Friday, September 22, 2017


Late to the party.  I am traveling and completely missed Friday Fave Fives last week.  And now it's Friday night. Again.

So here are my Friday Fave Fives from points east of Southern California.

1.  Visiting family!  Can you believe I did not take any photos of my The New Boy who is now a big fourth grade boy?  We had a great time;  we played Super Scrabble; we walked the dog.  At least I got a photo of the dog.

2.  This is the BEST time to visit the areas east of the Mississippi River.  The leaves are beginning to turn and show their autumn colors.

3.  We love driving through the mountains-- here are fleeting photos of the Appalachian and Allegheny Mountains.  Obviously, these pictures taken from a speeding (rental) car don't show the true beauty of the mountains.  But we feasted our eyes on mountains very different from our Southern California mountains.

4.  And farm houses.

5.  The best part?  Being greeted with hugs and smiles.  "Hi Meema and Bapa!"

Friday, September 08, 2017

Friday Fave Fives #hashtagfun

Yikes! It's Friday evening and I'm finally posting my Friday Fave Fives.  Where do the days go?

1.  I found a couple of books at the friends of the library used bookstore.  Normally, I just browse my favorite area, but this week I picked up two from the gardening section.  #canthavetoomanygardenbooks

2.  Not all books are fun and entertaining.  Currently, I am reading a book which was recommended to me titled Chasing the Scream.  I'm not sure what I think about it, but the subtitle The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs told me from the first that it would challenge me.  Drugs are a problem.  What's the answer?   #warondrugs

3.  Anyone who knows me also knows I hate to shop.  However, I really really needed some casual and casual dress tops.  I live five miles from a major shopping outlet mall.  So, The Professor pushed me to go and find some new things.  Success!  Now I won't have to shop for new clothes for a long time. I hope.  #canibedoneshoppingnow

4 and 5.  This week I spent an inordinate amount of time with two different friends on two occasions.  I've been friends with one of them for forty-nine years a long time, since we met the first week of college.  The other has been my friend for thirty-one years  almost as long.  You know, we could just talk for hours, and we did.  It's refreshing to connect on that level with long time friends. #oldfriendsareablessing

How was your week?  Any books you've read?  Any goals reached (like finally buying some clothes)?
#sharethefun #fridayfavefives

Friday, September 01, 2017

Every Day Gratitude Edition

Every Day Gratitude

Gratitude doesn't have to be reserved for magnificent announcements.  It isn't only 'real gratitude' when something amazing happens.  Gratitude is an every day occurrence, an every day habit.

1.  Sometimes, gratitude is simply part of a normal every day kind of life.  Case in point.  Every morning, when my husband hands me a cup of coffee made just the way I like it, I am thankful.  I'm thankful for the coffee, and I'm thankful for a kind, caring and faithful husband. That's simple, every day gratitude.

2.  What prompted this rabbit trail of simple daily gratitude was the thought that I am thankful for air conditioning.  We poke our finger a couple of times on a gadget attached to our hallway wall, and presto magic-o, a machine starts working and the air temperature in Willow's Cottage returns to a comfortable level.  I'm thankful that I have air conditioning in my house (and my car).

3.  This week has been HOT (at least hot for us) and some of my neighbors don't have AC.  World's Best Neighbors are waiting for the AC guy to race through his work list and get theirs installed.  In the meantime, we've told them that our house is open for them ANY TIME to drop in and cool off.  Chocolate, wine or tea will be served.  We've enjoyed the impromptu conversations.  Who wouldn't be thankful for congenial neighbors?

4.  Another every day habit I am thankful for is our evening walk.  Most evenings, right around sunset, if you were to pass through my neighborhood, you'd find us out walking.   We have a nearly perfect place to walk--lots of challenging hills, a paved nature path (maybe 4 blocks?), access sidewalks to golf course paths. Our walks are usually about 2.5 or 3 miles.  I suppose that is really two things for which I'm thankful.  A pleasant place to walk and the ability to walk.  These days when it's just too hot to hike our bare mountains, it's lovely to have a way to exercise in the cooler evenings.

5.  This is supposed to be a knitting blog.  The subtitle of my blog is "Life and Knitting at Willow's Little House".  I realize that I write mostly about life, not knitting.  However, I knit every day.  Sometimes I think that it's boring knitting.  Fortunately, this week I finished this hoodie for a baby boy in our extended family.

AND...I'm working on another shawl.  This one is for me.  I admired one a friend had knitted but the pattern is no longer available.  So I found a similar pattern and have been adapting it a bit to match what I want.  Particulars are size US 6 circular needles, double strands of a made-in-France 100% acrylic fingering/sock yarn.

