Baking and Painting

My back and legs are feeling the strain of the last few days. I have been painting.  The wainscoting in our playroom now has a coat of white primer.  My coffee center in the kitchen has a coat of white primer and my shelves are getting ready to be stained.  The stair banister has a coat of white primer as does the french door going to the dining room.   Little pinkish spots of terra cotta that were bleeding through the gray paint in the hallway have been painted over.  Yes, I have been painting.

Nothing makes a change in a room like paint. The room looks fresher and cleaner.  A painted room means something was accomplished.  Something or some things can be crossed off my list.  However, this was just the primer.  More painting ahead.

On Friday I took a break from all this painting and made Pumpkin Bread, which was delicious.  Everyone has their own favorite recipes and this was one I hadn’t made before.


Pumpkin Bread Recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T water
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup raisins (I used dried cranberries)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Turn into 2 greased 8 x 5 loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

I added a pinch of ground cloves just because I love the smell.



I also started a new Sourdough Starter.  I had gotten busy and didn’t feed the last one in time and it went flat.  Easy enough to start a new one which is what I love about my recipe.


Sophie and Conley were in Raleigh yesterday participating in the Autism Walk which is something they commit to every year.  The Greensboro  Alzheimer’s walk is this coming Saturday. Our team is growing and we are all excited about the opportunity to honor my mother in this way. There are so many great causes.  Pick one and dedicate yourself to it.

Family dinner will be a little different this afternoon.  My kitchen is torn up so we are getting pizza and eating at Zac and Sarah’s.  He has a hockey game tonight and we are going to watch him play.  Taz and Breezy will be there to cheer for their daddy and that will be fun to see too.

Enough of a break – I need to iron curtains and put them up.  Have a great rest of your Sunday!




Russian Tea

When I first moved to North Carolina in 1980 I was totally oblivious to southern traditions and customs and recipes.  All my life I lived in New York with German parents who came over in the 1950’s.  Moving to the south was like moving to a different country, and I struggled with everything.  Where was the corner deli with the hero sandwiches? I missed my bagel with butter for breakfast, Italian ices in the summer and creamy hot chocolates or cappuccinos in the winter. I was lost.

The weather turned cooler (below 70) and everyone began to talk about Russian Tea.  I was not a tea drinker so it held no interest for me.  However, once I smelled its spicy smell and tasted it I was hooked.  I make batches of it beginning in October and give away mason jars with the mixture every year at Christmas.

Russian Tea Recipe

  • 1/2 cup Tang
  • 1/2 cup Instant Tea
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 3 T. presweetened lemonade mix
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • (I usually double or triple this recipe)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and store in a jar with an airtight lid.  Add 2 tsp (or more to taste) per cup for hot tea.

Sophie already put her order in for a jar – its sitting here waiting for you….





Book Club


Our family made its own little book club – there are usually 5 or 6 of us reading the same book at any given time.  We choose our books based on dates of birth – Sophie is first because she is born in February, Sarah is a July baby and so on.  We had always skyped our end of book discussion which was difficult sometimes with everyone’s crazy schedule.  Tiffany lives in Oklahoma now so there is a time change and Gloria works Saturdays so we really struggle to skype our meeting. The last several books we read we did a text meeting – the facilitator would put up the question and we would text the answer based on our feelings on the book.

We have read some great ones that we loved like The Time Traveler’s Wife, Tuesdays with Morrie and The Book Thief.   I loved Girl on a Train and A Man Called Ove.  We all struggled with Wuthering Heights.  Sorry Tiffany!

Our latest book is Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah.  We have really dropped the ball on this one. School started, everyone got busy and after about 2 months we are still not finished.  Sarah returned her copy to the library unfinished.  Gloria bought her copy and is determined to read it and I am on chapter 14. These young girls with their busy lives are beginning to cramp my style – I need to connect with people while reading.

I just heard about a Global Book Club.  Its called Big Library Read.  This program is facilitated by Overdrive, and is a reading program through the library.  Readers throughout the world  can read the same eBook at the same time without any wait lists or holds.

I went to the Archdale Library because I just could not figure out how to get this eBook onto my I phone  – (I am of the typewriter generation – it takes me longer). Matt Shaw, Library Manager, and Rebecca Fleming, Asst. Manager explained the program to me and actually downloaded the Overdrive  app onto my phone for me and set me up.

The book beginning October 12 is The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti.  The website is where you will get a glimpse of the book, and an interview with the author. There is also a Discussion Guide and Author Letter available.  I also love the idea of downloading a book for 21 days and not having to drive to the library or buy another book.

What kind of books do you like to read?

September Give Away

The first Passion Flower Farm Give Away winners are:

Ellen Dale, Lancaster, SC

Joan Brady, Fort Mill, SC

Our third winner has not responded to me yet.  The email address begins rlarue…….  Please email your contact information  to so that I can send you your cloths. Continue reading

Chalk Paint is Wonderful!

Steve and I built some of our own furniture when we first were married. We built a sofa out of framing lumber and a twin mattress, a breakfast nook table out of a barrel and a hutch for the dining room. This hutch eventually was crackle painted and put in our kitchen. Remember crackle paint? Continue reading

September Give Away

Three winners have been chosen for my September give away! I am in the process of contacting these winners and will announce their names once they have given me permission.

I am working hard on an October give away. Details will be coming soon!

Thanks again for reading.


One Year Ago…an Alzheimer’s Story Begins

My dad and I were remembering my mother today. Last year at this time he called me and told me I needed to come because she was not doing well. I took a week off from work and drove up the last week of September.  She wasn’t doing well but immediately knew who I was. Her speech was severely affected. She couldn’t remember words and had trouble being understood. She had begun sundowning – wandering and becoming agitated in the evenings. Little did we know how mild this was compared to what we would experience. Continue reading