Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | | 5 comments
Winter
With the holidays coming to completion,
I'm ready to snuggle in, and enjoy the winter season.
I'm looking forward to roaring fires,
homemade soups, and curling up with a good book.
We have some changes coming our way in the new year
I'll share more on that later.



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Monday, December 29, 2008 | | 5 comments
I had to do it ~
*This is another Nicholas original from Christmas, but it best expresses my current feeling.
Once again, I feel the need to express that this is early Christmas morning and only a couple
sips into my cup of coffee!

take the tree down.
I'm not sure what the problem was this year ~ too dry in the house, not enough water, bad year for the type of tree we cut down each year, who knows!


I just couldn't handle the feeling of clutter any longer. At 8:30pm my OCD (diagnosed by my husband) kicked in full blast and the Christmas tree bins came out. I took the tree down, tucked the Nutcrackers away, and a few Santas as well.
There are still decorations around our home, the feel is just a tad lighter

I just felt like I needed some space ~ it's rather hard to explain. I even went light on
the decorations this year.



I enjoyed the Christmas season for the most part, but I always felt like I was running to catch up. It just wasn't as relaxing as I'd hoped ~ everything felt rushed.
I realize that some years are more enjoyable than others.



With that said, I truly enjoyed having my son home from college, decorating cookies with my daughter, my annual cookie exchange that I've hosted for the past 5 years and
as always, a quiet moment with my husband.


Now that a few of our decorations are put away, I feel more relaxed. I'm really looking forward to New Years. Our dear friends are coming over for a quiet and elegant dinner. Our menu is simple but delicious. I'll lite the house with candles and my husband will build a roaring fire. Our glasses will be filled from my favorite vineyard as we toast to a healthy and prosperous new year. We are so blessed to have them in our lives. They really have become our family away from home. I hope they know how very important they are to us.


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Sunday, December 28, 2008 | | 8 comments
A Merry Christmas was had by all
*the pictures are backwards in order



We had a lovely Christmas at home this year.

There was no traveling, no visitors, just our family.

It was relaxing and very enjoyable, just what I needed.

It was so nice to just "be" with my family.


By 9:00pm I was ready for bed! If it hadn't been for the roaring fire

and board games, I might have dozed off earlier.

Santa brought my son a new camera for Christmas so we now have several "candid" shots (read less than attractive at inopportune photo times), thanks Nick! I'm not sure that these qualify as our best "sides." : )


Our rib roast was amazing. I found a very simple recipe that proved not only to be easy, but delicious. I will be using this one for many years to come!

It allowed me to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my

family ~ always a bonus!




Bozley is modeling his new monogrammed squall jacket ~ everyone in my
family had monograms!

The culprit of our Christmas pictures. I think my son may have a future in photography ~ as in paparazzi. With that shared, I think it's best to spare you all the close~up details. After all, it was early on
Christmas morning!






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Wednesday, December 24, 2008 | | 4 comments
From our family to yours,
a very Merry Christmas filled with
joy and happiness!


May your family be blessed
during this holiday
season.
*photo taken by Fran


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Sunday, December 21, 2008 | | 6 comments



Souper Sunday


This is currently going on in our backyard ~ yes, it has started snowing again!

A perfect night for soup.


Mexican Chicken Soup

A family favorite


1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup cilantro, chopped

4 tbls olive oil


1 can green chilies, chopped

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice

1 can creamed corn

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

3 tbls cumin

2 tbls chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 bay leaves

pinch of salt

8 cups chicken stock

3 chicken breasts shredded



Garnishes

Sour cream

shredded cheese


Saute the first 3 ingredients in the olive oil. Add the chilies, tomatoes, corn, black beans, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, salt, chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and add chicken. Continue to simmer until chicken is heat through ~ about 10 minutes

Top with garnishes and enjoy!









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Snow Day
I so needed this day!
It's the first one of the season and was anticipated with excitement equally shared by
students and teachers alike.
It was all the talk Thursday ~
the weather checked hourly
updates shared
tentative plans of a day off made
dreams of sleeping in
snowmen being built
hot cocoa sipped
and me ....
catching up!
It Arrived As Scheduled
We awoke Friday morning with school cancellations state wide.
I got up at my normally set time, made my lists, and set my course while lingering over my coffee in front of a fire. Ahhh, a little relaxation before I hit the road.
The weatherman promised I had until 1pm before the flakes hit our area.
I was a women on a mission. If you saw a Yukon XL flying down the highway in south eastern Connecticut, that was me!
My Course of Action
*I hit the commissary first before the chicken was sold out. Let me explain ~ for some very strange reason whenever there is a storm, people buy out all the chicken at the commissary. I have no idea why. My question is ... if we lose power, how are they going to cook that chicken? Anyway, I needed some for my soup along with a few other items on my list for this weeks menu.
*Next was Target for those last minute stocking stuffer ideas,
*Home Goods for a cute basket to hold some goodies for my daughter.
*Mystic ~ something fun and unique for a good friend of mine.
*Package store ~ unlike those that need chicken for a storm, I like to be stocked with wine and chocolate (you don't need power to consume these items!)
I was home by 1:15pm and the flakes were just beginning to fly.
The weather man was true to his word ~
Mission Accomplished!

Bozley wasn't so sure of the white stuff covering the ground, this was his first snow. Nick and Shannon took him out to "play" around 6pm.
Thought I should include the small area I shoved ~ the covered entry :)

Our spiral tree looks rather decorative with its winter coating


It finally stopped snowing well into the night. Our children offered to take care of the snow removal. Nick got the snow blower out and did the drive while Shannon did the front walk way. After my initial shock of their offer, I realized it was just an excuse to have a snowball fight and sled down the driveway with the neighborhood teenagers.
I tried to get pictures of the children but it began snowing again and all I got
was snowflakes in the night sky.

A good day was had by all!







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Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | | 6 comments
Stressed!

I am beginning to get the last minute panics.
Each year I start off totally organized and even ahead of the game. This year something slipped and I'm behind about a week. I'm finding that I'm staying up later, getting up earlier and multi~tasking way too many things.
Why?
So that my family and friends have a very Merry Christmas.
I'll be asleep under the Christmas tree if you need me!
Have a GREAT day!
Jo


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Monday, December 8, 2008 | | 10 comments

My husband and I had a Christmas party to attend in Newport this weekend. We had a fabulous time with fun friends. Since all was quiet on the home front, we were able to spend the night and turned our weekend into a mini getaway ~ such fun!

Sunday morning we awoke to snowflakes dancing in the sky. It was a very gray morning but the snow made it special. After a lovely breakfast, we decided to visit the Newport mansions decorated for the Christmas season. They were simply amazing!

Below is the Vanderbilt's summer home in Newport, RI known as The Breakers.
It is clearly stated that photography is not permitted in the mansion with the exception of the main entry. I am usually very respectful of the rules but I must admit, I broke a few during our visit.
Truth be told, I needed to take pictures for decorating references when we become gazillionaires (yes, that's a word, just ask my students) and build our very own mansion : ) I'll invite you all over for a tour; no need to get your date books out just yet.
*Please keep in mind that it was a very overcast day and very gray
(no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I have a new camera and have no idea how to use it!)






This was one of many enormous fireplaces in the summer home. It was located in the main hallway that served as a sitting area of sorts. The two in the dinning room were so massive that you could literally walk into it almost standing straight up. The fine detailed work that went into the design of each fireplace is beyond words. There were two completely encased in marble.





This was the sitting area of the youngest daughters room. It was decorated in pale pinks and soft greens with very delicate touches. It actually seem small compared to all the other rooms in the "home". It was definitely a girlie girls room.


Do to the fact that I wasn't allowed to take pictures, I'm failing you on the depth and height of these rooms. I wish I could have gotten a few pictures of the ceilings. Nothing went unnoticed in the decorating eye.




I had only one opportunity to sneak a shot in the dinning room so I went for the chandeliers. They were breathtaking ~ as was the case in many of the rooms. I hope you can somewhat see the detail and decor of the ceiling. It was very impressive. The dinning table sat up to 40 people with fire places on either end of the room. The colors in here were more demanding. They were heavy in deep rich reds.





The room below is of their breakfast room. It was gorgeous and going with the theme, enormous. The walls were a pale green with gilding. It had a very calm and quiet presence about the room. The softer colors made it appear more inviting. I could certainly find myself starting my morning off enjoy this lovely room and the incredible view outdoors.






The next two pictures are of the kitchen ~ they were amazing! The stove tops and ovens were massive. I can't even begin to imagine the flurry of activity that must have taken place in this area.









It's hard to see from this picture but the copper just gleamed. The pots and lids look teeny in the large room with enormously high ceilings.







The photo I really wanted to get ,but there was a house monitor standing in the room the entire time, was of the dish, china, silver and glassware room. It was two stories high! I need something along those lines : )









I've been try to convince my husband that I "need" a larger kitchen. I think this one just might fit my requirements! Do you think a chef comes with? : )



Tomorrow I'll show you the outside ~ I fell in love with the urns!

































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Tuesday, December 2, 2008 | | 11 comments

I've been thinking of purchasing a yogurt maker. I eat plain or vanilla yogurt daily.
Some days I mix granola into it, fresh fruit, dried fruit, or just eat it on it's own. When I add up what I've spent on this daily consumption, I wonder if it wouldn't be more cost effective to make my own.
With that said, I've never owned a yogurt maker nor do I know how to make it. I don't want to purchase one just to use it a couple of times, and then add it to my ever growing collection of machines that are currently on display in our basement.
On that note, the shelves are starting to bow at all my cast off "had to haves". That's another story for another time.
Have you ever owned one? Is it worth buying one? Is it more hassle than savings?
Thoughts please.


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Friday, November 28, 2008 | | 7 comments
My husband and I snuck away for an evening out. He invited me out to our favorite spot for sushi and then to the movies.It was such a nice and unexpected surprise after our hectic week. First off, I must admit my true love for popcorn ~ I should probably seek therapy. I paced myself at the restaurant knowing that a large buttered bucket was waiting for me.
This movie was amazing to say the least! I ate my popcorn one piece at a time that's how enthralled I was. I won't go into detail as I personally don't like it when a movie is spoiled by personal reviews. All I'll say is that my son did his senior thesis on the Holocaust and I edited his research. I've had many nights filled with this period in history. It's never been easy to read or try to understand ~ truly devastating! This movie not only brought me to tears, but kept me there. Thankfully, my husband is one of the few men in America that still carries a true (monogrammed) handkerchief, he passed it to me right on cue ~ what a guy!
I would highly recommend seeing this if you have the chance.


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Thursday, November 27, 2008 | | 5 comments

Thanksgiving Blessings


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008 | | 3 comments
Thank you
It has been a very busy week filled with travel, endless phone calls and emotions all over the board. I just wanted to say thank you for your comments, emails, prayers, and good wishes.
It's so nice to know that there are so many kind hearted individuals willing to pitch in for others.
Each of your comments have been very touching. This family has a long healing road ahead of them, but I know they won't go it alone.
Fondly,
Jo


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Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | | 15 comments
With heavy heart


My husband returned from a business trip to Maryland late this evening and shared with me the devastating news.
His friends son has passed away. I shared with you this story in an earlier post. The death of a young man is always difficult to accept. He had such potential in his future as a Naval Officer once he graduated, but also growing into the man he would become. He had just begun to experience life as an individual, only to have it end far too soon.
I have a son the very same age, away from me for the first time. My heart just aches for this mother that has lost her son. The void she must feel, the pain, the questions of why her son, and the absence she will face this holiday season.
Our thoughts and prayers are with this family.



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Pumpkin Goodies





I found these cuties at Michaels on a wicked clearance sale. They needed a little dressing up so I showered them in Martha Stewart glitter. They are sitting pretty in my dinning room just waiting for Thanksgiving
Pumpkin Yummies
Pumpkin Cobbler
I made this for my family and they loved it. Make it the day before you serve it, the flavor is so much better.
4 eggs, beaten
15 oz. can pumpkin
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1tsp. salt
1 package yellow cake mix
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. melted butter
Optional ~
vanilla ice cream, whipped topping, chopped nuts,
cinnamon or nutmeg sprinkled on top
Combine eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, spice, and salt. Mix well and pour into an ungreased 13x9 baking pan. Sprinkle cake mix and nuts over the top. Drizzle with butter, do not stir.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, testing for doneness. Serve with optional toppings if desired.
Enjoy!



