Happy Easter!

 

 

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates! He is risen! This is a beautiful day of rejoicing!

 

 

 

image

 

 

 

My husband and I sit here in quiet morning peace, thinking of all past Easters when our sons were little. Years of Easter egg hunts and baskets brimming with candy, swimming goggles and bottles of bubbles. Years of visiting my mother in law’s house and seeing family to celebrate.

 

 

 

 

Now things have changed, it’s slowly evolved the last few years. Our sons have grown into men, so now Easter is different. No more Easter egg hunts or excitement and laughter when they wake up. My mother in law and Tom’s sister and husband have moved away and will celebrate miles away.Yet, even with changes, (which every family experiences)  Easter remains special. As my sister in law said, we have our memories and  I think they are precious.

 

Easter is a day of renewal and hope.

 

 

 

Change is hard but can be good for us. My family will go to my sister’s house today for a big lunch. I’m making cheesy scalloped potatoes and made strawberry shortcake cupcakes yesterday. It will be a beautiful day, even with changes. Traditions change and we grow as that happens.

 

Happy Easter to all!

All my Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️🐣

Meet Smokey

Meet Smokey…

 

 

 

image
Smokey on one of the highest places in the house

 

 

 

 

Our black cat, Smokey is crazy and mischievous, an eight year old tomcat who prances around the house with a high order attitude. He paws open cupboards, flipping doors in search of treats. He jumps energetically up on top of our china cabinet, eager to reach the highest point in the house. Scampering after our older cat, Katy, he races with vigor. He runs up and down our stairs at high speed, in sudden bursts of energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This little kitty possesses an adventurous spirit and most important, he is a survivor. You see, my sister in law and mother in law were walking down a country road in our town and heard desperate cries like a wild animal. My sister in law investigated on the side of the road and scooped him up. Tucking him in her jacket, she brought him home. He was a few weeks old, tiny and black with gray stripes. We don’t know if the mother abandoned him or if the human owner dropped him off. It was October and that night was very cold, a sure sign he wouldn’t have made it!

 

 

 

 

 

We are thankful that Pam saved Smokey’s life that day. She couldn’t keep the poor guy because she’s allergic to cats. The minute she told me the story, I wanted him with all my heart. We had to persuade my husband and he told Pam, no more after this. Now he is a staunch member of our family and my husband doesn’t regret his decision…he loves him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image

 

 

 

 

 

When he grandly entered our home, we had another cat, Katy. Our roly poly tiger cat had been the one and only for five years. ( I will share her story another time) She growled deep within her throat, a surprise to me because I thought dogs only did this. Like a jealous sibling of a swaddling newborn baby, Katy despised the new kitten.

 

 

 

We were patient with Katy and introduced the newest family member gently. My husband said it was the new kitty smell that freaked her out. Whatever the hostility or jealousy was, she seems to tolerate Smokey now, like a brother and sister. They even play and run after each other. Smokey is Katy’s exercise regiment!

 

 

 

 

Crazy kitty busts racing up and down the stairs, like a tight rope walker, he pads on the high stairway railing with bravery of youth and invincibility. This little speed demon of ebony sticks his sandpaper like tongue out quite often. We all laugh because he’s so goofy and he resembles a comedian sharing the punch line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

image
Always finding a snug place to sleep

 

 

 

Smokey’s youthful personality brings fun and enthusiasm to our house! What will Smokey do today? What will he hunt? Will he break into my cupboards and drag out goodies? We just never know…but what I do know is that our life is enriched by his sporty behavior and we love him dearly. Even when he’s naughty!

 

 

 

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All all my Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Family Favorite: The Sandwich Maker

                Do you own a sandwich maker and use it frequently?

 

image
Proctor Silex sandwich Maker

 

A couple of years ago my husband and I bought a little sandwich maker. The first one we owned was a waffle and sandwich maker. There were different plates you snapped in and it was convenient to wash. Now we own a Proctor Silex, a gift from a coworker.

