my book

The door bell rang.
I went to the door.
A box.
20141217_110624I opened it gently and peeked inside.
Books, a stack of books.
Real hard covered books.  Books that you can buy.  They smell like books.
The pages feel slippery and real.
There is a dust jacket with words about me, the author.  For heaven’s sake, there is an ISBN number!20141217_110641
20141217_111026My book.  The back cover even has a picture of me!
I wrote a book for my grands.
I have a good lump in my throat.
I can’t believe it.
If we still filled out IRS forms and you had to write what you do…………………………..
instead of housewife, mom, grandma and business owner…
I would write: author20141217_111807
Amazingly happy author. 

crabby can be a good thing

I had to share………just had to.

Right smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the busy month of December, we took a time out.  Yes, you read that correctly.  We  gave ourselves a mini vacation.  Did you know, you can find Peace on Earth, right on the Oregon Coast?  We have steeled away in the month of December, years past.  It is truly magical.   The roar of the ocean somehow managed to quiet our souls. If all the stars align, I highly recommend taking a December time out.  Replenished what we are in need of, fills our empty pitchers and is time well spent.

I am one thankful girl.  Vacation in December is decadent.  It feels lovely.  Here’s a secret:  we save and roll our loose change all year-long…………. that pays for our December vacation get away, like this one.  So right smack in the middle of what is usually a very cash depleting month, we pay cash for everything, yep even gas and spending money and enjoy a vacation.  GOD BLESS the coin jar.  Yes, Virginia it does add up.

One of the things about vacation that I adore, is getting to be a little “loose” with our eating habits.   While pizza used to be one of my top 5 food choices of all time, the last time we chose to have pizza was back in August.  That was a long time ago, in pizza years.  sigh.   So we have been talking about, planning, talking some more, dreaming, drooling for a few weeks now about what else……………… pizza.  Okay, and all the other fun stuff you get to do on vacation.  Pizza seems so easy to dream about.  Is it me, or do other human beans dream of pizza?

We chose to indulge in our dreams by way of Pizza a Fetta in Canon Beach, Oregon, one of the top 50 pizza places in America. The best little place ever. The aroma was mouth-watering. We even walked by the place early in the day and read the outdoor posted menu.  (Don’t you wish every restaurant in America would post their menu?  We really appreciate that.) You could smell the pizza from outdoors.  swoon.  SWOON.  Yes, that amazing. We made our choice. We talked about it all afternoon.

When you conscientiously decide to have pizza, you make it an event.  No, you don’t call it in, drive by, grab it to go and bake at home and eat off a paper plate.

This is food that is worthy of your being.  We are so worth amazing food that is well thought out and prepared.  I want to say it tasted like it was made with love, however that might be stretching it a bit.

This pizza is worthy of sit down at a table, have real conversation (cell phones were left in the hotel) while waiting, red checkered table cloths, real plates and the table set with flatware.  This is the real thing.  Real ingredients, thoughtfully chosen, each pie crafted with heart and soul. The wait staff was friendly and welcoming.  They made each diner feel as though their choice was the perfect choice.  The small restaurant was spotlessly clean and decorated for the season with a snow scene in the window and cedar garland with lights hung outdoors.

crab pizza 2014The time had finally arrived.  We walked in, were seated at a perfect small table. We could see the chef tossing dough for a crust, stretching, gently forming. We placed our order.

The wait……………..

All at once it was placed in front of us, about 8 inches off the table, on a little stand. Eye level, who am I kidding, nose level. A FEAST for the senses. We both looked at it and memorized it. The HUGE chunks of fresh crab. Yes, that’s right. We ordered Crab Pizza. That first bite was an amazing sensation. Hot, chewy, wood fired toasted crust, seasoned perfectly, The cheese, oh the cheese.

 

Actually, two kinds of cheese, mozzarella & Asiago were nestled atop a beautiful Montrachet sauce.  Thinly sliced Roma tomatoes were dancing with green onions, parsley and cracked pepper. …..wait for it…………..the crowning glory of this amazing pizza was generous amounts of fresh Dungeness crab.  There was not one slice on the pan that you didn’t want as your first choice.  Each had more than enough huge chunks of crab to make it the perfect slice.

We indulged.  We left no pizza behind.  ha…………..read that as this girl was glad to have on stretchy polka dot pixie pants.

I follow this one blogger who says she writes to experience life twice.

Writing about this pizza was as close to eating and enjoying every single bite of the actual pizza.  A good thing to do, while the laundry swishes away on the first day home from vacation.

ps.  I “borrowed” this picture off of Google images.  No, we did not have cell phones at our table.  Gasp, we were actually in the moment.  And oh boy, did we enjoy those moments.

 

 

Mr. Right

As you may have surmised, Mr. Right doesn’t like to talk about Mr. Right.  He doesn’t actually like me to talk about Mr. Right.

special day plateWhen you write a blog, some 840+ posting later, you feel as though you should mention that it is your better half’s birthday.

So instead of talking about him, I think I will talk a bit about me.

I have been plotting and planning for a few weeks, now.  You know the perfect gifts?  Thoughtful gifts he won’t buy for himself, yet will be so tickled to receive.  (no, I can’t spill the beans, he reads this blog, duh)  I found his birthday card in FEBRUARY.  Glory bee, I still remembered where I hid it.  yippee.

So, my guy woke up to fresh home-made Apple turnovers and the perfect pun, birthday card.

Yesterday, I fluffed and puffed, me.  Hair cut, dyed, highlighted.  facial.  manicure & pedicure (sassy Dorothy Red Shoes, sparkle red!).  Yes, every year the day or two before his special day, I make an effort.    I polish the apple.  Here is the deal, we have been on this ride for 33 years.  I want to remind him that he made a good choice.  When he walks through that door tonight, I want to be calm, dressed (no, not in leopard print yoga pants), lipstick on, garnished appetizer plate out and dinner ready to go.  (que his favorite country music CD)

Today, I am baking homemade crackers to go with some olives, cheese & smoked salmon for an appealing appetizer plate.

Also, one of his yearly gifts is baking as I type and is another homemade treat of goodness.  I will tell you tomorrow.  Don’t want to foil the surprise.  ha

Today, I am finishing wrapping some gifts, hanging balloons, getting out the special day plate and making a sumptuous dinner of his choosing.

The dog will be brushed and the table will be set with all the best we have.

I am making an effort.

Yes, indeed.  You see kids, that’s how marriages/friendships thrive.  They are a LIVING thing.  You’ve got to feed it now and then.   You have to make an effort.

No, I don’t wait until the day before, “oh yeah, what do you want on your birthday”?  His birthday dessert choice is homemade.   He is of value to me.  I make plans.  I make the effort. I want him to know without a doubt that he is the that important.

Every single year, without fail.

No, I don’t make plans to celebrate next weekend.  We change our world around so the special day IS the special day.  

When the boys lived at home, I included them in the secret plans.  Each year they made cards and we wrapped presents and helped with the dessert choice of the birthday person.  I was teaching them to be thoughtful and think ahead.  Birthday’s are not a last-minute thing.  You know when they are just around the corner.  Get out there people, buy some napkins, get a special day plate, hang a few balloons………..yes, it is that important.

Now, I will say that December birthday’s can be tricky.  However, in all my years of budgeting and planning, I figured out to make all those things happen a month or two before the budget crushing month of December rolls around.

DSCN0650He is the best husband a girl could wish for.  He makes my world “work”.  He holds my hand when I need it and even for “no apparent” reason.

A while back, someone said to me, “I started reading your blog, and I thought you were always talking about your boyfriend.  I didn’t realize you were married.”  One of the nicest compliments I have ever received.  I try my darnedest, to treat him with respect and giddy school girl love, just as I would a boyfriend.

He doesn’t complain too loudly at glitter in decorations.  He doesn’t complain too much about twigs in decor around the house.  He finishes (and likes) “honey-dew, lists”.  He wipes down the car door jamb on my side.  That way, I have never gotten slush or dirt or grim on my pant leg or dress.  How’s that for thoughtful?  Oh sure, he stands before I sit at the table, he opens all the doors for me, he offers his handkerchief when I am in need.  However, he does the boyfriend stuff, too.  He hangs out in girl stores (jewelry or gift shops) even when he is the only boy.  He plans trips and finds interesting restaurants to try.  He sends me funny texts and calls me during the day.  He makes sure there are no stupid appointments planned on Valentine’s day.   He tells me my hair looks nice (even when we both know it is a little more “joyful” than usual). DSCN5339 - Copy

He is an amazing Dad and if you can believe this, an even more amazing Papa.

