Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday musings

I was surprised to wake up to cloudy skies this morning. It's been a weird summer that way. It seems like summer just can't get off and running this year. I hear the same thing from friends all over the country, that it's been especially wet and rainy. We haven't had as much time on the back porch this year, mostly because we haven't had the motivation or the foresight to put the chair cushions away when rain is expected, so when the rain does stop and it's nice and cool, we don't have dry places to sit. As my son likes to say, "First world problem, Mom." I know, it's not a big deal, but a wet butt is annoying just the same.
Yesterday, I stalked the garden center at Walmart and picked up some bedraggled black-eyed Susan's to fill in a few empty spots in the garden. If my garden next year takes off the way I see it in my mind's eye, it's going to be gorgeous!
Happy Monday, to one and all.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weekend road trip

 Dan and I took a little road trip last weekend through the southern part of the Colorado rockies.  We took our time and meandered through little towns that we used to go to in the early years of our marriage, back when we did a lot of camping with our friends and jeeping with his family. 

This is Ouray, a little mining town that was the starting point for many of our adventures.

We mostly spent our time exploring the towns and taking in the architecture of the old buildings.

This is the Beaumont Hotel, built at the height of the gold boom in the late 1800s.  It is absolutely gorgeous inside.  It has hosted U.S. presidents, European royalty and modern day celebrities. 

The architecture in these mountain towns features everything from the grand . . .

. . . to the most simplistic.  It's all beautiful to see, especially with the beautiful mountain backdrop.  This little abandoned school building is set at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks, one of our favorite camping areas.

There are so many deer in the area, and Dan laughs when I insist on taking pictures.  We saw a doe with twin fawns, that just sent me into spasms of oohs and aahs. 

The day was a bit overcast, so my photos aren't all that great, but this was taken on Red Mountain Pass.  The mountains are laden with minerals, and remnants from old mining operations are still visible.

For John Wayne fans, Ridgway, Colorado, is the sight for scenes from True Grit.  There's a café with memorabilia from the movie, and this paddy wagon was used in the movie.

This is an old photo of the Palace Hotel in Salida, where we stayed our last night.  It has been restored and is just beautiful inside.  The large windows in our room overlooked the park and the Arkansas River.

The best part was the continental breakfast brought to our room.  How charming is this?  A china plate, wrapped up in a tea towel, opened to reveal fruit and yogurt parfaits, muffins, orange juice and cream for the coffee that we made in our room.

Our trip was complete with a stop at a this winery, just outside of Paonia . . .

. . . and the discovery of a neat little book store!  The Next Page is in Frisco.  Wine and books for souvenirs. It doesn't get any better than that.

We feel so fortunate to have all this beauty right in our own back yard!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! It's been a whirl of a week, with lots of good things happening.  Thinking about the  blessings that came my way.
1.  Simple summer suppers are the best.  I didn't have a menu plan this week, so we just winged it with omelets one night (using garden veggies and leftovers in the fridge) and nachos another night (paired with Dan's awesome G&Ts and dining al fresco on the back deck).
2.  We found some patio chairs on sale.  They are out in front of the house, and we feel like two old people, rocking away and watching the world go by on a summer evening.
3.  My neighbor gave me a bunch of rhubarb from his garden. He insists his family hates the stuff, so I'm not sure why they let it continue to grow.  But, I'm happy to get it and I made rhubarb bread, and there's enough to make strawberry rhubarb jam.  Since they don't eat rhubarb, I make them a little batch of Christmas cookies in December, payment in kind:)
4.  I got my haircut this week.  I love my hairdresser.  She does a good job and we have so much in common. 
5.  In the past week, I've spent some one-on-one time with two of our 'new' family members. In a big family, most of our time is spent in a group, which is lots of fun.  But it's nice to have some quiet time and really get to know someone.  I had lunch with my daughter-in-law's mother (does anyone remember the t.v. show from the 60s I think, with Eve Arden and Kay Ballard, The Mothers-In-Law? What a hoot that show was.)  Then one afternoon, my son-in-law came by himself to pick up the baby. She was sleeping, so we visited for about a half hour. 
Dan and I are taking a little road trip this weekend, so lots to do today! Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Tomato Pie

To me, a red, ripe tomato is synonymous with summer. This recipe is simple and tastes divine. It can be an entrée all in itself or a side dish.  The only drawback is that it does require use of the oven, so make it in the morning or on a day that isn't beastly hot.
One baked pie crust (I used the refrigerated rolled crust in the red box)
3 tomatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds) thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 gloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
    (or any melting cheese of your choosing)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
*  Preheat oven to 450 F. Prepare the pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.
*  Reduce oven to 350 F.  Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes to release the moisture.  Place half the tomatoes in the cooled pie crust and sprinkle half of the garlic and fresh basil on top, then half the cheeses.  Repeat and top with the mayonnaise.
*  Bake about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and it smells so good your mouth is watering!  Cool on a wire rack for about an hour.
Adapted from Allrecipes magazine.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Around the garden

I finally took my camera in to get checked out last week and was happy to learn that the problems I was having were caused by a bad battery.  Yesterday, I went out and snapped some photos around the yard.

