Thursday, May 16th, 2013 by Sherry Friel
Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries! It’s peak strawberry picking season in Virginia Beach, and the beautiful weather we’ve had recently has ensured the yield is indeed a bountiful and tasty one.
I just checked out the 2013 Virginia Beach Strawberry Guide to see which farms were ready to be harvested, and the selection was outstanding! A recent update on the Brookdale Farm Facebook page even offers quite a deal for Facebook fans, so it’s a good idea to check out the pages for all local strawberry producers before heading out. Wherever you end up, especially if you head out before the weekend, it’s likely you’ll encounter the following scenario mentioned on Brookdale’s page:
“We are now at the PEAK of the strawberry season and to say that our plants are hanging heavy with ripe berries that need picking NOW is a bit of an understatement, especially at our Pungo farm! Warmer weather the rest of this week means the berries will ripen faster.”
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 by Sherry Friel
Nathaniel eating green beans straight from garden by Sherry Friel
True story: When I was10 years old I learned to cook mashed potatoes-practically a staple on Virginia Beach supper tables for decades now. Whether white, gold, or red, through the years I have learned many variables affect the taste. Ideally, the consistency should be airy and fluffy with just a hint of butter, salt, cream, and pepper. Garlic, in my opinion, should never be added as it can overwhelm the taste of perfectly prepared spuds. Timing is important, as you can’t put them in pot before the water has reached a full boil, and you can’t leave them in too long or they’ll become a mushy mess the consistency of white glue.
See, it’s all about trial and error. And failing. And learning from missteps. Believe me, I served plenty of potatoes to my family that did not measure up. The absolute worst potatoes I ever prepared involved a last minute stroke of genius on my part. In my 10-year-old mind, I decided a dish so creamy, so white and fluffy ought to include pure vanilla extract. So I threw a dash or two into the mix. I’ve never seen the delight of so many people at the table turn sour as one by one, they each took a bite of my potatoes.
Yesterday my 9-year-old son Nathaniel told me if he were to choose a wise saying that summed up his way of thinking, it would be this: “You should cherish your failures because those are the times when you learn.” He’s right. I do cherish the memory of those famous vanilla potatoes, even if at the moment I felt embarrassed that my cooking experiment failed.
Friday, April 26th, 2013 by Sherry Friel
In this week’s Beach Report, Local Mom/Lens Queen & Blogger Sherry Friel shares a story about Nathaniel’s boyhood dream………..his very own treehouse.
Building Virginia Beach: From Sandcastles and Treehouses to Bridges and Beach Homes, the City Continues to Blossom Thanks to its Strong Roots
Yesterday I finally let my 9-year-old son, Nathaniel, make progress on a treehouse he’s been dreaming of for years now. Previously, I averted his many building attempts in an effort to steer clear of injuries and emergency department visits. A wise choice on my part, considering some of his more elaborate schemes involved constructing zip lines through the treetops and digging an underground network that would require extensive electricity and plumbing work.
Last summer Nathaniel and I spent a great deal of time on the Virginia Beach shoreline, where I quietly watched as he fashioned elaborate sandcastles and attempted increasingly complex structures such as bridges, moats and trap doors to keep out invaders of all sorts, whether they were pesky parents or wandering sand crabs. On the beach, the kid who has trouble sitting still for homework thinks nothing of spending hours digging huge holes and shaping sand sculptures. This seemed to appease his desire to build. Somewhat.
Once winter arrived, my son shifted his thoughts to indoor activities such as 3-D jigsaw puzzles and Lego Architecture Series structures. It’s good for kids to imagine and build things so I encourage it as often as possible. I think it helps sharpen problem-solving skills and concentration overall. He certainly has my blessing when it comes to building projects. Most of the time anyway.
Thursday, April 18th, 2013 by Sherry Friel
Yesterday while chatting with my Dad, I learned a little something new about my family history. Apparently, I had a great-grandmother who regularly planted her entire front yard with flowers. There was no grass to speak of-just flowers. Neighbors would pass by her house on purpose just to see the “show.” I never knew this great-grandmother, but have a feeling we share a sort of bond anyway. If she were here today, I can imagine she’d walk up the front porch steps to my Virginia Beach home and nod her head in quiet approval. She’d glance around the yard and probably smile a little, but her thoughts would be along the lines of: “nice, but needs more flowers.” I hear you great-grandmother. Loud and clear.
Friday, March 29th, 2013 by Sherry Friel
Spring Break 2013 Begins!!! Are you here yet? If not, what are you waiting for???????? We’re ready - let’s have some fun!!!
This week in The Beach Report, we’re pleased to feature ShoreLines blogger Sherry Friel and her post, Five People You Meet in Yoga Class.
I just finished reading the coolest novel. “The Illumination” by Kevin Brockmeier brings to life a magical world in which physical ailments shimmer and glow with the most extraordinary light. In fact, the deeper the wound or pain, the more beautifully it manifests for all to see. (On a side note, this novel would make excellent beach reading). This unusual plot crossed my mind today as I continued my journey toward physical and spiritual fitness through regular yoga practice.
As I mentioned in my first post about yoga, I have always shied away from fitness classes, preferring walks and hikes where the air is fresh and flowers are plentiful. But after a series of injuries and setbacks, I realized I needed to get in better shape if I wanted to work harder in the garden and get some hiking in at First Landing State Park this summer.
When a friend invited me to attend a yoga class recently, I envisioned it as a one-time experience. I thought, “why not?” Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised and after a month of twice-weekly classes, I am hooked.
And I have a confession to make. One of the reasons I shied away from fitness classes was I had a preconceived idea that you had to be in shape to do these things. I envisioned a class composed of lithe dancers and toned athletes looking to yoga for its meditation and relaxation benefits. Then I pictured myself as the clumsy out-of-shape mom comically rendering poses that were backward and altogether wrong. The fitness gurus appear in my fearful imaginings, rolling their eyes and thinking, “she will not be back next week, not a chance.”
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 by Sherry Friel
Photo by MarathonFoto.com
I encounter a daily feed of images via Facebook, newspapers and television, many with the intention to evoke one emotion or another in an effort to sell me this product or that service. My responses range from indifference to that moment when a photograph powerfully reaches into my heart and arouses something achingly beautiful. It’s hard to explain, but all I can say for sure is that when I encounter such an image, I stop what I’m doing and just gaze at it with wonder and appreciation.
Last week, a photograph of my son Nathaniel crossing the finish line at the Virginia Beach oceanfront track of the 2013 Yeungling Shamrock Marathon/Operation Smile Final Mile did just that. I can’t stop looking at it, and one word echoes as a mantra every time I see it. The word? Exuberance. I am so grateful for this image taken by the photographers at MarathonFoto.com. Because seeing it reminds me of the many things that inspire exuberance in my life, including my love of photography, watching my son grow, and the joy I feel when friends and family members are gathered for special occasions.
Friday, February 22nd, 2013 by Sherry Friel
This week in The Beach Report we feature ShoreLines blogger and photographer Sherry Friel who shares some of the reasons why our city ranks high in areas of fitness and open spaces, as well as her latest “enlightenment.” Enjoy!
Virginia Beach: A Culture of Healing, Health and Happiness
It’s no surprise that Virginia Beach consistently ranks among the fittest cities in the country. In fact, according to Shape magazine, “the region is tops in fruit and vegetable consumption-about 20 percent higher than the rest of the U.S- and locals are devoted to regular workouts. It also has a high percentage of city land devoted to parks, with 249 green spaces, including 14 miles of free beaches and more than 18,000 acres of state parks.”
So here is where I should come clean. While I may have lived in Virginia Beach most of my life, I have never been one of the locals “devoted to regular workouts” as described above. I’m the one ambling along, enjoying the swaying trees of First Landing State Park with my camera in hand, or sunk deep into my beach chair engrossed in a good book. I tried to join a local gym once. That relationship lasted six months because the facility was located on the water and had sweeping, panoramic views of the sky, boats and bay. Not that that’s a bad thing, but when I found myself devoting more time to daydreaming about the outdoors rather than giving my all to the elliptical machine, it was time to call it quits. We just weren’t meant to be!