{Wednesday Hodgepodge} Secrets Told

Joyce came through with more questions for us this week. I love the shorter format! Click here to join in, or to just look around and find some more blogs to read.

1. What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.
It's the little things: finishing a book, cooking a good dinner, playing a new piece of music on the piano, getting through Mass playing my flute without any mistakes. And keeping plants alive:
They aren't dead yet!

2. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why.

Pope Francis: Here is a man who is changing how the world views the Catholic Church. I don't think he'd agree to come on, though. He's pretty busy and doesn't do talk shows.
Jeff Gardner: I met him at our regional Council of Catholic Women Convention a few weeks back. His mission is to bring the plight of persecuted Christians all over the world to the forefront. If you missed it, you can read about him here, or you can find information about his cause here.
Harry Conick, Jr.: What. A. Guy! He probably wouldn't come, either, since he's busy with his own talk show.

3. Do you have a great burger recipe? What's in it? What do you like on a hamburger and where is your favorite spot to order one out?
My burger recipe is going to the Publix and getting one of their ready-made burgers from the meat department. Now you know my secret.

4. What's the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?
Right now it's making sure I get to appointments on time; I tend to "lollygag" during the summer.

5. This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.
I've already been out for 1 1/2 weeks, and I've been busy with things that had to be done. My summer plans consist of my kitchen remodel (I'm writing "State of the Kitchen" segments on Thursdays; you can read the first installment here.) I'm heading down to New Orleans in July for a speech conference, and then I will be gearing up for another school year. Summer just isn't what it used to be, or as long as it used to be. I'm looking forward to the day when every day is summer!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
We had a horrific storm on Saturday night; winds between 70 & 80 mph. As a result, there are a lot of trees down; trees on houses & power lines. Living on 1 of the main roads in the Small Town, our power was back on Sunday around 2:00. My dad's house had power Tuesday, but I think my sister who lives down the road from me is still without it. It's an absolute miracle no one was hurt or killed. It wasn't a tornado; the weather service is calling it a "derecho". Luckily, the tree service that I had been waiting over a month to clean out some trees came through and called me Friday morning to see if I was going to be home; they were in the area and had time to do the job. We had a branch that was touching the living room window, so I was mainly concerned about that. I think that saved us from any damage. This was our extent:
I made it a point not to complain about our internet being down; there are still a lot of people without power, and quite a few people who aren't able to live in their houses. 
I'm going to stop there since this is supposed to be a quick, random thought and not a post in itself!

{Friday Foto Friends} Graduation, Animals, and Flowers!

I'm linking up with Deb at Breathing in Grace for Friday Foto Friends to recap my week. 
Saturday, we drove a couple of hours for CH's cousin's daughter's graduation. CH & MS drove up early for the actual graduation; YS & I went up a few hours later for the party. 
CH & I with the sweet graduate!
She'll only be 15 minutes away from us when she starts college in the fall, so hopefully we'll get to spend more time with her.
When she was little, she called the boys "my boys". We hated that OS wasn't able to be there.
When I went to grab a soda out of the cooler at the grocery store, this was right in front:
I've never seen this before!
Now that summer break is here, I dusted off my big-girl camera and stepped outside.
This little one was near our wooded area, keeping a close eye out for Laika & Pepper.
My favorite summer subject for photos! 
This little guy was right next to the front steps. He didn't look to me like he was real young, but he did kind of fly away after a little bit.
I don't think he looks young enough to have fallen out of a nest.
Look what is not only still alive after a couple of weeks, but looks like it's actually thriving!
I just might be onto something with the calla lilies in the front planter!
I thought I killed these amaryllis a couple of years ago when I put weed killer in this area, so I was really happy to see this:
My daddy gave these to us several years ago.
The weather is fantastic right now: the windows are open and the house is actually quite cool.  GREAT sleeping weather! We're enjoying it while we can...it will be hot and muggy all too soon.

How was your week?

{State of the Kitchen} Production has Begun

My kitchen today. I can't wait for the demo to begin!
This is how my kitchen looks today. Outdated, for sure. CH & I talked for years about what we wanted to do when we remodeled. We went back & forth several times about what we would do when we decided to bite the bullet and do it. When we bought the house almost 13 years ago, we knew it was a fixer-upper. The kitchen is the last major thing we need to do inside. 
A little over a month ago, we got started. We talked about having the cabinets continue down the outside wall a little more and putting in an island, but I like the flow of my kitchen; it just needs some updating (and drawers and cabinets that can actually be used!). We ended up with plans that use the current configuration, but extending the outside wall a couple of feet. Here is a draft of what it will look like:
Draft of new kitchen
I found cabinets at Home Depot that I like. The Interior Designer has been fantastic thus far. She listened to what we wanted and kept us right at budget. We would have been a little under except I wanted something done with this monstrosity of a pantry:
I haven't liked the doors from day one.

Or the shelves. 
 I pulled up my Pinterest boards and realized I had one for a kitchen. I had only pinned a couple of things, but when I saw this I was super-excited:
This is the inspiration. The right side of the pantry will have 3 drawers and a cabinet; the other side will be 2 cabinets. (The doors won't have the storage in them; they'll just be doors.) The white door frame will be gone; it will be framed in the same wood as the cabinets so it will look built-in. 
I was able to get on the cabinet manufacturer's website to watch the progress. When I checked yesterday, I was excited to see that they were being made; then, today, I get a phone call to schedule delivery. Looks like June 7 is the day! With this weekend being Memorial Day Weekend, there should be sales going on, so I hope to buy my range and hood, and get maybe get some tile for the backsplash chosen, if not bought. 
I've pinned all of my "bells and whistles" on a Pinterest Board, so if you're interested, click here. Come back next Thursday for the next "State of the Kitchen"!

{Wednesday Hodgepodge} Girlin' It Up

First Wednesday of the summer for me, so hopefully I can visit a couple of blogs and read their answers. I'm linking up with Joyce; click on the image above to visit and meet some awesome people!

1. What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?
My living room & hallway is gray, but my kitchen is yellow, spare bedrooms are "mushroom", and master bedroom is a shade of green. So, I don't think I have a prominent color.

2. What's something you'll NEVER do again?
Ride an overnight train. When I went to Germany with the high school group, we rode a night train from Munich to Berlin. Between trying to make sure my hair looked okay & still trying to get some sleep, I got very little sleep. And my back hurt from trying to stay in one position all night.

3. Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.
I like shoes, and I love to get pedis.
I don't like to receive flowers as a gift, and I'm not a big jewelry person.

4. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?
CH is down to 1 motorcycle. At 1 point, I thought about learning to ride, but I'm not observant when I'm in my car. It's best that I stay on 4 wheels. I've ridden a little with CH, but not a lot.

5. If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?
I asked CH, and he said there is no book. So, there you go. 😀

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
We have a new granddog. MS was at a friend's house and she was there. Someone asked the family if they would watch her, but they never came back for her. Being a terrier, some of her actions are like Pepper (my Jack Russell Mix), so I think MS kind of fell in love with her.
MS calls her "Girl Dog", but I'm trying to get him to find a more suitable name.

{Friday Fotos} Busy, Busy, Busy

The planter on my front porch is really quite the eye sore. I need to research and see if I can find something that will actually thrive with little sun. Little water would probably be good, too, since I can't seem to remember to water them on a regular basis. We found these lilies, so we're going to give it a go.
CH & I spent most of Mother's Day in Home Depot, firming up the kitchen plans. While we were there, my favorite twins left something for me:
That evening, YS fixed an amazing dinner for us:
It was the last week of school, so I try to do something fun for the last day. I found this cute idea on Pinterest:
The kids really enjoyed it, and it was a cheap & easy idea. By Friday, my rooms looked like this:
Thursday, my in-laws treated us to an anniversary dinner (33 years in the books!):
I was able to get home on Friday before they left. My FIL took the above picture, and the picture below:
We had a couple of little storms over the week. Laika is not a fan:

Every time I put coffee in my new coffeemaker, I hear the Darth Vader theme:
I'm ready to take a couple of days to relax before I get into a summer schedule!

{Friday Foto Friends} Flowers, Convention, and Some Chickens

Here's a quick recap of my week via pictures. Deb is back this week, so I'm linking up with her at Breathing in Grace.
Last weekend was the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (CCW) Convention. It was held at my parish, which was nice because I came home both nights to sleep in my own bed! We had a wonderful speaker from Picture Christians  Project. The purpose of this is to bring international Christian persecution to the forefront. Jeff Gardner is the founder; if you ever have the chance to hear him speak, do it! He has had some very interesting experiences. 
Jeff Gardner from Picture Christians Project
Friday afternoon was a "Presidents' Reception"; we had an honored guest:
I've held the office of secretary for the parish CCW for the past 2 years; the current officers' reign will be over in 1 month. It's been a blast working with these ladies (and Father) over the past couple of years:
Our reign is almost over!
Friday night, we were treated to a concert by Audrey Assad. If you don't know her music, you should check her out. She has a beautiful voice, as well as touching songs.
Audrey Assad
I'll have a separate post on more of the convention later, so check back if you're interested!
The tables were just lovely!
While I was down at my parents' house the other day, I snapped some pictures around their yard:
A couple of roses in the backyard
Rhododendron on the side of the house
This is at 1 of my schools. I think I caught the blooms just in time; they're almost spent!
Just in time!
I mentioned in a previous post that the Small Town is going through some changes. Here's a picture of some major clearing that's going on. I'm not sure if this is where "downtown" will be, or if this is clearing for a bypass:
The arrow points out the new high school, which you couldn't see from the road before the clearing. There is a better view of the mountains...for now.
I made mango salsa for dinner the other night, and we put it over grilled chicken. (The leftover salsa is also good for dipping tortilla chips!)
Last picture. We had a little storm this morning as I wrote this post. 
Laika isn't a big fan of storms.
I hope everyone has a marvelous weekend!

A Mothering Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond

I'm linking up with Joyce for the Wednesday Hodgepodge (a linky where you can get to know other bloggers). 
1. Share a favorite memory of your mother or share a favorite something from your own life as a mother. If you're a mother (or stepmom) tell us how your experience as a mom differs from your own mother's experience.
It's hard to pick just 1 memory of my mom, but I'll try! I remember coming home from college, sitting on my bed, and talking to her; really talking. Until I met CH, she was my best friend. 

2. In May we celebrate teachers (May 9) and nurses (May 6) both. Most every family has at least one in their midst, so tell us something (or a few things) you appreciate about the teacher or nurse on your family tree.
My mom and her sisters were nurses. There is no doubt that being a nurse came in pretty handy with 10 kids!

3. Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad...which would you go for if all three were on the menu? On bread or a bed of lettuce? If you answered bread, what kind of bread would make it the perfect sandwich?
Chicken on a croissant. 

4. Do you have a desk? Is it organized? If so, share your secret to keeping it that way. If you don't have a desk, where in your home do you take care of family paperwork and business? Where do you normally sit to blog?
Weeeeell, I have a desk now that my dad refinished. It's actually a "secretary"; it's big and heavy (just ask the guys who offered to move it into my house for me!). I spent a day a couple of weeks ago organizing it.
And after:
I'm not going to add a picture of what it looks like at this minute! I used to do my blogging either on the couch or at the kitchen table; now I have my own quiet space.

5. When I was nine years old....
I was going into 4th grade in a brand spanking new elementary school. We thought we were the schiznet!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I don't know about you, but I like this shorter format! Whoever suggested it, THANK YOU! I know it has to save Joyce from time and stress!!!

It "May" Be the Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Can you tell I'm embracing a Cinco de Mayo theme here this week? Do you like Mexican food? What's your favorite dish? How about on the side-black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, rice? What about heat-mild, medium, hot? Will you celebrate with Mexican food and drink on May 5th aka Cinco de Mayo?
I usually stick to my tried & true chicken burrito or arroz con pollo. I don't care for any of the sides, and definitely mild! I won't have Mexican food or drink on 5th May since I'll be at the CCW Convention all day  and well into the night. 

2. Ever been to Mexico? For work or holiday? Love it or no? If you haven't been is this a place you'd like to visit? Can you speak Spanish?
Nope, never been, and have never had a desire. We have some friends who are touring Central and South America.After seeing some of their pictures on their blog, I'm rethinking that, though.
 My minor in college was Spanish, but I am by no means anywhere near fluent. 

3. What's one thing you may accomplish this month?
Surviving the end of school. 

4. If you were mayor of your village, city, or town, what's one thing you'd like to see changed, done away with, revamped, or accomplished? Is serving in public office something you've ever seriously considered?
I don't know that I"d change anything. There is supposed to be a downtown in the works, but I'm not sure why. The Small Town has survived 98 years without one; I'm not sure why we need one now.

5. What's something that may be popular, but that you just don't get?

6. Can't let this week slip by without mentioning Thursday May 4th is Star Wars Day. As in 'May the 4th be with you' ahem. Are you a fan of the Star Wars series? Exactly how much of a fan are you? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being 'I've seen every film, own the action figures, might have dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween one year', and 1 being, 'what's a Vader?' -where do you land?
When Star Wars first came out (many moons ago), I saw the 1st movie several times. I'm just not a very big fan at all. I'd give myself a "2".

7. Scroll back through your blog posts and in three sentences or less tell us the general theme of your fourth blog post. Does it still ring true today? Is it a topic you re-visit on your blog from time to time?
Who knows? Apparently my first 98 posts are gone; vanished into cyberspace. I can only go back to Jan. 2010. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I'm in the market for a logo for 1 of my blogs. Does anyone know of someone that could help me? I've contacted Joyce's daughter, but I think she's going to be a little too busy to help me out, so I need a backup just in case. I don't want to spend a lot on it, and I don't want it to be "out there"; just something very simple and tasteful. I'd appreciate any and all suggestions!

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