phfr: spring flowers

Pretty: I can’t get enough of all the flowers outside… and so far it’s just trees and crocuses. (Sorry, all you people with tree allergies!)  We’ve been taking a photo every day of our peach tree as it blooms.





Happy: The Match is featured over at Karen’s Killer Book Bench today. (I’m doing a giveaway, if you don’t have a copy.)

Funny: Now that the snow has melted, the chickens are exploring again. Edwina would like to explore inside the house now.

Um, no.

Real: And still, with all the gorgeousness happening outside, there is still math to do.



Here’s to finishing strong, friends!

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{phfr}: mid-November

Pretty: The color this year has been fantastic.  I know you people east of the Mississippi think you have a monopoly on red, but we’ve had some red here this year, too.

I collected these for my friend in Fiji who is heading into a hot, humid summer. Of course I can’t mail them to her, but I could send her a photo.


Happy: We celebrated by parents’ fiftieth anniversary last month.  It was such a joy to reflect on the forty-five years I’ve had with them and to celebrate how they have loved each other so well and so faithfully.


Funny: We are in the midst of teaching Jonah how to drive and have been struggling with how to motivate him to practice.  Last week I found the perfect motivation. Let’s drive to the bookstore!  Now he’s begging to drive!

Real: Our weather is all over the place now, with huge swings in temperature between a morning run and an after-lunch run.  Here was a week ago (28 degrees)when I ran in wool socks, long sleeves, a coat, wool hat and mittens:

And here was Sunday (64 degrees), when I ran in capris and a tank top.  Crazy.


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phfr: Matilda date

Last week we had tickets to see Matilda, the musical.  Jonah was sick and chose to stay home in bed, so we gave his extra ticket to our seven year-old friend, who rushed over from church to make it in time for the matinée.

Pretty: After the play, we had dinner on the 16th Street Mall, where there are chess boards and a charming but out-of-tune piano for anyone to play.  So we did.


Happy:  After dinner, we had Spring Fling Cake at The Market. (The girls had ice cream.)


Funny: Two Matildas, one Supermodel.
Real: the play is hilarious and scary at the same time (just like the book). Unfortunately, the actors were really hard to understand.  We missed at least half of the dialogue.  We purchased the CD so we could listen to it some more and I’m enjoying it, but I’m sad we couldn’t understand it at the time.  And poor Jonah is listening to it with us and is completely lost, even having read the book.  Bummer.

phfr: beginning of fall

Pretty: the roses are super happy again.  I think I need to make some time today to sit on the porch swing and enjoy them.


Happy: I made it out for three miles today.  It was cool enough to keep my long-sleeved shirt on the whole time.  I love running in the fall.  (No photo of that: roses instead.)


Funny: This came up on my news feed the other night.  I can’t tell if it’s serious or not.  What do you think?


(If it’s real, then it’s not actually so funny…)

Real: I’m off to call Orthopedics. After he limped around the house with me yelling at him to stop acting ridiculous (hashtag don’t be the child of a doctor if you can help it), I took a look at his foot and realized he’d broken it. But the X-ray didn’t look bad, and I’m hoping this recovery will be quick.


{phfr}: cousin visit!

My brother-in-law and niece are visiting this week.  We are having a blast, a Staycation really.  So far we’ve tried two different pools, a pizzeria, and a hike at my favorite spot nearby.

Pretty:  This beauty didn’t care that we watched him fishing.

Happy: What could be better than an easy hike with lots of sticks to pick up and birds to watch? image

Funny: This is my husband and his brother.  The resemblance is so strong that at his brother’s wedding, the priest got the two brothers confused.  Happily, neither of the wives got confused.


Real: Sam was home with everyone on my work day, and the girls opened a Salon. However, three girls is a hard number, and one of the customers stomped off because she was unhappy with her customer service. No tip. 

Fortunately the miff was short-lived, and no one left a bad review on Yelp.


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p,h,f,r: June

Pretty:   The peony has bloomed.  Gosh, it is gorgeous.  I had three blooms this year from one plant, and the other– well, it’s dead.  It was so frightened of a recurrence of last June’s hail storms that it didn’t even bother to come back up. Which was smart of it, since we’ve had an awful lot of hail.
Happy: This flock of pelicans was hanging out on the pond by the park where I like to run.  Dipping and stretching with their long wings and bills, they looked just like a bunch of teenaged boys on the water.  I love seeing birds when I run.
Funny: This may not technically be funny– maybe just fun. Sam’s sister and her family drove through on their way to California and stayed with us for fifteen hours.  We had a blast.  Here is my lovely niece (now a high school graduate!)
Real:  Alas, now I’m injured.  Apparently my glute hasn’t been firing. So instead of being pushed by a large muscle in my butt, I am being pulled by the small muscle in my ankle.  No wonder my ankle hurts.  No half-marathon for me.  I don’t have a photo either of my lazy butt (you can thank me later) or my overworked ankle. Instead, I’ll leave you with this photo of a rose the hail hasn’t managed to kill.

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{p,h,f,r}- February 2015

Pretty: Our lemon tree is blooming again.  We have one lemon ripening on a [very dusty] branch, and many blossoms.  We’ll see if they can survive in the desert that is our living room.

Happy: Owen celebrated his birthday.  I lost count of the cakes and dinners we had, but they were all good, and he was definitely happy about it all. However, he has asked me not to post his face here, so…


His birthday was the first celebration we had in our home, so its anniversary was significant for me. I’m so glad we are here. Together.

Funny: This may count as doctor humor, but it has me chuckling.


