Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday five: May 24



Time again for Friday five! 

As I was trying to think what image to use here, I remembered some 1950s calendar pages that my mother had saved for years.  I scanned them awhile back and had sort of forgotten about them.  Today while out walking I was mulling over images in my mind and remembered these.  This is a particularly glorious springtime illustration, I think.

On with the five:

1.  Seeing God answer fervent prayer for a friend.  We were praying for wisdom for her in a difficult situation and then for a good resolution to her situation.  God answered both prayers marvelously.
Wonderful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

 2.  The opportunity and good weather to get out and walk four times this week.  The apple trees we pass are just beginning to look like the one below.

3.  A lovely phone chat with a dear young woman I'm mentoring.  Also a lovely email from a friend.
Graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
4.  The opportunity to attend our granddaughters' public high school spring concert.  One sings in the chorus; the other plays saxophone in the band.  The concert was excellent. 

5.  Time to do a little bit of crafting!  It's exciting to find a little bit of time to work on a handmade gift using sewing and embroidery.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wednesday Medley: Road Trip edition


Wednesday again, and time for the Wednesday Medley hosted by Terri at Your Friend from Florida.  This week's Medley has a fun theme, as Terri is basing the questions off National Road Trip Day, this coming Friday.  Road trips are fun, and this Medley sounds like fun too, so why not head over to Terri's and get the the questions to answer them on your own blog? 

1.  Have you ever done a spur-of-the-moment road trip?  Where did it take you?
I'm sure we've done that more than once,  but one that stands out in my mind is a day when our girls were young teens and it was a pouring down rain type of day.  It was either a Saturday or a vacation day -- probably a vacation day, now that I think about it, as Mr. T worked most Saturdays back then.  We wanted to take a road trip but the weather was not at all conducive.  Mr. T suggested that we take a drive to the very tip-top of New Hampshire, where none of us had ever been.  So we got in the car and just headed up there.  No snacks, even, as I recall.  We stopped in Colebrook, the largest town up there, and had lunch at the Wilderness Restaurant.  
Then we drove on and saw the Connecticut Lakes and turned around before getting to Canada, if I remember right.  I'm pretty sure it never did stop raining!  But it was a fun trip, mostly because it was so unplanned.  Below is a very blurry photo of the second Connecticut Lake.
 Now the trip to the Great North Woods has become more familiar as we've traveled up there many times to stay in a favorite cabin on Back Lake.  But it's always a wonderful getaway -- and the Wilderness Restaurant is still a good place to eat!  Its sign still looks the same also.  Below is a sunset on Back Lake. 

2.  If time and money wasn't an issue, what roads would you choose to travel and how long would you be gone?
We have talked about this more times than I can count.   We would love to take a road trip all across the USA and visit friends (and blog friends!) all along the way.  We would be gone for as long as it took!  A train trip across the US would be fun also, the type of trip where you can get off the train along the way and get back on a day or two later, if Amtrak still offers that option.  But I think we would really prefer the road trip.  Lord willing, it will be a retirement project!
3.  When you go on a long road trip, what snacks and beverages do you take?  Do you pack a picnic? Does the back seat turn into a nest? 
We nearly always take trail mix.   Sometimes a picnic.  Usually water to drink, but with us a road trip pretty much always involves at least one stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a coffee or iced coffee, depending upon the weather.  Our most recent vehicles have been an SUV and a minivan, and with both of those we can pretty much contain the travel gear to the cargo area where it doesn't get too disorganized.
4.  Please tell us about something interesting or strange you have seen on the side of the road. 
A few times we traveled in upper Michigan at night.  There were deer literally lining the sides of the highway and grazing on the grass there and in the median.  That was just plain scary.

One of the neatest sights we have seen on the side of the road was a moose we saw a few years ago who seemed to be posing for us!  These photos were taken as we rode by and are not the best, but you get the idea.

The sights below are both from a trip to Freeport, Maine a few years back.



