Monday, August 31, 2015

What You Do

 

 

 

 

I try to do what I can for my parents. They still live in the same house I grew up in, in the same small town and really, considering their age, do pretty well. There are the usual aches and pains that come with old age and some memory issues too, but they take care of each other.

Yesterday, I took them some food I had been storing in the freezer. Just some meals that I cook and then put a portion aside and save in a freezer container. It's a small thing, but it helps them to have a few meals to pull out that are readymade and no trouble to reheat.

We had a picnic at a pretty park yesterday and sat and talked for quite a while. There is a nice pond, walking trails and even an old mill. I encourage them to get out of the house as much as possible and I think this reminded them of a nice place that they could easily go to. They are still quite active and do walk most days, but a change of scenery is good for anyone.

With elderly parents, who still live alone, there is worry most of the time, but you do what you can, to stay involved and keep in touch. As with anything else, it's the little things that matter the most.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Not Goodbye

 

 

 

Last night was a goodbye party of sorts. Not an official goodbye, since my friend is only moving about fifteen miles away, but still, she will not be living in the same city and it will not be the same. This is the first of these types of goodbyes for my circle of friends, as we all begin the downsizing process that comes with being empty nesters. Not quite ready for retirement, but wanting a change. My friend is moving to a house on a lake and there is a lot of appeal to that. She will still be close, will still work, but her lifestyle will be totally different.

 

 

We are all at different stages; some with children at home or still in college, some planning weddings and some with a grandchild on the way. Changes are coming fast and furious for us all and we talk about how our friendships will remain, as we inevitably scatter around the state and even around the country. For now, we will take advantage of the time we still live in one place and can still easily get together for a glass of wine. We have been friends for a long time, watched all our children grow from elementary school into adults and those kinds of bonds are special. Hopefully we will be able to say, see you soon, rather that goodbye when the time comes.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Two Berry Baked Oatmeal

 

 

 

We are in the middle of a cool spell that is very unusual for August. It seemed the perfect morning to try an idea for a simple individual baked oatmeal that I have been wondering about. Oatmeal is a healthy staple of my breakfast menu, but I like to try different methods besides simply cooking it on the stovetop. This new recipe is quick, perfect for individual servings and so delicious with the addition of the strawberries and blueberries.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it can be easily adapted to whatever fruit is in my refrigerator or freezer. It works just as well with fresh or frozen fruit, so I will always have the perfect addition on hand. For fall, swirl some pumpkin purée through the oatmeal mixture and you have a delicious single serving of pumpkin oatmeal. You also could sprinkle nuts on the top if you choose; the possibilities are endless.

 

Two Berry Baked Oatmeal For One

 

1 egg

1/2 cup milk ( I used lowfat )

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 tsp brown sugar ( I used Splenda )

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup fruit ( I used half blueberries and half strawberries)

 

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat egg in a medium bowl. Add milk and mix well. Add oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and baking powder. Stir until well blended. Stir in fruit. Place mixture in single serving baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until oats are set. Enjoy!

 

{Linking with these friends}

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Gooseberry Patch

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Sunny Simple Life

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

 

 

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Hint of Change

 

 

 

The walking paths in my neighborhood give me an everchanging view of the seasons and on one of my walks this weekend, it was obvious that there was a just a hint of this change happening. There was a difference to the light as it was shining through the trees; not nearly as bright and harsh. There were leaves beginning to litter the path, just the beginning of many more to come.

 

 

If I looked closely, there were new sights to see in the woods. Probably poisioneous, but pretty still the same. Red leaves are the first sign of fall beauty to come.

 

 

One of my favorite things about walking is the chance to see the seasons change. The light changes, just as the foliage does. From the lush growth of the summer, my walks will be moving into the beauty of the ever changing colors of fall. Then comes the starkness of the winter trees and the snow swirling around me as I walk in the early falling twilight. There is always something new to see and experience on these paths through the woods. There is time to think quiet thoughts and notice the small and different.

Walking is a part of my life now and it keeps me centered and calm. It is a chance to experience the beauty of nature everyday and notice those small changes, that I would otherwise miss. It is a small part of my day, but has become the best part of my day. All seasons, all weather, walking has become a big part of my life.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Two Things on Friday

 

 

 

I couldn't stop reading this book; in fact I devoured it. It was so uniquely written in the way the story follows one character through the eyes of an ever changing variety of characters. The stories are all different and interesting in their own right and when you think the connection to the main character is not there, the subtle connection will be revealed and it will astound you.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest is about the life of Eva Thornvald, as told from the point of view of those who touch her life in great and small ways. Each chapter also focuses on a different dish that plays a part in each character's own life and the book is a tribute to foodies everywhere. We see that Eva is extraordinary, as is this book, with an ending that will leave you satisfied like no other. I'm pretty sure this will be my book club recommendation for 2016.

