Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31 Hodgepodge

 Wednesday -- and the last day of May!  Time for one last May Hodgepodge with Joyce and others linking up at From This Side of the Pond.  If you've never participated, why not get in on the fun this week?  Find the questions at Joyce's, copy and paste to your own blog, then go link up.  Here goes with this week's questions:

1. What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.

Just finishing tasks successfully, I guess.  Craft projects, writing projects, baking, cleaning or decluttering -- it's just a good feeling to finish something and have the result be what you were hoping for.
Kids' devotional books
Two more
Name banner to go along with Happy Birthday banner
Embroidered dish towel with camper motif
Citrus coasters
Embroidered pillowcase
Cross stitch tea-time trivet
Embroidered dish towel and crocheted dishcloth ... both made by me
Rose-bordered pillowcases
A felt slice of pumpkin pie
Time for tea mug rugs
Well, that is enough of that.   What can I say?  I just love making things and especially dreaming up a project and seeing it through from start to finish.  Hopefully in a few months there will be more of that in my future.

2. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why. 

 I don't like or enjoy talk shows well enough to want my own.

3. Do you have a great burger recipe? 

No.  I never have had a real recipe for hamburgers, and now we are eating almost no red meat.

What do you like on a hamburger and where is your favorite spot to order one out?

Cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato.   A few years back my hubby and I had hamburgers here:
and they were the BEST burgers either of us have ever tasted, bar none.  They were huge, too.  If we are passing through Brunswick again, we will be stopping for burgers even if it is the only red meat we consume all year!

4. What's the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?


5. This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.

Apparently, settling an estate.  And a trip to Nevada to see our daughter, son-in-law and family.  This time, we are taking a granddaughter along with us -- our oldest, who is 16.  She has never been out West and I'm looking forward to seeing it all through her eyes.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Saturday afternoon I spent a good bit of time in the kitchen.  I made Candied Walnuts to go with a salad for Sunday's potluck

and also a batch of Vee's Cocoa Dreams,
 which I previously blogged about here: Chocolate, Chocolate, and Chocolate.  That post contains several other recipes and also the buttercream frosting (containing Marshmallow Fluff, yum!) that I used to frost the Cocoa Dreams.  Those were also for the potluck, and they were a gigantic hit.  I find cooking comforting, sometimes.

And so ends another Hodgepodge.  Happy Wednesday, all!

Monday, May 29, 2017

May you celebrate a meaningful Memorial Day!

 Today our country is celebrating Memorial Day.  The lovely vintage graphic above is generously shared by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.

We enjoyed a delicious cookout with our daughter, son-in-law and family on Saturday evening and that was our basic Memorial Day observance, since Mr. T is working today.

 From what I have read of history, this day got its start after the Civil War in April 1866 when a small group of young women decorated the graves of their lost loved ones at a cemetery near Columbus, Mississippi.  Both Union and Confederate soldiers who died at the Battle of Shiloh are buried here, and these young women, after tending the graves of the Confederate soldiers, walked over and scattered magnolia blossoms on the Union graves as well.

News of their compassionate act spread quickly  -- imagine that!  Without radio, television, the internet, or social media! -- and soon Decoration Day, as it was then called, became an important American holiday.  Today, Memorial Day, celebrated on the last Monday in May, is a day to honor all who have died in service to our country.  Here in New Hampshire, we often take some time on this day to visit our cemeteries,  taking plants or silk flowers, or even a jar of lilacs, to decorate the graves of our loved ones. 

So enjoy the day with your family and friends, with parades, picnics, cookouts, or whatever other activities you may have planned, but take a moment sometime today, and remember the brave men and women who gave their all so that we could be free.  If you have young children, take time to remind them of what this holiday is really all about.  And don't forget to pray for those equally brave men and women who are serving our country in difficult places right now. 
This lovely photo is also by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.
Today, a particular man who served his country in World War II is very much on my heart and mind.  Although he did not die in the service of his country (so "his" holiday would actually be Veteran's Day) he did sacrifice much in the course of the years he served.
This past Friday, my wonderful dad went to be with his Lord and Savior quite unexpectedly.  His truly was the greatest generation, which sounds trite but, as our funeral director commented when we met with him on Saturday, it is actually a complete understatement.  I'm so thankful to have had a godly man of such sterling character in my life, and particularly blessed to have had him as my dad.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Late-May hodgepodge

(The delightful graphic above is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.)

