In today’s mail, we received a very thought felt
thank you note. It was short and sweet and to the
point. It was on a funny post card.

It was from one of our “grown up” children.

Hey Virginia, they WERE listening!

That’s why I have a secret smile on my face today.

giddy……. love that word.

licking the beaters

At age ten or eleven I wanted to learn to bake. I was “creating”
cupcakes from a mix. I was using the mixer. I really, really wanted a taste. So instead of stopping the mixer, you probably know where this is going………… the spatula got all tangled up in the beaters and then created a funnel effect and threw out batter all over the kitchen. My mother was not amused. She had batter dripping off her eyelashes, which I of course thought was hysterical. I could not stop laughing. She was not laughing. Thus ending my baking adventure before it really even began……. “ladies do not lick the beaters”

Needless to say, I did not learn how to bake or cook very well until I was married. I still had a sense of humor about it though. While making frosting on one occasion, I put pure shortening on a spatula and asked Mr. Right if he wanted a taste. He did. He has never (28+ years later) and I mean never licked the beaters or spatula without first asking what it was. dang, joke gone bad, not a good thing.

When one of our little boys had a birthday, the other was my “chef’s helper”.
He got to help make the cake and lick the beaters and lick the spoon and spatula.

While home schooling, taking turns I had a “chef’s helper” four out of five nights.
I only used an 1/4 of a cup measuring cup & a 1/4 teaspoon. Boy, did they learn fractions fast! One of their god mother’s came to visit once and while making cookies, the boys”discovered” a 1 cup measuring cup! They could not believe their good fortune!rats, there went my math lessons. It worked long enough for both to learn fractions very, very well.

With two helpers, I never really got to lick the beaters.

Mr. Right is more than willing (once he knows what it is) to be the taste tester now that our nest is empty. I only like to test the vanilla.

Yesterday was a brand new recipe. Vegan Creme filled Chocolate Orange cupcakes. Have I mentioned that I am not a chocolate girl? Gasp, I know, I can pass on chocolate almost every single time. The recipe I made yesterday changed my credo. It changed my life (for a moment anyway). I licked the beaters and the spatula and even used my finger to lick the bowl. I wished I had left more to “taste test”. It was divine. It was luscious and dreamy. It felt wicked and silly all at the same time.

I have discovered one good thing…having an empty nest means you get to
lick the beaters every single time if you want to. It’s the little things……

a favor, please & thank you

If I forget to say it later, thank you for helping us.

I looked at the clock this morning and it read 4:18 am. Yup,
me, a very NON morning person. I just couldn’t calm my mind.

The storm in Minnesota, friends family homestead and farm buildings
had been whisked away in a tornado. Everything is a total loss.

Money cannot solve this catastrophe. Insurance will pay to
rebuild. Insurance money will buy a new washer and dryer.
Well, I should say, insurance money will buy the wood to build
a new house to put the washer and dryer in. Insurance will buy the
clothes to wash and dry in said new appliances.

As I embroidered a kitchen towel, I was thinking and praying and
thinking and praying. I was trying to figure out what I could do.

People don’t need things to carry on………….. people need to know
that there are others that care about them, lifting them up.

Here is a part of the e-mail that our friend sent to Mr. Right this morning:

“We had people just show up to help clean up, a volunteer firefighter, with wife, 2 kids, father and mother came with a big truck and dump trailer at 10 in the morning and stayed until 7 at night.People drove up in the trucks, had sandwiches, chips, coffee, soda and water and drove from house to house.People were just amazing.’

I am working on hand stitching a couple of kitchen towels.
I am also writing out by hand a few of my favorite family recipes. I will be
putting them on colorful 8 1/2 X 11″ paper. I am putting together a colorful binder
with hand written recipes from us and different special friends. I want it to be a
keepsake to help, somehow help tell them they are prayed for and thought of.

I thought about what I would appreciate. I think loosing all my saved favorite recipes from friends would be top of the list. Sure I love collecting recipes and cook books. However, there is something unique and special and from the heart when I see a friend’s hand writing. I love the hearts to “dot the i’s” the smiley faces drawn near the word “butter” I love the personal comments. In my friends own hand.

I know that insurance money will replace kitchen towels. I have this feeling that would be near the bottom of my list of things to dwell on. Just grab a 10 pack and check that off the list.

I am asking (if you wish) to please share with me a couple (or more) of hand written recipes and/or a kitchen towel or two. I promise to put them together with care and creativity. I will take pictures of the box and we will of course pay for the postage. I just think if I send this out to a few friends you will come through for me with a recipe or two. If you wouldn’t mind please share with your friend or two and ask them for a hand wirtten recipe. Please feel free to share this request. We would highly appreicate the help.

