I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.

I'm obsessed right now with planning our veggie gardens and with our hardscape landscaping. My husband has no idea the amount of manual labor I've got planned for him or he'd be heading for a perpetual cold climate in which none of my plans would be possible.

I've got trellis picked out.

I've got four new beds to be put in, including digging out the sod and mixing in compost, planting and then mulching.

I've got 10 THOUSAND dollars worth of plans in place and no idea if our budget will allow for that. OK, if I am being serious I know our budget will not allow for that but I'm dreaming.

Who wouldn't want these beauties lighting up the winter landscape? I'm a little crazed for shrubbery that has the decency to have the woody portions turn a brilliant scarlet after the last leaves drop in defeat. I've got a Nashiki Willow planted already but I really want a row of Red Twig Dogwood.

I'm planning for spring for the floral beauty of the garden:

Lady Elizabeth Daylilies

Seven Seas Daylilies

Collonade Spire Apple

Pinky Winky Hydrangea

My Monet Weigela

Snow Storm Spirea

Show Off Forsythia


Easy Wave Red Improved Petunia

Fiesta Coral Bell Double Impatiens

Oso Easy Mango Salsa Roses


My True Bliss

Some people can sleep through anything.

The title of this blog is "Follow Your Bliss" and for me, my true bliss is family. Last weekend we were all there in Williamsburg for Lily and Ellie's baptisms. I was able to shoot a few photos.
When I look at sweet Ellie, I see her mama who looked just like this at eight months.

Gracie and her mama, Jess

Miss Grace at almost one year.

BFFs Lily and Ella

Somebody looks tired.

I LOVE this photo. What's better than a mommy smooching her baby?

What a sweet face! How could you not love this precious angel?

Soft flannel kitty cat PJs make Miss Lil smile.

I well understand these dynamics. At times I felt the same way about my little sister.

Another shot of "Rachael Junior"

Gabriel was proud to wear his "Daddy" shirt.

Somebody feels like a princess. Can you tell?

My Reading Pile

Like Jess, I have a pile of books ready for the new year. I'll probably read a couple of them simultaneously, as is often my wont. I'm a big fan of history, biography, and nonfiction, but do like a novel now and then. Here are the books I will read early in 2011 in no particular order:

I'm a fan of Barbara Kingsolver, so I'm eager to read this one. I bought this autographed copy at Kingsolver's restaurant in Meadowview, Virginia.

I've read another book by this author and hold out great hopes for this one. I received this book at a Christmas gift.

I love Bill Bryson! He is one of my all-time favorite authors. I once wrote him a letter, and surprisingly, he wrote me back! His books are so funny while also most informative. I've already begun reading this one.

I'm working on a huge family project, archiving all of the photographs, letters, ephemera, and objects handed down through the generations. This book will guide my work. I know the project will take at least a year. I've ordered all of the archiving supplies I'll need. Now I must begin to sort through the boxes and boxes of artifacts.

This book holds particular interest for me as I grew up in a sundown town. It shocking how we oppressed African-Americans in this country. Shame on us.

(C) 2010
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