Stamps on the Wall



Hi all– I have friends who are crazy crafty (that’s you Ruth) and others who make luscious quilts (Hi Jill & LeAnn).  My meagre craft expertise is lopsided 4th grade art projects, all glue and paint and glitter…  But last month I painted our family room a soft gray and took down all the old pictures from the walls, wanting something fresh.

I was stumped at what to put up on those empty walls, but then I thought how much I loved my little Pinterest board of postage stamps from far and wide.  Who knew there were so many people pinning postage stamps?  So I printed up my favorites and crowded them into a couple of old frames.  They’re so bright and happy– just wanted to share them with you…

Please forgive the glass glare–I’m just an amateur picture taker with an iPhone…

So many gorgeous stamps!  here’s a few of my faves!:

6c0e0107852e6383779c8b298fae95ab-1     89daeed784b92003a1290be1093447a2

9b6e0e07c8f20213e8951cdf6f5effe5     4fd454927539eaabc1906dc4545a705e

0ddfe50520972e9cb2026d483ce0f9d2  0cdd8b88a399a355577e0a3be62ed12b

207ef29e0642156cf245f0cb1a3dc22c   439f277b3c14f201f9f07046f4ab6378
Aren’t they truly beautiful?  Little snips of art from all over the globe…

P.S.  And on the opposite wall I stuck up a bunch of favorite family, food and places pics in Ikea frames stuck with those removable sticky strips:


12182587_679054412386_3114323731215632846_oHi there–we had the grand-girls (and their dear parents) here this weekend, down to celebrate a couple birthdays.  I know I sound like “one of those grandmas”  –but I just have to say I get more besotted with this girls every time we’re together.  I wouldn’t trade them in for anything!

So here’s 10 reasons why I’m sticking with this grandma job:
#1.  I hear the car roll up and they charge in the door shouting, “Grandma Rhonda!!”
#2. Sittig through the new Peanuts movie,* Jobay on my lap.  After the first hour, she looks up at me and says, “This is a long movie Grandma!!”
#3. Three girls tumble into the kitchen to frost a cake for Great Grandma Honey’s birthday       and set to it with every single sprinkle to be found in the cupboards. Exciting cake!
#4. We pull out the doll house furniture my grown girls used to play with and they spend an hour fixing up their houses.
#5.  Reading my favorite version of the Thanksgiving story on the sofa together.
#6.  Charlotte doing backwards writing in her journal (ala DaVinci) then pulling me over to the mirror to read it along with her.
#7.  And there’s the raucous sing-a-long with Tom Chapin songs in the car.
#8.  As well as the steady stream of bad puns and knock-knock jokes from someone’s Laugh Aloud Joke Book for Kids.
#9. Love Sunday morning breakfast with syrup sticky fingers and forks while the sun streams in the kitchen windows.
#10. Hugs, lots of hugs.

Yep, being the grandma is the best job I’ve had yet.  And it gives a whole lot of joy watching these girls grow and change over the years.  I pray their lives will be filled to the brim with the love of people around them and the everlasting love of God.

*P.S. — Loved the Peanuts movie, all the old Charlie Brown antics and great music with colorfully clear new animation.

Top Ten with the Fam

Here’s our “not quite ready” family portrait the weekend Micah, Jodi and girls arrived.  Thanks for trying Aaron!!

Hello there friends– Well, if you’ve been reading this little blog at all for the last few months, you’ve seen plenty of pics of the grand-girls while they were living at our house, just arrived from Shanghai.  But they’re sadly gone, moved on.  And things are pretty quiet (dull?) around here!

They are settled up in Ojai, two hours north, where Micah and Jodi are teaching.  The girls are ensconced in a new school and they are hiking the hills of Ojai!

So just to remember the time with them, I’m making a little “scrapbook” post of our time together.  It was a whole lot of chaotic fun and I miss those girls now every day…

IMG_8437     IMG_8866#1.  We had lots of every day fun, reading library books, making puzzles, bath time and cooking up muffins.

IMG_1102IMG_1152     IMG_1117

IMG_1142#2.  And we spent a full day galloping through the La Habra Children’s Museum.

IMG_8545     IMG_8551#3.  There was the big bonus of Jodi’s home cooking,  real Chinese food!

IMG_8381     IMG_8387    #4.  We walked our legs off on a hot day at the Los Angeles Zoo–  Those girls are troopers.

IMG_0954#5.  The 2 big girls and I spent a couple days making summer scrapbooks– lots of photos, simple sentences and 5 & 7 year old art work.

IMG_0911      IMG_0884
IMG_0849#6.  One Sunday evening we cooled off splashing at Newport Beach and riding the Back Bay Ferry to get a frozen banana.

IMG_0936#7.  Back behind the garage we planted zinnias and sunflowers for some fall flowers.

IMG_8506     IMG_8507#8.  There was some splashy Easter egg dying when the girls first arrived.

IMG_9988     IMG_0926#9.  With plenty of snipping and stitching, the girls put together their doll quilts.

IMG_0631 IMG_0134     IMG_0539

10463722_10103321999558063_6632792410892087368_o#10.  And the highlight of our summer together was a trip to San Francisco to visit Aunts and Uncles, play with Harry the wonder dog and to meet cousin Baby Mae!

So glad Micah and Jodi and those 3 girls for the time with you herewith us– and glad you’ll be close by ahead.

Chicago Super Seven

IMG_1569Hi blog friends–  Our daughter Laurel works for the photo website, Photojojo. About once a year, the employees pack up and relocate to an exotic location (Thailand, India, Costa Rica…) and spend a couple weeks on a “work-cation.”  They work some days and tourist  around in between.  It’s a whole company of people who know how to have fun (and take great photos while their at it)…

So when I visited my Laurel this past week we had a little work-cation of our own– She’s just moved into a sweet old apartment in Chicago, so we spent our days tracking down furniture and all she needs to kit out a kitchen–and did our share of eating and touristing as well.  What could be more fun than that?!

So here’s the super seven of a fab week with Laurel:

IMG_1553     IMG_1657     #1.  Let me just jump in right from the start– some fabulous eating!  Laurel does know how to find the best places!  (I’ll do a whole ‘nother post on all that yummcious food.)
Here Laurel takes her expert food pics.  And a incredible charcuterie lunch at Eataly.

IMG_1577     IMG_1576#2. We spent an afternoon trekking through down town Chicago–  joined the summer tourist crowds snapping pictures of the bean.  Why is that thing so intriguing?  And we explored the Chicago Cultural Center top to bottom, ending up under this glass dome.

IMG_1668     IMG_1768     #3.  And, of course, we shopped–thrift stores, good old Homegoods and 5 productive hours in Ikea!!  Gathered up all we needed to make a home sweet home for Laurel.  Then
we went to work.  If you need help, putting together any Ikea furniture together, give us a call.  We’re experts!  (even constructed a sofa.  Yikes!)

IMG_1711     IMG_1700#4. On Saturday, we hit the road for Milwaukee with Laurel’s friend John at the wheel.  It was great–from a community Farmer’s Market, to the most incredible Milwaukee Art Museum on Lake Michigan, on to the river walk and, of course, a Wisconsin brat lunch.

IMG_1606     IMG_1549    #5.  I have to say my very favorite moments were working mornings with Laurel.  We’d locate a comfortable table in a cozy coffee shop and and breakfast, while Laurel worked and I wrote on blog posts and read away the hours.

IMG_1637     IMG_1630    #6.  We spent an afternoon wandering through Eataly, Mario Batali’s food emporium, two floors of Italian groceries and several tempting spots to sit and enjoy a leisurely lunch.  We couldn’t resist the charcuterie and a glass of wine.  It was a food wonderland!

IMG_1546     IMG_1558#7.  As a California girl, I love the old style architecture of Chicago.  Laurel’s neighborhood is a collection of leafy streets lined with solid brick homes and beautiful old churches.

IMG_1578     IMG_1752. So here’s Laurel in front of her new home sweet home.  Thanks dear girl for all the furniture shopping, nonstop talking, salad making, apartment planning, sight seeing fun.  It was the best!!

Cooking with the Grand-girls

IMG_8444 Hello there– There’s been a lot of cooking going on around here.  And most days I can lure one of the grand-girls in to be my assistant to stir up bunch of muffins or to cut up fruit for dinner.  They are enthusiastic mixers and surprised me that they can pretty well crack eggs into a cake all  on their own (well, most of the time).  I’ll just say it’s been loads of fun!

IMG_9295     IMG_9277Charlotte specializes in cutting up fruit and making it “fancy” on the plate.

IMG_9811     IMG_8468Maryann spreads the pizza dough.  Says it’s just like using play dough. (Notice how elegantly she cooks in her princess dress that plays Cinderella music with a touch to her jewels! )  And even Joby contributes, mixing up the muffins with a firm stir.

So I’ve found out 5 and 7 year olds can chop potatoes, trim string beans, mix up muffins and cakes, spread frosting, cut up fruit, help prepare pizza dough and set the table.  I think we have some fine little cooks on our hands…

Sweet Peas for Spring


Hi you all– Every spring when the sweet peas bloom, I have gardening buddies who say, “Oh I should have remembered to plant some seeds.  When do we do that?”  Well, I’m reminding you (at least in California), it’s right now.

Put mine in the earth today.  So now I’m like Toad (in the Frog and Toad books) sitting and watching them, singing to them, shouting at them, reading them poetry–just waiting for them to grow!  Love, love sweet peas.


Cooking with Care

thanksgivingHi there friends–  Last Saturday we had a morning wedding shower for adorable Sally.  She is a graphic artist.  So we decided that each of the 6 hostesses would pick an art piece and use it to launch into a bit of friendly advice for a new bride. I chose “Thanksgiving” by Doris Lee (painted 1935, presently hanging in the Chicago Art Institute).  Here’s a bit of what was said:

…Laurie Colwin wrote–“No one who cooks, cooks alone.  Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”

As you start cooking in your married kitchen, with all these new pans and dishes we get to “shower” on you, Im hoping you’ll feel a kinship with all those cooks who’ve fed you and taught you along the way.

I can imagine you cooking with/for Scott in the months and years ahead…

Thomas Wolfe wrote, “There is no spectacle more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.”

And Julia Child said, “I think careful cooking is love, don’t you?  The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you, is about as nice a valentine as you can give.”

Quiet meals talking together, simple of special occasion meals, are times that knit you together.  It’s time to talk through your day, to share the joy of good food with each other across the table.

And it seems, Sally, that you are a girl with many, many dear friends, so I have a feeling you’ll be feeding more people that just Scott!

Ted Allen said, “Cooking for people is an enormously significant expression of generosity and soulfulness, and entertaining is a way to be both generous and creative. You’re sharing your life with people.”

There will be dinner parties and bar-b-ques, picnics and take out food in front of football games, fancy deserts and bowls of chili.  Shared with friends, these all taste better…

The first famous food writer, M.F.K. Fisher wrote, “I am more modest now, but I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a new stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world.”

So I do see plenty of cooking ahead in your future Sally– for Scott, for family, for friends.  There’s a whole of of nurturing going on as you set our those plates and lay the food on the table for people you love.

And one last word of advice from Julia Child, “A party without cake is just a meeting.”

So here’s to cake and good times around your table for years to come…