Saturday, June 30, 2018

Christmas in July 2018 is Coming!

Here we go - Christmas in July 2018 starts tomorrow!  If you're following along, the list of themes was posted at the bottom of May Rudolph Day but anything goes so if you have journal prompts for the month, or just decide to post whatever is on your mind, you are welcome to join in.  Remember, Christmas in July is a chance to try and to think up new things - recipes, crafts, decorating ideas, gift wrapping designs, entertaining plans - before the busyness of the holiday season.

Monday, June 25, 2018

June Rudolph Day

It's time for another Rudolph Day and this is part of what's on my agenda:

June Rudolph Day movie with a cup of hot chocolate (after I turned on the air conditioner - I know, those two things don't go together at all!), my Christmas Planner, and on the clipboard, my Christmas Inventory which is in need of an update.

Today's task was Recipe Round Up - time to go browsing through my Christmas cookbooks and Pinterest for ideas.  Since I'm not sure what our Christmas schedule is going to be like due to the move in November, I'm going to table this one until we get settled in our new home and review it then.

This month's movie was Northpole: Open for Christmas.  Oh my goodness, what a delightful movie, so cute, and it contained the best Christmas line, "You can never have too many ornaments".  I definitely recommend adding this one to your collection.

My Christmas in July swap ornaments made it to their destination.  Now our hostess, Lana, will repackage the ornaments everyone sent into boxes for each of us.  It has been suggested that we have a grand reveal on July Rudolph Day so the postal service willing, we will all have our boxes by then and can share our goodies.

I received my Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments flyer in the mail with my reward and bonus dollars to spend at the Ornament Premiere as well as a preview of the Limited Quantity ornaments that will be available.  I will be there when they open because there are a couple I do not want to miss.

I spent the afternoon working on my Christmas inventory.  I have an assortment of totes and everything is listed by tote so it makes it easy to find things and to put everything back when the holiday season is over.  I had gifts tucked in here and there so I updated my gift closet list in my planner and placed all the gifts in one tote.

How was your June Rudolph Day?

Life Last Week 2018-23

The weather:::
 80s and 90s this week - still hot, hot, hot.

On my reading pile:::
Need a new photo - heading to the library tomorrow.

On my TV:::
Still with NCIS and the Great British Baking Show on PBS!

Checked off the list:::
  • Vic's home from a week in California and will be home for the next two weeks.
  • End of the year spouses' club gathering - pool party and barbecue which was fun.
  • Home Buying seminar was interesting - I didn't learn anything I didn't already know but I came home with a folder full of useful handouts and worksheets.
  • Volunteered at the gift shop and came home with....nothing!  No spend for the win!
  • Completed pre-move survey for the overseas shipment - just a quick phone call to answer questions like do we live in a house or an apartment?  one story or more? what are we shipping? things like that.
  • Great British Baking Show's new season is on PBS and I'm loving it.
  • Went to see the new Jurassic Park movie.
Crafts roundup:::
I think will work some more on the loveseat since it's too hot to work in the garage.

And in other news:::
We're all still having a really tough time with the loss of MudLynn.  It is so hard to be so far away from Sophia and I am so grateful for her friends who have rallied around her.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Forever in our Hearts

Last night, Sophia held her best friend for the last time.  Our hearts are broken but MudLynn is at peace and we have almost fourteen years of memories of the joy she brought to us and to everyone who met her.

She had been getting progressively slower and hadn't been eating very much lately.  Sophia was concerned and took her to the vet yesterday afternoon.  They recommended a first stage of a bland diet before starting a battery of tests but when Sophia brought her home, MudLynn collapsed and her abdomen was swelling.  They went immediately to the emergency vet and she made the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye.  I spoke to the vet and it appears to have been a splenic tumor that ruptured - surgery could have been attempted but it was unlikely that she would survive and even if she did, it would give her only a few months and at what quality of life?

The outpouring of messages from family and friends across the globe has been amazing.  MudLynn was loved and she loved right back.

July 1, 2004 - June 21. 2018

June 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!  This month, it's time to gather up those holiday recipes and think about trying a few new ones during Christmas in July

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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Traveling & Trinkets - Corfu, Greece

Vic sailed from Denmark, back down through the North Sea, the English Channel, and the Bay of Biscay, and down the Iberian Peninsula to Lisbon, Portugal.  The ship passed through the Strait of Gibraltar again and sailed on to La Spezia and then Trieste, Italy.  I don't have any trinkets from these three ports so they must have been mugs.  In the first installment of Traveling & Trinkets, I said I would address mugs later.  Now seems a good time.  Vic came home with a LOT of mugs from this deployment - probably at least half a dozen, closer to a dozen.  He thought they were great souvenirs, but when I turned them upside down and saw Made in China stamped on the bottom, I had to disagree.  Off to the future garage sale box they went.  Only two mugs were granted a reprieve - the one featured last week from Denmark and this week's from Corfu, Greece.

