Monday, April 24, 2017

A Lonely Week, A Friend Filled Weekend

More beautiful bounty from SIL Elizabeth.
Just off a week with my dearest traveling.  All the time in the world to do whatever I want.  Seems all I want is his company, especially at bedtime.  I used my time reading two books, crocheting, trying to get familiar with my daughter's sewing machine.  I am driving again for the first time in months.  I drove to the city to help my daughter.  I am a homebody and getting worst as I get older.  I felt adventurous and brave, making the 30 mile trip into Chicago, and tired after a not even rush hour one and a half hour ride home.  Soon the work week was over and an equally tired husband was home safe, and we SLEPT.
We had a busy weekend, visiting long time friends for a evening of slides, pizza and music. Dear pals Ron, Sue, Dot and Kev have been our friends since grade school.  We been through it all together.  Growing up together, sharing our families as kids, meeting our spouses, marrying, children, loosing our parents.  Sharing the best and worst times of our lives together.
Sue and Laury, who live in California, round out the group of forever friends. We are so blessed to have been friends for decades.  I was a latecomer to the group, so I've only known them for 49 years.  Ron and Kev have been friends since kindergarten.  Sue and Sue almost as long.

The slides were trips Kev took in the '70's and some family pics of Sue and Ron's family.  I brought some nostalgic music, The Association, Chicago, Yes, John Denver, of course.  Where does the time go?  Good Friends, good times.
 Here is the shawl I just finished.  The pattern is called corner to corner.  Check out the great video tutorials by Mikey at The Crochet Crowd on YouTube.
 It;s just double crochets!
 Sunday we hosted yet another brunch, this time for our dear pal Laura and her hubby Phil.  I had pastries I put in the freezer from Easter, whipped up a overnight casserole I popped into the oven.
 There are hundreds of recipes, but this one is a favorite.  Bread, eggs, cheese, sausage, whipping cream and a few spices.  An hour in the oven and it looks like you fussed.

We filled our plates and sat on the deck all afternoon. Snacking on fresh fruit and a large container of Easter candy, we talked and laughed.  It was a perfect day for visiting.  The birds flying to our fountain, a gentle breeze with the scent of apple blossoms.  Our little meadow filled with purple flowers and tiny white violets.

Laura came into my life via my brother Jeff.  About 29 years ago, Jeff had a traumatic brain injury. When we rushed to the hospital, a young girl approached me.  She said she was Jeff's girlfriend.
They hadn't been dating long and we had never met.  In fact Jeff had never mentioned her.
Laura stood by Jeff's side, and my side during his long recovery.  (And recover he did, a miracle) We became very good friends, but when Jeff and Laura broke up, I refused to.  I had lost a few friends that way with four brothers, and would not give up my friendship.  Time passes and life changes, but we've managed to stay close all these years.
" Just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I'll come running, to see you again...
Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, all you have to do is call...I will be there, yes I will, you've got a friend."
-Carole King

A Saturday trip to the thrift, and I scored this hand thrown jug, the small covered jar, and the salt cellar is from none other that my SIL Elizabeth.  Yes I am spoiled.

Thanks for stopping by and for your friendship, 
it means the world to me.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Holiday Weekend...Saturday and Easter Sunday

 It's tradition in my Polish/American family to have our food blessed on Easter Saturday.  I pack up our basket with home made bread, a lamb butter, colored eggs. Polish sausage, a bag of candy...Other families add other things, wine, ham, whatever is traditional in their own homes.
 This guy makes me laugh throughout the short ceremony.  It's a quiet time for us to reflect and enjoy a moment of calm before the work of preparing a brunch for 30 begins.
 The basket is sprinkled with Holy Water and you may leave a donation of food or funds for the food pantry at our Parish.
I know that Mom and Buscia are looking down and smiling to know that our family tradition continues.  In fact, my nephew Greg is dating a Polish girl and also had a basket blessed at their Parish.  It's important that the next generation appreciates this and all of our family traditions.  It's what holds a family together.

