Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Blessing of Friends

I drove down to the city where I grew up yesterday to take my girlfriend, Sandy, out to lunch for her birthday.  We've been friends since we were in 7th grade, and that's a very l-o-n-g time!  ;-) We were so busy talking and catching up on each other's news that I forgot to ask our waitress to take our picture.

I bought a small decorated cake for our dessert and even took a candle to light, but the waitress said with COVID no desserts brought in from outside sources were allowed.  So I sent the cake home with Sandy to enjoy with her hubby.  As we were driving back to Sandy's house, I got the idea to stop at an iconic Frozen Custard stand in Wyandotte for our dessert.  It's been in business since 1947 and was practically in my backyard growing up. Everybody in Wyandotte and surrounding cities knows about Bob-Jo's.

While we were enjoying our ice cream treat, another girlfriend that I've known since grade school walked up to my car window.  She and her hubby [also a grade school classmate] were there enjoying a frozen custard too.  I couldn't let the opportunity pass without taking a picture.  Elaine said they're preparing to move to Florida next month, so I'm in the process of planning a luncheon for her and a few other classmates.  It was a very enjoyable day!

[L-R: Me, Elaine, Sandy]

[Dan and Elaine]

Now to bring this post around to tea...   I belong to a Facebook group called Afternoon Tea Across America [ATAA], and they share the most interesting topics related to tea.  I've discovered there's always something new to learn in the world of tea.

Last week one of the members shared a picture of a 'Teapoy' she recently acquired.  I had never heard of a teapoy before much less seen a picture of one.  A teapoy is a small pedestal table or stand that holds a tea caddy.  They were popular among England's upper class during the 19th century.  Below is a photo of the teapoy the lady on ATAA recently acquired.

According to the comments posted, most of us were unfamiliar with them and were drooling over it.  My friend Angela McRae of Tea With Friends blog said, "Pretty sure I'm gonna need one of these now in order to live a normal life."  ;-)   I thought the same thing until I Googled them and discovered they're very pricy [$2,000 and upwards] and since most of them come from England there's shipping on top of that.  But isn't it beautiful!  

I pulled one of my tea books out and sure enough, one was featured.   How did I miss it?  Are you familiar with teapoys?

I'll be content with my two antique tea caddies that I got in 2011 and 2016 even if they aren't on a beautiful pedestal stand.  

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Saturday Happenings

Have you ever wished you could be two places at once?  That was me yesterday. 

We've lived in our house 42 years, and our neighbor has been in theirs just as long. We've experienced a lot of life together during those years.  Yesterday, the youngest daughter got married. COVID-19  made the wedding plans very challenging.  The date was changed once, and the couple decided to proceed with their second date, but the church ceremony and reception would be limited to the bridal party, God parents, and family members.  

It's an Italian/Polish family, so the Polish custom of a "music greeting" at the home of the bride before the church ceremony was arranged.  A band ensemble performed tunes for the bride, her family, and attendants as they prepared to leave for the church.  

Yesterday was a big day for me at The Whitney with the Teas and Trees event at 11:00 a.m. and Afternoon Tea at 2:00 p.m.  I left for work at 9:00 a.m., so I missed the pre-wedding festivities, but my hubby took pictures for me to see when I got home.

Since everybody loves a wedding I thought I'd share some of the pictures with you.  Below is the three piece band ensemble playing on the front porch of my neighbor's home.

The bride leaving her house with her sister behind her.

Below is my sweet neighbor and mother-of-the-bride.  Her husband [the bride's father] passed away two years ago, and his car remains a treasured family possession.  It only comes out of the garage for short drives to keep the engine running smoothly, but it was the vehicle that transported his daughter to the church.  A very touching way to honor his memory on the wedding day.

The Teas and Trees event was enjoyed by 37 attendees.  They were seated in Mrs. Whitney's bedroom and sitting room, daughter Catherine's bedroom, and Mr. Whitney's bedroom [all second floor dining rooms now].

Whitney co-owner, Patrick Liebler, and his wife, Ann, were there to chat with the guests and Pat shared how his vision for the blending and development of White Pine Needle Tea at The Whitney began.  Three blends of White Pine Needle Teas were introduced to the guests. An informal vote [show of hands] was taken to see which blend they liked the best.  Forest blend seemed to be the most popular [pine needles with dried persimmons and elderberries], but management will decide which one[s] will be offered at Afternoon Tea. Mary Jones, tea blender for The Whitney, was also present.

Mrs. Whitney bedroom, the largest dining room on the second floor, seated 17 guests all 'socially distanced'. 

One of those guests was Amy, a follower of my blog.  It was so nice seeing you again, Amy!

Each guest received a bag containing White Pine Needle tea, 25% off vouchers for Afternoon Tea and a White Pine seedling from Stempky Tree Farm for planting and participating in the David Whitney reforestation commitment.  It was a fun event!

Monday, September 14, 2020

First Day Back to Work

Children recently prepared for their first day back to school, but I prepared for my first day back to work on Saturday, the 12th.  We welcomed 34 guests to Afternoon Tea at the Whitney, so we're off to a great start.  I've decided I did far too much sitting while scanning and editing those 1,200 old photos, viewing countless negatives, and creating five Shutterfly albums during the five months I was off on COVID-19 shutdown.  In short, I really got out of shape!  I made it through Saturday just fine, but my legs have been protesting ever since!  Muscles were used that have been inactive.  I love my job for several reasons, and one is exercise.

My hubby took my picture before I left for work on Saturday morning [just like I used to do for my kids on their first day of school! ;-)].  My top looks sparkly, but it's really tiny white polka-dots.

I ordered a new pair of black semi-dress Clarks shoes with underfoot cushion for comfort and a 1-inch heel, but they're not comfortable when standing/walking for 4 1/2 hours non-stop on mosaic tiled floors.   I ordered myself a pair of black nurse's shoes this morning!

I recently got a new pair of glasses.  I've worn an assortment of wire frames for years, so decided to get something very different this time.  

And the newest accessory... face masks.  I've tried four different styles, and all of them fog my glasses.  They make me sweat too, but I know they're necessary so I'll work through the challenge.  Below is the one I bought to wear on Saturday.

I thought it was ironic when I saw the inside tab that said 'made in China'.   The country responsible for spreading the COVID-19 virus around the world is now profiting by selling face masks! If I would have known it was made in China before I purchased it, I wouldn't have bought it!

For local readers... The Whitney is having a Teas and Trees event this Saturday, Sept. 19th from 11:00 - 1:30.  The cost is $25.  White Pine Needle herbal tea is very healthy, so owner, Pat Leibler, asked our tea blender, Mary Jones of Intu Tea, to create some blends that will be exclusive to The Whitney.  Guests will be sampling 'Forest' blend [Eastern White Pine and Mason Pine needles with dried elderberries and persimmons] and 'Twist of Pine' [two pine needles blended with Assam black tea with lemon flavoring].  Both will be served hot.  The third tea 'Gathering Pines' [two pine needles mixed with Lemon Lime Soda and Vodka] will be served cold as a cocktail.  Snacks will also be served throughout the tasting.  You can make reservations online by visiting The Whitney website or their Facebook page.  Aside from the health benefits of the tea, Mr. David Whitney made his fortune in white pine lumber, so the blend is a nod to him as well.  

In closing... most of you know I love blue and white china so when I saw this blue and white wedding cake on Facebook recently I had to share it with you.   Isn't it stunning?  Makes me want to get married again [to the same man, of course!].  

I also saw the picture below of a 3-D mural of teacups about to topple over painted on the side of a building in Helsingborg, Sweden by a street artist.  It was posted on Afternoon Tea Across America's Facebook page yesterday.  Love the creativity!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Remembering September 11th

Today we pause to remember those who lost their lives during the horrific 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

It's also the birthday of my first-born grandchild.  Happy Birthday, Brandon!  Raising my teacup in tribute and honor of both.

Not much news at my house lately.  I attended a back-to-work orientation at the Whitney on Tuesday, and I'll be returning to serve Afternoon Tea tomorrow [Saturday] - first time since March 6th.  For the time being, Afternoon Tea will only be served on Saturday and Sunday.  We have a special event tea on Saturday, Sept. 19th at 11:00 a.m. titled Teas and Trees.  It'll be introducing our new proprietary herbal health tea, White Pine Needle.  I'll be writing more about that later.

Yesterday my hubby and I went to a nearby estate sale - the first one I've been to in a very long time.  I definitely don't need more teacups, but I came away with two.  Both are Royal Albert, and one fits the criteria I established for collecting teacups - it's black, and the second has the same rose pattern as the black one, so I figured they were related.  ;-)

I feverishly worked at submitting another Shutterfly album before their special promotion ended last Tuesday, and clicked the 'order' button at 11:55 p.m. - five minutes before deadline. Nothing like cutting it close!  This album was my high school years and is the largest album I've made to date - 107 pages, the largest Shutterfly makes.

I will continue scanning and editing old photos until all my photos are in Shutterfly albums.  I cannot praise their albums enough.

