Thanksgiving Thankfulness

Being retired has many perks if you take advantage of them. I’ve had a few years experience with this now, so I think I may have gained some wisdom. One key is to let go of some old traditions and embrace new ones with gusto.


Thanksgiving is about family. Whether they are about memories of past family times together or about spending time with friends, it’s all about being thankful and humble for all that we have been given. We were all raised with family traditions at Thanksgiving that seem ‘sacred’ to the way the holiday should be spent. But this year amongst the joys of new babies and the sadness of loved ones passing, the busyness of trying to sell the business and retire, and gather 20 family members in one locale, the task was just too big and unrealistic. You see, the reality is, grown children have other families and the need to make their own traditions. The younger crowd has begun racing in a Turkey Trot before the massive amounts of food to be consumed. Little ‘C’ ran/walked (maybe some stroller time?) and got her own medal. You go girl!


Even as grandparents we have to learn to share…and for me that is as hard to accept as it is for a three-year old with a favorite toy! But this year we managed to gather all but 4 of the clan! Pretty good considering one couple lives in Illinois! And, it was all rather unexpected. Dan and I had planned to celebrate with my sister Beth, as everyone else had other plans. Talk about Thanksgiving Thankfulness!

First off, I let go of the traditional sit down dinner with the family china and preparing enough food to feed two other families. I was to plan a ‘low key’ holiday meal. I have to say, some family members were skeptical I could do this. Next, I ditched the extensive bowls and plates of appetizers. Guests were to come at 1 pm and we would eat a supper at 2 pm. Finally, since there was no sit down dinner where we could share what we were thankful for the past year, I came up with a new idea. Instead, everyone filled out a tiny card with what they were thankful for and we placed them in little acorn place setting cardholders and put them around the serving counter. Festive looking!dsc00790

This Alternative Thanksgiving may just become a new tradition. Babies crawled and played, football was watched while eating, and turkey sandwiches with all the fixings became the main meal. Everyone was spread out eating wherever they felt most comfortable. dsc00778Beer flowed, wine tasted, water guzzled, and sparkling cider bottles were emptied. The only tradition we could not do without was Aunt Beth’s Pumpkin Pie (s). Four pies were just right!

We thank God for all our family and friends. We give thanks for all that He has provided for us and ask for opportunities to serve those less fortunate. Dan and  I are especially grateful for our newest granddaughter. What a joy she is and we look forward to seeing who she becomes. The two little girls are the bright spot in our lives! Blessing to you all.


Three Year Old Birthday Fun

Is there any birthday more fun to celebrate than that of a little kid?  We had so mucimg_6588h fun watching our granddaughter turn a big three years old. Family and two other youngsters rounded out the party. Little fuss and frills, but super fun. Sheer joy on her face as she bounced on the little borrowed bouncy house. “Look, Grandma! Watch me jump high!”

Listening to her little “ooh” as she peaked into each wrapped gift was so adorable. She loved each item and was not overwhelmed by stacks of gifts. Animg_6605d who doesn’t want their own special Bundt cake for dessert?  Grandpa Dan even managed to sit in a tiny chair to eat with her. It was a perfect time for everyone to catch up. img_6593We even managed to have four generations present. Now how cool is that!  In attendance was Little sister D at 2 months old and our great-grandma V at 87!  The rest of img_6591us ranged from the 30’s to 60’s. How blessed we are to be able to still see one another and for great – grandma to see so many generations of her family. Family is so special and we look forward to more family gatherings.

When you turn three you get a big girl haircut complete with bangs! Our little baby girl is so grown up now. Where does the time go?  Looking forward to many more parties and adventures with these little angels girls.

Breakfast Ball

breakfast-ballIt’s 7:30 am and time to make that first swing off the tee. Now, I am barely awake at this hour and to try to actually hit that tiny ball is going to be a challenge for me. The gal I play with has a wonderful sense of humor and great compassion for this very novice golfer. So, on this morning my first swing doesn’t go overly far (yes, I lifted my head) and where does it land? Of course, right next to a squirrel hole! Now complete with a dusting of sand, my little fluorescent pink ball sits perched on the grass ready to challenge me for another swing. This is what we call a ‘breakfast ball.’ My sweet friend gave it to me, but I did not accept the do over…I saved it for what I knew would be another bad shot sometime during the game.

Being over sixty is not the best age to pick up this sport! I am terrible at this game as I have little hand-eye coordination. I am not athletic. I can never remember if the club number is higher, it goes farther or is it the other way around. I don’t have the stamina for 18 holes. I don’t like getting sweaty in summer golf, BUT I LOVE the game!

I love the outdoors and the fact that each hole is like a brand new game. I love golf carts. I love the cute golf clothes. I love my pretty pink golf club grips. But most of all, I have FUN! I don’t care that I’m terrible. I don’t care what my score is. I can laugh at those ‘air swings’ and the hits where it looks more like bowling than golfing.

