Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm Singing in the....MILK

Singin' in the RainWhenever I hear the song "Singin' in the Rain" or watch the old movie with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Conner, I remember the documentary I watched with my boys many, many years ago. (I think the eldest was about 12 at the time, the youngest was 8.) It showed how things seen on television and in movies are often illusions.

  Ice cream, for instance...Picture those luscious cones of strawberry and vanilla ice cream you used to see on posters in the ice cream stores...the kind that make your mouth water and titillated your taste buds...The ice cream was actually Crisco! Yuk! (And to think it was those photos that started my pregnancy cravings for strawberry ice cream. If only I had known this fact, I probably would have saved myself 10 pounds!)

So what does this have to do with the movie "Singin' in the Rain"? the time this classic movie was filmed, water was one of those things that could not be captured on film (I think this has changed with new technology, but don't quote me on this.). For this classic song and dance, milk was added to the water so it could be seen. Gene Kelly was actually Singin' in the MILK.

Now this interesting fact impressed my 3 sons.... who were all avid fans of musicals (and not one of them can sing worth two cents!) For months, they would go around the house singing..."I'm singing in the MILK, just singing in the Milk. What a glorious feeling, I'm happy ___" (they could not think of a word to rhyme with "milk" so they just garbled something) and trying to recreate the dance scene. These truly WISE GUYS actually poured  "accidently spilled " milk onto the floor and danced in it...singing (and laughing) at the tops of their lungs.

Oh the joys of motherhood.....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


the lonely bugle call at the end of the day...

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lakes,
From the hills,
From the sky,
All is well,
Safely rest,
God is nigh.
Fading light,
Dims the sight,
And a star,
Gems the sky,
Gleaming bright,
From afar,
Drawing nigh,
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

There are many stories about the origin of this familiar song. Some say that it was found in the pocket of a Confederate his brother/father, a Union soldier.  Other accounts attribute the song to Union Gen. Daniel Butterfield who had the song written to announce "extinguish lights". Regardless of which story you choose to believe, the song had its beginning during the Civil War.  

As I researched this song, I came across some family information... Taps was first played on the battlefield at Harrison's Landing in Virginia...Confederate soldiers on one side, Union soldiers on the other. Harrison's Landing was owned by the Harrison family...which includes Benjamin Harrison and William Henry Harrison (relatives of my hubby). We never knew this...

Since the time of the Civil War, Taps has been played at military funerals. Last week, at my dear uncle's funeral, the minister shared the words as my uncle was laid to rest. It was so moving...

*The first two photos were taken in progression as we crossed a bridge from Hallendale, FL to the mainland. The final photo was taken a little ways down US 1...heading to Ft Lauderdale. All were taken from the inside of our car...through the windshield. 

I am posting with Outdoor Wednesday...Visit Susan at A Southern Daydreamer to see all the other beautiful posts.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas Time at Shoppe Around the Corner

With fundraising becoming more and more challenging, organizations such as Neighborly Care Network in Pinellas County, needed to look for innovative ways to raise needed funds for their many programs. One of their most successful ventures is The Shoppe Around the Corner. This delightful store is a fabulous gift shop which is open all year round. But as Christmas approaches,  Debbie and her volunteers turn this magnificent little store into a wonderland, from top to bottom. Not only will you find holiday decor that will light up your eyes, you will find wonderful and unusual gifts for everyone on your gift list. But the very best part of purchasing from TSATC is that all the proceeds from their sales go to support Meals on Wheels, a much needed community service to our seniors. (Hot nutritious meals are delivered to homebound seniors, to allow them to remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible.)

If you live anywhere in the Tampa Bay area, I highly recommend that you take a trip to downtown Palm Harbor, a sleepy little community near the coast, and visit The Shoppe Around the Corner. Make a day of it...there are many other interesting stores and restaurants in "town" and many others up and down Alt 19. You are also a few miles from the Greek community of Tarpon Springs, to the north, and Dunedin, to the south. It's a lovely way to spend the day. (There is a juried art show in Palm Harbor on Dec. 4-5.)

Trees are hung upside down...dripping with all sorts of finery.
This tree, at the entrance of the store, if filled with "sweet" ornaments...cupcakes of all sizes, ribbon candy, wrapped candy garland, heart-shaped candy boxes, and more. It's a child's fantasy!

Garland is hung everywhere... and every cabinet and armoire is filled with wonderful gift items.

As a fan of all things coastal, I loved this "coral" tree, filled with sealife ornaments. The items on the table are all coastal themed and can be used year-round. There are also trees around the corner which are filled with nautical and coastal ornaments. (I bought a tiger fish for my outdoor tree.)

 I love this coffee pot, creamer and sugar bowl. The cake stand also matches.
This hutch is filled with adorable plates, napkins, nutcrackers, snowmen, and other was difficult to choose which set to purchase...

I have already purchased beautiful holly garland to drape over my piano mirror...and an ornament for our annual Christmas party exchange. And I will be back next week to find a "sea" ornament to go along with a little painting I am working on for the neighborhood cookie and gift exchange. We have a theme this year... SEA-sons Greetings. Can you guess what I am painting? I promise to show you when it's done...

Have a wonderful weekend...

Friday, November 12, 2010

The BEST Banana Bread I Have Ever Tasted!


In 2005, I cut out this recipe from Southern Living...and NEVER made it. I don't know why... Maybe because I already had a wonderful banana bread recipe that I had been baking for years, so I guess that was the reason. Well....I saw the recipe online yesterday, and decided to give it a try.

What was I thinking? Why didn't I make this 5 years ago? It is absolutely delicious...the BEST Banana Nut bread I have ever tasted!!! (MacDaddy agrees!)

You can find the recipe for this Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread by clicking on this link...

