Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Missing the Fruit of My Youth!

One of my Facebook Friends posted a picture of some mighty fine looking Peaches today. Everyone was commenting on them, saying "I love Peach Pie" or "I'm gunna make a Peach Cobbler", every one's mouth was watering just thinking of those Peaches! It made me think of my trip to the Winn Dixie yesterday,
I passed the Peaches in the produce department and you couldn't even smell them, they were so pretty all stacked up into a big Pyramid and they felt like rocks!!! Not the same juicy peaches that we had when I was growing up. You would take a bite and have to bend forward so the juice wouldn't  drip on you, you'd hold out your elbow cuz the juice had ran down your arm and was dripping from them. Mom always made us eat Peaches out in the yard, she'd almost have to hose us down afterwards. Smiling just thinking of it..Peaches in a bowl on the kitchen counter would always make the whole room smell so good! But something has happened, I don't know what it is, but it is sad. It is something I fear our Grand Children will never get to experience, and it is the TRUE TASTE OF FRUIT!!  Are you with Me on this?? The taste and  the juice, are just not there, now how can you cut into a Peach and not have one drop of juice come from it , or the aroma alone just makes you wanna  stuff a big ol bite in your mouth. I miss it. Now if you go to a farm and buy homegrown you will get that tasty fruit. But why can't we get that at the store? There is a whole generation of Kids that have never seen a farm, much less be able to drive to one!

And that is the same with Watermelon, we would cut one open and the whole kitchen would fill with the clean crisp aroma of mouthwatering Watermelon, now you can cut one open and nothing...I mean you might as well spray it with Glade to get a smell. and the taste...where in the hell did it go??? Is it a new variation, one that is totally tasteless? Daddy would bring home the largest Watermelons ever, I remember him taking his pocket knife and cutting along the top, grabbing each side and pulling , causing a loud CRACK! as it split in half! Then a huge explosion of Watermelon smell filling the kitchen..don't you have memories like that? Dad always like to shake salt on his  bite, but that sweet taste mm mm mm just can't beat it. Now when I get a Watermelon I actually put salt on it, just to get FLAVOR! wha?? Dad said "Salt on Watermelon and Pepper on Cantaloupe"! word.

Sad to say the same can be said for all the fruits,  they look the same, but the aroma and their wonderful juices just aren't there. Big ol juicy Strawberries, now some are hollow and dry, and you have to put your nose in the box just to smell them, Apples would give off an aroma like no other, their different taste, sweet or sour, Bananas! I sliced one on cereal the other morning and I could feel it in my mouth, but that strong Banana flavor wasn't there, even though the color was yellow, the taste was green! And being a Floridian don't get me started on Oranges! Mom and Dad would stop at Stuckey's and buy a big red mesh bag full of Navel Oranges, they would be half the size of a bowling ball! Mom would peel them and then pull apart, giving Me and my Brother each a half, send us out to the yard, pulling those big plugs apart, juice squirting out in the sun, the smell making your mouth water with anticipation, so much so you would get a little lock jaw! Such a sweet flavor as you bit into that plug, the juice was coming out the corners of our mouths dripping right down our tummies...uhoh here comes the hose!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer's a Come'n!

My Granddaughter Kingsley just told me the last day of  her Junior year is June 6th! Now I know I seem to always start of with the mention of how I feel time is flying by, but come on..June already! You have got to  be agreeing with me! I already see Christmas on Pinterest! But June does bring on the Summer, and really isn't that what we all live for, I know I do. Finally all my plants have recovered from the Winter Freezes, their leaves are full and buds are on everything, all the "Brown" is gone!

 Just look at my Kings Crown Shrimp Plant! I always look forward to these Pink Pompoms, and it blooms all summer!

My Staghorn Fern is about 15 years old, you can't tell by this picture, but it is over 5 feet across, and Kudos to my Wayne for lugging this giant thing into the garage at the mere hint of a freeze!

The African Iris have been blooming like mad this year, the most blooms ever! Maybe they like the freeze, hmm. You know some plants have to go through the cold to bloom in the spring.

We recently took a day trip to Big Talbot Island State Park, right on the ocean, only about a half hour away. This is the most extraordinary place, the ocean has washed away so much of the Island that the erosion has caused these cliffs at the edge. This has caused the Oaks to fall onto the beach, where over time they have almost turned white and are now huge forms of driftwood. When we first started coming to the Island you could access the beach by wooden steps, but now, due to many storms washing all away, the stairs are gone and they have made a trail through the woods that goes about a half mile to a place that is easier to climb down , still a bit scary to try and make your way down to the beach, but sooo worth it.  Just walking among all the huge driftwood trees, it's just wonderful. And since this place is kinda off the beaten path, there isn't very many people there. You are not allowed to take any of the wood off the Island...drats!

