good manners, great marriage secrets, thankful

Blest be the Tie that Binds

When we drove up to the entrance of the gardens where our youngest son would be married, while waiting for the valets, I noticed a young couple step into the gardens off to the side.  As the valet took our car, I casually peeked  into the side garden to see a little bit of what I thought was “hanky panky”.  As we all know, weddings do sometimes, bring out the sweetness in couples.  No, they were not smooching….she was holding his jacket while he wrestled with his necktie.  He was pulling and tugging and started over.  Yep, he was trying to tie a piece of cloth around his neck to look appropriate for the ceremony.    For the same wedding, Mr. Right wore a black tie with his uniform while marrying them and then slipped into the bridal cottagetie silver to change into his “dad” reception stunning dark silver tie to compliment his suit.  Once the pictures were taken, I noticed the ties starting to come loose or came off completely with some of the younger guys.  All those ties brought to Mr. P and Mr. W’s hotel rooms……….”could you please help me tie this?” were being tugged and rolled up into their pockets.

While our oldest son was in college and attending business school, before functions he would charge $1.00 to tie other guys ties.  Guess that was a good way to make some pizza and I would imagine beer money.  Good thing there was a charttie chart on the back of our boys bedroom doors while growing up on how to tie a windsor knot tie.

Apparently in 212 BC China’s first emperor and militia members wore some type of neck tie.  In 1864 the tie was patented and was mass-produced and became popular throughout much of Germany and America.

When I picture my Dad, I see him in a suit and tie.  He had a liking for diagonal stripes.  When I think of my father in law, I can remember him only in a tie at weddings.  Then only the family tartan tie.  Our youngest son wore a purple tie to his wedding.  I also remember the jelly bean printed ties the boys wore one Easter.  Okay, why did I make those?  Why did I make them wear them?  What on earth was I thinking? I guess I was thinking, light up, loud garish, cartoon, bow tie………..whatever, just put one on and wear it for an hour to church.

I love a man in a well cut suit, white french cuff shirt and tie.  Mr. Right has about 60 at a time.  Sometimes he goes through them and weeds out some that are too thick, too boring, too ugly.  Not too many are “power” ties.  I have noticed he has his favorites when it comes to important meetings.  I like certain colors when we go out to a special dinner.  In a very weird and comforting way, I can remember the color ties he has had on when he has leaned over and kissed me while I was in a hospital bed.  He uses his right  hand to hold back the tie and bends down.  I have seen him throw his tie over his shoulder before he picks up a grandgirlie.  I have seen him re-knot his tie three or four times to get the perfect , to him, length.   I have stared at one tie or another while I was sitting in the dentist’s chair having work done.  I have stared at his tie while he has shared both good news and horrid news.  Most mornings when he leaves for work I am still snug in bed, he leans over, holding his tie back and gives me a big ol smooch.

One day last week he chose a tie that has a creamy gold-colored background and it has printed in black, all the signatures of all the Presidents of the United States.  It has the Presidential seal at the point of the tie and  our current President signature is bigger than the others.  His boss stopped him and said “You are the only guy I know who’s sense of patriotism overrides your personal dislike of our current President.”  I love that Mr. Right is patriotic.

Swoon…….I just love that Mr. Right wears a tie most days. I remember the tie he wore when we got married.  I remember the tie he wore when we renewed our vows the second and third time.  For some reason, I feel safe, like things are in order and will be okay when he is donning a tie.   He does not enjoy wearing a tie.  He often has colorful language for the person who invented the “torture device” as he calls it.  He doesn’t like holding up two and saying “which one for this shirt” and when I say neither, he is crestfallen.  “But I like the one with sharks on it!”

One could say he has me all tied up in knots, swoon!  Maybe a new saucy tie will find its way under the Christmas tree?   Blest be the Tie that Binds.ties colored

Advertisements
cooking, grace, grateful, recipe, thankful

It’s Wednesday, Say Grace and drop everything for these beauties

I am thankful and most grateful for friends with cheerful spirits.  They seem to lift me up to a new level of goodness.  Yes, I am well aware that on occasions they have troubles and get into pickles and have kiddo troubles, medical stuff and trees fall in their yards…………they just never seem to grumble on and on about it.  They live their lives as if it were, well, a blessing.  Every single time you visit or chat or read an email from people like my friend you are bathed in Grace.

I have a really lovely (inside and out) friend.  She is kind, thoughtful and charming. She lives her life with Grace.   When you are with her in a room, you can almost feel the radiant vibes of her smile.  She looks right at you when you are speaking.  Sometimes she touches your arm while listening.  No, I don’t know anything about horses.  No, I do not know how to paint beautifully.  I do however, love listening to her talk or read about both.  I can feel her passion/love/joy/respect for her children and husband.  You instantly know she is kind to animals  &  is someone you want in your life.  She doesn’t make fun of me because we juice, well, because she and her family juice.  She eats well and feeds her family the same.  She is one good (organic) egg (remember the Charlie and the Chocolate factory good egg/bad egg scale?).

When I saw this recipe I changed the name from (the boring, lifeless, uninspired)  flourless chocolate coconut drops to:  Annie’s Drops of Goodness   She is unable to “do” gluten and yet she still has a little sweet tooth she needs to feed once in a while as a treat.  So this season, when you are thinking about baking for a friend………….please consider making Annie’s Drops of Goodness.  Maybe we can all spread a little more goodness this season.  Please turn on some sassy music in the kitchen while baking.  Please put on a saucy apron and get your mind wrapped around the spirit of pure goodness.  Just like my friend.  She is a gem and I am so lucky to have her in my circle.  She will be over the moon tickled to know that we all made these and gave them away tied up with a fancy schmancy red bow! Oh and if you could add a touch of bling………that would be perfect.

Preheat your oven to 325*.  In a large bowl, whisk together: 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar sifted, 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder( I use Fry’s  …thank you sister in law in Vermont for sending it to me, it’s the best ever), 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Stir in 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup roughly chopped toasted almonds, 3/4 cup shredded coconut.  Add 4 large egg whites, room temperature, just stir until combined (do not over mix).  Drop by rounded Tablespoons onto Silpat lined cookie sheets.  Bake until tops are dry and cracked about 15-17 minutes.  Let cool completely on the sheets and then store in an airtight container.  Tie a box, container or cookie jar with a saucy red bow and give away this season.

In lady like fashion, place a couple of cookies on a plate, gently place a napkin in your lap, SAY GRACE and for the love of a sweet friend, take a bite then another, then another………

cooking, food review, recipe

It’s Friday, SAY GRACE and dig in?

What ?  Have I gone crazy?  Sharing a recipe on a Friday?  Not able to wait until Tuesday to share?  You know those people who can’t seem to wait to give a Christmas gift until the big day?  They are just so darn excited with what they bought, they can’t contain themselves and just thrust the gift at someone and say “I couldn’t wait” !  I wanted you to have this.  Open it, open it!!!!  There is a tingle of excitement swirling in the air around both the giver and the receiver.

I can’t wait until Tuesday.  period.  It is THAT good!  Try it!  Try it!   The cloud & swirl of white fluffy, sweet, melt in your mouth pure goodness is just about as good as it gets when it comes to well………….white, fluffy, swirly goodness.  My first gift of the season……………sharing a recipe, me to you!  Yes, Virgina, that good!

It has been about 4 months now that we have said a fond farewell to dairy.  For the most part no dairy.  We have found a few replacement options and had a nibble of excellent cheese from an appetizer tray.    I confess, yes a stick of Irish butter found its way into our Thanksgiving mashed potatoes and yes, there was a bit of evaporated milk in that pretty pumpkin pie.   What to do about whipped cream?  What will guests and family dollop beside said pretty pumpkin pie?    Guess we do without?  Hold on my friend, the heavens opened up and on Wednesday, inspiration fell into my lap from a little blog site called  Daily Garnish    http://www.dailygarnish.com/2011/11/vegan-pumpkin-pie-whipped-topping.html

Coconut Whipped Cream…………..hear that?  Listen…………a choir of angels are singing…………..relax for a minute, just listen………….sweet perfect harmony, um, sort of like Coconut Cream!

I made it about 5 hours prior to serving.  It stayed beautiful in the refrigerator.  I will admit a bit was saved from last night and a big ol spoonful went splash into my morning coffee…………….SWOON.  Oh my goodness, frothy, creamy, a bit of sweetness, actually just the perfect amount.

