Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

I've got my bags packed. I've watered the garden. I've straightened the house. I'm ready to go. Finally, our family is getting some much needed vacation time.

We are heading out for one of my favorite places in the world, Oak Island, NC.

I can't wait to spend a little time on the beach with my favorite people.

I'll be back next week! I hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July! Enjoy your family and remember our wonderful military troops that are spending their holiday away from their families. God Bless!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Workin' Girl

It's nice to have a workin' girl around the house. My oldest daughter, Catie, works at an ice cream/ produce stand from April until October. She is working hard to make money for a trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland this coming April. She loves working in produce and meeting the customers that stop by. Until this weekend, I didn't realize how much she has learned while working.

You may remember the blackberries from my last post. Well, Friday after work, she came in and asked me what I was going to do with the berries. I informed her that I was going to make a cobbler. She got really excited and said, "I'll do it!" I had forgotten that she had mentioned making cobblers at work. Of course I agreed to let her make it and sat back and waited for the finished product.

Here it is!

Who knew that this lovely, talented, beautiful teenager had learned how to cook!

She even added her personal touch to the picture.

I was so excited that I had to break out the fine china for my little snack. It was delicious, too!

I'll tell you, my girls never cease to amaze me! They are growing up way too fast and I am learning that that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

More Simple Summer Pleasures

I have enjoyed reading every one's comments on their simple summer pleasures. It seems that we all have many things that we enjoy about summertime. Although the weather is still very hot here in the southeast, it has not put a damper on the pleasures of summer. Today was one of those days filled with little moments that make life worthwhile.

This morning I went to my dad's house for him to change the oil in my Jeep. While he was changing the oil, (thanks Dad!) I went blackberry picking! He has several large bushes that are full of berries. They are the thorn less variety and are easy to pick. He is going to make some blackberry wine with the ones he picks. I think I'll make a blackberry cobbler with mine.

You may remember my post about getting a ticket to see Jersey Boys a while back; The couple wouldn't take any money for the ticket, so I decided to make them a gift of fresh pesto, blackberries, and cherry tomatoes. Do you think they will like it?

After picking berries and tomatoes, and making pesto, I went to a friend's pool with some sweet little girls. Carson got new braces yesterday and gave a big smile to show them off.

My cousin's little girls were enjoying the pool too!

Aren't they the cutest things? I remember when my girls were that little. My how time flies.

Fresh berries, good friends, cool pools, and smiling kids- these are some more of my simple summer pleasures!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Simple Summer Pleasures

I love the simplicity of school, no piano lessons, no sports...just lots of extra time to kick back and relax. We have finally had a week where things have settled down and become less hectic. Since I am very laid back by nature, this is my favorite time of year. Each day I find myself looking forward to the simple pleasures that summer affords. Things like...

...sitting on the porch each evening waiting for John's truck to appear in the driveway. (It has been way too hot to sit there in the middle of the day.)

Since John has been in Maryland for a couple of days, yesterday's appearance was even sweeter! I really miss him when he is not here.

...enjoying a simple summer supper with fresh garden veggies.

You may remember my tomatoes from yesterday's post. They were really yummy tossed with garlic, basil, mozzarella, and olive oil. The squash came from my parents' garden. Even after the long trip from Maryland, John still wanted to grill the ribs and squash. (That is how he relaxes after a long day.)

These are just two of the simple pleasures that I enjoy in the summer. There are many more I'll share throughout the summer months. What are some of yours?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Morning Harvest & New Babies

Oh, those lazy, hazy days of summer! I wish. Today is officially the first day of summer, although we southerners feel as though it has been here a while. I would like to say our days have been lazy, but actually they have been pretty busy. It seems as though we have had a lot of appointments since school has been out. Hopefully it will slow down a little in the coming days. I am managing to enjoy some time outside each morning checking the garden to see what is ready to be picked. This morning greeted me with some cherry tomatoes hanging on the vine.

