10 Things To Love About Summer

Well hello August.  How did you get here so fast?  I feel a little bad because I am not a friend to summer time.  It seems like summer is passing us by so quickly.   All I have done this summer is work work work and I don’t feel like I have taken time to enjoy it. As I mentioned summer is not my favorite season.  You probably guessed that right? As I have gotten older the heat bothers me more I hate to sweat, etc etc, I look forward to fall and cooler temperatures. However, living in East Tennessee, it could be awhile before we feel any cooler temperatures.  So I will make the most of the summer time. I came up with some things to love about summer time.  So here we go:

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  1. Getting up early to enjoy the early morning air:
    I love to get up early and drink coffee on my deck.  The air is still warm but not hot and the grass is dewy, it reminds me of being a kid running out first thing in the morning and getting my feet wet and slippery from dew.  The air was really soft and the expectation of a new day was intoxicating. I think every day should be that way.
  2. It stays light outside longer.  The sun comes up earlier and the daylight lasts longer.  Sometimes I go to bed really early, like at 9:00 PM or so and when I get in bed I can still see the light outside.  For some reason this is very comforting to me although it also makes me feel really really old. HA HA.    You can also get more done outside in the mornings before work and later in the evening after work.
  3. It’s a great time to grill food outside and enjoy fruity drinks and cocktails.
    I think sitting outside with friends and family and eating food straight from the grill is one of summer’s favorite things.  Add in a fruity drink or two and amazing.
  4. It’s a great time to be on the lake.
    My husband and I live on the lake and it is sad just how many times we have been on the water this year.  We have very different work schedules and are not often able to have days off together.  But I have to tell you some of our most favorite times is on the lake in a boat with the wind blowing and that feeling of total freedom from everything.
  5. Fruits and vegetables are so yummy:
    I think I could live on fruits and vegetables in the summer.  I could make a meal on squash and cucumbers and potatoes and green beans and corn.  My daddy used to make a garden about an acre wide.  We had to help work in it and that part was not so much fun but when it came time to eating all of those vegetables we loved it!!!
  6. Your skin is dewy
    You don’t have that dry leg and elbow thing going on like you do in the winter.  Even when you don’t apply body lotion everyday.
  7. You don’t have to wear as many clothes.
    This may or may not be a curse depending on how you look at it.  HA HA.  I think it feels very freeing in the summer to go out without being weighed down with quite so many clothes.
  8. You can lay on a blanket in your yard and watch the clouds take on different shapes.
    We used to do this when I was a kid.  I haven’t done it in awhile I guess since my Patches was alive but I have always loved it.  Patches and I would lay on a quilt in the back yard.  I would stare at the clouds and try to make shapes out of them.  Patches would sit on the blanket and sniff for rabbits.
  9. Flowers are blooming everywhere!!!
    So many flowers and trees are blooming and there is color everywhere!!! The scent from all the flowers and bushes can be intoxicating.  I love it!!!!
  10. To every thing there is a season.
    And a time to every purpose under the heaven.  Things happen and the day to day pulses in and out.  Things change quickly.  So I have to remember to enjoy the best of what we are offered at this exact time.

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Always remember

Love your day your way!!!

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Goodbye July

Hello friends,  I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see a month go swooshing by.  I work in tourism and I have probably said it before but summer months are hard.  Add in the COVID-19 issues and wearing a mask and social distancing and lots of thing just not being what they used to be and it is just a crazy time.

I work with about 40 people in the summer months.  Our attraction has been at about half capacity because of COVID but half capacity actually means more staff  having to take care of the smaller groups of people that we have.

To say that our team members have done an amazing job this summer would be the understatement of the year.  To celebrate our Goodbye to July, our last full week of July, last week, we celebrated every day with a different theme provided by the managers, we had special treats and cash drawings and tons of photos. I even cooked pancakes for everyone one morning.  It was just a nice way to end the month of July by doing something special for everyone.  We had such a great time!!!!

My nephew finally got to have a real graduation from High School. The school had been closed since mid March. The school officials decided to do it on Thursday evening.  It was held outside on the football field and families were encouraged to social distance by keeping their families away from other families.  It wasn’t too hard to do.  IT WAS HOT!!!!  We had had some rain showers earlier in the day and and that made the temps by 7:00 PM steamy and uncomfortable.  Luckily they had the good grace to move everything along quickly.  It only lasted for about an hour and we did photos of course afterwards.  I will say I had sweat in places one shouldn’t have.  But it was totally worth it seeing my handsome nephew finish his time in high school.

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   Look how tall he is!!!!

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I had to work six out of seven days last week so by Friday night I was wiped out.  I went home from work and we had take out for dinner.  I did not intend to cook.  I went to bed early.  On Saturday I did the grocery thing and took supplies to my mother in law in the Assisted Living Center.  I have to get on my soap box here for a minute.  The poor people in the Assisted Living Center have not seen their families in four months.  They are not even allowed to get out of their rooms.  Two people have died, not from COVID.   Two people were moved to other facilities because they needed “extra” attention.  One lady fell and broke her hip and had to be taken to another place for rehab.  I am telling you I know they are doing what they have to do according to the CDC guidelines but I think a time has come that not having any family involvement and visitation is doing them much more harm.  At least let them go to the cafeteria together like they used to.  It’s the same people there day in and day out but at this time they are made to stay in their rooms all the time.  O.K. that is all I am saying.  I definitely would not want a break out of COVID there but I just wish there was something to do for them.

Today I was a little more rested and I knitted some more on the blue shawl I have been working on.  I love it and I think I am going to miss it when I am finished.  Oh well I will just start another one.  Maybe I will find that missing yarn I have been searching for.  I made a Buttermilk Pie today and it was great!!!  I have made them before without much success.  I think the key is using whole buttermilk, no nonfat for this pie, and I used the recipe by Brenda Gantt on Cooking with Brenda Gantt.  If you haven’t checked her out on FB do it you will love her.  She had some great tips for the pie and it worked out really well.  The only thing is I used a deep dish pie crust and I should have used regular.  But I will know next time.

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Have you ever tried the App one second every day?  It is a great little app where you record a second of your day, or a picture and it puts all of them together for a month. I have had the app for quite a while I don’t do it every month but I decided that July would definitely be the month to document something every day.  I hope you enjoy watching.

 

Always remember,

Love your day your way!!!

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My Favorite Beach Vacation Spot

Tell me your favorite beach spot and I will tell you mine. My husband tells me to stop sharing our favorite beach because everyone will want to go there   Then it won’t be as secluded as it is now.  But I can’t help it I love it and I know if you visit this area you will love it too.

I have been to a lot of different beaches but Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina near Wilmington is my absolute favorite.  I was going to wait and show you some updated pictures after our vacation there this year but that vacation may not happen so I will show you some I have taken through the years.

Wrightsville Beach is a town in New Hanover County, North Carolina. It is just East of Wilmington and is part of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Several years ago Mark and I were at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.  We had gone there several times and really liked it.  But this time we took a chartered boat trip up the coast about 70 miles north of Myrtle into North Carolina, and discovered Wrightsville Beach.  It looked really interesting.  Later that year before it got too cold we took a weekend off and drove to Wrightsville Beach.  We grossly underestimated the drive time.  It turned out to be about 10 hours from where we live when you add in bathroom breaks and stopping to eat.

We arrived late at night around 10:00 PM and realized that there were very few hotels on Wrightsville Beach. There were mostly beach houses.  We pulled into a hotel that offered all ocean front suites.  The Surf.  Little did we know at that time that we would be coming here for years.  Later on we also discovered Shell Island Resort, just a little ways up the beach and we loved it as well.  Shell Island is at the very end of Wrightsville Beach.  Several years ago, because of beach erosion, the Resort was in danger of totally falling into the ocean.  A huge beach restoration took place and the beach and the resort was saved.  At that time you could buy a condo for $35,000.  Mark wanted to buy one but I would not because I wasn’t sure the beach could be saved.  Well as I said it was saved and now the condos go for at least a half million.  Something my husband never lets me forget HA!!!

Because the drive is about 10 hours a few years ago we chose to fly and save some time.  We fly into the Wilmington International Airport.  It is only about 25 minutes from Wrightsville.  We rent a car and the travel time is so much easier.  That means more time on the beach.

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       The beach is never overly crowded and it feels safe to walk at any time of the night or day.  If you get up early the sunrise is amazing and lots of surfers are out. 

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    The Trolly Stop is a small Hot Dog stand that has been open since 1976.  They only sell hot dogs and maybe chips.  If you wait until noon to get there there will be a line out the door.  I think everyone on the beach and in town gets hot dogs at the Trolly Stop at lunch time.


Which hot dog would you pick.  I always get the North Carolina Hot Dog.


The Oceanic is our favorite place to eat.  Fresh seafood and live music and a balcony overlooking the ocean makes for the perfect place to eat.  It is also located next door to the Surf Suites and if you have one to many of the ahhhhmazing Stumbling Islanders to drink you can stumble back to your room.  HA!!

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    When we are at the beach I get up before daylight so I can be down on the beach getting pictures of the sunrise.  

So that is my favorite spot to go on vacation. It may not happen this year we will just have to wait and see.  If not there is always next year.  I hope you get a chance to check it out I think you would love it. And now where is your favorite beach spot?

Always remember,

Love your day your way!!!

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Making Fried Apple Pies

Happy Monday friends,

The weather here has been HOT!!! Temps have been in the upper 90’s with a heat index making it feel like it’s over 100 degrees!!!!

Oh what a perfect time for our air to go out. Yep, I came home from buying groceries on Saturday and heard Mark talking to someone on the phone. Turns out it was the man who services our heat and air unit. To tell you this man, Wayne, is wonderful would be such a gross understatement. And not just because he came out on a Saturday afternoon and serviced our unit but he has been there so many times for us, and for many of my family members.  First of all the unit was put in over 20 years ago when we built the house.  You know that most units these days don’t last that long. 

Wayne is not the type of repairman that will tell you that you need a new unit just so he can make some money. He is fair and honest. Anyway he had the air back on within two hours and I barely broke a sweat.

What does this have to do with making fried apple pies you may ask. Not really anything except if we hadn’t gotten the air back on I would not have been heating the stove for anything!!!

In all my days of cooking I have never made fried apple pies. WHAT??? I always wanted to try them. I don’t know if you follow Brenda Gantt on Facebook but she is a true southern cook from Alabama.  Check her out. I just love her.

So I went by Brenda’s recipe for the dough. All she uses is plain flour, buttermilk and solid crisco shortening, you know the white stuff in the tin can. My mama always had some when we were growing up.

Brenda doesn’t use much of a recipe so I watched her video on Facebook and went by that. Here is what I did:

I used 3 Granny Smith apples. I peeled them and  added about 3/4 of a cup of sugar, a half cup of water and sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the apples and cooked them down until they became soft and mushy and syrupy.  I used a heavy sauce pan. 

I put some plain flower in a mixing bowl and added 1/2 cup of the solid shortening and some buttermilk. I didn’t measure the buttermilk I just kept adding the buttermilk until I could form a small ball of dough. I then divided the dough into several pieces and sprinkled them with flower. I rolled them out, using a dough roller, in small circles about 4 inches in diameter.  The dough cannot be sticky.  Add a little flour to keep it from sticking. 

Once I had the circle I put a big tablespoon of the apples in the middle and patted one side of the circle with water. I then folded the top over. The water helps seal the dough. I took a fork and pinched the edges of the pie so that the filling wouldn’t come out. I had my large cast iron skillet heated with about 2-3 cups of Wesson Oil at 350 degrees. I took a spatula and lifted the pie up and into the oil. You have to let them cook for a few minutes until both sides turn brown.  I only cooked one at a time. After one side has cooked for a few minutes turn it over using two forks.  I will tell you that the first few I did turned out crunchy because I had my oil to hot.  But I had the hang of it after I had done a few.

I guess they turned out o.k.  Mark ate two of them.  One of them with Ice Cream. I was not too happy with the taste of the dough.  I know that Brenda uses plain flower and the buttermilk adds some flavor but I am going to research some more recipes until I feel it is tastier.  After the pies cooled I wrapped them in plastic wrap and that seemed to soften them and help the dough absorb the flavor of the apples.  I took some of them to work with me and they were eaten immediately.  So maybe they were o.k.  It’s hard to tell with the workers in the break room.  They will eat anything!!!!

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   This is the pan I used for frying the apple pies.  My Lodge cast Iron cookware is now a favorite of mine.  
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                      Granny Smith apples are wonderful for baking.

   I cooked the apples down until they were soft and I could mash them.  They were yummy and I actually saved some to eat later with biscuits.  


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    You can see the first ones didn’t turn out really pretty. But I kept working on them.  


    This is what the pies looked like just before I put them in the hot oil.

 

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   I sprinkled some of them with powdered sugar but the ones I wrapped in plastic I just left plain.  These are best for warming and adding whatever topping you want. 

So all in all I guess they were pretty good for a first time.  I do want to keep experimenting with the dough.  We shall see. 

Always remember 

Love your day your way!!!!

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