A Fun Morning at Crumpton’s Auction

When summertime hits each year, I’m out on the water boating, tubing, kayaking or treasure hunting on the shores. This past summer I realized there is so much to discover that doesn’t have anything to do with being on the water that is just as much fun.

Though I’ve spent most of my summers for the last 6 years on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, it was just this past July I discovered the Crumpton Auction. What a great way to spend a summer’s day! Next time you are looking for a day trip, don’t forget to look up small town auctions near you. It was a wonderful day of finds and entertainment.

The larger item section of the auction is full of the old and not so old furniture and large tools.
All auction areas are simultaneously going on at the same time with each auctioneer leading the bidding from a large golf cart.
Crumpton Auction has a field of cardboard boxes and baskets waiting to be auctioned every Wednesday morning. The goods range from old door knobs to vintage toys. This field of treasures was my favorite.
Lots of small chat goes on between locals here. It’s  obvious that this is a weekly gathering spot for many.
Someone’s junk might be another ones treasure!
Auction goers digging through boxes and baskets.  This gives treasure hunting a whole new meaning.
Vintage toys and all their color are in abundance this morning at Crumpton’s Auction.
A morning enjoyed by all ages.

 

 

Summer Fun With My Camera

Summer is an amazing time to enjoy your favorite hobbies. Photography tops my list of favorites.

Summer started with a fabulous trip to Manchester, Vermont. I couldn’t resist shooting this early morning reflection in the swimming pool at Barrow’s House Inn.

As wonderful as summers are they are also busy with friends and family, just the way I like spending my free time. When Thursday mornings hit, my mind starts racing with anticipation of all the fun I have to look forward to with a weekend of friends and family playing on the Chesapeake Bay. I try to capture a few highlights of my summer weekends and those I love.

I caught this moment with my camera at sunset as my two sons, cousins and friends fished until the sun went down. This is what I would call a “full boat!”
Boating and fishing with my little sister and two sweet nieces. Sun and fun on the Chesapeake Bay.
Cousin love!
Another full boat of fun. If you haven’t fished or spent time on the Chesapeake Bay, I recommend you get here soon! This particular favorite fishing spot of my son’s is right off of Kent Island. I was hoping they would bring home some fish to fry.
Another fun activity on the water- tubing!
Summer isn’t alway filled with sunshine. Summer rain storms with a bit of cooler weather is always a nice break from the heat.
Annapolis, MD is a great destination to visit and is where I love to go on rainy days when I can’t be out on the water. Historic Annapolis doesn’t disappoint with its cute stores, restaurants, and bars.
Umbrellas in hand and window shopping with family in Annapolis.
Sister time!
Boat reflections are fun to shoot especially when there is a ripple in the water. A little abstract art here!

I hope all of you are enjoying your summer and spending time with family and those you love. Before owning a little place on the Chesapeake Bay, we would rent a home in Cape Charles, VA. It’s on the Chesapeake Bay too and is located at the southern tip of the Delmarva. Where ever you live, try and budget enough money to rent a place for you and your family to gather once a year for a weekend or even a week and make memories to last a life time! You and  your family will cherish these times for years to come. There is nothing that can replace good quality time with family and those you love.

 

 

 

Horses, Hats, and Smiles

The forecast was for rain but with a little luck and some prayers, the day was perfect. Yes, there were a few light showers but spirits, spring colors, hats, smiles, and cocktails brighten the day!

It’s hard to believe I’ve lived in Virginia and the DC area for over 20 years and this was the first time I went to enjoy and watch the Gold Cup Races. I know for a fact it won’t be my last. What events are you missing out on right in your backyard? Do a search for your city and countryside fairs, events, races, and wineries, then put them on a list and go!

Perfect countryside setting for these beautiful horses and colorful jockeys today.
Maybe a winner here.
Hats and more hats of all colors and sizes on display.
Picnic tailgating was full of color, flowers, sweet tea, and cocktails.
More Sangria please?
Gold Cup Mules and Mint Juleps.
More pickup trucks, hats and smiles.
Cocktails anyone?
Horse Race tailgating and all its prep.
Big smiles and big hats at the Gold Cup Races. I wonder how many big winners there were?
It wouldn’t be the South without a little Lilly Pulitzer.
This bright pink hat won the category of “most outrageous” hat.

 

Getting Garden Ready for Spring and Summer

I headed out to the Chesapeake Bay hoping for some warmish weather since I planned on being outside cleaning up my yard. Several Nor’Easters in the last few weeks left the yard full of branches  which will be used for summer evening bonfires.

I never was much of a gardener until about 5 or 6 years ago. Now I can’t wait to get my hands in soil and plant and care for God’s beauty. I’ve watched my mother create the most gorgeous gardens year after year, sweating and bending until late in the night. I hoping I’ve inherited a bit of her green thumb. My neighborhood has a garden club which I’ve always been curious about and I plan on joining it in May. I’m starting to definitely feel like a midlifer!

