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.

Sock it to me!

Here we are again, just 12 months after the last one, and to think it just seems like yesterday…………….Happy Socktober everyone!  Happy Socktober!

Yes siree, it is time once again to revisit that familiar pass time and celebration……….. Socktober!  We all know it and love it.  You KNOW that time of year when you weed out all the old, rather dingy looking, slightly thin and certain pairs with the letter “D” written in black sharpie may have some holes in the bottom.  “someone” who has the letter “B” written in black sharpie on the bottom of his socks (for insurance that no one will steal said socks and wear them and put holes in them)  loves this time of year.  He loves to unwrap the brand spankin’ new white piles of socks and get out that famous sharpie and write initials on all the pairs.   Oh, and you thought once you became empty nesters you got the privilege and honor of wearing just plain socks?  Silly, silly people.

As not to think we are too selfish and crazy this time of year we spend our entire envelope of charity money on………drum roll ……….you guessed it…………SOCKS!  We put a pair in college care packages, we had to find some top quality, best you can find boot socks to include in a soldier care package to Afghanistan.  Tonight we bought 30 pairs of hot colored, polka dot, shocking stripes and argyle patterns to donate to a clothing bank that caters to dressing kiddos.  Grandgirlies are getting new socks.  Adult kids are getting socks.  Making new baby socks to give as a shower gift.  Everyone can use new socks.  New black dress socks found their way into Mr. Right’s sock drawer (all lined up perfectly).   With the grandgirlies taking an airplane trip next week……..yep, you guess correctly……..sock puppets for both!  On a more serious note, the remainder of the charity money will be spent on brand new good quality mens socks.  They will be donated to the Tacoma Mission in a town next door to us.  Yes, we can be silly and goofy………however, if you don’t have a home or a nice comfortable sofa or easy chair to sit down in, taking care of your feet is pretty darn important.  Yep, we will be donating socks, socks and more socks.

Sure it is easy sometimes to just donate some money.  Heck, now days you can just text a certain number and donate to many organizations that way.  This is a hands on holiday people!  Get out there, buy some socks for someone.  Choose some happy socks, baby socks, teenage girl shocking lime green socks, donate to a soldier, those college care packages are not going to fill themselves.  JUMP ON THE BAND WAGON!  This holiday will ROCK your SOCKS!  Give until you can’t stop laughing.   Yes, we will share the names and places that we donate to.  Or you can figure out some great need in your area.

This is our fourth (annual now) Socktober.  We talk about it, we save for it, we laugh about it.  This is pure goodness.  This is easy peasy.  You can donate one pair for $1.00 or you too can clean out that charity envelope and together we can change the attitude of people and kiddos everywhere.  WE CARE and by golly WE are going to Rock your new SOCKS!

Now get movin’ and make a difference.   “Your mission Jim, should you accept it is………get out there and tickle some tootsies”!

ps.  It is the morning after I posted this blog…………just drove 23 miles round trip and added 42 more pairs of goodness to the stack!!!  This holiday ROCKS!!!

Quick, say Grace, It’s Tuesday… something sassy, stinky and savory to share

A few blog postings ago, I casually mentioned the side dish to my Sloppy Joes.  Did you catch it, did it make your mouth water?  Or are you just saying “sure I read your blog”!  While the sloppy joes were indeed sloppy and drippy (yes, a real word) and quite tasty…………..the side dish was mouth-watering, aroma shocking, grab several paper napkins, swing your feet under the table like a third grade girl…………..amazing and so good.   Do you remember what I was making?  Will this picture hint help just a bit?   Yes siree, GARLIC FRIES.  Can I get an AMEN?   Okay, here is the recipe of pure goodness and good news you kitchen challenged friends….easy peasy!  Take out your food processor, toss in a couple handfuls of garlic, a few sprigs of thyme and buckle up and go for a spin……it will be chunky for a few seconds then it turns into sassy tidbits of pure flavor.  Dump, …I mean, gently scoop the chopped mixture into a lovely little sauce pan.  Add a few glugs of olive oil…….okay……..add one more glug.  Yep, that’s it.  Simmer, simmer, simmer……..we are simmering………..  This is where I got my potatoes scrubbed and cut up, oiled and seasoned and dumped (lined up nicely) on a Silpat lined cookie sheet.  Bake …you know the drill.  HOWEVER, the beauty of this “recipe” is that you can use FROZEN french fries if that is your pleasure (not one ounce of judgement, we have all used frozen french fries).  Bake those puppies until golden brownie goodness.

So far we have, simmering, make your eyes water with stinky goodness, savory garlic……(I hope your fancy computer has the aroma button, because this is aroma for the few, the lucky……….the enlightened!)    French Fries baking until golden perfection……………..   Take out your homemade or store-bought fries and dump (yeah, this time dump) them into a big ol’ mixing bowl……..then pour over 1/2 of that sassy goodness (save the other half to mix into your fried rice dish tomorrow, you will thank me for that tip O goodness)………….TOSS, TOSS, TOSS , then toss in some real salt……….not the blue container people, REAL salt…….  and you know the drill………..grab a stack of paper napkins, SAY GRACE (it’s amazing) and for the love of eating food with your hands and licking your fingers………………….dig in!

ps.  Cooking for my family brings me the feeling of goodness.  Set the table, sit down, talk about the day’s topics……..in between swipes of paper napkins and laughter, somehow the bond between husband and wife and kiddos and grandgirlies and friends you think of as family are cemented together forever. It may not be the fanciest meal you have ever set before them, however, every single time you do……..you just know in your heart and soul…………you “done good”.  …and the people shouted, AMEN!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

Our turkey has been in the brine for a bit over 24 hours………ready to be stuffed with apples and onions, cinnamon and rosemary…….ready to go in the oven.

Pumpkin pie is cooling on the counter, stuffing made, cranberry (with a hint of orange)  sauce made, cookies frosted, apple cider chilling, coffee pot ready to go, linens ironed…….

Potatoes need peeling and beans need snapping………. hoping the daughter in law will let me hold a baby or two while she makes some gravy for the meal.

I am taking a break to have a bite of lunch.    A moment to count our blessings.   Mr. Right grew up in Quebec.  We celebrate two Thanksgivings a year.  We count our blessings twice a year and then some.  It is easy to invite friends to our home for the celebration in October.  It doesn’t usually conflict with any of their “big” Columbus Day activities.  This year we are hosting bit low-key, with fewer people.  With a wedding in 14 days, I just didn’t feel up to a huge gathering.  Days like this make me wonder if I should implement the “potluck” version of Thanksgiving dinner for 25?  Sometimes, cooking everything from scratch for so many…..makes me shy away.   Maybe if I let go of some control, the dinner may not end up being such a huge undertaking……….maybe it is time?  Maybe it is time for me to be grateful for others in my life and “allow” them to bring their favorite dishes and share.  That way we all would shine and we all would enjoy the day.  Maybe it is good food for thought for me.  Just maybe next year, when I mail out proper invitations, just maybe it will say “please bring your favorite dish to share”.   I have about 11 months to work on that.  I think it is something I might be able to bring myself to do.  I like hosting meals.  I am just wondering if it is time for everyone to share and me to be a bit more gracious and kind and welcome everyone AND their favorite dish.  Could be a huge lesson for me to tackle………I promise to give it some thought, until then…

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving from our family to yours.