Thursday, December 27, 2018


After a bath and with a new bandanna!

It's that odd week between Christmas and New Year's Day that I have come to love because it is my annual staycation.  My family hunkers down at home to enjoy our new "toys" and venturing out for daytime activities that we otherwise are too busy to do... trying new restaurants... seeing all the movies... taking care of some chores...  It's typically a pretty good time and has been so the last several years since leaving my old, stressful job.  Prior to then, this week was a week of sleep and trying to recover from utter exhaustion.

This year though... my Molly girl passed away a couple of days before Christmas.  This is the worst time of year anyway... I lost my dad, my grandma, and an aunt all the week of Christmas in prior years.  It usually does make the holidays hard because there is a remembrance of what occurred that I try to distract myself from.   But this year, Molly got sick. 

Molly on left -- their first meeting, already sisters!
Molly was our 10 year old basset hound; we have two.   Mable was adopted first as a puppy.  A year after we got her, we thought it might be nice if she had a friend and the Humane Society happened to have a special needs basset that they were having trouble adopting.  Molly was 5 at the time and suffered from Addison's Disease.  To counteract symptoms and an Addison's episode, she needed a shot once a month that cost about $120.  This meant that we were committing to a pretty hefty pet expense in addition to other normal pet expenses.  But when we met Molly, it just clicked.  Mable went up to meet her at the Humane Society to make sure that they hit it off and they did.  Mable loved Molly and Molly tolerated Mable as a puppy.  She was calm and really just seemed like she was waiting on the right family to come along.  And to be honest, we heard others who were looking at her while we were and talking about how surely she didn't need a shot that often... and I just couldn't.  I couldn't let anyone else adopt that sweet girl and not take good care of her.

We had the option of choosing another name for her but I loved Molly.  She was a Molly and that's all she had ever known so Molly she remained.  That didn't stop us from giving her other "pet" names that she also learned to respond to including -- Molls-Bolls, Ly Ly, Fatso McGee, Molly-Balls; you get the idea.  The people at the Humane Society were so happy to have gotten her a good home, they waived all fees, and nearly rushed us out the door with her.

Molly was a great dog but often a very sick dog.  Addison's is something that can cause other health issues but if treated typically doesn't shorten the lifespan.  We learned quickly that Molly was often with an ear infection.  It's pretty common in basset hounds due to their ear flaps and inability for the ear to get air.  Molly had an ear infection 80% of her life. Not untreated.  In fact, when new medicine came out, we were the first to try it.  And ear cleaning in our house was a daily event.  She hated it but she knew it had to be done. Molly was also chunky; something that bassets are also prone to but made worse because of the Prednisone she took.  Molly also had the worst allergies.  Itchy paws, goopy eyes, sneezy at times... she also took allergy meds.  Molly also came to us with really bad teeth.  We had teeth removal surgery twice.  She had 11 teeth when she passed.  It didn't stop her from eating though... my girl loved to eat.

When it was food time, she would scratch at the carpet like a bull and waive her head around motioning to the kitchen.  We called her our little bully because she was pretty demanding at times.  She liked routine.  She knew exactly when the girls would be home from school each day and would wait at the front door for them.  She loved her dog beds.  She wasn't able to get on furniture due to her weight and shorter legs than Mable but no matter because she had 5 dog beds in the house.  She also frequently used a pillow on a dog bed because she liked to have extra cushion for her head.  When we did feed her, she would stand outside of our laundry room (where the food is stored) and she would do the hound roooo-roooo at us.  It always sounded like she was saying FOOOODDD!

Molly was incredibly smart.  She hadn't been trained (other than house trained) when we got her but as we worked with her and Mable, they both learned Sit, Come, Wait, Speak, and Touch.  Molly always learned much faster than Mable and would get so frustrated when it would take Mable so many tries to get it right.... waiting on Mable meant she had to wait to do her next trick.  Wait was our favorite because she was such a foodie that when we made her wait, she did a little dance that had her backing up almost like she was telling someone to hold her back.

Molly taught Mable to be a proper dog.  Mable was initially raised by our cat, Grimm, who passed away earlier this year.  Mable didn't enjoy outside, or barking, or even eating that much until Molly came along.  Molly was the dominant one and Mable just went with it.  I'm not sure that Mable would have ever figured out the dog door without Molly to guide her.  Molly was a cuddly girl, loved to sit and be petted.  She would stretch out at your feet often hoping you might give her a little nudge with your foot when watching TV.  Molly was that dog that truly just enjoyed being at your side and hanging out -- lower energy but as loyal as they come.  She was often my visitor to my office during the day while I was working. She just liked to hang out.

