Friday, September 30, 2011

It's what moms do, Just hangin' out in the fridge, Keeping house

1. I told Tess I keep an eye on her while she's waiting at the bus stop every morning. She said, "What, are you stalking me?" and I said, "No. Think of it more like I'm your bodyguard." It made her smile.
2. This photo of Marian : )
3. I'm always inspired after a visit at B.'s. She creatively keeps her home warm and inviting, adding touches of the season and changing things up every so often.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Added to the collection, Revived, My next creation

photo courtesy of

1. Steve spotted a recipe in Reader's Digest, (of all places), and asked me to make it. It turned out to be a delicious side dish that I can't wait to make again. It reminds us of French Onion Soup.
Baked Onions with Gruyére
5 medium, sweet onions such as Vidalia
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup low sodium beef broth
2 teaspoons Soy sauce
1 cup finely shredded Gruyére
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage (I used dried)
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Coat shallow baking dish (large enough to hold 10 onions haves) with cooking spray.
Trim about 1/4 inch off the top and bottom of onions so that halves will sit level in the pan. Cut onions in half crosswise and peel them. Arrange onion halves, cut side up, in baking dish.
Brush exposed tops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 minutes.
In a glass measuring cup, mix beef broth and soy sauce.remove dish from oven and pour sauce over onions. Return to oven and continue baking about 1 hour, basting occasionally. If liquid evaporates, add a little water.
Remove dish from oven and sprinkle cheese and sage evenly over tops of onions. Bake 5-7 minutes more until cheese is nicely melted.
Serves 10.

2. The change of seasons renews my interest in cooking. Cooler weather adds more options to the menu, especially recipes that were too heavy to eat in the summer like stews and casseroles.
3. I'm not fastidious about making tidy checkerboard patterns on our grass with the lawnmower. I make freestyle, circular lines that I imagine are more like crop patterns.

** Steve put the recipe link under "Comments" : )

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What they're saying

A bit of conversation between teen daughter and friend. Apparently one can be too clean.
D: Have you ever seen his friend with the really clean gelled hair, and the rectangle glasses? He looks so... clean. It's weird.
F: No! I haven't but hygiene is important.
D: I know it sounds reallllllly weird, but you look at him, and the first words that come to mind are like, 'Windex', 'soap', 'Swiffer'.

Raise your hand if you..., Night creatures, My second-favorite flavor

1. The librarian who was leading children's story time at the library did a fantastic job. He was completely in control, animated, and engaging. The children sang and danced, marched with instruments, listened to stories and had an activity. I was impressed by this free community resource for young families.
2. Bats are on their nightly rounds a bit early, before it's completely dark. I stop in the yard to watch them silhouetted against the dusky sky. Their movements remind me of butterflies, tentative and delicate.They quickly dive for a bug, then flutter some more.
3. We stop at Bruester's on the way home for ice cream. One scoop of Butter Pecan... perfection!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I know that feeling, Green has returned, Simple country fare

1. Her muffled voice carries over the dressing room door exclaiming, "I love this dress!" (From yesterday, but it made me smile again today.)
2. It's been a week of low, sodden clouds, high humidity and misty mountains. Other than making my hair go crazy, I don't mind it a bit. The grass has come back thick and lush and all the greens in the landscape have deepened.
3. We had simple baked eggs with herbs and a panzanella (tomato and bread) salad for dinner.

These eggs are good enough to eat every week:

Mix together 1/2 tea. fresh minced rosemary, 1/2 tea. fresh minced thyme, 1/2 tea. minced garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

In each of four small ramekins, put 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon heavy cream.

Break 3 eggs into each of four separate bowls or teacups so they are ready when you need them.

Preheat broiler and place ramekins 6 inches below heating element until butter/cream is melted and bubbly. Then slip 3 eggs into each one. Sprinkle evenly with the chopped herbs, a little coarse salt and pepper.

Broil about 6 minutes or until eggs are set. Let sit a couple of minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Playmates, Lots to do, A treat

1. Mari graciously accepted her guests. She made certain to entertain us, share her cheerios and toys, and show us around her crib.
2. Year after year, Raleigh, NC is voted as one of the top places to live, work and play. (Some stats here.) There is always something fun to do when we visit. There are outdoor concerts, art museums, antique shows, farmer's markets, a great state fair, flea market, great restaurants, and all the shopping one could desire. On our way out today, we stopped at The Streets at Southpoint shopping mall where it appears the economy is booming.
3. The Good Humor ice cream sandwich was the epitome of what an ice cream sandwich should be. The vanilla ice cream inside was exceptionally good.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Say "Nonna", T-shirts and sandals, Great stuff, Take it or leave it

1. Drove four hours. Getting lots of kisses : )
2. The weather is mild for late September and even though Fall is my favorite season, I don't mind the slight delay in its arrival. It's funny that we've been away from NY for eleven years and it's still the reality from which I judge all other things. (ie: It would never be this mild in NY this time of year.)
3. We went to a great flea market. I could feel my heart rate quicken.
4. I don't really care about facebook.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lovin' the jacket, Apple Dumpling Gang, It's a date

1. The hood on my windbreaker was a welcome accessory in the constant downpour today.
2. While I was standing in the checkout at the market, I got an overwhelming craving for apple dumplings. I don't know where that came from. As soon as the groceries were put away, I got to work. The apples are stuffed with walnuts and raisins, wrapped in a whole wheat crust and drizzled with a brown sugar syrup while they bake. I might just skip dinner and have this with some heavy cream poured over.
3. A visit with daughter #1 and her family are my weekend plans!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brightens the view, Sharing the garden, Growing fast

1. I'm definitely glad I bought the mums last week.
2. I divided perennials from my flower beds to share with my daughter. The Rock Geranium was given to me a few years ago from her mother-in-law. She's left plantings of it in various states as they've moved around and now I pass a bit of it on...
3. Mari has learned to give kisses. Grandparents will drive four hours to get one.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Catching up, Vanishing of the Bees, Haven't seen you in a while

1. A peaceful, quiet day with time to catch up on house work and reading.
2. Daughter #2 recommended a movie which prompted me to watch it and to post over here today.
3. A pot of homemade chicken soup is a welcome dinner since we haven't had all summer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life is grand, Craving pizza, Good night

1. "Ooo, ball!", "Ooo, juice!', "Ooo, Henny (Henri)!", "Ooo, grape!". I like this toddler's attitude.
2. When I make pizza, I place the toppings under the cheese. Well... all except the pepperoni. That goes on top because it's better with crispy edges.
3. Despite Steve being away, I had a peaceful night's sleep. I even slept late- 6:30! I suppose chasing a two year-old around all day had something to do with it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Greek friends and the Greek festival, One more time, Reason #4&5 of why not to speed on our road

1. Spanikopita, Souvlaki, Pastichio, Dolmades, Pilaf, Yahni, Greek salad, Tiropita, Baklava, Kataifi, Melomakarono, Kourambie, Ergolavi and Koulouria and Mythos. We ate all of these : )
2. Steve hot-wired the lawnmower so I could mow. This is getting comically bad.
3. A coyote darts across the road, stopping in the tall grass to peer back at us. His gray coat is thick like a Husky's and his tail is bushy and full. A bit farther up the road, a gray fox bunny-hops across our path, apparently chasing something. After we pull into the driveway and get out of the car, we can hear the coyotes howling across the fields to one another. The sound is both eerie and entrancing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Work Day- Preparing for hay

Audrey is winterizing the hay shed by adding a gutter and trench for the water to run off. She also installed a gate on the left in place of the wood rail. Behind the shed is an old graveyard covered in periwinkle.

She was the manager today.

Vander Bandy and Vandella were on high alert, watching every move. They would stand as still as statues, then break out into a gallop around the field only to screech to a stop and stand watch again.

...and then they discovered the trucks.

They wouldn't leave them alone.

