Monday, December 30, 2013

The Week Ahead - December 30

Outside my window...cooler temperatures for the week - low 40s and down to 33 on Friday - brrrrr! I love it.
I am much I love my new iPad! 

I am thankful...for a lovely, quiet Christmas.  Good food, good fun, lots of lovely pressies for everyone to enjoy, and greetings from family and friends around the world.

From the kitchen...I'm trying out a seafood casserole recipe for New Year's Eve.

I am hearing...nothing.
Always one of my favorite things...a family DVD marathon.  We're enjoying The Big Bang Theory that Sophia got for Christmas.

I am reading...still nothing, no time, haven't even really given my Christmas magazines the attention they deserve.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...nothing, nothing, training a new volunteer on Thursday afternoon, nothing, and then hoping to see Philomena with Judi Dench on Saturday evening if Vic's not too tired after his safety certification exam in the morning (5 hours, ugh!).  Slowly taking down the Christmas decorations, inventorying as I go.

College holidays until January 13.

Volunteer Update...Tidewater Collection re-opens January 2.  After my training afternoon on Thursday, the January calendar is almost full so it looks like that may be the only day I work in January.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...home sweet home for New Year's Eve.

Christmas pajamas for the number one Big Bang Theory fan

One of the books from Sophia's Wish List - at least she'll be prepared when she gets a place of her own (after the Oregon adventure, I hope that day is still far, far away).  That's 1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know on the right.

The Christmas City Swap recap post is up if you'd like to see the goodies that were sent from all over the country.  Check it out here.

Resolutions for 2014?  Eat less, spend less, exercise more.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.
Happy New Year!

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve and I'm up before the chickens.  It's usually on Christmas morning that I'm up long before it gets light but this year, it's coming a day early.  As much as I wish I could say that outside my window it looks like the photo above, all I can see are puddles from yesterday's rain.  It's going to be cold today, 45 degrees is the high but no white stuff.

We usually go out to breakfast on Christmas Eve morning and then head to Barnes and Noble for our annual magazine and book shopping event before heading home to pop the ham in the oven and prepare for our evening buffet.  This year, however, we did our Barnes and Noble shopping over the weekend because we are having friends over for brunch.  So I have two sets of Christmas Eve menus in the works.


Christmas Eve Brunch

Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole
Quiche Lorraine
Pumpkin Bread
Orange Juice    Mimosas    Coffee



Christmas Eve Buffet

Baked Ham with Pineapple
Caesar Salad
Chilled Shrimp
Smoked Salmon
Cheese Board
Marinated Mushrooms
French Bread

Christmas Cocktails and Faux Champagne

Vanilla Mousse in Chocolate Cordial Cups


In a word...yummy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas City Swap Reveal

You may remember this post in November about the Christmas City Swap hosted by Allison at be up & doing.  My package arrived today!  My Santa (can't call her my swap partner because swap assignments were random so my package went to someone else) was Melissa from On Board the Gravy Train and its contents were from Brooklyn, New York.

There was a bag of Butter & SCOTCH Dark & Stormy Caramel Corn (Dark Rum) and two candles (Christmas Tree and Lavender scents) from Brooklyn Candle Studio.  What a lovely package - something sweet (always a big hit!) and candles in two of my favorite scents.  Also tucked inside was the lovely card that you can see in the photo above.  I can't wait to read Melissa's adventures on her blog.

My package is scheduled to be delivered to the recipient tomorrow but I think I can give you a sneak peak.

My package is from Virginia - I tried to find items specific to Norfolk but had to go a little farther afield.  There's a copy of Coastal Virginia (formerly Hampton Roads) Magazine, a mermaid ornament, a Peanut Crunch Bar and a package of Whole Cashews from the Peanut Shop of Williamsburg, along with a map and program guide from Colonial Williamsburg, and two Shore Seasonings mixes - Garlic Herb and Chesapeake Bay.  The Shore Seasonings mixes are from Melfa, Virginia which is right up the coast on the Eastern Shore.  I've also included a card that I made with a Virginia postcard.

I love swaps and this one was really fun.  I'm looking forward to Allison's post featuring a collage of all the swap packages.

The Week Ahead - December 23

Outside my window...80 degrees yesterday and 69 today!  What is going on?  Oh, there they are, temperatures in the 40s tomorrow and Wednesday.  Safe to say there is zero chance of a White Christmas.
I am thinking...should I buy the iPad Air or not? 