I am setting a target date of July 19th, 2010. That will give me a couple of days to put it all together and mail it out by the following Monday.

Yes, I know it won’t “fix” anything. Yes, I know we are all busy and have no time to write out a recipe.

I just have the feeling that if I lost everything, and a unexpected box
of prayers, recipes and kitchen towels was given to me………….. Faith in Action….. seems fitting.

Thank you for considering this request. We really appreciate it.
I would openly appreciate any and all thoughts/suggestions as well.

Grace and Peace,
Mr. Right and Mrs. 1950’s housewife

technology & two pouches of juice

I read on face book this morning, my friend’s 11 year old son was having his annual juice sale. They live about 20 miles from us in a nearby town. He has his own cash register. He found/bought it on e-bay. They had to order the receipt tape from back east. They found the company on line. He is an articulate & well mannered kid. He is friendly and puts you at ease right away. Not that a kid needs to do that for adults, he just has a way of smiling and being kind, makes you feel lucky you met him. The money is divided between Children’s Hospital and MD. He put the proper money in his cash register, the extra change divided equally between the two jars, and gave us a professional receipt.

I haven’t seen my friend since High School graduation. Most of the time, I like face book. This morning is why I LOVE face book. She still has the sweet smile and sparkle in her eye that I remember.

So Mr. Right and I headed out. We drove 20 miles, found the place, paid our moola, got a professional receipt, met the dog and the husband, got to visit and smile and talk. We bought some fresh berries and vegetables on the way home. We drove by my old house. We drove home happy. We found a GREAT place to spend some of our budgeted monthly charity money.

I have almost zero interest in going to our 30 year reunion. So I decided to make an effort to meet up with some of my old chums. Take some friends flowers, from some, visit the juice stand, plan to attend a concert one chum sings in….you get the idea…..Secretly I am hoping that our new grand baby will be born on that day, so I “can’t” attend the reunion.

Driving home with Mr. Right, chatting and drinking juice out of a pouch…doesn’t get much better. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still hate those juice pouches. To get the straw into it without spilling is just not likely. Years ago, our little boys could do it easily. I jabbed and jabbed and pushed and tried and spilled every time. Yes, today, I spilled over my jeans. This time, I don’t care, I enjoyed the juice. I loved the way we spent a Saturday morning.

I found some Grace to bathe in today, and it feels lovely.

try to be a blessing

Sometimes people can be very hurtful and not joy filled.

I wish to be sincerely joy filled for others happiness,
every single day of my life. I will attempt to lift them
up during their glorious moments of celebration!

Tonight Mr. Right hung a light filled star in the guest room.
May all who visit and sleep in our home, find an oasis of
glad tidings and joy.

Help us find courage to make our lives a blessing,
and let us say Amen.

birthday cakes & pirates

We were reminiscing some yesterday, as it was son number one’s 28th birthday.
While he lived at home, he chose 16 homemade cakes/pies. On one occasion he
chose to order from a bakery. Once when he turned 13, we were on a cross
country road trip and bought a cake and actually shared with the Sate Park
Rangers of Lake Michigan.

One year he requested a cat cake. Yup, I made a decorated cake with
dark gray frosting piped out to look like our cat Thimble. Once he chose the
traditional Mickey Mouse on the top. That year we got him Mickey Mouse
pajamas, too. He wore them outside like clothes sometimes…way before wearing
pajamas in public was cool. He was four.

My favorite was the Spaceship cake. I made the the ships’ fins out of tin foil, the after burners out of the pointed ends of ice cream cones with orange and yellow frosting coming out as the flames. I put a picture of him and piped around it to simulate him looking out the window, smiling. Yes indeed MORE gray frosting!

I’ve piped on bicycles and cats and cookie monster (actually eating one
Oreo with crumbs….I remember thinking it was very expensive to have to
purchase the entire bag of cookies to use one!)

While living in Europe, He requested an ice cream pie. He saw an
advertisement in a magazine someone had sent us. So I had to make the
chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze it. Then make the ice cream and
freeze it. Then stir it together. Then make the pie crust. Put it all together,
freeze it. Then make the hot fudge to “frost” it with. All using a teeny, tiny
top of the refrigerator freezer. If I remember correctly, it was totally worth it.

He got older (dang it) and started requesting the famous “candy bar” cakes.
Home made chocolate or vanilla cake with usually vanilla frosting with all different
kinds of candy bars chopped up roughly and covering the entire top of the cake.

Oh, then the Oreo cakes…that held a couple of years of popularity between
both boys. Some recipe I found and sent away for (pre-computer days) that
was vanilla cake with crushed Oreos in the batter. It was topped with vanilla
butter crème icing with yup, you guessed it more chopped Oreos.

Then there was/is the pie phase. He LOVES pie. I was at a loss on how to
“dress up” a plain old Blackberry pie. Then inspiration hit. I bought five black
plastic rats about 5″, each with beady red eyes. I stuck them in the finished pie
all around the top crust, coming out every which way. I didn’t say anything.
So there sat the pie on the counter. Everyone thought I had lost my mind. He finally asked okay, what’s with the pie?
I said…..wait for it…………… you mean the PIE RATS! Haha…get it pirates?

Oh, mom’s can be so silly in showing how much they love their kids.

Next family birthday is in about 2 weeks. I’ve got my thinking cap on……
I am sure inspiration will hit me. ….I have been researching different cheesecake

…and so the adventure in baking continues

…and then I don’t feel so bad.

some favorite things

the sound of the garage door opening (that means Mr. Right is home)
when we have both suitcases laid out on top of the bed and are filling them (we are going traveling)
planning a trip with Mr. Right
conversely talking about trips we have taken together, over and over and over and looking at pictures
fresh cut grass with a manicured lawn
fresh pedicure
buying fresh roasted coffee beans
“putting up” lots and lots of bags or jars of veggies or fruits or jams
making v-19 juice
matching stacked mixing bowls
freshly made warm peanut butter coming out of our juicer
walking in high heels over thick carpeting at church
the smell of an old fashioned fabric (only) sewing store
the breathless sound of our kids calling to tell us some great news that just have to share with us
setting a really over the top dinner table
the sound of the juicer motor
that last stitch in a completed quilt at 2 in the morning
studying and then going to an exhibit with Mr. Right
watching our “kids” find their way, happily
working together on a project to give to some un-expecting young person, for no reason
before and after pictures
bringing in a basket of fresh picked produce
walking our dog
riding my bike
my wicker basket on my bike with yellow silk flowers spilling out
oatmeal every morning
popcorn always
rolling pin collection
walking on ritz crackers in bare feet on concrete
Polish pottery
perfectly made bed
after a fancy “grown up” dinner or occasion, stopping at a 7-11 for slurpees in our dress up clothes
Lugging home a huge & heavy book bag from the library
“cracking open” a new book
well organized pantry
eating an ice cream novelty outside late at night in the summer
a plate of freshly made appetizers ready and waiting
anticipating and then reading my note each morning
counted cross stitch, quilting, playing the piano
wearing high heels
watching Bruce ice skate
studying a new subject
planning – preparing – cooking and serving a really great meal
serving the soup course first
laying in bed laughing until my side hurts with Mr. Right
watching Mr. Right golf or practice golfing
having lunch at a golf course

having grace when you are different

Today and tomorrow, Mr. Right is attending an out of town conference.

It is being held at a well known , nation wide hotel.

This morning everyone attending was asked for their lunch preference.
Here we go again………………the Vegetarian choices were as follows:
Salmon, Lasagna (yes with meat) or chicken.

HELLO, is this microphone on? tap…tap…..

His choice was no longer available so he was served Sweet
& Sour Chicken stir fry with a scoop of rice…………. sigh

Okay, we have been on this roller coaster for about 15 years now.
Yes, we have been asked all the questions….Where do you get your protein?
(broccoli, why, where do you get yours?) You eat chicken right? (um, no that
would be an animal) Do you have leather auto upholstery? (again, no that would
not be in line with our thinking, we ordered cloth).

The greenhouse gas emissions from producing a pound of beef, are 58 times greater
than those from producing a pound of potatoes. Refusing meat is the single most
effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.

With Mr. Right’s strong family history of heart disease, diabetes & cancer we decided to research and learn and read everything we could get our little mitts on,
about how we could manage to live maybe not longer lives, just much better & healthier lives while we are here.

Sure, we love and adore animals. I don’t think anyone approves of
many of today’s massive slaughterhouse practices.

We have devoured library books, articles, listened to lectures, bought & read books,
we subscribe to magazines…let’s be honest we read anything we can get our
hands on about health and eating healthy.

We want to be good stewards of this earth.

We want to set a good example for our children and grandchildren.

We have been judged and laughed at. We have been ridiculed and made fun of by many, including family members.

One of the worst parts of working outside our home in an office situation was the lunch hour. Pot lucks are torture, having people pick apart and ask what you are eating for lunch, going to company dinners, having to “tell your preference” out loud and sort of defend it. Well, let’s just say it is harder for me to do that gracefully than it is Mr. Right. He embraces his choices.

Our dinner invitations and party invitations have become more infrequent. You bet, we take a lovely hostess gift. You bet we are polite and conversational. Heck, we even shower and put on our Sunday best to show up on time. Yes indeed, we
send a wonderful thank you note or flowers. It is just that people have told us, we don’t invite you because we don’t know what to serve you.

Mr. Right eats one piece of turkey on Thanksgiving just so he doesn’t have to tell people he is a vegetarian.

Golly, if you ever feel lonely or in need of some conversation, just tell people you
home schooled your children and are vegetarian. Folks come out of the woodwork to give you their opinion. (warning, not all of those opinions are kind & nice)

After chatting with a friend, I now understand some days I am stronger to accept criticism about our lifestyle than others. Today was not one of those days.

“Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an
angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.” ~S. Barr

laundry soap = happiness

It really makes me happy to make laundry soap. Yesterday, I spent about 10 minutes and today about the same. I made 300 ounces of (this time) Lavender & Clary Sage scented laundry soap. I spent about $1.00. That will last about 7 weeks.

I like not having to purchase and bring home and then recycle yet another liquid laundry soap bottle each month.

Yes, I am crazy about laundry. I do a load or two a day. Yes, even with just two adults living here. I like having the laundry done, daily.

I like spending my money in other ways. I like not buying one more plastic bottle that will eventually load up the landfills.

Just saying……

Love Notes

Between you and me, let’s call them “love notes”. A couple of boys under 10 years old make a weird “blechish” sound & begin the throat grabbing when they hear the word “love”.

When our boys were young and learning to read we left notes for them to find. As encouragement during the time we homeschooled we would sometimes leave a message scrawled across the bathroom mirror or hidden in the refrigerator, tucked into the book they were reading. Our “principal” would chalk a message on our sidewalk, usually something about always doing your best, school is cool, to whom much is given, much is required, that sort of thing.

While living in Germany, Mr. Right would pen a letter to his family each Wednesday morning. I can vividly still see the note & drawing the day after I had studied for three months and taken and passed the European driving test. I was a stick figure with wild curly hair driving the minivan, looked like I was going fast and under the drawing were the words “Autobahn Annie”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By the time they entered public school we were in full “pack a lunch” mode. Not being super great eaters, I would try and be as creative as possible when it came to the food portion of the lunch, and the notes….yes the (love) notes.
After the boys had gone to bed, Mr. Right and I would sit down every Sunday night and write out 10 great notes. Sometimes with stickers or special paper, sometimes a funny joke or glue on a comic. Some were helpful to a shy kid, ‘I wrapped two cookies for you today. Eat one and give one to a friend”. Sometimes, when they were stubborn young teenagers, the note (void of hearts and flowers and smiley faces) would be very small and discrete. Sometimes, the note was wrapped in plastic along with some paper money tucked inside a sandwich. Hey, sometimes they were smart enough to at least look at the lunch before throwing it away! When they were old enough to drive, a reminder note would be left on the seat to buckle up and maybe a dollar or two to buy a Slurpee.

Once while driving across country during which time our “baby” had his 13th birthday, we made a BIG sign (note) that read “Happy 13th Birthday, please honk!” Oh man, he got over 80 honks, whistles and cheers. That day, the Lake Michigan Park Rangers, cheered and shouted and even got some birthday cake. I saw the sign (note) a while ago, tucked into a scrapbook.

I used window chalk to paint on the van window when son number one graduated from High School…. “Goodbye College boy, Hello Sewing Room”. When son number two graduated, I wrote “Look out California, here he comes”!

Darn kids grew up and moved away. Oh sure we sent college care packages and those always contained a card or a note. My guess is that the snacks & gift cards were more than enough to tell them we loved and missed them. I am thinking that they didn’t tape up sweet notes from their mom for others to see.

Every day, and yup, I mean every day, Mr. Right, pens me a 5 X7” love note or short letter. I get a stick figure drawing every day and a sticker once in a while. Some days, I find them taped to the bathroom vanity. Other days they are taped to my coffee cup or to my Kitchen Aid or taped to the computer keyboard. I hear everything from a thank you for a nice dinner or packing my lunch or a sweet musing, sometimes even an idea of something we could do for the upcoming weekend. I always get hearts and it is always signed with LOVE.

When the day came and I was lucky enough to tell Grandpa the news of the new grandbaby’s name, you just know I wrote a note on his back windshield! (He LOVED the news, wasn’t exactly happy with the chalk paint on his car. Graciously, he was a good sport.)

So it was with a happy heart when I woke up this morning at 2:17 am and came up with and wrote down a totally wonderful idea. Instead of sticking our noses in and giving valuable top notch advice, (once the new grandbaby has arrived), “Pop Pop & Nanners” will begin writing a book! Yes indeed. Together we are going to write a note every single day for the first 365 days. Of course it will have stick figure drawings and be full of amazing wit & wisdom. I ask you, who among us wouldn’t want to start life out with 365 love notes?

“Letters mingle souls, surely letter writing must be a part of the pursuit of happiness” J. Donne