YouTube Puff Pastry Hack

Today we threw a Saint Patrick’s Day tea for a dozen lovely ladies.

Tea cups are ready.

We served both savory and sweet treats.

Frozen puff pastry

I saw a puff pastry hack on YouTube and asked Sug to give it a try.

Piece of puff pastry with jelly and egg wash.

First she cut a piece of packaged puff pastry into 9 pieces.  Into the center she spooned a little homemade raspberry, put a little egg wash (a beaten egg with a little water) on the edges, then followed the cutting and folding directions on YouTube.

Pastry flowers ready to be baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

We baked them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

A sprinkle of powdered sugar finishes the baked pastries.

They are really pretty and really delicious.

The dessert table.

Tiny pastries are always welcome.  Thank you YouTube.

Have you tried any YouTube hacks?


Piping Meringues

Meringues are so easy to make. (Recipe and directions here.)

Meringues are made with egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar (optional).

We almost always have all the ingredients on hand — all 3 ingredients.

I made a quick trip to Michael’s where I purchased the bags. (They were not in stock at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.)

I was ready to make them one morning when I discovered I was out of pastry bags.  Even though the actual meringue has only 3 ingredients I usually like to pipe the shapes — whether tart shells or kisses — with a pastry bag and decorative tip.

The decorative tip and white plastic coupler fit inside the tip of the bag. (The metal tip could also be placed outside of the bag if changing the tip is desired.)
The screw ring of the coupler holds the decorative tip in place.

I bought 2 sizes of bags — 12-inch and 16-inch — and decided the larger bag would work better for a batch of meringue made with 4 egg whites which has a lot of volume.

Fill the bag with meringue using a rubber spatula.

After the bag is fitted with a tip I turned back the wide edge and balanced the bag, tip side down, in a tall glass. The bag is filled with meringue.

The full bag makes about 2 dozen 2.5 inch tart shells.

Fold the edges down and squeeze the meringue down toward the tip.

The centers don’t have to be too neat.

On parchment paper that is marked with 2.5-inch circles, pipe a blob in the middle of each circle and smooth with an offset spatula.

The little shells are baked for 1.5 hours at 225 degrees then stay in the oven after it is turned off for another 30 minutes.

Then pipe a wider rim around each center and bake.

Like a toothpaste tube, roll the bag toward the tip as it empties.

The bag will be almost empty. Throw the bag away and wash the tip and coupler.

What’s your favorite pastry?

Irish Tea Party Menu

I’ve recently handed out invitations to the ladies in my Bible study for a St. Patrick’s Day tea party.  (The alternative was a $30 per person party at a nearby herb farm.)

I like to suggest a common theme: in the past I’ve encouraged tiaras and hats.

A tea party starts with tea so I’ve decided to serve two types, both decaffeinated :

Irish tea is usually strong.

an herbal tea and decaffeinated Irish breakfast tea.

I’m going to use some mismatched but pretty china from my collection.

I plan to serve some tried and true food in addition to adding a few new to me items.

On the savory side:

  • corned beef on oat bread,

    Corned beef and cornichons on oat bread
  • chicken salad sandwiches,

    Cucumber on white bread, egg salad on whole wheat, chicken salad on rolls
  • egg salad  smoked salmon sandwiches,
  • cucumber sandwiches.

On the dolce side:

  • petit fours (if I can find them),
  • lemon curd in meringue shells aka Pavlovas,

    Pavlovas with lemon curd and berry coulee.
  • puff pastry mini fruit tarts.
I'll be using many food items from Trader Joe's.
I’ll be using many food items from Trader Joe’s.

In addition I’ll probably have some pretzel thins for a taste of salty/crunchy and some chocolate-covered-caramel candy.

Charlie usually plays butler and maestro at our tea parties and even does the washing up.

I know Sug and I can set up this tea party in the morning and serve it in the afternoon. Charlie will be our dedicated waiter and lead us in an Irish song sing-along.

