Happy, I mean it, Happy Halloween!

Today’s list of happy and pure goodness…………..

I love that the caterer at the wedding had a plate of mac and cheese and some chicken nuggets for a special flower girl. (It made her happy and she dug right in)

It made me happy to see a special homemade Anaheim Ducks garter, black and orange with a charm from the team. The bride made it to surprise and delight the groom.

Happiness squeezed in when we stumbled upon a great little out-of-the-way Sushi restaurant on our trip.

I love and it makes me happy that my Mr. Right always, always carries a clean, white, pressed handkerchief in his pocket every single day of his life.

I love the idea of giving special treats on Halloween.  A friend got quite a sparkler as a treat!  Makes my stomach dance for her!  She is happy and I am sincerely happy for her.

I felt happy to buy a new lantern.  It reminds me of a happy dinner out with friends.  Just looking at it makes me happy.

The leaves that have fallen on the wet wooden deck, look picture perfect.  That scene makes me happy.

Love that Mr. Right dug the guts and gore out of our pumpkins so I could just do my carving this year.  Now that is pure happy!  Choosing creepy and spooky things to carve makes me happy for some weird reason.

Baking makes me happy.  Baking a special treat for Mr. Right today.

Planning our next vacation makes me happy.

Counted cross stitch makes me over the moon happy.

Planning a date night makes me happy.

Watching our dog greet her master when he comes home from work each night IS pure happiness!

November around the corner makes me happy.

Walking in puddles in my new Aquaducks makes me deliriously happy.  ha




It’s Tuesday, Say Grace, put on comfy socks, it’s time for comfort food.

We all need it at one time or another.  We all have our list of favorites.  This time of year with bad weather and gray days surrounding us, something warm, nutritious with slightly baked brown edges will most certainly comfort us and our families.  This recipe is one of those good ones.  The one your grandma, mom and you have cooked up a couple hundred times.  You can reheat this dish beautifully. Stuff them into a thermos and take some to work for lunch. Use it as a side or the main dish.    Calico Beans makes you look like you really “know” how to cook.  Even today, in the year 2012, you can tweak it as I did and make your own vegetarian version and yet somehow it turns out perfectly every single time.  One of those recipes that when you bake it, you draw it out of the oven with two big huge oven mitts………you take a big spoon and make that first swoop through its smooth and rich texture……….you are more than glad you took the time to make it.

You will need to brown a pound of hamburger (veggie crumbles work perfectly) and one pound of bacon (vegetarian works just as well).  Pour off any grease.  Add one chopped onion and cook a bit more. Add 1/2 cup catsup, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of real salt…..simmer a bit more to dissolve the sugar.  Add this mixture and the following to a baking dish for the oven:  1 can Pork & Beans (vegetarian works perfectly), drain the rest of the cans…..1 can of Kidney Beans, 1 can of Lima Beans, 1 can of Butter Beans.  Bake at 350* for one hour or a bit more.  The heavenly rich scent will seep out of that oven of yours and OH BABY, you will know when it is done.  You will just know.

So put on a pair of your favorite fuzzy socks, turn on some great music, light a candle or two, set the table, and for the love of soul soothing comfort food, SAY GRACE and dig in!

Ruby Rain slippers

Our prayer candle is lit and positive thoughts are headed towards the East coast and the people in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

If you do have some rain or a puddle or two where you live, here is a gentle suggestion:  I love my new Aquaducks!  They are the perfect rubber soled shoe to walk to the mail box or hit the grocery store.  I bought the correct size for me, there is plenty of room to wear a pair of socks with them.  The inside of the shoes are plaid and the outside comes in blue, black, tan, yellow or cranberry (which I call Ruby).  With the rubber soles, they offer me great traction.  On each shoe there is a kicky little leather bow tie.  Just the right amount of sassiness. 

While I am not so sure they will work for the inches and inches of rain predicted during the big storm coming ashore, they are ideal flats for us here in the Pacific Northwest.

They are so dog gone cute, you want to do a little jig and dance in the rain.

