Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Getting New Knees!

Well, I may be incognito for a few days. I am going into the hospital for a total knee replacement. Am I nervous? Well, yes, a little, but I think it will be fine. My doctor says next to heart surgery this is the most life changing surgery - and lucky me gets to go through it twice in one summer! I weeded my garden this morning and really took notice of how much I use my legs when I garden or pull weeds - its going to be interesting to see how I manage this without using them and sitting on a little seat on a cart and using one of those grabbers to pull the weeds. Somehow I don't know that this will work well...but I am willing to try it.
This whole thing really makes me think about choices I made that got me into this mess. I didn't get very heavy until about fifteen years ago. I was overweight, but not like I am now. If only I had realized what I was doing to my body and how it would affect my knees, walking, standing etc., I'd like to think I would have been more careful of gaining weight. Its so easy to let things go and indulge in the things you like, but it comes with a price tag attached. One of my nieces had gotten a bit heavy and decided to do something about it. It has taken her a year, but she looks wonderful - and feels wonderful too. I look at young women who are as overweight as I am and I want to tell them what I know, but if I am honest, they won't listen any more than I did. When you are young you really can't grasp the idea of  of what will happen down the line. Some people choose to cause these injuries on purpose -football players, soccer players and other sports figures often have terrible arthritis as they get older. We certainly are foolish with what we have been given. I guess as in all things, moderation is the key!

I have lost about 8 lbs since I was told to get ready for the surgery. The key here is can I continue doing this so I can get my life back! Pray for me, I really need to be covered in prayer both for the surgery and the recovery phase. Thanks - see you all soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bring Back Modesty!

I saw in the Sunday papers this week an article about girls writing to Kendall Jenner, one of the Kardashian family about her decision to drop out of high school and also that she could be a much better role model for young girls by dressing modestly. These letters were written by girls from various walks of life and each one mentioned that she was a role model..."as a celebrity, you and your sisters need to understand that you are role models" and from another "You're not sending out a good message to young girls who are influenced by the things they see, by posting pictures of yourself topless or wearing risque clothing."

How sad is it that our young girls think they need to "show some skin" to be acceptable. I will admit that as a young woman there were a few outfits I had that I would now deem inappropriate...a direct result of the "freedom" of the 60's. But I was a woman, not a child! I look at some of the clothing for toddlers and young girls and cringe that it is okay to have them wear clothing that mimics adult wear. I hear moms tell their little girls to "shake their booty" - really? At that age they shouldn't even know what a booty is! What does that kind of behavior teach them? I have read awful articles about moms teaching their kids to "show themselves" so boys will like them and applaud them for selfies showing themselves in their underwear or less. I would be horrified if my daughters did this, and yet today it is rampant.

These moms who put their children in pageants and subject them to makeup, wigs, false teeth and skimpy outfits for their dances need to wake up. Even dance studios teach children moderately risque routines
all in the name of being contemporary. I know of several moms who have decided to bypass jazz or contemporary classes and stick with ballet to circumvent those routines and dress.

Why do we want our girls to walk around with words like juicy on their shirts? Or even worse, on their behinds! What is the message they are giving? Have you tried to find a bathing suit for your daughter that actually covers her rear end and doesn't have a super high cut and pelvic bones showing? Do they even make one pieces outside of competitions anymore? I remember when my girls were growing up, they had a rule at camp that girls needed one piece bathing suits, or they had to wear a t shirt over a two piece. I like that idea. Certainly while swimming with teenage boys it helped curb their imaginations. My daughter asked several guys in college if they liked the trend of girls wearing skimpier clothing. Their response? A resounding No!! They all felt they would rather see a girl modestly dressed with much left to the imagination rather than nothing left to the imagination! Some children's bathing suits are cut way too low as seen below. Again, people may think its cute, but it is only preparing her for more provocative bathing suits as she grow older.

But there are some lovely suits to be found online that are much more appropriate for little girls.
Don't these two look cute and comfortable in their suits? I know I probably sound like an old fogey to some, but if we older people don't take the lead to let this younger generation of moms know where these lead, it will just get worse.  Luckily, there are now websites devoted to modest clothing so you don't have to go crazy looking for things -the t shirts are longer, pants waists a little higher and tops and dresses are modern, but modest. Some design based on retro looks similar to the clothing worn ins the 1950's. That idea is actually pretty hot today. You can see Katy Perry and Taylor Swift wearing these styles. The only difference is some of them are cut pretty short, but on these new websites they are cut modestly. A few nice websites are and If you type modest fashion in the search at, you will find lots of beautiful clothing and websites to explore.

