Fresh Mint Leaves

Fresh Mint: LadyD Books

    Use peppermint for medicinal purposes.

Mint Photo Collage: LadyD Books

   Toss mint leaves in a variety of beverages.

Potted Mint: LadyD Books

    Season fruit salads.

Peppermint consists of at least 50 percent menthol and is one of the best sources of the compound; in use for over 2000 years. How to Use Mint

Cooked veggies like peas, corn and carrots can all be infused with mint flavor. Cooking with Mint

While mint and tea go hand and hand, don’t forget that mint is also excellent when paired with fruit juice. Use of Mint Leaves

Being Greek, I just LOVE having fresh mint growing around. I love looking at its textures leaves and smelling the fresh aroma. My mint plants are pot bound because the plant itself is very intrusive. I also enjoy drying the leaves and using them to season roast lamb and kefedes (Greek meatballs.)

Do you have a favorite use for mint?

I am participating in:

Outdoor Wednesday

Wordful Wednesday 
Wordless Wednesday

Legos to Lincoln Logs

I am so used to taking my camera outside and looking for yellow, especially when it comes to flowers. 

Sometimes I can find the color yellow right inside my home. 

I don't have to look far when my grandson comes to visit.

From Legos to Lincoln Logs, he is always busily building something of interest.

This building and playing with yellow rings, you know stacking the rings, is very serious stuff!

So, for the many, many brave men and women who sacrifice so much; past, present and future, we thank you and say:
Let liberty ring throughout our land! 

Book Review: TJ and the Time Stumblers

LadyD Books thanks Tyndale for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Kids (April 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414334532
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414334530


    Product Description

    This six-book series centers around two 23rd century goofballs, Tuna and Herby, who travel back in time to study TJ Finkelstein for their history project. TJ will someday become a great leader who demonstrates honesty, integrity, thoughtfulness, self-sacrifice, respect for others—all traits she hones and grasps through her adventures in this series. Unfortunately, Tuna and Herby get stuck in TJ’s time (modern day), so she has to deal with their schemes while juggling the normal issues of a seventh grader who has moved to a new city, is trying to fit in, and is coping with her mother’s death and her family’s new life.
    In New Kid Catastrophes, TJ accidentally makes an enemy of Hesper Breakahart, the superstar who attends their school. And Tuna and Herby’s attempts to help just lead to one disaster after another. In the end, TJ is still very unpopular, but she learns the value of looking past appearances and gains a few friends—and the attention of the most popular boy in school.


    My Review


    Bill Myers is the author of New Kid Catastrophes (6 books series) where the plot in TJ and the Time Stumblers is filled with adventure and imagination. The story begins with TJ  (7th grader) and her family moving from Missouri to California. The plot unfolds on the playground introducing bullying characters, blunders at school, along with an infatuation and days filled with trying to survive Junior High. 


    Silliness is woven through the book along with two-time traveling boys who provide the catalyst in the story by introducing gadgets of the future for helping the main character. I especially love the kid's names, like Tuna and Herby. The change in the size of Font to express emotion is a new concept to me and I must confess, reading along seemed a bit confusing at times but I am sure pre-teens will "get it." *** stars.


    New Kid Catastrophes (TJ and the Time Stumblers)


    For more information, visit

California Poppy

I joined Quote It Saturday and Flowers on Saturday

California Poppy: LadyD Books

The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is a perennial plant, native to the United States, and the official state flower of California. These happy flowers grow all around my ranch.

The California Poppy: LadyD Books

The Poppy can grow 5–60 cm tall, with alternately branching blue-green foliage. The leaves are alternately divided into round, lobed segments. With a little rain, I can pretty much guarantee the Poppy will spring up again and again with a lovely display.

California Poppy in my yard

The flowers are solitary on long stems, silky-textured, with four petals, each petal 2–6 cm long and broad; their color ranges from yellow to orange, and flowering is from February to September.

Beautiful Orange Poppies: LadyD Books

The petals close at night or in cold, windy weather and open again the following morning, although they may remain closed in cloudy weather. They grow best in full sun. I am fortunate to have my own field of the California Poppy.

Poppy Quotes:

“Through the dancing poppies stole A breeze most softly lulling to my soul.” 

-- John Keats

“The poppies hung Dew-dabbed on their stalks.” 

-- John Keats 


I feel so blessed to wake up and be greeted by this majestic sunrise from my view in sunny California while other parts of the country are experiencing devastation from a deadly tornado.

Stay safe and wishing you a happy Memorial Day weekend!

