Saturday, December 30, 2017

From My Front Porch/Bits and Pieces

  We are at the end of December! The Johnson family has been enjoying the last days of 2017.  Jeremiah has been home on vacation. Yay! It's always enjoyable when he is home. ☺

   Our Christmas was easy this year.  We spaced out all the running around.  We went to my mom's on the 23rd.  We hosted Christmas Eve dinner here and then went to Jeremiah's parents on the 25th.  That day was a little out of sorts due to scheduling conflicts with his siblings.  We had decided to have a family dinner this weekend so that we could all get together at the same time but several people from each family was sick!  Mostly head cold type issues but I definitely do not want it so I was happy to cancel! We will try again next weekend.

   We are experiencing a lot of the bitter cold and snow that is mentioned in the news.  We have about 6 inches of fresh snow. I'm not sure how many inches were there before and it is still snowing.  Jeremiah and Ryder are excited and they have been on the snowmobiles a lot. The township hasn't plowed our road much but Madi made it to work without issues...Oh, except she forgot her glasses!!! Jerm and I ran them down to her. Here are a few photos from the front porch. It is 14* outside as I type this!

   I tried a new recipe...they were called Sprinkle Cookies.  I like happy cookies and enjoy making them. I think these cookies are pretty but I am not sure that I will make them again.  They weren't winners with everyone in the family. 

   Madi got me a pair of slippers for Christmas.  Little lamb slippers! Meep!  I love them.  They are so soft and warm.  I need them when the temps aren't above 20 degrees!!!  Jeremiah said that 20* was a warm spell for us!

    I hope everyone reading this has a Blessed New Year!  Lots of love from the Johnson's in 2018!  I'm excited to see the Lord's blessings this coming year!  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Blueberry Soda!

   Madi arrived home from work last night with a big smile and announced she had a surprise!  She opened up a grocery bag and pulled out 10 bottles of this:

   Best Daughter Ever!!  Love her so much!
It tastes as good as I remember!
   You may remember me mentioning this soda in a previous post if not well, I did!  ;-)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life? What Day Is Today?  I have been busy and I have actually asked this question and checked my phone to see the date too many times to count lately.  I go to the calendar everyday to see what is going on that day and to plan for the next day. It will get better...I think? :-)

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?  I can easily get away without a microwave because we don't have one. We haven't had a microwave for quite a few years.  I don't miss it one bit.  I had a hard time softening butter but I have learned how to do that with the toaster oven or actually put it on the counter to soften. I wrote about it before. If you have any interest in reading why check it out.  People still look at me funny when I say that we don't have a microwave.  They just don't understand how we can "live" like that!  HaHa!

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why? The Christmas Song....I would like to roast chestnuts over an open fire! Don't know why but it just seems like it would be fun!

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken. I would say driving on our road after a heavy snowfall.  Sometimes the trees are absolutely beautiful! I posted some pictures from March that you may enjoy!

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one) Personally, I'm not a gift-y person so trying to come up with a gift to ask for is hard.  I have so much and I honestly don't need more stuff! However, I did see a water bottle and tumbler from Pioneer Woman that would be nice to have.  I like to drink out of pretty cups, mugs and tumblers!

6. Insert your own random thought here. Tomorrow marks our 21st wedding anniversary.  I am amazed at how God has blessed us through those 21 years. Thank you Jerm for walking beside me through it all.  Lots of love and happiness to another 21.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What Was That Crash?

  In keeping with my childhood Christmas memories, I decided to tell you another one.  Yep, you got lucky!  As you can tell from my previous post my grandparents and uncle loved to get us to believe in Santa. I'm not sure how old I was, maybe 11-12 when this incident happened but I remember it pretty clearly.  I was past the "believe in Santa" stuff but my younger brothers were still little enough to try to convince.
   This particular Christmas Eve brought us an ice storm.  My grandma had made ham potpie for our dinner. The electricity had been going on and off all day so she decided to make a simple fare for us. We ate and were relaxing a bit when the electric went out for good- no more flickering lights.  Grandma lit some candles and a couple oil lamps. We all sat around the dinner table and played cards and games. 
   My grandma told us she needed to go to the spring to get some water. We were content playing games and didn't pay much attention to what was going on outside.  The next thing we heard was a crash in the front yard.  The ice had built up on a large pine tree branch and it broke off with a loud crack.  We all ran to the front porch to see what happened and saw the branch laying in the yard. 
   My uncle was a little overly concerned with where grandma was? Why? She was going to the spring. It wasn't in that direction... My dad and uncle were calling out for her and getting their boots on to go check for her. We headed back into the house and grandma came up through the basement with a startled look on her face.  My uncle and dad were huddled around grandma asking her if she was ok and did she get hurt.  Now, why would they think that??  I couldn't figure that out.  Again, she went to the spring not the front yard????  She assured them that she was fine and that it was just slippy outside. 
   Apparently, grandma went to the front porch to set up the Santa gifts while we were distracted with the games.  She was headed back to the basement when the branch fell barely missing her.  No wonder they were worked up over where she was! The funny thing is, we were so concerned with the limb falling that we didn't even notice the Santa gifts sitting on the porch! Once everyone was calm again the doorbell rang and grandma sent us kids to see who it was. THAT'S when we noticed the gifts! 
   Good memories!  Oh, how I love remembering those times.  I miss my grandma and grandpa on both sides of my family.  Grandparents are awesome!  My dad has one brother and he and his wife didn't have any children so Christmas was a quieter time than at my mom's home.  Christmas with mom's side of the family was loud and super fun. My mom is third youngest of 12 kids and we always had someone to play with. Both of my grandmas supplied us with thousands of hugs and kisses! You knew you were loved by them.  My grandpa on dad's side was a candy giver. He always had sweets around.  My mom's dad had a stroke when I was young.  I don't remember him doing much with us but he was always there, you know, just calmly there watching us play.  I'm sure he wished he could do more with us but his body didn't allow him to do that.  You could see the kindness in his eyes though. 
   Memories! Such sweet memories! I hope that you have a blessed holiday season making new memories with those you love!

Monday, December 4, 2017

I Believe Santa, I Believe!

  When I was a little girl, about age 9, my grandparents and my uncle would go to great lengths to get my brothers and I to believe in Santa. I had finally hit the age that I figured out Santa wasn't real no matter how much my grandma insisted he was! 
   This particular Christmas my grandma was going all out to get me to believe again.  She had us write out our Christmas lists so she could get the "right" gifts. We didn't ask for extravagant gifts. She was probably pretty happy about that! :-) Grandma had my uncle rig old sleigh bells to the clothes line and hook the doorbell up to ?something? in the basement way.  I'm not sure how that worked but I know that they pulled on rope or twine to make the sleigh bells jingle.
   So Christmas Eve rolls around we have our dinner and followed up with the gifts from my grandparents and my uncle.  The house became a bit on the quiet side when we (children) heard the sleigh bells... Yes! We heard Santa's sleigh!  We ran to the back patio, as my grandma directed, and there were the gifts that we asked for.  I was so excited and my grandma told us that they were from Santa. 
   Well, here's where it gets interesting.  I asked for a chalkboard.  Santa delivered the chalkboard but forgot to bring the chalk.  I "knew" it wasn't from Santa and told my grandma that Santa, the real Santa, would never give half a gift.  I wasn't convinced.  Well my uncle decided that he would call his girlfriend (who later became his wife) and ask her to send Santa back with the chalk. Yep, that's right, SHE could get Santa to come back.  It went about a 30 ish minutes and I heard the sleigh bells again. My chalk was on the patio with a bandana parachute and a note that said "Sorry I forgot your chalk!  Santa"  That did it!  I ran out into the yard and yelled at the sky, "I believe Santa! I believe!" all to the delight of my grandparents and uncle.
   As I grew older of course, I reverted back to my old ways of not believing in Santa.  My family loves to tell the tale every Christmas about how I believed.  My mother-in-law loves to find little knick knacks, mugs or small items that says "Believe".  She picks them up to tease me and I DO KNOW that she isn't being mean! Honest! As we were decorating this weekend, the kids found some of those items and brought them down to display. 

  Personally, I am not a fan of the Believe stuff.  I am obviously NOT a big fan of Santa.  Ok, I don't want any hate comments but I really don't like Santa.  Maybe I should be in therapy due to this childhood "trauma". 😊  My parents weren't ones to make us believe in Santa just my grandparents and uncle.  My parents thought it was innocent fun.  
   Jeremiah knew how much I disliked Santa and he was fine with us not making Madi or Ryder believe in Santa.  I never had the kids pictures taken with Santa or anything like that either. I didn't dress them in the little Santa outfits at Christmas. Our Christmas cards, ornaments, decorations, stockings, even wrapping paper is Santa free.  If it has Santa on it...I'll pass.
   Madi and Ryder don't feel like I took away some big part of Christmas.  They are not upset that we did not "do" Santa like their friends did either so please don't think we were horrible parents.  ;-)  They are fine, normal, well-adjusted kids.  We do celebrate Christmas but our focus is on Jesus. We put up lights, a Christmas tree, decorations and we do buy gifts...but they know that they are from Mom and Dad. We spend good money on those gifts! I want full credit! HaHa
I actually like this mug though!

