the secret

DSCN3956For those of us who love fresh eggs, the one draw back is attempting the hard-boiled version.  Oodles of tricks and attempts, cracked, broken, exploded…..the list is long.  I have heard of folks marking eggs to keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks for use in boiling.  People have shared they poke a hole with a pin prior to boiling.  Folks have told me that is the only reason they buy store-bought eggs is to use those to boil.

I make an effort to raise healthy, natural chickens so we can eat healthy, natural eggs.  I really don’t want to purchase store-bought, old eggs just for boiling.

So, it is with glee that I share the Secret formula for “hard boiling” FRESH Eggs!!!!!

Today was pure SUCCESS.

Place fresh eggs in a bowl of warm water to bring them to room temperature.  Grab that double boiler, get the water boiling.  Add the egg to the top steam portion.  Cover with a lid, STEAM (that’s the secret) for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, plunge into an ice water bath.  (no need to fill the bathtub with ice cubes, a kitchen bowl will do nicely)  Wait 5 minutes.  Remove.  Peel an egg.  None are cracked, broken, exploded.  None have the green ring around the yolk from over cooking.  Perfectly “hard-boiled” eggs.  Once and for all, SUCCESS!

Here’s to easy peeling eggs!  Here’s to a really good, well crafted egg salad sandwich!  Oh, I love figuring out the secret to success.

here birdie, birdie

What was that?  CRASH.  It was the adorable bird feeder we have been watching all winter.  dang it.  It was a tough one to fill and hang properly, so maybe it was meant to be.   Even though we are not retired senior citizens living in a nursing home, we love to feed and watch the birds.  Somehow, it seems like an “old person” hobby.

Right after I found out I was sick, a friend gave me a huge Bird Guide.  It has since stayed near or on the coffee table.  It is so fun to identify the new birds that fly into our backyard area.  The chickens end up with the dropped bird seed and the squirrels always get their share as well.  It is a regular Wild Animal Kingdom out there.

bird feeder 1For some unexplained reason, I love watching them wait in line for their turn at the feeders.  I love watching them flit about.  The dog lies on her bed with her muzzle propped up on her pillow watching the activity outside. bird feeder 3

I know that Spring is just a few days away and the birds really don’t need much help from me, here in the Pacific Northwest.  However, I love to watch them.  So the hunt is on.  To make or buy a new bird feeder.  I think I will put it on the Christmas wish list.  We will tell the kids.  They are always searching for a gift idea or two.

I guess we have reached the age, where receiving a new bird feeder would make us really happy.  When did that happen?

married people don’t fight

Before Mr. Right marries a new couple, they usually have a few “get to know you”, meet and greets.  Sometimes, I am there, other times I over hear a conversation in the other room.  I always, always hear “the” question asked and answered.   Can you guess what “the” question is?

32 2How long have you been married?  As if by some type of cosmic energy, that energy or good karma will somehow magically brush off onto them, the fresh-faced young couple eagerly wanting to sign up.

I don’t honestly know if they are looking for a certain number of years.  I do know, that not one couple has said, oh never mind we will go to someone else.  Sometimes all sorts of other questions follow.  Really?  How did you do it?  What’s your secret?  Really?  To the same person?  Do you have any tricks or suggestions?  Is it wonderful all the time?  Were you brought up the same town with the same religion?  Did you both want kids right away?  Who is in charge of the money?  Do you ever fight?

First of all people who have been married 32 years don’t fight.  They have really intense well-educated discussions.  Yes, to the same person.  We both have equal say with our money.  No, we do not have separate checking or savings accounts (if you have separate checking accounts you need a marriage counselor not a financial counselor, just saying).  No, it is not wonderful all the time.  No, to the same town.  No, to the same religion.  Yes, we have a million tips and suggestions.  I am guessing you will most likely not want to hear any of them.  Most folks don’t.32 marriage quote

How can I describe it?  Okay, got it.   One time, the US Army “invited” Mr. Right to travel someplace else.  I was all of a sudden in charge of mowing the lawn.  As you can imagine, it was very orderly and perfect before he left.  Not so much while he was gone.  Being a single mom with kids and a dog and a cat and homeschooling and church…..etc……you get it, it is hard, really hard to juggle …  I was out in the front yard one day, I was bent over and pulling that dang cord over and over and over and over.  I just couldn’t make the lawn mower start.  From behind me, a huge arm came around, pulled the cord once and it started.  I SCREAMED THANK YOU, but didn’t dare shut it off.  Some Army guy, was driving by, saw me, stopped, got out, fixed the problem and drove off.  done.