There was nothing in the back of the truck, they were just super curious. Then they started nibbling on the truck, so I had to move it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's here!, Forced to make a decision, Exceptional employees

1. Fall blew in overnight! When I went marketing, I had a fall theme going on in my shopping cart. I bought molasses cookies, pumpkin spice granola bars, butternut squash, and chicken soup ingredients. Oh! And Kraft caramels for making caramel apples : ) The soup was the only item actually on my list.
2. I must have walked up and down the greenhouse four times trying to choose which color mums to buy. At four for $12.99 (Country Corner in Bonsack), they are full and covered in buds. Just a hint of color is peeking from the few opened flowers. Even if they only last two weeks, the beauty and added interest to the garden will be worth it.
3. Most of the cashiers and baggers at the Bonsack Kroger are teens or college kids. They are the nicest, most respectful, polite workers I've ever encountered. I should write the manager a letter...I think I will.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Song and dance, Working through the maze, Still in season

1. I sang my dad's version of "Turkey In the Straw" for little L. today. (His lyrics use whiskey rather than water on the chicken's leg and that was the only way I learned it.) L.'s eyes got very big as I sang. I think she took the story literally.
2. We have a family doctor who will phone us to discuss things.
3. The peaches from Saunder's Farm Market are amazing. They are a variety called Labor Day and are freshly picked this late in the season.
Whenever I eat an exceptional peach, I recall our 4th grade teacher reading James and the Giant Peach aloud to us. James' description of the delicious peach flesh was almost too much to bear as we sat with our heads down on our desks and no peach to eat for ourselves.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Rigorous, precise, penetrating logic is not opposed to deep, soul-stirring feeling and vivid, lively--even playful--imagination."

John Piper on C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breakfast, Spreading sunshine, Laughing out loud

1. Oh how I love pineapple upside down cake. The brown sugary, chewy, pineappely edges are my favorite part.
2. I had my toddler friend in the grocery cart today. At the checkout, the cashier said hello to us without looking up. When she heard the prompt and hearty, "Hello" in reply from my little person, she looked up, did a double take and smiled.
3. Opening my email, the first thing I saw was photos of our nine-month-old granddaughter smushing her face up against a glass door.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cricket Minuet, You lose, A day in the life...

1. All is quiet as I work near the kitchen window this afternoon. My ears slowly adjust to the silence and then I become aware of the crickets' song. It's pleasant and peaceful; much better than the harsh cicada's racket we've had to endure all summer.
2. We had a good laugh remembering Steve's custom made spinner for the girls' Chutes and Ladders game from when they were little. He can never leave well enough alone. I think his ulterior motive was to get the games to end more quickly.
3. We marched around the high school and visited Daughter #4's classes. It gave us a tiny glimpse into her day with its sights and smells and sounds.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A joyful noise, Good for anything, Good for everything

1. Some of the singing voices are exceptional, most are average and maybe a few are not so good. But, combined as one, the voices create beautiful harmonies. I love singing at church on Sunday mornings.
2. This weekend is the most perfect weather.
3. Neighbor W. drives his truck over with a pile of unwanted brick for us! My family asks me what I'm going to do with all this brick. I look at them like they are nuts and say, "There's no such thing as too much brick."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On an adventure, Rock Fab, A rare occurance

1. Many of life's best moments are chance meetings. (Or Poisson's law of random arrival if you're like Steve.) Such an event occurred yesterday to Daughter#2 and Son-in-law, which caused them to host these three amazing young men on their bike trek across America. I've been reflecting on the American spirit with thoughts of 9/11. But kindness is really about the human spirit and there are many, many, many more good people in the world than bad.
2. Huge slabs of polished granite stand on end, seven feet tall and ten feet wide, row upon row in the warehouse. The patterns in the rock are breathtaking! Some look like huge maps of the world, others like layers of colored sand. All are nature's work of art.
3. She asked me if we were in the middle of our dinner and I said, "No we're not having dinner tonight." It felt really odd to say that, but liberating at the same time.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fall's a- comin', I am honored to have you volunteer, Not a problem

1. Mrs. Cahoon must be burning sweet wood in her wood stove. I don't know much about wood fuel, but I do remember when my dad burned cherry or apple it smelled like this. It's a comforting scent on a cool morning.
2. A morning glory twists and twines all around the compost bin, coyly displaying its sky blue flowers. I've tried to grow morning glories in the past and they've always died. I'll just allow this one to run rampant on the compost bin and accept it however it wishes to volunteer.
3. The power was out for several hours this evening. Fortunately the weather was mild and the candles were plentiful, so it wasn't a bother. After three hours, Steve started up the generator and we had lights to read by and water to wash up with and then I felt guiltily spoiled.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

...when you're having fun, From the 1970's, Out of my comfort zone

I can't believe how many days I've lost without posting three beautiful things!
1. This must mean I've been busy and time has flown right by.
2. Several families pooled their resources together and renovated a bathroom at our church house. One person bought the sink, another a mirror, another tiled the floor, etc. I love this example of pooling resources so that each little contribution amounts to a huge difference.
3. It was fine that I didn't know anything about auto parts. The clerk was not condescending in the least. He was happy to count the nubby-gear things, per my husband's request, and make sure the part was exactly right before sending me on my way.

Monday, September 5, 2011

We needed this and I wish I could send some to our friends in Texas

1. Glorious rain all day. I'm positive the flowers look plumper, the leaves and branches are fuller, the grass is greener and all growing things are singing hallelujah!
2. I don't mind taking Henri out to do his business today. It gives me a good excuse to walk in the rain.
3. We left the porch door wide open and the rainy garden becomes part of the house.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

During the night, Performing in Saratoga, Making their own plans

1. We awake to beautiful, spun treasures left by industrious spiders. They are everywhere, all dripping in dew jewels.
2. My mom is going to see an Elton John concert tonight. My mom is 89 years old : )
3. Daughter #3 has her BF visiting for the weekend. They've been friends for sixteen years. Some of the friendships we help our children cultivate when they are young are gladly carried on their own hearts now.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Changing it up, Cute little treats, Spontaneous is even more fun

1. We take the back road instead of the paved one for our walk.
2. I spent all day making Bourbon Peach Hand Pies from Smitten Kitchen. (The four chillings take a while.) But I have a thing for hand pies and I love trying new recipes, so it was fun.
3. Thunderstorms dash our plans to meet up with friends at the Fincastle Winery this evening. The guys decide to transfer the gathering to our house instead. Everyone shows up with a bounty of food and wine and twelve of us crowd around the table for our own tasting and fun.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hitting the payload, How did I get here?, Just doing my job

1. While browsing the library shelves in hopes of finding a book for the weekend, the librarian passes by and says there are two books on hold for me up front. I was worried that I might not find anything and now I have four.
2. I'm immersed in a world entirely foreign to me- the world of high school football. I sit on the bleachers, almost numb with sensory overload. The aroma of grilled food fills the air, country music blares over speakers while the marching band simultaneously warms up. Little kids run to and fro with sodas and candy, big boys punch shoulders and teen girls form huddles making furtive glances outside their circles. Crowds funnel in to find seats. On the field, dozens of players warm up with some comical stretches. Just beyond the end goal, a cow swishes its tail and grazes in a field. I turn my attention to the beautiful sunset behind the mountains and wonder...
3. The conversation in the back seat is entertaining. These girls are witty and funny! I'm just the invisible chauffeur so I try to keep my chuckles quiet.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Then and Now, A slice of evening

1. I love to play records while I'm working around the house. Today I pulled out our old copy of "Frampton Comes Alive". I suppose this shows my age but it doesn't matter any more. His music has the nicest melodies. Steve says we saw Peter Frampton four times together and his memory is much better than my own because I (sadly) remember only one.

2. We're all aging together : )
3. The moon is a very thin sliver these past two nights- delicate and pretty.