So when Molly abruptly wasn't feeling well a week before Christmas we took her to the vet.  They know us there -- so much so that Molly knows to walk in and get on the scale by herself.  We have a great relationship with out vet and initially they didn't think it was that serious.  They gave her some antibiotics for her tummy and put her on a limited diet of food.  After a couple of days she wasn't any better so we took her back and they did lab work trying to see if it was something more serious.  In that time, she had been more sleepy but still able to get around and had an appetite.  That all changed in one day.  She lost her appetite, her hind legs were very shaky making it difficult to stand and she was obviously uncomfortable.  We didn't have the lab results back but didn't think we could wait so we took her to the ER.  They were very concerned about Molly and went ahead and did more labs and x-rays so we could immediate results.  They were worried about a tumor which seemed like the worst of our fears but the scan came back clear.  So they started treating her for Pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis is treatable in most dogs but there are rare occasions where it can be fatal. Unfortunately for Molly it became fatal.  She had a plasma transfusion as she was having a lot of internal bleeding and we were hoping that would help to clot the blood.  They also gave her pain meds that would help her rest, IV fluids, and more antibiotics.  The next day we went and saw her at the ER and she was almost coma like -- resting but moaning a lot too.  The vet thought that we could keep pushing antibiotics and hoping she would turn around.  At 230 AM the next day... Molly crashed.  She was brought back but too far gone to truly come back.  We made it up to the ER in time to say goodbye to her.  We were and still are devastated.  We put so much into saving our girl from the moment we met her.  And yes, we knew special needs and being 5 years old when we got her meant probable shorter time with her but we were so attached.  A lot of that was because she was special needs and it meant that we all had to care for her.   She was Mable's girl... because Mable believes everyone is on this planet to be hers.

We're all trying to adjust to the emptiness in our house and hearts right now. Mable is feeling very lost and sad but we are trying to spoil her with attention and nothing is more comforting than her loves anyway...

It's going to take some time to get over this loss. Nothing can replace our Molly-girl.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

First Day of Fall

Fall is my season.  Something about this time of year brings out the best in me.

I'm far more content than any other time of year and I find my lost creativity returns.  Spring does nearly the same although it usually brings back my desire of health and minimalism.  It's interesting how as I get older, I've come to terms with things that are just me.  Fall makes me want to listen to deep music... like some Mad Season... And write poems, lots of poems.

And read, but then again, I always like to read.  Today I read a book of poems.  Lullabies by Lang Leav.  I really enjoy Lang Leav; her poems remind me of my style of writing.  I find that she taps into my inner voice and makes me thing about things from long ago... memories good and bad. Her art is quite lovely too; like it be belongs in a children's book.  I highly recommend Lullabies or any of her books. 

I'm going to be doing some traveling again here in a few weeks.  Josh & I will be celebrating our 8 year anniversary by taking a trip to southern Florida, Ft. Lauderdale to see Phil Collins in concert then a few days in Key West and Miami.  Hopefully the hurricanes stay away. Ernest Hemmingway's house is definitely on the to-do list.I then am headed back to Minneapolis for work for a week.  Fall in Minneapolis is pretty great as well.

In November I'm headed to Orlando for a week; a work conference, but I am looking forward to it still.  I'm hoping to get to see some friends who work in my field while there. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bookish goals

Well I skipped blogging the whole summer.  I dunno know happened.  I wasn't too busy... I just forgot to blog.  I guess I was probably distracted by books.  Reading books.

I love to read and sometimes go through these phases where I read a book every day or two.  That's what happened this summer.  And it hasn't really let up. Although, I admit, the book I am reading now currently hasn't been quite as engaging.  So what did I read this summer?  A LOT!

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Michelle McNamara
3/5 stars

I wanted to love this book.  I picked it up right around the time that arrest was made of the alleged Golden State Killer so I was able to follow what was happening on the news as well.  But I was disappointed.  The personal details about Michelle and her life (and marriage to Patton Oswald) were some of the better parts but the telling of attacks by the Golden State Killer were drawn out way too long.  I found myself more interested in the author than the crimes that were committed.

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days
Chris Guillebeau
4/5 stars

My desire to constantly have a side hustle brewing often encouraged by the words and stories of Guillebeau.  I'm not one for business or get rich quick books and this is nothing like that. Guillebeau speaks of life of freedom supported by side income that can ultimately lead to full time income and greater happiness.  I've read everything that Guillebeau has written to date and there is a reason why is driving a movement towards more fulfilled work and life.

Oddfellow's Orphanage
Emily Winfield Martin
4/5 stars

I'll be honest.  This book was going to get a high rating from me just because of the artwork and whimsical style of Martin. Emily Winfield Martin is a favorite artist that I have purchased from several times and her work adorns my home.  When she started creating books, I was thrilled.  Oddfellow is a children's book about misfits who live together at an orphanage and find happiness in being surrounded by other's who are different like they are.  The book is a quick read with great illustrations and leaves your mood a little lighter after a read. I have her next book, Snow & Rose on my TBR shelf.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
4/5 stars

I've heard people either love or hate this book.  I loved it.  It is a bit sad and depressing as Eleanor has a sad and depressing life but parts of it resonated with me.  I've had moments in my life when I've been utterly and completely alone for months on end I recall how those times felt, like not a soul on earth could understand how I felt let alone understand where I was coming from.  We make up our own realities and that's exactly what Eleanor has done in her life...

Summer of '79
Darren Sapp
2/5 stars

As a child of the 80's I really thought this book would be reminiscent of my childhood and bring back all those old feelings I get when I watch Stranger Things.  No such luck. Honestly, this book could have been set in any time period... it was very light on the nostalgia.  The book was meant to be a mystery but was very predictable and the writing was fairly immature.  I'd pass on this one.

Not That I Could Tell
Jessica Strawser
3/5 stars

Set in suburbia is the story of neighbor women who one night drink a little too much and when they all get up the next morning they learn that one of the women is missing.  This was a pretty quick read but had some predictable parts but did leave for a surprise ending.

The Last Time I Lied
Riley Sager
4/5 stars

I'm really digging Riley Sager lately.  I didn't know who Sager was until a few months ago when I picked up Final Girls.  Sager, although male, feels like he intimately knows is lead women characters and has deep insight into how his main character feels.  The Last Time I Lied is incredibly suspenseful and reads like a movie.  I wouldn't be surprised it was made into one next.

House of Secrets
V.C. Andrews
3/5 stars

I've read a lot of V.C. Andrews over the years including originals by Andrews herself and then after she passed and her work was continued by Andrew Niederman.  House of Secrets is like most Andrew's books is full of teen angst and incestuous relationships It had actually been years since I had picked up one of her books and found it disappointing.  It might be the writing just isn't as a good or maybe I've just grown up?  My Sweet Audrina still is my favorite book by Andrew's of all time.

I've realized that I've read way more books over the summer than I even realized... and thus must continue this into another post.  Look for the second half of my summer list in the next few days.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Book Review: Kill Creek: A Novel by Scott Thomas

I recently finished Kill Creek by Scott Thomas.  The story is set just outside of Lawrence, Kansas. I didn't realize this at the time that I started reading the book but quickly realized that much of the information about Kansas was accurate.  I quickly looked up the author, Scott Thomas, and realized that he was in fact from Kansas - very cool.

Kill Creek is the story of four famous horror authors who agree to stay overnight in a supposedly haunted house and be interviewed as a publicity stunt. Each author has their own experiences in the house that sparks a fury of writing once they all return to their homes -- each aggressively working on their next horror novel. The authors begin to realize that they have similar strange ideas, eerie thoughts, nightmares while writing, that tie back to the Kill Creek house. They join back together again at the haunted house to find out what is causing these strange behaviors and what is really going on in the Kill Creek house.

I enjoyed Kill Creek.  I found some parts very predictable and others parts surprising. There is some edge of your seat suspense and a few graphic horror parts but overall nothing I couldn't stomach. One of my favorite parts are all the references to my home state and the towns of Lawrence and Kansas City.  It feels like a great book to make into a movie... I'll be interested to find out if that happens.  I'd definitely pick up another book to read by Scott Thomas in the future.

4/5 stars

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Kawaiian Island Update

Kawaiian Island News

Hello friends.

