Outside mywindow...cloudy with possible thunderstorms arriving this evening with 80 degree temperatures. We've had beautiful spring weather for the past several days for our Canadian guests!
I am thinking...gardening, hospitality, and wedding planning have definitely taken precedence over blogging lately--I've been missing in action in blogland!
Bethany, Jonathan's fiance, and her mom have been here, and lots of wedding to-dos have been accomplished! Here are Jonathan and Bethany picking out all the lighting for their house:
And here they are having breakfast together one morning outside while looking at kitchen decorating idea books:
I am thankful...that the Lord has brought these two young people together to be married.
I'm also thankful for these three kids...here we are together on Mother's Day:
I am creating...new flower beds! I've been completely re-doing three flower beds and planting eleven double knock-out roses in place of variegated grasses that were overtaking everything. Here's a portion of the work: Hannah and Sarah have been a tremendous help digging out the tough grasses and readying the beds for me. I haven't even mentioned Tom's building 16 new raised garden beds this spring. You know what's next, right? Those 16 beds have to be filled with dirt!
Granny would love to see these azaleas in full bloom, but they're quickly fading, and she's not back yet:
I am hoping...Jonathan can get a lot more work done on his house in the coming weeks. Electrical is basically done, and plumbing is in process. It will really look more like a house when the walls go up! Here we are having a picnic inside the house when Bethany came to visit:
And here's the American and Canadian couple in their future home... complete with their country's flags in the windows:
A peek into one of my days...we've been at the florist getting some ideas for flowers:
Checking out books for flower selections for their January wedding:
And checking out flooring, too!
And...checking out various churches as possibilities for the ceremony.
I am wearing...cream top, teal skirt, silver sandals. Here I am with Hannah as we're checking out wedding venues this morning: I am looking forward to...Granny finally arriving home this week! She's heading back from South Carolina with my sister, and we're planning some fun times!
So that means we'll be busy with guests for the coming holiday weekend. Enjoy your Memorial Day celebrations! See you again soon...
Well, it's May, and we've already been at the farmer's market for a whole month! I think I'm STILL trying to get myself back in the routine of preparing and setting up each week.
The first morning was dark and chilly while getting ready for the Easter weekend crowd:
But later on the sun came out! Yay! And this vendor's pretty pansies brightened up the front row, since the veggies were still scarce.
This year, we have a new vendor...a fish farmer. This is the first time the Staunton market has offered fish, and it seems like they are doing well. They sell whole fresh fish, although you can pay more if you want them to clean and fillet it for you.
Gloria's Pupuseria has been at the market for a couple of years, but this year they have upgraded to a new BRIGHT food truck. They are becoming quite busy and popular! This past week, Hannah and I decided to get some pupusas to share, and it was a 30 minute wait. It was totally worth it, too. :)
Hannah introduced her new product, Stonewall Beard Oil, and has had many comments on it. One bearded vendor, when told that it tames the beard, said, "But I want my beard to be wild and free!" :) It's amazing how we both now notice all the men with beards who pass by when we didn't before!
Out of the 4 weeks of market so far, most of the Saturdays have been beautiful days with good sales. One week was really quite cold, with sleet off and on all morning, but other than that, it's been nice. This past Saturday was an annual 5K race that starts and ends right beside the market. It draws a big crowd of runners - it's nice when they decide to walk through the market after the race. :)
This vendor always brings such beautiful, colorful flowers. It's always nice to see her customers walking around market carrying bouquets from her booth. She usually has a bucket, as seen below, of single free flowers that she gives out to little kids. They love them!
As Mothers' Day is approaching, this vendor brings many, many hanging flower baskets and does a brisk business!
Lots of us at the market like to walk around before the customers come out and chat with our fellow vendors. Varieties of veggies, weather, planting techniques, and more are common topics of conversation.
Our handy dandy chalkboards have been put to use once again this year, advertising our wares to the passing customers. I bought some more chalkboard paint this year to refresh both of our boards, and it made them like new and easy to write on.
