Saturday, June 20, 2015

Life Is Good!

It has been a busy week.  I had a really good business trip to Portland this week.  As always, the best part of any trip is always coming home.  I was so happy to see my sweet little Liesl and my sweet baboo.  Liesl's daddy takes such good care of her while I am gone.  It makes me feel better to know she is in such good hands.
Portland is a beautiful city.  The view of Mt. Hood is particularly breathtaking. While I was there I tried the strawberries.  My Oregon colleagues told me that they are very proud of Oregon strawberries.  They are red all of the way through and quite delicious. 
I am like a little kid on airplanes and always choose a window seat whenever possible.  I had not ever flown north, and I was stunned at the beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountains from the plane.  All of the sudden in the midst of all of the gorgeous mountains a huge mountain would stand way above the rest like Mount Shasta, or a magnificent body of water like Crater Lake would appear.  I felt so grateful to be able to see such a beautiful site. 
The most beautiful sight of all was a little bearded face (Liesl) and a larger bearded face (Bill) greeting me at the front door.  Today we all got a little extra sleep, then went for a walk in the park.  Liesl loves the park and was acting like a toddler when it was time to go.  She was trying to think of anything to prolong the walk back to the car.  She was walking as slowly as she could manage.  It was silly.  But she went down for a nap as soon as we got back home. 
Had a great evening.  Had date night with my honey.  We had a super delicious dinner and got to talk about deep things.  Bill is the smartest person I have ever met, so he is fascinating to talk with.  We got to talk about a number of interesting topics, including books, which we both love.  It is amazing how such a wonderful day helps to make one's soul feel centered.
I am hopeful that I will get to stitch in the next day.  I took today to live in the moment and enjoy time with my little family.  So tomorrow I have so work to catch up on.  And of course, we must celebrate Puppy Daddy Day!  Liesl has her present ready to present to her daddy.  I am sure she will share a few kissies with her daddy, too.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Stitchy Update

Well, I am nearly coming to the end of my Autumn Quaker (by Rosewood Manor).  I stitched a lot this weekend.  Last week I had that icky flu that is going around.  On Friday I could barely talk on the phone, so I ran over to Doctors on Duty.  My diagnosis was bronchitis and a sinus infection.  Hence, I logged much sofa time this weekend and stitched away.  I had big plans for cleaning my office/craft room this weekend, but I guess it will have to wait.
Today I was somewhat able to move freely about the cabin.  Liesl was looking like a total ragamuffin, so I gave her a quick trim and a much needed bath.  I trim Liesl according to her patience level.  She does not get a full styling all at once.  So today, I just got to use the clippers to get some of the hair off her back, head and chest.  I also trimmed her bangs.  Then it was bath time.  We have had a plethora of gophers in the yard, so she has been sticking her head down gopher holes.  That beard was filthy.  She seemed a little grateful for the bath afterwards, but she will never admit it. 
It is hard to believe it is June already.  While every other part of the country is warm or hot during the summer, here on the Monterey Peninsula it is cold and foggy.  It is what the locals refer to as "June Gloom."  While the rest of the country is barbecuing, we are thinking about what soup to make so we may keep warm.  So spending the weekend at home was not a bad thing.  It was nice to be cozy indoors.
I am trying to decide what I will stitch next after I finish this project.  I bought some really awesome Christmas ornament patterns earlier this year.  So I think I will start on some nice small projects.  I also bought some lovely hardanger patterns which I would like to stitch as well.  I have always been a fan of big projects but it will be nice to have some quicker finishes.
Have a happy week!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Peaceful Weekend

This is the first weekend in weeks that we did not have one single thing on the schedule for the weekend.  We have had a couple of wonderful weekends filled with family.  Last weekend was especially busy, as Bill's son was graduating with his MBA from CSUMB.  The local university is highly recognized for their distance learning program for MBAs.  So it was an amazing weekend, filled with a large family, and lots of celebration.  Best of all, we got to spend time with Bill's little bitty, one year old granddaughter, who is just the sweetest little girl.  We had lots of fun shopping for toys before her arrival. 
So this weekend, we did not have anything on the schedule.  The only goal I had for the weekend was getting my hair cut, as I was way overdue.  My sweet baboo said that he would be happy to drive me to the mall, and he would go have a coffee at Starbuck while he waited with his book.  It was nice to have his company, and I took him to lunch afterwards.  We just got to have a really leisurely lunch and chat, which seemed luxurious.  We walked around Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma, and our other favorite stores.  I decided that we probably needed to refuel so I got these little mini cupcakes to share:
We both LOVE coconut so we opted for that one first.  Bill adores buttercream frosting, and this buttercream was amazing.  It was so rich, we had to take the other two home  The yellow one is a Meyer Lemon cupcake and the other is a devil's food. They were awesome. 
Late in the afternoon I was able to go for a facial.  It had been six months since my last one, and I was in desperate need.  The aesthetician suggested a peel, my first one ever, and I can not believe the difference in how my skin looks and feels.  I felt like I was on a vacation for an hour.  I came home pretty mellow and stitched on the sofa while Bill watched a John Wayne movie.  It was a perfect evening.
Today has been awesome.  We had brunch with our best friends after church and got to hear about their adventure in Japan.  When we got home, I decided to finally clean out the bedroom closet.  It was way overdue.  I took everything out of it, and only put back in things I am really wearing.  I have three large bags of cloths and shoes to go to charity tomorrow.  It looks so organized now.  I needed to feel successful at one area before I try to spring clean the next thing  We also took Liesl for a beautiful walk by the water.  She has a certain really perky walk she does when she is really happy.  It makes both of us happy to see her like that. 
So far it has been a joyful weekend.  I am going to stitch a bit more tonight.  I feel so grateful for all of the simple joy of the weekend.  It is nice to have a bonus day off this week, and tomorrow we will share a prayer for all those who have passed in service to our country. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Catching up!

It has been a busy few weeks around the cozy cottage.  Last weekend we decided to celebrate Liesl's Daddy's birthday by heading out the Big Sur for the day.  Liesl loves to go with us, so we strapped on her Doggles and off we went.  As a side note, Doggles are dog goggles specifically designed as protection against sun, wind and dust for dogs like Liesl that ride with their heads out of the window.  My hair is absolutely a mess, but her eyes are protected.  Most of all, Liesl thinks she looks good and we get lots of smiles from other drivers.
PS:  Liesl only gets to ride on my lap with her head out of the window when momma is a passenger in the car.  For the safety of others, Liesl and myself, Liesl is never allowed on my lap when I am driving.  In addition, for her safety she only gets her window rolled down partially if I am driving.

Here is a Point Sur and the Point Sur Lighthouse.  It was our typical cold gray May day.

Here is one of the beautiful plants in the gardens at the Big Sur Bakery.  They had some lovely gardens on the property.  We sat under the big trees and ate our lunch.  Bill had the chicken salad and I had the avocado and radish sandwich on their delicious bread.  While lunch was tasty, I did not think it was awesome.  It was okay.  Being in Big Sur though was wonderful and we were just happy to be together.  After the melanoma scare, we are especially grateful for every blessing in our lives.

So we had a nice weekend.  Tomorrow I will update this weekend's activities.  Tonight, I am just happy to sit and stitch.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Public Service Announcement

We have had a rather interesting and stressful time around the cozy cottage recently.  About a month ago, Bill went to the dermatologist to get some skin tags removed.  While he was there, the doctor noticed a mole on his shoulder and sent it out for biopsy.  The scary diagnosis came back as melanoma.  He went in to have the mole removed, which ended up leaving a two inch square hole in his shoulder which had to be left open until results came back from the lab. 
Bill is a two time cancer survivor .  The results did not come back for two weeks.  During that time he said that he would only think positive thoughts. We prayed for a good outcome, as did our friends.  On Tuesday, the doctor called and said that they had gotten all of the cancer cells, and that it had been caught just in time before the cells got out of the tumor.  We are extremely grateful to God for his mercy and sending Bill to the right doctor just in time.  Today he was finally sewn back up.  It took 100 hundred stitches and we are grateful for every one. 
After seeing all of this, I quickly got myself to the dermatologist.  I have never been to a dermatologist.  Now that I am over 50, my skin is starting to change a bit, so I am not sure what is dangerous and what is normal aging.  I saw an awesome doctor who understood my concern and thankfully pronounced me healthy. 
Bill's doctor told him that melanoma is not something hereditary or internal.  It is from the sun.  After this, I will forever wear a hat, cover up and wear sunscreen. 
I have had so many people close to me go through a cancer journey within the past year.  I also lost a close friend last October to cancer.  Please, please, please go through any age appropriate cancer screening.  If you have any spots on your skin that do not look right, please have them checked. 
Also, if your pets have any moles, have them checked.  Liesl had one checked on her chest earlier this year.  Schnauzers have gray skin, so her mole is black.  Her veterinarian took a biopsy and fortunately, it was not a bad mole.  However, her vet recommended it be removed as a precaution in case it changes.  We will be doing that in the next couple of months. 
We are more grateful than ever today for our blessings.  Life is a great gift, yet it is all so fragile. Hug those you love and let them know how much you love them. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015


I have not had much time to stitch lately but wanted to share my progress.  I am coming close to the end.  This is a fun piece to stitch.  I have some ornaments to stitch that are calling my name from my stitchy stash. 
Today was a really good day.  My sweetheart took me out for breakfast at our favorite breakfast place.   It was nice to sit, chat and relax.  Recently he bought me a really cool vertical planter for herbs, so afterwards we went to Costco to get huge bags of soil.  This planter has several levels.  I love cooking with fresh herbs, and I was able to plant whole seed packets in the planter.  It is really cool to garden this way.
Last year Bill built a huge raised bed for growing veggies.  We have a gorgeous selection of lettuces and spinach right now.  Lettuce you have grown from seed is especially delicious.  It really is fun to grow your own food, and I think it tastes even better than store bought.  I may have to research some delicious salad dressings to serve on top. 
So now it is a quiet evening.  Liesl is cuddled up to her daddy, sleeping.  I am thinking about the week ahead.  I am also thinking about what a beautiful weekend this has been.  Sometimes you get to have a weekend that almost feels like a mini vacation.  I am so grateful that this was the case this weekend.  What a blessing.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Catching Up!

Well, this has been quite a week!  This has been a busy few weeks at work.  I really love my job, so it has been good to get things accomplished during this season.  Bill had to travel to a medical conference last weekend, and I had to travel for my job on Monday.  So we have been on the move.  Fortunately, we had a big date night planned for Wednesday.  Garrison Keillor was appearing in Santa Cruz.  We bought our tickets months ago so we got really close seats.  I love Garrison Keillor!  Bill had not seen him live before.  As a side note, Bill has a good sense of humor, but does not really laugh, per se.  He sort of chuckles when something is funny.  For the first time ever, I got to see him repeatedly crack up.  I have never seen him laugh that hard.  It was truly a gift.  Garrison was brilliant.  He is such an artist and for two hours we got to put aside everything except being in the moment.  If you ever get the chance to see him live, seize the opportunity!
So after a crazy week, we decided to put Liesl in the car, packed her an extra meal and the three of us headed out for adventure.  We drove up to Santa Cruz again.  There is an amazing place in Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley called Love Apple Farms.  April through June,  Love Apple Farms sells over 100 varieties of heirloom tomato plants.  I love home grown tomatoes and usually plant a number of plants.  This place is absolutely awesome.  Here is a link so you can check 'em out:
We bought several plants and tomato growing accoutrements.  On the same site is a lovely store which sells a variety of really lovely and interesting things.  They are called "Ivy's Porch".  They had some beautiful and well priced antiques.  Bill loves table settings and beautiful serving pieces and bought a Chippendale cake server, pie server and a Chippendale dish.  They are so beautiful.  Ivy's Porch sits on land with the most beautiful gardens.  Here are a few photos:


After this stop we were off to Corralitos Market, which is well known in this area for their amazing meats and sausages.  We did a little shopping and then treated ourselves to a couple of their Cheesy Bavarian sausage sandwiches for lunch.  We had a nice little picnic, then decided it was time to head toward home.  The area that we live in is well known for its agriculture and is referred to as The Salad Bowl of the World.  So there is a lot of great produce readily available.  We stopped at one of the roadside stands and bought really fresh produce for the week.  
We had such a fun adventure today and enjoyed just being together, the three of us.  Liesl is always up for adventure and really goes on car trips very well.  We got home this afternoon, whereupon all three of us decided that it was time for a well earned nap.  It has been a great day and we are now looking forward to watching a quiet evening watching a movie.   I feel so blessed for the gift of this day!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Checking In

It is so good to be home!  I had to go to Pasadena for training this week.  It was really good training and I am so glad I went.  However, I missed my little family at home so much.  My sweet Bill is a very nurturing person and had packed little baggies of my vitamins and snacks for me for while I was out of town.   He promised to be an extra good puppy daddy to Liesl while I was gone, too.   It made me miss him even more when I opened my little baggies of vitamins.  (I can only take chewables.)  So I missed everyone terribly and got home as fast as I could.  I had been staying in a really nice hotel, but it was so nice to be in my own bed, drinking out of my coffee mug, and putting kissies on the top of Liesl's sweet little head. 
I actually drove to Pasadena, which was quite peaceful because I had a stack of Garrison Keillor CDs with me.  I love Garrison Keillor and how he tells his stories.  His voice is so peaceful and his stories speak with nostalgia of a time we knew a long time ago.  It was a peaceful way to spend a five hour drive. 
So it has been a wonderful weekend with my Liesl and Bill.  It has been so nice to be home and digest some of the things I have learned this week.  I feel so completely grateful that I get to do interesting work but that this best part of my life is coming home.  It is where I feel so peaceful, joyful, enriched and happy.  As I sit here, Bill is reading his book and Liesl is sleeping peacefully at my feet.  It rained today and the air smells fresh.  Bill cooked a healthy, delicious dinner.  I feel that being home this weekend has fed my spirit and helps me to go out into the world a better person so that I may serve others.  It really is true that there is no place like home!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

WIP Progress

It seems that I have not shared my progress on the Autumn Quaker in a while.  This is such a fun project.  I really love the Valdani floss and the color variations.  It is intricate and does have some confetti stitching, but I really love stitching this piece.
We have had such a great weekend.  Between the colds that we have been passing back and forth, some overtime at work, and our trip, our housework has been sorely neglected.  So we scrubbed the house down all weekend.  It just feels so much better to be home. 
Last night was my birthday dinner with my closest friends.  My best friend made a Moroccan dinner, which was so fabulous I will be thinking about it for years to come.  She made green beans with tomatoes, couscous with salty lemons, and a chicken dish that was just glorious.  My BFF is an amazing cook and everything she cooks is always delicious.  She also made a Moroccan birthday cake with rosewater and orange syrup.  It was amazing.  The best part of the evening though was having my friends together.  I have more than my fair share of really amazing friends.  I felt so blessed.  All of the husbands also get along so well.  It was such a joyful evening filled with love.  I was so grateful for it.  We drove home last night just so happy about what a great time we had.
I received really beautiful gifts, which was actually unexpected.  The true gift was our time together, laughing, talking and sharing a great meal.  I also received a stitchy gift.  When my best friend was in Minneapolis last month, she went into a Scandinavian stitching store, because I had told her that I really wanted to work on my Hardanger skills.  Her sister has stitched some beautiful hardanger pieces for her.  So she went into this shop and bought two hardanger books, some 22 ct white fabric cut from the bolt, perle cotton and needles.  I am so excited to get started. 
I feel so blessed to have this time with my friends and their husbands.  We all enjoy being together.  It was such a blessing and for these kinds of moments, I am so grateful. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Treasures From Solvang

Wow!  This week has been crazy busy.  I had the best of intentions to post earlier this week, however, I had a strict deadline to get our annual report done and off to our auditors by week's end.  I ended up working lots of overtime and made my deadline.  Whew!  It was actually a very fun project, kind of like a big puzzle.  Then I have been celebrating my birthday the rest of the week.  The big day was actually on Monday, but I like to stretch it out.  Thursday one of my girlfriends took me out to dinner.  Then last night my kids and their spouse/significant other took us out to dinner.  Tonight is the last celebration, unless of course I can figure out how to stretch my day into March.  My closest friends and their husbands are having a dinner party for me.  I am so excited! 
Anyway, enough of my excuses.  Here are my treasures from last week's visit to Solvang's Thumbelina Needleworks:

There are a couple of older Permin of Copenhagen pattern motif bookets, and Oehenschlager kit, and a book containing several patterns by some of the best Danish cross stitch designers including Gerda Benttson.  I also bought a couple of Permin hardanger bookmark kits so I can work on developing some mad hardanger skillz.  I could not resist the scissors. 
The best treasure of the trip was not cross stitch though.  For many, many years I have been looking for a Dagmar Cross, which is a Danish cross.  Most on the internet are very, very expensive.  So I have been wanting one for about 10 years and searched with no luck.  Last week, we were in a shop which sold clocks of all styles, plus they had a huge collection of beer steins.  We were not in the market for beer steins, but these were so elaborate that we decided to look at them.  The owner of the shop became interested in Liesl, so we walked over to the counter to talk with her about dogs.  All of the sudden, I looked down, and there was a whole display of Dagmar crosses with really reasonable prices.  I was so excited.  So here is my best purchase of the trip:

On the front is Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary,  St. John the Baptist and two saints.  On the reverse is a crucifix. It is a replica of a cloisonné cross in the grave of the Danish Queen Dagmar who lived from 1186 to 1212. 
So it was a super fun trip.  We ate good food, took good walks, talked to lots of nice people, relaxed and just got to be together.  We love travelling with Liesl.  She is such a great little traveler.  We actually get to meet lots of people, because they want to meet her or talk about schnauzers.  We love taking her with us, and are already talking about our next trip. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Awesome Weekend In Solvang!

About 3 1/2 hours south of the Monterey Peninsula is the beautiful town of Solvang, California.  Solvang is a very special place that began as a Danish settlement in Santa Barbara County in 1911.  It maintains the atmosphere and culture of a town in Denmark.  It is one of my favorite places in California to spend a weekend.  We travelled there this weekend and had a great time.  One of the best things about Solvang is that it is totally dog friendly.  I think that the people of this town truly go above and beyond to show kindness to our furry friends. 
As I have shared in the past, Liesl LOVES vacation.  She loves to travel and totally gets it when it comes to travelling.  She is up for any adventure, and really likes Solvang.  Everyone was so nice to her, so of course, she thinks Solvang is all about her.
So here are some photos of Solvang to give you a taste of what it looks like:
One of four windmills in the town

Miss Liesl waiting to see what we are going to do next.
So we got to eat lots of yummy things like Danish pastry, sausages, frikadellar (Danish meatballs) and try an Icelandic beer.  Everything we ate was so delicious and we just had a great time.  We walked the avenues, shopped, and visited the Santa Ynez mission.  It was wonderful.
Whenever I am in Solvang, one of my favorite places to visit is Thumbelina Needleworks.  Thumbelina carries a selection of Permin of Copenhagen, Oehenslager, and Eva Rosenstand patterns that you can not get anywhere else.  They have some very unique things that have been imported from Denmark.  In the next few days I will share photos of my purchases.
This trip was such a joy.  It was a nice break in the middle of a season that has been really busy.  I am so happy that we got to stop and smell the roses.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What A Lovely Weekend!

