Saturday, October 16, 2010

Anniversary highlights

Here is how we started our day...

Driving to garage sales on a bright and chilly morning and home for a simple breakfast.  There were many community sales but I didn't find any treasures this day.
Then it was over the bridge to a city...
that loves their Phillies!
Our first stop... where all the hippies meet, South Street, South Street.
~*~
"Where do all the hippies meet? South Street, South Street!" ("South Street" by the Orlons)
South Street is Philadelphia's hip strip and trendy melting pot. Here you'll find a many-splendored promenade alive with way-kewl boutiques, eccentric shops, singular restaurants, bars, night clubs and cafes — and where the people-watching is as fun as the window-shopping. Aging hippies, the fashionably unfashionable, tongue-piercers, spike-haired skateboarders, and even nuclear families commingle comfortably on this eclectic and electric swath. If you feel a bit self-conscious because you're old enough to remember the above lyric from the 1963 hit rock-'n'-roll tune, just relax — like the song says, "it's the hippest street in town."
  ~*~
South Street ends right at the Delaware River, so we parked at Penn's Landing where we could see the Battleship New Jersey moored on the Camden, New Jersey side.  I will share in a later post our visit to this magnificent ship a few summers ago.
 We walked across this pedestrian bridge to get a better view.
a marina under the Benjamin Franklin Brigde
We watched an artist create spray paint art.
Next we headed a bit north to Old City and visited The Betsy Ross House.  I have been there several times but John never was.  It is tiny with equally small, spiral stair steps. (Note: Top right photo is not mine but a internet photo)  Bottom left photo shows where Betsy and her husband, John are buried in the courtyard.  The bottom right is a self-portrait of John and I in the sitting area of the courtyard.
Ross never owned this house, but rented here between the years of 1773 and 1786. The house was built about 1740 and consists of 3-1/2 floors and six rooms plus an attic. Betsy and her husband, John Ross, lived here and ran their upholstery business out of the house as well.
Other businesses occupied the House, after Betsy moved from here in 1786, until it was acquired by the Betsy Ross Memorial Association. Starting in 1898, two million Americans donated dimes to the Association to help convert the house from a time-worn building into a national shrine. In the 1920s, as the neighborhood declined, serious consideration was given to moving the structure to Fairmount Park (the largest urban park in the U.S.) due to a concern for its safety because of the severe risk of fire posed by two adjacent factories.
Sightseers today find that the factories are gone. In 1937, the building was donated to the city of Philadelphia and restored with the monetary assistance of radio-manufacturing millionaire Atwater Kent.
Salute the dedication of House staff and the generosity of donors, that makes it possible for over 250,000 visitors annually to be able to tour Betsy's house in person. In addition, over a half million visitors take this virtual tour each year!

Today, in Philadelphia, only the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall draw more visitors than the home of the adored flagmaker. Annually, over a quarter of a million guests visit the Betsy Ross House.
Location: 239 Arch Street (between Second and Third Streets).
Built: circa 1740; Style: Georgian
Around the corner from The Betsy Ross House is Elfreth's Alley.
~*~
Elfreth's Alley — popularly known as "Our nation’s oldest residential street" – dates back to the first days of the eighteenth century. Twenty years after William Penn founded Pennsylvania and established Philadelphia as its capital, the town had grown into a thriving, prosperous mercantile center on the banks of the Delaware River.
Since 1702, Elfreth's Alley has been home to more than 3,000 people. Today thirty-two houses, built between 1728 and 1836, line the alley. They form one of the last intact early American streetscapes in the nation.  Elfreth's Alley is a National Historic Landmark District, one of the first districts that celebrates the lives of everyday Americans.
~*~
 Tuckered out and very hungry, we headed back across the bridge to our regular stomping grounds and had a perfect dinner at Bertucci's. I enjoyed the Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp & Asparagus and John had the Chicken Piccata  ~ delicious!
I mentioned that we were celebrating our 35th anniversary and our server brought us a complimentary Apple Cranberry Crostata.  It is a new menu item and it was a perfect way to end a delightful day with my sweetie.
From Bertucci's Italian Restaurant on-line menu

Friday, October 15, 2010

Celebrating Thirty-five Years

 with the love of my life...
Monday is our anniversary and we had thought and thought of how we might set aside some time to celebrate a long weekend together. We considered going to New York City or Washington, DC but decided to stay close to home and go into Philadelphia.  Growing up in South Jersey we have both been to Philadelphia thousands of times but it still is an interesting place to visit.  Wanting to have some fun with a light purse, we are planning to head to the city but return home at night.  We have NO agenda (kinda scary) and will just see where the days leads us.

The weather is supposed to be perfect autumn days ... chilly, windy and sunny.
Tomorrow we will begin by hitting some garage sales (didn't want to miss this because in  a few more weeks they will be over until spring).
Then by one o'clock we promised we would be dressed and ready to hit the town.

We are thinking maybe Center City, Rittenhouse Square, The Italian Market...
Any bloggers with suggestions?

Sunday we will be heading back.
Boathouse Row, Art Museum?
How does a muffin and coffee at a sidewalk cafe' sound?

John is taking off work on Monday and I have rearranged my child care schedule.
Hoping to come up with a special way to spend the day.
I know there is no one I would rather be spending it with!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

East Hampton Clam Chowder with Barefoot Bloggers

Laura from Family Spice
has chosen East Hampton Clam Chowder
This Ina Garten recipe is from her cook book
Barefoot Contessa Family Style
A perfect recipe to enjoy as the autumn begin sending chillier days!
Brimming with carrots, celery, onion and of course, clams in a creamy and hearty broth.
Preparation is easy...
saute the vegetables after chopping
simmer in clam juice
make a rue of butter and flour
add to broth to thicken
add clams and milk
heat through and enjoy!

East Hampton Clam Chowder


2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Ina Garten

Ingredients


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups medium-diced celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (6 carrots)
  • 4 cups peeled medium-diced boiling potatoes (8 potatoes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart (4 cups) clam juice
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups chopped fresh chowder clams (1 1/2 pounds shucked clams)

Directions

Melt 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of the butter in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 more minutes. Add the clam juice, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
In a small pot, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and whisk in the flour. Cook over very low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in a cup of the hot broth and then pour this mixture back into the cooked vegetables. Simmer for a few minutes until the broth is thickened.
Add the milk and clams and heat gently for a few minutes to cook the clams. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Barefoot Bloggers

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Kitchen

So many memories have been created in this kitchen.
As I snapped each shot I was filled with thoughts of days past.
The many meals, the many people, the messes, the laughter, the tears.
The babies bathed in the sink, the Holiday meals from the oven, the many projects created here and the endless loads of clean laundry folded on the counter.
The little ones who readily push up a chair and watch what's happening or sit on the counter to help stir or help.
The family and friends who filled their plate when the counter performed as a buffet table.
~*~
ha... I just remembered when a 2-liter soda bottle fell from the counter and landed upright on the floor.  The cap blew and a fountain of sticky shot so high and with such force it lifted the panels of the ceiling lights and a group of senior high youth group kids stood aghast in a kitchen dripping with Mountain Dew.
(one of those kids became our son-in-law)
I have enjoyed many beautiful seasons standing at the kitchen sink. It is a perfect place to watch visiting hummingbirds in the summer!

View of the family room from the kitchen
Knowing my love for all things white and bright, my sweet niece, Toni, volunteered to help me paint my kitchen cabinets.  It was way back when she was in college (2006) and, bless her heart, I don't think she had a clue just what she was getting herself into.
My oak cabinets (see photo below) were emptied, doors and hardware removed and shelves propped on every usable surface. 
We sanded our hearts out, we primmed, we flipped the shelves over and primmed again.  We contorted our bodies and climbed inside of cabinets to reach nooks and crannies with brush load after brush load of paint.  These babies took four coats of top coat and even then I kept seeing places that looked like they could use a little more.
John installed a hardwood floor throughout the first floor shortly after the cabinets were painted
 Waiting days for the interior to fully cure before I replaced the contents of my kitchen meant a most unorganized home.
Then, it was finally finished and how pleased I was with a bright new look!
A gorgeous marble counter top would make me very happy, but for now the dated, builders special faux butchers block is working just fine.
After filling in the holes from the old handles, I purchased these used porcelain knobs.  Instead of replacing the hinges, I spray painted them.
Views I see every day.
This white platter not only hides ripening bananas but usually has several recipes resting in front of it that I am planning to make.

Scooby-Doo and Friends

Our New York grandchildren joined their cousins on their daddy's side for a Scoobie-Doo birthday party.  Jill posted some pictures on facebook and I stole them cause they are just so cute!

Declan, and the birthday girl, Maeve, Brenna, Shaela and Ryan
Happy Birthday, Maeve!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mosaic monday ~ Baby Cambrie

ten months old already...

and loving her crackers, crawling and parroting words those around her say. Her tiny little voice copied her mommy the other day by saying,
'bye, Abbey.'
See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.
For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven
Matthew 18:10
Joining Mary @Little Red House for Mosaic Monday

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