Thursday, August 31, 2017

Friends That Show Up

 

 

 

I just got back from a quick trip to Michigan, mainly to visit my parents who are doing fine, but also going through some issues. My father (who has his own health challenges to worry about) is the primary caregiver for my mother, who is in the throes of quickly progressing Alzheimer's. It's not a situation that's particularly happy, but between my sister, brother and I, and some trusted caregivers, we keep things fairly stable.

After spending the day at my parents house, I met a group of friends for dinner, and it was just what I needed. It was a night with terrible weather. Nothing like Houston of course, but heavy rain, some flooded streets and way too cold for summer. But, they all showed up. I sent a group text, saying I would be in town, would be free for dinner on Monday night and the responses were so heartwarming. They were all so excited to see me and I felt the same. When I moved, of course we all said we would keep in touch, but life is busy for everyone and you never know. But, these ladies are special, our group has been through a lot together for many years and one thing we do is show up for each other in many ways. It's a connection that I will cherish, nurture and not let go of.

 

 

I also spent some great one on one time with Melissa and it always does a mother's heart good to see a child thriving. She is busy as can be, but that suits her personality. In college she juggled school, a bartending job, an internship and a demanding sport. Now, in addition to a busy career, she has started a job as a Barre Code instructor. I love seeing her living life to the fullest.

Happy Thursday and this weekend - Go Green! It's the first time in many years we won't be in East Lansing for the first football game, but will be cheering on our Spartans from Florida. Yay to the start of college football season :-)

 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Currently

 

 

 

Currently...

 

Noticing: My puppy seems to have adjusted to life in Florida just fine. She doesn't seem bothered by all the changes and in fact seems to love the freedom of the lanai where she can feel like she is outside. The heat has been an issue with our walking, but I have learned to keep the walks to early morning or evening when the sun is less intense and she is fine. She had the run of the backyard at our Michigan house and loved chasing squirrels, but is not allowed in the back here at all due to alligators in the pond that is quite close. No squirrels, but she has discovered that sand cranes are fun to bark at when they walk by.

Watching: Broadchurch season 3 on BBC America. I usually catch this series on Netflix, but discovered it showing this summer and quickly caught up with on demand. This is the final season and I am enjoying it very much, especially my favorite, DI Ellie Miller. The actress who plays her is so talented and she really shines in these episodes dealing with a sexual assault.

Reading: I just started the new Sue Grafton book, Y Is For Yesterday. Welcome back Kinsey!

Feeling: Going to yoga regularly has got me feeling strong. I feel more flexible too and intend to keep it up. Life in Florida, with the older crowd, gives you a lot of incentive to keep active and it really is amazing to see those twenty five years older than me, biking, running, playing golf and tennis and living the Florida lifestyle.

Excited about: My Daughter's wedding! After we picked the venue and the church there was kind of a pause on decisions, but things are starting to happen. The bridesmaids are asked, the save the dates are ordered and in October, I will be joining Megan for a wedding dress shopping weekend. Can I keep from crying? Doubt it!

Looking forward to: A trip to Michigan this weekend! I fly out on Saturday for a visit with Melissa, my parents, my sister and my friends. I'll write all about it when I get back, but is really going to feel great to see everyone and feel like I still have one foot in Michigan, even though I am so far away.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Brown Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce

 

 

 

In my ongoing quest for healthy eating, I decided to try something new to me; brown rice noodles. I am not a big fan of whole wheat pasta and to be honest, would rather avoid pasta all together than eat what tastes like cardboard to me. I am a big fan of Thai takeout food, so I was hoping this could be a simple dish I could create right at home.

If you love anything with peanut sauce, this dish is for you. The peanut taste comes through, with just the slightest bit of heat. In fact, when I make this again, I would defiantly add a little more Tabasco Sauce, but that can be up to you. The brown rice noodles were fine and I liked them much better than whole wheat pasta. They probably could have used a minute or two less cooking time as per the instructions on the box, rather than my usual noodle cooking method.

This quick noodle dish was flavorful, quick and fresh tasting with the green opinions sprinkled on the top. A great find for a easy lunch or dinner when takeout just won't do.

Update: I thought the rice noodles were a little soft because I cooked them too long, but my daughter said they tend to be like that. I think I might try soba noodles the next time I make this.

 

Brown Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce


1 package brown rice noodles

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

3 T soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

2 drops hot pepper sauce ( add more if you like a little heat)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup water

Chopped green onions


Cook brown rice noodles per package directions. While cooking, mix together in a small bowl, peanut butter, garlic, hot sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Thin mixture with a little water at a time until smooth and creamy. Drain noodles, return to hot pan and toss with prepared peanut sauce. Place in bowls to serve and sprinkle generously with chopped green onions. Enjoy!

Happy Wednesday!

 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Florida Decor - Dining Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we were selling and donating furniture at our old house in preparation for the move, my dining room table and chairs were the only thing I had a little pang of sadness about letting go. But, we didn't have a formal dining room at the new house and even if we did, the formal style would have been wrong. I was ambivalent about the new dining space, mostly because I had forgotten how big it was and you really can't tell from photos.

