Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Books and puzzles….

 I gave myself the month of August off from the jigsaw puzzles.  Instead, I concentrated on books.  

Do any of these seem interesting to you?  The Nightingale was the choice for my Twitter Book Club.  It is historical fiction about the German occupation of France during WW 2.  I had already bought the others not checking closely to see what period they represented.  Ironically, they are set in the same time period!  What a troubling time!  

On September 1, I began a new puzzle.  This one moved considerably more quickly than the last one.


Isn’t this sweet?  I plan to keep this one intact, and I think I have the perfect spot to display it.

This month, I have begun reading from this collection….

Persuasion is the Book Club selection for this month.  I have never read much of Jane Austen’s writing, though I have seen movies based on her novels.  This should be a good break from the serious theme from the previous month’s reading.

Also, deciding which of these puzzles to tackle next….


Someone remarked that a puzzle with fewer than 1,000 pieces didn’t present much of a challenge.  I have one of those waiting.  Thinking I’ll do something simpler first.  It’s time for a break from challenges.😂

Be safe, and stay well!



Monday, September 13, 2021

In the days between….

 In the days between my last post and this one…..


….we had a glorious Friday morning sunrise….

….appreciated cooler temperatures….
….a perfect morning for oatmeal, topped here with dried cranberries and chopped walnuts….


….caught the hibiscus as it was closing up at the close of the day….

….viewed the moon as it became visible over the housetop….


….met (with great pleasure) this grocery store bouquet brought home by The Husband….

….and enjoyed the firepit!  The Husband actually made some toast over this fire!  The next time, we might have to have something a little more exciting.

Another week begins, and our days have moved out of the “cool” range into something more akin to summer once again.  Still exercising great care whenever we are out in public and awaiting the notice that a booster shot will be appropriate. 

Be well, friends!  Stay safe!  We are always hoping for increased vaccination percentages here!  We truly believe this is the way to defeat this virus!





Thursday, September 9, 2021

Thursday Things….

 Hello, Blog peeps!  Are you well?

This morning felt more like a Monday morning to me than Monday actually does!  It was to my advantage that I turned around a quickly made the bed….before I climbed back into it!


Many of my friends begin their day with tea.  Here, we must have that cup of coffee to get our day going. 


By the time I was finished with this, I was about ready to join the world. LOL 😂 

Aren’t these the cutest?



Along with baby wipes, these newborn footed sleepers will be donated to a local program called Newborns in Need at my Circle September meeting.  Oh,  yes!  That’s tonight!  So you see, it was quite necessary for me to get my act together today!  

Still taking extra precautions here!  How about you?  Booster eligibility isn’t for a month yet, and we’re taking no chances!  

Good wishes to you!  Be safe, and stay well!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Labor Day….

 How are you spending your time today?  Are you planning a picnic at a popular spot and hoping there is room for you when you reach that destination? 

We opted to “picnic” in our own kitchen.  I receive no points for presentation, though the menu was quite tasty.

Overnight barbecue….thank you, crockpot!  Potato salad….thank you, Susan Branch!  Speedy baked beans….thank you, Betty Crocker!  Creamy cole slaw….thank you, package of already shredded cabbage!  Brownies….thank you, Hershey’s Cocoa, for our favorite recipe!




Now, I believe it’s time for a nap! 😂



Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August favorites….

 As the month of August moves along, there are two favorites that appear….red, ripe, juicy tomatoes and fresh okra!  We definitely make room to enjoy both!

While it’s possible to choose fried okra in many restaurants, our favorite way to serve it is a light dredging with cornmeal prior to pan frying.
Those red, ripe, juicy tomatoes are delicious with that classic BLT!
With that fried okra served as a side, this is a perfect late-August meal in my house! 

As I compose this post, rain is falling here, remnants of Hurricane Ida.  The prediction has been that we may receive up to three inches of rain before this system moves elsewhere.  While there has been some flooding reported in areas of our county, we are not experiencing any where we are.  

I continue to send along my thoughts to you for good health and safety!  The Delta variant is on the upswing here!  We are grateful for the vaccine and anticipate being eligible for the booster in early October!  Take care of yourselves!  Trust science!


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

No holidays….

 I will confess, first of all, that my blogging motivation is greatly lacking.  I didn’t need to tell you that, did I? LOL

In a month of no holidays, The Husband and I chose the date of our marriage, the 16th of August, giving us a reason for celebrating something in this month.  It has been 52 years since that wedding day!

Why is it that all the pictures I took from our time away to celebrate are food-related?  I keep telling myself that there are other photo-worthy opportunities, then wind up not remembering to take a picture at all!

It looks like I’m going to have to rely on words rather than pictures this morning, as this system isn’t cooperating with my efforts to post pictures!

For a number of years, our anniversary was the only celebration in August….until 15 years ago when Munchkin #2 was born!  She came along on the 14th, and has brought joy and sunshine to all of us ever since!  It’s always fun to put together a birthday surprise for her.

We headed out on a short trip to Abingdon, VA to celebrate our anniversary.  This has been a favorite destination for a long time.  I lived in Abingdon for two years in the sixties, and there are still friends there.  It was really good to be able to visit on this trip, thanks to the vaccine!

The Barter Theater in Abingdon has been able to make arrangements to use the Moonlite Drive-In facilities for outdoor performances during the pandemic.  Unfortunately, lightning/thunder/rain interfered, and the show was called.  We’ll try for one again another time.  It is hoped that performances will be able to resume in the theater. 



Well, I gave it one more try and was successful, though the pictures have appeared here in a different order than I directed.  

Chips and salsa….great appetizer at The Old Mill in Damascus, VA, eating outdoors on the patio next to the water.  Spaghetti and meatballs, The Husband’s favorite, at Mama Mia’s in Abingdon, and the Greek salad, always a favorite of mine.  On this occasion we were seated outdoors when a sudden storm appeared!  Out waitress ran out to help move us back inside with only a few raindrops being blown about us! 

The current upsurge in COVID cases in our area, plus the “breakthrough” cases, have us following precautions once again, at least until we qualify for our booster vaccine.  

Take care, and be safe!


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Completed!

 Finally!! Fewer than 30 minutes ago, I placed the final piece in this puzzle!


It was a month ago that I began working on this one.  Of course, there have been a few other things to be done in addition to working this puzzle; however, it has taken much longer than any other jigsaw puzzle I have done.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I often seal and frame some of the puzzles.  This one, however, will not have that experience.  Planning to leave it out for a few days, however, then….time to begin another one!


What do you think of this one?  It has about half the number of pieces as the other, yet I am able to see that there will be a number of the same color, which is always a challenge.

Taking some time off for puzzles….thinking I’ll do a bit more reading instead. 

August has begun a little cooler here.  It’s a short-lived break, though.  Warmer temps will arrive just as the students in our county begin their next school year!  

Though we are vaccinated, we have continued to wear our mask when in public indoor spaces.  How about you?  

Be safe!  Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Send help!

 Sharing progress….


Current status.  What was I thinking?  I’d blame the dog for what I am sure are missing pieces….except we have no dog.  The vacuum cleaner?  That seems to be the next likely culprit, but who’s doing vacuuming while trying to complete this challenging jigsaw puzzle?!?!  It must be completed!!  

Have you read any of Debbie Macomber’s writing?  I’ve read several of her books, usually borrowing them from the public library.  There are a few I have on my own bookshelf, however.


These are Christmas-themed.  Perhaps I’ll go along with the “Christmas in July” idea and reread these.  Images of snow may prove to be cooling during this hot summer.  


Did you know that Debbie Macomber wrote something other than fiction?  This is probably my favorite of all I have written by her.  It was on the United Methodist Women reading list a few years ago.  “One Simple Act….Discovering the Power of Generosity.”  

I simply must complete that puzzle!  Until I do, this is waiting for me….


This is her most recent novel, and it is one of two that we are reading in the Twitter Book Club.  Hoping for all those pieces to easily fall in place more quickly than they have thus far!  It’s a fact that reading her books goes much more quickly!

Do you ever reach a point where you are “stumped” by your jigsaw puzzle working?  Do you persist until you complete it, regardless of the challenge?  I always hate to tear them apart when completed, and that will be the case especially with this one!

I hope you are vaccinated!  The new variants are causing much concern.  I continue to wear my mask when shopping indoors.  Take care of yourself!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

A break from the puzzles....

 Many of my blog posts during 2020 focused on kitchen activity.  I’ve given that a bit of a break recently, but it was time to return to cooking!

Macho Man was our guest recently.  He is a good help with projects that need another assistant, and we offer dinner in return.:-)

I have used several biscuit recipes through the years, but I believe I like this one best.  It is from Susan Branch’s Heart of the Home cookbook.  When peaches are in season, it’s time for a peach pie!
This was the first time I’ve prepared an entire meal on a sheet pan.  What an excellent idea!  Lining the pan with parchment paper made cleanup a breeze!  Pork tenderloin and Yukon Gold potatoes were placed on the pan to bake at 375 degrees for about a half hour, then the fresh green beans, onions, and garlic were added for another half hour or so.  Rosemary from our herb garden gave everything a good flavor.  The best thing is, even after packing Macho Man a “to go” box, there are leftovers!

Take care!  


Thursday, July 8, 2021

It’s a puzzle....still

 When summer days become hot, it’s a good time to relax indoors with a puzzle!  Yes, I’m still working jigsaw puzzles!


This is the most recent one I have underway.  It has 1,000 pieces!  It has been a long time since I’ve worked one with this number of pieces!

You may have read books by Debbie Macomber.  This puzzle is inspired by her and her writing.

Do you have a special strategy when you work jigsaw puzzles?  I suppose you’re able to see that I look for the border pieces first, setting aside in special groupings those pieces that appear to belong together in some fashion.  Of course, it’s always a good idea to have a space large enough to be able to have all the pieces right side up!  

There is another puzzle for today.  I discovered the petunias from my outside flower pot have disappeared overnight!  Just what/who would have been the nighttime thief?!?  Do chipmunks like petunias?  Don’t they sleep at night?  

Sending you cool thoughts during these hot, summer days! 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Another project....

 Happy Flag Day, Blogger friends! 


It was good to enjoy my cup of hot coffee earlier today.  The predicted high temperature will call for something that is icy cold later.

It seems appropriate to share this new project with you on Flag Day.  


This jigsaw puzzle was a gift from Mucho Mom and family.  One of my very favorite places to visit is Martha’s Vineyard, and it was fun to work this puzzle with that theme.  If you look closely, you may be able to see a flag or two.


This was also a gift from a dear friend.  It is a Charles Wysocki design, the first of his that I have ever worked.  This was almost addictive, and I could hardly wait to have it completed!  It may be possible to spot a flag in this one, too.

There are several completed puzzles that have been framed.  Perhaps that’s a subject for a future post.  

Be safe!  Stay cool!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Progress....

 I am able to report some progress with the project mentioned in the last post.



There are many spots that need that “touch up.”  Country Girl volunteered to come and assist us with that part of the project.  

You may notice those frames that are leaning against the mirror.  The goal is to have the frames mounted over the mirror.  There is one small complication.  The mirror is attached to the wall with screws and clips that create a hindrance to the frame fitting flush against the wall.  Efforts to create a “slot” for that (in the underneath side of the frame) have not been a rousing success.  We will keep at it!

Other projects await!  It will be a busy summer!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Project....on-going

 May’s project here has become on-going.  The “new face” I thought that was needed in the bathroom after moving into our house seventeen years ago will take awhile before it’s totally picture ready.  

Before....


During....


....and almost after....


We do like the change.  That’s a good thing!:-)  It’s also a good thing that the project had no need of interfering with any plumbing already in place and working well!

Have you had any special projects recently?  This one has kept us indoors from the heat and out of the sun, so that’s been a good thing!  It’s like summertime here now!

Staying cool....that’s the order of the day!

Take care!



Monday, May 3, 2021

A visitor....

 Several days ago, we looked out our back door and were surprised to see this visitor....




Mr. Groundhog was happily chowing down on the dandelions and other green growth in our patio area!  He looks quite healthy and happy, doesn’t he?  He paid little attention to the spillover from the bird feeder. While he was definitely not invited, his behavior indicated that he felt quite welcome!  This is the first time we’ve seen a groundhog on our property!  I wonder where he was on Groundhog Day. :-)

I hope you are continuing to stay well.  What is your vaccination status for protection against COVID?  I am grateful for scientists daily!  Our vaccine immunity became effective on February 23, and it has made a huge difference for us!  We are continuing to wear our masks and remember social distancing while taking care of our shopping needs.  Take care, and be safe!



Monday, April 26, 2021

Which one?

 Hello, blog friends!  I’ve a question for you today.  Which of the following would you choose?

This one....

Or....this one....?
It is “birthday season” around here, and my sister treated us with this delicious strawberry cake!  She also brought the numerals to go on top of the cake.  Which arrangement is appropriate for our situation? 

Well, if you chose the top picture, that would be very flattering.  Going for honesty here means the bottom picture is the correct one.  Thankfully, not a lot of effort was needed to blow out those two candles!

Grateful to be able to celebrate another birthday!

Take care, be safe, stay well, and enjoy spring!

Friday, April 2, 2021

A tradition....

 For the past forty years, baking Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday has been a tradition.  This recipe is one that appeared in our local newspaper in the early eighties.  I think it has been featured on the blog in past years. I have baked hundreds of these through the years, often multiplying the recipe!  This year is no exception!


Here is one pan, just out of the oven and awash in glaze, studded with currants!  


Perfect with bacon alongside and a cup of tea!

Be safe, stay well, and may your Easter season hold special blessings for you!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

April already....

 Rabbit, rabbit friends!  It’s April already!  First, let’s send along Happy Birthday wishes to my sister!  You may have read her comments on my posts.  Many good wishes to you, Sister!

It has been awhile since I’ve posted here, and I need to catch you up on the last half of March.

I suspected the pictures wouldn’t transfer in the correct order, and I was right.  This is our Irish Soda Bread from St. Patrick’s Day, baked in an iron skillet!
The table is set for Easter.  I’ll most likely leave this setting through the month.
Tulips have begun to bloom!  It’s easy to see we have a good growth of violets, too, all around the yard!  Landscape people will stop with their suggestions on clearing such loveliness.  Our response is that we like it this way.
Back to the Sunday Lunch serving.  This is from this past Sunday....Chicken Cordon Bleu roll ups, baked potato, and roasted asparagus.  I was amused to find this butter last week while shopping.
After much persistence, birds were successful in building this nest on an outdoor motion sensitive light!  Round and slick, it’s not an easy task to mount a nest on it!
This, of course, goes with the Irish Soda Bread above.  Corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and turnips from the garden of the Country Couple!  We’re always happy to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!
This is the first year for the hyacinths.  We planted the bulbs last fall, and they have bloomed nicely.  I’m a bit concerned about tonight’s predicted freezing temperatures, though.  Will these blooms be hardy enough to survive, or should we put some sort of cover to protect them overnight?
Now, this is the picture that should be in the first spot!  This is Chicken Parmesan Soup, a recipe from the calendar of our hometown bank.  First time for this one for us, and it’s definitely going in the file.  In fact, it feels like a good day for soup today! 

I hope all is well with you.  Take care, be safe, stay well, and wear your mask!