Saturday, December 31, 2011

TV Dinner

I'm not a big fan of having the television on while we eat. With few exceptions, it hardly ever happens in this house. When it does, those exceptions most likely revolve around certain sporting events, such as when the Huskies played in the Alamo Bowl last Thursday evening right around dinner time. Because I wanted to be able to sit down to watch with the rest of the family......I looked for something easy to make that could be prepared earlier in the day. The older boys are only home for a few more mostly healthy and homemade just made ME feel good. We ended up with Minestrone Soup, Whole Grain Bread, lots of Grated Parmesan.

I also made Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream for dessert. It was my brother's contribution to Christmas dinner, and was a huge hit with everyone present. Along with pumpkin, crushed gingersnaps and spices, it has a couple tablespoons of Bourbon added in. Yum........

The soup recipe is from one of the cookbooks I use most often, Simply Classic. I love it and except for being free and easy with the amounts and kinds of vegetables added, and adjusting the seasonings at the end, I make few other adaptations of my own. Everyone here likes a bit of a kick, so I finished it with a few splashes of Tabasco Sauce.

More Than Minestrone
adapted from Simply Classic
Serves 6

5-7 slices of bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 or more celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves, minced garlic
1 28 oz can, Italian tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped parsley
6 cups chicken stock
1 10 oz can each of kidney, garbanzo and cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp each of dried basil and oregano
1 1/2 cups small shell pasta
Salt, pepper and Tabasco

-Cook bacon in heavy pot until crisp. Add onion and celery then cook for 5 minutes more or until soft.
-Add carrot and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
-Add tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano and stock. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. **When making ahead, this is where I turn off the heat, put the lid on the pot and finish right before we eat.
-Add beans. Stir and heat until warmed with the soup.
-Add pasta. Cook for about 8 minutes or until al dente.

A couple of notes:
~I use thick cut nitrite-free bacon and spend a couple extra minutes cutting a lot of the fat off before chopping and cooking it (kitchen scissors work well). If more fat is needed when sauteing the vegetables, I add olive oil. Traditional minestrone doesn't have meat in it....but I love the added flavor of the bacon here.
~I'm also a little loose with the veggies called for and will add an extra carrot or stalk of celery if I want to use them up......or whatever else happens to be in the fridge.
~Chop whole canned tomatoes with kitchen scissors before adding.
~Whole wheat pasta shells hold up better than traditional, and according to me, have a better flavor and bite.
~A tsp or so of pesto swirled into each bowl right before serving is nice.
~This soup freezes well. If you want to freeze it, add pasta shells after it has been thawed and brought to a simmer. Cook for 8 more minutes.

Wishing You A Very Happy and Healthy New Year......Be safe out there tonight!

XO, Margaret

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

About Giving and Receiving

Giving and receiving gifts, to me, is not about quantity or expense.  It is about time and thoughtfulness and appreciation. It is about looking for and finding.  About saying 'it makes me very happy to know that you have this'.

More than one special person let me know, "I had a lot of fun picking out your gift this year." This sentiment was a gift in and of itself ......knowing that someone enjoyed the process! Hearing it reminded me once again how much I, too, enjoy the giving. The connections that deepen with each choice made, wrapped and presented.

I appreciate that my parents know that ice cream and chocolate in pretty dishes makes us happy.  The cookbook, the finished novel, the homemade wine, the box of handpicked micro brews, the indoor garden planted in a dish that were presented to us. The cards that hold photographs and stories and sentiments. The gifts of homemade candy, jam or snacks left at our door. The thoughtfulness of something chosen to make a portion of each day easier......sweeter. Something that helps to get me where I want to go. That says 'join in' or 'this made me think of you.'

At this time of year, I'm so very thankful for the people in my life. The ones that bring warmth or comfort or a sense of excitement through the door, in the mail, over the Internet or on the phone. Those that understand what I might want, need or dream about. I'm thankful for those willing to share some of themselves and what they dream about.  Those I'm just getting to know and who make the effort in return.

As the New Year approaches, wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

With warmth and appreciation,


Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Collection Of Christmas Card Wishes and Greetings...To You

Merry Christmas. Season's Greetings. Happy Holidays.

Wishing You The Best Holiday Ever! Enjoy The Magic. Look For Joy In All You Do. Delight In The Joys Of The Season. May Your Home Be Filled With Peace And Happiness. Merry and Bright. May Beautiful Moments and Happy Memories Surround You.