I'm holding on to the fall season for as long as I possibly can.


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If you have a moment

Saturday, November 15, 2008 | | 3 comments
Thoughts and Prayers, please
My husband just found out some devastating news.
The son of one of his friends from the Naval Academy is fighting for his life.
This young man is a Plebe (first year) at the Naval Academy.
He has his whole life ahead of him. He was thrilled (as was his father) when he was appointed to the Academy.
I had the pleasure of meeting him when we were in Maryland for my husbands reunion this fall. He was polite, kind, and a lovely young gentlemen. He spoke highly of his father's career and the goals he had for his in the near future.
He has been diagnosed with spinal meningitis. On Thursday he was transported to a hospital in Baltimore. As of this afternoon when we were notified, he has been placed on life support efforts and the prognosis doesn't look good.
I don't normally ask, but this time I will. If you have a moment, please pray for this family and the uncertainly that they are facing.
I cannot even imagine what this family is going through.
Thank you!


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You asked ....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 | | 8 comments
I've received several emails asking about what I do and use to stay looking so young
(these are your words, not mine).
To begin, thank you for your sweet comments. You are all too kind. Unfortunately, I don't have any great secrets.
From a young age (I think 14) my mother stressed using a quality cleanser and moisturizer. Up until about a year and a half ago, I used Lancome products. I'm not sure if they changed their formulas (I've received conflicting information) but I felt their products weren't working as well. The textures weren't the same and the prices were going up. In my opinion, the prices didn't justify my satisfaction. Currently I am using Aveda Botanical Kinetics. I love the Purifying Gel Cleanser and Hydrating Moisturizer. At night I also use the Tourmaline Charged Eye Cream ~ I'll do anything keep those wrinkles away. I love the products and how light they feel on my face all day long. I've used Aveda hair products for the past 15 years so I was thrilled when they introduced their skin care line. The prices are half what I use to spent and go so much further!
I wear very little make up. After I stopped using Lancome, I tried Bare Essentials. I thought I liked this line until the spring/summer weather arrived and I quickly realized that my face looked and felt oily by 10am. It also felt very heavy. I couldn't wait to wash my face the minute I got home from school. For now, I'm using Laura Geller Balance-N-Brighten and Berry blush pod. I like Aveda and MAC lipsticks - very creamy and stay on for hours. I just can't seem to find an under eye concealer that I really like or works very well - suggestions are always welcome.
I try to eat a healthy and balanced diet daily. We don't eat out very often nor do I serve my family prepackaged foods. I am very concerned about what my family consumes. I have teenagers so I like to know that they are getting at least one healthy meal a day ( I put my husband in this category as well, since there are days he is too busy to eat lunch). I really enjoy cooking, so this isn't an inconvenience. It's my way of relaxing and I am usually catching up with the children while preparing dinner and having a glass of wine - everything in moderation!
Along with a balanced diet, I drink several glasses of water daily. I always have a bottle with me where ever I go. I take a daily vitamins for women, unbounded energy (yes, it really does give me more energy) and extra vitamin C and folic acid. I have/had cervical cancer and have found this concoction to be beneficial.
*I am NOT a doctor or professional in the medical field. I worked closely with my oncologist when figuring out what worked best for me. I am not suggesting that you take any of the above. I was asked, so I am sharing amongst friends.
I try to work out at least 4 days a week. This is somewhat realistic working full time with children and volunteering on committees. We have a workout room in our home so I use the treadmill and weight machine in the evenings. However, now that it gets dark at 4:30pm here on the east coast I have to bribe myself - yes, I do talk to myself and sometimes even answer myself! I tried the morning routine before going to school but fell off the wagon quickly!
My greatest challenge is stress. I try not to create any unnecessary stress in my life (much easier said than done). I am Italian so when I'm upset, I vent, get it out, and move on rather than harbor it and let it affect my health ~ as I said, it's my greatest challenge.
See, I told you. No magic secrets. I honestly believe that diet, life style, exercise and state of mind are all encompassing ~ not to mention good genes.
Anybody still there? :)


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October in review ~ part 3

Saturday, November 8, 2008 | | 6 comments
This is a small sampling of my new affection for tassels.
No, I am not as talented as those that sell on various sites,
but I have given them as
gifts to friends and family.

