Spring Sign

Robert Indiana’s $3 million, 13-foot tall, 3-ton pop art sculpture “Hope” is located on the corner of 7th Ave and 53rd St in Manhattan.

Happy Spring, hon!

“The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.”
― Emily Dickinson


“It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”
― John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga

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Spring Kids Craft, Edible Birds Nests

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests.

When I taught After School Enrichment classes for grades 3-5, one of the projects we made was Edible Birds Nests. I didn’t take good pictures–think sticky-from-marshmallows-hands–so credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for these project photos.

Edible Birds Nests are easy, fun and perfect for celebrating Spring. Need an Easter activity for a party? This one is egg-cellent!

Gather ingredients.

Mold chow mein/melted marshmallow mixture into a cupcake tin.

 

Once the Birds Nests have hardened in the fridge, pop them out of the cupcake tin and fill with jellybean eggs.

A teeny-tiny nest with one egg is perfect as a cupcake topper. (thanks, Jessica Jones, for the suggestion.)

EDIBLE NESTS RECIPE (yields about 12 cupcake-sized nests)

Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles

•Cooking spray

•Candy to fill nests

Directions:

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat.

2. Add chow mein noodles, and mix til combined.

3. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray, as well as your fingers. Mold the mixture into nest shapes in the cupcake tin.

4. Place in freezer for at least an hour. Remove nests using a knife.

5. Fill with your choice of candy.

Source: DMagazine

Spring’s Secret Garden

Monarch feeding on a Butterfly Bush.

The Secret Garden was one of the classics I read to my children. We spent many hours in the car driving to Maryland and Long Island to visit family (hon, trust me, we know every rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike), and made the time pass quickly by learning language, discovering stories, discussing characters and predicting plots. I only found out later that “brain imaging has suggested that hearing stories evokes visual images in children’s brains, and more strongly if those children are accustomed to being read to.” (The Merits of Reading Real Books to Your Children  by Perri Klass, M.D.,The New York Times)

Wait! What? Something I did was good for my kids? Woohoo! Hopefully, that balances out the other stuff that might not have been, ummm, as advantageous.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

First Day of Spring

Lake Champlain, Vermont.

Hon, this poem speaks to the heart I wish to heal, the head I hope to clear, and the life I must make matter.

“So I am not a broken heart.
I am not the weight I lost or miles or ran and I am not the way I slept on my doorstep under the bare sky in smell of tears and whiskey because my apartment was empty and if I were to be this empty I wanted something solid to sleep on. Like concrete.
I am not this year and I am not your fault.
I am muscles building cells, a little every day, because they broke that day,
but bones are stronger once they heal and I am smiling to the bus driver and replacing my groceries once a week and I am not sitting for hours in the shower anymore.
I am the way a life unfolds and bloom and seasons come and go and I am the way the spring always finds a way to turn even the coldest winter into a field of green and flowers and new life.
I am not your fault.”
Charlotte Eriksson

April Showers

Magnolia Monday

Magnolia Monday

Hon, you know the saying…

April showers bring May flowers.

It’s April and it was definitely raining today, but you don’t have to wait until May to see the flowers just as happy as we are that Old Man Winter is taking a long-needed nap!  These  Magnolia blooms danced then curtsied, waving their pretty pink petals at the audience– blades of grass, branches with buds, a little black doggie chasing a tennis ball and me.

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Still Chilly Chili

Chili in the crock pot.

Chili in the crock pot.

It might be Spring, but you’d never know it.

Yesterday in Alaska–umm, I mean New Jersey, schools were dismissed early, car windows needed scraping and driveways needed shoveling.  Backing out of my San Francisco-like driveway required expert driving (thanks, Hubby) so that the car wasn’t totaled a few feet from the front door!

Our Arctic Zone weather requires comfort food, and I consider Chili a warmer upper.  Chili also reminds me of skiing, and since I’m the Queen-of-Connecting-the-Dots (see post Toasty Tushy Melts the I.C.E. for more dot connecting), I’ll tell you why.

When you’ve been skiing and you’re wondering if frostbite has set in, Chili is practically required medicine.  I’ve been to ski lodges where plugged in electric cords lead from walls to crock pots clustered on tables.  At lunchtime, simmering chili is ready to serve.  (Skiers are such trusting people!)

We recently went skiing and I decided it would be great if dinner was waiting for us when we came home.  Enjoy this recipe.  Hon, I hope, it warms you from the inside out.

A ski day is a good day!

A ski day is a good day!

I made extra a froze some for another time.

I made extra a froze some for another time.

Chili

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 green pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 (16-ounce) cans tomatoes (I used chopped tomatoes)

1 cup water

2 Tablespoons chili powder (depending on how spicy you like your chili, I used 1 Tbl)

1 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Optional:  2 (16-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained; other spices, such as paprika, dried mustard or whatever you want to sprinkle in

Directions:

1.  In a hot frying pan, brown ground beef.

2.  Place browned ground beef and remaining ingredients in crock pot, stirring to blend.

3.  Cover and cook on low setting 4 to 6 hours.

Don’t have a crock pot?  Don’t worry.

1.  In a frying pan, saute ground beef and onions until soft.

2.  Drain off fat.

3.  Transfer mixture to a large pot.

4.  Add remaining ingredients.

5.  Bring to a boil, them simmer, covered, 45 minutes.

Yield:  4-6 servings

Central Park in Early Spring

Movement.

Movement.

Romantic

Romantic.

Reflection.

Reflection.

Happy

Happy.

Perspective.

Perspective.

Framed

Framed.

Hug

Hug. (Tween Daughter and Me)

I hope you enjoy some of my Central Park pictures. I was inspired to share them after posting Manhattan Moments (Exquisite Short Film).

I made my own video slide show, New York State of Mind, awhile ago.

Manhattan as muse.

 

Lucy’s 1 Year Anniversary (Four Season Puppy)

Image

Lucy joins our family.

Spring–Porch Puppy.

Summer–Shady Puppy (under the car’s open back hatch).

Fall–Autumn Leaves Puppy.

Fall–Halloween Puppy.

Winter–Snow Puppy.

Happy One Year Anniversary to our adorable, sock-eating, shoe-stealing Border Collie/ Black Lab mutt (uh, I mean “mixed breed”) who joined our family last November!  She’s our very own brown-eyed, soulful sweetheart.  Sure she’s a lot of work, but she shows us how to enjoy the simple things like a belly rub and a nap.  She makes us laugh with her games of “Rip Around the Dining Room Table”, “Hide the Ball Under the Couch” and “Watch Mommy Fetch The Ball.”

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Diamonds for her white markings/ Lucy for short) wouldn’t have joined our household if it weren’t for Daughter Number Three’s Girl Scout troop volunteering at a shelter.  I tagged along with the troop and was smitten by the puppies.

Allergic hubby and two allergic teens officially “allergy tested” a bunch of pups (they rubbed different sections of their arms on different dogs until, lo and behold, one dog didn’t require an immediate dose of Benadryl to halt hives).

Hon, I was always a “cat-person.”  Truth-be-told, I still am.  But now I’m a dog lover, too.

Top ten reasons why I love Lucy:

1. She’s my running partner.

2. A furry dog makes a great personal foot warmer.

3. To her, every day is a great day.

4. She accepts herself for who she is.

5. She looks at the world like a toddler; everything’s new and interesting.

6. I don’t have to fix the broken doorbell.  Lucy announces all visitors.

7. She still believes she will be friends with our 13-year old cat.

8. I have a reason to imitate Ricky Ricardo on a daily basis. (“Lucy, you have some esplainin’ to do!”)

9. My three college freshmen say they miss Lucy more than they miss me, hubby and little sister.

10. Daughter Number Three, who was terrified of dogs for the first 10 years of her life has been transformed!  She said, “Mom, I never realized dogs had personalities.  I was just afraid because they were dogs.”