Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Autumn in England

It's no secret, visiting England and the British Isles has always been a dream of mine.  I'm not going, but I know someone who is.  I am torn between being incredibly happy for her and wanting to pout in a corner because I'm not going.  Happiness will win out... eventually.

In the mean time, I thought it would be fun to make a list of things that I just adore that might make fabulous souvenirs. You know, Christmas is right around the corner, (and that is the last time I'll be mentioning THAT for a few months!) and vacationing in the land of my dreams makes a great opportunity to get those things that are a little harder to come by on this side of the pond.

There are several European designers that I have always admired.  I came upon some of Emma Bridgewater's beautiful ceramics years and years ago. I love them to pieces. Granted you can get a few pieces on Amazon, but the selection is very limited.  If you have been reading this blog for very long, you also know I have a dish addiction.  There are so many beautiful patterns and designs available, my only problem is storage, but I have a basement with shelves and I am not afraid to fill it. Give me all the crockery please!

This is one of her oldest lines and I loved it the moment I saw it so many years ago.
 The blue and white is gorgeous, and that Daddy mug, so sweet!
 Earl and I seriously love watching the birds at our feeder. We have one that hangs outside our living room window and the sound of their songs and chirps as they eat is so sweet and relaxing.  So it's no surprise that I love these bird mugs.
 But then again, I love my chickens too. Morning coffee in these? Yes!
 Would this fit in a carry on? *sigh*
I know some of these are no doubt discontinued, but I KNOW this traveler knows what I love :)

What is your dream destination? Have you been there?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summers End

Well as much as I want to hang on to summer just a little longer I see the end clearly. The sunshine is a little more golden, the days a little shorter and I've seen my first wash of red in the trees.  I think I'm ready to give in to the changes I see around me. It's not that I don't love Autumn, I just don't love what comes after Autumn, but if you've been around for any amount of time you know that about me.
I'm deep in the work of summers end. I have a table full of ripe peaches that will be frozen and made into jam and I see a few pies in my very near future.

I have already made a batch of peach jam and it is good! Nothing can beat the fruit from the orchard, it ripens properly instead of going from hard to mush like the grocery store varieties.  With the golden light of early Autumn spilling in my kitchen windows it's no work at all to turn ripe fruit into something amazing.  I always say, if you don't like cooking and baking you aren't making the right recipes!

Using leaf cookie cutters for the top crust is even easier than lattice and it just feels like fall
Earl and I grabbed a quick weekend away the weekend before last. We found a b&b right on the Au Sable River. It turned out the forecast wasn't conducive to canoeing so we headed to Traverse City to look around.  We hid out in antique stores while it rained and looked around at a huge old asylum that has been turned into retail stores and condos. Such a great use for amazing Victorian architecture.  We found some cozy, fun little places for lunch and dinner and then headed back to the b&b to enjoy some coffee on the big porch while we watched the rain.
And then we got up early the next morning and spent more time on the porch. Feet up, hot coffee chasing the chill, and watched the rain come down and the river flow by.  So amazingly relaxing! I now need a very large porch added to our house. Some day....
The garden is mostly ready to pick.  The first tomato was eaten the day it was ripe by some garden bandit with 4 legs, but we have high hopes of getting the next one, We have harvested the onions, and most of the green beans, (we didn't plant enough!), and are working our way through the beets. I like to roast them in the oven, peel them and make fresh Greek salads for dinner.  Thank goodness most of the flowers are hanging on as we slowly harvest everything else.  It's too late to plant anything else and empty spots in the raised beds would be so sad. This is our first year growing brussels sprouts and I just can't wait to see how they turn out. I can see the little buds forming but they don't seem nearly big enough for this far along in the season. Fingers crossed that they amount to anything!

