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a vermont country home

October 25, 2016


I must admit, I have never really considered a move further north than my home state of Connecticut.  I have tent camped in every state in New England and I certainly appreciate the beauty of them all…but, to live?



Why would I never move to Vermont myself?  That infamous four letter word…s-n-o-w.  But that is exactly one of the reason’s my childhood friend Donna loves living in Vermont.  Although skiing every day in the winter is not a motivator for me, it is part of the appeal of living in snow country for Donna and her husband!


Ready for winter! Donna’s son and the rest of the University of Vermont lacrosse team made short work of stacking up this stockpile of firewood!



Today, I am sharing a little bit of the home that could actually make me consider a move!  With a wonderful sense of style, great resourcefulness and vision, and unique collaborations, my friend and her husband have created an amazing home inside and out!


Though frost was called for during the week, a couple garden plants were still hanging on!


Starting with a wonderful respect for the view and using many reclaimed materials from the area, this couple has spent the last five years creating a home that is uniquely their own.



I hope you have enjoyed the photos of this home and its amazing views.  If you want to see a few sneak peeks of the inside, I have shared a few photos on Facebook and Instagram…you will have to wait till spring for a full inside tour! :)


Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like visiting childhood friends,  Jackie

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white pumpkins & neutrals

October 11, 2016


Last week I gave you some fall decor tips and took you to Terrain for some great inspiration on implementing them.  This week, I am sharing some of my color palette for fall…neutrals, or course!  And, Terrain definitely does a neutral right – so, some photos of their lovely grounds…all in neutral!  Enjoy!








Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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5 easy tips for fall decor

October 7, 2016


For today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing 5 easy tips to help inspire you to create great fall displays.  And, even more exciting, I have included photo examples from Terrain – my favorite home and garden store!  Here goes:

Highlight one unique piece.  Find one really unique pumpkin or gourd and use it as a focal point.  It may be a gourd with magnificent coloring, a pumpkin with many bumps, a gourd with a unique shape, or a pumpkin with a really cool twisty long stem!  Put a focus on that unique piece by displaying it on its own in a basket, on a table, or under a cloche.


Stack ‘em up.  A really easy way to create some drama is to stack up some pumpkins for a fall ‘topiary.’  Since this can be done on any scale, it is a great decorating idea on any budget!





Display en masse. Using any one item in multiples makes a design statement.  Put multiples of a piece or plant in a basket or on a chair or bench for an easy but impactful display. The ‘odd man out’ is also a fun way to display pumpkins.  Add an ‘odd man’ to a display of multiples.  For example, have tons of mini white pumpkins and add one orange pumpkin – or vice versa.




Open it up.  If you are displaying a bunch of items, particularly colorful ones, use an open container to give a full view of the items on display.  If you look around, you probably already have something you can use – like an old tomato cage or some chicken wire!



Add a pumpkin.  A very simple tip, yet an effective one, is just to add a pumpkin or two to any of your existing vignettes or plantings – indoors or out.  Without much expense, a few pumpkins can go really far to transform your current arrangements for the season!  Maybe add a little hay and some Spanish moss as well…easy!




I hope I have inspired you with today’s fall design tips and a visit to Terrain!  Thanks for stopping by!


Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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roasted bell pepper walnut dip

September 13, 2016


I love this dip!  I was inspired to create it by a recipe in last month’s giveaway book.  (Click here for more on the book.)  I had all the ingredients on hand and thought it sounded great to use as a veggie dip.

After making it and tasting it, I decided this dip is a ‘must make’ for fall.  When the sour cream and chips or cheesy nachos make an appearance during television football, I am enjoying this healthful dip with some veggies or some crisp whole wheat pita chips!


The recipe says red bell peppers, but any color sweet bell pepper will do – I have used yellow or orange as well.  I recommend serving this dip warm or at room temperature, and I think my flavorful Penzy’s smoked paprika makes it extra special!


To make :

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rub the peppers with the coconut oil and put them onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until blistered and blackened in a few places.  Transfer the peppers to a bowl and immediately cover it with plastic wrap.  Set the covered bowl aside for 10 minutes to give the steam the chance to make the skins remove easily.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Spread the walnuts on a separate baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, watching carefully that they do not burn.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Remove the peppers from the bowl, and after giving them a chance to cool, slip off their skins and discard them.  Remove and discard their stems as well.

