Thursday, November 29, 2007


What kind of Christmas music do you prefer? Traditional carols, secular songs , maybe the perkiness ( I just love that word) of Mannheim Steamroller or the haunting beauty of Celtic Christmas music. What about the zany ones...every flattened Grandma knows what I am talking about!! I like all kinds and as soon as Thanksgiving is done I have the Christmas CDs out. My all time, hands down favorite (and please know I hold no prejudice for any race, color, creed or sexual orientation) is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I call it "The Mormons Belt Out Christmas". It is more than just the voices. It is the arrangements, the orchestra and the ginormous pipe organ at the Mother church in Salt Lake City. Anyone who knows me knows that whatever vocal potential I ever had was ruined by smoking all those years, but that doesn't stop me , alone in my little red Alero, from singing 4 part harmony at the top of my lungs.

My next fav, although not technically Christmas music is The Messiah. I only listen to it at Christmas, again alone in my car. I even sing the instrumentals. I can sing all four parts plus the whole orchestra all by myself and guess what? No one would recognize a single note, LOL.

I love Mitch because he reminds me of time spent with my grandmother. She and my grandfather lived next door to us and I spent a lot of time with her. She used to pay me to do her ironing and when I was done we would make hot cocoa from scratch and watch Mitch Miller. Remember that dancing ball that helped you with the lyrics. How fun was that? This Christmas CD has all the songs I remember and it makes me happy to listen to it and remember those days and my wonderful grandparents.

I just got this CD this year from Kohls. It was one of their charity items, like the books and stuffed toys for kids, and only $5. I like it, but it will never surpass the MTC. I also have an Anne Murray Christmas CD that I had forgotten about until just now. I love Anne.

Now I look at my choices and it just screams late/middle aged woman, does it not? So what, c'est la vie, and if the shoe fits buy it in all colors! :>)

'Got to go to bed earlier than usual cuz I have a very busy day tomorrow, and oh yeah, I found a cloche at Homegoods for $10. three days ago and left it. Figured if it was still there today it was meant to be. Guess what? It was meant to be and now cloche #1 has a shorter, fatter sister.


PS. I wasn't down on myself yesterday, just remarking that I don't intend to make a "business plan" cuz I am lacking motivation. Much more fun to read your blogs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Today I went to a class entitled "Business Planning for the New Year". Now I hate these kind of classes because they make you feel guilty for what you haven't done. I know how to make a business plan and figure out how many doors you have to knock on for one listing or how many cold calls (What about the Do Not Call Registry you ask) for one sale. But this was just so dreadfully boring that I found myself asking my co-worker "If you knock 3 times can you divide that number by 3?" and other silliness. Really not fun and I am not in the least bit motivated to do a business plan for 2008. I have a "following" from many years in the business and I rely on them to keep the wolf from the door. Silly and probably considered "lazy" by some, but that is just who I am, so get over it!!

Two recipes for Christmas cookies that I make again and again. Sorry I don't have pictures, but I won't be making these for a while because there is just Bob and I here and we don't NEED cookies.

Did you know that I absolutely abhor peanut butter? No? You already thought I was odd enough...Hmmm.. well these are a true labor of love because not only do I have to smell the peanut butter, I have to play in it...YUCK!!


1 cup smooth peanut butter.... eeyew!
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
Bag of Hershey kisses

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Combine all ingredients in large bowl; stir until smooth.
Roll into small balls 3/4 inch in diameter.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet about one inch apart.
Flatten slightly and top with a hershey kiss.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until light brown.
Cool on the sheet for 3-4 minute and then remove to rack to finish cooling.
Store in an airtight container for several days.
Makes about 4 dozen

Caveat #1: If the dough seems too wet, let it sit for 15 minutes or so until the brown sugar absorbs the egg.
Caveat #2: Do not think you are cute or creative and use the Hershey Hugs or filled kisses. I tried this last year with the P.B. kisses and they were not attractive. The kisses melted somewhat an sort of collapsed and looked like...well, like nipples on the cookies. Big hit with the men, but not the look I was after, LOL.


