play time

I had a lovely visit with a friend and her granddaughter recently and I couldn’t help but bring my camera along when I met baby Claire so I could chase her around and take a few pics. She’s a cutie and it didn’t take her long to simply ignore the strange lady with the big black camera lens stuck to her face and go about her baby busyness. I’ve noticed on Twitter and various blogs recently that some people are choosing a single word as their New Year’s resolution. I like that idea, coming up with a one word theme that we want to honor, or infuse into our lives as we begin another year. Watching Claire explore her grandma’s house that afternoon was very relaxing and even mood boosting and it reminded me how as grown-ups we often forget the importance of play. Of doing something “just because”, with no agenda, no expectation of what we will get out of an activity, what we will accomplish.

My daughter got a small white kitten before she moved out a few years ago. I was going through some difficult things at the time but “Mr. Boo” didn’t know, or care about my troubles, he just wanted me to drag a piece of string across the floor so he could chase it. As it turns out, the hours I spent sitting on the floor playing with him was good medicine because play is the opposite of depression. Dr. Stuart Brown, a pioneering researcher in the field of play, said in a TED video, “Nothing lights up the brain like play. Three-dimensional play fires up the cerebellum, puts a lot of impulses into the frontal lobe–the executive portion–and helps contextual memory to be developed.” When I start singing the blues in 2012, I’m going to remind myself of my word, “play”, and then I’ll whisper my thanks to a six month old baby girl and a little white kitten for reminding me how it’s done!

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt

instafun

Lucky me and Mr. bookbabie got iPhones just before the holidays, kind of a pre-Christmas gift to ourselves. We’ve been enjoying the ease of texting with them and all the apps, I actually rarely use mine for phone calls! I recently joined Instagram, a free photo sharing application that is basically Twitter for pictures. I’m having a lot of fun with it, taking iPhone photos, editing them with various apps, and then sharing them on the public feed. It gives you something to do with your cell phone photos, aside from forcing your friends to look at them of course, and it’s kind of like making miniature art (or so I tell myself to rationalize the time I spend playing with it!). Hope you all survived the hubbub of the holidays, we still have a naked tree in our family room, otherwise I’ve got most of Christmas put away and when I’m not on Instagram I’m on the computer looking for someplace warm and sunny to escape to:)

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.  ~Henry David Thoreau

grand fun

Watched the grandkids for a few hours last Sunday and had us some much needed soul soothing fun and laughter.

See more Wordless Wednesday here!

“To become a grandparent is to enjoy one of the few pleasures in life for which the consequences have already been paid.”  ~Robert Brault

love rules

I usually have two books going at once, one fiction and one non-fiction. Yesterday, I was scanning my bookshelf in the family room looking for something motivational/comforting/self-helpish and I spotted What Happy People Know by Dan Baker, Ph.D. I read it a few years ago, but apparently I’ve forgotten “what happy people know” because I’ve been feeling pretty blue lately. After rereading it I decided to play along with the Teaser Tuesdays Blog meme at MizB’s Should Be Reading blog. I randomly opened the book to page 94 and picked out this quote to share. “From that day on, I realized that there was something happy people know that unhappy people don’t: No matter what happens in life, there’s always something left to love, and the love that remains is always stronger than anything that goes against it.”

I like that, the idea that love rules, that the capacity of our hearts to appreciate and love unconditionally can overcome the craziness in our minds. Craziness that is almost always motivated by fear. Fear that we aren’t good enough, we aren’t loveable, fear of loss, fear that things won’t get better, fear that we are helpless to “fix” the broken pieces of our life. I think we all have to dig deep sometimes to find the courage to quiet that fear-based voice with a conscious prayer that begins and ends in gratefulness and love. My take away after reading Dr. Baker’s book again is simply this: Life is a dance and we all might be a little happier if we remember to lead with love, not fear.

friday eats


Candied Cashew and Pear Salad
Ingredients:
3/4 cup cashew halves
4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dressing:
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
Salad:
1 (10 ounce) package mixed salad greens
1 medium pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup halved seedless red grapes

Directions:
In a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast cashews until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove cashews to a dish to cool slightly. Return skillet to medium-high heat, cook bacon strips until crisp on both sides, about 7 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and soak up grease with a paper towel. Coarsely chop bacon, and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together butter, rosemary, curry powder, brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and toasted cashews. Set aside. In a small jar, mix together white wine vinegar, mustard, and honey, olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, cover and shake. In a large salad bowl, toss dressing with greens, pear slices, grapes, and bacon, and sprinkle with nut mixture. I made this for a family dinner recently and it was a big hit, toss on a little cooked salmon or chicken and you have yourself a meal!

“The colors of a fresh garden salad are so extraordinary, no painter’s pallet can duplicate nature’s artistry.”  ~Dr. SunWolf