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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Continental Breakfast

I worked at a camp in the North Carolina mountains the summer Lady Diana Spencer wed Prince Charles.

The entire camp staff shared one television, which had rather spotty reception. To add insult to injury, the television was not located in my dorm, but rather in a mice-ridden frame cottage, euphemistically named the Staff Lounge.  The Lounge, which I seldom frequented, was up a steep hill that I opted not to climb at 4:30 in the mountain dark morning.  

Okay, it wasn't quite this bad, but it wasn't much better, either!

Besides it was Prince Charles.  (Really, hasn't he aged much better than we'd thought?!)

I do plan to wake up and tiptoe downstairs to watch Kate Middleton and Prince William tie the knot.  I have tea to brew and scones to nibble.  Best of all, I have a companion who wants to watch with me.  The Mister and Middle have been rolling their eyes at Little and me all week, and they will not rise early.  Honestly, I might not either, so I'm setting the dvr, just in case.  But something in me wants to see this wedding. At first, I thought it was just that I needed a diversion from the news cycle of war and high gas prices and mocking Presidential candidates and devastating natural disasters. And I do need a diversion from all that, but, honestly, I think it's something more.  It may seem corny and naive to some, but I'm delighted that Kate and William are getting married, that despite their own tragedies, they are still willingly to stand before God and ask for His blessing. Willing to make a commitment.  Amid all the pomp and hype, it seems almost humble.  And hopeful.  I'm grateful for that.

The Mister has been nosing around the scones this evening, so I promised a rather British dessert to celebrate.   This recipe, which allegedly was invented in that most revered of English boarding schools, is adapted from those of Ina Garten and Jamie Oliver.

Eton Mess

2 (6-ounce) packages fresh raspberries, divided
1/2 cups plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 to 6 (2-inch) bakery meringue shells, broken in pieces
fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries chopped coarsely (optional)

Pour 1 package of the raspberries, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the lemon juice into a 10-inch saute pan. Crush the berries lightly with a fork and bring the mixture to a full boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is syrupy. Fold the remaining package of raspberries (and other fresh berries, if desired) into the hot mixture and refrigerate until very cold.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, and the vanilla together on medium-high speed until it forms firm peaks.

In decorative glasses, layer a spoonful of the whipped cream, a spoonful of the raspberry mixture, and then a few meringue pieces. Repeat once or twice, depending on the size of the glasses, until the glasses are full, ending with berries and a dollop of cream. Serve immediately or chill for an hour, until ready to serve.

May the marriage be as grand as the wedding!


  1. Hello:
    As we write this we imagine you creeping out of bed, switching onthe television, drinking tea and nibbling scones. We do hope that you have a wonderful night/day!

    Now, the Eton Mess! Absolutrly one of our all time favourite puddings. Enjoy!

  2. I too enjoyed this beautiful wedding this morning and was really looking forward to it as well. Very unusual for me but, I love what you said about why! I couldn't agree with you more. I also was excited to see such a wonderful display of commitment to God and each other and hope shown to whole world. I hope you have a wonderful afternoon!

  3. Lurve Eton Mess! Tho we usually serve it as pavlova but there's something so childish and fun about scrunching it all up :O)

  4. I couldn't agree more! I was so happy to watch this wedding. I was about 8 years old when Diana and Charles married and I've watched Wills and Harry grow up. So, in a way, it felt like watching a litte brother marry his sweetheart. The wedding was perfect. Kate looked radiant - her dress was perfection. Wills looked so handsome and clearly in love with his bride. Cheers to the happy couple!

  5. I have to agree with JMW! I was twelve, and my entire family (mother, sister, AND father) woke up early to watch it. I had a feeling that I would be all alone. And I was, except for a few moment when Jackson was the most taken!


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