Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

Good morning–  Just in case you have a bag of cranberries lingering in your freezer after the holidays here is jus one more cranberry recipe (the last, I promise!!).  I could eat this all year round with mugs of hot tea.

And thinking most of you don’t have those cranberries on hand, blueberries would work just as well!  Perfect coming out of the oven on a lazy Saturday morning…

1 orange
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup buttermilk*

Grate all the peel off of the orange.  Set aside.

Mix together the oil, 1 cup sugar, egg and vanilla.  Then stir in the flour baking powder and salt.  Fold in the cranberries and orange peel.  And finally stir in the 1/2 cup buttermilk.

Spoon the stiff batter into a 9″ square** baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Delicious served warm with morning mugs of tea!

*In place of buttermilk, you can use 1 tab. of cider vinegar & then fill the measuring cup to 1/2 cup.  Let it sit a couple minutes to thicken like buttermilk.
**or –I used a 10″ tart dish


Second Christmas at Home

Hi there friends– Just one more Christmas post!!  After our sweet time with kids up in San Francisco, we trekked back home for celebrations with family here.  It was a bustling few days and a small house bursting at the seams–a festive time with people we love.  (If you aren’t into way-to-many Christmas photos, you might want to skip this post!!)

We sat down to Christmas Eve lunch, four generations around the table,  opened a few gifts and passed around baby Lois.


Christmas Day– Gifts exchanged, new toys tried out and my favorite– Spanish tapas supper around the coffee table after all the hub bub had died down.



The week filled up with park walks and picnics, playing around the house with 4 grand-girls and a pass through In-and-Out as we ferried John & Laurel to the airport.





So thankful for the time with our kids– and for the chance to remember our Savior’s come to earth.  It was a Merry Christmas.

Early Christmas in San Francisco

Hi all– We had a two part Christmas this year– starting out with 3 nights with kids up in San Francisco.  It was all lively grand-kids and beautiful meals, cookie decorating and a big explore in the arboretum.  Thanks thanks Jessica for pulling us all together!

We started our celebration with a ramble through the SF Arboretum.  Mae & Eero were our tour guides and Ani & Brian supplied Wooly Pig sandwiches for a picnic on the lawn.



There was a table full of cookie decorators and lots of cookie nibbling.


We had some beautiful meals around the table together.  From Jessica’s morning waffles to Chef Chris’ short ribs with glazed carrots and cashew-beet sauce.


And there was some mid morning gift opening by the Christmas tree by all the cousins.


But my favorite part of our days together was watching the cousins play together.


Here we are all together.  Thanks bunches AA & Jessica for everything!!   So one more Merry Christmas dear readers.  Hope you had a sweet time with people you hold close.

Peppermint Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache

Hi all– So how was your Christmas??  Hope it was full of sweet times with people you love.  We are winding down here.  Watching the Santa Paws movie on Netflix with the Grand-girls while all our kids are off seeing Star Wars.

And wanted to send you this recipe from our Christmas Eve lunch.  Peppermint laced cheesecake topped with rich chocolate ganache.  It does taste like Christmas.


1 store-bought Oreo pre-made crust
2 tab. cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

32 oz. cream cheese (4 packages)
1 cup sugar
3 tab. flour
5 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 candy canes, crushed to a powder

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tab. butter
1  1/3 cup chocolate chips (8 oz.)
garnish: 2 or 3 candy canes, chopped to bits

Mix the Oreo pre-made crust, 1/4 cup sugar and melted butter until the chocolate crust turns to crumbs and blends with the butter and sugar.  Press it into a 10″ springform pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake the crust for just 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the filling, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and cup of sugar until they are blended and smooth (no lumps!).  Then beat in the flour, eggs, sour cream and peppermint extract.  Finally fold in the crushed candy canes.

Spoon the mixture over the semi-cooked crust and return it to the oven for 60 to 70 minutes at 350 degrees.  It helps to put a pan of water on the bottom rack below the cheesecake to prevent cracks as it cools.  The cake while be slightly wobbly in the center, but should firm up as it cools.  Open the door of the oven a crack and let the cheesecake sit 60 minutes more in the cooling oven.

Take the cheesecake out of the oven and run a sharp knife around the sides, so it won’t stick to the sides and let it cool an hour more.  Then cover it with foil and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

To make the ganache, bring the cream and 2 tab. butter to a low simmer in a saucepan on the stove top.  Take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips, beating it together until smooth and shiny (3 or 4 minutes).

