February 28, 2024

Wednesday Wondering


1. Coke or Pepsi?

2. Medium or soft toothbrush?

3. Seinfeld or Friends?

4. Lemons or limes?

5. Gum or mints?

6. 30s or 50s?

Just wondering, you know??

I'll go first!

1. Coke or Pepsi? 

Pepsi. Always. Coke tastes too sugary to me.

2. Medium or soft toothbrush?

I prefer it if my gums don't bleed. 

3. Seinfeld or Friends?

Seinfeld. Not even close.

4. Lemons or limes?

I like them both, but I love limes.

5. Gum or mints?

Mints. But only peppermint ones.

6. 30s or 50s?

This one is tough. I loved my 30's. I loved raising my children, making dinner, reading books, and pushing swings. I love my 50s, however, because I feel confident and relaxed. I know who I am and what I like. The need to please everyone is gone, replaced with a feeling of peace and contentment. It's too close to call this one.
Billie Jo

February 26, 2024

Monday Morning Coffee


Good Monday morning! How was your weekend? We spent the weekend at the condo, and I actually exercised both days. Yes, I moved parts of my body other than the usual right-hand turning pages of a book. I swam Saturday and Sunday mornings, all by myself, in a quiet pool, and it felt great! Because I was the first awake, I waited until Steve was up to head to the pool. Once I swam, I headed back up to shower and was ready for the day. Because I am an early riser,  I am treated to sights like this one on Saturday morning.

The photo does not come close to capturing how amazing it was, but I am glad I got something, especially since I had two antsy dogs with me, ready to go out! Sunday morning was beautiful as well.

In addition to swimming and staring at the sunrise, I also watched Gilmore Girls with my people, attended a beautiful mass, ate a delicious dinner of homemade pierogies in a Pittsburgh Steeler-inspired restaurant and bar in the middle of Baltimore Raven territory, and took a couple cozy naps. Last night, we returned to the house, and Flynn and I watched The Walking Dead, The Ones Who Live!!!! 

( Google )

If you are a fan of The Walking Dead, you know how happy and excited we are. If you haven't seen The Walking Dead, just know that the original series began in 2010 and was on TV for twelve years. This short series reunites us with some of our most beloved characters and was so well written and acted that it gave us chills! It is so neat to be watching with Flynn because I remember vividly watching the original Walking Dead premiere in 2010, late at night, rocking a not-yet-one-year-old Flynn in my arms. 

However, The best part of my weekend was talking with my beautiful mom on the phone. Hearing her voice say my name and tell me she loves me and is happy is something I do not take for granted. Each time my sister Margie calls me and hands my mom the phone, I am overcome with happiness and love. Margie sent me this picture of my mom in her room looking out the window onto my hometown's little main street. I thought of all the times she drove on that same street, taking us to school, getting groceries, going to church, and visiting her father and mother in the place she now calls home. I saw the beauty of life in that one beautiful picture of my mom.

Have a cozy Monday, my friends.
I will be around to visit today!

Billie Jo

February 23, 2024

February Friday

Good morning! I am sitting on the couch with two sleepy pups and a steaming hot cup of coffee. Outside, clouds are moving in, and soon, steady drops of rain will begin to fall. It looks like a cozy day here, and I am happy to oblige. This is how the backyard looked when I took the pups out earlier. I wish you could hear the most beautiful bird song I am treated to each morning here. It is so calming and peaceful. 

Our first week here was very much the same, calming and peaceful. Mocha enjoyed lying in the sun in various places around the house.

Flynn and I enjoyed homeschooling in our cozy little schoolroom and found we had a furry little friend joining in the fun.

We watched and marveled at the different types of birds that visit us daily. (And I resolved to take out the window screens to get better photos of them. )

I made baked chicken parmesan with roasted broccoli for dinner one night. It was amazing if I do say so myself! I will link the recipe down below. Late in my life, I realized that buying good quality cheese and shredding or grating it yourself drastically improves the quality and taste of your food. It takes a little bit longer but is absolutely worth it. 

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. We will enjoy a quiet one here; we plan on attending mass followed by dinner out on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, we will be at the condo on the beach, where weather permitting, we will spend some time with the waves. You know, I used to dread this time of year when I was younger. When I was a teenager sitting in Trigonometry class, the time between Christmas and Easter seemed to drag on forever. Now, I cherish these quiet, somewhat monotonous days. These days, the ordinary ones filled with everyday living, are the days of my life, and I am thankful.

Have a cozy weekend, my friends!
Billie Jo

 Oh! Here are some responses to a few questions I received lately. Thanks for asking!

Dawn ~ No, I didn't realize Aurora is French for Dawn! She is my very favorite princess. 

Colleen ~ No, I haven't heard about The Traitors! Thank you! I am going to check it out today.

Jennifer ~ I did homeschool my three other children, although we began in middle school for Peyton and Rhett and high school for Madison. It was actually a cyber school that they all attended, so my job was more or less a facilitator and sometimes an encourager! Flynn was preschool age when we started, and I decided to exclusively homeschool her. We absolutely love homeschooling, and it works wonderfully for our family. 

I did add some Italian seasoning to the panko bread crumb mixture and a bit more sauce than called for.

February 21, 2024

Wednesday Wondering

 I wonder...

...is there a movie you have seen many times but will watch whenever you see it on TV?

I have a few, but one of my favorites is The Birds.

...if you've eaten something that you didn't like because you wanted to be polite?

One time, when I was around ten years old, I was at my friend Karen's house. Her mother made egg salad sandwiches for lunch. I was naturally polite, and I just couldn't tell her I didn't like them. I have not eaten another egg salad sandwich to this day!

...if you could be part of any TV family, past or present, for one month, which would you choose?

This one is easy. I love Tony, Angela, Mona, Samantha, and Jonathan! I love the family dynamic, the house, and the setting. Who's The Boss? was my surrogate family during the four years I was away from home at college. I still watch it when I find it and laugh as much as I used to.

...and what is one thing you never learned to do that doesn't bother or affect you today?

One thing I never learned to do is pump gas. Yep. I have never pumped gas into my car! I have no real reason other than I never had to because Steve ran his family car dealerships for our entire marriage. If I had a car that needed gas, he would take it to work and fill it up. Rhett is old enough now to do it for me, too. It isn't a social statement; I just can't stand the smell!

I hope you share your answers here, my friends. It is always fun learning new things about each other. 
Have a cozy day, and thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo

Google for the images!

February 19, 2024

Monday Morning Coffee


Happy Monday, my friends! I hope your weekend was lovely, cozy, quiet, or productive, whatever you hoped it would be. We settled in here and went to a beautiful Saturday evening mass and dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant. I enjoyed my favorite Italian dish, Chicken Cacciatore. Every time we went there with my dad, he ordered that, so now, I do too. With a ginger ale. In honor of him!

I spend mornings here in the kitchen by the fire with the pups, my coffee, and my prayers. I am a morning person, and I enjoy the quiet stillness of the world waking up around me. 

We spent yesterday at the condo, watching the waves from inside because it was cold! We had some takeout for dinner and watched an episode of our current binge, Gilmore Girls, before returning to the house for a shower, jammies, and cozy time on the couch. I could have walked several miles, organized my garage, cooked and froze a month's worth of meals, and washed all my makeup brushes, but let's face it. You know me better than that. I did none of those things. I rested, called my mom, read a book, and watched TV. That is me. After all these years, I am comfortable being myself. And so should you, my friends. Just do you. 

Today, Flynn and I will homeschool. We will dive into the world of PreAlgebra and square roots, learn about infinitive phrases and comma splices in Language Arts, continue a study of Lent in Religion, follow the rule of Peter the Great in World History, and figure out how the water cycle affects the weather in Science. When I think back to teaching Flynn the vowel sounds and basic math facts, I am so thankful we took on this homeschool journey, as it is so rewarding to watch the progression of knowledge from preschool to middle school with your own child. Plus, we have a whole lot of fun!

Dinner tonight is Baked Chicken Parmesan with broccoli and French bread. I need to place a small grocery order and then get going and start the day! Tonight is Bachelor Monday, and I am ready! This show is ridiculous in theory but entertaining just the same. Have a wonderful day, my friends. Thanks for stopping in. I will be around to check in with you tonight!

Billie Jo

February 16, 2024

Friday Photos

Hello! Happy Friday! How was your Valentine's Day? Madison and Nicolas invited us to a Valentine's Day dinner at their house. She served her most delicious macaroni and cheese with steamed broccoli, and Nicolas made unbelievable chocolate lava cakes! 

She had her table set beautifully, with a chocolate heart at each place setting. I noticed immediately because that is how I used to set our Valentine's table. What a wonderful feeling it is, as a mother, to watch your children grow and carry special parts of their childhood with them into their adult lives. 

Although we couldn't be together for this special day like we used to be all those years ago, we did share pictures of our meals, and I was so proud of and happy for my children. Peyton made seafood lasagna and a skillet cookie for herself and Christopher...

And Kyrstin prepared a delicious looking meal of chicken parmesan and chocolate-covered strawberries for Rhett and her.

Although we may not realize it then, the simple acts of love, care, and fun we share with our children become a part of who they are and what they want to repeat in their adult lives.

In other news, we packed up the car late yesterday afternoon, hopped in, and ended up back here!

Yep! We are back at the beach for a bit, looking forward to a cozy winter here. I'll leave you with this Google image that may or may not illustrate portions of our drive.

Guess which one is me!

Oh, and here is a cozy puppy picture because we should end the week in a cozy way.

Have a nice weekend, my friends. Thanks for visiting. I'm always happy you do!

Billie Jo

Oh! One more thing! I received a nice comment on a post earlier this week. Please feel free to comment on any blogs you know of, including yours!

I just love your blog. There is such a cozy feel when I read it.

I got a question for you and your readers. I'm trying to find current/active blogs, that still have this classic blogspot feel, that talk about all the holidays - decorating for them, cooking and baking for them...stuff like that. Do any of you know of any? Thank you!


February 14, 2024

Hearts And Ashes

Today is Valentine's Day! It's time for all the red, pink, flowers, and chocolate we can cram into one day! 

But wait. Today is also Ash Wednesday. Time for fasting, penance, and prayer. 

Combining the two may be a challenge, but I am ready to give it a try!

Happy Valentine's Day!
And, if you observe, a Blessed Ash Wednesday, too!



February 12, 2024

Monday Morning Coffee Talk

Good Monday morning! We had balmy weather over the weekend, but expect a winter storm tonight! Saturday felt and smelled like spring. You know what I mean? Tomorrow is supposed to look and feel like winter. We shall see!

Saturday was a wonderful day! Here, I am documenting that fact with a car selfie. Do we even take selfies anymore? Is there an age limit on selfie-taking? What exactly is selfie-taking etiquette? Anyway, Steve and I traveled to see Mom on Saturday! 

We had a wonderful visit! My sister Margie and her husband joined us there, and after Mom's lunch, we visited and played cards. My mom loves cards. Many of my favorite memories include late nights of 500 with my mom, grandma, and uncles around a card table for hours. This day, we played Go Fish, and Mom was the winner! After a wonderful visit with her, we spent some time at Margie's before heading home, filled with happiness for the blessing of an afternoon with my mom.

Waiting at home for us? This cute little thing! 

As well as this much more sophisticated one.

The rest of the weekend passed in a blur of dinner with the kids, writing out bills and cards, and debating whether or not to make the bed. Spoiler: I didn't. Steve made hot sausage sandwiches for dinner last night, and we watched the game together. Congratulations to the winners as well as the others, who I hesitate to call losers because playing the sport you love in the most crucial game of the year really doesn't constitute losers to me, although I am sure they feel horrible. The highlight for me was Post Malone and his guitar, singing America the Beautiful. His rendition was a much-needed break and was respectfully beautiful in an over-the-top, chaotic, dizzying, commotion-filled arena. Plus. I love his music. 

Today, we will homeschool, wait for the storm, and eat leftover hot sausage. Later this week, we plan on heading back to the other house for a month or so. Yay! Have a cozy day, my friends. Thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo

February 9, 2024

All The Things

I was trying to come up with a title for this one, and after several unsuccessful attempts, I settled on one that covers everything. First, this beautiful couple, our firstborn and her Nicolas, are celebrating their fifth anniversary today! I have always told my kids that God knows who your person is long before you do. Madison's person is an amazing, caring, loving, handsome young man who grew up across the ocean in Denmark. God brought them together, and we couldn't be happier!

I am happy to be a morning person, and this is why.

This week, we lost an amazing country music artist, Toby Keith, and have been playing his songs on repeat every day. If you are unfamiliar with Toby Keith, and even if you are not currently a country music fan, look up the song he wrote after 9/11. It is called Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue. 

Peyton and Chris had us all for dinner last night. I smiled when I saw her table. I remember setting the table like that when my kids were young. It is a fun little thing that Peyton remembers from her childhood, and isn't that just every mom's wish? She made veal chop parmigiana, and we had chocolate fondue for dessert! 

Inserting a picture of a super sweet pup enjoying some afternoon sun because who doesn't want to see that?

Finally, tomorrow marks ten years since my wonderful dad passed. Ten years. I am sharing the post I wrote that day for anyone who doesn't yet know this remarkable man. 

I Just Wanted You To Know
My Father died today. The man that knew me before I knew myself...the man that gave me life...He died today. And I wanted you to know. I wanted you to know that his name was William Joseph. He was 79 years old and he was my dad.

He had jet-black hair that only got peppered with grey. He had dark skin that I wish I had too. He was funny. Really funny. He loved my mother. So very much. He loved his 5 daughters and all his grandchildren too.

My dad loved rigatoni with meatballs. And a cold Straub beer. He loved to sleep. He loved to read the paper and watch Judge Judy. My dad hated peanut butter. I never saw him eat a peanut butter sandwich. Ever. He loved to watch Pittsburgh Steeler football and Pittsburgh Pirate baseball.

My dad dressed like a gentleman. He wore dress pants and ironed shirts every day. He wore a white undershirt and carried a white folded hankie in his pocket every day. He never wore shorts. Ever. I saw him swim in the ocean once. He took my Madison in and a wave knocked them over. He always remembered that, and so does she.

My father loved The Blessed Mother. He and my mother traveled to Fatima once, and brought us all back the most beautiful rosaries. My dad taught me to love our Blessed Mother too.

My dad drove me to my first job interview and waited in the car for me all morning long. He told me I would get the job and he was right. My dad stopped at the school one day when I was teaching and walked through the playground to the open window and said hello to my whole class.

My dad called me "Little Buddy". He smiled in his eyes. He used Ivory soap and Colgate toothpaste. He always smelled clean. He always looked nice.

My father's name was William Joseph. He was born in his house on a January day in 1935. He grew up and married a beautiful redhead he called "Queenie". He had 5 daughters and owned his own business. He loved his job. He loved his wife. He loved his children, and his grandchildren too. He had a happy life.

My father was a wonderful man. I will miss him every single day for the rest of my life. I will miss his voice and his laugh. I will miss making chicken cacciatore and pumpkin cake for him. I will miss calling him on the phone. I will miss the love between him and my mother. I will miss my dad.

A wonderful man went to Heaven today. His father and mother welcomed him home. I rejoice for him and mourn for me...and my dear mother and my sweet sisters. The world goes on around us. But my father died today. And I just wanted you to know.

It's funny. Ten years. Yet, I can still hear his voice in my head. Or it maybe in my heart. Either way, I carry him with me each and every day. 

Have a lovely weekend, my friends. I am so thankful to have this place with so many wonderful people that allows us to share the good times, the bad, the happy, and the not-so-happy. Enjoy your weekend plans, and good luck to all who have a favorite in the big game on Sunday! I'll be watching and rooting for a good game and even better food and commercials!

Billie Jo