1. Clean, easy-to-read graphics. These days many magazines are so full of pictures and crazy style print on different colors, the reader has difficulty figuring out what to read, and then, to actually read it. This magazine is a pleasant and inviting change.
2. Inviting content. Here are stories you want to read. And the content is varied. In this issue, e. g. decorating you home for the holidays, Christmas candy and brunch treats, a visit to Chip and Jo’s vacation rental, and a story about a husband and wife musical duo.

3. Tasteful ads, often from companies you want to know more about.
4. Articles are in-depth enough to give the reader information of general interest. I love the simple layout and feature on Festive Greens including how to work with them and how to care for them.
5. Photographs are first-rate and enticing. Whoopie Pies look wonderfully beautiful and delicious along with an easy-to-read recipe. I couldn’t stop staring at the Chocolate Bundt Cake. Photos truly transported me to the Hillcrest Estate in Waco Texas.

These are only selected highlights. There is so much more!

So far I love this publication! What about you?


What kind of boring world would we live and love in if we all agreed on the best books. Best Book Lists for 2017 are starting to appear.

One reader’s take-away from a current well-known list….


The Dry by Jane Harper.
This is a dazzling page-turner of a novel, little noticed. The fiction is great. It’s a thriller set in a parched part of rural Australia. Enter the title in the search box and read more about this one if you like.

Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan.
Book Comments on this one appeared earlier this year on this blog. Just type the title in the search box if you’d like to know more. Here’s what the professional reviewer said,” You don’t read this book; you breathe it.” I totally agree.

Camino Island by John Grisham.
Set in Florida this is a must read, especially if you enjoy a good mystery, and quite possibly this is one of Grisham’s best.


Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Biance Bosker.
Reviewed on this blog, just type the title in the search box if you want to hear more about this one.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
This rather uneven novel by a celebrated writer was commented on in this blog.

Grant by Ron Chernow
You need to be a history buff. It is very hefty.

No book read by this blogger appearing on this particular list is a complete waste of time.


Sunshine State: Essays by Sarah Gerard.
Based on the summary, this collection from different writers may not be all fun and games.

The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life by Lauren Markham.
Inside the complicated lives of unaccompanied alien children.

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
She is a beautiful writer, but this is another study of sadness and broken lives.


Some photos by Jonathan Lein

I’m a prairie girl, I love the prairie; I feel the emotion of the prairies from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. And I am a writer who has written stories set on the prairies. I’ve been waiting to see this Prairie Preserve since my son and his wife moved to Oklahama. Oh I’d love to walk the trails. Not this time…next time.

This preserve in northeastern Oklahoma is the largest unplowed protected tract that remains of the tall grass prairie (39,650 acres), once 142 million acres stretching from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. To me this area is a national treasure. These are the vistas that greeted the first settlers in many states, including my great grandparents. I love to study the grasses and wildflowers of the area. On a cool November day, the place is not colorful but still calming and quiet. And the wide open vistas soothe my heart and soul.

At the visitor’s center I saw the big bluestem, switchgrass, little bluestem and Indian grass that are so prevalent on the prairies of the past and this preserve today. Burning helps to control invasive species.

On this day we saw the buffalo up close. They are impressive beasts.

What did my granddaughter like best about her trip to Pawhuska, Oklahoma? Not the kitchen toys at the Merc, though they were a hit. The buffalo were her favorite of the day.


The Mercantile
Some photos by Jonathan Lein

Affectionately called “the merc”, the store is located in a beautifully rehabbed building in downtown Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Recently, I was lucky enough to visit.

Come along for a brief tour.

Lots of good food offered in the Deli section. We missed eating there because the line was so long. I’m sure it’s worth the wait. Other food in Pawhuska is also delish.

Upstairs a room to rest a bit and a bakery. Yum!

I didn’t go home empty handed, even with a plane to catch, but next time….. Can’t wait!

Mail order is available. The website is

Shop online at



The newly renovated library is truly a 21st century library with an attached parking garage and a Starbucks inside.

The impressive Peggy V. Helmerich Staircase serves as a backdrop for the Peggy C. Helmarich Distinguished Author Award and other large-scale programs.

The Children’s Area is large bright and colorful, filled with books and inviting developmental activities.

My three year old granddaughter was nearly beside herself with excitement describing the level and entry she wanted us to use to access the library. And when she was inside, oh my! She could not be contained.

