Tag Archive for Mosaic Monday

They’re Back…

They’re back . . .

Squatting on our neighbor’s dock. . .

 Squawking. . .

 Soaring. . .

 Sunning. . .

Providing us with a show & some smiles :)

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”
― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

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 Outdoor Wednesday~

  Watery Wednesday~


 Seasonal Sundays~

Mosaic Monday~

Inspired Reading


January 20th~  Food for Thought is returning~ kicking off with The Night Circus. . .


“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.


Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.”



I’m thrilled at the return of Food for Thought! Jain’s wonderful reading journey and fun idea to mix the pages with the camera & kitchen~ prompted me to get off the fence and start blogging two years ago so I could play among the pages!


This year, 22 books have preselected and you are invited to join in the fun! Just like The Night Circus, Food for Thought becomes a feast for the senses where you can lose yourself among the pages and read with a playful purpose.  If your New Year’s resolution has you cutting calories~ skip the food and share a scene, activity, location~ whatever comes across the pages to you & furthers your reading enjoyment!



Previously for Food for Thought, I have relocated a 1920′s cabin 245 miles and had a celebratory party with Caramel Apples & S’mores. . .



Enjoyed Finger Sand-Witches & a bubbling Cauldron of Soup after the Salem Witch Trials. . .



Travelled to Italy, India & Indonesia & indulged in Chocolate Pizza. . .



 Watched dolphins in Sweetwater Creek while raising Boykin Spaniel Cheese Straws. . .


Food for Thought led me to chase the moon and fireflies~as well as props & dishes to provide visual book reviews & find tablescape inspiration. . .





And led to my discovery of the magic of bottle trees, fairies & sugar and well as new authors, books & recipes. . .

You can see my year in review for Food for Thought here.



Our next selection after The Night Circus is Chocolate Chocolate: The True Story of Two Sisters, Tons of Treats, and the Little Shop That Could ~ a book chocoholics can sink their teeth into & perfect with Valentine’s Day on the horizon!


 Join us Friday, February 3rd to satisfy your sweet tooth & your reading enjoyment!


For Food for Thought inspiration & a fun format to follow for your  review, you can find a few of my favorites of Jain’s reviews:

Rosewater and Soda Bread, Tomato Rhapsody, The Illustrated Olive Farm, The Lost Cyclist, & A Year on Ladybug Farm

For the year’s complete reading list you can email me or Jain.



I hope you’ll experience the magic of Food for Thought this year :)

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Mosaic Monday~


  Seasonal Sundays~

A Coastal Reunion

I had the good fortune to be invited to the beach for a weekend reunion with former roommates & suitemates to celebrate our milestone birthdays this year. . .

The six of us happy & lucky to have a friend/roommate with access to a beach house. . .

Enjoying the scenery while reminiscing on our college years . . .

Reflecting on old times. . .

As we had just begun to spread our wings. . .


Strolling on the beach. . .

Catching up on the status of classmates. . .

Basking in each other’s company. . .

And enjoying good meals & conversation . . .

Many thanks to our generous hostess and also to our talented chef for our weekend of fun :)

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Messages from a Cornfield

There is a corn field I’ve been driving by for months. . . just dried husks and stalks remain, having fulfilled its corn-destiny.

 Rushing by~“to do” list in hand focused on crossing off the next task~ I noticed a flash of blue out of the corner of my eye passing by last week.

Beckoned, I was rewarded by the sight of Morning Glories growing with abandon. . .

Since blooms only last a few hours each morning, I was thankful for this gift of blue in a field of brown~ especially so in hindsight since the field was mowed two days later.

The garden as a metaphor for life, here are a few things I was reminded of. . .

There is beauty in ordinary things, but you have to slow down long enough to see them.

Appearances can be deceiving and usually deserve a second look.

Hold on to what you love and let go of what doesn’t matter.

When things get tough, just hang on.

A little support makes life easier.

Love is all around you.

Pay attention to what you love.

Whatever you do, do with all your heart.

Take time to enjoy the blooms.

Everyday invites you to find your place in the sun.

Life is short.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

“The morning glory which blooms for an hour differs not at heart from the giant pine, which lives for a thousand years.”
― Alan Wilson Watts

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Turtle Update

We interrupt Fall Harvests & Halloween Treats for a Turtle Update and an overdue Thank You. . .

Loggerhead Nesting Season is officially over ~with an ALL time record of 68 nests for Harbor Island, South Carolina’s three-mile stretch of beach.

 I shared my Loggerhead Love here followed by more love at the table.

SEATURTLE.ORG and the Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring System reported Harbor Island’s turtle nesting season results:

Nests: 68
In Situ: 18
Relocated: 50 (73.5%)
Lost: 4 (5.8%)
Unknown: 6
False Crawls: 59

Estimated Eggs to Date: 6432

 Eggs Lost: 858 (13.3%)~ primarily to foxes

  Hatched Eggs: 3633
Emerged Hatchlings: 3401
Mean Incubation Duration (all): 56.5 days
Mean Clutch Count: 95.1 eggs (Relocated Only)

Mean Hatch Success: 47.5%
Mean Emergence Success: 44.7%
Nest Success: 79.4%
Beach Success: 53.5%

Loggerhead Sea Turtles lay an average of 120 ping-pong shaped eggs~ each with a “dimple” to provide a cushioned “bounce” for a safe landing in the nest.

Convenient~ since I just so happened to have a surplus of ping-pong sized Halloween candy~ one with its own dimple :)

Thank you to my friend Jain, for providing me with a little Loggerhead-Halloween fun!

 I’m always inspired~ Seaing what washes ashore your way :)

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Figuratively Eating

I’ve had an ongoing love affair for a while now. . .

My husband knows all about it. . .

Figs. . . sweet, savory, sliced, diced, baked, puréed or sautéed. . .

By themselves or with blue cheese, goat cheese, mascarpone, prosciutto, carmelized onions, arugula. . .

Our neighbors have a ginormous fig tree that we are welcome to help ourselves to.

Last year, annoyed by its vigorous spreading growth~ they severely pruned it . . .

So, no figs :(

This year, it grew back bigger, stronger, faster.

 We battled the birds and walked away victorious with some of its delicious fruit~

 One of several quick ways we enjoy them~

 Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Spread with goat cheese while baguette slices are warm, add figs, drizzle with honey and some cracked black pepper.

If you’re not in too big of a hurry~ add a bit more goat cheese on top of the figs, pop in the oven for 5 minutes for the goat cheese to melt a little and warm the figs.

We’re usually in a hurry :)

At the end of summer, I had the fig blues. . .

The tree was done. The figs at the Farmers Market were gone.

My love affair had come to its “Same Time Next Year” phase.

 My sister turned us on to figs in a jar to satisfy our cravings~

And this tasty trio of flavors~ Dalmatia® Fig Spread, Brie & Meyer Lemon Cookies~

So figs in a jar would have to do~ since figs we typically find in the grocery store are over ripe & overpriced.

Last week, I opened House Beautiful’s October issue, in search of The 2011 Kitchen of the Year Tyler Florence designed at Rockefeller Center and spied a recipe of his I had to try~

 Fig and Ricotta Pancakes. . .


Desperate for figs, I was afraid I would have to fly to California to visit Jain~ who has been tempting me with her fig ice cream, cake, pizza & chocolate-dipped creations~ and return with a stash in my suitcase.

Fortunately, my grocery store saved me airfare with a pristine shipment just in~ beautiful, big figs~ not over ripe~ and on special, no less :)

The October House Beautiful issue is appropriately titled, “Happiness starts here!”

From Tyler’s Kitchen, courtesy Tyler Florence

Spiced Fig and Ricotta Pancakes

Serves 4, makes about 12 pancakes


  • 2 cups whole-milk ricotta

  • 4 large eggs, separated

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon each ground allspice, cloves, and cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  •  unsalted butter

  • 10 fresh figs, thinly sliced


  1. In a large bowl, add the ricotta, egg yolks, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and stir until well blended. Stir in the allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla.

  2. In another bowl, or parchment paper, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

  3. In a third bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.

  4. Fold the dry ingredients together with the wet, then carefully fold the egg whites into the batter.

  5. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat.

  6. Arrange one large fig slice for smaller pancakes or three small slices in a circular pattern if making larger ones. Carefully ladle the batter over figs and cook until bubbles rise in the center of each pancake. Turn pancake over and cook for another two to three minutes. Repeat with remaining batter and figs, adding butter to skillet as needed.

  7. Serve with real maple syrup and any remaining fig slices.


Happiness does start here. . .

and a  2,500 square-foot dream kitchen complete with Mauviel cookware doesn’t hurt either :)

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Great Expectations

 We’re all looking forward to Fall at my house~ anticipating its arrival with great expectations. . .

Eager for cooler weather & less humidity. . .


Anxious for the smell of Fall in the air~ apple cider, pumpkin pie & fires burning. . .

Longing for cooler nights~ sleeping under blankets with windows open. . .

Under clear skies~ watching the moon rise. . .

 Anticipating fewer boats on the lake~  enjoying the peace & scenery. . .

Hoping to glimpse golden sunsets. . .

Longing for more outdoor chair & reading time. . .

Yearning the arrival of pumpkins & Fall color. . .

Now if only the weather will follow the calendar’s lead :)

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Bottled Sunshine

BEVERLY EAVES PERDUE, Governor of the State of North Carolina, hereby proclaims September 2011, as “NORTH CAROLINA WINE APPRECIATION MONTH” in North Carolina and commends its observance to all citizens.

