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.