muffins, squash & a smooch

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While looking in the freezer this morning, I saw a bag of our beautiful Blueberries.

On the off-chance Mr. Right might stop by after an appointment, I whipped up a batch of fragrant, beautiful muffins.

While peeling squash for dinner (his favorite, not mine).  The phone rang, I crossed my wet, messy fingers hoping it was him.

He said, “Hey, could you please meet me outside in 60 seconds?”  I thought Yippy!  He wants a smooch and I can give him a couple of warm Blueberry Muffins.

perfect.

blueberry muffins

 

I went out there to hand him the muffins, he held out a glorious Latte from my favorite place.

When people ask us how we have stayed happily married…………..20181112_112441-1

Maybe Acorn squash and Lattes are the answer?

Wait!

Maybe serving squash that I loathe and he loves?

Wait!

Maybe delicious smooches out of the blue, on a Monday.

Yes. Most definitely the smooching.

Happy Monday,

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

PS. Surprise your spouse with a treat.   You will be rewarded with a smooch.  I promise.

 

Five minutes

When I was a young teenager, I had my first (of six) knee surgeries. I was in the hospital for 21 days.

metal puzzleAs you can imagine, I have had this swirly brain forever, so to keep me occupied, some kind person gave me a set of metal puzzle gizmos.  I worked on those for minutes, hours which fell into days.  Not all the time, just five minutes here, five minutes there.

44 years later, in my mind, I can conjure up the feel of the metal in my hands.  My fingers flying to figure out the secret to the puzzle. I bet if someone handed me one of those today, I could figure it out in a matter of moments.

I was delighted with a present and the challenge was just what I needed, however when  I say, “kind person” I think the gift was more for my mother.  With the exception of driving my sisters to and from school, running home to make dinner, she was in my room 7 days a week for the majority of the day, every day.

My brain teaser puzzles gave her, 5 minutes of peace and quiet.

Five minutes.

Five glorious minutes to go put fresh lipstick on.  Maybe she went for a break and got a cup of coffee?  Maybe she read an article in the newspaper without someone pestering her? Maybe just maybe she bought a Pepsi and poured it into a coffee cup (young ladies do not drink soda)?  Maybe she just sat and stared out the window and didn’t have to listen to a somewhat chatty teenager?

What could you do in Five minutes?

File your nails, walk outside for some fresh air, watch a bird take a splashy bath, take off your shoes, rub your feet & walk on some freshly mown grass?  There are a million things we all could do with five glorious minutes.

Our friend’s father has dementia. Because of paperwork, he is not yet settled into a new assisted home.

Often times, seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia may show signs of anxiety or agitation through fidgety hands.  Sensory therapy or fidget toys are an effective way to reduce anxiety, calm nerves, and provide comfort. 

No, I did not give a set of metal puzzles.

I made and gave a Fidget Quilt.20180817_161103-1

(Housekeeping:  I used 6-inch squares backed with fusible fleece. I backed and bound with pre-washed flannel.  I used ribbon, velcro, zipper, rope, rick-rack, buckle, coins under vinyl, elastic, shoelaces, curtain rings, trim, buttons, drop cloth, faux leather, sequins, velour, cotton, flannel fabrics and a tie.  All machine pieced and machine quilted.  The binding was stitched twice for strength.)

Some folks call them Busy Quilts or Fidget Blankets.  Lap size, no batting, all sewn by machine. Then sewn once more for good measure. All safe/harmless items, lots of texture and by the time it was finished, the quilt had some weight to it.  When I put it on my lap, I took a deep breath, very calming.

His family is hurting.  The “M” family has taken a hit and gosh does his wife NEED five minutes.

I made this quilt for a gentleman to occupy his busy hands and mind.  More importantly, I made this quilt for his wife.  With every stitch, I was thinking of her.  I was lifting her up.  The hours ticked by while I was sewing, measuring, creating.

 

I was praying it would give her FIVE MINUTES.

 

Five minutes to breath deeply. Five minutes to step outside and stretch.  Five minutes to pour herself a cup of coffee.  Five minutes to answer the door.  Five minutes to read a card from a friend.  Five personal moments to let her guard down and collect herself.

