Settling In, Catching Up

Road trips and house guests are fun, but it always feels good to get settled in and back to normal again. Or what constitutes normal for me.

My two guests (one from Maryland, one from Poland) arrived a week ago Monday and after a yummy dinner at Casablanca (grilled chicken salad for me–enough for three meals!) and a good night’s sleep, we set out on our adventure.

Our first stop was Hot Springs, Arkansas, where we toured Garvan Woodland Gardens. For two of us, this was a second visit but still well worth it as there were beautiful displays of James Hayes art glass throughout the gardens.

james hayes art glass at Garvan Woodland Garden
james hayes art glass at Garvan Woodland Garden

So pretty, but it was about 100° with 70% humidity, so we didn’t linger long. In the evening, we went downtown to walk along Bathhouse Row and then to shop for a bit before heading for the hotel and turning in relatively early.

After shopping a bit more on the next day, we headed for our friend KT’s house in Texas. KT is the hostess I aspire to be someday. She opens up her home and her heart and makes everyone feel so welcome. And if that wasn’t enough (and it is), she’s an amazing cook and always has the perfect meals for such a diverse group, with that perfect blend of healthy and indulgent. For this gathering, she had two vegetarians, three carnivores, and one…well, we’re not sure what she eats regularly. :)

I actually showed a tiny bit of usefulness on this visit by suggesting make-your-own-pizza night using the Damascus flatbread. (KT roasted a turkey breast, made a vegetarian enchilada casserole, monkey bread, some sort of overnight french toast casserole, a caramel cake, cookies, and pasta. I came up with the DIY pizza idea. Seems about right. LOL)

flatbread pizzas make your own pizza night

We all chipped in to slice and dice the toppings (I was black olives) and the ingredients for a salad, assembled our pizzas, and then watched the oven door like some folks watch Dancing with the Stars. :) (My pizza was the second one from the bottom on the right. I’m not sure why I skimped so much on the fresh mozzarella.) Everyone seemed to enjoy them, so if you’re looking for a good collaborative dinner idea, you might consider MYOP and salad night.

I mentioned caramel cake, didn’t I?

caramel cake

This was soooo good. It’s not exactly the traditional southern recipe with the slight taste of burnt sugar, which I enjoy but which doesn’t really taste like an actual caramel. This one is rich and creamy, but still light. Like a velvety caramel, in cake form. I’m getting the recipe for this, for sure! Next year’s Dessert Social is MINE!

I think we deserve a medal for not gobbling up the whole thing. Had it not been for the cookies and the monkey bread, I think it would’ve been a goner. :)

Second to seeing KT, the best part of the trip (even better than caramel cake and cookies) was seeing my precious canine niece, Emma.


I’ve only seen Emma twice before, but she remembered me and we had a joyful reunion. Her weekend was a bit rough, what with people putting chairs where they didn’t belong and sitting on her sofas and messing with her stuff. Plus, there’s a new kitten in the house AND her cousin Abby came to visit:


I can’t be sure, but I think this was the only time Abby slept for her entire visit. (It lasted about 10 minutes.) Emma likes Abby, but I’m not sure she likes how much attention Abby gets. Being an older woman myself, I understand and commiserate with her. :)

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Before I knew it, the weekend was over (and not a moment too soon for KT, I’m sure!) and we were on our way back to Memphis. My guests left the next morning for points east, and I collapsed in a heap on the couch for the rest of the day. Since then, I’ve been catching up on yard work, work work, and life in general. This weekend, I hope to catch up on my reader, which has been out of commission for the past few days. I’m ready for life to slow down now.

Wishing you all a great weekend! Have anything special planned?

13 thoughts on “Settling In, Catching Up

  1. It sounds like you’ve had a great weekend. I love being able to travel and catch up with old friends. Your pizzas looked delicious and I can’t wait to try them out myself.

  2. Oh that glass is so beautiful! I would love to see it 😀

    I have a recipe for caramel cake pinned. It seems similar to ‘the cake’ we make, but with a soft frosting.

  3. Wow. Looks great. I love art glass. That caramel cake doesn’t look too bad either! Would be nice with ice cream :)

  4. Mahvelous restraint on the caramel cake. Thanks for taking us on your weekend. The glass art is amazing.

  5. Sounds like a fun time – that build your own pizza idea is a great idea!!
    I love all of that beautiful glass inside the gardens!

  6. Sadly, we did not get to the Garven Gardens on our trip to Hot Springs and not sure we’ll be there again. If your reader is/was as full as mine after a weeks absence, you’ll run screaming back to Texas!! Glad you had a fun trip. When are you headed my way again??

  7. What a wonderful time Cammy!!! Love the glass and the eats & the pet friends! Life is about this – right!!! :) The cake looks devine but I was looking for cookie pics! 😉

    I went to the IDEA World Fitness Convention yesterday & it was fun!

  8. CARAMEL!!!Cake!! Oh my, good times. good times. Anyway, I feel the same as you. Love visits and friends and traveling. But LOVE to get home (and be alone) for a while! Oh, and routine. I love routine.

  9. Pingback: Potluck (Another Chop & Stir Recipe) | Tippy Toe Diet

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