Stuffed grape leaves, and fancy cheeses. Goat cheese and fig jam on bruschetta. Green grapes. Some bubbly to toast. M and D brought the most drinkable wine. A secret in the carafe, a blind test. Carlo Rossi. No kidding. Beat out the pricey Portuguese wine. What do we know?
Dates and nuts in a chocolate South African pudding recipe, topped with whiskey whipped cream, created by his wife Janice. Happy Birthday to Peter. Live music at a party makes the evening rhyme. Marc on harmonica and Peter and Doug on guitar. Kim sang a number with the lyrics on her cell phone.
A fun surprise party. Well done, J.
Accompanied by ginger snaps!
This is the dessert my friend V served at a lovely home cooked dinner last Saturday. It was delicious. A generous helping, too.
A nice finish to a simply perfect meal. Walleye caught by Cousins Jeff and Jeffrey, a baked sweet potato and salad with whisked lemon juice and olive oil dressing. Found this in my phone tonight and was thinking about how everything was so good. She said she was following the same idea my mother used to profess- Buy the best food you can and do as little to it as possible. Good advice.
The Pamela’s Ginger Mini Snapz are gluten free and quite tasty. Hope you have a good day Saturday. HBTY!
And here is an article explaining the most popular and the second most popular way to spell- Hanukkah or Chanukah? The Festival of Light.
Tuesday- the fourth night.
I was invited for potato latkes and the lighting of the Hanukkah candles at my friend’s house. We taught together these past 6 years until I moved to the high school this year. The first photo is her beautiful Menorah on the mantle. Her kids are grown up and out of town, too. She and her husband and I sat by there fire and then she lit the fourth candle. It gets dark so early now as we approach the shortest day of the year. The warmth of the fire and the glow from the colorful candles was lovely.
After we ate the latkes(served with sour cream and or applesauce) Ann lit the fourth candle.
We left for an adventure, traipsing around Squirrel Hill, Murray Avenue and Forbes. Up and down trying to decide where we should eat! At least it wasn’t raining. We had a nice evening, catching up on our families and school and mutual friends. When we walked by the Giant Eagle supermarket and a young man asked if we were Jewish and she said, yes and he asked if she had candles. Then we saw the table set up in front of the market with another young man cooking latkes on a griddle. They had applesauce available and their organization had a big sign on the Menorah. They told me they were “spreading light in the world.” I asked if it would be okay to blog them and they gathered to gather for a group shot. Pulled out the cell phone camera. Yep, my camera was back by Ann’s house in the back trunk of the car.
Thanks Ann for including me in the candle lighting and for taking me on a good healthy walk around the neighborhood to find the best dinner.
Trolls have a really bad name these days. The internet troll is the first to come up with a google search. UGH. The word conjures visions of creeps on the internet doing extremely negative things.
But there was a time when the word trolls meant little plastic doll with crazy hair sticking up and beady eyes-
and before that they were written about in Norse Mythology and Scandinavian Folklore.
The trolls of the rubbery type, a protruding belly with navel, glassy eyes and colorful hair were around when I was in grade school in the late 60′s.
Did a search for the origin of the troll dolls and they were created in 1959 by a Danish man, Thomas Dam. They are also called Dam dolls.
Chicago John noticed the Christmas troll, dressed as a caroler, on my Sunday breakfast table. The wikipedia post says that some people collect THOUSANDS of them. No kidding. I have a few of the Christmas ones that have been around for years and I brought them out for the grandkids who had fun with them last summer.
When I was with the family in Virginia over the Thanksgiving Holiday, my son’s in-laws had this pair of Pilgrim Trolls on the mantle. They made me laugh when I saw them.
I did turn these two so they were looking at the camera cause initially they just had eyes for one another. (scroll down)
Sounds like they are having a bit of a comeback these days with a new generation. Any troll collectors out there?
The haystack turkey is in Roanoke VA
And the live turkeys are at the farm next door in Hardy, Virginia
The turkey chrysanthemum centerpiece is from my sister who is visiting at E’s in Albany. She sent it on her phone.
The gluten-free pound cake I posted early this morning was appreciated but best of all it tasted good! Some added ice cream and others ate it plain. My grandson Michael ate some and gave me the thumbs up and a big MMMMMMMMMMMMM!
What else could you askfor? Grateful for family and friends, far and near.
and Flat Ruthie is with the main course on Cardboardmetravels
Happy Birthday Matthew. Remember when we pulled off Interstate 80 on the way to NYC last August?
