Birthday Joys

Yesterday was my birthday. It was the first one without my mother. I'm going to miss the phone call from her & Daddy: they would call us on our birthdays and sing "Happy Birthday" to us. Well, except for last year. Mama forgot, and it was her job to remember everyone's birthdays! Last year, I went to Mass with them, and then we went to supper. They offered to pay for me, so I let them. A few days later, Mama asked me why I didn't remind her it was my birthday, and I told her I wasn't going to act like a kid and tell her! It wasn't that important to me, but secretly I missed having her & Daddy sing. Mama could sing like a bird...Daddy sings off-key and can't carry a tune, but he sings anyway!
I had a plan to have Mass said for Mama on my birthday, but I waited until the week  before to go by the office. I was extremely surprised (and a little freaked out) that the 8:30 Mass was open. Then, last Thursday at the contemporary music group practice, the director decided to change the Meditation Song to "Were you There". I remember when Mama first decided to sing this during Lent. I remember her telling me about it, and then hearing her sing it. She really loved that song. The director told me to play the intro (I didn't tell him any of this beforehand). I could really feel her presence when I played it during Mass. We did 5 verses, but I told the director that I was only going to play 4. It was a good thing I did that, because I had a little tearful moment during that last verse.
CH had a motorcycle/camping weekend thingy, so after Mass I went by Starbucks for my free birthday drink. I got home, relaxed, did some stuff around the house, and talked to my MIL & FIL.  When CH got home, he had a present for me from my SIL (his brother's wife). Let me tell you, she is THE most thoughtful person I know.
After going to Starbucks, I thought about going by the cemetery but then decided I didn't want to go without Daddy. The poem that she put on the back of the picture couldn't have come at a better time. (You may have to click on it to see what it says.)
I ran out to get something to eat, and as I was driving home, there was a young man with his earbuds in, dancing across the parking lot. I'm talking full-out dancing, putting on a show. He was dancing to beat the band! He saw me, I gave him a thumbs up, and he danced harder! Made me smile!!!

I let the dogs out, and saw a couple of cardinals at the feeder. I ran in, got my big girl camera, and they were gone. I have the hardest time getting pictures of them; they always fly away just as I'm about to take a picture! Not today, though. I managed to snap some with my camera since I didn't have to get close to them.
 (This one was high in the tree.)

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday
Rebecca at Knit by God's Hand hosts this little get-together every Thursday. It's a great way to stop and just be thankful.
This week, I’m thankful for…
...the Small Town's workers who came out and fixed our yard after cutting down the tree that was hanging over the power line. We had to deal with mud being tracked in the house for a few days, but it was worth it!
 ...finding a groomer in the Small Town who does a great job and really loves my little princess.
...a sister who brings me wine!
 ...a school nurse who has a nice little poster in her bathroom that makes me think of blogger friends.
...campfires with CH. (I TOLD him that firestarter I got would work!)
...cuddly dogs on a Saturday morning. (Excuse CH's foot!)
...having a job that I love.

What are you thankful for this week?

A Definite Hodgepodge

1. This coming weekend is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. Do you celebrate Easter in your home? What was your favorite Easter tradition as a child?
Oh, yes, we definitely celebrate Easter! We always had an "Alleluia Egg" growing up. With 10 kids, it was too hard to hide a million eggs for all of us, so Mama came up with the idea of only hiding 1 egg. Or, actually 2: one for the big kids, and 1 for the younger ones. Whoever found the egg got something; usually a chocolate bunny. We continued the tradition with our own kids.

2. George Weinberg is quoted as saying, 'Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.' Agree or disagree? Share your own thoughts on the word hope. 
Definitely agree. I relate hope to faith. You've gotta keep hope/faith alive!

3. Weigh in with a yay or nay on the traditional Easter candies. A solid milk chocolate bunny? Cadbury Creme Eggs? Peeps? Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs? Jellybeans? Coconut Cream Eggs? Of the candies listed, which one would you most like to find in your Easter basket?
Cadbury Eggs are just a little too rich. I can eat 1 and that's enough. LOVE Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs and ADORE Coconut Cream Eggs! Peeps:  EEEWWWW.

4. When did you last feel 'like a kid in a candy store'
Monday. I put up a few products on an online teacher store, and someone bought one of my products!

