Washington's Birthday!


Happy Birthday to George Washington! On this grand occasion, we will be passing around plates of cherry pie! Huzzah!

Winter Fun

A couple of weeks ago, everyone had the day off work, and so we headed out for some winter fun in the western part of the state.


Colette has been doing a lot of ice skating this winter. And as much as I wanted to join in the fun, I was nursing a strained muscle in my back, so Hubby and I watched from the sidelines. What a thrill to have the ice all to yourself!



Meanwhile...pet all the friendly dogs!


And just when we thought we couldn't get any colder, some sweet soul lit a fire, deposited skewers and marshmallows, and invited us to help ourselves. Life is good! People are sweet!






Then we strolled through the campus of Dartmouth College, which was having their Winter Carnival.


The ice carving competition was in full swing...with a Star Wars theme.



And we polished off the day with hot chocolate affogato, hot sipping chocolate with a scoop of gelato, at Morano Gelato. Yum! I chose a scoop of Creme Brule gelato for mine. Buttery...chocolaty...slightly burnt crispness...amazing!


Getaway to the Mount Washington Hotel

Hubby and I got away for a couple of nights earlier this week to the stately and historic Mount Washington Hotel in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We have an ongoing passion for these grand dames of the hotel heydays of the late-19th century to early-20th century, and we have stayed at quite a few over the years. But the Mount Washington is definitely one of our favorites!

We arrived under stormy skies and rain, which is a bit unusual for February in New Hampshire.


We checked in and immediately caught the history tour that was already in progress.


We learned that the hotel was built in 1902. Entire families would come here for the summer. Among one of its noted moments was to host the meeting, near the end of WWII, that set up the International Monetary Fund. We learned the small chandeliers are original to the building and were personally designed by Thomas Edison. The large chandeliers were installed in the 1920's...good call! The Windsor chairs are original to the building, and the carpets were custom made for it.



Hubby is a night owl, and I am a morning person. Hotel stays can be problematic, because I'm wide awake by six, and he'd like to sleep until nine. Does anyone else have this problem? How do you negotiate around it? This time, I busied myself with a long, hot shower and photographing the exquisite period details in the bathroom...marble floor tiles and aged brass doorknobs on the original mahogany doors. Details like this make me so happy!


And then room service was delivered. Yes! Chamomile tea and orange juice to accompany my journaling and reading is such a gentle way to start the day. Bliss.



Headed down to start the day! 


It was a beautiful day, and we visited the nordic center and set off on our snowshoes for about four miles worth of trekking on the resort's cross country/snowshoe trails. The snow was more like packed ice due to the rain the day before. But we enjoyed the meandering trails and the almost near solitude of our trek.




After a tasty lunch, he settled into a comfortable chair to read. And I spent a few hours at the spa. The spa at the Mount Washington is sooo relaxing! Can't say enough good things about it...positively rejuvenating!


And late that evening, we decided to bravely try the outdoor pool. The air temperature was 18 degrees. And the pool is heated to 92 degrees. May I just say that 92 degrees does not feel like 92 degrees when the air temperature is that cold! Brrrr. And then there's that little bit about having to get out. Cold. Just SO cold. We recovered ourselves by jumping in the indoor pool as soon as we were back inside. The indoor pool at the Mount Washington was the first ever pool in a hotel in the United States.


The next morning, we had breakfast in the main dining room.




Breakfast out is such a rare, rare treat for me. And in all honesty, I'd rather have breakfast out than dinner. This breakfast buffet included: made to order omelettes, made to order Belgian waffles, cranberry-almond pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, cereals, eggs, fingerling potatoes with onions and herbs, bagels, toast, bacon, three different types of sausage (including blueberry sausage, which was delicious!), a choice of three different types of salsa, three different types of butter (goat butter, cultured butter, and "Presidential butter", which Hubby says, "Tastes like...butter."), three choices of honey, and so much more! 


After thoroughly enjoying this feast and several cups of chamomile tea, it was time to check out. It was delightful to get away for a couple of days and really relax! Until next time, Mount Washington, it was great!



Valentine's Breakfast


Schedules were packed yesterday, so the only time we could all be together was for breakfast. How to make breakfast super special? The morning fire beckons me every morning, but I don't always have time to cozy up in front of it. Valentine's Day seemed like the perfect occasion! I pulled the gate leg table over close to the fire, and set everything up with roses and candlelight. Little stacks of Valentines and chocolate treats were placed at each person's seat. The menu was: scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh berries, homemade cinnamon rolls, and orange juice. But most importantly, we got to spend time with each other!

Hot Toddy for the Common Cold

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a head cold recently. Typically, when I get a cold, it lingers for a couple of weeks, turns into a sinus infection, and I wind up at the doctor's office for a dose of antibiotics. Ugh.

This time, I decided to try treating it with a hot toddy. Surprisingly, I felt better after only drinking about a third of it. And I probably felt 60% better by the time I was finished drinking it! It made me neither drowsy nor tipsy. And I awoke the next morning feeling even better! It turns out that there is actually some science to it. (You can read an article here.)




To make one for yourself: to a large mug, add one black tea bag, 1 T. honey, 1 t. lemon juice, and 2 oz. whiskey. Pour in 1 c. boiling water and let tea steep for a few minutes. Remove tea bag. Add a slice of lemon, if desired. Drink while warm. Feel better!

Why We Left California for New Hampshire


Ten years ago today, we moved from southern California to New Hampshire! It's been a whole decade! We can hardly believe it. Time has certainly flown. We often get asked questions about why we decided to move. In fact, a blog reader asked me to tell our story once, and I haven't done it yet. So, the anniversary of our arrival seemed like a good time! Here is our story, in question and answer form, because these are the questions we are most frequently asked.

Where did you live in California?
We lived in Orange County...Placentia, specifically. It's right in the heart of a spreading metropolis where one city runs into another for miles and miles. We lived about 20 minutes from Disneyland. (For most people, Disneyland is a good reference point.) We lived about 1 1/2 hours from the mountains, and about 30 minutes from the beach.

Did you live there your whole life?
Yes. Our children and I are native Californians. I'm a "southern California girl", who has never, EVER felt like one. Hubby grew up in many places before moving to California for a job after college.

Did you like living in California?
Yes, and no. We had a wonderful life in California! We were greatly blessed with family in close proximity, really fabulous friends, a great homeschool group, and a church where the full-counsel of God was preached. We had blessings in abundance!

But I always felt like a duck out of water in the southern California culture. Never hip enough. Too far-skinned to be a beach girl. (Honestly, I don't much like the beach.) I liked quiet and cozy and rain and cold weather and tradition and history...and California isn't any of those things. In addition, we were tired of planning our life around the traffic patterns. Tired of the hustle and bustle. Tired of the entertainment culture. Our hearts yearned for more simplicity...more space...clean air.

Had you ever been to New England before you moved?
Yes. When our 10th wedding anniversary came around (in 1998), Hubby had accumulated enough frequent flyer miles through business travel to purchase two, first-class plane tickets anywhere in the U.S. He asked me where I wanted to go. Having not traveled much myself, I said, "Well, lets' not go somewhere we could drive to. Let's go somewhere far away that we've never seen. I've always wanted to go to Nantucket!" So, off we went to Nantucket for a week. And we both fell in love with New England!

But he was happy with his job, and family and friends were in California, so we stayed. My heart yearned to move to New England, but God wanted us where he had us longer.

In 2006(?), he had a business trip to New Hampshire...in January...in the snow...in the cold. I came along and loved it! We marveled at the 6-ft. long icicles and enjoyed taking walks in the 20 degree icy weather. We would later joke, "If you love New Hampshire in January, you'll love it at any time!"

What made you finally decide to move to New England?
Hubby had worked himself higher and higher up in the company he worked for until he was in a management position that he was really not enjoying. He felt it was time for a job change. And since working backwards in a company is just really not done, it seemed time for a job change. And we began to question if the timing was right for a job change, and the job had mostly kept us in California, then maybe we should consider moving out of California too?

He began researching jobs online and applied for one in New Hampshire. He almost immediately got a phone interview. And before the phone interview was over, they offered to fly the two of us out for a weekend visit and to interview him in person. And a couple of weeks later, he had a job offer. He accepted in mid-November. We left California in late January. We arrived in New Hampshire, just ahead of an ice storm, on February 1, 2008.

Do you miss California?
We miss certain things about California, but we do not miss living there. My list of things we miss has not changed since we left. 

I miss:
- family and friends
- In-n-Out Burger
- real Mexican food (although I've taught myself to make pretty good salsa!)
- the L.A. Fabric District
- the aroma of orange blossoms
- the fresh-pressed cider at Rileys at Los Rios Rancho in Oak Glen, CA



Other than that, there's really not anything we miss. We certainly do NOT miss the traffic or the heat!

Is your house here like your house in California?
Our house here is about 500-sq. feet bigger, but we had about the same number of rooms. In California, we lived on a city block on a plot of land of about 8,000 sq. ft. Here, in New Hampshire, we have a little over three acres. 

What's your favorite season?
The answer to that might depend on which member of our family you ask! Hubby would say autumn. Felicity would say spring. Colette leans towards autumn, but really likes them all. Max...I'm not sure. And I would soundly say winter! Love, love, love winter!

So, that's our story! Every year, when the anniversary of our arrival rolls around, I silently snicker about a conversation that happened within the first few months of living here. Someone, upon finding out we had moved from California, said skeptically, "From California? Hmm. I've known people who have moved from California before. They don't last. They go home after a few months. They can't take the cold." The look on her face plainly told me that she fully expected we would do the same. 

Ten years, and more in love with New England than ever!
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