Book Recommendation:: Little Bee

Hi there, how are you today?  
The hot topic of the day - what's on your summer reading list??

When I had my blog reworked a bit, I lost the "BOOK" link but I am happy to tell you I figured out how to add it to the navigation bar under the header.  Check it out for book recommendations if you're looking for some titles for beach reading!  A bunch of books that were on my to-read list last year are still there because I am lucky to have bookish friends who advise and trade and dish about books with me, and I have an ever-growing list!   

{PS - remember when being bookish wasn't cool? (let's say - high school?)
I was never cool.  I always had a stack of books next to my bed.
This state of being has not changed much in 20 years! :) }

Besides an excess of shoes, I brought waaaaay too many books with me on our recent travels to California.  {And somehow I still found myself in a Barnes & Noble for hours on end while Mark was working out there!}  One of my most-enjoyed reads of our vaca was 
Little Bee by Chris Cleave - have you read it?

I can't give it all away to you but let me just say that it is equal parts funny, horrifying and touching.  The story takes place in Africa and England and while it is a work of fiction so much of the background is based on true events.  It will make you appreciate your circumstances, I can assure you of that.

Have you read anything that you've thoroughly enjoyed lately?  If so please share in the comments below.  
I love book recommendations!!
Have a wonderful day......


Mangia Mondays:: Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Appetizer

Hi friends and welcome to Mangia Monday! 

I co-host this weekly blog hop with my friend Kristin at Delightfully Dowling and we'd love if you'd join in the fun by sharing a recipe or food related post or comment!

I took about 1,000 photos of this yummy appie for you, and between the camera and the computer all the photos disappeared into a black hole, never to be seen again, so allow me to substitute this photo from Bon Appetit, from where the recipe hails (August 2006).  Yes, it is as good as it looks!!
Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread
I make this a bunch of times over the summer when zucchini is in season and it is always gobbled up very quickly.  Anything that has Alouette in it is sure to be hit as far as I'm concerned!  It's a must-try!

Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Appetizer
nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 10 oz. tube refrigerated pizza dough
3/4 cup garlic and herb cheese spread (Alouette), divided
3/4 c finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 small red onion
1 7-8" zucchini
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper; spray with veg. oil spray.

Unroll dough onto parchment.  Spread half of herb cheese over 1 long half of dough, leaving 1/2" plain border. 

Sprinkle with half of Parmesan and 2 T of parsley. 

Using parchment as aid, fold plan half of dough over filled half (do not seal edges).  Spread remaining herb cheese over top; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. 

Slice zucchini and red onion into 1/8" rounds.  Arrange alternating rows of zucchini and onion down 1 long side of dough. 

Brush with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Bake until puffed and deep brown at edge, about 24 minutes. 

Sprinkle with 1 T of parsley.  Let cool slightly and slice into serving size pieces and serve warm!

Now what have you got going in the kitchen?  Come join the party!

About Mangia Mondays:
• Add a link to your recipe or food post {not your blog homepage} & visit some others who have linked up before you!
• Link back by putting the Mangia Mondays button in your post or anywhere on your blog to let others know you've joined the party.
• Help spread the word about Mangia Mondays with others by sharing this post!
**You can add the Mangia Mondays blog hop to your own blog if you would like, simply clicking the link at the bottom that says "What is a blog hop? Get the code here..." and pasting the html into the bottom of your own post.


Inspiration Files Friday:: Postcard Displays


One of the projects the kids and I are going to do together this summer is to 
make postcards into art 
for our playroom/tv room/den/kid's space {after almost a year in this house we still haven't determined what this room is called!}  
We have a very large TV on an otherwise blank wall and I really want to do something fun with the space around the TV.  However, this room is adjacent to both our living room and kitchen where we entertain, so the room also needs to be respectable.

I've been searching for cool ways to display our postcards (and wishing I sent one home from Laguna Beach and Palm Springs!)  Here are some fun inspirations for a Friday.  
Do you have a favorite?

