Friday Links & Random Stuff

Whew, it’s been a busy, trying week! So I’m just gonna share some things that are on my mind and heart today. First of all, a couple weeks ago I mentioned two organizing projects I wanted to get done around here, a paper recipe purge-and-file, and dealing with my workroom fabric and craft shelves. The recipe project was completed but the shelves were a little more daunting:

fabric shelves before

You might not think it from this photo, but these shelves of fabric did start out organized by color or print – you can even see the labels I used on the top shelves. Obviously, that system didn’t work for me (a-hem) so this time around I am using a combination of baskets for the smaller remnants and just a few stacks. But mostly just a lot less fabric.

Which I had no idea would be so hard to part with. Of course some pieces are clearly a “what was I thinking?” kinda thing and some are waaaaay out of date, but most are basic colors, stripes, or solids. I just haven’t used them, so it’s the big question: will I? Uggggh, here’s where my use-what-you-have mentality can turn into hold-onto-it-forever-just-in-case. I only seem to have this problem with fabric and craft stuff. Odd, huh? I love purging clothes, paperwork and such – it must be that I like creating things and if I had more time I really would be using more of this…and so I think one day I will have more time.

Hmmm, so the process is, um, taking awhile and I’m walking around piles of stuff in my workroom. I’ve been seeing lots of organizing projects around the web, though, that are inspiring me like this one:

Organized shelves

Yes, I’m aware that it’s a pantry. But you know what I found when I searched Pinterest for fabric organizing? Lots of lovely piles. Which I know don’t work for me. Or each piece of fabric wound around a rectangle of cardboard…yeah, right. So this pantry inspired me with it’s coordinating labels (done on PicMonkey, which I love). The labels help all the different containers seem like they match. And I have different containers, so this is my goal.

Poppy seed sliders

I’m so happy Sandy at Reluctant Entertainer shared these Turkey, Pesto, Onion, Cheese, Poppyseed Sliders in time for the Superbowl! I’m making these for sure – even though Sandy said the Hawaiian rolls were key, I think they would be great with my Soft 100% Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls, don’t you? And I have my stash of freezer pesto to use, of course. What I’m really excited to try is the fun poppyseed sauce they are topped with – it’s making my mouth water just to look at it!

hot sauce bar gift

I have a post up over at The Happy Housewife, how to make a Hot Sauce Bar in a Scrap Wood Box, that you might be interested in if you have trouble thinking of creative (and inexpensive!) gifts for men (and if you don’t, I’d like you to share all your secrets with me!). I can’t take credit for this idea, though – it was Brian’s idea for two of our brother-in-law’s birthdays. He made the boxes and picked out all the different hot sauces. He loves having a variety of hot sauces, so this was a gift from the heart for him. I just thought it was a great idea.

I’ve been thinking about the menus here at AOC after this announcement. Thanks to all who wrote sweet comments and emails letting me know they enjoyed the menus – if even just to catch up on the latest happenings in my world. And while I can’t go back to posting weekly menus, I have decided to try posting a monthly menu the first Monday of each month.

I actually have never planned monthly, though I know others do regularly, so I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes. But mainly it will be my check-in with you all where I plan to share whatever has gone on in the past month. Look for the first one this next Monday.

Finally, a bit of sad personal news I’d like to share with you: our family would appreciate any thoughts or prayers you might think to offer for Brian’s dad – he’s been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that is most likely cancer. We are navigating uncharted territory for our family and it’s a huge paradigm shift for us – as I’m sure any of you who’ve gone through something similar with a parent can grasp. It’s been so big a part of our life these past two weeks, in fact, that I just felt the need to share it with you – my online friends. Life isn’t all great recipes and cool projects, though there’s nothing wrong with that. I just want to be real and share with you my real life – I hope you don’t mind.

It’s weird, but after writing so long and hearing from so many of you, I do feel like I have this large group of friends who would put their virtual arms around us as we walk this path. So thank you. Really.



  1. Melynda says

    So sorry for your sad news, it is a trying time. We have had brain tumors in our family, one cancer and one was not, but still posed great risk, when it was removed. In addition I work in a nursing related field, having been an administrator and I can offer you this. When ever possible, celebrate everything. I know that sounds off-handed like I am giving a quick, cheap note of sorry. But please take a moment when ever possible to celebrate the riches that are available “right now” and that is your celebration of everything. Those little celebrations will keep you grounded and connected to your family as you do in fact navigate forward. Do take care.

