Thursday, April 27, 2023

National Poetry Month: Poem in Your Pocket

Hello and welcome to our last post for National Poetry Month - Poem In Your Pocket Day! It was started in 2002 in New York City, and in 2008, the Academy of American Poets helped spread it to all fifty states in the US. In 2016, the League of Canadian Poets extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada. 

Poem In Your Pocket Day is really just another way to share poetry. Here are some ways you can participate from the Academy of American Poets

  • Select a poem and share it on social media using the hashtag #PocketPoem. 
  • Print a poem from the Poem in Your Pocket Day PDF and draw an image from the poem in the white space, or use the instructions on pages 57-58 of the PDF to make an origami swan. 
  • Record a video of yourself reading a poem, then share it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media platform you use. 
  • Email a poem to your friends, family, neighbors, or local government leaders.
  • Schedule a video chat and read a poem to your loved ones.
  • Add a poem to your email footer.
  • Read a poem out loud from your porch, window, backyard, or outdoor space. 
The poem I've chosen to share today is a new one to me from Wislawa Szymborska. It's short, sweet, and hopeful, and I hope you'll see some of those same things when you read it. 

by Wislawa Szymborska

So long as that woman from the Rijksmuseum
in painted quiet  and concentration
keeps pouring milk day after day
from the pitcher to the bowl
the World hasn't earned
the world's end.


Szymborska, Wislawa. Map: Collected and Last Poems. Translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 

You can read more about the remarkable Wislawa Szymborska here


Be sure to check in with KymKat, and Sarah for more poems for your pocket today, and feel free to make others' days a little bit more poetic by sharing a poem at work, the grocery store, the bank, the post office, or around your own dinner table. (And remember that any time is good for poetry, not just Thursdays in April!)

Thanks for reading poetry with us this month and I hope you've got some poetry in your heart and mind!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday: 4/26/23

I'm happy to join Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday. While I'm waiting for peach yarn to complete my Hitchhiker (it won't even be shipped until the end of this week in the best case), I worked on the raspberry ankle sock. It's almost laughable because I wondered if I could knit a pair of socks before the peach yarn arrived. You can see that may not happen. 

I've turned the heel, picked up the gusset stitches, and decreased back to my original stitch number so now I'm just knitting down the foot. At best I have almost half a sock done, but there's still plenty more to knit (including another sock). I do tend to be a fast knitter in my imagination!

I finished A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding, and aside from the great title, it also provided me with a unique premise and quirky characters. Sometimes I was amazed, sometimes I was puzzled, and I was often confused, but overall, it was still quite a good book. It's good to shake up your reading once in a while and A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding can do that!

I also listened to The Power of Vulnerability to see whether Brené Brown had something worthwhile to say. I'm not much for self-help books but I've always discounted Brené Brown. For some reason, I found her irritating and preachy, with simplistic claims that seemed like pop psychology to me. I've only ever listened to five minutes of one of her TED talks, so I had to ask myself why was I so against her?

But I am willing to admit that she may be onto something. I didn't disagree with the points she presented in this book. I still think she uses too many buzzwords but she is a good storyteller. Just because I have a problem accepting the qualitative nature of social science research doesn't negate the research. I may even listen to more of her books, with some healthy skepticism and an open mind.

What are you making and reading this week?

Important Note: Blogger seems to be having one of its glitches and stopped sending me comment notification emails as of yesterday. I try to respond to your comments, but it's cumbersome and time-consuming if I don't receive the comment in an email. I'll do my best, but if you comment and don't receive a reply, please know that I've read your comments, appreciate them, and am hoping that Blogger gets fixed soon. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Why: An April Update

I didn't have much to say about my word this month, but I remedied that in an afternoon yesterday. Kat mentioned listening to Brené Brown's The Power of Vulnerability and found it so helpful that she listened to it twice. I'm not much for what I view as self-help books, and I've always discounted Brené Brown. For some reason, I found her irritating and preachy, with simplistic claims that seemed like pop psychology to me. I've only ever listened to five minutes of one of her TED talks, so I had to ask myself why was I so against her?