It has been awhile since I have updated on my side business, Kawaiian Island.  It is still around but I've not been able to grow it much this last year mostly due to the platform that I have been using for sales, Cafe Press.  It is incredibly hard for people to find my products but I'm hoping that will soon change.  I have recently moved my selling platform over to Amazon and have been getting t-shirts migrated to sell.  I will still be keeping my existing Cafe Press store but am hoping Amazon to generate more sales as well for t-shirts.  Check out Kawaiian Island on Amazon.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Literary Travel - US Literary Landmarks

This post is a long list of literary landmarks in the United States that I have been maintaining for my own travel and thought the rest of the internet might be interested as I have yet to see a comprehensive site with all this information.  I will continue to add to and edit this list as time goes on

Included in the list are places that tie back to an author or book such as a childhood home, statue, or museum.

A * signifies if I have visited the location.

    Harper Lee - Monroe County Museum - To Kill A Mockingbird
    Truman Capote - Truman Capote Historical Marker
    F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Fitzgerald Museum - Tender Is The Night
    Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald - The Fitzgerald Museum - Save Me The Waltz
    Zane Grey - Zane Grey Cabin & Museum
    Ernest Hemingway - Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum & Educational Center
Big Sur
    Henry Miller - Henry Miller Memorial Library
    Robinson Jeffers - Tor House
    Eugene O'Neill - Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site - The Iceman Cometh
Glen Ellen
    Jack London - Jack London State Historic Park
    John Muir - John Muir National Historic Site
    John Steinbeck - National Steinbeck Center
San Francisco
    Jack Kerouac - The Beat Museum
St. Helena
    Robert Louis Stevenson - Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
Colorado Springs
    Helen Hunt Jackson - Helen Hunt Jackson Pioneers Museum
    Jack Kerouac - My Brother's Bar
    Neal Cassady - My Brother's Bar
    Harriet Beecher Stowe - The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
    Mark Twain - The Mark Twain House & Museum -  The Adventures of  Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer
New London
    Eugene O'Neill - Monte Cristo Cottage - The Count of Monte Cristo
West Harford
    Noah Webster - Noah Webster House
Cross Creek
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park
Daytona Beach
    Stephen Crane - Stephen Crane House
Key West
    Ernest Hemingway - The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
Vero Beach
    Laura Riding Jackson - Laura Riding Jackson Foundation
    Alice Walker - The Alice Walker Literary Society
    Joel Chandler - The Wren's Nest
    Margaret Mitchell - Margaret Mitchell House - Gone With The Wind
    Carson McCullers - McCullers Center - The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
    Sidney Lanier - Sidney Lanier Cottage
    Flannery O'Connor - Andalusia Home of Flannery O'Connor
   *Flannery O'Connor - Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home
    M.S. Merwin - M.S. Merwin Conservancy
    Ezra Pound - Ezra Pound House
    Upton Sinclair - Union Stockyard Gate - The Jungle
    Carl Sandburg - Carl Sandburg State Historic Site
    Vachel Lindsay - Vachel Lindsay Home
    James Whitcomb Riley - James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home
    Kurt Vonnegut - Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library
Miller Beach
    Nelson Algren - Nelson Algren Museum
Oak Park
    Ernest Hemingway - Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home Museum
Rome City
    Gene Stratton-Porter - The Gene-Stratton Porter Historic Site
Iowa City
    Kurt Vonnegut - Kurt Vonnegut House - Slaughterhouse Five
    Langston Hughes - Langston Hughes Lawrence
    L. Frank Baum - Oz Museum - Oz, the complete collection
    Robert Penn Warren - Robert Penn Warren Birthplace
    Hunter S. Thompson - Hunter S. Thompson Childhood Home
New Orleans
    Francis Parkinson Keyes - The Beauregard-Keyes House & Garden Museum
    Ernest Hemingway - Hotel Monteleone & Carousel Bar & Lounge
    William Faulkner - Hotel Monteleone & Carousel Bar & Lounge
    William Faulkner - William Faulkner House
   *Stephen King - Stephen King House and entire town of Bangor
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Wadsworth-Longfellow House
South Berwick
Sarah Orne Jewett - Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum - Deephaven
    Edgar Allan Poe - Edgar Allan Poe Grave
    Emily Dickinson - Emily Dickinson Museum
    Eric Carle - Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
    Anne Sexton - Forest Hills Cemetery
    Charles Dickens - Omni Parker House - A Christmas Carol
    Edgar Allan Poe - The Poe Statue
    Sylvia Plath - Sylvia Plath Childhood Home 
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Longfellow House
    Julia Child  - Julia Child's House - Mastering the Art of French Cooking
   *Henry David Thoreau - Walden Pond State Reservation  & Thoreau's Cabin Site - Walden and        The Maine Woods
   *Henry David Thoreau - Sleepy Hollow Cemetary Author's Ridge
    Henry David Thoreau - Thoreau Farm
   *Louisa May Alcott - The Wayside
    *Louisa May Alcott -  Orchard House  - Little Women
   *Louisa May Alcott - Sleepy Hollow Cemetary Author's Ridge
   *Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Wayside
   *Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Old Manse
   *Nathaniel Hawthorne - Sleepy Hollow Cemetary Author's Ridge
   *Ralph Waldo Emerson - The Old Manse - Nature & Selected Essays
   *Ralph Waldo Emerson - Sleepy Hollow Cemetary Author's Ridge
    John Greenleaf Whittier - Whittier Birthplace
    Edith Wharton - The Mount  - The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome
    Jack Kerouac - Jack Kerouac Grave
    Herman Melville - Herman Melville's Arrowhead
    Nathaniel Hawthorne - The House of Seven Gables - The House Of Seven Gables
    Dr. Seuss - Seuss in Springfield
Yarmouth Port
    Edward Gorey - The Edward Gorey House
    Theodore Roethke - Theodore Roethke Museum

