Thursday, May 29, 2014

~All Stars~

Proud of our boys as they both were chosen to represent their school (for 6th and 8th grades) at the All Star District Track Meet tonight. They both worked hard and the Oldest even came home with a ribbon.

Best part of the night? Hearing the Oldest love and encourage his younger brother who was feeling down over his own performance. Those words he spoke were far greater than any ribbon he could ever bring home.

Sometimes I just love being their Mama. Tonight for sure.

Monday, May 19, 2014

~Elk Rock Garden~

Yesterday was a stormy, dark, spring day- thunder, hail and rain in torrents that ripped most of my rose blossoms from their stems. :(

So I'm looking back a bit to last Sunday, when the sun was warm and gentle and blossoms were opening everywhere you set your eyes.

Not only was the weather in the range of 'ideal' and 'perfect', but as it happened to be Mother's Day, it also ended up partly being spent in a garden: 
Specifically, Elk Rock Garden
an open-to-the-public garden tucked away on a hillside along the Willamette River in Portland. We had discovered it just last year and I had been longing to go back.

Last Sunday was my chance.

So go get comfy . . . perhaps grab your gardening journal to jot down some ideas, because this garden has all sorts of gems!

For instance-
This gorgeous canopy of wisteria holds a secret . . .

a bench tucked away inside! Complete with a moss and fern covered stone wall. And even three men willing to pose for my camera- proof positive that it was indeed Mother's Day. ;)

 I can't begin to describe how fragrant this little hideaway was . . . or how peaceful you feel tucked away in a refuge drenched with dangling blossoms.

This is your view just looking up!

For me, this is beauty. I see God here.

And that's just the beginning . . . there are pathways to explore. Some leading down; some stair-like winding up. There is so much to see!

 From above you find a commanding view of the main house.

And, another spot to pause and mark the moment. 
(Only on Mother's Day)

We meander on until we reach the Willamette below.

Everything looks so blue from up here.

Further in, you come upon a wooden bridge dress up with white wisteria. A lazy creek goes underneath. Fairytale stuff right here!

 We had to decide to either go across or go around. 
As I was already going around just to capture the bridge, we continued on and found the head of the creek and a bench to enjoy it on. Such a pretty spot and all overshadowed by a huge rhododendron in bloom.

Our bench view . . . yes, there seems to be a bit of a take-over by the vegetation, don't you think?

Upward and onward . . . we can't linger too long with antsy young men- even if it is Mother's Day.

As we went along, I paused as I could for some close ups . . .

I thought this bush was amazing- it has mottled pink and green leaves. Pink leaves! I was pretty impressed, but quickly found I was alone in my enthusiasm. 

It was apparent that the troops were barely hanging in there, so they hit some greenspace while I wandered on.

I loved this trellised area- talk about the perfect canopy to dine under! I would love to do this in my own garden.

Lush plantings in dappled sunlight.

 Stepping stones leading. . .

to sun sprayed trees- can you feel the magic?

I found this stone 'staircase' very appealing. Doesn't it just make you curious as to what's around the bend?

And in fact, it leads you right by this simple beauty. An old pipe, rocks and plenty of moss. Just add water and instant water feature. Okay, there's probably a pump somewhere in there, too. ;)

I hope you enjoyed reliving my Mother's Day Meandering with me. 
It really is a special place- full of serenity, and I've been just busting with inspiration for my own garden! . . . 

Now I need to go back in the summer and see what's blooming then!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

~This Week and the Perfect Mother's Day Cake~

Around the house . . .

In the Garden . . .

And in the kitchen . . .

~Blackberry Cake~

1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
powder sugar for sprinkling

Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan with removable rim.

In a mixer bowl combine sugar and butter chunks. Slowly beat to combine and then beat on high speed for about 3 minutes.

Add flour, baking powder, and eggs.
Stir to combine, then beat on high speed until the batter is stiff and well blended, about 2 minutes.

Scrape batter into cake pan and spread smooth.

Scatter berries on top (you can add more than a cup- I did)
and sprinkle a little extra sugar on them.

Bake in center rack of oven at 350 until cake begins to pull away from the pan, about 55 to 60 minutes.

Run a knife around edge of pan rim. Let cool at least 10 minutes. Remove pan rim, dust cake with powder sugar and cut into wedges.
This is SO good still warm from the oven!

Have a lovely weekend and Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

~Whimsy Weekend~

The Husband is gone for the weekend up North for a special family event . . . meaning? 
I sorta have the weekend to myself.
Yeah, the boys are still here, but at 12 and 14 they kinda aren't all at the same time. They've got their own things going, and for me? Well, the clouds have rolled in and garden work is on hold.

So for now I'm takin' it for what it is . . . a Whimsy Weekend.
No plans- and no car, 'cause The Husband took our only working one. 
Just home to putter about as I please. :)

So far . . . I've gone on a walk, and explored a nearby rose garden I didn't even know existed. 
Got home just before the rain.
I watched an old home video of my boys from 7 yrs ago. Gosh, they were little!
I showered and tried out my new, two-dollar aqua eyeliner (The Youngest wasn't too keen).
I watered my neglected houseplants and filled in the May calendar.
I drank lots of coffee. :)

 And for this rainy afternoon . . . ? Kitchen cleaning and scone baking? Purging and organizing? Perhaps it's time to pack away the Easter decorations? Or clean out the Oldest's closet! Or do some feltie stitching? And I could really use a pedicure!
Who knows what way the weekend will go? 
Hope yours is full of whimsy as well!