grace, grateful

It’s Tuesday, grab a recipe card (tricked you, as you thought I was going to say napkin)

About a week ago, my niece who lives on the other side of the country sent me an idea, I pondered it, showered with it, rolled it around in my head and tweaked it and decided I loved it.

Here is what she had to say:  I’ve been keeping busy with a project. I grabbed the idea off of a website. You keep a stack of 365 index cards, one for each day of the year. Then you write down one thing that happened that day that made the day interesting. You have a line on the card for each year, so as time goes on, you can look back and see what you did on that date for years. I thought it was a cute little idea. I started keeping track in April of this year and it’s amazing to look back already and see what I’ve done and where I was.

I have been keeping my grateful list here on my blog for the summer.  September 1 will be the beginning to Autumn to me…I have a cute basket the perfect size for recipe cards, that would sit nicely on my desk.  Easy to keep up with, small, quick…..and the perfect way to keep track of more things I am GRATEFUL for.  I am thinking, cute colorful cards, uplifting, sweet basket for storage.

To store my recipe cards, I am choosing a basket from Putney, Vermont.  The store called Basketville is a wonderful place.     It reminds you of what American workmanship was and is.  I value the baskets I have purchased there.  It is always on a trip to see Mr. Right’s family.  I can almost always find something special.  I have one glorious basket in my sewing room and it brings up really great memories.  When you take a moment to look at the basket you are treated to pure old-fashioned craftsmanship.  You know you are holding something that someone made with their hands.  Yes, I have spent many hours weaving baskets.  I have given some as gifts.  Actually, some people have passed those on to Goodwill, not knowing they were hand-made.  Or maybe they don’t value hand-made things like I do.    I remember the day that I made my first potato basket.  It was the first day that Mr. Right was off to spend 10 months in Germany.  I spent the day working and creating rather than sobbing.   I wove my heart and soul and a few tears into that basket.

I just finished cross stitching a friend’s 50th Birthday gift.  The entire time I worked on it (about 16 hours), I thought of her.  I prayed for her.  I enjoyed past memories we have shared together.  I thought about and prayed for her husband and her kids.  Again, with her in mind, I looked for and found the perfect frame.  I want her to feel the love and grace that I stitched into that linen.  I want her to know how much she is of value.

I “heart” the idea of keeping track of things I am grateful for.  I am looking forward to using the recipe cards this fall.   “We are what we repeatedly do.” ~ Aristotle

I choose to be grateful every single day.  Say Grace, and for the love of a hand-made basket, let’s all start keep track of things to be grateful for. 

Today, I am grateful for:  274.  nieces and nephews  275.  our juicer  276.  great coffee beans  277.  Sweet Liberty  278.  creativity  279.  baskets  280.  weaving  281.  hand-made gifts to give  282.  books  283.  the phone  284.  daily audio lectures  285.  slightly green bananas to eat  286.  my exercise bike  287.  fresh, outdoor dried sheets  288.  pets  289.  great memories  290.  Mr. Right (even though he snores a bit too much sometimes)  291.  great shoes  292.  recipes  293.  lemons  294.  table top fans  295.  iced lattes on a summer day  296.  Almond butter  297.  flip-flops  298.  purple pansies  299.  color sharpies  300. our garbage man who is not on strike

cooking, ethics, grace, grateful, Uncategorized

Say Grace, grab a napkin…it’s Tomato Tuesday in blog land!

Today I’m joining bloggers around the country for Tomato Tuesday. I am sharing a favorite recipe that uses tomatoes (of course), and I am also sharing how you can join in the campaign to raise awareness regarding the injustices in the U.S. tomato fields.  I learned so much today from another blogger at eat2gather.net  You will fall in love with her and her spirit.  I will add the information at the end of my blog post today. 

Some might call my recipe Zucchini Boats………..don’t care for the name.  I called them Bruschetta Stuffed Zucchini.  They are sumptuous and packed with flavor, easy and by golly we are having them again tonight.  I made ours vegan (by using Daiya cheese) however, real mozzarella would be ideal.

Okay, pick up a couple little zucchini’s at your local farmers market or head to your back yard.  Choose two or three good ones.  Pick a few cherry tomatoes and a hand full of fresh basil while you are out there.  Wash and slice the zucchini in half the long way.  Pre-heat your oven for 350* scoop out those seeds and then use a pastry brush to brush them all over with some garlic oil.  Just crush up two or three cloves of garlic in some olive oil add some S & P and let set.  Use that for pure flavor.   Then chop up a couple of tomatoes or slice up some little grape tomatoes you have from your garden.  Toss in a bowl with some salt (use the good stuff, please) and pepper and a hand full of bread crumbs.  Slide that dish into the 350* oven for 30 minutes.  When it comes out all golden brown, tuck all in and around some mozzarella cheese (again, vegan cheese works very well in this recipe), sprinkle in some fresh chopped Basil.  When you are ready for dinner, put it under the broiler (or put on the top rack of your BBQ) for a few moments to melt the cheese so it is all ooey and gooey.  Take out of the oven and top with the remaining chopped fresh basil, you might need another dash of S & P and a drizzle of that garlic oil you made earlier.  Each person gets one on their plate and the aroma ………oh the aroma of eating fresh zucchini and somehow the magic of including a delightful flavor surprise of freshly baked little slices of bruschetta  is heaven, pure heaven!  SAY GRACE and oh for the love of a fresh tomato, dig in.

My mouth is sort of watering just thinking about dinner tonight.  I am guessing these puppies will make you the family star!  Hey, think about sharing a recipe with a friend today.  Makes you feel great to share and feels special to receive one.  Our tongues are probably still purple from the wonderful Marion Berry Cobbler we devoured for dessert on Sunday night.  A friend shared the recipe and boy were we glad that she did!  When we were counting our blessings, she made our list!

Here’s the story on Tomato Tuesday……..thanks for reading and learning with me!

The Problem Slavery is not just happening overseas. Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy once called Florida’s tomato fields “ground zero” for modern-day slavery in the United States. In the past 15 years, over 1,000 people have been freed from slavery in U.S. tomato fields.

The Solution Recipe for Change–a campaign led by International Justice Mission in partnership with the Fair Food Standards Council and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers–is targeting three major supermarket chains this summer (Ahold, Publix and Kroger’s), and asking its CEOs to support the Fair Food Program. Corporations that join agree to pay a small price increase for fairly harvested tomatoes (1.5 cents more per pound), and promise to shift purchases to the Florida tomato growers who abide by these higher standards–and away from those who won’t.

Major fast food companies, like McDonalds and Subway, have already endorsed the Fair Food Program, but the largest U.S. supermarket chains have yet to support this collaborative effort to eradicate modern-day slavery.

Call to Action Supermarkets can help eliminate slavery and other serious abuses from the tomato supply chain when they join the Fair Food Program. But in order to change its policies, CEOs need pressure from consumers.

Take 30 seconds, raise your voice.  Go HERE to sign your name to help ensure that supermarket tomatoes are slave-free!

Today, I am grateful for:  261.  home grown herbs  262.  my tomato plant  263.  reading & learning  264.  iced coffee  265.  seamstresses 266.  70* weather  267.  my thimble  268.  a sense of humor  269.  loving to cook and bake  270.  outdoor table and chairs  271.  farmers  272.  farm workers  273.  Farmer Markets

empty nest, grateful, pure goodness

heart and soul

Son number two turns 27 tomorrow.  It has been several years now (sad face) that he moved away to attend college.  This year Mr. Right and I decided that the “boys” were old enough to take possession of their own treasures.  So baby books, baby calendars, report cards, art work, toys, Letterman jackets, school annuals, sports cards, first shoes, impressions made of plaster of paris (why I saved these in my cedar chest I have NO idea) for dental retainers, little mittens, first blankets, children’s books, metal cars, …………you get the idea.  All of their things are going to live with them now.

One word:  Lego’s.   Yes, we should have bought stock in the Lego company about thirty years ago.  We have Rubbermaid tubs and boxes full of legos.  We have a box full of directions on how to make this car or that spaceship.  The only even Steven way of dividing these up between two grown boys is that Mr. Right is putting all of the cars, trucks, airplanes, spaceships, pizzerias and more together.  Yep,  putting them all together taking pictures then sharing said pictures with two different grown ups to decided who is who’s. Then we will give/ship them to each person when completed. 

These are all new to me.  You see, between homeschooling, having a “chef’s helper” daily, board games and no television, when Mr. Right came home and we had dinner, he would take over and play legos and cars and do stamp collecting and look at coins.  I would take a break.  Do something fun like dishes or really fun like do some craft or go have my hair done, alone.  Mom’s around the world will understand what I am saying.  I love my boys.  I love toys and legos and educational stuff.  I just needed  craved girl time and girl things and pretty fabric anything but legos!  Good Golly, even our sweet dog Quincy was a boy!  So it is kind of fun to see all the different parts and pieces and things you can build.

Once everything was brought out, the project is taking on a life and timeline of its own.  I think it is going to be a couple of months before this is done.

You know how some parents find bad report cards, girlie magazines, matches or (gasp) drugs  in amongst their children’s things?  Well, our boys used their brains and figured out that I would never go through the card board pieces, directions, papers on how to put together legos.   So yesterday, when the  “Heart and Soul” piano sheet music fell out and some other pieces……………..20 years later, I found the missing sheet music.   The “I can’t practice that, I can’t find the music” ruse is UP!  The gig is UP!  I am no longer being duped!   Gee, now whose fault is it that we don’t have two concert pianists and instead  we have a business man and a graphic artist ??   When was the last time a business or a graphic design company had a concert where their parents could go and enjoy their talents?  UH?  I ask you?

Today:  I am grateful for:  251.  grown boys who turned out great despite not being concert pianists  252.  lego memories of free time for mom  253.  Coconut milk yogurt  254.  salted caramel latte  255.  cheerful birthday cards to mail  256.  money left over in the electricity envelope  257.  health food stores  258.  uplifting music  259.  espresso beans  260.  sweet girl dog

good behavior, grace, grateful, morals, pure goodness

.59 cents for happiness

Today, if for some goofy, strange reason, your monthly income doubled, would you be twice as happy?  Would you put twice as much into your retirement fund?  Would you go on twice as many weekend adventures?  Would you buy twice as many coffee treats?  Researchers say NOPE.  They have studied and studied (yawn) and done more studies and have found time and time again that people who make twice as much money than another group are about 9% happier.  No, they don’t go on vacation twice as much.  No again, they do not buy twice as many expensive coffee treats and hold on to your hats, no, they do not put twice as much away for retirement.   WHAT?  9% happier, now here I was already deciding what envelopes I would choose to put all that “extra” money into.

Here is a little tid bit I read today:   Even young children, notorious for being bad sharers, were happier giving away goldfish crackers than enjoying them solo.

So if it is happiness you are looking for, think about sharing little amounts on a daily basis.  Yes, we all wrap up care packages for soldiers and college kids.  Sure, we give baskets of get well quick goodies.  I have no earthly idea why the US Postal service is so far in debt, as our family alone has sent hundreds and hundreds of thinking of you cards and postcards.  Doing all of those things makes us happy.  Sure you get a great big jolt of happiness when it is a big offering .  I saw some sales today…………………Mr. Right will be hot on the trail of gathering all those school supplies he likes to donate.   However, little bits of goodness here and there can make one pretty dog gone happy.

I don’t normal “share” what I did for a little random act of kindness.  Sort of takes away the goodness of the act if you go blabbing all over the place.  So today’s little act will not “count” for me.  While going into the grocery store, there was a man asking for spare change.  I don’t know if you know this about me, however, I live in a pretty bubble.  It makes me a bit nervous to be standing alone and asked/ begged for money.  Lucky me there were a couple of men standing there, digging in their pockets and I skirted around the scene.    Good for me.  SIGH, okay, so I put my kale and cilantro and sunflower seeds into my basket and headed to the checkout.  I really didn’t want to go out that same door.  However, I really didn’t want to walk around the entire store and through the parking lot to avoid an unpleasant, not completely washed man.   I don’t like giving money out.  Period.  I don’t like the feeling at all and it makes the person seem less somehow.  I get a weird feeling of “I am better than you”.  Urgh.     Thank heavens I have a brain!  I actually used it today.  I decided to grab a bottle of water for the trip home.  EXCEPT I GRABBED TWO.  Yep, I decided that I was thirsty, so might others be.  It is ridiculous to pay for a bottle of water.  It is wasteful with the plastic bottle.  It is down right expensive to buy water (do the math sometime, crazy, $6.40 per gallon).     I paid for my groceries and water.

I was happy to walk out the same door I walked in.  I did not have to be or feel weird.  I had my groceries in my reusable bags and a bottle of water in each hand.  As I walked by, I handed the man a bottle of cold water.  I told him I was trying to beat the humid air today.  I hoped he could stay cool as well.  Just a normal conversation.  Nothing goofy or strange.  Except, he got a bottle of water and I got a really good feeling of PURE HAPPINESS.

 In order to maximize your happiness, try giving in smaller amounts more frequently, rather than, say, an annual lump sum to your favorite charity, so you’ll get a spike in happiness each time.

For .59 cents my Happiness level spiked.  Pure goodness.  For just a brief moment in time, I bathed in Grace.  I made me feel happy.

Today, I am grateful for:  241.  bottled water  242.  being brave and using my brain  243.  kindness  244.  finding a plastic dinosaur in our car with a note from Mr. Right  245.  my thimble  246.  ability to hand sew  247.   a clean Golden Retriever  248.  coffee in an old chunky mug  249.  sticky notes  250.  spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove

grateful, great marriage secrets

go fly a kite

We jumped in the car, grabbed the dog and her travel bag of supplies and headed out for a mini vacation.  The beach was calling our names.  Turns out, it was just what we needed.  The cool ocean breezes, the gray sky, the calm and the quiet, time to walk and walk and walk and hold hands.

Sometimes, when Mr. Right has married young couples or when just meeting them to get the process in motion, they ask him how long he has been married.  What’s the secret?  Oh we have lots of little secrets!  Holding hands and walking on the beach is certainly listed in the top 20 secrets.

When leaving the beach we spotted this couple.  They must have been in their late seventies.  She with her peddle pusher white summer pants and purse on her shoulder.  He with black socks and sandals……………………both smiling.  He had a brand new kite.  A very expensive kite.  Bright yellow, bi plane with a long tail, and black wheels, not much string had been let out.  The man was happy and was a bit nervous to begin with.  Both the husband and wife looked super pleased and happy and were 100% focused on the kite.  They were in the moment.  She was encouraging him, he was concentrating. 

Okay, there is lesson number 397 on a happy marriage.  Go fly a kite together!

Today, I am grateful for: 228.  road trips  229.  the beach  230.  Mr. Right and his map and his green highlighter  231.  great coffee 232.  quilting  233.  blooming pansies  234.  a dog that likes to travel  234.  new sweatshirt  235.  new earrings  236.  walking on the beach  237.  holding hands with Mr. Right  238.  the sea air  239.  walking barefoot on the sand and in the tide pools 240.  saucy sunglasses with gem stones on the side

grateful, pure goodness

Cleanliness is next to…

Close your eyes and imagine taking off your steel Army helmet, remove the liner and then add water.  That is where you are now shaving!  Imagine your hair so short that you don’t even buy shampoo.  Imagine if you will, you have one bar of green, intense, Irish smelling soap you use to:  wash hair, scrub body parts & clean your tootsies?  This is a bizzaro place.  No one should live in this horror movie.

Enter a girl.  A girlie girl who loves soaps and potions and lotions and glitter and puffs and loofah and bath mitts and bubbles.   Fast forward 30 years said girl and boy get them some “learnin”.  For about 6 years now, we have tried to eliminate all Sodium Laurel Sulphates and Parabens and phosphates and ugly stuff like that.  We have removed toxins and make our own laundry soap for goodness sake!  We have researched shampoos and hand soaps and lotions and yep, even resorted to making our own bubble bath potion.

