bath, book review, books, flourish, summer, summer reading

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.

reading

 

books, gift giving, gifts, good karma, Uncategorized

staff of life

This day is full of bluster.  Wind gusts that take your breath away.  Rain pouring so hard it blocks the light of noon day.  It is a loud day.  I can hear trees and bushes brushing the side of the house.

Instead of fighting it and complaining, I decided to lean into it.  I have on warm socks and a sweater.  I made a huge cup of strong, dark, rich coffee and stirred in a spoonful of homemade caramel sauce.  I turned on the twinkle lights and flipped the switch on all the battery operated candles.   I even whipped up a mixture for the diffuser (spruce, cinnamon and orange).  Smells like winter.

Perfect day to talk about bread.  artisan bread

About 4 1/2 years ago I bought this book.  I got the supplies needed.  Then I didn’t do it. Life somehow got mixed up in MY plans and the road detoured for a bit.

I have baked many, many, oodles really,  loaves of bread in my life time.  I wanted to try my hand at Artisan Bread.

Why on earth did I wait so long?

You know that moment when you are in an upscale restaurant and they serve a slice of bread with holes and has a really good flavor and “chew” to it?  The chef simply kisses the bread with a little fire and somehow elevates everything that is served near, beside or atop it.  Yeah, that bread.

I wanted/want to learn to make that perfect texture, great color, haphazard slices swiped into the top, smell of heaven on earth, mouth-watering looking and tasting staff of life.  This is my first loaf!!!  Seriously folks, this is what baking is about.   Man alive, I wish your screen was scratch n sniff.   This is the real deal.  Oh, sweet mawma!

20170510_163953-1_resized

“In the history of art there are periods when bread seems so beautiful that it nearly gets into museums.”
Janet Flanner, Paris Was Yesterday, 1925-1939

 

Once you mix the dough and let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or two or fourteen……..it takes HONESTLY 5 minutes to form it then you step away and allow it to do its thing.

I love the feel of the proofing cloth.  I love swirling the flour around with my hands.

The original recipe makes enough for four loaves.  I started with two.  It was easy peasy to divide.

Once I practice a bit more, we will share loaves with our friends and neighbors.  You can make a smaller loaf for a single friend or couple.  You can make a more generous size for a larger family.  As well as still making an amazing loaf for you and your spouse. 20170510_172200-1_resized

Baking a loaf of bread by spending 5 minutes.  What a lovely way to speak to your husband.  Yes, Mr. Right means that much to me.  I smiled to myself, the moment he walked in that back door.  His words,  “yum, smells like fresh-baked bread”.

That is why I bake bread.

That and the fact that it makes awesome toast.20170511_101744-1_resized

Gentle suggestion and nudge.  Buy the book.  Learn something new. Spend 5 minutes on making something for someone else.  You will be so proud of yourself.  Your family will be smitten with your new hobby.

Feeding yourself, family and friends fresh bread.  Nothing feels more right.

Imagine yourself, offering a loaf of fresh-baked bread to your neighbor or your co-worker expecting a new baby.  Yes, it feels that good and more.

In this together friends,

ps.  If you stop by, I promise to share a slice or at least get a loaf baking so you can take it home with you.

 

book review, books, haPPY, library, Uncategorized

what are you reading?

20170327_084223-1_resized7 or 8  years ago, I had somehow managed to work up the courage, thought I could do it, jumped in before I really thought it through, started a book club on-line.

The premise was pretty simple.  I would choose, sift through (everyone offered up suggestions, many genres) a book, once a month.  I would via e-mail, announce the new title to the 25 -30 folks that I arm-twisted to join me.

We all had 4 weeks to get the book from the library, purchase or borrow, read the book and then write a few sentences about our thoughts on the book/author.  I would compile everyone’s thoughts and share them all at once.  For about a week, we would have a “discussion” via email.  Then on to the next book.

Near the end, a very slim, scraggly group of us hung on. The book club lasted about 3 years.

My thought was, folks wanted to read and share thoughts. Many of us did not want to get dressed up, go to book club, bring a snack or mingle at the dreaded potluck, make polite conversation, politely decline yet another glass of white wine, make small talk about some ridiculous hot new movie or hear someone talk poorly about their spouse.

I wanted to talk about books.  That is all.  Just get to the meat of the matter and jump in with a glorious swish to the next new book.

Gosh, everyone had excuses.  More excuses than a 4th grade teacher collects on why homework isn’t done.  My all time favorite excuse of course….” I was too busy”  Which I started to understand as, “I didn’t want to do it and saying I was too busy sounded better”.

News Flash!  Saying I am too busy is just a twisted way of saying,

“I am a poor manager of my time.”

I got plum tuckered out, trying to be a cheerleader and chant….

