Tea Chat No.24 ~ Letting Go, Office Organizing, Fabric Banner, Natural Science Museum, Lemon Roasted Chicken, and Oratory Contest

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Tea Chat No.24 ~ Letting Go, Office Organizing, Fabric Banner, Natural Science Museum, Lemon Roasted Chicken, and Oratory Contest

Kitty on the fence

In this week’s newsletter we have lots of fun things to chat about. What a busy week! How about you?  April is just a busy  time of the year what with upcoming graduations, vacation planning and finishing up the end of the school year.  Tax time can really ‘get our goats’ too if you know what I mean!  

tea 1

Have you got your tea cup and tea ready? Any yummy snacks or recipes to share?  I know everyone is looking forward to seeing your lovely tea cups and saucers…or would adore to check out your latest recipe. 

tea 2

Rebekah, my daughter, is house sitting and she invited me to tea on my way to a friend’s house to ‘sit in’ on their home school coop which I was considering for my son, Christian. (Yes, we ARE going to do this for next year! They use Tapestry curriculum for those interested.)  She hadn’t left for work yet and I needed to get her tax form to send off.  

tea 3
  Flowers at Terri’s house

I had meticulously ‘talked’ Rebekah through her taxes over the phone yesterday, so she gave me a BIG hug and a kiss when I walked in. She, as a rule, does NOT do this sort of thing as she is decidedly undemonstrative. But she was VERY grateful. I was so tickled. :o) 

tea 4

And the tea she made for me at my friend, Terri’s home, was lovely…and simple… fresh fruit, toasted french bread, and hot Irish Breakfast tea. It was perfect! I love how she artistically arranged the fruit. She likes those ‘little details’ that make tea special.  

tea 5

Of course, I couldn’t resist taking photos of Terri’s lovely flowers to share with Tracie’s Cottage Flora Thursday. I especially loved the orchids in the kitchen.
 tea 6
Though the flowers in huge pots on the front porch were so bright and cheery  too!I’d love to see your tea things too. Feel free to link up right here.  :o) What are you drinking today?

Linking photo with Cindy's My Romantic Home Friday Show and Tell 

Learning to Let Go may mean… 
giving others the freedom to fail.

Some friends and I were chatting this week about how hard it can be to not worry about our loved ones (in this case elderly parents). Whether they are ill, going through hard times, making wrong choices, or just heading out on their own, our natural instincts are to try to control the situation and/or ‘fix’ the problem..or even the person! 

But one lesson I’ve learned over the last ten years, is that most of us need to learn   how to let go.  Most of the time, in situations like that, no change will take place without the catalyst of ‘failure’. Certainly this was true in my life as a young person on my own.   (Linking to Raising Homemakers' Wednesday Homemaking Link Up)


office 1 
  Organizing the Office—Baskets to the Rescue!

As I was getting ready for company this week, I found myself frustrated, yet again, with the fact that the office/sewing/school/craft room is ALWAYS a mess! We do so much in this one room…and I hate to admit that it seems we all leave our stuff out when we are done with our latest project.  This whole room is  a HOT SPOT (place that tends to collect clutter like a magnet)!  Sigh..

I finally admitted to myself, that I needed a better solution. While laying in bed one night, yet again, unable to sleep, (does anyone know how to turn a creative brain OFF?), I realized what the solution might be. 

office 2

In analyzing the problem, it seemed that we just had too many different types of activities going on. We needed a storage solution that made it easy to get the supplies for each activity and EASY TO PUT THE SUPPLIES AWAY. If it wasn’t easy, I knew my worktable desk would be piled with stuff in a heart beat! Part of our problem is that many of the supplies are stored in a laundry room that is very inconvenient to access.    