 
5.  Who does the driving when you head out in the car?  Do you stop in the rest areas along our Interstate highways when you have to use the facilities, or do you choose a fast-food restaurant or gas station instead?  Not TMI... inquiring minds want to know!
Mr. T does the driving.  We usually do stop at the state rest areas when traveling the interstates, unless it happens to be mealtime.  Ideally, then, we would find a Cracker Barrel.  
Check out a couple of our amazing New Hampshire state rest stops and welcome centers here:  The Common Man Roadside.  You will be surprised at how nice these are and how well they represent our state.  The photos below show a covered bridge that is built inside one of these welcome centers. 

 Meanwhile, on the other side of the country (more or less) the photos below are from the Schellbourne roadside stop in Nevada back in 2016, I believe.  Lots of fascinating information there about the  Pony Express and local Indian history as well.


 On secondary roads, we might stop at a gas station/convenience store, a fast-food place or a Dunkin' Donuts.  And one time, out West, an Indian grocery store, which was a very nice and well-stocked supermarket with the only public restrooms for miles around.  There were lines!
6.  Please share something with us about your week so far.
It's had its share of weather extremes!  Hot and humid Monday with periods of torrential rain.  Today (Tuesday as I write this) it's windy and very cold.  I felt as if I had a very productive day at home yesterday, which is quite unusual for a Monday.  Three loads of laundry done and put away, supper made, blog post written, work on my Sunday School lesson and a craft project -- and no doubt more that I can't think of right now.
Are you planning a road trip for Memorial Day weekend?  We aren't, but we hope to take one soon!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Waffle buffet: a fun meal for guests any time of day!


One thing we wanted to do while our Nevada daughter was here was to plan a simple way for my hubby's 92-year-old mom to see and enjoy her visiting great-grands along with some of the local ones.  We decided to have a simple meal to share at our home on Sunday afternoon/evening.

The next decision was what to serve.  There would be about 18 people.  Our Nevada grandkids had made a few requests of both Grammy and Aunt Carrie (especially Aunt Carrie) for meals they would enjoy while here.  One was Grampa's waffles!  We decided to plan a simple waffle buffet.  It worked out so well, I would like to share the idea with others.

This was the menu:

Grampa's Sunday Waffles
Strawberry Sauce
Blueberry Sauce
Lemon Curd
Maple Syrup
Whipped cream
Breakfast Sausages & Bacon

I cooked the sausage and bacon in the oven, which makes things really simple.  I made the fruit sauces ahead of time and served them warm, right from the saucepans on the stovetop.

We set up several tables and put a stack of sturdy paper plates along with napkins, cups, and silverware in a central location near the waffles.  We borrowed a waffle maker from friends so that we could cook more waffles at one time.  Theirs is the fancy type that one turns over partway through cooking, and one of those is definitely on my hubby's wish list!

When a good number of waffles were ready, I transferred the bacon and sausage to paper-lined serving plates, having kept the meats in the oven until that point.  We placed these on our dining table along with the whipped cream, maple syrup, and lemon curd.  People would go through the line, get a plate, utensils and a waffle and then proceed to the stove if they wanted a berry sauce and to the table if they wanted one of the toppings available there.  People sat where they liked (we also had a table set up on the deck, but it was a bit chilly and no one sat there) and it was all so easy and simple.  People came back for seconds and even thirds.  Mr. T ended up using all the milk in the house as he made a third batch of waffle batter.  (He had thought a a double batch would be plenty.)  Every last waffle got eaten!

We offered only water for a beverage because no one seemed to care about coffee or tea, but depending upon the group (and the time of day) I would offer hot beverages another time.

Here are the recipes for the waffles and the berry sauce.

GRAMPA'S SUNDAY  WAFFLES

2 eggs, beaten in large bowl
2 1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 Tblsp. sugar

    Add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the beaten eggs in the large bowl.  Sift the remaining ingredients into the liquid and beat until smooth.  Bake in waffle iron according to the directions for your particular waffle iron.  Yield:  10-12 waffles.

    This great recipe is one I copied from The Beany Malone Cookbook, which shared recipes used by the Malone family in the series of books by Lenora Mattingly Weber.  The vanilla was not in the original recipe, but makes a good recipe into a super one!

