ahoy, happiness ahead

happiness

Yikes, what if that statement is true?? 

Boy howdy, have you shared any of your happy lately?  If not, time is of the essence friends.

Oh, my stars, what if our HAPPY is ONLY real if we figure out ways to share it?

happiness 2

By sending a card with a printed snapshot to friends and family far away, we shared our happiness about becoming grandparents for the FOURTH time!!!!  (Yes, yes, the parents send out announcement cards with all the proper details.)

Grandparents don’t have any etiquette rules, we can just simply send cards of happiness.

We sent out cards to share the HAPPY!

For friends, family and co-workers that live nearby, we gave out cookies!  96 bags of HAPPINESS!

*(I know, you can’t have wheat, you can’t have sugar, you can’t have chemicals, you can’t have food colorings…..duh, neither can I.)  It’s about sharing the happy, folks.  You don’t have to actually eat them.  geesh.  It’s just for fun.  It’s just for the HAPPY!

20180604_204233_resized

We gave out cookies to share the HAPPY!

I’m guessing you are a smarty pants and have figured out creative ways to share your Happy?

Do you look for happy and come up with clever ways to share it?

Do you send silly postcards from your vacation to share the happy? IMG_2395_resized_1

Please, please leave a comment and tell us all how you share your happy?  We are all in search of creative ways to make the happy real.  Please tell me that there are still folks that share the happy?

1+1+1+1 grands = Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy grandparents!

20180604_203914_resized

 

In this together, friends,

Just sharing the Happy!

Chat soon.

 

vinegar & nuts

Vinegar and Nuts.

What am I talking about?

Laundry of course.

In my ongoing quest to have sparkling clean laundry as well as NOT use chemicals…. I have a couple of new tips I want to share.  Of course, I would love to hear your all your ideas, please share your tips and suggestions.  I am always willing to try something new that aims towards good health.

Let’s jump in?

Yes, we all know that dryer sheets contain 9 Toxic chemicals and 3 of those known carcinogens (that means they cause cancer).   However, those little sheets of chemicals do a mighty good job at reducing static and that annoying cling.

Big sigh along with a sad face.

Alas, my friends, I have solutions galore (maybe not galore, but at least 3)!

Here is what I do instead;

One trick I figured out is that I use wool dryer balls.  They do an excellent job 3 seasons outdryer balls of the year.  That leaves us with those cold, static-filled winter months.

20171108_160244-1_resizedNext, I’ve added this little beauty.  Now, don’t get your fancy panties in a tangle, I used a bright-colored piece of fabric so I could find it easily when sorting dry clothes.  However, you can just as easily use safety pins on a single sock or an old washcloth.  The pins act as a lightning rod inside your dryer.  (Gentle note to readers: if by chance you don’t have any or you are saving your “fancy panties” for good and right this minute wearing old, dingy, faded, boring undies ………………for the love of everything wonderful in the world, throw your un-fancy undergarments to the curb (what I really mean is:  in the trash, no one wants to see a bunch of faded, broken elastic, sad-looking undergarments near the curb, no one. )

The next thing I did was order some makeup cloths from Amazon.  YouTube has several20171113_122106-1_resized (1) 20171113_114848-1_resized(thousand) I am sure, quick videos about how to make your own dryer sheets.  Here is what I do:  roll the makeup cloths (so they equally absorb the magic elixir), Add magic elixer….. better known as 1/2 cup white vinegar and 20 drops of essential oils, put cloths in a jar with a lid, make fancy label if you wish.  Done.  Just as you would with the chemical-laden dryer sheets, toss one of these gems into the dryer along with your load of clothing.  (Gentle Note to the reader:  Doesn’t magic elixir sound better than white vinegar and good smelling oils?  Also, when I say to toss one of these “gems” into the dryer…. I am referring to the dryer sheets, not actual gems.  That would be ridiculous. )

Now to the nuts part of this post.

laundry balls 1Again, yes, we all know that laundry detergent has some mighty powerful chemicals (yes, some are carcinogenic, yes, we all know what that means).