Lets not forget our little boys either. While there is not a direct problem with modesty, there are still people who chose to dress their boys (and girls) as "gangstas"which opens up a whole new can of worms.

I sincerely doubt that when babies are born, their moms and dads think; oh I hope they grow up to be ganagstas or streetwalkers! Yet I believe that by dressing their kids like this, they are sending them a message that will lead to more and more young people dressing inappropriately and feeling their worth is in their bodies.  Please don't do this to your children. They are precious gifts and it is the parent's job to empower them by providing a good education, strong values and a sense of self worth attached to a moral base.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sharing Memories: Favorite Books of Childhood

Oh gosh - what were my favorite child books? I was an avid reader, often going to our little library and taking out seven books and a week later returning for another seven. I always said I should have become a librarian - other than the music/art rooms at school, I spent an inordinate amount of time in the library. I could live in a library and never leave and I would be perfectly happy. My local librarians always look to see what I am reading because they find my tastes interesting! That being said, it's childhood I am thinking about today.

I honestly don't remember which series of books I read first, but my guess is that is was either The Bobbsey Twins or The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton.I think I enjoyed the Blyton books because they took place in England and that intrigued me. I remember in one of the books they talked about Puffins and I have had an ongoing interest in them since. I even tried to talk my daughter into going to Puffin Island while she was living in Scotland, but alas, it did not happen. I recently read two of her books just to see if I still found them interesting and I thought, I wish I could give them to each of my grandchildren!

 From there is was pretty easy to segue into my Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys phase - I am guessing I read every book in all these series; one of my obsessions I suppose. Next I read Betsy, Tacy and Tib
- another series I would love my granddaughters to read. I bought one at a yard sale not long ago and they stand the test of time as well.  I think what I love about these books is the inherent innocence of a lost time. Everything children read today seems to have lost that. Its about monsters, chillers and thrillers, geeky kids...I guess there are some nice ones - surely some of the Caldecott winners  are really good books, but I remember fighting with our local elementary school to get classics into the reading program instead of books like Bunnicula and Judy Blume books. They kept telling me kids didn't like classics any more - we are talking about Robert Louis Stevenson, Louisa May Alcott, James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, Jonathan Swift, Hans Christian Anderson; how could that be?? If you don't try them, how are you to know? Argh...this is s a pet peeve of mine and just one of the reasons we decided to home school our children.

At any rate, getting back on track here, I also loved The Five Little Peppers books, another series with good values and a timeless message. I have this small collection in my
attic of many of these books - they just hold such a dear place in my heart - they were like my friends. In truth, like many readers, they transported me to another time and place and I could see myself playing with these children and being a part of their families. Crazy?? I don't think so, I think that is the joy we receive when we read -as a child, we believe what we read and want to emulate the things seen in books - how many kids have built a raft after reading Tom Sawyer or gone into nursing because they read the Cherry Ames series?? How many directors could visualize what they read and as  they grew older made use of movie cameras to make litttle black and white movies of the dreams they had when they read The Prisoner of Zenda or The Three Musketeers? I think I could safely say many people who have gone on to do great things, had reading play a large part in their dreams and goals.

My girlfriend Vivian and I share a love of the Beany Malone Books. Beany was from a big family that had big hearts. I wanted to make the 15 egg white Lady Eleanor cake that was made for special occasions and be friends with her and her friend Dulcie! I also was intrigued with Norbett, the guy she was always trying to impress! My friends and I shared these books back and forth and all loved them! When I first met Vivian through a theater group, we started talking about books we loved - she mentioned Beany Malone and I couldn't believe I found someone who remembered her! Many years later, when the internet became available, I tracked down the book and sent it to her as a gift

How can I forget Lousia May Alcott - I loved Little Women, Little Men, An Old Fashioned Girl, Jo's Boys, Under the Lilacs and Eight Cousins. I was madly in love with Laurie from Little Women and remember writing in my autograph book in sixth grade as Laurie - beyond weird as I look back, but that just tells you a little more about me!

