Rain boots, buttercups, Dutch cookies, Sophia Loren, and springtime...

What's making me smile today? First of all, the girls are so proud of their new rain boots with smiling cats and pink hearts - and they have been showing them off all week.

I picked up a handful of glowing buttercups at the farmer's market that are cheering up my kitchen windowsill.

Lovely friends from the Netherlands visited this past weekend and brought delicious Dutch caramel butter cookies which taste absolutely wonderful with tea. The caramel is sandwiched between the thin butter cookies and the flavor truly explodes in these quite innocent looking cookies.

But wait - didn't I mention that I was giving up sugar and caffeine for Lent? Well I suppose Katherine Hepburn said it best: "If you obey the rules, you miss all the fun." And special friends who bring special presents warrant a little rule breaking, don't you agree?

This past Sunday it rained, and we watched a wild, funny, romantic Italian movie from 1955, featuring a very young and beautiful Sophia Loren.

It made me want to visit Rome, and Sophia Loren's curves made me feel less guilty about the butter cookies. Okay, I admit that Sophia Loren had curves in different places than I do, but she did remind me that the ideal feminine figure was much different 50 years ago.

My girls have been manically busy as usual drawing new pictures in their studio space.

I particularly love this new springtime drawing of Sophia's - two girls going to the park to swing. I find her details so fascinating - the flowers, the insects, the bells on their shoes and ribbons in their hair, the well and trees in the background.

What have you been up to this week? What is making you smile today?