Friday, December 29, 2023

Snowman Decor and Christmas Highlights

 A Post To Close Out 2023


 Hello friends! It's almost the New Year and this will be my last post for 2023. Hard to believe that Christmas is past and we are ready to begin another year. Time just flies, doesn't it? And before 2023 ends, I want to share some highlights from Christmas with our furry family members as well as my change over of decor. 

I haven't done a snowman tree for several years but, this year, I decided to create one. I'm using a three foot tall tree with white lights. Wouldn't you know that only half of the lights on the tree would light up so I had to use a string of white lights we already had which works fine. I added snowman ornaments and the white wreaths that I found this year at Dollar Tree. My little snowmen figurines complete the look. Creating a snowman tree for the winter months is a nice transition from Christmas decorations to more of a winter look. Plus, there are still pretty lights in the living room. It's always so barren looking after taking down the multi-color Christmas tree. This snowman tree provides a cheerful corner to enjoy while drinking my morning tea and in the evenings when it is dark outside. 

I found this guy at the after Christmas sale at Walgreens of all places. He looks just perfect on top of the foyer table. 

And the silver and white sparkly look continues on the bottom rung of the foyer table with my Let It Snow sign I have had for several years. 

I do believe all of our furry family members enjoyed a good Christmas! Here's Garden and The Mr. and they both look very thoughtful. 

And here is sweet Cassie. She looks a bit stern in this picture. Perhaps because she thinks her dog brother got more for Christmas than she did? Cassie and Garden got new catnip filled cat toys for Christmas and they like them a lot!

And this was River's first Christmas with us. He made out like a bandit. As you can see in the picture, he is quite thrilled with his new Nylabone!

And he loves his new Kong frisbee! Here's an action photo of him running after catching the frisbee. 

And isn't he looking quite spiffy in his new sweater?! He's a happy boy for sure. I'm looking forward to the time when he doesn't want to chew on his sweater, though. He is certainly a chewer!

It was a fun Christmas day watching our pets enjoy their toys and treats! 

This recent sunset view, taken from our backdoor, reminds me that 2023 is about to fade into the sunset. We usually enjoy a pretty low-key New Year's Eve. We plan to visit with the neighbors and then watch the ball drop from the comfort of our living room. I hope that you are looking forward to a good New Year's Eve and that 2024 brings only good things to us all! Have a great weekend and I will see you next week on the blog! Happy New Year!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The In-between Time of The Holidays

 A Few Musings As Christmas Ends and A New Year Approaches

Hello friends!  I'm sitting here on this rainy Tuesday morning, the day after Christmas, just enjoying the tree lights and drinking my tea. And thinking......and doing a little musing...and writing a few thoughts as one year ends and another is about to begin. 

I do hope that your Christmas day was a pleasant one. I won't say joyous or spectacular or magical. Somehow, those words don't work for me at Christmas time anymore. Having a pleasant Christmas day suffices. I feel that Hallmark movies (although I enjoy and watch them) can give the impression that the Christmas season should be just absolutely spectacular with all problems solved by the end of the two hour movie that highlights over the top decorations, the solving of all family and personal problems over a cup of hot cocoa and cookies and love and warmth in plentiful amounts for all. And that's not really real life is it?

But, I'm not trying to write a "downer" type of post at all. It was a lovely day yesterday with The Mr. and our fur family. We enjoyed meaningful Christmas services at our church that I was blessed to be able to assist with this year. The handbells played beautifully on Christmas Eve. It was lovely. 

I will admit to a bit of melancholy remembering family members no longer with us here on Earth. They will always be missed, whether it is Christmas or not. And, I am thankful for their lives and influence in my life. 

And, I am thankful every day....not just at Christmas.....that Jesus came into this world. 

I wrote a few goals and thoughts for 2024 in my journal this morning. Are you already thinking into the new year like me? I'm not writing resolutions. They rarely are kept. But goals, to me, are a bit different. Goals are something to work toward. There are not absolutes in the outcome of goals. One simply works in the direction of the goal. And that feels better to me than making resolutions. What do you think? 