All forms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s are rough, some would say cruel to the family and friends.  My heart breaks.  Yes, I prayed for them.  Then I got to work.  I wanted to help.  I wanted to give FIVE MINUTES of rest to his caregiver.

There are several pictures on Google images/YouTube/Pinterest all with ideas for creating this type of sensory blanket.  Many have bright, childlike colors, lots of patterns, some silly and goofy.

 

Many folks often say, “oh, he won’t know/care what colors you use”.

His wife will.  His son will.  His family and friends will.

I chose to make a Fidget Blanket that was respectful of a life well lived.  I chose colors and patterns that would be of interest to his grandchildren and visitors. I chose items and patterns to invoke conversation of visitors.  I wanted to create something manly, dignified, befitting a man who worked his whole life and took care of his family.  I wanted something calming and yet interesting at the same time.

44 years later, goodness has come full circle.  I can finally give back those precious FIVE MINUTES of peace.20180817_160839-1

This disease is dreadful.  God Bless the families and friends walking through the fire.

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

visions of sugar plums…

sugar plumsVisions of sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free plums danced in their heads.  (just kidding)

Right smack in the middle of the hustle and bustle that seems to hover over this month, have you taken time out for you and your person?  In between signing cards, wrapping boxes, baking treats, have you taken a few moments to bathe your master bedroom in grace & goodness?

Have you announced to the universe that your sanctuary is of value and importance?

Does your better half know without a shadow of a doubt that you hold your relationship in the highest of regard and continue to lift it up on a daily basis?

Have you taken 30 minutes to quickly deep clean, de-clutter, dust, vacuum, and gussie up your sanctuary? Are there fresh, ironed (yes, ironed) linens on your bed?  Have you brought in fresh flowers or greens or even a tree?  Have you brought in beautiful candles, a soft, cozy throw for the bed?  Did you place that festive pillow you found in your decoration box, just so,  to add a little something-something to your bed?  Have you sewed new, softer than mink, white pillow covers that look like they are covered in mini snowballs?

Or has it become the catch-all?  Wrapping paper leaning behind the door.  Gifts secretly crammed beneath the bed.  Clean laundry waiting to be folded.  Does your dresser top hold odd change, one stray button, and a broken necklace?  Is the room filled with stress?  Do you close the door to avoid looking in there?

Or the moment you step into your private sanctuary, does it fill you with calm and beauty? Can you feel it? Does it feel like goodness?  When you spy that bed, do just want to burrow in and surround yourself with fluffy coziness?  Just by walking into that room, do you feel fortunate, harmony and peace? 20171215_094358-1_resized

A gentle suggestion?  Take 30 minutes and create a little beauty.  Our world is harsh, tricky and can be brutal.  Some days it feels like more bad news than good.  We all need a place that we can go to breathe and feel the solitude and safety.  No electronics, no ugly noise, no demands.  We all need and crave a place to restore our spirit & soul.

May you make and enjoy a small corner of peace this season.

Sweet dreams.please do not disturb

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

fill the fridge

One of the things that we believe in & live by is that food can heal.

No, not everyone in our camp is of the same thinking.  I am living proof that food heals.

dine well

However,  today, one of the things we can all be on board with is this:  People are Hungry. Either lacking amount or nutritional value, folks are in need of good food.

Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.

~ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Yes, you read that correctly.  Think about your slightly grumpy co-worker.  Think about that neighbor child who is downright ornery.  Did you snap at your spouse this morning?  Yep, being hungry might be the reason.  Not just amounts of food but goodness and quality of food.

You see everyone proclaims to be “busy”.  Sure, our calendars are full.  You picked up some fast food last night, because, after working a long week,  you were picking up kids from practice and you still had to go home and do a load of laundry and let’s face it, you were tired to the bone.

Then this morning, you were busy helping everyone else get out the door, dressed and on time.  You tried to get the short people in your life to eat something.  You grabbed a coffee on your way to work.   Work/Life got incredibly crazy and you skipped lunch.

