Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Court Jeweller Book Club

One of my favorite royalty sites, The Court Jeweller, has just announced the details for a book club.  Check out all the details here.  This month's selection is Born to Rule:  Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria by Julia P. Gelardi.  I'm off to the library to pick up my copy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's Up Wednesday - May 2018

There's no Hodgepodge today so I found What's Up Wednesday over at The Horton Family and thought I'd give it a try.  Linking up with Mel, Shay, and Sheaffer to give you a wrap up of the week and month.  How can it be almost June already?

What We're Eating This Week - - We jumped on the Forks over Knives bandwagon to give plant-based eating a try and so far, so good.  Their website and app are great for meal planning and Vic's really enjoying the Apple-Oat Pancakes which are great to pack for the office in the morning.

What I'm Reminiscing About - - Friday would have been Dad's 89th birthday.  A gentleman of quiet nature is how he was described by another family member and he truly was that.  If I suggested something for dinner that he really enjoyed, he would say "That's lovely", but if the meal wasn't on his list of favorites, it would be "I'm not bothered".  Spaghetti was lovely but he wasn't bothered about salmon.

Here we are in Saipan in 1993 touring a historic site.  I'm wearing a corsage because we had just come from a Mother's Day brunch - I didn't know I was pregnant at this time, found out just a short time later.

What I'm Loving - - Vic being home!  After being gone 20 out of the last 25 days, it's nice to have him walk through the door after work.

What We've Been Up To - - House Hunting!  I know it's still a bit too early since our house hunting trip isn't until the fall but we spend a bit of time each evening surfing Zillow and seeing what's on the market.

What I'm Dreading - - House hunting!  The market moves so quickly in Washington, we're going to have to snap something up right away and hope we don't get into a bidding war.

What I'm Working On - - Shhh, it's a secret.  I'm in an ornament swap for Christmas in July and my ornaments are coming along nicely.

What I'm Excited About - - Moving back to Washington and being close to Sophia again!  Seems like we just dropped her off in her dorm room but now she's graduated, moving into her own apartment, and on to her Masters.  It will be so nice to be in the same state again.

Photobombed by Dad!

What I'm Watching/Reading - - Nothing new since my weekly updates - NCIS on Netflix and Barbara Taylor Bradford.

What I'm Listening To - - An old favorite from Sarah Brightman.

What I'm Wearing - - As little as possible without getting arrested!  It's hot and humid here so that means a sundress or capris and a T-shirt.

What I'm Doing This Weekend - - Spending time with Vic before he heads off again.  Recovering from the company picnic for one and then perhaps lunch out and a movie?  We'll see.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month - - The return of The Great British Baking Show on PBS!  Save the Date - June 22.

What Else is New - - Volunteering every week at the gift shop during the summer as we lose volunteers due to school vacations or people moving.  That means twice as many opportunities to spend money - but there are so many lovely things!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #97

The Chelsea Flower Show took place last week, May 22-26, and what a stunning array of blooms and displays of garden design.  It's definitely on my bucket list.

Even outside the show, London establishments joined the celebration.  You can see more incredible photos here.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Life Last Week 2018-20

The weather:::
 High 70s to high 80s all week and scattered thunderstorms.

On my reading pile:::
Still working my way through A Woman of Substance also by Barbara Taylor Bradford and picked up Book 4 in the Cavendon series.  Thinking about switching to a plant-based eating plan so I checked out The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet.  Much of this proposed change comes from watching What the Health on Netflix.  Of course, that will be the end of a lot of our activities that revolve around food - Whole 30 was a stretch for us, not sure if we can manage this one but we're seriously thinking about giving it a try.

On my TV:::
Still with NCIS.

Checked off the list:::
  • Cancelled most of the appointments on my calendar and just spent some time at home, thinking about the upcoming move, about our plans, about everything and nothing.  It was very relaxing.
  • Watched the Ali Edwards' Facebook Live presentation of her new travel line and had my finger on the button when the products went up for sale.  So many great items for travel albums.
  • Made a to-do list and checked about half of the items off the list mostly phone calls to make, paperwork to file, things I've been putting off finally finished.
  • Vic finally got home from Hawaii.  A delay in takeoff on one of the flight segments meant he missed a connection, didn't make the standby list, and ended up with an eight-hour layover.  It was a long day.
  • May Rudolph Day is in the bag.  Only one more until Christmas in July and then only four more until the big day!
  • Went to see Book Club at the movies.  Great cast, fun movie.
Crafts roundup:::
Loveseat on hold while Vic is traveling again.  Started my ornament for the Christmas in July swap.

And in other news:::
Last week of the month and on track with most of my goals.  Update coming on June 1st.

I love a discount but this one?  Seriously? 🤣🤣

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Vic is home!

Vic's had a crazy couple of weeks - he spent a week in Maine, flew home on Friday, left Saturday for Japan, flew home the following weekend, spent one night out to sea on a local inspection the next week, and then left again Saturday for Kauai.  20 out of the last 25 days away from home, that's got to be a record for him.

It's wasn't all work in Kauai, he did get a little time for sightseeing.  Here he is at Kauai's Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

Vic also brought us some lovely gifts this trip.  These pearl and sterling silver earrings are gorgeous.  I love that they dangle a little from my ears.  There is a silver piece behind the pearl, anchoring it to the setting, that looks like a sand dollar.  Sophia has two sarongs and a pearl bracelet coming her way.

Coming home this time was not fun.  His flight from Kauai to San Francisco went without a hitch, but the flight from San Francisco to Dulles left an hour late so he missed his connection to Norfolk.  He was on standby for a noon flight that would get him home at 1pm, but there ended up being no standby seats.  United had gone ahead and confirmed him on the 5pm flight so he ended up home at just after 6pm - ugh, 24 hours of travel.

We're very much looking forward to the three day weekend.  We don't have any plans - that usually means time in the garage for Vic and reading or watching Netflix for me.  It's hot outside so I don't think we will venture too far.  We went out to our favorite brunch spot this morning and stopped at the library on the way home.  We haven't been to the library together for ages so it was fun to bring home a stack of books to browse through.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2018

May Rudolph Day

In addition to checking the United app to see Vic's flight status, it was another fun Rudolph Day, one more closer to Christmas.  Today's task was Catalog Shopping Tips - not much to do there.  The bulk of the holiday catalogs don't start coming in the mail until late fall although I still have clippings from last year's catalogs, things I thought I might buy that I never did.  Maybe this year.

This month's movie was The Santa Clause.  I wonder how many turned it into a marathon and watched all three?  I enjoyed all three (although not today), it's one of the movies where the sequels are just as enjoyable as the original.

I'm busy working on my ornaments for the Christmas in July ornament swap and I had a few updates to my planner.  I reactivated my Ebates account and added a little to my balance when I picked up a few items from Target - 5% off for using the Redcard + Ebates + free shipping.

I dropped off my Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments Wish List at my local Hallmark - the first big event is the Ornament Premiere July 14-22 and I have a few ornaments that will not be in until the October Debut Event October 6-14.  I will be sad to say goodbye to my local Hallmark store here in Virginia - they really are lovely and make a huge production out of the Ornament Premiere.  The store closest to us in Washington is not known for its customer service.

I added two more ornaments to my collection - this gorgeous little caroler from ModerationCorner on Etsy and the anchor with cardinal (Virginia's state bird) from the gift shop where I volunteer.  This glass ornament is made locally and will be a lovely memento of our time here and of my friends at the gift shop.

Caroler with close-up on carol sheet

I'm also busy pinning ideas for Christmas in July on Pinterest.  I can't remember if I posted this year's themes (we decided to go with one a day this year) so here they are if you'd like to join us.  We've grouped them into general areas (the bold titles) and then listed the daily topics below.

