Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Friday Flower & a trip to Blighty...

Well, well, well... it's Friday again... but not any old Friday, not for this gal anyway... it's going to be a Friday filled with frantic packing, planning, and tying up loose ends before I jet off to Blighty on Sunday... Yep, you heard right. Me and the gals are heading off to see mama and grandad back home.

All this talk of Spring, daffodils, and the green, green grass of England has led me to book a flight and go see it for myself! Seriously, there was a flight deal that just could not be passed up... so now I'm left wondering how I'm going to get me and the girls all sorted for Sunday evening... oh, and did I mention we have a date with Mary Poppins on Broadway this Saturday, too?? Talk about flying by the seat of your pants!

Anyhoo, I am giddy with the thought of being home for a few weeks, and so, I'm going to leave you lovelies while I go make lists, do laundry, and everything else in between...

Oh, and the kitchen cabinets... they'll be waiting for me on my return... half-finished, but, sometimes in life, you just have to act on opportunities when they land in your lap!
Hopefully, I'll be sharing my trip with you over the next few weeks... Mmmm, I can taste the chips and mushy peas already...
Ta ta for now.

If you would like to join in with this week's Friday Flower, simply use the linky widget below to link to your flower inspired post.

Come on Spring...

Ah come, come quickly, spring!
come and lift us towards our culmination, we myriads;
we who have never flowered, like patient cactuses.
Come and lift us to our end, to blossom, bring us to our summer
we who are winter-weary in the winter of the of the world.

D. H. Lawrence,  Craving for Spring

Just checking... it was the first day of spring the other day, wasn't it? Well, I patiently await you Spring... My Birks are by the front door...

... my spring coat is hung in the closet... my gardening bag is poised and waiting for action... and my toes are awaiting a much needed pedicure, in anticipation of bare foot strolls along the beach...

... I'm ready, when you are...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Flower

Hello there...
I really am missing our little natters... but, what with the girls painting and other day-to-day chores, I'm really being pulled every which way. I have several blog posts floating in the ether, awaiting me to sit down and tap them out and take the accompanying pictures... speaking of which, I'm in a bit of a picture slump at the moment... I just don't have the vision these days... perhaps it's from painting... like snow-blindness, all my eyes can see is the whiteness of primer... I'll get my creative hat back on this weekend... I think it's buried under a tarp somewhere in the kitchen...

Anyhoo, en route back from a play date today, I realised it was Thursday and no Friday flower had been procured. I had hoped to get some Ranunculus (one of my favourite Spring flowers), but they had sold out... I'm guessing these rank high with others, too.

So, after playing in the Spring sunshine today, I opted for the trusty Hyacinth (I bet you can almost smell it from where you are)... It was on special and I figured I can pop it in the garden in Autumn. I'm all about buying flowers that I can plant after their blooms have faded. When we brought this shabby old place it was bereft of any plants... totally... except for a gnarly old tree, which we had removed, as it acted as a spring board into our roof for the neighbourhood squirrels... Each year, I add to our garden (yeah, it's a garden not a yard), and slowly, it is transforming into the cottage garden I aspire to... plodding around it this morning, I spied Delphiniums, Lupines, and Foxgloves all pushing through the ground.

Hopefully, over the summer months, I will be able to show you what we have achieved... For now, though, you'll have to settle with my Friday Flower... a taste of good things to come.
Thank you for popping by today. I'll catch you next week. Wishing you all a healthy and happy weekend.

If you would like to join in with this weeks Friday Flower (sorry it's late, but you can link up all the same), simply use the linky widget below and link to your flower inspired post!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Appreciating the local sites...

The sun was shining this weekend and, after a Saturday of painting, I decided to take advantage of this spring weather and go for a bike ride with the hubby and girls... there's no rush on the cabinet painting and days like today are just too hard to pass up!

The wind was chilly, so we bundled up and decided to bike along Sandy Hook to a place called Fort Hancock. With the Raritan Bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, it was quite blustery, but the kite surfers were making the most of it... I wonder if we could just strap a kite to the bikes... I know the hubby complains about the extra weight of the kiddies...