He is the best boyfriend in all the land.  I wish there was a contest.  He would love to win a lifetime supply of double-bladed razors or Rice A Roni!

He makes our family better.  He makes my world twirl.  He makes me a better version of me.  How could I offer any less to him?

So, if you run into Mr. Right today, quietly without fanfare, whisper a very Happy Birthday to him.  He will pretend like it doesn’t matter.

It does matter.

He matters to me.

20140802_142253Man, I love that guy.

 

 

 

miss smarty pants

fancy pantsI must have decided to wear my smarty pants while spray painting.

This year for my outdoor decorating, I decided to add a touch of red, here and there.  A jaunty red plaid bow on a wreath, some sprigs of fresh holly with their striking red berries and I decided to paint some buckets bright Christmas red.

I waited for a non-rainy day, put on some, work clothes,  plastic gloves, set out some cardboard.  I taped the handles of the buckets with masking tape so the wood handles would look rustic.   I waited a day and then put on a second coat of paint.  Easy.  Waiting for it all to dry, was the tough part.  The spray paint which I bought a local small business, hardware store cost $4.99.

Love those DIY projects that are easy, quick and add a big burst of cheer to a display. 20141208_153352

Today, I was up early for a special phone call.  I was outside during the dark of morning.  I fed and watered the chickens, gave the birds some peanuts and seeds. It was then I noticed something all over the deck.

Oh no, it looked like blood.  I ran and got the flash light, I wanted a better look.  This did not bode well for an animal somewhere.

HEY WAIT A MINUTE, looks a lot like chips/chunks of red paint!

Good News:  No animal lost it’s life in the name of decorating.

Have you ever actually read the directions on the back of a spray paint can?  “for best results, use in a well ventilated area with temperature above 50*”

Um, so I am guessing that wearing a heavy coat in 36 degree weather is not ideal for spray painting metal buckets.  OH, so that’s why they put a guide of 50* or higher!

Just doing my part to make the world a happier place and sharing this gentle suggestion.

 

20141210_112745 (1)

Don’t be a smarty pants and know it all.  Read & follow directions. 

 It will make your holiday projects so much fancier. 

Happy do it yourself, decorating!

a place for sugarplums to dance

20141208_131916Thanks to Clement Clarke Moore……… we all know the story quite well.

 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

 

Thanks to my sister-in-law and niece…… we know where sugar plums will dance, at least in the month of December.

We received a huge box in the mail.  Always, quite exciting to get mail so big, it is a chore to bring it into the house.  You have to prop open the door, get a hold of the box, lift with your knees, peer over the top as not to step on the dog’s paw, get it into the house and then look at it.

You look at the address to make sure it is for you.  ha  Then you look to see who mailed it.  Who on earth would spend so much to mail a box to us?   I wonder what is inside?  What could it be?

I wait for Mr. Right to come home.  We can open it together.  However, I do walk by the unopened box, several times.  I lift it a couple more times to help with my guessing.  I smile ear to ear each time.

Jeepers, now that I think about it, I have never once in all my life every received a box and it was bad news.  It has always been: interesting, exciting, thrilling, funny, happy, cheerful some type of celebration about to take place.

My stomach kind of flipped over a couple of times with giddy.  You know, nothing bad, just butterflies in your stomach and smiling the whole time.  Guessing, oh, the guessing went on all afternoon.

Finally, Mr. Right got home.  He cut open the box and stepped back.  He let me gingerly lift the flaps and peek inside.  WHAT?  Are you kidding me?  Is it the right size?  Really?  Oh my stars!

20141208_125022I can’t believe it.  My sister-in-law and niece had somehow managed to send “Christmas” in a box.  That’s right.  They had figured out a way to send a cozy, comfy, wonderful piece of the holiday right to our door.   Those two silly girls had put their heads together and designed a way to bathe us in Grace and Goodness.