5. What's something you know you do differently than most people? Does that bother you? Does it bother other people?
A secretary at a school where I once worked noticed how I cut an orange. She said she had never seen anyone cut one that way before.  That's all I've got.

6. Palm Springs CA, Palm Beach FL, or the PALMetto State...of the three mentioned, which sunny spot would you most like to visit right now? Which have you visited at one time or another?
Palm Beach, Fl. We lived in the Palmetto State for 9 years...there are definitely some advantages to living there, even if we were inland. We've been near Palm Beach, Fl. on our way to The Keys, and I've never been to Ca.

7. If you could change the length of a day would you lengthen it or shorten it? Tell us why.
Lengthen it. Although, I don't really mind it during the winter when it gets dark around 6. It's just nice to have extra hours of daylight.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Please keep a co-worker's 3 year old son in your prayers. Last week, he threw up and stopped breathing. After rushing him to the hospital, they found his bowel was twisted. They ended up having to take it out, and are on the list for a donor. He was on a ventilator for a couple of days, but is now getting stronger and has been moved to a regular hospital room. 

Breaking into the Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Share a favorite song, book, or movie title containing the word green?
Green Acres came to mind right away. Who remembers that show?

2. Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, 'Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.' Would you agree? Are you a believer in luck?
Even though I use the word "luck/lucky" quite a bit, I'm not a strong believer in luck.

3. Spring water, Hot Springs, handspring, spring fling, spring break, spring fever, offspring...which 'spring' word best applies to something in your day, week, or life right now?
Spring Break! I can't believe it's halfway over already!

4. What's something you do to make yourself look or feel more confident?
I'll dress up. Not like "evening dress" dress-up, just not my usual khakis!

5.  It's National Celery Month...are you a fan? If so, what's a snack or dish you enjoy that calls for celery?
I can take it or leave it. I really like peanut butter & celery.

6. What's one thing you wish you'd learned sooner?
To be myself and not worry about what other people think.

7. Would you like to own a second home? If so where would you want that home to be?

Nah, not really. Of course, if I had someone to come in and clean both of them, then that would be a different story! If I had another home, I would choose The Keys.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I'm seriously thinking about going to see "HOME" when it comes out in a couple of weeks. First off, Jim Parsons is just hilarious. Second, this clip cracks me up every time I see it:
I'll probably be the only adult who is watching the movie without a kid!

Why I'm Through with Kroger

Let me preface this post by saying that I truly love most of Kroger's products. A lot of the things I buy from the grocery store are Kroger brand. For most of the 30 years I've been married, I've gone to Kroger. Except when we were in SC, because we didn't have one in Rock Hill.

Now that that is out of the way, I've had it with Kroger. I can only remember 2 times in the past 11 years when my groceries were appropriately bagged. Once, I the assistant manager bagged my groceries & did an awful job. Is it so hard to put all of the frozen & cold things together, and in the cold bags that I have?

I bought groceries yesterday afternoon, and I very politely told that young lady that if she could put all of the cold things together in the cold bags, it would be awesome. She put as much as she could in one bag (making it extremely heavy), then looked at me and said that was all that would fit in the bag. I pointed out that I had 2 more cold bags. Then, I suggested that we transfer some of the things in the heavy cold bag to another cold bag. She then put the cabbage in the empty cold bag, and I again repeated that the full bag was too heavy, so I wanted to transfer some items over. She looked at me and said, "Then what do you want me to do with the produce?" I told her it could go into a regular bag. GEEEEEZZZZ.

There have been times when I've bagged my groceries myself. The last time I was there, I had to rebag several bags before I left the store.

Honestly, I'm done. Going to the grocery store is enough of a chore, but then you add that aggravation on top of it, and it's just ridiculous. Publix is a little more expensive, but the employees are exceptionally nice, and they know how to bag groceries. Guess where I'll be shopping from now on?

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday for the week of March 16/15 with recipe links and menu planning resources.

