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My 2017 Phrase Of The Year Winner

My 2017 word of the year is not one of my five finalists!  Those choices certainly figure into my word but none of them seemed quite right for this year.

It just didn’t seem possible to squash what I would like to focus on this year into a single word.   Perhaps I’ve always been a rule-breaker at heart.  I think this task of choosing a solitary word for the year is a bit harder when you love all the words so much.

I do want to focus on my health in 2017.

We all want peace (I hope we all do anyway!).

How could I not want to bring a little Hygge into our humble home?   I placed a hold on The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering The Secrets Of The World’s Happiest Country at the local library so I could learn in a bit greater detail how to do just that.

I’m admittedly a bit out of practice with hospitality to dedicate an entire year to it.

Shall I just gracefully admit the last word grace came closest to winning?  I think it will fit nicely in with my phrase though.

Announcing my phrase for the year of 2017…

I’ve become a bit complacent lately and been feeling rather blah most of the time.  It’s time to rediscover the things I enjoy doing.  Revive my tired blah feelings and spaces.  Renew myself a bit so I can return to or even discover a better version of myself.

Find the lost 20-year-old who used to be in such great shape from working out.

Become once again the person who is on top of news and current events.  I recently didn’t “pass” a news quiz on one of those fun sites.  That has never happened to me before and it shook me a bit as not all the stories were the silly ones.

Time to rediscover some old hobbies or even find some new ones.  Learn a few new tricks.

Today’s tiny goal was to figure out how to check out e-books from the library.  Painless yet so many times I didn’t want to hassle with it so I’d pass up those books opting to wait until I could get there.  So many times I never made it there.

My goal with my 3 word phrase is to rediscover, revive, and renew myself in 2017.

What goal or word do you have for this year?

Happy Homemaker Monday, The Return of Routine

It was a rough one getting out of bed this morning.  Of course, I’m sure that’s not related to staying up a bit later last night.  This week will be the boys’ first full week back to school after Christmas break.  I’m working a bit this week as well.

Wish I were a bit more excited about it all.  Perhaps I just need better rest.  I am, however, determined to not miss any Happy Homemaker Mondays this year.  It was so fun to look back on them to review our 2016.  Many thanks to Sandra from Diary of A Stay At Home Mom for continuing to host this link up in 2017!

Let’s get on with the planning of this second week of the new year shall we?

The Weather

It’s a balmy 26 degrees out there right now.  Balmy and 26 degrees don’t normally belong in the same sentence but after last week’s start with 1 degree mornings, it fits.  Supposed to hit a high of 44 this afternoon, almost 50 tomorrow, and 60 (!?) on Wednesday before plummeting back down to winter temps in the 30s with a wintry mix (means they don’t know whether it will snow or rain) for the weekend.

On My Reading Pile

I read two books on my phone’s Kindle app.  I read this month’s Amazon Prime free pick of In The Shadow Of Lakecrest by Elizabeth Blackwell and really enjoyed it.  I found it to be a quick read with a lot of good twists especially at the end!  The second book I read was better though.  Mark Edwards Follow You Home kept me intrigued from beginning to end and was also full of interesting twists and turns.

On My TV

I watched Maximum Ride on Netflix.  It’s based on a series of James Patterson books of the same name.  Think after school special with a science fiction type twist both in terms of acting and plot lines.  The boys watched Kung Fu Panda 3 on Saturday night. And of course, I watched the Golden Globes last night just to see the pretty dresses.

Menu This Week

Honestly, I’m at a loss this week.  I need to go to the store.  I’m also still casually trying to clear out our freezer/ pantry as well.  Last week’s menu didn’t really go as planned (do they ever?) so some items are repeats.

Couldn’t get the colors quite right on our Three Kings Cake but it still tasted good!

MONDAY:  Ham steaks, baked potatoes (perhaps sweet potatoes), and cornbread.  (I work 12-6)

TUESDAY:  Veggie rotini with red sauce, salad, garlic bread

WEDNESDAY:  Tacos or something else that is easy (G and I need to make dessert empanadas again to take to his Thursday Spanish class, another Fiesta in there!)

THURSDAY:  Chicken strips, broccoli, and maybe French Fries.  I may do copy cat Chik-Fil-A sandwiches (I work 12-6 again)

FRIDAY: Pancakes and sausage at the high school for a band fundraiser (I work 12-6 so likely won’t get to go unless I can get it worked out to switch with another teacher.  I missed this on my calendar when I agreed to work).