“oh, this book will enrich your life”

“you’ll love the adventure”

“this book is worth your time”

“I learned so much, you will, too”

book 2Why can children/teens tell us about an entire television show they watched, but are less eager to share about a book they have just finished?

When Mr. Right interviews folks for a new job, one of the questions he asks is, “what book are you reading?”  He is always looking for a new book to read, so I am guessing he just wants to ask something he is interested in hearing about and of course, “what book you are reading” tells a whole lot about a person.

If the average American family who typically spends $125.00 per month on television/cable were to all of a sudden, stop all television for one year……well, you don’t need a book on math to know, that’s a whole lot of moolah to spend on books.

The last mileJust last night, I finished David Baldacci’s book, The Last Mile.  To say, he is an extremely good writer, is to understate his ability.  Like a dog with a new chew toy, he captures your imagination in the first chapter and doesn’t let go. Moments, during the day, while I was folding laundry or rebounding, I found myself wondering what Amos or Melvin were doing.  Yes, the characters are so real, it’s baffling.

I am in the thick of reading, Thomas Keller’s, Bouchon.  The sheer act of turning those overly large pages, somehow, makes me want to take more time and become a better bouchonbaker.  I want to serve Mr. Right, the perfect cookie.  I want to make less and yet at the same time, put more heart and soul into the few loaves of bread I do bake a month.  That man, heard his calling and followed.  Inspirational.

Of course with Spring upon us, I am toying with gardening books, methods, ideas.  Trying to find a book that will inspire me and somehow help me become a more satisfied gardener.

As I do five days a week, I read for one hour this morning.  Learning, researching, trying to educate myself. Today’s topic was Rosemary and how it helps our brains repair and function better.  I also learned more about keeping fluoride as far away from our beings as possible and I did 15 minutes of more essential oil reading.

While I am not persuaded to read a book because the back book jacket says a famous actor enjoyed the book, I am curious to read what my friends and family are reading.  While there are only a couple of genres I make little to no time for, my interest is quite often piqued just enough, that I will most likely give a variety of books a chance.book

Here’s to a wonderful week ahead.  Just think of all the glorious pages we will read?

In this together, friends.

Love to hear what you are reading.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

books, calm, grateful, library, Uncategorized

what’cha reading?

While growing up, we had this tall playhouse tower in the backyard.  Once you climbed the ladder, you ducked your head and then could stand up.  Just being inside the tower the outdoor noise was dulled.  It was cooler than in the bright sunlight.  It was also calm.  Sometimes, my sisters and I would take our lunch up there.  Other times, we would take books or Sixteen magazine and lay on blankets and do nothing but read.

My 56-year-old cousin, had a tree house built-in their back yard.  Yes, a real grown up tree house!  Shelves for books, a trunk to tuck blankets and pillows in.  Windows.  Twinkle lights, of course there are twinkle lights.  Sometimes, summer weather allows for them to sleep outdoors in the tree house.  It was a dream of hers, always.  To have a tree house.  You climb up the stairs and once inside, the outdoor world is muffled.  You take a huge cleansing breath and feel the calm and peace. There are ridiculously cool pieces of art hung here and there.  Their initials are carved into a piece of the wood.  Being there makes you want a tree house.  She says she needs the tree house to regroup now and then.

Moving is a wild ride.  All sorts of thoughts and ideas are swirling in your brain.  You feel guilty if you are not working on a project.  We are desperately trying to make it feel like “home”.   So many things to do and work on.  It is all tumbling around you.  You just need a moment to breathe or regroup.

puyallup-library_sizedThis past weekend we made time to go to our new library.  As we walked up to the front door, the clock tower was chiming, the Farmer’s Market was in full swing, the playground equipment was crawling with short people squealing and giggling, I heard a siren nearby.  Mr. Right held open the door, as I carried an empty library book bag, I thanked him and walked in.  We were greeted with Calm,  Quiet,  Peace,  Cool,  Excellent lighting, That perfect smell of books, Friendly faces.

First order of business; brand new library cards.  Sort of like a golden ticket.  FREE books and lectures and magazines galore….just by holding one of those magical and powerful tickets.20160416_143846

Two glorious stories of shelves after shelves of the unexplored.  Beautiful architecture thoughtfully designed to hold enormous amounts of books.

There is a beautiful bridge on the second floor. Yes, a real bridge.  You can see down to the children’s area on the first floor.   It feels like you are walking into an area of calm and peace.  There is a fireplace nearby where the periodicals are kept.  Feels sort of like ….a tree house.

As we wandered,  pieces of art caught our eye. Stunning, take your breath away beauties. Library lighting and amazing windows.  Desk and tables here and there.  Lots of thoughtful places to sit, cozy up, and read.

Somehow they have blended state of the art technology with the old familiar feel of wooden tables and low table lamps.

Feels like the perfect tree house.  The perfect place to center yourself and regroup.

