Monday, December 25, 2017

December 2017 - Days 24 and 25

Better late than never!

Day 24 - Giving

Always, give generously but give responsibly.  Do your research as to which organizations make the best use of donations.  This is an interesting article by Consumer Reports.

Day 25 - Christmas Day

It was a quiet day chez nous with a lovely FaceTime chat with Sophia as she opened her presents.  It was a tough one this year and I am determined that this will be the last year that we are apart at Christmas.  Not sure how we're going to work that one out with the overseas move coming up but we'll make it work.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 2017 - Day 23

Day 23 - Family

Longing for these days again - it's another East and West Coast Christmas for our family.  I am thankful that Sophia and MudLynn were invited to  spend Christmas with her roommate's family this year.

The next time we all wear these shirts together, we can add "Graduated from" above the Western!

Friday, December 22, 2017

December 2017 - Day 22

Day 22 - The Menu

I'm going to have to revisit this one after Christmas - Christmas Eve, we are going out for fondue so I'm not sure exactly what combination of cheese, meat, seafood, and chocolate we will have, and then Christmas Day, we are having afternoon tea at home so that will be savory items, scones, and sweet items on a three-tiered server but can you believe I haven't finalized the menu?  Be back with his one in a few days.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 2017 - Day 21

Day 21 - Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is pretty standard at our house - we go out to breakfast and then go to Barnes and Noble where everyone picks up a book or a selection of magazines which we take home and put under the tree until Christmas Day.  We go to the Christmas Eve service at church and then come home to a cold buffet.

Since last year was our first Christmas without Sophia, we decided to forgo the buffet and go out for fondue.  This year we will do pretty much the same although we have been invited to an open house at 1pm so we will squeeze that into the middle of the day.  We're off for fondue again after church.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

And Even More Catching Up on December 2017

Day 16 - Gifts

I think I pretty much covered this in Day 4.

Day 17 - Stockings

That's Sophia's stocking on the left - the one I started when I was pregnant and just managed to finish for her first Christmas.  MudLynn's is there on the hall tree and those are our stockings - the red plush ones - on the right side of the hall tree.  Sophia asked for her stocking and MudLynn's this year so I mailed them off to Bellingham with a note that I wanted them back when we finally get back to Washington and can all have a family Christmas once again.

Day 18 - Ornaments

Where shall I start?  Number 1 or Number 825?  Yes, you read that right, 825.  Ornament Collectors Anonymous is calling my name.

Here are a couple of new ones this year - the jaunty sailor from one of my ornament exchange events - not something I would have purchased for myself but he's kind of unique and I'll certainly never forget where I got him.  Check out the little anchor tattoo on his cheek.  On the right is the Sister Chicks ornament I found and purchased for each of the attendees at the reunion this summer.

Day 19 - Holiday Activities

Our holiday activities started back in November with Dirty Dancing on stage and the Harry Potter Concert Series, the showing of the first movie accompanied by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.  Our theatre outings wrapped up last weekend with The Sound of Music - fabulous!  There were three teas on the agenda - one for the two of us which was a disappointment, one for me with the Lunch Bunch which was lovely, and one to come.  There was the Holiday Open House event and another open house this weekend, the Little German Christmas Market, a visit to Busch Gardens, and we'll wrap up the festivities with a Christmas Eve church service followed by fondue at the Melting Pot.

Day 20 - A Beautiful Sight

Fun and laughter at the holidays.
I wanted the perfect shot of the two of us with our holiday-themed Starbucks cups in our hands.  I slipped off the cardboard sleeves whereupon Vic started to have a minor meltdown as the drink was hot and it was burning his hand.  I started to giggle and he looked over at me and we both burst out laughing.  This is the stuff memories are made of.

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 2017 - Day 15

Day 15 - Tree Topper

We've had the same capiz star on the top of our tree since 1994.  Capiz is an oyster shell from the province of the same name in the central part of the Philippines and it is used for decoration and making lampshades, trays, windows, and doors.  We had a good laugh this year when the star just wouldn't stay upright - it reminded me of something on a tree in Who-ville!  Vic finally got it standing up just right.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 2017 - Day 14

Day 14 - Christmas Tree

I've had the worst time this year getting a good picture of the tree.  The lighting isn't right no matter what time of day I take it and that window at the back is just awful.  These two turned out about the best and I sized them to extra-large hoping that would help you to see some of the ornaments.  I'll feature some of the ornaments in Day 18.

This is our Okinawa tree - it is decorated with just the ornaments that we will take with us (six ornament trays out of the thirty-six in our collection).  I picked the round balls, the travel ornaments, Sophia's baby ornaments, and one tray that had a variety.  We will store this tree and buy one the same size when we get there.  No doubt it will be loaded since I am sure there will be lots of ornaments to buy as mementos of our time in Okinawa. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 2017 - Day 13

Day 13 - Christmas Lights

Our lights at home are on the tree - clear, non-twinkling.  We haven't put up lights outside for many years.  Maybe when we have our forever home, we'll put up lights.

There are several great light shows in our area - the Botanical Gardens has a lovely display and the lights at the oceanfront are fun too.  We haven't been to either one yet this year but we did go to Busch Gardens which has an amazing display of lights.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 2017 - Day 12

Day 12 - Traditions

Advent Calendars - my Mum always bought them for my sister and me, I always send a chocolate one to Sophia and my nephews

Christmas Cards and Family Newsletter - love to send them, love to receive them

Christmas Eve morning breakfast out followed by Barnes and Noble shopping trip - purchases go right under the tree to be enjoyed on Christmas Day

Christmas Eve Church Service used to be followed by a cold buffet but last year and again this year, we've gone out to eat

Monday, December 11, 2017

More Catching Up on December 2017

No excuses, my blog has been suffering from the excess of Christmas planning, crafting, decorating, and activities.  Striving to catch up and keep current.

Day 6 - Friends

This tour of duty has been more friendless than any other.  I think it's because Vic travels quite a bit and I want to be here when he will be home.  I just haven't made an effort to seek out friendships like I normally do and it's probably a good thing since we now know that we'll be moving on sooner than expected.  It's not that I'm without friends, it's just that there isn't a group of close friends here as I have had in the past.

My closest friends are all so far away and I am very thankful for unlimited text, talk, and data plans that keep us connected, for email and Facebook, for Christmas cards.  I keep saying that I'm going to take up the 52 Letters in 52 Weeks challenge and maybe 2018 will be that year.

Day 7 - Holiday Movies

I LOVE holiday movies and not just at this time of year.  I love that Rudolph Days bring an excuse (not that I need one!) to pop in a holiday movie on the 25th of the month, knowing that my fellow Rudolph Day friends are doing the same.  My favorite holiday movies are The Holiday, Love Actually, White Christmas, and Christmas Vacation.

Day 8 - Decorations

As you know, this is the year of the Okinawan Christmas.  We have decorated with just what we will be taking with us and even with only six trays of ornaments out of thirty-six, our tree looks very festive and the decor items on the coffee table, dining table, and scattered here and there are those that mean the most.

Mum's Santa and Mrs. Claus knitted from this Jean Greenhowe pattern

Day 9 - Christmas Treats

I was just making a page in my December Daily of these are a few of our favorite things - mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding, Cadbury's chocolates, Mr. Kipling baked items - I love being so close to the British Food Shop and I hope that online orders to Okinawa will arrive without any difficulty.

Day 10 - Weather

I love to see snow at Christmas.  We actually got a little dusting on Saturday afternoon and evening, not enough to stick but enough to look pretty as it was falling.  Last year, we had quite a storm that closed most things here in southeastern Virginia for a couple of days.  It's lovely to be cozy in the house when there is a Winter Wonderland outside.

January 2017

Day 11 - Holiday Reading

Debbie Macomber - I bring out all of her Christmas books at this time of year, Maeve Binchy's This Year It Will Be Different, a selection of Christmas short stories, and anything that has Mary Berry's recipes.

Happy Homemaker Monday 12/11/2017

14 more days until Christmas!  I'm dreadfully behind on my December meme - have to get that caught up today and do some blog planning for 2018.  I can't wait to break open my new planner on Christmas Day.

It's time for another Happy Homemaker Monday with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  Click here if you'd like to join in.

The weather:::

High of 58 this week, low of 38, quite a spread there.  Some wind, some rain, but no more snow (we had a little on Saturday afternoon/evening).

On my reading pile:::
Part Four of Keep the Home Fires Burning.

On my TV:::
The Crown, Season 2
When Calls the Heart, Season 4
The Durrells in Corfu on PBS

On the menu for this week:::

No idea, need to make menus and a grocery list - I think I'm going to start reporting this section after the fact, On the menu last week.

On my to-do list:::
  • Continuing on with the Holiday Grand Plan - it's Maintenance Week
  • Post Office - mailing two of Sophia's packages - ornaments I'm passing on to her, treats, and stocking stuffers
  • Make a hair appointment since I had to cancel last week's because I was sick
  • Stay home today for heating company to finish new heating system job - they are still repairing the two holes in the ceiling
  • Spouses' Club Board Christmas luncheon and ornament exchange
  • Dental appointment for overseas screening
  • Dinner with friends who are moving to Colorado
  • Lunch Bunch Christmas luncheon
  • Dinner out and a trip to the theater to see The Sound of Music
  • Wreaths Across America event at the local cemetery

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
December Daily

Looking around the house:::
Laundry, sticking to the daily housekeeping plan.