Let the ganache cool and then spoon it over the cooled cheesecake.  Sprinkle the chopped peppermint on top.  Pretty and ready to eat!

And here’s my beautiful mother– enjoying her cheesecake with the family.  Merry Christmas Mom! (And I know she’s one person who always reads my little blog– thanks Mom– Your’e the best!)

Christmas Hope

Blessed Christmas to you friends–  This has been such a full Christmas season for us–real joy sitting around a beautiful table with our SF family this past week,   cheerful -if not totally melodic- caroling with the lovable neighborhood kids, watching Larry tell the Christmas story as a shepherd in our church’s Bethlehem Walk…

And there’s been deep sadness walking with a with a friend as her husband suffers dearly, our son’s family still evacuated because of the wildfires, a serious eye injury to a close friend and continued legal stress…

Life is complicated.

But these Christmas lyrics have stuck in my mind– “The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…”   I’m thankful to know that thrill.  There’s hope and deep joy in walking with God in these days.

Hoping for the thrill of God’s hope and moments of true joy for you and your family this Christmas.

Almond Rocky Road

Merry Christmas!!  A friend brought in this Christmasy candy the other day and it set me to searching for the recipe. It hits all those sweet spots– chocolate, nuts and those springy marshmallows.  I think the grand-girls will love it!

I was surprised how super easy it is to make– takes 10 minutes max!  The recipe is so simple, I could give to you over the phone!  But here I’ll just write it out here:

2 cups chocolate chips (12 oz.)
2 tab. butter
14 oz. can condensed milk
2  cups roasted almonds, chopped in half*
16 oz. bag mini marshmallows

In a large microwave proof bowl, melt the chocolate chips and butter (about 90 seconds).  Stir them all together until it’s all smooth. Pour in the condensed milk and mix until it’s all blended.

Then pour in the marshmallows and almonds and stir until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture.

Spoon it all into a 9″x 13″ pan that has been lined with waxed paper.  Pop it into the fridge for a couple hours to harden and cut into delicious squares.

*The original recipe I worked from called for 2  1/2 cups peanuts, but I opted for almonds.  Walnuts or pecans would be good too.


Rethinking Christmas

Hello Blog-Friends:  If you’re like me, you might have a whole lot of expectations (I prefer to call them “hopes”– it sounds kinder) about Christmas ahead–what the best Christmas should look like to you.  It’s all about lists.  Making them & checking them twice.

But this year we’ve had a shift.  Last Monday, our son called from Ojai.  They were pulling out from home, evacuating because of the wildfires closing in on their small community.  The family finally made their way down to our house, and we spent some days watching blazes on t.v. news and checking Facebook posts detailing damages.

The school where Micah teaches lost the science building (his physics lab & robotics program) and the girls’s dorm burned to the ground.  Their home had some damage, but much was saved by fire fighters.  So thankful.

So our hopes have changed some.  Christmas will look a little different.  The to do lists are shorter.  And things that matter– being together, remembering God’s gift of his son to the world shine brighter.

I’ve been reading a daily Christmas email from my favorite blogger, Shannan Martin.  She writes it so well:

“There in the wonderful, terrible thick of December, the furniture of my heart was shifting. Things that had lurked in the shadows were snapping into focus. As Christmas drew nearer, the new rhythms of my soul were bumping against my old ideas about how to celebrate, why we celebrate, and what a new way of living the “thrill of hope” might look like practically.

Basically, I cleaned out my Christmas closet. I did that thing where you hold up each old shirt and decide if it still fits, and whether or not it’s worth the space it occupies.”

So my Christmas hopes for you (and me) are that we’re able to see that “thrill of hope” and rest in God’s love for us in the middle of all the Christmas storm of activity.  Merry Christmas Blessings to you, dear friends.

P.S. To find Shannan’s blog and the link to her “12 Ways of Christmas Emails” click here.  I think you’ll love her as much as I do.

Christmas Together 2016

Hello there– Hoping you had a sweet Christmas time with people you love–hugs and talks and good meals together.  We started off with a quick trip up the coast for Christmas with kids and then came home for more Christmas with kids here.

San Francisco Christmas with old AA, Jessica, Mae & Eero.

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photos: By the Christmas trees, always reading, walk to Blue Bottle for coffee.

Then home for 10 days o Christmas with family.

