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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Last Monday of 2013

We’re just about done with 2013, wow. I’m not going to comment about how quick the year has gone because for me it hasn’t. Honestly, years never go fast for me; I don’t let them. Well, at least that’s how control-freak me believes it works. I can look at the whole year and think it went quickly but when I think back specifically to events that happened last January they seem so long ago. 2013 was an interesting mix of really good and really bad. You know since the year started with five days in the hospital it really couldn’t get worse could it? I’ll be looking back at my goals and projects for the year this evening and evaluating how I did prior to visualizing 2014 and affirming my goals and projects by posting them at The Chronicles of Nani.

But right now I’m going to join Heather and Wayne at Acting Balanced one last time in 2013 for the Monday Quiz About Me.

1. Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?

As an adult I seldom get what I ask for. I still have a wish list for things. Those are posted on Pinterest and Amazon but I don’t think anybody ever really looks at them; those are more for me to remember occasional presents I’ll buy for myself. As for the intangible things I wish for almost annually; a world free from hate and judgment, and end to violence to women, children, animals and random strangers, all of whom have a right to be free to be anywhere and know they are safe… Oh yeah, and a cure for MS. I didn’t get any of those things either.

I’m not complaining about what I did get. I got a nice trip to Connecticut to see members of my married family; I married well adding wonderful people to my family. I got a few days with Rina visiting helping me with baking and saving Davinities’ 40th anniversary. I got various cards, emails, calls and visits with friends and relatives, my family. And after our usual gathering on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts, David and I stayed in Michigan and got to enjoy Christmas morning breakfast with Pop, Dave and our combined immediate family. I’d have to say that I got what I always want for Christmas; happiness.

2. Do you plan to make New Year's Resolutions or set new goals? What do you resolve or hope for in the new year?

I make my list of goals and projects for the New Year every year and post them here. You can see my 2013 goals and projects here. Check back, probably tomorrow, to see how I did and what I have planned for 2014.

3. December 30th is National Bicarbonate of Soda day - (yes this is really a day) - what do you use it for?

What a weird “holiday.” Bicarbonate of soda is baking soda. It does have many different uses. In our home I use it as called for in recipes, mostly baking. When an open box of baking soda has been in the cupboard for a while I rotate it with the open box in the refrigerator or freezer where we keep baking soda were not baking with to freshen the area and keep odors and flavors out of our food. I also use baking soda with vinegar to create a mild acid to unclog drains.

4. Liam wants to know what kind of car you drive... or what kind of car is your dream car?

Well Liam, I don’t drive anymore but I used to drive a Chevrolet Camaro. Now I use our public paratransit bus.

When I drove my dream car was a bright red Corvette. Now my dream “car” is a van my power chair can go in with hand controls so I can drive it. Unfortunately a van like that is more expensive than the Corvette I wanted. So right now I’m happy that I have public transportation available for me and when I see buses that transport wheelchairs in any city I point had and say “that’s just like mine!”

And now my question for everyone reading, including Liam ;-)

5. What happened in 2013 that made you the happiest?

There were lots of things that made me really happy this year but the one thing, simple as it sounds, that always makes me smile when I think about it is a complement I got from our next-door neighbor. The landscaping, lawn, flowers and plants in our neighbor’s yard are gorgeous and perfectly groomed. They are lawn and garden enthusiasts and are exceptional and other hobby. We don’t do a lot of spiffing up around the yard; David mows the lawn and Kelly and I planted spring perennials in fall 2010. I love my spring flowers, even if that’s the only thing actually kinda landscaped in our yard.

A couple months ago we were leaving and I exchanged pleasantries with our neighbor in the driveway about “growing things” and she commented about how beautiful my flowers were every spring. That’s like a famous chef commenting about how great your appetizers are. Thinking about it still makes me smile ear to ear.

