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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

As a child I whiled away many hours at the library. I loved being transported to other wondrous worlds through the pages of the books I read. Lately, I have been adding several titles to my own home library either by gift or purchase. At this moment I am excitedly waiting for the UPS man to deliver “Summers in France”.

Due to a hectic schedule this week I have decided that for the last Wayfaring Wednesday I would rerun a post from June 25th, 2008. It was originally read by a whopping 10 people and I think it deserves a second glance. So I bring you a few of the world's most beautiful libraries to place upon your bucket list.

Let’s begin with the Strahov Monastery Theological Library, in Prague, Czech Republic. I have not been to this library but it is not surprising to me that one of the loveliest libraries in the world is located here. Prague is hands down my favorite European city. 

The Melk Monastery Library in Melk, Austria.

Abbey Library in St. Gallen, Switzerland

Portugal is still on my list as a place I would dearly love to visit. It will include a trip to Biblioteca do Palacio e Convento de Mafra I on the Lisbon Coast.


I think that if I ever walked through the doors of the Library of the Benedictine Monastery in Admont, Austria I might never leave.


This is the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Library, located at Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. Mackintosh was a member of "The Four", a group of artists, designers and architects during the Arts and Crafts Movement. My cousin was an exchange student at the school for one semester and said that the photo does not do this library justice.


A ceiling that almost rivals Michaelangelo’s is located in the Wiblingen Monastary Library, Ulm, Germany.

For my Canadian friends, here’s the Library of Parliament, in Ottawa, Canada.

Of course in the United States we have our own lovely library of Congress in Washington D.C.

I hope you have enjoyed the “Wayfaring Wednesday” summer series.  Tomorrow I will begin full steam ahead to Fall in Love With a House I Hate. Several projects are already in the works. You will soon know what happened to the evil chair and if I have changed my mind about the mustard drapes. I invite you to share your home improvement projects and crafts next Wednesday.

Beginning September 1st
I can’t wait to see where you’ve been!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tied Up In Knots!

What a weekend! I was worried for my family, dear friend Kelly in N.Y. and several wonderful blogging friends who were in the path of Hurricane Irene. I was wishing for something a bit more peaceful for the east coast.

Over the weekend in Phoenix we were breaking heat records left and right. I went to go get a new phone to replace the dinosaur I have been carrying around forever and the heat made my eyeballs feel like they were boiling inside my head (ewww).

When I lived in Alaska it was once so cold that I was able to carry a full pot of boiling water outside, throw the water up in the air and watch as it immediately evaporated from the extreme cold.

The heat here made me wonder if I could fry an egg on the sidewalk. Guess what? I could.

So let’s just say I am not exactly ready to see magazines and blogs with images such as this:

It’s true. I’m bitter with envy. This will be the 7th autumn I will spend without being surrounded by fall. It’s hard on a girl like me whose favorite season of apple picking, raking leaves and cozy sweaters has now been replaced with citrus fruit, high temps and shorts. 

I guess the AZ Republic was trying to comfort all Phoenicians on Saturday when the “Home” section of the newspaper included an article by Kim Cook entitled “Cozy Knitwear For D├ęcor”. What???? Did I happen to mention at 10 am it was already 113 degrees?

That’s right ladies. It’s time to run, don’t walk, to your closest Goodwill and buy a 1/2 dozen Fisherman sweaters to recover your favorite chair in.

If you’re handy with the knitting needles perhaps you can create a few new pillow covers.

It would seem this recent craze can be attributed to London knitwear designer Melanie Porter. She picked up her knitting needles when she could not find suitable fabric to cover an antique chair she had acquired. Those who are familiar with my anglophile tendencies must know that this design caught my eye.

Of course I am old enough to recall when knitted creations were in fashion the first go around. I seem to remember a certain Granny Square vest worn at least once a week in the second grade.

So I’m on the fence about this new trend.

I made a foray to Goodwill in the hopes of finding a lantern and surprised myself by leaving instead with a huge bag of yarn. Perhaps I thought I could use reverse psychology on myself and pretend it was colder. (FYI: It’s not working.) But I will reveal my yarn creation next Monday. Until then you can guess what I am making. And although it would be the best type of knitted creation for Phoenix, it’s not this:

Does the new knitted trend have you tied up in knots?


The countdown begins! DTA’s “Fall in Love With A House You Hate” series begins Thursday. The first linky party will be held on Wednesday, September 7th. Let’s see your projects!


Sunday, August 28, 2011


When a guy cuts me off in traffic I think “Maybe he just got a call that his child is headed to the hospital.”
When the sales clerk snarls “No, it is NOT on sale.” I smile and gently show her the ad, because perhaps her dog has just died.
When a kid is really mean to my son I hug him and tell him to practice patience and kindness in return. I remind him that the little boy’s parents have recently divorced and he probably feels lost.
Imagine if everyone gave everyone else the benefit of the doubt.