Real: Alas, reality is all too familiar to us.  We took a walk on Monday and stopped to play at the playground, where SweetP fell and broke her arm.  Again.  [Same arm but only one of the bones this time.]  This time I couldn’t tell just by looking at it, but she knew by how it felt.

We’re back to ice packs and one-handed board games.  And no handwriting for the rest of the year.

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{phfr}: February

{Pretty}:  Sam brought me flowers before he left for Hawaii. That’s fair, right– he gets a week in Hawaii and I get tulips?


They are my favorite flower.

{Happy}: While he was gone, we had friends come to stay for the week.  One of our adventures took us to the science museum, where the kids spent hours playing with this ball machine.


{Funny}: In the gem exhibit, my friend’s 4 year-old kept pointing to the crystals and saying, “Elsa’s magic!”  She hasn’t even seen the movie.


{Real}: Even better, my friend brought crafting stuff and my girls got to make hours and hours of crafts that I neither had to plan, nor clean up. Can’t beat that!


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phfr: Advent 3

Pretty: Almost anything can be pretty by candlelight, no?

This is our four-course meal, inspired by What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner? by Lisa Caponigri.  I think I took this photo just after I’d explained the concept and that I wanted us to linger, talking, and Owen asked, “So… what do you want to talk about?”


Happy: I keep this little homemade flannelgram set rolled up with our Christmas books, and Phoebe was so excited to open it. She likes to tell the story over and over and over…


Funny: Again, this cake was from our Sunday dinner.  It is a fantastic recipe which uses yogurt to make it moist.  So delicious.

It will be my go-to chocolate cake recipe from now on.  It calls for a 10-inch pan, which I used to have but was nowhere to be found.  I wonder if I gave it away when we were moving.  Anyway, I did my usual calculations… (“the area of a 10-in round pan is pi- times 25, or 78 in sq. My 8-in square pan is 64 in sq. The 9-in round pan is 63 in sq…”) and then realized that my large skillet has a diameter of 10 inches.  Perfect!


I wish I had chosen a different plate on which to serve it, because the well in the plate made a little well in the cake that filled with a pool of ganache.  Though if you’re going to have a pool of anything in the middle of your cake, let it be a pool of  ganache.

Real: I’ve had to move the laundry line close to the house to keep it from tipping over in the wind.  My concrete bucket just isn’t quite heavy enough to anchor it, and it’s really gross when the laundry tips over into the grass where the chickens have been pecking and pooping.  But I can’t really complain about sunshine and warmth in December.

{p,h,f,r}: Thanksgiving Weekend

Pretty: Here is the table set before Thanksgiving dinner.

Here’s the other table, which we squeezed next to the couch. Sam had the brilliant idea to cover the couch with a sheet so that nobody accidentally wiped mashed potatoes or cranberry sauce on it. Hooray.


Happy: This is the first Thanksgiving we’ve hosted in… well, maybe 18 years? It was so much fun! I pulled out a turkey recipe I made with my roommates during medical school.

That’s a cheesecloth soaked in wine and butter (my recipe had no quantities, so I used a stick of butter and a cup or so of wine) on top of the turkey in a 450 degree oven to brown it. Then reduce the heat and cook until the red timer pops up. It was good.

Of course I only have photos of dessert. The girls made these Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites, Sam made “Grandma Judy’s Jello” and my friend Pam brought an awesome pumpkin pie.


Funny: My kids’ favorite Thanksgiving tradition, apart from the aforementioned jello and seeing their cousins (which I couldn’t recreate this year), is playing “The Character Game.” We played it Thursday with all our guests, Saturday morning with friends we hosted for brunch, and Saturday night at the party we hosted for our children’s church volunteers. So I hope they got enough of it for a bit. Here’s how you play:

Each player chooses character (you can say “any animal” or “a historical figure” if you want to narrow things down, but “any character, real or imagined” works just as well) and tells the name in secret to the Writer. The Writer compiles a list of all the characters and reads it back to the players twice. For example, “Vladimir Putin, Minnie Mouse, Elmo, Joshua, Sully, Luke Skywalker, Janice Joplin.” Nobody asks “Who is Janice Joplin?” or that name will stick in everyone’s head.

Once the Writer reads out the names twice, the guessing begins. No one acts our their character; instead, they want to give nothing away. I might say, “Jonah, are you Luke Skywalker?” If he is, he joins my team. Then our team becomes my character [still secret] and can put our heads together to use psychology and our awesome memories to figure out who everyone else is. The winner is the last person whose name is guessed correctly. The trick is 1) to remember all the names, and 2) to pick a name for yourself that is just ordinary enough that it doesn’t stick in anyone’s mind.  This is a great game for a group of people of varying ages, because everyone can play. Only the Writer (who doesn’t pick a name for herself but observes the play) has to be able to read/write. Of course I don’t have a photo- I was too busy trying to remember all the names!

After everyone left that night and I was putting the leftovers away, I realized I had never put out the cranberry sauce.  No wonder there wasn’t any wiped on the couch.

Real: The one thing I’m still looking for to finish the house are pendant lights for the kitchen over the island. My mom and I went looking at a lighting store on Sunday. Sam’s only advice was “Don’t buy anything without me.”


I saw the perfect thing hanging over a bar in Glenwood Springs during the summer. Thinking there might be a local glass blower or shop we could patronize, I went into the restaurant to ask where they got them. The hostess found the bartender who knew. “Venice,” he said. “They were hand-blown in Italy, and the owner brought them back in his luggage.” So much for that.


Obviously I’m looking for blue.

Lots to chose from, but nothing quite right.

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