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photos:  Christmas cooking decorating, art projects and Christmas books.

It was a chance for cousins & grand grandparents to meet new little Lois.

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photos: Maryann gets to know her new cousin, Four generation photo with Great Grandma Lo, Great Grandma Helen cuddles Lois, Little Lo sleeping on Grandma’s lap.

My favorite times were sitting down together around the table.

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photos: Great Grandparents, Helen, Stu & Lorraine after Christmas Eve lunch,  cooking in the kitchen with Jodi, my second-sis Jenon on Christmas Eve, Christmas breakfast, Christmas night supper–tapas by the fire.

And there was some gift opening on Christmas morning after Grandpa Larry read the Christmas story.

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And a last few photos to remember the days together.

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photos: Micah, Jodi & 3 girls off to have family portrait taken, Ani & Brian (with little Lois) on a post Christmas hike, Laurel-the ever ready baby holder, family together on Christmas Eve.

Sorry for the photo overload!!  It was a fine full couple weeks.
Hope your Christmas was a sweet one and that you are hopeful for all that the New Year holds ahead…

Maple Butternut Squash Mash


Hi there– Our big Christmas meal is on Christmas Eve, with the Great Grandparents and family come in from far and wide.  It’s a little hectic (read, stressful) getting it all on.  And a definite squish to squeeze all of us around the table.  But it’s one of my favorite parts of Christmas, Larry pouring wine, Jodi taking pictures, Laurel and the grand-girls trading puns.

And here’s one of the things we served up this year…

1 large butternut squash, peeled & cubed
(about 6 cups of cubes)*
3 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
garnish: sliced green onion (or pumpkin seeds or pecans or feta… )


Peel and cube the butternut squash.  Then mix it in a bowl with the olive oil and liberally salt and pepper it.  Spread the squash out on two baking sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Roast the squash in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until it is tender.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the roasted squash, milk, vanilla, salt and maple syrup with an electric mixer or a stick blender.  Continue beating until it is smooth and creamy.  Serve it up nice and hot (you can make this ahead and heat it in the microwave at the last minute).

*Cooking the big meal for Christmas Eve, I didn’t want to take the time to peel and big squash, so I used 2– 32 oz. bags of cubed squash from Trader Joe’s.  Works fine in this recipe.

And here’s the family, sitting down to eat our Christmas Eve lunch.

Chocolate Cranberry “Fruit Cake”


Hello all– We all know that people have definite opinions about fruit cake.  My dad loved it.  But the rest of us were not so sure.

So this cake is my compromise.  It sort of looks fruit cake-esque.  Little bits of dried cranberries and chocolate bits (I know, not a fruit!).  And then, cream cheese frosting which nothing like a fruit cake.  oh well.

And we ate it after Christmas Eve lunch with the grandparents– such a sweet time with them. There’s just one slice  left on the kitchen counter.  I’m pretty sure it will be someone’s midnight snack.


1 white cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped to bits*
1 cup mini chocolate chips**

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound box powdered sugar (3 3/4 cups)
1 tsp. vanila
2 to 3 tab. milk

1 cup cranberries
3 to 4  tab. sugar


Mix up the cake according to the directions on the package. Mine called for 3 eggs, 1/2 cup canola oil and 1 cup water. Gently fold in the chopped cranberries and mini chocolate chips.  And scoop the batter into two 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the cake layers 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees until they ae lightly browned and are firm to the touch. Let the cake layers cool.

To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Add 2 tablespoons of milk and if it seems a bit stiff still, add the 3rd tablespoon of milk.  Frost the cake layers.

Put the cranberries and sugar into a small zip loc bag and shake until the berries are coated with sugar.  Arrange them on the frosted cake with a bit of greenery ( I used bits of pine from the the back of the Christmas tree!)  Enjoy!

*I like to mince the dried cranberries so they just give a touch of sweetness, but don’t seem gummy.
** Use mini chocolate chips– they won’t sink to the bottom of the cake like the standard chips do.



Sweet Jobay & Jodi– ending up our Christmas Eve lunch and ready to open gifts with the Great Grandparents.


Tender Mercies

perwinkleliving-tumblr-comHello all– I was able to snatch part of a morning this week to read through the story of Jesus’ birth, to sit and think and pray…

And the words that stayed with me were when Zechariah spoke of “the tender mercy of our God.” (Luke 1:78)  It made me want to look for God’s “tender mercies”through these days of Christmas.

