As we’ve discussed before, every mother knows, those three words, “What’s for dinner?”, can be a horror on the days when you just can’t think of a thing to cook and if you ever see another chicken strip, or bowl of mac and cheese, or pizza, it will be too soon. You really want your family to have healthy home cooked meals, if only there was a cook at home to make them!
No one knows pure joy like a woman who has just given birth….oh what joy it is! For me, that moment when I first knew this joy was 35 years ago today when my first child, Sara Joy was born. Randy and I had only been married 5 months when I found out I was pregnant. We spent our first anniversary in our first Lamaze class. It wasn’t what we had expected to be doing on that day but we were both very excited to be becoming a mommy and daddy.
Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth day of May, commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). As a consequence, in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Puebla but not in the rest of the country. But it will surely be celebrated here all over the United States.
Isn’t it interesting how one word or phrase can be said and depending on who is hearing it, mean two completely different things? If you asked a random group of people what they think of when they hear the words May Day you will get very different responses that will often run along gender lines.
It seems that whenever you mention oatmeal there is one of two responses…”I love oatmeal” OR “Yuck! I can’t stand oatmeal.” Perhaps the second response is due to the fact that nearly everyday someone, somewhere is serving up some sticky, nasty goo, and referring to it as oatmeal.
Oh goodness, what an absolutely fabulous wedding, from start to finish. In fact, from the time that we heard that Prince William had asked his college sweetheart (and commoner), Catherine Middleton, for her hand in marriage, we were glued to the television and newspapers to follow along. Their courtship had been a long one – a long one with a small split happening a few years into it. Read more
On January 20, 1936, King George V, grandson of Queen Victoria, died and his eldest son, Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David became that day, King Edward VIII.
It is hard to even imagine for most of us, what the life of a royal must be like. We, who are not of royal lineage, can go about our daily business making decisions, and sometimes mistakes, for that matter, with little or no input save, maybe, that from our family. But for all the other privileges that may accompany wearing the crown, this freedom to choose without the input of a government and national opinion, is not a luxury that is among them.
As the first anniversary of the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, approaches later this week, we couldn’t help but reflect on the their love story and the fascination the world has for everything “royal”. So your Two Chums thought it would be fitting, (and fun) to get “caught up”, as it were, on the other love stories that have surrounded the British throne. Today we begin with one of the most famous and arguably the most culturally influential of all the monarchs of the British or any empire, Queen Victoria and the great love of her life, Prince Albert.
What fun! You have decided to give a dinner party …… now, what will you wear?
When you are in the planning stages of an event, one of the things you will think about is what you would like the “dress” to be. The “dress” sets the stage for the type of evening you are going to enjoy. You know, years ago, in the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire days, when people went out to dinner, they more often than not, wore “Black Tie”. By “Black Tie” it is meant that the gentleman wears a tuxedo and the lady wears a dressy dress – not necessarily a long dress but a party dress, as we like to call them. We have often had parties where “Black Tie” was the attire and, oh boy, have we loved having them! There is something rather special when everyone who comes in your door has made a huge effort to dress up to come to your party. It denotes an elegance about the evening. Very rarely these days does one get invited to a dinner party that is Black Tie but, on the other hand, many weddings are still “Black Tie”. When you see “Black Tie” in the bottom right corner of your invitation, be sure that your husband, boyfriend, partner, wears a tuxedo and that you dress up accordingly. When those two words are written on an invitation, there is not an option. He must show up in a tuxedo! If he does not own one, be sure to help him rent one. If, on the other hand, your invitation states “Black Tie Optional”, your hostess is letting you know that the occasion is a special one and that, ladies, you need to dress up. Gentlemen, if you do not own a tuxedo, no need to rent one – a dark suit will do just as well.
If you would like your dinner party to be a little bit special, you might say “Cocktail Attire” which would mean that dressing up is in order! Until a few years ago, “Cocktail Attire” would automatically have meant a jacket and tie for the gentlemen. Today, especially here in California where we live, things are a little more casual and a lot of gentlemen do not don a tie very often. There are certain private clubs which still maintain a “jacket and tie” rule so if you are giving a party at a private club or have been invited to such an evening, make sure you know the dress. These clubs usually have jackets and ties on hand to lend to a gentleman, should he turn up without them but how much better for him to be in clothes of his own choosing!