I am grateful that I have an every day activity which brings me such joy.

[I made good on my pinkie promise to post the Indonesian peanut sauce recipe.  If you missed it, you can find it HERE.]

Monday, August 28, 2017

That Peanut Sauce Recipe...

Here it is.

            Adapted from The TMF Cookbook

1 cup chunky peanut butter
½ cup sweet soy sauce (I use ABC brand)**
Juice of one lemon
¼ of medium yellow onion, sliced
Hot sauce to taste of your choice (I use Indonesian sambal bajak, can also use tabasco sauce)
Water as needed; start with 1 cup

Saute onion in water until soft.  Add peanut butter, soy sauce and hot sauce with enough water to make a thick liquid.  Cook over medium heat, adding water as sauce thickens.  Just before turning off burner, add lemon juice.  Serve over rice and vegetables.

*note: I have started experimenting with adding ginger and we like the taste; if you like garlic, you could add that, too.
**note#2:  if you can't find the sweet soy sauce, you can use regular soy sauce and add brown sugar or molasses to sweeten it.

Other notes:  to make it easier to measure, I usually just take a jar of peanut butter which is normally about 2 cups (16 oz).  That doubles the recipe, but what's not to love about MORE PEANUT SAUCE?
I knew someone who used those dried, fried onions that come already packaged.  She thought cooking up my own onion was too much work.
Because I don't eat meat, I serve this over veggies and rice.  It's also good with sauteed meat on skewers.
I didn't create a pdf for this recipe.  You can just copy and paste it into a file.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Five Faves from Santa Fe

Happy Friday!  It's already time to post Friday Fave Fives.  I've barely been home long enough to catch my breath!  Here are Five more highlights from our trip to New Mexico and Arizona and back.

1.  Spending more days with our son in Santa Fe will always be a fave.  One afternoon we spend exploring here:

There were Churro sheep and weaving looms so I was in fiber heaven!

2.  Since Los Alamos is close by, of course we had to visit the science museum there.  After all, I had science-physics-computer guys in the car with me.

3. And more history.  Bandelier National Monument is a fascinating historical treasure.  Ancient cliff dwellings!

And kivas and villages.

And people displaying and selling woven rugs!

4.  While Dr. Mike worked, we visited a couple of places in Santa Fe.  We avoided the plaza because it was very crowded with 'tourists'.  So we took another short hike, this time up the hill to Cross of the Martyrs.

Beautiful view over the top of Santa Fe.

5.  On our way home we stopped in to spend the night with our PAL!  I had knitted two snuggly shawls for her and her mom.  PAL agreed to model hers for me.

How about if I lie down on the sofa and ottoman to show the shawl's snuggly quality?

And no visit would be complete without a photo of the three of us!  How about if we all sit on the floor?

Hmmm, Bapa is pretty tall!

That sums up Willow's Week and Five Faves although there was So. Much. More! But I had to choose Five.

NOTE:  I know I promised to post the recipe for Indonesian peanut sauce--I will do that this week.  Pinky Finger Promise!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Santa Fe!

I hadn't planned on posting Fave Fives this week because we are visiting our son.  But I decided that I would quickly pop in and post---

Five things I love about Santa Fe, New Mexico

1.  It's where my son lives now.  Closer to us than where he has been for the past two years.

2.  He has a steady income and a rewarding position for the next three years at the Santa Fe Institute.  I have his permission to post this photo of the plaque on his office door.

3.  Santa Fe is an incredibly beautiful spot on earth.  Arid high desert but with pine trees.  High desert here means over 7,000 feet elevation.

4.  Santa Fe has the most interesting architecture.  All Southwest.

5.  Santa Fe boasts many trails and hiking areas.  Each day we've been here we have chosen a place to hike and explore.  We spent about two hours wandering around the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve and could have walked all day and never run out of trails because it connects to the Audubon Society's trail system.

I love exploring new places!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe?

This is how you get to Santa Fe.  Leave early so you can miss most of the horrendous Los Angeles daily commute traffic.  Once you pass the LA County line, it's usually smooth sailing.

Your views as you drive EAST are of Southern California high desert.  It's very dry.  But the rock formations from volcanoes and other land masses make for majestic views.

When you pass the Colorado River,

and enter Arizona,

the terrain changes.  You climb in altitude to several thousand feet elevation.

This is basin and range country.  And it's GREEN!

I love the large views of Northern Arizona.  And I love that it's on the way to Santa Fe!