If We Were Having Coffee…8/13/16


Hi! Welcome! Come on in out of the heat. As you can feel, here in NJ we are smack in the middle of a summer heat wave. Everytime I check my weather app it has that ominous red banner across the top – “ALERT! EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING!”  So….

If we were having coffee…(inside at the kitchen table with the ceiling fan on high), I would pour you a cup of strong French roast and ask you how your week has been? Have there been any exciting events in your world? Did you face some challenges or did the week just coast along quietly? If you were to ask me the same questions, I would tell you that my week turned out very different than I had expected, much less eventful but much more relaxing.

The plan had been for the four of us (hubby, myself and both kids), to go camping up in Pennsylvania with my Father-in-law, my brother-in-law and his family. Well, after tracking the weather up there which included the same nasty heat warning along with major storms, Miss Dee and I bailed. We are not good campers in the best of weather and since Miss Dee had a chance to go down the shore with a group of friends on Thursday (an outing she much preferred, especially since the weather here was much better), we decided to let the boys fly solo.

From a past camping trip...

From a past camping trip…

This summer camping trip to Worlds End State Park has been a tradition with the men in my husband’s family since he was a kid. Mr D started going when he was  about 5, so they tend to get along fine without we ladies. Miss Dee and I only consented to attend a few years ago after my FIL traded up from a tent to an air conditioned camper that sleeps 6 and has a full bathroom. You can see my idea of “roughing it” is less “rough” than most people’s! Even with these amenities, though, I can only stand about three days before I start craving the comforts of home and a few hours of alone time. As it turned out, this trip was a lot more adventurous than any of us originally intended.


If we were having coffee…I would tell you that I knew something was awry when the phone rang Thursday afternoon and I saw D-man’s name on the caller ID. There is no cell service at the campground so his being somewhere else was telling in itself. The somewhere else turned out to be an urgent care clinic in one of the nearby towns. The group had taken advantage of a break in the rain to do some hiking and my FIL had miss stepped on some wet leaves and taken a fall. Luckily, he only suffered some minor injuries including a twisted ankle and some cuts on his head but they were about 3 miles into the hike so getting him back to the car with the heat closing in and the blood gushing (anyone who has ever had or seen a head wound knows how much they bleed) was a challenge. The fact that my 74 year old FIL is in better shape than most 30 year olds certainly helped in the matter. Eventually, they made it back to the car and over his protests drove my FIL to the nearest urgent care where the doctors took some X-rays to make sure he didn’t break anything and then patched up his cuts. All in all, it could have been much worse so we are pretty thankful for that.

Just to end the day on an equally “fun” note, a massive storm blew through later forcing them to spend the whole night huddled inside the camper trying to find ways to entertain themselves. When they woke up on Friday, my boys were more than ready to head home. Sometimes you just can’t catch a break!

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that the biggest adventure I had all week was having an entire day on Thursday, all to myself! I know some people won’t get the appeal,  but it’s a very rare thing for me and I was practically giddy with anticipation. I didn’t really do anything exciting, just odds and ends around here and a few quick errands,  but it was still a treat getting to choose what and when to eat meals and how to spend my time without having to consult or consider anyone but me! Ahh! Let’s hear it for the little things.

If we were having coffee…I would tell you how totally floored I am over the fact that there is only about three weeks left in my summer vacation! My bucket list ain’t lookin as good as it did last year especially now that some  items like “camping” and “kayaking” have suffered a permanent hit. This week, I intend to post an update just to revaluate what is left and what I am most likely to accomplish in the next 23 days. This should be interesting….

I can see that it is getting on towards afternoon so I guess we should wrap up our little visit and get on with the day. This afternoon I will be busy with my volunteer gig at the charity thrift store downtown but tomorrow is up for grabs. Maybe I will be able to chip away some stuff on that bucket list! Wish me luck and thanks so much for stopping by!

The “Weekend Coffee Share” is brought to you courtesy of Diana at Part Time Monster. Stop by and check it out!

An Abundance of Blueberries!


This Sunday my family and I took a road trip to Hammonton, NJ – the blueberry capital of the world. If this little tidbit about Hammonton is news to you, don’t feel bad. I’ve lived in Jersey my whole life and I didn’t know till a few weeks ago! You can even Google it. Apparently, blueberries are very particular about the Ph levels in the soil and Hammonton’s proximity to the Pine Barrens gives the soil just the right quality to produce world class berries.  Who knew, right? Anyway, our excursion this weekend  was because the town was holding their annual blueberry festival, which Is now in its 30th year.


We were invited to the festival by our friend Vinny, who is a native of Hammonton and whose father happens to be head of the chamber of commerce. He told us about how the town had suffered through a period of closed businesses and rundown neighborhoods but has been on the upswing recently. The blueberry festival is one of the  biggest event each year and draws an incredible number of people.


Vinny, who my Hubby knows through his work, moonlights as a singer in a cover band called “Stealing Savanah.” Guess who was providing the entertainment at the festival? We’ve been to see the band many times at local bars, but this was Miss Dee’s first chance to catch their act.  They perform a wide range of songs from the 1980s up to today’s hits. She seemed to be impressed.

[Summer Bucket List item #23. Yay me!]

Vinny found a unique use for a traffic cone. Whatever it takes to be heard!

Vinny found a unique use for a traffic cone. Whatever it takes to be heard!

We arrived around noon and after securing a parking spot in a nearby field that some industrious owners had offered at $5 per car, we followed the sound of Vinnys voice to an outdoor stage on wheels topped with a yellow and white awning. There was another large tent beside it with about fifty picnic tables overflowing with people of all ages eating lunch and enjoying the music. There was all kinds of food for sale but we had packed a picnic lunch and after locating some other friends that we knew were in attendance, we settled in to eat and enjoy the music. The day was rather warm but there was enough of a breeze in the shade of the tent to keep it from being unbearable.


After the band was  finished their set, and we’d said hello to Vinny, we went off to explore the many booths and tents offering up crafts and goodies of all sorts. There were a lot of blueberry items, naturally, both to eat and as decorations.  We even took a moment to check out the blueberry pie eating contest which looked messy and fun, and treated ourselves to some Italian water ice. Hubby saw some Philadelphia Eagles crafts that I had to talk him out of buying and Miss Dee almost bought her brother a marshmallow shooter as a housewarming present but reconsidered. There were tents with beautiful jewelry and fine glass pieces from nearby Weaton Village as well as doll clothes and face painting.

Wow, there are still Eagles items that my Hubby doesn't own!

Wow, there are still Eagles items that my Hubby doesn’t own!


The festival ran from 11:00 to 4:00 and judging from the crowds, was an outstanding success. Vinny and his dad thanked us for coming and sent us on our way with an entire case of blueberries and a few different baked goods! What a great way to spend our Sunday afternoon. We will have to put it on our calendar for next year. In the meantime, does anyone have any good blueberry recipes?


If We Were Having Coffee…6/18/16


If we were having coffee today I would tell you that for the last two weeks life has been crazy wild!  In fact, I’ve misplaced last weekend all together. I never managed a coffee post. I know that for sure, but the rest is a bit of a blur.

That being said, we would defintely need to do some catching up. There is a beautiful sunset heading our way so I would probably suggest we take our refreshments to the porch and then ask you to tell me what has been happening in your world. Have there been big events or small victories? Was it a landmark week or a laid back sabbatical? Fill me in!

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that my past few weeks have been filled with endings. There were some happy endings, a happy but hard ending, and sad ending as well.

I would tell you about the happy endings first. Hubby and I finished out our school years. (YAY!) Don’t get me wrong. I love my job and in September I will be more than ready to see the children’s smiling little faces again, but school wise, June is the horror story of  American public education. The children have already sent their brains on vacation and everyone in the building is out of patience. Enough said.

My “sad”ending was the passing of my dear friend Helen’s father. I’ve mentioned Helen before. She was my partner in crime from the 5th grade on and her parents were a big part of my childhood as well. His viewing was Tuesday evening and was overflowing with visitors paying their respect.

Helen’s dad would have celebrated his 94th birthday next month. He served as a photographer during WWII, married and raised three children, spent his 90th birthday celebration at a Phillies baseball game, his favorite place to be, surrounded by his friends and family. He had a great sense of humor and he could repair any car ever made. The night before his death, he was out to dinner with his family and enjoyed a wonderful meal. He retired to bed and passed away peacefully in his sleep. So while his death was obviously a sad event, his service also became a celebration of a full and happy life.  I guess that’s all any of us can ask for.

Finally, if we were having coffee, I would tell you that my “happy but hard” ending came in the form of Miss Dee’s high school graduation. While I am proud as peaches of her and all her amazing accomplishments, I’m also sad knowing that phase of her life is over. She is a bit sad as well, although I’m pretty certain that the endless graduation parties on her schedule will over come her sadness.

The graduation ceremony was very nice and the weather, although rainy all day, cleared just in time for it to be held outside. This is a better venue than the high school auditorium because each graduate can have more guests and also because they have the space to toss their hats in the air at the end of the program, a tradition around here.

Here is Miss Dee sharing a moment with her big brother…


Aren’t they cute?

Well, if we were having coffee…that would bring us to yet another ending. Thank you so much for stopping by. Don’t forget to visit Diana at Part Time Monster so you can check out the rest of the “Weekend Coffee Share” posts.

The 2016 Summer Bucket List

It’s that time again….


For the past ten years I have worked at a job that allows me to have the summers off. This is a treat, of course, but it can also seem daunting to someone like me, who thrives on routine. I found that instead of being productive with my time, I was wandering around half-doing a lot of stuff with no direction or plan. Last year I decided to try a little experiment and I called it my “Summer Bucket List” and you know what? It really worked! I wasn’t able to finish everything on the list but it did keep me motivated and focused and when September rolled around, I was able to see exactly what I did with my time off.

Naturally, I was ready to make another handy dandy bucket list this summer!*  Several of the items on my 2016 list are repeats from last summer, either because they were not accomplished last year or, they were so much fun, I wanted to do them again! Anything marked with a (c) is something that makes me a bit nervous or is something I tend to procrastinate about and will therefore be more of a challenge to accomplish. My last day of school this year is June 16th. This is also the date of Miss Dee’s graduation ceremony so that day is pretty much a wash but on June 17th I’ll be off and running! Wish me luck!


1. Take at least six day trips (parks, beach, etc)
2. Drive over a bridge. (c)
3. Repaint the living room walls
4. Travel some where by train
5. Ride a train into the city (c)
6. Create at least six art projects
7. Visit at least 2 museums
8. Take care of some “self maintenance” by catching up on yearly physicals and dentist visits (c)
9. Go camping
10. Go canoeing or kayaking
11. Have at least six lunch dates with friends or family
12. Go zip-lining (c)
13. Walk on the beach
14. Have a picnic somewhere next to the water
15. Have a romantic weekend away with my Hubby
16. Clean out and reorganize the laundry room
17. Maintain my newly planted herb garden and use the herbs often (c)
18. Attend the theater at least three times (films or plays)
19. Reorganize the upstairs closet
20. Touch up the paint on the kitchen cabinets
21. Finish organizing and labeling our family tree and photos
22. Visit a local winery and enjoy a wine tasting.
23. Listen to some live music, preferably outdoors
24. Go dancing with my Hubby
25. Have a “”Lord of the Rings” / “Hobbit” marathon with Miss D

*BTW It would be super awesome to have some company on this adventure so feel free to make your own list if you’re so inclined.

We can compare notes and cheer each other on! 😊

If We WereHaving Coffee…6/4/16


If we were having coffee…I would welcome you in and offer you a chair. The pot is filled with piping hot French roast coffee but since the weather is a bit warm here in southern New Jersey, I would also offer iced tea or lemonade if you preferred. Yesterday, I purchased some yummy red velvet cupcakes with butter cream frosting so you could help yourself to those as well. Sorry, Hubby hasn’t done any baking since our Memorial Day barbecue last week so I don’t have any fresh baked goods to offer.

After we were settled in with our drinks and our snacks, I would ask you how your week has been. I would hope that you have been safe from some of the extreme weather that has been plaguing so many parts of the world. We have been lucky here but my brother, who lives just outside of Oklahoma City, has had a few tension filled days. Out there, he tells me, it’s just a part of life. I’ve also been praying for those effected by the massive amounts of rain in France which has caused deadly flash flooding. I read in the paper today that in Paris many of the works of art in the Louve had to be moved to higher ground for fear of water damage. It feels as if the world has gone a little crazy!

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that my week has been very busy and filled with both good and not so good moments. Work has been a bit challenging because the students’ brains have mostly checked out. The lunch room has become a circus and I’ve been having discussions like “Sometimes it is more important to be kind than to be right.” and “We have 11 days left of school and there is still a lot more learning left to do.”

I don’t really think anyone is listening. They’ve all forgotten the rules, their manners and all their multiplication tables as well. *sigh*

If we were having coffee…I might remind you that this was the week that Mr D’s lease for his off campus housing began. He is living, at the moment, with one foot in each camp. He has a bed, his TVand some personal things at the new house but all his clothing is still here. One of his roommates is completely moved in, one is half way, and the other won’t move in till September. This is good because it give me time to adjust. My Hubby saw the house for the first time this week and his first response once we were back in the car was “How much are they paying for this place?!?” I don’t think he was impressed.

If we were having coffee …I would tell you that my sister and I went to a family reunion this past Saturday. It was fun but also awkward. This reunion was for my father’s side of our family so  everyone there was an off spring of one of my paternal grandfathers six siblings. Linda and I were the only ones representing our branch so we were surrounded by many second and third cousins that we had never met. It’s a weird feeling to be in a room full of strangers that you also happen to be related to!

We met many cousins we had never known and heard some wonderful stories. The best part of the night came when we got to see a very old photo of my mom and her best friend Gertie when they were both just 16. Gertie was my dad’s first cousin. That is how my parents met. My mom would go to Gertie’s family parties with her and check out her good looking cousins! My father noticed!

If we were having coffee…I would ask you about how your parents first met and if you have seen photos of them when they were  dating? Isn’t it strange to think of our parents so young, before we were even a thought?

Well, I see the time is getting late and I am about ready to rest my weary bones, put on my pjs and curl up with a good book. I’ve started rereading the Harry Potter series, something I do every few years, and I’m just at the part where Harry and Hermione send Hagrid’s dragon off to live with Charlie Weasley!

Thank you so much for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Weekend Coffee Share brought to you courtesy of Diana at Part Time Monster.

The Weekly Smile….Barbecues, Family, and the Great Outdoors

Our home tends to be a meeting place. My husband and I have always been fortunate, not only to belong to very close families, but also to have the two separate groups be very close as well. His nephews called my mother “Mimom” like her grandchildren did and our mothers often vacationed together. His father invites my sister and her family to his parties and they share photos and recipes over the Internet. We use every opportunity to appreciate and cultivate this close relationship by doing a lot of entertaining.

This weekend will be the official opening of the barbecue season and I just can’t wait. Not only will I be surrounded by the people I love, who are all relaxed and comfortable together, but we will be doing it under a (hopefully) clear blue sky.

Welcome burgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill, accompanied by coleslaw and potato salad! Welcome sliced watermelon, fresh picked strawberries and corn on the cob. Welcome water ice and Hubby’s famous peach pie. I can taste it all!


Welcome plastic table cloths and plastic cups brimmingwith homemade iced tea. Welcome coolers filled with beer and juice boxes, cans of lemonade and pitchers of my nieces special sangria. Welcome to the net tents that cover the platters and keep the flies at bay.


Welcome back to the yard game and the lawn chairs, to tables with umbrellas and citronella candles. Welcome jars of bubbles and sidewalk chalk just to keep the little ones occupied and welcome to the tire swing that has served us faithfully since my own children were little enough to enjoy it.


But mostly, welcome friends we’ve lost touch with over the long cold winter. Welcome tofamily who arrive, inevitable carrying dishes of salads and desserts to add to our bounty. Welcome laughter and good natured ribbing and the new babies wearing sun hats. Welcome to the smell of sunblock and the feel of the sun on my skin.

Welcome summer.😊

imageThe Weekly Smile is brought to you by Trent’s World. Stop over and collect a few more smiles or even leave one of your own!

If We Were Having Coffee….5/22/16

Good morning!


If we were having coffee…I would bid you welcome and offer you a chair. The coffee pot is filled with strong French roast or I can offer tea (hot or iced) if you prefer. As for baked goods, Hubby’s school had an international day this Friday and he brought home some leftover Indian Banana bread. It’s moist and delicious, just a little spicier than our American version.

After we had our drinks and treats in hand and had settled into a comfy seat, I would ask you how your week has been? I hope it has been pleasant and productive. My week has been very busy but I think we are passed most of the insanity and I see the week a head being much quieter (maybe). What, you may ask, has been keeping me so busy?


If we were having coffee….I would start off by telling you all about Miss Dee’s senior prom Friday night. There was a lot of preparation for that but she looked so grown up and beautiful that it was well worth the fuss. Her critique of the evening was two thumbs up even though the food was only so-so.  I don’t think food was the main focus of the event anyway. They did a lot of dancing and laughing with friends and that’s what really counts!


I would also tell you that we have been busy getting Mr D ready for his big move. Yesterday, Hubby and I purchased a new mattress and box spring set for him so at least he has a place to sleep. He fussed at us about buying it but we told him it could be an early birthday present. The one he has here needed replacing anyway.

So now he has  food and a bed….the basic needs for any 20 year old boy. If we threw in a flat screen TV, he’d be in heaven! There are still some details to see to. For instance, he needs to call this week and see about having the electric and cable switched over, and perhaps he should start packing, but otherwise he’s  ready to move. I’m not ready but that’s beside the point! 😊

If we were having coffee…I would fill you in on my busy work week. It started with the Phillie Phanatic on Tuesday and ended with Up-Stander Day, our annual anti-bulling event, on Friday. This day is filled with guest speakers and workshops for the students and what everservice project the children have chosen to work on this year, is gifted. This year they put together care packages for families staying at the local Ronald McDonald House. The kits contained shampoos and lotions as well as snacks and small toys. The student did a great job contributing items and we were able to make over 60 packages! Ronald, himself came to thank them. We certainly have had some unusual visitors at school this week!

imageIf we were having coffee…I might share the fact that yesterday was my 22nd wedding anniversary.  Hubby surprised me with a special evening that was both romantic and delicious! I won’t say too much though because it really deserves a whole post of its own so stay tuned! 😊

Thanks so much for coming by today. I’ve certainly enjoyed our chat but I should really get started on my “to-do” list now. Feel free to linger over your coffee a bit, enjoy the nice weather and the flowers blooming through out the yard. The rhododendrons have certainly taken off with a burst of purple! I am so happy that Spring seems to finally have arrived!

The Coffee Share Posts are brought to you each weekend courtesy of the lovely Diana at Part Time Monster.

If We Were Having Coffee…5/8/16


Good morning!

 If we were having coffee…today you would find me in my polka dot robe enjoying a cup of dark roast coffee and a cinnamon bun topped with sticky walnuts. There is plenty to share so please pull up a chair and visit a while.

Today in the U.S. We are celebrating Mother’s Day, so if you happen to be a mom, I would also happily share the chocolates that Hubby presented me with this morning (the coffee, the cinnamon bun and the cute little sign above, were also from him). You should get some now because chocolate doesn’t seem to last very long around here. The children are still ‘asnooze but I’m sure they will have a surprise for me as well. They have been trying to be sneaky but you know we Moms notice everything! 😉

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that the best gift I have gotten or will get today came from Mother Nature. After what seems like a thousand days of clouds and rain, the sun is finally shining today! The tempature is suppose to be in the high 60s and as you can see, I’ve already opened the sliding glass doors so we can enjoy the fresh air.

My wet weather has been very tame compared to others, though. So many people around the continent have been dealing with much worse weather like wild fires, floods, and tornados. The news reports have been very scary and I’ve been keeping those families in my prayers. The extreme weather in the last few years is very unnerving. I am afraid it will only get worse if we don’t make it a priority. That discussion could go on but let’s move to something a little lighter for now.

If we were having coffee… I would tell you about an article I read in the paper this week. (Yes, I still read an actual newspaper, printed on actual paper, with actual ink! Crazy, huh? I feel like news in print is more reliable than news on the internet no matter what the source, so we still have the “Philadelphia Inquirer” delivered 7 days a week. At least if they print something that is incorrect, I know who to blame!) But I digress, sorry.