This ended up being such a lovely weekend.  Usually on Friday nights we take Liesl with us and go to a local dog friendly restaurant and then for a walk.  I still have the most ugly sounding cough from my bout with bronchitis, but thought I would go anyway this past Friday night.  I had worked some long hours last week trying to make a pretty serious deadline and thankfully was successful, so I needed to get out and get some fresh air.  Towards the end of dinner though I just looked at my poor sweet baboo and said, "I am so sorry but I feel terrible and just need to go home."  He is such a super sweet guy, we went straight home and he tucked me in on the sofa with a hot pack and the TV remote. 
I woke up yesterday feeling a bit better but decided I should just stay in for the day.  I got my stitchy stuff and looked at my Netflix queue.  I watched one movie, then decided to watch the Ken Burn's National Park series, which is so amazing.  I got through a couple two hour episodes and have four more to look forward to.  It is such a beautifully done series.
The United States has amazing national parks.  I made my first trips to Yosemite last year and fell in love.  There are no words to describe the sheer majesty, beauty and grandeur of Yosemite.  You just have to experience it.  I remember starting to cry from being overwhelmed by it when I first saw the Yosemite Valley laid out before me.   There are so many that we would like to RV to now, including the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.  The Ken Burn's series  truly captures so much of the beauty and the history of what it took to preserve the amazing places.  Thank goodness, there was so much foresight and hard work to save these sacred places. 
For Christmas I bought Bill a really cool cookbook.  He is a great cook and loves Trader Joe's, so I bought him a great cookbook called, "Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's."  Here is a link at Amazon Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's  We knew we were heading to Trader Joe's after church so he could get his Superbowl snacks, so he grabbed his cookbook as we left the house.  I started paging through it as he was driving and saw that it had really great recipes!  I picked up some great items to make some of the meals in this book and I am super excited.  Tonight I make the creamy lemon linguine and it was awesome!  It tasted very rich and yummy.  Best of all, it took about fifteen minutes to make!
So I am so grateful that I had a weekend at home.  Bill is happy he got to watch the Superbowl and putter in the garden.  Liesl got lots of cuddles and kissies, and napped happily with her people at home.  It is such a blessing to have a happy home, filled with love, laughter, joy and peace.  I am truly grateful for all of these blessings.  There is no place like home.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I've Gotten Some Stitching Done!

The past couple of weeks, I have been down with a super ugly case of bronchitis.  I thought I had cold that kept rebounding throughout the holidays.  I was urged to go to the doctor last Monday, only to be told that it was something requiring some intense antibiotics.  Ugh!  I stayed in bed last weekend and was told to stay quiet this weekend.  So I have stitched, which has been lovely.  My cough is nearly gone, thankfully.  It was really gross sounding, and I think I could have blended in with the seals down on Fisherman's Wharf.   I am truly grateful that I have access to medical care. 
I am feeling super better this evening and plan on finally cleaning my house tomorrow.  It is desperately in need of reorganizing and de-germing. 
I think that Liesl must have had a traumatizing event with a bluejay in the backyard.  We have noticed over the past couple of weeks that she refuses to go onto the grass in the yard.  Liesl LOVES her yard and laying in the grass.  Lately though she has been staying on the stone pathway close to the house.  She keeps her eyes on the top of the back fence, where the bluejays tend to congregate.  I am also finding peanut shells in the yard, further evidence that the jays have been around.  I think Liesl was probably scared by one or swooped down on by a jay.  It makes me so upset to think of her hurt or scared, particularly while I am not at home.  It breaks my heart to see her scared of anything, let alone being afraid in her beautiful yard.  We just try to coax her back outside and onto the grass. 
Well, it is time for me to go tuck my little furgirl in.  She has been cracking us up all weekend and is sleepy from all of her adventures.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

It's A Beautiful Day!

It is an absolutely beautiful day here on the Monterey Peninsula.  Like much of the country we have experienced freezing temperatures, although not to the obvious extremes as other parts of the country.  Today it is clear and in the high 40s.  It is nice enough that Liesl and her daddy headed out to do some work in the backyard.  Liesl is "helping" and supervising.  I have much work to do inside the house, as I think the dust bunnies are starting to growl.
Yesterday I had a bit of a stitch stash bonanza.  At lunch time I decided to take a little trip to a local craft store.  I have not been in one in ages, but just thought that I would poke around.  I happened upon this treasure that I have been keeping an eye out for. 
If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I love, love, love anything retro or vintage.  I have been looking for this particular pattern because it is the epitome of vintage.  Now it does say that they are Scotties, but I think that they look a bit more like Schnauzers in some of the pictures.  I have looked for this pattern for years and had not had success in finding it.  I just love these doggies and I am so happy to have them in my collection.
I must be losing it, because I had forgotten about my 123Stitch order.  It was just sitting in my mailbox when I got home.  It made me happy. 

I had wanted some small projects to work on, so I ordered ornament patterns.  I have wanted the Three Wise Men for years.  It was more than double what the others cost, so I had been putting it off. I finally succumbed and added it to the collection.  While I was placing my order, Bill asked me, "Don't you have enough patterns?"  He's adorable, and has his own "collections" of bow ties and such that we just do not discuss.  LOL  (He looks so handsome in a bow tie!)
Well, I am off to go clean up the craft room.  It has wrapping paper, etc. all over the place and is needing to be put in order.  Off to my little queendom...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to you for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015!  I feel very excited about the possibilities in 2015.  Last evening my sweet baboo took me out to dinner and we got to sit and reflect on all of the blessings in 2014.  It was such a wonderful year and we had so many good adventures!  We also talked about the adventures we want to have in 2015 and what we want to focus on.  I felt very inspired.  I feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful person in my life to share this journey.  He is such a beautiful person and is the person that I always hoped was in the world, and I am so happy that I found him.  (At age 50!)
After dinner, we settled in for a quiet evening with our furgirl.  Bill napped on the sofa and I stitched to a marathon of Big Bang Theory, which is one of my favorite shows.  We were both asleep by 11-11:30 so we missed seeing the ball drop.  But we had both got to have a long, restful sleep, which was quite needed.  As an accountant, my super busy time of year starts tomorrow and ends in about four months.  Oy vey!
This morning, to kick the new year off right, we met my best friend and her husband for breakfast.  We had talked about going out on New Year's Eve, but decided that we all would be more awake and alert this morning.  We had such a nice morning together and we came home thankful for such amazing friends. Afterwards, we came home and I got to finish the book I have been reading and take a good nap.  It was perfect.  The rest of the day was spent stitching, hanging out with my sweetheart, kissing Liesl on her head and cooking.  I made a New Year's dinner of pork chops and sauerkraut for good luck in the new year. 
It has been such a joy to stitch lately.  It has made me so happy.  I even bought a few small ornament patterns from 123stitch so that I can work on small projects during some of my busier times.  I had put it to the side for so long. 
So here we go, into a new grand adventure of 2015!  I wish you all good things this year.  May your year be filled with much joy, peace and laughter.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Weekend of Happy

