Month: May 2014

Five Minute Friday: “Nothing”


Nothing. 
There are moments in life when it feels like everything has been ripped from us.  Moments in which we forget all of our other many blessings and even our reasons to live.  Moments when nothing else seems to matter.

145tzMy Granddad died seven years ago today.  I was on vacation in Maui when I received the phone call from my Aunt.  Her call woke me on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 and interrupted a dream that I was having about not being able to find my Granddad.  In what was really a nightmare my Aunt and I were searching high and low trying to find him.  Nothing will ever wake me up faster than a phone call before the sun rises.

I said “Hello?” 
She said “Honey.” 
I quickly responded “NO!!!  No.  This can not be happening.  This is not ok.  That’s why we couldn’t find him.  NO!!!!” 
She replied “I’m so sorry.”
 

And then we cried.  For a long time.  Holding our phones. Knowing there was nothing else we could do.  It was unexpected.  The heart attack took him in an instant.  My Aunt never said the words that my Granddad was gone.  She didn’t have to.  I knew it without hearing them.

Nothing will ever fill the hole in my heart that my Granddad’s passing created.  145zNothing will ever feel like his hugs and smell like the scent of his skin when he hugged me or soothe my soul like the sound of his laughter.  Nothing.  And I’m ok with that “nothing” because it reminds me of “something”.  Something so great – someone so important.

My five minutes are up.  Click here to read more Five Minute Friday entries from our blogging community free writing flash mob on Lisa-Jo Baker’s site or search #FMFparty on Twitter.
– T

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Summer Reading List – Sarah Jio

aIMG_2444-wlIt is almost  summer and in most places it already feels like summer which has me thinking about my books of choice for afternoons on the beach.  Author Sarah Jio just released her sixth novel, Goodnight June.  And because I countdown to Jio’s book releases like a six year old counts down to Christmas I know better than to add this book to my “summer reading list”.  I will most certainly have Goodnight June finished before our beach day this weekend however I have decided that this summer I will reread all of my favorite Sarah Jio novels which includes every book she has written.

My best friend gifted me a signed copy of Sarah Jio’s first book, The Violets of March, when it was released by Plume (Penguin Group) in 2011.  Being that my best friend knew Sarah Jio through her then salon in Seattle she was aware of the plot and knew that Jio’s writing style would be one that I enjoyed.  My bff could not have been more right and I am extremely grateful for the introduction to these novels.  I have been a fan of Sarah Jio’s ever since reading her first book.  Jio’s writing style makes for such an easy read.  The setting of her books include my favorite era of 1930s/40s/50s and her dual storylines often touch the late 1990s through present day.  The plot of each book typically has a connection to her beloved Pacific Northwest and there is mystery, suspense, and romance all tied into these fictional novels.  They are engaging making it hard for me to put them down once I start reading and as mentioned I believe they will prove to make the perfect repeat read this summer.

sjIf you happen to be looking to add to your summer reading list I recommend Sarah Jio’s books in this order:
The Bungalow (released 12.27.2011) set in 1942, engaged Anne Calloway joins the Army to serve as a nurse; she meets a soldier whose mystery peaks her attention and begins consuming her time as they create their own story.
Morning Glory (released 11.26.2013) set on Boat Street in the boathouse community of Seattle; after present day Ada Santorini leaves her broken life in New York she discovers a trunk & Boat Street secret in her residence (houseboat #7) belonging to Penny Wentworth from 1959.
The Violets of March (released 04.26.2011) is set on Bainbridge Island in Seattle where Emily Nelson discovers a diary dated 1943 in her Aunt Bee’s home that involves many of the residents and a long time mystery that she feels obligated to solve.
The Last Camellia (released 05.28.2013) another dual storyline set 50 years apart when Addison, a garden designer, uncovers the story of misguided Flora Lewis who traveled to England in 1940 to earn money to help save her family’s bakery.
Blackberry Winter (released 09.25.2012) set in Seattle in 1933, when single mother Vera Ray’s three year old son is abducted during a night shift in which she had to leave him home alone; this tragedy and mystery was solved many years later in another dual plot.  (This book was by far the most difficult for me to read as my heart ached thinking of my own two boys with a lump in my throat and great sympathy for Vera as she longed to find her presumed dead son.)

sj2aTonight I’ll know more about Goodnight June (released 05.27.2014) which is another mystery set in the 1940s.  The next release for Sarah Jio is set for November 25, 2014 titled The Look of Love, Jio’s seventh novel and another Plume book.  I am already counting down!  (181 days.)

Happy Summer & Happy Reading…
– T

insta-twitterNote:  Sarah Jio tweeted me!  Writers everywhere can imagine how exciting that moment was for me.  It’s not everyday you receive a shout out from your favorite author!!  I’m still beaming.  See photo; if you follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter you’ve likely seen it.

Linking up:
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I did not receive goods/funds/sponsorship to write this review.


Red, White & Blue Cookie Bar

aIMG_2117Happy Memorial Day!  Today we remember all of those who served in the US Military and gave the ultimate sacrifice while in service.  God bless them and their families.  Thank you.  And thank you to former & retired service members and those who are currently serving to protect our great nation.

In celebration of our freedom and the service men and women who protect our freedom I made Red, White & Blue Cookie Bars.  They make a perfect treat to add to an afternoon picnic or BBQ.

a-wl-IMG_0159Cookie Bar Ingredients:
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Powder Sugar
1 Cup Butter (room temperature)
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Almond Milk
1 tsp Vanilla

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add parchment paper to a 9×9 baking pan leaving a little overhang for easy removal.  In a medium mixing bowl stir Four, Powder Sugar, Butter, Egg, Milk & a-wl-IMG_2100Vanilla with a wooden spoon until combined then knead with hands creating a dough ball.  Place dough into baking pan and press down to even out the dough.  Bake 30-35 minutes, or until edges are golden and the middle of the cookie bar passes the toothpick test.

Filling Ingredients:
1 Block (8oz) Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1/4 Cup Splenda Sugar Blend
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Lemon Juice

a-wl-IMG_2104Fruit Toppings:
1 Cups Sliced Strawberries
1/2 Cup Blueberries
1/2 Cup Raspberries

Directions:  Add Cream Cheese, Sugar, Vanilla & Lemon Juice to a small mixing bowl, mix until well blended.  After Cookie Bar has cooled, remove from pan then spread filling mixture to cover cookie bar then top with fruit.  Cut into bars, keep refrigerated.
Enjoy!  – T

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Hungry ‘Egg Carton’ Caterpillar

 

A fun preschool activity to go along with reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book (by Eric Carle) is painting and creating an Egg Carton Caterpillar!

aIMG_1242First, hang on to that egg carton you have in the fridge once you empty it.  You will also need paints, paint brushes, googly eyes, glue, and a pipe cleaner. 

Begin by cutting the carton in fourths.  Use the cover of the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as a model caterpillar.  Paint your Caterpillar Carton (we used teal, green, blue & red paint for ours).  After the paint dries glue the googly eyes on your caterpillar and punch two holes in the top of your carton to thread the pipe cleaner through.

These Caterpillar creations are fun to play with and look great on display on a bookshelf.  My little guy loves reading books and as we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar his Egg Carton Caterpillar mimics the story.

Tip:  Empty Egg Cartons do not just come in handy when creating Hungry Caterpillars; they are also perfect when painting – add different paint colors in each pocket; and they are great to have around when working on fine motor skills – add fuzzy balls and other small objects in the pockets for little ones to pick up and sort while working on their finger coordination.

Have fun repurposing that egg carton!
– T

Linking up:   Made By You Monday     What I Learned Wednesday     Works For Me Wednesday     Project Inspire(d)     Treasure Box Tuesday    Pinworthy Projects

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Five Minute Friday: “Close”

It’s Five Minute Friday and the word is “Close”.  The question: is it “close” as in physically or emotionally close OR is it “close” as in the closing of a door?

My immediate thoughts go to the photo I posted on my Instagram account for Throwback Thursday.  The picture I posted embodied “close” in all forms I question above.

wl-photoOne year ago, my baby boy graduated high school and closed the door on his high school years.  He graduated along with his childhood friends that he’d gone to school with since kindergarten, his best friends who shared everything, his football teammates who fought through four years of adversity and triumphed their senior year, and our sweet cousin – his very first best friend (pictured).  These two cousins were born six weeks apart and their relationship like their age is the definition of CLOSE

As I posted that graduation photo for #tbt my thoughts were those of the bond these two young people have.  I reflected on their infancy, and their giggles at age three, the friendship they shared at ten, and their loyalty throughout their high school years.  I thought about how close their thoughts are for the future.  Both studying to serve their community & make a difference in their own respective fields of nursing and firefighting.  And, of course, I thought of that door closing a year ago.  That night was filled with hope & so many happy memories; that night was filled with the love of close friends & family; and that night was filled with a promise of tomorrow and the friendships that were so close that different colleges, states, nor time will break them. 

Close.  To close the door.  Close.  To be close.  To the memory and to the future of both.
– T

Note:  My other baby boy is the  photo bomber in this picture.  I pray he experiences the same closeness his big brother and his favorite girl cousin share.  The ‘bigs’ most certainly adore him as much as he does them and in such a way that the sixteen year difference does not matter.

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$100 Giftcard Giveaway

To say thank you for helping Creative Ramblings reach 1000 followers on Pinterest and 1000 fans on Facebook I’ve teamed up with some of my blogging buddies to give you a chance to win a $100 giftcard to either Amazon, Michael’s or Target.

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$100 giftcard #giveaway
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Double Berry Green Smoothie

This Double Berry (not so green in color) Green Smoothie is a great way to start the day.  It contains both Strawberries and Blueberries however it is not very sweet.  The Honey & Vanilla Protein Powder add some sweetness but if you are looking for a sweeter Double Berry Green Smoothie substitute the Avocado with a Banana.

Double Berry Green Smoothie - DS
Ingredients:

1 Handful of Spinach
1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries
1 Avocado
(for a sweeter smoothie; replace Avocado with Banana)
1 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon Honey (omit if using Banana)
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Protein Powder

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in blender; blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.  Serves two.

Happy day!
– T

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