Giving thanks - We did a thing last week. We surrendered one of my life insurance policies for the cash value, and it is the exact amount we need to pay the balance on our mortgage. John will be free to exercise some new options. No need to fret, this was a large policy we had in place when we were raising five young children and, if anything had happened to me, he would have had child care expenses. That is no longer the case, and we have taken care to make sure there is another policy in place sufficient for final arrangements. I am very thankful for all the ways God made sure that this was possible.

Outside my window - It’s still dark. It’s still raining. But it is Spring and the buds on the trees are evidence of that. The weather has definitely taken a turn toward more mild days. The windows are open most days and even most nights.

Clothing myself in - I’m in the same comfy navy jog pants that I was wearing the last time I wrote a Daybook post. I’m off to get a pedicure this morning (a second attempt) and needed something I can hitch up easier than my jeans. On top, I’m wearing a favorite black sweater that was tucked away out of sight until our recent sorting and purging work in the closet and dressers. I’d forgotten how comfortable these sweaters are to wear. I have switched back to my tennis shoes - I love the Crocs, but yesterday for the first time my feet were throbbing with pain and I’m not about to risk that happening again today. Edit: that pedicure is no longer in my immediate future.

What't happening in our neck of the woods - Saturday, John joined the girls and me in our newest tradition. We found a new coffee shop in St. Louis to visit that was right next door to Soulard Farmers' Market. We've lived here for 20 years and have never visited this much beloved historic landmark even though I have said at the beginning of every summer it's something I really wanted us to do. I'm so glad we finally did and it certainly won't be the last time.

The Protagonist Coffee Shop

Then we met Josh at the popular 

Broadway Oyster Bar for lunch. 

It was a very good day indeed.

On the home front - Well, where should I start? That list - stupid list - got way too long. And as always, I  lost my way in my head and got carried away. Mentally, I started too many projects and then started getting stuck not being able to move forward. Physically, I started too many projects and have to wait on people (ahem, my sweet husband) to do what they insist on doing before moving forward… Do you see where this is going? 

  •  Example number one: while browsing the aisles in At Home, I was looking for eucalyptus to add to the wonderful decorative wood piece that I found earlier at Hobby Lobby. Sweet daughter and I began to admire the beautiful wreaths - one in particular because it was made of hydrangeas. The day before we had just discussed how I wanted to simplify my front flower bed by moving some of the things growing there and plant just hydrangeas and maybe a simple ground cover for the area in front of it. We had decided on blue hydrangeas because we wanted to pull the special shade of blue from my color scheme into the mix and got permission from my dear husband to paint the front door and the window shutters blue. But there were no wreaths with blue hydrangeas, so what else does one do in this situation but immediately search Amazon to see if we can get one. Well, of course you can. So we clicked the complete purchase button and our new, blue hydrangea wreath to coordinate with the colors  in the front flower bed that had to be dug up and moved and replanted with new plants to coordinate with the front door and shutter that need to be cleaned and repainted… was on its way to our house. 

  • Example number two: Sweet daughter has been working on her home business and that means lots and lots and lots of stuff in the kitchen. Stuff on the counters, stuff in the pantry, stuff on top of the refrigerator, stuff in baskets and boxes and bags. So, being the supportive mom that I am… I decided I might give her the pantry - for now. I would just sort, sift, and rearrange the stuff on the laundry room shelves that we also use as a pantry, and transfer our food stuffs on those shelves where they will be nice and organized and easy to access and see what and when things need to be replenished. So while we’re doing that, since the laundry room needs to be painted and made pinterest pretty, why don’t we just take down all the shelves (since we have to remove everything anyway to organize) and paint and then put up nice new wood shelves like I’ve been wanting? I got the okay from dear husband, again. And so we did just that - we removed every single item from the pantry and the laundry room shelves and sorted them in the paper bags I’ve been saving from the commissary shopping. We labeled the bags and made sure everything would be easy to organize when it goes back on the shelves… Everything will go back on the shelves when the walls are painted. The walls will be painted when the repair work on the ceiling is completed. The repair work in the ceiling will be completed when dear husband has the time to get to it… Did I mention that all the paper bags with our groceries in them are in the garage???

I could go on with the little vignettes but I bet you get the idea. Last night, I fell into bed next to dear husband at 8:30, my feet throbbing, after a hot shower. I told him I don’t want a Pinterest-pretty home if it means I don’t get to write and sew and quilt and spend time with our people. It will all just have to wait. Maybe until hell freezes over. But we know our priorities. I know my priorities and I know what I am not willing to sacrifice at the altar of having a better-looking home. Don’t get me wrong - if I can have both, I am all in. But the days go by fast and at the end of every one of them the list remains even longer than it was the day before. Maybe one day many of the things on that endless list will get done, but for now, it’s going to have to be minimal. Just the things that will make the biggest impact with the least amount of time and effort. Mostly, just the things that will enable us to once again welcome people back into our home. A place to relax, visit, enjoy good meals together, play some games, and lay their heads at night if they are able to stay more than a few hours. 

