This month new poem has been added to the Poetry tab under Nature.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
This year the theme for the Take Joy Society get-togethers will center around our travel adventures. Today I was the first to share. I took everyone to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. They saw my photos, ate and drank chocolate, and played with clay. If you have not already followed along on Morning Musings you can catch-up at these links to see the photos:
I take you on a tour of our hotel in the center of Merida. . . .
In this post I talk about what I liked about our vacation and what I did not like so much. . . .
This post talks about the cuisine, my shopping experience, and the architecture. . . .
These posts were about the museums, culture events, and side trips we took. . . .
The last one is a slide show of scenes from Playa del Carmen. . . .
At the end of my slide show I showed them these YouTube videos. The first one explains how cacao (pronounced ca-COW) beans are grown. I passed around raw, roasted cacao beans for everyone to sample. . . .
Next we watched a video of how cacao is used to make drinking chocolate. . . .
Then I passed around samples of ki'Xocolatl (pronounced kee shoc-co-LA-tal) chocolate (72% cocoa) while they watched a video of the Choco-Story Museum in Uxmal, Mexico. . . .
You can read more about the history of chocolate and its importance in Mayan culture HERE. To make it easier to read the article click on the Show Reader View bar (left hand side of the URL box).
Now it was time to sample another traditional food of the Yucatan--guacamole. I used my Mexican daughter-in-law's recipe (avocados, onion, roman tomatoes, fresh cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt), but added cacao nibs (raw chocolate pieces) after reading David Wolfe's "Top 5 Reasons to Love Raw Cacao" where he claims it's a recipe thousands of years old. . . .
We started with Green Tea with orange zest & cocoa bean shells that I brought back from Mexico. Ken made the tortilla chips from scratch--he made the tortillas from "pre-cooked yellow corn meal" from a local Latino market, then cut them into pieces and fried them in oil. . . .
On the table is a model of a Mayan Calendar. I also set out more chocolate nibs. . . .
Later I made a pot of Taza Chocolate Super Dark drinking chocolate using water, which we drank while working on our craft. Because it was 85% cocoa everyone added a little more sugar. . . .
For our craft I made air-dry clay. This is the tutorial I used. . . .
I used lemon juice instead of vinegar so I did not add the peppermint oil. I microwaved it four 15-second intervals. After the 24-hour wait I found it to still be limp, so I added more cornstarch and kneaded it several more minutes. Then I put it in the refrigerator and by today it was just the right consistency--so you will have to play around with it a bit until your clay looks like hers when you pull it apart. If you add the color to it, it will make it softer and harder to work with, so you may want to wait to paint it after it is dried.
Here we are working on our projects. I handed out books to get ideas. . . .
Cindy is making a Day of the Dead figure from the Tree of Life book. The Mexican Tree of Life folk art is intricate and individually expressive of the artist's imagination. This page gives you some close-ups of these beautiful art pieces. . . .
She also made miniature flowers to go in her miniature flower pot that is drying upside down. . . .
Chris made a decorated bowl and will paint it once it is dry. She used a glass bowl lined with cellophane to form the bowl shape. . . .
Carol used cookie cutters to make different ornaments for her grandchildren to paint. . . .
I made a folk art apple tree with a dove. I added paint to my clay before molding it. . . .
It was very relaxing to work with the clay. Let me know if you make the clay and what you created.
Next month Cindy will take us to Italy!
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Saturday, October 1, 2016
If I could pick only one favorite month of the year I'd have to choose October. I'm sure it has to do with the vivid colors this time of year. Spring's colors are certainly lovely, but the colors are more pastel except for an occasional bright red tulip🌷or deep yellow daffodil. I can see myself in Anne Mary Lawler's description of October "dressing in flame and gold like a woman afraid of growing old." I've always loved color and tend to buy colorful clothing, but as I grow older I find that colors speak to me even more.
This month Sarah Ban Breathnach's Joyful Simplicities from "Simple Abundance" include these possibilities. . . .
🍁 Plan an outing to a pumpkin patch of farmers' market. Select the perfect jack-o-lantern, but get an assortment of smaller pumpkins on which to carve different designs🎃, like checkerboards, hearts, or the moon ad starts. Pie pumpkins are the perfect size for creating luminaries for steps or driveways, and midget pumpkins make charming votive candle holders for dinner tables.
🍁 Create a seasonal table. Set aside one small space on which to arrange an autumnal still life: wheat sheaves, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, or bittersweet, with bouquets of dried flowers and preserved autumn leaves.
🍁 If you live in a four-season climate, take a Sunday drive in the country to revel in Mother Nature's flamboyant fancy dress. Pack a picnic. Linger as long as you can.
🍁 Mull cider and/or wine on the weekends for an autumn cup of cheer, especially delightful after raking leaves!
For years I planned an autumn get-away for my family during the long Columbus Day weekend. The boys loved hiking in the woods and following the trails to hidden water falls. Now that it's just the two of us our choices of when and where to go and where to stay have opened up considerably. The world-wide web has certainly helped facilitate finding wonderful places. Here are some we've been to. . . .
|Eagles Mere, PA|
|Glenlaurel Inn, Ohio|
|New Castle, DE|
|Skyline Drive, VA|
|World's End State Park, PA|
|Little Grand Canyon, PA|
I also love decorating my house for Autumn. I even change my dining room curtains from blue to red and summer paintings to autumn scenes. . . .
What about you? What delights you about Autumn? Do you change your decor? Go "leaf peeping" (as it's called in my part of the country)?
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