Happy Harmonica

There once was a time in my life that I was surrounded by men.  One husband, two boys, heck even the dog was a boy.  (R.I.P. Quincy).  I was the only girlie in our group.

Then something wonderful happens as a reward for hanging out and matching up all those dingy, white, socks.  Sure they had their initials on the bottom with a sharpie……….still not that fun to match up.

The boys, move away, go to college and bring home beautiful, smart, sassy, fun, saucy, creative, wonderful GIRLS!  Our youngest, brought home one of those intelligent, gorgeous, California girls.

As part of the reward, we get to celebrate more birthday’s in our family.  Our circle just gets bigger and bigger with more goodness.

Happy, Happy, Birthday to our little harmonica! Monica & Gabe, birthday Hockey game Happy Birthday, Mrs. Monica Wilson!  We are so lucky to have you add more “girlie” to our group.

One of the cool things about our amazing daughter in law….. she LOVES Hockey and embraces it with PASSION. This picture is the two of them last night at the Ducks game.

Here’s to you and all that you love!  Today, we celebrate you and all your goodness!

That smile…………….for all the legos and match box cars I stepped on (right in the middle of my bare foot), all the track meets, cross-country meets, football games, golf lessons, tennis lessons, t-ball & soccer games, all the driving to skate parks, and the never-ending sound of a basketball smacking the pavement outside my kitchen window………………… her smile makes him smile….WOW, a great reward!

Love ya, girlie!  Hope your day and many more to come are all AMAZINGLY HAPPY!

a sassy two step of gratitude

Yesterday, I did a happy jig in my very own backyard.  First, I said thank you to both girls, then I did a sassy little two-step (yes, while living in Oklahoma, I managed to get Mr. Right to take country western dance lessons, another post for another day).  I very gratefully, collected two eggs.  I always (well the egg count is now at 8) but each time, I find one glorious egg, I say thank you.  I am grateful.  The chickens came to live here on June 18th.  Everyday, I have fluffed and puffed and fussed and offered treats.  While the fresh blueberries and watermelon of summer were a huge hit, the banana the other day was a fail.  The hanging Brussels Sprouts “tree” was a hit, as was the cabbage on a string (similar to soap on a rope, but you can eat cabbage).

Today, they discovered snow for the very first time.  It was wicked trying to get their little, teeny, tiny gloves on.  geesh.  DSCN2681

The chickens and their needs were given to me by a very intelligent friend.  She knew I would accept the gift and take on the challenge.  She knew I would go out every day.  I would feed and water and fluff and puff.  She knew I would get off the sofa and stop “playing” sick long enough to take care of my new friends.  At first, I couldn’t move the coup alone.  Mr. Right, had to help me with the chores.  I couldn’t lift the bag of bedding.  I am lifting about 75% full bag now.  I cringed when they pecked at my painted toenails and glitter covered flip-flops.  Now, I wear boots and actually take off a glove and pet them each day.

Yes, I decorate their chicken condo appropriate for the season. DSCN2666 Yes, it gets moved and cleaned weekly.  However, they are not pets.  Yes, I love them and enjoy having them live here, but they are not family pets.  They actually produce eggs.  They are working animals.  I am friendly and talk to them, yet, I respect them and they obey the rules of the land.  “in the summer months, NO, sitting on lawn furniture, geesh”.

What if everyone had to raise their own chickens for eggs?  I know Mr. Right is teasing (half heartedly) about the cost of each egg.  Over the weekend, I bought more scratch and decorations for their little palace.  I added $8.00 to the cost of fresh eggs.  When you drive by a small family run farm and they sell fresh eggs for $4.00 a dozen, STOP.  Go in, buy them, thank them for the fresh, hormone, chemical  free eggs and use each one gratefully.  What if by using fresh eggs, we became a more grateful people?  We said thank you and meant it.  Yes, I know, lots of people say they are “busy” they don’t have time to raise chickens or stop and buy fresh eggs.  They are already at the mega store and pick up a couple dozen, pure as the driven snow, white, eggs.  They are each matching in size and shape.  Does anyone else think this is a bit odd?  Is everyone out there proud and happy to use factory produced eggs for food for their family?

DSCN2648What if every one of us had to raise our own chickens to eat?  Raise our own cows to eat?  Clean our own water?  Would we be more respectful?  Would we appreciate the hard work, effort and time it takes to raise and provide clean, healthy products?  While I would love to aim towards “99 cents a dozen” for the cost of eggs, it just isn’t going to happen with such a small flock.

I am guessing that if each one of us had something to offer, we could barter fresh eggs for fresh apples.  Fresh eggs for fresh herbs.  Trade fresh eggs for raw honey.  See?  It could actually work.  By sharing our gifts, the actions alone would help us to be more grateful.

My way of thinking has changed, flipped, done a switch a roo.  I am very grateful for each egg.  I take pictures.  I share the photos with the grandgirlies and the world (well face book).  I value what “eggactly” (couldn’t help that)…………..went into the “making” of each and every egg.  DSCN2672

I am providing (albeit a small amount) to the nourishment of our family.  I am helping.  I am grateful to be doing so.  I am proud that I am contributing.

When you hand quilt your very own quilt, somehow you appreciate and feel a deeper warmth while sleeping under it.  When you raise your own chickens and they lay eggs, you value, appreciate and are very grateful of the process.

A friend of my son’s raises chickens and was kind enough to give me some tips on how to garner more eggs……….I thanked him kindly.  I am just learning.  I am reading everything I can and am listening to advice anyone and everyone will share.  He then said  the best tip ever to get more eggs………………..have more chickens!  haha

family table

One of the big reasons that I removed my blog postings from Face book, is the ugly or less than stellar remarks.  While I am open to a brisk dialog if we disagree, being mean and ugly just doesn’t work for me.  I have an entire post to write about the social media and how we are not being kind to one another.  Saving for another time.

This is a book review.  Nothing more.  NO politics are involved. The book was written by a mom of 6 boys, one husband, 6 daughter in-laws and oodles and oodles of grands.   This book is about getting the family meal on the table, picnic table, tv trays, blanket on the beach………..you get the idea.  It is about celebrating and favorite traditions.  The photographs in this book are glorious and will make you smile.

Some of the recipes are old favorites, not all are healthy.  The overall view is trying to get a meal put together for twenty plus something every single time they gather.  It is about connecting as a family and feeding their souls as well as their stomachs.   Some recipes are simple reminders like:  oh gee, a Caesar salad sounds good.  Some are more time involved.

romney family tableIf you are in your local library and come across the book “The Romney Family Table” by Ann Romney………..check it out.  If you have someone on your list this holiday that is a cookbook lover, or a mom of many or few, buy the book, give the book.  Yes, that lovely of a book.

You learn about the backbone of a huge, working family.  Instead of listening to what the media has to say about people in the public eye, I thoroughly enjoying reading and learning for myself.

I must say, from the time, I cracked open this beautiful book, drooled over food pictures and laughed over food and family antics and traditions, until the very last page, I felt like I had been graciously invited to share a family meal with a very nice American family.

It was a book well worth my time.  Somehow after reading this offering, I felt like I could and want to do a little something extra at our next family gathering.

Happy Reading, cooking and picture-taking!  Enjoy.

help me trade

DSCN2650I am one of those people who can’t seem to gracefully ask for help.  So when I spot that same character trait in another, I get all tingly.  I know the feeling very well.  You need help, but you do not want to ask for it.   Life is crumbling around you and yet, for some weirdo reason, you can’t swallow your pride enough to ask for help.   Sometimes, life is way too big, and you have no other choice but to ask for a hand.

When a tree fell across our driveway, we needed the help of friends and a chainsaw and a truck.  Could not have cleared the mess with out help.  We stop our mail when gone on holiday, drive ourselves to the airport and park our car there.   It is easier to ask a family friend to watch our dog while we are gone.  They really seem to love her and we of course take a huge “Thank You” basket for babysitting.  Actually, our up coming holiday includes a first for us.  We have had to ask a friend for help in looking in on our chickens.  We are trading babysitting for a coffee card.  Give ’em what they want! Trading is so much easier.

I have traded Salt & Vinegar potato chips for a ride to and from physical therapy.  I have traded a coffee gift card for a ride to physical therapy.  I came to the conclusion that I have an easier time trading than I do asking.

I have had to ask for oodles and oodles of help these last couple of years.   After my knee replacement, I had to ask Mr. Right to keep track of all the medicine for a few weeks, I had to ask him to make all the meals and to clean the house and to fluff my pillows and for someone to drive me to Physical Therapy, to be honest, I had to just give up and let him do it all.  I had nothing to trade.   This last year, has been more of the same.  It has all been so overwhelming, I just stopped asking.  He is a very smart cookie (a snappy Snickerdoodle, sounds like him) and he doesn’t need for me to ask.  He knows what I can and cannot do.

At some point in the calendar, Mr. Right has to return to his normal work schedule and life somehow has to stumble along until you can get back on track.  Sure I can drag the chicken bedding and bag of straw to the chicken palace for fluffing and puffing.  Yes, my brain is a bit more clear and I can resume, banking duties.  Some things, I still need to wait until he gets home to manage.