Labeled baskets turned out to be the perfect solution! I already had about six blue ones on hand and for a paltry $5.00 a piece at Wal-mart, I was able to buy six more.   I decided that my desk would be put to better use storing these baskets…in plain sight…than my dearly loved homemaking and art books. These items are used on a continual basis by five busy family members. And I wanted THEM not ME to put the stuff back instead of leaving it on ‘my’ desk. :o)

BTW, I'm linking this part of the post with Susan's Between Naps on the Porch Linky Party...Metamorphasis Monday! and Transformation Thursday at Shabby Chic Cottage.  Drop by and visit! You'll be amazed at all the great ideas. :o)



Is it Really Cheaper to  Do It Yourself? Sometimes the answer is…NO!  I’m so ‘in love’ with my accountant!!! No..not literally of course. LoL!  But how grateful I am to his ‘rescue’ via the telephone yesterday.  I discovered, rather belatedly, that getting a tax extension for an individual is one thing, and for an estate—it’s quite another. But to him, it was no biggy. He didn’t even charge me for it! In ten minutes, he had the necessary info and had filed my extension. I had spent hours that day just hunting for the forms! They didn’t pop up easily on Google Search, I can tell you!
I discovered Randy Cook last year while settling my father’s estate after Dad passed away. As some of you may recall, I camped out in Dallas for almost a month! Mr. Cook was dad’s accountant and was happy to help me get started on the estate settlement.

The two men who helped me most were my father’s accountant and his lawyer. They both helped me get through the morass of legal confusion and helped me get things handled as inexpensively and quickly as possible.  While working through so many issues like selling the house, repairing the foundation, treating the termites, having the floor and carpet replaced etc. I discovered a very important idea—professionals are worth EVERY PENNY!


banner 1

Making a Fabric Banner
I’ve been working on a  banner for my pastor friend, Lee, in Bentwater, and it’s coming along beautifully! I’ll be delivering it on Tuesday.  The shopping was the hardest part. I thought I’d never find the quality of fabric and the colors I needed! After two days of shopping, I found some good places—again—professionals. :o)

banner 2

This week, I purchased the trims, tassel, and cord plus a curtain rod so I could finish up.
banner 3

Using the zig-zag stitch, I sewed the top part of the fabric to the bottom then cut off the excess on the back

banner 4
 Linking to Melissa's My Crafty Weekend

A Visit to the Houston Museum of Natural Science

Our kids, Jacob, Rebekah, and Christian (18,20, and 16)


We made a really special trip this week to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. We haven’t been there since the three kids, who are still at home, were very young. It occurred to Dear Hubby that we ought to take them while they were old enough to appreciate it and still home to make it a family occasion.  Jacob will be leaving for boot camp soon and we wanted to make this last family trip together.
We’ve been going since my youngest was about 4 and he’s now 16. It’s been seven years!  We went weekly for some science classes at one time. Everyone wanted to go to their favorite spot.  I got some great photos of the precious stones and historic jewelry as well as photos of the other displays.


chicken 1

Lemon Roasted Chicken 
My friend Laurie, whose chocolate chip cookie I shared last week, brought the yummiest crockpot chicken to church this Sunday. I didn’t know who had made it but the flavor was so intense and yummy!
She said she just douses it with Tex -Mex Steak flavoring  from Krogers and lemon slices and that’s it!  We tried it out this week, and it really was perfect. Roast chicken really does need a bit of 'zing’ if you ask me. You might want to try that the next time you cook your chicken in the crockpot.   I added instant rice at the end (for about the last 30 minutes) and the tang even added some zest to the rice.   BTW, I used lime slices because I didn’t have lemon. :o)
I’m sorry I don’t have your recipes tested yet. Hubby’s boss arrived for a week long stay, so I don’t have much time. Add the banner and taxes to that and you are talking about a busy week. But I’m sure I’ll get them tested soon.  But I did add my menu plan of 'Company Dinners' right here. I thought it might give you some good ideas too. :o)


Winners: Jacob P, Christine H., and my Jacob R.

State Level Right to Life Oratory Contest
Saturday, we took Jacob to the Right to Life Oratory Contest for the state level competition. He made third place and we really thought he did very well. He was glad he didn’t win first as he couldn’t have gone to the National competition.   It was a good experience for him and we are very proud. That’s it for this season of life. No more speech and debate competitions for Jacob. But he certainly went out with a ‘bang’. :o) 


Well, that’s all for this week. I’m sorry this is so late, but with so much going on, I didn’t get to do my ‘own’ thing and had to work blogging around the sewing, cleaning, and driving.  Besides cooking, and sending out graduation announcements, our only other big event will be the Passover Seder meal at my friend, Lee’s church on Thursday night and Easter this weekend.  Gee..I better start on that post right away! LoL!  (Just kidding!)
See you next week..and have a lovely day!

Linking with
Cindy’s Friday Show and Tell at My Romantic Home
Melissa’s My Crafty Weekend
Raising Homemakers’ Wednesday Link Up
 Deb's Fantastic Friday

And for Tea... 