And PS.....how did I ever live without Pinterest??  
{the first few photos are from my computer files, the remainder from Pinterest.  I absolutely love how when you embed a file from Pinterest onto your blog it is automatically labeled!}

photo:  Daily Crushes
photo:  Family Fun

photo:  flickr/The Random Project

photo:  unknown

Source: flickr.com via Lisa on Pinterest

I love these postcards suspended from a ceiling!  
Wouldn't this be fun with photographs for an engagement, anniversary or birthday party?

So many fun displays - now I just have to figure out which way to go!
Hoping you have a wonderful weekend (and see the sun - it's currently hiding in MA!)


Summer Snapshots Week One!

As my kids get older I find myself taking less photos of them, because at 12, 11 and 9 they do not appreciate the camera capturing every moment, plus they are not with me 24/7 everyday.  To add to the mother-guilt, for some strange reason (ummmmmm, this blog perchance?) I find myself taking 72 daily photos of inanimate objects such as lamps.  Instead of my children.  Nice mother.

Amber at The Starfish Blog is hosting a weekly party with the challenge to capture a photo of every day of this summer, but I'd be happy with ONE moment, one wee little moment of every week of this summer that is memorable or joyful or funny!  {Amber, I hope you don't mind my abbreviated version of your challenge!}  I'm so excited to try to participate every week!


So here we are - week one of a Summer Snapshots!
(Kind of a big deal in our little town!)

PS.......look at my baby and friends about - oh -  a minute ago???

Yesterday Peter said, "Mom, what's the big deal?  Everyone HAS to graduate from 6th grade!"

Admittedly, my husband and I were a tiny bit amused at all the pomp and circumstance for an elementary school graduation, until a speaker at the ceremony said, "In the blink of an eye the next six years will pass and you will be graduating from high school."  Yep, that's just about when my eyes filled up with tears!  Can someone please stop this madness of the days being loooooooong but the years being short?

One more reminder about how fast the time goes and how much I need to savor these days!


Mangia Mondays:: Potato and Onion Frittata

Hello lovelies and welcome to Mangia Mondays!


Kristin of Delightfully Dowling and I are thrilled that so many of you link up every week.  It's been a blast reading your posts, meeting fellow foodies and being inspired by your culinary talents!

For Father's Day breakfast I tried my hand at making a frittata, and it was so easy!  Now I can't wait to try other combinations.  This one is very basic, and therefore even my kids ate it!

Potato and Onion Frittata

1 T olive oil
1 lb. red bliss potatoes (*I substituted with baking potatoes I had on hand)
1 medium onion
8 large eggs
1 T grated fresh parsley
1/4 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 t salt

Slice potatoes and onions thinly.
{When I cook for my kids, I chop the onions finely because they think they don't like onions and will complain at the sight of them.  However if the onions are chopped finely the kids don't even notice their presence and we all know the dish wouldn't be the same without them!  If I was serving this to adults only, I think the large thinly sliced pieces of onion give a prettier presentation in a dish like this.}

In a 10" nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add potatoes and onion; cook 7 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  {Potatoes will become translucent when they are cooking through.}

Reduce heat to medium-low.  Whisk together eggs, parsley, parmesan, pepper and salt.

Pour egg mixture over potatoes & onions.

Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes for red bliss potatoes, *20-30 minutes for other white potatoes.  Frittata is done when eggs are cooked through and potatoes are fork tender.

Slide frittata onto a cutting board.  Cut into wedges to serve.

Join the Mangia Mondays fun by linking up a recipe or sharing a link in the comments section!

How Mangia Mondays works:

 Add a link to your recipe or food post {not your blog homepage} & visit some others who have linked up before you!
•We appreciate you not linking to giveaways, other link parties or items you are selling.
• Link back by putting the Mangia Mondays button in your post or anywhere on your blog to let others know you've joined the party.
• Help spread the word about Mangia Mondays with others by sharing this post!
**You can add the Mangia Mondays blog hop to your own blog if you would like, simply clicking the link at the bottom that says "What is a blog hop? Get the code here..." and pasting the html into the bottom of your own post.


Happy Father's Day

To all the dads that make your family the center of your life,
I hope you have a wonderful day!

    A Father's Wish
    I may fail to be as clever
      as my neighbor down the street,
    I may fail to be as wealthy
      as some other men I meet,
    I may never win the glory
      which a lot of men have had,
    But I've got to be successful
      as a little fellow's dad.
      There are certain dreams I cherish
        which I'd like to see some true,
      There are things I would accomplish
        when my time of life is through,
      But the task my heart is on
        is to guide a little lad
      And to make myself successful
        as that little fellow's dad.
      I may never come to glory,
        I may never gather gold,
      Men may list me with the failures
        when my business life is told,
      But if he who follows after
        shall be manly, I'll be glad,
      For I'll know I've been successful
        as that little fellow's dad.
      It's the one job that I dream of,
        it's the task I think of most,
      If I fail that growing youngster,
        I'd have nothing else to boast;
      For though wealth and fame I'd gathered,
        all my future would be sad...
      If I failed to be successful
        as that little fellow's dad.
      - Author Unknown


    Palm Springs Outdoor Love

    Yesterday I showed you the funky interior of the Parker Palm Springs, the hotel Mark & I stayed at for a work event when we visited California last week.  Today I have to share with you the beautiful exterior spaces!

    Keep in mind that this was my first time to California and I was left to entertain myself on this leg of the journey since Mark was busy working.  It was heavenly to sit at the pool and read without looking at my watch, exercise without thinking about how I had to get to the grocery store, and walk around taking photos without my chitlins moaning and groaning about me taking their pictures!  {On the other hand.....I started missing them badly when I had all this time to myself!}

    Like many resort communities, the area surrounding the Parker Palm Springs is vastly different than the hotel property.  Palm Springs is in the desert and I think it is beautiful in it's own way.   Mighty palm trees line the main thoroughfares along with a smattering of hearty drought-resistant flowering plants.  The brown mountains along the perimeter are quite a site to behold; certainly vastly different from the East Coast and even from the Laguna Beach area we had just come from.

    The hotel grounds, however, are lush with green plantings and landscaped with sandy paths, surrounded by amazingly varied vegetation.  Little yellow flowers were scattered along the paths as if a little flower girl had just skipped through there.

    This is the entrance to the building our room was in....can you see the door hidden in there?

    I was absolutely in love with the architecture of this building.  If I hit the lottery I am building a room like this with a patio off the back of my house - wouldn't that be amazing??

    I almost flipped my lid at the site of this beautiful little carved wooden door built into a wall, leading to another garden!!
    Mark was not as excited about this as me.  Apparently he never read one of my all-time childhood favorites (or saw the fairly recent movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed, by the by.)

    The hotel grounds actually include several intimate gardens.  This one has a fire pit all aglow every night, and for one of Mark's work events in the evening, it was transformed with chocolate brown velvet couches, tables, candles and a bar.

    Our room had a Juliet balcony that overlooked a sweet little garden.  As soon as we  checked into our room, we looked out the window and there in the garden below a wedding ceremony was taking place, the bride walking down the aisle just as we happened to peek out!

    This is our balcony from the garden the next day.  Isn't it so picturesque and lovely????  
    Add this to the if-I-hit-the-lottery-renovations!

    Another shady little garden had hammocks hung between the palm trees.  That might have been my favorite garden of all!

    And then of course the flowers....most of which we have back here in Massachusetts, but the number of them, the combination of their colors against the green vegetation and the pure blue California sky.....such a gorgeous combination!  *sigh*

    On our last night we also ventured outside the hotel for a tour of the desert in an open jeep.  What an amazing country we live in!!  Anyone want to join me in a rendition of "America the Beautiful"???  Oh beautiful for spacious skies......

    {Thank you most patient husband in the universe, who not only put up with a wife yielding a camera on self-timer mode for 6 straight days, but also made this trip so fun and special!  ((Look honey, you even managed to kinda smile for this picture!!))  Forget the Parker Palm Springs-inspired rooms I'm adding on if I hit the lottery.....I already hit the lottery with you.}

    Thanks for visiting today.....hope you enjoyed these pretty outdoor spaces!