Vic picked up this plate and mug set and these are really beautiful (and made in Greece by Dagounis Ceramics).  Definitely keepers.  Corfu is spelled Corfou and it appears the two names are interchangeable.  It doesn't appear that Corfou is Greek, as I've found Kerkyra listed as the Greek name for Corfu.  If anyone can clarify Corfu vs. Corfou, please leave a comment.

That's it for the souvenirs from this first deployment as the trinkets from Villefranche-sur-Mer, France; Naples, Italy, and Palermo, Sicily guessed it, Made in China mugs!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge Volume 356

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

1.  Summer is upon us this week in the northern hemisphere.  Tell us three things on your summer bucket list.

1a.  Staying cool - heat and humidity are not my friends so I stick close to home in the summer.  Vic is traveling a great deal so there's not really anywhere to go if my field trip partner isn't by my side.

1b.  House Hunting - The move to Washington is just a few months away so we are surfing the Internet researching house plans, neighborhoods, commuting distances, and all that comes with house hunting.  We'll be taking a buying trip in the late summer or early fall.

1c.  Volunteering at the gift shop - I picked up extra shifts because many of our volunteers are moving or have children out of school.!  So much temptation.

2.  Something fun you used to do as a kid in the summertime?

I covered this at length in my Summers of the Past post.  We spent every weekend in the summer for six years at our caravan on the beach.

3.  Rooftop or backyard?  Why?

Backyard, but not for too long (see 1a. above).  Conservatory would be my pick, but with glass not screens so it could be air conditioned.

4.  Do you read food labels?  Place importance on them?  Make an effort to find out/care about where your food comes from?

Yes, I read food labels.  I am deathly allergic to carageenan and food manufacturers sneak it in all kinds of things.  Why on earth would it be needed in cut-up rotisserie chicken?  I prefer to buy local and use the Dirty Dozen app to know what fruits and vegetables must be organic.

5.  A song you'll have on repeat this summer?

Happy by Pharrell Williams - Happy that this is our last summer in southeastern Virginia!

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I am appalled at the rudeness and sheer viciousness of some commenters on You Tube.  I watch a couple of vlogs regularly - Day in the Life types, shopping hauls and gift-giving ideas, home organization.  I can't believe that some people feel it necessary to be so hateful.  Really, these vlogs are for information purposes - a vlogger wants to share so if it's not something that interests you, or you agree with, or you like, just move on.  Why bother to watch the vlog and then comment that the vlogger has more money than sense or is professing to be an expert when they are simply sharing their experience?  If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #100

In case it hasn't come across your radar yet, today is Day One of Royal Ascot, the premier hat-wearing occasion on the British Social Calendar.  Royal Hats put up a poll to guess what color Her Majesty would be wearing today and I chose blue.  As you can see, she wore...yellow!

Everyone's favorite newlyweds also put in an appearance today.

Check out Royal Hats for all the Day One fashions.

In case you missed yesterday's news, the Garter Service, the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Great Britain, was held in St. George' Chapel at Windsor Castle.  How does she manage it?  92 years old, in a long gown and cape, and carrying a handbag, and navigating the stairs.  Amazing!

And finally, congratulations to Zara and Mike Tindall on their birth yesterday of their new daughter, the seventh great-grandchild for The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.  Name to be announced.

Monday, June 18, 2018

June Themed Link Ups - Summer Plans

Joining in with The Blended Blog for the June Themed Link Ups - Summer Plans.  There's going to be a lot of this for Vic:

and a lot of this for me:

I'll be updating my Facebook status as well:

Life Last Week 2018-22

Here we go, the last Life Last Week with the spring photo - summer begins on Thursday!

The weather:::
 80s and 90s this week - hot, hot, hot.

On my reading pile:::

On my TV:::
Still with NCIS.

Checked off the list:::
  • Local inspection for Vic so that meant only one night underway.
  • Volunteer shift at the gift shop.
  • Lunch Bunch goes Greek and it was delicious.
  • Father's Day.

Crafts roundup:::
Vic has moved on to the back of the loveseat.  My Christmas in July swap ornaments are done and ready to go in the mail.

And in other news:::
School's out for the summer so that means Sophia is on hiatus from her two jobs until August/September.  She's picked up a couple of nannying and housesitting jobs and starts classes for her Master's on July 1.

Vic's happy place

Friday, June 15, 2018

From the Family Photo Box Friday #5

Tanya over at The Other Side of the Road posted today that her daughter is off to a summer program, living in a college dorm, taking an academic course, and getting a taste of college life.  It reminded me of the summer we took Sophia to Houghton College for a week-long riding camp.  She was considering an equine major for college so it seemed a great way to check out the college's facilities and have a fun summer experience.  We drove from Rhode Island to western New York and since it was her first lengthy stay away from us, we stayed in an inn on the edge of the campus just in case she wasn't comfortable with the experience.  As it turned out, we didn't see her again after we dropped her off until it was time to pick her up - she had a wonderful time.

