Tuesday, March 21, 2017

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #58

The Irish Guards

The Irish Guards, part of the Guards Division, is a Foot Guards regiment based in Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow.
The current regiment was formed on 1 April 1900 by order of Queen Victoria in recognition of the many courageous acts carried out by Irish soldiers in the Second Boer War.
The regiment takes its motto, 'Quis Separabit' or 'Who shall separate us?' from the Order of St Patrick, an order of chivalry founded by George III.
As a Foot Guards Regiment the Irish Guards Regiment is involved in state ceremonial and public duties at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St James's Palace, and The Tower of London. HRH Prince William is Colonel of the Regiment.
St Patrick's Day is the traditional celebration of the Irish Guards and fresh shamrock is presented to members of the regiment.
The Battalion is made up of five companies with a variety of supporting arms. The Battalion has deployed on recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan. The Battalion has also recently carried out a tour of Cyprus under the United Nations. As well as deploying on operations the Battalion has also deployed on various oversea exercises to Bosnia, Latvia, Oman, Kenya and numerous other countries.
The opportunity for taking part in sport is fantastic. Football, Gaelic football, boxing and rugby are just some of the team sports you can get involved with. There's also a wide variety of adventurous training packages, which include things like mountain climbing, skiing, sailing and white water rafting.
- From http://www.army.mod.uk/infantry/regiments/23990.aspx

 St Patrick's Day is the traditional regimental celebration.  Fresh shamrock is presented to the members of the regiment, no matter where it is stationed.  Except in wartime, the presentation is traditionally made by a member of the Royal Family.

 Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (2000) and the Duchess of Cambridge (2012), her first solo military engagement

The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards, and the Duchess of Cambridge at this year's ceremony (photo courtesy of What Kate Wore)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Blogging from A to Z April (2017) Challenge Theme Reveal

Drum roll.....here we go, April 1st is coming and that means it's time for the Blogging from A to Z April (2017) Challenge Theme Reveal.  Having just packed and unpacked all of the books in our library during our coast to coast move, I've have decided that my theme will be
Favorites from my Bookshelves!
(I hope that worked and you had to scroll down a little to see the big announcement!)

Fiction, Non Fiction, Biography, History, Cooking, Traveling, DIY, Schoolbooks, Health, Journals, Art, Series, Children's, Romance, there's a little of everything to share with you,  I hope you'll enjoy the journey and perhaps find something to check out for yourself.

Here's a reminder of the schedule:

1 - A

3 - B
4 - C
5 - D
6 - E
7 - F
8 - G

10 - H
11 - I
12 - J
13 - K
14 - L
15 - M

17 - N
18 - O
19 - P
20 - Q
21 - R
22 - S

24 - T
25 - U
26 - V
27 - W
28 - X
29 - Y
30 - Z
(Since there are five Sundays in April, we'll be posting on April 30th)

Happy Homemaker Monday 3/20/2017

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:::

Up and down...as low as 44, as high as 71, there's just no telling what's in store for us - it snowed yesterday for about 15 minutes!

On my reading pile:::

One more chapter to go in  A Heart for Home by Lauraine Snelling.

On my TV:::
I finished The House of Eliott and how I wish I had read the Wikipedia entry first!  Grrr, the writers did not anticipate that the BBC would cancel the program at the end of the third series so there were five, yes five!, unresolved story lines where we are just left hanging.  I hate that!

On a happier note, I am eagerly anticipating the premieres of Call the Midwife Season 6 and Home Fires Season 2 on my local PBS station on April 2.  I wondering how Home Fires will end because it too was not picked up for a third season.

On the menu for this week:::
Yay, Vic is home so I have real meals to plan!

Monday - Chicken Tikka Masala
Tuesday - Herb-Crusted Salmon (definitely a firm favorite now)
Wednesday - Corned Beef and Cabbage Bubble and Squeak
Thursday - Shrimp something
Friday - Grilled Chicken something
Weekend - I can't think that far ahead right now!