 

 

We started out making grilled cheese sandwiches and evolved into making deluxe sandwiches with soft muenster cheese, baked ham, turkey or even hard salami nestled in bakery bread with tomatoes, avocado or onion slices.

 

I brought my maker to school to share with my coworker. We would have outside recess on frigid winter days and come in to have lunch. It was a comfort to cook our sandwiches as the delicious aroma filled our room and snaked down the hall. Teachers and students all loved the smell!

 

 

 

 

It’s a great lunch tool for making it delicious when you have company or warm and toasty when weather is frigid and unforgiving. Even though its perfect for winter, we cook sandwiches any time of the year, winter, spring, and even summer. My oldest son uses it when he comes home for lunch.

 

 

Sandwich suggestions

 

Turkey and cheese
Virginia baked ham with cheese
Hard salami with cheese
Roast beef
Bakery bread,must if, ciabatta, pumpernickel, rye, wheat

Veggies to try in your sandwich

Tomatoes (garden ones are the best)
Avocado slices
Onions
Cucumber slices
Green pepper slices

Cheeses to try

American cheese ( I buy mine from the local deli, if you buy the pre-packaged cheese it’s artificial)
Muenster cheese
Provolone
Cheddar
Havarti ( a very rich creamy cheese)
Swiss cheese

Meats to try

Baked ham
Roast turkey
Roast beef
Hard Salami
Corned beef

 

 

 

 

Start with your choice of bread.

Butter both sides. ( I don’t always do this, but it’s pretty flavorful) I used bakery wheat bread for this sandwich.
Line bread with cheese first, followed by meat slices, veggies in top. This particular sandwich had sliced red peppers.

Place in preheated sandwich maker. Cook 2-3 minutes, depending on how toasted you want it. This sandwich is a little puffy but once you place the lid down, it does cook

 

It’s hot when coming out, use a small spatula or knife to slide on to plate.

Unplug cooker, you are done.

 

 

 

Now enjoy that fabulous cooked sandwich!

image

It cleans up nicely. Sometimes the plates click out to wash in the sink. The newest one I have you simply wash the inside plates without taking them out and then towel dry.

 

I suggest to unplug after use and keep on counter to cool off. Then put away in its storage place. I keep mine on a corner cabinet shelf in my kitchen, next to my crockpot.

My Son, the Entertainer

image

 

Last night I visited my son’s senior project night in the school’s gym. Many people were packed in the gymnasium learning about various topics that seniors and sophomores had studied. Some projects stood out to me, assisted suicide, gmo free products ( genetically modified organisms) and are serial killers sane( which I strongly believe, no, you’ve got to be crazy to kill.)

 

B stood proudly at his table, set up next to his good friend . A three tiered poster was on display, portraying animation as it was in the early years compared with computer animation now. B presented his project and spoke confidently and with charisma.

 

I learned about different animated techniques and the fascinating tricks movie makers create with computer imaging. One interesting fact B taught was that the makers of Fast and Furious 7 had footage of Paul Walker acting but then he died in a car accident in the middle of shooting the movie. Amazingly enough, with computer imaging, they took footage of Paul Walker’s head and added it to his brother’s body. His brother was a stand in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

image
The wolf in Into the Woods

 

 

As I listened to all this, I was extremely proud of his knowledge. I understand why he’s chosen the computer animation field…to entertain.

 

 

 

My son has always been an entertainer…

 

when he was around three years old, he and his big brother received harmonicas in their Easter baskets and played for us all day.
Then there was the Christmas Eve he sung Christmas carols solo for us and my husband’s employer and her family.

 

 

Over the years B has been in many plays including Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, Into the Woods, and The Hollywood Hillbillies.

 

He acted passionately as Professor Marvel and The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz. These roles were his best and he received an acting award for The Wizard. During the Professor Marvel scene with runaway Dorothy, the stage crew forgot to put the fire prop out. Yet B cleverly pulled it off by ad libbing, “ A fire, I wish I had a fire!” Here he was roasting a hot dog over a non existent fire! The audience roared with laughter.