When I moved at the end of sixth grade, I met a girl in my new neighborhood who introduced me to the Cherry Ames nursing series
I am pretty sure I spent the entire summer wrapped up in this series. I wanted to be a nurse! I loved the books because they introduced you to all types of nursing - Visiting Nurse, Flight Nurse, Army Nurse - you get the idea. There was always a little romance mixed in which for a 12 year old who was just a tad boy crazy, was just about perfect. I never did become a nurse, but did go on to work for a doctor and in hospitals - does that count?? Maybe I was trying to relieve what was captured in those books.

The next series that caught me was the Penny Parrish series. I have my friend Pauline to thank for that. Now I was sure I knew what I wanted to do - I wanted to be an actress!! I came closer to that than anything else, spending years in community theater, dinner theater, singing and performing at many places and being a part of Up With People right out of high school. I think those books and my eighth grade English 
teacher who took me to my first Broadway show, sealed the deal for me!

What books were your favorites? I also read Trixie Belden, most of Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, all of the Books of Knowledge encyclopedia (yes, I was that dorky), Hans Brinker, Black Beauty, Son of a Hundred Kings (which was really an adult book, but I loved it) and oh so many more.

What I did not read was Little House on the Prairie, Winnie the Pooh or Paddington Bear, The Hobbit (until after I was married and then became a huge Lord of the Rings fan) or The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe. I still haven't them (except LWATW) as I read other stories to my kids and my husband did the Little House books with our daughters and Winnie the Pooh with our son!

I cannot leave without mentioning my absolute favorite series for all time - Anne of Greene Gables. One of my friend's moms was Canadian and introduced me to these when I was around 8 or 9. Oh, I was taken in by Anne instantly. I have read all the Anne books over and over, even as recently as two years ago and I still love them. I still cry when Matthew dies and root for Gilbert and Anne to fall in love. I have enjoyed the PBS series done with Megan Follows, but it still pales next to the books. When my mother in law (who was Canadian and an Anne fan) heard I loved Anne, she gave me her first printing of Anne Of Ingleside as a gift. It definitely cemented the great relationship we had. To this day, when spring arrives and the trees on Main Street are all white - my husband knows I will look at him and say "White way of delight" - I can't help it!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rainbow Surprise

Its summertime! Well its supposed to be summertime; here in New York its a balmy 69 degrees and raining like the dickens! I have been thinking about making a frozen salad for those dog days in July, so I started looking into old recipe books from the 50's to see if I could either update a recipe or use one as a jumping off point. I found three interesting recipes, but each one had several things I did not want to use - like unflavored jello, mayonnaise - things like that. So I used them as my basis for an idea. This is a very creamy frozen fruit salad that also could be used as a dessert. I like recipes that do double duty!

Rainbow Surprise
1 large package Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup of Del Monte Pineapple Chunks (in pineapple juice) cut in half and drained
1/2 cup of Del Monte Mandarin oranges (no sugar added) drained
1 cup fresh blueberries (you can also use frozen if you wash off and drain)
1/2 cup cut kiwi - seeded, peeled and cut into pieces
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
3 TBSP sugar
1 2/3 cup whipped cream
1 TBSP lemon juice

Cream the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and lemon juice. Gently add fruits and marshmallows.Then fold in the whipped cream, gently incorporating it into the fruit mixture.

Pour into loaf pan (or jello mold or any type of Tupperware container that can be held under hot water to release the salad)

Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight (keeps well in the frozen state for at least a week)

To serve, gently put pan into sink full of hot water for a minute to help it melt a little to release. As I said, I used a loaf pan, but think in the long run Tupperware or flexible jello mold might work better.

Invert onto serving dish and garnish with 3 blueberries surrounded by 4 mandarin orange slices to make a flower design.

You can use other fruits including bananas (although I would increase the lemon juice to 2 TBSP)

Friday, May 16, 2014

No Place on Earth

I am a big fan of documentaries, probably because I love learning new things. Every year, after the Oscars, I check to see what documentaries were up for an Oscar and order them from my library. Some are flops for me, but I would say the majority I enjoy- even if I have to deal with subtitles! This week, I receive No Place on Earth which is about a group of Jewish families that survived underground for over a year to hide from the Nazis. It is a powerful story and told well, interweaving a re-enacted story line with the survivors telling the story.

This story may never have been told if it weren't for a caving enthusiast named Cristos Nicola who went to the western Ukraine in 1993 looking to go spelunking in the caves nearby and also try to learn a bit about his heritage. He went down into the cave at Verteba and started going from "room" to "room." He wasn't too far in when he discovered some odd things - a shoe, a key, an old cup, and writing on the top of the wall.
He was intrigued and after he finished searching, he went to the town nearby and asked about it. Someone told him it was probably the Jews that hid there during World War II. This sparked his interest and he spent the next ten years trying to find the people who had been in there. The Jews accounted for over one third of the townspeople and sadly almost all of them died in the Holocaust. Initially it was hard to get anyone to talk, but finally little bits of the story started coming out. He traced the family to Montreal, Canada and New York.

They told him that in 1939 they could see the writing on the wall regarding Germany and the Nazi regime and applied to emigrate to Canada and the U.S.A. Sadly, by the time the permits came through, the borders were closed and they couldn't leave. Initially they went into the Verteba Cave (which is almost 5 miles long) because it was the one they were aware of. They explored it to find a second way out and found that by clearing an area daily, there was another hole that came up in the middle of a field. There were 26 Ukrainian Jews that entered the caves which included three families. They ranged in age from 2 to 70. They brought in what they could manage and periodically left the caves to scavenge for food. They stayed in that cave for 344 days - the longest time anyone has remained underground. The Nazis found the cave and raided it while they were sleeping, but most managed to escape down into secondary caves and out the other hole. Eight were captured. Six escaped, but two were never heard from again. The six hid in a friend's barn till it was safe, and then were shown to a second cave not known to many called Priest's Grotto. They joined with the others and some new people joined the group bringing the number to 38.  The new cave was better as it had 2 lakes. One they drank from, the other was used for washing. While they were safer, there were still townspeople who tried to kill them by digging into and closing up the entrance to the cave with boulders and wood.Luckily the people managed to find their way out by digging in shifts.

I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for them and especially the children. There was little to do down there, but their families told them stories of the Torah about Moses, Esther, Joseph and other biblical heroes. One of the men made sure they still followed the Jewish calendar and followed the traditions of the special days like Sukkoth, Yom Kippur and the like. Finally, one day a local farmer dropped a bottle down the hole with a message inside that the Germans had gone and it was safe to come out. When the children were brought out into the light, they were almost blinded by the brightness of the sun. They were in the caves a total of 511 days. Most of them went to Poland, but found it still wasn't safe there and made their way to the American partition of Germany and later to North America.

I loved listening to the survivors telling the story. It isn't often you get a first hand account like that. The oldest survivor, named Saul was 91 when the documentary was filmed. My favorite part was when they brought the survivors and some of their grandchildren back to the caves. It was such and emotional time for them, not just because they once more entered the caves, but because after years of passing the stories on to their children, they were able to go into the caves as well. They also were able to tell the men filming, that the writing on the walls included their names so they wouldn't be forgotten.

There is so much more to the story, I hope you look for the dvd at your library. It will move you and bless you!

note: photos are from the documentary

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It's Howdy Doody Time!

I love that this week's challenge is favorite TV shows - I have been a TV-aholic since I was 3 or 4. I know I watched Howdy Doody regularly and loved Clarabelle, but I don't think it was the first show I was entranced by. I am pretty sure that honor goes to Ding Dong School with Miss Frances. My grandmother used to tell me stories of how much I loved her - so much so, that at that young age, I was imitating the way she spoke and drew pictures upside down because that was the way Miss Frances did it - well, at least that is the way it looked to me as she did draw them that way to show children how the picture looked as it was being created.
She was everybody's favorite teacher and was so personable. The show was nominated three times for an Emmy. It didn't win, but did pick up a Peabody award. The show ran from 1952-1956. One of the few surviving clips is here

Captain Kangaroo picked up where Miss Francis left off starting in 1955 and running for 30 years! I think he was the Mr. Rogers of our generation.
I loved him and all the characters shown here - Dancing Bear, Bunny Rabbit, Captain K., Grandfather Clock, Mr. Moose and Mr. Green Jeans. It was such a gentle show and took place inside the "treasure house". Most of the show was the Captain interacting with the regulars, but there was a cartoon in the early years called Tom Terrific. Tom had a sidekick called Manfred the Wonder Dog and a nemesis called  Crabby Appleton. You can enjoy a clip of the show here:

Kukla, Fran and Ollie was a puppet show that was supposedly for kids, but apparently a lot of parents watched it as well.

