Thursday, May 14, 2015

Three things

What a crazy week. We're in the home stretch with school now, just this week and next to go before summer vacation begins. In one way, I can't believe we're already here and in another, it seems like we can't get finished soon enough. Almost there, though. We've had more medical appointments for the LB and are making plans for a summer surgery, in addition to swimming lessons, summer homeschool curricula and a few days' vacation in Denver.

I've felt a bit absent from blogging lately, both my own and others', but I hope to be more immersed again soon. I have been reading and crocheting a lot in my spare time. I've started a small ripple blanket project and have been reading an excellent biography, The Romanov Sisters, about the daughters of the last tsar of Russia. I actually can't put this book down. It's the first book I've stayed up way too late reading in a while. I have more to say about both blanket and book, of course, and I'll do that soon. We have a new podcast online! We're talking about our experiences with chicken-keeping. Click on the "podcast" button in my sidebar if you'd like to listen.

Lately, life has been all about taking time to stop and smell the roses - sometimes literally - as we race through these last few hectic days before the summer break. Here are three things that I've enjoyed lately, because they made me slow down and savor the small stuff.




I stopped at an estate sale last Friday afternoon on the way home from school. I'd been at the park with the small Bears, who ran themselves ragged on the soccer field and the playground, and we were all ready to go home and chill out. I saw a sign in my neighborhood for a sale and decided to drive by just for a look. It turned out to be an amazing sale. I didn't have enough money on me (or elsewhere, let's be honest) for the beautiful antique furniture but I was able to pick up a tin tray with strawberries, perfect for my kitchen, and three old glass bottles.

The bottles are my favorite. I used to collect old glass bottles and jars, starting with a grab-bag of them I found at a flea market when I was fifteen. Eventually, I ended up with about thirty of them, moving them from house to house many times until with one move, I just gave up. It was becoming a chore and I wasn't even unpacking them anymore. I gave most of them away, keeping a few small ones for flowers. I wanted a few big ones again, though, and made room in case I ever found any. These will be great. They're all different (I have a small jar, as for jam, a large mason jar and a milk bottle). They're the old, thick kind of glass with a slight tint to it, and lots of nicks and pits and even a little crack in the big mason jar. Just the kind of old stuff I love!


Ever throw together a meal and have it turn out fabulously? I did that earlier this week. I was making a chicken stir-fry for dinner (I make lots of stir-fries; it's a great way to clean out the veggie drawer). I felt bored with the usual bottled sauce that I use (Trader Joe's Soyaki, which I doctor with a little sesame oil and thicken with a cornstarch slurry). I decided to try making a peanut sauce instead. I used a can of light coconut milk, about 1/3 cup of peanut butter, the juice of a lime, a teaspoon of fish sauce, a dash of red chili flakes and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. I brought it to a boil and let it simmer a few minutes to thicken, then poured it over my cooked chicken and veggies and let it all simmer together for a few more minutes before serving. It was so good! I will definitely do it again. It was a nice change of pace.



I'm really excited about the geraniums I planted on Mother's Day. Last summer, I planted numerous different kinds of annuals in this half-barrel on my back patio, and the geraniums seemed to do the best. This year I decided that I'd just plant geraniums. Why not? They're hardy, they don't require a lot of water and they're colorful. I bought three trailing ivy geraniums at Lowe's on Saturday. I knew one was a fuchsia color because there was a spent bloom on it, but the others were a mystery. The selection at Lowe's included white, pink, red, fuchsia and a white/fuchsia variegated type. As it turns, out, they all seem to be fuchsia and I really like it. The color is bright and crisp and I think it will look lovely in the barrel, which is right next to my red roses, dark pink Jupiter's beard and pale pink primroses. I like red and pink together. And green, lots of green! Let's keep that going.


Speaking of roses and Jupiter's beard...I really can't get enough of this combination right now. I'm bringing in a new bouquet every few days. My roses are a little shabby and the Jupiter's beard sheds all over the table, but I love my slightly untidy real-life flowers.

29 comments:

  1. Wow, I was so impressed with your estate sale finds, the tray was lovely and the old bottles/jars were a real delight I particularly loved the old milk bottle. Perfect for the beautiful little bouquets.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Home grown flowers are the best, they really are. So much better than perfect shop ones. The colours are fantastic together. I went to pick a rose about half an hour ago, but when I lifted it up it had an earwig and a huge snail in it! I'll have another look tomorrow, there are plenty of buds forming, hopefully they'll be wildlife free. The vintage glass bottles are lovely. When I was little we used to have a bottle of milk at school every morning, about a third of a pint. I'd love one of those bottles now, they're so dinky. Like you I really like old glass. The tray is perfect for you and your strawberry kitchen I think. You were meant to find it! Good luck with the last week and a bit until the holidays start. It's always a manic time, but it will be wonderful to have the children home and free time stretching ahead of you. Wishing you all a good weekend. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Those flowers are so pretty. I'm another fan of red and pink in a vase together, red and pink and a little orange too, that's another combo I like.

