Knowing the answer before I asked, I did it anyway.
I always have my fingers crossed that something wonderful and amazing and happy and silly will be in Mr.Right’s world on a Monday morning.
I sent a text to Mr. Right this morning. It was about 6:30 am, yikes.
Was there a basket of “Free pick a pair” of flip-flops as you entered your work place? Take off those polished work shoes that are making your feet hot and slip on a pair of fun flip flops. Just for today, to celebrate summer. Take them home with you when you leave tonight. Happy Monday!
Was there a big fat bucket of sidewalk chalk and a sign that read, “during your break, go out and get some sunshine and draw to your heart’s content”.
Were there 40 delicious, color saturated visiting quilts hanging on the cubicle walls? Just think how much “happy” would rub off on all your co-workers for one full week of color and beauty? You know, color to brighten the spirit and lift the Monday blahs?
I am guessing you know the answer.
Monday’s would be so much easier and happier if it started with sidewalk chalk. Love the stuff. I love laying on the ground and drawing a snail or a pizza or a sailboat. Next time, I want to draw patterns like you do with a stick on the beach sand.
My Monday morning started with a happy, hairy dog saying good morning to me. Can’t get any better than that.
When I came out to bike and rebound, I saw a gift wrapped present and card. (Note to boyfriends across the land, huge extra points and smoochies for gift wrapping surprise presents!)
Inside were a pair of salt and pepper shakers. All white and perfect. Perfect because they are happy elephants.
I ask you. How on earth could you start a Monday any better than that?
Mr. Right sure knows how to get a girl to smile, early on a Monday morning.
Now, about that bucket of sidewalk chalk at your place of employment……. I can see nicely dressed accounting folks kneeling on the sidewalk drawing frogs and butterflies. I can picture Monday grumpiness fading away. I can see men in ties, tossing the tie over their shoulder so it won’t bother them when they are drawing robots and fast cars.
See isn’t my idea of a Monday morning perfect?
Notice I didn’t mention the hour commute with sour drivers? Notice I didn’t mention eating a donut and gulping down less than stellar coffee?
Notice my version of Monday morning is happy and full of smiling and wrapping paper and a very happy dog and jumping with glee on a rebounder?
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” A. Dumbledore.
ps. I have had my chickens for almost 3 years. Pictured with the new salt & pepper shakers are eggs number 620 & 621. I am grateful for every single egg.
Happy Monday, ya’all.
The hotter the temperature outside, the lower my motivation for cooking becomes.
However, if you have a few things prepped and ready to go, once dinner time rolls around you can toss together an amazing meal.
Tonight on our outdoor table will be served some amazing sweet potato, caramelized onion, black bean tacos. Sounds too dull or bland? Wait until you taste the Vinegar Cole slaw that tops them off. Great flavor, tang that dances across your tongue and your mouth will water for more. Did I mention easy and 7 minutes top to prepare?
Please do me one favor. buy the cabbage. Yeah, I said it. Skip the bagged cole slaw already cut up and somehow doesn’t go bad? Too weird and tastes funny to me. Make the effort. Really? Is it that hard to take a knife and shred some cabbage? Go ahead, might make you feel good. Get some of that frustration out. Think of the driver that cut you off or a co-worker that rubbed you just the wrong way today. You will have your cabbage shredded in no time.
Buckle up, this will be quick, choppy and easy peasy.
Vinegar Cole Slaw
1/2 head of thinly sliced green cabbage, 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage, 2 whole carrots shredded and 3 thinly sliced green onions.
Mix together 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon great mustard, 1 Tablespoon raw honey, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds (don’t skip, really makes it delish), real salt and ground pepper.
Mix together, chill to marry those flavors, let them get to know each other. Then, top your tacos. Top your fish tacos. Top your black bean burger. Top your falafel. Pile on a big mountain of the stuff right on your salmon burger with a slice of grilled pineapple.
Say Grace, Say hello to Summer cooking and enjoy every single tangy bite.
um, I think you spilled a little on your shirt. yeah, right there.
My mother nor my grandmother…for that matter not even my mother in law were good cooks.
It is just a fact.
However, when I flip through some old 3 X 5 recipe cards, I see their handwriting. I notice a misspelled word on a card my grandmother wrote. I am reminded that while my mother is left-handed, she uses a “right hander’s slant”.
Their penmanship is lovely. It was a refined, respected art. The art of legible, beautiful handwriting.
I have a basic bean salad recipe that I use probably 3 times a month. I do not add 1/2 cup of white sugar like my grandmother did, I have made small changes to fit our family & our needs. However, every time I make the recipe I remember her.
Same with my mother in law’s banana bread recipe, spaghetti sauce or her Scotch egg recipe. Even though I might replace an ingredient here or there. Her very precise handwriting helps me to remember her.
We all live through and celebrate with great enthusiasm, monumental things and moments in our lives. Weddings, graduations, family reunions & special birthdays. They are lovely and wonderful things to celebrate.
However, on those days that are simply “just another day”………sometimes, those recipes from our family or friends bring us comfort and a feeling of connection.
