Thursday, May 30, 2024


It's 4:30 and I'm finally sitting down with my cup of afternoon tea. I volunteer on Thursday mornings so left the house at 8:30. We wrapped up about 1, then I needed to pick up a few groceries after being out of town all week, plus my gas gauge was on empty, and I wanted to grab a little hostess gift for a friend we'll see this weekend. 

I called my momma, cut up the watermelon I bought, and optimistically just now threw in a load of laundry. I hope it makes it all the way into the closet tonite. Sometimes when I start laundry late in the day I forget it's happening. 

And even though it's late in the day, I'm going to link up with Patty and Holly for this month's edition of musings. 

1. What are you looking forward to this summer? 

Lots of things including starting every morning with coffee on the covered deck. 

And because dining al fresco is my favorite thing breakfast and dinner most days will happen on our screened porch. Jumping off the dock with my grandson is a yearly tradition we'll continue this summer too. 

I bought all the grands matching t-shirts and I love the noisy happy chaos of having everyone together at the lake. We also bought paddleboards this year from a neighbor who was selling theirs and I'm determined to master it.  

We have houseguests coming next week which is always lots of fun, I'm helping host a bridal shower in August, two of my grandsons plus my oldest daughter all have summer birthdays and we love celebrating their special days. 

I guess what I love most about summer is everyday lake life...the view, boating out to one of the islands on the lake with a picnic lunch...

Swimming, people randomly pulling up to the dock to say hi and hang out, float parties with neighbors where everyone brings a float and a beverage and we just chillax in the water and of course...

...chasing the sunset, which never gets old. 

2. Favorite summer traditions? 

I think I mostly answered this in question one, but one tradition I didn't mention would be the July 4th fireworks my across the cove neighbor hosts every year. Boaters come from all around the lake and anchor in the cove and channel and wait for the show to begin. The fireworks are spectacular and the show lasts a long time. When there's a really ginormous firework all the boaters honk and it's so fun and festive and God Bless America! 

3. Favorite summer recipe? Please share. 

I don't have pictures but have linked the recipes. I love this tomato pomodori recipe. It is the absolute perfect starter or porch snack with a glass of wine. Delicioso! 

I make my favorite pasta salad a lot in the summer months too. I use grape tomatoes, black olives, red and yellow peppers, and cucumber for the veggies. 

4. Summer vacation plans? 

We don't typically take any big trips in summer because that's prime lake time. We enjoy traveling in the fall and have a big trip on the books in September. Which is still lake season, but also our favorite month to travel. 

5. Cole slaw or potato salad? Recipe to share?

Yes please. I love both but I rarely make potato salad. I don't really have a recipe, I just make it like my mama did with mayo (Dukes because we live in the land of Dukes and also because it's the best), onion, celery, chopped sweet pickle, and a little pickle juice. 

I do make a lot of cole slaw in the summer because we do a lot of BBQ. Hubs loves his Big Green Egg, and makes the best pulled pork, brisket, wings, and brats all of which taste better with a side of slaw. 

6. Favorite ice cream or frozen treat? 

A margarita lol. 

I like an occasional scoop of ice cream but it's not something I crave. Hubs on the other hand...
I do love homemade ice cream and that's something we'll do at least once this summer. Probably when the grands are visiting. 

7. Favorite summer beverage? 

A Pimms cup. I first had one when we moved to the UK and it's basically summer in a cup. It's one part Pimms to three parts Sprite, add cucumber, slices of citrus, a few sliced strawberries, and a sprig of mint. There are variations, but this is how we do it here. You can add some gin if you're so inclined but I like mine without. 

8. Beach, lake, or mountains? 

I love all three, but since the lake is in my own backyard I'm going with lake. As the saying goes...'unsalted, no sharks'.

9. Best ways to beat the heat in summer? 

10. Favorite sunscreen?

I don't know if I have a favorite. We go through a lotta sunscreen here and I'm not neccessarily loyal to one brand. I currently have Neutrogena Faces, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch, Banana Boat Sport, Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch (I like the feel of this one), and Tula. 

Happy summer everyone! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Adulting In The Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of The Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered today's questions add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for the blogger before you. Here we go-

From this Side of the Pond
1. Growing up, at what age did you think you'd become an adult? At what age did you actually become an adult? 

I think I felt very grown up when I entered my senior year of highschool. For sure by my second year in uni when I was doing a lot of practicums and was off campus in various classrooms and assorted clinical settings. 

I was always a rule follower, a responsible teenager looking towards the future. 

When did I actually become an adult? I think that's a process and it began as I stated above. Once I was married it felt more official. I was 3 months shy of 25 when hubs and I tied the knot. 