Anyway, the headline for the article read:

“Weasel shuts down world’s largest atom smasher in Switzerland

Hmm? Sounds interesting, right? Apparently a weasel found his way into an area where he was able to chew some exposed wiring effectively shorting out the entire machine. Needless to say it didn’t end well for the weasel but I would almost rather be him than the super smart designer dude who was handed the job of telling his superiors and the press that this “4.4 billion dollar” machine was now out of commission because of an unforeseen glitch involving a weasel!

All that brain power and all that money and no one saw this coming. It made me think that maybe they should invent position  a called “Common Sense Inspector.” You know, just an everyday person whose only job is to sit in on the meetings and point out the little things that might go wrong. They would notice  the stuff that the really ultra intelligent scientist and engineers might not notice.

In fact, doesn’t this sound like the perfect job for a Mom! We’ve  been warning our families about unforeseen dangers since time began….

Be careful with that thing! You might put someone’s eye out!”—“Bring extra socks and underwear in case you get caught in a rain storm or have to stay an extra night!”—“Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched!”—“Measure twice, cut once!”— etc…😊

(Happy Mother’s Day.)

Thanks so much for stopping by! Sorry to have rambled on so! Please tell me about your week and what fun things you’ve been up to. Also don’t forget to visit the rest of the Coffee Share Posts hosted by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster!

If We Were Having Coffee…4/10/16


If we were having coffee today…we would be sitting at my kitchen table looking out the back door (past the Audrey Hepburn calendar clearly turned to the month of April), at the snow and ice covering the yard and deck. Ugh.


Yesterday was such an interesting Spring day. I had planned on running some errands and cleaning up the yard but instead I sat inside and watched the snow fall. I worked on a page for Miss Dee’s “Senior Year” scrapbook, I cleaned the bathroom and did some banking so it was a productive day, just not the one I had planned.

The view, yesterday from my sister's front window.

The view, yesterday from my sister’s front window.

It was, howevera more comfortable day than my Hubby had. He was down the shore helping a friend rebuild a garage….in the rain….and the snow. The garage had been damaged in the last flood that the Jersey shore had endured. A few weeks ago they had cleaned it out, throwing away much of the contents, and removing the siding and water soaked wood. My hubby has a big heart and this friend has done a lot for him so he was determined to help him finish this job before the elements did even more damage. I will find out this evening how it all went.  At least today is sunny and clear.


If we were having coffee…I would tell you that I am pretty excited that I was able to score a piece foam board big enough for the astronaut photo backdrop I was designing. I was a little worried because I needed a piece that was 4’x 5 1/2′ and that size is usually only sold by the case for big company presentations and such. Thank goodness for Craig’s List! There was a gentlemen in Philadelphia that had purchased a case of 20 sheets of  4′ X 8′ foam board and only used half so he was selling the rest for $10 per sheet. Even luckier was the fact that the teacher I’m working with has a husband who works in that area of the city and he ran over after work Tuesday and picked up two sheets. We figured we might need an extra piece somewhere down the line. I can’t wait to get started!


If we were having coffee…I would refill our cups and ask about your week? I hope I has been exciting and productive. Are you reading any good books? Have you done any traveling? Fill me in! I’m so glad you stopped by!

Be sure to visit the rest of the Coffee Share Posts brought to you courtesy of the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster!

The Weekly Smile #12 – Retail Therapy

Today is the first day of our spring break and I spent a very nice day shopping with Miss Dee. We did really well too. Bless her little heart, she heads right for the sale racks just like her momma taught her. 😊  Her senior trip to Disney World is next month so we were looking for some comfortable cool summer shirts and shorts. She also picked up a really cute maxi dress that will be perfect for dinner one night and everything was marked down! Dang! I love getting a bargain!!

After clothes shopping , we stopped by Auntie Anne’s and had pretzel dogs for lunch. If you have never tried these, steer clear because they are totally addicting.  Now they come in little bites so we shared an order of those along with a cup of the world’s best lemonade. Then we made a quick stop at the craft store for some Easter decoration.  I spotted a sign on sale that said “We believe in the Easter Bunny”  so of course we had to have it!

Between work and school, Miss Dee hasn’t had a whole day off in a month so it was quite a treat to just relax and stroll around the stores. The weather was Spring like and I was hanging with my favorite girl. That is certainly worth a smile or two.

imageThis post is part of The Weekly Smile hosted by Trent’s World. Stop by and pick up some more smiles or leave one of your own.