Book Review: The Simple Truth by David Baldacci

Finished December 16, 2013

Synopsis from Good Reads

Sizzling David Baldacci's novels have been called "sizzling" (USA Today) and "superior" (Houston Chronicle). Now Baldacci is back, with the story of a death row inmate, a Supreme Court clerk, and a crime that is costing people their lives... Terrifying Michael Fiske broke the law when he took Rufus Harms's prison letter from the Supreme Court. But he also sealed his own fate. Now Michael's brother, a cop turned attorney, is coming to Washington to find out why his brother was murdered-and what it had to do with a crime that Rufus Harms committed twenty-five years before... Simply the Best In his new novel of corruption, romance, family, and justice at the heart of the American republic, David Baldacci takes us on a journey of harrowing conspiracy-and proves once again that in the realm of suspense, he is in a league of his own. The Simple Truth It's never what it seems...

My Review at Good Reads

4 of  5 Stars

This is my third David Baldacci book and I’m still impressed enough with his writing and the quality/believability of his stories to read more. That being said, The Simple Truth is definitely number three of the three I’ve read. I prefer my mysteries to be a-religious and at times this book was just a little preachy, but considering that the main character is a devout Christian and I knew that before started reading, I won’t hold it against the book. I just had a problem accepting some of the implied “spiritual epiphany” at the very end. That epiphany was not part of the mystery and it had been solved by then so it didn’t really have any effect on the plot. Murder and religious beliefs is not a preferred mix for fiction for me. Now when murder and politics happen side by side in the same book, that’s a book I can’t put down!  The Simple Truth does fit that description too.

I loved the underlying tone of the strength of family ties in this book and that there are characters who assess their own motives for the choices they make as they discover clues and motives in putting together facts to solve a murder. Baldacci’s style is not the kind of book where the reader can turn off their mind and just relax. They are definitely books that keep the mind working.

I personally don’t think romance is essential for a good book, but in this book the romantic subplot made sense and fit well. It did make me want a 6 months later final chapter.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Nani Is A Bad Santee!

I drove Suzanne and my Santa crazy because I don’t know my own address, or anyway I didn’t type it right. When I turned my address in with my Secret Santa Soirée survey I added a number that’s not in my address and the post office was preparing to return it as undeliverable when there was no return address. I’m sure the delivery confirmation had the address but still what an awful Santee to mess up my own address! Of course, this makes my Santa even more awesome because she freaked out about it and Suzanne the best Secret Santa coordinator ever for catching and fixing my screw-up.

So we just got back from our annual trip to Connecticut for the holidays and I knew my secret Santa box had safely arrived after our combined efforts to correct it with my post office and I haven’t had a chance to post the photos and gush, and gush is totally what I’m doing, about my wonderful box from my Secret Santa. So here it is!

The first thing in the box was a sweet Christmas card with a cat laying on an old-school TV with the video fireplace. How perfect is that? I have the video fireplace that I watch on my computer and there are always cats around it.

Next I pulled out all of the packages.

Spoiled much, Nani?

First thing that I noticed as I unboxed the loot was a large bag of Almond M&Ms, my favorite M&Ms!

The first package that I opened had a note on the front, like several of the packages did, and this one said it was a true delight from my Santa’s home state. This would be my first clue on the road to trying to figure out who my Santa is.

It’s a cow pie! Made in the great state of Wisconsin. So that’s my first clue; my Santa is from Wisconsin, enjoys a little humor and great treats. After the initial “cow pie,” chocolate, caramel and pecans? How awesome; YUM!

There were so many wonderful treasures in my box. My Santee included chocolate mint coffee from Wisconsin and chocolate milk straws because she lives on a dairy farm. More clues, more clues…

Her daughter loves to crochet and made me a washcloth! I won’t use it to wash dishes because it’s pretty and handmade for me and, well, I thought it would make a great mug mat instead and be safer from accidents.

Add to the chocolate collection a few Ghirardelli solids, that whole bag of Almond M&Ms and a giant Hershey’s Symphony bar! Now I do have to decide if I need to eat all of it before January 1 or if I need to cut it into 6-point snack bags for the January Recommit. Maybe I’ll do a little of both but that Cow Pie is screaming for my attention!

I got a couple of sweet ornaments! Sweet and more chocolate in a red M&Ms ornament. I got a green and yellow last year so this will be perfect with them! I also got the cutest kitty with a scarf! I extra love them because they are unbreakable, this year our tree is all unbreakable ornaments for Marco’s first Christmas so when he climbs the tree we won’t hear crashing!

There was also a Marx Brothers DVD. I love classic movies and there are four movies on it and I’m sure I’ll find myself plopped in front of the TV with a mug of that Chocolate Mint coffee the next big snow day!

The best treasure in the box is a handmade quilted mug mat. When I opened it I just caught my breath; it’s GORGEOUS! The quilt pattern is beautiful and the holly stripes really caught my eye, but those cat triangles are just so perfectly me!

The coffee cup appliqué embroidered in the corner of BOTH sides is so sweet, and it’s green, my favorite color and the single fabric side is a fantastic winter snowflake print. Both sides are just beautiful. I love it!

To my sweet Secret Santa, bless you and thank you, thank you, thank you! You are so generous and made me feel very special! You are a fantastic Santa!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rina To The Rescue!

It’s 6° out SIX! I’m not normally one to complain about the weather… Oh who am I kidding? I’m totally one to complain about the weather and a 6° morning temperature SUCKS!

But it’s sunny and I have a warm cup Starbucks Christmas blend in my newest coffee mug from my notes-so-secret Santa cousin!

side 1
side 2
Yesterday I had a knock on the door and saw the UPS truck in front. I went to the front door, with the powerchair thus no stress, and there was a package on the front porch. (UPS gets it right when I ask that packages be left on the front porch.) I use the big grabber and pulled the box in the porch and brought it back to the dining room table. It had my name on it but it was from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I didn’t order anything from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I opened the box and there was a copy of an email telling me that it was a gift from my cousin! As if getting a gift isn’t enough to put a smile on my face, it’s a mug! And it totally cool mug that will fit a big cup of coffee. Thanks, Seamhead Gypsy, or wonderful surprise for my collection and a great holder for my morning coffee.

On the less-than-stellar front I discovered that, while I can still make cookie dough, I can’t quite bake the cookies anymore. My legs have gotten pretty bad for balancing while holding a chair long enough to set the timer on the oven in my arms are just a little too weak to get cookie sheet of high enough to put in the oven. That was a little disheartening. David was home when I discovered this and did the pans in and out for me for that one batch but I usually bake when he’s not home.

Davinities is not lost! Rina to the rescue! I sent a text to ask if she would come visit and help bake after her semester is over. I got a call almost immediately. Rina wanted to come visit and make crostadas. The family party for Laura’s family is before Christmas this year. I usually send a couple of crostadas for their party home with Dave and Laura on Christmas Eve. Rina was going to get my recipe from online and make the crostadas this year. (Nana beaming with pride) She’s made it crostada before but it’s been a few years and her dad suggested she should “make them with the master” before she tries it solo. I guess I hadn’t realized how much my brother really likes the crostadas. (Nani is feeling really buttered up now.) So those who get Davinities in the mail will be getting that sweet box a little closer to or just after Christmas. I guess this means I’m not the Davinities Little Princess anymore; I’m the Queen! I’d love it Rina gets the whole cookies for Christmas vibe and decides to take over. We’ll see, but I’m looking forward to a few days of baking with my Sweetie!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Little Peace, Planning and Poppers

Lookie! All three cats on the bed, kinda touching even! There is still plenty of charging and hissing when it’s not nap time, but they are able to peacefully coexist when they are all tired. Still, when they aren’t sleeping they are doing a little better at ignoring each other, well the girls ignore Marco. Kaline still gives unwarranted growls when he walks by, but it keeps him walking by and Marco only attacks them when, really amped up for playing. It all takes time, Maybe they know Santa Paws is watching!

Today is Secret Santa mail day! The deadline is today and my package was all wrapped up Monday night, but I finished getting it ready to mail last night. I didn’t want to send it too soon, since it’s a SECRET Santa Soiree I want my package to blend in with the herd in the mail. Still I can’t wait until my Santee gets the package and I read about it on her blog.

It’s also time to get ready for Davinities! You know what that means! I sample cookies while I’m baking and crave salad like crazy! It’s so true! When I’m doing my Christmas baking I have to have bags of lettuce and lots of other salad fixins! It’s gonna be an interesting lesson in contrast in the grocery buggy tomorrow!

Salad with tuna and crunchy veggies last year (12/13/12) 

In getting ready for baking and for the January Detox I created a quick and delicious recipe yesterday. Bell Poppers are my healthy take on restaurant fried Jalapeño Poppers. I used mini bell peppers and stuffed them with shredded cheese and a few shakes of green tabasco sauce. The green is a milder sauce with less heat and lots of spicy flavor. After stuffing my peppers I lined then up facing each other to catch any cheese that spills out and microwaved them for 2-1/2 minutes.

Not bad for a first try. The flavor was great! Next time I’m going to try some Neufatchel with the shredded cheese and try mixing the cheese and sauce first, then stuffing the peppers. I’m also going to work on a way to keep them standing and microwave a little longer to cook the peppers more. I may try it in the toaster oven too. But for a first shot, the Bell Poppers are very good!

This was breakfast yesterday:

My great find Raisin Panettone with pumpkin spice coffee. That mug is one of my favorite holiday mugs. It’s three stages of the Eat ‘n’ Park star and tree from their holiday commercial. I’m on their mailing list, so they send it every year and every year it makes me cry a title more because it’s so beautiful. Remember that it sometimes takes a few tries for me to stand up and I rely on those wonderful people who love and support me in so many ways. I posted the spot on my Facebook page and I’m posting it here too with the same message. ”To all my famil; relatives and dear friends, at home and in cyberspace: I am the little star and you all are my tree!

Can you see why it makes a mush like me cry?

Well, I’m off to finish up my shopping list and maybe even do a scrapbook page, maybe; I’m a little behind on that 2013 goal so far this month!

Other Santas in the Soiree: today is the day and part 2 of the fun begins!  Make sure you get your delivery confirmation numbers to Suzanne by the end of the day so she can enjoy her Santa without extra stress!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Review: An Order of Coffee and Tears by Brian Spangler

Finished December 1, 2013

Synopsis at Good Reads

Angela’s Diner has the reputation of a safe haven where patrons find a moment of peace as they linger over coffee and tears. For one young runaway, Angela’s is more than a place to tell your tale — it’s a place where with the magic of chicken and waffles, and a little bit of trust, may just save your life.

Gabriella Santiago used to be a typical teenager who enjoyed the usual teenage things. That is until a single tragic day ended who she was and within hours she ran from home, never to look back.

Only when Gabby is cold, hungry and at her lowest, does she find Angela’s Diner. Gabby embraces her new life and the family she has found in the midst of strangers and obscurity.

Acceptance is what she craves, but before long, Gabby realizes she’s not the only one in the diner with something to hide. Her new family has a secret too, and some secrets refuse to stay buried

My review at Good Reads

2 out of 5 stars

This book had a lot of intrigue in the description; lots of secrets in this diner! There was a promise of soul-searching and some emotional stories and the eventual story of the main character coming out of hiding.

Unfortunately the book never reached its potential. The characters were flat stereotypes and their stories were ones that were told before. The resolutions of each of the multiple sub-sub plots were nothing extraordinary and the only sub plot that existed for more than one chapter ended being overdone and cliché. Told in first person, the end of the book for the main character was as dreamy and Pollyanna as someone who dropped out of high school could have written in the back room of a diner, but not at all believable.

Book Review: Emma’s Secret by Steena Holmes

Finished November 13, 1013

Synopsis at Good Reads

For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family’s youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family’s home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created.

But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.

Megan is consumed with bitterness, while Peter works later and later nights in the company of his gorgeous business partner. And in the middle of everything, Megan’s best friend has become suddenly distant and secretive.