On my to-do list:::

  • Fun stuff - two more lunches this week - Volunteer Appreciation event today and then the Lunch Bunch goes Greek tomorrow.
  • Haircut
  • Rudolph Day on Saturday
  • Afternoon Tea at another new tea room this weekend
What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
My Tea Cup and Mug Exchange package - not really creating, more like putting it together.  I can't share it right now since we'll be having a reveal in April but I can say that I'd love to be receiving what I'm sending. 

Looking around the house:::

Tidy - I had a cleaning day on Friday - Vic wasn't able to get on the red eye on Thursday night so since he wasn't due home until Friday dinner time, I had plenty of time to get all of the housework out of the way.

From the camera:::

Table decorations from the Joint Services Luncheon I attended last week - the luncheon rotates annually between the Navy, Army, and Air Forces bases in the area - last week was the Army's turn.  The frame describes the pieces on the tables:
Pineapple - Virginia's unofficial symbol of warmth and welcoming
Camo Ribbon - A nod to the Army history on this installation
Purple Ribbon and Frame - The color you get when you combine all the forces working together as one
Gold Figure - Don't we all feel our service members are like gold to us and to this country?
Wine Glass and Goody - Who couldn't use a little wine and chocolate in this crazy life that we live? (everyone took one of these home)
It was a lovely luncheon - everyone received a Bingo card when they checked in that had "Army Spouse", "Navy Spouse", etc. in the boxes and we had to go around the room and meet new friends who fit the category - one of our local spouses' club members was the only Marine Corps spouse at the luncheon so she was VERY popular!  When you had a Bingo, you put your card in a bag for a drawing and I'm thrilled to say I was the lucky winner - a bottle of wine, four lovely gold tea light holders, and a $20 Visa gift card.

The event was really fun because it was like a Dining In, a formal military event where there are rules that everyone must follow and there is a penalty for violating the rules which usually involves drinking the grog (usually very potent brew but in our case, just very sweet) or wearing a silly hat, cape, or feather boa.  It got to the point where table mates were turning each other in just to see what penalty the MC would come up with next!  Hilarious!

The guest speaker was the widow of a Seal Team Six member who died in the horrific Chinook helicopter incident in 2011.  She was such an inspiration, so courageous, and had a great message about the wonderful bond between military spouses during good times and bad.

Something fun to share:::

Continuing on with the Declutter Challenge update:

March 14 - Cleaning Supplies - I'm good with this one - I gave so many things to Sophia when we left Washington since the movers won't ship open liquids so I am very frugal with what I buy at our new location to avoid this problem again.

March 15 - Toiletries - Again, passed on a lot of things and stopped keeping a big stockpile so I'm not in the same position when we leave here.  I do seem to have a lot of lotion so I'm keeping a bottle next to the bed and using it faithfully at night.

March 16 - Makeup Drawer and Bag - This still needs some work - I don't have a lot of different things as I tend to stick to tried and true favorites but I need to dig out my "how long should you keep makeup" chart and see what needs to be replaced.

March 17 - Medicine Cabinet - Good, cleaned out the expired items before we left Washington.

March 18 - Linen Closet - Done, I blogged about this a while ago and it's still nice and tidy.  I really need to decide if I'm going to keep all the twin bedding or if I should make a bundle and try to get rid of it on Ebay.

March 19 - Desk - A constant work in progress.

What I'm wearing today:::
Black pants, dressy blouse, black clogs - I'm off to the Volunteer Appreciation event.

Bible Verse, Devotional:::

The thread of our life would be dark, Heaven knows, if it were not with friendship and love intertwined.  (Thomas Moore (1779-1852), Irish poet

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #57

Continuing on with Britain's icons, today's post brings you the letter box, pillar box, or post box.  The boxes have been green, red, blue, and gold (see note below).  There have also been a myriad of designs but the one that is most recognizable came into being in 1879.  Read all about the fascinating history of the pillar box here.  I have a lovely print of this scene below which sadly, since our move, I have not been able to locate.  It's somewhere, in a box, waiting to be found.  In the meantime, I borrowed this slightly blurry version from Temple Island, a purveyor of British gifts.
It was interesting to read that a gold letter box was placed in the home town of each of Great Britain’s London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal winners.  You can see a map of all of them here.

Belated birthday greetings to the Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex who turned 53 on March 10 and is shown here with his family in 2014.

Photo courtesy of Unofficial Royalty

Monday, March 13, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday 3/13/2017

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:::

40s and 50s all week - we look to be just below the Nor'easter zone.

On my reading pile:::

Still working on  A Heart for Home by Lauraine Snelling.

On my TV:::
Midsomer Murders Series 19 was awesome.  I've moved on to The House of Eliott, a DVD series I got for Christmas.

On the menu for this week:::
Leftovers from the weekend and more snack food while Vic is gone, again!  Corned Beef and Cabbage to celebrate his return on St. Patrick's Day.

On my to-do list:::

  • Fun stuff - two lunches this week - first an Irish Dance demonstration and lunch at the local Irish Pub and then the Joint Services Luncheon, an annual event that rotates among the Army, Navy, and Air Force bases in the area.  "Special Guest Speaker" the announcement read so that peaked my curiousity.
  • Make reservations for Easter Sunday Brunch - saw that note in my planner for this week, Easter is coming!
What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::

Afternoon Tea table set with my new Mikasa Love Story china and rose napkin fold
I bought this three tier server - it came with three crystal plates but the rings that the plates sit on are the perfect size for any of my china so I can coordinate the server to the place settings
Savoury tier - Roasted Red Pepper Triple-Stack Tea Sandwiches (on brown bread), Beet-Cucumber Heart Canapés, Cucumber Canapés with Lemon-Pepper Aioli, Lemon-Lime Salmon Cups (in mini phyllo cups in the center)
My semi-fail scones - they didn't rise but tasted delicious and I'm a firm believer that lashings of Devon cream and strawberry jam can cover any baking mishap!
Sweet tier - Red Velvet Macarons, Strawberry Tartlets, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets, Chocolate Ganache Tarts with Coffee Vanilla Mousse
Most of the recipes are from the January/February 2017 Tea Time magazine Hearts-a-Plentea feature.  I'm very much a Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade cook so it's 50-50 on what I made for the tea and what I supplemented from my gourmet grocery store.

Looking around the house:::

Dishwasher is full from the weekend but just finished its cycle so needs to be unloaded and there are two loads of laundry to run.  Everywhere else is tidy.

From the camera:::

Sophia was the only rider from her team to compete at the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) Regional event this weekend, placing third in her class.  Sadly, only the first and second place winners go on to the next step, the Zone event, but she loved every minute of her 2016-2017 season and is looking forward to 2017-2018, her final year as a collegiate equestrian
Something fun to share:::

Continuing on with the Declutter Challenge update:

March 7 - Jewelry and Purses - Done as much as can be done.  My purses are still in plastic totes - one day I will have shelves in my closet for my purses - and my jewelry box is organized.  This mirrored jewelry armoire is on my forever home wish list as well.

How do you organize your necklaces?
March 8 - Shoes - Done.  I don't have as many pairs of shoes as I used to so they are easy to keep organized.

March 9 - Master Bedroom Closet - Done - hangers all finally flipped so we can see what we are NOT wearing and what can be donated.

March 10 - Paperwork - Still working on this as I ran out of room in the new lateral file.  I need to give it one more going over to see if there is anything else I can throw away.  Vic and I still need to go through his career files but I have a feeling he's going to want to save everything that's currently in there, at least until he retires.  They will have to stay in the plastic file boxes for now.