I am thankful...for a great first college semester for Sophia.  After changing her mind about OSU and arriving back in Virginia with only short session college classes to chose from, she aced all of her classes and made the Dean's List.

From the kitchen...a new chicken dish with pineapple and Heinz 57 sauce.

I am hearing...the washer and the dryer.
Always one of my favorite things...seeing the tree loaded with brightly-wrapped packages.  Guess who went overboard on Christmas...again.

I am reading...still nothing, no time.  Looking forward to cracking open my Christmas magazines on Wednesday.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...making pumpkin bread today, brunch with one of Vic's co-workers and his wife tomorrow, church service in the evening, and then it's Christmas!

College holidays until January 13.  Sophia registered for her spring classes - English Composition I, Public Speaking, Mathematics for Liberal Arts and Oceanography I - but just received an e-mail that Oceanography was cancelled due to low enrollment.  She managed to find Earth Science to fill the empty slot.

Volunteer Update...Tidewater Collection is closed until January 2.  Just have to work on the January schedule and prepare for the TOSA Newsletter deadline of January 10.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...home sweet home for the rest of the holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Favorite Things Printables

My Favorite Things printables courtesy of My Sister's Suitcase - click the photo above for the link.

I printed these labels out and used one on each gift bag - see photo in post below - and then strung several together to make a banner.

The Week Ahead - December 16

Outside my window...36 degrees with a high of 42 today.  Forecast says Partly Sunny and Colder.  Sophia's going to need her fleece riding breeches today.
I am thinking...that Christmas is nine days away - yikes! 

I am thankful...that things are finally starting to calm down.

From the kitchen...something quick and easy after riding - Orange Chicken from BJs.

I am hearing...nothing and it's just what I need right now.
Always one of my favorite things...winning a prize - Vic scored an Xbox One at the command Christmas party last night.  We already have a Wii so we returned it for a store credit because we can't quite decide what to buy instead.

I am reading...still nothing, no time.  I received a package of Christmas magazines from my friend Dorothy in England which I promptly popped under the tree.  Can't wait for Christmas Day to enjoy them.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...TOSA board holiday lunch today followed by Sophia's riding lesson, working half a shift at the Tidewater Collection tomorrow and then working again on Friday.  Time to start slowing things down and hopefully keeping it that way through 2014.

College Update...three of Sophia's grades are in - all As - she's just waiting for the final two.  She's back to planning to join us in Washington so she'll be finalizing her Western Washington University application over the holiday break.

Volunteer Update...pretty sure Ombudsman is off the table - thank goodness.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...we headed up to Williamsburg yesterday for a browse through the Premium Outlets and then a stop at Merchants Square.  Lovely festive atmosphere everywhere.

My Favorite Things Party was a great success.  There were to be thirteen guests - two cancelled due to illness, one sent a message with another to say she was sick, and one was a complete no-show so we ended up with nine plus me.  The favorite things were very interesting although apart from the photo of mine above, I completely forgot to take any pictures!  Let's see if I can remember them all:
  • a box of Little Debbie Chocolate  Rolls + a $15 Dunkin' Donuts gift card
  • a bottle of Sangria with a starfish Christmas ornament
  • Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a bag of Bailey's chocolates
  • wine - Tangled-something, can't remember the name
  • a Christmas tub filled with a Terry's chocolate orange, chocolate-covered cherries and a multi-pack of Target holiday socks
  • a long flannel-covered corn kernel pack (similar to a cherry pit pack) that you heat in the microwave (or pop in the freezer) for aches and pains - this one had the extra advantage of a removable, washable cover
  • (mine) holiday hand towels, holiday tissue box, holiday hand soap dispenser and a holiday reverseable drying mat all on a round holiday tray
  • Harry and David Holiday Moose Munch tub
  • Beauty pack - eos lip balm, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear nail polish, manicure nail file, thirty-one Wristlet Key Fob and a hair accessory
In addition, five of my guests brought hostess gifts so I also received two bottles of wine, a bag of Ghiradelli holiday chocolates, a candle with holiday napkins and matching coasters, and a gift set of two holiday hand soap dispensers - lovely!

The food was delicious, if I say so myself since I was the chef - four casserole recipes courtesy of good friends - Pretzel Bread and Kielbasa Breakfast Bake, Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole, Ham and Egg Casserole, and Orange French Toast Casserole along with fresh fruit and Pumpkin Bread.  We didn't end up breaking out the Mimosas after all - it was so cold that coffee was the drink of the day.  All in all, a lovely morning and a chance to meet two brand-new Mustang Spouses.

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Week Ahead - December 9

Outside my window...38 degrees and wet - I'm not complaining at all since the rest of the northern part of the East Coast is suffering much colder temperatures and snow...I'm not quite ready for snow.
I am thinking...that this is surely the craziest holiday week to date...check out a Few Plans below. 

I am thankful...for a cozy home on this glum day.

From the kitchen...Shepherd's Pie.

I am hearing...keyboards clicking while Vic and I work on our laptops at the table and the Grinch on TV as Sophia and MudLynn enjoy a movie.
Always one of my favorite things...a holiday gathering.

I am reading...nothing right now, although my friend Ginny sent me home with a huge bag of books when we had lunch on Thursday.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...Post Office, commissary, and picking up the last few party supplies at Michael's while Sophia has her riding lesson tomorrow and then working at a special event at the shop that evening.  Training a new volunteer at the Tidewater Collection on Tuesday followed by packing up some of the shop for a remote event the next day.  After the remote event, it's haircut time and then home to make pumpkin bread for a holiday social the next morning.  After the holiday social, it's off to BJs for the last party food supplies and then home to put egg casseroles into the fridge overnight.  Friday is the big day - My Favorite Things holiday brunch for my Mustang spouses group and Vic's command's holiday party in the evening.  On Saturday morning, it's off to volunteer at the Toys for Tots warehouse and on Sunday, it will be an amazing feat if I can even manage to get out of bed!

College Update...Finals week for Sophia.  With Vic's news last week that Washington might be off the table, she's now looking at non-Washington college options.  I'm holding out for Sweet Briar but the strong contender is the Fashion Merchandising/French double major at the University of Rhode Island which includes an internship in France.  I have to admit, that's pretty exciting.

Volunteer Update...Busy at the Tidewater Collection, busy with CORE, busy with TOSA...still no word from Vic's command so I'm thinking (hoping) they've found someone else to be their Ombudsman.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...nothing really on the calendar other than a trip to the outlets in Williamsburg planned for the weekend after next.

That pesky elf has been up to all sorts of no good!

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Week Ahead - December 2

Outside my window...45 degrees right now and darkness punctuated by assorted neighbors who appear to competing against each other for the most garish light display.  White, red, blue, I'm waiting for someone to put up green to complete the Christmas color scheme.
I am thinking...that the plan to have both a star at the top of the tree and ribbons cascading down was a big mistake - back to the star-only version. 

I am thankful...that there were no ornament mishaps this year - or tree mishaps.  Memories of the year my nephews pulled the(ir) entire tree over still make me cringe...and chuckle.  Honestly, it was pretty funny!

From the kitchen...the last of the turkey leftovers.

I am hearing...the washer and the heater.  All else is quiet apart from the clicking of keyboards as all three of us work on our laptops.
Always one of my favorite things...treasured ornaments and the memories that go with them.

I am reading...nothing right now.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...Sophia's riding lesson tomorrow, Tidewater Collection board meeting on Wednesday, lunch with a dear friend on Thursday and maybe a craft fair this weekend.  Rumor has it the Polish Pottery lady makes an appearance at this particular fair - not sure if that makes me want to go or stay away!

College Update...Sophia's last week of school before finals.  Once all her classes are over, she'll be finishing up her Washington college applications and getting them in the mail.

Volunteer Update...Still no word from Vic's command - this is a good thing.

Travel and Family Field Trips the past tense of forgo, forwent?  Quick look in the dictionary and yes, it is!  We forwent Black Friday's chaos this year - it used to be fun but now it's just madness and true to form, this year someone stabbed someone else over a parking space and two women came to blows in Wal-Mart over a television set!  Honestly, is it really such a bargain?  We had a lazy morning and then headed out to do our annual Target gift shopping trip (note to self:  it's really not that much fun with just the three of us) and then tried to get into the movies to see the new Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  Tried is the key word here as we were unsuccessful so we settled for P. F. Chang's instead and then headed home.  As I re-read this paragraph, a trip to Target and P. F. Chang's seems a pretty poor travel and family field trip update.

