Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell 2009... and Happy Happy

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chrsirtmas Creche Week- Redux

This is my smallest Creche.

It is the second oldest creche I have.
It is from my four babies.

From the 1980's.

It hangs on my tree each year.

Technically it's not a "creche" because the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph aren't there. But I am thinking they are just off to the side greeting the Three Wise Men.
I just love my babies Creche.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chrsirtmas Creche Week- Redux

This creche is soo unique.I've never seen anything like it..

This one is from my sister friend Teresa.I think it is from the 1950's. It is a light! How beautiful. The colors jump out at you.

It is on my mantlepiece in my living room-the centerpiece of my Shiny Bright Village- but it fits right in.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Chrsitmas Creche Week -Redux

Happy Chrsitmas One and All...

What is it do you say?

It is a calabash.

Carved on the outside with a master's hands.

You open it up and....

There's the Creche.
It is exquisite.

Tinsel crowns adorn the Three Wise Men.

The figures are made out of corn husks.
This woven hat for the shepherd is so tiny but perfect.

The detail work is extraordinary.
This was made lovingly by a very talented Kenyan artist.

It was presented to me this year by Kate Fletcher, founder of Hekima Place and the young ladies from Hekima that she brought along with her for a visit- Leah and Beatrice.

There are no words to describe what this Creche means to me.

Merry Christmas one and all....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Creche Week

Christmas has always been special to my husband and me. He presented me with my engagement ring on Christmas Eve.

This is my very first creche.
It was a wedding gift from my oldest friend Cate and her parents. They bought it in Germany. It is Lladro.
You can tell it has been loved. The stick from the Shepherd is now missing. It needs a good cleaning from little finger prints touching the figures over the years. Do I dare wash off those prints?

Here is baby Jesus. I took him out of his hiding place for the shot. As you can see the Creche is not completely together- because it is not yet Christmas Day.

I added this Precious Moments angel
to the creche in 1991 when my oldest gave it to me as a Christmas present saying- "from your little angel" . It is one of my most cherished possessions. The angel holds court behind the manger- standing guard over the baby Jesus's place till he arrives on Christmas Day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Creche Week

This week I will be re-publishing some of my blog posts from last year's Christmas Creche Week.


Out of the eight creches that I own- I have bought not a one!Lucky me.It makes them all that much more special.

This Creche was given to me by Anne.

From County Sligo.

She lived with us and helped me raise my babies. She is part of the family and always will be .

She was my friend, my sister, my life support.

We do not see each other very often-she has her own babies now that are growing big and strong.But she is always in my heart.

I love this creche.

It is very delicate.

And when you put a tea light behind it - it gives off a holy glow- like a halo. Just like the one above Anne's head.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Still trying to get through ECLIPSE, which is supposedly, from all my Twilight Mom-freak friends, the best book of the series... I'll get through it, but I'd rather read THE HELP five more times than read the TWILIGHT saga..

On another note.. in my poll Jacob beat out Edward 3 to 1... SNL had another great evening last week..Bravo Taylor( I voted for Jacob)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I wanted to THANK  all of you, my faithful readers,  for spreading the word about the Faces of Kibera auctions this year..

We were thrilled with the results and made well over $40,000.

This is our major fundraiser of the year and how we get the money to do what we do to help the kids in Kibera.


photo courtesy of FLICKR

Sunday, December 6, 2009

You Raise Me Up

 2 SPECIAL  Experiences, will  STILL  be ongoing till TUES at 9:45AM... Dream Day with the Radio Team for the Giants Eagles Game and VIP Day at Training Camp 2010 with the NY GIANTS.

Please stop by and take one more look HERE

Your generosity.. in bidding, looking,donating and spreading the word does just that...


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Martha Martha Martha!!

A few days ago, I told you about what a beautiful morning I had riding with some special gorgeous friends...

I am STILL hobbling around.

Friends whom I didn't mention by name...

Well, she has mentioned mine so now I'll mention hers... Martha..

Yes, that Martha!

You can click HERE to read all about it and see pics of the absolutely PERFECT day.. She was the BEST hostess of course and soooo fun to be with. It was a truly "Good Thing".

My truly SuperCalaFranchaListicExbeAlaDocious day was all due to my effervescent friend Muffin. She's the best!

Speaking of Good Things...
Please check out the Faces of Kibera auction on eBay.. There are only 3 days left! Need a signed ball taken right from the locker room  or a signed GAME READY jersey for that football fan in your life? Click HERE. Want to see Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury on Broadway in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC ( I do!) Click HERE.

