Monday, October 24, 2016

New England Clam Chowder

It was cold and raining when we all got our flu shots, and Ryan campaigned vigorously for soup and sandwiches for dinner.  So, after a quick check of the pantry, I came up with this fast and easy version of New England Clam Chowder - the creamy kind.


1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, minced
1 tsp salt
3 small potatoes, shredded
2 small carrots, shredded
3 cans of whole or minced clams
8 cups water
2 tsp clam base
1/2 cup milk powder
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but good)
Freshly ground pepper to taste (I used 20 turns)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a large pan; add the onion and salt and saute until soft.  Stir in the clam base, then add the potatoes, carrots and 6 cups of water.  Cook about 20 minutes, until the potatoes start to thicken the soup.  Mix the milk powder with the remaining 2 cups of water, and stir in with the 3 cans of clams (including the juice in which they're packed).  Cook another 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the basil, pepper, nutmeg and cream, heat through and serve.

This is what I put away after everyone had eaten his fill.  Ryan's been having it for lunch every day since, so you know this clam chowder really hit the spot on this cold and rainy weekend!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Autumn Colors

The colors here haven't been as vivid as usual, probably because it's been a dry summer.  Still, the hydrangea in front of my house is in fine form, as is the little maple tree behind it.

 And the remains of the street that once ran right through my living room also look really nice in the late afternoon sun.

And, because it's Thorsday, here's a picture of baby Maddie with her puppy, Penny.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Winnie The Pooh Day and Hot Chocolate

On October 14, 1926, A. A. Milne first published Winnie the Pooh.  And we have all been enriched by Pooh's simple delight in the world:

"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you.  You have to go to them sometimes."

See? Lovely sentiment.

Wednesday afternoon, Mark came home from school with a sore throat.  By 7PM, he was headed to bed, having eaten scrambled eggs and toast for dinner, and he slept for 18 hours.  So, for the past 2 days, I've been making him hot chocolate to soothe his throat and put a few calories into him for energy.  And my Winnie the Pooh mug is exactly the right vessel for a large helping of...


1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp powdered milk
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
boiling water
2 tbsp whipping cream, or to taste

Mix the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and milk in a mug; stir in the boiling water to about 1" below the rim of the mug.  Whisk together quickly to break up any lumps, add more water to raise the level of the hot chocolate, stir in the vanilla extract and cream, then whisk quickly to bring up foam on top of the drink.  Enjoy.

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day, everyone!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thorsday: Book Guilt?

Last week, while Miss Baby and Miss Puppy were visiting, the Wall Street Journal. ran an article about book guilt: do you feel guilty about not reading classic books? Do you read them out of guilt?

Like most people, I read some classic books which were assigned in high school and college.  I've read many of the books assigned to my boys in high school - to be fair, some have been classics, and some have been a contemporary subject that the teacher wanted to highlight.The article talked to various ordinary people, and many people opined on the website; the consensus was that some poeple read classics because they "ought to," while others read, or re-read many years later, classics because they wanted to - Moby Dick was highlighted as an example.  Some opined that they don't have time to read everything, so they read what appeals to them.  One even suggested reading an abridged version of a behemoth like Moby Dick if you feel you "must."

The relative from Denver was here in August, and she brought me a copy of Go Set A Watchman which she had found for $2 at Goodwill.  Usually, I'm the one sending her books; I think she was delighted to bring me a book.

Having read it, I have to say that the original publisher was correct to reject this and accept To Kill a Mockingbird.  This was well written, but not as engaging.  I've seen reviews which said that Atticus Finch was racist in this book, but I disagree.  Nonetheless, it isn't nearly as  good a story as Mockingbird; the characters don't stay with you.  I do think this book was rather autobiographical for Harper Lee in that I believe she was very much like Jean Louise, or Scout, at that time.  Has anyone else read it?  What do you think?

This episode of Thorsday Book Review, or Book Guilt, is hosted by Miss Penny, who spent a lot of time winding herself around my chair and needing to be untangled,

and by her little friend, who was very happy sitting up in her nice, new walker (although she's not strong enough to really move it yet).

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


I only have a few minutes, but I wanted to give you a gander at our visitors.

Sweet Baby Madeline is 6-1/2 months old now, and weighs an astonishing 19 pounds! She is such a cheerful baby, laughing at everyone and everything.  Here, she just finished a lovely meal of peaches and oatmeal.  (Those are her uncles' baby toys, laundered or put through the dishwasher, and just as much fun as ever!)

Penny is much smaller than I expected.  She's 4 months old, isn't anywhere near as heavy as her baby friend, and is a bundle of energy.  Mike said she's not well house trained, but, remembering Sue saying that she keeps one of her little spotty dogs on a leash near Rob all the time, I did the same.  Penny thinks she's my BFF now, and when she starts dancing, it's time to take a little walk.  I'm also working (not very successfully) at getting her to stop jumping on me.  Oh, she'll get down and sit when I say "Down!" and hold my hand palm down toward her, but then she thinks I should give her a mini treat, and jumps up for another when she's finished with that one.  It's a problem.

Penny plays with Ryan and Mark, she's adorable and loving, she loves the baby; what more could anyone ask of a puppy?

Someone is squeaking in her bouncy seat; it may be time for food or maybe her toys have just jumped onto the floor again.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Drive by Cuteness Overload

Busy, busy week.  But my daughter in law sent me a picture: the baby is 6 months old today, and they got a puppy.

You can see that Baby Girl thinks she literally needs to get the puppy.  They will be here in a couple of weeks, and we will be babysitting for Baby and Puppy.  Lots more pictures!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 11, 2001

15 years later, we remember.

Image result for 9/11 pictures

My children won't forget as long as I live.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bebop's Back!

Playing with Ryan while his human was off babysitting for a friend's dogs (how disloyal can you get, really),

and demolishing a squeaky candy corn she brought him as an expression of penitance for leaving him with his second favorite person.

Happy weekending, everyone!

Thursday, September 8, 2016


...finally closed on his house today!

I wouldn't be a fan of living in a big city, but he's young, and if it makes him happy, that's great!

(He'd better hope that flat roof doesn't leak, because it will be a bear to fix.)

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday Miscellany....

Just a drive-by posting.

I got mad at the prices I was getting to repair and repaint 5 ceilings in my house, so I've been working on it.  They're not perfect, but I don't know that the quotes of around $3000 per ceiling were going to give me perfection in a 95 year old house, either.  Besides, do you really look at your ceiling, as long as it's all the same color?  I rest my case.

Between Bebop and humans, we had visitors for 2 weeks, which was fun.  Bebop and his girl are moving back to Philly in a couple of weeks, so they'll be here much more often now!  It's a lot easier to drive 120 miles than 350 miles!

Ryan went back to college, but locally, so he's living at home.  He still doesn't know what he wants to do, so he's attending 2 different colleges with 2 very different majors.  And Mark starts his senior year on Tuesday.  Can you believe that my baby is almost 17, and starting his last year of high school?  He will be driving his Lincoln Town Car to school.  Of course he's driving a "land yacht."  First, he's almost 6'6", which is hard to squeeze into a small car, and, secondly, I want him safe.  Surrounded by iron.

Jeffrey is buying a house!  His closing is Tuesday!  I am so proud!

And Kellie and her fiance are buying a house; their closing is in October.  Imagine; I will have four children who are homeowners.  That makes me very proud, and feeling very old.

And, no recipe, but I made zucchini apple bread (think zucchini bread, with shredded apple, grated nutmeg, crushed allspice and cinnamon added).  It was durn good.

Happy Labor Day, everyone; I'll try to regain some semblance of posting once life is settled into the fall routine.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Garden Tuesday, On Wednesday

Our visitors have gone home.  The house is quiet for a little while.  Reflashing of the chimneys is underway this week, because....

The slate is done!  I have rocks on my roof again!

(Man, that garage and porch look massive, since I'm standing at the far end of the garage roof to take this picture!  But it's a fun place from which to survey the roof and yard.)

The color match isn't great, probably because it's hard to match freshly cut slate with that which has been weathering 90+ years.  You can see on this stretch above my bedroom, which is visible from nowhere except atop the garage roof, how different the color is.  Mostly, though, they mixed old and new, dark and light, and it looks pretty good.

And, yes, I painted that window and all of the trim around that dormer after I was finished with the camera.  I was standing on top of the porch roof.  Since I wasn't a dullard, and didn't walk off the edge, it was all fine. 

(But I do have to confess that the roofers had a ladder up next to another dormer which they had repaired, and I climbed up to paint that dormer's trim, too.  Hubby footed the ladder to prevent it from tipping over, if that really is a thing.)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dogs on Thorsday, a Day Late

Bebop's person went on vacation to the beach.  Evidently, Bebop was not invited.  So he came to visit us.  Ryan became his substitute person.
I never saw a dog smile before Bebop.
 He was so happy his whole body was wagging here!

 With Cass gone, he found other people to hang around with.

 Many other family members are visiting from Wednesday through next Wednesday.  So at least there are plenty of new friends for Bebop!
Happy Friday, everyone!  Bebop hopes you have a nice weekend, and keep your people close!