Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hello, old friend!

Fresh strawberries are once again making a regular appearance in the supermarket produce section. It's like seeing an old friend again after a long absence...

I enjoy the ritual of preparing them to go into the fridge... First, rinsing them in the colander...

...and then carefully hulling them so I only remove the stems (I don't want to waste a single morsel by removing too much!!)...

A bowl of cereal tastes sooooooooo good when topped with fresh strawberries (or blueberries!)... Cereal is both a breakfast and snack food in our house... and the fresh fruit adds so much to it!! Yummy!

Also, just a quick reminder that today is the last day....

... to enter my "1 year blog anniversary giveaway" (click photo to go to entry the entry post).... Good luck to everyone who entered! I'll be announcing the winner in the next day or two!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pillow Talk...

Welcome to Pink Saturday, hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound!

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Pink roses on pillows... a match made in heaven!!

This is the sofa in our family room, and it's the most comfy spot to lounge, watch TV, or read a book...

Last month, on my way home from a dental appointment, I happened to drive by a Marshalls store....

Since I needed some foaming hand wash for the bathroom, I popped in... Now I know I should have picked up the hand wash and then made a quick exit...

... but I made the mistake of doing a quick walk around the store. When I spotted these pillows, I was absolutely smitten!

All my favorite colors... perfect pink, cottage blue, spring green... These pillows are as soft and comfy as they are beautiful... (some women have a handbag fetish... I think I have a pillow fetish)...

And one of the best features is that they tie in the back so they can be easily removed for washing!

So you've seen my store-bought pillows, but if you'd like to see a very unique pillow, you must visit Mel at her Country in the Town blog (which is delightful!)

Just look at this embroidered "envelope" pillow she made, complete with a pink rose "stamp" in the corner!!! Is this not the sweetest pillow you've ever seen? How perfect would this be as a housewarming gift with the recipient's new address embroidered on it? I asked Mel if I could share her very special pillow with you in today's post and she graciously agreed!

Please click on either of these two photos to go directly to the pillow post. Mel has beautiful photos of this pillow as well as others. (My pictures do not do her pillows justice! I used my camera to take photos of her blog pictures from my computer monitor... trust me when I tell you that makes for very bad quality photos!!) Thanks again, Mel, for letting me share your unique envelope pillow!!

Now be sure to stop by and see Beverly's beautiful Pink Saturday post, where you'll also find a list of all the other pink loving bloggers participating in today's Pink Saturday!!!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Bird lamps for sale...

Many of you may remember when I posted about the bird lamp my girls gave me for Christmas a few years ago...

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And then I posted about this bird lamp that I recently picked up at The Christmas Tree Shops here in the northeast...

I just received a comment from someone who is searching for a pair of matching bird lamps. She asked if anyone knew where she could find something similar to either of my lamps since she doesn't have a Christmas Tree Shop near her (and I believe they're all sold out now anyhow). Apparently Urban Outfitters is no longer carrying the lamp my girls gave me, either. So if any of you know of any great bird lamp sources, please feel free to leave comments here as to where she can find something! I also decided to do a little on-line search to see what I could find ....

Here's a sweet little white bird lamp from Lampstore.com (available for immediate shipping and the price includes shipping):

A while ago I had seen a beautiful bird JC Penney Linden Street bird lamp on somebody's blog (I wish I could remember who so I could provide a blog link for you!). But here's a link to the lamp. Unfortunately it's on backorder until May 15th, but it is also on sale for 50% off!


This pretty lamp is from Bellacor.com... It says it ships in 2-4 weeks. Click on the photo for the link:

This next lamp from Target is a completely different look ... bronze with a red shade.... The website says it ships in 1-2 days. Here's the link:


This next lamp from sofabed.ecrater.com is gorgeous, but it lists shipping as $120! Is that even possible? Shipping can be really out-of-sight, so it's always a good thing to check it out before placing an on-line order! Click photo for the link:

Okay, so those are the bird lamps I came up with... But I can't end this post without listing a few other fantastic lamps that I came across, all from The Country House!

Is anyone interested in a cottage bunny lamp?

Can you believe I found a gorgeous Sammy Squirrel lamp?

Cock-a-doodle-doo! Check out this rooster lamp!

And if I was still decorating in a primitive style, I'd have flipped for this sheep lamp!

Or this black crow lamp!

