A thick blanket of fresh snow on the ground is all we need to acknowledge that our property is just teeming with wildlife. I love finding their tracks all over the yard...big tracks, like these, of deer. And the tiny little scritch-scratches of mice and voles.
With my final push of sewing before I turn my full attention to preparing for our trip to England, I just completed two George Washington/Alexander Hamilton costumes for your historical costuming needs! The shop will be closing on April 14th (for my vacation), so don't delay if your child needs one!
This is Maple Weekend in New Hampshire. Sugar shacks around the state are open for visitors...welcoming people to tour their little wooden structures in the woods and sample their syrup. We started the day off with pancakes and maple syrup. Quick tip: buttermilk always makes pancakes better, lighter, and fluffier. Just substitute buttermilk for the milk called for in any recipe.
Then, dodging raindrops and big, sloppy snowflakes, we visited a sugar shack in our town that is run by a family whose roots go back in this town to the 1700's. We traipsed across a mixture of snow and mud to reach the weathered door of the sugar shack.
Just inside, we could barely feel the heat from the wood-fired evaporator, so inched our way ever closer to keep warm.
We were offered homemade donuts to dunk in a sampling of maple syrup. Mmm. A taste of early spring in New England! We peered into the bubbling evaporator and smelled the sticky goodness of the sweet steam rising up and out of the roof.
After chatting with plaid-clad neighbors about weather and sap production and whether or not this is a good year for syrup (it is!), we purchased a pint to carry home.
It's a New England spring tradition I love...a bonding of a community after a long winter. Spring is here!
Neither Colette nor I drink coffee, so no coffee breaks for us. But whenever we go to Boston, we need a late-afternoon chocolate break at L.A. Burdick in the Back Bay area of Boston. Sinfully rich hot chocolate and tempting pastries!
I know this is the time of year that many of your children have historical school events coming up, so I've been working hard at restocking the shop with George Washington/Alexander Hamilton Costumes AND Revolutionary War Soldier Costumes! One just flew off the shelf, but several remain. And do order early, as the shop will be closed from April 15 to early May while I'm on vacation! Click here to view this one.
In January, as a birthday treat, I requested a day in Boston with Colette to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. But the dog needed a minor surgery and then had to be watched while she recuperated, I came down with a head cold, Colette didn't have time off work, snow storm...one thing after another. But we finally made it! And it is ever so lovely! A passionate art collector, Isabella Stewart Gardner amassed an impressive collection, which she housed in her Boston Italianate-style mansion. The home is built around a soaring indoor courtyard.
A violinist was playing in the courtyard while we were there. Every room looks out upon the light-infused atrium, and we found ourselves drawn to the view of it from every room.
Isabella Stewart Gardner was a personal friend of John Singer Sargent, and there are several of his paintings throughout the museum, including this one of the woman herself.
But it was this John Singer Sargent work that enthralled me that day (a small portion of which is shown here). I was captivated by his ability to capture the weight of the fabric in the skirt of the woman's clothing, and yet include the dainty details of her shoes and the glittering bead work on her bodice.
Some of my other favorite works were this pretty redhead and this 14th century stone head...what curls!
Sadly, the museum was the victim of an art heist many years ago. The missing pieces of art, including Rembrandt's only seascape, have never been recovered. Their frames hang empty...awaiting their return.
It was lovely...top to bottom! We will definitely be returning some day!
In a crazy fit of warm weather, the mercury in the thermometer reached 66 degrees today at our home! In February! In New Hampshire! It was all the excuse I needed to throw every window in the house open wide for several hours and let the winter breezes blow all the stale, trapped air right out of here.
Last weekend, Colette made plans for her friend and us to go ice skating on a pond and have a winter picnic. Alas, unseasonably warm temperatures rendered the pond too soggy for skating. But that same warmth made for great winter picnicking weather! We had a simple meal of sandwiches (Black Forest ham, Brie, apple, and arugula on baguette), clementines, coffee, and Colette's famous hot cocoa. Piles of warm wool blankets kept us from getting damp. And we had a gorgeous view of the frozen Connecticut River! It's our favorite picnic spot in all of New England!
It's wintertime and comfort food season! So, looking around for an easy recipe for roast beef that I could put in the crock pot, I combined Ina Garten's Balsamic Roast Beef from her How Easy is That? cookbook AND Brisket with Sweet Mustard Sauce from The Ski House Cookbook. And the end result was delicious!...tender and flavorful and ohhh so comforting!
The combined recipe goes like this:
1/3 c. Dijon mustard
1/3 c. brown sugar
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. kosher salt
1 T. freshly cracked black pepper
2 medium, yellow onions
2 1/2 lb. roast
1 c. beef broth
Quarter onions and scatter onto bottom of crock pot. Rinse roast and place on top of onions.
In small bowl, combine: mustard, brown sugar, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over meat.
Pour beef broth around roast. Cook on low setting for about 4 hours.
We knew today was going to be a crazy Valentine's Day. So crazy, in fact, that for the first time ever, we exchanged Valentines and gift last night. Today was filled with two doctor's appointments, two trips to the pharmacy, work for all three of us, Hubby flying off on a business trip, and me grabbing a quick dinner at Whole Foods. Not exactly a day of fun and romance. BUT, it did start out great! Breakfast for two for the win!
I hope you found joy in the small things today too! Love to you all!