Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Faded Traditions

Hello Sweet Friends,
It has been a long while since I have felt like blogging, had time to blog or had anything worth blogging about.  While I have missed the blogging community the time away just became part of the season I have been in recently.  It wasn't until today that I felt the urge to blog at all because of some cookie bars I made the night before.
Last night, a Monday night, I had the urge to bake.  Why you ask... because I like to bake.  There was a new recipe on my phone just burning and whole in my pocket(oven?) and it needed to be made in my kitchen.  I love to bake things with layers and many ingredients and things that even have a little bit of difficulty to them, but last night it was easy and just what I needed.  After watching Dancing with the Stars with my mom I whipped these up and after telling myself not to eat them all I brought them to the office this morning.

Baked goods are always a hit at my office, but this morning they were a homerun.  My dad and I always laugh to ourselves when I bring in a treat or he brings in something that my mom has made because our co-workers go crazy.  For us, baking is second nature and we always have treats around and we have learned that is not the norm.  I have learned that a lot of people simply do not know how to bake and this blows my mind.

To have baked goods and treats around is a tradition for us.  So much so that the pan those bars were made in still has my grandmother's name on it, is cooling on my mother's old cooling rack and was all made in my grandparent's kitchen that I now call home.  When I started thinking of baking as a tradition it got me thinking about other traditions that are quickly fading.

-Cooking and Baking: Simple or traditional, the ways of our mother's is fading.
-Cooking from an actual cookbook:  Online is great, but a cookbook is wonderful.
-Reading from an actual book:  Breaking open the spine of a new book just isn't the same on an iPad.
-Sewing:  My actual meaning refers to a dress or a pillow but I know people that can't even sew a button on a shirt!
-Playing an instrument:  I love to play the piano and I also played the French Horn in band.
-Handwriting letters:  Just thinking of you, get well soon, thank you.  And don't even get me started on sending actual invitations in the mail.
-Drafting by Hand:  This goes for sketching too.  The design industry has developed so quickly that some designers don't even know how to use a pencil anymore.  
-Taking photos with cameras: Not phones.
-Going to church on Sundays: Or any time the doors are open.
-Sunday afternoon drives:  There is nothing better than taking a back road.
-Setting the table for dinner: An turning off the television to enjoy time with family.
-Sitting on the porch:  With no distractions in the world.

All of these things boil down to the fact that I love tradition.  I think that there will always be a time and place for it, even in this fast pace world.  I acknowledge that a large part of this could be that I grew up on a family ranch with three generations in the small town my family settled, but never-the-less tradition is important.

What are some traditions that you miss?  What are some traditions that you still keep?
Am I the only one still baking in this world?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Blenheim Palace - England

Every time that I think of a day that is my favorite or one that I would repeat over and over again I think of the scene from What Happens in Vegas when Cameron Diaz shares the meaning behind her lighthouse photo.  It could be because that photo reminds me of my favorite day that I too hit the road and went to the beach or just because I love that movie.  Since I have already written about my favorite day I figured I would share about my favorite day from last summer when I was on vacation.

Last summer my family and I packed up for two and a half weeks and headed to England and Scotland.  We had the most amazing trip, but one day that still sticks out in my memory as a favorite was our day trip to Blenheim Palace.  It reminded me a lot of our trip to Versailles and that is probably why I liked it so much.

Woodstock, England

We started our morning bright and early at Blenheim and the first thing I noticed was how the community embraced the palace and used the grounds.  Before we even got out of the car I noticed people running and walking with their pets, families, and children and could tell that this was not simply a place to visit, but rather it was a place to come and stay and visit often.  Right away we headed into the palace and grabbed some breakfast and checked the place out to get our bearings for the day.

Blenheim Palace

As soon as we started checking the place out and exploring I was blown away by the gardens, courtyards and landscape, and we weren't even in the building yet.  Once we entered the building we toured the main part of the house where they have displays about the Marlborough family and Winston Churchill, who was born there.  It was fascinating to learn about the family and Churchill and the interiors were beautiful.  The baroque architecture was wonderful and I loved all of the different influences that each family member had brought into the home over the years.

After we explored the palace and Secret Garden we hopped on the miniature train and headed to the Pleasure Gardens.  When we arrived there we ate lunch at the Pleasure Garden Cafe(pictured below) and had a wonderful lunch sitting on the lawn watching Andy Murray play in Wimbledon.  It was a very surreal moment to sit on a beautiful lawn on a beautiful day in England and watch Andy Murray win a round at Wimbledon.  There were locals all around us and we had the best time cheering him on.

Once we finished our lunch and peeled ourselves away from the big screen we went and checked out the maze and Butterfly House.  Each was absolutely beautiful and we had so much fun watching all of the butterfly's fly around and entertain us.  This was a fun  part of Blenheim Palace because it was a short ride from the main palace and you could quickly tell it was the area where the locals come to hang out and let their hair down.  It was a more casual environment than the palace and a fun, hidden escape from the palace.

This day was one of my favorite days in England easily because it catered to my love language which is quality time.  For the first day in many days once we parked the car we were there to stay and got to spend quality time just the six of us.  We all enjoyed the palace tour, the museum areas, the grounds, the food and even the great gift shop.

There was no agenda while we were there, we were free to wander and we made the most of the beautiful day.  It was easily a day to remember and one that I would happily repeat.  The only thing that I regret from that day is that I do not live closer so that I can have a year pass to go whenever I want like the locals.  But, unless I want to leave my little house in Texas I don't think that is really something to regret because I won't be changing it anytime soon.

England 2014:

Monday, February 2, 2015

I Travel To

After getting back from a recent trip to Las Vegas, which I can't wait to tell y'all all about, it got me thinking about the reasons that I love to travel.  Really my list could go on for days, but I thought I would just share my favorites.
I Travel To:
-experience life
-get to know myself better
-see the Lord's beauty in His many creations
-experience other cultures
-create memories
-get to know others better
-capture a memory, moment or minute with a photograph
-laugh and love
-share the love of Christ
-get away
-have stories to share when I am old and grey

Why do you travel?  Any upcoming trips?

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Cliffs of Dover, Stonehenge and White Horses

Last summer during my trip to England my family and I flew into London Heathrow and from there we loaded up and headed to The Cliffs of Dover and to Dover Castle.  We ate lunch there and spent the afternoon exploring the castle, the grounds and the underground tunnels.  It was a lot of fun to explore and the best part of it was that after a long flight we were able to walk around and stretch our legs.  This was our first introduction into the beauty of England and my first insight into the history of World War 1 from the British side.

After our visit at the castle we went in search of the cliffs and found this beautiful area with a wonderful view of the ocean, cliffs and this light house.  This lighthouse was quite quaint and fun to come across.  It was a great place to explore and we were so happy to have another beautiful day in England.  We had braced ourselves for cold, rainy days and thankfully did not get one until we had been there almost a week.

One of the things that I was most looking forward to in our early days in England was to visit Stonehenge.  I had studied it in school, heard so much about it and had many people tell me to visit it while there.  We made sure to get there first thing in the morning to try and beat the crowds and we were successful in that so we quickly got our tickets and caught a ride out to the henge.

 We got the listening guides and as dorky as they are I was so glad we had them.  They were very useful and informative as we made our way around.  We were so lucky to have another beautiful day and it was absolutely gorgeous.  The beautiful skies were highlighted by the green grass and it was such a wonderful backdrop for Stonehenge.

My parents and I enjoyed walking around and Stonehenge was everything I thought it would be.  Once we finished our tour and exploring we headed back to the visitor center which I was also quite excited to explore because it was fairly new and I had read a lot about it on several design websites (The Arch Daily)and a few architectural magazines.  After all of that hype I must admit I was a bit underwhelmed.  Don't get me wrong, it was a handsome building, but just not quite what I expected.

When we left Stonehenge we went in search of the White Horses and it was so much fun to find them.  The first one we found was quite small is the Cherhill White Horse.  The second we found was the Uffington White Horse and is believe to have been created in 800 BC - AD 100.  It was on this hill while enjoying the beauty and wonderful weather that I had my moment where I searched for Mr. Darcy.  As I was walking with my hair and the grass blowing in the wind I looked for him and looked, but after all that searching he never showed up.

These three outings were from our first three days in England and they were such a great way to start our trip.  We stayed in a different hotel each night, so we were constantly on the move but it was all very worth it as we saw so very much.

See my other posts from England: