Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fabulous Friday...

Who knew a month ago when I planned a road trip with friends, it would be so desperately needed! Yesterday I spent the day with my dear friends Mary and Merry...and what a true blessing it was...we had a wonderful time. We started out first thing in the morning and headed to the Amana Colonies to visit Heritage Designs Quilting and Needlework Shop...then had lunch at the Ox Yoke Inn and visited the General Store. We make the trip to the Amanas at least once a year...but this time, we cut our stay a bit short, as there were multiple buses in the area and most shops and restaurants were over-crowded and uncomfortable. We did find some fun stitching/quilting stash...and I picked up some fresh-baked cinnamon swirl bread (YUMMY) and some Blazin' Habanero Salsa (one of my favorites!).

We then headed to Pella (via a CRAZY detour that gave us a VERY scenic look at rural Iowa)...a small Iowa city with amazing Dutch heritage (founded in 1847 by 800 Dutch immigrants)...although Pella is home to several large manufacturing companies, it has the look and feel of a small town - adorned with tulips, windmills, and an adorable town square with fabulous small shops and Dutch specialities. Of course we went to Vande Lune Fabrics (a great quilt shop)...then we were off to the Jaarsma Bakery - where I picked up the most delicious cinnamon coffee cake and of course, a box of Dutch Letters. After the bakery, we walked some of the square and visited several small shops...and even stopped at Smokey Row for a few beverages (I had a yummy raspberry smoothie)...

I also have to share this fabulous gift basket my friend Merry brought me...filled with her special homemade jellies and spreads! Oh my goodness - she REALLY outdid herself (as you can see by the photo below)...and she packaged it all in a cute patriotic basket with a red, white, and blue kitchen towel...I am still blown away. I've mentioned to you before that she is a marvelous cook and I am sure each of these jellies is going to be a special treat...especially the Jalapeno Jelly (because I love spicy). Wait until you hear the list of spreads included...(bottom row L to R) Raspberry Soft Fruit Spread, Jalapeno Jelly, Orchard Tea Jelly...(middle row) Oregano Blossom Jelly and Lemon Thyme Moscato Wine Jelly...(top row) Thai Basil Jelly and Chamomille Tea incredibly amazing is that list?! Also included in the basket were recipe cards, a refrigerator magnet, and an adorable package of Swankie Hankies! Thank you Merry, from the bottom of my heart - I am overwhelmed by your kindness! If you would like to read more about Merry and all her kitchen and sewing adventures, be sure to visit her blog "A Farm In My Heart", where she shares her latest endeavors and even some of her recipes!

And finally, an update on the house...the bathroom is 2/3 remodeled and most of the new tile is in has been a dirty and dusty job and I can't wait for it to be finished early next week...I took some "before" photos and I will share them with you when the work is complete....the good news is, it really is looking GREAT! Today, the mini skid loader is currently in action and dirt is being moved, along with the retaining wall being built....and I thought the bathroom job was messy....sheesh...our driveway is completely covered with 60 retaining wall blocks, 60 retaining wall caps, 3 tons of river rock, and 1 ton of road gravel for this husband and his landscaping friend started at 7:00 AM and it will be an all day job - they are hoping to finish up today, as rain is in the forecast again tomorrow. Looks like I will be visiting the local nursery for bags of grass seed and mulch to repair my lawn. Photos will be forthcoming of this landscaping project, as well. I would be a total "basket case" at this moment, but my trip with friends yesterday really helped calm me. Now, if I can just stay focused with all the commotion and get my work done this usual, I have a LONG to-do list...

A happy weekend to all...I hope you make time to do something you love...


  1. What a nice story about pella. The Dutch where very adventurous in the past. We even owned Manhattan one day!

    Greetings from Debby,
    the Netherlands

  2. It sounded like your road trip was just what "the doctor ordered"! Glad you had a fabulous time! Thanks for providing the links; very enjoyable reading!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Belinda!


  3. Road trips with friends always upright an upside down world. Sounds like you had a great weekend

  4. Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for the link. Merry's recipes look tasty and easy.

  5. What a wonderful road trip you had! A great stress reliever for you. What a lovely gift from your friend too. Thanks for sharing the link.

  6. What special friends you have! I checked out Merry's blog too. How fun to have gourmet jelly from a friend. I'm looking forward to seeing your construction photos!
    PS Sorry it took so long for me to comment. I keep forgetting that if I sneak a look at your blog at work, the government system won't let me leave a comment. I have to go back when I get home and sometimes I forget!