Just Thoughts Today

I am  tired.

Tired, emotionally and physically.

Feeling this way frustrates me.

I want to be energetic and happy.

But sometimes, God has a different plan.


Message to Karen {Susie}  :

Wine.com emailed  us.

Your birthday Champagne {from July 19th}

will soon be delivered.

Please forgive the delay. They said it was a weather hold.

{ I guess Champagne delivered in Atlanta in the summer, can be tricky?}


I have been trying to be positive and productive.

Even thinking about posting here on Blog,

makes me feel tired.  Blogging is my habit,

my morning ritual.

I wonder what my day would look like without it?

Photo: Heart shape leaf in Paris. I love this shot, it reminds me that we can find beauty anywhere.


My friend Rosemary had a birthday this week.

She is a charming person and a dear friend.

Happy Birthday Rosemary!


Larry is very busy,

he goes into his office, closes the door

and does not come out for hours.

I can hear loud conference calls

and the door remains closed.

I have to remind him to drink water


plan dinner so that he has to leave his office

to come sit with me for an hour

before he goes back to work.

I know.

He is a grown up and knows what is best for himself.

But I adore him so much….


It is past 6:00 am.

I am not exercising today.

Larry is already in his office and the house is quiet.

Friday has started….

Love you.


Limoncello Gateau~Chef Valentine

Photo: Limoncello Gateau by Chef Valentine

Limoncello Gateau


1 lemon cake mix

1 {3 oz} box of instant lemon pudding

4 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup lemon juice {I use fresh}

1/2 cup Limoncello

1 lemon zested, using the entire lemon.

1 cup of pecan halves or toasted almonds


1 stick butter {melted}

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup limoncello

Cake Directions

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Grease and flour traditional bundt pan.

sprinkling pecans or almonds evenly into bottom.

*In mixing bowl, add, lemon cake mix, lemon pudding.

 4 eggs,, oil, lemon juice.

Limoncello and zest of lemon.

*Mix well, for 3-5 min.

*Pour into prepared bundt pan.

*Bake for 45-55 min or till toothpick comes  out clean.

*Remove from oven and leave in pan while you make the glaze.

*Make glaze: Melt Butter in large sauce pan.

Add sugar, 1/4 cup of water.

*Boil  on high for 3-5 min till spoon is coated.

*Remove from burner and add 1/2 cup Limoncello.

*Sitr  well.

*Using a wooden skewer or chop stick, poke many holes in cake.

*take glaze and slowly spoon over cake, letting it absorb into cake.

*Use all of the glaze.

*Allow the the cake to sit in pan for about 20 min, then turn out onto a plate.

*Cool completely.

Awhile ago, I had a piece of  Limoncello layer cake

at a local restaurant. {it had amazing frosting}

It was very good but I wanted a version

that was not so fussy.

Using an old fashioned rum cake recipe to base it on,

here is my version of  a Limoncello  bundt cake.

Please enjoy, let me know how you liked it,


till next time.


High Over The Trees

We arrived at the lake before 6:30 am

and walked 5 miles.

Photo: 6:30 am at the lake….

This is how it looked this morning, with the moon

still high over over the trees.

We go early in the mornings now,

so Larry can come with me.

How wonderful is that?

He WANTS to part of this process.

{ I am in TRAINING!}


Yesterday, I saw that a young {20-ish} couple,

part of a reality show, have left the show

to write a book and give podcasts on life and love.

Please correct me if I am wrong,

but what advice  can  a 20 something give?

What life experience has touched them

and have they had time to process the

life they have lived so far?

I have to smile.

Why don’t they just live their lives….

accepting God’s grace and know that when they hit 40,

life is going to change….

and then again at 60.

 Millennial’s are so busy trying to analyze everything,

that they are forgetting to live.


This morning, I am sewing, making meatballs

for  my home made spaghetti sauce


I have promised myself reading time.

{I have been neglecting my book list}

Be happy.

Live your life….

Love you.


Sunday Dinner and Movie

A couple of months ago,

Larry bought tickets for a Fathom event

at our cinema.

It was to see South Pacific

and so very generous of him,

because I do not think he has ever seen

the movie from beginning to end before.

{Do you think he knew it was a  musical?}

Photo: Movie tickets

This came on a day that we were homesick for Kaua’i

so it was perfect.


When we came home, we were not hungry….

so we indulged,

nibbling on a Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball

that I made the day before.

{Has Chef Valentine ever blogged about this amazing recipe?

Do readers want the recipe?}

Photo: Sunday dinner. Cheese ball and wheat crackers.

It was really good….


Just a note: I am in training.

My Dr’s inspiration {she is running the Chicago Marathon in Oct}

and Larry’s coaching,

are getting me ready for a quarter marathon.

Did I really just type that?

We are registered and training.

Six miles is A LOT for me….Ok, I am smiling.

This is going to be very interesting.

I am up to five miles, five times a week.

Look for updates and b-i-itching in the next three weeks.


I must post this and go buy a “runners belt” on Amazon.

whatever that is…..

Have a happy, wonderful day.

Love you.




Photo: Garden sculpture at the Phipps Conservatory. Pittsburgh, PA

In Life,

you can learn a lot


simply watching.