When we moved in, it was apparent that my kitchen table (several years ago from Pottery Barn) would fit, even with the addition of the leaf, as well as my bakers rack. There is plenty of space to move around and it doesn't feel crowded at all. Since the space is right off the kitchen and living area, we decided to make the wall a focal point and contribute to the coastal feel with the addition of white, weathered ship lap and a couple of brightly colored oars.

The rest of the decor is about texture, pops of color and beachy elements that remind you that you are in Florida. The jar of shells is filling nicely from our many trips to the beach. One of my favorite elements is the light fixture, because it's an unexpected modern shape and ties in with the brushed nickel fixtures in the kitchen.

When my daughters were here, we christened the space with a family dinner and it felt like home.

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Shrimp Boil in Foil Packets

 

 

 

Yum! I saw this recipe on a blog I follow and she raved so much about how good it was that I simply had to give it a try. Especially because now that we live in Florida, we eat a lot of shrimp and I would love some go to recipes for making it at home.

This recipe is very easy, fairly quick to put together and has really good flavor. There are instructions for cooking the ears of corn in the microwave, but I simply par boiled the corn and potatoes together in a big pot and that worked great. I didn't have lager, but used a citrus flavored beer that I had on hand, so I think most beer varieties would be fine. The main seasoning is Old Bay, but I think it could use a little more heat and would probably add some red paper flakes next time. Also, some good bread would be a great addition for sopping up some of the delicious juice.

I cooked the packets in the oven, since our grill is in the sun and it was very hot outside when I was making dinner. The flavor was still great, but the grill might give everything a little smokiness that would add to the flavor. .

This recipe (and cooking method) is going in meal rotation.

Happy Tuesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

Have a Daily Cup

Between Naps on the Porch

Skip To My Lou

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ordinary Days

 

 

 

I'm definitely settling into a routine here, but still can't believe I live in such a beautiful place. Will I ever get used to all the palm trees everywhere I look? I hope not. When I knew we were moving, I knew I would be ok, because I am such a homebody and really can be content in my house, my neighborhood and my city. With that said, I did just travel to Pittsburgh to see Megan and already have a flight booked to Michigan later this month to see Melissa, my parents, my sister and my friends. I really do miss everyone and am very happy I will be seeing and hugging them soon.

Speaking of friends, it's been a slow process making new ones, but it's early days yet. There are some ladies at yoga that I have connected with and I think I will invite them over for a post yoga lunch sometime soon. There is a ladies wine night at our clubhouse next week that I might try also. We still have many houses being built on our street and many neighbors to still move in, so I'll just wait and see what happens. No one spends very much time outside at the moment due to the heat, but we are almost through the worst of it and I'm sure people will be out and about.

I have been going to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings and enjoy that. I'm considering volunteering there, because it would be a great way to meet people too. I love going to yoga on the beach and as soon as it cools off a bit, I will explore some new places to walk.

I make a point of sitting on the lanai every day at sunset and just taking in the beauty of sky, the reflection on the water and the quiet as night slowly falls. It's very peaceful and a great spot for a glass of wine.

Ordinary days in Florida are pretty good.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Too Far Away

 

 

 

 

One of life's hard things is being away from your adult child on their birthday. You want to wake up in the morning and make them pancakes. You want to plan their favorite meal for a special birthday dinner, watch them blow out their candles and open their presents. You want to give them a birthday hug.

So, when you are many states away, you do what you can from afar. You send little surprises that are guaranteed to make them smile. You go that extra mile to compensate for your presence and hope that their friends and coworkers will pick up the slack. You text, you call and you wish more than anything you could be there in person.

Happy 24th birthday to my pretty, smart and strong daughter Melissa!

 

 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Quick Visit in Pittsburgh

 

 

When you need to see your daughter and she needs to see you and talking on the phone just won't do, you have to remind yourself that a visit can truly be a plane trip away. So that's what I did. I flew to Pittsburgh for some much needed time with Megan and we talked wedding details, drank some good wine, did a little shopping and more than anything, spent some one on one time together in the midst a whirlwind year.

We are still a year out from the wedding and the big decisions are made, but there are many details to pick and choose and we spent some time on Pinterest getting lots of ideas. Her vision is going to be beautiful, simple and elegant and perfect for the venue. The next time I see her will be for wedding dress shopping in the fall and I can't wait to make even more memories of this special time in our lives.

When we weren't talking about the wedding, we ventured out one morning for a visit to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in downtown Pittsburgh.

 

From the website:

 

A green oasis in the middle of Pittsburgh’s vibrant Oakland neighborhood, Phipps has provided a world-class garden experience to its visitors since 1893. Visit to discover breathtaking seasonal flower shows, stunning outdoor botanical gardens, free-with-admission activities for all ages, an award-winning on-site cafĂ©, and some of the greenest buildings in the world.


It was stunningly beautiful and we happily spent time wandering through the various glass greenhouses, all with a different theme. There was a butterfly forest with thousands of brightly colored butterflies amidst the flowers, a tropical rainforest, a children's area with a maze and other interactive exhibits and amazing blown glass art interspersed throughout the entire conservatory. We also enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the cafe and both of us plan on trying to replicate the chick pea and olive bruschetta we shared.

Perhaps the best way to understand the breathtaking beauty of this magical and peaceful place is from a few of the many photos I took.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thursday!

 

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