LadyD books is participating in SkyWatch Friday

The Friday 56


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post at Freda's Voice

Page 56:

"But they didn't know because they didn't ask. And they didn't ask because, as TJ had already figured out, neither one of them was the brightest crayon in the box. Actually, as far as she could tell, they didn't even know what a crayon was."

New Kid Catastrophes (TJ and the Time Stumblers)

Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
Stay safe and see you next time,

-- LadyD

What Is It?

I'm joining Freda's meme ThisWay ThursWay

What do you see in the top right-hand corner?

Is it a bear or perhaps a dog? What is it in the clouds?

I just happened to look up. Fortunately, I had my camera!

Happy Thursday!
-- LadyD


 LadyD Books is participating in the following memes today:  

Outdoor Wednesday

Wordful Wednesday  

Wordless Wednesday 

Bonsai: LadyD Books

Bonsai Tree: LadyD Books

Bonsai Forest: LadyD Books

Bonsai Plant: LadyD Books

Bonsai Safari Park: LadyD Books


is an artistic medium originating in Japan. Broadly speaking it consists of growing a tree or shrub in a container - and shaping it in an aesthetic fashion.

The purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation (for the viewer) and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity (for the grower).

The practice of bonsai is sometimes confused with dwarfing, however dwarfing refers to research and creation of plant cultivars that are permanent, genetic miniatures of existing species. Bonsai does not require genetically dwarfed trees, but rather depends on growing small trees from regular stock and seeds. Bonsai uses cultivation techniques like pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation, and grafting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-size trees.

I discovered these outdoor containers of miniature trees in the Bonsai Garden at the Wild Animal Park.

A beautiful bonsai day in the middle of the week to enjoy.

-- LadyD

Book Review: The One Day Way

The Book Is About Faith, Food and Fitness


Product Description

Today Can Be Different Than the Rest!

Yesterday’s mistakes are gone, so let them go. You can’t control tomorrow, so stop worrying about it. Today is your chance to lose weight, get strong, and look great.

The One-Day Way produces lasting results by taking you back to basics. No more complicated weight-loss strategies. No more expensive diet plans that achieve only temporary results. Instead, you will lose weight and get fit with Chantel Hobbs’s simple, high-energy meal plans and her at-home program for cardio exercise and strength training. She will teach you how to change the way you think, which leads to new actions. Before you know it you will be strong, fit, and healthy. All it takes is doing things differently for twenty-four hours—and then repeating it.
The One-Day Way gives you everything you need to lose weight and get fit in body, mind, and spirit:

 • Break free from past dieting defeats.
 • Learn a realistic, life-changing way to measure success.
 • Change the way you think so you can change your life.
 • Translate your dreams into goals, and your goals into lasting achievements.
 • Get strong with thirty-one simple exercises, no fancy equipment required.
 • Take advantage of ten ways to eat better while you lose weight.

By focusing on food, faith, and fitness, Chantel shows you not only how to lose weight, but how to build the new life you were designed to live. You don’t have to wait any longer. The One-Day Way gives you all the tools for success, starting right now.

Tired of Diets? Let Chantel Hobbs help you lose the weight!-- Waterbrook Multnomah


My Review

Great advice shared with a personal trainer who can relate to the struggles of trying to  lose weight and keep it off, too. Having maintained  a 200 lb. weight loss over the years, Chantel Hobbs knows what it means to celebrate daily victories having changed her perspective of things and she'll show you how to be victorious as well. She's written a simple book to make food work for you with warm conversational style. I especially love the menus.

I read her guideline (blueprint) and came away with an appreciation for her insights not being a quick fix but rather doing our best just for today. Read about testimonies, take a look at exercises with a medicine ball and ditch checking in with the scale. In the back of the book, Chantel offers a One Day Way contract to help you make a commitment to a changed attitude. Chantel believes that diet and exercise help to a point but then there's the spiritual aspect of being loved by our creator. It's a very inspirational story. It will cheer you on to reach your goals.
**** stars!

This book was provided by WaterBrook Press, the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for an honest review.

Chile Rellenos

Chile Rellenos: LadyD Books
Mellow Yellow Monday Meme
Recipe for Chile Rellenos

Preheat oven 350 degrees

1 can whole chiles (7oz.)
3 eggs
2 c. milk
1 c. flour
1 lb. jack cheese
1 tsp. salt

Layer chiles and cheese in buttered 13 x 9 pan. Beat eggs, milk, flour and salt. Pour over cheese and chiles.

