turn the page

Years ago, when I was learning to be a mom, my sister-in-law was a really good example to me.  I drank in everything she did.  She was raising a polite, well-behaved, smart little cookie.  Hey, I want smart, polite, well-behaved little cookies, too!

One time, she told me that her very, sweet, adorable, blond-haired, perfect daughter decided to be a bit naughty.  Oh my………….I waited to hear what the punishment was.  How does a kind and loving mom handle “naughty”?

Really, you took all her beloved books away?  That must have been three horrible, no good, rotten, crummy days?  Did it work?  She never again disrespected her books.   Ah, I was catching on.  She was teaching her daughter and me at the same time.

DSCN5318About 25 years ago, the same niece gave many of her favorite books to her stinky boy cousins (or I am assuming that is what a  pretty, blond, fancy, sweet girl would call her boy cousins secretly).  She generously gave us many well taken care of books.    Our boys devoured them. They read them over and over.  We the parents, were asked to read them over and over and over.   Books were respected in our home.  Books were and are valued in our family.  We read those books while living in Oklahoma.  We boxed them up took them to Germany.  We brought them back to Washington state.

You know how the pages get almost “soft” from so much use?  Yes, exactly like that.  The spines of many of the books were worn, very worn.  I think it would be politically correct to say “well-loved”.   I am not even sure if a used book store would want them.

I want our Grands to have “new” everything.  Bright and shiny.  I want homemade things to grace their lives.  I want them to have the very best of the best.   We love buying brand new books, the latest, greatest authors, funny , silly, high quality art work, top of the line brand new books.

However, I wanted them to have and experience their Dad and Uncle’s books.  I wanted them to understand what a gift they were looking at.   These books are a part of our whole family.

We cared for those books.  We saved them.  Then a couple of years ago, we brought them back out and read them to our sweet, fancy grandgirlies.  We taught them to treat them with respect.  They would hop on the sofa and quickly sit and ask for a favorite to be read to them.  We the grandparents would read them over and over and over.

In less than a couple of weeks, Grand #3 will be making his arrival.

Over the weekend, Papa and I gently and with care, packed up oodles of books.  It is time for the books to head to California.  Yes, they are worn, soft and well-loved.  It is time for a new family member to be given the chance to love them.  DSCN5320

Heartfelt and Sincere thanks to our wonderful niece who was brave enough and kind enough to share with her stinky boy cousins.

Your generous gift is still being taken care of and loved.   You will now be making a difference in the life of yet another stinky boy cousin.

food, glorious Southern food

You know that moment, when your kiddo brings home an amazing art project or A+ math paper?  You take a moment and look, really look at it, maybe pat them on the back and say, “Good Job”.  Then you get a magnet and move this or that off the refrigerator and put it up front and center.    For some reason, we have made the refrigerator “the” place to showcase the art piece, math or science paper of the day.

Then those very same kiddos grow up, go to college and live far away.  Okay, one good thing, they send you pieces of art that their kiddos did and as Grandparents your refrigerator door starts to fill up again.   You only have about a 10 year span where you have a fancy, magazine worthy looking refrigerator.

The other amazing good thing, is technology.  The dang kids move away, however, technology keeps us in touch daily.  Sometimes, more than once a day.

Today, I am pretending that this blog is my refrigerator door.FridgeDoor

I am using a very cool magnet to hold up my “kid’s” amazing paper.  I like the way he writes.  I like the way my mouth waters as he describes the food.  My kiddo or not, if he had a food blog, I would follow .  As a mom, I love that he is grateful.

Today’s blog was written by Dustin Wilson.  (your home school teacher put a gold star on your paper)

In the words of every single waitress across the land (as she places your food in front of you)……


To celebrate one year in Mobile, I wanted to share a few things about food!

Literally there is a fried version of almost everything in the South. However, I have never in my life had better access to more options when it comes to greens, veggies and local fruit. I think with only a few notable exceptions like mushrooms, I eat on average at least three times as many fruits and veggies as once did.

The seafood is incredible here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a cold water fish guy, but the sheer volume of tasty things from the sea that are locally available is beyond measure. The Mudbugs, shrimp, flounder and snapper are just incredible and I’ve added a few new favorites to the list. Redfish, Speckled Trout, Royal Red shrimp royal red shrimpand gulf oysters are all pretty awesome. Nothing, however compares to pulling your own Spanish Mackerel out of the ocean and grilling it with fresh garlic and lime juice.

