Saturday, December 29, 2018

Christmas in the New House

New homes require new ways of doing things.
Because it was time to decorate for Christmas right after the moving truck departed, I chose a few key areas, rummaged through the Christmas bins and decked the halls in no time flat.
I toyed with the idea of doing a mini new home Christmas tour until I saw the pictures and decided against it.  Looks like I need to figure out the lighting better :)

In digging through the bins it seemed like a lot of the old decor  didn't seem quite right in this new more modern home.  The little toy stove was staying either way.  One of the long standing Christmas traditions in my family is cookie baking and that little stove is a happy reminder of just that.
On a side note, shortly after setting up the little display a man was here to go over the new furnace with us.  As he walked by it he stopped and remarked on it wondering how old it was and if it really worked.  We had a chat about it which led to him showing me pictures of his rather new hobby of purchasing old fans (think 1930s and 40s) and restoring them to like new condition.  His work was beautiful and it was evident that he got great joy from finding old rusty fans at antique shops and auctions and bringing them back to life.  Who knew the furnace man would share an interest in old relics from the past too :)

 Speaking of Christmas cookie baking . . .
I soon learned that this new kitchen is a wonderful place to bake in.
I was able to set up an efficient assembly line on this long counter.

 I did sneak in a vintage S & P set in front of the cutting board that was a gift from the builder.  I thought that this was a very meaningful gift as it was made from one of the trees that was on the land before it was developed into a community of homes.

The best gift of all was a visit from this little guy.
He added so much joy and laughter to the holiday.

 Laughter was also found when my oldest son entered the house with his holiday sweater playing music and flashing lights.

In the kitchen Brett exercised his talents at carving the spiral ham and turkey breast.  He had a side kick this year who was more than happy to sample the offerings.

My sister-in-law happily and merrily washing the dishes.
You may think I'm being facetious, but she really does enjoy it.  She owns a dishwasher and has never used it.  Instead she uses it to store things in.  Kind of like another cupboard.

 We watched a variety of movies in the lazy days and nights following Christmas.  One of Jaxson's favorites was the Grinch.  At one point during the movie the Grinch struck a pose that tickled his funny bone tremendously.  That in turn struck my funny bone and we both got the giggles.
Of course you know that once they get a laugh . . .

 the opportunity for more laughs is inevitable even when grandma is doing her best to get a nice picture of her grandson under the tree before he leaves to go home.
Grinch Pose.

 Hiding under my hood pose.

Pinch my uncle's nose pose.

Grandma's Favorite Pose.

As I reflect back over the past few days I can't help but think that the home and decorations set a festive tone, but it's the people coming together sharing their unique talents and gifts that make for the warmest memories of all.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Moving Along . . .

Shortly before Thanksgiving I took a break from packing boxes to take a stroll around the garden with camera in hand.  

 With all of the details required in making a move, the beauty taking place outside the house was largely going unnoticed by me.  One day a visitor commented on how gorgeous our trees were and as she was going on about the amazing colors, I decided it was time to take notice.

 Seems she was right.  Beautiful colors were all around the house that day.  I made my way to the side of the house that I rarely venture as the ground tends to be a bit soggy over there.
As I rounded the corner to the front of the house, I stopped in my tracks . . .

In all the years I have lived here I had never seen this view from this angle.  The two sugar maples we planted specifically for their spectacular fall foliage and the Japanese Maple that provided a pop of red inside our master bathroom.
Somewhere between all of that beauty sits our long driveway.  Racing up and down the driveway going here and there didn't allow for a true appreciation of this autumnal beauty.

 After my little photo session I opted for one final cup of coffee on the patio.  Thinking about leaving behind this garden that I have loved so much started to make me wonder what the he** I was thinking.  :).  I had a moment of panic wondering if this was all a big mistake.  I took a sip of coffee and looked up.

 At first I was intrigued by the cloud formations and then I did a double take.  There amongst the clouds was a rainbow like I have never seen before.

 Rather than arching down at the ends, it curved up at each end like a great big happy smile.  In that instant I knew that the right decision had been made.  Talk about receiving a sign from above.

 In a few short days the moving truck arrived and life around here became a busy blur for the next week or so.

But now we are moved into our new home and becoming a bit more settled with each passing day.
Not long after the Christmas tree was decorated we woke up to a winter wonderland outside the window.
As I sipped my morning coffee and gazed out at our new view, I felt sure that the right decision had been made.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Outdoors in November


Delightful weather and beautiful fall foliage seem to beckon one out for a walk.  The time is right to enjoy the outdoors before the leaves have all fallen.  
Recent days have found me heading down the trail behind our house.
Now that I know there won't be many more walks here, I am seeing things in a new light.

 The fall color show is in full swing around here, although some of the trees are beginning to drop their leaves.

 A bit of red.
 This is the tree right across the street from us.
Each morning the sun illuminates it making this autumn beauty even more stunning.  When I look out the dining room window, it is the sight that greets me first thing.  A wonderful way to start the day.  

Something else that got my attention this week.
One last large clematis blossom greeting me every time I went to the mailbox.  Each day I expected it to be gone, yet there it was.
In a strange way I felt like parting is going to be sweet sorrow for both of us. :)  Maybe you have to be a gardener to appreciate that thought or maybe I'm just a bit strange :D.

This photo from last spring might do a better job of showing just why she will be missed.  I planted her years ago and with very little care since then she put on a spectacular spring show every year.
Through the years many people in the neighborhood have commented on how beautiful she is.  Last year we even had a tall teenage boy stop, take out his earbuds and tell us how it makes him happy when he walks by and sees it in bloom.  Wow!
So, while I will miss her, I'm happy to think that others will continue to enjoy and appreciate her.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

It Won't Be Long Now

With just under a month until we close on the new home, things are moving right along over there.  We are still going for our weekly visits to check on progress.  Since it's been awhile since I've shared any photos here, I thought I'd give you a wee update.
Soon this will be the view from the kitchen sink.

 This angle gives the fuller picture.  In the foreground is the large island that will be replacing the formal dining room table.
You may have noticed that this kitchen isn't lacking in cupboard and drawer space.  I'm beginning to wonder what will be going into them now that I have purged so many of my belongings.

 If I am standing at the kitchen sink looking diagonally, there lies the great room.  On our last visit the builders had just been in to put blue tape on all of the areas requiring touch ups and further attention.  They seemed to do a very thorough job as there was blue tape everywhere.

 In the master bath I was going for a bit of decorative tile with a slight sea glass look to it.

And because I am itching to get back to playing with décor...
I found these mercury glass Christmas trees in the Habitat ReStore recently and instantly envisioned them on the bathroom counter.  It's hard to tell in the photo, but the countertops have little flecks of a seafoam color and little flecks of sparkle.  When the sun hits it just right it sparkles like a diamond or maybe a piece of sea glass :).
These little trees light up and I think they will be such a pretty night light during the holiday season.  Just to the right of the trees is the bathtub.  By the time this move is complete I'm thinking it will be nice to sink into that tub and relax by the light of the wee Christmas trees.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pumpkin Talk and a Few Other Things

If you removed everything from the steps and porch, that would be how things are looking around here this October. This photo was from last year when I talked about my plans for those pumpkins in 

 The pumpkins were roasted, pureed and tucked into the freezer for future use.  It was quite amazing to see how many bags of the stuff I ended up with.  😉
With a move in the near future, I've been working at whittling down the freezer contents.
So, today I poked around the internet for a healthy pumpkin muffin recipe.  I found one that sounded interesting and gave it a try this afternoon.

I like muffins that are slightly sweet.
It seems there is a WIDE range of sweetness levels when it comes to muffins.  Some might as well be cupcakes (hello grocery store bakery muffins).  
These were made with a small amount of honey and a nice variety of the fall spices that seem to taste so good at this time of year. 
The recipe can be found here if you would like to try them.

In other news,
Specifically, moving news...
Since my last post our house has been "under contract".
Closing dates were established, papers signed, moving trucks scheduled, inspections completed and the boxes have been filling almost daily.  Then, out of the blue, the buyers withdrew their offer and we are back to square one.  More than a tad disappointing.
We are set to close on the new house in mid-November and were happy that things seemed to be working out well with the timing of both closings.
After hearing this latest development yesterday my mind headed where it seems to always go first... worry land.  
Then I decided to head in a different direction and keep busy.
Heaven knows there is plenty to keep busy with around here.
Packing, more packing and keeping the house sparkling for future showings.  If all of that doesn't keep me moving in a forward direction,  I'll keep working on this plan:

It seemed to work pretty well today.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Shape of a Week

One week ago today the house was officially put on the market.
Rooms were cleaned, carpets vacuumed and all traces of "us" removed.  The stage had been set.
Right away the showings began and we quickly established a routine to get all the blinds raised, lights on, personal items stashed, tote bag packed and scram.

Meanwhile, Brett's mom and sister had driven up from Florida for a visit.  Mid-week we took them into Charlotte to see our oldest son's downtown condo.  From his 15th floor, the signs of city living loom large and the skies had begun to darken.

Thing were looking very inviting around the pool until large raindrops sent us back indoors.

Back on the homefront the showings continued and a few offers trickled in.
With talk of a hurricane named Florence on the horizon we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather on Thursday and have lunch on the patio.  The last of the watermelon tasted especially sweet on this late summer day.

Friday brought a 3rd offer and a request for a 2nd showing.
It also brought more warnings that Florence might make her presence known in our part of the state in the form of power outages and prolonged heavy rain.  It seemed like a good idea to stock up on groceries and water.  Since there were no afternoon showings I spent a few hours in the kitchen preparing a few things to keep us fed.  

The granola jar is stocked.
A loaf of banana bread awaits.
The flashlights, candles and oil lamps are handy.
Cars are filled with gas.
The last task will be filling the bathtub with water.  If the power were to go out, this water would be necessary for toilet flushing.

This morning the news coverage is heartbreaking to see so many areas along the coast being flooded. My prayers go out to the people who are being directly impacted and also to the many people who are working around the clock to help where they are needed most.  

Monday, August 27, 2018

Azaleas in August

Do you grow the Encore variety of azaleas?
When we re-landscaped the backyard a few years back, the plan included several of them.
Prior to that we had only spring bloomers.
So, while strolling through the garden this morning, I was caught off guard by them blooming their little hearts out.

For a brief moment I had to wonder whether it was April or August.  My mind still equates azaleas with Easter and springtime.
No matter the month they sure do make a beautiful statement.

Late summer also brings the blooming of the ornamental grasses.
This one also makes me think of springtime as it is called "Little Bunny".

As we prepare to hang the For Sale sign, I am appreciating the special attributes this home provided.  This view outside our bedroom window will be hard to leave.  I think I'll even miss the frog chorus that has become such a part of late spring and summer.
However, the time is right for a new place to call home and I look forward to blooming where I am planted.