From Yankee Magazines Sweet Treats

4 egg whites at room temperature
1/8 t. salt
1 1/3 c. sugar, preferably superfine
1 t. vanilla
1 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 225 degrees

Beat egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry
Add sugar gradually , beating after each addition until grains disappear.
Add vanilla, mix thoroughly and add chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into plastic storage bag and snip off corner.
Cover cookie sheets with wax paper or parchment paper.
Pipe meringues onto paper. I make them about twice as big as a hershey kiss.
Bake at 225 for about an hour or until their fragrance fills the kitchen. DON"T YOU JUST LOVE HOW THAT SOUNDS??
Remove from oven, allow to stand a few minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Store in airtight container.
Betcha can't eat just one. I double dog dare ya.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Thank you everyone for your help. I have had some kind of internet problem today and couldn't read your blogs; made me crazy. I am addicted and the withdrawal was certainly painful; far worse than giving up cigarettes. So now I have caught up, left comments for some but not as many as I would have liked to and have started to look at some of the images I conjured up. Got to tell you, I never knew that* image bar* was there. What fun, no pictures of my children though, disappointing because I would like to know what the youngest in Seattle looks like!!

Hopefully, I will get back to regular posts soon. Maybe some Christmas recipes...chocolate chip meringues...yummo!


Monday, November 26, 2007


Wow, I am feeling vindicated. Many of my new blog friends have come forward to let me know that they hadn't read or seen Anne either.

A question for all of you *in the know *crafty you know where I can get an old fashioned Christmas image to download and make some gift tags? If you do, would you please send me a link.

Bob is doing some semi-homemade ( No S. L. involvement, thank you very much) gifts for work and I want to dress them up with nice vintage inspired tags. Thanks in advance.


Sunday, November 25, 2007


To say that I was an avid reader as a child would be an understatement. I spent a lot of time in the library and often read as many as 5 books a week, but somehow I never read Anne of Green Gables. Why? I have no idea and I don't ever remember seeing it on the shelves. Now how do I explain never seeing the PBS Movie?. Hmmm..maybe because I had just moved from Vermont to Massachusetts with a hyperactive four year old and an infant or maybe because the only PBS we watched back then had a big yellow bird or A man in a cardigan (whom I loved dearly, I might add). For whatever reason, today was the first time that I ever watched

this movie and I am embarrassed to admit it. I just loved it and cried during the last episode. Poor Matthew and what will Marilla do? More importantly, did she ever use the entire 20 pounds of brown sugar? Just thought you should know of my lack of Anne-ness.


The Essence of Christmas

I came across this poem while looking thru a stack of recipes. It was in a Christmas Helps magazine from 1990. The poem is by Solveig Paulson Russell and was reprinted with permission of her daughter Brenda Russell.

A holiday poem to recite and remember:


It's Christmas time at our house,
Anyone could tell,
Even if you couldn't see
You'd know it by the smell.

There's fragrant air adrifting
That's loaded with good sniffs
Of gingerbread and popcorn
And baking cookie whiffs.

The kitchen's full of odors
Of pudding, steam and cake
And lots of other goodies
My mother likes to make.

There's an aroma from the greens too,
That mingles with the rest,
But if the truth were really told
I like food fragrance best.

For I think the Christmas bouquet
Is a treat that's hard to beat
With its tantalizing promise
Of things we're going to eat.

I am thinking that I should make each of the boys recite this before they get any Christmas treats!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

A little of this and a little of that

Well, this is my fourth and hopefully final try to get this post published. This is a very abridged version at this point. Each time I try Blogger tells that there is some security issue and won't let me link the gals I wanted to link. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of this and now I want to cry. I am a bit overly sensitive as it is and even a server can hurt my feelings. Very sad isn't it??