The image I shared at the beginning of this post is of one of the Christmas cards we sent out this year. I felt like the message of this card was especially poignant. Our other card was a Peanuts card with the characters re-enacting the nativity scene and a playful reminder of the meaning for the season. I noticed that this year, even more so than last year, there were fewer Christmas cards received. Folks just aren't sending cards much anymore. It's too bad really. I always enjoyed receiving Christmas cards. Hearing from people how their families are doing. A way to touch base and extend cheer. I think Christmas card giving is going the way of letter writing. Yet another change that the internet and email has brought about. I realize, also, that sending Christmas cards is expensive....postage costs and all. And, yet another thing to do in our ultra-busy world. Somehow, all of our "conveniences" and use of technology, don't seem to have really helped the busyness of life to slow down have they?

Wow, the rain is just pouring down outside! A dreary day after Christmas. But, I hear the sun is supposed to shine tomorrow. And that is a cheerful thought. And we do need the rain. But still....some sunshine sounds good to me. 

There are chores to be done today here at home. Things I have left undone for a few days when I was unexpectedly called into action at church when our pastor came down with Covid last week. So, I guess it's time to stop musing and start moving. 

Maybe I'll just sit for a few minutes more, though, and enjoy listening to the rain. 

May this in-between time of the holidays of Christmas and New Years be a pleasant time for each of you, my dear readers and friends! I leave you with this scripture from Isaiah. 

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater. 
Isaiah 55:10

Blessings and Peace Until Next Time,

Monday, December 18, 2023

'Twas The Week Before Christmas And All Through The House

A Little Bit of Christmas This and That

I'm wearing my new Christmas apron for baking this year.

Oh my goodness, friends, how is it the week before Christmas already?! I can't believe I haven't posted since Thanksgiving. Time just seems to go ever faster and faster and life seems to be busier and busier. Am I the only one who feels this way?!

As you can see, I have been busy with baking, shopping for, wrapping and sending presents, writing Christmas Cards and, of course, musical endeavors. Christmas is especially busy for musicians! I have to show off the peanut butter cookies I baked. The recipe comes from Julie Wunder over at It's a super easy recipe that uses whole wheat flour rather than white flour and honey rather than sugar. The cookies are delish but I am really proud of the fact that, for the first time ever, I was able to make the fork tine marks on the cookies! I know...I'm only 65 and finally got this to work (eye roll)! I just feel so accomplished, lol!

I also made some pretty tasty Haystack Cookies. These cookies are typically made using Chinese noodles (to look like haystacks) but I decided to try making them with Cheerios instead and they got rave reviews! It's so easy to make them. You simply melt a bag of butterscotch morsels in a bowl and stir until creamy, then add approximately two cups of Cheerios and about one cup of peanuts. You can add more Cheerios/peanuts as needed. Blend it all together and drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. The cookies harden in a few minutes and can be stored in an airtight container. It really tastes more like candy than a cookie but no matter what you call it, these are delicious! And, it's nice to have a cookie that doesn't need baking. 

I promised to share more of my decorating with you so here are a couple of pics you haven't seen. This is the little three foot tree in "my room." I used the softer ornaments on this tree and I love it so much. It sits on top of the old radio cabinet that belonged to my sister, so it is well out of the reach of our dog, River. He's done really well, though, leaving all decorations alone. 

And this is my gingerbread dish drying mat in the kitchen. It makes me smile each time I look at it. I don't have a drinks station in the kitchen so this is pretty much it for kitchen decorating this year!

And this is the little party table I put together for the handbell players tonight. Just a little celebration to thank them for all of their hard work all year long! We participated in our church's Christmas Concert the first Sunday of December and they rang beautifully! Our concert had organ, choir, handbells and brass all performing. 

And one of my goals for Christmas this year, was to sew some Christmasy pillowcases for our bed and I am happy to report that I accomplished my goal! They are just a fun little "something" that makes me smile when I come to bed at night. The fabric has candy canes and candy cane hearts with holly mixed in against a navy blue background. 

And, finally, can you guess????

River turned one year old on December 15th! And, of course, we had to give him a party! He didn't love the party hat too much.

But, he loves his birthday cupcake with a removable lid for hiding treats inside. All in all, I think he had a very good birthday! It has been five months since we adopted him and he has grown a lot. He is learning every day and we continue to work with his training. 