Take a can of coconut milk and put into the refrigerator over night.  Separate out into a bowl.  Just use the solid portion not the liquid.  Put it into a mixer, add 3 Tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of real vanilla.  Whip away my friend, whip away.  Sing along with the music playing for a bit.  Stop, remove beaters, lick beaters because you are the chef and if you don’t have any little short helpers in your kitchen it will be a bonus for you!

Ever feel like you were left behind?  When I went on Google Images to find some photographs of the silky smooth cream, there were hundreds of ’em.  People use the coconut cream to well……………… top coconut cream pie, or coconut cake or dollop in coffee or garnish a slice of pie.  People had served it with strawberry shortcakes and dipped with shortbread cookies.  There were pictures topping chocolate pudding or mousse.    So I welcomed myself to the party and my mind was swirling with sweet and sassy ideas.

The Coconut cream was oh la la magnificent and simply lovely all swirled together.  Take a pretty silver spoon, pinkie poised in the air, take a big swipe at that bowl of pure goodness, SAY GRACE and for the love of licking the beaters…………………………dig in.  Take that first bite, close your eyes, feel the slight sweetness roll over your taste buds and swoon……………..welcome to the holidays, my friend, welcome to the holidays!

grace, grateful, great marriage secrets, pure goodness

Welcome Guest Blogger

It is with pleasure that I introduce my guest blogger.  Bruce Wilson, aka Mr. Right for 31+ years.  He is the main reason that I think of my life in terms of grateful and thankful every single day.  There is no one on earth I would rather be buckled into that first car on an amazing roller coaster ride, screaming, laughing, crying, & waving arms.  He also is the very same person, who would not make fun of my wild tangled hair at the end of the ride.  Looking forward to hearing your comments after you read his thoughts today. 

 

It All Adds Up…

I’ve been told since I was a child.  “Do the right thing – it’ll all add up in the end.”  When referencing a person’s character, “It all adds up” was taught endlessly.  Today, I’m making a very specific reference to this old adage.

When we decided to become better stewards of our finances (a life-long quest) one item seemed to make perfect sense; use only cash.  This simple rule led to: no more finance charges, no annual fees to carry a card, and a surprisingly large number of merchants who give a discount for using cash.  We were also advised to create a jar that we would feed our change into.  There is a quote on the jar that states “Deposit money into this jar every day.  The amount doesn’t matter, the habit does.  Like attracts like, money attracts more money” We were skeptical, but decided to give it a try.  Maybe, it really would “All add up.”  Thus, we started only using cash and never spending the coins received in change, but rather putting them in this jar.  We also decided that, if it worked, we would use that money only on something we both enjoyed as a reward.  Let me take you on a short detour here.  When was the last time you had a discussion with your significant other about how to spend money rather than the dreaded “Do we have enough money” conversation?  Pure pleasure!  Back to topic.  We talked about it and decided we love trips to the beach more than anything.  Since then, we’ve taken numerous trips to the Oregon and Washington coasts.  Some were one-nighters, others as long as four nights.  All were paid for out of this magical jar of coins.  What a joy.  What do you do when you are overjoyed?  Why, spread the joy!  Turns out, spreading joy is not as simple as it sounds.  When the topic of money surfaces, as it seems to with increasing regularity in these troubled times, we tell our family, friends and acquaintances of this simple method to save some cash and reap the rewards.  The replies we receive in return?  “We don’t use cash” or “It wouldn’t work for us” or our favorite reply “It doesn’t add up to much!”   So, for the past 365 days, I decided to keep track of how those coins tallied.  Those that know me understand the need for lists and tracking methodologies; it keeps the OCD at a manageable level.  The end result?  We’ll be spending three nights soon in Oregon.  Room and meals will be paid for out of this magical jar.  The total for the past year you ask?  $497.44!  Not a life-changing, munificent sum I’ll agree.  But, it will once again change our lives for the better.  When Mrs. Right and I venture to the ocean, we get revitalized.  We spend time together where the focus is on, well, spending time together.  How could that not be a good thing?  A walk in the sand with no distractions works wonders for the psyche, not to mention the marriage.  Even our Sweet Liberty is better as a result of long walks on the beach.

