November 22, 2014


Always Take Me To The Beach

Start with a color palette and a theme

Have you started your Christmas decorating? I confess.....I have not! I never begin the Christmas season until December! I know many people do, but I savor the Thanksgiving holiday and enjoy this family time until the very last day of November. However, it is nice to gather ideas on what theme is going to be displayed in your home for Christmas time! 

I know many of us are forever beach dreaming. Some of our family members simply adore anything coastal themed. So, let's gather some lovely inspiration on simple ways to incorporate beach related items into our decor! Now, this I simply love! Shades of turquoise under the tree! 

A warm, cozy  way to create the look and feel of the Atlantic ocean breezes

Festive Flourishes

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
A beautiful way to be crafty....

O Christmas Tree......O Christmas Tree...
I simply adore this entire look....
The Star Attraction

Splurge on ribbon every Christmas

Watery blues and sparkling gold.....they glisten with a casual vibe! 

Sweet Slumber

And to all a goodnight.....

November 21, 2014


Those who know me, are acutely aware that I am an avid cookbook collector! I began collecting when I was a student at Ole Miss during my Freshman year. I can spend hours reading the stories and choosing recipes I would love to make for my family! I knew when I came across this particular one, authored by Faye Porter, called "AT MY GRANDMOTHER'S TABLE", that I wanted to add this to my collection. I learned so much about cooking, baking and presentation from both of my grandmothers. Grandmother Grace and Grandmother Estelle (from which my blog is named after) were amazing cooks! They never seemed to tire from baking from scratch, preparing decadent meals for their families, and then hand washing all the dishes! Dishwashers were not even a thought in those days! 

I simply adore this cookbook...the recipes that evoke the flavors and memories of bustling kitchens, her stories of grandmother's throughout the south and a continuing love for the legacy of preserving these cherished recipes. 

The first recipe I selected was this delightful Chocolate Chip muffin recipe! I knew my family would just love these! They come from Nashville, Tennessee. These muffins smell wonderful when baking and taste delicious!!!

2 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine 1 T. sugar and 1 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with muffin baking cups. to make the muffins, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips. Now fold in the dry ingredients, to the egg mixture, along with the melted butter and combine gently. Fill the muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with sugar/cinnamon mixture and bake for 18-20  minutes. Cool slightly before serving! 

I came home from Atlanta to be greeted by beautiful anniversary roses, 
as well as, these beautifully shaded chrysanthemums! 

I am going through a multitude of recipes for Thanksgiving!
 My ever faithful companion, enjoys disorganizing the stack.....help!!!!
I enjoy your assistance darling Mae, but seriously girl.....control yourself! 

Linking up to Foodie Friday

November 20, 2014


I had previously written this post a few weeks ago. I was excitedly planning the Thanksgiving holidays knowing that Miss M and her family would be joining us this year! Well, those plans have changed and they will be staying in Atlanta. They will not be alone however, and will be joining dear friends, Phil and Christina, along with their two adorable baby girls, Izzy and Felicity! I am so happy for that!

I thought all the way home how I would handle the Thanksgiving dinner now that plans have been altered. Our youngest son, who relocated to Austin this past March, will be working over the holidays and will not be able to come home until Saturday. Nick, Cat and the grandchildren, will be traveling to Horseshoe Bay on Friday to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with her family. SO......perhaps I could avoid two Thanksgiving dinners and maybe serve a Turkey Tettrazini on Thursday and then have the entire dinner on Saturday, when Rob is home. 

As I was talking to son #2 yesterday, I threw out this suggestion, There was about a two minute silence on his end.......long story short......I will be preparing TWO Thanksgiving dinners this year! And...believe it or not....I am actually looking forward to it!!!

There is always one item I look for when deciding how I want the dining room table to look for a holiday! This year, I wasn't sure how I wanted the Thanksgiving tablescape to come together. I knew at some point, I would come across one little piece of china, or accessory which would be THE perfect addition to the design! 

I began with a white tone-on-tone striped tablecloth. Then added the grasscloth table runner. I normally use the Thanksgiving wreath which I bought at Costco probably ten years ago. I love this wreath and have never found one prettier! Next came the hurricanes with cocoa colored candles. I was not really pleased.......it was ok, but not yet, the look I wanted. 

