Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Few Fall Touches


In these lingering days of summer, I've been adding a few subtle touches of fall to my home.  I'm going for a nod to the season rather than an all out change every surface to scream "Fall has arrived".
Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just that at this stage of life, the interest and energy level for that has changed considerably.


In fact, Brett & I have started to think about downsizing in the next year or so.
We've begun the process of looking at smaller homes.
When we first started talking about it, we had no idea where to start looking.  Just for the heck of it we visited one of the "active lifestyle" communities in the area.  We have now visited three different ones and talked to a lot of people who have made this move.  Everybody we've talked to seems thrilled with their new home and community.  The one thing we heard over and over was how much stuff they had to get rid of to downsize.  The other common theme was not to bother saving it for your kids as they don't want it.  


Our current house doesn't have a basement.
What it lacks in basement space, it more than makes up for it in attic space.  Lots and lots of attic space with lots and lots of things stored in them.
Through my years of blogging, I have talked about cleaning the attic on more than one occasion.  Many things have found new homes through the years, yet many things remain in those attics :/.
I am learning one thing through this process of house hunting.
Now is the right time to get serious about clearing the clutter.
Whether we move next year or in five years, we will be ahead of the game to start dealing with it now.
So that is exactly what we have been doing around here.

Yesterday I sorted through the bins in the attic containing fall d├ęcor.
I picked out a few favorite pieces.
I chose a few spots in the house that I thought could benefit from a touch of fall.
In the dining room it was the center of the table
and a few dishes added to the hutch.
For now that is plenty.
The remaining items were packed into the car and taken to one of my favorite charities.
As each holiday rolls around I plan to repeat this process.
It's rather amazing how much stuff a house can accumulate over the years.
When my son was home last week I had him clean out his dresser and closet.  Four garbage bags of clothes came out of there and he hasn't lived here for over three years.  Yikes!
Speaking of my son, I want to thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers on my last post.
We are happy to report that they made it here and back home safe and sound.  Thankfully there was no damage to their apartment and the power was still on.  Amber spent one night in the hospital where she works in Orlando.  They lost power and were working off of generators.  She said the room the staff slept in was on the fourteenth floor with windows from floor to ceiling.  It was a scary time and she was so glad to get back home when it was safe to do so.  

While here visiting, Jaxson decided that when raspberries become finger puppets they suddenly taste better :).
We miss him already, but are most thankful to have their little family reunited once again.




Friday, September 8, 2017

On My Mind This Morning


I, unintentionally, drifted away from the blog world for awhile. 
Some of that time was spent glued to the television watching the coverage of Hurricane Harvey.  It was so heartbreaking to see the devastation and hear the personal stories.  I can't even imagine what it must be like for all of the people dealing with the aftermath.  My heart goes out to them.
Now, it hardly seems possible that we are once again watching coverage of another hurricane roaring towards southern Florida.
With family members living there, this one has me more glued to the tv than ever.  My son and his family live in the Orlando area.
He was scheduled to fly home on Sunday for work.
Yesterday it was decided that the safer option would be to get in the car and drive.  He packed the car, loaded the dog and our little grandson and headed north.  Mommy works in a hospital and will be staying there for the duration.
During one of our somewhat stressful phone updates yesterday, I looked down to see a very elderly little dog paw firmly planted on my leg. With my tendency to be a worrier, it was a small comfort at that moment.   It reminded me of something I saw over and over during the Hurricane Harvey coverage.  Human beings facing horrible circumstances, yet helping one another in every way that they could.  Suddenly it no longer mattered the skin color, age or political persuasion.  
Last night as darkness began to descend, it was clear that our family members wouldn't make it home.  Brett sprang into action calling around for a hotel that might have vacancy and accept pets.
After several tries he was able to score the last room in a pet friendly place.
This morning my son reports that the nervous dog kept him awake most of the night.  Soon they will all load up and continue on their journey.  Brett has been busy as a bee and more talkative than ever.  My way is to keep busy in a quieter, more reflective way.
Ha!  I guess we all have our ways of dealing with things.
The first order of business for me this morning is cookie baking.
Once my grandson arrives safe and sound there will be cookies and milk for all.
As I continue to watch the updates on tv, I only wish it were as easy as providing cookies for all.  It is a bit of a helpless feeling to watch our fellow Americans suffering this way and not being able to do much to help.  Having said that I do believe in our own way we can each do something to help.
Along with cookie baking, I'll be praying for those in the path of Hurricane Irma.  Always a good place to start in my opinion.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Yummy Summer Sandwich


Can you guess what's happening in my kitchen?
If you grow basil this may be a familiar sight right about now.
Pesto making time.

Last winter my sister-in-law gave me a cutting from the basil plant she had growing on her kitchen windowsill.
When I got home I stuck it in water and waited a few weeks until it sprouted roots.  At that time I planted it in a little pot on my kitchen counter and cared for it until it was safe to plant it outside in my garden.
It is now thriving out there in the garden as you can tell by the size of the leaf above.

Seemed an ideal time to harvest some for a batch of pesto.
As I was making it my mouth was watering just thinking about it's intended purpose...


With just four simple ingredients, this recipe has become our favorite summertime sandwich.
If you'd like to try it, you will need:
- a nice loaf of crusty Italian bread
- a nice fresh tomato
- fresh mozzarella cheese
- basil pesto

Slice your bread.
Spread each slice with pesto.
Lay mozzarella slices and tomato slices on one piece of bread.
Put the other piece of bread on top.
Brush the outside of each piece of the bread with a bit of olive oil and cook in a pre-heated skilled as you would a regular grilled cheese sandwich.

Once the bread is toasty and golden and the cheese is "melty",
cut in half and enjoy.
A little taste of summer!




Thursday, August 17, 2017

Something to Cheer About


Give me a Z
Give me a U
Give me a C
Give me another C
Give me an H
Give me an I
Give me an N
Give me an I

What's it spell?


Why, zucchini, of course.
I'm thinking many people would not be cheering about zucchini right now as their gardens may be overflowing with them.
Over here, we are cheering enthusiastically over our very first crop.
To date our attempts to grow them have been unsuccessful.
One year the male and female flowers didn't do their thing, another year squash vine borers did them in.  In fact, after those failed attempts I swore there would be no more tries.  However, last spring I decided I was not ready to admit defeat.  I always thought they were easy to grow and it was ticking me off that I didn't have any luck with them.
So, I stuck a few plants in the garden and waited and waited and waited some more.  Nothing!
I checked out some YouTube videos about that male and female flower thing.  I headed out one day with my Q Tip determined to help them (ahem) get it on only to find out there were no female flowers in the bunch :(.
The other day I was tempted to rip out the whole mess.
Just for the heck of it I started poking around amongst those big leaves and there it was.
Oh, what a beautiful sight :).

The next day while snipping some basil I spotted another little zucchini peeking out at me.
I decided to harvest it promptly before it disappeared like most of my tomatoes have :/.
Once in the house it seemed a photo shoot was in order.
I added another element harvested from the garden, the zinnias.
Zucchini & Zinnias.  A happy summertime pair.

I'm wondering if it is normal for zucchini to grow and grow and then put out the squash late in the season?  If you grow it, what has been your experience?  Do you harvest throughout the season?




Monday, August 14, 2017

Timeless Lessons


Last Thursday was a big day in his little life.
His first day of preschool.
We, as the grandparents, could hardly wait to hear how he would like it.
We were delighted to receive a photo of him all dressed and ready for his new adventure.
As I looked at him standing up so straight and tall smiling so big, I couldn't help but be excited for him.  At the same time the thought went through my mind that I hope his school years will always be happy ones.  I felt that familiar protective mother instinct, yet it seemed more pronounced than I remember it being when my own boys were off to school for the first time.
Perhaps those of you who have been down this road can tell me whether our protective feelings become even stronger when it comes to the grandchildren.


While looking at a video my son sent of Jaxson singing a little song he learned at school, the news of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia came on the television.
My heart sank, my bubble burst and my fears for the future of our children and grandchildren became a bit heightened.
At times like this, things can feel rather hopeless.
I find I can only watch it for so long and then it's time to switch it off.  It may be switched off, but the image of that car slamming into the crowd of people is something that can't be unseen.  It stayed with me and made me wonder what happens to people that makes them that filled with hatred?


I don't pretend to have the answers, yet I find it deeply concerning how hatred and a lack of basic respect seem to be evident so often now, particularly online.  Frankly I am shocked at some of the comments people leave or in the ways they talk to one another.  We certainly don't all have to agree with each other but I think there is something to be said for "if you don't have anything nice to say...."

Sometimes when I want to be reminded of a kinder, gentler time I head for my vintage children's book collection.
This particular book dates back to 1943.
Some might think the information to be out-of-date.


I tend to disagree.
Instead I find it filled with timeless life lessons as well as charming illustrations.
As another school year gets underway, let's help them learn love and acceptance along with reading, writing and arithmetic.



Saturday, August 5, 2017

Table Manners



Greetings Friends!

You may not realize this but we cardinals are a well-mannered bunch.



When we see that someone has cared enough about us to offer a bird buffet, we show up nicely groomed.  You know, every hair in place.

Before digging in, we bow our heads in prayers of thanks.

At times we get overly excited and drop our food.

That's okay because our large hummingbird friend is very patient with us.
He just sits quietly and allows us to finish our meal.


Speaking of friends, when we spot a friend waiting in line for the buffet we know the importance of sharing the bounty.


We fly into the nearest tree and allow others to have a turn.


After all, there is plenty for everybody.

Happy Weekend!!


Monday, July 31, 2017

Come Along For A Cruise



A most welcome break in the heat yesterday had us eager to get outside and go for a boat ride.
There's plenty of room if you'd like to hop in and join us.

The sun is shining and the water is calm.
No Dramamine necessary today ;).

It's fun to see the different homes on the lake.
Something for everyone.
This one is ideal for those interested in a smaller abode.
Living quarters on top with the boat garage below.
The balcony offers a very expansive lake view.

For some the house is the boat.

For those who prefer to live large.

Or really large.

Oh, and what's this?


Why, it's a home for a bird family.
I'm guessing it's an osprey.


Now might be a good time for a lunch break.
We can do a bit of birdwatching while we eat.

Once in awhile we'll pass a small island.
We were half expecting to see Gilligan here.

We thought that this dock looked like a desirable location for watching the sunset.  We also tried to figure out which country's flag was represented on the right.  Does anybody have the answer?

I thought this white house with the blue roof was rather pretty.

However, this one had to be my favorite of them all.
Despite it's massive size I think it has a warm and cozy feeling to it.

The sun is starting to go down, so we'll be heading home now.
Thanks for joining us on our little cruise.
August is almost upon us.
Time to enjoy those late summer days.