No, I do not use detergent.  Sure, I make my own laundry soap, however, 95% of the time I use laundry balls (about 4 years now.)

Enter my ongoing quest to do better. Trying something new to me.

Soap Nuts. 20171114_084640-1_resized

Soap Nuts are a berry shell that naturally contains soap. They grow on the Sapindus Mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas.

When agitated with water they release soap. ( Yes, safe for septic systems, yes, completely nut allergy safe.  Soap Nuts are actually a berry fruit related to the lychee and are not nuts at all.)

You add 3 or 4 soap nuts to the muslin bag and toss into the washer.  No chemicals, and yet somehow (magically) the laundry gets cleaned.  Yes, yes, I know the soap actually does the work, I just like using the word magical.

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health & wellness, even in the laundry room. (insert happy face here!)

Chat soon.

 

color question

Question?

When you walk through the grocery aisle of spaghetti sauce in jars, how is it that they are all the exact same color?  I am not picking on any certain brand or flavor or company.  I just got to wondering how on earth they get every single jar, can, sauce, paste, organic, expensive, dirt cheap and so forth….. all pretty much the exact same color?spaghetti_sauce-300x220

Earlier today, I was in the kitchen processing tomatoes.  I removed the skins, chopped and filled the slow cooker with 29 tomatoes; three varieties from our garden.  I added my usual:  fresh parsley,  basil, rosemary, oregano, chopped onion, oodles of garlic, S & P.

As I was chopping, I got to thinking, this is a more deep, rich intense red than the tomatoes a couple of weeks ago.   Maybe I let them ripen a touch longer?  More or less sunshine, more or less water?

First picture was two weeks ago, second picture was earlier this morning:

So the question is hanging there.  The longer I don’t answer the question, more pop up.

Just “maybe” food coloring is added to store-bought sauce (similar to store bought orange juice to give uniformity of color) to help it have the right marketing color?  Maybe folks like you and I are trained and looking for a particular color with bits of herbs here and there?  No matter the season, we want our sauce to be the same color as it was 4 months ago.

Our bodies, the wonderful machines that they are, were never ever, ever, meant to work this hard to clean out so much “stuff”; colorings, flavorings, chemicals, additives and on and on the list goes.

We all have heard folks having issues with children “a bit more energetic” then the families would like.  Adults that can’t keep focus and stay on track.  Folks that are more depressed than they were 5 years ago.  More and more among us having headaches, serious headaches, trouble loosing weight and so forth.

I am not saying this is the miracle we all have been searching for, what I am saying is I think it is a strong case of food for thought.

Now, I am well aware that we cannot all can, process, freeze all our own food.  While that might be a wonderful goal, some days, I just can’t do it. Some times I am tired and I just want to buy a perfect tomato in the produce department that someone else tended.  I am still having troubles growing my own basil, so yes, I buy it.  Some days, I run out and just want to buy a bottle of sugar-free ketchup from Whole Foods. I just don’t want to stop and make it.

I just got to thinking, maybe just maybe the answer is…. we all make a little more effort into growing our own something?  Then share.  Yes, I said, share with your neighbor.  Maybe trade a few of these tomatoes for some cucumbers or trade some beans for fresh eggs.  Maybe trade hemming a pair of pants for some beautiful fresh grown radishes? 20160825_111447-1_resized

While not every one has the luxury of baby steps, maybe together we can collectively take small steps towards regaining health and wellness?  Give our bodies a break from the overload of colorings, flavorings … things that are foreign to our bodies.

Just asking the questions is a good start. Maybe having a great discussion over a home cooked meal or a tall glass of fresh juice?

If we put our brains together, oh yes, there is power in numbers, we might come up with some useful and amazing ideas towards sharing health and goodness.  I know, I for one, would looooove some ideas and tips and suggestions.  I am anxious to have a discussion and hear your ideas.