A good place to start answering my own question was by downloading The Power of Vulnerability from Hoopla and listening to what Dr. Brené Brown had to say. And while I can't say I'm a complete convert, at least I'm no longer judging without any basis. I think that what I objected to most was that although she is a research professor at the University of Houston, her research seems so based on qualitative anecdotes. I think that she may be discounting the social, cultural, and economic factors that are important in so many lives, and offering easy solutions filled with jargon and buzzwords.

But while all that may still be true, I am willing to admit that she may be onto something. I have certainly felt shame and understand the feeling of not being enough. If her teachings give someone some hope, some glimmers of self-awareness, and a new way to look at things, those are not bad things. 

“No one reaches out to you for compassion or empathy so you can teach them how to behave better. They reach out to us because they believe in our capacity to know our darkness well enough to sit in the dark with them.” (We could all practice this!)

I may even listen to more of her books (she does tell good stories and she's relatively easy to listen to) and I might become a convert someday. It might not be soon, but at least I'm no longer guilty of making a snobby judgment of something I know nothing about. Asking why is a good thing and you might even learn a thing or two!

Monday, April 24, 2023

Right to Read Day

This is National Library Week and today is Right to Read Day. It's a day to defend, protect, and celebrate your freedom to read freely. I know I'm preaching to a choir of readers here, but we can no longer take our right to read for granted. 

Later today, the American Library Association will release its list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2022. (Actually, there are 13 books on the list and you can view it here.) Attempts to ban books from school and public libraries have increased markedly, even in places where you might think libraries are "safe". A nearby high school librarian who opposed pulling books with LGBTQ+ themes from her library was subjected to personal attacks and vandalism from parents who opposed her viewpoints. Nevertheless, she persisted, and the resolution to ban the books was eventually voted down after a long and difficult fight. 

So what can you do to help maintain everyone's Right to Read? These suggestions come from the Unite Against Book Bans website, and many of them are easy and helpful. 

  • Check out and read a challenged book. Many libraries have displays featuring challenged books during this week, but just ask a librarian if you need help. 
  • Attend your library and school board meetings
  • Write letters to your local newspaper and elected officials
  • Report censorship to the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom
  • Speak up and spread the word!
We are all readers, and I'm sure we value our Right to Read for ourselves and all others. Reading, the Right to Read, and libraries are essential!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

National Poetry Month: It's About Love

To celebrate National Poetry Month, several of us are sharing poetry with you on Thursdays in April. Today's poems are about something that I think everyone can relate to in some way, LOVE. I really like this poem because Billy Collins doesn't just speak about romantic love; he talks about falling in love with a wren, a miniature orange tree, and even soap. Be sure to check in with KymKat, and Sarah for more poems of love today, and join us next Thursday for our final week of celebration of National Poetry Month. (And remember that any time is good for poetry, not just Thursdays in April!) 

Aimless Love
by Billy Collins

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.
In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.
This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.
The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.
No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.
No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then
for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.


Collins, Billy. "Aimless Love". Aimless Love, Random House, 2013.
You can read more about Billy Collins here

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday: 4/19/23

I'm happy to join Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday. The current Hitchhiker looks the same except it now has three additional teeth. I'm waiting for some peach yarn that I may use to finish it, but since I haven't even received a shipping notice, the Hitchhiker is stalled while I wait for yarn. I won't subject you to a photo that looks much the same as last week, but I do have some other knitting in the meantime. 

I felt like making some ankle socks, but once I got the heel done on these, I decided the striping pattern was a little bit too big for ankle socks and I would be happier if I knit regular socks with this yarn. It's Tumbleweed Yarn in the Lariat colorway and I was thrilled to unearth it in my stash. So this false start has been frogged and will be re-started in regular socks in the future.

