Monday, March 31, 2014

Musical Monday: Lanterns

Check out Ann's Post here!

Bloggers are forever inspiring me, and I've seen some very pretty lanterns in Blogland, like the one above decorated by Ann.  

I've been looking around for a lantern or two, and I keep singing "Lanterns" by Birds of Tokyo.  I can't get it out of my head!   Play the video and enjoy the music while you read the rest of the post!

The idealism of youth *wistful sigh*
I really like this ballad. 


Lately I've found
When I start to think aloud
There's a longing in the sound
There is more I could be

In darkness I leave
For a place I've never seen
It's been calling out to me
That is where I should be

We never carried days on our own
But now it's up to us to know
The weight of being so much more
We will find ourselves on the road

On we march
With a midnight song
We will light our way
With our lanterns on

On we march
Till we meet the dawn
We will light our way
With our lanterns on

As we walk out
Without question, without doubt
In the light that we have found
It is finally clear

Our day has come
And we'll stand for who we are
We are ready, we are young
We have nothing to fear

We never carried days on our own
But now it's up to us to know
The weight of being so much more
We will find ourselves on the road

On we march
With a midnight song
We will light our way
With our lanterns on

On we march
Till we meet the dawn
We will light our way
With our lanterns on

We held the light
To our faces
And realised
We were chasing

Shadows behind
Not worth saving
So burn it bright
Forever illuminating

On we march
With a midnight song
We will light our way
With our lanterns on

On we march
Till we meet the dawn
We will light our way
With our lanterns on

In darkness I leave
For a place I've never seen
It's been calling out to me
That is where I should be

Lanterns can be used in so many ways…

source unknown

Look at the giant lantern on the ground!  I love the intimate dinner setting.

…to illuminate the night at a garden party…

I *heart* the willow baskets used as lanterns and vases.  So pretty!

…to illuminate stairs outdoors…

…or in.

You can decorate them, like Ann's at the top of the post…

…or Stacey's.

Here are some pretty lanterns I've found online:

(online only)

(online only)

(online only)

I'm looking forward to cool late spring and early summer evenings with lanterns lit on our deck. Until then, I can decorate one!

What are you listening to this week?  Join Musical Monday @ My So-Called Chaos!

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Friday, March 28, 2014

Literary Friday: Spring Break Reading

Happy Friday!  This week I've been reading two books about Westies and their health because it's been a long time since I had a Westie puppy in the house.  Rather than discuss them today, I thought I'd ask you to help me choose the book I'll read during Spring Break in a couple of weeks.  All blurbs are from Goodreads.

From New York Times bestselling author Laurie R. King comes the book that introduced us to the ingenious Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

In 1915, Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honeybees when a young woman literally stumbles into him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes--and match him wit for wit. Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern twentieth-century woman proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. In their first case together, they must track down a kidnapped American senator's daughter and confront a truly cunning adversary--a bomber who has set trip wires for the sleuths and who will stop at nothing to end their partnership.

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.

I never take library books to the beach because I'm afraid something will happen to them, so I'll be purchasing whichever one you help me choose. Please look at the top of the sidebar and vote for the book that sounds like the best read to you!  I'll post the results next week.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that's ok.)
 *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

"Look: we want donors to feel good about the gift they are making.  But let's just say, hypothetically, that they feel bad or scared.  Does that change the quality of the gift, Edgewater?  No."

from page 56 of Sleep Donation by Karen Russell

What do you think?  Would you read it?

Don't forget to vote in the poll!

Until next time…

Happy Reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Chicken Stew and an Update on Finlay

Good morning, My Lovelies!  Other than going to the barn, I'm sticking fairly close to home these days.  Finlay is adjusting to his new home, and he's having a marvelous time.

I think it's cute that Finlay had rather play with his toy bucket than his toys sometimes.  It reminds me of little kids at Christmas who have more fun with the boxes!

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Finlay enjoys watching me in the kitchen.  He's very curious about everything I do!  Here's a light and delicious stew I cooked Tuesday evening.  It was a hit!

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Spring Chicken Stew

1 lemon
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces baby carrots with tops, scrubbed, trimmed, and halved lengthwise
1 12 ounce jar chicken gravy
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
2 heads baby bok choy, quartered
Snipped fresh lemon thyme (optional)
2 teaspoons Penzy's Sunny Paris spices

1.   Finely shred peel from lemon; set peel aside. Juice lemon and set juice aside. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper.
2.   In a Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat; add chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is browned, turning occasionally.
3.   Add carrots, gravy, and the water to Dutch oven. Stir in mustard. Bring to boiling. Place bok choy on top. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is done and vegetables are just tender. Add lemon juice to taste and sprinkle with Sunny Paris seasoning.
4.   Ladle stew into bowls. Top with lemon peel and lemon thyme.

