Roasted Veggies

Roasted asparagus, red pepper, sweet potato and zucchini….






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We Had A Wedding Last January!

imageI can’t believe it’s been a year since our daughter Katie’s wedding.  The day began with overcast skies and snow began to fall right when we were all driving to the venue for more photos, about 2 1/2 hours before the ceremony.  The roads were snow-covered and some were even closed; but we all made it and the snow eventually stopped – making for some beautiful photos.

The flowers were very important for me, and yes, I may have spent a few nickels more than I planned but they were stunning.










The day went perfectly, we were so happy with the Stone House  in Warren, NJ – a spectacular but very comfortable and cozy venue.

This post would not be complete without a photo of the very happy couple.  See the snow on the trees in the background?


Ciao!  xxoo

PS a great wedding planner…









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Ready for the “Blizzard”?

thumb_IMG_2120_1024Is this a little blurry?  I hope not – do you remember this verse from the poem called ‘The Garden Year’ by Sara Coleridge?  She wrote this in 1834 – another version of the poem has an adjective written before each month.  My brother and I used to try memorizing the entire poem and recite it (really probably shout) it to each other, catching each other when we missed a word or made some other silly mistake – kids…

We are getting ready for a possible blizzard over the weekend – blustery winds, drifting snow…ahh, my cup of tea.  We’re all ready here at Frog Hollow with some hearty soups and stick-to-your-ribs pasta dishes.  And of course, there is a cellar full of wine to help get us through.




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Some Summer Garden Sharing

It’s been quite a while since I visited my blog – and I’m anxious to begin posting once again.  I usually write about projects that are happening around here, or recipes we’ve been making, entertaining that we are planning or gardening on the property.

This year I have a new little space created from the left side of our barn/garage – an adorable potting shed that holds all of my pots and tools needed for pruning, planting, you name it.  We created it using some old doors and windows that helped create the look I was hoping for.  I will have a picture of it for you to see on my  next post.  The space used to be open on one side, and held all sorts of gardening and outside tools.  I could never find anything I wanted.  The new space also provides a long table for potting, etc.  It’s a great spot – you’ll see it soon!

Since gardening is a few months off for us, I found some photos of our summer gardens to share.  I am really looking forward to the spring and summer, to see which plants come back and which didn’t make it through the winter.  So far the problem has been very warm temperatures here in the Mid-Atlantic – our pussy willows actually bloomed around Christmas and the garlic bulbs are up a foot already, despite being covered with 2 feet of straw!


Phlox in the wine garden – they reseed like crazy and just love this spot, partially shady with a north/eastern exposure – mostly various shades of pinks but some whites appear each summer.





Limelights below – so lovely and overwhelmingly abundant each year.  These plants face east and are just gorgeous  – they are actually dwarfing several large daisy plants between them. We’ll have to find those daisies a new home.

Catmint grows in the front, filling in the space and attracting hundreds of bees all day long


FHFB plants rows and rows of different sunflower varieties, along with zinnias of all heights and colors, in the field garden.  They are spectacular when grouped together in a simple mason jar.


Thanks for stopping by…

Frog Hollow Farm Girl

Posted in gardens, garlic, hyacinths, limelights, phlox, potting shed, pussy willows, sunflowers, wine garden, Winter | Leave a comment

Still at Word Press…but having fun with dishes

Yes, I am still working on my Word Press site…I went back to the original Frog Hollow Farm girl Blogger site and to tell you the truth wasn’t totally impressed….but I do still think that for me, Blogger is easier to use and that means it’s more fun to blog with.

Do you change your dishes from season to season???  I do, and I think that a lot of people do based on the number of blogs I have come across that display beautiful photos of seasonal tablescapes.  For many, the changes occur with the accessories incorporated around simple white dishes, which is probably the way to go….but I am in love with dishes, especially Italian and French pottery (mostly Italian).

Do I need to prove this to you?   We have an old house with an old basement that was remodeled into several office spaces for my husband when he began his business many years ago.   Now that he has moved his business out of our home, one part of this space has become the ‘Dish Room’.  This is where I store all of my seasonal dishes, plates, saucers, mugs, bowls, trays, platters and pitchers.  For the most part they are organized by season, darker browns, oranges, greens for the fall; bright reds and yellows for summer, blue, white and green for winter and lighter turquoise, lemon yellow and white for spring.  Our Christmas dishes include the old Spode Christmas Tree pattern, along with several antique sets of transferware dishes with red, green and cream coloring.  Here are some of the dish room shelves for you to see….

red pottery

red Polish pottery from a little shop in Red Bank, NJ

painted by Silvia and her father

Florentine pottery – includes a large round platter as well

crow mug from a weekend market in Florence this past summer

Below are a few photos of  my ‘spring dishes’ and ‘summer dishes’, purchased over the years from Silvia and Maurizio in Florence, Italy.


Florentine mix of pieces


plates from a set – used for appetizers or aperitivi mostly


my very first set of Italian pottery used during the summer here at Frog Hollow Farm


I am going to try an experiment and post this same content on Blogger to see which I prefer.

