Monday, January 30, 2012

Making Valentine's Day Delicious

Valentine's Day is coming soon; have you thought about goodies with a red, pink, or Valentine's Day theme?

Not goodies, but wouldn't you love a bouquet of pink tulips?

Simple, and easy to dress up. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut some chocolate hearts from a pan of brownies.

Add a scoop of ice cream and some cherry pie filling.

Or, just go for a cherry sundae! Warm up the cherry topping first...mmmm.

Cupcakes are a great standby for any celebration. Bake some pink ones, and be sure to serve with a nice pot of tea.

"Come and share a pot of tea, my home is warm and my friendship is free." ~ Emilie Barnes

I'm linking to Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Seeing White, Going Green

Have you noticed me complaining remarking about our lack of snow this year? Well, we did get almost 2" last week. A second storm later in the week passed us, while I'm seeing white, it's really not so beautiful. It's getting old, some has melted, some is not pristine white anymore. But we DO have snow.

A little snow cover on the garden

Cardinals in the bushes - brilliant color against white. Notice there are two smaller, less colorful, almost hidden birds (sparrows) in the lower left on the photo.

Winter whites from the past two winters ♥

While I don't love hate cold weather, and am petrified of driving on ice/snow, I am a very visual person. I appreciate beauty. And fresh snow cover is indeed pretty.

Going green: some scenes from the beautiful Botanical Center of Greater Des Moines

I cannot remember the name of this plant, but it surely is a stunner.

A couple of unusual orchids on the orchid wall


Colorful Coleus

Speaking of going green, have you seen the Go Green series of stamps issued by the USPS?

I'm linking to Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time.

Thanks for visiting,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Valentine Breakfast

Is it Valentine's Day yet?

Well, not quite, but nonetheless, I'm decorating for it.

Come right on in!

Welcome! Make sure you enter with a happy heart!

After all, it's time for Friends Sharing Tea at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog. 

You're invited for a Valentine breakfast, my friend. I'm mixing up the pancake batter. Sit down and pour yourself a cup of tea.

Enjoy some pretty pink pancakes, dusted with confectioner's sugar. And don't forget the strawberries!

Don't you just love having a nice cup of tea with a friend? Happy Valentine's Day!

"Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea." - Rev. Sydney Smith

Thanks for visiting; now head over to share tea with friends at Bernideen's.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Roses for Tea Time Tuesday!

Congratulations to Sandi of Rose Chintz Cottage, who is celebrating two years of Tea Time Tuesday! In honor of this event, Sandi, who adores roses, has asked for a rose-themed Tea Time Tuesday this week.

Roses for Sandi:

These photos were all taken in my garden last summer.

Tea for Sandi:

These photos were taken in tearooms, in my home, on my porch, and at a Haviland china store. Notice the third photo in the top row; those are Sandi's beloved Rose Chintz patterned-tea cups.

Enjoy this very special Tea Time Tuesday.

A bouquet of roses that brightened my house last winter - hope they brighten your day today.

"A true friend warms you with her presence, trusts you with her secrets, and remembers you in her prayers."  - Author unknown

Sandi, my hat's off to you for sponsoring a fun and beautiful tea party every week for two years! Thanks for inspiring us and introducing us to new friends.

Warm regards,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fertilizer Friday - Looking for snow

Today's Fertilizer Friday. It's a chance to see what's growing in some fantastic gardens all over the world. I highly recommend you head right on over to Tootsie Time.

Recently, Ron and I went for a walk to Sleep Hollow Sports Park. (We were looking for snow.) Sleepy Hollow is a multi-functional fun park; in the winter you can ski, tube, and can even be part of the annual Polar Bear Plunge, where crazy people in swimsuits jump into the icy pond. In the spring, summer, and fall, Sleepy Hollow offers golf, miniature golf, batting cages, and a driving range. Alas, if you think that's boring...well...they also have a small vineyard and then there's the Renaissance Faire Park.

On our walk, we saw pretty dried hydrangeas:

 Along the way, we crossed Four Mile Creek, which actually traverses the golf course at Sleepy Hollow.

 Sledding on the immaculately groomed hill
The snow is all manufactured. We haven't had much snow yet this year.

 There were a number of snowboarders, mostly kids, and all having a wonderful time.

It's January in Iowa, and before we know it, it'll be spring.

