Category Archives: photography

dark chocolate covered candied orange peels

Ran across THIS online – recently and realized I could NOT go one more week of my life without making and consuming these delicious wondrous treats.


So here I go.

I started with four oranges…


cutting off both “ends” and scoring the peels – slicing off little strips and just…eating the oranges. because why not?


Blanching the strips in boiling water – TWICE – for several minutes (3-4) each time.


straining and rinsing the rinds in between the two blanchings


meanwhile – I had one cup of sugar boiling with one cup of water – making a simple syrup


after blanching, straining and rinsing the peels twice – I put them in the boiling simple syrup


and covered it – turning it to low – and letting them simmer in the sugar water for an hour.


then I removed them from the syrup with a slotted spoon and placed them on a wire cookie rack (parchment paper underneath) to cool and dry for a few hours.



they’re so beautiful ..and delicious – just candied like that!

but chocolate makes everything better.


so I melted some dark chocolate chips…


double-boiling – water in the pot, and a glass bowl with the chocolate inside.

until it was all smooth and creamy-licious…


and then dipped each slice right on in!


and placed them on parchment paper to cool and harden…


omg so freaking delicious and beautiful.

I love orange-vanilla everything, and orange-chocolate everything. I’m in heaven.

(the house smells delicious after blanching the orange peels, too, bee tee dubs)


jump turn wiggle wiggle wiggle

This year, Mother’s Day is celebrating its 100th anniversary (first celebrated May 9, 1914) and I couldn’t help but list 100 things I love about my own personal mother.
mee maw mother mama
Here we goooo…….
1. your delicious cooking

2. your spot-on gift giving of the right thing at the right time


3. passing on your love of folk music record albums

4. and flea market junk shops covered in kudzu

5. letting me do dumb things to my hair because hey, it’s just hair

6. you get ALL the Jeopardy questions right

7. you took me to see my very first theater movie and it was Raiders of the Lost Ark

8. you took me to meet Darth Vader when RotJ came out


9. you chaperoned my field trips

10. you volunteered at my school

11. those awesome carnivals at Solomon

12. those outfits and scrapbooks you tried making

13. you didn’t make me wear those bubble suits

romper best

14. you made me wait til Jr High for makeup

15. and leg-shaving, no matter how I clamored in 5th and 6th grade

16. the year of the 7 Easter Dresses because they were all so awesome we couldn’t choose just one

17. all the hard work and help for my first wedding


18. all the hard work and help for my second wedding

19. getting on a scary plane to be there at my second wedding


20. loving Noah so so much


21. being a dog-lover


22. helping keep my hamster alive when she had breast cancer

23. helping keep Marty alive when she got hit by a car


24. keeping scary adult things to yourself when I was too young to be exposed to them

25. flirting with my dad all the time


26. board games!

27. making chicken and dumplins for my friends


28. letting me drag Carrie along anytime we went to Phenix City/Columbus to visit family

29. Chrysalis


30. driving me all over the place until I was 21

31. helping me move to Asbury

32. helping me move BACK from Asbury

33. coming to visit me while I was at Asbury

34. letting me hop on a plane and go to Honduras without you

35. white water rafting, lightning storm tubing with us and braving the bugs in TN

36. heading up Girl Scouts in Hawai’i

flying up

37. and Alabama (man I bet that’s a lot of work)

38. super fun best birthday parties ever


39. sleepovers in the summers that lasted for weeks at a time!

40. your thick dark hair

41. and your pretty eyes!


42. your always awesome fingernails

43. your love of diversity

44. and tolerance

45. and humanity

46. that time you called me “MITCH”

47. not trying to make YOUR fears, MY fears

48. your long voicemails

49. red velvet cake

50. bratwurst and German potato salad on my birthday every year

51. coke and milk

52. Roger Rabbit; my first drive-in movie with you and dad in the Chevette (I was still awake when Cocktail came on, too, but I don’t think you guys noticed. but maybe you did.)

53. Chuck E Cheese for my 16th birthday and not making me feel too dumb about it 🙂

54. back to school shopping; must have been QUITE a chore for you.

55. not murdering teenage Janet

56. not EVER making me feel like you didn’t love me just like I was, or you didn’t want to be my mom

57. Easter baskets well into my 20’s

58. and Christmas stockings, too

59. your amazing contagious laugh

60. when people tell me I’m just like you .. and “whimsical” and “funny” are the two words they use most often

61. your broad, super sense of humor

62. your hugs that feel like home

63. your never-ending belief in my potential (even now!)

64. ‘RISE AND SHIIIIINE” sung at the crack of dawn. not.


65. ‘away in a manger’ and dootselling (sp?)

66. terrific breakfast every school morning for 12 years

67. never making me feel I had to worry about money

68. but not spoiling me and getting me every darn thing I wanted

69. forgiving my dumb mistakes time and again

70. and not allowing them to change your view of me

71. always praying for us, Will and Noah and me.


72. coming to rescue me the first time I ever babysat a baby.

73. not trying to taint my relationships with anyone just because YOUR relationship with them wasn’t positive.

74. letting me try my hand at ballet, gymnastics, etc…even if it never panned out

jump turn wiggle wiggle wiggle

75. not liking peanut butter, cheese, or chocolate because hey, more for me!

76. your love of Lemon Love’s Baby Soft

77. manners. and phone manners. respect for everyone (obviously, unless they do things to lose it)

78. thank you notes!