Are you planning any Spring Flings?

List, 2018: March Plans

I received a notice from WordPress today congratulating me on 7 years of blogging. I’m going to try to keep it going until our projects are finished. March is  an unpredictable month — sometimes it’s cold and dreary and other times it’s warm and sunny. This March has come in like a lion with gale force winds.


We’re still working on the pink bathroom and thus far have replaced the broken tiles.

Many steps took us to this finished wall.
The ceiling is painted white and the old wallpaper has been removed.

We still need to paper the walls, hang a new mirror, etc.


After the bathroom is underway I’m heading to the back bedroom where we’ve been storing all sorts of papers and projects.

The treetops Bedroom is sunny in the morning.

That room is our main guest room.  Since I did not even get started in February, I’m hoping to make a dent in March.


On the 17th of the month I’m hosting a tea for my Thursday night Bible study.

These corned beef tea sandwiches look like something we should try.

As usual Sug will be my right-hand helper and Charlie will serve and entertain us with an Irish sing-along.


Both Charlie and Sug have birthdays in March one day apart. I have to think of something special for us to do besides cleaning up and working on the house.

Wait until I tell you the name I have planned.

On the 10th we’re supposed to go on a short road trip to see my new puppy who will be one month old. I can’t actually take him home until he is two months old but I’m excited to take a look at him in person.

Exterior Outsourcing 

Last month Sug’s carpenter came to the house to do some work for us.  He repaired a wall and started to install the round window trim. He did not finish either job so he must return.

One of two round windows was trimmed last month. The job is ongoing.

We have a really big job for him to do out on our upper deck. Sug also has a deck job for him. Hope he’s not too busy to help us.


I wish I could make some progress in this area.

Can you believe it’s already March?

List, 2018: February Progress

February is my favorite month probably because my birthday happens near the end of the month.

My son made me a 5-layer cake.

I had a great birthday whereby people made me some of my favorite cakes: Tres Leches and yellow cake with buttercream icing.


We worked on the pink bathroom and thus far have repaired the broken tiles.

Many steps took us to this finished wall.
The ceiling is painted white and the old wallpaper has been removed.

While we were away Sug painted the ceiling and removed the old wall paper.

The shower curtain rod needs a good cleaning and maybe some spray paint before being reinstalled.

Charlie took down the shower curtain rod to facilitate the wallpapering.

Anthropologie wallpaper for our pink bathroom.

We still need to paper the walls, hang a new mirror, etc.


After the bathroom is underway I’m heading to the back bedroom where we’ve been storing all sorts of papers and projects.

The treetops Bedroom is sunny in the morning.

That room is our main guest room.  Unfortunately I did not even get started back there in February.  Maybe March.


Charlie told me he is finishing the baseboard trim — “No matter what I say.”

This section of baseboard in the bedroom needs shoe molding.

The only thing I told Charlie about the trim is that the wood is being stored outside and will need some time inside to acclimate before being cut and installed as baseboard.  Unfortunately no progress was made on this project except that Sug painted all the formerly installed baseboard on the first floor.


We traveled to Cuba at the beginning of February.  Both the weather and the people were warm and lovely.

We adventured to Havana, Cuba and a side trip to Viñales for 6 days early in February.

Check out some of our Cuban posts by searching “Trip to Cuba”.

Exterior Outsourcing 

Top priority on our return from Cuba was to finalize our tax paperwork and send it to the accountant.  I did not finish by February 14th as I had hoped but I did get it to the accountant by the 20th and our return is almost finished.


I was planning to return to the gym in the morning starting sometime in February. Didn’t happen.  Then I was planning to start March 1st but I have caught a cold and feel I shouldn’t try to exercise while I’m under the weather. I’m keeping my gym membership as an inducement to get back to it.

If you could cut back on one responsibility what would it be?

101 in 1001 #4 — First Quarter 2018

Here is my new list beginning May 10, 2017 (first list ended 11/13/2011, second list 8/11/2014, third list 5/9/2017) until February 5, 2020. Completed items are in blue, black is the color for original post.