I must confess...I did not follow the recipe exactly. When it comes to pecans, I rarely measure. All I can tell you is that I filled my Pampered Chef chopper 3 times with pecan halves and added it to the batter. And...I am embarrassed to tell you that I goofed on the topping... I was making dinner, talking to my sister on the phone, and mixing the topping, and I forgot to add the brown sugar to the streusel topping. ( I also did not toast the pecans for the topping...deliberately). To make up for the lack of brown sugar, I took a couple of lumps and crumbled them on the warm bread...and even put the loaves back into the warm oven for a couple of minutes...and IT WORKED!

This bread is dense, lightly sweet, and moist. It would be great for breakfast, dessert, and snacking. And it would make a wonderful holiday gift!!!
The recipe includes several different toppings, including Orange-Pecan, Toasted Coconut, Peanut Butter Streusel, and Cinnamon Crisp. And there are instructions for making this recipe into muffins.

Definitely....GIVE THIS RECIPE A TRY!!!!

Tastefully yours,

Be sure to visit Michael Lee and all the other "foodies" at Designs by Gollum.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall in coastal South Florida...

Fall in coastal South Florida...some of the Sea Grape leaves turn a beautiful RED...

Some turn GOLD...

Then they FALL....

Happy Wednesday...

Be sure to visit Susan @ for some really beautiful Outdoor Wednesday posts.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


More from Palm Beach...It's a different world filled with mansions and manicured grounds, valet parking at the Publix, every investment bank imaginable, really upscale designer clothing styles on matrons walking down the street, yachts...and cutoffs with flip-flops! White shoes and pants are worn year-round by both the men and women. Bright colors...coiffed hair...and lots of diamonds and gold bangle bracelets...and yet, I never felt out of place...
The stone on this home was beautiful. Notice the drive...and this was NOT the entrance!

Again...this is a side entrance. 
Many ocean front homes are actually on the street..with private access to the beach.

Most of these street/beachfront homes have little cabanas on the beachside...some are open-air, some are small houses with air conditioning, bathrooms, patios, etc. Each of these cabanas matched the BIG house's architecture.
This home is actually in taken from the car as we passed. I could not fit the whole house into the frame! And there was a yacht docked in the left.  (then my batteries gave out!)
This is half of the front drive entrance. I wanted a photo of the wall...there are two elephants guarding the entrance.

Some residents live in condos, like these. I loved the railings!
The PB public beach has unique lifeguard towers...
The yachts were beginning to the winter residents make their way south.
I loved this row of consignment stores! Not only did I find some spools to add to my collection, I met some very interesting ladies...winter residents who have been coming to homes on PB for 30 plus years.(They want me to come decorate their holiday tables!!!Unfortunately, I cannot fit them in this year, but maybe next year....or for another event...Here's hoping!)
And, yes, Palm Beach has a Goodwill store  Boutique. It's quite small, yet filled to the brim. There are some of the same things we see in most GW stores, but there was some impressive (and very pricey) art and a rack of MINK jackets and coats!!!

It's another world there...yet it's the same. As a very wise woman once told me, "everyone has to put their panties on the same leg at a time".

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Palm Beach...The Breakers

As I mentioned in my previous post, I just returned from a short trip to Palm Beach, FL...just across the state, about 4 hours away. This is no ordinary place...think Rolls Royce, Mercedes AMG, Ferrari, and mansions. Then there are the yachts... and the shopping on Worth Avenue...

Now, I could have spent all my time window shopping and browsing in the fabulous shops on Worth Avenue and in City Place, but I've "been there, done that". So I spent most of my time RELAXING!

Tuesday was my day for exploring the resort...5 pools, a fabulous spa, hammocks just waiting for one or two guests to sway along with the breeze...
under the trees, strategically placed chairs ready for the ocean- gazers (me!), chaise lounges in every direction, hotel shops that rival Worth Ave., and the historic hotel, itself. I ended my day, sitting in a chair on a manicured lawn under swaying palms, gazing at the ocean...reading and sketching. And of course, my camera was always ready for the next shot...
You can see why the property is called The Breakers.
I noticed that all along the coast of Palm Beach and beyond, there were, what I assumed, natural (and man made ?) rock formations...breakers.

The lifeguard stand had warnings of dangerous currents and marine it was jellyfish. What you cannot see from this photo is that the lifeguard stand is actually several feet above the sand (and the lifeguards were exceptionally good looking. Oh to be a teenager, again!). I am just seeing the top of it...over a sea grape hedge, from my chair. I was too relaxed...and stand up for the photo.

Thunderheads were building...a typical tropical sky on a HOT afternoon (89 degrees at the end of October? That's hot!!!). I always love to see the sun shining out from the clouds.

The palms swaying above my chair had thick cables attached to them. These attach to hooks in the ground...a precaution to keep the trees from flying toward the buildings during storms.


  Ships of all shapes and sizes entertained the ocean-gazers...

A tanker heading out to sea...
A cruise ship passes a tanker... The tanker reminds me of a floating castle.
A yacht (this one was relatively small...only one outboard motor boat)...cruising along...and a cruiser

which let some jet skis down
into the water. They entertained us.
(The BIG yachts were not here yet...many of these have 2-4 garages to hold their outboard motor boats and jet skis, plus helicopters on landing pads. I'm talking BIG!)

Twilight approaches...time to head back to the room to dress for a cocktail party...

Here's a peak at our room...
The furnishings were very eclectic...but pleasing. The bed was so comfortable that I fell asleep before 9pm and slept until 9am...not my normal style!

The marble bathroom had a separate shower and jacuzzi tub, a separate "water closet", and a television.
This was our view...not the best, but then again, the room charge was picked up by the conference. I am definitely not complaining.

More to come...later.

Please visit Susan @ to see all the other wonderful "Outdoor" posts.