Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015 in Review

As 2015 winds down I'm looking back at some of the highlights of the year.  
Grandson Zach with his Broughton teammate after their team won the Holiday Tournament. January

Grandpat with grandson Tyler. an escort at the Queen of Hearts Court, at Broughton High School. February 
My hair tinted green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  I'm of Irish descent you see.  March 
I'm here with Matthew celebrating at Michael and Sarah's wedding in Shelby.  April 
Boguska with Sarah and Kami (her son) at their wedding.  It was a beautiful wedding. May
Thomas and Rebecca's wedding lovely and great fun being in Ireland.  June
Extended our deck in courtyard between our bedroom and the garage.  New landscaping.  July
Dan in the airport on our way to Nova Scotia for a couple of weeks.  August
Zach and Claire at the North Carolina Debutante Ball.  September
Grandpat as a Leopard with neighborhood children on Halloween.  October
Grandpat with Zach on left and Brooks.  Both grandsons on the UNC JV basketball team.  November
Grandpat with her grands on Christmas Eve.  Left to right: Tyler, Zach, Grace, Brooks.  December
In retrospect I'd say 2015 was a pretty good year.  Now I'm looking forward to another new year. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Gadding About at the Dollar Tree

Everything one dollar. 

Most of our Christmas stuff (including the tree and the ornaments) is stored at Chatfield in Shelby, and I'm not able to get there before Christmas, so I'm having to make do with a few things I can pick up here and there in order to decorate this year.   I don't want to spend a lot of money to duplicate what we have stored at Chatfield.   So I'm trying to find a few simple things without spending too much. 

At Bed Bath and Beyond I found a couple of small prelit trees that will do.  Dollar Tree often has Christmas ornaments so I popped over there to have a look.  It's surprising what one can find at Dollar Tree.  Here is what $10. bought---everything there is $1.00.
A dozen Christmas ornaments---six gold and six silver. $1.00 Decorative cupcake liners. $1.00

Pack of plastic storage containers 3 for $1.00.  2 packs for $2.00.   I'll fill them with spiced pecans for Christmas gifts.

I was surprised to find Cracker Jacks.  I loved those when I was a kid.  I will use a box as a stocking stuffer for each grandchild's stocking.  3 pack for $1.00.  2 packs for $2.00

A Selfie stick.  That is for me to take group selfies at our Christmas festivities.
These aluminum sheets will come in handy for holiday baking and gift giving.  Even works nicely for wrapping small gifts.

Who doesn't need batteries during the holidays?  I wonder how these will last compared to the Energizer Bunny ones.

I have a couple of small books I need to mail as Christmas gifts.  A good bargain here.  The pack for $1.00

You can see I did quite well with the $10.00 I spent.  If you have a Dollar Tree or Dollar store of any kind you might should check it out.  Happy shopping.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gadding About in Chapel Hill on a Friday Night

What better than having a late lunch at Mama Dip's in Chapel Hill, followed by watching the UNC JV basketball team play their first game of the season.  I have two grandsons on the JV team---the Palmer brothers---Zach a junior and Brooks a freshman.  And I had a front row seat!!!!
Zach number 14 in the starting lineup.
Brooks number 15 had a great game.

I am indeed happy that basketball season is here.  There will be one of the Palmer boys playing for Broughton this year too.  Tyler a sophomore there.  I'm a basketball loving GrandPat.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Birthdays and Basketball

Zach (21) and Claire (20) both have October birthdays and they, Jeanette (Claire's Mom), and I  celebrated the other Friday night with dinner at the newly renovated Crossroads Restaurant at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill. I like the contemporary look of the new decor, and the food is as delicious as ever.  The waiter surprised the birthday couple with two birthday cakes. 

Following dinner we enjoyed Late Night With Roy at the Dean Dome where the 2015-2016 varsity basketball team was introduced. The packed Dome was festively decorated and the entertainment was enjoyable, but Jeanette and I didn't stay for the basketball game that was played late in the evening.

Now I'm looking forward to returning to the Dean Dome for the first JV basketball game where my two grandsons are on the Carolina JV Team. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Room With a View

This has nothing to do with one of my favorite movies (Room With A View*) but rather the view that I have as I sit in our study at my desk/computer.  Ever since Fran, the hurricane that devastated our neighborhood in Raleigh in 1996, whenever I am at my desk and look out the window I see a very tall loblolly pine across the street leaning towards the neighbor's house.  That tree has been leaning for 19 years. 

This morning I was awakened by chain saws buzzing and much to my surprise the loblolly pine was being removed.  It was amazing watching the highly-skilled tree crew fell this tree.  One guy scampered up the tree tying a safety rope and then other ropes that would guide the falling top in the right direction.  After sawing off the lower limbs the top of the tree came down in one big swoosh.

They finally came back late this evening and cut down the main trunk.

The view from my window with the leaning pine gone.

And though I now have a much prettier view, I will somehow miss that old leaning loblolly.

*Here's a review from the NY Times showing a trailer for the movie Room with a View.  If you haven't seen it, I'm sure it must be available on Netflix.  It's a very good movie based on the novel by E.M. Forster with a splendid cast including: 
Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Judi Dench, Daniel Day-Lewis
Room with a View

Monday, October 5, 2015

English Ivy in Bloom

Ivy in bloom.  (Notice the bee gathering pollen or nectar. 
 I was gadding about in the yard this morning (yes my gadding about is limited these days)  and noticed the flowering English Ivy.  Our front and side bank at our house is covered with English Ivy, and while many consider this plant a weed, I really like the plant.  It does have to be kept under control though.  It tends to grow up tree trunks and will ultimately cause damage to the tree if not removed.  The plant is able to climb by producing roots all along the stem. 
Our bank of English Ivy.
Ivy creeping up the tree trunk. (I'll have to get this removed soon.)
Roots along the stem that allow the plant to climb and adhere to a surface.
Flowers occur in heads. 

It is only the mature branches that will produce flowers.  Out front we have a patch of Ivy that is in flower right now.
Patch of flowering ivy.

The flowers that occur in clusters have greenish yellow petals. 

English Ivy flower arrangement in our kitchen window.

I sometimes bring in branches to use as flower arrangements. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Curried Green Tomato Soup/Sauce

Curried green tomatoes over rice.
Now that fall is here, the days are not warm enough to ripen all the green tomatoes that remain on our vines, so I looked for recipes using green tomatoes---something other than fried green tomatoes that we are familiar with---to use our abundant crop of green tomatoes.  I found a recipe for curried green tomatoes that I modified.  We like curry.  This recipe turned out to be reminiscent of Thai food that we also like.

Curried Green Tomatoes

2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1 tsp curry powder
2 cups green tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper (I omit the salt.)
Melt butter, add onion and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes).

Curry powder added to onions.
Add curry powder and tomatoes and cook over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add green tomatoes to onions and curry.

Add 2 cups of roasted red pepper.
Add roasted red peppers.
Add 2 cloves of minced garlic.
1 can of garbanzo beans
A dash of cumin
Garbanzo beans (chick peas) added.

Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Add 1 can light coconut milk.
Add one can of coconut milk.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth (I like to leave a few large pieces of tomatoes, pepper, and beans. )
The soup blended with a few chunks of pepper and green tomatoes remaining.
You can serve this as a soup with toasted bread.  Or I served it as a sauce over mixed basmati, brown, and wild rice.
Ready to eat.  Served over mixed basmati, brown, wild rice.
 Delicious!  And a different way to use those green tomatoes that are plentiful at the end of summer.