Time to give yourself a little grace.  You need a pat on the back.  You are juggling lots of things.  Food should bring you comfort and wellness.

  We and our spouses/families are surely worthy of really good food, any time of the year. 

 Remember holidays when you make a beautiful olive & nut tray for relatives?  Sometimes, before company comes over you put together a vegetable tray with the extra nice crackers?  These platters of food are displayed lovely, sitting covered in our refrigerators….. “Don’t touch that!  It’s for company!”

I am here to tell you, we are worth buying the extra good cheese!

You and your family are WORTH buying the good olives, the beautiful plump mushrooms. Buy THREE bars of the expensive, 70% dark chocolate (break it up, pile it up on a beautiful tray)! You and your family will devour the goodness. dark chocolate

Right this very moment, if you took a peek inside my refrigerator you would spy the tasty treats I have prepared and have ready for the weekend.  No holiday (unless you count the ridiculous turning back of the clock an hour).  A sparkling clean refrigerator filled with great selections, beauty for the eyes as well as the stomach.

The special reason?  You and your family are worth beautiful, lush, flavorful, savory food.  That’s it.  That’s the reason.  20171103_132657-1_resized

Today, I made some beautiful  Rosemary, Garlic Mushrooms.  I made a small veggie plate.  I 20171103_133321-1_resizedcaramelized a couple of onions.  I bought some amazingly wonderful “cheese” made from cashews.  I also roasted some beautiful walnuts.  20171103_132523-1_resized

That smell?  Oh, that is 8 gorgeous potatoes cut and roasting.  I wanted a big bowl piled with roasted potatoes with herbs sprinkled on top.  Ready for whoever might need a bite to eat sometime over the weekend.

Fill your refrigerator!

In this together, friends,

Here’s to our good health and wellness!

What’s in your refrigerator for the weekend?

Happy Friday!

 

 

 

more photos fewer words

20170415_152818_resizedI recently read where people want more pictures less writing on20170415_152703_resized blogs.

Really?  I wonder why that is?  Makes me a tad bit melancholy.  I want to write and share.  I love reading and catching a glimpse of other writers lives through their blogs.  It is a pleasure for me.

more photos fewer words20170415_152723-1_resized

Today, the words swirling in my brain are serious like Aluminum , Thiomersal and Magnesium.  I want to talk about those.  I want to study more and have an in-depth discussions.  I want to write about and learn more about and share.

For this time, I will share pictures.  Pictures from a brief walk between rain drops this past weekend.

 

 

 

it is well with my soul/sole

Three pair’s of sweet Mary Jane, black & scuffed church shoes were lined up.girls_shoes

Every single Saturday night, before bedtime, my sisters and I would place our shoes on a piece of newspaper directly in front of our father’s chair.

After we kissed him goodnight all three of us girls, scrubbed with slightly damp hair, dressed in our granny gowns, skipped, ran, pushed, raced, jostled our way to our bedrooms.  After which he would, I am sure, enjoy the calm & quiet and would polish our shoes. Sometimes, my mother’s high-heeled shoes were there as well.

I can still smell the polish.  I can still hear him.  I can still see him polishing shoes.  Now that I think about it, he polished a LOT of shoes.  He wore a suit to work every day which means he wore dress shoes daily.  Yes, he polished those as well.

It was what we/he did.

Sunday morning, after eating and getting dressed, we knew where our shoes were.  They were all lined up and turned around facing us.   Magically, they had no scuff marks, were spit spot clean and had been buffed to a shine.  So beautiful, I felt like I was putting on a brand new pair of shoes.well-with-my-soul

Lucky for me, military men seem to know how to shine shoes.  While it was certainly not one of the things I was looking for in a mate, it certainly is a perk.  I am equally certain, when he was 18 and polishing his Army boots for hours at a time, he was not thinking, “golly, this will sure come in handy when I have to polish my future wife’s shoes and boots”.