March 11 - Emails/Files on Computer - This is going to turn into the Declutter Challenge for 2017.  I accidentally dropped an email into the wrong folder and when I went to move it to the right one, I found several folders that took me on a real walk down memory lane - conversations with riding coaches at colleges that Sophia didn't end up attending, old Christmas greetings emails that I need to print and put in the appropriate Christmas card album - I have a lot of work to do to get my emails/files on the computer decluttered and organized.  I am a real file hoarder - I just know the moment I delete something, I'll need it again.

March 12 - Books/Magazines - Done - we cleared a lot of these before our last move and resolved not to buy as many magazines.

March 13 - Laundry Room - Done - it's really a Laundry Closet so there's not a lot of room for clutter.

What I'm wearing today:::
Black yoga pants, turquoise long-sleeved shirt, red fleece jacket, flip flops - the clothes I threw on to take Vic to the airport early this morning.  I need to take a shower and get dressed for the day.

Bible Verse, Devotional:::

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!  (Isaiah 61:10)  Today's devotion was all about celebrating the gift of today.  What makes your heart leap?  What makes you want to jump for joy?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

100 Days

If you read my Hodgepodge this week, you'll know that a very special reunion is coming up.  We were young mothers of toddlers, Navy wives, members of the same MOPS group, and now we are mothers of college-age kids, college graduates, a new generation of active duty military service members, grandmothers. 

Nine friends, twenty years, a cabin by a lake, food, fun, fellowship...100 days to go...I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Volume 300

Time to Hodgepodge - Volume 300, can you believe it?  Thank you, Joyce, for all your hard work!

1.  What is one area of your life where you're a perfectionist?  Is that a good thing?

I like symmetry.  I like to see things lined up, stacked, or shelved in order.  I suppose it's a good thing in that people comment how organized I am.

2.  What's something you find perfectly ridiculous?

The cost of taking your family to the theater, a concert, or other events.  How will parents be able to expose their children to the beauty of art, music, dance, or theater when ticket prices are so outrageous?

3.  What's a skill you've developed by way of that old fashioned saying, 'practice makes perfect'?

Quick and easy scrapbook layouts that speed up my huge backlog!  I developed an element of style plan - I'm pretty sure it's not an original idea, I must have read it somewhere but it's a method of using a similar layout throughout a whole album, just changing up the colors or placement of designs.

4.  What's your idea of a perfect breakfast?

One I don't have to cook!  I love to go out to breakfast and I usually order a Denver omelette, some sort of potatoes, and sourdough toast.

5.  What's a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you've taken that you'd rate a perfect 10?  Tell us why.

Our Family Christmas in Kettlewell, Yorkshire Dales National Park, December 2001.  Everything about it was fabulous - a picturesque village, lovely accommodations, all of our favorite English foods, pots and pots of tea, long walks, pub lunches, a little sightseeing, long games of canasta, laughter, love, family.

6.  What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now?  If you can't do perfect, how about one that comes close?

"You are my favorite hello and hardest goodbye."

7.  How would you spend $300 today?

Vic and I would take off for the weekend, somewhere historic, preferably somewhere with a tea room.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

There are just over 100 days until nine friends who met 20 years ago will be reunited for the Sisterchicks* Reunion.  We were young mothers of toddlers, Navy wives, members of the same MOPS group, and now we are mothers of college-age kids, college graduates, a new generation of active duty military service members, grandmothers.  We have so much catching up to do - I can't wait.

*Sisterchicks comes from the Robin Jones Gunn series of books - read all about them here.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

10th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange

Lea over at CiCi's Corner shared this link on Monday - the 10th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange.  If you'd like to participate, please click on the photo above - don't miss out, registration ends tomorrow!

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #56

Today's topic is the Red Telephone Box (Kiosk), voted one of the top ten British favorite design icons since 1900 in 2006.  I knew that there were several versions of the telephone box (note the omission of "red", because as I found out, telephone boxes weren't always that color).  There are, in fact, seventeen versions of the telephone box and their story is fascinating.  Rather than cut and paste just a few details, I'll direct you to this site, The Telephone Box, where you can read all about them. 

