The Start of the Season and My Swedish Style Advent Wreath

The Start of the Season and My Swedish Style Advent Wreath

Today’s the first Sunday in Advent.

Lord knows I need some focus.  I need to boot this attitude of unrealistic expectations and frustration and spend time relaxing in what’s meant to be a Peace-Full season and time of reflection.  There are so many burdens we choose to place on ourselves and others intentionally!

What’s With That?

I decided last year that when the season rolled around I’d make an effort to spend focused time during the Advent season.  Just four Sundays before Christmas!

I need refreshment in both Hope and Faith, and that’s what Advent is all about.

I planned to make some kind of Advent wreath or candle grouping.

I did it!  It turned out to be such an enjoyable part of the weekend.

Advent wreath Swedish Style -  unlit candles

I took a metal cookie tin and filled it with cut-up floral foam blocks.  I pushed candles down in to it and covered the top in dried moss (from a craft store).  Actually, it was yet another item left over from a family wedding.  Yes. Moss.  Even the whispy feathers were part of centerpieces I pulled apart today.  I’ve had the red speckled mushrooms for several years (purchased on Esty), which are so very Swedish in style.  The little wooden birds I stuck in the candles are Swedish also.  Sweet -no?  (I must admit I didn’t come up with the whole idea myself.  I was inspired by something similar I saw on Pinterest.  I added feathers and then the birds & mushrooms to make it even more Swedish-y.)

Advent wreath up close 2

I used a glue gun to attach ribbon around the tin.  I first used a polka dot one, but came across a  one that looked more Scandinavian. I glued one right on top of the other.

We grew up attending Sunday School and performing in the yearly Christmas program.  I’ll never forget the seven words my younger sister had to say as her memory “Piece” one year.  I think she was probably 5-ish.

“Advent is a word that means Coming.”

I can still hear her little shy voice.

So the coming of Christmas is upon us.  The celebration of the birth of a Savior.

I’ll make an effort to try to reign in these wandering thoughts.  To set aside time to read and pray and meditate on what this means.

If this is something you’d like to do, don’t get bogged down in perfectionism.  If you start tomorrow or later in the week – so be it.  This isn’t a performance.  It’s an attitude of the heart for the month ahead.

You don’t need Advent candles to accomplish this.  For me, I was craving tradition and the beauty of the visual reminder this year.

Advent wreath Swedish Style week one candle lit

And so the season has begun.

“Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel.”

love to you.  peace to you.

~donna

My Thanksgiving Table and a Peek Around the House

My Thanksgiving Table and a Peek Around the House

I love setting the table.

Call me obsessed, but even on a week night I want to sit down to a pretty table.  We rarely serve out of pots and pans.   I knowww…it’s more work, but it’s something that brings me a teeny bit of joy.

We all have our things. Right?

Setting a table for a special occasion such as Thanksgiving is like painting a picture to me.

Or something like that…a creative outlet.

I spotted some beautiful orange persimmons and thought they’d be a colorful starting point.  I’ve never used or eaten them before, so I’ll need to figure out what to do with them when I take it all apart.

(I just did a quick search and found plenty of ideas {here}.

Oh the joy of Pinterest!

Which reminds me – Have you checked out my boards?)

Here’s what I did with the persimmons.  Their color is glorious.

TG 1

Having a big low wooden bowl is an excellent basic to have on hand – lots you can do with that.

(It was full of vintage croquet balls from a summer table setting before this.)

It was Mr. Hungry who suggested I stick the pineapple in there.  (You go Hon. I like it.)  I included pears that were supposed to go in the Apple Cider Sangria  I’m serving.  Oop.  We’ll just make do without.  As I stood in the Produce aisle at the store I looked for something else to use.  I filled in with six purple figs and a handful of chestnuts.  Lastly, I tucked in Dusty Miller leaves, rescued before we dumped plants off the deck for the season.

