If you are in Boston and want good Italian food, you head to the North End. If you are in the North End and want good pizza, you head to Regina. Which is exactly what my daughter and I did yesterday and it was so good! We lucked out because we were able to walk right in and get a table which is pretty much unheard of. There is usually quite a line stretched out along the sidewalk and the reason we don’t go more often than we do.
The North End is filled with restaurants and if you were to walk into any one of them lining Hanover or Salem Streets I’m sure you would not be disappointed. However, tucked away by itself on Thatcher Street is where you really need to go if you want great pizza.
Regina Pizzeria is one of the oldest pizza restaurants in Boston, if not the oldest? They have been serving up these delicious pies in this location since 1926. It is no frills and in no way fancy, and very possible it hasn’t been updated since 1926. For me, that is another reason I always head to the original location even though their newer locations are easier to get to. Depending on which table you sit in and what time of year it is, you may need to be careful not to lean on the hissing radiator abutting your table.
They only make and serve pizza and they do it right. No salads, nothing except pizza.
I hardly ever eat the crust on pizza, but I eat every bite of the crust of Regina pizza. It has to be one of the best crusts I have ever had.
The next time you are in Boston craving pizza, head to the best. Actually, maybe you shouldn’t so I won’t have to wait too long to get a table 😜
If you have never been to the Swan Boats in Boston you must add it to you bucket list. The Swan Boats are in the Boston Public Gardens which is a tranquil little oasis nestled in the middle of the city. I have been taking rides on these old wooden boats since I was a child, as my mother had since she was a child. I don’t believe there are any other swan boats other than those located in Boston, but I could be wrong.
The Public Gardens were built next to Boston Common in 1837. While Boston Common is a lovely park, in my opinion it is nothing compared to the Public Gardens. While the two parks are next to each other, I never walk through the Common unless cutting through, however I do walk around the Public Garden multiple times a year. In 1877 a catamaran type boat with a foot paddle was created and a swan was built to hide the operator and the Swan Boats were born. They have been run by the same family since the creation and were designated a Boston landmark in 2011.
Recently I was having lunch with a friend from out of town that mentioned she hoped to some day really see Boston. I asked if she had an hour or two for me to kidnap her and bring her to one of my favorite spots in the city. We zipped into Beacon Hill and with a couple of circles around the Public Gardens, found a parking spot. As if Beacon Hill isn’t beautiful enough as is, when you step through the old black wrought iron gates into the Public Garden you are taken to a different world. While you can still hear the hustle and bustle of the city, you forget it’s there.
You walk along the paved paths lined by many different varieties of trees, which I have always taken for granted not realizing what a treat this is for someone that doesn’t live in the area. Depending on the time of year you are treated by amazing beds of tulips, roses, and many other beautiful flowers.
I would say the flowers have gotten a little better over the years. Well, at least cameras have as well as my outfits!
Then in the middle of this wonderful park is the little man made pond graced with the old wooden boats peddled by a swan. Well, a person sitting in a swan.
After you pay the whopping $4.50 for a ticket, you will embark on your tranquil ride around the pond. At one end of the pond you will be paddled around a little island and if you have ever read Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, you will know that this is the island Mr. and Mrs. Mallard decided to make their nest.
No matter which part of the pond you are on there is never a shortage of ducks ready to greet you.
You are no longer permitted to feed the ducks, but when I was a child there were vendors selling little brown bags of peanuts for feeding the ducks. You can see a little bag in my hand in the next photo. You can also see the boats appear to be the same boats used today except they were covered with canopies.
The next time you are in Boston, make a point to take a stroll through this beautiful spot and take a ride on the swans 🦢
Of course if I was going to make scones while I am in Maine they were going to be blueberry scones. And what better flavor to combine with blueberry than lemon. Yum. You may have already tried using my scones recipe, and this recipe is the same except for the addition of blueberries and the icing. Easy and delicious!
As I mentioned in my other scone Blog, this is a great base recipe to add other ingredients to. In the past I have added chocolate chips, yesterday I added blueberries and who knows what I might add next!
** Please note some of the photos are from my original scone Blog.
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cold butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk or half and half
1 cup blueberries
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Using a cheese grater, grate the butter and cut it into the dry mixture with a pasty cutter or a fork and knife. Make sure the butter is cold.
Put the beaten egg in a measuring cup and then fill to the 1 cup mark with the milk or half and half. I used a combination of half and half and milk. Mix the two together and add a little at a time to the dry mixture. You shouldn’t have to use all of it.
The dough shouldn’t be too moist, just add enough so that the dough will stick together once kneaded. It won’t look like it will in the bowl, but you can tell by using your hands and squeezing some together.
Now add the blueberries.
When I got to this step I thought, how the heck do I get the blueberries in the dough without making an absolute mess? I went and changed my shirt, make sure you either do that or are wearing an apron, and carefully started to stir them in as best I could.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until it comes together. It is not easy to do without the blueberries exploding, but just take your time and it will work.