I’ve been lucky enough, for a third time to move to an area just blossoming into a craft beer revolution and Alabama truly has some of the best craft beers I’ve ever had. For my friends around the US, if you see anything from Yellowhammer, Rocket Republic, Straight to Ale, or Blue Pants, grab and consume as soon as it is legal.

I love that I have access to many of my East Coast favorite grocery stores brands once again like Wise potato chips, Cabot cheese and many others, but love the vast number of locally owned favorites. Looking at you Golden Flake Sweet Heat potato crisps and Chocolate Moon Pies…

There are so many good restaurants and some not so good ones. I truly miss conveyor belt sushi. It has to be one of my favorite things of all time and the concept has yet to make it down south. But I have found a few really nice sushi joints. Oh yeah and the hot dogs…. Living near one of the food networks all time greatest hot dogs at the Dew Drop Inn has not been kind on my waistline but every bite has been worth it. While we are on the subject of junk food, I miss taco trucks. They simply don’t exist here. I liked paying .50 for a taco or .79 if I wanted lingua, which I often did. I miss gigantic tortas and sopes and have yet to find replacements for those either… the struggle is real.

Speaking of struggle, my wait will be short compared to some Mobillians who have waited years but within the next 12 months Whole Foods and Costco will open their doors here. It has been painful waiting at times.

I’ll also say this (and only once) I do not agree with many of the corporate policies or culture of Chick Fil A but DAMN they make a tasty chicken sandwich and an even better salad.

There you have it, a brief and quick glimpse at my foodie transformation here in Alabama. I’m surrounded by amazing things to try and to eat.spanish mackerel

I have such good fortune to be surrounded by a whole new world!

call me sassy lassy

The day has come.  Today is the day.  Sure, I am positive all of you have been on pins and needles, costumes await.  All kidding aside…………..only one day before “TLAP“.  Sure you have been plotting and planning all year-long.  The excitement is building at a frenzy pace.  I doubt with all the festivities, potlucks, gatherings that you will even have time to jump on my blog to read my good wishes……….so to all of you, here is an early tip of the hat to you.  Indeed, Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

scottish plaid 2Let’s get serious folks.  Okay, I am sure you have been following the international news in the last few weeks.  Every bit of information you have grabbed and not let go.  I will not repeat every little piece of information.  One word.  Scotland.  Oh my goodness, they are serious this time.  Taking a vote.  Will they stand alone for ever more?  Will they have their own currency, military, governing body?  I am guessing they will keep all the profits from the oil fields.  It is an interesting idea.  I wonder what will happen?  I know for sure, our oldest has been speaking with a very heavy Scottish accent all day long.  scottish plaid

Third time is a charm.  Here is the real reason, (besides feeding the dog & chickens and getting a cup of coffee), that I got out of bed this morning……………..

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.  Not the course, but the society.  A very old society and they are  the governing body for golf…

Today they vote.  This is serious, serious business.  They will take a historic vote to allow or not to allow women in their club.  I will share a picture of their club house.  Pretty nice digs. st andrews

My best guess is that sadly yes, women will be allowed.  Oh, I know you can’t believe I wrote that!  I did.  I am sticking to it.  I know it is the politically correct thing for them to do.  I know it is 2014 and men and women are equal…. blah, blah, blah  Just this once, I wish and pray for tradition to speak loud and clear.

I know this is not the politically correct thing to say, type or believe.  It’s my blog.  My opinion.

One time, years ago, while at a quilting meeting, everyone was deep into their projects and chatting, just not looking up.  Someone mentioned a gathering, bring food, invite folks, have a mini quilt show of our own……….. then someone said, “we could invite our husbands”…………………….. collectively, everyone stopped stitching, looked up and shouted, NO!  Now, wait.  We all adore our husbands.  We like hanging out with them.  They are good folk.  Here is the thing:  Once a week, for two hours, it was our time.  No, we didn’t waste our time, talking about husbands and what they do.  We talked about patterns and fabric and quilts and stitches and needles, shared quilt magazines and once in a while gossiped a little.

No, we didn’t wear “Little House on the Prairie” dresses (okay there was that one time, for a festival in the park).  We were a group of highly educated, very talented women.  Some of us had children, some worked full-time, some home schooled.  We were of all different faiths.  We had pets and volunteered and created such beautiful things it would take your breath away.  Some of us had enjoyed 80+ birthday candles on their cake and some of us had not celebrated our 30th year.  It was a huge melting pot of brains and talent.

We were all very aware of equal rights.  Yes, we know women suffered to allow us the gift of equal rights.  Yes, some of us had made “T” quilts to remember the suffrage.

However, for some reason, we felt safe there.  Safe enough to voice our opinions loud and clear.  We knew exactly what we wanted. We did not want to play with the boys.  We wanted our own clubhouse.

Sometimes, we want a separate space just for us girls.  You know, when you are gathered at someone’s home, the girls end up in the kitchen and the men folk end up on the patio?  No one said, those were the rules………it just sort of happens, naturally.  no politics, just nature.

I have no idea how the vote will turn out for Scotland.  This house is watching.  Quebec is watching.  The queen is watching and waiting.  The world is watching.

The world may not be that interested in the Royal and Ancient Golf Club………….but this sassy lassy is watching.  You know my fingers are crossed.

Today, may change the course of the world.  Something tells me I am going to need more than prayer & Grace to behave well today.

I better go put some lipstick on and get on with the day.

ps.  they just counted the votes, girl are now allowed at The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.  

what a crock!

You know that moment, when you hear and smell before you even open your eyes for the day?

I could hear the shower.  I could hear our sweet dog, next to our bed, snoring softly.

I could smell something amazing.  So good, I twisted around in the sheets and got all snug and cozy under the duvet.  My toes were scrunching and stretching.  Then I started to stretch like a cat after a long, satisfying nap.

The aroma was warm and sweet and with a touch of spicy cinnamon.   There was just enough of a chill in the air that I grabbed a sweater and put it on over my pajamas.  I followed the scent.  I padded out to the kitchen.  It sort of smelled like a Grandma’s kitchen……….WAIT, I am a grandma.  ha…………..  Yeah, this grandma’s kitchen smells like heaven on earth.

First, last night we toasted fresh coconut.  That was amazing and worthy of an entire blog post all by its self.  However, the toasty coconut”y” goodness aroma still lingered in the kitchen.

crock pot apple sauceSecond, I followed my nose over to the crock pot.  I guess a real lady, would call it a fancy slow cooker.  Let’s get real people.  I am standing here in my pajama’s with a sweater on, “joyful” hair & bare feet.  Nothin’ fancy to see here.  It’s a crock pot.

Okay, last night I peeled and rough chopped some apples.  A five or six Galas, a couple Grannies and three apples from the neighbor’s yard.  apple 1Not sure the kind, love the color and flavor so in they go.  I added 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup filtered water, a huge teaspoon, heaping with cinnamon and a couple of shakes of Apple Pie spice (gotta love Penzey’s spices) & a dash of real salt .  Put the lid on and turned it on.  I walked away.  Oh sure, couple times last evening, I opened the lid to see what was going on, not much really.

I adore my apple sauce a bit chunky and rough.  However, if it is a texture thing with you or your kiddos, grab the immersion blender and puree til your heart’s content.

However, this morning………….oh la la…………… thick, dark, rich, heavy with scent and flavor was the most amazing, wonderful, old fashion, Apple Sauce you ever did see.  Somehow, throughout the night, the apples blended and melded and morphed into this substantial, worthy of a blue ribbon, sauce that you would be proud to serve to anyone.  Grands would love this stuff.  Mr. Right, smiled and made the yum sound.  apple sauce four

Me?  I filled my bowl with hot brown rice cereal, topped it with raisins and sunflower seeds.  Then I used a ladle to scoop on enough to cover every part of the cereal.  Then I liberally sprinkled with fresh toasted coconut.

In a very unlady like fashion, I reached for the spoon…………woah! Nellie……………said Grace and then took that first amazing bite.

I made up a new word.  If we all jump on board and use the word over and over……..somehow, it get’s put into the dictionary.  The word for today:  Yum-tastic.  Yes, that is now an official word.  Let’s all say it together………..not with our mouths full………..heavens no.  1.2.3 …… Yum-tastic. crock pot apple sauce 2

Tough to get the morning going?  Hard to get your Mr. Right out of bed or the kiddies moving for school? Let’s be honest, hard some mornings to get yourself moving…………………

Here’s the way to make your marriage better, your kids love you more, the dog wag his tail more, put a bigger smile on your face…………………yes, really that good.

Fresh, warm, gourmet, lush, rich, thick home-made Apple Sauce is waiting for you!

Here’s to your very Good Morning indeed!


size matters

blue ribbonMy heart was pounding so hard, I could feel it…thump thump, thump thump.  I was walking fast.  I was begging my mother to hurry up.  40 years ago this month, I ran up the stairs and once at the top, my eyes darted around.  It must be here somewhere.  Quilts, jars upon jars of canned vegetables and fruits, knit things, crocheted things……….come on……..

I slowed my pace.  My heart was racing.  I wanted to look, but I didn’t want to look.  I was 12 years old.  I had entered my first thing in the Puyallup Fair, now known as the Washington State Fair.   I saw lots of ribbons on pies, cakes, cookies.  I saw red, second place ribbons on coffee cake, urgh.   I saw a white ribbon on what looked like a mess, I later read it was something called “chicken pot pie”.

I found the homemade candy section.  I was lightning quick scanning for my peanut brittle.  There is was.  Hidden behind a BLUE RIBBON.  I won a blue ribbon for making and entering peanut brittle.  40 years ago, parents didn’t praise you for everything that you did.  A young lady, certainly didn’t jump up and down and holler, “LOOK everybody, LOOK what I won”!  However, for that split second, I turned and look at my mother.  She smiled and we giggled together.  Yes, indeed.  I remember that moment exactly.  I won.  She was proud of me.  Heck, I was proud of me.  I am sure my family was glad to not “taste test” the 9th batch of peanut brittle.

I don’t even remember the rest of the Fair that day.  I was smiling and could only think of that ribbon, safely taped onto a paper plate, that held my three pieces of peanut brittle.  My name on the label, clear as could be.

Yesterday we harvested two of our three pumpkins.  First time ever we have planted and then harvested the orange gourds of goodness.DSCN5291  Sure we have planted before, but never have we gotten any to actually harvest.  One weighed in a 2 pounds and the other, a whopping 5 pounds.  I was so excited and giddy.  Two of the “orangiest” perfect, blue ribbon worthy pumpkins I have ever seen.

Yesterday, was the first time in a few years we were able to attend the State Fair.  I was grateful and so dang tootin’ happy we did.  It was like an old fashion date!

Just me and Mr. Right “doing the Fair”.  We shared a big huge, tasty Bloomin’ Onion (deep fried, of course) and we each had our own scone and I may have left a trail of popcorn pretty much everywhere.  We decided to skip the 2 FOOT LONG corn dog.  Geesh, who could eat a corn dog that big?  We held hands and watched some fancy talkers try and sell us everything from my name on a grain of rice, to an “Adventure Knife”, an  amazing chip bag closure things, to the best branch cutter & ring cleaner ever.

Of course you KNOW I looked at the peanut brittle entries.  They look very good.  I was impressed.  I was in agreement with the blue ribbon winner.  This time, unlike 40 years ago, I took the escalator up to the second floor of the air-conditioned building.  I gazed at the amazing quilts.  I had my breath taken away by a couple of counted cross stitch pieces.  I marveled at the canned pickles.  The cucumbers lined up in the jar, like soldiers with a hot sassy red pepper in between each.  So pretty.  Such a skill.  I was tickled and delighted to see the ribbons on the 20140915_175352sewing projects of 3rd graders, 4th graders, 10th graders.  The skirts, dresses, pillow cases and quilts (yes, quilts) were skillfully crafted and well deserving of those ribbons. 20140915_174153

You just know we had to look at pumpkins, gourds and the Grange displays of fruits and vegetables.  I saw sunflowers bigger than my head.  Zucchini so big, I could not lift and corn stalks that were well beyond 8 feet tall.   This year, the judges seem to fancy the white roses.  There were grand champion ribbons on three varieties of roses and all were white.  The dahlias, hydrangea and Japanese Lanterns were all perfect specimens.  All had beautiful blue ribbons hanging from their vases.

Then the Granddaddy of them all the 1,636 pound pumpkin.gigantic pumplin  Yes, you read that correctly.  Oh my stars.  I saw the blue ribbon right smack in the front of the display.

Something tells me that the farmer who grew that didn’t jump up and scream, “LOOK at me!, LOOK what I won”!  I am guessing he was giddy inside and thrilled to pieces when he saw the blue ribbon tacked up in front of his name.

They sell last year’s grand prize-winning pumpkin seeds for $1.00 a piece.  Each seed, worthy of  one dollar.  Um, got me thinking.  Just kidding.  I think we will stay with the size we planted.

Oh yes, in the case of the Blue Ribbon gourd, size does indeed matter.



PSL, sort of

Fall is tickling my funny bone.  The nights are a bit more chilly.  The morning sun and heat take a bit longer to take hold. (me, doing a very happy jig) , the Pumpkin Spice Latte from a popular coffee chain, is getting lots of advertising.

Love those marketing gurus.  The posters alone, make me want one.  Heck, they make the steam look curly and inviting as it swirls above the full cup.

I choose not to have what is mixed into that store-bought drink.  I won’t  do the sugar, the condensed milk, the chemicals etc……..

However, I do like to wrap my hands around a mug of pure Autumnal goodness.

Yes, I admit it, I want to be one of the “cool kids”.


20140914_101357I am including a picture of the coconut cream I purchase and use plain for my every day coffee.  I also use this to make whipped cream and Dole Whips.

*note:  when buying coconut cream……………READ THE LABEL.  Don’t ask how I know this.  

While at the Asian Grocery store (I adore H-Mart) ………… out of 8 choices only TWO just had coconut cream and water. 

The rest had oodles of chemicals.    Geesh, just when you think it is safe to jump in the water…………another label you NEED to read.


Here is a GREAT inventive recipe.  I stole part of it and I added my own twist.



Home made Pumpkin Spice Latte


1 can of coconut cream

2 Tablespoons mashed, canned pumpkin

3 Tablespoons maple syrup (real thing, please)

1 teaspoon cinnamon (Penzey Spice is amazing)

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla


Whisk or use immersion blender.  Store in glass jar in the refrigerator. psl

Add a lush dollop to a cup of coffee or a delightful latte.

I am mighty grateful for the idea I stole from 37 other pinterest pins.  Gosh, half the bloggers I follow, want to talk about the PSL (that’s what us cool kids call it).

Just seems like the perfect thing to kick-start my morning.  Holding the mug while warming my hands.

Bring on the day!


16 bags of cotton candy

cotton candy 4A little more than 20 years ago, we were at an out-door festival in France.  The boys asked for cotton candy.  Neither boy had a huge sweet tooth so we were intrigued.   They had spied gargantuan paper cones, straining under the weight of the biggest, fluffiest clouds of pale pink spun sugar they had ever, ever seen.  Of course, we said yes.  If for nothing else, to watch it being made.  The proprietor was a 7-year-old boy, our youngest about the same age, so he ordered politely and paid, speaking French.

The machine was starting to hum.  Little pieces of spun sugar were floating in the air above us.  You could smell the warm scent of sugar.  The “chef” was standing on a wooden box, so he would be tall enough to make the confection.  It was thrilling to watch it grow and grow.  We were all smiling and watching.  Our gaze did not leave the machine, the boy or the growing work of sugar art.  Think of a little boy, rolling a huge pink sleeping bag onto a paper cotton candy 2stick…………………………..

….. in moments, before our very eyes, it was all too much.  He started screaming.  Papa, Papa, Papa!!!!!!  All of a sudden his father came hustling over, laughing and smiling.  His big arms, reached over and all at once, grabbed the cone of pure goodness, shut off the machine and lifted up & hugged his son.  Laughing.

We were all laughing and smiling.  The man handed the amazingly large portion of spun sugar, somehow, glued to a paper cone over to our youngest.  The boys thanked their new chef friend.  Merci. Both our boys were so curious and fascinated that another person their age group, was “working”.

The four of us all shared.  We smiled and laughed and repeated the story over and over.  The boys acting out the making of cotton candy and imitating the screams of the little boy, calling for his Papa.

Certainly one of those stories that will get my guys talking and reminiscing in a flash.  I think that is how cotton candy is supposed to be.   A delicious, treat and story to be shared over and over.  Each of us licking our sticky fingers.

So grateful for good memories and a memory bank that can help me smell the cotton candy and hear the belly laughs of our boys.

A few years ago, a Jamba Juice opened in a nearby town.  What a treat!  Fresh juice smoothies.  Oh, my goodness, the moment you walked into the shop it smelled like fresh squeezed oranges.  So fresh, so inviting.  So healthy.  Mr. Right and I would treat it like a little date.  Somewhere along the way, we came to the decision that “our” order would be a 16 ounce, Strawberry Surf Rider, we would share.  It ended up being a cheaper date than two coffees at the local coffee shop.

Fruit, fresh, healthy, less expensive than those sugar laden coffee drinks………………”win”.  We felt so great about our healthy, delicious choice.  Way, way better than sharing a cotton candy?  Of course.

We stopped going to Jamba Juice.

One Saturday morning, Mr. Right tried to pay for our drink with a $50.00 bill.  They said they do not accept $50.00’s.  That is all the money we had.  So we used (which we very rarely use, a debit card.)  It has been our practice to pay for things using cash only.  So, sadly, Jamba Juice and their policy of not accepting large cash bills, made us re-think our treat choice.

Get this……………….it was their policy about not accepting large bills that made us change our behavior.  It was not the healthy 16 ounce smoothie of goodness.

Oh, did I forget to mention that each 16 ounce Strawberry Surf Rider Smoothie has the sugar equivalent of 16 bags of cotton candy?




BOM, September

20140906_161642This month’s mystery Globetrotting Block of the month, is called Barcelona, Spain.
The block has a pin wheel variation in the middle, inspired by.. can you guess? TILES, and the incredible Barcelona buildings.DSCN5274

Next Month will be the four corners, they will be all the same, and the sizes will be given for setting it all together.

It went together so nicely.  I keep looking at it just in case I see an upside down seam.

It was a pleasure to make.

The quilt is coming together nicely.

Like the quilt on the bed, this particular quilt will be hand quilted.  Easily my favorite part of the process.

forest pathway

20140725_211441The parents of Grand #3 have chosen a forest theme for the nursery.  While sinking my toes into the lime green, shag rug (to mimic the grass), I looked at the beautiful dark wood crib and spied a mischievous fox peeking out from a storage container.   For some reason, the song “Teddy Bears Picnic” by Henry Hall started playing in my mind and I can’t find the pause button.

“There’s lots of marvelous things to eat and wonderful games to play 

Beneath the trees where nobody sees they’ll hide and seek as long 

as they please”

20140811_130221It was my privilege and honor to make the new perfect grand baby to be, a quilt.  I used the greens and browns of the nursery.  The pattern I chose is called “Forest Pathway”.  The quilting thread is lime green.

I purchased a sheet from their registry and promptly cut it up into pieces. Triangles were used for a celebration name banner, long rectangles were for the burp cloths and the remainder became the focal points for the quilt. 20140811_131342

Cut, stitched, quilted, labeled, wrapped in paper, mailed, opened, smiles shared….now we wait.

The quilt is safely tucked into a crib in California.  Just waiting, waiting to wrap a baby in love and goodness. DSCN5224

“Because today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic”DSCN5222DSCN5219Welcome to our World.  

Red Rover, Red Rover, send Autumn right over!

sunflowers 2sunflowers in bloom in France



duvet back on bed

long hot showers

penny loafers

soup course

finding the perfect pumpkin


burlap banner

hot cocoa

pumpkin pielong-sleeved pajamas

back to school


salt baked potatoes


apple spice scented candles

New GRAND arriving

quiltgetting out extra blankets & quilts

chilly nights

foggy mornings

crisp air

baking a pumpkin pie for Mr. Right

falling leaves hitting the windshield

huge mug of steaming coffee to wrap my hands around

rainy days

apple brown Betty

steaming coffeecappuccinos

carving pumpkins

toasting seeds