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.

book look

Spring has developed into glorious days of sunshine, here in our neck of the woods.  Each day I take my bike out onto the deck and pedal through the glowing sunshine and drink in oodles and oodles of natural,  healing vitamin D.

Some days I text and ride.  Yep, it is okay to chat with girlfriends while you are biking nowhere.  Pretty safe and four miles of biking goes by in a flash.

Other days, I take my book of the day out with me.

seven year switchYesterday and today, found me flipping the pages of Claire Cook’s book, Seven Year Switch.  It is quick, only 237 pages, fun, a bit silly and happy.  Believe it or not, no murders and no mystery.  Just a light-hearted, delightful story of love.  A feisty single mom trying to stitch together a future.  It sort of feels like a summer beach read.  You know, the kind of book you read on vacation?  Your mind doesn’t work hard, you are more easy-going and relaxed.  Just for fun and happy.

I would highly suggest you find it at your local library.  Well worth a look.

Hey, while you are inside the library, may I suggest a book by Michael Moss?  Salt Sugar and Fat.  Amazing book, filled cover to cover with information that will rock your world.  It will also lend itself to a healthier life for you and your family.sugar salt fat

 

What books are you currently reading?  Love to hear about your good finds.  Happy Reading, friend.

 

 

 

books on fire

The Nazi party burned books in big fires for several reasons. Among these were the needs to remove all un-German ideas from Germany.  Also, by removing such books they were able to eradicate independent thought, which posed a threat to Hitler as he desired people to blindly follow him, without question or opposition.  His main aim by burning books, he could indoctrinate youth and maintain it.   burning books

It has been brought to my attention that an elementary school in the Washington State public school system is very seriously considering doing away with their school library, next year.  Did you just gasp?  Did your heart skip a beat?  Did you get a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach? At this time, they are only getting between 20-30 new books a year in their library.  Most by donation.  This portion of our educational system is allowing our library systems to lag behind and ultimately fail.  

Last night I was made aware, in Los Angeles, California public school system, a group of 400 students were given iPod’s to eliminate the need for books.  The experiment lasted less than one hour before huge problems cropped up and it was chaos by day two.  Another school system nearby tried iPod’s in the class room and the iPod’s were to be kept in said class room for the students to read their assignments.  That experiment failed.

451Mr. Ray Bradbury, gave us some clues and ideas when it comes to books and electronic screens.  The time has come my friends, WE all need to re-read or READ the book Fahrenheit 451.  For every kid in your life, under your roof or not…………………it should be required reading.  Buy the book for a Christmas gift.  Buy the book for a “happy November 12th day”.  Spend your money, have them spend their own money, put it on the wish list.  Check it out of the library.  Every single person living in this country must read this book.  Please tell me that you have read this book?  Please tell me that your children have read this book?

This past weekend, I had the luxury of travelling to Portland, Oregon.  Girlfriend weekend away.  I won’t go into all glorious, happy details, as I am sure I will share bits and pieces here and there over the coming weeks.  Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.  One of the highlights of our planned trip was a field trip to Powell’s Books.  book store 7Yes, you read a that correctly.  My girlfriend drove a total of 8 hours to visit a book store.  Then drove 8 hours home with a huge bag of books.  That is how important books are to her.  As I type, I am wearing a brand new t-shirt.  We both went, explored, purchased and have already started reading some of our books and yes, we got the t-shirt!  Oh and because they were so delighted that we left so much of our money with them, they gave us each a “free” book bag!  WooHOO!

Since 1971, a bookstore that is a full city block & then some and four stories tall.  powells mapThe store is so big, they give you a map when you first enter!

I am grateful that I was well enough to travel.  I am grateful beyond imagine that I got to spend some days with my friend.  I can’t tell you how much Grace I was bathed in, just by laying on our beds giggling and talking like school girls.  Yep, we talked about boys, and kids, and food, and grandkids and investing and traveling and working and crafts and recipes and friends and yes, books.  We talked a lot about books.

When you are under the weather, you set goals.  When I am well, I am going to eat at the Space Needle.  When I am well, I am going to hike 2 miles.  When I am well, I am going to sew all day long in my sewing room.  Somehow in all the planning and plotting you forget to say…………….When I am well again, I am going to ride in the car, with my wonderful, intelligent friend and hang out in a book store for 3 hours and have the best time we have had in ages.

Travelling and hanging out  with well-educated, intelligent people bring out the best in me.  I have to be on my game.  Sharp.  I have to pay attention and be able to go joke to joke, sarcasm to sarcasm.  I have to be able to remember authors and book titles and share.  I have to use my brain.  I have to keep an open mind and listen to everything new I can learn.  I have to keep and open mind and hear their lessons and stories.  Then I have to be able to offer up the same to them.

I met this friend when I was 16 years old.  We have walked through fire, searing fire.  Burning coals.  We have celebrated good and cry for the ugly crap we have both had to endure.  If someone told me 35 years ago, today you meet a new friend, if you choose to continue this friendship you both will experience some of the toughest times you can ever imagine.  It will suck (made the kids say Hoover when growing up, as the word suck is so crass) sometimes.  It will be harder, uglier, tougher than you can fathom.  You can opt out now.  Just say, nice to meet you and move on………. I am guessing, I would have been way too curious.  Way too stubborn.  Sounds like a challenge?  I might have thought,  OR, this could be that one friendship that will turn to a diamond.  You will be heated with fire but oh the prize is so worth the heat.   Glad I didn’t get a choice.  Glad this gift was given to me freely.  I am grateful & thankful, that this diamond was given to me.

I can’t imagine my life without books.  I can’t imagine my life with out my friend.  We have earned every single letter in the word friendship. Just two sparkly, fancy, girls wandering through life/walking through fire/wandering through a book store.  I love that we will both fight and fight hard to keep books in schools and in the lives of our family.

I love the “book” we are writing.

Can’t wait to see what the next chapter will bring.

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a book worth a look

bookThat last turn of the page, the very end of the book………..the end.   Sometimes makes me sad.  Other times, I turn the blank page to see another blank page and wonder why they ended it as they did.  Apparently, they were only being paid for a certain amount of pages?  More often than not, I am a bit disappointed by celebrity cookbooks.  The book jacket is colorful and usually stunning, grabs my interest.  The movie star or VIP looks their absolute best.  A smile so welcoming…….you sort of feel like they personally are inviting you into their private, never before seen kitchen, will pour you a glass of something lovely and you two will cook together.   The last few years, before I plunk down some dollars, I try and check out the book first from the library.  I get a better feel for the book and the recipes.   Will I casually flip through never to pick up again?  Will the pages become crusty with bits of food and the spine broken from weighing down the open pages as I cook?  It is always a fine line between being head over heels in love (or not) with a star and chomping at the bit to see what they cook (if they can cook) and love.  By the way, I wonder if Mr. Johnny Depp has given any thought to penning a cook book?  I am sure there might be a few takers.

“The most important thing to take from “My Father’s Daughter” is the true pleasure we can derive from the thinking about, then the making of, and finally the enjoyment of eating good food together with people we care about.”book 2

I must say, I was really impressed with the knowledge, kindness and thoughtfully prepared meals put forth by Gwyneth Paltrow.  While I gingerly stepped into her world, I was put at ease immediately.  Short and sweet bits of family lore as well as trying to cook for her kids  & everyday life greet you on each page.  The variety of recipes are lovely and the ingredients seem simple yet carefully chosen to give you excellent results.  I found a feel of honesty and a real love for cooking for her family and friends.

It is a lovely thing to actually cook for and give that gift to my family and friends.  It is a heartfelt gift,  I envision, gather supplies, prepare, cook, arrange and then present.  This book gently reminds you of that wonderful feeling of gathering your family of 2 or 25 around the table and creating a moment in time.  No one else can capture that moment of goodness that just happens around a table.  Every single person privileged enough to gather around your family table will feel the love and goodness that has been put into a home cooked meal.

I love to cook.  I do not care for the clean up much.  We have a deal, I cook.  Mr. Right cleans up.  Works pretty well for us.  Quite often in our society, being at home, tending the home fires and having a lovely meal to set before a plum tuckered out family is not looked upon with value.

One of the reasons I adore this book.  Value is placed on cooking and enjoying the food together as a family.  I feel like I would fit in.

potato cakesHer crispy potato & garlic cake, page 193 will be gracing our table soon.  While the corn chowder will be simmering on our stove tomorrow…………tonight is page 165.  Fish Tacos with grilled Mahi Mahi will be the star attraction.

Grab your keys and hit the library.  Say GRACE and sit down to a wonderful, flavorful, impressive home cooked meal.  It will be so worth your time.

“The fondest memories are made gathered around the table.”

say Grace for: alligator pears

imagesCAF624DPI picked my first one a few years ago.  It was in California where 90% of the nation’s crop grows.  The great state of California has over 7,000 alligator pear groves. That is, pear shape, bumpy green skin………..aka  the avocado.   Hold onto the edge of your skirt Nelly, 1.6 Billion avocados were consumed in the United States in 2012.   A huge shout out to all the grove workers.  Every single 1.6 Billion with a B, alligator pears are picked by hand.  That my friend is a lot of hard, dirty, hot work to bring the lovely piece of fiber packed fruit to my table.  Not to mention the vitamin B6, C, E, potassium & magnesium.  Geesh, these beauties are amazing, creamy, and oh so good (except NOT to chickens, they are a NO NO).

