A Tour of Connecticut Country House

On Sunday afternoon, Colette and I traveled down to Connecticut to tour Nora Murphy's Connecticut Country House! What a thrill to meet Nora Murphy! A source of ongoing inspiration to me with her heartfelt New England style, her blog, Facebook, Instagram account, and online magazine are among my very favorites!


Her lovely home was part of the Newtown Connecticut Historical Society's Home & Garden tour. Nora and her husband, known to her readers as "Murph", guided small groups of visitors through each room, narrating about the history of the room, its furnishings and collections, and how they use each room now. Her photos are far superior to mine, so I heartily encourage you to pop over to her blog, Nora Murphy Country House, and see their home through her eyes, and I'll just share a few photos here.


Every room is light-filled, welcoming, and has that effortless grace that just makes you feel instantly at home. Two rooms, however, were my favorites: the larger dining room and the family/TV room.

Dining rooms always make me happy, because they mean good food, friends, and cherished memories. And a well-set table is just a thing of beauty!



I also loved the intimacy of the family room, with its cozy cluster of wing back chairs. The many windows flooded the room with light and invited views of the lawn and gardens outside. And what a spectacular, soaring hollyhock!


And lastly, one of our favorite predominating features of Nora and Murph's home were the personal touches which evoke memories for their family, like this jumbo glass vase filled with shells collected from vacations to the Cape and Nantucket.


If you missed the tour, don't miss her blog and e-magazine! Inspiration with every turn of the page! It was a joy to meet you, Nora!

Patriotic Celebration

Less than 24 hours after returning home from Max's graduation, we threw him a party to celebrate his accomplishment and give him a chance to reconnect with friends who have supported him through the process with the prayers and letters.

When you throw a party together when you were just out of state, you have to be really organized before you go. All the food and beverages purchased. Bags of ice in the extra freezer. And everything nautical and patriotic on hand with which to decorate! Fun, fun!






Proud Coastie mom and sisters!




-- MENU --

fire pit roasted hot dogs
grilled hamburgers
red, white, and blue potato chips/onion dip
chips and salsa
marinated mozzarella balls
sliced cantaloupe and honeydew melons
fresh watermelon
artisan sodas
Cape May salt water taffy
s'mores



And we ended the night with lawn games, red/white/blue glow necklaces for the kiddos, and sparklers for everyone!


Coast Guard Graduation

As promised, here are some pictures from Max's Coast Guard graduation ceremony! I cannot begin to tell you how excited we were to see him! After eight l-o-n-g weeks of almost no contact, the anticipation of being able to see him, hug him, and celebrate his accomplishment with him had me giddy, teary, and filled with pride!

After a breakfast hosted by the Coast Guard, we watched his company march.


Then we gathered in the auditorium for the ceremony.


And it was there that we got our first glimpse of him. As the tallest person in his company, standing at 6'6", he was chosen to carry the U.S. flag as part of the color guard. SO proud!


His grandfather, as a Navy veteran, was able to give him his graduation certificate. What a proud moment! Tears flowed!



Indescribable happiness and pride that he has chosen to serve our country!


Then we moved on into the town of Cape May, New Jersey for a celebratory lunch at The Blue Pig Tavern at Congress Hall. Congress Hall is Cape May's oldest hotel, dating to 1816. We loved it's grand and patriotic entrance!





"Fair winds and following seas" to our Coastie!


Farewell Dinner


Tonight was Max's farewell dinner. He leaves for his new station with the Coast Guard tomorrow morning. So, it was his favorite meal...and small bread plates with a patriotic theme...and goodbye hugs...and pouring out advice (both serious and funny). 

So proud of him! So filled with joy to see God blessing his hard work! And SO thrilled he's not going to be too far away! "Fair winds and following seas" to Max!

Mrs. Flexibility

When this year started, I knew it was going to be one of big changes. And it has not disappointed. I also knew that such big changes would require, particularly of me, a lot of flexibility. Mrs. Flexibility was going to have to be my name until the end of June.

We had houseguests who may, or may not, have been coming. They didn't, but beds were prepared and ready for them. No worries. I'm flexible.