It's December 1 so it's time for White Rabbit and the Little Dude:

and the pièce de résistance for the weekend:

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Week Ahead - November 25

Outside my window...31 degrees outside this morning and very windy - here's hoping it blows the leaves out of our yard into the common area (where they will be picked up by the gardeners with their mega-vacuum) and not the other way around!  Forecast for the week is cold and wet.
I am thinking...we'd better drag the Christmas boxes out of the garage before the rain starts. 

I am thankful...that things are relatively slow for this coming week.

From the and chips.

I am hearing...the heater and the wind outside.
Always one of my favorite things...Christmas goodies in the local British food stores.  There are two quite close by and I've already got a few things squirreled away.

I am reading...nothing right now.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...Sophia's riding lesson tomorrow, a quiet Thanksgiving for the three of us and decorating for Christmas.  There's another craft fair next weekend - the big Virginia Beach Christmas Market - not sure if we'll take a trip down there or not.  Got to get my Elf on the Shelf schedule going this week as well...D Day, or should I say E Day, is one week from today.

College Update...A short week coming up and then the last week of the semester before finals.  Where has the time gone?  Sophia got all of her first choices for the spring semester and will have 26 credits to transfer when we move.

Volunteer Update...Trained two volunteers last week and have two more scheduled for December.  Haven't heard anything from Vic's command - so hoping that means they've found someone else.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...Headed up to Langley to check out the commissary yesterday - don't know what made me think it would be any different from ours (it wasn't).  No traveling over the holidays for us and for that I have mixed emotions.  I'm thankful that we won't be on the roads but I wish Mum and Dad were still with us so we could all be together.  Ugh, the holidays are such a tough time.

Edward the Elf will make his first appearance with a Cadbury Advent Calendar

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reading & Watching Wednesday

I love Reading & Watching Wednesday over at Mrs M's Meanderings and though I'd give it a go in my quest to be on the computer less and read more!

I've started to re-read Lauraine Snelling's Red River of the North series.  It's quick, it's easy, and it's very enjoyable.  Since I'm on Ms. Snelling's mailing list, I received a stack of bookmarks last night announcing the release of her new book, An Untamed Heart, which is the prequel to the Red River of the North series.  It's most definitely going on my Christmas list.

As for watching, well it's Netflix as we've recently disconnected our cable.  We spend far too much time watching the telly so it was our attempt to trim down the options.  It's time to work through our huge DVD collection as well.

After working my way through all thirteen seasons of Midsomer Murders, I'm giving Inspector Morse a try.  It's a bit slow-moving but I'll watch a few more episodes before making my final judgement. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Christmas City Swap
If you like Christmas and you like swaps, check out the Second Annual Christmas City Swap brought to you by be up & doing.

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #1

If it's Tuesday, it must be England is my weekly tour through my England bookmarks, photos and articles I've saved, places I've visited, places I want to visit, yummy foods, and all things royal.  This week's feature is Remembrance Sunday, the annual wreath-laying service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.
Through the annual event on Whitehall, the nation pays homage to those who died in two world wars and in many other lesser conflicts from the twentieth century to the present.
The Queen, other members of the Royal Family and leaders of the country's political parties join representatives of the Armed Forces and ex-servicemen and women for the two-minute silence and the last post.
Her Majesty then lays a wreath of poppies at the foot of the Cenotaph, followed by members of the Royal Family, representatives of the political parties and High Commissioners from the Commonwealth.
A short religious service follows. After the reveille and the national anthem, The Queen departs. The war veterans then march past the Cenotaph to pay their respects to the fallen. A member of the Royal Family takes the salute as the war veterans finish their route at Horse Guards.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Week Ahead - November 11

Outside my window...forecast for the week is cold, mid 40s and 50s, although we're in the 60s on Friday.  Is it fall or not?
I am thinking...Christmas is coming and I bought my first Christmas item today - a Charlie Brown gingerbread house (it's actually a dog house) kit.  Holiday fun for the whole family!

I am thankful...that yesterday's riding lesson was uneventful - Hercules refused one jump but Sophia held on tight and stayed in the saddle.

From the kitchen...chicken adobo with rice and with any luck, I can get Vic to cook it.

I am hearing...Vic listing to the news.  We canceled our cable but for some bizarre reason, we still get Fox News.
Always one of my favorite things...Christmas craft fairs - round two of the Santa's Stocking event in Virginia Beach.

