Gift Ideas I've Found This Week.

I don't think I've ever written out a list of gift ideas for a holiday and I didn't suppose you'd find me starting it now, but as I was trolling about on the other day I came across a holiday line called Luxe Lodge.  It happened I visited Target later in the week and I saw several of these items on display. In case you haven't seen them, I thought you might like to look them over, too.  Personally,  I think these are pretty items  that would make wonderful gifts for a wedding shower or a housewarming , as well as Christmas gifts.  They are under $30 for the most part, with a few under $20 and I thought I'd featurethem here just in case any of you have gift giving occasions coming up.  

Metallics are very popular just now.  Brass is enjoying a resurgence in décor favor and copper is as well.  Gold and silver tend to remain popular.  All the pieces I've featured here are gold in color and that's partly why they caught my eye, because I knew they were current.  I think the designs are nice and classic and will therefore fit with most décor styles.

This set of bowls with pedestal tray is 19.99.  The tray has a cut out area so that the bowls sit snugly in place.  This would make a great entry table piece, where you could drop keys or change.  The store blurb suggests filling the bowls with seasonal items for display.  It would also be nice on a dresser for rings and jewelry or for a man's valet type piece.

This tray is $24.99.  It's a nice size at 18 in diameter.  It would be pretty propped on a mantel or set on a table and used to hold orchids or a pretty plant.  It would do nicely for a centerpiece on a dining table, too.  You might use in a bathroom or in a bedroom as a vanity tray.

This bowl matches the tray.   The bowl is 16 in. diameter and 5 in. high.  I think it would make a very attractive display piece just about anywhere and certainly it could be used as a suitable receptacle for potpourri or fruit or a big low arrangement of flowers.  It is $29.99.

I did not see this antler piece in the store where I was shopping.  I think it's a lovely piece, and because of it's natural motif would do well in any style room from modern to country.   I'd like to see this piece mixed with some of those lovely almost rustic looking wooden trays that are so popular just now.  This candelabra is priced at $28.49 and I think that's a bit high...but then I have a tendency to pick up most of my candleholders at thrift stores, so forgive me if I'm offbase in my estimation of that.    The measurements listed are 7in H x 10in W x 15 in D.  It is constructed of cast aluminum so would be lighter than you'd expect.  I really would have liked to have seen this one up close and to have handled it because I sure do like the look of it a lot!  

I did see these next two items and I would love to have them.   

They are titled as Hurricane lanterns but the description says the smaller holds a tea light while the larger hurricane's description says it will hold a pillar candle.  I expect you'd have to have try the candles in them but I think the smaller shorter pillar candles should fit fine even in the smaller hurricane.  I haven't seen these with candles in them, obviously, but I'll bet they are beautiful when they are lit.

The smaller hurricane is 7 in. high and wide.  The larger is 10 in. high and wide.  It was the 10 inch one I saw in the store and the only thing kept me from purchasing it immediately was the realization that if placed on the dining table as a centerpiece, John would likely bump it with his books or computer since he uses one end as his desk and possibly break it.  They are too large to fit my mantle depth.  I will tell you the photos don't  do them justice.  They have the metallic colored base, and a sort of ombre smoky to clear sort of rough hand blown glass look.  The small hurricane is $14.99 and the larger is $19.99.

The reason I thought to feature these is because they are part of a holiday décor collection called 
Gold Luxe Lodge.  They are reasonable for the most part now but you just might luck into some of these on Black Friday or later on clearance following the Christmas holiday if you want to wait a bit on them.  I bought a lovely faux bois (that's a wood grain pattern on a non-wood item) ceramic bowl a couple of years ago after the holidays that is nice enough to use anywhere in a home for about $5.  When we have a big company meal it's a lovely salad or fruit bowl, so something to keep in mind as you shop this season is how any of these items might  be practical for the every day home.

I'm going to keep my eye on these pieces for possible gift drawer items...and just maybe something for myself!

