Sunday, December 15, 2013

Oh where to begin?

I have been MIA for a while........took a nasty fall in my kitchen on Thanksgiving morning.  I broke a toe and dislocated two others.  My right foot, which is connected to my bad right calf and knee!  Never fails.

I also happened to be carrying my sweet birdie, Pearlie, in the cage.  Pearlie landed behind me, the cage collapsed on her and she was trapped between two sides.   I almost flipped as I thought she was crushed.   I cried out and she made a tiny squeak.  She is just fine, thank God, but me, I hobbled up, realized I was bleeding, put an ice pack for maybe 10 minutes and continued with the turkey dinner.   Company was expected at 2 PM and this crowd is right on time.  Dinner was delicious, although I ate hardly nothing that day.  I lived on leftovers for the next four days!

I got through the day with limited assistance, and it took me three days to finish the cleanup and get my place back in order.  I thought Christmas would be a complete wash, but I do have a bit of decor up, a tiny tree, my Nativity, a few wreaths.  I hand made my cards this year, and thanks to a dear friend I had Christmas stamps and another dear friend mailed them for me.  Shopping was done online, and I do believe that is the way to go.   I feel well enough to do some baking, next weekend.  I like my Christmas goodies to be as fresh as can be.  I have no room in my freezer.

I tried uploading photos but no go.  This has set me back from getting a lap top.  I wonder if anyone can explain how I can get my smartphone to talk to my iPad ?  There is an option to load photos from a phone but when I clicked only an old header of mine came up.

I am enjoying all the Christmas-ing going on in Blogland.  As for me, I am just happy that I did not need to go to the ER, no surgery, and my sweet bird was OK.  It could have been a real disaster that day.

Thanks for stopping by and for all the sweet emails.  You guys are the best.

Merry Christmas!

xo

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Last Minute Thoughts

No, I am not going to list all that I am grateful for, did that last year.  Still holds true now, just counting my blessings each and every day, not just on Thanksgiving.

I made two soups, butternut squash and chicken, baked two pies, pumpkin and coconut custard, made cranberry sauce, baked sweet potatoes and prepped the stuffing.  Still have lots to do.  May not even get to sleep tomorrow night!

We are getting lots of rain and wind, temps are holding so far in the 40's, but tomorrow night the temp will plunge by 30 degrees.  I really don't get this crazy weather.  It was a beautiful, mild fall.  I guess it wants to go out in a big way.

We will be six on Thursday.  The oldest guest is 98, the youngest, yours truly, is 59.  Makes me chuckle to think of that.  My strategy this year was the spirit of enough.  Making do with things I have.  I tried to change some side dishes, but no go, my old standards are requested.  I am not making mashed potatoes, I was told they are not necessary (I think so).  Oh well.  I may make some over the weekend just to make turkey croquettes.

I resisted the urge to run to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy a tablecloth or napkins. I shopped locally rather than a fabulous specialty food store and orchard where things are double the price.  I do believe it will be enough.  I hope so, anyway!  No crafts, recycled some fall decorations, keeping it simple.  I am happy I accomplished what I did.  I can't wait to get a lap top, I miss photos so much.

Hope all my readers and friends have a very blessed and very happy Thanksgiving.  If you can't all be together this year with your family, there is always next year.  Or Skype.  Be safe with the crazy weather affecting 20 states and the entire East Coast.

Love you!

xo

Monday, November 18, 2013

Beginning of the End

I am attempting to post with the iPain.  We shall see how far I get.  I wish I was sharing a nice recipe or craft, but my thoughts the past few days have been on the 50th Anniversary of JFK's assassination.

In the movie, When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal asks his much younger  girlfriend where she was when Kennedy was shot.  She responds, "Ted Kennedy was shot?"  Everyone laughed, but generations  after us never think about, or even care very much.  They will have to Google it, I guess.

I was in the fourth grade, 9 years old, and I remember that Friday. So vividly.  We were in the middle of a lesson when the Assistant Principal, Mr. Klein, rushed into our classroom and whispered something to our teacher, Mrs. Steckler.  She immediately burst  into tears.  We were immediately dismissed.  The words "President Kennedy was shot" were ringing in my ears, although at the tender age of 9, I had a more pressing issue at the moment:  how was I to walk home from school, crossing three large avenues, with no adult supervision?   I had no way of contacting my mother, who was expecting me to get out at 3 PM.  I just plodded on home, looking both ways when I crossed the avenues, running as fast as I could to reach the other side.

