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comfort & joy | Home & Away

Posts from the family Category

poached birthday smile

rose 90 birthdat table

sunday birthday snow

thanksgiving dessert and crackers
snowflake butternut cookies
When my nephew was two, he (his mom and dad) gave me a picture frame that read: “Aunt: Like Mom Only Cooler.” Recently someone told me that I was a good aunt; it was probably the best compliment I could have received. You see, Aunts have been important characters in my life. They have been unconditional resources of hospitality, information, understanding, experience, perspective, inspiration and support.

My Great Aunt Rose celebrated her 90th birthday last month. There was cake, pie, ice cream, fried chicken and a barbershop quartet! She was in heels and sparkles and beamed all weekend long. The first snow of this season was on that mid November Sunday morning, the day she was born, 90 years later (she recalled that it snowed the morning she was born, too). I celebrated my 34th birthday the following week, on a Sunday morning, the same day that I was born.

As I reflect on my life to this point, the opportunity to be an aunt is one of my great privileges. I think about the aunts in my life and what they have meant to me. It is not that they are cooler than my mom, or necessarily blood relatives to my mom, but they are maternally special. I am proud to continue that legacy; I had (still have) good teachers. Of course my uncles are cool too, but that’s an entirely different matter.

kindergarten chalk drawing

bead crown

bread and jam for frances

bread and jam for k

grasshopper perched on black eyed susank smile front step

picking red raspberries and purple bowl

shuck corn front step silkskindergarten hands up 2
Tomorrow is a big day for my niece (and her family); it’s the first day of Kindergarten! Earlier today we did things the almost-kindergartener likes to do: make bead crowns, read books, eat bread and jam, play library, shuck corn, pick raspberries, chase butterflies, and draw on the sidewalk.  This little wonder has more heart and energy than she knows what to do with, and I am proud to be her aunt.  She cannot wait for school, and we cannot wait to see what is in her future.

9 soccer ball cupcakes 9 soccer ball cupcakes blow out candle 9 soccer ball cupcakes leftLast weekend I was privileged to join a special group of kids to celebrate my nephew’s ninth birthday, Italian soccer style. My sister put together a delicious pasta bar and festive cupcakes to match the theme. The evening ended with backyard soccer and ice cream cones! I became an aunt the morning he was born, and my heart has been growing bigger every day since. I wish so many things for him, including a life that continues to be filled with love and laughter.

1 collins schoolhouse teacher desk

2 collins schoolhouse weathervane

3 collins schoolhouse bookshelf magic windows

4 collins schoolhouse weathervane

5 collins schoolhouse bell tower

7 collins schoolhouse wood stove

8 collins schoolhouse chimney soot

9 marbles and bell in mirror

10 collins schoolhouse numbers blackboard
On a Sunday afternoon visit to a rural one room schoolhouse, on the opposite end of the county from where my great-grandmother taught a century ago, I thought about how we learn, where we learn, and why we learn. I also thought about how fortunate I was/still am to be surrounded by a family of public educators. That legacy of a lifelong love of learning is not something I take lightly.

1 deviled eggs on romaine in tupperware a deviled egg yolk ingredients boiled yolks ready for filling on romaine c recipe for deviled eggs deviled egg filling two teaspoons deviled eggs mom's way

Deviled eggs: one tasty dish that I associate with the return of Spring.  I first remember eating them at my grandma’s house for Easter dinner, then as part of the potlucks during Memorial Day and Fourth of July cook-outs.  It never occurred to me why my deviled eggs never tasted like those that I remembered eating at family gatherings.  I had been following, what I thought were, fairly standard deviled egg recipes; they all included some sort of mustard.  It turns out that the deviled eggs I grew up to love only had three ingredients — eggs, sugar and “salad dressing” (a sprinkling of smoked paprika was my addition).  I learned this fact when I made deviled eggs with my mom this past Easter, her way.  She turned to her recipe box and pulled out an index card describing her mom’s recipe.  We laughed at the spelling of the title, and she told me, “I typed this recipe card the day before I left for college.”  Slightly sweet and simply egg-creamy.  Now I look back at these photos and think of the promise of Spring and the comforts of home.

A helpful resource: 5 Secrets to Perfectly Hard-Boiled Eggs – thank you, Design Mom.

a cloud sculpture central park a magnolia central park south blossoms west fifty seven (six)A few weeks ago I was in Manhattan for a quick research trip with my mom (though all researchers know that there is no such thing as quick research).  It was snowing when we flew into the city at midnight, and despite cool temperatures, there were signs of spring throughout the city.  These photos were taken nearby Central Park South.  Sculpture by Olaf Breuning.

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