Thursday, July 29, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect...

I decided to practice with Blogger In Draft today.  Yesterday I was having trouble getting pictures in the post, but strangely enough it's working differently today and I had no trouble.  This is a picture of Reid with Dad on Tuesday.  Reid is starting to regain a little of his lost energy although he still needs to rest often.  After the nursing home we made a couple of stops at some stores and he needed a nap by the time we got home.

And below is a picture of the feral cats that have taken up residence in our yard.  I believe I put this picture up before, but since this was taken we have managed to catch the mother and the little black and white kitten with a humane trap and they've both been fixed.  Two down and two to go.  Fortunately, we caught the two females first which means no more kittens in our yard.  Now we will attempt to catch the two boys.  We actually had the darker red one in the trap on Wednesday, but his sister managed to get in there with him and we aren't allowed to have two cats in a trap where we take them to be fixed.  So, my husband very carefully opened the trap door and the red one darted out and the black and white one went to the rear of the trap.  We were afraid they'd both run out and we'd have none caught.  Before we caught the two of them the mother went into the trap, but she was fixed last week and we didn't need her trapped again!  So we had to get her out of the trap and reset it.  Catching all these cats is very stressful for them and us!
Please spay and neuter your pets!  There are so many strays and ferals out there that need our help.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday...The Color Red

Welcome once again to Alphabe-Thursday hosted by Mrs. Matlock at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  Today is the first day of Summer School and we are busy studying the colors of the rainbow.  Today's color is RED.

To get you all in the mood for studying the colors of the rainbow I enlisted the help of Kermit The Frog.

OK, now you're ready for today's lesson and I'm unprepared. What I'm posting isn't what I had originally planned. I've had to cram for this post today. It had been my intention to travel around my part of town and take photos of RED things.  Unfortunately, it's been raining on and off for the last three days and I wasn't able to take any pictures outside.

Mrs. Matlock is probably going to get out her red pencil...

and give me a...

- 40

Oh just hasn't been my day.

The kids were ready.  They were all excited about the first day of Summer School and dressed in red for the occasion.  They even brought their red things for show and tell.  Ginny Grace brought her Chatty Cathy doll dressed in red.  Ginny Joy brought a red apple for Mrs. Matlock.

But poor little Beau was having a day similar to mine.  He was late and made a mad dash for the bus still wearing his pj's and with his hair uncombed.  He dropped his lunch box and his red Elmo.

I guess we all have days once in a while were nothing goes according to plan.

I did see lots of colors in the elevator of the parking garage the other day.  There was even red.  I'm sure the color coding is done for people like me that sometimes have trouble finding their car in the garage.

And then Reid and I went to see Dad at the nursing home yesterday.  There was a red tablecloth and red carnations on the table.

I had a few more things to put in this post, but I decided to try using Blogger In Draft tonight and I'm having trouble inserting pictures in the post.  I guess I'm impatient. I keep clicking when the pictures don't immediately appear in the post and I end up with five and six pictures of the same thing which I then have to delete.  I need more practice before I do a longer post, so I'm calling it quits for now.  Besides, you've heard of Red Lobster and you probably already have the copy cat recipe for their biscuits.

Be sure and visit my classmates at Mrs. Matlock's blog to see what they came up with for the color red assignment.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Prize Winning Potato Salad

I made this potato salad yesterday and thought I'd share it with you today. This is my favorite potato salad. I found the recipe many years ago in a magazine. It didn't win the top prize in their contest, but was right up there near the top. Personally, I think it should have won.

Prize Winning Potato Salad
(Serves 8-10)

½ cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1 t. dry mustard
½ t. salt (I omit salt in all recipes.)
¾ cup water
¼ cup vinegar
2 eggs – slightly beaten
1 cup mayonnaise

In heavy saucepan combine first 7 ingredients; cook, stirring until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap and cool in refrigerator. (I do this part the day before.) Stir mayonnaise into cooled mixture.

6 cups potatoes, cooked in jackets, cooled, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
5 hard cooked eggs
¼ cup shredded onion
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 ½ t. salt (I omit)
½ t. pepper

Mix all ingredients and toss gently. Add dressing and stir until well mixed. Garnish with some egg and paprika.

I didn't bother garnishing it with some of the egg. I just mixed all the hard cooked eggs into the salad. Please don't judge the recipe on my lousy picture. Try it instead. It's really, really good.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Italian Stone Fruit Collection

Up until recently I didn't even know it was called Italian Stone Fruit or that I had a collection. I just referred to it as the fruit we got while living in Sicily forty plus years ago. Imagine my surprise when I came across Joan's blog Anything Goes Here and discovered it was collectible. In fact, she's been collecting it for years and even had her collection featured in Country Living Magazine in 2001.

I have new respect for my fruit now. Unfortunately, Keith used to enjoy playing with it when he was around two (he's 41 now). He'd climb up onto the table when I wasn't looking and clang the pieces together. He enjoyed the noise they made. There are many little dings and chips to prove it, but I'm able to turn the fruit over and arrange it so most don't show.

Today I keep it in the dining room in a basket. I took it outside in hopes of getting some good pictures in the natural light, but a short shower came along and it was even more humid out there than normal. My camera lens kept fogging up and the stone fruit was sweating.

I tried rearranging the fruit in the basket a little so you could see some more pieces. There's actually an avocado and a walnut too.

Every couple of pictures I had to stop and wipe the camera lens or all of the pictures would have looked like this one.

Here are a few of the damaged pieces. The peach on the left has a round water mark that won't wipe off. The plum has a big chip that's turned black. It all made sense to me after taking the fruit outside and seeing it sweat. When the electricity came back on after Hurricane Ike we shoved the A/C down to cool the place off as quickly as possible. A couple of weeks later I happened to look at a framed print I had hanging in the dining room. It looked dirty, but it was actually mold and had to be thrown away. The sudden drop in temperature from the A/C caused the glass to sweat. I now believe that's what happened to the fruit too. It sweated and that one chip is actually a little mold. Warning...if you have moldy stone fruit don't use bleach. It takes the paint off too. Live and learn. You'll notice Keith did quite a job on the walnut. It's full of chips and I tried to "paint" it once years ago with brown Magic Marker.

I brought all the fruit inside and dried it. I'm taking much better care of it now.

The fruit was very common in Sicily. My husband was in the Navy and stationed at the U.S. Naval Air Facility at Sigonella, Sicily (now a Naval base). I think most of the people I knew bought this fruit while living there, so a lot of it was brought back to the States. There were a few things we all bought:

Alabaster Eggs which you see all the time at places like Marshall's.

Bar Globes (the top opens and bottles of liquor are stored inside). From time to time I'll see one used as a prop in a movie or on a TV show. Jack Lord of Hawaii 5-0had one in his office. We always got excited every time we saw it. This too has dings and chips from the kids playing around it.

Hand carved and painted Carabinieri.

Taoromina Bells. I found this picture online. I forgot to take one of my bells, but they're hanging in the entryway. At one time I had them hanging outside, so they're a little rusty.

Some of us also bought Italian dishes that were being sold at an Italian department store. I still have mine and use them on holidays.

Those were basically the "hot" items to buy in Italy. Over the years I'm sure many of the above were brought back to the States and probably are still being brought back today.

For more information check out the posts about Italian Stone Fruit on Joan's blog HERE and HERE. She's even selling some of her collection.

I'm glad I have all my Italian things in spite of all the dings, chips and rust. It brings back wonderful memories of a very happy time in our lives.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Make Up Class -A,S,T,U

Welcome once again to Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Mrs. Matlock over at Jenny Matlcok..."off on my tangent." Today is a make up class and I feel right at home. In real school I was forever turning in things late. I guess Mrs. Matlock will be deducting points today. That's OK...I got used to it years ago.

I discovered Jenny's blog right after the letter A, so I began this journey with the letter B. I thought it was appropriate to go back and pick up the letter A and post this video of the ALPHABET Song. I've always had a special place in my heart for Elmo, so I thought I'd share this with you today.

Sometime during Alphabe-Thursday I decided to try and improve my photography skills and take pictures of my dolls using a tripod and without a flash. There are plenty of websites out there with lots of advice on photographing dolls, but I fooled around with it for weeks and was never happy with the results. I even went out and bought the photo bulbs, reflector lights with clips, and a new tripod to replace the one I thought wobbled too much. (It had to be the tripod...not me.) I finally came to the conclusion that the problem is with the operator and not the equipment.

I had set up a scene with my dolls and intended to use if for the letter S. When I didn't have the pictures ready in time I decided to use it the following week for the letter T. That week passed and I still wasn't happy with the results, so I decided to try using my doll scene for the letter U. Three weeks went by and I never posted the pictures for Alphabe-Thursday. Finally, I gave up.

Since this is a make up class I decided to use the pictures anyway. Someday when I have more time I'll figure out how to get rid of the shadows and get the color better.

S as in SCOUTS.

T as in TROOP.

U as in UNIFORM.

This was the annual Brownie Troop 33 picnic. They're wearing the number 33 on their sleeves. A couple of Girl Scouts joined them that day to help the Leader.

This was supposed to be my old Brownie Troop...Troop 33 in Westwood, NJ. I don't know why I became sentimental for Brownies. I was only a Brownie for one year and hated it. I decided the only person that had any fun in our troop was the treasurer because she got to collect our ten cents dues each week in the metal band aid container. (Remember those?)

I hope to see you in class again.

This was Kindergarten. Can you guess which one is me? Hint: I was always the smallest one in the class.

See you in Summer School!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday...the letter Z

Welcome once again to Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." Sadly, our journey through the alphabet ends this week with the letter Z. I've enjoyed being your classmate and visiting your blogs. Thank you Jenny for being such a great teacher and giving us this opportunity.

I wanted to do something special this week, but the letter Z is another difficult challenge. I've already told you about my great aunt who was a ZIEGFELD GIRL. A while back I introduced everyone to ZOOM and how she came to find her forever home with us. Finally, I decided to tell you about our mosquito problem and how we tried to solve it.

I asked my son to go out in the backyard and take a picture of my legs covered with mosquitoes. Normally within seconds my legs are covered. Earlier today I couldn't stand still while watering the plants because they were biting like crazy. They've been horrible this year. Naturally, when we went outside a breeze came up and momentarily there weren't as many mosquitoes. There were enough to be annoying and my son had no desire to wait until the breeze died down, so this picture will have to do. There were only a few on each leg. The stupid mosquitoes tried to make a liar out of me.

A few weeks ago we decided to declare war on the mosquitoes. I don't like to use chemicals, so we bought a mosquito ZAPPER similar to this one.

The mosquito ZAPPER worked fairly well. I found a You Tube video of a ZAPPER in action. Turn down your volume because sound effects were added. If the ZAPPER sounded like this it would drive away the neighbors.

Unfortunately, the squirrel thought it was a bird feeder and jumped on it and swung. It lasted about two weeks.

Then I thought of ZUCCHINI. It's pretty plentiful this time of year.

When we lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia a friend gave me this recipe. It's easy and good! I've been making it for years.

Oven "French Fried" ZUCCHINI (Serves 4)

3 T. herbed bread crumbs
1 T. Parmesan Cheese
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
2 medium ZUCCHINI (or yellow squash)
2 t. vegetable oil
2 T. water

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper. Quarter the ZUCCHINI lengthwise, then slice each spear in half (or thirds) to make shorter spears. Put them in a plastic bag with the water and oil. Close the bag and shake until well coated. Roll the spears in crumb mixture. Arrange in a single layer on a greased pan. Bake uncovered for 7 minutes or until brown and tender crunchy.

The kids just wanted to say...

Now head on over to Ms. Jenny's blog and visit as many classmates are you can before class is dismissed. Hope to see you in summer school!

Thancks Ms. Matlock. Yre da bestest teecher i evr had! :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Everyone is trying to stay cool these days. We heard all about the hot weather on the East Coast last week, but that kind of weather is normal for us until mid to late October when we'll start to have a day here and there where we can turn off the A/C. We did have a lot of rain last week which was nice. Anytime the sun is hidden behind a cloud we celebrate. They give us the heat index on the local weather. That's where they take the temperature and factor in the humidity and come up with what the temperature feels like...usually around 100.

Animals seem to instinctively know where to go to keep cooler. Like a shady spot on the driveway.

This is the feral cat and her kittens. They're three months old now and she still nurses them. They don't want you to bring in a cat to be fixed if she's still nursing kittens, but I'm afraid she'll go into heat before I get her in. Those kittens eat plenty of food, but they still nurse.

They enjoy sleeping under a tree in the backyard too.

The mother is always nearby.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Welcome to class and Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by our teacher Mrs. Matlock over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." This week we are studying the letter Y. Head over to Mrs. Matlock's blog for the class roll and links to all the other blogs participating in this weekly event.

I'm kind of excited because I believe I've solved a mystery that has had authorities baffled for years. Yes, a few days ago I found Jimmy Hoffa's body. I haven't exactly seen it, but I've smelled it. It's under the deck in my backyard.

I know it because of the YUCKY smell. At first if wasn't that bad and then it gradually got worse and worse. Then I saw flies hovering over the deck. The cats will no longer go under there. In fact, they won't even get on the deck (and neither will I). My husband refuses to take the deck apart and retrieve the body. Fortunately, the smell is starting to go away. Rest in peace Jimmy Hoffa.

I hate the way the dishwasher gets so dirty and YUCKY looking.

Then I discovered this product.

Pop it in the dishwasher, turn it on, come back in a little while and the YUCK is all gone. It looks brand new again.

Who hasn't had to take YUCKY tasting medicine at one time? Just keep a lollipop/sucker handy to take away that YUCKY taste.

GinnyEllen is back to remind you all that "Boys are YUCKY!"

I have a YUCKY recipe to share with you all, but first the story behind this recipe. When our oldest son was in the sixth grade he used to come to the dinner table, sit down and look at the food, and then mumble the word YUCK. Finally, I was fed up. We never made our kids eat, but I warned all of them that they needed to be polite and not say anything negative about the food or I would make them eat it.

I guess Keith thought he could get away with saying YUCK if he did it before he came to the table. So, the next day he walked over to the stove where I was cooking, lifted the pot cover, and spoke the forbidden word..."YUCK!"

I snapped. I told him when dinner was ready I was going to fix him a plate and he was going to clean it. I didn't care if he sat at the table all night. The plate would be clean before he left.

The entire family was in shock. I slammed Keith's rather full plate down on the table. He tried to eat and started to gag. I warned him that if he got sick I'd clean off the plate and give him more. The other kids quickly ate a little and asked to be excused. Keith remained at the table. My husband sat next to him and tried to give him some moral support. He might not have agreed with my punishment, but he knew better than to try and intervene. He very patiently urged him on. "Come on Keith take another small bite and drink some milk." The two of them sat at that table for hours. Finally the plate was clean.

Keith never said YUCK again.

The name of the recipe is California Casserole and it was in a Military Officers' Wives Cookbook in the late 1960's. A friend recommended it to me. It's actually a very good recipe and great for Pot Luck Suppers. I'm afraid my kids were fussy eaters and not too crazy about casseroles, but most normal people like this recipe. :) In our family we call it California Casserole or YUCK Casserole for obvious reasons.

¼ c. salad oil
¾ c. onion, chopped
½ - ¾ c. green pepper, chopped (I use ½ c.)
1 lb. ground beef
1 No. 303 can cream style corn (I use a 14 ¾ oz. can)
1 can tomato soup
1 can tomato sauce (I use a 8 oz. can)
1 4 oz. can pimento, diced
1 small can (4.25 oz.) ripe olives, chopped (I use about 1/3 of the can)
1 ½ t. salt (I omit)
1/8 t. pepper
½ t. chili powder
1/8 t. dry mustard
1 8 oz. package egg noodles, cooked
1 c. cheddar cheese, grated

Saute onions and green peppers in salad oil. Add beef and brown. Mix in all remaining ingredients except cheese and noodles. Alternate layers of noodles and meat sauce in a 2 qt. casserole (I use a bigger one and spray it with Pam). Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Yield: 8 servings.

I wish I had a picture, but I don't. Over the years when I've made it for different events people have often asked for the recipe. Everyone likes it except my kids!

Now head on over to Mrs. Matlock's blog and visit some of my classmates.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Jenny Matlock

OK...I thought I'd join in today for the first time with Jenny's Saturday Centus. Bare with me...I don't even know what Centus means. I tried looking it up in the dictionary, but had no luck. That didn't stop me...I'm jumping in anyway.

For a list of participants visit Jenny's blog at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."

The idea is that Jenny or a guest writer starts the story and we finish it in 100 words or less. So, my story picks up after "... Yes, it is."

"Are you sure that's the one you want?"

I felt a little lump in my throat as I peered down at my choice, held tightly in my hand. I didn't think this would be so nerve-wracking. Was I making the wrong decision? I couldn't agonize over this any longer.

I took a deep breath before managing to say, "... Yes, it is." My mother sighed with relief. I had finally made up my mind after many agonizing minutes. I could feel it squirm in my hand. The kind gentleman placed it in a small container. My mother paid and thanked him.

I had pestered her all year. “Please mom, on our next vacation to Florida can I get one?” Eventually she had relented and promised that on our next visit to the pier I could pick one out.

Now I smiled with delight. Finally, I had a small brightly painted souvenir turtle with St. Petersburg, Florida painted on its back.

Friday, July 02, 2010


Enjoy some time with family and friends.

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!