We hosted a little birthday celebration for my mom yesterday.
As we were driving back from the beach in the morning my mind began to wander as to what needed to be done once I got home to prepare for the party. Bake a strawberry rhubarb cobbler, clean the bathroom, marinate the chicken and asparagus for the grill, make a few flower arrangements…..
I wanted to be able to entertain mostly outdoors since it was going to be a warm evening but I began to get into a funk as I thought about our back porch which is looking a bit run down (plans to rebuild it next month!) and the fact that we needed new outdoor furniture and that I wished there was some money in the budget for some new plants and …… you get the point.
I stopped myself and said “Amy you can do this. You can get creative and make a beautiful outdoor experience with what you have. I know you can!”
After the car was unpacked and a visit to the market I got to work.
I swept the patio and porch clean (what a difference a clean swept space makes!) and unearthed the patio umbrella from the garage. I brought out a woven rug and laid it out on the porch. To serve hors d’oeuvres, I set up my antique ironing board with a pretty cloth napkin and glass jars filled with stems of Solomons Seal and Honeysuckle. I placed a piece of large flagstone on top of a clay crock and one on top of the stand that holds our fire pit to make little tables to set food and drinks on. I used a basket tray to place on top of one the tables for a homey feel and set out a bouquet of flowers and a votive. Instead of buying flowers, I made arrangements from my own garden of Lambs Ear, Catmint, Hosta leaves, Enonymous and Comfrey. I got out the birthday flags and stuck them in arrangements and planters and set out a chalkboard wishing my mom a Happy Birthday when she arrived.
When I was finished I stepped back and fell in love with the cozy outdoor party space made entirely with things found around my home and garden. Later that night as I was blowing out candles and cleaning glasses off of my makeshift tables I realized I hadn’t noticed all night how run down the porch was. I sort of like it now.
This past Christmas a friend gifted us a beautiful box full of homemade Pasteli. The minute I bit into the chewy, golden, Greek pastry I was hooked. I actually hid it away from the rest of my family and ate the entire box myself! Feeling a bit guilty I asked her for the recipe so I could make it and share the next time. This delicious candy consists of only two ingredients ~ honey and sesame seeds. With sesame seeds containing high amounts of vitamins and nutrients and honey being an antioxidant, Pasteli is the perfect energy bar. Eat it for breakfast, as a lunchbox snack, a mid day pick me up or for dessert.
~2/3 cup honey
~1 1/2 cup sesame seeds
Bring honey to a slow boil over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and cook until it reaches 270 degrees on a candy thermometer (hard ball stage) stirring frequently. Pour onto buttered parchment paper and cover with second sheet of buttered parchment. Using a wide dough scraper level to 1/4″. Cool completely. Oil the blades of kitchen shears and cut (through parchment and all) into bite size pieces.
*Nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, or almonds are also common in some versions of pasteli.
You can remove parchment paper and store in air tight container or use a patterned parchment and store with it on. It’s fun peeling it off individual pieces~ just like a candy wrapper!
We ventured south for our annual Assateague Island getaway this past weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect and so was the time spent with our most favorite friends. If you have never camped on a beach, I highly recommend it. Falling asleep and waking to the sound of the ocean is pure bliss. The first night I was woken to a full moon streaming through our tent and the song of the Eastern Whippoorwill. The second night I fell asleep kissed by the sun and fresh air and slept like a log. Harry and I were the first ones up each morning to catch the sunrise and there were even a few wild pony sitings.
The kids romped in the water and played in the dunes which always reminds me of the book Roxaboxen.
There was a roaring campfire each night along with jokes and ghost stories.
And of course there were marshmallows and s’mores. But our favorite is a banana boat hot off the flames. It’s like a campfire sundae!
Peel back one piece of banana peel.
Scoop out a channel and eat.
Fill channel with chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, peanut butter, fresh berries.
Pull peel back over and wrap whole banana in tin foil.
Roast over fire until warm and gooey.
Grab a spoon and dig in.
I love how at this time of year my house feels like it stretches it’s wings and extends out into the garden. Everything feels a bit more roomy, like we have put on an addition.
Our home takes a big inhale drawing in the light, palette, textures and shapes from the garden giving the inside a whole new feel.
Just as I favor certain corners of my home I am also drawn to specific corners in my garden.
A fern growing out of a rock wall, moss growing in between the cracks of a pathway, a climbing vine peeking through a fence, a chartreuse leaf intertwined with a deep purple one.
I like to create vignettes both inside and out but many times it’s mother nature that creates the most beautiful ones without my help at all.
lately i have noticed that our egg’s shells are a bit thin and brittle.
i had read about the best source of calcium for a hen is her own egg shell.
so i began saving the shells on my kitchen window sill.
it is important to crush the shells either by hand or in a blender or food processor so the hens don’t recognize them and start pecking at their own eggs.
i like the simplicity of this and the full cycle of the egg.
hop on over to tend to see what’s happening in my garden.
happy weekend friends!
oh my gosh it’s happening. it’s truly happening. and fast!
we are all so excited over here watching our home transform before our eyes.
it took me a little while to get used to how big the new addition looks from the outside and how different our house looks from our attached neighbor. but after a few days i began to fall in love and sort of like the whole off-kilter look. i like being a bit eccentric:)
we certainly are the tallest house on the block now and hannah’s view is amazing, overlooking the neighborhood roof tops.
one of her role models is julia butterfly hill who lived in a california redwood for almost two years. with her new room high up in the treetops she will feel a little like julia.
the roof and cedar shakes begin on monday along with the stair case and interior.
we are so very lucky to have been gifted this project by my dad and are so appreciative for his generosity. it still feels like a dream.
i love that we are getting closer and closer to using up every available inch in our home to it’s fullest. but don’t worry i have a few more ideas up my sleeve.
the girls and i spent last friday at chanticleer garden with my mom and my sis and little seamus too to celebrate mothers day.
we picnicked and strolled along admiring the beauty.
it was a perfect day and since this was our second year we declared it as an annual tradition.