Thursday, November 26, 2015


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Today is our traditional American holiday of giving thanks.  We are to pause and remember those gifts in our ordinary or not so ordinary days.  But this holiday, as with oh so many in our culture has been hijacked by the corporate sell.  I could rant on about the loss of focus to that which is of true importance in our lives but today is so sacred to me.  This is the holiday that embodies my daily practice of rising early to record all the blessings, great and small, that make my journey remarkable.  I reflect on those gifts in my life which are those that glitter with authenticity and shine a light into every moment of my life.  

My husband-Mr B, for 35 years now.  Up and down. Round and round.  Rich or poor.  We have weathered storms and enjoyed safe harbors together.  He has been the one to put up with my madness and gently stear me down the better path.
My children-Elizabeth and  Maureen.  So incredibly different but remarkable women in their own unique way.  Liz; tough, resilient, accomplished and single-minded.  Maureen; light as air, deep, born an old soul with her incredible wisdom.  I love them both and am proud they have become the women I most admire. 
My grandchildren-Gavin and Isabelle.  Funny people figuring it all out.  They are becoming independent thinkers and not afraid of anything.  I am seeing them grow into their gifts.  Treasures to us all.
My fur-babies-Boop and Che.  They are my incredible joys.  Greeting me every day I walk through the door as a miracle returned.  Stinky kisses generously given as they live their lives fully in the moment.  Such teachers these little creatures are.
My roof overhead that shades me from the heat and shelters from the rain and cold.  This new address has taught me the great lesson of finding the good in my circumstances and reconnecting with creativity.  
My new neighbors as they show retired living can be full and happy.  I am fortunate to be flanked by two lovely women with gentle hearts, warm smiles and quick wits.  
My dreams of Paris, resurrecting a garden in my backyard, kitchen reno on a budget, and full retirement in ten years.
My greatest teacher, the Universe.  With its tools of sunrises and sunsets, the Pacific ocean, the miracle of orchids and plumeria blooming in pots on my patio in spite of me, trees flowering out in bright yellow, flashy hummingbirds stopping for a meal, the geckos courting each other beneath the palm tree, the wind whispering through pine needles at the park, hawks overhead and bunnies in the yard, and the quiet moments like this very one. 
I am a lucky woman and so are you.  Write the gifts in your life today. Take a moment every day and watch the shift that occurs.  You will be grateful for it.

As always, thank you for stopping by Moonlight Lane.  


Friday, November 20, 2015

Rainy Sunday

With the weather finally cooling and rain finally falling in our parched Southern California, I was bitten by the baking bug. Warms aromas, toasty kitchen, raindrops outside becon to return to my kitchen and nurture body and soul.

Started with a recipe of Three Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits.  In a word-disaster. They didn't rise much on the counter so I stupidly thought "Oh, they will rise as they bake. Kinda like a cake!"   Nope.  The taste was there but they were pucks not biscuits. Darn it!  Oh well, the omelets and bacon were good!  

Part deux of the day, enter Ina Garten to save my baking day. Favorite television chef, she brings fresh ideas to tried and true recipes. Love her style too. Who wouldn't love to have "The Barn"?  So a cozy autumn dessert of Easy Apple-Cranberry Cake was on the menu. This rustic cake will fill your entire home with the comfy smells of autumn.  It's not too sweet but just the right balance of tang from the cranberry and the sweet contrast of apple.  The bit of orange zest and juice add a freshness as well.

A dollop of vanilla frozen yogurt is perfect on the warm cake.  This is fabulous for days - just a quick heat-up in the micro and it is as good as the day it was made.  
So while this lovely lady was cooling, I made our dinner, Carbonnade a la Flamade.  A fabulous recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  Here is a photo from the  website but my version below looks better, if I do say so myself.

