Friday, May 29, 2015

Life Lately

 

 

 

 

It had been so nice having Melissa home and free from responsibility until she starts her job in a couple of weeks. We have been doing some shopping for career type clothes and other errands that need to get accomplished. She is always up for something fun and yesterday we went to a restaurant, just down the road, that is on the water and has lovely outdoor deck seating. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying an early dinner, with a glass of wine.

 

 

I am trying to eat as healthy as I can this summer and take advantage of fresh ingredients, so I enjoyed a yummy steak salad with a light application of homemade blue cheese dressing. Quality protein and low carb is a good rule of thumb for a diabetic (like me) or really anyone.

 

 

I just finished reading A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner and enjoyed it very much. It takes place in present day New York, as well as New York City in 1911. The main characters are connected through a marigold patterned scarf and the tragedies of 9/11 and The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. There is rich historical detail of New York City and Ellis Island in that era and it is a fascinating read. I have just started her newer book, Secrets of A Charmed Life, with a World War II setting of London during the Blitz.

 

 

I think I have mentioned before that I love watching baseball and my Detroit Tigers. They have been in California this past week which means the games have been late games here in the Detroit area. I just love staying up late and having the Tigers on my television, since I am a night owl anyway. Summer nights and baseball just go together.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's Planting Time

 

 

 

It's the time I look forward to so much. The time of year when I am able to be outside, working in my yard and garden making everything look so pretty. There is always a lot of work involved to get to the point of being able to plant the flowers; wood chips to spread, weeds to conquer and hundreds of sticks to pick up, but it makes me very happy to get to that place. I love the whole process from going to the plant nursery to pick out what I have decided on, to getting my hands in the dirt and planting in both the ground and various pots. Gardening really is good for the soul.

 

 

 

Petunias bloom in my recycled firepit planter, as well as the tiny little wheelbarrow in this garden statue.

 

 

The pansies I bought early in the spring are still looking pretty.

 

 

I always plant geraniums both for their pretty, bright color, as well as their hardiness. Mixed in the pots this year is some Mexican Heather, with its sweet and tiny purple flowers.

 

 

More petunias in a basket hanging from a tree.

 

 

Tiny bunches of lobelia, in a bright purple, are planted randomly around landscape rocks here and there.

 

 

 

Pots I usually fill with geraniums, this year hold cosmos and salvia. Pretty, but hopefully the deer will stay away and not eat them for their breakfast!

 

 

More geraniums and Mexican Heather look welcoming and pretty on my front porch.

 

Happy Thursday!

 

Linking with Between Naps on the Porch, Savvy Southern Style and New House, New Home

 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sour Cream Banana Muffins Dipped in Sugar and Cinnamon

 

 

 

After working in my yard all weekend ( with a little more to do today) I needed a little pick me up this morning. Baking something yummy and sweet to go with my morning cup of coffee is always a good way to start the day, when I am up early. Two over ripe bananas were just waiting to be baked into banana bread or muffins and this recipe for Sour Cream Banana Muffins Dipped in Cinnamon and Sugar sounded too good to pass up.

The sour cream is such a wonderful addition to muffins or bread, making them extra moist and delicious. As always, I used the equivilent amount of Truvia in this recipe so I can cut down on the carbs in each muffin. I even used the Truvia to dip the muffins in at the end and the texture is similar to sugar, so it worked just fine. These muffins were such a treat ( especially warm from the oven) and a great way to start my morning :-)

 

Sour Cream Banana Muffins Dipped in Sugar and Cinnamon

 

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sugar ( I used Truvia equivilent )

1 egg

1/4 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup sour cream

2 small bananas, mashed

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

 

For topping:

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup sugar ( I used Truvia equivilent)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cups in a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, making powder and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk egg, then add sugar. Whisk until thick. Slowly add the melted butter. Whisk in the sour cream, mashed banana, milk and vanilla.

Gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Divide the batter between muffin cups. Bake 25-30 minutes until tops are lightly golden.

For topping : while muffins are still warm, dip the tops in melted butter and then into sugar and cinnamon mixture. Let cool on a baker's rack.

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm


Gooseberry Patch

Sunny Simple Life

 

 

 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Picnic Themed Book Club

 

 

 

Our hostess for book club last night outdid herself with a picnic theme, perfect for May and the night before Memorial Day weekend. Her table was set with a colorful red checked tablecloth, a rainbow of placements and festive plastic table wear. A bright and cheery pot of geraniums sat in the middle of the table; perfect for the outdoor theme.

 

 

But, it was the food that was the star of the night. She served a light and fresh salad of watermelon, cucumbers, onions and feta cheese, dressed simply with a red wine vinaigrette, followed by a serve yourself platter of red potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, and peel and eat shrimp. It was so delicious and we all requested the recipe, so we could make it for our own families.

It was our last meeting before taking the summer off, so we laughed, talked and savored every moment around the table together. We discussed everything from aging parents to an upcoming family wedding. And, yes, we did discuss the book, over a dessert of mixed berry pie, in a delightfully crumbly crust. The discussion of The Light Between Oceans was lively and interesting and one of those books where opinions were strong. As I have said before, it is such an intelligent and interesting group and they always make me think.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer Reading List

 

 

 

The image that gets me through many a long, cold winter day is the thought of me sitting in a lounge chair by the pool, with a good book, a cocktail on a table by my side and an endless summer afternoon before me. It's a simple summer pleasure, but one I enjoy so very much. From the time I was a little girl, summer was synonymous with reading. I loved going into the cool library on hot summer days and finding the perfect stack of books to take home and read. And, the summer reading contest was everything. I was so proud having all those stickers next to my name by the end of the summer. My book worm roots go all the way back to my childhood and it's part of who I am.

This summer, I already have put together a list of some of my favorite authors who have books set for publication in the summer months. The genres are varied, from mysteries and crime to your basic chick lit; perfect for beach reading. I can't wait to get started.

 

X by Sue Grafton

(A Kinsey Millhone novel)

 

 

Summer Secrets by Jane Green

 

Brush Back by Sara Paretsky

(A V.I. Warshawski novel)

 

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

 

After The Storm by Linda Castillo

(A Kate Burkholder novel)

 

Happy Thursday!

 

 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Simple Cranberry Margarita

 

 

 

There is a period of time in the spring where living amongst the trees is not as nice as it seems. This is the week when oak trees shed all manner of pollen covered fronds onto my patio and I spent a few hours yesterday sweeping and picking up the mess. My reward was this sparkling Cranberry Margarita that was so perfectly refreshing as I sat outside for the first time this season. This margarita has only three ingredients and the best thing is that these are ingredients that I always have on hand. So, whenever I am in the mood for a fun, happy hour cocktail this summer, this will be my go to drink.

 

 

I decided to serve it in a mason jar with a lot of ice and I think that small touch makes it so pretty. Sometimes it is the smallest touch that can make something simple, extraordinary.

 

Simple Cranberry Margarita


Using a mason jar or large cocktail glass, wet the rim with a damp paper towel and dip in kosher salt. Add a generous amount of ice to the glass. Add 1/8 cup tequila, 1/2 cup lemon lime soda ( I used Fresca) and 1/2 cup cranberry juice. Mix well and enjoy.

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm


Gooseberry Patch

Sunny Simple Life

 

 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Notes

 

 

 

This will be a busy week, as I finally am able to get my yard in shape for summer. I look forward to many trips to buy both mulch and flowers and lots of time spent outside. Memorial Day weekend is my planting weekend, based on likelihood of frost and even though I see morning temperatures that will be in the fifties, I think it is finally safe. Until then, I have been buying some unique flowers at the grocery store to get my flower fix. Sometimes, I buy inexpensive flowering greens, meant for filler in bouquets and place it in a few colored mason jars for a sweet and simple statement. The latest have bright green leaves, with subtle, tiny yellow flowers. I have no idea what they are, but I like their pop of color.

 

 

We spent the afternoon yesterday with my parents, celebrating a belated Mother's Day, as well as Melissa's graduation. We had a nice lunch and I even took a yummy cake to mark the occasion. They are doing well as can be expected for their age and are still walking a few miles each day. Doesn't my mother look great for eighty one?

 

 

I am looking forward to my book club this week. Between vacations and family visits, I have missed two months in a row and look forward to our book discussion this month. I am about one third of the way through The Light Between The Oceans and am finding after a slow start, I am enjoying it. One of the things I like most about being in a book club are the book club choices. They are books I would never pick up on my own, but ones I end up enjoying immensely.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Little Lunch and a Little Shopping

 

 

 

 

Having Melissa home and waiting to start her job for a few weeks has been a treat and we are taking advantage of every moment. We both like to venture out for lunch and shopping, so on a day with beautiful blue skies, we decided to go to one of our favorite spots for walking around. Since I live in the heart of the suburbs and usually drive from place to place, it's fun to do something different and go to a city with a vibrant downtown area where you can park and walk from restaurants to stores.

 

We started with a mimosa for me and a belinni for Melissa and they were perfect for an early lunch. Though sunny, it was a little to chilly to sit outside, but we enjoyed the eclectic atmosphere of the restaurant just as well from our red leather banquette. This restaurant serves breakfast until late afternoon, so Melissa chose eggs, while I went for their special BLT.

 

 

After lunch we walked around a little, just enjoying being outside in the springtime. There was a newly opened Alex and Ani store just down the block from the restaurant and I enjoyed browsing through the pretty bracelets and added one to my collection. We didn't buy much, but sometimes shopping can be fun, just looking at and admiring pretty things. Especially when I'm spending time with one of my daughters.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Quiet Thursday Morning

 

 

 

A quiet morning, with the sun shining, is exactly what I needed today. Waking up to gloomy rain and gray skies for the past few days has dampened my mood and the sun is a welcome change. I made some coffee in my favorite mug and went outside to see if anything was blooming; a favorite way to start the day. My patch of lily of the valley, which remind me so much of my grandmother, were in bloom and ready to be cut and put in a sweet vase. Spring yields the sweetest flowers and I love bringing a bouquet inside to enjoy.

 

 

When I went to breakfast on Mother's Day and ordered my favorite California Omlette instead of blueberry pancakes, I knew I would be craving them soon. This seemed the perfect morning to prepare a recipe I haven't made in a while, but is so easy and quick. Instead of standing over the stove, flipping pancakes, these Baked Blueberry Pancakes are an amazing alternative. This time, I prepared them in a smaller baking dish and cooked them five minutes longer for a thicker, puffed pancake. They were delicious :-)

Happy Thursday!

 

Linking with Between Naps on the Porch

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pink Grapefruit Margarita

 

 

 

Summer days are approaching and I look forward to sitting at my patio table, with a refreshing cocktail in my hand, relaxing after a day spent working in my garden. I am always ready to try a new cocktail recipe that will become my go to drink for the summer. This Pink Grapefruit Margarita sounded especially good and anything citrus based can always be counted on to be refreshing.

The recipe I used was for a pitcher full, but I easily divided the amounts and put together two individual cocktails, one for me and one for Melissa, who is home for the summer until she starts her new job, saves a little and moves out again. We both agreed that this drink will be perfect for summertime happy hour.

 

Pink Grapefruit Margarita

 

Rub a wedge of lime or lime juice around the rim of a glass and dip in kosher salt. Add a generous amount of ice to glass. Add 1/2 cup ruby red grapefruit juice, 1/8 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup triple sec, 1/4 cup tequila. Stir together. Enjoy!

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm


Gooseberry Patch

Sunny Simple Life

 

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Proud Weekend

 

 

 

It was a proud weekend for all of us as we attended Melissa's graduation ceremony from MSU on Friday night. Seeing her in her cap and gown and hearing the professor who was conferring the degrees, call her name, was an emotional moment, especially when it is your youngest child and you know this will be your last time at this kind of life event.

 

 

It was wonderful that Megan was able to get off work and travel from Pittsburgh to attend the ceremony. She was so proud of her little sister and having her there made the night even more special for all of us.

 

 

On Saturday night, I planned a special dinner at our club with family and friends in attendance, balloons on the table and a cake to end the celebration. We had a lovely time, with wonderful food and a lot of talk about Melissa's bright future, all around the table.

 

 

Mother's Day was a perfect ending to a weekend filled love and the joy of having my daughters home together. We went to my favorite breakfast spot and then dodged the raindrops and went for a beautiful walk in a nature park close to my home. Exactly how I love to spend my mornings.

Happy Monday!

 

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