Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding Tea

 We held a Royal Wedding Tea Party to celebrate the wedding of Prince William of Wales to Miss Catherine Middleton-- the newly named Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  I had recorded the entire festivities (though I watched it as it was happening) so we could have tea and scones and then watch the event.   Kelly's house at the tea and savory treats; I had the Pimms and sweet treats. 
The Royal Family!

my centerpiece: Wills and Kate as teabags

Kelly did the most amazing job with three of the food items: here are the crest sugar cookies.  She was able to get both Wills' and Kate's crests as edible pictures for sugar cookies.  They were amazing looking (not to mention absolutely delicious!). 

 Kelly was also to find a recipe of the McVitie's Chocolate Cake that Prince William had as his groom's cake.  It is the basic McVitie biscuit (Americans: think plain cookie) that is crumbled and covered with a chocolate genache.  Oh so chocolately and delicious.

 The best thing about about hosting a Royal Wedding Tea at our house is that we have all this British stuff: flags, pillows, hand towels, candles, tea cosies, teaspoons & pots, and real loose tea.  We have it all, so Kelly's decorating was really simple: she came upstairs and borrowed it all.

 We all wore fascinators or hats as we celebrated.  I had one that was my great aunt Betty's.  It was more flower headband hat than a fascinator.

My table had shortbread, crest cookies, petits fours, trifle, McVitie's cake, Battenburg cake, cream scones, and biscotti.
 Kelly's table had cucumber sandwiches, roasted red pepper and goat cheese sandwiches, English Stilton and cheddar cheeses, buttermilk scones, Bath Oliver crackers, lemon curd and strawberry preserves. 
 She served three types of tea: Earl Gray, a green tea, and Prince of Wales Tea-- of course!

 Tea Guest, Lis, with her tiny hat fascinator--  absolutely fabulous!

 Kelly did another amazing thing with her petits fours.  She piped the designs from the commemorative cup that I have. The icing was the same color of blue and the designs were perfect: birds, crowns, C, W, hearts, ribbons.  And you know what? They taste as beautiful as they look.

Stirling even was wearing her Union Jack to celebrate the nuptials.  
Tea guests in their hats

the hostesses!

 And of course, I had to frame photos of the royal couple and bridal party as part of the decorations.  I had several photos framed, sitting around the living room. 
And of course, we after the tea, we watched the wedding and started pouring the Pimms....  Congrats to William and Catherine!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Excitment


Yes, I am one of the crazy Americans that got up at 4 am to watch the Royal Wedding.  I have an excuse: my in-laws are British, so I am celebrating their new princess.  Though, Will did not get up at 4 to watch. I finally got him outta bed at 5:15 am-- about the time as my friend Amanda arrived with her baby to watch the affair.  We watched the procession to the Abbey, the ceremony, the procession back to the Palace.  We waited the hour for them to make their balcony appearance and we cheered when they drove away in the car.  It was a marvelous event and we are wishing them all the best in the world, as well as thanks for sharing the day with world.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


We have several asparagus stalks, people.  They look quite pathetic: thin, spindly, and wirey even.  We are hoping that more stalks grow up before we start mounding.

Now, Will is the one that read up on how to grow asparagus, so I am not sure exactly what goes into "mounding."  I assume it is more like what happens with potatoes.  However, I do know that mounding asparagus can make it white, and that isn't what we are attempting. 

So I guess you and I will both learn as what Will means when he says that "we will mound the asparagus."  It sounds like a militaristic move, actually, but gardening isn't *that* violent.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Azaleas in Bloom

Our Azaleas are opening up.  I love these bushes and how full they get in blooms and color.  The neighborhood is popping open with color! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The List

Luna, Destroyer of Things

Luna goes home to her parents today.  We have had her for 10 days, during which she was also recovering from a foot wound-- so not 100% until about Thursday. 

Still, in these ten days, Luna managed to eat/destroy/shred/tear/play with the following:
  • toilet roll
  • cotton ball, clean
  • cotton ball, dirty
  • napkins
  • paper towels
  • dryer vent sheets
  • dryer lent
  • Q-tip
  • Milk jug, plastic (one gallon)
  • trash bag (used more like a cape)
  • rawhide bone (got a nip from Stirling as well for trying to steal her's)
  • toilet paper
  • Will's ball cap
  • Will's flip flop
  • one of my work out socks, dirty
  • grass seed
  • tulip leaves
  • bark from the dog park (Stirling eats that too, though)
  • caramel popcorn
  • string cheese
  • cleaning gloves 
  • plastic water bottle
  • sticks
  • sponge
  • soap 
  • tampon (unused, in the wrapper)
  • tennis ball
  • top soil
  • plastic lid
  • stuffing from a toy
  • rope bits from a pull-toy
  • Neosporin (we were treating her wound on her foot and she kept trying to lick it off)
  • Stirling's fur
  • unknown square, spongy like substance that I managed to clear from her mouth before swallowing
  • aluminum foil, flavored with butter and salmon
  • retainer box (with the retainer in it)
  • Stirling's bedding (this was more pulled apart and tossed around the room)
  • and her regular food, water, and milk bones. 
"But, I am still irresistible!"

We aren't sure if this a comprehensive list, but it is pretty close to being... We managed to get most of things away from her before she actually ingested the majority of items.  But, needless to say, Luna has been busy this week and we can't imagine what she would have been into if she was 100% for the full visit.

Hoppy Easter!

