Faith Family Friends

Celebrating the Joy of Living & Home Making ~

Baking, Cooking, Decorating, Tea Time, and taking Inspiration from those I love and the world around me...

A sharing of my heart and my home from a Christian perspective

...with a wee bit of whimsy added.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

A Time to Live

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven in to the lives of others. ~ unknown

Hello my dear friends! I have been away for a little over a month and so much has happened since I took my break. I will try to bring you up to date in this post.

About three weeks ago, I had a lovely visit with my two aunts and a cousin who came over from New Brunswick to see my mother and me. Alas, my mother was sleeping and unresponsive when they visited her at the nursing home. That was disappointing! We did however enjoy each other's company when they came to my home.

My middle son arrived the end of July and we had a wonderful visit. We spent a lot of time together and he spent a lot of time by himself out at the beach and walking around the city of Charlottetown, his old stomping grounds. 

It was definitely a different kind of vacation this year!

While he was home, my mother passed away. We had gone in to visit her on Sunday afternoon, the 4th of August, and she passed that night. It was as though she had been waiting for him. Since December, she had seen all three of my boys. One lives here but two of them live very far away. The youngest lives in the States and the other lives on the west coast. She was less than a month from her ninetieth birthday.

So, most of last week we were busy making arrangements and cleaning out her room at the nursing home.

My mother on her eightieth birthday.

Our youngest son was in Portugal at a Math Conference and unfortunately, he couldn't get his ticket or accommodations refunded so he couldn't be here. 

My brother, who lives in Indiana, had heart surgery two days after my mother passed so he couldn't make it either. He has recovered and is back home.

The funeral was small and private and my mother is resting with my Daddy now.

Almost every evening, my middle son would go out to the beach and take a walk by himself. I guess he thought about his grandmother while he was out there, and just life in general. He lives a very busy lifestyle so he drank in the calm and quiet of the beach when no one was around. These are two of his pictures. 

Our middle son left Sunday evening to fly back to his family, and on Monday, Hubby returned to work after his two weeks of vacation. I had company on Monday afternoon so I haven't really been by myself. I'm not sure it has really hit me yet that my mother is gone because of course I had family around me and I've been so busy. 

Yesterday, Hubby had the day off so we went to Cavendish where we toured Green Gables again. We hadn't been there in about ten years so it was nice to go again. I will share some photos next time I post. I have some photos from my youngest son's trip to Portugal as well which will be in another post. 

When my children were growing up, I used to tell them to live this day as though it was their last. Hopefully, by instilling that kind of attitude in them, it would help make them kinder and to do their best to make the world around them a better place just by being here. 

The death of a loved one makes you so much more aware of your own mortality; to make the best of the time you have been given. Till next time, God bless you, and be sure to live your best life right now!

Live in such a way that the world will be glad you did. ~ Mark Lucado

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Monday, 15 July 2019

Christmas in July

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year. ~ Charles Dickens

Hello my lovely friends! I decided to do one more post before my son comes home for a visit. My grandson is also coming home on the weekend so I'm pretty happy!

It's July and I haven't done a Christmas in July post for a while so I thought now would be a good time. I know many of us like to celebrate this in the middle of summer. Christmas is always such a happy time. Even Hallmark has dedicated the month of July to feature their Christmas movies. 

Do you know where Christmas in July originated? Well, I looked it up and apparently the precise beginnings of the celebration is not very clear. Some say it began in Europe while others claim it started 84 years ago at a summer camp in North Carolina. Still others claim it began at another time and in a different place.

Regardless of when it actually started, oftentimes we here in the northern hemisphere crave the cooler temperatures of wintertime when we are sweating and uncomfortable from the heat and humidity. Well, to be honest, I don't crave the wintertime but it seems many do. 
We are less than six months from Christmas and we miss the holiday spirit and other traditions that the holiday season evokes. That ultimately leads folks to thoughts of the holiday season and Christmas trees, gift giving, and yes, even snow. I like to think that during the holiday season, there is just a little bit more love and caring for others being shed abroad in our hearts, don't you? 

Some of you like to put up a little tree in celebration of this event. I don't have mine up this year because I'm busy preparing for my company. However, my four foot tree trimmed in robin egg blue, pink, and gold would make an excellent tree for this occasion.

This time of year I always think of my father because his birthday was in July and he adored Christmas. He passed his love for Christmas and all its magic on to me.

Celebrate love. It is the breath of your existence and the best of all reasons for living. ~ Author unknown 

My father adored Old Country Roses. It was his favourite china pattern so I am using it today in memory of him.
One year, my sweet hubby gifted me with this vintage OCR teacup on my Daddy's birthday in remembrance of him.

"I believe I could be a model child if I were just invited out to tea every day." ~ Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

My family gifted me with the OCR teapot for my birthday a few years ago. These pieces are very special to me in many ways and I know my father would have been delighted that I have them! 

I love how Royal Albert pays such attention to detail like the gold leaf on the handle. 

...and a bouquet of roses on the spout. 

Most of my OCR pieces are gifts from family members. 

Please help yourself to a tea sandwich. There is both egg and chicken salad; my favourites for tea time.

My light fruit cake, mince tarts, and donut holes make up this plate of treats. The fruit cake and donuts were my grandmother's recipes.

One of our Christmas traditions was Daddy and I would make donuts together. I would make up the batter and cut them out and he would slip them carefully into the lard and watch them closely. Some we left plain and some we sugared, while others we covered in cinnamon sugar. After he passed, I continued to make them by myself. Now my hubby helps me because it can be a big job as I still make everything from scratch. They are old-fashioned donuts and you can't buy those in a bakery.

I usually make sticky date pudding twice a year; once at Christmas and once during the summer. So we will have some today.

This rich date pudding is so scrumptious sitting in a warm pool of toffee sauce.

Everyone loves my sugar plum cookies so I always freeze some. I took some out to enjoy with our tea.

Here we have a plate of sugar plums, gingerbread, and pumpkin nut bread.

You know, we are all blessed with special people in our lives and my father was one of those people. He taught me what was important in life and he took me to church every Sunday. It's a pity  he didn't live long enough to see how his grandchildren turned out. He would have been so proud to know that one of his great grandchildren has been named after him.

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. ~ Harlan Miller

I hope I have inspired you to celebrate a little Christmas in July. It could be as simple as decorating a little tree or hanging a wreath. You might bake a treat you only make at Christmastime. Maybe you could do something nice and unexpected for that little old lady in the nursing home who you know never has visitors. Or surprise someone special with a little something "just because." How about a movie night with a loved one and sip hot chocolate while watching one of Hallmark's lovely Christmas movies? 

I think it's nice to have a break in the summertime when we can remember how beautiful Christmas is! It is not only the happiest time of year but it is also a time when others go out of their way a little more to make someone else feel special. It is showing good will toward men. Would that it could last all year!

Christmas is a time to open our hearts to God and His gifts. Just like the rest of the year. ~ Author unknown

Thank you so much for your visit and I'll see you when I get back in August. Till then, take care and enjoy your summer. Hugs to all.

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Playing Catch Up

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change opportunities into blessings. ~ William Arthur Ward

Hello dear friends and Happy July 4th to all my American family and friends! 

Since I last posted, some happy occasions took place which I am happy to share with you today.

My rose bushes are full of blooms. They were late this year but I've got lots to bring in and enjoy.

My oldest grandson graduated last week. Their grad gowns are such a nice shade of red! His father wore the same gown when he graduated.

He's taller than his dad now by about three inches and his dad isn't short.

We celebrated Canada Day on July 1 with my homemade cake. 

Red and white for the colours of our flag. 
Next time, I'll bake two layers instead one. It made a lovely strawberry shortcake.

My oldest son and his family rescued a puppy over the weekend. He doesn't have a name yet but they are leaning towards Scout. He's a sweet boy that was being abused at his last home. We're not sure how old he is but he isn't very big and he has small paws. He is getting lots of love now.

