Beautiful Country Wedding in California

Under stormy skies and a tornado warning, we waited for our flight to leave Boston last week.  Headed west towards that sun and to a dear friend's wedding!

Mostly, we were there to help with the wedding, but we were able to spend a bit of time with my brother and his family.  Here's Colette and my adorable niece doing California right...poolside.

We enjoyed REAL Mexican food (a bit scarce in New Hampshire) at the little Mexican place I've been frequenting since high school.  Yum!

Then it was up to the hills to stay with our friends and a whirlwind of days getting ready for the wedding...flower arranging, mentor day, rehearsal, table decorations, and more.  And just like magic (also known as hard work!), everything came together at the last minute for a joyfully memorable day!

Colette was beyond thrilled to be a bridesmaid!

The bride, her friend since childhood, arrived by horsedrawn carriage.  A true fairy tale entrance! (For details about wedding site and wedding coordinator, see bottom of posting.)  "Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future." - Proverbs 31:25.

Her uncle piped her down the aisle.

Man and wife!  Goodness, I love this couple!

We were so blessed to be able to be there to witness their vows and share their joy!

On to the reception at the bride's parents' home. Tapas bar dinner and berry cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert. Delicious!  And there was dancing!

Two days later, we were back in New England.  Happy to be home. Catching up on sleep and laundry. 

If you live in, or are getting married in southern California, the details to create such a beautiful and memorable wedding are as follows:

Wedding Coordinator: Cherie Riley Weddings

Summer Game Plan

Am I the only one who doesn't like the term "bucket list"?  There's something sort of sadly morbid about it to me, even if it's something as simple as a seasonal bucket list.  So, in searching about for an alternative word or term for this posting, I wasn't having much success.  Summer Agenda?  Ugh.  Who wants an "agenda" for the summer?  And synonyms for agenda are: schedule, timetable, line-up, to-do list.  Hmm...all quite evoking the opposite of how you want summer to feel.  Then I hit on it - Summer Game Plan!


A game plan with no pressure to win, but just to savor the moments!

travel to California for a wedding
host guests several times
go to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
outdoor concerts with picnic dinners
berry picking
homemade ice cream
sewing for the shop for Christmas
fire pit evenings with friends and s'mores
time in the hammock
4th of July parade
In-n-Out burger while in California
go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
finish reading "Crime and Punishment"
farmers' markets
Italian sodas

What's on your summer game plan?

Details and Sweetness

We're headed out west for a wedding soon, so this week's been full of pre-vacation details...returned the first new dress after finding one I liked better, needed jewelry to go with the new dress (if you give a mouse a understand, right?), hubby needed new tennis shoes, last minute gift buying, a mad scramble to get the gift in the mail...and on and on.

And in the midst of all these busy details, there have been such sweet moments!  Like yesterday and today when I help Felicity with the new baby and my other three adroable, stair step grandkids!

And the peonies!  The pink peonies are finally blooming!  Don't they just take your breath away?

Simple Summer Grilled Dinner

Last night, we grilled our entire dinner on the true summer style!  Super simple. And the best part is: you get three meals from one grilling!  Here's how to do it:

MEAL #1:
1.) Marinate 12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves in the morning.  Really, you can use any marinade recipe you like.  Marinades are not an exact science, so just use your best judgement and toss the following ingredients in a large Ziploc bag: olive oil, a vinegar (white wine works well), a spoonful of a good mustard, chopped fresh herbs, minced garlic, kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper.  And if that's too much to think about, my other favorite go-to marinade is Girard's Champagne Dressing.  Italian dressing works well too.  Add chicken breasts and marinate all day.

2.) At dinnertime, fire up your grill and get chicken grilling while you work on the vegetables.

3.) For the veggies, you will need: 2 zucchini, 1 bunch of asparagus, and 1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms (I chose the largest ones I could find).  Slice off the ends of the zucchini, and then slice them lengthwise into 1/4"-thick slices. Scrub the mushrooms. Take all the veggies and toss them in a drizzle of olive oil.

4.) When the chicken is nearing done, add the vegetables to the grill, sprinkling them with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.

5.) Take one loaf of garlic cibatta bread and slice lengthwise and butter lightly.  Add to grill until heated through and slightly charred.

Voila! An entire grilled dinner for four (reserving six of the chicken breasts for another meal).  You should have leftover bread and vegetables too!

MEAL #2 - Pasta meal using your leftovers:
1.) Start a big pot of salted water boiling, and cook penne pasta (enough to serve four) al dente.

