Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Hello and  Happy Halloween! 

I know this is not a happy time for many people, including many blogging friends and I just want to let you know that I am thinking of you and praying that you are safe and have electricity back soon. 

As for Halloween, I am not a huge fan if the truth be told, I do not like scary things or to be scared.

Dreamy Whites

 Don't get me wrong I love the candy and have fond memories of collecting lots of of it but the ghosts and goblins I can do without. 

Witches, I have a fondness for, especially the good ones. I grew up believing for many years that my grandmother was one. 

I actually dreamed as a child of being able to go on trips with her, all thanks to the tall tales my grandfather told. You can read about that HERE.

I hope you have a wonderful day. I know that I am going to sit back and enjoy the little moments. 

My favorite candy! Kraft Caramels

The smile of a child as you hand them a pile of candy, the joy of seeing a little one dressed in something that makes you laugh, savoring a piece(or two, or three) of my favorite Halloween candy. 

Image Pine Cones and Acorns

Enjoy your time with your kids and grand kids at the parties and be safe if you are out trick or treating. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fishing Floats and Raging Rains

Day 5...still raining, still very windy and now very cold. I am not complaining just filling you in. We are blessed to have come through this storm with power and no problems to either the house or to us. Sadly, I know of many who have not been that lucky. 

As I was cooped up again yesterday I really did not feel like working ( although I have no excuse as I work from home) so I puttered around the house, and found myself taking some photos. 

I am curious, are you a collector? I am but not for hundreds of the same things, just little groupings of things that remind me of something, somewhere or someone. I try not to let my collections get out of hand. So far so good. 

I have had a fascination with Japanese fishing floats ever since I was small. My mom found one when we lived in Alaska (on Kodiak Island) and I have always been drawn to it because every time I see it I wonder where is has been, whose it was and what sorts of tales it could tell. Not to mention it reminds me of all of our happy adventures in Alaska. 

In the last few years I have started collecting a few floats of my own. I have several colors and sizes and all I am sure have a story to tell. 

What do you collect? Books, art, photos? I would love to know and if you have featured your collection on your blog leave a link, I would enjoy reading about it.

I hope you have a good day.
 If the Sally is still battering you be safe and if your have begun the long and arduous task of cleaning up I am praying for you and hope the damage is minimal. 

Thank you to all of you for the kind comments and prayers here on my blog and on my Facebook page, it made the storm a little more bearable. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Saga's from Frankenstorm

Image Pine Cones and Acorns

Hello Monday! One would like to think that a new week means a new day, but in the case of Sandy it has been like Ground Hog day, since Friday. The constant rain and sustained winds of 25-30 miles an hour coupled with the gusts that seem to be getting bigger by the hour(currently at 60 MPH) has been driving me crazy. At times the noise is so loud it is like a freight train.

Image Here

I have been confined to my house because of the flooding, and frankly between the storm coverage and the presidential election coverage I do not know which is worse. I will be very happy when they are both over.

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As I did not leave my house for a day and a half, I managed to have an incredibly productive weekend. I made and excellent sausage and white bean soup, pumpkin struessel bread, caramel apples, a quiche, and I wrapped Christmas gifts! Not to mention doing a little work for my day job and reading a few blogs.

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How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? Make any great recipes? Relax, batten down the hatches or go out sledding(friends in France and parts of England)?

I hope we all survive the "perfect storm" this week.  For those of you in the Northeast, I hope the storm looses some of its strength. . Be safe and take care. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mother Nature and the Cranky Old Man

Botticelli.  Primavera.

Hello! How is everyone doing on the East Coast? We started getting rain and the winds have been coming in little gusts. I guess that we are as ready as we can be. I just hope that Mother Nature is kind. In the meantime I am puttering on the Internet and trying to get my work done in case the power goes out. 