 

image.jpeg
It takes a special person to ad lib and generate funny lines, where they fit perfectly. B has that God given talent that will serve him well in his life. As we wait for college acceptance letters, I know that where ever he goes to school, he will be successful and generate a few laughs too.

 

All my Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sickness Denial

That feeling of being sick…

It all starts with a sore throat and a rampage of constant sneezing. A day later mom’s voice has faded to a Minnie Mouse tone, as coughing violently erupts from the very bottom of my toes.

 

 

 

This year I’ve been sick too many times. My workplace, a school, is a Petri dish for a variety of sicknesses, and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that once again, I’m sick.

 

 

Some of my problem is that my body is trying to tell me, take it easy. Yet my mind appears healthy as ever, striving to go to work anyway. Last week it started and I stayed home reluctantly. The next day I went back but my voice hadn’t returned to normal. I’m sure teachers didn’t want me there but nothing was said.

 

 

After resting all weekend (besides doing needed laundry and cleaning the bathroom), I stupidly trudged into work on Monday. I was in a terrible space and not well enough. At the end of this treacherous day, a teacher walked down the hall with me and candidly said, “Why don’t you stay home tomorrow and get better?”

 

 

Silence.

 

 
I went home pondering this, realizing everyone was thinking this but it took a bold co-worker to relay the message.

 

 

I know what you are thinking…you’re getting everyone else sick. Am I part of the widespread problem? The fact is that it kills me to stay home two consecutive days, slumped on the couch with a hot cup of tea by my side and a box of tissues keeping me company. I not only feel overwhelming guilt but it disrupts my whole week. But it’s the right thing to do and I must do it.

 
Today I slept. I coughed. I watched Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. I blew my nose and rested my Minnie voice. My husband came home and so I talked….no change.

 

 
So rest can be good for a weakened body but will I be able to hang out here again tomorrow? Perhaps I’ll play other Netflix shows, read a little, and pray that I can go back to school on Thursday.

Does anyone else have difficulties listening to his/her own body?

Nature’s Spring Gift

IMG_2687

 

There’s no place I’d rather be than on this dusty road….

venturing out on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

The intense beauty of my home and its heritage run through my veins,

as I welcome  the first signs of spring!

A row of erect trees stand in salute,

 

as the afternoon sun casts reaching shadows across the road.

 

Magnificent maples proudly wear their Sunday best, metal sap buckets,
A quaint and historic reminder of long ago,

 

back to the times of Early European settlers.

 

 

 

 

IMG_2685

 

 

Beyond the trees the mountain tops reach to the clouds.

 

Closer to the eye,  wispy branches mingle here and there while the afternoon sun fades.

 

Just soggy leaves and brown grass remains,

 

recovering from a cover of light winter snow.

 

 

 

 

A decrepit crumbling stonewall leads to a grand maple

 

and silver sap buckets, hanging with purpose catch my eye.

 
More evidence of spring…

 

 

A vision of nature’s simplicity, the running of the sap is  ruled by the weather,

 

warm days and cool nights are ideal for the saps flow.

 

IMG_2688

 

 

 

.

Further down the stretch of road plastic lines connect each maple like a dot to dot at school.

 

They too do the job of collecting, yet there is no beauty in it.

 
For the metal old fashioned buckets mean something more to me, spring! home! New England! A picture perfect postcard!

 

 

I have memories of a few times my family tapped our trees in the yard long ago.

I remember peeking in the buckets, expecting to hear a ping.

Not much was there, but a  silent flow of a force.

This force is a true pure gift of nature for man to savor.

 

 

At last when the sap is collected, it’s heated to a boil.

Parties congregate in the sugar shacks, celebrating spring and the maple’s gifts. 

 
Amber hues stream from the pitcher, saturating pancakes and sweet to taste.

Lick your lips.

Sticky.

Delicious.

A New England tradition.

 

Buy New England Maple Syrup today!

Crockpot Nights

 

 

image

 

 

 

Calling all busy occupied moms…have you discovered the trusty crockpot and it’s conveniences? If not, you will want to read this!

Fleeting memories of a steamy brown little crockpot in a kitchen with metal yellow chairs and vinyl pads brings me back to 1980, when my mom used this cooking method when she was working all day at our little family store. Even back in the 80’s women used their trusty crockpot. This metal contraption with a glass lid made life easy and still does years later after its invention.

 

 

 

 

Simply prep the food the morning of and even better the night before. Spoon all the ingredients into the cooker, plug it in, turn it on low and rely on it’s powers that seven to eight hours later, dinner is done! Voila!

 

 

 

 

What I love about crockpot nights is the freedom to do things past four thirty, the usual meal preparation time. With our meal simmering, delicious smells hover over the kitchen and waft pleasantly into the rest of the house. I can use this time in various ways, catch up on lingering laundry, go for a walk in our yard or write in my blog.

 

 

image

 

 

 

 

 

I have gotten into a routine of having crockpot meals once or twice a week and a lot on weekends. Lately I’ve discovered that cooking in a crockpot on a Saturday or Sunday is the perfect way to prepare supper, especially if I’m visiting family or friends. In the past, when I visited or went shopping, the dreaded curfew of four or four thirty in the afternoon hung over me and affected my visit. But a simmering meal working in my crockpot does the work for me!

 

 

 

 

 

This fine Sunday morning I prepped:

1 pound steak tips or nice underblade roast beef

1 packet of Lipton onion soup mix

2 cups of water

sliced onion quarters

6 carrots sliced

 

 

 

 

image

 

 

Add all ingredients in the pot. I put it in at 10:00 on a low setting and it would be done by 4 or 4:30. I roasted potatoes in the oven, but many times I add the potatoes to the mixture. To complement the meal, I served ciabatta rolls from the supermarket bakery. Those rolls you bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, creating a fresh baked crunchy edge and soft bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Great Crockpot Ideas

 

 

 

 

Other great easy  crockpot meals are chicken and either cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken and added carrots, potatoes or green beans. A tender corned beef with carrots and potatoes and pickling spice is simply delicious and so easy to do in the crockpot. ( We don’t use cabbage because we really don’t like it, but if you do like it, that goes with corned beef too.)

 

 

 

 

 

I have made simple chili in the cooker, as well as baked beans. Any type of stews, such as beef stew cooks wonderfully in it.

 

 

 

Whatever you choose, make sure you have all the ingredients and the time to prep it. If mornings don’t work for you, prep everything the night before and place it in the fridge. In the morning simply take out, scoop into the cooker and you’ll come home to a delicious aroma and meal waiting for you! Enjoy!

 

 

 

All my Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Out and About in the Woods🌲

 

On a Sunday afternoon in March my husband and I trekked peacefully in the woods. I confess this is the earliest I’ve ever hiked before, usually I do this in  May or June. But why not? Temperatures hovered around 40 degrees and the sun filtered pleasantly through the trees. The warmth and chance to explore was calling us!

 

 

path resembling early spring lead us through woods trudged by fellow hikers.Their mysterious footprints danced along the trail, as if to say, this is a place of sheer joy.

 

 

IMG_2662

 

 

 

 

 

This local trail is called the Scotland Brook  Wildlife Sanctuary, 102 acres of vast land including northern hardwood forest, wet lands and a fir tree reserve.The usual path we go on was reverted due to fallen trees and various overgrown brush on the trail. Upon reading the sign, you are welcomed to walk a few feet forward down the road and it leads back to the trail.

 

 

 

Crunching snow on the trail….

 

 

 

 

and  stepping  over pockets of ice and leaves,

 

we noticed little bridges every few feet. Cedar logs positioned nicely with timbers on them and cleverly installed chicken wire, which really is a great ice deterrent and provides traction this time of year.

 

 

 

 

IMG_2664

 

 

 

 

 

We gawked at everything and anything, as we treaded in awe and wonder of nature’s glory. Majestic trees towered above us and along the path a flat boulder appealed to my inner child. If there hadn’t been patches of snow and ice, I would’ve hopped on it and sat down.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2661

 

 

 

 

 

Many animal tracks led the way, accompanying men’s footprints, reminding us that we weren’t alone,a patent reminder of all that share the woods. Coyote,foxes, snowshoe hares, and deer all inhabit this sanctuary and we are honored to be a part of it.The woods came alive with movement all around. Red squirrels skittered about, little acrobats swinging from branch to branch. Sudden movements fluttered from the tree, partridges spooked by our presence.

 

 

 

 

Evidence of a Snowshoe Hare                                   Possibly a coyote or fox

 

 

 

 

A kaleidoscope of brown and gray untamed branches reached here and there, in our view of a magnificent palette of blue. A deep rich blue resembled the sea, as billowy clouds hovered in the mix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2678

 

 

After a few hours hiking and absorbing the tranquility, we both decided that it was medicine and well needed. Cabin fever had set in and it was time to say hello to fresh air, blue sky, and welcome spring!

 

 

 

Walking in the woods puts life in a different perspective, that we are all part of the earth and its majesties. It reminded me that  modern technology doesn’t really refresh my soul and that’s why I needed this visit.

 

 

 

Have you walked in the woods or nature lately?

 

All my Best,

Heart and Soul

Strive to Learn Something New

image.jpeg
Learning how to garden is one idea ❤️

   Here’s a question to ask yourself today…..

 

 

 

 

 

                              What do you want to learn or accomplish?
Has it been ages since you’ve tried something new? Maybe you’ve always yearned to cook or bake with a fancy flair. Possibly you carry a deep desire to grow a lush garden for the first time. Perhaps you have an itch to research your family ancestry and really dig into your roots. So if there’s a spark of interest, what’s holding you back? Dive right in and discover a fascinating new world.

 

 

 

 

A few summers ago I spent hours and weeks glued to my computer, researching my family tree. Another year I started scrap booking and made a few memory books and homemade cards for family members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My new year has brought distinct interests to light and something has triggered my inner being to learn even more than what I’ve pursued in my past. Something clicked within me in January and an old love transformed into a reborn interest. My love of writing has taken a backseat for many years and has mysteriously resurfaced. Now my intention is to write a blog and possibly children’s books in the future.

 

 

 

 

                         

 

 

 

 

                                         What do I want to learn about?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With each year that passes by, my desire to learn develops. It’s understandable how many adults go back to school, not only for career development but at the middle age of forty six, a new born curiosity evolves. My husband and I are nearing an empty nest in a few months, so this is the ideal time to learn new hobbies.

 

 

 

 

 

I read blogs or books and suddenly inquisitive questions arise and then a fire is kindled and it’s up to me to feed it. In the past I read about Area 52 and the Roswell Incident. I’ve learned about people with disabilities who have defied the odds, women following their passions and ancestry of my family. Crocheting looks like fun. Yoga intrigues me and I wish to delve deeper into the practices.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve done yoga a few times before at camp. A nice family from Montreal gave a yoga class and my mother in law, Theo and I went with hopes of a meditative stretch. I’ve read about it and how it centers women, helps your body deal with stress and is a good stretch work out. My problem is making time during the week. I really want to do it and commit but the class times are around supper time, how can I manage that? A crockpot meal maybe. Perhaps downloading a yoga app would be the route to follow for me. This way I could perform it at home without pressure to get home in time to make supper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another thing I want to learn is building. Soon my husband and I are building six window boxes for our home front. Last year I started noticing houses passing by in the car ( my husband and I enjoy country rides in our town and neighboring villages). Many houses have gorgeous window boxes adorning their front, filled with colorful posies and greenery. My deepest desire is to build my boxes myself, but with my husband’s guidance.
Whatever it is, follow your heart and learn something new today. You don’t necessarily have to wait until you are approaching an empty nest too, just take time for things that interest you.It makes life interesting and you may end up really good at it. You may be surprised of the friends you make and your passion may exist for the rest of your life.

 

 
                                         It’s never too late to learn something new.

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️