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and process to preferred consistency.  You may want to leave the dip a little chunky.  Season to taste – I used 1/2 tsp fine sea salt.


The end of summer farmer’s markets have some wonderful bell peppers right now!  I hope I have inspired you to try this healthful dip or to create one of your own!  Enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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summer garden mint

September 2, 2016

apple mint pleasure in simple things blog

Now that summer is on its way out, you are probably thinking about all the ways you can use or preserve the remaining herbs in your garden.

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a way to use your overwhelming crop of garden mint.

end of summer mint pleasure in simple things blog

If you grow mint, you know exactly what I am talking about!  Mint can easily take over a garden!  I learned years ago, the best way to plant mint in the garden is to first plant it in a terracotta pot and then plant the entire pot in the ground.  This contains the growing area and prevents the mint from taking over the entire garden!

pineapple mint pleasure in simple things blog

A great way to use your mint is to make some mint syrup!  I love to experiment with all types of simple syrups, but this easy, three ingredient recipe I am sharing today comes from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell.

Chocolate mint pleasure in simple things blog

Make up plenty, keeping some for yourself and package some up in pretty bottles to give as gifts.  It can be used in iced tea or seltzer or spooned over fresh fruit or ice cream.  Or, in my case, used on shaved ice or spooned over The Pantry’s sorbet!  Enjoy!

Fresh Mint Syrup

  • 1 ¼ cup packed, fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

In a medium saucepan of boiling water, cook the mint leaves for 10 seconds to set their color.  Drain, run under cold water, and drain again.  Transfer the mint to a food processor and puree.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to melt the sugar.  Stir in the mint, remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Strain the syrup thought a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, pushing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  To store, transfer to a jar and refrigerate up to 1 month.

Gilberties herb farm pleasure in simple things blog

Remember, if you don’t have mint growing in your garden, you can always purchase some at your local farmer’s market or specialty store.  The photos here are from Gilbertie’s Herb Farm in Westport, Connecticut – a great source for fresh herbs.  As you can see, mint comes in many varieties at Gilbertie’s!   Chocolate mint, grapefruit mint, orange mint, ginger mint or any of the many varieties sold at the herb farm would be wonderful to create a syrup this year – and, when planted – many years to come!

Have a fabulous holiday weekend!

flowers at Gilberties pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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an evening full of love… & white flowers

August 23, 2016

seating pleasure in simple things blog

Shortly after I contemplated appreciating summer gardens, I had the opportunity to party amidst the breathtaking grounds of the Burr Homestead in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

 walk down the aisle pleasure in simple things blog

The beauty of the surroundings was overwhelmingly surpassed by the incredible feeling of love filling this wedding celebration on a hot, summer evening.

hanging babys breath globe pleasure in simple things blogflower urn pleasure in simple things blog

My good friend’s daughter was married on this evening, and the vision the bride and her mom had for the venue aesthetics was implemented to perfection by a talented florist.

floating flowers pleasure in simple things blog

 roses and hydrangeas pleasure in simple things blog

And, to my delight, the flowers were done in my favorite flower color – white!

seating amongst the garden pleasure in simple things blog

aisle view pleasure in simple things blog

I hope these few photos help you share with me the beauty in the details created for this special celebration.

wedding table lanterns pleasure in simple things blog

gift from bride's dad pleasure in simple things blog

So special – the tomatoes in the salad course were grown in the garden of the bride’s dad!! :)

Love you Phyllis & Mrs. G.! xo

mason jar arrangement pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things,  Jackie

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stop and smell the roses

August 19, 2016

yellow rose pleasure in simple things blog

Friday field trip today is a simple reminder to enjoy the flowers around you!  I am sharing a few photos of the beauty surrounding me.

 flowers pleasure in simple things blog

As the summer gardens are winding down,

pink rose pleasure in simple things blog
I am appreciating all the beauty they have to offer!

potting shed pleasure in simple things blog

Before you know it, I will be harvesting the last of my summer flowers and displaying them in pumpkins!

peony pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to take some time to notice summer growing!