Lady Katherine's Tea Time Tuesday
The Plumed Pen's  Tea for Two
Rose Chintz Tea Time Tuesday
A Delightsome Life: A Return to Loveliness



nannykim said...

Yikes! Is this all from just one week!! I agree with so much that you have said!!! Good post.

Kathy said...

Wow! This is quite a post - definitely a newsletter - love the things you shared! The banner reminded me that my friend used to make these incredible banners for our church!
Hope you're having a blessed day,

Needled Mom said...

What a nice post, Donna. It was fun to catch up on your weekly review.

Congratulations to Jacob on his placing in the speech for such a wonderful cause. We need more young folks fighting the fight for us.

When you figure out how to turn off the creative mind would you please let me in on the secret!!!

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Hi Donna,
Congratulations to Jacob!
Your post is just filled with good things from top to bottom. Thanks for sharing and Happy Easter to you and your family.


Donna said...

Tee-hee! You made me laugh Nanny Kim. Sigh it IS all from one week, but I wish it wasn't. This week promises to be even more busy. It's just May! (coming up).

Today, Jacob's sargent who has not responded to our calls for a month about his medical papers..suddenly started calling and pressing us for one more paper and apparently lost some others. The result is that I have to get more records NOW or Jacob can't get in by the end of May. So even while I'm posting this, I've got Jacob anxiously waiting for me to track down this stuff...and the banner is due on Thursday and those graduation announcements have to go out this week.

It's amazing what one can squeeze into one week when you have to. But thank goodness, not every week is like this.

That's why the post was late this week. I just couldn't be 'the good hostess' and drive Jacob to school every day (vs. Tim and I taking turns) and get this done when I wanted.

I just decided not to worry and do the best I could. Everything will get done in the proper time...even if not exactly at the time I wanted. :o)

The unplanned has to be squeezed in with the 'planned'. One day, the rush will be over. Then I'll just 'blog away!" For now, I'm just the crazy mom. Ha!

Amy said...

What a wonderful and full week. I always love reading about your life. The colorful fruit and flower pictures near the beginning really stood out. And with all you have going on I'm impressed by your organization headway. Enjoyed tea with you today:)

Debby said...

Wow, that is alot of happenings in one week. Miss your posts but this cathes me up on what you are doing. Congrats to your son.

Mary Ann Pickett said...

This is awesome...so newsy...I feel all caught up with you. YES to paying for professional help...and I really want to make that chicken. Bravo to Jacob...such a handsome young man.
Take care, Donna.

Donna said...

I so miss daily posting, but this is my only solution for the problem. This was I can still keep in touch.

Kerrie said...

Congrats to Jacob!

Lorraine said...

hello Donna we are having a heatwave here so I am wearing my fav purple dress eating an orange and drinking some earl grey..thanks for your lovely comment on my blog..Oh and I actually spent most of yesterday morning cleaning the front room so it looks great now after the kids trashing it while they were off!

Anonymous said...

Oh Donna! Thank you for the reminder of how wonderful a science museum can be! I haven't been there since...oh...maybe 1991 or so. My sister is coming to visit in June and this would be a GREAT place to visit when she's here. Thanks for the flower shots too. We woke up to snow coating everything this morning. Ugh. My poor tomato, pepper and cuke seedlings are just dying to go outside but I guess we just have to wait a bit more. Although I miss your daily posts, this new schedule seems to be working out well! Much love to you and your fabulous family!

Caroline said...

Am going to read your post - life has just gotten busy yet. re: the dress, no the puckers are not design elements. Around the neckline it is probably because I made the neck binding just a hair too short. Don't really want to rip it out though. On the rest of it, I think because it is close fitting, it does that ... I thought that odd too. Maybe because it doesn't quite fit my body, though it's close. And the neck getting off just a hair could effect the rest I guess.

Donna said...

I thought the neck looked great Caroline..just wondered about the front around the hips. And gee..you don't really have 'hips' at least not like mine. The top looked great. Pesky knit! :o)

Kathy said...

Hello Donna - stopping by again to thank you for sharing this post with A Return to Loveliness!
Hope you're week is going well,

Maria Killam said...

