Tuesday, November 30, 2010


My son lives on a street that is known as "the village". They have block parties several times a year and there are a ton of kids who live on their street. Everyone knows everyone and it is a great street to live. On the other hand, we live on a street where one neighbor just waves without looking at you, we don't even know some neighbor's names, and then there is Peggy and Denis. They (like us) have lived on this street for 25 years. We are more than neighbors, we are friends! We have keys to each others homes and even have the understanding that if I am cooking and run out of something and they are not home, I can help myself to their pantry, and vice-versa. We share a faith and go to the same church. We know that if we have a special intention that needs prayer that we will get on our knees and PRAY for each other. We have                  counseled one another on grand parenting skills, cried together through the death of a parent, and shared many, many joys. We have a comfortable relationship that allows us to call at the last minute so we can have a fun night out in a casual restaurant or just enjoying their hot tub and a bottle of wine.
Peggy and Denis have so many great attributes. They are about the most active volunteers I know, always lending their hand to anyone or any group that needs them. Sometimes, they are so busy I won't see them for weeks, but I always know that if I needed help or a listening ear I can call on either one of them.
peggy (left) and Carla, another friend.
me, Denis and my sister

So for neighbors who are truly GREAT FRIENDS, I am  GRATEFUL.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Tonight I went to dinner with my mom. 
Just me and my 85 year old mom. 
She can't see the menu so I tell her what's on it and what she might enjoy. 
She always pays the bill. 
I wanted to take her out. But, you see my mom lives with us and this is her way of saying "thank you". 
She also likes to wash dishes (and no you can't borrow her).
What do you talk to your mom about when she lives with you and knows pretty much everything that is going on in your life? Here's what I do...
I ask her about her life. 
What things were like when she was a child?
 What street did her best friend live on?
We reminisce about Dad and some of the things we miss about him or some of the things he did that drove us crazy.
We talk about cooking traditions in our family.
She calls all her friends every Saturday and Sunday
(free weekends on her cell phone)
so I ask her what Dorothy had to say,
or Aunt Margaret.
 I can hear her going through our week telling her friends all about life in our family.
She often tells me the same story over and over again,
so I smile and nod a lot.
But I am grateful for these times, even when she frustrates me.
I know that some day she won't be here and then we can't have "girl's night out" like we did tonight.

Today I am grateful to have a sweet mom who's only mission in life was (and still is) to make her family happy.
I love you mom.

Hello Readers

Please post a comment or suggestion on my blog comments. I see I have lots of readers but would love to hear from you, to know what you like and don't like about my posts.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Grateful Day 26

sleeping in late on my sleep number bed
an old, cuddly jacket from Evan
my Bernina sewing machine
working on a few Christmas sewing projects
ordering pizza for dinner
totally relaxing Sundays.
I am GrAtEfUl for a relaxing, wonderful day!

My Quilt Journey...Jack's Quilt

When I was in high school I had a friend named Debi, who is still one of my dearest friends. Debi had 4 sisters. They were so close and they all quilted together. Their mom was quite a crafter.  I had been a sewer since the fifth grade. I made all my own clothes and so I knew I could sew. I had decided when I got married I wanted my family to be like Debi's. I was going to have 5 daughters and we would all do crafts together. 
A year later I met my husband,  we got married two years later and went on to have 4 children...ALL BOYS!. There would be no family crafting in my future. Instead we had great fun with soccer, basketball, water polo, volleyball and ice hockey. My life was filled with sweat socks and cooking. Team mom duties and carpools. I wouldn't trade it for anything. 
Always in the back of my mind I still wanted to learn to quilt. So I set a goal that when my youngest started  kindergarten I would take up quilting. That was 1988...and I didn't start quilting until 2003! In those 15 years I learned to tole paint, scrapbook (still love it),  and cross stitch. I took up gardening and baking as hobbies, too. Still no quilting.

Then in 2003 I planned a baby shower for my daughter-in-law. She knew they were having a boy so I decided to use little boy themed fabrics as tablecloths and then I would make a quilt out of them. I had no clue what I was doing and it shows. But here is my first quilt.

