Saturday, September 30, 2017

Double Birthday Celebration

Our youngest turned 38 years old yesterday, and granddaughter, Isabella [Izzy] turned 12.  Nothing can beat getting a daughter for a birthday present! 

Izzy got to have the day off from school yesterday [she's a good student and can afford to miss a day for a special occasion].  Her mom took her to get her ears pierced and a manicure.

She does Cross Country at Middle School, so after her meet today they came to our house to spend the weekend so we could celebrate their birthdays, and so Jeremy and Samantha could attend their 20th high school class reunion tonight. 

Her parents took these two photos of Izzy at a track meet on September 21st.  She's very athletic like her mom and dad.

Presents before cake - Clothes from Justice, and some "squishies" which is her latest fascination.

~ The birthday duo ~

Ever since Jeremy was little his favorite birthday cake has been Boston Cream Pie. Instead of making two individual Boston Cream Pies,  I made a yellow cake and filled the layers with the cream instead.  

~ Izzy wanted to light the candles on their cake ~

Make a wish...

And blow out the candles!

Happy Birthday, Jeremy and Izzy.  May God bless you in the coming year!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Crisis Care Kits

About 22 people from my church gathered at 6:00 p.m. tonight to assemble Crisis Care Kits to send to areas devastated by recent hurricanes.

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries told us what items to put inside 2-gallon ziploc bags to make one care kit.  Each kit costs between $25-$30 [depending on store and brands].
  • 1 medium-size bottle of shampoo
  • 2 bath-size bars of soap
  • 1 tube toothpaste [4 oz.]
  • 3 toothbrushes [in original packaging]
  • 1 box of Band-Aids [30 count or more]
  • 1 fingernail clipper
  • 1 sturdy hair comb
  • 2 hand towels
  • 4 pocket-size packages of tissues
  • 1 Beanie Baby size stuffed toy
  • WHAT!  NO TEA on the list?  Who decided what should go in the care kits??  ;-)
Six care kits are placed inside one banana box.   [Thank you, Meijer Store for the boxes.]

All the items were placed on tables to assemble into ziploc bags.  The instructions said not to add to the list or delete from it, so I couldn't add tea bags.  ;-)

[Granddaughter Brooke]

~ One completed box ready to go. ~

I'm not certain how many banana boxes were filled, but there were quite a few. God's blessings were prayed over them before our pastor took them to the drop off location. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 "...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." 

The group sitting outside chatting after we finished up.  65 degree fall temps sure felt good! 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Estate Sale Finds

I don't make it a habit of going to estate sales, but I do get e-mail notifications with pictures of items that will be sold at the sales.  If something looks interesting my hubby and I go as an outing.

When I looked through the list of estate sales last night I found one in a subdivision right near me built 13 years before ours.  The sale started at 10:00 a.m. and we were #20 - part of the first group admitted.

The deceased owner loved country - even the garage had country wallpaper.  It reminded me of our house when we first moved in, because I used to have country decor too. But we've changed decorating styles four times in the 39 years we've lived in the house, so my country furnishings and accessories are long gone.

The lady was a huge collector of plates, and they were displayed throughout her house. Everything was custom - from windows to light fixtures.  Her kitchen window was four panels of leaded glass.  Just beautiful!   I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture!

I didn't go looking for plates, but I couldn't pass up the one pictured below for just $6.  It's by Sandra Kuck and, of course, the teacup on the table caught my eye!  Now to find a place to display it, even if only during the fall months.  As you can see, it's called Indian Summer.

What I went for was to see the Shelley teacups.  There were four of them and my hubby bought me two.  Both were $18 each, which was a good price.  They have no cracks, chips or crazing.  I promise to take good care of the deceased lady's treasures.  If these teacups could talk I wonder what they'd tell me about her and the tea-times she had.

Lastly, I got a Hudson's hat box in pristine condition for $3, so I went home happy!

Have you found any fun 'treasures' lately?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Celebrating Eleanor Roosevelt

Yesterday was the monthly tea at Shorepointe Assisted Living, and the program was a continuation on the life of Eleanor Roosevelt.  I was also supposed to include a travelogue about the Southern Belle Tea Tour that hurricane Irma so rudely postponed, but there was more than enough information about the 1933 Inauguration [Franklin's first], and Eleanor's White House years as First Lady to easily fill an hour.

The teas, which begin at 2:00 p.m., are very simple and informal because the residents have just finished Sunday dinner.  They consist of a selection of tea bags and carafes of hot water and an assortment of pastries. Since I was elaborating on the Inauguration Day schedule - which included an Inaugural Tea in the State Dining Room and East Room for 2,000 or more guests following the Inaugural Parade, I wanted this tea to be a little more special.  

I phoned the activities director to ask permission to bring my silver teapots and tea [made from loose-leaf tea], and my request was granted.  Below are two of the faithful ladies who come every month.   I would love to do a fancy tea for them someday.