 Now is this fantastic or what! In person so much of the wood is totally bleached by the sun, you definitely need your Sunglasses!
Can you see the white line on the horizon? Well that is a sandbar, I bet I stared at that thing for the longest time, if I could walk on water I would have loved to have gone over there!

You can see the edge of the Island Cliffs here on Big Talbot Island.

I still do my Decorating for Dr. Duffy's office,  his Wife Claire is so good to Me and I enjoy every moment coming up with ideas to use in My designs.

 This is one of the toppers to their large display cabinet in their waiting room, I designed this for Spring. Huge flowers in shades of peach and cream, of course I love using the Mesh ribbon for drama, and adding that cute watering can I found at Goodwill!
This is the latest design, I wanted it to look like a cool Summer, with shades of blue, burlap like the sand, and I made a wreath out of the vines I collected from My yard, adding Sea Grape leaves, Shells, Lichen and Mesh ribbon. Put some Twigs up there from my yard too.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's Almost Easter!

Good grief today was Palm Sunday! I just can't believe how fast this year is already passing! What is with time?? Has Global Warming somehow changed the perception of time? At, first I thought it was because I was getting older, but I'm not so sure that's it. With all the different Blogs and sites on the Internet, like Pinterest and Facebook, all the Holidays are being rushed! I mean probably the day after Easter, on all these sites we will see Recipes, Decorations, DIY Ideas, Games and anything you can think of to get you through the 4th of July!! Oh we might see some Brunch postings for Mothers Day and Fathers Day. But the majority with be for the 4th. So this is how it changes the Time Continuum, here it is April, but our minds are already thinking of July, absolutely ignoring May and June! See what I mean? And then all the posts for Christmas, will start in the latter part of August. I feel the Internet has absolutely turned Christmas into the Mother of all Holiday Decorating! Halloween has also become a huge decorating Holiday, and it takes all we can do to allow Thanksgiving to interrupt our Decorating Frenzy! I mean for real! Thanksgiving is becoming a nuisance!! Wha?
With time flying by, I did manage to get in a little Easter decorating , of course I did my Mantel, and a Dining Room table scape.I haven't really purchased anything to really alter the look of what I do, so I just try to change it up, kinda like shuffling a deck of cards. 


Monica our French Maid Server is wearing the Easter Visor I
made using only Dollar Tree flowers.

Now you can see what fun they were to wear for the Blessing of the Fleet. I surprised all the girls with an Easter Visor, and as the boat sailed pass the Priest, he yelled out "Great hats Ladies"!

 My little Easter Egg Tree, also the little Hippie Rabbit I gave my Mom when I was 18 years old.

 I also collect Paper Mache Rabbits, aren't they the cutest!

Indian Hawthorn is in full bloom, the color always reminds me of Bazooka Bubble Gum!

I just have to end my post with pictures of My Granddaughter going to her Junior/Senior Prom. She is a Junior, so she gets another Prom next year!

Hugging her Mom, My Daughter! Ain't Family Great! Happy Easter!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Rushing Spring!

I have been in the slumps with this Winter weather. This has been the greyest Winter ever here in Neptune Beach, and we are all sick of it! Now I know, this in no way compares to what all our friends in the upper tiers of the USA goes through each Winter, but here in Florida it's just not what we are used to. I am so glad this is all finally coming to an END!! My Friends and I tried to Rush Spring, and took a trip to Fernandina Beach, a really quaint fishing town, with great shops, restaurants and beautiful Amelia Island Resort.
For a couple of years I had been following the postings of The Dove Cote Brocante in St Marys Georgia, vowing to my friends that we would take a drive up to see this great looking shop, but life gets in the way, and we never went. But just about a month ago, I saw Aspen, the owner of  DCB, say she had moved to Fernandina Beach!! Ok no excuses now! Trip on! So I headed out with an Artist friend of mine, her Mom and Daughter for such a delightful, but chilly day in Fernandina. Dove Cote Brocante here we come! You know how you see pictures. and you just love everything you see, well that is how we all felt about the treasures in this great shop.
Sharon Hayes Westbrook, a wonderful artist and friend, took this picture of her Mom, Daughter and Me as we were about to enter the shop we had waited so long to see,the beginning of a fun day!

