Modest Monday: Toadstool Style and Casual Flowered Outfit


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!!


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! 🙂


All this sweetness needs is a little table for tea parties! 🙂



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. 🙂



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



My Sweetie is so handsome!



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!! 🙂


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Dreaming Of Winter


A couple of weeks ago, during our millionth heat wave since moving here ten years ago, I came across my photos from my Oregon trip last February…and I was dreaming of winter. We don’t have winter here, only spring or summer weather, and I really miss seasons. I like variety! I always looked forward to each new season for the change and/or relief it brought. Also it’s beauty. My friends here think I hate the sun and that rain is my favorite, but that isn’t true. I used to appreciate the sun when it came out after the long rainy months. And my favorite type of day was always a cool, crisp, sunny autumn day with pretty, crunchy leaves underfoot. It’s just that the only change in weather we have is rain. And I LOVE GREEN more than brown when it comes to vegetation, and rain makes things green!.

So, while others have been trying to force winter out since the very first day December 21st, even those near us who have either spring or summer EVERY day, I’ve been longing for those days when we would pray that it would snow…and sometimes we woke up to find it had! 🙂

Last February, while I was visiting family and friends in Oregon, we had a blizzard that snowed some of us in and kept us from seeing each other. That was the sad part, especially since that was the whole point of my trip. 😦 But it WAS tons of fun having snow and winter again!!

The day started with brunch with friends…and snow beginning to fall:


I didn’t wear appropriate clothes and shoes for snow that day:


We were snowed in at one of my favorite places in the world, and almost stayed the night until my cousin-in-law’s husband came and rescued us.



Snowy beaches are always fun!







Snowy Whale Park




Becoming more blizzardly:


Everyone’s favorite spot becomes even more magical at night and snowy.


At least we’re supposed to get a decent amount of rain this weekend. 🙂

Tea For Two At Eddison And Melrose


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?


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! :>


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


Elegance at it’s finest!


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!











More pics of us:




**Here are a few phone photos**

Our special, sparkling juice!


The darling hat!


Pretty Teapot and cup.


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


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! :>

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Modest Monday: Danish Days



Last weekend we went to the annual Danish Days in Solvang. It’s always a lot of fun with Danish dancing, music and Swedish Delight, my favorite desert! It’s so perfect with meringue, chocolate and almond bits and whipped cream, light, yummy goodness!I decided to wear this sundress with a peasant top as sort of a modern way to dress up instead of a costume. I also needed something super cool, as it’s even hotter inland in Solvang, and this fit the bill.


These photos turned out better than I expected at the end of a hot, humid (read frizzy) and windy day. :>




I’ve been wearing my hair in a braid a LOT the past couple of years during this hot drought, and one day I tucked it up into the top of itself and realized it was a fun new style! For this day I added a little daisy attached to a hairpin. An easy and fun new style!




My Sweetie and I even did a little dancing!









Belated Mother’s Day in Solvang







Exactly one week ago, my Sweetie treated me to a Mother’s Day celebration. He was away on business on the actual day, but you know what? It was the best thing that could have happened, and here’s why: it was the first time in 12 years that I felt like I actually got to be honored as a mother for Mother’s Day outside of my home. I usually hide out away from all of the well wishing because I don’t want to hear a comment unless the person actually knows what they’re saying and who they’re saying it to. So I hide. But I’m still a mother, even if I don’t have my child with me anymore, and his idea honored that. : >









Before my Sweetie left, he offered to take me to one of my two favorite local towns as a belated day to honor me, and I chose Danish settled Solvang. I had also put off seeing “Mom’s Night Out” because I didn’t want to see it over Mother’s Day weekend (even though I was chomping at the bit to see it!) , so we went to the morning showing before eating at one of my favorite places, Me N Ed’s then headed out to Solvang. It was great! Even though my favorite bakery was out of my all time favorite treat, Swedish Delight, for the second time in a row. It’s extra hard because we only go there once or twice a year. But it was still great!! I LOVED FINALLY celebrating Mother’s Day in a fun way and I think we should do this belated thing every year!! I felt so much more free from the awful feelings. I think it will make the actual day a bit easier next year too, knowing I’ll have my own time.






My Sweetie had no idea how wonderfully his idea would affect me, but I think it’s yet another step on the healing ladder!! : >

A fun time was had by all!




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Choose Joy Conference!

