Posted by Kathy Silvia.

It has been a “new world” since COVID-19, and many people have been going “back to the basics”.  Doing more cooking and baking from scratch seems to be one of those things.   Cooking and/or baking is truly a way to deal with anxiety and it gives you a feeling of self reliance.  “I’ve got this; I can do it on my own!”

A gentleman in my networking group started chatting one day about baking sour dough bread from his “starter”.  I became intrigued with the whole idea and finally asked him to share his “starter”  so I could try my hand at sour dough bread.

He gave me a container of starter and strict instructions on feeding it and where to store it.  He shared with me u-tube videos on the making and baking of the bread.  My first attempt was not too successful, but I vowed to keep trying.  The starter can live indefinitely as long as it is fed and stored properly.  The kneading of the dough is almost therapeutic, and with sour dough bread you don’t knead it just once, you knead numerous times.  It is so exciting to watch the dough slowly grow; how the kneading process changes the texture of the dough and then finally watching it brown in the oven while the aroma of  the bread baking permeates the house! This is a slow process and that goes against the rapid lives we live.  It teaches us patience and precision.

My second attempt was more successful; picture below, and with my third attempt I felt that I had begun to get the knack of it….but then….a bit of a glitch….

My husband announced that he really didn’t like sour dough bread and wanted Portuguese Sweet Bread instead.  Back to the search of finding a recipe that he would like. I refused to go to the store and buy the sweet bread; I would make it myself!!  After two attempts I found a recipe that he liked.   Sweet bread doesn’t use a “starter” but flour and yeast.  It is a time consuming process just like the sour dough bread.

I’ll keep making the sweet bread, but I rather enjoy the sour dough process with the use of a starter.

Baking bread is not a quick task but one that takes hours, but it is so rewarding to see that loaf come out of the oven, to take in the aroma, cut the loaf and just enjoy the fruit of your labor!  A sense of accomplishment.  Try it…you might like it!


Posted by Kathy Silvia.

Don’t you just love surprising someone?  I love doing something for someone when they least expect it; the joy it brings tends to lift spirits, for both the giver of the surprise and the recipient.

The other day I returned some cans and bottles at the recycle location near my home, and left the slips in the machine.  I hid and watched the joy on the person who came after me.  A smile came over his face and you could tell that his day was going in the right direction.

Surprises can come in all forms, from showing up on the doorstep of a lonely person, to sending a card or a note, doing a job that has been on hold for a long time and surprising the boss or spouse with the completed project.  They can be spur of the moment surprises from paying for coffee for the person standing behind you in the line, or the careful planning of a surprise birthday or anniversary party.

I know that some people will say “I hate surprises”, but studies have shown that surprises can boost memory, and pleasant surprises make us happier and surprises can add spark to a relationship.

Recently I planned a surprise.  It took careful planning and the help of others.  My daughter and her husband had been training for four months in preparation to run The Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2019.  I have been a runner off and on, and wanted to surprise them to cheer them along the grueling 26 miles.  My daughter even invited my husband and I to come out, but I told them they would be to preoccupied that weekend.   I flew to Chicago on October 12 (my husband home sick with pneumonia) and spent the night at the home of my son and daughter-in-law.  We had a great day with the grandchildren.  Early in the evening I called Jennie and Jeff to wish them luck. My daughter in-law had texted my daughter to tell her exactly where they would be along the course.   Jennie was “looking” for them.  She was not looking for me.  The video you will see shows the joy and excitement when she saw me.

Planned or unplanned, look out for those opportunities to surprise someone else..and enjoy the look on their face.










Posted by Kathy Silvia.

About 32 years ago, I was invited to attend a Rotary meeting in Osterville.  Little did I know that some 32 years later, Rotary would be an integral part of my life.

Rotary was the world’s first service Club.  Founded in 1905 when a lawyer from Chicago, Paul Harris and three friends got together; they wanted to reinvigorate the spirit of friendliness they had known from their own home towns.  Word of this small group spread, and other were invited to be part of the club.  They met in “rotation” at the members’ various places of business; so it would be only fitting to call this club “ROTARY”.  Soon the group was using the talents and resources of its members to serve throughout the community.  As time went on, more clubs were formed throughout the United States, and by 1911 a Club had been established in Canada, and in 1912, across the “pond”, in Ireland.  Before 1925 there were 200 clubs across the globe.  Today, membership is over 1.2 million, with over 35,000 Clubs.  Rotary works to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, support education and many other things.