Don't they look yummy? There are lots more ripening and waiting for their turn. We are still waiting on our squash, cucumbers, and regular tomatoes.

We have tons of basil this year so I guess I'll be making pesto all summer!

Although I do not have any chickens, my mom and dad do, so fresh eggs are abundant. They have even added to their little chicken family with some baby Dominic and Black Star chicks.

Aren't they just the cutest things? I love baby chicks! I also love fresh eggs. The color of the yolk is very different from a store bought egg. Don't you think?Carson was making pecan pies for Father's Day and cracked her first double yolk egg the other day. She was amazed. You know me, if I had been there, I would have taken a picture for my blog! Maybe next time!

In the meantime, I hope everyone finds a little time to celebrate these lazy, hazy days of summer!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot!

I spent a little time today looking back on some of my winter and spring posts. Those days seem so far away now. After an unusually cold winter and spring, our days have turned extremely hot! We have had temperatures in the middle to upper nineties for well over a week now. Needless to say, I have had a hard time getting excited about gardening and yard work in this hot, humid weather. We have actually had quite a few appointments this week, so I have had an excuse to not spend too much time outside. (One drawback to living in the country is the driving distance to doctors, dentists, and such. One appointment may take a good part of the day for travel.) However, we have found some time for a little summer fun.

Nothing beats the heat better than taking a dip in a cool pool. (Thanks Mark and Robin for letting us use your pool!)

Even the little neighborhood doggie knows where to go to cool off.

When the temperatures are this hot, we save most of our outside activities for the evening when sun is going down. Harvesting veggies has to be done either early in the morning or late in the evening. I guess I'll have to find some indoor activities to post about until we get a break from this hot,hot, weather! Wishing you a cool weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bedroom Epiphany

Several years ago while celebrating an anniversary at a Bed-and-Breakfast in Charleston, I had an epiphany. I suddenly understood what was so special about spending the night in places like that one. I was sitting in bed taking note of the details that made the room a peaceful place to rest. First of all, there was no clutter. In fact, as I thought back to all of the wonderful rooms that I had visited over the years, every room had that simple, uncluttered look. I also took note of the comfort of the bed and linens and realized that there was no reason why I shouldn't enjoy that peaceful experience at home. So, I went home and made some changes in my own room.

I simply started removing some stuff. I took the dresser that we used for our clothing and put it in the closet. I also took out a dressing table that I never used, since I applied make up and such in the bathroom.

I bought some simple, but very comfortable, sheets and a down comforter. I also added some down surround pillows. As you can see, it is not fancy at all, but boy is it nice to crawl into after a long day.

I also try to add a special touch once in a while. Can you tell what that is?

....fresh flowers in a vase. I can't think of any other item that could make me feel as if I am spending the night in a nice room more than a vase of flowers by the bed. I do try to keep from putting anything on the remaining dresser or bedside tables to distract from the peaceful setting that I have tried to create. Don't you think we all deserve to have a bedroom that makes every night special?

Monday, June 14, 2010


Some of you may remember my very first post about my vegetable garden. Well since then I have harvested lettuce and broccoli. Last week, we harvested all of our cabbage. It was wonderful. The heat and worms made us decide to take out all of it, even the heads that were not quite as big as we would like.

I think for our first vegetable garden attempt we have really been successful.

The cabbage was the last of our spring veggies. Now we are waiting on tomatoes, squash, bell peppers, and green beans. I never got around to planting any eggplant. Is it too late?

Of course I can't only show you the good parts of my garden. I have to keep it real. Now for a question for the master gardeners out you compost garden waste, till it in, or just dispose of it?

Thursday, June 10, 2010


You heard sigh of relief. My last post explained how this was one of those weeks when things were so busy that I just wanted to get through it. Well, I am finally through it. After one of the busiest days I can ever remember, I am sitting on the sofa wondering how I ever got it all done.

