Saturday, August 31, 2013

The garden in August....

The week-end is here!  Are your plans going as you had hoped?

This is not the year that our garden has gone the way we would have hoped.  First, we were later than ever planting due to wet conditions from all the rain.  Then, with such cloudy conditions, that meant a decrease in sunshine.  However, we have had some successes.

We didn't even PLAN this one!

An avocado seed that was in our compost sprouted!  The Husband transplanted it into this pot.  Have any of you had any success with growing an avocado?  We certainly plan to move this pot inside at the first HINT of cooler weather!  This will be one of our "experiments."

Sweet potato vines.

The Sweet Potatoes seem to be doing very well, as has been customary for us here.  I am anxiously awaiting when it will be time to harvest them.

A cantaloupe!

This cantaloupe should be completely ripe in just a few days!

Can hardly wait for this one!

 It is a real mystery how this watermelon has developed!  While there were lots of blooms on other vines, there have been NO watermelons!

There is some corn, though there have been some "guests" who have believed we planted the corn for THEM!  It could be the crows, though I think the raccoons have found their feast!

There were some lovely acorn squash, but we have discovered worms in each one.:-(

Have you had a vegetable garden this year?  Has it been successful for you?

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Just what I needed....

....another cookbook!

Another "goodie" from More Than A Vacation.  

In an earlier post, I wrote of our trip to Konnarock during our time at MTAV.  The Konnarock Lutheran Training School was in operation from 1924 until 1959.  The present goal is to restore the building to serve as Konnarock Retreat House, a place groups will be able to rent and hold meetings/retreats.  The sale of this cookbook is one way the committee is generating funds to assist with the renovation.

Some of the recipes found in this cookbook include Green Chile Cottage Cheese Squares, Peanut Butter Bread, Preacher Cookies, and Chicken Spaghetti Casserole.  Bubble and Squeak from Ireland is also included, as well as recipes for homemade mayonnaise and peanut butter candy roll, one of my favorites from my childhood!
As the time is nearing when I provide lunch with the Adult Day Care at our church, I will be choosing a dessert from this cookbook - Chocolate Zucchini Cake!

If you think you might be interested in learning how you might be able to have a copy of this cookbook, or if you might be interested in contributing to the restoration efforts, there is a website.
It is -

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A "first time" experience....

Happy Thursday to you!  At this point the week-end is in sight - and - it is a week-end that may be longer than usual for many of you!  Do you have some exciting plans for the holiday?

On Tuesday, I had a "first time" experience.

New in our town!

Decor greeting us as we entered the door.

Available seating on an outdoor patio.

This was the lunch portion!

There were eleven retired teachers from my former school who met for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.  This was my first time ever to eat there!  Have you eaten at The Cheesecake Factory before?  It is a very popular spot, and there have been reports of LONG waiting times for seating.  We arrived right at noon, and our wait was about 30 minutes, so it wasn't too bad.

My salad has chopped apple, chopped orange, and chopped chicken under that wonderful mound of arugula on top!  There was also some Feta cheese sprinkled around.  I thought this was a very generous serving for a lunch size portion.  I'm sure the dinner portion would be too large for me!

Of course, there were those who ordered that trademark dessert - cheesecake - but I passed that up this time.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

That lemon flavor....

Once again I am posting a recipe that uses lemon, that favorite summer flavor of mine.:-)  This one comes from Martha Stewart, and is a wonderful dessert to bake also using that other summer favorite - blueberries!

Fresh blueberries from our garden.

Cake ready for the oven.

Turned out of the pan! Oops! Looks a little rough, but that didn't affect the flavor!:-)

I actually printed this recipe from Martha Stewart's website over ten years ago!


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking pan
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 Tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 1/2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeeed lemon juice
3 Tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar on medium speed  until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.  Add buttermilk and dry ingredients  to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Stir in the lemon zest and juice.  Gently fold in blueberries.
- Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the the center come out clean and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Move pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.  In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, and the lemon juice and zest until smooth; set aside.
- Invert the cake onto a rack.  Prick the surface numerous times with a fork.  Brush the glaze over the surface of the warm cake, and cool to room temperature.  Store wrapped in plastic for up to 2 days at room temperature.  Serves 10 to 12.

Well, it is Wednesday already.  This is the day to announce the winner of the copy of Mental Floss magazine.  And - the winner is - Keith, the Optimistic Existentialist!  Keith, if you want to claim your giveaway, send me an email with your information, and I will have Mental Floss on the way to you!