“Get rid of all the bitterness, passion and anger. Instead, be kind  and tenderhearted to one another, forgiving each other, just as God  has forgiven you through Christ.” ~ Ephesians 4:31~32
Enjoy your day of rest. (comments turned off)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thinking Outside the Lunchbox ~ Mommy Duel on the Playground

For many it’s that time of year again. The annual “What do I pack my kid for lunch?”  blah’s. I used to have this same dilemma until I came across a few blogs that feature Bento lunchboxes. For those of you unfamiliar with the art of Bento, it is a single-portion meal originating in Japan. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, packed artistically in a box-shaped container. I will stop right here and let you know I DO NOT take it to the level shown below. (smile)

Recently, I ran into another stay at home mom at school who said “I can’t BELIEVE you are still packing your kid’s lunch!” She added in an extra eye roll (not egg roll) for punch. At first it kind of made me feel like the chicken on the left.

Then a voice inside me said “She has mother guilt.” Given that I try to have lunch with Sweet Boy (accompanied by his friends) at least once a week, I knew what her kid was packing in his lunch.

Ok I’m not being exactly truthful. I forgot to add in the coke that he washes it all down with. (insert evil cackle) So instead I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh I just can’t trust Sweet Boy to pack a healthy lunch, or his dad either for that matter. I pack his lunch too.” This was somewhat of a surrender flag raised on my part, but she got the message.

Given that Sweet Boy now has braces, as well as a palate expander device, this has made lunchtime all the more tricky. Everything must be soft or cut into small pieces. This bento includes ham, cheese, grapes and crackers tucked into cupcake liners. 

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A classic pb & j sandwich, pears, pretzels, raisins and chocolate chips. I used to find many of my fun food containers at Borders. Alas, they are now out of business. Sniff. But every now again the dollar store also carries fun plastic ware.

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Most of the time I assemble lunch while I am in the kitchen cooking dinner. Often dinner becomes lunch the next day. My Sloppy Joe sauce hides a multitude of goodness such as finely chopped mushrooms and zucchini. The cheese provides a bit of dairy and protein.

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The next morning I give the Joe a quick zap in the microwave and wrap it up in foil (which is later placed in the recycle bin). Going with a red theme, I added a box of juice, yogurt, teddy grahams and blueberries. A plastic red dino and cocktail sword add a bit of fun to the mix.

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The compartmentalized ziploc container can be found at any grocery store. Plastic ware from Ikea is wrapped up in a napkin. (Zoo Pal utensils are also fun.) Sweet Boy is great at bringing the containers and utensils home for me to wash and reuse again and again. (But on the rare occasion he doesn’t, it’s ok.) I save a lot of money, not to mention the world, by not using throw away plastic lunch bags.

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I then place everything into a traditional lunch bag. On the rare occasion we do a fast food run, our restaurant of choice is often Subway. They pack their kids meals into reusable lunch bags. Reuse we do!

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Sweet Boy loves to take pasta and soups for lunch too. I have a simple trick for keeping it warm. In the morning I put boiling water into the thermos and let it set for a few minutes.

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Meanwhile I warm up the pasta or stew in the microwave, empty out the hot water and spoon in the piping hot meal. It stays warm enough to be enjoyed at lunch. 

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Some sliced strawberries, ritz and seaside themed animal crackers (Trader Joe’s) complete the meal.

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I love referring to the book “Yum-Yum Bento Box” for ideas. While it will be a million years before Sweet Boy eats seaweed or tofu, it provides me with enough ideas to get my brain humming.

The fun accessories you can get for Bento’s are off the charts. Ebay has TONS of choices if you don’t have an Asian market near you. As usual, the girls have more of a selection. Given that Sweet Boy is now in 4th grade I have scaled way back in the cute arena per his request. Boo, no fun!!! I mean just look at some of the choices: 

What’s in your lunchbox today?

Linking to:

Foodie Friday

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Now This Is A Truly Lovely Tablescape

Could there be a more perfect setting than an outdoor summer dining experience in the Cotswold's?

The overall theme was “The Great Gatsby”. Just look at the lighting that hung from the tent… palm fronds, Bentwood chairs… yes, all the elements were there. 

The table setting just feels RICH with the cut antique crystal and heavy silver. The linens were perfection. Whom might the place setting be for? I’ll give you a hint, he’s my favorite of the Fab Four.

A tower of champagne. I have always loved the look of this and hope to one day see it performed in person. But I have a question for those in the know, “Don’t the glasses get a bit…sticky?” Perhaps this is just something you accept in the name of uber cool.

So what was the celebration? It was a wedding. The cake was perfection and reminded me of my own. But higher. I thought it was interesting how the tabletop was back lit.

So who got married in a 12 century church in England and then had an intimate dinner for just a little over a hundred of her close friends and family?

The bride wanted a look that would surprise everyone who thought they knew her. She succeeded.


Even the outdoor facilities were elegant.

It was none other than grunge supermodel Kate Moss looking as lovely as Daisy.

The details are in the fabulous September issue of Vogue. You can view other images HERE.

"It's a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too--didn't cut the pages.” ~ The Great Gatsby


Linking to:


Common Ground