Archive for the ‘Countdown to the Holidays’ Category

Christmas- Southern Living Style

December 15th, 2016

It has been a hustle and bustle kind of week.    I’d love to say that I’ve got everything together- have the tree up and it’s looking festive in here, but I’d be lying.    We have the tree, but it’s yet to be brought in and decorated.    We DO have the lights and decorations out-    so that’s a step in the right direction, but I’ve been swamped with work this week.   I’m grateful- oh so grateful, but I’ve been baking my  heart out-  with more in the works.

img_2300Thankfully, I’m a little ahead of schedule after running behind schedule earlier in the week, so that is a huge plus!  Tonight I took some time and finally cracked open my Christmas with Southern Living book that I’d ordered but not taken the time to look at yet.

I’ve also been itching for the Bake from Scratch holiday issue, so was able to browse it a little as well.  Both are favorites, but I’m one of those people who will leave a cookbook sitting for months if I can’t stop and fully savor each and every page.

I know it may sound silly, but it’s true.  There’s something almost ritualistic about it.   Pure enjoyment and focused on the season at hand.

I’ve seen several recipes that I want to make for our own holiday table, including my grandmas praline recipe that I improved a couple of years ago, plus divinity.    My dearest great aunt sent me a gallon of pecans that she’s picked up from her orchard and shelled.     It was an amazing gift, and something that makes me want to create something special with the fresh pecans that I know were sent with much love.

I want whatever I make with some of them to be made with love and deliberation, but also something that the flavor of the pecans will shine through.

What would you suggest?   I’ll be sure to share what I decide to make, but as for now- I’ve got some relaxing to do as tomorrow a villiage of gingerbread men await my services.

The Stockings Were Hung

November 29th, 2016

Santa is coming!    How many of you had your Christmas trees up before Thanksgiving?   As much as I would have liked to, we still haven’t decided what type of tree we will have.    The fact that it will be a real Christmas tree is a no-brainer for us, but will we go for the larger one, or a smaller one Santa that will fit on a table top?  That remains to be seen.    If I had to choose today, it would definitely be a smaller version, simply because it is easier, not to mention it doesn’t take up too much space, plus I don’t have to be concerned with JJ and Mister M. having a ‘cat fight’ under the tree.   Decisions, decisions!

Much more important than the tree is the people we will be spending our Christmas with.     That is also still in the works, with plans unfolding, but I’m looking forward to having a time of fun and festivities with friends, whom I’ve adopted as my family here.

What about your favorite holiday traditions? Do you have any?    I’d love to hear about them.    When I was growing up we would always go look at Christmas lights.  My brother and I would be in our pj’s early and off we would go as a family- in the car to drive through areas and look at the Christmas lights on display.  To this day- it’s still one of my favorite traditions.    I actually think that this year we’ll also be doing it with friends here.   Something else exciting to look forward to.

What do you look forward to during the holiday season?


On the Eve of the New Year

December 31st, 2015

On the heels of the new year- I find myself thinking and reflecting on the year that has passed.     It has been one of loss and heartache for people I love dearly, but through it all love has prevailed-  family and friendship above all-    Resilience and the beauty of the human spirit shines through.

It has also been one of many wonderful adventures-  with family and friends.   The trip to Italy with my parents and Marcel- one of the high points-  Experiencing Lake Como, the people, the culture and everything in between was pure bliss-    To be able to share that with three of the people I love most in the world leaves me so grateful.

Yesterday I finished Brene Brown’s book-  Rising Strong.   I read it in two days, and it came at the perfect time.   Ironically, I had started it during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, read the first chapter, and while I loved it-  knew that I was too distracted with ‘life’ to fully take the time to soak it in.    My intent was to grab a chapter here and there as time allowed, but what actually happened was much better.    I put the book on the coffee table and there it sat until Christmas had passed and all of my orders and work had been completed for the year.   One afternoon this week I took advantage of the sunshine and mild temps, made myself a cup of Chai tea and spent most of the afternoon reading.    I read half of the book in one afternoon, and yesterday I finished the other half.

