Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

Yes, I’ve been gone a while…a long while. I’ve had some other physical and subsequent mental issues. I don’t really want to talk about them. It enhances the stress and potential depression. I read an article that explains the MIA from blogging probably better than I could.

Isolation: When Our Disease Makes Us Withdraw

So whether it’s starting over or
just continuing like I was never gone…

Welcome to my coffee shop in Cyber Space
Try the pumpkin spice scones!

Contact Nani at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Cup of Coffee and a City-Barn

Cyber Monday came and went and I bought nothing! But one gift I bought on Saturday came today! I hope to have my paper done for school by the end of the day today, Wednesday at the latest. I will do some more cyber-shopping tomorrow, then next week some time I’m going to do to Michigan and do a little shopping with Aunt Judy. She says she’ll push if they don’t have scooters at Target! We’re going to time it so that we’d be getting back when Pop gets home so we can have lunch together before I go home.

So how is everybody’s shopping going so far? Did you get good deals Friday? Or did you stay home with those of us that aren’t brave enough to battle the crowds? As I’m getting ready to finish my list, I’m going back to ROASTe for a couple things. No, this is not just an ad. I’m picky about the sponsors I choose to support and ROASTe is also a vendor I’ve used and plan to again. Not only have I become hopelessly addicted to Caramel Crunch decaf in the evening, so I’ll need a new bag of that, but I’m impressed with some of the gift sets too.

The Stovetop Espresso Pot gift set includes an Italian-style coffee tin and espresso roast Italian coffee to put in it! I have an espresso machine, but I remember that type of pot as the way espresso has always been made! That type of pot was where Noni made the teaspoon of coffee that made a scoop of vanilla ice cream "cappuccino" for her grandkids. So trust me on this one - it really is how they do it in Italy! This set won’t get you the free shipping for orders over $35, especially with the 10% off you get with the code at The Chronicles of Nani, but if you add this, you’ll make it:

I think I want to try some of the holiday flavors! The 2-pack of Peppermint Mocha and Sugar Plum is under $10 before the discount! If you have a coffee, lover or a gourmet aficionado on your list, you really owe it to your Santa-self to check out ROASTe. They have a great selection and if you can’t decide email a gift card!

For me, this would be my choice:

Mahogany Roster’s Holiday Joy Gift Pack comes with Holiday Blend coffee and a decorated mug! How Nani, huh?

Now for everyone who came here to see a barn and I don’t blame you. I love barns as much as I love coffee, here it is:

Barn Charm

We passed this barn on Thanksgiving Day on the way out of town to go to my Dad’s for football and dinner. David is kinda starting to get into my barn chasing, making a point of passing this one and stopping without me asking. He says he thinks this one is the only working barn in the city of Toledo. Pretty cool, huh? Yes, Toledo really is a little bit city and a little bit country. We have tall buildings, sports teams, big acts in our downtown arena and all the chains, but we also get the occasional deer that walks through our front yard and a real working barn in our city limits.

I liked the look of the barn with the dark green roof and the red tractor on the left. Even without the sun, I was thinking of asking David to pullover, but he beat me to that!

For more great barns, check out Bluff Area Daily’s Barn Charm

Monday Mug Shot

Button Hole
West Branch, Michigan

Oddest thing about this mug is that I inherited it… and I bought it.

As so many of us are in holiday shopping mode the start of this week after Christmas, the mug brought back some sweet memories. I used to love shopping the day after Thanksgiving in the small towns near Grandma’s house.

Grandma didn’t really enjoy the shopping, so I usually went with Mom. I spent a weekend up at Grandma’s every couple months. I usually spent my “comp vacation,” the extra week I got in August for all the 55-hour weeks in the spring, with Grandma. When I was there during the week, we’d do lunch or shopping but in the summer the weekends were busy at the lake, so we’d go to the towns that were away from the lake from her house. West Branch was one of those places.

West Branch is home of my favorite Chinese restaurant in all of Michigan and we usually found ourselves eating a meal there when I visited. Most of the time it was just us, but we also brought one of her friends with us from time to time. I loved spending time with Grandma and she had very sweet friends too.

When we were in West Branch we occasionally shopped at K-Mart, because K-Mart was close at only a half hour away. I knew where the coin shop was because Grandma and I collected coins and I also knew where the Button Hole was. I think Button Hole was Grandma’s favorite local shop. They had a nice collection of fabrics and all the notions you could want for sewing or quilting. Okay, the shop was a half hour from her house and most of the staff knew her on sight, some of them by name! She enjoyed seeing the new quilting stuff that was in and I don’t think she ever left the store without something new. She often asked me when I was going to start quilting. Grandma didn’t start quilting until she retired, so I always told her I had time to learn when I retire.

The biggest reason Grandma didn’t like to shop the day after Thanksgiving is because the sleepy up-north towns, that were extra sleepy in the winter, woke up like a summer weekend day on that Friday! The little towns were pretty quiet compared to Metro Detroit on summer weekends, but my Grandmother, who used to give me white knuckles when she weaved in and out of rush hour traffic taking me home with her on weekends after work, had chosen to forget about driving in traffic too! One Back Friday afternoon, before it was called Black Friday, I showed Mom Grandma’s favorite shop in West Branch so she could buy some quilting notions for her Christmas stocking. They had just gotten these mugs in and knowing that Grandma didn’t drive out that far alone in the winter, it was a pretty good chance she’d be surprised.