I thought I’d give you a look around my dining room.  Actually, it’s part of the whole kitchen/dining/living/great room – all in one – and open to each other.

Look at this pumpkin I found at the beginning of the season.  I knew I had to have it.  It immediately made me think of the saying I love so much…

TG10

“It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful.”The Nester

(By the way, I got to meet The Nester (Myquillen Smith) and attend a break-out session she led when I went to the Bloggers Conference last month.  Ah-mazing.  I can’t recommend {her blog} enough.)

I’ve shown you my big chalkboard before.  Now it’s filled with a verse I need to be more mindful of these days.

TG6 Here’s the side board looking fall-ish.

TG7

In case you’re wondering, that’s a big chestnut post in the middle.  Our house was originally a barn a couple hundred years ago.  Having post & beam construction made it “easy” to take down walls all over the place.

TG8The vintage embroidered picture is a treasure. It used to hang on the wall at my Great Aunt & Uncle’s farm house.

Myrtle and Oscar Carlson – Good Swedes they were.

TG9

 The handsome pheasant comes out of the library in the fall.  The Library is also known as “The Gentlemen’s Room”.  Mr. Hungry has a fierce aversion to the term “Man Cave”.  Ha!

Just this morning on my way in to work I had to slow down while a lucky gang of seven turkeys crossed the road in front of me.  How fitting!

TG11

On the side wall under a big mirror is this table.  The tray propped there was made by one of my daughters (aka baby birds).  She decoupaged pages of hymns to it and stenciled the bird on a branch.  A precious gift.

Back to the dinner table for a moment.

Are these adorable or what?  The one on the left was from a trip to Sweden many moons ago.  It’s a little nugget of beauty.  The spoon and handle are carved from reindeer antlers!

I kid you not.

And NO I didn’t carve it.

TG2

I use Kosher salt on the table all the time, so it’s always in a salt cellar.  Love that crunch and teensy bursts of saltiness.

Growing up in our big family, with 20-30-40 plus in attendance on holidays, we unfailingly used place cards.  Tables were spread throughout the house wherever they’d fit.  It was always a job before guests arrived – writing place cards and deciding who sits next to who.

So while they aren’t necessary, I found these printable place card banners on-line and thought they’d be nice to make for our small group of six.  They’re super quick – easy to print and cut out.

Thanksgiving Place Card Up Close

Here’s the {link} to the DIY Network site where I found them. There’s a variety of free templates to choose from.  You can even type in names before printing.  Or delete names and write them in yourself or use for food labeling.  Maybe you’d like to make some for your table?

I snipped rosemary sprigs from my Mom’s plant (oops – forget to ask first) and tied them into little wreaths with twine.

Thanksgiving Place Setting

TG5

I don’t think I’ve ever put together a purple, green and orange table setting.  Love the combo.  I’m using metallic gold chargers from my daughter’s wedding this past summer. The colored water goblets were from another daughter’s wedding the summer before. And now that I think about it, the bundle of wheat on the sideboard came from the bridesmaids’ bouquets of my youngest daughter the year before that!

Ohh..I could stock a home decor shop with all the wedding props I’ve got on hand.

(Digressing as usual.)

I’m so looking forward to this unusual little Friendsgiving.  These are treasured friends from wayyy back.  Not that all you friends aren’t treasures!  I can’t wait for a quiet leisurely afternoon & evening of good food and leaning in for conversation.

I suppose I best step away from the keyboard.   I seriously feel like I could keep on writing and writing.  I bet that’s probably just me procrastinating about cleaning the bathroom and stove top.

(That’s part of the benefit of having company – that extra oomph to accomplish a few pesky household tasks.)

I’ve got to get my pie on too (pecan – Mr. Hungry’s favorite) …and my creamed onions and cranberry pineapple relish, etccccccc.  Oh – and I’m sticking a turkey breast in the slow cooker with onion, carrot and celery so I can make broth for gravy tomorrow.  I’ll put the breast meat into the freezer for another day.