But while digging through my stash, I also found some delightful raspberry-colored Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock that I thought might work. I was inspired by Jane's raspberry cordial socks and a small email exchange we had about raspberry cordial in Anne of Green Gables, so I was delighted to find this yarn. It is in the process of becoming ankle socks while I wait to finish the Hitchhiker. (Someday I may make try to make real raspberry cordial.)

I finally finished The Covenant of Water and while it wasn't terrible, it was far too long, a bit of a slog, and certainly not Cutting for Stone ( but YMMV). I read a couple of fun palate-cleanser novels (The Cat Who Saved Books and Standard Deviation) and now I'm engrossed in What an Owl Knows and A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding. Good titles and good books (so far). 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Something Different!

I did something different yesterday that I was a little bit anxious about, but I'm here to tell you that I lived through the experience, and would even consider doing it again. 

(This is the only photo I took and it has nothing to do with what I did yesterday other than these pinks are at my nieces' house.)

John's youngest sister went on a Caribbean cruise for 10 days before Easter and got back on April 8th. She is the mother of one of my nieces and lives barely half a mile away from her daughter. My niece (let's call her Danielle) has five children, ranging in age from 7 years old down to 3 months old. My SiL helps her daughter out a lot, except she hasn't been able to during the last 10 days because she returned from her cruise with Covid.

Danielle is very Covid-aware and had said she didn't want her mother around her kids until she had been home for a week, just in case. That was fine until my SiL tested positive on the afternoon of the 8th and continues to test positive. Danielle had an appointment to take her youngest child to the pediatrician to start her series of childhood shots yesterday and she didn't want to cancel it, so she asked me for help.

I told Danielle I was a little nervous about watching the four older children, but she's got a system that works for them, so I went along with it. She drives a huge black Ford Expedition with three rows of seats, providing the necessary room for five car seats. She gets all the kids buckled into their car seats, goes to the appointment, heads into the doctor's office with whichever child is scheduled, and a responsible adult waits in the car with the remaining children. Usually, that responsible person is my SiL, but yesterday it was me.

And I had fun! I was treated to stories from the three older children about three little moles, three little dragons, and five pink unicorns. These sounded a lot like the Three Little Pigs, but they all featured a big bad coyote. I heard jokes, doled out organic birthday cake-flavored bunny snack crackers (I might need to get some of them for myself), and read a lot of books that I grabbed on my way out the door. Except for the youngest boy, the other kids all unbuckled their car seats and got out of their seats, but they were all content to stay in the car. Danielle was gone for about 45 minutes but the time went by quickly.

I haven't read stories to young children or heard any kid jokes for decades, so it was a fun way to spend a morning. Sometimes something different is just what you need!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Museum of Me: April 2023

The opening of this month's Museum of Me exhibit was delayed, but the Museum is now open and ready for you to check out the old, worn-out thing I can't bring myself to part with. I'm not an overly sentimental person and can usually part with things fairly easily once they've outlived their usefulness, but this item is a bit different. It's both old and worn out, but I've given it a second life, and I still can't part with it. 

My mother used to give me a flannel nightgown every year for Christmas. I always looked forward to receiving this gift and was excited to see what she had chosen each year. I don't have a photo of the last nightgown she gave me, but it was the Christmas of 2000. She had just been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and I had a feeling that this might be the last Christmas she would be with us. I was surprised to even receive a flannel nightgown that year since Mom had brain metastases and was hardly able to make a phone call or use a computer to shop online. But she gave me a lovely bright red and white flannel nightgown from L.L. Bean and I treasured it. I didn't even wear it for a couple of years because I wanted to save it, but eventually, I did start wearing it and it helped a bit when I missed her. 

Several decades passed and you can imagine that the nightgown had become worn, faded, and was starting to fall apart in that time. I folded it and put it away carefully because I just couldn't get rid of it. One day when I saw it in my armoire, I had an idea. My clothespin holder had recently fallen apart and I thought there would be plenty of fabric in the nightgown to make a new one. So that's what I did.

