May 31, 2011

For the birds

Hubby is bird crazy. I mean cuckoo for birds. If the three birdfeeders we have aren't filled at least 3/4 full at all times with birdseed he is not a happy camper. Don't even get me started on the bird food ... evidently there is some special sunflower to other seed ratio that is ideal for arctic birds. Who knew? Not I ... nor did I care when I made a recent purchase to honor Hubby's request for bird food. He didn't specify a certain kind/type. Good gravy. The birds REALLY like the kind of food he provides. Yesterday we had four types, including a new yellow one (the mama cardinal is hard to see in the back of the black bird on top left).

Guess I'll be getting Hubby a bird book for Father's Day!

May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

MIL and I went to the cemetery the other day to plant flowers at her parents and aunt & uncles' graves (Papa was cremated and will soon have a place of honor on the fireplace mantle). I like visiting cemeteries - so much history and interesting to think there's a story behind each stone. Amongst all the flowers, there were quite a few flags and it struck me how many people have served and are still serving this great country.

On this Memorial Day, and every day, we bear a heavy burden of responsibility to uphold the founding principles so many died defending. I call on all Americans to come together to honor the men and women who gave their lives so that we may live free, and to strive for a just and lasting peace in our world.

From the White House's official proclamation

May 25, 2011

New Word Wednesday #18

– noun
a riddle, the answer to which involves a pun or play on words, as What is black and white and read all over? A newspaper.
anything that puzzles

May 23, 2011

Batter up

Chunky had his first baseball game of the season yesterday. His team won 6-1 with Chunky hitting a double and getting two runs in. He's off to a great start!

May 22, 2011

Prom 2011 Recap

Yesterday was the big day. You'd think it was a wedding with all the planning and excitement. There was even a garter. Don't ask me why, it's just what everyone does I was told.

Grandma treated Sassy to a professional "updo". She wanted Natalie Portman's Oscar hairdo.

She had her nails done the night before with a color that closely matched her dress along with the new shatter look. I did her makeup with a light smoky eye ala Miss Portman again.

Here is a shot of the coursage, garter and shoes. She bought her shoes in Italy for $15 USD! She claims her feet don't hurt a bit today. The coursage and boutonniere were cranberry calla lilies.

The venue was Landmark Center.

I made reservations for them at Pazzaluna - Italian of course - as it was close enough so they could walk and nice enough that the ladies would feel elegant in showing off their gowns. Sassy ordered gnocchi and her boyfriend ordered steak so they shared her two most favorite foods in the world. awwwww

The happy couple -

With their dining partners -

May 18, 2011

New Word Wednesday #17


- British
- adjective
- affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute or quaint

May 17, 2011


I came home from work last night to learn my neighbors' son died in a tragic accident on the 13th. He was 28 years old, a West Point grad and a hockey player in Europe. I sat with his mother who had just flown home with her son's body and cried. How cruel. No mother should have to bury her child. Hug your loved ones extra tight today.

May 16, 2011

Cocktail hour

I grew up with a father who enjoyed a stiff cocktail at the end of each work day no judgment and grandparents with a bar downstairs and a well stocked liquor cabinet. They also had a regular card club with whom to imbibe. My girlfriend and I loved to turn on the old beer light behind the bar (I can't remember if it was Schlitz or Hamm's), grab some plastic glasses and napkins taken from whomever had the most recent anniversary or other event and play bartender. My grandmother thought we were crazy - we thought we were very cosmopolitan whatever that means.

I'm not a big drinker but I love a good cocktail. Beer isn't my favorite, but I enjoy a good glass of wine now and then. The problem is the bottle often goes to waste because I don't drink more than a glass at a time and I don't want the same thing over the course of a week or more until it's all used up. Variety is the spice of life don't ya know! I prefer something that can be mixed up on the fly. You already know I'm a huge Mad Men devotee and because I will have to wait until 2012 to get my fix, I've decided the cocktail hour needs a good old-fashioned revival. Complete with Jazz, Swing or Sinatra playing in the background for mood. Last night was the inaugural night and I wasn't sure what to fix. I have some old stand-bys with my favorite liquors - amaretto and limoncello my Italian roots show when I cocktail, but I was in the mood for something different. Then I happened upon this post. Pure genius. I am drinking one now while I nosh on pistachios and blue cheese I feel so Betty Draper. When we have a party, I line up all the fixins - liquor bottles plus mixers like seltzer water, orange juice, assorted sodas - with utensils and recipes. That way people can mix things up on their own according to taste. For our next party, 'The Back Forty' will definitely be on the bar in a glass pitcher with lots of ice.