Blogger [my blog publishing service] has changed their format, so it's taken me a bit longer to write this post until I get used to the new format.  Why are they always upgrading technology when the previous set-up worked just fine!  Grrrr!  [Written by someone who doesn't like change!  ;-)]

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Labor Day Weekend

Wishing everyone a relaxing Labor Day weekend.  No picnics or family outings are planned for my family this year.  My hubby and I are spending a quiet, leisure long weekend at home.

I received an e-mail from a friend [who's a realtor] and it began by saying "Fall is coming - Are you ready for fall leaves, hoodies, pumpkins and s'mores?"  My mental response was an emphatic "NO"!  I love the l-o-n-g days of summer when it doesn't get dark until after 9:00 o'clock, I love the sunshine with no thoughts of snow and freezing temperatures, I love the flowers in bloom and grilling outdoors.  In short, I love summer and am hanging onto it as long as I can.

Labor Day weekend is the 'unofficial' end of summer even though it doesn't 'officially' end until September 22nd, but the stores have all had their fall and Halloween decor out for weeks.  Like it or not, fall is on its way.  Some of the leaves are already starting to turn colors, and the days are beginning to get shorter.

I popped into Dollar Tree yesterday and found these lovely fall dinner plates for $1 each. They had bowls and mugs to match, but I only got the dinner plate.  How could I go wrong!  Not only are they perfect for a fall tablescape, but great for gift giving filled with fall baked goods.  Have you seen them?   I'm mulling around some rust/bronze colored chargers at Christmas Tree Shop that would go perfect with them.

Two new pieces of tea-themed jewelry were recently added to my collection.  The brooch was a gift and the bracelet I purchased from an Etsy vendor.  The bracelet is silvertone, and since I love blue and white china, it's perfect for me.

I've been occupying myself the past few days making more Shutterfly albums.  I completed our recent trip for my son's upcoming birthday.  It's 67 pages and will be nice to have all the pictures together in book form.

I also completed my Junior High school album.  It's the smallest album I've done so far with only 31 pages, but my Senior High school album is going to be a biggie and will more than make up for the small Jr. High album.  I hope to finish it over the weekend while Shutterfly's promotion of unlimited free pages is still in effect.   The two album covers are screen shots from what I submitted to Shutterfly which is why they don't have crisp clarity.

When my son, Steve, came for lunch earlier this week he looked through my Birth - Five Years of Age album as well as the Grade School album.  He loved them and requested I have copies made for him so he won't have to be concerned about who gets them when I'm gone. ;-)

Hoffman Media is coming out with a new tea cookbook, and I pre-ordered my copy this morning.  It will ship on or before September 17th.  Teatime Birthdays is $24.95 plus $5.00 shipping.

I'm long past the days of 'Back to School' clothes shopping, but not 'Back to Work' clothes shopping.  My outfit is ready to go for Tuesday's orientation at The Whitney.  I bought the jacket while on vacation [in a Cracker Barrel restaurant], and ordered the Anne Klein top from Macy's.  Not sure yet if I'll wear it with black slacks or black skirt, but I'm raring to go. It'll seem good to get back to some form of normalcy, and making tea again.

I ordered a package of three dressy, washable 100% cotton black face masks with liners and am awaiting their arrival.  They have a 1-year, money back guarantee, so I hope I'm pleased. They look like they'll be easy to breathe through and won't fog up my glasses.

Signing off for today...  Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 31, 2020

A Birthday Dinner and a New Cookbook

It's hard to believe this is the last day of August.  Where did summer go???

My sweet daughter, Lori, had a birthday last Friday, August 28th.  She and her hubby had dinner plans that evening, so we celebrated with her yesterday.  I got out the family birthday plate that I've had for many years.

When she lived at home her favorite birthday dinner was Chicken Parmesan, so that's what I made for her yesterday.  Only with a new twist...  I've heard about brining chicken on the Food Channel but I've never tried it.  My hubby and I mostly eat chicken and fish these days, and many times I've noticed baked chicken was dry and tough.  So I decided to give brining a try.  4 c. warm water to 1/4 c. Kosher salt, plus any other seasonings you want.  I added garlic powder and black pepper. I poured that over the boneless chicken breasts in a lidded container, and put it in the refrigerator. Directions said to brine up to six hours, so I put it in the frig just before we left for church.  I have to tell you it was fork tender and very moist.  I'll definitely be brining again!

We had cheesy potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh fruit salad, rolls and peach iced tea to go with the parmesan chicken.

[Lori and Dave]

When Lori was home [and many years afterwards] her favorite cake was the chocolate mound cake that I blogged about before.  But she also likes the Cassata Cake [or Cannoli cake as it's sometimes called] from our favorite local Italian bakery.  So I ordered that this year.  I made it one year for Christmas Eve, but the recipe wasn't nearly as good as Tringali's.

Happy Birthday, Lori!  Here's to many more years.  Our family is so grateful for your life and all the joy you bring us!

I love cookbooks.  Almost an entire wall in our spare bedroom has a bookshelf containing hundred of cookbooks I've collected over the years.  I definitely don't need anymore, especially with recipes readily available on the Internet, so I have curtailed my collecting considerably, but every once in a while a new cookbook calls my name!

My hubby and I really enjoy the music of the Collingsworth Family.  They're a dad, mom, and four grown children [three are married], who travel the country [and world] giving gospel music concerts.  They sing the hymns I grew up with which have been replaced by contemporary music. That's why I believe their family is in such great demand by people older than millennials and younger age groups.  Even though their children are millennials, they still appreciate hymns.  Kim, the mom, is a talented pianist, two of the girls play the violin, and Phil, the dad, plays the trumpet.  They're all incredibly talented and have performed at the White House.

I knew they had a new Family Favorites cookbook, so I decided to order it and it arrived last Saturday.  I haven't had a chance to make anything from it yet, but I'm looking forward to sitting down with it over a cup of tea to browse its pages.

Another thing that endeared them to my heart was a couple of weeks ago [Aug. 19th] Kim posted on their Facebook page Brooklyn's 31st birthday [their oldest daughter].  Know where they celebrated?  At a tearoom!  They're from West Milton, Ohio [about 70 miles from Cincinnati] so the tearoom is probably in that vicinity.  I had to share the pics Kim posted.

Kim's introducing her granddaughter, Emma, to the pleasures of tea at a young age.  I love it!  Happy Birthday, Brooklyn!  Thank you for blessing so many with your beautiful music ministry.  

Want to hear some great gospel music?  Google Collingsworth family and watch them on Youtube.  You'll be glad you did!

Will sign off now.  I'm going to reheat leftovers from Lori's birthday dinner for son, Steve, who's coming for lunch.  He wasn't available to come for dinner last night.

Enjoy this last day of August!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Two More Grands Visit and A Recipe

I'm always interested in new easy recipes for my family, and I recently found one for barbequed chicken using Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce.  You can even use frozen chicken if you forget to take it out of the freezer in time to thaw.

Recipe:  4-6 chicken breasts [I used boneless]
                1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's sauce [I used 18 oz.]
                1/4 cup vinegar
                1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
                1/4 cup brown sugar
                1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix everything but chicken.  Place chicken in crock pot.  Pour sauce mixture over chicken.
Cook on low 4-6 hours.   

It's delicious!  The first night we ate the chicken breasts straight from the crock pot, but the leftovers literally broke into pieces when I transferred them from the crock pot to a refrigerator container. That's when I realized they'd make wonderful pulled barbecued chicken sandwiches.  In fact, we liked them even better that way, served with a dollop of coleslaw on top.

I fixed them for dinner when grandson, Landon, came for his annual back-to-school shopping this week.  Both Jerry and Landon gave them a thumbs up!

Landon was thrilled with his new Nike backpack and school supplies.  He has a Youtube channel of his own.  He educated me while he was here and said it's called a 'Vlog'.  Instead of writing and posting pictures like I do on my blog, he posts videos.  My grandkids can run circles around me when it comes to modern technology!

While he was enthusiastically videoing his new school acquisitions, and demonstrating all the pockets in his backpack, I took his picture to post on my 'old fashioned' blog.  ;-)

He brought his scooter to occupy some of his time.

After dinner we took him to a local dairy bar we used to take his dad to when he was Landon's age. Leason's has an old-fashioned jukebox inside that the kids always have fun with.  Unfortunately, the dining area is closed right now due to COVID-19, and we could only order ice cream through a walk-up window.

When Landon went home it was Ellie's turn to come.  She too brought her scooter to ride.  

She excitedly Face-timed her mom on Papa Jerry's i-phone to show her all the new school supplies she got.   Their school district is opening after Labor Day with a hybrid schedule - two days in the classroom and three days virtual.  Will life ever return to the way it was before COVID-19?

We took Ellie to a nearby Dairy Queen for her ice cream treat.  We were able to go inside to order with a set number of customers allowed inside at one time, but we had to go outside to eat.

Since she's younger than Izzy and Landon, she still enjoys one-on-one time, so last night we played several rounds of Old Maid cards and the Cootie Game - I played both games when I was a child, so they've been around a long time.  When I was taking all the parts of the Cootie game out of the box I found a note Izzy wrote us back in 2014 when she was Ellie's age.  It brought a lump to my throat to realize how quickly time has passed.

Ellie went home this morning, and the house seems very quiet and empty now.  I'm glad they were all able to come for a visit.