Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peace Is Possible-Mattie J. T. Stepanek

Passing along this post from my friend, Mattie's Mom, Jeni Stepanek:

Saturday, September 3 · 10:30am - 1:00pm

Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park-King Farm
1800 Piccard Drive
Rockville, MD

Created By

More Info
Come join us for a FREE party, co-hosted by the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation and the Lollipop Kids Foundation, in the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park on Saturday, September 3, from 10:30 am - 1:00 pm.

As we move closer to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it matters that we take time to talk about and celebrate hope and peace.

Arrive by 11:00 am to hear Jeni Stepanek ("Mattie's mom") share a few inspiring words about her son's life and legacy - and about the message of hope and peace this young man offered to each of us!

People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to join the celebration. There will be plenty of activities for all to enjoy.

Order your personalized gift brick by July 12 and see it displayed at the event! For more information or to order your brick, email debbie@lollipopkidsfoundation.org.

Interested in volunteering for the Peace Celebration? Email volunteer@lollipopkidsfoundation.org and we will match your talents to our needs!

For questions or to make a donation of services or materials to the Peace Celebration, email heartsongbooks@aol.com or debbie@lollipopkidsfoundation.org

TOGETHER, we can spread the message of hope and peace.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Auburn, PA, Another Quaint Town in Schuylkill County, PA

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Since the transition to digital television reception, we have received an extra station known as This on WGAL-2. This broadcasts movies all day long, one after the other. One morning a movie came on entitled Emily Of New Moon. I absolutely loved the scenery of what I first assumed was New England during the late 1800's. I later learned that it was written by the author of Anne Of Green Gables, a book adapted to my favorite all time television series.

Emily Of New Moon was written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and made into a Canadian Television Series just like Anne Of Green Gables. As in Anne Of Green Gables, Emily Of New Moon is also set on Prince Edward Island.

Lucy Maud Montgomery, like my own mother lost her mother at an early age and was raised by her grandparents. She lived an interesting life as a child, and also spent much time with aunts and uncles. She actually grew up on Prince Edward Island and much of her own life is packed into her novels.

When I read her biography, I saw so many similarities between her life, and mine. We have many of the same character traits, and experiences. When Anne Of Green Gables was rejected by several publishers she stored it away in an old hat box and wrote this in her journal: “I wrote it for love, not money, but very often such books are the most successful, just as everything in the world that is born of true love has life in it.”
I have often said that my book, My Ominous Adventures At True Blue Farm, The Secret Behind The Mirror was originally written for my grandchildren as a family history lesson. I wanted them to know all about my Great Aunt Ree and Uncle Bill's farm, and the fun I always had there. The reason I added the many details of the home was to give my grand children a vivid vision of the way the house looked when I was a child.

I love the time period of the Lucy Maud Montgomery books, Anne Of Green Gables, and Emily Of New Moon, and the close family connections of the extended families. Prince Edward Island seems to be a beautiful place, and is definitely on my bucket list of places to visit. There are museums there in honor of this prolific author.

I so recommend that you read the wonderful books of Lucy Maud Montgomery.
L.M. Montgomery titles include:
Anne of Avonlea (1909),
Chronicles of Avonlea (1912),
Anne of the Island (1915),
Further Chronicles of Avonlea (1920),
Anne’s House of Dreams (1917),
Anne of Windy Poplars (1936), and
Anne of Ingleside (1939).
Kilmeny of the Orchard (1910),
The Story Girl (1911),
The Golden Road (1913),
The Watchman and Other Poems (1916),
The Alpine Path: The Story Of My Career first serialised in Everywoman’s World (1917),
Rainbow Valley (1919),
Further Chronicles of Avonlea (1920),
Rilla of Ingleside (1920),
Emily of New Moon (1923) ,
Emily Climbs (1925),
Magic For Marigold (1925),
The Blue Castle (1926),
Emily’s Quest (1927),
A Tangled Web (1931),
Pat of Silver Bush (1933),
Courageous Women (non-fiction, 1934),
Mistress Pat (1935), and
Jane of Lantern Hill (1936).
Lucy Maud Montgomery Macdonald died of congestive heart failure in Toronto on 24 April 1942. Her body lay in state at Green Gables, then she was buried in her home town’s Cavendish Cemetery. Her husband, Reverend Ewan Macdonald now rests beside her.
“We must follow our ‘airy voices’, follow them through bitter suffering and discouragement and darkness, through doubt and disbelief, through valleys of humiliation and over delectable hills where sweet things would lure us from our quest, ever and always must we follow, if we would reach the ‘far-off divine event’ and look out thence to the aerial spires of our City of Fulfilment.”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Home Grown Tomatoes -Re-Post from August 21, 2009.

My daughter's mother-in-law Pat gave me a couple of her home grown purple tomatoes. Today I had a delicious tomato sandwich, just two slices of white bread smothered in mayonnaise and three thick slices of purple tomato, sliced diagonally. I like the tomato to be right from the garden, not from a fridge. I want it to be room temperature, and oh so yummy.

That is one of the best percs of late summer, all those nice fresh home grown tomatoes.  Here he is, John Denver, singing Home Grown Tomatoes.

My dad loved to grow tomatoes, and beef steak were his personal favorite. Once he taped some to a vine he kept going all winter long in the garage, and took a picture. He sent that picture to my Uncle Charlie in Florida, who thought that Dad actually had tomatoes on his vine in the garage all winter long. Uncle Charlie would continually comment on the way Bud grew tomatoes in his garage all winter long, and I never had the guts to set him straight.

Uncle Charlie grew tomatoes in the winter in his Florida garden, after he moved there from Oxford, NJ. He would always say that although he had tomatoes twice a year, "There is no tomato like a Jersey tomato." He said that the New Jersey soil had just the right amount of acid to grow the best tomatoes in the world.

This idea was confirmed by a comment that my sister Ruth Ann and her husband Tom heard from the late entertainer Don Ho singer of Tiny Bubbles. While on one of their trips to Hawaii several years ago Ruth Ann and Tom had the pleasure of meeting Don Ho. When they spoke of the fact that they were from New Jersey, Don Ho went on to tell them a story. He said that when he was much younger and in the US Armed Services he went home with a fellow soldier to his home in New Jersey. While he was visiting there he ate New Jersey tomatoes and he said that while he had traveled the world, he never had a tomato as good as those that are grown in New Jersey.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hot Dog With Special Sauce -Re-Post

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large vidalia onion, sliced thin and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of catsup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, but not brown.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. or until most of the liquid is reduced and the sauce is thickened.
  5. Makes about 1 cup.

If you hail from Alpha, New Jersey then you should be aware of the best hot dogs with special sauce in the world. Everyone knows that they have been made at Charlie's Pool Room for over three generations. My dad would buy the dogs with special sauce, get them home and dissect them in an effort to duplicate them. He tried everything, but never got the recipe down pat. The above recipe is my recipe, and it is as close as I can get, but certainly not Charlie's recipe.

When I worked at the Warren County Welfare Board in Belvidere, NJ we would have holiday brunch celebrations. Everyone would bring a covered dish. Once I cooked up a large box of hot dogs, made a huge batch of special sauce and put them in a cassarole dish. I reheated them in the lunch room microwave and the smell wafted down the hall. Suddenly, my fellow workers started walking down the hall to find out where the wonderful smell was coming from.

I may be a "Hamburger" from Hamburg, PA, but hot dogs with special sauce are my favorite sandwich, well, except for a Bud's Snack Bar Cheese Steak, but that is for another blog.

Monday, August 22, 2011

When The Sun Sets

This is a re-post from August 2009. I felt this was a good one to read again!

When The Sun Sets

Today they had an auction sale at the home that sits catty-cornered from my home. I could hear the auctioneer rattling off his song, selling all those life time collections of things that my late neighbor had amassed.

I felt sad, yet I did not even know her name, and I had lived in this home for six years. I started planting morning glories at my mail box the first year that I had moved here. A few years ago I notice she too started planting morning glories. I often thought that perhaps she so enjoyed seeing my pretty blue blooms embracing my rural mailbox, that she wanted to see them entwining her mail box too.

Occasionally, I would see this elderly lady watering her morning glories, and other annuals she would have planted around her yard. Yet, I did not notice that she no longer was there, until I saw a household auction sign in her front yard.

All those nic-nacks, kitchen gadgets, furniture, car, and real estate were all sold in a few hours. People came from all over, and cars were parked all the way up and down the road we live on. All of those favorite gifts from birthdays, Mother's Days, Christmas, and anniversaries were bought by strangers. All of her memories were sold in a few hours.

I often joke, "When I die, I will leave behind exactly what Howard Hughes left behind, everything!"

Perhaps it is my age showing, but this auction sale today was disturbing to me. I felt like an entire life was being sold on that corner of a rural road in Berks County, PA. We are so connected to the material things of our lives, because many of them have other meanings. A plate from a fun trip to the Bahamas, or a trivet from the Poconos, while others are gifts from loved ones who have passed on. Each has a special memory that will die when that stranger purchased it from that auction sale.