I was never asked to provide a 'favor' every month, but I always bring a small one because the residents seem to look forward to them.  Eleanor Roosevelt wasn't big into cooking unless it was a hot dog cookout at Val-Kill.  She really didn't need to cook since she had servants to do it [although in 1920 she did take some cooking lessons].  There was one food, however, that she did like to prepare - scrambled eggs! They were always on the menu at the Sunday night family meal, and she scrambled them in a silver chafing dish. I had hoped to get each resident a Cadbury Creme Egg [a chocolate shell with a white and yellowish fondant filling that resembles a chicken's egg]. After striking out at three different candy stores, I consulted the Internet and discovered Cadbury only brings them out at Easter time to ensure they'll always be a 'special' Easter treat. So I settled instead on Almond Joy miniature candy bars since Eleanor brought 'Joy' to so many people. She was also a tough nut to crack in her mature years, saying any woman in public life had to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide! Many people wouldn't have been able to endure the disappointments and hardships she encountered throughout her lifetime and emerge with such greatness.

I put the candy bars in light blue silk organza bags because the gown Eleanor wore to the Inaugural Ball in 1933 was a slate-blue crepe gown.  It was designed by Sally Milgrim, and the color was dubbed "Eleanor blue."  I enjoyed seeing the gown displayed at the Smithsonian with all the other First Lady's inaugural gowns on my visit to Washington, D.C. in 2015.  

The black tea I chose to take coordinated with the candy bars since it had flecks of coconut and almond flakes in the dry leaf.  It's official name is Snowflake Tea, blended by East Indies Tea Company in Lebanon, PA and it's SO good.   The residents enjoyed it.

Last month their favor was a tea bag and packet of chocolate chip 'teddy grahams' in honor of Eleanor's uncle, Theodore Roosevelt.  Her famous quote, "A woman is like a tea bag;  you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water" was enclosed.

My research revealed there were certain duties that Eleanor thought were useless burdens, but later realized their meaning and value.  White House teas were one of those duties.  It seemed futile to her to receive anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people on a given afternoon and shake hands with them, and then have them pass into the dining room to be given a cup of tea [or coffee], but she discovered the White House was a place with deep significance where hospitality was dispensed. So she did it regularly, three times a week during the winter months.  In 1939 she greeted 9,211 guests at White House teas!

The Internet says 59 books about Eleanor Roosevelt have been listed in Good Reads.  That probably isn't inclusive of all the books written about her. She was a fascinating and incredible lady who won the hearts of many people around the world, and gained the title First Lady of the World.

Up next month... Halloween traditions and how it all began.

After my presentation I went home and got my hubby to go to dinner at P.F. Chang's, using the gift card from one of the Southern Belle Tea Tour participants [for a tour that never happened - yet!]. There's never time to eat Sunday dinner before I go to Shorepointe because I go right from church, so this was a treat.

The closest P.F. Chang's to me is at Partridge Creek.  I managed to snap the photo below without any people in it, but it was bustling with people on the unseasonably warm September Sunday afternoon.   We've been having recording breaking temps in the high 80's since 1920.

Jerry and I are very predictable and order the same thing every time:  White Tangerine Tea, Chicken Wraps, and Sesame Chicken.  I forgot to take a picture of the Sesame Chicken, but it was yummy!

Now a new week unfolds...

Friday, September 22, 2017

An Afternoon in Detroit

I've been in my office a lot this week working on my monthly presentation for Shorepointe Assisted Living this Sunday.  At the resident's request, the program last month was about Eleanor Roosevelt, but I didn't have time to finish the entire presentation, so they asked if I'd finish it this month. Rather than picking up where I left off, I decided to begin this presentation with the 1933 Inauguration and Mrs. Roosevelt's years as First Lady in the White House.

Her 78 years of life were so full, and so many books have been written about her that it's hard to decide what to share.  Trips to three different libraries yielded 16 books to skim through.

When I received a phone call yesterday from a woman working on a project [undisclosed at this time], asking if I could meet her at the former home of J.L. Hudson, founder of Detroit's iconic Department Store, I was more than happy to set aside my research and join her this afternoon.

The time was set for 2:00 p.m.  When we arrived at the house, Sister Rosemarie was sitting on the front porch waiting for us.  The house has been owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit since 1926, and the Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary presently live in it.

I first met Sister Rosemarie in December 2014 when I toured the house for the first time. Then I returned in February 2015 to do a program about J.L. Hudson as a fundraiser for their work in Nigeria.  The tree-shaded house looked much different today since the leaves haven't fallen yet. On this fall day our temperature was a hot, unseasonable 86 degrees!  Iced tea, anyone?

~ Today's Visit ~

~ December 2014 ~

Sister Rosemarie allowed me to take her picture as we sat in the living room chatting.  The tiles on the fireplace in the background are original to the house from Detroit's Pewabic Pottery.  Elizabeth, the lovely lady who met with us was camera shy.

