I Voted.

I really did.  I went bright and early.  Around 7:30 am, dragging the kids along with me.  The Man came, too.  And I even got a cup of coffee down the hatch first.  I am fighting a head cold, still on bed rest, and the kids couldn’t even find clean socks.  But I voted.  And we all celebrated with donuts on the way home.  (Even though, I later nearly died choking on a sprinkle from the aforementioned donuts.)  

I am fiercely political, but you won’t hear me ever discuss it with anyone other than The Man or a few close family members.  

I’ll just say this:  Vote.  

Know what you’re doing first… then just go do it.  It’s easy.  It’s fast.  And it grants you the right to complain about your government for the next 4 years.  (Not that you necessarily should…)

I am back home.  And counting the spare change in the jar.  I sent the kids on a “scavenger hunt” around the house to locate rogue socks.  It seems no one has socks.  Yet the hamper is nearly empty and the wash is mostly caught up.  Strange things happen when mama is laid up.
I offered them a nickel piece.  Ladybug said, “How about a quarter?”  Ummmm… no. 

Grab some coffee and go vote already.  And then have a donut.  But don’t choke.

Love & Coffee.

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C is for Cookie.

It’s National Homemade Cookie Day!  

It seems like there is a national holiday for just about everything these days, but I’m not necessarily complaining.  Life is short.  Why not celebrate the simple pleasures of life?  

(And while I am at it, I should probably address the fact that National Coffee Day occurred just this past Saturday, September 29.  I didn’t forget.  I didn’t miss it.  In fact, I was celebrating and cavorting lavishly on a beautiful weekend away with good friends, good music, and good food.  And of course… the coffee was flowing freely all weekend long.  It was good to unplug and disconnect for nearly three days.)

Today is a breathtakingly beautiful beginning to October.  The colors are just starting to turn, the country breeze is hardy, and I am watching legions of leaves flitter and float by the bay window.  I could only wish the temperatures were a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter, but all in good time.  All in good time.

The kitchen is positively crying out to be fired up and filled with the aroma of a warm, buttery cookie on such a day as this.  I can think of nothing better than my Grammy’s Sugar Cookies, cut into pumpkins, leaves, and apples with a fine dusting of sugar.  

So I am off to craft some sweet kitchen magic with my three sweeties.  Enjoy the day.  Grab a coffee.  And be sure to eat a cookie or two.  After all, it is a national holiday… 

Grammy’s Sugar Cookies

Sift together:

2 ½ c. flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

Add:

½ c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs (unbeaten)
1 tsp. vanilla or ½ tsp. nutmeg
1 T. milk

1.  Beat together on medium speed until well-blended (about 2 minutes). 

2.  Wrap in waxed paper and chill for about 2 hours.

3.  Roll to ½ in thickness on lightly floured board.  Use cookie cutters to cut.  Sprinkle with sugar.

4.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 5 minutes.

Song for a Monday…

   

Love & Coffee.

 

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Crayons in the Fridge.

The house was still quiet.  The children all snug.  First light was barely streaming through the vintage lace curtains in the dining room. 
I opened the refrigerator, searching for inspiration for the morning’s nourishment.  
And there they were.  
Crayons.   
In the fridge.
Sitting atop the lettuce and aside of the bagels. 
How could this be, you ask?  For anyone already acquainted with my life (or this blog), there can be only one explanation… 3-year-old, Lovey.  Like they were heaven-dropped, just for me.  I could do nothing but smile.  Surely, this was a love message from my sleeping angel, meant to be stumbled upon at this precise moment in time.
Just for me. 
I like to think God does something similar.  Dropping love messages in completely unexpected packages at the most appropriate of times.

Just for me.

I really thought we had this figured out.  I thought I had a plan.  But there He was, right in the center of life, making it all a little more interesting.  
Come early March (or hopefully February), there will be one more of us.  If I have still left you guessing (and possibly because I am still wrapping my head around the idea and having trouble putting it all into words), this means… baby.  
Another one.
And believe me, no one could possibly be more surprised (or undeniably thrilled) than us.  (I get to decorate a nursery.  Happy dance.)
For me that also translates into massive coffee withdrawal.  I’m basically dying.  My 4-a-day habit has waned into a 1/3-cup-a-day-fill-the-rest-of-the-cup-with-skim-milk-routine that just isn’t cutting it.  
I need a good decaf, preferably water-processed and chemical-free, so I can psychologically fake out my brain for the next 18 months or so.  
Taking recommendations now.  
Ready.  
Set.  
Go.

Love & coffee. 
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Update.

For anyone who was following Grayson’s story from my previous post (Speechless), I thought it would be appropriate to share an update.  
Grayson passed away late Sunday evening.  
He was 4.  
Hold your babies.  Hold them tight.  And please, pray for Grayson’s family.
“Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
   ready to rescue you.  
If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
   if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”
Psalm 34.17-17 (The Message)

Speechless.

I have been particularly moved and affected by the story of this 4-year-old boy named Grayson.  He is losing his battle with cancer.  

Words fail me.  

We were acquainted with this family when we were living in Oklahoma several years ago.   

Please, go to their blog.  
Read his story.  
And pray for these sweet people.

The Coffee Man.

“Look, Mommy, it’s the coffee man!”

We were out for a day of shopping amid the masses of Christmas paraphernalia also out in full force.  Santa Claus, candy canes, Christmas trees and…

Coffee men???

I asked my little Lovey to repeat what she had just said and clear as day she sang, “Run, run, as fast you can.  You can’t catch me, I’m the coffee man!”

Aha!  And then it clicked.  I have been sampling a new holiday coffee in the flavor of Boston’s Best “Grandma’s Iced Gingerbread” and of course, who would appropriately grace the package?  Gingerbread Man.  Apparently even my 2-year-old is keenly aware of my coffee habit. 

