30 March 2012


Last summer we traded up from our queen-sized bed to a king--made up from (2) twin extra-long bed frames/mattresses. I pushed for the upgrade because CA can be a blanket hog, and with my sometimes erratic sleep habits I'd become extremely sensitive to bumps-in-the-night.

We've had a headboard dilemma, thinking we'd commission an upholstered headboard once we moved from the main parts of the house redecorating to the master bedroom. Somewhere between then and now I got the idea to re-purpose the antique iron twin bed frame that had been DM's growing up.

Our handy-dandy electrician with his handy-man crew took on the project of converting a headboard and foot board of different heights into the king-sized headboard we desired. I'd asked that they be wall-mounted to alleviate the rattle-rattle I associate with metallic headboards.

So, we're now in the process of choosing fabric for a bed skirt and a few fun pillows. And, the art above the bed is too small, so that requires some re-thinking and possible re-purposing, also.

As for the toss pillows--I'd found white linen napkins a couple of years ago which I've had embroidered with some significant numbers and French phrases. DV is having those made into pillows to use here. And, I'm guessing we'll repeat the bed skirt fabric in a couple of pillows, too.

Everywhere There are Limones...

24 March 2012


Isn't it really the twists and swerves of daily life that keeps it interesting? And, me on my toes.

Instead of entertaining friends on Sunday, I'm flying to Phoenix-Scottsdale with my sister PM. Dad's middle brother has passed away after a rather brief illness, and at the age of 88.

We're sadden, yet quite proud of all RFJ has accomplished in his long life. I remember the great pride my grandparents took in all of his interests and accomplishments. From humble, small town beginnings he served his country in WWII, attained advance degrees in mathematics, raised a fine family, and managed to publish more than a dozen textbooks with a pre-eminent scholastic publisher.

Both of my Dad's brothers have had chronic health issues, while he--the oldest at 90--stays remarkably healthy. (He hates it when we say he's healthy!)

So... JE's family's in Orlando this next week visiting her DM's family, and CA holds down the fort at home (coaching soccer this Spring Break week), while I fly off to AZ (Or, "the desert" as I explained to LE this morning. She's worried about sand storms...)

23 March 2012

PB and J French Toast

Guessing we named French toast after the Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame typically served as a luncheon entree in cafes or bistros in France.

Yesterday morning I indulged in my first ever PB and J French toast. To-die-for! Truly.

I tiptoed in--making just half a sandwich to start--with Skippy Natural PB and some black raspberry preserves. Just dipped in the standard egg mixture--one egg, some milk and vanilla, all whisked together. Grilled that baby in a combination of vegetable oil and butter until it was perfectly golden.

Everything was all gooey and drippy, and crunchy, too. Double YUM!!

One comment. Fold do not cut bread in half to prevent excessive oozing and thus smoke while grilling.

21 March 2012


I was photographing my small antiques for Shop My Basement this morning, and when I opened this purse to check the markings I discovered it is Vienna Handwork.

Who knew all those years ago when I spotted this in an antiques mall (and my friend NF kindly surprised me with it) that we would have such a strong connection to Vienna.

Almost every trip to Europe we've made has included a landing in Vienna. That's just an hour from Bratislava--the long-time home of our son and his family.

When NF gave me this purse, she included a gift card with the sentiment:

When things are bad and getting worse,
keep cookie in your purse.

This lovely I'm keeping. For a long time. Thanks, NF.

20 March 2012

New Nostalgia

Visit New Nostalgia, a brilliant blog by a beautiful young mom. Lots of wisdom, truth, and honest words.

I'm inspired by AB's story and encouraged by young moms like her who put such energy and creativity into their families lives.

19 March 2012

Beach Babes

The little girls spent a few hours on the beach yesterday. I think they're spoiled for life. The Midwest or Central Europe will never quite measure up.


I always believe people are either ocean people or mountain people. I'm an ocean girl (with a red head's complexion and sun sensitivities that include hives). (yawn...) Yet, I'm absolutely drawn to the sea.



More Lemonade


Another Chicago blogger, Sarah Jane at Walking Around posted a link to some gorgeous lemonade recipes. Inspiring. If this crazy Chicago weather continues, the lemonade stand opens on Friday.




18 March 2012

The Way

This movie poster truly disappoints me.
Hello? Spain? Fantastic scenery.
This was the best you could do?
Budget must have been tight.

This one is not much better.

CA and I had our current NetFlix selection gathering dust all week, or longer. We do stream, but we're (CA, that is) still hanging on to the old-school: mail one back; receive the next movie in the que.

Anyway, we started this during dinner... I know. How truly civilized of us! But, it's Sunday night and we deserve to break all the rules tonight. Why? Just 'cuz.

Loved this movie. Of course, President Bartlett is a fantastic actor. Apparently Emilio Estevez wrote the screenplay based on a book by Jack Hitt, and EE directed and also stars (mostly as a prodigal son dead guy).