Roll the dough into a circle about a 1/2″ thick.
Use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut the dough into 8 pieces, this will make very large scones. If you would like them smaller divide the dough in half, then roll it out and cut into 8 pieces which is what I did.
Place the scones on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until brown. The smaller scones only took about 13 minutes.
Let the scones cool completely and then drizzle the lemon icing on them. For the icing, I used the icing I use on my Italian Lemon Cookies except I cut the recipe in half.
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/8 cup water
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
Combine all of the ingredients until smooth. If the icing is too thin you can add more sugar until you get it to the right consistency.
You are going to love these scones!
My grandfather had the most amazing flower garden, and every week when I would visit as a child he would take me out to the garden and pick me a bouquet of flowers to take home. Those weekly hand picked bouquets sparked an immeasurable love of flowers for me that sticks with me to this day. You can imagine the excitement I felt a number of years ago upon seeing an Ad for a pick your own tulip farm in Rhode Island. I instantly went on-line to find out more information and to my disappointment they were sold out for the year. For the next few years I kept remembering about this farm too late and ran into the same problem. Well, not this year!
Last week as I was slowly driving through a beautiful neighborhood admiring all of the tulips that had bloomed, it occurred to me that the tulip farm in Rhode Island must be open. When I got home and checked their website I had hit it perfectly this year and there were still tickets available. I couldn’t text my daughter quickly enough to see what her schedule was like for this week so I could purchase us tickets.
Yesterday morning I grabbed some baskets for picking, a bucket and water for transporting, my camera, and off I went to pick up my daughter at school for the day I have been waiting for for years. We drove about an hour and forty five minutes from Boston to Exeter, RI and it was well worth the drive. You are instantly greeted with friendly employees in the parking area, followed by just as friendly employees at the check in tent. A ticket gets you 10 tulips and if that is all you will be picking, you are allowed an additional tulip. You can also purchase extra tulips if you choose. Believe me, it was a struggle to only taken home 11 tulips each.
Once entering the farm you are just in awe of the absolute beauty of the neat little rows, upon rows of tulips and all of the people carrying their baskets and buckets brimming with flowers. For a flower lover like myself it was as if I had entered a form of Heaven on Earth. And to share it with my flower loving daughter made for a perfect morning.
Many of the tulips are organized by color, while some are an assorted mix.
While all of the tulips were beautiful, we didn’t realize at first that tucked in amongst the classic tulips there are varieties that I have never seen. There is such a wonderful assortment of different shapes and color combinations.
My daughter noticed these unique beauties right away, and the bouquet she picked for herself were just breath taking.
We strolled through the rows of tulips for about an hour taking it all in and finding our favorites to bring home. This farm is also the perfect backdrop for photos and just about everyone there was not missing this opportunity, including ourselves.
As you can see they look even more amazing the next day!
If you are near Rhode Island I encourage you to take a trip to this farm, I am already looking forward to visiting again in the years to come!
These adorable candles are an easy fun craft perfect to do with children. If you are looking to make a properly colored candle, crayons are not the way to color them and you will need to use candle wax dye. However, as far as a craft goes, this is a perfect way to do it. You can be as creative as you want and depending on how much time you want to spend, you can make multiple layers.
For these candles you will need:
Find some crayons that you don’t mind parting with and think of the colors you would like to put together. This is a perfect use for all of those broken crayons you have laying around that the children no longer color with.
For the wax, I use soy wax but you can use whatever candle wax you choose. You can either melt the wax and crayons on the stove as I have, or melt them in the microwave if that is easier. For the stove method, add a small amount of wax to a saucepan along with an unwrapped crayon broken into pieces.
I made two identical small mason jar candles and used about 4 oz. of wax per layer with one crayon for each layer.
The wax and crayon melt very quickly. The color will be streaky as crayons don’t mix perfectly with candle wax.
Take the pan off of the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
While your wax is cooling anchor the wick to the bottom of the jar. To do this dip the bottom of the wick into the melted wax before placing in the jar. Keep in mind once you pour the hot wax into the jar the wick may move. Be sure to either hold it in place while pouring or use a wick holder which sits on the jar.
Once the wax has cooled for a few minutes you can pour it into the jars. The easiest way to do this is to use a funnel. It not only helps you by not spilling the wax all over your counter, but also helps to keep the wick in place. I’ve tried a few different ways and the funnel was definitely the best option.
Let each layer set for about 30 minutes before repeating the melting process and adding another color.
Once the candles are set trim the wicks with scissors and they are ready to light.
Aren’t they cute!
I am constantly purchasing antique mason jars whenever I see them at estate sales and use them for so many different things. I absolutely love old jars, all kinds of jars actually. I have made snow globes out of antique mason jars, have many decorating my sunporch filled with shells and seaglass that I’ve found, and some on my kitchen window sill helping me root plantings I have cut. As an antique dealer I often use them to sell fun decorative collections of vintage marbles and thread spools. The repurposing possibilities are endless, and I wanted to share another fun use for those fantastic old jars.
Of course you don’t have to use antique jars to make candles, new mason jars will work just as well.
Making your own candles is quite easy, the only somewhat difficult part is calculating the wax to container ratio, and the fragrance to wax ratio. You have to remember that wax is measured by weight and not by volume. What this means is if you have a 3 oz. jar that does not mean you use 3 oz. of wax, you use 2.4 oz . I have included a chart below to help you calculate the measurements.
The first number represents the size of the container by volume, and the second number next to it represents the amount of wax needed by weight.
3 oz. – 2.4 oz.
4 oz. – 3.2 oz.
6 oz. – 4.8 oz.
8 oz. – 6.4 oz.
10 oz. – 8 oz.
And so on.
If you decide to add a scent to the candles, use fragrance oil specifically for candles. As far as the measurements go, I used .5 oz of fragrance oil for 1 lb. of wax, and .75 oz of fragrance oil for 20 oz. of wax and they smelled nice and not too overpowering.
You can also color the candles but you need to use dye specifically for candles. Food coloring or crayons will not work perfectly. I did make some candles with crayons for a fun craft idea, but the crayons don’t blend well with the wax and the colors aren’t as nice they would be with candle dye.
To start you need some candle wax, I purchased 10 lbs. of soy wax.
You will need a scale to measure out the wax. I used a kitchen scale that I had and just scooped the wax onto the scale.
Once the wax is measured, transfer it to a saucepan and melt it on medium heat on your stove. It melts very quickly and easily.
Once the wax is melted stir in the fragrance if you are using one, and remove it from the heat to cool.
While your wax is cooling anchor the wick to the bottom of the jar. To do this you can dip it in the melted wax and stick it to the bottom of the jar. Keep in mind once you pour the hot wax into the jar the wick may move. Be sure to either hold it in place while pouring or use a wick holder which sits on the jar as I have.
Once the wax has cooled for a few minutes you can pour it into the jars. The easiest way to do this is to use a funnel. It not only helps you by not spilling the wax all over your counter, but also helps to keep the wick in place. I tried a few different ways and the funnel was definitely the best option.
Once the candles have set, trim the wicks with scissors.
Now they are ready to burn. I am loving not only the coffee scent, but how it looks in this aqua colored antique jar!
On a bend in the road at the tip of Southport Island in Maine is the most adorable alpaca farm. I can remember years ago being in our favorite little library, which happens to be next door, and one of the librarians asking if we had seen the new neighbors that had recently moved in. After peaking through the library window trying to catch a glimpse, my children and I walked a little further into the library parking lot to see these cute furry creatures never imagining that someday we would be walking them on leashes. Right? Who walks alpacas on leashes?
Soon enough, this small farm opened it’s “doors” to the public and we met some of these fascinating animals as well as their people, Anne and Mike. And what wonderful people they are. Of course I assumed they must have been alpaca farmers for years but come to find out this was fairly new to them. I let out a little sigh every time I leave their farm and think of how nice it would be to pack up and leave things behind to have a change of life as they have. I’m sure being an alpaca farmer is much more difficult than they make it look, however, and I doubt I would last a week.
This year we spent the Christmas holiday in Maine for the first time and were able to reserve a spot to take an alpaca for a walk. How cool is that? I caught myself smiling under my mask every time a car went by wondering what the people must think as they drive past. I’m sure in the summer months especially there must be quite a few heads that turn as people utter “were they just walking alpacas?”
So the other day my daughter and I headed over to the farm on a 28 degree winter day ready for our trek. Anne explained how to walk an alpaca, filled our jacket pockets with feed, and off we went through the neighborhood while our alpacas took turns trying to lead the pack. Zara was on my leash and Gracie on my daughter’s making their cute little moans as we walked along. Gracie moaned quite a bit, I don’t think she was as excited as we were about this excursion.
It also didn’t take Gracie very long to figure out my daughter’s pocket was filled with treats.
By the end of the trek my daughter Sara and Gracie seemed to have a little more of an understanding of each other 😅
When we returned to the farm it didn’t take long for the other alpacas to also realize what Sara had in her pocket. What an amazing experience to be surrounded by these beautiful gentle creatures. I am pretty sure my daughter would say the same even though she may have gotten “sneezed” on by one of them, twice. Better her than me 😛
This little farm is truly such a special place and I could not be more thankful to have it as a neighbor in Maine.
The next time you are visiting the coast of Maine, make sure to take a detour down Rt. 27 towards the Boothbay peninsula and head over to Southport to pay a visit to Anne and Mike and all of their wonderful alpacas at Cape Newagen Alpaca Farm.