Since I get paid on the 15th & 30th of every month, I usually try to plan for 2 weeks at a time.
(For the recipe, click on the item. The stars denote new recipes.) 
It's Spring Break, so I'm a little late getting the Menu Plan Monday Post up. Here's what the Coopers will be eating this week:

Monday:  Baked Ziti* (I originally had this planned for last week but I think we went out that night instead.)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Old World Corned Beef & Vegetables (This is our St. Patrick's Day Staple)- I cut a cabbage in quarters and put in the slow cooker as well. 
Irish Soda Bread: Super easy. We've even made this in the dutch oven when camping.
Frosted Irish Cream Brownies

Wednesday: Chicken Strips, Macaroni & Cheese (for CH & OS), Salad

Thursday: Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings*

Friday & Saturday:'s a camping weekend!

I'm linking up with!

Weekend Wrap-up

What a great weekend! It started off kind of slow. Friday night CH & I took Daddy out for supper. Then, we laid everything from my camera bundle out on the kitchen table so we could see what I got.  Then, I organized what I thought I would need in the camera bag.
Saturday, CH & I both had things to do, so we did what we had to. I played for Saturday Evening Mass, then we went to eat with Daddy, one of my brothers, and one of my favorite couples from church.
Sunday was such a good day. We went back out to Cades Cove so I could play around with my camera. It was a beautiful day, after having several days of rain.
The scenery was beautiful:

The skies were so blue:

There were some animals out & about:

The water was flowing:

And, the jonquils were blooming:

Yep, the new camera did a pretty good job for the first try!
We ended the weekend with dinner where YS works followed by meeting some people at a local craft beer place. After we got home, I watched a documentary on John Denver. I had no idea that he wrote Leaving on a Jet Plane made famous by Peter, Paul, & Mary, or that the original title was Babe I hate to Go. It was a very good documentary; I just love his music.
How was your weekend?


 According to Tori at Home Away From Home:
"So I've decided to do something new on Fridays; INSTAFriday. I'm gonna use Friday to share some of the pics from my Instagram from that week for all those who don't follow me and actually care. *WINK*"
Tori is still really busy, so there's no link up again this week. That won't stop me from a post, though!

This is Ally, my 16 year old Schnauzer. We thought it was time to say goodbye to her in January, but after getting some "pee-pee pills" to prevent her dribbling, and getting groomed, she's like a different dog! I love how she looks "puppyish" in this picture.
This was the 2nd picture I took of YS cooking dinner for us on Monday. Why is it that the boys think it's really cute to give me the "you're #1" sign (you know what I mean, right??? They use their middle finger!) when I'm taking a picture?
Tuesday night, my mountain school had "Family Fun Night". They do this once/month to get the community involved. This was one of the visitors:
Wednesday, "IT" came. I am beyond excited to finally get a "Big Girl Camera"!!! And, I have all next week to see if I can figure out how to use it!
Those were my personal IG pictures for the week. If you don't follow me, I'm @tnslp!

Springing into the Hodgepodge

1. What's the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word 'spring'? Which phrase best describes the season of spring where you live right now (today)-sprung! almost there, or still waiting?
Flowers. We're getting there. It's warm, and this came up over the weekend:

2. Bed, couch, stapler, garage door, computer mouse, recliner, flashlight, door knob...which household item containing springs most needs replacing in your home? Speaking of springs...did you ever own a Slinky?
Our bed doesn't have springs, but our mattress does need to be replaced. Our couch does, too. I won't buy another microfiber couch...they're impossible to clean!

3. March is Women's History Month. Share a favorite quote by a woman.
"We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do" --Mother Teresa

4. What's a question that looms large in your mind right now?

I am questionless right now.

5. Are you a sugar freak? By that I mean how much do you love sugar? With all the bad press sugar gets these days, have you made any efforts to reduce the amount of sugar you consume?

I love sugar. I'm in a sugar rut right now...I need to get back off of it.

6. Would you rather have less work to do or more work you enjoy doing?

Less work to do so I could have more fun.

7. Ever been to Texas? Of the top ten Texas tourist attractions which would you most like to see-The Alamo, The San Antonio River Walk, The State Capital, Dallas World Aquarium, Padre Island National Seashore, Houston Space Center, Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels, Six Flags Fiesta Texas,  Moody Gardens, or Galveston Island?