It is early here. 5:03 am to be exact.

Larry just finished his shower and I know that because

He yelled: Good Morning, I love you!

Sometimes, a person just saying: I love you

can change  someones mood.

Have a great day.

I love you.


Shopping With Matilda

Last summer while shopping with Matilda

she fell in love with this fabric at Hobby Lobby.

A  dress pattern was shown with it,

but the funny thing is, the pattern was discontinued.

Matilda wanted the fabric anyway.

Photo: Paris fabric for a little girls dress

For one year, with no luck, I searched for a pattern

much like the discontinued one


still appropriate for the fabric and a 7 year old girl.

Till last week! At Half Price Books,

in the sewing section I found this brand new pattern

in Matilda’s size  and it was $1.99.

Photo: Pattern for Paris fabric. I will make the dress on the left, the one with two ruffles.

I was talking to Lauren {Matilda’s Mom} and we laughed….

Maybe Matilda will not like the fabric anymore!

It has been one year since she picked it out!

Fingers crossed that she will still like it.

Photo: Pattern and Fabric

I will buy {or make} a knitted pink shrug for her to wear with it.


It is Thursday.

I walked my laps

and saw a hot air balloon while I was at the lake.

My dresses are at the dry cleaners,

dinner is planned.

Let the day begin.

Love you.


Another Tuesday At The Tolberts


I heard that the sweet dog next door

had passed away.

His owner, his Mom, is dealing with health issues


 I know she is missing him like crazy right now.

If you would, please remember Debbie in your prayers?


I walked my laps yesterday.

{all 4 miles}

The first time in 2 weeks.


It felt wonderful, but I tired out  fast.

{I hate being tired}

Last evening Larry and I had our anniversary dinner.

Photo: 41st anniversary feast

The purpose of this dinner is to enjoy dinner, just the two of us

toast the past year with Champagne,


Exchange THE card.

Photo: Cake and card

We use the same card every year…

when we run out of space,

I tie a new card to the inside of the first cards.

Larry hands the card to me and I read his message to me out loud.

And cry.

Then he reads my message to him.

Next  year it will be year 42.

Love you.


It Was Not A Pilgrimage At All

Last weekend, Larry and I  made arrangements

to go on  a pilgrimage of sorts.

We would fly to Pittsburgh to  take flowers

to my Grandparents {my Mothers parents} graves.

Then we would meet my cousin for dinner


the next day go visit my Mothers first cousin, Ruth.

That was the plan.


Friday morning.

At the cemetery, we found the area where

my grandparents were buried

but not the headstones.

The cemetery was in a disarray.

So many headstones were buried under inches of dirt.

We were there for hours but no luck finding them.

Photo: Cemetery in Pittsburgh

All the headstones are flat.

It was beautiful, but did not feel like a cemetery at all.


Friday night.

We met my cousin Kathy for dinner.

We barely knew each other as children

but have reconnected the past few years

{she is an amazing person}

Photo: Storms in Pittsburgh

I do not know how it happened,

but I did not take any pics at dinner.

We talked, caught up on “life” , enjoyed dinner

and then we were invited back to Kathy’s house

for dessert.

Photo: It looks like the camera setting was on fish eye, but I love this shot.

At dessert we met Violeta, Todd, Maya, Majandra and Joaquin.

{Kathy’s daughter, son in law, and grandchildren}

What a wonderful family.

The Children were charming and engaging.

Violeta and Todd….well what can  I say. So sweet, fun and kind.

It was such a nice evening, not a pilgrimage at all.

It was family.

Saying goodbye that evening was difficult.


On Saturday…..

Larry and I left the hotel to visit Ruth.

Ruth is my Mother’s first cousin.

I was so excited, we left about an hour {to} early .

When we arrived, Kathy was already there with Ruth.

Beautiful, charming Ruth.

I had visited this magnificent home as a child.

Memories flooded back.

Ruth looked as I remember her.

Sweet smile and twinkling eyes.

I wish my Mother had been with us for this lovely visit.

Photo: Ruth, Kathy and me.

It was the most amazing weekend.

Larry and I are already talking about going back, to find my grandparents.

And to visit,

Ruth, Kathy, Violeta, Todd and the adorable children.

The weekend was filled with family and joy.

It was not a pilgrimage at all.

Love you.



Quarante Et Un

Quarante Et Un, Forty One Years ago today in Richmond, VA

Larry and I were married.

This is the only photo we have. Taken by my brother in law.

One thing I do have is , in my bridal bouquet.

I worked at a flower shop in Richmond when we were married


the owner made an arrangement  on my bible.

{I made the cover for the bible from left over wedding dress fabric}

It now lives in a shadow box.

We  made plans  today to celebrate our anniversary…

but they have been postponed till tomorrow because

our air conditioner is not working.

The AC man will be coming sometime today.

{you know how THAT is}

Happy Anniversary Larry!


Larry and I flew away to Pittsburgh this past weekend.

It is where my mother was born and grew up.

I will share more later…till then please know

that it was an amazing visit.

{thank you Kathy Anderson. You  helped make our trip perfect}


Happy August 20th .

One of the great love stories of the century

started on that day in 1977.

Larry. I love you.


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