Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The End of November

Did you happen to see the date on the calendar today? November 30th.  As in the END of November.  As in the end of Autumn, the end of Thanksgiving Holiday time, the end of sweater-less days, the end of ice-free windshields and the end of procrastination.  December is tomorrow.  December means CHRISTMAS is around the corner!  ACK!  I know, I know - Thanksgiving should be a MAJOR hint that Christmas is coming.  Black Friday sale day when one is CHRISTMAS shopping should be another HUGE hint that Christmas is coming.  But it still feels so early. It is after all - November - so all the while - you just think you are ahead of the curve, and so prepared, and then WHAM - it is November 30th and immediately - just like that - you are behind the eight-ball. The list of things to do triples in just one day.  Baking, and shopping and wrapping and decorating - so much to do! It always seems so overwhelming on December 1st.  Somehow it manages to all get done - but at this point it is a little intimidating and overwhelming. I need to make my December calendar tomorrow and schedule the things I must do so I am sure not to miss anything. I like to try and make homemade goodies so I need to be sure I make time for that. I haven't quite decided what I am making this year.  In the past I have made homemade salsa, fresh canned tomatoes, hearty pancake mixes, cookie mixes, soup mixes and hulless popcorn goody bags. I must figure out what goodies this year will bring. Other things to schedule are the big Army vs. Navy football party day.  I should get that organized soon because after all - we must cheer GO NAVY on December 11th and we need delightful snacks and treats to make the day even better. In keeping with the GO NAVY theme, I seem to be headed for Annapolis in mid-December.  I have several families on the east coast who would like one of our puppies. I really honestly do not have to make the trip. I mean that is right during the busy part of the Holidays and it is much easier for me to fly my daughter home from the Naval Academy. The flight is only 1 hour and 15 minutes long.  She can fly home in almost the same amount of time it takes me to drive to the airport. But I am feeling full of the Christmas spirit and thought that I could make several Christmases a lot better if they didn't all have to make the drive here. I can drive the puppies in the ever so stylish "Puppy Mobile" and save everyone else the hassle of the long drive. I can then pick my daughter up at the Naval Academy right after her last military obligation and we can have a fun road trip back home.  The puppies always travel really well in the puppy mobile as there is so much room to run around and play.  They never seem to even notice the road trip at all. It is just another fun day for them. Now if I could only teach them to take turns driving......that would really make the trip better!  So here's to the last day of November. One last day to feel ahead of schedule.  One last day to pretend that Christmas is soooooo far away. Tomorrow the Holiday Season starts in earnest. In order to be fully prepared for the ringing in of December 1st, I plan on staying up until at least 12:00:01 so I can be the first to wish Mr. Yesteryear Acres a happy start to the Holiday Season!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Last Day of Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

Thanks to our local school system - the Monday after Thanksgiving is always a day off of school. I consider it a very nice gift because Thanksgiving weekend is always hectic.  My mom's birthday, out of town guests, cooking, cleaning, puppy work, puppy visits, airport runs - all makes for a busy weekend.  Today was a nice day to catch up.  My younger daughter caught up on her sleep.  She didn't get up until it was almost lunch time.  My son caught up on his love of hunting and was out the door by 7am this morning.  My husband caught up on some farm work and also got to accompany my son and go hunting.  I got caught up on...dishes, laundry, computer work, emails, website updates, puppy pictures and paperwork.  Hmmmmm. I think maybe I should have caught up on my sleep, or on watching movies or reading a book.  Man.  One day I am going to use my day "off" to take a day off!  My first clue that my day "off" wasn't going to be spent catching up on the movies I have been missing was the impressive array of dishes awaiting me this morning. Evidently, some people who live here, FORGOT how to load the dishwasher while I was gone yesterday.  Well technically they remembered how to load the dishwasher but *GASP* the dishwasher was FULL of clean dishes.  Someone would have to EMPTY the dishwasher first.  Oh dear me.  That would be an awful! I am soooo glad that the dishes instead got piled into the sink and didn't even get rinsed and then sat there for the weekend so that I couldn't see the sink this morning and then making it impossible for me to start my day without a scrub brush in hand so I could immediately start washing dishes first thing this morning.  And yes, you could say that I am so lucky to have such wonderful family members to clean up after.  You could say how blessed I am that I have family to share my meals with and to use my dishes. You could even say that I am lucky to have delicious food to put on my dishes that then need to be cleaned. BUT at 7am, when there is no coffee and no way to get to the sink without washing the pile of dishes.........You could say - WHY DIDN'T THEY USE PAPER PLATES?  UGH!  As soon as I finished the dishes and then took the dish rags to the laundry room....again.....I could clearly see that laundry washing could never happen in my absence either.  I didn't realize that one son could wear 564 items of clothing in one weekend, but evidently, he can. The laundry led to the cleaning which led to the paperwork which led to the computer work, etc.  You can see how the day went. I was actually planning on watching movies with my daughter right after all the work but then the sun was shining and the weather was actually a lot warmer than it has been so it was more important to play with the puppies and take new pictures.  We did that for a couple of hours this afternoon and the puppies had a blast.  Tomorrow I will get all the new pictures posted to the website. The highlight of my day was when a very sweet family came to pick up their puppy that we kept over the Thanksgiving Holiday.  He is a great pup and I was so excited that he got to go to his awesome new family today.  AND I have to say, she brought me a PIE!  A PECAN PIE!  A HOMEMADE PECAN PIE! mmmmmmmmm!  I am still smiling about the pie.  I did manage to get a small tasting in earlier this afternoon. It was heavenly! We are having it for dessert tonight and I can't wait. Hopefully we will all be caught up by dinner time and will have a little bit of free time to relax.  Tomorrow is back to school for the kids and for me - back to work.  I mean I DID have the day off today. Ha ha ha.  Oh well.... I can hear the pie calling me!  Life is good!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

SURPRISE

So the big secret is that this afternoon there was a huge surprise birthday party for my mom.  Everyone knew about it and it has been planned for months. Today is my mom's 65th birthday and this morning she called me to invite me to a brunch. My sister who flew in from Vermont yesterday, was taking my mom to "birthday brunch" and they invited me to join them. Of course I gave her a huge speech about there was no way I could come because I was too busy and it took everything I had not to crack up laughing.  My mom was super sad I couldn't go and my sister sounded totally disappointed.  It was great.  Meanwhile, I was already half-way there because I had to leave early this morning to take my older daughter to the airport.  She had to report to duty today and couldn't stay for the party.  The only flight I could get, was one that left this morning so sadly, we had to say our good-byes far too early.  *sniff sniff*.  Sometimes I am really good about saying good-bye. I feel okay and I know I will see her again as soon as I can. I just wave good-bye with a big smile on my face and deep inside, I feel like I am alright. Sometimes even though I know I will see her again as soon as I can, I just wave good-bye with a big smile on my face and deep inside, I feel like I am going to fall apart. Outwardly, I look exactly the same.  I am smiling and waving and telling her how proud she makes me and I say we will see each other SOON and off she goes.  Inwardly, I am crying and sad and missing her already. It is a hard thing to balance. I never want her to go.  I can't want her to stay. *sigh*  Today was one of the inwardly - not so great goodbyes.  I think it is because she had to leave so early, so we just rushed around all morning getting out the door.  I am definitely looking forward to when she comes home for Christmas. So after the sad goodbyes at the airport - my younger daughter and I headed for the surprise party.  We got there in time and everyone stood around the corner in a big banquet type room and waited for the birthday girl.  When she walked into the room - balloons were released into the air and "SURPRISE" filled the air.  We definitely got her! She had nooo idea and the party was a huge success.  It was nice to see so many people wish my mom Happy Birthday.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres wasn't able to join me as he stayed at home with my son to take care of all the puppies.  The puppies can't go all day without love and attention, so Mr. Yesteryear Acres kindly agreed to do all the work for the day so I could go to the party.  Happily, Mr. Yesteryear Acres' parents both came to the party so I got to sit with them. It was nice to have his parents there.  It made the party complete.  The rest of the day was spent with my mom and my sister and nephew and this evening we had another birthday dinner for my mom.  I think I am partied out!  I was gone over 12 straight hours today and my feet are tired. My eyes are tired. My legs are tired. My whole body is tired. I am done celebrating for a while. Tomorrow it is back to my normally scheduled exhausting schedule:  Puppies, Puppies, and More Puppies!  One thing I know for sure - tomorrow will be COMFY clothes day!!!  My high heels and fancy clothes need a break.  They informed me that they were very tired and would like to just "hang" around.  I am going to oblige and give them a rest.  My slippers missed me!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let the Christmas Shopping Begin

Here at Yesteryear Acres the official start to the Christmas shopping season has begun. All weekend I have been hitting the big sales both online and at the stores. This morning my girls and I were out the door early armed with early bird coupons and Christmas lists. We left the boys at home to fend for themselves. Their contribution to the Christmas shopping is to care for all the puppies and doggies. They make sure everyone at home is well cared for and they always keep the home fires burning. It is so nice to not have to worry about rushing home to check on the puppies, especially when the shopping lines are so long. We ended up getting some really great deals today and we were super lucky to have a couple of very nice cashiers. I love it when the cashiers are friendly and full of the Christmas spirit. It makes the long day so much nicer. I think we ended up walking/standing for 7 straight hours. I would classify that as major shopping power! My sister and nephew arrived from Vermont in time to join us for the shopping marathon. I haven't seen her since this summer so I was super excited to see her. My mom joined us as well so we didn't even notice the long lines. We had lots to catch up on and talked and laughed our way through every store. Tomorrow is my mom's birthday so we are planning on more girl time all day long. I am soooo excited for her to open her birthday present. She really wants what we are giving her and I know she will jump up and down with a huge smile on her face when she sees it. The best part is that she is probably reading this blog right now and is wondering what wonderful awesome terrific amazing birthday present is awaiting her. The blog will only add to her curiosity. It will only add to her anticipation. I think I shall ease her building excitement.....Dear Mom, we are getting you.......a.......BIRTHDAY PRESENT!!!!!!!! Wow. You feel better already. I am such a good daughter giving you such a huge hint on the evening before your big birthday. You are welcome. Oh yes....one more thing.....I know you can not wait!!!!!! Happy Day before your birthday!!!! See you tomorrow!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Is there anything better than waking up the day after Thanksgiving to a refrigerator full of delicious goodies from the evening before? Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, scalloped corn, stuffing, cranberry salad, and pies, pies, pies! All the glorious food and none of the work. No pots to scrub, no dishes to clean, no ingredients to line up, just dish after dish of delicious food. Mmmmmmm! Sooooooon goooood! Soooooooo yummy! Today we devoted our day to the love of eating. It was a full out snack fest all day long. Pecan pie for breakfast - sure why not? Pumpkin Log for mid-morning snack - excellent! It was a perfectly delicious day. Of course all the normal happenings continued here at Yesteryear Acres. Puppies went to their new homes, puppy poop got cleaned up, haircuts, nail trimmings, potty training, more poop patrol- it all happened as scheduled, but in between all the work was a house filled with full and happy tummies. Thanksgiving Dinner Day 2 was just as yummy as yesterday's feast. Tonight we plan on having a huge dessert pig out. We are going to stuff our faces with all our delightful desserts and maybe even watch a movie. The Thanksgiving Holiday is still going strong here. With any luck we can make it last all weekend long! Tomorrow my sister arrives from Vermont so it will be another awesome day. Yea for Thanksgiving! Happy tummies! Happy hearts!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

So the month of Thanksgiving Thankfulness ends with the culmination of the feast of feast with loved ones gathered around the table sharing the joy of the holiday. Today my thanks is filled to the brim with what I am most thankful for each and every single day of the year......thanks to my family.  My family is the single most important thing to me.  It is my strength. It is my laughter.  It is my love. It is my happiness. It is my companionship, my good times, my cherished memories, my everyday happiness, my reason for getting up in the morning with a smile on my face and the reason for going to bed each evening filled with contentment and peace. I am so very thankful to live a life so rich in love. I am so grateful for my family. We have deep mutual respect and admiration for one another.  We support each other in all our endeavors and love each other to the depths of our souls.  And so my thankfulness is complete.  It is renewed and refreshed  and continues to grow with every passing day.  I am thankful to be so very blessed. I hope the thankfulness of the holiday stays in your heart throughout the year and your blessings continue to overflow.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November Thankfulness....Twas the night before Thanksgiving

Today I am ever so thankful for....THANKSGIVING!  I love Thanksgiving.  I  love the feast. I love smelling the big ole turkey slowly cooking in the oven all day long.  I love love love Turkey and Thanksgiving dinner has to be my ultimate favorite dinner of the entire year.  I love stuffing. I can literally eat an entire plateful of stuffing.  And I am definitely talking about stuffing, not dressing.  I want the stuffing from deep inside the bird all drenched in gravy. Speaking of gravy, I love the "gravy" at the bottom of the turkey pan.  All those natural juices. mmmmmm. I could drink it out of a bowl!  I love potatoes and cranberry salad and corn and peas and bread and more potatoes.  I love Thanksgiving desserts.  Pumpkin pie and pecan pie and homemade whipped cream.  I mean it is just the mecca of all eating goodness! I am so grateful for the dinner, for the holiday, for the family gathered around the table to share in the blessings of the season.  The whole day just fills me with happiness.  Today my daughter and I were busy preparing some of the feast for tomorrow.  Thanksgiving is at my house this year so there is much baking to be done!  Mr. Yesteryear Acres and my son worked super hard doing all the farm work and helped with the cleaning so my daughter and I were lucky to have extra time to bake. Today I got the slow cooked caramelized onions done for tomorrow's stuffing preparation. My daughter made a double batch of homemade rolls that I am sure, will have some missing, before tomorrow's dinner. In addition to the rolls I am making potato bread, honey oatmeal bread and old-fashioned white bread.  I made the cream cheese filling for tomorrow morning's coffee cake and my pumpkin log is just about finished.  I have it cooling on the counter right now and I just have to get the filling inside and roll it back up.  That is always a huge hit.  mmmmm Pumpkin Log.  My daughter and I also got all the good dishes washed and ready, napkins out, silverware ready, tables, chairs, tablecloths, big roasting pans all set for tomorrow's feast of feasts.  Later this evening my older daughter comes home from the Naval Academy which makes my holiday complete. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow morning and be filled with Thanksgiving Happiness!  My schedule is all set and I will be baking and cooking and getting everything just right for our celebration.  I can hardly wait until the smell of roasted turkey fills the air! I hope that everyone has the happiest of holidays, has time to share the joy of Thanksgiving with loved ones, and most of all, I hope we all take the time to remember and share our thanks for all of life's blessings.
Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through the land, families started gathering....life is blessedly grand. Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 23.....BLACK FRIDAY is coming!

The mad shopping rush is almost upon us and you know what that means....BLACK FRIDAY is almost here!  Black Friday - which of course HAS to get its name from the fact that it is PITCH black outside when you walk to your car and drive to the store, and then stand in line outside in the freezing cold, in the dark, just waiting and waiting for the doors to open.  Why? Why put up with that kind of torture? Well it is the big SALE DAY! Lots and lots of SALES!  I love a good sale.  I am always thankful for a good sale.  I will get up at the wee hours of the morning just to get a really good sale.  I have taken some serious ribbing over the years in my quest to secure the very best sales of the season, but I never let that shake my determination.  I never let that stop me from standing in line for hours to get the whatchamacallit or whoozywhatzit at ridiculously low prices.  I hold steadfast in my drive to be the very best Santa shopper of the season. I have loved ones to buy for. I have Christmas wishes to make true.  I have lists upon lists to cross off. I love getting the very best deal so that I can give an even bigger gift than I thought possible. The day after Thanksgiving is one of the very best sale days.  It is however, a day only for the prepared, for the strong, for the determined AND for the patient ones. In order to survive, you have to put on your zen-like happy face, wear your most comfortable shoes, put some snacks in your car, get a big thermos of coffee and be ready to spend the day. It isn't all that joyous.  It isn't all that thrilling BUT if you are very very lucky - you can get most of your list crossed off and spend 1/2 of what you thought you would have to spend.  It is really worth it.  So Thanksgiving morning, the first thing I will do is run to the end of the driveway to get my huge Thanksgiving Day paper filled with the sales ads. I will then plan my day from start to finish, hitting all the best sales at the best times possible. Okay okay okay - that isn't exactly true.  The very first thing I will do on Thanksgiving morning is ask Mr. Yesteryear Acres to run to the end of the driveway to get the huge Thanksgiving Day paper filled with sales ads. After all - I need to save my strength for the following morning.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres always stays nestled in our soft comfy bed, sound asleep, while I don my arctic wear to prepare for the day's olympic event. It is always ridiculously cold outside.  It is always ridiculously dark outside.  As I walk out into the frigid temperatures, I have to remind myself that this is what it takes to be a good Santa's helper. I remind myself that the rewards will come to those who brave the cold, who brave the lines, and for those who decide that sleep is for the weak.  I am ready for my task. I will check the weather forecast. I will put on the appropriate marathon shopping attire.  I will head out with a smile on my face and I will be grateful and thankful each time I get my receipt with the big savings. The easiest part of the day is being thankful.  Sometimes Black Friday shoppers forget to be thankful.  I know it is hard to be thankful when you have been standing in line for hours BUT just remember this simple premise........all those goodies that you are purchasing will bring happiness to those you love.  You will hear the "Ooohs and Aaahh" and "I can't believe you got this" and "It is just what I always wanted" or maybe even "Ooooh a Zepplin!" You will be thanked.  You will feel the gratitude.  You will be surrounded by a sea of gift wrappings and happy hearts.  The thanks you remember on Black Friday will be returned to you a thousand times over.  That makes standing in line infinitely worth it. Tis the season!!!! Happy Shopping!

Monday, November 22, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 22.....everyone needs cookies and milk!

Remember when you were little and snack time meant a big tall cold glass of milk and a plate of cookies? Do you remember the big smile that immediately filled your face at the mere sight of that powerful duo of happiness?  Mmmmmm coooookies!  I love cookies.  I love them more than just about any other dessert. If I went to the fanciest restaurant on the planet and they had Chocolate Molten Lava cake, New York Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, Black Forest Cake, Cherries Jubilee or a plate of cookies - I would choose the plate of cookies every time. I love cookies.  Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, mexican wedding cake cookies, oatmeal cookies, frosted cut-out cookies, molasses cookies, toffee cookies - I love them all. I could eat cookies every day for dessert or snack and I would smile with the same intensity each and every day. I think nothing makes my tummy happier than a homebaked cookie.  There is just SO much love inside every bite.  It is heartwarming to know that happiness is just waiting for you right on a plate.  I love cookies so much that I even love cookies that come from the store.  Who can resist a plate full of Oreos? Fudge Grahams, Chips Ahoy, Pinwheels, Nutter Butters - they are all sooooo yummy! Pepperidge Farm Brussels Cookies are a particular favorite although I can only get them when they are on super sale as they are ridiculously expensive. If I am lucky to have a bag in the house, I will confess to secretly stashing them in the back of the cupboard and then waiting until everyone else is asleep before opening them up.  Having a whole bag of Brussels cookies ALL to yourself, in the late hours of the evening, with a big glass of milk, while watching your favorite TV show, in silence,.....is guaranteed pure bliss. I just happened to find such a bag of cookies on SALE while I was shopping this week.  It is right now waiting for me behind the coconut milk and Thai spices waaaaaaaay in the back of my cupboard.  I believe Mr. Yesteryear Acres looks particularly tired tonight.  I am pretty sure that within 10 minutes of sitting down this evening, he will be OUT cold.  This is when my cookie plan will come into play and I will be happily eating my Brussels cookies while watching last night's episode of the Amazing Race.  I think my plan is foolproof! Just thinking about my evening snack puts a smile on my face.  Cookies are just that powerful.  So thank you dear cookies.  Thank you for being the perfect dessert. Thank you for being the perfect snack. Thank you for filling my tummy up with love and happiness.  I am counting the days until the Christmas spirit is upon us and all those empty Christmas Tins are just begging to be filled with the magic of cookies. And to all those wonderful cookie bakers, if you happen to make too many cookies for the holidays, I happen to know a certain person that would be happy to eat them for you. I might even share.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 21.....Now that is the ultimate

Today both my girls participated in hardcore sporting activities.  They were pushed to the limit and they both rose to the challenge.  My younger daughter got up early this morning and was at our local YMCA pool before 7am.  She signed up to participate in the "Swim-a-Thon".  Despite a pulled muscle in her back, she ended up swimming 204 lengths of the pool today for her club swim team.  That is the equivalent of swimming 3.2 miles... That is the equivalent of swimming a 5K race... That is the equivalent of swimming a longer distance than I would choose to walk. That is a lot of swimming!  She only had a short break before she had to head back to the pool for her 2 hour high school swim team practice.  I think today she spent more time IN the pool than out of the pool. Unbeknownst to most people, my younger daughter is actually a mermaid - so today's swim filled schedule was perfect for her.  I think I will have to prepare a very carb-filled meal for dinner tonight.  She probably burned more calories than she can consume in a week.  My older daughter also participated in an extreme sport.  She completed the TOUGH MUDDER competition that was held today in New Jersey. It is the most grueling ultimate test of strength, endurance, mental grit and stamina. The obstacle course is over 12 miles long and includes running through fire, rope swings, underwater tunnels, tank traps, wall climbs, a mud mile - there are 19 obstacles in all.  It is the ultimate obstacle course and it takes everything to finish. My daughter excitedly called me this afternoon to let me know that she finished the entire course. Pictures are supposed to be posted tomorrow. I am sure you have guessed that I will be one of the first people to log onto http://www.toughmudders.com/ to see if I can find her in the crowd.  I will post any pictures I find in my blog.  They should be awesome!  So today, I am thankful that my girls accomplished their goals.  I am thankful that they go beyond their comfort zone and reach for the stars. I am thankful that they are tough enough to endure whatever lies before them. I am sooo proud of them and am thankful to have two amazing daughters.  But most of all..... I am thankful that I didn't have to swim 3.2 miles, swim another 2 hours, run through 4 foot high flames of fire, trek through a mile of mud, dangle from high ropes or any of the other obstacles of the day! I am thankful that I got to wear my comfortable clothes, in my comfortable house, and play with my puppies. To me - that is the ultimate day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 20......optimistic happy people

Today I give thanks to all the happy shiny optimistic people out there. A thoughtful upbeat outlook on life makes the world a better place to live. I am always thankful whenever I meet a smiley happy person and I in turn, do my best to be as thoughtful and as happy. The times when I am most grateful are those times when most people would complain.  When most people would grumble and moan and make an already unbearable situation even worse. People that can keep their chin up when the world says to throw in the towel are my favorite people of all. I think they are the glue that holds everything together. We can all be thankful for people like that. There are so many situations that instead of being irritated, you could instead - choose a little bit of cheer. For example, during the Christmas Shopping season, if you are running out at O'Dark-Thirty to get the deal of a century on an item in high demand.....THERE WILL BE A LINE.  There will be a LONG line.  There will be a LONG LINE that probably wraps around the building. Please Dear Shoppers, leave your grumpiness behind.  Complaining about how long the line is - does NOT make the line miraculously go faster. It does not lessen the number of people in line. It does not make waiting in line more pleasurable.  We are all keenly aware of how long the line is and do not need a repetitive reminder of how long you have been standing in line. Those of us who look on the bright side have already accepted the long line and are now looking at ways to pass the time and maybe, just maybe, have a little fun.  In the past I have brought handheld movies with me in line and have asked people to join me in watching a funny show.  Sometimes the people in line will make waiting so much fun, it is time to check out before you know it.  The Christmas Spirit has already entered their souls and they just accept that waiting in line is part of the holiday experience. I love those kind of people. I love the kind of people that when the windchill is 20 below you never hear how cold they are.  If it is 110* in the shade, no complaints on the sweltering heat fill the air. I mean when it is that hot - it is OBVIOUS that EVERYONE is hot.  No amount of complaining will make the sun disappear. Life rarely goes on as planned. There will be a lot of bumps and curves along the way.  Sometimes the best plans get cancelled. Sometimes hopes and dreams are crushed. It is what you make of the crumbs that really matter.  I have had some of the most AWESOME Plan B ideas come into play. In the end - sometimes our Plan B - is even better than the original plan!  You just never know. I recently watched the news coverage concerning the cruise ship that lost power and was stuck out at sea.  There were a lot of really unhappy people.  Now granted - that is NO one's idea of a great vacation - but honestly - it is what it is - so you might as well make the best of it.  One person said she got to read all her books out in the fresh open sea air, didn't have to clean, didn't have to cook, didn't have to answer her phone, got plenty of time to catch a nap here and there and came off the ship well rested AND she gets another free vacation.  I love that. I hope that would be me if I were in a similar situation. Life is a journey.  I think all the optimistic happy people out there try to enjoy the ride - no matter how many bumps they encounter along the way. So for all of you who say your glass is half-full - I thank you. If you are out shopping this holiday season, look for me.....I will be saving your place in line!

Friday, November 19, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 19.....Hey Baby, I'm your Handyman

I am incredibly lucky because I have my very own devoted, talented, 24-hour on-call, handyman. Mr. Yesteryear Acres can fix anything.  Honestly - he can pretty much repair anything that is broken. He is a whiz with electronics. He is a master of appliance repair. He is a knowledgeable mechanic. He is the ultimate craftsman when it comes to home repair. He is the extreme perfectionist to new project creations. Sometimes I forget to be thankful for all that he fixes around the house because it is just part of his nature.  It is what he does. Tonight our dishwasher stopped cleaning our dishes. Mr. Yesteryear Acres immediately stopped what he was doing and came to my rescue.  Within 30 minutes he had it running perfectly again. Whenever I hear about someone needing to call a repairman, or having to take something in to get it fixed, I am instantly reminded of just how lucky I am. All that I have to do is call for Mr. Yesteryear Acres and within minutes, he is on the job. It can be something as simple as a broken light switch to something as complex as a leaking hot water tank. He willingly stays on call day and night, and makes our life here so much easier. He has made life easier for the puppies by building dog houses, puppy whelping boxes, puppy playrooms and our very famous "puppy mobile" box for when we travel with the puppies on the road:

He has made life easier for us by making our life around Yesteryear Acres even more enjoyable. This summer he built our beautiful dock so that we can comfortably admire the beauty of our pond:

Our house was built in 1823 and requires a lot of TLC.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres has painstakingly restored entire rooms back to their original beauty.  Here is our living room before:
All the old wallpaper and paint had to be stripped down. There was literally over a century worth of old paint on the woodwork.  It was a huge project.

After all his hours and weeks of worth. The final project was amazing.  Every time I walk into our living room, I smile from ear to ear.  I just LOVE that room and it is by far my favorite room in our entire house.  The minute you walk into our living room, it feels wonderful.  I secretly think our house knows how much we love it and it appreciates all the hard work we put into restoring it back to its original condition. Our home is a happy place to live.
Mr. Yesteryear Acres is now working on restoring our bedroom and while the project has taken WAY longer than either of us would like, I know in the end it will all be worth it.  I will have many many many years to enjoy all the love and hard work he put into making it so beautiful. I am hoping that by Christmas our room will be done, but if not, I know it is because he is constantly interrupted by all the other fix-it projects around the house.  After all, he is my handyman.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 18.....of thee I Sing

Music has the power to fill your soul. Every single day I am thankful for the gift of music. No matter what kind of music person you are, there are songs out there that reach into the center of your being and fulfill you.  There are all types of music for all types of people and I really have a passion for a wide selection of musical tastes. I love Bluegrass as much as I love Hip-Hop. I can listen to Alternative music all day long as easily as I can listen to Pop. The best thing about the digital age is that you can shuffle all your favorite artists and all your favorite genres and enjoy a rainbow of songs each and every day. Sometimes I use music as an escape.  When my older daughter left for the Naval Academy, it was really tough for me.  It was a huge adjustment and I missed her terribly. I found myself skipping through some of my favorite songs because they reminded me of her so I couldn't bare to listen.  One day a song by Audioslave came on the radio and it became my favorite song during those first few months.  The song is, "Doesn't Remind Me" and has a bunch of funny lyrics like: "I like studying faces in a parking lot, Cause it doesn't remind me of anything...I like driving backwards in the fog, Cause it doesn't remind me of anything..." Ironically, whenever I hear "Doesn't Remind Me" - it now reminds me of my daughter, but it served its purpose well back then. Whenever I hear the song, "Superman" by Five for Fighting, I always think of 9/11.  I heard that song the very day the towers were struck. "Wish that I could cry,  Fall upon my knees, Find a way to lie, About a home I'll never see."  That part makes me cry almost every time I hear it. Some songs bring pure joy.  "At Last" by Etta James is the pure embodiment of love. "At last, my love has come along, My lonely days are over." I melt the second I hear the first note.  I want to immediately grab Mr. Yesteryear Acres and dance while Etta sings. It is a perfect song that has stood the test of time.  I can always count on Jack Johnson to put a smile on my face.  I own every single song he has ever recorded and love them all.  I think he is brilliant and his songs fit my mood no matter how I am feeling.  I love his easy style. Alison Krauss has a voice of an angel and I can literally feel happiness pour into me whenever she sings. Ben Taylor (who is the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon) is a particular favorite.  I just love listening to him. "Ava Maria" by Charlotte Church is so beautiful, it almost brings me to my knees. If I ever want an immediate smile followed by instant dancing around the house, all I have to do is listen to "New Shoes" by Paolo Nutini. "Hey I put some new shoes on, And everything suddenly is right" gets me dancing every time.  I think I would stop whatever I was doing just to dance to that tune.  It just feels happy.  I love music so much that I recently made personal ringtones for my family members so that when they call, I can listen to songs that make me smile.  When my sister Jennifer calls, "27 Jennifers" plays on my cell phone.  That one was a pretty easy one to pair up.  My older daughter and my mom are big hip-hop fans so they each get their own hip-hop tune.  I gave my mom a Latin Reggaeton hip-hop song.  Every time she calls - you will find me doing a bit of a salsa.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres ringtone was harder to come up with.  He used to have this very annoying ringtone which was not a song but a repetitive "I want you to answer your phone" done in a vampire voice. It got old rather quickly.  Now that I have figured out how to assign my downloaded songs into ringtones - I have a whole new music list to choose from. I have over 2,274 songs that are very organized, classified and rated, so it took some thinking to choose just the right one.  Today I finally figured it out which song to use, so now when Mr. Yesteryear Acres calls me, I hear, "But I would walk 500 miles, And I would walk 500 more, Just to be the man who walked 5,000 miles, To fall down at your door."  And remarkably, Mr. Yesteryear Acres really would walk 5,000 miles. I am lucky that way. So the next time you are singing along, tapping your toes, twirling on the dance floor, bopping to the beat, think how lucky we are to have a world full of song. Thank you to all the songwriters, musicians, and singers that fill our lives with song.... Of thee I sing!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 17.....smorgasbord

When I woke up this morning I was greeted by a fairly annoying case of the stomach "flu".  I am sure it is one of those quick passing bugs but honestly - I just don't have time to feel poorly.  I made many quick and urgent trips to the bathroom today and I believe have pretty much caught up on my magazine reading. I made a decision early on to not eat a single bite of food in the hopes of lessening my time devoted to reading whilst visiting the porcelain throne. I kept a good front going all day and continued to get most of the things crossed off my list.  Admittedly, folding my mountain of laundry wasn't the most taxing of efforts, but I didn't crawl into bed and feel sorry for myself all day long EVEN though I really wanted to.  I managed to make it through the day but when it came time to prepare dinner - NOTHING sounded good.  Food in general didn't sound good.  The most daring thing I could possibly consume was chicken noodle soup out of a can.  Of course my family was hungry and ready for dinner so what could I do???? SMORGASBORD time! Gosh I love leftover night.  Especially leftover night when I really don't do a THING except pull everything out of the refrigerator and place it on the counter. Now before you feel really sad for my family because I didn't cook anything tonight, our leftovers are always really good. I cook all week long so there is usually a great selection.   Tonight's offerings: Pad Thai Peanut Pork and Green Beans, Grilled Steak and sauteed mushrooms, Pasta with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and crispy chicken, and the good ole standby - salad.  Not a complaint to be heard.  My family was happy with the leftover smorgasbord and I was grateful for a refrigerator full of yummy food.  It is indeed possible to be VERY thankful for leftovers!  No cooking!  No cleaning!  No mess!  It is the perfect meal.  Everyone got just what they wanted and I opted for a few sips of chicken soup.  I didn't get much down, but I am optimistic that tomorrow I will be feeling fine.  The refrigerator is all cleaned out.  My family is fed and I have just enough time to get a bit of work done and then head for the couch to recuperate. Leftover night - thank you.  I have a smorgasbord of reasons to be thankful for today!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 16.....5 happy senses

Have you ever stopped to think how lucky you are to have all five senses?  I mean we wake up each day and go about our normal day-to-day routine but do we really take time to stop and be grateful for our sense of touch, sight, taste, smell and hearing? I know how easy it is to go through your day without giving it a second thought so today, I thought I would take time to appreciate the gift of our senses. It all seems quite obvious - but really - each sense brings us an amazing array of experiences, memories and happinesses. Our sense of touch allows us to appreciate soft silky sheets at night. Makes a sweet soft puppy so fun to pet and snuggle. Brings warmth and security when the arms of the ones we love are hugging us.  We know what soft is. We know what it feels like to run our fingers through our children's hair. We can feel the warmth of the sun's rays beaming down on us and brightening our day. Cold snowflakes falling from the sky fill our hands and faces and allow us to smile at the winter wonderland. The sense of touch is the sense of love.  Hugs, puppies, children, blankets, pajamas, kisses - all made more wonderful with just one touch.  Just as wonderful is the sense of smell. Just the mere mention of fresh baked bread coming out of the oven is enough to put a smile on anyone's face. Chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving Turkey with all the fixings, fresh popped popcorn...all mouthwatering smells guaranteed to bring happy thoughts. The seasons all have their own smell. Fresh cut hay smells so good it fills the entire pasture side with its wonderful aroma. Crisp fall leaves and apples make autumn especially enjoyable. The new flowers of spring bring their own happy fragrances to the air. Even winter smells good. Wood stoves burning and hot chocolate with marshmallows simmering on the stove brings instant smiles and happy memories.  Some smells are so strong that the second you get a small whiff - you instantly remember where you were the last time you smelled it.  They are like jolts of remembrances, throwing you back in time with just one small scent. Others are more subtle, like the way your child's pillow smells - instantly reminding you of when they used to sleep on it every night. The sweet smell of love lingers long after the pillow is bare. The sense of smell is directly linked to treasured memories deep in your brain. Some smells you want to keep and cherish in the recesses of your thoughts forever. The sense of taste is always an easy one to be thankful for.  Each day we are reminded of all the delicious flavors the world has to offer.  The list of wonderful things to taste and eat and enjoy is endless.  My favorites have always been fresh red ripe tomatoes from my garden, fresh picked strawberries and raspberries, my special world famous popcorn, fresh squeezed orange juice and of course my loyal companions - ice cream, candy and chocolate. One bite of a delicious chocolate toffee piece of candy brings nothing but pure happiness. Mmmmm.  I mean it can brighten your day instantly! Our sense of sight and sense of hearing are often appreciated.  Each day there are a number of vivid reminders as to the wonderfulness of sight and sound. Watching the sunset over a green pasture. Listening to your favorite song on the radio. Seeing shooting stars rocket across the night sky. Answering your phone to talk to someone you love. Looking into your loved one's eyes. Hearing your child laugh. Seeing the person you love smile. Watching a movie and laughing when you hear all the funny lines and crying at all the touching moments. Reading and driving and talking and singing and watching and listening - we do it all the time.  We wake up with our 5 senses each and every day and our senses help us to become thankful grateful beings with a zest for living and an appreciation for all life's wonders.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 15.....glad for the end of the day

I have been running at full steam ahead for days now.  I am getting up super early, working non-stop all day long, and then going to bed WAY after my bedtime. I haven't even had a decent lunch in over a week.  Lunch time comes and goes and the next thing I know, I have missed it once again. I think it might be like this until January.  November and December are always busy times of the year. There is shopping to be done, cookies to be baked, homemade gifts to prepare, holiday decorating to be finished, and Santa puppies to take care of. It all adds up to non-stop work.  Today I am glad for the end of the day. I am glad when I can sit down for 5 minutes withOUT guilt and relax.  I am glad for a chance to watch a TV show, have a few laughs, eat a little dessert and unwind.  I am thankful for the stillness the night brings.  When all the dishes are washed. When all the chores for the day are done. When all the puppies are down for the evening. When darkness falls and the busy day slowly comes to an end. I am so thankful when it is time to exchange my work clothes for warm soft pajamas.  I love pajamas.  I mean I REALLY love them.  I love super super comfy soft soft soft pajamas.  If I could, I would wear pajamas all day long every day.  They feel nice. They make the whole world seem softer and more pleasant.  As soon as the pajamas go on, the smile on my face gets a lot brighter.  Pajamas equal happiness. Pajamas mean - yes! You CAN sit down! Yes - you are allowed to take a moment to yourself and relax.  I also think putting on pajamas means yes - you should have a little bowl of ice cream.  I am always thankful for the end of another busy wonderful-filled day. Sometimes it is my favorite part of the day. Nothing particularly special or exciting happens.  Nothing magnificent or awe inspiring.  Just a blissful peace that fills the air as darkness falls. I just love that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 14.....all we need is love

