Thursday, February 28, 2013

Buffet Food Signs

When we had our 50th birthday party (that sounds like I'm the queen of England, talking about "our" birthday party... both Bob and I had our 50th birthdays four days apart, so that's why is used the word "our") ...anyway, as I was saying, when we had our birthday party, I made some little chalkboard buffet signs because we had several different kinds of cake. I wanted people to know what they were eating.

The signs were easy to make, and I'll be able to use them again for other events.

I had Bob cut out several little pieces of wood with his magic laser machine. I think you could find little wood shapes at Joann's or Hobby Lobby, or even online.

I spray-painted the wood signs with spray chalkboard paint. They covered really well, but I gave them three good, solid coats, just to be sure.

After they dried, I chalked down the surfaces, then wiped it off with a soft cloth. This gave them all  more of a used chalkboard look, and also made it so that if I were using chalk on them, they would be easier to erase.

I ended up using a Bistro Chalk Marker that I got at Joann's. I like the look of the sharp lines, instead of chalk, since these were on the small side.

And voila... the finished product, just waiting for the scrumptious cake! I found the tiny easels at Joann's, too.

After the party, I wiped the little signs down with a wet cloth, and now we're back to blank signs. I think they will be useful for other parties, but I also may use them for a little talent show/art display we have coming up in Activity Days.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February Week 4: Hygiene Items

This week's food storage/emergency prep item is:

February Week 4: Hygiene Items -- soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotions, shaving supplies, toothpaste, nail clippers

This one is pretty simple, and the amount you store would be the same for the past weeks... store what you will use in the coming year. Buy in bulk at Costco, or look through the sales and see where you can get the best deals. I have a small bin that I keep smaller items in (like shaving supplies, deodorant and nail clippers). You might wonder why you would have a perfectly good pair of nail clippers in your emergency supply. It is so that you'll have one there that you don't use, but that will always be there, which, by the way, is the same for most of the non-consumables in your emergency supply!

For shaving supplies, my family never uses or rotates through what I store, so I never need to re-purchase them when it comes to this week every year. You know those free shavers that you get in the mail or with your Sunday paper once in a while? I throw those into that bin, too, so I have a good collection that will get us through our shaving needs if at some point we have to shut ourselves in our food storage room and live off of whatever is on the selves (Not sure why we would ever have to do that, but if we did, we'd be okay... AND we'd have nail clippers!)

For soap, store both bar and anti-bacterial hand soap. The soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotions and toothpaste should all be rotated through, so buy items that you use, and be sure to take and rotate from your shelves as you go. These items may have a lot longer than a year before they expire, so you may be able to leave them on for more than one year's rotation. Check to see if they have expiration dates on them. You can generally go about a year past the expirations on these items.

Once you have decided how much of each item that you need in a year's time, go to the inventory sheet and change those numbers to reflect your family's needs. Then, put them on your grocery list, and when you have purchased what you need and have it all on the shelves, make the notations on the inventory sheet, and you will be done for the week! Yay!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Activity Days: Prophet's counsel on a wooden block

I was in charge of our Activity Days yesterday, so I decided to help the girls work in their books, on Learning and Living the Gospel, and the fourth bullet point on that list: "Read a recent conference address given by the prophet. Decide what you can do to follow the prophet, and do it."

I started by printing off a copy of President Monson's closing remarks from last General Conference (October 2012) for each of the girls. I needed it to be a shorter talk so that we could get through the whole thing by taking turns reading out loud. As we read the talk, we stopped and talked about various parts of the talk, and each of the girls underlined some of the things on their own copy of the talk, that they might want to remember. We were specifically looking for things the prophet counseled us to try to work on.

We talked about each of the things he mentioned and made sure that each of the girls understood them, so that they were able to know exactly what it was that President Monson spoke to each of us about.

After we discussed the talk thoroughly, I gave them each a block that Bob engraved for us (on his magic laser machine). The blocks were left over from another project, and I already had the eye screws and ribbon, so I didn't have to buy anything at all. Love it when that happens!

The top of the block looked like this:

And then on each of the sides, he engraved one of the things that President Monson mentioned in his talk that we should try to work on.

On the bottom of the blocks, he engraved the girls' names.