(Just for the record, the coffee wasn’t too bad.  I thought it mediocre at first, but it grew on me.  This morning, I  opened a fresh bag of “Frosty’s White Chocolate.”  Not crazy about it, but maybe it will grow on me, too…  It’s hard to top Starbucks or Cameron’s.)

Forever:  Time it takes to brew the first pot of coffee in the morning. 

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Blue Jeans & Coffee Beans.

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Purging.

National Clean-Your-What Day???

I saw it on CNN.   This past Tuesday (2 days ago) was National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  I suppose it’s a great effort.  Way to go, People-who-think-of-these-rather-obscure-things.

What I find especially disturbing is that we are encouraged to perform this task… once a year.  Maybe some people need this sort of yearly reminder, but I am pretty vigilant about thoroughly cleaning out the fridge very week or two, right before I make my big grocery trip.  (Can’t stand the thought of putting fresh food that just cost me an arm and a leg into a grimy fridge).

I am not saying my fridge is always pristine (believe me, a week or two is all some things need to cause trouble in there).  And there is occasionally the thing that falls down behind the other thing that I completely forget about until it has gone all  “science experiment” on me.

I guess I’ll embrace this occasion to think about food safety.

Hubby and I are entirely obsessive about food safety…  especially leftovers.  (When in doubt, throw it out!)  I also really can’t stand being wasteful, so there has to be a healthy balance.  When it comes to leftovers, I never make more than what we will eat in the next two days.  Any prepared food older than two days gets tossed.  (Most experts say 3-4 days, but I use the two-day rule to play it safe.)  Generally, I am pretty good about making sure our leftovers get eaten so we don’t waste anything.  If I make a big batch of something, I freeze a portion of it right away to save for another time.  (Really, most everything can be frozen.)

I have a couple of trusty friends that help me out:  “Masking Tape” and “Sharpie.”  Everything in my fridge gets a dated label.  Everything.  Ketchup.  Mayo.  Leftovers.  Nothing is exempt from the treatment.  I used to think I could remember when I prepared everything, but when life gets busy (which is pretty much always), time rolls by like a steam locomotive and before I know it, I have no earthly idea if I hard-boiled those eggs yesterday or last week.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I can’t help but think of all that food coming my way.  More than probably any of us can handle.

Freeze what you can.  Be safe.  And happy eating to all.

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Blue Jeans & Coffee Beans.

This post is a part of Simple Lives Thursday.

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Going to town.

I grew up in town.  Not a big town.  Not a small town.  A good medium-sized town.  I was a town kid.
And all my life, I wanted to say this.  “Family, I’m going to town.”  You know, like I lived out in the boonies frolicking around the farm with a happy cow or something.  That may seem a strange wish, but there was something pleasant, simple, and down-homey about it. 
Then, I moved to the city.  And then a bigger city.  And I loved it. 
I grew up in Iowa.  And I returned to Iowa, yet country life remains something of a mystery to me.  There are days where I think I would love to take my sweet little family out into the middle of nowhere and just… be.  Away from the noise.  Away from the sights.  Just away.
But then I think about the smells.  And oh, the aroma of the country.  Then I remember that maybe I am not quite ready for that.  And now I live in a small Iowa town… again.  A smaller town than before, but town it is!
And I hang in the balance… a city girl in a small town, longing for country quiet.
But now when I do drive into the city, I wrangle up my herd of kidlets and say, “Family, we’re going to town!”  Nevermind, we are only going for a dentist appointment… it’s going to be a big-city adventure.
Ah, the city.  Where everything is so exciting… and expensive.  But I have my ways.
My 3 essential freebie stops whenever we go to “town”:
1.  The mall.  Free play for my girls in the play place and in the Barnes & Noble kids’ area before the hour-long drive home.
2.  Starbucks.  I am fortunate that my favorite coffee joint is in my favorite mall.  Bring in an empty Starbucks Coffee bag and get a free Tall Brewed Coffee (12 oz.)  (I seem to have a steady supply of empty Starbucks bags…)
3.  Godiva.  I am even more fortunate that my favorite chocolate store is next door to my favorite coffee joint in my favorite mall.  I and my three little princesses stop here next to get our free chocolate sample.   Sign up for the free membership club and then additionally receive one free truffle a month! 
Coffee, chocolate, and happy, tired kids that will sleep all the way home… and it’s back to the “homestead” for us. 
Oh, who am I kidding?  Townie forever.  
This post is a part of the Frugal Tuesday Tip.

Here goes…

So here I am in the blogosphere! I have entertained thoughts of starting a blog for a couple of years now so here goes nothin’. 🙂

My name is Kelly and I have a love affair with coffee (and on occasion a hot cup of tea.)  I believe there is nothing more comfortable than a well-loved pair of blue jeans and vintage T-shirt.  So grab a cup o’ joe and sit and read while. 

I have no intention of this being a journal so please, do not expect to ever see every gory detail of my life at home. You will, however, read plenty about my 3 little princesses.  I do not offer advice, although on the offchance I do come up with something rather good you can feel free to give me credit! (Totally kidding.)  I will never try to sell you something, but you will see plenty of things that I really love (that you just might fall in love with yourself!)

Roam around and check things out. I’ll be posting many of my favorite recipes and not just for food. There will also be recipes for things like homemade skin care and natural cleaning products.  I like to occasionally write poetry and I am especially intrigued by Haiku.  You will probably see that popping up somewhere along the way.

I am still getting the hang of this so don’t be surprised if you see things changing around here for awhile. 

Stay tuned… tomorrow I’ll introduce you to the family.