2.  Your favorite item you've bought this year?

Probably the canvases I purchased for my office. 

I still smile every time I walk past them. 

3. May 28th is National Hamburger Day...are you a fan? If so, how do you like yours? When was the last time you had a hamburger? Besides the backyard grill, what's your favorite place to go for a burger? 

A hamburger on the grill is one of my favorite foods. I like mine with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and a little mayo. The last time I had a burger was Mother's Day when hubs grilled us smashburgers. They were so good! We don't go out for burgers very often but there's a local sports bar/dive here that makes a good one. I like Five Guys burgers too and always order kid sized because their regular burger is ridiculous. 

4.  How have your priorities changed over time? 

I think so much less about what others think of me and so much more about putting my time and energy towards what matters for eternity. 

5. What's one thing on your June calendar you're really looking forward to? 

Grandson #3 turns 2 years old on our anniversary which also happens to land on Father's Day and since all the grandparents will be in town his 4 month old baby sister will have her dedication at church that day too. Go big or go home, right?!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Wrapped up our week with the Ohio grands with a visit to the Cincinnati Zoo. The landscaping, plantings, blooms, and gardens here are absolutely beautiful. 

The 'men's' highlight was the Reptile House. 

Nobody's surprised are they?

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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Tuesday Monday Blogging

If you're here looking for this week's Hodgepodge questions you'll find them one post back. 

When Monday is Tuesday it throws us all off, right? Linking with Holly and Sarah for Hello Monday today because at least we're all on the same page with these shorter weeks. 

We're wrapping up a seven day visit to Cincy where we've been in charge of one set of grands since first thing Friday morning. They've been in charge of us? Whatever. It's been fun and the littles have been so good. 

We aim for a some sort of outing in the morning hours because Little Miss takes a solid afternoon nap and ain't nobody missing that. The boys have some quiet time in the playroom then, where they listen to a story on their Yoto player while working on their various lego projects and hubs 'rests' on the couch while I do a quick pick up, get dinner organized, and sometimes blog. 

The mancub is a lego master and is happy to help little brother if he gets stuck or forgets a step. Thank goodness, because the world of legos is mostly new to me. I raised daughters and can get a shoe on a Barbie foot in record time, but don't have a lot of experience with legos. I see the appeal though. There is something so satisfying about putting together a model from literal square one. 

There are wonderful parks and playgrounds in this town, and we've hit up several that are close to my daughter's home here. The kids don't really watch television and we try to stick with that household policy. We do put a movie on to watch together most afternoons because we're not the parents lol. 

Also, we're not thirty something an.y.more. 

Note to young parents everywhere...keep doing those squats and planks because one day you'll be twice your grown children's ages and will find yourself awkwardly climbing in and out of a mini van's third seat, getting up from a 'criss cross applesauce' kind of seat on the floor, squeezing yourself into a tunnel slide made for five year olds, and lifting wriggly toddlers in and out of a bathtub-crib-carseat. You’re gonna need those abs. 

Our first day here with the kids we took them to a neighborhood park. Little Miss spied a balloon stuck in a tree and this has been the topic of her very animated conversations several times a day every day since. 

There'a another park nearby, close to a small airfield, and we spent some time there one day too. The boys love the playground at this park, but honestly we chose it mostly because on our drive into town hubs spied a B-29 parked there and wanted to see it up close. Turns out you could go inside so he took the boys and they had a ball. 

It was sunny-ha! Little miss and I sat on the sidewalk (the squats! the planks!) and watched the world go by from the shade of a big tree. 

Today is Memorial Day, and while there was no parade or backyard bbq we did spend the morning visiting a farm that's part of the park system which felt patriotic in it's own way. How fortunate we are to have time with family, to see the flag fly against a bright blue sky as we enjoy the outdoors, to laugh and share and make memories with the people we love. Thank you to the soldiers who have made it so. 

We had the farm practically to ourselves, if you don't count the pigs, sheep, cows, goats, horses and chickens. Oh, and the geese. Can't forget the geese. Baby geese, momma geese, and a whole lot of goose poop, which continues to be a hot topic for discussion amongst the boys. 

We walked around a pond filled with turtles and algae, and hubs, who knows a lot about a lot, provided our science lesson for the day. 

Because the park was so empty a girl working with the horses brought one out for us to pet. Meet Hammer-

Of course we made a stop at the playground here too, built in the shape of a barn. The boys had a ball running and chasing and sliding and climbing. 

Little Miss always trying to keep up with the big brothers. 

She is too cute for words. 