Then a chance encounter in town leads to a secret that changes everything again for Emma. And Peter must decide between the happiness of his youngest daughter and the trust of his family

My review at Good Reads

2 of 5 stars

This is the continuation of Finding Emma. At first I was going to review both books together, but I liked the first book too much to take rating stars away from it averaging the rating for the two. It was mildly interesting but the characters became less believable than they were in the first book. I was also waiting for the big surprise like there was in Finding Emma, but it wasn’t there to read. Basically I was left asking why the second book needed to be written at all.

Book Review: Finding Emma by Steena Holmes

Finished October 29, 2013

Synopsis at Good Reads

Megan sees her daughter Emma everywhere. She's the little girl standing in the supermarket, the child waiting for the swings at the playground, the girl with ice cream dripping down her face. But it's never Emma.

Emma's been missing for two years.

Unable to handle the constant heartache of all the false sightings, Megan's husband threatens to walk away unless Megan can agree to accept Emma is gone. Megan's life and marriage is crumbling all around her and she realizes she may have to do the thing she dreads most: move on.

When Megan takes a photo of a little girl with an elderly couple at the town fair, she believes it to be her missing daughter. Unable to let go, she sets in motion a sequence of events that could destroy both families lives.

My review at Good Reads

4 of 5 stars

This was a Book Club read for me. I enjoy Book Clubs because it introduces me to styles I wouldn't normally read. I realize my taste in reading is usually dictated more by my tomboy side.

Half of Finding Emma was an inspection of the minds of Emma's parents, especially her mother, Megan, when their toddler daughter disappears after venturing out the front door into the front yard on her own. It also describes the different ways they react to their family trauma and are still reacting two years after their daughter’s disappearance. While I personally haven’t observed any close friends or relatives in the midst or a child disappearance or abduction, I have watched parents close to me deal with the grief of a child’s death. I found the behavior of both Megan and husband, Peter, to be very believable and how those behaviors affected their relationship and relationships with their two other daughters to be very real.

The other half of the book tells of grandparents raising their granddaughter, Emmie. The older couple’s daughter, Mary, was a runaway. In the beginning of the book it’s understood that Mary sent Emmie to be raised by her parents. Mary was in and out of a safe house where she was dealing with drug addiction. Emmie was now being raised by her grandparents who adored and cherished her. Grandma, Dottie, was very overprotective of her granddaughter, vowing to not repeat the mistakes she made with Mary. Grandfather, Jack, was supportive of his wife’s need to be a little overprotective of their granddaughter, at first anyway, and was very active with his beloved grandchild.

Later in the book, as Peter and Megan’s marriage is crumbling and Dottie’s mental state starts to really falter evidence about how it is that Emmie came to live with them starts to surface to Jack. I admit it was a good story but I’d already figured out what was going on; except I was wrong! I love a story that pivots into a completely valid explanation I wasn’t expecting and that is definitely what I got.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's A Candy Cane Christmas!

I love this time of year!  Not the snow or cold, I really DO NOT like the snow or cold and I especially dislike, no hate, the ice.  But I love twinkling lights, the smiles that are so easy to bring out in other people, children seeing Santa for the second time (they always cry the first time, the second time they "get it" and are ready to see him!), Peppermint Mocha and scarves. I don't like the cold, but I love scarves almost as much as bracelets!  Oh there are dozens of things I love about December.  I could easily add how much I love giving gifts and the joy when I see those candies that remind me of the special people who I've been blessed to hold in my heart through wonderful memories and Christmases past.

Candy and how making sure certain candies are in my Christmas candy bowl was the inspiration for my Worldwide Christmas Freebies mini kit; Candy Cane Christmas.  The color combination comes from three Christmas ornaments from last year that have been in the Digitalegacies Designs ideas folder all year waiting for the rest of the Christmas inspiration to come.

The candy canes are for me; I love them and have since the candy canes Santa gave me as a kid and now watching them melt into my hot cocoa at home.  I give you Candy Cane Christmas!

Click preview to go to download

Enjoy more Christmas scrapbooking freebies at Worldwide Christmas Freebies!
I hope you enjoy all the freebies!
Have a VERY Merry Christmas!