Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No Back to School For Me

This week I won't be part of getting kids off to their first day of school.

Instead I will be walking over this little bridge until I arrive at my destination.

The beach.

We'll be spending the next few days on the Carolina coast.

We received an invitation from our friend and neighbor to come and stay at their beach condo with them. All of our kids are grown now.
There was a time in my life that going away to the beach during back to school time would be unthinkable. Sometimes I miss those days, but for the most part it is nice to have the freedom to go on a little getaway when the opportunity presents itself.
It's been a few years since we've been on a beach vacation. We used to get to Myrtle Beach yearly, but it always involved hockey tournaments and didn't leave time for playing in the surf.
I'm looking forward to playing in the Atlantic.
My next post will be #100. Hmm... I wonder what that means???
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Simply Savoring Summer

Although the thermometer is hovering around 90 degrees, the backyard is beginning to show subtle signs that autumn is just around the corner. The leaves and berries of the dogwood trees that had been green all summer are slowly changing to oranges, reds and yellows.

The mums are loaded with buds and some of them are just beginning to open. It won't be long now until the calendar tells us it is officially Fall. But, until then... let's savor every last bit of the good ole' summertime.

Here at my home we are doing that by enjoying the small, but delicious harvest from the organic vegetable garden. This year I planted a raised bed garden for the first time since living in NC. I have found it so satisfying to step out my backdoor with my basket in hand to pick a few different vegetables to add to the dinner table. You can't beat homegrown.

In honor of the outdoor vegetable garden I created a little centerpiece for the kitchen table.

A few cute dish towels helped to carry out the garden theme.

We're eating lots of fresh summer fruit ~ like this watermelon.
Sure you can buy watermelon all year now, but it always tastes the best when it's in season.

And looks prettier with a sprig of mint from the herb garden.

When I'm out tending to the vegetable garden I usually snip some flowers to bring in. This little arrangement sits on the edge of the kitchen sink.
A little milk bottle with a few flowers tucked in is a simple way to bring a touch of the late summer garden into the house.

Hey, summer's not over yet... so... get out there and enjoy every last bit of it.
Garden flowers, homegrown vegetables, swimming, boating & fishing, bike rides, picnics & bbq's
Hope you enjoy the best that summer has to offer before it's too late.

Hugs from my Happy Home to yours,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Cheery, Cherry Coffee Break

Let's hear it for the Coffee Break!!

On our recent trip to Michigan we just had to make a stop at the Grand Traverse Pie Company.
A friend had told us they had fabulous pies and since we were going to be right nearby we thought we'd better check for ourselves. They not only offer every kind of pie you could imagine, but they also have wonderful soups, salads & sandwiches.

Here is a little peak at some of their offerings. My, oh, my ... that was some yummy pie!!
So yummy that we made 2 visits during our trip.

It was also a cute place to have lunch or just dessert :-)
I tried to talk them into opening one in the Charlotte area, but I think she thought I was kidding. She said the farthest south they have come is Indiana. Waaah ~ that won't do.

Before leaving I made a little stop.
I'm glad I went here and not to the door that said Pie Guys.

We seriously considered bringing a pie home, but with all of the other things we were bringing we thought it might get a little crushed. So, the next best thing was to bring home some of their wonderful coffee.

Have you ever tasted Sweet Cherry coffee before?

Tis' heavenly.

Wanting to create a special Coffee Break with my Sweet Cherry coffee I searched for just the right sweet treat to join the party.

This will be perfect.

~Cherry Cream Scones~
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
dash salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup dried red cherries
2 eggs
1/3 cup half & half or light cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. chopped almonds
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a 10 inch springform pan or a baking sheet; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, the 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder & salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cherries.
In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs; stir in half & half and vanilla. Add to flour mixture; stir just until smooth.
Using your floured fingers, pat dough into prepared pan or into a 9 inch round on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with almonds. In a small mixing bowl, combine the 2 Tbsp. sugar and the cinnamon; sprinkle onto dough.
Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, allowing 20-25 minutes for the springform pan or 16-18 minutes for the baking sheet.
Cool in pan or on baking sheet on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan. Cut into wedges. Serve warm. Makes 8 scones.

Cream Cherry Scone & Sweet Cherry coffee enjoyed between the vacuuming & the ironing.
A simple pleasure that made the everyday chores so much more enjoyable.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Home Again . . .

Home again
We've just returned from Michigan. We packed a lot into our time there. Of course our first priority was spending time with my sister. It was wonderful to be able to visit with her every day. I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't say that it was also very sad. She has been working very hard in her physical, occupational and speech therapies and is making progress. We are so thankful for that, but at the same time we know that it is going to be a long road to recovery. She is expected to be in the hospital for a few more weeks and then will move to a skilled care nursing facility to continue rehabilitation.

While we were in Michigan we also attended the graduation party of a relative on my husband's side. Their backyard was so pretty that I thought I would share a little bit of it with you. This pond had 2 waterfalls which made such a relaxing sound on a beautiful summer day.

Near the waterfall and pond was this bench. Wouldn't that be a relaxing spot to enjoy your morning coffee?

Most of our visits to my sister took place after dinner as she has a full schedule of therapy every day . One day we went to visit my husband's aunt and uncle. Aunt Barbara has always had a green thumb and a real flair for interior decorating too. She is now in her upper 70s, but that hasn't slowed her down in the least. I couldn't resist taking a few pictures around her gorgeous gardens.

We enjoyed glorious weather while in Michigan. People had their windows open and I found it heavenly to have the fresh air blowing throughout the house. We can't do that in the summer here in North Carolina unless we want to melt :-)

A relaxing spot to sit right outside their bedroom window.

One night while visiting my sister I took the page that I had attached the good thoughts and prayers from all of you. She is still only able to say a few words, but she indicated that she wanted me to read them to her. After I read them all and told her about you she pointed to her door. She has a metal door in her room where we put all of the notes, pictures, etc. that she wants to be able to look at. I knew she would be touched ~ and she was. Thank you again for your kindness.

My sister has always had a lot of friends. It was wonderful to be able to see and talk to so many of these friends while we were visiting. What a blessing to be surrounded by such positive people who care so much about you. Everybody I talked to feels confident that Norma will make a good recovery as she is such a determined person and has never been one to shy away from hard work. How nice to know that on this journey to recovery she will have so many people cheering her on.

This picture reminds me of the many, many times Norma & I sat in her beautiful yard and enjoyed a cup of coffee together while raising our boys. We both have 2 boys who are close in age. One of Norma's many talents is that she is a master gardener. She is one of those people that can do pretty much anything she sets her mind to.

I'm still struggling to understand why things like this happen to good people.

I guess there are just some things we aren't meant to understand.
There is one thing I do understand . . .
When these times happen, it sure helps to know that there are so many really good people in our world. For no matter how independent we may think we are, there are always going to be times when we need a hand to hold. Often when I was visiting my sister I would feel bad that I couldn't do more for her or I couldn't figure out what she was trying to say to me. But then she would put out her hand and I would hold it for a few minutes and know that maybe right now this form of communication is good enough. The words will come in time.

Well, I'd better sign off now. The laundry is calling my name. Once I get caught up on things here at home I will be stopping by to visit all of you again.