Mr. T used to make these every single weekend in years gone by -- and, in 2015 he had this recipe published in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook!  You can read about it in this post if you missed it: He Was Published!.


BERRY SAUCE FOR PANCAKES OR WAFFLES

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup water
2 cups blueberries, raspberries, OR cut-up strawberries

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in the water. Add the fruit and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Serve warm. Makes about 2 cups.

This is a wonderful, versatile recipe that tastes so good on waffles in particular. It’s also good on pancakes or French toast and would probably be good on vanilla ice cream as well. You can make blueberry sauce, raspberry sauce, or strawberry sauce -- all are wonderful. Or you might like to use a mixture of these berries to make a mixed berry sauce. When I do that, I usually also add a few cranberries to the mixture.

 Other toppings that might be included would be peanut butter, applesauce, jams or jellies, or chocolate  hazelnut spread.  You could even branch out and make a savory topping like chicken and gravy or sausage gravy, but if you did that I think you'd want to omit the vanilla from the waffle batter.

We were so pleased with how this hospitality idea worked out, and people seemed to love it.  We are planning another waffle buffet for a smaller group very soon!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

A day at the ocean


While my Nevada daughter was here, we took a day trip to the ocean.  Since she and the kids were only here for one week,  they wanted to just spend most of it hanging out with family.  But they did hope for one nice day to go to the ocean.  The one good day of their visit was the Monday -- we had rain at least part of all the other days.  So we headed for York Beach and Nubble Light.

We spent a good bit of time at Long Sands beach, where the kids enjoyed beachcombing and playing in the sand at the water's edge.  It was mostly sunny with a few clouds and not too chilly, although there was a bit of a breeze.




This photo just does my heart good.  I enjoy so much when my two girls can be together, even though it is very seldom.
We had brought picnic lunches, and took them over to Nubble Light.  It was a lot windier there and we really had to hold onto our food so it wouldn't blow away.  After lunch the kids explored the rocks and tide pools, pretty much to their heart's content.
 
 Elliott and cousin Ben (both part of the Nevada group)
 
 We got to see a lobsterman tending his traps.  That was so neat!
 A group of scuba diving students preparing to enter the water
All nine kids together!
 The ever-photogenic Nubble Light.

After leaving Nubble, we went up to Ogunquit just for a quick stop at a shop that had one of those souvenir penny-flattening machines.  The kids have special books for collecting these flattened pennies and so they like to seek out a machine in areas they visit.  (The photos below are from Shoshone Falls, Idaho this past fall, but it will give you an idea what the penny machines look like if you've never seen one.)


Between penny-flattening and souvenir shopping at the same shop, we adults debated whether to stop for fast food on the way home or to go for a regular restaurant which might serve seafood.  We opted for a nicer place and enjoyed a lovely fish and chips special!


 Several of the kids occupying themselves while waiting for our food
The Nevada contingent
It could have been a bit warmer and a little less windy, but it was the day God had given us and we couldn't have been more thankful for our day at the ocean!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday five for May 17


Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay
Friday again and time to count five blessings from the week!

1.  Forsythia everywhere!  I must admit I found every one of these photos on Pixabay, so don't give me credit for them.  The forsythia is incredibly lush and abundant here in NH this spring, and it seems to be lasting a lot longer due to our cool damp weather.  I only have one tiny forsythia bush myself, and am too lazy to lug a camera along on our walks, so have taken no photos of these lovely shrubs.  There are some beautiful ones on Pixabay.
Image by Ilona Frey from Pixabay
2.  Supper with our dear young friends Sam and Jenn on Saturday night.  What a rich blessing our fellowship is!
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

3.  A truly blessed Mother's Day.  We enjoyed a wonderful day at church, then a bountiful Mother's Day luncheon at the church our daughter and son-in-law are a part of.  In the evening, we got together with Jim, Carrie and family again for a late supper and a Mother's Day/Jim's birthday celebration with them.
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
4.  The opportunity to get out and walk three days this week.  The weather has been so iffy, it's never a given that we can go walking, so it's a huge blessing when it works out.
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay
5.  Seeing God give strength and wisdom for the challenges of every day.  Mr. T has been working a good 2 hours away from home this week, so getting up that early and having so little time together has been a big challenge in itself.  Sometimes just day to day decision making can be tough, but God gives clear direction and it's always such a blessing to see that play out.

