Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The "supply list" & covering books tradition

Today's shopping and crafting consisted of those dreaded first week of school events : shopping for the endless list of supplies and covering a zillion books. I can't believe how much I end up spending on 3 ring binders, spiral notebooks, index card, loose leaf paper, hi-liter pens , pencils, crayons (OK, I admit the crayons are for me -- it's just not the beginning of a new school year without a brand new box of crayons, don't ya think! and they're mine, all mine !!!!) And how about those dull book covers? (well, it's WAY after midnight here, and that's about as creative as I can manage at this hour -- besides, my teenage sons would probably protest if I dressed up their book covers -- I think they have dirt bike decals to slap on there anyway.) Well, it's time for me to skeedadle myself off to bed for a whole 4 hours of sleep before I have to haul the little darlings out of bed by their feet so they're not late for school . Nighty- Night!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to school !!

Don't they look HAPPY?!? HA !!!!! This picture was taken at 7 AM this morning as my little darlings began yet another school year. Truth is, I'll probably be a blubbering idiot most of this year -- this is Matt's senior year (in the brown shirt) -- I can't believe it !! (It feels like it was just last year that I was dragging him to preschool after putting him in a head lock to get his shoes on for the 5th time -- he was a fiesty little stinker -- guess he was destined to be a wrestler!) .... AND , my baby, Evan is a high school freshman this year --- another shock to this Mom's system -- how can they be growing up SO fast while I'm not getting any older? (OK, so I'm in denial). I think I'll go make a cup of tea and soothe my temporary depression by working on a quilt until I have to go to work this afternoon.

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mom's Cucumber Salad

August just isn't August without Cucumber Salad. Ever since I can remember, my mom has made Cucumber Salad, especially after my dad started growing them in his garden. I've been trying to get my cucumber salad to taste like my mom's for the past few summers, but somehow it just is never quite the same.... BUT, this time I think I came closer than in other years -- (I think it's because I STOPPED measuring and just started dumping stuff in there "to taste" as my mother has always instructed me to do.) So, I thought I'd share the loose interpretation of how to make Cucumber Salad for anyone out there in Blogland who'd like to try it.

Mom's Cucumber Salad:


yellow onions
olive oil
white vinegar

Wash and peel cucumbers. Slice cucumbers and place in a bowl. Slice onion and add to cucumbers. (I usually use about a half onion, or less for every 2 cucumbers -- but this is where you get to add or subtract however you like.) Add olive oil and white vinegar ("to taste" -- I just keep adding the vinegar until I can taste the "tang" -- just add stuff a little at a time , stir, taste, and add more if you want -- a little at a time!). Add a little salt and pepper , also "to taste". Stir , taste, add more if you want. (How's that for an inexact science?!)

So..... there you have it -- a yummy way to use those fresh cucumbers! They were great for lunch today -- had 'em with fresh corn on the cob, a tuna salad stuffed tomato, and some sun tea -- oh, and some juicy, slurpy nectarines for dessert! (I don't always get to treat myself to a lovely lunch out on my porch, but today both kids are at a dirt bike race and hubby-dear was on a "who can show off the most" bike ride with the guys, so I thought I'd actually sit down for a change and have lunch ! I must say I was very good company -- I'll have to "do lunch" with me again sometime soon!)

(P.S. -- cucumbers and parsley compliments of my dad's garden; tomato, corn, and nectarines are from the farm stand we went to the other day. That fresh produce is the BEST !!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A ride in the country

Yesterday, after Mom's MD appt, we decided to take a little ride to a farmer's road side stand to get some fresh corn, tomatoes, cantaloupes, and peaches AND to get Mom out of the house for a little -- she's been cooped up since she came home from the hospital 2 weeks ago. Anyhow, this road side stand is only about 10 minutes from my parents' house. And lookie who lives across the road from the farm stand -- I just LOVE horses -- I want these guys to live in my back yard!! (although I don't know if the bear will approve!)

Anyway, enjoy this summer day! (summer came back with a vengence today -- it's about 95 degrees and the humidity is in the uncomfortable cranky zone!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Started to feel like fall there for awhile!

