The Kitchen Window

The Kitchen Window
Antique Milk Bottles with Herbs and Flowers

Welcome!

Welcome to the Frog Hollow Farm blog! I've been blogging since January 2010. My interest began after reading some very motivating, intelligent and inspiring blogs. My hope is that you will enjoy reading my posts as I begin to develop my own blogging style. The most fun will be hearing back from you, which I truly look forward to.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring at Frog Hollow Farm

I don't know about you, and I'm sure that this will sound odd to almost everyone, but although I love the warm breezes of a spring day, the flowers, longer days and new garden plans that come with Spring, I have a very hard time transitioning from Winter.




I'm one of those people who loves the coziness of shorter days, fires in the wood stove, wool socks and soft, oversize cardigans to wear around the house and the certainty that Fall will always bring us the holidays, my favorite time of the year.




For me, there is that very awkward time between late February and whenever Spring decides to make it's debut - mud; cold weather; gusty, windy days... seeming even colder to me than the winter.  I just feel awkward all around, even though the calendar and Punxsatawney Phil say that Spring has arrived.



It may go all the way back to when I was a little girl, with a new pastel colored dress and shiny new shoes for Easter Sunday. The problem was, we could never depend on Easter being warm enough for that dress, or dry enough for those new white patent leather shoes.  The warm Easters were wonderful; the wintery ones just terrible.



Yesterday evening I went outside when Frog Hollow Farm Boy drove up the driveway.  The weather was warm enough to go out without a jacket, there was no breeze, and the sun was out.  I may almost be sold on Spring - it does take me a while -  and think that perhaps enough time has passed to help me to begin the transition.

I planted some pansies today - large, happy pansy faces - some really pretty deep violets mixed with some softer shades of violet and white.  The cabbage planters even look happier with some flowers!

Hope all is well - ciao bella!
xxxooo

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Mugs at Frog Hollow Farm

We spend days getting all of our Christmas decorations out each year, and always love finding homemade ornaments and memories from Christmas's gone by, even the piece of Christmas Tree Spode china that my mom chipped one Christmas Eve while she was washing the dishes.  We also seem to have a small collection of memorable Christmas mugs on our shelves, and every time I drink from a mug I think of where it came from and where we were in our lives during that time.


This little mug was a gift from my sister-in-law Tuzza, many, many years ago.  It plays Jingle Bells when you pick it up, and after all these years it still works. We love finding this mug every year and think of Tuzza every time!


These two small mugs were purchased many years ago for 50% off for my children Frank and Katie.  I remember seeing these mugs well before the Christmas holidays and thinking of how expensive they were.  I was so happy to see that they were still on the shelf when the store had their after Christmas sale.  Frank and Katie used these mugs to drink hot chocolate every Christmas - I'm so glad that they survived those preschool hands!


This little Tom and Jerry mug is from the Spode Christmas Tree collection, and is part of a larger set.  I began collecting the Spode Christmas pieces when they were on sale in Macy's and Marshalls.  They used to stay on our hutch shelves during the holidays and used only for Christmas Eve, Christmas morning breakfast, and Christmas dinner.  Several years ago I decided to use them as every day dishes during the holidays, and I'm so glad that  I did.  My very first set of Christmas dishes was the Corelle Holly set, and I was so excited to buy that little set of four Corelle dishes - they were definitely a splurge for us at that time!


These two mugs are from Williams-Sonoma, and came with little cake/sandwich plates in a set.  The first mug is a set of elves building a snowman, and the second set is all the same vintage Santa picture.  They are fun to use, and I always want a cup of steaming hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows on top when I see the Santa mug!



I found this mug in Marshalls last year, and picked it up because it made me smile.  It's a huge mug and my dose of morning coffee looks very tiny in this mug, it works better for tea in my opinion.


Last but not least is this mug that I received as a Secret Santa gift from a wonderful teacher when I taught at the Sawmill School in Tewksbury, New Jersey.  Sue left teaching many years ago, and I would love to catch up with her sometime - she was a really wonderful, intelligent, caring woman.

 

Getting ready for a huge holiday cocktail party this weekend at Frog Hollow Farm.   Above is a photo from last year of one of our appetizer trays - cut up veggies on an antique milk glass cake plate.

Well, I am happy that I found the time to post on my blog today - it was number three on my list of things to do, and I guess that's the only way I am going to get myself to remember to sit down and blog.  All I have to remember now is to put it on my list of things to do! 

xxoo
Ciao, bella!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Frog Hollow Farm is alive and well!


For me, sitting down and deciding to write something, anything, just to begin posting on my blog once again after all these months away feels so good.  So many things have happened, and life is moving so quickly these days, that I realized my blogging helps me slow down and recognize things that happen around me. In the past several months I have looked back at my posts and been amazed at how much I was paying attention to life around me...I don't think that I've been doing enough of that recently.  My blog has turned out to be a chronicle of our lives here at Frog Hollow Farm, and as I look back at the things I wrote about I realize how blessed and lucky I am.  So, here I am, back at the keyboard, ready to reconnect with myself as well as with you all. 


( from Google)


What's been happening here...well, I can't begin without mentioning Sandy, the major storm that hit the eastern seaboard two weeks ago.  This storm was so unique, and such an improbable combination of so many things -  a once in a lifetime event and different from anything I've ever experienced, and it will be a storm that they write about in meteorological texts for years to come.  As some of you may know, FHFB is a meteorologist and he, along with is staff, watched this monster approach the New Jersey coast holding their breaths - it was enormous and devastating to so many.  If you can open the following link it shows some before and after footage of areas on the New Jersey shore.  

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/before_and_after_sandy_photos.html#incart_maj-story-1


FHFB is heading down to Brigantine, New Jersey tonight with a bunch of guys from his office to volunteer and help with some of the cleanup.  


Here are some photos of things we've been up to since we last met - I'll be posting about things separately in the future.





We finally finished the little room off of the kitchen.  I couldn't find a design that I liked, but after Googling words like "pantry", "buttery" and "larder" for what seemed like months, I finally found a photo that looked exactly what I was looking for - and we duplicated it here.  




I miss our gardens, especially the flowers and fresh herbs.  We are already thinking about next year, and what we'll be planting.  I don't know about you, but our garden is always a work in progress.




Lantana growing wild on Lipari, one of the islands off of the coast of Sicily.  

So good to be back, 
Ciao, bella!



Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Visit to the Apple Store


Last fall I switched all of my computers over to Apple products, and I've been adjusting to the new systems ever since.  As part of my purchase I was able to take advantage of Apple's One-To-One Program, which allows me (for a yearly fee) to access all sorts of training at an Apple store, including 1:1 sessions with knowledgeable Apple technicians.

Yesterday morning I spent over 2 hours with Norm, an Apple tech at the Short Hills, New Jersey Apple Store.  A group of about 4 people sat around a large table right in the middle of the store, each of us working on a Personal Project of our choice.  My choice was, of course, the management and organization of my photos - in my last post I had been kvetching about not having access to my photos and my overall feelings of being totally overwhelmed whenever I went into my photo files.

My main objective was to get all of my photos in one location (rather than in an external hard drive, desktop file from older Blackberry photos, and in iPhoto).


My brain seems to become easily tipped and on overload with respect to any computer language, but Norm was great.  As soon as I understood that he was starting with the big picture, and would then help me move into the small, more intricate steps, I was good.  

His suggestion was to begin moving everything over to iPhoto, so the two hours was spent moving photos, creating events, and organizing.  Not everyone I speak to agrees with saving photos in iPhoto, but without their level of knowledge and understanding I need to listen to the Apple techs for the time being.



I still have a lot to do but feel so much better.

And of course, any visit to the Mall at Short Hills is fantastic. I also get to stop by the Whole Foods store in Madison on my way home.


I'm including some of my favorite 'lost' photos for you all to see:

My grandniece Kiara picking strawberries last summer in our garden...

  FHFB posing for me in the city last November.  Katie actually bought him the hat...


Miss Olive taking a cat nap...

Our front cottage garden last summer...

So, for the next few days I'll be organizing the photos into events, then going back to the Apple store to begin working within iPhoto, learning how to better organize and have quicker access to specific photos.  