(Carrie, this is the fun fall treat I shared with you)
They are so much fun to create!


I've given most of them away, and I'm ready to
create my new ideas for Christmas!


I love the idea of gifts that have been created
with love and talent for the holiday season.
At least for me,
that makes it all the more special!


This plump pumpkin was my favorite
for the Halloween season!






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October review ~ part 2

Thursday, November 6, 2008 | | 13 comments

* For those that have asked, the below pictures are of my son and I.  Nicholas is 18 years old. Thank you for your sweet comments!
A visit from my son!
Nicholas came home over fall break. It was so good to see him.
I haven't seen him since he left for college. We talk on the phone almost daily so I still feel very connected to him. When he left, I felt like a part of me was missing and went through a time where I just felt like I was in a funk.


This was taken one evening when we were all playing a board game. Nicholas was already away at school when we brought Bozely home. He immediately took to Nick and wouldn't leave him alone. It was just so sweet.
Please over look the facial hair ~ it's a source of pride for him and disgust for me :)
One of the first things he asked me was if I liked his "beard." Hmmm, nope not really
but I'm all about picking my battles and this isn't one. I was just thrilled to have him home!




 I must share that during his return, I noticed a softening, an appreciation and since of gratitude that I hadn't seen before he went away to college. It's a very nice addition to his personality.





No, we do not let Bozely on our furniture.
Both boys were caught red handed on this one.
After the picture, Mr. Boz was escorted off the chair.
Nice try Nicholas, you know the rules.


It was sad to see him leave but it's only a few short weeks until he
returns for the holidays!

Love you tons Nicholas,
Mom


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October in review ~ part 1

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 | | 6 comments
We had a very busy month and slowing by surly, I will get it all posted. I guess the best way is just to go backwards in events.
One of our favorite traditions on Halloween is stew in a pumpkin. I've been making this since my son was a baby and he is now in college.
Not only is it delicious, but the presentation is beautiful!
The stew bakes in the pumpkin for an hour and a half. This cooks the inside of the pumpkin so that it is tender and easy to scoop when you serve the stew. It's wonderful!
(the pictures are out of order, sorry)

For dessert I served pumpkin cobbler.
Not only was this wicked easy to make, it was incredibly good. I think I like it even better than pumpkin pie and will be serving it for Thanksgiving this year.






I tried to get a shot of our home but I'm not all that comfortable with our new camera just yet.
Hopefully the class I'm taking will help with that.
In the meantime, squint hard and adjust your head a few times until you envision a lovely entry way! : )






And lastly, our bulldog, Bozely!
Each time he heard the doorbell,
he would charge for the door and prance around
the foyer until we got there to open the door.
I'm not sure who was more excited ~
the trick or treaters getting candy, or Bozely who thought they had come just to see him!





By the end of the evening my arm was so sore from holding him back.
Hope your Halloween was just as enjoyable!




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A day in my life

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 | | 2 comments
I did not have school today because my school is a voting sight.
I had my entire day planned out around voting.
My husband decided he would go first thing before he left for work ~ good thinking!
I had him call me to let me know how long of a wait was ahead of me. They were projecting a 2 hour wait in line. I was prepared ~ magazines were at the ready!
The call came ~ if you leave now, it will only take 10 minutes. Out the door I ran, and was johnny on the spot. It took longer to park than to vote!
I made "the right choice"
(this is a giggle to friends and family as I am always using this phrase!)
then treated myself to a trip to the commissary, jewelers, bank, tailors, and finally, lunch with my husband. This was a very special treat since we almost never have the opportunity to go out to lunch together.
It was at lunch that he broke the news ........ I have to go out to sea next week.
Me: What? I thought you said we were good until after the holidays?
Him:Well, I thought so but something came up.
Me:Your right, something is coming up. My birthday! You said you'd be home this year.
Him: Sorry, I promise to make it up to you.
Me:Hmmm, I think I've heard this line before ~ as in the past 3 birthdays.
I know, it's only a birthday,
but I was really looking forward to going out to dinner with him next week. He missed my big birthday last year.
Sometimes I envy the 2 year old who gets to have a temper tantrum and no one judges them. This is just a poopy moment and I will get over it. There are just times that I get tired of his travel and envy those that have their husbands home for the little things in life.
Oh well, I can always hope for next year!