Yeah, that is how I would describe being married sometimes.  I can do lots of things for myself.  However, sometimes, the other person does stuff.  Yes, I do know how to start and use a lawn mower.  I just don’t have to.  Yes, Mr. Right knows how to wash his own clothes and iron his work shirts, he just doesn’t have to most of the time.  I am quite capable of putting gas in our car.  I just don’t ever seem to need to do that chore.  Being married and respecting the other person means you have a partner (like a cowgirl or cowboy who rides along for support) in this whole messy thing called life.   Most of the time, it is fun and happy and amazing and messy.  However, there are a few chaotic, stupid, sad, hard times and yes, having a cowboy along for the ride does make things a whole lot better.  The trick is to figure out who is better at neatly folding laundry (he is), cleaning out the refrigerator (he is), hemming pants (I am), cleaning up after animals and kiddos (I am), remembering to send correspondence (I am), vacuuming (he is).    Being married means you divide up the fun stuff and the icky stuff.  There you go, cross stitch that saying!

daffodilsYes, I can get mushy.   I can tell you that he is generous & thoughtful (one time he gave me 250 Daffodils to celebrate the day!), smart, honest, curious, funny, loyal, strong, gracious,  well-educated and open-minded and that my friend, makes me want to do & act the same.  I can tell you he plays a wicked game of Scrabble and I have to bring my A game.  Because sometimes partners want to beat the tar out of the other Scrabble player and do a victory jig.

This morning I was reading one of my favorite blogs.   Her topic today?  What I learned my first two months of marriage.  If you have a moment, go check out her writing.  She is gifted and funny and sweet.  At the end of her chat today, she said, Marriage is messy, chaotic, fun and amazing.

I wrote her back.  Yes, Marriage is messy, chaotic, fun and amazing.  I am here to tell you 32 years later, I still feel that way.

Hey, Mr. Right, want to go another 32 years?  I’m in.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Honey Roasted Garlic

Tonight, Sunday dinner, was company worthy.  It was a basic Sunday dinner.  Yet, somehow a meal designed to start the week off on the right foot, easy and simple, turned into a sumptuous supper for two.  Because of the time change, we had an appetizer platter first to ease into a later than usual dinner.  Our meal was seafood stuffed Salmon with fingerling roasted garlic 2potatoes perched perfectly a top sparkling white plates.  Glasses full to the brim of fresh green juice accompanied the delicious food.   Between downpours, I went out and cut fresh chives.  The intense green only fresh chives can achieve.  I tossed a huge handful into the finished potatoes, along with sea salt and cracked pepper.  Then, just before placing the plates on the table, I added the crowning glory.

roasted garlicHoney Roasted Garlic. 

Oh sure, we have all roasted heads of garlic with olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper………...but have you added a spoon full of raw honey on top before you covered them and put them into a piping hot oven?   Oh, please do.  The taste is somewhere between rich, savory caramelized garlic with just a faint hint of sweet sass, and the melt in your mouth bite of the before baking, stinking rose flavor.  Oh, and the aroma that fills your home, is “come and get it” goodness.  Say Grace, the moment you sit down, because that heaven scent aroma is going to grab your attention and make you (impolitely) inhale deeply while waiting for the evening blessing to be completed.

We each dug into our heads of garlic similar to miners mining for nuggets of gold goodness. (without wearing headlamps, we used the light from candles and the overhead light fixture)  Pushing it into our potatoes and blending the flavors and taking that first slow bite was one of those “close your eyes” savor the moment good bites.  You know what I am talking about.

Ah, the moment any recipe calls for garlic, my mouth starts watering.roasted garlic 3 By adding a little crown of goodness to each plate, I elevated the meal to a decadent level.  The crown a top a Sunday meal fit for royalty.    They kind of supper, that makes you finish and then sit and linger and talk and laugh and savor the meal long after you have become a member of the clean plate club.

We are both grateful & thankful to begin our week with a meal fit for company.  Just so happens, we were the guests of honor.

32Just think of all the glorious possible things that could happen in the next seven days?  Oh, I don’t know, like celebrating being married 32 years?  Now there is something to celebrate.  Here’s to the week ahead!

trade ya

Remember taking your lunch to elementary school?  There was always a kid in class, I won’t name him….who had Ding Dong’s or Twinkies or other desirable store-bought dessert treats.  While my mother did make a very good Rice Krispy treat, they really weren’t trading material.  Pretty much everyone got rice krispie treats or homemade cookies in their lunch boxes. Most of the boys carried brown bags for their lunch, girls got to bring lunch boxes.  So great.   I remember having “The Partridge Family” lunch box one year.  Oh, and one year I had a black patent leather, Barbie lunch box.  Oh Lordy, I loved that “classy” looking lunch box.