She was surprised on Christmas Morning part because she didn’t know they had mugs and part because she didn’t think we’d gone into the downtown area in West Branch that day. I liked doing the little surprises for Grandma on Christmas, stuff she wasn’t expecting or fun gifts. One year, after commenting that the baseball cards I collected weren’t real because they didn’t have bubble gum. I got her a pack of ten-year old baseball cards, with bubble gum. She giggled about them all day. One year I had gone to the National Quilting Museum in Paducah when I was in the area for a job interview. I wanted to find her something that said National Quilting Museum on it. I found a mini quilt square one, made out of fabric, with the museum’s logo. She got completely fussed over at the next Quilt Guild meeting she went to after she went home.

And now the mug is mine again. It holds so much more than coffee.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

Kicking off the week after Thanksgiving with a few more Nani-Facts and once again joining Java’s Meet Me On Monday at Never Growing Old.

This Week’s Questions:

1. I really need to clean my _________?
2. What food makes you think of Christmas?
3. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
4. What was your first paying job?
5. Have you read the Twilight series?

I really need to clean my _________?

Kitchen. It’s time to do my annual organizing and cleaning out for holiday baking.

What food makes you think of Christmas?

Cookies! Whether I bake them, someone else does or I buy them at the store, the many types of festive cookies just scream Christmas to me.

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?


It was before my mobility problems got really bad and after David and I met and were dating. It was the year we said “I love you” for the first time and the year Kaline found us. It would kinda suck to never get to have a 40th birthday party, though.

What was your first paying job?

I was a deli clerk at an Italian Bakery and Deli. Can you imagine me running a lunchmeat slicer?

Have you read the Twilight series?

Nope. I read every Harry Potter Book, and saw all the movies, and I’m a huge Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Forever Knight fan, but never read any of the Twilight books.

To join in Meet Me On Monday, check out Java’s blog:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Leftovers Day!

Fall Cornucopia by Jeanette ONeil

Isn’t that a great image? It’s a public domain photo by Jeanette ONeil. She has some nice stuff. There is a link to donate if you choose. I sent her a cup of coffee, maybe a tall Starbucks if she wants to!

I love cornucopias. The symbolism jet gets me, it feels like an accurate symbol for me. It seems like no matter how big the cornucopia for any given part of my life is, it’s spilling over in abundance. No matter what is bad in my world, I can stuff it in the bottom of my personal cornucopia and smother it with the joy that scatters out onto my table of life.

I hope you don’t think I‘m being too corny! ;)

We had a small, but very nice feast yesterday. Aunt Judy made a pumpkin pie that was TO DIE FOR! I like the boxed pies just fine, but made from scratch has always got that “something.”

It wasn’t such a great football day. Green Bay is still quite undefeated and the Lions still haven’t figured out how to win on Thanksgiving Day, at home, with any real success, but it was still tradition to watch. I wonder if the Lions losing has become part of that tradition too?

Today is Green and Red Friday. I don’t and have never done Black Friday. I think competitive shopping is about as opposite of Holiday Spirit as you can get. BUT, I know there are a lot of people who enjoy it and consider it a kick-off to holiday giving. I hope they all had fun and got great deals. But to the ones who threw punches in Toledo or the woman who pepper sprayed Wal-Mart customers to get the deal first in California; SHAME ON YOU! You’re not celebrating anything but selfishness and ill will. Personally, I don’t ever want to receive a gift from that kind of behavior. Bring me a card and have coffee with me and if you can’t pick out a card without violence, just have coffee. Gifts that come from violence lose their worth before they even leave the store. It’s a cruel message to call a gift.

Holiday and soap box in one paragraph, wow! LOL

So far, Green and Red Friday has been putting my Christmas music on my blog, and listening to Christmas music. I still have essays and a final paper to finish for school, which should all be done by Wednesday morning at the latest. By the way, there are a few different styles of Christmas music and none of the songs are really long, but if you do want to, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and choose another song.

Okay, now for Five Minute Friday!

The Gypsy Mama has supplied an appropriately seasonal prompt word this day after Thanksgiving, “GRATEFUL.”

Here’s my five minutes:

GO!I’m grateful that I’m an optimist, thankful that I choose to be happy and make the most of everything I’m given.

I was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis this year. I’ve joined some online sites with other MS patients and I’ve realized that I am truly thankful that I have the foundation of my own optimism to face this with. SO many are lost in a dark gloom in dealing with what they cannot do rather than appreciating what they still CAN do. Not surprisingly to me, the ones with the more common Recurring Relapsing MS, who only have symptoms with a flare up and can be almost normal in between flare-ups, are worse in their gloom than others with the progressive forms of the disease. I thought I’d prefer the control, of always having symptoms better than the uncertainty of symptoms coming and going at will that wasn’t mine. But too many with RRMS are gloomy when they are not feeling much or any of the symptoms. It’s a feeling of impending doom.

I wish there was more I could do to share my positive feelings with them, with anyone who feels the oppression of bad feelings. I wish I could do more to help others facing pain or limitations they didn’t sign up for. But I selfishly fear being drug into the negativity too.

I am so grateful for medication that I can feel working, the support of my husband and my wonderful family of friends and relatives. I'm grateful because of how my affliction allows me to see the very best in total strangers as they openly offer to help me in so many ways. I’m grateful for this wonderful world we’ve been given and for the wonderful majority of the community on earth who doesn’t make the news; the kind, giving and compassionate people we share the roads, streets and halls with every day.

I love people!



