Tropical Escapes

I know it’s that time of year when everyone’s talking about the holidays, but when it’s cold outside, it’s nice to think back on tropical escapes.

Me and the MR marked one thing off his bucket list with a fabulous trip to French Polynesia back in October. It was amazing—the snorkeling, the sea life, the blue, blue, blue of the water. I need to brush up on my high school French, but I’d go back in a heartbeat.

The MR splurged on over-the-water bungalows. One night as I fed the fish from our bedroom, a shark swam by.

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We had a day on the water with the awesome Captain Sam and swam with eagle rays, manta rays, stingrays, and black-tipped reef sharks. Yes, we did swim with sharks.

Then it was time for an awesome lunch in the water. The MR learned to crack open a coconut, and we both had a laugh over making coconut milk.

Our trip began on Mo’orea. Then we moved on to Bora Bora and La Taha’a. Each had their own charm. Along with lots of water time, we toured each of the islands visiting WWII guns on Bora Bora, and learning about black pearl cultivation and touring a vanilla farm. Did you know each of those vanilla beans is hand-pollinated and takes nine months to mature.

On one of our tours we visited a sarong workshop, and I helped model their wares. We ventured under the sea with old-time helmets and petted stingrays.

It’s a beautiful place filled with kind and friendly people. You’re greated with flowers when you arrive and shells when you leave. I could float above the coral and watch the fish all day then get ready for dinner and take in the sunset. Who knows? Maybe I’d even do a little hula dancing.

A tropical getaway is my kind of vacation.

What’s on your

What’s on your bucket list? Are you a snorkel, scuba or sit on the beach kind of person?

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Can You Repeat that, Please?

There’s just something about repetition that makes a statement.

I’ve read that in ancient Hebrew a word was used over and over and over again for emphasis—in English that sounds crazy. But in flowers, it’s quite divine.

While the MR, Baby Girl, and I were cruising through the beautiful waters off Croatia, our 20-something captain with a so-so grasp of English would pull up to a dock, dump us off, and say be back in an hour.

Since we usually had no idea where we were, we’d wander and buy some gelato. That’s how we stumbled across these.

While one pot would be lovely, two lines of them makes a statement.

We also passed by a little restaurant with bright blue chairs and tables. That punch of color added brightness and cheer. Don’t you just want to sit down and be part of the scene?

Along with picking up some decorating tips, we visited the Blue Cave.

Sailed into a submarine silo.

Enjoyed a lot of swimming, and watched a spectacular sunset.

We totally enjoyed our time exploring the coast of Croatia.

And now I’m thinking the front steps could use a little attention. Maybe pots filled with mums for fall color, or decorative kale and some pumpkins. We’ll have to wait and see what speaks to me.

Do you like lots of colors or one bold statement? Where do you get your inspiration?

Hold on a Minute

Me and the MR had these big plans. We met with a designer and a contractor. We looked at drawings and visited cabinet stores.

We thought everything was on track, but we didn’t want to worry about a big remodel before Sweet Miss’ wedding.

The wedding was in July. August came and went without a word, so the MR sent a few emails inquiring about our master bath and laundry room remodels.

We have a bathtub and a bunch of fixtures in the garage. Let’s get a move on.

Well the designer and her assistant came out. We tweaked the cabinet design and decided on some counter and backsplash options.

And then…bad news. The contractor backed out for personal reasons. The MR has interviewed a few, and we’re waiting for bids.

All in all, this is moving slower than I expected. Sweet Miss and the Fella got me a pretty scarf and a bath bomb for my birthday. It’s going to be awhile before I get to relax in my new tub.

We are making progress at a very slow rate. Here are some choices for the butler’s pantry in the old laundry room.

And then because I love the sunrises this time of year. Here’s one I’d like to share with you.

So guys, I haven’t been holding out on you; we’re just on hold for a bit. It’s just another one of those patience developing opportunities. You know how much I love those.

Any scheduling-shifting, remodel hiccups you want to share? We can commiserate together.

If you can’t remember what I’m talking about, take a look at Big Changes

Not That Kind of People

The first time the Fella had sandwiches at our house, he was disappointed. He searched the fridge; he looked in the pantry—no pickles.

We don’t put pickles on our sandwiches, relish on our burgers, or sauerkraut on our hot dogs. You might find olives in a taco dip or roasted with carrots and chicken, but they’re not really our thing either…until they are.

The MR goes and tries a few olives at the salad bar at work. Suddenly, fancy packages of olives are appearing in our refrigerator. The MR likes his snacks, and olives have become a regular treat.

Last month when we were visiting the Island of Hvar, we enjoyed wine tasting and then lunched at a restaurant overlooking an olive grove. A few days later we noticed olives growing next to our morning breakfast area.

All those olive trees got my guy to thinking. So no surprise, a tiny olive tree recently arrived at our house. While he was looking, a pomegranite tree also caught his eye. They don’t look like much, but who knows where we’ll end up?