I am STILL reading...The Five Love Languages - Military Edition by Gary Chapman with Jocelyn Green.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...nothing today and nothing tomorrow, lunch with the Navy Mustang Spouses on Thursday, taking MudLynn to the vet for her annual vaccinations on Friday, and Santa's Stocking on Saturday.

College Update...Still going strong.  Sophia is still working hard on her reading and assignments.  She's also working on a college application for her number one choice in Washington.

Volunteer Update...One more new volunteer to train this month and I have a couple of prospective volunteers who are still not responding to my e-mails.  Guess I'll have to call them.  I have an appointment with Vic's command next week to talk about the Ombudsman position.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...Headed up to Smithfield this weekend - a delightful little town with a quaint Main Street.  We had some Smithfield Ham for lunch and then checked out the Christmas Store before driving past the Smithfield plant - ahhh, the smell of bacon!
White House tours have resumed so I put our name on the list - hoping it comes up sometime in the spring so we can take a trip to DC and take in a few more sites before we head to the West Coast.

The Old Isle of Wight Courthouse

Cute little mice nestled in the branches of a Christmas tree

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Veterans Day

To those who serve and to those who have served...thank you!


Hyacinth Bouquet, isn't she amazing?  Keeping Up Appearances is one of the most hilarious BBC comedies and if you haven't seen it, you don't know what you're missing.  Ok, it's an old series, 1990-1995, but it's often included in PBS' lineup of Britcoms, available on Netflix, and on DVD.  Check it out.

I couldn't think of a cuter title for my new blog than The Lady of the House Speaking.  Hyacinth always answered the phone that way and my Mum who is sadly not with us any longer could mimic her perfectly.  I can't think of Hyacinth without thinking of Mum.

I've had a private blog for some time after a rather dismal experience with one out in the blogsphere.  Ugh, nuisance followers are the pits.  However, I've decided to enter the arena of public blogging again because although there was one bad apple, I met some amazing fellow bloggers (who, for the most part, have moved from blogging to Facebook) and I'd like to make some new blogging friends.

So, I'm Pamela, wife to Vic, a Naval officer, and Mom to Sophia who is a college freshman.  The Lady of the House Speaking is my daily (setting the bar high there!) thoughts, hopes, dreams, and miscellaneous chatter about everything and nothing.  I love (not necessarily in any order) England, royalty, 19th and 20th century European history, drinking tea, reading, writing, traveling, ladies who lunch, the military, Christmas, scrapbooking, entertaining, and so much more.  Welcome to ("The Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) Residence,) The Lady of the House speaking"

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mind the Gap!

Since I have combined my former Christmas blog, All Wrapped Up in Each Other, with this one, I thought it best to insert a bridging to post to explain the gap.  All posts dated prior to this one are from All Wrapped Up in Each Other.  This new blog, The Lady of the House Speaking, began on November 11, 2013.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Christmas Card Exchange 2013

My Christmas in July blogging just fell apart the closer we came to Sophia leaving for Oregon.  There were too many things going on!  Now that she's settled, it's time to get back to thinking about the holidays.

I love Christmas cards.  I love to send cards and I especially love to receive them.  I have saved every Christmas card we have received since Sophia's first Christmas in 1994.  I am sad to see that not as many people are sending cards these days.  Yes, it can be costly - the cards themselves, plus family photos and newsletters if you're so inclined, plus postage, it all adds up.  If you could see, however, how much a card brightens someone's day, you'd make sure to send them.  Christmas is the only time that we really communicate with all the family and friends that we have spread all over the world.  Although many of them are on Facebook, and see our status updates on family life, Christmas is the time to produce the family newsletter and bring everyone up to date with what we've been doing all year. 

This year, I'm adding a new group of people to my Christmas Card List - my fellow Christmas lovers over at the Forums of Magical Holiday Home.  If you love Christmas, and if you'd like to spread the cheer with cards, please join us.  You can find us here and scroll down to Magical Holiday Home Swaps at the very bottom of the page.  Click on Swap Rules, Swap Proposals, Current Swaps and look for the thread titled Christmas Card Exchange 2013.  Send in your details as instructed and prepare for an overflowing mailbox this holiday season.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Nineteen

A final Sweet Christmas post - love this cookie idea:

I picked up another ornament yesterday - I received a $5.00 off coupon when I bought the Our Grad 2013 ornament online so I used it for a special ornament for Vic this year:

 As a former electrician, I thought he would like it!