Exactly two weeks from today I will be attending the second Choose Joy Event, and I can’t wait! It’s a chance to interact with other people dealing with infertility, loss of children, failed adoptions or just interested in adopting. People may not realize how difficult it is to go through each day with the emotions from these issues. Each day (some days, each minute) I have to make the choice to choose JOY when I feel anything but joy in my yearning for a child, empty arms and sorrow for the precious girl we don’t have anymore.
At last year’s conference I bought a book filled with verses specifically geared toward these issues, and it has been such a blessing to me!
So I’m looking forward to more encouragement and to meeting people (or someone) who can relate to the struggles I deal with every day. Because, let’s be honest, it’s so hard going through things like this alone and so helpful to have even one person to share it with. And this year my Sweetie is going to, yay.
And it doesn’t hurt that they create such a beautiful setting for the conference!!! Here’s a tiny peek from last year’s event:
You can read more about our journey HERE.
And last year’s event HERE.
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

15th Anniversary Weekend: More of Day 1



So it just didn’t feel like we were having a weekend in Carmel if we drove straight to Monterey for Afternoon Tea, then our hotel in Seaside where it’s a more affordable stay. What did we do next? Drove to Carmel of course, even if it was after 5:30pm and shops might be closed, I had to take a peek! So that’s exactly what we did, and most of our favorites were still open!! Yay!!


My top favorite building is the Tea Rose! They don’t serve tea here, but carry many tea related items for sale. And something new since our last visit…artwork fashioned after the gorgeous English style buildings all over this quaint town. I was amazed, especially by the depictions of the Tea Rose! I love this town so much for it’s taste of English culture and it’s quaint beauty! It’s no coincidence that my favorite town because of it’s wonderful people and quaint atmosphere is called “the Carmel of Oregon!” If you ever have a chance to visit Cannon Beach, Oregon or Carmel, California, or both, DO IT!! They are both well worth it!!


Okay, on to the loveliness of Carmel: (all photos are cell phone photos again)




The Tea Rose














I kind of love it a lot! :>




Prettiness inside!









My Sweetie loved going to “Cottage Sweets” as a kid, still does to be honest!





Doesn’t this town have pretty buildings?!!




Hello Sweetie! (I made him pose in the cute window for me!)




I think this is better than the “Two Hags” in Dublin, although they are funny. But how sweet is this couple?


I can’t wait for next time!





Hope In Every Season

15th Anniversary Weekend: Day 1 – Tea at Eddison and Melrose


In December, I went to a nearby Tea Room with my wonderful friend Diane to celebrate our birthdays together. It was fabulous! Read about it here. Then when my Sweetie offered to take me to Carmel for our 15th anniversary (yippee) I thought I would see if we could have tea while we were up there, maybe at the Tuck Box? More on that later, but in my search I found two things, the wonderful Eddison and Melrose in Monterey, and a Living Social coupon for them! After reading many amazing reviews, I bought the deal and made the reservation. That morning, we got up early and drove straight to Eddison and Melrose. I can’t say enough nice things about this place! No wonder the reviews were so great. I wish I could go every week!!


Sometimes the food is a bit sparse, like one of the ones near us, but not here. Plenty to eat and enjoy, and we didn’t go away hungry at all!! Everything was so yummy and lovely!


I had delicious apricot tea. It’s nice to like flavored tea now so I can enjoy this! Thank you to Laviece from J. Henry Manor for giving me a love for flavored tea with her French Caramel Creme Brulee tea!! I miss her shop!


She also made my favorite cream scones, but, happily, Karen’s scones tasted nearly exactly the same. I’m wanting some right now!!! She needs to be closer to me!




One of the things I loved about this place was the way they were so friendly. They also paid careful attention to detail and extras. Some examples are trading out the frilly cups for more masculine ones for the men, (see the above photo) and special catering for children. Look at the personal plastic teapot for the little girl’s hot chocolate “tea!” :>


We saw a couple of groups of women, a mother and daughter date and a family with sweet kids while we were there. Truly a lovely place for all to visit!!



Two Belleek sightings:


You know I find flowers everywhere I go! And they’re extra special in a Belleek vase!



You may not know the treasure that awaits from the outside, but once you’re in the door it is completely transformed, and so is your afternoon!! :>

If you’re ever in the Carmel/Monterey area, this place is definitely worth the stop! And if you’re local, go…and go often!!!

Tea time anyone!!

P.S. All of these photos were with my phone instead of my real camera, less distracting to other people’s experience that way. :>

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15th Anniversary Weekend: Day 2

DSCN3656Monterey Aquarium

This is Part 1, but Day 2 of our weekend away to Carmel to celebrate 15 years of marriage, but I’ll still be posting about Day 1 at a brand new Tea Shop in Monterey. I’m ready to go back!!

So there’s a hint about what is coming, but on our second day we visited the Monterey Aquarium, and it was AMAZING!! I am NOT an animal person, but it was AMAZING!!! So glad we finally got there!

And, as you might guess, you will see more photos than words in this post! :>

DSCN3640Purple Striped Jelly

I told my Sweetie I wasn’t sure I wanted to see the jellyfish, but they were my FAVORITE!!


DSCN3680Sea Nettle




I am so thankful for my Sweetie and these years together! We’ve had MANY struggles together, but God continues to bless us with His grace and hope. Every day we choose to stick together to honor God and each other. It isn’t always easy, but so worth it!!! :>


He’s like an elephant fish to me!  I love elephants! :>

DSCN3706Crystal Jelly



DSCN3887Giant Pacific Octopus

DSCN3904Creeping out…



DSCN3922…and creeping back into the dark.





DSCN3805_2Just lounging…

DSCN3818Fun toys too!

DSCN3825See how tall the rope is?






I find flowers everywhere I go!!


Shark anyone?


Standing under the man made wave.


So much exhausting fun through glass!!

Making your home sing Mondays

Recipe Exchange: Lily’s Brown Soda Bread


Tuesday means the Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange, and since it’s March I like to celebrate Irish culture. One of the ways we celebrate is with Irish food! So last night I made Shepherd’s Pie and Brown Bread, otherwise known as Brown Soda Bread, as opposed to White Soda Bread. I lived in Ireland for two years as a missionary and made some lovely local friends over that time period! Last June we went over for our Irish friend’s beautiful wedding. :> This is her mother’s recipe, and it is FABULOUS!! It goes perfectly with their wonderful spirit of hospitality. I have NEVER been to their house without being offered food! I have always been warmly welcomed and served with love alongside my tea, brown bread, etc. The Murtaghs embody a similar welcoming attitude you will find all over the Emerald Isle! You can find out for yourself by visiting their now famous Causy Farm in County Meath! The Duggars from “19 Kids And Counting” did!! 🙂

In fact, I was watching the show one night when I heard Matt Murtagh’s voice, looked up, and there he was! I had no idea they were visiting my friends and was completely surprised to see their Irish  farm on the show!

It felt so good to be greeted last June from many friends with, “Welcome Home!” It WAS my home for two years and still feels that way when we visit!

They have turned their farm into a unique, fun business. Take a peek at Causey Farm here!


So, without further ado…here’s the recipe:

Lilly’s Brown Soda Bread


  • 1½ cups of plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup of wheatenmeal
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 level teaspoon of bread soda (baking soda)
  • 1 small egg
  • ¾ cup of buttermilk (I usually just add a tsp of white vinegar to the milk)
  • spoon of butter to grease tin
  • Grease the loaf tin thoroughly with butter.
  • Put the wheatenmeal, flour, salt and bread soda into the mixing bowl.
  • Lift the contents of the bowl through your fingers to let air into the mixture and to thoroughly mix the dry ingredients.
  • Add the egg and milk and mix to a dough with the wooden spoon.
  • Put mixture in tin and bake at 200°C for 25-30 minutes. (400 F)
  • Turn out onto a baking tray and leave to cool.

Note from Lily: “Most people would be more likely to have a 2lb loaf tin rather than the very small 1lb tin we use at the farm. Just double the ingredients if you are using a 2lb tin. Otherwise if you wish you can use a flat tin and form the mixture into a round cake for baking, marking a cross on the top with a knife, for easy cutting.”

Here’s her version of White Soda Bread:

**Same as Brown Soda Bread, except replace the wheatenmeal with plain flour (2 and ½ cups of plain flour altogether).

**We can’t buy wheatenmeal here, so you can try it with wheat flour, but it won’t be the same. When I run out of my stash of wheatenmeal I brought back with me, I’m going to try making cracked wheat flour, as that is what it looks and tastes like.



Happy Baking!!

Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange 03/11

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