Monthly Archives: March 2017

Way Back When-sday Hodgepodge


Hi Guys, welcome to the last March Hodgepodge of 2017! If you would like to link up, click on the button below and head over to Joyce’s, our hostess with the most-est!

From this Side of the Pond 

1. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’  What’s something you’ve seen recently that you thought was beautiful?

Mrs. Schmenkman posted this on the Facebook yesterday! They are having full on spring down in Virginia!!!!! Beautiful!

2. Our culture and beauty…your thoughts?

I think our culture focuses WAY too much on what a person looks like on the outside, and WAY too little attention on developing the inside. There are a lot of ignorant, shallow, crude, unkind, stupid, dishonest, pretty people out there. I remember one year at my Bible study they had a page of verses for developing character over physical traits. That’s what we should be more concerned with, beautiful hearts and souls.
3. Age before beauty, beauty queen, beauty mark, beauty sleep…which beauty-ful phrase resonates with you today? Why?

I would LOVE some beauty sleep! In this ever changing life stage I find myself in, sleep and beauty are becoming hard work.. Sleep seems to be optional, with no rhyme or reason for disruption. As far as looks go, I’m just putting out fires here! Loss of skin elasticity, strange spots, new products designed to restore, repair and revitalize, it’s all Temple Maintenance from here on out!

4. I read here a list of the top ten beasts animals that scare us the most-
alligators, coyotes, black bears, birds (but pigeons in particular), sharks, bats, bed bugs, rats, rattlesnakes, and the black widow spider.
Which ‘beast’ on the list scares you the most? What is the liklihood of you having an actual encounter with that particular beast? Did a movie contribute to your fear of this creature? Have you ever had a real life encounter with any of the animals listed?

Wow, I think you about nailed all of my animal fears here Joyce! Sharks, alligators and rattle snakes scare me the most and bedbugs and rats creep me out pretty bad. The likelihood of an interaction with any of them is very slim, THANK GOODNESS!!!!

Jaws came out when I was in 7th grade and I have never comfortably swam in the ocean again. I’m ok with that, there are other bitey things in there anyway! I am not a huge fan of swooping birds either and the movie probably has more than a little to do with that. I saw it when I was very young, maybe 5, when we were visiting friends. Way to supervise the kids Folks!

I have never had a real life encounter with any of the above, although a bird did poop on my hand at MGM Grand theme park, that was bad enough.

5. Where were you when you last heard a bell ring? Was it alarming or musical?

A particularly loud cell phone with a bell ring tone went off during lecture at Bible Study Fellowship last week. It was a little alarming because it took the gal forever to find her phone and turn it off!
6. What’s your favorite carb? How’s that for random?

I am really missing carbs these days. I am one week away from completing The Whole 30, a diet devoid of most carbs and all happiness. Right now my favorite carbs seem to be the cherry chip cupcakes sitting on my island. They are tempting me MIGHTILY, but I have not succumbed. I did put 2 of them and a piece of my Dad’s pineapple upside down birthday cake in the freezer to enjoy after my time of confinement is over. I.Can’t.Wait. I also do love a crunchy kettle chip.
7. Let’s wrap up another month of Hodgepodging and life with an acrostic. Recap your month using the word MARCH.

Many kinds of Michigan weather! Freezing cold, 70s, damaging winds and much rain!

Absolutely missing dairy on this diet!!!!!

Remake of Beauty and the Beast. The original was huge around our house back in the day. We quite enjoyed it!

Correspondence with The Boy! We are pen pals!

Hungry, a fitting end.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Here’s the Way Back When-sday part of the post.

The Boy and his wife, The Dane, are expecting a baby this summer! As I mentioned, he and I have been writing letters to each other. Michigan and Washington state are far apart and he suggested we should kick it old school and use the U.S. Postal Service to write down some thoughts.

In his previous letter he was saying how excited he is to meet his child and asking me some of my recollections while waiting for my first baby. In my last letter, I sent him a couple pictures of himself as a newborn and a 6 month old, along with a picture of myself, rocking a sweeeeeet Osh Kosh BGosh maternity jumper, at 9 1/2 months pregnant!  They made that boy come out, he was not showing any signs of vacating the premises!


And here he is at 6 months, precious little Buddy Bear!


Time flies so quickly!

Thanks for stopping by.


Way Back When-sday Hodgepodge


Hi Guys, welcome to another edition of Wednesday Hodgepodge. My thanks to Joyce for hosting and giving us something to talk about!

From this Side of the Pond

1. Setting aside the real March Madness (NCAA Basketball) describe something happening at your house this month that might earn the title ‘March Madness’?

I am participating in the Whole 30 diet this month and I’ve got to say it’s madness, or just maddening. I wrote about some of my observations here. I understand why they call it whole 30, as in whole foods, nothing artificial or contraband, but I feel like a more apt title is the Less 30. Mama is cranky. Anyway, I am focusing my laser like attention on April 4th. I will celebrate by putting cream back into my tea. Hallelujah!!

2. What’s a favorite made up word from your childhood or a favorite from your children’s childhood? Does your family still use the word today? If there’s a story behind the origin please share.

Our kids did not typically make up the word, they usually just mispronounced the word. Honey is the word maker upper around here. Things like joofered (which means all screwed up) and ESKATA and SABADASKA, that are usually yelled loudly and can mean several things, surprise, anger, victory. I have heard these words coming out of the mouths of our children as well.

My brother Beeve combined a couple words when he was a young boy. He once indignantly said “Well, evidentually you just don’t know!” I still use that one.

3. Will you be doing any spring cleaning now that the season is upon us? I read here a list of 15 quick (under one hour) spring cleaning tasks. They were-
clean out a drawer, vacuum furniture, whiten tile grout, dust the nooks and crannies you don’t get to year round, degrease kitchen cabinets, wipe down walls, go behind furniture, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum the mattress, clean the range hood, wash baseboards, shine the stainless steel, clean out vents, tackle the windows, and wipe down gadgets

Of the fifteen ‘quick’ tasks listed which two most need doing at your house? Will you do them?

I of do a lot of these things when I notice they have gotten out of hand! All it takes is a bright, sunny day to make me realize that we have very productive spiders in our foyer!

Our windows need to be cleaned but it’s probably too soon to tackle that. April will be a better time.

The other afternoon I was sitting by the window with Mousey having a conversation and  noticed the wood blinds and the window panes behind them were a little ….furry. That probably means that our fans need a little attention as well. In my defense, we have 4 cats, we will never be fur free around here.

I will get to it shortly.:)

4. A favorite movie set in Paris or New York?

Easy peasy, You’ve Got Mail, set in New York City.

5. What’s put a spring in your step this month?

Honey says he is officially retiring in one year, let the countdown begin!

6. Did you ever want to be a teacher? Why or why not?

I am sure I entertained the thought at some point but not enough to put any rubber to the road. I did not particularly enjoy school but I have definitely benefitted from some wonderful teachers, our children as well. The Ab-Cat is currently a para professional at an elementary school and I hear about the challenges the teachers and staff face on a regular basis. There seems to be a lot more dysfunction than I remember, for myself or our kids. Teachers have a difficult job meshing learning, personalities, behavior, and encouraging students to catch the excitement of experiencing new things. My hat is off to them. The naughty kids would do me in.

7.  What’s your favorite floral scent? Do you have this somewhere in your home or maybe in a perfume? How do you feel about florals in food? How about wines with floral notes-yay or nay?

I am not a gal who likes a lot of smells around me. No air fresheners, limited candles, rare perfume. Some smells actually give me headaches, and I’m talking to you lady with the heavy handed perfume squirter. I like floral smells in nature, not in food and I don’t drink wine.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Here is the Way Back When-sday part of the post.

A big Happy Birthday goes out to my Dad this week! Here he is with two year old Ab-Cat, his special girl! My folks were wonderful about helping with our children, but they kept Abby for us two days a week while I was still working, and it created a very strong bond. I showed him this picture when he came to get his haircut earlier this week. He said “Awww, there’s my Little Love!”


Grandfather extraordinaire! Games, swimming, Barbie’s, you name it, he played it.

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Faithful is a word that comes to mind. In family, in faith and in life.

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Patient applies as well!


We will celebrate him this weekend with dinner and his favorite, pineapple upside down cake.



With his best friend, Mrs. H.


Happy Happy Birthday Dad/Grandpa!! You are VERY loved!!!!!!!


Thanks for stopping by!

The Whole 30


On March 6th I started the Whole 30 Diet. I am living for April 6th.

My natural path doctor recommended it to see if it makes any difference with inflammation and pain. It is supposed to detoxify your system as well as identify any foods that could be triggering any problems.

They really should just call it the Omit diet. You omit wheat, rice, corn, all beans except green, and even supposedly healthy grains like Quinoa.

Also omitted are sugars. Regular, of course, but also the somewhat legal sugars (in Paleo anyway) of honey, coconut sugar and pure maple syrup, along with fake sugars (no surprise there) like aspartame, saccharine and Splenda. The part here that has caused me endless grief is they also banned Truvia, made from almost universally accepted stevia. I understand they are trying to break your dependency on sweet things, but I already know I have multiple sweet teeth and banning EVERYTHING just makes me cranky and fills me with sadness and discontent. No hot morning beverage was more than I could bear. I confessed to the doctor that I was having a cup of tea in the morning with 2 packets of contraband Truvia. I consider it a win because it is STILL not sweet enough. She did not say one word. She must have learned not to kick a woman when she’s down, or poke the bear. Whatever.

They also omit dairy. This is straw that is breaking my camel’s back. I have low carbed in some fashion or another for many, many years, and the silver lining of joy and happiness in the low carb world is DAIRY. No cream, no cheese, no mayo or sour cream, no yummy sauces to make food delicious. I was suffering through my morning tea with no cream. All the websites said to try full fat coconut milk, you’ll love it they cheered brightly! Yeah, still suffering. Who are these lying people????

No MSG, soy, or contraband oils. Recipes on Pinterest show too many sweet potatoes, chunks of avocado, vegetables I have never heard of and unappealing others. I made a ranch dressing with coconut milk that everyone online RAVED about. It tastes like it is rancid. Beets, continuous eggs in all forms, salmon, squash, lamb. I long for a burger. And Chip and Dip!

You might be wondering what is left. Well, there is good food to be had, but it is plain and sautéed with tears and regret. Meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts and seeds. I have been living on my banana pancakes, soup and Honey’s stir fry. We did have a pot roast with potatoes and carrots last week and it was DA licious! I took mine out before the gravy was made and I still enjoyed it very much.

I have discovered 2 new things; ghee (legal clarified butter) and Mousey and I have successfully waded into homemade sweet potato chip territory. Eating out is very tricky and I have just resorted to Mediterranean for the duration.

This is a hilarious look at what to expect while participating! A timeline of feelings and angst, breaking it down by days. I have 13 more days to go.

So far I don’t feel any better, and while there are wild reports of up to14 lbs of weight loss, I have lost maybe 2 pounds. The doctor says I am in the valley where people most often quit. I told her I would soldier on so I can say I have done it.  I’ll just be over here, quietly detoxifying and feeling sorry for myself.

A List!


Now that the vacation memories have been posted I feel like I have odds and ends to share. Smells like a list to me.

It was evidently beautiful and warm in The Mitten while we were in Florida. It has only been cold, snowy and rainy since our return. There has been sunshine, but it has been nippy. I have observed a lot of chirpy, happy, spring is coming type posts on Facebook, but I have lived in Michigan long enough to know that the spring date is merely a suggestion.

