Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring's Dance Party

I'm having the whole family over on Easter Sunday for dinner.  It's a little bit daunting, but I really felt impressed to do it.  I've said it before - our house is really tiny.  6 people in our living room constitutes a crowd, and we will have somewhere between 12 and 18 people on Sunday (one brother and his family are still on the fence).  But I'm excited: I have the menu all worked out, and it's a good one.  Lemon caper chicken, scalloped potatoes, green salad, and rolls.  For desert, I'm bringing the bunny cake mold out of hiding, and making a bunny shaped (3D!) glazed lemon pound cake filled with lemon curd and mascarpone cheese, and served with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.  I also plan to make some cupcakes decorated with toasted coconut nests filled with jelly bean eggs.
 I say "plan to" because it's all going to be fluid according to time and it's realities.  But a small miracle has occurred this year, and I've relinquished some control to others to help out and bring some of the food.  My SIL Jill makes a killer green salad, so that will free up lots of time for me.  She's also bringing napkins for dinner, and Easter napkins for the dessert - a small but key detail that I probably would have overlooked until it was too late, so thank goodness for her!  My mother is slicing the strawberries for me, thus saving me another hour (or more) of time.  Ashley is bringing the rolls, so I won't have to worry about those.  The point being, that I've had many many dinners where I couldn't/wouldn't let anyone do anything, insisting on doing everything myself.  And then I'd melt down when it was all too much.  Maybe I've grown up, maybe I've just gotten over needing to do it all, maybe I'm just old and tired.  Whatever, it was lovely to be able to count on my family to be willing to help.  I think it's going to be a fun afternoon.  Plus, I have my not-so-secret weapon: L.  When I start to get wound up, he just steps in and gives me sweet relief.  He's very at home in the kitchen and we are each other's assistant chef.
So the countdown to dinner prep begins.  I'll be getting a few things done tomorrow, with the balance being done Friday night (shopping) and Saturday (prep).  I'd love to say that I plan to color eggs with natural vegetable dyes, but no.... no, I don't see that happening.  And for the first time in years, I'm ok with that.
Yesterday was a quiet work day.  It was sunny and warm outside, so at lunchtime I sat outside and enjoyed the great outdoors on my patio.  I saw one of these fluttering by

and the usual gangs of hummingbirds were flying around.  My next door neighbor has a hummingbird feeder, and I have a big hibiscus bush,

so between our two yards, the hummingbirds keep their tummies full and their wings busy.  All of a sudden I noticed that one rogue hummingbird was dive bombing me. He did it about 3 times in a row, coming within about 5 feet of me.  I looked all around, but saw no nest anywhere.  Maybe I was too close to his food?  A hawk flew over head, and so I thought for a few minutes he was just warning the others of the danger.  But no - in a few minutes he was back to diving bombing me and giving me his tiny stink eye a couple more times.

Again, this morning when I stepped outside, I heard so many birds singing and fluttering about in the trees.  Small finches, and millions of hummingbirds.  We have a hillside full of pepper trees, and the little birds just love those trees.  Anyway, I tried so hard to get a picture of one, but I don't have a zoom lens, and frankly, I don't have the skill.  This was the best I could do:

Before I lived here, I'd never seen hummingbirds just sitting still. EVER.  But they do it all the time.  Such pretty little birds.
Then I started noticing what else was going on around my little kingdom.  The orange tree is starting to bloom and has little baby oranges starting up.

There's the aforementioned hibiscus bush in full bloom, attracting birds and butterflies alike

The sweet potato vine is starting to bloom again after a rough winter (of being ignored, with 
not enough water *sad face*)

On the front porch, the pot of Kalanchoe is blooming crazily

And while walking from back patio to front porch I noticed how truly beautiful red and white
geraniums can look in a sunny window box. (Pay no attention to the dirty windows.)

Spring is abundant and joyous.  It's having a dance party in my yard.  This afternoon I need to get out and sweep the patio - clean it up for this weekend's Easter soiree.  It's a little neglected looking after the wind and rain we've recently had.  And so, as nature refreshes and renews, so do we.  We clean patios, trim plants, pull weeds, and scrub the winter debris off of the patio furniture.  We prepare to gather with family and friends.  I'm missing my grandmother this year - she who could whip a meal up out of nothing, and who never said no to traveling.  She loved family parties and gatherings of any kind, so I'll try to do her proud.  Because somehow, I think she'll be close, watching out for us girls still learning the dance.  


