Friday, December 30, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blessings in a bag

These little bags will house one of the gifts that I am giving this Christmas.  I wish I could tell you, but it's a secret for now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Simple Christmas

At home in Winter Haven, I pull out all the stops when it comes to decorating for Christmas.  I always have a traditional pine tree in the living room and 3 alpine trees for the family room. Not to mention the staircase trimming, table top apple trees in the dining room, one year I even had a tree decorated on the pool lanai.  But this year in NJ, I decided to keep it simple.  
One pine wreath for the inside....and

one boxwood wreath for the outside.  This will be the extent of my Christmas decor this year.  Two simple burlap ribbon bows and the decorating is done.  Amazingly, I am as pleased with this simple low key decor as I was with the strings of lights and fancy bows.  I bought my wreaths at a feed store down the road, and   then stopped at this little general store and treated myself to a cup of coffee and a slice of homemade sweet cake. I couldn't believe the cost $2.71 for both.  I'm glad they haven't caught on to Starbucks prices.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Natalia room styling

The starting point...Rug, wall colors, lighting, and butter yellow sofa set.

What we added...layers of muted/traditional accessories to fit Natalia's style.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall Photos

Fall Photos Taken in the Hamilton Square NJ Neighborhood where Jeff and I are living.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gluhwein and Gingerbread

To 4 litres of red wine you need:
  • Caster sugar (amount proportional to quality of red wine, the worse the wine the more sugar you need, add it to taste, but start with about 2 cups)
  • 6 - 8 Cinnamon sticks
  • Whole cloves
  • 2 Oranges
  • Whole allspice
  • 2 cups of orange juice
  • If you wish to get your friends and yourself tipsy even more quickly, or just to add a little extra kick, add brandy, sweet sherry or port to the mix. (optional but rather tasty)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remembrance of Summer 2011

This morning I was looking at my end of summer tan with the sad thought that it would soon be fading.  The Florida tan is an accumulation of precious days spent in the sun; days that I will remember as gifts from God, my loving Father.  

My summer began with a family celebration in honor of Todd and Luba; my son and his fiance, two very precious young people who have made my life full of pride.  What a wonderful day it was shared by all our family members; true treasure day.  I am thankful too for days spent on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico; for fabulous meals at sidewalk cafes in South Beach, Winter Park, Tarpon Springs, and Coconut Grove.  

I enjoyed cool mountain mornings in Shady Valley; a dip in the "Blue Hole" with my lovely sister/friend Bonnie.  I have never had a more perfect spa experience than the outdoor shower on the deck.  I celebrated our freedom with our neighbors in TN and gazed and awed at the annual fireworks from our perch high above the valley.  Grammy camp with my granddaughters included making fudge, chocolate chip pancakes, pillowcases, and watching "Secretariat" at least 6 times. 

I visited wineries, the sponge docks, and had a sunset seafood dinner in Treasure Island.  I shared a lunch with my oldest and dearest friend Patti; loved catching up with her and all the wonderful news of her sweet family. My toes were pedicured while I shared precious time with my sister Pam.  My downtown Winter Haven visits to my Mama's ballroom, Tsunami sushi, and key lime pie at Linda and Elmo's were such a treat. 

I shopped for scrubs with my Desiree and watched her begin her journey as a medical student.  I shared her joys as she reported on the days blessed events in labor and delivery and held her as she cried over the first tragedy.  We made homemade bread, orange marmalade, mini banana puddings, and ate crazy good truffle cheese drizzled with honey while playing card games.  I made a new German friend (and you can never have too many of them); love you Lea Marie.  I also made a new friend from France courtesy of my niece Jennifer.

I spent much time with my Daddy as he helped me whenever I called.  He was continuously patient and giving of his time as I fumbled through the job of maintaining this home, equipment, and property that we are so blessed to have.  The horses and the dogs were sources of comfort and I apologize for the times that I grumbled during the heat and summer storms to take care of their needs.

Jeff was working in New Jersey, so I didn't have many days with my wonderful husband, but the ones I did have were all the more precious.  We ended our summer with a road trip for me from Florida to Charleston to Tennessee to join him in New Jersey to a wonderful 4 days of camping and vacationing old school in Maine.  Our time with Scott, Amanda, and Conor was relaxing, simple, and good!

My summer was not without it's heartaches as I said goodbye to my beloved Uncle Esmond and shared in the grief of the Bilbrey Family who said goodbye to their lovely Donna Marie.  My heart ached when my great nephew was born needing a very scary surgery.  My heart sings as I think of how beautifully he did and the years of joy that he will bring to this family.

So thank you God for the sunrises and the sunsets and for a summer of days that are memories for a lifetime.