Mistletoe Me!

Sunday was the 10th annual Mistletoe Market.  I have a really awful tradition of shopping for myself more than others, but this year it was early enough and the planets aligned, and …  I bought several gifts.  You can’t see those, because some of them are for some of you, but I will show you the fails  the stuff I bought for myself.

I bought coconut pound cake and cranberry pumpkin bread from Apron Strings, but unless you live near Portsmouth, Virginia, you’re out of luck.  And you don’t even get photos because the Knight and the vultures at work devoured it all.  I did get a bite of the coconut and a whole slice of the pumpkin, so  I can assure you it was fabulous.

UntitledI also snagged this PANK leather and silver bracelet from a vendor who didn’t give me her card, didn’t have her logo on her gift box…  Pity.  It’s a pretty thang, and I bought another gift – you know… for someone else? – from her too.  She had a lot of pretty sterling jewelry, in both traditional and more contemporary styles.

It was a great mix of vendors.  Lots of jewelry, some food and cooking items, some custom art, some shoes, children’s clothes, personalized items and more were represented.  And again… I can’t share everything because I did buy some gifts!  Yeah, I’m proud of myself.  We won’t talk about the cards I need to figure out and get in the mail in the next few weeks.  (I’m sure someone has some great charitable cards that would make it all okay that I’m not doing photo cards this year, right?  Feel free to share ideas!)

UntitledLast but hardly least was another gift for me from Erin McDermott Jewelry.  Yes, it’s part of a pair, but if you knew how much trouble I’m having taking photos and blogging, you’d cut me some slack.  My shoddy photo doesn’t do Erin’s craftsmanship justice.  I have other earrings from her, and I always have a hard time choosing what to purchase.  There are several other things on her website I’d like, so I think I will put them on my Christmas list.

And yes, if you think you see a black piece of Italian glass in the middle there, you sure do.  I wore them today, and I’m trying to figure out what I can wear them with again.

But tomorrow, I want to wear the PANK bracelet…

Holiday Finds

Okay, now that the Three Kings have had their day in the sun, I can get around to doing a holiday wrap-up report.   I’ve already shared a couple of awesome gifts, but there were others worth mentioning.

Photo from Soda Stream

Photo from Soda Stream

I got a sewing machine, but more on that when I get around to blogging about my first sewing experience in this century.  The Knight got a Soda Stream (the red one), and so far, so good.  We’ve tried the diet root beer, the regular orange and the diet orange, and we’re both pleased.  I’m especially pleased, because I’m not a fan of heavy carbonation, and you can control how much you “bubble up” your bottle. 

Do you Soda Stream?  If so, how many pumps and what flavors?

10895564A surprise hit was the microwave popcorn popper.  I feel certain I had an earlier model and it went to the landfill in a short order, but this generation is a good one.   I’ve always liked hot air popcorn best, but with Sissy’s accute corn allergy, the potential for flying allergens in her favorite room in the house isn’t an option anymore.  The Knight picked this up one night while we were shopping together, and I assumed it was for one of his family’s gift exchange gifts. 

We’ve found 1/4 cup of Orville’s popcorn at 3 minutes, drizzled with real butter and sea salt is a perfect single-serving.  There is a paper “cup” that needs to be replaced as needed, but you can get several uses from each one even if you’re using oil and/or butter.  (We add the butter after the fact, in a separate bowl.)  We’re now fighting over who has to eat up the “old” microwave popcorn in the pantry.  I’m holding firm; it was MY gift, so it’s MINE, so the Knight needs to quit using MY popper until he eats up all the pre-packaged stuff.  (Except the lime…  clearly, that’s MINE.)

Did you get any gifts we need to know about? 