My youngest son is getting ready to move into his new home. Look at the wall colour they chose for the great room. Isn't it gorgeous? It's almost a perfect match to mine!
This is the subway tile for the kitchen. The kitchen is open to the dining and great room. I just love it!

My middle son is coming home at the end of the month so I am busy getting some of his favourite foods prepared ahead of time. Last year, he brought his family with him but it will just be him this year. Every second year, he brings his family which is wonderful and I wish it could be every year but flying in Canada is expensive for a family especially from the west coast. The little ones are growing up too fast. 

I will make a big pot of spaghetti sauce and freeze it. He claims I make the best spaghetti sauce and he can't wait to have some! I'll bake a few dozen cinnamon rolls too. Funny how my kids all have their favourite goodies that I made when they were growing up.  

He also loves his mama's seafood chowder so I will have that made for him the night he flies in, as well as homemade biscuits.

Lobster is in season now so I will add lobster to the chowder as well. Lots to do for his visit! Do any of you have family coming home this summer? What do you do to prepare for them?

All of these happy occasions make me grateful for my family and all the good times we share. Having a loving family is such a blessing! Enjoy your week everyone and I'm happy to say that summer weather has finally arrived here on PEI! 

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Monday, 24 June 2019

Flowers, Books, and Tea

I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June. ~ LM Montgomery - Anne of the Island

I would love it to be always June! Hello, lovely friends, how are you? A friend brought me these beautiful flowers. 
The fragrance of the lilacs is heavenly! Lilacs, lupins, Queen Anne's Lace, Bleeding Hearts, and miniature Snowballs make up the bouquet. Isn't it exquisite?

I adore flowers!

A few weeks ago, I went into our book store and picked up a book by author Joanne Fluke. The "Murder, She Baked" TV movies were based on her stories. I'm hoping this will be another series of books that I can enjoy. 
I also ordered Laura Childs' newest book, "Broken Bone China." I love mysteries that include tea time or a bake shop. Both of these books have recipes in them too.
I hope I enjoy this new LC book because the last number of books, I figured out who did the dastardly deed early on in the story, so it kind of ruined it for me. Although I always enjoy her books, I hope this one is different and the culprit will be a surprise.

Unlike some of you, I like to read the hard copy instead of an e-book. I also don't go to the library because it's too hard for me to get there and besides, I like to have my own copies. How about you? Do you like collecting books or do you like the virtual books? I also read my books over again. If I don't keep them, I donate them.

We got a lot of rain on the weekend which is why my pictures are a bit dark today. 

I wish the lighting had been better because you're not seeing the true hue of the flowers.
Now how about some tea?

From a child's whimsical teapot to an elegant English teapot, to collectible teapots that adorn some homes, they are a subtle reminder of all that is good in this world. ~ Barbara Roberts

I found this darling tin of Walker's Scottie Dogs shortbread the other day at our HomeSense. One never knows what they might find in there. 

I also found a new teacup. I had no intention of buying another teacup because I have so many, but this one matches one of my teapots and I couldn't leave it sitting there. I will share it another day. The only other teacup I would like to have is the Royal Albert American Beauty which is hard to find around here. 

Would you care to sit with me
For a cup of English tea? ~ Paul McCartney

My RA teapot stands at the ready with English Breakfast tea in it. My teacups and little scottie dog shortbread treats are all ready for you. 
This is a Burleigh Victorian Rose cup which my cousin Val gave me. Val gave me several pieces of this pretty china but no saucers so I'm pairing the cup with a saucer from my Eatons home collection. My uncle Joe, Val's step father, just passed a few days ago. He has been a part of the family since Val and I were young girls so he will be missed! He was my last surviving uncle.

Of course you are all familiar with my Johnson Bros. Rose Chintz. If I happen to have lilacs in the house, I like to use my Rose Chintz.

