Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Eve Thursday's Question

Thursday's Question
It is New Year's Eve!!
What do you do?
Make goals?

Make resolutions?
Or just wing it?

Wednesday Hodgepodge-December 30th Edition

This is the final Hodgepodge of 2015. Joyce has the questions and we supply the answers and then link up on her blog From This Side of the Pond! It's fun!

 1. Share a favorite memory/moment from the week of Christmas.

My favorite memory of Christmas was playing Mexican Train Dominoes with Justin and the kids both on Friday and Saturday nights. It is fun to see how competitive they are (especially Harley who won both nights) and how they strategize.

 2.  If someone wrote a book about your life based on the past year, what genre would it fall under? What would the title be?

If someone wrote a book about my life in 2015 it would be a biography and it would be boring. I would title it The Year I Quit Living!

 3. What made you feel patriotic this year?

What made me feel patriotic this year was reading books about other countries that do not have the freedoms that I have as an American citizen. I read books about Kabul, Hitler's Germany, Japan during World War II. We are a fortunate lot of people here in the USA and I don't think we know or appreciate it enough. I found the following words on The Foundation for Economic Education Website:

"Patriotism is not love of country, if by “country” you mean scenery—amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesty, and the like. Almost every country has pretty collections of rocks, water, and stuff that people grow and eat. If that’s what patriotism is all about, then Americans have precious little for which we can claim any special or unique love. And surely, patriotism cannot mean giving one’s life for a river or a mountain range.
Patriotism is not blind trust in anything our leaders tell us or do. That just replaces some lofty concepts with mindless goose-stepping.
Patriotism is not simply showing up to vote. You need to know a lot more about what motivates a voter before you judge his patriotism. He might be casting a ballot because he just wants something at someone else’s expense. Maybe he doesn’t much care where the politician he’s hiring gets it. Remember Dr. Johnson’s wisdom: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
Waving the flag can be an outward sign of patriotism, but let’s not cheapen the term by ever suggesting that it’s anything more than a sign. And while it’s always fitting to mourn those who lost their lives simply because they resided on American soil, that too does not define patriotism."

 4. What experience from this past year would you like to do all over again?

I would repeat every single experience again. The year passed by so fast that I wouldn't have any problem repeating it all!

 5. What song lyric sums up or is a reflection of your 2015?

Hey you, where did the time go
Never saw it passin' by me
You knew how to occupy me
Hey darlin'
Where did the time go
Never let a moment linger
Wrapped me up around your finger

Fools say anyone who ever loved
someone like you and me
Anyone who ever loves becomes too blind
to see the time go by
And I'm tellin' you that I'm searchin'

Where did the time go
Ev'ry day became about you
Till I couldn't do without you
Where did our lives go
Slipped away without me knowing
Sure knew how to keep me goin'

 6. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate 2015?  (10=stellar) Why?

I would give 2015 a "5". It wasn't a stellar year at all. It was only average. Now, 2016 is going to be stellar!!

 7. What part of the upcoming year are you most excited about?

I am just happy to put this past year of mourning behind me. I am going to start moving forward. I am going to live!

 8. Insert your own random thought here.

Do you chose a 'word of the year?' I have the past two years. My word in 2014 was Hope! And in 2015 it was Change! When I chose my words I was going through a lot. I wanted and needed to have Hope in 2014. I did for a bit of the year and then in July Richard died. That kind of took the wind out of the sails of Hope. So I chose Change as my word for 2015. I knew that I was going to see change whether I wanted it or not. But it really didn't impact my life the way that I wanted it to. So this year my word is going to help me move forward and live again!! How about you? What is your word for 2016.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook-December 28th Edition

For Today... 
Today is the last Monday of 2015. Just saying that makes me wonder "where did this year go?" I have been saying that a lot lately. I guess I might just be getting old. I remember when my mom told me the day would come that I was sorry I had spent so much time wishing my life away. That day is here!!

Outside my window...
Outside my window winter has arrived in Kansas. And it is cold!! Baby, it's cold outside. Yes, baby it is. Like freezing. Like in the single digits cold. And the road is covered in ice. And we are expecting 6-10 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow. I hope and pray these weathermen don't know what they are talking about!!

I am thinking...
I am thinking about how quickly winter came. We have been having temps in the 60's and them BAM we are in the single digits!!!!!