 Here it is Wednesday again!  Time for the weekly Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Joyce asks the questions; bloggers copy, paste, and answer the questions on their own blogs, then link up.  If you've never participated, why not give it a try?  Here goes with this week's questions:

1. What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?

I guess the most prominent would be wood tones.  Our living room is entirely done in wood -- ceiling and all, as of a few years ago.  We love it.  If we can, we would eventually like to do the same with the other rooms, except possibly the bathrooms.
Sam reading to cousins and his brother; this shows a corner of our living room.
2. What's something you'll NEVER do again?

Even the little Polar Coaster at Story Land is too much for me!
Ride a roller coaster.

3. Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.

Hmmm.... Joyce is making us think again.  Well, I guess I tend to be emotional.  Also, I don't like mice or spiders and would prefer that someone else deal with them (although I did kill a small mouse with a broom not too long ago).

Didn't even like dressing up back then!
Ways that I don't fit the stereotypes: I don't enjoy dressing up or shopping.  I'm not one of these women who goes crazy over infants; I really don't enjoy baby showers or other such events.  I enjoy children more when they get to the interactive stage.
Fortunately, we balance one another out.
4. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?

No, no, and no.  Just not interested.  Not even a little bit.

5. If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?

Reading my blogs would probably be a good start.  Reading the Bible, especially Psalms and the Epistles,  might give some clues as to why I look at things as I do.

Another lovely graphic from Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
For what to watch ... hmmm... maybe Andy Griffith gives a good idea as to the era I grew up in.  Listening to ... maybe music of the 1950s.  And gospel songs and hymns, of course.  I really like some of the newer songs being written that are very scriptural; songs like I Run to Christ, His Robes for Mine, Christ is Sufficient; and many others.   At our church we try to learn a new song every month, and there are some really good ones being written these days.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I'm preparing a post on our most recent little getaway.  This was a two-day trip to Bangor, Maine, for the Loggers' Expo (among other interesting things).  One of the fun highlights for me was getting to watch my hubby compete in the Loader Competition.  (The object is to move blocks of wood from one checkerboard to the other and to be sure they are placed squarely on the black squares.  Then one has to move them back.  It's a lot more difficult than it looks.  Penalties are assessed for knocking blocks over, not having them squarely in place, and so on.  Every penalty adds seconds to the competitor's final time.)

  He's done this a few times before, but I had not been along on those trips.  Of course he didn't win, or even place very high, because he just did this for fun.  Some people, I hear, have checkerboards at home or work and actually practice for this contest.  Mr. T's "practice" is just what he does in the course of his everyday job.  I intended to add a video here, but the videos were too long. So I will just add a photo. He was the third one to compete and, for a few minutes, he was the top one because he did have a better time than either one of the other two.  It was fun while it lasted!

Happy Hodgepodge day,  everyone!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tuna Pasta Salad

Photo from Taste of Home
I came across this recipe in an older issue of Taste of Home and we really enjoy it, so I thought I would share: Tuna Pasta Salad. I've made this main-dish salad twice this spring already.  It's a perfect warm-weather supper along with some sort of side.  Tuesday night, we enjoyed it with sauteed fiddleheads as a side dish. 

(Interestingly, you know how photos will sometimes pop up on your device from one year ago today?  I happened to glance at my "one year ago" photos and found they were of fiddleheads, which we tried last year for the first time.  We were eating fiddleheads on the exact same date this year!)

Anyway, back to the salad.  I like to double the quantities of pasta and tuna (I use Ronzoni gluten free elbow macaroni), and leave the dressing quantities the same.  The single recipe makes plenty of dressing, even with the additional pasta and tuna.  I also use chives (since I have a plant in my backyard) rather than green onions. 

Mr. T declares this to be "one of those meals I just can't stop eating."  (Now you know why I double the recipe.)  It's a good basic main-dish salad and calls for no ingredients that wouldn't be on hand in most pantries.  We enjoy this meal and I hope that you will, also.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mid-May Hodgepodge

Here we are -- it's Wednesday again.  They sure do come around swiftly.  And since it's Wednesday, that means it's time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and the gang at From This Side of the Pond.  Joyce asks the questions: bloggers copy and paste, then answer the questions on their own blogs.  It's an easy process, so why not jump in and join the Hodgepodge this week?   Here we go!

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...
Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.