I used it to hold my clothespins outdoors for about a year but finally admitted that being outside wasn't conducive to preserving it, so it's now my indoor clothespin holder. It's not subjected to the elements at all, and I can still avoid getting rid of it for maybe another couple of years. 

So that is the story of the old, worn-out last nightgown from my mother that I can't part with and what it's become. I suppose that someday the top seams will start to rip through the worn fabric, my clothespins will fall on the cellar floor, and I'll have to decide what to do with it then. But that day isn't today. 

How about you? Do you have something old and worn-out that you just can’t bear to part with? I'd love to hear your story!

Thank you for visiting The Museum of Me and I hope you'll check back on the second Friday in May for a brand new exhibit.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

National Poetry Month: Ada Limón

To celebrate National Poetry Month, several of us are sharing poetry with you on Thursdays in April. Today we're all sharing different poems from the same poet, Ada Limón. 

If her name sounds familiar it might be because she is the current Poet Laureate of the United States, or maybe it's because she was the host of the poetry podcast, The Slowdown. Maybe you've read one or more of her six books of poetry. She's won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and has been nominated for the National Book Award. She is a contemporary poet who writes in a personal and sometimes even conversational style about life, in a way that is accessible to almost everyone. 

The poem I chose today is one of my favorites because Ada Limón writes about a mundane task that we've all done (taking out the trash) in combination with vast and philosophical issues, and asks some big questions. 

Dead Stars
by Ada Limón

Out here, there’s a bowing even the trees are doing.
                 Winter’s icy hand at the back of all of us.
Black bark, slick yellow leaves, a kind of stillness that feels
so mute it’s almost in another year.

I am a hearth of spiders these days: a nest of trying.

We point out the stars that make Orion as we take out
       the trash, the rolling containers a song of suburban thunder.

It’s almost romantic as we adjust the waxy blue
       recycling bin until you say, Man, we should really learn
some new constellations.

And it’s true. We keep forgetting about Antlia, Centaurus,
       Draco, Lacerta, Hydra, Lyra, Lynx.

But mostly we’re forgetting we’re dead stars too, my mouth is full
       of dust and I wish to reclaim the rising—

to lean in the spotlight of streetlight with you, toward
       what’s larger within us, toward how we were born.

Look, we are not unspectacular things.
       We’ve come this far, survived this much. What

would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
     No, to the rising tides.

Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?

What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain

for the safety of others, for earth,
                 if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified,

if we launched our demands into the sky, made ourselves so big
people could point to us with the arrows they make in their minds,

rolling their trash bins out, after all of this is over?


Limón, Ada. "Dead Stars". The Carrying, Milkweed Editions, 2018.

You can read more about the poet here or here


Be sure to check in with KymKat, and Sarah for more hopeful poetry today, and join us next Thursday for more poems in celebration of National Poetry Month. (And remember that any time is good for poetry, not just Thursdays in April!)

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday: 4/12/23

I'm happy to join Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with what I hope is a photo that shows the end may be approaching soon for the current Hitchhiker.

I've added in a second skein but it looked like it was a bit brighter than the original one so I'm alternating them. I'm working on the  45th tooth and I'm going to do at least three more. I've ordered some peach yarn and if it matches, I might do a solid peach section at the end. We'll see ...

I finished the pre-publication copy of The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer, and as I mentioned last week I found it quite compelling. This poignant and engaging novel is a worthwhile read if only to learn what a death doula is and what they do. Clover Brooks has been around death for most of her life, beginning in kindergarten when her teacher dropped dead while reading Peter Rabbit. Clover has often felt a closer connection to the dying than the living, and this continues through the death of her parents and the beloved grandfather that raised her. Because of these feelings, Clover becomes a death doula, holding the hands of the dying, helping them to deal with unresolved feelings and regrets, and recording their last words in one of three journals: “Regrets,” “Advice,” or “Confessions". One of her clients leads Clover towards romance, which felt a little jarring to me, but it is all in the name of Clover learning that "the secret to a beautiful death is to live a beautiful life". This may sound cliché, but that doesn't make it any less true. Ms. Brammer has written a lovely novel about a vulnerable woman and managed to do so without sentimentality. This novel will be published on May 9. 