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vintage Turkey Thursday

Many of us who participate in Vintage Thingie Thursday are posting our vintage treasures early this week because tomorrow is a Vintage Day and we’ll be reminiscing some and spending time with some of the most valuable treasures we have – our people, the friends and relatives who have played a huge part in the memories we scrap, journal, photo or blog about.
I made cranberry relish this afternoon and French Macarons for the first time tonight. I’ve done the relish for many years, so no problem there. The macarons? Well, they’re very tasty, but not as pretty as I wish they were. Still tasty, though! I’m kinda bummed that that’s all I have to do. David had the day after Thanksgiving off last year and took a long weekend trip. I think maybe that’s how I lost Thanksgiving dinner! Dad and Aunt Judy host and do all the cooking now. I offered the cranberry relish after Pop told me I didn’t have to bring anything because they were doing it all. I kinda felt left out and sorta begged to be able to bring the relish.

Thanksgiving dinner was Mom’s dinner to host while I was growing up. We had a much bigger dinner when I was a kid because we had both sides of my family there. Mom and Grandma were both only children, so it was just Grandma and Papa and Mums, my great grandmother, as far back as I recall for Thanksgiving, so when Mom married Pop the families kinda married too! After Mom died, Grandma and I took over. I had been doing a lot of the dinner with Mom and Grandma already. We did dinner at Grandma’s after Papa died, but Mom cooked it, I usually went up to Grandma’s early and we did all the shopping so that as soon as Mom got there the night before she could make the stuffing and get the turkey ready for the oven in the morning. After mom’s passing, I became the cook for Thanksgiving. I was so glad that I got Mom to sit down with me and step by step the stuffing recipe so I could write it out!

Ah that stuffing! Mom’s stuffing was something I only ate once a year, but I always ate plenty of it! I usually had some with leftovers and some with the turkey soup she made on Thanksgiving night. An hour or so after my Dad left to go home because he had to work in the morning. Mom had the day after off and I usually arranged my comp time at work to have a few days before off too for a mini vacation at Grandma’s,Thanksgiving night was games time! We’d usually played Dominoes or Yahtzee, sometimes Mom brought Boggle with her too, but Grandma wasn’t fond of that one, so we’d play that just us on Friday afternoon.

Mom liked garage sales and often brought home little presents for everyone. She brought me home this game.
Sentence Scrabble

I’d never heard of Sentence Scrabble before! The copyright on the game is 1971 and we guessed it didn’t really sell well.

We played it a few times. You can make some pretty funny sentences, but the quirkiness doesn’t last forever. I haven’t played it in at least 8 years because I never played it except with Mom. I think the sentence- building scared people, but you don't have to know what part of the sentence each word is! Maybe I should see if David wants to try it for a laugh?

I hope everyone in the US has a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow with good food, good people and traditions that wrap you and yours in love and memories of family anchored in the vintage world of Thanksgivings past.

Photoblog Wednesday

Thanksgiving, 2009
Photo Credit DSP

You are what you eat, right? I gotta remember where I put that hat away last year...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Done With Cleveland for 2011

Yesterday’s Cleveland trip was to Cleveland Clinic to meet with my Physical Therapist. We really wanted to try to time it so I did my first dose of Gilenya in the morning and PT in the evening last week, but scheduling didn’t work that way. Bonus was lunch at Eat-N-Park 2 weeks in a row!

I have to go back to the orthotist to get the sides of the AFO trimmed down so it doesn’t cut into my foot. We did get the bend of the ankle adjusted so it’s easier to walk in and my knee doesn’t hyperextend. It still hurts my foot tight now, but that should be fixed soon. Then I just have to get my vanity okay with the Frankenfoot when I’m out! I will. I always adjust!

I’ll be doing my physical therapy exercises at home. YAY! No copays! Yeah, after this year, I’m almost as bad about copays as I am about shipping. But at least with copays you don’t have to pay for them IN ADDITION to the cost of the product!

I found out how “weak as a kitten” I am yesterday. I have 8 exercises, all of them 10-15 reps each. My therapist suggests I start with maybe 2 reps for a few days and move up to 3. The 10-15 is a future goal! So, later this morning I’ll start on my journey to goal. I will see the PT again when I go back to see the doc in February. Note to Edna and anyone else who wondered but didn’t ask, no, I won’t have to go back for observation again unless I stop taking Gilenya for more than 2 weeks and start again. The observation for the first time confirmed whether or not it had any effect on my heart rate. It didn’t, so now I have a pretty yellow capsule added to my morning vitamins. It’s so the other actual drugs don’t get lonely. But Gilenya comes from a specialty pharmacy and the ibuprofen and itty bitty thyroid pill are just commoners. I think if I was Ibuprofen, I’d be a little intimidated by Gilenya. I can’t imagine how the gummy vitamin C feels.

Okay, the coolest thing about going to Cleveland in the morning and not for a 6-hour observation is that it was still daylight on the way home. We have a plethora of very cool barns between Toledo and Cleveland! I added 2 new Ohio Bicentennial Barns to my collection and a few more really nice non-bicentennial ones. I could've shot more, but David had to be home to get to work.

Here is one of the barns from yesterday’s trip home. It’s the Bicentennial Barn for Erie County:

It’s such a cool location and barn because of the livestock! The horses live in the field in front of the logo, there are pigs behind the barn and llamas in the next field over. I shot a few different angles of the County Park where the Barn is.

Did you notice the other bonus? Look behind the barn – a train! It really makes it a perfect David-Nani location.

Back of the barn and out buildings with llamas

See all the great barns shared at Barn Charm:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Mug Shot

Good Monday Morning!

This is my morning coffee cup every morning. Well, every morning since June when I bought it. It’s a comfortable shape and the perfect size for a K-Cup with just enough room for Coffeemate. And it’s bright and cheery and says “Good Morning!”

David asked me about the mug the other night, did I really need my coffee to say “good morning” to me? I told him it was a great mug to start the day because it was “happy.”

He eyed me, “YOU need help to be happy?”

I loved that, really I did. I am a happy person, have been for a longtime. That’s a choice. When things seem really bad, I’ve learned how to be grateful for what is good and let myself dwell on those good things a few moments. It makes the bad things a little easier to deal with. I admit that I love the affirmation that I’m sharing a bit of that happy. I have a good rep!

This mug just caught my eye and I fell in love with it. It was one of the Barnes and Noble mugs that Kelly and I were looking at when we had a few days together in Missouri this year. I was initially attracted to it because it looks like scrapbooking word art and the sunny words are SO me! But Kelly didn’t want it for our mug. She liked a few that were more philosophical or mushier. We agreed on one to trade, but I just had to have this one!

Now it has the added benefit of, even though it’s not the mug we traded, it makes me think of Kelly. That also means that in morning when I’m a little sore when I wake up, or days like today when I have a bit of a cold, I smile over my first coffee of the day remembering the stifling hot days at the beginning of June in St. Louis, travelling with my husband and seeing my best friend. If the bright colors and cheery greeting don’t make me smile, the memory of being surrounded by the two people who never had to, but love me most sure does!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

This Week’s Questions:

1. I wish I had more time to _________?
2. What is your favorite kind of soup?
3. Where will you eat Thanksgiving dinner?
4. What is your favorite time of day?
5. Did you start Christmas shopping yet?

I wish I had more time to _________?

I wish I had more time to SCRAPBOOK! Because of another project and my medical stuff this year, I won’t get 2008 done, but by golly, I am going to do all I can to get 2011 done by the end of January like I planned in this January’s goals!

What is your favorite kind of soup?

I love soup, all kinds of soup! I just finished making my first pot of minestrone yesterday and I have one serving left of the “farmers market” veggie soup. I made 2 big pots of that this fall. My favorite kinds of soup are homemade, but I’ll be in heaven with Tomato Basil soup ANYWHERE!

Where will you eat Thanksgiving dinner?

David and I will be in Michigan at Pop’s for the feast.

What is your favorite time of day?

I think I really am a morning person now. That has a lot to do with the fact that as the day goes on I get more tired. I seem to have the most energy in the morning,

Did you start Christmas shopping yet?

As a matter of fact I got a big box dropped off yesterday with some special gifts for several people and the first gift this year was for David’s stocking. (Thanks, Edna!)


Nani's First Minestrone

Yesterday was a big day of tradition for me. I finished up and turned in my classwork for the week just as David was getting home. While I was doing my last chapter of questions I also made my first ever pot of Minestrone! The soup, the real traditional Italian soup, is one I’ve loved my whole life but had never made before. There has always been someone else to make it. I’ve supplied my Dad and brother with prosciutto ends for making the soup and well, it was about time I made the soup myself!

Traditional minestrone, made from scratch in our family's traditional way is nothing like you’ll eat in a restaurant. It’s a thicker and creamier soup with a much richer flavor and a hearty consistency. One cup is a very filling meal.

It all started, after David had left for work, with a prosciutto end and a gallon and 3 quarts of water. Big warning here for anyone who might venture to try this at home – a prosciutto end is basically a cured ham, with the skin. The skin and layer of fat doesn’t add a lot of fat to the broth, and you remove all of the end but the meat at a later step, but they add a TON of flavor! One thing hadn’t thought about, and boy I’m glad David had already left when I started, was the smell, The last couple pots of soup I’d made were vegetable soup and the whole house fills with a wonderful aroma as it starts cooking. Not so at all with a prosciutto end! Boiling the end with the skin and everything is anything but a happy aromatic experience! The smell in my kitchen was NASTY for a couple hours! It was the dawn of that nasty smell that told me it was time to add the beans. Then about a half hour later, I added the carrots and onions. The carrots and onions helped the smell a lot. Then it started to smell like soup.

A few hours in, the meat in the end was very tender and very cooked, but still hanging on to the skin! I finally decided it was time to take the end out and separate the meat to add back in. Not long after doing that my Dad called! I told Pop that I was making minestrone for the first time. He knew I was going to, but I don’t know that I told him it would be Saturday. He told me Dave was making minestrone yesterday too. The weather in Indiana and Ohio was just right for it I guess!

Pop asked me if I removed the end to separate the meat yet. I told him funny you should ask that. I was waiting to hear Noni’s voice tell me it was time and I never heard it, so I made the decision to do it on my own. I don’t know if it’s tradition hidden in my own subconscious or intervention from beyond, but when I was developing the recipe for Noni’s crostada, trying to remember how she did it, as I was about to add another ¼ cup of sugar to the dough, I heard my Grandmother’s voice, I mean I really believe it was her voice, I was alone, what could it have been, say “No so sweet!” I put the extra quarter cup back in the canister and the result was the perfect balance of sweetness in my crostada dough. I told Pop I was kinda hoping to hear her voice on the prosciutto end too.

Pop chuckled at me. He told me I wouldn’t hear Noni’s voice tell me to do anything with the prosciutto end because she never used a prosciutto end when she made minestrone! Nono cured prosciutto in the basement of their home, bone and all, and it was the bone that Noni used in minestrone. Pop and Uncle John continued the tradition of curing prosciutto at home for a while, but after they stopped that practice after Noni was gone, it was my father who started using the ends from the delis to make the soup. So, Pop calling me WAS my message from the family spirit. No long distance on this one. LOL

So zucchini and green beans were added as well as Ditalini noodles and while those cooked into the soup, I prepared the last part, which is the magic that makes it the wonderful traditional thick soup. Honestly, while it tasted good, it wasn’t pretty enough to be a restaurant soup, too dark. I chopped fresh basil and added it to a half cup of olive oil and a cup of grated parmesan cheese. That roux is what adds the final flavor and thickens it into the hearty traditional favorite I’ve always loved.