What a great recap of your week Donna! You are so busy! I was responsible for my uncle's estate 2 years ago when he passed and wow is it a lot of work. There are still a few stragglers I need to handle!!

And the church banner is looking so beautiful! Such a professional looking job!

Room for More said...

No WAY is Jacob graduating! Yikes! We were excited to read about his future plans. Shannon told me what a wonderful blessing it was to have Rebekah house sit. We will remember that if we travel in the future! All of your photos and Christian's have been such a treat to view.

D is doing a bit better this week. Lyme DIsease and the co-infections look to be stealing an entire school year from him. We are working through it and tackling the nasty bacteria though!

Our E-beth is growing up way to fast for my liking ; ) She keeps us in stitches that is for certain. Our Becca is enjoying knitting, crocheting, and especially sewing. She has been taking lessons and learning so much. L is a math and science nut and loves loves loves it. He is determined to go to med school he tells us. He is also enjoying taking ASL classes.

The beach house hasn't sold and we are hoping we will be able to have one more family trip this year there. So many great memories for the kiddos there & lots of those include your crew!

Yes, the coming baby is such an exciting time for us. I am okay with the fact that this will be a hospital birth. I know it is best for me and Mudpuppy. Mid-late August will be the time frame. : )

I will have to try the crockpot chicken. It looks sooo yummy and good idea about throwing some rice in there too. Miss you & I pray God allows our paths to cross sometime soon!! (hugs)

Room for More said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GlorV1 said...

Wow, you've been doing a lot! Your children are so all American and just look so happy. One post a week is good. Lately I've been posting too much and need to cut back a little to spend more time doing things around here. I like your tea times with your daughter. The museum looked like a lot of fun. Happy wishes to you and yours Donna.

GlorV1 said...

Oh, if I don't get back here before Easter....
HAPPY EASTER to you and yours!

Photography said...

Lovely post again Donna - so full :-) LOVE your banner - nice handiwork. I MUST remember to link up for tuesday tea!! I have written myself a note. And I haven't forgotten the pif either - good thing we have 365 days - but I still feel bad even taken this long - it's in the works :-)

Let'sMakeADifference said...

Beautiful post and newsletter!! I'm blog hopping and found yours. I'm a new follower. Would love for you to check out my blog and follow back!

Caroline said...

I love your comment about "turning the creative brain off". Yes, often a problem.

I really like your organizing system. Perhaps I should contemplate this as well when not able to sleep!

Letting go ... failure ... I am having a hard time with our decision that goose will go to public school. Though a decision to home school would have had its difficulties too. And I need to trust God that He is leading my husband, and I can follow Kevin's lead because I can trust God with our family. And our precious little boy. Thanks for your encouraging words.

Hope your week is happy, if busy! It seems like with us the last two weeks just sped up to warp speed! I'm trying to get to those easter outfits, but its thursday, and easter is sunday, and I had to mow the lawn and iron today ... oh well... they could be for Father's day I guess.

Donna said...

Caroline, You make me smile talking about easter outfits for Father's day. Don't I know the feeling! :o)


Breathing In Grace said...

So happy that you're enjoying this Easter season with your precious family. I HOPE that your Easter weekend is full of blessings! Thanks for being my blogging friend, Ms. Donna!

Fishtail Cottage said...

ha ha - you pretty much covered everything in this post! Your too cute! thanks for linking up to Cottage Flora Thursday's to peek at your garden! Hugs to you & hope you have a great Easter with your family! xoox, tracie

Becky Jane said...

I'm not a tea drinker but I do enjoy visiting on the porch with a good friend or even strangers...new to your blog (found you on Jeremiah 29:11, Debs blog). I look forward to lots of good ideas and visits!
Thanks Becky Jane

Grace said...

I'm back again this week and still don't drink tea. I'm the coffee drinker but I do have an English couple who is trying to convert me. LOL
I read your post about letting people fall and I had a hard time with this with one of my children but learned how to do it oddly enough by watching Eagles on the Eagle Cams one year. The youngest eagle was never defended from the other siblings and he grew up to be the toughest. Thus I used Eagle logic with my one and now they soar just as high as the eagles. It is hard to be a loving mother.

Janna Renee said...

I'm really trying to work on allowing myself to delegate and allow others to help...it's very hard, but sometimes after i do, i realize that others can bring something to the table that I might not have thought of...just because it's not my way-doesn't mean it's wrong!

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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