Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pancake Warmer

Several months ago, I was running through an antique store looking for something specific, which I didn't find, when my eye was caught by this lovely china dish.  I immediately loved the sweet rose pattern, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what the dish was supposed to be used for!

Finally, I asked and was told that it is a pancake warmer/keeper.  The holes on the top of the dish let out the steam from the pancakes so that they don't get soggy.  As soon as I heard "pancakes" I was sold since pancakes are a family favorite and possibly Harris' favorite food ever.  

I love that we've used this pretty, delicate china dish on the most casual of mornings and that it survives (so far) Harris' grabbing of pancake after pancake.  And guess what?  It really does keep our pancakes warm while sitting at the table or while some are still being made.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Phillies vs Braves

From the time that Bryce and I were in college and the Braves had their amazing worst to first year, we've counted ourselves as Braves fans.  However, when we moved away from Atlanta, we thought we should support a more local team as well.  Therefore, our children have grown up as Phillies fans! My sister's family (and my Mom!) have stayed true to the Braves and so it was fun for us all to go to a recent Braves vs. Phillies matchup.

Bryce caught a foul ball!  Of course, Harris now treasures that ball!

It was the Phanatic's birthday so they were giving out socks to all the children.

The Phillies won, but just barely!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Favorite Thing #48

I stopped using laundry softener a while ago as I kept reading that it might do more harm than good to our clothes.  Last year, my sister gave me Woolzies Dryer balls and I've been extremely happy with them.  They are billed as a "natural fabric softener" and are made from 100% pure wool.  I put three of them in the dryer at a time, and I've noticed that our clothes are definitely softer when I use them as compared to when I forget to pop them in.  They also seem to help with static and drying time!  I haven't tried putting essential oils on them for scent, but I've read that people do it with some success; I'm just not up to taking that extra step!

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Place for Seeds

Several weeks ago, I began planting the garden with cool season crops!  I'm so excited to watch the little seedlings emerge and grow.  I'm planting more things from seed this year and found that I was having a hard time keeping track of all the seed packets thrown in our "junk drawer."

My solution has been to use a recipe box that my father-in-law, Al, made and that I've had for many years.  It works perfectly!  I got index card alphabetical dividers, and I simply file away the seed packet, along with notes on the plant.  I love finding a new use for something!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Favorite Things #47

I've written before about classic pieces of ones wardrobe, and I think most of us would consider a little black dress an essential piece.  I have an A line black dress that I got years ago that I still wear (that's the beauty of A line!) but last fall I purchased a vintage black cocktail dress that I love.

I find that the fit and flare type of dresses do really well on my figure (pear) and this beauty fit the bill.  I wore it to Christmas parties and recently to an event for Bryce's company.  I love the details on this dress, the velvet bodice and the pleated skirt, which is all the better for twirling!  Plus, it's pretty hard to beat the quality!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Shenandoah National Park

 After Monticello, we headed to Shenandoah National Park for a couple of days.  Heading into this vacation we knew that it was very likely that Shenandoah would not have awakened from winter yet and so we weren't at all sure what we would find.  There were signs of spring if one looked closely enough and though it was chilly at times, it certainly wasn't too cold to enjoy time outdoors.  We arrived at the park after a rainstorm and as we drove Skyline Drive to the campground (it took almost two hours!) we encountered dense, beautiful fog.

Our first evening, at about 2 in the morning, a thunderstorm rolled in that was one of the most intense storms I've been in!  In fact, I laid in bed wondering how on earth I had never researched the safety of being in a metal box during a lightening storm!?!  Fortunately, it stopped raining the next morning and we were able to get out of doors!

Our first full day, we spent the day hiking to two waterfalls; Rose River Falls and Dark Hollow Falls. The waterfalls were beautiful as all the rain had supplied lots of rushing water!  As we hiked, I thought how lucky we were to see the park during this time of year instead of during its summer glory.  I suspect we will see it during peak season at some point, but seeing it shrouded in fog was beautiful and undeniably special.

The morning before we left we were able to fit in another hike to Lewis Falls, which was not as glorious of a hike as the previous day but special nonetheless.

Ok, I had to add this picture because it cracks me up.  So often we see magazine or blog worthy pictures that make camping look ideal.  Usually it involves enamelware coffee mugs (which we have), dinners in cast iron skillets cooked over a fire (which we do), and a perfectly dressed camper with a wool blanket thrown over their shoulders (which we also have) but here's our reality on this evening... us huddled around a muddy fire reading Harry Potter while wrapped in a fleece blanket and a strangely deformed hat due to a ponytail underneath.  What you can't see is the vast amount of water droplets forming on the tree branches from the low clouds that eventually drove us inside because we were getting soaked!

Friday, April 17, 2015


After we left Charleston, we headed up to visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  Ever since I saw pictures of the kitchen garden I've long wanted to visit his estate.  I was surprised at how much we enjoyed the visit.  Harris, who wasn't thrilled with the idea of a house tour, pronounced in the middle of the tour how cool and interesting it really was. So I counted that as a win.

Besides the house tour, no pictures allowed, we went on a "about slavery at Monticello" tour which I think was educational for all of us.  Though it's not a proud moment in our history, it is our history and I think we can't make changes unless we openly and honestly talk about our past.  The picture below is of Mulberry Row and a reconstructed cabin where up to 10 slaves might have lived!

Even though the gardens were barely getting started for the season, I very much enjoyed wandering the amazing kitchen garden.  I want to be sure to go back at a time when it is in full swing.

The family burial plot is actually still in use by the family.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Charleston and the Best of Friends

From Richmond we headed down to Charleston, South Carolina to visit our dear friends.  Until last fall, I had never before been to Charleston but I have fallen hard for this charming southern city, and it doesn't hurt that one of our very favorite families now calls it home.

Weatherford has been Bryce's best friend since they met in college.  In many ways they couldn't be more different, but I think that's what makes it work so easily.  When Holle joined our circle she only made things better and more interesting.  They are truly salt of the earth people and some of the very best parents I know, which is evident within 5 minutes of being around their children.

We were lucky to get to spend Easter with them at a service at Boone Plantation.  The weather was beautiful and everything was starting to bloom!

For the two and a half days we had with Weatherford, Holle and the children we explored their city and enjoyed spending time together!  It was the sort of time together that feeds the soul and we are so thankful for it and for them.

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