    I do like your bottles. I have a couple of old glass medicine bottles that I use for flowers sometimes, along with vintage inkwells they makr great vases don't they.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent finds - the strawberry tray looks perfect for your kitchen and I love old, thick glass. Love your flowers too - I don't think I've heard of Jupiter's beard before and I'm very envious of your roses; we're not quite there yet - lots of buds though so I'm hopeful. Have a lovely weekend. xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your flowers are pretty! I love your estate sale finds too. Old bottles are so fun. I have quite a few old milk bottles. MY FIL was a milk man and owned a dairy, so that's another reason to collect them.
    That book sounds good!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You can't beat bringing flowers in from the garden, it's so satisfying. I remember how beautiful your barrel of flowers was last year and I'm sure your geraniums will be just as lovely. Good luck with the last week of school. Xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Jennifer,
    I loved this post! I do enjoy a good rummage at a yard sale or car boot sale. You never know what you will find. You came home with some lovely things. Those glass jars are great. I'm wondering if your Old Man's Beard plant is one that I know of as Valerian here? It grows wild in the South West of the UK, but is cultivated further North. I have a load of it growing on the wall outside my back door. I shall have to look that up. We have another week of school before the half term break, and then several more before the kids break up for Summer. I'm very much looking forward to hanging out, and letting the days unfold. I've booked Pops into his first swim lessons. I hope they go well.
    Take care, my friend.
    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
  8. The flowers in your garden are wonderful. Flowers are such a pleasure, but so much more so if they come from your own backyard. I bought a small tray of geraniums today for replanting. I hope they'll do as well as the ones you've planted in your barrel. Your old jars and bottle are great finds. Have fun filling them with your lovely flowers! X

    ReplyDelete
  9. Flowers from the garden at the best. I brought in daffodils the other day, and every time I looked at them they made me smile.

    What wonderful finds, I love the jars. I bet your kiddos are looking forward to summer break. Hang in there, just a little longer and life will slow down.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your flowers are so pretty! I love the pink and red color combination. I planted one geranium this year and I'm waiting for it to bloom, I think it's fuchsia. We are also gearing up for summer break - just two more weeks from today. Your upcoming vacation to Denver sounds really exciting! Hope you have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good score on the old jars and bottle! I have some and adore them. Your dinner looks delish! I need to try something like that, we have a whole bag of frozen chicken tenderloins that would be perfect with that and rice. Love your fuchsia colored ivy geraniums.. that's my all-time most favorite geranium color. Perfect bouquet! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Loving those jars my friend! And that tray is just awesome! I love finding a good estate sale! And you so have the right attitude about stopping to smell the roses! Yours are beautiful by the way! Wishing you all good things with the wind down Jennifer. I know you have many things coming up this summer so I am glad to hear you are taking some time for yourself to create. Have a great weekend buddy! Nicole xo

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really like all of your "finds" today. The bottles are my favorite. I must admit, I like bottles too. I have even saved some of those Starbucks coffee bottles you pick up in the grocery store. They make great little vases. But yours, well yours are beautiful and aged and just perfect. The tray is lovely too and will look great with some glasses of cold lemonade this summer.
    It sounds like you already have some great plans for the next few months. I'll be thinking of the LB and his coming surgery and lifting him, (and you), in prayer.
    The flowers are also beautiful. My roses aren't doing much yet. Hopefully they will begin blooming soon. I also planted geraniums at the lake and look forward to seeing them in full bloom soon.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a beautiful res tray. It attracted me lot. Beautiful bottles to keep flowers in them!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Jennifer !
    You know that, at the end of every blogpost on a blog, there are always three random links for the readers, to older blogposts on that blog... When I opened this post and read it, at the end, there was a link to a post from a year ago, about your dog Angus... The tiny pictogram with the photo made me click the link immediately - it was as if you had used a photo of my old labrador, which passed away in march... Especially the first picture of that post... apart from the fluffy border collie tail, Angus could well have been a brother of my girl Ace :-) ! I still miss having a dog around... :-(

    On a happier note, I love your glass jars !! Me too I'm a sucker for old glass. Can't resist buying it - and then, of course, I end up with boxes & boxes of jars and bottles, too much to use... But you never know when they come in handy ;-) !

