cover pic

cover pic
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts

Sunday, August 13, 2017

More to Do Around Erie

Last summer I wrote several posts on things to do in Erie, PA.  We visited some additional sites this summer that are worth mentioning.

The Erie Art Museum in downtown Erie is the place to be on Wednesdays in the summer.  Admission is free on that day, and at noon there are concerts just outside the main entrance.

 The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park is definitely a hidden gem.  The paths meander through both wooded and cleared areas, beside a creek, and past gardens.

Even though we live in the middle of the woods on the side of a mountain, we got closer to a doe and her spotted fawn at the arboretum than we do at home.  An added treat is Romolo Chocolates which is just across the street from Frontier Park.  This family owned artisan chocolate store is well-known for its sponge candy, something words can't describe.  

I know I mentioned the amazing sunsets over Lake Erie before, but they are worth mentioning again because they are truly spectacular.

You see what I mean?

My children always like hunting for beach glass at the Walnut Creek Marina, but this summer our youngest son also collected flat rocks to create a walkway and a border for his hand-dug "hot tub."  These didn't come home with us.

Fishing at one of the piers at Presque Isle is always fun for our teen son.

There are a number of universities in and around Erie, and we try to walk around the campus of a college or two each summer.  Mercyhurst is of interest to our high school sophomore, and it is a beautiful campus.

Just a twenty minute drive from Erie is Edinboro University, which has the attention of our high school junior.

Finally, if you do venture to Erie any time soon, be on the lookout for these cute painted rocks.  They're hiding all over the place, and apparently, you're to take your picture with them and post to Facebook, then hide them somewhere else in the city.  Our children found five during the week we were there.  Our youngest daughter thought this was especially exciting, and she gave a lot of consideration to where she would place them.  

For more information on Erie, PA, go to

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Summer of '17 Photo Gallery #2

More summer photos as we enter the middle of summer already.  There's been a lot of baking going on in our farmhouse kitchen---this summer by our 15 year-old daughter.  It's all so good, but I'm trying very hard to limit myself to very small portions or just a taste.  Surely there are no carbs or calories in just a taste, right?

Our grandson tags along with us to all our usual summer spots once a week.  His aunties and uncles absolutely adore him.

This past week he began walking while he was with us at the house of some friends.  It was just as exciting to see him take his first steps as it was with all of my own children.

We've been trying out some new restaurants the past couple of weeks.

We're venturing out and sampling places we wouldn't normally try.  And we've been pleasantly surprised every time.  This summer for me is about taking some chances, stepping out of my comfort zone, and being open to adventure.

Don't get me wrong; I love our country life.

Our little farm on the mountain brings its unique beauty and peace...

...and its own type of quirky excitement. 

But as we celebrated my grandmother's 99th birthday with her this weekend, I knew that I want to live the rest of my life to the fullest.  That means taking some chances, doing something different, and seizing opportunities as they come. 

And loving and enjoying everything in my life that I already have.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer of '17 Photo Gallery #1

No words, just early summer pics of our not-so-preppy mountain farm life.

 It's hard to believe we're already in the last week in June.  I need summer to slow down.  Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Our Farmhouse Porch in the Summer

 During the seventies, the weekly TV show "The Waltons" was a hit at our house.  I loved their big family, their white farmhouse in the mountains, and especially their huge front porch.  I remember Grandma shelling peas while sitting on the porch rocker, Mary Ellen complaining about her life while lounging on the porch swing, and Mama greeting everyone with a smile on her front porch as she welcomed them in.  I dreamed of having their life...but maybe with a bit more money and some nicer clothes.  

I had a vision for our own front porch many years ago when I got our large porch swing as a Mother's Day gift, which was much more enjoyable than the clothesline I received for that same holiday a couple of years earlier.

The vision continued as I received my first porch rocker for another Mother's Day gift and had the porch floor replaced in 2014.  Then in 2015 we finally repainted it, and this year I woke up on Mother's Day to a second porch rocker so that I now have the symmetry my OCD self yearned for.

After acquiring the porch rockers from Cracker Barrel, the final part of my dream involved sheer white curtains.  This proved to be a more challenging task than I ever imagined because there are iron poles connected to either ends of our porch.  Those poles can't be removed, and their height and width aren't your typical window size.

I figured I could either buy shower curtains or long drapes with grommets.  That way I could attach them with shower hooks.  It turned out that none of the shower curtains were long enough, and I would have to purchase at least three window panels for each side.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money since these would be outside in the elements all summer.  I thought it would be easy to find what I was looking for.  I was wrong.  I went to TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, but I couldn't find what I wanted.  Everything was either too thick or too expensive or not the right size or there weren't enough in stock or not grommet style.  So I finally patronized the one story that everyone else I know frequents but that I avoid at all costs: Walmart.  And it was there that I found the exact sheer panels I was looking for with the grommet openings for only $7/panel.  And as luck would have it, they had exactly six of them.  Then my daughter and I found these cute shower hooks that we thought would look perfect to hang them, so we bought three packages of them too for $8/package.

I was so excited to get home and hang these curtains on these shower hooks that were rust-proof and guaranteed to not slip out of the shower curtains.  What was I thinking?!  These work perfectly with shower curtains that have slits for openings, but they are obviously not made to hold grommet-style curtains.  This was definitely one of my most daft moments.  I ran upstairs to our bathroom and tore down our shower curtain so I could use the cheap, round, clear plastic hooks.  Then I searched the bathroom closet because I knew I had extra hooks in there.  Unfortunately, they were the same style as the ones I just bought, only very corroded.  So I hurried up to the cabin and took down that shower curtain as well.  I still needed another twelve round curtain hooks.  I turned around and there on the shelf was another package of mismatched shower curtain hooks...but only nine of them.  I brought them all down to the house and hung the curtains with what I had, dreading to go back to Walmart to buy yet another package of these stupid hooks.  You can't just get them individually; it's a package of twelve or none at all.

So with the aid of my youngest daughter (who had Cowboy Day at school that morning), we hung the curtains and did a quick photo shoot with three grommets not attached to the iron pole.  And the hooks were of all different styles and colors.

That evening I had to take our son and his friend to a middle school dance, so after dropping them off, I headed back to Walmart.  I had a great time because I had my best friend along, and we chatted and chatted, not really paying attention to anything around us.  We just enjoyed some girl time out away from most of our children (my teen daughter tagged along in hopes of a trip to the mall.)  I went through the self-checkout line and bought the $1.26 package of clear, round, plastic curtain hooks, and shoved the receipt in my purse as I eyed the tiki torches near the exit and continued talking with my friend.  It was a fun night for all of us, but when I got home and looked for the shower hooks to finish hanging my curtains, I couldn't find them anywhere.  And I realized that I left them at the checkout in Walmart while I was busy conversing with my friend.

So the next day I went to Ollie's and bought the same hooks for 
$.95 and kicked myself for not shopping there for them to begin with.

The curtains were hung, and my vision was complete.  However, I hadn't given much thought to how I would keep them in place.  The winds just whip them around everywhere.  My friend told me her aunt sewed rocks into the bottoms of her porch curtains.  I placed some of our larger river stones in the bottom pockets of these sheer drapes, but all that did was create noise as they scraped and rolled across the porch floor.  Then when it got super windy, they flew up and around, and those river stones went flying.  My white sheer curtains became weapons directed at anyone out there on the porch.  So I've given up and just allow them to float and wave and fly wherever the wind takes them.  Porch sitters just have to get used to the curtains brushing over their shoulders or their heads as they sit and read and drink their coffee or G & T's.

A few finishing touches were added.  Two hanging baskets arrived from my children as additional Mother's Day gifts this year.

And when I couldn't decide what to place in the empty space next to the front door, I decided to use the picnic basket we got as a wedding gift and my husband's work boots that are a bit scruffy but not currently coated in manure.  The food was just for the photo shoot, of course; most of the time it's filled with one of our annoying cats who end up using my porch displays every season for their beds.

Now my vision is complete for the summer where our front porch is concerned.  This is where I chose to celebrate my 48th birthday this past week as I relaxed in a sundress with a glass of Chardonnay in the early evening.  I suppose this is my version of being on the Waltons' porch in the Appalachians, only with wine instead of the Baldwin sisters' "recipe."