And last, but not least, just a very pretty cottage white lamp (no animals...no birds...just 100% charm!)

I hope you enjoyed looking at some of these lamps... The right lamp can add so much to a little shelf or corner, a tabletop, or even to an entire room! Have fun browsing!!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

A time honored tradition continues...

This is my first time posting a 'tablescape,' so I hope I'm doing it right - Thank you, Susan!

This year, the arrival of spring inspired the table setting for our annual St. Patrick's Day dinner...
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... with garden statuary birds and a vintage, cottage-styled tablecloth...

...of pink and white flowers scattered across a cheerful blue background.

But the real star of every St. Patrick's day dinner is Nana's china...

I always assumed my Nana had purchased this china (Marx & Gutherz Carlsbad #1446 Austria, circa 1885-1898), as it had been passed down from her to my Mom, and then on to me. But after researching this pattern and seeing the manufacture dates, I'm now wondering if my great-grandmother originally purchased it and started the tradition of passing it on to the next generation (my Nana would have been just a baby in the late 1800s!)...

The one thing I am certain of is that these dishes have been part of every St. Patrick's Day (and many other celebrations!) on the Irish side of my family for a minimum of 90 years, but more than likely well over 100 years ...

The curves and lines of the serving dishes are so beautiful, as are the delicate pink and blue flowers in the pattern... I definitely think my Nana (or great-Nana) had excellent taste when it came to picking a timeless china pattern!

Now this may not be as pretty as the china, but for a St. Patrick's day dinner it's every bit as important! I took possession of my mom's large cooking pot after she passed away. Every New England boiled dinner I remember her serving was simmered in this pot. So the tradition continues...

... a St. Patrick's day dinner of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and onions.

This year the meat was so tender, it just pulled apart...

These beautiful serving pieces really make the food look so good!!

Thank you for letting me share our St. Patrick's day dinner and table setting with you. We're usually pretty casual around here at dinner time, so I don't often have anything to share on Tablescape Thursday!

After dinner, the cleanup begins. Naturally all of Nana's china is carefully handwashed and dried; and then it's back to the hutch until our next celebration!!

I have a favorite photo of my Nana as a young woman hanging between two of her plates above the hutch. I think she'd love that very special memories are still being made around the dinner table set with her china!
Now I'm heading over to Susan's beautiful blog, Between Naps on the Porch, to visit all the other Tablescape Thursday blog posts! I hope you'll join me!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let them eat cake!

Court came home from college this weekend to celebrate her birthday and St. Patrick's Day...

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Because she was born on March 18th, we've always celebrated the two together....

I bought this crown last year and I think it is going to be worn by everyone for their official birthday portraits from this point on... My dad and hubby got fair warning that when their birthdays roll around they, too, will be donning the "Celebrate" crown!

Courtney requests carrot cake each year for her birthday, and since I am not known for my baking (or cooking) skills, my cakes are just 'doctored up' box mixes...

So far, so good... I remember when Courtney was about nine years old, she invited several school friends to her birthday party. Everything went great until the cake was served and one of the girls asked what kind it was... I wish I had a picture of all those little faces when Court proudly annunced it was carrot cake! No one would even try it!

This year's cake turned out sooooo good! I added raisins and walnuts to the mix (Court nixed the coconut and crushed pineapple I had planned to add)... This cake is probably the reason I had my first gain (1.2 lbs.) on the scale this week since starting my diet. (If I'd only stopped with one piece instead of helping myself to leftover cake all weekend long!!)

Court with her cake (right after blowing out the candles). Notice her bandaged hand/fingers? Over spring break she flew to New Orleans to visit a friend at Tulane University. During a bike ride to get snow cones, she ended up skidding on gravel and going over the handlebars. Thank God her only injuries were bruises, skinned knees & palms, and a couple of broken fingers. (Not that the broken fingers are a good thing, but when I think how much worse it could have been I'm grateful... very grateful)...

The official birthday portrait of the princess with her prince... (Court is also sporting dark locks as of last month. She doesn't change her hair color as much as she did a few years ago. Back then, I never knew what color she'd surprise us with!)