From the camera:::

A photo from Saturday before we ended up really wet and snowy

Something fun (or intriguing) to share:::

Christmas at the Tidewater Collection gift shop - so many cute ornaments and home decor items

What I'm wearing today:::
Capris, long-sleeved shirt, fleece jacket, and flip flops - kind of a mixture there!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 2017 - Day 5

Day 5 - Shopping

The Minimalist(ish) Giving plan makes Christmas shopping pretty easy.  Sophia, because she's so far away, makes an Amazon Wish List for each category and I chose items from there.  She gets just what she wants, she just doesn't know exactly what she will be getting until it arrives.

Vic is not so easy.  "What would you like for Christmas?" is usually met with a blank stare so I spent from January to November, making  mental notes as we stroll through Woodcraft or Home Depot, or as he flips through an LL Bean catalog.  I snap endless photos on my phone when I see him paying more attention that usual to a particular item.  It's a challenge.

My sister and her family get Target gift cards.  They still do the Target shopping trip - everyone runs off and makes a list of what they would like, they meet up and exchange lists, and then the shopping begins.  It's a bit like the Amazon Wish List idea but at Target.  Everyone gets what they want, they just don't know exactly what that will be.

Vic's nephews are a bit more a challenge.  They are far too dependent on electronics and I'd really like to see them get out and do something or use their minds away from a keyboard.  Finding something for them was a real challenge.

Do you have any shopping tips you'd like to share?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday 12/4/2017

Happy December, only 21 days until Christmas!  It's time for another Happy Homemaker Monday with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  Click here if you'd like to join in.

The weather:::

Clear but chilly - down to 45 degrees this weekend and some rain in the forecast but tomorrow it's supposed to be 70 - no, no, no!

On my reading pile:::
Part Four of Keep the Home Fires Burning.

On my TV:::
Outlander, Season 3, on STARZ
Bramwell (put this one on hold)
The White Princess
The Durrells in Corfu on PBS
TURN on Netflix

On the menu for this week:::

Monday - Fish and Chips
Tuesday - Solo night, not sure what yet
Wednesday - Lamb Korma
Thursday - Salmon, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Red Potatoes
Friday - Flank Steak, Mushrooms, Roasted Potatoes
Saturday - Dinner at Busch Gardens Christmas Town
Sunday - Grilled Shrimp with something

On my to-do list:::
  • Continuing on with the Holiday Grand Plan - it's Finish Up Week
  • Post Office - didn't get enough stamps on Saturday
  • Call to see if my dental records are ready to pick up for my overseas screening
  • Hair appointment
  • Stay home for heating company to finish new heating system job - they need to repair the two holes in the ceiling
  • Doctor's appointment and drop off overseas screening paperwork
  • Volunteer shift at the gift shop
  • A Little German Christmas Market event
  • Christmas Town at Busch Gardens with Vic's sister and her family
  • Last episode of the current season of Outlander
  • Murder on the Orient Express at the movies

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
December Daily

Looking around the house:::
Laundry, sticking to the daily housekeeping plan.

From the camera:::

The Colonial Tea was a huge disappointment but the historic area of Smithfield was a great place for a photo op

Something fun (or intriguing) to share:::

I had to pick up this giant box of Jaffa Cakes at the British Food Shop for my in-house Elf & Safety Specialist!

What I'm wearing today:::
I'm still in my fleece robe - sore throat and runny nose so I'm going to pass on the spouses' outing today and stay home.  At some point, I will get out of my robe!

Catching up on December 2017

December blew in on Friday and swept me away so I'm catching up on Days 1, 2, 3, and 4 this morning.

Day 1 - Christmas Cards

Day 1 of my December Daily also featured cards - I won't share a photo of the front of the card yet since they just went out in the mail and I'd like people to be surprised.  We sent two cards this year, one for the exchanges (Magical Holiday Home, December Daily Card Swap, and my Sisterchicks) and one for the regular mailing list.  As in the last couple of years, the addition of the newsletter put the card over the one stamp weight so the postage for this year's mailing was roughly equivalent to the GNP of a small nation!

Day 2 - Holiday Crafts

December Daily!  I hope to get some photos up soon - it might end up being a weekly recap.

Day 3 - Favorite Songs

Anything from Josh Groban's NOEL and O Holy Night.

Day 4 - Wish List

We do the Minimalist-ish Christmas - something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read, something to make, something to eat, and something else.

This year Vic and I bought a joint gift for our something you need - an electric toothbrush recommended by both of our oral hygienists! - and decided that the something you want would be memories of the events we're attending this holiday season.  Good grief, that 's another GNP to go on these outings - Dirty Dancing musical, Harry Potter concert series, The Sound of Music musical, two Christmas teas, Christmas Town at Busch Gardens, and Christmas Eve fondue dinner at The Melting Pot.

I bought my own something to make - a new Erin Condren planner - so that leaves something to wear (my perfume bottle is almost empty, hint, hint), something to eat (if it starts with a G and ends with an A, I'll be happy - GODIVA), and something else.

What's on your Wish List?

Friday, December 1, 2017

December 2017

I spent quite a bit of time searching for a December meme and I really like this one.  It's from a 2015 post by The Digital Press and I think it works perfectly with my December Daily project and my plans for December.  I would love it if you would join me.  Leave a comment below and I'll check out your December fun.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 30

I give thanks for all the methods of keeping in touch with family and friends. From texting, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype to good old-fashioned letter writing and sending Christmas cards, it always great to hear news from afar, to see pictures of fun family events, and to celebrate the special occasions.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 29

I give thanks for memories and my patience, perseverance, and (limited!) artistic ability to scrapbook them into keepsakes for my family and future generations. I encourage you to preserve your family's memories. If you don't have the time or interest to scrapbook, at least label your photos (on the back with a photo-safe pencil) or on your computer. Don't let your family photos end up in a second-hand store where people will wonder Who? Where? When? Why?

Memories are precious - label them, journal them, preserve your stories.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #84

In case you hadn't heard...

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 28

 I give thanks for our military life - I've already covered the job security but we also have so many great benefits. I know they say that you don't join the military to get rich but we do have a lot of free or low cost benefits that really add up - medical care, dental, life insurance, legal and financial assistance, child care, self-help courses, recreation centers, commissary and exchange shopping, not to mention the camaraderie and support of other military spouses and families.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday 11/27/2017

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Thanksgiving weekend.  It's time for another Happy Homemaker Monday with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  Click here if you'd like to join in.  I'm thinking this will be the last week for the fall photo - Friday is December 1!

The weather:::

Clear but chilly - LOVE it!

On my reading pile:::
Part Four of Keep the Home Fires Burning - finally started reading it!

On my TV:::
Outlander, Season 3, on STARZ
The White Princess (we worked our way through the White Queen over the weekend)
The Durrells in Corfu on PBS

On the menu for this week:::

Monday - Grilled Shrimp, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes
Tuesday - Ham Steak, Macaroni and Cheese
Wednesday - Lamb Korma
Thursday - Fish and Chips
Friday - Flank Steak, Mushrooms, Roasted Potatoes

On my to-do list:::
  • Continuing on with the Holiday Grand Plan - it's Holiday Decor Week
  • Overseas Transfer Workshop with Vic today
  • Dentist appointment
  • Stay home for heating company to install new heating system
  • Volunteer shift at the gift shop
  • Sign and seal all Christmas cards and get them in the mail
  • December Daily starts Friday
  • Drop off more Christmas items at the consignment shop
  • Gift of Memories Weekend at Hallmark
  • Colonial Tea
  • Holiday Open House with dress uniform for Vic and Christmas glamour for me - we received an invitation to the premiere event of the season at one of the local historic homes - I'm sure the decorations are going to be amazing!

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
December Daily

Looking around the house:::
Laundry, sticking to the daily housekeeping plan.

From the camera:::

This was an amazing event - if you ever get the chance to see a movie accompanied by a symphony orchestra, especially a movie with a score by John Williams, not to be missed!

Something fun (or intriguing) to share:::

I've never seen placemats like this before - what a great idea!

What I'm wearing today:::
Jeans, long-sleeved shirt, fleece jacket, socks, and clogs.

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Days 24, 25, 26, and 27

 I give thanks for a safe and fun Black Friday. In past years, in spite of media reports that there were some less than orderly shoppers in some places, we spent the morning with a considerate and cheerful crowd, swapping shopping tips and Christmas ideas while we waited in checkout lines. I hope your Black Friday was fun and easy on your wallet!

I give thanks for the seasons. Fall is absolutely glorious, followed by winter's snow, spring's revival, and then the sunshine of summer. I LOVE to see the seasons change.

 I am thankful that we were able to obtain housing on the Naval Station. I feel safe when Vic is traveling and I am thankful for the maintenance services that are just a phone call away.

I give thanks for giving hearts - for those who give their time and resources to help others. This holiday season, please give responsibly. Do your homework to make sure that your giving really benefits those in need, and not those in administration.