Thursday, January 31, 2013

The older she gets....

 ...the crazier she gets!

 (photo altered with picMonkey)

This is a photo of Baby sitting on the jelly cupboard, one of her favorite places to hang out. And why not? It's up high so she can look down on poor Mr. J, a floor dweller. It also allows her to oversee the entire living area of the house. But probably most importantly, from this vantage point she can easily watch the action at the screen feeder mounted to the dining room window.

Once upon a time, this little corner of the dining area looked so neat and tidy.

And even after sweet Baby came along, she was always so careful while perched on the corner.

But lately, she's been a wild woman. With reckless abandon, she leaps across the half wall from the family room to the top of the jelly cupboard. Therefore, all breakables have been completely removed. The crocheted runner isn't even safe anymore. I find it on the floor more often than not. If Baby's not around, I attempt to put it back on the jelly cupboard; if she is around, it just gets tossed over the back of one of the dining room chairs.

The bay window decor doesn't escape her shenanigans either. The placemat that sits under the plants is always bunched up due to her leaping down to the window to 'attack' whatever poor creature or bird is at the screen feeder. Just look at her up there, eyes locked on the feeder through the window!

It's the same thing in the living room, where I'm always having to adjust the lampshade on this vintage lamp. Sadly, there used to be two of them. We all know who is responsible for there only being one now.

Two days ago, this was the view outside our window, some lingering snow and frigid temperatures. The snow is long gone now (as temps rose in the 50's and 60's for 2 days!!)...
And something else is gone as well...

The runner that usually sits on the apothecary chest was in a heap on the floor, the calling card of you know who. (I love how Mr. J is on his way over to investigate. Don't worry, Mr. J, I know the culprit!)

It's this little beast, who races from one end of the house to the other, and then leaps!

And just look at this face. Not a shred of guilt!

It's okay, Baby. We know you're just being precocious, curious, and athletic... a trait most younger cats share :) And you're awfully cute, and quite entertaining, so I think we can overlook some of your messy tendencies.
We're bracing for some frigid weather again, I'm afraid. We sure were spoiled by the last two days!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Friday, January 25, 2013

You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod...

A couple of days ago I made a trip to the Cape to help out my elderly aunt. I think the Cape is one of the prettiest places.

 I didn't have too much time to take photos,
but I did manage to snap a few to share with you.

This particular trip made me think of my parents quite a bit. The talented Patti Page, who made Old Cape Cod such a hit, passed away just a few weeks ago. She also sang The Tennessee Waltz, which was the first song my parents danced to the night they met. And although it's a sad song, they considered it their song.

I think they were doing a polka, rather than a waltz, in this photo!
I love all these old 1950's photos.

It was such a crisp, clear day. Unfortunately my dirty windshield, along with the obtrusive telephone poles and electric lines, ruined this photo. I wish all utilities were underground. It would sure make for more aesthetically pleasing photos!

This is Edward Gorey's old neighborhood. It's a beautiful street.

It was frigid on this particular day so I'm afraid I was a very lazy photographer, snapping photos from inside my warm car rather than venturing outside.

The Edward Gorey House is a fun place to visit if you ever find yourself on Rte 6A in Yarmouthport.

I believe it re-opens for the season on April 18th.

I had to get a shot of The Doubtful Guest, trying his best to stay warm in his snazzy red striped scarf.

I know a lot of you are also suffering with frigid temperatures. By Monday we should be in the midst of a heat wave here in Massachusetts (or at least it will feel like one) with temperatures reaching the high 30's. Can't wait!

Before long, the sun had set and the sky turned a beautiful, deep blue at dusk. The moon, although not full, was so beautiful and bright.

I'll leave you with a YouTube video of Patti Page singing The Tennessee Waltz
(for you, Mom & Dad)

Have a great weekend, everyone! Stay warm!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kale! Where have you been all my life?

My youngest daughter has been encouraging me to start using kale for quite some time. She uses it for cooking, snacking, smoothies, you name it. She tells me it's a super food and I need to start using it. (She's wiser than her mom!)

Well, this week I decided to listen to her. Recently, FRESH, an informational article/recipe/coupon booklet put out by our grocery store, Hannaford, featured an article on kale along with some recipes. I decided to bite the bullet and take my daughter's advice and I'm SO glad I did! I've never had anything I cooked resemble the recipe photo like this meal did. And it was so, so good!
I gathered up my ingredients (I improvised by using the rubs I had on hand and omitted some others like the smoked paprika and sunflower seeds). So here's my adaptation of the original recipe

The turkey cutlets (approx. 1 lb.) were sprinkled with black pepper and a garden rub, then cooked (in olive oil) while I chopped up the vegetables (1 leek, 1 large bunch kale, and 1 clove garlic). If you're a vegetarian, you could easily omit the turkey and have a fantastic meatless meal! I'm sure there will be times when I do just that.

Okay, the garlic, leek, and kale has been chopped.
Remove the cutlets, cover with tin foil and set aside. Now it's time to saute the leeks, garlic, and rosemary in the same pan. (add a bit more oil if needed). Rather than chopping my rosemary, I opted to leave it whole during the cooking process to just add flavor. Saute about 3-4 minutes.

After removing the sprigs of rosemary, it was time to add the kale (chopped and removed from stems) and 2/3 cup chicken broth (again, if you're doing a vegetarian dish, just substitute vegetable broth). Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Apparently I was supposed to cover it at this point, but I didn't).

Okay, it looks like everything has cooked down nicely!

Time to add in 1 can of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, 1 can of Cannellini White Beans, and the already cooked turkey cutlets (which I cut into smaller pieces).

Mix it all together, cover and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally... and voila! My first time cooking with kale, but definitely not my last!

I also have to say how much I love my large 11" Wolfgang Puck Chicken Fryer Pan. It's so versatile. I use it all the time. 

We are about to have coldest temperatures we've had in two years. Maybe I'll make a nice vegetable soup with lots of kale!

In doing a little bit of research comparing my beloved spinach and my new-found friend, kale, I came across this Kale vs. Spinach informational (and humorous!) blog post from The Health Revival! I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

Stay warm, everyone!!!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

A project a day...

 For the New Year, I've been trying to work on a project a day.
It can be something as small as cleaning or organizing one drawer, one shelf, or a file folder up to tweaking and reorganizing an entire room (if the mood strikes).

Last week I shared my dining room hutch makeover.
(The dining room hutch actually sits to the left of the fireplace in the living room 
because there's no room for it in our tiny little dining area).
Of course that makes our already small living room really tiny,
with the sofa sitting right in front of the fireplace.

Speaking of the fireplace, I did a bit of tweaking on the mantel, trying out some new arrangements.

A piece I painted several years ago is flanked by hands, books, and busts.

This lady head planter and the vintage hat are a favorite, purchased for a song on the same day, but at different thrift stores in Cambridge. I think they were meant to find each other.
The fireplace and living room look so different today than they did in the 90's...

Back then, the fireplace was still brick. When we started switching over from a darker primitive decor to a lighter cottage style, hubby really did not want the bricks painted white (my first choice - I love that look!).  So we compromised and he built a fireplace surround/cover to go over the bricks. I think that one change has had the biggest impact in our living room makeover.
(There's a link on my sidebar showing how hubby built the fireplace cover.)

My church birdhouse is the only 'fireplace decor' that remains next to the hearth from my primitive days. Back in the 90's, an old friend and I were at a craft fair in Sturbridge, MA when we came across a young couple from upstate New York selling these awesome oversized, rustic birdhouses. It's a purchase I've never regretted! I couldn't bear to put it outside and chance it getting ruined, so it has always remained indoors. This angel has also been around for a long time. He was purchased years ago at an "after Christmas sale," and even though he was being sold as a Christmas decoration, I keep him out year-round.

The old weathered cutting board and wreath that used to hang over the mantel in our primitive days now sit above the sliders in the family room.

And although our living room is tiny, there's always room for cottage kitties! There are white ones...
... black ones...

... and one very special White and Black one! There's also a very special gray striped Tiger one, but she never ventures into the living room, preferring to spend most of her time in on the bed in Amanda's old room.
(As you can see, the snow we got Wednesday is just about gone... Yeah!!!!)

So now that the living room has been tweaked and organized, it's time to find another project.
A small one. Maybe I'll try a healthy new recipe for today's project:)
(Happy thought for today:
It's becoming more and more noticeable that the days are getting longer :)

This week I'm joining Claudia at Mockingbirdhill Cottage for Favorite Thing Saturday,
 Brenda at Cozy Little House for Tweak It Tuesday
and Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday.
Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

From the 60's to this in two days flat!

 Where did the beautiful, warm, 60 degree temperatures of Monday go????
Reality smacked us - hard - as we woke to typical January weather this morning.
(typical for New England, anyhow!)
Everywhere Baby and I looked was white, white, and more white.

Whereas my snowman flag looked ridiculous on Monday when temps soared into the low 60's...

...he looked right at home today in the midst of the snowy white landscape.
(Don't you love this whimsical little guy? My talented  friend, Jeri of Fiddlestix, is the artist!)
I see the plow is working up at the corner. I'm sure he'll be heading this way before too long.

And within minutes he had.

The view out back was much the same.

As much as I'm not a fan of winter, even I can appreciate the beauty of freshly fallen snow.

The backyard looks like a crystal fairyland with the heavy snow clinging to every branch.

Our new gate and fence are experiencing their first winter.
How I love my little heart gate, no matter what the season.

Snow clung to the diamond pattern of the deck chairs.

And look who heard me taking pictures and ventured over to see if I had my peanut basket
(which I did, of course, much to Sammy's delight!)
This is what Mr. J looks like whenever he comes in from the snow. He may be 12, but he's a kid at heart and loves to burrow his head and roll in it.

Stay warm, everyone!!!!