Thursday, December 27, 2018

O Christmas Tree

We love Christmas trees at our house, how about you?  One Christmas, about 15 years ago, I decorated three trees for our house.  That was when we had our finished room in the basement; we had the main tree in the living room, one in the den, and one in the basement.  Never again.  They were fun to decorate, but a real chore to take down.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Better Late Than Never

It's December 26th; are you tired?  I am a bit, but not as much as I thought I'd be.  Our Christmas day weather was perfect -- cold but not bitter and not raining.  Hooray for sunshine.  :)
I so hope that all of you had a good Christmas, filled with the people and things you love.  We had a lovely Christmas with our families, and it's been wonderful to rest a bit today.  I also took the opportunity to take some more pictures around the house.  I honestly have not had a spare minute to post any pictures before, so I'm sharing now.  If you're sick of seeing Christmas decorations, you'll want to skip this post.  ;)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

 Wishing you JOY in the birth of the Christ child, born to save us all. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Beauty of Christmas

Hello to you all!  I haven't published a single post this month, and before the blog pirates take over my blog, I thought I'd better put something up here.  

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving day.  I just love Thanksgiving -- everyone in our family does.  This was our first Thanksgiving without my father, and there was definitely an empty spot there for us.  In fact, we have two family members gone from us this holiday season, my father and Hal's paternal grandmother.  His granny died back in January of this year, which is so far back that it almost feels like last year.  She died just about six weeks short of her 101st birthday.  I will be forever grateful that I had these two very special people in my life for so many years. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Duncan Loves Fall, Too

Hello friends!  Are you having a good week?  We've been busy, busy, and I don't see things slowing down anytime soon.
I have not posted on Duncan in ages, and I thought I would share a few pictures.  Oftentimes, he can hear the wind from inside the house (or we think he can) and he almost begs demands to be taken out.  You see, he wants to engage in his favorite activity -- chasing the leaves as the wind blows them around.

Monday, November 5, 2018

A Football Game and Leaf Season

Happy Monday dear readers!  I hope you enjoyed a lovely fall weekend.  The employees where my husband works were offered free tickets to a college football game this past weekend for making their United Way goal, so we spent Saturday afternoon at the stadium.  It was a beautiful day, but the wind blew during the entire game and it was much colder than I expected it to be.  Thankfully, I grabbed my coat on the way out the door, or I would have been a miserable camper.  :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Thanksgiving Tablescape

I don't think I've ever put together a Thanksgiving table in October -- at least, not in recent years.  I'm always too far behind schedule to do that.  This year, things are a little different.  I've offered committed to having my family's Christmas Day gathering at our house, so I'm going to start decorating for Christmas earlier than ever before.  It will feel strange, but I need to get as much of a head start on things as possible.
Our Thanksgiving tables in previous years have always featured my Johnson Brothers "His Majesty" dishes, and my centerpiece was always a cornucopia overflowing with the bounty of a harvest season.  I enjoyed using these pieces, because the "horn of plenty" has always been a big symbol of Thanksgiving to me.  This year, I was in the mood to do something different.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Our Fall Family Room

Fall is finally starting to make itself felt here.  We're having a late fall this year, but the signs are there.  The nights are cooler and crisper, it smells like fall outside, high school football is back in town, and front porches are sporting mums and pumpkins.
I've been making some changes in our den recently, and earlier, I promised to share those with you.  Since I'm not quite finished yet, tonight will be just a few sneak peaks at the room as it looks for fall.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Dale Chihuly, Fall Storms, and Family Life