Houghton College is a Christian liberal arts and sciences college located just south of Buffalo, New York.  They have a beautiful campus and an excellent Equestrian Studies program.

While Sophia was at camp, Vic and I took off in a different direction each day and explored the local area.  We visited Letchworth State Park with its Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls; Cuba, the birthplace of Charles "Pa" Ingalls, the father of Laura Ingalls Wilder; Jamestown, the birthplace of Lucille Ball with its great Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center museum; Lake Erie; Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario, and we made an overnight trip to Niagara Falls.  This particular section of western New York has a large Amish community.  It was quite a trip in the summer that gas prices hit $4.29 a gallon.

Sophia enjoyed the camp so much, she went back the following summer.

2008 and 2009.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Traveling & Trinkets - Frederickshavn and Aarhus, Denmark

Vic said farewell to Mum and Dad and the ship traveled up through the North Sea and around the Danish Jutland Peninsula, first to the town of Frederickshavn, and then to Denmark's second-largest city, Aarhus.

One of my favorite trinkets, actually a set of two, is from this visit to Denmark.

I wish the plate listed, perhaps on the back, the Danish icons shown on the front but it doesn't.  I did a little research and the rest is just my best guess  From the top center, Fredensborg Palace, although listed as the spring and autumn residence of the Danish monarch, it's also the most used;  a quaint village scene; Danish folk dancers; a windmill, a very large percentage of electricity in Denmark is powered by wind; a cottage with a thatched roof; Danish fishing vessel; statue of Hans Christian Andersen; Royal Life Guards soldiers; another quaint Danish dwelling, and in the center, The Little Mermaid.  Around the edge of the plate are most likely lingonberries, bilberries, or red currants, and on each side of DANMARK is a Viking ship.  The mug complements the plate.

Definitely a wonderful souvenir from Denmark.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge Volume 355

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

1.  What happens to the mail at your house?

I usually check the mail and open it next to the shredder.  We seem to get a lot of junk mail; I need to contact the various financial institutions and ask them to take us off the mailing list but until then, I just shred things like that.  We don't get bills or statements any longer, it's all electronic.  I usually take care of anything that needs attention right away but filing is another story.  The inbox is sometimes quite full before I get busy with filing.

2.  Something you always splurge on?  Any guilt associated with the splurge?

Most of our shopping at the British Food Store could be consider a splurge because the prices are outrageous.  I feel guilty at the cost until the first bite because it's a little bit of home and every memory associated with whatever it is I've purchased is well worth the cost.

3.  There are many, but what are two important questions you think every bride and groom should ask/answer before they plan their walk down the aisle?

a.  How to handle the in-laws?  How do you plan to spend holidays - alternate holidays as in Thanksgiving with his one year and Christmas with hers and then swap the following year?  What about aging parents?  Are they financially secure enough to make their own plans or is there an expectation that they will move in with you?  This could be more of a cultural issue but if you have a bi-cultural marriage, one side (and said side's family) may have completely different expectations that you could ever imagine.

b.  Finances - joint, separate, who's the saver/spender, how will you handle that?  Money is such a HUGE issue and if you're not on the same page from the beginning, it could spell major problems.

4.  What's the best advice your father ever gave you?

Be true to yourself, don't change for anyone.

5.  Your favorite movie where a father features heavily in the storyline?

Father of the Bride, the old and new versions.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Following up on question three, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I LOVE Christmas.  Imagine how it was in the beginning of our marriage when the Queen of Christmas married the man who had never had a Christmas tree and believed that Christmas was purely a religious occasion.  Oh my goodness, we have had some hilarious exchanges over the last 25 years and I am happy to say that we've weathered them well.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #99

For the first time ever, a Sikh Coldstream Guards soldier took part in the Trooping of the Colour wearing a turban instead of a bearskin hat traditionally worn by the troops.

Charanpreet Singh Lall, a 22-year-old man from Leicester, was proud to make history.  See the full story here.

Monday, June 11, 2018

June Themed Link Ups - Summers of the Past

Joining in with The Blended Blog for the June Themed Link Ups - Summers of the Past.  My favorite has to be the summers we spent at the beach in Belgium.  My Dad had quite a high-stress job during the time he was stationed there so come Friday night, we hit the road and headed out of town.  No cell phones in those days - out of town meant out of touch and that's just the way he wanted it to be.  We had a caravan - a small one for about the first year and then my parents bought a larger one.  We spent our summers at this campsite - Lombardsijde - right on the beach on the Belgian coast.  The listing on this site is a little different from the way I remember it:

Campsite De Lombarde is a campsite in Lombardsijde, West Flanders, located by the sea and by a lake/recreational pond.The campsite has which are marked out, pitches with shade, pitches without shade and pitches with some shade. It is possible to rent hikers' cabins and bungalows. The campsite has a playground.

