{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}




Haus Meister, Rascal, & Dino went camping last week with their Trail Life troop.


They had a great time in a breathtaking area.

Rascal says he wants to live here when he grows up. Partly because of the sheer natural beauty, and partly because a Lodge at the Park serves hot cocoa in July.


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This beautiful 10 week old likes her new toy.



Rascal the happy biker.


Haus Meister & Dino–happy hikers. That’s Dino’s “T-Rex” imitation.

While the boys were camping, Princess and I went to Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt.

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There you fill your own cup with flavorful frozen yogurt, then add toppings. I had strawberry cheesecake with sliced strawberries and chocolate chips on top. My eyes may or may not have been larger than my stomach.

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Likewise. Princess chose watermelon yogurt topped by a chocolate covered strawberry, some things called strawberry poppers, peanut butter cups and a gummy frog.

In other news, Dino outgrew his beat-up worn-in John Deere boots (he got a gently used pair on eBay in his correct size) so someone absconded the old pair.

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Posey takes “tea”…

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…and pictures of her feet.


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Hard to believe it, but school is going to start up again soon. I mailed off the enrollment forms for the next school year. Publix already has school supplies in the front kiosk (I am already stocking up on glue). The Land’s End backpack catalog arrived, which is kind of amusing since we don’t really use backpacks, but the kids picked out their favorites anyway (no, I didn’t buy them. I don’t unless we need luggage). ThredUp is having a pretty neat back-to-school “rewards” program (and you’ll get $$ off your purchase with that link). The weather even cooled off enough this morning to give the illusion of Fall, and enable us to turn off the a/c. However, it’s still summer, and the hottest month in the region is 17 days away or so.

And our intrepid swimmers participate in the final meet of the Fun League tonight!


Prince Philip and Pancake Batter

It’s hard from the title of this post just how those topics are related, but they are in the annals of our family story, so here we go….

Last week my cousin Joan blogged about a movie that neither of us have seen and quite frankly, I don’t feel like seeing it. But we both have seen, and love, the old Sleeping Beauty cartoon. I thoroughly agreed with that post of hers, including her description of Sleeping Beauty:

Just artistically, it is a movie that we will never see the likes of ever again. I love everything about it- from the trumpets and the incredible opening scene with the kingdom coming to see their new princess, to the musical score, to the most dashing Prince ever to grace a Disney movie, to a great drinking song and a drunk minstrel, to the greatest villain Disney has ever created.

By the way, has anyone ever noticed the sheer amount of different banners in that opening scene? How could one kingdom contain that many noble families? Did Stefan rule an empire?! Did half of them belong to Hubert’s entourage?! Speaking of Hubert, I think Philip totally favors his mother’s side of the family. I mean, he has to! But I digress…

Okay, I also smiled at Joannie’s mentioning Sleeping Beauty because last October we watched it together with my girlies here at the Haus. 🙂  Joan often travels with her job and on occasion ends up in our neck of the woods. If things align aright she stops in for a visit, but this happened to be the first time in a long while that a visit was able to happen. In fact, she utterly floored me when she said she hadn’t yet met my daughters. Well, they definitely were out to perform for her that night. Let me expound on that one…

Unfortunately, her visit came at a time when some of the family were away on a previous engagement. Haus Meister, Rascal, and Dino were out camping with Trail Life when Joan arrived. It was foggy and damp and her GPS had brought her up the ridge in the most roundabout manner, no doubt encouraging her in my Midwestern brother-in-law’s words to wonder just why architects in this area love building neighborhoods on the sides of cliffs.  I had just made a huge batch of pumpkin pancake batter ala Pioneer Woman, yea, even unto the whipped cream. I would have done more in the way of a fancy dinner, as Joan often writes of her awesome forays into the culinary world on her blog (in other words she’s a heckuva better food blogger than I am), but I knew with Haus Meister away I only had enough kitchen time to make something everyone would eat. Everyone at home with me that night would eat those pancakes, and Pioneer Woman’s recipe was amazing enough to rise above mere regular white flour pancakes, so I thought I had the thing in the bag.

After Joan arrived, Princess and I proceed to give her the grand tour of the new haus, as this was the first time she’d been here. We were distracted downstairs by my P. G. Wodehouse collection, trying to ascertain just how much of his total novels I actually own, which were the ones we liked most or least, and which would be the best to give someone who hasn’t read Wodehouse yet. This took more time than I thought, as then I heard Miss M coming downstairs. She takes a while to warm up to newcomers and had finally decided that our cousin was O.K.  However, what was not okay was that I saw pancake batter on her hand and smeared into the curl on her forehead that she had tried to brush back with the batter-ey hand.  I groaned and suggested we repair to the kitchen, as I was sure my Mischief Squad was taking turns stirring the batter.