And today I'm also thankful for the talented photographers who share their work on Pixabay.  I think the one with the barn may be my favorite of today's forsythia photos.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Very surprising


Yes, we recently had a very surprising visit from our daughter Joanna and several children.  Probably "surprise-filled" might be a more accurate way to describe it.  Mr. T and I knew she was coming, but many others (including some of her fellow travelers) did not.  Above you see Julia, the recipient of the biggest surprise, opening the coat closet door to hang up her coat.  Imagine her shock at seeing her cousin Emily (who lives in Nevada!) standing there waving at her.  If you look closely you'll see a hand back there to Emily's right.  That's Joanna, recording the moment for family history.

The trip East was completely Emily's idea.  She had a dream of wanting to come to Julia's house and surprise her for her birthday.  Mr. T and I have  a "companion certificates" benefit with our SkyMiles cards, which essentially means we can each buy one ticket and get a ticket free with that purchase each year.  So two from their family traveled free and two tickets were paid for.  In addition, two cousins of compatible age traveled east with them for free, using their dad's SkyMiles.

Julia's parents knew the Nevada contingent was coming, but her siblings did not.  It was a surprise to all of them.  Mr. T and I knew, of course, having made the arrangements with our miles and certificates.


I had reminded Emily's mom that the end of April is an ugly time in New Hampshire.  (It was actually even uglier than usual.)  But Emily was determined.  Julia's birthday is April 29, so that was the time frame in which they would come.

Everyone who knew kept the secret very well.  My hubby picked Joanna and the kids up in Boston and brought them to our house to sleep for awhile.  Several hours later, we all loaded into our large van and headed for Julia's house.  We stopped a short distance before their house and all of the surprise guests crowded into the back of the van and crouched down. 

We knew that Carrie had taken Julia out birthday shopping, along with 4-year-old Ari.  So surprising the boys would come first.  As we parked in Jim and Carrie's driveway, Joanna got her camera ready to record the boys' surprise.

Mr. T and I went in and made a flimsy excuse for being there.  Rainy day, we needed to get out of the house for awhile ... something like that.  After a few minutes of chit-chat, we told Sam and Josiah that there was something in the back of the van we needed them to bring in.  Sam, 15, asked: "Was this pre-planned?"  My heart stopped.  Did he know?  But no, he was just wondering if we deliberately left these items in the back of the van so the boys would have to fetch them.  The boys pulled on their rubber boots and went out. 

I don't have any of the resulting photos yet, but from what we could see out the window, one boy was completely mystified and the other couldn't stop smiling.

After the explanations had been made, we made a plan for surprising Julia.  Emily and Joanna would hide in the coat closet, and the others would hide downstairs in the garage.  (Baby chicks purchased the evening before made it even more interesting down there.)  Jim had texted Carrie when we all arrived, so she let him know when she and the girls were en route.  When we heard them coming up the driveway, Jo and Emily took up their positions in the closet.

So the girls came in, expressed mild surprise and excitement at seeing me and Grampa there, and took off their coats.  It was still raining quite hard and Julia was just going to hang her jacket on the doorknob, but her mom suggested she hang it in the closet.

Of course, the rest is history.  Recorded history.

All Julia could say was, "What?"  Of course we all shouted, "Happy Birthday!" but her stunned surprise continued for quite some time.  Then it turned to laughter.

Finally someone suggested Julia take Emily downstairs to see the new chicks.  Where, of course, more surprises awaited in the form of Emily's brothers Darrin and Elliott and her cousins Ben and Ava.  Joanna had also surprised Darrin and Elliott, who had no idea that anyone but Emily and Mom was traveling to New Hampshire!  When Joanna and Emily left for the airport, they simply went around the block and came back to hand out the "going away gifts" to the stay-at-home siblings.  Darrin's and Elliott's gifts were their plane tickets.  What a glorious surprise all around.

They were all here for a week -- and what a week it was!