Tuesday, January 17, 2017

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #50

Several of the bloggers who join in with Happy Homemaker Monday are knitters so I wanted to share a wonderful set of pattern books for anyone who is interested in making stuffed toys and other little bits.  My Mum knitted many of Jean Greenhowe's designs and wrote to her asking for some posters that she saw in her local wool shop when Sophia was a baby.  We framed the posters and hung them on the nursery walls.  I always get a warm feeling when I look at Jean Greenhowe's designs because I know the love my Mum put into the pieces when she was making them for me.  It never fails to make me feel closer to her.

You can find all of the patterns at Jean Greenhowe Designs - credit for the photos in the collage has to go there as well.  She has some free patterns available if you would like to give them a try.

Here are a few of our family favorites:

Santa and Mrs. Claus along with Mr. and Mrs. Snowman are always part of our Christmas decor
Sophia with Mr. Owl at her high school graduation - it was like having Nana with her
I hope you enjoyed Jean Greenhowe's Designs - let me know if you give one of them a try.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday 1/16/2017

The weather:::
After freezing temperatures that closed the military bases to all but essential personnel on Monday, put everyone on a three hour delay on Tuesday, and returned things to just about normal on Wednesday, it was 70 degrees on Thursday!  WHAT??  Yep, that's crazy Virginia weather.  The temperatures over the weekend have been cold but not as cold as last weekend.  The week ahead ranges from the high 40s to the low 60s.

On my reading pile:::
As I started the first of my Christmas books, To Everything a Season (Song of Blessing, Book 1) by Lauraine Snelling, some of the things didn't sit quite right so I checked out the previous series and realized I hadn't read the last two books.  No wonder I couldn't figure out the relationships and the timeline.  So, it's back to the drawing board and Home to Blessing Books 2 and 3 before I can start on my new ones.  More to read, always a good thing!

On my TV:::
Still working our way through Newhart.  Loved Victoria last night and happy to see that Mercy Street Season 2 is coming.  There's one more Great British Bake Off episode to watch as well.

On the menu for this week:::
Menu planning was Thursday through Wednesday but I've decided to switch that back to a regular week of planning.  Here's what we have coming up:

  • Monday - Shrimp, Snow Pea, and Shiitake Stir Fry*
  • Tuesday - Grilled Chicken with Skillet Mushrooms and Greens*
  • Wednesday - One-Pan Herb-Crusted Roasted Salmon with Roasted Broccoli Steaks*
  • Thursday - Thai Coconut Chicken Soup*
  • Friday - Grilled Flank Steak with Baked Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Saturday - Nigella Lawson's One-Pan Sage-and-Onion Chicken and Sausage
  • Sunday - Leftovers

*New recipes to try from the Whole 30 Cookbook.

On my to-do list:::
  • Follow up on Military Spouse Priority Placement Program Package - mailed last week; I hope the placement office will acknowledge my email so I know they received the documents.  The office here is a lot less friendly and helpful than they were in Washington.
  • Still debating - File damage claim from our recent move or not.
  • Still sorting through the boxes that are not unpacked.
  • Reschedule car appointment - when I got it back from the service last week, the rear door wouldn't open.
  • Clean up my planner and do some advance planning.
What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Nothing although I really wish I could knit some of the designs I'll be sharing in tomorrow's If this is Tuesday, it must be England post.

Looking around the house:::
There are five boxes of documents Vic and I need to go through - didn't have time before we left Washington and I know we brought a lot of papers we do not need any longer.

From the camera:::
Game Night on Friday - Vic was the Phase 10 champion!

Something fun to share:::

Sweet Potato Breakfast Stacks - the photo on the left is from the Whole 30 cookbook, on the right is our version for Saturday breakfast - looks to me like one of those classic Pinterest FAIL photos!  LOL, it had a lot to do with Vic wanting a fried egg instead of a poached one, and said fried egg sticking horribly to the pan.  It may have looked like a disaster on a plate but it was delicious!

What I'm wearing today:::
Fleece and velour - no change in the temperatures in the house.  Historic house = drafty!

Bible Verse, Devotional:::

Photo courtesy of http://aboutmartinlutherking.com/

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Saturday Night at the Movies...on Sunday

Our plan to head to the movies on Saturday night was derailed by my last minute hair appointment so it was a Netflix night.  I was flipping through the offerings and came across this one.  It's an interesting twist to the 1962 political crisis between Monaco and France.  I'm afraid the critics gave it a real bashing but it was entertaining none the less if only for the gorgeous scenery, fabulous fashions, and hairstyling (it won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or Movie).

Also on the plus side, since it was such a twist on the political crisis, it made me research the whole episode in more detail so bonus points for sparking an interest in further study!

Friday, January 13, 2017

5 on Friday

Hard to believe another week has flown by!

Winter Storm Helena blasted through southeastern Virginia and left us looking like this:

I haven't been able to find actual snowfall totals but it must have been 8-10 inches.  It was quickly followed by three days of freezing temperatures that turned everything into lethal ice.  The military bases were closed to all but essential personnel for three days and then opened things up at noon on the fourth day.  Schools remained closed on the fourth day because neighborhood roads still hadn't been plowed so the school buses couldn't get through.  Would you believe it, yesterday it was 70 degrees?  That took care of the snow.

I'm still finding little bits of Christmas tucked here and there that need to be put away.  I'm a little challenged finding a storage container for my table centerpiece so I'm off to search for a round plastic tub or decorative round storage box at Michael's today.

I whipped this up from pieces I found before Christmas at Michael's 70% off sale - a green charger, a greenery ring, a tub of red ornaments that are attached to long wires (perfect for weaving them into the greenery ring), and three votives I bought for 75% off at the gift shop where I used to work.  I don't think the entire thing cost more than $7.

The new Whole 30 cookbook has some amazing recipes and several of them will feature in our menu plan next week.

$18.00 at Amazon.com but I scored mine at Costco for $16.99.

Reading back through old blog posts since I was so far behind after our move and the holidays, I found this great post about beauty Advent calendars.  Most of them are British but I'm sure there is just as nice a selection here in the US.  Has anyone purchased or received a beauty Advent calendar?  I know my daughter would love one.

Vic is traveling at the end of the month so I'm getting my Netflix binge watching schedule organized.  I've been saving The Crown until I can really sit down and enjoy it (shout out to Claire Foy for her Golden Globes Best Actress in a TV Drama win!) and although I started The Gilmore Girls in Washington, I only watched a couple of episodes so that's on the list too.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Travelling on Thursday - Vic's Birthday Edition

I wanted to plan a memorable trip for Vic's big milestone birthday this year so I asked him where he would like to go.  I had a few suggestions - Hawaii, Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, Walt Disney World, a Disney Cruise, or cruising up or down the Mississippi on the American Queen Steamboat.  Guess which one he picked?

All things falling into place (a. a job for me and b. no schedule conflicts for Vic), we'll be rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river this fall.

I've never been on a steamboat before (unless you can count that trip to Tom Sawyer's Island at Walt Disney World!) so I sent off for the American Queen Steamboat Company's brochure to check them out.  It looks like so much fun!  Lots of relaxing on board, entetainment if you want it, yummy cuisine, lots of shore excursions, and an all-around unique experience.

We looked at the various offerings, length of stay and itinerary determining the cost, and decided that the 9-day Jewels of the Lower Mississippi (New Orleans to Memphis) plan suited us best.  We'll add on a post-cruise stay in Memphis so that we can go to Graceland which we missed on our trip from Washington to Virginia.

The itinerary includes stops in Oak Alley and St. Francisville, Louisiana; Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Helena, Arkansas with one day of river cruising before we reach Memphis.

So, travel along with me on Thursdays as I explore each of these stops and plan our steamboat experience.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday 1/11/2017

I'm joining Rachel over at Living Better One Day at a Time for Weigh In Wednesday, a mutual accountability meme in the quest of many of us to lose weight, get healthy, and gain control.

Weight loss has been a lifetime journey for me and it always will be.  You know those people who say "I'm so upset, I couldn't eat a thing!"; yeah, that will NEVER be me.  Upset, stressed, whatever mood I'm in, chocolate, pastry, anything makes me feel better.  As I get older, I find that better feeling comes with tough consequences - aches, pains, lethargy, fatigue, stomach issues.  Ugh, I think I've got a little bit of an intolerance for everything.  No, that's not the case, I just overdo everything and that's why I suffer.

Two years ago, my sister and brother-in-law introduced us to the Whole 30.  We tried it for a month and felt fabulous.  Aches and pains - gone.  Lethargy and fatigue - gone.  Energy levels - amazing.  Sleep habits - awesome.  Lab results - excellent, huge improvement from before.  Sadly, we fell off the Whole 30 wagon big time and reverted to our old eating habits.  Part of that was my husband's job, sea duty with lots of underway time and eating galley food.  Part of it was that we weren't committed.  You CAN make it work, wherever you are.

Fast forward to December 27.  After eating at every Cracker Barrel we could find across the USA, living in hotels for twelve days, eating out because it took forever to get organized in our new kitchen, and the whole holiday season of sugar, sugar, and more sugar, we were ready to tackle the Whole 30 again.  I won't sugar-coat it (excuse the pun!), it's restrictive.  No grains, sugar, dairy, legumes, or alcohol for 30 days but it's not the end of the world.  The Whole 30 is designed to remove anything that could be a potential problem food for your body for 30 days and then after that, you slowly reincorporate foods to see how your body reacts.  First ice cream = bloating and/or stomach cramps obviously means you have a dairy problem.  Sandwich = same results, you might want to think about going gluten-free.

The Whole 30 is not for everyone but if you can give it a try, go for it.  Be prepared to prep, prep, prep and eat vegetables for breakfast.  You can do it!  We buy huge amounts of vegetables and chop, chop, chop, packaging everything up to throw in stir frys or roast trays of veggies to eat during the week.  Preparation is the key to success.

So, our weigh in was December 27 and we won't weigh again until 30 days are over.  I'm here with all of you, just not posting a number.

Exercise is not in the picture right now - I want to give my body a chance to detox from all the holiday sugar first and I need to drop a few pounds before I can feel comfortable putting on my sneakers and walking.  Plantar fasciitis is a real pain right now and I know it's related to my weight.  I have been checking out Leslie Sansone's workouts and think that's the way to go.  I received a Fit Bit as a farewell gift when I left my job in Washington so it will be put to full use.

Drinking water is key and I am faithfully drinking 64 ounces per day.

This week's task is to set the table for dinner each night and eat there.  With veggies and meat usually in a stew or other form that can be eaten in a bowl, we tend to eat that way in front of the TV.  That has to stop.

Until next week, stay motivated!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #49

Cononley, near Skipton, Yorkshire Dales

It's no secret to anyone who reads my blog that the Yorkshire Dales hold a special place in my heart.  I can't remember when I first came across the Throstle Nest Farm Bed and Breakfast, but I saved the link and some photos for future reference, hopefully for an overnight stay someday.

This photo, however, was on their Facebook page and with all the snow on the ground here at home, I thought it really was the most picturesque scene.  Imagine bundling up and walking down this lane and then returning for a steaming cup of tea and a scone.  Ah, that's my idea of heaven.

In case you are as curious as I was, throstle is a old-fashioned term for a song thrush, rather like this one: