Monthly Archives: November 2014

Random 5 Friday ~ old toys and traditions

It’s Friday! Time for 5 Random thoughts!  Here we go ~

1.  As is our tradition, the Grand kids spent time going through the various Holiday fliers and circling items for their “wish” lists.   I remember doing this with the Sears Wish Book as a girl.  In fact, my sisters and I would spend hours poring through the book and dreaming of so many pretty things in our stockings come Christmas morning.

Grandkids making 2014 Xmas lists

MJ and AB happily circling …an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2. Oldest boy took this picture before we all dished up yesterday – he’s so much taller than me that I’ve never ever seen my stove from this high up!  I would have to stand on a step-stool to do so.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! He’s 6”3 1/2″ and towers down over my stove.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3.  I don’t care how much prepping I do ahead of time the work is done the day of the Holiday ~ I stand and simmer and stir ~ for hours on end.  I love to cook and lose track of time but it’s no wonder I slept so well last night :).


I felt like this last night!

4.  As our grandson was happily playing new games I’d downloaded to my tablet, I asked our grand-daughter if she might like to play with my Barbie horses.  You see, we keep some Barbies and other toys here but, like me, she’s not into fashion shows or shopping.  Her eyes widened when my 40+ year old horses – Thunderbolt and Pancho – arrived on the scene.  Before long she had established a kitchen chair as the stable and her adventures had begun!

Happy to share my childhood toys with her! An Emjayandthem (C)  photo

Happy to share my childhood toys with my MJ! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

5.  I’m not a wine girl but this made me giggle.  And with that, I’m off to a date night with Hubbs and a big juicy burger!

all about the baste

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving!  Do you remember the Sears Wish book?  What childhood toys have you shared or encouraged in your children and grand-children?  How does a burger sound right about now?


Categories: Attitude, Family, Fun, Holidays, Home, Love, Personal, Random, Random observations, Share, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Thankful for my glass

After a 5 hour road trip yesterday I was nearly too tired to make the cheese ball.  Until youngest boy reminded me that this is, after all, the official start of the cheese ball season.  So they are made and desserts will be prepped today.  We’ll gather with friends later tonight for easy eats and a raucous visit.  A cozy sleep and this cook will be up early to stuff the bird and play with the Grands. I’ll have two little kitchen helpers to saute and stir – while chatting and giggling and checking on the boys and football.

A gentle reminder from a friend that time of year is difficult for many. Not everyone enjoys a close family or a host of good friends and, for some, the holidays can bring intense loneliness and sadness.  Loved ones who have passed on are missed more than ever.   So on this Thanksgiving Eve I say this – “Go where you’re celebrated, not just where you’re tolerated.”

Set aside the “how it’s supposed to be,” and the “melon collie” and if you’d like a warm & noisy seat at our Holiday table please consider this is your virtual invite.



I'm thankful.

I’m thankful.

I’m happy to have a glass and am willing to share it – Happy Franksgiving everyone!

 An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Our dog Frankie. An Emjayandthem(C) photo


Ephesians 5:20 – Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord.

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Holidays, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Sunday in threes

1. From breaking a century-old record for November snowfall last week to 50F and rain today – what a weather swing we’ve had here in west Michigan!  I woke up to an uncommon sound for this time of year  – the drip – drip – drip – of rain. Bizarre. But the coffee sure tastes good this morning.

big cups...

big cups…

2. Making the grocery list this morning, I realized we’re only a few days from Thanksgiving.  It snuck up on me, again!  I blame the Christmas ads and holiday music for the distraction.  We’ll have our boys and grands – just the 6 of us – so it’s time to get out the cloth napkins, crystal bowls and decorations :).  And, as youngest boy happily announced, this week marks the official start of Cheese ball season!  For my recipe (and his favorite appetizer), click here for my Look No Further Cheese ball recipe. 

one end of her table

Grandma’s Holiday table .. it took her days to set up!

3. I finally bought a tablet! No, not the AARP one, although that was tempting. has a great deal on a 10″ tablet – in my color choice which was  purple.  It arrived Friday and I have been happily playing around with it ever since.  For more on the deal, click here.


What are your Thanksgiving plans?  Any new toys land in your lap?  What food kicks off the Holiday season for your family?

..a cute lil' cheeseball .. all dressed up for the Holiday!

..a cute lil’ cheeseball .. all dressed up for the Holiday!






Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Faith, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Products I love, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Karma and Snow

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 Random thoughts! Here we go!

1. Remember last Friday when I referenced how pitiful Hubbs was with his cold? Yeah, I should not have done that. About noon it hit me – a tightening between the shoulder blades – and with hot eyes and hurting everything, I headed for home. Not before I stopped for essentials like groceries, Puffs and dinner.  And yes I felt the wheels of the Karma bus back right on over me.

2. Sorting through some stuff lately, I came across my hot rollers.   Bear in mind I have naturally curly hair. Like, really curly. Holds a curl for days.  I’ve had the rollers since college, they still work, and every once in a while I’ll roll my hair just to see what happens.   If I’m feeling adventurous I’ll add hair spray and double it in size.   I can see myself doing this for years and years and years.    No idea why.

circa 1983

Hot Rollers ~ circa 1982;

rockin the 80s hairdo as the "singer in the band" An Emjayandthem (C) photo

30 years ago ~ rockin the 80s hairdo as the “singer in the band.” An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3. Lately I’ve been enjoying TV shows that demonstrate decorating on a budget. You see I have no ability in the home decor  department.  That gene skipped me.  No, I was too busy riding my pony and pretending to be “Billy Jack  than be caught inside doing artsy stuff. So it was not a proud moment when I realized that most of the things we own are on Decorators “do not do” list.   Yep, decorating wise, I need help and lots of it.

Yes we have some silk plants.  We also have a fake Christmas tree, too!

Yes we have some silk plants. We also have a fake Christmas tree!

4.   I like making lists and checking things off so, generally speaking, I don’t procrastinate.  But this was funny!


5.  All in all, it was a bit of a rough week and I’m glad Friday is here.  None of us felt great, it was -something zero outside every day and we got pounded with snow.  Case in point, one day it took 65 min. to drive 7 miles to the office.   No snowmen yet, but I can see why things like this could happen:

And how was your week? What styling aids have you owned or used for 30+ years?  Please tell me you have silk plants, too!

Categories: Beauty, Determination, Family, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Life Lessons, Patriotic, Self Discovery, Snarky, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments


You know you are winter-strong when you hear others comment, “We got a foot and a half of snow in 3 days.” “Yeah, I know, but hey – at least we’re not in Buffalo!”

This week’s record-breaking storm tells a tale unlike any I’ve heard before.  To support the American Red Cross  shelters for those impacted, click here.



“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Categories: Charity, Faith, Family, fear, News, Random, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

It’s the cliches that cause the trouble

10 years have passed since he left us. 10 years.

And despite what people say, time doesn’t heal everything – it never gets easier, missing someone you love. You just get through it and, over the years, you get used to the ache that remains.

For those of you who didn’t know my Dad, let me tell you a little about him. His name was Lloyd.

He put cookies in his pocket & kept licorice and peppermints in the truck. He didn’t go anywhere without a favorite cap or a little grin on his face. He loved people, but he had a soft spot for children and animals, especially dogs. He taught me where to find Saskatoon berries, to appreciate the land we farmed, to be fearless, to drive a stick shift, to read the sky, and to dance while standing on his toes. He taught me girls could do anything but that it was perfectly OK to look like one, too, and without too much makeup. He taught me that doors should be opened for ladies and that if someone came into the yard and honked they could just keep on driving. He taught me to be helpful, to fix what I could, to re-use what I had, to preserve what was good and to let go what wasn’t. He taught me real men cry, cherish their wives, tickle their children, and are playful, gentle and loyal. Dad loved to dance, kid around, make up silly songs and laugh; most of all, he loved his wife and every single one of us kids and all grand kids and greats, friends, family and neighbors. He was a man of few words. He didn’t need them I suppose. His actions spoke volumes. He showed up.

my Dad as a young man; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

Dad as a young man; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

As much as I long to hear his voice and see his kind face, I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for the gift of a kind and loving father. Who gets that? We did. So lucky.

“You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?”
― Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

Who are you missing today?

Categories: Faith, Family, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Men, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Random 5 Friday and a time for Home

It’s Friday! Time for 5 random thoughts. Here we go!

1.  Hubbs has a cold.  Call the CDC.  Seriously. He’s moaning and limping around as if he’s dying. Every move is announced.  Every. Move.  I’m doing my best to help and comfort him but … it could be a long winter.

Vicks, Puffs and a hot toddy ~ he'll be OK

Vicks, Puffs and a hot toddy ~ he’ll be OK

2.  Like other parts of the country, winter slammed into us on Monday.  Employees in ‘da U.P. (that’s Yooper for people who live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) received 35-42 inches of snow in 2 days.  Yesterday, here in Grand Rapids, we got a light dusting and everyone lost their minds and forgot how to drive.  It could be a long winter.

Photo from

3.  At the office we had some difficulty switching our system from a/c to heat.  Last year we switched it on our own and managed to successfully blow cold air …  harder.  It’s finally pushing  heat and employees are no longer wearing “Oliver Twist” gloves at their desks.   It could be a long winter.

It was that cold. Image from

It was that cold. Image from

4.  When I was a kid we couldn’t wait for winter!   We couldn’t wait to use our toboggans and super slider snow skates and crazy carpets.  And snow days?  Snow days were the BEST!  Farm kids were designated a “town buddy” to stay with if bad weather picked up -as it often did.  And who could forget two – count ’em – two whole weeks off for Christmas break to snowmobile, snowshoe, ski, skate, slide and more? Now – as an adult – winter is just not as much fun. It’s work. The “s” words that brought so much joy have been replaced with new ones: scrape, slide, swear and soldier through.  Every year I try to get out to do some of the fun “s” words but … It could be a long winter.

I remember winter like this.

5. On a positive note, our house feels very cozy, I’ve got plenty of books and projects to keep me busy and, once Hubbs feels better, fireside chats will return.  Maybe it won’t be a long winter after all.


Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell


Which “S” words do you associate with winter?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Family, Fun, Growth, Joy, Quotes, Random, Relationships, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

The man in the picture on the wall

As a child, I remember snippets of him. Always said  in a hushed whisper. I was too young to understand the whispers were said in reverence.

I remember his picture on the wall and learning, over the years, just who that handsome young man was. Morris, Uncle Soren and Aunt Nora’s son, Dad’s cousin, Grandma and Grandpa’s nephew, lost in the war.

Like many of their generation, they rarely spoke of him.   Too painful.  Dad would shake his head and leave the room.

But that picture .. it remained on the wall.

And every year when Dad and others attended Remembrance Day ceremonies and helped place the wreaths in memory, I think he was there.

He became more than just the man in the picture on the wall.

Thank you, Morris. An Emjayandthem (C) photo.

LEST WE FORGET the man in the picture on the wall. Pilot Officer Air Gunner Morris Soren Forsberg. Killed in Action June 6, 1944. Buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking, Surrey, England. An Emjayandthem (C) photo.

Thank you, Morris.



Categories: Faith, Family, Gratitude, Grief, Life, Men, Patriotic, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Hard choices

“It’s too hard.”

How many times have you heard these words?

Maybe it was you who said them.

Or a spouse, child or co-worker.

Some things are hard.

Living in pain. Financial challenges. Emotional upheavals. Relationship struggles.

Other things are really … not that hard.  It’s just perspective.

My regular readers know I’ve been exercising and eating healthier most of the time. I’m feeling the results.   Clothes are looser, my face is leaner, and my rings spin.  I sleep great. I feel w-e-l-l.

Unlike prior attempts, this is no longer a temporary fix, this must be a lifelong choice for me.

Where the challenges come are when we’re out with friends.  Last night at bowling, for example, someone thoughtfully ordered snacks for the table.  Everything was fried and everything was delicious.  But this morning, I can feel the grease and salt.

Today’s a new day.  And I’m making the hard choices, again.

Have you taken a more active role in your health? What obstacles do you face in meeting your goals?







Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Determination, Faith, fear, Food, Growth, Life, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

R5F … and corn

It’s Friday! It’s Random! Time for five random thoughts.

Random Five Friday pic

1. 48 shopping days left till Christmas.  I know, I thought the same thing: why rush it? First of all, Thanksgiving is next.  We’ll gather together and enjoy my favorite meal.  There’s no gifting stresses and no mess to clean up.  And – everything tastes even better the next day.  I’ll have pie with my coffee, read blogs and shop online, and avoid the madness that is Black Friday. 

2. Switching the radio from a steady stream of political ads last week, I stumbled upon Christmas music.  On two stations!  Sorry Frosty, not yet.

Hold the tunes, pls.

Hold the tunes, pls.

3.  I love corn. Corn-on-the-cob, kernel corn with butter and black pepper, creamed corn and of course, popcorn.  I love corn.  For the most decadent creamed-corn recipe possible, head on over to Leah’s place.  It’s been part of our holiday meals since 2011 :).

4.   The local radio station asked listeners to share their quirks.  Example:  the DJ said he always puts on his to-go coffee cup lid so it’s pointed away from the seam.  All I could think was, “Doesn’t everyone?”   I do have a coffee quirk, though. After I pour it, I microwave it for 30 seconds.  I like my coffee hot.  Not burn your thigh off hot, just hot.  Yep, I might be quirky, too.

5. Saw this and laughed out loud. Pretty sure you will, too.  Have a great day, friends:

Hubbs changed a light bulb this week. He's my hero! :)

Hubbs changed a light bulb without even being asked. He’s my hero! 🙂

And how was your week?  What are some of your quirks?  Do you love corn, too?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Elections, Family, Food, Fun, Holidays, Humor, Joy, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Random, Recipes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Fearless Radicalism

I’ve never been radical but I’ve always been fearless.

Fearless enough to venture far, far away from the nest and find my way.

Fearless enough to study for and pass my U.S. citizenship test with flying colors.

Appreciating the privilege, I’ve never not voted.


Yes the phone calls and flyers, negative ads and people at the door can get annoying.

And yes, there are items on the ballot I don’t care much about  — like who serves on the Board of Regents for various public colleges.

But most things I do.

And I’m so grateful to have a say.

So today, I’ll be late for work because I am stopping to vote first.  I’ll chat with the poll workers who know me by name and just that experience right there will put a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

As a citizen of this country for only six years, maybe I am a little bit radical.

fearless radicalism_womens vote

“Resolved, that the women of this nation in 1876, have greater cause for discontent, rebellion and revolution than the men of 1776.” – Susan B. Anthony.

God Bless America, Land that I love || Stand beside her,  and guide her || Thru the night with a light from above

From the the prairies || To the oceans..White with foam || God Bless America! ||   My Home Sweet Home

You voting today?


Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Politics, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Time changes everything

We never changed our clocks where I grew up. Never.  So it was weird for me when I first lived in other places.  What is this you speak of?  Fall back? Spring what?

Now I live in the western-most part of the Eastern time zone and our summer nights seem to last forever. But once we do the “fall back” the days feel like they’re about 6 hours long.

It will be nice to wake up to sunlight tomorrow but it will be dark when I get home from work. ~sigh~

funny clock

On that note, one of the many nuggets I picked up at the conference last week was this one — A.A.R.P. is launching their own tablet geared for technology fearful seniors.  Check out the Real Pad here.

I made a note in the margin of my papers and explored the site later on. It was in watching the demo and finding myself excited by the features and the price ($189) that I realized, at 51, I’m one of the seniors they’re targeting.

Time changes. Everything.

I feel so fortunate to have seen both Johnny Cash and  Ray Charles perform their music live in my lifetime.   Johnny when I was 9 and Ray when I was 20.  Today, there’s no one touring I’d buy a ticket for.   Time changes. Everything.

source Legacy

Johnny Cash & Ray Charles; source Legacy





Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, halloween, Humor, Life Lessons, music, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Share, Thoughts, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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