Today I am thankful for love. The love of one's country. The love of one's family. The love that parents have for children. The love that children have for parents. The love of a brand new puppy. The love of life. Love really does make the world go round.  To live your life with passion is to really experience each and every day as it was meant to be.  To look forward to being alive. To look forward to all the happinesses each day brings.  My life is full of love. There are endless things to love in this world of ours.  I love my family, my friends, my vegetable garden, the great outdoors, traveling, nature, animals, books, food, laughter, beaches, chocolate, movies, music and the list goes on and on and on. My family loves me. My doggies love me. My puppies love me. I love everything about my life.  My kids live their lives full of love.  My older daughter has a calling to live her life defending the country she loves. My younger daughter has a calling to live her life protecting the world she loves. My son has a calling to be all that he can be and to live his life pursuing his dreams and ambitions. My life is full of the blessings of love. I firmly believe that one should follow their passions, their hopes, their dreams and make it a priority to live life to the fullest.  If you have a life full of love, you can in turn use all that goodness that you possess in your life to then shed love on others who are less fortunate or who need some extra help. You can help to fill their "cup" up with love - and they in turn can go and do the same for someone else. All that love is bound to make the world a better place!  So go out and enjoy life!  Live each day with gratitude and love. If you find someone is missing a smile - give them yours.  I bet you find that the love you give, comes right back to you. Love is never ending. Love replenishes the soul. Love is the essential ingredient for a happy life.  So today, and every day, I am thankful for love.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 13......cheers for parents

For those of you that are older, you probably know all too well the speed at which times passes us by. When you are younger, the time between the last day of summer and the morning that Santa arrives, seems like an eternity.  It has to be the longest stretch of time known to man.  As one gets older, the time between the last day of summer and the morning Santa arrives happens overnight. Time flies, kids grow, life moves along faster and faster with each passing year. As we get older, our parents get older as well. Today I am thankful that Mr. Yesteryear Acres and I are lucky enough to have both sets of our parents in our lives. Mr. Yesteryear Acres' Mommy and Daddy are the kindest sweetest most thoughtful people you could ever meet.  They will, without any hesitation, put aside anything and everything, if we ever need them.  They love us, love our children and we are lucky enough to be able to see them any time we want.  My mom and dad are equally loving and thoughtful.  They have been there for us on countless occassions and are always thinking of us. They love us, love our children and we are lucky enough to see them any time we want. We are blessed to share our lives with our parents.  Our children are blessed to grow up with four loving grandparents that are completely immersed in their lives.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres talks to his dad every single day. I talk to my mom every single day. We have dinners together. We hang out together. We shop together. I never ever take having our parents in our lives for granted. I know that their presence makes our lives complete.  Our parents bring such joy and happiness and - you just know, without a doubt, no one in the entire world loves you more.  It is nice to have someone in your life that loves you that much.  Thank you dear parents.  Your delicious dinners and heartfelt company and wonderful conversations have enriched our lives.  Even though we are all grown up - we will always be your children. No matter how old we grow, we will always need our parents in our lives. Thank you for all your love. It is the foundation on which we built our wonderful happy lives.

November Thankfulness Day 12......shopping buddies

My list of things to buy at the grocery store was a mile long today.  I have been adding to the list daily for over 2 weeks and we were just about out of everything.  My daughter has been asking every day whether I have made it to the store yet, and my answer has been, "no, nope, not yet, nada and zilch."  When she arrived home from school today and heard my reply, she offered to go with me to the store. She said it would make the grocery run a lot more fun and we could shop together. How nice! I eagerly took her up on her offer.  We headed off to the store this evening after the puppies had their dinner.  I love shopping with my daughter.  She is always upbeat and pleasant and makes even the most mundane trips to the grocery store so much fun. I happily started crossing everything off the list as we went up and down all the aisles.  We managed to pick up a few extra goodies as any good shopping buddies should. We decided that we would make puppy chow this weekend so we got our rice chex to make sure we are all set for that.  When we were going down the cookie aisle, with absolutely NO provocation, a bag of Pepperidge Farm Brussels Cookies threw itself into our cart.  We tried to reason with the bag of cookies, but it just refused to listen.  We had no choice but to bring the bag home with us.  The cookies were that adamant.  They really must have wanted to come along because I am fairly certain the cookies were responsible for keeping all the groceries from falling out the back when we pulled in the driveway.  Such good little cookies!!!!  So today I am ever so thankful of shopping with my shopping buddy!  No matter what errand we end up running - it is always fun when we do it together. I am so lucky that my family likes to accompany me. The trip to the store today was really enjoyable.  I am grateful to have a daughter who likes to go shopping with me.  I am grateful to have grocery stores near my home stocked full of all the yummy things we need.  I am particularly grateful for the cookies who found their way to my house. My daughter and I found you to be especially delicious tonight!!!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 11......for those who serve

FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE
Today my heart filled thanks goes out to all our military soldiers and their families. To all of those that have served in the past, I thank you.  For all those that serve today, I thank you.  For all those that have hopes to serve in the future, I thank you.  It is no small sacrifice to give up the needs and wants of one's self and one's family in exchange for the needs and wants of a nation. Our soldiers constantly put the needs of our country before any needs or desires they might have for their own lives.  They give up holidays. They give up birthday celebrations. They give up graduations, weddings, anniversaries, as well as giving up all the normal everyday occurrences such as family trips to the zoo, the park, or regular ole trips to the grocery store.  They often don't have big comfy beds with soft sheets, hot showers, good meals, working phones & computers with Internet access, or that delicious tall glass of cold milk with a plate of cookies before bed.  They give up so many things that most people take for granted - all so that we may enjoy living in the land of the free. On this Veteran's Day, I thank all the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, sons and daughters who support their loved ones who protect our country.  It is no small feat to be without your loved ones, unsure of their safety, unsure of their whereabouts, unsure of the next time you will be together again. To those far away, and to those left behind, the road you have chosen is far from easy. Your path in life is filled with uncertainty. It can be lonely and indescribably difficult and heartbreaking. Our country owes you a debt of gratitude and unending thanks for all that you do for us. Every night that we go to sleep tucked safely away in our comfy beds - we thank you.  Every morning that we wake to see the sun rise over our beautiful country secure in the knowledge that you are out there protecting us - we thank you.  Thank you for giving up your freedom so that we may enjoy ours.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 10......mmm mmm good!

Right now the smell of chicken slowly roasting in the oven is filling the air.  The chicken is sitting on a bed of baby carrots, thinly sliced sweet vidalia onions and fresh cloves of garlic and is cooking in a big dutch oven pot. It smells so good! My mouth is already watering and there is still a whole hour before it is time to eat.  To make this evening's meal complete, I also have a loaf of potato bread baking in the oven because everyone knows you need piping hot bread to smear around in the roasted chicken juices. That makes the whole dinner even better! Mr. Yesteryear Acres has been finding extra reasons to come inside just so he can take a big deep breath and fill up with the wonderful aroma. There is nothing like a good home cooked meal to fill your heart with happiness.  I am particularly thankful today for all the meals I have enjoyed with my family in the home I love so dearly.  I have been often asked why I go to such trouble to make really nice meals every week just for my family.  Why don't I cook simple easy dishes or use convenience foods? Why don't I go out to a restaurant or get carry-out? Well the reason is plain and simple.....I love my cooking.  My children love my cooking. My husband loves my cooking.  My friends and family love my cooking. Even my doggies love my cooking.  To make things even better - I love to cook.  It makes me happy to spend time in my kitchen preparing a meal that I know will bring lots of enjoyment and happiness to the people I love.  My family is always super grateful for all the meals I prepare and they never forget to show their gratitude and love.  It makes it all quite worth the extra effort.  It also saves a lot of money by eating at home.  Tonight's roasted chicken will become Thursday's chicken sandwiches for lunch and then Friday night's Chicken and Dumplings for dinner. I am very good at making leftover meals into something new and delicious.  For example, today in my refrigerator, I had leftover angel hair pasta, broccoli, shredded romaine lettuce and a few coconut shrimp. I turned all of that into the most delicious Thai spicy soup with noodles and shrimp for lunch.  It was really good and I used up all the little bits and pieces of leftovers in the refrigerator. I don't think you could have found a yummier soup! So today I am thankful for home-cooked meals. I am thankful for all the wonderful ingredients that go into each and every meal I make. I am grateful for a lifestyle that allows me to prepare yummy dinners each night.  But most of all - I am thankful for my family who gathers around the dinner table each evening, happy to spend the time together, eating a wonderful meal, and enjoying each other's company.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 9......PICK ME!

I love Trivia.  I love it. If there is a chance of a trivia contest ANY where happening - you can be sure that I will be there. I will be easy to spot too.  I will be the one jumping up and down with my hand raised in the air and a BIG goofy smile on my face saying, "Oooh! Pick Me! Pick me!!!"  I take pride in the fact that my brain is filled with useless facts and figures that at best might allow me to win a fabulous plastic gold trophy. And of course being a trivia nut, I will display my plastic gold trophy on my mantel with pride.  The best award I ever received from winning a trivia contest was a jet ski ride! My sister and I played a game of "Name that Tune" against a group of French people, who played the entire game in french, and amazingly we won.  Well maybe not amazingly, as my sister has to be just about the best "Name That Tune" player of all time, but it was pretty darn impressive because some of the tunes were obscure french songs we had never heard of.  The jet ski ride was fantastic and we laughed with joy for the entire ride. My best trivia categories are entertainment and movies. My worst category is sports.  You definitely do not want me as your partner in a game of sports trivia.  I might be able to pull off a who won the Super Bowl question but if it has anything to do with golf, or wresting, or soccer or baseball etc.  I will undoubtedly have a sad blank expression on my face with NO chance of me coming even close to the correct answer. Ask me about who starred in which movie or who was the director and I am your person!!!  I am quite enthusiastic about it too.  You really don't want to stand too close to me if I happen to be playing Scene It or if I am on the verge of pulling out an answer from way back in the recesses of my mind.  I can hardly restrain my enthusiasm! So today I give thanks for all the little facts I have picked up along my path in life and have stored ever so carefully so that at just the right moment I can yell, "Jonathan Demme was the director!!!!" I am thankful that such little tidbits give me such joy in life. I am also very grateful for all the other trivia nuts that like to play along.  If you happen to be one of the awesome trivia loving people in this world, just remember.....PICK ME!

November Thankfulness - Day 8.....Say Cheese!

Today I took 672 puppy pictures.  That's right. You read this correctly - 672 pictures.  It took almost 3 hours to get all the photos done.  I have promised that my new updated puppy pictures would be done today and so I took the task to heart.  I am still working on my website and probably will be at it for at least another hour or so.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres suggested that I finish it tomorrow, but a promise is a promise and so I will stay up until my website is completely updated with all brand new shiny happy pictures of our puppies. I have 4 new pages and tons of new pictures.  My website hosting company is being less than friendly this evening and my website program has crashed a total of 6 times so far.  I thought I would take a break and write my blog before rebooting my program for the 7th time this evening. I always remember to save my work after every picture that I import, but it is still a giant pain to reload all the pages and restart the software.  I have to go through all the folders on my computer and set everything up from scratch each time it crashes. That alone takes about 5-6 minutes plus it takes a good 2-3 minutes per picture upload. I can not have a single other program running at the same time or else the website program will crash with every upload.  It is really frustrating because I would at least like to listen to music or answer emails in between each upload but I have to sit and watch the little hour glass go around and around while each picture uploads. Even with all of the "fun" that goes into updating my website, I still find myself incredibly grateful for the digital age.  When we first started raising labrador retriever puppies many many years ago, we had a little camera that used REAL film.  We could only take 36 pictures at a time. Then I would have to drive the film all the way to the photobug processing center, wait a week for photobug to develop all my pictures, pick my envelope of precious pictures up, drive home, eagerly open my 36 photos only to find that I am a most excellent photographer of tails and ears.  I usually ended up with only one or two really decent pictures. It was always a big disappointment.  Now that I have an awesome camera with almost no shutter lag, I can snap picture after picture.  I can easily take 20-30 pictures of each puppy and then compile all my favorite shots and select the very very best ones for the website. It is rather amazing.  Digital pictures give us instant satisfaction.  We know right away whether we got that very important picture.  We know immediately if we have a photo of a memory that will last forever.  We can share our photos with friends that same day.  We can post them on websites, email them, text them - all with just one click of the send button.  It is easy to take pictures of silly every day events.  You don't have to worry about wasting your film.  Anything is up for grabs and if you take enough pictures, you might find that all the little silly, seemingly insignificant moments of your life weave together the most amazing tapestry of photo memories. So click away.  Don't wait for special occasions to take out your camera. Take pictures at dinner. Take pictures in the morning, in the afternoon and at night.  Take pictures on a plain and boring Wednesday.  You might be surprised by what you might find while looking through your camera lens.  You never know when someone might be lurking behind a tortilla waiting to make your day.
So thank you dear digital camera.  You make the scrapbook of our lives memorable and fun. Thank you for making all my treasured memories so easy to capture and save forever. Say Cheese!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 7

Today I want to express my thanks for the universally appreciated, most desired, most needed, most delicious....coffee bean. Ahhhh nothing starts the morning off better than a fresh brewed steaming cup of coffee. It is well known that I am not a morning person.  I do not bounce out of bed with an eager enthusiasm to greet the day.  I am more of a stumbler. I am one to slowly shuffle my feet as I walk to the bathroom and begin the day with just one eye open until I am greeted by my dear friend, "Cup O Joe". How I love that first sip. It is so warm and yummy and fills me with instant happiness. I am extra lucky because Mr. Yesteryear Acres makes me my cup of coffee each and every morning. Not only do I get the warm yumminess of coffee in my mug but I get a little bit of love in my cup every day as well.  I like my coffee with raw brown sugar and real heavy cream.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres always makes my coffee just right. He wakes up early and grinds the beans that morning and has our coffees waiting for us to enjoy together. This afternoon Mr. Yesteryear Acres and I found ourselves dragging so we went to a cafe and enjoyed a cup of coffee together.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres being a purist ordered the deepest darkest robust bean - black, no sugar, no cream, no flavors. Anything else would be an insult to the coffee bean. Naturally I ordered a caramel  mochaccino....extra caramel and yes, please do add extra caramel and whipped cream! I have to say EVEN though Mr. Yesteryear didn't make our afternoon coffee delight, it was delicious. We really enjoyed our coffees and after we were done, we were once again renewed with energy and ready to go.  I know I am not alone in sharing my gratitude for the wonderful coffee bean. Many of us depend on that cup of coffee to start the day off right. We think of our morning cup of coffee as a necessary and mandatory ritual that cannot be missed.  I know there are a few people out there that cannot or do not drink coffee but believe me when I tell you that the coffee bean is something we should all be very thankful for. I very much doubt that you would want to share the morning with a mass number of people who didn't get their coffee. I do not think we would be very good company. So thank you my beloved coffee bean. You are deeply appreciated by us all!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 6

Everyday over most of our world a breathtaking display of color and wonder is presented to us without fail. It happens twice a day. It happens whether we take the time to appreciate it or whether we are too busy to even notice. Our bright beautiful sun rises every morning and brings with it a calm and peaceful introduction to the start of our day. The green meadows just glisten with the first rays. The mountains, desserts, farmland, and cities all welcome the sun's warm beautiful light. The world comes alive with the brilliance of the sunrise each and every day. And with each evening the sun shares with us a painter's palette of colors to warm our hearts long into the night. The indescribable beauty that can be found in each sunset is often overlooked. We go about our busy days without much thought about the sun rising and setting. It is something easily taken for granted. How many times each week do you stop what you are doing just to go sit and admire the setting of the sun? How many times each week do you arise just to see the sunrise and bask in the warm rising glow? Can you imagine how lovely it would be if no matter where you were or what you were doing, each person on our planet would stop to appreciate the sun setting? To just sit for 15 minutes and be completely grateful for such a wonderful artistic display of nature's colors and beauty. If every sunset was applauded and every sunrise admired, I think the world might just be a nicer place. Today I am thankful for all our sunrises and all our sunsets. I am thankful for the beautiful deep red sunsets that can fill the sky for miles and miles as well as the subtle sunsets that quietly slip into the horizon. I am thankful for our rising sun and all the goodness it brings.  Today I got to see an amazing sunset that filled my eyes with so much beauty, I could barely hold all the magnificence inside of my heart. So thank you Mr Sun for all the times you woke up the world and for each time you said goodnight. Your goodnight this evening was especially spectacular.                   

