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Category Archives: Tea

What’s Saving My Life Right Now

Lucie at play

In the dreary doldrums of winter, Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy had the excellent idea of sharing a few thoughts on what is saving one’s life right now. So much negativity these days — this brings a positive spin to throw us back into the light.

  1. Tazo’s Joy tea — The name says it all. Every Christmas season for the past, at least, 5 years, I’ve taken to drinking a daily cup of this delightful mixture of black, green, and oolong tea. I’m not sure if it is still available at the store, but I stocked up on a few tins before the end of the season. I’m still enjoying my morning cup.
  2. Trader Joe’s fresh flowers — Erica of Be a Heart gave an excellent talk a few weeks ago in the Blessed is She‘s workshops on the importance of beauty in our lives. One thing that brings a lightened mood and beauty to my home, even on difficult or overcast day, is a lovely bouquet of TJ’s fresh flowers. I usually purchase one of the arrangements selling for $3.99, but sometimes I mix it up with a bouquet of just carnations or roses.
  3. Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe — I’ve been struggling with finding peace lately, but this excellent read that my husband’s recommending for several years really helped me. This short work has all the right words for an honest dialogue with the Lord about finding that interior peace. He has some others that I will be making my way through soon.
  4. Knitting — I was just telling a friend the other day that finding moments daily to pick up my needles and stitch a few rows makes all the difference for keeping anxiety at bay. With all the crazy busy of life, it is difficult to slow down and truly rest. This activity forces me to still myself. I can literally feel my heart rate drop as I loop in and out.
  5. Meal planning with my planner — The Blessed is She Liturgical Planner‘s are first rate. {None in stock right now, but an updated version should be making it’s way to the shop soon!} The included meal planning and grocery list space {right next to each other!} ensure that it happens every week and makes it super simple to do. I’m actually enjoying the process.
  6. This is Us — We don’t watch a whole lot of television in our home, so you know when there is time reserved for it, it better be good. The show This is Us is a must-see for me every week. It is so well-crafted. The characters are all so real. The situations are ones we find our own selves in at one time or another. I’m laughing and crying through every episode. {And I was very sad there wasn’t a new one last night!}
  7. Raffi — This might seem like a rather silly thing to include on my list, but if there is one children’s musician I will listen to over and over, Raffi is it. I can’t say that of many {or any} others. My girls are completely head-over-heels with his songs, and I totally don’t mind. {He was my childhood favorite too.}

{What’s saving your life right now??}

 

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through, it will give a tiny percentage of the purchase to me. Thank you! 

#write31days ~ day 7: our favorite autumn activities {7QT}

1. baking
It probably comes as no surprise that my favorite autumn activity is baking. In my food blogging days, I think my greatest collection of recipes was during the fall months. The spices used, the warm foods with the onset of cooler weather, the delight of turning the oven on when the house isn’t already a toasty 85 degrees.

rolling out dough

Here is a collection of some of my favorite autumn baking recipes:

pumpkin pecan scones
chai spiced granola
pumpkin gingerbread cookies
soft ginger cookies
mendicino pumpkin muffins
pumpkin chocolate chip cookies 
pumpkin crunch granola
coconut chai coffee cake
pumpkin protein bars
apple cider donuts
pumpkin spice donuts

2. Apple Hill
If you are not in close proximity to Apple Hill {or a place like it}, I’m sorry. There is nothing quite like this location of all-things-apple that affords you the ability to go apple picking, munch apple donuts dunked in a cup of warm, fresh cider, pull apart a gooey apple cinnamon roll or fritter, or sip a glass of cool, crisp cider {of the alcoholic variety}.

apple hill treats

It is an annual tradition we’ve been doing since I was a tot with my grandparents and are now passing on to the next generation.

{I’ve got a great collection of apple recipes for you here if you like that kind of thing. ;)}

apple picking

3. breaking out the warm drinks : alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike

I drink tea year-round, but the delight factor is turned up a notch of that first cup in the morning when you wake up to the chill of an autumn morning. The chai comes out more often too.

cloves

oranges and cloves

My husband has a knack for making some wonderful libations in the fall/winter months as well. He’s especially good with glühwein {mulled wine}, which we like to fill our thermos with and take on a walk through the golden, rouge leaves falling. 

