my mom’s spice tea recipe

My mom’s spice tea is one of my favorite tastes of fall and winter. I started my day by making a big pot of it – even though I’m the only one in my house who likes it. It’s Comfort Food for me – in liquid form. My mom made it rarely when I was growing up. I remember spice tea on Christmas morning, snow days and when she’d host her evening card group a few times a year. Sometimes I even got to take the left over to school in my thermos. When you make it, the cinnamon and cloves make the whole house smell good and everything feel all right – inside and out. Happy New Year’s Eve Day, as my father wished me in an early morning e-mail. ~ Janean

Spice Tea

2 cups sugar

2 dozen cloves (or less)

2 cups water

2 or 3 cinnamon sticks

Boil together 15 minutes

Pour 8 cups boiling water over 6 tea bags (or 2 Family Size tea bags), let stand

Add to sugar mixture when brewed

Then add: 4 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 can frozen undiluted orange juice. Add 4 cups boiling water. Simmer, do no boil

Extra can be stored in the refrigerator overnight and reheated the next day. You may want to remove the cloves before storing because their flavor gets stronger if left in overnight.

My sister told me once with a wink that this recipe was supposed to be a secret, but I think it’s meant to be shared. 


a taste of home

upon waking

I know what I am about to do

the anticipation makes my mouth water

no coffee today

no herbal tea

made one mug at a time

today is a spice tea day

my mom’s recipe

a taste of home

the one I grew up in

the little house

at the end of the dead end street

the one with the kitchen so small

it was like an afterthought

oh, but the meals my mother made there

I smile at the memories

spice tea was special

not for everyday

for company

like when she hosted cards

the only outing with friends she went to each month

sometimes they’d come to our house

the living room would be filled with women

sitting at card tables in folding chairs

talking, laughing, snacking and even smoking

and no one smoked at our house

except my grandfather

the few times a year they visited

usually we went to them

spice tea became a Christmas traditon

mom would make it early

we’d drink it as we opened presents

ladled into Christmas mugs

one after the other

until the giant saucepan was empty

it is made for winter days and snow days

gloomy gray days

for the scent of cinnamon and cloves

makes you smile

even before the sugary citrus flavored tea

passes by your lips

I’ve burned my tongue more than once

rushing to take the first sip

oh, how I love it

today is one of those days

I didn’t make it on Christmas this year 

I usually do

it’s early morning on New Year’s Eve day instead

the spice tea is on the stove

my first mug is at my elbow

almost time for the second

it’s as good as I remember mom making it

my sister too

a taste of home

soul food

comfort in a mug

memories too

© 2011 Turquoise Tangles

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

Shel Silverstein (via lindseyx)

The Words We Never Finish


These crumpled pages prohibit empty words
with significant cause

    A simple feeling,
          not worthy enough
                 for the world to see
          An incomplete story
    …worth finishing
The short poems and raw prose that we
long ago abolished when we barely started
… all sit under beds

They wait for us to return with a
writer’s hand and an ink-filled pen

    – but we leave them there,
    for the spiders to read

under the surface

I hold back
instead of saying
what I think
I bite my tongue
I chafe at the bit
I gnash my teeth
I choke back the words
it is better this way
keeps the peace
on the outside
I’ve done it since forever
it is a habit now
smile and nod
be polite
maybe not always
but usually
for it is expected of me
I don’t want to disappoint
or raise eyebrows
heaven forbid
what if…
perhaps someday
but not today
until that day
I will keep
my secret self
under the surface

Once in a blue moon I take my children to the grocery store with me.
So far this week, during Christmas vacation, the three of us have made two trips.
On the second, I ended up with Blue Moon ice cream in the cart.
Tonight we taste tested it.
My youngest son and I.
Afterwards he opted to have chocolate instead.
I went for the new kind.
In a dazzling shade if blue.
The Cat was curious.
As cats often are.
Unless my oldest son love, love, LOVES it, I probably won’t buy it again.
Glad we bought it this one time though.
I admit, I’d been wondering about it for awhile now.
The box advertises vanilla with spices.
And Oh, So Pretty.
Ice cream is ice cream.
Cold, sweet and satisfying.

Paper Lanterns

Fragile as paper lanterns,

our delicate fibers tear.

Allowing the inevitable winds of change

to rupture the fabric into fissures of despair.

Tossing and twirling,

we vehemently fight against our fate.

Not wanting to relinquish control

to a life we have learned to negate.

Yet in the opening of that chasm,

our hidden light shall shimmer bright.

Exposing to the world that inner beauty,

as we unabashedly sway in the night.


“I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.” ~Joseph Campbell  

I have a turquoise t-shirt that says, “Follow Your Bliss”. Before I left the office where I worked for 11+ years I left behind a sticker on one of the file cabinets that read, “Follow Your Bliss”, because I was. ~ Janean