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!




Hey! I Wrote a Blog Post!

I’m happy to be back blogging after a short hiatus. The main reason for the absence  is because I missed the March meeting – for the first time! (Except for the very first meeting, but I hadn’t joined the group yet.)I was so bummed that I had to miss the meeting , because the book was “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Stinson.rosie projectI had read the book back in October, so I wanted to re-read it to refresh my memory. I mostly hate re-reading because I feel like it takes away  time I could be spending reading something new. So I listened to it on CD. To be honest, I think I loved it even more on audio. I never heard how everyone else liked it – please leave a comment and let me know!


This month’s book was “Drama High” by Michael Sokolove.

drama high

This book seemed like a no brainer to me because our book group is composed of former “drama mamas” and high school drama participants. And the story is very local – it is about the drama program at Truman High School and its drama teacher Lou Volpe. I may be exaggerating a little when I say Bensalem High School considers Truman its arch rival, but I was interested to see how everyone responded to the book. Some of our members have met Lou Volpe and seen the productions chronicled in the book. Most of the members seemed to enjoy the book. The two members that really hated it were members of BHS drama not so long ago. I understand why they were irritated – BHS has a great drama program and teacher also. But it was a reminder that there are great teachers everywhere and they make a big difference in children’s lives.

I can’t resist posting a memory quilt picture of my great times at drama high:BHS Drama quilt frontThe most fun I had at book club was sharing this piece of news I received right around Valentine’s Day:


I can’t wait to be a Grandmom! Here’s how I’ve been practicing:

When I see a brand new baby, I do not say, “That baby needs a hat!”        I’m not sure why I get the urge to say the phrase  that irritated me the most when I was a young mother. (And what was I thinking – that baby probably did need a hat!!)



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!


Memories Day

Memorial Day is a day to honor our veterans and thank them for their service to our country. And I am grateful to all the military, past and present who have served our country.

However, on this Memorial Day weekend, I found myself seeped in a different kind of memory: I cleaned out our attic… Dum-da-dum-dum (scary music)

Why it took we twenty years before I cleaned out the attic: There are approximately 30 days of the year when it is not too hot or too cold to clean out the attic. On 20 of them you will forget, on 5 of them you will have something else to do, on 3 of them you will be too depressed/sick/grouchy to clean out the attic.  The remaining 2 days will be so beautiful, you just can’t waste them in an attic!

Here is what happens when you put stuff if the attic without ever getting rid of anything for 20 years: It gets FULL!

So I spent some of yesterday cleaning the attic. I started by getting rid of some easy stuff, and then I made my way to the bins and bins of clothes I have up there. What was I thinking and why did I keep all these clothes???

For the following reasons:

1. A lot of them were baby/toddler clothes. I guess I really am a fabric person. I could picture my kids in each of the outfits and I could remember the occasion they wore them. I guess I saved them thinking they would want to let their kids wear them someday. Who was I kidding? One of my favorite things to do as a young mother was shop for baby clothes. I’m sure I’ll love shopping for a grandchild even more. And hello??  I hate hand me downs! Result: I kept a few special things and gave the rest to the Goodwill (dropped if off today – yay me!)

2. T-shirts! I am drowning in them. I always felt bad getting rid of them – they are a memento of a certain point in my children’s life.  My mother gave my youngest sister some of her old T-shirts and her kids wore them as beach cover ups. I thought that was a nice idea, but I think we were talking about maybe 6 t-shirts. I don’t think it is physically possible for my kids to have enough kids to wear all their old t-shirts. And again…I hate hand me downs! Once I learned how to make t-shirt quilts, I figured I would make t-shirt quilts from them, but out of sight is out of mind and I haven’t done it yet (well, I did do 1- a very cool BHS Drama one. If only I would put the binding on!). Result: I have to give myself a deadline.  The next one needs to be done by 8/31/13 or I lose my t-shirts. If (when!!) I finish it, I will set the deadline for the next one.

Lessons learned from starting to clean the attic (oh no, it is not close to being done!)

1. Don’t wait 20 years to do it.

2. Don’t put stuff up there because “I don’t need/want it anymore but I paid a lot of money for it so I feel guilty getting rid of it” . Donate it and get it (and the guilt) out of the house. Let someone else enjoy it.

3. Don’t put clothes up there, ever. Not even if you paid a lot of money for it. Not even if you think it is the most beautiful piece of clothing in the world. Not even if you think it will fit you again someday (it won’t!). Not even if you think someone will want to wear it someday (they won’t!). Just say no! Let someone else enjoy that beautiful piece of clothing, now, while it is still in fashion.

4. Carefully evaluate whether you want help. Yes, it is great handing stuff down so you don’t have to go up and down the ladder. But you will also hear: “you’re getting rid of this? What are you getting rid of that’s yours?” If they haven’t seen it in years, and they don’t see it leave the house, they’ll never know its gone – you decide which is easier. I look at it this way: I got my workout in going up and down that ladder!

So it was a trip down memory lane this weekend. It wasn’t easy getting rid of all my stuff . Let’s face it – all those clothes were mine, even if I didn’t wear them. I was the one with the emotional attachment to them. And right up until the door of the Goodwill closed, I had to fight the urge to sneak some little dresses out of the bag. I kept telling myself: you have pictures of her wearing all these things!

Hopefully I will venture up again to tackle the next hurdle: Toys!! What stays and what goes? My Little Pony, Lady Lovely Locks, Rainbow Brite, Dinah the mangy looking cat puppet (never!), Lego’s, Matchbox cars, Thomas the Tank Engine (never!), Hess trucks???  Accckkkk!!!!