In preparation for the holidays, we begin testing out our eggnog making skills. We can never get enough of this smooth drink.

4. pumpkin picking at a farm {or enjoying our homegrown ones!}
Of course, the fall wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a pumpkin patch or two! We like to visit Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm in our area. There are so many great activities for the kids, including a trampoline covered in hay, a petting zoo, and a train that takes you on a tour around the farm. The hay ride out to the patch and back for your pumpkins is a huge highlight of the day.

pumpkin picking

This year, we grew some of our own pumpkins too which we are very excited to finally display {they’ve been chilling in the linen cupboard since early August due to mama’s too-early plantings}. We just took them out yesterday to add to the fall decor on our porch. It’s so much fun for the girls to see the pumpkins they grew from seed. They are very proud!

5. decorating
On a related vein, I can’t wait for the opportunity to pull out all the warm colored decor to sprinkle all over the house. Our resident porch scarecrow is a favorite, and we enjoy picking out various squash, gourds, and Indian corn for a natural display at home.

porch scarecrow with pumpkins

6. hiking
We are fortunate to live in an area with hiking trails aplenty. Fall is my favorite time of the year to go meandering through the hills, observing the changes of the season.

hiking on the trail

taking a walk

7. watching fall sports : futbol and football

Both Steve and I were soccer players growing and intend to introduce our daughters to league play when they are old enough. {If they decide to take it to the next level will be determined by their interest.} The family enjoys going out to watch other family members play. This year our nephew is playing and being coached by his dad and uncle. We watched his first game a few weeks ago.

We are fortunate to have FC that started her a few years ago, the Sacramento Republic FC. Steve went with a few of my brothers to watch one of their first games, and we’re hoping to go together soon on a date night.

College football viewing runs deep on both sides of the family, with the biggest rooting happening behind USC, Stanford, and Notre Dame. It makes for some exciting Saturdays during these fall months.

playing in the leaves

 

What are some of your favorite autumn activities? 

{Linking up with Kelly this week over at This Ain’t the Lyceum. Go there for more of 7QT!}

Victoria, BC ~ Great Eats!

Canadian flag flying

The second half of our trip to the Northeast found us in Victoria, British Columbia. Despite it being the middle of February, we had much sun and gorgeous weather for walking around town.

This post will cover our food stops {for there were many!} and in another post I’ll talk about other highlights of the trip.

Red Fish, Blue Fish menu

Friends of ours who had spent their honeymoon in town told us about this little hidden gem called Red Fish, Blue Fish…that was well enough hidden that we missed it our first time walking past! It is located on a dock below street level with a bank of seats that look out over the harbor. Maybe THE best fish and chips I’ve ever had — definitely top of the list!

fish and chips / Red Fish, Blue Fish

eating at Red Fish, Blue Fish

Victoria, BC harbor

Many little water taxis going to-and-fro!

water taxi, Victoria, BC

Murchie’s was another glorious find. We stopped by at least once a day for a sip of tea and treat. Evey and I also chose pretty cups in their gift shop to bring home as souvenirs.

eating at Murchie's

Breakfast was a hit with Stephen.

breakfast at Murchie's

And it’s never too early for tiramisu!

breakfast at Murchie's

Trying to take photos with her toy car…like mother, like daughter.

tea at Murchie's

Stephen saw an advertisement for this when we were waiting for the ferry in Seattle and insisted we search out Bartholomew’s where these bad boys are served.

drink at Bartholomew's

We were due for tea in the afternoon so we enjoyed the ploughman’s platter to stock up on extra protein before the carb overload.

ploughman's lunch at Bartholomew's

eating at Bartholomew's

Tea time at the Empress Hotel. It was such a delightful treat. Despite the hotel being under construction and the usual dining place unavailable, we enjoyed our time sitting in the rotunda sipping their legacy blend and savoring our tea time treats.

tea at the Empress

A refreshing start.

tea at the Empress

TEA rex joined us for the occasion.

tea at the Empress

The Princess Tea for the girls.

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

The full afternoon tea complete with a bit of bubbly.

tea at the Empress

And a special order of cheeses, bread, and honey from the chef’s garden.

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

Be sure to blow on your tea before you take a sip to cool it off!

tea at the Empress

The chocolate everything was her favorite. 🙂

tea at the Empress

Our final morning in the city found us at Jam Cafe. A local hotspot–not in the touristy part of town–this place was packed before it opened. {Notice the line around the block still there as we were leaving.}

Jam Cafe, Victoria, BC

It was worth the hour wait for these pulled pork pancakes.

pulled pork pancakes at Jam Cafe, Victoria, BC

Hoping to go back some day for a re-run of all these fantastic places, as well as stopping by some we had to pass up this trip!

Bouquets to Art & Afternoon Tea

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

This past weekend I went with my mother and a friend to visit the annual Bouquets to Art exhibit held in April at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. {We’ve been trying to make it for quite a few years now and we were finally successful!}

The way the exhibit works is that floral designers in the area are each assigned a piece of art from the permanent collection to imitate/convey in their own way through a floral arrangement.

{We were there on the second to last day so many of the arrangements were looking a little less than perky.}

Some of the pieces were rather loose interpretations. Some classic. Some downright silly.

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

We finished off the day with an afternoon tea at the elegant Palace Hotel. Although meager, the treats were exquisite and perfectly presented. And you can’t beat the ambiance of this beautiful hotel.

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

 

 

Linking up with my first {pretty, funny, happy, real} over at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Tea Time! {Adagio Tea Giveaway – CLOSED}

Tea gives rhythm to the day. A cup to warm up and wake up in the morning. An afternoon sip to accompany a small snack and bring a little wakefulness to the mid afternoon slump. An herbal tisane to help send you into peaceful slumber.

tea pots

Since college, at least, I’ve enjoyed the rhythm of tea drinking throughout my day. Some of my best memories of college include sitting on the floor with a group of my closest pals, forcing a much-needed break from our studies to catch up, laugh, and forget those papers and readings for a moment. We would pull out our fine china cups and large tea pots, filling them up with a jasmine, an oolong, an earl grey. . . Sweet treats that had been stashed away to share would emerge from drawer. We would settle in for an hour to enjoy each other’s company while sipping a warm cup.

tea time

Now, as a mother, I still like to take that pause in the middle of the afternoon with my girls. Cookies or tea cakes come out of the cupboard. I steep a cup of tea. {They enjoy a cup of apple juice.} Our daily tea party is important. It is a great place to ‘waste’ time together, a great place to connect.

photo 1-8

 

I recently discovered an online tea company, Adagio Teas, that is helping me to carry on this tea habit. They have an amazing variety of teas. AND they allow you mix your own blends!

adagio teas

I picked up a blend called Valentine in February that is reminiscent of chocolate-covered strawberries. {And you all can imagine how all over that I was!} It’s a fun tea to drink alongside a slice of chocolate cake.

Earl Grey with lavender has always been one of my favorites. Caffeinated, yet calming. It is best with a splash of milk. I’ve had difficulty finding it but Adagio did not disappoint.

Their green teas are great, their white teas are bright, the chai hits it with just the right amount of spice. If the herbals are more ‘your cup of tea’, they have some fun berry blends, a delightful chamomile, and a collection of mates. I’ve never seen so many rooibos options!  And you don’t want to miss their flavored black teas — they’re sure to have one of your favorites.

I created a Cool Vanilla Peppermint blend for a friend. I was able to determine exactly how much of each tea went into the blend. Try blending your own!

The teas are available in loose leaf sample packs, 3 ounces, 16 ounces or as tea bags. So many options. I ordered a handful of sample packs for a few dollars a piece {most of which make about 10 cups of tea!}, and a few of my favorites in the larger pouches.

 

Would you like to try a cup or two of their excellent blends?? Adagio has sent me a collection of samples to send to one lucky reader! To enter, leave a comment with your favorite tea. For an extra entry, follow me on Instagram and post a comment letting me know you did. Giveaway ends May 4th, 9pm PST. The winner is Katrina! Thanks for playing, all!

If you just can’t wait, head over to Adagio where all first-time buyers receive $5 off their first order.

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