First off, last week I got this award from Manuela at The Feathered Nest ( I am not even going o attempt to link!!!) and I was so excited and apparently selfish that I forgot to pass it on. Usually I am not selfish, but I just had a moment , or a couple of days, I guess. When I started this adventure about a month ago I was technically incompetent ( but fortunately not yet incontinent!!) and some wonderful women came to my rescue. Because of their generosity I would like to pass this award on to them.
Clarice at StoryBook Woods ( this is a duplicate for Clarice, who also got the award from Manuela), Barb at MayDecember Home, Cassie at Mockingbird Hill , Mary at and Des at Peeking Thru the Sunflowers . Thanks girls for you help and patience. I still owe Pam from PamsPlace a Seven random things post, but a this point I am just going to respectfully refer everyone back to my November 2 post and not bore you with 7 more odd things about myself. I am too frustrated, sorry Pam.

Now I am going to go and watch one of my all time favorite Holiday Movies, White Christmas. I saw this movie at the theater when I was about 10 or 11. The movie was not new then, but apparently the theater could still make money showing it ( 25 cents for me!!), and I have loved it ever since. The look on the General's face when he walks into the room in uniform makes me tear up every year. And "Sisters" is great with the girls and with Bing and Danny.


Edited to add: Why can I link them now, when I couldn't just a few minutes ago? I will probably never know. I am stepping away from the computer now.

Monday, November 19, 2007


First, Bob says "thanks" to all who extended Birthday wishes. He is eating chocolate peanut butter quickbread from Williams Sonoma. They call it quickbread, but don't be fooled, it is cake baked in a loaf pan!!

Second, I have been given my first award by Manuela at The Feathered Nest and I am so proud. I even figured out how to show it on the blog. Pretty good for a techno-clutz (newly coined word, by me).

Thirdly, I have been tagged for the seven random things meme( what does that word mean or stand for?) by Pam of Pam's Place. I am working on it and will get to it by the end of the week.

Thought I would show you what hubbie an I did this weekend.

This farm is in Newbury Mass near the New Hampshire border. Long drive, 75 miles, for a turkey but, they raise their own in a humane fashion, with no drugs or hormones and they are extra delicious. I also bought his dried floral for the china cabinet. They make the most gorgeous fall florals and wreaths.
Not a great picture, but beside the Indian corn there are grains and dried sunflowers. I just love the color of the ribbon. that will be recycled for sure.

Part of the fun of the Tom Turkey Trip is going to Newburyport, just up the road from Newbury. Not a big surprise, huh? Newburyport was once the fourth largest city in the US, back in the late 1700s. It was a whaling port and the "High Street" is lined with mansions owned by successful whalers. In the 20th century the town was a mill town and became very run down. In the 70s the town was revived and it is one of my favorite places to visit. So many shops and restaurants. So, we had a nice lunch of fish chowder and fish sandwiches and then went here.

You can't see the name"The Wish Basket" and boy do I have a lot of wishes in there. Most things are too pricey, but very fun to look at. I love to look at things, but I don't often buy things. I really have enough stuff. But it sure is tempting in here. Next we went to a great bookstore, Jabberwocky, that has the best selection of decorating books. Ones I don't see at Borders or B&N. Then we walked to Flukes, Finds & Friends, one of my all time favorite shops with a mix of old and new. I tried to take some pix, but it was pretty crowded and Santa kept coming and going, LOL. Here are the pictures I got of some of the displays.

I bought a little bird ornament and a balsam candle. Then we walked and took some pictures of houses. Are you getting tired of my house pictures yet? Here is a sample of some old houses and a couple of newer ones (at last I think they are new, but very hard to tell.
Do you detect a theme with my pictures? I never noticed until I printed these:
See what I mean. Maybe if I had interspersed the yellow houses in between the others...hmmm, guess I just love yellow houses.

Sunday we made a trip to Trader Joes to get wine for the holiday season. I just love that their wine is so well priced and I always get different labels to try. I also love their BayBlend coffee. Then off to the regular grocery store and Borders and home. Phew...long day again, but no complaints from hubbie. See what I love about him. As long as I am happy, he is happy.