In case you missed my last post, I wrote about a simple new favorite side dish.  You might have all the ingredients on hand.  Did you see it?

Zesty {horseradishy creamy oniony goodness} Carrots.

Carrots

Here’s the {Recipe}.

Aren’t all good dishes covered in buttery crumb topping on Thanksgiving?

Gotta Love It.

But ONE MORE THING ~ and this is truly the heart and center of this day.

Let’s remember

The Unseen Guest

at the table.

May we thank the Good Lord for His Presence and His Peace.

This very simple Grace was said thousands of times around our family table growing up.

Lord Jesus Be our Holy Guest. 2

But much more than that, I’m Thankful, Grateful and Blessed for the Abundance in my life.  Not just in the big things either.  The God of the universe shows up for me in the beauty of a little salt dish, an orange persimmon, the eyes of a friend.  Don’t miss it!  Not tomorrow.  Not any day.  Look for His Presence with an attitude and heart overflowing with Gratitude.

I’m thankful for you – sweet readers – for joining me here at the table.  Keep Coming Back!  And Spread the Love – invite your friends to join us too.  The more the merrier!

Love to you and yours this holiday.

~donna

xo

A Turkey Day Race and Zesty Carrots – A New Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish

A Turkey Day Race and Zesty Carrots – A New Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish

♥ Thanksgiving ♥

“Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.”

– Marelisa Fábrega

Hi Friends!

My Goodness.  Thanksgiving’s three days away.  Jeeesh.  I need to firm up that Honey-Do list.

We’re hosting a very small group of friends this year!  There’ll be just six around the table.  We’re so used to BIG family gatherings.  It’ll be different for sure, but I still need to plan.

All three of my baby birds are spending the day with respective husbands’ and families.

Ohhh…I’ll miss them, but we’ll be together on Christmas Eve.

(I spent a fantabulous weekend with all the girls this month.  I’ve got an upcoming post in the works about my youngest daughter’s unique decorating style.  Stay tuned!)

I need to be organized.  I won’t have my side kick there to help me Thursday morning.  Typically, he’s my right hand, pitching in with all the work.  This year he’s running in the Manchester Thanksgiving Road Race – famous in these parts.  He’s running with two of our daughters & son-in-law.  It’s festive and HUGE, with around 15,000 participants from all over the country – even the world.  The course is just under five miles long.  For many people in the area, it’s an integral part of Thanksgiving traditions.  This is the 78th annual run.

Here’s a glimpse of the droves heading down Main Street in a previous year.

Manchester CT Roadrace{via}

Last Saturday they trained and ran another race called the Beards and Beers 5K.  It’s part of the Movember campaign to raise money for men’s health and cancer awareness programs.

Look at this smiling girl of mine…

Britt with Beard for Beards and Beers Race{via}

Mr. Hungry ran his best time ever.

Gary, Sharon and Phil at Race{via}

 I’m proudatheoldman!

Britt and Phil RaceSo anywayzzz,  I look forward to quietly putzing around the kitchen, preparing for our little group.  What a treasure that is too.  A different kind of special.

Today I have a recipe that’s not an old favorite, but was recently added to the repertoire.  And not just for Thanksgiving.  I had this at a friend’s house when we celebrated the holiday there a few years back.  It’s a unique preparation for carrots.

The name is simply Zesty Carrots.

The zestiness (is that a real word?) comes from a goodly amount of horseradish.  It’s creamy and zesty with the buttery crunch of bread crumbs on top.  Grated cheese is added right at the end for one more layer of goodness.  This is NOT your healthiest vegetable side, but it is Thanksgiving after all.

Feel free to double the horseradish and onion.  I did this time and loved it.  It’s a matter of taste.  But just know that – absolutely as written – it’s a keeper!  Prior to this preparation, I’d never had this flavor combination before.  Not only that, but it contains mayonnaise, which is also unusual.  (I don’t use anything but regular Hellman’s Mayonnaise – it’s one of those non-negotiables in the pantry.  I don’t mean to sound snooty – it’s just one of my things.)