We were only a few streets away from the house that Henry and Clara Ford had built from the profits on his Ford Models N, R, and S, so we decided to pay it a visit [from outside since it's a private residence]. It was exciting to actually see the house I've read about in books. Can you imagine living in a house that Henry, Clara, and Edsel Ford once lived in, or J.L. Hudson and his niece, Eleanor Clay Ford?  If only those walls could talk to us!

140 Edison Avenue - in Detroit's Boston-Edison Neighborhood.
[northeast corner of Edison and Second Avenue]

The Italian Renaissance Revival style brick house was built during 1907-o8 on several adjoining lots. It features Tuscan columns and windows with balustrades and limestone arches.

Henry had a well-equipped machine shop built over the garage [pictured below] for his son, Edsel, who was 14 years old when they moved into the house.

Clara's pergola and gardens are still there 102 years later.

The house became a Michigan Historic Site in 1986.

It was a fun afternoon.  Now I'm back at my computer, sipping a cup of tea, and getting ready to hit the books again!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tea Tasting at The Rendezvous With Tea

I received an e-mail invitation to attend a September 18th tea tasting at The Rendezvous With Tea, but declined because I was scheduled to be in Savannah, GA on the tea tour [which hurricane Irma cancelled].  While Teresa [one of the tour participants] was still in Michigan following our meet-up at the Royal Park Hotel last week, she visited The Rendezvous With Tea.  When owner, Naszreen Gibson, discovered I was still in town she called to extend a second invitation, and I'm so glad she did. The last time I attended one of her tastings was December 2016, so I was long overdue.

The shop carries over 350 fine teas from around the world, plus beautiful tea equipage.

~ Naszreen Gibson, Owner ~

The set-up area for the tea tasting has been changed, and it's lovely.

Naszreen began by telling us the tea shop is her third child - the first two were biological. ;-) She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 12 1/2 years ago, so she wanted to share tea as a wellness solution.

She introduced six new signature teas to her shop this year [2 black, 2 green, and 2 herbal], and it was so interesting to learn how each tea derived its name.

There were eight attendees - two of which were young women, and one man.  I always enjoy seeing the younger generation interested in tea, and men too because in the U.S. far too many men perceive tea as a "ladies' beverage."  We were introduced to eight teas - 4 blacks from Ceylon [Sri Lanka], one purple tea from Kenya, 2 green teas from China and Fuji, and 1 herbal from her signature collection.

In the photo below, Naszreen is giving her opening presentation.   I was glad to learn that she is now doing library presentations to enlighten library patrons about the many benefits of tea.

We began with the black tea Harangalla, from a tea estate in Kandy.  It's grown at a mid to high level elevation.  

The dry, uninfused leaf was graded as a FBOP - Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.

 I wrote in my notes, very brisk, but good.

The second tea we tasted was Inverness - a single estate tea grown 6000 ft. above sea level in an area of Sri Lanka known as Little England.  It's amazing how subjective teas are to different palates. While I thought this tea was less brisk than the first one, a few of the other participants felt it was more brisk.  I ended up purchasing 50 grams of it to take home, and am enjoying it as I type this post.

The dry leaf was longer and more needle-like.

The third black tea was Halpewattle and had a smooth taste, while the fourth black tea, Rotumba - grown at a lower elevation - had very large rolled leaves.  

Then we moved on to a "Purple" tea - yes, you read that correctly!  We're all aware of the more common teas - white, green, oolong, black, and puerh teas, but purple tea was a new one to me. I should have known about it because I receive The Daily Tea e-newsletter, and they featured an article about it in January 2015, but somehow I missed it.

The leaves on the tea plant are actually purple, and Naszreen steeped it in a clear teapot so we could see the faint purple hue of the brewed tea.  She steeped it at a lower temperature and used fewer leaves, and it produced a mild tea that was quite good.

A genetic mutation makes the tea plants have higher levels of anthocyanin [an antioxidant] which gives the leaves an unusual purple appearance.  It's the same antioxidant that gives blueberries their deep blue color.  Some studies have found the plants are resistant to drought and frost, so purple tea could be an alternative to older cultivars.  It's from the Camellia Sinensis plant and is not a separate category of tea, so the leaves can be processed into any variety.  

Presently it's grown in China, Kenya, Japan, and India.  The Kenyan Purple Tea has taken 25 years to cultivate.  The Japanese Purple Tea is said to be very bitter. You learn something new everyday! I bought 25 grams.  

From the purple tea we moved on to the two green teas - Dragonwell from China, and a Sencha from Fuji.

The last tea was called Relax Blue - an herbal tea made from Chamomile, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Lavender, and Blue Pea Flower which makes it turn a beautiful shade of blue.

At the conclusion of the tasting Naszreen served a delicious homemade savory [Artichoke and Cheese Quiche] and two tea infused sweets [an Earl Grey Lavender Shortbread Bar Cookie] and Pumpkin Cake with Butterscotch Ganache.  All were delicious.  I oped to eat mine with a cup of Inverness tea.

Thank you for an educational and delightful tea tasting, Naszreen.  For local readers, The Rendezvous With Tea is located at 20792 Mack Avenue, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236.