This has been such a wonderful weekend.  It has been so peaceful.  I got to stitch the past couple of days, which has been such a joy.  Making it even better, I got to watch lots of Real Housewives, my total guilty pleasure.  We took a small break yesterday to take a beautiful walk along the Pacific Ocean with Liesl.  She had the happiest trot going through the whole walk.  We took our walk at a leisurely pace so she got to smell every plant and every spot that she wanted to.  It was such a beautiful sunny day and the sell of the salt air was so delightful.  It was at one of our favorite walking spots and it was so beautiful and amazing.
When we got home, Liesl ate her dinner and wanted to be tucked into her bed.  It has been cold here in the evenings, so she has been enjoying the tuck in.  After she went off to bed we got to watch an adorable Christmas movie and relax.  It was such a blessing.
Today was so peaceful.  I have had a cold the past couple of days.  I am really careful about not attending church when I have a cold or virus because I understand that many of the older people have compromised immune systems and may not weather a cold in the same way that I can.  So we stayed home from church today.  So I relaxed, watched bad reality television and stitched.  It was such a quiet day.  I also got to cook today!  I made a vat of spaghetti sauce with the still meaty bones from the Christmas prime rib.  It is fabulous and will be frozen in batches for future meals.  I also took some of the leftover prime rib and all of the leftover veggies in the fridge and made a huge pot of minestrone.  It turned out perfectly and the fridge is all cleaned out!  Bonus!  I was in my total happy.
The best part of the weekend was being home with the guy and dog that I love so much.  I was in my total happy.  I enjoyed the peace and creativity of the weekend.  I enjoyed the great company.  I appreciated the opportunity to relax and revitalize.  There really is no place like home!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy Weekend!

I hope everyone had a great holiday week!  Ours was absolutely blissful!  We attended the most beautiful and blissful Christmas Eve service at our church.  It was so joyful and set the tone for the holiday.  After the service, we went to my best friend's Norwegian Christmas Eve dinner.  I feel blessed that we get invited every year.  It is a meal of Norwegian meatballs (the recipe has been in the family for five generations), salmon, red cabbage, potatoes, and several vegetables.  Then for dessert we have krumkakkes and ice cream.  It is so yummy and so awesome to sit and talk and laugh.  We had so much fun.  My BFF sent me home with an amazing homemade quiche for us to have for Christmas breakfast.  It was such a blessing!
Christmas morning was fun opening presents.  Of course, Santa loves puppies, too, so Liesl got several new presents.  She was so happy.  She loves wrapping paper best of all and had a blast shredding a great deal of it.  (Note: Whenever I was wrapping presents, Liesl likes to come stand on the paper while I am trying to put it on a present.  She thinks she is hilarious.)  She made herself really tired with all of her paper hijinks.
So after exchanging gifts, we set about getting ready for the family to come over for dinner and more presents.  My sweet baboo makes the best prime rib, so we had a delicious dinner.  It was just a great day and I so enjoyed the time with the family.  We both crashed into bed exhausted by about 8:45. 
I have really been looking forward to this weekend.  Bill and I have said since last weekend that we are not doing anything this weekend, other than taking Liesl for some nice walks.  Other than that we plan on a nice, leisurely weekend at home, enjoying each other's company, watching movies, reading, etc.  He has such a warm, cheerful and extremely mellow personality so he is such a joy to be around.  My cross stitch is sitting ready for me.  I took my calligraphy pens out so I can play with them.  Liesl is snuggled up in a blanket next to me.  She is generally not a lap dog, but in winter likes to snuggle close.  All of the presents are out of my craft room so I may reclaim the space.  I am looking forward to a nice, creative day.
So I think I shall go make my honey the pancakes that he loves so much and prepare for my craft fun day.  I hope you all have a day filled with lots of creative possibilities!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Holiday Thoughts

Well, we are off to a happy start of the holiday season.  I just have a couple more things to purchase, and I am done with my Christmas shopping!  I have never been done this early.  I feel that I can actually enjoy the holiday season this year.  Instead of feeling stressed, today Liesl's Daddy and I browsed in a couple of stores, had a nice lunch, and came home to do chores.  We still had some vacation/camping gear all over the living room after returning last weekend.  It was nice to just take my time getting organized.
While I was cleaning up, I decided to do a little baking.  I made my Cranberry-Orange bread from scratch.  I used to bake it all of the time when my kids were young.  It was fun to make and bought back lots of memories.  I also made a batch of marshmallows, which are so much better than store bought.  They are lighter and so yummy.  I just use the Martha Stewart recipe available on her website.  I am looking forward to hot cocoa this week!
With 2015 looming so close, I have been thinking about my goals for the new year.  I have been so busy with work this year.  So next year I want to make sure that I make time for crafting again.  I would really like to become really proficient at hardanger in 2015.  I love hardanger and have studied it but I still get intimidated about starting a piece.  I would like to build my confidence and ability with it.  I also have quilts to make, walks to take, weight to lose...
I think we would also like to go camping and travelling a bit more.  We had such a great time on our vacation.  We were also impressed that Liesl totally gets camping.  She loved sitting by the campfire, taking walks, and being in the outdoors.  We love having her with us, and love that she is so happy being with us.
So tonight I feel so grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season.  I feel so fortunate and so blessed. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Silly Me...

I feel so silly.  I can not believe that I did not share a photo of a couple of the most iconic sites at Yosemite.  So I am adding Half Dome and Yosemite Falls below.  I miss them already...

I am sad because my camera did not pick up that there was a rainbow in the Lower Falls.  It was so spectacular.  It seems that there are rainbows all day long all over Yosemite.  It is so amazing.
We are still settling into real life.  It was kinda harsh going in to work today even though I really like my job .  There really should be a slow re-entry program after a vacation.  :) So far tonight we have made it to 9:30 and are staying up late like grown-ups.  LOL
I have been Cyber Monday-ing this evening.  Santa will be sending our presents in boxes with smiles on them.  I am proud to say that I have been a good girl and have only bought myself one little book although there are many tempting items.  I have over half of my Christmas shopping done, too.  I am hoping this leaves time for some extra fun things.  Liesl's Daddy wants to have a baking day on the weekend so I hope to have lots of time to makes lots of yummy sugar plums and hang out with my sweet baboo and my sweet Liesl. 
Speaking of baking sugar plums, I was totally stoked to see that the Girl Scouts will now be selling their delightful cookies online!  I love me some Samoas and Tagalongs.  I found a box of Samoas in the cabinet about a month ago and it was like finding buried treasure.  Plus it is a good thing to support scouting organizations. 
We are getting ready for some major rain here for the rest of the week.  This is such a blessing because dear California is desperately in need of it.  The rains have come early this year.  We love rain and the sound it makes.  I love the coziness of a rainy day and would love to curl up with a good book and cup of tea.  For the rest of the week, however, it will just mean soup dinners.  Yum!
Hope you are warm and cozy where you are!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying a plethora of yummy leftovers!  We did a little something different for Thanksgiving this year and rented an RV to go on vacation to Half Moon Bay and Yosemite.  Of course, Miss Liesl loves vacation and loved spending time in what her daddy referred to as "The Rolling Doghouse."  She was pretty excited as we were packing it up to go with everything we needed for nine days of vacay!  She knew something great was happening, found herself a cozy spot next to a low window, and we were off.
Now if you are new to RVing, as we were, I can not compliment KOA Campgrounds enough.  We decided on one in Half Moon Bay so we could get used to the RV experience before we drove the winding roads to Yosemite.  Most KOA's have full hookups, are pet friendly, and have the NICEST people working there, who are so helpful and cheerful.  KOA is awesome.  Here is a view of the sunset just steps from our parked RV:
After a couple of days, we were off to the Sierras.  We were thrilled to pull into Yosemite.  It is so spectacular.  I have been reading John Muir's "The Yosemite" (free on Kindle).  He so poetically describes the Valley Floor as "walls of Granite that rise up to form a temple."  This is so true, and seeing it is so breathtaking.   Liesl seemed to remember the place from our trip in May.  When she got out of the camper, she sniffed around, turned up and looked up at me with the most happy, joyful look of recognition.  She loves Yosemite and was so happy to be back. 
We got to take some incredible walks, ate Thanksgiving dinner by the campfire, and hear a bear breaking into a car in the campground.  (How the heck do you explain that to the car rental company?)  It gets very noisy when this happens as rangers have to do a lot to get them to leave.  Yosemite reminds us constantly that we have a responsibility to protect the bears, and this means not keeping any food where they can get it.  Bears who keep coming into campgrounds or become aggressive ultimately have to be relocated or worse.  So we were super careful.  Bill said that he did hear a growl at him early one morning as he walked Liesl at the edge of the campsite which bordered the woods. Yikes!  He pulled Liesl close to him right away and moved on.
So a quick funny story:  The first day we got to Yosemite, we got the campsite set up and went exploring.  Sunset was about 5 pm.  We made dinner, then read books.  It was absolutely dark outside and the other campers had all turned in for the night so the campgrounds were dark.  We took Liesl for her last potty walk and decided to turn in.  I never wear a watch in general, but have a cardinal rule of not looking at clocks or watches while I am on vacation, as it is the only time I do not have to care what time it is.  Just as I was dozing off, I glanced at my phone.  The time - 6:45pm.  We laughed so hard, because we thought it was like 10 pm.  Most nights the campsite was dark by 7 or 8.  So we would just read until we fell asleep.  Bill was proud one night because he stayed up until 8:30.  LOL 
So here are some photos:


The last one is Liesl in her cute little yellow coat.  She hated it and would run from us when we took it out and lodge herself in a spot where we could not reach her easily. But it was generally extremely cold.  Anyway, as cold as it was,  we sat on a rock on Thanksgiving Day while it was warm and sunny and she sunned herself.  We had been growing her fur out for the past couple months so she would be warmer on the trip. 
So we had a lot of fun and are totally hooked on RV camping (or Glam-ping, as it is called.)  We are already looking for the next National Park to visit.   National Parks are awesome and should be supported!  There is so much to see in America and this is a great way to see it.  Plus Liesl gets to travel with us, which makes us all so happy.  She is a great traveler, goes with the flow and accepts new experiences quite readily. 
On the way back, we stayed at another KOA campground.  Again, the nicest people and an overall great experience.  They even offered us a little discount for Bill being a veteran and thanked him for his service.  The campsites were super clean, had full hookups, and a picnic table at each site.  We both fell in love with KOA and agreed that it was a great place to stay for a weekend, when we do not want the full camping experience. 
So now we are home, working on a mountain of laundry.  Liesl is exhausted and has napped all day.  Bill is cooking dinner.   It really is good to be home.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ah, A Cozy Evening!

It seems that this has been an extremely busy year here at the cozy cottage.  There are many "have to do's" that are taking time away from the "want to do's".  I guess that life is like that some times, and I should be grateful that I have the ability to take care of a lot of work and school items.  It is taking time from stitching at this point, until today.  My sweetheart went on an overnight trip with his son yesterday, so I cleaned the house top to bottom, then studied and did homework until late last night.  I got a lot done, which feels great.  This morning, I got up early, did laundry then sat down to watch my favorite race of the whole year, Talledega.  I even got to stitch.  Liesl settled into the sofa next to me.  It was perfection.
Bill got back home this afternoon, and wanted to watch the 49er game at 5:30, so we went to pick up a pizza and came home.  I realized how perfect and cozy the moment was sitting together, relaxing, eating pizza, with our little family together.  It was one of those perfect moments where I was filled with gratitude of the peace of the moment.  Everyone back home and together.
I did get a new toy a couple of months ago.   For our anniversary, in addition to some lovely jewelry, I received an ice cream maker accessory for my KitchenAid, in addition to some mixes from Williams Sonoma.  I have been making homemade ice cream, one to two times a month.  I like that I can walk away from it and it just does its thing,  It is a great tool.
While I have not been able to do big stretches on my cross stitch, I do get to put a few stitches in here and there.  I love the peaceful feeling of stitching.  I even love the sound the floss makes as it works through the fabric.  I feel blessed that I get to enjoy this craft.
So that is about it for now.  I hope that you, too, are enjoying a life that is peaceful and cozy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Walk on the Beach

What a lovely day.  Things have been so hectic lately.  I am a bit overwhelmed with school and some other things right now.   I was a bit frustrated last evening because I lost half of my assignment on my computer. Usually on Sundays we are up early and at church.  Afterwards we normally have lunch then do errands, chores or I catch up on homework.  With things being a little stressful, I had a terrible night of sleep and was up and down all night. 
My sweet baboo suggested I sleep a few extra minutes, after which we would take Liesl to the dog beach in Carmel.  Liesl was very excited.  The beach is her Disneyland.  She gets to run, fast and free since dogs do not have to be on lead there.  Lots of dogs run free so she gets to make lots of friends, chase her ball, and run and play in the smaller waves like a big dog.  In the picture above, you can see she is a hot mess.  She is wet on her legs and belly, has sand everywhere, including in her beard, and wet sand all over her body.  This, of course, meant she was cold and in need of Daddy cuddles.  I think the only person who spoils her more is him.  Oy vey! 
As we were leaving the beach we stopped for a moment to share the gratitude for the beautiful morning.  As we looked out at the horizon we said, "Thar be whales!!!"  There was a huge pod of humpback whales.  I think the Monterey Bay count yesterday was 64 and there had to be somewhat close to that number this morning.  In all of my years on this Peninsula, I have only seen spouts of whales.  I have never seen any breach - until today.  They were jumping out of the water and these huge tails were sinking into the sea.  At one point they were within about 100 yards of the beach.  People were lined up all along the roadways to see them.  We must have watched them for another hour.  It was so amazing, so beautiful and such a blessing. 
Liesl cuddled up in her daddy's arms all the way home.  She was so tired from her adventure.  We took her home, tucked her in with a cookie and decided to try the new Panera in town for lunch.  It was quite tasty and we got to just sit and chat for a while. 
Upon our return home, Liesl's Daddy decided he needed a good nap.  So he went and rested while I recreated my lost assignment.  While I was doing so, I realized that I had made an error yesterday, so it was a good thing I lost it.  I wrote up an even better assignment and submitted it on time.  
It turned out is was much better for us to take that time this morning, as our little family, and just enjoy our time together.  It was good to not be productive, but to be in the moment.  We got to have an amazing experience watching those beautiful, majestic whales.  It really is so important to stop and smell the roses, or the beach.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hello, Autumn!

