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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

healing, health, Uncategorized

ouch

Drats, that stung.  I just scraped the underside of my wrist while fluffing and puffing the chicken coop.  (doesn’t fluffing and puffing sounds so much nicer than mucking out the straw & changing out the bedding?)

Okay, so the scrap (not bad, just annoying) is under my wrist exactly where my watch sits.

First clean it out, then put some ointment on.  Grab the first aid cream with nary a second thought.

Here’s a thought….

While going through your home and replacing healthier versions of food and lotions and potions……..you might forget about one little ointment that you purchase once a year (yes, there is an expiration date), unless you have pre-teen boys…..then you go through first aid ointment like fresh-baked loaves of bread.

We all have Neosporin in our first aid kits.  We use it every time we need to use a band-aid. 20170323_074132-1_resized_1
Here is my “duh” moment.  We work diligently to remove all chemicals and artificial antibiotics from our family life.  We buy organic vegetables and fruits when we can afford it.  I have eliminated 95% of all chemicals in the make up and potions that I use on a daily basis.

Yet, somehow, a cream that I am willing to put on a small scrape or burn, I didn’t do the research.  Really?

I won’t go into the research, techno babble and the very serious topic of antibiotic resistance…………you have Google at your fingertips, so please dig in.

This is just me saying, I found an exceptional product that works and doesn’t cause more harm than health.  If you can’t find it at your local health store, amazon.com does indeed carry it.  Just sharing a product that works.  No, I was not paid to tell you about this.  20170323_074152-1_resized (1)

This is the first aid cream I would be willing to use on my grandchildren, dog and the rest of the family.

Here’s to our health and wellness!

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

cooking, grandchildren, recipe, Uncategorized

ribbit ribbit

In so much as we say we will indulge our grands with anything they want, secretly we have limits.  A pony?  Sure!  New shoes that their parents said are too pricey?  Sure!  Any book they want?  Why, yes indeed!

Sugar, not so much.

Luckily for us, their parents are well-educated and informed.  They know that sugar on little bodies is not a good thing.  Sugar on little people makes parenting so much tougher.

Sugar causes inflammation.  Sugar suppresses the immune system, a weak immune system is trouble.  Sugar generates alertness, making bedtime difficult.  On and on the list goes as to why we should all be serious about leaving out sugar.

My job?  My job as Grandma Daleen is to love them and I show that by listening to them, sewing for them & baking treats and goodies for them.

One trick to being a good grandma is to indulge my little darlings without upsetting the parental apple cart.  We think our grands are being raised extremely well.  So proud of our adult children.  We would like to respect their desire to raise healthy, well-adjusted young people.

However, I still want to bake fun, happy, silly treats for our grands.  I think, just maybe, I figured out a wonderful solution.

I found a new cookie cutter, several actually.  I only bought one to try.  I loved the idea of controlling the ingredients, yet making the impression so deep on the cookie that no frosting is needed.  Thus cutting down on sugar, yet still having a fun treat.

20170322_113751_resizedI searched for a recipe that wouldn’t spread too much. I didn’t want the shape of the 20170322_112953_resizedcookie to get distorted.  I played with the amount of sugar, so I used less.  I must say this recipe turned out perfect, perfect, perfect for these types of cookies.  Oh wait, maybe that is why they are called, “Simply Perfect Chocolate Sugar Cookies”?

https://bakingamoment.com/simply-perfect-chocolate-sugar-cookies/

The flavor is mild.  The dough turned out smooth and held its shape perfect.

20170322_120048-1_resizedThis practice batch of frogs is for Mr. Right’s 80-year-old chess teacher.  Chess teachers love chocolate frogs, right?

PS.  Oh, you KNOW I am going back to buy all the animal cookie shapes!!!!  Grands NEED homemade animal cookies!!!!

Chat soon.

 

 

Uncategorized, haPPY, vacation, goodness, marraige, good marriages, good times

v-a-c-a-tion

I tossed the damp towel on the edge of the bathtub.  A couple of hours later, it was still there.