Here are a few of my favorite cocktail recipes - try one and don't forget the red lipstick and heels!

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
2 1/2 cups cold water
1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
1 to 1 1/2 shots Bourbon
Lots of ice

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1 cup tequila
6-8 ounces good quality lager-style beer (recommended: Stella Artois or Negra Modelo)

1 oz Lemoncello
2 oz Tequila
1 oz Grenadine
2 oz Orange Juice

2 oz Amaretto
3 oz Orange juice
3 oz Soda water
1 dash Grenadine

May 15, 2011

Memorial gathering

Papa's memorial was low key, simple and very nice. He wasn't the religious or ceremonial type at all and the gathering at our local, family-owned funeral home provided the perfect atmosphere. There were a lot of people to greet in three hours - relatives, friends, former coworkers, and neighbors (old and current). And now we figure out what our new normal is.

May 14, 2011

Rx disposal

Sassy and I went over to Grandma's the other day to help her clean for out of town guests and dispose of all Papa's medication. You can't flush or dispose down the sink as it may enter the water supply. You can't toss in the trash without "processing" for fear of drug addicts, kids, etc. either. We put a small amount of really hot water in gallon size plastic bags and dumped all the pills in, adding more hot water as needed to dissolve. We added flour to soak up liquid (making a really funky color and smell). Finally, we placed inside another plastic bag and wrapped completely in duct tape so no one would know what was inside. We flushed out all the inhalers too. We also had to mark out all information on every pill bottle and Rx sheet. We counted 70 bottles/boxes/inhalers in all and it took us over 2 hours start to finish.

May 11, 2011

Farewell Fabio

The cherubs nicknamed their Papa "Fabio" a few years ago because of his full head of wavy gray hair. It grew fast and if it wasn't cut regularly, it looked long and flowing. My beloved father in law passed away early today after a long illness (COPD). Thankfully the transition from this life to the next was short. We'll cherish memories such as this and this forever.

When tomorrow starts without me, don't think we're far apart,
for every time you think of me, please know I'm in your heart.

May 7, 2011

Let's grow!

I have Spring fever bad (along with bad allergies). It's been Winter here in the arctic far too long. So when I heard today would be 70° and the rest of the week in the 60s (accompanied by rain of course - wouldn't want us to go into sun shock or anything), I decided to plant flowers today. That should send a signal to Mother Nature that we're ready for Spring and won't tolerate any more frost!

I am typically a planner and one of those wacky people who like to have a scheme or theme for most everything, but this year I had no earthly idea of what to do. I knew there were two things I wanted for sure going into today's adventure - 1) lots of color and b) a repeat of last year's successful double impatiens at the front door. I was traumatized by last year's sad, sorry internet flowers/herbs so I knew I was going to need to plan from scratch. My first stroke of genius was spying 'Sunset' California Poppy seeds at the grocery store the other day. I could get a boat load of packets for less than $2 each and sow seeds around the mailbox area. They should look like this -

Another stroke of genius was Star Jasmine topiaries for either side of the garage door - they give the garage a "wow" factor with some height and how simple is transplanting one pot each?! Bonus! I added white alyssum along the base to give them even more punch and a simple color scheme that won't compete with the poppies. I couldn't pass up a sweet little lavender plant for the bistro table. Finally, I picked up potted herbs to add delicious flavor to summer meals. The fragrance in the front yard should be amazing!

Voila -

May 6, 2011

Swan Song

Last weekend may have been Sassy's swan song for volleyball. Her team competed in their last tournament of the year. They made it all the way to the top but unfortunately got second place (which is still good out of 14 teams). There were a lot of tears the last couple of plays and the other team thought it was because they lost - it was actually because it was the last time all of these girls and coach would formally play together. Many will go on to make the varsity school team in the Fall but not all and the coach is different. It's been a wild ride and I cherish the friendships I've made with a few other moms.

May 4, 2011

New Word Wednesday #16

- noun
- enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others
- German, from Schaden damage + Freude joy

May 2, 2011

Royal Wedding Fever

We woke at 5am, we watched, we cried, we loved it. I especially like this shot of Kate's dress as you can see the detail work along the hem. I remember making my BFF get up at some ungodly hour to watch Charles & Diana marry 13 years earlier. My how time flies. Sassy and I thought this one was a class act all around. One of my favorite food bloggers and fellow arctic dweller made her interpretation of a Royal Wedding Cake for just this occasion. Beautiful!