• 2010 Reading List

    What I've read this year:

    "The Other Queen" by Phillipa Gregory (Rating: C)

    "The Welsh Girl" by Peter Ho Davies (Rating: A)

    "Mistress of the Sun" by Sandra Gulland (Rating: A)

For the (snow) birds

We had a beautiful snow on Friday, and for anyone in the northeast, I’m sure you are sick of it, but we are not! Just a few days ago, Charlotte saw snow, but on our side of town, we mostly got the sleet and ice. Friday night’s snow was of the  light and fluffy variety, and was beautiful to watch (even though it quickly melted and was practically gone the next day).

Eastern Bluebird

I had made chicken pot pie for dinner the weekend before, and it turned out to be the perfect evening for a hearty and classic dinner. Alan has always sworn that he didn’t like chicken pot pie, but I was convinced that it was likely due to the fact that he had only ever had store bought, not homemade. I’ll have to share the recipe I used, but the end result was a delicious, with a thin broth rather than a thick, pasty textured filling, which you typically find in many other versions. However, today’s post is not supposed to be about food – it should be about our birds!

Taking notes

We have officially submitted our results from the Great Backyard Bird Count, and had a great time sitting by the windows on Saturday, watching and counting.

House Finches

The Peanut began working on his own bird book, drawing pictures of the birds that frequent our yard. Overall, we saw a fair number of birds for our area. Unfortunately, very few of our neighbors have feeders or baths, but we are doing our best to bring the birds back to our yard.

Mourning Doves & House Finch

We saw 4 mourning doves, 5 House Finches (apparently there is a harem nearby…we have 1 male, but 4 females…hmmmm), 1 eastern bluebird, 2 mockingbirds (one of whom is a bit of a bully to the finches, which the Peanut does not appreciate), and 1 Carolina Chickadee whom I never caught on film. He seems a little skittish, and doesn’t linger long enough for me to steal a shot of him. I hope that you also participated in the count. The Peanut is learning more and more about birds every day, and if our small, urban backyard can be a venue

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Spring, vintage & humility

I’m loving the touch of spring that is in the air this week! Yesterday was a beautiful day, with blue skies and temperatures very comfy, and today is looking to be more of the same. I’m not quite ready for the end of winter, which is one of the benefits of living in the Carolinas. We know that the seasons like to dip in and out around here. One day it is winter, the next it is spring, and then we are back to winter for a few more weeks. However, the sunny skies and warm air are giving us some much-needed outside play time (the sidewalk chalk and bikes were out in full force yesterday).  When the weather starts flip-flopping like this, it makes me start planning ahead, looking forward to the things that the next season brings, and building excitement. We’ve started discussing what we want to plant this year in our garden; I’m staring out of the window while cooking, picturing where I want to plant additional flowers; I’m starting to see more birds visiting our yard, and snacking on the treats we’ve left out for them. It is a very exciting time!

And, to top off my desire for spring, this weekend a friend and I went shopping, and I found the cutest dress at Hong Kong Vintage & Recycled.(They do have an ebay store if you are interested – the link will take you there.) It was the first store we went in, so I had to hem & haw for a little while. I ended up getting them to hold it for me while we continued shopping, but I didn’t find anything else, so the dress came home with me! Now I’m just waiting for the weather to be consistently warm so that I can rock my new dress! We also had lunch at The Penguin (a Charlotte tradition), but that place really deserves a post all to itself.

And, even though the week is officially half-way over, here is the thought of the week…

(I’m still working on that part about humility…it’s not so simple.)

I hope it is warm and sunny in your neck of the woods!

My soul is in bloom!

“If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.”  ~Audra Foveo

Despite the fact that spring in the southern states brings with it an onslaught of pollen, resulting in more and more hankies being used in our household, every year at this time I am so excited to see the colors popping out everywhere. It is like a new discovery every year – it never loses its newness.

Wild Violet

Wild Iris

Over the weekend we went for a hike along the shores of Lake Wylie, at the wonderful McDowell Nature Preserve. It was beautiful. The dogwoods were in full bloom, and they are scattered throughout the forest. Along our hike we saw wild azaleas, jasmine, wood violets, ginger, and irises just peaking out of the leaves. (Ignore the blurry branch in the picture above – our dog decided to pull my arm – which had his leash attached to it –  right as I took the picture, and it’s the only one I took throughout the hike!)