Sauk Centre
    Sinclair Lewis - Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home
St. Paul
    F. Scott Fitzgerald - Fitzgerald in St. Paul
Walnut Grove
    Laura Ingalls Wilder - Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
    Tennessee Williams - Clarksdale Historic District & Clark House
    Tennessee Williams - Tennessee Williams Welcome Center
    William Cullen Bryant - William Cullen Bryant Homestead
    Eudora Welty - The Eudora Welty House
    Margaret Walker - Margaret Walker Center
New Albany
    William Faulkner - Union County Heritage Museum
    William Faulkner - Rowan Oak Home of William Faulkner
    Mark Twain - The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
    Laura Ingalls Wilder - Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum
St. Louis
    Kate Chopin - Kate Chopin House
    William S. Burroughs - William S. Burroughs Childhood Home
    John G. Neihardt - The John G. Neihardt State Historic Site
Red Cloud
    Willa Cather - Willa Cather House
New Hampshire
    JD Salinger - JD Salinger House
    Robert Frost - Robert Frost Farm
New Jersey
Asbury Park
    Stephen Crane - The Stephen Crane House
Long Branch
    Dorothy Parker - Birthplace
New Mexico
New York
    Edna St. Vincent Millay - Edna St. Vincent Millay Society at Steepletop
    Truman Capote - Truman Capote Apartment
    L. Frank Baum - All Things Oz Historical Foundation
Huntington Station
    Walt Whitman - Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site
New York
   *Dorothy Parker - The Algonquin Hotel 
    Edgar Allan Poe - Poe Park
    Herman Melville - Woodlawn Cemetery
Pocantico Hills
    Washington Irving - Washington Irving's Sunnyside
Sleepy Hollow 
    Washington Irving - Sleepy Hollow Cemetery - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
West Park
    John Burroughs - Slabsides
North Carolina
    Thomas Wolfe - The Thomas Wolfe Memorial
Flat Rock
    Carl Sandburg - Carl Sandburg Home
North Dakota
    Harriet Beecher Stowe - Harriet Beecher Stowe House
    James Thurber - Thurber House
    Paul Laurence Dunbar - Paul Laurence Dunbar House
    Sequoyah - Sequoyah's Cabin Museum
    Will Rogers - Will Rogers Museum
    Beverly Cleary - Walking with Ramona Tour
    Beverly Cleary - Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden
    Pearl S Buck - Pearl S Buck House
    Edgar Allan Poe - Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site - Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems
    Gertrude Stein - Gertrude Stein House
    John Updike - The John Updike Childhood Home
Rhode Island
    HP Lovecraft - Lovecraft Arts & Sciences
South Carolina
    Pat Conroy - Pat Conroy Literary Center
South Dakota
De Smet
    Laura Ingalls Wilder - Ingalls Homestead
    Alex Haley - Alex Haley Museum
    O. Henry - O. Henry Museum
    Katherine Anne Porter - The Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center
North Bennington
    Shirley Jackson - Shirley Jackson Homes
    Edgar Allan Poe - The Poe Museum
Washington DC
Frederick Douglass - Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
West Virginia
    Pearl S Buck - Pearl S Buck Birthplace
West Salem
Hamlin Garland - Hamlin Garland Homestead

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

My Favorite Cross Stitch Resources

I'm obsessed with cross-stitch.  It has become a part of my daily ritual each evening either while watching TV or listening to an audio book on Audible.  Some friends have been asking me where I get cross stitching supplies, patterns, and etc. so I thought I would include a list of products and resources that I frequently use.


