Independence Day – Family, Food & Fun

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I love everything about it - what it celebrates, how it is celebrated, the weather, the fireworks.... We are lucky enough to live on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From our back yard we have a great view of the fireworks display shot from a barge just outside of Dana Point Harbor.  We can also see the display put on by San Clemente to the south and Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar to the north.  On  a few exceptionally clear 4th of July … [Read more...]

Things My Dad Taught Me

Today, my dad - Leo Smith - turned 82. In honor of his birthday I am going to share a few Leoisms. Some are things he has said, some are things I have learned through observation and experience. 1. A little hard work never killed anyone. 2. Do it right or don't do it at all. 3. Saving for a rainy day is a good thing. 4. Saving for a rainy day by burying money in a coffee can in the garden is not a good thing. 5. Always keep the windshield on your car clean. 6. Don't be a sissy dog. 7. Your … [Read more...]

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and By Wonderful I Mean Crazy

The holiday season is in full swing and at times I feel like I am spinning out of control. How to get it all done and still enjoy the doing of it? Over the years I have instituted and imposed several "traditions" upon myself and sometimes upon others. I love them all but between the baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, crafting, cooking, traveling and merry-making, I sometimes find myself so busy and tired that I am unable to enjoy what the holidays should really be about-quality time with … [Read more...]

The Man I Called “Sir”

". Dad, Papa, Grandpa, Dr. Morse, Jim...James Orrin Morse was all of these, but to me he was "Sir". It is what I called my father-in-law for 20 years. I asked Tom, my future husband at the time, how I should address his father. He told me that everyone called him "Sir". I didn't know at the time that this was a family joke dating back to when Tom's sister was young and, being sassy, took to responding to his as Sir instead of Dad. It always worked well for us to have me refer to him as Sir. … [Read more...]

When All Else Fail’s – Cook

We are visiting Tom's parents (Sir and Mom) in Morro Bay, CA.  Neither one of them are getting around very well these days and household chores have become hard for them.  We are trying to do what we can to help out. Mom spends a lot of her time making dolls and bears.  She does beautiful work.  Making dolls is therapeutic for her and they convey her personality - whimsical, quirky, free spirited and very creative. My father-in-law spends much of his day resting, watching television and … [Read more...]

Our Last Days in Costa Rica

  Our vacation in Costa Rica is winding down. We saved two of our biggest adventures for the last. Yesterday we went horseback riding - everyone but Mom. She opted out as she was having some trouble with her back and she did not want to be sore and miss out on the zip line tomorrow. The proprietors of Chalet Nicholas set up the horseback riding tour for us. We were given directions to drive about 10 minutes down the road to a stable which we did. When we arrived, it was a true working … [Read more...]