Okay, Mr. Right has come a long way since his green soap days, however, he still digs his heels in when it comes to “smelling like a girl”.  If you peek into our shower, you will see a plain Jane, white, boring bar of soap with no chemicals and NOTHING special.   That bar of soap is his………..up and until Saturday.

Saturday in the park, (literally), a girlfriend and I were strolling through the Puyallup Farmer’s Market.  As it was a  bit hot for us Washington girls, we were headed to procure iced coffees.  On our way, directly in front of the Public Library we stumbled upon a booth of deliciousness! (yes, come on, that is a word).  First of all the gal who greeted us is gorgeous.  Great skin, clear eyes, beautiful hair, captivating smile and smart…………oh………..you know I love a smarty pants when I meet one.  Let’s call her Renee.  Pretty much whatever she is selling I WANT.  You step closer and the aroma of her wares is intoxicating and sumptuous.  I was smelling and trying to decide which soaps I wanted to try.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  A really great, NATURAL,  you can have EVERYTHING, kind of candy store.  I bought four bars.  period.

Once home, I put the new bar of Cedar and Saffron in the shower.  The aroma took over the whole room.  The swirls of green and brown (not too girlie) were just sitting there so inviting…..later……  Mr. Right took the bait!  I heard the shower water coming through the two shower heads we happen to love.  I heard the shower curtain drawn back.  The scents of goodness started to fill the air.  I heard actual sighs of relaxation coming from the shower.  My turn.  Oh my.  Oh goodie.

The feeling of goodness envelops your entire being.  You are thrilled with yourself that you were smart enough to buy all natural handmade soaps.  Somewhere between making lather with your hands and using a puff to make more creamy dreamy lather and covering your entire body in goodness you remember it is just a shower.  No wait a minute, a shower can be quick, short and can include a crazy chemical filled green Irish bar of soap OR it can be an indulgence of pure luxury.  Most certainly the smooth, silky, natural scented lather is a treat for both the Mr. & Mrs.

Thank you Renee for pure luxury in the shape of a rectangle.  Pure delight.

Please stop by and see her at the market or visit her on-line.  www.AromaSoapLab.com   I wish for you the luxury and indulgence in the form of her creations.  Your Mr. Right will be soapy clean and  will be smelling sooooooo good.  Her booth should have a sign that reads, “making husbands happy all over the land!”  You will be so happy that you take my advice on this.   I have a feeling she is one good egg, too.

Today I am grateful for:  212.  homemade heavenly soap  213.  iced salted caramel latte  214.  fans  215.  bbq prawns  216.  an open-minded Mr. Right  217.  mod podge  218.  walks in the park  219.  farmer’s markets  220.  hats  221.  my dyson vacuum  222.  two shower heads in one shower stall  223.  smelling the aroma of fresh soapy cedar on Mr. Right  224.  finding Renee, the fabuloso soap lady  225.  little new potatoes on the grill  226.  flags flying over our deck for a birthday party  227.  two little grandgirlies

grateful

4th of Goodness

Today, I am grateful for:  191.  Freedom  192.  Liberty  193.  American flags flying in the front of our home  194.  lemonade  195.  hotdogs (vegetarian)  196.  grilling  197.  grilled corn on the cob  198.  potato salad 199.  Mr. Right  200.  Mr. Right’s rice krispie treats  201.  Fireworks  202.  country music  203.  photo albums  204.  the US military  205.  eating off brand new Frisbees instead of paper plates  206.  star stickers on toe nails 207.  freshly mowed grass 208. glow bracelets and necklaces ready to wear during fireworks  209.   our dog named, Sweet Liberty  210.  coffee (you knew I had to get that in there)  211.  red geraniums blooming on the deck

Happy Potato Salad day, folks!  Just telling it like it is.

ps.  you KNOW that is not our flag!  I borrowed the photograph.  If it was ours, you KNOW it would have been pressed properly.