The mercies of my mom growing stronger, of squeals from the grand-kids.  The splendid mercy of real conversations with our children.  And Christmas music in the house, of sitting down to meals together and the sun through the bare maple trees in the yard.

And the best mercy of God’s son come to earth for us.  I remain  profoundly grateful for God’s merciful love.


Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cake



Merry Christmas! — If you’ve read this blog much, you must think all we do around here is sit and eat cake!  It’s kind of true.  Especially at Christmas–so many excuses to pull a good cake out of the oven.

This one is chocolatey and cranberry tart and creamy– all around delicious.  And just about the right way to end a Christmas meal.*


Cake Layer:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 heaping cups of cranberries
3 to 4 tab. chocolate ice cream syrup
1 pint whipping cream
2 tsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix**
leaves for garnish


Make the cake according to the directions on the package (mine used 3 eggs, 1/3 cup canola oil & water).  Mix in the chocolate chips.  Then spoon the batter into two 8″ or 9″ cake pans and bake according the directions.

While the cakes are baking, make the cranberry sauce.  In a saucepan stir together the sugar and cornstarch until there are no cornstarch lumps.  Then mix in the 1/2 cup water and cranberries.  Cook the mixture over medium high heat until it simmers for 2 to 3 minutes while all the cranberries “pop” and the liquid turns a deep red.

With a slotted spoon, lift the cranberries to a heat proof bowl to cool.  Leave the sauce in the pan.

When the cakes and and sauce are cooled, poke holes all over the cakes with the handle end of a wooden spoon. Then drizzle the chocolate sauce into the holes. Next drizzle the cranberry sauce (not the cooked cranberries, just the sauce) into the holes.

Beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer, adding in the powdered sugar and the instant pudding mix.

Heap the whipped cream onto the cake and top with the cooked cranberries and garnish with a few (non poisonous!) leaves from your yard (these are rose geranium leaves).  So pretty!

**The pudding mix stabilizes the cream so it stays whipped even after a couple hours out on the table.

*I made this recipe into two smaller cakes (8″ cake pans) because sometimes just a small liver of cake is a good way to cap off a meal.

*The cake mix makes two layers of cake.  I did two individual one layer cakes, because sometimes a small little piece of cake is just enough after a big meal.
**The pudding mix stabilizes the cream, so it will hold up out of the fridge for hours.

White Truffle Cake


Merry Christmas!!  Did you have a favorite celebration so far this year? I think mine could be our evening at Susan’s last week.  All the Wednesday night ladies came and we munched on salty snacks and Christmas desserts.  Susan made a fire in the fireplace and we sat around her family room and talked together about Mary and the annunciation of the Angel.  We prayed and laughed and passed around Christmas hugs.  Such a memorable evening.

Here’s what I brought to set on the table– so rich and smooth, and pretty on the plate.  It just looks like Christmas.



Cake layer:
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup flour
pinch of salt

Truffle layer:
1  1/4 cup heavy cream
12 oz. good white chocolate*
8 oz. mascarpone or cream cheese

white sprinkles


To make the cake, use an electric mixer and beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for about 3 minutes until it is foamy and increases in volume.  Gently fold in the flour and salt with a rubber scraper.

Then scrape the batter into a 8″ springform pan (or deep cake pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put it into a 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes until it is lightly browned and firm to the touch.

While the cake is cooking,  bring the heavy cream to a boil in a saucepan.  Drop in the white chocolate and turn off the heat.  Stir until the chocolate completely melts.

Then let the cake cook and the chocolate/cream mixture cool completely.

When the cream is at room temperature, cut the mascarpone (or cream cheese) into cubes and drop into the cream mixture.  Beat with an electric mixture until it is blended and smooth.

Pour the truffle white chocolate mixture over the cooled cake and refrigerate for a least 2 hours (overnight is best).

Decorate with white sprinkles and a touch of green (snipped from your tree??)  Voila!


recipe adapted from

Christmas Books for Little Readers


Hi there– Do you have favorite Christmas books that you go back to every year?  I have a stack right here on the coffee table, just waiting for the grand-girls to come through the door.  We like sweet. We like funny. We like endearing Christmas books.  Here’s a few if you happen to have little readers on hand at Christmas:

513uldt0lkl-_sy337_bo1204203200_The Christmas Pageant by Tomie DePaola makes use of the text from the gospels of Matthew & Luke, along with the simple, charming illustrations that are instantly recognizable as DePaola’s work.  The story takes us through the Christmas story as presented by a group of children in their Christmas program celebrating Jesus birth.

unknownFather Christmas
by Raymond Briggs is almost wordless, but chronicles Christmas Day for a rather grumpy Santa through a series of detailed illustrations.  This British Santa packs his thermos of tea, flies over Buckingham Palace and makes a Christmas pudding.  You have to admire this intrepid Santa and enjoy his little celebration when he finally arrives home.