How things looked before the living room makeover....


and afterwards....


Ciao, bella!
xxoo

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pantry Design


We completed extensive renovations on our farmhouse about 3 years ago, redoing and expanding the second floor, adding on a wrap-around porch and pantry/workroom and connecting the basement with the crawlspace.  All of the rooms have been painted, furnished, decorated and filled with all sorts of things - this was easy to do because each of the spaces had a specific use - I knew what to do with them...except for the workroom off of the kitchen.  

This small room has become the main entrance into the house, as it is right off of the back porch and guests seem to take the porch steps into the house - they are wide, well lit and much safer than the front stone steps - which lead into the conservatory anyway since we don't use the original farmhouse door.  

(P.S. For the last 20 minutes I have been looking for photos of our front doors and porch but everything is so disorganized that I can't find a thing to post.  I will have to make another appointment with the Apple store to help me sort this our and organize my photos.) 

The photo in this post is the design for the workroom that I found on Pinterest and it's perfect!  This room needs to serve as a garden workroom, pantry, entertainment area to hold bar and buffet spreads and an entry mudroom for coats, boots, etc.  So, you can see why I have had so much trouble with the design.  I also didn't want the room to look like a kitchen - every designer I worked with ended up showing me a room that looked like a kitchen.  We will be adding a farm sink and an Sub-Zero glass-front refrigerator to the room.  

My contractor makes a second visit this evening, to begin planning and scheduling everything that needs to be done.  I am very excited and relieved to finally have a design and plan!  

Ciao, bella!
xxoo













http://pinterest.com/pin/83035186849560343/


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tulips


Although it's late February here in northwest New Jersey, the tulips, daffodils and other bulbs that are along the outside walls of our stone farmhouse have been peeking out from their winter naps. 

After the holidays I always love buying fresh tulips - they are so simple and elegant. 

I usually begin with white tulips just to tone down a bit from all of the Christmas decorations and lights, but as you can see, I am all about tulips with color right now!
These gorgeous tulips are placed in an old wooden milk bucket that we purchased up in Cape Cod many years ago.  A smaller, plastic container sits right inside the bucket to hold the flowers and water.  To me at least, tulips always look good in this very primitive container.

This photo was taken with Instagram - you know, I see all of these applications being used by friends and I always give them a try myself, but really don't have a great handle on any one of them. 

Just started a Pinterest account and found a fabulous design plan for my pantry/work room/buttery - a new room that is off of the kitchen and in the planning for the last several years. 

Be sure to check out my next post for the photo!

It's been awhile but I'm happy to be linking over to Seasonal Sundays #89 at the Tablescaper!

xxoo
Ciao, bella!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

M-I-C-K-E-Y......


Our brave boy Connor!

My niece Jennifer, Connor's mom, posted this photo along with this message on Facebook.

A sweet woman we met in the radiology oncology waiting room made and sent this hat to Connor - she knew he loved Mickey! 
Oh the wonderful, caring people we've met through this journey!

They are indeed on a tremendously frightening and heart wrenching journey - how lucky they are to meet wonderful caring people all along the way.


xxoo
Ciao, bella!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ahhhhhh!


This is a photo of a beach in the Dominican Republic.
Sunny skies and a bar that never runs out of margaritas!

xxoo
Ciao, bella!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spring Cleaning in January

I've been on a mission here at Frog Hollow Farm - attacking closets, drawers, shelves, corners - anyplace that has been collecting 'stuff', the kind of 'stuff' that makes me feel a bit closed in.  Even though our winter has been very mild, that closed in feeling is starting to get to me.   

Some of the things I re-discovered during my cleaning, clearing and straightening were:

***My Communion dress ***

My daughter Katie wore this dress for her Communion as well.
It's looking pretty sad.

It's calling out for a good, gentle washing and may even be asking to hang safely somewhere to be admired -  it's a sweet little dress


close up of the lace and trim 

Another cute little handy thing that I rediscovered, although it was only misplaced for a few weeks, was a little book of recipe bookmarks that my daughter gave me for Christmas


I think she found it at Anthropologie.
You place the card on the page you want to save and it has a little cut out that clips onto the page.

It works just like a bookmark, I'm making it sound like it's a fantastic new invention.  It's not, but it's pretty, much prettier than the post-its that I was using to mark recipe pages.  

When you close the book the top of the recipe bookmark shows on the top of the book.


By the way, this Irish Pub cookbook was given to us by our wonderful foodie friends Stephanie and Forrest - I made so many recipes from it for our last year's St. Patrick's Day celebration - and it was all delicious and the recipes I made could be made ahead of time too.

Here's the link to last year's St. Patrick's Day post.
http://froghollowfarmgirl.blogspot.com/2011/03/st-patricks-day-menu-from-irish-pub.html

Today's weather calls for temperatures in the 50s this afternoon - I am still waiting for that big, big snow storm!!!
I think it's time to do my snow dance!!
Ciao, bella!
xxoo

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm just not feeling winter this year - maybe for a few days when we had snow on the ground.  The way things look right now I'm expecting to see the forsythia begin to bloom.  The sun is shining but I need that cold, blustery weather to get into the winter mood.  I'm confused, should I be thinking about making comfort foods or begin making salads?  I'm buying tulips every time I go to the grocery store, but I tend to do that anyway.

So, I've been cleaning out lots of our closets and drawers, which always makes me feel good.  I feel better when the things I see on shelves and in closets are all things that we use - our old farmhouse doesn't have a ton of storage so we need to maximize the space that we have and fill it with things that are functional and of course pretty and meaningful.

Even though I love clearing closets and drawers, I actually have to stop myself from buying new things to fill the spaces I've just cleared!  

Tonight we are trying a new recipe at Frog Hollow Farm, from the February 2012  issue of La Cucina Italiana that I picked up at our Whole Foods last week.  I guess I'm going with comfort foods and not salads, at least for tonight.

The recipe is called Scalloppine di Maiale all'arancia - that's Pork Scaloppine with Orange and Lentils for all of the non Italian speaking bloggers out there :).

This is the photo from the La Cucina Italiana website.



Here's the link - http://lacucinaitalianamagazine.com/recipe/pork-scaloppine--with-orange-and-lentils
If you highlight the link you should be able to link right over to it.

I already had all of the ingredients and am even trying to clear out some of my pantry and freezer items, this seemed like a healthy way to go.

For last week's Giant's game I made a new appetizer recipe from skinnytaste.com called  
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites 

I ate them all....they had me at BACON.  

I'm reading and hearing a lot about people switching over from Blogger to Word Press - I'm not sure if it's something that I need to do but began reading about it today.  I've been wanting to develop my blog into a business of sorts and have some ideas - Word Press may be the more dependable source.  

What are your feelings on switching?
Ciao, bella!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello Everyone!

Hi everyone, I am so happy to finally be sitting down at my computer and sharing with all of my wonderful blogger friends!  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas - Thanksgiving Day was celebrated here and Christmas was with Frog Hollow Farm Boy's family.  Both days were full of fun, family, food and our signature cocktails.

So, I'm just posting a few photos to get you up to date with some things.  

Our Thanksgiving Table


Some Christmas Decorations


Our cat Olive sitting on a warm woodstove!


One more photo from our July trip to Ireland, just needed to share that blue water with you all!


Wedding dress in window in Florence, Italy


This is a magnificent photo of our brave boy Connor.  

Connor is my niece Jennifer's little boy.  He was diagnosed with a form of leukemia in late October and is being treated vigorously with different chemotherapy medications - the treatment protocol involves two years of treatment.  

This photo was take by a photographer with a company called Flashes of Hope at the hospital right when Connor was diagnosed.  Since then Connor has lost his hair.  
His prognosis is very good - we pray for him every day.  

That's all for now friends.  I will be visiting as many of you as I can - that's the fun part of blogging!

Ciao, bella!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Getting Back to Blogging and Ready for Hurricane Irene

Wow, what a week here on the East Coast.  First an earthquake and now, Hurricane Irene.

We've been busy taking things inside and getting ready for this storm, worried most about the flooding that will occur throughout New Jersey after all of the rain we've had this summer. 

Hoping that everyone is taking the necessary precautions and that everyone will be safe.


Yesterday I cut as many sunflowers as I could before they were knocked down by the winds and rains tonight and tomorrow. 

Wishing you all lived close enough to stop by for your own sunny bouquet!

And if you do live close by, please do stop by - there are many sunflowers waiting for a safe home before the storm! ;)

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Ciao, bella!
xxoo

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 4 - Westport and Connemara

The fourth day on our tour of Ireland began with another way-too-large Irish breakfast at the Mill Park Hotel in Donegal Town.  We drove along the scenic shores of Donegal Bay - so gorgeous...

Donegal Bay

...then into the county of Sligo and a quick visit to where W. B. Yeats is buried. 


Yeats was born and educated in Dublin but spent his childhood in County Sligo
Yeats is one of Ireland's most influential poets. 


W.B. Yeats 
A Cradle Song by William Butler Yeats
The angels are stooping
Above your bed;
They weary of trooping
With the whimpering dead.

God's laughing in Heaven
To see you so good;
The Sailing Seven
Are gay with His mood.

I sigh that kiss you,
For I must own
That I shall miss you
When you have grown.
Our next few hours brought us through the town of Connemara and the sweeping views of boglands and misty mountains.  All along these desolate roads and mountain passes lie monuments to the Irish people who died during the great Irish Famine.   Here is one of my most favorite photos.
 
Monument along the Famine Road.
We ended our day in Galway, at the Radisson Blu Hotel which was a little outside of the city.  To tell you the truth, I didn't have a great impression of Galway - we ate dinner at a large pub called the Au Pucan (not so great) in the middle of many other pubs and the streets were full, I mean full, of 21 year old kids drinking and partying. 
 I would need to return to Galway during the day to spend some time and really be able to learn more about it.
Our next day brought us to the fascinating Aran Islands.
More to come...
 
I'm linked over to Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper!!
Ciao, bella!
xxoo

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 3 - Donegal Town

Donegal, with it's windswept hills where only sheep can thrive, is renowned for it's wool production.  After our day at Lough Derg, we drove to Donegal and had dinner in the Mill Park Hotel before heading into town to listen to some authenic Irish music and of course, drink more Guinness. 


Musicians at the little pub in Donegal Town. 

The young girl in the middle sang a ballad acappella and it was just breathtaking.  These musicians seemed like they were the main group at the pub, but different musicians came in through the night, played a few songs and then left for a different musician to join the group.  They would then go to another pub to play with a different group.  It was fabulous and if anything, this is what I would go back to Ireland for, to listen to more of these musicians play their traditional music. 

Killybegs Harbor

During our visit we stopped at the little town of Killybegs (love that name, don't you?) and then on to Teelin to view the Slieve League sea cliffs - just breathtaking.  The highest point reaches 1,972 feet, making them the highest in Europe.  The cliffs drop straight down to the wild Atlantic waves below and we saw such gorgeous views from our vantage point, which wasn't even the top! (More about that later.) 

We continued driving through the Glengesh Pass to the town of Ardara and visited a little woolen shop called Triona Design. 


 This is a family run whop where we saw some demonstrations of weaving their famous Donegal tweeds  - and they also served us Irish coffee (maybe so we'd get a little tipsy and buy more woolens, who knows, but I just couldn't drink an Irish coffee in the middle of the day and stay awake). 

I purchased a couple of beautiful woolen scarves at this store and I'm saving them for Christmas gifts. 

The star of our visit to Donegal however were the cliffs at Slieve League that I mentioned earlier in my post.
All I can do is show you - it's just so spectacular!


See that little beach tucked into the corner?



Here's a better picture of the beach at the bottom of the cliffs.  There are sheep that graze all over these hills - they don't need any water provided to them as the water that they get from eating the grasses is enough. 

This group seemed to be penned up for the day, but all the other sheep we saw were free to roam the cliffs freely.


More Slieve League...


Donegal County Photos

Sheep on the road!  Can you see the blue marks on their sides?  These are placed to help the farmers identify them. 



Thanks for joining me on Day 3 of my trip to Ireland. 
Day 4 will include visits to Connemara and Westport as we head towards Galway City.

Ciao, bella!
xxoo