Our Valentine’s Day 2018

It started out as a frugal and practical Valentine’s Day which doesn’t have to be incompatible with romance, especially when we’re budgeting for a wedding later this year! Whole Foods mailed me an old-fashioned paper marketing piece–maybe they do snail mail for the 50 and over demographic–advertising a special Valentine’s Day promotion for Amazon Prime members.  For only $19.95 they are offering two dozen fair trade certified long stem roses! I told Wayne I thought that was a smart idea. Additionally, I pointed out that we could buy them on Monday, his day off, and enjoy them right away, not just Valentine’s Day. Flowers in February do much for the soul. He agreed. However, we (he) veered off the path a bit…

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Recipe: Smashed Red Potatoes with Pizzazz

My love of mashed potatoes started back when I was a little girl eating the “Little Jack Horner” from the Fort Lee Diner’s kids’ menu in the late 60s/early 70s. It was a slice of rare roast beef Au Jus with a small mound of creamy whipped potatoes served by my favorite waitress with the large bouffant. My appreciation continued as a young adult during road trips (the most noteworthy one being out to Seattle and back) with truck stop fare for lunch. They always seemed to have the best mashed potatoes. The cafeteria at the University of Maine in Orono used fresh Maine potatoes for theirs.

My own recipe for smashed reds combines Maine red potatoes, Meyer lemon from California and British clotted cream for a harmonious side mash or meal!

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Footprints in the Snow

Around 1:00 a.m. I heard a delicate sound that seemed like it was by the bedroom window; it was very faint and dainty and not the kind that implies danger. It was actually somewhat soothing and I drifted off into a surreal dream: I was outside at nighttime and saw a strange creature under the streetlamp. It was the size and shape of a chipmunk and had a deer-like face. I got out of bed at 4:30 (my usual time) and was pouring coffee when Wayne said from the bedroom: “Averyl. Come here.” I saw he was looking outside the window and he moved aside so I could see. 

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My House at Christmas in the 1950s

Shortly after I bought my house in 2009 I researched who lived in my house in the 1950s. It turned out to be the town Santa Claus! He and his wife had my house custom built in the early 1950s, then lived here for over forty years where they raised two children. There was only one other owner between when they moved out and I moved in. I invited them over and they shared many wonderful photos and stories. During Christmas that year I invited them “home” once again!

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My Retro Christmas Light Displays

This year I decided to brighten my sunroom with numerous Christmas light displays now that the sun is setting around 4:00 p.m.(!!!) I transformed Vintage Mason jars and milk bottles into lanterns by stringing a colorful retro Edison bulb into each; I hung mini fairy lights on the dried Eucalyptus; colorful lights were placed inside a large blue Mason jar; my 1950s Santa Claus blow mold stands on the wrought iron table top:

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The Shiniest Star(s)

Some of you know that I have been selling vintage items online since the early 2000s. As I was photographing one of two identical copies of the 1950s book The Shiniest Star illustrated by Charlot Byj, Wayne stopped talking to me mid-sentence, came over and said: “Hey! I know that book! I remember reading that when I was little!” His face was completely lit up as he picked up the book and turned the pages. He remembered the gold foil star on the cover, too. I was charmed to see him transform from a man in his 60s to a wide-eyed six year old.

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Vintage Christmas Recipe: British Steamed Pudding

Here is a recipe for an obscure and worthwhile 1905 treat, “Mother Eve’s Pudding” from a British Women’s Cookery Book in my collection. This recipe was submitted by “Miss Orkney from Bervie.” (I found an earlier recipe in poetry form online.) I made this last year and cut the recipe in half, as follows, for a smaller pudding:

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