Monday, November 30, 2020

Hello Monday

The weather:::
Temperatures still in the 40s during the day, 30s at night.  Not much significant change from the past few weeks.  A pretty typical western Washington late fall/early winter.

On my reading pile:::
Finished Christmas in Cedar Cove by Debbie Macomber and the second book in the House of Falconer series by Barbara Taylor Bradford, In the Lion's Den, came in at the library.  It's an easy read.

On my TV:::
Still working my way through The Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas holiday premieres.  Sophia and I watched the final of The Great British Baking Show on Friday, not to wait for the next season.  Congratulations to Peter, the youngest ever Bake Off winner.  The holiday series is out on Netflix on December 4.

Checked off the list:::
Shopping - done.  Wrapping - done.  Christmas cards ordered - done.  Tree up - done (can't fix the one section that won't light - Sophia and I tested every bulb so it must be a wiring problem - I think the tree is at least 11 years old, that's a pretty good life for an artificial tree).  Mailed Vic's Christmas package so he'll have some presents to open when we FaceTime with him on Christmas Day.  Sophia came for Thanksgiving and stayed for a couple of days.  It was a very low key day.  The parade was meh, best they could do I suppose in the circumstances.  We watched Hallmark movies and decorated the tree, ran to pick up a couple of things on Friday but not a Black Friday-type thing.  I had a return to take to Costco and Sophia wanted some cushions from Bed, Bath & Beyond.  We didn't leave the house until almost noon and it was pretty quiet out.

Found Vic's next year's holiday outfit!

Sophia's Friends radar found this cup, cappuccino mix, vanilla syrup, and cookies set at Total Wine

Crafts Roundup:::
Still have not received my replacement album so I can't put my December Daily 2018 album together.  I think it's due Tuesday.  Not much other crafting went on last week.

And in other news:::
Counting down the days until Sophia comes home again for Christmas and then we'll be counting down for Christmas in July which is when Vic will be home again.

Sophia is anxiously awaiting December 1 to break into her three Advent calendars - Sugarfina, Friends, and the gift card basket.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Monthly Musings Holiday Preview

I'm in a bit of a blogging funk after having such great plans to be super-organized and have a schedule so I could keep up on posts.  Can I blame my lack thereof on COVID-19?  Why not, it seems to have disrupted every other part of our lives.

On to some fun - love it when someone comes up with a meme for everyone to join in - Monthly Musings is brought to you by Holly and Patty so here goes.

1.  Favorite holiday traditions.
Christmas shopping for fun on Christmas Eve - we always go out to breakfast, then head to Barnes and Noble where everyone picks their favorite books or magazines.  We pay for our purchases and take them home to put them under the tree - no peeking!  On Christmas Day, after all the fun of presents and food and excitement, everyone has something new to read while we relax in the afternoon.

2.  Must have holiday wardrobe staples.
Something sparkly.  Bonus points for something sparkly and fun!

3.  Favorite holiday recipe/dish.
Heloise's Mother's Olive-Nut Spread.  A recipe from Good Housekeeping magazine, Heloise said it was first published when her mother was writing for the Honolulu Advertiser (Heloise's father was an Air Force pilot stationed in Hawaii).  It's a dip, a spread, it's amazing.

4.  What will your holiday plans look like this year?
It will be a quiet holiday.  No craft fairs, no afternoon tea, no holiday open house, no ornament or cookie exchanges, no gatherings of any kind, it's a COVID Christmas.  We'll manage - Sophia and I will watch a lot of Christmas movies, work on a puzzle, make some lumpia, practice decorating cookies with flood icing, and save all the really fun stuff for Christmas in July when Vic can travel to be home with us.

5.  Favorite Holiday Song.
There are so many, how do you choose?  I love Mary Did You Know and The Christmas Waltz.

6.  Does COVID-19 make you want to do up the holidays or make you not into it?
I'm still into it - I love to decorate, love to see the ornaments on the tree with all their special memories, love to send and receive cards, and I love to see Sophia's face when she opens her presents.

7.  Do you have any charities you like to help this time of year?
Last year, we adopted a veteran from the local veterans' home and we'll be doing that again this year.  It's a big event at work and many of the employees help plan a party and deliver all the gifts.  We won't be able to do that this year but we'll still make sure our veterans get lots of gifts and know that we love and appreciate them.

8.  Tree before or after Thanksgiving?
It's usually after Thanksgiving, after as in after the turkey platter goes in the dishwasher!  This year, however, the tree went up on November 1.  I really needed those twinkle lights in my life.  Sophia and I will decorate it at Thanksgiving.  Only one tree this year as we're expecting some new furniture, delivery date to be determined, so I had to move some things around and there are currently two bookcases where I normally put two other trees.

9.  Favorite holiday movie?
The Holiday, I mean really, Christmas and England, you can't beat that!

10.  Egg nog...yes or no?
Yes, with a little splash of something to give it a kick although this year, I just may splash in a little extra!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Hello Monday

The weather:::

Rain, rain, and more rain.  Everyone's grass is so green and the fall colors are on what's left of the leaves on the trees.  Temperatures still in the 40s during the day, 30s at night.  It's cozy days at home season.

On my reading pile:::
Finished The Things We Cannot Say, wonderful read.  Nothing new in at the library, so I shopped my bookshelves and found Christmas in Cedar Cove by Debbie Macomber.

On my TV:::
Had three Countdown to Christmas holiday premieres to catch up on after last Saturday's all day Prep Party and this weekend's virtual retreat.  Oh my goodness, definitely needed Kleenex for the endings.

Desserts on The Great British Baking Show (The Great British Bake Off in the UK) on Netflix last week.  Semi-Final - Patisserie - this week.

Checked off the list:::
Mammogram, follow-up with my provider after my eye appointments, received my new credit card after an unauthorized charge incident, postponed the 6000 mile service on Milady since there's less than 3000 miles on the odometer, and the Christmas box exchange I usually do with my MOPS pals each December has been cancelled, another COVID victim.

Crafts Roundup:::
Received my two new albums for the #donebydecember album I'm trying to finish but one had a broken spine so now I have to wait for a replacement.
The virtual scrapbook retreat (Friday 6-10pm and Saturday 9am-10pm) was so much fun.  Lots of laughs, trips and tricks shared, games, drawings, prizes, and I completed 36 pages of the 2009 Family Album.  Can't wait to do it again soon.

And in other news:::
The Governor of Washington gave a press conference yesterday morning with new restrictions.  Our COVID numbers are rising every day - we're not going all the way back to the stay at home restrictions of the spring but restaurants and bars will be limited to outdoor seating with capacity limits and in-store retail outlets are limited to 25% capacity.  There are restrictions on indoor social gatherings with people from outside the home and outdoor gatherings are limited to five people.  Religious services are limited to 25% capacity or 200 people whichever is less.  No choirs or singing, although a soloist is allowed.  Gyms, bowling alleys, museums, and movie theaters are closed.  There's more but these were the main points.

Those who are blatantly disregarding the rules are putting others at risk and the only way to stop the spread is to have these types of restrictions.  My boss put it really well back in March when this first started:  What's the why?  Why do we have to have these restrictions and live under all of these protocols?  Because many of our hospitals are overwhelmed, many more are approaching that point, and our medical professionals are exhausted.  People die without their loved ones by their side, from COVID-19 as well as from other medical conditions.  I can't imagine not being able to be at the side of a dying family member.

Costco was packed right after the press conference (or before the Seahawks game, however you want to look at it) and of course, everyone had a multi-pack of toilet paper in their cart.  Let the TP panic begin...again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day 2020


Thankful to all those who served and are serving.

My Dad, Herb, United States Army, 1947-1973

My husband, Vic, United States Navy, 1994 to present

Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an ‘s’ at the end of ‘veterans’ because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans. - U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #123


A very different Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph in London.  Only about 15% of the military personnel who normally take part were present, socially distanced as you can see from the photo below.  Thousands of veterans are usually present, this year only a handful participated.  The occasion was marked across Britain, though, with the two minute silence being observed by young and old on their doorsteps.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Cambridge on the balconies of the Foreign Office.

Duty and dignity are the words that come to mind.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Hello Monday


The weather:::
So windy this weekend, the barbecue cover blew off and right across the deck.  The good news is that the wind pretty much cleared any leaves off the roof!  HIghs only in the 40s this week and more than a 50% chance of rain just about every day.

On my reading pile:::
Finished The Memory of Us, excellent read, and I'm working my way through The Things We Cannot Say.  Need to order a couple more titles from the library.

On my TV:::
The West Wing and holiday premieres on The Hallmark Channel still going strong.  I'm starting to see Vlogmas previews on You Tube.  Lots of decor going up already.

The 80s Week on The Great British Baking Show (The Great British Bake Off in the UK) on Netflix was fun - quiche, ice cream cakes, and finger doughnuts.  Next up, Desserts.

Checked off the list:::
Most of last week was planning for Saturday's Prep Party Event and the virtual scrapbook retreat on the calendar for this coming Saturday.

Crafts Roundup:::
I was going to be #donebydecember on my 2018 album until I realized that it is far too thick for one album.  The album I am using is no longer available so I whipped over to the Home Shopping Network where they have some Ali Edwards December Daily packages deeply discounted and order two so that I would have two matching albums.  They were running Black Friday deals so free shipping, score!

The December Daily Prep Party on Saturday was excellent - 12 hours of ideas, techniques, a special guest, and a great time for like-minded crafters to look forward to this wonderful memory-keeping project for the month of December.  I registered for the virtual scrapbook retreat which is 6-10pm this coming Friday and all day Saturday.  Looks like a fun event.  I decided to work on our 2009 Family Album, yes, I am THAT far behind so I went through our photos and managed to get the total down from 1147 to 351.  Thank goodness there was a 50% off prints offer available.  The retreat will be my first experience with Zoom.

And in other news:::

Well, we all know what the main news was last week, enough said.  My sense of accomplishment at getting my tree to light and revolve was dashed when I turned it on and found that part of the middle section is not lighting.  Not the whole section, just a branch here and there.  I think there's some sort of tool that you can buy to test the bulbs, will have to look.

I'm off work today for some appointments so I've made a list of other stops, looking forward to crossing some things off my list.

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

If this is Tuesday (on Wednesday), it must be England #122


Putting up this post on Wednesday because we had Prime Purchases yesterday and I wanted to remember the events of the last couple of days from Scotland and England.

Last Saturday, one of Scotland's best-loved sons and the man who will always be known as Bond, James Bond, Sir Sean Connery, died at age 90.  He was an amazing actor, a larger than life figure, and surprisingly, one of my best memories of him is in a rather minor role, his surprise appearance in the finale of Robin Hood:  Prince of Thieves.  RIP Sir Sean.

Closer to home for me and a great shock, was the loss of Luis Troyano last week but just announced yesterday, one of the finalists from The Great British Baking Show Season 5 from 2014 (it's known as Collection 1 on Netflix).  Luis was a master baker, a graphic designer outside the tent and his talent for that work was translated into his bakes as was his Spanish heritage and his Stockport (Greater Manchester) home - The Cage on the Rocky Hill Dobos Torte, George Versus the Dragon in Gingerbread, Cocktail Doughnuts, Roscon de Reyes (Ring of the Kings) for Bread Week, and his Tropical Manchester Tart.  His entremets, especially his Pomegranate, Fig, and Pistachio Sponges were exquisite.  "Two Mixers Luis" as he was nicknamed for his technique in making simultaneous meringues and his "pain au white chocolate" made even icy Paul Hollywood chuckle.  He was a delight to watch, a perfectionist and yet such a humble man.

Luis died of esophageal cancer, he was 48 years old, far too young.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Prime Purchases - November 2020


It's the first Tuesday of the month and that means it's time for Prime Purchases with Tanya from The Other Side of the Road.

It was another preschool book shopping fest.  So many cute books on Amazon for the month of October.  Sophia's class loved the books. If you click on the photo, it will bring it up larger so you don't have to go looking for a magnifying glass.

I picked up a couple more Christmas gifts which will be in a post-Christmas Prime Purchases post, can't give away the details here until then.