Bake 350 degrees for 45 mins. Let set awhile Serves 6-8.

Rellenos and Salad: LadyD Books

Recipe for Corn and Pepper Salad With Garlic Salsa

12 oz. fresh or frozen whole-kernel corn
1 green bell pepper, seeded
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1/2 cucumber, diced.


4 or 5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 green chili, seeded and chopped
5 tablespoons olive oil
5 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and roughly chopped
small bunch fresh cilantro

Put the corn in a pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 2-3- mins. Drain, then cool and put in a bowl. Cut the peppers into small dice and add to the corn with the cucumber.

To make the salsa, put the garlic, vinegar, cumin, oregano, chili, and a little salt into a small blender or food processor. Blend until finely chopped. Add the oil and blend to mix. Add the tomatoes but only  blend in short bursts, so they still look partly chopped. Stir into the salad with the cilantro. Serves 6-8

Tio’s Flan de Naranja

Serves 4-6:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).


5 egg yolks

1 cup white sugar

3 cups heavy cream

1 cup half-and-half cream

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 orange peel

1/2 fluid ounce orange liqueur

2 ounces candied orange peel, grated


In a medium bowl, beat eggs and yolk. Beat in sugar until smooth. Set aside.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, half-and-half, the vanilla bean and its scrapings, and the peel of one orange. Heat until bubbles form at edges of liquid, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Remove orange peel. Beat hot cream into egg mixture, a little at a time, until all is incorporated. Stir in orange liqueur. Pour into 4 to 6 individual custard cups.

Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place cups on towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the cups.

Bake in preheated oven 45 to 60 minutes, until set. Let cool completely.  Sprinkle candied orange peel on top of each cup before serving. Yum!

Happy Eating!

Orchid Cactus

LadyD Books is participating in two Saturday memes.

Quote It Saturday

The Cactus Song by The Lads

"There are five cacti on my windowsill And a bonsai tree, living happily together In any kind of weather they get along.
There are five cacti on my windowsill And a bonsai tree, living happily together In any kind of weather they get along.
At first, I was surprised To see how they were faring With all those shapes and sizes You'd think there'd be some staring But they didn't seem to mind That some were much too tall No condescending looks were cast on those that were still small.

You won't get these prickly friends of mine
Comparing shades of green
Or having silly arguments
About differences between them
On the whole they're quite accepting
When all is said and done
They're a group of individuals reaching out towards the sun."

 Flowers on Saturday

Orchid Cactus: LadyD Books

My "epie" taken at dusk from the garden. A delightful color, I would say. The bloom from just an ordinary cactus is quite extraordinary.


Any of several mostly epiphytic cacti of the genus Epiphyllum,  native to tropical America, having large, fragrant white flowers. (other colors, too.)

Also called orchid cactus.

Other sites to enjoy:




The Rock

The Rock: LadyD Books

safari park rock: LadyD Books

LadyD Books participates in a Friday photo meme called Skywatch Friday

While visiting the Wild Animal Park in San Diego, I came across this rock. Perhaps it is called a boulder. Anyways, it's just sitting there, tilted upon another rock. Amazing, really and I refuse to worry needlessly about the chances of it rolling off one day.

Happy Friday,

-- LadyD

The Friday 56: Story Engineering

LadyD Books participates in a fun meme every Friday hosted by Freda's Voice


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.

Larry Brooks writes a wonderful blueprint for story crafting. I am learning an abundance of writing tips from this guy, especially with Larry's guide to six necessary components that go into writing a story.

Here's my Pg. 56

"The key word here is fuse.  As in, integrate.  Character is the catalyst that empowers everything else in your story. Characters experience theme. Characters act out along a linear structure. Characters live out the plot and the antagonistic forces that make plot possible."

-- By Larry Brooks from Story Engineering

Surrenderd Sleep

Grandson Sleeping: LadyD Books
Wordless Wednesday

I just finished reading a book called Surrendered Sleep by Dr. Charles W. Page.

About The Book (Wordful Wednesday)

Surrendered Sleep approaches insomnia from a biblical perspective and exposes several heart attitudes you may experience in your journey for rest. These attitudes may not only affect the way you sleep but also the way you relate to God. Dr. Page will challenge you to wrap your mind around the concept of a God who is just as active during your sleep—or sleeplessness as during your wakeful hours.

My Thoughts (Book Review)

In many ways, our health and wellness are directly tied to stress. I must confess that I have adopted a particular stress-relieving activity on a daily basis and that has to do with breathing exercises. It sure helps me feel better. Yes, it is automatic to breathe, but I’m talking about diaphragmatic breathing. You choose to follow and observe your breathing throughout your day to feel better and melt away tension and worry.

Well, when nighttime approaches, one-third of our lives will be spent sleeping. If we have sleep issues, in our pursuit to identify the causes, we might try medication to herbal remedies and there’s always counting sheep with expressing thanks for our daily blessings.

I just finished reading a book called Surrendered Sleep. What a great title, for sure. I was immediately drawn in and wanted to read more. The heart of the book is not to undermine modern sleep medicine but to introduce us to a profitable approach to understand the One who never sleeps and provides surrendered peace to us all.

In the book, you’ll find seventeen wonderful chapters regarding our hearts on a subject that is common to all of us. Do you sleep? With all the current affairs of the world today, not to mention adding the daily stress loads to our list, it’s no wonder that many struggle with sleep disorders of some kind.

Dr. Page has written an insightful and practical approach to a much need solution to the problem, “Got Sleep?”  Towards the back of the book, you will want to read the endnotes and take a look at the Sleep Diary.

So, we are all too familiar with certain things to avoid in achieving a good night’s sleep. We have learned to avoid very spicy food and not to exercise too late in the evening. Our bedroom is a sanctuary of peace, without the presence of a loud TV. Yet, we reach for medications to help us sleep, to silence those triggers of insomnia.

In reading Dr. Charles Page’s new book, Surrendered Sleep, I must say has affected me in a way I hadn’t expected. The author skillfully cuts through layers and issues of all tried and true steps for a better sleep for us all and lays out an excellent blueprint for us to follow. Keep in mind, Dr. Page does not promise perfect, sleep-filled nights for one and all but rather he explores the root causes of many sleep disturbances as our lives have become more demanding.

In reading the book “Surrenderd Sleep”, the author walks you through a Biblical perspective of what the Christian faith has to say about sleep and introduces you to the One who created your need for sleep. If you desire to improve the peacefulness of your sleep and quality of your life, I highly recommend this one. 5* book!

The book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Tonka Truck

Grandson with Toy: LadyD Books

Tonka Truck with Grandson: LadyD Books

Grandsons play with trucks

Tonka Truck and Ball: LadyD Books

My grandson just turned "1" and is taking a few steps... and so a new chapter begins!

Indeed, I found the color yellow, not only in nature with its beautiful flowers and surroundings but on their shirts and truck, too.

So, the Tonka Truck reminded me of former blog posts and posed the question...  Have I posted book reviews about trucks before? The answer is YES! It figures, having 3 grandsons! lol I LOVE these great picture books for children!

Porch Dream

Colonel Trash Truck

LadyD books participating in Mellow Yellow Monday.

Matilija Poppy

Matilija Poppy: LadyD Books

'Tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes!

~William Wordsworth, "Lines Written in Early Spring," Lyrical Ballads, 1798

Matilija Poppy Bushes: LadyD Books

The Matilija Poppy is a shrubby perennial, heavily branched and woody, reaching up to 8 feet. The large fried-egg flowers are native to California and grow especially well in the San Diego area.  

Matilija Poppy surrounding rocks: LadyD Books

The name Matilija, of Chumash origin, relates to Chief Matilijah who lived in Ventura County. In the wild, these flowers are known as 'fire followers.' 

There was a lovely display on the Kelly Ranch in Carlsbad, California that our family enjoyed passing by on our leisurely strolls. The girls were especially tickled to see the large Matilija Poppy flower swaying in the warm breeze along the old wooden fence just outside Kelly's barn.

My dear mother-in-law has always been quite fond of the American Indian ways and my cousin Richard loves to talk and paint of Indian legend. I was fondly thinking of him as I continued reading on...

Legend of the Matilija 
In the foothill canyons, the arroyos and dry washes of Southern California, blooms the Matilija poppy, which has justly been called the queen of wildflowers. Less common than the smaller prickly poppy and lacking its defensive spines, the Matilija (it's pronounce ma til' li ha) grows as a bush, its long, fleshy stems reaching up to 8 feet in height. 

The flowers, which unfurl at dawn in the late spring, are 6 to 9 inches across, with six white petals, a sun-yellow center, and a delicate sweet fragrance. 

The plant does not die after flowering, but persists year by year until flood waters, sweeping through the canyon, finally tear it away. If some part of the root remains behind, it will resprout. Otherwise, the seeds may lie long in the ground before germinating, waiting for the storm years to pass. 

