Thursday, May 26, 2011

stone walls

I'm skipping a week I missed of Snappyfriends and going right to this week's challenge. Times have been challenging in all aspects of life lately and trying to stay on an even keel has been hard for lots of people in my life. And, if it's hard for them, it's also hard for me.So, here it is, stone walls. There aren't many stone walls around here. I've always wanted one but we don't live on stony ground so the pickings wouldn't be free. On Mother's Day while we were enjoying that sunshine at my daughter's house I found to the right of me the gate for our previous challenge, and then as my eye wandered around her yard I noticed right there the stone wall that separates her yard from the neighbor. "It's more of a broken concrete wall, mom," she said. She's right, but I loved the tree growing up and through it, and the conglomeration of materials it's made of.
Tomorrow is Patient Husband's birthday and I'm looking forward to his seeing face (I haven't been home but three times in the past three weeks.) The kids are coming for the holiday weekend to celebrate with the birthday boy. Weather is expected to be good, hot by Monday.
I'm also thinking about the next quilting project. I have a million ideas, they all look good in my head but I haven't been home long enough lately to sort fabrics, find patterns and get going. Hopeful, ever hopeful.....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Absolutely Perfect

Happy Absolutely Perfect Weekend!

This weekend was so nice. The weather was blissfully beautiful. We had Elizabeth and Adelaide here for an overnight visit, we got some yard work done.

Friday I picked the girls up and brought them home with me for some overnight fun with Patient Grandpa and me. We had to do just everything that they love to do here, beginning with running to find their favorite "stuffed up" animals, a crocodile named Croc and a dog named Melrose. Elizabeth keeps Croc close at all times and Adelaide loves Melrose. They went with us the the ice cream shop after dinner. I didn't have the camera with me. Bad move on my part.

Saturday morning we headed off to town after breakfast and saying hello to the baby birds in the nest next to the front door.
We bought tomatoes and basil plants and a cookie at the farmer's market and met our friends Constance and Edgar. Elizabeth's cheeks are full of tomatoes and you can see Croc is ever near.

Then, because it was such a gorgeous warm day we headed for the beach for our first feel for the summer of sand in our toes.While we were swinging Elizabeth threw her head back and said, "I've got the wind in my piggy tails and Croc in my arms! What could be better than this?" Out of the mouths of babes. Do you see the gull just flying behind Adelaide's head? She spends her beach time chasing the flocks of gulls.

She wanders a lot, enjoying the sand and the gulls. She wasn't much interested in the water.

But Elizabeth was. She wanted wet sand to build the first castle (for Croc) of the summer.

None of us wanted to go home. It is amazing what a little nice weather and grandchild time can do to lift your spirits.

The Good-bye Window.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

gates and cakes

Snappyfriends would like to see some gates this week. Or was it last week? Gates can be different things. I couldn't help but think of the gates around where I live, the kind the rich people who build very large houses on the lakeshore put in to keep people out. Like this one. The kind that needs a combination or remote control to open. They say to me, "don't come near me with your cooties."

And then, while sitting in my daughter's backyard on Mother's day I noticed this gate leaning against their fence and I immediately thought this was a gate that kept dogs and small children in a yard but swung easily on its hinge to let neighbors in.

In a couple of weeks we are hosting our annual EOYP (End of Year Party) for the staff at school. They come after field day (a day of water balloons, holey bucket races, jump rope competitions, races, etc.) for an end of the year let down. I believe this is the 14th year Patient Husband and I have hosted this for the staff. It's always a wonderful evening. They contribute to the groceries and I cook all of the food. Each year has been different, with the exception of three return engagements of my white lasagna (chicken, alfredo sauce, gorgonzola, pine nuts....). I was backed into a corner this year on what to serve. When you're cooking for 30-40 people it's hard to come up with something different that can be done 'easily.' I'm thinking of French this year. I was sitting under a pile of cookbooks looking for inspiration and started to salivate over Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook. I decided on Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic but Patient Husband blanched at that and suggested Coq au Vin instead. Sold. Moroccan Couscous is definitely on the menu. I remember standing on the shore in Nice and asked my son what was on the other side of the Mediterranean sea we were staring at. Algeria, he said. Wow. I was in France, that was amazing enough, but on the other side of this shore was Algeria. Wow.

I was thinking of creme brulee but when I discovered our lunch lady of 30 years was retiring I gave her the choice of picking dessert and she picked the infamous cream cheese poundcake.

I bought this little cookbook many, many years ago (like maybe 20?) and the very reason I bought it and first thing I made from it was this:

Look how splotchy with spillage the page is. Can you read it? It's a fantastically rich, dense, huge bundt cake that you canNOT stay away from.

So, I made three this morning and put them in the freezer. I do so love do aheads, don't you? I thought I'd try to do the cooking photos I enjoy on other people's blog pages. Not too bad with one hand on the ingredients and one on the camera!

Cream the sugar with the butter, margarine and cream cheese.