After the soup cooled, I put it into 2and 3 serving containers to go in the freezer. I had containers enough for 25 servings and one left for dinner last night and the opportunity for the cook to test it.

It’s really an easy soup to make and pretty low on Weight Watchers points too. It turned out delicious! I have decided to adjust my recipe to ¼ cup of olive oil for the roux. It wasn’t super greasy, but just a wee bit oilier than my personal taste. It was still very tasty and I’m proud of my first attempt.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Carla's Five Minutes

Me and Mommy

Hi everyone! It’s me, Carla Yastrzemski! Mommy usually does the 5 minute Friday but I wanted to do this one. Mommy has school, stuff to do and I don’t start school, until next year, so I can do it. I’m gonna do it on her blog because 5-Minute Friday is a Mommy’s blog thing, not ours.

So, I get 5 minutes to talk about the word grow. Kaline is gonna time me so I don’t write too much.

Okay, GO!

Well, growing started when I was a kitten. I don’t remember being a kitten so much. I think I had a home for a while. Mommy and Daddy say that’s why I am so cuddly.

For some time I was a kitten on the streets, so I didn’t really grow up in a home. I grew up the hard way. There was a tomcat I thought was nice, but he hurt me and then I had kittens on the way, growing inside me. Tom left and I was alone.

A nice lady found me and helped me have my kittens. But, I wasn’t in real good shape and my kittens never got a chance to grow. Then the lady took me to the shelter where I could be cared for and they’d help me find a home.

In October 2009, after a rough life in the streets and then living in a cage, I met nice people who came to see cats at the shelter. Those people ended up being Mommy and Daddy who took me home.

I didn’t get along with my new brother and sister at all at first, but we grew on each other.

I grew sad when Baggle died. I missed him, but Kaline and I grew better together as sisters. Now I see that I grow happier every day. Now I AM growing up in a home!


What do you think? How’d I do?

Keep Reading Mommy’s blog and stop by Behind Orange Eyes and read our blog too!


Kaline and I are going to The Gypsy Mama's blog to read some more 5 Minute Fridays! You should too!

Eeks! It's Friday Already!

Just a quick “hello” for now. Between things that have been going on this week, I’m a bit behind on my schoolwork, so I’m really dedicating the day to it. I usually like to have my assignments, which are due Sunday night, in on Friday so I have the weekend free. This week it won’t happen that way. I’m planning on having everything done tomorrow night.

I was in Cleveland Monday to take a pill and let the medical folks poke and prod me for 6 hours. Remember I said I was going to be taking an MS drug that required that. Well, I was at the office at 7AM on Monday to take my first dose of Gilenya. I had my pulse and blood pressure taken every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours, then every half hour until the last hour. Then it was once more before they let me go. My heart rate did not slow down and my blood pressure was only up slightly while I was drinking my morning coffee and one reading after I finished it. I got to spend my 6 hours with my laptop digital scrapbooking, no public Internet in the medical facility for security reasons, and sat in a VERY comfy recliner with attached side tables where my water, oatmeal and hummus sat when I had breakfast/snack times. It was a very positive experience.

The facility I was at, like the one I didn’t get to stay at in Ann Arbor, really spoiled me. But actually doing the first dose this time, I realized why. The clinic that does the first dose observations does mostly drug testing and pre-employment physicals. They seemed to feel that I was more what they were in healthcare for because I was getting medicine for a disease. Well, the medicine improves my life but the disease isn't deadly. I kinda think making sure people can get and keep a job is at least on par with me if not more important. It affects the lives of more people. Still, I appreciated being essentially waited on and the kind treatment I got.

After a few reschedules with my Dad, I went up to Michigan and spent the greater part of yesterday with him. We had his minestrone for lunch and he made some of the roasted veggies with the breaded topping I like so much to go with our soup. YUM! We talked about minestrone for a while. I have a prosciutto end and I’m planning on making my first pot of minestrone myself tomorrow. It can sit on the stove and cook while I’m finishing my school stuff. I’m looking forward to that!

Okay, I have one last note for now! It’s a freebie note! Farmer Lisa’s Wild Daisies is giving away a gorgeous kit, Christmas in Colors, a few pieces at a time each day all month!! It really is a beautiful kit!

Here’s a layout I did with it:

Credits Christmas In Colors by Farmer Lisa’s Wild Daisies

Lisa offered that anyone who wanted to share a quick page or cluster with what parts they already had could share it for $1.50 coupon at her DigiSisters store. So, I did a quick page of that layout and a separate file of the cluster with the two hanging frames. Go check out her blog and her beautiful designs and snag my freebie, the parts to Christmas in Colors and a few other fabulous freebie quick pages and clusters from other followers. There’s some beautiful creativity shown there!!

Okay, now back to the books!

Link - Farmer Lisa's Wild Daisies

Thursday, November 17, 2011

And The Cute Award Goes To…

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Puppies vs. Babies for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


I got the look from Kaline and Carla when I got all excited about the opportunity to talk about the Puppies vs. Babies online contest being held by Animal Planet. I had to explain to them that if kittens were in the contest it would be unfair to puppies and babies. They seemed to accept that.

Animal Planet is hosting the contest which you can vote in. it’s in the semi-final round right now. When the top puppy and top baby are chosen, then they go head to head!

I checked out the contest and cast my votes. I know what my vote is for the final too, regardless of the representatives. Why, I pick puppies, of course! Babies are cute to their own families, but they don’t have the personalities that make you fall over yourself from the cuteness until they are a little older, toddler age. Puppies have their personalities milking their cuteness as soon as they are old enough to be in a human’s world. Babies are just needy at first and puppies are, well, puppies are cute from the moment you take them home!

A baby’s ears don’t flop when they run through the kitchen. A puppy is genuinely excited and happy to see you when you come home. You can start house-training a puppy right away and you get to feel good about giving it treats. Babies can’t even have chocolate.

Go vote! You can also checkout the winners and losers of the preliminary rounds. Tell me after looking that I’m not right about the adorable puppies! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. If you’re with me on puppies being the easy winner in this contest, let me know. If you think I’m wrong – convince me!

Kaline's First Christmas

Kaline's first Christmas, 4 months old

But remember in the end, even though kittens aren’t in the online contest to be fair to Puppies vs. Babies, they’re all cute in their very own special ways. Love those babies of all species and when they grow up, remember the cute and always love them for where they started and the beautiful adults they become!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Vintage Kitchen

This week for Vintage Thingie Thursday, I'd like to introduce you to the home of Davinities! My kitchen.

Now before you start to question how vintage my kitchen can be, my Keurig Brewer sits on top of the microwave that's plugged in with an adapter because there are no three-prong outlets in our 1950s kitchen!

It's a 1950s era house and with the exception of the oven and garbage disposal, the built-in appliances, plumbing and tile are all original. David's ex repainted the cupboard doors and added the matching paint on the walls, but the pink tiles were originally there.

The electric stove was state-of-the-art at the time the house was built, now it's a sweet, and still used, antique!

The buttons on the back wall for the stove are labeled to let you know to which burner they correspond. The temperatures are a little challenging to control. Before I came to Toledo, I used a very controllable Jenn-Air, so the vintage stove took some getting used to, but now I don't even think about it. I just know that the setting I use most starts on 2, then turns down to three and goes up and down a few times to cook a steak or heat a can of soup.

In all of the short-comings of not having a lot of the modern touches, like a dishwasher, it makes up for it with its charm.

As long as I can plug in my Keurig Maker, all is good!

Photoblog Wednesday

Stars of Leaf Terminator on Cat TV

If you've read Kaline's latest post at Behind Orange Eyes, you know all about the Movie her Daddy and Uncle were in! It took Scotty and David a couple hours to get all the leaves in our yard to the street for pickup. The leaves extended the length of our house and the pile is half-way up David. He's 6'5"!

The guys from the city spent a couple of hours on our street Tuesday and the leaves are gone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Old or New?

I absolutely love participating in the Barn Charm meme! If you’re interested in barns, agriculture, seeing a little piece of of that less glorified but huge industry in just about every country in the world, there are fun and even amazing things to see from the contributions every week. It’s like a museum dedicated to agriculture through the barns, but it’s better. This museum is personal. It’s things of beauty or intrigue that have been discovered first hand by the people who share them. I think that personal touch is what makes it so cool!

Last week, there was a photo contributed of an old barn and a new barn, likely its replacement, side by side. That alone was an interesting photo essay; the senior and junior barns spoke 1000 words each! There were lots of comments about preferences between the old weathered barns and new, sharply-painted ones. It made me think about my own preferences. I have and do photograph barns based on aesthetics. My first Barn Charm barn was a bright, well-kept barn in a suburban area, a green barn on a lush summer day with the water tower behind it. I have long loved water towers and that was first a photo of the water tower, making a nicely composed shot of the area surrounding it, but it’s where my intrigue with bans started.

Last week I shared a couple of the Ohio Bicentennial barns, many which are still shining memories of the state-wide celebration eight years ago. Today’s barn is different!

Near Oakwood, OH

This photo was taken near Oakwood, Ohio, in March of 2006. I love the weathered old barn on the empty field with a truck in it that looks as old as the barn. If the ground was overturned with recently planted crops, if it was later in the year with knee-high corn, if there had been a new John Deere in it instead if the old truck, it would have changed the mood, the character, of the photo. It would have changed the story.

So, I guess I prefer the old, and the new barns. It completely depends on what else is on the farm when I see the barn. Is the barn wise and old with stories to tell of the past and agricultural history or is it a face to the future, a youthful project manager with the excitement of its industry moving forward? Or maybe it’s something in between. My favorite barn is the one I’m looking at. At any given time, immersed in its character, to me there is no other barn.

See more great barns:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Mug Shot

Mugs aren’t just for coffee!

Isn’t it a sweet soup mug? David picks on me for my mugs with faces, mugs with personalities, but these were a "can’t resist” buy.

Mom and I found these at a small local dollar store near home in Novi, Michigan. Dollar stores are fun places to find little things for the kitchen or lunch boxes when you’re cooking for kids because it is okay to consider it disposable if need be. Some times Tori and Rina were there overnight on school nights and I did their lunches. I was bento before bento was cool in the US and sometimes the little containers never made it back. I loved dollar stores for that! They were also great for craft supplies. We did lots of crafts together and I usually do something homemade for someone on my list for Christmas. One year I did Candle Gardens for everyone and dollar stores were great for the bases, flowers, votive holder and pebbles. One dollar store I went to often when I was walking in Farmington was even a good source for glue sticks!

