Thursday, June 30, 2011

Around the kitchen and other thoughts...

This cute little tea pot hangs on my kitchen wall.  It reminds me of two things.  Number one, it's always tea time.  And number two, I love roses.  I once read a quote that said "never have anything in your home that you don't love, or believe to be useful".  I guess I'm covered here. 

I was looking around my kitchen this morning and mentally planning out my weekend.  We have a holiday coming up, a family cookout, and also my mother's birthday.  I have lots to do in the kitchen, and frankly - I can't wait.  I love it when I have an "excuse" to spend a little extra at the grocery story and treat my family to something special. 

My mom has requested a blueberry pie this year instead of a cake.  We LOVE blueberry pies in my family, so I will be making a special trip to the farmers market on Saturday morning to get the blueberries.  They are starting to know me by name.  I guess that's not a bad thing....: )

Here is a picture of my favorite flour sifter.  I've only had it a few years but I feel like I've made a million pies with it.  I love the vintage feel it has.  In the fall I keep it out on the kitchen counter as a decoration. It has a recipe for pumpkin pie on it too, but I haven't made it yet.  I will be sifting the flour for my mom's blueberry pie crust with it this weekend, though.  I hope I have this sifter for years, until the pumpkins are worn off and the handle is broke. I'll still love it. 

Two years ago I strayed from my regular recipe and made a blueberry pie that had lemon juice in it.  I did not like it as much.  In fact, that was the general consensus from everyone who tasted it.  This disappointed me because it was Martha (THE Martha) who recommended the lemon juice.  Oh well, you can't win them all I guess.  I decided to go back to my Nana's recipe, which has stood the test of time for decades and I am never disappointed.  She didn't put lemon juice in her blueberry pie, and she was around long before Martha.  This is a picture of a juicer that belonged to my Nana.  My mother gave it to me to have for my kitchen when I got married.  I know there are easier tools out there for juicing today, but I have a soft spot for this juicer.  It's bulky and heavy and old fashioned.  Have you ever had homemade lemonade with mint in it?  I make lemonade every summer just so I can use this juicer.  This is true.  Put a few mint leaves in your next tall, icy glass of lemonade.  Go outside, find a stop of sunshine and enjoy. You will love it.

With the left over pie crust dough I will use these little cuties to make "pocket pies".  I've filled them with everything - cherries, cheese, even nutella.  Individual apple pies are my hubbie's favorite, so I will have to make a few for him. They are also great to make little hart and star sandwiches.  I've done pb&J, egg salad, and cucumber.  I got them for my birthday a few years ago.  I saw them in the window of Williams Sonoma and commented how adorable they were.  A week later my mom mother gave them to me for my birthday.  I didn't know she was listening. Lucky me : )

We are having the birthday celebration on Sunday and I plan on setting a nice table. My hubbie thinks having all this china is crazy because we don't use it.  My response to him is always " but we WILL someday".  Holidays and birthdays are another one of my "excuses" to break out the good dishes. (maybe I shouldn't have used the word "break" - knock wood...)   A lot of people, including Mr. Hubbie, would prefer paper & plastic because of the clean up factor.  I understand this, but I always remember feeling special when my mom set the table with her china and silverware that we only saw a few times a year. I have a mish-mosh of china.  I have the Lenox set I picked out for our wedding, a tea and coffee set from Italy that we received as a wedding gift, and I also have various miscellaneous items that I have picked up at yard sales and second hand stores.  I love it when things don't match and I love owning something that someone else had before me.  I think about it's history and where it's been.  Every spring I take everything out of the china cabinet and wash it until it sparkles.  I think about all the good times we've had over these dishes in the few short years we've had them.  The exciting part is there are many more to come.  Many more birthday's, celebrations, and Christmas dinners.  I have to prove my hubby wrong...wink...: )

Watching over us is my favorite tea cup shelf. Speaking of variety, it's an array of cups that have been given to me over the years by friends and family.  The first one I received was a demitasse cup given to me in high school by my best friend.  That started a love affair with china cups that will never die. The shelf filled up quickly, but the collection is ongoing.  My problem is that I need more wall space. 

As I passed by the kitchen slider, I glanced out to see how all my babies were doing.  All is well.  Soaking up the sun and singing with the birds.  My deck is small and nothing terribly special, but it's home to things I love, which makes it extra special in my eyes. In life I try to focus on the positives and make the most of what I have.  All I'm missing from this deck are twinkle lights across the lattice.  And that's coming soon! Twinkle lights make everything better.

After roaming around the kitchen for awhile thinking about everything from my Nana's blueberry pie, to our 25th wedding anniversary dinner in 2023, which will be served on my china - I needed a breath of fresh air. 

Something amazing happened over the three days that we were in New Hampshire.  The hydrangeas opened!  I've been watching the buds everyday, waiting and waiting....and they have finally popped.  Beautiful blue, white, aqua, and lavender petals have arrived.  I'm in hydrangea heaven right now.

Hydrangea's are always the star of the yard, aren't they?  They are so big and bold, yet so soft and beautiful.  I ran into the house to get my clippers and vase.  I have to bring some inside to cheer up the kitchen.  That's the best part of growing flowers - being your own florist.   

This rose bush also opened while we were gone.  I don't know the variety of this rose, but it's different from the other ones we have. It's survived many a strong, New England winter, so I give it a lot of credit. Kind of like all of us.  Every winter we bury ourselves inside where it's warm and cozy, until the sun comes out again and we can bask in it's warmth.  I guess mother nature has the same plan for all beings. Whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

The inpatients in my flower box are doing well. I check them every morning as I rush out the door to work.  Before long they will be peeping over the concrete, and by August I will see a mound of color and hardly any concrete at all. 

Here is a yellow rose bush that we thought was dead.  Hubby had plans to rip it out, then one day we saw a green leaf.  I was so excited to see signs of life in this little mother's day gift.  We've been taking good care of it, and I hope it will thank us with beautiful yellow roses. 

This is a statue that  that sits in my front yard.  I had it long before I had my son, but now when I look at it I see him and I.  A mother duck smooching her baby duck.  It's also ironic that he thinks this statue belongs to him.  In fact he thinks everything belongs to him - but in a way it does, so that's ok by me.  I love ducks and I love him.

Back inside I want to give you a sneak peak of something else I'm working on....

I went to Michael's last week and got these white flip flops for $1.  I thought it would be so cute to embellish them.  I got two flower sequin appliques in the sewing section for $2 and a box of silver sequins for $2.50. It took me a long time to pick out these sequins.  Have you ever been to the bead isle in Michael's? So many choices!  I must have changed me mind ten times!  However, in the process I got lots of other ideas.  I think I feel a new obsession coming on.... but one thing at a time.

I'll be working on these this week after my little guy goes to bed.  The flower appliques are a beautiful aqua color that I am crazy for.  Can't wait till they are done. 

Before going to bed I stepped outside to take a big breath of fresh air.  This is something I do first thing in the morning - sometimes before the sun comes up - and right before I go to bed. I count the stars in the sky, fill my lungs with air, and thank God I'm alive.  There were no stars out tonight, but the night sky was a beautiful haze of midnight blue.  Hopefully the stars will be back tomorrow night.  My favorite sky is a winter sky.  Cold, frosty, & sparkly.  I'll have to wait for that though.  Tonight was warm and a little humid, but I loved the moon glow that was coming up from behind the trees.  I find the night sky comforting. It's the same for all of us, even though we may be miles and miles apart.  I'll sleep well thinking of my loved ones, far, far away.

I'll be back in a few days with my blueberry pie recipe and also show you my "new shoes" once they are done. 

Sleep well everyone. Have a great week!



  1. Awesome job. I can smell the flowers

  2. Your hydrangeas are just lovely - one of my favourite flowers. Just remember - you can never have too much china - you never know when it will come in handy! Have a great weekend.