This past weekend brought the close of summer and the start of autumn. The colors and blossoms of summer are now waning and the start of fall’s riot of color is upon us.
I was fortunate to have many opportunities this summer to visit garden centers nearby and enjoy the beauty of flowers. Flowers always seem to attract my attention while taking a bike ride, going for a walk or driving in the car. I’ve been practicing taking snapshots with my Canon SX50 HS and my iPhone 5 and I try to capture images of the flowers that are unusual, vibrant in color and my personal favorites.
Fall has started on Sunday and I’ll continue to enjoy walks near the river by our home, visit garden centers and take short trips to capture the change of the season. I will share with you some of my favorite snapshots and hope they will bring you joy as they do for me.
Let’s say goodbye to some of summer’s beauties: “Summer Glow” tamarix ramosissima, “Sights of Summer” dahlia hybrid and “Endless Summer” hydrangea macrphylla.
This past Sunday my husband and I checked out “Vintage Garage Chicago” and spent 2 1/2 hours perusing all the stalls. I came home with a beautiful floral frog. I’m not sure if I’ll use it for it’s original intention. I think it has a beautiful shape and just might keep it on my writing desk to remind me about another frog.
Well, not just one particular frog but three of them. You see, a few years back, I had the pleasure of being the camp counselor for a troop of Frogs, or “Varles” (frogs in Lithuanian). My “Varles” have since grown up to become successful, wonderful women in their own right. I’m so happy I see them often and they still don’t mind, I don’t think, when I still refer to them as my “Varles” and how we earned the “Shopping Merit Badge” in Michigan (chuckle). I’m so proud of them.
Today is garbage pick up day in my neighborhood. Normally, after a string of warm days, taking out the trash would be an unpleasant task. Lucky for me, neither of the trash receptacles were full so they stayed in the garage, safe from pesky local raccoons.
I did, however, take out the two blue recycle bins from the side of the house to the end of the driveway. On the way, I was met by a most wonderful perfume in the air. Two separate lilac bushes are in full bloom and their fragrance is just wonderful. I’m so happy that both are doing so well as last year, they got confused by the early warm weather in March. I’m still waiting for the lilac bush in the back yard to come to full bloom. I particularly like this lilac because it is white and not lavender in color. During this time of spring, the “back wall” of my yard is starting to fill out in greenery and the white lilac has a chance to really stand out and show off it’s beauty.
This weekend will mark the 59th annual Lilac Parade at a nearby town of Lombard, Il. The centerpiece of the town is Lilacia Park, the home of 1,200 lilacs. The park is a wonderful place to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the lilac. This parade is VERY popular with local residents who on Saturday, already stake out their viewing area curbside by placing their folding chairs and blankets to ensure their perfect spot. The parade takes place on the third Sunday in May and travels down Main Street. When our girls were much younger, we would attend the parade after Sunday services. They met their friends and waited until they could catch candy from the parade participants. Family BBQ’s would start after the parade to continue the day’s festivities.
I hope that wherever you may live, you have the time to enjoy the fragrance of blooming lilacs and attend a lilac parade. If not, enjoy the beautiful spring flowers in your area and send me some pictures. I just love spring flowers.
Today I slept in late, I woke up at 8AM! I could not believe I had slept in. I could not say specifically why this occurred but was happy that it did. The morning greeted me with intermittent sunshine, a bird opera and our two daughter’s who were starting to get ready for another school day.
Most of the morning was spent drinking coffee and reading numerous blogs that I follow. I came across a potato salad recipe by Ina Garten (Food Network.com) and decided I’ll make it tomorrow along with a beet salad (a variation of my Mom’s recipe) and quinoa tabbouleh (Bonappetit.com June 2012). I’ve been asked by my sister-in-law to prepare these dishes for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday party this Saturday. The party will be attended by various family members and friends from near and far to celebrate her very special day.
I set out for shopping early in the afternoon to DSW. I had some birthday cash to flash and had received a DSW “$20 off a purchase off $49 or more” and was ready to find a pair of new walking shoes. I was so happy to find a pair of Asics that were reduced 40% today and they fit with my custom inserts. By the time all the discounts were subtracted, I paid only $33.96!
I was thrilled with my purchase and felt like my birthday celebration was still continuing.
Onward to Woodman’s for the fresh ingredients needed for the above mentioned recipes. I decided with some of my left over birthday $ to purchase potted herbs. They’ll come in handy tomorrow and the rest of the summer. I plan to keep them outdoors in a birdcage next to the house. I’m hoping that all the potted herbs will have sufficient sunshine and will be out of reach of the cat which likes to chew on the leaves. Of course, I want the herbs to be far away from any raccoons that come to our yard during the night.
I’m looking forward to this weekend for many reasons, my mother-in-law’s birthday celebration, Mother’s Day and most of all, time with family. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family and I’m thankful everyday. Although we are not large in number, our love for each other is boundless.
May all of you who are celebrating Mother’s Day and any other special celebrations this weekend, be filled with joy and love.
Thursday is a day I look forward to for several reasons, one of which is that I visit a small business in the Tri-Cities area. Today, I had the pleasure of having a treat at The Sugar Path (www.thesugarpath.com). My youngest daughter encouraged me to have some coffee here because according to her, “this place is adorable, has fantastic coffee and superb cupcakes”. I met with one of the owners/bakers who explained to me she and her sister started this innovative dessert boutique last December, 1 day before the Geneva Christmas Walk. How ambitious! The shop is very inviting with many cupcake choices which include Signature, Specialty, Super Tap and Feature Cupcake flavors. In addition, they do make pies.
After our short chat, I sat down to enjoy my Breakfast Blend coffee and the “Well Polished’ cupcake named after a local business, “Well Polished”. The “Well Polished” cupcake’s ingredients include champagne infused white cake filled with a blackberry preserve, frosted with a blackberry and champagne buttercream and topped off with a sugar rolled fresh blackberry. All I can say is “yum”.
I know that this sister/baker team will be successful and that I will be coming back to taste another delicious cupcake. Do you have a local small business eatery that you frequent? What makes you come back?
Today I’m with my mother at a local casino, she’s gambling at the penny slots while I’m reading and writing. She wanted to come today because she had a voucher for a free buffet lunch. She was so excited to try different foods that she normally would not prepare at home or try at a restaurant. She liked everything and said it was “so fancy”. I asked her what she meant by that and stated everything was “pretty” which equated to “fancy”. For me, there was nothing new to try but was happy with the salad selections and the raspberry mousse ( picture attached).
As I mentioned before, she is gambling (up $125.00) and I’m reading my favorite blogs which include cooking blogs. As I’m reading, I’m thinking about comfort food that my Mom makes for my sister’s and myself. She can make hot Farina cereal better than I can. I recall when we were younger, we would decorate the top of our cereal bowl, my middle sister would make concentric circles of sultanas so she would get one with each bite while I would pour a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon to completely cover the surface so I would also have the sugary goodness with each bite. She can prepare delicious crepes like no other. They are a big hit with all her grandchildren. After she is done gambling today, I will have cold borscht, lovingly made by my Mama, waiting for me At her home. I know it will be super delicious and refreshing.
Although I appreciate my Mom inviting me to the free buffet, her simple foods are my favorite comfort foods, good any day of the week. Ačiū Mama (thanks Mom).
Do you prepare comfort foods for others or are you the recipient? I’d like to hear what are your favorites.