Today, on another blog, I read these two sentences, “Sometimes a simple recipe passed down from one generation to the next keeps our spirit alive and we are not forgotten. Somehow I find comfort in that.”
May I gently suggest, this summer while you are visiting your mom or grandmother, on a trip back to your home town, or you email your Great Aunt…………… that you gently and kindly ask for a recipe you remember they used to make. If they are able, ask if they can write it out for you in their handwriting.
It is not possible to recapture all the good times and moments of all celebrations……….maybe, just maybe having a Snickerdoodle made with the exact recipe from your mom or a cookie from a friend who is more like family……….. will fill your heart and soul.
While you ponder if you taught them everything they need as they skip off to college or if you worry that you taught them all the right things to say at the next funeral they must attend………I hope for your sake that you have a recipe you can make and enjoy one bite or one cookie.
That is what comfort food is. It is NOT copious amounts of mac n cheese or a tub of ice cream that you eat entirely as you drown your woes. It IS one cookie that brings back good feelings, good memories of our past generations.
That one bite, that one cookie will bring you comfort and warmth. That one bite of banana bread will bring with it a flood of memories and will envelop you with a feeling of goodness & grace your spirit with comfort.
Hey, here is a thought, bake a batch of cookies or a lovely batch of toasting bread and share the food and a handwritten recipe with a family member or dear friend. Maybe one day, our handwriting will give a future generation some modicum of comfort.
One day, when our grands are sending their own children off to college, they will need to make a batch of shortbread for themselves.
They will find Grace and comfort in making a recipe from their grandmother.
You know when you take three pieces of silverware; spoon, knife and fork and somehow crunch a paper napkin around them to secure the silverware and use its weight so that the paper napkin doesn’t float away, while eating outdoors?
Or you host a pool party and spend 48 minutes the night before tying on little Lifesavors around a perfect blue napkin. I will admit, while being an amazingly cleaver decorating idea………..I just don’t want to spend the time doing that.
Hello summer! That time of year where you get to take your food outdoors and somehow just the act of eating in a gazebo or under a canvas tent, elevates the food you are about to partake in.
Not sure if it is the fresh air, the tired bodies from swimming or yard work, food always, always tastes better when consumed in the great out-of-doors.
So from the perspective of the indoor worker (read that as the mom/wife), prepping the food for the grill, getting the side dishes ready, stacking up condiments, glasses and extra serving spoons ….trying to fit it all on a tray…………to make yet another trip outdoors to set the “perfect” casual tablescape, it is a ton of work to make everything look effortless.
Oh yes, at the last second, the silverware! Grab the napkins and roll them around the flatware so they don’t blow away.
While we use linen napkins most of the time, that outdoor grilled corn on the cob is mighty good and sloppy and messy and dripping with butter……….paper napkins work best. Not to mention those little corn holders, where do you put those?
Find some scrap fabric, interfacing & little bits of left over twill tape in your stash. Cut out some rectangles and make some silverware pockets. Easy, quick and they look amazing. Useful you ask? By golly they are.
If you want the exact dimensions and how to, skip over to sew4home.com and type in flatware pockets.
May you and your clan enjoy many fun and happy meals outdoors.
Throw a quilt on the grass (gasp, did I just say, toss a quilt on the ground? Why yes, yes, I did.) and have a picnic in your very own backyard.
Breathe in that fresh air. Say Grace and dig in!
Here’s to fabulous health giving summer food!
While I remember to post pictures of my egg count on face book, sometimes it slips my mind to share with my blog friends.
Always, something to be grateful for, Always.
Over and over and over, we have all heard it. I am too busy to stitch or paint. I am too busy to sew. (Besides, it is cheaper to buy something.) I am too busy to cook an amazing dinner for my family. I am too busy to make an appetizer tray. I am too busy to study and research.
I work. Somehow meaning the rest of us don’t work? Somehow by stating that one is “busy” trumps being creative and thoughtful? By exclaiming to the world, “I am busy” somehow excludes them from taking care of their families with nutritious food and choices? By shouting over and over, “I am too busy” they are somehow exempt from making a gracious gift or creating a work of art? I just don’t have the time. There are not enough hours in the day.
In a weird twist of life (like one of those cool bright yellow playground slides……….that you KNOW you want to go down), saying the phrase, I am busy has become an acceptable excuse.
Shocking update: we all have full lives. Yes, we all have families, friends, chores and jobs. We all have good days and stormy days.
If we expect our souls to dance, we must make time for that to happen.
I have a friend who is a school teacher. The month prior to school beginning in the fall, she prepares her quilting project. She sets up the frame and has her latest amazing project ready to quilt. She threads 24-36 needles. She has music set up and ready to go. She has her scissors sharpened. She has her thimble nearby. The scene is set.