Back in 2008, my best friend and I made family cookbooks for gifts.  I’m sharing a photo taken straight from her pages.  I need to add this to mine now too.

Zesty Carrots Photo of RecipeYou just may have all the ingredients you need on hand.

The photos I’m showing are for a single recipe, serving 4-6 (depending on how many other side dishes are on the table).  I’ll be doubling the recipe this week because I know we’ll want some left-overs planned-overs.

Zesty Carrots 

Slice and pre-cook a pound of carrots until tender when poked with a fork.

Zesty Carrots BoilingDrain off the water and pour the carrots into a greased one quart baking dish and set aside.  (I froze the carrot water to use for making the gravy Thursday).

Zesty Carrots with side of minced onionsCombine the 2 T. minced onion, 3/4 c. (Hellmans regular) mayonnaise, 1/3 c. water, 1 Tbsp. Horseradish and pepper.  Pour over carrots. (Don’t mind me, I dumped the onions into the carrots and not into the sauce – same thing.)

Zesty Carrot and onions in dish with sauce on sideMix the 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs with the 2 Tbsp. melted butter.

Zesty Carrots with Sauce and Crumbs on SideDon’t be put off by how much sauce is in the dish.  Surprisingly, it soaks almost completely into the carrots and they come out rich, silky and full of zesty flavor.

Zesty Carrots ready for ovenBake at 350° for about 30 minutes.

And here they are when done:

Zesty Carrots FinishedI made these for dinner last night so I could show you how delicious they look.  They’re so good we have no problem making and eating them again later in the week.  I just realized I forgot to add the grated cheese at the end.  Let me tell you, they were perfectly fabulous without, but I won’t forget it on Thursday.

Mr. Hungry grilled marinated pork tenderloin in the fireplace and served it along with roasted cauliflower and cheesy baked herb bread.

Zesty Carrots with Pork DinnerNot too shabby for a Monday night dinner.

mmmmm

Oh – I Love My Grill Man.

If you missed it last year, I wrote about what Thanksgiving was like, growing up in The Ask Family {here}.  If you’re saying “The Ask Family???”…check  it out.

Memoriessss

family thanksgivingI have one other new recipe I’m trying for the first time.  You might want to consider.

Apple Cider Sangria recipe from How Sweet It Is.

Sangria{via}

I’ll rim my glasses with a cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Ginger Brandy, Pinot Grigio, Honey Crisp Apples and Pear chunks all sound like a fitting mix for an Autumn cocktail. Yum.  Can’t wait to try it.  Stop on over there and read up on it.

So tell me.  How about you?  Are you trying something new this year? A new dish, drink, tradition?

chef and turkeyTime to finalize the plan of action and Get Cookin’!

I’ll be back one more time before Turkey Day to show you my table setting and a last minute idea.

I’m thankful that you took the time to stop on over.

Love you.

~donna

One More Thing Before I Go…Check Out My Design?

One More Thing Before I Go…Check Out My Design?

 Well you didn’t think you’d see me again so soon – didja?

Notice anything new?

If you missed my post yesterday – check it out {here}.  I’m heading to a conference on Blogging (and Social Media) in South Carolina called Allume.   I was reaallly hoping I’d have a brand new Blog Header with a real Logo installed before I leave in the morning.

allume conference logo

I wanted various other widgets and techy stuff installed too.  My whole format is amateur-ish and not nearly what I’m picturing in my head.  So much to learn but not enough time in my days.

To be funny, I’m putting up what’s in this head of mine so far – trying to make its way out.

I think it’s starting to formulate…

Here’s my hand at logo design:

cropped-logo-canon-1021141.jpg

 Let me know what you think.

Remember – you can subscribe to post updates through email.  Have you done that yet?

