Sunday, June 26, 2022

Dollar Tree and Summer Reading

 

Dollar Tree and Summer Reading


Summer has been moving along and next week will be the 4th of July.  I found this cute tea towel on my latest visit to Dollar Tree.  I like to have some seasonal towels to hang on my dishwasher and this gnome one fit the bill.
They add a nice little touch to the season.
I also like to stock up on other towels...especially these lemon/citrus themed towels.  
These are more of a terry-like feel - they used to have linen towels with lemons all over and I bought bunches of them, but have used them all.  Will have to keep my eye out for them as I use them for gifts.
I make a Lemon Poppyseed Bread that I often give as a gift - it is SUCH an easy thing to make.  I often make several batches ( some big loaves, some small) and freeze them to have on hand.
Here is the recipe...years ago my dear friend and I were teaching together in the same building.  She was the Home Economics ( now called FCS...Family and Consumer Science) teacher and I was the librarian.   We often joked that she loved to read, I loved to cook, and we should switch places one day.   She often made this bread - really more of a cake - with her classes and the students would share it with the faculty.   I have been making it for many years!
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
1 pkg. lemon cake mis
1 pkg. lemon instant pudding ( I use sugar free)
1 cup water
1/2 cup veg. oil ( I use Smart Balance)
4 eggs ( I try to use Eggland's Best)
2 1/2 oz. of poppy seeds

Mix dry ingredients, add water, oil, and eggs.  Mix thoroughly with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.  Stir in poppy seeds.  Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and back at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.
I sprinkle some demera sugar on top before baking.  Cool, wrap in foil and then you can freeze to have on hand.  Truth be told, they rarely make it into the freezer...my husband LOVES this treat!
This morning I delivered one to a friend  - I wrap the tea towel around the loaf and it just makes it special!
Some other items followed me home from Dollar Tree....I always pick up some batteries.  These D batteries are for a candle that I use on our patio and the price is right.
These sparkling waters were mentioned by Kathryn at 
Do It On A Dime  I never would have thought to look at the bottom shelves for these if she had not mentioned them.   I tried the Lime flavor and loved it - 6 cans of 11.5 oz for 1.25, and bought the Cucumber Mint to try.  I figure that will be a "spa like" refresher.
Keeping up the lemon theme - though not from Dollar Tree - I found this great top at the Talbots Outlet near my home.  I love when Talbots sends those $20 dollar certificates and always manage to find something.  The day I went everything in the outlet was 60% off, so this was a bargain.  Later that week I was browsing through a local department store and found this lemon yellow bag...pretty, roomy, and only 20 bucks, too!

Summer Reading !

I love Summer Reading programs...always had fun with the children when I worked in a public library, and as I moved to school libraries I always encouraged my students to participate in the public library programs.  So grateful my public library has a program for adults...here's what I have been reading so far this summer....

This biography of the beloved Cokie Roberts was so inspiring...I loved her reporting and this book written by her husband reinforced what I always felt - that she was a wonderful woman.



I loved this book...delves into the idea of  parallel lives, or is it just that you are have "false memories".   
 


OK, I will admit, I will read anything with PARIS in the title.  This was an OK read, a mystery and it was entertaining and of course, PARIS!

Just finished this one this morning....I enjoy the way Elizabeth Strout writes and her look at life.  Was able to hear her speak at an author luncheon a few years ago so I always pick up her newest title.  Lucy Barton - from her other books - is the narrator in this one.
That's it for now...starting another book, hopefully at the pool this afternoon.  Summer Reading - I love it.
What have you been up to ?   Are you reading any great books?  Participating in a Summer Reading Program?  Or did you find anything great at Dollar Tree?   Please leave a comment below - I love hearing from you !  Have a great day!

Monday, June 13, 2022

It's The Little Things!

 It's The Little Things!



June has been a busy month so far...and after being homebound for the last two years, that's a good thing.

Sharing some little things I have found or purchased that made a BIG difference for me - 

First up is a trick I learned from Kathryn at Do It On A Dime

I really enjoy all of her tips on shopping at Dollar Tree, Walmart, and other stores.  This tip helps your grommet drapery look great.

We have some grommet drapes on our screen porch to provide shade from the sun in the late afternoon...and to give us a little privacy, too. I also love the "look" they give to our screen porch. But, they never looked even at the top.  If I moved the drapes all close together and a windy day came along they would look all messy and not evenly spaced.  Kathryn shared this trick - 

This is how the drapes looked before I started....

Don't throw out the paper cylinders from your toilet paper...I did not have enough tp rolls, but I had some paper towel cardboard that I used as well.

Cut the paper roll in half on the long side...

and open up the roll.

Since I did not have enough to do the entire projects with tp rolls, I cut the paper towel rolls to the same size.


Next, take the cardboard roll and insert in around the rod in between the grommets..

Repeat as necessary...I did not put one on the end as I like the drape to be right up against the side of the porch - this keeps more sunshine out. But....I just LOVE the way all the folds look so nice and even!

You can see here how finished the drapes look now....a contrast from before.  Note:  Over a few weeks with very windy, stormy weather I found one or two of the rolls turned around and fell off.  I just put them back on and tacked them together with masking tape  - that way even if the wind gets very strong and the rolls turn around they won't fall off.   OK...it is a little thing - but now every time I step out on our porch I think " I love that way that looks".  Easy, peasy, and no cost.  Thank you , Kathryn!  Check out her blog and YouTube channel...she has some amazing ideas.

Have you tried frozen avocados ?  I spied these in Wegmans and gave them a try - we love avocado toast, avocados on our salads, etc.   But...I found that I rarely got a great avocado.  Not yet ripe, wait a bit...oh no, now overripe, and not ready when I want them   So I gave these a try - I think they are meant to be used in smoothies, but I just take some out of the freezer bag and let them thaw for a few minutes ( I might have even zapped them in the microwave!) and they are perfect on salads, tacos, and mash up great for toast.  I will definitely be stocking up on these!
Not much else is new at Our New Vista...we had a busy week last week when we drove to Kentucky to visit friends - 

We drove as far as the Flight 93 Memorial and spent about two hours there.  It is so sad and so moving to be in that space.  We got there in time for the Park Ranger talk and he was wonderful.  

The Tower of Voices was such and unusual and moving site.
So glad we made the trip and gave our respects to the victims who fought and perished there.
Our dear friends invited us to see Hamilton at the Kentucky Center for the Arts and it was amazing.  We had a great couple of days catching up with our friends...then headed home for a very special event at our church.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry visited our church to bless and dedicate a Black History marker  - our church was founded in 1744 and has many historical graves and markers from the Revolution       (including some signers of the Declaration of Independence and soldiers).  Recently the churchyard was renovated and new signage was erected...including signs about Black History.  There was a wonderful reception, the Bishop gave a great talk, and then attended Compline...an evening prayer service.  I was able to meet Bishop Curry and shake his hand...and was impressed by the feeling of joy, peace, love and acceptance that radiates from him.
We finished the week off  with a date night for dinner and Man of La Mancha at our local, wonderful Fulton Theater.
It was a wonderful show and the voices of the lead players were amazing!
That's it...I am pooped.  Ready for a lazy, hazy summer day on our porch with a good book!
Hope you are enjoying the summer - thanks SO much for stopping by Our New Vista.  I would love to hear from you  - please leave a comment below...and have a great week!

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Memorial Day Memories

 Memorial Day Memories




Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day Weekend.  The weather was great and we got to travel to the cemetery where my husband's parents and relatives are buried.  I like to take flowers for Memorial Day - usually red/white/blue - but being that they are of Ukrainian descent and buried in the Ukrainian cemetery, I was excited to find these sunflowers.  Sunflowers are the flower of Ukraine.  These looked so hardy and will take a lot of sun.

John's dad was a WWII veteran who landed on Normandy Beach and fought across Europe to Germany.  I was glad to see that the flag on his grave was a nice, fresh new one.
A nice tradition is that the priest from St. John's Ukrainian Catholic Church comes and prays for all the souls buried in the cemetery - and if you let him know ahead of time he mentions them by name.
Then the priest walks from grave to grave and blesses each one where family members are standing.



He prays and sings a song in Ukrainian that means "may their memory be eternal".  It is a beautifully sad song.


We made sure to get sunflowers for John's grandparents, too.  This may seem to some as a sad visit, but it is good to remember the people who came before us, and it is nice to visit with all the other people who are in the cemetery that day.

After the services at the cemetery we head a few blocks away to a local volunteer fire company for lunch.  This fire company always has a picnic - or block party - on Memorial Day Weekend.  We love to eat the ethnic food!
The most delicious bean soup is made in big, black pots and cooked for hours over an open fire.  

Long poles stir the soup  - they sell it by the cup or by the quart.

No cash is used - you need to purchase food tickets.  For the first time this year we noticed you could purchase you tickets with a credit card. Over the years the prices have increased.  When we were children there were picnics and block parties each weekend .

We purchase enough tickets to eat a good lunch, and the rest is a donation for the fire company.

The big draw at these events are the "bleenies" - or potato pancakes.  In Slovak they are called "platsky" - but whatever you call them, the are DELICIOUS!  This is the bleenie line.  There is always a line for these treats...the line was relatively short when we arrived.  We waited about a half an hour to get served....but that was because people were purchasing several dozen at a time.

Here we are....waiting patiently for our bleenies.

The batter of grated potatoes, onions, flour and I am not sure what else is dropped into troughs of hot oil and cooked until golden brown.  When we were young, these bleenies were 3 for a dollar.  Now they are a dollar each - and worth it.

You can see the enamel pan holding the batter...and the woman with the pitcher is adding more oil to the grills.   The oil is a new thing we saw for the first time....usually these are cooked in lard!

Having done this job myself in years past I know how hot and tired you can get...these volunteers were the best!  You can see the finished bleenies draining off the oil...

And here they are !  Golden brown and delicious.  We limit ourselves to 6 - 3 for each of us.  But really....you could eat a lot more because they are SO good.

Paired with a cup of that wonderful, smoky bean soup and it is a delicious lunch - we wait for this all year !



While we were eating the band started to play...and since we were in the coal regions of Pennsylvania, what else?  Polkas !


Since we live over an hour drive away from the cemetery and picnic we were ready for some ice cream on the way home.  We used to live close to this ice cream and food stand and always try to stop when we are in the area...

The ice cream is all made here and there are wonderful flavors...

We chose Butter Brickle and Mint Chocolate Chip!

There is a small stream that runs behind the picnic tables...lots of ducks and little children wading and looking for fish!

This one came right over to us and wandered around looking for french fries and pieces of the ice cream cones!

It was a wonderful day...and we hope to be able to keep up this tradition for many Memorial Days to come.  We noticed that the crowds at the cemetery are getting smaller as the years go by - and we hope that this service will continue.
What traditions do you have for Memorial Day ?  Did you do something new this year?  Please let me knwo and leave a comment below - I love hearing from you !  Have a great week and Happy Summer!

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