Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Weather Journal

February Weather Journal
2/1/17-- The month begins with 58 degrees and clouds. Is it too much to hope for sun? The temperature is supposed to drop tonight, and rain is on the way. I am leery about this month, afraid it will be like January, nothing but a cold dungeon. I shouldn't complain because, so far, we haven't seen the pipe shattering temps of a polar vortex. I am determined to take at least one photograph a day, but a dark house creates challenges.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Old Fashioned Cornbread Salad

Winter's hearty stews and casseroles left me with a desire to lighten the menu...but not too much. With more spring-like weather on the way, I need a transitional dish, something that straddles the seasons. Nothing is more perfect than an old fashioned cornbread salad.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

February Frost

February gave a taste of simple, sweet, slow living, yet it broke all the rules. Warm, sunny days awoke the garden, setting off a premature blooming season. As I walked around the yard, white petals broke loose from the spirea and rose into the wind. Life was stirring in the butterfly bushes, too, dotting the branches with round green leaves--last year they hadn't sprouted until the end of April.  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

I'm happy to see you at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. The arrival of spring-like weather caught us by surprise--70 degree temps, watery breezes, a swirl of daffodils--but I'm not complaining. My yard looks bedraggled, full of leaves and debris. The balmy temperatures might not last, so I'm sweeping away the cobwebs.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Creative Writing for Bloggers: Power Words

Ask any writer, and they'll name dozens of ways to hone a manuscript or post--weeding adjectives, eliminating unintentional rhyme, varying sentence length (and reducing the number of words that end in "ing"). Before I publish a post, I do a little trick. I tuck a power word at the end of almost every sentence. This is called "backloading."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tarragon-Apple Chicken Salad

When I look back on my girlhood, I don't remember dances or old beaus--I think about chicken salad. Even then, I was a bit obsessed with food, and my mother didn't have to cajole me to attend teas and luncheons. Nothing could compete with a buffet table: silver platters piled high with petit fours, lemon squares, pecan tassies, pastel mints, and tea sandwiches. An itty bitty chicken salad sandwich could make me swoon. At every event, I stood in line, imagining the first bite: the bread would be soft and barely there, but the salad would be cold, like touching your lips to glacial water, followed by warmth, comfort, and crunch, laced with mayonnaise and sweet bits of meat. One was never enough, but my mother was watching. Only uncouth, unladylike females reached for a second helping, and I tried to restrain myself in front of the chicken salad police. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ella's Flowers

On a cold, sunless day in January, I took down the festive holiday garlands and tucked away the woodland ornaments. The house looked off-kilter, bare in some places and cluttered in others. I rearranged tabletops and pushed furniture from room to room. An hour later, as I surveyed the scratched floors, I knew what was wrong: I'd lost my decorating mojo. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

It's a pleasure to see your lovely faces at this week's Foodie Friday and Everything Else. You are a fun, talented group, and I adore playing with you. I'm still testing formats for our party, and I'd love to hear your opinions and ideas!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Heart By Any Other Name

When I think about the heart, I tend to be scientific, worrying about plaque and hardened arteries. But when trouble strikes, I put a steadying hand on my chest. Indeed, the ancients believed this organ was the center of human emotion, and poets wasted no time weaving their magic.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Joy of Winter Flowers

"What a pretty bouquet," the check-out lady said. "Are you having a party?"
No, just brightening the house, I answered. Flowers always have a way of creating a little magic. As I walked out of the grocery, I held the flowers, the paper wrapper crinkling against my coat, feeling happy and festive, as if I were on my way to a wedding or other happy occasion.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome, welcome! It's time for Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I love that we don't have to leave our cozy nests to party. We can sit by the virtual fire and visit. Last week's party was amazing, filled with ideas for Valentine's Day, along with DIY projects, cold-weather recipes, and gorgeous tablescapes.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

And suddenly it's February, a month that's brief but notoriously fierce, the only month with a heart in the middle. I'm happy to see you this week at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Let me get you a drink, and we'll warm up by the fire and talk about the highlights from last week's party.