And, yes, there is much more!


Little Miss, Big Sis
Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H. Reynolds
Children’s Literature
44 pages

This big sister and little brother march through the delightful pages of a book that addresses the downsides of babyhood and the joys of being a big sister saving the day. “Hugging, holding, Love unfolding.” It is an active story of family love.

Reading this book is a joy: the message, the language, the real story of being a big sister to a new baby. It is charming. Text is minimal but valuable, and the illustrations walk the careful line between reality and family caring.

My granddaughter loves the book. She is a three-year-old with a newborn baby brother. She has been preparing for him, and as she listens to this book and participates, she so clearly identifies as a big sister. She is loving and kind. As I visit in her home I observe how she is realistic and participatory in his care. I was once a big sister and I clearly remember some of the bittersweet feelings from that time.

My heart swells with memories and with present day love for my grandchildren and somehow the book eases the strong emotions. The two of us have great fun with this story. Thanks to these authors. They capture the universal in the particular. All writers hope their words and pictures do that job.

Ackroyd’s Scottish Bakery, since 1949

Thanks to my brother and my daughter today was my first visit to this Detroit Institution. What a welcoming place. Hospitality matches the good food. At the counter and in the kitchen Joe Hakim was totally charming and answered all my questions. Service is outstanding.

Joe Hakim at the bakery with some lovely fern cakes

Meat Pie is the top seller with Mac and cheese pie coming in second. There are five Scottish bakeries in the country and this one is unique because of its vintage pie machine.

You can find this bakery on facebook and twitter. They ship nationwide. The website is

This bakery features savory pies, pasties, tea cakes, breads, and meats as well as imported groceries such as biscuits and crackers. This time I bought chicken curry pie, Steak and mushroom pasty, bridie, cheese and onion pie and a sausage rolls.

We also had a taste of Irn-bru, pronounced iron brew, really quite delicious.

I have tasted some of these wares, and also shortbread and raspberry bars. Everything so far tasted delicious. The curry is a bit spicy but be brave.

Let’s hear it for Scottish Bakeries! Gracious hospitality and a taste of Scotland….so delicious!



So many blessings I am grateful for: visiting brother to help make side dishes for the feast, new grand baby I will soon travel to see and the baby’s father and mother and sister, daughter to host Thanksgiving, family to celebrate the day with, visiting son, my other grandchildren and more. Today I must make a gratitude list.

I pray that all of you are enjoying your Thanksgiving and all the items on your gratitude list.

A big THANK YOU to all who read this blog. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Newspapers offer such a breadth of information. All kinds of stuff falls into your brain when you read a newspaper or surf the internet. But I’m a print fan, so this is a giant Thank-you post to newspapers.

And this weeks five interesting bits of info:

A BIRD, the bar-tailed godwit flies from the Yukon delta in the Arctic to New Zealand, a journey of more than 7000 miles, the longest non-stop over water bird migration. The arctic tern is no slouch, shuttling from the Arctic to Antarctica.

Great Magazine Gifts for your Gardening Friends according to Nancy Szerlag in the Detroit News.
Country Gardens
Fine gardening
Garden Designs
The American Gardener
Garden Gate

The Keystone Pipeline leaked 210,000 of Canadian crude into the South Dakota grasslands this week. This follows a 2011 spill in North Dakota and a 2016 spill in South Dakota. They will need to excavate to repair the Keystone. It is 10 years old.

The Museum of the Bible opens this week in Washington, D. C. It houses more than 500 biblical artifacts and texts and the world’s largest private collection of retired Torah scrolls.

Versatile Michigan actor Jeff Daniels stars in Godless out Wednesday on Netflix in which he plays a vicious villain. The Western is a series. Love westerns, hate spooky bad people portrayed in dramas filled with inhumanity. I’m a Daniels fan, but I don’t know about this one.

Yes, I surf the internet on my phone, but newpapers are one of my favorite kinds of reading!

Thinking about reading, I picked up Ron Chernow’s Grant this weekend on hold for me at the library. It’s almost too heavy to carry. Since I’m already deep in two long and challenging reads, I’m not sure when, or if I’ll be reading much of Grant. That’s what is hard about library holds. Books never seem available at the right time.

Today I must do many things other than reading. So I’m posting early on

Thanks for visiting. Do tell your favorite kind of reading.