Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Days Grow Short as We Reach September Giveaway

One of my father's favorite songs was "September Song." Once the calendar flips to September the lyrics jump into my mind and stay there firmly until the last moments of the month. While we are still entrenched in summer in New York City -- the hum of the air conditioner is my companion right now -- I know by the end of the month there will be days where the air has a crispness and I will be dreaming of New England leaves and apples and pumpkins.

Once it gets a little cooler I will more actively resume cooking and baking. Even with the air conditioner my little kitchen is too hot for any baking right now and even standing over the stove can be hotter than I would like. But soon...

Thanks to the Litfuse Group  I will be writing about "Gather Around the Amish Table" later this month and in anticipation I am doing a quick giveaway. I've been a little remiss in sharing my BlogHer goodies and to celebrate the return of kitchen activities I'm doing a giveaway for an apron I got a BlogHer. It has a logo -- Thanks, Embassy Suites -- but I think it would be a great cover-up for the messier kitchen activities and it looks like it will wash very nicely.

It's an easy entry giveaway. Just be a friend of Buttercup's on BlogLovin, Google Friend or Google+ and leave a comment telling us about your favorite autumn recipe. I'll let you know the winner on Tuesday, September 8. I'll start with my most-often made autumn recipe. I'm not sure if it's my favorite recipe, but I enjoy making apple sauce with the new apples. 

I'm moving ahead with Get Organized September. I took another bag of clothes -- the last for now -- to the Salvation Army and I am delighted with the room in my front closet. I am also looking at three empty shelves I just picked up at the local lumber store. They needed to be cut to fit an odd-sized bookcase and happily, they fit perfectly. I've got several piles of books to fill them, and I hope to put together a bag of books to give away in the sorting process. It's tough for me to give away books, but if I don't I may need to move, and that's not about to happen.  

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet Wednesday! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Heart's Home

We've come to Book Six in Colleen Coble's wonderful series, Journey of the Heart. "A Heart's Home" completes our journey with Emmie, Sarah, Isaac and Rand. We've traveled with them from the farms of Indiana to the plains of the Wyoming Territory and they've all found a place in my heart. When I wrote about Book Five, "A Heart's Promise," I asked Colleen Coble for a sequel. I am eager to know how my beloved friends fared in the next phase of their lives, as they settled the American West. Please, Colleen, don't disappoint me.

I've so enjoyed this saga of faith, romance and history and am sad to see it finished. Happily there are other books by Colleen Coble and several other books from The Litfuse Group that I will be writing about in the next few months. Thanks, for good reading. I'll miss you, but you've all made a home in my heart. 

I know fall is quickly happening, but I'm embracing the not-so-balmy -- it was 91 degrees in New York City today -- end of summer. The market nearby has wonderful peaches and plum tomatoes and the first apples are starting to appear. I'm in the midst of a book organizing project and I bought the shelves I was looking for today. I hope this will be my year of organization. I definitely want to use the next four months to make a little more order in my apartment.

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a terrific Tuesday!

Please note: I was given a copy of "A Heart's Home" by the Ltfuse Group for review purposes. The opinions are all my own.  

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Delicious Maine Pink Saturday

The wonderful Pink Saturday has now officially become Anything Goes Pink Saturday. I appreciate the freedom to post more widely, but I have so enjoyed looking for my favorite color, that I am going to continue the search and my pink posts. I didn't find a lot of pink in Maine, but I do have one pink picture to share and in what I know will be popular, photographs of some of my favorite eating adventures ever. I've -- more or less -- returned to a less indulgent diet, but the memories of meals in Maine linger on.

     Though this isn't food, it was one of our first stops after I landed in Portland. It was the first of several farm stand visits -- corn, blueberries and tomatoes were at the top of the shopping list -- and the pink glads caught my attention.  
I am a lobster fan, but no more so than when I am at the shore. Our first lobster meal was at McLoons in South Thomaston, Maine. This is lobster country and we walked to the restaurant from the cottage.
The lobster roll was a treat, served with a butter in a toasted roll, chips and homemade slaw. We split a piece of peach for dessert, but in a moment of restraint skipped the a la mode. 

I was always on the lookout for blueberry pie, but the peach was delicious. 
The food was a treat, but the setting on the water was an equal delight.

The fog was beginning to roll in. It would linger for the next four days.
It stayed throughout our visit to Bar Harbor and Jordan Pond House at Acadia National Park. Cadillac Mountain at Acadia and most of the scenery on our boat ride to Little Cranberry Island were hidden in mists of fog, but I still saw some fabulous scenery and it didn't diminish the quality of the food.
One of the treats of the Jordan Pond House is their popovers and I ate mine before I thought to take photographs. My entree was a delicious fish chowder -- haddock, clams and scallops -- and dessert was blueberry crisp with homemade ice cream. It's one of my most memorable meals anywhere, and the dessert is definitely one of the most photogenic. 