I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't have any of the correct supplies, like a rotary cutter, cutting mat or an instruction book. I didn't know there were quilt stores and that fabric from JoAnn's fabrics was not good enough. 
I've learned a lot since then and hopefully it will show in my "Quilt Journey". I plan to post one quilt a week to show you my progress.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Today I want to acknowledge my wonderful husband. He has been my rock for 40 years!
He rubs my back in the middle of the night.
He helps me so much.
He is an amazing dad and "Papa".
He has worked so hard so I can stay home.
"He likes me, he really, really likes me!"; (to sorta quote Sally Field).
He makes me laugh,
and he's cute!
He is so much more than these few words!
Today I am grateful for a loving husband!
I love you, honey!

Friday, November 26, 2010


with my eldest gRaNdDaUgHtEr.
I helped her with a project for school.
She had to make a cLoThEsPiN
doll that represents her heritage.
of arriving in the United States from
CzEcHoSlOvAkIa in 1920,
as a Mail Order Bride!
Grandma and Grandpa, 1946

she still needs a face!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grateful Day 23

can't believe my sister and I dressed alike today. So funny!
Thankful to be sitting down. The day is done. Really thankful to have had family and friends over today and talk with Brent and Molly and SKYPE with Julia and Kyle.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

check list

Pumpkin pie made 
cheesecake made by nani
table set
floor washed
dog bathed
turkey in the brining solution
vegetables and potatoes purchased
wine chilling
gravy made and now defrosting
Chef Evan (son)arriving at noon to help make 
Parker House Rolls
I think it's all set for tomorrow.
Calgon take me away..............

Grateful Day 22

Today I am grateful for Motrin 800 mg.
I have had back pain for as long as I can remember, 
and after trying everything; injections, physical therapy,
Chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, massage therapy...blah, blah, blah...
I am now doing Spinal Decompression. 
Today was my third treatment and I am really praying this will work. 
But after a hard day of washing the dog, cleaning the floor, and cooking in preparation for Thanksgiving,
my back is aching.
So today I am grateful for prescription strength Motrin and I hope to be grateful for Spinal Decompression treatments in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Thanksgiving is less than 36 hours away.
 I am not ready and I am not stressed.
 I am gRaTeFuL that I have taken a different approach to 
this day and preparing the meal.
I have given up trying to control the entire day and whatever happens, happens.
I would like to make some floral arrangements tomorrow, 
but if I don't, I have some fake flowers and votive candles that look just fine.
I did get a new tablecloth that actually fits my super long dining room table.
It's all about family and that is what I am
focusing upon.
So today I am GRATEFUL for not stressing myself out over Thanksgiving.
I know my husband and kids will be happy with my new found peace.
I'm enjoying an Irish Coffee with my hubby tonight.
for some reason I could not upload any photos today.

See the free give away on my sister's blog

My sister has designed the most beautiful Christmas cards. She's giving away 10 to a lucky random winner.
Check out her blog.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Today was a very busy day, with work, doctor's appointments and making dinner, so I am very grateful for being able to pay the bills with my computer. Not only did I pay the household bills, but I paid a bill for my husband and son...using their accounts. All this in only about 10 minutes while watching Dancing with the Stars! No stamps, no address stickers, no waste of paper, no trips to the mailbox or post office. Life is good!
I am grateful for on-line banking.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turkey Pot Pie

Yesterday I gave you a recipe for Make Ahead Turkey Gravy. Well today I made the most delicious Turkey Pot Pie with the meat from the legs and wings I used to make the gravy.We are probably going to be eating way too much turkey this week. But you can always make these pies, freeze them and then bake one next month when you are too tired from all the Christmas shopping.
3 c. chopped, cooked turkey
1/2 c. chopped onion
4 med. red-skinnd potatoes, diced into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 packages frozen mixed vegetables
2 t. chopped fresh thyme
2 jars Heinz Turkey Gravy
1 can Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup
2 packages Pillsbury pie crust.
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400'F

     I literally threw everything into a bowl, the veges were still frozen! Mixed it all up. Then lined each of 2 pyrex pie dishes with a pie crust. Divide the filling between the two pie plates. Moisten the edges of the crust then top with a second crust. Press the edges and then crimp. Poke with a knife for the steam to escape. Bake for 1 hour until browned.
This makes 2 pies, one to eat and one to share (or freeze). And for you Weight Watchers out there, 1/8 of a pie is 7 points! Add a salad, yummy dinner!

Grateful Day 19

We have a new pastor at our church.
He is from Vietnam and every month or so he tells us a little bit more about him, his life and what led him to become a priest.
Today he shared this story 
(I have shortened it to get my point across).
His mother died in a bombing when he was 4 years old.
His father then remarried.
His father died in the war in Vietnam when he was 9 years.
He and his 3 siblings were thrown into poverty and harassed by the communists, deprived of human rights.
His step-mother remarried.
His step-father then led the family in an escape from communism. At times he thought the waves would swallow him up in their little boat.
He is GRATEFUL for all these experiences because they have made him the person he is today. He and his family can live with freedom because of the courageous risks of all his parents.
My mother is 85 years old and lives with us. 
My father lived to be 75 years old, see all my sons grow to be men and even danced at my eldest son's wedding.
I have never faced fear for my life, I have never gone hungry, I have never experienced war.
I am GRATEFUL for hearing Fr. Sy's story to help me reaffirm my many blessings.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

THANKSGIVING  is quickly approaching and then the Christmas crunch will be on. Today I am grateful for make ahead ideas and short cuts to help make the holidays go more smoothly.
This gravy is not only easy and delicious, but you can do it well in advance.
download Pdf 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grateful Day 17

Country Music
Country music has come a long way since the days of Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard.
I am Grateful for country music.
It makes me happy.
It makes me sad.
It makes me laugh out loud.
Some of the lyrics are so funny,
some are so sweet, 
and some are so truthful.
It's an honest genre 
(or should I say JOHNDRA for Julia and Kyle, JK) 
of music.
Here are some of my favorites.
Brad Paisley

Taylor Swift

Reba McEntire

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Living in SoUtHeRn CaLiFoRnIa I take my fall color any way I can get it. 
Today I snapped a few photos of the trees in our neighborhood. 
Living here also has it's perks...I get to have a garden all year long.
 Right now we have SaTsUmA tAnGeRiNeS and LiMeS ripening on our trees. 
I was lazy this fall so did not plant any fall vegetables.
I wish I lived in a place where we had more of the FoUr SeAsOnS

but I am GRATEFUL to have a beautiful home and a yard where I can explore my love of GaRdEnInG

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Brian's Quilt
Five years ago my best friend's nephew was killed in a tragic car accident. Prior to his death, he had been living with my friend,while he attended college. So I immediately said let me make his mom a T-shirt quilt with the shirts that were at my friend's house. I got all the blocks stabilized but feelings were too raw and family misunderstandings got in the way, so I put the project away. At one point we even thought to get rid of the blocks. For some reason, I could not bring myself to throw them out. 
So jump forward to Spring 2010. Their entire family attended the wedding of another niece and my friend shared with me how well everyone got along and what an amazing "family" she has. So I said, "I think it's time to make that quilt". She didn't even know I had saved the blocks. So to the fabric store I went to buy the border, backing and binding fabrics. 
This past October my friend gifted her sister (for her 50th birthday) with this quilt and it was received as a gift to treasure. Needless to say, many tears of joy and remembrance were shared.
I am grateful to have used my talent to be able to touch someone's heart. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Sometimes we get so caught up in things that we don't realize how much we take for granted. Today was one of those days. I just expect to be able to go to my pc and pay my bills or do some work, scrapbook or just look up a photo to enter into a contest. But what happens when your pc dies? Yikes...in that case I am grateful I have a Mac laptop.
So today I am thankful for my MacBook Pro and....I am also thankful for my brother-in-law, who is a consumer/computer wizard. He helped me find a really good deal on a new pc!

Thanks Paul Centonze!

a really cool blog for quilters



Mom's Christmas Quilt

I made this quilt for my mom last year for Christmas. She always said the cardinal was my dad's  (dad died in 2000) favorite bird and so when ever we see one, which is rare in California, she says it's my dad watching out for her. So I made her this quilt to remind her that Dad is always watching her from his place in Heaven.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I woke up this morning feeling crummy. Scratchy throat, dizzy, headache...general "yuckiness". So today I am thankful for
comfy socks and cozy slippers
My LaPtOp
staying in my pj's all day
and an understanding employer who also happens to be my hubby.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Sunday Dinners...I am grateful for Sunday Dinners. 
About 8 years ago we started having our local kids (and grandkids) over for Sunday dinner.  When Brent and Molly were in town we made sure to plan ahead so everyone would be at our house for Sunday dinner. Sometimes we would add other friends into the mix. That usually meant between 10-16 people and as the grandkids started to increase in numbers, so did the count for dinner. But then work and school and kid's activities started interfering with our plan. Sometimes, I would be sad because I was missing the kids or grandkids who couldn't be here instead of celebrating the ones who were here. Do any other of you empty nesters feel that way? You really miss the kids you don't see often and don't appreciate the ones who live close? Well, today we had our first Sunday dinner in months. It was so fun to have Evan, Michael, Jenny, Makenzie, Toring, Corbin, Eden and my mom all here for an easy pasta dinner. Jenny made homemade pasta, I made the sauce, salad, and asparagus. A simple dessert of ice cream and cookies and we were set. Afterwards, the guys watched the hockey and basketball games and the kids played "dance party". It was a fun and relaxing afternoon/evening.

Makenzie was our official photographer today.

I am thankful for Sunday dinners and the only thing that would have made it better would have been to have Brent, Molly, Jack, Sam, Davis, Kyle and Julia here with us. We miss them!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grateful Day 11

Grateful is a state of mind. Sometimes you have to make lemonade out of lemons. I am not saying today was a lemon of a day, but in general...you always need to think positive.
Today we went to watch our granddaughter's soccer game...shut-out 6-0...we lost! The lemonade in this is she tried really hard and she wasn't upset that they lost. I was! I wanted to see her team win.
blurry to keep it a bit of a surprise
I have been working on my Christmas cards, photo and letter for the past week or so. This year I am grateful to my sister for designing such a beautiful card. I am so excited to send it out so you can all see her beautiful artwork. This is the earliest I have had my cards ready in years! So today I am thankful for Geri, not only for her incredible talent, but for her always caring heart and listening ear. I know I can always trust her to tell me the truth when I ask her opinion. I wish she lived around the corner instead of 30 minutes away!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grateful Day 10

It's the small things in life that make me happy. ..like a phone call from my grandson, yesterday. He was so excited because he got his cast off of his leg. It can be the joy you receive when you give a handmade gift to someone and they are truly touched by the effort you put into making the gift. Yesterday I read a funny story on my son's Facebook page about my grandsons and that made me smile.  My husband came home with flowers yesterday, for no reason, and that made me feel special. I am grateful for not having to always worry about the big stuff and knowing that God will take care of me as long as I am faithful to him.
So for all the little things that happen in life that make me smile, I AM GRATEFUL.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


It doesn't take much thought today to be grateful. I am so grateful for our men and women who have served our country through their unselfish loyalty to the military. I especially want to honor my dad, father-in-law, 5 uncles and numerous cousins and friends who have served in past wars and to all the brave men and women who are actively serving today, I say, "THANK YOU"!
It's a different world now and protecting our country and our allies is a true calling.
Carl Gozur 1943
4 of my mom's 5 brothers served in WWII

Dick Stanley 1945

The high school graduate is my Uncle Al, who went to college at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh
 and then  joined the Air Force. He was career military and retired as a full