I can only say now that I wish I had a picture of what awaited us. Coming up the stairs and turning the corner into the kitchen, I stopped in shock to see my batter bowl on the floor, with Sunshine stomping inside it as if crushing grapes for wine. There was pancake batter on the cabinets, on the floor, on the oven, and on the fridge. And there she was, happily traipsing in what had promised to be a culinary masterpiece. Or something like that. Horrified, I pluck my daughter out of the bowl.

Joan took it all in stride, bless her. “Can I laugh?” she asked.

“Absolutely,” I think I responded. It was affirmative, in any case.

Well, we still wanted to entertain our cousin but I was out of kitchen options, no meat defrosted, no bread in the bread machine. So I called Pizza Hut.  And to give me time to clean up the girl and the kitchen, we turned on Sleeping Beauty. 

“I’m going to marry Prince Philip,” Princess told Joannie. Joan told Princess how much she also had admired Prince Philip, and that was enough to make her Princess’ friend for life. Thus the evening ended much happier than it had looked for me a few hours before, with a carry-out dinner and a fun movie.

For the record, by the way, we’re talking about this Prince Philip:


Not this one:


from the Disney wikia. Why on earth did they feel they needed to “retouch” their classic characters?! What’s with the pompadour? Ick! Sorry. Digressing again.

Joan, someday I’ll make you those pancakes. Even unto the whipped cream. 🙂

A date!

Today I try to become a food blogger. Or rather not.

I’m a creature of habit and could go to the same restaurant for almost the same thing ad infinitem. Haus Meister is different; he always likes to try new places or new foods. Whenever he’s away on business and calls me at night I always ask where he ate because it’s bound to be interesting. So when we go out, it is usually to the same place–a little family owned Italian restaurant in an old house converted into an eatery–because their food is amazing and the menu always has something new on it. This satisfies both our styles of eating out. The food is amazing and the servings so plentiful that we always end up taking some home, thus getting two meals for the price of one! And did I mention the food is amazing? Like Anatole’s cooking in P.G. Wodehouse novels, the names and memories thus evoked by some of the dishes can sustain you through life’s trials, even if all you can remember is “That pumpkin soup we had there that time we went in the Fall…”

Saturday night found us driving out to said restaurant to celebrate our 11th Wedding Anniversary.bwbestcarriageshot

Yep. Only 11 years into our great life’s adventure together. Amazing how that day simultaneously feels both as if it were forever ago and yet still only yesterday.

But I digress.


Sallying forth at 5:31 on 5/31.

Anyway, as we approached the entrance to our favorite place we saw a sign reading: Gone on Vacation until July. They’d gone back to the Old Country, so we made a note to go back in July and then had to decide where to go next. We opted for a restaurant downtown that inhabits 1/4th of an old knitting mill (the other 3/4ths being an antique store). I affectionately refer to the place as Marlborough Mills, in homage to North and South.



This is one of the interesting objets d’art on the walls (original brick). I took this picture two years ago, apparently, thus giving credence to my belief that we have actually made this particular place our anniversary spot now for a third consecutive anniversary. 🙂 We save this restaurant for such occasions because, quite frankly, it is worth it!

Haus Meister has come here for business dinners so he recommended our appetizer of Breads n Spreads, a mix of toasted french bread and pita triangles with three dipping options: garlic hummus, olives, and some other spicy something that I really liked and am of course such a pro food blogger that I forgot what the name was and omitted to take a picture. Fortunately I just found the menu online so I can say with more authority and elegance that the appetizer consists of: “Hummus, Muhammara & Three Olive Relish, Served with Pita Wedges & Sliced French Baguette.” We also shared a bottle of wine, and to the wry amusement of our waiter we selected an elite bottle of Beringer White Zinfadel (California 2013) mainly because I really like it and haven’t had a taste in years. Literally. Haus Meister would have been content with something a little older, but he humored me, just as the waiter humorously went through the motions of pouring a small amount into a glass for Haus Meister to test the vintage. You could tell all the while the waiter was thinking: “Sir, you can get that at any store around here. Don’t you want something better?”  And all the while I’m thinking, “Hey, pal, when he married me, my idea of fine wines was Strawberry Arbor Mist, so just think of how far I’ve come!” 😉

For the main course Haus Meister selected for himself the Crab Stuffed Flounder (Lump Crab Stuffed Flounder Fillets, Smoked Corn Succotash & Citrus Hollandaise), while I opted for the Stuffed Quail (Two Quail with Cornbread Stuffing, Sweet Pepper Grits, Wilted Spinach & a Bacon and Molasses Sauce). I confess the news that for last Saturday’s dinner the quail would also be wrapped in bacon tipped the scale for me.


That sauce was wonderful; I need the recipe.

I don’t have a picture of Haus Meister’s dinner. I was too mesmerized by the bacon and grit goodness in front of me.

I do have a picture of the dessert: ButterscotchCrème Brûlée (House Made Butterscotch Crème Brûlée Served with a Fresh Dutch Chocolate Biscotti)!


Paired with coffee, it was a satisfying end to a wonderful anniversary dinner out.

(For the record, Littlest came along for the ride and slept through the whole date.)