It's always good when CA and I find a movie/show that we can enjoy together.

It is really true that Europeans absolutely distrust all Romanians (gypsies). This film makes an effort to dispel that prejudice.

See what I mean?! And, this is just one frame from lovely cinematography.

THE WAY is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an irascible American doctor who comes to France to deal with the tragic loss of his son (played by Emilio Estevez). Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage "The Way of St. James" to honor his son's desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn't plan on is the profound impact this trip will have on him. Through unexpected and oftentimes amusing experiences along "The Way," Tom discovers the difference between "the life we live and the life we choose.”Read More
taken from here


Almost Seven

My heart jumped into my throat when I saw this photo of our first grandchild LG. She was talking to me on her mommy's cellphone while getting frozen yogurt. Suddenly, she's almost 7 yrs and giving us a glimpse of the teenager she will be all to soon.



13 March 2012

March 11 - 13, Ohio

iPhone photos again.

D+M's family flew into Columbus, OH on Sunday afternoon for a conference and some meetings about where they'll move for work after this Stint in Orlando. They've l-o-v-e-d- Orlando--the good weather, the steamy weather. All of it. But, at the end of June they will move on. That could mean more time in Orlando, Budapest, or somewhere in Ohio. Or, somewhere entirely yet unknown. The time has come for decisions to be made.

So, I was invited to join the family for a few days while they were in Ohio, but Mr. Shingles and the resulting narcotics got in the way and I had to cancel. Then, on Friday, after a terribly painful Thursday, all of a sudden the pain was greatly reduced.

CA was talked into having practice for his soccer team on Saturday and canceling Monday. We got up very early Sunday morning and drove 6 hours to the Dayton area to meet D+M's family.

We had such fun. We took along the big Christmas present for the little girls that didn't fit into the car for our beach trip--we took RvH along, instead. :) Inside was a puppet theater, and there was also a bag with three puppets--one from Melissa and Doug and two from Folkmania.

Can I just interrupt myself to say these puppets are of the very best quality and construction. They are detailed and fanciful. We have a prince, a princess, and a very large friendly dragon called Smoulder. I love Smoulder the best, but the fantastical prince and princess are very special, too.

So, Sunday afternoon after some fun at a playground playing pirates with Izzy 1, Izzy 2, and Izzy 3, we went to our motel, the little girls opened the Christmas-wrapped puppet theater, and Papa put it together. The resulting show had some fairly chaotic choreography and dialogue. Fun. And then, we walked next door to a Pizza Hut for dinner, delivering the girls back to mom and dad about 7:15pm.

Honestly, I was asleep before 8:00pm and CA was not far behind.

CA peeked out the window early on Monday morning and said, "Our day just got a lot harder... It's raining!" Yep! Hadn't thought about weather constraints. So, after meeting early we took the little girls to a mall in Beavercreek, making a wide U-turn when we spotted Elé Cake Shop.

We o-o-ohed and ah-h-hed and imbided. KF was determined to have one very specific cupcake, while everyone participated in choosing a special St. Patrick's Day Bailey's cupcake for daddy (who it turns out is enjoying Weight Watchers), and cake pops around. KF explained to me as we exited the shop, that she was especially interested in the icing and didn't care for the chocolate cake! Surprise!

Our time at the mall was so very special. NJ is talking a lot more now, and when she spotted my Starbucks iced tea, she wanted her own. She drank every drop of her kids-sized tea and then co-opted some of LG's Icey.

Back in the car I spotted a Sonic and directed CA. NJ was asleep and KF had decided she'd rather sleep than eat, so we opted for a stay-in-the-car lunch at Sonic, delivered on roller blades. Perfect.

CA and I took a bit of a break while the little girls joined up with the children's activities at the AIA conference, and then we all got together for a good Mexican meal at Los Mariachi's.

After some more time at the playground--again playing pirates and climbing and swinging--we all decided on an early night. Hugs and kisses around. We need to get together again soon.

12 March 2012


MA had a part in this video. He sold the account. Love this concept. Great for working parents. A way to eat at home--better nutrition, save $$.

10 March 2012

Can't Resist

via Erika at Urban Grace Interiors

Just can't resist some beautiful lemon photos. Our brother-in-law, PW, grows Meyer lemons, too. We taught their young daughter to make lemon curd and lemon tarts and many of their Meyer lemons find their way into those goodies. Yum!

I keep finding Meyer lemon recipes in blogland. Like Lemon Syrup. Or, Lemon Risotto.


09 March 2012

March 4 - 8: Omaha

Unfortunately, all photos in this post were just iPhone shots.
Too much luggage to include a good camera.

Long before Mr. Shingles came for a visit, I'd made reservations for Omaha. MA had to be out-of-town and I was invited to stay with the Fun Kids and JE for part of that time.

We stuck pretty close to home, because of my limitations, but JE had plans each day for the Fun Kids. We ate Chinese, we ate Chipotle, we made some burgers, I had a quiet lunch in Midtown at Cantina Loredo--it's always about the food.