So, that's a little bit of this and that from my corner of the world. How about you? What are you doing to keep busy this month? And I hope that each of you enjoys a blessed Christmas. I hope to post before Christmas but should life get too busy, let me wish each of a very, very Merry Christmas!

Until Next Time,


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

A Sneak Peek At My Christmas Decor

 Gingerbread, Christmas Trees and Holiday Cheer

Hi friends!  It's taken me a little longer than expected to finish some of the decorating but, as I promised, here is a peek into this year's Christmas Decor at our house. Decorating this year has been a bit different because I have been very mindful of where I put decorations due to a certain new four legged family member! River is a voracious chewer and I don't want him to get into something that he shouldn't. So, fewer ornaments on the living room tree, other items put up high where he can't reach, etc. Above you see my gingerbread decor which I am displaying on top of the bookcase in "my room." I really like how the display looks this year. You can see that Mr. and Mrs. Gingerbread are proud of their little cookies and life seems pretty happy in the gingerbread village!

Our living room tree is four feet and on a table as usual. I'm only using certain ornaments on this tree. Nothing "plush" or "chewy." Something new this year are the candy cane sticks I found at JoAnn's. They add some height to the tree at the top and are quite festive next to our bear topper!

I used oversized pieces on the little white light tree that sits on top of my curio cabinet in the dining room. I have used these pieces in the guest bath in years past. That bathroom is having some work done so I'm not putting any decorations in there this year. I like how this tree looks, though.

And, finally, here is our mantel all decked out with stockings and other decor! I found the cute "Meow" stockings this year for Cassie and Garden. I wanted a stocking that said "Woof" or some other cute saying for dogs but I couldn't find one so River gets the red stocking in the middle. The tree plaque was a gift years ago from The Mr.'s sister and her family and my favorite Santa is on the mantel where River can't get to it.

I'm still decorating so will have other items to share in a different post. And, of course, I will be placing my nativity out once we celebrate Thanksgiving. I hope that each of you enjoys a blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day! Hope you enjoyed this mini tour of our Christmas Decor so far!

Until Next Time,

Friday, November 17, 2023

Style Ideas for Fall and An Update on River

 A Fall Outfit, Multi-Stick Makeup and River

Hi friends! It's almost Thanksgiving and you might be planning your meal, packing for travel or even starting to decorate for Christmas. With lots of holiday get togethers coming up, not to mention shopping and meeting up with friends, it's fun to think about how you might want to dress for some of these occasions. Today, I'm sharing a casual outfit that fits the bill for Fall, holiday and travel style. 

The star of this outfit is the blue and brown oversized scarf which was a Christmas gift from one of my sisters a few years ago. It is so pretty and pairs really well with my tan cords, blue top and tan cardigan. I added blue tennis shoes to pull a little more blue into the look. This outfit is comfortable and warm enough for colder Fall days as we move into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. 

As you can see, River wanted to give me a hand with my modeling! More on him later. This outfit helped me to discover how good blue and brown/tan look together. So, go to your closet and see if you have some blue and some brown pieces that you could put together to create your very own look. I think you will enjoy the result!

Next up, I want to share my experimenting with the e.l.f. monochromatic multi-stick. Have you ever tried a multi-stick? It basically is stick makeup that can function as eyeshadow, blush and lipstick all in one. I have tried a couple other multi-sticks before but never the e.l.f. brand. I ordered it from Amazon to give it a try. 

This isn't the greatest pic to show the results but, as you can see, the color is very subtle. I'm wearing it on my eyelids, cheekbones and lips in this picture. I have found that I am mostly using the multi-stick for eyeshadow as I tend to like cream eyeshadows better. 

This shows the eyelid and lip color a little better. It was worth a $5 experiment from Amazon to try this multi-stick. e.l.f. offers several color choices. I'm wearing Sparkling Rose which has a slight shimmer. I do think this stick would be great for travel as it would take care of three make-up needs in one and reduce what you would need to pack. Just a thought. 

And now, what you all have been waiting update on our puppy, River!!