So much to buy.. and all for a wonderful cause- helping the children of Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya.

And don't forget the Private Auction... with experiences involving Eli, Justin and Freddy.. Email to get the link.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like....

Which means so much to do, so little time...
For those of you that live in the New York Suburbs- give yourself a gift and go to the Christmas show that Sloan Wainwright and Friends puts on every season . It is something I look forward to every year and it is something NOT to be missed. It's held in the perfect for Christmas Presbyterian Church on the Village Green in Bedford. The accoustics are great and it's so home spun- like a Little House On The Prairie Christmas with fantastic singers. Sloan manages to bring down the house every year with her powerful voice. Her outrageously talented family members all add their own magic touch.

Bedford Presbyterian Church at The Village Green
 Showtime: 8PM Tickets: $35  Tickets and Reservations: (914) 763-6025 or purchase tickets at Awakenings in Katonah...

And speaking of great music and great singers .and musicians......


                 The  eBay auction is going strong....all this week for FACES OF KIBERA. Check out all the Goodies by clicking HERE....
The stuff is fantastic ...
REALLY fantastic...
Including a signed Drum SKIN by the one and only Ringo Starr..He has inscribed ...   PEACE AND LOVE Ringo,  which is so perfect don't  you think?? It is just about impossible to get an autograph from him anymore but it has been generously donated by  Ringo and his daughter Francesca!!!!
Questions? Email us at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Tea

Today I am joining Mr. Toast's for his Christmas Tea.
It is being held in the beautiful town of Aspen Colorado.
I am wearing my Aspen best...a la Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen

I'm sure we will be listening to Rufus Wainwright's Judy Garland Cd- perfect tea music don't ya know...

I will be sipping tea from my favorite tea cup and saucer  .. a treasure from Grandma M

I will be sipping my Out of Africa tea.....

 .... in honor of WORLD AIDS DAY and  the charity FACES OF KIBERA whose eBay auction is going on RIGHT NOW..

                                               Click HERE to check the auction out..

I will be regretting that I'm not having Jasmine Green tea with a teaspoon of honey to help rev up my metabolism from the incredible scones I have baked for the event..

Maple Walnut Scones

Yield 12-15 scones

4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 lb butter-cubed
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup chopped walnuts

1 beaten egg(used for "painting" tops)

In large bowl,sift together the flour,sugar,baking powder and baking soda with a wooden spoon. Cut butter with pastry cutter until mixture is well combined.
It will have a course texture. In a small bowl,whisk together the buttermilk,syrup,and walnuts. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and combine well. Add additional flour if dough is too sticky. Roll out to 1" thick on floured surface and cut into circles using a 3" cutter or an upside down glass. Re-roll dough as necessary. Place scones on well greased cookie sheet. Brush each with beaten egg. Bake at 400 f for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. I always make a double batch and freeze one. They are THAT GOOD....Enjoy!!

....from the Bakers Cafe Cookbook...which is filled with recipes from a wonderfully spectacular bakery/restaurant in Katonah NY which is now no longer there. I will continue to mourn its closing till Sloan Wainwright, if ever, decides to open a new place.

On top of my scones will be clotted cream...
I could never have a scone without Clotted Cream and Jam.

Then of course my sister Maggie will be making her very special tuna fish salad for the tea sandwiches.

I am hoping Mr. Toast will also have cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, salad sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches as well....

Please check out the site HEKIMA PLACE , a wonderful place for girls to have a home and education. It is located in Karen, a suburg of Nairobi..Karen is named for Isak Dinesen, who wrote Out Of Africa and lived there for many years. I have been to Hekima Place- it's a happy nurturing home where they have warm tea and milk with breakafst lunch and dinner ...5 of the girls there came from the slums of Kibera nearby, where the organization, Faces of Kibera was able to hook up with Hekima Place and give them a safe, beautiful and loving home.

So put on the kettle, put up your feet, sit by the fire and sip with me...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Jiminy Crickets

 So much going on...

Spent the morning yesterday riding with some very special funny, gorgeous, inspiring friends in fields that looked like Ireland.
                             It was 

It's Cyber Monday... So many discounts.

My favorites.. Wisteria..25% off the whole site!!! 30 % off $300 or more at Tory Burch.. put in TURKEY30 in the discount code.

The Faces of Kibera auction on eBay is still going strong.. Lots of goodies. The balls and jerseys will add a jingle to the day.The Experiences are Fantastic...4 seats on 50 behind bench for last game at Giants Stadium plus pre-game on field..Spend the day with the Radio Team for the Eagles Giants game, Dinner reservations for 8 at Rao's,dinner with Cody Willard from Fox Business news plus watch is show Happy Hour live...eBay Faces of Kiera auction-loads of PERFECT holiday gifts to be had..Click HERE to go directly to it.

Also.. our special Private Family and Friends Auction for Faces of Kibera is so fantastic...3 INCREDIBLE experiences.. I'll just say three words.. Justin.. Eli.. more.If interested email me at and if approved, I'll give you the link..

Friday, November 27, 2009


The Faces of Kibera eBay auction starts today at NOON. Please spread the word!!

Sooo many goodies for that Giants and Steelers fan of yours...

- autographed balls,helmets and game ready jerseys ..

-4 VIP seats to the Giants-Panthers Game- the last regular season game at Giants Stadium-with on field passes for pre-game- seats are behind the Giants bench

- Giants experience for 2- spend the day with the Radio Team for the Giants-Eagles game.This includes having fun with Russ Salzberg as he does his pre game show, time in the booth during the game, on field pre-game and hanging out for the post game interviews.We also have a special treat

- a VIP adventure for four next summer- at Giants Training Camp in Albany- watch the practice from the field and have lunch with the players!!!

- Steelers Super Bowl Ring Replica paperweight..It is HUGE and it is HEAVY and it is EXCLUSIVE- only members of the Steelers organization are able to purchase it...

-2 tickets to A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and backstage tour after the show-starring the one and only Angela Lansbury and the triple threat, and uber gorgeous Catherine Zeta Jones..

- A rockin drum skin signed by the most famous drummer in the world Ringo Starr!

-An experience we all want- a table at Rao's- for EIGHT!!! on a Thursday night... This doesn't include dinner but come on- Rao's THE impossible reservation-and for good reason. I've been there- it is fantastic.

-And last but certainly not least...An Experience with Fox Business News Guru Cody Willard for 2..Watch his show ,Happy Hour live from the Bear and Bull Restaurant at the Waldorf and then have dinner with Cody.

Just click on the link to the auction to the right.
Thanks for looking!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving.......

I don't know about you, but have you noticed, as I have, that everyone has been  saying Happy Holidays to me these past fews days instead of "Happy Thanksgiving"?

It's been driving me nuts!!!!! I can understand how around Christmastime, there are other holidays going on and to be resepectful, people say Happy Holidays...but this is THANKSGIVING.

So a Happy Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

       I hope you have many blessings to be thankful for.

                                                           I SURE DO!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Going Once, Going Twice...

 Well, it's that time of year again.. for the FACES OF KIBERA auction on eBay.
It starts this year on Black Friday at noon and continues till Dec 6th.

There are sooo many goodies for that Giants and Steelers fan of yours- autographed balls and helmets and game ready jerseys .. 4 VIP seats to the Giants-Panthers Game- the last regular season game at Giants Stadium-with on field passes for pre-game- seats are behind the Giants bench on the 50. We also have a realllyyy special Giants experience for 2- spend the day with the Radio Team for the Giants-Eagles game.This includes having fun with Russ Salzberg as he does his pre game show,  time in the booth during the game, on field pre-game and hanging out for the post game interviews.We also have a special treat- a VIP adventure for four next summer- at Giants Training Camp in Albany- watch the practice from the field and have lunch with the players!!! We also have a really cool paperweight.It's an exact  replica of the Steelers Super Bowl Ring..It is HUGE and it is HEAVY and it is EXCLUSIVE- only members of the Steelers organization are able to purchase it...

 -A very exciting Broadway show- A Little Night Music with the one and only Angela Lansbury and the triple threat, and uber gorgeous Catherine Zeta Jones..

- A rockin drum skin signed by the most famous drummer in the world Ringo Starr!

-An experience we all want- a table at Rao's- for EIGHT!!! on a Thursday night... This doesn't include dinner but come on- Rao's THE impossible reservation-and for good reason. I've been there- it is fantastic.

-And last but certainly not least... for that Fox News Lover out there- a very special Experience ... More to come on that..

And let's not forget... it's for the children.. This precious girl, who I have cuddled and LOVE.. She is the reason for all of this. So go to the site HERE and read all about it and don't forget to check out the auction and spread the word to your friends and family..THANK YOU!!

PS... We are also having a Very Special Private Family and Friends Auction at the same time for 3 unbelievable experiences. It is SO SPECIAL that I cannot even mention here what you could win...If you are interested please email me at and if approved, I'll give you the link..

Monday, November 23, 2009

For those of you that have been following Stephanie Nielson

and her Mr. Nielson in their new life  after a terrible plane crash... tomorrow-Nov 24th- they will be interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today Show at 8AM..  So so happy for them. And hugely inspired . See you there!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brine Baby Brine

Since we're  getting soooo close to Turkey Day I am re-posting my recipe for Brined Turkey ala chef Chris Schlesinger .I saw Chris do this on Martha's show ages ago.. It was on the original Martha Stewart show. And it is now sadly  impossible to find on her site. It is simply the best...

Last years Post Thanksgiving brine celebration for the Hekima girls
as you can see - the plates are clean as a whistle..
The bourbon really does the trick..

Brining the Turkey ALA Chris

2 gallons cold water
2 cups Bourbon(I use Wild Turkey- in his honor)
2 cups plus 2 tbl. course salt(Kosher is good for me)
1 cup sugar

Put all the ingredients in brining bag and stir till sugar and salt are melted.Put the turkey in the brining bath. For safety's sake- put the bag in a big pot and let the turkey sit in the brine for 18-36 hours( I do 36 hours)If you have a pot big enough for the turkey and don't have a bag- you can just put brine the turkey in the big pot.

Pat the turkey dry and do as you usually do- for me ,I stick sage leaves under the skin,slather in butter, stuff the bird with some apples and onions, shake Bells Poultry Seasoning over the bird and stick him in a 350d oven -breast side first-uncovered till golden- about the first half hour or so,then cover with foil till done. be watchful- some times the brined turkey takes a bit less than the usual turkey to cook.

It will be the BEST most tender bird you've ever had.When you make the gravy- you will need NO SALT- it actually might be a bit salty-so adjust as you go.

My friend Faith's mom used to make Stuffing Balls- she was Italian- so I do that as well.They are delicious- crunchy on the outside-soft on the inside. And what a conversation piece. It works with any stuffing recipe, but I once again, use Chris'-its delicious. And, as Martha Stewart said on her show when he did it all up- You use CREAM in your Stuffing and not chicken broth????

Oh yeah.

Cornbread,Apple and Sausage Stuffing

Homemade Cornbread(use your favorite recipe- or buy one made from the bakery)
1 lb sweet sausage
1 cup(2 sticks)unsalted butter
4 medium red onions, finely chopped
8 celery stalks
4 Granny Smith Apples-peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup chopped fresh sage

In large pan over medium heat,cook sausage till done,transfer to small bow, set aside.

Melt butter in same pan. Add onions and celery till translucent- about 15 min. Add apples, and cranberries, stir till combined and cook 5 minutes. Add half and half ad cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add sage and remove from heat. Add broken up cornbread and sausage. let cool slightly- so you don't burn your hands. Form stuffing balls- about the size of a small orange. Bake in oven till crisp- about 30-45 minutes-as an added bonus- our some of the turkey juices over the balls when they first go in.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009



For those who first fought in the War of Independence through the hundreds of years since then till now.  Thank you to the brave men and women who are fighting for our freedom and safety right this minute- in Afghanistan, Iraq, and  behind the scenes each and every day here in America and in other cities in other countries.. To all that means to me and to the great people of America,


Happy Veteran's Day.

Heartfelt prayers are being said for ALL of you.

Photo courtesy of  Dr.DeNo  flick

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


While cleaning up the garden I found potatoes that actually grew !!!!!!

Pathetic I know, but it's enough for one glorious potato meal..
Now to think what I should make with them.

Potato salad?
Roasted potatoes with garlic and herbs?
Potato Pizza?
Potato Soup?

Please vote!!!!
The answer with the most votes will win and I will make that recipe.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Afternoon at the Movies

 In honor of All Saint's Day..

One of my all time favorite movies.. The Song of Bernadette.

It won 4 Oscars in 1943
Best Actress-Jennifer Jones
Best Cinematography Arthur C. Miller
Best Music Alfred Newman
Best Art Direction James Basevi,William S Darling,Thomas Little

In a time of hopelessness, the movie was an inspiration to so many.

It still is.

Everytime I watch, it fills me with the hope and love of our Blessed Mother. Many a time, as a young girl, I would pray on my knees to please let me see the Blessed Mother, as St Bernadette did.. as my sis Peg would pray fervently- "Please don't apper to me. please don't appear.."

Why aren't there more inspirational movies made out there for our children- and us to watch and be inspired by???

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oh What A Boo-Ti-Ful Day

                   Happy Halloweenie

I make THE  BEST pumpkin bread, if I do say so myself...
I use the recipe from McCAll's Cookbook, given to me by my mother for my wedding shower- the book is falling apart- which makes me love it even more..

The trick is to add 1 1/2 times the amount of pumpkin that the recipe calls for.

It's so easy. Even Betty Boop and Bruno think so...

Trick or treat!

Finger Lickin' Pumpkin Bread

1Lb Pumpkin puree( I use 1 1/2 times that much)
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour(sifted)
1 tbls. Pumkin Pie Spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 sticks salted butter-softened

Preheat the oven to 325

In mixer, blend butter till creamy. Add sugar till well blended, then eggs- one at a time, then pumpkin. When all smooth a bootiful, add the dry ingredients.
Bale for approx 1 hour- but check it might take a little more time.
It will make 2 loaf pans worth.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Afternoon At The Movies

As you know, The Trouble With Angels is one of my favorite movies. I found a SPOOKY version..
So bad, so funny.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

O Sole' Mia

I just made the best pizza of my entire life...

Im not a big pizza maker, but I have made homemade pizzas on occasion. And I grew up on Grandma M's authentic Tuscan pizza.

THIS topped them all.

Well, maybe not Grandm M's ..
I felt like I  was in Italy.

What kind was it  do you say?

Clam Pizza.

I know.
My hubby was not too thrilled when I told him yesterday that tonight's menu was Clam Pizza.
He is very thrilled now- and that is saying much- if you know my hubby.

Here's the recipe I used from the Food Network.

I fudged a bit with the instructions. I  do have a pizza stone so what I did was heat up the stone at 500 degrees till I was ready to cook.But I don't have a pizza peel- no sweat.. I  carefully took the stone out of the oven and gingerly spread olive oil on it with Reynold's Wrap. I then sprinkled it with corm meal.

I did get store made pizza dough-in the fridge section.And I used shredded mozzarella.
 Make Sure you put down the corn meal- it really makes a difference.

 I also used fresh minced clams(not canned) from the Best Seafood Store in Westchester County, New York- Mt. Kisco Seafood. I added some fresh proscuitto on my own.The recipe calls for fresh arugula and lemons which really made it over the top, as well as a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. 

This pizza- I cannot stop talking about it. It was PERFECT.. And I do not do perfect often..

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"I'm justa..."

…walking my dog.."
It's the opening line of one of my favorite, cheerful, adorable songs in recent memory- The Dog Song, by the enviously talented Nellie McKay.

Oh Happy Day..

Nellie’s  new album, is all Doris all Day.. Normal As Blueberry Pie, A tribute to Doris Day, comes out on Tuesday. I first noticed Nellie when I saw Three Penny Opera at Studio 54. The best part of the musical was  Nellie. I went home thinking of her quirky voice and charisma.

 A special sneak peek of the album, courtesy of N.P.R. is HERE

Don’t know about you, but on Tues the  multi -talented Nellie McKay's (pronounced  McEye)   album Normal As Blueberry Pie will be on my iPod... how bout you?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


As you know, I have been following the blogger Stephanie Nielson, since last year  when I heard of the horrific plane crash that she and her Mr. Nielson were in.

We have all prayed for her recovery.

Well, tomorrow she is going to be on Oprah...

Be sure to watch!

She is truly an inspiration.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are you a Clutter Bug???

Today is the first day of fall-my favorite time of year. Time to refeather the nest.                              Is your house like mine and taking over your life??
Do you have too much stuff ?
Is it too good to go in the garbage but you just DON'T want it??

Well go to Pick Up Please and they will come pick up your stuff..They will pick up just about anything.
And it helps our Vets.

You'll feel loads lighter ...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ruff Ruff

 Dog Lovers out there.. you know who you are..

Did you know that sugar free gum can kill your dog???
I didn't ..

Not that I was giving them any.. but I am going to be REAL CAREFUL where I put gum and other sugar free foods from now on..

Sugar-Free Gum and Snacks Can be Deadly for Pets - Paw Nation

Shared via AddThis

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ode to the 'Tato...

One potato, two potato, three potato, four,
five potato, six potato, seven potato more.
Icha bacha, soda cracker,
Icha bacha boo.
Icha bacha, soda cracker, out goes Y-O-U!

Jiminy crickets....
It's potato harvest time and once again I am a complete failure...I cannot seem to grow a friggin' potato for the life of me...If you have been one of my  followers- then you know I tried last year to grow them in tires- what a bust..The tatoes this year at least have green growth ...where there is green, there is hope

Last year's horrid potato harvest...

This year's pathetic potatoes-looks like a repeat of last year's harvest..But who know's what's lurking underneath the straw.

 Stay tooned. Till then...