Hello all!  Are you having a good month?  Today it finally feels like fall here in our part of North Carolina.  What a month it's been.  We got the effects of Hurricane Michael here yesterday, and oh wow!  I told Mr. Forest Manor that I spent almost a whole week worrying about Hurricane Florence (which was a disaster for the N.C. coast) because there was so much hype about it beforehand.  I barely gave Hurricane Michael a thought, until yesterday that is, but Michael was actually worse for us in the Piedmont area than Florence was. 
So what have I been up to since I last posted here?  For starters, spending time with family.  On Friday, September 28th, Hal and I took his parents to see the Chihuly exhibit at Biltmore Estate.  We had a beautiful day to travel up there, the exhibit was amazing, and we had dinner at the Stable Cafe on the estate, which was a lot of fun, too.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Thomas Jefferson's Gardens at Monticello

Recently, I noticed that I've written several posts over the years wherein I ended the post with a promise for Part 2.  I had every good intention of writing the follow-up post, but somehow I never got around to it.  Life moved on quickly, and we were onto the next thing.  This time around, I've decided to write my "Part 2" as soon as possible so that I don't forget or just get too busy later to do so.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about our visit to Charlottesville, Virginia, in September 2017, and talked a little bit about Thomas Jefferson at the end of that post.  

Sunday, September 9, 2018


We desperately felt the need for a change of scenery last Monday (Labor Day).  Besides, I have a new camera that I haven't had a chance to use lately, and I can always use the practice.  It's a Sony Alpha 5100 -- a compact camera.  I really like the Canon Rebel, but it gets awfully heavy on long outings.
On this day, we grabbed a few snacks out of the kitchen, put Mr. Duncan on his leash and into the car, and headed for the mountains.  It was hot here at home, but somewhat cooler in the mountains of Virginia.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September Is Here

It's the first day of September; we're officially headed for the end of summer and then on to fall.  I love September through December -- such a beautiful time of year.  I've probably mentioned here before that September is my birth month and my sister's, as well.  Our birthdays are three days (and three years) apart.
Last year in the last week of September, Hal and I took a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia, for about four days.  We stayed in the Shenandoah Valley, where we were surrounded by pretty countryside. 

Monday, August 20, 2018


My sincere thanks to all of you who left such kind comments on the passing of my father.  Your thoughts are truly appreciated, and I look forward to visiting each of you very soon.  I will be staying with my mom tonight and Wednesday night; my sister stayed with her all of last week.  We're trying to help mom to gradually transition to being there alone.  She's not afraid to stay there by herself, but she does dread being alone all the time.  She's very fortunate in that she has truly wonderful neighbors, church family, and us.
I titled this post "Gratitude" and that may seem strange upon losing a father.  However, his passing could have been so much worse, and much more frightening for him and my mom, had they not gone to the hospital when they did.  My dad essentially died from kidney failure; being on dialysis for the past five years was so hard on his body.  When he went to the hospital two weeks ago, he had an infection and an obstruction.  The infection was responding to antibiotics, but the obstruction could only be fixed by surgery, and my dad was absolutely not a candidate for surgery at that point.  His body was weak, he'd lost so much weight, and his immune system was compromised.  The surgeon talked to us in detail about this on Saturday afternoon.  There were so many "what ifs" and risks, my mom was agonizing over making a decision.  Fortunately, God took that decision out of her hands.  My dad just slipped into a deep sleep sometime Saturday, and didn't wake again. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

I Love You Dad

My father passed away this afternoon -- on our son's 28th birthday.  Those of you who visit here regularly probably know my dad has been struggling with serious health problems for several years.  He fought the good fight, but his body was just worn out.  We're glad that he's no longer suffering, but we will miss him so.
I will return to write more soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Magnolia Gardens in Charleston

When we went to Charleston back in April of this year, we tried to see some new (to us) places on this trip.  On one of the days there, we visited Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.  For us, the highlight of this spot was the gardens, more so than the house.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Richmond Reid Plantation

Happy Friday to you!  Do you have any plans for the weekend?  We'll be celebrating my dad's birthday at my parents' house on Sunday.  His birthday was July 3rd, but it's easier for everyone to get together on the weekend.
On Monday, Hal and I went to the town of Denton, North Carolina, to attend the 48th Annual Southeast Old Threshers' Reunion.   

