Modest Monday: Toadstool Style and Casual Flowered Outfit

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We’ve just arrived home from a three week vacation, and this sweet Toadstool Area was a fun, surprise find in Middlebury, Indiana at the Krider Gardens. The funny thing is, we debated stopping, as it was a last minute find, and it might mean missing out on other things we planned to do. Then, we parked at the far end of the gardens, which I thought was crazy, since we were just going to take a quick peek. I had to thank my Sweetie for it after we found THIS!! Thanks Sweetie!!

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Because we’re a mushroom/toadstool loving family, especially my husband, his cousin and mom, and myself. We’ve even seen red and mushrooms in the town where we met. They’re REAL!!! But poisonous, so don’t eat them if you find some. Who would want to eat rubbery mushrooms anyway, yech! πŸ™‚

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All this sweetness needs is a little table for tea parties! πŸ™‚

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This is a casual outfit I wear a lot. I have two different flowered blouses I took on our trip. I like to belt it to shorten it a bit and create more definition. Unfortunately, I decided to take my brown sandals on the trip instead of the black, then ended up wearing more black over the three weeks. Ah well. When we found this little hangout, I thought, “We should take Modest Monday photos here!” So we did. πŸ™‚

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Then I made my Sweetie pose too, in his new vest from Gohn Bros. an Amish/Mennonite fabric store, also in Middlebury.

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My Sweetie is so handsome!

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I imagine children discovering this sweet spot and feeling miniature and enchanted by it’s sweetness. I felt a bit that way myself. It fit right in with my reading of the Borrowers books. Such a fun little surprise and one of our trip highlights!! I wish I had this in our backyard!! πŸ™‚

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A Little R & R Wednesdays - a linky party

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My Easy Two Ingredient Chai Frappaccino

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I’m a loyal, straight black Irish or English tea drinker. I didn’t even like flavored black tea until a few years ago when our local Tea Room proprietor talked into trying the amazing French Caramel Creme Brule. So yummy!! So I’ll drink that, or vanilla or peach/apricot, but mostly straight black with a bit of milk.

But the moment I tried my first hot Oregon Chai, I was hooked!! All of those yummy spices and the creaminess of the added milk. Yum!! So sometimes I’ll have that for my morning tea time, especially if I’m wanting to up me protein intake.

So I also fell in love the first time I had a Chai Frappaccino! It’s especially refreshing on these very HOT days, with it’s frozen coldness. My one complaint has always been that it needs more ice, and sometimes they did it for me, sometimes not. The unique thing about the chai version is that it doesn’t have yucky coffee, and it isn’t as overly sweet as the others, just spicy. πŸ™‚

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I rarely spend the money on one, usually using gift cards I receive, and don’t really love supporting companies that endorse things I don’t. Soooo…I’m always on the lookout for copycat recipes. Have you heard of The Pioneer Woman? Well, she re-shared her copycat recipe again yesterday and I re-tried it, but it was too watered down. Her coffee concentrate might be stronger than my chai, so you should still try hers if you love coffee. But while I was drinking it, I thought, “What if I freeze the concentrate into cubes and it also becomes the ice?”

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So today I used some of the frozen chai and added milk, and it tastes just like the real thing!!! No fancy, mysterious creme base. Happy girl here!! πŸ™‚

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So here’s my super difficult recipe, prepare yourself:

Pour chai concentrate into ice trays and freeze completely.

Put 8 cubes into a blender

Add 1 cup of milk and blend thoroughly.

Pour into a glass and ENJOY!!!

Soooo, sooooo good!!!

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And only slightly more complicated than the ice cube making recipe I saw earlier today, haha!! πŸ˜‰

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Homemaking LInkup

My Safer Hair Care Routine That Actually Works

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After two years of trying to find a way to wash my hair without all of the chemicals, I feel like I’ve finally found something that works!! Yay!! I went through so much frustration and a lot of gungky hair days to get here. I tried horrible baking soda and both kinds of vinegar, lemon juice, all of the Trader Joe’s shampoos, Burt’s Bees, African black soap, etc, etc, etc. Blech! And my hair was always dry and gunky. My scalp was completely out of control. Needless to say, I was frustrated, and even shed some tears over that horrible, untouchable hair. 😦

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You can see the thick layer coating my hair here. It was so hard trying to hide it as much as I could all of the time…and not touching it, yuck.

Then we got a filter for our shower head, because, guess what? Most people raving about these methods have soft water…and we have super, duper HARD water. Ack! I miss that super soft Oregon water. The filter helped a little, but not enough. Then I started this routine: aloe for the scalp and Suave Professionals lower sulfates shampoo and conditioner, rinsing with reverse osmosis water from my in-law’s vacation house.This was the BEST my hair had been for a year and a half!!! But it wasn’t great, my scalp became very irritated and I had to warm up the water every time, and carry some with me when I traveled. All of these were a pain. I started pouring brewed camomile tea and using it for one of my rinses as a natural way to lighten my ever darkening hair. ( I accidentally bought the one for blonds, instead of rooibos for redheads, but who cares because I now have a more important reason to use it. πŸ™‚ ) And occasionally mixing Tea Tree Oil into my shampoo for my poor scalp.

Then about a week ago, our water jugs were empty on the same day I decided to give Peppermint Oil a try instead of the tea tree oil that seemed to make things worse for me, and I found my new routine!!!!! πŸ™‚

So here’s my new wonderful routing that gives me back my freedom from carting around the water, and gives me back my softer hair again:

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Aloe on my scalp, rinse with Camomile tea, brewed and cooled. (Sometimes I skip the aloe now).

Suave Professionals Shampoo, rinse with shower water.

Suave Professionals Conditioner, rinse with shower water.

Finish rinsing with shower water. (Sometimes I still use the reverse osmosis water for rinses).

I use a little aloe as a gel for straightening my fringe (bangs) and taming in general if needed. And we now have our own aloe plant!!

Deep condition with coconut oil when needed.

Mix a couple of drops of peppermint oil into shampoo when need for scalp healing.

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It is actually in better condition now than in this picture, but you can see…no gunk!! And no more fuzziness on top, it was quite ridiculous!

And enjoy your soft and luxurious hair!! πŸ™‚

It’s so much easier to travel with a tea bag and a big cup than carting around soft water!

I’m still in shock over this fabulous discovery!! I think the tea does for me what the lemon juice/ vinegars do for others, but didn’t do for me. My hair has always been on the oily side, and they just made it oilier, the tea does not. This routine works better than any of the others I tried, and is so much easier for traveling!

Have you found a natural hair care routine that works for you and isn’t part of the “No Poo” fad? Share it here in the comments! πŸ™‚

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Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth
Β Homemaking LInkup

Wake Up Wednesday Linky

Our Irish Party

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Ack! I’m finally sharing about our Irish party with our friends! I started it days ago, but kept getting interrupted by more urgent things. Anyway, here it is!

We have some friends that love to celebrate the Irish culture like we do, so we sometimes have get-togethers in March and mix the American with the Irish cultures.

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So here’s our serving table with drinks, dessert and the food I forgot to photograph as I was hostessing. My mother-in-law brought some green carnations for the table. We had Bewley’s tea (my favorite tea!) in our Carrigaline shamrock tea cups, punch made from rainbow sherbet and 7up for an American touch, Shepherd’s Pie, Steamed Cabbage and White and Brown Soda Bread, served with Dubliner cheese.

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For dessert we had a field of shamrock cookies and some rainbow cupcakes. All yummy!!!! πŸ™‚

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And here’s our table, festive and fun!

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Some of the decorations:

Gnomes, mushrooms and egg cups as tea lights.

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Shamrock and flower plants and this adorable painted rock my Sweetie found for my anniversary gift!

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I made this table cloth several years ago, and collected the napkins from somewhere?

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We had loads of fun eating, visiting and listening to Van Morrison and The Chieftains. The girls were even surprised to hear they ate Brussels sprouts sneaked into the gravy of the shepherd’s pie…and didn’t hate it!!! πŸ™‚

The girls spent hours in the Bear House and Secret Garden, on the swing and saying hello to the horses next door. The adults spent that time catching up, visiting, eating and cleaning up.

And HERE are the recipes if you’re interested!! πŸ™‚

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Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Homemaking LInkup

Ways to Celebrate Ireland Day

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I’ve written a bunch of posts about the ways we celebrate Ireland. Our anniversary is just a few days earlier, and we both have Irish roots. I also lived there for two years as a missionary, so we like to celebrate the friendliness, beauty, food, music and dance of Ireland’s emerald shores. We sometimes do something more Americanized like lime and 7up punch, but we mostly do things the Irish way. So I’m including the links to all of my previous posts right here, nice and handy!

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Shepherd’s Pie

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Irish Soda Bread

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Mince and Potatoes

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Our Irish Anniversary

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Lily’s Brown Bread

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St. Patrick’s Day outfits, accessories, Irish Stew and Barry’s Tea

So, take a peek and see if there’s something here to help you celebrate Irish culture and all things shamrock!

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Ladies Tea Time

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There aren’t too many activities more wonderful than a special tea time with a good friend! This image is such a sweet representation of those lovely moments I’ve shared with dear friends, whether over a cup of tea, a simple meal or simply a good chat. Looking at this brings me instantly back to those moments and a smile to my face!

Haven’t we all had those special times with our friends? πŸ™‚

Image: Facebook/Wonderful Pictures

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Brownie Shortcake

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Last weekend I made an early Valentine celebration dessert since we’ll be at a wedding on Valentine’s Day. Let me say, a wedding is going to be a fun way to celebrate!! πŸ™‚

I didn’t make anything heart shaped or dyed red or pink. I just made some brownies, topped them with sliced strawberries and finished it all off with whipped cream. This is now a new favorite dessert!! There’s something so refreshing about this lighter dessert. The yummy chocolaty-ness paired with the fresh strawberries and sweet whipped cream.Β  It’s the perfect combination! I was dreaming of another bite! πŸ™‚

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Brownie Shortcake

Ingredients:

*Brownies baked to your liking

*Strawberries, sliced and mixed with a bit of sugar to create a syrup (you could skip this step if your berries are super ripe)

Whipping cream, whipped with a bit of sugar (or not). I like to over whip my cream a bit as it holds up better and is more luxurious).

*Layer and enjoy! My Sweetie LOVED it!!

Always perfect with a cup of tea!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Spend some time with your Sweetie, and your little sweeties too! πŸ™‚

Tea For Two At Eddison And Melrose

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We had some unexpected, paid time off after Christmas and decided to take another trip to Carmel/Monterey. After discovering an affordable and clean motel last March and a fabulous tea room, we were ready for a fun and relaxing break, without much planned. We also discovered Scottish scones last March at the Tuck Box, but they were closed for a nice, long break of their own. Great for them, sad for us. We did love our one time being in the area when they were open, maybe next time?

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Karen and her tea room were just as charming as last time! I told her about my birthday and she had pretty sparkling juice for us, a candle in my cupcake and sweet birthday wishes. I also love the rose that garnishes the tea tier! She also volunteered to take our photo and I found a hat on her rack that perfectly matched my outfit! She always makes us feel so loved and special. In fact, when I told her that, she said she thinks of her shop as her living room. And that’s EXACTLY what it feels like…visiting a dear friend!! I should have snapped a pic of her! :>

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And super skrumptious yumminess for a decent price!! And cream scones!!! So skrumptious!!

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Elegance at it’s finest!

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And we were the last customers so I took some photos of the gorgeousness with my real camera this time! I just love the decor and colors!

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More pics of us:

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**Here are a few phone photos**

Our special, sparkling juice!

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The darling hat!

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Pretty Teapot and cup.

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I mushed up one of the blackberries and put it with my lemon curd and whipped cream and it was soooo yummy!!

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So many things make this my favorite tea room, cream scones, extra, lovely touches, pretty decor. But the best of all is Karen, her care and her staff! Kim was just as friendly and welcoming as Karen herself! Thank you both for another memorable afternoon tea!

So if you’re ever in the Carmel/Monterey area, pop into Eddison and Melrose in Monterey, meet Karen, relax and enjoy some lovely tea and fare! She knows how to see the potential and make something beautiful and welcoming! :>

Living Proverbs 31

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Tea Time Tuesday
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Tea Time and A Paper Flower Bouquet

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This week I spent some much needed time with this little sweetie! It’s hard to believe she has grown so much from the little baby I took care of (with her brother too) while her mom homeschooled the older kids. As she’s gotten older and her family has moved a bit further away, (as opposed to living in our little town), we’ve spent a whole lot less time together. So we finally set a time to hang out together. :>

 

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Now, at her house, we ALWAYS had mini tea parties, with tiny candies and such, and we ALWAYS worked on a craft. So this time we had a more “grown up” tea time at Panera Bread and we made a Paper Flower Bouquet as our craft. So it turns out that we basically did the same things we’ve always done together. And we both enjoyed the time as much as ever. We haven’t really changed much!! :>

 

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Here’s our Instagram photo:

 

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This sweet doll was made by her Nana:

 

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And I love her flower light:

 

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I love this little sweetheart so much and can’t wait until our next outing together!! It’s always great to invest in these sweet little lives, and we’re paid back in immeasurable ways!!

 

Here‘s how we made the sweet little paper flowers.

 

The Homemaking Party

 

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