Note:  I cooked stew for twelve minutes.  Ten  minutes wasn't enough to fully cook the bok choy.

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I hope you'll try this stew.  Mr. Art at home wants me to add it to my "go-to" recipes.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Happy List: Puppy *LOVE*

Good morning, My Lovelies!  I have only one thing on My Happy List today: Finlay!

For those of you who missed yesterday's post, Finlay is a Glenbrittle Westie from Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Glenbrittle's Fashionably Late Finlay

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Finlay is showing me how to puppy proof our home.

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He's showing a keen interest in learning how to cook.  He's fascinated with my cookbooks!

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He likes helping with chores.  ;P

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He loves going on walks.
I know his harness is backwards.  Mr. Art was trying to help.  I fixed it.

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Fixed it!

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Finlay loves playing with his toys, especially this small tennis ball.

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I was so surprised when he found this old toy of Bonnie's in the back of Mr. Art @ Home's closet.  It was her favorite.  Finlay was so proud when he found it!

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He visited Shelley's school yesterday.

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Finlay plays hard, so he takes a couple of naps during the day. 

It has been a joy having Finlay in our home.  He is a part of our family already, and he has been good for us as we heal.  Below is a clip from the Hamish MacBeth episode, "Wee Jock's Lament."  This is the last scene where Hamish and TV John are placing Wee Jock's marker on his grave. Hamish is holding his new Westie puppy.

from Hamish MacBeth, Wee Jock's Lament episode

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Finlay enjoys hearing stories about Bonnie Blue.

What's making you happy today?

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Monday, March 24, 2014

Musical Monday: A Tribute to Mustang Sally

Mustang Sally and four of her five pups.

This weekend, Shelley and I traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to bring home a new puppy.  The mom is Mustang Sally, and she's the sweetest little Westie mama you'd ever want to meet.  She's done a great job with her puppies, and this Musical Monday is dedicated to her.  All Glenbrittle Westies have musical names (so cute).

The Commitments
"Mustang Sally"

If you've never seen the movie The Commitments you're truly missing out. It's one of my favorite movies, and the music in it is amazing.  Here is the movie's trailer:

Thank-you, Mustang Sally.  We'll take ver good care of your baby boy.

Introducing Glenbrittle's Fashionably Late Finlay

More tomorrow!

What are you listening to this week?  Link-up to Musical Monday!

Until next time...
Ricki Jill

Friday, March 21, 2014

Literary Friday: Two Selections From My Daughter

Happy Friday Morning, My Lovelies!  Welcome to a special edition of Literary Friday.  My daughter lent both books to me, and I enjoyed them! Surprisingly, both books were written by men.  :D

Mr.Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan is too much fun.  My daughter found it on the Recommend Shelf at one of our very favorite Indie bookstores, Page and Palette.  It is probably the nerdiest book I've ever read which is saying a lot….trust me.  Think of the fundamental basics of game design: knight, wizard and rogue, combined with an ongoing medieval mystery that can solve the most compelling of all human questions not to mention hysterical internal monologues and asides;  do I have your attention yet?  ;P

Clay Johnson is the book's main character and narrator.  He is such an endearing character, and his thought processes, observations, and reflections alone make this book worth reading.  Clay's a web designer, and unfortunately he's lost his job due to the poor economy.  Curiosity lands him a job at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore where the main criterion for employment is the ability to climb extremely high ladders to retrieve cryptic books.  There are also a few rules that must be followed, too:

"This job has three requirements, each very strict.  Do not agree to them lightly.  Clerks in this store have followed these rules for nearly a century, and I will not have them broken now.  One:  You must always be here from ten p.m. to six a.m. exactly.  You must not be late.  You cannot leave early.  Two: You may not browse, read, or otherwise inspect the shelved volumes.  Retrieve them for members.  That is all."

One of Clay's few (but important) duties is to write detailed descriptions of the transactions: everything from what the members are wearing to their demeanors.  Everything rolls along smoothly until a pretty-yet-nerdy Google genius named Cat shows-up serendipitously because she's waiting on a bus and is bored, and then Clay decides to break a few rules.  

With the help of Cat and Neel (Clay's best friend since middle school who's made a fortune by writing the best coding for boobs used in video games), Clay embarks on a comical quest pitting Renaissance genius against modern technology to solve a riddle that a secret society has been slowly unraveling for centuries.

Although this book is a page-turner, it really should be savored.  And for the sake of all things sacred, please don't read it on an ereader!  ;P

The next selection, Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick, is a young adult selection.  I enjoyed the story and message of this book.  It was so refreshing to read something with a positive message in YA, and I think that all girls should take its message to heart.

Becky Randle grew up in a trailer with a morbidly obese mother in rural Missouri.  When her mother dies from complications of diabetes, she finds a mysterious phone number in a ring box among her mother's things.  The phone number belongs to the reclusive fashion designer Tom Kelly, and he makes an outlandish promise to Becky: He will make her the most beautiful woman in the world by wearing one of three dresses that he will design exclusively for her.

Tom Kelly's promise, as unlikely as it seems to Becky, transforms her into the most gorgeous woman, and she instantly rises to stardom as a model and starlet.  She even catches the eye of Prince Gregory, England's heir to the throne.  As part of the bargain she's made with Tom Kelly, she must fall in love and marry within a year, so why not go for broke and marry a prince?

I don't want to give away any spoilers, but trust me: maintaining your suspension of disbelief is well worth it while reading this delightful novel.  As a mother to two young women, the message of seeing who you are and liking yourself is priceless.  Plus it has the added benefit of friends supporting one another through thick and thin.  I do want to warn you about the language in it.  For this reason I recommend it for older teens only.  

Paul Rudnick writes in his acknowledgments that "anyone who has read this book [is] impossibly gorgeous."  Yes I am!  Thank-you, Paul.  You are truly gorgeous for having written it.  

I also want to thank Shanley Belle for lending me these books.  :D

NOTE:  I'm out of town, and I probably won't be able to visit any of your posts until Sunday evening.

Literary Friday

Until next time…

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, March 20, 2014


I'm truly blessed with the best friends in the world.  While I have been grieving over the loss of our sweet Bonnie Blue, my friend, Ellen Moore, painted this portrait of her:

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"Bonnie Blue Treleaven" by Ellen Moore
8" X 8"
oils on canvas

Ellen is a fellow Red Dot student and dog lover.  She has two feisty Irish Setters who bring her lots of joy.

I was completely speechless when Ellen presented me with the portrait.  Her generous spirit touches us all everyday,  and I have to admit that this portrait is probably the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me.

Please go see Ellen's art on her website HERE.  You will appreciate her talent and art.

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Happy List: Happy March!

March is one of our busiest months, but we're usually doing fun things….like celebrating St. Patrick's Day.

My Happy List

1.   I will be celebrating my grandmother's 94th birthday with her later on today.  :D  *HAPPY*

2.   We had a laid-back St. Patrick's Day celebration with corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread.  I hope you had a happy day yesterday!

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3.   Shelley has been practically living at the barn lately with make-up lessons and team practices.  Her IEA team competed in Regionals at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers over the weekend.  Shelley has improved dramatically over the season, and I want to thank her coaches for all they've taught her.

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Shelley's frustration earlier in the season

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Shelley placed third in Regionals.  Congratulations, Shelley!

4.  Tomorrow will be our 26th wedding anniversary.  I'm expecting big things from Mr. Art @ Home!  ;P

5.   I finally found some Bells of Ireland!  Yay!!!  I was trying to copy the floral arrangement from yesterday's post.

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Green florals in a Waterford pitcher.  Nothing could be more Irish!

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What's making you happy today?

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Six Fun Things to Do *PLUS* U2's Latest

I hope you remember to wear green so you won't get pinched!

If you have nothing planned today, I have a few suggestions:

1.  What to make:

Welcome spring with this beautiful moss wreath.  
Tutorial from HGTV

2.   What to arrange:

This is one of the prettiest floral arrangements I have ever seen!
This bouquet of green flowers – roses, calla lilies, hydrangeas, bells of Ireland, and viburnum – is placed in a basic container that is covered entirely in Kelly green ribbon...stunning!

3.   What to bake:

Lucky Charms Cupcakes

I love the little cupcake picks on these!

4.   What to read:

One of my favorite books
Read about Irish history through a storyteller's tales in this classic Irish novel.

5.   What to watch:

One of my favorite movies!
Here's the trailer:

6.  What to download:

In honor of St. Patrick's Day and Musical Monday, I wanted to share the world's favorite Irish band's latest song produced by Modest Mouse.  I love this song, and the black and white video is very pretty!

U2 "Invisible"

It’s like the room just cleared of smoke
I didn’t even want the heart you broke
It’s yours to keep
You just might need one
I finally found my real name
I won’t be me when you see me again
No, I won’t be my father’s son
I’m more than you know
I’m more than you see here
More than you let me be
I’m more than you know
A body in a soul
You don’t see me but you will
I am not invisible
That's right
I’ll be in the invisible world
I don’t dream, not as such
I don’t even think about you that much
Unless I start to think at all
All those frozen days
And your frozen ways
They melt away your face like snow
I’m more than you know
I’m more than you see here
I’m more than you let me be
I’m more than you know
A body in a soul
You don’t see me but you will
I am not invisible
I am here
I am here
There is no them
There is no them
There’s only us
There’s only us
There is no them
There is no them
There’s only us
There’s only us
There is no them
There is no them
There’s only you
And there’s only me
There is no them

Join Miss Angie for Musical Monday!!!

Until next time...
Pinch like you mean it!
Ricki Jill