    • Jami says

      Thanks SO much, Melynda! That is meaningful and didn’t sound trite to me at all but just a good reminder. Yes, we will try to remember to celebrate.

  2. says

    I read your blog everyday but don’t comment much. I am sorry to hear about what your family is going through. I just wanted to let you know I will be praying for your family. Our family has been through cancer so many times with loved ones. I have a friend who has been “living with brain cancer” for 5 years now. She is stable and it shows me that God is truly in control. I also cared for my grandpa as he failed with Alzheimer’s. We also had a sweet dear neighbor of ours with inoperable brain tumor. I will be praying for your family as you walk along side your family member through this difficult time.

    • Jami says

      Oh, thanks so much for praying and sharing, Shelly – it’s always good to hear about someone who has lived awhile with brian cancer – we are hoping for that as well.

  3. sandy says

    Share your memories of times together with Dad. Say anything you have been meaning to say and never have. Take pictures to make new memories. Ask any questions about family history you have been meaning to ask. Let Dad know he is still useful as well as loved. Then, no matter what the outcome, you will feel more at peace.
    My mother passed almost 6 years ago and I still wished I had said, asked, done certain things but I never did because I focused so much on her illness I “forgot” she was still alive and with us. I hope that makes sense.

    Know that I will keep you all in my thought and prayers during this difficult time.

  4. says

    So sorry to hear about your dad and father in law. Spend as much time as you can with him. And don’t worry about your blog during this time. We’ll still be here.

    So, in the vein of saying the things we’ve been meaning to say… Yours is my FAVORITE blog. Really, not just saying that. I think it is the most real and down to earth and I can relate to it much better than many others. I pin many of your recipes and when it’s time for me to plan my menus, I go to your blog!! Also, my ideal house is a cottage as well. I painted our first house yellow with blue shutters, with a shed to match! Our current house has a white picket fence and lacy curtains in the windows.



  5. says

    Jami – I’m sorry to hear about what your family is going through right now. I lost my father to liver cancer, and my brother-in-law to brain cancer. However, I am a uterine cancer survivor – 10 years! So while I have lost family members – I am living proof that there is life after cancer. So, Live in today – don’t get so tied up in “cancer” that you forget “Dad” – and it is very easy to do that. You and your family will be in my prayers (please don’t take these statements in an unkind way – that is not what is intended – Please know that it is so easy to get caught up in all the “stuff” that you feel like must be “done” when someone is sick and forget to live and enjoy everyday with your loved one. Love to you and all your family.

    • Jami says

      Oh, I don’t, Carol – in fact they echo Sandy’s comment as well and as you’ve both dealt with cancer in your families, I’d say you know what you are talking about! We will take these sentiments to heart – thank you.

  6. tracy m says

    Jami, I often read but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before ~ I just want to say that you and yours are in my prayers and give you a hug. Enjoy every moment, everyday ~

  7. Suz says

    Like Shelly, I read your blog often but almost never comment… But I did want to say I’ll be praying for your family. So picture your virtual community of friends offering hugs and support!

  8. Valerie Barber says

    I’ve been through cancer with my mom. I’ll be praying for all of you. I truly enjoy watching Brian’s videos(they make me laugh out loud!) and no doubt he picked up at least some of his wit from his dad. Hugs from Illinois, Val

  9. Brenda says

    Jami ~ I’m so glad that you shared what is happening in your life. It is these unexpected journeys when you will feel the hand of the Lord on your shoulder. He will carry each of you through these rough spots. Isaiah 41:10 comes to mind, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strenghten you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.
    I would enocurage you to make the most of the time that you have together. I lost my father on the operating table ~ very unxepectedly. How I wish that I could have made more of the time that I did have with him. We seem to think that we will live “forever” and that we can “just do it tomorrow”. Don’t waste a moment worrying… just live and enjoy every moment AND TRUST GOD! He knows when our time is “up” and He will handle all the details. Praying for each of you. {{{HUGS}}}

  10. Shelby says

    Definitely praying! And I also wanted to say thanks for the sandwich recipe…I know it will be great on your whole wheat rolls, because I didn’t have rolls so I used a loaf of whole wheat bread that I made and froze earlier this week, and they turned out delicious! I think it’s the syrup you pour over it ~ YUM!

  11. says

    Best wishes on your organizing project. I’m sure you’ll do a great job!

    Praying that your family finds strength as you go through one of life’s tougher challenges. You are blessed to have each other.

  12. Mary says

    Like others I read your blog every day, but don’t comment. Love your blog. I want you to know I am praying for your family at this challenging time. Hang on to each other and focus on what’s most important to you. Let the unimportant go. Take care of yourself. Make sure to get lots of rest. I won’t go into details, but I know what I’m talking about.

  13. Crystal says

    I’m so sorry for your family and will be praying for strength and peace! I can’t imagine what you must be going through, but know that you are not alone. God is with you every step of the way and He will be your strength so lean on Him! He is your comforter, so you know that His arms and love are constantly around you!! I will be praying!!

  14. says

    Jami, none of us knows what the future holds. In our family, we’ve seen doctors be really wrong about the prognosis as well as pretty right on–so do enjoy the time following that shocked-at-how-quickly-life-changes stage. Life is a gift every single day.

    I do think second opinions (by the best specialist you can find) are a very good idea. The specialists see conditions so much more than your local doctor and are such a help and comfort as you confront a new reality. It’s a roller coaster and I’m sorry you’re on it. Hugs.

  15. Martha Ellen says

    Jami I am so sorry about your father-in-law. My husband and I have lost both of our parents. The feeling of role reversal, I think, is the most difficult. Our parents have taken care of us our whole lives and then suddenly that is our job. Remember to take care of yourselves and know I will have your family in my prayers. xoxo ♥

  16. Penny says

    I am new to your wonderful blog. So sorry about your father-in-law. My grandmother had an inoperable brain tumor. It took away her (I want to say) current memories, but she remembered the past. It was a sad time for the family. She was the rock that held everyone together. I would like to suggest reflexology as an avenue you might investigate, but I don’t know what you believe in. Um .. I use to go the a reflexologist and she did help me with my migraines. I will pray for you & your family for wisdom and peace. Thank you for all your inspiring articles & recipes. Give me new hope, that I’m not too old to learn something new.


  17. Nancy (in Portland) says

    You and your family will always be in my prayers. Remember, you never walk alone.
    Hugs to you. Nancy

  18. Sakura says

    I’m so sorry to hear about your father in law. I will keep you in my prayers. I agree with Sandy’s post, celebrate his life.

  19. Gwendolyn K. says

    I am truly sorry to hear your news! Please know Brian’s Dad and your whole family will be in my Prayers for strength, courage, support, healing and lots of Love! I am new fan to your site that I find really exciting, interesting and recipes heavenly. Thank You for sharing!!!!

  20. Shelly Duggan says

    So sorry to find out your sad news. I believe in the power of prayer and we here on line are like a little community ready to support each other. I love your blog and hope only the best for your family. And Sandy is right, celebrate all the moments because in the end all we have are memories of each other to hold onto. My dad passed away two years ago after a long illness and I think of him fondly every day and share my memories with my kids. It helps…..

  21. Judy Morrow says

    Jami, add me to the many who enjoy your blog but don’t usually comment…and now want to let you know that we are praying for you and your family. Your hubby’s parents look like wonderful people, and my heart goes out to all of you in having to walk this difficult path. I take comfort in knowing you won’t be alone. Our Lord fulfills the promises of his Word, and this is one of my favorites: I will never leave you nor forsake you. I know from experience how his presence, conveying his comfort and peace, makes all the difference. Consider yourself hugged by all your appreciative readers.

    • Jami says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such an encouraging comment, Judy! You and the others who’ve commented (and emailed!) have already helped so much as we face the unknown road ahead.

  22. says

    I am so sorry to hear about your father-in-law. Times like this are tough. I know. But God will walk with you and your family.
    Keep us posted.

  23. Kim says

    What a “gut punch” this news is. May you sense the Lord’s presence every single moment and His wisdom and direction as medical options are considered. Please keep us posted so we can continue to pray.

  24. almas says

    Hi Jami,
    I love your blog and read everyday.
    I very sorry to hear the sad news. I lost my younger brother just two years back with cancer too. I know how you feel. It is difficulty time for the family. My prayers are with you and God will do the mircale with your father in laws.
    Happy valentine day to you.

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