In this together, folks.

Here’s to our collective health and wellness!

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

shot glasses + dental floss = love

You know those plastic, inexpensive shot glass that the younger crowd uses to make jello shots?  Yes, those.

When I have a dessert buffet, I use them for mini desserts.  Everyone loves mini desserts. You feel like you can have three!

Mini lemon tart?  Don’t mind if I do.

Mini chocolate mouse?  Oh yes.

A miniature Pineapple whip?  Heck yeah!

I also use them for frosting.  Can I get an AMEN!?

Thick, rich, gorgeous, creamy dreamy frosting. AMEN!

I made cinnamon roll dough early Monday morning.  This dough is amazing.  It has to hang out in the refrigerator for a day or two to be at it’s very best.

So, this morning I put on my really cute, ruffled apron and got out my dental floss, heating pad, shot glasses and ruler.  What? You don’t get out your dental floss first?

How do you cut your cinnamon roll dough without squishing them?

Note to all:  This recipe is full of fat, sugar, gluten and dairy.  I did use a fresh egg and amazing cinnamon from the Penzey spice company.  We LOVE Penzey!!!!!!

https://www.penzeys.com/

20160727_093132_resizedOkay, I rolled and cut (with dental floss, 1.5 inches wide rolls) and I let them rise on my heating pad. 20160727_094250-1_resized

Next, put them into a very hot oven to do their thing.

Oh, man, these babies (not real babies) rose up toward heaven and released an amazing aroma of fresh baking bread and cinnamon. That glorious scent  of yeast and sugar and butter swirls together and has filled our home with love.  Yes, that is the smell of love.  Trust me.

Mr. Right has chess lessons tonight.  So, I thought I would bake an extra pan (King Arthur Flour baking pan made out of cardboard) for his chess teacher.  Not knowing if the gentleman likes frosting or not, I thought………how about giving him three little shots of icing?20160727_112253-1_resized

8 or  80+ year olds…….let me ask you, who among us doesn’t want to ice their own rolls?  Wasn’t that the best part of those “smack on the counter, cinnamon rolls in a tube”?  They came with their very own tub of creamy icing.

Here’s to baking and sharing love (remember today, love is fresh-baked rolls with shots of icing), one neighbor at a time.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

W4D

For a while, I wanted to write a blog about food.  More specifically, to help answer the age-old question, What’s for Dinner? (W4D) A place you could go, desperately searching for an idea. You could see what others came up with and made for dinner.

Here is what I cooked for dinner last night.  Okay, I didn’t do it all.  Mr. Right grilled the Albacore Tuna.  We would usually use chickpeas and sunflower seeds, however, that Albacore was calling our names.  For a warm summer night, it was a perfect choice.

20160725_173853-1_resized

No one really mentions, in addition to becoming famous, an eye doctor, a mom, a mechanic, a refrigerator repair person, an architect, a solider etc….. you still have to know how to make and prepare meals and put them on the table for your family every single day of your life.

I’ve always maintained that if I was Scrooge McDuck rich, I would pay someone to come up with ideas.  I would still cook.  I like the cooking part.  By the way, if you happen to have canvas bags of money tied with rope, and have a dollar sign stamped on the front, one would think one would have enough moolah to hire a kitchen cleaner upper & person to wash dishes?

There are two girls in my life that help make dinner more, well, beautiful and delish. We have our own W4D exchange.

food is essentialWe live far, far away from each other.  E-mail  is how we share.  A couple of times a week,  we exchange emails about food.  Glorious Food.  Idea of what to make or bake.  Sharing the cookbook we found it hidden in or what food blogger offered up the inspiration. We tell each other, “didn’t have leeks, so I substituted purple onion” “fresh berries aren’t in season yet, used frozen”.  If we are really in a pickle, we explain, ” help! 20 people around age 25 coming over for a gathering…. what do I feed them?” And somehow, as if by magic, the two other people swirl ideas around and share 2 or 3 ideas/solutions each.

