Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things Pink Saturday

It's once again time for Pink Saturday, a very fun weekly linkup. There's lots of pink this week, but also a number of posts celebrating the season. I went with the latter and I'm happy to share a few of my favorite things this time of year.

"My Favorite Things" celebrates "girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes," but I would amend it to include little girls in their party finery, whatever color. The beautiful dresses in this store window on Madison Avenue caught my eye.

Next on my list are the flowers of winter. I don't have any bulbs to force yet, but I think that's the first project for December. I loved the array at this florist.

This may be my favorite sight of the season, the scaffolding for the Christmas trees on the next block. I was so excited to see it on Wednesday. The trees have arrived -- there will be pictures -- and the block is transformed to a moment in a forest. The aroma is wonderful!

I promise lots of pictures of Christmas in New York in the next month. I will be making my annual visits to Rockefeller Center and Macy's and scouting out other great decorations. I am also pleased -- actually thrilled -- to announce that I have ordered my New York City Christmas photo cards. I think this sets a record for the last several decades for the most timely card order. My next holiday project is ordering candles from our dear Becky at Good Neighbors Candle Co. This has become a regular and fun part of the season for me.

Thanks as ever for visiting and take good care of yourself. Keep cozy!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Jelly Doughnuts Yay or Nay Random Five Friday

Our friend Nancy at "A Rural Journal," who sets up the link for Random 5 Friday is on a holiday break.Technically this means there isn't a link for Random 5 Friday, but I do like it and I'm just going to blog away with my five random thoughts.

1) In keeping with the critical holiday food questions I've been asking, e.g. Brownies vs. Blondies, my question for Chanukah is about the jelly doughnut. Jelly doughnuts and potato pancakes (latkes) are traditional Chanukah foods, representing the oil that miraculously lasted to light the candles in the Temple for eight nights over 2,000 years ago. I am a big fan of potato pancakes, but I can take or leave jelly doughnuts. My critical question for Chanukah is jelly doughnuts, yay or nay?

The latkes are to the left, but I thought the jelly doughnuts were the star of the show here. This is my local bagel shop. It's not fancy, but they have great bagels and coffee. I haven't sampled the jelly doughnuts, but they do look good. 

2) I've had a very relaxed day today. High points were coffee at my favorite bagel store, grocery shopping and dinner with one of my colleagues who was in the neighborhood. We had a great visit and it was so good to catch up. I do miss the daily chats with my work friends.

3) I was delighted to receive Chanukah cards in the mail today. The usual spot for cards is on my mantel. This highlighted the sorry state of my mantel. Not only are there no holiday decorations, but it looks forlorn. I've been looking at Pinterest and have some good ideas, but I think I'm going to do something more professional. I may do something wild like go to Pottery Barn and buy the pieces for a pretty and festive mantel. I've never done anything like this, but I'd love to come into my living room and see a nicely decorated mantel. I'm thinking of something with lots of silver and sparkle.

4) My goal for the rest of the weekend is to order my cards. If I don't get to Rockefeller Center I'll find an alternately iconic New York Christmas picture. I don't want to be mailing my cards at New Year.

5) I've had a great time visiting lots of blogs today. Somehow I've gotten out of the habit in the last few months -- I think it's due to the demise of Google Reader -- and there are lots of fun blogs I'm totally out of touch with. It's not for lack of caring and keeping in better touch is a goal for December.

My Thanksgiving celebration was great and I hope everyone had equal fun. As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend! 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

The cranberries are cooked, the fruit is washed and my gifts are all ready to go. I spent a little too much time watching the Macy's parade on television, but I'm still caught up for my trip to Westchester. Thankfully, the weather has greatly improved and traveling is easier and the big balloons can fly!

My wishes for all for happy and healthy and bright and blessed, today on Thanksgiving and every day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Charles Schulz

I've been a "Peanuts" fan forever and I couldn't let today go by without remembering Charles Schulz, on what would have been his 91st birthday. I'm pretty sure there are lots of "Peanuts" fans in Buttercupland, and I wasn't really surprised to find that "Peanuts" was read daily by over 350 million people around the world. I was delighted to find sculpture of some of my favorite friends when I visited St. Paul, Minnesota and couldn't resist taking photographs.

Sally and Linus enjoy a sunny day. 

Lucy joins the fun!

Marcie and I together for our favorite pastime. 

I'm happy to announce a winner for the Old El Paso Frozen entrees giveaway. It's Vicky at Life on Willie Mae Lane. Vicky, I'll be in touch to get your mailing details. I wish I had a gift for everyone who stopped by. Thanks so much for participating. My thanks again to General Mills through MyBlogSpark for the terrific prize. 

Thanks for joining me and our Peanuts buddies. I'm so thankful for my blog friends. Without all of you my life would be -- well, it wouldn't be! Actually, it's almost impossible to imagine my life without the sweet citizens of Buttercupland. Sweet dreams and take good care of yourselves.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a Duane Reade Holiday #DRHoliday #shop #cbias

I've got a lot of dreams for this season. Foremost of which is to spend time with my favorite people. To make that happen in a leisurely -- no last minute mad dashes to crowded stores -- I've begun my shopping and I'm happy to report I'm moving ahead. I like giving photo gifts and I was delighted to find that there are wonderful opportunities at my local Duane Reade. Duane Reade Holiday made it easy-peasy to create a photo mug in less than fifteen minutes.

 Between grocery shopping and a quick trip to the fruit and veggie market I created a personalized gift.

I settled down in the comfy chair and followed the directions.

There are a lot of gifts to choose from. I knew I wanted a gift for a dear friend. She has a long commute and loves her coffee in the car. I was hoping to find a fun travel mug.  

 I found the commuter mug I was looking for. There were lots of fun gifts to choose from and all it took was a few clicks. I was delighted that the prices were reasonable.

 I loaded my photos from my memory card -- these pictures are cell phone shots -- and it took less than a minute for my pictures to appear. 

I chose the photo I wanted to use and I cropped the picture with just a couple of clicks. I loved working on the big screen. 
A sort-of-selfie. I'm delighted to have made this gift with lots of time to spare. I will be getting an email in the next few days when the mug is ready and I can pick it up.  

I'm pleased at how quick and easy my gift making was. I didn't time it, but I don't think it took more than fifteen minutes -- if that long -- to create the commuter mug. The instructions were clear and I had a good time looking through my pictures to find just the right photo. And did I say how much I loved working on the big screen. I know I did, but it was such a treat.

It turned to winter on Saturday night which really brought home that this is the Chanukah and Christmas season. I'm enjoying my cozy apartment and I did not like leaving for a dental appointment this afternoon. The temperature was a relatively balmy thirty three degrees which is warmer than a lot of places around the country, but still cold. So glad I'm in two closed toe shoes.

Please keep warm and cozy. I'm so glad you stopped by to visit and take good care of yourself.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Breezy Point Saturday

I spent the day in Breezy Point today. There was continuing work on my friends' house damaged by Hurricane Sandy. But there were also moments to enjoy a bright Saturday at the end of the autumn. By sundown the temperature dropped below freezing, but earlier in the day it was still fall.

This turkey that presided over a neighboring porch made me smile and I loved the tree branches against the sky in the second picture.

Wishes for a cozy Sunday. Thanks for stopping by and take good care of yourself.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty Years Later Random 5 Friday

Today's Random 5 Friday isn't really very random. I've had this post in the back of my mind for the last few weeks. I always remember November 22, 1963 and there's nothing else I can write about today.

1) It was the central event of my younger life and one of two days I remember in almost complete detail. The other is September 11, 2001.

2) I was in the eighth grade at the Sarah J. Rawson School in Hartford, Connecticut. I was in Miss Naylor's Home Economics class when I heard the news that the President had been shot and in Miss Weinstein's French class when I learned that he had been killed.

3) I loved President Kennedy and even at a young age hoped to make my career in public service. I was thrilled that we had a president who was from New England and had followed the election avidly.

4) I still have copies of "Life Magazine" that were published in the weeks after President Kennedy was killed. They have no archival value, but I can't part with them.

5) I've been to the Kennedy Library in Boston,  the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas and have made several trips to Arlington National Cemetery to pay my respects. The latest of these trips was in 2010.

I know that this is an unusually somber post for Buttercupland, but this is an unusually somber day.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take very good care of yourself.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bye Bye Shoebootie...

...hello walking!

I am delighted to announce that I have graduated from shoebootie. I still have one more x-ray to come and I'm still using an elastic type tape -- a miracle product that replaces the old ace bandage -- and regularly icing my foot, but I am officially in two sneakers and I am loving it. I am scheduled to get my new orthotics in two weeks and I'm really looking forward to wearing shoes, real shoes and not sneakers. 

I do have a round of rehab to look forward to, but it's probably my sixth or seventh go at physical therapy and I am actually looking forward to it. I know it will be much easier to walk when I am finished and my back will feel better, too.  I will also then be able to return to my exercise classes and in one part of my life all will truly be right with the world. I know there will still be a few aches and pains, but not this set of aches and pains, and I feel very fortunate for that.  

Please stop by tomorrow for one of my favorite parts of the week, Random 5 Friday. It won't be quite as random as usual -- the date of November 22, 1963 has been on my mind -- but it's just about my favorite post each week. 

As always, thanks for stopping by. Sweet dreams and take good care of yourself. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Old El Paso Frozen Entrees to the Rescue Giveaway

I had a sobering moment today. I was two blocks from Trader Joe's and I thought I could zip in for just a few things and zip out quickly. After all, it was only two thirty in the afternoon. How crowded could it be? Ha! The checkout line went from candy to veggies to meat to prepared food, almost an entire city block. It did move quickly, but it made me realize that the busiest time of the year has arrived. Thanksgiving and Chanukah are next week and Christmas and New Years are right behind. I will probably attend at least a third of the social events I go to all year in the next five weeks. I get tired just thinking about it. But I love the fun and I want to be able to enjoy it all.

One way I'm going to enjoy the season is to find some helps to make my days a little less frenetic. Even though I'm not on my office schedule, there's still a lot to do. Thanks to my friends at General Mills through MyBlogSpark I got to sample Old El Paso Frozen Entrees.I have definitely found one go-to that's quick, delicious and reasonably priced. I'm a fan of Mexican food and I know I'll be back to the Chicken Enchiladas again and on the lookout for the Shredded Beef Burritos, Steak Fajitas and Chicken Quesadillas, too. This could also work for guests. Each package serves two and with a salad and some homemade guacamole this could be a fun, quick dinner before a concert or evening event.

I'm so happy to be part of a great giveaway that includes a coupon for an Old El Paso frozen entree, a Mexican chip and dip bowl and serving tray and a ten dollar Visa gift card, all so useful for this time of year. I received the same package for review and I'm looking forward to using the chip and dip bowl for New Year's Eve fun with friends. It's also great for football times coming up.

Please be a follower of Buttercupland on Google+, Bloglovin or Google Friend and leave a comment about your favorite holiday food. The giveaway will close on Monday, November 25, and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 26.

Hope you had a great Wednesday. I wore my heavier winter coat, but loved being out on a clear and sunny day. I got my grocery errand done and took care of an iPad crisis at the Apple Store. Of course for the Apple Store it wasn't a crisis. I'm glad to have my iPad all better again.

As always, thanks for visiting and take good care of yourself.

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. The opinions are all mine. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

And the Winner Is...

I always wish I had something for everyone who is part of the giveaway, but alas, there's just one winner for the alphabet jewelry bead box. It's Tanya White, a new follower on Google+ and Bloglovin. Tanya, I'll be reaching out to you for your address and will forward it on to our very generous sponsor. I'm happy to  have been able to get the word out about shopping opportunities that benefit the work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

I've had St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on my mind and walking home last night from the subway I noticed these cute bears -- dressed in t-shirts with the St. Jude logo -- in the window at Brooks Brothers, one of the retail participants in the fundraising effort. One of these bears may need to come and live in my house.

Again, many thanks for the opportunity to highlight the great work of St. Jude and to all who participated in the giveaway. Please stop by tomorrow. I've got a surprise waiting in the wings.

As always, thanks for visiting and take good care of yourself. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Critical Question..Brownies or Blondies?

As we become firmly entrenched in the great eating season of the year -- Halloween to Valentine's Day -- I have another critical question. We discussed candy at Halloween and now I'm posing the question about sweet preference, blondies or brownies. Which do you prefer? I've posed this on Facebook and Brownies seemed to have an edge, but only an edge. There was a large number of blondie fans represented among my Facebook buddies. I know this isn't a scientific poll, but it is a lot of fun.

Judging from the grocery shelves...

...there are brownie mixes -- top shelf -- but I found no comparable shelf of blondie mixes. I don't shop in the biggest grocery, but I expected at least one blondie mix. Again, this isn't scientific, but a gauge of respective popularity of sweets on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

My preference...I like brownies, especially with nuts. Our choice growing up was the Duncan Hines brownie mix and they were good. But I've become less of a chocolate fan in the last few years and now blondies are my choice. I'm even thinking of baking a batch for Thanksgiving. I'm pretty sure we'll have pumpkin and apple pies, but I think a batch of blondies would be a good addition to the table.

What's your choice? Is it brownie, blondie or do you like both?  

I think today really was the last day of summer and I loved wearing my spring jacket on November 18. Tomorrow it's back to coats and gloves, but I'm happy for today. I'll take every sunny day I can get.

As always thanks for visiting and take good care of yourself. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mardi Gras World Pink Saturday

Pink flamingo time!

This was my fifth trip to New Orleans and I thought I'd pretty much seen most of the city. But like so many other assumptions I was wrong, and this aging dog learned a few new lessons. One place I'd never gone was Mardi Gras World. It is a warehouse and workshop for the Mardi Gras floats and decorations and definitely one of the high points of my visit. I was also very excited to find pink decorations. I've been scouting avidly for them. 

Marilyn Monroe, pretty in pink, meets Elvis and Spiderman

We toured the warehouse and the workshop and watched a fascinating video about the history of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras World also does work for many special events and amusement properties around the world. I was awed by the range of decorations.

This cute fellow isn't pink, but he is a favorite of mine. I couldn't leave him out. 

Go, Jiminy Cricket!

Just a week ago I was in the sun and warmth of a summer's day in New Orleans and today it's a gloomy autumn afternoon. We've had rain, which we needed desperately, but thankfully no high winds. Prayers for those in the midwest. I hope my blog buddies, families and communities are safe. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and sharing the fun of Pink Saturday. Have a great week!  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Five C Random 5 Friday

Yes, that's an odd title, even for Buttercupland. But I made a list of my random thoughts for Random 5 Friday and I realized they all began with a "C." So they're less than completely random, but not completely linear either.

1) I had a wonderful Friday visiting the Carnegie Hill neighborhood, one of my favorite places to walk in Manhattan. There are beautiful townhouses, stores and museums.

2) My goal was the Jewish Museum, and a tour of the exhibition, "Chagall: Love, War and Exile." My senior group had a tour of the exhibition and it was wonderful, both the exhibition, which was gathered from museums and private collections all over the world, and the commentary by our guide. I've always liked Chagall's artwork -- the large mural at the Metropolitan Opera is a particular favorite -- but this exhibit gave me much more insight into Chagall's life and work over his lifetime.

3) Happily I was just half a block from Central Park and I spent a glorious hour sitting in the park and taking pictures. The day was sunny and not too cool and there were lots of people in the park, photographing, running and biking. I was especially taken with this group on a class trip.

4) Christmas decorations are starting to go up around New York City. My walk up Madison Avenue yesterday got me thinking about cards. It seems early today, but in a blink it will be time to address and mail them and if this year is like last year, I will be scrambling during the last week of December to get cards in the mail. I resolve that this year isn't going to be like last year and I will be getting my cards in order and taking pictures next week. If anyone would like a Buttercup photograph card, please leave a comment. I am happy to mail anywhere!

5) Closet, my closet. I've held off on buying any new clothes, pending knowing my not-working lifestyle. I'm going to several events in the next few weeks where I want to dress up and I'm going through my closet to see what fits, looks good and is in good condition. One pair of "nice" gray pants was literally worn through and a "nice" sweater had a very conspicuous hole. These were mainstays of my wardrobe and I'd like to replace them. A trip to Coldwater Creek is on my schedule for next week.     .

We had more glorious weather today. I stuck close to home for services, lunch with a friend and then back to synagogue for a movie this evening, all within four blocks of home.

I hope you had a fun and relaxed day, too. As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care of yourselves.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Not One, but Two Television Shows in One Day...