Thanksgiving Count Down: Thriving Through the Chaos

It's the week of Thanksgiving as I'm sure too many of you are well aware.  I've seen Tammy's array of pies on facebook and there's not only a turkey thawing in my fridge but about 20 baked sweet potatoes waiting to be peeled and mashed for soufflé.  There's cornbread and bread cubes, diced onions and celery in the freezer and four quarts of broth thawing in the fridge.   Yes we're well under way for the holiday week...

I don't know about you but stress and tension starts to mount this time of year.  Not only must we deal with family members who may be a stressor as much as they are loved, we are trying to do too much and accomplish everything at once.  I woke in the middle of the night and began to go over our plans in my mind and at some point this sense of calm came over me.  "I got this..." I said to myself.  And went right back to sleep.  That was pretty awesome.  Awakening with a sense of purpose, I hopped to the next morning and next thing I knew I was hit out of the blue by a feeling of illness.  I was sidelined for the most part the rest of the day.  Not fun.  Not at all a happy day of cleaning and shopping and planning.  I lay about and wondered how on earth can I say "I've got this?" when I'm sidelined at the start?

Well I do have this.  I am feeling much better.  I expect there's a good explanation for the ailment and since it's lately a recurring thing I mean to see my doctor to try and sort it out.   But NOT this week, lol.   In the meantime, can I just share what I'm doing to keep things rolling smoothly along?

#1.  Clear the clutter.  Now don't think I'm crazy.  I used to be one of those perfectionist types who thought the whole house had to be spotless and that included drawers and closets I hadn't touched in months.  No.  Don't even think it's a possibility this week. 

I'm telling you to clear the clutter from your work space.  Clean off the kitchen counters of everything that is not necessary to food prep for this week.  Put it in the garage or stash it on a counter that is out of the work space but move it.   Put away the clean dishes in the dish drainer or that you stacked on the counter after unloading the dishwasher.  Put the toaster away after breakfast.  Put away the cute chotskies.  They will only hinder and impeded you when you need every inch of counter space you have.

Clean off the dining table and leave it clear all week long.  I don't care if you have to stash stuff under your bed, move it off the table for this week.  Put a pretty centerpiece on it.  Now move on.

Walk into your living room and bedroom and quickly clear the side tables and coffee table.  Put away clothes that have been left sitting.  We are not cleaning.  Now is not the time to tackle anything but the most glaringly obvious cleaning needs.  If there are dust bunnies ON the table...well yes, you might want to tackle those, but if they are hiding out under the couch, let them nest there.

#2.  Organize your head, first.    List out your menu.  If you're going to have guests stay beyond the holiday (as I am) then plan meals for those days coming up as best you can.  You may or may not need them but don't plan on leftovers unless you have a 20 pound turkey and only four showing up for dinner.  In my case, I have 18 coming to dinner and 6 potential guests for the weekend.  Yes, that's right, I don't really know how long these six plan to stay but I must have a plan to execute if they are here.   So plan those meals.  Hopefully you'll plan with a eye on what you have on hand and won't need to run to the store for more than whipped cream (don't we always forget that?) and bread and milk.

#3.  Organize your groceries.   Right now I know where every component of the meal I'm making is.  The turkey and broth and baked sweet potatoes and eggs are in the fridge.  The canned soups, beans, canned onion rings, instant potatoes, salad dressings are all together in one cabinet.  Hold on a minute...I want to move the brown sugar to that cupboard, too...Cornbread and bread cubes, chopped celery and onion are altogether in the fridge freezer.  I'll be moving that to the refrigerator tomorrow so I'm sure they are thawed.   I know where every single component needed to complete my meal is right now.  No digging through the back of the cupboard Thursday morning trying to find that can of cranberry sauce that is doing a very good job of hiding like the hunted turkey...

#4.  Know your cooking times and prepare your schedule.  There is no point at all in putting the green bean casserole in with the turkey...It will only be  over baked and dry and who wants that? 