That's about the extent of the excitement around here. It must be nearly fall because I feel my focus shifting from the garden to the house.  I'm looking around and planning some freshening up in the kitchen, back entry and master bedroom. Now all I need is the gumption to get going :)  How about you, any big fall decorating / nesting plans?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Brown Butter Peach Tart

This is a quick post.  A public service announcement if you will.  Last night Earl made a Brown Butter Peach Tart for me to share with a friend over coffee this morning. I know, he's a keeper!  Anyways, this is the butteriest, most wonderful recipe ever. I mean ever!  It's a Pinterest keeper and I found the recipe here. With fresh peaches just coming into season you are going to want to make this.  It's really easy and really, really good.  You all know the easy way to peel peaches is to dunk them in boiling water for 30-40 seconds and then into ice water right?  Good.  Let me know if you make this, what you think.  You're welcome. Carry on.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Making Summer Last

I don't know about you, but this summer has flown by at record speed for me.  I can't even say I have done anything fascinating or been particularly busy.  I am starting to see so many who are over this hot summer and longing for fall, but as much as I love Autumn I hang on to the longer days of summer and the warmth with a tight grip.  We are making plans for a few weekends away and I shake my head as I realize I'm already filling my October calendar!

One way to make summer last is to make sure we don't miss out on any of those sights and sounds and beautiful things that only summer brings.  Like hitting the farmers market and taking in all those beautiful flowers.
Our youngest daughter went with us this weekend and I came away with this beautiful bouquet of flowers that she bought me.  $6 gets you some amazing deals at the farmers market, what do you think you would pay for these from a florist?  $50-$75?

After the farmer's market, we headed to a local orchard hoping to find some fresh peaches.  It's peach season and the ones I get from the grocery store never seem to ripen as well as they should. They go straight from green to mush.  We came away with this.
I'll be turning these into peach jam and peach pie this week!

How are you spending the last days of summer?

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Story of My Life, Part 5

That kiss just melted me.

 After that date we were inseparable.  As I got to know him, his faith became more and more evident and it was clear that I had found someone who loved God as much as I do. He turned out to be one of the kindest and most unselfish men I have ever met, always putting others before himself.  He surprised me time after time with romantic gestures like the time we went for pizza and he pulled me onto the floor to dance to a funny song on the jukebox, or the time he ran toward me on the campus lawn, dipped me in the moonlight and started singing "Temptation" to me.  He had a campus security job and I would join him on his night time rounds as we explored all the little hidden back rooms and secret places on campus. we laugh together every day.

He proposed on our second date and I said, "whoa! lets take this a little slower."   He was sure way before I was!  For the next few months he would ask me to marry him every few weeks, sometimes I would say yes and then back out the next day, sometimes I would ask for more time to think. It all seemed to be moving so fast!
I know, scandalous isn't it!?  Keep in mind, a friend took this picture, the door was open and we were chaperoned as the school's rules demanded.
He continued to ask me to marry him every few weeks, and I continued to stall, until one evening in May when I said yes once and for all.  We were married in August the following year at my little country church that sat by a river.  I wore a wedding dress made by my Aunt and the reception was a simple cake and punch affair.  That was a fairly typical country wedding back then. I have often wished I could do the wedding over, I know a lot more about weddings now! But I wouldn't trade the groom for all the gold in Fort Knox.

I can only assume God was in heaven looking down, laughing and shaking his head and saying, "I love that girl but she's a little slow."  He put the perfect boy in front of me, repeatedly, and it took forever to break down my resistance.  At some point, after we started to date, that list fell out of my bible and I realized Earl was every single thing on my list with a few extra happy things thrown in.  I have never regretted loving him for one moment and have thanked God over and over again for bringing us together.  Earl has a great capacity for love and I love him back with all my heart. The story of "my" life became the story of "our" life, including two beautiful daughters who adore their dad just as much as I do.  He has made my life heaven on earth and I can only thank God that Earl never gave up on me.

Writing this has brought back so many happy memories.  I hope you enjoyed our story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I would happily recommend taking a trip of your own down memory lane.  If you have a beautiful story don't hesitate to document it, even if no one sees it but you and your spouse!  It is so good to remember all the little ways your story is special and beautiful.
Because I know you want to see the dress :)