Ciao, bella! xxoo







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Back to Blogger???

Since last spring I have been blogging (somewhat irregularly I know) from my Word Press blogging tool, moving  to it because I felt that it had more security offerings.  This space is actually a whole new blog since I can’t figure out how to link my original blog to the new site.    To be honest, I also thought that Word Press might be a more sophisticated site to blog from, since many of the bigger blogs that I follow use Word Press.  Do I need a more sophisticated content management system??? I am starting to think not.

The reason I am beginning to think that way is because I have not become as comfortable with Word Press as I was with Blogger.  When you open up my original Blogger page ( you see more content, and I have to say that it used to looked prettier  than my Word Press page until I started trying to jazz it up.  Overall it was so much easier for me to personalize and add little interesting things to the page.  Word Press has not offered itself to me as openly and easily as Blogger did.

Am I blogging less because of this…I am beginning to think this might be the case.  Everything is harder for me on Word Press. I have tried looking at some of the tutorials, even subscribing to for some paid tutorials.  Nothing seems to match my needs or concerns.  Frustrating is not a strong enough word…and speaking of words I just found this very cool dictionary called The Devil’s Dictionary.

devils dictionary

It’s described as  a satirical dictionary written by American journalist and author Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in 1906 as The Cynic’s Word Book, it features Bierce’s witty and often ironic spin on many common English words. I need an ironic spin on words like ‘frustrated’ and ‘annoyed’ and ‘just-plain-mad-that-I-can’t-figure-this-out’.


So, a decision must be made, and I think it is leaning towards going back to Blogger.  (some relief experienced after typing that sentence)

In the meantime, besides the snow, we have had a busy few months here at Frog Hollow, !  As I mentioned before in another post, the beginning of January was so exciting with my daughter’s wedding, a truly spectacular day with a little bit of snow and a lot of love.  The music and food and flowers were perfect, a fairy-tale evening for all of us.


Provodenciales in Turks and Caicos called to FHFB and I once again…what a great getaway.  Lots of conch on the island… and a delicious rum punch as well.  Need I say more.  For me, blogging on Word Press requires lots of rum punch.

IMG_5076IMG_5068Ciao bella!!


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Waiting for the Snow and Feeling Cozy

It’s quiet Super Bowl Sunday morning at Frog Hollow Farm, with a snowstorm on the horizon for later this evening.  Our pond aerator has frozen over on the top – I always worry about our beautiful koi during these cold winter months.  The pond is quite large but it’s not healthy for the fish if the pond is covered with ice all winter.

Today includes some yoga and cooking….FHFB’s famous meatballs and pasta for him, I am going to try some zucchini string pasta instead.

The main room of the farmhouse holds a promise of spring with some white hyacinths from the grocery store…I love how they look with the woodstove in the background.

Frog Hollow Farm

Frog Hollow Farm



Ciao Bella, and keep warm! xxoo

Posted in wood stoves | 2 Comments

What’s Important – Today It’s Back to Working on My Italian

So much has happened in our lives the past 6 months.  We returned from 3+ unbelievably rewarding months in Italy and came home to gardens and fall and wedding planning and holidays and then the actual wedding!!!  It was a wonderfully rich and busy few months.


I tend to get caught up in some sort of vacuum when there is a very large event or activity on the horizon.  That specific thing tends to become a gigantic focus that slows down all of my other goals and has me feeling overwhelmed by basically everything, including the things that I love to do, like cooking and decorating and entertaining.  Why is that?

After our daughter and son-in-law’s beautiful wedding things were clearer to me,  I was able to begin to focus on figuring out what the things were that make me happy; things that I needed to make sure were a daily part of my life.  I began searching the web and reading suggestions from different bloggers.  Many have great ideas and planning tools, but what I finally realized after reading a few excerpts was that I needed to determine the things that were important in my life, and realize that they needed to come first.

There are many things that are urgent in our day to day lives – and there is a difference between urgency and importance.  One site that I accessed is Maria Forleo’s site (  for women who want to create a business.  Now, I am not in that group of wanting to create a business, but I like her energy and a lot of what she has to say does relate to life in general.  She gives a simple video description of understanding what is urgent vs what is important.

Several other sites that I found online suggested thinking about and listing the things that are important ….so I came up with these three things – health/exercise….blogging….and continuing with my study of Italian.  Those are the three things I want to establish as consistent parts of my daily life.  I felt really good after I did that – more focused and happier. I’m hoping that making these things part of my daily life on a consistent basis will help me focus better when bigger things are on my horizon.  (Family is of course always important, and it will always take precedence.)

The health part of this plan will be the most challenging because my husband and I love to cook and we love to eat!  We eat as much organic and local as we can, and this time of year in northwest New Jersey the local choices are pretty much not available, except for some meats and cheeses.  While in Italy this past summer we were able to walk to one of any hundreds of restaurants in Florence each night – we would discover a little gem on our walks during the day and make sure that we returned at night for dinner.  The choices were never ending, and we loved every second of it.  The foods were local and fresh, and so healthy!  The portions are not huge like here in the states, and doggie bags are not the norm.

Stuffed zucchini flowers

stuffed zucchini flowers

Exercise right now includes using the treadmill and practicing yoga on my own or in a class as well as bi-weekly TRX workouts with a fantastic personal trainer.  My Italian lessons are small group and will begin again on Tuesday mornings with the beautiful Chiara.  I’m laughing right now because I spent the most amount of time talking about food – see, I told you it was the most challenging thing in my life to manage!

Ciao, Bella!

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First of all I want to give a thank you shout-out to a friend and past co-worker Brenda.

Last week I saw Brenda at a conference, and she told me how much she missed reading my blog.  Her encouraging words got me back in the saddle so to say, after a horrendous, absolutely mean girl on-line experience with a former reader of my blog.  So, I’m back and feeling creative and ready to blog!

FHFB and I are invited to a costume party tomorrow night at Galloping Ghost Farm, a beautifully restored and renovated stone farmhouse not too far from where we live.  I am not a great lover of wearing costumes myself, but I do love to dress kids, cats and dogs in all sorts of costumes!

So, for this party,  I’m wearing a simple elegant Venetian mask  and helping out with the costume judging.  I’ve also decided to dress up a very large, very black soft boot that I’ve worn for the last 7 weeks due to a torn tendon.  Here goes, what do you think?

Doggie costume on the soft boot I have been wearing for last 7  weeks long with a piggy puppet stuck in the front.

This little cowboy outfit is really made for a small dog, but it fits right around my boot.  The little pig is an old puppet of my daughter’s and fits snugly right between my leg and the inside of the boot.  Can you see the black boot at the base?  The lasso and hat were included with the costume, and the pink arms match the piggy puppet!  How much more perfect could he be?  At least I’ll feel part of the costume thing, limited but fun.

We are bringing along two bottles of wine, one of our homemade Brunello and one from a winery we visited this summer while we were in Florence, Castello Monterinaldi.   We had the most elegant lunch inside the elegant villa.

with Katie, Chris and Frank

with Katie, Chris and Frank


These simple white bags from Michael’s were decorated with free downloads from Pinterest and other shiny bobbles.

For Gary and Joanne's Costume. Party on 10/31/2014

For Gary and Joanne’s Costume. Party on 10/31/2014

Happy Halloween!

Ciao Bella! xxoo

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So many museums…so little time!

There are 72 museums worth visiting in Florence according to this website, and at this point FHFB and I have visited 27 of them, with one of the highlights being, can you believe it, the Ferragamo Museum???

The first room of this museum is of course, rows and rows of shoes, dating back to the first third of the 20th century. The interesting thing is that any of those shoes could be worn today, their style really reaches far beyond the year they were designed.

In the rest of the museum, Ferragamo focuses on the intricacies and absolute value of feet for a human being, with the focus showing how we have evolved due to being able to stand upright. The museum is full of sculptures of feet in bronze, marble….photographs and movies of everyday people walking and great people on walks for causes. Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon is an ongoing video – it’s really a very fascinating museum and goes so much more beyond what I thought was going to be a ‘shoe museum’.

After leaving this museum we really had a new respect for shoes that are well made and understand how they’re structure and support helps the entire body.

I didn’t buy a pair of Ferragamo shoes….but we did find a fantasic shoestore called Casini –  Jennifer Tattanelli right across from the Pitti Palace – it’s a must for affordable, very comfortable Italian made shoes…….

Here are some photos from Yahoo images of the Ferragamo Museum because photos are not allowed and some photos that I did take of the other beautiful museums, churches and chapels we’v seen…enjoy and check out all the other recommended Florence museums in the first link above.

Store and museum in Florence

Store and museum in Florence – Yahoo Images

Old Ferragamo hoe forms from famous movie stars

Old Ferragamo shoe forms from famous movie stars – Yahoo Images

Rows of shoes from the 1930's onward

Rows of shoes from the 1930’s onward – Yahoo Images

Inside of Ferragamo museum in Florence

Inside of Ferragamo museum in Florence – Yahoo Images







ceiling fresco

ceiling fresco

Frescos on wall of private room in San Miniato Church

Frescos on wall of private room in San Miniato Church


This room in San Miniato is one of the most peaceful places I know of.




Front of San Lorenzo

Front of San Lorenzo


Bapistry ceiling

Bapistry ceiling


Mosaic Floor of Bapistry

Mosaic Floor of Bapistry







North Doors by Ghiberti, Florence Baptistry, Florence,Italy, c. 1404-24.

North Doors by Ghiberti, Florence Baptistry, Florence,Italy, c. 1404-24.

Giotto's Campanile - Bell Tower at Duomo

Giotto’s Campanile – Bell Tower at Duomo


Dante Illuminating Florence with His Poem, painted by Domenico di Michelino

Dante Illuminating Florence with His Poem, painted by Domenico di Michelino

Santa Maria del Fiore

Santa Maria del Fiore

Cathedral of Santo Maria del Fiore from a side street

Cathedral of Santo Maria del Fiore from a side street

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