Here's my Summer Safari tablescape. (Love the zebra!)
White roses from my garden...
and a jar of striped pirouette cookies nestled in malt balls--
Fun! Tip: I love using twin-size coverlets for tablecloths on oblong tables. They're quilted so they're thicker than a tablecloth, and they go through the wash perfectly, and best of all...never need ironing! There are lots of fun patterns to choose from. TJ Maxx and Home Goods are good sources.
We were riding our bikes along the waterfront in San Diego and discovered this 25-foot statue commemorating a famous World War II photo of a Sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, New York City on Aug. 14, 1945, following the announcement of V-J Day.
We have an amazing hydrangea that grows in a pot on our patio. It's the Endless Summer variety and it is quite the show off! The blossoms are huge, and plentiful. It blooms at least twice each season and is unbelievably hardy. Truly one of my all time favorite plants! Check it out at http://www.endlesssummerblooms.com/s twice each summer.
I cut some blooms this morning to bring indoors. This metal wastebasket is the perfect container for the enormous blossoms. I put the stems in a large glass vase and then set it down in the metal container.
So, if you want to meet up with all of the good folks out there, have your kids open a lemonade stand in your neighborhood. Here's what might happen...A neighbor buys a 25cent cup of lemonade and tips the kids $2.00. A very nice lady passes by the stand, then turns around and comes back. She buys one lemonade and pays for three more, telling the kids to offer those drinks to anyone who might come along without money. A truck full of construction workers pulls up and they pay double for the kids to pour the lemonade in their empty gatorade bottles. A friend puts 2 grandkids in her car and drives a few miles to treat them to lemonade and cookies.
The grandkids had a great experience. They made their own signs, then stood on the corner, dancing and waving like they've seen so many retailers of late. They made change, practiced good manners, but most of all, were witness to some really fine people out there--and that's the best lesson yet!
Seriously, I don't think there's a better chocolate chip cookie recipe than the old tried and true Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe. It adapts beautifully to a bar, a cookie pop, an ice cream sandwich, or all gussied up with M&M's.
1. Pat strawberries completely dry with paper towels
2. Microwave caramels, 3 Tbsp. whipping cream and 1/4 tsp. salt in a 1-qt. microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 3 1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring at 1-minute intervals.
3. Dip each berry halfway into the caramel mixture. Roll in nuts, and place on wax paper. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 8 hours.
I cut the recipe down for a mere 5 strawberries, just to try it out. (And to save myself from eating too many.) Therefore, I didn't chill them in the refrigerator. I'm sure it will work fine to chill them, but seriously, who can wait?
I went on a great "fieldtrip" with some of my buddies this morning. We went to a Lavender Farm in Turlock--only about 28 miles from Merced. The grounds are lovely, the lavender is beautiful and the owners of the farm are wonderful! There's a very nice gift shop with all things lavender, and a lovely patio with tables and chairs under great big trees...a perfect place to just pause. The owners told us lots of things about the different varieties of lavender and the history of the farm. You can eat lunch there by contacting them in advance and we are going to return to try that out. It sounded fabulous! You can find out more on their website: http://www.pageolavenderfarm.com/ Tell George (the owner) that I sent you!
Adding a glazed donut hole to a fruit skewer is a fun treat!
I've also made these with longer skewers and added fresh pineapple chunks and banana. Want some pizzazz? Drizzle the kabobs with melted chocolate chips. Oh, yum!
Here's my most recent assignment for celebrations.com. 5 yummy desserts that have all the good "stuff" of a s'more...chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows. I have an amazing staff of taste-testers who give me really great feedback. (My grand-ones!)