I am thankful...
I am thankful for the wonderful Christmas we had. Did you have a nice Christmas too? I hope all of you did. Darian and Harley opened one gift each on Christmas Eve. We stayed home and watched "A Christmas Story" on TV.
Harley made a Jib-Jab featuring our family as the Family from the story. It is so cute. Check it out: 

Maxfield Family A Christmas Story

On Christmas Day I napped a bit. Justin and Paige came in the late afternoon. We cooked the most luscious T-bone steaks on the grill and along with baked potatoes, green salad, and apple pie and ice cream we had a non-traditional Christmas dinner. Then we opened presents. And capped off the evening with a game of Mexican Train dominoes. Which Harley won!!

I am listening to....

I am listening to a sports program that is talking about Peyton Manning using performance enhancing drugs. What the heck is the matter with these 'great' athletes?

I am creating...

I am not creating much right now. I do not even have the weekly menu decided. I best get to working on that or you won't see it posted below.

I am reading...

I just finished reading First Love, by James Patterson. You can see my review right below this post. I loved it! Cried myself to sleep last night. I just down-loaded The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. Stay tuned!!

I am hoping...

I am hoping the roads clear enough for me to drive Harley to basketball practice tomorrow. If not she isn't going. I don't drive on ice. EVER!!

I am learning...

I am learning a lot of new information about Whole 30. We are going to do this in 2016. We, as a family, are deciding on our start date. It is not going to be in January. That much I know for sure!!

In my backyard...

In my backyard the ground is white. And frozen. And there are still small limbs falling out of the trees from our last ice storm. 

In my kitchen...

Monday...Ham and cheese omelets

Tuesday...Crockpot Potato Soup and crackers


Thursday...New Year's Eve Snacks


Saturday...Roast, potatoes, carrots



A favorite quote for today...


A peek into my week...

This week the kids are out of school. Harley has basketball practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. There is a possible scrimmage on Thursday eve. The kids (Darian, Kat (his girl), Harley and Paige) are planning a get together for New Year's Eve with movies, games, and eating. Just a small party. Justin and I will be in the adult room. LOL!!


One of my favorite things...

On of the my favorite Christmas gifts is two beautiful coloring books and a wonderful box of new colored pencils. (Not the cheapos I have been coloring with) I can't wait to start coloring.

Happy New Year to all my family and friends!
I will add my link to Peggy's Simple Woman's Blog and go off to visit some of my friends from there. Won't you join me?



First Love-A Book Review

                                    Overview from Barnes and Nobel

We thought we could run away from the worldA mad adventure across the countryWe thought we could escape timeAnd for a while--we did...Axi Moore is a "good girl": She studies hard, stays out of the spotlight, and doesn't tell anyone that what she really wants is to run away from it all. The only person she can tell is her best friend, Robinson--who she also happens to be madly in love with.When Axi impulsively invites Robinson to come with her on an unplanned cross-country road trip, she breaks the rules for the first time in her life. But the adventure quickly turns from carefree to out-of-control...A remarkably moving tale with its origins in James Patterson's own past, First Love is testament to the power of first love--and how it can change the rest of your life.

I have enjoyed James Patterson books for many years. He often writes thrillers. About murder. And Alex Cross, one of my favorite fictional detectives. But this book isn't about anything like that. This book is a love story. About two teenagers. And it is taken from a part of James Patterson's life. When he had a girlfriend whose life ended long before it was time. And he loved her. He dedicated the story to her.

I have seen Fault in Our Stars, the movie. I thought this book was much like that movie.  Such a tender, funny, sweet story that will make you cry like a baby at the end. Or at least it made me cry.

"I know there is a part of me missing. It's as if the doctors had sliced something essential out. A vital part that I was sure I needed to keep me breathing. Not just existing. Even now, sometimes, I hear his laughter, and for a moment my heart lifts. But when I turn my head to look, it's never him. It's the wind, or the call of a bird, or the hallucination of my own mad dream."

Another 4 star **** book!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Devil in the White City-A Book Review

This is the overview from Barnes and Nobel:

"Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America's rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair's brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country's most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his "World's Fair Hotel" just west of the fairgrounds - a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake." The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before.

I finished the book. Finally! I haven't been reading as much recently. In fact, when I was writing down all my books for 2015 it looks as it I read much more at the beginning of the year and then started dwindling as the year went along. Not sure why that it. But it is what it is.

