Friday, March 16, 2018

A New Herbal Tea and Book

When Adagio Teas sent me their magical Bella Luna Blue Tea to sample and review, they also enclosed a package of their new Honeybush Banana Nut Tea.   It's listed under their Rooibos teas because honeybush is grown in South Africa too.  I don't recall sampling honeybush tea before.  I feel rooibos is an acquired taste, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect with honeybush, but  I was pleasantly surprised.  The aroma that wafted from the bag when I opened it was enough to make me eager to try it.  It was delicious and perfect for evening when caffeine isn't desired.   I can't praise this herbal tea enough!  I'll definitely be ordering some.

The fourth book I ordered from Amazon arrived in yesterday's mail.  

The main difference between an umbrella and a parasol is its size and purpose.  Parasols are smaller and lighter than umbrellas, and are used only to shade people from sun.  Often they're made with fabric that isn't waterproof.  Umbrellas are a protective device against rain and wet weather.  They're made with waterproof material and are more durable than parasols.

Renovation begins on my office tomorrow. Not sure how much blogging will be accomplished while that's in progress. Wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day!  It's on my agenda to make some Irish Soda Bread.  My DNA says I'm 28% Irish! ;-)

The shamrock china pictured below is called Shannon by I. Godinger & Co.  I bought it at HomeGoods several years ago.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Returning to Littlefield Presbyterian Church

In 2016 I was invited to speak to the ladies of Littlefield Presbyterian Church, Dearborn, MI, at their Spring Tea.  I spoke about Queen Elizabeth II, since she had just celebrated her 90th birthday two days before.

I recently received another phone call inviting me to return for their Spring Tea coming up on May 12th.  I gave them my list of topics and they chose Parasols, Fans, Hankies and Gloves.

I seldom present identical programs, so I went to Amazon's book section to see what books were available on those four items to enhance information I already had.  Three of the four books I ordered have arrived, and the other one should be coming any day.

The book on gloves is a used book, and it came from the Chicago Public Library [via the online book retailer glassfrogbooks].  

I'm most intrigued with the third book on hankies with the cute title, Hanky Panky,  because it was authored by Helen Gustafson [published in 2002]  one year before her death.

Helen was the tea buyer and manager of the tea service at the renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California.  She was also a tea service consultant to hotels and restaurants, and a lecturer on the history of tea - kind of like England's Jane Pettigrew today. In her photograph below, she does look like a dainty hanky type lady, doesn't she?

It was said of her:  "Ms. Gustafson was tea's ambassador at a time when diners sipped French roast and other strong coffees but thought tea was limited to Lipton." 

Her tea book, The Agony of the Leaves [published in 1996], has been in my tea library for many years with several lines highlighted throughout.

I can hardly wait to delve into these books and find interesting information to share with the ladies of Littlefield Presbyterian Church.

Do you collect gloves, fans, or hankies?  The Kleenex industry has almost made hankies extinct, and gloves have been relegated to the medical, food service, and gardening professions, or a wintertime necessity for keeping hands warm.  But Queen Elizabeth II can always be counted on to be seen wearing dress gloves.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

New Spring Purchases

As promised yesterday, today I'm sharing Saturday's other destination and the purchases I made.  

Those who know me well, or have followed my blog for any length of time, know I love seasonal dishes and tablescapes.  This is the time of year when St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and Spring dishes and decorations abound in stores.  

Since we're still having 30 degree weather with snow flurries in Michigan, it did my heart good last Friday to pop into a few of stores and be reminded that spring is coming in spite of conflicting weather.  My first stop was a large Marshalls/HomeGoods store.

Last year I purchased four bunny plates [because that's all I could find], but I really wanted a minimum of six, and eight would have been ideal.  To my delight, they brought the dishes back again this year - no luncheon/salad plates at that particular store, but I found a tea set. I almost did a happy dance in the aisle!  The dishes are by 222 Fifth and the pattern is Sydney.  I guess that's the bunny's name!  ;-)

I quickly scooped it up, before anyone else had a chance to put it in their shopping cart.

Since I'm doing a presentation about Beatrix Potter the end of the month, I couldn't resist the sweet lamb as a prop for just $6.99.

Next stop on the agenda was the Christmas Tree Shop.  There I found lovely Celtic Stoneware plates for $2.99 each.  Can you believe it?  Since I have five ladies in my Bible study group I only bought six plates, but I'm thinking I need to go back and get two more [if they're still there].

They also had an assortment of resin Irish figurines for $1.99 each.  Four of them went into my shopping cart.

The shamrock placemats are from Kohl's and are currently on sale for $2.87 each.  They were Friday purchases too.

From the Christmas Tree Shop I went to Pier I.  I should point out that all the stores are close together, so it's not like I ran all over town.  Pier I had the perfect printed napkins to go with the bunny dishes. They were on clearance for $3.38 each.  The blueish napkins with white edging are from Marshalls/HomeGoods.  

Satisfying my need for a 'spring fix' in addition to spending enough for one day, I decided to call it quits and go home.  But Saturday was a new day!

When my hubby and I left Somerset Mall, I knew there was a HomeGoods store close by, so I asked him if I could run in real quick to see if they had any bunny luncheon/salad plates.  Well, they not only had two of them, but also five teacups and saucers!  I couldn't believe my eyes!

Now I just need one more teacup and I'll be as happy as a clam!  There's a couple more HomeGoods stores to check out as soon as I find a day to do it.  I'll let you know if I find it. So far the luck of the Irish has been with me!

Have you made any new purchases recently?


Monday, March 12, 2018

A New Office on the Horizon

I probably spend more time in my office than any other room in my house.  I usually eat my breakfast at my computer desk, and sip my tea there throughout the day.  It's where I write my blog, conduct research, compose scripts for all my presentations, write e-mails, and so much more.  

When the last of our children left home, we turned the smallest bedroom into an office.  At that time my hubby and I both had desktop computers, so two computer desks occupy the small room. I'm not a hoarder, but I do tend to be a bit of a packrat [please tell me there's a  difference!!] when it comes to paperwork - hence the accumulation of 'piles'.  My hubby gave up his desktop long ago in preference to a laptop, but the two desks have remained in the office.

I've known the office needed my attention for a very long time, but I also tend to be a procrastinator particularly when it comes to time-consuming, tedious projects.  Over the weekend, however, I bit the bullet!

I follow Susan Herin's blog Between Naps on the Porch and love it.  If you don't follow it, you really should. It's very informative on so many different subjects. Last week she shared her office, or what she refers to as her nest.  Her desk and cabinets are Pottery Barn modular components.  I particularly liked the corner desk since my room is small, and a corner desk utilizes every inch of space.  The Pottery Barn associate said the Bedford Collection is their most popular seller.

[Pottery Barn Website Photo]

Below is a photo of Susan's office.  Unfortunately not all of her modular components are still available.  She also shared a large compartmentalized cabinet from Ikea that she put in a closet. My hubby uses the closet in our office, so that's not an option for me, but I'm going to purchase it for one wall.  A visit to Ikea is forthcoming.

When I received Pottery Barn's e-mail informing me of their sale in progress, I decided to pay them a visit last Saturday, and I ordered the corner desk in addition to three cabinets.  All the drawers are tongue-and-groove, and sturdily built. 

Below is a picture of my current office.  It's the 'before' photo, and I can't believe I'm actually posting it!  You can see my piles of 'stuff', but I promise you they'll be gone when I get my new furniture.  I can hardly wait for the two computer desks to be removed, and replaced by one new efficient one.

I'll be sure to post an 'after' photo when we're finished with the room.  We're going to paint and get the carpeting cleaned before installing the new furniture.  One project leads to 10!  I like the light beige walls, but my hubby said he wouldn't re-paint if I stayed with the same color, so we're switching to a light green.  It's a Benjamin Moore color called  'Jack and the Beanstalk'.  My granddaughter has it in her living room and when we were there last week he commented that he really liked it.  Of course, that means a new window treatment too. Stay tuned for photos of the finished room.  Dismantling the current desks and painting will begin soon.

While I was at Somerset Mall on Saturday [where Pottery Barn is located]  I paid a visit to a ladies' shop that my daughter-in-law told me about.

Aside from the beautiful feminine clothing, the store is unique because it's faith-based. Biblical verses are tastefully displayed throughout the store. I asked permission to take photos to share with you.  I didn't purchase anything Saturday since my hubby was with me. Unlike me, he's not a shopper and buys everything he possibly can online, but I have to see what I'm purchasing.  Their pricing was moderate, and they have a 'give back' policy.  I'm anxious to return by myself.

Devotional books for sale in the store.

If you're a local reader, be sure to pay them a visit the next time you're at Somerset.  They're located on the second level, section S [near Macy's].   The cute, young sales associate told me to be sure to take a picture of their fitting rooms.

Since we parked near Macy's we entered the mall through their store and exited the same way.  Just before exiting I spotted an encased J.L. Hudson's Department Store drinking fountain that was taken from the iconic downtown Detroit location. Hudson's once occupied Macy's current suburb location [sob, sob!].  Of course I HAD to take a picture of it .

Once in the parking lot my hubby asked, "Can we go home now?"  Yes... but not before one more stop.  Tomorrow's post.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Adagio's Magical Tea, and a Day With Evelyn Rose

Towards the end of last month I was contacted by an Adagio tea representative to see if I was interested in sampling one of their limited edition teas - Bella Luna Blue Herbal Tea.  

Upon agreement, the tea arrived in the mail.

Bella Luna Blue herbal tea is a blend of lemongrass and natural blueberry flavor with the exotic Butterfly Pea Flower, which turns indigo when steeped.  The dry leaf has an aromatic scent of blueberries.

