Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Tea Trolley: Tina's Traditional Old English Kitchen

A week or so ago my mom and I got to go out to lunch at a new tearoom in our area: Tina's Traditional Old English Kitchen.

We had a lovely time and highly recommend this tearoom to you! Tina is genuine English (real accent to prove it!) and knows her stuff! She has had many years of experience baking traditional British baked goods (sausage rolls, scones, meat pies, cakes, etc.).

We each ordered a salad and tea. I enjoyed the Coronation Chicken Salad and the Decaf Ginger Peach. Notice the tea cozy! Tina knows the importance of not only good tea but hot tea!

 Tina has her own tea specially blended for the shop. We both loved the 1776 Blend which has a hint of maple in its Ceylon and Assam base.

I am happy to report that Tina has gluten free (and other allergy-free) baked goods! She had about three options to offer me, including this scone.

It was fun to see the British Royals decorating the tearoom.

The baked goods offerings:

I love this tea counter!!!! Wouldn't mind having this in my house!!! See all those gorgeous loose leaf teas on the counter?!

Here's a bit of an overview of the tearoom.

Mom and I highly recommend this tearoom to you! If you are in the area, stop in for a pot of tea! (My advice: order the large pot of tea!)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mondays are for Grace

"Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer 
is too small to be made into a burden."

-- Corrie ten Boom 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Scotland: Culzean Castle

Perhaps now that I am on summer break I can finish up my Scotland posts!

Andrew celebrated his 11th birthday about ten days after we arrived in Scotland (August 31, 2013). We started the day with a special breakfast and some presents.

 Then we headed southwest to Culzean Castle to a military reenactment, which seemed an appropriate activity for a boy's birthday!

Here are the World War I soldiers:

 The weather that day was gorgeous!

Then we talked with a man from the Napoleonic Wars.

After that the World War I soldiers wanted to dress the boys up in uniform! 

Absolutely too cute!!! (Their jeans were rolled up under the kilts!! ha ha!)

Perfect outfit for a few birthday photos. :)

Moving along we came to the Vietnam War and this soldier was re-enacting an American unit! Now that was something to get our heads around -- a British person faking an American accent and pretending to be American -- normally I find it the other way around.

Andrew wasn't going to turn down another chance for some military dress!

Or pretending to use real weapons!

I had to grab a picture of the outdoor kitchen.

My favorite part was the World War II tea tent where they were really serving the re-enactors. (This is what I would want to do if I was a re-enactor!)

It was fun to see equipment and personnel in "real life" that I often read about in books.

Sometime in the afternoon we made our way over to the castle itself.

Such a beautiful setting! Of course, no pictures are allowed inside the castle so this is all we get!

The castle is built right on the cliffs above the water of the Atlantic Ocean.

The front entrance with a view toward the stables:

More of the outer buildings which contained a used bookstore, gift shop, and cafeteria:

Just look at all that beautiful plaid/tartan wool!

And aren't these tea cozies fun?!!

I chose one of their enormous scones for my tea-time treat.

The birthday boy (who, incidentally, was born in Scotland) was patriotic and chose Irn Bru.

I can hardly stand looking at all the sugar David must have been ingesting between a flake cupcake and Irn Bru!

One of my most favorite things in life: afternoon tea with my husband.

However, all this touring and taking of tea took a lot of time and when we headed over to the walled gardens this is what we found:

The gardens closed at 5 p.m. and I think it was 5:10 p.m. Heartbreak! Because look how gorgeous they are!!! It took me awhile to accept the fact that I wasn't going in.

What beauty!

That meant we could head to the play park. Culzean Castle and Country Park, as it is known, is a huge tract of land and everything is spread out.

Zip lines were in play parks all over Scotland and the kids loved them.

Early evening meant time to head home, enjoying the country towns and landscape as we went.

I never tire of this type of architecture.

And just look at the colors in this "painting": grays, blues, greens of every shade. So peaceful and restful.

