Thursday, December 14, 2017

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

It seems like I should mention Christmas on my blog somewhere sometime so how about here and now? I like to write in the early morning and that's just not happening these days, so 10:30 on a Thursday night it is. 

Can we just talk about this? 



I mean I cannot even handle the sweetness captured here. This photograph is in a frame on my kitchen fireplace mantle and it's the screen saver on my phone and I look at it at least ten times a day. At least. It's perfection...the Santa, the darling tree, the face...y'all the face! Can you even??? 


I'm still getting the hang of decorating the spaces in this house for the holidays but Rome wasn't built in a day. We have three trees up in the house, four if you count the small one sitting on the pool room bar, and there's no real rhyme or reason to what hangs where. I see all the beautiful themed trees on Instagram and Facebook and while I'd like to be that girl it's just not me. I'm sentimental and want all my many and assorted memories in the form of Christmas ornaments hanging side by each every single year.


I don't buy boxes of ornaments. Ours are treasured keepsakes from our children's growing up years, places we've lived or traveled, or they hold some other special meaning like a favorite hobby or pastime. 


What that means is a London Taxi sits beside a popsicle stick star made long ago by little hands. It means the ballerina bunny belonging to my youngest daughter dances on a branch beside the Strasbourg cathedral. Pheasants dangling from a hunter's vest fly beside Anne of Green Gables because that's how we do Christmas here.

Also pretend I'm not standing on a ladder-ha! In case you're worried, hubs was close by. The amount of time it takes me to arrange those beads exactly so makes him twitch, but he wasn't about to leave me unattended.


We have a tree on the screened in porch and I may one day decide to decorate it in a more natural way. I know I'll likely still keep a few family ornaments there too because when I look at my Christmas tree I want it to say 'this is us'.


I did have a sign made this year for our family room mantle (Etsy Shop-Rustically Inspired) and I love it-


I'll probably have to invest in new stocking hangers next year because this mantle is a flat front and that heavy brass angel tried to take out the fireplace repairman when he was here last week. I think we've got them situated for now, and we take stockings down for filling. I mean Santa does.


My shopping is done (I think?), cards have been sent, packages mailed, there's a bit of wrapping that needs to happen still and of course more baking because I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as too many Christmas cookies. Just ask anyone. We have a dinner party this weekend and friends dropping by next week... my youngest daughter will be spending her break with us and there will be days enjoyed with extended family too.

Some years are harder than others and I feel like this has been one of those here. Yet in the middle of it all came this tiny baby boy who has brought so much light and joy into our hearts.


The everyday stresses and pressures of life don't cease just because it's Christmas, but they do fade to the background and let hope take center stage. May the truth of the Christmas story touch your heart in a special way this holiday season. 
SaveSaveSaveSave

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

An Ultra Violet Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Christmas is right around the corner and I'm invoking the hurry less, worry less mantra in order to participate today. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post, then go say Happy Hodgepodge to the blogger linking before you. Here we go-


1. 'Hurry less, worry less'...what's your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How's it going so far?

My strategy is one day at a time. I have a mental list of a few Christmas related tasks to tackle every day and I do my best to tackle them. That being said, there have been a lot of interruptions to my daily plans this month, and I probably haven't rolled with them as kindly as I could have. I'm a work in progress. I don't think I feel hurry and worry so much as I feel pressure to accomplish so many things. ALL THE THINGS. 

My survival tips are few and simple-start the day sitting quietly by the light of the Christmas tree. Watch the sun rise and remember the God who made it happen has the day in hand. Have a conversation with Him about my to-dos and my people, my hurries and worries. Have a cup of coffee and take time to ponder. This season is made for pondering. One day at a time. 

2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?

Sort of. It's not written in stone, but certainly there are jobs that need doing this time of year and somebody needs to do them. Mostly that somebody is hubs. Hi hubs! We have loads of tall trees and hubs collected all the leaves into piles, but we did pay someone to come in and take care of mulching them. I think they mulched them? They may also have hauled some away. Whatever the job is done. 

The boat needs winterizing and we paid someone to do that job this year. Some thing-a-ma-jig was due for tweaking or replacing so we had the marina guy winterize at the same time. Hubs was on top of things and we managed to get that done right before the cold snap hit so yay hubs! 

