Happy Chinese / Lunar New Year! Chinese Food Recipes…

Chinese New Year DumplingsHappy Chinese / Lunar New Year!

If you are celebrating and want to try some new Chinese recipes, I have just the website for you.

I came across Elaine’s “China Sichuan Food” last year. She has a variety of great authentic recipes.

As I follow her Blog when she has a new recipe I receive an email. Yesterday she sent an email with a nice story about how her family celebrates Chinese New Year and the types of foods they normally cook at this time.

If you are celebrating Lunar New Year or enjoy Chinese food, you’ll find her website a real delight. Elaine’s recipes look easy and delicious to make. You’ll see she walks you through the recipes with detailed photos, so it’s hard to get it wrong.

There are so many recipes I want to try (i.e. Kung Pao Cauliflower)… I’ve got to get started!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

7CBC96C0-67F1-4CED-A951-0B3CF0A59BA6Today we celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you happen to be at the grocery store late afternoon you’ll see a lot of people rushing to buy their last minute flowers to bring home to their loved ones.

When I met my ex/mother/n/law years ago, I learned very quickly that she loved orchids. Back then I did not know much about orchids. Growing up in the Midwest our winters were long, so we did not see or think about flowers until Spring. Orchids were new to me, I soon fell in love with them too.

Living in California, with warmer temperatures, we had incredible tropical flowers. So for Valentine’s Day there was no need to just give red roses, we had a variety of flowers to choose from.

A favorite of mine is the bird of paradise. This flower with it’s bright colors does indeed look like a bird about to take flight. Amazing!

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For those of you who might be feeling lonely or forgotten on Valentine’s Day, I send you some flowers. Remember that Valentine’s Day is not only about receiving, but giving as well. If this is not your year to receive a Valentine, why not take the initiative to surprise someone and be the Valentine “giver” this year!

Wishing you ALL a very special and beautiful day!

This is called a “snow day!”

CBF9C2A4-8D1B-43B0-B4B2-750EBADAB74BWhat do you do on a snowy day? You take the dreaded walk to your car hoping you don’t find THIS… see photo! It’s tough enough to scrape the snow off your car, but if you don’t have a shovel and your car is totally snowed in — WELL, you have to use your feet as a shovel and kick the snow away from your car. As you can see, there is no where for the snow to go!

Excellent exercise for two hours, frozen hands if you took the wrong type of gloves. What do I mean by wrong type of gloves. For a tough job like this, you don’t go outside with your cheap pink knitted gloves, instead you need the high powered black water resistant gloves.

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I made the mistake of grabbing my pink gloves. The ones I bought on a day where I forgot gloves, my hands were freezing and I didn’t want to pay too much. I learned my lesson, don’t try to do a high level outdoor job with girly pink knitted gloves. Your hands become frost bitten!

I know, you are wondering if I got my car out. The answer is “NO.” I did make a good effort though. We need a snow plow and a sunny day tomorrow to melt the snow.

Time for a reward.

I’m going to make a hot chocolate and HOPE that Spring comes soon!

Snail mail is still the BEST!

My Year MugToday started out as an average snowy day. I got up, had my coffee and headed out. I went to the Post Office expecting bills and junk mail, but a surprise package awaited me.

Wow-wee, I even double checked to make sure it was my name on the package. Yep, it was me. I haven’t received a surprise package in years and I do mean YEARS! Clarification on “surprise” package. This is a package that comes unannounced. The sender does not tell you ahead of time to “expect” something.

I’m terrible! I get so excited if I send something to someone that it is hard for me to NOT give it away. I always want to be a secret sender, but it’s just not possible.

My ex/husband is German versus my Italian background. I was always amused by his restraint. When he received a package or letter, he would look at it and put it on the counter in a very precise type of manner and walk off. I would yell out, “Aren’t you going to open it??” No, it can wait until later. INCREDIBLE! When I received something I was ripping open the letter or package as I was reading WHO it was from!

I can say that is exactly what I did today! I was like a little kid, I was so excited about my surprise package. I started to rip it open until I read “FRAGILE” on the top, then I slowed down for fear of “breaking” the surprise!

The photo shows you my surprise gift! How special is that! The mug’s message with the card looking out onto the Lake, well, it was PERFECT! I really feel like a Princess today!

2018 –>  THIS WILL BE MY YEAR! 

(SMILING – The Universe has spoken!)

Teacher gifts for Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is coming up and the stores are filled with hearts, chocolates and flowers. I spoke to a woman yesterday who had a great idea! She was buying 10 of these cute little heart mugs from Williams Sonoma. Her plan was to put flowers inside the mugs and give them to her child’s teachers on Valentine’s Day!

This was a clever idea! I once spoke to a teacher who said it was nice when parents thought of her, but she had a closet full of soaps, scented candles and note cards. Enough already.

How about “apples,” I said. Do you get a lot of those too? I said that for grins. I guess I was shocked to hear a teacher’s thoughts on the “type” of gifts she was receiving. Didn’t sound very good, but I bet I would get tired of the same gifts for every holiday from multiple parents too.

Still, it is important to think about our teachers. They work hard to educate our children. This woman had the right idea, let’s get creative with our gifts. I’m sure that this little heart mug with a flower will be remembered. Certainly not put in the closet… at least, not until the flower is dead!

Sprinkles – A cupcake for January birthdays! Use the ATM…

Sprinkles ATM cupcakeMy daughter and I were out celebrating her birthday recently., which was fun. A birthday celebration does not seem complete without a birthday cake. While we didn’t need a BIG cake, we wanted a slice of cake, something decadent… where to go? Aha, we decided on “Sprinkles.” She loves the coconut cupcakes and so do I, so off we went.

Sprinkles storeAs she was placing her order, I happened to see that they had an ATM cupcake vending machine outside. You can see photo, that’s how the machine looks in the early evening, all lit up. I remember hearing about the ATM cupcake machines a few years ago, and thought it was a fad that would die out, but it’s still going – 24 hour service. That means if we have a late night craving for a cupcake, a decadent one, we can fulfill our sweet tooth’s desire.

Sprinkles has strategic locations throughout the U.S. (San Francisco Bay Area, Beverly Hills, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Nashville, Dallas to name a few). The cupcakes are very big, a bit expensive, but remember you are treating yourself.

In January they are serving “Breakfast Cupcakes,” now that will give you a sugar high. If you live near a Sprinkles, I would suggest joining their reward program, you’ll get a FREE cupcake on your birthday!

So – HAPPY BIRTHDAY to January birthdays!

Treat yourself! Start the year off right with a Sprinkles cupcake!

The Australian Brush Maker (home made paint brushes)

While I am not an artist, I’ve always been inspired by painting and various forms of producing artwork. The other day, I came across a story about an Australian artist named, “Lorna Crane,” who creates home made paint brushes.

On her beach walks she finds materials that she uses to make her paint brushes. I grew up on the beach… well, I mean near the beach, so I know the feeling of walking and finding rocks, feathers, dried grass, driftwood, wires, and more that wash up on the shore.

Crane’s paint brushes are works of art BEFORE they are even used. This was a brilliant idea. If you watch the video, you’ll see how beautiful and unique each brush is. Based on the brush she chooses, when she paints she uses a different painting technique. Painting is really freeing.

It’s the start of a new year. She’s inspired me! I’m going to make a goal for myself of producing one piece of art in 2018.

Hello fellow artists, how are you challenging yourself this year?