Monday, April 30, 2012

Wat Suthat

Big ole ornate Buddha in a beautiful building, surrounded by more ornate buildings filled with rows of more buddhas (pic 3 you can see their feet poking out) - I liked the horse sculptures outside along with the horn(?) looking features on the top of the roofs - all in all, good stuff.

mangoes - and - mangoes

ok - I'm in mango heaven.....

Street food is the done thing out here and what better than this place - three women with stalls covered in mangoes will suck me in every time.

inside - mango with sticky rice was on the menu and well - let's just say it was fantastic. Never had this combination before but it works!  A great snack while out wandering.

the view across the street - it's a fascinating place and I'm looking forward to others getting out here.

Backyard flowers

 The flowers are coming out in our backyard, finally.  The ones up front bloomed a while ago, but the ones in the back garden seem to be taking more of their sweet time.  We have a new flowering plant that spouted two branches of Bleedings Hearts.  Since the plant was brand new, the flowers were quite miniature.  

 Our lilac bush finally produced some flowers.  We planted it last summer and while it grew tall, it never sprouted any buds.  This year, we seem to have gotten at least one clump of delicious smelling flowers.

 I couldn't resist adding in this photo--she is taking a break from following me around as I snap photos.

 The white irises are very prolific this year.  We have about 15 stalks, each with at last 2 blossoms on them.  The two-toned purple ones are also out and the very deep (almost black) purple irises are starting to open up.   In other places, soft lavender irises are blooming.

 The roses form Fiona are simply bending over with all the buds on them.  We pruned quite severely at the end of the fall and now we are gaining that benefit.  Each plant must have one 50 buds on them.  And when they open up, it smells glorious!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Drawer

We have a chocolate drawer.  Well, really, a section in one of the refrigerator drawers we have in the new kitchen.  I am not sure if all of the models have this feature, or if this is a special section that requires knowing the proper people.  It is *not* because someone is a piglet for British chocolate and buys out the entire duty-free of sweets.  No, it is definitely not that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This guy has an idea. 
 It started with getting two connected rain barrels, to collect rain water for the plants in the front yard.  They are behind the azaleas.  Each one is about 60 gallons and with all the recent rain over the weekend, they are full.  That is where his idea started.  
He attached a hose....
... that winds down the side of the house to the back yard and....

...connects to a Y nozzle with two twisting switches, each connected to two additional hoses that twist around the upper garden.  When the twisted nozzle opens, water from the barrels in the front yard, runs down around the house, twists and turns around the upper garden... 

... and slowly drips out of the hose to water the vegetables.

I would say that that guy's idea is brilliant.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Look What the Postman Brought!

 Two boxes for my birthday, full of ALE 8!

Sent from Kentucky with love, a 12 pack of Ale and then something new:  Ale 8 Salsa and Ale 8 Sweet BBQ!  I am so excited! 

A marvelous surprise!  And you know what else,  our local hardware store has also started selling Ale 8!!!!  It was a good Ale day. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Millions of Pears

Today, Will woke up and decided that we needed a fruit tree.  He has been thinking about this for quite sometime, but hadn't done anything about it.  But, at our hardware store today was pear tree with a price we couldn't refuse. We even have the car at the store-- normally we walk down.

So, we brought home a Bosc pear tree and Will stuck it in the middle of the backyard.  No partridge though.  Maybe it will come in the summer, with the pears?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday and I decided that I did want to celebrate. So, I called my friends and had an impromptu bbq! 
 We had the ribs and potato salad, friends provided the flowers and the side dishes.  It was a marvelous way to spend a birthday.

Thanks, you all, for the lovely wishes.  It was a perfect day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Haul

Will has returned from Scotland and England after two weeks away. Though he had one small suit checked and a backpack as a carry-on, he managed to carry all of this back.

Old photos, clothing, books, a serving tray, candy, chocolate, biscuits, biscuits in commemorative tins for the London Olympics, biscuits in commemorative tins for the Golden Jubilee, a coaster, biscuits in musical tins, plates, tea, coffee, jelly beans, t-shirts, keychain, Scotland local soft drink Iron Bru, magazines, team pennants, my birthday presents, pickle, creamed rice puddings, tea towels, tea cakes, jammie dodgers, tea mini trifle cakes, a pint glass, a coffee mug, and a Winnie the Pooh pencil sharpener.

Some is from shopping around Edinburgh (a pleasure visit) or Birmingham (a work trip); some from his home; the majority from getting to the airport too early before a flight.  Ah, duty-free.

This is just the table:  You should see the 'chocolate drawer' we now have in the fridge. Ahem.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Lori!

Happy Birthday, Lori!

Hope you have a marvelous day and your boys treat you to a proper celebration!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flyby Discovery

Will, Stirling, and I went to the National Cathedral this morning to watch the space shuttle Discovery fly over the city before making its way to its new home at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum Annex, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, out by Dulles Airport.

On the back of a souped-up 747 jumbo jet, the space shuttle Discovery made about 3 passes over the city, mainly over the National Mall, by the Washington Monument and Capitol Building.  But it did buzz the towers at the National Cathedral!

Discovery is NASA's longest serving shuttle, having blasted off into space 39 times, started at Cape Canveral, FL in the morning and had landed at Dulles by 11 am.  It flew over the city for about 45 minutes.  It was accompanied by a chaser fighter jet
What was amazing to watch from the Cathedral was the number of adults wanting to catch a glimpse, whereas the school kids weren't interested.  There are two schools on either side of the Cathedral, only about 12 students--all boys-- were out to watch the flyby.  The rest of the crowd were all our age or older adults, all of us had grown up with the Space Race or watching each of the shuttles' take-offs or landings from their missions in space.

It was a bittersweet moment for sure-- awe-inspiring to watch the flight of the shuttle and sad, knowing that there were no more US shuttles flying to the moon.

To learn more about the flight and the shuttle, the Air and Space Museum has a web site dedicated to Discovery.    Truly an amazing morning!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

For Anja

My oldest friend-- we have been friends since age 3-- had a baby and I have finally finished the baby gift!  By now, Anja is about 5 months old, but I was have been working non-stop, just not on this.  But I finally finished and made the pillow case and have shipped it off.  I can't wait to have them receive it.  :)

polka dots for the back of the pillow!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Surprise in the Garden

I was walking through the garden today, checking out the newly-planted tomatoes and herbs, when I spotted these mini irises tucked in between larger, more-established irises plants.  Such delicate and pretty!

There are 4 of them and each one is about 4 inches tall.  You can see the larger irises leaves in which these miniatures hidden.  Those larger ones are white.  We have deep purple ones across from the white.  These tiny ones seem to be a combination of the two-- I wonder if our irises cross-pollinated?!

Regardless of how we have them, we do and it was such a lovely surprise this afternoon!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Gnocchi!  We love it and after we watched another episode of "Ciao Chow! ", we decided to make it.  We got baking potatoes, roasted them the day before, and put in the fridge to cool over night.  One of the many keys to gnocchi is that the potato has to be cold.  

After an over night in the fridge, I scooped out the inside of the baked potato.   In a  standing mixer, I had  three pounds (almost) of potato, 2 cups of flour, and one cup of shredded parmesan cheese (you are really supposed to use grated, but I picked up the wrong kind at the store). 


I put in the cheese, flour, and a bit of nutmeg into the standing mixer first and gave them a swirl.  I added salt and pepper, and then, all at once, I added the potato.  As Fabio says, you will think that the ingredients are going to combine and you might be tempted to add some water or other form of moisture.


It will take a few minutes, and I thought that my standing mixer might throw in the towel-- it is harder to mix together than my great grandmother Mammy's pound cake.  Eventually, the ingredients do combine and make a lovely dough.

I cut off small hunks of the dough, after I slapped and kneaded it around a bit to get any air bubbles out.  Once I had my hunk, I rolled it out like a long cigar.   When the roll was about a thumb thick, I then sliced it into nuggets.  My sou-chefes (Will and Kelly), having already prepared the cooking pots: one for boiling the gnocchi and the other to crisp it up a bit with some olive oil, garlic, more salt and pepper, and crush red pepper flakes.


Once the gnocchi were in the boiling water and started to rise, we pulled them out.  They cook really fast and when I make this again, I will only use 2 potatoes instead of 4 and freeze any extra dough after I had cut plenty of pieces.  
After the boil, we started to brown the gnocchi in the sauté pan.  Since my three pounds of potatoes had made so many nuggets, we were doing this for a while--and I might have used too much red pepper flakes when putting a 2nd or 3rd batch of gnocchi into the pan. Ahem.  

We browned the gnocchi and then plated with freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Served with a salad, and some nice read wine, we had ourselves a lovely, albeit spicy, plate of homemade gnocchi. Delicious!