Ever since the big storm a week ago, we've been having unusually cool weather -- there were a few days that the high temperature was only 57 degrees!! In August?! In Pennsylvania?! VERY WEIRD !! That's about 30 degrees cooler than it usually is in August in Pa ! We were even wearing jeans and sweat shirts -- in August, in Pa !!!! (but , today the spell was broken and the heat and miserable HUMIDITY started to creep back in -- I don't do humidity very well -- it makes me cranky. Of course the heat and humidity are back just in time for the first day of school this Monday.) Anyhow, a few days ago while I was feeling "autumn-ish" I was at Walmart and wandered into the fabric dept -- and look at all the fun fall fabrics they had -- and I bought! I LOVE the pumpkins and corn , oh , and the different leave fabrics, etc , etc, etc. Now, as we all know, I'm easily distracted -- I had to force myself NOT to immediately start yet another project using those fun fall fabrics just because I was feeling "autumn-ish". (or resume working on last fall's project just yet -- picture #4). At the beginning of the summer, my plan was to finish my 2 summer projects -- that have been lingering on and on for quite a few summers (picture #2 and #3) -- but, here we are almost at the end of August, and mission NOT accomplished -- again! How did the summer fly by so fast? (I know it's not officially over until Sept 22, according to the calendar, OR at least next weekend on Labor Day -- but since my kids start school this Monday, I feel like summer is over -- RATS !)

Sooo....... here's the plan. I'll work on the summer projects until Labor Day -- oh wait, that's only a week away -- there's no way I'll be finished in a week! OK ..... here's the plan. I'll work on the summer projects until the week after Labor Day , then I'll work on the fall projects until after Thanksgiving (I'm a very seasonal type person -- i.e. I like working on projects during the season that they go with -- I have a real hard time getting into "Christmas in July" projects -- and that's why I have partly finished projects for every single season there is. I figure at this rate, I should have everything completed about the time I really start to hate those particular projects and wonder why the heck I started them to begin with and what in the world was I thinking when I picked out that fabric, etc!) Anyhow, as I was saying before I interrupted myself, I'll work on the summer projects until the week after Labor Day, then I'll work on the fall projects until after Thanksgiving -- oh, wait -- then that means my Christmas projects will really get the short end of the stick. -- RATS ! Hmmmmmm....... what to do, what to do, what to do? I KNOW !!! Continue to be in denial about what I can accomplish without a full time staff of a housekeeper, cook, taxi driver, and secretary and just START ANOTHER PROJECT !!!!! There! I'm glad we solved THAT problem ! (I wonder if they need my help with anything at the White House?)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Simple project turns into BIG production !!!

OK - so all I wanted to do was bring another table into the Very Pink Sewing Room to have yet another flat surface to put stuff instead of on my ironing board or cutting table. Simple -- Right? Well, my quick little project ended up turning into a BIG production! Kid #1, Matt(wearing the filthy white undershirt), and his buddy Ed happened to be hanging around yesterday , so I asked them to please bring the little table up from the basement and put it in my sewing room . Well, they got it up the basement steps, then the steps , the landing, the turn , and more steps up to the second floor of the house. The little table went through the bedroom door, but then would not go through the door into my sewing room . Hmmmm, the 2 teenagers thought -- lets take a leaf off the table (the table is an old wood table with hinged leaves on each side). So, off comes one leaf. Table still doesn't fit through the door. Matt says "Mom , you have to move the bookshelf behind the door so it opens all the way." OK, bookshelf moved, door opened all the way --- little table still does not fit through the door. Hmmmm, the 2 teenagers thought -- lets take the door off . Mom says " do you guys know what you're doing? Maybe you should wait for Dad!" Teenagers asure me they've had Wood Shop twice and they know their way around tools, etc. So, after some discussion over unscrewing the hinges or just knocking the pins out of each hinge, they managed to get the door off and carried the little table into the Pink Sewing Room! Thanks guys!!

A BIG production, cont'd

Anyway, to continue my saga of the simple project turning into a BIG production, now that the little table was in the Pink Sewing Room, I couldn't just take everything off of the ironing board (picture #1 -- can you even tell that's an ironing board with all that stuff AND Daisy on it? Every time I wanted to press something I'd have to unload all that stuff -- I'd put it on the floor, or add it to the piles of stuff on my cutting table.) -- anyway, I couldn't just take the stuff off the ironing board and cutting table and put in on the little wooden table --- oh no -- I had to organize everything. It was like that kids' book, If You Give A Moose A Muffin (he'll want some jam to go with it) -- one thing lead to another, and another, and another --- the table was dusty, so I went downstairs to get a dust rag -- couldn't find one, so I had to find an old towel to cut up. Went back upstairs, dusted off the table, started to plop a basket with old catalogs, etc in it on the table ---ended up sitting on the floor looking through them to see if I could pitch any of them -- didn't have a garbage bag, so I went back downstairs to get one -- went back up to the sewing room to finish going through the catalogs, etc, and decided there were alot of dust bunnies flying around -- went back downstairs to get the vacuum cleaner -- dragged it back upstairs -- sat back down on the floor to finish going through some catalogs which made me think of a book I thought I ordered awhile back, so I started looking through the bookshelf to find it -- then I started looking through that (a book by Robyn Pandolph on needle turn applique -- decided I'd like to give it a try one of these days) -- ANYWAY -- as I said, my quick , simple project turned into a 2 day marathon! BUT -- LOOK -- (picture #3 and #4 -- a naked ironing board --except for Mary Ellen's Best Press -- that's ready to use at a moments' notice, and a cutting table with only one project on it!!!) -- and all the stuff that covered both of those surfaces is now living on the little wooden table (picture #2) that had one heck of a time getting into the Pink Sewing Room! Sheesh!! Now all I have to do is keep everything neat and tidy and in it's place!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Friday, August 17, 2007

One heck of a storm !!!!!