2.) Chop all your leftover veggies from Meal #1 into bite-size pieces. Sliced three of remaining chicken breasts into bite-size pieces.

3.) Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the remaining 1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms (chopped) and cook until tender.  When the mushrooms are almost done, toss in about 2 cups of fresh spinach.  Then add all your chopped leftover veggies and chicken and heat through.

4.) Drain pasta.  Add hot veggies-chicken medley to the hot pasta and serve topped with large shavings of Parmesan cheese.

MEAL #3 - Make a chef salad using all your remaining leftover chicken, and adding vegetables per your taste.

Bon appetit!  Happy summer feasting!

4th of July Hats!

The classic newspaper hat just got updated and is in the shop in time for 4th of July! They are made to order, and three styles are available for you to choose.  But don't procrastinate, because I've got a vacation coming up and will get all orders in the mail before I leave.  So, please place orders by June 18th!  Click here to go see them in the shop!

Gardening Time

Last weekend, we powered through and got the garden all planted and ready to grow. Colette spent many, many days whacking down saplings in the lower part of the yard, stripping their leaves, and making some fine wattle fencing to border each garden bed.  We love how it looks!  All the plantings were either grown from seed by me, or purchased from local, small-scale organic farms.  Can't wait for everything to grow!

Growing this year: eating tomatoes and plum tomatoes (11 plants in all), yellow and green zucchini, butternut squash, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, lettuces, onions, carrots, eggplant, basil, chives, sage, and parsley.  And growing on the trellis beneath the deck: green beans, cucumbers, and jack-be-littles.

I'm hoping for a great harvest.  Technohubby just wants SALSA!

Walking, Walking, Walking

The weather has been so delicious this spring...mostly temperate with gusty breezes keeping the bugs at bay.  Perfect walking weather!  Walking is my preferred form of exercise...I do a bit of yoga and a bit of zumba, but mostly I like to walk.  This spring, I've really increased my distance.  Some days it's just an easy, one-mile walk with the dog. Other days, I decide on my route, and pick a 2 1/2-, 3 1/2-, or a 4-mile power walk, with the goal being a total of 8 1/2 - 12 miles over the course of the week.  Today, Colette wanted to go too, and she picked a different route of 2 1/2 miles.  The uphill part was a bit grueling, but the view was gorgeous!

Exploring Rockport, Massachusetts

Yesterday, Colette and I took off for another little day of exploration!  I had to make a trip into Boston for some supplies for the shop, so we started the day at L.A. Burdick...chocolate, pastries, and hot chocolate!

Then we headed north to Rockport, Massachusetts and its charming historic district, known as Bearskin Neck.  Quaint shops and tourist traps, fudge shops and lobster shacks, ice cream stands and art galleries, beautiful homes and sailboats can all be found in Bearskin Neck.  Enjoy the views!

Welcoming a New Grandson

Walter and Felicity were blessed with their fourth child this weekend!  Our fourth grandbaby!  Welcome to the world, little Ben!  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Exploring Ogunquit

Yesterday, Colette and I took off for a bit of exploration.  She will need to start baking for the opening day of the farmers' market soon, so we decided to go have a bit of fun while she has some time.  She chose Ogunquit, Maine as our destination.

Our plan was to walk at least part of The Marginal Way, a meandering paved path on a bluff, with a sweeping view of the ocean.  My girl at the start of the path!  Love her!

The landscaping of the bordering hotels is just gorgeous!  In late summer, I've seen these same flower beds full of blooming dahlias, but for today it was all about giant allium.

The beaches and ocean here in New England still make me stare in wonder.  Compared to the beaches I grew up with in southern California, there are so few people!  And they're shallow for so far from shore.  All that ocean and not a single boat in sight!  And the air at the beach is so fresh here!  I can't explain that, so if anyone can, please leave and comment and tell me why the beach air in southern California leaves your hair and car sticky, but the beach air here is just fresh.

I enjoyed seeing how everyone seemed to be able to pull up their own little private patch of beach.

A classic New England weathervane.

Then we retraced our steps back to our car, and we drove down to the main part of the beach for a short walk to admire the beach grass, dip our toes in the water, and look for shells.

We then wandered into town and explored a few shops.  This place will definitely be where we stop for a bit to eat in the future.  Although a gourmet food market, they have a hot grill too, and the fabulous aromas coming from there made us hungry!  Great selection of cheeses!  And just look at the flavor of that gelato!

We got refreshing smoothies at a nearby bakery and coffee house and called it a day!  A good day!

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