Hannah's board is usually artfully decorated with flowers and other pretty chalk pictures. She often grabs people's attention by listing her more unusual items such as shampoo and shaving soaps - and now beard oil!
I have enjoyed seeing all my regular customers again after the winter off-season. One lady often comes by to purchase a linzer tart for the priest at her church, since she knows it's his favorite. Just this past week, she brought me a magazine she had finished. She had thought of me as soon as she saw it and wanted to pass it on. Wasn't that nice?!
That's the update on the market front these days. Tomorrow I'll be preparing lots of pie crusts ahead of my baking day - it's Mother's Day weekend, and I hope people will be buying a yummy dessert for the occasion. :)
It's about time for another cooking post! Recently I was in charge of making dinner for the week, just as Sarah was back in February.
My first evening happened to be St. Patrick's Day, so I made sure to include some festive dishes per Sarah's friendly reminders. :) I made Irish Meatballs combining these tworecipes.
Now, a disclaimer on the food photography: some of these pictures don't look especially appetizing, because I didn't take the time necessary when we were usually ready to sit down to eat. Mom says I need to be more "blog-minded" at times like this!
Later in the week I baked Sriracha Salmon and put together the classic Spaghetti Salad with some homemade dressing and spice blend. I didn't plan the alliteration, but the refreshingly cold pasta salad fit well with the spicy fish.
That Saturday I put some meat in the crockpot since most of us would be working over at Jonathan's house for the day. That evening we devoured Balsamic Roast Beef Sandwiches along with Hawaiian Sweet Potato Salad. Everyone chose from one of the previously made desserts for this weekend meal.
The following week I completed my planned menus by fixing the meal one night when Mom was out of town until suppertime. She came in the door to the aroma of Stuffed Pepper Soup and Soft Buttered Pretzels. Mmmmm! We would make both of these again.
Cannoli Tart studded with mini chocolate chips rounded out this Italian meal.
Recently when I wandered over to Pinterest (as we all are inclined to do occasionally), I spotted something that I totally fell in love with. Surely that has happened to you, too, right?
In this case, I read about a build-it-yourself quilt ladder which I promptly shared with the woodworker in our family. And...I justhappened to mention to Tom that I would love for him to build one for me, but not just for me, but also one as a gift for a friend's birthday and one for my sister's birthday.
In other words...three quilt ladders! Tom's Honey-Do list all of a sudden became much more than one simple ladder. And this didn't end up being the quickie Saturday afternoon project I had envisioned...these ladders took on a life of their own!
Here he is after getting the wood cut to the exact dimensions suggested on the blog where I originally saw the ladder and then carefully measuring before installing the rungs:Back into the garage to get started putting it all together:Did you notice that the ladder has moved from the garage workshop into the living room?? For some reason, I've become quite accustomed to this practice! Ahem... Below you can see all three ladders being worked on...Tom's delicately putting wood glue into the pocket holes on the back side where he'll place wooden plugs over the screws that hold the rungs to the legs:Time to put on stain! Thankfully the ladders are back in the garage for this step: And then outside on the deck. Notice Tom's high-tech system of juice bottles for holding down the drop cloth on this windy day:This last one below is my ladder. Tom's re-sanding some imperfections in the stained legs and then will re-stain. I can hardly wait until it's finished so I can put some quilts on those rungs:Like I mentioned, one ladder was for my sister's birthday. So when we went on our Spring Break trip to Georgia (Day 1, Day 2, and Days 3-4-5), it was the perfect time to bring the ladder to her.
The girls rode 8+ hours with the ladder between them stretching from the trunk to the front between me and Tom. After the History Tour in Georgia, we brought it back to South Carolina. Here's a picture my sister sent me showing her ladder already laden down with quilts:The next quilt ladder made a journey to Richmond this past Saturday when we met with our dear friends Fred and Chris for a double date at Whole Foods:Here's Chris after I gave her the quilt ladder. I think she liked it!! Since we only get together once or twice a year, she brought me an early birthday gift--a Colonial Williamsburg bird bottle! I love it!Here I am with Tom on our double date. We had a very fun time with our friends.When my quilt ladder is all finished and I've figured out where I'm putting it, I'll have to show you a picture!
