Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Last Hodgepodge of 2020

The last Hodgepodge in the year that has been 2020.

The logo is the link.

From this Side of the Pond
1. Tell us about your favorite moment or share one of the bright spots from the year we're leaving behind. 
        The only time I have seen my two sons this entire year was one night each on our trip moving.  I know that's not much, but seeing their faces and hugging them was a bright spot for me.

2. What do you wish you'd known at the start of 2020? Elaborate. 
        Well, I wish I had known how long it was going to take to sell our house.  We might have made some different decisions.

3. Best book you read this year? If you did not read any books this year, what's the best thing you ate all year? We've all eaten, right? 
        Best book?  Ummm, can we choose best book in different genre?  Or the best book for each month?  Obviously I read a whole lotta books in 2020.  I REread Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer which has always been a favorite of mine.  I read ALL the stories of Brother Cadfael which are set in early thirteenth century England and Wales.  I read a whole bunch of Agatha Christie mysteries.  Today, I finished reading Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller.  I could go on and on and on...

4. The Pantone Colors of the year for 2021 are ultimate gray and illuminating yellow (a bright shade)...are you a fan? Would we find either of these colors in your home or wardrobe? 
        Gray, yes.  Yellow, no.  However, to be truthful, I have a yellow, gray and cream afghan on the back of my sofa right now.  I recently finished knitting it and haven't given it away yet.
        And you might find gray in my wardrobe, but NO yellow.

5. If you were/are making a list of 21 things to do/accomplish in 2021 what is one thing that would be on it? 
        Easy answer!  I would return to England for a month-long visit!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
        HAPPY NEW YEAR!  2021!  Like that cute meme says, "On January 1st, hindsight will truly be 2020."

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Merry Christmas!

 It may be Christmas Eve, but I still want to write out my weekly thankfulness.  Friday Fave Fives don't stop just because it's Christmas.  In fact, I am MORE thankful!   Every week I join Susanne and other thankful people to write our FRIDAY FAVE FIVES.

1.  First and most importantly, we celebrate Christmas because God became man and dwelt among us. Emmanuel.  God with us!

2.  There were a few warmish and dry days, so obviously, we took advantage of them and walked more of the local trails.  One day, we actually walked in the morning just the two of us, and then in the afternoon, got both grandsons, both dogs and Older Daughter out on the trail along the river.

3.  Younger daughter is working full time, being a mom, and taking nursing school classes online.  So far, she is doing great in those classes.  This week, she was a bit nervous about one final, so The Professor spent a couple of hours being her study buddy.  Result?  98% on that final!

4.  This fave is dedicated to my grandchildren.  We will be having a White Christmas!

5.  I know many people who will be alone this year during Christmas.  I know how that is because other years we have been just with each other and maybe one or two family members.  This year, for the first time in several years we will be celebrating AT HOME with more than half of our family!  Two daughters and three grandchildren!


Friday, December 18, 2020

December Thankfulness #3

Happy Friday!  How was your week?  Sunshine or rain?  Family and friends?  I am sharing my Friday Fave Fives this Friday evening to remind myself of the blessings and best parts of this week.  I link  each week to Susanne's blog because she is our host.  FRIDAY FAVE FIVES

1.  The weather outside is frightful!  But it is beautiful.  I am choosing to appreciate the good.

2.  On Saturday, the weather was 'ok'.  So we decided to take a hike.  Daughters and grandkids came, too.  We chose the local arboretum and walked down to the pond and back.  Little Warrior showed us where the name of the arboretum is planted in topiary!  We didn't know about it.  Pretty amazing!  Although the photos can't show all of the letters, you can see the magnitude of the topiary words.

3.  Christmas song sing along.  Sunday night, we joined many families in our (socially distanced) church to sing Christmas songs.  It was so much fun!  All of our local family joined us, so it was extra special.

4.  We enjoyed a lunch with Younger Daughter during her lunch break at a new to us Mexican restaurant.  Good conversation and good food!

5.  Would you start a group skype call at 10pm?  You would if you were the only person in your time zone and the others were the rest of my Art Group friends.  The late night was totally worth it..

What are your best blessings from this week?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Hodgepodge -Volume 399

From this Side of the Pond
Welcome!  If you want to join Joyce and the rest of us to celebrate Wednesday, just click on the title above the logo, and that will take you to Joyce's blog.

1. What's something about Christmas that most people like, but you don't? Elaborate. 
        I'm not a big Santa Clause fan.

2. Tell us about one cherished tradition from your childhood and if you'll make it happen this year? 
        I always loved my grandma's Christmas sugar cookies.  Every year, I helped roll out the dough and cut out the shapes.  I still have some of Grandma's metal cutters.  Yes, I am going to make some, probably tomorrow.

3. In 1941 FDR declared December 15th Bill of Rights Day. Citizens were encouraged to fly the flag and gather for prayers and other ceremonies as appropriate. Did you know this? Will you fly a flag? Can you name all the rights and protections guaranteed in the first ten amendments of the US Constitution? Of the ten, which two do you value most? If you need a list you'll find one here. 
        I did not know about FDR's declaration in 1941 (just five days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor).
        How can you choose just one from the Bill of Rights?  The First basically sets the broad tone--freedom to live and express yourself as you want.  The last two both limit and protect the laws we live under.  Living in another country as I did has given me a great appreciation for the liberties I had always taken for granted.

4. Do you know someone named Bill? Tell us something about him? Is there a famous 'Bill' you'd like to meet? 
        I was in college with a guy named Bill.  We sang together in a small ensemble group.  He has gone on do a lot for chorale music in the Phoenix, Arizona area.
        As for a 'famous' Bill, I can't think of one.

5. A step in the right direction, on the right track, bragging rights, be in the right place at the right time, get off on the right foot, right as rain, right side up, give your right arm for, have one's heart in the right place...choose a 'right' that applies to your life in some way in recent days and tell us how it's so.
        How about RIGHT direction?  The Professor and I emptied five of the last ten boxes from our move and organized more things in our new home.  Two book boxes, two picture boxes and one electronics box left to unpack.  We are definitely headed in the right direction for settling in here.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
        Does anyone else plan their local trips to various shops based on right turns?  That might happen here at Willow's Cottage.
        AND, a second last minute thought:  I am left-handed.  The world is set for right-handed people.  Remember those school desks with the writing area extending out on the right side in front of the seat?  I think I am permanently crippled from the odd positions I had to squirm around in to be able to write.  Right-handed scissors press uncomfortably into the base of my thumb.  If you are left-handed, you understand.  If you are right-handed, be thankful!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Friday, December 11, 2020

December Thankfulness #2

 Friday Fave Fives! (Follow the link HERE to join in.)  I'm late posting, but here I am.  My whole week has been behind.  I blame it on #1.

1.  This week I had a "procedure".  I am very thankful to say that results are 'all clear' according to the doctor.  That is truly a Fave!

2.  My daughter and I have been trying to track down a couple of Christmas gifts for The Professor.  Finally, after hours of scouring the internet, we scored them and hopefully, they'll arrive before Christmas Day.

3.  Skype and Zoom!  I think I am thankful every week for these options to 'hang out' with my art group friends.  Even though I am in a time zone three hours later, we can still get online and chat.  Right now, we are doing an Advent study with the book Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller.

4.  The weather really warmed up the end of this week.  You know what that means!  A wonderful long walk on the trail!  Our goal is to walk all of the county bike trails and we are doing it two to three miles at a time.

5.  The Christmas cards and letters are arriving!  Yay!  I love receiving them!  And I love sending them.  Ours are in process.  About half of them will be mailed out tomorrow!

Happy Weekend to everyone!  Are you in the Christmas spirit yet?

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 1. What do you think it means to have the holiday spirit? 

Holiday spirit.  Hmmm.  I guess I think that means enthusiastic and excited.

2. What's one thing you've baked this month? Have you eaten the finished product? How much baking do you do around the holidays? What baked sweet something does your family insist is on the menu during this season of the year? 

I haven't baked anything this month of December yet.  Probably I will back some of the family famous Grandma's sugar cookies.  The family really doesn't have any traditional sweet things unless it's those sugar cookies.   Like these:

3. Your most recent 'half-baked' idea?

Ha!  This is a good one!  I have been looking at properties (vacant land) with my daughter, just for fun.  (Didn't I just move two months ago??)

4. Where were you the last time you 'baked' in the sun? The top ten sunniest destinations in the world (most sun from January-December according to this site) are Dubai, Bali Indonesia, Los Angeles CA, Miami FL, Barbados, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Mauritius, Antiqua, and the Canary Islands Spain. Have you been to any of the cities listed? Which one on the list appeals to you the most? If the world were not upside down crazy and you could lie on a beach anywhere right now where would you go? 

I steadfastly avoid 'baking in the sun' since I don't tan, just burn and burn again.  However, I have lived in many warm and sunny places, particularly various times in Los Angeles, CA.  I also lived in the county north of Los Angeles -- Ventura County, CA.  I have visited Bali, Indonesia and Miami, FL.   Of the ones on the list, I'd choose Ventura/Los Angeles as most appealing right now because I could visit friends and family there while enjoying the sunny warm weather.  However, if I could lie on a beach right now, it might be Baja California, or White Sands Beach (Pasir Putih) on the north coast of Papua, Indonesia (island of New Guinea) where we swam and played in the warm water every Saturday.

5. Today I wish I had more 🌞 sunshine 🌞.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

The Christmas cards and letters are starting to arrive!  Our letter is almost ready.  One thing I love about Christmas is the cards and letters we receive from friends and family.

Friday, December 04, 2020

December Thankfulness #1

 It's Friday and time for Friday Fave Fives.  Susanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts this every week.  HERE is the link.

1.  Not one but TWO fires in the fire pits.  One on Friday at our older daughter's home as a final fire before she handed the keys to the new owner.  And then our first fire at our house (burning the rest of the wood that remained from her (now sold) place.  Since it snowed the next day, we loved having had the opportunity to use the fire pit.  An added bonus was that two of the neighbors walked over to say hello and introduce themselves.

2.  Walks and hikes are always on my fave list.  On Saturday afternoon we walked about two miles on the local bike path with all three grandchildren.  The weather was fine and it was a part of the trail they had not walked on before.

3.  Even in the snow, we have walked.  One late afternoon/early evening, we decided to get our walk in by walking to the big HD outdoor store as The Professor needed to purchase a tool for a small project.  So we walked instead of driving the one plus miles each way.  It was through the neighborhoods and it was good to know we can easily get to the grocery store and other places by walking.

4.  Our Older Daughter's rental home has sold! (see #1).  That's a huge burden off her busy schedule.

5.  Several months have passed since her home and neighborhood flooded last March.  Today the flooring in the two bedrooms on the main floor is being installed!  We are so thankful that this part of the renovation project is DONE!

Bonus:  Some adult MKs (missionary kids) from Papua, Indonesia have created a Daily Advent Devotional to share with all of us who have lived and served in Papua through the years.  I am loving reading and meditating on their encouraging and thoughtful devotionals.   Happy First Week of Advent!

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

HOPE in the Hodgepodge

Here they come!  Wednesday Hodgepodges in December!

1. Here we are entering the last month of the year 2020. 2020!! Every year The Oxford English Dictionary publishing team chooses a word that captures the general mood of the year we're leaving behind, or the one word that will leave a lasting impact on the world at large. This year they needed sixteen words in order to cover the whole enchilada. 

While two of the other major dictionaries selected pandemic as their word of the year, Oxford came up with a long list including-bushfire, impeachment, acquittal, coronavirus, COVID-19, lockdown, social distancing, reopening, Black Lives Matter, Cancel Culture, BIPOC, mail-in, belarusian, moonshot, net zero (read more about each word here)

Of the words listed which ONE would you say should be in the number 1 spot? Which word/phrase on this list would you be happy to never hear again? 

Of those words, I would pick COVID-19.  And the word I don't want to hear ever again? Cancel Culture.

2. What one word from your own list of words describing this year sums up/best reflects your 2020? Tell us why. 

TRUST.  Every year, I choose a word for the year.  Last December, (not knowing anything about what was going to happen in 2020, I chose the word TRUST.  I remember that as I was contemplating whether TRUST was the word I should choose, a friend gave me a plastic drink cup with straw that had TRUST written on it.  Bingo!  Yes!  That has been my word for this year.

3. Do you like peppermint? Peppermint mocha, a candy cane, peppermint bark, peppermint tea, York Peppermint Pattie, peppermint ice cream...of the peppermint treats listed, which one is your favorite? Will you bake anything featuring peppermint this holiday season? 

Yes, I do like peppermint.  I'd have to go with York Mint Patties as one of my favorites.  I also love peppermint tea, especially chocolate mint tea that I have grown myself.  I won't be baking anything peppermint, but we did buy some Trader Joe's Peppermint Joe-Joes.

4. Besides Christmas, what do you associate the color red with? How about the color green?

I guess I associate red with heat.  Like sunburn.  My preferred color for Christmas decorating is green, not red.  You'll notice that there's not much red here.

5. Is your tree up? Real or artificial? Is your house decorated? Is your shopping done? Started? Wrapped? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being Scrooge-like and 10 being Buddy the Elf, how's your Christmas spirit? 

For the first time ever, we have an artificial tree.  Put it down to age.  We decided that it is just easier to have the artificial tree now.  And yes, it is up and decorated.  My Christmas spirit is at about a 6 or 7.  I love Advent, too, and we got snow yesterday.


6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Happy First week of Advent!  HOPE!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Friday, November 27, 2020

Day After Thanksgiving- Still Thankful

 This post may be a hurried attempt at Friday Fave Fives.  We are going to be heading out for a hike after we help Older Daughter finish a project at her rental house. 

1.  Today is the Day After Thanksgiving.  I am not a fan of Black Friday shopping.  In fact, I try to make a point of NOT shopping, so we will be doing #optoutside.  I am thankful to live in a naturally beautiful place.

2.  Thanksgiving Dinner at our house!  For the first time in So.Many.Years I hosted more than two people for Thanksgiving dinner.  We totaled eight people.  Only one was not from our immediate households.  (the extra was someone we knew in CA who has relocated to the same city and his plans were cancelled the day before).  No turkey.  Ham, chicken, salmon.  Obviously not traditional.

3.  I'm thankful my daughters are great cooks!  Pies.  Vegetable dishes.  More pies.

4.  This year, I baked the family famous Grandma Rylander's Rolls.  It's a prize winning (truth!) roll recipe that has been in our family since my grandmother started making them at least seventy years ago.  At one point I wanted to learn to make them, so she showed me the recipe and I copied from the cook book.  Then.  She said, "But I don't make them that way."  So I watched her make them and rewrote the true recipe.  As you might expect, one of the ingredients was 'a pinch of this'.  Our extended family has shared this recipe with new generations and I heard that this year, my cousin's daughters made batches of these rolls (and Grandma's orange bow knots, too).  I love the traditions that the generations continue to pass on.

5.  No Fave Five post is complete without the mention of a walk or hike.  The Professor and I managed to get outside between rainstorms this week and take a long walk on one of the many bike paths.  As you can see, most of the leaves are blown from the trees.  That makes it harder for the deer to hide.  Can you spot the camouflaged deer in the second photo?

So, Happy Day After Thanksgiving!  Let's not stop being thankful!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

Let us  choose to be thankful!  The last two Hodgepodge questions focus on thankfulness.  Have a great Thanksgiving, all my American friends. (And if you're not American, be thankful with us!)  Join me and others to write about Thanksgiving stuff.  THIS is the link.

                                   From this Side of the Pond

1. It's Thanksgiving week in the US of A so let's talk turkey. And by turkey I mean the elephant in the room because it's still 2020 and our blogs are a record of sorts of the times in which we live.   Do you live in a state (or if you're outside the US, a country) that's instituted restrictions on the size of gatherings in your own home? What do we think about this? (keep it classy folks)

We live in a state where we are required to social distance and wear masks in buildings.  But at this time, there are no more restrictive requirements.  I will say that the numbers are booming in the state, and that's not a good sign of the times.

2. Let's move in a cheerier direction. Will there be corn on your holiday dinner menu? How so? Cornbread-corn pudding-corn chips and dip-cornbread dressing/stuffing-corn chowder-or regular canned, frozen or fresh corn in a bowl...which of the 'corns’ listed is your favorite? 

Probably, there will be chips--corn chips.  That's to keep the kids from being hangry as they wait for dinner.  Me? I enjoy corn (tortilla) chips with green salsa.  My favorite way to eat corn is fresh on-the-cob.

3. What is there a cornucopia of in your home, job, or life currently? 

Cornucopia is a symbol of plenty.  I have plenty of food, clothing, warm blankets and books.  I'm ready for winter!

4. Have you ever quit something (such as a habit, a food, a time-sucker, a relationship) cold turkey? Is there something you need to quit cold turkey? 

About twelve years ago, I quit soda cold turkey.  I read some literature on just how bad it is for you, and I just QUIT.  I haven't had a sip of Pepsi since.   Something I need to quit cold turkey?  Sugar?  I was going to write pumpkin pie, but that's not going to happen until after the weekend.

5. Share a favorite verse, quote, saying, or song lyric relating to gratitude. 

My first thought was HYMNS.  Thanksgiving hymns!  Now Thank We All Our God. By Martin Rinkart (1636)  This is a bit of background to the writing of this wonderful hymn. " Rinkart wrote this song during the horrendous 30 Years' War and was the only clergy left alive in his city of Ellenburg.  Due to the disease and famine in his city, it meant he had to perform 40-50 burials per day.  In the midst of such, he wrote this amazing song of thanksgiving." ( Here is a link so you can listen to it.  CLICK HERE.  And here's another link to a choir singing the same hymn.  CLICK HERE.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Being thankful is a choice.

Friday, November 20, 2020

November Fave Fives, Third Week

Hello to November Friday Fave Fives, Third Edition.  Is it really almost Thanksgiving and Advent??  Here are Five Faves from this past week, things I am thankful for.  And HERE is the link to Susanne's blog, so you can read more about being thankful this week.

1.  We are down to fewer than a dozen boxes to empty!  I am thankful that our home is starting to 'come together'.

2.  Because we've been helping Older Daughter empty the garage and shed before the house sale is closed, (YAY! Her rental house is nearing the SOLD condition!) we have been storing some things in our garage.  First I am thankful I HAVE a garage (first time in almost 15 years).  Secondly, I am thankful that we got it organized and park in there again.

3.  Older Daughter gave me her potting table!  It fits well in the garage and I love it!  I am thankful for a dedicated gardening work area.

4.  I love that phone call that says, "Hey, Mom. Can you drive me to my dr appt this morning?"  I am thankful to be living near my daughters so we can help them and they can help us.

5.  Lunch with someone I know.  I met a lady through my older daughter several years ago when I was visiting here.  We have many connections like both being from SoCal, work connections, church connections.  I am thankful that there are restaurants open for lunch and that my friend met me.  Then we walked around the town plaza so she could show me some of her favorite shops.  I'm thankful I'm making friends here!

Have you noticed that lately there have been no new photos here at Willow's Cottage?  My camera is working just fine.  It's the computer not wanting to talk to the camera that is causing an issue.  Hopefully, we can get it figured out soon.  In the meantime, here are some photos from my 2016 trip to England.  Exactly four years ago, Older Daughter and I were beginning our week of adventure exploring Devon and Dorset, just the two of us.

I still just can't get enough of England and English countryside!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


K--E--Y.   M-O-U-S-E.  Mickey Mouse.  Mickey Mouse.  Forever let us hold our banner high!  Now it's time to say good by and join our family.  MIC  KEY.  MOUSE!    (Now that tune will be stuck in your head all day, like it is in mine.) 

Click HERE to participate in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. 


                                        From this Side of the Pond

1. It's Mickey Mouse's birthday (November 18)...happy birthday Mickey! He reads here, right? Have you ever been to Disney, any of the parks at all? Are you a Disney superfan or something less than that? They're open right now so tell us, would you go if you had the time/money/a free trip?

    I've been many times to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.  Did you know that many local college students (in the 90s and 2000s) would purchase a year pass and pop over to D-land when they wanted a quick break or a quiet homework spot?  Yes, there are quiet hidey hole places where you can grab a coffee and study for a few hours.  How do I know this?  My two oldest kids had the passes, and when I'd visit them during the semester, they'd get me a guest pass and we'd go to Disneyland.  That being said, I'm not a huge Disney fan.  I like California Adventure better.  Would I go right now?  Yes.  For one reason.  I could visit my SoCal friends!

2. Your favorite place to go when you want to be quiet as a church mouse? Would those who know you well describe you as more churchmouse or perhaps more like mighty mouse? 

    Best place for me?  I go for a walk or hike.  Or just the back yard and mess around in the garden.  People who know me might say I'm friendly and have a strong sense of justice, but I am a homebody, too.

3. The day before Mickey's birthday happens to be National Homemade Bread Day. Did/will you celebrate? Do you bake your own bread? Last time you had hot out-of-the-oven homemade bread? What's your favorite kind of bread? 

    I used to bake bread all the time; when we lived at the end of the world, and if we wanted food, we had to make it ourselves.  (That's how we learned to make donuts)  Now we don't eat much bread, so we buy a loaf which lasts us several weeks.  I love Ezekiel bread and Dave's Killer bread.  Whole wheat and grains, seeds.

4. What's something you might say is 'the greatest thing since sliced bread'? 

    Best thing?  Electricity!  Ours was out for several hours on Sunday evening, and while we can handle the no lights/ no heat time, I do greatly appreciate having electricity.  Thank you, Benjamin Franklin!

5. Let's keep the gratitude theme we started last week rolling on through November. Share with us five little things you're grateful for today. Small blessings. One catch-they all must start with the letter T. Gotta keep us thinking, right? 

    Tea.  Thermostats.  Toast (with orange marmalade).  Tacos.  Tempe.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

    Are you listening to Christmas music yet?  I am!  I love my Christmas music!  What's your favorite?

Friday, November 13, 2020

November is Thankful Month 2

 It's Friday.  The Thirteenth.  2020.  Doesn't sound so comforting, does it?  Maybe it's time to focus on some good stuff.  Like Friday Fave Fives, the best way to express your blessings from this past week.  Head over to Susanne's blog to read more good stuff and to join in.  HERE'S THE LINK.

Here is Willow's Week.  All the best things.  Or at least five of them.

1.  Unpacking can be daunting, unpleasant, boring, tiring.  But then you unpack the books!  It's like reconnecting with long time friends.  Am I the only person who yells, "Oh, I love this book!  I can't wait to (re)read it!"  Now comes the hard part.  What to read first?

2.  And then I unpacked some old teaching manuals and found the two books that my TA created with thank you letters from my students that last year I taught.  I opened them and read every one of those notes from those young children who told me that I made them want to become writers and authors and to write their own books.  Oh!  That made my heart sing all over again!

3.  Probably the last bonfire with family this year.  Aren't backyard bonfires the best?

4.  I do love the turning and falling of leaves in the autumn.  I posted these photos on a social media site and more than 100 people responded to their beauty.  The tree in our front yard.