I also bought this cute mini, Jingle Toes, for my Nora Fleming napkin holder, it's going to be perfect for the night we watch Elf.

And one more scrapbook tool - the We R Memory Keepers Fuse Mat and Holder.   The Fuse tool is a crafting tool that plugs into the wall to heat up and has a wheel at the end.  It is used to close plastic sleeves (apply gentle pressure) or to trim plastic sleeves (apply firmer pressure).  I've been using it to modify some plastic sleeves so that I could include double-sided photo cards in my Christmas card albums.  I can seal them into the plastic on all sides and then make a hinge so you can lift the card to see the back as well as the front.  The Fuse Mat protects whatever work space you are on while you are fusing.

That's it for me for Prime Purchases this month.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Hello Monday


The weather:::
Temperatures still in the 50s this week and the 40s at night.  So dark last night at 5:30pm.

On my reading pile:::
Finished the Village School series by Gervase Phinn, I know I've said it before but it was delightful.  Abandoned The Long Weekend:  Life in the English Country House 1918-1939 by Adrian Tinniswood - too much emphasis on architecture, got pretty tedious.  Just as well I gave up since it was due back at the library on Saturday.  I swapped it for these two:

On my TV:::
Still bingeing my way through The West Wing and enjoyed two more premieres in the Countdown to Christmas lineup on The Hallmark Channel.  The watch party for Saturday's premiere of One Royal Holiday was a bust - there were only three (me and two others) of the nine potential viewers who were going to participate but one bailed about five minutes before the movie was due to start and the other one texted almost at the end to say she'd forgotten.  Oh well, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Japanese Week on The Great British Baking Show (The Great British Bake Off in the UK) on Netflix was interesting, next week The 80s, wonder what baked items debuted in that decade?

Checked off the list:::
Followed up with the Ophthalmology clinic and got the all-clear for my eye.  Stopped off at the lab for blood work and got a message from my provider that my cholesterol was good but my Vitamin D was low.  Hello, this is Washington, land where people sit under those sun lamp things to stop getting SAD.  I'm quite happy with cloudy and grey.  Must look up what low Vitamin D means since I hate taking those horse pills.

Crafts Roundup:::
Almost #donebydecember on my 2018 album - my photos arrived from Persnickety Prints and they look great.  Should have it all wrapped up by the end of the week as it's the all-day Online Prep Party for December Daily 2020 this Saturday. Signed up for a virtual scrapbook retreat on the following weekend so I'm waiting to hear more details on that.

And in other news:::
Sophia placed fourth in her first equitation class in three years in Saturday's horse show.  Here she is, Batgirl - the show was called Jeepers Creepers.

No trick or treaters, not even the two little boys from down the street, so it's time...yes, drum roll for the twinkle lights...the tree is up!  I won't put the ornaments on until Sophia comes for Thanksgiving but I LOVE to have the tree lit up in the evenings.  I'm feeling quite a sense of accomplishment that I managed to get all three tiers to light and the tree to revolve on the first attempt!

Happy November, everyone!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Christmas Countdown - Week One

Week One of the Christmas Countdown - Get Organized - is in the bag.  I love receiving the daily e-mails so here's the recap:

Day 1 - Welcome Back - read all about the upcoming countdown.

Day 2 - Make a Christmas Planner - Done, I've been using the same Filofax for several years now and can print the checklists in the A5 size to fit.  I also have a collection of fun clips from this Etsy shop, Cherry Blossom in the Market Square.

Day 3 - Set Up a Holiday Calendar - Done, except for the week before Christmas - it's written in pencil right now until I confirm what day Sophia will be arriving.

Day 4 - Connect with holiday values - Done, ours haven't changed in years but it's still a good time to read through them again.

Day 5 - Start a Master Gift List - Done, this has been going for several months as things catch my eye or I hear hints from Vic and Sophia.

Day 6 - Start a Christmas Card List - Done, I use a spreadsheet that I can update as addresses change and then I upload it directly to minted where I order my cards.

Day 7 - Plan Pre-Holiday Home Improvements - Done, we had a lot of work done at the house this summer so we're all set here.

And that's it for Week One and we're on to Week Two - Reality Check.