So from Vermont to Washington……………… we all have a place to lay our heads and nap and dream of sugar plums dancing.

ps.  I am sure, my SIL  and niece will appreciate all the glitter intertwined in the garland on the headboard.  I have a feeling Mr. Right will have a comment or two.  20141208_131954

May you all receive wonderful surprise gifts from loved ones through the mail.

Sweet Dreams

suet, suet

Tis the season.  My chickens, like all chickens are molting.  That means, no eggs.  Well, I get one now and then from Ginger, none from Lovey.  They are using all their protein to produce more feathers to help keep them warm in the winter months.  I know, I would be doing the same thing.  Yipes.

I am learning and researching and one of the things that will help them is to increase their protein intake.  So last night I made a delicious treat.  For the chickens (and birds) not people.

20141204_205331I purchased a block of suet.  It cost $1.79 Who knew, you could still buy this?  Anyway, I melted it down, then I added raw peanuts, raw sunflower seeds, seaweed and some sunflower seeds in the shell.  I poured into a pan.  Then set in the freezer to harden.

This morning, I scooped out balls of the,soon to be tree decorations and treats of goodness.

I put suet balls into those net bags you save?  Easy to tie onto the outdoor Christmas tree!  I also hung one (with a bit wider weave) of thesuet balls delicious suet balls inside the chicken coop.

Now, today is not freezing in my neck of the woods.  However, on those brisk winter, extremely chilly mornings….. taking a couple treats out of the freezer to offer up to my outdoor friends will make them very happy and I in turn will be happy.

Tis the season to give!

It’s all about the happy!

Who knew suet would make this vegetarian girl so dang happy?

Weird.

Happy Friday, y’all.

say “cheese”

One of the things I adore about the holidays are …………..drum roll…………….wait for it……………………….. SNACKS.

cheese ballI adore snacks.  I love a good cheese ball.  I love the idea of little nibblies to whet our appetites.  Having a couple of cheese balls made and flavors melding in the refrigerator, is a lovely feeling.

You can grab your homemade cheese ball, add a box of crackers, tie on a sprig of evergreen with a piece of red and white bakers twine add a jaunty cheese spreader,  there you have it.  Instant hostess gift.

Dreary Sunday afternoon, chilly, damp, game on the television?  Set a cheese ball on a jaunty holiday platter, surround with some divine crackers (homemade or store-bought), add a sprig of fresh Rosemary,  toss on some veggies and TA DA. Instant goodness. spread happiness

About 2 years ago we gave up dairy.  Now, don’t get your holiday panties in a knot.  If there is cheese sprinkled upon our baked potato at a friend’s home, no we don’t SCREAM, WE DON’T EAT DAIRY!  We are polite, civilized guests.  Of course we eat what our host has provided.  If there is a bit of cheese in a ravioli at a restaurant, we don’t send it back.  We just choose not to consume dairy on a daily basis.

One of the things I discovered, it is not the actual cheese ball that I was missing.  Oh sure, that flavor is wonderful.  It was the holiday “act” of nibblies.  Let’s face it, a cheese ball on a festooned platter of goodness, just hollers holidays.

May I offer up an amazing, delicious, go back for seconds and thirds recipe that will not only fulfill that need for a holiday treat, but will satisfy our choice to stay dairy free?

“Cheese” Ball 

2 cups cashew pieces, soak overnight  (purchase in the bulk foods section of your grocery store)

1/4 cup filtered water

2  probiotic capsules (use the powder, discard the capsules)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

2 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon real salt

6 grinds of cracked pepper

2 full teaspoons fresh chopped thyme

Combine soaked cashews, 1/4 cup water and probiotic in food processor.  Scrape down.  Blend until smooth.

Line a strainer with cheese cloth (fabric store or Bed Bath and Beyond) spoon mixture into the cheesecloth, cover and let sit over night.

Put cashew mixture in a bowl.  Stir in the thyme, yeast, S & P and garlic.

Divide into 2 balls.  Roll in crushed pecans (option:  add a bit of green herbs for color)

Refrigerate 2 days and serve or up to a month in the freezer.

Say Grace and indulge.  Seriously, indulge.  You and your family are so worth a lovely treat.