Then I found them! They were the perfect accessory that just spoke to me...these beautiful quail!

Now, onto planning the menu and making out the grocery list! How about y'all?
Is everyone ready for the most delightful family gathering of the year?

November 19, 2014


Let me first apologize for the many photos. Luke says, "I think Maine Grandma (that's me) is obsessed with taking pictures!" Perhaps, that is true. However, we can look back on some of these posts on Estelle's blog and spend some time reflecting on our lives. This post will serve to document the beginning of recovery for our tiny grandson which will stretch all the way through until the first of December. We were all very disappointed that Miss M and her family will not be joining us, after all, for the Thanksgiving holidays. The remaining November days will be spent with rest, recovery, relaxation and getting his health back to normal!
The get-well wishes, the cards, the phone calls, the dinners, the visits were each so very special.
They were so blessed with good friends, teachers, coworkers and family!
This was always the hard part. Antibiotics.......
New Ninja Turtle pajamas from Ohio Grandma
helped make the medicine go down in a somewhat more "delightful way..."
As we enjoyed the beautiful Autumn days on the deck, neighbors
stopped by to check-in on how he was doing.
This is Buddy, a twelve year old Pyrenees mix!
He's absolutely gorgeous but not the friendliest of dogs.
Goldie, a nine year old lab, is his companion.
 Goldie lost an eye to cancer and is rather arthritic,
 but still enjoys her early evening strolls through the neighborhood!
Luke had been ill two weeks prior to his emergency surgery. He was SO thin.
 I believe we calculated that he had lost close to 12-15 pounds.
That's a lot for a six year old.
It was such a gift that we could enjoy the warmth of the sunshine during the first part of the week.

It was Maine Granma's contribution to have a tea party in the afternoons.
We began with little pineapple cream cheese tea sandwiches, cheese slices,
grapes and gingerbread men cookies.
Our tea was actually warm apple juice
served in a tea cup of his great-grandmothers Noritake china!

The gloaming is always my favorite time of the day!

While Luke was wrapped in a blanket of warmth and dozing or reading in his lounge chair, 
Miss M and I spent time browsing all of the holiday catalogs, making a wish list for all!   

A moment of laughter!

 Playing games on Maine Grandma's phone, while wearing his pirate hat he made at the hospital!

It was an arts and crafts afternoon....time for rock painting, which was a gift for recovery!

 Healthy home cooked oatmeal for breakfast!

 As the week progressed, we ventured out to walk in the yard and enjoy an autumn day!

He immediately took notice of this stunningly beautiful golden tree in the front yard!

Atlanta could not have been more beautiful. The firebush shrubs were so vibrant!

Lunch on the deck. He requested deviled eggs, so deviled eggs it was!

So peaceful!

 Reading on his I-pad....snug as a bug in a rug

Mother-daughter cocktail hour

Glorious autumn sunsets

Daddy's home!

Tell me about your day!

Another beautiful deck view

A lovely visit from the principal!
A gift of Curious George and a book of his adventures too!

A kitchen window view from upstairs

Home schooling.....catching up on homework!

Autumn d├ęcor in the kitchen

Homemade pumpkin bread for the afternoon tea party

Just cannot get enough of those beautiful views!
The kitchen was warm and cinnamon and spice filled the air!

The days became chillier!

A rainy afternoon with cold temperatures falling

Dinosaur bones to be uncovered......another gift of arts and crafts!

The dining room view

Trying new hairstyles on Mommie!

A hug for Grandma!

A strawberry-orange slushy brought smiles!
Yet, another thoughtful gift!

Enjoying the cocktail hour in the living room!

A Friday night pizza party with Aubrey, Olivia and Caden brought some fun times!

Mom and Dad were looking more relaxed, rested and happier!

Afternoons often resulted in much needed rest and quiet time!

 I love this picture! He is reading my childhood story book.

A rainy and cold day!
The best of November had passed.

Listening to the rain!

Our warm afternoons on the deck were now just memories.....

Evenings spent in front of the fire......he loves this time!

And so.....it was time to go home. I think we are all so glad it's over! It seems like we have lost track of time and the month of October and November were just lost! I have to stop and think what day it is and realized all of a sudden, Thanksgiving is next week. I think we are all less tired and smiling again! We all have much to be thankful for and a reason to celebrate!