I am not a fan of prepacked cross-stitch kits. I think they are overpriced and usually not designs that I have any interest in stitching.  Etsy is my primary source of patterns as they are definitely more reasonably priced but also include such fun patterns.  These are the patterns that I have saved as favorites that include both finished patterns and ones I hope to do one day.

Books are also a great source of patterns. These are some of my favorites.

Cross Stitcher magazine is out of the UK but is my favorite cross stitch magazine right now, the designs tend to be more modern and fun to stitch.

I also like to make my own patterns and Stitch Fiddle is a great resource and it is free....


I am not a fan of the traditional hoop for stitching.  I find them awkward to work with and I like to shift my fabric around quite a bit.  A Q-Snap is a great solution for stitching, very durable, easily come apart for travel, and come in a variety of sizes and extensions - 11X11 Q-Snap, 6X6 Q-Snap, and Q-Snap Extensions

If you use a Q-Snap and work with white fabric then you know that at grime guard is required.  A grime guard protects the edges of the fabric from getting dirty from being held. Etsy is a good place to find a grime guard in a cute pattern.

Needles, Fabric & Floss:

I get all my needles, fabric, and floss from JoAnn.  I live only a couple of blocks away and it is super convenient for me to stop in plus they usually have great coupons.  I am not super picky about what brand of needles, fabric or floss I use.  What I do absolutely have to have is a needle minder to make sure I don't lose my needles.  Etsy is also a good place to find cute needle minders as well.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Literary Kansas

In anticipation of nicer weather, I have been looking for some day trips that my family can do over the weekend to shake things up a bit (or pull everyone away from their phones!)

As I was researching places to go, I came across the site, Map of Kansas Literature created by Washburn University that has a lot of information about writers who have ties back to Kansas.  It has a pretty good list started but would be great if it had more information about what is available to visit/tour in Kansas in honor of the writers.  I discovered some writers that I never knew were from Kansas originally. When driving on vacations, we typically do an audio book in the car for everyone to enjoy and then discuss. I am looking forward to seeing how we can fit some of the Kansas authors on this site into our excursions.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Baked Egg Dish (Low Carb)

I love eggs.  So thus I must post another egg recipe that I have had on heavy rotation lately.  It is low-carb of course but might be my new favorite way to eat eggs.  What is so great about this is that it is super simple and adaptable to your tastes depending on what ingredients you add and how long you cook the eggs.  I am personally a fan of an egg with a crispy edge so I like mine well done.  This recipe is for one large serving as I typically eat twice a day and this makes up both my breakfast and lunch.

Baked Egg Dish


  • 2 Tbs real butter, slightly melted and used to grease the dish... yes, this is a lot of butter, yes it makes the dish
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs chopped green chilies
  • 2 Tbs chopped bacon (or any other meat you like)
  • 2 Tbs. crumbled goat cheese 
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small casserole dish, grease the bottom and up the sides of the dish.  Let the extra butter pool at the bottom of the dish.  Break open the four eggs.  Sprinkle the remaining ingredients across the top. Place in the oven 10-15 minutes depending on how done your like your eggs.  I go for the whole 15 to get a good crisp on the eggs.  Remove from oven and let cool.  These eggs are super hot and will burn your mouth like no other if you aren't patient.  Enjoy.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Jenny's Mini Cooking Show

I have a new Youtube channel that I have been watching lately.  Oh yeah, if you didn't know... I watch Youtube a lot.  I have several channels that I watch regularly as if it was a tv show.  My daughters do the same although the content is mostly different except when it comes to cute, kawaii things like Jenny's Mini Cooking Show.  It is just amazing to me the patience that this would take... not only to bake the food but to also make the utensils, ingredients, etc.  Jenny makes all of it herself, including the oven! I looked online to see if in fact anyone does sell mini-cooking supplies.  Other than an Easy Bake Oven, which was a childhood favorite and still is... no luck.  Still this might make for a fun winter afternoon of fun when stuck inside.  If you are interested in other fun foods to make check out my Play with your Food Pinterest Board.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Margot Elena Spring Box

