Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Salad
Today was hot and muggy. A few thunderstorms passed over with heavy rain pounding down followed by clearing and a little sun; then the cycle repeated. On a day like this, Summer Salad tastes good. Here is the one I made today, served with steamed broccoli and watermelon chunks on the side:

Pasta, cooked according to directions, drained and cooled. (can use spaghetti or any shape of pasta, about 2 cups before cooking)
Cooked shrimp (or tuna or chicken), about 1 cup or according to your preference.
Chopped raw vegetables; today I used chopped onion, celery, and radish.
Mayonnaise (low fat).
Ranch dressing (low fat). (I use about half mayo and half ranch, just enough to lightly coat.)
Seasoning as desired (today I used a little paprika, black pepper, hot pepper, and salt.)

Mix above ingredients together, place in salad bowl, garnish as desired (I had lettuce from my garden!), cover and cool in frig until dinner time.

This is nice to make in the morning of a hot day; then you can relax a little when dinner time is approaching.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Coco Enjoying the Sun

Coco is a quiet and calm dog, very easy to have in our house. Every morning and evening she has a walk, with me or Tony, or sometimes with both of us. After a good walk, she likes to sleep most of the day. She is very enjoyable company!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Our Visitor

Yesterday we went to Steve and Marta's house to pick up their boxer, Coco. Marta and Gabriel are already in Spain and Steve is leaving today to join them so Coco will spend the next two weeks at "Grandma's house". She usually comes here when her family takes a vacation, so she is very familiar with our house. We always start off the day with a long walk, which tires Coco out and she needs to spend most of the rest of the day on her blanket. Coco is a very kind and intelligent dog so she is a pleasure to have in our house.
Our little friends, Ann Marie and Mary Jo stopped by to talk to Coco.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Please be sure to check Marta's blog because today she has the most beautiful pictures! Marta (my wonderful daughter-in-law) and my grandson Gabriel are enjoying a holiday in Spain right now. My son Steve is joining them very soon. Marta's blog today has the most beautiful pictures of poppies blooming in Spain right now! They are just as beautiful as I remember them! Thanks, Marta, for showing us the pictures from Spain!
Marta's blog is here.
A nearby strawberry farm is open for picking home grown berries every June. I have been picking strawberries all my life, starting when I was a child and my mother had a small field of berries at home. The berries that we picked were sold in a roadside stand, and the price, more years ago than I care to think about, was sometimes 3 quarts for a dollar. Picking strawberries was not the most enjoyable work for a child because it was hot and uncomfortable , but as I became an adult appreciating fresh fruit, I've come to enjoy this season very much.

Yesterday we went to the farm and came home with two large boxes full of strawberries. We cleaned and froze the berries as Tony enjoys them with his breakfast all year. Later in the day I made strawberry shortcake. The local berries are much sweeter and tastier than those coming to the supermarket from out of state and the picking season is never long enough. It is wonderful to be in the open air picking the red treasures that are ripe strawberries.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Family Party
Saturday evening we enjoyed a family party at Carole and Keith's house. Their granddaughters, Rori and Lulu, were visiting so it was a wonderful occasion for catching up with everyone. Missing from the party were Tricia and Chris, parents of Rori, who were at a local hospital, having given birth to Rori's baby brother, Ian Patrick, a whopping 9 pounds 1 ounce, earlier in the day. It was a beautiful evening for sitting on the patio enjoying good food and conversation. Here are some scenes from the gathering:

Carole with Rori on the left and Lulu on the right

The buffet table

Jack and Lib

Tony in charge of the barbeque

Bernie with Lulu

Fun with Bubbles:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Poppy Memories

Five years ago in May Steve and Marta were married in Spain. Our family rented a house in the country just a few miles outside the beautiful city where the wedding took place. We arrived a few days before the wedding, spending some time touring nearby cities such as Toledo, strolling along market places, seeing cathedrals and palaces, enjoying the wonderful Spanish atmosphere and hospitality. I often enjoyed early morning walks along the farmlands near the rental house. A special memory is of wild poppies in bloom everywhere along the roadside and in the fields. I was entranced by their color and natural beauty.

When I returned home, I often thought about those poppies, so when I had a chance to buy a poppy plant for the front garden at my house, I was so happy. A couple of patient years were needed for my poppy plant to begin to really bloom. Now every year when I see my poppy plant producing buds and then beginning to bloom, I remember the poppy fields of Spain. My poppy is orange-red as you can see above; the poppies in Spain, if my memory is correct, are more rose-red, but still the memory is there with me. (Incidentally, the poppies must have a good taste because they are often consumed by our deer population. Overnight the flowers disappear. Maybe they are sweet.)

Marta and Gabriel are now enjoying a few weeks in Spain; Steve will join them soon when his vacation begins.
I love to talk to little children and see what they're thinking:
Last weekend, talking to Gabriel, age 4:
Me: "Gabe, are you and Mommy going on vacation this week? Where are you going?"
Gabe: "To Espana."
Me: "Why are you going there?"
Gabe: "To see mis abuelos".
Me: "Are you going in Mommy's car?"
Gabe: "No, in the airplane."
Gabe, having just turned 4 last month, is an experienced traveler and has maybe 9 international round trips on his passport already.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fun at the Playground

I love to go to the playground with my gra
ndchildren. Modern playgrounds are designed so well with many enjoyable things to do. Children have different approaches to being at the playground. Gabriel, at four years of age, always runs from one thing to another, quickly trying everything, sliding, climbing , enjoying, shouting as he goes. Scarlett at three years old is very cautious. She looks at everything, walking around, watching other children, and then tentatively approaches and tries something very carefully.
Saturday we went to the playground together. She didn't want to sit on the little animals, didn't want to get on the swings, (saying a definite "no" when encouraged), and didn't want to go down the slide. Then she carefully began to do a little climbing as you can see in the video.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Our Garden
We have expanded our garden this year with more plants and a greater variety of vegetables. We planted tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, green pepper, and Japanese pumpkin. Everything is off to a good start now that the warmer days of early summer are finally here. We have begun to harvest radishes as you can see in the second picture. I was amazed how quickly the radishes grew, having planted them less than a month ago. They are very tender and delicious. There's nothing like fresh vegetables picked just a few minutes ago and then enjoyed with your dinner.