I have been doing a little shredding for Honey. He has rigged up a contraption to make the job easier.


We have already filled up one whole bag with stuff from the late 80s and 90s! I have been shredding a lot of returned checks, remember when they returned them? Because I can only do 2 or 3 at a time I find myself looking at who they were made out to, and that has been rather interesting! And sad. I have come across a lot made out to my Mom and to our friend Michelle, who passed away last fall. She was a Creative Memories consultant and I made good use of her services. There are also lots of checks to the kids school and Scholastic for book orders, and about a gajillion to Meijer and Target. A little snapshot of our life. I also shredded a lot of financial papers and was reminded that Honey started putting away money for savings and the kids education from the start! I am so thankful for Honey and his skills!


In our study of John at BSF we have been learning more about The Holy Spirit. I love learning about this. The Holy Spirit and His conviction is one of the things I am most thankful for in life. I asked Jesus to be my Savior when I was a young girl and spent the next 20 or so years having doubts I did it “right”. As I intentionally started walking with the Lord, I realized that the still, small voice that I heard and felt was guiding me in life and causing me to recognize when I was not doing the right thing. It gave me such assurance! I know the enemy is not convicting me of my failings to bring me to repentance and restoration, he only wants me to suffer from guilt and condemnation. I know the enemy does not give me true direction and joy, he only lives to create disaster, dissention and division.


I am God’s child!!! This is how I can be sure! The enemy is NOT testifying with my spirit that I belong to God, I’ll tell you that!

We are in the dog days of winter and I find I have no gumption to do much of anything. I am ‘in a relationship’ with Netflix. I seem to be slightly obsessed with watching Bones and The Great British Bakeoff. I know, what a combination.

Bones reminds me somewhat of my previous obsession with CSI Miami. Mindlessly watching others figure out crimes and cleverly solving murders. It has its place.

The Great British Bakeoff is an education of a different sort! Probably not the best thing to be watching in my current state of dietary incarceration (more about that tomorrow!)

These are the hosts, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. I love listening to them talk about food, it’s almost hypnotic! They use words I don’t know, the contestants cook things I have never heard of, and yet I am oddly fascinated.


The contestants are usually darling and so sweet and generally helpful to each other. One of my favorite things at the moment.

Ok, I need to scoot, be back tomorrow with the diet post.

Tale End of Vacation-Part 3


The Boy and The Dane were supposed to leave on Saturday morning, but there was some kind of weather event going on out west and their flight kept getting delayed. While at breakfast The Dane alerted us that all the changes were going to cause them to miss their connecting flight, so the nice employee at Southwest said that spending the night in some airport was too much of a hardship and booked them on another flight the next morning. Thank you for flying Southwest!

FREE DAY!!!!!!!!!!

There was some Bothering at that same breakfast. He learned from The Master. his father.


That hair. I have no words.


They lovin’.


Love this picture of me and my girl baby!


The middle seat sharers.


The Boy had this idea that we should draw each other whilst not looking down. It is way harder than it sounds and produced some hilarious pictures! I think this was his drawing of Mousey. Never has our girl looked worse! He dyin’! This happened twice and produced many laughs!


Mousey offered a family portrait. I love this so bad! I think she was struggling with the humidity there.

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Sibling selfie. Or two-sy, them-my.. I never know what they are called.


The Ab-Cat wanted to try a Cubano, so Honey did some research and found a joint that was in the top 10 of Ft Myers. Cross another thing off her bucket list, she is on fire!!! I’m sorry but I can’t remember the name of the place. I think it was near-ish to the airport.


By the second Tuesday all of the offspring had returned to their place of origin and it was just me and my boyfriend. He continued the catching and releasing.


We also did a large amount of visiting model homes and met with a realtor one day to view some some existing homes in a community we have had our eye on. We are not sure exactly what we want, but we are expanding our list of what we don’t. So….progress.