The Matilija poppy blooms among the hills east of San Diego, and had you arrived in that little town of wood and adobe in the days when Americanos were scarce and the ranchos prosperous from selling their longhorns in the goldfields up north, and had you wandered the dusty streets of the plaza in the afternoon, you might have noticed an old man dozing on the shaded porch of the General Store. 

Most likely, he's perched atop a wooden olive barrel, eyes half-closed, head leaned back, propped against the wall. That's old Antonio. Most days you'll find him like that. 

If you want to hear the legend of the Matilija, he's the one to ask. He knows many stories from the old days. Go ahead and sit beside him. It's not hard to get him started talking. The problem will come when you want him to stop.... 

"Eh?! What's this? Do you believe, young Jose, that I can no longer wrestle you to the ground, as I did when you were a child? A very bad thing, this lack of respect for one's elders. It's the American influence, I tell you. 

"Well, and so you are a stranger in town. Come, sit in the shade awhile. It's not true, you know, what these young people say about me. I was not asleep, only resting a little ...and thinking. As one grows older, one learns the importance of quiet reflection on things of the past. Someday, you will discover this for yourself young man. 

"And so, you have noticed our beautiful flower of Matilija? That is good. Few Americans take the time. You are an American? Yes, I thought so... Why thank you! Hard to find a good cigarillo these days. Everything goes up north, you know. 

"But we were speaking of the white flowers. It was long before my time, of course... What's this, Jose? Will you sit here and listen to an old man ramble? And you too, Felipe? Very well, gather round then, all of you. 

"I tell you, it is difficult to believe sometimes what things have been done in the name of Christ. And yet, they are true, these stories of the early Missions. Natives who could not be enticed willingly into the fold were roped like cattle and driven there. Those who tried to escape were hunted down on horseback. Lashings and slavery, a fine way to teach God's love and mercy! 

"Little wonder then that Chief Matilija gathered supporters from many tribes in the place called Ojai, the Nest. From there, they attacked the Mission Buenaventura, driving off the cattle and plundering the stores. 

"In return, soldiers hunted them through the hills. Their orders: to beat every bush, search every hollow, lash the renegades to the saddle or put a bullet through their head. 

"Afterwards, the remaining Indians would slip out silently and gather their dead, carrying them up the canyon by way of stone steps hidden beneath trailing vines to their secret burial grounds. A place which the white man must never find. 

"The daughter of Chief Matilija was captured on the second raid. She was proud as well as beautiful and during her four years of Mission life, she plotted how she might escape to the hills and find her father, Matilija, and the man Cocopah, her lover. She did not know if they yet lived, only that they had not been brought to the Mission. 

"She joined in with the Mission life. It helped pass the time and also gained for her the confidence of the Padres. The more they trusted her, the better her chances for escape. It is said that she learned many things there and even became a true believer. 

"Then, one day, news came secretly: her father and lover were alive at Ojai, the Nest. They were waiting for her! 

"Many weeks passed before she found a gate open on a moonless night. She slipped out boldly. When, the following day, her absence was discovered, the other neophytes raised a rebellion so fierce it was days before any soldiers could be spared to look for her. By then she was well on her way. 

"She found her lover living as a son of her father, for all her brothers and sisters had been killed. Chief Matilija arranged at once for the marriage, for his daughter's happiness was the only joy left to him. 

"Gifts were exchanged, messages sent. At last the day came when she was lifted in the arms of a relative who carried her, dancing, to her lover's door, Chief Matilija walked before his daughter, scattering seeds in her path that her marriage might bear fruit. 

"At that very moment, a volley of musket fire from the bushes mowed down the entire wedding party. Only the daughter of Chief Matilija escaped, hidden beneath the cloak of the relative who had been carrying her. 

"After the soldiers left, she crawled out from hiding. Her father and relatives were all dead. Only her lover, Cocopah was still alive, though just barely. He was severely wounded.

"She nursed him as she knew how, with healing herbs and waters from the mineral spring. But he died in her arms, and so ended the love dreams of the last Matilija. 

"Well, many years passed before a stranger climbed the stairway to the headlands. (As I told you, all this was long before my time.) And what do you think he found there? To this day, white flowers of the Matilija poppy cover the grave of the lovers, a more beautiful burial shroud than the hand of man could devise... 

"Eh? What is that, Jose? What do you mean, 'Who was the stranger?' What stranger? Now listen. Speaking of lovers, have I ever told you the story..." 

Robin Hewitt, 1989 

LadyD books is participating in:
Quote It Saturday and Flowers on Saturday