Host an Outdoor Movie Night!

I sometimes think that August may be my favorite summer month - Not for the long, hot, humid days that can suck the life out of you, but for the fact that it's the last month of summer. We're in school countdown mode. But we still have so much to take advantage of. August seems to be the month we get the most done around here. It seems to be the month we are busiest. We're making up for lost time. We're trying to fit in all that we said we'd do but haven't yet.

My kids have always talked about having an outdoor movie night where we can all sit outdoors (with plenty of bug spray!) and invite our friends over to watch a movie. I love the idea and I've been trying to think of how I can do this. I started a board on Pinterest where I could put all my outdoor movie night ideas in one place. I was completely inspired and I want to share these with you with the hopes of inspiring you to do the same before the summer is over. Whether you rent a fancy movie screen, have a large outdoor television or hang a white sheet up on the back of your house, you really can create a lovely, magical setting and have your own outdoor movie night!


ticket invite for party or event

If you have time, start with some ticket invites.

And then you'll need to set up your backyard to create the ultimate, inviting outdoor movie theater!

outdoor couches....movie night.
source unknown


via Tumblr

The outdoor couches are lovely, as are the blankets and pillows...
If your crowd is fairly small, you could provide blankets for your guests...
Either to borrow or to take home as souvenirs.

via Baby Center


back yard lighting
original source unknown

In terms of food you can have it as elaborate or as simple as you like. I love the table set up here with the lighting overhead. It's romantic and so very pretty. To keep costs down you may want to stick with simple movie fare foods...


Popcorn bar... So cute!  -- easy, unique, and it's something your guests will LOVE.

A flavor your own popcorn bar is such a great idea... Each guest, child or grown up can create popcorn his or her own way. We are huge Jiffy Pop fans and if you happen to have a charcoal grill or fire-pit you can invite your guests to help with the popping!

Of course you'll need your sweets too...
S'mores are delicious, fun and so easy to make and add another source of entertainment. This can be done either prior to the movie or during the movie, as long as a parent is present to supervise.


Gourmet s’mores table
via Oh Party!


via Tom Kat Studios

via Styled Eats

 Or maybe you would rather stick with something easier... You can't go wrong with a candy bar!

You can't forget your drinks!


via Southern Momentum

and I'd have a separate spot for the adult drinks, of course, with our favorite wine and beers!


If it happens to be a chilly evening perhaps a hot cocoa bar is the way to go!


Hot chocolate bar. Way cute.
via Fete Fanatic

I'm inspired! Are you? 
I think the hardest thing of all will be getting all three of my children to find a movie they agree on!


XOXO

Jessica

I wear many hats... er, wings!

The Tooth Fairy paid The Entertaining House an early visit last night. One day last week my Entertaining Kid told me that his tooth was loose. Being just five and a half and having just read Silverlicious no fewer than a half dozen times, I raised my eyebrow in doubt. After all, don't all five year old kids want loose teeth?

I asked Alexander to come over and show me. Lo and behold the tiny little tooth up front, on the bottom was loose indeed! My baby is growing up. This is a bittersweet moment for me. Too much is happening in my life now. As much as I want to fast forward certain aspects of my life, I also want to hit the rewind button. (Luckily we have thousands upon thousands of family photos which yield similar results.)  As hard as it has been to have Alexander so much younger than the other two (ages 10 and 12) it has been a blessing. His youth has given me one last chance to see the world from his young eyes -- to experience wonder and awe when new experiences come his way. There is nothing so wonderful as seeing the world around you from the perspective of your young children. I'm holding on to his babyhood for dear life. Clearly it has slipped away and his young years are slipping through my fingers second by second. It tears at my heart. It really does.

And then last night, it seemed so sudden, Alexander was on my bed watching a Handy Manny episode on On Demand. It was about a loose tooth! As he wiggled his own around with his tongue and fingers it popped out. It was not jagged, but smooth white and shiny. A perfect milk tooth! Alexander, after posing for me and the camera, ran to grab a Ziplock bag and asked his sister to write a note to the Tooth Fairy, kindly asking her to please leave the tooth behind.

Alexander's demand was not so much the money, but gold chocolate coins. I was thankful for the advance notice when last week he said that he hoped the Tooth Fairy might leave him some gold coins. Thankful because this is not the time of year where chocolate filled gold coins are easily found.

After much searching the Tooth Fairy was able to find just what she was looking for. She was thrilled that she did not have to disappoint. Mister Tooth Fairy also managed to find some gold coins as well. Those will be saved... just in case!




 Loot!


 He had to sample just one!


 Looks more like Pirate Booty rather than Tooth Fairy loot!


And then dashed out to wake his sister to tell her that he was having a piece of chocolate...
in the morning... before school!!

Five Years Ago Today...


Rebecca and I were posing for someone. I just adore this picture.
It is one of my favorites!


It was Labor Day. I was very pregnant but had no idea that Alexander would be arriving the next day. (I still had about 3 weeks left.) I had just been given permission to get back on my feet after being bed-bound and medicated for pre-term labor and a few other things...

The kids wanted to set up a lemonade stand to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. So we did... The neighbors got involved and we had a great time. We raised over $350 dollars that the children delivered to the local Red Cross chapter. The kids had a great day and were so proud of themselves. And rightly so!

Wishing you a wonderful and happy Labor Day!

My Name is Earl: Bracing for a Storm

I love storms. I really do! I love any excuse to hunker down at home! It is important to be prepared for loss of power and the possibility of being stuck at home for a few days -- a tree could come crashing down on your driveway and block your access in and out of your home.

I've put together a list of items to help us all brace the storm!

1.. Water is crucial for drinking and washing and cooking if you have a gas stove top. (Otherwise consider cooking on your your outdoor grill)




2. Beverages that don't require refrigeration... (Entertaining Mom's choice!)
You may want juice boxes for the children...




 3. If you have beverages that require refrigeration...




4. You may want to purchase some ice and bring out your coolers...



5. Most importantly a good First Aid kit -- Store bought or made at home filled with:


Tylenol, Motrin or pain reliever of choice -- for your entire family. Do not forget about children and pets
Daily Medications, refill in advance if you are running low
and don't forget any Pet medications you may need
Allergy Medicines
Band-aids and necessary salves
Tweezers
Nail scissors/clippers
Antacids
Cough/Cold medicines
Instant ice packs -- The kind that requires no advance freezing
Ace bandage
Formula/needs for newborns and babies
Inhalers



6. Non perishable food items for you and your family...




Especially the kinds that go well with wine!




Your food choices do not need to be unhealthy...


there are plenty of fruits and veggies that can sit out in room temperature... Try some sliced banana with peanut butter or Nutella, or apple slices with peanut butter and honey... apple slices dipped partially in cinnamon sugar...


The PB&J is the perfect power-outage meal!


7. Don't forget a source of lighting...


While candles are lovely and soothing and relaxing, they may not be the greatest option, especially if young children are present. If you decide to burn some candles, please remember do not leave them unattended.



For optimal lighting we at The Entertaining House just love these Coleman lanterns.

These wonderful battery operated lanterns give off enough light to light up an entire room. We have several here in The Entertaining House.

Small flashlights should also be kept in all used rooms.



8. Don't forget a radio so that you may be kept abreast of weather conditions in your area.


9. And make sure your battery supply is well-stocked.



10. When hunkering down at home, gather all your favorite magazines





11. and catch up on all your reading!


12. Have plenty on hand for the kids...


The Entertaining Kids love:
Building blocks
Legos
Toy cars
Train sets ... We often combine all of the above to create the most extraordinary cities!

Have plenty of  the following on hand too:
Paper
Crayons
Markers
Watercolors, paints (this is up to the parent)
Play Doh
Glue
Glitter
Popsicle sticks -- or other craft sticks
Scissors
Stickers
Coloring books

Fun ideas for the entire family:
Scavenger Hunt
Bring out plastic Easter eggs -- fill them with a goody or spare change -- and hide them. Kids will love this!
Charades -- create your own
Pictionary -- create your own
Write and illustrate a story together
Have an indoor camp-out -- Bring out the tent, flashlights, sandwiches, juice boxes and snacks!
Jacks
Card games:
Solitaire
Spit
War
Go Fish
Board games such as:
Othello
Guess Where
Guess Who
Blockus
MasterMind
CandyLand
Chutes and Ladders
Hi Hi Cherry-O

I would love to hear what you do when you are bracing for a storm!

A Letter to Husbands and Fathers Everywhere

Dear Husband/Significant Other/Father,

We mothers are not invincible. Sometimes those nasty little bugs get us too. Render us helpless. Immobile. Sometimes we are not even able to fake pulling it together. And we give up and surrender to the Nasty Bug that has temporarily stopped our world.

While we may feel like dying, or feel as though we are in the act of dying (seriously I have never ever ever ever ever EVER experienced anything so treacherous in my life) there are a few things that could make our journey into Hell easier.

* Come up from time to time. Maybe there is something we need. Ice, ginger ale, plain tea, water... a heating pad, a washcloth, the thermostat turned up to 80 or down to 50... even a soothing voice...

* While we want you to let us rest, we also don't. We want to know that you come up to check up on us from time to time.

* Keep the children at bay. This may be the hardest but is the most important. Screaming children running rampant through the house is like nailing the coffin shut. (Luckily I did not have this problem!)

* In this case, 24/7 cartoons is permissible. We do not expect you to whip out the Play Doh, crafts, paints, glitter, etc... though a game or puzzle or book would be lovely.

* Don't even worry about proper meals. Kids have more fun when they are not having proper meals. They think of it as snacking through the day. Tell them not to tell Mommy and they'll even be happier!

* Yes, you can let them stay in their pajamas. Unless they have school. Then it is preferable to dress them in their clothes or uniforms. If not, though, people will understand. You are the father and this allows you for a few mistakes along the way. Just please make sure the kids brush their teeth before they leave the house.

* If the children want to pop up to say hello (after the Battle of the Porcelain Bowl has been -- just barely -- won) and we are not sleeping, we love little hellos and air kisses from our kidlets. Most often we need not worry about contaminating them as they, most often, have been the culprits to spreading the nasty germs to us.

* Husbands/Fathers/Spouses, it will not kill you (not even harm you) clean up as you go along... to make sure that dishwasher is loaded. It's right next to the sink, btw... And that the sink has been emptied of all food/debris/peelings. There is nothing worse to have to look at the morning or day after the Big Battle.

* Remember once we are on our feet we can not sit and slow down. We are mothers after all. Any laundry, sheets, etc that has accumulated become once again our responsibility. The heaping mounds of it. Despite the fact we can handle nary a can of Ginger ale as nourishment. It's back to the grind for us. And often we are left with more to deal with than before we left for battle. It kinda sucks.

And, Dear Husbands, Significant Others, and Fathers to our children when we ask for chicken noodle soup, the plainer the better. Even the good old fashioned red and white canned variety. We want the broth. The saltier the better. Not the noodles and oodles of veggies and chicken. We can't handle that. Just yet. But we know you can't read our minds. Chicken noodle soup is chicken noodle soup unless we are more specific.

Even better, Fathers, Husbands, Significant Others --

Here's a little (very detailed) list of things you might want to have on hand for your sick wives and, should you be so lucky, sick children:


1. Gatorade is good. It's less heavy than Ginger ale.
2. Ginger ale, however, does sooth the Savage Belly Beast
3. Saltines for when appetite returns -- the new mini saltines are pop-in-your-mouth good!
4. Animal Crackers are good too. Kids love the fun boxes.
5. English Muffins are soft, easy to chew and easy to digest. (Just watch the butter that could irritate tummy.)
6. Eggs are a perfect re-entry meal. (I'm not quite there yet!)
7. Magazines for your Tween and Sweetheart are a nice touch!


And you may want to pick up some extras of these if you don't happen to have extras lying around!

And remember this:
The less we are faced with in the aftermath, the quicker our recovery will be!

a perfect storm

I couldn't have asked for a better day. We had plenty of snow and while it came down continuously throughout the day, it never accumulated to reach the massive amounts predicted. We had the benefit of a snow day with plenty of snow and without the whipping winds that were promised.

We woke and breakfasted on warm, fresh out of the oven banana muffins and decided that there was no need to get out of our pajamas. The children went to work filling out their Valentines. We went the store bought route this year. Making homemade Valentines for 60 children was not in my cards this year. And, besides, the Mad Libs cards that caught my eye at CVS were just too fun to pass up. That and some fun dip were perfect for the older two. Pink, heart-shaped, home made sugar cookies dipped in white chocolate were made for teachers.

Eventually the children bundled up and went out in the snow. They brought their sleds, shovels and other assorted snow toys. Daddy joined them while I stayed inside to prepare a warm lunch -- pasta with chicken, prosciutto, peas and artichokes. When everything was ready I put on my coat, grabbed my camera and ventured outside too. After a good long bit we headed back in, ate lunch and thawed in front of a hot, roaring fire. Of course everyone got hungry again. So I whipped up a batch of home made brownies that were served a la mode -- warm and gooey and topped with mint chocolate chip ice cream! Heavenly! As the children settled down to watch a movie I grabbed my laptop and got to work.

Yesterday was like an unexpected Saturday. Not Sunday. Sundays always have that ominous feel to them. Yesterday was light and happy. And we knew there would be a delayed start this morning. (Not that it has been announced yet!) But the freezing and windy conditions have delayed the start to most local schools. I let the boys stay up late last night. And then Alexander asked if he could sleep with his brother. I thought he had meant getting out the aero bed, but at 10:00pm I really didn't have it in me to blow it up and make it. (Not that it takes any effort whatsoever.) Instead Alexander crawled right under the covers next to his brother. They are still there curled up together. I'd take a picture but for the risk of waking my sleeping babies.

When the boys wake up I'll get on to the home made blueberry pancakes I had promised.

 

  

  

  



 

  

  

  

  

  

  



 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Yesterday felt more like Christmas than Christmas did!

Do You See What I See?

I often wonder what you all think when you come to my blog. You see this bucolic house in suburbia not far from Manhattan. You see my decorating, crafts and cooking. You hear my stories some funny others not so much. I try to portray reality. My successes as well as my faults. No one is perfect. I certainly am not. My children certainly are not. This is why I felt it important to tell you all of our day in the city as it was. I could have easily said it was a lovely day and posted pictures. But that would have been a partial truth. And it certainly would not have been entertaining.

As I sit and compose this post, in lieu of lovely family time filled with togetherness by the fire I sit alone in the kitchen. Chocolate chip cookies are baking in the oven. I did not make these myself. I bought the dough through a school fundraiser.

And I cannot for the life of me get these things to bake properly. Some are undercooked and others are overcooked like hockey pucks. I chuckle as I know my husband would have some wise-ass comment like "Nice cookie. And you have a food blog?" Much the way, every time the smoke detector goes off he shouts from his office "Uh-oh Mommy's cooking again!" We joke around like this all the time. So I have these things that vaguely resemble cookies and we are supposed to leave them for Santa. Um, do you think he'd like some apple pie a la mode because I seriously fucked these up!


Ahhh, and Merry Christmas to you too my Little Hockey Puck!


I also have a few more Christmas cards to get out. Addresses that got lost when the old laptop died last year and cards I have received from people I had completely forgotten about... blame the old computer crashing for that too.

When we open our Christmas cards in the mail we usually see beautifully dressed children with their hair done neatly smiling happily at the camera. Well most of us know the blood, sweat and tears it takes to get that one perfect picture. Before I had a digital SLR I would use my old Canon to try to capture that perfect memory. I would spend a ton of money developing roll after roll after roll only to have to go back and reshoot my subjects causing yet more blood, sweat and tears. Christmas pictures are hard things. As my kids get older it doesn't get easier. There is always one unwilling to play nicely and smile for the camera.

This past summer we went to the lovely Peak's Island off the coast of Maine to celebrate our aunt's 70th Birthday and my In-law's 50th Wedding Anniversary. The children, especially my daughter, looked particularly pretty that day. And since I had my camera this would prove to be the perfect opportunity to take pictures for our Christmas cards. The boys wore their navy blazers and their shorts, madras and seersucker, and Rebecca proudly wore her pink and green Lilly. I knew I was going to have the best photos. Until I was proven wrong.

As I sorted through hundreds upon hundreds of pictures earlier this month I found not one good picture of all three children. Not a one!

So I did what any good mother with a sense of humor would do. I used our outtakes! Nothing better shows my kids' personalities at their best!


Below is our card... a photograph of it because I still don't know to use the scanner. Anyhow a bit blurry, but here it is!

(cover)

(Inside top)

(Inside bottom)


Merry Christmas

from our perfectly imperfectly family to yours!
Cheers!

Thanksgiving was like so last week...

We had a lovely and busy weekend. We celebrated our first Thanksgiving with my family. We all congregated at my aunt and uncle's house in a tony Hartford, CT suburb. There we were joined by my parents, my 3 cousins, their spouses and all eleven and a half children and an adorable Cocker Spaniel dressed up in her Angela Moore doggie collar. (This is so my aunt Dee!) It was delight and chaos and joy! Most of the time the children were in the basement playing with the toys from my generation... the original Fisher Price Little People, Legos and whatnot, working out on the gym equipment and watching the game in the movie theater. (I aspire to have a basement like my aunt and uncle's!) We dined on wonderful and perfectly cooked food. My aunt is a fantastic chef. And didn't stop until our waistbands got too tight for comfort. I met a new nephew. It was a picture perfect day!

The following day we headed to Massachusetts to celebrate Thanksgiving Number 2. We enjoyed leftovers at lunch with my husband's family. A crowd similar in size to the one from the day before. The kids hung out in the den playing Wii and with their Nintendo DSs while the adults never left the dining room and noshed on all the wonderful goodies all afternoon.

But Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without leftovers of one's own. I spent my Saturday in the kitchen cooking my own bird, relishing in the smells permeating through the kitchen and the rest of the house. There is nothing quite like that Holiday Smell! I would bottle it if I could! With the turkey I made stuffing (nothing fancy, just the Peppridge Farm variety) roasted carrots, roasted brussel sprouts and spicy garbanzo beans lightly sauteed in olive oil. My gravy came out perfectly! This was a slightly healthier Thanksgiving and delicious no less delicious than the unhealthier meals I have had in the past!

And then I realized something yesterday. I'm not the biggest fan of leftover turkey! I find it tougher and gamier than chicken. I feel the same about the turkey from the deli. So we'll have something else for our Christmas celebration with my parents. I'm putting my husband to work. He'll be making a paella. A delicious, mouth watering paella. Oh I cannot wait!

Yesterday Daddy and I headed out for a few hours. We poked around Home Goods and came home with two gorgeous white decorative pillows for our bed. The bedroom gets repainted this week. I've picked a Benajmin Moore color called Azure. Like the Cote D'Azur of my childhood summers in France. It's a stunning color. We'll need new bedding and it will have to go with our new paint color and my new pillows!

From there we hit Target and attempted to make a dent in the kid's Christmas gifts. And a dent we did make! I brought along the kids Christmas lists. Clearly written was that Christopher wanted a Cannon aqua digital camera. We found it. On sale! I got a big tub of pretty plastic gold ornaments and some gold ribbon so I can decorate the stair case in the foyer! I'm so excited to do this! We also stocked up on board games for all three. Alexander is getting a Leapster even though he didn't ask for it. He always feels left out when the other two are on their Nintendo DS machines. This way he'll have something too. We got all our stocking stuffers... toothbrushes, lip balms, hair accessories, cards, Lindt chocolate balls... Our stockings are never fancy. Just practical items that the children need anyway! Rebecca's big gift is a collectible baby doll that looks life like. It's been impossible to track down. It's insane what this doll costs. When we get it I'll head to Target and BabyGap (right to the sale section!) and find some newborn clothes. She wants a skateboard too. A skateboard and a doll! Makes me chuckle. I'll be headed to Angela Moore and Lilly. I want to get Rebecca a couple of AM charms and the Lilly pencils for her stocking. And maybe a dress to put under the tree. And some wrapping paper to cover the initials I will be hanging on her wall. We're well under way. Our purchases were snuck in and are safely tucked away in the basement. I hope to get all wrapped this week!

And the painters start today. I've decided on all my colors except for the kitchen. I've totally changed my mind and will try to get out to the Benjamin Moore store today! I hope it won't take more than a week to get the painting all done. Then I'll be able to have everything ready for the holidays. I'm so happy... I'm giddy with excitement. I just love this time of the year. I just love it!


Deitrich's like Alex P Keaton... loves to get dressed up!



Where the children can be neither seen nor heard... they must have gone in to the theater!



My cousin Alexandra and her son Noah... I covet her blouse and cardi!
How cute is Noah in his suit?!!!



My aunt's amazing food....




This place card is over 30 years old! Replicas have been made for the newer members of the family!


Can you see these magnificent carrots? My aunt found them at a local farmer's market. They are stunning!


Two of the newest members of the family with their Daddies...



My beautiful aunt and my cousin...


My aunt cooking and my uncle opening the wine... we drank this year's Beaujolais Nouveau. Complimented our turkey perfectly!


Mimi is 100 years old! She wasn't really sleeping here... these days her life amounts to eating, sleeping and drinking! (Sounds good to me!)

Molly and her Angela Moore doggie collar...



and another picture of Noah... totally want to gobble him up! (Pun intended!!)

is there anything quite so perfect?



I love cranberries! I love the look, feel, smell and taste of them! They are perfect in so many ways. I love cooking with them, baking with them, tossing them into drinks for a lively and lovely festive effect. I love snacking on them (dried and sweetened) and I love decorating with them. Their color is perfect to carry you from the fall to the winter festivities. What's more is that cranberries are so good for you.

Admittedly, I might have overdone the pumpkin a bit this year. I'm not saying I won't return, but for now we're shifting to the perfect little cranberry!






Photos and ideas courtesy Better Homes and Gardens



The Frozen Cranberry Margaritos, photo and recipe courtesy Southern Living



Cranberry Bog Cocktail, photo and recipe courtesy Food Network and Gail Gand





Cranberry, Tangerine and Pomegranate Punch, photo and recipe courtesy Martha Stewart


Did you know that the cranberry is a cousin of the blueberry? These tart, bright berries can still be found growing on shrubs, but when cultivated, are grown on low trailing vines in great sandy bogs. The American cranberry, the variety most cultivated in the northern United States and southern Canada, produces a larger berry than the wild cranberry or the European variety.

Fresh cranberries, which contain the highest levels of beneficial nutrients, are at their peak from October through December, just in time to add their festive hue, tart tangy flavor and numerous health protective effects to your holiday meals. The cranberry season is short, so stock up and toss a bunch in your freezer! When the season passes and you have run out of these fresh berries, you can still enjoy cranberry juice and dried or frozen cranberries both of which have still have many of the wonderful health benefit that the fresh berry contains.

It was the Native Americans who first took advantage of cranberries. They mixed deer meat and mashed cranberries to make pemmicana-survival food. The Native Americans also believed in the medicinal value of cranberries. The utilized the berries and the leaves to create their own antibiotic medicines. Medicine men would use cranberries in poultices to draw poison from arrow wounds. They also used the rich red juice of the cranberry as a natural dye for rugs, blankets and clothing. Legend has it that the Pilgrims served cranberries at the first Thanksgiving. The tradition still continues today. Sailors used cranberries as a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy.