I have a small selection of clubs; but let’s face it, I can barely use what I have. My bag has a 9, 8, 7, P, S, a hybrid 4.5 and a putter. The hybrid doesn’t like me…and I don’t care for it either…too heavy. But I drag it out from time to time. When I hit into the 30’s I get to have a 3 iron! How’s that for a goal?!

Want to know how bad a golfer I am? Well, on a par 3 executive 9 hole course I can score from a 41 to a 53! Now that is just awful, I know. But watch out! With golf lessons and playing twice a week I just might break 40! I’ve experience two birdies and half a dozen pars. My objective now, is no 6’s and to try to always 2 putt.

Retired golf is the best!!! So glad I found this sport.

Dan the Man

Another almost retired morning when I get to go play golf. Tee time at Riverwalk was 8:22; perfect day, no one one the course and perfect weather. Our foursome was ready for some fun. One of the guys shot a 36 on the front nine. A perfect score! No chance I could do that!! But, I did manage to get a bunch of pars and a birdie. Oh yes, there were only three bad holes. Usually I hit around 100 so this was a great day!

Cake Pops!

Halloween Delights

Cake Pops are fun to make, fun to eat, and low-calorie because they are so tiny! You literally eat 2 tablespoons of cake! I discovered just how wonderful these bite-size delights were about 2 years ago and I have been perfecting them ever since. They are not quick treats to make, but fun to make none-the-less. You can make them for baby and bridal showers, graduations, birthdays, and all the major holidays. The chocolate candy coating comes in dozens of colors and some are even flavored. My favorites include Salted Caramel, Dark Cocoa, Key Lime, and the Orange. Have I tempted you yet? Here’s how to create your own confectionaries.

Step 1
First things first: buy a BabyCakes, cake pop maker! It looks a little cake-pop-cookerlike a waffle iron in that you place a tablespoon of batter in a well and as it cooks it rises into the top section that also has indentations. You can find these appliances at craft stores and even some large grocery stores. They come with foolproof recipes that include vanilla, chocolate, lemon poppy-seed, and even red velvet cake to name a few.

bakingBatches make from 24-36 to dip later.  You know, if you’re going to the trouble to get all the stuff out, you might as well prepare extra! I use a disposable frosting bag to drop a tablespoon of batter into each well. I have used just a regular old kitchen spoon too, but it was messier and took longer.

Step 2
In craft stores you will easily find Wilton brand candy discs for melting, but I haven’t had much luck with them, so I use candies by Merckens that I get from a specialty store called Do It With Icing. It melts well and tastes like real chocolate, not plastic. But if it’s easier for you, try the Wilton and see if you like it. You will also need to pick up lollipop sticks. They come in a couple of sizes—you choose. I prefer the shorter ones.
After the cchoco-discsake is done, remove from the little machine and cool a few minutes. Then dip the end of a stick into chocolate candy coating that has been melted. Push the stick into the pop and let it set—about 15 minutes. At this point you can freeze the cake pops and dip at a later date. You can freeze them with or with out the inserted stick.sticks

Step 3
Now comes the creative part! Basically you are going to melt your chocolate discs, dip the cake pop in the chocolate, decorate, and set them to dry. Not hard, but time-consuming.
The crucial part here is getting the chocolate melted correctly. I place chocolate colored discs into a hearty microwave safe mug and nuke it for 30 seconds at a time. Stir in between and repeat until creamy. There is a product called Paramount Crystals that when sprinkled into the heated candy discs makes for a creamier consistency. These little waxy flakes are oily and blenddipping with the chocolates giving you a consistency that will allow the coating to drip off the cake pop so you can decorate it. Frankly, I think this is a must especially if you use the Wilton candy melts. After you dip the pop, tap it on the side of the mug to let the excess drip off. Add some fun sprinkles or marble your colors. For easy cooling buy a drying

styrofoam ring (like you make a holiday wreath out of), and stand the pops upright to dry. You can use it over and over again.

I do these with both kids and adults and it is always fun. It’s a great party icebreaker or way to entertain kids for a holiday treat. If you individually wrap them they are great for bake sales and fundraisers.

Morning Walk


Mission Bay

I’m retired. I get to sleep in. But my Fitbit says I need 10,000 steps today, so I had better get up and get moving! Hope you have better luck getting up and moving in the morning!

I met some other retired friends from the teaching field and we took off for a nice 3 mile walk along the bay. I was stunned by the beauty that was ahead of me. The bay seemed like pure glass and the cloud cover created the perfect lighting to create a mirror image of the shoreline. I just had to stop a snap a shot. God’s glory is all around, but this just really hit me in the face as sheer perfection.

Thanks for the great walk!