Recently a friend had surgery.  She will not be able to drive herself to all her Physical Therapy appointments. She really is more of a “doer and giver” than an “ask for help” sort of gal.  We live several hours away from each other.  While yes, I have sent her silly jokes and funny emails and goofy cards, I wanted to help her.  It is a hard thing for some folks to ask for help.  Instead of her wasting time fretting and feeling bad, I wanted to come up with a plan to help her “trade”.

The light bulb went off……….most likely in the shower………….best thinking place ever!  I love this idea and I wanted to share it.  I wanted to give people an idea of how to help someone while they are under the weather.  moustashesSure sending fake stick on moustaches is good for a laugh…………laughter is the best medicine.  Sending dehydrated chicken soup through the mail, when you can’t take your own……………equally funny and thoughtful.  I think this idea is a great one.  You help the person, help themselves.  You enjoy doing it and then they get 6 TIMES the happiness when they use your offering.

Okay, so I bought a 6 packet of cocoa packets.  I happen to have to go cups at home.  I also, just happen to have baskets, baskets, bins, totes, stacks of fabric just waiting to be used.  The life of a quilter, there is always pieces of sassy, cute fabric you just can’t throw away.  I have a gorgeous, clear, heavy, glass brick, with an opening in one end and a stopper.  I store all my extra buttons in there.  So pretty, so handy.  I mention all this to tell you (& and I am guessing my friend will read this)………….I spent a total of 73 cents on a 6 package of cocoa.  period.  She will feel super happy that I used what I already had.  I completely enjoyed the sewing and it was fun to use some happy fabric. DSCN2651

“Sew” I whipped up some cozies and tossed each a package of cocoa.  I mailed them (well actually Mr. Right mailed them this morning) to her.  So now, instead of asking for help, she just has to say…………”would you be interested in a trade?  I have some cocoa to trade you for a quick trip to my appointment”.  DSCN2653

Trading is so much happier, easier and admit it…………….WAY MORE FUN!   Happy = Healing

Here’s to all our happy, good health and healing!

ps. and may I say, a huge heartfelt thank you for those who have helped me along this long journey.  Some of my girlfriends earned gallons of hot cocoa!  Mr. Right, well Mr. Right deserves the factory where they make all the cocoa ever produced on earth.  The end.

bag lady

I have sewed (tweaked and perfected the pattern) 12 medium-sized make up/whatnot bags.  I have filled some for college girls, sick friends, birthday girls, just for fun and other silly reasons.  I have enjoyed finding buttons and fabrics and lining fabrics.  It has been fun and happy and pretty darn quick.  I love filling them with toe nail polish, and sweet treats and candy cane gum and Halloween candy corn, fudge sauce and more.  I have three or four-lined up to make next.

We are lucky enough to be planning a trip to New England.  Yes, we leave pretty soon.  We have not had a vacation in quite some time.  We both have been looking forward to the fun of a holiday away.  I am praying for oodles and oodles of snow.  My brother-in-law says, if I take his safety class, he will teach me how to work a snow blower!  I hope I earn a certificate suitable for framing, haha.  I hope there is snow to blow the entire time we are there!  I am so looking forward to having a slice of blackberry pie and a cup of coffee with my sister-in-law.  I can already taste her flakey, mouth melting crust.  I can already hear her giggle and smell the coffee in her beautiful, warm kitchen.

Before we jump on a plane, we have to pack.  We have suitcases ready.  We have clothes bought and ready for any occasion they can throw at us.  We traipsed around all weekend finding this and that to take with us.  Things we “needed” to have.  Read that as oodles of snacks and little clear containers so the TSA will be happy with our choices.

I have an ugly plain Jane, black make up bag. I am not fibbing.  I have “it” on my list of to-do’s this week……….make a fun, lively, happy, cheerful make up bag for yourself.

DSCN2656Then it happened.  Today, a real sweetheart of a girlfriend, thought, hey, I know someone who may not have taken the time to sew a bag for herself.  I received a wonderful surprise “have a fun trip” present!!!!!!  I am lucky enough, to be bathed in the Grace of Pure Happiness, Pure Friendship!

Yep, I am now a very happy owner of my very own bag.  She used umbrellas so I wouldn’t forget which state I come from.  For the lining, she used jaunty, happy sea gulls wearing rain boots and happy, silly yellow rain bonnets.  Those Sea gulls of Washington state have such a saucy sense of humor. DSCN2661 Tucked inside my wonderful, new, useful, happy make up bag were all sorts of goodies a girl needs: potions and lip balm & high heel printed tissues….and before I leave on a jet plane, I will have a fresh pedicure with my new sassy toe nail polish that she so generously included.  DSCN2662

This grateful, bag lady is almost ready to take flight.   “I’m leaving on a jet plane….”