So, to all our fiscal nay saying friends, we can only offer a smile when we hear excuses.  We discovered something that is incredibly easy to do, keeps one of us occupied from time to time counting and sorting the coins and helps to make something already good, much better!  Does it really “All add up?” you ask?  I’d say give me a call and we’ll talk about it, but there’s no cell reception at the beach…….

cooking, pure goodness, recipe, thankful

It’s Tuesday, Say Grace, 4 ingredients & 5 star good

Big news on the blog front………….tomorrow Mr. Right will be guest blogging here on Sunday’s Child.  Please stop back by and see what wisdom and wit he has to share.  I know I am looking forward to it.  He is a pretty smart and good egg.  I am taking the day off to prepare food, bake rolls and pies and scrubb veggies for Thanksgiving dinner.

Okay, let’s get to it.  I recently read the great city of Los Angeles is going to go “Meatless Mondays”.  I applaud their efforts.  Here, Here!  Then I was a bit sad-faced about the suggestion of eating boring salad or gelatinous tofu swimming in water.  boo hiss……………….There is a great big, huge, happy delicious world of plant-based eating out there folks.  Today’s recipe I am sharing will honest to goodness make your mouth water.  It will water when you smell it cooking and you will be drooling by the time you sit down and take that first bite.  Well, maybe not drooling, however, you know those juices in that back of your mouth?

Three words……………. Balsamic Roasted Carrots

Cinchy, 4 ingredients and 5 star good………..yes, Virgina, that good!  Heat your oven to 375-400* first, this recipe is going to go quick like a bunny (get it, bunnies love carrots).  Grab some carrots ……gentle suggestion folks, resist the urge to buy the “baby” carrots in the store…….they have been washed with a bleach chemical and the carrots bloom white while left out on the counter or in a veggie tray, yep that is what that is…..use the real thing, a carrot with a green top, use the top for juice…  okay back to our program……..scrub (remember folks, all home schoolers know this……….vegetable peelers are vitamin stealers!) about a pound or two.  Cut into 3 1/2″ pieces and I like to cut on the bias  (more surface area for picking up coloring).  Toss carrots with 2 Tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon real salt in a shallow roasting pan.  Roast carrots in the middle of the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender 40-50 minutes.  Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of the best balsamic vinegar you can buy.  Toss.  Back in the oven for two or three minutes, most of the vinegar is evaporated, and only pure goodness is left glazing those beauties.   Top with some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley or any fresh herbs you have.  Or in all honesty leave plain and serve.

I use this basic recipe for carrots and toss in some mushrooms and onions and potatoes and garlic………simply really, really good comfort food bursting with flavor and more flavor.  Last week I served them over some creamy polenta.  The week before they were the crowning glory on a bed of toasted brown rice. If I forget to say it on my list of thankful things on Thursday…………….. I am over the moon thankful for the choice and privilege to eat and buy and grow really high quality food for myself and my family.

Set the table, pull out some sassy placements, use the good silverware, SAY GRACE and for the love of good eyesight, dig in!

ps.  please stop by tomorrow for Mr. Right’s thoughts on life.

thankful

goodie, goodie, gumdrop

I feel like I owe it to myself to write about goodness and joy after my little blog melt down yesterday.

Joy……….here’s one, quick like a bunny go visit this etsy shop  http://www.etsy.com/shop/SprinkledJoy  Her name is Sarah, she has some really lovely things and such a creative and joyfilled spirit.  News Flash, in real life too!  I happen to know she received a request for a special order.  Her answer revealed her true heartfelt character.  That of giving, kindness and pure goodness.   She is one good egg.

We had the pleasure of visiting the Tacoma Art Museum yesterday.  We took in the Andy Warhol exhibit.  Oh my goodness,  I was caught off guard.  There were many more pieces to this particular collection than I had thought.  I have read about and studied Andrew Warhola (real name) in the past.  This time around, I learned even more.  Maybe timing was just perfect.  It was a rather gloomy, gray, rain-soaked day in the Pacific Northwest.  So the intense pops of color and splashes of  bold paint most certainly spread joy and happiness to every single person who was fortunate enough to see the display.