When I arrived home, I found my mother and aunt sitting in front of our tv, crying.  They were both shocked to see me walk through the door.  I started crying, too, in the way a child does when she sees her mother crying.

I had no idea that history had just been made, nor that our country was changed, and that life as we knew it and enjoyed it would be no more.

I have often thought to myself that our country was so changed, and just kind of went downhill from there.

 My father loved JFK, they were 2 years apart in age, and both fought in WW II.

I wonder if their paths crossed then, or perhaps in Heaven?

xo

Apologies for crazy fonts and sizing, it is tough to control anything on here, and auto spell is making me nuts, for real!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just a little chitchat

Today is a special date:  11-12-13.  Did you make a wish?

I am missing my lap top, which I had sent back.  I am not willing to pay $1050 for repair.  I was told that Sony parts are expensive, but really, the computer was less than half that price!  I hope to be fully back up with a new one by the weekend.  

The taping of the Rachael Ray show aired on Monday, and it was fun to watch.  I saw myself three times.  They also included a segment with The Cake Boss, Buddy, but we did not actually see him.  

Today it is a really gloomy, raw day, with wet snowflakes earlier but not sticking to anything.  It is supposed to be near 60 on Friday, which is good as I have a vet appointment that day.  Had to postpone the previous one due to cold weather, not good for my feathered babies.

I took a free class at the Apple store, and it was helpful.  My new iPad Air was making me crazy, but I managed to be connected with important stuff like email, my banking, and of course, Pinterest!

I am hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I started list making, timetables, etc.  I really want to be on the ball so I don't get too stressed out.

I started making some Christmas cards.  While I refuse to decorate before Thanksgiving, of course, crafting and card making must get done sooner.  I draw the line on baking cookies as well, since I don't have the freezer space.  And they would be way too tempting for me.

I am looking forward to a real post complete with photos soon.  I enjoyed such gorgeous color from the trees in my own 'back yard', but in a NY minute they were on the ground.

xo

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hello from the land of the technology challenged




Sorry everyone, I have been MIA from my blog due to an unfortunate incident on Halloween!  I do think I had a pesky ghost hanging around that night, and a glass of water was spilled  on my laptop keyboard!

I had a group of kiddies waiting for treats, but I blotted and prayed and did what I could.........I actually got back on and it seemed to be OK.  I was surfing the web in "Fool's Paradise."

I expect my laptop to be returned by November 19th.  I am keeping myself connected with a new iPad Air.  I am muddling through and need to get to a class.  But it is not  the right thing for blogging.

I did get to be in the studio audience for a taping of the Rachael Ray show on Tuesday. I have a group photo but  I have  no clue how to upload it here,  Working on that, in the meantime, try to tune in this Monday, November 11th at 10 am est to see it.

We saw chef Richard Blais and actress Liv Tyler and her maternal grandma and received their book on manners and the new etiquette.  Photos forthcoming as soon as I can get to Best Buy or the Apple store (or run into a ten year old).


xo

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Autumn Woman

This past Saturday, I spent a wonderful afternoon attending an East Coast Woman's  Salon  in Brielle, NJ at the home of Flo Schell.  


Photo courtesy of Flo Schell

I made Flo's acquaintance when I saw her pins on Pinterest.  We  used to comment back and forth, and Flo invited me to pin to her group boards.  


Flo Schell


You can see the beautiful and inspiring pins for this salon here.


Flo's backyard, Photo courtesy of Flo Schell

The name of the salon was The Way of the Autumn Woman:  Embracing wabi-sabi as a guide to living.  



Madonna & Child, painting by Flo Schell

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that  comes from embracing imperfection, incompleteness and transience (impermanence).


Sweet bird

The Japanese embrace the aging process.  



The two statues are a perfect example, the newer one in the back, the older, more weathered one in the front.  I learned that feeling "different" = 'unique'.  Can you embrace your imperfections?


Great Mother, painting by Flo Schell




Flo graciously allowed me to take some photos.  This has no relevance to the salon, I have always wanted an espaliered apple tree, and here I found one (faux).  I loved it!