 Come on now people – the only subscribers that show up in the tally on my home page are those who’ve done so.  Between Facebook and WordPress followers though – there are over 700 of you that make your way to this site.

Subscribe by email and you won’t miss a thing!

Off I go!  I need to weed out the five or eight superfluous outfits filling my suitcase before I hit the skyways tomorrow.

tty’all later

love ~donna

I’m About to Jump Out of My Skin!

I’m About to Jump Out of My Skin!

Hi Friends,

I’m about to bust.

I can hardly believe the adventure I’m heading out on.

Yup.  A real adventure.

I’m flying from Connecticut to Greenville, South Carolina this week to attend my very first

Blog Conference!

allume conference logoThe conference is in its 5th year.

 It includes an AH-mazing group of bloggers, authors and entertainers.  I’ve been following some of them for years.  To be able to meet and LEARN from them face to face is pretty darn exciting! gaaaaaAHHH!

Maybe you’d be interested in knowing who a few of the speakers are?

They come HIGHLY recommended by Yours Truly.

Darlene Weir from Fieldstone Hill Design has personally helped me hone in on my own signature style. She introduced me to Pinterest a few years back.  I love her “ditto worthy” room series. I’ve been watching her blog and business grow over the years.  She’s now been featured in Better Homes & Gardens and been a guest blogger on their website {here}. Here’s one of her room designs:Edie{via}

 She’s an inspiring mentor. I can’t wait to hug her neck!  That slouch has a mere 30,000 plus followers on Pinterest.  If you need some design INSPIRATION?!…look no further.  Check out Her Boards!

The Nester ~ (a.k.a. Myquillyn Smith) will be there: Along with her blog, she wrote the book The Nesting Place…remember her?  The Nesting Place Book CoverI gave away a copy of her book during my one year anniversary celebration.  She’s the one that coined the phrase “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful“. That simple phrase has had a tremendous influence on Little Miss Overly Perfectionistic Me.  The book is the #1 Best Selling Interior Design book right now on Amazon and has been for weeks!

Shauna Niequist: Author of “Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life around the Table with Recipes” will be speaking too.  breadandwineshaunaniequistI LOVE her views and teaching on Hospitality.  We’re kindred spirits and she doesn’t even know it. (YET). wink wink.  It was this very book that got me to write an essay that I posted on the blog – about how my parents’ extreme gifts of hospitality influenced me to be the person I am today.

I’m even registered for an add-on series during free times – a three-part series titled “Marketing Your Message Like Wildfire”  taught by Rob Eagar.  Check him out!

And there are SO MANY more crazy-good speakers.  If you’re the curious type, take a look at the whole line-up, including the live entertainment {here}.  Not only that, the best part “just” may be mingling and chitchatting for days with other bloggers – newbies and seasoned professionals alike.  The conference is sold out with 450 registered in attendance.

I’m

tellin’yapeople

I’m gonna come back here wicked smaaht.

 So even though this post isn’t a typical one – Hang in There.   I hope you catch my enthusiasm on what this MEANS TO ME!

While I’m gone, you can keep up with me on Twitter and Instagram.

twitter.com/MoreThanHungry

and

instagram.com/MoreThanHungry

You can bet I’ll be MoreThanHungry to share all kinds of news with you on my return!

 love you.  Oh yes.  I do.

~donna

P.S.  Just Kidding About Being Done and a Simple Healthy Ground Turkey Recipe

P.S. Just Kidding About Being Done and a Simple Healthy Ground Turkey Recipe

Hello!

On Sunday I thought I was writing the final post in my over-due ‘Farewell to a Season’ Mini Series. I couldn’t do it.  No way.  If I’d kept writing, your heads would’ve been bobbing & weaving. And mine was too.

I have a few last thoughts and amusing memories, until I FINALLY move on to much more

Serious Kitchen Business.

The past season was deliciously filled with visits with friends and family.

