Tasha Tudor Day!

In honor of what would've been Tasha Tudor's 102nd birthday, today I am giving away one copy of The Private World of Tasha Tudor. This beautifully photographed book depicts the yesteryear lifestyle of the beloved New England icon who inspired so many of us to embrace the simple joys of life...family, home, garden, seasons. To enter, just leave a comment below and please make sure it links back to your email so I can notify you, if you win! A winner will be chosen at 9 a.m. (EST) on August 29, 2017.

Happy Tasha Tudor Day! Take joy!

Sabbath Rest

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him."

- Daniel 2:20-22

Redcoat Costume

For the first time ever, I've created a Redcoat Costume for the shop! Perfect for the Loyalist in your family! Click here to visit it in the shop!

Lake Time

The weather was glorious, summer is waning, and Colette had the day off work. All that meant that it was a fabulous opportunity to head to a lake for some fun!

Decisions, decisions. Canoe? Double kayak? Single kayak? Paddleboard? In the end, I took a single kayak, because it enabled us to bring along a backpack with a phone for picture taking. Plus, it's super relaxing!

And Colette chose a paddleboard, which she'd done once before and loved.

We headed out to a small, uninhabited island and, like any self-respecting 8-year olds, we claimed it for our own. We clambered out on the rocky shore, tied up the kayak and paddleboard, climbed up a big rock, and did this!

We both agreed that we were fulfilling our childhood dreams!

The House Smells Like Summer

I spent some of my day making double batches of Ina Garten's Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (click here for the recipe). I gathered in tomatoes from the garden that were still wet from last night's rain. Then they were all roasted until the whole house smelled of summer! When everything was finished, into the freezer they went! Come snowy, winter days, I am going to be so glad I carved out time from a gorgeous summer day to make soup. 

Bedroom Update

We have been married for 29 years, and for all that time we've slept on a double bed. I've loved our bed frame, which was mine before we were married. It was the very first piece of antique furniture I ever bought...a 19th birthday present to myself. It was found on the loading dock of an antique store, covered in dust, in need of repair and someone to love it. Sold to me for a mere $75! I was dancing with joy! 

But Hubby and I are not small people. We are 6'3" and 5'9" respectively. A double bed gave each of us about as much room as if we slept in a crib. But we've done it for 29 years. The time had come for a change.

We bought a new, similar bed frame...a king size! A new mattress was shopped for. (What a racket the mattress market is. Don't even get me started!) And, the most fun of all...new bedding!

Here's a BEFORE picture: double bed, ivory-colored coverlet, blue toile pillow shams and dust ruffle, and 19th century coverlet. 

And an AFTER picture: king size bed frame, white cotton-linen quilt, various pillows, and Kennebeck Weavers throw.

It was just what I wanted. Soft textures and an easy, comfortable feel. Classic, yet updated. 

And beyond all that, I'm doing what I've always wanted to do...have a change of bedding for the cold seasons of the year. So come fall and winter, the bed will have a completely different look...cozy and warm. I'll share pictures of that in the future.

Last Days of Summer

Summer's last days are upon us. Here in New England, when autumn seems like the shortest season, it's prudent to jump into autumn with all your heart the day after Labor Day, even though the actual start of autumn isn't for several weeks more. If you wait to embrace autumn when the calendar says it's officially autumn, the season will be painfully short. So, you see, we really are in summer's final days here. It's time to take stock of all the delights of summer that were hoped to be enjoyed to see which ones remain. Here's my list:

- make refrigerator pickles
- day trip to Nantucket
- enjoy the hammock more
- host another cookout around the fire pit (s'mores!)
- make homemade ice cream
- enjoy a Pimm's Cup (recipe here)

What's on your list? I'd love to hear!

Go-To Summer Breakfast

My go-to summer breakfast is a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit and a sprinkling of granola. Yum! Just perfection!

This bowl was topped with blueberries and strawberries. Some other great combinations are:
- cantaloupe and blueberries
- honeydew melon and cantaloupe
- raspberries and blackberries
- mango and peaches
- nectarines and blueberries

Elderflower Spritzers (Alcoholic & Non-Alcoholic)

On our recent trip to Maine, I packed along everything we needed for cocktails. I had recently purchased a bottle of Belvoir Elderflower Cordial (can purchase here) and wanted to try out an Elderflower Spritzer, which seemed like a refreshingly summery cocktail. An added bonus was that it requires few ingredients. (Tip: You can easily pack fresh herbs by simply popping them into a Ziploc bag and leaving a bit of air in the bag. They will keep very fresh for several days.) I made an alcoholic version and a mocktail.

- Elderflower Spritzer -

Fill an old fashioned glass with ice cubes. Add 1 1/2 oz. of Prosecco (I buy the mini bottles for convenience) and
scant 1 oz. of Belvoir Elderflower Liqueur, and top
with San Pellegrino. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint.