Flo has just started painting in January of this year.  I was quite taken with her work.  I also was taken with this book tower, I thought it was free standing, but it is a shelf.  



We were asked to bring an object that was old, worn, or weathered, or in some way showing its age. If it's an object or photo you love...that would make it even sweeter.  I decided on my initial ring given to me by my parents for either my 18th, or 21st, birthday.  I can't remember it is so long ago. Some ladies brought a doll, old cards, a child's music book.  



Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, painting by Flo Schell

I was greeted at the door by Flo with a huge smile, and immediately felt a kinship with her and the other guests as they arrived.  


Photo courtesy of Flo Schell


We were all "women of a certain age", sharing similar life experiences.  It is all done at your own comfort level.



We ended with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, very very symbolic and very, very quiet.  It was a tea to purify the soul by becoming one with nature:  calm, rustic, graceful, simple.  At the end of the ceremony, a purse was passed around and we each received a token to commemorate this day.  I chose a small stone.  


Close up to see the beautiful eyes of the Madonna in the painting by Flo Schell
I am so looking forward to the winter salon.



St. Hildegarde von Bingen, Nun, 1st doctor of the Church, painting by Flo Schell


I urge you to visit Flo's website and Pinterest boards.  She is also the author of Wisdom of the 8 Bowls.

Sharing with The Places I've Been, Wow Us Wednesdays, You're Gonna Love It, Sweet & Simple Friday.  


xo

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October's Note Card Party

Joining Vee for her monthly Note Card Party, a fun linky where you share photos from older posts or ones you may have just taken.  

I decided to re-visit my friend's 30 acre farm in Wytheville, Virginia.


Yeah, yeah, I'd be a perfect Thanksgiving card, with the saying "Eat pork!"


Phew!  At least Turkey didn't ask "Where's the beef"!


Not a daily 9 - 5 job



Butterfly

Please stop by Vee's for lots of 'hospitality' and beautiful photos, most definitely note card worthy!


xo

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.     ~  Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Good Eats

I haven't done a foodie post in a while, haven't really been cooking or preparing blogworthy items.  

My friend Marie asked me if I would be interested in making eggplant caponata, a Sicilian specialty consisting of cubed, fried eggplant, celery, tomatoes, seasoned with a sweet and sour syrup of sugar and red wine vinegar, and olives and capers.  My Sicilian grandma made an excellent one, but I never did get to write down the 'recipe'.  I looked online and found one that sounded like what I remembered, and Marie and I got to work in her sunny, beautiful kitchen.



We salted and let the cubed eggplant rest to draw out excess water and bitterness.



Marie and I each prepped a different part of the recipe.  All the veggies came from a roadside farm stand right near Marie's home in Monroe, NJ.


Best, most sweetest watermelon I ever ate from Krackerjacks Farm Stand

We also made roasted red peppers, my favorite to serve as an appetizer with fresh mozzarella and as part of an antipasto.  They are wonderful to add to sandwiches, egg salad, and hummus.



Kitchen smelled so delicious while we worked!



Caponata 

I peeled and seeded 26 peppers.  Marie bought a bushel full, a couple we had to toss and Marie put some aside to stuff.


Easiest way to roast a large amount of peppers, under the broiler!

When peppers are blackened, place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  They will steam and skin is easy to remove and so is the stem with all the seeds attached.



We sterilized jars in the dishwasher on the sani-cycle




We had a fun day.  Marie even made a delicious eggplant parmigiana for dinner the night before, and we enjoyed it for our lunch break.



Two city girls originally from Brooklyn, enjoying God's bounty and keeping our grandmothers' recipes alive.

Sharing with Seasonal Sunday, Tutorials, Tips & Tidbits, Bouquet of TalentYou're Gonna Love ItWhat's It Wednesday, From the Farm, Sweet and Simple Fridays, Full Plate ThursdayFoodie Fridays, and Home Sweet Home.  Thanks to all our hostesses.

xo

Note:  Since we really used "culinary license" here, if you are interested in making these yourself, contact me and I will send you our "scrib" notes!







Friday, October 4, 2013

Blessing of the Animals

Today is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.  He is the Patron Saint of Animals.

