Saturday, January 31, 2015

This Last Week of January

The big adventure for me this week was to find a salon for my poor hair. As my son says, it's not just getting my hair colored, it's denying my age. I'm good with that.

I wasn't overly impressed with the salon. I got the grays covered up, which is a wonderful thing, but the appointment took 2 hours and 40 minutes. That's a looooong time. The stylist that did my hair didn't ask me at all about how I liked to style my hair. He blew it dry straight. And by straight, I mean STRAIGHT and FLAT. It reminded me of that episode of Seinfeld where the shower-heads in Jerry and Kramer's apartment building were all changed to the water-conserving low-flow shower-heads. I found this picture of Kramer and Newman with flat hair caused by the low-flow shower-heads.

That is what I felt like after leaving the salon. It looked ridiculous. I passed up dinner out with my hubby that evening because I looked so ridiculous. I was relieved to wash my hair and style it with some curl and height. Ha ha.

Changing subjects...

Wednesday night we went to see Wicked here. Here. In the town we live. This is a huge deal because we have had to drive an hour or two or more in the past to see something like that. Pretty exciting to be able to see shows right here.

We had seen Wicked in Chicago four years ago, but it is worth seeing again. The music is great, the costumes are fabulous and the story line is just great. I had forgotten how it ended and it was fun to be surprised all over again. I just don't look at the whole Wizard of Oz story the same. I wonder what L. Frank Baum would think of it.

When I was growing up we watched The Wizard of Oz every year on television. Every year my dad would come running down down the stairs and yelling the second the flying monkeys appeared and would scare us every single time. I have decided that the "live" flying monkeys are creepier than the ones on television. I had flashbacks to my dad running down the stairs to scare us. It's a good childhood memory. :)

Changing subjects...again...

We've put an offer in on a house and after haggling back and forth for several days, we have finally agreed on a price. Next week is the house inspection. After that I think I can feel more like we actually have a house.

Changing subjects...once more...

Saturday we ventured off on a little road trip. We went to a little town west of here to explore an antique store. The store was interesting, the town, not so much. It was fun to do a little exploring and see a little more of the state.

After we got back home, we went out for some yummy pizza and spent the evening watching Fried Green Tomatoes.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Some Quilts

I thought I would post some pictures of a few of the quilts I made over the past year. I know I have a few readers who would like to see them.

I made this quilt for a cousin and her husband. They are just absolutely great people and we love spending time with them. They love the Lord and are very encouraging people.

The pattern is called Double Slice Layer Cake. I think I found the pattern in a book, but I don't have access to the book right now, so I can't link to it. (Yay for moving!) But here's a link to a YouTube tutorial for the same pattern. (A "Layer Cake" is a pre-cut package of fabric cut into 10" squares.) I love how the borders turned out. I've tried a few times to create my own borders (not following any directions) and this is the first one that turned out even better than I thought it would! The scrappy binding is  a perfect finish.

The backing was pretty fun too! It's a print that combines all the fabrics in the line together. In the corner with a red frame around it is the label. I try to make a label for each quilt. My sewing machine has a few simple fonts to choose from.

Below is a wall hanging quilt I made for my hubby's birthday. Well, he only opened a box full of fabric, not the actual finished quilt.

The pattern is called Kaleidoscope.  I bought a ruler that included the pattern. This was easier than it looks, which is a fun thing. Looks impressive, but is pretty simple.

I put a red and black binding on it and had it quilted with red thread.

I am pleased with how it turned out. Hubby is going to hang it in his new office. I sure hope he has the wall space! I haven't asked him that yet.

I'll periodically put up pictures of the quilts I've made. Last year was a prolific quilt making year. It's fun to have a record of them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A "Chilly" Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm joining up with Joyce again today for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. She's in the midst of a snowstorm so has given this week a chilly theme. Me? Well, it's very balmy here in the South and I don't miss that bitter winter weather AT ALL. Click on the button below to read this week's other participants in the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. When did someone last suggest you 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell someone (or want to tell someone) to 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell yourself to 'chill out'?
Ummmm....I remember telling a loved one to chill out not terribly long ago, but it wasn't a very nice thing to say or very nice circumstance, so I won't go into detail about it here.