With my piano recital scheduled for tonight, most of this week was spent readying the house and yard. Today there was so much to do that I didn't think I would get it all done. I spent the morning at Catie's awards ceremony, sang in a funeral this afternoon, and hosted a recital tonight. How's that for a busy day!

I couldn't have accomplished all of this without my wonderful family helping out. John worked super hard this week to finish putting out all of the mulch in the back yard. The girls pitched in on all of the house preparations, and my mom and dad came over to lend a hand. What would I do without all of them?

Mom and Dad stopped to pose for a quick picture after all of the work was done.

I rearranged the sunroom with all of the furniture facing the piano room for the recital.

With the sofa out of the way, it was easier to get a picture of the table along the back wall.

As you can see from this picture, it rained this evening so the reception had to be moved from the patio to the great room.

Thanks to mom's huge hydrangea, I had plenty of blooms to use throughout the house.

I only have several students this year, so the recital was very informal.

When I say informal, I really mean it. I just happened to look down at my own daughter's feet and noticed that she wasn't even wearing shoes!! I didn't mean for it to be that informal.

After all of John and Dad's work on the landscaping, we couldn't even use the patio for the refreshments.

Everything turned out perfect anyway. My students did a wonderful job and all of the guests really enjoyed themselves. I couldn't have asked for a better evening. Now, I think I will crawl into my soft bed and thank the Lord for blessing me with my wonderful family who helped me get through this busy week.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses...or Tomatoes

This week has already proven to be a busy one. I took Carson to Durham for her year end test yesterday. Catie finished her last exam, and will be out of school on Thursday. And we are busy getting the house ready for my piano recital that will be held on Thursday evening. Do you ever have weeks like this one? Weeks when you just want to get to the end so that you can breath a sigh of relief?

Even though the week has been busy, I have tried to take a little time to stop and smell the roses...or in my case, look at the tomatoes.

We have several little tomatoes turning that beautiful color of red. I can't wait to taste them.

I have also enjoyed the blooms of some lilies that were given to me last fall.

I'm not sure of the varieties. Does anyone know?

Some of you may remember my last post of my mom's huge hydrangea. This is one of my little ones rooted from hers.

I have also made pesto for the second time this season. I just love the combination of fresh basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, and olive oil. I know it is summer when its time for pesto. (I think I was meant to be Italian.)

These are some of the simple things that help me get through a busy week. How do you cope when you have too much to do?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rhapsody In Blue

Long before George Gershwin composed his Rhapsody in Blue in 1924, God had created one of his own. The hydrangea is one of the most beautiful of all of the summertime flowers. The variations of the blooms from the lightest greens to the deepest blues always make me appreciate the sense of beauty that God must have.

This huge hydrangea is at my mom and dad's house. It was rooted years ago from another hydrangea on their property.

I now have five small ones rooted from this bush. I hope mine grow to be this big one day.

I don't think I have ever seen it so full of blooms.

Some of my earliest memories of flowers are in the form of the puffy blue hydrangea blooms.

Although my mom is not a gardener, she always had hydrangeas for simple arrangements in the summer.

Upon closer inspection, one realizes that there are actually many tiny flowers in one flowerhead.

This is one of the easiest bushes to root. I usually cut several of the soft stems and put them in a vase of water. After a couple of weeks, roots develop on the stems and then I plant them right in the ground in the garden. Some people use a rooting hormone and place them directly in soil. Both methods work fairly well.

After taking my pictures this morning, I decided that the six hydrangeas that I have in my garden are not enough. I think I need to root some more this summer.

I could never have too many of these beautiful blue blooms.

Although this particular bush is directly in the sun most of the day, they do prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. They also require a lot of water. This one is located at a downspout for a gutter and gets dish water thrown out at its base often. The color can be changed by changing the acidity of the soil, although I don't think I would ever want anything besides blue.

Nothing says summertime to me like a hydrangea bush full of blooms. What says summertime to you?