Well OK then. . .

I’m more than happy to observe :-)

 Until last year, I was completely unaware there were 106 wineries and 400 commercial grape growers in my own backyard~ most within an hour & a half drive~

We recently took a day trip to appreciate some NC wines with a visit to a few wineries~

Shelton Vineyards~

Located in the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area, the vineyard shares a similar climate and growing season to that of some of the best wine growing regions in Europe and is one of the largest on the East Coast.

From VisitNCWine.com:

Not long after Sir Walter Raleigh landed in what would become North Carolina, the grape vine was first introduced and cultivated in the New World. In fact, by the dawn of the 20th Century, NC was the leading wine-producing region in the nation.

It seemed nothing could stop us.

But we hadn’t counted on an act of Congress.



Suddenly, products from distilleries in undisclosed locations in the Piedmont hills and dales were rather more lucrative than those from the gnarled grape orchards of yore. When we spoke of fruit, it was shriveled in white lightning.

When we packaged, it was in Mason jars rather than Chardonnay bottles.

Other pursuits followed. Often at high speeds.

The sudden professional interest of G-Men and revenuers gave rise to moonlit, midnight chases across the humble countryside, engendering a motorized pastime that became a sport that became NASCAR.

Our land is rich and many textured. The vines are wide in variety. And the people who grow them are as interesting and diverse as the state itself and, led by pioneers, farming families and glorious chance-takers, North Carolina has returned to its original roots.

Elkin Creek Vineyard ~

Inspired by one man’s passion, along the foothills of the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina, Elkin Creek Vineyard with the hand-hewed beams of the winery and the hand-tendered estate vines sits waiting for your visit.

With a glass of wine in hand,  stroll by the creek, old mill, and waterfall~ where time seems to stand still.

Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery~

Nestled in the Yadkin Valley Region of North Carolina, family-owned Raffaldini Vineyards brings Old World charm to the Old North State. Known as “Chianti in the Carolinas” Raffaldini currently produces both varietal wines and blends with its signature wines.

Raffaldini Vineyards Pino Vino III Rescue Dog Wine Label~ a portion of Pino Vino III to be donated to local animal shelters.

 The dog chosen for this year’s label, Chloe, is a Rough-coat Jack Russell Terrier from State Road, NC.

Chloe is the ambassador for all animals in need of rescue.

I’m a sucker for anything benefitting animals or dogs~ so add a dog named Chloe to a wine label & I’m happy to raise a glass for dogs in need of rescue and in observance of Wine Appreciation Month :-)

“Eighty years ago we bottled moonshine. Today we bottle sunshine.”

A wine map & travel guide from NC Wineries can be found here.

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It’s Good to be Queen

A city rich with history, Southern hospitality, and casual seaside charm~ Beaufort, South Carolina is the “Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands”~ discovered by the Spanish in 1514 and chartered by the British in 1711.

This year Beaufort celebrates its Tricentennial~ a special and historic birthday ~ that’s a lot of candles and a lot of cake!

 A National Landmark Historic District with gracefully restored antebellum homes, centuries-old live oaks, pristine waters, and some of the best fishing anywhere~

Beaufort has a way of reeling you in. . .

While Beaufort proper is the area’s Queen Belle, attracting admirers with her pre-Civil War mansions and sail-dotted bay, the town’s outlying provinces are also must-sees. . . Port Royal, Parris Island, Hunting Island, Lady’s Island, St. Helena Island and Harbor Island (an annual summer destination for us) just to name a few. . .

Queen Beaufort’s peaceful, watery realm is abundant with wildlife and remnants of the Old South~

Beaufort County rules over & encompasses more than 200 islands~ nestled between Charleston SC and Savannah GA~ most of which remain wondrously pristine. . .

A point of local preference that sets apart the Carolinas: In Beaufort, South Carolina, the name is pronounced BYEW-fort. In North Carolina, a coastal town of great similarity with the same name is pronounced BO-fort.

And yes, it matters :-)

Beaufort has an active and enthusiastically supported Arts Council. Mermaid statues, embellished by area artists in 2006, were auctioned off to endow a fund for public art.

 A few mermaids remain sprinkled throughout town. . .

 You can read more about Beaufort’s Mermaids here and see a little of sculptor Kevin Palmer’s mermaid-making process here~ from wood frame to fiberglass.

Miss Beaufort, with her streaming locks of copper wire, stained-glass tail, and beauty queen banner, greets drivers as they come onto Bay Street. She happily swims near a Palmetto Tree at the Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.

A Celebratory Cupcake in honor of Beaufort’s 300th Birthday~ complete with a molded brown sugar mermaid & chocolate seashells :-)

Happy Birthday Queen Beaufort~ long may you reign!

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