Both of my parents are from Tx., and I have a lot of relatives there. I've been to The Alamo, River Walk, and Space Center. Schlitterbahn looks like a lot of fun, but I'd like to go to Padre Island. I may have been to Galveston, I just don't remember because it would've been when I was little.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Spring Break is next week. I'm looking forward to Daily Mass with Daddy, and taking some walks with my puppies.

Winter Reading Challenge: One Book

Reading Challenge
1 book. 1 measly book. You would think with the 2 weeks we had off from school with the ice, then snow storms I would have read at least 10 books. But, no. All I managed to squeak out is 1 book. I guess that's what happens when you get hooked on discover shows on Hulu. 
My pitiful attempt at finishing the Winter Reading Challenge:
This was actually a cute book. It was light, fun, and amusing. It had me chuckling in places. The end is predictable; you knew it was going to end the way it did. I could definitely see this being made into a Lifetime movie. 
Poppy is a mess: she's getting married to a guy who comes from very intelligent parents, and at a girls afternoon out, she loses the heirloom engagement ring. And her phone is stolen. She finds a phone in the garbage can, just sitting there, so she takes it. She needs a phone to plan her wedding (and keep in touch with the hotel where she lost the ring).  The phone turns out to belong to a Personal Assistant who quit rather abruptly, and Poppy gets into all kinds of trouble answering emails and voice mails that she has no business answering. 
If you read this book, don't forget to read the footnotes...they are hilarious!

Thanks, Rebecca at Knit by God's Hand for hosting this, even though I was a HUGE slacker and only did 2 (okay, 1 1/2) posts! To see what everybody else read (and by that I mean...people actually did read!), check out her linky.

2nd Monday Menu Plan for March

mpm chalkboard

Since I get paid on the 15th & 30th of every month, I usually try to plan for 2 weeks at a time.
(For the recipe, click on the item. The stars denote new recipes.) 

Tuesday: Baked Ziti * ; salad

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy *; rice, green beans

Thursday: Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, broccoli

Friday: Eat out (Captain D's 'cause it's still Lent!)

Linking up with Not sure what to fix for dinner? Take a look at the linky...there's something for everyone!


According to Tori atHome Away From Home:
"So I've decided to do something new on Fridays; INSTAFriday. I'm gonna use Friday to share some of the pics from my Instagram from that week for all those who don't follow me and actually care. *WINK*"
Tori is taking a couple of weeks off from blogging, so there's no link up this week. I didn't do an InstaFriday post last week, so I'm sharing a few pictures from 2 weeks.

It was pretty cold last week, so YS made sure Pepper was bundled up.
Since we didn't have school last Friday morning, I went to  Rosary & Daily Mass with my Daddy. He still goes every morning.
We saw these adorable Australian Shepherd puppies on Saturday when we stopped by the Vet to get refills on the dogs' medicine.
After the Vet, we rode to Cades Cove, in the Great Smoky Mountains. We picked up some sandwiches and had a tailgate picnic. This was our view.
And, a selfie during lunch.
There are no coincidences: The song Let them See You by JJ Weeks Band was on the radio when I got in the car after Sunday Mass. It just happened to be what part of the Homily was about.

I snapped a picture of the Chicken Parmesan Roll-Ups we had on Monday.

I didn't post any personal pictures to Instagram the rest of the week. I was kind of surprised...I get a little "IG" happy sometimes!
What about you? Did you post a lot of pictures to Instagram this week?

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday
Rebecca Jo at Knit by God's Hand started this link-up. Thursdays are a good time to stop and remember to be thankful for the little things.

 This week, I’m thankful for…

...the Small Town's workers who came out and cut down that tree that was hanging over the power line...just in time for another winter storm to hit.

...the series "Dynamic Catholic". Perfect for Lent. And, you don't have to be Catholic to appreciate this series. Best part? Only 2-8 minutes/day. Here is today's message:
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education. - Theodore Roosevelt
...being able to not worry about traveling from school back home after a winter storm. Especially since my Thursday school is at the top of a hill. (We have another snow day.)

...making the decision to not be a part of the flute choir so I can play during Mass.    Perfect way to honor my mother...every weekend.

...teachers who are truly there for all of their kids.

...a husband who makes me laugh.

What are you thankful for on this Thursday? Jump over to Knit by God's Hand and get some gratitude!

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