Ps. First brick house and white house are new I believe. They sure did a nice job of making them fit the street of federal era houses.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Tonight I am dedicating my grateful days post to my husband. This is husband number 2 and it is true what they say about the second time around. My first husband was my "dream guy". We dated in High School and thru college, got married, had some good times, had two boys and then he went to greener pastures. I was a SAHM who thought the sun rose and set on him and to this day I have a difficult time reconciling the man I thought he was with the man he had become.

Two years later I was gainfully employed at a bank, owned my own condo and attended a Parents Without Partners Dance. I didn't get the memo, LOL, that it was a Toga Dance. There I was, all prim and proper in my Talbots outfit complete with pearls, in a room full of guys ( and some women) wearing sheets. The President of the chapter was wearing a plaid sheet and asked me to dance. The rest, as they say, is history.

We were married two years later, blended the family with four boys and trudged forward. It wasn't always easy, actually the first years were fairly tough, but we persevered and here we are with an empty nest. The man has the patience of a saint, unless something mechanical is involved then all bets are off. He dotes on me and I have become quite used to it! I, in turn, cook him good meals, encourage him to pursue his hobby ( model building) and try not to take him for granted.

Tomorrow (Monday) is his 39th birthday AGAIN, but he still likes to pretend that he is young and it my fault and the kids' fault that he is gray and weighs a bit more than he did 16 years ago when we got married ( as do I). To me he is simply the BEST!!

Happy Birthday Bob, I love you!!


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Everywhere I look there are cloches, not the french hats that were once so chic, but the glass "bells" used to highlight an objet or deux. The one I bought is 16" tall and 7 5/8 " in diameter. Now what do I do? I don't have a base for it, plus it is on the tall side already. I need to put it up on something high so the cats don't knock it over and break it. I am stymied as to what to put under it and what to display where.

Here is the challenge. Comment with your ideas or if you like, post pix on your blog of your cloche in all its finery. I know I will find inspiration from your ideas. Not only will you be helping me, but there may be others with cloches without a clue. The picture above is from eBay somewhere and is not a good indication of the look I am after.

Thanks in advance for your participation,


Wednesday, November 14, 2007


For those of you who like peeping at houses I received an e-mail regarding an open house at this
house Sunday 12-2 in my inbox. Apparently I can't just save it and show you, but I will attempt the link to The home is in Belmont, a very white collar town about 35 minutes from here and is where our former governor Mitt Romney lives. I will spare you a political diatribe here. Check out the house, there are 25 pix on and it is only &1,069,000.

I would go to the Open House just to keep you abreast of the Belmont Real Estate market, but the Patriots are playing at 1:00 and I am invited to my son's house to watch on the "Man TV"

Hope the link works ;if not just type the address and it should get you to the property on


Edited: I don't know why this won't link, but if I type it into my browser it goes directly to the house on


I have gotten away from the grateful day posts for the last couple of days. This is not because I am not grateful, but because like most of us, I simply take things for granted. Today I stopped to see a Real Estate friend who has had to take a full time job as Assistant Director of the Senior Citizen Center in town. We wanted to make plans to go to a wine tasting at a local wine store tomorrow night. When I walked in I spotted a woman who is my age or possibly a couple of years younger (mid 50s) who used to sell real estate sitting at a table. I had heard that she had early onset Alzheimers, but had not seen her for a couple of years. I walked over to her and said hello and how good it was to see her again and she just nodded. I felt so bad. Should I introduce myself? What is the proper etiquette? If she had been elderly I would have introduced myself and then made conversation, but I was reluctant to admit that she probably had no idea who I was. After I talked to my friend about wine I asked her what I should do. She took me over to the table and re-introduced me as someone she had known a few years ago. Awkward, but I felt better somehow.

So today's post is dedicated to being very grateful for my health, most especially my mental health.

Thank you ladies for stepping up and taking my orphaned linens off my hands. I am happy to know that they will have good homes.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007


As promised, here are 3 items that no longer fit with my grand plan. The first person to comment that they would like any one or two or allthree items will get it (them). Just make sure that I have a way to get your address so that I can send it on its way. The first item is an April Cornell tablecloth approx 52"x 52" red and green with gold metallic threads woven in. Perfect for your breakfast table for the holidays.