5.  Since I changed to a newer, lighter weight laptop, I haven't been able to play my music cds because it doesn't have a cd player in it.  So this week, we bought a boom box.  Yeah, I know.  Old school.  But I love it!  Right now, I might be listening to Christmas music...

Well, this sums up some of my best things from this past week.  May you be thankful and blessed this week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Eleven Eleven

 Hodgepodge On Wednesday

From this Side of the Pond
1. It's the 11th day of the 11th month and bloggers often make lists on days like today. Let's go with a list of eleven things you're feeling grateful for today.
    My eleven things for which I am grateful:
        1. food
        2. shelter
        3. clean water
        4. electricity
        5. paved roads
        6. car
        7. husband
        8. children and grandchildren
        9. friends
      10. Bible
      11. books
       and I could go on for another eleven!

2. What's something you decided to do or act on at the '11th hour'?

        I changed my life's direction in July after I graduated from high school.  I was set to attend college in San Francisco Bay area of California.  But I applied to and was accepted to a college in northern Los Angeles County and, sight unseen, enrolled there.  My brother drove me there which was an adventure in itself since neither of us had ever been farther south than San Jose.  He dropped me off at the dorm and drove away.  There I was in a place I'd never seen, committed to spending the next four years there.  Truthfully, it was one of the best eleventh hour decisions I could have made.  I met my husband my senior year.  I still keep in touch with two of my profs and many of my college friends.

3.  Apparently the Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe contains 11 herbs and spices. What's a dish you make that calls for exactly eleven ingredients? Feel free to share the list and/or recipe. 

        This is a tough one because all my cookbooks are still packed.   But I have this recipe in my computer files.  Wah-la!  It has eleven ingredients!  I realize that few people would care to try a vegan recipe, but truly, it is delicious.

Easy Vegan Lasagna

Adapted from


For the lasagna:

15-18 lasagna noodles (Trader Joe’s Italian lasagna noodles)

Virgin olive oil

1 medium zucchini, shredded

8oz package mushrooms, sliced

12oz spinach, chopped

5-10 cups marinara sauce

Trader Joe’s vegan mozzarella style cheese shreds 

For the tofu ricotta:

2-14oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

10oz tub roasted garlic hummus

½ cup nutritional yeast

¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped (optional)


Preheat oven to 350F.  (If you are using different lasagna noodles, cook them al dente.)

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Once hot, add zucchini, mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add spinach and saute for another 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat.

Place drained tofu in a large bowl.  Crumble with hands.  Add hummus, nutritional yeast, and basil.  Stir together until it is semi-smooth and resembles ricotta.

Place about 1 ½ cups of marinara in the bottom of a 9x13in baking dish.  Top with 4-5 noodles.  Next add half of the ricotta mixture, mozzarella shreds, and half of the vegetable mixture.  Top with 1 ½ cups or more of marinara sauce.  Repeat with more noodles, tofu mixture, shreds, and veggies.  Then top with one last layer of noodles and more sauce.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

4. Something you remember about your 11-year old self?

        When I was eleven, I got my first pair of glasses.  That event changed two things.  I could see clearly!  Also, I first became self conscious of my physical appearance.  If you wore glasses, do you remember being called "four eyes"?

5. The 11th of November is Veterans Day in the US of A. This is a day to honor those who have served their country in war or peace-dead or alive-although according to the government's website it's largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices. 

Memorial Day is when we honor military personnel who died in service to their country. 

Share a thought relating to Veterans Day or tell us something about a Veteran you know-love-admire. 

        I come from a long line of veterans.  My father, three uncles, husband, brother-in-law, former son-in-law, and son have served in the military.  World War II, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.  My son currently serves as a USAR Lieutenant Colonel Chaplain.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

        That LC Chaplain?  It's his wedding anniversary today!  Happy Anniversary to Chaps and The Princess!

Friday, November 06, 2020

November is Thankful Month 1

Hello November!  The Thankful month!  But, wait!  Aren't we supposed to give thanks always and always be grateful?  Not just one month of the year.  That's why I work hard to join Friday Fave Fives even if I don't write anything else all week here at Willow's Cottage.  Here are my FFFs for this week.  (Join in by clicking THIS LINK.)

1.  I am a bit late posting my FFF because we drove over to the bureau of motor vehicles to get our new drivers licenses and new car titles and new car registrations.  It's done!  We are now officially residents of our new state.

2.  While we were there at BMV, a problem was found with someone having 'used' my Social Security number.  It was determined that the whole thing was a typographical error where someone mistyped a SSN and didn't amend it properly.  Therefore, our visit to BMV was a lot longer than we expected.  But 

I am thankful for excellent, efficient and cheerful workers and supervisors who fixed the issue. 