I received a copy of the poem below, by email and from a post on Facebook and although I was touched by the poem I wasn't sure about the story. So I did a little investigating and it turns out that this poem was actually written in the 1960's in Scotland by a nurse named Phyllis McCormack and was titled Crabbit Old Woman. The version that is making its way around various social media sites today is adapted from this poem and written by David L. Griffith

"When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its  
so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem that is spreading across the Internet:"

Cranky Old Man:

What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice, ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice the things that you do.
And forever is losing a sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse. You’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten, with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another
A young boy of sixteen with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at twenty my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five, now I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A man of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more, babies play ‘round my knee,
Again, we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me. My wife is now dead.
I look at the future. I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own.
And I think of the years, and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles. Grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass, A young man still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people. Open and see.
Not a cranky old man.
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. .... . ME!!

What do you think? Did you receive this same poem? Frankly I am not too concerned about the origins of the poem, I think the poem makes one stops and think. There are so many old and infirm people living alone or in nursing homes and frankly, most times no one sees them. 

After spending the last 15 years with my husband visiting a dear aunt in a nursing home I can tell you that there are so many men and women who are ignored and forgotten. Yes, a few of them have no family but many others are just left there to die. 

I hope as this poem "goes viral" it makes anyone that reads it pause and think, is there a family member, someone in the neighborhood, or at church that you could reach out to and let them know they are special and they are remembered?

It certainly has made me think, not only about my own aging relatives, but people that I see daily and weekly and it will definitely affect the way I think of them and treat them in the future. Perhaps I will have more patience, or  I will take more time to listen. 

I hope you have a great day whatever you are doing! If you are in the path of the storm be safe. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Frankenstorm Weekend

Hello! How are you? I hope you week was great! Mine was very busy and I am happy that today is Friday. Although to be honest, I am not looking forward to "Frankenstorm". 

I was just thinking a few days ago that we were pretty lucky this hurricane season, so far the weather has been incredibly mild, and in fact we have had unseasonable warm weather. 

I guess Mother Nature is going to wreak havoc over the next coming days. We have 5 day ahead of us for rain and flooding and strong winds. Personally, I wouldn't mind a few snowflakes. 

I must admit I am a little alarmed by the weather forecasters predictions as "they have never seen a storm like this before".  I guess I better get some provisions, water, flashlights, matches, batteries, and our hurricane kit of important papers.

 I am going to be trying a few new recipes. I am making this Pumpkin Banana Bread again.  I made this once already last night,  but forgot the sugar.That is what I get for trying to mulit task while baking.  And I will probably make Ham and white Bean Soup and homemade bread. Aside from that a little work and a little reading. 

Image Simply Recipes

Do you have big plans? 
I hope that you have a great weekend whatever you do and I hope that we all survive the next few days.  Be safe, take extra precautions and remember to stay away from flooded areas. 

Image Here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Ladies(and men) October is breast cancer awareness month! And I am here to stand on my soap box and encourage you take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  Breast cancer is a subject that is very close to my heart. My own mother was diagnosed at 36 years old.Thankfully she is a 30 year survivor! I wrote about that here last year.

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My family history is checkered with women that have lost and won the fight against this terrible disease. My cousin passed away at 39, her mother was diagnosed at 67 and thankfully has now is a 3 year survivor, my great aunts passed from the disease, and my two sisters have been in several times to have lumps looked at and biopsied. And sadly a dear friend of my family was diagnosed just this past week. 

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 Ladies these are the facts:

  • Breast cancer is the second highest cancer illness for women, second only to skin cancer. 
  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer sometime in her lifetime.  
  •  In 2011,  there were 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer.
  • Approximately 39,520 women died from breast cancer in 2011. Only lung cancer accounts for more death in women.
  • With early detection and treatment 90% of all breast cancer can be cured. 
We can take preventative measures to protect ourselves against this disease, The American Cancer Society strongly urges women to do monthly self breast exams as well as getting yearly mammograms.

Do you do these things? If not get your butt in gear and make an appointment for a mammogram.  While you are there ask your doctor for the laminated instructions to hang in your shower so that each moth you are reminded to examine yourself and look for changes in your breasts. 

Ladies, if you do not take care of yourself who is going to? 

If you would like more information please visit Susan G. Komen and the National Cancer Institute.

Have a good day!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Illinois Prairie Path

Hello! Happy Day! How was your weekend?

Mine was great! Relaxing and productive, just the way I like it. What did you do?

Although I did manage to get out and take a few walks these beautiful Fall images are not mine; my sister sent them to me and I thought I would share them with you. All of these photographs are taken on the Illinois Prairie Path, do you know of it? 

The Prairie Path is a 62 mile multi-use trail for biking, walking, hiking and horseback riding, most of which is in Dupage County. It was the dream of Mary Theilgaard, a naturalist, who fought for eight years to turn the old Chicago-Aurora and Elgin electric railroad lines into trails for everyone to enjoy. 

In fact it became the first successful "rail-to trail" conversion in the United States, and inspired a national rail to trail movement across the United States in the 1960's. 

My family and I have spent many happy weekends walking and biking these trails, enjoying the deer, the birds, and many other animals along the trails and in the ponds. It is one of my favorite things to do when I am in Illinois. That and visiting the antique and vintage stores of many bloggers, 5th and State,  Tattered TiquesMaple and Magnolia and more which I wrote about Here.

Do you have any great paths or walking trails where you life? Do you find the time to get out and enjoy them?

I hope that you have a wonderful week! Enjoy Fall!

P.S.: Are you watching Upstairs Downstairs on PBS? I was not aware of it until Sunday at Ciao Domenica told me about it in a comment. A quality program to fill in the time until Downton Abbey starts, I am really enjoying it. Thank you Sunday! And thank you to my sister for the photos!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

10 Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

Hello! I hope you are relaxing with a cup of coffee and perusing a few blogs to catch up on all the latest posts. I love to take an hour or two to see what I have missed during the week, honestly there are so many great blogs with recipes, book reviews, adventures, and more it is hard to keep up. 

As I mentioned (a few times) pumpkin is a favorite of mine, and I have been making tons and tons of pumpkin things. I have not made note of all of my culinary adventures here because then I would have to rename the blog, let me just say that a few were not that good and a few were made for dinner and I have not managed to perfect night images. 

If you too are a pumpkin fan then here are ten recipes that I have made here or on my other blog, Once Upon a Chocolate Life.

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars Recipe Here 

Pumpkin Pie White Hot Chocolate
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Recipe HERE

Pumpkin Cookies with Vanilla Bean Glaze Recipe HERE

Spiced Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe HERE

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake RECIPE HERE  

Pumpkin Chili Recipe HERE

Blue Cheese Pumpkin Macaroni Recipe Here

Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells getting ready for the oven, recipe HERE

What have you been making with pumpkin? I love new recipes, so please leave me a link in the comment section so that I can visit your blogs and see what you have been baking! 

If you need more ideas or recipe using pumpkin, you can visit my Fall PINTEREST boards where I have pinned tons of recipes and beautiful Fall images. Or visit 41 Pumpkin Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Beauty in the Ordinary

Friday! Already? Just kidding, I have been counting the days. I have had a great week but it has been so busy that frankly I cannot wait to sleep in and have a little bit of a rest. Although I am sure that I will do some work this weekend.  What about you? Did you have a good week?

I don't know about you but Fall makes me nostalgic. I find myself daydreaming about happy times with my late grandparents, and missing my family more than usual, especially as they are off on the weekends visiting the pumpkin patch, making my grandmothers donuts, going to the flea markets  and  getting together for dinner and domino's, among other things. 

You know, all of the little things that stitch and bind a family together. I have mentioned before that I come from a large family and this time of the year was/is always filled with lots of outings, birthday parties, and preparing for the holidays. Nothing extraordinary, but always fun. 

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate my life and all of my blessings and that is where I have been trying to channel my energy instead of feeling sorry for myself, in finding beauty and happiness in the ordinary.  After, all...

“Things don’t have to be extraordinary to be beautiful. Even the ordinary can be beautiful.” 
― Wicker Park

I am celebrating moments of silence, which will be lacking when the family arrives for Christmas;  watching the leaves fall from the trees, the squirrels at my window looking for breakfast, free time to experiment with new recipes, snail mail from family and friends, morning walks with my husband and so much more. Because in my little world, "its(FALL) the most wonderful time of the year."

I hope that you have a wonderful day, enjoy the little things friends, it really is what life is all about! 
Happy Weekend!