A Happy and Thankful Life

family and movie time

For most of our visit, we’ve had the chance to spend lots of time with our two oldest nieces. Today, we were able to see the other niece and my sister-in-law. We treated everyone to a viewing of  The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The youngest niece and my sister-in-law arrived first. The last time we saw her was for our wedding more than a year ago. She has grown like a foot in that time and it was good to talk with her for a few minutes before the chaos started of getting everyone tickets and into the theater. Afterward, we headed back to the house and passed out some gifts as well as catching up.

It was really important to us to spend some quality time with our nieces. As they get older, the changes in their personalities, style and attitude is more noticeable to us because of the length between our visits. This is the first year that we can’t really call them kids. They are becoming beautiful young ladies. This was a perfect way to spend Christmas Eve.


What big science you have!

I am that person who goes on vacation and wants to visit the local equivalent to her job. And today, I’m thankful that I have a membership that allows me to do this. Small tip, if you have a membership to an ASTC museum, you can get reciprocal membership to other museums across the country. Sadly, I’ve only used this perk six times. I’m working on improving that number.

I find it interesting to see how other people and museum communities interpret and present science. For this Florida visit, I decided to visit MOSI.  First off, I was expecting it to be a bit busier than it was as our science center would normally be busy on this day. However, we deal with cold and nasty weather in December. It was a beautiful sunny day and I don’t blame anyone for being outside! I spent most of my time observing and exploring the two main exhibit areas: The Amazing You and Disasterville. They do have a high-wire bicycle that is common, and popular, at many science centers.

One of the coolest aspect of the museum is that on the second floor, there is a long hallway that has squares and circles extended from the wall. When you get closer, you realize that they are windows to the outside. But they don’t go straight out. Some are angled up, some are angled down, some are really small, others are huge and some are even magnified. It was so cool! I did take pictures bu they didn’t do it justice.

It was nice to explore this science center quietly and at my own pace. I like to observe and read and touch. And compare. It’s not what I was expecting at all and I’m glad I was able to visit.

It’s cake! Now it’s cookies!

This may speak to how lazy my baking skills can be. But in this case, I was all about instant gratification. This was a nice perk for today and I think I’ll be making these a few more times during our visit.

Earlier this year, I discovered that you can easily make cookies out of cake mix. When I say easily, I mean that the longest portion is waiting for the oven to pre-heat. Tonight, I wanted something sweet and this worked best. They were yummy, cooked quickly, make lots and store well.

There are a small handful of ways to do this. I like this way best just because it’s the only way I’ve done it. I’ve tried lemon, chocolate, triple chocolate, and orange. All were yummy. Enjoy!

Pre- your oven to 350.

Need: 2 eggs       1/3 cup oil      1 cake mix

Mix ingredients together; it may take some muscles but it’s worth it. Roll them into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake 7 mins – be careful so they don’t burn. Place on cooling rack and try to wait a minute or two before eating.

Also, I like to put the dough in the fridge while a batch is cooking. It makes it easier to roll the dough into balls.

Sierra Madre!

Our oldest niece is house sitting for a friend of my mother-in-law. I decided to take out the middle niece for some shopping and we swung by the house to pick up the oldest. She also happens to be dog sitting one of the sweetest golden retrievers I’ve ever met. Her name is Sierra and she is eight years young.  She is friendly and sweet and reminds me of all the wonderful aspects of owning a bigger dog. She was eager to sit for treats and always seems to want someone petting her. As it was her first night in the house, we decided to sleep over. Sierra decided that she wanted to share my bed with me. And when I say share, it was me on the edge with her taking up 7/8ths of the bed. That reminded me of my old dog. However, Hugs would get between me and the wall and slowly push against the wall until she had almost the entire bed. Sierra couldn’t do that but I’m sure she would have if she was given the chance.

It was so nice to be able to visit with a sweet, gentle, calm but large dog. She is probably one of my favorite things of visiting for Christmas.

Odd numbers are good for you

Today, my husband had a birthday. And if you read this, you will know why I’m grateful. It was a rough year but it showed us again how resilent the human body and spirit can be. He is strong and a fighter. Being thankful for this birthday doesn’t fully embrace my feelings. I continue to pray that I get to spend dozens more with him.


This is a bit absurd but I’m thankful for double coupons. We are visiting my husband’s family in Florida and while at the grocery store, I was reminded that not every store doubles coupons.

It was tragic. I may have wanted to throw a temper tantrum.

Where we live, the three main chain grocery store’s double coupons up to 99 cents. At home, I frequently save 40-75% off these bills thanks to this amazing policy. It hurts to shop knowing that instead of 75 cents off, I would be getting $1.50 off something that also would have a cheaper sale price to boot.

This is the reason I can’t live in Florida. I’m so thankful for mid-west coupon policies!



Physically, it’s not a big word. Five consonants, four vowels, three syllables. The definition according to Webster’s is unassuming: the act or process of remitting OR a state or period during which something is remitted. Apparently, Webster’s staff never heard a teacher’s demand of never using the word in a definition

This word has a greater impact to millions of people. I have found myself praying to hear that word frequently during the last three years. When cancer enters your life, the word remission holds great power and hope. Last December 13th, my husband and I should have been getting ready to leave Miami for our honeymoon cruise. Instead, he was fighting for his life a second time.

He was a month away from being in remission for two years. We found out that he had relapsed based on normal lab work performed the week before. We were starting to breathe easier. Two years is a huge milestone for his leukemia. It didn’t happen. A horrible word entered our lives: relapse.

After a bit of chemotherapy, he was back into remission. In order to maintain this remission, he had to have additional treatment. Remission is fragile. While he has been able to easily obtain it, the goal is for his body to maintain it for at least five years.

We are coming up on a year. And for that, I am eternally grateful. This simple word has given me another year with this wonderful man. Thank you remission.

road trip

I always worry about accidents or something going wrong when we head out on the road. I’m thankful that we safely arrived at my in-law’s house this afternoon. The weather was horrible on our first leg. It started raining about an hour into our drive and continued for eleven hours. The second day was full of sunshine and warmth. During both legs, there were no issues with the car or other drivers and no tickets. I will call that a good and happy thing!


Today I’m thankful for a patient husband. It is quite the understatement that I really procrastinated in getting ready for our trip. I left so much to the last minute: sewing gifts, picking up items on sale meant for gifts, making food for the trip, packing. I also had only slept a maximum of 4-5 hours each night that entire week. We left at least 3 hours later than scheduled and I was in no shape to drive. He handled it well and didn’t get too upset and also drove almost the entire way, save the last two hours, on the first day. We didn’t arrive at the hotel until 3am and we were exhausted. As much stress as I caused him today, he was patient with me. I’m one lucky lady.


Tonight, I’m thankful for my seam ripper. I’m working on sewing some Christmas gifts for our older nieces. I sewed an entire strip the wrong way and then had to spend 20 minutes ripping it out. There may have been a few not happy words said. But, they make seam rippers for a reason and the item is now finished and ready to be washed.