I adore trading.  In adult language the word is barter.  I LOVE to barter.   I am genuinely thankful that I have found others to trade with.   I simply love it.  I love to trade an armful of fresh grown lavender for a  tussy mussy of fresh herbs. I love trading a big heavy sack of apples for 18 fresh eggs.   I get all giddy when I trade sewing pillows for amazing, hand crafted Veteran’s Day cards.  Last year, every single one of our 25 Thanksgiving cards, I traded for.  Each was hand crafted and so beautiful.  Each unique and so creative.  I was over the moon delighted to send them out.  I heard all sorts of nice compliments.   All I had to do was sew a pillow for her grandson.

The thing about bartering.  I try my very best to do an excellent job.  I do my very best work.  I really make an effort.  Then when it comes time for the big trade…………we both feel as though we got the better end of our bargain.  I love to sew and I have been sitting in front of a sewing machine since I was 12 years old.  So, some projects come together with ease.  Other folks are better at baking or making cards or growing herbs.    For me to hem a pair of pants and trade for a fresh loaf of baked bread?  That is heaven for me.  I simply adore the barter.

DSCN3910Yesterday, on a dreary, dark, pouring down rain day, I went into my sewing room to create and be surrounded with color.  Lots of saturated, glorious colorful threads and fabrics.  My mood is instantly lifted by color.   I sewed a little zip bag in stunning red and black.  The lining on this little gem has dog bones (the recipient of said bag is a huge dog lover) dancing across the threads.  DSCN3908I did my very best.  I am trading this bag for some beautiful hand crafted cards with a tree theme.  Of course you have to agree ahead of time, of the trade.  When it will be done.  How will you get it to the other person, etc.  However, I highly recommend the bartering system.  Each party feels like they made an excellent choice in deciding to trade with the other.  Instead of cash, the other person gets exactly what they want.  It is a beautiful process.  It makes you feel so good and proud to share part of your talent for someone else’s bounty.  Instead of being persnickety with how much each egg or piece of fabric costs to the penny, you get the privilege of trading your talent for theirs.  Each person has a talent that is worthy and of value.

By trading, you lift each other up and celebrate one another’s gifts. You each end up smiling and feel a deep down happy that someone was so delighted with your gifts that they were willing to share theirs.  You each took a chance.  You each put yourself out there on a limb and opened yourself up to judgment.  The beauty of the barter system is you make the choice to trade what is of value to you.  The two of you trade things that are of value thus making the process elevated to a higher level.  You both win.

I am always open to the idea of bartering.  Do you love to barter?  Have you ever tried it?  It will do your heart and soul some good.  It makes both people feel wonderful.  You say thank you and mean it.  Really, really mean it.  I promise, you will be so glad you tried it.  Trade ya? encourage

go ahead, take a drink

water fawcetWe are electric – when your cells don’t have enough fluid they lose their conductivity.   While reading this post, please pour yourself a glass of water.  I am not the best at remembering to drink all that I need, I am making the effort and getting better.   Having trouble sleeping or staying asleep, might be because dehydration reduces melatonin?  Hydration helps in all sorts of ways.  I am quite sure you have done your own research.  You don’t need me touting the benefits of water.    Now, I am not suggesting you should drink your body weight in water after 9:00 pm, just maybe give yourself a little grace and have an extra glass or two during the day.

Hold on there partner, before you hike over to the tap and pour yourself a nice tall drink of water………………  let’s talk.  Sure I know it is going to make some people mad.  Heck, I am so mad I want to cry.  Better yet,  I just put on my big girl red boots and screamed Holy Hydration!  (yes, it scared the dog.  oops)

I am trying to find health and wellness.  I am giving it an honest effort.

Why so mad you ask?  We live in a pretty normal, regular, run of the mill neighborhood and town.  We received our water bill for the month.  Very reasonable.  Included in our bill was a Water Quality Report.  Yes, I know some of you are going to say, “we have excellent water, we have well water, we have fresh spring water, we only drink bottled water”…… I dare you to look it up and do the research.

