Sunday, July 31, 2022

Last Post of July

This ending post for July is a bit hodge-podge since there are multiple things I wanted to share.

My hubby flew to Des Moines, Iowa with our son, Jeremy, Friday morning. Jeremy had business with one of his company's retirement communities, but yesterday [Sat.] morning they made the hour and a half drive to Omaha, Nebraska to see the Air Force base where Jerry was stationed in 1968 - Offutt Air Force Base [SAC Headquarters].  They were disappointed they couldn't tour the base because they hadn't made arrangements in advance, but they got a few pictures.  Jerry said it has changed significantly in 54 years.

From there they drove the short distance to Bellevue, Nebraska [a small city in the Omaha metropolitan area] where many off-base military families lived - including Jerry & me and our young daughter.  Our address was 19 Martinview Rd.  Jerry made this trip down memory lane with our son, Steve, a few years back and Jeremy wanted to see our 'history' too.  I haven't been back since we lived there - I saw enough of it then to last the rest of my lifetime.

A few upgrades have been made to the small two bedroom house, but it was still very recognizable.  It definitely had new owners because the couple we rented it from were elderly in 1968 - probably our age now!  ;-)  The photo insert in the lower left corner is a photo of the house we took when we lived in it.

I wonder if the residents were puzzled by all the pictures being taken of their house.  The guys - and granddaughter, Ellie, who also went along - will return home later today.

Our daughter has been keeping her two granddaughters [our great-granddaughters] this week, and she took a cute picture of them while they were out and about and sent it to me.  Evie will start kindergarten in September.  Where does the time go???

Today I drove down to the area where I grew up and had lunch with a dear friend.  We hadn't seen each other in five years, but we picked up right where we left off and spent a delightful 3 1/2 hours getting caught up on each other's news.  Shirley owned a lovely tearoom in my hometown of Wyandotte.

On my recent get-away with Linda she gifted some us with an adorable tea-themed fabric purse that she bought at a recent ethnic festival.

It was a bit of serendipity when we got to Ohio and Judy, the hostess of our gathering, had made all of us a jar of her homemade strawberry jam and placed a circle of the same fabric on the lid.  She said it came from JoAnn Fabrics.  I thought it would be fun to make a table topper and napkins with the the fabric and went to JoAnn's when I got home.  They told me the lady who made the purses bought all of their supply.  ;-)  If you like tea-themed fabric, you might want to visit your local JoAnn's.  I did some investigating and it's also available on Etsy. 

I follow Marsha Richards on Facebook.  She writes Tea for All Reasons; England for All Reasons [she lives in Virginia but makes frequent trips to England]; and Food for All Reasons.  She also has a shop on Etsy.  I've been eyeing her cookbook for awhile and when her website said she only had two left, I quickly ordered one.  [You know I really needed another cookbook to add to my collection! ;-)]  It arrived this week and I'm anxious to read it from cover to cover.  Marsha is very involved in Women's Christian Ministry and even though we've never met, I know I would like her.

To end this post I'm attaching a photo to bring a smile to your face [or a tear to your eye]. Those of us who have collected beautiful teawares for years often lament what will happen to all our 'treasures' when we're gone since our children and/or grandchildren fall into the age categories of millennials and generation Z who are typically minimalists.  They don't like a lot of 'stuff' and this photo humorously depicts their idea of what a china cabinet's contents should be - simple, functional and disposable!  

Wishing you a wonderful August with lots of fun in the sun!

Friday, July 29, 2022

Tea Party Planning in Tennessee

My youngest son, Jeremy, is a partner in a company that owns several retirement communities in various states.  He's been talking about me flying down to Collierville, TN with him to meet with the Life Enrichment Director to plan an Afternoon Tea for the residents for awhile, and it finally happened last Monday [July 25th].  

The private jet was waiting for us at Livingston County Spencer J. Hardy airport in Howell, MI, and our flight was scheduled for 8:20 a.m.  Five other members from the company flew with us.  It was a beautiful, clear morning.

[Jeremy and Me]

After a 1 hour, 40 minute flight, we landed at Olive Branch airport [in Olive Branch, Mississippi], and drove 15 miles to Collierville, TN where Story Point Retirement Community is located.  It was hot and humid.

It's a beautiful new facility that just opend in the spring of 2021.

Jeremy said we were going to divide and conquer - he would be interviewing for a new executive chef, and I would meet with Heather [the Life Enrichment Director] and a few residents. Heather has never been to a tea party and didn't know anything about them, but was eager to learn. She invited a few residents for their input, and we formed a planning committee in the Bistro area.

A sous chef provided us with a delicious light lunch of fresh fruit and chicken salad croisants. I loved the presentation.  I have the same tray that I bought to use as a charcuterie board, but it's perfect for fruit too.

It wasn't long before our creative juices were flowing.  The residents wanted the theme of their first tea to be Tea in TN [focusing on geographic areas of TN].  Initially we selected the date of Oct. 14th, but it had to be changed to the 21st.  We planned the tablescape [red, white, and blue, the colors of the TN state flag] and part of the menu, which I tweaked and finished when I got home.

It's a fun menu:  1st course - scones with cherry preserves [a fruit grown in TN] and mock clotted cream.  2nd course - savories:  thumbprint cornbread muffins with the indentation filled with barbecue pork and Jack Daniels sauce, Peanut Butter & Banana finger sandwiches on grilled bread [nod to Elvis], Pimento Cheese Finger sandwich on wheat bread garnished with a cherry tomato [TN's state food].  I know Cucumber sandwiches are a quintessential tea sandwhich, but for this first tea it was beat out by the Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich! 3rd course - desserts:  Banana Pudding tart, Pecan Tassies [pecans are grown in TN], and mini Moonpies which are made in Chattanooga.