Here you are last summer in front of your first home in Clarion PA. The house we brought you to from the hospital, 32 years ago.
Of course I didn’t send a card, just like last year! So this is my birthday wish for you. A day filled with love!
You sure give all of us a lot of love. (Matthew’s the one who says about my photographing people, It’s annoying now, but later you’re glad)
Thinking of you today and everyday.
Four is a great age to be.
It’s been a fast four years!
And the most recent shot below
Laura’s 29th birthday. She says it is her FIRST 29th birthday. The family gathers on the front porch because most of them are nearby.
This year I didn’t run around and get in the photograph. Just wanted them. I’ll put it on the fridge. Look at it until we’re all together again. In the middle of winter I’ll glance at this August evening, celebrating Laura’s birthday and be glad I have the picture.
Not too many people really want their photo taken. Maybe a few. The family allows me to photograph them one more time.
They’re gracious and they love me and they know it’s what I like to do.
They probably wonder when I’ll get tired of wanting to photograph them but they don’t complain. Much. Photographing them while they ignore me is easier.
Of course, I want the shot where everyone is with me and looking pleasant on this occasion. Ha. Erika says to me, “Good luck with that!”
I get it the best I can.
Don’t want to drag it out too long, make it quick, Just SHOOT!
Thanks family. Matthew is the one who said to his friends at his college graduation ” This is what my mom does. It’s annoying now, but later you’re glad.”
Penny the Golden Doodle with Lala and James on their front porch.
And Maura and Murphy pose for Mark. Caught them from the side as he got them to look at his phone.
Happy Birthday Laura Christine.
On the left, lounging at the beach in Bibione, Italy as a toddler.
Center- A baby blessing/birth stats I cross stitched in 1983. The town is spelled incorrectly- missing the first C- Eschenbach!
Photo on the right and below as a bride are from 6 months after the wedding in Columbus OH with husband James.
But I really grew up in New Jersey. New York always sounded better to me and I have held onto that fact all these years. Joisey, the Garden State, just didn’t seem as cool.
Yes, it is my sixtieth birthday today. YIKES! We were supposed to drive to Roanoke VA but power outages from the bad storm last Friday knocked that plan out! You’ve seen a lot of my life these past three years on the blog. The art room adventures, some knitting, my pleasure in the eating and making of food, my family, the city, my travels, and as Arlene says, the ordinary- making it interesting!
I have been talking about turning sixty since I turned fifty-nine last year. Go figure.
My friend Mary Ann told me someone asked her if she was afraid to turn sixty and she told me her response was, “I’m afraid to NOT turn sixty” Many are denied the chance.
If you are born on the Fourth of July you receive a lot of red, white and blue presents. One has to post a little red white and blue on the Fourth of July so here are the two free marzipan macarons you receive when you buy the dozen at Jean-Marc in Millvale*
And then there is this prize winner of my wonderful haircut and chubby cheeks, I think I was three, This picture is stuck in one of those “magnetic” photo albums- meaning nasty glue that ruins your photo and you can’t remove it- EVER.
And here is what I looked like last week in the heat at the Pirates Game in Pittsburgh with my three year old granddaughter Maura. A nice woman filling the ketchup dispenser came over and asked it I wanted her to take it of us. She enjoyed seeing Maura enjoy her cone and I had photographed her eating it (of course). I don’t get in many photos which is just as well at this point. But when I think about what makes me happy in my life, my family is at the top of the list. I am fortunate indeed.
Here is a picture a first grader drew of me last year which I photographed on my phone. I am so glad I documented this artwork cause on the rough days and the long days of teaching art in the city, I can read her inscription at the bottom.
Ms. Hendricks is my hero.
It doesn’t get any better than that!
And I found this next photo in New York City when I visited my sister a couple months ago. Once I was visiting a family friend, Naomi, in a home and she said told me how she would think of all she was grateful for in her life and when she focused on a theme of gratitude she just couldn’t feel bad about anything. I remember her words and she died shortly after the visit. It is easy to forget to be grateful. Once I read about thinking three things you are grateful for each day, right before you go to sleep and I try to remember.
I am grateful to my family, friends, fellow bloggers and followers and wonderful commenters who have encouraged me in my photography, blogging and writing.
Today is a very happy birthday! I am surrounded by my family who love me.
Thanks everyone. (And Happy Birthday Suzanne who shares the date!)
*Here is a shot of Millvale,PA taken the day I bought the macarons!