My favorite is the K6, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the Coronation of George V in 1935.  I'm not surprised to read that it is identified as Britain's red Telephone Box and 60,000 of them were installed across Britain with 11,000 of them remaining.

I found this beautiful example of the K6 on fellow blogger Judy's blog, Cranberry Morning, a number of years ago and asked her permission to use her photo.  Surprise, surprise, this photo was taken in Kettlewell, my most favorite place on earth!  Although Judy didn't spend very long in Kettlewell, she did snap some beautiful photos that took me right down memory lane when I saw them on her blog.

I'll leave you with this little tidbit - if you've got a spare $7000+ lying around, you can become the proud owner of a restored K6 red telephone box, complete with coin slots for pennies, shillings, and sixpences.  Imagine that in your front or back garden!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Blogging from A to Z Challenge April (2017) Test

This is my test clickable link post for the upcoming Blogging from A to Z April (2017) Challenge.

Happy Homemaker Monday 3/6/2017

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:::

Low to mid 60s all week but creeping just over 70 on Tuesday - I'll take it.

On my reading pile:::

Finally finished Book Two of the Daughters of Blessing series by Lauraine Snelling, No Distance Too Far.  Moving on to Book Three, A Heart for Home, and then I can finally start on the next series, Song of Blessing, the ones I got for Christmas.

On my TV:::
I have PBS Passport so I was able to watch the finale of Victoria before it actually aired but I had to wait until last night for the finale of Mercy Street.  I binged through Seasons One and Two of When Calls the Heart so that I would be caught up to enjoy Season Three - loving it!  Midsomer Murders Season 19 will be on Acorn TV today so that's my afternoon entertainment.

On the menu for this week:::
More snack food but a special weekend menu - afternoon tea Friday or Saturday - working on the menu now to go with my lovely new Mikasa Love Story china - a belated Valentine's Day celebration.

On my to-do list:::
  • Volunteer shift at the gift shop
  • Doctor's appointment
  • Pick up Vic at the airport
What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
An afternoon tea menu and tablescape.  Will share more later in the week.

Looking around the house:::

Not much mess when it's just me - quick whiz over everything and prepare for two week's worth of laundry when Vic gets home.

From the camera:::

Mousse in Chocolate Tuxedo Cups and a napkin rose from Friday night's Chick Ministry - it's our Sunday School class ladies night event every couple of months - I made the dessert and brought the rose to show everyone - it's a Pinterest success!

Something fun to share:::

I'll share the Declutter Challenge update here this month.

March 1 - Fridge/Freezer - Done - not much to declutter since we've only been here for three months but there was a jar of mayonnaise that I tossed and I turned the leftovers into lunch and dinner so the shelves are pretty empty now.  I toy occasionally with the idea of having a small under the counter fridge or refrigerated drawers in our forever home - we just never seem to buy enough to fill a large fridge.  Throwback to my days in England, I guess, when we shopped every day, had daily milk delivery, and had a small under the counter fridge.  Will have to think more about that one.

March 2 - Pantry - I don't really have a pantry in this house because we just don't buy much boxed or canned food anymore.  I do have a double cupboard where I keep a few things so I tidied that up.

March 3 - Kitchen Cupboards - These were OK - in the three months we have been in this house, I've moved things in the cupboards from one side of the kitchen to the other twice in an effort to find the best system that works for me.  I think I've got it now.  The way things are set up are the most efficient for loading the dishwasher and for food preparation.  I found a plastic container with some Wilton decorating supplies that I've had for some time so I moved those over to the cupboard that holds all my Wilton.

March 4 - Kitchen Drawers - Also OK; again, I've moved things around a few times to see what works best.  Adding deeper drawers to my forever home wish list - even my long drawers are somewhat narrow and you can't have more than two tea towels or cloth napkins on top of each other or they get caught every time I open the drawer.