Wishing You Peace, Love and Happiness. Holiday Wonder. A Blessed Christmas. A Peaceful Holiday Season. Noel. Love And Laughter. Peace. 

May The Beauty Of The Season Fill Your Heart. I Hope You Are Well Blessed.

May Your New Year Find You Blessed With Adventure and People You Love! Merry Everything, Happy Always. Jolly. Joy. Peace On Earth.

Wishing You The Warm Familiar Welcome Home Of Christmas; The True Gifts Of Christmas: Peace, Joy and Love

Merriest Christmas Wishes. Warm Holiday Wishes. Winter Wishes. Best Wishes For A Joyous Holiday.

Sending You Every Happiness. Love To You All. Have A Blessed Christmas Season.

XOXO  Love, Margaret

Merry Christmas And A Very Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's That Week Of The Season


It's that week of the season where my 'to do' list is filled with 'have nots'.
As in, I have not yet:

Finished baking all of the Christmas cookies I had planned to.
Put together a platter of said cookies for Marc to bring in to his office.
Addressed the last of the Christmas cards.
Written a letter to enclose with the cards.
Finished two of the hats I want to make.
Picked up the remainder of the stocking stuffers on my list.
Wrapped the last three gifts.
Planned Christmas breakfast.
Planned Christmas Eve dinner.
Planned Christmas dinner.
Delivered a gift to my friend and her daughter.
Found gifts for the pets.
Shopped at Costco for the final time
Vacuumed this week.

So, this is what I plan to do today:

Take a much needed nap.
Enjoy the tree and our decorations.
Go to dinner with Marc and the boys, after which we will see the Nutcracker.
Celebrate our wedding anniversary.
Forget about baking until the week after Christmas.
Catch up with Joey, Peter (and Lewis, the dog) who are now home.
Prepare for Patrick to come home.
Mail cards without an enclosed letter.
Cross whatever is not absolutely necessary off my list. (The pets won't have a clue if they don't get a treat Christmas morning and I'm pretty sure the stockings will do.)

Christmastime is too special to become stressed out. There are four days left....... I plan to enjoy them. I hope that you do to.

Wishing you some meaningful days ahead. XO


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Part Of What Makes The Season Merry

There are certain things I watch or listen to in December that, to me, make it Christmas. They give me a chance to slow down and take a deep breath in an otherwise busy season. To get lost in something other than the gift, Christmas cookie or Christmas card list. When I was growing up it was A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph. These days, here is what I enjoy no particular order. I'm hoping that the following list either gives you a couple of new ideas or helps you to recall a few great memories.

1. It's A Wonderful Life - either the colorized version or black and white. It doesn't matter. Believe it or not, the first time I watched this movie was with Marc in our hotel room right after our wedding, as we sat propped up by pillows, eating room service roast beef sandwiches and chips.

2.White Christmas - I remember watching this for the first time with my sister, Michele, one Christmas when we were young....and then singing the number "Sisters" for days after. Love a good musical!

3. A Christmas Carol. For years we saw a live performance of this every season at the Act Theatre in Seattle. It was also what Marc and I saw on our second date. He planned it.....and it could possibly be the reason we fell in love. Although he might say that he fell in love with me because I suggested that we go to a Sonics game on our first date!

4.When Harry Met Sally - A classic

5. Miracle On 34th Street - again, either the old version or the new. I love them both.

6. Love Actually - I watched this the other day while finishing up some presents. Turns out it is one of my sister's 'go to' holiday movies as well. So many things about it are so sweet. Hugh Grant is funny and charming, and I love how the story wraps up in the end. 

7. The Holiday - Jack Black is my favorite in this one.

8. Elf - OK......Will Ferrell's goofiness is perfect in this movie. Goofy...but not too much so. And really...... so funny to imagine how confusing it would be to a North Pole elf if he/she ended up in New York City at Christmastime!

9. The Nutcracker - A live performance or any of the music. We're headed to see Pacific Northwest Ballet's performance of it with a couple of our boys next week. I'm not sure they've ever seen it, but they've agreed to go with us. I think they will like it more than they think they will.

10. Handel's Messiah - I first attended the full performance of this at Meaney Hall on the UW campus 30 years ago. Before that I had only listened to bits and pieces, the most recognizable of course, being the Hallelujah Chorus. If you've never listened all the way through...I would recommend a live performance. It's long but will keep your attention and leave you feeling so wonderfully refreshed when it's over.  If you've not been before, look for a performance that supplies the audience with a copy of the words. I'd also recommend reading a bit about the history of this piece beforehand. It will make it so much more meaningful.

On that note, Hope You Have A Wonderful Weekend!



This Friendly Village Desk Calendar 
I can still place orders in time for Christmas gifts if you're interested!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dressed For Christmas

Marc and I were engaged in March. At that point he was a medical student and because of the fact that his breaks fell in either July or December, we had a choice of those two months in which to plan our wedding. July seemed too soon, but December was just right. Besides, I remembered what the church I attended had looked like at Christmas during previous years......lovely, all dressed up for the holidays.

St. Mark's was large and old, and at that time looked somewhat unfinished both inside and out......which it was. Construction on what was meant to be a grand Episcopal Cathedral began in 1928, but due to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed, the building was never finished in the style intended. The cement interior walls were tall and plain and water-stained. And rather than magnificent and ornate spires reaching toward the heavens as planned, it was finished as a simple box with a cross placed on top.

I love that cathedral and it's interesting history. Throughout the years it has been know for it's beautiful music,  pipe organ and prominent place overlooking the freeway from Capital Hill in Seattle. But back then, what I loved was how I felt when I went inside. As with many things, it's beauty was in the unfinished details and in the community that called it home. 

When I walked down the aisle on that foggy Saturday evening before Christmas, I was surrounded by family and friends and the collective beauty of all of our unfinished details. I walked on my dad's arm wearing a dress designed by my mom and I, and one that she had expertly sewn. I carried a bouquet of red roses, ivy and small Christmas balls designed and made by one of my sisters. Another sister watched her two young daughters walk down the aisle as flower girls, while another yet, stood beside me. My brother read.

White candles, pots of red poinsettias and one very large pine tree graced the space near the altar. I've often thought about the church members who most likely donated seasonal flowers and greenery in order to beautify their church for the holidays. We were so fortunate to have had it present at our Christmastime wedding. At the time we were young and on a budget, and may not have considered those things as much as we should have. We no longer live in the city and so no longer attend that church. Recently however, the church I do attend asked for donations for pots of poinsettias to surround the altar for the holidays. I wrote out a check......and silently thanked those who had helped to dress up St Mark's in December 26 years ago.

Wishing you some wonderful days as you prepare for Christmas!



PS. Today is my 100th post!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

This Time Of Year

This time of year......

Busy.  Fun.  Exhausting.  Joyful.

Earlier in the week Marc strung lights around the outside of our house and onto some of the landscaping in front. He placed the lit wire moose (my favorite holiday item) in between two of the ancient maples in back. Last night we got our tree. This weekend we will finish decorating and look forward to the boys arrival one by one.

This past Sunday we met up with some family for a lovely holiday brunch at Volterra. The rest of them sipped Peach Thyme Bellinis, while I sipped coffee. I know the breakfast cocktails would have just made me sleepy, but I did take a taste before my order of chestnut pancakes came to the table, and they were delicious.

Afterward, we took a walk through the Ballard Farmer's Market, one of the few local outdoor markets that I know of that operate at this time of year. We wandered in and out of the interesting and eclectic mix of shops in Ballard. Noted a few gift ideas. Picked up a few things.  There were carolers under a gazebo where the streets meet up. The passing shoppers were chatty and festive. A friend commented that it seemed like a scene out of a Christmas movie.

This week I will bake and put the finishes touches on gifts that I'm making. I'll wrap and pack boxes and ship. I will hope to finish up the shopping I still have left to do and plan to figure out a Christmas card, photo and letter.

I'll visit with friends. Exchange cookies. Hand deliver a few gifts. Hopefully make time to watch It's A Wonderful Life. Light Advent candles, take a deep breath and try to remember what this time of year is all about. It's the Christmas season and I can't escape the work and busy-ness...nor would I want to. But I also want to be sure to appropriately reflect. To remember to pay attention to why we do all that we do to celebrate.

 (A note: The ornaments pictured above can be found in Souvenir on Ballard Avenue. They are handmade, unique and exquisitely beautiful. Any photograph could not do them justice! The photographs were taken inside of the shop with the owner's permission.)

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

XO Margaret

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Looking Ahead...Enjoying Now

Happy December!

I've been working hard for the past couple of weeks putting together a calendar for 2012. This project has been a lot of fun, but as with most things......a bit more involved than I thought it would be. I have to say that I really learned a lot and am pleased with the finished product. Although I may spoil a couple of surprises here by publishing this post, I'm kind of proud of the end result.

Originally, this calendar was to be my gift to family and friends...and then my friend Jennifer suggested that I open a shop at and offer it for sale. So with her help, I did and I've posted a link in the right hand margin of this blog. If you click on the photo of the calendar under the words My Shop, or on 'this friendly village' right below that, you'll get there.

If you are interested in purchasing one, it would make a nice gift, either by itself or packaged together with a (separately purchased or handmade) display item. I would recommend placing each month's card in a frame or on an easel, or attaching it to your refrigerator with a magnet.

A little info:
Each month is professionally printed on a 5X7 heavy duty glossy card and is paired together with one of my favorite photographs, all of which have been used on this website at some point throughout the past year. The set comes packaged inside a sturdy plastic see-through sleeve for a years worth of safe keeping. $20 plus tax and shipping. Local friends, let me know and we can avoid the shipping charges.

You also might want to check out Jennifer's designs at Pink Lily Press. She is very talented and her stationary and paper products are just beautiful.

Growing up we often made and received handmade or individually designed gifts. Truthfully...those are some of the ones that I remember most fondly. In the spirit of the season, you might want to check out this piece: Look, I Made Christmas! It's a fun one about the joy of making and giving gifts made by you!

Here's wishing you some joyful pre-holiday days!



Friday, December 2, 2011

Who Would You Choose?

At some point a few years ago, I wondered: If I could have dinner, one at a time, with any three people (currently living), who would they be? Dinner, because it means a couple hours of conversation. Because ones choice of restaurant or food says something about them.  I would go armed with questions, but hope for more of a chat than an informational interview. In the end, I would want to come away with an understanding of the inherent traits that make this person tick. With a mental picture of the circumstances that allowed or encouraged them to do what they've done so far in their lives. I would want to know how they feel about their experiences and accomplishments, and aside from what they've written, filmed or recorded, what they are like as a person. I imagine I would allow enough time to pass between dinners in order to think about what each one had to say. To absorb the details, meaning and results of how they have spent their life.

My list has continued to change throughout the years,......which, I guess is the fun of it for me. The writer, actor, comedian and musician, Steve Martin, pretty consistently makes the cut. I find him intelligent and funny, and possessing an interesting range of talent. I am currently reading his novel,  An Object Of Beauty .

Tom Brokaw has been on it for quite awhile, too. I've been fortunate to have heard him speak twice this past year. The first time was in May as the commencement speaker at The University of Montana. I was so moved by this speech, that when I saw he would be speaking at Benaroya Hall for Seattle Arts and Lectures, we made plans to attend that a couple nights ago, as well. He didn't disappoint. As we listened to the editor of the Seattle Times interview him, I kept thinking it was hard to believe that one person had experienced so many historical events up close. My favorite anecdote was when he shared the serendipity of being in Germany when the Berlin wall came down. I am also currently reading his new book, The Time Of Our Lives. Perhaps I'll agree with what he says and thinks.......perhaps I won't. But I know that I respect the experiences that likely back up what he wrote.

As far as the third person on this list......I'm not so sure. I'm kind of picky, and so still thinking about this one.

If you could share a dinner with any three living people....who would they be?


***On a Holiday note:  I've put together a Calendar for 2012 . Each month is professionally printed on a loose 5 X 7 glossy card (not quite as heavy as a post card), along with one of my photographs. I designed it so that each month could be easily displayed in a frame, on an easel or stuck to the refridgerator with a magnet.

It will be available via an shop within the next couple of days. I meant to have it ready to go by today......but due to technical difficulty (I had to get help setting it up!) it was delayed. If you're interested, please check back. I'll post a link here soon so you can take a look at a sample and get more details.***

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Tis The Season

We recieved our first couple of Christmas cards in the mail this afternoon. I so enjoy receiving these cheerful notes with their photographs and bits of news from those we care about. Welcome reminders that, yes definately 'tis the season'.

This truly is my favorite time of year. I love the celebrations and thoughtfullness that weave in and out of the last weeks of November, throughout December and on into January. 

I love bows on beautifully wrapped packages. I love the Christmas cookie tradition of baking, giving and exchanging. Of tucking some away in the freezer and trying to be sure I have enough of everyone's favorite kind. I enjoy Christmas music playing in the background and the chance to hum and sing along. I love the color red.

I've been hard at work here, inspired by a couple of holiday projects that came to mind a few weeks ago and am intent on completing them before the calendar strikes December 25th. At the same time I'm trying hard not to allow the work I have set out before me to exceed the number of waking hours available in a day......or in the next few weeks.

We were married four days before Christmas and gave birth to two of our children in December. We need to find the time to decorate our home and put up the tree. The boys have all left, but will return again within the next few weeks. We've got some things to do. To be thankful for. To think about. To celebrate.

Here's wishing you the beginning of a Merry Season!



Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Day After

This year Thanksgiving dinner was just the five of us. All of the extended family was out of town and no relatives came into town. I told the boys to be sure to invite anyone that they knew who didn't have a place to go......but, it seems, that everyone did. I shouldn't say 'just us'. Although I missed the family and the liveliness of a crowd, the day was nice and low key. We all had a chance to come together and catch up.

I have to say, I enjoy the day after a holiday. Maybe it's because I function as the head planner and cook. When all of the preparations are finished and the the meal has been served and cleaned up, I can put my feet up and appreciate the holiday in a different sort of way.

No one except Marc had to work the day after this year, and he was home by about 10 AM.  The rest of us slept in and stayed in our pajamas for as long as we felt like it. Ate a left-over lunch and then went to a late afternoon movie. In a couple of days everyone will be back at work or at school. I'm so thankful they all made it home.

 And now...... Christmas preparations begin........ 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and safe travels for your loved ones.



Monday, November 21, 2011


I've been looking forward to writing a post about gratitude for a couple of weeks now.  It makes sense to me at this time of year to take stock of the goodness in my life.

A few years ago I decided to keep a journal listing three things I was thankful for each day. What I found was that even on the most difficult, frustrating or unproductive ones, I could come up with many more than that. And that in doing so, I focused more on what was good, right, wonderful and humorous than on any other part of the day. I did indeed feel fortunate......thankful. 

I should dig out that journal and take another look.  The boys were much younger and I wonder if what I chose to write about then is so very different than what I feel now. I read a interesting article in the NYT this morning about gratitude and have provided the link Here.

Each day I am grateful for Marc and each of our boys. For our extended family and friends. For those we spend time with, want to spend more time with and who mean so much in the big picture of our lives. For the ones that share their lives with us and want to be a part of ours. They are what really matter. For our health and the fact that we have a roof over our heads and enough food to eat. These are the 'big' things, the most important things, and I try hard never......ever...... to take them for granted.

Along with those mentioned above, today I will also pay attention to some of the things that enrich and add to the layers of my days. I've made a quick list. If you've taken a look at my blog posts over the past several months, what I came up with probably won't surprise you. I tend to write about what makes me happy, grateful or has made a positive difference in my life. For now, I'll limit it to 25......although I know there are so many more.

25 Things I'm Thankful For:

 1. Coffee. The smell. The taste. Filling my cup is the first thing I do each the morning.

2. Chocolate: Cookies. Brownies. Hot. Milk. Dark. Need I say more? It contains healthy properties and makes me happy.

 3. My Camera. It encourages me to see what I otherwise might not. Allows me to snap up and preserve moments. To capture light. It is an extension of myself and has proved to be an inexhaustible outlet for creativity and tool for learning.

 4. A few minutes in a peaceful place. Anyplace.

 5. Knitting. A pleasingly tactile communion with color, fiber and creativity. I love days when I can't wait to sit down and get to work on a project. I am grateful for the knitters in my life: Those who taught me how to knit. The ones who have demonstrated its value. Those I can talk about it with. Those who 'get it'.

 6. A good walk.  When I mentioned this to my dad, his response was, "Glad to hear it. It's good for you and helps your disposition." Spoken by one who walks every day and has for as long as I can remember.

 7. A good book to get lost in for a few minutes or a few hours or a few days.

 8. That no members of my family are really too far away.

 9. Friendships that continue despite distance or time passed.

 10. New people I've met.

 11. Anything handmade, homemade, homegrown or crafted in small batches.

12. A good pie crust. I've talked about this before. But really......a forkful of flaky, buttery crust surrounding what ever filling I'm in the mood for makes the pie.