Hydrangea pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!

fern on table pleasure in simple things blog

Have a wonderful weekend!

And, remember to take pleasure in simple things – like smelling a fresh flower! :)   xo Jackie

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home infused water

August 9, 2016

orange rosemary infused water pleasure in simple things blog

Infused water tastes especially wonderful on hot, humid days.

Some fruit from a farmer’s market and a few sprigs of herbs from the garden transform the taste of ordinary water into a refreshing summer beverage.

home infused water pleasure in simple things blog

Although I have seen some cool water bottles sold with a built-in infusion basket – also good for cold-brew tea – no special equipment is necessary to make some great tasting infusions!

A quart size container of water stored in the fridge is perfect to create an infusion with a piece of fruit and a couple sprigs of herbs.

rosemary orange infused water pleasure in simple things blog

With my garden rosemary, I like to add slices of a medium size orange for a refreshing infusion.  Basil from the garden goes wonderfully with strawberries.  Mint combines well with any type of berry, melon, or cucumber.

ingredients for infused water pleasure in simple things blog

I also like the combination of peach and ginger.  For a quart container, I buy a 1 inch piece of ginger at the grocery store and cut into small slices.  It provides such a wonderful taste combination with a medium sized, sliced, fresh peach from a local farmer’s market!

Walk your garden or a local farmer’s market and be inspired to create a refreshing beverage for a hot, summer day!

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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tomato time of year

July 26, 2016

pleasure in simple things pizza on the grill

Don’t you love fresh garden tomatoes?  They are THE best!

I thought today I would get you a little excited about using your grill to bring out the best of this glorious summer food!  How will I do this?  I am going to show you photos of my top two favorite ways to eat fresh garden tomatoes using the grill!

The first way is with cherry tomatoes.  The flavor of these little lovelies is so enhanced when heated!  Put some fresh picked ones in a shallow pan, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and fresh garden basil, and heat on a covered grill…so flavorful!

cherry tomatoes pleasure in simple things blog

The second, and very best way, to enjoy fresh tomatoes on the grill is in pizza!  And, grilled pizza is the best!  You don’t need to get fancy…the fresh tomatoes do all the work!  You can buy grocery store pizza dough and add whatever toppings hit your fancy.  Sometimes we just put tomatoes, olive oil and fresh garden basil and that’s it!

tomato pizza pleasure in simple things blog

Am I putting you in the mood to grill up some fresh garden tomatoes?  That is the goal!  And, eating your creation al fresco is a must! :)

I hope I have inspired you to come up with your own grilled tomato combinations!  Have fun with it!

Thanks for stopping by and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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girls night out

July 22, 2016

water station pleasure in simple things blog

Making Mason jar terrariums is a fun and easy summer activity.

For today’s Friday field trip, I am bringing you to an outdoor garden to share this activity on a stunningly gorgeous summer evening.  Cold drinks and interesting conversation are the perfect accompaniments for this fun outdoor get together.

terrarium garden workshop pleasure in simple things blog

Why not add this activity to your next summer soiree?  A very basic terrarium can be easily created with Mason jars, potting soil, charcoal, and decorative pebbles.  All the materials needed are easily purchased at a local dollar store or discount store.

Ball jar plants pleasure in simple things blog

To create the terrarium, a 1” layer of pebbles is added to the jar, followed by a thin layer of charcoal and 3” – 4” of potting soil.  From there, moss and/or small plants are added as well as any decorative items.  After a light watering, the terrarium is complete and the lid can be screwed on.

mason jar plants pleasure in simple things blog

Adding a decorative feature like a small mushroom or animal gives the terrarium some extra character.  (The owls used in these terrariums are actually beads that were attached to toothpicks.) Providing raffia to your guests to tie around the mouth of the jar of the finished terrarium is also a nice detail to include.

terrarium owl pleasure in simple things blog

As an option, cute little instruction cards can be created and printed on a home computer.  Instruct the new terrarium owners to mist the garden lightly occasionally and to remove the top for a while if too much moisture develops.

 pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to have a little terrarium building activity at your next get together  – the perfect way to spend a beautiful summer evening!

Ball jar decorations pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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