Friday, January 15, 2021

Friday Favorites

This Friday Favorites post is dedicated to Rudolph Day.

What's Rudolph Day? Here is the definition according to Organized Christmas:
A few years ago, members of our Christmas community began to observe "Rudolph Day" on the 25th of each month.
On that day, we take a few moments to plan some simple tasks for the month ahead, in order to get ready for Christmas Day with plenty of time to spare. By starting early--and working a bit at a time on each month's Rudolph Day--it's easy to prepare for Christmas, save money on gifts, and cut holiday stress.
Here's the annual line-up with the sub-theme in parentheses:

January - Tie Up Loose Ends (gather ideas and organize your Christmas notebook)
February - Begin a Holiday Letter
March - Birthday Gift-Buying Strategy (party planning for the holiday season)
April - Plan Holiday Crafts 
May - Catalog Shopping Tips
June - Recipe Round Up
July - Choose a Holiday Plan (Christmas in July celebration)
August - Craft Control (thinking ahead to Elf on the Shelf)
September - Prepare for Holiday Gifts and Giving
October - Plan Holiday Meals
November - Write Holiday Letter

The bottom line is...prepare for Christmas by doing something every month and make the 25th of each month a Rudolph Day by doing something Christmas-y!

Last year, my Christmas group decided to come up with a set of categories to help us celebrate Rudolph Day.  Each month's hostess picks a movie, a book, a magazine, a You Tube craft or cooking video, and a Pinterest idea to share with everyone.  I am January's hostess and here are my recommendations, this week's Friday Favorites:

Movie - Deck the Halls with Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito - just as we've put our decorations away, it's time to watch the dueling neighbors put theirs up!

Book - Jingle All The Way, Debbie Macomber's latest Christmas novel

Magazine - Tell us all about any Christmas magazine you purchased or received as a gift in December

Blog - I'd like to introduce you to my friend Vicki who blogs over at Christmas 24/7/365. She'd love it if you would leave a comment on one of her Christmas posts. Tell her I sent you!

YouTube Craft or Cooking Video - I just discovered Tiny Craft World, - what beautiful designs! This one is a special favorite.

Pinterest Idea - If you're thinking of a Grinch theme for décor, entertaining, or food, my Grinch board might interest you,, the Bingo and Jeopardy cards links may be broken but you can see the details from the photos if you'd like to recreate your own.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Let's Look

I had the best intentions of joining in with Let's Look but I got caught up in the Hodgepodge so I missed it.  Here I am, a day late.

Our coffee bar is in two spots, given the strange configuration of our kitchen and limited space.  First on the home remodel kitchen!  In the meantime, the Keurig, Keurig Rivo (espresso machine), and mugs are located to the right of the sink.  It works for now.

I love the mat the Rivo sits on - it's like a thick foam placemat and it has a great coffee design.  I have a couple more that I'm saving for the new coffee bar.

The second section of the coffee bar is more for decoration right now - it's over on the opposite side of the kitchen - two Longaberger racks hold our Starbucks Been There collection of mugs and all of my Downton Abbey tea tins.  There's also a wrought iron Keurig pods holder.  That's my Hallmark Happiness Is...display stand with January Snoopy, blowing on a noisemaker and wearing a party hat to ring in the new year.

The plan is, when the kitchen is redone, to have an entire wall of cabinets for special dishes - entertaining platters, tea sets, Christmas china - long cabinets with glass in the doors with a coffee bar spot in the middle.  I tried to find a design but the closest I came up with was this piece of cabinetry.

I hope you can get the idea - tall cabinets on each side, counter/coffee bar area in the middle with drawers below for tablecloths, placemats, napkins and something above for more entertaining-type dishes.  I can't wait.  In the meantime, I grab a pod as I enter the kitchen and take it over to the Keurig - hello, morning coffee!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Volume 403

Check out this week's Hodgepodge here and join us! 

1. When were you last a guest at an event or in someone's home? Tell us about it. Do you enjoy having guests in your own home? 

This is unbelievable - I had to go back to December of 2017 to find the last time we were guests in someone's home (it was an event as well).  We certainly didn't go anywhere in 2019 and 2018 was a combination of Vic being in one place and me in another so zero outings there.  We would have gone to a Christmas gathering at a friend's in December 2019 but it was scheduled for the day Vic was coming in at the airport so we didn't make it.

