08 December 2013


Design Chic listed her top ten mirrors, which prompted me to show my three favorites from around our home.

Front Guest Bedroom

Entry Hall



03 December 2013

Colorado Christmas


Once Thanksgiving is over, it's time to select the perfect Colorado spruce. Our son's family found theirs in a perfectly snow-covered area, just one hour from Fort Collins. There's plenty of excitement building as the big day approaches. And, we soon plan to jump into the middle of that joy. Throughout November we've had good times with the Cincinnati Fun Kids, and can't wait to get to Colorado for more special moments, hugs, kisses, and secrets!


28 November 2013

The Feast


We are thankful. Very. Our family is abundantly blessed, and today is special as we share it with JE, MA, and the Cincinnati Fun Kids.


17 November 2013



(Photos from pjstar.com)


Devastation. It happens in minutes. Seconds. A tornado warning. A siren. Devastation.


This is my sister's neighborhood: Devonshire, Washington, IL. They moved into their 4-bedroom Cape Cod in 1968. Their firstborn son was just a couple of weeks old. They've raised a good family in that house. They've maintained, improved, and taken pride in a comfortable family home. In recent years bigger and fancier houses were built. Family homes. Well-tended and well-loved homes.


Today's tornado struck around 11:00am. My sister and brother-in-law were at church. They are safe. Their home is safe. Still, their lives are forever changed. Their community, their neighbors are devastated. Just around the corner all those pretty, well-tended family homes are smashed. Destroyed. Gone.


It's breath-takingly sad. I live 150 miles away and my family is safe and mostly comfortable in their beds tonight. Yet I could easily cry for those families, just like my own, who will live forever in the shadow of this storm.


On a November Sunday, shortly before Thanksgiving, their innocence was lost. The world can shatter no matter how carefully you tend to your corner. In an instant.


12 November 2013



LE has found her sweet spot. This is gonna take some time...


10 November 2013

Life Happens

Sometimes life just happens--the good, the bad, the ugly. This past six months have been over-full with the not-so-good, the bad, and some real ugly in our family.

To be clear--there have been times of joy and continuing reasons for thankfulness. Much good. Yet, it's so difficult to watch and experience aging parents, struggling siblings. Helping, supporting, encouraging just isn't enough. Sometimes there are no answers, no good solutions. Sometimes you just have to watch life unravel, get messy.

Faith helps, but change and resolution does not always come quickly, or at all. I remember having heard someone pose this scenario--from God's perspective--"Can you continue to trust me through this experience even if I never tell you why?"

One of my primary prayers during these extended family struggles has been. "Change me, dear Lord."  Because I know that I cannot change others. I may have a smidgen of influence, but I can't expect parents or siblings to conduct their lives, make decisions "my way." And, God's ways are not my ways. My wisdom is not his. He uses all--the good, the bad, the ugly--for his ultimate will.  To grow us, to shape us, to prepare us for the life he's given us.

10 September 2013


There's little at IKEA that I need or that will blend in with our decor, yet when I visit a store (here or in Batislava) I want...
Today I craved the craft-paper rolls, and the nifty wooden holder and cutter. I'm imagining disposable table runners. We'd used brown craft paper as a table runner to create our beachy Christmas vignette.
And, I wanted to buy about 12 or 16 of these to make a wall collage.
For years, red was the primary accent color in our decor. It isn't any more. I love red. This collage fits nowhere in our decor. There isn't even wall space for it. I still want to make a collage with these frames. (We're talking about renting a townhouse in Colorado in the future. Maybe then I can use these frames.)
I did, however, buy this...
LE has it hung on the enclosed porch, creating a special space fit for a princess. Fuel for her already well-developed make-believe. She's adept at drawing 2-year old LC into her scenarios.

08 September 2013

White Asparagus

White asparagus was in-season when we were in Alsace spring of 2012. At lunch in Riquewihr, we sat (closely) next to a remarkably composed Alsatian (German? Swiss?) lady. She savoured each morsel of her white asparagus entrée, and I envied her selection. I mean, she savoured each tiny bite. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
Fresh Market had some white asparagus on offer late last week, so CA and I came home from Saturday's farmers' market and made a lunch of poached eggs, white asparagus, and Hollandaise. Excellent!
We oven-roasted the asparagus with olive oil, clarified butter, salt + pepper. (I use PW's technique) I don't usually clarify butter, but since I'm following the Whole30 this month, I did take the extra step to eliminate the dairy solids. We also used the clarified butter in the Hollandaise sauce.
Technique from here.