61twq0ouzvl-_sx399_bo1204203200_Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant is the sweet story of a small girl who describes her Christmas in the country home of her grandparents.  There’s the awkward Christmas tree that “seemed sometimes like an embarrassed guest” and Christmas dolls and aunts & uncles & cousins bringing pies– a gentle story made even better by DianeGoode’s tender illustrations

51jka-7wl-_sx398_bo1204203200_Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera is a rollicking adventure of Sophie and her mysterious Auntie.  When she stows away in her Aunt’s luggage, she finds herself on a revealing trip to the North Pole and learns a lot about herself and Christmas.  Vivid illustrations and a satisfying ending made this a fun book to read together.

Swedish Lemon Hearts


Hello Cookie Makers– Got this recipe from my friend Sue, who actually learned to make these from her Swedish grandmother.  We’ve both been making them since our kids were small– almost 40 years!  It’s a Christmas favorite.

They are thin and crisp and citrusy and sweet.  And so pretty, they belong on a Christmas table.

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 lemon
maraschino cherries
sprinkling of sugar


With a fine grater, grate the peel off of the lemon.  Then juice the rest and strain the seeds from the juice.

With an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar and lemon juice until it’s blended and smooth.  Then beat in the flour (it will be dry, may take a few minutes).    Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes or more.

Roll out the dough thinly with a rolling pin an a floured counter.  Also sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough–it may be a little sticky.  Cut out your hearts and place them 1″ apart on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle a sugar very lightly and cut up the cherries and put a small bit of cherry at the cleft of each cookie.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 8 or 9 minutes, just until they start to brown at the edges.  Merry Christmas!


Sugar Cookies


Hello Baking Friends– In about a week, 3 grand-girls will coming swarming in the door and what will we do?? Decorate sugar cookies!!  It’s one of my favorite (and messiest) parts of Christmas– frosting and sprinkles from here to there…  Those girls know how to decorate with dash and verve!

On the other hand, Friday evening we had a little more sedate cookie decorating with some young moms from my MOPS group.  It was mulled wine and cheese & crackers, and long conversations as we frosted and sprinkled the evening away.   So much fun.

Whoever you make cookies with, this is a recipe you might enjoy, simple and it makes enough cookies to tide your through a week of Christmas (4 or 5 dozen)


3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  When that is blended mix in the flour, baking powder and salt. Chill the dough in the fridge about 30 minutes.

Then spread flour on your counter top and a little more flour on your lump of dough– and then flatten it to a thin layer with a rolling pin.  Cut out all your favorite cookie cutter shapes and bake in a 400 degree oven for just 6 or 7 minutes, until they are slightly brown around the edges.




1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 to 4 tab. milk or half & half
food coloring
all the sprinkles you can round up!

With an electric mixer beat together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk, add the 4th tablespoon, if you want the frosting to be a bit thinner.

Divide the frosting into smaller bowls and add food coloring for the colors you want to use (I did yellow, green, red and white).  Mix them well with a fork to blend in the coloring.  Frost and sprinkle your cookies!

Let the cookies sit out for a few hours before you stack them in a container– I do them ahead and layer them in large containers, between layers of waxed paper and put them in the freezer.


Here’s my cookie decorating crews– Charlotte & Maryann, so enthusiastic!!  And 5 dear MOPS moms on our relaxing night together.
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P.S. If you live in So. California, the Decor Store in the corner of Beach Blvd. & La Habra Blvd. in La Habra is “Sprinkle Central!”  every sprinkle and colored sugar you could wish for– plus those cute little eyes!


Quiet side of Christmas

The Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci (1453-1519) artist, inventor, scientist

Hello friends– For years we had a large print of this painting over our fireplace– The angel come to tell Mary of the arrival of the baby Jesus.  I love this story. The recounting is in the Bible’s book of Luke:

It starts with the angel.
“The angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary,…you will be with child and will give birth to a so, and you are to give him the name of Jesus.”