Wow!  The summer just flew by!  It has been a busy, busy time!  I have been taking really hard classes for my job, so it has not left a lot of time for stitching and blogging.  But I am learning a lot and like what I am doing.

I am so glad we put the sod in back in May.  Liesl loves her queendom and spends hours outside.  She was always joined at the hip with me, but this summer, her days are spent lying in the grass under the shade of the tree. Hours go by before she comes back inside. She loves to watch the landscape for any gopher that has the audacity to pop up in her yard.  Once she knows she has an intruder she will skip meals and everything to stand over a gopher hole.  She is so happy in her yard.  She is really happy when she gets to follow her daddy around while he works out there.  They have a very special relationship.  I wonder if she now sees him as the alpha because she will especially seek him out in certain circumstances.  If she needs to go out in the middle of the night she will go over to him and tap on his arm with her paw until he wakes up so he can go with her to protect her.  They are so cute together.  He says that she is very special to him, too.
Liesl had to supervise her daddy's construction project this weekend.  He was able to build the large raised bed garden box for the back side of the yard.  It is beautiful with gorgeous railing and corner brackets.  We decided on redwood for durability and look.  He did such a beautiful job.  The bottom is lined with chicken wire to keep the gophers out of our harvest.  We are getting ready to put in our fall garden, and have the seeds coming from Park Seed this week.  We will be growing lettuce, broccoli, Swiss Chard, spinach, and a really pretty radish.  This is the first try at fall gardening, but I am excited about getting started!
I was super stoked when I went to Target today!  Pumpkin stuff is out!  They had a nice big stock of International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice creamer.  Yummy.  They also had Toll House Pumpkin Cheese cake cookies.  I bought a good supply of pumpkin goods and I am officially ready for Autumn. 
Hope you are having a happy season, too!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Well, it has been a very nice, quiet day around the cozy cottage.  The day started out foggy and a bit chilly.  We actually had to put the heat on for a while.  Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  We are about 100 miles south of San Francisco on the California Coast and it does get darn cold during the summer here.  Brrrr.  Locals refer to it as "June Gloom."
It was a good thing that we decided on a quiet day at home today.  Fireworks are legal where we live and a certain small dog does not like it.  Liesl tolerates about five minutes and then decides that she has had enough.  She is usually a brave little toaster, so it breaks my heart when she looks scared.  So we figure she will snuggle between us while we watch some movies this evening.  We agreed that since fireworks are not limited to the evening, we should stay in and help her to feel as safe as possible today. 
It has been such a great day, particularly to stay inside.  I got to read my Philippa Gregory book, stitch and take a really good nap.  I even got to do a little homework for my class.  My honey did a little online retail therapy, read and snoozed a little.  We had a nice barbecued lunch and a leisurely cup of coffee.  More barbecue for dinner with champagne!  With weekend errands, chores, etc., we rarely get to do this, so it was a treat to have the extra day off this week.  We were just saying at dinner that it was nice to have a bonus day.
I am especially grateful today for all of the amazing blessings in my life.  I am also grateful for those who put everything, including their lives, on the line for what we hold so dear in our very young country.  
So I am off to cuddle a small dog, who needs her momma.  The noise is a bit loud and she is a bit scared.   I have her favorite blanket handy and we will make sure she knows we will keep her safe and protected this evening, while being cozy ourselves.  We are truly blessed and thankful for it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We Be Jammin!

Someone at work was giving away bags and bags of plums and asked if I would like some to make jam.  I have not made jam in years, and happen to love homemade plum jam, so I was totally up for it.  I had to pick up some new jars and opted for the ones with designs.  I spent a couple of hours this weekend and realized that I had forgotten how much fun it is to can.  I started to eyeball the fresh raspberries and strawberries in the fridge and then realized I was out of control. 
I do not like jam on my toast, rather, I still love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  When I take them for lunch at work, I look forward to it all morning!  There is something really happy about a PB&J.  The only thing that is better is a Fluffernutter.  For some reason, my fellow Californians do not seem to be familiar with the great wonder that is the Fluffernutter (peanut butter and marshmallow crème.)  When I try to describe the wonder that is this sandwich, I get quizzical looks and remarks of "I don't get it."  They are perfection, that's what they are!
So a couple of weeks ago, someone had posted a beautiful photo of their cross stitch work in progress on a Facebook site.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  She posted that the particular design was from an issue of Just Cross Stitch in 2009.  I immediately got bummed and thought how hard it was going to be to find that issue.  I started do a little research, when I found something even better!  Just Cross Stitch has DVDs of every page of every issue (including ornament issues!) in ten year increments.  This particular issue fell within the 2001-2010 DVD.  The DVDs are only about $42 at 123stitch (or about the same as a couple of years of subscriptions).  I am super happy about finding it.
I will take photos of my stitching this coming weekend.  It is going splendidly.  It is a fun stitch and the colors are just beautiful.  It is nice to be back in the stitching mode again.  I am still taking some pretty intense classes right now for work, but realized that I need to make time to stitch and be creative.  It puts me back in balance. 
Have a happy week!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