- Elderflower Spritzer Mocktail - 

Fill an old fashioned glass ice cubes. Add 1 oz. of Belvoir Elderflower Liqueur, a squeeze of lemon (I hand squeezed 1/2 a lemon), and top with San Pellegrino. Garnish with a
slice of lemon and a sprig of mint. 

- the Elderflower Liqueur is not alcoholic.
- garnishing the cocktail and the mocktail with a slice of lime and a slice of lemon, respectively, will help everyone not to get their drinks confused.

Cruising with the Coast Guard

Our purpose in going to Maine was to join in a Dependents' Cruise on the U.S. Coast Guard cutter on which Max serves.

We were excited to see our Coastie in action! Love that smile!

After receiving safety instructions and some opening words from the Captain, we were surprised and thrilled that Max was chosen as Sailor of the Quarter and received words of praise from the captain! Proud momma!

We were served a delicious lunch of pulled pork sandwiches, chips, salads, and sodas. Then we headed out to sea! We enjoyed watching sailboats cruising past.

We passed Breakwater Lighthouse. It is a mile out to sea, and last year, as you might recall, we walked out to it. It was fun to see it from the water this time.

We headed out to view Owl's Head Lighthouse and the charming sea cottages peppering the rocky shores nearby.

We were told that most of the crew's concentration while navigating in this area is taken up in avoiding the lobster trap buoys. They are everywhere! Each one is marked with a specific pattern of colors belonging to that particular lobsterman. In the second photo (below) you can see them all bobbing in the water. And those are lobster traps strapped on the back of that boat.

We passed more beautiful sailboats on our way back to the dock.

It is a lengthy and laborious process to tie the boat up to the dock, but it gave us a great glimpse of Max and his shipmates in action!

We finished out our day with a walk to see Owl's Head Lighthouse up close and then dinner all together at our Airbnb.

We love coastal Maine! So beautiful!

Our Charming Maine Airbnb & Breakfast in Maine

Last weekend, we headed to Maine for some family R&R and a chance to see Max in action on his boat. We left early in the morning, resolved to take our sweet time and enjoy the drive up, making numerous stops along the way. Hubby thought it was more like we were "eating our way up the Maine coast", and that actually might be quite true. Our first stop was the Stonewall Kitchen Company Store in York, Maine for lunch.

Then it was a stop in Kennebunkport for cocktails with the Bush family. Just kidding! It was really a stop at Aunt Marie's for freshly squeezed lemonade.

Then we crept through traffic further north and stopped at the fabulous bakery, Treats, in scenic Wiscasett. I called ahead earlier in the week and ordered a half dozen of their decadent brownies for pick-up on our way to our destination. They were out of small boxes, so it looked like we ordered four dozen brownies or something, but really(!) it was only six. Honest!

Then we arrived at our Airbnb in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. And what a charmer it was! I'm going to gush about this place, because there's really no way to overstate how comfortable and well-appointed it was, and how welcoming our hosts were! Click here to read all about it and rent it for yourself!

This photo taken the following day.
Our hosts, Suzie and Neal, built and decorated their Airbnb rental, The Sparrow's Nest, by themselves. It was built from trees felled on the property itself. Their own beautiful home sits on the property as well, although they were very gracious in giving us privacy. 

The ground floor was the dining area and kitchen, master bedroom, and bath.

Picking up on the cue to use a chunky, tall backsplash like this, if I ever design another kitchen in my life. Love, love, love that look!

I've stayed in rentals before that were not well-equipped. That is definitely NOT the case with this one. Everything is at your fingertips...from appetizer plates, to water carafes, to pickle forks, to the the fresh peaches and sourdough bread given for our enjoyment!

The master bedroom and the view from it.

Every room had fresh flowers...so sweet to my soul! Just the thoughtfulness of it all made us feel welcome!

And even though there is an indoor shower, I opted to use the outdoor shower each morning, because...well...the view!

Coming up the stairs, Colette had the entire top floor to herself. There was a sitting area (not pictured) with it's own soapstone sink, mini fridge, and bar area. And there was her bedroom with a view of the woods. And a charming balcony with chairs overlooks the hydrangeas below.

We were invited to snip herbs from the jumbo urn just outside the front door, if we needed any for cooking. Isn't that sweet? And isn't that a great idea? I'm definitely adopting that one at our house next year, and planting all the herbs in an urn on the deck instead of down in the garden, because really...don't you need them at your fingertips anyway?

After a very restful night in the comfy beds with the cool, Maine breezes whooshing through The Sparrow's Nest, we had breakfast. Having fresh, summery foods was important to me to make for my family on this trip. But who wants to spend vacation cooking? With a little advance preparation, breakfast was super easy.

- Breakfast in Maine -

vanilla Greek yogurt
fresh berries (pre-sliced and packed in a container)
sprinkling of granola (purchase at Whole Foods)
applewood smoked bacon (precooked; reheated 30 secs.)
blueberry muffins (prebaked; recipe here)
orange juice
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