  1. Get a dog. Picking up my puppy 4/10/2018.

    My new puppy was born on February 6.  Here he is at 2 and a half weeks.
  2. Have ancestry confirmed through DNA.
  3. Write a personal mission statement.
  4. Stain the interior wood doors.

    3 sets finished – 2 sets to go.
  5. Hang a door at the entrance to the laundry.

    This solid wood door with 4 lights might fit the opening in the laundry room perfectly.
  6. Take a trip to the UK. Planned for Fall, 2018.
  7. Get rid of 50 books.

    No matter how many books I get rid of I still seem to have more.
  8. Evaluate and upgrade home electronics: CD player, speaker, turntable, tape deck, DVD player, TV.
  9. Make the guest room ready for guests.

    The treetops room needs to have all clutter removed before it is ready for guests including my shoes piled in the corner.
  10. Revisit my will, trust, and POA.
  11. Visit National Wildlife Visitor Center
  12. Visit Cryptographic Museum
  13. Make a stone patio with firepit.
  14. Host a swap meet.

    We’ve had book swaps and soup swaps. Maybe we’ll try something new.
  15. Get rid of 101 items. I am forty items lighter.
  16. Hang photos in upstairs hall
  17. Take dance lessons
  18. Host a Casablanca party/movie night.

    Someday I’m going to have a Casablanca themed party.
  19. Host a dinner party for 8
  20. Organize trip to a Caribbean island – Cuba. Complete! 8/1/2017 
  21. Work on family recipe book
  22. Visit a waterfall Cunningham Falls, Thurmont MD Complete! 8/1/2017 

    Cunningham Falls in Maryland
  23. See the Southern Cross in person
  24. Go to the beach for a long weekend

    The last time we were at the beach (in California).
  25. Host a scavenger hunt.
  26. Make a month’s worth of meals one weekend. Planned for April, 2018.
  27. Make a home maintenance calendar.
  28. Set blogging goals.
  29. Work on wardrobe: buy what I need, get rid of what I don’t, make a list of everything.
  30. Sort out things in attic by attaching children’s names, give away, sell, etc.

    The attic is overdue for a major tidying.
  31. Learn to copyright (watermark) photos
  32. Complete legacy file
  33. Make a photo album of Mommie
  34. Paint some canvasses
  35. Chapel in the yard at The Glade

    There must be an appropriate spot for a small chapel in our yard.
  36. Ride on a Vespa
  37. Locate and catalog local thrift stores
  38. Develop a cleaning schedule
  39. Write a novel based on work
  40. Increase net worth by 25% Currently up 6%
  41. Visit Statue of Liberty.  Complete! 10/27/2017 

    How beautiful is Lady Liberty!
  42. Paint landscapes/seascapes on canvas/wood
  43. Take a cruise. Leave from the Port of Baltimore.
  44. Memorize a poem.
  45. Make a household inventory with photos
  46. Finish laundry room
  47. Give heirlooms to children – hope chest, china, desk/chair, Christmas china, sleds – 1 for each

    3 sleds
  48. Finish painting trim in pink bedroom
  49. Make a master menu for 14 days of meals
  50. Wash all the windows in the house

    We have a lot of windows.
  51. Paint dining room table – finish sanding, prime and paint
  52. Use my God box.
  53. Build bench for mudroom.
  54. Build shelves in master bedroom.

    We must finish the bedroom shelves.
  55. Landscape the front yard

    We’re working on the foundations plantings.
  56. Read 2 biographies
  57. Read 2 classics
  58. Design Etsy boutique packaging
  59. Fund my Revocable Trust
  60. Achieve my personal weight goal
  61. Get rid of 5 big items from the house:  4 down, 1 to go                                       Lawn mower 

    Lawn mower


    High chair


    Yard cart


    Cedar chest, Skittle game, Rocking horse, Chandelier, Easel,  Dollhouse, Saddle/horse gear

  62. Design and print business cards
  63. Celebrate our 10th anniversary. 9/12/2019
  64. Organize papers, bills, and contracts from renovation
  65. Trip to Venice/Serbia/Greece.
  66. Attend 5 concerts — Rheinberger’s Organ Concerto No. 1, SaintSaëns Organ Symphony, Glenmar Dance Music, 50th Anniversary Organ Concert, BSO Gala 2017 Complete! 9/9/2017 
  67. Visit Smith Island, Maryland Planned for the end of July, 2018 
  68. Start a new blog: “Let’s Fake the Music”
  69. Lead a Bible study at home
  70. Plan my funeral
  71. Hang exterior shutters Complete! 9/23/2017 

    The before and after of the shutter installation.
  72. Build a structure for trash cans and recycle bins
  73. Upgrade deck off master bedroom with new surface and railings

    The master deck.
  74. Make curtains for master bedroom
  75. Install all trim
  76. Paint all trim
  77. Finish painting exterior details (oil tank, vents, etc.)

    The tank is painted.
  78. Clean out car
  79. Clean up all paint cans
  80. Clear out the basement
  81. Remove 10 boxes from the attic
  82. Set up a better home office

    Perhaps we can set up the office area in the pink bedroom better.
  83. Refinish sleigh bed Complete! 9/23/2017 

    A recent project was refinishing the bedframe of the sleigh bed.
  84. Build frame for full length mirror

    This mirror needs a frame.
  85. Renovate pink bathroom

    We’re making progress.
  86. Renovate powder room

    Let’s update the bibliotheque.
  87. Paint all interior doors grey

    First floor doors finished; 3 doors on second floor still need painting.
  88. Have 5 parties. Complete! 3/17/2018
  89. Coffee table for conservatory
  90. Paint secretary

    I think painting will improve this secretary.
  91. Finish living room curtains 
  92. Dye hall rug

    This rug is a little bland.
  93. Fix hall water wall
  94. Paint green vanity

    The dressing table in the master bathroom might not want to be green anymore.
  95. Refinish tall dresser
  96. Finish cushions in dining room
  97. Clear out mud room closet

    The closet has become a storage spot for lots of stuff that doesn’t belong.
  98. Whiten my teeth
  99. Plant sunflowers Complete! 7/14/2017 

    A wall of sunflowers attracts bees and gold finches.
  100. Fast for 24 hours
  101. Private

List, 2018: El Plan de Febrero

February is my favorite month probably because my birthday happens near the end of the month.  My mother always used to say that I celebrated the entire month. I can’t really find a problemo with that idea.


When we return from our study trip early in the month I’m turning my focus to the little pink bathroom.  It definitely needs to be updated before we can have overnight guests.

Our tiny original bathroom has pink and white wallpaper above the pink tile.

We need to paint the ceiling, fix the tile, paper the walls, hang a new mirror, etc.


After the bathroom is underway I’m heading to the back bedroom where we’ve been storing all sorts of papers and projects.

The treetops Bedroom is sunny in the morning.

That room is our main guest room.  It must be readied for guests.  It will be so exciting to have the guest suite available.


No parties planned for February but Charlie has told me he is finishing the baseboard trim — “No matter what I say.”  I’ll try not to say anything. It won’t be easy.

This section of baseboard in the bedroom needs shoe molding.


A trip to Cuba early in the month and a birthday celebration for me at the end of the month. ¡Olé!

Exterior Outsourcing 

First item on my ever-lengthening agenda is to get our tax paperwork finalized and sent to the accountant.  Hope to have everything finished by February 14th.

Love thinking about Valentine’s Day as a financial deadline.


Our accommodations in Cuba have some stair climbs which we had to agree to before hand.   My office is up a long flight of stairs as is our bedroom at The Glade. I can now return to the gym in the morning since I don’t have to get to work quite as early as I have been doing.

Where would you like to travel?