I took my annual Ladies’ Week at the Beach vacation.  (I told you all about my time there last year if you’re interested).  We’re a group of women who spend a week together on Cape Cod.  Mr. Hungry skips gleefully around the house the same week each year too.  Splitting the cost of an amazing place with a big group makes it do-able.  Look at these mugs.

Ladies Week Girlfriends in a row 1

Gaahhhhh…. I want to HUG everyone of them STAT!  You don’t see me in that line-up.  I was taking the picture.  When I switched with someone to get in there, we struck a pose leaning on the rail.  It was a smidge boob-alicious to go public.

Summer Ladies Week at the Dinner Table

It’s my job (and desire), to cook dinner every night.  Don’t take my joy from me.  No Ma’am.

They all help with prep and do the clean-up…who could complain?  It’s better than a restaurant, there’s no containing our cackling ruckus, it certainly costs less AND I have the joy of cooking! 

 I woke up following an afternoon nap one day and someone had prepped all my ingredients. They were lovingly labeled and ready to go.

Summer Ladies week ingredients prepped

Cute basil leaf and beer cap garnish – right?  They think they’re funny.

Ladies Week Silhouette Girls

We’re plain ridiculous together….speaking of buffoonery.

Last year we suffered a plague of mice running rampant, even on beds.  One of the girls brought us a special prize.  Here’s a progression of how she bedazzled mouse traps for each of us. Thankfully, they weren’t needed.

Summer ladies week bedazzled mouse traps

What we could have used was a kitchen better outfitted for cooking.  It’s absurd that a Big House right on the ocean doesn’t even have lobster crackers.  These were the best weapons of choice on lobster night.

Summer Ladies week tools to crack open lobster

I branched out and made lunch one day.  It’s super simple and quick to whip up and a nice change of pace.

Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps make a healthy lunch or dinner that even kids would love.

Ladies Week Eating Alfresco Turkey Lettuce Wraps 2

I browned up some ground turkey and added spices (Thai, taco seasoning – whatever you please).  Everybody gets to take a big lettuce leaf and fill it with toppings. Roll it up slightly to eat out of hand.  Along with chopped tomatoes, avocados & cheese I included chopped peanuts and “my drink” of choice – Sriracha Sauce.  I can’t get enough of it!  If I’d had some fresh cilantro, you better believe it’d be there too.

Since I skipped dessert one night, I saved a slice of the Peach Pie to warm up for breakfast…with cream on it…even sprinkled with macadamia nuts.  Hey – it was vacation – remember?

Summer ladies week pie for breakfast

So much for healthy eating.

After a luscious week with the girlies, I drove further up the Cape to North Truro, (right before Provincetown).  I stayed with friends for 3 more nights.  I ate my fair share of lobster this summer.  Can’t say I’m complaining.

Summer Truro Lobster

Now THAT’s a properly set lobster boil!

Summer Truro Dancing

Ohhhh the FUN we had togetherrrrrrrr. Many photos were permanently deleted so as not to incriminate the innocent.

I stayed in this lovely bedroom.  Doesn’t it look so inviting?

Summer Kali's bedroom

My other vacation week was spent with Mr. Hungry at the Rhode Island shore.  Friends of ours have very generously let us use their beach house for about 25 years now!  All three daughters and their husbands were together for the first weekend.  It was a fabulous first for us!  The place holds tons of the best of memories since they were mere baby birds.

Here are a couple oldies but goodies taken at the same place.

Here I am with the littlest baby bird back in the day:

Summer Victoria and I at MatunuckAnd MANY summer vacations there included their cousin from California:

Girls and Bella at Matunuck

Summer three girls in coral on the beach 2014

Summer three couples at the flea market

Summer kids doing puzzle

Look at those cute morning faces.

We’ve cooked LOTSA good food in this little kitchen.  Not much counter space there.  Doesn’t matter.  There wasn’t even an oven here 18 years ago when Mr. Hungry & I catered my sister’s entire wedding reception – held in the yard under a tent.  It seems bigger than it is because it’s open to the living room.  I love LOVE this kitchen.

