Monday, May 30, 2011

The Big Exhale

We bought a second home in Nags Head, North Carolina.  It was a "fixer upper" and we have been working on it for over 10 years.  We try to visit once a month, more often in summer.  It has become my stress free haven; life is much simpler there and definitely more pleasant.  We enjoy going to the beach, combing for sea glass and other beach oddities, working on that yard, relaxing on the deck and visiting local places of interest.  It reminds me of our first small house in Point Pleasant, before kids and before life got way too hectic.  But  I suppose if our life weren't so hectic, we wouldn't have been able to get the house and enjoy it as much as we do. The weather this trip was almost perfect - hot, sunny, go the the beach days. 
I love the sand between my toes.

We take a mile walk to the fishing pier each day.

Pelicans are a frequent sight.
My neighor, Sherry, calls it beach patrol by the NC Air Force.

Beach treasures.
Dining alfresco.  Simple seafood fare.

I call these aquamarine days.  When the water is warmer, we'll enjoy mermaid days.  I always feel sad when we leave to come home; always a piece of my heart remains in Nags Head.  I wait expectedly for the next big exhale.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Simple Side Dishes

Since the children are mostly independent with varying schedules,  we share a family meal only a couple of times a week at best.  Tim and I keep the evening meal simple, usually with a grilled protein and a veggie side.  Dinner at our house is at 8 pm, so frankly, it has to be simple because I hate cleaning up so late.  I am posting some of our favorites.  Most keep with my dieting plan and it is a good thing, because by that time I'm very hungry!

Zucchini and Tomato Melt (The kids love this)

Grilled Mixed Veggies (Tim's favorite)

Grilled sweet potato spears

Tracy brought over cucumber salad.

Spinach saute (my favorite)

Green stuff (side or dessert with pineapple, yogurt and pistachio pudding mix)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fruit Trees

 When my mom, Mildred, and Tim's dad, Richard, passed away three years ago, we planted a fruit tree in honor of each of them.  A dear friend had given us a gift card to do so.  We decided on self pollinating fruit trees; they bear fruit on their own, without an entire orchard around them.  Mom is a plum and Dad is a peach. (He always was a peach of a guy, really). 

The plum

The peach

Recently Tim was given a fig tree from a fellow yardener and we purchased a nectarine tree to add to what we now call the fruit tree garden. 

The Fig

The Nectarine

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nursery Hopping

  Last Saturday was our annual shopping for annuals and other yard additions.  By noon we had visited three nurseries and purchased several hosta to add to our shade garden, a fruit tree, a rosemary plant for the herb pots and a dump truck load of annuals.  Tim placed a few things here and there to get a preview.

Let the planting begin.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Coping with Seasonal Allergies

Green waves of pollen have been blowing across the yard these mid-spring days.  The pine trees are candling and our cars and windowsills are covered with the yellow-green powder.  Eyes are watering and noses are running.  It has been particularly difficult for our son, Tim.  Luckily, Mom read of a home remedy that seems to help - especially that drippy cough that is so annoying and keeps us up at night.

Rub Vicks on your feet, cover with socks and enjoy the night's rest.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Night at the Steakhouse

Tracy offered this "Night at the Steakhouse" theme.  Everyone  brought  steak or whatever they wanted cooked on the grill as well as a side to go with it all.  

The Appetizers
Sabrina made several pre-dinner delectables including feta dip, spinach-artichoke dip, and the incredible blooming onions.

The Libations
White and red Sangria

The Meats
I can tell you the Grillmaster was quite busy cooking everything to order - medium rare, medium well and "a little pink on the inside".  Good thing Austin the Apprentice was there to be the Sous Chef. 

We marked the meat selections with little toothpick flags.  Sabrina and I chose chicken.

It was great until the wind blew them away.

The Sides
Tracy brought her famous twice baked potatoes, Becky made the salad, a delicious girlie selection.  Shirley brought some ears of corn and I did sauteed mushrooms and whole grain bread with honey butter.

Of course the counter was covered with yummies.

Shirley (Nanny) brought a family recipe from her Mom, a variation of apple cake.  Hers had blueberries and strawberries on top instead of apples.  And oh, the ice cream. 

Next month's theme, designated by Sabrina is Island (Luau) Night. Aloha.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mid-Spring's Day Dream

Some garden spots are looking particularly wonderful at this mid-spring juncture.  A garden walk through the dappled sunlight, splashes of vivid color, the quietness, lift my spirits.

The azaleas are in bloom in the shade garden and the hosta are beginning their full unfolding.

The Grove was our first planting 20 years ago.  We have pruned, added and taken away.  It is particularly lovely at this time with the rhododendrons in bloom.   I can't wait for the hydrangeas to begin showing their flowers.

The lace leafed Japanese Maple graces our front landscape.  Despite winter damage, it's fullness is inspiring.

The annuals will be our next addition!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Celebration

"Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever."  Author Unknown

Some treat platters for my preschoolers and their moms at our Mother's Day Celebration.

Chocolate covered strawberries, of course.

Canoli cones inspired by Hungry Girl and made by my wonderful daughter, Meredith.