Fish chowder and blueberry tea -- Maine food at its best.
And yes, it is as good as it looks.
The best (lightly) fried fish and onion rings imaginable. I like onion rings, but for calories, and the disappointment of frozen onion rings, I rarely eat them. But I am so glad I made an exception for these homemade and fabulous ones at Cindy's in Freeport. We stopped here on the way to the airport for my trip home. A perfect culinary farewell to my visit to Maine. 
This post could well turn into a dissertation, and I will just mention blueberry pancakes in Port Clyde and clam strips in South Thomaston. It's no wonder that I have had a tough week returning to a less calorie laden eating style. But return I have and just in time to keep my clothes zipping. I've got my first apple sauce of the season simmering on the stove. I'm not rushing fall, but the new apples look so good.
I hope everyone is enjoying this summer weekend. My prayers for all who may be in Erika's path. As ever thanks for visiting and have a sweet Saturday.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

(Sort of) Back on Track Again

I thought returning from a week in New England would be the easiest vacation transition possible. There would be no time zone changes and the flight was only an hour and a half. There were no language changes and the currency was dollars. But from the moment I saw my first tidal pool I had entered a different world, as surely as if I had gone half way around the world.

The view from the cabin on my first night in Maine

I had the very good fortune to visit a college friend who has had a cabin on Spruce Head Island for the last thirty years. She planned a wonderful week, with lots to see, as well as time to enjoy the ever-changing and always beautiful scenery. It was a trip I wouldn't have been able to make on my own. I would have had no idea what was down any of the dirt roads we traveled, and I would have missed so many moments that made the week so special.

The setting sun taken during a walk on the first night of my visit.
I'm happy I took a lot of pictures that evening. The four days that followed were foggy and I didn't see many sunsets like this one again. 

South Thomaston, Maine. This was one of my favorite views. Water everywhere and the Methodist Church on the right.
It wouldn't be a proper photo album of Maine without a lighthouse picture. This is the Marshall Point Lighthouse. We stopped here after a visit to Port Clyde and Sunday morning blueberry pancakes.

Now my scenery looks closer to this subway picture and my diet is much simpler than the delicious blueberry pancakes. I indulged mightily during this vacation and getting back to less indulgent eating is mandatory. I've grocery shopped, sorted laundry, gone to the bank and even made it to the gym today. It's back to Weight Watchers tomorrow morning and the reality of fried clams and blueberry pancakes. But it's also moments, many moments of remembering the light on the water. As with so many vacation memories they drift back when I don't expect them and I have returned to Maine in my heart. 
I'm planning to do two more posts about my visit to Maine. One will focus on the food -- one of the best eating vacations ever -- and another on some of the places we visited, with links. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday -- The View from Spruce Head Island, Maine

We're two hours north of Portland and I am delighting in friendship, lobster, blueberries and Andrew Wyeth paintings. Next stop tomorrow, Acadia National Park.

As, ever thanks for visiting and take good care.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What I Learned on my Summer Staycation

Some people might ask why I needed a staycation. Isn't retirement a permanent staycation? And I will answer, yes. I have been on a staycation for the last 26 months. But even though I'm no longer on the subway each weekday morning at 8:15 and I am able to do my errands at the very civilized hour of noon, life can still settle into a routine. Exactly where I found myself last Tuesday.

So I stopped the routine and took a staycation. For a few days I stopped going to the gym and I stopped blogging. I did minimal errands and I threw my routine out the window. It felt great. I did get to Weight Watchers, walked miles in place of the gym and took lots of pictures for blog posts. I tucked away my planner, ate cookies and let myself dream. For five days I broke out of my routine and thought and dreamed about what I'd like to do, not what I needed to do.

The results weren't that wild, but I enjoyed the summer air instead of the gym and thought of travel ideas that were long buried. I realized I'd scheduled a lot of things when I retired -- I am a scheduler -- but I forgot to schedule my dreams. I don't think I'll make that mistake again.

The rooftops of Manhattan 
Tomorrow afternoon I leave for a Maine -- time with a friend of long-standing, blueberries, lobster and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. I promise you photographs, but I can't say when. I may be away from internet connectivity and that could be a very nice break, too. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet week!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Madison Avenue Pink Saturday

I took a very unplanned, but equally restorative, staycation this week. I'll write more about it in a post later this week, but one of the things I did do was a long -- almost three mile -- walk along Madison Avenue. I didn't do any buying, but I had a good time window shopping and taking pictures for Pink Saturday. There were some fabulous pretty-in-pink sights all along the street.

Vive l'ete -- Long live summer!

One of my first stops -- window shopping only, no calories -- was at one of my favorite places, Laduree. The macarons were, as always, tempting, but I had miles to walk and pictures to take and I kept walking.

I'm sad to say I don't remember which major designer had this pretty bouquet grace his/her window. I loved the bouquet, but I also liked the reflection of Madison Avenue in the window. If you look carefully, you can see my sneakers in the reflection, bottom center of the photograph.

   Thank you, Missoni, for an all pink window. Generally the designer windows are too high style for this senior citizen blogger, but I like the floral dress. I think it would be just right for a summer garden wedding.
While we're thinking of weddings, here is a photo of a pale blush -- or is it gold? -- gown in the Vera Wang window. Madison Avenue goings on and the photographer are reflected in the window.
This is only for window shopping and definitely for Pink Saturday.
I'm definitely back from my staycation state of mind. I'm blogging, doing errands and in a little while I'll be back in the gym. I did a lot of walking outside, but gave myself a few days off from formal exercise. Now it's time to return. Sleeveless dresses definitely call for some time with weights. 
I hope you're having a sweet Sunday. As ever thanks for visiting, and take care!