We now know that cranberries are full of Vitamin C, and full of antioxidants that help cleanse and purify the body. Cranberries have long been valued for their ability to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Now, recent studies suggest that this native American berry may also promote gastrointestinal and oral health, prevent the formation of kidney stones, lower LDL and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, aid in recovery from stroke, and even help prevent cancer.

So Bon Appetit and Chin Chin! Enjoy your cranberries this Holiday Season!


Cranberry, Apple and Maple Phylo


Cranberry Upside Down Cake


and Cranberry Lemon Squares,
all courtesy
Martha Stewart



For more Cranberry recipe ideas visit Ocean Spray and The Entertaining Kitchen, where cranberry recipes are being added daily!

Entertaining the Family

In the summertime we tend to head off to go visit my parents, but during the school year, with our busy lives and schedules, it's easier for my parents to come to us. They usually arrive at around 10:00, stay for a few hours and take off when the kids start driving them batty! Wish I could do the same... Oh wait, I do! I send them off to school!

Our visits usually center around food, so as soon as I got up this morning I had to prepare for lunch and dessert. I was so busy running around yesterday that I had no time for the prep work that I thought I would have.

But what a difference it makes getting the house ready for company when you have three kids in school for a whole day! I spent most of Thursday tidying and vacuuming, Windexing, etc. Alexander went off on a play date after school on Friday so I had the added bonus of another day of "freedom." This freedom allowed me to get so much accomplished, not inside the home, but outside the home. I spent my Friday running errands that are normally so challenging and stressful, but without children it's truly amazing how liberating errand running can be! I went to the bank, our local baker to pick up fresh rye, semolina, challah and sour dough breads. Then I went to get my hair cut (5 inches!), to CVS, to get the car washed, to the grocery store, to our local farm store, to pick the kids up from school and then to take them all to the school's Family Fun Night.

When people come from out of town, I like to give them a taste of the wonderful things we have in our area. Our town has so many wonderful farms and farm stores, that I like to use these ingredients as part of our meals. I decided that today we would have a large salad for lunch. I wanted something light as I was also serving dessert. I served a large salad, served on a platter, that everyone could help themselves to. The sweet tomatoes were fresh off the vine divine and the lettuces, splendid. I browned up some chicken in various spices for a little protein and made the most marvelous dressing by adding some red wine to the pan to scrape off some of the wonderful spices. I added the liquid, about 2 - 3 tablespoons to vinegar, olive oil and mustard. A perfect red wine vinaigrette. The salad was devoured as was the bread and the red wine.

We had a lovely visit and the kids got plenty of individual attention from Moo and Popsy as I cooked in the kitchen. We had to wait a little while between lunch and dessert so Alexander got to open his Birthday present from Moo and Popsy and the kids surprised Moo with flowers and cards for her. Her Birthday was last weekend. Finally, dessert was ready. The cake was cooked and had cooled enough to eat. Let the celebration continue! With bellies full, we sent Moo and Popsy home with their flowers and some of our apple picking prizes!

After my parents took off and I had cleaned up sufficiently, Daddy and I decided to relax for a bit in the family room. We decided to check out the much acclaimed and much talked about Mad Men television show. After just a few moments I was hooked! We ended up watching 3 episodes, and now, as I type this I'm watching another one! I simply cannot get enough!

I have decided that I love everything about the Sixtees. I love the dress and the lifestyle... especially the all day cocktail hours! I have decided, however, that I could not live in that era as the home decor is atrocious!

Our large salad featuring items from a local farm along with some seasoned chicken
and fresh bread made a perfect light lunch


The amazing Apple Cake we had for dessert. The recipe is on my food blog,
The Entertaining Kitchen


A picture of the apple cake, and my mom!