But there are things you can do ahead.  My rule of thumb is that if it contains eggs, I wait until I'm ready to start the cooking process before prepping.  Stuffed turkey should never be stuffed ahead of time.  Only just before it goes into the oven.  Elaine at Sunny Simple Life shared with me that she makes her mashed potatoes early in the day.   She allows them to be a bit wetter than usual then plops them in the crockpot and adds pats of butter on top.  She then lets them sit on LOW (my crock has a "Keep Warm" setting) and says to stir them every half hour.  And in case of any of you who are going to do as I am and are using instant potatoes, Lana left a comment earlier last week that adding a mashed cooked potato or two to the instant potatoes transforms them from boxed to "Hey you made real potatoes!".   Pies and cakes may obviously be made ahead and stored in a cake or pie keeper in a cool place (doesn't have to be a fridge). 

So do what you can ahead but by all means be aware of what can't be done ahead and set yourself the task of figuring out exactly what time that turkey is going to be done and how much longer you have to cook the green bean casserole if the temperature is a little lower and you've had to triple or quadruple the recipe.  Then pin that up where you can find it come Thanksgiving morning.

#5.  Give in.  Most people invited to dinner will call and ask, "What can I bring?"  Or "May I bring a pie?", etc. 

Now just take my word for it, I have planned my dinner and I've let myself get over anxious about someone else needing fridge space when it's already packed full, and worried about having a glut of leftovers, or bringing in something to be baked when the oven is packed full.  These are legitimate concerns on my part...but...

You know what?  Let everybody bring what they'd like.   It's so much easier to just say "Yes.  Please do!"   If they haven't a clue what they might bring, have a list nearby with something simple and easily picked up like a gallon of tea from a store deli or a container of whipped cream or extra cups and napkins.   In the end, it's really about the gathering together isn't it?  So when one of my guests offered to make Pumpkin Bars, I said "Sure!  That will be great!" and when another offered to bring a ham, though her husband was horrified since John and I don't eat pork, I told him "Let her bring it.  We may not eat it but everyone else we know does and it will get eaten."

If there are leftovers then send them home with someone else.   My two youngest live just far enough away to make travel easy but to present a hardship when they arrive home to put a meal on the table.  I'll fix them up a plate and send them on their way with enough to at least feed them supper.  Those who must travel further run the risk of having food spoiled before they might arrive home.  Keep this in mind when insisting someone take leftovers.  Something is portable.  And if you're having company for the weekend then happily accept the provision and use the food to cover the need.

#6.  Take time for yourself.  When I'm focused and busy I'll work on all sorts of jobs and tasks that might well have waited.  It's as though I can't quite be sure my wagon is full enough already to stop loading it up.  Well it is!  So what did I do this morning?  A manicure.  While I sat and listened to a series of praise songs.  I took time to read my Bible and will be sure, once company arrives, to take my books to my room for just that purpose before I present myself.  I might even set up my little single cup coffee maker in my room just so I can have my first cup in peace.  (That's a good idea!)

Take a favorite book and put it near a spot where you can put your feet up for a few minutes.  If things get chaotic Thanksgiving Da putting yourself in a five minute time out will work wonders, believe me.  There are generally plenty of people willing to watch the timer and if they are the unreliable sorts you can always keep an eye on the clock, but just taking a bit of time away from the melee and the football or parade or whatever, in a quiet room will restore and center you.  It's a good time to make a quick prayer, too, by the way.

So there you are, my few survival tips for the week ahead.  It's going to be all right.  We got this!

In My Home This Week: Turkey Talk

In my home this week...

...I usually start these after Shabat on the weekend.  As I start this week, I am tired.  I had visitors today.   Namely two little boys.  I was so glad to see them both.  I didn't know until a chance conversation came up that they were coming to visit me today.  Mom and Dad had business to attend to and asked if they might go out to dinner after.     I haven't seen any of the grandchildren since my family day in September and I was anxious to see them.  I've been aching to see Katie and Taylor but it hasn't worked out for various reasons.  So when asked if we'd keep the boys for a couple of hours it was no hardship as far as we were concerned.   John was just in from work this morning.  I'm happy to say that all three of the 'boys' got a nap this afternoon.  And I got a couple of hours free time to read.

The sweetest moment occurred when Josh and I were looking in the refrigerator for supper ideas.  "Gramma...I love you!"  "Well I love you too, Joshy."   "And Gramma, I LIKE you, too."   That made me smile from ear to ear.  I don't know that he's ever been around us to hear it said before, but it's something John tells me frequently when we're alone.  It was just lovely to hear it from that three year old boy.

The littlest boy isn't crawling yet but he gets about.  He just moves along on his bottom and stretches a bit to get this or that and the next thing you know he's gone from the blanket you'd put him on to the middle of the floor.  

Josh had the chance to go outside all alone and play in the yard.  He doesn't get a chance to do that at home because he lives near a very busy country road with some pretty fast traffic.   Here there is little worry he'll be in the road.  Our rules are the same for all the grandchildren once they are old enough to follow simple directions:  You can play anywhere in the yard as long as you can see the house.  Our yard is vast, encompassing about three acres and the children generally take full advantage of it.  This is the privilege of country children: freedom.   I'm so happy it's ours to offer to them.

....I worked:

I do stick to my Shabat rules of no work, no shopping, etc.  However, once Shabat is over (25 hours after the start), we generally do some quick light housework.  It was a little more intense this week.  I waited until just moments before the family got ready to go home.  One of them picked up most of the toys, John walked about the house looking for the odd thing that might be left behind.  I cleared the kitchen and dining table and emptied the trash.   When the house had emptied, John ran the vacuum while I swept.  It was a full on housecleaning.  I kept reminding myself how much easier it would make Sunday morning to have all that work attended to Saturday evening.

All the usual of washing full loads of dishes, full loads of clothes, hanging to dry all we could.  It's been a bit damp and chilly so not a lot of hanging outdoors over the weekend, though I've made sure we did on the sunny day that happened along. 

I opened the dishwasher as soon as the cycle was done and allowed the moisture to evaporate into our dry air.

I've kept a pot of water on back of the stove to help moisturize the air indoors, too.   Added bonus...It's made it easier to help myself to a cup of hot tea most afternoons.

Despite wearing layers and socks and such, I found myself miserably cool if I wasn't up working.  John is even more prone to feeling cold than myself and less likely to put on the layers of clothing I will.  I decided after watching him shiver terribly one evening that it wouldn't kill us to turn the heater up a degree or two.

My day out with Mama isn't technically considered work but it was work this week.  Just saying.

Got the guest room close to ready.  We need to hang a mirror and as soon as I've hemmed John's blue jeans and my black pants the sewing machine will be put away.  I need a fresh plant or flowers for the room (still don't know if I'm having guests or not).  I'll take out the children's mattresses we have in there and I still need to determine what canned goods I need from the pantry but figure that can wait until next week then I'll shift things when I've planned meals (in case we have guests).   I've bought curtains, a blow dryer and a couple of extra towels to cover guest needs.  I still don't know who will be here or when or for how long.  Not keen on this up in the air sort of thing but it is what it is.

All of the guest bedding was washed from spread to shams to quilt at foot of bed.  I figured they needed to be freshened and nothing does that as well as a wash and hanging on the line in my opinion.

I planned to spend one day out shopping this week, then John announced his intent to do some minor shopping.  Well.  It turned into a major day of shopping and there were still things to do.  BUT we added presents for two, got the turkey and a few other necessities plus curtains for the guest room on his day.  I also got nine packs of winter plants for the pots in front of the back porch.  Lots knocked out just not completed.  I'd hated to have had had a larger list!  I spent a second day shopping but it was more saying "Right, well we're not getting that..." and looking for any alternative I could to work instead.  I spent a lot less on my day out but my feet were just as tired.

I'd scratched up my pantry stock up list so badly I could barely make out what I needed any longer.  It took a few minutes to rewrite but will be completely worthwhile next time I reach for it while shopping.  I adjusted amounts on several items as I realized that my figures were off for a six months supply.  

...I made meals:

Roast Beef, Potato Casserole, Steamed Broccoli
I have to share about this roast beef.  It was a Rump Round Roast.  I've bought these plenty of times and tried to slice them but they were generally a bit chewy.  I was always so disappointed and then I read in a vintage magazine that these cuts aren't meant to be baked and sliced.  They are best used as pot roasts or for braising.   Well I had no idea because there was no such information in any of my current cookbooks.

I decided to use a marinade to tenderize and mixed up my own from scratch using ingredients on hand.  I let it marinate overnight and even turned it during the middle of the night when I woke unexpectedly.  I cooked the roast in a covered casserole dish at 350 for 2 hours then lowered it to 325 for another hour and half.

Y'all...That roast stayed together when I took it up out of the casserole but the moment I laid a knife on the surface it fell into tender chunks.  It was delicious.  I'll find another cut to use as a slicing roast but I now know how to properly cook a Rump Round Roast.

Rotisserie Chicken (White Wine and Herb), Asparagus, Wild Rice
This meal went together so easily prior to church.  The chicken was cooked.  I'd had it in the fridge and put it in the crock pot on high for an hour or so, then cut it back to low before we left.  I cooked wild rice and poured into the crock pot with the chicken.  In future, I'd add a wee bit of moisture.  I'd expected some to cook out of the chicken but it didn't.  I just heated asparagus when we came in from church.  Frankly this went together so quickly and I am again reminded how lovely it is to come in from the cold to a hot meal ready to eat at little expense.

out with mama one day

Leftover Roast Beef and Potato Casserole, Salad of Lettuce, pomegranate and apples with walnuts

John took me out to eat at our favorite restaurant.

I ate out on my own.  I was tired, hungry and still had a bit of shopping to go though it had been a frustrating morning for NOT finding what was needed/wanted.  I decided I would take care of me first, and take the time to eat.

Chicken Fried Rice, Steamed Broccoli, Mandarins

...I saved money

Learning to cook that rump roast properly was probably one of my best money savers this week.  I had plenty of meat leftover.  Well, three meals into the roast I still had some leftover.  I thought perhaps it would be a good thing to put the rest of that in the freezer.  I'll make something with it later on.

I meant last Friday to leave out meat to use to make dishes this  week but realized I would have leftover rotisserie chicken and leftover roast beef. I'm glad now I didn't leave any out.  I don't know when I might have gotten around to it and it would have spoiled.

Packaged up the wild rice and chicken that was leftover. It was such a tiny chicken that I'm lucky to get to meals off it!  However, there's enough rice and meat left to make a batch of fried rice for dinner one day this week.

Used a bag of really poor French Fries to make the potato casserole.   I bought a 5 pound bag of frozen French Fries back when I was prepping for the Hurricane Irma refugees.  I was sure it would come in handy if there was an extended stay.   The potatoes were all of 1 inch long.  I was so disgusted and I had a five pound bag of those tinky little French fried potatoes!   It occurred to me the other morning that while they are a little larger than hash browns they most certainly could be used as a substitute.   They worked well enough so I'll be sure to do this again while I have all the ingredients on hand.  I've frozen these casseroles ahead and they do very well.

We didn't go into the grocery at all on Sunday which I can assure you saved us a good $40 right there.  Yes, there is a needed item I might have gone in for but inevitably that means picking up items we 'need' but hadn't planned to buy.   John and I went to the drive thru to pick up a prescription and he got a paper at the gas station where we stopped to fill up my car.

Filling my car in the same area where we go to church saves us 20c a gallon.

Looked over sales sheets and riffled through Sunday newspaper pages.  Why go through the whole paper when I find news so depressing?  Simple.  One year I stumbled upon a grocery ad for $5 off the purchase of a turkey in the sports pages of all places.  I have, since then, made it a point to go through the newspaper start to finish looking for random coupons.  No luck this go round but it cost me nothing to look.

Went through ads and determined I really needed nothing much.  I went into the discount grocery in the next town to get turkey sausage patties and  incidentally stocked up on canned pear halves packed in juice and John's favorite crackers which I reserve strictly for his work lunches.

Repaired the dishwasher rack all by myself.  It took me a few minutes to find the trouble but it was quite easily fixed once I had focused on the area.

Packed John's work lunches and sent him off with breakfast and coffee.

Washed all the linens from the dining room drawer.  I really do need to set them all to soak but time is busy just now with getting ready for Thanksgiving, planning a Jam party for a customer and getting house and yard ready.

Ordered that King sized quilt for our bed.  I was able to get the same color, teal, but not able to get the shams I'd hoped to buy as well.  Before I finalized my order, I looked up discount codes and found one that saved me all of the shipping amount which was substantial.  I also checked Swagbucks shop and earn but the store was not covered by their rewards.

The day I was going out with Mama, I had an idea of how to style the white blouse which is a tad large on me with my skinny jeans.  I played about with scarfs at the waist and decided that with the right scarf I could carry that shirt off with the other pants I felt it wouldn't work with as cinching at the waist both brings in the width and shortens the length giving a thinner silhouette overall.

This last pay period, I needed to use my allowance to cover my credit card charges.  I could whine about having no money but I knew full well what I was spending at the time I spent it, so no whine.  However, it was my turn to pay for lunch out with Mama.  I happen to be saving $1 bills just now and I used some of those to cover our meal.  It made me feel good to have cash on hand and NOT to go to the bank to get cash I'd really already spent.   Later this week when I was out shopping on my own and overtired and hungry, I went into a restaurant alone and ordered a meal.  Again those $1 bills came in handy and I felt strong enough to carry on with a rather tedious and tiresome task after.  I felt sort of proud to not have taken money from our joint account but used what I had instead.

An absolutely beautiful planter at Lowe's Garden center: Maroon dianthus with an Italian rock Pine tree in the middle.  It was very lovely but I'm leery when there are no prices on items.  I looked over just the Italian rock pines but again, no prices.  John suggested, quite rightly, that I might dig up cedars in our fields that were roughly the same size and plant with my flowers.  I turned a corner and there was a plethora of small cedars for $10 a half gallon pot.  John's quite right! I'll likely expend $10 worth of labor getting them up but for that price I can have all I want...

I priced curtains at Lowe's and at Walmart and was prepared to go further afield if need be.  I was very color specific on these curtains which were for the guest room.  I love my little guest room and it's nice to sew near the window there but at night the security light with it's LED bulb is like the piercing eye of God peering in that window right through the blind and the lace panel I was using there.  I thought my guests might appreciate just a little more darkness.  The curtains are not room darkening but they are the proper color and the price was such I could afford to put up four panels which gives a deeper coverage than two would have done.

There were better prices on turkeys at other stores but Walmart had a brand I especially like, as it's very consistently good and tender.  It was still a 32c a pound savings over Aldi's offering so I'm not yelping too loud about paying more than I might have elsewhere.

I kept careful track of all food spending this week.  It will technically be coming out of next week's food budget but I'm shopping ahead to save my sanity this week.  Next week when we get paid it will be CRAZY out there.   Gracious if you'd seen the traffic and the shopping centers this week you'd have thought twice about being out in it all.  As of Thursday evening, I'd determined that save the purchase of bread and one other item, I am officially calling myself DONE until after the whole Black Friday weekend.

I looked for more folding chairs but they were every one of them gone and the offerings left, while nicer, were certainly pricier. I counted up guests and visualized seating and decided that indeed we should manage with what we have.  I can pull the piano bench from the music room and a stool from the back porch too if needed and we'll use the toy box as seating for two as well.

I walked into and out of three stores Thursday without purchasing one single item.  I was looking specifically for certain items and when the stores failed to produce those items out I went without looking at anything else.

Birthday card shopping was necessary Thursday and I was so unimpressed.  It wasn't cost, though that is galling enough, but the inappropriateness of most cards, and the sheer lack of any sense of sentiment on the others just underwhelmed me entirely.   Some of the cards were so impersonal they would best be suited for someone you'd only just met!  Ugh.  I've an idea of how I'd like to do cards this next year.  Personally I'd love to make them but I don't always take the time or get good results.  However, I'm convinced I can come up with a better solution than what passed for best wishes on the store shelves.

Remember those reindeer at Hobby Lobby I so wanted?  And how I discovered one was broken and was tempted to ask for a discount but decided that I didn't want anymore broken castoffs much less to BUY them?  One thing I stumbled on today while I was looking for other things was two cast metal silver reindeer for about the same price as those two were going to cost me a few weeks ago.  They are just beautiful and I snatched them up and purchased them right away.   They were from Target by the way and in the home décor section.

Ordered a wreath I just loved from   I used Swagbucks to get shop and earn points.  It was quite reasonable, impressively so compared to what I'd priced elsewhere and happily in the color wave I am using this year for my theme.   I will be using this one indoors above the mantel.  I'll make wreaths for the entry doors.  I've already seen what I'd like to do.  It will be easy enough to execute using what I have on hand and I'll need purchase only one item which won't be expensive.

Went into a party store to purchase some items to use for dinner on Thanksgiving and having looked it all over and priced it out, I think it well worth going in to get pretty napkins and matching cups.  I saved 33% this week on Thanksgiving dessert plates and paper cups for coffee and plastic cups for drinks.

Sorted out the freezers.  I needed room so that I could make a few meals ahead for next weekend and now I have room to store food.  Now it's just a matter of making it and putting it in.

While I was digging about I realized that I had plenty of soup making stuff, and two entrees I could choose from for our dinner on Saturday.  It's meant to be pretty cold Sunday and Monday and I think coming in from church to a crockpot full of hot soup would be awesome.  Especially since I mean to do a little grocery shopping after service so I can avoid going back to the store next week.

...I take my leisure:

I finished the Emilie Loring book I'd taken up late last week and opted for one by Faith Baldwin.  I have several of Baldwin's books on my bookshelf and though I seldom mention her I enjoyed her books when I was very much younger.  I thought it a good opportunity to determine if I find her worth keeping on my bookshelves. I started with Private Duty.   After 7 chapters I felt pretty much as though someone were telling me a rather bad story.  I decided life would go on with out that book in it.  I didn't find it such a great book, but I did find myself curious about Baldwin.  I know that like Gladys Taber, with whom she was friends, she wrote magazine articles and non-fiction as well as fiction books.  A few of her novels were turned into movies.  She was successful and popular, especially during the depression years.

I got two new books in the mail.  Not ready to read them but just knowing they are upon the shelf waiting for me makes me happy.

Shopping is not what I consider 'fun' but I do like to go out with John.   This season of the year it's especially fun to me because John sets the Christmas budget each year...and then he gets antsy and wants to shop for everyone so the budget is sort of blown.   But it's fun to watch him get a person in mind and start looking for gifts.  I find it interesting to see what he'll choose.  I'm certainly not going to discourage him because even if we do go over budget it's never a very high amount and he really does enjoy himself which is part of what makes it fun to me.  He has gift giving anxiety but a lovely generous heart that desires to give just the same.

We ate out our favorite restaurant on the day we shopped together.  Our meal was really good and served piping hot as it well should be.  We had a grand chat while we were waiting and later while eating.

One evening this week, while the tv was off (oh I do love the off button which is in use more and more these days!), I pulled up 1920's songs on youtube and listened to them, getting a feel for the background of what was going on musically in that era.  Some of it was quite nice, not all that jazzed up hyper stuff as you might think given the Charleston was of that era as well.  It all started with a song lyric that popped into my head as I closed curtains one day at sunset: "When day is done and shadows fall, I think of you..."  which was appropriate that day as it was my niece's second wedding anniversary and her third month as a widow.

Coffee Chat: Are We There Yet?

Do come in and sit down.  There's coffee and hot tea if you'd rather have that.  Funny to think that as of January this year I'd never had a cup of hot tea and now I find I crave it. Come mid afternoon when I make John coffee, often as not, I put on the tea pot and heat water for tea for myself.   It puts the chills on the run on these cool days.  It's nice and autumnal out there.  At last.

Are you crazy busy yet with the Thanksgiving prep?  At this point, I just bought  a turkey and it is in the fridge preparing to thaw.  I have a list made out of things to do but the grocery part of the list isn't long.  I've delegated a few things to others.  I'm still trying to figure out how to handle all the sides and the turkey in the oven.  I bought a 20 pound bird.  And that means it will need to cook about 6 and a half hours.  With dinner at 12 or so I'm going to be getting up mighty early to put that stuffing in that bird and get the turkey in the oven.

A Few of My Favorite Things

  I didn't mean to let this posting slide in September or October but hit a busy spell of time and poof! there it went.  However, I do have a few things I'd like to share that are new to me or which are old things but favorites.

For one thing, I splurged a bit in late August and bought these from Amazon because they were pretty and I really wanted them.  There are two sizes in the set.  I absolutely love this color.  You'll find it in nearly every room in my home and often find it in my wardrobe as well!

I didn't need mixing bowls but I had need of salad bowls and since these are a little shallow in my opinion for a mixing bowl I thought they'd be nice to use at table.  I haven't regretted the expense even once.  They do very nicely for a lovely serving bowl for fruit or salad either one.

In September, when the electricity went out after Hurricane Irma's visit, I used my old thrift store purchased aluminum percolator to make coffee on the top of the stove.  One of my guests is a coffee drinker like myself and a little bit of a coffee snob.  When we took our first sips of coffee that first morning we both looked at one another and said "Ooh!  This is good!" at the same moment.   I was so impressed by the end of my four days of perking coffee that  John and I decided it would be nice to have percolated coffee on all but work mornings.  It takes a little time to come to a boil and then 9 minutes of perking before it's ready, but it's worth every minute it takes.   We find the perked coffee smooth and less acidic for whatever reason, even though we didn't change brands just at first.

I did not w

This Week In My Home: Glory Days of Autumn

This week in my home....

...I  wasn't sure just how this week would go.  John said Friday afternoon, after our wonderful ride up northwest of us, that his throat felt a bit scratchy.  Allergies or cold, he was not well despite his continual upbeat attitude and words of healing accomplished.  Saturday afternoon I had a tooth start to ache and it kept it up all through the day, through the night and then suddenly went away as quickly as it had appeared  and ached all day Monday.  I had a swollen cheek to show for it.  However, between the two of us, we decided to stay home from church on Sunday and we pretty much lolled about on Monday.  It wasn't a fun way to spend the little time off he had.  Nevertheless, we had last Friday and it was a good day, a grand day.

If a week is what you make it, then I was determined to make something of this one despite not feeling well for the first few days.  In the end, I accomplished some tasks, though not all the heavy duty stuff I'd anticipated doing.  I had some leisure time.  I  made meals.  It was a week.

Coffee Chat: November Is Autumn

Hello all.  Do come in.  We've coffee and some of those wonderful German spice cookies sold at Aldi this time of year.  I hit the jackpot that shopping day.  I found the Speckulatias and Salted Caramel creamer without carrageenan and the sole container of salted caramel cream cheese spread.  It was a bonus day.  But do have a seat, have coffee, have cookies and let's talk.

It's not cool outdoors at present.  But it seems silly to have iced tea when you can see how like autumn it appears with all those lovely leaves that have changed color and which are slowly drifting to the ground.  As always November proves itself the true month of autumn in our state and I really should just adjust my mind to that fact and stop thinking it will be cool or pretty until November.  I wish the cool would come along once more!  Still it is quite pretty out there and it's kind of nice to see the green grass contrasting with the trees isn't it?

Gift Ideas I've Found This Week.

I don't think I've ever written out a list of gift ideas for a holiday and I didn't suppose you'd find me starting it now, ...