Colette gave up her baking business, and went to work for someone besides herself for the first time ever. She loves her new job! But currently she shares my car, so that requires a lot of scheduling gyrations on my part...and sometimes on everyone's part. But I'm flexible.

My business has been booming this year! I set a monetary goal for the first time ever, and am happy to report that I exceeded it. But more business and big projects meant a move out of the tiny sewing area that shared the laundry room and a move upstairs into the (now) unused schoolroom. Ahhh...room to stretch! Why didn't I do this a long time ago?

We went to California for a fabulous wedding and vacation! That was fun!

Max went off to boot camp with the U.S. Coast Guard. This was the biggest change of all...another chick flown the coop. *sniffle* Mrs. Flexibility didn't really want to bend this much. All that adjusting to being three of us at home instead of four was hard. And being unable (per Coast Guard rules) to communicate with him save a few, brief times, was the hardest part. But I'm happy to report that THIS happened late last week! He graduated!


I was all geared up to travel with him to help him set up housekeeping wherever he got stationed. But he got stationed less than four hours from us! (And you can bet I am one happy mama about that!) So, my relocating help is not needed, even though my calendar was cleared. No worries. I'm flexible.

And often these days, Hubby and I find just ourselves and the dog at home. Colette is at work, and Max has been gone. It's pretty quiet around here. We almost feel like empty nesters at times.

So, forgive me if I haven't been a consistent blogger. There's been a lot of bending and stretching and changing and adjusting happening in our home this year. And in ways, that spills over to my blog. Who am I and what do I blog about? But in the end, although I'm not a homeschooling mom anymore, I am still a: wife, mom, grandmom, homemaker, small business woman, dressmaker, lover of history, dog mom, cook, gardener, and passionate explorer of New England. I just hope to blog more consistently about those things now that these six months of living as Mrs. Flexibility are about to come to an end.

Lunch...Spanish Style

When we were staying with my parents, we spent a delightful afternoon shopping at one of my favorite shops and having an al fresco lunch in the courtyard of the Mission Inn.
Built just after the turn of the century and over a period of 30 years, it is considered the largest Mission Revival Style building in the United States. A southern California landmark for centuries, it has hosted a dozen U.S. presidents and an impressive list of notable persons, ranging from John D. Rockefeller to Helen Keller to Cary Grant!




After lunch, we meandered around the inn a bit and sat and enjoyed the lobby.



When I was a kid, the doors to this chapel were left open, with a velvet cord to keep the curious outside. But, unfortunately, the doors are kept locked today, so we were unable to see the beautiful gold chapel with its altar made from 18-k gold leaf. It is a sight to behold!


Of Lavender, and Olives, and Oaks

On one particularly enjoyable California day, our friends took us to the Highland Springs Resort in Cherry Valley. 



Despite living in California for most of our lives, Colette and I had never been there before. (Hubby had returned to New Hampshire at this point...work calls.) In existence since the mid-19th century, the resort was gradually expanded until it became a popular destination for the rich and famous. Among its notable visitors were: Albert Einstein, Roy Rogers, Bob Hope, Ernest Hemingway, and Elizabeth Taylor. Today, it is a: hotel, restaurant, wedding venue, organic farm, and lavender fields.

We began our exploration of the property by walking down this lovely pine allee to the lavender fields.


We were fortunate that our visit coincided with some of the lavender being in bloom. So many pretty shades of green too!






Leaving the beauty of the lavender, we walked through the olive groves. Such big olive trees...they must be quite old. Although it was a rather warm day, it was cool in the olive grove. The resort presses its olives to make olive oil.


We walked past blooming cacti and fields of mustard to reach a 100-year old oak tree on the property. It is reputed to be the second oldest oak in California. 







Beyond the oak is this view! Sooo beautiful in that old west way! It just took my breath away, as it reminded me of the untouched California of my childhood. Not the California of urban sprawl, endless strip malls, and unceasing traffic, but the California that still had rolling hills of open space covered with golden waving grass.


Hot and thirsty, we meandered back to the resort's restaurant and ordered a delicious lunch. I ordered a salad with their own lavender-balsamic dressing and roasted tomato soup (shown here with Colette's lavender lemonade).



If you live in southern California, or are just visiting, I highly recommend you stop in at the Highland Springs Resort!
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