And ends with Mary.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, “may it be  to me as you have said.”

So in the quiet moments of this Christmas, these are the words I want to think on, to hold dear.  God is with me in my fears (and I’m good at being “afraid”–for health of people I love, for security in retirement, for all that’s ahead…)  But I can rest unafraid.

And that, like Mary, I am the Lord’s servant, listening to him for guidance and direction– whatever comes.

Merry Christmas!  I hope your Christmas (and mine) is full of quiet moments to reflect and know God’s constant love.

Anticipating Christmas!

Hi friends– I don’t know about you, but I’m an big anticipator.  I get a whole lot of joy imagining all the “Christmas” coming up this month.  Here’s what’s on my mind and heart:

#1. Today, I’m picking up my sis to Christmas shop.  We’ve been Christmas shopping together since we were 8 years old, pooling our $6 to buy all the family gifts!  We talk and shop and eat our way across town! The best.

#2. Bringing home the Christmas tree that Larry’s strapped to the top of the car.  I love that bit of piney green in the house with all the well worn ornaments.

#3. Listening to Christmas music, cranking up the Messiah while I put cookies into the oven.

#4. Evenings celebrating with dear friends, hearing Christmas plans and hopes…

#5. Hugging all our kids as they come in the door to stay.  They come from far and wide–so we have people piled high sleeping in every room of our small house.

#6. Decorating cookies with the grand-girls, sprinkles flying in every direction.

#7. Christmas Eve lunch with our parents, kids and grandkids, sitting down to share a big meal with the people we love most.

#8. Our big crazy Christmas Eve supper at my bother Mark’s house. Fifty of us all catching up, giving hugs, taking pictures…

#9. Christmas night tapas (thanks to our years in Spain) by the fireplace with the kids, a quiet end to Christmas.

#10. Tranquil moments through these weeks ahead, to thank God for his son come to show us his great love, to sing, to pray, to rest in Him.  God is good.

Thank you for the reindeer.

Broccoli Quinoa Salad


IMG_2673Hello all– One more recipe left from our Christmas table that I wanted to share.  I haven’t used pomegranate seeds before– I’m afraid I was too lazy to cut open a pomegranate and extract all those seeds.  But now that you can buy little packets of seeds from Trader Joe’s I think they’ll be a regular in my kitchen.

This bright salad is crunchy and fresh and slightly sweet– using an old favorite coleslaw dressing.  If you want to be a little healthier this January, you can cut back the sugar or I’m planning to try it again with a simple oil and tarragon vinegar dressing.  Any way you make it, I think you’ll enjoy it like we did.

3 small heads of broccoli
1 cup white quinoa
1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup pommegranet seeds

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tab. tarragon vinegar

Mix the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Cook the broccoli in salted water until crisp tender, about 1 minutes.  Drain and set aside to cool.

Cook the 1 cup quinoa according the the package directions, about 12 minutes. Drain if there is extra water in the pan.  Fluff with a fork and let it cool.

Then mix together the broccoli quinoa, and dressing.  Set in the fridge a few minutes to chill.  Stir in the hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds just before setting it on the table.
Eat away!


Christmas with the Crew 2015

735163_10101175258943650_7985998665803748221_nHello all– Making a little “scrapbook” page of our week of Christmas with the kids in the house.  They arrived in time for Christmas Eve celebrations and are staying through New Year’s Eve.  There was plenty of eating, walk-taking, game-playing and a couple days “out on the town.”

Here are my favorite moments:

Tumbling out of bed to sit down to Christmas Breakfast and passing around the presents to open.

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Christmas Eve lunch with all the family– Great Grandparents included.

There were uneventful moments, reading books, fixing up meals, just lounging around …
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And a few last favorite photos:
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photos:  Jodi, Jobay & Micah ready for lunch, with my oldest friend Jenon–my Christmas-sister,  family photo together in the backyard (thanks Jodi!!), Charlotte on her post-Chritmas book shopping trip, Laurel and Charlotte check out the much anticipated Christmas wreath at Grandma Honey’s house. Brian showing off his Wisconsin Christmas mug, 2 grand-girls with the welcome home sign.

So thankful for the days with all these faces–and for the wacky, riotous, sweet times together.  It was a merry Christmas.

P.S.– Thanks Jodi for all the photos I lifted off your Drop Box!!