Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bom Vinho!

Just a quick update. I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, but things have been busy around here. Dan and I took a little trip last weekend to see his sister Carol and her wife, Sonia. We helped celebrate Carol's 60th birthday in a big way! and also got to see their vineyard.  

These two know how to throw a party! More details in a later post on that and the trip to El Dorado County in California.

In the meantime, I'll just share a few photos. In between visiting vineyards and attending the festivities, we all helped crush and press some grapes!

The crushing was fun, but those grapes are slippery!

Pressing out the yummy juice. . .

The vineyard has been producing for about 10 years.  Carol and Sonia have been owners for the past two. The first batch of wine produced under their label will be ready in 2019.

A glimpse of the barrel room. . . where all the good stuff is stored and working its magic:)

For Carol and Sonia's story, check out their website here.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Favorites

As much as I don't like to wish the seasons and my life away, I am looking forward to the cooler temps of September. Here are a few favorites from the last week of August.

1. A night at the ballpark. Dan and I went to see the Rockies play the Detroit Tigers one evening this week. The weather was so perfect -- clear and a cool breeze. The park has been sold out almost all summer, but on this night it wasn't quite so crowded, so we walked around the concourse and watched the game from different areas, just to get some exercise.

2. Going to the library with Brooklynn. I'm trying to make it a weekly outing, taking Brooklynn to the children's library. Wow, it's so different from when my kids were little, with an entire play area of educational and interactive toys. It's been fun having her to myself;) and it gives her a chance to play with other kids, and without her 17-month-old little brother trying to get in the middle of what she's doing all the time.

3. Brunch with friends on Saturday. I met up with three of my besties from junior high/high school days. We get together about once a year or so, whenever Ann (the out-of-towner) is here. So many life changes through the years!

4. Watching Bentley eat ice cream.

5. Taking Lilly to the vet and having that chore behind me for another year! She is such a nervous Nellie. She hides behind me and won't let the vet look at her. He coaxes her with cookies, and she spits them out at him. Trying to get her weight is a challenge in itself because she dances all over the scale. He basically waves his stethoscope around her and tells me her heart and lungs are fine, and I assure him her teeth and eyes are fine, too. If it weren't for the fact that she needs shots and heart worm meds, I would be inclined to forget the whole affair, and I let them take her in the back room (for some reason, Lilly loves the vet tech, Morgan) to draw blood and give her the shots. We are in and out in 14 minutes. It's probably the fastest $254 dollars this vet has ever made.

How was your week? Happy September to all!

Linking up with Friday Fave Fives at Living to the the Story.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

For Pam*

Edited to add:  Linking up with FFF today, even though I wrote this post two days ago. The beauty of making it a habit to keep a gratitude journal or doing an exercise like Friday's Fave Five is that it gets me in the habit of looking for the good things in life, even in the midst of challenges. Wednesday was a good day for this;)

Sometimes you don't have to wait for a meme like Friday Fave Five to count blessings. Sometimes you need to just do it in the middle of the week. Here are some things that have helped me remain peaceful of late.

1. Mass on Sunday and coffee with friends. I love the early mass because it's quiet, the music is simple and many of the attendees are people I've grown up with, or parents of friends I grew up with. Afterward, I had coffee with some friends. It was nice to catch up after a long summer.

2. A day in the mountains. On Monday, I took a drive up to the little mountain town of Grand Lake, with my sister-in-law, aunt and stepmom. We met another sister-in-law for lunch, beside the stream in the photo above. It was during the eclipse, and the people at the next table shared their glasses with us. The solar eclipse was like a big party for the whole country, and it was really nice to join together and share something so extraordinary and positive.

3. The back porch with Dan. Talking quietly until we were both almost too tired to get up and go to bed. With him, I find my quiet center.

4. When life is chaotic, I find refuge in putting my surroundings in order. I cleaned out the refrigerator and the pantry one day. Simple, but restorative.