Pretty sure her favorite thing about having us here is we bring the dog. He has been the absolute best distraction for her, and the first word out of her mouth every morning, and at the end of every nap time, and probably twenty or thirty times a day is 'Hunley!' 

The next word out of her mouth is always Pawpaw, but after five grandchildren I'm used to that-ha! 

Pawpaw is the man of a million faces, sound effects, tricks, and hijinks that keep everyone laughing and happy and forgetting for a moment mom and dad are not in the house. He steals that nap on the couch when he can, but when he's on he's on and all the grands adore him. 

What else have we done since we arrived? Well, we've showered every day, and that feels like a bit of an accomplishment. I mean three kids under six means you have to plan when that will happen so go us

Everyone has eaten and slept and played so well together and I'm grateful for the routines mom and dad have in place that make stepping in for out of town parents pretty seamless. I've made easy dinners most nights, but last night we ordered out Thai food. Two years spent living in South Korea has left an impression on their palates so we ordered what they will tell you is their favorite foods-

Sushi for the mancub and pork gyozo for Max. 

Tomorrow we have a little outing planned, will order pizza for dinner 'cuz we're tired, and will greet the parents when they pull in the drive. 

We've had such a sweet time with this high energy, tender hearted, funny, smart, busy bunch this week. I always leave with a newfound appreciation for my girl and how she manages everyone's needs with grace and patience. How she keeps her eye on the ball and what matters for eternity. 

We'll head out the next day and I know it will feel good to be home.

And also that we'll hate to leave.

In the words of my four-year old grandson...'It's bittersweet.' 

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 553

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. Growing up, at what age did you think you'd become an adult? At what age did you actually become an adult? 

2.  What's a favorite item you've bought this year?

3. May 28th is National Hamburger Day...are you a fan? If so, how do you like yours? When was the last time you had a hamburger? Besides the backyard grill, what's your favorite place to go for a burger? 

4.  How have your priorities changed over time? 

5. What's one thing on your June calendar you're really looking forward to? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Friday, May 24, 2024

The Friday Five

It seems everyone is blogging about that end of the school year kind of crazy busy-ness that happens every May and what I want to know is why is my May the same kind of crazy busy? No school aged children at home and we're retired. Here's my friendly psa to anyone who isn't retired and is telling themselves life will 'settle down' once they are-

It won't. 

Retired does not mean bored, a calendar full of blank space, or nowhere to go-nothing to do. 
At least it doesn't for us. We still have so much going on and are always in search of 'a quick nap' to recharge which will not be happening this week. 

This week is still pretty grand though. My son-in-law has a work conference and spouses were invited to tag along. We're in charge of their littles while they're away, and we are absolutely loving every happy exhausting minute of it. 

 It's only Day1 but so far so good lol. 

While baby is napping and the boys are lego-ing I'm going to do a quick five favorites from the week that was....linking with Erika and Andrea and their Friday Favorites hop-

1. My parents. My in-laws. I've been thinking about them a lot this week. My hubs traveled extensively for work back in the day and I was able to accompany him on a number of really fun trips. Before leaving I remember always feeling a little bit anxious about how my girls would do while we were away (they were always completely fine), and not giving a a whole lot of thought as to how my parents would do. 

Now that I'm the parent watching the grands I realize my worries were misplaced-ha! The littles are living their best lives with grandparents in the house. 

Grandparents on the other hand are used to sipping their leisurely two cups of coffee in the morning without anyone ever asking a single question. They have  to relearn how to buckle a car seat and unbuckle a stroller every.single.time they visit, and they've forgotten what it's like to watch kids and cook dinner at the same time. They work hard to bite their tongue and not say, 'be careful!!' every few seconds when the six year old is on top of the jungle gym. 

Seriously. I'm married to a literal dare devil who gave his own mother gray hairs (and possibly still does), but when it comes to his grands he can't help but say 'be careful' when they're doing kid type things. We're working on it, but I'm also pretty sure this is just how grandparents are wired the world over. 

I do know my girls appreciate our efforts, and that of their in-laws too. I will have to assume some decades after the fact, that my own parents and in-laws also knew how much I appreciated the excellent care they provided whenever we asked. 

2. In person time with our grands. I haven't seen this set in person since January so we were overdue. And we're having the best time doing all the things, keeping them busy, them keeping us busy (truth!) stacking blocks, reading books, climbing, building, running, swinging, sliding, looking, and laughing, all with laps full-hearts full. 

We arrived a day early so we would also be able to spend some time with Daughter1 before they left on their trip, and that always does a momma's heart good. 

3. When my girls were small and hubs and I went out of town I'd wrap little gifts, one for each day we would be away, for the girls to open. It was something to look forward to and also helped them mark the time. My daughter has done the same for hers and I love that. 

4. I started a subscription to Lovevery when my third grandson was born. My daughter2 knew about it and thought it looked good, so I signed him up and sent boxes the first year of his life. Then when Little Miss arrived on the scene I sent her boxes too. 

Then of course I forgot to cancel the subscription so surprise! they both got boxes this month. It worked out well as we're doling out the items here this week while Mom and Dad are away and the toys in the box are a happy distraction. 

Distraction is king in terms of managing the toddler kingdom. 

Anyway, if you're not familiar with Lovevery they are stage-based play kits and the quality is top notch. I'm not a rep for them, we've just been so pleased with the product I thought I'd share. They are not inexpensive but like I said the quality is phenomenal. 

Each kit contains 7-10 playthings, a book, and a developmental play guide. I will add that both of my grands have absolutely loved the kits they've received and the toys are made to last. 

If you're interested message me and I'll give you a friend referral which will save you $20 on your first kit.  You can also skip boxes or cancel if you decide you don't want the full year.  

5. Lastly, I never want the Memorial Day weekend to go by without mentioning the men and women who have served this land I love, as well as those currently in some branch of our nation's military. In particular I want to honor those who've given their very lives...'who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life...'  

I grew up in a 'military family' and while my dad did not die in battle, he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery beside so very many who did. I pray on this holiday weekend, between trips to the pool, backyard barbecues, and the thrill of summer rolling in, that we can all pause for a moment and acknowledge the sacrifices made, by those soldiers and by their families too. 

Let's hush the national bickering on this day, and remember with pride and gratitude how America became and remains the land of the free. 

Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone and may God bless America! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Juggling The Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of The Wednesday Hodgepodge. We've had a few new bloggers participating in recent weeks so if you're an 'old-timer' here hop over and say hello to someone new to you. 

So glad you're all here today and thanks for playing along! If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post. And definitely leave the blogger before you a comment since that's what keeps the Hodgepodge rolling right along. Here we go...

From this Side of the Pond
1. What are you currently juggling in your life? 

The calendar, highways and byways, family logistics...all of the above always and forever it seems. Also needing to figure some things out for an aging parent. Providing proper care while allowing some measure of independence/control where possible is for sure a juggling act. 

2. How often do you buy new clothes? What was the last piece of clothing you purchased? 

Is periodically an answer? I don't have a regular buying schedule. I just notice I need some new tops, or a dress for an event, or something looks worn and needs replacing and I replace it. I do subscribe to four Stitch Fix boxes a year, basically one for each season. I get them in March, June, September and December. I've had various stylists with them through the years, but the one I've had the past few 'fixes' seems to get me and I'm sticking with her.  If I remember I'll try to post what's in the next box. 

3. What food festival would you most like to attend? If you need help here are links to some of the bigger and more popular food events around the world-

Ten Food Festivals Worth Traveling To Find

2024 Best Food And Drink Festivals And Events In The US

20 Popular Food Festivals Around The World In 2024 For Your Unconditional Love Of Food

So many of the food festivals around the world sound like a fun thing to be a part of. There are actually two popular food festivals every year in towns not far from where I'm living now but our calendar doesn't usually line up date wise. See question #1. 

Hong Kong has a Dumpling Festival and I love both the city and the food so that might be one I'd enjoy. Also there are several Salon du Chocolat festivals in various cities around the world, but the one in Paris is intriguing. There's a fashion show where outfits are embellished with or even made from spun chocolate. 

As the saying goes...'Paris is always a good idea'. 

No argument here. 

4. May is the 5th month of the year. Tell us something you remember about your 5th grade year. 

I loved fifth grade, my teacher, my friends, and school in general. I remember my teacher reading aloud to us every day right after lunch and I enjoyed that so much. I grew up in a great neighborhood with loads of kids, lots of freedom and outdoor play, and I had good friends, most of whom I'd known since kindergarten. It was still an age of innocence for my crew.

5. What are your favorite five words right now? 

Nana, spontaneity, anticipation, home, and orange,  but only when orange is pronounced by my almost 2-year old grandson. Y'all it is the absolute best. It comes out sounding like oi-loy-lioy. No idea why but it's the same pronunciation for both the food and the color. My daughter and I both say we'll be sad when one of these days he comes out with just plain old orange.  

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

One month before we 'officially' dive into summer...

Some of us like a head start. 

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 552

Welcome to another week in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I post the questions every Tuesday, you answer on your own blog, then hop back here on Wednesday to add your link to the party. See you there! 