It is my desire that my family and friends will want my things, and the memories that go with them. I do not wish to have them sold off at an auction sale. I would like someone to look at my mantle and remember how I always wanted a mantle like this, how my friend John who happens to be an auctioneer, gave it to me, and how my husband Roger refinished it. My ten year old granddaughter Emily loves a seashell that is on that mantle, and it was given to me by my late dear friend and former neighbor, Dorothy Burke. It will be Emily's possession someday, and she can pass it on to one of her children, or grandchildren.

I had worked at a welfare board in the nineties, and was a typist for the unit that placed seniors in nursing homes. It always disturbed me to see their case folder, with pictures of their home, real estate appraisals on that home, pension, and life insurance values within. I would see that they worked in New York City at prestigious firms when they were young. They did everything expected of them, earning a good living, buying that cute home in the country, insuring that they had a policy to cover burial expenses. Now it was all up for grabs by the nursing home that would act as a penitentiary, a place to do penance for growing too old to take care of oneself until that day when you pass away. In my mind this just never seemed right or fair.

To quote Abraham Lincoln, "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

On This Day In History 1955, Excerpts From My Book

The flooding Forks Of The Delaware August 18, 1955, and the damaged Free Bridge.

An excerpt from My Ominous Adventures At True Blue Farm, The Secret Behind The Mirror:

I awoke to Uncle Bill’s voice calling us to get up and come out to the kitchen for some homegrown peaches and condensed milk sprinkled with sugar and served in pink depression ware bowls. Oh, how wonderful they tasted and how I loved those unique depression ware bowls!
The rain had finally stopped. The local radio station broadcasted the horrifying news of the death and destruction that Hurricane Diane had brought to the Delaware River region. The headline of the local newspaper reported the death, destruction, and loss of electric power to the entire area.
Our own hometown received extensive damage from the flooding tributaries, and the bridge between our town in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that had spanned the Delaware River since 1895 was severely damaged by another bridge that was washed down from the Pocono Mountain area.

Another Excerpt from my book, My Ominous Adventures At True Blue Farm, The Secret Behind The Mirror:

The next morning we awoke to pretty little pink depression ware bowls filled with peaches, sprinkled with sugar and drenched in canned milk. Life was a little too ominous, certainly eventful and especially heartwarming at True Blue Farm. I anxiously anticipated this day, because today I was going back home and would soon see my Mom and Dad again. The best was yet to come, as I would also get to meet my new baby sister, Ruth Ann. THE END

Happy Birthday Ruth Ann! I love you and cherish you as a sister and a true friend!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Too Precious For Words...

The first photo is my grandson Jacob and his cat Max. Max is quite a bit larger these days!

There has never been a cat

Who couldn't calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair.
~Rod McKuen

What greater gift than the love of a cat? ~Charles Dickens

Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one.

There is only one smartest dog in the world, and every boy has it.

If there is a heaven, it's certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.

Pam Brown

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Diane's Best Ever Strawberry Shortcake

Bisquick biscuits:
  • 4 2/3 cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
The strawberry shortcake biscuit recipe used to be on the side of the Bisquick box. For some unfathomable reason, the company has started to print the recipe on the inside of the box.
Heat oven to 425°F. Stir baking mix, melted butter, milk, and 6 Tbsp of sugar in a mixing bowl until soft dough forms. Divide dough into halves. Pat each half into a circle the size of a small dinner plate, transfer onto a greased cookie sheet or I prefer parchment paper. I then sliced it with a sharp knife as though you were cutting a pie, make an X then sliced through the middle of the X horizontally and then vertically. (I did this step to make it easier to cut when ready to serve) Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Two quarts of fresh strawberries
Wash 2 quarts of fresh strawberries, put aside the 8 best looking strawberries leaving the stem and leaves intact. Next clean and cut the remaining strawberries, add sugar as to your preference of sweetening. Stir, let sit about an hour. Drain the juices off.
Next you will assemble about 45 minutes before serving. I placed the eight triangular shaped biscuits on my serving plate in a circular fashion. I used a small container of cool whip because it holds up better than whip cream, but you can choose what to use. I then spread the cool whip over the biscuits making it fluffy around the parameter, I then added half of the strawberries.
Next I added the second set of eight triangular shaped biscuits placing them evenly atop the strawberries aligning with the lower set of biscuits. Then I spread 2/3 of the second small container of cool whip over the biscuits in the center, also making if fluffy around the parameter of the center, and added the remaining strawberries to the very center(see photo . Lastly I placed 8 dollops of the remaining cool whip, one to each wedge (see photo) and placed the whole strawberry in the middle. Serves 8.
* I had slightly altered this recipe for the cake in the photo, as it was to serve 10.