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A New First

Sunday, November 2, 2008 | | 6 comments
I've hit an all time high today
(or low depending on your thoughts)
It's 2:45 in the afternoon and I'm still in my pj's
(hey now, at least they are my Victoria Secret flannels!)
and just poured myself a glass of wine.
Before you judge me, let me explain ...
I woke up at my usual 6:00 am this morning which was really 5:00 am due to our extra hour today. Yes, I know what your thinking. I try to sleep in, really I do. I try not to open my eyes, I think sleepy thoughts, turn off my brain and enjoy the fact that I have nothing to do ... but then it hits ~
JUST THINK OF ALL YOU COULD ACCOMPLISH!
The voices in my head start talking and before you know it, my two feet hit the floor and I'm off!
My husband has offered to pay me (I'm not sure of the form of payment and I'm not willing to ask) if I will just lay still and quiet until at least 8:30 on the weekends. See, I sorta like to wake him up as well, just in case he wants to enjoy the sunrise with me!
It all started with the master bathroom while brushing my teeth ~ the sink need to be cleaned, which lead to the thought I had earlier in the week ~ the jets in the tub needed to be cleaned. Next thing I knew, I had the entire bathroom in an upheaval.
While making coffee I looked around for my next victim ...
The master bedroom wood floors needed to be cleaned
(I found a great new cleaner from Restorations).
This lead to dusting, changing sheets, laundry started, and reorganizing the walk in closet
Once downstairs for my first cup of coffee, I realized that ....
Halloween decorations needed to be put away
which lead to
dusting, vacuuming, moping, cleaning the hardwood floors in the dinning, and formal living rooms
which lead to
cleaning the silver pieces in those rooms
which lead to
cleaning the kitchen
which lead to
cleaning out the refrigerator
which lead to realizing that we had one glass of chard left in the bottle from our last party.
I couldn't possibly let it go to waste in today's economy!
Well, after all the cleaning in our mater bedroom its only fitting to wash the dog since he does visit us in that room.
After that, I'm bringing out the Thanksgiving decorations.
We are suppose to be going to the neighbors this evening to meet their friends that are visiting from England. I hope I'm still awake at 6:30pm!
I should probably hit the shower sometime around 5:00pm!


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Exhausted!

Saturday, November 1, 2008 | | 2 comments
This has been a fun filled month pack full of activities!
I've enjoyed entertaining, being entertained, weekend outing with friends, going out to dinner with friends, spa day with a dear friend, my son home for fall break, homecoming for my daughter, surprise birthday party for a girlfriend, Oktoberfest, Pumpkin party at school and finally ... Halloween!
I am EXHAUSTED!
(the good news ... I have a little break before the holidays hit!)
Words can not express how I am looking forward to an extra hour of sleep tonight!
I tried to take a nap this afternoon and couldn't fall asleep because I was just TOO tired!
(please tell me this has happened to you)
I'm going to bed. Yes, I realize it's only 8:30 but I still need to switch the laundry, let the dog out, start the dishwasher, call my sister in law, iron clothes for tomorrow, wash my face, and brush my teeth.
~currently my husband is asleep on the couch~
Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite!


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October 31st !

Friday, October 31, 2008 | | 3 comments
Happy Halloween!

Wishing all a safe and fun filled day!



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A little fun

Thursday, October 30, 2008 | | 2 comments





Just a few of the small projects I've been working on in my free time in the evenings. My tags and cards are not over the top, just something fun. This is the latest batch.
I'm finally finished!
Every Halloween I make my sour cream sugar cookies, and frost them with cream cheese frosting (not very low cal but very yummy!). There are ghosts, pumpkins, bats and cats. I wrap them individually in cellophane bags, tie a homemade tag on them, and give to my teacher friends at school. It's a lot of work (and fun) but worth every minute knowing that they look forward to them each Halloween.
I send Halloween cards to my family in Michigan and friends that have moved away. It's not a large mailing. I often write to friends and family throughout the year. I use e-mail daily, but I am still a believer that a hand written note has a personal touch that you just can't get from a computer screen.
Tomorrow morning my fellow teachers will find an early Halloween morning treat
in their mailbox!