Sugar and Spice times 2

For all the dinosaur books I read,  all the construction and car books I read, all the lizard, dragon, motorcycle books, pirate stories, all the cowboy books, monster, & goosebumps books we read, all the police, war and soldier stories we read…

For all the legos I stepped on and purchased, for all the match box cars and hot wheel cars, all the Lincoln logs, all the metal outdoor tough trucks, all the green Army guys and micro machines…

For all the basketballs and the hoop, for all the soccer balls, cleats, stinky sneakers, footballs, skateboards, skate shoes…

For all the plaid, dinosaur, under the sea, comic book, hot air balloon, space, animal and blue & red paint,  bedroom themes…

For all the Halloween costumes I sewed……ninja, dinosaur, karate kid, Dracula, box of popcorn, magician, Blues Brothers, shoot em up cowboy…

For all the parties I planned with the themes of Mickey Mouse, under the sea, Where’s Waldo, golf, Hawaiian, Army guy and cowboy…

For all the home driveway exploded  fireworks I watched and oohed and awed over…..

For all those poor ants fried with magnifying glasses, for all the birds we recorded and looked at, for all the snakes, lizards, spiders we studied…

For all the shorts outfits, ties, vests, pants, I sewed and bought.  For all the shirt and ties I bought for Easter Sunday, for all the plain sweaters I bought or stitched for Christmas photos…

For all the sandwiches I made that were “bitten into to form the shape of a gun”

I have been rewarded & bathed in pure goodness.  I am now the proud Mom of two smart, lovely, funny, silly, sassy, wonderful, charming, well-educated, kind-hearted, forward thinking daughters…… and I could not be happier!

a proposed NEW tradition

The bride wore little secret treasures that Graced her day with goodness.  She wore take your breath away, stunning earrings from her grandmother.   Pinned to her bouquet handle was a piece of our family Tartan along with a brooch from her new husband’s great, grandmother.  When I shortened the sleeves of the Mother of the Bride’s jacket, I used some of that left over material to sew a secret pocket inside her wedding gown.  Inside the pocket contained a penny that her new father in law gave her.  She carried the handkerchief that was chosen for her 19 years prior by her future husband.  I embellished it with a few stitches to make it her own.  Yes, I stitched in some blue flowers for her “something blue”.

I have the good fortune of having a friend, the friendship has swirled more than 36 some years.  She was unable to attend the wedding.  Her plate is full to overflowing and I am old enough and wise enough to say, I completely understand and mean it.  She and her family offered to take care of and love our Sweet Golden Retriever while we were gone for a week.  It was a huge relief and comfort to know that our sweet girl was well cared for.

In a twist of fate, she offered to let me borrow a bracelet.  Her bracelet, a vintage piece from her mother’s collection.  It has gold findings, flecks and is saturated with tangerine color.  I promised to take good care of it while on our trip.

As I prepared to dress for the wedding (no I won’t share all the magic and wonder that went on underneath that gown), Mr. Right helped with the clasp of the bracelet. 

As I held onto the gentleman’s arm while I walked down the aisle, the bracelet twinkled at me.  As my hands were folded during the ceremony, I caught a glimpse of the color.  While dancing the mother son dance, with my arm extended the bracelet again winked at me.  When Mr. Right asked for my hand to head over to the dance floor, there it was again.  As I swirled and twirled to the music, the bracelet and the spirit of my friend followed along.

Having that piece of jewelry encircle my wrist, reminded me of just how much pure goodness comes with true friendship.  I felt the warmth and kindness and love of my friend.  In the middle of the big, huge, splashy celebration, I had a secret spirit gracing me with pure goodness.  Unbeknownst to me, I needed the strength and courage to move forward through one of the happiest days of my life.  Of course, my friend is there during dark times & goofy coffee dates….how was I to know that I was going to need her strength and courage to walk through a joyful celebration?  I thought of her and was very grateful to have her with me in spirit.

…and again, no Hallmark card or quote could even come close to how I felt about not just borrowing the bracelet, but borrowing a piece of her heart.

I propose a NEW tradition:  Every mother of the bride or groom should wear something borrowed from a friend.  It was a lovely thing to happen to me.  I will share my idea with other MOBs and MOGs.  I will offer a piece of my jewelry to friends.  Turns out, it is not just the beautiful brides that need “something borrowed”.  It just so happens, that each one of us could use a borrowed piece of someone’s heart.

As I watched Mr. Right marry them, I sat alone.  I had no idea I ended up needing a touch stone.  Yes, I had a friend behind me, seated in one of the wooden, white chairs.  However, when I looked down and saw the sparkle of the bracelet, it warmed my soul…….