Must only mean one thing………vacation is over.  Here at home, there are no efficient maids that work behind the scenes. (to be clear, this is a picture of the hotel bathroom, not the master bath in our home )venetian-bath

This year to celebrate 35 years of being married, we chose to do something completely different.  Certainly, different for us.  In a surprising twist, two folks who don’t drink, smoke or gamble decided to go to Las Vegas, Nevada!

venetian-resort-armillary_2400x1600To spend time, in a glamorous suite, at the Venetian exploring a whole new world was most certainly different and quite an adventure.

8949It was a week of art, beauty, gardens, waterfalls, food, glorious food, treats and sunshine!  We are so used to pouring rain and gray, it took a day or so for us to dry out and revel in the glorious rays of the sun.

Daily breakfast at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon restaurant had VACATION written all over it. Seriously folks.  I want live in that restaurant.  I want that floor.  The service was 8958extraordinary. The food was exemplary.  If you order the French Toast it is little pillows of heaven served on the most exquisite marmalade you have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The coffee is perfect. Oh, and then as you are just about to leave……….wait for it………they bring you a “to-go” cup of coffee, already with the perfect amount of cream to take with you, to help you ease into the day.  BLESS THEM and what they have created.  Such extravagance.

The gondola ride was anniversary perfect.  The music, the gondolier, the roses, the water, the perfect (faux) sky…… charming, every moment of it was charming and fun (I mean 8945romantic).

venetian11

Having my palm read has been a secret desire.  I don’t know why I have never been brave enough.  Vacation has a way of making you brave enough to try new things.  I did it and it was super fun & silly & wonderful all mixed together.  After she was done, I told her she was spot on and accurate about everything.  (I wanted her to know she did a good job.)  She said,  “I know, it’s my job.”   Really?  How did she know I study one hour each morning?  ummmm….

A daily treat of swimming and lounging by the garden pool, was so nice.  Just hearing the waterfall and lollygagging for hours was dreamy.

We visited some beautiful gardens and wondered around until we found a glorious bakery.  See?  Vacation is DREAMY!!

Vacations allow us glorious time, somehow remind us we have permission to slowly walk through a garden and fill our spirits with saturated color and beauty. We walk slower, we take more time to gather goodness.

This Monday morning, our vacation envelope is empty.

Time to start saving and dreaming about our next adventure. I’ll wait for you to go get an envelope and pen.  Saving and anticipating the next glorious adventure is wonderful. Write on the outside of the envelope where you want to go.  Put a dollar in the envelope. Seriously, one dollar.  Seed money.8956

Vacation fills our pitcher.  We owe it to ourselves to dream and anticipate and plan.  Then once on vacation, the sun feels warmer, the coffee is richer,  the pool more relaxing, the desserts are more decadent (I forgot to tell you all about the glorious, thick, creamy dreamy Tiramisu dessert that we had made right at our table……..ah……)  oh, and did I mention the shared tangy, Lemon Gelato? 8947

Taking the time to plan a 35th  anniversary vacation, reminds us to celebrate what a really good marriage we have. Yes, my friend, celebrating marriage is THAT important.  By making an effort to celebrate anniversary 4 or 17, those celebrations most certainly help you get to number 35.  By celebrating number 35 it helps you get to number 47 and so on……

Here’s to great marriages, amazing experiences and wonderful breakfasts in French restaurants!

vacation quote

gifts, grandchildren, haPPY, sewing, sewing for grandchildren, Uncategorized

fairy magic

All grandgirlies turning five years old, NEED a tooth fairy pillow.

I embroidered this sweet pillow with a fairy and she has a bit of sparkle to her magical wings.  I chose happy fabric to sew with and of course added snazzy buttons and ribbons. 20170308_152704-1_resized_1

20170308_152758_resized_1For the picture, I tucked in some money.  However, I am not the tooth fairy, so it only comes with a lucky penny slipped into the pocket. (side note, Papa Bruce “helps” with the magic by collecting dollar coins and sharing.)

Oh, and one other secret bit of magic.  I sent a little, tiny fairy door to the parents (wrapped in brown paper of course).  One night when the girls are 20170307_120616_resizedfast asleep, the parents will hide and “install” the fairy door and dust the step with glitter to be “discovered” at some time or another.

Grands bring out the magic in all of us.

Hope you choose to be the magician in someone’ s life.

gifts, sewing, sewing for grandchildren, Uncategorized

birthday sewing

I GOT the call!

Grandma Daleen, “I would like a cooking apron for my birthday, please.”

