Headed to Maine for the Weekend

Yes, sirree! We are headed to Maine for the weekend! We have an Airbnb all booked. I've spent the day preparing food for the weekend and cleaning the house for the house/dog sitter. Everything is almost in order!

Super cute notepad came from ElizabethSt on Etsy. Click here to visit their shop!

It's all red, white, and blue and summer sweaters and classics in my suitcase! Temperatures are just supposed to be in the mid-70's, which seems just about perfect to me!

I'll be back next week! Have a great weekend, friends!

Hollyhocks Forever

In a recent afternoon spent exploring Marblehead, Massachusetts, we were delighted to stumble upon a home with a border of flowering hollyhocks which seemed to stretch on forever!

Don't you just love it when someone does something so beautiful with their home and/or landscaping that it just makes you smile? We were not the only ones who braked to photograph the hollyhocks.

"Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals.
Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression;
some are pensive and diffident;
others again are plain, honest, and upright,
like, the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock."

--Henry Ward Beecher

Chasing the Northern Lights in New England

Photo credits to Colette.
Sunday night we went out at 11 p.m. in search of the Northern Lights, which were supposed to be visible to most of New England. We drove about a mile to a lofty lookout point in our town and parked by an historic home, with about half a dozen or so other cars filled with other townspeople who had the same idea, and turned off all the lights and let our eyes adjust to the country darkness and the night sky. And we sat. And we waited. And we peered. Periodically, another car would drive past, or stop, and then lose patience and drive away. Finally, about 12:15, Hubby lost patience and started the car up, weirdly resulting in our car burglar alarm blaring out into the quiet night. Since we live in a town where you would hardly even have to lock your car, setting an alarm would be ridiculous, and waking everyone up with it is just flat out rude. But at 12:15, it struck us as funny, and we drove off with Colette and I tittering. In one last ditch effort, Hubby drove to an old farm whose hay fields are bisected by a dirt road. He stopped at the crest of the hill, and we turned off all the lights again. Lots of stars above us, but no Northern Lights. In the hay field to the right were a couple of people waiting too. One had a flashlight, and the other had a flickering flame of some kind (lantern with candle? kerosene lantern?). The sight of a candle bobbing in the darkness of midnight in the middle of a hay field is a beautiful thing, I must say! Also a bit eerie to know you're not out there alone. I wondered what wild animal might wander past. Colette got out of the car and set up the tripod to take some time exposure shots of the night sky. Safely protected inside the car from the tens of millions of insects outside the car, Hubby and I watched the lightning bugs dance in the hay fields until one came straight up the road toward us and dived at Colette, sending her lurching as she let out a shriek. Then just to freak her out more, through the closed car windows we hollered, "Children of the Corn!" She hollered back that there were lots of bats out there. Ugh. *shudder* The clouds rolled in. And at 1 a.m., we gave up on the idea and went back home. The elusive Northern Lights...

4th of July Celebration

I hope you had a grateful and fun Independence Day celebration! Ours was full of family, food, and great New England charm!

We began the day by watching our small town's 4th of July parade. The grandkiddos came to watch for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it! Theo declared it "...almost as much fun as the fair!" And little Nora said her favorite part was "the horses". Asked what else she liked, she replied, "The horses". There might have been other things to see, but not in the eyes of a 3-year old! Melts my heart! 

Then it was home for a leisurely afternoon and some food prep. When Colette got home from work, it was time to decorate. I love having an assortment of patriotic fabrics and a whole fistful of flags, because you can instantly make any national holiday look patriotic.

I love these memory-making times around our fire pit surrounded by family and friends...enjoying food and conversation for hours, as the sun sets in the sky and the fireflies start their sparkly dance among the shrubbery. I hope the grandkids cherish these memories all their lives.

- MENU -

hot dogs grilled over the open fire
traditional condiments
Ina Garten's Red Dill Potato Salad (recipe here)
watermelon/blueberry/blackberry salad
vegetable tray with tatziki
potato chips with onion dip
lime tortilla chips with Cowboy Caviar

assorted artisan sodas
artisan beer
hard cider

s'mores with milk and dark chocolate

Whenever I'm in Home Goods (and let's face it...that's more often than I ought to be), I cruise through the food section and check out the selection of artisan sodas. If anything sounds intriguing, I grab a 4-pack, bring it home, and store it in the basement for the next cookout. People love digging through the ice to discover something new. This time I had IBC Cream Soda, something from Maine Root, Marionberry Cream Soda, and two interesting types from a company called Sipp (pear/green tea/honey AND blood orange/lime/jalapeno.

The sun set and out came the glow necklaces, s'mores, and sparklers!

Photo credits for that last photo go to our friend, who has FAR greater photography skills than I!

I hope you had a wonderful celebration too!

July Greetings

July greetings from New England! I thought I'd share a few photos from a couple of weeks ago, when Colette and I toured the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle. It was moored in Boston Harbor and open for touring as part of Sail Boston 2017.

We have friends in the Coast Guard who have sailed aboard the Eagle. And Max just finished up a couple weeks duty out of Coast Guard Base Boston, just across the way.

It was a great precursor to 4th of July weekend! What are your plans for the holiday?
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