Summer Matunuck Kitchen

We’ve come here so often I think there’re more photos of my family on the fridge than there are of the owners!  I’m not sure why!

Mr. Hungry & I had a full week alone after the kids left.  Beaching, reading, cooking, drinking, talking, not talking…our favorite kind of vacation.

Summer Bloody Maria Face

- Bloody Maria Mariaaaa -

Summer Mr Hungry reading with happy hour flag

Back at the Homestead,

cropped-house-and-deck-flowers-2014-026.jpg

we enjoyed visiting with friends & family all summer.  It’s a rare week we don’t have someone over for a meal or more.

Biti Gary and Girls

Things quiet down a bit in the fall.

I’ll miss fresh summer produce, but you (yes you) can make a simple puff pastry veggie tart any time of year with the recipe I gave you {here}.  Use whatever you have available.  This time I used a variety of scraps of cheese including Gorgonzola, with tomatoes, fresh spinach & herbs.

Summer Caprese Tart

Ohhh ~ I suppose I’ve got to wrap things up here.

I’ll wrap things up by trying to get all serious on you for a minute.

In this house, we work hard and play hard.  We are deep and shallow at the same time.  I cry a little practically every day, but I laugh like heck way more.  I told you I’d share what was most important about the whole season (make that every season – every day).

For me it’s not what’s on the table, or the view or pretty flowers or ______ (you fill in the blank).

It’s relationships.

It’s going deep but also having fun with family & friends and…The Good Lord.  Yes, for me, some of the seasons Very Best of times were spent communing with Him.  I want to share two well-known verses that help me stay sane a midst whatever life happens to throw at me.

From Galations 5:13 “..Make it your habit to serve one another in love.”

and

From James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

 These two concepts have been at the heart of what’s made this season one of the best ever for me.

 So that’s it!  That’s the end of my Farewell to a Season.

Remember now, If you haven’t subscribed yet – Why not?  Sign up to receive an email whenever I post something new and you won’t miss a thing.  And talk to me.  Leave me comments.  I wanna know you’re out there with me!

Love, donna

Oh, and since this whole post was a big P.S. I guess this’ll be a P.P.S for you.  When was the last time you’ve seen that?…

P.P.S. I don’t think I included a recent photo of myself all season.  So here’s one to end this thing once and for all.

………..

I’d been carting around this red zero-gravity chair everywhere for weeks.  It was on it’s last leg and covered in duct tape.  Right before I went to sit in it at the end of summer, I commented to Mr. Hungry that there were pieces of white plastic littering the deck.  Note to self: DUH.

Summer Me in a broken lounge chair

 Figures he jumped up to take a picture before extending a hand.

Pretty.

P.P.P.S.  Come back Soooon!  I promise I won’t be so wordy next time.

P.P.P.P.S. xo

Time to Wrap it Up.  Saying Good-Bye to a Season.

Time to Wrap it Up. Saying Good-Bye to a Season.

Welcome back!

I can’t stretch this out any longer.  I’ve officially given in to the season.

Yesterday I walked next door to my Mom’s and this was my glorious path:

Leaves on the deck 100514

Strong wind and rain took down bushels of leaves in a matter of hours.

Just a couple weeks ago it looked like this. No wonder I was hanging on.

That’s New England for you.  As much as I’ve been reluctant to, I’m saying goodbye to a Splendiferous Summer.

Mr. Hungry’s been outside doing fall chores all day.  He took down the screen doors.  I’ll miss the sound when they smack shut.  Really.  It’s old-fashioned-y and conjures up memories of summer camp.

Summer doors open with books reflecting in glass

I’ll miss having windows & doors open and feeling a breeze on my skin..

..and seeing straw hats hanging in the entry.

082014 straw summer hats

I hung a load of laundry out this morning.  The clothes were wet & cold and I was chillyyy.  That’s okay.  It’s still one of life’s simple pleasures.  I mean it when I say I love hanging clothes on the line.  Here’s a sweet shot from earlier in the season.

082014 laundry on line

I filled up The Big Red Pot with chopped onions, celery and garlic.  I threw in contents of mysterious bone bags that’ve been knocking ’round the freezer ohh–too long.  It’s that kind of day. The house smells rich and beefy.  I feel rich when there’s stock in the fridg and freezer.  I’ll make a stew one night after work this week.

Big Red Pot with stock 100514

The Big Red Pot is a monster Le Creuset that was a crazy generous gift years ago.  It sits permanently on top of the stove.  If I used it everyday I could enter power-lifting competitions.  It’s HEAVY but adored and well used.  I’ll miss seeing it filled with the best sweet corn, grown a couple miles from here.  To give you a true sense of its heft, there’s a Baker’s Dozen in there – with plenty of room to spare.

082014 big red pot corn

I’ll miss eating breakfast outside on the deck.  With all the Good Cookin’ we’ve done the last few months, I admit this was one of my top five meals of the entire season. No. Lie.

Summer PBJ on the deck

It’s simply basic comfort food, savored slowlyyy with morning coffee, while sun warms my skin.  Sitting there, just me and The Good Lord, blows me away.

{{{PAUSE….}}}

Ooop.  I couldn’t let the moment go by.  On this sunny Sunday I ran out to enjoy cheese and crackers with a glass of vino for lunch on the deck.  Mr. Hungry came by to see which potted plants were ready for the Heave-Ho.  I asked him to join me in the sun beam, but he’s in the zone today, preparing and doing what needs to be done next.

He was up & down off the roof, pulling the chimney brush up and down.  The summer fireplace I showed you earlier in the season was on the hit list.  Remember it?  Time for a “REAL” fire in there tonight.  I’m ready!

Fireplace Summer Day Candles Tripod cropped

But I’ll miss balmy nights on the deck under the stars.

Summer on the deck with 2 lanterns & lake

Summer Oil Lantern on the railing

We have a mini herb garden just outside the kitchen door.

Summer herbs

Gaaah…I hate the thought of paying a few bucks for a little bundle of herbs as we head into colder weather.  The rosemary’s been around for years.

Rosemary and Summer Tomte

I’m gonna bring in the basil and see how long I can keep it going.  Wish me luck.

Basil 2

I love the riotous color of potted annuals.  It’s taken much trial and error to determine what works best in full blazing sun.  Every year I learn something new.  How about you?  Do you need to write something down or snap a few pics before its too late? Think about what worked best and what you want to remember next time around.

Bee on Yellow Flowers

Sometimes my camera really surprises me.  I’m addicted to playing around with it lately. I’ve never seen that kind of bee before.  Have you?

Update:  I found out it’s not actually a bee, but a Hummingbird Moth

I’d never heard of such a thing. 

 I much prefer tending potted plants to gardens.  Its so simple to reach down and dead-head or move things around when the mood strikes.  In full sun they get watered pretty much every single day and fertilized once a week.  It takes effort, but it’s therapeutic.

Ohhh. I’ll miss sitting on the deck and sharing meals Al Fresco.

Summer Table setting with zinnias on the deck

 The zinnias on the table come from  a stand in front of this house a mile away.

Summer Zinnias at Ed's Farm Stand.mht

Inflation struck hard a couple of years ago.  They’d been 15 cents a stem for as long as I remember!  Crazy!

Ugh, there were so many good dinners on the deck.

Summer Grilling Pork Tenderloin

Oh Lord.  I’ve written plenty for today. I’ve reached my peak.

 I just might need a big P.S. ~ One last throw-back to what really mattered most, not only this summer, but EVERY season.

That’s it for tonight.

I’m glad you stopped in.  Come back sooon?

 love ~donna