3.  This actually happened two  weeks ago, but I didn't mention it then.  A couple we have known since our Older Daughter moved to this are eleven years ago dropped by our home bringing homemade soup and home baked sourdough bread!  It was delicious and helped us so much those first few days!  I am thankful for both the food and the friendship!

4.  We have a lawn mower!  Since we haven't had any grass to mow for more than a decade, we don't own a mower.  However, Older Daughter's renters moved out, she's selling her rental house, and she gave us the mower that was there!  Score!  I'm thankful we didn't have to run out and buy a new mower to mow the lawn ONCE until springtime.

5.  AND.  The weather has been Southern California marvelous here.  Perfect temperatures for doing lawn mowing, a bit of garden clean up and moving things out of the rental house (see #4).

BONUS!  There's always more to be thankful for!  My beloved Daughter-in-law called me this week.  She is so busy being a wife, mom and teacher that when she has time to call and chat, I love that she chooses to call me.  I know mothers-in-law often get a bad rap, but I know this girl loves me  I am so thankful that my son found that girl as his wife!

How has your week been?  I hope you are well and safe! (notice that I didn't mention politics at all???)

Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday Fave Fives in the End of October

Good Morning to you on this last Friday in October!  It's cold and rainy.  The leaves are falling fast in the wind.  It's mid autumn.  How are you faring?  Have you stopped this week to think about the blessings God has graciously given you?  Here are FIVE FAVE THINGS on this FRIDAY that I have noticed in my week.  If you want to join in, click on THIS LINK which will take you over to Susanne's blog.

1. I missed posting my FFF last week because the moving crew of two guys was here unloading the trailer and bringing our belongings in to our new house!  I am thankful for God providing pleasant hardworking people to move our furniture and boxes (and boxes!) of things in for us.

2.  Earlier in the week, painters arrived to paint about half the rooms in the house.  Oh!  It looks so much more like 'our place' now!  Again, I'm thankful for excellent, careful and cheerful people working in our home.

3.  This may sound like NOT a fave.  But we happened upon the BEST dentist.  At church, we met a young couple and discovered she teaches at The New Boy's school.  And her husband works for a local dentist.   We made appointments, got in for our check ups in quick time.  And! I called for a first appointment with a medical doctor and got in to see her THE NEXT DAY!  If you've ever moved, you know that finding medical people is not always easy.  I'm thankful for the smooth and fast transitions.

4.  We voted in Ohio!  I am thankful that we CAN vote!

5.  Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series!!  Go DODGERS!

Bonus:  Every time we drive around our new area, I notice just how much like England it looks!  My grandson, The New Boy, commented on that when we were in England last year (March 2019).  I looked up these photos of Avebury, Wiltshire, from a trip I took with his mother in November 2016 .  It looks like Ohio!  Except, of course, for the sheep grazing in the park.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

H is for HEART

 H is the letter for this week.

Linking with Ellen at The Happy Wonderer.

I'm a bit late, but here is my word:  HEART

You shall love the LORD you God with all your HEART and with all your soul and with all your might.  Deut. 6:5

You shall love the LORD your God with all your HEART, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  Matt. 22:37

And you shall love the LORD your God with all your HEART, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.  Mark 12:30

You shall love the LORD your God with all your HEART, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.  Luke 10:27

May the LORD direct your HEARTS into the love of God and in to the steadfastness of Christ.  2 Thess. 3:5

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge, Halloween Style

 Hello, it's Wednesday Hodgepodge hosted by From This Side of the Pond.

From this Side of the Pond

1. Boo, boo-hoo, make a boo-boo, boo(ze)...pick one and tell us how it relates to life lately.

                Honestly, all I can think of is that ‘Bu or Ibu is the Indonesian word for mother or Mrs.  I was often called Ibu or ‘Bu when we lived in Indonesia, so that is the connotation that always pops into my mind when I hear ‘BOO’!  

2. Do you like the color orange? Would we find this color in your home? Your wardrobe? Peach-pumpkin-tangerine...your favorite shade of the three listed?

                I am not a fan of the color orange.  The reason is certainly that I look terrible in orange, being a very fair-skinned blonde.  You will never find orange in my wardrobe unless it shows up as a tiny bit of accent in a floral print.   If I had to choose one of those three colors, I would want tangerine, simply because I enjoy eating tangerines.

3. October 28th is National Chocolate Day. What's the last chocolate something you tasted? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being out of this world delicious, how would you rate it? 

                Every evening, The Professor and I each eat a small portion of a dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s.  It’s fair trade and very dark.  We purchase only fair trade chocolate because we have learned that chocolate harvesting and production has the WORST history and record for human trafficking.  I have seldom tasted anything better, so I would give it an eight or nine out of ten.

4. Life is like a box of chocolates or so says Forrest Gump's mama. Would you agree? Aside from the pandemic fallout tell us one way this saying has played out in your life. 

