Tuesday, June 19, 2018

nantucket - day one

Oh Nantucket, how quickly you have become one of our most favorite places.

Because of the number of photos I took from our few days here, I decided to share them with you by day. It really is a magical island and was so perfectly suited to our taste.

It is roughly an eight hour drive from our home to the ferry, followed by an hour ferry ride to the island. We left early on Sunday morning, and decided to stay on the Cape, allowing us to take our time driving, stopping whenever we wanted. We camped  - which was an adventure, and reminded us of our honeymoon. I stayed comfortably on an air mattress in our van, while Ryan roughed it in his coffin of a tent beside me. We barely made stayed up long enough to watch the stars come out while we sat by the fire. The next morning we traveled to Hyannis (where the Ferry departs) the scenic way, through the most charming little towns of Sandwich and Barnstable. 

We couldn't help stopping by a few historical places and walking about.

Before we boarded the ferry, we stopped in Hyannis at Pain d'Avignon for honestly, the most amazing Pan au Chocolat and Almond Croissant I have ever eaten.

We were happy we reserved tickets for the high speed ferry, which meant less time travelling, and a couple extra hours to walk around town when we docked.

We stayed at the Gate House, part of the Robert's Collection right in town, which was ideal as we walked everywhere in town.

Our room was extremely reasonable, and just what we needed. We didn't spend much time in the room as there was a courtyard right outside.

After unpacking and a quick shower to freshen up (we were a little salty and wind-blown from sitting outside on the ferry!), we changed for dinner and started wandering around the cobblestone streets downtown. Because we went mid-June, it's still considered off season, and we found that to be ideal. It was busy enough, but we never needed a reservation, or had to wait long anywhere. Also, the weather was perfect!


We were slightly early to see the Roses and Hydrangeas in bloom, but the gardens didn't disappoint. Every home, in the smallest spaces possible, boasted beautifully manicured little gardens and the most unique window boxes.

I was thrilled though, whenever I found an early rose bush in bloom!

After dinner at the Brotherhood of Thieves, a dark and cozy basement pub, we strolled around until it was dusk, ending our walk in Lily Pond Park - the prettiest little wetland sort of area with boardwalks and rabbits bouncing around all over. We sat and watched the sun set, listening to the sounds of the frogs and birds, and then made our way back into town in the dark. It provided us the perfect opportunity to glance in the windows and see the interiors of so many of the perfect homes in town.

We finished the evening with cappuccinos and dessert at Dune and collapsed on our bed as soon as we returned, looking forward to the next day, when we'd head out to 'Sconset.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

in the garden - lily of the valley

Currently you can smell our gardens before you actually see them.

We have three parts of our gardens that are full of blooming Lily of the Valley and their scent is unbelievable. Naturally, I pulled enough for a small arrangement and put them in the living room.

They always remind me of royal wedding bouquets.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

in the garden - lilacs

I was worried being away for the long weekend, that given all the gorgeous weather we've been having, the Lilacs would bloom and I would miss them.

They were so close to opening when I left, and we all know how quickly they come and go.

Happily, they were just ready for cutting by the time we returned, and I didn't miss enjoying them. The first thing I did the next morning was head out to the garden and snip a bouquet for our dining room table.


I'm partial to this white variety, Mme Lemoine, but I do have to say, they aren't quite as fragrant as some of the more traditional purple varieties. But they still smell lovely!

And then while out with the boys, I couldn't resist picking a few branches of these purple ones on some back road. They are classically beautiful.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

spring blossoms

The other afternoon, the boys and I took a drive around the country side, scouting our favorite orchards, hoping the blossoms would be out.

We caught them at the perfect time!

I don't know why I look forward to them so much, but I do. I love that we live in a region where there's an abundance of fruit farms and fruit stands. And something about seeing the blossoms is a reminder that not long after, strawberries will be ripe for picking and local snap peas and asparagus will be available at the market. Not to mention the joy of walking through clover that's halfway up to my knees, still damp from rain, and the sound of bees floating from blossom to blossom...

And as quickly as they appear, they seem to fade. All the more reason to make the most of them while we can.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

saturday morning cinnamon rolls

As I shared on Instagram this Saturday, I spent a good part of Saturday morning baking a batch of cinnamon rolls for us to enjoy.