Both kids were on their knees on this table watching a "show" when I approached
with my camera phone, but JA high-tailed it out of there lickety-split. Camera shy?

LE got to hand-pick her birthday gift--pink ballet slippers we ordered from Payless Shoes Online. And, both the older Fun Kids had beautiful red boxes with green polka dots filled with small gifts. They each chose, throughout the day, 1-2-or-3 small gifts with their eyes closed. Fun, fun.

JA wanted to wear his retro-Cubs grey t-shirt for pre-school, over the new button shirt. And, he loves button-front shirts. In fact, on Monday morning every member of the Smith family was wearing a new shirt picked out by moi!

This one's from Christmas, but it's my favorite.

LC is the to-die-for baby. He's gorgeous, flirtatious, and yet shy. He loves his mommy, but worships me from afar! He's insisting, at 7-1/2 months, that solid food is the way to go. Very observant of what the older two are doing and desperate to be on their team.

From August, but it's obvious why I have to repeat it here.

Miss Lucy-Lu loves her daddy!
LE is full of witticisms and as sweet as a small, almost 3 year-old girl can be. She's such a helper and pleaser. Decided at one point to call me Grammy, but questions immediately if that was a nice word. She also wanted to call JA, Jo-Jo, which he declined vehemently.

JA is all testorerone and energy, with crazy dance moves, brilliant made-up games, and make-believe. He loves music. He's very orderly-minded and, poor dear, a very overactive brain that takes up to 1-1/2 hours to unwind at night.Yet, he mostly waits it out until the Sandman mercifully arrives.

JE made me feel welcome and appreciated. I loved every second.

08 March 2012

Be Still My Beating Heart

via The Delicious Life



How very perfect. Just the ticket to make me smile on a very difficult day (drat you Mr. Shingles!).



06 March 2012


In Omaha, I'm usually " grandma." CA is "grandpa." (The other set of grandparents in nearby Lincoln are "Nana" and "Papa.")

In Orlando, I'm still "grandma" but CA is "Papa." The other set of grandparents are "Dedi" and "Babi." Short for the Slovak peasant form--"Dedko" and "Babka." Actually, the correct citified version (these grandparents live in cosmopolitan Bratislava) would be Stara Mama and Stary Otec, but first grandchild LE set the precedent when she was first learning to speak, and the Slovak grandparents quite happily answer to the simpler names.

We work hard to keep our identities straight. Sometimes we mis-speak and they call us on it...

Tonight The Fun Kids Club were kissing me goodnight and giggling and bouncing around calling me "grammy." LE wanted to know if that was a nice name.

Yes. Very nice.


Wucy Witticisms

Last night JE bought a set of Peter Rabbit silverware at Pottery Barn Kids for almost 3 year old LE. Too late, she remembered they were still in her purse this morning.

LE pulled them out and said, "I want a computer for my birthday, not silverware!"

Later, JE thought she'd hide the silverware. Maybe LE would forget about it and still be surprised. She couldn't find it, and finally asked LE. LE ran into the playroom-office and reached under the couch. She'd wrapped it in a paper towel and hidden it--so it'd be a surprise ofr her birthday.

Later LE and JA were sword fighting in the kitchen--he with a long spoon and she with a rectangular blue plastic lid as a shield. All the time LE was yelling, "Use your inside voice, Jonah. Use your inside voice, Jonah."

05 March 2012

Wucy's Wisdom

From her daddy's Facebook today:

This morning while watching cartoons with my two year old daughter she offered this commentary on the pink female villain: 'I like that she is pink, but I do NOT like her attitude!"

03 March 2012

Taking My Act on the Road

Can't remember source. So sorry... Please let me know if you know.

The snuggle bugs in Omaha are calling my name... I fly out of Midway in Chicago very, very early tomorrow morning. I can hardly wait.

I'll be more of an on-looker this time due to the lingering neuropathy (nerve pain) from my recent Shingles virus. Still, we'll have such fun.

There will be gifts. There will be treats. And, giggles, squeals, and delight. The kids will probably make some noises, too. :)

CA stays home to coach soccer and check-up on GG who has developed pneumonia, congestive heart failure, etc. She's really sick, but getting better. Right now she's resting in the hospital, just where she should be.

If all goes well in Omaha, I may have a quick trip to Cincinnati in the near future. Yep! Our kids are on the move and because they'll be closer (just 5-1/2 hours) than usual, they've invited me to join them.

The little girls in Orlando have been enjoying the hot weather and doing lots of swimming. They love having a pool and lots of friends to enjoy it with. Florida has been a dream come true for DM + MK's family this year. Loving it.


02 March 2012

A Recent and Enduring Favorite

This floats my boat. Every time. If I weren't a bit lactose intolerant (yawn!), I'd eat it at least once every day. At least.

Fage Greek yougurt-2%, raspberries (and blueberries or bananas) and just a tad(!) bit of brown sugar sprinkled on top.