 We had a beautiful day for an egg hunt.  All the participants had bunny ears, compliments of Auntie Mindy. Grandpa and Amanda hid  about 6 dozen eggs filled with change and the metallic dozen had dollar bills and a couple of fives!  So much fun to watch.  They were having a great time.  Later Jon held races for the kids.  The cousins all get along, and love each other so much.  
 Our smallest sweetheart was content to use her two tiny teeth to shred a bagel and watch the festivities.
 This girl said I could take a photo... that's Elizabeth in the back.
 If she could take one of me!
 I am far too busy to remember to take a photo of the casseroles as they come out of the oven and the crowd starts filling their plates.  This is the aftermath... So many flowers, from Elizabeth, my niece Michele, the leaf picked by one of my beautiful little nieces.
 The hydrangea from Elizabeth.  All the little baskets, plates and do dads that go into hosting an event need to be sorted out and put away.
 Casseroles, bowls, plates, tins... My SIL's helped clean and clear the tables, washed many of the dishes.  Thanks Elizabeth and Mindy!
... platters, so many serving pieces accumulated through out 32 years since I've taken over the family holidays.  There are even move flowers back there. When you have all the serving pieces, utensils and such it makes for a much easier time.
 The peeps and assorted candy...we are blessed with so embarrassment of riches, I always say.
 Considering the crowd, the house held us all.  The deck was used and the yard was full of happy children.  Our family is so important to me and my husband, we hope to host many more happy holidays.
 The bunnies, ducks and lambs on the stairs were all played with and rearranged.
A very Happy Easter was had by all.  

Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comments.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, April 17, 2017

Holiday Weekend...Friday

With 30 people coming to our home for Easter brunch, and a ton of work ahead of us, we took a several hour respite to Northwind Perennial Farm in Wisconsin.

 When Northwind opens each year we head on up.  It's so beautiful and peaceful.
 Spring was just coming to life..
 A beautiful birdbath.

 Inside are beautiful vignettes every where you look.
 Some, I have photographed before, others brand new.
 Love photos out of the doorways and windows.
 On this birdbath,  a mirrored top.  It had a magical quality to it.
 So many architectural finds, beautifully desplayed in wonderful old buildings.
 I love the look of multiples.
 These simple terracotta flower pots had me swooning.
Empty pot? Plant some old tools.

Swoon, repeat...

Refreshed, we did more food shopping, as I added and subtracted things from the menu.  I was anxious that I wouldn't have enough food, and that the house would be too crowded.  We watched the weather reports and hoped for good weather for both Saturday's cleanup outside, and a sunny warm Easter day to get some of our guests outdoors.  

We were successful on all counts!
More on our Easter festivities in my next post.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, April 10, 2017

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers!

My dear SIL Elizabeth called me last week to ask if I was still up, she had something for me...  What she had was FLOWERS!  Elizabeth rescues flowers at the shop where she works.  These were all headed to the trash, and she was headed out of town.  A amazing bounty of beautiful blooms.
 I grabbed all my hobnailed vases and played with flowers.
 Three kinds of tulips...
 Hyacinths, roses...
the daffodils came from my garden.
 Then I put them all around the house. In the dining room...
 Living room,
 on the coffee table...

 Penny was practicing her writing a few weeks ago, and this accidentally ended up on my tablecloth.  Secretly, I was thrilled, but when Mom and Dad noticed it..oh snap, we were in trouble.
 Flowers in the kitchen...
even next to my chair in the family room.  Oh the feeling of luxury and beauty.  They lasted all week and I was sorry to see them go.  Thanks Betty, your sweetness and generosity are only two of the many wonderful traits you possess.  Love you so.
 There is also something else we are missing.  Big Blue, my hubby's 15 year old truck. We decided to donate our car to our local public television station WTTW.  They will auction the car and we will get a tax deduction and the proceeds go to PBS.  A win win situation. It still looked good after all these years.  I thought my dearest might be a little emotional, but he was fine...I, on the other hand shed a few tears.  So many happy memories, great trips, bringing Penny home from the hospital in NY, family vacations...  Yes I can even get sentimental about a truck.
It left in the pouring rain.
We celebrated Amanda's birthday at a Shark themed party at Amanda and Mike's place.  Even Henry the cat was dressed as a shark, and he hated it!  A good time was had by all, some of us are allergic to cats and had to bow out a little early.  Amanda was lovely, had her hair and makeup done.  Penny dressed in her Moana costume and I dressed as Moana's crazy Grandma with a tribal print top.  Penny said I needed MORE in the top area (aka bigger boobs) to really look like Moana's grandma. She makes me laugh so much.

A busy week of preparations for Easter brunch with family and friends.  I know the menu by heart, breakfast casseroles, bacon, kielbasa, pirogi, ham, salads,  potatoes, bagels and desserts.  The blessing of the basket of food on Saturday and an egg hunt if weather permits on Sunday.

I am sitting in front of an open window.  The winds are gusting and the smell is unmistakable, SPRING.  (It's finally sprung!)

Thanks for stopping by and God bless you all on this Easter and always.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny