Summer Boat Ride … plus Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Recipe

~ Trenda

At the top of our list of “summer chores” is getting our pontoon boat “sea worthy” and all cleaned up for the boating season.  Richard got out the power washer and surprisingly, only found 1 duck egg laying, like a prize on top of our boat cover! (:  After the cushions were sparkling and everything was wiped down, we loaded up the boat and headed “over the bounding main.” Climb aboard, put on your sunglasses and come with us!  We’ve got our Captain, First Mate (our darling grand daughter!) and myself … and we’ve got room for plenty more!  I’ve even packed a summer-y snack!  Let the wind blow through your hair and sweep your worries away for a little while!

 

 First stop … a protected cove where we can enjoy our snacks while “bobbing” gently on the water.  The warmth of the sun and the rocking motion of the boat dissuades any thoughts of worry!

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Look at my “new” picnic hamper!  I love it and found at one of our favorite antique shops!  I was thrilled when I saw it just waiting on the shelf for me!  I don’t think it’s ever been used!  It’s loaded with picnic style plates, cutlery, and plastic stemware and the bottom of the picnic basket is an insulated, zippered ice chest!

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I just had time to grab some quick “fix-in’s” before heading out to the boat.  A little wicker boat holds seasoned crackers for dipping into a creamy pimiento cheese spread.

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 I always love using my favorite wooden “Lake” serving board and it looks perfect for our lakeside picnic with a little oar spreader!

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A miniature creel fishing basket is filled with a Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack that is easy to “throw” together and is a great energy snack!  I tucked a tartan colored napkin in our little creel, then filled it with trail mix and added a fun scoop!

Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack:

  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup sunflower hearts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cheese flavored “Whale” or “Fish” crackers (always a cute addition for lakeside snacks!)
  • 1 cup M&M’s

This recipe makes a big batch so I mix all my ingredients together in a large, air-tight container, to help keep it fresh.

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Okay, brush the crumbs from your lap, pick the seat you want to “lounge in” and settle back.  We’re taking off for some sight seeing!

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We love the rock jetty in front of this house!  The stone wall creates a private swimming area and the sandy beach beyond is strewn with grass covered umbrellas!

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Look at this massive labyrinth; it’s a homeowner’s private boat dock and party area!  If you look to the left and up the slight incline, there is another similar structure that is a playground for some lucky kids! (: 

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White Adirondack chairs are set out in anticipation of viewing beautiful summer sunsets!

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Charming stone boat house and little log cabin!

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Aww … I love his sweet smile and this picture I snapped of our cute Captain! ❤

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And … the darling First Mate with her sunshine-y smile that melts Grandma’s heart!

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The twilight shadows are changing from pinks to deep blues and purple and our flag almost glows in the fading light, as we head home.

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Another beautiful sunset on the lake.

Back home, the boat is docked and with picnic hamper and wet towels in hand, we disembark … and watch the beautiful twilight curtain descend upon the lake.  Hope you enjoyed our cruise! (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Spring Comes Early to Cedar Creek Lake

~ Trenda

“Adorably lovely Robins” petaled tulip cups, white blossomed splays of Bridal Wreath, deep violet blooms flocking Redbud trees, lovely Hyacinths, Lady Banks Roses spilling over onto our lawn, and delicate white bells of Lily of the Valley.  The list I started in my last blog of spring harbingers continues to lengthen as Spring here on Cedar Creek Lake appears to be in full bloom!  Would you like to take a tour around our neighborhood and see all the spring beauty? Hop on our golf cart and let’s go!  No need for jackets, it’s 80 degrees here, on this last day of February.  (:

“Deep violet blooms flocking Redbud trees” … this beautiful tree is our own and drapes over our side gate.

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This gorgeous white rosebush, the Lady Banks Rose is seen less often then the variety with yellow roses.  My white Lady Banks is a cherished birthday present that Richard gave me a number of years ago and is … “spilling over onto our lawn.”

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And one last sighting before we pull out of our driveway … this striking Chinese Fringe Plant or Loropetalum.  We have quite a few of these beautiful evergreen bushes in our front and backyard and love the color of their foliage, their fragrance and the color of their fringe-y flowers.  Interesting Note:  Some of these bushes in their natural habitats … China, Japan, and the Himalayas are over 100 years old and over 35 feet tall!

chinese-fringeAll right, we’re off!  First stop … The Secret Garden.  The first time our daughter saw this forgotten garden she was only 9 years old.  In excitement she breathlessly told me, “Mommy, I found the Secret Garden!” (:  We’ve called it “The Secret Garden” ever since.    These yellow roses rambling over a beautiful wrought iron fence are the more common variety of the Lady Banks Rose … and still reflect the hands that once planted and cared for them.

img_0770  Gorgeous grape-like clusters of Wisteria dangle from the tangled vines within “The Secret Garden.”
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No time to dally, the sun is already beginning it’s descent!  Look at this darling little stream surrounded by “Easter grass” and a sprinkling of white wildflowers.  It’s just the right size for a Daddy and Mama Mallard Duck we’ve seen paddling about in their own private wading pool!  Spring cuteness!  (:

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I felt like I had been given a gift when I “captured” this shaft of sunlight peeking through the tangle of this thick wild Carolina Jasmine.

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Look what I saw as our golf cart whizzed by!  Lily of the Valley, also known as Muguet du Bois … one of my favorite little flowers with their dainty cups that look like they came straight from fairyland!  I also love this enchanting flower because of the scripture in Song of Solomon 2:1 that says … “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.”  Another interesting fact:  It is tradition in France on May 1st, May Day, to offer a sprig of Lily-of-the-Valley to loved ones.  This tradition was supposed to have begun on May 1st, 1561 when King Charles IX of France was presented with a bunch of Lily-of-the-Valley flowers as a token of luck and prosperity for the coming year.  King Charles “took a shine” to this idea and began the custom of presenting Lily-of-the-Valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May 1st. (:

duolily-of-the-valleyAzalea Majestic’s bright magenta buds, blossoms and green foliage contrast beautifully with the texture of the rough landscaping bark.

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Last sighting of our spring harbinger’s for the day … wild Carolina Jasmine overgrowing a fence looks beautiful in the golden sunset and under the still bare limbs of February trees.

sundownIt’s time to head home.  Hope you are enjoying some beautiful weather where you are, even if it is only February!  If you are still in the “throes of winter” … I hope these pictures will remind you that Spring is “right around the corner” and soon you will be seeing “adorably lovely Robins” showing off in your own backyard! (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Winter Weather and Outdoor Tablescape and Picnic for the Birds

by Trenda at Cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Seeing snow in East Texas is always an anticipated occasion, like a circus or carnival coming to town!  Everyone dashes to one of our two grocery stores and stocks up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace.

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So .. with a forecast of possible snow on Friday, there was expectation in the air as the temperatures hovered below 30 … and by afternoon, our hope of seeing some snow was rewarded when the first tiny flakes appeared!

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I wanted to make sure our “furry friends and feathered folks” had plenty to eat to keep themselves warm and I decided to set up a winter picnic for them with some extra special treats… birdseed ornaments!   I chose a recipe that Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributor submitted on Pinterest (click here for Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributot’s recipe for birdseed ornaments) During the entire process I was apprehensive that my ornaments wouldn’t slip out of their molds or remain intact and I was happily surprised when each of the ornament’s “held” their shape and slid out easily from my plastic cookie cutters (part of an extensive collection my dear daughter in law (DDIL)(:  gave me.

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Assorted ribbons and twine added to the birdseed ornaments …

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I love these “woodland” tags and thought they would add a little whimsy, hanging amongst the branches with my birdseed ornaments.  This is a free printable I downloaded from Decorator’s Notebook by Bethan John (click here for free printable woodland tags) They printed off beautifully and I made extra’s for package tie-on’s and other ideas, yet to come!

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I also made some extra tags using a die-cut label maker and some rubber stamps that fit right in with my woodland/lakeside theme: a clump of oak leaves and acorns stamp, a single leaf stamp, and a bird nest with eggs stamp … the bird nest is my favorite!  I used a hole punch to make a hole in each tag and then slipped ribbons through the hole.  To add a little variety to my paper ornaments, I used several different ribbons and  either knotted the ends of the ribbon and slipped the labels over a branch or clipped them to my little fir tree, using mini-clothespins.

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Then I had the fun of creating my winter tablescape and putting out “picnic fare” for our birds and lakeside critters. (:  I covered our outdoor table with a Coleman blanket in a buffalo plaid in navy, khaki and forest green and placed a tall Fir tree (one of our Christmas decorations) in the center of the table … it worked great for hanging my birdseed ornaments and woodland/lakeside tags on!   A sweet little birdbath that Richard gave me (usually a part of our cottage decor inside) is filled with fresh water and I used chunky urns and “woodsy” platters to offer a buffet of different seeds and peanuts.

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A Hairy Woodpecker “heard it through the grapevine” that there were peanuts on the menu! (: A little Red-breasted Nuthatch, native to Ontario Canada perches on the side of a “new favorite”  … a rough blown-glass bowl, a special gift from our daughter’s boyfriend, that is  perfectly suited for Cottage Green with painted pine boughs and a “sprinkling” of snow.

img_0284Look how adorable my cookie cutter letters spelling B-I-R-D came out!  I loved how charming these letters looked all together so I just lined them all up on a forest green plate edged with leaves and acorns and set them out for the birdies to enjoy!

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A Cardinal surveys the winter buffet …

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The “piece de resistance?” … sunflower hearts!

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Today’s Menu …

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A House Finch awaits his turn “in pecking order” on the downspout …

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Well, we didn’t have any accumulation of snow, but we did enjoy our beautiful snow flurries … our whirling, twisting, dancing flakes and we enjoyed 3 cold winter days.  But 3 days is just enough … and we were ready for the return of our usual, mild Texas winter weather.  Happily, today’s temperature was in the mid 60’s and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday … it’s going to be in the 70’s!  Ahhh … now, that’s more like it!

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But next time there’s a chance of snow or snow flurries in the forecast for a little town on Cedar Creek Lake in East Texas, you can be sure that … everyone will once again dash to one of our two grocery stores and stock up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful  that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace. (;

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time with me today.  Please leave any comments or questions you may have, in the COMMENT section.