I have made this for several years and never tire of it.  You will have to subscribe to Cook's Illustrated to get the recipe.  If you do make it, follow it to a "T" and use Chimay beer as it really does give the best result. 
There.  My rainy day was perfect.  Hope your day was too.
Thanks for stopping by Moonlight Lane!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Household Tip

With Farmhouse Decor all the rage, I am reminded of the simpler times.  No cell phones just those wooden ones on the wall  No televisions just a huge radio to storytell and let your imaginations be the set decorators.  No emails but the great old mailboxes bringing good tidings from faraway friends and family in crisp white envelopes with your name in blue ink and pretty script writing.  No microwave ovens just the old faithful stove and oven to heat up your leftovers or melt butter.  People actually read a book not a tablet.  Women baked cakes, cookies and pies.  Gingham cafe curtains at the kitchen sink window.  Cleaning supplies were simple and non-toxic; white vinegar, baking soda, Fells Naptha, Ivory soap, basic bleach, sunshine, open window fresh air, and good old elbow grease.

So with a feature on Hometalk, a good place to find tips and homecare how-tos.  Some a bit cheesy but there are some good ideas for the every day chore.  Check out the idea to clean your oven racks in the bath tub.  I am going to try it after the Thanksgiving turkey makes its mess.  Also one to use aluminum foil to clean chrome (Might make my teeth feel funny though.  It's similar to  the nails on a chalkboard thing.) 

This is one found this morning, a non-toxic way to brighten up stainless steel sinks.  I am fairly certain mine is original to the house, circa 1978.  Its in pretty good shape but could use a facial, so to speak.  White vinegar, baking soda, canola oil, all ingredients right at hand.  Yes!  I can remain in my pajamas!  

Here's the before...not too bad just not too good.

Here are those basic ingredients, minus the elbow grease.  Hard to snap a photo of that.

First stop the drain then add some vinegar and scrub it all down; bottom sides and edges.  Then add a shake or two of baking soda and watch the fizz.......

Now scrub again all over.  Rinse.  No repeat.  Towel it dry and the add a tablespoon of canola oil wiping everything down and et voila!    A beautiful shiny stainless sink.  No harsh chemicals!  

The wonders of no nuclear warfare in the kitchen.  I am even getting used to the smell of vinegar.  Now if I could only do the daily Apple Cider Vinegar drink my insides may sparkle too!  

Thanks for stopping by Moonlight Lane.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Bit of House Charming

Been working insane hours lately...eleven hour days and six days a week.  That leaves so little time for much else.  Downside: one day a week to do chores in and out of the house.  Upside: keeps me out of the stores practicing mindless shopping!  

I have wanted to warm up the corner windows of our tiny guest room.  Cold. Cold. Cold and Bleh!   The front yard has a short life left as we are all getting a more drought-resistant scape.  We are on the list for next year and I will post befores and afters.  But I digress....back to the windows. 

So last Sunday in the Big Lots flyer there is a feature of curtain rods for $6-$9!  Yes, Big Lots!  I went there wearing my skeptical cap as I was certain they would be plastic.  Au contraire!  Not high end but oil-rubbed bronze with slight distressing at the end caps.  $15+ and I am happily on my way home.  

Fast forward to this week...Here are the drapes, in much need if ironing, and the Big Lots rods.  

Taking the plastic "valance" off the blinds and then a quick install of the rods.  The longer and more labor intensive part was ironing the four panels.  They were purchased four - five years ago from World Market.  Admittedly they have seen better days.  My boy Che, the Yorkie, used to have "lifting leg syndrome" and was fond of showering anything that hung from above him.  (i don't have a bedskirt to this day.)  The panels had been marked over and over again because darn me, every time he lifted, I washed.  He has since been fixed and is now syndrome-free.  

Here they are.  Keeping the blinds as the sun can be intense and need the extra heat protection during the hot hot months we have.  

Love the softer look and feel.  A breeze sweetly comes through the open window giving the drapes a pretty motion as they lift and fall.   A touch of house charming.  

Thanks for stopping by Moonlight Lane.