Wild Azalea

Wild Azalea

Also, in our family tradition, rotting logs that we pass along the trail get rolled over so that we could look for beetles, salamanders, snakes, and any other critters that may be using the dark wet place as a home. We only found a few beetles & grubs,  but the temperature was cooler over the past few days, so I’m sure many were in hiding.

Last week, A. & I finalized our order with Park Seed, and I’m hoping we will receive our plants tomorrow or Thursday. We have our new flowerbed tilled, enriched with some healthy manure, and are just waiting for the plants to arrive. Our new house will feel even more like home once the garden is in. I just adore being able to stand in my kitchen and see flowers blooming while washing the dishes or preparing dinner.

I hope you are seeing spring in your neck of the woods as well – please, share some pictures so we all can enjoy the beauty!


the perfect weekend

After the hectic nature of the past 3 weeks, the perfection of this weekend came as a much needed surprise. March is a busy and stressful time for me at work (which briefly explains my absence recently), and I really needed a great weekend completely removed from work-associated thoughts.

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Saturday morning I woke up bright and early at 6:30 to meet a friend for a little rummage sale action. The weather was cold, and at first glance, there didn’t seem to be much at the sale that I was interested in. But then I found a fabulous old gossip bench, for $35! It was love at first sight! I am now in search of the perfect fabric for recovering the seat, and once I have done so, I’ll be sure to add a picture.

march-09-019From the rummage sale, we wandered, happily & aimlessly, from thrift store to antique store. We wrapped up the morning with brunch at Toast. It was significantly warmer, and a beautiful day, so we opted to sit outside. Every aspect of the morning was great, from the sunshine, to the conversation, to the music accompanying us in the car and at brunch. Sometimes you just need a little girl time, and this was one of those times. We talked about everything and nothing – families and babies, funny and frustrating stories about our husbands, etc. All in all, a perfect morning!

march-09-014That afternoon, my hubby & I cuddled & napped together on the couch while S. napped upstairs (one of the blissful days that he actually agreed to nap!). Afterward, we headed outside for a walk. We discovered a huge and beautiful field close to our community, where we were able to let the dog off the leash, and explore. We found a deer skeleton (and anyone with a 4 year old boy knows that this is just about as good as life gets), rocks to climb on in the woods, and fallen trees perfect for balancing.

march-09-012When we made it back home, we were all happy, tired, and hungry. We filled our bellies with spagetti and meat(turkey)balls and fresh bread, and sent S. off to bed shortly thereafter. A. & I got in some good couch time, and then a warm bath and bed…

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And that was just Saturday! Ahhhhh…I am still smiling. Don’t you love the moments where you realize that you are 100% happy right then and there, and you are actually aware of it! It doesn’t get any better!

*The one small downside: I didn’t have my camera with me at all this weekend. All of the pictures I included capture the feeling of the day, if not the actual scenery. You can forgive me for that, right!?

Who needs an alarm?

Certainly not those of us with four year olds! I was awoken this morning by a little boy towering over me, pillow in hand, ready to start a pillow fight. Now if that isn’t the way to convince someone to get out of bed, I don’t know what is. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera nearby to catch a glimpse of his tossled hair, cozy train jammies, or his “bad guy smile” that is just plain adorable, although he thinks that it is intimidating.

Instead, I am posting pictures of what I wish today was like. It is cold (at least to me!), grey, and the type of day in which you wish you were able to stay dressed in fleece all day long. A couple of weeks ago we had a delicious warm spell, with almost two weeks of day time temperatures above 60. It was heavenly. We rode bikes, worked in the yard, left the windows open, and just frolicked. Here are a couple of looks back – oh how I wish spring was here!

 

S playing, Marco longing to join in, and a beautiful, breezy day!

S playing, Marco longing to join in, and a beautiful, breezy day!

Spring on my table

Spring on my table

 

This morning I find myself waiting for March to arrive, hoping that the sun comes out today, and knowing that in a few months, when the 98 days return, I will be longing for cooler days!