I let the girls pick through my scraps of ribbon to tie whatever colors they wanted to the eye screw so that it was something cute that they could put on their dresser or by their bed as a reminder of things to work on being better at. They are going to try to work on one side of the block for one week, then turn it so that another side shows, and work on that one for a week, and so on.

Easy, non-messy little craft item that hopefully serves as a nice reminder of what we each need to do to follow the prophet's counsel.

Now, if you don't have a magic laser machine handy, another way to do it would be to print off each of the words on heavy scrapbook paper, cut them into squares the size of the block, and mod podge each to the various sides. It would be really cute that way, too!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Furniture Redo: Cast-off table to bed-side table

I was at my sister Linda's home the other night and she asked if I wanted this little table. I had "given it's all" for her in her home, and it was on it's way out.

Now, I am trying to be really good about not acquiring things that I won't use, so I studied it (while mentally going from room to room in my house) and decided I was sure that I could find a new home for the little fella. I actually had been wanting to try spray painting a piece of furniture, and this would be the perfect small piece to practice on.

Linda and my mom say that originally it was a plant stand, and that my grandma had one like that with a pretty plant sitting on the top shelf, cascading over the sides. I didn't really need a plant stand, but I did need a little bedside table in our guest room. There isn't a lot of space between the bed and the wall, so I needed something on a smaller scale to fit there. This little guy is perfect for the job, but I wanted to try to work some magic with spray paint.

First, I sprayed the table with one coat of Kilz Spray. It covers really well and creates a good surface for the next layers of paint to adhere to.

And since that guest room is gray and white (along with blues and greens), I decided to give it a squirt with gray spray paint. I gave it three good, solid coats and let it dry til it was good and cured. As always, with spray paint, the key is to spray in lighter coats so that it doesn't drip and also so that it will dry. One of the very best things about spray painting a piece of furniture, is that it is so, so quick, and there isn't any clean-up of brushes and painting gear. One of the worst things is that there aren't thousands of color choices when you're spray painting, so when you choose gray, for instance, there might be a light gray and a dark gray choice, and that is it.

And here is the little table, in it's new life holding a lamp and guest's drinks at night. A perfect fit for the space by the bed! Thanks, Linda dear!



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February Week 3: Vegetable oil, olive oil, canned butter

Before I get to the weekly item, there is something you all need to know. I am not one of those crazed food storage and emergency prep people who is delightfully looking forward to a catastrophic event so that I actually get to dive into my food storage. And if there IS a major catastrophic event, my husband won't be sitting at the door of our food storage room, dressed in camouflage with his collection of guns, armed and just waiting for someone who thinks they need our 14 cans of canned butter more than we do.

I have always felt like food storage and emergency preparation were things that I needed to do for my family, and through the years have made feeble attempts at it. It has taken me several years to find and fine-tune a plan that would work for us, since we don't "eat, drink and sleep" food storage. I wanted to come up with something that would work for our busy (one might even say crazy) life. This plan works perfectly for us because it takes so little time each week. When I first began working on it, I was a little doubtful as to whether I'd really stick with it and have my food storage all collected and sitting on the shelf within a year. And after that first year, I had amazed myself. It was just too easy of a plan to not be able to do.

All it takes is for me to look at my weekly schedule every Monday morning as I go downstairs for my daily workout. Then, I can check my shelves and tally up what I have and what I need for that week. It takes about 3 minutes. At the very most. No kidding. And then I write the items on my grocery list, and next time I'm at the store, I purchase the needed items. So, maybe a total of 5 minutes? Who can't spare 5 minutes a week? And then, each week, as you see a few more items on your shelf, you can feel so good about doing something really important for you and your family. Even after just the first week, it should put a smile on your face!

I have received many emails from people very surprised that I would share this so easily with anyone who requests it. Why not? Its a good plan, and it works, and it wouldn't make sense not to share it! I hope that you find it useful and that it enables you to get something on the shelves for you and your families.

If you're just starting, and hate the thought of having missed several weeks of the plan, no worries. That is one of the beautiful things about this plan. Start wherever we happen to be on the list, and follow along week-by-week. A year from whenever you start, you will have your food storage!

Now, to this week's food storage item:

February Week 3: Canola or vegetable oil, olive oil, canned butter, coconut oil

As with all the other weeks, store enough of each item that your family would generally use in the coming year, OR that you might use in a long-term emergency situation. For instance, back in January, we collected paper goods. You may say to yourself "We don't ever use paper plates or plastic utensils, so I don't think I'll worry about storing any". But, if there was an emergency situation where water was scarce, you wouldn't want to waste water by having to wash dishes. Paper goods would sure come in handy. And, if you never use them, then next year when it comes time to check that week's inventory, you won't have to buy any more paper goods!

So, with the items for this week, I will check and make sure I have enough on my shelves to use for a whole year, plus some. I hate to completely go through my stocks within the year, so I like to buy just a little extra. Coconut oil seems to be the latest thing these days, so if you're liking that, store some! Also, you'll notice I have canned butter on the list. I bought some canned butter a couple of years ago specifically for food storage. I don't ever use it, and it lasts quite a while, so I just leave it on the shelf. Who knows... maybe canned butter will be just the thing we'll need when we cook up those potato flakes over our propane stove. Ugh.

Some of you might be saying to yourselves, "If I store what I will use in the coming year, then by the end of the year, it will be totally gone, and I won't have anything in my storage." That is why I always buy a little extra, making sure to check the dates of expiration. By the end of the year, I don't want a bunch of things that I have to throw out because they've expired. So, its a fine line of buying what you need, plus some extra, but not so much that you'll be wasting food. As you go, it becomes easier to judge that.

So, write the various oils on your grocery list this week, and get started!

If you want the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

They Say Its Our Birthdays...

Last night was the big night for our 50th birthday(s) party! It was really the perfect way to usher in our 50th(s)... to be surrounded by our kids, grand-baby, mom, sisters and brothers, nieces, nephews, and many friends who all mean so much to us and have been a part of our lives and our happiness. I loved looking around the room and seeing the faces of those people who are so important to us, mingling and laughing together and meeting new people. Sweet, sweet memories I'll hold in my heart for a long time to come!

As I laid in bed last night, I thought of several more things I could or should have done for the party to prepare a little better, but overall, it went by without a hitch.

We didn't go too overboard on the decorations, but enough to say it was a special day.

With the helium shortage (still can't get my arms around that), I decided to go a different route, and Lindsay and I tied balloons to thin wooden dowels so that they were in an "arrangement" for the table. It ended up being a cute, easy way to make a colorful fun centerpiece without having to try to work with helium.

Okay, this isn't the first time I've used this Happy Birthday Garland. I made it for my mom's 80th birthday party, and the colors end up being perfect for other birthdays, so I reuse it now and again. It was perfect for the colors for our party!

This was a sign that depicted our 50 years of life. It starts with our hospital and baby photos up at the top of the "5", and goes through our childhood and teenage years, and then on the "0", it starts at the top with our wedding announcement, and follows the years as it circles around. I have a gazillion photos of me as a baby and child, but not many of Bob. And I have a gazillion photos of Bob since we've been married, but not many of me (since I'm the one usually snapping photos). But, it all worked out okay and was a fun way to show us through the years and at the same stages of life.

If you didn't know our history, check out our birthday party invitations that my niece Joanna designed for us. It tells our story of being born in the same hospital, four days apart.

These are the cake pedestals before we put the cakes on them.

I know. I should have taken a photo of the little cake garland before we cut into the cake, but we were getting close to the start of the party, and starting to scramble a bit to get everything ready.

And these were the little favors that the guests took as they left.

Bob used his magic laser machine and etched in some subway-style birthday sentiments on the bags. They turned out just exactly the way I imagined!

What a great evening! We didn't take even one photo while the party was going on. We had the camera there, but once 7:00 hit, we didn't have a minute's time to have someone take photos (something I should have arranged with someone before-hand, but oh well). I also didn't have any time to get back into the kitchen to see if the cakes were holding out and if the water tub needed more water bottles in it. Luckily we didn't quite run out of anything, so it was all good!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

by nest of posies

I love Valentine's Day! How much better can a holiday be than to be all about the people you love the most? And I love that you don't really have to go crazy decorating if you don't want to, but instead, you can just spend the month thinking about the people you love and writing out Valentine's cards and letters. I love it!

How grateful I am to be literally surrounded by people that I love with all my heart!

First and foremost, my sweetheart of 28 years! (and the one who happened to turn the big 5-0 yesterday!) I love that he has a birthday 4 days before mine and that we get to go through this milestone together. I asked him two nights ago just after midnight how it felt to be 50, and he said that he didn't feel much different than he did ten minutes before that, when he was 49. So, once again he has paved the way without any trepidation, and I'm not at all nervous to follow along!

My love, my best friend (truly... we do everything together!), and he's my night in shining armor (name the movie).

And oh, my sweet, sweet family. I get choked up just looking at this photo. I am so full-to-the-brim with love for each and every one of them! I was feeling under the weather this past weekend, and my sweet kids kept checking up on me all throughout the weekend and beyond, to make sure I was okay. Oh how I love them all with all my heart!  And don't even get me started about that amazing missionary on the left. He has been serving in the California Roseville Mission since May of 2011 (yes, that means he will be home this May, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't counting down the days!). He has worked so, so hard, gone through some really difficult experiences, loved every minute of it, and grown so much, it is almost miraculous. Can't wait to get my arms around that boy!

Gulp. I can hardly stand it! As I mentioned before, I've been under the weather, so I haven't dared to go near our little grand-baby for several days now. I'm just about back to normal and I can't wait to hold this sweet little boy. He is nothing less than perfect, and I can't describe how amazing it is to be his grandma.

And if all of that isn't enough, I was born into a wonderful family. I had an incredible mom, dad, and five sisters and an up-bringing that was sweet and almost magical to me. We continue to stay close to each other and have seen each other through some pretty tough things. I love these truly beautiful women! 

My dad passed away ten years ago. Oh how we miss him! He was funny, talented, a man of deep, deep devotion and convictions, a wonderful writer, could fix anything, loved projects, a super hard-worker, tender and kind, and loved his family. I always felt that he was the greatest man in the world, and I wanted so badly to have a husband like him and to have the same kind of life that he gave my mom. And guess what? I did! I did! I married a man who is also the greatest man in the world! What are the odds?! Who knew there were two men that shared the title "Greatest Man in the World?"

I am beyond grateful and have so much love for the people in my life this Valentine's Day and every other day in the year!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February Week 2: Peanut Butter - Creamy or Crunchy

This week's food storage item is:

February Week 2: peanut butter -- creamy or crunchy

Buy whatever brand of peanut butter you usually use, and buy what you will consume in a year's time. I buy both creamy and crunchy, since I use both, whether in recipes or just on a sandwich. Be sure to check the expiration stamp so that you know these will last you as you rotate all year long in your food storage.

I know that peanut butter is often on sale at case lot sales, and that is a good time to stock up, though it usually won't be in conjunction with this schedule. You can definitely try to work around the sales, and just buy enough peanut butter to get you to the next case lot sale, if that is a better plan for you. Sometimes if I see that something is on sale, I'll just buy whatever I need and put it in my food storage. I can then just update the inventory sheets, and when it comes around on the schedule, I wouldn't have to buy as much. Be sure to update your inventory sheet with whatever amount you have in storage.

Do whatever works for you, but continue to inventory the items as they come up on the schedule, and try to keep at least some of the items in stock at all times. Remember the point of all of this: to begin building food storage and emergency supply items. It would be costly and difficult to buy everything all at once, but one week at a time, it is very do-able! And if it is too expensive to buy all the peanut butter your family might consume in a year, then buy a half a year's worth, or less. Just buy and store something!

If you want the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bulb shoots poking up through the snow!

We had a pretty good snow storm off and on over the weekend. I was feeling a little under the weather, so it was a perfect weekend to shuffle around in my sweats and slippers.... and that, I did!

But, after the snowy weekend, guess what I saw today -- poking out of the snow here and there around the yard....

(the ones I started from my Aunt Carol's Snowdrops)



Bulb shoots! Yay! I love to see those pushing up through the earth and snow. It reminds me that spring is definitely on the way.

And knowing that spring is on the way makes me thrilled! Wilson gets home from his two year mission in May. I can't wait! I have lots of projects and yard work to do before he gets home, but that will only serve to make that time go by even faster! Wahoo!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls for Valentines Day

This week I was in charge of the refreshments for our monthly (extended) Family Home Evening. We have been doing these FHEs for several years now, and they are such a fun way to stay in touch with each other as well as an opportunity to have gospel-centered discussions as a family -- cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. We've had some amazing FHEs!

Since I have 5 sisters, and all but one live within a half our of my home, we divvy up all the responsibilities between each of us (including my mom). That way, it makes it really easy for everyone! So, if I'm having it at my home, I don't have to do anything else besides provide the home. The refreshments are brought by someone, the lesson is done by another, someone else conducts, and another of my sisters is in charge of music. It works out really well!

Anyway..... back to my refreshments. I decided to make cinnamon rolls and shape them into hearts. They ended up being pretty cute (lets face it... a good cinnamon roll doesn't have to be all that cute... its pretty much gets gulped down no matter what it looks like!). My mom and sisters asked if I would put my recipe and method on the blog, so here goes...

I have a couple of roll recipes that I have used for cinnamon rolls, but this is my favorite, because it is by far the quickest!

Cinnamon Rolls
(makes 36-ish)

1 cup butter
3 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup warm water
4 T. yeast
4 eggs
4 t. salt
11 cups flour

10 T. butter, melted
sugar and cinnamon

Cinnamon Roll Glaze

3 T. shortening
3/4 bag of powdered sugar
canned milk (or regular milk)
1. t. vanilla

1. To make the rolls, combine butter, milk and sugar in a microwaveable bowl. Heat in the microwave about 4 minutes, or until butter is melted.

2. Dissolve yeast in the 1 cup of warm water. Let it get all bubbly and happy.

3. Using a mixer with a dough hook, start mixing the warm milk mixture.

4. Add eggs

5. While still mixing, add 1/2 the flour, yeast mixture and salt. Add remaining flour and continue mixing for 10 minutes. Dough should not be too sticky. Add more flour if it is. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl.

6. When finished mixing, divide the dough in half. Take one of the halves and turn it out onto a clean, floured surface. Roll into a long rectangle shape.

7. Pour half of the melted butter (5 T.) onto the rectangle-shaped rolled out dough, and brush with a pastry brush so that the entire surface is covered.

8. Add cinnamon sugar. I like to pre-mix this, and keep it on hand in a shaker. Some like more cinnamon than others, so I'll leave it up to you to decide the ratio. Heavily sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over the whole surface of the buttered, rolled out dough.

9. If I was making regular cinnamon rolls, I would roll the dough into a long log. To make the heart-shaped cinnamon rolls, roll towards the center from both sides, like this:

10. Slice the roll (regular cinnamon rolls) or double roll (heart-shaped cinnamon rolls) into 1 inch slices, and place on a baking sheet.

11. For the heart-shaped rolls, pinch the bottoms to make the point of the heart.

12. Let raise for about 15 minutes, until puffy. Don't over raise -- they will raise while cooking also.

13. Bake at 375' for 10-11 minutes.

To make glaze:

Mix the shortening and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Add milk a tablespoon at a time, til you reach the desired consistency. Add vanilla and add food coloring (if making hearts).

I'm going to let you in on a strange phenomenon. It seems like I never make quite enough glaze. I always end up making another mini batch to finish off my cinnamon rolls. I start by making what seems like extra, and 95% of the time, I have to make more glaze. Bob has been a witness to this phenomenon on many occasions, and we both just scratch our heads. It may have quite a bit to do with the fact that I don't use any measurements for the glaze. I should start measuring so I know exactly how much sugar and milk to use for a batch of cinnamon rolls!

Also, some like a thicker glaze that is more like a frosting, and others like a thinner glaze. Add milk or powdered sugar to make the glaze whatever consistency you like.

For my heart-shaped cinnamon rolls, I probably should have made my glaze thinner. That way you would be able to see the cute curly-Q shape of the inside of the hearts. They all did get eaten, so I guess seeing the exact definition of the heart shape didn't much matter in the end.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

50th Birthday Party Invitations

These are the invitations my extraordinarily talented niece, Joanna, designed for our birthdays. This is the front side:

and this is the back side of the card:

Didn't she do a fabulous job? And in case you're thinking something is wrong with the graphics, I blurred out the part of the card with our address and phone number. You can never be too careful! Anyway, it should be a fun evening. Very, very casual and open house-ish, but fun to just celebrate together with our friends and family.

By the way, I stumbled across this the other day...

Really? When they say "over 50", that makes me think that they're implying that these gals are in their 50's. Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February Week 1 - Juices and Drink Mixes

Its the first week of February! This week's food storage items are:

February Week 1: Juices: Gatorade powder, Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, lemon concentrate, 
apple juice, grape juice

Notice that the highlighting is now in red. This will be the color for all of the items in the month of February, and will coordinate with the items on the main inventory sheets.

When I checked these items in my food storage, I found that all of my juices had expired except for the powdered fruit juice mix I had canned at the dry-pack cannery a few years ago. Its probably not something I will ever use, unless there is a real long-term emergency. At that point, I may be extremely happy to drink it (possibly).

We don't drink a lot of fruit juice anymore, though I do love it. Too many calories when I compare it to a glass of water. That being said, I like to have some on hand, and I'm pretty sure I would love to have some if there were a long-term emergency! So, I will have a few small jugs of juice on the shelves. I also like to keep Gatorade powder. (Now this is something I NEVER use, unless I'm on a pioneer trek in the middle of Wyoming. And there, in the middle of nowhere, I chug it down like its my most favorite thing in the world) Because it might be really great to have in an emergency, I like to keep a couple of containers of the powder concentrate on my food storage shelves.

I also like to have lemon concentrate on hand. I use that occasionally in my cooking, and hate to not have any on hand when I need it. So, I just keep an extra bottle of it in my food storage. Might be good to have lime concentrate also.

So, now I have my shopping list in hand for this week. I'll pick up the items I need in my food storage and update my inventory sheet, and then I'll be done for the week.

If you like different juices or Kool-Aid or Crystal Light, or any other fruit drink mix or juice, add those to your list and stock up this week! We'll be working on tomato juice at another time, so work on all the other juices this week.

If you want the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Half a century... a drop in the bucket!

I wonder if you can guess what event we have coming up in the next little while...

recent Costco purchase

received this in the mail.

received this in an email
this week
(Thanks, Jeana!)

Yes, you guessed it! We're turning 50! I think there is some comfort in the fact that we're both jumping into the 50's together -- 4 days apart.

There are a few things that need mentioning in all of this hullabaloo.  First of all, why all the hullabaloo? I didn't receive any ads in the mail when I turned 30 or 40, directed to some medical care that I should be looking into. There weren't any vitamins that were specific to 30 or 40 year olds and their needs. I'm getting the idea that this one is a biggie. I guess half a century IS a pretty big deal, and something to celebrate, right? (50 years used to be so very many years, and now its just a drop in the bucket)

So along with all of the hullabaloo and medical procedures and new (adapted to my very age) vitamins, it seems that people think I should be either fearing this new stage, or at the very least, just plain old depressed. Strangely enough, both Bob and I are not too worked up over the fact that we've been around for five decades. Just one more day older than the previous one, is how I look at it, so the "age thing" has never really bothered me. I don't know what this says about my past physical health, but I am probably healthier at this point in my life than I have ever been. (That really does make it seem like I was a couch potato for a large percentage of my life, but what I mean to say is that I've really been kicking it in as far as exercise goes lately)

Back when I first began this blog, on the very first post, I wrote the following:  The name [of this blog] comes from a conversation that I had with my mom many years ago.  She told me that the best time of her life was always the one in which she was living. Bob and I have adopted that sentiment and truly love whatever phase of life we are currently in.  ...And it is true, the best time of our lives is today! And that even applies as we turn the big 5-0!

Now, since Bob and I have birthdays that are only four days apart, we have never really thrown a big party for each other. It seems too strange to throw a party for the other, and then not have one thrown for you, or vice versa. For this big occasion, we (along with the kids) thought this might be just the time to have a shindig, so that's just what we're doing -- Bob and I are throwing a party for each other!

I'll post the invitation in a day or two. It is darling, and designed by my very talented niece.

Oh, and just for the record, I am calling on Monday to schedule that medical procedure appointment -- for both of us! :)