Bond, James Bond.  I am not a “go to the movies” kind of gal.  It is not on my top 20 favorite things to do.  I do not care for it one little bit.  However, I like 007 more than I dislike going to the movies!  It was good, really, really good.  It was action packed from the moment it started until sadly it was over.  “Skyfall” was one of those good ones.  Pure action,  pure entertainment, pure rush.  Just loved every single moment of the movie.  Well worth stepping over my aversion to movie theaters, well worth the moola, well worth the time.

I received a really great present yesterday.  A friend brought me a gift bag with orange tissue.  Nestled inside were some gorgeous pinecones she picked up while on a recent trip to Bend, Oregon.  Everyone knows I love pinecones, just adore them, pokey and all that.  I just love that she thought of me on her trip and brought me  a little piece of goodness.  She is so thoughtful, it makes my toes tingle a little bit.

I am very thankful that in our house we have a sort of unwritten rule………you write a “I am not happy” letter you also have to write a “thanks for the great product or service” letter.  I suspect that rule tumbles over into blog writing.  So for my rant and rave yesterday, here is my goodie, goodie gumdrop blog posting today.

Much to be thankful for and lots of happiness to be found.  It is all around us.  We just have to make the effort to see it.

ethics, good behavior, morals

may the force be with you and me

Part of the beauty of having your own blog is that you get to rant and rave so you can sleep peacefully during the night.  Heads up, if you want to skip my ranting and raving, I will totally understand.  If not buckle up, I do have opinions.

In an article written by Diane Diamond today, the West Point Code of Honor was written out for all to see….“I will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do”.  It was mentioned that General David Petraeus still to this day, uses this guiding force in his life.

Now, this will probably surprise many of you.  I think we as a country, got our money’s worth.  Somewhere between 1 million and 4 million dollars we as a nation bought and paid for one of the most brilliant military minds in recent history.  He was well-educated at West Point for four years, he went on to be a trained at Ranger School, he went on to the United States War College, he continued on with his education at Princeton (paid for and continued to make $50-60,000.00 per year while studying) to earn a Master’s Degree as well as a PhD.  He “paid our nation back” by serving our nation in the military for more than 30 years.  He gave back expertise, knowledge, blood (shot in the chest during training) broken pelvis from a jump, sweat (moved his family 20 times in 30 years) tears, the last 5 of the 6 years in the military he was away from his family and then some.  He (and his wife) gave us another fine military man in the form of his son.  His wife has worked tirelessly for 38 years for other military families.   This ends his fine military career.  Time marches on and so does he.  We as a nation were “paid back”.   He retired and became a civil servant to our country. 

As a former military wife, I have seen first hand the “code” played out.  Yep, we have friends who have graduated from West Point.  We have loved some, liked some and others we could have done without meeting.  Just like every other group of people with a common interest, there are good eggs and some not so good eggs.

NEWS FLASH….you don’t have to go to West Point to learn ethics, morals and good conduct.  I happen to be related to one military man and married to another military man.   Neither one wears a West Point ring.  Both raised children with this in mind and live every single day of their lives by a code, a guiding force if you will.   “I will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do”.    Here is another news flash NEITHER man has it as a bumper sticker!  BY THEIR ACTIONS NOT THEIR WORDS, THEY LIVE THAT CODE EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES.

What I mean is, behave however you want, that is your business.  For Pete’s sake, you do not have to put it on the bumper of your car!  If you have a little metal Christian Fish stuck on your car, don’t flip people off while driving.   If you have the name of a college surrounding your license plate, make sure your tags are current and the car is kept up…..or people will think poorly of your alma mater.   In the same thinking pattern, if you want to live a life that is not quite honorable, STOP telling everyone you went to West Point and the guiding force in your life is not to lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do”.

I have to answer for my behavior.  My husband has to answer for his behavior.  I am good with that.  We have to look into the mirror and sleep through the night. Check and check.

Our country is in somewhat of a pickle.  We still have 60,000+ troops in harm’s way.  There are rumblings in North Korea.  There are trouble spots around our globe.  We need to protect our Liberty and Freedom.  We need good men and women to do just that.  We are in desperate need of morals, values and ethics.

May the force be with all of us.

ps.  I am writing this the following day.  Please read the comment section of this posting.  A very interesting and thought provoking question was asked of me.