Sunday, November 27, 2011

Central Virginia Highlight: The Ploughcroft Tea Room

It was back in May when I first came across the lovely little storefront in Downtown Lynchburg, during my last trip to visit my family before Clara was born. A Union Jack hanging from a flagpole is sure to garner some attention from this here gal (remember this post?). A Tea Room? In Lynchburg? I could hardly believe my eyes. I crossed the street to get a closer look. Sure enough. A sweet little tea room. It was closed so the best I could do was peek in the windows. Let's just say that it was adorable enough to make me flock back there at the first opportunity.

Pinned Image

Finally, Alain and I had a chance to sneak in for afternoon tea at the Ploughcroft Tea Room yesterday. Oh, and it was divine. Small little cucumber and egg salad sandwiches. Even better, scones with clotted cream. Heavenly. I devoured mine. Even Alain couldn't believe how quickly the food disappeared from my plates. My only complaint would be that I didn't have enough cream. Then again I'm sure that I use more than a normal person. And the Earl Gray tea was perfectly steeped. Of course, tea always tastes better in a dainty little tea cup & saucer! I have to also add that the owner and her daughter are lovely, lovely people. They were so welcoming and sweet to baby Clara.

I have a feeling that I will somehow visit the Tea Room each time I visit Lynchburg. A Tea Room is such a treat. Afternoon tea is so relaxing. I'm looking forward to having a Mother-Daughter Tea with Sophie soon. I didn't take any photos while I was there because taking photos sometimes detracts from the experience (for me and for others). So, if anyone ever has the chance to visit Lynchburg and the time to enjoy an afternoon tea, this is the place!!!

{Image from Julia Crossland via Pinterest}

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nature Found: The Woods Behind Grandma & Grandpa's House

It's late November but the weather is warm. Since we don't have woods near our house in the suburbs, Sophie and I, along with Grandpa, took the opportunity to walk in the woods behind Grandma & Grandpa's house. These days the forest canopy and floor are mostly shades of brown with loads of fallen leaves. So we made it our mission to look for other bits of nature and here is what we found....

A cool, yellow mushroom.

Lots of trees and bushes with berries.

The coolest tree bark that I've possibly ever seen.

Here's a close up of the ridges of the bark. Isn't that wild? I have no clue what type of tree this is....

Sophie threw some rocks in the pond to make ripples.

This tree stump reminded all of us of the Statue of Liberty.

Another teeny tiny little mushroom. It was so shiny-wet and glossy. Rather extra-terrestrial looking!

Grandpa sat on the hillside by the pond and pondered (pun intended!) the meaning of life (hee hee!).

Sophie showed off some cool quartz rocks she picked up along the way.

It may be the biggest shopping weekend of the year but I'm glad to say that we have yet to enter one retail store.

(Full disclaimer: I did visit an antiques store and a consignment store but I don't think they count since everything is reused.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Four Months

Oh ClaraLu,

With your infectious laughter and your sunny disposition, you have fully stolen all of our hearts.

Words cannot describe how much we love and adore you!

Happy Four Months to you, Big Girl....


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I am so thankful.

Do you know the Raffi song "All I Really Need"? It's been my favorite kids song since the first time I heard it. It was just a couple of years ago when I'd tell my husband that I have food in my belly and love in my family but that I was missing the song in my heart. It was sad but true (a shout-out to my fellow Metallica fans!). Anyhoo, on this wonderful holiday, I just want to share that I now have a song in my heart. A lovely, melodic, peaceful, grateful, full, expressive, spirited song. I have the three folks sitting with me in the above photo to thank for that. And I am so thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Shout-Out to My Favorite Playa

You know who you are. You're an amazing person. I often think of how giving you are....and how large your heart is.....especially when it comes to little beings of the furry and feathery persuasions. I think often of our friendship and how much it means to me. I miss your humor and how you make me laugh so hard. I fondly recall those hundreds of days we were lucky enough to spend together. All the lunches. All the trips. All the hangovers (ha!). I laugh every time I think of me doing "The Running Man" that day in the parking lot in the rain and how we laughed so hard I peed my pants a little. I still have all the funny drawings you'd make for me at work and they still hang above my desk here at home. I simply look at them and feel warm inside knowing that you're my friend. Thanks to you Sophie got to experience a hawk being set free after rehabilitation. You showed her that some people are just good and do good things. You're an amazing friend, a talented and devoted employee, a loyal daughter, a crazy sister, the sweetest aunt ever, A STEEL TRAP (love you for that!), a Bulldog.

Life can be insanely hard sometimes but you know you're not alone. You were brave and ventured out to try something new. You succeeded in making a new life for yourself in a new place. I was so proud of you. I still am. Now things aren't as great as they should be. No matter. It'll all come out in the wash. If it's what's in your heart, bring it on back to the Queen City. This friend will be here waiting for you, with open arms. And, even if you decide to stay, I'll still be here for you.....and I'll visit as often as my crazy life allows. I support whatever you do. I know you'll do great no matter what. Anyone would be lucky to have you.

I love you, playa. Mean it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happiness is....

A sweet little heart in my morning Chai.....

....Fall Splendour....

....and being with my girls.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stoking the Creativity Fire

Lately Sophie has been slightly obsessed with this video.

But seriously, who wouldn't be? It's quite amazing and the song is so sweet. I was trying to impress upon Sophie how difficult it would be to make this type of video. Trying to explain the stop motion process to a five year old.....welp, it ain't easy. So, to help things along, I figured we could make our own small mosaics (if you will) and take photos. I still don't think Sophie understands completely but she sure did have fun playing and making "photos" with the M&Ms (we didn't have any jelly beans on hand). And Mom did too!

Here are our creations......I'll let you guess which ones belong to me and which to Sophie.....

And we had a lot of fun eating our "art supplies" when we were done! Yum.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Garden Update

The weather in Charlotte has been unseasonably warm this week. Mid 70's in mid November. Much to my dismay. I like the cold. Still, it's been good for the garden. I went out today to see how everything is looking...

The white petunias are still gorgeous.... are the yellow snapdragons.....

.....and the red geraniums didn't get the memo that Autumn has arrived.

I figured out what the Asian green plant is called.....MIZUNA. A quick Google search and I learned all about it. Alain's already used some in one of his homemade soups. Yum. Will be adding it to a salad this week as well. It grows SO WELL here that it will no doubt be a repeat next year.

Turnip Sprouts. You may ask why there are so many sprouts growing in each spot. Ask Alain about that (smile). I've been thinning them out little by little when Clara allows me a few minutes.

Our happy jack-o-lantern is livening up the compost pile!

Alain and Sophie made a drive through the hood last night and picked up a bunch of bags of leaves from the curb. Brown matter for the compost pile!

The brussel sprout plants are recovering from the looper damage. Is it enough? We'll have to wait and see....

The onion sets are looking great!! Oh boy, I can't wait for all of these onions....

Cute Lil' Radish Sprouts

It's early still but so far I am really enjoying my first Fall gardening season. The best part is I didn't have to get so sad when the Summer Season ended! Let's hope it all continues to go well!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mini Nature Walk with Clarabelle

Sophie's school had a Thanksgiving Party at lunch today and the entire family made an appearance. I must've had fun because I totally forgot to take pictures! Her school is nestled smack dab in the middle of a gigantic corporate park. A really nice corporate park with nature trails all over. So, after the party, I decided to take Clara on her first official nature walk. She's been on many walks but not an official nature walk....where we stop to touch the leaves, take inventory of all the seasonal changes and take photos of all the cool things we find.....

Dried hydrangea blooms camouflaged among the fallen leaves...

This particular bush was full of dead, brown blooms. Yet this lone lavender bloom was still shining in all its glory...hanging on for as long as possible.

Lots of bushes full of berries. The birds must be loving this!

Bushes with GOR-GE-OUS red leaves.....the picture does not do it justice....

And this amazing creature. He posed for several photos and then took off the very second I put my camera away....

Not too shabby for a first nature walk (at least a Charlotte nature walk in a corporate park!)!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Kind of Sunday

Yesterday I crossed the top item off of my Fall Bucket List (which I never managed to list "on computer").....attending the Rural Hill Sheep Dog Trials. I have a strong weakness for all dogs black & white. So mention border collies herding sheep for competition and I AM THERE! I looked forward to this event all year. Here are some of our photos....

All dogs were welcome to atttend and Hubbell joined us for the day. We saw all types of dogs....lots and lots of dogs....of all shapes and sizes.....all colors and breeds.

Dogs desperate to work and compete.

And other dogs who enjoyed watching the competition.

Dogs in coats.

Lap dogs.

Mutts with very silly grins.

Dogs scared of hay rides.

And dogs who adore hay rides (this was the most gorgeous lab I've ever seen, named "Bear").

And dogs just so smashingly handsome they'll take your breath away (like my very own Hubbell).

I searched long and hard to see which black & white dog I liked best.....and it was an easy competition.....with this beautiful lady stealing my heart. Her owners never left her side for one moment. I was watching.....I wanted to steal her and make her my own.

Okay, back to the humans. We homo sapiens (as in me, Alain, Sophie & Clara) enjoyed a tailgating picnic, some bounce houses, a hayride, a walk around the farm, some cow petting, pumpkin chucking......and Clara enjoyed being snuggled close to Daddy most of the day.

The weather was so, so nice and I got to hang out with my favorite people. It was truly a perfect day!
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