See you on Monday with one of my favorite themes - Christmas Traditions.   Where do I start?

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I don't remember how I stumbled across this ornament on but I was thrilled to find it.  It must have come out around graduation time and it didn't dawn on me to check my local Hallmark store.

I think I must have been looking for pictures of the current Keepsake Ornament line and this came up in the Sale section.  Not sure how many are left, but if you are interested, here is the link.  Several years ago, I was really frustrated by Hallmark's failure to have a nice School Memories ornament.  After buying a school ornament for every year from Sophia's first year of preschool (1996) up until 2005, there was nothing remotely connected to school in either 2006 or 2007.  I had to improvise with a plain round photo holder from Michael's that had a little year tag on it.  I am so happy to have found this for Sophia's graduation photo!

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Eighteen

Time for an international twist on the It's a Sweet Christmas theme - does anyone celebrate with Les Treize Desserts de Noël?

How about with an old-fashioned Christmas Pudding, this one above courtesy of one of my favorite chefs, Nigella Lawson?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Seventeen

There are some amazing Christmas treats in this post - Sweet Christmas Goodies - along with directions.  One of our favorites is the Holiday Pretzel Treats (we call them Reindeer Noses) made with waffle pretzels, Hershey's Kisses and M&Ms.  Super easy, and very yummy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

2013 Christmas Music Inventory

Continuing on with the Christmas organizing...

  • 'Tis the Season - Celtic Christmas
  • Noel - Josh Groban
  • The Music of Christmas - Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Santa Claus Lane - Hilary Duff
  • Hallmark 'Tis the Season with Vince Gill and Olivia Newton-John
  • Worship the King - A Christmas Collection
  • Listen! It's Christmas - Johnny Mathis
  • Songs 4 Worship Christmas
  • Handel's Messiah - The London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Sixteen

Courtesy of

I always thought that this would make a nice and easy decoration - ribbon candy in a glass jar.  Michael's has all sorts of these glass containers - all shapes and sizes - and they are a great deal when you have one of their 40% off coupons.

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 Christmas Movie Inventory

Thanks, Lucie, for the great Christmas Movie Inventory idea!  Here's my collection:

  • 12 Dogs of Christmas
  • 12 Men of Christmas
  • Are You Being Served? Christmas
  • BBC Holiday Comedy & Drama Gift Set
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • The Christmas Card
  • Christmas Vacation
  • Christmas with the Kranks
  • Deck the Halls
  • Elf
  • Four Christmases
  • Agatha Christie's Poirot - Hercule Poirot's Christmas
  • The Holiday
  • Last of the Summer Wine Christmas Specials 1978-1982
  • Love Actually
  • The Nativity Story
  • The Santa Clause
  • The Santa Clause 2
  • The Santa Clause 3
  • Snowball Express
  • White Christmas
I don't really have any Christmas movies on my Wish List for this year although I'm sure I'll change my mind when the Christmas displays start showing up in the stores.  I have to admit that this set caught my eye at the Hallmark store this weekend:

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Fifteen

It's Week Three already!  It's a Sweet Christmas is the theme and you can't get much sweeter than this candy assortment:

Courtesy of

This assortment is displayed on what looks like three footed square servers.  I recently purchased this three-tier server which I think would work just as well.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Twelve

More Silver and Gold to wrap up the week.  I would love to make cards but I have such a Type A personality about them, it takes HOURS to finish just one.  I wish I could make cards like these. - I love that this one has all the supplies listed!

See you all next week for It's a Sweet Christmas - have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Eleven

Continuing on with the Silver and Gold them, I absolutely love this tablescape:

Courtesy of

That appears to be a silver and gold tree topper ornament on a candlestick-type pedestal and the gold pillar candle is also on a pedestal.  I've seen gold chargers like the ones pictured at Michael's and at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and I seem to remember seeing catering packs of dishes trimmed in gold at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well.   The gold mesh as a type of runner along with the silver leaves arrangements really finishes of the scene.  Gorgeous.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Merry Christmas Mum

Christmas 1986

Ten years ago today, I received the phone call that would make a hole in my heart that could never be repaired.  After an intense but blessedly short battle with cancer, Mum was gone.  She was my rock, the one who kept us all together, the one who was always there.  Now she was gone and we had to face the prospect of going on without her.  She never saw her grandson Marc, born three months before she died, she would never see Sophia graduate from high school, or get married, and she would never know Alex, her second grandson born a year later.  How would we ever go on?

