Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Independence Day

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics, where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but this is patriotism.    
                                                                      - Erma Bombeck  

I don't decorate my home for July 4th, but I do fly my flag from May through mid-September in front of my house.  I like to put a patriotic wreath on my front door.  This is a recent purchase.

Here is a close up

Today happens to be my little bird, Pearl Angel's, third birthday.    Happy Birthday, Pearlie.  A sweet little bird.  

Stay cool, and have a very happy and safe July 4th.  I will be joining Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper and Sally for Blue Monday. 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

La Bella Marketplace

A new food store opened about six months ago, and I am hooked!  It is huge, well stocked and has a very courteous and helpful staff.

A beautiful floral display greets you as you enter.  Followed by a wonderful produce aisle.

One of my favorite fruit

Cheeses from all over the world

The freshest fish 

The lobster tank

A fish I want to try "Branzino".  Has anyone tasted this?

A sushi bar

There is such a selection of prepared foods as well as groceries and staples

Pizza made the old world way, as well as fresh baked bread

Is it just me, or does it look like a special light is shining on the pizza?  

I was taking photos as quickly as I could when there were no people about

There is even an in-house cafe

I was fascinated with this aisle, cleaning products from Europe.

I love the colors of the clothespins

Time to say arrivederci! (good bye!).  Joining 

Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm


Unsolicited review,  no compensation received

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monthly Note Card Party at a Haven for Vee

It is time to join Vee for her monthly party.  So many beautiful photos taken by the blogging community.  I know you will enjoy seeing them.

Off to find a shady spot

Something about a barn

A Shady Spot
I want to pick a bouquet

I took these photos last summer in Pennsylvania, at two of my favorite places, Peace Valley Lavender Farm (photos 1, 2, 3) and Solebury Orchards (4th photo).

Thanks, Vee, for hosting this monthly party.  


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day

They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas.  In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkward teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.

My dad, age 3?, one and only photo of him as a child

Scanning is giving me lots of problems today.   I went to Staples and still not happy.

My father, on the left,  holding Yours Truly, and my Godfather holding his first born, in April 1955.  That June would have been my dad's first Father's Day.  Not sure if it was celebrated back then.

My maternal grandpa, this was Easter Sunday 1946.  He had no medical conditions, but at age 82 was hit by a car, survived the accident, but went down hill afterwards.  

And this is me, age 6 (?) opening Christmas presents with my favorite uncle.  

I had received a child's dinner set with dishes and little tiny stem ware. Who knew there would be such a thing as blogging, or even the Internet?  Much simpler times, and certainly happier times.

I just wanted to acknowledge the wonderful men in my life.  And I truly believe they are still looking out for me.  I love them all, especially you, Dad.  Thanks for everything.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Late Spring Table

While grocery shopping a few weeks ago, I wandered down the housewares aisle.  (I never seem to pay attention to my shopping list :o).   I saw these dishes in a slightly beat up box and brought them over to the Customer Service desk.  

Gibson Everyday (no pattern name).  Sixteen piece set, service for four marked $29.95, reduced to 50% off.   Lilac and birds, two favorites of mine, and they did not weigh a ton.   I decided to buy them.

I'd love to get a hummingbird feeder but don't have a good spot to hang it.  

I 'made' my own napkins (they are still a work-in-progress). I found just enough fabric to make four napkins.

I like using purple accessories, in spring and in the fall.

I like the pop of green with the purple.  These silk daisies are for an upcoming craft project.  They looked nice here.  I wanted to post this earlier, with the hopes that at least one of my three lilac bushes would have bloomed.  I could have picked a bunch for a centerpiece, but no luck this year.  

I bought the s&p's in the basket at a craft fair in northern New Jersey a couple of years ago.

Grilling chicken, one for dinner and one to add to a salad another day. Just sprinkled liberally with lemon pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Dishes by Gibson Everyday found at Waldbaum's Supermarket
Place mats, tumblers, white flatware, Christmas Tree Shop
White birds in basket salt and peppers, Lambert Castle Craft Fair, Patterson NJ
Vase, Dollar Tree
Silk daisies, A.C. Moore
Fabric for napkins, A.C. Moore
Serving platter and pitcher in background from Home Goods, last year

I am joining Kathleen for her Let's Dish party, Jann for her Share Your Cup party, (also #13!) and The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays.  


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How does my garden grow?

Not very well.  I get the strangest looking weeds and even stranger looking insects.  Never a bumble bee, sometimes a wasp.  Occasionally a plain white butterfly.  Lots of sparrows in the back yard, the robins like to hang out in the front of the house, more grass.

While pulling the never ending scourge of the mutated weeds, I snapped a couple of photos.

Could these 'weeds' really be daisies?  I pulled them anyway

I did plant vegetables for three summers and fed them well.  I don't know if this contributed to the mutated weeds.  Summer before last I had an invasive beetle which pretty much destroyed my hydrangea, rose bush and anything nearby  (except weeds).  I like to use organic products, but I don't think they did the job.  

One lone flower, the bush has lots of new growth but just one flower

I do continue to use white vinegar as my #1 weed killer.  It burns them down to a crisp, but you need to be careful with splashing.  

I never expected to see a rose on this poor bedraggled bush

My oregano came back nice and full, fragrant, but started to go to seed too fast.

First tomato. This is a patio variety, I am not doing any in-ground planting of veggies or herbs.  Just flowers in the front.

Ah, a normal bug, walking on a bunch of weeds I just yanked out of the ground.  Actually she was scurrying along quickly.

An angel keeps a watchful eye.  This stained glass window belongs to my neighbor  (as does the ugly fake 'green' fence.)  Wish I could get a photo of the whole window.

Francesca the fig tree
My fig tree is so huge and has lots of figs.  I rarely get to enjoy the fruit, either they remain hard and green and never ripen, or the birds and squirrels finish them off.  Only the first year it was planted did I eat lots of these sweet white figs. 

Slowly but surely I am making progress.  Still have lots of  things to do, like washing the patio furniture.

I am looking forward to eating breakfast outside, reading and enjoying the fruits of my labor before the heat and humidity set in for a while.

I am hoping to catch a glimpse of Venus tonight.  Weather permitting,  Staten Islanders, along with folks across Alaska, the Pacific and Eastern Asia, will be treated to one of the rarest recurring celestial spectacles visible from Earth.   The planet Venus will pass between us and the sun, appearing as a tiny black dot crossing the sun's surface.

The so-called "transit of Venus" actually occurs in pairs a few years apart (the last one was in 2004), and then the phenomenon does not reappear for more than a century. The 2012 occurrence, visible on Staten Island near sunset, is the last time anyone on Earth will see the phenomenon until 2117 -- 105 years from now.


Monday, June 4, 2012

My Jammin' Weekend

These little ruby beauties did not disappoint.

I followed a recipe I found on Pinterest.  You can check it out here.

I love preserves but they don't love me back.  Too much refined sugar.  I often have tasted fresh fruit and wondered what it would be like to save that taste in a jam.  When I look up recipes, I simply cannot get past the obscene amount of sugar.   Sometimes as much as 7 cups!  This recipe appealed to me and I decided to give it a try.  

Welch's 100% grape juice - no sugar added - recipe specifies white but couldn't find it, pectin for low or no sugar jam, and agave nectar.*  I use agave in many things calling for sugar and honey.  Half the carbs, better for the body to process and I like the flavor better than honey (blends in better).  

Recipe called for just two cups of strawberries, but next time I will double and perhaps triple the recipe.  I only made this much!  

Ten empty jars waiting to be filled.  Back to the berry farm next to Delicious Orchards in New Jersey.  

Then I saw this on the shelf in the supermarket, and I thought a biscuit would be a good 'surface" to taste test my jam.

I made half the recipe (for 1 1/2 eggs, I used 1 whole egg + two tablespoons egg substitute).  The entire recipe said it would make 10 biscuits, I made half the recipe  and got seven.    They were good, lighter than a regular wheat biscuit and almost tasting more like a popover.


(*) = I only used about 1/4 cup agave and it was plenty sweet because the berries were so sweet.  I messed up by using maple flavor.  It is interesting.  Next time I will use plain.
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