The second is a vintage cloth approx. 50"x60". There are a couple of small holes, but someone who is clever could use the beautiful borders to make something.Lastly, Waverly paisley napkins. There are 5 napkins, not 4 not 6, but 5. I believe this is what happens when you shop at TJ Maxx or Homegoods. Actually, I know this is what happens when you shop the above mentioned stores! lol.

Since I can't bear to throw these items away, I hope someone of you clever bloggers will want to give them a good home.

Again, first to comment that they want any or all three items will get them ASAP.


Monday, November 12, 2007


Thanksgiving is fast approaching. It is my favorite holiday as I have said many times...just food, family, friends and probably some football. I have a family of all boys, 2 sons and two stepsons, so no matter how much I rant the TV is usually on during dinner. Today I started to think about getting ready. I started here.

There is a reason that the lace is tacked to the door. Anybody want to take a guess? Yeah, there is more in there than there should be and I can't arrange it to look perfect, so voila, lace. I took everything out and put it all back, basically changing nothing. Then I opened the bottom where I keep tablecloths (which I rarely use) and the "holiday" napkins. They are the holiday napkins, not because they have a theme, but because there are 16 assorted cream, ecru and white napkins suitable for any holiday. I washed and ironed them. I love to iron (sometimes) because it gives you such a sense of accomplishment. I folded them and wished I had pretty ribbon to tie them in stacks, but made do with some raffia and put them in a basket ready for next week. Such a "girl" thing and my hubbie just rolled his eyes.

Next on the agenda. My dessert plates (various blue and white transferware and 4 brown and white turkey plates) will go in the dishwasher and then the wine glasses will be handwashed and everything put away until next week. I don't think that we are dirtier than most people, but for some reason the glasses particularly get grubby. I think it must be because I do so much cooking and grease just settles in the dining room. Whatever!

So, that is the plan for tomorrow. And I get my hair cut and colored in the afternoon. I found a red and green plaid April Cornell Christmas cloth in the china closet. I have had it for years, but never used because it doesn't "fit" anywhere in my house. I think I will take a picture and perhaps offer it to one of my new friends. Stay tuned.

Today I am grateful that I can pay for the oil that was delivered. It is $3.10 per gallon, eek! There are so many people that have to choose between food and heat and I don't know how they survive. We have gone from very mild to below average temps (mid 40s) in just a week.

All for now, maybe I will have something more interesting to talk about tomorrow!


Sunday, November 11, 2007


A little introduction to Burlington, VT. Burlington is the largest city in Vermont and has about 40,000 year round residents. It is the home of the University of Vermont (UVM) as well as several other colleges and is full of students and quite a cast of colorful aging hippies. There is usually some kind of protest being held at the end of the marketplace or some kind of funky parade going on. The main shopping street, Church Street, was closed to traffic at least 30 years ago and is a pedestrian marketplace with lots of open air cafes (seasonally), kiosks and street performers. Burlington is located on the shores of Lake Champlain which runs the length of the state and separates Vermont from New York. The lake is 12 miles wide in Burlington and there are ferries that cross the lake in the summer. When I was a teen that was the primo summer job, to either work the food and concession stands on the ferries or work as a deck hand. Yours truly sold a lot of Budweiser and hot dogs as well as countless souvenirs for minimum wage for 4 summers in college. I lived in South Burlington from the time I was 7 until I graduated from college, left for 5 years and then went back for 7 years before moving to Massachusetts. I consider myself a Vermonter and always will, so there!!

These pictures are of the marketplace, some of the shops and restaurants that are icons of Burlington and then some of the houses around the downtown area. Without further ado, I give you Burlington, the Queen City of Vermont.

Edited: Please excuse my layout skills, or lack thereof. These pics looked perfectly centered side by side in the preview. Hope they don't make you dizzy!! Janet