So, the last time was a Holiday Open House, a grand affair put on by one of the major commands in Virginia.  It was held at one of the historic homes on the base, beautifully decorated for the holidays with the service members in their dress uniforms and spouses all glittery or in suits for an glam evening out.  The food was magnificent, wine and champagne flowed, and it was a lovely evening of meeting friends old and new.  The culmination of the evening was caroling along with the command's band who had been playing softly all evening from the grand staircase.  A fabulous memory.

This decor is amazing - that's fishing wire (that invisible wire that is so handy for all sorts of decorating) strung from one side of the rotunda to the other with the ornaments suspended from it.  I was an event that included the international community so this tree is decorated with the flags of the various nations.

I love to have guests in our home - for Christmas 2019, I held an afternoon tea and ornament exchange for friends which was so much fun and we're looking forward to revving up our holiday open house once things are safe again.

2. What has you 'tied up in knots' currently or recently? Are you any good at tying actual knots? 

"Tied up in knots" would have been any discussion about Vic coming home last Christmas - we all know how that turned out.  It's now moved on to his return home - when?  when?  when?  The definition of tied up in knots is to be confused, anxious, worried, and/or upset about something - yep, that's me on all four counts!  I do my best to leave it alone but it's so hard when things are completely beyond my control (I don't do well with that at.all).  I can tie a square knot, it's a holdover from my Girl Scout days.

3. What's something you've been wanting to do and have decided 2021 will be the year you 'take the plunge'? 

Find a healthy eating program that I can make a permanent lifestyle change.  I'm working through a Whole 30 right now to detox from sugar and gluten and then I need to find a way to ease a little bit of both back into my life.  I'll most likely start Weight Watchers again later this year.

4. Something in your home that's old? Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue? 

Old - Mum's Bible that she carried on her wedding day in 1956 is probably the oldest thing we have.
New - Anything I got for Christmas so we'll go with the milk frother.
Borrowed - Library books!
Blue - Just about everything in Vic's wardrobe - he certainly picked the right branch of service to join.  Go Navy!

5. Share a favorite quote, a verse of scripture, and/or a bit of wisdom for couples getting married in this challenging and seemingly unpredictable season we're currently/still experiencing.

Be kind to each other.  Don't go to bed angry.  Agree to disagree.  Hold hands always.

My parents at my sister's wedding - they always held hands - even when they sat in their armchairs at home watching a movie, they were holding hands

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Did anyone watch All Creatures Great and Small on PBS on Sunday?  I caught it on Monday through our PBS Passport and thought it was delightful.  I loved the original series with Robert Hardy and Christopher Timothy and was so afraid this new one wouldn't be as good but I really enjoyed it.  The casting of Siegfried and James is excellent, and I'm sure Tristan is going to be spot on as well.  I did find Mrs. Hall a bit young, but she's kind of an old young, if that makes any sense, so she'll do.  And, of course, the Yorkshire scenery is glorious.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #127


Happy 76th Birthday on January 15th to Princess Michael of Kent, wife of the Queen's cousin, Prince Michael of Kent.  Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz is a larger than life member of the Royal Family and not without controversy.  A Catholic and a divorcee, her previous marriage was annulled just one month before her marriage to Prince Michael.  Much has been written about her father's membership in the Nazi Party during World War II, she is the author of several novels and non-fiction works at least one of which was tainted by accusations of plagiarism, and on several occasions, has been accused of outright racism.

Princess Pushy, as she has been called, certainly stands out.  And so she should, as at six feet tall, she towers over most of the women of the House of Windsor! 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Hello Monday


The weather:::
Guess what?  It's going to....rain!  All next week.  Washington's January tradition continues.

On my reading pile:::
Still reading The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.  I somehow ordered the large-print version from the library, great on the eyes but oh my, it's heavy to cart back and forth every day.

On my TV:::
Finally watched the movie I added to our Amazon Library for us to enjoy at Christmas, Midway, with Woody Harrelson and Dennis Quaid.  It was excellent and I was amazed at the similarity between the actors and the real-life heroes they portrayed, superb casting.  The movie was filmed in part in Hawaii and I caught a glimpse of my friend's husband, in major command in Hawaii at the time, who was an extra.  As it was not a speaking role, he was not listed in the credits but I did see his name in the Special Thanks To section.  The credits go on and on, with many sections dedicated to the visual effects teams.