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Grilled Pork Tenderloin For Summer

Hello all!  I hope you had a happy and festive Fourth of July celebrating the birth of our country.  Ours was very quiet, and that suited us fine.  Hal was on vacation from Saturday through Wednesday, and we stayed on the go.  Last night after dinner, we watched the Fourth of July celebration at the White House and then watched Captain America.  😎  I'm not much of a Marvel Comics person, but I'd never seen this, and it was fun to watch. 
Today, I'm sharing a recipe that comes from my mother-in-law; it's a summertime favorite at their house.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July -- America's Independence Day!  I'm sharing pictures from past and present; hope you enjoy.
Charlottesville, VA  

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Summer Countryside and Southern Porches

Fridays are usually the day I visit my parents.  Sometimes, I miss a week or we have to schedule our visit for a different day, due to doctor appointments, etc.  I often end up spending three or four hours with my parents because it's a 45-minute drive one way.  Yesterday was no exception; I was there from about 12:30 to 4:30.  We ate lunch when I arrived, and then I stayed with my dad so my mom could run a few errands.  
While I was there, I took some pictures of their front porch all dressed up for summer.  :)  My mom just got her wicker porch furniture painted white; her dear friend and neighbor, Susie, painted all the wicker pieces. We think it looks so pretty!  The furniture was originally a natural, tan color and it just didn't show up very well on the porch.  Now it looks cheerful and summery.  :D   

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summer Kitchen

It's officially summer, yes?  Whew, is it hot here!  It's supposed to be in the mid-to-high 90's all week, with high humidity.  Welcome to the south!  At this point, the catch phrase around here becomes, "Hot enough for you?"  After hearing this so many times, no one even bothers to reply.  😜  It's almost like the dead of winter because everyone stays inside, where it's air-conditioned, as much as possible.   
Today, I want to share a few pictures of my summer kitchen.  I've made a few little changes in here since the big renovation in 2012, namely a new dishwasher, new replacement windows, and wood floors.  All those things were money well-spent, and we still love our kitchen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Charleston's Unitarian Cemetery

This is the second part of a post on the Gateway Walk of Charleston, which Hal and I did back in April of this year.  Today I'm sharing the last of three cemeteries that were part of the Gateway Walk.  You can find the first post here.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Gateway Walk of Charleston

Happy June everyone!  How are things in your part of the world?  The sun is finally shining in a blue sky here, and I'm a happy camper.  :D 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Simple Banana Bread

Hi everyone!!  I can't believe I haven't posted in over three weeks!  Life just seems to get busier and busier, and you probably all know that the longer we go without blogging, the harder it is to get back in the groove.  I've missed you all, though, and I've missed my humble little blog.  
Today I'm sharing a recipe for banana bread.  This recipe is oh, so simple and really quite good.  My hubby came home from work while it was still baking and remarked, "That banana bread smells really good!"  It did smell incredible, folks.  I used to make banana bread a lot when our son was growing up, but I don't remember it ever smelling this good.  Most cooks seem to have a recipe for banana bread in their files, but I still recommend you give this one a try.  It doesn't call for anything fancy like chocolate chips, cream cheese, or sour cream, no streusel, or glaze for the top -- just the basics. I found the recipe here at Simply Recipes, a website with some very good-looking recipes.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Day

"Queen Guinevere's Maying" ~John Collier

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Beauty of Charleston

Just six hours away from our home in North Carolina, we can visit the city of Charleston, South Carolina, and it almost feels like being in another country.  I say this because the old historic part of Charleston has a very old-world look and feel to it.  We usually hear at least one foreign language spoken while we're there -- often French, sometimes German, Japanese, and the King's English, spoken with a British accent.  😉 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Re-Visiting My Favorite Tablescapes Over the Years