As hostess, you will set the tone. If you have told your guests that it is a casual evening, be sure that you dress casually. Otherwise, your guests will feel very uncomfortable.
Choose something that you feel great in. If you are having a problem thinking of something, remember what we said about the “little black dress“! Certainly, that is always appropriate. If you are the one doing all the cooking and serving for your dinner party, make sure you are in something that is comfortable and practical. Do not wear a top with long, flowy sleeves, for example, which might catch on fire when you put the peas on to cook! That top is better saved for an evening when you are out and being served!
My father’s job, as I was growing up, required a lot of entertaining. It seemed that most evenings, my darling parents were entertaining or being entertained. My mother had a wonderful wardrobe full of stunning dresses which she wore extremely well. Fortunately for my father, my mother loved it all and did it beautifully – always with a smile on her face and love in her heart. I am grateful to have learned from her – she taught by doing herself!
Make sure, when you are giving you next dinner party, that you add to the love, joy and abundant living in the world!
Years ago, when we were engaged to be married, one of the things that we invariably did was choose a china pattern. It was wonderful fun making the decision and imagining all the fabulous dinner parties at which you would be using these beautiful pieces. I know, these days, many young ladies prefer not to spend the money on fine china but, definitely, up until not too long ago, it was a “must”! Certainly, if you think you will never use it, then it really is a waste but if there is a chance that you will want to have special dinner parties or holiday meals, it is always fun to bring out your best and set a beautiful table. Read more
I have explained before in an earlier post written about Passover, that I grew up in a predominately Jewish neighborhood and gained a deep respect for the Jewish faith and traditions, and love for Jewish people. But prior to moving to that neighborhood, one of my closest friends was Greek.
What we commonly call “cashmere”, is a fiber obtained from Cashmere and other types of goats. Cashmere is fine in texture, and strong, light, and soft. Read more
Use what you’ve got…that message has been coming to me again and again since the beginning of this year. Over and over again as I’ve gone out to buy something I thought I needed or wanted, or looked at something and wished I could buy it, I’ve heard that little voice reminding me…”Use what you’ve got.”
As we have been talking all this week about baby showers, I became curious as to how this custom began, especially in light of the fact that ‘showers’ as we know them are relatively unheard of in most other countries. What I discovered in researching the subject was interesting….at least to me…so I’ll share it with you in case you are curious as I was.
Easter is only a little more than a week away. I believe that I mentioned to you before, I love Easter! Every year I decorate eggs that I have blown and put a name on each one, for a guest who will be with us, and use the eggs as place cards at our Easter dinner table. There is just no limit to the ways you can decorate an egg…and one is more fun than the next 🙂
In just 12 days, we will celebrate Easter. It is the biggest holiday and most holy of days for those who are Christians. It is the story of sacrifice and redemption, of good overcoming evil, the story of love triumphing over death, the story of resurrection and new life. Ultimately it is our reason for hope. I love Easter.
I grew up in a neighborhood in Los Angeles known as Hancock Park. It is a beautiful area. Our neighborhood had streets lined with sycamore trees and older gracious homes that make you feel as if you have stepped back in time. When we moved in, I prayed that there might be a girl my age living on our block whom I would become friends with, someone whose family had the same sort of values as mine did and who would understand the role that faith played in my everyday life. I prayed for and was hoping for a friend with whom I had these things in common.
Looking out the big picture window in our living room on the day we moved in, I was surprised to see people coming and going from the house directly across the street who were dressed in what looked like some kind of 1800’s costume. They looked so strange and almost ancient to me. I called to my mother and father to come and see what I was seeing. We all stood there staring at the sight of men dressed in long black coats with wide brimmed hats trimmed in some sort of fur and they all had long beards and long curls for sideburns. With hands flying around gesturing as they spoke, their language was one I had never heard before.
We have spent this week with you, our Chums, talking about the various aspects of tea, taking tea, having tea parties and heartfelt thoughts of those dear to us. But we couldn’t finish out the week, or a tea party, without some Sweet Bites to eat. For us any tea time wouldn’t be complete without some scones, lemon curd, raspberry or strawberry jam, and a lemon tea cake.
Many things have taken place, historically, “over a cup of tea”. Romance has been born, wars have ceased, relationships healed, lives forgiven. From time to time, we feel that it would be fun to have an “Over A Cup of Tea…” session where we share heartfelt thoughts about people or things important to us.
I spent a lot of my growing up years in England and so was fortunate to be able to drink in some wonderful English customs. Every country has its individual, enchanting customs and England is no different. One of these customs is that a lot of children in England go “away” to school – in other words, they go to a boarding school. In the United States, it is not a common practice for people to go to boarding school but, in England, it is. Read more
In 1973 I spent a summer in England. It was a great experience that taught me so many things and gave me many lovely memories. Though I have happily returned to England several times over the years, it was that first trip that gave me two of my favorite things…Toasted Cheese Sandwiches and Afternoon Tea.
Have you ever noticed that on March 17th no matter where you were born or what your family heritage is, everyone seems to be at least a little Irish? My family is no exception. We all don something green and have a St. Paddy’s Day celebration complete with corned beef and cabbage for dinner. So it was no surprise that as Jackie and I discussed what we would write about for today’s posting, it would have to be something to do with the worldwide celebration tomorrow of St. Patrick’s Day.
A good friend, David, asked us to talk about two things he wanted to know more about….essential tools for the kitchen and how to work within a small kitchen space. I have some experience with both, but today will focus on the essential kitchen tools and leave the subject of working in a small kitchen for another day.
We have some new additions to our family. Back in October Bianca, Colette, Edith, Fiona and Giselle joined us. You will probably hear about them from time to time, they are the feathered members of our family….our chickens. They arrived via the US Postal Service from My Pet Chicken when they were just about 24 hours old.
I believe that there comes a point in every life where there is, if only for a fleeting moment, a sense of completeness. For me it came as I stood by my grandmother’s hospital bed, holding her hand as she left this world and went on to the next.
The profoundness of birth and death give definition to our lives, which seem otherwise often to be just so many ordinary days strung together like a sentence and punctuated by a few very high and low moments.
Eat your vegetables! Most people have either heard or said those words because we all have parents or are parents ourselves. Our parents said them to us, and we in turn have passed on this dreaded edict to our offspring. The sad part is, it is almost always said in response to a child who has declined to even taste something from the vegetable category of the food pyramid.
I grew up a native of Los Angeles, a fourth generation Angelino on my father’s side. The roots of my soul however, grow deep in a place that I have never actually lived. My mother, and her side of my family tree, originated in the South, and thus those were the lessons I learned of food and family and fun times. Read more
As the night for the Academy Awards approaches, we promised to give you some ideas for your Oscar party. Today we want to share with you two of our favorite recipes, Deviled Eggs and Hot Artichoke Dip.
Deviled eggs are one of those foods that conjures up happy childhood memories of family gatherings. They’re a simple food that you eat with your fingers at picnics or barbeques or maybe on Easter. So, years ago, as we prepared for a cocktail party, it seemed a stretch to serve such an “ordinary” item on a buffet that wanted to be…….not stuffy……but maybe a little bit elegant. Still we needed one more item to round out the menu and fill a gap in the buffet table, and what we had in abundance were eggs, so why not try them, along with the other dishes being prepared and just see how they were received? Read more
Synonymous with Two Chums is love, joy, and abundant living. We have found that there is nothing stopping anyone, at any time, from feeling love, joy and enjoying an abundant life. We can feel love by loving and have joy by being joyous. An abundant life comes with having an abundant thought. Read more
“What do meatloaf and butterscotch pudding have to do with each other?” you may well be asking yourself. Unless you are me, the answer is most likely, “Nothing.”
The year was 1977 and I was married less than a year, pregnant, and horribly sick. I did not have morning sickness that lasted the usual first 3 months when one is expecting. I had all day and all night, constant, unrelenting nausea and vomiting, which I have since learned was due to something with a weird name that basically means I was highly allergic to being pregnant. Not to my precious daughter, Sara, but to whatever hormones my body was making to keep the pregnancy going. I was a mess.
Over the years, some very well known and glamorous people have leapt to their feet and taken the stage when hearing this familiar phrase. Though most of us will never be in their situation, we can all identify with the excitement of being acknowledged for a job well done. In the film industry, Oscar is the icon synonymous with excellence.
There are many stories floating around as to how Oscar got his name but one legend has it that Eleanor Lilleberg, a Norwegian-American, who was the Executive Secretary to Louis B. Mayer exclaimed when viewing the statuette, “It looks like King Oscar II!” Before leaving for the day, she asked, “What should we do with Oscar? Put him in the vault?” and the name stuck.
Oscar, today, is made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base. During World War II, with a desire to support the War effort, the statuettes were made of plaster, and later, traded in for gold ones when the War ended. Oscar is 13½ inches tall and weighs 8½ pounds. He is actually a knight designed in the art deco style, holding a crusader’s sword, while standing on a reel of film with five spokes. Each of these spokes represents a branch of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.
America is in love with this, her favorite award show. We love to see the clothes, we love to hear the interviews, and we love to speculate on who the winners will be, most certainly, “Best Actress”, “Best Actor” and “Best Picture”.
The two people pictured here don’t represent, for most of us, the classic picture of love and romance. They aren’t the “beautiful people” we have come to associate with tabloid and magazine covers depicting the latest celebrity romance or breakup. They are two ordinary people who taught me an extraordinary lesson about real love. They are my maternal grandparents, John and Willie Ridgway, or Papaw and Nanner to me.
Their 66 year marriage was not what I would call an epic romance. It was a great love story. In their 66 years together they weathered the Great Depression, the tragic and sudden death of a 20 year old daughter leaving behind a 4 month old daughter of her own for them to help raise, a cross country relocation, multiple muggings after moving to California, and the other sundry challenges and hardships you might imagine that any two people who lived together for 66 years would have to encounter. Read more
My dear chum,
“To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say and to finish without knowing what you have written.”
Printed cards that one buys certainly have their place, and sometimes say exactly what you are feeling, but hand written notes from the heart are probably the most cherished gifts one could receive. There is no better way to tell someone how you feel about them – start writing and just let it flow. It will be felt, deep into the soul of the receiver. Read more
Why red roses for love? As the story has it, the red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and, since then, the red rose has been associated with lovers. The tradition lives on. From timeless pieces of art and classical poetry to modern day music and media, red roses are seen depicting the message of love.
For most people, red roses simply mean “I love you” and that is why, in the United States, one hundred and ten million roses, the majority being red, will be sold and delivered within the three-day time period around Valentine’s Day. Amazing!
Robin and I do most of our flower shopping at the Los Angeles Flower Market in downtown Los Angeles. Read more
It seems quite fitting to us that our first entry as we establish our home on the World Wide Web would be on the subject of hospitality. It is what we are all about. Hospitality is one of those things that you may not have a snappy definition for, yet you know it when you see it, (or feel it), and when you don’t.
On the surface entertaining and hospitality can seem very much the same, yet they are really totally different. Entertaining is focused on drawing attention to the host or hostess, and how wonderfully and beautifully she (or he) can do things. Hospitality is focused on one’s guests, and doing things beautifully in order that they will feel special.
How many times have you heard someone on television, who was cooking or decorating or making something for a party say, “Now this will really impress your guests!” Our culture is bombarded by messages that we need to do things well so others will think more highly of us.
We all hear and read tips on entertaining. The shelves in the bookstores are full of books on the subject and there are endless websites that are dedicated to helping you entertain. We are not one of them.
Two Chums is all about excellence and doing things well, and when we extend an invitation, we want our guests to see that things are beautifully done, and much time has been given to preparation, because they are special and worth our time and efforts. As you visit us each day we will be sharing with you things we’ve learned along the way in our homes with our families about love, joy and abundant living that is within everyone’s reach. We will share about the parties and celebrations we are having, about home decor projects and things we’ve learned about the art of gift giving. And of course some thoughts from our hearts.
Mother Theresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Making others feel wanted and welcome, showing hospitality, is one of those small things we all can do with great love.
So though you may never actually visit the houses where we live, we want to invite you to visit our Two Chums home everyday. We will do our best to prepare for you because we care, and we want you to know we think you are worth our time and effort.
Welcome to Two Chums!
The word “trifle” comes from the old French term “trufle,” and means something of little consequence. Had they tasted this trifle they might not have thought so! A proper English trifle is made with egg custard, cake, usually stale or left over cake, with a fruit syrup and sherry and topped with whipped cream.
We will give the recipe for each of the important components but obviously if you happen to have some stale cake lying about feel free to use it. Also we used fresh raspberries and Fresh Raspberry Freezer Jam but store bought jam or strawberries and strawberry jam are equally delicious.