The star was Fran Allison, a comedienne and she was the only human on the show. It was entirely ad-libbed and when Ollie the dragon was upset, he would slam his head on the stage to show frustration or roll on his back to be endearing - here is an interesting clip:
Did any of you watch the Pinky Lee show? Pinky was a vaudeville comedian who put together a fast paced kind of crazy kids show - I loved him - it was a bit frenetic and adults thought it was dumb, but kids loved it. I found a great clip on youtube -I didn't think any of these existed!

Local TV shows were popular back then and my favorite was The Sandy Becker Show. I am pretty sure it was exclusive to the New York area. He had all these crazy characters that he did, the addled Big Professor, the incompetant mad scientist Dr. Gesundheit and the simple minded Norton Nork, but my favorite was Hambone who was a crazy double talking disc jockey. The only clip I could find was a rare color one, but it doesn't do him justice. He was way before his time I think.  

 My other childhood favorite was Soupy Sales - I think he also started out as a New York show (along with Chuck McCann's Bozo). Soupy was crazy! Most of his show was impromptu with his writers and crew egging him on. You could always hear them laughing in the background during the bizarre skits. He had a sweet lion puppet called Pookie and two strange puppets - which were only arms and hands called White Fang and Black Tooth. They did not speak, but only made strange noises. Soupy got in big trouble on January 1, 1965. He was miffed that he had to work on the holiday and told the kids to tiptoe into their still sleeping parent's rooms and remove those "funny green pieces of paper with pictures of the U.S. Presidents from their pants and pocket books (purses) put them in an envelope, and mail them to me." Several days later, repentant after receiving real money and monopoly money in the mail,  he explained he had been joking and that all the money received would be donated to charity. Parents still complained and he was suspended for two weeks.  The uproar surrounding Sales' suspension increased his popularity!

There were so many other shows I loved as a child - maybe you remember some of these - Lassie, Fury, My Friend Flicka, Little Rascals, Davey and Goliath, Mr. Magoo, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Sky King, Davey Crockett, Father Knows Best, Patty Duke Show, F-Troop, McHale's Navy, Maverick, The Rifleman and so many others. I look back at some of them and wish our world was like it was back then, when children listened to their parents, shows had a moral world view and everything wasn't about pull you pants down humor and sexual inuendo. I must be getting old!

As  I got older, my tastes changed and I was an avid fan of the original Mickey Mouse Club. I tried watching the "new" one they made which spawned Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, to see if it would work for my kids, but it lacked the charm and gentleness of the original show - Besides the cartoons Jimmie, the host, introduced songs and skits by the Mouseketeers. There were also wonderful series included like Spin and Marty, The Hardy Boys, and Corky and White Shadow. All taught good morals and to lean on your parents for help and advice. There were the main Mouseketeers and others that appeared in the serials like Tim Considine, Kevin Corcoran (my beloved "Moochie") , Roberta Shore and Tommy Kirk. Each day had a theme - 
Monday -Fun with Music
Tuesday- Guest Star Day 
Wednesday -Anything Can Happen Day
Thursday- Circus Day
Friday -Talent Round Up

I loved everything about this show - from cute little Karen and Cubbie, to Bobby Burgess dancing, to Annette and Darlene Gillespie's series - I doubt I missed a day as a child. And I think everyone my age knows the song...   


Monday, April 28, 2014

One Ringy Dingy...

So, the challenge this week is to write about the telephone...I cannot even think of that without thinking of Lily Tomlin's sketches as  Ernestine the telephone operator.
One of my first jobs after high school was working as an operator for the hospital I worked at. I worked in the admitting office, but they needed someone to cover the phones while the gals who worked there full time took lunch or breaks, so I volunteered for the job. I really enjoyed the fast pace of putting the trunks in and out of the proper channels although I did have a few funny moments - remember we are talking a hospital and one day I was chatting about some new shoes I had bought and answered saying, "Smithtown Shoes, May I help you?" Another time it was "Smithtown Pizza".  I looked at my co-worker in horror and sputtered an apology to the caller. Something that was done and probably wasn't right - well, okay, it definitely wasn't right, if you angled the line just so, you could listen in on the conversations...yeah, we did that - usually it was one of the really good looking docs who was having an affair- we would crack up silently as we listened - I'm sure today we would be fired for it, but back then, no one really cared! I was kind of sad when the old boards were phased out, they really were a lot of fun.

My dad and grandfather both worked for the New York Telephone Company, better known as "Ma Bell". Both worked there all their lives and ended up "Pioneers" which was reserved for those who put in 30 years or more. My dad started out as a lineman and worked his way up to Project Engineer; quite a feat for someone with a high school education - but back then, many places took those who were good workers and brought them up the ranks training them as they moved up. I remember there was a time where his lack of college became an issue and if I remember correctly, he offered to take a college exam and aced it. It was never brought up again. When I was in high school, there was a huge strike and he found himself riding shotgun in Harlem doing repair work in place of those who were out on strike. He had a few interesting episodes, but managed to stay safe and even rescued an old pedal singer sewing machine for my mom in one of those basements.

I am always amazed at the differences in how things were out west of Chicago where my husband grew up and the Bronx and Long Island where I grew up. My husband remembers using phones like this
and actually speaking to an operator and asking for someone else's line. My first phone looked  like this
How weird is that? The funny thing is we still have one upstairs in our bedroom and it works great!  He also had a party line, we had a single line.  I do remember when the princess phone came out - that was a big deal and my dad brought one home. My sister wanted one so badly!
Just before the World's Fair in New York 1964. my dad showed me the neatest thing when I was visiting his office in New York City - the picture phone!! It was going to be unveiled at the fair. I couldn't believe how cool it was - imagine using the phone and being able to see who you were talking to! I remember thinking people better not answer the phone coming out of a shower!!
One of the perks with my dad was always getting the newest and coolest phones. Another perk he had was free phone service for all of the US - that was huge back then as you paid dearly for any long distance - and that could mean from the Bronx to Long Island! He always made sure we didn't abuse the privilege, but I do remember him working some Saturdays during my short engagement to my hubby and connecting our two lines through the office so we could chat for free. Every now and then he would come back online and ask if we were through yet. It was a real blessing.

When we emigrated to Canada in 1979, we bought a place way out in the country. The only service out there was a party line...hard to believe they still had them. Each person on the line had a certain ring - two longs, two shorts, a long and a short or a short and a long. There was a young kid on our line that we knew was always listening in - I had a good laugh when I realized he grew up to become a well known Country Western singer! When we moved back to the US, we once again lived outside of town and amazingly, that particular stretch, still had the party line. For a while we shared it with our neighbor because the rates were lower if you shared and when she changed to a single line, we were the last ones in the area still keeping the party line and rates even though we had no one to share it with.

The house we bought in 1998, where we still live, came with a wall phone in the kitchen like this. Since our home is 80 years old, we decided to keep it. It is amazing how few children have seen one of these - we loved it when our kid's friends would ask to use the phone - they would invariably come back looking confused and tell us that something was wrong with the phone because nothing pushed in - even pondering it, they never came up with the idea to turn the dial!

So here we are in the age of  Iphones and androids and now I am the confused one. It took me forever to figure out how to make spaces for a phone text, I would send my kids amessagethatlookedlikethis. They would die laughing. I still haven't purchased one, I am doing quite well with my go-phone which is cheap enough for what I need. I prefer the land line. You can hear people so much better that way, and truthfully even better if you keep one of those old fashioned dial or push button phones. I guess they are going to have to drag me kicking and screaming into the future of dad would be proud!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Peacock Themed Wedding You Can Afford!

     About 2 years ago, my daughter mentioned something about a place called where people put pictures of interesting things they wanted to refer back to. I took a look at her page and saw a few things that peaked my interest.

     With my daughter's wedding being planned, and having the theme of peacock feathers, I thought, well, I wonder what I can find on Pinterest. Holy Mackerel! There are thousands of pins regarding weddings - any kind and any place that you can look into. I found dozens and dozens of pins of peacock wedding cakes, peacock table decorations, peacock flower girl dresses, peacock bouquets, peacock you name it - what a treasure trove! As a fairly crafty person, I just knew I could duplicate many of the ideas and do it cost effectively. I started looking into some of the pins and while I didn't always duplicate them, they were a great jumping off point.

     The dress was found at  one of David's Bridal sales - someplace she never planned on going to, but was talked into at least looking and trying things on to find a silhouette she liked. This dress was a real surprise and had everything she was looking for.  She also took care of making the bouquets with her maid of honor, getting most of the supplies at Hobby Lobby.  She decided to have her bouquet all in avocado green and the girls in the rest of the peacock colors. Having been in a ton of wedding parties herself, she looked long and hard for a bridesmaid dress that could be 1. used again and 2. not expensive - she found these wonderful wrap dresses online at Target for $30 - how could you go wrong? I made the girls crystal bracelets to match the dresses and some hair pins.
 My daughter made her headpiece as she wanted something that had a vintage look and bought the base piece and hot glued the feathers and veil to it. I think it was just perfect. 
  The next decision was what to put all the younger attendants in. She decided to have the three flower girls in multicolored tutus and i had lots of fun making them. It was surprisingly easy. Next were the peacock colored headbands which I made with stretchy crocheted headbands that matched the crocheted tops on the tutus. It was easy to sew the feathers on. The boys were easy to work with. Their mom bought cream colored shirts, black pants and peaked caps. I made them aqua vests and bow ties that matched all the colors in the tutus.

Two of the flower baskets I found on sale. The third one for the oldest girl was actually the woodland basket that was used for her mom's wedding. To unify things, I added ribbons of all the colors

For the church, I made pew bows from an Ivory tulle and ribbon and a peacock feather. The front row had a gold insert with a peacock colored ornament hanging form it, the others had simple crystals hanging. We put the head table centerpieces on either side of the altar and it looked beautiful

For the reception, we had blue napkins enclosed with a peacock and their names
The table decor was fairly simple - I found some lovely glitter tulle in blue and aqua and some 6 foot strands of winter berries in the same colors at JoAnns.We added some lights and the head table looked lovely.

For the actual table decorations, I went on and asked for vases - i scored 30 or more of them
that all looked the same! I went and cut some teasel and spray painted it aqua adding a little Martha Stewart magic with her cut up mylar sprinkles. I picked the spent lily shoots and spray painted them dark blue and added dark blue glitter sparingly. I picked some cattails and ordered peacock feathers inexpensively from  China. I put aqua water gems in the vase with a small waterproof light which looked really beautiful as the venue got darker in the evening.
For table numbers I made a simple holder out of a block covered in blue satin ribbon, some light green crystals and clear pebbles. Each table had a different photo of the happy couple's engagement photos
My daughter didn't want a full wedding cake and went with apple crisp with ice cream as the wedding was in the fall. I got to thinking and made a fake 2 tier cake from satin material and gems and then made a real top layer lemon cake with lemon filling - perfect for a Lemons wedding! The groom's sister made the chocolate groom's cake which had a Jayhawk on it - fitting for someone who went to the University of Kansas.
    I can't tell you how much fun putting all this together was. Having 9 months to plan, I was able to make use of all the 40% off coupons for JoAnn, Michaels, AC Moore and Hobby Lobby. Nothing was purchased at full price, yet everything looked beautiful. There is no need to go into debt to plan a beautiful wedding. There are still venues even here in New York that you can get for less than $25 a plate. If you do your own decorating, there is plenty left over for hiring a good DJ and photographer, something you don't want to skimp on. We had a young woman from our church video the day for $50 and 2 other girls babysat the young children so the parents could enjoy the day but were nearby if needed. We even brought a pack and play so they could be put down for naps - a really smart move according to the venue's owner.

If you have a wedding coming up and limited funds, I really recommend checking out for wedding ideas, photo ideas, decorations etc. Anyone can make many of these things and have the wedding of their dreams!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


     I love spring! I can't wait to rake out the lawn and garden beds and get my hands into the soil! The past few years I have had various times of not being in the garden as much as I'd like. One year it was a month long trip that kept me out of things in April, another year I completely ignored it as I prepared for my daughter's early fall wedding, the next year it was a month long trip in just seems there is always something that thwarts me. This year will probably be no different as I am hoping to get my knees replaced and while I haven't seen the orthopedist yet, I am hoping it will be done soon. So, I am currently spending as much time in the garden as I can. I treated my self and bought a cart to sit on that hopefully I can use if the knees are done - its really kind of cool .
     Last year I made a major mistake - I had bought a spray bottle of an antif-fungal for my roses which inevitably get black spot. I had been so good about spraying every seven days and  things were looking good. One day I went out and not only sprayed them, but also the soil around them figuring I would kill the spores that way. A few days later I looked out our porch window and it looked like some of my roses were dying. I went outside to the first garden and sure enough, all the leaves were crumbling and dry and the stalks were black. I went to the next garden and saw the same thing. I thought some weird sort of blight hit them until in horror I went to my garden closet and pulled out the spray bottle.

I had grabbed the wrong one! Instead of spraying them with the anti-fungal, I had sprayed them with Round Up!! It looked like I had killed 10 beautiful rose bushes! I quickly rinsed them down and decided to take a wait and see attitude.  Towards the end of the summer, I saw some of them were actually sending up some shoots and leaves and I was so encouraged...until this bizarre winter of massive snow storms and below zero weather. I went out  yesterday to look at them and it doesn't look like there was much of a survival rate. So, now I have to decide if I am going to spend the money for new ones. I am guessing I won't buy 10, more like 2 if at all.

     My mom and dad loved to garden and things bloomed beautifully for them - even now, while living in a retirement village with a small garden, my dad is out there checking what he has and thinking of new things he can try. My brother is also a great landscaper. I do alright, but I know I can do better. Up until late last summer I had a predominantly shady yard. Sunshine was a rare commodity, so I couldn't grow vegetables or some of the beautiful flowers you see that need full sun. Then my neighbor cut down two of his trees that shaded my yard. I have sun! I really want to put a raised bed garden and transplant some of the plants that needed more sun like my blueberries. But I guess I am going to have to be quick about it. So, the past two days I have been raking and pulling weeds like a madwoman! I still need to prepare some of the beds for transplants. I live in the northeast and we grow rocks here! You cannot dig down more than two inches without hitting stone. For a 3x5 foot garden, this is what I pulled out of the ground and I only went about 10-12 inches deep - you can see my problem! Its going to take a lot of digging along that eastern fence line to be able to get those blueberries in.

     When I first got married, I knew nothing about gardening, but I was game! I never do anything halfway, so that first summer I dug out the area around the front of our house and carefully planned for fall plantings of tulips, hyacinth, daffodils and other spring bulbs. I had circles and squares and all sorts of pleasing plans. Next up was the side garden which was a quarter of an acre. Like I said, I tend to go whole hog on things and so I turned that whole garden over and planted everything from A-Z. We were living in Illinois at the time and oh my the soil was wonderful - rich and dark and no stones! It was very successful and I spent the summer canning and feeling very pleased with myself. The big thing I learned was how well zucchini grows! We had it coming out of our ears! I am pretty sure we ate zucchini in all kinds of dishes well into winter. It was years before I planted it again - even now it brings a quick look of horror to my husband's face when I say I am thinking of planting it! For whatever reason, it will not grow in my garden. It flowers, I see bees pollinating it, but I never get an actual zucchini. I am going to try again this summer to see if it just wasn't getting enough sun before.

      My dad innocently gave me a small trumpet vine telling me it had beautiful vermillion flowers. He did not tell me how invasive it is or wildly it grows!

I spent most of last summer trying to cut it down.
I am hoping the hacking I did at it last year, will mean I have a better chance of killing the darn thing this summer. By the way, the other problem is that everything on the plant is poisonous! I found this out when I mistakenly crunched on one of its pods thinking it was a string bean from a nearby vine - I knew the minute I bit into it that something was wrong and then noticed there were others on the plant. I went inside to look it up on the internet and ended up having to call poison control. Luckily I hadn't eaten enough to cause a problem, but with grandchildren around, I don't want this in my yard!
So, I work and wait and hope this will be the summer that everything blooms like it should, there is not blight on whatever roses I put in, my zucchinis set fruit and my blueberries thrive. How does your garden grow?