Jeremy and I will fly down on Oct. 21st so I can help execute the tea and I'm looking forward to it.  I hope Afternoon Tea catches on with the residents and will become a frequent activity for them.

The interviewing process took longer than anticipated, so our flight was delayed an hour but we were back home shortly after 6:00 p.m.  It was a fun day.  'Have tea - will travel!'

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Parker Grace Tearoom

Thursday morning we checked out of Sauder Inn and headed to Indiana where Linda's daughter lives.  She had been telling her mom about a lovely tearoom in Roanoke, so reservations for 12:00 noon were made.  Teresa drove from her home in Napoleon, OH to join us, and Linda's daughter, Karyn, and son, Jerry, came too.

Roanoke, Indiana is a lovely, quaint town, and the tearoom is an absolute jewel, with a candy store on the top floor.  I highly recommend it if you are ever in the Fort Wayne area.

~ Outdoor Dining Area ~

The interior is lovely with swatches of exposed brick throughout.

~ Our Table ~

[L-R: Linda, Teresa, Me, Karyn & Jerry]

There were no tiered servers with scones, savories, and dainty desserts.  Instead, lunch type entrees were offered with accompanying side dishes.  I ordered the Chicken Salad Puff that came with a lemon tea bread rose, and the side I chose was Strawberry Pretzel salad.  I liked the idea of the tea bread being baked in individual rose shapes.  Will probably copy that.

Teresa and Jerry ordered Chicken Divan and it was served in a glass covered chicken dish.  I've used smaller chicken dishes as food containers before, but never the large size.

I don't remember what Linda and Karyn's entrees were but Karyn's side was a chilled Cranberry, Mandarin, Apple salad.   We all agreed the food was delicious.  Instead of hot tea, I ordered their Southern Charleston Iced Peach Tea. Peach Tea is their house tea which they order from London.  None of us ordered a dessert even though the assortment of homemade cakes under glass domes looked scrumptious.

On the way to the restroom I couldn't resist taking a picture of all their teacups and teapots.

 A picturesque mural was painted on the side of a building next to the tearoom.   

To walk off some of the calories we consumed, we browsed some of the shops and boutiques on Main St.  As the saying goes, 'All good things must come to an end', so we got back in the van and headed for home.  It was a very lovely three-day getaway.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

A Tea-related Reunion in Ohio

I've been missing from my blog for a while, and finally have a chance to get caught up.  Thanks for the concern of some who wondered if something was wrong.  For a while there were no activities to write about and then I became consumed trying to finish another Shutterfly album in time to get the savings promotion they were offering.  

When I finished that, it was time to prepare for a three-day trip to Ohio and Indiana that I took with my friend, Linda.  One of the participants on the 2018 Southern Tea Time Tour that I coordinated, offered to host a reunion at her lovely former tearoom.  

Linda and I left last Tuesday morning [the 19th], destined for Sauder Heritage Inn [in Sauder's Historic Village] Archbold, OH.  It reminded me of the Amish places in Shipshewana, IN.  Shortly after our arrival, Linda's daughter and three children joined us and we enjoyed a chicken dinner at the Barn Restaurant.  We spent two nights at the Inn.

On Wednesday morning we made the half hour drive to Defiance, OH where the reunion was held at 12:00 noon.  We had beautiful travel weather - a little hot, but clear, beautiful skies. Judy, our hostess, has a gorgeous garden, and her former tearoom, called Flowers & Friends, is situated at the entrance to her garden.  She and her husband live in a beautifully restored farm house on a working farm and the tearoom and garden are on the same property.

~ Entrance to Tearoom ~

~ Judy's Farmhouse ~

There were 11 of us who went on the trip, but four didn't attend.  Judy filled in the gap by inviting some friends.  The interior of the tearoom - which is now a gathering place for family events - is rustic and charming.  

Judy is a fan of MacKenzie Childs, the designer of the teapot lamp below.  Her entire house is furnished with MacKenzie Childs furniture and accessories.

I immediately got busy taking photos of her tablescapes.  Below is the table where Linda and I sat along with Judy and another traveler [and Michigander] Cheryl K.

The MacKenzie Childs table.

It was a potluck tea, and Judy made all the scones.  Because of traveling without refrigeration, I opted to make three kinds of tea breads [lemon poppyseed, strawberry and pistachio].  There was SO MUCH food.  All the sweets were on tiered servers set on the tables.  Below is a close up of the one on our table.

We were asked to bring our own teacup and luncheon plate and tell a little bit about it.  I chose to bring my Royal Albert Old English Rose [the forerunner to Old Country Rose].  My mother's middle name was Rose and this was a favorite pattern of hers.

This was my plate, laden with a variety of tea foods!

Teresa made all the teas served at the event, and she is serving sandwiches in the photo below.  She was Judy's right hand at the event.

Cheryl, Judy's niece, serving teapot chocolate covered strawberries.  So cute!

Cold beverage bar.

Below is Judy, the hostess with the mostess!  She was so proud that she had celebrated her 80th birthday since the last time we were together.

~ Linda & Judy ~

~ Judy and Me ~

~ Our group of Southern Belle Travelers ~

It was such a fun afternoon.  We sat around and visited and had a wonderful time of group sharing. When we left, Linda, the all-time shopper of the group, wanted to make a quick trip to Grand Rapids, Ohio about a half-hour away.  So off we went knowing all the shops closed at 5:00, but hoping to squeeze in a little bit of shopping.

When we left Grand Rapids, we headed back to our room at Sauder Inn.  Thursday was going to be another busy, fun-filled day... next post.