5. Dinner with good friends* in the middle of the week at the Old Spaghetti Factory. It feels like an indulgence to go out in the middle of the week, when it's a work night. But sometimes that is just when we need it, just like counting blessings doesn't have to be saved for the end of the day or the end of the week.

Happy Hump Day to all.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

In the kitchen

Tomato Tart with Bacon and Gruyere

I found a new recipe on Dianna's blog, (which she found on this blog). I love summer tomatoes, and I'm always looking for recipes where they can shine. This one is kind of like tomato pie, but a little different.

It's made with puff pastry and gruyere cheese. It calls for fresh thyme, but we prefer basil, so that's what I used. Also, for the cooked bacon, the stuff that you buy in the boxed pre-cooked seems to work fine.

It's a perfect, light summer supper, served with a glass of chilled white wine or a glass of iced tea.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rainy Monday

It feels like summer has come to a screeching halt. Looking out the window, the skies are heavy and gray, and drizzling rain makes the world look like April and not August. It's a cool 62 degrees, and I doubt we'll hit 70 today.

Dan took the day off today, so it doesn't even feel like a Monday. I'm glad he did, as we had a very busy weekend watching the grandkids, which is so much fun, but leaves little time for our own stuff. Not just the fun stuff, but the necessary weekend stuff. So, he's off today, and I'm so glad for him.

I'm torn between staying home all day and finding something in the freezer to whip up for a nice, hot supper -- and going to the grocery store to buy ingredients for a fall recipe I've been wanting to try. And I'm thinking about the cucumbers that are out in the garden, the ones I saw yesterday and made a mental note to go out and pick today before they get any bigger, so I can make another jar of refrigerator pickles. We've been scarfing those things down like crazy. They're so good!

I have a couple of rose bush clippings that I got from my brother's backyard on Saturday. One is from a rosebush that originally grew in my grandparents' backyard in New Jersey!, and the other is a climbing rose that is so lush and heavenly scented. My dad planted it in the backyard at our family home, so I want to see if I can get both of those growing in my yard. Right now they are sitting in a vase, soaking up some water. But with this rain expected all week, it would be a good time to put them in some dirt pots outside and let them take root.

I know of a couple of things on my agenda today -- besides laundry and sorting out the pantry (I open the cupboard to an avalanche of boxes of spaghetti and cereal and snack bars, it's at that stage.)  It's a good day for a cup of coffee and a phone call with Pamela, and also a good day to curl up with a book.  I'm in the middle of Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. It's the choice for our town's One Book series this year. The library carries about a hundred copies so there are lots of copies for residents to check out. Then in November there is an author event along with discussion groups.  Our book club decided to read the book for our August meeting.  It's not something I would choose on my own, but I'm so glad we're reading it. It's a page turner!

How is Monday looking in your neck of the woods?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's been a week. One with more than a couple rough spots, making it more necessary than ever to hold fast to ordinary graces.  Here are a few:

1.  We had the grandbabies over for another sleepover, when Mom and Dad were both working late shifts. Brooklynn awoke in the morning with a soft, sleepy smile. We snuggled in bed and looked at books for a little while, and I remembered the days when my kids were that age, and life as a mom was simple and  new.

2.  On Monday, I had lunch with my BFF Kathy.  We realized that we both have new grandnieces, born on the same day, just last Friday!

3.  The weather has cooled just a tad, and mornings on the porch with a cup of coffee have been so pleasant.  The way the shadows and light stretch across the deck, along with the early morning chirping of the birds, lends to a sweet start to my day.

4.  Dan and I had a mid-week date, and went out for Mexican food. A margarita for me, Mexican beer for him.  This Grandma and PopPop have earned it:)  We are feeling pretty good about how easily we've fallen back into tag-teaming with the little ones. It's like riding a bicycle:)

5.  I found a great book at the library book sale -- an unexpected, fabulous read for only a dollar -- The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel.  It takes place during World War II and is the story of a city girl whose circumstances take her to a rural part of Colorado. I'm enjoying the setting, as it takes me through many places I'm familiar with, and the writing is just so lovely.

How was your week?

Linking up with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017