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!

Looking for a gift idea for ANYONE!!

Posted by Melanie Begley.

I have a few suggestions for gift ideas for really anyone. These 3 items were given to me and I love them, but never would have thought of it myself. Have you heard of Skylight? I hadn’t until my husband and daughter gave me Skylight for Mother’s Day this year and I LOVE IT!   It’s a digital picture frame that is so easy to set up and enjoy right away.   You send pictures to an email address via a computer, cell phone or iPad and they will pop up in the picture frame. You can give the email address to anyone so they can also send pictures directly to the frame. The photos appear as a slideshow, but you can freeze it on a specific photo that you like. It’s so much better than just a regular photo frame that you would have to take the picture and replace it with another one. I like to change the photos with the holidays. Right now, I have last year’s family Christmas photo up, which I just changed from a Thanksgiving photo. It would be great at home and at the office.

The next gift idea is Raddish – a cooking club for kids. My mother gave this to my daughter for her birthday and it has been a great help getting us in the kitchen. I am not a very good cook, nor can I cook from scratch, but this is really helping me in the kitchen while also teaching my daughter how to cook. A new “kit” arrives every month, depending on the plan that you choose. You can pick 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or 12 months.   The kit includes 3 recipes, a kitchen tool to be used with one of the recipes, a game for table fun, kitchen techniques and conversation starters. The first kit also included an apron. We also get an email when the kit has shipped letting us know what is on the way. I love the step by step instructions as well as the complete list of groceries you will need. I think the Strawberry Shortcake recipe has to be my favorite so far. My daughter really enjoys getting the kitchen tool. When the pastry blender came in the kit, I had no idea what it was. Luckily the recipe card told us. I really should have spent more time in the kitchen with my mom when I was younger. I regret that now but am enjoying this time with my daughter.

The last gift was given to me by Auntie JoJo. Keep our Sea Plastic Free t-shirt is the softest, most comfortable t-shirt I have ever worn. I get compliments on it all the time. I’m not sure exactly where she purchased it, but I found it at Wholesome and I’m sure you can find it on Amazon. Wholesome Culture has a nice mission statement and they also donate 10% of profits to animal rescue and environmental organizations.



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.









Coming Attraction November 22, 2019

Posted by Jackie Stewart.

I cannot wait until this Thanksgiving to see Morgan Neville’s new movie, “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood“ starring Tom Hanks (a perfect choice for this role).    The movie is based on one of my most favorite childhood shows, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” which first aired on February 19, 1968.

When I watched the trailer for this new movie, it brought me back to when I was a little girl, who loved to hear his opening song, “It’s a Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood.”  His voice was soft and soothing and I remember feeling sad when he would begin to say goodbye by taking off his sneakers and cardigan sweater to change into his street clothes.  With his magical neighborhood complete with a neighborhood trolley, puppets, special guests and songs, he talked about so many topics,  happy and sad.   I have been watching some of the ” you-tube” clips and a lot of his segments touched on some intense stuff  – he would talk about these subjects and he had a gift of making us feel like we were the only one he was talking to and in a manner that a young child could relate to.    He talked about death and how sad he was when as young boy his beloved dog Mitsy died and how he had cried.  During that show, he brought out an old black and white picture of his adorable dog Mitsy – then he sang a song about being glad and sad, telling us it takes time to heal before we can talk about the loss of a loved one or a beloved pet with fond memories rather than tears.   One of the clips that really hit home for me was that for an entire week, he devoted a segment on divorce.  He tried to explain to us youngsters what divorce is and reasons it may happen and that we were not alone.   Mr. Rogers introduced us to a young boy in an electric wheelchair, who because of a tumor,  could not use his hands or legs.  He taught us that Jeff was just like us and we should treat him just like any other kid and not a handicapped boy in a scary wheelchair.  Years later, that boy Jeff in a wheelchair, now a grown man in a wheelchair, made an on-stage appearance when Mr. Rogers was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Mr. Rogers and the audience was brought to tears.

There are so many videos that come up when you “google” Mr. Rogers.  Mr. Rogers’ widow Joanne Rogers made a fascinating documentary about her late husband in 2018.   As I watch these videos, as a grown woman, it still brings me back into that safe place I felt in “his”  neighborhood.   I wish that young children in this day and age had a show like this for entertainment and to help them with difficult times in their childhood…well, actually they do, parents just need to introduce their children to Mr. Rogers  through the internet.

I hope you enjoy the movie…and Happy Thanksgiving!…0.0..2.632.2681.12j3j2j0j1j1……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i131.-31C3dMzEa4#spf=1572015657148.




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.

Girl Scout Life

Posted by Jen Crompton.

One of the greatest things about having daughters is watching them grow up to be strong and confident young ladies – ready to take on the world! While we still have a ways to go before they fly the coop we are thoroughly enjoying giving them every opportunity we can to help them be successful in life. From the time our girls started school, they have each been involved with Girls Scouts; starting as a Daisy, moving on to Brownies and now Junior Girl Scouts. The experience of being part of this ‘sisterhood’ has greatly enriched their lives in ways, we as parents, could never have imaginged. During their bi-weekly meetings our girls work diligently on earning ‘Badges’ in various areas of interest. Our girls have learned what it means to be a philanthropist, serving the community in a variety of ways; what it takes to be a business woman by selling cookies and managing finaces; they learn how to be confident in their own skin during a workshop that emphasized self-care and pride in our appearance; and most recently our older girls have learned what it is like to be a Detective in a law enforcement agency!

During a recent visit to our local police department, our Junior troop spent the afternoon learning all about what it takes to be a detective from one of Barnstable’s finest female detectives! Such an empowering experience for the girls to have. The detectives did an amazing job inspiring these young ladies to channel their inquisitive energy into learning all about law enforcement. They spent about 2 hours learning about finger printing and DNA sampling, heard all about internet safety, and toured the facilities where detective solve their biggest cases, along with the holding cells and the 911 call center. The detectives were amazing at helping the girls connect what it means to be a Girl Scout and follow the Girl Scout Law and carry that into a law enforcement career. As a Girl Scout, these young ladies commit themselves to living their lives being honest and fair, courageous and strong, respectful to themselves, authority and others, and helping make the world a better place. These are all the qualities it takes to be great detectives!

The girls will carry the lessons and values they have learned through their time as Girl Scouts, throughout their lives and being part of this diverse group with a common goal, will help them accomplish anything they want in life. Thank you Barnstable Police Department for a wonderful afternoon that our girls will never forget!


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!!




Posted by Melanie Begley.

I LOVE crock pot season, especially on Sunday’s watching the Patriots play; no worries about when to start making dinner. Plus, the fact that I’m not a very good cook, I am always looking for easy peasy recipes. One of my favorite go to recipes is called Mississippi Pot Roast. If you get the right cut of beef (I usually ask the butcher at the grocery store what would be best) this will be “melt in your mouth delicious.”   It goes great with roasted potatoes/mashed potatoes and asparagus or just some buttered noodles. You can also make a nice gravy, but I’m clueless when it comes to that (like I said before, not a good cook). Just put it on low heat for 8 hours and let the crock pot do all the work.

I normally add Sea Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to the roast before putting on the mix. For the roasted potatoes I use the recipe on the Lipton Onion Soup mix packet, add a little bit of ranch dry mix and it comes out great.


  • 1 (3-4 pounds) chuck roast
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
  • 1 packet au jus gravy mix
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4-5 pepperoncini peppers
  • Instructions
  1. Place roast in the slow cooker and sprinkle the top with the ranch dressing mix and the au jus mix. Place peppers on top of the mixes and add the butter.
  2. Cook over low heat for 8 hours. Serve with noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. Enjoy!


A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens

Posted by Melanie Begley.

My 7 year old daughter loves acting and drama and for the last 3 years she has participated in the Creative Drama & Dance class held at Dramafun in Sandwich.  She and I both absolutely love Courtenay Harrington-Bailey, who is the founding director and teacher.  She is amazing with the kids and always puts on a great performance with the children at the end of the session. In addition she produces “Broadway Jr.” productions three times a year with her children’s theatre company.  We went to the most recent show in December called A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens.  The almost all kids cast brought us back in time to the Victorian streets of London where the characters Jack and Annie helped save Charles Dickens from his past and the memories that haunted him. I certainly felt like I was at a Broadway show!

If you have a chance I would suggest checking out their next big show, Mary Poppins Jr, which will run on Saturday, April 7 @ 2pm & 7pm and also on Sunday, April 8 @ 2pm in the Mashpee High School Auditorium.  Tickets are $15 a person, kids 4 and under are free.

Slow Cooker Obsession!

Posted by Jen Crompton.

When the temperature drops and days become shorter and the night is long, little else brings us as much comfort as curling up on the couch binge watching the latest drama (Come on, who doesn’t love This Is Us?!) with a big bowl of steaming hot soup that has been simmering all day in the slow cooker just waiting for us to dive in.

Of all the gadgets and gizmos I received almost 13 years ago when I was married, my slow cooker is, by far, my favorite and most beloved gadget in the kitchen!

With the popularity of Pinterest at an all time high, the recipes available for slow cooker meals are endless! While strolling the aisles of the grocery store, I can whip out my Smartphone and search for a recipe, grab the ingredients and head home!

Like many moms, serving my family something tasty and nutritious is a daily struggle in our house. We are a busy family of four, and can often get stuck in a rut of the same go-to meals, week after week. The slow cookers allow us to mix it up a bit and explore new things without slaving over a hot stove all day. I can throw all the ingredients in the cooker before leaving for work in the morning, set it on low, go about our day from school, to work, to dance and come home to a warm and delicious, ready-to-eat meal for the whole family!

Gone are the days of slow cooker soup only! While we have our favorite soups and stews (can you say Chicken Tortilla Soup? Yum!), we regularly make Asian inspired Honey Glazed Sesame Chicken and Rice, Mexican beef or chicken fajitas, and pulled pork sandwiches!

Our newest favorite dish is one I never expected to be making in my slow cooker! Desserts are the latest craze in slow cooker deliciousness. Ooey, gooey, chocolate lava cake left to cook for 2.5 hours is heavenly and just what we need on a chilly winter night! Perfect for parties or family movie night, toss in those ingredients, set it and forget it!

Speaking of parties, nothing says love like bringing a pot of slow cooker meatballs or a creamy spinach and artichoke dip to your favorite gathering. No more stressing over what to make, finding the time to cook it, just toss it in and press a button! Slow cookers even come in a variety of transportable sizes, for easy party convenience!

Enjoy some of our party favorites here:


What will you be making in your slow cooker next?