As you can see, our boy has really grown since we brought him home on July 11th! He is now 11 months old and has turned into a very big puppy! After beginning to wonder if our girls would ever come out of the bedroom again, they finally both decided to accept their new dog brother and everyone is now co-existing happily for the most part. Cassie seems to be fascinated by River and follows him around a lot. Garden likes to be a bit of a bully towards him and will swat him if he gets in her space. She also sits by his toys and he doesn't want to go near his toys and whimpers. He is a bit afraid of her which suits Garden just fine! We are continuing to do lots of training with him and have a personal trainer who visits us every couple of weeks to give us input and tips and to work with River. As far as day to day living is concerned he is doing great and responds pretty well to our commands. He is still struggling with being on a leash when hiking on a trail with The Mr. or when doing road walking. So that is still a skill that he must improve with drastically. We have read that labs don't fully mature until between two and four years of age (it depends on what you read online as to whether it is two years or four years). So, we are hoping that River will mature more on the two year spectrum but only time will tell. If there are dog owners reading, especially of black labs, please chime in with your experiences with dog training and their maturing, okay? River is a very loving dog and enjoys being right with us, sitting on our feet on the floor. And he thinks he's a lap dog and wants to sit on The Mr.'s lap all the time. He is too big for that but he does it anyway. I am not allowing him on my lap, however! He enjoys his toys and is gentle with his cat sisters which is just what we wanted in a dog. So....things are shaking together in our household. It was a rough first few weeks with my adjusting to having a dog once again. But, we are over the hump for which I am thankful!

Speaking of being thankful....what are your plans for Thanksgiving? I would love to hear from you in the comments. And stay tuned for my next post in which I will share how I have started decorating for Christmas. I am choosing carefully how I decorate this year due to our new four legged family member! So be sure to stop by next Tuesday to read that post!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Mixing Paper and Glass Dishware on a Fall/Thanksgiving Table Setting

 Fall/Thanksgiving Tablescape For Two

Hello everyone!  Today, I am going to be sharing a beautiful table setting that will work perfectly for either a Fall meal or a Thanksgiving dinner. I'm using a mixture of paper products and glass dishes to create this tablescape.

Now, while some folks would never use paper products to create a holiday table setting, others feel differently. (I am one of those folks!) There are so many pretty and affordable paper products available these days that it is possible to create a really beautiful place setting. Plus, it cuts down on dishwashing which can be a true headache with lots of people attending a holiday meal. Of course, there is no right or wrong in terms of how one chooses to create their tablescape. I'm using solid white china plates as chargers under the paper plates for this tablescape but the paper plates would work just as well without them. It does make the place setting look a little dressier. 

I think the paper plates are so pretty especially since they include blue/teal pumpkins on them which match my blue glassware. The napkins are a nice contrast with a wonderful message on them. The placemats are woven and filled with gorgeous Fall leaves. And the gold and green leaf shaped plastic dishes would work perfectly to hold salad, desserts or side dishes for the meal. 

If you would like to create a similar tablescape you can check out the following locations. I purchased the paper plates and leaf shaped dishes at The Dollar Tree. The napkins were purchased a long while ago, I believe at the Tuesday Morning store. The placemats were purchased at our local grocery store, Ingles Market. They carry a large variety of Thanksgiving decorations so, if you live locally, check them out! I'm not being paid by any of these stores to mention them. I'm just letting you know where I bought the items for my tablescape.

How about you? Are you beginning to think about the holidays? Would you mix paper products with glass dishes on your table? Be sure to let me know in the comments section! I enjoy hearing from you! And once again, I will remind you to be sure to leave your name at the end of your comment if you are posting anonymously. Otherwise, I won't know who is leaving the comment and I may not guess correctly! (wink)

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Visit in West Virginia

 Take Me Home Country Roads

Hello everyone! I've been away for a short trip to West Virginia and thought I would share a bit about my trip. The main reason for my trip was to attend a memorial service for my sister who passed away one year ago. The memorial service was given by the Hospice group who cared for her during her final illness and it was a lovely service for all of the Hospice patients who had passed this last year. Above, you see the flowers that were placed next to her picture and candle and then presented to the family. I'm so glad I went as it was a very healing service for me. 

The Mr. and I were able to connect with some of our family and friends while in West Virginia. Above, you can see a beautiful rose that was blooming, among many roses, at a park in Huntington, WV where we visited with our niece, Aubrey, and her family. Aubrey gave us a tour of Huntington and showed us her beautiful home while we were there. 