March 5 - Master Bedroom Nightstands - Done - I moved a Longaberger basket to the nightstand to organize hand creams and lotions so that I can have them handy (excuse the pun!) to use them up.

March 6 - Master Bedroom Dresser - Done - everything in its place and a place for everything!

What I'm wearing today:::
Black yoga pants, turquoise long-sleeved shirt, flip flops.

Bible Verse, Devotional:::
Every time we encourage someone, we give them a transfusion of courage  Charles Swindoll

Saturday, March 4, 2017


The Random and Wacky Holidays sticker in my planner says that today is Scrapbooking Day but my search for a photo to include in this post brought up multiple images of Scrapbook Day as the first Saturday in May.  A little further research yielded this image from last year so one must assume that the same applies to 2017 - today is International Scrapbooking Day.  Click on the photo if you'd like to read the post from Stampin by the Sea.

I also like this one - I love Wordles.  It's from Stamped Blessings.

I never got into stamping as a technique in my scrapbooking.  I started out with the Creative Memories company in 1999 and when they went out of business (before they reformed and rejoined the scrapbook arena), I moved over to Heritage Makers.  Both have similar albums and pages and I purchase some supplies (scrapbook paper, stickers, tools, and adhesives) from both but I also supplement from scrapbook stores (when I can find one) or from Michael's or other craft stores that have a scrapbook section.

I am terribly behind on my scrapbooking and it's one of my goals to get my craft room in order so that I can get busy and catch up.  I'm definitely going to need more album storage! 

 I'll keep you posted.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday Favorites

A very busy schedule combined with a bit of a blogging funk led to little posting this week but I'm back with some of my faves to share.
I'm making Chocolate Mousse Cups for an upcoming ladies social event.  I love these Tuxedo Cups from Kane Candy - fill them with chocolate mousse and they are oh so divine.  I'm also very happy that I found them at Tuesday Morning; I used to have to buy them at a gourmet grocery shop in Washington and Tuesday Morning's price tag was much easier on the wallet.

Vic surprised me with this beautiful teapot for our anniversary.  It was on the cover of Tea Time magazine, featured in a Valentine's tea, and I commented on how beautiful it looked.  I can't believe that he actually remembered!  He ordered it from Bed Bath & Beyond and it had to be shipped to the house so he told me to watch for a package while he's gone this week.  I told him I would hold it until we could FaceTime and then I would open it but the box was very damaged when it arrived so I opened it right away.  It turned out that it was only the outside box and the inside box was well cushioned.  He left the receipt in his truck so I took it to Bed Bath & Beyond with a 20% off coupon and was able to pick up the creamer with the refund and since they had the sugar bowl in stock, I picked that up as well!  Plans for a belated Valentine's tea (since Vic was gone on Valentine's Day) are in the works.

Season 3 of When Calls the Heart is available on Netflix.  Since it's been a while since I watched the show, I went back to Seasons 1 and 2 to refresh my memory.  It's a great show and I'll have to do a little research but I'm almost positive one of the shots of the city of Hamilton in the show is the harbor area of Victoria, British Columbia.

I love these new Meal Plan stickers I bought for my planner from SplendidlyImperfect on Etsy.  I used to have a set of these Pyrex bowls - the rust-colored ones on the far left.  Not sure how I feel about them being listed as "vintage"!
And finally, the bargain of the week goes to these Luminara Flameless Candles in Burgundy.  They look like wax, feel like wax, and flicker like flame.  We sell them in the gift shop and they carry them at Bed Bath & Beyond.  I found three in burgundy, tucked at the back on the bottom shelf of a section marked Clearance.  They didn't have a price on them or a red sticker but when I asked for a price check, they came up as $11.49 for the 7-inch and $10.49 for the 5-inch.  They retail for $44.99 and $39.99 respectively so what a bargain that was!  And, since I had a 20% off my entire purchase from our recent move, they ended up being $9.59 and $8.39.

This is me, leaving Bed Bath & Beyond!