summer reads

20170713_085830-1_resizedI am on my third check out of Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison.  No, not renewal, actual go to the library and check out the book again.

Do you do the same?  Do you review, thumb through, try a 20170713_091025-1_resizedrecipe or two and start to decide on how many stars you will be giving a book?

I happen to have a tendency to collect, buy, wish for, way, way too many cookbooks. Getting in the habit of checking them out first, before I buy has been a delightful option. So, last night, I dashed to the library and checked this beauty out once again.  Third time’s a charm.  I am buying this book of hers for my own.  Side note, I love it when I see that box from Amazon on my doorstep.  A little shiver goes up my spine.

Deborah Madison is a tremendous author and founding chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.  We had the insight and good fortune of planning for and indulging in one of the most memorable meals of our lives at that glorious restaurant.    May I gently suggest you jot it down on your bucket list?  That meal, that view, that moment in time was honestly, one of the best of our lives.  

So today, I have some raspberries calling my name.  My crystal balls tells me there is a tart in the dreaming stage.  By tonight it will grace our table.

In the summer months, most days, I forgo the hour study on health and wellness in the morning and spend my morning, afternoon sitting in the sunshine and evening reading times with glorious summer reads.  Steamy, action packed, romance, mystery,  cookbooks, travel, adventure, can’t put down kind of books.

20170712_205630_resizedAs I have previously written about, I have only (so far) lost one book in the bubbling, swirling, frothy bath.  (yes, you can laugh).  I try to be much more careful.  Somehow magically, time flies and my cares & worries take a back seat, while I indulge in an excellent summer read. Before the water turned cold for the third time, I managed to zip through 145 pages of the latest Stuart Woods book,  Indecent Exposure.20170712_210015-1_resized

Summer time reading is where I get to indulge like a school girl free to read what she stumbles upon.  Pure entertainment to allow my mind skip and tumble and dance for fun.

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts is a 466-page turner that you will finish on a long20170712_081059_resized weekend.  Horses, high-end resort, intrigue, mystery,, sadness and romance……all rolled together easily transport you to a family in Montana and that beautiful big sky country.

Bread baking has tickled my fancy yet again.  I love to bake bread.  I go through phases where it is not on my “to-do” list all the time.  That yeasty smell has drawn me in again and I have purchased a few new books.

20170711_070636-1_resized_1We had the insight and good fortune to visit Ken Forkish’s bakery while visiting Portland, Oregon.  I have had his books on my wish list since the very moment I bit into the most heavenly piece of bread I have tasted in ages.  Before I even swallowed that first bite, I knew in my heart, I had to learn everything I could from this genius baker.  He has some quick videos on YouTube to help with the techniques which has made the baking so smooth.  Money well spent on these two beauties.

Not a book, however, one of the best documentaries we have watched in a long time was “What the Health” free on Netflix.  I would love, love, love to discuss this with anyone.  However, I am fully aware that it is not everyone’s cup of tea.  I just needed to share it, in case you were looking to improve your or your loved one’s health.  There.  Now, I shared, so I don’t have to worry and fret that I forgot to tell you.  Well worth your time to watch.

As the middle of July is knocking on the door, there is still plenty time to indulge in summer reads.

I know it is not a passion of some folks.  Just thought I would share some suggestions in the hopes that you will share what you are reading.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.



gentle reminder

Remember a couple of days ago?  We talked about being kind to yourself? Filling up your pitcher so you had plenty to share with others. How ya doing with that?  We are on day 7 of the month.  So you should have 7 things to share that you have done to be kind to yourself. We each should have 7 stars on our calendars.

One reader wrote and was going to try to carve out 5 minutes of alone time per day. One person wrote and shared they were going to make an effort to read for pleasure each day.

20160905_160416-2_resized_2So far, one day, I painted my toenails.  On another day, I went bike riding.  One day, I took a 2 hour bubble bath. Next day, I harvested all our glorious potatoes!  A different day, I spent time reading my latest quilt magazine.

I am trying to walk the walk.  Not just talk about it.  Love to hear that you are taking care of your heart and soul.  You are important and so worth the thoughtful treatment.    By the end of the month, just think how much we all will have to share?

Yesterday, I spent $7.37.  I bought fabric.  I came home and sewed pillow covers.  I slipped them on and turned the front porch from summer colors to autumn in less than 45 minutes.

In this together friends, here’s to filling our pitchers with pure goodness!

Chat soon.



Bath sachets

I made 10 of these today.  Can you tell, I am filling up my gift giving supply?  I like to have a few baskets of goodies to “shop” from. Last week was the Fancy Fizzies today, little bath sachets.  They are little bags filled to the brim with all sorts of pure goodness.  Oh, and I made a couple for myself as well.

20150514_125137“Several minutes before getting into the tub, swish one of these little beauties around in the hot bath water to scent it and the bathroom with heavenly fragrance.  Afterward, hang the bag from the faucet until next time.  Each sachet is good for several baths.”20150514_134219

I learned how to make these little lovelies from a book that was given to me back in the 80’s. (still has the birthday card taped in the back.)   Sometimes, you receive a gift and use it over and over and over and over.  It is a well-loved book.  I have learned so much from its pages.

for each muslin bag (30 cents you need: 20150514_123135

1 ounce of rolled oats

1/2 ounce dried lemon peel

1/2 ounce dried orange peel

4 bay leaves

2 heaping Tablespoons of dried lavender

2 heaping Tablespoons of dried Rosemary

The recipe calls for dried rose petals.  Oppsie, I forgot those this time.

20150514_124415Divide the ingredients among the bags.  Draw the string closed, tie in a knot, add a charming tag and you are ready to give as a gift.

The aroma is divine.  It washes over you as you are filling them.  The encouragement to take a lovely bath envelopes you in a sort of magical tug. Somehow, filling the sachets makes me happy.  I know exactly what is going in them.  I want to make a thoughtful gift using high quality ingredients to give to my family and friends.

It is a super easy and lovely gift to make.  You can most certainly dehydrate the peels yourself.  Of course you can grow and dry your own lavender and rosemary.  However, if you can’t, just stop by a shop with bulk foods.  Enough rosemary for 10 bags came to 41 cents.  So this project can be reasonably priced as well as lovely.

Soak your troubles away. 

flirty fancy fizzies

20150508_115702We have all spent oodles of money in lotions & potions shops with shelves covering walls and wooden counters laden with lush bath bombs, slabs of colors and scents.  Baskets overflowing with glitter infused chunks of girlie potions catch our eyes.  Dried herbs and bits of flowers are sticking out of rectangles and squares and glitter is somehow “magically” pressed into the secret potions. Sparkles dance in the light and remind us of sprinkles on the tops of lush cupcakes and confections.  Just being in the shop our senses are overwhelmed.  We all come with a fist full of dollars ready to trade & be enveloped in colors and scents and the feeling of glitz and glamour.   We all end up buying two or three to satiate the craving to buy something beautiful with the hope of a luxurious bath to come.  Sometimes, we don’t remember to buy for ourselves, instead we purchase two flower shapes with sparkles & glitter frosting the petals, with the thought of giving to a friend whose spirit needs lifting.

In real life, when you choose to give up chemicals, in the world of girlie products, that means you no longer can buy or bathe in lotions and potions that are harmful to your skin and well-being.   While you can find a treat here or there, most contain harmful chemicals that are on the “glamour don’t” list.

We can still have great music and spotless spa like bathrooms to indulge our spirits.  We can find amazing beeswax candles to set the mood.  Where do we find flirty fancy fizzies that make us feel all girlie and sweet?

We make them, silly!

Healthy girls can have Flirty Fancy Fizzies with sparkles and scents and dried bits of flower petals. Oh yes we can!  We can make as many as we want and then some.  We can stack a cake plate to overflowing with colors and scents.  We can fill big chunky glass jars with snowballs glistening with glitter and crystals. We can tie two or three with wide satin purple ribbons, much too long for their clear crinkle bags.  We can have stacks and stacks ready to give away and share.

Just because you choose not to use harsh chemicals to bathe in, doesn’t mean you must have plain, boring, dull baths.

Let’s put on our gloves (yes please, buy a pair of latex gloves that you will keep just for this craft project).  Speaking as a girl who tried to make these once without the gloves…..who knew we each had teeny tiny cuts or booboos on our hands that once citric acid was dusted over created a situation that was not pleasant?  OUCHIE.  BUY the gloves.  Seriously.

You will need a pair of gloves (think dollar store), citric acid, baking soda, essential oils, dried herbs or flowers, sprinkles and cosmetic glitter, Witch Hazel (sprayer bottle) and molds to make your creation (soap, candy or even small muffin tins)  or remember no mold needed when you make the “snowball” shape.

Before I go any further, I have a favorite supply store where I buy all sorts of goodies to make these beauties. They are located in Seattle and also have an excellent online ordering service.

20150507_114956If you are using a mold (remember a mold can be your cupcake pan already in your 20150507_120922kitchen), now is the time to sprinkle in some fancy.  Fancy sprinkles, edible glitter or crystals, dried herbs or flowers.  Sprinkle in before you fill the mold.  This will be the top of your flirty fancy fizzie.  Use your imagination, go big, go FANCY and be creative.  Have fun.  No wrong way to do this.

Mix 1 part citric acid and 2 1/4 parts baking soda.  Add a few drops of essential oil.  Add a few drops of food dye if desired. This is where I usually add 1 teaspoon of cosmetic glitter.  Oh, I love that stuff.  swoon.

Now, with gloves on, spray 20-30 spritz of Witch Hazel.  Mix with hands.  Repeat 3 or 4 more times, 20-30 spritz each time. Mix again with hands.   When mixture starts to stick together, pack firmly into molds.  Use your muscles!  Let set 5-10 minutes.  Remove from molds and let dry on a rack for 24 hours.  20150508_113548

20150508_115702Add a little tag to your creations if you are giving them as gifts.

 One flirty fancy fizzie per bath of pure goodness!

This week I made a couple different “flavors”.20150508_115709

I got sassy with Lemon  and Mint essential oils and I used gold glitter and little bits of fresh mint and I added a touch of soft yellow.

Cranberry and  Mint essential oils danced with pink heart sprinkles and crystals and glitter.

Lemon and Mint again, this time with cupcake sprinkles and dots of goodness.

Then I used some lavender essential oil and I made lavender with bits of dried lavender (that I grew) and added a touch of sugar crystals to the top.

A friend asked if I would share this recipe and teach her how to make these beauties.

20150508_115717In this together Miss Jessica, here’s to our health and wellness!

May all your baths be candle lit, music filled and dreamy.

We are so worth it.