Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Little Italian Please

It's Tablescape Thursday again over at Susan's place. Be sure to drop by today and check out all the beautiful tablescapes.

As for my we're going Italian and I'll tell you why. This time of year we always go Italian! The first of March is the anniversary of our first date.....and you guessed it..... we went Italian. The restaurant was a little place called Caesar's was a classic in San Diego for many years. This year we had already made plans to celebrate, just the two of us, at a favorite place here in town. However, late Monday, after talking with some of the family we realized that Sunday evening was the only time we could all get together for my father-in-law's 89th birthday. Every birthday we can spend with him is important to all of us now, so obviously we'd have to change our date plans this year. But when? It had to be Tuesday....the next evening. This was an unusually busy week and every other night was already taken. So at the last minute we decided to just celebrate here at home. We were busy all day so I had very little time to prepare.....but sometimes those "hurry up put something together with what you have times" can turn out extra special.

I started out by setting the table in the diningroom using placemats and napkins I had purchased in Old Town San Diego many years ago. The lime green plates are stoneware from a little kitchen shop in Tulsa and the stemware is from an Arby's ( yes I said Arby's) Christmas giveaway in 1994. I used my flatware with the shell pattern because the beach had also played a part in that first date . That's whats so nice about being with someone you love for so many years.......there are all these little things that mean absolutely nothing to anyone but
the two of you.

The stoneware pasta platter and the individual pasta bowls are from Bed Bath and Beyond, made by Himark of Italy.

Next I added a small round of Italian bread and a decanter of extra virgin olive oil for dipping. Nothing goes better with an Italian salad and grated Parmesan cheese.

The soup is Tuscany Basil Tomato......its so simple to make but it
tastes as if it took all day.

The main dish was Angel Hair Spaghetti covered with a Vegetable
Sauce and Italian Sausage. A side of broccoli rounded out the meal.

Our beverage of choice was Strawberry Pomegranate
Italian Soda over crushed ice.

Over the years Jim has gotten used to me taking pictures all the time......
of anything and everything......and now he's having to get used to me taking
pictures of our meals! detail! I guess that's true love.

This is how everything looked when we finally sat down to eat! I think
we were both glad that our plans had changed at the last minute.
We finished off our meal with delicious fresh fruit and lingered at the table
just a little longer than usual. You know you shouldn't rush a first date.

Our original first date ended with a walk on the beach. We didn't have a
beach to walk on this year,but we did do a lot of remembering about this special
little stretch of ocean in La Jolla called "Wind and Sea".

So here's to all the first dates in our future.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Three of Us


This Christmas I framed this photo as a gift for my sisters.
It was taken of my two sisters and myself when we were three, four, and five years old. I am on the left, the oldest, my baby sister Jane is in the center, and my sister Joan is on the right. We were so close in age we were practically triplets! Surprisingly I remember the day this photo was taken. It was an autumn afternoon in South Carolina. Just five months earlier our family had returned from Cuba where our parents had been missionaries.........forced home by Castro's revolutionary activities there. This little white house was a rental that we lived in until the following spring when we moved to Laurens, a small nearby town where my Dad took over the pastorate of a church . I have so many good memories of the times spent in this little house.....memories of playing on this front porch.......after all when you're three, four, and five there's so much to do and so many things to play.

I love you Joan. I love you Jane. I've always been glad there were the three of us.

* I simply wrote the quote onto the picture using Photoshop Elements.  However, for those who don't have Photoshop there is a free download at Piknik where you can edit your photos.....I've never used it myself but I hear that it is excellent.

San Diego in Blue

Once upon a lovely week last summer...........

Want more Blue Monday posts? Go on over to Sally's place and enjoy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Romance, Sleeping In, and Leftover Cheesecake

Valentine's Day around here has been rather quiet and uneventful......and that's just the way we wanted it.
You see we had a party here last night.
We moved most of the furniture out and set a table for fourteen in front of the fireplace. With a little background music by Michael Buble' and Rod Stewart it was all very romantic. Before dinner was over every couple had shared the story of their first date. Funny, sweet, romantic.....all at the same time. We all had so much fun!
Beforehand we had cleared out a good portion of our Familyroom for some after dinner dancing.
Jim and I had burned a special CD for each of our couples, picking out a song especially for them. When their CD would play that particular couple got to lead off the dance. For instance, our friends who had been married the longest danced to "Through the Years" by Kenny Rogers. For other friends who were actually Married on Valetines Day, we played Anne Murray ( a personal favorite of theirs) "Could I Have this Dance for the Rest of my Life?". Our newlywed couple who have been married just barely a year danced to the Nat King Cole song they danced to at their wedding. My cousin and her husband, who just happened to be named Fox, were surprised with "Foxy Lady" by Jimmy Hindrix. Even though she's never been a Hindrix fan she was a real trooper (and by the way her husband loved it!) We had quite a mix of songs throughout the evening......even had a little Abba thrown in the mix (you Abba lover friends know who you are!) In case you're wondering, Jim and I chose our own song........after all it was our party! :)
Oh I did redeem myself with my cousin by giving them an extra song to dance to at the close.....Somos Novios (It's Impossible) sung in Spanish by Andrea Bocelli and Christina Agulara. It was perfect for them......very romantic, and since they're both fluent in Spanish because of years of mission work in Costa Rica and was also very appropriate.
When the party was winding down to a close we sent everyone home with their personal CD, along with instructions to play the final song we had recorded for them. It was a surprise for the ride home......Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie singing "Walkin' My Baby Back Home".
It's so much fun to share an evening with good friends!
Needless to say, however, it was a late evening. By the time we were finished with cleanup it was very very late......though I do believe we looked a little more cheerful than this couple. After all, romance was still in the air even at 3 am!
Then all too soon the sun was up.........
But we weren't! Gotta admit we did sleep in this morning........ till almost eleven o'clock to be exact. Can't remember when we last did that! But it was so lovely and it felt so good. No breakfast. Just a little cheesecake and a bottle of Martinelli sparkling cider (left over from the party) for our lunch. Yes, that was what we had for lunch.
Consequently, it is now eleven o'clock PM and neither one of us is sleepy. We're on our way to bed though. Jim is getting some popcorn popped right now as I speak. (okay, I'll admit there hasn't been a lot of good nutrition going on around here today) Anyway, we have our choice of three movies to watch before we fall asleep. We've seen all three repeatedly and we don't mind watching either of them again. So I guess we'll decide when we crawl into bed, all warm and toasty with our bowls of popcorn.
So on this Valentine evening will it be.........
Music and Lyrics with Huge Grant and Drew Barrymore.........
The Wedding Date with Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney...... .....or.....
The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black Good night......hope you had a lovely Valentines Day too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love Letters in the Sand

Today is "Wordless Wednesday" and the topic is Love.

Go on over to Dixie's at French Lique Texas and enjoy some more photos. What a great way to spend a Wednesday afternoon.......getting in the mood for
Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Another Rainy Sunday

Good afternoon from Phoenix......its raining here today so you know I'm lovin' it!
No rainy day cookies today though since we're working on some projects around the house. Usually I like to reserve Sunday afternoon for Scrapbooking but we're on the tail-end of laying our wood floor ( just a small hallway to finish) so that takes precedence over everything else today.
Valentines Day is coming up this week. Just a little reminder to do something nice for your sweetheart....I know we always expect them to do something romantic for us and then sometimes we neglect to do something for them. Do something for the other special people in your lives this week too! Everybody likes to get a little something for Valentines Day!
I want to thank Yaya at Chronicles of Yaya Orchid for giving me the Kreativ Blogger Award. She's one of the first friends I made when I started on this blogging adventure a few weeks ago. Be sure to go over and visit her.....she's a dedicated and inspiring Christian lady. I know you'll like some of her recipes...she's got some great Mexican dishes you'll want to try. Christopher had been after me to make a chorizo dish after he had tasted some at a friends house last year. Well, I had no idea how to cook it until I came across Yaya's recipe for Chorizo con Huevos. With some warm flour toritillas it was an instant breakfast hit around here.
There are a few fun little rules that go along with the award. First you put the award on your sidebar, then you have to list seven things you love. Finally you present the award to seven other bloggers and notify them on their site. So hear goes.......
I LOVE.....
1. roses, gardenias, and hydrangeas
2. organizing and planning
3. being a wife, mom, and now a "nana"
4. knowing the Word has the answer for every single thing in my life
5. reading, reading, reading
6. eating fruits and vegetables from my own garden
7. sleeping by an open window
8. FREEBIE.....having sisters that are my best friends!
Wow that was difficult naming just seven (okay eight) things..........I have a list I've been compiling for years....maybe Freebie # 9 should be "I love to make lists".....Anyway I have over 500 things on my list so you all are getting an idea of what I'm REALLY like. :0
As for the blogs to pass it on to:
Lulu at Lulu & co.
Rachel Ann at Rachel Ann's Place
Lisa at aka West
Have a blessed week everyone!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Simply Oriental

We all love Chinese food at our house. I also love Japanese food and my son is a big Thai food fan. If we do Japanese or Thai we always order out. Most of the time when we do Chinese, we order out. Sometimes, though, I venture into making a Chinese meal in my own kitchen. Actually my husband makes excellent pork fried rice and egg drop soup and I like to try my hand at a few simple dishes. While I admit there are plenty of times when we plop down in the family room with a good movie, Chinese food cartons in hand, there are other times when its nice to eat at the table surrounded by a little Oriental ambiance. This table setting is so simple it can be set up in minutes and makes even takeout seem just a little bit special.
Here is the table set for three. We're trying to learn to use chopsticks so I have no other flatware on the table......of course there are always standbys close at hand. We at least start out the meal with chopsticks :0
The large black dinner plates are originally from Target. I say originally because I picked up four complete place settings while out Thrifting one day for only $5. I use them now in so many combinations. The black and white salad plate is from my wedding china, Coventry pattern Laurent. In this particular instance I'm using them for a mandarin chicken salad that I've recently learned to make. The oval mini-dishes are from a kitchen store and for this meal are used for sweet and sour sauce to go with the eggrolls. Colorful and reusable chopsticks round out the setting.
Aren't these glass bamboo cups and teapot adorable? Since we always have hot tea with these meals these work perfectly......from Target also, but I don't think they are available anymore.
The centerpiece here is from Joanne Fabrics Store, bought at the New Years Sale last year. I currently have this on a sidetable in another part of my home as part of a more permanent arrangement, but it is just perfect for this type of tablescape. The jumbo black candle gives off a nice little light and seems more appropriate on this table than thin tapers. Bamboo placemats and black napkins are from Bed Bath and Beyond. I consider these two items staples because they are so versatile.
I love setting a pretty table, but for everyday meals I appreciate something that can be put on the table in a hurry, don't you?
This is my first time participating in Tablescape Thursday so thanks for stopping by. Be sure to drop by to see Susan and the rest of the lovely Tabletops at I know you won't be disappointed.