   I enjoy the family rehashing my story every year though.  It made for some good memories.  I "believe" that when I'm gone from this life, my family will continue to tell the tale of a little girl yelling, "I believe, Santa! I believe!"

Thursday, November 30, 2017

My Favorite Appliances and Updates

   I can't believe that tomorrow is D.E.C.E.M.B.E.R.!!  Really?? Time has been buzzing by.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We spent a lot of time with family and did very little shopping!  Jeremiah, the kids and I ran out and got a few items like bird seed, bird suet and then ran to Wal-Mart and got Christmas cards, a calendar and the boys picked up some hunting supplies.  Madi got a few little items she wanted but nothing we got were Black Friday special items. 

   Jerm and the kids have been battling some head colds.  Nothing serious but tissue use has been up!  :-)  Jeremiah was able to go to work but Madi had to call in sick on Monday.  I have been drinking lots of water and staying consistent with my vitamins and so far I haven't gotten sick.  I have two diffusers and I have been diffusing essential oils.  I ordered another one on Monday because I didn't have enough for each of our bedrooms.  I diffused two different kinds of oils.  One was for respiratory and the other blend was to boost the immune system and fight off the germs.  I also put some lavender in to help with sleeping.  I also put the oils on the bottoms of the their feet and behind their ears.  I'm not going to say it "cured" them but it helped their symptoms.

   Since everyone has been feeling icky I have decided to stick with easy foods. One of my favorite appliances is my crockpot.  I have quite a few of them.  I'm thinking like 7/8 or so- maybe a few more.  I really don't know. I like how easy it is to throw some simple ingredients in it and let it cook!  I end up with a healthy dish to serve and I know what ingredients are in there. I use my crockpots for soups, stews, whole chickens, roasts, meat and to keep foods warm like pasta dishes.  I think the crockpot is pretty versatile so I try to use it often.

   I use my bread machine weekly also.  I make my own pizza dough and we eat pizza frequently.  I prefer homemade pizza to store bought or the local pizza shops.  As you can see in the picture I also use it for bread.  I have a bread recipe that I found online years and years ago.  I made quite a few changes to that original recipe until I finally got one my family likes.  The kids can eat half a loaf as soon as it's cool enough to slice.  Ryder likes butter and strawberry jam on his slices, Madi likes butter (the one and only time she likes butter) and I will occasionally eat mine with butter and honey, otherwise just butter. 
   I need to get some stuff ready for tomorrow and finish loading the dishwasher. I had to let the crockpot cool and the insert will go into the dishwasher and the leftovers need to go into the fridge.  I will have some leftover chicken to make into something for lunches for tomorrow.  Have a great evening!  


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What takes you out of your comfort zone? Teaching Ryder math. I hate math and There is just something really wrong when you mix the alphabet and digits!  I did ok with Algebra in high school but this isn't pleasant.  I'm really glad I have a good math curriculum that helps aide in teaching him. 

2. Your least favorite spice?  I would have to say sage or nutmeg.  I like the smells of those spices but as for flavor a little goes a LONG way!

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?  I would like to do better at using up leftovers.  I don't like having to pitch food to the chickens but my creative juices at using up leftovers is waning.  I need to do better with that.

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been?
Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?  I haven't been to any of these homes.  I would like to go to Monticello from this list.  One of my favorite homes to visit is at a historical center.  They have a 1830's Farmstead cabin.  They have some really awesome buildings there.  I am into history so this is a happy place for me. The kids even enjoy going there! 

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?  I figure land line phones will be gone. I'm not sure how I feel about that... Last night we had company and we were talking about when credit cards came about.  I worked as a secretary/receptionist at a local animal hospital and we accepted credit cards.  I had to place the card in a holder and slide an arm over the card to make a carbon copy on the CC forms.  Madi just looked at me like I was crazy!  She also had a hard time comprehending that the stores were closed on Sundays and you couldn't get gas on a Sunday either! I can remember that some stores started to open on Sundays when I was around 10 years old. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
Ryder has been learning some new guitar songs so I have been serenaded daily for several weeks.  The latest song he's learning is Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven.  He plays it beautifully.  I'm am truly blessed with some talented children!