2. What most recently caused your heart to melt?

Seeing this picture of my extremely happy 34 week pregnant daughter. She posted this on social media on Sunday.
I always knew she would be adorable pregnant. I just want to give her a big hug and feel Baby Girl kick.

3.  "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." G.K. Chesterton 
Your thoughts? When did you last experience either an adventure or an inconvenience? How did you see it at first, as an adventure or an inconvenience?  Does it feel the same in hindsight?
Whether I view something as an adventure or an inconvenience all depends on my mood. Bad mood = Inconvenience. Good mood = Adventure. My Hubby does a good job in helping me to see the adventure in a situation at times. Moving halfway across the country certainly lends itself to adventures/inconveniences. Living in an apartment is kind of an inconvenience in part because there isn't a full kitchen to work with. On the flip side that lends itself to adventures in cooking. We have eaten out a lot (yay!) and I have found some great quick-fix meals at Trader Joe's that seem to be pretty good quality.
4.  A Wendy's Frosty, root beer in a frosty mug, or a frosted chocolate cupcake...of these three, which one is your favorite 'frosty' treat?

A frosty is meh in my book. Root beer is yucky. (I feel that way because I was a carhop at A&W in high school and learned to dislike root beer.) So what's left? A frosted chocolate cupcake, of course! Panera makes a terrific one and there is one only two minutes from our apartment. (yikes)

5. Would you say your life so far this year has been more like a circus or a symphony? Explain why.
I think moving and trying to find a news house to buy is like a circus. Pretty crazy.

6. Since it's a 'snow day' here, what's your favorite song containing the word 'white'?

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. 
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
YouTube Link Here.

Best Thing Ever. My life would be nowhere without Jesus.

7. If you had to leave the city you currently live in, what would you find the hardest to leave behind?
Let's see, I've lived here for a total of 22 days. I don't think I know yet what I would find hard to leave behind. Opportunities I don't know about yet? Nice winter weather?

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I was debating last week about continuing with Community Bible Study because I just wasn't seeing any opportunities to talk with others and get to know people. Monday afternoon the leaders of our core group sent us an email and asked if we were able to go out to dinner with them and a few others after the study. (!) So when CBS was over we walked to a great restaurant nearby called Tupelo Honey. (I'll see you there sometime, Joyce!) We had such a fun time talking and getting to know new people. When Hubby and Igot in the car to drive home, (we made it the whole way back to the apartment with no GPS!) I just said, "Thank you, God!"

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Sunday Evening In My Jammies.

The jammies went on tonight before 7pm. Seemed an appropriate end to the week.

We wrapped up looking at houses (I hope) this week with a grand total of 28 houses looked at. Good grief, that's a lot of houses. We looked at so many in part because we were trying to figure out what area of the city seemed like the best area for us. Once we narrowed that down we went back to look at four of the houses for a second time and then threw in a new one just for fun. Ha. We've got an offer on a house in the process. I'm really not very anxious about it. God can work mightily and if He wants us in that house in that neighborhood, then it will work out. If not, then we'll keep looking.

Early in the week I received an email from my dad that made being halfway across the country from the family hard. My mom (who had a stroke almost 18 months ago) had been experiencing headaches and Dad was worried. He ended up taking her to the ER on Friday and she spent the weekend in the hospital. After some tests and adjustments to her meds, she is back home. I was relieved that it doesn't appear to be anything more serious. My dad takes amazing care of my mom. They've been married for almost 62 years.

We were encouraged with the church hunting this week. The previous two weeks were quite discouraging. The church we went to this morning would be a bit of a haul from the house we hope to buy (25 minutes), but could be worth it.

Lately, Sunday nights have been filled with watching public television. I've been enjoying some new (to me) shows. One our daughter introduced us to called "A Chef's Life" it is about a chef in eastern North Carolina and how she learns about and uses local seasonal foods in her restaurant. The other show is "The Great British Baking Show", a baking competition. I just told hubby that I think I'm a pretty good cook, but when I watch shows like that I realize there is so much about food and cooking I have no idea about.