I enjoyed reading this book. It is a true story written by Erik Larson. This author, through his meticulous research, is able to blend the building of the Chicago World's Fair and the murderer, H.H. Holmes into a story that almost reads like a novel. I was so impressed by the historical facts of the building of a world's fair and the many products and devices that we now take for granted that came about because of that Fair. Things such as the automatic dish washer (and this was back in the 1890's), Aunt Jemima pancakes, Juicy Fruit gun, Cracker Jacks.  Not to mention the Ferris Wheel!! I am not a history buff and I didn't know the origin of many of these things. I cannot imagine how so many women could disappear, never to be heard from again, and this murderer went undetected for so long. We have come such a long, long way.

I will read more of his books. And I will happily award this book four stars. ****

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook-December 21st Edition

For Today... 
It is Monday evening, December 21, 2015.

Outside my window...
The sun has set. The stars are out. It is a cold, winter evening. 33* with little wind. The moon is peeking over the roof of the house. I can see the neighbors Christmas lights as I stand in my front window gazing out.

I am thinking...
I am thinking of the Christmas lights we saw on Saturday night. The girls and I went for our Annual Light Drive. Darian was at a party with his girlfriend and Justin opted to stay home. We had a good time. They both visited with Santa. (they thought he was a bit creepy) But we had fun. We were driving in a neighborhood where the houses sit up on a bit of a hill. One particular house had a Christmas scene displayed in their front window. But you couldn't really see it very well. So the girls talked me into driving up into the circle drive so we could get a closer look. Then as I was enjoying the view Paige thought it would be funny to honk my horn. I didn't stay around to see if the family was home! And they howled with laughter.
The backyard of The House on College Lane
Paige and Harley visiting with Santa

Harley in front of the decorated old truck

I am thankful...
I am thankful to have these memories to cherish for the years ahead.



I am going...
I am going to finish Christmas shopping and getting all the packages wrapped and under the tree.


I am reading...
I have very nearly finished The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I haven't been reading as much this week. I don't think I will make it to my goal of 35 books this year on Goodreads. If you are on Goodreads I would love to be your friend!!

I am hoping...
I am hoping for a peaceful, quiet Christmas. And I hope that for all of you as well.

I am learning...

This week I am memorizing Luke 2:14-20

Luke 2:14-21New International Version (NIV)
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

In my backyard...


Today I watched a kid take down a neighbors tree using a front loader. I don't think I have ever seen anyone take a tree down like that. I wanted to ask him if he wanted to borrow my chain saw. But, I didn't! I just watched!!

In my kitchen...
Monday...Three Cheese Lasagna & Broccoli

Tuesday...Ham and Cheese Omelets

Wednesday...Eating at China Star

Thursday...Hot dogs & French Fries

Friday....Christmas Dinner

Steaks, Baked Potatoes, green salad, dessert

Saturday...Stuffed Chicken Breasts




A favorite quote for today...

I love a good Winnie The Pooh Quote, don't you?

A peek into my week...

Monday....we didn't do much today

Tuesday....Harley has Basketball practice and we are going to finish our shopping

Wednesday...the kids' big sister Katie will be here

Thursday...Darian's girlfriend Kat is coming for the day



Sunday...some more chillaxing!!


One of my favorite things...

I love Christmas cookies!! I think we will be doing some baking tomorrow!! Shhh! Don't tell anyone. We are going to make some Peanut Butter Blossoms (Harley's favorite), Mexican Wedding Cookies (Darian's Favorite), and Caramelitas. (for Justin because there are no nuts in these) 



Post Script

I will link with Peggy at The Simple Woman's Blog. There are so many wonderful people I have met through The Simple Woman's Daybook. I wish all of my friends a very Merry Christmas!!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Friday Letters

Dear School District:
I know that it is time for Christmas break. But, really do we need to give them a half-day out of school today? They will be out of school until January 4th. I don't really think they needed an extra half-day! It just screws up the parents, you know.
Dear Mrs. Nisly:
I love visiting your farm at this time of the year. The fact that you just got in a shipment of Texas oranges and grapefruit makes it even nicer. These are the juiciest oranges we have ever gotten from you. Darian and I shared one and we ate it , standing over the sink, with juice running down our chins and laughing about it.
Dear Mrs. Petersheim:
I am so happy that I saw your sign that read: Fruitcakes here! We were out picking up our fruit and I told Darian, "we are swinging into that drive on our way back." Yours is a true Amish farm. No electricity. Just a kerosene lamp and a wood stove. But your smile and your hospitality lit up the room. The price ($14.50) for a single fruit cake seemed a little steep until I got it home and took a slice. Oh my goodness, worth every single penny. I don't understand why fruitcakes get such a bad rap! It is a little piece of Heaven!!
Friends and family: I know that everyone is very busy at this time of the year. I am sending you all wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope this coming weekend is good to all of you. I will be back on Monday with my Simple Woman's Daybook. Have a wonderful Friday!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thursday's Question

I am just full of questions! I love to ask them! Ask my grandkids. They warn all of their friends before they come the first time.

This week I would like to know how you handle the Christmas greeting.

Do you say Merry Christmas?

Do you say Happy Holidays?

Or do you say something else?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge-December 16th Edition

This is our last Hodgepodge before Christmas. Joyce is taking a Christmas break next week. Then Hodgepodge will be back on December 30th! Join From This Side of the Pond to answer this weeks prompts!!

 1. What's your biggest 'first world' problem?

LOL! I could go on and on with my 'first world' problems. But the one that is annoying me most today is my internet connection. So s.l.o.w......and it is my own fault. I have an old modem and router. I need to get into the car and go to the cable store and pick up a new one. The cable store is on the other side of town. And I am lazy. Can it get more 'first world' than that???

 2.  Each year
Time Magazine names a 'Person of the Year', someone who has 'for better or worse...done the most to influence the events of the year.' It was recently announced they've named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. You can read more about this year's selection here. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year? 

Well, I had never heard of Angela Merkel until she was appointed Time Magazines Person of the Year. The only thing I know about Time Magazines Person of the Year is what I hear on TV. I don't read Time Magazine. This lady certainly sounds like she is important and would qualify for this title. I went to research who other "persons of the year" have been and to my surprise found names like Stalin, Hitler, Khrushchev, and others who fit into these categories and wonder why they would select such men!! I think when you make someone "Person of the Year" it shouldn't be because they kill people or suppress their country in some way or another. After reading how they select the "person of the year" I have decided that they are not bestowing an honor (although many see it as such) but just telling us who was the biggest newsmaker of the year. With that being said, I would nominate "The Gun" to be the 'person' of the year. Every single day there are more stories about school shootings, cop shootings, accidental shootings, kids killing kids, gang members and drive-by shootings. And yet, this country continues to fight against gun control. Of any kind! And use the Constitution of the United States of America as their excuse. The Constitution was written at such a time as every home needed a gun for protection and for acquiring food. That is no longer the case. I would love to at least see gun registration, mental health testing, licenses, and anything that makes it harder for every person in the world to have a loaded gun at their disposal. Stepping down from my soap box now!

 3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share it's history and how you display the pieces.

This is my little nativity set. I have had it for about 30 years. Maybe more. I bought it from a 'home party' system and have loved it from day one. I bought a little hay bale years ago to use for the hay in the bottom of the manger. Over the years Joseph and one of the Kings have gotten broken. Yet, I still use them. And I always set it up in the same order: first the manger and then I spread the hay. Then I place the donkey, the cow, Joseph and Mary inside the manger. Next is Baby Jesus and the Angel. Then the shepherd and his sheep. And finally the Three Kings! I am going to look at Nativity sets one day to replace this one. But not yet! This is still one of my favorite Christmas decorations of all time.

 4.  Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?

Yes, we do make an extra effort to give back. We try to do it more often than just at Christmas. I take things down to the food bank at least twice a year. And I donate to Goodwill all the time. But at Christmas we always try to find someone in need that can use a hand-up. The past couple of years it was a teen at the kids' high school. This year the kids' youth group raised money for 2 homeless teens in our town. This was our special project this year.

 5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?

I don't like to shop! For most anyone. Last year my favorite person was our 'adopted' teen. I loved thinking how he would be surprised to find the gifts we picked specially for him. They were given anonymously to him by the school principal. And we have no idea who he is. As it should be.

6. What's the last delicious thing you ate?

 For our dinner I made a very good Chicken pot pie. Instead of using a pie dough for the crust, I used chicken stuffing on top. The filling was chicken, broccoli, cauliflower and chicken gravy. Yum, along with cranberry sauce, it was a very tasty meal. And so easy to make!! But when I think 'delicious' my mouth always waters for a Lindor Truffle!!

 7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is________________.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to love each other all through the year. And to remember why we celebrate Christmas.

 8. Insert your own random thought here

We'll be missing him at Christmas!