Add the eggs alternating with the flour

Pour into a well greased and floured bundt pan

This is why nuns smile. They know what's for dessert tonight.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I saw something on my way to work this morning that I haven't seen in years. Two youngish children walking to school. Alone. No parent. They were brother and sister, he was about 8 years old and she looked to be around 6 years old. He stood one or two footsteps in front of her on the moderately busy four-way-stop corner and looked both ways. After I passed, in the rear view mirror I saw him take her hand and lead her across. I knew which school they were heading for, it was a couple of more blocks away. The feeling of deja vu swept over me and I remembered what walking to school was like when I was a kid. We walked miles through neighborhoods picking up our friends at their homes as we passed by. We looked like lines of ants all heading in the same direction, sidewalks and corners filled with kids from all directions, all heading toward a common goal. We all lived to tell it, too.
Kids are bussed to school now, or driven by their parents but no one walks anymore. At our school the kids aren't even allowed to walk if they live on the next block over. Times are different now, but boy, I can remember the conversations we had as kids as we walked to school. I can remember we pointed out the 'pretty' houses, or the nicest old lady living in a certain house, or trying not to step on cracks in the sidewalks or singing our favorite songs in harmony as we walked or the time I got buried by a snowplow.
It's a beautiful spring morning here today and driving from my mom's house to work through the old neighborhood and seeing these two little ones walking without supervision just about made my day...and it's only 8:32 a.m.
My mom, by the way, had a knee replacement on Tuesday. She came through it ok but is not happy with the after effects right now. I show her my knee replacement scars and keep saying it will get better and then she won't be sorry for a minute. Who knows, maybe she'll feel good enough someday to walk to school.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

We had a perfectly wonderful Mother's Day. The weather was the guest of honor at the party. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day. Patient Husband and I stopped at my mom's for a visit in the morning before she headed off to my sister's for the afternoon. We had to document her magnolia - in all it's glory. Usually just about the time the magnolia blooms we get a frost or severe storm that kills or knocks off all the blossoms. But this year it's stupendous. My mom is having a total knee replacement tomorrow and she's worried about it. She's 85 and said, "What the heck! My life is over! Why am I doing this?" And we told her she should expect to be around for awhile and to do that pain free is worth what she's going to go through. I have two new knees. I know what she's in for, but in the end, it's worth every bit of the ordeal.

After we left her house we went to my daughter's. What a perfect day to sit in the yard and play with the kids, eat tomato tarts and drink a gin an tonic, a glass (or two) of wine. I wonder if the top of Colin's head is a little sun burnt today?

I forgot to load a picture of our picnic dinner. We promised the girls if they ate a good dinner we'd take a walk to the ice cream store after. It's just a couple of blocks from their house and makes for a nice evening destination.

Who doesn't love ice cream? Why do they order chocolate when they're wearing white?

Elizabeth had to eat the top knot off Grandpa's cone that was dipped in chocolate. This child would bleed chocolate if you cut her.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ta Da!

Ta Da! Finally something to show!!
Elizabeth's 4 year old quilt for her big girl bed is finished. Friend Marilyn (in the orange) and I appliqued little dresses and outfits and quilted with perle cotton. Once we got the lead out we made good time and it's finished in time for Elizabeth's fourth birthday in a couple of weeks.
Of course, that doesn't mean she hasn't seen it already. She's examined it, watched it come together and picked out her favorite outfits.

These are some of my favorites. I didn't take as many pictures as I could have and noticed I didn't include my favorite (the yellow one on the very bottom, behind Adelaide) but this is my second favorite -

Marilyn did this blue jeans and blouse square. It's very cute with the pink buttons.

This raincoat is Elizabeth's favorite because she loves dinosaurs, especially T.Rex, and she sees the green dinosaur as a T. Rex.

But this one, this is my very favorite. Friend Marilyn did this dress and it's really beautiful. The colors are so different for a little girl but I can just see E. wearing it.

So, not the best photography, it's hanging on a line and I was in a hurry on my lunch hour, but it's finished and posted! Yay!
I noticed I said a lot of these were my favorite. Used that word a lot. It's really a cute quilt and I have to admit I didn't enjoy a lot of the appliqueing, the pattern pieces were a bit wonky and there were a couple of them that I took out 3 or 4 times trying to get it right. But I wouldn't have put the dresses on it if I didn't like them so I guess the whole thing is my favorite!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


While I wait for Patient Husband to come pick me up to go home, I'll post my Snappyfriends paper assignment. I thought paper would be easy. And it is...but not so interesting. Books? Too obvious coming from me. Wrapping paper? I use bags. Paper...paper....hmmmm...hmmm....
Then one day I walked past the art room at school and there was this big box, no two boxes of scraps in every color. Leave it to the art room to come to the rescue! Our art teacher is very resourceful and I'm sure these will be transformed someday.
Instead of sitting in here, I should be outside on a bench reading. We finally have a nice warmish day, sun is shining, cotton balls floating by in the sky. So, off I go....

Sunday, May 1, 2011


It's trying so hard to be spring! the calendar says we better get along with it but the weather is still cold. Next weekend is Mother's Day -the occasion where mothers everywhere are presented with hanging baskets and the greenhouses are open for business...even if it too cold to actually put these beauties out in the yard. A little cold can't keep me away. Once the doors open, I'm there taking all of that color in. Patient Husband went along for the ride.

I bought just one flat of impatiens, one of alyssum and four packets of heirloom tomatoes. Enough for a chilly day. I'll harden them off on the porch and slowly plant them in the porch containers.

This little container of tomatoes was sitting on the checkout counter. It took me awhile to realize they were the tomatoes that have already ripened from the hanging baskets in the greenhouse. REAL tomatoes! I bought them and all the way home tried to figure out how to enjoy them the most. I decided on two sandwiches. Grilled cheese with tomatoes or BLT? Eeny meeny miney moe. Finally, as Patient Husband endured this banter, I decided I could have both! One for lunch and one for dinner!


Crusty peasant bread, asiago/rosemary cheese and brand new tomatoes. Delish.

But now I am going to spend the rest of the day quilting the second baby quilt for the twins. The first is finished...yay!