Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Surprise Birthday Weekend

It all started with a phone call last Friday morning from one of my sisters, the one who lives just two hours away.  She said she was in town to visit her son and his wife, but they were tied up for lunch, so why didn't we have lunch together?  Of course, I agreed, left work, and we met at our favorite Tex-Mex place.  We ordered and began visiting over our fajitas, when I noticed people standing by our table.  I looked up, and it was our other sister from Nashville and my daughter from Houston!  To say I was stunned is an understatement.  I was totally gobsmacked, and I think my daughter feared for a bit that I might have a heart attack!  It was definitely one of those "this does not compute" moments. 

The three of them had apparently been plotting for MONTHS to pull off a surprise birthday weekend, and they certainly succeeded!  My husband was in on the scheme, as were my boss and our office manager.  Yes, it was quite a web of deceit they spun!  My birthday isn't for a couple of weeks, so I wasn't suspecting anything.  However, I should also point out that I am extremely gullible. . . .

After lunch, I dashed home to throw a few things in a suitcase and we took off for Fredericksburg in the Texas hill country.  They had rented a B&B in the country that turned out to be the perfect getaway.  The 1920s farmhouse was lovely and well-stocked with breakfast goodies -- plus it had a hot tub on the back deck.  My daughter had brought appetizers and wine, which we enjoyed outside, and she also whipped up a quick pasta dish for dinner, so we didn't have to go anywhere.  It was a wonderful evening, with lots of laughter. 

My sisters presented me with some darling turquoise boots that I had had my eye on after buying a pair in cognac last year.  Apparently, my husband had QUITE a time locating the existing boots in order to find the right size to order, but he finally found them buried in the out-of-season closet.  (It's still hot here in Texas.)  I can't wait for the rain to stop so I can wear the new boots! 

Saturday morning we broke our fast with some divine chocolate croissants that my Nashville sister brought frozen and let rise overnight.  We shopped in the fun shops on Fredericksburg's main street in the morning, then had a great lunch at El Milagro.  If you ever go, don't miss their amazing mini pies!

After lunch we stopped at a produce stand to buy pumpkins, then visited some of the area wineries for wine tasting.  That was fun, and we enjoyed learning more about the area from the servers.  Who knew grapes could grow in Texas??  Two of the wineries had live music, and the last one we visited had a lovely big deck with an amazing view of the hill country. 

Here I am (on the right) with my two sisters.  
For dinner that night, we went to the Cabernet Grill, which I also highly recommend.  Don't miss their three-cheese grits as a side dish!  Sunday morning it was time to head home, but not before my daughter served her made-from-scratch biscuits and fluffy scrambled eggs. 

It was a wonderful weekend from start to finish, and I felt well-loved and well-celebrated!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Brown + White = Autumn Delight

When Kathleen of Cuisine Kathleen challenged us to set a table with ONLY white dishes plus one other color for linens and other elements, I knew I was in trouble.  You see, the only white dishes I own are plain dinner plates from Pier 1.  No salad plates, no bowls, no serving pieces, nada.  I love color and pattern, and all my other dishes reflect that preference.  But!  I was determined to join Kathleen's Let's Dish party this week, so here goes.

I thought about colors that would work with white dishes for a fall table, and I finally settled on brown.  Brown sounds dull and boring -- or should I say dull and dutiful?  I pulled out some white placemats with a brown border and brown napkins and tried those with the white plates, adding my silver flatware and clear glasses.  Not very exciting, huh? I did wish briefly that I had some lovely brown stemware in my collection, but quickly remembered that I do not want to find storage for any more glasses!
So, I remembered some open-weave brown placemats that my sister gave me and added those to the mix.  Better!
I knew I wanted to add white pumpkins, and a surprise trip to Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country over the weekend yielded a big one and several mini ones from a well-stocked produce stand.  I should have taken a photo of all the wonderful varieties they had for sale.  A mini pumpkin perked up the placesetting a bit more.
Finally, I pulled out two etched hurricanes and poured coffee beans into them, adding white pillar candles.
The large white pumpkin completed the centerpiece, and here is the result.
I rarely set a table without flowers, so I also tried a jug of white hydrangeas in place of the pumpkin. 
 Which look do you prefer?
Although I like the big white pumpkin, I think I prefer the jug of hydrangeas.  The fluffy flowers add a little additional texture.  Thank you for visiting my table this week!  Be sure to check out the other tables set for the White Dish Challenge at Cuisine Kathleen!