Anyhoo, riding around these beautiful old buildings, my heart was saddened by their state of disrepair. The Fort was originally set up in 1899 and included 18 Georgian Revival-style homes for officers and their families.

These beautiful houses have spectacular waterfront views and the sunsets along this six mile sand bar peninsula are amazing... and yet here they are crumbling... the beautiful grand doorways decaying... such a shame that these buildings can't be put to some good use.

This building, once the officers house,  is open to the public as a museum. 
With views of Manhattan from these golden beaches, the mind boggles as to why they haven't been developed???

One can but hope, though... reading in the local paper the other day, there were talks about potential uses for these grand homes, so as I rode around with the hubby and the girls, we chatted about what we would love to see them transformed into... restaurants, shops, cafes, guest houses... to see these derelict houses, once again bustling with people... but, this time around, filled with the vibrance of life and not the ominous threat of war...

Wishing you all a great start to the week!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Painting, planning & flowers...

Hi there...
Just popping in to show you the fruits of my labour, what I've got planned (for the next month... urgh), and to share my Friday Flower.

I had very good intentions this week, but I started it feeling sluggish and pretty much stuck with that feeling all week... I attempted to get something together for a mid-week post by whipping something up in the kitchen... but, then, I absentmindedly dished it up, and it was eaten before any photos were taken... it was delicious, so it gives me an excuse to make it again, and share it with all you lovelies at some point in the near future...

A selection of the doors... ohh, there are more...
Kitchen update:  I did manage to undercoat the kitchen cabinets, but that's about it... it takes soooo long... I foolishly thought it was a weekend job..... nooooo... Anyhoo, a painter friend gave them the thumbs-up... he did the whole, looking at them in daylight, an inch from his nose (as though expecting a diamond), and declared them top notch! I have every intention of giving them a top coat this weekend. I even drew up this little time plan (lets see if I stick to it)...

... it's right over the kitchen sink (which I am chained to), so there's no excuses for not 'getting with the program'...

Anyhoo, as it's Friday I dutifully popped out in the torrential rain to pick up this week's Friday Flower... and, let me tell you, I'm sat here writing this tonight while it's raining cats and dogs and blowing a hooey outside... we're praying that all of the work done in the basement this past Fall will help us to not flood (prior to this, we would have had water to the top of our welly boots)... So, keep your fingers crossed for us... my dad said we should just invest in a dinghy...

... sorry to digress... Friday Flower... yes... My Friday flower is dedicated to the writer of the blog Bibbity-Bob... I have two daughters under 5, and so, hear 'bippity-bob' a lot in my house...well, actually, my  youngest says 'zippity bar-bra'... nevertheless, it's a cool blog name (Bibbity-bob, not Zippity-bar-bra), and, you know what? It's a cool blog... she features crafts, home renovations, and (my favourite posts) eye candy and retail therapy from stores in Blighty... shops I so wish I could shop at... Pop over to her blog this weekend. I hope you love it as much as I do!
Anyways, I've kept you long enough (because I've missed chatting to you so much)... off you trot, have a super weekend and I'll catch you next week!

If you would like to join in with this week's Friday Flower, simply use the linky widget below to link to your flower post (new or old)... It's blooming marvelous! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

New season, updated cloche...

It must be Spring, as the cloche has been updated... there was a glimpse of it in Friday's post... All Spring-like, with it's blossom, nest, and eggs. The girls were disappointed to see the wintery cardinal go (you can see it here), making way for the nesting Blue Jay... but time is marching on and the season is a-changing.

I love the little bird scenes we create each season (you can see our Autumnal owl here), and even my two-year-old can actually name several bird species now... not sure what that says about me (unless bird-watching is the new cool thing to do...). Anyhoo, I'll make a twitcher out of her yet!

I know this is not to all tastes, but it's now become a little fun thing that me and the girls do and, it's certainly teaching them about the revolving year... in fact, we're already planning Summer...

Happy days!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More Spring Friday Flowers

Friday, at last... and this weekend, I really am going to paint. I'm avidly watching the weather forecast, hoping for sunny skies so I can get out in the garden and paint the cabinets. I will hold my resolve and not be tempted by the bike path, beach walks, gardening, or any other Spring-like activities.