 Daffodils peeking through the picket fence last spring

 Bleeding Heart

 Hellebores, above and below

 Look at the detail on those leaves. I just love being able to post extra large photos on my blog; those flowers (and tea cups) just look so much prettier. Of course, if I happen to get a slightly blurry photo, that also becomes more evident!  lol

In the past, when I tried to post extra large photos, they were cut off by my blog template. Thanks to Karen of  Valentine Design, who widened my template for me, and at a very reasonable price.

Aw...the look of things to come!

Thanks, Tootsie, for hosting Fertilizer Friday, and thanks to all of you for stopping by to visit me!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tea Time Tuesday - A Generous Spirit

I pray that within me will grow a more generous spirit. 2 Corinthians 8:7 says, "But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving." God doesn't need our things. But he gives us creativity and talent, and designed us to be about the business of doing things for Him. What gifts or resources has God blessed me (you) with? How can I (you) make use of something of myself (yourself) to give back to God? Generosity is one character trait I have chosen to work on this year. To read more about my "one word," click here.

 I'd love to share a cup of tea with you, and some lively conversation. Today's tea is "Florence," a chocolate hazelnut tea from Harney and Sons. Harney and Sons offer over 200 varieties of fine tea. "Florence" is one of my favorites; another favorite is "Vanilla Comoro," a decaffeinated black tea; and another, "Yin Hao Jasmine."

 I've also saved you a slice of Cranberry Poppyseed Pound Cake.

 Tea, and generosi-tea...

As a candle provides light, so Jesus is the light of the world.

It's a privilege to link to Tea Time Tuesday, hosted by the most gracious Sandi of Rose Chintz Cottage. Be sure to visit our hostess Sandi and her participants, and listen up!

There's a very special Tea Time Tuesday coming up NEXT week. It's the second anniversary of Tea Time Tuesday and Sandi's celebrating by inviting us all to join her for Rose Week (she adores roses) for Tea Time Tuesday.

See you there!
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The garden at its best

What an unusual winter we're having. We've not seen anything like this yet this year (Praise the Lord!)

Today, though, has its own beauty...

 We went for a walk and saw hundreds of geese down at the lake.

 Sedum in my garden

 Hen and chicks looking good. I covered then up with a little mulch after taking this photo.

 Nigella and/or larkspur that self-seeded. I wasn't expecting it to grow worries, I saved seed. These plants surely will not survive the winter.

 The robins have eaten quite a few beauty berries, but some remain.

Daffodils peeking through the soil

However, there's nothing like July in my Iowa garden.

 Along the garden path

 One of my favorite garden photos, this one is my wallpaper on my laptop. The dark hemerocallis in the foreground is 'Bold Stripe.'  'Stella d'oro' is also blooming, as is achillea (whitish in bud, pink in bloom), catmint 'Walker's Low,' Asiatic lilies, yellow coneflowers, purple coneflowers, and a red rose. Foreground left is a weigela and top left yellow bloomers in the raised bed is squash.

 Here I am, standing in front of my tomato plants to demonstrate their height. I had great production last summer. I froze some, ate lots, and gave away hundreds. I'm grateful I was able to do that.

 I'm not sure of the cultivar of this lily in my side garden. It's labeled in the garden, but not in my photo file!

 Hemerocallis 'Frans Hals,' visited by a black swallowtail

 Looking down on the cottage garden. Top left, you can see part of our triangular garden (we've made it larger this fall); top middle is the enclosed raspberry/blackberry bed (just left of our blue spruce).

The bloomers include hemerocallis, echinacea, achillea (pink), roses, vinca (white), monarda, Rose of Sharon, coreopsis, clematis (on the fence), yellow coneflowers, and balloon flowers (blue, in front of the fence). Also, that's Supertunia Vista Bubblegum petunias on the garden shed window box.

 Looking down from the deck, to the right (the colorful part) is the "rocky garden," to the left you see blueberry bushes and callicarpa - that's the edge of the cottage garden. Up top (north) you can see our garden shed, a couple of the raised beds, and a small spruce. We have since extended the garden to the north, and edged the bed. I just love all the color in the rocky garden. I have a fear, though; it's a fear of that little oak see, as it gets larger it will make this area way too far, I cannot talk Ron into cutting it down.

 One of my favorite hemerocallis, 'Custard Candy'

A glorious, elegant, lacy, highly detailed flower: Nigella, aka Love-in-a-mist

I'm linking up to Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time. It's a place where gardeners from all over the world go to flaunt their flowers. Be sure to pay Tootsie a visit!

I'm also linking to Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life. Be sure to pay sweet Kathy a visit!

Thanks for stopping by!


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