 

 

 

Trying to stretch out summer, Melissa and I went to a cute Mexican restaurant in our little town's downtown, sat on the patio and had dinner and a Margarita, on a Thursday night. She is such good company, but very busy, so I don't see her too much. It was great to catch up and just enjoy a lovely summer evening.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Copycat Panera Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup {Pinterest Success 37}

 

 

 

I usually don't think of soup as a summer meal. I tend to make it as a comfort food on cold and rainy days or in the depths of winter. But, when I saw this pin for Copycat Panera Lemon Orzo Soup I thought it would be a light and delicious summer soup to try. The fresh lemon flavor, as well as the fresh spinach, gives it the perfect seasonal twist.

 

 

And, who says you can't enjoy a bowl of soup while sitting on the patio in the summer? With a glass of ice cold iced tea, it made a very nice and light lunch on a sunny summer afternoon.

Avgolemono (Greek Lemon Rice Soup) is a staple of our Detroit area Coney Island Restaurants (our version of diners) and the flavors in this soup are very similar. I have never tried to replicate this special soup, even though it is a favorite. Now that I have found this delicious soup recipe, there is no need to try.

 

{Linking with these friends}

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Gooseberry Patch

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Sunny Simple Life

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

 

 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Late Summer Sunday

 

 

 

It's not often that I go to the pool alone, but that's what I did on Sunday afternoon. And, it was nice. The pool was crowded, since it was a perfect pool day; with hot and sunny August temperatures. But, all I needed to be content was my lounge chair in the sun, a good book to read and plenty of iced tea to sip on.

Summer in Michigan is to be savored while it lasts. Schools here don't begin until after Labor Day, so while things are winding down, the pools will still be crowded until then. We all know that while fall can be spectacular, we have a long winter to get through and these wonderful pool days will be only a memory.

These are the kinds of days that I remember when the winter weather comes. I have two thoughts that get me through those cold days; my garden and the flowers I hope to plant, but an even stronger memory is of late summer Sunday afternoons at the pool. The warmth of the sun, the coolness of the water when I take a dip, the sounds of happy families and the total relaxation that comes with the day.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hot Days, Frozen Drinks

 

 

The dog days of August have arrived after a pretty mild summer here in Michigan. When it's hot like this, my appetite slows down and smoothies become a mainstay for breakfast, lunch and even sometimes a treat during the afternoon. I'm always looking for a new twist to my usual recipe with fruit and yogurt and I have both an old and new one to share today.

 

 

Yesterday I put together this Skinny Apple Pie Smoothie that really does taste like a delicious slice of pie. It's icy rather than creamy and really quick to put together. I like that it is made with applesauce; something that I always have on hand for a quick snack when my blood sugar is too low. To make: put 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup lowfat milk and 1 1/2 cup ice in a blender. Blend until smooth.

 

 

Today, when I crave a little chocolate in the afternoon, I will be making this Skinny Frozen Hot Chocolate. It's the perfect treat on a hot day; creamy, chocolate, frozen goodness in a cup. It's not as decadent as the frozen hot chocolate I enjoyed at Serendipity in NYC the last time I was there, but it's close and doesn't come with any guilt.

Have a wonderful weekend - I'm going to be at the pool!

 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 

 

Just for fun, I'm joining with Joyce and her Hodgepodge questions today. Happy Wednesday!

 



1. When was the last time you relocated? Did you move yourself or leave it to the professionals? Are you happy staying put or is there a move in your future? Best thing about moving to a new city or town? Least favorite and/or hardest thing about moving house?

I find it hard to believe, since we moved so much in the first 10 years of our marriage, but our last relocation was from New Jersey, where Melissa was born, to our current home in Michigan. That was 21 years ago! And, now as empty empty nesters we may be on the move again in the next few years. It will be much harder to move now, because we have accumulated a lot more stuff. Moving often means you become rather streamlined in your belongings. The best thing about moving is the adventure of it all. I have loved living in different parts of the country so much. We have lived in Dallas, Memphis, New Jersey (Philadelphia) and 2 stints in Detroit.

2. When were you last 'moved to tears'? Explain.

Just last week, I was moved to tears seeing my whole family together on vacation and seeing how much it meant to my parents. It's hard getting all our young adults together at once, but we pulled it off and it was so worth it.

3. Do you have rules about eating in the car...any forbidden foods? What's the last thing you consumed in your car? Your go-to car snack when traveling long distance?

Really, the only time I eat fast food anymore is in the car when traveling. It never tastes as good as I think it's going to, so it usually comes with a side of regret. My go to snack has always been red twizzlers - so perfect when driving.


4. Share a favorite song relating to cars and/or driving.

I don't really have a favorite song, but do love listening to satellite radio in the car - we were listening to the 70's station on our recent trip and song after song was a trip down memory lane. So fabulous!


