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Return of the Light. Lessons from the Eclipse.

I don’t mean to wax poetic about the waxing moon, but I just wanted to share a little moon moment.
 
One quick glimpse at social media and the flurry of blurry photos of light blobs on black backgrounds and you know that there was some sort of lunar event.
 
There was also ample warning leading up to the eclipse that made sure we all knew that there was yet another once-in-a-lifetime sight to see in the sky.
 
But imagine life before technology.
 
Imagine a time when instead of our little glowing phone screens, the only thing to light our night was that big comforting ball of cheese in the sky.
 
Imagine how terrifying it would have been when that big ole’ cheese-ball suddenly and unexpectedly turned an ominous shade of crimson, and we had no idea why — and we wondered if it was the end of the world.
 
Now we’ve got google and iflscience to light our way and explain these mysteries to us, so it isn’t scary. We know our beloved cheeseball is safe and sound and playing hide and seek in our shadow — it will be right back and as bright and beautiful as it ever was.
 
If only all of life was that simple.
 
For me, this eclipse was a little reminder lesson about when we enter the dark moments in our lives. We have no control, and we don’t know if the light will ever return.
 
We don’t have a magical website that explains the reasons behind the dark and scary moments in our lives –we don’t know how long they will last. We don’t have that same reassurance that like the eclipse, it is natural and normal and everything is going to be alright. We don’t know for sure that it is not the end of the world until we start to see the return of the light.
 
Above is the picture I took as the September 2015 Blood Moon eclipse event was coming to a close. The moon was just beginning to free itself from the darkness. 
Don’t worry ’bout a thing, because every little thing is gonna be alright.

It is the return of the light.
 
Hang in there… 

I took this picture (above) of a ‘supermoon’ in its full glory a year or two ago.
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Pineapp-O-Lantern: A Tropic’alloween Treat

Who says you can only make a Jack-O-Lantern out of a pumpkin? 

Not me! 

Allow me to introduce you to a frightfully fun Halloween treat that makes a great presentation when serving a fruit plate, or fruit and cheese platter or even an awesome Halloween breakfast!

I’m calling it a Pineapp-O-Lantern: A Tropic’alloween Treat!
Instagram PineappOlantern3

It’s basically the same process as carving a Jack-O-Lantern, so I wont bore you with an in-depth how-to, but I will share some tips.

I went the traditional route – cutting the top to make the ‘lid’ of the Jack-O-Lantern and then scooping out the contents, but I’ll definitely be doing things differently the next time I do this (see tips below).

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A much more efficient way (and what I ended up doing about half way through digging and scooping pineapple) would be to make the ‘lid’ cut at the top, and also chop the bottom off the pineapple so you can approach it from both ends.

Then you’ll only need to run the blade of your knife around the inside edge of both ends, hollowing out a cylinder and sliding it out. This will leave you with nice hollow shell for carving a face, as well as a nice neat tube of pineapple to core and slice for serving.

All that’s left to do is carve a face, and pop in a battery operated tealight candle (I got my candles 2 per pack at Dollar Tree, batteries included and they even flicker like real flames!).

Instagram PineappOlantern4

 

 

This project is great for bringing some whimsical Halloween fun to an unexpected place like a fruit platter, and I love that the pineapple top looks like spooky spiked hair!

EXTRA TIP: It’s not just for Halloween! Change the facial features slightly and you could carve a tiki face into the pineapple for an awesome display for a luau or other tropical themed summer party!

Instagram PineappOLantern

Well hello there Mr Creepy Pinapp-O-Lantern face!

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Star Spangled Seashore Celebration

When summertime rolls around, we love to bring the beach and seashore into the decor — so for our Fourth of July theme, we went with a ‘Star Spangled Seashore’!
 
 
Sometimes it’s hard to part with a particular decor or theme and this year we really did not want to take down our cool summertime Oysters and Pearls: Seashore Celebration
 
We couldn’t skip the fireworks and the Red White and Blue though, so we created a sort of patriotic seashore fusion.
 
 
Though there are quite a few similarities between this theme and the last, we don’t mind because we are using many of our most favorite things.
 
Making their return are the silver charger plates and matching silver nut dishes in both baroque and seashell shapes. Also the pearls, fishing nets, lantern and seashells are back. 
 
New to the table is a gorgeous navy blue blanket being used as a tablecloth topper. Also new to the table are some lovely red salad plates and some Navy blue napkins.

 

We’ve got our patriotic red white and blue ‘fire’Cracker Jacks ready as a nostalgic summertime treat. We added red white and blue striped ribbon just to make them extra special. 

With a name tag or note attached to the ribbon they would make an awesome place card or party favor as well.

 

We’ve also got our Pop Rocks, because they are like having a fireworks show in your mouth!

The sideboard is all gussied up with red white and blue bunting and other patriotic  themed items. 

We found these sparkly balloon weights from Dollar Tree. They certainly are not a statement of understated elegance, and they may be a bit gaudy, but they feel like a fireworks launch! 

If you can’t add a little over-the-top sparkly glitz and glam for the 4th of July, when can you?



We’ll be adding some of our favorite patriotic recipes and entertaining ideas soon — until then, here are some pictures from last year’s 4th of July celebration, and a few more from this year.

 

 

 

 

 

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Seashore Tablescape – Oysters and Pearls

Oysters and Pearls : A Seashore Tablescape for Summer.


 
It’s not quite summer yet but most people see Memorial Day Weekend as the official start of summer fun and festivities. 
 
So after a quick change from the red white and blue (that will all come back with extra sparkle for July 4th) we converted into a nice beachy summer at the seashore look.
 
Oyster shells and pearls are the theme this time and they are a perfect combo because pearls come from oysters! 
 
We grabbed the pearl garlands from our Christmas decorations, and we have lots of collected sea shells from every time we ever get near a seashore. These Oyster shells were collected in Greenport New York.
 
 
We found lovely Caribbean sea blue bottles at Dollar Tree and got incredibly lucky when we found awesome matching salad plates at Savers. Together they give the table a fresh pop of color and the blue is so refreshing and serene.
 
 
We paired the Caribbean Blue glass accents with our white china and silver chargers.  
 
 
The centerpiece is a lantern that is not necessarily beachy, but it is reminiscent of the top of a lighthouse, so it works! It’s raised up a level on a silver tray resting on a glass block and surrounded by fish netting, pearls, shells and little glass balls that look like bubbles!
 
 
 
We finished off the look with some fishing net, shells and various trinkets and baubles that fit the summer at the seashore theme.
 
 
 
We still need some more fishing nets and accessories to complete the look on the sideboard — it’s looking a bit sparse, so we’ll update when that gets it’s finishing touches.
 
This may be my new favorite tablescape — not looking forward to ever changing this one!  It’s time to celebrate – Summer is here! It’s Beachy Keen!



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Hit the Road Jack Frost!!

Hip hip Hooray!!  It’s finally here!!

If you’ve been following the Countdown to Spring the moment you’ve been anticipating has finally arrived!!

Now if you would so kindly join me in telling Jack Frost to hit the road!! 










Hit the road Jack, and don’t ya come back no more!

It’s not April Fools Day yet, but this certainly seems like a not-very-funny April Fools prank!


Come on…this cannot be real…


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Hot Chocolate Brownies


♫ At laaaaaast….my loooove has come along…

Is it weird that the song At Last by Etta James played in my head, time stopped and swirly twirly cartoon hearts and snowflakes floated around my head the first time I tasted these?

I also felt like Buddy the Elf declaring “I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!” while throwing my elf hat in the air.





We bought this brownie mix at Aldi, just because it seemed like a nice holiday treat to have while cuddled on the couch with a warm blanket, and a great Christmas movie.

Now I am smitten, and my heart is all-a-flutter. The brownie and marshmallow together are just pure magic. I can’t even describe its ooey gooey warm deliciousness. 

Oh, one parting warning about these. The marshmallow is insanely hot when they come out of the oven, so though it may seem like torture , its a good idea to wait a bit and avoid scalding the inside of your mouth. 

That is definitely the first time I have ever had to warn anyone to avoid a marshmallow related injury!



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Mooning over the October Moon

There is nothing quite like the October moon.

I have many fond memories of going for evening walks (physical training for a trip to Disney World) and as we would reach a certain point on the road we would round the curve and see the October moon, low in the sky, HUGE and gorgeous.

The crisp Autumn air would dance with the balmy end-of-summer breezes, creating miniature tornadoes swirling through piles of leaves, making orange red and yellow kaleidoscope patterns in mid air.

It’s one of the many sensory delights of the season that remind me that the world is a beautiful place.

Listen to the song ‘Moondance’ by Van Morrison while looking at the October moon this year — it is something everyone should experience at some point in their lives — truly magical.


Pssst!!  For those of you who were expecting some coarse humor about the kind of mooning that refers to exposing ones buttocks…I apologize for misleading you. All I can do is offer you this peach as some small consolation.

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