Top of the Morning to you!
Fun Fact ➡ this saying originated in the British Isles during the Victorian Era and is believed to be connected to the fact that the best part of the milk, the cream, rises to the top. So, the saying is thought to be wishing you the best part of the morning or the day! 🌞
We are returned from our lovely week in Southern California. And I have two words…La Jolla! Darned cute sea lions and seals, phenomenal weather, a gorgeous coastline, and great restaurants…I mean, what else does one need in their life? (let’s conveniently ignore the price of gas…o.k.?)
I mean, just look at those faces! And they are so social! We noticed that you rarely see one sleeping alone; it seems they need to be touching each other while sleeping!
Fun Fact ➡ Do you know the difference between seals and sea lions? If you hear barking, it’s a sea lion. If you see little ears, it’s a sea lion. They are sea lions if they use their front flippers to ‘walk’ on land. Seals will wriggle on their bellies on land.
And I am obviously a complete failure as a mom! I left California with twenty-two pictures of seals and sea lions on my phone and not one picture of my son! Oh geez…that was painful to write. But I will see him again in two weeks for my dad’s service at Arlington, and there won’t be any seals or sea lions there, so I’ll get photos of my children instead! 🤣
new on the blog
- More Fall Container Garden and Window Box inspiration! I published five ideas about a month ago, and here are six more for you, so a total of eleven great ideas. Make sure to read the tips specific to planting fall containers before you get going.
- Interested in growing lavender? I find that growing lavender in pots works better than in the ground, and have all the details for you in this post about growing lavender in pots.
Per the calendar, we have 25 days of summer left. I don’t like wishing time away, think that’s bad Karma. But…there’s nothing wrong with getting prepared for the upcoming change in season. Right?
- Apple Cider Muffins with Apple Filling
- Apple Cider Doughnut Cake
- Spiked Warm Apple Cider
- Apple Crumble Bars
- Apple Spice Bread
other fall recipes
Some of these are affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission off the sale of these products, but the price you are charged is not affected. You can see my full disclosure policy here.
- For any of my friends who find themselves awake at 2 a.m. pondering what they should make for dinner on April 22, 2025, if they should water their houseplants on Thursdays instead of Fridays or some other equally useless musing instead of sleeping, I have the podcast for you! I use to pay $70/year for the Calm App but grew tired of the same stories. Then I discovered Boring Books for Bedtime, which I have been using for well over a year. Everything she reads is in the public domain, so most were written before 1924. Think The Federalist Papers, On Walden Pond by Thoreau, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and Wanderings of a Spiritualist by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Most of her episodes are right about an hour long, and I rarely make it through one! She has a very soft and calm voice that puts me right to sleep. While technically the podcast is free, she does ask for donations to keep the podcast ad-free.
- And while we are on the topic of sleep, I was very late in discovering sleep masks. I ended up buying one because of an eye issue, but they help me sleep better, too, especially while traveling. Not only do they block out light, but I think the light pressure is relaxing. And…not for nothing, I notice that the area around my eyes is less puffy in the morning when I wear the mask. I have a simple silk one that works great for me.
- One other ‘thing’ that is working for me to improve my sleep…I turn off my phone (actually put it in airplane mode) and pick up a book. I’m in the habit of reading every night and believe it signals my body to start winding down. I am a strong believer in routines, in general.
- I just finished reading Chances Are by Richard Russo. Did you read Empire Falls? I loved Empire Falls and was glad to find more books by the author. I really did enjoy this book. He has a lovely way with words that articulated the metamorphosis of each character from young men to their now sixty-six-year-old selves. The main characters are three long-time friends who reunite 40+ years after they graduated from college and share the mystery of a disappearance of a dear friend.
- I’m reading Wrong Place, Wrong Time right now. I’m only a quarter of the way through it, so can’t really opine yet. But I can say that it is a unique and interesting premise, which makes me happy!
- So, here’s my status thus far on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I set out to read thirty books this year, and I’m on track to do it! I’ve read twenty-two, so I’m three books ahead of schedule.
- Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz 👎🏻 really dragged on; I quit reading with about 100 pages left.
- The Plot, Jean Korelitz👉🏻 good story, but predictable ending
- Black-Eyed Susan, Susan Heaberlin👉🏻 hard to follow
- Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby👍🏻 a charming, light-hearted tale
- Hour of the Witch, Chris Bohjalian👍🏻 👍🏻quick moving
- Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell👍🏻👍🏻 loved the weave of history and a good mystery
- Inspector of the Dead, David Morrell 👍🏻👍🏻 a good follow-up to the previous book, but I needed a break before I tackled the third. I will get to it soon.
- Brotherhood of the Rose, David Morrell 👍🏻 Same author as above, but completely different premise. Much more of a contemporary spy/counterintelligence novel.
- Pompeii, Robert Harris 👍🏻👍🏻 I read this historical fiction right before we toured Pompeii, and it was a great primer.
- The Black House, Peter May👍🏻👍🏻These next three books are set on several islands in the Hebrides, of the coast of Scotland. I read them right before I spent several days with my dear friend. They are murder mysteries, but more than that, they really gave me a sense of the place.
- The Lewis Man, Peter May👍🏻👍🏻
- The Chess Men, Peter May👍🏻👍🏻
- The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 It has been a LONG time since I enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed this one. It has a Huckleberry Finn/Tom Sawyer feel to it, in that the main characters are young men coming of age in the 1950s. It is just a lovely story with dynamic and complicated characters. This was my first Amor Towles book, and I was a bit sad when I finished it. His writing style is just beautiful. So, I immediately jumped into…
- A Gentleman in Moscow, Amore Towles👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻If you like Dickens-type novels, sweeping stories with interesting characters, you’ll love this one. This story focuses on Count Rostov, who has been confined to a hotel in Moscow, and the associated staff and residents of the hotel. Once again, Towles’s writing style and character development speak to me.
- Rules of Civility, Amor Towles👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 I really did like it, but not quite as much as the other two. Set in 1938 New York, the main character is a young woman who is trying to navigate the time and characters of her orbit.
- Cloud Cuckoo Land👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 This is a challenging book to review. I am typically averse to ‘science fiction’ and almost discarded it because the jacket referred to a character living in the future on a spaceship. If you are similarly averse to futuristic novels, do not let that deter you! Trust me on this! This book wraps up several different characters in different settings and time periods so neatly and with a common thread that really comes together at the end. Several nice ‘aha’ moments and a clear message at the end.
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog 👍🏻👍🏻I very much enjoyed it. Not gonna lie; some of the philosophical ramblings lost me a bit. But I still found it a charming, sometimes humorous book with an uplifting message. Lovely and sympathetic main characters.
- My Brilliant Friend 👍🏻👍🏻 This book introduced me to the term ‘bildungsroman,’ a novel dealing with a person’s formative years. That’s exactly what this book was, and it was delightful. The book is set in Naples and begins in the 1950s. It is book one of four, so that’s always a good thing for my book queue!
- Chances Are👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
want to learn how to knit?
If you want to learn how to knit or are looking to brush up on your knitting skills and knowledge, pop over to the How to Knit page, which houses all of the posts that teach knitting skills. Or, you could go ahead and visit each one by clicking the links below.
All About Knitting
- All About Yarn, including different fibers and weights, how to read a yarn label, and a Yarn Weights Chart
- All About Knitting Needles, including material, sizes, styles, and a Needle Conversion Chart.
- How to Cast On Using the Long-Tail Method, including calculating how much yarn is needed to cast on and how to make a slip knot.
- How to Knit the Knit Stitch
- How to Knit the Purl Stitch
- How to Knit the Seed Stitch
- How to Bind Off, including how to weave in your loose ends.
- How to Read a Knit Pattern, including a Common Knitting Abbreviations Chart.
- This simple Garter Knit Dishcloth will let you put all your new skills to good use!
- How to Block Your Knitting.
- Common Knit Errors; How to Prevent or Diagnose and Fix Them
- Join yarn using the Russian Join
- How to seam pieces of knit fabric with the Mattress Stitch (for sweaters, tops, pillows, etc…)
- How to Knit in the Round with Circular Needles
- How to Knit in the Round with Double-Pointed Needles
- How to Knit in the Round using the Magic Loop Technique.
- Organize Your Knitting with these free printables.
- Check out our Gift Ideas for Knitters.
Well, my friends, my to-do list is long, so I’m going to jump on it! If the Good Lord’s Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise, I’ll have a really fun project and a delicious recipe for you next week!