We were greeted by Aspen, the owner  of The Dove Cote Brocante. So pretty and such a sweet person!
We all loved her goat head above her desk, with a cute chapeau! See I said Aspen was pretty!

 Cute Glitter Rabbits, so whimsical, and Santos, that I wish I could afford! All kinds of Architectural Elements, and I purchased a Cement flower pot with Roses and a Burlap makeup bag with the Fleur de Lis, for my Granddaughters trip to Paris in March. I wish I had taken a picture of the Burlap full length Curtains, they were  smocked at the top, about a foot down and tied back with a Burlap Bow, they were beautiful! If you ever visit Fernandina please take the time to visit this great shop, you'll be glad you did! Before we left her shop, she told us about her Mothers Garden Shop just down the block, so off we went .

 We found it! the Dove Cote Garden Shop, now when I see something like this, I just have to stop and check it out. Don't you?! All the little Chippy pieces and cement elements, we all just couldn't stand our own excitement!

 Cutest tiny terracotta pot display in an old wooden crate.

 This Art Deco Angel Lantern was huge, hanging between two Metal Columns, we all wanted all this!

                              Me and Sharon Hayes Westbrook, a great artist known all over the USA!

Wish  I could show you all the things that this wonderful Dove Cote Garden Shop has to offer, can't wait to
go back and see in the warmer months!
Aspen's Mom Cathy, now we can see where the beauty comes from.

We were now off in search of a good place, but a quaint place to have lunch, and we found LULU's!
But on the way we stopped in several Boutiques, and I picked up a stranger! No not really, but really yes! I noticed in several of the shops we were in, another lady all by herself was looking too, so as we left the last shop heading to lunch, I noticed she was walking behind us, we started a conversation and invited her to join us for lunch and she accepted. She wasn't afraid of us at all!! lol

Charlotte and her husband were in Fernandina,  vacationing  from Tuscaloosa, so I can now say I have a new friend in Alabama! This was a great trip and we can't wait to return.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year! And Happy Reflecting on all the Years Past.

The excitement of Christmas is past, to me it's always so funny how even the lights on the trees and houses seem to lose that magical glow. Oh they still look pretty, but it's like the spirit of Santa has returned back to the North Pole, leaving us in the afterglow. But a bit of spark is left to get us through the week, just enough to rally for the last fling, The New Year Celebration! Mom and Dad always had a great New Years Eve party, fabulous food, fun guests, Dad tending bar, making me my favorite White Russians! The neighbor down the street , Mr Luke, would always bring a big bag of fireworks to set off in the front yard at the stroke of Midnight. Bottle Rockets galore, Lady Fingers going off like machine guns, Huge Fountains shooting a mountain of sparks that would make a loud whistle, small Tanks that would run in the street that shot little sparks out of their canons.But my fave was the Roman Candles. Oh man getting to hold that wand, shooting out bright balls of sparkling fire in the night, seeing the colors shoot out, winging their way down the street in a high arch, now that's what I'm talk'n about!! Makes my heart leap just thinking about it! Thanks Mom and Dad, that is a memory that will never be repeated.

It has been some years since we went out to celebrate New Years, usually it's a quiet evening, grilling in the back yard, now Wayne makes my White Russians, he'll put a fire in the fire pit.  I love to watch the ball drop in Times Square on the telly and we toast at Midnight, usually with Evan Williams Eggnog, another favorite! I don't see any change this year, but maybe we'll use our gift card from Carrabba's for dinner that we got LAST YEAR!! Hello..is it still even good?? Well anyhoo.
I usually don't make any resolutions, I always hope things will be better, that we will have good health, that I will be more productive, that some fun will enter my life everyday, that I'll find something to really laugh about, that I will watch my diet, prosperity will come our way, maybe I'll get a new kitten, maybe not, that I will clean the garage, pressure wash the driveway, reline the kitchen drawers..hey! hey! what in the hell am I talking about?? Wow I must of had a moment! whew..
Happy New Year! Holy Cow it's 2014!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Hate Change! But I do Love Me some Christmas!