Once home from a day of teaching, she washes her hands, pours a beverage, she sets dinner to cooking, she slips off her shoes, and she walks over to her quilting area and quilts for 30 minutes. 30 minutes of beautiful music and creating. She does not waste any time preparing her project or threading a needle or looking for her scissors. She just quilts. It may not seem like much, but 30 minutes every day……….even though she is an English teacher, I am sure she can do the math. 2.5 hours a week X 4 weeks translates into 10 hours a month. Yes, she has two children & a grand. Yes, she cooks dinner for her and her family. Yes, she volunteers & works full-time.
I have learned from some of the best examples.
Every single night, after supper, Mr. Right makes our juice . From gathering the vegetables and fruits, to washing, juicing & then clean up………..it takes about 50 minutes. Do I help? No. I am not invited into the kitchen.
I sit at the end of the kitchen, with my stitching light, my needle and thread. I stitch 50 minutes a day. Oh sure, sometimes, I find a moment in the day to put my feet up and sit in the warmth of the sunshine and stitch a bit. Yes, some evenings, I get comfortable on the sofa and listen to a television show and stitch for an hour or two. Sometimes, I quilt, other times I cross stitch, embroider or knit.
Most days, 50 minutes stitching a day, 350 minutes weekly, translates into 5.83 hours a week creating something of beauty. Something that lifts my spirits and fills me with gratitude and happy. I look back on the week and can see progress. I can see something tangible. I can see time well spent.
My grandma (who by the way was an expert with her crocheting abilities produced hundreds of tablecloths, afghans, sweaters and scarfs, etc.), use to say, “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”. This from the woman who had 5 kids, made bread 3 times a week, cooked three meals a day, grew a garden, canned everything, did all the laundry (no dryer, hung everything out to dry) and by the way, did I mention she was a widow who worked 5 days a week in the cannery?
With all of that said, here’s to BUSY folks everywhere! So busy, they find time to create and nourish their souls. So busy, yet such smarty pants, they KNOW the value of feeding their creative spirits.
Here is my counted cross stitch update. Since my friend and I are stitching this project at the same time, the day and date are included in the pictures we share daily.
How is your spirit? How do you carve out time & nurture your soul?
Fridays come with the light-hearted anticipation of the weekend.
Oh sure, Friday’s come with a bucket full of chores. I am good with that. If I clean and do the linens and towels and fill the refrigerator full of great food (a full and appealing refrigerator is a thing of beauty)………….then the weekend can be spent more on having fun than doing household jobs.
I also fill my Fridays with beauty.
To start the day, I jumped into the world of Sir Fredric Leighton. 1830-1896 I try and expand my world on Friday mornings with an artist that I have not studied. Sometimes I work off a list of artists I would like to explore. Sometimes a friend mentions a name or a painting and off I go.
A couple of days ago, a friend mentioned her favorite painting. Flaming June . Oh my, I saw in an instant why she would say that. The painting (I viewed a photograph of it, through the computer) must be stunning and breathtaking in person. It sort of grabbed my heart and soul and wouldn’t let go. The saturated color, the sensuously draped girl……..the gauze folds of the fabric……..I need a bigger word than lovely. I can’t really find great words. The painting stands on its own. Yes, it takes your breath away.
Then again, Sir Leighton’s bronze statue , 1877, An Athlete Wresting with a Python is staggering. It catches you, somehow by surprise. The raw power and strength slaps you in the face the moment you gaze upon the work.
Music Lessons is a painting that will capture your heart and soul. This painting seems like one an art teacher would display and discuss and share. Again, the fabric is so life-like you want to reach out and feel it. The meaning behind the work is well……. charming and quietly powerful.
While I instantly fell head over heels in love with Flaming June, I think I will choose The Fisherman and the Syren 1856-1858 as my favorite of the week. My heart and soul were somehow awakened by the natural beauty. The remarkable attention to detail almost has you believing it is a photograph and not a painting.
If you are so inclined, maybe on your lunch hour, you would be wise to fill your spirit with beautiful works of art. Maybe you will find time to look up this painting, my favorite of the week.
The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. Friedrich Nietzsche
I really wanted new pillows for outdoors. Oh sure, we have cushions, we always seem to “steal” the other chair cushions for comfort.
I wanted rough and tough fabric in case we forget to bring them indoors
News flash, pillows are a pricey date! Wanting at least 2 pillows…………I began the hunt. $27.95 for one cute pillow? Times two cute pillows? Dang. I didn’t want to end up looking at two pillows all through the summer months, thinking to myself, gosh, I spent $60.00 on two pillows. How dull and what a boring & lame use of money.
I want fun, happy, inexpensive.
Thinking cap on.
1. Buy drop cloth from big hardware store. $7.00
6. Buy two tassels from the clearance bin. total $3.96
7. Get a good book, light a candle, invite Mr. Right to join you, relax and enjoy your pillows.
8. Snort to yourself…………well done…$12.33 a piece and you love the elephants!
9. smiling and so comfortable
10. you will find me most summer evenings, reading, drinking juice, eating berries, bare foot with a cute pedicure in the gazebo, using my new pillow.
ps. My friend received her pattern, thread and linen today. Let the cross stitch begin! yippee.