These mugs were bought as soup mugs. There’s a set of four in blue, pink, yellow and green. This is the happy one, there’s a grouchy one too. I keep one out at a time and every couple of months I swap it out for a new one. But ten years ago, when we got them, they were all used all the time!

As you might imagine, to a couple of seven-year-olds they had ultimate cool clout! I’m a soup nut, always have been. I love homemade to gourmet and, although I’m picky about canned soups, I usually have some canned for lazy days too. Somewhere between Panera and Zoup when they were with me and their Mom working at Subway when they first got soup in, the girls are soup nuts too. The first time they saw the faces mugs they immediately wanted soup for lunch.

Mom and I both bought a set of the mugs. We used hers at home and I wrapped mine up and put them in storage. Which means I now have 2 sets, right? Well, yes, I do have Mom’s now. But I also have Grandma’s!

Grandma came to spend a week with us not long after we got them and she also fell in love with them. We told her where we got them and she wanted to go check out our dollar store to see if they had any left. When we went, they had a few left, but just one complete set’s worth left! We grabbed those for Grandma and she brought a set home with her too.

I’m kinda thinking now that I should get the whole set out for when Tori and Rina visit at Christmas for the sake of nostalgia. After all, this year will be the last Christmas as kids, the last one before they’ll be visiting for the holidays from college. Yeah, we definitely need to do a soup day!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

Does your family/friends know about your blog?

Yes, in fact the address to The Chronicles of Nani was on our reception programs. Some of my family reads sometimes. David reads all the time and I have a cousin who is a regular too. They know more about me sooner than the rest of the family. You all do too!

What is your favorite card game?

I guess Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, but in non-traditional cards card games, I love UNO.

What do you wear to bed?

Cotton night shirts, with leggings if I’m cold.

What is your favorite kind of French Fry?

I love sweet potato fries!

What is your usual bed time?


Taking my daughter to Fashion's Night Out events

Guest post written by Theresa Fall

I don't really come up with that many excuses to drive into the city besides taking the kids to Broadway plays and it's not like we do that very often. It's too expensive to do it as often as we would like. But I thought that it would be really neat for my 13-year-old daughter if we went into the city to go to some Fashion's Night Out events. Besides, I kind of wanted to go too and see some of these famous designers and celebrities so we just made it into a really fun mother-daughter bonding experience.

We did a lot of research online to see exactly all of the events that we could go to within reason. I didn't want to promise her we'd see certain people if we wouldn't' be able to fit those events into our busy schedule. While I was looking online to get that info, I ran across some stuff on tv and internet packages . I showed it to my husband and after that we decided to change over our service to one of the ones we saw on there.

Our number one goal of Fashion Night Out was to go and see Harry Potter and that we did.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sweet Thoughts

Krisp Kringles

Busy, Busy, Busy! That’s a battle cry for so many of us at this time of year, isn’t it? The holiday season can be a bloggers worst nightmare. But then again if I’m going to call the miracle that saves my spirits in winter a nightmare, I must acknowledge MS as this blogger’s best friend! I wasn’t diagnosed yet last Christmas, but I’m planning my balancing to be the same way. One batch of cookies or cakes at a time with a break in between dough and bake and another break between bake and clean, new recipe, repeat. During breaks, I blog. That may sound like a cumbersome way to do it, but I’ve been making Davinities at Christmas since I was 7 years old and the mobility issues and fatigue have gradually onset over the past few years, so adapting has been pretty easy. This year I really don’t feel confident with carrying trays of hot cookies from the oven to the counter. I have that planned out. I’m going to use my large poly cutting board on the seat of my walker to put the hot cookie sheet on and wheel it to the counter where I can move the cookies to the counter and have a seat so I can put them on the cooling racks. Easy peasy!

I’m still deciding on the “other” Davinities for this year. I do Krisp Kringles every year. They were the very first Davinity when I was 7. Butterscotch and peanut butter are Pop’s favorite sweet flavors and when I read that recipe in the Nestle Cook book I got, I just had to make them for Daddy! As I think about it now, that was MY cookbook I got the recipe from when I was 7. I wanted it and most of the words were in my vocabulary if not my reading vocabulary yet. That’s the nice thing about baking. There aren’t so many complicated words or instructions that a 7-year-old can’t do it, with Mom’s help, of course. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that Tori had cookbooks on her wish list at 8 or 9, similar DNA and all.

So other than the Krisp Kringles, I do Mr. Goodcookies every year for me. Yes, that’s my one selfish indulgence. I love Mr. Goodcookies. I created the variation on everyday chocolate chip cookies because I wanted my favorite candy bar in cookie form. Fortunately I have friends and relatives who enjoy them too!

Nameless Hazelnuts

Last year I made a small sample batch of chocolate chunk hazelnut cookies for David and he loved them. A few other people tried them and they got good reviews, so I may officially make them Davinities this year. I think I’ll call them “Piccolo Bacio,” which takes off on my favorite hazelnut and chocolate Christmas candy and is Italian for “little kiss.” Since I made them first for David, maybe I should play on HIS favorite hazelnut and chocolate candy and call them “Rochereuse” or something. I still have time to name them.

As for the other cookies, my friend, Marie, has retired from professional baking and has released some of her cookie recipes. Since I can’t just order from Celebration Generation this year, I might just give a try at making her fruitcake cookies. By the way, I’m not a big traditional fruitcake fan but I LOVED these cookies when Marie made them. I’m also planning to try her recipe for macarons, which are light merengue type cookies, usually with filling. They are gluten free and the cookies on their own are very low in calories too. I’ll experiment with that one before Thanksgiving and if they turn out as good as they are in my mind, I’ll bring some for Thanksgiving dinner. It will also give me a good opportunity to try out my cookie-walker idea.

