our book club reads happy books!

A Thankful Week!

Welcome to Monday!

Today wraps up a very busy week for me – probably for you too.

Of course it all kicked off last Sunday with Book Club and our traditional November soup party at Beth’s house.

Our book was China Dolls by Lisa See.china dollsThis was a fascinating book about a subject I knew very little about. We had a very interesting discussion.

Another highlight of course was Beth’s soup! She went with a dual Autumn/Chinese theme, so there was  Butternut Squash soup and Chinese Chicken. I had the squash and it was delicious – I heard the chicken was great too.

As always, the fun and food was excellent.

Onwards to Thanksgiving!

I must admit when I think of Thanksgiving my heart is with my entire family. I grew up with Thanksgiving being a minimum of 11 people. Anything smaller never feels Thanksgivingy enough to me. The Thanksgiving in 2009 at my  Mom & Dad’s Northeast Philly twin home with 32 people kind of was the pinnacle. Fun for sure, but no one wants a repeat!

Here’s why:


If it looks like every one had to sit down and stay there until everyone got up, and if it looks like we were jammed in there so tight some of us could barely move our arms to lift our forks to our mouths, you’ve got the idea!

So when Trish decided that she didn’t want to brave this kind of crowd with baby Nadia, I completely understood and pulled out all my Thanksgiving recipes and started to cook.

Things I’m grateful for:

1. Our band of four has increased to six- more than halfway to eleven!

2. I get to buy cute outfits like this:nadiath3. A husband that makes things like this awesome cranberry jalapeno sauce.

cranberry4. That I remembered to not put the potato peels in the garbage disposal, even though they are garbage and it is called a garbage disposal.

potatopeelsWe have changed the garbage disposal twice after Thanksgiving due to potato peels, and I would rather be jammed into a small room with 32 people and try to eat a turkey dinner than do that again! I will just call it the “water that is a little bit grey with a couple of  teeny tiny pieces of garbage in it disposal”.

On Saturday we celebrated my baby sister’s 50th birthday. I have two sisters that created beautiful scrap/memory books for each of the siblings 50 birthdays. On Saturday all 11 of us and our spouses got together to present the final scrapbook. It felt like a milestone and another thing to be grateful for: that my Mom, Dad, and all 9 children could be together to celebrate this event.

On Sunday, we celebrated yet another milestone: Nadia Clair was baptized.

She wore the christening dress her Mom wore (another little girl in a white dress):

christening dress

Such a joyful day!




Pardon for the delay…I was cleaning up the glitter…

Yes, this week was Book Club/ Holiday Craft Fest! Read about last year’s craft fest here.

Business out of the way: There was a book: “Wishin’and Hopin”” by Wally Lamb. We liked it – “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” for grown ups!

On to the food:

Brownie ice cream Pie and Cookies

Brownie ice cream Pie and Cookies

Tea Sandwiches and Petit Fours

Tea Sandwiches and Petit Fours

I don’t know what it is: I’m really bad at remembering to take pictures, or we were all starving. Probably both.  Either way, all the pictures I took were of half empty plates! And everything was delicious. Sorry I didn’t get a photo of everything: Candy Cane Oreo Truffles, veggies & dip, spinach dip, hot cider. I’m sure I forgot something. And how cute are these:

Christmas trees made of peanut butter cups and Hershey kisses!

Christmas trees made of peanut butter cups and Hershey kisses!

On to crafting! The glitter and paint were flying!

Decoupage plaques

Decoupage plaques

Balloon painted snowmen!

Balloon painted snowmen!

A good time was had by all! Thanks Stacy, awesome job as usual! We missed everyone who couldn’t  make it! Happy holidays all!


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Soup to Nuts

Last week was book club again and this was an extra special night – it was soup night! Thanks to Beth for hosting the night and making three delicious soups: Chicken noodle, Cream of Potato, and Carrot Ginger. I must admit my favorite was the Carrot Ginger. (or was it Ginger Carrot?)


This is not Beth’s actual soup because I am so bad at remembering to take pictures, but looking at this picture makes me want to eat that soup again, especially on this rainy day!I would be soup-er excited if Beth shared this recipe here, but I understand if it is a “secret recipe”. (I don’t have any secret recipes, do you? I guess I’m so excited if someone likes something I make  enough to ask for the recipe that I give it to them! It is a rare occurrence.)

I’m not sure which “nuts” the title of this post refers to: was it the cocoa coated nuts we munched on or was it our nutty selves for not discussing the book too much? I admitted that I did not like the book (And I just realized that I still have I not mentioned the title!) The title of this book is “Does This Book Make Me Look Fat?” by Rhoda Janzen. When we read a book that some people like and some people don’t, I think it is an opportunity for an interesting discussion.


So here is my review: I read Janzen’s previous book “Mennonite in a Little Black Dress” and enjoyed it. For some reason I had a very hard time getting into this book. I enjoy reading non-fiction, especially memoirs, but reading this book made me realize that, fiction or nonfiction, I like a story when I’m reading. This book had very little story, although some pretty big things happened. Rhoda got breast cancer and got married. I found myself wanting to hear more about this, especially about how she met her husband, who seemed so different from her. There was a lot of philosophical writing about religion, which I found kind of boring. I guess I am not a deep thinker!

I would love to hear what the people who liked the book have to say!

The busy holiday season will be upon us soon – I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving (and Hanukkah if you celebrate)! My holiday season got off to a great start yesterday! Stay tuned – more details to follow!


A Taste of Summer

Is there a food that just says “summer” to you?


I had my first tomato sandwich of the summer yesterday. As always, it took me back to my childhood summers, when I would have a tomato sandwich almost everyday, with tomatoes picked from one of the tomato plants growing outside our kitchen door.

I was shocked early in our marriage when my husband told me he was never allowed to eat tomato sandwiches. He was told “put some meat on that. Tomato sandwiches are for poor people.” Who knew!

When my son saw me making my sandwich he commented, “you could make a BLT with that. That’s just a T. ” But it’s not. Each bite is a memory of summers of the past.

Now, as then, I ate my tomato sandwich on toasted white bread with mayo, salt, and pepper. Now, as then, I ate it with a book propped in front of me so I could read as I ate.

Thanks for the delicious tomatoes, Pat!