It's clear why I'm not in charge of winter prep around here, isn't it? Ha!  

3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What's the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?

My first thought was blech! That list sounds a little bit too healthy to taste good. I do like turmeric and I love veggies and lentils and chickpeas too so I guess pulses, but ewwww...in my opinion the healthy food industry needs some new terminology. Also, I like milk. I know there are people out there who cannot tolerate lactose, but I'm not one of them. And I read somewhere that non-dairy doesn't necessarily mean milk-free, so it's all pretty confusing. As far as what item from the list will be added to my diet, well I already eat quite a few. I love lentils so will maybe find some new ways to use them. 

4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site 'Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.' What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple.  If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?

I do like the color purple, and wear it on occasion. Something in my home that's this color? One of my most favorite pitchers, purchased in a tiny little town called Nove in the northern part of Italy. The trip there might be one of the reasons I love it so-


It's a fig, and the perfect shade of 'aubergine'. FYI-saw the movie, didn't read the book. If I were in charge of the world I think I'd choose a sunny yellow. Don't we all need a little more sunshine in our lives? 

5. Favorite book you read this year?

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm helping in my daughter's kindergarten classroom today. Her students are working on presents for their parents and she needed some extra hands. Kindergartners are my favorite. 


Kindergarten teachers too. 



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 333

So a whole week has passed since our last Hodgepodge, which coincidentally was also the last time I even peeked at my blog. Sigh. I'm determined to throw some Christmas spirit into a post and get something up here this week besides the Wednesday Q & A.

In the meantime...here's the Q & A.

Well just the Q. The A goes up on Wednesday, and that's when you'll need to skate back over here and add your link to the party. See you there!


1. 'Hurry less, worry less'...what's your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How's it going so far?

2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?

3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What's the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?

4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site 'Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.' What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple.  If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?

5. Favorite book read this year?

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Simply Having A Wonderful Hodgepodge Time

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thanks for joining in today! If you've answered the questions be sure to add your link at the end of my post, then go say hi to your neighbor.

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

I've written and deleted about ten different things here so how about we go with -

Figuring It Out

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

I guess by December the people who come up with these National Days run out of steam. Besides popcorn and coffee reheats the biggest thing I use my microwave for is melting either butter or chocolate.

Of course we could all get along without a microwave. Mankind was around for centuries before deciding thirty seconds felt like forever waiting on that coffee to get warm. But it is one of those inventions that makes life a little bit easier and more pleasant so I'm glad we have it. 

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

'Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.'

How amazing to see Jesus, the son of God, become man. 

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

Impossible! I've taken so many beautiful drives. Most recently we drove up the Northern California and Oregon coasts and the natural beauty there was staggering. Definitely one of the most beautiful drives I've taken. I wrote all about it beginning with this post

But then we've also done a lot of driving around Europe and it's hard to top the French Alps, Italy's Amalfi Coast and even hubs commute from our little village into Oxford. Just last weekend as we were driving home from Tennessee I declared the road between Johnson City and North Carolina one of the prettiest. 

Honestly there are just far too many beautiful drives in the world for me to dub one as best. I love a good road trip!  

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

Practically speaking we need new luggage. Figuratively speaking I'd love to see more grace, less anger in the world at large. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I post this carol on my blog every year at Christmastime. I love this version so much and the lyrics are timely, '...hate is strong and mocks the song, of peace on earth good will to men...



'then rang the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead nor doth He sleep...'open up your heart and hear them, peace on earth, good will to men.' 

Wishing you peace this Christmas season. 



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 332

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party. See you there!


1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

6. Insert your own random thought here.

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hodgepodge Leftovers

Hello Hodgepodgers! And everyone stopping by here today!  I don't know about you, but I'm loving this 'extra week' at the end of November. I know there are still only thirty days in the month, but when Thanksgiving lands the way it did this year, I feel like we've somehow gotten a bonus in the time department.

Which means no excuse not to Hodgepodge...


From this Side of the Pond  

1.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?

Blogging helped me find my writer's voice, made me aware I even had a writer's voice. It's given me the courage to be vulnerable in print. It's taught me the power of words, which we all know in theory, but blogging really brings it home. I like to describe my blog as a 'slice of life' and writing in this way has forced me to really examine what I think and why about a whole laundry list of topics. 