On the menu - The last time we shopped, I picked up items that would make it easier to make a quick meal at home on days when I just can’t do another thing and I’m tempted to just pick something up on the way home or go out to eat. It has made a difference. I’ve discovered I really am a better cook than most, and even the simplest things I make at home are better than most of the options away from home. I’ll be working with the vast supply of freezer and pantry items to choose from - all safely tucked away in the garage LOL. 

A new recipe - Last week I made a pasta dish with chicken for Mastermind. Per the instructions, I cooked the chicken first and set it aside to complete the rest of the steps. On one of his what’s-that-cooking -fly-bys, John snuck a piece of the chicken and tasted it. It received his definitive approval. I hated to tell him that it was going in the pasta dish that was cream based so he probably wouldn’t really enjoy it. But I did tell him, and he did eat a small amount of it, while encouraging me to just cook some stand alone chicken like this the next time. So last night I did and he was glad. It’s so simple it’s hard to believe he liked it that much. Boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thin and seasoned with salt, Italian Seasoning (I used Herbs de Provincia), and paprika. Saute it in a small amount of fat - I used butter, but I think the recipe called for oil. Anyway, it was good, and I served it alongside the instant potatoes and jarred gravy I bought for simplicity. 15 minutes and dinner was on the table. Also, the last can of whole green beans because everyone but me prefers french cut. Did I mention that all our canned goods are in paper bags in the garage?

Learning lessons in - Um, I feel like I might have already covered that…

Writing - I doubt that anyone will notice or care at all, but… I made the decision to migrate my blog back to blogger after all. I debated back and forth about it last year and then mostly out of laziness or lack of time, I decided to leave it the way it was on WIX and continue to pay for the premium BECAUSE I HATE ADS ON BLOGS. But I’ve determined that my writing/blogging really is just a hobby and will remain just that for the foreseeable future, so I don’t need it to look business/professional and I don’t need a lot of the tools that WIX offers. I just need a platform for sharing with the few close friends that might be interested and my kids down the road when I’m gone. I might have suggested to my kids that if I ever suffer dementia that they should have me read my blog so I’d remember… it’s the influence of The Notebook. I cannot lie. Yes, I realize that it probably wouldn’t work that way, but who knows?

Two things pushed me over the edge of deciding to make the change after all - 1) We are preparing for early retirement and that means simplifying and reducing our expenses as much as possible. Paying for a hobby blog is not at the top of the list for necessary expenses. 2) My dear friend and kindred spirit announced last week on our Mastermind group that she was considering also migrating back to blogger. All the reasons why I had thought it was a good idea came rushing back to mind and I pulled the trigger. I started migrating posts and updating the widgets.

Making sure I was okay with old posts being public, I read through a lot of them and decided I like my own writing even if no one else does. I don’t recall ever publishing anything that would intentionally cause controversy or hurt feelings. Of course in today’s world, writing ‘THE’ might be cause for issues for some. I can’t worry about that if I want to move forward in my writing life. 

So for now, I’m busy migrating WIX posts back here and writing some new things too. I have hopes for some new projects that might help other women and moms.

Listening - JoyFM Our local radio station. I’d forgotten how much it lifts my spirits. 

Making - a mess apparently

The week ahead - Hope that I’ll restore the house to some order before we leave for a trip to visit family.

A new thing - There are new things popping up all over our house LOL. Some will be returned until we actually need them. But there is new deck furniture and it is quite lovely. Can’t wait to enjoy visiting while relaxing in it. 

Something to remember -

“The most important work you will 

ever do is within the walls of your home.”

On a side note: I have been searching for a dragonfly similar to the one I free-hand drew digitally with my old computer. I used to sign off on my posts with the little graphic by my name. I don't have access to the file any longer because it was on an old computer that has since died and I now have a Mac computer. In my search to find a suitable replacement, what did I discover?!  Someone along the way took my original design and is now selling it on Etsy. I pondered whether or not to contact the seller, but at the time I didn't really have proof (and how important is it anyway?). This morning while working on this post, I realized that I have images from this blog from all the way back, and guess what? My original image is there. :-) So I am happy to be able to include this simple personal touch to my posts. I am choosing to take her theft as a compliment, albeit unprofessional and just not nice.

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