Friday, November 5, 2010

November Thankfulness Day 5

I had a number of people disagree with my proposition that the DVR is the greatest invention by reminding me that Doodles are indeed the greatest invention. I am a big enough person to admit that when I am wrong, I am wrong. Doodles are by far the best invention. Labradoodles, goldendoodles, double doodles are all awesome. They are the perfect blend of fun and love and intelligence and happiness and loyalty. They love you with their whole doggie hearts. Dogs are truly the very best friends in the whole world. Dogs are always happy to see you whether you have been gone for an entire week or a whole 5 minutes. They wag their tails with such enthusiasm just at the sight of you. Dogs never care if you are dressed properly or if you are wearing the latest style. They don't judge you if you eat an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting. They are however more than happy to share in the festivities. Whether you are young or old or sick or well or skinny or fat or rich or poor, dogs love you the same. They never hesitate to give you a hug. You are never ever lonely when you have a doggie best friend. A doggie is always right there by your side and is always ready to listen to everything you have to say. A dog can say just the thing you needed to hear without saying a word. With just one look a doggie says "I will love you forever". What more can a person need? I am truly grateful for my doodles and my doggies. They bring me endless joy and endless comfort. Having a doodle in your life means you will never have a day go by that isn't filled with love and laughter. Doodles have a way of putting a smile right into your heart. Thank you for my smiles dear doodles.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November Thankfulness Day Four

What comes to mind when you think of the best inventions ever? Is it the telephone? Electricity? Medical advancements? The wheel? What comes to my mind is......the DVR. Ahhhhh the DVR has to be just about the greatest invention of all times.  You can schedule it to record your very favorite show EVEN when you are not home. You can ask it to record every single episode of your favorite series. Remember way back in the day when the whole world waited to find out "Who shot JR" on Dallas? I mean it was mandatory that you be right in front of the TV precisely ON time to find out that answer. No one could be sick. No one could call you on the phone during that hour. No one could possibly need something from the grocery store or stuck in traffic or have a meeting or any other interfering plan because on THAT night the world would finally have its answer.  There were no repeats. No late night airings.  Nope. You had to be there or be square. Now we can schedule our DVRs to record our shows and watch them at our leisure.  Even better - we can hit the pause button.    
Yes that little tiny button with the two little vertical lines has the power to bring peace throughout the land. Before the pause button, the potential for tension filled moments ran very high.  Take the talkative family member who feels compelled to comment on each scene.  Before the pause button, it is very likely that evil thoughts entered your mind whilst the family member rambled on about how that reminded him of when he was a boy blah blah blah. You might even want that family member to go back to his childhood! Now you can hit pause and pretend to listen to his reminiscing and when he is through, hit play, and voilĂ ! You haven't missed a thing! If the call of nature beckons...once again the pause button can save you from squirming uncomfortably. One quick press of the button and all is well. The DVR makes it so you can love your interruptions, or more precisely - those who interrupt just a little bit more. It makes being stuck at work just a little more tolerable. It makes life just a little bit less stressful because you know that whenever you do have time to finally sit down...Jeff Probst will be there waiting for you and you won't miss one second of "Who gets voted out tonight!" So thank you my dear DVR. I am grateful for all the episodes you have kept waiting for me. I am grateful for your pause button, your play button and your fast forward button. I am thankful for your constant vigilance in recording all my favorite shows. You are a dear and reliable friend and I am grateful for your presence in my happy home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thankfulness Day Three

The beauty of nature never ceases to amaze me. From the smallest of flowers to the grandest of mountains, the colors and brilliance of nature's wonders is astounding. No art museum, no photograph or movie can ever capture the raw essence and magnitude of the natural wonders of our earth.  To walk in a rainforest is to surround yourself with the greenest of greens and to fill your senses with the smells and sounds of the rainforest. There are limitless shades of greens and countless shapes and sizes of leaves and trees.  It is all too breathtaking to believe. When you think of the diversity of the most barren desert to the lushness of a rainforest, it is just indescribably wonderful.  Rolling dunes of sand, tall mountains with thundering waterfalls, fields of green pastures, endless oceans in every color of blue, babbling brooks, deep canyons, raging rivers....our earth holds them all. Every color of the rainbow can be found.  Every type of topography. Geological wonders are just beyond our doors.  Today I am grateful for all the beauty found in nature.  I am grateful for the times I have been able to experience the wonders of our earth.  I am grateful for all the richness and  breathtaking vistas that are found in all the nooks and crannies of every corner of the globe. Nature's beauty abounds. Aren't we all lucky to be a part of such a beautiful world?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November Thankfulness ...Day Two

Today I am thankful for the wonderful world wide web. The Internet is amazing!! Remember way back in the day when you had to go to the library and pull out the card catalogue drawers to find the answer to something??? If someone asked a question that you did not have the answer for, you had to wait and research the question. There was no easy short cut to find the answers. If you wondered which actor was in a certain episode of a show you were watching right at that moment... how would you ever know? There was no instant access to a wealth of knowledge. There was no instant email where you could write and send a letter in seconds. Granted the US Postal service is a far cry from the days of the pony express but still sending an instant letter via the internet beats the good ole postage stamp system any day. Friends are closer. Family is closer. Pictures can be shared. Stories can be told. The world is smaller. Adventures can be planned, information found and keeping in touch is as easy as clicking send. It is easy to take the extraordinary advances of the Internet age for granted. We log on. We log off. Today I am grateful for all the times I logged on and chatted, emailed, surfed, laughed, cried, played games, researched, listened to music, and shared my world with the worlds of those I care about most. I will post todays's blog with a thankful heart. Thank you World Wide Web!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thankful Thanksgiving Month

Happy November First!!! November brings colder weather, brown leaves swirling in the wind, fires crackling in the fireplace and the Thanksgiving Holiday. We always remember to give thanks and to be thankful each Thanksgivng Day. We go around our big table gathered with friends and family and each person shares something that they are especially thankful for. It is a nice way to really appreciate the holiday and it feels extra special to be able to hear all the things that our loved ones are thankful for. It is a good time for reflection and a good time to remember all of life's many blessings. In honor of the upcoming holiday, I am going to write about something I am thankful for each and every day of the month. I have a friend that also does this and it a very good way to focus on those things that really matter. By spending a few minutes each day being grateful for life, life then becomes even more precious. Today I am thankful for being happy. That might sound simple but really, I am a happy person and that should never be taken for granted. I live a happy life. I am surrounded by my loving family, beautiful nature, furry companions, in a house I love on a peaceful piece of land that I treasure. I am loved by my husband and by my children and in turn I love them with all my heart. My family loves me and my husband's family loves me and I love them. I generally wake up every day feeling happy. I am known for always having a smile on my face. I feel happy with who I am and feel blessed for all the wonderful things in my life. So today I am grateful for all that happiness. Life is good! HAPPY!! HAPPY!!