Have I mentioned lately how grateful and lucky I am to be bathed in the Grace of friendship?  Next time I blow on a fluffy dandelion, I am going to wish such goodness for everyone I know.  It feels lovely, simply lovely.

no Hallmark card needed

For a couple of days now, I have been trying to find the words to talk about my friend.  Sounds easy enough.  However, I was trying desperately not to sound like a Hallmark card.  Then this morning in the shower it hit me.  She is, what we share, IS WHAT HALLMARK CARDS ARE describing.  They are the ones trying to come up with the perfect words.  Not me.  I live it.

We share almost the same birth date.  We have know each other for somewhere near 35 years.  We both have two children.  We both have really great Mr. Right’s.  We both can be tickled to smithereens over a sassy pair of shoes.  Our lives have been swirling around each other for so long, my Mr. Right knew her Mr. Right before he even knew me! ha

I could use a million and one quotes that Hallmark uses to describe “friendship”.  For once in my life, I don’t need to use someone else’s quote.  What we have is what other people write about.  Wish they had.  Admire the years we have woven (read that as sewn) together.  Here is something everyone should know, she is the one who saw my shoes for the wedding before anyone else.  She actually saw the first color, the return, the wait and then cheered with glee at the final choice!

Our son and daughter in law chose to have a destination wedding.  That means, everyone comes from someplace else.  That means, 2,598 miles for our friends, family and neighbors here in Washington state.  They chose to cover us in the Grace of friendship.  We did not have to ask.   They waited with us, while the younger generation figured out the timing.  They came up with paper towels when needed.  Heck her Mr. Right even commandeered a serrated knife from the hotel kitchen when it was “desperately” needed.  They helped us when needed and then somehow in the middle of the wedding madness build up found time to have a late, sumptuous supper with us at a gem of a  place called “The French Bulldog” in Camarillo, California.

She knows me well.  She knows without a smidgen of doubt that I would only order a PLAIN  cannoli  not chocolate. Somehow she knew that they would be needed during the wedding.  Not just to help pull it off, not just to somehow magically encourage the two-year old grandgirlie, flower girl to “do her job”.  Somehow she knew we would be grateful/need/appreciate/value/ would never forget the grace we felt just by having them by our side as we walk through the celebration.

We are to the moon and back grateful for the kindness and grace and well just plain old fashion pure goodness they bathed us in.

Take that Hallmark!  Nothing you print or copy can compare with what we have.  You are not even close.  There is no card on your shelves no matter how pricey that can adequately describe the gift we have been given.  Sure we could have made it through the celebration if they were not able to join us………..but I shudder to think ………where would the strength, and sparkle have come from?

Take your breath away friendship.  Plain and simple.  Amen.

…and they danced.

It was a stunning celebration.  The moment did indeed take my breath away.

I danced the mother/son dance.  He chose the music “you are the sunshine of my life”.

Our son danced with his new bride.  The bride’s parents took a spin.

I danced with my oldest son.  He made me laugh and enjoy the moment.

I danced with Mr. Right.  It was perfect. It was such a lovely moment in time.

We traveled 2, 598 miles.  We are still a bit loopy from all the driving.

The time away was amazing and wonderful and pure goodness all rolled into one moment in time.

Our family was bathed in Grace.   I am grateful.  I will share more once the piles of laundry have disappeared and the photos are uploaded.  I promise.  There will be more goodness once the professional photographer shares her passion.

Thank you for all your good wishes.  We had a very safe and for the most part uneventful travels.  I appreciate and value all the uplifting prayers.

“I don’t want to hide. I want to slow dance with you again. I want to dance with you forever.”
Sarah Black

ps.  You remember my sassy kicky shoes with sweet bows on the toes?  They were indeed sassy and kicky and were all that I dreamed they would be. 

quick, one final lesson before you walk down that aisle

In the words of John Wayne, “slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s go we’re burning daylight”. So we would substitute fake bacon and use  a home-made biscuit and to be honest this is our first trip ever that we are not leaving at the precise military time of “O DARK THIRTY”………………however, today, we hit the trail.  We move out.  We are headed to the great state of California….land of “swimmin’ pools and movie stars”.  Okay, while our hotel does indeed have a swimming pool and work out room, I am not quite sure how many movie stars we will actually see or visit with.