Although I speak of Spring as though it were warm outside, in fact it was pretty bracing today... Outside, the sun was shining, but I was not about to be fooled (again), so I dipped my toe outside before choosing my daily attire... and, good job, too. Otherwise, I'd have been swanning around in a Spring coat when my heavy Duffle was called for...

Anyhoo, sat at my desk, how could Spring not be on my mind with these lovely violas to remind me, so cute and dainty... and these are the best flowers, as, when they've finished flowering, I'll simply pop them in the garden to enjoy next year! I love a flower which just keeps on giving!

This week, I'd like to dedicate my Friday Flower to  Steph, who writes the blog Curlew Country. I stumbled upon her blog a few weeks back and was instantly hooked. When reading it, I feel I have an insight into her beautiful life, and, for some reason, I've decided that she's like the Felicity Kendal character in the TV show, 'The Good Life' (anyone not from the UK around the 70's will have no idea what I'm talking about... to you, I apologise), in that her blog echoes the simple life that we all would love to attain.. oh, and the fact that Felicity Kendal is just gorgeous!

Anyways, on that note I will leave you all and wish you a fantastic weekend... I'll report back on the kitchen progress next week!

Take care.

If you would like to join in with Friday Flower this week, simply use the linky widget below to link to your flower inspired blog (it doesn't have to be recent)... share the flower love!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Egg custards, tea & a good old chin wag...

Hello there... yes, I'm still here... just!
So, I would love to report that the kitchen cabinets have been painted, hung, and dutifully adored, but, alas, I am a fickle girl... easily tempted by the beautiful Spring sunshine and the promise of warmer days... So, instead of painting this past weekend (as intended), I went for a bike ride... and it was lovely... so no apologies! The kitchen update at this point in time is they are all cleaned, sanded, and eagerly awaiting that first lick of paint... that, and the new kitchen dresser I procured the other day... Did I not mention that??

Picture taken from Craigslist
'It needs a lot of TLC, but I think it will fit in like a charm in my little kitchen'... These were the exact words I used to the hubby, as he rolled his eyes at the prospect of me taking on yet another project... Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the prints on the front will be going... Watch this space to see it transformed into something spectacular (cough, cough)...

Anyhoo, this week has entailed sanding kitchen cabinets, doctors visits, trailing across the Jersey Shore in search of the kitchen dresser, parents' evening at my eldest daughter's school, the usual Mummy duties, and a much needed cup of tea and natter with my ex-Pat chum...

She'd just been home to Blighty, and so, I needed filling in as to what is happening in my beloved home country... Are the shops all decked out for Spring and the Royal Wedding? What food did she eat? What was on the telly? Did she get the current issue of Country Living?? I bathed in her English experiences, hoping that, somehow, they would rub off on me... and, as I can't go to see a friend empty-handed, I also whipped up a batch of Egg Custards to go with the tea, and to help us pretend that we were having a good old chin-wag back in Blighty...

Egg Custards were one of my favourite desserts back home (England), but I've not been able to get them here in the States. So, my mum passed me the recipe, and, really, I don't know why I never made them in the past... they're so easy! As I'm super busy at the mo', I did cheat and buy the ready-made Graham Cracker cases (instead of making my own pastry) and, I have to say, they were quite yummy... I guess they were a little Americanised... just like me!
Take care all... I'm off to paint, sew, check Craigslist or something...
 A Cheat's Egg Custard Tarts
2 Eggs
250ml milk
2 tablespoons of sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it)
grated nutmeg
6 small tart cases

Preheat oven to 350F (180c)
To prepare the custard filling, whisk eggs separately, and bring the milk and sugar to the boil in a pan. Pour milk mixture onto the eggs and cool.
Pour the custard mixture into the tart cases and grate nutmeg on top over the tarts.
Pop the tarts in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the tarts have set.

I cheated and brought Graham Cracker cases (which were delicious), but if you're wanting a traditional Custard Tart, then follow the recipe above using shortcrust pastry tart cases.
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