The subject line, W4D grabs our attention.

We are honest in our sharing.   What worked well for lefties (left overs). First go round, needed more salt, will add for lefties tomorrow.  The “secret” ingredient to an amazing sammy (sandwich), refrigerator pickles.   What we fell in love with and that dreaded moment the person sitting across from us, took a polite “no, thank you bite”.

Like life and all of us, it’s a rather glorious hodgepodge  of fancy, easy, quick, 24 hour marinade, bake it and take it, slow cook, grill and blend.  We just share what we made and put it out there.  Yes, we have food preferences.  We sort of don’t get into those.  If you are vegetarian, just substitute chickpeas for the albacore tuna.  No soap box, no explaining, no time to judge, just move on people.  The goal is to get flavorful, beautiful food on the table, consistently.

We don’t have to explain, why one husband won’t eat weeds (fresh herbs not cut small enough) or why some don’t eat sugar or dairy …. You get the picture.  We just talk about what we made.

Let’s face it whether or not we have a passel of kiddos to cook for or a tired hungry boyfriend or cooking for one,  tasty food needs to be put on the table on a regular basis.

Excellent, high quality food that is worthy of our families, nourishing their bodies and feeding their souls.

We share pictures. Here is the first good size tomato I have ever grown.  Eating tonight!20160725_110507-1_resized

We share results.

too salty/needed more salt/fresh thyme was the secret

too time consuming/ very time-consuming, so worth it

very messy/hardly no clean up/used every pan & bowl in the place

clean plates all around/ lots of food left on the plates, had snacks later

putting this into the rotation/tried twice,  ripped up recipe and tossed, said good-bye

All that to tell you, I found a great recipe for a Nicoise Salad dressing. Minimalist Baker shared it on her food blog.  Note:  Make extra dressing.   After I par-boiled the potatoes and beans I covered them in dressing (used as a marinade) and let chill.  20160725_123512_resized

3 Tablespoons minced shallot, 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (fresh was amazing) chopped , 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, s & p, 1/4 cup olive oil.  Whisk or use immersion blender.  

When you have good friends who talk about food, it’s not called bragging, it’s called sharing.

…I grew the tomato, beans and thyme.  I gathered the eggs and steamed them today.  Nicoise Salad……… clean plate club members!20160725_174050-1_resized

In this together, friends.  All of us have a need to feed our family and friends excellent quality food. They are worth our time and energy.

Sweet Peaches!  We are worthy of great food.

What’s For Dinner in your neck of the woods?

In this together, folks.  Please share what you are cooking for dinner tonight with a friend. I promise they will love getting fresh new ideas.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

boris

Every single solitary time I see a new construction site, I make the comment, “Oh goodie, it might be a cross stitch shop!” Even if the site is quite obviously 3 stories tall.  “Jeepers, that is going to be a cross stitch emporium!!!!!”

Sadly, it never is.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t embrace shops that cater to handicrafts.  Sure, sure, there is a small quilt shop here or there.  In a very strange twist of the business world, somehow, The Tandy Leather shop still keeps going.  The popularity of counted cross stitch has faded and that means the brick and mortar stores have gone by the way side.

Thank goodness for the internet.  I visit cross stitch shops regularly.  I put on background shopping music and quietly slip into the shop and look around.

I belong to a counted cross stitch group on-line.  We share patterns, ideas, tips and pictures.

Ah, the pictures.

I am learning.  I LOVE to look at others hand work.  I admire the time, the skill level, the creativity.  I gather such inspiration from their pieces, I know in my heart of hearts that I must share my pieces now and then as well.  It is just like show n tell.  We all like to be in the audience. However, every now and then, it is our turn to be up in front of the class.

stabbing

hahahaha….cross stitch humor…….“Cross stitch for the times when you need to stab something 10,000 times”

It is the polite thing to do.  Think of it as grace & goodness.  Work up your courage and be kind enough to share with others.