I've never thought of myself as creative, but blogging has shown me there's a streak of creativity there, just maybe not in the artsy traditional sense of the word. 

Blogging teaches me time is swift and I've learned to be more intentional about how I spend it.    

2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

Hmmm...depends on the leftover and my mood and how full my frig looks and how re-heatable a particular left over might be. In my opinion there are some things that should never be reheated. Turkey. Roast chicken. Shudder. I love them left over, but definitely NOT reheated. I don't save a salad that's already been dressed. I sometimes save Chinese food, but usually end up pitching it as opposed to reheating. If I have just a little tiny bit of something left over it gets tossed. I sometimes deliberately make enough for left overs-soups, pastas, meat loaf...those are all dishes I love left over. 

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

I'm going to be honest and say my first thought is usually 'ick'. There's something about that particular combination of words that doesn't sit right in my brain. I know we all need time to ourselves, but when it's expressed as 'me time' it's off putting. Don't hate! I don't think taking time for self-care is in itself a selfish act, but generally when someone tells me they need 'me time' it's laced with resentment and is used to justify some choice or behavior they feel needs justifying. 

Hey I'm all about filling up a steaming hot tub and locking myself in the bathroom on a fairly regular basis so I'm not judging a person's need for solitude or socializing if that's more your thing.  If you  need 'me time' by all means take it. Maybe just don't announce it to the world. Or call it 'me time'. 

4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

Well not the computer. Not the iPhone or the television remote or even the menu options on my car dash-ha! My girls frequently phone me for help with a recipe or a general cooking question and I absolutely love that. I still sometimes phone my own mom for those very same things. 

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.

A lot of things but the first one that came to mind was freshly mown grass. When I catch the scent of freshly mown grass I'm whisked right back to the Saturdays of my childhood. Back in the day it seemed like all dads (and it was mostly dads as opposed to moms, although there were likely a few) were outside cutting their grass first thing on a Saturday morning. Oftentimes a son was drafted for the job, but I don't recall anyone having a lawn service or mowing on a Tuesday night or any time other than Saturday morning. The sameness of it up and down the street and around the neighborhood was comforting. The smell of freshly mown grass makes me feel light and just a little bit nostalgic for the carefree days of my childhood. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Y'all the lake this time of year! Swoon! 





Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hey Weary World

We're easing into the Christmas holidays here, if such a thing is possible. I mean once you haul all the bins and boxes from the attic you kind of have to deal, right?

I'm not dealing.

I'm easing.

My house is partially decorated, the main tree is up but I keep fussing with it, moving ornaments around and zhuzzing the beads. We put a tree in the pool room this year and it still needs a topper plus a few more ornaments before I declare it done. FYI-there's no pool in the pool room. There is a pool table but I tend to just call it the pool room. That seemed like it needed clarifying.

I have three fireplace mantles in various stages of completion, a stack of miscellaneous decorations on my kitchen table that I'm not sure what to do with, and a larger than I remembered collection of freshly washed candle holders, old wax laboriously dug out awaiting the new, but in the interim perched in a mostly out of the way spot on my kitchen counter.

My Christmas cards arrived on Monday and I kind of want to give myself a pat on the back for getting them printed in November, except they do still need addressing and stamping and the stamps still need buying, so maybe just a small pat. Shout out to Minted who is so nice to work with and does a fabulous job when it comes to printing Christmas cards. They might not be the least expensive, but their quality is second to none. Christmas cards make me so happy. I really hope people don't give up that tradition altogether.

I've done a little bit of shopping, no wrapping, and there's still shipping to deal with too.

Preparing for Christmas is a process, and if I look too often at the Internet it can start to feel like I've somehow fallen behind. Like there's some schedule I didn't get or some instruction sheet I missed on how to have the perfect tree or where to shop the best deal.

Then I look at my calendar and see it's not even December yet and I relax. Sometimes it feels like we're trying to remove one of the best things about Christmas from the season.

The anticipation.

The making room in our homes for the tree and the chaos and making room in our hearts for the wonder and joy.

Preparing for Christmas is part of Christmas. Taking my time. Easing, not dealing. Setting checklists and boxes and shopping aside to sit by the light of a less than perfect tree...


To rejoice with an oh so weary world at the birth of a baby, Christ the King.

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 331

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then slide back here tomorrow to share your link with the universe. Also, 27 days til Christmas. Just sayin'!


1.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?

2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.

6. Insert your own random thought here.



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hodgepodging In Abundance

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. A gratitude theme felt appropriate today...thanks for playing along! If you've answered the questions add your link at the end of my post then go say hey to your neighbor. Everybody's welcome here on Wednesdays (and everyday) so why not take a break from all that turkey prep and join us? Here we go-


From this Side of the Pond  


1. Tradition...how tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?

I used to hold tradition tightly in my iron clad fist, but you know life and all that. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and if I had my way my family would all be gathered round my dining room table each and every year. So how often does that actually happen? Rarely. Very very rarely. And I adjust and feel grateful for my many blessings, but I miss my girls in the kitchen on that day most of all. 

Cooking together opens the door to the very best conversations. 

I've spent very few Christmases in my own home, a factor of living far from family most of my adult life so I've learned to enjoy Christmas wherever we're celebrating. We spent two Christmases in England, and seven Thanksgivings and we absolutely cherish those memories. We spent our first Thanksgiving in the UK on the Eurostar to Paris eating a fish dinner which Daughter1 claimed was not very Thanksgiving-y, but then Paris so yeah. It's one of our favorite travel memories too because we were total novices and blundered a bit. We learned. 

The year before we moved to England we spent Thanksgiving in St. Thomas and had a delicious turkey dinner at the Marriott where we were staying. If I've got my girls I'm good to go. Not sure how it would feel waking up somewhere tropical on Christmas morning, but as I said a few paragraphs ago I'm an adjuster so I'd probably adjust. 

2. Help...is it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?

I'm a do-it-yourselfer and will admit that's not always a good thing. I've said it here before, but my mom and all my siblings will tell you my mantra even as a young child was, 'I can do it myself'.  I'm not talking about home repairs, or plumbing, or car maintenance...when it comes to that type of thing I'm all about asking for help. I'm talking about everyday life kind of stuff, and in my defense it's not always a bad thing either. 

3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?

This is a tough one, because last week's Hodgepodge inspired me to rearrange my pantry and clean out that annoying overly full cabinet, so I got rid of a few things that fell into the category of 'too much'. Is abundance too much or just plenty? I found two unopened bags of Resees so let's go with that. 

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?

The smallest?



The biggest? 

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?

This may sound simplistic but... be grateful. We always have a choice as to how we see things and I think gratitude is a choice. Sometimes life is hard and we have to dig a little deeper to make that choice, but there is always something to be thankful for. 


6. State your own random thought here.

Are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year? We're having dinner with my sister and I'm making the desserts. Of course it's plural-ha! My niece requested a coconut cream pie and I've never made a coconut cream pie but I'm going to give it a try. I'm also baking an apple pie and making my mom's Thanksgiving Day fruit salad because that's the law. It's simple-sliced purple grapes, oranges, and apples with a can of crushed pineapple poured over all. So refreshing after a meal where you don't mean to eat too much but you always eat too much. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 330

Here are this week's questions (with a slight Thanksgiving slant) for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I know we have some bloggers participating who live outside the US, but gratitude is universal, right?  And since everybody's welcome why not take a break from all that turkey prep and play along today? Don't forget to waddle back over here tomorrow and add your link to the party. See you there!


1. Tradition...how tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?

2. Help...is it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?

3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?

6. State your own random thought here.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

About A Boy

Also about a girl (his mama), his Nana (me), his great-grandmothers and why blogging needs to happen concurrently with life happenings or you end up scratching your head trying to remember what you wanted to blog about in the first place.

Anyway, back to the boy.


Remember our trip out west? The one I started writing about a month ago? Well it ended in Washington where hubs and I spent three days with this little guy and his parents. Mostly this little guy and his mama because my son-in-law has a work schedule that is demanding with a capital D.


He's a wonderful dad though, and we say if baby boy is fussing (which is a rarity) hand him to his Daddy because he can make every little thing better in a matter of seconds. It's a gift.


In a happy turn of events the weather out there was delightful! This is not always or often the case in Washington State, but we had two full days of bright blue skies and were able to get outside for some nice walks. Baby boy loves being outdoors which makes strolling with him enjoyable.


Really anything with him is enjoyable and I still need a blog name for baby boy.


Punkin?


Hubs and I were happy to have a couple of days to soak up his sweetness because we knew when they made their way to our house we'd have competition. As in these girls right here-


The great grandmothers. And if his sweet Aunt hadn't been working a fair chunk of his visit I'd have had to arm wrestle her for time with him too.


The little west coast family of three made their first trip to The Palmetto State this past week and I had so many friends commenting on my last post and on Facebook about how happy and excited they were for me getting to spend Thanksgiving with my grandson. I so appreciate your kind thoughts, but they will not be here for Thanksgiving because see paragraph 2.


But! we take what we can get, and I will have a happy Thanksgiving whether he's here or there because gratitude is dependent on attitude not latitude. Ha! I mean he's part of our world now no matter which state he calls home.


Speaking of gratitude...may I just say nothing in this world makes me happier than seeing my girlies together. My heart literally leaps in my chest.


Baby boy was an A+ traveler coming and going and really he's pretty happy most of the time. He's so loved, and I can't help but think about what a gift that is and about children growing up in this world without it.


The 'kids' spent the first part of the week in town with my son-in-law's family and the second part of the week at the lake with us. My son-in-law's grandma came all the way from Mississippi with his aunt and there were friends and cousins who popped in to say hello and hopefully get to hold him. He took it all in stride.


Mostly.

My mom flew in from New Jersey and hubs collected his mom from Tennessee and we paced the floor and played a lot of dominoes waiting our turn.




They would say he's worth the wait. 


And I would say amen. People try to tell you what being a grandparent is all about and while they agree it's completely amazing they universally struggle for words that tell you why. Here's what I know so far...


A grandbaby makes your heart light when the day feels heavy. It can be raining buckets outside but you feel sunny on the inside. He is always learning...growing...discovering and you see beauty and wonder in something a minute ago you might have thought plain and ordinary.


He looks in the mirror and spies a boy. Himself. His face lights up in an instant and you feel yours do the same. He breaks out in a smile the size of Montana and you smile too, so big and so wide your cheeks positively ache. This smile is organic, coming from deep inside you and making it's way across your face. You stand helpless to keep it from coming.

This tiny human reminds you a smile is contagious...that a word gently spoken can smooth the rough edges of this world...


That we are small, but love makes us strong and brave.
SaveSave
SaveSave

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Grand Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I've got a houseful this week, but will do my best to read your posts before next Wednesday rolls around. Here we go-


1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

Physical challenges if I'm with a group of athletic types. 

2. Your least favorite spice?

Sage. I can only handle it in minuscule amounts. 

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

After living in this house for a year I really need to rearrange my pantry. There's also that one kitchen cabinet driving me bonkers and I should deal with that too. I have a large pantry and organized it the way I thought best when we moved in, but there are a couple of shelves that don't make sense now that I'm using the space on a daily basis. I also have a cabinet that every time I open it I say to myself, '  'I really need to get in here and rearrange', but have I? No. 

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

I love touring old homes (or new homes for that matter) and if a fabulous garden is attached so much the better. My favorite? Impossible! I lived in England for six years and pretty much every village has an historic home or ten.



Then there's all those castles, which I think could correctly be labeled 'historic home'. All of Europe too, so like I said-impossible! We lived not far from Waddesdon Manor and I always enjoyed visiting there. In the USA I'd say Monticello and The Biltmore are both favorites. 

Currently I live very close to Clemson University and there's an antebellum home there called Fort Hill. It was at one time the home of 19th century statesman John C. Calhoun. We haven't been yet but will definitely visit sometime in the new year. 

Of the homes on the list I've been to Monticello, Ernest Hemingways home, The Biltmore, and Mount Vernon. I'd like to see Longue Vue House and Gardens because I love historic homes, but I especially love pretty gardens. 

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

The U.S. Mail and yes that makes me sad. I still look forward to my daily stroll to the mailbox, particularly this time of year. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Look who's here-


Is he just the cutest, or what? This is his very first trip to The Palmetto State which I'll write about as soon as I write about our recent trip from the Palmetto state to see him in his own home state. 

Which might end up being one big post all lumped together under the title grandparenting is grand.  Because y'all! This grandparenting thing is the absolute best! 




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 329

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe. See you there!


1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

2. Your least favorite spice?

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The End Of The Oregon Trail (Post #7)

Remember how I went on a trip a month ago and how I was going to tell you about it?
I'm almost done.

Almost.

Days 5 and 6-Newport Oregon to Cannon Beach ( 121 miles)

Let's first discuss the weather. It was abysmal. But we didn't complain because we had fabulous weather most of the trip and we'd come prepared with the proper outerwear. When we got to Washington State it was gorgeous again and no we haven't gotten to Washington in the recap yet, but it's coming. In fact that's next and then it's back to everyday ordinary life here on this side of the pond.

 


Before leaving Newport hubs and I had a hearty breakfast (we could easily have split an omelette they were that big!)  at a spot recommended by Josh over at California Through My Lens. It was called The Coffee Shop and is right on the harbor in Newport. I'm so glad we didn't miss this wonderful little cafe with friendly service and delicious food.


Our server very helpfully pointed us to the best lookout for sea lion watching which we so appreciated because y'all...


These sea lions!



So adorable and so adorably noisy.



About eight miles up the road from Newport you come to an area known as The Devils Punch Bowl. As we pulled up we debated about getting out for a look because the weather was that bad, but oh wow!


So worth getting drenched and blown by the wind. The waves churn and swirl in this natural rock 'bowl' which scientists believe was formed when two caves collapsed. As we were sitting in our car a couple pulled up beside us wondering what to do and we said definitely go for it.

Also, they were British so we had a lovely little chin wag there in the parking lot at Devil's Punch Bowl, which is what we do whenever we run into travelers from across the pond. We let ourselves feel all the feels.


We braved the weather a little further up the road for a stop at the Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint. Hubs kept telling me not to back up for fear I'd be blown into the wild sea.


It was a distinct possibility.


If you drive the Oregon coast road do not miss this lookout. Here you stand in quiet awe at the mighty power of the Pacific. It's absolutely incredible! If you're here at the right time of year you might even be lucky enough to see gray whales as they travel south to warmer waters.


We left Rocky Creek and carried on up the road to the village of Depoe Bay. What a cute little town with equally cute shops that were fun for browsing. We did a little of that here too. While it's reported to be the world's smallest navigable harbor the manner in which the surf crashes is anything but tiny-


Standing on the bridge is a little like the feeling you have on the log flume at Disney, and almost as much fun.


Not gonna lie. We were ready to get out of the rain and anxious to get to our hotel and warm up. We arrived in Cannon Beach mid afternoon, so happy to see a fireplace in our room. We kept it running the two days we were there and it was wonderful.


We loved this hotel- The Ocean Lodge... I mean they have homemade cookies and a complimentary glass of wine upon check in so really what's not to love? The Ocean Lodge is charming yet modern, with so many darling nooks and crannies and comfy spots for sitting, reading, and breakfasting.


The beach outside your door is none too shabby either.


If you're familiar with the movie Goonies (also Point Break and Twilight) you might recognize this locale. These Haystack rocks are magnificent and pictures do not do the crashing surf justice. It pounds over these rocks as if they were tiny pebbles.


We spent two nights here, relaxing, running out to the beach between rain bursts to gawk at the beauty, shopping in the charming village, and eating some wonderful meals. People we met while traveling had recommended The Bistro so we ate dinner there the first night.


We loved the cozy, intimate French atmosphere and the food was delicious. On Friday we had a nice pub lunch (and break from the rain) in town at Bill's and that evening had reservations at a popular venue called The Irish Table, which definitely lived up to it's reputation.


Before dinner we popped into the little place next door to The Irish Table, also well known and well loved by the locals in Cannon Beach. It's called The Hardware Store and is part hardware store/part pub hence it's affectionate nickname The Screw and Brew. It was a fun place and we were almost wishing we could stay for dinner, but in the end were glad we didn't miss The Irish Table.



From Cannon Beach we drove another 80 miles into Portland which I wrote a little bit about here, and from Portland drove another 126 miles to my grandson. I mean Washington. I'll wrap up with that tomorrow.

You're relieved I know.
SaveSave
SaveSave