I am happy to say that I have actually gotten a little stitching done lately.  I am almost done with this first motif for my Autumn Quaker.  I am so loving the colors and stitching with the Valdani floss.  It is great to be stitching again although it is just in small bits since life is a bit hectic.
We had a super great weekend.  Just in time for summer, the barbecue is now ready and in the yard.  My sweet baboo has been looking at the reviews, shopping, online shopping, etc., for months trying to find just the right one.   After much deliberation and consideration, a copper colored Weber Spirit is the new addition.  He has now cooked the last two nights' dinners and they have been stellar!
 We had a pretty nice Father's Day around the cozy cottage.  Liesl had me pick out a Happy Father's Day from the Dog card (available at Target) for her awesome puppy daddy.  He is a so good to her and sometimes I think spoils her more than I do, if such a thing is possible.  She also got him a book he has been wanting.  A couple of days ago, one of his patients brought him two flats of fresh strawberries (our area is one of the state's top growing areas for strawberries.) He shared one flat with the office, and brought the other flat home.  We shared a couple of quarts with our two favorite neighbors and still had six quarts left.  He mentioned earlier that he would love to have strawberry shortcake.  So this afternoon, I made a quick shortcake and surprised him for dessert, with fresh whipped cream.  He was super happy and said it was the best Father's Day gift he could have asked for. :)  I also have several bags of hulled strawberries in the freezer, ready for more treats! 
We are continuing to work on the yard and make it into a nice little retreat.  Liesl so loves her grassy yard now.  I looked out the window the other day, and she was just laying down in the grass, smiling and surveying her queendom.  For some reason, she has been taking her two favorite stuffies out in the yard with her in the morning.  She will get Ladybug and Lampchop, and put them on the lawn.  We have to rescue them in the evening.  This is a new behavior, so I am wondering why she does it all of the sudden.  I guess she wants her friends with her.  In any case, we have found several gorgeous rose bushes, which I am so thrilled with.  My favorite is Mr. Lincoln.  It is the most beautiful color, almost velvety and has the most amazing fragrance.  If you can find one of these, I highly recommend it!  PS: the photo does not do it justice.
I had forgotten how hard yard work can be, and I will share that as a result of unloading the truck of fifty pound bags of top soil and doing several tasks in the yard, we both have the Frankenstein walk going on.  So sad, LOL. 
So now it is quiet, with only the ticking of the clock.  The weather is very cool.   Bill is reading his book and drinking a cup of hot cocoa, Liesl is snoozing on the sofa between us.  It is a very cozy evening in the cozy cottage.  I wish I could keep a snapshot of this moment because it is so very lovely.  Priceless and such a blessing.
Wishing you many blessings in the week ahead.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wow! Whatta Weekend!

What great weekend!  Although I must admit, I am totally exhausted. Yesterday the sod went in, finally, into the backyard.  I have been thinking about it, talking about it, dreaming about for two and a half years since I bought the house.  Last week, my sweet baboo said that he got the quote, and made the appointment for the landscaper to come.  It was just the kick start that I finally needed.  Prior to this, the groundcover was mulch and we were getting splinters, Liesl included.  Yesterday, we got an instant change.  It was so worth it!  There had also been a really ugly stump that stood about 3-4 feet high and had grass growing out of it.  It was hideous.  The landscaper had it dug out in about twenty minutes.  The yard looks amazing.  I think we will be spending lots of time in it. 
Liesl loves her yard and keeps deer hopping out into it.  This afternoon, she ran and chased her ball and just looked so happy.  When she was done chasing her ball and her parents, she laid down in the grass and savored the moment.  We also sat down in the grass, thinking that we had done that so easily when we were kids.  But then you grow up and worry about your pants getting dirty.  What a shame.  My sweet baboo then laid down in the grass for a while and watched the sky.  It was a happy afternoon.  Next week the raised bed boxes go it for veggies. (I love to grow tomatoes!)
We had to order two pallets of sod, which we needed to help carry from the driveway to the backyard.  Don't let anyone tell you any differently-sod is HEAVY!  One roll was probably over 30 pounds.  My muscles are aching.  We could barely move last evening and have been exhausted. 
I ended up making some snickerdoodles for my honey today.  He got up yesterday morning at six am to make sure that we got our two pallets of grass ordered and on the truck.  He was such a sweetheart to make it all happen so I wanted to do something nice for him.  He loves cinnamon, so he is super happy that he has 4 1/2 dozen cookies all for himself.  
While we were unloaded the truck yesterday, the postman showed up with my order from 123stitch.  I can not wait to get started.  The colors of the Valdani threads are so beautiful and so rich.
In addition to my Autumn Samper, I also ordered the pattern and fabric to make ornaments for Christmas.  I have wanted this one for a while.  It is nice and simple.  I am hoping to get started on ornaments early this years so I am not in last minute crisis mode.  

Well, I am off to get some rest.  Tomorrow is the first workday of the month, so it is time for accounting fun at work.  Have a great week!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

First and foremost, today we humbly pay our respect today to those who went off to all corners of the world in service to our country, but did not get to come home.  There are so many in our country's history to whom we owe our deepest respect and gratitude.  While this is a holiday in the United States, it is one that is most solemn.  We pray for the safety of all who serve and that all they be returned safely to their families. 
I think that a holiday like this one reminds us of how precious every moment is with our loved ones.  I was particularly aware of my gratitude for those I love this weekend.  I felt totally present as I walked through the specialness of every moment.
I am just about finished with this class I am taking right now.  I am looking forward to getting back to doing the things I love to do. On Saturday, I did a little shopping on and bought this:  The threads were so gorgeous that I had to have them, too, and the set was less expensive than if I bought them individually.  I have not bought cross stitch in so long.  So I really looking forward to starting it.  I am looking forward to getting back to doing the things I love.
Yesterday, I had a fun day cooking.  I made a pan of Ina Garten's Rosemary Polenta, which is just so yummy.  I served it with dinner and it was just so delicious.  I could eat a whole pan of that all by myself.  I paged through a couple of her cookbooks while I had them out and there were just so many delicious recipes.  I like that she cooks real food and does not have recipes with odd ingredients that I have to go on a treasure hunt for all over town. 
Today we worked on the front yard.  It looks so much better.  Luckily, it was kind of cool and breezy today, one of the benefits of living on the coast.  So it was a good day to trim the  bushes down.  I had to do foxtail removal, too, because the front yard was starting to look like a vacant lot.  We filled a whole yard waste can and have a plan for next week.  My body is aching like nobody's business, but I am trying to play it off like I am all cool with my honey.  I think the loud groaning when I stand up from sitting may be tipping him off though.
In addition to my cross stitch purchase this weekend, I was excited to see that Amazon was running a special on certain magazine subscriptions for Kindle for the weekend.  After reading all of the teeny tiny print (I'm an accountant, I just can't help it) I ordered an annual Kindle subscription of Better Homes and Gardens and Eating Well for $5 each.  We both love BH&G but after we are done with it, I never know what to do with the issues.  I feel badly just throwing them out, so they just hang around for way too long until I finally just put them in the recycling.  So I am really happy about the Kindle version, plus it holds my place where I stopped reading. 
So it was a really good weekend and I am just so grateful that I got to spend it with the ones I love.