 To name a few ....
Cookbook I learned to cook with
Circus carafe from my grandmother's kitchen
Sugar and creamer just like my grandmother had at the family camp
Vintage cookbooklets I've acquired
The tooth fairy brought me this back in the day!
No, I'm not at all sure that we should be celebrating this.   I would have to admit that I am somewhat of a pack rat.  Vintage items and memorabilia are probably the hardest things to part with.  That said, I am actively working at decluttering and purging.

2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?

 Changing a tire and reading music.

3. Do you crave sugar? 

Not sure that I really crave it, but I do enjoy sweets.
Strawberry Lovers' Pie
 Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? 

No; I drink tea black, and coffee with cream only.

Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? 

No, I don't.

When dining out is dessert a given? 

No, it isn't.  We seldom have room for dessert when dining out.

Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

 I eat a lot less sugar than I did, but I wouldn't say the dragon has a stake through its heart yet.

Coconut Pudding Dessert

4. What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?

Hmmm.... now this is a long time ago, but probably a microwave.  I use mine quite a bit for cooking and for various steps in a recipe, not just reheating.

5. What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.

The Gospel song "The Lighthouse" by Ronnie Hinson.  Here are the lyrics:

 There's a Lighthouse on the hillside
that overlooks life's sea.
When I'm tossed it sends out a light
that I might see.
And the light that shines in the darkness,
now will safely lead us o'er.
If it wasn't for the lighthouse
that ship would be no more.

Everybody that lives around me says,
tear that lighthouse down,
The big ships don't sail this way anymore,
there's no use of it standing 'round.
Then my mind goes back to that stormy night,
when just in time I saw the light,
Yes, the light from that old lighthouse,
that stands up there on the hill.

And I thank God for the Lighthouse,
I owe my life to Him,
For Jesus is the Lighthouse,
and from the rocks of sin
He has shone a light around me
that I can clearly see,
If it wasn't for the Lighthouse
where would this ship be?

I love this song and it reminds me of the decision I made to trust Jesus as my personal Savior at a very stormy, dark time in my life -- the most important decision I have ever made or ever will make.   This song says it all.
Light at Pemaquid Point
And just for fun ... three grandkids inside the Pemaquid Point lighthouse.
6. Insert your own random thought here. 

The most exciting thing on my mind right now is that just  yesterday we finalized our plans for our trip to Nevada to visit loved ones.  This is a gigantic relief to me.  It was beginning to feel just like a logic puzzle ... you know, if Bill, Bob and Betty are all at the library, and Betty is doing research, Bob works 30 hours a week, and Bill replaces books on the shelves, what time is the story hour?  (Maybe a bit of an extreme example.)  Those logic puzzles that aren't very logical.  I used to be quite good at them, but I find myself getting more confused by details as time goes on.  In my case, the details involved choosing between 4 airports (2 on either end), whether or not hotels would be necessary on both ends, if a bus to/from Boston would be needed (and if so, would it line up with the flights), and how to do all this in the least expensive way possible.  I'm thankful, so thankful, that my hubby had the day off yesterday and that we sorted it out together and got great (nonstop!) flights at a great price.
Beautiful Nevada -- where we're headed
Happy Hodgepodge Day, everyone!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Our early-spring seaside getaway

(Warning:  many, many pictures await!)

A winter getaway had been on our agenda for months.  We just couldn't seem to find time for it, however.  And we weren't really sure where we wanted to go.  A great package at the York Harbor Inn helped us decide and also served to help us choose a time frame to get away, since the price was good until the end of March.   It was a wonderful package deal -- a fabulous price on the room (and we actually ended up with a free upgrade to a nicer room, too!), plus it included a voucher for a free meal.  The breakfast is included in the price anyway, so we would use our meal voucher for supper on one of the nights.

It was pouring rain as we headed for the seacoast, but it really couldn't dampen our spirits.  It was still raining when we arrived in Kittery, where we had planned to eat lunch.  We had already decided that the Weathervane Seafood Restaurant would be our choice for lunch.  After a nice seafood meal, we headed across the street to browse at Kittery Trading Post until it was time to check in at the inn.  (It was still pouring rain and we were literally streaming with water as we left the car.)  We especially enjoyed looking at the camping gear and the nifty home decor.

Thankfully, the rain had slackened a bit by the time we arrived at the inn.  Thanks to our free upgrade, we found that we would be in the building below, the Yorkshire House.  I failed to get a photo, so the one below, taken in a much nicer season, is from the website.
Photo from York Harbor
This amazing building was built in 1743!  It's astounding how they've been able to update the rooms to today's standards and yet the cozy feel remains.

