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!


“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…… 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.


owls and flamingos fly back to school

It’s that time of year again.

Back to school supplies.

We’ve got cute back packs and pencil cases to fill.  Another classroom to help.

When I say “we” I actually mean, I sew new pencil cases and help check off the items and Mr. Right (Papa Bruce) shops and fills the supply lists.

Both the grandgirlies and a classroom in Vermont will ease into the new school year with sharpened pencils, “juicy’ markers, note cards, rulers and colorful scissors galore!

Backpacks are overflowing and pencil cases are filled with pencils, sassy hair baubles and of course a candy necklace tucked sweetly inside.

FB_IMG_1469988956315Last year the shark pencil cases were a hit.  A bit more time-consuming than this year’s quick, cute & easy cases.  This year I went with girlie colors and pom-pon trim, owls and flamingos, oh my!  Each girl got beads tied onto the ribbon with their initials.

20160731_110319-1_resizedHappy first day of the new school year!

In this together folks.  Please consider helping your grands or the neighbor kids or your local school.  Buying school supplies is fun. You don’t need to sew a pencil bag.  They have oodles of cute ones to buy.  Fill a pencil case with love.  Some little short person will be thrilled & tickled.  They won’t even realize they have been covered in grace & goodness.

Don’t forget to tuck a note inside that gently reminds them School is cool 🙂

Here’s to happy school children, ready to learn!!





planting kindness

In the days following Thanksgiving, each year my Grandpa would find a reason to drive “into town”, alone.  He just said he had an errand to run.

He would come back with a Poinsettia plant for my Grandma and my mother.

Without fail, every single year.  I have no idea when the tradition started, it just was a part of our holiday décor.

greenhouse full of bright red poinsettia
greenhouse full of bright red poinsettia

Home school lesson for today:  Joel Robert Poinsett, who was an amateur botanist & the first ambassador to Mexico, first introduced poinsettias to the United States in 1825.

My sisters both love the vibrant leaves.  One sister loves the shocking red and the other sister loves the white.  Seems everyone has a preference.

In our church, during this Advent season, the communion rail is decorated with oodles of poinsettias that are given in someone’s name or to celebrate an anniversary.

On November 28th each year, my friend would receive a poinsettia.  Her dad would celebrate his birthday by bringing a beautiful plant to her, her sisters and her mother. Each year a gift from him to his girls.

Sadly, this year, he passed away before he could fulfill his tradition.

I worked it over in my mind.  Several times.  Oh sure, thanks to the internet and FTD, I could have a similar one sent to her clear across the country.  I wanted to make her smile.

However, receiving the plant from her father was “their” thing.

So Mr. Right and I came up with an idea.  We went “to town” and purchased a beautiful poinsettia.  Vibrant and lush, healthy and cheerful.   I tied a tag onto the plant. 20151128_162659

Merry Christmas.  Love, Craig

Then Mr. Right drove me to a retirement/assisted living facility.  I bustled in.  My jaunty scarf a flying.  I met the happy receptionist.  I said, I would like to drop this off.  She said who is it for?  I said, someone who doesn’t have visitors.

She was thrilled and said she KNEW just the perfect lady.   She thanked me profusely and wished me a very Merry Christmas.

Made me wish I had half a dozen more.  (Mr. Right said, next year, lets donate 6?)  gosh, I love that man………………

I then sent a picture to my friend.  I wanted her to feel the pure goodness of something her Dad would have loved.

She joined me in buying a plant for a lady that had been extra kind to her. 20151128_162708

Random Acts of Kindness………………just when you thought you were doing a good deed and making others feel good……………happiness & grace spills all over you.

May the month of December bathe you in Grace and Goodness.  May you find creative ways to spread a little of that grace and kindness around.

We could all use a little more kindness.