  1. I so LOVE every visit to your blog, and I would love to enjoy that Easter meal with you because it sound delicious! I am luxuriating in your beautiful pics. Thank you for sharing such goodness with us!

  2. I love what you said about your Grandma and no doubt she'll be doing the dance with you!
    Your family Easter sounds wonderful, your menu mouthwatering. Any chance you would want to share your chicken recipe?
    It is nice to share the work - I think it brings people closer and I love that L is your secret weapon!

    Your spring pictures are so so pretty - I hope I get to see some spring here soon! We went to Florida where it was already summer and came back and it is still winter - Gahhhhhh!

  3. There's obviously a lot of Grandma in your heart and you do her honor as you gather your family around for Easter. I think allowing others to bring items for the dinner helps everyone to fill included. It's gonna be GREAT!! And that dessert sounds like pure Heaven!

  4. I am like you that I used to do it all by myself. I didn't want to bother anyone. Then I discovered that it brings people together more when you ask them to help out. Enjoy your week of getting ready. I hope it isn't too stressful. Sounds like you have a plan in place!

  5. A great, wise and wonderful friend of mine once wrote, "The trouble with trouble is... it starts out as fun." I would like to suggest that the funny thing about fun is... it starts out as trouble. I am referring to all of the time, work and stress involved in hosting a large dinner party. You gave your loved ones a gift by allowing them to participate and take some of the pressure off. People feel better about themselves when you let them know that they are needed. They step up, rise to it and everybody wins.

    Your property looks beautiful. I can almost hear the cheery chirping of all your bird friends. Apparently one little guy is still making up his mind about you. Maybe he'd change his tune if I tweeted him and extolled your virtues or if he heard me singing your praises. Stop and smell the roses, dear friend karen. You'll discover them here, there and everywhere.

  6. I'm so happy you're going to let yourself enjoy dinner by letting people help. You are so wise!

  7. Your Easter feast sounds wonderful. I'm sure you will do Grandma proud. Mine could make a meal to feed an army effortlessly also. Me, its chaos - It is safer for people to stay out of my kitchen.

  8. Your yard sounds amazing! I love the hummers that visit us. I'm trying to get more to come by with new feeders this year. My in-laws always had a ton of them and many times I saw them just sitting still. So fun! We won't have any for a bit since it's still cold here...trying to warm up a bit. We had a quick warming trend then bam!...frost and cold. I'm hosting dinner too and I think we should all just come to your place where it's sunny and warm! You're smart to let others help and it makes them feel good to do it. I'll bring my lamb pound cake!

  9. It sounds as if you will be haveing an extra special great dinner this Sunday. I am so happy that you will be having lots of your family over for the affair. Glad to that you are letting others help you this year as I know it can be exhausting when you do it all by yourself.

    I also loved seeing your beautiful flowers. Yes, spring is surely here and summer is not far behind. I am so glad as even though it doesn't get very cold here, I am still happy when the warm weather comes. Crazy, aren't I?

  10. No matter how many years its been since I lost my Grandmothers I miss them so very much. Your holiday family feast sounds wonderful. I used to be like that...having to hold onto ALL of it. I've relinquished the strings and am enjoying the holidays more because of it. I think it's just coming into our own and knowing we could but don't need to anymore to validate ourselves. Or not. Maybe I'm just plain ole worn out,lol!
    Have a great time and I'm so happy to be back among my blogging friends!

  11. Love your spring photos and wish I could be a guest at your Easter dinner!

    (I do have a strong feeling your grandmother will be around...)


  12. I love your Easter plans. Makes me almost want to cook too but I think I'll hold off just for a while. My parents will visit the following week so I'm sure more family memories will be made.

    I saw a hummingbird in my garden yesterday too! Sweet little things.

    Karen thank you for your kind comments. They touched my hurting heart.


  13. Your Easter meal sounds delish! I have been trying to decide what i want to make. I may steal some of your ideas here. :)

    Spring is so magical. I love all your gorgeous pics of flowers.

    I want some of your bunny cake! :)

  14. I wish I could come to your Easter dinner too! I know it will be lovely!

    p.s. Karen, the pictures are GORGEOUS!

  15. beautiful pictures!!
    have fun at dinner..i am having dinner here too...I always have it at my house...no one has the courage to invite 11 of us! but I started accepting help last thanksgiving..it was wonderful!! a side dish, a dessert, rolls...little things were big!!!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
    Happy Easter!

  16. What a wonderful menu - and a wonderful "you" to plan, cook, and share all this.

    Have a blessed Easter week.


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