Our plants are just getting started, so they aren't very impressive this year.  Hopefully, next year they'll fill out and cover more ground.  My nephew, Tommy, came over one afternoon last spring and we painted the birdhouses.  The little frog was a housewarming gift from some dear friends. The pump and milk can were collected a few years back from neighbors who sold antiques.  Just an eclectic assortment of 'stuff.'

A peek into the fairie garden. . . .

I planted LOTS of daisies this spring. . .

The raised beds were last year's project.  We used concrete blocks that the former owners left in the yard.  It was easier than hauling them away and they make good beds.

Dan and I made the compost bin a few months ago.  It was a fun weekend project.

The split rail fence is along our front walk.  We put this in earlier this spring, and the rosebushes were planted in June.

The back yard is still a HUGE work in progress.  Dan has been working so hard. We did the garden along the fence in June.  Luke dug out all the sod and hauled in dirt.  He and I planted the shrubs.  Dan put in the pavers for the walk and the beams for the rest of the garden.

A mini fairie garden. I used Abby's food dish (an idea I stole from my friend Claudia:)

I've had this little angel since our first house.  Yesterday, I was peering through the lens at her and saw the little pair of socks on her lap! We had a group of kids over on the fourth of July, and they were running through the sprinkler.  Someone must have given his socks to the angel to 'hold onto'.  So cute!

Hope you enjoyed the garden tour!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A summer day and some news!

We've had a slow start to summer this year, but from what I've heard from other bloggers and friends around the country, we haven't been alone.  There has been more rain than usual and it seems like we just can't get a run of hot summer days. And it's already halfway through July!

However, yesterday was a really nice summer day. It was Monday, which is now my favorite day of the week, for this reason:

Oh my gosh.  I'm lucky if a get a load of laundry done while she's here.  I would much rather just snuggle with her and play with her than do anything else.  As it should be, right?

But, first, yesterday started out as most of my days in the summer do.  On the back deck with coffee, morning devotional books and journal.

And Lilly at my feet.

Around 7:30, Marcus and Emily dropped Brooklynn off before heading to work.  After some snuggles and a bottle for her, (and throwing in that load of laundry), we headed out for a walk around the neighborhood.

It's important to wear a sunhat to protect that little bald head:)

(It's just like Pop-pop's 'Tilly' hat.  He knows all about protecting the tops of heads.)
We took a walk through the neighborhood, so that we could peek in backyards and get ideas for my garden.

Love this gate with the trellis over top.

Later in the morning, Aunt Kathy came by for a visit.  While she fed Brooklynn, I  threw together some baked ziti in the crockpot.  I found a great recipe at The Dinner Mom.  The link is here. (I followed the recipe, adding ground beef and yellow squash).  It was so easy and SO delicious, everyone loved it.  A tossed salad and focaccia bread (from the bread machine) completed the meal.

At naptime, I snuck in some reading time and finished The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  I received it in our Christmas book exchange for Book Club, and highly recommend it.  It has all of my favorite elements: history, personal growth and relationships, a hint of mystery.

By 5:00, Pop-pop was home, and it was time for our evening glass of wine:)

Then, Emily and Marcus arrived, and Luke, Miranda and Siefer, too, for our traditional Monday night supper.  And here's the news!  These three will have a new addition to the family come January, and it's a BOY!  So exciting!

Here's to more sunny days!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Favorites

Looking back over the week with Susanne and the rest of the crew for Friday's Fave Five.  Here are some moments, big and small, that blessed my week.

1.  Celebrating the 4th of July with a BBQ in the backyard.  We had a family gathering at our house with my son-in-law's family.  Marcus is one of six kids, and the little ones are such a hoot.  We had a lot of fun that afternoon.  In the evening, each family went their separate ways for fireworks.  Dan's mom stayed with us for the weekend, which was lovely.

2.  I had my day with Brooklynn (my 'little bit') on Monday.  Emily and Marcus stayed for supper, and Luke, Miranda and Seifer came, too.  It was a cool, cloudy day, so I made meat loaf, egg noodles and a casserole with summer squash from our garden.  Luke brought apple pie for dessert (no he didn't  make it, but he was craving it, so picked up one at the store.)  By the way, the summer squash is coming in by the bushel and has pushed out all my cucumbers and other squash! I would welcome some new recipes if anyone has a good one!

3.  It has been an uneventful week, which is a blessing in itself.  We've had thunderstorms every day, and lots of rain delays at the Rockies games.  So, Wednesday night, Luke took my place and went with Dan to see the Angels play.  There were two rain delays, so I'm thankful I got to stay home!

4.  On Thursday I went to morning mass.  There were mostly seniors in attendance, many are people in the community that I grew up knowing, or parents of my friends and schoolmates.  It's a lovely, peaceful time of the day, a quiet service.  A lovely way to start the day.

5.  A couple of weeks ago, I found a small refrigerator/freezer at a garage sale. I bought it on the spot, and Dan and I went back later to haul it home.  So, yesterday I went to the grocery story and loaded up on meats, chicken, pork for the freezer.  There were some great sales!  The fridge portion holds all the canned drinks that take up so much room in our regular refrigerator.  It's nice to feel organized.

How was your week?  Count your blessings!