It works like this:  I bake some cookies or fresh bread, sew on a shirt button or iron a few of his dress shirts.  Then I  set my shoes, boots or sandals out.  Then I ask nicely & by the way, there are some molasses cookies for you on the counter20160907_145053-1_resized. …….as if by magic, scuff marks disappear, the edge is black again and it feels like I am slipping on a brand new pair of shined shoes.  It’s a beautiful dance, really.

side note:  I am pretty sure that Mr. Right’s First Sgt. didn’t offer fresh-baked cookies while the boot polishing was underway.  ha

Yesterday, I noticed my sneakers were looking a bit tired and in need of a little attention. So in honor of my ongoing, month of September, be kinder to myself, project……here is what I did.

Took out the laces & washed them. .  Next I used a damp, Mr. Clean “magic” eraser (read that as extremely crushed, ground up small bits of glass embedded in a white piece of material, shaped like a sponge ) on the rubber parts of the shoe.  Up next, I noticed the soft cushy insoles that I had put inside were looking rather, um…….unsightly.  Yes, I have a habit of going barefoot and then just slipping on my shoes and dashing off to the store.   No other way to describe it, the insoles were yucky looking.20160908_155447_resized

I took out the insoles, sprinkled baking soda inside the shoes and let them sit in the sunshine while I worked on the next step.

I chose a cute piece of scrap fabric, ironed on a piece of wonder under (makes fabric have a glue backing), traced the insole pattern, cut out and iron it on.

Tapped out the baking soda, re-laced and put my refreshed insoles back inside.

20160908_161158_resizedOh gosh, I am so dang tickled.  I love looking at my “brand new” sneakers!  No one really knows, except me, well and now you 😉

…and just like that, I got another star on the calendar.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

balancing happy junk

About 19 years ago, I think, I first walked into Archie McAfee’s in Seattle, Washington. The store at thatarchie-mcphee-20110428-112940 time……..made me car sick.  The floor was old, wooden and uneven and wonky and if I spent more than 20 minutes in there, I felt queasy. AND I LOVED it.  Our kids loved it.  Mr. Right loved that store.  It was a family affair.

http://archiemcpheeseattle.com/tour/

I am not a fan of shopping, but I gotta say, this store is fascinating, unique, quirky, weird and charming all rolled into one.  Spending time in that store makes me smile.   Every space on the ceiling and walls was covered with something.  Stapled here and there.  Nose shaped pencil sharpeners were stapled around the door jamb.  The window was surrounded by plastic, chattering teeth & bacon flavored toothpaste.

It is a place to find “finger feet”, Tesla socks, exploding pickle candy, boxing nun puppets and underpants gloves.

A few moves later, they got all fancy schmancy and moved to a brand new local.  New store.  New smell.  Clean.  Sigh.  It was my most disappointing trip to Archie’s.  It was neat and tidy.  Seriously, you could see the ceiling.  You walked easily over the brand new (even) waxed floor.  Rubber chickens all stacked neatly in a clean bin.  urgh.  Nothing funny about neat & tidy.

Good news, it has been a few years and the store is starting to junk out again.  Feels right.

20160616_202602-1 (1)This sort of explains my brand new sewing room.  Clean, neat, tidy, labeled bins for everything.  Now, I am not wishing for an uneven floor or finger monsters glued around the doorway.  It is just so orderly and organized.  Sure some organization is needed.

I am still deciding on a new light fixture.  I am 75% sure of my choice. 20160616_202124 Needs to simmer a few more weeks.  Oh, good news I did hang some prayer flags.

That made it feel more like a sewing room.

( For more about my prayer flags, skip back to another post and read about them there.)  I’ll wait, take your time.  No rush.     https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/the-color-of-healing/20160620_093431

Yesterday, while under the prayer flags, I sewed a beautiful new bib.20160620_153210-1

A friend is expecting grand number 4!!!!!  As I sewed, I prayed for the new parents, the grandparents and the new sweet little miss that will be having a birthday in August.

bit by bit……..the sewing room will get “junked out” and feel just right once again.

Life is certainly about balance.  Junked out with some rhyme & reason.

Here’s to that favorite comfortable “lived in” room in your home.

In this together, friends.

ps.  now where did I put those twinkle lights?