welcome, 2017

We made it! A brand new year, 365 days, waiting for us to make into something that’s uniquely ours. I love this day and its traditions. I look forward to the annual burning ceremony, the start of a new gratitude jar, and of course the food! Although not particularly superstitious, I do like to fill myself with as much good luck food as possible on New Years Day. Breakfast was a bagel (round food, shaped like coins = prosperity), and then lunch featured a melange of cultural traditions: long noodles for long life and sauerkraut, peas, and carrot coins, all again for prosperity.


James had to work, so his traditional PA Dutch new years meal of pork (fatty meat to ensure plenty to eat all year long) and sauerkraut simmered in the slow cooker all afternoon. For my own vegetarian dinner, I had another cultural mishmash of lentils (their coin-like appearance is to bring more wealth) and collard greens with hot sauce.


If nothing else, we at least start the new year with happy bellies. 🙂

Today also marks the last day of Holidailies 2016. Many thanks to all who stopped by my blog space during the past month, as well as to the organizers of this annual holiday tradition. I wish you all peace and joy and hope to see you again here soon!


marking days

img_5418As life would have it, this year James and my anniversary came smack in the middle of my finals week and his busiest sales season, so we’ve yet to really celebrate it. However, it was super-nice to find this little note tucked in my breakfast napkin. He’s a sweetie who makes me laugh — I can’t ask for more. ❤

I did finish up the last of my final critiques with my instructors yesterday, so the fall semester is officially a wrap — woohoo! Which mean my winter break began in full this morning, and I could start to check tasks off my holiday to-do list. The first was ordering the calendars we give to family and friends each year. Sorting through our photos is always such a nice way to review the past 12 months, as well as be reminded of the beauty that we live with each day. And on a day with negative wind chills and snow squalls, I was grateful especially for the summer photos, with their blue skies and hints of warmer weather. 🙂 Here are the photos that made the final cut:

With that Christmas task complete, I’m continuing the warming up thread by opening up a couple jars of summer, that is, our preserved homegrown tomatoes, and popping out a few pesto cubes from the freezer to make this tomato farro soup for dinner this evening.

Wherever you are, hope you are snug as a bug in a rug, too, and enjoying this almost-winter night.

weekly roundup

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It’s been a gorgeous summer week here, full of all the good things this season offers — sunshine, cool breezy evenings, blooms everywhere, and meals made with homegrown produce: the best! But I am so behind in many little things, since jam making and weeding have become priorities. Then again, being outdoors as the sun’s rays warm your shoulders is such a pleasure when one dares to think back just a few months ago and all the snow and ice — the ice! — of winter. No, we must savor these days in each and every way, as they are fleeting. And if you have no garden of your own, check out a local pick-your-own farm. A morning full of picking is great fun and also humbling because those berry buckets take a long time to fill. 🙂 Have a lovely weekend!!

gratitude sunday


gratitude — the state of being grateful : thankfulness

On this Gratitude Sunday, I am grateful for:

  • my BFF Julie, who celebrated her birthday this week. I love her for countless reasons and feel so fortunate to know she’s always by my side, cheering me on in life’s adventures
  • the good fortune that spared our magnolia tree from this past week’s frost. The overnight temperatures fell below freezing in the back garden but did not closer to the house, where the blooming tree stands 🙂
  • checking off three “to do”  items this week on my list for “The Big Thing”, which I still can’t quite reveal but promise I will as soon as everything is finalized 🙂
  • an uneventful checkup with the ophthalmologist
  • the people and critters on this planet that make me laugh every day and even when I don’t think I’m capable of it, these guys never let me down
  • Sunday brunch featuring pancakes (I use this easy recipe), James’ organic blackberry jam topping, and fresh whipped vanilla cream — soooo good!
  • the amazing aid people who dedicate their lives to helping people in the face of natural disasters, as is currently is happening in Nepal. James and I are survivors of the horrific earthquake that hit Pakistan almost ten years ago, and we remain grateful to all who aided in our rescue and kept us safe until that could happen. Please donate to the aid relief, as you’re able — thank you
  • fun afternoon on Thursday taking Leni to visit my mom, who loves her grandpup very much 🙂
  • the lovely folks we met at the Mt Zion AMC’s SpringFling on Saturday — a great event again!
  • the return of green to Baldy Hill — with the space of just a few days this week, there was an explosion of plant life popping from their buds!
  • not to mention, the daffodil blooms, the narcissus, and the bluebells, too 🙂
  • finding this quote, which really resonated with me this week: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” — So true, Mr. Twain, so true.


gratitude sunday



gratitude — the state of being grateful : thankfulness

On this Gratitude Sunday, I am grateful for:

  • April days — the snow has finally melted; the world around us is turning green again; and nature following its cycle, bringing us rebirth and renewal
  • Meeting lots of great people at the Red Barn market yesterday — had a fun day, even if James forgot the sunscreen and came home looking a bit like a raccoon 🙂
  • Memories of our good friend Chris from Spain; we heard this week he had died Wednesday after a brief but devastating illness. He was one of the first people we met when we moved to the village and indeed one of our fondest friends there. James and he kept in touch after he relocated to the UK and we to the US. In his last correspondence, he had hinted of an illness but provided no details. RIP, dear amigo
  • Fun film matinee with my husband one dreary day this week — perhaps the plot was a tad predictable, but the genius actors make up for any other shortcomings; thoroughly enjoyable!


  • Work being done to help preserve this important part of not just our local history but the national industrial history as well (shot taken from the movie theatre lobby, btw)
  • Dandelion salad — no matter what the calendar says, spring has never truly arrived until the dandelion harvest; I more or less follow this recipe, except use “fakin’ bacon” instead of the real stuff
  • Help I am receiving to assist in putting together all the required paperwork to get my BIG THING approved — apologies for not being able to reveal more about this yet, but I will as soon as I am able, fx! 🙂
  • The small pile of birthday cards that arrived in the mail yesterday, which I’m saving to open tomorrow 😀
  • Mac n cheese and garlicky greens for dinner
  • Making plans to visit good friends in Philadelphia in May — can’t wait!
  • Sunshine, after several days of rain
  • Our little greenhouse, which may be petite is size but is working hard to keep our seeds and young seedlings warm and growing well 🙂

warm bellies



We’ve been splitting and stacking extra wood today to make sure we’re fully stocked for the seriously cold blast expected this weekend (-27F/-33C!!!). It’s already on the chilly side, although the work is a good distractor. 🙂 So is a full belly full of what I call warming food. To be honest, by the time the middle of February rolls around, my appetite for soup is waning. Which means I have to start looking for other quick-to-make alternatives. Like today’s polenta topped with a sauté of garlic, greens, Italian seitan, and diced tomatoes, with a sprinkling of parmesan. From start to finish, 20 minutes….although the happy warm belly afterglow is guaranteed to last much longer. 🙂 Keep warm, friends!