Saturday, January 31, 2009

We Got A Valentine!

I wish we could go here!

Look what this very sweet lady named Loida who lives in China sent to me. It is very exotic looking don't you think? I am not sure how she made these but there a several on her blog and they are really great. I was so surprised! It is amazing how sweet people can be. Thank you, Loida! Happy Valentine's Day to you also!

Friday, January 30, 2009

For Connie

P.S. Oh, I do have good news!
Hazie is home from the hospital and doing pretty well.
Thank Heavens!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Beautiful Laura!

Tomorrow is our youngest daughter's birthday. Since she lives in Italy I am posting it today so when we go to bed tonight she will be getting up to enjoy her special day. That way she won't have to wait all day to get birthday greetings from the USA. Last year I spent hours and hours making this slide show of her life up until her 30th birthday. This year is a real piece of cake just added some pictures of the year for her to enjoy. If you would like to wish her a Happy Birthday just do so in the comment section. I'll go first~

So, Happy Birthday, Laura Lou! Oh, how I wish I could make you a cake and be with you today and I know Dad does too. You have always been such a joy to us and we love you so much. Have a wonderful day and know that people all over the world are wishing you a very happy new year and a great day of celebration today! Believe me we are having one over here. We are happy you were born and are celebrating it as much for us and your gifts of happiness to us, as we are for you. Love you forever, Mom & Dad

Kitchen Facelift at the Cottage

In the next month or so we will begin our kitchen face lift plans. I have been thinking about how to keep things cottage-like, make the redesign as financially painless as possible and still create a beautiful new look. I love white cabinetry. I think it is just so refreshing and light and fits well in our setting. So we want to keep our cabinets and just replace the doors and hardware. New paint will make them look great and I do want one of the cabinets to have glass in the doors with lights to display dishes. This will suit our needs perfectly and be way less expensive than new cabinets. We definitely need new counter tops. I am excited about that and am hoping for Silestone, Granite or Honed Marble, and am also hoping for a farm sink and a great faucet. Our current appliances will do just fine. And we are keeping our flooring. We will also be replacing windows and light fixtures, hopefully. I am thinking about a buttery yellow for the walls but still am open to ideas there. I just want it to have a fresh, clean look. The very thought of it all is so exciting.

I love this sink!

I fell in love with this kitchen! It was posted on Melissa's and referenced the redesign at this site.

This kitchen is similar in style to what we want and it was interesting to see the thought processes the home owners went through in keeping the same feel while updating their older home. Check out the two sites if you like to look at kitchen redesigns. I am in my glory. Can't wait to get under way! It is fun to look at what others have done to get inspiration but the best part is doing your own thing!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is "You Know Who" Cheating On You?

Well, now that I have your attention~how are you doing on your resolutions for the New Year? I think this is the first year in my entire life that I feel that I have set some goals that are really important to me and that I intend to keep forever. I am evolving not just resolving. Evolving includes changing behavior which requires more than desire, it involved action.

When we don't follow through with what we know is right and what we have committed to do we are cheating ourselves. We have all been cheated by others in some fashion and know how it feels. Why would we want to do that to ourselves? When I use to feel battered by the world I would go easy on myself. Well, now I am harder on myself in a constructive way. No more kid gloves around this house. Just a more realistic approach to getting what I want.

30 years ago a woman told me she had succeeded at the impossible dream she had because she didn't cheat herself anymore. I am a very slow learner in some things. But you are brilliant so I am passing it along to you in case you may see the wisdom in it as your tender young age! That way you can enjoy your successes longer!

Go After What You Really Want!

Baby Hazel

Just a little note asking for prayers for our little Hazel. She has been hospitalized for dehydration after the discovery of an intestinal infection. Hopefully a short stay this time if things get under control. Thanks for your prayers...they help!

A Bouquet for a Speedy Recovery, Littlest Angel!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let There Be Light

Nothing can add more to the cheerfulness of the day then letting in the light. We are all affected by light and it has a tendency to raise our spirits and make the whole day seem full of possibilities. Many people are affected by the lack of sunlight and it can cause a depression and sense of malaise. (SAD, Season Affective Disorder)

Often I will go into homes and everything is so dark and dreary. Heavy drapes that are always drawn are just not conducive to productivity and over all well-being. Even if you have privacy issues there are alternatives to all the darkness during daylight hours.

If you have the two inch blinds or shutters, rasie them all the way up as seen above or just rotate the slats to an angle that people can't see in, but you can see out and still get the light. Put something light and airy over the windows and have them be something you can pull back during the day to let the light filter in to your space. You can dress a window without covering it.

Rotate on an angle tilting them up rather than down. That way you can see out! When closing them use this same angle to close. Angling them up keeps your room warmer.

In our house with this southern exposure we need lots of light in our family room. Originally we had a window about a third of this size and adding in this window made all the difference in bringing the outside in and expanding our world to include the light and foliage of the back yard. We love looking out and watching the deer graze on the ivy!

It is a beautiful day~enjoy it to the fullest with sunlight all around you!

Monday, January 26, 2009


When you live in CA this is a typical late January early February day. I was out doing errands and I just found myself drawn up toward Mt. Diablo in hopes of capturing what I saw. I think it was breathtaking! We haven't even had much rain and look at the lush beauty of the hillsides. I love that no matter what the state of the affairs of man may be, the wonders of nature are given to all; old and young, rich and poor, all colors and creeds. We all may partake freely. Now that is a Good and Gracious Father. It is one of the few things our new President doesn't have to worry about in the least and neither do we.

Blissfully Domestic Publication~Guest Rooms

I have recently started to do some writing again for Blissfully Domestic now that things are settling down again after the holidays. You are probably going...holidays? What? That is a distant memory for most of you. Well long story short, my Christmas tree is still up. Yup. That will teach me to procrastinate. When I was 35 this would have put me over the brink...but now I realize it isn't earth shattering after all.

Poor Jim hurt his back three week ago and with a herniated disc I do not want him to even lift a garbage bag. He is getting better but I'll let you know if I have to hang shamrocks on the tree. At least all the other Christmas stuff is packed up and stacked neatly in the guest room. That all has to go in the attic and so it all takes both of us to get it up there.

The moral of the story is: "Never put off until tomorrow what you should be doing today!" So anyhoo, here's my article on Guest Room Amenities (which do not include boxes of Christmas junk, incidentally.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


~Pair a Dimes~
Sorry But I Just Need Visuals
(corny, I know)

Because of some miraculous things have been happening to me in my personal growth and development I have been thinking a lot about exactly how much impact our mind has on what we can accomplish. Truer words have never been spoken than, "If you think you can or you think you can't, you are always right!

Paradigms are sometimes equated with maps. Maps show us how to get where we want to go. If the map is outdated it can lead us astray. In the same way if we just get our minds set on something and never seek new information or if we never evaluate another way of looking at something we may never find our way. By the same token, if we never think that we could actually be wrong about something, how can we change something and move on? To be humble is to be teachable. Even if you are gaining the knowledge but never acting on it, it doesn't help much. When what you know and what you do are two different things, how can there be peace of mind?

We all operate under the influence of our paradigms or ways of thinking about things. Simply stated a paradigm switch is just changing your mind about something. This is a woman's prerogative, right? Not to leave you guys out, of course the same is true for you. Sometimes when our paradigms results in narrow-minded thinking we can really cramp our own style in our progression.

Well, that is what happened to me and I stuck with my paradigm like super glue for 30 years, thinking and truly believing with all of my heart and soul that I was incapable of doing something that I truly wanted and needed to do. Within the past month I have had a complete paradigm switch with the help of God. I am not only able to do the thing I wanted to do so badly, but shockingly, I am getting better at it everyday. The thing hasn't changed one bit but my ability to do it has increased 100% in 30 days. When you want something bad enough your can figure out a way to get it. It just may be that you will need to change your thinking first and let your spirit and your mind work together to lead you to a new place.

This one experience has led me to know that I can do whatever I want to do in this life and be successful if I just do my part. It is funny how you hear something all your life and then one day as you actually experience it, it clicks and becomes real. And that one paradigm switch has truly changed my life. It makes me feel like dancing!

Painting by my cousin, William F. Reese
Used with permission

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Reality Bites!

Last week one night I watched P.S. I Love You again. You have probably all seen it but if! It stars Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler. The scenery of the parts filmed in Ireland are absolutely gorgeous. Kathy Bates is good in it too and then there's Harry Connick, Jr. I really enjoy this movie and this is one of the reasons why. I had never seen "him" before and what a delightful discovery!

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

This guy is so darn handsome and I was just thinking he is a mix between Tom Selleck and George Clooney. I love the character he plays in the movie. He does a great Irish accent. He has a 'to die for' smile and is some beautiful eye candy. The thought came to me that I should find out more about him after I oogled him on the big screen, so I Googled him my other screen!

Well, you can imagine my utter horror when I discovered he was born the year after Jim and I graduated from high school and realized we are old enough to be his parents! Well, all I can say is reality bites! Hard!

Oh well, that is why I love movies! They can take me away better than a Calgon bath! It is wonderful that God has planned aging in such a way that it sneaks up on you and in your heart and mind you can still feel like a silly teenager. He is a loving God!

Is it just me, ladies, or is this Jeffrey Dean Morgan one drop dead gorgeous male? If I see no affirming comments then I 'll just keep him as mine, K?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rossie...Anybody You Know?

I really had a good laugh while reading our Laura's post today! The boys just crack me up with some of the funny things they say. Especially Rossie~he is so out there with whatever is on his mind.

After that I ran into this picture and my first thought was ~Hmmm, I wonder if this is how Ross sees me, his Gramma! The little boy sure looks like him at any rate. So Laura, give it a whirl see what he says and then let me know. If it is painfully telling...lie to me...OK? The only things that will save me is I never wear aprons and I never make pies. But she does have short blondish hair, wire rimmed glasses and several chins and appears to be left-handed. Oh no, I am in big trouble! Oh and Happy Pie Day, I am not having any, thank you very much!

Kids are so little I just wonder what they actually see when they are staring straight up at you. I wonder but I am not sure I REALLY want to know.

Elegance Rediscovered

When you think of a bride do you like to see beautiful, modest, elegance? I really do. The trend has been in the last decade or so to reveal more and more of the bride's skin while the marriage is taking place. Not everyone likes this, including many grooms, and most certainly not everyone looks good in very revealing gowns. Beautiful elegance has always had a place although often is hard to find anymore with the current trends in fashion design.

My dear friend, Faye Hunt, has created a solution after dealing with this when her three daughters married. She has designed some gorgeous gowns to fill the bill. If you or someone you know is looking for something classy and different and breathtaking, visit Alleanza Bridal for the details on how you can order a lovely, made to order bridal gown or all occasion dress of the highest quality today. If you like what you see, please spread the word. Alleanza Bridal will never let you down!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If You Love Beautiful Art...


My cousin, William F. Reese, is a masterful and well-known artist who lives, paints and owns a gallery and teaches art classes in Washington State. After 13 years he has completed his new book. Included here is a sampling of his work. I hope you enjoy it and visit his website. With 78 full color plates this book is a real value. Here is an excerpt from the brochure I received (I have added in the art work for you to see.)

“The Painter’s Process” by William F. Reese, forward by Mary N. Balcomb. This book covers Reese’s philosophy and his own discussion of the process of painting. Reese explains his own approach to such subjects as color, composition, edges, and infinity as it relates to perspective among many other topics. Plus a Q and A section with subjects put forth by others.

8”x10” 157 pages 78 full color plates
Hardcover $80 SoftCover $60 plus state sales tax in
Washington and $5 shipping in USA
Blueraven Publishing 509 884 9246

If you stop by Bill's website tell him his cousin sent you! Thanks and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's Winter

Wishful Thinking!

We are having our first wintery day and already I am ready for spring. It is so dark and dreary outside. It is fun to be near the fireplace and warm and cozy but we CA girls need our sunshine!

Renewal and Reconciliation

President Obama's First Proclamation:

Several hours ago, in his first official act since taking the oath of office, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation, calling on Americans to serve one another and our common purpose on this National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation. Check it out below, or read it on the proclamations page.

- - - - - - -

As I take the sacred oath of the highest office in the land, I am humbled by the responsibility placed upon my shoulders, renewed by the courage and decency of the American people, and fortified by my faith in an awesome God.

We are in the midst of a season of trial. Our Nation is being tested, and our people know great uncertainty. Yet the story of America is one of renewal in the face of adversity, reconciliation in a time of discord, and we know that there is a purpose for everything under heaven.
On this Inauguration Day, we are reminded that we are heirs to over two centuries of American democracy, and that this legacy is not simply a birthright -- it is a glorious burden. Now it falls to us to come together as a people to carry it forward once more.

So in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, let us remember that: "The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation, and call upon all of our citizens to serve one another and the common purpose of remaking this Nation for our new century.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We Have a New President!

President of These United States
President Barack Obama # 44

I really enjoyed watching the inaugural activities on my computer this morning. Although I do not agree with everything that President Obama stands for, I do respect his leadership skills, his family life and his desire to make necessary changes for our country. I respect his Christianity and his respect of every American. I love that he has called upon the nation to unite and serve each other and lift things up.

To date the press has been very favorable of him and his political life. Just yesterday Jim was saying just watch the press will now begin to do a 180 and start to tear him to shreds. On Jim's way home from his doctor appointment he heard the first of it on NPR where someone was criticizing the President's speech. I thought his speech was idealistic and hopeful and unifying. What did the press expect? He coudn't have gotten up and, here I am, things are a rotten mess, very depressing on all fronts...what should I do? You cannot please everyone no matter what you do.

I think we should all give him a chance to make some needed changes. Everyone deserves that much. And I think we all need to remember he is just one man. He is not a king, a savior, a god or a magician. I think his greatest strength is to be a voice that people listen to for unity, getting involved and serving our countrymen and keeping our country strong.