The magical tea brews a light indigo blue in the beginning stages of steeping, and gradually turns a deep indigo.  The taste and aroma of blueberries comes through in the finished cup.

This is a delicious and fun tea.  It's an exclusive tea that Adagio only sells when there is a blue moon - which will be March 31st.  The next blue moon won't occur again until 2020. Bella Luna Blue will only be available for 15 days beginning March 31st, so don't miss out on placing your order. It's a great evening herbal tea since it contains no caffeine.  While perfect for adults, it would be fun for children too.  Would I be showing my age if I asked how many of you remember the song, Blue Moon, sung by The Marcels in the 60's? ;-)

The 'magic' occurs when you add lemon juice to the steeped tea turning it from indigo to a purple-pinkish hue.  I enjoyed sipping it both ways - with and without the addition of lemon juice.  Thank you, Ashley, for letting me sample and review this tea!

Late yesterday morning my hubby and I made our way to Grand Ledge, MI [near Lansing], to visit our granddaughter, Tiffany, her husband, John, and sweet great-granddaughter, Evelyn [Evie] Rose.  We've been trying to get there ever since Christmas, and finally made it.

It's hard to believe Evie is nine months old already.  She'll be celebrating her first birthday before we know it.

She's crawling now, so doesn't particularly enjoy being held a lot [especially by people she isn't familiar with], but we did manage to get a picture of her on my lap.  She is soooo sweet!

When I checked the date with Tiffany, I told her I'd bring dinner.  I made a chicken and dressing recipe in the Crock Pot that was perfect for traveling. It's very tasty, easy, and perfect for a family or potluck meal, so I decided to share it here.  My daughter, Lori, gets the credit because she's the one who gave me the recipe [although I have tweaked it some]. 

Crock-Pot Chicken and Dressing
4 boneless chicken breasts
Swiss cheese slices
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
Chicken broth
2 boxes Stove Top Dressing [Chicken Flavor]
1 stick melted butter

Directions:  Lay chicken breasts on bottom of Crock Pot.  Cover with slices of Swiss cheese.  Mix Cream of Chicken Soup with 1 1/4 cups chicken broth and pour over cheese slices.  In separate bowl mix melted butter and 1 cup chicken broth with dressing.  Spoon evenly over top.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

This is also a great recipe for Sunday dinner.  Put it on before leaving for church and it's ready by the time you get home.

I also took blueberry muffins, a vegetable [corn], and cranberry sauce.  When I went to my nearby convenience store for the blueberry muffin mix, they didn't have the Bakery style [with crumb topping].  Not wanting to make a trip to the full-service grocery store I bought the plain blueberry muffin mix and made my own crumb topping, and sprinkled it over the top of jumbo muffins.

Mix together:  1 cup flour
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 Tablespoons butter, melted

It was a fun family day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Three Days With the Grands

As you've noticed, I've been missing from my blog for a few days.  Our youngest son and daughter-in-law went on a getaway to Milwaukee for their 14th Wedding Anniversary, so we watched the grands.

We met them last Saturday morning at a Bob Evans restaurant near the airport for breakfast.  I was impressed with the restaurant's tea presentation and had to take a picture.

~ Jeremy and Ellie ~

~ Papa, Landon and Izzy ~

We brought them back to our house for the weekend, and then went back to their house late Sunday afternoon so they could be home for school on Monday morning.

The agenda for Saturday afternoon was taking them to see Peter Rabbit at the theater.  They loved it!  Later in the evening I got out my Peter Rabbit books to read to Ellie, but they were lackluster after the animated movie.  ;-)

[Internet Photo]

Izzy finished up a school project - an ancient Greek alarm clock designed by Plato - that Papa helped build and assemble.

No offense to Plato, but I'm grateful for our modern-day clocks!  

The look of three sleeping beauties on Sunday morning when I lifted the bedroom shade to wake them up.  All three wanted to sleep together on the floor in our bedroom.  I guess that's called a 'family affair!'   Izzy turns 13 in September, so I don't see that togetherness happening much longer.

I took their picture when we got to church to send to their mom - just in case she was missing them!  ;-)

Izzy's friend at school had a birthday Sunday, so once we returned to their house another girlfriend came over and they baked and decorated a birthday cake [while I supervised] to take to school yesterday [Monday].  I wish I would have remembered to take a picture.  It was a fun activity for Izzy and Sara, and they said Julia was quite pleased with her surprise cake.

Yesterday after dinner, Izzy practiced her French by making French café menus and Papa and I were her customers.  I was quite impressed that Thé was the first item on the menu!  Of course, I ordered it and she actually made me a cup of tea.  Ellie was a waitress in training! ;-)

After our Parisian café experience we were off to the airport to pick up their parents.  

Samantha brought me back a tin of Rishi loose leaf green tea [Jade Cloud] and some Parisian notecards.  I guess Thé and Paris were the theme of the night.  Thanks, Sam!

Jerry and I are back home today where things are slower paced and a bit quieter.  It was a fun three days!