A Piece of the World; Christina Baker Kline

p9_book_c_piece_of_the_world_300Biographical Fiction (is that a genre?) of the story of Christina in Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting “Christina’s World”.  Going back and forth from the time Wyeth painted the painting to the back story of Christina’s family.  Original, intriguing and hard to put down.

PJH rating: ****1/2





“Christina’s World”; Andrew Wyeth, 1948

Grayton Beach, April 2017

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

  • Courtney, Claire, Sophia and I left Euclid around 6:30AM. Easy drive to Decatur Alabama arriving around 5:30 PM.
  • Listened to the entire S-Town podcast for 8 hours straight.  Fantastic!!  Save it for your next long drive if you haven’t listened to it yet.
  • Stayed at Doubletree along the river; Nice but kind of weird.
  • f064088d11f69bd6257a166de18d9a16Sat outside soaking in the sun in the 80 degree sunny weather and then went to dinner at local BBQ spot: Big Bob Gibsons BBQ which was as good as advertised.  Great BBQ and pie and super cheap.  Went for a walk along the river after on a beautiful night.
Sophia walking the tracks along a park in Decatur

Friday, April 14th, 2017

  • Left hotel around 7:00 AM and arrived in Grayton Beach around 12:30.  Easy drive with hardly any traffic.  STILL building the road down to the beaches – may be done next year.
  • Had lunch at Red Bar, then moved into house around 2:00.  Loved the house. Perfect for our group of of 7 people.  logo-redbar-100Beautiful views of the beach and the river and a quick walk down to the beach.
  • We all went to Publix after getting settled in and stocked up for a full week.
  • Jack arrived at around 5:30 after driving for about 13 hours from Austin.  Very happy that he will be here for the whole week.
  • Steak, potatoes and salad and Publix key lime pie for dinner to make it all official.
Happy to be back on our favorite beach
Grace is here in spirit
beach selfie
Sunsets were great all week

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

  • Seaside bike ride with Sophie and Courtney in early AM.  Love my Amavida.
  • Beach in A.M.
  • Picked up Emily and Dan at airport at 2:00.  Easy 30 minute drive to Panama City airport
  • Steamed Gulf shrimp and grits for dinner.  Bought shrimp at Goatfeathers about a mile west on 30A. Fresh off the boat.  Also got their smoked tuna dip which was fantastic.  Note to self: they will steam shrimp for you and then take home and eat.
Sand castle day 1: warming up
Don’t mess with our castle punks…

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

  • Hmmm, not sure what we did today.  Ate a lot of chocolate and sat on the beach I’m sure 🙂
  • Grilled chicken, vegetables, and quinoa for dinner
This was the weather every single day.  Low 80’s and sunny. Perfect,

Monday, April 17th, 2017

  • Unusually foggy morning – cleared up by 11:00AM though and another beautiful day.
  • Seaside bike ride with Courtney, Jack, Emily and Dan.
  • late down to beach around 11:30 – hotter day.  Someone wrecked our day 1&2 castle unfortunately.  So we went modern today.
  • Dinner at Craft Bar – new place down the street they were building last year.  We sat outside on their nice covered patio.  It was 1/2 price burger night so most of us had burgers. They had a nice selection of drafts and food was good.
  • Watched Cav’s back home win their second playoff game
Day 3 castle

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

  • Beautiful sunny day all day long.  Hot in mid 80’s in afternoon.
  • Seaside bike ride in AM with Courtney and Claire
  • Beached it all day
  • Tacos for dinner after going down to beach to watch sunset and take pictures
  • Dominoes at night
our spot
Day 4 castle looking sharp






It was great to be on vacation with Emily and Dan
group shot with red solo cups



Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

  • Beach in AM – perfect weather again
  • Girls shopping at 2:00 to Destin outlets – Jack, Dan and I stayed at the beach.
  • Met the girls at Stinky’s at 5:30 where we walked in with no wait.  Definitely a first.  We had a great table on their screened in porch and had an awesome meal as usual. oysters… finally. 3c869f_e5c852e8a2ac4c919c1808bea939bfe2mv2
  • Stopped for ice cream on way home
  • Blackout at night
Everyone loves Stinky’s


another beautiful sunset on an empty beach

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

  • Seaside with Sophia for coffee and croissants
  • Beach Day all day – perfect weather
  • Drove Emily and Dan to airport at 12:30. Drove 30A back – stopped at Rosemary Beach and walked around. Interesting place – we didn’t realize the large section south of 30A.
  • Beach in PM – good castle day
  • Drove to Seaside around 6:00PM and had oysters, royal reds, fried pickles and then sat down at the pizza restaurant and had wine and pizza in their back patio area that was very nice.
  • Watched the Cavs come back from a 30 point deficit – at least everybody else did as I fell asleep.
early morning on the beach
money shot
We had a great screened in porch where we spent most of our in house time.  Jack was the backgammon champion for the week.
oysters on the shrimp shack patio
love those Royal Reds

Friday, April 21th, 2017

  • Had great scones, cinnamon rolls and GF muffins from bakery down the street.
  • Last day – spent it all on the beach
  • Went to The Perfect Pig for late lunch.
  • Packed up car after long beach day, went down to beach for one last sunset and then had all the leftovers for dinner
nice alfresco lunch at The Perfect Pig
Our day 6&7 castle was off the charts





until next time…

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

  • Left around 3:30AM and drove all the way straight through – 15 1/2 hours.  Painful – very foggy in AM and rain for most of drive – but no so bad once its all over.  Great trip and arrived to spring in bloom in CLE.

Smoked Sausage Cassoulet

Smoked Sausage Cassoulet

In Good Time, 123 Slow Cooker recipe – Weight Watchers

  • 2 bacon slices
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pound lean boneless pork loin roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound reduced-fat smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 teaspoons finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 8 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion, thyme, rosemary, and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in crumbled bacon, salt, pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Remove from heat
  • Place half of beans in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher until chunky. Add remaining half of beans, pork, and sausage; stir well. Place half of bean mixture in a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; top with half of tomato mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

We usually just throw everything into the slow cooker, skip the bacon, don’t sauté anything – and it turns out just fine

Purple Cole Slaw

This is my Mom’s iconic purple cole slaw that I made a week or so ago for the first time. Simply the best. We traditionally have it with grilled turkey and corn on the cob in the summer.  My Mom reports that it was from a recipe in a California newspaper more than fifty years ago.  Don’t leave out the bacon!

For 1.1/4 c dressing: 

  • 1 c sour cream
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar

Combine sour cream, salt, sugar, paprika and pepper. Gradually stir in vinegar. Cover and chill. 

  • 4 c. shredded green cabbage
  • 2 c. shredded red cabbage
  • 1 c. chopped green pepper
  • 1 c. shredded carrot
  • 1/2 c sliced radish
  • 8 slices bacon; cooked & crumbled

20-40 minutes before serving mix with dressing and chill