Here is what (yes, they are forced by the government regulations to publish a water report yearly) the water company put on the back of the page of their report.  While they list  all the wonderful things their water is doing for us, they do have to put this teeny tiny warning.  I would type it in red if I could.water clean

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general populations.  Immune compromised people such as those with cancer, those who have undergone transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, elderly and infants can be particularly at risk from infections.  These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers…..

“seek advice”?  Make a doctor’s appointment and ask the doctor, “hey, person in a white coat, should I drink water?  Is my water safe to drink?”  What does this mean?  Little kids who are two or three are “fine” to drink contaminated water?  One year olds who are having food and formula rehydrated with tap water?  Someone who is 34 and gets three or four colds a year (sad to say, that means your immune system is not functioning properly), people who have Diabetes, Lupus, Liver problems, Kidney problems, back problems, knee problems and a million other issues are completely “fine” with drinking water that will make our Liver and Kidneys work over time? Drinking water that will compromise our health and wellness?    Are all of those people are just “fine” to get a little bit of infection from our water source?

water 2 I do my research.  Yes, water is something I learned buckets about.  We purchased the Berkey water filter almost a year ago.  We are thrilled with our purchase.  We use it for drinking , cooking, making coffee, offering up fresh dog water…. the list goes on.  We have eliminated fluoride and other toxic chemicals from our life.  We fill our travel mugs to take with us.   Taking the huge filter system with us on the road or to work, um, is not viable.  Yesterday, I was reading about the Soma Water Filter.  Looks and sounds perfect for work and travel.  It might be something to look into.

We are in this together.  We need to help each other and lift each other up.  This is serious.  Why on earth are we okay about the  water being brought into our homes?  Why are we okay with added fluoride?  Why are we not talking more about this?  Why are we not educated about what we are serving our families?  If you can’t tell by my words, I am frustrated.  I am exasperated.  we rise by lifting others

Love to have some of your input and help to educate me.  I am trying very hard, everyday to make good choices about my health and my family’s health. The road to good health seems a bit curvy and twisty.  When I first began this journey towards wellness, I wrote a person who was helping me make better choices.  I said, “I feel like I am swimming up-stream”.  He said, “you are”.

I am soaking wet from swimming up-stream.  I am a bit tired of having to research every single thing in my life.  I KNOW other folks must have done some of this research.  Please, please for the sake of my sanity, share what you have learned.  Thank you so much in advance.  I really do appreciate and value the help.

Here’s to our good health and wellness!

“Water, water everywhere, All the boards did shrink; Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”  Samuel Taylor Coleridge

BOM March

DSCN3867I adore a blustery March day.  I love being out-of-doors and having the wind gust so madly that it temporarily takes my breath away.   I remember a few years back, sitting on a park bench on Bainbridge Island on March 12th.  The wind came up and it felt and looked like it was snowing.  The apple tree above us, let loose with millions and millions of blossoms.  We were covered in “snow”.  It was the perfect moment to be sitting on that bench.
Chicago the Windy City.  While we would all love to believe the savvy locals that the phrase was coined in the late 19th century and referred to what inveterate windbags the politicians are…. we know better.  The term Windy City was already being used in early 1876 with references to the city’s lake breezes.
Today, while the wind swirled outdoors, I was safely ensconced  in my sewing room making my Block of the Month for March.  Chicago.  First, I set the time for 30 minutes.  I did a quick clean up and vacuum of the room.  Replaced some type of wild “creativity” with calm and order.  Calm and order create a place for me to be creative.  I chose my fabrics.  All with movement and swirls to depict the winds of March.  I tried a brand new to me, Italian thread called Aurifil.  5 Gold stars, smooth, even, lovely application, well worth the money.  I put in a brand new needle.  I am a bit “carefree” when it comes to replacing needles.  I am trying to get better.  Using the 8 hour of sewing rule.  With a brand new needle, it makes it a pleasure to sew.
The block turned out well.  I love the colors.  Waiting to find out the next pattern, keeps me on pins and needles.  (sorry, I had to)  Seeing how the entire project is starting to take shape, makes me giddy and anxious for April’s block to be unveiled.  DSCN3847
I am so grateful & pleased that my brain is working smoother.  I am enjoying be back in my safe and charming sewing room.  Once again, when I sit down to my machine, I feel like I can do and create anything.  Instead of effort and a feeling of frustration, I feel calm and peaceful and deep down happy.  I was forced to take a few months off until things got straightened out.  I had to learn to wait and be patient.   Happy to report, today, I had to pin-up my joyful, tangled curly hair while I was busy creating this months block.  Once again, I found the wind in my sails.
“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” Dolly Parton