Makes my heart sing and then:

  1.  Rub hands together in anticipation.
  2.  Go to fabric store and find “owl” fabric.
  3.  Prepare a large and wonderful cup of coffee.
  4.  Turn on the light & plug in the string of flying pig lights in the sewing room & turn on sewing machine.
  5.  Give the dog a cookie and say to her, “let’s get this done”.

When a perfect grandgirlie is about to turn 5 years old, this Grandma’s need to jump into action. 20170308_083943-1_resized

Early this morning, a box was mailed several states away.  Oodles of wrapped birthday surprises.  A little gift for her sister as well.

20170308_083537_resizedMr. Right said, hey, I never got a gift when it was my brother or sisters birthday.  I said, you never had a Grandma like me!!!

Does the owl apron have a jingle bell sewn inside you ask?  OF COURSE it has a jingle bell.  Makes little chefs want to twirl, jump, hop & twist to see if they can make the bell jingle. Does it have a jingle bell?  Such a silly question.

What comes with apron you ask?  Um, (felt) food of course.  A chef has to be able to cook and prepare all sorts of goodies.

This gift comes complete with Sushi, pancakes, eggs, a donut,  peanut butter and jelly on toast, 3 kinds of pasta and an ice cream sandwich.

The perfect feast for a Birthday girl!

 

Tomorrow, I’ll share the tooth fairy pillow I sewed for her as well.

When this grandma “get’s the call” she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

crochet, friends, grandchildren, grateful, haPPY, Uncategorized

spirit lifting yarn

20170306_133222-1_resized_1While in line, to buy forgotten yellow yarn for a chicken beak, I spoke to the lady behind me.  (Wow, never thought I would type that sentence.  To be clear, the yarn for a chicken beak, not talking to a lady.)

In her arms, she juggled several rose, pale & hot pink skeins of yarn.  Draped over her arm was the beginning of a pink crocheted afghan.  I asked her what she was making.  She said her Great, Granddaughter wanted a pink, pink, pink blanket. So, how could she say no?

Grinning ear to ear, I told her I had two granddaughters & one grandson.  Then I shyly said, I am learning to crochet.  I asked her how long she has been crocheting and she smiled and said, “forever”.  Next, I asked her, who taught you?  She couldn’t remember, however everyone crocheted around her so it was probably lots of people.

Then she asked me, who taught you?  I said, You Tube.  (I had to explain briefly about the computer site You-Tube and taking lessons.)  She said learning the computer is way harder than learning to crochet.  She says she gets messages from her grandchildren on the computer everyday, so it was worth learning to use the darn thing.  haha

She made me feel like I am tied to a really good group.  People who have grands.  People who make things for others.  People who like to keep learning.  She lifted my spirits & offered encouragement.crochet lesson

My daughter in law, asked me to make a couple of hats for her friends’ preemie babies. Wow!  Pretty nice of her to think I could do that.  Did she forget I am a beginner?  I gotta tell ya, having someone think you are capable is pretty spirit lifting & encouraging. Then when you get to see a picture of the little tiny babies actually WEARING the hats I made……..well, that just elevated my spirits into the stratosphere!

A friend shared a picture of a crocheted apron with several pockets.  He thought of me collecting eggs and learning to crochet.  Simultaneously, the gesture made me giggle & happy.  His thinking was, hey, I bet she would get a kick out of this? egg apron (even though I have only collected one egg in ages and I have no idea if I could even crochet an apron)  I adore that he already thinks I can.  Lifted my spirits & offered a pocket full of encouragement.  (get it?  the pockets on an apron )

Never once did You-Tube mention that if you learn to crochet your spirits will be lifted and you find all kinds of encouragement.

20170220_103259-1_resized_1Yesterday, while opening the mail, out fell a card addressed to me.  yippee!  I carefully opened the envelope and what did I find?  The sweetest, photo card.  I had made a crocheted hat for a darling little girl in Pennsylvania.  (Her parents) She sent me the most adorable thank you card with a picture of her wearing the hat I made!!!  Pretty as a shiny new penny!  Gosh, my spirit soared and well, I am still walking on cloud 9.

Who knew learning to tie some yarn into different patterns of knots would encourage my spirit so much?

I guess the folks at You-Tube knew.

In this together friends,

Chat soon.