07 September 2013

You Say Lemon, I Say Limone

Quite obviously, I would have loved the Kate Spade show at Fashion Week NYC.
Ah-h-h... Wonder what it costs?

03 September 2013

Reflections on Life

I was lying around, pondering the problems of the world, and I realized I don't really give a rat's pituti anymore:
.. If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
.. A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, but is still fat.
.. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years, while
.. A tortoise doesn't run and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years.
And, you tell me to exercise?? I don't think so.
Just grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to remember the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference. Now that I'm older here's what I've discovered:
1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.
3. I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.
4. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
5. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
6. If all is not lost, then where the heck is it?
7. It was a whole lot easier to get older, than to get wiser.
8. Some days, you're the top dog; some days you're the hydrant.
9. I wish the buck really did stop here; I sure could use a few of them.
10. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
11. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
12. It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.
13. The world only beats a path to your door when you're in the bathroom.
14. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees.
15. When I'm finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play chess.
16. It's not hard to meet expenses . . . they're everywhere.
17. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
18. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . . I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I'm "here after".
19. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.

02 September 2013

Dinner from the Farmers' Market

CA bought two lovely New York Strip Steaks at Fresh Market and we grilled our Farmers' Market bounty and steamed the green beans.
Just olive oil with a bit of Herbs de Provence. Baste, roast, turn, baste, roast. Until onions are caramelized.
Started with these...
Secret ingredient in the green beans: rendered bacon fat. Just one small teaspoon. Worth the calories!

31 August 2013

Farmers' Market

I guess it should be no surprise that the local farmers' market gets better each week, until it slowly fades away until next May. CA asked for vegetables to grill--although we actually oven-roast most of the time.
The small round red tomatoes are (L to R) Black Krims, Bellas, Oxheart. The tiny blush yellow are Garden Peach. The reddish gourd-shaped little guy on the extreme right is a Turkish eggplant. I do so prefer the French word, Aubergine, to Eggplant.
Mix of early pear varieties. I usually bake pears in butter, sugar, and cream--using an early Martha Stewart recipe.

From one of my first Martha coobooks. An attractive idea for this (at the time) young working mom..
Since I'm starting the Whole 30, I'm planning on using this recipe.
The pears were purchased from this charming farmer. I've promised him a copy of Martha's pears in cream recipe.
I topped-off my market visit with lunch here. Repeated the cucumber and avocado soup I had a couple of weeks ago. Very refreshing. Especially love the dollop of coulis--basil, tomato, and maybe jalapeño.
Ladies who Lunch

Do You Make Your Bed Everyday?

I wish I did. I LOVE climbing into a crisply-made bed. But, sometimes I'm lazy, on-the-run. Distracted.
Both CA and I will make the bed if we've been home alone all day and have accomplished nothing tangible. Somehow wanting to give the other an opposite impression. When the bed is made, it just looks like you've been organized and industrious.
My side...
CA's less cluttered side...
Both night stands are thrift shop finds. CA's fancy grey, 2-drawer is actually one deep drawer, which I love. He has room to hide his stuff.
Mine was $5, and lovingly painted by CA. I like having the lower shelf, so I can separate the now from the later.

30 August 2013

Herb and Vegetable Shears

Found these originally at the market in Cannes. The guy did a hopped-up Vegi-Matic style demo. It was impressive. Think I paid €5, but it might have been €10 because I hesitated, and bought just the one pair. Later, I found 4-blade shears in a kitchen store in Antibes for less €€ and bought them for JE and MK.
The best part of this particular purchase is the nifty blade cleaner. I find it indispensable. But, that's just me. I've now seen similar shears at Sur la table.

29 August 2013

Dinner Tonight: Pizza Margherita

Stone Fire's Naan is an excellent and tasty base for our summer pizza obsession.
CA's decided he likes his Naan brushed with EVO, but I stick with low-fat mayo. Both help seal the crust and keep the grated quesadilla cheese in place.
I decide to use thinly-sliced tomatoes on my pizza, but CA chooses tomato chunks. We're lucky to still have Beefsteak tomatoes from PJ's neighbor in Bayview Gardens.
I bake the two Naans at 400 degrees, usually for 10 minutes, but with this pizza I assemble in layers and bake twice.

After 6 minutes, I add the fresh Mozzarella to both and return to the 400 degree oven for 5 more minutes. NOTE: The fresh Mozzarella exudes water, so next time I'm going to bake the chunks on foil first, drain, and then add semi-melted Mozzarella to pizza.
After the second baking, I top mine with the freshly-julienned Basil and salt the tomatoes. CA's gets fresh tomato chunks and Basil.
We both drizzle Balsamic reduction over our pizzas. Excellent!