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!

1

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!

insulated compartment on hamper.png

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.

picnic hamper.png

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

Lake chopping board.png

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.

creel.png

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!

leaving picnic site.png

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!

white collage.png

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! (: 

3

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

4plus.png

Charming stone boat house and little log cabin!

5.png

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

B.png

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

1stmate.png

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.

flag.png

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! (:

scripture.png

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

img_0452

I’m delighted you spent some time reading my blog.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email, click on FOLLOW above or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow the prompts. 

 

This Way to the Easter Egg Hunt! Plus … DIY “Carrot Cutlery” & “Carrot” Bubble Wand

~ Trenda

collage Easter

“The stars at night are big and bright” ‘we Texans love to sing … look below the Red, Lone Star, your egg should be in sight!’  This is a clue from our Annual “Clan” Easter Egg Hunt that all of our family participates in!  Each family member is assigned a particular color of egg and gets a sheet of numbered clues directing them to where their eggs are hidden.  The eggs must be “gathered” in the same order that the clues are given.  Each “participant’s clue sheet is in different order, so everyone is running to different locations at different times and can only pick up their color of egg.  For our littlest ones, I have easier clues and pictures or numbers, marking where their eggs are!  The first one to find all their eggs, gets the grand prize and our Family Egg Trophy to take home and display until the following year.

bunny nest~Holly Pond Hill

Now, for this special Egg Hunt …. our picnic fare and ware has to be as “fun” as the occasion! (:  Look at this bunny caddy crate!  It looks darling loaded with bright green polka dotted plates, lime colored cutlery wrapped in orange napkins and tied with raffia (to look like carrots!) and tucked into this fun carrot vase, befitting any Bunny Picnic!

bunny caddy.jpg

For each set of “carrot” tableware … place a green spoon, a green fork, and a green knife on top of an orange paper napkin; roll up so that the cutlery “peeks” out of the top of the napkin, like carrot tops and tie a raffia bow around each set of tableware.

trio caddy.png

A little whimsy and favor “For you!” …  Slender orange bubble wands look like a bunch carrots – especially after I added a bit of gauzy green ribbon and a lime green label to each “carrot top!”  To make my tags, I used my Recollections over-sized “punch” die-cutter (I bought mine from Michael’s) and stamped each label with the words “For You.”  A little bubble fantasy and favor for each “participant.” (:

carrot duo.png

The Menu …

  • Grilled bratwurst
  • Potato Salad
  • Mr. McGregor’s Carrot & Celery Sticks served in a dipping cup with Ranch dressing
  • Peter Rabbit Carrot Cake Cookies w/Cream Cheese Frosting

menu purple.png

Our Annual Clan Easter Egg Hunt has become one of our favorite family traditions with shouts of laughter and a special camaraderie and competition between the children and the adults!  I love making up the little “sing-song” clues each year -like the sample above (; … that sends everyone scurrying all over the yard, out on the dock, and up the deck stairs looking for their eggs!  From the pictures I take while everyone is dashing about, our son makes a video of the whole event complete with music, captions and headlines for everyone which becomes another treasured volume in our set of “family times.” ❤

PicCollage[4624].png

P. S.  I already heard that 2 of our Clan are wearing competition tee-shirts they’ve made in keeping with “the spirit of the day!” (:  I can’t wait to see them!

tulip scripture.png

I’d love to hear about some of your family traditions and hope you’re enjoying this glorious season of the year with loved ones and friends!

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day … “Wearing of the Green” Lakeside Lunch

written by Trenda

 

Today was a delightful spring day with the sun intermittently shining and sparkling off the lake or hiding behind dark clouds.  The warm breeze pleaded with us to come outside and tempted us with bird song, gentle peals from our wind chimes, and distant rumbles of thunder.  We happily acquiesced and I made lunch for us to enjoy out on the deck.

PicCollage[3561]Luncheon Menu … Chicken Salad Cucumber Bites, Crisp Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, Chicken Salad, Spiced Iced Tea, and Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting  … Yum! (:


To make my Tomato & Cucumber Salad I used a seedless English cucumber.  English cucumbers are also known as “seedless” cucumbers and they are longer than the regular garden variety cucumber.  Their flavor is milder, the peel is thinner, and they have smaller, less noticeable seeds than their American cousin (;  After  peeling my English cucumber,  I used my favorite kitchen tool from The Pampered Chef which slices cucumber effortlessly into rounds with decorative ridges.  I then de-seeded and chopped up a tomato, added sliced red onion, salt and pepper to taste, and Marzetti Classsic Ranch Dressing.  I didn’t measure any of the ingredients; I just adjusted the amounts of each ingredient to “our liking” or as a dear uncle would say … “By guess and by golly.” (;

One item I always keep on hand is Italian whole wheat bread loaves.  I buy a package of 12 inch loaves in the Bakery Department and then re-wrap each loaf individually in foil and place them in our freezer.  I love having these available to pop in the oven to “dress up” a simple meal and they are delicious with soups or to munch on with any salad. To make my recipe for Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini, I take a loaf from the freezer, unwrap it, place it on a chopping board and immediately begin slicing it with a serrated bread knife, “on the diagonal” into thin slices, while it is still frozen.  TIP:  Slicing bread while it is still frozen makes it easy to slice into precise, even pieces that are not misshapen, which happens when slicing “soft” bread.  I only cut as many slices as I think we’ll want from the loaf, then I re-wrap it and place it back in freezer.

  1. Slice bread and place on a baking sheet lined with foil
  2. Brush each piece lightly with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, being careful to cover entire surface.
  3. Sprinkle each slice evenly and lightly with garlic salt and pepper
  4. Add grated Parmesan cheese (enough to cover entire surface and “flavor” bread, but not so much that it “oozes” over the bread, when melted)
  5. Then, add a smaller amount of Cheddar cheese on top for additional flavor “depth” and color.
  6. Sprinkle each slice with a dusting of paprika
  7. Cook in a pre-heated, 325 degree oven until cheese has melted and edges of bread are a deep golden brown.

Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini with Chicken Salad Cucumber Bites

Now, for my delicious and super easy dessert … Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting!  Make a batch of your favorite brownie recipe from scratch or use a boxed mix, if you prefer.  Tip:  You will probably have to double your homemade brownie recipe – or use 2 boxes of brownie mix – to fill a 13″x 9″ baking dish.  Make brownies according to directions.  Place in oven.  When brownies are done, take them out of the oven and immediately pour a 12 oz. bag of Nestle’s morsels – or other candy morsels – over the brownies.  (I used chocolate chip and mint morsels)  After candy has “rested”and softened on warm brownies, use an off-set spatula to spread candy smoothly over the brownies.  Let cool completely and slice with a sharp knife.

clover morsels

The candy hardens into a smooth, perfect glaze with no mixing or additional recipe required for frosting! (:

clover borde

Fitz and Floyd Autumn Harvest Grapes & Leaves Pitcher with matching creamer and sugar bowl …

ffpitcher.png “Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.  Coincidence?  I think not!” (:  Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting look especially festive when presented in shamrock cupcake liners and under a domed spring green pedestal plate.

clover jadelite.png

Desserts under a dome … Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting

domed brownies

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Hope your day is colored “in green” and has moments tinged with “shenanigan’s and malarkey!” (;

Irish blessing

 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”  Psalms 34:8

Taste and see ...

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

img_0452

Thank you for spending some time reading my blog!  Please click on the box marked FOLLOW to have each new post I write delivered directly to your e-mail address.

Lakeside Picnic and Recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup …

by Trenda  

I already have “spring fever!”  I “caught it” from the birds who have been “twittering and flitting about” hunting for the perfect place to raise their little families! (:  Friday and Saturday were “zip-a-dee-do-dah” days with spring-like temperature’s … “My oh, my, what a wonderful day” … and  taking our cue from the birds, we took advantage of our warm day with …”Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way” and worked outside and enjoyed a picnic by the lake.

img_0442

Welcome to our lakeside picnic!  Everything always tastes better when dining al fresco (: and our lunch of Turkey & Swiss Wraps with roasted red peppers, Red Delicious Apples and spiced tea, was no exception!


After our picnic we were “energized” … we sat a little while longer, enjoying the sunshine and the day then we were ready to get back to work.  By late afternoon the wind started picking up and the water started getting choppy.

Dark blue-gray clouds began rolling in … 


And we began to hear rumbles of thunder, as we hurried to finish our work …

1.png

We finished … just in time with thunder distinctively warning us to get inside, as the first raindrops began to fall!

2.png

3.png

Later … feeling cozy and clean and hearing the gusty wind and the sound of the waves crashing against our retaining wall, our “gift” of a spring day in January was over and our stormy night seemed the perfect time for some homemade soup … Stuffed Pepper Soup.

picsoup.png

 Stuffed Pepper Soup Recipe …

recipe final.pngLater, as I drifted off to sleep, the last lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Under A Spreading Chestnut Tree” came to mind.

“… Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close;

Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night’s repose.”

verse.png

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

fish.png

I would love to read any comments or questions you may have!

 

 

Winter Weather and Outdoor Tablescape and Picnic for the Birds

by Trenda at Cottagegreenonthelake.com

collage.png

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.

cocoaupclose

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!

south2

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.

img_0227

Assorted ribbons and twine added to the birdseed ornaments …

trio.png

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!

Free downloadable gift tags from Decorator's Notebook 14 designs

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.

disc.png

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.

img_0231

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!

finalboughround

A Cardinal surveys the winter buffet …

redbird

The “piece de resistance?” … sunflower hearts!

img_0283

Today’s Menu …

Menu2.png

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

img_0254-1

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!

flipflops.png

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

faith

 

 

 

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