Do you spend time in your garden? If you have any good tips on Hydrangeas, roses, and deer resistant plants, I’d love to hear about them. Along the edge of my yard (in this picture) are Sedums but the deer have eaten them to the ground! Since this is a summer home and mainly weekends, the deer have basically moved right in and help themselves to dinner nightly.

The back yard looks as cold as the temperature today. I can’t wait for warmer temperatures and blooms that should be here in the next few weeks.
This is a drop in the pit of tree branches I cleaned out of the flower beds and front yard today. I have no doubt my boys will burn this as soon as they get here to the bay. Nothing like boys and bonfires.
These Dahlia bulbs are ready for planting and will provide wonderful annual color this summer. I especially like to cut Dahlias for fresh cut flowers brightening up the inside all summer long.
These large porch urns have plenty of room to bury bulbs for summer blooming and pansies on the surface giving some spring color.
Supply was low at the garden center with limited colors of pansies available. Purple pansies happen to be my favorite- lucky me because they will work perfect for my front yard.
Don’t you love perennials? They show up each year greeting me with splendid color!
Don’t forget to cut some of these beauties and bring them into the house. They are full of color and say Spring!
My absolute favorite flowers in my garden are the Hydrangeas. I love all varieties and colors. These pink ones are starting to bud and will brighten up my garden all summer long.
These two Boxwoods have weathered many winters and are maintenance free. Once the weather warms up, I’ll add some floral vines that will drape over the edges of these tall urns bringing color to the back deck.
I probably jumped the gun on purchasing these Ranunculus but I couldn’t resist them. I’ll keep them inside for a week or two until the outside temperatures warm up. This will be my first time to add Ranunculus to my bay garden. Wish me luck!
Cloudy spring days offer beautiful water reflections. This is a water reflection of the back of my house on the water.

Spontaneous planned trips are the best and a perk to being an Empty Nester

The excitement of visiting Charleston, SC  and escaping the colder temperatures and rainy forecast was just what I needed to keep me hopeful that spring is almost here. Taking a spontaneous and last minute planned trip was just what I imagined empty-nesting to be about. I packed an overnight bag and traveled with my hubby to this magical city at a moments notice. I can so get use to this type of living and adventure!

I took  this image from the streets of Charleston but don’t think for a minute that I didn’t have my husband touring this way the very next day!
The colorful and historic homes are candy to my eyes. The shadows of the trees add a little extra on this early morning stroll.
The historic homes were painted in mostly pastels on this particular street. Each one distinctive and full of character.
Window-boxes decorated the facades adding even more color, charm, and character to the streets.
This window box is full of happiness and brings a smile to my face.
A friend recommended the crepes at “Queen Street Grocery.” The brie, ham and raspberry crepe was worth the trip alone! If you are visiting Charleston, don’t miss this spot for a cup of coffee, snack or meal.
I plan to return and visit more of the Churches of Charleston. This church was one of my favorites.
The coast was especially beautiful in the early morning just after sunrise.

2018 and Getting The Most Out Of It

So here I am one week into the new year. I’ve had the week to think more about my plans for 2018. It wasn’t too hard to set the time aside – the temperature has hovered around 10-15 degrees all weekend. It’s been a perfect weekend to snuggle next to my Westie and work on my writing. With a couple of weeks left of college break my home is still busy and full since it has been gathering place for my sons and their friends. It has been far from boring and has been reminiscent of those earlier high school years with kids in and out, laughing, eating me out of house and home, late nights and sleeping in mornings. I don’t mean to digress, I guess my point is, even with the house full of activity since the cold is keeping all of us in a bit, I was still able to spend time plotting out the beginning of my new year. I’m so excited about 2018!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted 2018 to be about inspiration, love, and hard work. Seeing these three words together on paper may not initially make a lot of sense. But these concepts keep ringing in my head, so I’m going with my gut and making these words my mantra for 2018. How am I going to do this? Well for now, I’m going to take this day-by-day focused on Inspiration, Love, and Hard Work.

My thoughts about Inspiration– I want to continue to be inspired by other Midsters and how they are making the most of living in the middle of their life and story. To be creatively inspired by continuing my love of photography and recent uptake of writing. I’ve been so inspired through photography this past year. Meeting people I would never have had the opportunity to meet if it wasn’t for photography. Hearing their stories, seeing how they live, what they enjoy, and what inspires them. I found the pictures and images I took, just a small window into their lives that they decided to share with me. I find this a real gift.

One of my adventurous photography clubs. Braving the cold temperatures for at least a short  while this morning.

 

Such a privilege getting to know the hardworking watermen on the Chesapeake Bay.

 

My mom and I visiting Tennessee together.