Within the past say 4 months our family has been invited to, presided over, prayed for, sent gifts, sent cards, been apart of, celebrated with and babysat for………you guessed it, several weddings!  One wedding in particular that we heard about, the MOB (mother of the bride) was, how shall we say…..less than kind or friendly.   My ears perked up and I made a vow right then and there………..after our son’s wedding people would NOT be talking about the MOG (mother of the groom), ME, like that!

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29

So…………….we have made list after list, helped, sewed, planned, encouraged, stitched and listened to ideas etc………last night at 10:35pm was the last phone call.  The groom to be was driving home (talking on a hands free device, apparently in the great state of California it is a $400.00+ ticket for talking on your cell phone, thank you Mr. Policeman for gently encouraging this lesson that every parent is trying to teach, sorry it stung the pocket-book son..lesson learned.)  He had worked extra hours and will today work a bit then take some much-needed time off to celebrate and pull off a wonderful stress free (?)  ….no one has said that, just wishful thinking………… wedding.

It was our final chance to talk to our kiddo.  Yes, he is 27, however, we are still his parents and it was time for some straight talk and not asked for advice.  We have been over and over all sorts of topics.  Last night was the real deal.  This is going to be overwhelming.  This is going to be the event of all events to celebrate in your life.  You may become distracted, a bit unraveled at times, forget to eat properly or drink enough water……..blah, blah, blah…………Here it comes.  You are now the main host of this party.  You will set the tone.  You have been taught well.  You know the rules.  The time has come to put it all into practice.

It goes without saying that your dad and father in law will make sure that all the right people are tipped for their services.   It is now your JOB, HONOR, RESPONSIBILITY to go to ALL of the people who helped put on this celebration and look them in the eye, shake their hand and say a heartfelt and sincere thank you.  I am quite sure you will thank your friends, the DJ, the caterer, the lady with the clipboard, the flower girl…..blah, blah, blah……………The person you have been raised to be, requires that you seek out ………the caterer assistants that lift crate after crate of food and utensils, the grounds keeper who unlocks that front gate, the janitor who holds the keys to the toilet paper cupboard, the gardeners who knelt down and weeded that spectacular garden you will stand in the middle of, the pool and fountain person who wore hip boots and mucked around and got the pump to work and the algae cleaned out and yes the men who will be taking care of each and every one of your guests cars………the list goes on……..grace them with your words.

Honor the presence of God in each one you meet.

We are thrilled and excited to be headed to our youngest son and future daughter in law’s wedding.  I am wearing my “Mother of the Groom” t-shirt today!  I promise to share pictures and sweet snippets that happen on our amazing adventure.  I promise there will be no other blogger in the land who will write about this MOG being nasty or rude or short-tempered.   I will grace others with my words and actions.  I promise.

May we all be bathed in Grace as we welcome a new bride into our family.  I will be back next week.  My family will be bigger, in addition to a wonderful new daughter in law, we gain two more sisters, a mom and a dad and aunts and uncles and the list goes on and on……….I am sure our hearts will be full to overflowing.  My notebook will be filled with doodles and notes here and there, so I don’t forget one special moment.

We ask for and sincerely appreciate & thank you for your prayers of safe travel.

May we walk (drive actually 19+ hours) in his Grace, as we dance through the celebration!

Que the music please.

Say Grace, it’s Tuesday …..

I am going to share a recipe OH goodness with you……..easy peasy, quick, yummy, people will think you slaved and slaved over a hot stove & you WILL NEVER GO BACK TO CANNED, ever.  period.

Because I am lucky enough to live in the great state of Washington, every single time I go to the grocery store this time of year, (no matter what I am buying), I buy four bags of fresh cranberries and toss them in the freezer when I get home. Yes, we have some gorgeous cranberry bogs and tons, literally tons of cranberries in this state.   So, if something sinister happens to me and you have to come clean out my huge freezer, you will not have to say, “oh she was crazy, just look at all these cranberries! She must have 70-80 packages in here!”  You will know the real honest to goodness reason.   No, I do not make Cranberry Bliss Bars from Starbucks all the time (I have the recipe and only make once a year and I share tons, so I don’t eat them all), we use a cup in our daily juicing. …vitamins, minerals and all that jazz?   They contain:  vitamin C, E, Zinc, help promote healthy teeth and gums, contain antioxidants, ward off heart disease, help ease rheumatoid arthritis and on and on and on……. drum roll please………………………….dum, ditty, dum, ditty, dum, dum, dum…………  I make cranberry sauce!