To-Do List

  1. Pay bills
  2. Go to the grocery store
  3. Pick one area in the house to clear off and clean each day (thinking of starting with my desk)
  4. Help G make dessert empanadas on Wednesday night (We’re going to cheat and use apple pie filling to start this time)
  5. Fill out wall calendar with birthdays and dates

What I Am Creating

I made a wreath for our front door!  It took a few tries (see Friday’s post) but we now have a sweater wreath hanging on our front door and welcoming us home.

Scarf Wreath Try 2, still needed something

At Christmas-time, I had pried a small wooden sign with our last name off of another Christmas decoration we no longer used since it listed pets no longer with us and came before our youngest son arrived.  I thought maybe I could find another use for at least that part of the decoration and I did!  It was the perfect thing to finish off the scarf wreath!

The completed project!

Looking Around The House

See number 3 on my to-do list.  The floors (with the exception of the boys’ rooms) are clear though and it’s not in awful shape over all.

From The Camera

While these will all be phone pictures this week, I fixed the camera!  Thank goodness because a new one really wasn’t in our budget.  And, importing pictures from my phone is not a simple task.

The camera lens cover wouldn’t open properly but I managed to get it pried open in a permanent state.  It should be okay as long as I keep the camera in its case unless I’m using it.

Tracks in the snow 

There’s more than one way to make a snowman.

Something Fun To Share

I thought this idea from Rite While U Can might be a fun challenge for the year!  I know it always brightens my day to get mail.

What I’m Wearing Today

Right now I’m wearing a striped long-sleeved shirt and jeans plus tennis shoes but I just threw these clothes on for the school drop off run.  I’ll shower and change into something else to wear to work after finishing this post.  No idea what that will be yet.

One of My Simple Pleasures

Spending some time outside especially on sunny days and I don’t do it nearly enough.  Perhaps I need to set a goal for the year to make sure I spend time outdoors every single day?

Quote for the Week

This quote of the day showed up in my inbox over the weekend and I love it!  Perfect for a Monday morning or any morning really…

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.  (Eleanor Roosevelt)


What do you have going on this week?


My 2017 Word of The Year Finalists

I stubbornly continue to pick a word of the year.  Do you do that?  It’s not that I don’t set goals and think about making resolutions.

It’s just that this is so much simpler to me.  Seems more doable.  I don’t always accomplish the mission behind my word of the year but I still prefer the idea behind it.

Sometimes my word of the year just settles on me.  Sometimes it leaps out at me from some locale like the aisle of my local Dollar Tree store.  Maybe if I’d have purchased that silly glass, I’d have had better luck with last year’s word.  Some years I simply can’t make up my mind and think I’m going to just pick a new word each month (note: that didn’t really work so well).

Each year I ponder what my choice for the coming year should be and come up with a few candidates.   I always think of announcing my finalists in terms of an awards show.  They are just waiting to hear if they’ve been nominated.

So without further ado…and in no particular order….announcing…

The finalists for my 2017 Word of The Year:

word of the year

As I sit here getting over sickness once again at year-end, I entertain making 2017 a year to focus on getting healthy.  Healthy food, healthy habits, you know the drill.  I know the drill.  Of course, I could still work on being healthy should I choose a different word.

word of the year

This year was a little more turbulent than I cared for it to be.  I think the last few months may have been that way for many of us.  The turmoil started prior to the election and went beyond it over here.  After a year of hurting hearts (and some are still hurting), I am craving peace.

This word.  This is a fun, new to me word!  A random Pinterest pin that caught my eye and led me on a journey of discovery.  What is Hygge?  Obviously, it’s not an English word as spellcheck is glaring red at me right now.  Here’s a link to a quick definition but do yourself a favor and search it up on Pinterest and the pins that come up will give you a good feel for the word.  It’s a concept from Denmark and it just seems like an idea that would soothe my very soul.

While I’m not much of one for tooting my own horn (dislike to do that very much), this is I admit one of my talents.  One I used to use quite a bit but let fall by the wayside (Another talent? Apparently a massive over use of clichés!) with the exception of our annual Easter brunch.  I’d like to get back in the habit of having friends and family over here.  Stop making excuses for not doing it and just start inviting friends and family over for any and all occasions, small or large.

My final word of the year nominee is the one that seems to be calling to my heart lately.  I think we all (I know I do!) need to be a little more generous with this stuff to ourselves and others alike.  By the way, I recently discovered and loved a blog titled I Choose Brave and this post really spoke to me yesterday.  Worth a minute of your time to read it.  On a completely silly note: I also recently discovered the Philosophy scent of Amazing Grace and you know what would be more fun than a word of the year with its very own scent.  It does smell amazing, very clean and fresh, like it could be my go-to fragrance.

So those are my five finalists and I’m having a hard time deciding on the winner as they all speak to me on many levels.  Could you please help me out?  Which word of the year would you declare as the winner?

Reflecting On My 2016 Word: Celebrate

I want to take a minute and reflect on my word from last year.  As typical for me, I started off great with my word and then fizzled out somewhere along the way. reflecting

The season which should have held the most celebration lacked it the most.  More about that later though.   In the spirit of local news shows, this post will be a month by month review as I share some of my favorite memories of last year.

Note: I’m going to be linking back to several of my posts from 2016.  Don’t feel the need to click on them all, I’m mainly doing it for my own reference to look back and enjoy the happy memories (a wonderful, benefit of a blog).

January 2016

The first thing I could celebrate about last January was getting back in the groove of posting on my blog!  I noticed I had a large gap from October to January in 2015 and while I don’t post on a serious schedule, I am glad to have managed to post at the very least once a week since then.

One of my favorite low-key celebrations (best kind, no?) from last year was making a bit of a feast to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6th with our small family and a friend of G’s who happened to be over here.


Our Three Kings Cake, J found the cashew I used in place of a dry bean

February 2016

My husband’s birthday is in February and we celebrated that, of course.

I don’t see any specific blog posts about a Valentine’s Day celebration but I do remember doing a fun science experiment with candy hearts so at least we had those at some point in February.


Valentine Science

Looking back, I can see we celebrated amazing spring-like weather in most of February!  Three cheers for that one!  I also had a fun time with my turn at hosting Bunco using a somewhat tropical menu plan.

March 2016

While our stove broke and we had a sick kid in March, neither turned out to be overly serious bumps in our year.  We were able to purchase a new stove and health returned readily to our son.


A new stove and oven that works!

We celebrated Easter by hosting our annual brunch.  The weather didn’t cooperate but our families still came and there was still good (I hope) food that all enjoyed.

April 2016


just hanging out on the roof

April was apparently a rather slow month in these parts.  Sometimes a break (especially after a break…what is that phrase, a vacation from the vacation?) is nice though…

May 2016

May is always a nice month around here with lots to celebrate!  This year was no different.

It’s the end of the school year!  Always cause for a celebration around here.  This year was extra special because it was the end of our elementary years.


Blue Frosting!

My oldest son turned 15.

I was able to help the preschool with their end of the year program and celebration.

June 2016

The official start of summer with quick outings and summer science experiments. 

My Easter day lilies bloomed for a second time!


We took a trip to see family in Oklahoma.

And celebrated Father’s Day with a cookout at my brother-in-law’s house.

July 2016

J and I enjoyed the outdoors with a week of walks around the block. 

America’s birthday did not disappoint me and we had a wonderful celebration at my nephew’s house.  It was also special since my brother came home from Texas to celebrate with us all as well. 

We added a new dishwasher to match our new stove from March.

August 2016

We went on our first (and if I get any input, our last) family camping trip!

Our boys started a new school year and J started a new adventure in middle school.  G got his learner’s permit right before the start of school!

We went to Oklahoma to celebrate the boys’ great grandpa’s 97th birthday!

My husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary in August as well.

A photo of an 18 year old photo from our wedding album

I joined a Harry Potter Book Club that I’ve very much enjoyed!

September 2016

I was able to double the fun and host Bunco twice in 2016! (We follow a 16 month calendar and I picked the last date available of one round followed by the first date available for the next one so I’m off of hosting duties for a while now).

We were able once again to go to the first band competition of the season and cheer on our favorite high school clarinet player in our favorite high school marching band.

near Bolivar, Missouri

October 2016

We were able to enjoy the beauty of a freshly emerged monarch butterfly on the evergreen tree one warm evening.

As much as I enjoy watching my son and marching band season, the end of the early morning rehearsals is always cause for celebration.

Another first this year: we stayed home and answered the door to the neighborhood trick or treat calls.  No outing in costume for either of my boys.

November 2016

Whether your candidate won or lost, I think we can all agree that the END of the political ads and phone calls were worth celebrating.

My youngest son turned 12! 

We celebrated Thanksgiving with family in Oklahoma.

December 2016

We attended 2 lovely winter Christmas concerts, one at the middle school and one at the high school.

My forty-something birthday!

A fun coffee date with a friend!

We had a nice Christmas weekend.

In the end, the elf remembered what really matters on Christmas.


I found more to celebrate earlier in the year than later.  I did start off the year and make it almost to mid-year with the sending out of actual paper birthday cards before fizzing out on it sometime in September.

I do think I did remember to stop and celebrate and enjoy the smaller moments this year although celebrate turned out to be a bit of a pressure word for me in the end.  I felt stress that I wasn’t doing enough to make each holiday special or I didn’t do anything to make the holidays (the little, the big, and the goofy in-between days) special and so felt guilty.

I could also blame a bit of family strife that occurred on my husband’s side in August as well.  It made our holiday season a bit more tangled than it really should have been.  However, I will be honest and say I’d probably long forgot my word by the time all of that happened.

Did you choose a word for 2016?  How did it work for you?  Are you like me stubbornly going to choose yet another word for 2017 and try it all again?

Five On Friday: Ornaments And Other Stuff

Don’t you love my title?  Other stuff is enough to make English teachers everywhere cringe.

It’s my birthday today so I think I’m entitled (ha!) to have a lousy title for my blog post.  I haven’t joined in with Amy’s Five on Friday in a while even though I love to doing it.  A free morning and my birthday means a perfect Friday to join in the fun, I think.

Love Made My Home

I’m going to start by sharing my ornament story for my Tree Branch Tales series.  Yes, I’m sneaking several posts into this one!

        1. Our Kansas City Chiefs Ornaments

          These are 3 Hallmark ornaments that my husband’s mom gave him.  She used to always give us special ornaments for the tree.  A tradition that was in place before I ever arrived in my husband’s life.

          Lots of people were yelling this last night!

          This photo below will look like the same ornament but it is actually the other side of a different one.  I’m really not sure why we have 2 of these.  This is the other side of the ornament:

          Bet you didn’t know Santa was Chief’s fan!

          Just a fun fact about me for my birthday:  My mom actually brought me home from the hospital in a Kansas City Chiefs outfit.  Ironically, the team was pretty awful during my childhood years and I actually grew up cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who happened to be the favorite team of one of my older brothers.

          I do now (mostly) cheer for the Chiefs

        2. J’s First Band Concert!

          Last night while the Chiefs were busy winning and securing 1st place in our division, we were actually attending a winter band concert over at the middle school.  The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bands all played a few tunes along with some Christmas selections.  It was such a treat to see my youngest son all dressed up in fine attire for his first concert as a baritone player in the 6th grade band.

          I said no photos, please!

        3. The Christmas Break Countdown

          The last night of our Thanksgiving break, my youngest child asked if he could have the next day off school.  He needed a break.  I guess that is like needing a vacation from your vacation?   We are definitely in need of a longer break around here though.  We now have 7 days until we get there.  I’m honestly not sure we’re going to make it.  I found this fun countdown clock over here.  Christmas is 15 days away:

        4. Christmas Shopping

          Since that clock up there is giving me a bit of anxiety about the big day, I’ll likely gather up all my birthday coupons and spend some time Christmas shopping today.  I enjoy looking for the perfect gifts for my family and I am a teeny bit behind (I’m a bit of a last-minute shopper so I’m not feeling way behind quite yet).  I think it will be a fun way to spend my birthday.

        5. My Tiny Tip I Forgot To Share on Thursday: A Fun and Free App

My blurry photo of a Cedar Wax Wing bird

I love to bird watch (just no birds in my house as pets…as those kind scare me!) and shared this rather blurry photo on Facebook earlier in the week.  A friend mentioned wishing she knew her birds better and it reminded me of the great app I downloaded to my phone.  If you like to bird watch, check out the Merlin Bird ID App from the Cornell Lab.  It’s free and user-friendly!


I’m afraid this post was tad messy and unorganized, just like the author.  How are you spending your Friday?


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