We also stopped by to visit longtime friends, Rex and Natalie, and I asked their permission to photograph some of their lovely Fall decor both inside and outside their home. Their front porch was so welcoming when we arrived!

Natalie described to me how she had watched the glass pumpkins being handblown. Such wonderful keepsakes!

More beautiful glass pumpkins here and notice the pretty cut glass dishes, as well. Great tablescape accents!

I like the sign above the antique piano which, if I am recalling correctly, is well over 120 years old!

Fall and pumpkins certainly do bring happiness! 

So many things to be thankful for! 

This trip to WV felt especially good to me and I am glad I was able to make the trip. The drive up was especially beautiful with the spectacular Fall colors on the trees! I hope wherever you are that you are enjoying a wonderful Fall as well. Let me know in the comments what you have done to enjoy the Autumn season, okay? I so enjoy hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Monday, October 9, 2023

Fashion, Fall and An Update on River

 A Little Bit of This and That

Hello everyone! Can you believe that it is October 9th already? I honestly don't know where time goes here lately. It seems I just blink and it is already the next month! Anyway, today, in true "this and that fashion," I have several items to share with you and hope you enjoy these this and that posts where I share bits and pieces of life with you. 

First off, is my attempt to style a pantsuit look without the pantsuit! You all know that I love all things royal, and recently I have been looking at pics of Catherine, aka Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, who is always gorgeous in whatever she wears. What I read recently said she has entered her "pantsuit phase" of life. I really didn't know there was such a phase of life and, as someone who always loved a good pantsuit, I kind of took exception to this somewhat snarky comment on her behalf. (You're welcome, Kate). It's hard to find a pantsuit in the stores these days anyway as everything is sold as separates but, oh well. Perhaps pantsuits are coming back which would be great IMO! 

Anyway, inspired by Princess Kate, I decided to try my hand at creating the illusion of a pantsuit using these separates of a black cardigan, gray corduroy pants and an off-white tunic top. I love a longer cardigan, like this one, which takes the place of either the pantsuit tops from the 80's or a blazer jacket. Add in some pretty jewelry and you have yourself a faux pantsuit. Shop your own closet and see what you have on hand that might create a pantsuit style look. Let's all join in with Kate on being in our "pantsuit phases," shall we?!

And in Fall news....I had promised in my last post about Fall decor that I would share what I had purchased as I browsed through all of the Autumn items available this year. I ended up falling in love with this metal pumpkin and decided it was too good to pass up! I love how it matches our living room decor and, because it is metal, a certain puppy can't chew the stuffing out of it! I have really needed to think through the items I put out this year because of River being so young. I will need to do this at Christmas too. 

And speaking of River.....

Look at how big he has grown! And, he thinks he is a lap dog, lol!! The Mr. allowed him to get on his lap one time and now he thinks he can do it all the time. Of course!! The Mr. doesn't seem to be suffering too much, though. 😉

What is happening with you? Any fun Fall projects going on? Any trips? Any fun pet stories? Be sure to leave a comment and let me know, okay? I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Colors of Fall

 Finding Colorful Fall Decorations

Hello friends!  I had such a fun time a couple days ago browsing at Lowe's in the garden center and looking at all of the many beautiful Fall flowers and decorations they are offering. I decided to snap some photos and share them with you. I'm not being paid by Lowes for this post. I just happened to be there and really enjoyed browsing. 

How beautiful are the pink flowers with the orange flowers surrounded by pumpkins?

The color combinations of the flowers were just gorgeous!!

And I was very surprised to see that they had so many decorative items for sale this year for Fall. I had not seen so many items in previous years. Decorating for Fall is definitely a thing!

I could have bought out the store looking at all of these decorative items. And then, I saw all of the colorful pumpkins available.

Pumpkins sure have come a long way since I was a kid. I used to decorate with the cardboard pumpkins you put in your windows. Now there is a large variety of many colored faux pumpkins that you can purchase to keep and use from year to year. 

I would need a whole lot of storage space to buy all of these items! I sure would like to try, though!

I did make one purchase which I will share in my next post. Be sure to keep a lookout for that! In the meantime, let me know how you are decorating for Fall both inside and out, okay?

Until Next Time,