The Husband drew names for me!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate  your comments.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Recent giffs....

There has been so much to pass along about our experiences at More Than A Vacation that I have been tardy in sharing and expressing gratitude for some recent gifts.

I have mentioned that The Husband and I celebrated our 44th anniversary on August 16, and I mentioned that Sister and Brother-in-law treated us to lunch at O'Charley's.  Well, that was not all!

There was a lovely card!

Useful kitchen items, with strawberries, naturally!:-)

Soon time for this lovely autumn wreath

Thank you, Sister, for these gifts.

A few weeks ago, I entered a drawing offered by Joan at Pembrokeshire Lass.  I was delighted to have my name drawn for this:

A lovely tea towel!

A lovely card with a very nice note written inside!    

Thank you, Joan, for this special tea towel and the note included.

Another blogging friend, Carol at Buttercup Counts Her Blessings, attended the BlogHer Conference in Chicago earlier this month.  She picked up some extra goodies and offered some of them to readers who would indicate an interest in their comment.  I was really pleased when these arrived in the mail.

Recipe cards and coupons!

Thank you, Carol, for offering these to your followers.  Those who know me will understand my pleasure at receiving some Land O' Lakes Coupons, not to mention the recipe cards!:-)

Remember that this is the last day to comment to be entered in the drawing for the giveaway of this:

Lots of information inside!

Comments must be given by 7:00 EDT to be entered in the drawing. 

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Only one week remains.....

.....for wearing white!:-)  How many of you follow that fashion guideline?  I must admit that I will be putting these away until next summer.

White shoes

White and white-striped skirts and pants

This post is prompted by an article in this magazine.

Have you commented for the giveaway?

Years ago, the affluent would leave their usual dwelling places during the summer for places that were more in tune with summer activities.  During these months - from Memorial Day until Labor Day - they wore white, the cooler choice for warmer weather.  As time passed, the practice passed along to the middle class as well.  However, there is nothing to stop you from wearing white anytime you wish!  I haven't ever seen any "fashion police" on patrol, have you?:-)

Remember to comment for the giveaway of a copy of this magazine!  Tuesday is the deadline!

I send along wishes to you for a good Monday - and a good week ahead!

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Words for today....

Once again, today's quote is from Max Lucado's book "Hope - Pure and Simple."

                                     "Sow seeds of hope and enjoy optimism.

                                    Sow seeds of doubt and expect insecurity."

The Mission Focus from the UMW Prayer Calendar for today is the Rural Mission in Johns Island, SC.  During the week, we will be praying for UMW Mission efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.  UMW's efforts span the globe.

I wish you a blessed Sunday. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The week-end....

Happy Saturday to you!  I hope you have something enjoyable going on this week-end.

There were a few questions about this.

Do you recognize the person on the cover?

This magazine was first published by two Duke University students - Mangesh Hattikudur and Will Pearson - when they were sophomores in May 2001.   Toby and Melanie Maloney became involved when they gave financial support for MORE than the next issue! 

In 10 years, Mental Floss has grown into a multimedia empire that includes a range of products available through the company's store. 

Contributors to the magazine have included "Jeopardy!" winner Ken Jennings.  Albert Einstein, who appeared on the first issue, is regularly featured. 

The Husband and I have enjoyed reading this magazine, and we have two copies.  I am announcing a giveaway of one of these copies.  All you have to do is to indicate an interest in your comment.  The winning name will be drawn on Tuesday evening, August 27.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, August 23, 2013

May I suggest....

a book for you?  This is a very special one.

Isn't it lovely?

In May 2012, Susan Branch and her Joe sailed on the Queen Mary 2 for England where they spent several weeks visiting amazing places!  This book is the dairy she kept of the journey.  It is written in her very own handwriting, with her very own photographs and water color illustrations! 

The Husband and I are reading this book together, and we are quite motivated to hop on a boat ourselves for the same crossing!:-)

I refer you to the website - - for you to explore the opportunities available to do your own shopping!  I was one of the many who placed a preorder weeks ago, and those of us who ordered were fortunate to receive our copies before they were available in book stores. 