After the History Tour concluded, Day 3 of our Spring Break trip was spent with our friends in Atlanta...eating out at The Varsity (ever been there?), visiting an antique shop, psalm singing, and lots of good fellowship! We had never heard of The Varsity but found out that the main branch of the chain in downtown Atlanta is the largest drive-in fast food restaurant in the world, and many U.S. presidents have visited the chain when they've been in Atlanta.
We ate at one of the six branches of the restaurant in metro-Atlanta:It's true! We heard, "What'll Ya Have?" a lot when we were there:Here we are deciding what to order: We all had a good time enjoying lunch together: First-time visitor Sarah put on one of The Varsity chef hats:Next up was a trip to Queen of Hearts Antique shop, with 500 dealer booths!: This was the scene just inside the front door. I could tell this would be a great shop, and it definitely was!I loved all the gardening items in many of the vendors' booths:I especially liked the red antique gardening tools but didn't purchase them...so sorry afterwards: Although I did bring a watering can home with me:We all had a fun afternoon of shopping, even the guys...I think! While we were visiting our friends, one evening we enjoyed a Psalm Singing. Here we are sitting around the living room in the next few pictures singing from The Book of Psalms for Worship.Abby took a turn on the piano:And here's the other side of the room: Then Alex took a turn on the piano:If you'd like to hear one of the songs we sang, Sarah recorded some of the music that evening. Click here to hear us singing Psalm 98! The pianist plays through a verse first, and then you'll hear all of us singing. It was very enjoyable!
Other times were spent playing games and talking together: Here are Emma and Sarah posing together in their matching shirts with big smiles: Well...all good times must come to an end. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Georgia and staying with our friends! Thank you for the hospitality!
Spring Break ~ Day 4: Leaving Georgia, we headed to South Carolina to visit my sister and Granny.
This was supposed to be the occasion that we'd bring Granny back to Virginia with us, but she's still not recuperated enough from her fall in January. Her broken back is still healing; and unfortunately, she's not up to a 6-hour drive quite yet.
Here we are visiting with Aunt Bet and Granny. It was so good to see them: My sister took me to a gardening center and antique shop while I was there, but I didn't get pictures of those special outings.
Again...all too soon it was time to head for home.
Spring Break ~ Day 5:Whenever we have a chance, Tom finds a church for us to attend if we're out of town. We always enjoy meeting new families in a new place.
On this particular Sunday, we met several families in this church, but one family stood out to us in particular...Todd and Barbara, who had adopted two little children. They began to tell us their 5-Day Adoption story. It was amazing!
You can find information and watch a 5-minute trailer about their story here: 5-Day Adoption. I'm sure they would appreciate your interest and support.
Spring Break was fun! Now that we're back home...it's time for many gardening chores!
Here is part of our tour group arriving at Atlanta’s Historic Grant Park on a beautiful spring morning:Our group gathered by the stone wall to listen to a lecture by historian, Bill Potter, before we continued on to the Cyclorama:Bill Potter speaks on the Battle of Atlanta to our group:Just before we left this area, one of the tour participants set the stage by singing Dixie: Below, we're headed into the Cyclorama, which is located right next door to the Atlanta Zoo. The lines for the Zoo were filled with moms and children on spring break and were extremely long...but not a problem at the Cyclorama, and we were able to walk right in:Here's a closer picture below of the entrance to the Cyclorama:Inside the museum we experienced an amazing cylindrical panoramic painting of the Civil War Battle of Atlanta. You can read more about it here.
Sarah wanted to take a picture by a cannon inside the museum to send to Jonathan since he wasn't with us on this trip: On display...this steam locomotive known as the Texas, made famous by the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862. Tom is a Civil War history buff, and I'm sure he enjoyed himself on this tour! Okay, time for lunch break! We headed back to our cars and joined the downtown Atlanta traffic to make our way to the Georgia Capitol: Here we are walking through Liberty Plaza. The day could not have been more beautiful! We made our way to Capitol Commons, a cafeteria located across from the State Capitol, and used by legislators, lobbyists, state employees, downtown employees and visitors to Capitol Hill every day--over 9,400 people each week! We enjoyed a new-to-us Southwestern Grill--Barberitos! Yummy Mexican food!After lunch we all gathered on the front lawn of the Capitol for the afternoon lecture by Mr. Potter:I wish I had taken notes, but I was too busy taking pictures! Mr. Potter tells so many interesting stories in his talks.
Here he is in front of John Brown Gordon's statue, and you can learn more about John B. Gordon, one of Robert E. Lee's most trusted Confederate generals, here and here:Tom and the girls enjoying the afternoon outside:All the families on the tour had their picture taken in front of John Gordon's statue, and here's ours: This statue below of Joe Brown (42nd governor of Georgia) and his wife holding a Bible on her lap is one of the few husband-and-wife statues in the world. You can read about him here and here:Okay, let's go inside the Capitol for some history lessons there: Here's the group learning about the various pictures and statues inside the halls of the Capitol. The portrait on the left is of John Gordon, mentioned above as being on the horse statue on the lawn: You would think that after being a home-schooling mom for 17 years that I would be familiar with history studies of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, but I'd never heard of this Georgia legislator below. Now I don't think I'll ever forget him because of his unusual first name!
We learned about Button Gwinnett, whose signature is one of the rarest and most valuable of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Here's his bust in the Georgia Capitol:At the conclusion of the tour, we were free to explore the Capitol on our own. Mostly, we gathered in groups to chat and say our goodbyes to others we had met on the tour:All in all, it was a wonderful two touring days full of history!
Hello, blog readers! Did you miss us while we were away on Spring Break?
We've now returned home from our trip last week down to Atlanta where we attended the Landmark Events Atlanta Campaign History Tour with historian Bill Potter.Bill Potter shared the accounts of great men and women of the area and interpreted history through the lens of Scripture.What a wonderful and informative tour! We walked the battlefields, explored the museums, and visited the graves that gave testimony to the great battle for Atlanta.
Here we are the first morning of the tour as we met the group of 20 families at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Visitor Center: And here are Hannah and Sarah with their friends Abby and Emma who were also on the tour with their family: Tom looks at the map of the battle as he listens through the provided headphones as Bill Potter speaks on Andrew's Raid: And here I am below posing in front of a cannon at Kennesaw...if I only had a dollar for every cannon we've posed beside through the years of visiting Civil War battlefields on vacations...oh my! It was a beautiful day for a tour! Walking past the Confederate Earthworks to get to Cheatham's Hill: Cheatham's Hill area...the Dead Angle and the Illinois Memorial. You can read more about this here: Below: Looking towards the battlefield, site of probably the most intense fighting on the Kennesaw line in June, 1864: A group of young re-enactors hoisting the American flag and charging up the hill: After all the battlefield action, everyone was ready for a picnic lunch. Here we are enjoying the mid-day meal with our friends: Our group near the Gazebo in Glover Park in Marietta Square listening to Mr. Potter: And another view in the beautiful Marietta Square: We continued on to the Marietta Museum of History:One of the many interesting exhibits in the Marietta Museum was this old-time Westinghouse iron below. It caught my eye because I worked at Westinghouse for almost ten years before I met Tom: Our last tour stop of the afternoon was Oakland Cemetery. It was quite a lovely place with the spring-blooming trees and flowers on the property: We listened to another lecture here in front of the memorial for the Confederate dead: Here I am with my blog friend Victoria in front of the sleeping lion memorial to the unknown Confederate dead: We ended the day with a lecture on the Great Awakening in the Tennessee regiment and a delicious meal at the Marietta Diner: ~Deb
"Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death." ~ Psalm 48:12 - 14