My two silly girls, once again hamming it up for the camera in their hats (Christmas deja vu). Amanda is actually wearing a peacock feathered headband which is very hard to see in this photo. So other than it being too short, it was a great weekend!
And I'd also like to thank everyone who left such heartfelt comments about our little Gizzy Girl... You are all so kind - and such wonderful animal lovers!!!
Wishing you all a beautiful week!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Our little pound puppy (a.k.a. troll dog)!!

This is our little Ms. Giz (Gizmo, Gizzy Girl)... One look at her ears and you can probably guess why she was named Gizmo!
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That was her name when we adopted her, at age 8, from a rescue group in Maine and this is what she looked like... a pair of ears with a dog attached!!

(Gizzy on an inflatable plastic chair)

This photo has an almost "alien" ("Take me to your leader") look about it! She was such a funny little dog! She loved me unconditionally (yes, I was her favorite) and she tolerated everyone else in the family (she actually did love them; her tail would wag furiously as she growled at them and acted feisty! Like I said, she was such a little troll!!!)

(She and my boy, Blackie sitting at the slider)

Gizzy, true to her (mixed) terrier heritage, ruled the roost from the get go. It didn't matter to her that our three cats had been living here for years before she came along, or that her big brother (lab/shepherd Mr. O'Malley) outweighed her by 60 lbs.... She let everyone know she was the boss from day one!

(a favorite place to sun herself - on the back of the couch)
This story has a hero, and his name is Vaughn. He, along with another rescuer named Sharon, drove from Maine to the New York City pound several times a year. Their mission: to rescue as many small dogs from the pound as possible, take them back to Maine, and find homes for them. The NYC pound takes in about 1,000 animals every week, yet only about 100 of those are fortunate enough to find homes; therefore, about 900 of the 1,000 are put to sleep ... every week. The number are staggering, aren't they?

While finalizing paperwork to adopt the dogs, Vaughn happened to wander into a back room where he spotted Gizmo in a cage. When Gizmo saw him, she immediately got up on her hind legs, clasped her two front paws together and kept thrusting them back and forth while barking furiously... Vaughn later told me that it looked to him like she was praying for her life. He went back to the front desk and told them he wanted to adopt the little blonde dog in the back room, too.

But the pound told him she was too old to be adopted (at 8 years). She was an "owner turn-in" and was scheduled to be put to sleep that afternoon, as the shelter was overcrowded; therefore there was no room for her, and again, because of her age she was deemed 'unadoptable'. Vaughn told them he really wanted to add her to the group of dogs he was taking back to Maine, but once again they told him, "No." Vaughn told them that she was 'praying' for her life in that cage in the back room and that he had no intention of leaving without her...

(Gizzy, sleeping in my office... )
... so the pound finally backed down and agreed to draw up the additional paperwork to release Gizmo to him...

I don't know where Gizzy spent her first 8 years, but I know wherever she lived, she must have been loved very much. It was impossible not to love her. My guess (since she was an owner turn-in) is that she may have had an elderly owner who passed away or went into a nursing home. Perhaps it fell upon relatives to decide her fate and they turned her over to the pound... (If only dogs could talk)...

As Gizmo aged, she developed a severe eye infection that required her right eye to be removed. But as you can see from her smiling face, she didn't let it get her down...

She eventually went totally blind in her remaining eye, but again, she lived each and every day joyfully, with a wagging tail and a crooked toothed smile... Nothing got her down.

She had also developed diabetes (a contributing factor in her eye infection). Part of her treatment was me giving her insulin shots twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Again, never a whimper. As long as she had her family (especially me), a bowl of food and fresh water, she was as happy as could be. She was a little girl, but she had a BIG appetite!!!

We lost her a year ago on March 22nd, at 16 years of age, so I've been thinking about her (and missing her) a lot this weekend... She truly was a one in a million dog...
I'm so thankful and grateful for the 8 years we shared. By watching her, we all learned more about living life with joy, dignity, and without complaint.
And I'm so thankful and grateful to Vaughn for refusing to leave the pound without this little girl... Vaughn and Sharon are no longer doing rescues or I'd definitely send people their way... But wherever you live, you can be sure that there are local rescue groups, pounds, and shelters filled with animals, all in desperate need of good homes.
I have several pet adoption sites listed on my sidebar where you can adopt everything from puppies to purebreeds to good old mutts!! And don't forget one of the major benefits to adopting an older dog - they're already housebroken in most cases!!!

Wishing you and all your fur babies a wonderful week!
I love you, my little Giz...