When it comes to Love– wow, so much I want to say about this and will definitely write more about this in the near future. Just a four letter word but the true meaning of this can’t be summed up easily. For me and 2018, I’m nurturing this one with all my heart! As I’ve aged I realized that this is it, at least for me! Feeling the love, showing the love… I’ve been so blessed with a family I love so much, both my nuclear and extended family. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Mother Theresa, “Love begins by taking care of the closest ones — the ones at home.” My two children are “one foot out the door” sort of speak, as they are now young adults. They are everything to me therefore, I’m dedicated to continuing to love them by showing them, telling them and nurturing this new shift in the relationship that is now mother and young adult versus mother and young child.  And who can forget, as if my husband would ever let me, I still have a husband at home to love! I love him dearly. I consider “taking care of the closest ones” from Mother Theresa’s quote to mean more than those just at home as we become empty nesters. I’m fortunate to have both my parents still living. Though they are in Texas and I’m on the East Coast, I’m making them a priority this year. I did the same last year and want to continue to spend quality time with them. I’ve set aside time to make several visits home this coming year and my mother has become my routine travel buddy so I am blessed to see her quite a bit on the road. Adding to my extended family are my siblings. Sibling relationships can be complicated but I’m blessed with siblings that I love, adore, and enjoy spending time with. Nurturing these relationships comes easy to me- they are easy to love! I couldn’t finish writing about love and family without mentioning my cousins, nieces and nephew. Continuing to spend time with them and nurturing these relationships is something that also comes easy but takes time and effort since everyone has busy schedules. Last year, I started having dinner in the city once a month with my niece and cousin. Considering they are much younger than I am, they definitely find some young, hip and delicious spots to dine that I probably wouldn’t know exist. We are going to mix it up this year and add a few cooking classes to our outings. Washington is a vibrant city with a variety of entertainment options. I’m sure I’ll share more about this in future posts. Lastly, I’m intent on nurturing my friendships too. Oh, how I love my friends! This also is for another post and I can’t wait to share more about this with you. Having just said all of this, I think you can see that love to me is about relationships, that’s it and they so are important to me. This is what fills my soul.

Putting in some hard work and punches!

Hard work. I’ve always worked hard at least in my humble opinion. Having my first job at 14, putting myself through college, which wasn’t an easy task, and maintaining a job outside the home as I raised my family, these are all things I consider hard work. Admittingly, even though these things were hard, they brought lots of enjoyment and enrichment to my life. This year, I want to dig deep into those areas that might not initially bring enjoyment but are necessary and hard. The first on my list, commitment to a serious workout schedule. I’ve always exercised but not always as often or as consistent as I know I should. My physician told me at my age, I should be spending about one hour a day, 5-6 days a week doing rigorous exercise. So that’s it- I’m going to dig deep, even on days I have every excuse in the book not do so, I’m going to remember to “work hard” and get it done. I’m going to mix it up to keep it interesting and myself motivated. This morning I put in an exhausting workout at SolidCore. I’ve been going there for some time now and it really challenges me. I’ll definitely continue this routine a couple of days a week, hitting the gym one to two afternoons a week for strength training then power walking several mornings a week. I know without a doubt the benefits of exercise are invaluable and I need to make this non-negotiable for myself. Let’s see how I do. If you have any suggestions or advice for me about exercising, I’m all ears, just let me know.

Working hard for others is another challenge I was to take on this year. I volunteer now for 2 organizations in my community but this year, I want to get a little uncomfortable with it. I plan to step out of my comfort zone to work/volunteer in more vulnerable areas with those who really need it and are often overlooked because of the area they live in or their needs are too great. I feel strong about putting myself out there to really make a difference in places that most won’t. Truly doing something for others in great need.

I think my year is looking quite full and it’s only week one! So here it goes to Inspiration, Love , and Hard Work in 2018 as I continue to live with purpose, intent and a dash of adventure! Let me know what your intentions are for 2018. I’d love to hear about them and see how you are keeping them going throughout the year of 2018.

On the cusp of 2018

I find myself with raw and emotional thoughts on this last day of December and year 2017. It’s bitterly cold outside with a dusting of snow on the ground.  My home is cozy and warm except in my office where I am currently writing.  A cup of hot and steamy Chamomile tea is at least keeping me warm inside, leaving just my toes feeling a bit cold. Oh, how I love warm tea on a cold day. It almost seems decadent to me and such a treat!

My mind is playing like an old movie reel, not totally sharp of all the memories of 2017 but they are there, and leaving me both crying and laughing at different times. The year of 2017 started out with mourning the loss of my father-in-law who passed away just a few hours shy of ringing in the New Year. My husband and I had been his caregivers during the last six months of his life while our home had also become his. The challenges, sacrifices, and blessings that came along with that immense obligation and duty is still somewhat raw and I’ve not processed the experience yet completely. Part of 2017 was spent recovering from the roller-coaster emotions of the later half of 2016. Now don’t get me wrong, even in the light of dealing with the emotions of loss, 2017 was an awesome year! Personally for myself and my family, life was amazing and full of blessings, accomplishments, and adventures.

So here I am today on the cusp of another New Year and I’m so grateful to be here, alive, blessed, hopeful, continuing life’s journey, anticipating with excitement new beginnings, loving, being loved, growing to be more and do more.  Welcome 2018! This is my year of inspiration, love, and running to hard work. What are your intentions and vision for 2018?  Whatever they are, I hope you accomplish all your hopes and dreams for 2018. Happy New Year!

Good For The Mind And Soul

What’s your charitable passion?

A few of us from team Seize the Day

With the cold nipping at my nose, I tied bells on my laces in anticipation of my family and friends arriving for the Jingle Bell Run. The annual fun run rings in the holidays for me every year. With elf hats, bells, strings of lights, and a toasty holiday drink in hand, I was ready to help one of my favorite charity organizations, the Metro DC Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation today.

Living with family members affected by this disease keeps this organization at the top of my list. Funds raised in this race supports research for new medications to help those affected with arthritis. Just in the past decade, biologic medications are literally keeping thousands of people out of wheelchairs and living a relatively pain free life.

I encourage you to choose at least one charitable passion and jump in and help. Not only is volunteering good for your community but it adds fun and fulfillment to your life. This is an exceptional way to help you live with purpose and intent! Since many organizations raise funds through charity races and walks,who knows it might even motivate you to walk or run more adding physical health benefits too. My niece and friend both took medals today in their age categories. They couldn’t have been more surprised!

So proud of these two! Winning medals for their age categories.

Let me know what charitable organizations are close to your heart. The link below can help you explore different charities to volunteer for. Break out of your daily routine and get creative, motivated, and inspired to help others.

https://www.volunteermatch.org

Up For Some Play?

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  – George Bernard Shaw

Dawn and her horse Ava playing Chase.

Not that long ago, many early mornings started out with a game of hide and seek and yes, right inside my house. My youngest son was all to quick, flying by me and saying “you have to count to 20 then come and find me, ok mom?” His laugh often gave him away as he would giggle whenever I got close yet passed him by. Hide and Seek, tag, Marco Polo in the pool, tic tac toe, and hangman were all some of our favorites. As my boys became older, billiards, corn hole and beer pong replaced the list of early days. Even now, games are a favorite of my boys but somehow between the time my kids were young to being an adult now, I quit having as much “play” in my day. But in the pastures of Texas this past week, I was inspired to find my playful side.

 

Lucky enough to spend a couple of days with my best friend and her zoo crew, quickly brought back my sense of play with surprise, anticipation and excitement. Even though Izzy, a cockatoo and my friends’s two dogs bounced around the house and on me, it was Ava, the mustang that made me realize, we all need to have some fun and play. Did you ever think you could play chase with a horse? Well, my friend and Ava (her horse) played chase and oh what fun they had. I had fun watching them! Spending the day running, laughing, and playing made me realize what I had lost along the way and that I needed to make time to play again.

Dawn, Izzy-cockatoo, Ava, Abby and Sam

So what can we do to have or keep play in our lives now? To start with, we can set the intent to play more. Set goals to have fun along with your goals of exercise, healthy eating, and getting ample amount of sleep. All goals don’t have to be serious ones, right? I like to incorporate fun with my exercise so maybe try a Zumba class or some type of dance. If you played soccer or softball as a child, look for an adult league. Bocce Ball, bowling, and cards with friends or family can also be fun time.

Routinely having play as a part of your life can only add to your feeling of well-being. So get creative, start a game night group or join a sport and go laugh and play!

A few Happy, Thanks, and Giving in my life…

To me, Thanksgiving is best described as Happy, Thanks and Giving

A few of the Happy, Thanks, and Giving in my life….

Happy
Spending time with my family both far and near, moments of laughter with my boys Hunter and Cason, hugs from my husband, friends, seasons changing, my sweet dog Bloo greeting me at my front door, my first cup of coffee in the morning, wine, cheese, chocolate, the Chesapeake Bay, kayaking, boating, hunting for sea glass on the beaches of the bay, country music, hydrangeas, tulips, the sound of rain on the roof, holidays, laughter, kindness.

Thanks
For blessing me with my wonderful husband Robert and sons Hunter and Cason who I love so much, Loving, caring and supportive relationships with my parents, sibling, extended family and friends, being able to laugh when the going gets tough, hugs, memories, for my life…wherever it may lead me, freedom, good health, all the reasons to smile, miracles, God.

Giving
To my family, others, myself, to the Lord

I wish you much Happy, Thanks, and Giving this season!

Blessings,
Mary-Anne