Hello and welcome to Sundays With Celia Vol 88. As always, I’m so delighted you’ve joined me!


Why I’ve Been MIA Lately

I’ve been rather MIA lately from the blog. I’ll explain why in today’s post. It involves some travel, a new renovation project, and some entertaining, all good things that I’ll be sharing with you on the blog. So let’s start with the travel.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Flying Into Boston |

Flying Into Boston

We have just returned from a family trip to Maine. Our youngest son has been living in Portland, Maine for over a year now and I had yet to visit him there.


We wanted to see his home and enjoy some family time with our DC dwelling son, his partner, and our grandchildren, who also joined us there.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Family Trip To Maine |

So we spent 2 nights in Portland, the number 1 foodie city in America, where we ate at several fantastic restaurants…

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Scales Restaurant, Portland, Maine |

and stocked up on provisions at the incredible Portland Farmer’s Market, which I’ll also be reporting on in a future post.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Portland, Maine Farmer's Market |

Then we went to West Bath, about an hour north in mid-coast Maine, where we rented a charming cottage for a week. The home was located right on the ocean with its own dock…

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Our Rental Cottage in Bath, Maine |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Our Rental Cottage in Bath, Maine |

stunning views…

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Our Rental Cottage in Bath, Maine |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Our Rental Cottage in Bath, Maine |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Our Rental Cottage in Bath, Maine |

beautiful sunsets…

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Our Rental Cottage in Bath, Maine |

and a resident lobsterman who delivered right to our dock.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Maine Lobster |

Needless to say, we ate copious amounts of lobster.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Maine Lobster |

And the boys had fun taking selfies with them for their Instagram and Snapchat stories.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Maine Lobster |

I must admit it was difficult making friends with the lobsters and then having them for dinner later on. But at $8.00 a piece they were cheaper (and more delicious) than chicken, so we found every conceivable way to prepare them over the course of our 1 week stay. In a future post I’ll be sharing all the yummy food we prepared. So stay tuned!

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Maine Lobster |

My Latest Renovation Project

I’m excited to report that I’ve taken on a new renovation project in the nearby ski resort of Big Bear Lake. You may remember I renovated 2 previous homes in Big Bear, The Bird’s Nest

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | The Bird's Nest Big Bear Lake |

and Stone Hill Cottage.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Stonehill Cottage, Fawnskin |

Now I’ve taken on a project for a darling young family with 3 adorable children. She’s a blog follower who was also a former guest at The Bird’s Nest when I rented it on VRBO. This adorable family recently purchased a home that is more a remodel than a fixer. The house is newer, with good bones and in great shape physically, it just needs a major facelift. The former owner decorated it for Christmas and left it that way year-round. Can you imagine, Christmas 12 months out of the year?!! It takes the specialness out of Christmas. Here’s what the kitchen currently looks like.

The house is full of knotty pine (which we like), but it also has about 4 other types of wood, including walnut doors and oak kitchen cabinets. So we are going to remedy that by gutting the kitchen and replacing the oak cabinets with white cabinets and pine open shelving.

Here’s our inspiration photo compliments of Heather Bullard’s fabulous kitchen as seen on her Instagram page.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Heather Bullard Kitchen |

This is what the current Living Room looks like. We plan to paint the knotty pine walls bright white up to the ceiling, add new flooring to compliment the ceiling, replace all the furniture with neutral colored pieces, paint the cream colored stone fireplace white, get rid of the ugly fireplace insert, leave the wooden mantel natural and replace the window treatments.. and, we’ll add a jute area rug.

Here’s our inspiration photo compliments of Sara from Simply Southern Cottage. I’m super excited to be working on this project and will be sharing the progress with you regularly.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Simply Southern Cottage |

Entertaining & House Guests

It was my husband’s birthday this week so I had a little dinner party for him last night.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | A Birthday Dinner |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | A Birthday Dinner |

My pretty galvanized steel charges can be found here. I love them!

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | A Birthday Dinner |

For starters in the bar I served a delicious Grilled Corn and Ricotta Dip with Grilled Bread. I got this yummy recipe here from Saveur Magazine. Made with sweet, slightly charred grilled corn, it’s a delicious summer appetizer served piping hot-from-the-oven.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Grilled Corn & Ricotta Dip |

Our first course was a refreshing Cold Mango Coconut Soup. I simply blended up frozen mango in my Vitamix along with coconut milk, fresh lime juice and grated fresh ginger and it was so good!

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Cold Mango Coconut Soup |

Our main course was a yummy Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil. Find the fabulous recipe on the blog, Damn Delicious.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Shrimp & Summer Corn Broil |

For dessert, instead of birthday cake, my husband wanted a dessert we had had in a restaurant in Maine that was called a “Summer In Maine Sundae” made with homemade meringue cookies, fresh berries, mint from my garden and fresh whipped cream.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Summer In Maine Sundae |

Our dear friends who recently moved away to the Reno/Tahoe area came to town for the weekend festivities and brought the most delightful hostess gift crate.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Hostess Gift Basket |

It was chock-full of goodies from their area, which has wonderful farm and ranch land.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | Hostess Gift Basket |

There was sheepherder’s bread from the wonderful and famous Schat’s Bakery in Bishop, California, honey, lavender, farm fresh eggs, garlic, apricots, cherries, wine, a cookbook, cute dishtowel and homemade zucchini bread. I’m in heaven!


Planning a “Bar Trip” Camping Adventure

As I’ve shared with you here, my Chicago dwelling son recently graduated from law school. He was so occupied studying for the upcoming Bar Exam that we could not pry him away to join us for our family trip to Maine. He will be taking the 2-day Bar Exam on July 30th and 31st, along with all of his fellow law school students and thousands of others all around the country. The Bar Exam is only administered 2 times per year, all on the same day in various cities across the United States. So, after spending 3 grueling years in law school, students then study nearly 24/7 for 2 months after graduation for the Bar Exam.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | University of Chicago Law School 2019 Graduation |

After all this they are finally ready to celebrate, relax, and get away before starting the next chapter of their lives in the working world as attorneys. To do this they typically take what is known as a “Bar Trip”. Apparently this is “a thing”. I learned that many of my son’s fellow law school graduates have planned Bar Trips to exotic locals including Safaris to Africa, expeditions to South East Asia, and cruises to the Greek Islands.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88 | University of Chicago Law School |

My son and daughter-in-law are doing something a bit less exotic. They are taking a 2-week camping trip to several National Parks. They will fly from their Chicago home-base into Jackson, Wyoming, then drive to their first stop, the Grand Tetons National Park…

then on to Yellowstone National Park…

next stop Glacier National Park…

and, finally, Olympic National Park.

They had planned to do this trip out of a rental car and a tent with only the  camping equipment they could manage to pack in a suitcase. They’ve invited my husband and I to join them, and while I grew up camping and love to do so, this style of camping was a bit rustic for my taste. Plus, my husband’s idea of camping is leaving a window open at the Ritz Carlton. So, in order to convince him to make the trip I talked him into camping in style by renting an RV. I found this terrific website called Camper Champ that allowed me to compare hundreds of RV’s from many different suppliers, all on one website. I’d call it the Kayak of RV rentals, one-stop online RV rental shopping. Not only was I able to compare many brands and types of RV’s available to rent, I was also able to find them in a city close to our first camping destination. In fact, Camper Champ lists RV rental suppliers in over 35 countries worldwide, and they don’t charge a booking fee. I didn’t even know such a service existed until I stumbled upon it, so I thought I’d share this handy resource with you.

Well, I hope you are enjoying a wonderful Sunday. Thanks for stopping in! What are your summer travel plans?

So there you have it: SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 88

Thanks so much for dropping in!

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  It’s what helps to make this blog possible. Thanks very much for your support.