I just love the Brits and how they savour their tea time. We can all take a lesson from them. 
courtesy of Getty images & internet

British born Sir Barry Gibb, of the Bee Gees, {on the left} always sipped a cup of tea before a concert. Now isn't that interesting?
What happens around the teapot, stays around the teapot. ~ unknown

Thank you for joining me today and aren't we all thrilled that June is here? Happy Summer everyone and have a beautiful week!

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

A Piece of History

I can't help flying up on the wings of anticipation. It's as glorious as flying through a sunset. ~ Anne of Green Gables

Good morning dear friends! Hope you are all having a lovely day.

While I was away from my blog, my youngest son spent a week in Paris at a conference; his fourth trip to France! I never dreamed he would do so much traveling but life does surprise us. 

This is a photo he took out the window while flying across the English Channel. On the left is England and on the right is France. I thought it was a cool picture.
He took a few pictures of Notre Dame. You can see at the top right, some of the damage caused by the fire. I'm glad he saw it a couple of years ago, before the fire took place.

One never sees Paris for the first time; one always sees it again. ~ Edmondo De Amicis

My son couldn't remember where this was but it's impressive.

In a couple of months he flies to Portugal where he has been once before. He has been to Europe a number of times in the past seven years. This is one of the perks of his job. 

Why am I telling you all this? Well, I am leading up to something.

Folks travel all the time and they have been doing so for centuries. Back in the late 1800s, Alexander Macdonald, a wealthy Scots-born industrialist, who immigrated to Ohio, took a trip to Prince Edward Island with his family and fell in love with it. So much so, that he commissioned a summer home to be built here in 1895 which he called Dalvay by the Sea. Dalvay being named for his boyhood home in Scotland. 

For many of you, this will not look familiar but for those of you who are Anne of Green Gables fans, you will recognize this hotel as the White Sands Hotel, a grand gathering place for many events in the Anne of Green Gables series as well as the Road to Avonlea series.

This beautifully built hotel is exquisitely designed both inside and out in the Queen Anne Revival style. It was a bit of a playground for my hubby when he was growing up and he introduced me to it when we were going together. When his sister got married, she held her reception there. It was a lovely setting for such a memorable event.

Sunday afternoon, we went out to take some pictures. When we first arrived, we were delighted to see dozens of Canada geese down by the pond getting ready to take a swim. They were very tame and didn't seem to mind our being there at all.

Every summer Mr. Macdonald would bring his family and staff to Dalvay, PEI and spend his vacation here. At the end of the summer he would throw a huge party and invite the surrounding community where my hubby grew up. Mr. Macdonald was a very hospitable man and of course, the Islanders of the day loved him.

I don't know the story behind this carriage but I'm sure there is one.

I think it is serendipitous that this hotel was chosen for both the Anne and Avonlea series. Anne of Green Gables is famous the world over and the grand hotel, is one stop of many for visitors to our Island. 

In July of 2011, it was the scene for Prince William and Kate when they visited the Island.

courtesy of Pinterest

Hubby and I were there and saw their helicopter because we were on Dalvay beach that day. It was rather exciting for us because the beloved royals were visiting Hubby's old stomping grounds. There was no opportunity to take pictures that day because they were closely guarded but it was the talk of the town for quite some time. At one point they enjoyed a feast of lobster and clams on the beach. We Islanders found the prince and his wife very down to earth people, but then the prince is his mother's son! Diana was loved the world over.

For many years, Dalvay beach has been a favourite spot for us to relax and soak in the wonderful salt air. This beach is a little quieter than the others further up the coast.

There are tidal pools for the little ones to play in and the ocean for the many swimmers who go there.

I love the Island this time of year because it truly is a beautiful place. We have clean fresh air and miles of sandy beaches to walk. One can visit Green Gables and explore the grounds and all that it has to offer, or go to the Charlottetown Festival and see the Anne of Green Gables play. There is more to see of course but today I'm talking about the grand hotel and Anne.

If you're ever on PEI, you must visit Dalvay by the Sea as well. They serve scrumptious meals in their restaurant. And if you listen closely, you may be able to hear Anne Shirley reciting The Highwayman.  
courtesy of Pinterest

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi