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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


 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 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.




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

 love you.  Oh yes.  I do.


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


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,


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.”


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.


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.


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

What the What is a Swedish Candle?  You’ll Wanna Know.

What the What is a Swedish Candle? You’ll Wanna Know.


Hi Friends ~ Welcome Back!

If you missed it, I started a Mini-Series called “So Long Sweet Summer” on Monday.  This is the second post in the series.  Today I’ve got something quite cool and Swedish-y to share with you.  And you GUYS out there?… Even if you’re a Manly Man (like you’d never order a latte, or care about Low Carb Anything & have 5 o”clock shadow most of the time), even you will appreciate what I’m about to share.

Have you ever heard of a

Swedish Candle?

Or was I the only one literally in the dark about this?

This was something I learned on Peaks Island off the coast of Maine this summer.  It’s so cool, in fact, it warrants a post of it’s own.  My Girlfriend’s brother learned it as a survival skill in the Army.

It’s a self-contained campfire.  A big fat “candle” made from a seasoned chunk of wood.

Once you make your cuts & light it, it’ll look like this to begin with.

Swedish Candle 1

Start by taking a dry seasoned piece of wood & cut wedges into it with a chain saw.   It can be done with an axe if you’re out in the wild with one.  Stuff flammable kindling, dry sticks & leaves down into the cuts.  Drizzle in a little kerosene or lighter fluid for a quick start, if you’ve got some in your back pocket.  Light it on fire.  Eventually it starts burning from the inside out.

Swedish Candle 2

See how the cut line is starting to glow bright red?  Blow on it as necessary.

Swedish Candle up close looking into itIt’ll burn a loooong time if you keep it going.  It’ll provide you with not only ambience, but heat too.  Keep feeding the fire with smaller pieces of wood if you want.

Swedish Candle end of the night

Don’t you want to try it?

Well, you’re in luck.  I was quite surprised walking into the grocery store a week later (Big Y – for you local yocals). Sitting outside the entrance was a big stack of Swedish Candles!  Only they (dropped the Swedish and) called it a Light ‘n Go Bonfire. Complete with carrying handle.

Swedish Candle Big Y Bonfire

Finally.  Something worth the bother of those pesky gold & silver coins.

And Hey! you can even cook on it!  I found much more information with a detailed tutorial on this helpful site BackWoodsHome.com.

Swedish Candle with kettle


Picture three or four of them around an outdoor party on a nippy fall night.  Right?

 So tell me.  Whad’ya think?  Ever heard of it?  Ever tried it?  Let me know if you have other handy tips to share.

Come back & see me soon.  The So Long Sweet Summer Series will continue…

luv, donna (the Swede)

P.S.  To my dear relatives in Sweden… Have YOU ever even heard of such a thing?

So Long Sweet Summer ~ Another Mini Series! ~ Part One

So Long Sweet Summer ~ Another Mini Series! ~ Part One

 It’s officially Autumn TODAY.  Darn.  I had loads more to share with you this summer.  For those not bound by a school calendar, we’ve been able to stretch out the season weeks longer.  Here in Connecticut, it was the most beautiful temperate summer I ever remember!  Like every year, it zooms full speed ahead.  Suddenly yellow & orange splashes hit tree tops. Leaves sit at the feet of flowers more beauteous than ever on the deck.

Summer flowers with leaves

But not for much longer.  Isn’t that yellowy-orange coleus stunning?  It’s mixed in with big purple elephant ear leaves.  I love me some elephant ear every year.

I’ve had dumb technical difficulties lately, involving a bogged-down hi-jacked computer. I’m finally cramming to show you highlights of the season, now officially over.  Snifff.

And Yes, Yes….Fall Fall Fall.  I KNOW.  Favorite season for so many.  I know I should be gettin’ my pumpkin on for y’all, but I’m just not there yet.

Cut me some slack for not having the Halloween candy on the shelves yet – so to speak.  Even though I celebrated my one year anniversary on the blog recently, I still feel like a novice who needs to get with the program and learn to plan ahead accordingly.  Shooot.

I’ve taken a shocking number of photos this summer.  Trying to whittle it down to one post is out of the question.  I’ve decided to run my second-ever Mini Series (here’s the first).  Don’t go thinking this is all “Turkey after Thanksgiving”.  I hope you’ll find plenty of practical ideas and eye candy to enjoy and use.

So I say farewell to favorite summer moments.

Today’s look-back is to a special time away from home.  A break from the daily grind with Mr. Hungry and treasured friends.

Peaks Island Lobster Rolls and wine on the rocks 2In July, we spent the long holiday weekend, five nights, with our BFF’s.  They live on Peaks Island off the coast of Portland, Maine.  We were neighbors for years when our kids were mere babes.  A job change took them away from us a couple years ago.  Let me wipe away a tear and introduce you to these very special significant beloved ones.  It’s pretty handy dandy that Mr. Hungry & I share BFF’s who are married to each other too.  Bonus!

We enjoyed this picnic lunch on the rocks just down the road from their house.  Here are the fine gentlemen.

Peaks Island Phil and Steve drinking wine on the rocks

Meet my Soul Sista…the one I can say ANYTHING to & she won’t flinch (but told me I speak my own language this week). I’m sayin’ I LOVE YOU Girlfriend for all the world to see!!

Summer BFF with Phil

When I set my wine glass down in a safe place I was reminded of an old hymn we used to sing in church.  Ha!

Peaks Island Wine glass in cleft of rock

For you hymn-singers out there…any ideas?

How ’bout “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry thirsty land…He hideth my soul in the cleft of a rock, where rivers of pleasure I see”???

My mother’s probably groaning right now.  Are ya Mom?

Anywayyyy…their house is a Beauty with a capital B.  Purple door & all.

Summer Peaks Island Anderson House
I could’ve written posts chock full of ideas all around the place.

That girl loves digging in the dirt. She adds funky elements like watering globes turned garden art.

Summer Peaks Island Blue Watering Globes

And glass elements put together from various vases and found objects.  The two on the left look like proper ladies.

Summer Peaks Island Glassware in garden

The big front porch is a beauty. Much time was spent solving world problems and deciding what to cook and drink next at the table in the corner. That GirlFriend of mine is a different one.  She has her degree in Math (of All things..so far beyond My basic understanding) but she’s one of the most creative people I know.  That right brain/left brain must work overtime together in that head of hers.  And she just started back to COLLEGE just now!  Whaaaaa?  I’m proud-a-ya.  Just sayin’.

Feet of friends on Peaks Island

That’s my red-tootsie-selfie at the bottom.

My GF made this mobile hanging next to the table.

Peaks Island Mobile of driftwood, seaglass & rocks

Don’t worry Girlfriend.  I know you want to re-do it.  “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” …remember?

Here’s another corner where my bookworm sits in the usual position.

Peaks Island Phil Reading on the porch

It was July 4th weekend.  A slew of twenty-somethings (like around 20!) spent the holiday & overnight on the island with us.  I woke in the middle of the night to use ‘the facilities’ and stepped through bodies wedged hither & yon like sardines every where I moved, including the kitchen floor.  I’m ever so glad we held honored-guest-status and enjoyed a comfy bed.

How fun and – ugh – good for the soul – to be surrounded by that energy.

Summer Peaks Island purple martini glass

(The bejeweled martini pick – holding olives in that pretty purple glass – was a project GF & I made years ago. And no, this is not my hand.)

Summer Peaks Island Steve with MartiniOne of their three sons….(Cutie Patootie. Good Man….ladiessss…he’s available).

Lots of cooking going on.  OF course.

This was a messy but cute, well-liked holiday snack..

Summer Peaks Island Pretzels with sprinkles

Pretzel rods, melted white chocolate and sprinkles.  Little Firecrackers.   An interactive finger-licking project to do with kids any day of the year.

We even got to sit bay side and watch fireworks over the water out of Portland.

Summer Peaks Island Fireworks

But back to a couple of other nifty take-away ideas for yous too:

Summer Peaks Island Basket full of trays and cooling racks

Low on kitchen space?  Can you hang things on the side of an end cabinet or tuck a basket full of trays and cooling racks in a corner?

Peaks Island shoes on boot tray lined with beach stones

And what about the prettiest plastic boot trays I ever did see?  Full of smooth beach stones.

 Here’s a funny little shot. I couldn’t help myself.  As you know, I have a THANG for men with pony tails.  Think Mr. Hungry.  But This.  This was a fine young specimen.  It took a modicum of self-control not to touch it.  So I took a picture.  It lasts longer.  (Hmm..wait, maybe I did touch it??  I have a reaaally bad memory.)


Summer Peaks Island Pony Tail

It was the second year in a row we spent this holiday on Peaks Island.  A small town parade circles the island perimeter with golf carts, bikes and cars.  They’re decorated, honking, cheering and throwing candy as they pass.

Peaks Island Parade throwing candy

Peaks Island Parade turquoise car

We held our own little ceremony involving signs and badges commemorating antics that occurred last year.

Summer Memorial path sign

I’ve said it before (sort of)…Bafoonery is our love language.

Sounds like: buf-foon-er-y (noun) “behavior that is ridiculous but amusing”.  yup.

I commandeered the chalkboard next to the front door to write a new message.

4th of July sign on Peaks Island

Darn Good Food and drink showed up in abundance, mixed with multiple kinds of fire.    As in candles..

Peaks Island Oysters and Martini

..a unique cast iron fireplace to kabitz around in the pine grove..

Summer Andersons fire pit in pine grove

..and grilling over wood (on an even more unique) re-purposed vintage stove..

Summer Peaks Island grilling on stove

Summer BFFs by the old stove turned grill

(And yes, that’s one of the only shirts Mr. Hungry ever takes on vacation.)

Have you ever grilled avocados?  These peeps taught us this a couple years back.

Um. Yum.

Summer Andersons grilled tomatoes and avocados

Brush the cut side with olive oil before grilling (leave the skin on).  Grill. Drizzle with good evoo & balsamic vinegar, then sprinkle with pepper & crunchy salt.

So there you have it for today.  I’ll be writing up a storm and cranking out the rest of this “So Long Summer” Mini-Series in the week ahead.  I’m not admitting yet how many parts it’ll be.  I’ll see where it takes me.

I hope you stop back for each and every new post.

Have you signed up to receive emails whenever I post something new?  I want you here with me.  Don’t miss out!

luv, ponytail lover


p.s.  I love you people, but I really want to be watching the season premiere of The Voice right now.  I’m calling it a day.