I read every page- no, more accurately I soaked up each and every page as though I were a sponge soaking up spilled liquid.  I used my pen to highlight passages that really spoke to me (and there were many)!

It’s a rare day that I order a physical book these days,  choosing to save space and trees by ordering most everything for the Kindle.   This book was an exception, as I wanted to be able to pick it up and reference my favorite parts- and the notes I wrote within the margins.        This book was HUGE for me in terms of putting into perspective what I’d already been learning over the course of the year-   and I’m grateful.

Saturday, I’ll be spending the day in a city I’ve never explored with a few dear friends.   I’m looking forward to the time with them, plus seeing and experiencing something new.

I should arrive home to a couple of things (outside of the fur babies, JJ and Mister M- and Marcel)   1- Elizabeth  Gilberts new book Big Magic (which will be my next read)   2-  The card I sent myself with a list of the 25 things I want more of in my life for the new year.   I write them down, but I love mail- and I loved the idea of receiving that gift- and being able to put it away- and at the end of the year pull it out and review it!

Time to enjoy some time with my favorite guy- but I leave you with these last words for 2015:


Do more than belong: participate. – Do more than care: help.
Do more than believe: practice. – Do more than be fair: be kind.
Do more than forgive: forget. – Do more than dream: work.
~William Arthur Ward



Tis the Season

October 27th, 2015

With less than two months to go before Christmas, I’ll be the first one to admit- that I’ve spent a little of our traveling down time browsing online for Christmas gifts, plus paying a little extra attention to the things people say in regards to ‘wants’- and I’m taking notes!

One of my close friends is a huge Broncos fan (I know, bless his heart- we can’t all be Saint’s fans, I suppose), so when I found the Joy Jewelers broncos jewelry selection I was thrilled! There are several options that I know he will love, and once I have a little extra time to sit and peruse the site- I’ll make a decision from their selection, plus see what other goodies they have to offer.

Let the holiday season begin!

Cat Food??

November 21st, 2014

persimmonsI love the South-   Granted, I am biased since it is my ‘home’, but there is something about coming home to the Deep South that feels like a warm hug and a blanket of love.    Maybe it’s the hospitality-  maybe it’s the family and friends-  the water- or maybe it’s something that runs much deeper.

One of the things I love about this time of the year and being back ‘home’ is the fruit that can be found around the property.    Mom and diddy’s persimmon tree produced in abundance this year- and I grabbed a ripe one that had fallen to the ground, and dug in.    Creamy and perfectly sweet-   delicious bliss.

But what is that?   A cat eating a persimmon?   What happened to mice and other creatures?   I’m sure they get their fair share of both, but a fan of persimmons they are.   You can find them on occasion gathered under the tree having their own Southern Style feast-  of nothing more than the orange colored fruits-      Who knew?  Certainly not I.   One thing I do know for sure-  that always magnificent Mister Mistoffelees wouldn’t give it a second glance.

Fun in the Making

July 22nd, 2014

With Marcel and I on the countdown til our two-month holiday later this year, we’ve been doing a lot of planning. We both love to travel, and when travel involves being back ‘home’ with family and friends, it makes it even better.

This year- will be extra special, because two of our really good friends here, will be flying into Orlando and traveling across the Deep South and spending a few weeks with us, our family and friends. It will be a first for them, and I’m looking forward to sharing the area with them.

In addition, some high school friends are planning a big get together, and they’ve been searching for someone to cater the event, plus looking for a dj so we can ‘dance the night away’ to put it in the words of one of the girls.

There is so much to look forward to, and much planning to be made, but in the meantime- we still have much to look forward to on this side of the pond.

Finding the Perfect Gift

January 5th, 2014

It’s not secret that I love the process of choosing the perfect gift for someone when a special occasion rolls around. I want it to be something that reflects the person, their personality, or the things they love. So, I take gift shopping as serious business. One thing I’ve noticed is that many of us don’t really ‘need’ anything, so it means getting creative with gift giving.