If the youth of this country look to him as a role model in working hard for what they want and he can renew their enthusiasm to try hard to achieve what they strive for, then it will be a better country for sure. As for those of us that are older and more experienced, we need to remember changes aren't going to happen overnight. And if we can keep in mind that you cannot believe everything the press says as they try to shape your thinking about everything and everyone...we will be OK. There is no such thing as unbiased journalism anymore. Sad but true!

United We'll Stand!
One Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice For all!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lanette's Healthy Life Blog

If you haven't been to Lanette's Blog lately and you should stop by. For Christmas Dave gave her a little video recorder and she has been making some wonderful videos that are very inspiring if you want to be loss weight, be more fit and/or healthy. Lanette lost 65 pounds on the Weight Watcher Program two and a half year ago and turned her life around with exercise. She is a certified personal trainer and was selected as Weight Watcher Leader of the Year in our entire region in 2008.

In her blog she shares what makes her tick, what motitves her and how she has made this journey to better healthy living. She is dedicated to helping others in all things healthy. Her little video segments are short and to the point. Her enthusiasm is contagious! Don't expect a glossy Hollywood production just something that is real, relevant, and from the heart and totally inspiring. Thanks Lanette!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jimbob's Zuppa!

OK, today we once again made "The Soup." Some of you don't know my hubby so let me explain. He is is the most disciplined man on the planet. He used to have a weight issue about 25 years ago. One day he decided he would be fit and healthy...he did it...end of story. He decided he should run or bike everyday so he does. You get the picture. This is a life style few can duplicate. It is kind of scary amazing!

Well, anyway he loves this soup recipe I made up and so he wants to eat it all the time. I mean like five time a week! So today we made it again for the billionth time and I am going to share this recipe. It is actually very good, it is just that I am personally so sick to death of it. But it makes him happy so I do it for him.

It actually started out as the Weight Watcher cabbage soup recipe but I have changed it quite a bit now. When I make it I make a large pot full and then I just keep it in our 2nd frig outside. It is actually very convenient and I love not having to dream up something new daily. In these economic times it is also very inexpensive to make and eat. It lasts a long time for just two people. It is filling and nutritious and you can always add meat if you want to do that as well. If there are veggies you don't like or ones you do~use whatever. I am easy. I'll just tell you how I make the magic zuppa that makes him so happy! Then you just do your own thing.

I also will freeze it sometimes into individual evening meals for two and that is great in a gallon size Ziplock plastic bag. I lay them flat in the freezer to freeze them and then they store easily too. Often I will make a salad with it and then just have a WW frozen dinner or something else while Jim eats his soup just so I can use a fork for a change. I also buy baguettes and cut them up and freeze them too so then I can just pull out a couple of pieces of bread at a time. That way I am not as tempted to eat a bunch of bread. He just says he won't and doesn't! If only I could be more like him! But that is a story for another day.

Ok, then the moment you have all been waiting for....the secret recipe.

1 large can (64 oz?) Swanson's Fat Free Chicken broth
2 cans of dice tomatoes
2 cans of refried beans (these just blend in and thicken the soup and add protein.)
1/2 to 2/3 bottle of taco sauce (If I don't have that I use ketchup and some taco seasoning)

1 leek or some chopped onion (at least one big one)
1 box of sliced mushrooms
1 bag of shredded carrots
1/4 cup of lentils
1/4 cup of barley
diced green or red pepper
2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash sliced medium thickness. Not too thin as it will be too soggy.
Sometimes I put in one can of corn or string beans
A bunch of minced garlic
Napa cabbage. I shred about three fourths of a big head of cabbage. I actually look for a smallish one but sometimes they are huge.
Salt and pepper to taste.

The first thing I do is put a little olive oil in the big pan (I use my big stock pot) and saute the garlic. I buy those little jars of minced garlic and I put in two heaping teaspoons. We love garlic over here. This makes a huge pot of soup so adjust it according to what you like. Same with the taco sauce if you like hot or medium use that. I use mild. Nothing is really exact I am not really a person who uses recipes much when I cook. I often start with one but seem to come up with variations of it as I go along. I just go by instinct. Like I don't really measure the lentils and barley I just pour them into my cupped hand. Lazy and not very scientific, but it works.

When the garlic is sauteed add the broth and the beans and the tomatoes and blend together well and that is the stock base of the soup. Then I just add all the veggies and put the cabbage on top. It will seem very thick but it thins down some after cooking. I bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 45 minutes.

I will take a close-up photo tomorrow right before dinner so you can see what it looks like. I like to serve it with a little Asiago, Parmesan or cheddar cheese on top.

The soup is very hearty and if we are what we eat, than just call this recipe "JIM!"