I have been a fan of the brand TokyoMilk for a couple years now after finding their perfumes at a couple of boutiques in my hometown.  The scents were always a little unusual in combination but lovely in smell, have an edgy look to the bottle and off the beaten path of designer perfumes.  What I didn't realize until a few months ago was that TokyoMilk was actually one of the many brands by a company called Margot Elena. Margot Elena, who is both a person and a company located in Englewood, Colorado, is the "author" of several health brands that include body, beauty, and lifestyle products. All of the Margot Elena products are also cruelty free.

I recently discovered that they had started a quarterly subscription box that comes with each season and signed up for the Spring Box.  The cost was $49.99 + shipping making it about $60.  It seems a little steep if you were comparing it to the likes of Birchbox, Ipsy, etc. but make no mistake, this box is so much more. (And for the record, I am not a fan of Birchbox or Ipsy...)

For one, all the bath and beauty products are full-size.  The value of my box came up to $224 and there is nothing in the box that I will not use.  In fact, so many of the products are now becoming favorites. I sound like a salesperson but this box is really that good... I highly recommend.

The contents were:

  • Papaya & Honeysuckle Face Mask | The Cottage Greenhouse, $28.
  • Handwoven Natural Fiber Tassel Scarf | Margot Elena, $32
  • Rosemary Mint Travel Candle | The Cottage Greenhouse, $12
  • At Last Shea Butter Handcreme | Lollia, $25
  • Pomegranate Facial Serum | The Cottage Greenhouse, $30
  • Gin & Rosewater Eau de Parfum | TokyoMilk, $30
  • Willow & Water Perfumed Shower Gel | Library of Flowers, $22
  • TokyoMilk Signature Stationary Set of Five | TokyoMilk, $25
  • Cucumber French Soap | The Cottage Greenhouse, $6.50
  • Grapefruit French Soap | The Cottage Greenhouse, $6.50
  • Fig French Soap | The Cottage Greenhouse, $6.50

My favorites so far are: 

  • Willow & Water Shower Gel - Smells fantastic and the scent lingers long after a shower. I will definitely be purchasing this again and again.
  • Papaya & Honeysuckle Mask - Mild, not greasy face mask that smells wonderful and left my skin feeling soft and fresh. Definitely one of the better masks I have tried and I have tried a lot...
  • Rosemary Mint Candle - I have a weakness for rosemary, especially rosemary mint.  My favorite shampoo by Aveda is rosemary mint. I need a large one of these for my bedroom... the smell is so relaxing and clean. ** By the way, if you have not tried the Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo/Conditioner and you love rosemary... it is well worth the price.
Again, nothing is bad. Nothing is cheap. All high-quality products.  There is something about getting out of the shower before bed and having a feeling of freshness surround you... especially after a hot day, in your favorite pjs, cuddled up with a book, and surrounded by crisp, clean sheets.  These products have helped fulfill my dreamy nighttime ritual.

I can't wait for my summer box.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Keto - Low Carb Croque Madame

A year ago this week, we were staying in Paris. I've been missing Paris quite a bit and already plotting when I can return. One thing I miss quite a bit are croque monsieur and croque madames, These are essentially toasted open face ham and cheese sandwiches (topped with an egg makes it a madame), Unfortunately, these are not the lowest carb foods. At least they weren't until I figured out to make them low carb.  I had a couple of ideas in mind and will probably give each a try but the key to this croque madame is a lower carb bread that I recently discovered, Sara Lee Delightful with a net 13 carbs for 2 slices.  My quick instructions to assemble below.

Low Carb Croque Madame 

2 slices of Sara Lee Delightful bread
1 Tbs. butter melted
2 slices Gruyere cheese
2 slices of nice ham (I used Boar's Head)
2 eggs, prepared over easy

I buttered 2 slices of bread on one side and placed them on a baking sheet, butter side down for 4 min. Once the bread had started to toast I pulled out and topped with ham and cheese.  I put the slices back in the oven under broil until the cheese was nice and bubbly.  Once done, I topped each slice with an over easy egg.