Ten years later, we have managed to celebrate birthdays, holidays and special occasions, knowing that she is always with us, watching down on us, cheering us on.  The pain of her loss will never go away, and she lives on in our memories forever.

I love you, Mum, and I miss you terribly.

I get my love of Christmas from my Mum - she made the holiday so festive.  The house always looked lovely, the food was delicious, the holiday spirit was everywhere, and it lives on in our memories of her every year.

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Ten - Quick and Easy Christmas Questions

Question mark courtesy of

Lucie's come up with another great list - I know I've done one of these before but they are always so much we go...

• Shopped early for presents or are still procrastinating?
I have a deadline for my family usually around Thanksgiving so that I can match the requests to the budget and see what bargains, if any, I can still find.

• Buy presents because you enjoy giving or because you feel obligated?
Absolute enjoyment only - I don't feel any obligation.  Over the years, gift giving has been reduced to pretty much my immediate family (Vic and Sophia) and my two nephews.  The adults (my sister and brother-in-law and Vic and I don't exchange gifts unless we are together and then we have one of our Target shopping expeditions - see below).

• Enjoy all the holiday cheer or “Enough already. Give me my present.”?
I love all the holiday cheer - the build-up to Christmas morning is my favorite part.

• Open presents on Christmas Eve or wait until Christmas morning?
Christmas morning - tried the Christmas Eve thing once and hated it.

• Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Mostly wrapping paper but there are usually a few gift bags and reusable gift boxes in the mix.

• Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial - love the smell of a real one, but hate the mess.

• When do you put up the tree?
Thanksgiving Day afternoon.

• When do you take the tree down?
Boxing Day or shortly thereafter.

• Do you like egg nog?
Love it!

• Favorite gift received as a child?
A set of red American Tourister luggage - I felt so grown-up!

• Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, I bought one about twenty years ago from Current.  It was very inexpensive but I am amazed at the beautiful craftsmanship.  The faces are really lovely - some of those inexpensive sets have faces that look like Mary and Joseph have really been on a bender the night before!

• Hardest person to buy for?
Vic.  I usually end up taking him to Home Depot and asking, "What tool do you want for Christmas?".  Occasionally, he'll make a random comment about something he's seen and liked, and I file that away for future reference right away!

• Easiest person to buy for?
Sophia.  That girl has an Wish List going from December 26 on - all I have to do is pick items that fit the budget and press Place Order.

• Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail and I'm sorry to say that less and less people participate any more.  So sad, I love to get cards, photos and family newsletters in the  mail.

• Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A rotary telephone (ugh, I'm really dating myself here) from what was shortly thereafter an ex-boyfriend.

• Favorite Christmas Movie?
White Christmas.

• Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I don't think so.

• Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Fruitcake, a genuine English fruitcake.

• Clear lights or colored on the tree?

• Favorite Christmas song?
Once in Royal David's City.

• Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay home although traveling is beginning to appeal to me now that it will just  be the two of us.  Of course, it would have to be Paris, or a Christmas Market in Germany, or a week of West End shows in London!

• Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?
Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Prancer, Vixen and Rudolph!  Is that all of them?

• Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Can't really think of one - inconsiderate shoppers maybe?

• Favorite ornament theme or color?
No favorite theme or color for ornaments - they are all multi-colored.

• Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Our Christmas Eve buffet that usually lasts for a few days - Baked Ham with Pineapple,  Caesar Salad, Chilled Shrimp, Smoked Salmon, Pâté, French Bread, Green Olives, Cheese Board.

• What do you want for Christmas this year?
Haven't decided yet - I'd like a Kindle but I want to get Vic a Samsung Galaxy Tablet so that will pretty much eat up the major gifts budget.  The DVD set of Monarch of the Glen would be nice - it's one of my favorites that I haven't added to my collection yet.

I thought there was a Family Traditions question - that's where I was going to cover the Target shopping expedition.  It must have been on another list but I'll cover it here anyway.  When our extended family gets together (the three of us and my sister and her three), we go to Target a couple of days before Christmas.  Each person takes off around the store and makes up a list of things they would like (any one item not to exceed $25 and ideally, a selection of items so that two or three of them total $25).  We meet up again and swap lists.  Each person takes the new list and buys $25 worth of items, takes them home and wraps them up.  So, under the tree are things each person wants, but they don't know which of the things on their Target list were actually purchased.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013