79. chores & allowances

80. teaching me that in life bad behavior = you’re going to have a bad time.


81. and good behavior = you’re going to have a good time

82. decorating for Christmas all together

83. all your bunnies all over the house

84. letting me watch the Simpsons and In Living Color with you guys on Sunday nights

85. NOT being the kind of mom who leads her daughters to believe skinny and covered in makeup is the only way to be pretty

pretty ladies

86. your love of TOYS


87. ..and butterflies and curly hair

88. and soft blankies and babies

89. and sweet tea and irises

90. …and framed photos

91. and singing cards and dancing snowmen

92. and comfort food and Pixar movies

93. and liverwurst and cream cheese sandwiches

94. and driving fast and taking naps…

95. and reading in bed and Christmas lights


96. and funny movies and long books

97. …and Butterfingers

98. and the under-dog and the downtrodden

99. awesome cars and comfy shoes

100. and hopefully 100 (or more) other things I’ve inherited from you…



the last several years have taught me that parenting is HARD and no one – nobody – does it perfectly (just like being a kid is hard, and no one does it perfectly)…

but if you can be loving, and forgiving and funny and giving, interested and interesting, calm in the storm and exciting when you can be, intelligent and open-minded, well-read and worldly, (mostly) patient and always encouraging…then you’re the perfectest mom there is, and you’re a lot like MY mom.




thnks fr th mmrs

so the rest of November went like this:

I spent almost a week in Alabama for my favorite uncle’s funeral.

it was small, sad. it was good to see all the people I love, hug their necks, kiss their faces. it was too damn hard to say goodbye to Uncle Peter, though.

I was not ready for it.

I know… no one ever is. but still.

Upon my return to MA, William departed almost immediately for Wisconsin to spend about a week with his mother, who’s recently begun battling cancer.

William & his mom

mom and dad

his little sister and her four children live there, with his parents, and so he got to visit with them, as well

We were all reunited on the 20th and after an uneventful week of school, work, hikes, duck feeding, Marty wrasslin’, and the like –

our next door neighbor’s house burned to the ground on the 27th.

I say “next door”, because it’s the lot right beside ours, but the house is really directly behind ours, across a bunch of water, so we were safe.

the family lives in CT, and this is their summer-home…

the brown house on the right

Sirens and lights were going by our house and we had no idea why…until Noah called to us to come see ‘Neighbor’s house is on fire!’….

beautiful house that the owner poured his heart into

that my mom, ‘aunt’, and ‘sister’ stayed in for a week when they came from Alabama for my wedding. [and another dear friend who flew in from Texas for a couple days too]

the morning after

only remaining semi-wall standing

so heartbreaking, and my view of the lake is that much sadder now.

luckily, no one was injured – the neighbor’s (on the other side) house was damaged some, but their cat was saved – whew.

no word yet on the cause (that we’ve heard, anyhow)

the next day…still reeling…and we’re off to CT for Thanksgiving with William’s fam:

…the next day, people headed to our place for Thanksgiving II: The Turkening

there were hikes and games and movies and leftovers like you wouldn’t believe!

and we discovered someone’s gotten as tall as his aunt!


hope December holds more happy happy memories for us

and less loss.

busy bees

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
George Bernard Shaw 

The first weekend in November was chock full of family photos!

It IS Christmas card time, after all 🙂

1.5 year old Abby and her adoring parents in Sturbridge on Saturday, and Photo-Palooza 2013 with a beautiful, laughing, slightly chaotic group of friends at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, CT on Sunday..

wanna sneak preview?

*all but one image taken by the ridicutalented William Jacob

something wicked

“First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys.”

― Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

Took my favorite red-headed-stepchild out and about yesterday for a little Halloween photo shoot…he’s a sixth grader this year, and who knows how many more years of trick-or-treating we have together!?

We headed to a local cemetery – an abandoned hotel – and a little playground…

and he creeped his little heart out, cackling, laughing, running around, sneaking up on me, and occasionally asking me “not to go too far away because I get scared when I can’t find you!” (ohhh the irony)

Starring Noah, as himself, and THE scariest costume he’s ever chosen – picked especially because he knows I am terr-i-fied of clowns (thanks, Stephen King!)



I’m going to wear this costume for YEARS, he said.

“My wife will have to help me get into it…”

he said.








the homeowners LOVED him, snapped pictures of him, complimented him, made a big fuss. he loved every minute! one guy shoved the whole bowl at him “TAKE IT! TAKE ALL THE CANDY, JUST GO!”

kids ran away, dogs barked at him, I could barely stand to look at him! totally successful costume, I’d say!

he also said “thank you” to every single candy-giver, took off his mask if little children seemed too scared, told nearly everyone he saw “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!”…I love that kid!

Halloween wraps fear in innocence, 

As though it were a slightly sour sweet.

Let terror, then, be turned into a treat…

~Nicholas Gordon

*more pictures of our creepy little guy here

today’s harvest


four pear tomatoes, couple of peppers


raspberries for syrup-making or jam-making!



a butt-ton of basil …I’m makin’ pesto tonight!



and what’s probably the last of the delicious fresh green beans, also to be gobbled up this very night

(date night!)

while the boy’s off en(hopefully)joying his adorable self with the rest of the 6th graders at Camp Bournedale!


gonna do some catching up on Breaking Bad, too.

oh, Jesse.

you make me want to cry.


you’re my sweetheart

[click through for our wedding slideshow, images courtesy of Graham Marley ]