Manderley Themed Party


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I hosted book club the other night and our selection was Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.  A great choice for an October book club! Continue reading


Cheese Crostini


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This is a great party food. The ingredients might sound a little sketchy but it is fun when your friends try to guess what gives it the zip – it’s the mayo!


Image from _ Crostini

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Fall Decor


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img_4681For me this year it is a subtler nod to fall through the house. For example the mantle’s fall leaves are just barely turning color, the flowers are fall flowers in creamy white, and the pumpkin is a green ceramic one. I think this will take me through ’til Thanksgiving.

I usually decorate for Fall and then layer Halloween decorations on top, which can then be delayered after October 31. I am holding off on Halloween, but do have a few ravens to set the mood. Continue reading

The Wednesday Sisters – Book Club


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Image from goodreads

In 1967 a group of women bond at the playground in Palo Alto, California. They are different in background and personality, yet united in their love for family and in a dream, to be authors. They agree to meet once a week to critique each other’s work, while their children play. In time, this critique extends to the definition of who they are as women, in an era when the gold standard of feminine excellence is at it’s essence to be a successful homemaker or Miss America.

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National Book Festival 2016


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2016 National Book Festival poster by Yuko Shimizu

Yesterday I had a fabulous day downtown at the National Book Festival 2016. I went with 4 friends, who are all kindred souls when it comes to love of words. We arrived downtown ready to look around the festival, hear a speaker or two, and do a little shopping. Amazingly, at least to me, within the space of a few hours we each heard three authors speak and had multiple signed books.

Keep reading for highlights of the day and lessons we learned!

Artist: Yuko Shimizu.  Downloadable pdf from

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Fall Book Club Treat


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img_4520 Image

I thought it would be fun to add some book club related tablescapes and recipes to help with hosting your own book club parties.

The above image is from my book club meeting a week ago. We read and discussed Fall of Giants by Ken Follet and the hostess offered this cute and yummy fall treat. Continue reading

Textured Concrete


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After – stamped concrete walkway

Have I mentioned our house was a short-sale and in need of a fixer-upper overhaul? Oh I have? and frequently you say?  Oh, well, in addition to the long list inside we also had a long list of improvements for the outside that are finally being addressed.

Our driveway and walkway needed replacing. The driveway was cracked asphalt and the walkway was made of large stone pavers which had settled and were no longer safely situated. Our railings were cited in the home inspection report for being rusted at the bottoms and I really wanted them gone, but couldn’t because there were three steps up to the entrance. Three steps or more requires railings.



BEFORE…Uneven Stone Pavers and ugly railing

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Trill Hill, Part Two


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A date to Trill Hill…see part 1 here

Out of the blue the gentleman who had picked her up from the train station and driven her to the youth convention 8 months earlier phoned. He invited her for a drive on Trill Hill, followed by a picnic lunch. She accepted the date, and as she looked forward to it and prepared for this intriguingly romantic date, this is what she imagined:

Video from YouTube.  Uploaded by Sue Prida. Words by George Vaugh Horton

He was to arrive at 11, but her Uncle, whose family she was living with at the time called out, “someone is coming.” Continue reading

Trill Hill, Part One


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This is a short story from our paternal grandparents about how they met…

It was September of 1939, and in a spurt of good will and benevolence he  volunteered to pick up someone from the train station in Mitchell, South Dakota, for a Christian youth convention he and some friends from Bonesteel, SD were attending.

The day had a hectic start for her, as her car ran out of a gas before she made it very far. A neighbor was kind enough to drive her to her point of embarkment, and she made the train to Mitchell on time. The convention was to be at her alma matter Dakota Wesleyan University.


Image of her on her Uncle’s farm 1939

With his girlfriend in the front passenger seat, and two friends in the back, he arrived on time for the prearranged pickup. She climbed into the back seat and away they went bouncing and jouncing along in his old jalopy, which he had bought with the money he saved from running the milk route for his parent’s farm.


Image from  Hair slicked back for a family photo. Not sure of the date of photo,  circa 1936

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Moving a Mail box


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Melanie showed you how to revamp a tired mailbox here, but what if your mailbox does not work in the spot the builder dropped it? Consider moving it.

Our house has a grassy strip between our driveway and the neighbors driveway. On this curb is where we have both been putting the trashcan on pickup days, but we have both been having a problem with our mailboxes, which are on the other sides, being blocked by cars.


Old spot and unpainted, therefore non HOA compliant post


The builder will usually drop the mailbox on opposite sides of neighboring driveways rather that putting them together. For our court that was a problem. We have a large number of teenagers on the court, so for a few years will have a larger number of cars that need to park there. If you do not leave enough clearance for the mailman you will get a notice reminding that you must do so, even if the car blocking the mail truck access is not one of yours.

We talked to our neighbor and asked how they would feel about moving the mailboxes to the center strip. She asked her sister-in-law who is a postal supervisor of some type and we checked the property platte. The first 2 feet of the grassy strip does not belong to either of us, it is set aside for utilities etc. Perfect!  As their post needed to be replaced and ours was non-compliant with HOA covenants regarding paint when we moved in, we opted to get two new posts and paint them the designated HOA green.


We plotted out how we wanted the new area to look by arranging bricks that would provide the separation between lawn and post area. The bricks will be sunk into ground for ease of mowing. you can see their mailbox there. Usually there is a car parked right in front of that mailbox too. Continue reading