I don't recall there being a lake/recreational pond so it's something that was added since we were there.

This is our new caravan - the blue and silver tent-like extension is called an avant (from en avant de = in front of in French).  It connected to the caravan via a giant zipper trough on the front of the caravan.  One year, there was a terrible storm and it ripped the avant right off.  Thankfully, the campsite staff recovered it and everything that was inside (picnic table, beach chairs, etc.) and stored it until we got back up there.  My parents took it to some industrial seamstress and had it repaired.  It wasn't cloth, it was more like a heavy rubber/plastic-type construction.  The caravan had a small bedroom with bunk beds (for my sister Barbara and me), a bathroom with a sink and chemical toilet, kitchen, and living/dining room area that had a Murphy bed that came down over the dining table at night.

During our last few years, we had this prime spot right above the beach.  We could look out the windows and see the cross channel ferries heading to England and watch the phosphorescent waves at night (if you've never seen it, think fireflies at night in the water, but in this case, it's the algae that is glowing).

Dad, Barbara and me with Judy, our Shetland Sheepdog on the beach below our caravan

We spent every weekend from April to October at our caravan.  Barbara and I learned how to speak French from the other kids, playing on the beach, swimming in the English Channel, hanging out at each other's caravans if the weather wasn't beach-ready.  There were a lot of sand dunes and old German bunkers to explore.  It was a short walk along the beach to a promenade in the town of Westende where we would walk for Belgian waffles or ice cream or to pick anything we needed from the grocery store and we would drive to the larger town of Oostende to go to the market or to see a movie if the weather was really miserable.

One of my favorite memories was taken a Dutch oven/stock pot-size pan down to the main camp building (pictured in the bottom photo on the postcard above) around dinner time for piping hot frites (French fries) - they were amazing and just perfect to go with whatever we were having for dinner!

Life Last Week 2018-21

The weather:::
 Here come the 90s, well, one day this week at least.  The rest of the week is not quite as hot but still hot.

On my reading pile:::

On my TV:::
Still with NCIS.

Checked off the list:::
  • Vic was in Washington.
  • Had a great morning out at Sit 'n Sip, the moms' group get-together.  Just a couple of us but it was nice chatting and meeting a new spouse.
  • Volunteered at the gift shop and came home with a bag of goodies for under $20 - that has to be a record for me!
  • Went to see Ocean's 8 at the cinema - excellent!
  • Spent Saturday night at a house concert - yes, I'd never heard of this either.  Apparently, a man with a large backyard puts up a tent, hires a band, sets out a bunch of chairs, and charges admission.  You take along beer and food and have a great evening.  Really enjoyed spending time with our friends C and L, the singer, Kelly Willis, was great, and we had a fun night out.  Bonus was that the audience was our age group which meant they were rocking to the music but not rowdy!

Crafts roundup:::
Vic's still working on the arms of the loveseat.  Moving on to step eight of my swap ornaments and hope to get them in the mail next week.

And in other news:::
These two are gearing up for summer camping.  Sophia got a great deal on a tent and put it up in the living room to test out her tent assembly skills.

And this guy is such a good sport.  "Here, honey, stand there and hold this flower", I said.  I'm always looking for a fun shot with a burst of color for my Project Life spread.  

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Christmas Swap in July Details

Swap details have been released - it's an Artist Trading Coins Swap.  I've never heard of this before - it looks interesting and fun but I'm going to pass this year as I don't have a lot of the supplies on hand.  Definitely keeping it in mind for my December Daily album.  Let me know if you plan to participate and I'll watch for your reveal post.

Check out the details here - Artist Trading Coins Swap.

Friday, June 8, 2018

5 on Friday

Click on the badge to join in.

The new Special British Issue of Tea Time magazine is available and I can't wait to read it.  I have plans for a couple of special teas this summer and love this magazine for tablescape ideas and recipes.

My collection of Starbucks Been There Series mugs is growing - Vic's been picking them up in airports across the country and my friend Kelly just sent me a couple.  Looking forward to having them on the mug rack in our forever home.

Really enjoyed Some Kind of Beautiful with Pierce Brosnan, Jessica Alba, and Salma Hayek on Amazon Prime.

I'm hooked on Pretty Neat Living on You Tube and her blog.  I think Jen single-handedly keeps The Container Store in business!

Waiting patiently for the Ali Edwards Stories Revisited Sale to start at 9:00am PDT today!  I love her memory-keeping products.