I learned the words, alligator pear while reading a book by Jennifer L. Holm.  Newberry Honor Book, “Turtle in Paradise”.  Set in Key West,  (gorgeous by the way, spent a lovely 98* Thanksgiving there one year), Florida and the year is 1935 and jobs and money are scarce.  It is one of those books that you want to have a couple of kiddos to read aloud to.  It is very well written and moves along at a quick pace.  As you are reading, the author makes you believe you are sitting at a metal and wood school desk, doodling with your finger as your third grade teacher reads aloud to the entire class.  Throughout the 183 pages, you are somehow barefoot and running like a happy child discovering an unexpected world.  This book is so worth your time.  Hey, you know on the back of a book where it suggests the age range 8-12?  Disregard that, check out the book next time you are at your library.  Fall into the book and wiggle your toes in the goodness.  I highly recommend spending some of your summer reading on this book, yes, that good.

I happen to be one of those people who LOVE Breakfast for dinner.  I have no idea why.  Either you are or you aren’t. So you choose if you continue reading or you can skip out now and go paint your toenails a splashy, fun summer orangey (yes, that is a word) color, I am totally good with either.  Heck, I will never know if you finish reading this fascinating look at the amazing breakfast burritos made with alligator pears or not.  Your call.

Breakfast Burritos.  I ask you, you among us doesn’t like them?  Goofy, silly, weirdos that’s who.  No offense to you weirdos out there.  ha.    Instead of reinventing the burrito, I will share the site I visit and make my own version.  I use olive oil and whole wheat pastry flour and follow along. http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2012/03/homemade-tortillas/  They are heavenly and a treat.  They are worth the bit of small effort. tortilla However, if you want to buy some already made, no judgment at all, just get some and get them steamed and ready to fill.  Here’s the filling in our world:  use some fresh eggs and have your Mr. Right scramble them.  (BIG surprise to readers across the land, no surprise at all to my darling children……….I seem to have a little teeny, tiny bit of a problem cooking edible eggs)…okay so somehow, get someone you know to scramble you some eggs.  done.  Then start chopping.  You will need a bowl of chopped onions, and a bowl of chopped spinach, and a bowl of chopped tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, chives, go wild, use what you have, don’t forget some mushrooms and here’s where it gets luscious………..take a couple or four, of alligator pears and chop those lovelies up.  imagesCAF3CJEG Now, have someone help out the kitchen staff by setting a great table.  Yes, you need a center piece.  Makes it a lovely visual for the meal.  I cannot tell you how many meals, while the boys were growing up that our “center piece” was a Lego display with matchbox cars.  Very nice, thank you very much.  I myself tend to lean towards a beautiful fresh bouquet of Dahlias (no scent, gorgeous color, perfect for the table), or candles or I float flowers in a pretty crystal dish….you get the idea.  Or if you have a helper and they choose Legos or put together a really lovely Barbie display…..lucky you!  Never say no to help in the kitchen!

The beautiful part of the Breakfast Burrito is that everyone “builds their own”.  Make sure you have lots of extra napkins, this is one of those drippy, over the top, so worth the drippy running down your arm to your elbow kind of meals.  For the love of those field workers who have picked every single alligator pear by hand, Say Grace and take that first flavorful delicious bite.   Dinner conversation you ask?  How about discussing the current or recent book you have read?  Summer dinner just got a little sassy.

sweet, grateful reviews

The August 2013 edition of “National Geographic” magazine is stellar.  I can’t recommend it without enthusiasm spilling onto the screen.  (nope, I am not paid to say that.  Yes, we have an old-fashioned monthly subscription to pages and pages of incredible photographs & articles.)

The article about “the life of Lions” and “can they be saved” is remarkable.  The photographs are what we come to expect from such a quality magazine.  They will take your breath away.   You will feel grateful for you have your eyes on the Pride.  The photography is second to none.

painted elephantsThe article about the painted elephants of India is captivating.  I was smiling through all the photos.  They reminded me in a way, of the painted horses from Healing Hearts Ranch, 4th of July parade.   You can “hear” the love, respect and great devotion these people have for their pachyderms.  “Elephants once carried soldiers into battle.  Now grooms ride them in splendid wedding processions.”  The art work is stunning and will amaze you.  You will feel, grateful for the glimpse you have into this form of respect.