Everyone needs a rabbit coming out of a top hat for Easter! 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Lilies

Will brought home an Easter Lily that once it finishes blooming, we can plant in the back yard. Each plant has 5 trumpets on it, with only half open on each.  Our entire ground floor smells like lilies-- a strong smell that I am not entirely sure I like.  I do, however, like what the lilies mean: spring is for sure here and I really can put away my down winter jacket as winter is finally over.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch

Lydia with Eliza and Tasha with Spencer
For my birthday yesterday, a few of my lovely lady friends got together for lunch at P.O.V. at the top of the W Hotel-- what used to be known as the old Hotel Washington Terrace.  It was perfect day to play hooky from work and see old friends plus new babies and share a glass of wine plus a spoon of dessert with them.
Eliza and Jen

me with Spencer

looking straight down 15th Street
White House and Treasury Building (forefront)
 The view of the Washington Monument is extraordinary, as well as the close-up view of the White House.
oh the embarrassment with the candle in the dessert!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's A Beautiful Day


sleeping in late....latte for breakfast....champagne with ladies who lunch .... mani/pedi....home cooked meal....


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baby Plants in the Ground

We have half of our plants in the ground. They have finally recovered from the trauma of the transplant that I can show you a photo.  The tomato plants were looking quite pathetic there for a bit--but they have hardened off and straightened up. 

In the meantime, the broccoli from last year is doing great, and the rhubarb (the big leafy bush in the back) is doing amazingly!  We will be able to actually cut stalks off of it this year (you have to let it go through one season first).

Also in bloom: our blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry bushes (along the fence) as well as our strawberry plant.  Not to mention that our fig tree has tiny, tiny baby figs all over it.  I am already anxious to start harvesting!

Monday, April 18, 2011

On the Stage

or fireplace, whichever is more convenient for your performance..... Brando and Daddo "Harmonic Egg, Concerto 1" and "Harmonic Egg, Concerto 2" for your listening pleasure.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Will's Shadow

We have a visitor for the week: Luna! She has returned while her family jaunt off to the west coast for some good family wedding fun. Luna is a great dog and loves Will. I mean, loves Will-- like Stirling loves me. They have spent the whole weekend together:

working in the back garden...

relaxing in front of the telly....

reading a few sentences before bed....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where Did the Sun Go?

Several days ago, it seems, the sun was out and we were in the garden, gardening!  And now, all that I can see in the sky is miles of clouds.  Where did the sun the go?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spragel Zeit!

Or, in English, Asparagus! We passed a German restaurant the other day that was advertising "Spragel Zeit!"  We felt that it was a perfect omen to plant the starters that Will had ordered for our garden.  He planted them yesterday.  Each starter clump looks more like an octopus than an asparagus stalk.  I will have to look online as to how they will look when coming out of the ground. 

We-- and by "we", I do mean Will.  Hey, someone has to document the procedure!-- dug several trenches in the side garden and laid them in there, each "head" of the root system facing opposite directions.  Will stated that technically he should have placed them further apart. However, he isn't expecting all of them to make it-- especially since they arrived before he left for England.  He stored them in a beg of wet sand, as instructed, since he wasn't able to plant them when they arrived.  Yesterday, when he went to plant them, several of the roots had mold growing on them; some even fuzzy.  We cut the mold out, but know that will cause significant trauma to the starter plants. 

Fingers crossed, then, that we will get something out of this. Once the starters were in the trenches, Will covered them up again and watered.  Once they get to a specific height, we will start to mound up around each clump.   We planted about 20 plants and are expecting about half to come up.  That is a fine average for me, since I am not the biggest fan of asparagus.  It is a vegetable that begins with a vowel, and we all know how I feel about those...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Backyard Flowers

Here are some of the flowers in bloom in our yard at the moment.  

"Here Comes The Sun" -- originally written by George Harrison for the Beatles, performed live in Belfast by Belle and Sebastian.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Return Goods

William has returned, indeed, baring gifts of chocolate, cakes, and gummy sweets.

I think someone misses the candy from the old country just a wee bit...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Welcome Home!

Will comes home tonight!  I went home for a week and then he went to the UK for work for nearly two more weeks.  I need him to come home: we have lots of gardening to do! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Bit of Sunshine...

...goes a long way! Yesterday the sun came out for a little (in between some blown-in, short-lived rain). Today, so far, it has been nothing but blue skies and sun! The daffodils, the rhubarb, the purple thingys we planted but I can't remember the name, and the hyacinths are enjoying a bit of warmth and light. 

The star magnolia tree is about finished with its blooms. Some of the weeping cherry trees in the neighborhood are now popping out. The roses have new growth and some tiny makings of buds on their thorny stems.  Maybe Spring is coming after all!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Checking In with Our Seedlings

Our seedlings are doing fantastic this year! We have some tomato plants that are 8 inches tall and with numerous sets of leaves, even.  The grow lights are the secret!  We turn it on only in the day so the plants get some rest during the night.  I know I perform my tasks better when I am well rested--aren't plants the same way?

We have two growing systems too.  The newer one with the water-absorbing pad, sits the plants higher.  The second and third trays of seeds are just sitting in individual mini-pots on top of water and soil.  The tray with the water-absorbing pad is the one producing the plants that are 6-8 inches tall now.  The other trays have plants that are only about 3-5 inches tall. Same amount of water and same amount of light, but that water-absorbing pad seems to have made all the difference.  

We still are a long way off from hardening the new plants off-- especially since Mother Nature isn't cooperating with the weather (we still are having frosts! and wintery mixes of rain and sleet!). 

This coming week we might be able to stick the trays outside for a few hours in the day to get some real sun light. I think soon we will be transplanting the plants we have into bigger pots since they are getting so tall and crowded in these starter pots. 

In talking to my great uncle Jimmy, who is also an amazing gardener, he was going to start getting his ground ready just this week.  He thinks that he is at least another 3 weeks away from even thinking about planting anything directly into the ground.  Considering that he has been doing this for a while and he always produces the most amazing tomatoes, beans, and corn, I will wait to plant our seedlings as well.  It helps having such expertise in the family.