It’s a spring morning in New Hampshire. As I rise the wood floor boards are freezing to touch. Goosebumps spring through me as I glance out the bedroom window.An emerging sun welcomes my rising from a deep slumber. It warms the earth as robins and chickadees fly all about the yard.
A hot cup of coffee and a watch outside begins the day. Chipmunks already are at their daily routine skittering all over the front lawn. One has made a hole in one place where I tripped the other day. I’m not sure what Tom will do with it or will he leave it?
As the day warms I shed blankets and turn off the electric heaters. It’s been about two weeks since we’ve had a stove fire. It actually is a luxury for Tom not to haul wood to the house and kindle a fire so early. The house is warm enough, as the day warms up to the 60’s and lasts until the night cools off. Our heating season is coming to an end besides a sporadic wood fire on chilly June mornings.
Nearby yards host delicate daffodils and tulips, springing their rich yellow and pink colors, a beautiful combination with the rich green grass hue. I long to have a daffodil and tulip garden and add it to my yard wish list for coming years.
Tom trimmed our sprawling apple tree in the back yard. It looks so much better with branches cut back. Bumblebees fly from blossom to blossom, a good sign for my upcoming garden growth. Gotta have those bees!
Just the other day I saw my first hummingbird on a cherry tree branch. It must have been visiting the blossoms. My feeder is up now and I’ve spied the little guy already making a visit for a sugary drink.
As this beautiful day emerges with all the possibilities of nature, I remain extremely grateful for this country life. Despite the worries and anxiety of everyday living and an ending school year, I find this quiet yard a haven from it all. It’s a quaint refuge where I can gather my thoughts and center my mind as birds chirp in the background. I can only hope that you all find this harmony in a corner of your world. If you have this, grasp it with all your might and indulge in its elements. It’s the best and cheapest therapy around and will prepare you for what you have to face in the near future.
The quiet moments of a Sunday morning calm me and my soul. Every working person knows the weekend is when you get things done at home but not only that. It’s a time of peace and quiet, an opportunity to rest and recharge your batteries for the coming work week. Without this time, I become exhausted and distracted.
You may attend church and that’s your peace. Perhaps you read a good book by candlelight or meditate in a dark room. Everyone relaxes and recharges in a different way. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it generates tranquility in your life.
There are various activities I do on a Sunday morning. I sit with my steaming coffee and look out the window watching my world wake up. Sometimes I blog and catch up on friends’ blog entries and comment. Other times I make a breakfast for us. This morning I made crepes, one of my husband’s favorites. On the side I heated up blueberries, added a dash of cinnamon and a tablespoon of sugar. It was fun to fill my little cordial cups with orange juice and set the table as if we had company. I love a good chance to use my best china and light the candles.
I remember that many years ago my mom made a cream cheese Bisquick Raspberry coffee cake for Christmas morning. She had a special book in the eighties with the recipe and now my sister has the book. It’s a delicious and easy coffee cake to try for your family.
I’ve made it several Christmases, switching the raspberry jam for strawberry and it still had the same delicious taste! It’s been a few Christmases since I’ve made this , so this weekend I decided to try it again. It’s yummy warm and accompanied with a cup of coffee.
The recipe- Bisquick Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
You will need for the cake:
1 ( 3 oz) pkg. cream cheese
4 Tbsp. butter
2 c. Bisquick mix
1/3 c. milk ( I used Lactose free for Lactose Intolerance)
1/2 c. raspberry jam ( can substitute strawberry)
For the Glaze:
1-2 Tbsp. milk
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Cut cream cheese and butter into Bisquick. Mix until crumbly. Blend in milk. Knead with hands into a smooth ball. Tear off two pieces of waxed paper the size of a cookie sheet. Place the dough on one piece of paper with the second piece on top. Roll out dough to a 12 x 8 rectangle. Remove the top paper and flip the dough on a greased cookie sheet. Spread jam down the center. Make 2 1/2 inch cuts at one inch intervals on each side of the dough. Fold the strips over the jam. Press lightly so that the strips seal together. Seal ends so the jam doesn’t seep out. If you noticed I didn’t seal it up on one end by mistake but it came out okay.
Bake at a preheated 425 degrees F oven for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool. Drizzle coffee cake with the icing. Garnish with cherries or walnuts if desired.
Do you have a favorite coffee cake recipe? Is there a story with it?
I battled a flu-like cold the last few weeks and finally I’m on the other side. After almost three days inside resting, I had a bout of cabin fever from being cooped up. It was quite liberating going to town yesterday. Then I came home, fashioned my trusty apron, plugged in my new Kitchenaid mixer ( which I love by the way) and baked this coffee cake.
These are just a few things you can do this summer ( in no specific order, just try them all)
1.Have your morning coffee on your deck or outside table! Here in New Hampshire the evenings and mornings are mostly cool. The refreshing air wakes you up and of course that delicious cup of Joe tastes delicious outside! Listen to all the summer birds sing their morning song and be grateful for it. I’ve indulged in this tranquil time twice and intend to do it more this summer.
2. Go for walks before or after work. I find lately I really enjoy walking in the morning while there are less cars and more wildlife. I bring my camera for that sudden photo opportunity and have a little bell to ring to scare off bears. Truth be told I think most bears are more scared of us but the thought of a protective mama bear and her cubs crosses my mind now and then.
3. Add fruit to your lemonade or iced tea pitcher. I was planning on doing this anyway but I was surprised one day when I caught my son Branden making it. His first pitcher was an experiment and the lemonade tasted primarily of watermelon. Since then he’s abandoned the watermelon idea and instead added a small amount of raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. It’s super easy…wash them good, cut the ends off the strawberries and pick the little stems from the blueberries. Blend well in your blender and then add to iced tea or lemonade! If you don’t have fresh fruit but you have a lemon or lime, slices of that make the drink special too! Don’t forget to add lots of ice to the pitcher!
4. Fire up the grill and smoker! Marinate beef, chicken, pork, shrimp…you get the idea and grill while you sip a glass of wine. Sit out at your outside table while grilling and enjoy it. Grill corn on the cob or veggies. Sometimes I use foil for potatoes or veggies to grill or I have a grilling pan meant for the high heat to cook sides dishes. It works great and cleans up well.
5.Visit your local ice cream stand! I am lactose intolerant but found that a soft serve cone doesn’t bother me. Yummy! Enjoy that juicy watermelon, sweet strawberries and blueberries, crisp corn on the cob and fresh garden veggies picked from the soil. I know what you’re thinking, that some of my favorite summer things are definitely foods but how can you truly enjoy summer without relishing in it’s cuisine?
6. Go to the lake. Go fishing (only if you have a license), take a boat ride and snap photos and swim in the fresh water. Watch the trout jump and the ducks dive for bugs and relish in the goodness of it all. Bask in the sun and be thankful for the quiet moments away from work and the stresses of everyday life.
7. Visit new places, especially ones that are just open this season. I’ve lived in the north country all my life and I’m just minutes from Mount Washington but I’ve never been up it. This summer Tom and I may ride the Cog Railroad up the Mountain. A hot July day can be cool or even snowy so bring a jacket and take in the amazing views! I’ll keep you posted if we go on this adventure!
8. Read books! Compile a wishlist…I do this on Pinterest and record the books I read every summer. So far I’ve read Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman. I just picked up The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and look forward to it. She is such a great writer and when I read her books, it flows. A great book sucks you in and you don’t want to put it down. If you’re making yourself read a book just to finish it but you don’t ENJOY it, discard it! Reading is for enjoyment so choose something that excites and fascinates you.
9. Do you have a green thumb? Then start a Garden! In our neck of the woods it’s a short growing season but a beautiful way to become one with nature and feel peace in your heart. Perhaps you want to grow a small garden…if so, plant seeds that grow fast like lettuce, spinach, and radishes. You could always garden in containers, with already grown plants, flowers or herbs. I make it a point to browse through my gardens everyday but if you work then try to tend to it a few times a week. If these ideas aren’t possibilities, definitely seek local farmer’s markets. They sell all home grown vegetables and fruits, honey, have cut flowers, hand made crafts, and many other goods.
10.Last but not least spend valuable time with the people you love. Recently a dear co-worker and friend of mine passed away from cancer at the young age of 54. This wake up call further instills the importance of making memories and time count. So far this summer I’ve seen my three siblings at my nephew’s high school graduation, saw my dad and will visit him and Corinne next Friday, my mom, and my friends Laurie and Michelle. My mother-in-law Theo will be visiting in a few weeks and we’ll see Tom’s sister Pam and her husband Jim. I’ll also get to spend some time with Tom’s sister Bev, who I always look forward to seeing. Although I have summers off, I have much to do and garden around home. Even so, I make it a point to see my family and friends who I love because time is precious and I know that making time for loved ones builds relationships.
My favorite photo of my sister and I taken a few years back and Alexis (my son Dylan’s girlfriend who is part of our family now) and Tom and I in Maine.
Have fun this summer and make sure that you try new things..taste different foods, visit new places and learn more about the world around you. Share with me experiences you’ve pursued this summer. I would love to hear from you.