Then there is “the” article this month………….  SUGAR  (a not so sweet story).  Today is day 177 of no sugar for me.  Mr. Right has kindly jumped on the band wagon and done every single day with me.  To say that the numbers are shocking would be an extreme understatement.  Our country has gone coo coo for cocoa puffs!  It will take your breath away, and not in a good way.  Sort of like the air being sucked out of the room.  This is shameful.   We have a collective big problem and it is not good.  10,000 years ago in New Guinea, where sugarcane was domesticated, they had absolutely no idea of what would become of the healing elixir they cherished.   It is one of those articles that will either make you tear up and want to share the information with those you love and care about.  It will make you stop and think.  Or, it will make you bury your head further in the sand and pretend (with devastating results)  it is not effecting your family.

So, in an effort to get those kids reading this summer……………go out and buy a copy of the yellow edged familiar magazine.  On your trip to the library this week, sit down for a moment and read the articles.  Heck, just look at the pictures, they will make your day better.  If you buy this issue, read it and pass it along.  For heaven’s sake, please don’t “save” them for years and years.  Take it to your next medical appointment and leave it in the waiting room for the next person.  Send one in the mail to someone.  Share the love, people!

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GT0201H_grilled-peaches-with-cinnamon-sugar-butter_s4x3_lgLast night for dessert, we hit a home run!  Fresh “Peach Pie” peaches, grilled to perfection.  Sprinkled with the slightest amount of cinnamon.  The tang and sweet just melted in our mouths.  It was a texture thing.  Oh good heavens, sassy and tender, flavor bursting juices dripping out. A jaunty piece of fresh picked mint leaves added a pop of green color in the dessert bowl.  Some say to partner those grilled lovelies with some vanilla ice cream.  I am sure that would be a treat for some, I chose to drizzle a bit of caramel sauce over the entire bowl of goodness.  The Caramel sauce is made with agave syrup and rice syrup and pectin…….   carmel sauceYes!  I can have it.  You see folks, caramel was the thing I have actually had a couple melt downs in the actual grocery store over.  I love caramel sauce.  LOVE it.  I want it.  I crave it.  I haven’t had it since January.  I miss it.  Oh, I need it bad!  Do you think someone has a “problem”?  Um, YES!  The moment I found and tried this glorious sauce, I was misty eyed.  I can go on with my life.  Just knowing it is in the refrigerator, makes my life okay.  I know it all sounds so dramatic.  Just imagine, having every single thing that you thought brought you pleasure taken away in one swoop?  Just having this creamy, thick, luscious, dark golden sauce sneak back into my life……………well……………………..I am one grateful,  happy camper.  (translated that means, I am a nicer wife, a sweeter mom, a better friend, a more considerate neighbor, a more cheerful pet owner…..and on and on the list goes)  Yes, all because of caramel sauce that I can have!  Who knew ?

I am so over the top grateful for finding goodness in today, Thursday.  Day 177 of no sugar.  Day 177 of focusing and working (yes, it is hard work) on wellness and healing.  Day 177 of finding great joy in photography and pure sweet life.imagesCAETEK9T

no to dog ears & no to gross cookies

imagesCA8YUX3QWe still have a week to go before summer “officially” greets us.  Book one of my summer reads, “The Geometry of Sisters” by Luanne Rice is already back at the library.  I love summer reads.  Fun, fast paced, easy reads, intriguing, they just plain ol’ tickle your fancy.

Summer book number two, “Whiskey Beach” by Nora Roberts.  It has 484 pages and I can already tell I am going to be grumpy when I reach the last page.  This book has murder, old money, the beach, family, budding romance………….a real page turner.  I am loving the escape.  I can open the book and within a paragraph or two, I can completely forget that the “real” world exists.

One of the things I am doing this summer………..sort of like a Summer Resolution:  I am going to exercise my brain power.  You read that correctly, I am going to start to heal part of my brain that has been a bit mushy lately.  No, not by reading silly.  That would be goofy.  haha.  To hold my place,  I am NOT using a book marker, a polka dot ribbon, the receipt from the library and I am NOT going to dog ear any of the pages.  When I am done reading for the day, I look at the page number.  I associate it with something I can remember and I make a point to memorize it.  Next time I sit down to open the book, I think back and remember the page number I was on.  See, brain exercises!  Good for positive brain power.  All summer long, making the old noggin work up a sweat.  ha

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Who are the people in focus groups who    a. agree to try bizarre food inventions?   b. why do the inventors of fake food think adding artificial colors would be a plus? c.  why would anyone rather eat a fake, chemical invention shaped like a “cookie” than the real deal? Son number two, saw these in a California grocery story last night.  He assured me that he did not purchase those.  He however, did not say that he passed up the Oreo section all together.  baby steps, buddy, baby steps.

I am thankful for libraries, smart kids, fresh watermelon, summer days and the anticipation of a great massage.  Happy Friday everyone!

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