Speaking of cooking, Hubby gave me an electric pressure cooker for my birthday. The only thing I've made in it so far is rice, but it cooked in 10 minutes and that alone sold me on it! I hope to figure out some recipes to try soon. Pinterest seems to have a few floating around out there.

And now it's time for "Downton Abbey".


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm joining up again this week with the Wednesday Hodgepdoge. Head on over to Joyce's blog by clicking on the button below and join in.

1. American Idol is back for a 14th season. Are you watching? Have you ever watched? If you were to audition for the show (or were made to audition), what song would you sing?
Nope, not watching this season. I don't think I have ever watched a whole season. I have only caught a few shows here and there. For some reason it has never held my interest. The first song that popped into my mind that I would sing for an audition (if I had to) was "Where is Love"  from the musical "Oliver".  I sang "Where is Love" when I was in high school to audition for the Swing Choir my junior and senior year. I made it both years, so reviving that song would make sense, of course.

2.  Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first." So when did you last have to 'eat a frog'? Or two? How'd that work out? 
Less than a week after moving to South Carolina, Hubby and I went to an evening Community Bible Study together. We have never stepped out to do something like that so quickly after a move. Kinda a Big Frog step for us. We'll continue to go for the rest of the semester and hope to meet people through that. (And study God's Word, of course.)
3. If you were going on safari, what is the number one animal you'd want to see?
I know my hubby would say he would want to see a cheetah. He's a runner and he loves the speed and sleekness of cheetahs. I think I would like to see a hippopotamus. Funky animals.
4. January 21st is National Granola Bar Day. I know. Do you like granola bars? Chewy or crunchy? Your favorite flavor? How about regular granola? Let's exhaust this topic in honor of the holiday okay?

I love Granola. I could take or leave Granola Bars. (I know that's not very exhaustive, but that's all I got.)

5. If only...  the decision of which house to buy would come more easily.  There are currently four houses we kind of like, but there are significant pros and cons about each one. We go this afternoon to look at them for a second time armed with a spread-sheet/check-list.

6. You can add one item to your bedroom. What will it be? Keep it family friendly please.
A comfy sitting area for reading. That's one thing on our check-list as we look for a new house.
7. What is one thing you've enjoyed about winter thus far? If it's not winter in your corner of the globe, what season is it, and what is something you've enjoyed about whatever season it happens to be?
What have I enjoyed about this winter? I have enjoyed that we got to move away from Minnesota before really severe winter hit there. "Winter" in South Carolina is so much more tolerable! I've been wandering around the apartment this week with no socks on my feet. I've also been outside with no coat or jacket. Love it!

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
I've been missing this goofy family of mine like crazy this week. Monday morning I was thinking that I would call my kids Tuesday. Who do I get a call and a text from that evening? My kids! So good to talk with them.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Here's the thing with moving, especially moving to a part of the country I've never been in before:

Everything is new.

The streets are new, the weather (for January for me) is new, the license plates on the cars are new, the grocery store chains are new, the people are new, accents are new, the customs of the local people are new, the churches are new, the landscaping around homes are new (holly bushes!), banks are new, places to travel to by car are new, phone numbers are new.

I think I'm getting my point across.

A few days ago I got a new cell phone. I really wanted a non-Minnesota phone number for one thing, and another thing was my old cell phone's microphone didn't work anymore. Makes it kind of difficult to use as a phone. I do have a bluetooth, so that worked fine for when I needed it. While upgrading a cell phone is usually a cool thing, I found myself being overwhelmed with one more new thing to adapt to. There is always a period of time spent trying to figure out the nuances of a new cell phone.

As I have pondered all this newness, it has made me grateful to know that my God isn't new. He is always the same.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Hebrews 13:8 says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Those are good things.

My dad wrote on my birthday card he sent me this week that God has gone before us to South Carolina. For that I am grateful. I am grateful my dad reminded me of that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Wednesday Hodgepodge

Since I have a new blog, I think I will join up with Joyce @ From This Side of the Pond and answer her Hodgepodge questions for this week.
1. What's your best piece of advice for a newly married couple? I'm asking for a friend.
The best marriage advice we ever received was to never speak poorly of each other in front of others. It really grates against me when I hear a husband and wife cut each other down or complain about the other when in public. I haven't perfectly followed this advice, but I try. It certainly helps with my attitude towards my husband. (I hope this helps your friend.)

2. Before we're too far into the new year I wanted to post a question Teresa submitted during the December giveaway. Teresa blogs over at Being Refined As Silver, so everyone go say hi. Teresa asks, "What were you doing on December 31st, 1999?"and "Did you or your family make preparations for Y2K?"
Good question! I would think most people would remember that significant date. 
1999 found us living in Singapore. Christmas of that year was spent in New Zealand. We had to go back to Singapore for New Year's Eve, because Hubby had to be at work "just in case".  December 31, 1999: Hubby was at work, our son, who was 12 at the time was out wandering around Singapore with the youth group from church, my daughter (who was 9) and I were at home watching the New Year festivities in Singapore in TV. I think the only one who really had fun that night was our son. No, we didn't make any sort of preparations for Y2K that I can remember.
3. According to Global Language Monitor, the most used word of 2014 isn't a word. It's the heart emoji. Huh? How can something that's not a word be the most used word, but I digress. What do you think was your most used word in 2014?
Move. Or variations of that word.
4. Speaking of words, it's that time again. Time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness) in 2015. You can read more about the decision making process here, but this year's top vote getters are- bae (before anyone else), polar vortex, hack, skill set, swag, foodie, curate/curated, friend-raising, enhanced interrogation, cra-cra (as in crazy), takeaway, and -nation (a suffering sports suffix). Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?
I'll have to admit I haven't heard several of those words/phrases. The one I think it the stupidest would have to be "cra-cra". Just say "crazy" and be done with it. What other word? "Pic" or "pics". Just spell out the whole word, thank-you-very-much. And PLEASE don't use "pix"!

5.  January is National Hot Tea month? Are you a fan? Do you like flavored teas? How do you take your tea? Have a favorite cup or teapot? How many cups of tea do you consume in a given day? 
Yes, I like tea. I tend to like regular old black tea, but English Breakfast and Earl Grey are close behind. I like Hot Tea, I tend to drink (decaf) Iced Tea year round.
6. Whatever happened to________________________________?
Whatever happened to the 1920-something silver dollars my great-aunt gave me when I was a child? I haven't been able to find them for years and it just makes my heart sick.
7. What is one book on your must-read list this winter? 
I have quite a pile of books I got for Christmas and my birthday. I just started reading My Life in France by Julia Child. So far so good. I also want to re-read a book called Hansi the Girl Who Left the Swastika. I heard the author speak at our church in Singapore many, many years ago and I found her story very fascinating.
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
The company Hubby works for shipped one of our cars to South Carolina. Here it is on the truck ready to be taken off for us. Our car is the red one. Can we say lack of planning?
I will say the driver was an expert at backing those cars off pretty quickly!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Moving On...

Time to start blogging again.

I took a year off of blogging. (If there is a reader who is interested in my other blog, Just Enough Light, where I wrote for six years, click over to here to read to your heart's content.) 2014 was a very tough year and I was not sad to say goodbye to it.

Time to move on.

We have moved from Minnesota to South Carolina. (I've been here for a whole week now!)  New job, new state, new region of the country, new house (eventually). All that newness just calls for a new blog.

I want this blog to document our time here in the Southeast. This is a big move for this Midwest girl. True, I lived in Singapore for three years, but other than that I have lived in the Midwest. I expect there to be some fun/interesting things to observe. Take for instance, my visit to the grocery store yesterday. I saw bags of greens: mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens. Not your typical Midwest fare. I smiled to myself because I have NO idea what to do with greens.


Let's talk about the title of this blog. Ampersand. Several years ago, I gave my hubby a large, metal ampersand and hung it on the wall in our bedroom. I told him it was to remind us that from now on it was just him & me & God. We were in the beginning stages of the Empty Nest. Our kids were married and now it was just us. This blog is about our lives & our adventures & my relationship with God & my hobby of quilting & our kids & the new grand-baby about to be born & whatever else come to mind.

Like how moving across the country takes time to find my place, time to have a rhythm to life, and lots of changes, I expect this blog to morph and change over time.

So... here I go off on a new adventure!