We enjoyed eating, as we always do. I think we had ice cream pretty much every day. And twice one day because The Dane had a …..need.

We always love vacationing in Florida, loved spending some time with Uncle Bob and Aunt Phyllis, and were so happy all of the kids made it down at one time or another! A good trip!


And it got even better for Honey on the way home! It has always been his desire to get “bumped” from a flight! Unfortunately, the only times it was offered, there were reasons he could not accept. It was his lucky day!!!


His joy was almost made complete when there was talk of another “bump” at the Indianapolis airport! That one would involve them putting us up in a hotel overnight. I was a little apprehensive, but agreed. It didn’t actually happen and I would be lying if I didn’t confess I was a little relieved. I had no clothes, makeup or even a hairbrush! Honey could have cared less about all that, but I would have felt…. disheveled! In the future, I will be more mindful of my packing on the trip home!

There you have it, our 2017 Spring Vacation, it’s a wrap! Thanks for taking me Honey!!!

Doing Some Things-Vacation Part 2


The house we rented had several things to do, a pool table, warm swimming pool, dock for sunning and fitchin’, places to read and play games, close walking proximity to the beach and the Cape Coral Pier. We managed.

The Boy, The Dane and I played several games of Bananagrams. I totally cheated and worked this one!


With everyone coming and going, we only had one full day when everyone was there. We arranged to head across the state to visit with my Girl Cousin Lindsay and her husband Rob B.,also known as Team Levine! They added a new member to their team in November and everyone wanted to get their hands on the beebee!

Mousey with their new little one, another Girl Cousin! I think I am going to need to be around her again to be able to give her a blog name. She has her own name, but it’s probably not my business to put it out there for the whole wide internet! We will call her BeeBee for this post.


Ab-Cat and the little PINK princess! She already has several tutus.


Uncle Bob and Aunt Phyllis were there too, and they made a yummy lunch for us all!


Finally got my mitts on her!

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We passed her around like a football and she was an Angel Baby!


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Aunt Phyllis and her FIRST grandbaby!

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Girl Cousin Lindsay is so enjoying being a mama!


One can already sense that Rob B. is completely wrapped around her finger!


Welcome to the family Little One!


The new and expanded, Team Levine!


Vacation 2017 Part 1


It seems like we have been home from vacation longer than two weeks. but the calendar insists that is so. They had been having loverly warm temperatures in The Mitten pert near the whole time we were gone, but on the night we arrived home it was FREAKING SNOWING! Just a little, but I had on sandals, and I noticed.

I have to say that I was not very good about taking pictures. I seem to have a lot of certain things, where I was making an effort, and then none of other things where we were living in the moment. That is what has happened since I don’t carry the big camera around anymore. There are pros and cons to having a camera phone.

I’m going back to the beginning because something fun happened at Detroit Metro Airport, right after we cleared security! Honey and I had an early flight and since he requires we be at the airport extra early when travelling, we usually eat in the terminal to save time at home and fill time there. The last few years we have just gone and had a super classy McDonald’s breakfast, which does the job until we arrive in Ft Myers and go for lunch.

We were waiting in line to order when Honey turned around to say something to me and heard “I thought that was you!!” We were so surprised and happy to see an old friend from two churches we attended together! It was so surreal! She introduced us to her husband and we dined together, then chatted at the gate until boarding. What a pleasure to catch up on lives and kids and her many grandchildren! We have probably not seen each other in 17 years!

Hi Deb!!! Such a kiss on the cheek from God!

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After arriving in Ft Myers, Honey and I secured the rental car (MANY snafus there) ate lunch, went to Winn Dixie to get snacks and beverages, and then arrived at our rental house in Cape Coral.

At dark thirty on Sunday morning we went back to the airport to pick up The Boy and The Dane from Washington state! After breakfast we headed back to the house where all had a nap. They wanted to go to the flea market and that was the only day available, so off we went. At some point we dined at Reuben’s Smokehouse, yummy! Ribs, pot roast and the guys had smoked turkey and mashed potatoes. Honey said he would gladly eat there again!