Checked off the list:::
Back to work last week - steady all week so the days flew by.  I woke up on Thursday to an eerie silence in the house (the heater is on a timer so it comes on just before I wake up), looked at my phone and found a dead battery.  Walked into the kitchen to check the time - 7:16am!  Good grief, overslept and missed the bus so I texted the office to say I'd be late, dove in the shower, and drove in.  Thankfully, I found a convenient parking place.  Since I had the car, I ran to Costco after work for groceries, then to World Market for tea, and stopped at Chipotle for one of the Whole 30 bowls for dinner.  Today will be Day 15 on the Whole 30, it's going well.  I've also managed to drink water (not the full 8 8-ounce glasses, more like half that amount, but it's a start) every day.  Win!  Picked up my dry cleaning and dropped off more.  Went to Whole Foods on Saturday for a few things I couldn't get at Costco and spent the rest of the weekend on chores and relaxing.  Busy, busy, busy.  

Crafts Roundup:::
No progress.  Have ear-marked January 17 as December Daily Day.  Since it's a three-day weekend, I figured I could dedicate one day to crafts.

And in other news:::
Ginger cut her leg so Sophia has spent the last four days keeping the wound clean and wrapped.  Not severe enough to warrant a vet visit but worrying all the same.  She and the barn owner went over the stall carefully to see what might have caused it but found nothing.  It did give her a chance to get her equine first aid kit fully stocked.

I'm the January hostess for Rudolph Day over at the Magical Holiday Home forums.  Rudolph Day is the 25th of each month, a day to take a few moments to plan some simple tasks for the month ahead, in order to get ready for Christmas Day with plenty of time to spare. By starting early--and working a bit at a time on each month's Rudolph Day--it's easy to prepare for Christmas, save money on gifts, and cut holiday stress.

Last year we took it in turns to suggest a movie, book, magazine, blog, YouTube craft or cooking video, and a Pinterest idea, sharing the details before the 10th of each month so the members can come back on the 25th and tell us how they enjoyed the selections and any other thoughts.  If you're not a member of Magical Holiday Home, I'll put the details up on Friday if you'd like to check it out.

I know many of you are thinking..."What, Christmas already?  I've just put away my decorations!"  Well, for Christmas-lovers like us, we're always counting down the days (348, in case you were wondering! 😉) and planning to be as organized as possible to enjoy the holiday season when it arrives.

I've decided to hop on the 2021 Home Organization Challenge, suggested by Tanya from The Other Side of the Road.  Week 1 is the Laundry Room so stay tuned for what I did.

And finally, does anyone use Stevia?  I'd love to hear your comments.

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #126 (moved to Saturday for this special celebration)

Happy 39th Birthday today to Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge.  Since there was no gathering of the Royal Family for Christmas, there was no walk back from church on Christmas Day with all the beautiful coats and hats on display so I've picked another occasion to share with you.  I love that all of these coats were from her existing wardrobe, a nice touch in these austere times.  How I would love to take a peek at the Duchess' coat closet!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge undertook a Nationwide tour of three days on the request of the British Government in December 2020. The 1250 miles long tour saw the Royal couple thanking the UK frontline workers, organizations and communities for their generosity during the pandemic that kept the country going.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Friday Favorites


Here are a few things from under my Christmas tree - I'm looking forward to trying them all.

1.  Jo Malone Cologne Collection - perfect set to sample five of her fragrances

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale - sold out very quickly

English Pear & Freesia (currently wearing and loving), Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Wild Bluebell, Peony Blush & Suede, and Wood Sage & Sea Salt

2. diptyque Candle Set

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale - sold out very quickly

My set includes Baies (Berries), Figuier (Fig Tree), Feu de Bois (Wood Fire), and Roses shown above but instead of Tubereuse, I have Narguile (strangely enough, the translation is Hookah, the description says a hint of honey, tobacco leaves and a handful of spices)

Luxury perfumer diptyque began in 1961 at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris, where three artistic friends opened a storefront bazaar. The trio's creative spirit and elegant taste eventually converted the curated shop into a world-renowned perfume house. Revered for balanced, transformative scents, diptyque offers a full collection of intoxicating candles, home fragrances and body care.

3.  Makeup Eraser's The Sponge

Billed as "The First Ever Machine Washable Makeup Sponge"

4.  fresh Sugar Lip Balm Trio

Another Nordstrom Anniversary Sale item gone within hours

Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy, Sugar Caramel Hydrating Lip Balm, and Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15

5.  Nespresso Aeroccino 4 Milk Frother

This makes the most luxurious froth for lattes and cappuccinos and also heats milk for hot chocolate or cold macchiatos.