I was invited to join the Osterville Rotary Club and was inducted as a member in August of 1987.  It was on May 4, 1987, that Rotary first allowed women to join!  Not only was I the first woman in the Osterville Club, but I became the first woman President in 1993.

Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self”.  Osterville Rotary participates in service projects throughout the community, and some of our efforts are worldwide.  In 1985 Rotary undertook a project to eradicate polio throughout the world.  Today (2019) it remains endemic in only three countries.  Rotary’s structure has changed over the years, but the goals of Rotary have not changed.

For the last 25 years the Osterville Rotary Club has held a Bluefish/Striper Tournament to raise funds to support the good works the Club embarks on.  Our efforts range from 2 $1,000 Scholarships awarded to Barnstable HS Seniors for 4 consecutive years, to picking up Trash along Route 28 from Centerville to Osterville, providing journals to all 5th graders in Barnstable, joint efforts with other Rotary Clubs on Cape Cod to help purchase a Bloodmobile, to working on a Habitat home, to various projects at CHIPs House in Centerville.  This is a small sampling of what the Club accomplishes.

Our meetings are fun, we have fascinating speakers and we do so much good!  We are always inspired to “be the good”.  Osterville Rotary is always looking for members and it has been nothing but rewarding for me.

The pictures are a few of our recent projects.


Posted by Kathy Silvia.

Over Thanksgiving on a trip to Chicago, we were with our grandchildren (ages 7 and 5). The weather was nasty and cold, and we needed something to do. Jimmy brought out a jigsaw puzzle. For the next several hours we had such fun doing jigsaw puzzles; there was one picture of the city of Chicago, and another was a map of the world, mermaids was another, and even another, a map of the United States. Oh, how I remember when our own children were young and enjoyed puzzles. More memories came to mind when I was a child and my Mother would bring out the card table to do a jig saw puzzle; it was such fun.

Christmas brought us back to Chicago and the first thing I asked Jimmy to do was to get out the puzzles. After the holidays were over and we returned to Cape Cod, I got to thinking about jig saw puzzles. Simply put, it is good, old fashioned entertainment. I have since done several (pictures below) puzzles and have thoroughly enjoyed each one.

The thing about jig saw puzzles is they are a great source of cheap entertainment, you can always find them on sale, you can find them with big pieces, little pieces, thousands of pieces or hundreds of pieces. You can determine how challenging you want the puzzle to be..all blue sky, sandy beaches, different colors, and even different themes. They are a great activity to keep your brain sharp; I have found that it helps to improve my concentration. And more importantly, you don’t need an electronic device to play. And if you especially like your accomplishment, puzzle glue and a frame or a mounting board can be used.

So, turn off the TV, shut down the electronic device and enjoy a good old fashioned jigsaw puzzle!!



The best EVER Chocolate Cake

Posted by Kathy Silvia.

When I was a little girl (about 1,000 years ago!), when a new family moved to the neighborhood, my Mom would bake a chocolate cake for the family as a way of welcoming them to the neighborhood. I still have the recipe card (tattered, fading ink and sticky with stains of chocolate), and even though I have memorized the recipe, whenever I see the card I have fond memories of all the families that received my Mom’s chocolate cake. Not only is it simple to make; the aroma is enticing, and it really is the BEST EVER!

I share this recipe with you….


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups boiling water
2 eggs
1 Stick butter (soft)
Preheat oven to 350 f. Grease and flour 9 x 13 pan. Mix butter and eggs. Add dry ingredients with water and vanilla. Bake 25-30 minutes.
Combine !/2 stick butter with 1 cup confectioners sugar, dash vanilla and enough milk until frosting is of spreading consistency. Cover top of cake.
Melt 3 squares unsweetened Bakers chocolate. Dribble over frosting and spread.


Get out and WALK!

Posted by Kathy Silvia.

Winters can be long on Cape Cod, and I for one don’t enjoy spending all my time inside.  This year my husband and I decided to try something new. There are many hiking trails around Cape Cod and it’s on my bucket list to do them all. First on the list are the hiking trails in the Town of Barnstable.  On the weekends, my husband and I have been checking trails “off the list”. We have seen cranberry bogs, wildlife, beautiful ponds, and so many types of plants and vegetation.  A brisk hike in the winter helps keep those “blues” from setting in.   Here’s a link to the trails in the Town of Barnstable.  Enjoy!