5. What's your most frequently visited drive-thru...Starbucks? the bank? the pharmacy? some other window?

Probably the ATM drive thru, but we did recently have a Starbucks with a drive thru open close to us and it will be used often, I am sure. I remember when my girls were little, the drive thru pharmacy was a life saver when they were sick.

6. "He who hesitates is lost"...would you agree? When it comes to making decisions do you generally act quickly or do you more often than not fall into the 'lost' category?

I am not in the category of a quick decision maker. I have to think things through and I don't necessarily think that's bad. I am very comfortable not making snap decisions and don't feel that I have lost out on much.


7. When was the last time you got lost? Was it stressful or an unexpected happy adventure?

With my phone GPS it is pretty easy not to get lost anymore - except when it's wrong. Or I can't see the screen without my glasses. It's a great thing and I don't know what we did without it, but it is stressful when that voice says you are there and it's obvious you are not.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have started a small part time job doing some PR work for a friend who recently started a company and needed some help with writing and social media. So far it's been great, but it does give a little different rythym to my days. I didn't think I would work again, so it's been an adjustment in mindset, but I think all in all it will be a good thing.

 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Skinnygirl Margarita Cake {recipe redo} and Happy Birthday

 

 

 

 

Melissa's twenty second birthday was Saturday, but since she had plans with her boyfriend and other friends, we celebrated a day early and took her out for dinner at our club. We sat on the patio and since it was a lovely, cool night, it was the perfect way to spend a Friday night. There was a musician singing some old songs and playing the guitar and they brought her a hot fudge sundae, with a candle to mark the occasion.

But, she also needed a birthday cake. I let her pick from this fun list of 100 bundt cakes and she chose the yummy Skinnygirl Margarita cake; one I made for Megan a few years ago. It really is delicious, with just a hint of the margarita flavor. With a little decoration, it makes a really pretty and festive cake for a grown up daughter. I hope her birthday was as happy as she makes us every day of the year.

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Gooseberry Patch

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Sunny Simple Life

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Still Summer

 

 

 

 

Does anyone else feel like the calendar turns to August and summer begins to wane just a little? There is back to school talk, flowers start looking past their prime in some cases and football season tailgating plans are being discussed. But, I'm going to hold on to summer these last few weeks. I am still enjoying afternoons on my backyard patio, with something good to drink; whether it be iced tea or maybe even a fun summer cocktail. I am even still celebrating my June birthday with a late gift. The candle is solar powered with an on/off switch and I just love it.

 

 

I'm still making simple summer bouquets with whatever I can find that is blooming, mixed with a few leaves for filler.

 

 

There are still the late blooming flowers to look forward to like these Sweet Coneflowers. They are just beginning to bloom and I will be able to enjoy these in vases for many weeks.

 

 

And, I'm still working my way through my summer reading list. I'm currently reading the newest V.I. Warshawski book and enjoying her detecting her way through Chicago's gritty south side.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Weekend at Lake Huron

 

 

 

Our weekend was a whirlwind of family and fun, included driving through major storms, traffic and some strange weather, but I wouldn't have traded a minute of it. We stayed right on the shores of Lake Huron and my view each morning was of sand and blue water, as far as the eye could see.

 

 

We started our first morning at the cutest coffee shop and enjoyed the sunshine, while it lasted, sitting outside together. We shopped for a bit in some lovely stores, surrounded by flowers, and then headed to join the rest of my family at an inland lake.

 

 

The weather was strange; clouds, sun and rain all at the same time, but we still managed to have a great day. There was jet skiing, tubing and a lot of just sitting and talking. It was great to catch up with my neice and four nephews who came from as far away as Boston and Texas. We reminisced a lot and my parents enjoyed having all their grandchildren in one place.

 

 

Having my girls together was wonderful and they quickly got back into the rythym of sisterhood. They were found side by side, the whole weekend and truly enjoyed being back together.

 

 

As the sun set on the lake and we looked forward to an evening by the fire, it was apparent that the long travel for so many was more than worth the effort it took and time spent together was precious.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Linking with Between Naps on the Porch and Savvy Southern Style

 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sisters

 

 

 

We just returned from a wonderful and busy weekend in northern Michigan with my whole family and it was especially fun because both my girls were able to join us; including Megan all the way from Pittsburgh. We cramed a lot of activity into very little time, but managed to shop, jet ski, beach walk and much more.

I have lots of photos to share, but wanted to first share how much I enjoyed seeing my daughters spending time together. It is obvious that they miss each other and I kept finding them side by side, chattering away all weekend. When you have an empty nest with children all grown up, family vacations become difficult. But this weekend showed me more than anything before, how important it is to reconnect. Texting, phone calls and even face time are a great way to stay in touch, but it is the time spent together as a family that is the most important.

Happy Monday!

 

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