Wednesday, August 31, 2011


One of my favorite friends doubled as a fabulous tour guide when she took me to Portsmouth, NH recently.  We meandered in and out of shops, ate fish-n-chips on the waterfront and just enjoyed catching up after not seeing each other for quite a while.  She did such a fine job showing me around that I promoted myself to tour guide and took two more of my favorite friends (my girls!)  on Monday to celebrate the very last day before Strike went back to school.  I knew they'd enjoy it.  Just posting some pics here: 

We happened upon this scene just in the nick of time to see the bridge lowered after the tugboat above passed thru'...

 So cool to watch! 

A "sweet" window sign

Wall Art 
Didn't quite capture the whole painting but -
 I  love how the newspaper is real/"decoupaged" 
into the picture

a quaint little tucked away corner of the world

By the time we left, this hole in the wall
 (seriously - it's not much more than that...barely room to stand as you wait for your order)
had become my very favorite restaurant. I found their menu online (click the pic to link to it) and have added a whole food juicer similar to the one below (that thing is a BEAST!!)  to my wish list in hopes of attempting to re-create, at least to some degree,  some of their fantastic food and drinks in our own kitchen. I did just get a Kitchen Aid blender and I have never in my life owned such a good quality blender -  so first I'm gonna give that a try. 

this (they call it the "Japanese") tasted every bit as good as it looks! 

- and -

Before we knew it ...
it was time to go.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When did this happen?!

Strike's first day of high school

She looks SO grown up to me here
-but -
that turtle hanging from her backpack is a flashdrive  
 and the eyes bulge out if you squeeze that pig-pen peaking out of the pocket  :)
  -- both serve as sweet reminders me that she will always be my little girl. 

Playmaker's first day of kindergarten

 Playmaker's first day of high school
Sissy "woke up" to say goodbye 

That was then
 This is now...

Strike's first day of high school

Big sis went the extra mile and got out of bed to say good-bye!
(well - it mighta had something to do w/ the fact that she had an early piano lesson here at the house...otherwise the two before and after pics would likely be more similar ... except Big Sis would've been the one still in bed and squinting thru' sleepy eyes ;) 

Where has the time gone?! When did this happen?! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodnight Irene


Well - Hurricane Irene has come and gone from our New England neck of the woods. I learned from my brother a while back that hurricanes begin right where he lives. They begin to form just off the coast of West Africa and gain strength as they move across the ocean. This time the storm basically traveled like a frisbee from his backyard to mine  - tho' Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time she arrived here.   We had lots of rain and gusty wind but nothing too crazy serious here, thankfully. We did get some water flowing thru' our basement window when a microburst of sorts plowed thru the area but we were right on it. Oh - and we had the windows open upstairs which created a vacuum of sorts and caused a door to slam shut and a picture fell down/shattered. Other than that we're safe and sound.

Spokes came home for the weekend so all the kids were here and, being the storm lovers that we are, we hunkered down, watched storm coverage on the news and enjoyed this storm from the inside out - and even kinda made a special occasion out of it.  The timing was right too for a special occasion in the sense that this is the last weekend of summer vacation. Tuesday it's back to school for Strike - and Thursday for Playmaker.

Last night as a "pre-storm" swept thru' we turned our kitchen and dining room into an Italian Bistro of sorts - complete with candlelight.  Made homemade eggplant parmesan served on a bed of spinach spaghetti using our very own farm fresh veggies....eggplant, tomatoes, onion, peppers, basil and  oregano. Also made a fresh cucumber-tomato-basil mozzarella salad w/ our own veggies too - and topped off the meal w/ fresh focaccia bread dipped in olive oil and spices.

This morning we woke early to intermittent intense rain showers and wind gusts as the storm progressed. A good day to stay inside and few good reasons to go out - so - our kitchen/dining room then served as more of a bed and breakfast. I guess that's what you'd call it. Church was canceled due to the weather and we thoroughly enjoyed a very lazy day. About lunch time we finally decided to fix breakfast...eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, onions and peppers, and whole wheat french toast with homemade apple syrup and whipped cream.

As  I type, we're enjoying the calm after the storm.  Spokes just left to go home. Outdoors it's clean, clear and ever so quiet. Now that Irene has been here and gone and left me with my first pretty up close and personal experience with a hurricane - and as I look at the first pic in this post and consider that she was 400 miles wide, slow moving -  and in her path she left death (15 people in the U.S. I think...not sure about elsewhere) and damage -  and she was "only" a Category 1 storm ... I cannot imagine what it must be like to experience a Category 2, 3, 4 or 5 (yikes!). Hope I never ever have to.

Friday, August 26, 2011

basil & olive oil ice cubes

We have an abundance of basil (my FAVORITE herb - love it!) at the moment and as I was trying to figure out how best to preserve it I thought about drying it - and I still may do that with some of it - but I remembered seeing something about freezing it a while back. I looked it up on line and decided to give this a try.  Click the pic below to link to where I found it ... it's a very simple process.  I love the idea of being able to place the cubes in a plastic bag and keep them in the freezer to grab whenever and add to whatever.  I'm going to try it with oregano too.

Friday, August 19, 2011

the case of the missing blueberries

"At least Betty Crocker's Blueberry Muffin Mix admits it contains no real blueberries. Well, if you read the fine print, that is. It's ingredients reveal "Artificial blueberry flavor bits" which are made from dextrose, Corn Flour, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Sugar, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, and of course the obligatory Blue #1 and Red #40."  


Thursday, August 18, 2011

I love this story ... & I haven't even read it yet

click the pic to link to a video

November 1958: ... 
Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived. But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit—so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road. 
But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed. When he turned up back at Harry’s barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping.

via Click HERE for more info

Thursday, August 11, 2011

worth watching

Inspired by a true story, The Great Debaters highlights a bright spot in a dark period of American History and is a grande illustration of the potential power inherent in sharing one's personal opinion so effectively that it becomes - well - less personal.

click the pic for more info

Two-time Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington (American Gangster) directs and stars with Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland) in this important and deeply inspiring page from the not-so-distant past (Richard Roeper, At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper). Inspired by a true story, Washington shines as a brilliant but politically radical debate team coach who uses the power of words to transform a group of underdog African American college students into an historical powerhouse that took on the Harvard elite. via

Monday, August 8, 2011



When it comes to food, and after watching this movie (click the pic to view the trailer), I've concluded that:

Ignorance is bliss - We saw things we would have rather not seen and learned things we would rather not know! But, as a result, we will be making more educated choices. 

Less is more - tho' I hafta think that's only the case in America - and in the sense that we (our family) will likely be getting less - but more healthy - food for our money in the future. And, 

Money talks - I will be more apt to consider every food purchase I make as a "vote" for what I value in our food supply and so will be less apt to purchase the cheapest dairy, meat or veggies just because they're the cheapest.  

oh ... and if you know you should, but lack motivation to diet... this may be just the (visual) aid you need. I can pretty much guarantee that you will lose your appetite.  

p.s. Editorial note.... I don't agree with everything the guy "narrating" this movie has to say. For example, I hafta knit my eyebrows and shake my head when I consider his comment about cows being "designed by evolution" makes no sense - but that statement alone could/just may serve as inspiration for a future post here :)   Anyhow - if you do watch it, as with anything/everything, I encourage you to think critically. Overall I think this journey to the source of the food we consume is a well researched & convincing expose' ... tho' the silence of the huge corporations who declined to comment when given the opportunity was quite convincing too.