I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.  This is a special TT because this week makes Susan's 500th Tablescape Thursday since she began her blog.  Congratulations, Susan, -- that's quite a milestone!!  We're all invited to share some of our favorite tablescapes that we've created over the years, so I decided to join in.   You can click on the links provided with each group of pictures to see the full tablescape post.  There are other tablescapes in my decorating category at the top of the blog page.  Just hover over "Decorating" and click on "Tablescapes."  Thank you, Susan, for hosting Tablescape Thursday.
I'll begin with a tablescape from 2014, which I put together to participate in a challenge Cuisine Kathleen hosted on her blog and also to celebrate our wedding anniversary that May.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April in Charleston

Hello everyone!  How was your week?  It's been a while since I've posted, but we've had so much going on here.  We had some tree work done, which I'll write more about later.  We got back home yesterday evening from a four-day trip to Charleston, South Carolina -- one of our favorite places to visit.      

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Airlie Gardens

Last weekend while at the coast, we visited Airlie Gardens in Wilmington on Easter Sunday afternoon.  My in-laws had been before, but we didn't even know this place existed.  It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Frogmore Stew

Hi friends!  This year's weather has been one for the record books.  I say this because yesterday it was mostly sunny and very pleasant all day.  Our bedroom felt stuffy last night, so I opened the window a small amount to get the fresh air, and may I say I'm loving these replacement windows, as they're so easy to open and close whenever I want to.  Anyway, we were rather rudely awakened about 5:45 this morning by hail pounding on the outside of the windows.  Such a racket, and this was followed by heavy rain and intense winds for a half hour or more.  I'm just thankful that no tall trees came down on our house.
I mentioned in my previous post that we spent Easter weekend at the coast, and it was much colder there than usual for early April.  We still had fun, though.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter at the Beach

Happy April!  Are things in bloom where you live?  It seems that everything has burst into bloom here.  Our Redbud tree is covered with blooms, and so is our Dogwood.
We spent the Easter holiday at the beach this year; it was the first time we've ever done that.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Beef and Guinness Stew

Hi folks!  Winter just refuses to leave this year.  We've had snow today here in North Carolina -- how about you?  It looked like Spring yesterday when I walked Duncan at lunchtime.  There were daffodils blooming and Bradford Pears and Japanese Cherry trees in our neighbors' yards, but it didn't feel like Spring.  Hal and I were out yesterday evening, and one of the coldest winds I've ever encountered was blowing straight through our clothing.  Brrrr!
It's supposed to be cold here the rest of the week, with more chances of snow, so I thought I'd share this recipe with you for some good comfort food. I made Beef and Guinness stew this weekend for St. Paddy's Day, and I think it was a hit.  It was my first time to make this, although I have eaten it before.  We used to have an Irish restaurant in the next town over, and the owner had immigrated here from Ireland.  We found her food to be more authentically Irish than a lot of the Irish pubs around here.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!  

Monday, February 26, 2018

Call of the Wild

Some years ago, we had an owl in the woods behind our house, and after dark (especially in the fall) we would hear his call.  We often heard it when we were walking down the street, and he usually received an answering call from the trees nearby.  I loved to hear the owls; it was sort of a lonesome sound, but a homey one, too -- like the sound of a train whistle in the distance.  I could even hear them after I went to bed, but for some reason I don't hear them anymore.  It may be those new, double-paned windows, which do block out more sound, or the owls may have found another home.  I miss their soft hooting in the night.
Hal's photo of the supermoon -- 2011

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Getting Through Winter, Part 2