I really love the idea of doing some cake pops, but I just don’t think the pans for them will work with this year’s budget, so maybe that will be the new divinity for 2012. Since the pans are available now, maybe someone will make them and sell them, maybe at the Eastern Market? I love the Starbucks ones, so yes, I’d gladly buy some for David and me Christmas day. Christmas Eve is Saturday this year, so the market should be open all over there this year. I definitely want to go, if for nothing else, to stock up on carrots for the rest of the year. For years, the Eastern Market has meant that I buy a few containers of carrots, because I’ll eat half a peck in the car on the way home!

Okay, this blog post has taken a few hours to write. I’ve been writing during the commercials. There’s a Harry Potter mini marathon on ABC Family. I saw the Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban will be done at the top of the hour. Goblet of Fire, my favorite of them all, is on tomorrow!

So, commercial is over. So it this blog.


Celebration Generation
Great recipes here!

A Freebie and 5-Minute Friday

I’ve been juggling the last chapters for school and the outline and research for my final paper with cooking, cleaning, holiday preparation and trying to keep my current scrapbooks within 6 months of up-to-date. Oh yeah, I also have a project that I‘ve been working on for the last four years that I’ll be wrapping up soon. It keeps me out of trouble.

I’ve decided that I’ll be taking next semester off school and I’m going to slowly but surely get the house up to workable accessibility. I’m thinking that I can get everything but the stairs walker and reach friendly. If I can manage that on our 1950’s house, creating some simple tools to help, there may be a consulting future. Hmmm… Well, at the very least a few contracts? I’ll DO the job first. Advertise later if it works!

We have great ADA guidelines for people with disabilities to enjoy productive lives in the comfort of their “normal” wherever we go. Unfortunately the ADA guidelines are a good start but that half sentence is documented with a period. There is a lot open to interpretation. Businesses often do the bare minimum to be legal and don't bother with keeping those standards current

For Instance:

That ledge is on the wheelchair ramp at our local Tim Horton's. The smaller front wheels of most wheelchairs might be destroyed hitting that ledge, or it could just stop the chair short and throw the person sitting in the chair to the ground. Neither result is acceptable! Not to mention the dropped ramp there is a lawsuit begging to happen. When Rina and I went into the shop when these photos were taken, she backed me up over the side of the ramp, which was actually a lower lip than the top.

I’m sending an email with the photos to Tim Horton’s corporate office. I’m not looking for anything but to have it fixed. I like Tim Horton’s, but I can’t go to the store closest to me on my own because it just wouldn’t be safe. That ledge is obvious enough that an able-bodied 17-year-old saw it immediately. It's not an easily missed little thing.

Back to keeping the scrapbook caught up, I did this page this week:

Credits: Siren by Viva Artistry, Panel Template by Digitalegacies Designs

I did this page, as I often do, by creating the layout and adding the pictures and papers later. That means I have a digital template to share!

Download link in five minutes! (At the end of the post)

Five Minute Friday

5 Minute Friday was fun last week and since I was up earkly today, I definitely have some time to devote 5 minutes.

Today’ word is unexpected.


The best things are the unexpected things. Flowers on Valentine’s Day are wonderful, but flowers for no reason at all are even better.

When I try something new and expect there to be a learning curve and I do well, that’s an unexpected ego boost. When things DON”T go as planned, that’s an unexpected opportunity to learn. Okay, Nani looks at the lemonade stand when she has lemons is NOT unexpected, but what fun would life be without SOME stability? As much fun as it would be with no surprises. The unexpected is what keeps life exciting.

I always say I don’t like people to just drop by to visit. Truth is, I always enjoy it more than I feel inconvenienced when someone doesn’t call first.


Definitely click that icon and check out Lisa-Jo’s blog. Lots of interesting and fun stuff there!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vintage Thingie Thursday

I officially moved to Ohio in 2007, but I actually moved for Christmas 2006. After David and I got back from Christmas in Connecticut, I didn’t take any of my stuff back to Michigan with me. For the next five months, my daily commute would be 2 hours each way, spending one night a week in Michigan packing and filling my storage. Then in March we packed my storage into the big truck with the furniture and moved everything to Toledo, part to my new storage and part to my new home.

David liked my train knick-knacks, although knick-knacks weren’t totally his thing, at least trains was a common interest. He was a little uneasy about my M&Ms collection and a bit unsettled about my heirlooms!

I eased him in to cohabitation with my stuff with my beige Correll dishes, much less breakable and gender-neutral than his more masculine set. Then I carefully chose the first treasure from my Great Grandmother’s estate to show him. David loves cats and has an especially soft spot for Siamese cats because he grew up with Siamese. So I unwrapped and showed him Mums’ salt and pepper shakers that had lived in her living room since the early 50s.

Aren’t they sweet?

My Great Grandmother went to work for Ford Motor Company in 1944, retiring in 1962. Once World War Two was over, Mums found that she liked having a job and extra money. She spoiled herself a bit.

Okay she spoiled herself a lot. There were so many ceramic and resin pieces from 1949 to 1951, the point where she knew she was going to get to keep the job she enjoyed and that money would be there to invest and to enjoy.

When David saw "Salt" and "Pepper," he held them like they were kittens and in response to my asking if we could please keep them displayed somewhere, he took them right to the China Cabinet and sat them in the prominent window where they’ve lived ever since.