And that was our visit to Culzean Castle!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mondays are for Grace

"Rest is not idleness, 
and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, 
listening to the murmur of the water, 
or watching the clouds float across the sky, 
is by no means a waste of time."

-- John Lubbock

Thursday, June 18, 2015

North Carolina Part Two

Now that Michael is home I have the remaining pictures from our time in North Carolina!

Here's the best picture I have of Emily, Christina, and me from the wedding. 

I think the highlight of the boys' weekend was driving the golf carts!!

 It was so fun to get to know Aunt Georgie's side of the family since we had never met (they are from England). Here is Christina chatting with Jeannie and Terry.

 I had a lot of fun getting to know Aunt Georgie's niece, Emma, who flew in from Japan for the wedding.

 The sunset brought a beautiful glow to the reception. Some of my favorite photos from the wedding photographer were of the bridal party twirling on the lawn in front of the grapevines in the setting sun. It was magical!

Laura and Lia are off to a good start on getting to know each other. When I was young we spent a good bit of time with our second cousins so I knew them quite well. Hopefully these girls will have the same chance in the future.

Sparklers made a beautiful send off for the bride and groom.

It was a lovely ending to a near perfect day!

It was fun for us to stay as a family at the wedding hotel. The kids loved the free breakfast in the mornings!!! They even had gluten-free muffins!

After church on Sunday we headed south to visit Michael's sister and her family. More cousins for the kids!!!

Everyone was interested in art!

Rachel had the added luxury of being able to stay the whole week and come home later with Michael.

I love this picture of Laura and Niko with mouths opposite. Ha ha!
Coincidentally, or should we say, providentially, Michael needed to be in North Carolina, not ten minutes from my aunt and uncle's house on Monday. I'm afraid I couldn't resist the chance to invite myself over for a quick little visit to see their new home. They only had six weeks to settle before the wedding but they managed to do SO much in that time.

I kept thinking of Rydal Mount, William Wordsworth's home in the Lake District, as we walked around Uncle Bob and Aunt Georgie's new place -- it must have been the dripping rain, the closeness to nature, the perfectness of the place for writing, the stone walkways, and the escape from hecticness that characterizes this place.

Included in the grounds are two guest cabins. How fun is that?!

I would love to have guest cabins! Think of the possibilities! Of course, I would probably find myself living in the guest cabin because I'm always looking for little hideaways.

My pictures don't capture the adorableness of these cabins. They were right out of the British Country Living magazine -- there were black and white tiled vintage kitchens, screened porches, fireplaces, sunny windows with round tables and flowers, hutches filled with china. Definitely the makings for many memories.

Aunt Georgie insisted we had time for a cup of tea -- earl grey of course! Aunt Georgie is the one who introduced me to early grey (loose leaf too!).

And Uncle Bob served up his secret lemon and ginger drink. Oh it is so good! If you like ginger beer (that is a soda, not a beer), you will LOVE this!!!!

 The next day I set out with the four younger children to head back to Indiana. First stop was Aunt Deb's house to pick up my mom. (And a few plants from Aunt Deb's garden.)

Aunt Deb's house was filled with family art. It was so fun to walk around and discover it all. Here is a painting by my maternal grandmother.

In the bathroom was this early acrylic of mom's which Aunt Deb rescued when mom wanted to throw it out.

And this one Aunt Deb did herself -- of somewhere in Scotland or Ireland.

On the way to the basement were a few wall hangings mom did before she had us. Funny how things come around again and now I do this kind of stuff with wool.

Meanwhile the boys were getting hooked on drums in Uncle Greg's studio.

On our way again we decided to take a bathroom break in Biltmore Village where even the McDonald's looks regal! (It included a grand piano.)

Somehow our middle-sized drive stretched into a total of 15 hours from leaving Auntie Cole's in the morning! Yikes! We did break it up a bit by stopping for dinner at IKEA so mom could be introduced to this phenomena. I hadn't been there myself in ten years! We were pleasantly surprised to discover dinner for kids is free on Tuesday! Nice!

We made it home in one piece and we all agreed it was a fantastic trip!!!