From Pope Francis I's Facebook page, St. Francis believed all animals were stamped with God's image.  For him, every creature and earthly experience -- the sun, moon, wind, air, water, fire, earth, animal, plant -- was a window to God.

Here are my two in their 'travel' cages,  having a birdy meltdown, well, at least Pearlie was!  They associate car trips with vet visits.



Pearlie made a ruckus up until she saw the doggies, and heard the barking, then she kept quiet (briefly).

Hanging on tight!

It is a social event for some of the dogs 




Here is the priest reciting prayers



Weather is so glorious, but it is about to change and rain is in the forecast by early next week, feeling the effects of TS Karen.

This is one of my favorite prayers, by one of my favorite saints.  


Sharing with Seasonal Sundays.

xo

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France 








Sky Watch Friday



Indian Summer, Staten Island, NY  by Barbara F.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Day Late......

For Let's Dish, but here I am, with a quick post to share my favorite apple pie plate and dessert plates.  Kathleen, of Cuisine Kathleen, has given us an apple tablescape challenge this month.  


My 'mega' apple pie plate.  It measures 11 inches inside diameter and 12 inches to the edges of the plate.  I have never attempted to bake a pie in it.  Maybe this Thanksgiving will be the first one.



I bought six of these glass apple pie plates about fifteen years ago at a local flea market.  Probably paid too much at $2 each, but I had a thing with apples back then, still do!  If I could get a deal on Franciscan's Apple, well, I'd throw dishes out to make room.  Ha!  I thought I'd set a pretty place for myself while my coffee is brewing.  


I don't remember the name of these plates, I was told by the vendor that they were very old, but who really knows?  If anyone can identify them, please contact me.  

Used my apple place mats, an apple red mug and dessert time is done!


I do have three of these apple coffee cups, but they are packed in the nether regions of my home and I wasn't in a mood to excavate them, but I share this photo from another autumn snack post.

Please visit Kathleen's blog to see wonderfully dressed and very apple-y tablescapes this week.  I will also bring some apple pie and party with Alma for Seasonal Sundays.

xo









Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Note Card Party

I am late to join Vee's party this month, but here are my four choices, reflecting my favorite season.  These were taken last October, out in the country with my best friend, celebrating her birthday.  


My idea of retail therapy




An apple a day keeps the doctor away!



God's Little Acre


Summer's Last Parting Gift from the Garden
Please stop by and visit Vee at A Haven for Vee, the party will be in full swing.  

xo

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This Patriots' Day


We have to remember that love is stronger than hate...........but never forget the lives lost.  


xo

Monday, September 9, 2013

When you care enough to send......

a pretty one of a kind card to people you love and know will appreciate it.  Or make up invites, place cards.  I also was very inspired by my friend Rosemary who blogs here.  This was what sent me right over the edge.  I am impetuous that way!




I have been wanting to make cards for a while now, and I took the plunge and purchased a Big Shot from Stampin' Up.



I purchased supplies from Leann who blogs at The Old Parsonage.  There are helpful tutorials online, and a friend helped me get started.



I made a couple of Halloween cards, Thanksgiving and am working on two birthday cards.  



A fuzzy close-up of my Halloween card.



Thanksgiving



I find it so relaxing and a stress reducer, although at times I was a little nervous, especially when cutting the card stock.  I have a plan to make some custom Christmas cards.



Well, of course I had to get this die cut!!  A few of these got mailed out today, and I forgot to 'sign' the back of them as a "Barbara Original"!  Ha!

Eventually I will be experimenting with ribbons, lace, bits of fabric.  Since each card I make will be 'custom', I will keep the person I am making it for in mind, and will proceed accordingly.

I will be joining Kathe for You're Gonna Love It, Kathy for Make It Pretty, Creative MondaysBrenda for Tweak It Tuesdays, Amaze Me Mondays, Wanda Ann for Trivia Tuesday at Memories By the Mile, Home{work} Wednesday with Barb, Suzy & the girlsKim for Wow Us Wednesdays, All Things Pretty ThursdayJody for Sweet & Simple Fridays, Sherry for Home Sweet Home, Elaine for From The Farm Blog HopThe Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays, Jan for Share Your Cup.  Thanks ladies!!


xo



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