I rarely make cinnamon rolls, even though they are one of my most favorite things to eat. One of the reasons I don't make them often is because they are time consuming - but you know what they say, good things come to those who wait. And it was Saturday, after all. The other reason is that there's nothing worse than putting all the work in, and not getting the results you hoped for. On more than one occasion I've been disappointed with my results - too dry, not enough cinnamon flavor... But, I've also learned from each of those flops.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, originally from here. I was really pleased with the results. They were very much as described - soft and fluffy, and I will definitely be making them again!

Click the link above for the recipe. The recipe made one dozen nice sized cinnamon rolls that fit perfectly in this 12 x 13 dish. Here are a few notes I made that really made the difference for me:

*1 - Really do just add the 3 cups of flour, and then one tablespoon at a time. A perfectly smooth ball of dough isn't desirable - it should still be smooth, but sticking to the bottom of the bowl.

*2 - Don't rush the rise times. Let them get nice and fluffy.

*3 - The addition of a little cornstarch to the filling keeps it from all running out to the bottom of the pan.

*4 - Lots of cinnamon. If you're going to have a cinnamon roll, it better be chocked full of cinnamon flavor!

*5 - Start checking them at 20 minutes. Mine were done at 24 minutes, and were perfectly soft.

Give them a try this weekend! You won't be disappointed. Just don't expect them to last long.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

christmas morning brunch

Does anyone else feel like Christmas seems to come and go more quickly with each year that passes?
Like, much more quickly?

I felt like I was so prepared - shopping done, gifts wrapped, menus planned - but still, as the day would get closer, things would come up. I'd remember a gift I still needed to wrap that I couldn't remember where I hid for the life of me, Ryan would remember a secret Santa gift he'd need, or a potluck item he'd have to bring to work.

We really made an effort this year to be intentional about what we were going to commit to, and what we would spend time doing over the holidays. We had a busier start to the month, but the actual week of Christmas was slower and more relaxing. It was lovely.

It also helped us not get so caught up in the activities of Christmas, and spend more time focusing on the true meaning of the season - the birth of our Saviour.

On Christmas morning, we host my family for brunch. I love hosting it, but one of the main reasons we do it, is so that we don't have to go anywhere on Christmas morning. It just works out perfectly for us. We have lots of time as a family to open gifts, and then as everyone is busy trying out their new toys, I put an apron on, and get breakfast started.

I also love setting the table and love that we have a space large enough for us to all sit down together.

I really lucked out this year with grocery store flowers. Usually I would order flowers from our flower truck, but I wasn't able to, and was left hoping the grocery store in town had something that would work. Dark Red Hypercum and a dozen White Roses worked perfectly, especially when I added some bits of evergreen.

I also used some of my red transferware.

And while we all fit around the dining room table, the kids have their own special table.

But they still expect it to be special!

Something I did differently this year was add a large wreath to the stone wall. I love the greens against the stone, and it didn't get any easier than hanging a wreath.

This was our Christmas buffet.
- Sausages and Bacon
- Potato and Onion Frittata
- Breakfast Tarts with Bacon, Scallions and Cheddar or Goat's Cheese
- French Toast Bake
- Fresh Fruit
- Ina's Easy Sticky Buns (which I made bit size)
- Olliebolen (which are like Dutch donuts, and were still warming in the oven)

Here the boys are, playing at my grandparents' farm on Christmas Eve. As a girl, I came every Christmas Eve, and we ate and visited with our cousins way past bed time. Now, we're all married with children of our own and we don't do this any more, but the invitation to come is always there. We decided last minute to go and visit, and I'm so glad we did. My aunt, who lives there with my Papa, had the entire house (literally every possible surface) decorated for Christmas. She had set the table with my Nana's antique Christmas china and special Cornflower glasses. She had trays of treats and homemade Eggnog and so much food it was crazy. I just loved seeing the boys doing what I loved doing when I was their age - Christmas Eve, celebrating with family, beyond excited for the next morning.

Us opening gifts on Christmas morning - Jude is just getting old enough that he is starting to understand the excitement!

All the cousins!

Opa and Nonna, and their six crazy grandsons.

I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours was.
Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.