Before you can’t really wrap your head around the difficulty of making this stuff…………..Quick, grab a bag OH cranberries, one big, fat, plump, juicy Orange and some sugar.  Yes, honest to goodness sugar.  No judgement, no substitute, no honey………….just sugar.  The real deal.    Okay, zest that orange onto some wax paper.  Chop the orange in half and squeeze all that delicious juice into a measuring cup.  I use a wooden reamer, however, I have a friend who collects those little ceramic and glass jobbies that help you juice a piece of citrus, whatever works for you.  You need a cup of liquid, so get your frustrations out and squeeze baby squeeze!  Just to be clear, squeeze the orange NOT a baby!    If you don’t get quite a cup, just fill the remainder with some water.   Okay, in a sauce pan add your 1 cup liquid, 3/4 to 1 cup sugar, the zest from that big ol’ orange and a 12 ounce bag OH cranberry goodness!  Stir, cook, simmer for 10 minutes.  DONE.  Really?  Yes really.  Done and I don’t care that everyone in your home loves canned. “We have always used canned”.   I don’t really want to hear that you are so closed-minded that you don’t want to try something new (really old, I guess).  The time has come for fresh.  You and your family deserve fresh with NO chemicals and no additives.  Fresh and delicious and oh sooo good.

Say Grace and I will be praying you have some turkey or a turkey sandwich to spread it on………….and for the love of the sweet tangy taste, dig in my friend, dig in.

ps.  I forgot to mention that you have to wash these beauties before you cook with them.  No, you don’t need to use soap and a cloth and wash each one…….I just pour them into a sieve and spray with white vinegar, then spray with hydrogen peroxide, then some clear water.

nightstand notebook notes from 3 this morning

Only and only our youngest son could talk a fancy schmancy California caterer into somehow adding in his favorite dish of all time…..”Garlic Mashed Potatoes” to the wedding line up of food. 

Who thought adding chocolate to instant Cream of Wheat was a good idea?  Where do they find focus groups to A.  try this stuff  B.  Say, “sure, people will buy that”.

When did Sears in Puyallup, Washington stop selling men’s dress shirts?  Really?  Next,  I went to the “wrong” JC Penney’s store and they don’t sell mens items in that store………..sigh………..Hello, Macy’s.   I bought two.  period.  This is one of the reasons I don’t like shopping.

Why on earth would “they” think it was a good idea to put HFCS in tomato paste?  Why on earth, didn’t I read that label?

Had a major melt down yesterday about my dress.  I ask you, who really looks at the MOG (mother of the groom  to all you rookies out there) and what she is wearing?  I am hoping that they look at my kicky shoes and fabuloso Mocha colored hair with Caramel highlights!

Why is the economy so bad that a favorite bead store has to close?  She was in business for 17 years.  Who is the politician that I can talk to about this?  Our economy is the pits.  Ever hear of a budget people?  Small business owners are trying their hardest.  Even the best of the best are running out of steam.   Mr. Romney or Mr. Obama, I can meet you at the Blue Iris Bead Shop in Kent, Washington any time you can fit it in.  Her closing date is sometime in December, so whoever wins, you have an invitation to come take a bead class and discuss the economy.  There are a whole bunch of us ladies who would be more than happy to fill your noggin with ideas.  Then we all go home with a kicky beaded bracelet and problems resolved.  easy peasy.  done.

The song “Run A Way Sue” from the 70’s……….now that is a toe tapper.  Makes you want to dance around on Sunday morning with your hubby.  Hey, random thoughts pop in your head at three in the morning.

My dog LOVEs left over pieces of home-made waffles!

I am grateful for two cups of coffee this morning.  I type that as Mr. Right is brewing another pot.  Yes siree people, it is a two pot of coffee morning.   Butterflies in the stomach.  We have a week to go.  Count down to wedding 2012.

I am grateful for two friends who sent about 70 text messages to talk me through my major dress meltdown yesterday.   I am a lucky girl.   These are the kind of friends who will say how pretty I will look and really sound sincere even though we only have a few days to go and there is not much I can do at this point.  I am going with the idea of “I am trying not to outshine the Bride!”  theory.  Work with me people.

I am going to go bike four miles and get some butterflies to fly away.  Talk again soon.

May we all be bathed in Grace today.  Somedays we need it more than ever.