Monday, August 27, 2012

Relaxing By the Pond

I had my Mom, my sister, her boyfriend and my nephew over yesterday afternoon.  I prepared some food, put the beverages on ice and displayed everything on the folding table DJ bought me for Christmas...
My nephew Daniel enjoying the Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip.  It was gone by the time everyone left :)
I made Hot Party Ham Sandwiches that are always a huge hit...
Crack dip that I served with tortilla chips.  I absolutely love this.  My friend Teri gave me the recipe.  It reminds me of a salsa, but really could be a meal given the fact that the corn and black eyed peas together make a complete protein.  I have placed the recipe for it under my recipe tab...
And, shrimp for my Mom because she loves it...
We ate, listened to some radio, relaxed and enjoyed the sun, company and the end of summer heat... 
DJ and Brenda
Some of us preferred the shade :)  
Violet and Nate:)
At the end of the afternoon as we were returning to the house, I saw my first Monarch this fall.  Of course, I started thinking about my kids (I always think about my kids :) and how they evolve.  This fall marks a transition period in our household - DJ will be staying at college this fall and my nephew Daniel will be a high school senior.  These are milestones for the boys (and for my sister and I as mothers) and the beginning of a new journey for them.
It also reminded me of the Dennis Waitley quote, "The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence."
We have done that and now it is time for them to fly.
The sky is the limit boys.  
Soar high :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Apple Spice Cake

I made this cake on Sunday.  It was cold inside the house and I wanted to warm up - so I baked.  I went to Shur Fine, picked up some applesauce (because apples to me are quintessential fall), perused a cookbook I purchased at the LL Bean store in Maine almost 25 years ago and decided on Apple Spice Cake.
Moist and delicious, it goes great with coffee or on its own.  The boys gave it two thumbs up and DJ's friends "loved it!!!"  They are biased though :)  You can make it for school lunch snacks, put it in the freezer for unexpected visitors and/or enjoy it throughout the day (like we did :)  But, whatever you do, make it.
The recipe follows:

Apple Spice Cake - The Harrowsmith Cookbook - Volume Number 1

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups apple sauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts

Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves into a large bowl.  Add shortening and apple sauce.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for two minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat for one more minute.  Stir in raisins and nuts and blend well.

Pour into greased and floured tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 70 minutes (mine took 55 minutes).  Cool in pan for ten minutes, loosen with a knife and turn onto wire rack to finish cooling.


Monday, August 20, 2012

A Busy Couple of Weeks

I have been an extremely busy girl this month.  In addition to going on a vacation to Cape Cod, I went to Toronto with my friend Melissa and watched the Toronto Blue Jays beat my beloved New York Yankees 10 - 7.
I am OK with it :)  Because you see, we had such a great time.  I renewed my passport and went on my very first bus trip.  I gotta tell you - I don't think you can beat em.  You get on the bus, relax and (in this case three and 1/2 hours later) you are there.  It's a good deal.  We had great seats on the third base line, and...
we got to see him too :)  That is Mr. Derek Jeter in case you are wondering :)  That boy is worth every penny he earns :)
I also went to the Wyoming County Fair with Dave where we saw many animals and hand crafted items, Dave enjoyed a beef on wick and I enjoyed a hot dog.  And for my very first time, I went through historical buildings that I did not even know were there.  New eyes I guess.  

We spent $7.00 that night ($5.00 for the beef on wick and $2.00 for the hot dog).  Money well spent on a truly old time fair.
I have walked faithfully every day (unless it has rained - which it has - and I am most thankful for :)
While walking on the trails through the woods, I have seen turkeys roosting in trees...  
and bucks watching me :)
Nearer to the house, sunflowers that Dave planted late this summer have bloomed and, I must say, I find them wonderful.

Cutting of the fire wood continues - Dave cuts it, DJ splits it and both stack it.
Meals are shared...

and life continues as summer fades into fall...
at the little red house in the 35 Acre Wood.
Have a great night :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Have You Noticed It?

The days are getting shorter, there is a crispness in the air each morning, and light is shining just a little differently.  I notice this every August.
I noticed it this morning when I woke up to the birds chirping a little later than usual and when I took my dogs for their nightly walk and had to wear a sweatshirt.
I notice it on the trails I walk with the dogs...
 as they are lined with Queen Ann's Lace...
and fleabane... 
Wild thimble berries are ready to be picked.
I think I may make a crisp using them this weekend.
Look at how many shades of green there are...
I even saw a beehive.  I've walked these trails all summer long and never noticed it before tonight.   
We have even begun stacking wood. 
Before you know it, I am going to be getting out my knitting needles, making soup and grabbing books from the library.  But not before I put on my jacket and head out on the trails with my dogs.  Never.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Cape Cod Vacation

We just returned home from a week spent in Cape Cod, first time in almost 20 years.  It is really beautiful there.  National seashore, hiking trails, farm markets, cottages, light houses, golf courses, a winery,  exquisitely prepared food and time spent on the beach are but a few of the things we were fortunate enough to enjoy.
We stayed in this sweet little cottage...
on the bay...
where visitors can sit and enjoy reading the morning paper...
It was actually pretty cold on our first official full day there.  The temperatures were in the mid 60s.  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it.  It has been way too hot for my taste this year, but making the transition from high 80s/low 90s to mid 60s takes a little getting used to.  However, it is the perfect temperature for hiking...

While hiking, we met a couple who informed us that there were approximately 400 gray seals swimming off the coast just a few short miles away.  I'd never seen any before, so off we went...
We kept our distance and observed them swimming off shore.  I have to say, they are BIG!!!  Way bigger than what I expected.  And they are cute :)
Monday - we golfed.  Let me just clarify that Dave and DJ golfed.  Me - notsomuch.  Not into golf unless you need a professional photographer, ball spotter or beer wench.  Don't get me wrong, I am not bad at it - I just do not take it as seriously as these guys do.  But when the course looks like this - Yeah, I'm there, I'm your girl.
It is the second oldest links course in the country (1892).
It boarders this little, old lighthouse right here...
and the most charming local museum...

We shopped and ate locally - preparing meals from food purchased at local farm stands or dining at one of the many wonderful restaurants in the region.

I think what I like most about Cape Cod is the lifestyle.  The people who live there year round are hardworking, creative individuals.  At least in the area where we stayed, it is not commercial at all.  The residents are both naturalists and artists.  They are creative and can think outside of the box.  They make do with what they have and have warm and inviting homes.  Not big, dinosaur homes, but quaint, charming homes full of character.  And really, how much does anyone really need?  As my Mom has always said, "All anyone really needs Marcia is a roof over their head, a good meal, clean clothes and a bed to sleep in."
Amen Mom.
Add a little ingenuity, and we're going places :)


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