I read another book that surprised me. I didn't expect to like Pineapple Street because it's about a fairly clueless family whose members are definitely in the wealthy 1%. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I looked forward to listening to the book each night. The 1% may be annoying and clueless, but Pineapple Street shows that money can't solve all problems. It was three and a half stars for me and I liked it enough that I rounded up.

I'm still reading The Covenant of Water, but to be honest, it's becoming a bit of a slog and I find that I have to make myself read it. I'm hoping it gets better!

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The Official Start of Gardening Season

I've had seeds started indoors since the beginning of March (Napa cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, swiss chard, lettuce, cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumber) but yesterday felt like the official start of the vegetable garden for this year. 

We went up to Ryan's (because that's where our garden is due to untreatable fungus in NJ) yesterday, John rototilled, remarked how nice the soil was, and planted seeds in that soil. 

We added some extra topsoil to the garden from the drainage and grade improvement project that we finished last fall, so hopefully, that extra topsoil will help things grow. 

John planted snow peas, spinach, turnips, carrots, and Swiss chard in the garden. They all got a thorough watering, but I predict John will have to ask Ryan to water them again later in the week. We have mid-80s predicted for Thursday and Friday, but no chance of rain until at least next Monday. The life of a gardener is closely associated with temperature and precipitation! I'm always grateful that we're not growing vegetables for a livelihood and can buy them at the grocery store if necessary. John's attitude isn't quite so dismissive; he expects the weather to cooperate because he has planted his garden. I told him that "What will pea will pea" but he didn't seem to appreciate that at all. 

Just like he doesn't appreciate the rabbit that lives under Ryan's shed and dared to come out several times to see what delicious things we were planting for him to nibble on. But we've officially started our gardening season and will just have to fight our battles with temperature, precipitation, and rabbits, and see who will be victorious. 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

National Poetry Month: Wonder

To celebrate National Poetry Month, several of us are sharing poetry with you on Thursdays in April. Today's poem is about something we can all use more of, wherever and whenever we can find it. It's about WONDER. This poem by Nancy Willard says to me that it can be found almost anywhere, including The Home Depot. 

A Hardware Store as Proof of the Existence of God

by Nancy Willard

I praise the brightness of hammers pointing east
like the steel woodpeckers of the future,
and dozens of hinges opening brass wings,
and six new rakes shyly fanning their toes,
and bins of hooks glittering into bees,

and a rack of wrenches like the long bones of horses,
and mailboxes sowing rows of silver chapels,
and a company of plungers waiting for God
to claim their thin legs in their big shoes
and put them on and walk away laughing.

In a world not perfect but not bad either
let there be glue, glaze, gum, and grabs,
caulk also, and hooks, shackles, cables, and slips,
and signs so spare a child may read them,
Men, Women, In, Out, No Parking, Beware the Dog.

In the right hands, they can work wonders.

Willard, Nancy. Swimming Lessons. 1996, Alfred A. Knopf. 
(If you are interested, the Kindle version of this book of poetry is only $1.99.)
You can read more about the poet here
Be sure to check in with KymKat, and Sarah for more poetry full of wonder today, and join us next Thursday for more poems in celebration of National Poetry Month. (And remember that any time is good for poetry, not just Thursdays in April!)

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday: 4/5/2023

I'm happy to join Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with yet another photo of the current Hitchhiker. It looks much the same as last week except for another 10 teeth, and this time it's in the Blanche Park Le Monn Memorial magnolia tree. The plaque says that "After the age of 85, Mrs. Le Monn became New Jersey's number one C.R.O.P. (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) walker by raising in excess of $150,000." Well done, Ms. Le Monn and thank you for the use of your tree. 

I did take this picture in the park, but nobody cared this time. I kind of missed the "Whatcha doin', lady" questions. 

I finished Hang the Moon, but it was only a two-star book for me. I usually choose the books I read somewhat carefully, but with the library's hold queues sometimes reaching more than six months, I've started placing holds on books before they are published. This usually results in shorter hold times but I often don't know many details about the book. That's what happened with Hang the Moon. If I had read a few reviews and researched it a little bit, I probably could have figured out that this was not a book for me. The best thing about it is that I did learn that the author's memoir, The Glass Castle, may be much more to my liking.

I'm also reading Trespasses, The Covenant of Water, and an interesting pre-publication copy of The Collected Regrets of Clover. That last book is about a young woman who is a death doula, and I'm finding it quite compelling. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Read With Us: It's an Exciting New Book!

Today's the day we announce a new Read With Us book for spring! You might already be aware of this if you were able to attend the last Zoom discussion for The Shipping News, but now everyone will know. Would you like to read a book that is Longlisted for The Women's Prize for Fiction 2023? How about if the same book is also the winner of the An Post Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year 2022, Shortlisted for the British Book of the Year: Debut Fiction 2022, and Shortlisted for Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize 2022? Enough listing of awards ...

The book is Trespasses by Louise Kennedy. 

It's about a young Catholic woman in Belfast in the 70s, at the height of the Troubles. Cushla Lavery is a primary school teacher who works an occasional shift in the family pub, where she meets Michael Agnew. He is handsome, middle-aged, sophisticated, and married. Michael is a Protestant barrister who defends young Catholic men who have been unjustly arrested. You can only imagine the life-and-death problems that Cushla encounters. 

But you don't have to imagine them, you can read Louise Kennedy's detail-oriented novel. It's available from Amazon here, your local bookseller, and I didn't have a long wait for the audio and Kindle copies from my library. 

KymCarole, and I will be talking about the book, giving additional information, and doing promotional posts throughout April and May. Discussion day for Trespasses is scheduled for Tuesday, June 6, 2023, at 7:00 pm Eastern time, so mark your calendars. We'll ask questions on our blogs that day and then host the always fun, educational, and entertaining Zoom discussion.

“Booby trap. Incendiary device. Gelignite. Nitroglycerine. Petrol bomb. Rubber bullets. Saracen. Internment. The Special Powers Act. Vanguard. The vocabulary of a seven-year-old child now.”

I hope you'll Read With Us and discover more about the alarming everyday vocabulary in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

All I Had to Do Was Mention It Twice

Ryan and I talk on the phone several times each week and often we end up talking about food. It's something we both enjoy, so we discuss shopping, shortages, what we might be making, new recipes. and things we might be hungry for. 

I have been craving carrot cake for at least a month now. The last time John and I ate at our nearby diner, I even checked to see if they had carrot cake since I was thinking about ordering it for dinner, but sadly, there wasn't any. I made baked macaroni and cheese to take to Justin's a few weeks ago and mentioned to Ryan that I needed to find a better recipe. 

Apparently, I mentioned mac & cheese and carrot cake at least twice in our phone calls because Ryan invited us to his house for lunch last Friday. And guess what he made? Macaroni & cheese and carrot cake! 

He said that he knew he needed to pay attention after I mentioned it twice, so now I feel like I know the secret password. The mac & cheese was delicious - elbows with a cheesy roux were layered with three kinds of cheese. Wonderful, creamy, and perfectly seasoned. The carrot cake was moist and tasty, with decadent cream cheese icing made with whipping cream. And Ryan sent most of the leftovers home with me! We could hardly wait to dig in at lunch, so the only photos I have are of the leftovers. These looked a lot better right after they came out of the oven, but you'll just have to trust me that they were both delectable despite the pictures not exactly being something I would post on instagram.

My grandmother used to say that food always tastes better if someone else makes it for you, and Ryan proved that statement. It's honestly been a hope of mine that with both boys living nearby, they might make dinner for me once in a while. That dream came true and all I had to do was mention my menu choices twice. 

My birthday and Thanksgiving might be more interesting and tasty this year!