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Delicious!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | | 4 comments
This is one of my favorite soups. It's delicious, easy to make, and even the boys in my family enjoy it ~ a winner all around!
Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup
4.5 c. Chicken broth
1 (16) ounce can Pumpkin
3 (15-18) ounce cans black beans ~ drained and rinsed
4 t. cumin
1/8 t. salt
1t. pepper
2 onions diced
3 (or more) cloves of garlic
1 (14) ounce can chopped tomatoes ~ drained
2 t. butter
Puree (I use my emulsifier) beans and tomatoes. Saute onions and garlic in butter. Add salt, pepper, and cumin. Add broth and pumpkin to tomato mixture. Mix together and simmer for 30 minutes.
Additions if you please~
Red hot sauce
sour cream dollop on top
sprinkle of good cheddar cheese
Enjoy!
~let me know if you try it~


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He misses me

Thursday, October 23, 2008 | | 7 comments


I came home to a very unexpected surprise ~ flowers! My husband can be very sweet and thoughtful. He planned to have this fall arrangement delivered when he knew I would be busy with our Oktoberfest preparations and conferences at school this week. It's nice to know that he was thinking of me. He caught me totally off guard which makes this gift that much more special.

It's hard to see from the picture (I took several but I just couldn't get it right) but there are actually two levels. The first holds the flowers and the bottom is filled with candy corn. It's really very cute. I'll use it for one of our center pieces this weekend.

I can't wait to see him ~ only a few more days!

Posted by Picasa


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Signs of autumn

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 | | 2 comments


We have a sweet farm not far from our home that is offering the most beautiful pumpkins and mums this year. I went overboard this year. We have pumpkins and gourds inside our home in almost every room. I bought a few large pumpkins for carving into jack~o~lanterns, and a medium one for our traditional stew in a pumpkin that I make every Halloween. I even have them outside our home in our window boxes, along the buildup on our patio, and I'm using a few for the table during our party.There are two gorgeous yellow mums at the front entrance of our home. They will stay there until Thanksgiving.
I love the fact that I can use these decorations for two holidays. This is how I justified my over indulgence.
Natures beauty doesn't get much better than this!
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Busy week = lists

Monday, October 20, 2008 | | 6 comments
I live by my lists.
I can not function without some form of direction. I try to break down my week and accomplish at least one task each day.
Such as laundry one day, food shopping another and errands split up depending on the direction so that I'm not driving all over wasting time and gas.
Each week I make a master list with separate lists for each day of the week. What doesn't get accomplished in that day, gets placed on an unfinished list. This may sound over the top, but it works for me.
I do this simply to stay sane (definition not included). With my husbands constant travel schedule, I can't always depend on him so I've learned to do it all myself and if he happens to be around to lend a helping hand, it's an unexpected bonus!
We are having our annual Oktoberfest this weekend and this year it's all on me! My naval officer promises to be in town, but his arrival date is not known at this time so I can't really count on him to pick up any of the slack. I've been working on this for weeks. Over the weekend my daughter and I went on a "field trip" into nature (our backyard) to find the items needed for my entrance ~ pictures to follow later this week.
I finalized the menu last week, purchased all the candles, extra table wear items, pumpkins, gourds and mum, made and froze some of the appetizers, and hit the package store. This week is food shopping for the party as well as our weekly meals, not to mention thoroughly cleaning our home.
Oh yeah, almost forgot, it's also conference week at school.
I think I need to add extra vitamins to the list!


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Autumn Food Stroll

Friday, October 17, 2008 | | 7 comments






















I have wanted to do this for the past couple of years but something always comes up. This year a girlfriend and I went together.
It was incredible.
You walk along a reviving old New England town sampling food
from various venues and gander into the local shops.
Each and every display was well thought out and the presentation was amazing.
I loved the soup "cauldron" filled with potato leek soup.
The pumpkins cheese cake was delicious and the stacked pumpkin sign
was just too cute and creative.
The gargoyle with his watchful eye is from one of my favorite wine shops
that is next door to an incredible cheese shop.
It was the perfect autumn evening ~ not too cold but a nice chill in the air.
The food was yummy, the shops were quaint
and the time spent with my girlfriend was lovely!
We sampled from amazing restaurants. I can't wait for my husband to
return so I can treat him to my new findings.


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October showcase!

Thursday, October 16, 2008 | | 5 comments


Pumpkins
Come, autumn, come.
Bring leaves of crimson on golden bough; misty morns and amber dusk; a harvest of plenty and pumpkins on the vine. And so the gathering season begins, swathed in exquisite abundance and earthen beauty.
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I adore pumpkins and gourds in any size, color or shape this time of year. I found this little guy at a local farmer's stand. He was adorable all clad in white. I brought him home and decided to dress him up a bit. I added a brown polka dot bow, and a showcase.
Now he is a center piece!


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Quiet reflections ...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | | 4 comments
While working in the yard yesterday, I became lost in my ever wandering thougths. I was relfecting on what I had accomplished that morning and what still needed to be done before the day was over.
With the background noise of the neighborhood children's voices as they played, birds chirping and the squirrels quarreling, I was very content in the moment while I went through window boxes and cut back our flower garden.
It was then, that I had an odd sense, as though it was something I had experienced before. I felt it early that morning while I was baking. Then it became clear, I recognized the scent and sensation from that morning ... I was baking something my mother had made many times over the years. I guess this is the first time I had ever tried her recipe (I have kept all her recipes and go through time from time to time for new ideas as well as the memories.)
I realized that there are so many things I wish I could share with her ~ thoughts, ideas, frustrations, secrets, joys, sorrows and most of all, laughter.
This lead to my new quiet time of reflection. While I might not have the opportunity to share with her in person, I've decided to create a journal to hold such conversations.
Perhaps one day I'll share it with my children or, just keep it between my mother and I.


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Technology

Sunday, October 12, 2008 | | 3 comments
Time flies fast when you're out of touch!
We had a wonderful time in Annapolis seeing old friends and attending all the events. We arrived back in Connecticut late Sunday night (several weeks ago). My naval officer had to fly out Monday morning but before he left, he checked his emails, sent off a few messages and decided to update a few programs. YIKES!
I love technology as long as it's working properly. I must confess that I am more than a little technologically challenged. I never go for anything that has endless bells and whistles. I like to turn it on and be ready to go. Besides, I married a man who has one of his graduate degrees in Computer Engineering.
I came home from school Monday afternoon to our computer that was acting very strange and making an odd noise (I know enough about computers to realize this wasn't a good thing). I called my husband in hopes of catching him before he got on the submarine ~ I caught him just in time for him to tell me that he updated a few programs (read outdated my ability to communicate with the outside world) and to call our neighbor to take a "quick look" at it as he was sure it wasn't anything all that serious.
NOPE!
Our computer crashed!
I never realized how much I use this vehicle of information. I've had to go into school early and stay late since I can't work from home, I've had little communication with several family members and friends as we are all busy and use the Internet to keep in touch, not to mention my new found friends in the blog world.
We are rebuilt and back on the communication highway once again. I say all this with my fingers crossed as my husband flew out this morning to ride a sub.
Looking forward to catching up and checking in! : )


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Academy Reunion

Thursday, September 18, 2008 | | 6 comments
My husband and I are going away together for the weekend. Our summer was so busy and he traveled for most of it so we haven't had an opportunity to spent any alone time together.
We are heading for Annapolis Maryland first thing in the morning on Friday.
Our weekend is full of reunion gatherings and get together.
It's always so much fun to see people that we haven't in years, hear the "good ole days" stories and just relax with each other. My husband graduated from the Naval Academy many years ago. I must admit that I love a man in uniform! I love going to the Ball with my naval officer all dressed up in his dress uniforms and medals gleaming against his chest.
We will be attending many events throughout the weekend but my favorite is the tailgating and football game!
His year group goes all out and the catered event is amazing. You can literally graze the day away with the endless buffet.
After the game, we will attend a party and end the night with close friends.

Sunday morning we will attend a service, enjoy brunch, finish up any shopping ,and head for Connecticut.


Monday morning my naval officer heads back out to sea for a short "cruise."
we just got word that John McCain will be their for his reunion as well.


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