Susan and Joe are now on a New England tour for book signings, and will soon be crossing the United States for other book signings!  Of course, I would LOVE for her to come here, though I doubt this area will be on the list.:-(

There are other things I am reading these days, but this one has taken precedence at this point.  It is my belief that it would be greatly worth your while to have a copy for yourself.:-)

This is Friday.  Have you had a good week?  Do you have some good plans for the days ahead?   I hope you will be able to do something you enjoy.  Take care, and have a good day.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What we brought home with us....

For a couple of weeks, I have been blogging about More Than A Vacation at Emory and Henry College, an alumni event we attended from July 31-August 4.  I have shared pictures of several of the different places we visited; however, there were a number of other activities during those four days.

We began each day with devotions, presented by someone different each morning.  We heard speakers on various topics - favorite professors talking about economic issues, music, and the energy-saving construction of the dormitory where we were staying.  There was a presentation by a couple involved in this magazine.

Have you ever heard of  "Mental Floss" magazine?

There is always an opportunity to attend a play at Barter Theater in Abingdon, VA.  This time, the play was "Southern Fried Funeral."  The Husband and I opted out of the play, and we went to Bristol to check out what has been going on there, as it had been a number of years since we had been there.

We made a stop in several antique stores, and I was glad to find something to bring home with me.:-)

Do you remember when these were packed in boxes of oatmeal?

Such a tiny baking dish to join my other pink dishes!
We have some new glasses to add to our collection.

Souvenirs from the party on the first night.

Then, all too soon, it was time for everyone to go their separate ways and return home.

Packing up our belongings.

A hearty breakfast before we hit the road!

We headed out with many good memories of time spent with good friends and new things learned.  It will be fun to return in 2014!

Already it is Thursday!  How is your week progressing?  Are you anticipating a good week-end ahead?

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Flavors of summer....

Wednesday already!  I hope you are enjoying a good week!  August is quickly passing!

What are flavors that remind you of summer?  For me, one flavor is lemon!  I love making fresh lemonade, and adding lemon to something I am cooking gives it an extra dimension.

Such is the case for this recipe today.  It comes from THE SUMMER BOOK by Susan Branch.

Ready to add the pasta!

Topped with chicken browned with garlic! Yum!


1 pound linguini
1/2 cup olive oil
Zest from one lemon
Juice from two lemons
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
Lots of Parmesan cheese

Cook linguini in boiling salted water till done; drain well.  Combine next five ingredients in a large serving bowl.  Add pasta and toss well.  Sprinkle over salt and freshly ground pepper - toss in Parmesan to taste.  Serve, or toss in additional ingredients of your choice such as steamed shrimp and asparagus spears; roasted green beans and grilled chicken strips; or chopped tomatoes, slivered fresh basil and toasted pine nuts.  I browned boneless chicken breast strips in garlic-infused olive oil!  Delicious!

There is a giveaway I want to mention to you.  Head over to Mille Fiori Favoriti to see what Pat has for you!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From the beginning....

There are more new followers!  Welcome!

Thank you for the happy anniversary wishes.  As I have mentioned, The Husband and I married 44 years ago on Friday, August 16.  My Sister and her hubby entertained us with lunch out.

My salad at O'Charley's.

Thank you, Sister!

The Husband and I took an anniversary trip.  The scenery was beautiful!

We were heading to Hot Springs, NC!

Our trip was complicated due to the closure of the usual route, necessitating a detour, which made the drive about twice as long!  When we arrived, we were ready for lunch!

Very good salad with grilled shrimp!

We found a place to stay - Laughing Heart Lodge. 

The Chapel in the background.

The Lodge in the background.

The hostel at the end of the driveway.

The exterior of the Lodge.

A view of the interior.

Breakfast was served here.
The house was originally built as a private residence.  The Jesuits acquired the property, added rooms onto the perimeter of the building, and operated it as a Jesuit Retreat Center for a number of years.

A robe in the display case.

Items in the same display case.
Our room.
Hot Springs, NC is known for natural warm springs prompting the developing of a resort/spa area.  Also, Hot Springs is on the Appalachian Trail.  As City Girl and the Country Couple had both been to Hot Springs previously, we thought we would give it a try. 

The row of  hot tub enclosures at the spa.

Ready and waiting for us.

Beautiful view from the Unit.
Thankfully, we encountered NO RAIN on this trip!  However, as we were returning home from Little Munchkin's party the next day, we were met with rain about a mile from home.  The rain continued through the evening and overnight, resulting in 1 1/2 inches in the rain gauge! 

There is still more from that OTHER trip we took July 31-August 4.  More to follow!

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.