If I don’t share a picture, a suggestion or a review now and then……..well I am just a taker, a stalker really.  A person who skims through, pushes “like” now and then and flits away. I don’t want to be a taker.  I sincerely want to be a part of the group.  One that gives and takes.

Last night, after the sun had gone down, I put the last stitches into my latest sampler.  I told our golden retriever.  She lifted her head and with sleepy eyes, gave what I thought was a look of “good job” before she put her head back down.  It was a bit anti-climatic.  I texted a couple of friends.

Before I started the next project (fabric cut, thread chosen, needle threaded) I took a couple of pictures.  To share.

20160623_080312I saw “him” on a wall in Victoria, B.C. last summer.  I was with Mr. Right and Miss Florida on holiday.  As those two meandered through the shop, I meant business.  I was so thrilled to be in an actual handiwork shop, I was giddy.  I was picking and choosing charts like there was no tomorrow.  The shop lady said, “oh Boris.  He is popular.  haha”

So yes, I stitched my way around Boris.

Here are the details:  32 count linen (what that actually means, there are 32 threads per inch on that particular piece of linen)….. I stitch over two threads….. I use two strands of hand dyed thread for each X.  The pattern is a Plum Street Sampler design. 20160622_185530-1

Everything about Boris makes me giggle. I love his  early Monday morning attitude.

Sharing bits and pieces of your soul though your art makes me fall in love with your being just a little bit more each time.  Every single time you share a painted rock or a bottle cap glued to a peace sign, every cookie you bake & decorate, every poodle dog toilet paper cover you crochet, every quilt you make, every single cross stitch you do backwards, every apron you sew a Superman S upon, every single jar of honey lotion you make…..my heart expands just a smidgen. You splash a little goodness on me & I get a glimpse of the extra sparkly, gooey part that makes you, you.

It’s hard to dislike someone when you know about the extra gooey part of them. That my friends is how the world becomes a better place.

If you share, I promise to share.

Cross my Heart.

 

 

purple squirrels

You know those people who are a sqooch smarter than the average bear?

Hold on minute, in no way am I putting myself down.  Jeepers, I spent 1.5 hours this morning learning more about sleep, Folic Acid, Fulvic Acid and Humic Acid.  I took notes like a preppy school girl.  I learned oodles.

I am talking about those people out there, that seemed to get an extra helping of smarts. They love to talk about the state of world affairs, religious topics, math and astronomy, books they are reading and who wrote what book.

Amazingly enough they are more interested in learning a new chess opening than they are about fashion or sprinkles.

See, this is where I shine.  I love talking about sprinkles and colors.

Balance.

It takes both kinds of folks to make the world swirl happily along.

In an effort to help make the world a more balanced and happy place, today, I baked cookies.

Cookies for Mr. Right to take to his chess teacher.  Tonight is Wednesday.  Wednesday is chess lesson night.  His teacher is an octogenarian plus some, he speaks five languages and came to America while fleeing his (at the time) war-torn country of Hungary. Sadly, he is a recent widower.

The conversations those two have sure put a spring in Mr. Right’s step. Before you ask, the answer is yes, he comes home with books and home work each week.  The next answer is yes.  He does all his home work and then some.

Happily, I like to bake and share.

20160622_132131Today, I baked cookies.  I decided on sugar cookies shaped like squirrels.  Then I went that extra step and made them with purple sprinkles. 20160622_134839

Thanks to me, two smarty pants fellas will have a few cookies and a laugh.  A real belly laugh.

Really , who on earth bakes purple squirrel cookies for two intelligent men?

A smart girl, that’s who.

 

 

Oh dear, look, one broke, I should probably eat that, ha.20160622_140951