 13. My faithful Golden Retriever. He follows me, loves me, wants to be with me. I can deal with the shedding.

14. For times I don't have to hurry. I know that this means not filling my days too full. Sometimes I have control over this....sometimes I don't. I am truly thankful for the days I can move around unstressed by time.

 15. The things my parents taught me. A vast, useful, solid set of values, lessons and guidelines for a life well lived. I could write volumes.......

16. My back yard. It is a picture that changes daily. Beautiful. Peaceful. Dynamic. Nature.

 17. That I often remember what someone said to me years ago, "Like the Nike ad says, Margaret....'Just Do It'."

 18. For times I remember to be patient: With myself, with others and in different situations.

19. My piano. Although it doesn't get played fact in recent years, hardly at all..... it sits in our living room, available. There isn't a day I walk past it that I don't look forward to sitting down and playing again.

 20. Homemade food; Healthy ingredients. It isn't always easy to find the time...and is oh-so-tempting not to......but I feel better when I allow for the process of planning and shopping and chopping and cooking. When I know what ends up on my plate. 

21. My computer: Email. Communication in real time. Storage. Photoshop. Spellcheck.

22. A car I feel safe driving. One that gets me out and about in all kind of weather and terrain.

23. Getting out of town (it doesn't have to be far) and the new perspective I have when I come back.

24. When I step outside my 'comfort zone'. Uncomfortable at times......yes......but I'm always glad when I do.

25. For the seasons as they change: Appreciating the previous one. Preparing for the next.


What is it that you are thankful for? Wishing you a Wonderful Thanksgiving!



Saturday, November 19, 2011


I am a day late in posting.  For as disciplined as I've tried to be it happened anyway as life took over in a variety of ways and trumped my own personal goal to post each Tuesday and Friday.

Knowing that the week before Thanksgiving is BUSY, I had plans to get things mostly put together for this post by Thursday. It didn't happen. On Friday morning I got out of bed extra early in order to give myself a couple of extra hours in the day. Nope. This was in itself a learning opportunity......just like the rest of this blog has been.

I have to chuckle at what I seem to have forgotten so quickly about having three home. Things that don't apply when it's just Marc and I. Like trips to Costco to replenish what I know the five of us will easily go through in a week. (Could it be that we have been going out to eat just a bit too often...or that what I've been cooking up for two has been......lacking?) That's how I spent the better part of Wednesday and most of Thursday of this week: Filling my cart with what I knew we were out of,  what we would soon run out of, things we would go through quickly and food for our Thanksgiving meal. And then there were the new pillows we've needed for awhile. And sheets and a mattress pad to replace the ones that Patrick took with him when he moved. 

For as much time as it took to consider and choose and decide what would make the cut and end up in my cart,  even more was spent loading it into and out of my car and finding or creating space for it in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. I had forgotten how the Costco run can turn into the one chore I do all day. And when I haven't been in awhile and all five of us will be in the house together.... all day for two days.

Currently, there is one tired body sleeping in a freshly made bed in a recently cleaned room upstairs. I'm expecting another on on Monday and one more, Wednesday. I think (but am not 100% certain) that I'm finished with Costco until then. But in the meantime, I forsee  quite a bit of chopping and mixing in my recently stocked kitchen. Stirring a pot on top of the stove. Something baking in the oven or tossed in a salad bowl. Last night it was steaming bowls of Cincinnati Chili with all of the toppings and an Apple Cake. This morning I'm thinking homemade waffles, bacon and orange juice. These are the things I miss and now look forward to. Watching those boys eat. Knowing they are sleeping in a clean and comfortable room.

Wishing you a very happy week ahead with much to be thankful for. I am thankful that you read and check in, and for your friendship. Be back Tuesday!



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Who We Knit For

New commercials are playing on the television and radio. Red and green ads splash across billboards. I have a stack of catalogs on top of my desk. All of this serves as a reminder that the holidays are just around the corner. 

Last evening this is what I stumbled upon in the Vogue Knitting Holiday issue I just received:

"Holiday time in Canada brings up the age-old question: "Who do we knit for and how many knitted items can we churn out before present opening time?"

Having been raised by said Canadian, I remember watching my Mom turn out hats, scarves, blankets and sweaters during pre-holiday knitting sessions. Except, of course, when I was the recipient. Then I wondered after ripping through the paper and opening the box, how she had manged to hide the project from me as she worked. The first year I followed her lead I was nine or ten years old. I gave a pair of pink slippers I had knit in garter stitch to my grandmother. It was my first completed knitting project.

Three years ago I began a tradition of knitting winter hats for each of my boys. It is something useful and makes me feel good when they live far away and in places with real potential for cold, windy weather and lots of snow. I am an intermediate knitter at best....but this is something I can do. It goes quickly and after knitting several hats, I've learned a lot.  I will readily admit that making them has benefited us both.

The holiday season is appraoching and I welcome it. I will shop......but I will also 'make'. There is a wooden tray filled with yarn sitting on my coffee table; separate balls that are so beautiful before the stitches are even woven together. A small stash of finished projects rests next to the couch. No......I won't say who is getting what from whom, but I do have a list, and as many as I have time for will receive.

Wishing you some wonderful weeks ahead!



Friday, November 11, 2011

Beer and Chocolate

Last night we met my brother in the city and attended Bittersweet, a beer and chocolate tasting event held at the Fremont Brewing Company. We sipped, tasted and compared. Listened to music. Ate cheese and crackers. Went out for pizza afterward.

Last weekend a short write-up in the paper caught our attention. After minimal discussion, we got on line and bought tickets. I'll be completely honest here and admit we had no idea that it was a fundraiser for FamilyWorks when we bought them (but I'm sure glad it was)......we simply thought it would be interesting to see how 8 breweries and a local chocolate maker would pair up two of our favorite things. And they did it splendidly.

Each station served up small tastes of a couple of different brews: one created specifically for this evening and one chosen to be sipped along with small bites of a complementary Theo chocolate flavor. I can't say that I had a favorite; I enjoyed them all. I will tell you that the one I found most interesting had an aftertaste with a strong cayenne pepper kick.

The event was sold out......which I'm hoping serves as encouragement for its sponsors to hold it again next year. We will no doubt end up there if they do.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This Time of Year

I have ended up at this most picturesque shopping village a couple of different times this week. Once to pick up an extra ball of yarn, and once for lunch at the Boarding House during an errand filled Saturday with Marc. The Boarding House is a place I've been stopping for a bite to eat ever since I first moved to Seattle. Back then, it seemed like quite a drive out of the city and was where I used to meet my mom for lunch on her way out of town after a visit. My favorite combo......and the one I've been ordering for the avocado-veggie sandwich on whole grain bread paired with a bowl of potato-dill soup. I think I've had it every single time I've eaten there. They are well known for that soup, as well as for their apple crisp, which you can purchase by the 9 x 13 pan, should you want/need that amount.

The sorry fact about today is that I have come down with one of the many bugs that are being passed around at this time of year. I missed meeting up with my walking group this morning......just couldn't do it as we tend to walk fast and choose steep hills and long distances......but I'm hoping to be much better by the next time we meet. Don't want to lag too far behind! The rest of the day will most likely spent on the couch with hot chocolate, knitting and a favorite heavy blanket. The dinner I had planned may be put off until another night in favor of a pot of soup.

Enjoy your week!



Friday, November 4, 2011


Peter brought this gift to me when he returned home from London a few weeks ago, a No. 1 Pocket Kodak Junior, circa 1910(ish).  After a long drive, he walked in the front door with it, as well as a beautifully illustrated print of human internal organs for Marc. Although we had taken care of his dog while he was out of town, he did not mention that the gifts were in any way related to this. He simply gave them to us and shared the stories of how he had come across each one. He had found items he knew we would each enjoy.

He was right. The young man pays attention and his thoughtfulness does not go unnoticed. This trait is something I truly appreciate about him. It's a pretty good deal......being his mom. 

Last time we were in Missoula, the three of us, Peter, Marc and I, spent some time looking at a collection of 130 Ansel Adams prints at the Missoula Art Museum. The exhibit was inspiring, beautiful, educational and thought provoking......and it's what I wrote about this week for Make It Missoula. To take a look, Click Here.

Hope you have a lovely fall weekend!



Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Seattle was where I moved after college in order to complete an internship and was where I decided to take my first job. It is where Marc and I met, dated, fell in love, were married and began life with our boys.

Although we've lived in a small town east of the city for a number of years, there are days when I miss it. Days in which I feel the need to touch base with this part of my/our history. Every once in awhile we make the drive in......for a concert, a sporting event, for dinner. Every so often we feel the need to revisit places that we know and love, or to try out something new.

A couple of days ago it was time.......for a walk around Greenlake and a bowl of clam chowder at Duke's across the street.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...