As my boyfriend carried my overflowing book bag out the door, I heard the clock tower chime again.

An hour had slipped by. We walked out into the world again after being bathed in the peace and calm and wonder only a library can offer.  We stood taller.  We somehow felt ready to hear all the sights and sounds of the town.  We had re-grouped and our spirits were buoyed once more.

 

Extremely Grateful for such a beautiful library in our new town, we headed home to find the perfect spot in our own library to stack our books of the week.20160416_175348 (1)

In this together, I would love to hear/share what books are on your night stand.

 

 

 

books, library, lie, mom's soap box

the $50.00 lie

I lied.

I am not exactly sure why on earth I chose to lie.

But, I did.

Yep, a big fat juicy lie.

A WHOOPER.

For some reason, I lied and then I started to believe it.

Who was it who said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”   Oh that’s right, Adolf Hitler.

Geesh, not very good company.

Here are my excuses:  I was busy.  I was homeschooling two young boys.  I was volunteering.  I was involved in this and that.  We had a dog and house to tend to.  I was selling Discovery Toys.  We belonged to a home school group that met once a week.  We did a field trip every other week.  The boys attended a church program on Wednesdays.  Sunday was always church.  The boys had golf lessons.  The boys had tennis lessons.  The boys had 4-H.  the boys had t-ball.   Thursdays were library days.

Yes, library days.  Each boy was only allowed ten books a week from each library.  We went to two.  So that meant, 20 books per boy, per week.  Each had their own library book bag (that they sewed themselves as a home school math and sewing lesson, sure).  Each had a pocket in the book bag for their very own library card.

When our youngest was 4 years old, he was asked to do a PSA television commercial, encouraging other kids to sign up for a library card.  He did a really good job and was given a brand new book as payment.  corduroy the bear

We were trying to teach responsibility.  Treat all books with respect.  Never write in a borrowed book.  Always use a book marker, never dog ear the pages.  Always return books promptly and on time.  Never, ever loose your library card.

50billHere it comes:  I said, “to replace a lost library card, the library system charges a fee of $50.00”.  That is a LOT of lawn mowing to pay for a new library card.

They never, ever lost their cards.  In all the years of library trips, we only paid a fine once.

We moved state to state, to different country and back to the states again.  Each time, checking out the library system and getting books weekly.

We have lived here in this state for 20 years.  Even though we are empty nesters, we still visit the library on a weekly basis. While we have to pay way more fines then we ever did before, haha, we take very good care of the books we check out. Before the kindle days, we had been known to travel on vacation with our book and bring it back in a timely fashion in excellent condition.  We have never, ever lost our library cards.

Until this week.

One came up missing.  (oh, we have seriously looked and looked and looked)

side note:  We have been waiting in line to check out a certain book.  We have waited a few months.  If you don’t pick it up within 7 days it goes to the next person.   We were notified that it was now available for us to check out.  We wanted that book.

Well, we have gone 30 some years and never had to replace a library card.  I guess it was time to pay the piper.  We want to keep checking out books, weekly.  We both really, really wanted to read the book that finely came in.

We both decided that $50.00 was a fair price for all the books we check out.

Last night, Mr. Right, walked, not with his usual pep in his step, into our local library.  Explained the situation.  Got out his wallet to pay the $50.00.

The librarian said, here is your choice of pictures for your new card.  He chose Chamber’s Bay Golf course picture.

He said, what does it cost for the replacement?

She said, nothing.  Library & replacement cards are FREE. library card

What?

Um, I think I owe both our boys an apology.  I think as a busy mom, grasping at everything I could to teach responsibility and good behavior and respect……….I “may” have invented the fee of $50.00 to replace a library card.  I “may” have repeated it 2,000 times over the span of 30 plus years.

I am very sorry for lying.  Gee, I hope you haven’t been scared for life because of this.  If you want, I will gladly sew you each a new library book bag as restitution.

Okay, I think I have some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fabric in here somewhere…..

books, haPPY, sewing

grab the old ladies

pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone goes………...’cause everyone knows”  

……..take my hand……………….Hallelujah………..Hallelujah…………………. 

(I will pause here, to allow you, my followers to put on some Neil Diamond.  I like to listen to it loud. smiling.  However, I am sure you have your own way of “getting down” to the beat.  ha)

Similar to the masses, gathering up supplies, people and moving towards, “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”, I sure wish there would be the same interest in the library.

You heard me.  I wish that libraries and books generated as much enthusiasm as a “get saved” show.

Oh, I know not nearly as magnetic, or popular.  No where near as loud. No gospel beat, pounding in the background.

Can you find salvation at the library?  You bet.

Can you find books about good gospel music and Neil Diamond?  Yes, again.

Can you find books about quilting or dogs or healing naturally?  Make that a big fat, yes!

Reach out your hand…………….walk with me this day………….

20150417_090954Yesterday, I reached my limit.  Yes, I did.   Goodbye old, boring, serviceable black, sturdy library book bag, we got as a free sample. 20150421_190820

Hello Hotness!  Oh my, you have flare and style.  I believe they call that charisma! 20150421_164231

I had ordered amazing, jaunty elephant material.  Soft and stable by Annie’s for the strength and stabilizer for between the outer fabric and fabulous teal lining.  I used a piece of stunning braid I found in  Alabama.  I wanted to sew all the good karma and goodness I could into this one bag.

I warmed up the sewing machine and turned up the music.

 …………..starting soft and slow………….like a small earthquake………………. and once I get into my groove and I let go and let the machine fly ……………………………half the valley shakes.

Brand new, freshly sewn, with the perfect pocket for library cards.  Padded handles and reinforced seams to hold the weight of all those good books.

Pack up the babies IMG_9312and grab the old ladies……………………. I read that as grand kids are reading, grandma’s are reading…………20150422_072359

All the cool kids are reading.

Honestly, I want a huge stampede to the ragged tent, I mean the brand new, brick and mortar building.  Grab a book or two or ten.

A new Library book bag!

Can I get a Hallelujah?

book review, books, good behavior, good manners, grace, grateful, great marriage secrets, haPPY

rules

Within a year of being a newly wed, we moved from one side of the country to the other.   From Washington state to North Carolina.  To say it was a drastic change would be the understatement of the year.

New life, new baby, new husband, new roads to learn, new stores to learn……….and no friends, no mom, no mother in law, no funny Aunt’s living near by.  Back in the dark ages, no computers, no cell phones, basically no contact.  To make a phone call was extremely expensive and you had to wait until the weekend or after certain times.

We were alone.  period.  Two young kids and a baby.  Culture shock is the perfect way to describe it.

Rules of being newly married, um?  I was clueless.  Honest.  In no way am I putting myself down.  I just didn’t have a clue.  I was the person that could barely remember “my turn” to clean the bathroom once a week while in college.  I kind of don’t even remember if we had a vacuum?

Back in the day, we stumbled upon a little book, not too expensive, and was a whole lot easier to read and remember than a 5 pound Emily Post Etiquette book I had.

I needed help.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I left home with oodles of knowledge.  How to set a table for a formal tea.  How to send a proper thank you note, sympathy note (what color ink to use), what to say in a get well card and house-warming card.  How to send a proper invitation to a dinner party.  How to set the table with good china and crystal.  What to wear to a funeral.  When to wear gloves or not to wear gloves to any occasion.  The proper title and how to address any envelope.  I know the proper direction to pass food at a dining room table.   The proper shoes to wear with the proper purse.   If you had an etiquette or good manners question, I had the proper answer.

By all means, good manners have gotten me through many a situations.  I lived in a very structured and proper world.

Real life, um, not so much.  I needed, I craved a list of rules.  What to do, how to do it.  I just wanted a list that would help me live my life.   Yes, I had/have several etiquette books, we have several Bibles, Mr. Right had volumes of books on proper behavior for an Army guy.  Heck, we even had a copy of Dr. Spock’s book on how to raise a child.

Big thick books that really are a bit overwhelming at times.

I/we needed help.  Fast, quick, black & white rules to live by.

Oh yes, I came armed with oodles of etiquette and proper behavior knowledge.   I just didn’t know about “life rules”.

20150129_084948The book that helped us over the rough spots was written by a Dad .

H. Jackson Brown Jr.  is the author and his son Adam was leaving home for his freshman year in college.   He wrote the book for his son.  He wanted to send him off into the world with a little help.

It is really a collection of advise, rules, observations and reminders on how to live a happy and rewarding life.  They totaled 511.

Our book’s spine is broken.  That is how much we used it.

Learn CPR.

Keep a tight rein on your temper.

Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

Over tip breakfast waitresses.

Give thanks before every meal.

Take a brisk 30 minutes walk each day.

Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.

Plant flowers every spring.

NEVER criticize the person who signs your paycheck.  If you are unhappy with your job, resign.

Every day look for some small way to improve your marriage.

Lie on your back and look at the stars.

Give yourself a year and read the Bible cover to cover.

Learn your representatives in Washington DC.

Let your children overhear you saying complementary things about them to other adults.

Learn 3 clean jokes.

Don’t postpone joy.

Plant a tree on your birthday.

Be forgiving of yourself and others.

The list goes on and on.

You would be amazed at how many of the 511 things we do every single day of our lives.  They were/are our rules.  We read them and we memorized them and we put them into practice.

Give little surprise  WRAPPED gifts to your spouse for no apparent reason.  Not a birthday, or anniversary, just because.  Make sure you take the time to wrap them.

20150128_135710Last night when Mr. Right pulled out his chair to sit down to dinner, there was a wrapped surprise gift just for him.