Hi all, we're almost through with another work week.  Did you have sunshine in your corner of the world yesterday?  We did, and even though it didn't come out from behind the clouds until mid-afternoon, we were elated to see it.  🌞 🌈
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post sharing some of my favorite products for winter, and I promised a Part 2 for that post.  Well, finally here it is -- better late than never.  Even though the temperature reached the mid-70's here today, I'm pretty sure we're not completely finished with winter -- or maybe winter's not finished with us. 
The first thing I want to talk about is lighting.  My personality is such that I can only take so many gray, dreary, rainy days before I'm ready to start banging my head against the wall.  Lack of sunlight bothers me much more than cold temperatures.  We all know that winter time brings with it shorter daylight hours and colder temps.  My hat is off to those of you who endure the long winters in the north and Midwest.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Biltmore House 2017 -- Flowers and Period Costumes

Happy Friday to you!  For a month with so few days, February sure is dragging by this year.  Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that it's already February 16th, and we've had very few days of sunshine in the month so far.  Even worse, the forecast calls for more of the same, ad nauseum.  😣  
 The winter garden (conservatory) at Biltmore April 2017.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Reminiscing and the Winter Olympics

Are you watching the Winter Olympics? We watched for a while last night.  The ice skating competitions are, and always have been, my very favorite.  I can remember when I was a child "ice skating" around our house in my sock feet, looking ever so graceful and balletic. ⛸️  😎  Go ahead and laugh, but you know you did the same thing.  😜

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Some Things To Make Winter More Comfortable

 Are you sick of winter yet?  I'm trying not to be, but we've had a lot of rain recently, and those days have been awfully dreary.  I'm sure I'll be happy to see spring when it arrives.  I thought I would share a few things that have made my winter more bearable this year.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

My Great-Aunt Mattie's Chocolate Pie

I recently shared a recipe here for Minny's Chocolate Pie, from the movie, "The Help."  I've made that pie three times, and we really like it.  It's easy and it's very tasty.  Today I'm sharing a family recipe that we enjoy every year at my parent's house on Thanksgiving.  It's my great-aunt Mattie's chocolate pie, and our family just loves it.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Rod Stewart and The Great American Songbook

Hi Friends!  The weekend's here and I'm always glad for that.  Have you had a good week?  I'm still enjoying winter here in North Carolina.  It feels like we're actually having an honest-to-goodness winter this year, unlike last year.  However, I can tell the days are getting longer now, and I'm glad to see that, too.  I'm trying to enjoy all the seasons to the best of my ability.
 ☃ ☂ 🌞
Since we got our Sonos sound system last year, I've really enjoyed listening to music even more than ever.  Before Christmas, Hal ordered a compact Sonos speaker for the kitchen.  I had never thought of having one in there, but I'm enjoying that too.  Hal can watch television in the den, and I can listen to music in the kitchen -- what's not to love?
So what have I been listening to?  I'm so glad you asked.  😊  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Snowflakes That Stay on My Nose and Eyelashes...

"Silver white winters that melt into spring, these are a few of my favorite things."  We're in a winter wonderland here at Forest Manor.  I know people up north get sick of this white stuff, and believe me, I would too if we had it all the time.  But some winters, we don't get a single flake, so when we do, I can't help but appreciate the beauty of it all. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

A New Look

Hi All!  I made a spur-of-the-moment decision after Christmas to have my blog updated.  I had communicated with Linda Primmer a few years ago about having her do some work on the blog, but I just never got around to making a decision. 

January Days

Happy Friday everyone!  I trust you all had a good Christmas and New Year.  This is one of my favorite times of the year -- after the Christmas holidays are over and we can catch our breath again.  I love putting out my new calendars, which are like lovely, clean slates, and knowing that I have a new, promising year ahead.  Amazingly, the temperatures here in North Carolina stayed below freezing from New Year's Day until Monday, January 8th.  It made being inside the house really cozy.  The sky was blue most of that time, and I loved seeing the long shadows of the leafless tree branches.  There is beauty to be found in every season, isn't there?
I have some catching up to do for sure.  First of all, I was saddened to read about the death of Sue Grafton, author of the alphabet mystery series.  I thought it was somewhat poignant that she made it all the way through the letter "Y", but didn't make it to the end of the alphabet.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Blog Designer