tiny music maker


Lately I’ve been feeling blessed by family in so many ways.

Look who came to visit Aunt Shanda today!


The three of us sisters sat and visited over tea.


And then I took the baby to the piano and showed her the keys and what they did.

She figured it out easily.

It was a beautiful moment, to see these tiny baby hands making baby music.




She absolutely loved it, and so did we, as we watched her delight.

We played a few hymns, including Jesus Loves Me.

Then we took her out to the livingroom and ate cookies (she couldn’t eat one so she had some milk) and then she fell into a sound and happy asleep.  She had an exciting morning.





We also put her hair in a pony tail.

Ah it’s such fun to play with real live baby dolls!

Thanks Amanda and Cassandra and Elena for visiting me today!

another day at Brimfield antiques show

*This is a tale of two sisters going to Brimfield AGAIN.

This is a yearly event for us, sometimes even more than one time per year!  We always park at the church and then walk walk walk until we get tired and decided “that’s enough for this visit.”

There is always so much for two sisters to see and lots to laugh about.

Brimfield day fills us up.


We’ve taken our children before in years past, and this time Amanda brought along her niece, who was so cute and a good sport.


Look at this collection of Tasha Tudor books we found!!!  The prices were, by my estimation, full market value.  But I didn’t care, because when the prices are high I simply take a photo and learn something.  For instance, maybe I’ll find one or two of these books at Goodwill someday!

We thought of Mom whenever we saw glass jars, and of brother Dave whenever we saw a piece of nautical art.

Amanda looked so cute in her red sneakers.


Another beautiful glass jar (thirty-nine dollars)


We thought this huge flat basket filled with dried flowers and grasses was so “primative-pretty”…….it’s fun how different booths have different “feels”.  Some are soft and pretty, some are manly with lots of dusty tools and rust, some are full of dishes (my favorite), some are like walking through a garage sale with no rhyme or reason to the display, some are artfully put together, some have cheerful happy sellers, some have grumpy “don’t insult me by asking for a lower price” sellers.

There were LOTS of shoppers on Friday because it was the nicest day to go, weather-wise.  The heat had finally broken after days of sweltering humidity.


Oh my, a feast for my fiesta-loving eyes!


I had to get a closer look at the grasshopper who also obviously loves fiestaware.


Amanda gravitates toward plaid and wool… (she tried on this shirt).

Our biggest “what the” moment was when we were admiring a stack of vintage wrapping paper and when the lady named her (too high) price she explained that it was “inspiration for Ralph Lauren who was expected to appear in the fashion tent that day”.  When I told her I just wanted it to wrap presents with it she gave me a better deal!!  So that was nice.  🙂  But we were laughing about this situation for a while afterwards.


Adorable doll house display.


I was so happy to find a display of “stone fruit”, another collectors item that I LOVE but will be looking for…. at Goodwill.  These pieces are all heavier than you would expect and we picked up some of our favorites to hold in our hands.  You can zoom in on the price list.


I loved this table of fiesta because he had it priced reasonably (for me–it’s all objective–) and I found a mug for five dollars.


HOWEVER, I did buy a shelf of vintage fiesta from a guy for 250.00.  The only pieces I didn’t take were the teacups because I hate teacups unless they are a valuable color like lilac, medium green, or sapphire.  He asked for 275. but wanted cash so I said “if I have to walk down the road to the ATM I’ll give you 250,” and he said “fine.”  He was pleasant to do business with and come to find out he was selling the dishes for an older couple who lived in Maine.  The lady was 72 years old and starting to feel like it was time to thin out her collection.  He even showed me a picture of her.


I paid that much because of the lids….it’s harder to find them…the yellow casserole is perfect, the blue casserole is called Kitchen Kraft fiesta and the lid has a teeny tiny crack on the edge, the red lid is perfect but doesn’t go with the red nappy bowl that they put it on, I also got five deep plates (shallow bowls with a larger rim) in perfect condition, a rose sugar bowl with no lid that he threw in at the end, saying “what am I going to do with it, here just take it”, some small plates, and four dinner plates.  All perfect.  Everything was good except for that blue lid which kind of bothers me but oh well, I didn’t see it until I got home, and I looked up all the prices on everything and still feel that I made out  well with my purchase.  The yellow casserole alone, for instance, was marked 195 in another booth, and a stack of red plates in another booth were 10 dollars each.  So the casserole and dinner plates alone could have cost me 250.

But in all my researching at home on Friday night, I discovered that an annoying vintage plate that I bought years and years ago, which was oddly FLAT, had no marking, and was what I thought a “beginners shameful purchase”, most likely a factory flawed piece, and perhaps not even really fiestaware was REALLY A RARE CAKE PLATE worth 1,000.  But it’s gone.  I’m pretty sure I got rid of it, I’m 95% sure I stuck it in a bag for goodwill one day when I was purging the house.  I already searched every place it could have been in my house to no avail.  This is why people should shop at Goodwill.

Collecting has it’s fair share of thrills and agonies.


The 24 pieces on the bottom right of my hutch are the new ones.

To my kids and future Grandkids:  someday this will all be yours.


*Wait was this a tale about Brimfield with my beloved sister, or fiestaware?  😉

for the children

A wickedly lovely Halloween to you and you and you. . . . . .

I asked Sarah if she was a little witch today and she said, “You can be the witch.  I will be your cat.”

Therefore, I’m snuggled on the couch with a Sarah-cat on one side and a real-cat on my lap.  The real-cat is not Black.  When I ordered him from my Witch-Supplies Catalogue, I was certain I had checked off “Midnight Black”, but when he arrived he was as gray as the most foggiest of dismal mornings, but otherwise the very best witch’s cat companion as could be, so we kept him of course.

The sun is slowly coming up in a cloudy sky, clouds as gray as my gray cat.

Spooky beings fly by the house, not on brooms, but in cars.

It’s scary out there.

But the most scariest of all??????

No school for my little offspring.   “BOOoooooooo” they cry.

The weather was positively scary on Sunday night, the wind moaned and pushed, and as tree-pruning by wind power is most unpredictable, the roads are covered in debris— no school Monday or Today.


So I write with inky words, the tale of Aunt Amanda-Witch’s Halloween Party.


Aunt Amanda-Witch

She isn’t scary ALL the time, just some of the time.

She planned and she planned, she visited a few stores and bought supplies 70 percent off!  Good witches always spend their money wisely.

She set to work, happily making her party as nice as she could, and invited good little girls and boys to attend a most wonderful party.  Good witches work hard and shower children with love.


A Black, Red Eyed Rat

ready to bite anyone who went upstairs.


Gorgeous light, draped in the blackest netting……….


The table was set with skeleton cups from the dollar store, pumpkins, black garland over a sparkly gold table runner, orange pumpkin paper plates. . . . . .




Cobwebs completed the look.



“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”
— Charles R. Swindol


“The soul is healed by being with children.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky


“I added touches of sparkles–they always pop at a party–and the kids love the little details, too.”


These spiders could be clipped on anything and were a favorite item from Michael’s.  She found most of her decorations at Michael’s and Dollar General.  She bought the spray paint (must be oil based so it sits on the water for the hydro-dipped pumpkins) and the piñata from Walmart.

Come to the party, four o’clock on Saturday, said the invitation sent by Magical Text Messaging.




The children had so much fun!  They hit a piñata, and either carved or painted their pumpkins.



Aunt Amanda-Witch thought of everything, she had even researched Youtube for exciting ways to paint the pumpkins.  Search HYDRO-DIPPED pumpkins and MELTED CRAYON pumpkins.


And then there was a boys against the girls Bobbing for Apples contest!




They ate donuts off strings!

There was also Halloween music playing (iTunes kid bop Halloween), a cheerful campfire, string of lights, and yummy s’mores for when it became dark outside.


And a very spooky menu:

Mummy Hot Dogs
Veggie Skeleton
Ghost Fruit Kabobs
Zombie Boogers
Mummy Mini Pizza
Deviled Spider Eggs
Spooky Jello Jigglers
Dirt Worm Cups
Apple Cider with Eyeball Ice

At the end of the party, each guest received a special gift bag to take home, along with a caramel apple and their pumpkin.

Aunt Amanda-Witch and her husband Uncle Jason-Warlock really outdid themselves with this special party.  The children absolutely LOVED it.  When we had to leave, Sarah ran and frantically questioned Aunt Amanda-Witch if she was going to give any more parties sometime.  I think Aunt Amanda Witch should consider a side-job in party planning, don’t you?

What we remember from childhood
we remember forever —
permanent ghosts,
stamped, inked,
imprinted, eternally seen.
~Cynthia Ozick



this morning


(woolly bear caterpillar on the road)

Amanda came over for a few hours this morning.  She brought her dog Lloyd.  The three of us went on a nice walk together.

DSC_1317 1

The air was crisp and clean.  The kind of morning when you want to breath deep.

DSC_1326 1

my sister ~ my friend

DSC_1328 1

scenes from the neighborhood

DSC_1336 2


“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands”
~Christina Rossetti

DSC_1348 1

“How beautifully leaves grow old.  
How full of light and color are their last days.”  ~John Burroughs


My sister almost stepped on a lizard!

I was so thrilled and promptly took photos from every angle.

I looked it up when we got home and discovered it was a “Spotted Salamander” and Connecticut’s largest salamander.

DSC_1364 2



Just look at the spots!

DSC_1375 1


Maybe it was trying to find a little warmth on the road?  But the road is a very unsafe place to be, so I saved its little life by putting it in the leaves on the edge of the woods.



heading back home


I made pumpkin cookies this morning, too, from a 1972 Pennsylvania State Grange cookbook.


If anyone knows Mrs. Robert Conaway tell her I used sunflowers seeds instead of nuts, and I also included one egg.  They were delicious.


sister day

get kids on bus rush over to sister’s house

talk at the island in the kitchen while sitting on stools as she eats her oatmeal

get warm coats on and go outside

feed chickens and bunnies

talk lots laugh lots

hike through the woods

go inside, watch a movie with crocheted blankets and animals on our laps

start a fire and eat chili

sing hymns

say goodbye, I had the best day today

with you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



spring table


Monday was my sister’s birthday and we met each other and some friends for lunch.


After lunch I took her home and she gave me a birthday gift (which was last month…we hadn’t seen each other).  I opened the package to find beautiful April Cornell napkins and a tablecloth.  It’s funny because I had already eyed these things at one of our mutual favorite shops (Marshalls).


The colors match my much-loved Fiestaware.



And it’s perfect for spring!

“I like to think my domestic style is a statement of my ultimate aspiration to create a welcoming, lived-in, loved, used and abused space for living.”  Jane Brocket

old news

Super bowl sunday was an entire week ago but I must blog about it because it was such a fun day.

First of all, that morning Rich had a wrestling tournament to coach.  He had Seth, Caleb, and David with him.

Second of all, Sarah Joy woke up with the stomach bug.  Horrors.

Third of all, Isaac and Cass wanted to come to church with me which left me in a quandary because I typically don’t leave sick babies home with older siblings.

HOWEVER, she wasn’t sad or overly grumpy so Rich and I decided just this once that she would be fine if I left her home with Grace to take care of.  Mike had spent the night that night with the boys so when I left for church that morning I had Cass in the front with me, then Mike, Ethan, and Isaac in the middle, and Jacob in the back (soon to be joined by Emily, whom we picked up on the way).

We talked and laughed all the half hour way to church.  It was such a joy to me, as I spend most of my time with younger people (four year olds).

After church we went to the Chinese buffet where Isaac ate so much he got the “meat sweats”.  As I predicted, he ruined his appetite for Super Bowl food.  Anyway, it was hilarious and I took this group selfie when we loaded in the car after eating……


When we got home Cass and I started getting things ready for the party.  We made a salad and some hot artichoke cheese dip.


Zak was one of our guests for the day.  He is on the wrestling team and a friend of Ethan, Jacob…..and Parker the dog, too.  🙂


There was nonstop partying going on once everyone arrived.  Another wrestler, Dom, came, and our good friends, the K’s came, too.  Amanda and Jason came with their friend Inna, and their three kids, Abbie, Naomi, and Weston.

I was very distracted but tried taking some pictures of the evening, in the midst of socializing, keeping the kitchen going, and helping Sarah throw up.  (Sarah was quarantined in my room.)  Multitasking!!!


Isaac brought me a Christmas gift from Dave, which was in the blue container seen on the coffee table in the picture.  ^^ It was a bottle of fancy cherry balsamic vinegar.  Thank you, brother!

We piled on the couches, and the guys in the back of it were sitting at the black bookcase behind the couch, on stools.  The game was great….so exciting!


I made Jason very uncomfortable by taking his photo.


Today is actually their six month wedding anniversary!!!!!!!  Let me gush for a moment just because I’m their big sister……Isaac and Cassandra are such a great couple, I get all teary eyed thinking about them.  They are in love like lovers, best friends, AND siblings…they tease, laugh, and snuggle constantly.  Isaac won’t let Cassandra open her own car door.  I mean, they are just the most encouraging people to be around if you have doubts about true love these days.  They have it, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.



Our good friends, Caroline and Chris, are in fact Jacob, Ethan, and Grace’s “second parents”.  🙂  They live just a few miles away from us and have two teen children.  We love this family so much.


I kept trying and trying to take a good picture of Gracie and Abigail and finally settled on this one.


Weston ADORES his big cousin Jake.  He was so thrilled to sit next to him for a picture.  As you can see, he also respects him highly, too.  😉


Rich and Jason, (my husband and my sister’s husband)….these are all around GREAT men in the workplace, family, and community.  So thankful.


We had so much food it was ridiculous.  I only took one picture of it and here it is.  THE CRACK.  It’s funny because Isaac and Cassandra make this as their specialty.  It’s graham crackers with butter and chocolate and I don’t know what else….we call it crack.  It was pretty much the hit dish of the night, along with Caroline’s meatballs.


Those two lovely ladies were adorable all night long.  Love them.  They helped out so much, too, making veggies and dip and bringing lots of food, and sangria, for the party.



We kinda want to have a Super bowl party every weekend!  Love you guys!

amanda came over yesterday

My sister came over yesterday morning bringing Dunkin’ Donuts and croissants.  She also gave me the fabric flower in the picture—she has one, too.  We can pin the flowers on for some bling.  So pretty!

At first, we sat at the table and ate our breakfast while looking at magazines and visiting with each other and the children.


This next picture shows the face Sarah makes when she feels unsure about being held by anyone but Mama. It cracks me up.


Aunt Amanda had to warm her up with some hugs and kisses.


DSC_1040 DSC_1043 DSC_1044

Little Naomi adores Sarah and holds her so nicely.  Soon she and Sarah with be running around playing together.



So what else did Amanda and I do while she was here?  We rearranged the master bedroom!

This is a picture of what it looked like about half way through, after we had pushed the bed over to the opposite side of the room.


This is what it looks like now.  Rich loved it.  It’s fresh and clean and a much needed change.  I have a few more ideas in mind; a throw rug or two, a floor plant, and a nice piece of artwork for above the bed.



I loved having Amanda here!  Our days are crazy-busy but never too busy to take time to visit with a forever friend.