Still Christmassing…

Why no, Christmassing isn’t a word, but I’m using it anyway.  For the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …

LS_ToastyMitts_RK1… a Skirt Sports Toasty Mitts Sweater.  I presume I have the red, but it’s more of a super-hot PANK.  It’s definitely not “dusty” enough to be the berry color.  What you can’t see in the photos is that the front zipper and the rear pocket zipper are both reflective.  And those mitt-things?  So awesome.  Just what I need, so that I have SKIN on the leash and really feel I have a good grip on Sissy.  They’re very easy to slip on and off too.

The only con is that Lululemon has spoiled me, and I expect fabrics to wick away moisture AND feel like buttah on my skin.  The Knight insisted the top was a stand-alone TOP, but I doubted him and wore a tee underneath.  Um…  I’ll be wearing a long-sleeved tee underneath in the future.  The black part of the sleeves were rough and frankly, my arms were quite chilly.  Still, I’ll be watching for it to go on sale, hopefully in the berry color!

We also had another Christmas dinner last night with my BFF and her family.   Just wait ’til you see the cupcake “decor” she gave us!!  Too cute and spot-on…

Are you still Christmassing?  Any exciting weekend plans?

Hounds, the common denominator


Baby Sissy celebrating her spin on Boxing Day, 12-07

Happy Boxing Day!   I miss December 26th at my stepmom’s homeplace.  I miss the spoonbread, the Virginia country ham biscuits (really… all ham biscuits should be two-bite-sized and feature thinly sliced, very tender country ham), her SPECIAL egg nog, cheese biscuits (think cheese “cookie” with a half pecan pressed on top), and tremendously good cheer.  Knowing Boxing Day would happen made it easier to be a good sport and work Christmas Day when I was a paid firefighter.

Courtesy of Write Meg

Courtesy of Write Meg

Am I the only one who has food associations for holidays?  Even though I don’t like goose, I’m still a little sad there’s been no Christmas goose for years and years.   When we were much younger (read: teens?) my lone male cousin on my maternal side and his father provided said goose for our family fete, straight from their own river access, right there on the farm.  Now, I’m quite accustomed to my sister’s beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner.  I’m also all about local food customs, and some say spoonbread, along with the Virginia country ham, originated right here…  The same formerly-goose-getter cousin introduced us all to his adult hometown’s stuffed ham.  (Don’t judge.  I hate kale and still thought this was quite tasty.)

photo.JPGNext up is a pretty basset stamp a friend used on the envelope of her Christmas card.  I think I need to find one!  I just love a freckled basset… 

I’m sure Sissy would love to have a stamp.  Of course, then Gretchen would want one too…  hmmm…  I think I’d get plenty of use out of them though, don’t you?


Next up is this fun floral arrangement.   I got my first “mum dog” when I had back surgery, so when another local basset-mom was in the hospital, I knew just what she needed.  Our florist asked only for an extra day to figure out the ears and other basset modifications, and the result was definitely worth it!   Wouldn’t that cheer you up?

Well, this post is long enough, so tune in tomorrow for the final chapter in our tale of how the love of hounds makes the world go ’round.  We hope you had a great Christmas.  Here in the Woods, this is the second day of Christmas, and my true love is giving me – well, my beloved car – a transmission flush and some other necessary maintenance.   Does anyone else celebrate Christmas through Epiphany?

Fur-girls immortalized?

Happy Thorsday, little friday, Thankful Thursday, eve of last day of work before a long weekend for many of us…

DSC03227Gretchen is lobbying for royalties and the lawsuit that would be necessary to make them happen.  Hem.  She’s supposed to be my not-trouble-maker!! 

What say you?  Does the ornament basically blogless Susan sent favor Sissy and her tutu too much?  (Follow the link above to the girl’s blog to see Sissy in her pink tutu if you need to refresh your memory!)

Personally, I say no.   When the JLC was looking into doing a cookbook, we learned that if you change as few as three things in a recipe, copyright issues go out the window.  So…


  1. Ornament hound is a tri-color…  maybe.  Sis is registered as a lemon and white, but is arguably only two colors – reddish-lemon and white. 
  2. Ornament hound is wearing pearls.  Gg is my necklace-wearer.  (Yeah, that’s a stretch too…  Sis will wear most anything I put on her.)
  3. Ornament hound has no freckles, and Sissy has freckles everywhere, especially on her feet and legs.

e44d4104-9367-4c77-a468-f9cc552bbc96Now, Susan’s Gg-like present is also quite the look-alike.   Dock the tail and it’s pretty darned close too!


Puppy Gg around 4 months.

Which gift do you think is most like the fur-girl it represents? 

Do you collect items of your dogs breed or likeness?

I want to do theme trees one year.  I think we almost have enough to do both a fire department themed tree and a dog-themed tree.  I’m pretty sure the bassets are the dominant ornaments; I just don’t find as many Jack Russell ornaments for some reason.   Odd, given that JRTs (or any AKC variation on the breed) are very popular in these parts.

Thankful?  I’m thankful for thoughtful friends who REALLY get me and my dogs.  I’m thankful for friends and relations whom all seem to be focusing more on the reason for the season than on shopping and gifts.  And I’m thankful for the special times with friends and family that happens around Christmastime each year.

What are you thankful for today?

Awkward Normalcy

Two fire captains keeping Santa's chair warm

Two fire captains keeping Santa’s chair warm

Like the rest of the country, we’ve been moved by the Sandy Hook tragedy.   But the Knight still had duty crew all weekend, and yesterday was photos with Santa at the firehouse.   (Sorry…  I don’t post photos of kiddos without permission, so enjoy these BIG kids instead.)

My heart breaks for everyone who has been touched by the deaths of those innocents.  I don’t mean to appear insensitive, but those of us not actively grieving do need to carry on…

I am hopeful that some good will come from this.   Several of you know that I’ve long bemoaned the secret shame associated with mental health/illness, and as one of my former co-workers posted on Facebook, it is up to ALL of  to assure children – all children, everywhere – are safe wherever they might be.  It takes a village, and these days, we’re a global community.

So hug your own children close for me.   Send your children’s teachers and school administrators a thank you note, cookies… something to let them know how much you appreciate their dedication.  And I sincerely am moved that a few of you have already expressed your concerns for the first responders (emergency service workers if you prefer).  I promise, cards and cookies are welcomed at any fire/rescue/police station, anywhere.

Be extra kind to each other.  ‘Tis the season, after all.

Dressing the part?

Do you have holiday attire?  Do you wear more red, green, or sparkly stuff in December? 

I do.  I have a half-dozen or so long-sleeved tees with snowflakes, red birds, etc. on them.   Red shoes, sequined shoes…  And black velvet says Christmas, no? 

24075035_0916Plaid?  I am really feeling the plaid this winter in general, but sadly, I haven’t found anything new and plaid to add to my closet.  Boo!   I like this Talbot’s shirt, but I have a feeling that in person, it would make me crazy in a short order.   Wrapped shirts and dresses are supposedly universally flattering, but I spend a lot of time worrying about proper fit/coverage…  Plus, while this blouse sports the fur-girls’ signature colors…  I just don’t think I’d love it more than one wear.

If you’re local, I hope you’ll consider stopping by Mistletoe Market on Sunday, in the Boar’s Head Pavilion.  I’m hoping to get very close to finishing my holiday shopping there… and then head to the JLC’s holiday tea!

(logo property of the JLC)

(logo property of the JLC)

Do you  have any fun weekend plans?



Bucket List…

photo.JPGHappy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and whatever else you’re celebrating today.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to bring the fur-girls to work with me.   Gg is the cutest paperweight ever, and Sissy keeps us all laughing.  (You can see more of them – maybe too much of Sissy actually – and find out who won the Chewy.com prize on their blog.)

I’m also thankful for friends who humor me, and for the dedicated Board of the JLC.   We’re going through a lot of changes right now, and I’m grateful for leaders with strong, thoughtful opinions to share the load and guide the ship, so to speak.

About the title of today’s post…   What *DO* you call it when you do something that was on your bucket list but it fell short of expectations?  Some of you know that for YEARS, I’ve wanted to host a gingerbread house decorating party.  Well, check that box on the list!  I couldn’t have done it without several of you, and we’ll see how I feel about it – and how next year’s JLC board feels – next year.

photo.JPGFirst up is the winner, designed and decorated by last year’s president.  Her Christmas card arrived just before the event, and let’s just call it foreshadowing; it had a photo of her last year’s “model” in the photo montage.

This is actually the back view, but it’s also my favorite.  *IF* I do this next year, I may draft her to come “pinch decorate” for me.  That’s what past presidents, got your back friends are for, no?  (Hem.  No.  I do know better, but I need some sort of handicapping to stand a chance…)
Of course you want to see the rest of the house…  and both of these photos were taken prior to completion, prior to the elaborate “beaded” walkway and patio…  Look, I remembered to snap photos, so don’t push your luck, okay?

So, the details.  I snagged kits last year at the after Christmas sales, so I warned everyone not to eat anything from the kits, but I also supplied extras, like all that green icing, the green gel that outlines the windows, etc.  We had M&Ms, cookies and we always have dinner “catered”.  I have it in quotes, because that night’s feast was home-cooked ziti and a salad with Trader Joe’s dressing.  Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he brought podunk a TJ’s just in time for the holidays!  We also had really cheesy awesome garlic bread and a host of dessert offerings.

photo.JPGHere’s the runner-up house, and yes, it had matching “text” on the other roof panel as well.  Obviously, none of the houses came home with me, because Sissy would never leave all those peppermints alone, and I’m pretty sure every house had at least one peppermint on it!  We all voted, and this house was selected for the “Ho Ho”s and the icicles dripping down (just imagine…  I didn’t get a photo of that angle.)

And here’s a collage of some of the other houses.

PicMonkey Collage

photo.JPGHere’s a shot of the consolation prize-winner, in one of its finer moments.  This house was cracked , and as some of you have guessed, the weight of the icing the two different women used as they tried to glue it back together caused a total collapse.   You have to have a sense of humor and patience to enjoy gingerbread house decorating, it seems!

My gingerbread house...I suppose you’re going to insist on seeing my effort.  Before you praise it, you must know I only decorated the roof and the front… and made a really feeble stab at the back just before I lost interest. 

Here’s what I can recommend if you host your own such party:

  • *DO* buy the kits, especially if you can find them on sale. Even the veteran decorators in the crowd appreciated the pre-assembled “canvas”.
  • *DON’T* use the “royal icing” included in said kit.  It’s too dense/stiff and I think most of us who became disenchanted actually had sore hands from trying to squeeze the thick muck through the small holes we cut (so that we could pretend we were piping real icing).
  • *DO* cover the tables with something you can just grab at each corner, wad up and toss.
  • *DO* provide hand wipes for each station. 
  • *DO* provide scissors or cheap paring knives for each station.

Are you doing anything new or different this holiday season? 


What I learned over Christmas break

Okay, so one day off isn’t a Christmas break, and I’m hardly a school girl anymore, but…

This is just a hodge-podge of a post, so apologies now for what a local friend calls my stream of consciousness ramblings.  Thursday night marked the last of my holiday happenings, so now I can obsess about what to wear to Vintage Vegas this year.  I have an outfit ready and rarin’ to go, but unless you’re really new around here, you know that doesn’t mean much.

  1. I love Christmas cards, especially photo cards and those family letters.  No, really.  I love seeing Dad’s cousin’s vacation photo on  her card.  She had such a positive impact on me in my teens, and I re-live all of those lessons on life when I see her swimming with the dolphins.  I hope in a … couple of years 😉  I’m still active and sharing what makes me happy with my friends and family.   Another friend shared the other night that she had a few glasses of wine before trying to be light and funny while composing her family letter.  It worked.  She and her husband are definitely a “power couple” with two beautiful young girls, pets, travel, etc., and it would have been easy to write an annual update that made my teeth hurt, even though I know it’s all true, but she and her wine muse pulled it off – of course.
  2. I had forgotten  how much I loved Republic of Tea’s Coconut Cocoa.  Add a splash of International Delight’s Almond Joy and you have an almost diet-friendly cup of comfort and joy.  I drink it every single night.  The Knight thought I was crazy when I said I’m ordering the 250 bag refill… but some of you will need a few bags to try, right?
  3. While you’re checking that out, get some of the TinTin chocolate chai.  Gretchen thinks it’s REALLY bad form that the good folks at RoT made it a CHOCOLATE chai (dogs can’t have chocolate you know), but frankly I’m delighted that I can’t share either of these yummies with anyone else.  I mean… of course I’d offer you some if you were here, but…   I just add a splash of cream (or 2% milk, whatever’s on hand) to the chai.
  4. I don’t like red velvet the flavor.  Seems I’d never really had red velvet cake.  So, I tried some when the Knight’s dear cousin got tired of trying to describe it to me.  Totally unimpressed.  For those of you who do love it … can you clue me in on WHY?  I feel I’m missing something.  And for the record, cousin assured me it was “good” red velvet cake, so it’s not like I had a bad experience… evidently.
  5. I reconnected with my Nook and learned how to “side load” PDF files, so now it is also a knitting pattern holder.  But seriously?!  None of the major brand knitting magazines are available for the Nook?  Not impressed…
  6. I didn’t put up a tree and it was still Christmas.  No, I don’t plan to repeat this sad state of affairs again, but it didn’t ruin the holidays for me either.  Go figure.  That being said, Sissy and I are already discussing that I plan to put up the full-sized tree this year, and she WILL NOT harm any ornaments.  Hem.
  7. My dogs are SPOILED.  No, seriously.  I’ve always joked about Daddy’s line (defending his own actions concerning yours truly), “She’s not spoiled, she’s pampered.  The difference is… she appreciates it.”  I thought it applied to my dogs too, but I’m pretty sure this holiday season, we crossed right over into the SPOILED ROTTEN category.  While all the gifts were appreciated, three deserve special mention.

My sister found these crazy plush hearts that say “I love you” in a voice that sounds more like my own “being silly” voice than I care to admit.  You have to understand that while Gretchen is a toy collector, addict, whatever, Sis normally only wants a tennis ball for catch and fetch, and otherwise, if it isn’t meant to be ingested, it’s only good for stealing from the baby to prove she IS the QUEEN OF ALL.

HOWEVER.  The big purple heart – think throw pillow size – is sacred.  Yes, the wee one can scamper around with it, but doing so only incites the DIVA, who then rushes to her best toy’s rescue and throws herself upon it and glares.  No, Sis has NEVER snapped at Gg and probably never will, so some small (mean?) part of me delights in this not so Sis-Ma behavior.  I love my terriers and their “what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine” attitudes, but it does my heart good to see Sis be a serious alpha, if only over one purple, talking heart.

Precious #2 (Tolkien fans, anyone?) are the peppermint meringues made by Miss KAM.  Her sweet card was clear; THEY were human grade, but made for SISSY.  Hem.  Got it.  I had to hide them up high, because Sis loves them as much as that purple heart… maybe even more, since bassets do take the world in through their mouths.

Last, but hardly least, beloved Auntie ‘Nita dehydrated 27 pounds of the favored fruits and veggies for the rotten hairy brats.  I don’t think I’m exaggerating much.  Sadly, I’ve confessed that we own not one but TWO dehydrators, so I’ve been given instructions and I suppose I shall be supporting my so spoiled the stink dogs in the manner to which they have become accustomed…

What about you?  Were there any holiday revelations in your world?