. I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was exactly what you hoped and planned it would be!

Father and Son waiting for the big one ~

The same delicious meal every year...turkey, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper with provolone cheese on good old white bread and homemade turkey soup ~

And celebrating the one who made me a mother. Nicolas prepared a fantastic meal of smoked salmon appetizers, Brie and Gouda cheeses with crackers and olives, puffed pastries, and butternut squash pasta with prosciutto. Peyton made the cake, which speaks for itself; we watched a movie and played a new Christmas game. It was a wonderful evening celebrating my Madison, who has grown from a little girl who loved to be in fresh pajamas, enjoying Christmas music and movies, to a lovely twenty-seven-year-old woman who still loves those same things ~

Today is a day I use for organizing both my mind and my pile. For the past week, as we prepared for Thanksgiving, I have created a pile of things I need to address, like bills, Christmas lists, to-do lists, and anything I need to review. If it came in and didn't need my immediate attention, into the pile it went! Today, I will focus on that and let Flynn enjoy her last day of Thanksgiving break. Which reminds me to add my lesson plan book to the pile!

Have a wonderful Monday, my friends.
Thanks for visiting.
It makes my day!

Billie Jo

( The game we played is called Santa, Cookie, Elf, Candy, Snowman. It is also available on Amazon! )

November 24, 2023

Cozy Friday

Hello! And Happy Black Cozy Friday! Rather than shop today, I prefer to stay home and snuggle on the couch with leftovers and Alfred Hitchcock movie marathons. But that is just me, so if you are shopping, I hope you got some good buys and maybe a Christmas coffee or two! Thanksgiving was lovely, filled with family and food. My day began like this...

( Homemade Cranberry Orange Scone by Madison)

And ended like this...

(Homemade Pumpkin pie by Peyton)
How thankful am I??

In between was this...

Thankful for every single minute. 

And for the fridge filled with leftovers.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.
I look forward to visiting with you all this weekend!


November 22, 2023

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Have a lovely Thanksgiving Day, my friends here in the United States. Tomorrow, our family will gather here and spend the entire afternoon creating a delicious meal that we will consume way too quickly. We will gather around the table with pumpkin pie and discuss what we are thankful for. We will look forward to the magical weeks between now and Christmas. We will eventually wipe the counters and turn off the kitchen lights before gathering in the family room and watching a Christmas movie by the tree's light. We will also remember the many Thanksgivings that came before with love and nostalgia because Thanksgiving can do that to you, don't you think? 

Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

When I think of things I am thankful for, I think of you all and the friends I have made here through the years.


November 20, 2023

Monday Morning Coffee

Good Monday morning! I hope your weekend was a happy, healthy one. We celebrated a birthday here this weekend, and even though I cannot believe it to be true, my baby is fourteen. Yes, this little lady who brings joy to all our lives is now fourteen.

Flynn is a gift to our family. She is so many things; I could never list them all, but I will share some things about her so I can look back and remember one day. Flynn Grace...

Makes our family complete.

Is the most relaxed, easygoing young person ever.

Has a unique relationship with every member of our family.

Is the least judgemental person I know.

Loves music, art, and space.

Is an amazing artist.

Loves movies.

Dislikes tomatoes, pasta, citrus fruits, and fish.

Loves cinnamon rolls and milk.

Embraces the joys of childhood as she navigates the teenage years.

Loves dogs. All dogs.

Has a classy style with a bit of an edge to it.

Has friends of all ages.

Is living proof of God's love.

Happy and blessed 14th birthday, my Flynn Grace!

(Shoutout to Madison, Nicolas, Peyton, Chris, Rhett, and Kyrstin for helping us celebrate Flynn on her special day. Madison and Nicolas watched the pups while we went to lunch and a movie, Peyton made the delicious cake, Rhett secured the tickets to the movie, and Christopher and Kyrstin added so much joy and love to Flynn's day.)

Oh, and one more special friend arrived just in time for Flynn's birthday!

Zip continues to bring joy into our home at Christmas. His magic is appreciated differently now but still enjoyed. I hope my children always remember that we are never too old for the magic. 

Have a wonderful Monday of Thanksgiving week, my friends!


November 17, 2023

Friday Photos

And it is Friday yet again! This week was the last "normal" week before we jump headfirst into the holiday season. It was a busy one around here. We had...

A dog groomer appointment...

A trip to Pittsburgh for my friend Delane's one-year follow-up visit. She received a good report, and we are very thankful!

A trip in the car to visit...


I wanted to visit my mom, and I knew she would love to see all "her people," as she says. I mentioned to the kids that we would be going to visit Gram, and if any of them could make it, please let me know. I was so happy when all the kids made the trip to see their Grandma! My sister Margie had her ready, and we surprised my mom with all of us, including two dogs, pizza, and pumpkin pie! She was so happy! We visited, ate, and even sang her favorite song, You Are My Sunshine. It was so wonderful seeing her so happy.

This week was beautiful.

It was also productive. These two became friends, and Flynn and I immersed ourselves in all things Eighth Grade. I had a good virtual therapy appointment, and Cosmo and Mocha each had vet appointments. Oh, and there was this...

More to come soon!!

This weekend is special because a certain young lady is turning fourteen! She has chosen lunch out, followed by a movie we all can't wait to see, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Then home for cake and presents!

Have a lovely November weekend, my friends! 
Remember to put your turkey in the fridge to thaw!



November 15, 2023

This Or That...Thanksgiving Edition


Just wondering where you stand on these very important issues...

Do you prefer white meat or dark?

Does your turkey get juicy in a cooking bag or not?

Is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on at your house, or is it football all day?

Do you eat your special meal at lunchtime or later in the day?

Paper plates or the good stuff?

Do you get dressed up for dinner, or is it casual? 

And, for the most important one of all...Pumpkin pie or Apple pie?

My answers are down below!
Happy Wednesday!

For the record, my answers are...

Dark meat. Only and forever.

I always cook my turkey in a Reynolds cooking bag.

We used to watch the parade when the kids were little. Now, not so much.

We eat later in the day. I enjoy relaxing a bit before the cooking begins!

It depends on the year as far as the plates. Lately, we have used our fancy plates. 

We do not look Pinterst-worthy when we eat! We are comfy, though!

Pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Period!


November 13, 2023

Monday Morning Coffee

 Good Monday morning, my friends! We had a most beautiful weekend here in Pennsylvania. The weather was clear, cool, and perfectly November-ish. November mornings at the lake are some of my favorite things to see.

In other November news you don't need to know, my seasonal wardrobe appeared from the depths of my bottom dresser drawer. It is comprised mainly of various Christmas-themed pajama pants, mismatched Christmas T-shirts, and a new pair of fuzzy Grinch slippers. These are a few of my favorite things. What can I say?

How happy am I that my oldest and my youngest love hanging out together? Very happy. And thankful for their relationship, too.

Madison and Peyton enjoy coming to visit and snuggling the new little pup...

Who just happens to be so darn cute...

And enjoys afternoon walks with Steve.

This little lady, however, remains our princess and is relishing her role as big sister.

Well, that is all I have today. This week brings a visit to see my mom, a virtual check-in with my therapist, and an annual vet visit for Mocha, in addition to our regularly scheduled homeschool. And, of course, the mental checklist concerning Thanksgiving next week will play on a loop in the background! Thanks so much for visiting! I am always happy that you do.