Headed for the University of Michigan. The high school graduation ceremony is Monday night.
At the party it felt a bit like football weather tonight. Guests had on sweaters and jackets, long pants. Last week it was 90.
Luke and Friends sang and played musical numbers during the party and it was a lot of fun. His grandfather accompanied him on the guitar singing New York New York and Vanessa and he sang The Prayer at the close as Kim, his mom, played the keyboard for them. I don’t have the playlist but know that Brad Yoder played guitar with Luke and also Nina Sainato sang Quando Quando with him. A little jazz, some standards, a little show tune, a lot of musical improvisation. Congratulations Luke and all the best to you!
You have grown into a fine young man and will do wonderfully in whatever you pursue.
I like the one with the balloons but we decided on the one below. Hope you are okay with the two cause I could’t decide. I like that some of the party scene peeks into the background and the balloons declare it a celebration!
Love you, Ma
Just before we left for the church, Anna stood with Murphy.
He was sad he didn’t get to go in the car for a ride.
Friends and family gathered in to celebrate Anna making her First Holy Communion at St. Patrick’s, Columbus OH
I’m a proud grandma.
Donald Payer (Mark’s father-in-law) was using his new camera and did a great job capturing Laura as a bride before the wedding. Thanks Donald. He also was the chef for Saturday’s breakfast at Mark and Erika’s home (assisted by Aunt Linda, Aunt Georgeann,Marlene and Uncle Frank) It was a wonderful weekend celebration.
Happy Birthday Marlene! It’s a special one. I know you will have a very happy day. It is wonderful being grandmothers together. We have much to be grateful for, don’t we? Do you remember the day we met, before Mark and Erika got married? I remember it like it was just yesterday. What an exciting time and it has only multiplied over the past decade. And you share the birthdate with my mother, who would have been 99 today. Oh my.
So another round of cake- vanilla and vanilla buttercream on the front porch. I am blogging a birthday cake to you cause I have to drive your birthday card around in my car for at least another week or two. Why can’t I get the cards in the mail? Thinking of you as you celebrate. I am right behind you!!! 1-2-3-4 Cake recipe here 12:20 AM 9/3/11 p.s. just got the call that Mark Erika and the four grandchildren made it to your house just after midnight after 8 hours on the road! SURPRISE!! You called and said I GOT YOU!! What a great birthday present. I am so happy you were surprised.
(I mean it would have been nice if someone at work said Happy Birthday or they had a cake for you but having the family surprise you had to be a happy celebration!!)
Remember Spiderman sitting on Uncle Matty?
Four years old today! WOW.
How did that happen?
Seems like you were just born, Jack.
Here’s one of my favorites from Christmas with the new Star Wars Lightsaber.
Happy Birthday and I’ll see you soon.
xxooxx love, FF Ruthie
Happy Groundhog’s Day. A friend sent an email of a groundhog finding a Lombardi trophy as a shadow.
You can click here for all the serious information from the official website in Punxsutawney PA.
I hear there are some competitors around the country but Phil lives close by …. “If Candlemas be fair and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.” or this poem from Wikipedia “In Scotland the tradition may also derive from an English poem:
As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop
After the dinner plates were cleared at the neighbor’s house on Saturday night, Joaquin brought out a magnificent circular platter of Turrón. His mother had sent the assortment from Spain. It was a Christmas gift but fortunately for us it arrived in late January. There’s also marzipan with chocolate and a pineapple nougat on the plate, too. Sweet and a perfect finish. The area in focus is small, but you get the idea of the presentation. I should have photographed it afterward as it was about empty! Yum.
A Different Dessert
show details Feb 1
and loaded with almonds.
This version hard.
The Italian I ate at Christmas was soft.
Turrón dates back to at least the 15th century according to wikipedia.
V. had said, be sure to get a family photo on the stairs this year. After I took a ton trying to get the perfect shot, Marlene(my DIL Erika’s mom) suggested I get in the middle. She photographed the scene. Here is the result. I don’t get into too many shots cause I am doing the picture taking.
Thanks for all the condolences and comments on the passing of Fred (yesterday’s post). Must have been a bit distracted because there were 2 errors in two sentences and of course the date isn’t 2011 yet. I am going to have to hire a proofreader for when I am tired. Thanks to V and Keith. So is the preference white lights or colored lights?
Here is one of the final Christmas lights at night series for Christmas Eve. It can’t be as much fun to dismantle as it is to decorate!