I'm back -- yes, 2 posts in one day -- because, about 2:00 this afternoon, we had one heck of a storm !! (this after watching the morning weather guy who declared a sunny day!) Anyhow, the weather guy was WAY OFF!!! As you can see from the pictures (taken during and right after the storm) we had an UNBELIEVABLE rain, thunder & lighting, and HAIL (golf ball size hail) storm blow threw this afternoon. Unfortunately, there was alot of damage done to homes and cars (including ours) --- but everybody is OK, and that's the main thing. My younger kid, Evan, and his buddy , Konnor, even had the bright idea to put on their dirt bike helmets and run around in Konnor's back yard while the hail was pinging off of their helmeted heads (this was quickly brought to an abrupt halt when Konnor's mother saw what they were doing !) SHEESH! Talk about 2 bright kids with zero common sense! Anyway, looks like tomorrow is going to be yard clean up day and meeting with the insurance guy (house and car!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Mom is home and doing OK

Well, you can't keep a good woman down (thank goodness!). My little, but TOUGH Mom came home from the hospital last Friday.(Mom and I want to thank all of you for your well wishes and nice comments -- they were much appreciated!) I stayed with her until last night when she gave me the boot and announced that she'd be OK with just some occasional help from Dad (aka George). (now, let's not go overboard here and think George is going to be doing laundry, grocery shopping, and making and cleaning up meals -- those things never were in his job description -- since he's a recently retired physician, he'll monitor the medical stuff -- and, continue to be the full time gardener (those first 3 pictures are just a small sampling of his flower and veggie gardens -- which are not only his passion, but his physical therapy for that darn arthritis he's got.) -- So, as I said, my Mom is tiny, but tough -- the morning after she got home from the hospital she came out to her kitchen table and sat down with a cup of coffee I got for her. I went into the bathroom for 2 minutes and when I came out where was Mom? -- why downstairs in the laundry room scrubbing George's socks and gotchies (aka underwear) before putting them in the washer , of course (old habits die hard!) -- I told her I'd do the laundry, but apparently I don't do it right -- I don't pre-scrub anything -- I just throw the white load in the washer with detergent and oxiclean and hope for the best (and my kids are wearing the dingy socks to prove it!) ANYHOW, my tiny but tough Mom is back to her meticulous housekeeping habits (on a somewhat lesser scale, however --- I make her take a rest in the afternoons, and she doesn't really argue with that) I have a feeling she'll be back in full swing pretty soon -- gaining strength for one more surgery in the beginning of October -- then she should be good as new!

Over the past 2 weeks, I did get a chance to squeeze in a little bit of hand piecing on my hurry up and wait project -- it was also my therapy (who needs to pay big bucks to a shrink!! just pick up some quilting, knitting, needlework of any sort, or go plant some flowers!)

OK -- I'm still trying to get caught up with all sorts of stuff, so I should skee daddle. Thanks again for all the well wishes for my Mom!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Taking an unexpected break

Hi everybody --- Just a quick post to tell you all I'll be taking a little break from blogland. My mother was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital this past Friday. She's in pretty good spirits and in very good hands and we hope to have the improved version of Mom back home very soon.

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cool and refreshing !!

AAAHHHHHH!!! Now THAT'S refreshing !! --- (standing behind a waterfall and feeling that cool spray on a HOT summer day!) That's "yours truly" standing behind Glenn Onoko Falls -- which is within walking/hiking distance from my house -- in fact, in the winter when there are no leaves on the trees, you can see the falls from the road right in front of our house. These pictures were taken last August. The waterfall is a very popular hike for locals and tourists -- some really crazy people, like my husband and some of the other neighborhood dads, have made it a tradition to hike the falls on New Year's Day with their kids -- when it's FROZEN !! (I must admit the pictures of the frozen waterfall are REALLY cool -- and of course I can't find them to show you -- we have one of kid#2 standing behind a sheet of frozen water -- if I find it , I'll post it.)

The hike is a pretty strenuous one -- some really steep areas (if you enlarge the last picture you can see how steep it is in spots.) ..... AND, like so many other things around here, the falls are supposedly HAUNTED !!!! The story goes like this --- an Indian princess was distraught over some young Indian guy and for whatever reason (sorry I don't remember) they were destined to not be together, so she threw herself over the falls --- YIKES !!!