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great finds & your stir fry sauce sounds divine, We tend to do a fridge clear up of old veg at the weekend so no doubt we will something similar. Your barrel will look fab full of geraniums x

    ReplyDelete
  17. Gorgeous bottles! I love old glass bottles/jars as well (and have far too many in my shed :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your glass bottle finds are perfect for flowers, so much fun to pick up little things like that and give them a new home. X

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love your glass bottles, they are perfect to display your flowers! I can't walk past old glass when I see some in a charity shop. I am taking some cash to a car boot sale tomorrow, hoping for some lovely finds like yours. The stir fry looks yummy. There is something to the combination of peanut butter and lime that is ever so delicious. I hope you can relax this weekend Jennifer, it sounds like you have a lot to deal with just now. xx

    ReplyDelete
  20. What is it with old jars and bottles? I am the same. I too collected as a child and continued until I had to pack them away and realised that perhaps I have a problem. We had to put stuff away in storage .At first it seemed like the perfect solution until you realise I was spending so much on the storage facilities rates. In the end I gave them away it broke my heart it felt like I had lost some very dear friends.
    Love that tray. Have a lovely weekend

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great finds – glass bottles and jars are hard to resist. I, too, have a stash. Love the roses/Jupiter's beard combo. Lovely post, as ever. Sam x

    ReplyDelete
  22. What great finds at the estate sale. That tray especially was meant for you and your strawberry kitchen. The stir fry looks absolutely yummy, it's past lunch time here and I haven't had anything to eat yet, it's making me very hungry. I have red geraniums in two tall pots at each side of my door, they're such lovely plants and don't need much looking after. Perfect. I listened to your podcast, it was very interesting. I'd love chickens but the time isn't right at the moment, we just don't have the time to devote to them with everything else going on. I watched a programme about the Romanovs recently, it was so interesting so I can understand your feelings about the book. I hope you're going to post about your trip to Denver, Daniel's girlfriend comes from there and I'd love to hear a bit about it. She's over here studying at university so I don't know what they'll do afterwards, whether she'll want to stay here or if Daniel will want to move over there with her. Early days yet I suppose, they've still got a year left.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Enjoy your last few days of calm and then have a great vacation. How long does the summer break last for you? Ours get six weeks from the end of July to the beginning September. Sharon x

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wonderful things to post about. I love old glass bottles and use them as vases all the time. We are heading into the last dash before school is put for the summer. Little Buddy is going to be a bit bored but he will survive. I have one leaving high school, I can hardly stand to think about it. Your summer sounds busy, I will be sending positive mojo for LB's surgery.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm one of those who loves glass bottles, too. I just added another one to my collection from a vintage resale store yesterday. (You can see it on the blog post I did today.) Love the tray you found, too. Your chicken dish looks and sounds amazing. I love peanut sauce and I love things made with coconut milk. I'll have to try your sauce concoction! Flowers...I don't know if there's any combination that I actually don't like. I simply love flowers! Can't believe school is almost out already. I know that Tim's year of college flew by (for me). I'm so sorry to hear your boy will have to have surgery. Looks like mine will be having surgery sometime this summer, as well. Scary stuff for a mom.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anything with peanut sauce is bound to be good. I will make some to put over pasta, cabbage and carrots for an easy cold salad that I can carry to school. My college boy took his last exam yesterday but starts a summer course on Monday. My youngest still has til June 1st, with exams starting in a little over a week. I will be so glad when school is finished. We will be in Colorado from July 21st to August 21st. Need to start planning where we'll go and what we'll do. Have a good weekend. Tammy

    ReplyDelete
  27. Red and pink flowers together are a lovely combination, and I'm thinking of making a bed in our new garden dedicated to just that.
    Your chicken recipe sounds delicious. We eat a lot of chicken (and vegetables!) around here so I'm always on the lookout for new ideas.
    Old jars and milk bottles are my favourite vessels for cut flowers, particularly informal-looking ones. They always look so rustic and pretty.
    S

    ReplyDelete
  28. Love your old glass bottles and your home grown flowers are beautiful. Good luck with the surgery... x

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yay for your bottles and tray...great finds for you! I really enjoy and use the bottles and trays I have collected, too. Even though I'm not busy with the school routine, I remember when I was, and how good it felt to go from one sort of busyness in the Fall-Winter-Spring to another in the summer time :) I am cheering you on as you plan for LB's surgery and vacation in Denver. [Wave to Nederland to the west of Boulder for me, please. We lived there for 2 1/2 years and driving up and down Boulder Canyon is beautiful!!!] Love your flowers...and am excited that mine are growing, too! xx
    ps. I want to listen to your podcast about raising chickens as I am interested in having a few as pets and for the eggs, but I am "chicken" about handling them because of my experiences growing up on business poultry farms.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...