We visited Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s summer homes one day. This is a blog post I found on the internet that tells you a little bit about the property and has pictures. Everybody was impressed with this tree!




The Dane is growing nicely! And everyone is happy that she is feeling MUCH better. Her morning sickness was brutal for the first few months.



We took an unguided tour and had to listen through these devices as we were told a little about these two families. We had been before several years ago with Mousey. A couple things I recall from this trip;

Mina Edison was a prolific letter writer to many people. She wrote to some every day! This was particularly interesting to me and The Boy, as we are embarking on correspondence ourselves!

I also loved the story of the Edison cook. I took a picture of her name and looked her up online but I must have deleted the picture and now I can not find hide nor hair of her. It named a couple of the specialties she was known for, one being a cake, and mentioned how the Edison’s loved her and her cooking and convinced her to join them in their home in New Jersey until she became ill. They then helped her to get back to Ft Myers to be with her family until she passed away.

I also liked how Mina Edison asked people to bring friendship stepping stones to make a path in her garden. Such a nice remembrance of loved ones. Some of the words have worn off but they are still there.

Listening to the facts.


He kept saying “Hey! I’m on the phone!” Our first cell phone was bigger than that!


On Tuesday it was back to the airport to pick up Mousey!


We didn’t cook much down there, mostly breakfast and BLTs, that left us open for dinner out! We met up with Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Bob in Naples at Bricktops, we always enjoy it there! It was Mousey’s graduation from college dinner, per her request. Nothing says Happy Graduation like ribs, fries and mac and cheese!

This was one of my favorite pictures of the whole trip!

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I liked these two as well. I couldn’t decide which one was my favorite, so you got both! My blog!!!



Then on Thursday it was back to the airport to pick up The Ab-Cat! She crossed something off her bucket list by flying down ALONE!!!


I think I will stop here, to be continued.

52 List Project


List the ways you love to have fun.

Having fun is one of my favorites! Laughter and amusement make life SO much better.

One of the things that drew me to Honey was his sense of humor, and it has been one of the most important ingredients in our marriage ever since. Sometimes laughing and having fun can help you navigate the tough times. I actually feel sorry for some who seem to be fun challenged, what a sad life that must be.

When I think about having fun, it almost always involves just spending time with family and friends. Visiting. Being. You can’t schedule hilarity, it usually saunters into the room when no one is looking and BOOM, fun happens!

I have decided that fun is portable. We have had a lot of fun in places and situations where that was not the intention, and that makes the joy even more delicious!

Here are some ways I love to have fun, in no particular order, because that would be too hard.

Lunch or dinner with friends. I find catching up, sharing what we are learning about the Lord, walking through life together, fun! I like thoughtful, clever, creative, interesting, funny people, and when you invest in each other over the years, there is a lot of fun occurring!

Games. I like to play cards, board games and even Heads Up on the iPhone! There has been a lot of laughing and visiting going on over the years at the table!

Bible study does not sound like it would be fun but, I have to say, it really is! Learning about God’s plans for this life and the next can be hard, but it is also stimulating and exciting. I have learned more in the last 18 years than in all the previous years of my life. And I have met some fun people to share life with!!! That God, He has a sense of humor!

I think blogging is fun! I love having this journal of our life. Occasionally I go back and read what I have written in years past and I am always so glad that I started writing in this space. It’s fun to read the little things I may have already forgotten, see the blog-tography that would never get developed, remember the way things were in that slice of time.

As I think about this, I am realizing that having fun is not so much tied to activities, it is tied to people. I don’t so much care about what we are doing. Some of the funnest times in my life have been in cars, around tables, on couches, and gathered around all the many beloved groups of people the Lord had given us to share this journey of life with.

Fun is my favorite.