                Life is like a box of See’s Candies mixed chocolates.  You never know when you bite in to a piece, what you’re going to get.  It’s always an adventure.  And so is life.   An example:  when I married The Professor, lo those many years ago, I thought I was marrying a man who was going to be a college professor (like his father).  Our life course changed and I was a missionary wife, an engineer’s wife, back to missionary wife again, and then finally, in our last decade or two of working before retirement, I became a professor’s wife.  So, I guess I did marry a professor; it just took a long time for that to happen.

5. As October winds down tell us three things you loved about the month we're bidding adieu. 

                I loved the turning leaves.

                I loved the crisp blue sky days.

                I loved unpacking boxes in my new home and ‘rediscovering’ items I had packed months ago. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

               You do not need to work out at the gym if you are unpacking your new home.  Lots of steps.  Plenty of heavy lifting, bending, moving.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wednesday is Hodgepodge Day

Fall Hodgepodge Wednesday.  Welcome~

 1. Just your weekly mid-week reminder that it's fall y'all and it's my favorite. I love nearly all the flavors of fall but let's weigh in with an either or today...pumpkin or cranberry? hot apple cider or pumpkin spice latte? cinnamon or maple? apple or pear? ginger or sage? carrot or butternut squash? Yes you have to choose. What's a favorite dish made with one of the flavors listed here? 

I love both pumpkin and cranberry!  Once or twice a year, I will drink a pumpkin spice latte, but it's a big treat.  Cinnamon, yes.  Maple, yes.  In fact, yes to all of the above.  How can I choose?  It depends on what  they are 'peared' with.  I adore ginger and maple the most!  A favorite dish?  Well, I make granola with maple sugar and cinnamon.  Does that count?

2. Do you miss traveling? In this season of almost no travel do you think you've grown anxious or fearful about traveling again? Or has all this staying home not going anywhere made you restless to get out and see the world? What book have you read or what movie have you watched that has inspired you to travel?

We had planned to visit Alaska which is the ONLY US state we haven't visited.  But that was canceled due to this season of no travel.  So on that point, I am disappointed.  Our whole family loves to travel and the other evening we spent the whole time together "planning" a trip to England.  Where do we want to go most?  What do we want to see? 

 Am I restless?  Not really.  Having moved 2400 miles in the past two months, I'd say I'm happy to be resting in my new place a bit. 

Books:  right now I am rereading a book titled Traveled Far by Kevin Fossett.  The book chronicles his wanderings along paths all over England.  He also tells the story of his walk on St. James Way.  Another author who inspires me to travel is Louis L'Amour.

3. A time you felt like you were 'flying by the seat of your pants'? Explain. 

When I was eighteen and had just graduated from high school, I switched my college choice in JULY on a whim.  I had never head of Los Angeles Baptist College, but I met a Gospel team from the school at a summer camp where I was working.  Short story:  I ended up at LABC (which is now called The Master's University), on a scholarship and never regretted my seat of my pants change.

4. Do you struggle with road rage or are you more of a 'Sunday driver'? Do you like to be 'in the driver's seat (literally and/or figuratively speaking) ?

I don't really have a problem with road rage.  I might lecture the driver about his driving etiquette or 'ask' him where he learned to drive, but I don't get mad.

I do not enjoy being front man on a project.  I excel at doing the background work, though.  Literally?  Yes, I enjoy driving but The Professor usually does the driving when we are together in the car.

5. Something you've recently 'put the brakes on'? 

I don't think it's recently, but I have massive brakes on political conversations.  They seldom end well.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

We are full speed ahead on moving in to our new home.  The trailer with our possessions arrived this afternoon.  The painters will be finished with their job today.  Moving crew will be there at 9:00 am on Friday.  Yes, I am ready to be settled!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Mid October is a Cheery Time

Here is a quick update on Willow's Week for FRIDAY FAVE FIVES.

1.  I'm thankful that we will take possession of our home this afternoon or this evening!  If I am a bit absent around blogland for the next few days, that's why.

2.  The weather has been mostly warmish and sunny.  Only one day of rain.  But I am thankful for both.

3.  I took a little fall, slipping in the rain as I crossed a street.  I am thankful that I was not hurt much, just bruised a bit on my calf because I was holding on to my shopping cart.  I guess all my hiking and walking helps.

4.  This past week we watched a gardening in the fall and winter seminar online.  Produced by a local university, it provided good information for someone like me who has never before gardened in a really cold climate.  Now I have lots of ideas for what and how I can grow some veggies through the winter.  I am thankful for these opportunities to learn.

5.  The Professor and I took a lovely four mile walk along a bike path.  Walking under the tree canopy, we enjoyed all the autumn colors.

All the leaves to scuffle and shuffle along the path

Are you enjoying the colors that God has used to paint our world?