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There’s a farm down the road that has lavender, goats, really big, shaggy, white dogs, wine, and olive trees. Maybe we’ll have some luck, too. While most olives are hardy down to 10-degrees F, we do have a problem with deer eating a lot of our plants, so for now, the olive tree is on the deck. Once it cools down a little more, we’ll be making room for it inside along with the rest of our edibles.

Me and the MR recently enjoyed the first tangerine off his tiny tree. We’d only been waiting since February. It was tasty, but we’d left it for a bit too long. Let’s hope for a few more next year.

At least we have room for all these experiments.

What the most unusual thing you’ve tried to grow? Are you pickle people? (We won’t hold it against you.)

Refreshed & Revived

Hello friends! It’s been a while. Sweet Miss and the Fella got married, family came to visit, the garden and orchard exploded with goodness, and Baby Girl, the MR, and I went off and explored the world. And now, I’m back revived, refreshed, and excited.

I know you want vacation photos, and pictures of BG’s tattoo, and all the news, but that’s kind of a lot to process. Sometimes you just go with simple and gradually it all comes out.

So let’s start with easy, and I’ll put photos and thoughts together on the rest. Sweet Miss was home awhile ago and offered  a suggestion on the great room—it’s OK, I’m a grown up, I can handle it. She said the cow hide rug didn’t make any sense, and that we needed more of it elsewhere to make it fit in—hmm.

We have cow hide coasters, but I guess that wasn’t enough. So when I saw a cow hide pillow on Joss & Main for a reasonable price, I ordered it. It was all beige with big brown spots and looked perfect. The great thing about ordering stuff online is that it’s so easy to find. Type a few words, click on a picture, and it’s yours. Unfortunately, sometimes there’s some variation from the photo and reality.

If I were picking out a pillow in person, I’d want big brown spots in the middle not just in the corners. It’s still cute; I’m not going to be too picky.

And now since you’ve been so patient, here are my sweet travel companions outside a Roman temple in Pula, Croatia. Bonus, you can just get a glimpse of BG’s tattoo.

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It was an amazing trip with two of my favorite people.

Hope you’re September started off just as good.

That Time of Year

I love that time of year when dinner comes from the garden. Sweet Miss and the Fella are headed up for a visit, and we have blackberry cobbler, apple pie, apple cake, blueberry muffins, fresh green beans, and a giant salad on the menu. Don’t forget about the plums. I’m sure they’ll work their way in there, too.

Plus me and the MR are celebrating our 27th anniversary. It’s going to be a good weekend.

Hope you’re enjoying the fruit of your labors or supporting your local farmers.

Cooling Down

The last month has been crazy. Sweet Miss and the Fella got married, lots of family, the garden and orchard are on overload, and let’s add some construction for fun.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like writing when someone is pounding around in my house. I also don’t feel like writing when I’m sweating to death in my home. Now, my midwestern friends and family, and the California cousins may be laughing, but it’s been in the 80’s and 90’s around here. Our grass is brown, and we are hot.

Me and the MR were thinking ahead. Back in the spring, we had a fellow come out and give us a bid on air conditioning. After six years of sweltering during the summer, we decided to splurge on AC.

A few visits and a few months went by before they gave us an estimate. Our great room is huge; and with the number of windows, the height of the ceiling, and size of the room, keeping it cool is a tricky proposition.

Late July, they had a plan and were ready to roll. The MR took pity on my sanity and said we were busy—weddings do take priority— and pushed them off till last week. So we had courteous, professional, friendly visitors every morning at 7:30 am. Have I mentioned that we’ve switched to decaf?

By Thursday afternoon when I arrived home from work, we had a new heat pump installed and four units blowing cool air. The MR was busy taping and mudding all the holes the workers had made in the walls.

That’s one of those things I never really thought about before having so much work done. The workers had to cut holes to run the wiring, but that doesn’t mean they’re going make it look good after they’re done. When we had the radiators pulled out of the upstairs, we were left with missing molding and holes in the carpet. I’m just lucky that the MR is so good at putting things back together.

Our excitement over AC lasted for maybe a minute. The MR texted me that it wasn’t working the very next day. One of the units was making a hissing noise and the temperature was steadily rising. The workers were out again on Monday morning and within a few hours had a broken coupling fixed and cool air blowing our way.

Me and the MR have been wondering how air conditioning will change our lives. When it was so desperately hot inside, we’d make our way out to the deck in the late afternoons searching for a breeze and watching the hummingbirds. Cocoa will be very unhappy if this impacts deck time.

OK, so now you’re wondering about all the important stuff.  Well, the wedding was amazing. Sweet Miss looked beautiful, the Fella came into the reception raising her hand in the air shouting “Yes.” Lots of joy, lots of love, lots of excitement. I’m just thankful for all the friends and family who came together to make it such a wonderful day.

The garden is off and running. We have tomatoes, beans, carrots, lettuce, blueberries, blackberries, plums, apples, and more to come. So I’ve made applesauce, and plum jam, and frozen apple pie filling. We even cooked green beans wrapped in bacon on the salt block. It was a little messy but oh so tasty. And we have salad almost every night.

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So what have you been up to lately? Any apple or plum recipes to share?