Something I found this Christmas season was Bisket Baskets, which has a hand-created gift basket for everyone on your list, including dog gift baskets, which will result in a tail-wagging experience for your one of your favorite canines, plus since they were the first company to sell dog gift baskets online, and have been creating smiles on people’s faces for more than 13 years; you can’t go wrong.

It’s easy to browse the list of gift categories and select a gift that is perfect for the recipient. Birthdays, new baby, wine, pet, and yes, even M&M gift baskets. What chocolate lover wouldn’t want to sink their teeth into that?

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve already got a few ideas of gifts for people I love. You can’t go wrong with gift baskets. There is always something that someone will love.

Beautiful Endings

December 8th, 2013

sunsetThis picture on the right doesn’t do it justice- but it’s today’s sunset.   I was in the middle of something, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the sky seemed to be glowing.  I looked out the window, and this is what I saw.   The sky ablaze as the sun said it’s final farewell to us today.    It was breathtaking.

Today has been wonderful.  I had a slow start to the day- much needed after the busy week and day in the city yesterday.   I lounged while eating some apple-cinnamon crockpot steel cut oats,  and drinking pecan pie coffee- thinking about the cookies I want to make this year- and gathering not only inspiration, but recipes.

This afternoon found us shopping for our Christmas tree-  and I’ll be the first to admit that when we pulled up to the store and saw the parking lot completely full- I was put-off by the idea of actually going inside the store, much less looking for a Christmas tree.

But, I knew it would be fun, and it was!  People were cheerful, and within moments of going through the garden area and into the live tree section- we found the tree that we knew was meant to be ours.   The only problem was, at that moment, someone else had it in their hands- trying to make a decision between it and the other.   But since it really was meant for us, they decided on the other tree, and we immediately put it in our shopping cart, and off we went.

As it turns out-  we also received a 20- gift card to use at the store between tomorrow and mid-December, which made the deal even sweeter.    In spite of the crowds, it was festive, and the sunset was the icing on the cake.

Tomorrow begins a busy week of baking and other fun, but I’m looking forward to it.   After all- tis the season.


Two Weeks Later….

August 22nd, 2013

It’s hard to believe that it has been two weeks since I’ve been here in this little space of the web.     I guess this has been ‘the’ summer of staying busy and not spending a lot of time on the computer, which is definitely not a bad thing.

I’ve been doing some regular walking with a new friend,  some of which has found us doing an 8 mile jaunt on the beach (which we both loved).   It is funny how some people appear in your life at just the right moment, and that has definitely been the case with the two new friends I’ve made recently.    We are getting to know each other- at a pace that works for all of us- and just going with the flow and enjoying!  It has been a big blessing.

On the flip side of the coin- I’ve been working-   and also spending more time out and about with friends on a social level- the perfect balance between work and play.   The icing on the cake is that vacation starts next week.    All reservations are made with the exception of one-  (unless we sneak a few other overnight jaunts into the mix) and I can’t wait.

I know once vacation starts I may be around even less- but I will try to start writing from my phone via the WordPress app- as opposed to strictly doing so via the computer.   It will definitel make ‘on location’ posts easy and fun!


Zippity Do Dah Day

August 5th, 2013

The title represents the way I’m feeling.   So many great things happening around me and I’m happy.   I’ve met some seriously amazing people recently- and life just keeps getting better.     Opportunities are knocking,  networking has been great, and so many exciting things brewing that I can’t contain my excitement.

The day was absolutely beautiful today- and I spent a while out in the sunshine walking with my new walking partner and friend.  We walked seven miles- and then sat in her garden, drank water and chatted.  It was glorious.

Life is beautiful in every way.    Tonight- I’m home alone and I love having the balance between work, family and friends- plus “ME” time.  I know some people can’t stand being alone, but me, I find my company pretty fantabulous.    Joyous-  that’s a good way to describe how I’m feeling.    Right now- I’m taking my joyous self to the bathroom for a cool bath..

Tomorrow- more great stuff and more travel plans in the making.    Vacation is drawing closer.

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