Helping the Homeless, This Month’s Gift Sack

I was speaking to a former homeless person a couple weeks ago.

He recently was employed and had found a place to live. His life had turned around, so happy and grateful, so optimistic for a different future.

He knew I occasionally put together little gift sacks for homeless in Arvada.

He invited me to the restaurant where he now worked as a cook for a free meal.  Being from the south he was excited to be making waffles and fried chicken again!

I wasn’t sure these gift sacks were doing any good.  I realized his  wonderfully positive and infectious cheerful energy has stayed with me since that day. The benefit turned out to be mine……

What’s in my gift sacks this month?   Socks, washcloth and liquid soap, and a variety of snacks.



Little Easter gift bags for homeless

Does anyone remember these?  They are still around, yay!  Somewhat chocolatey……

Just wanted to share some memories so had to include a peep!

Hope to bring a smile to someone🙂

Cooking with samples from “Love With Food” box


These samples were included in one of my secret surprise gift boxes from Love With Food.

I think they were made to stir into beverages but I wondered what they would taste like used in cooking.


Started here with some virgin olive oil and diced garlic.


Added some wild Alaskan salmon filet.  Once cooked the skin just peels off.  If you have pets don’t throw the skin away, I save for my doggies and tell them I have made them special salmon skin jerky.  They are in love with it!


After removing the skin I added one of the packets.  The other was a disappointment, when I opened it it was not a powder but a globby mess…  Add enough half-in-half or other liquid of your choice to make moist, stir in some baby kale and spinach until just wilted.


With only one packet of the citrus powder it did not give me the flavor I was looking for but it still was a yummy paleo snack.  I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese right before eating.  This would have been good over noodles too but you would have to make more of a sauce with the half-n-half or other liquid.

Looking forward to more of my surprise gift boxes from Love With Food!


Pam and the Gift of Romaine Lettuce


“Yes!” Pam thought to herself, there was only one person in the 15 items or less line at the grocery store and he looked like he was almost done.

She placed her few items on the checkout belt and started what turned out to be an excruciatingly long wait.  First the gentlemen got in a long conversation with the checker about one of the last items rung up, the price, was it rung up correctly, was he charged for the correct item, etc.  Yikes!

Pam felt someone getting in line behind her and wondered if she should tell them to consider another line but was distracted as she watched the guy drag a checkbook out of his back pocket.  Mesmerized she watched as he slowly filled out the check, mouthing each entry as he wrote the date, store name, amount and his name.  Pam could actually feel the anxiety of the person behind her roll over her toward the front of the line.

Pam glanced behind her and saw and very pleasant looking woman who under any other circumstances would look, well – very pleasant, but was somehow looking exasperated.  All the poor woman wanted was to buy her romaine lettuce and be on her way.  Pam thought about letting her in line in front of her but had a much better idea.

She finally got to the front of the line and quietly asked the checker to add the romaine lettuce to her bill.  She answered his puzzled look explaining that she felt the woman behind her needed something to smile about so please don’t say anything until she was well away from the checkout area.

Janet could not believe she forgot to pick up the lettuce she absolutely needed for her luncheon today.  What should have been a quick stop at the store was not and she felt a bad mood rolling off her towards the guy at the front of the line who was causing the delay, chatting to the clerk and taking his time writing a check.

Janet dragged her wallet out of her purse as she finally got to the front of the line. The clerk told her with a big smile that the lady in front of her paid for her lettuce and had said she hoped it would bring her a smile.  Gosh, she could not even remember what that woman looked like she was so focused on Mr. Slowpoke.

Janet was going to be late for the luncheon but the kindness of that stranger had lifted her mood and she was just going to be late, la-tee-da.  As she walked to her car she noticed an elderly woman struggling with a shopping cart that had suddenly gone rogue on her.  Oh well, late is late, what is a couple more minutes? She helped the grateful women push the cart to her car, unloaded her groceries into her trunk and delivered the cart to the cart corral humming to herself the whole time.

Doris could not believe that the cart would suddenly not move and she was in the middle of the parking lot!  Oh dear, she had run over something which was now wedged in the wheel.  She felt one of her headaches starting as she struggled with the cart.  A pleasant looking woman, who was actually humming and swinging a bag of lettuce, offered to help her get the cart to her car.  She actually loaded her groceries into her car and took the evil cart to the cart corral.

As Doris climbed into her car she realized that headache was gone and that she was humming that pleasant woman’s song.  She was still humming when she got home and as she got off the elevator she thought about the new neighbor who had moved into the apartment across from her.

What was her name again?  Pam?  Doris had bought a huge bouquet of flowers and decided she would make a small bouquet for her new neighbor.  She left the flowers anonymously in front of Pam’s door as a surprise and welcome to the building.

And it really started with romaine lettuce….. 🙂



Make My Day, Judy and Judy


For some reason I have become obsessed with Owls, probably because they are so wise and just thinking about an owl has helped me get through some tough times recently. Reminding me to take a deep breath and just chill.

This owl was a gift from my friend Judy to cheer me up and let me know she was thinking about me.  Makes me smile every time I see it!

I am actually blessed to have two Judy’s as friends.

They are both amazing and both provide me with inspiration.  They are similar in that through tough times they both stay positive. Maybe it’s the name “Judy”?

We are fellow tadpoles (we swim together).  They are both awesomely supportive and, along with many other women in my life, are a couple of ladies who fill the place of the sister I have lost.

I hadn’t been able to get into the Christmas spirit this year.  I think the other Judy must have noticed my slightly Scroogey demeanor or my Grinchy attitude.


She surprised me with this light up Christmas snowman. It took the place of the Christmas tree I didn’t bother to put up. I plug it in every night to help me not forget to take care my spirit.

If a Judy should enter your life embrace her she’ll be a wonderful friend.



Make My Day T’s Gifts!

imageMy friend T, brought my dogs five boxes of treats this week. How sweet and thoughtful my dogs said Woof Woof!

We got to talking about another friend of mine B, who T does not know.  B is having financial problems.  She still has a long road ahead of her.  B is devoted to her family and a big part of her family are her two dogs.

The next time I saw T she had five boxes of treats for B’s dogs along with a big bag of dog food which  T asked me to deliver to B.  I called B and told her I had a surprise for her, someone had given me a gift of food and treats for her dogs. As I was hanging up the phone I could hear her screaming excitedly “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!”  I thought: “??????”

When I dropped off the dog food and treats to B she told me they had just run out of dog food.  This gift came at the most perfect time hence the screaming.  The most interesting thing was T had picked out the exact brand B’s dogs were used to eating.

B was ecstatic with this gift and asked me if she had ever met T.  When she realized a perfect stranger had done this for her, her happiness was even greater, it was so wonderful!

Later that day, relaying B’s happiness to T, a tear came to T’s eye.  She was not having the best day.  This lifted her spirits knowing she had lifted somebody else’s spirits and that somehow she had provided a perfect gift at the perfect time.

Sounds like a small miracle to me.  My spirits were lifted and I have been smiling ever since, hope this puts a smile on your face!


Recipe Apology

I just realized I don’t put measurements in my recipes.

I apologize for that.  I figured out the reason why my recipes are so vague.


My dad never used recipes and he would just go by intuition.  I can see him now tasting a concoction and adding a little of this or a lot of that to make it perfect.

My mom always used recipes.  She swore that she followed those recipes exactly. But I remember it differently. For example, when she made bread she would have the recipe in front of her.  She would carefully measure out the ingredients.  She would then add more liquid or more flour and I’d ask her how she knew to do that and she would just tilt her head in that Doris fashion and smile but never give me a real answer.

Doris would also, after following any recipe carefully, taste it and add this or that.  Then she’d rewrite the recipe with her “corrections”.

I just realized tonite that Sam and Doris gave me their cooking style, a real gift, but making it impossible for me to follow a recipe….

I have a terrible habit of reading cookbooks like other people read novels. I seriously have at least 100 cookbooks.  My husband had a rule he was trying one summer with the kids about reading as a family for a little while each day.  I would read cookbooks, my step-kids found this hilarious but also curious and asked me more than once, “Are you going to cook anything out of that book?”  It seemed like I never did.

I realized tonight that I often did cook something out of those books but I did it the Sam and Doris way, by taking a recipe and making it mine.  Before even cooking a dish once I had already made changes!

No measurements necessary make that recipe yours!