1. What are you currently juggling in your life? 

2. How often do you buy new clothes? What was the last piece of clothing you purchased? 

3. What food festival would you most like to attend? If you need help here are links to some of the bigger and more popular food events around the world-

Ten Food Festivals Worth Traveling To Find

2024 Best Food And Drink Festivals And Events In The US

20 Popular Food Festivals Around The World In 2024 For Your Unconditional Love Of Food

4. May is the 5th month of the year. Tell us something you remember about your 5th grade year. 

5. What are your favorite five words right now? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Weekend Shenanigans

Linking with Holly and Sarah for their Hello Monday hop today. 

What a fun weekend! 

Ours started on Wednesday (hey, we're retired) when we got on the road pointed north. I had booked a hair appointment that morning so we got a little later start than normal, but we made good time and arrived at hub's brother and sister-in-law's house in Richmond in time for dinner.

We hadn't seen them in person in a long while and it was fun to catch up at one of our favorite spots there-Joes Inn The Fan for anyone who knows Richmond. Once upon a time, pre-children in fact, hubs and I lived in this town and we still love visiting there.  

We got up Thursday to drive the rest of the way into Annapolis, yet another place we used to live that can still make our hearts go pitter pat. 

Wait! I'm leaving out something important. Before we pulled away we had to hide the family lizard. Every family has one, right? 

This lizard has been in hubs family for more than two decades and has traveled here there and everywhere with various family members. If the lizard ends up in your possession you have to very discreetly pass it on to another family member without their discovering it until you're on the road out of town. 


We took the back roads into Annapolis as opposed to the interstate (95 is possibly the worst one in America) and we made a stop en route at a little antique shop we always enjoy browsing-

It's an eclectic collection to say the least. 

We pulled in to Annapolis and went straight to another favorite spot (McGarvey's Tavern) for a light lunch. Well mine was light...hubs had a crab cake sandwich because when in crabtown...

Now that's a crabcake. 

I had their delicious Maryland Crab soup and just like that it felt like we were back in 1998 raising pony-tailed little girls beside the Bay. 

We love this town. 

We met some friends for dinner Thursday evening (O'Leary's since I'm sharing all the best places) and enjoyed dining on their lobster special (delish!!) and hearing what's new in their lives. 

After dinner hubs and I went over to a little spot in the west end to meet up with the bride and groom and their friends and family for a little pre-wedding welcome celebration. 

The Little Tykes gang as I like to call them.

The groom (that's him in the center back) and his sisters (also in the picture) lived across the court from us way back when. Together with our girls they logged a lot of miles on the Little Tykes cars, drew a million chalk houses on the driveway, played 'Pioneer' in our side yard, and lived the best day of their life in 1996 when the blizzard to beat all blizzards struck the East Coast and we had a party to celebrate in our court. 

There was a snow mountain courtesy of the plow, a fire in the middle of the street using metal struts from our basement remodel as a platform, and neighbors young and not so young bundled up in beach chairs sipping cups of mulled wine. It was a happy place to be a kid. 

A happy place to be a mom too. 

Hubs and I began our Friday with breakfast at an Annapolis institution called Chick and Ruth's. The pledge is still recited there every morning, which is such a fun tradition. 

After breakfast we took a long walk. We trekked over to the Naval Academy and across their extensive grounds, stopping for a moment beside the sea wall to picture our girls when they were girls and not grown married women with girls of their own, in their hula hoops, waiting on the July 4 fireworks to splash across the sky. Time marches on...

Pictures and geography wing you back.  

There's a new (to us) spot on Ego Alley called The Choptank, and we went up on their rooftop for the downtown view and to sample their orange crush. Our hometown lake cabana makes an orange crush and we like to compare when we can. 

This one was good, a little sweeter than ours, but still yummy. 

We walked up and down the cobbled brick sidewalks of this old town saying hey remember when...we popped in shops and then of course indulged in the world's best crab dip courtesy of McGarvey's. This was daughter2's favorite food when we lived in Maryland and we had to order one so we could send a picture. Yes, they give you an entire loaf of warm bread for dipping. 

Two actually, which is why this is not a dish to have on the regular-ha! 

The wedding was Friday evening in a beautiful venue on the South River called London Town and Gardens. It's actually an historical site, but they host events and weddings too. The rain held off and the whole evening was lovely.

And then suddenly it's Saturday morning, time to reload the car and aim it south. 


We've had more than a few, you know. We've tucked people and places and precious memories in our pockets all along the way. 

We carry them with us wherever we may roam.