I hate when things in life forces change on you, but this has been the year that has probably changed mine forever. Families grow up, move on, grow not apart, but away from each other. It's like the saying
"Life Gets In The Way". Each one has their own agenda, their own needs. Oh yeah we all try and make time for each other, but there seems to be less and less to talk about, all are so out of each others loop, that the conversation comes basically down to the weather, what you made for dinner or what they are all planning to do, and it has nothing to do with You. Now I am not crying in my soup here, I am just stating a fact that is true, in all of our growing families.They say if you Love Them Let Them Go, but.... This is the same with Friends, even ones that have been in your life for more years than you can put a number on. It can only take one thing to change the whole dynamics of your relationships. So you start to wonder about the meaning of it all. Families grow up and out, Friends let you drift away, it just seems to be a fate we just can't get a grip on.

It was with the Saddest, did I say Saddest? thing to do, but we had to call off our (My) Christmas Party. This would have been the 13th Annual. Such a wonderful gathering of Friends and Family, so much fun, all the food, laughter, the beautiful decorations I put up in my home for all to enjoy, right down to the 99 Bananas Shooters, right before I gave all the women bags of Christmas or Hanukkah Ornaments. This was always my gift to all that mattered to me in my life, I would forgo everything just to have this party, this was My Christmas.

Well at first I thought that I wouldn't put up any decorations this year, but as the days got closer to Christmas, I knew I would have to feed my Heart. I got a skinny little tree at KMart, just big enough to fit in a small space in my family room. I didn't even have to bring out any of my collection of ornaments that always went on the big tree in the living room, I just used what was in the basket from last years party. All would bring me an ornament, so I used those. I missed going through all my own old ones that have  been with me since I was 22 years old, the ones that my  Daughter would pick out every year, from the age of one, then the ones the Grandkids would make, the ones from my Mom, and ones that I just couldn't resist buying. That is 45 years of collecting!! Acckk! Wow time does fly! I've done only about a third of the usual decorating, but things have remained festive, and I am glad I made the attempt.

As usual I started with my Mantel, you do know I have a Mantel Fetish! You can see all my Mantels on Pinterest under Rena Designs. But it is a scaled back version, but I did not sacrifice beauty! LOL

Went to Lowes and Home Depot to get all the free tree trimmings and used them on the Mantel with Deco Mesh, Glitter Poinsettias, Red and Gold Ornaments, Beaded Garland, Lighted Topiary I got a Goodwill last year, and a Red Glitter Reindeer as the finishing touch. Not as Deluxe, but nice.

Top of Kitchen Cabinets got a change up too, just enough to satisfy my judgmental eye.

Kitchen is painted Terracotta so all my decor is Glitter Copper! I'm covered in it!!

Added the Christmas Tree in the Family Room.

Loaded up the tree with the Red Berry branches I usually put on my Mantel, added a Deco Mesh topper, Red Ribbon Garland and all the ornaments from friends. I love how you can see the Mantel in the Mirror. Oh my goodness that Mirror! When we lived at the condo I saw that Mirror at an Antique store for $350! I wanted it for my Kitchen, but was not going to pay that amount!! Just weeks later I went to a garage sale and yep there is was, side keys and all for...wait for it...$3.00! OMG MINE MINE MINE! lol

I decorated the Large Mirror in my Living room, added the Glitter Peacock with feathers, long glass ornaments, and the Mask I got in Venice 5 years ago. Ahhh Venice...ok ok I'm back!

 I am Truly Wishing You All from My Heart, a Beautiful Christmas Filled with Love..

Thought I would include a Recipe that I would make every year for the Christmas party. It's a good one, so hope you enjoy!

                                                  Beef and Broccoli Wellington 

1 lb. ground beef
9 oz. cut broccoli thawed /drained/ cut in to small pieces
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup med chopped onion
1 jar of sliced mushrooms
1 8oz. sour cream (plus extra container to be used when serving)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 8oz cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
(or now that they have out the solid sheets
you could probably use those.)
1 egg beaten

preheat oven 375 degrees

In large skillet brown meat and onion/ drain off fat
Add broccoli, mushrooms,cheese, sour cream, salt
 and pepper. turn down heat and mix all well, let simmer
for about 10 min.
While skillet is cooling off, separate dough into 4 long
rectangles. On an ungreased cookie sheet place 2 rectangles,
overlap the long edges by about 1/2 inch. press perforations
to seal into one large sheet. about 13 x 7 inches. spoon meat mixture
in about a 3 inch strip down the center of the dough. bring long
sides up to the top and pinch to seal all along the long length.
Repeat with second tube of dough, same thing. Take the beaten
egg and brush, using as a wash all over both Wellingtons.
Bake for 18-22 minutes till deep golden brown.
Serve slices with a dollop of Sour Cream on top.

This makes two Wellingtons.