View from our room -- we often came and went by those stone steps
Since the rain had slacked off quite a bit, Mr. T was eager to get out and do some exploring.  He did just that while I got our things settled in the room.
The Cliff Path is accessed via a park right across from the Inn

 He came back to the room since the rain had lessened even more and he thought I might like to venture out for a walk as well.  Good thing I was wearing a slicker, because the rain intensified while we were out.  Cool and rainy as it was, it was still a blessing to enjoy the sight and sound of the sea.

We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon and, since we planned to use our meal voucher for the following night's supper, we eventually went in search of a place to eat.  I had done a little research online, but all of the likely places were closed because of it being the off season.  We finally ended up stopping at Wild Willy’s Burgers because we were both quite hungry.  Once we figured out the ordering system, with the help of a friendly fellow customer, we chose simple burgers and hand-cut fries.  Delicious!  The murals on the walls in the main eating area were unusual and very nice.  We saw the one just below from where we sat.  Mr. T had to duck into adjoining booths to get pictures of the others.
Isn't this beautiful?  Loved this scene.
Depiction of a cloudy sky on the ceiling
The light detracts a little but not too much.  Notice the soaring eagle at the top left.
Snowy mountain range above the forest scene
After a good night's rest, we found that the rain had more or less stopped, though it was still cloudy.  We headed to the dining room for a bountiful breakfast, way more than the typical continental breakfast.  All sorts of homemade pastries and muffins, plus homemade granola and lots of other cereal and bread options; yogurt; hard-boiled eggs; many elegant options for fresh fruit; juices, coffee, tea ... probably more that I've forgotten about.
Cranberry cinnamon roll, and coffeecake
Partial view of the dining room
View from our table
After breakfast and our quiet times, we headed out for a walk. The Inn provides information on various walking tours and routes.  We chose one called "Quiet streets and Nubble Light" or something similar.  It was a nice long walk that took us through quiet and interesting neighborhoods and ended with a view of Nubble Light in the distance before wending our way back to the Inn.
There was a view of the sea between this house and carriage house, but the overcast sky rendered it nearly invisible.
We thought this whale weathervane very interesting
Wow again!
This door in the wall around a mansion fascinated us.  That's not a window in the door.  It's a mirror! 
 We met up with a dear cousin of mine for lunch and she took us to a favorite lunch place of hers, Beach Pea Baking Company.  It proved to be a great choice.  Mr. T and I both enjoyed the Turkey Sandwich: roasted turkey breast, cheddar, avocado, poached red onion, and tomato, with chipotle mayo on baguette.  Cousin Betty enjoyed a salad -- think it was the roasted vegetable one.  It looked really good, but it's hard to imagine anything tasting better than those sandwiches!

After lunch we went for a nice long walk in Betty's neighborhood in Kittery.  Then we returned to the inn and relaxed until time for supper.  The main dining room wasn't open for dinner at this season,  so we ate at the Ship’s Cellar Pub in the lower level of the Inn.  It really does look like one is in a ship's dining room on an old ship.  The woodwork is amazing.  We were not in the area pictured below, but were in a side area which was also nifty.  There are two fireplaces in the Ship's Cellar Pub.
Photo from York Harbor
With our meal voucher (which also included tax and tip!) we enjoyed an absolutely fabulous meal, unlike anything we have ever been able to afford in a restaurant.  We both had chowder to start, then for entrees we picked seafood also.  Mr. T had baked stuffed haddock, and I had a seafood pie which included haddock, shrimp, and scallops.  It came in its own baking dish and had a crumb topping -- no crust of any kind.  (Just in case someone is picturing an actual pie.  Seafood pie is traditionally made just as I've described.)  We would  ordinarily never order dessert after a rich meal like this one, but it was included, so ...
The windows in the area where we were seated look just like portholes.
The Atlantic Ocean is across the street just on the other side of that fence.
The baked stuffed haddock that Mr. T ordered.  We both had mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus for the sides.
It included dessert!  He had flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream and a dish of vanilla ice cream alongside.
I chose a sort of blueberry lime mousse.  Absolutely amazing.
 After another restful night we again enjoyed breakfast in the dining room

and another walk before heading out.  On the way home we walked for a bit on the Long Sands beach and we also stopped to visit Nubble Light.
Long Sands
Nubble Light
Hope you've enjoyed seeing a bit of our seaside getaway.  It was a wonderfully refreshing time!