Decor and Decorating:

1 Trees

· how to make a tree look fuller

· tree decorating tip, tricks, techniques

· garland – ribbon, tinsel, beads, other

2 Wreaths and Wreath-making

3 Living Room & Hallways

4 Bedrooms & Bathrooms

5 Bookcases

6 Tablescapes

7 Kitchen cabinets

8 Fireplace / Mantle

9 Walls - how to hide cords, hang things without making nail holes

10 Ways to make decorating easier

Outdoor Decorating

11 Doors

12 Windows

13 Front Porch

14 Lighting

15 Yards - blow-ups, stand-alone items (reindeer, etc. )

16 Perimeter ideas - lights, candy canes, other row-type items

How to Display

17 Christmas cards

18 Stockings

19 Candles and Lanterns 

20 Wreaths 

21 Natural items pine cones, greenery, flowers artificial and real

22 Mason Jars

23 Pillows and throws 

24 Wood crates

25 Ideas for hanging Magical Holiday Home ornaments - July Rudolph Day

26 Pinterest Party – share three ideas you found on Pinterest – things you’ve made, things you’d like to make, things you just LOVE

27 CIJ Dinner/Breakfast/Party - do you hold one? If so, tell us about it. Planning for or dreaming about one? Tell us your ideas.


28 Music

29 Movies

30 Books

It's a Wrap

31 Your Choice - a wrap-up (summary of the month post) or tell us all about your wrapping (paper, bows, ribbon, other trims) plans.

I hope you had a fun Rudolph Day!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

That's Just Wrong

As the newlyweds drove off to their lunchtime reception with family and friends, those looking to make a quick buck (or pound) headed to the nearest computer to post their official gift on Ebay.  As of yesterday afternoon, there were 30+ bags with their commemorative items up for auction with prices now ranging from $500 to $13,000.  I haven't read all of the posts, but I don't think you'll find very many with the description "All proceeds to be donated to (insert name of charity)".  No, friends, what you have here is pure greed.  2640 of these bags were made available to a group of select guests - representatives of the charities associated with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, schoolchildren, and residents of the town of Windsor.  They were given a privileged spot to view the arrival and departure of the wedding party and guests and a limited edition official gift on top of that.  It's disgraceful.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge Volume 353

It's Wednesday, time to Hodgepodge!  Check out Joyce's post here if you'd like to join in.

1.  The last place you visited/patronized where you felt like you were given 'the royal treatment'?

I'd have to say it was at Vic's commissioning.  He was on sea duty and the ceremony was to be on the ship.  We got in late the night before, checked into the hotel, and Vic had to leave before us in the morning.  We drove to the pier and from that moment on, Sophia and I were given the 'royal treatment' - a car was waiting to take us to the brow of the ship, we had an escort who was there to take care of anything we needed, everyone was so attentive and so welcoming.  I think they were so proud of Vic and what he had achieved and everyone was happy for him and us.  It was a magical day.

2.  The last task you completed that was a 'royal pain'?

Trying to get a handle on the filing - ugh, why don't I file things as they come in?.

3.  How have your strengths helped you succeed?  How have your faults hindered you?

I am super organized and I've achieved success in my career by being able to put my hand on anything my boss needs at a moment's notice.  It all comes down to having a system.  My fault is that I don't delegate as I should so I end up doing it all, all the time, often at the expense of working extra hours or weekends.  I don't mind, but I could make it easier on myself if I could learn to delegate.  I guess I don't feel that anyone else can do the job as well as I can and that's wrong because I'm not really giving them a chance, am I?.

4.  If you found a remote that could rewind, fast forward, stop and start time, what would you do with it?

I would rewind time to when my parents were both still alive.  There are so many questions I have now about my parents' lives that I didn't ask - family members I don't know very much about, what life was like for my parents when they were younger, and things about my childhood and my sister's childhood that are sort of blank areas.  The who, what, where, when, and why of many family photographs, that sort of thing.

5.  Any special plans for the Memorial Day weekend?  Will you in some way honor or recognize the meaning of this day (remembering people who did in service to their country)?  Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery?  Does your town do anything special to mark the day?

I'll remember my 4th grade crush, Jamie.  One day, someone from the office came into our classroom and took him away and we never saw him again.  His father had been killed in Vietnam.  I found his father's name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC when we visited and said a little prayer for him and his family.  We booked a tour of Arlington National Cemetery on another visit but we were in a tour bus and it was pouring with rain outside.  The windows were fogged with condensation and we really couldn't see anything.  I hope we can go back before we leave the East Coast.  As for local events, there will be ceremonies on all of the military bases in the area.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Did you watch?  Wasn't it fabulous?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May Rudolph Day is Coming!

Here's the three day warning for those of you who do not know about Rudolph Day and for those of you who know about it but may not realize that it is coming up this week!

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 Christmasy!

Check back on the evening of May 25th to see how I celebrated Rudolph Day.

Monday, May 21, 2018

TBB May Themed Link Ups - Long Weekend Celebrations

Joining in with The Blended Blog for Long Weekend Celebrations.

We're not beach or lake or backyard BBQ lovers so when there's a long weekend coming, we'll usually head off on a field trip.  It's really nice when it's combined with a stay at a B&B or historic inn - we haven't done one of those since last fall so here's one that's not too far away.

Casual elegance: that’s our goal.
Colonial Gardens Bed & Breakfast offers luxury accommodations that will delight and enchant, all within Williamsburg’s city limits. Once you arrive at our historic inn, you will immediately feel both comfortable and pampered. The furniture is rich yet inviting, the linens and fabrics are luxurious yet cozy.  The gardens at our bed and breakfast will beckon you to stop and watch the birds, butterflies and other wildlife in our park-like setting.
What part of the welcome on their website caught my eye first - elegance, luxury, historic, comfortable, pampered - yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!  Click on luxury accommodations or historic inn above to learn more.

Unfortunately, Vic's travel schedule is pretty packed so I'm not sure we'll be sneaking away for a long weekend celebration any time soon but I'll let you know if we make it here for a visit before we head to the West Coast.

Life Last Week 2018-19

The weather:::
 Low 80s all week and cloudy.  Rain off and on, getting quite stormy at times.

On my reading pile:::
Still working my way through A Woman of Substance also by Barbara Taylor Bradford and picked up Book 4 in the Cavendon series.

On my TV:::
Still with NCIS.

Checked off the list:::
  • Spouses' group event for the month was a visit to the shooting gallery.  I went last year and didn't really enjoy it, not my thing at all, but I did meet up with them for lunch which was fun as always.
  • Took the Forester in for its 60,000 mile service $$$gasp$$$.  If you have kids who don't want to go to college after high school, see if they would be interesting in a trade school course in auto maintenance/mechanics.  I would love to have a mechanic in the family.  New tires will be next before we hit the road cross country.  Drove this loaner for the day - it was easy to spot in the parking lot!
  • Volunteered at the gift shop and ran into one of Vic's former Commanding Officers.  He had lovely things to say about Vic; I know what a hard worker he is but it's so nice to hear someone else praise him for his work ethic.
  • Had dinner Thursday from the drive-thru at the Greek Festival.  Must get a Greek cookbook, the food was amazing.
  • Watched the royal wedding and loved every minute of it.
Crafts roundup:::
Loveseat on hold while Vic is traveling again.  Started my ornament for the Christmas in July swap.

And in other news:::
Sophia decided to switch her teaching emphasis back to English, Grades 5-12, and found out from her adviser that she met all the requirements and could go straight into the Master's program.  She had been considering Elementary Education and needed to take six classes before she could start.

Two-thirds of the way through the month and I'm doing pretty well with my monthly goals.  Start small, that's the key.

I love this arrangement at the gift shop - thinking about making something like this as a craft project.  Found the wooden box piece on sale at Michaels, now I need to work on the bottles.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Certainly unlike any other Royal Wedding I’ve ever watched or read about - enough pomp and circumstance to make it British but modern, inclusive, a bit fiery, full of symbolism, embracing youth and roots and philanthropy, a little sad that Diana was not able to see it. Stunning dress, amazing fashion on the guests, loved every minute of it.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Royal Wedding is tomorrow!

Just in case you haven't turned on your TV, or read a newspaper or magazine lately, the Royal Wedding is tomorrow.  Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales will marry American Meghan Markle in St. George's Chapel at Windsor. Here's a great little guide to the schedule for the big day.

Apart from the excitement of seeing the bride's dress, I'm also looking forward to seeing if Princess Beatrice can sport even more extreme millinery than the last two creations she donned for a royal wedding (her cousins Peter Phillips' wedding in 2008 and Prince William's in 2011).  How far over the top will she go?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

12th Annual Tea Cup & Mug Exchange Reveal

This is my third time to participate in the Tea Cup & Mug Exchange hosted by Stephanie over at The Enchanting Rose.  It's not a swap where you send a package to someone and they send one back to you; in this exchange, you send a package to someone and then someone else sends a package to you so you make two new friends.  My package came from Libby over at Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth.  You can also check out her You Tube channel, absolutely, Elisabeth!

Libby sent the best gift Vic and I could ask for - a tea set for two.  Two cups and saucers along with two plates, a tea strainer, mini shortbread fingers, two packets of tea, and a lovely card.  We can't wait to have Tea for Two.  I have to mention also that Libby's gift was in a beautiful decorative box which has been put to work holding all of my scrapbook memorabilia for 2018.  I think I've mentioned that I save just about everything from brochures to movie ticket stubs to postcards.

Thank you, Libby, for the lovely package.

My package went to a non-blogger, Jacqueline (Jackie), so here's a photo of the goodies she received in the mail.  She sent me an email to say everything arrived safely and she was delighted with the contents.  Her package included a package of Wild Blueberry Scones mix, tiny jars of lemon curd, clotted cream, strawberry jam, and orange marmalade, two types of herbal tea in tins, this month's TeaTime magazine, a crocheted doily, and a tea cup and saucer.  Jackie said she is saving the goodies to have a tea with a good friend who will be visiting soon.

If you love tea, watch out for the next Tea Cup & Mug Exchange.

Nail Polish Swap Reveal

I love swaps so I was really excited to see this Spring Nail Polish Swap pop up over at The Other Side of the Road.  My partner was the lovely Joanne from Our Unschooling Journey Through Life; she and I exchanged emails to talk about our nail care preferences and I got to work putting together a package for her.  You can read all about it here.

Joanne put together a fabulous package for me - there's a pale pink nail polish, toe separators, a file, an emery board, a buffer, nail polish remover pads (great stocking stuffer idea for teens and girlfriends), cuticle cream (I always need this), a lovely card, and surprise, surprise, a Godiva Milk Chocolate Bliss bar which was absolutely divine.

Thank you, Joanne, for the brilliant package of goodies.

Happy Birthday Mum

1990 - Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Today would have been Mum's 92nd birthday.  It's always easy to remember her age because she was born in the same year as Queen Elizabeth II.  This is Mum's 15th birthday in heaven - fifteen long years without her in my life and it still hurts as much as it did when she died.  Oh, we had our ups and downs, those teenage years when I was just about as ungrateful and rebellious as only a teenager can be, but I've always known unconditional love from my parents and they stood by me no matter what.  When I became a mother myself, our relationship deepened, even though we were oceans apart, and my phone call with my Mum was the highlight of my week, every week.  She was always involved in our lives, following Vic's career, Sophia's childhood, our travels as a military family.  She had been an Army wife for 18 years of my Dad's 26 year career and she'd seen it all and done it all.  She was always an amazing example to me - she was an Army wife in the era when a wife never stepped out of the house without her makeup (and girdle and hose) in place.  No running to the commissary in a jogging suit as I see so often these days.

My memories of Mum involve endless cups of tea, Jaffa cakes, weekends at the beach in Belgium, singing silly songs, playing canasta, cozy open fires, and so many, many more things.

I miss you, Mum.