Anyway, I've been pretty busy at work and haven't had a whole lot of time for the fun stuff this week -- that , of course, being sewing , drawing and coloring, and baking and taking care of my poor wilting garden -- so, as George from Seinfeld would say " I got NOTHIN', NOTHIN' " (that is, nothin' new or fun to show you sewing/crafting -wise today -- that's why I thought I'd at least try to cool us all off on this very HOT and HUMID August day and post the waterfall pictures from last summer!) Sooooo, now, if I finish this post for today, remove my butt from in front of this computer, go upstairs to my desk and force myself to concentrate on finishing up this week's BORING paperwork from my job, maybe, just MAYBE I'll have time to get to the fun stuff tomorrow and have some new crafty or bakey pictures to post one of these days!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Jim Thorpe picture tour

I thought it would be fun to give you a little picture tour of the town where I live -- Jim Thorpe, Pa (not it's original name.) Originally, Jim Thorpe was Mauch Chunk (an Indian name meaning something about a sleeping bear -- I think.....) Anyway, the town name was changed in the 1950's when Jim Thorpe's widow (in case you're not familiar -- Jim Thorpe was an Olympic athlete who won many gold metals in every possible track and field event there was back around the 1920's . He was also a great baseball and football player.) -- ANYWAY, like I was saying , Jim Thorpe's widow was looking for a burial place for Jim Thorpe (he was stripped of his Olympic medals -- unfairly, I think, because he played 1 semi pro baseball game, or something like that) and by the 1950's, Mauch Chunk was going down the tubes and needed something to put the town on the map and bring in tourists -- so they offered to make Mauch Chunk the official burial site for Jim Thorpe -- erected a monument, etc.

OK -- back to our tour. Alot of the buildings and homes in Jim Thorpe were built in the 1830's --> 1870's (I guess that makes them Victorian era homes). The first picture is of the Dreisbach House (I have no idea who the Dreisbach's were) -- but it's a neat old house that now has a fun shop in it!! They have vintage HATS (as in Jackie Kennedy, Lucy and Ethel, and Audrey Hepburn type hats -- pillbox hats with veils, cocktail hats, things covered with flowers and feathers, etc). They also have tons of vintage clothes -- I had my eye on a pink, fluffy 1950's era prom queen number I saw there a couple of months ago, but I decided I didn't really have anywhere to wear it, other than bowling...... Oh, and they have vintage jewelry and linens. But, one of my favorite things about this shop is the SUNFLOWERS out front -- aren't they GREAT !!

The second picture shows what's called "Millionaire's Row" --- these were the houses built by the guys who got rich by helping to run the town's main business , the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (had to do with shipping coal by canal boats down the Lehigh River to Philadelphia -- and later they used the trains to ship it, I think --- don't quote me on my semi accurate historic facts!!)

Now that 3rd picture is the Asa Packer Mansion. That's where Asa Packer lived back in the early to mid 1800's. Who the heck was Asa Packer you ask? He's the guy who started the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (along with another guy named Hazard -- I forget his first name -- and to add insult to injury, this guy's mansion is no longer standing so no house to show you.) Asa Packer is also the founder of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

The 4th picture is the Harry Packer Mansion. Harry was Asa's son. Asa built that house for Harry and his bride as a wedding gift -- not a bad wedding gift, huh! Anyhow, if you're thinking that house looks kind of familiar, that would be because the Haunted Mansion at Disney World was modeled after the Harry Packer Mansion. But, no need to go to Disney World to go through a haunted mansion -- you can stay in the real haunted mansion -- it's now a bed and breakfast, and I've heard stories that it's haunted for real!!!

Jim Thorpe picture tour (continued)

Picture #5 on our tour is The Inn at Jim Thorpe. This is my husband's business (he's a partner in the business along with his dad and brother -- my husband is the manager and runs the day to day operation of the place.) The Inn was built in 1849 and has had quite a few famous visitors over the last century. If you want to see more about the Inn, click here The Inn at Jim Thorpe. (oh, by the way, it's haunted !!! -- check out "ghost stories" on the Inn's website).

Picture #6 is the train station ( which is now half Visitors Center, half bank.) They do have train rides (daily , I think, in the summer, and on weekends throughout the year.) The Fall Foliage train rides in October are extremely popular. They also have a train ride with Santa at Christmas, and an Easter Bunny train ride with an Easter egg hunt in the spring.

Picture #7 is the Dimmick Library. This is the town library , which is really neat inside -- lots of old woodwork. It was named for the Dimmicks (duh ! -- too bad I can't recall why.)

Picture #8 is the Dimmick House (yes, same family that the library was named for). I think this house is really neat. As you can see, it's for sale -- I'd say it's a bit of a fixer upper (to say the least!)

Well, these are just some of the great old houses and buildings in Jim Thorpe. Hope you enjoyed your "tour" !!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)