...Katie Couric and The Chew

One of the things I planned to do when I retired was to be in the audience for television shows. One of the shows that I thought would be especially fun was the Katie Couric Show. I heard Katie speak at BlogHer12 in New York last year and enjoyed it. There was also the added advantage that the show is taped just a mile from my house. They have a great online system for requesting tickets that includes the name of the guest on most days. I requested tickets for several shows and was waiting listed. But I got my opportunity to attend this Tuesday, when Shirley MacLaine was one of the guests. "Terms of Endearment" is one of my favorite movies and I am a fan of "Downton Abbey," so I was delighted to be there for her appearance. 

The interview with Shirley MacLaine was fun, but only one part of a very enjoyable morning. There were several other segments which I liked a lot, including a makeover for three women looking for jobs. The staff was friendly and a lot of fun and Katie spent time at the end of the show chatting with the audience and taking questions, which may have been the best part of the morning. We also got great gifts, "the swag bag," which is given to one audience a week. What a bounty! It included a cashmere scarf, tea and fabulous body lotion. There is also a surprise that will be a giveaway here later in the year. I definitely recommend a visit to "Katie" if you are going to be in New York.    

When I was leaving "Katie" I was asked if I wanted to be in the audience for "The Chew." I had read about this show, but honestly, I had never watched it. I did know that Clinton Kelly, who I loved on "What Not to Wear," was on this show and I definitely wanted to see him. The show was a lot of fun. I enjoyed "Clinton's Craft Corner," which had an easy craft that even I could do. I liked the cooking segments a lot and am eager to make the turkey cutlet sandwich that was featured on one of them. I was disappointed though that there wasn't more interaction by the hosts with the audience. 

 I had the good fortune to be sitting in the front row.

To complete my television "career" for this fall I was in the audience for "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" with Cedric the Entertainer last month. The audience gets to audition for the show, but alas I wasn't picked. It was still an interesting and fun afternoon. 

 Cedric the Entertainer at "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

I've really enjoyed my taste of show business, but I am happy to return to my non-celebrity life. Today's activities included a visit to the bank and then to the library to get my books that were on reserve and dinner at a friend's apartment. Carol is about the best cook I know and her homemade pizza was delicious. 

Please stop by tomorrow for Random 5 Friday, one of my favorite parts of the week. As always thanks for visiting and take good care of yourself.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Snow on the Tulips

Many years ago I worked in the Cokesbury store in Nashville. My job was ordering the textbooks for Vanderbilt Divinity School, bibles and the category called "inspirational books." It was one of the best jobs I've ever had. I especially liked talking to our customers and giving and getting book recommendations. One of the recommendations was "The Hiding Place," by Corrie Ten Boom. Corrie's story of her family, faith and life in the Netherlands during World War II moved me profoundly and deepened my interest in this period of history. I was delighted when I was given the opportunity to read "Snow on the Tulips," by Liz Tolsma, a beautiful novel about this era.

Though fiction, it is based on the author's family stories, and it is moving and engaging. We follow Cornelia, a war widow, and her family through the last months of World War II. Of course we know the time frame and what will happen, but our characters do not and I was so anxious for them and the outcome. The novel answers the question, "What would you do?" in times of crisis and fear. There is also romance, family ties and a nation that has been tried and tested by war. The characters are filled with faith and I loved reading this book, and happily, highly recommend it. I'd like to request a sequel. I would love to know what Cornelia does after the war.

There is a great giveaway going on now, which is on the top right of this blog, and here is the link if you would like to buy a copy.

Today seems the perfect day to write this review, as we had our first snow flurries. Happily, they didn't stick, but it was gloves and hat weather and my foot got cold in shoebootie. I need an extra sock, too.  

I hope you're keeping cozy and enjoying a nice cup of tea or cocoa. As always, thanks for visiting and take care of yourself.

Please note, I was given a copy of "Snow on the Tulips" for review via the Litfuse Publicity Group, but the opinions are all mine.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

From Summer... New Orleans this weekend the prediction of snow flurries tomorrow in New York that I hear on the television set in the background. Come what may in the morning I am basking in the memories of a wonderful time in New Orleans. This was my fifth visit -- yes, I love this city -- and another great time. We had beignets at Cafe du Monde, which was the top of my list, walked all through the French Quarter and and had a fabulous lunch at Commander's Palace in the Garden District. These were things I've done before, but I added new things to my list of favorite things to do and I will be blogging about them in the next few weeks. This trip had been scheduled for last year, but Hurricane Sandy and our trip happened just about the same time and all of the flights from New York were cancelled.  

This is going to be a fun week and I'm looking forward to some great surprises to share with you. One small change...I'm extending the giveaway for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital until next Sunday, November 17. I will announce the winner on Monday, November 18.

I hope you had a great weekend and have a great week. As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care of yourselves. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Summertime...Let the Good Times Roll

Of course it's not really summer in New Orleans or anywhere north of the equator, but it feels that way. The weather is warm and sunny and, thankfully, there's not a bit of humidity. We're having a wonderful time and eating fabulously. It's salad and yogurt when I get home, but now it's barbecued shrimp and banana pudding cake. Let the good times roll!

Wishes for a wonderful Sunday and as always, thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dear Shoebootie, I Love You

Here I am waiting for the bus after my appointment today with my orthopedist. Cute socks, one sneaker and yes, one shoebootie. I was highly optimistic that I would be wearing two sneakers when I waited for the bus home and I had my sneaker in a plastic bag in my tote bag. My orthopedist is pleased with my progress, but I have at least two more weeks wearing my shoebootie.

I have decided to have a different attitude and love my shoebootie. I am going to look at it as an instrument of healing and not one of torture. No more sighing, no more complaints and no more longing for two shoes that match. I can't change my physical reality, but I can change my attitude. I do want my healing to be as complete as possible, and my orthopedist spoke these sobering words, "You'd hate to lose any of the progress you've made..." I would indeed, and I am thankful for my friend, shoebootie.

It was a glorious day in New York City today and I loved wearing a wool blazer in November. No heavy coat, no gloves, no scarf! It felt so sweet and summery that I treated myself to the perfect summer snack frozen yogurt. I did go with autumn flavors, pumpkin and Oktoberfest stout. I'm not sure what Oktoberfest stout actually tastes like, but it's yogurt counterpart was yummy. Not to race the season along I am eager for the Christmas flavors. I'm dreaming of gingerbread and eggnog frozen yogurt.

As always, dear blog buddies, thanks for visiting and take good care of yourselves. 

Autumn Brunch Time

One of the things I hoped to do when I retired was to entertain more. Actually I've been so remiss in entertaining that I should subtract the word more and amend my wish to simply, entertain.  I've given lunches and dinners in the past over the Jewish New Year, but for the last few years I've been convalescing and not in shape for party-giving. I return to the orthopedist tomorrow for what, I hope, will be my last visit. But I've decided boot or no boot. I'm going to give a brunch. I'm going to start small and ask a few friends for an autumn brunch, and to make sure that it's not too much for me to handle I'm going to turn to my online grocery friends at Peapod for assistance.

I have two major concerns with entertaining. One is a universal concern, and that's cost. We all think about keeping costs under control no matter where we live. The second is getting groceries home from the store, which is more of a big city/no car concern. When I was growing up we had a car and a pantry, so shopping and storing things was easy. We also had a big freezer and by now my mother would have started to bake for Thanksgiving.

I've found good prices at Peapod. I'm going to make my butternut squash soup and I found a container of pre-cut butternut squash for $2.29, which is more than competitive for Manhattan. I love butternut squash, but I don't love cutting it up. Thanks, Peapod. I'm also going to make a broccoli salad with cranberries -- love everything with cranberries at this time of year. I was delighted to find a head of broccoli for seventy-nine cents.  I'm thinking of serving the soup with cornbread -- I am a cornbread fan -- and baked apples with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I found I could use my favorite autumn foods, keep the budget in check and know my friends at Peapod would deliver everything I need. Delivery makes all the difference to me. I can buy in some quantity and I don't have to worry about running out of essentials or buying more than I can comfortably carry.

I want to do something fun and seasonal for the table. I'm not a great crafter, but Pinterest gave me some inspiration and voila, the pumpkin vase. I really like it and next year I'm going to do this as soon as pumpkins are available.

      Nothing says autumn to me the way a pumpkin does!

It's been fun putting the menu together and creating my decoration for the table. I had just about forgotten how much I enjoyed having people over and liked the planning and recipe browsing. Thanks, Peapod, for helping to get me back on track. 

We were fortunate to have a lovely autumn day today and tomorrow is forecast to be in the 60s. I hope you have a great Wednesday. Thanks so much for visiting and take good care of yourself.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Giveaway for a Great Cause...St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

I am delighted to share a wonderful giveaway today for one of the causes closest to my heart, St. Jude Childen's Research Hospital.  I love shopping via computer and I especially like being able to contribute to a cause that does so much good. I can do both at The St. Jude Gift Shop, where the proceeds benefit the children who are patients and the research that helps to save lives. I am so delighted that with my friends at St. Jude we are doing a giveaway of one of the many great gifts in the Gift Shop, the Alphabet Jewelry Bead Box. Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, Cousins, friends, this is a great gift for the little ones in your life.
 There are so many cute and useful gift items. There are adorable ornaments, cute kiddie clothes, and sweaters that would be perfect for keeping warm on a cold January day. Entering the giveaway is easy-peasey. Please visit the St. Jude Gift Shop and let me know which gift catches your fancy, other than the Alphabet Jewelry Bead Shop. Also, please be a follower of Buttercupland via Bloglovin, Google Reader or Google+, and there will be an extra entry for tweets.

Founded in 1962 by the late Danny Thomas to help children with cancer, St. Jude has become one of the great centers in the world for treatment and research. Your purchases help to fund this extraordinary center where no family pays for anything. I've had a long-standing admiration for St. Jude Children's Hospital, but after my experience as a spinal cord tumor survivor the admiration has grown much stronger. In adults spinal cord tumors are generally benign, but that's not the case in children. Spinal cord and brain tumors are often malignant in children and closely related. Research at St. Jude is among the most advanced in the world. While I was at the Spinal Cord Tumor Conference this summer I learned a lot more about this research and I am so grateful to be able to helpful to this lifesaving effort.

The giveaway closes next Monday, November 11 and I will announce the winner on Tuesday, November 12. Please stop by and help support the work of St. Jude. 

Please note that the date for entering this giveaway has been extended to Monday, November 18.

I am about to run some errands and enjoy this sunny, brisk and genuinely fall-like weather. I hope you have a great Monday. Thanks, as always, for visiting and take good care of yourself.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween Pink Saturday

It's time for Pink Saturday fun and I'm dispensing with pink -- cannot find any pink anywhere -- and I'm going with the alternate seasonal theme.

Halloween decorations have really caught on in New York City and I was delighted to find this beautiful display on West 84th Street. If there were nominations for the best Halloween decor, this would be my choice. The steam coming out of the ground floor was the special touch. I was not the only person taking pictures here on Thursday afternoon.

This is the Marathon weekend. Of course my first thought is prayers for safety for tomorrow and my second thought is a shout-out for my friend, Elana, who is running her first Marathon. Elana was set to run last year, but the race was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. She kept up her training and she will be running in this year's race. I am always in awe of marathon runners, but Elana completely awes me. She is fifty plus and started significant exercise only a few years ago. She has been dedicated to her training and I am happy to dedicate this post to her. Congratulations and good wishes for a great run!

It was summer here again today -- wore capris and a sweater -- but tomorrow promises to be more seasonal. My plans are a haircut and a giveaway here in Buttercupland. It's a fun giveaway for a great cause and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care of yourself.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Very Random 5 Friday

It's Friday and it's time to join our friends at A Rural Journal for Random 5 Friday. I am feeling very random today and if you're expecting a pattern or order in this post, there won't be one.

1) I'm going to blame my lack of order on Halloween and too much sugar. I keep hard candy in my apartment and if I have one piece a week, it's a lot. But the combination of very few trick or treaters and the proximity to Reeses and Kit Kats wasn't pretty. I'm back on track today, but I had more candy yesterday than I've had in months.

2) I'm a Giants fan and football season has not been fun. This follows a very disappointing baseball season. I've already set my sights on Opening Day for Baseball next spring.

3) I've just finished "Snow on the Tulips," by Liz Tolsma and loved it. I'm going to do a longer review later in the month, but I want to share a great giveaway, which is a copy of the book and a fifty dollar Amazon gift card.

4) We had summer today. After a cloudy misty morning the afternoon was bright sunshine and warm, really warm.

5) I've had winter vacations on my mind and one of the places that came to mind was beautiful Sedona. I have no plans, but I'm enjoying thinking about the possibilities. I probably won't go anywhere that far, but it's fun to dream.

 As ever thanks for stopping by and take good care of yourself. Wishes for a wonderful Saturday!