*

*

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New

So another year swiftly comes to a close.
I would be telling a fib if I were to say this past year has been a good 'un.
After falling and breaking my ankle early in February, I have spent the entire year, trying to get back on my feet, literally.
I'm hoping 2017 will look upon me more favorably, and because I'm not taking any chances, I have the black-eyed peas cooking in the crock-pot as I type.



 
I truly wish each and every one of you, a New Year filled with much love, peace, good health and happiness.
Your friendships have encouraged, enlightened, and made me laugh my frock off throughout this past year.
Here's to a 2017 filled with the same !
Many Blessings.
x
  

                                                       
A Happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.

~Edgar Guest
 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bringing Home The Tree

A lovely little surprise Christmas gift, courtesy of our local Cracker Barrel restaurant.
Tucked away neatly inside our order, a salt and pepper old fashioned  'Woody'......Bringing Home The Tree.
We felt like the Griswolds.
*grin*
 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Boxing Day



Oliver cat was not impressed by his army of catnip-filled mice.
Nor by the bag of designer Christmas treats which forced us to re-mortgage the house in order to purchase.
However, the cardboard box that it was delivered in, simply tickled him pink.
Happy Boxing Day.....

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Peace On Earth, Goodwill Toward Men

And so This is Christmas.....

I've so enjoyed our visits back and forth throughout the year, all the sweet comments written, and well-wishes when a word of encouragement was needed.
We truly wish each and every one of you, friends and family, near and far, all the blessings of a Joyous and Merry Christmas.
 
May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love."
 
~Ada V. Hendicks

 
 


 
When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish,
And loves we used to know.

 
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 
 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Done And Dusted.



I made the mistake of venturing amongst the market crowds today.
At least people were in a festive mood, many decked out in their Christmas red sweaters and twinkling necklaces hung around their necks.
I'm finally finished with my shopping, and couldn't wait to return home, indulge in a shortbread biscuit or two and a nice pot of tea.
Hope everyone has a little relaxing time, before the big day.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It Is Christmas




It is Christmas in the mansion,
Yule-log fires and silkin frocks.
It is Christmas in the cottage,
Mother filling little socks.
It is Christmas in the highway,
In the thronging, busy mart.
But the dearest, truest Christmas
Is the Christmas in the heart.
Author Unknown


 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Longest Night

Equal light, Equal dark....





" Lighting one candle
from another -
Winter night "
 
~ Buson

Monday, December 19, 2016

Let The Merriment Begin

🎅   The decorating is finished.
        The table is set, the silver is polished.
        Presents are wrapped,
        Dinner is planned.
        A week to go.
        *Phew*
        I hope you are plodding along nicely !


 

 
 
 
 

 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Iced - Over

If given the option, I would have chosen snow.
Soft, white flakes blanketing the ground.
Instead, we are covered in ice.
Trees, houses, vehicles, bird-feeders.
No snowballs today.
 
 
 



 
 






 
 

 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hobbit Days



Goodness the weather is bitterly cold.
The sun has shone all day long, but the wind has been horrendous, and temperatures dropping to a wintry mix later tomorrow.
The town is full of sickness, colds, flu and lots of pneumonia, I've been trying to stay home as much as possible, since I tend to be one of those 'susceptible to bronchitis' types.

I made a hearty homemade beef stew today, chocked full of vegetables, with an aromatic tomato base, and spices.
It's a Southern recipe, easy, and delicious.

Always best accompanied by a skillet of buttermilk cornbread.



Nothing fancy, just basic Beef and Vegetable Stew.
One and a half pound of stew beef.
A large onion chopped
Two ribs of sliced celery
Cut up potatoes
Sliced carrots
A large can of whole peeled tomatoes chopped up in bite sized pieces
Can of chili beans with the sauce
Can of sliced green beans
Can of peas
Can of corn if I have it.
Beef or vegetable stock
Chili powder
Bay leaves (2)
Garlic powder
Parsley fresh
Salt and Pepper to taste
Most anything you like to throw in the pot....sometimes I add cabbage.

Southern Cornbread
1 1/3 cups of buttermilk or milk
1/3 cup of vegetable oil or solid shortening (melt if solid shortening)
2 cups of buttermilk cornmeal mix
1 ounce of melted butter
1 beaten egg
Oven temp 425 degrees

Place a cast iron skillet, or cake pan with a small amount of shortening inside the oven until the shortening melts and pan is hot.
Add mixture, bake for 15 / 20 minutes until golden brown


It's been a good day to stay close by the hearth side, indulge in a bowl of homemade stew, and enjoy the company of a portly cat or two by your side.
I wish you a warm and snuggly weekend.
 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Is Coming



Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!


~ Tradition English nursery rhyme


 
 


We're having a blast of Arctic weather blow through in the next few days.
It's a rare occasion when the temperatures drop into the single digits.
Brrr.


 
 
 
 
Hope you are staying warm and cozy in your little corner of the world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Woolly Socks And Flip-Flops

Winter has settled in, bare landscapes now prevail.
We've been spoiled up until this point, with warmer than usual days, many not requiring the wearing  of a jacket.
Last night temperatures cooled and fell into the twenties, no more flip-flops, now the winter boots and woolly socks appear.
The birds have taken to their nests, leaving me with just one sweet little friend.
Such are the days of winter.
 
 
 
 

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Christmas Spirit-Lifter

When the weather turns chilly, and I'm looking for something to stir my Christmas spirit, I make a batch of Spiced Tea.

The combination of oranges, cinnamon and cloves are a delight to the senses, perfect for sipping fireside late evening, and watching the Christmas tree twinkling in the dark..
 
 


Spiced Tea Mix
 
    2 cups Sugar
2 cups of orange Tang
3/4 cup instant tea
1 envelope Kool-Aid Lemonade
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Combine sugar, tea, tang, lemonade mix, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a medium mixing bowl; stir well.
Pour into a 1-pint wide-mouth jar with tight-fitting lid.

Use 2-3 teaspoons in a cup of  boiling water.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

List-Ticking

My Christmas list is slowly getting finished.
A few more gifts to seek out and wrap, and  then it's on to making a batch of fudge and pecan praline candy.
Our Christmases are not nearly as busy as they once were when the grandchildren were small and the toys were endless, that's OK too, less is more.
I hope everyone is plodding along nicely.


 

Friday, December 9, 2016

English Christmas Cracker Traditions



 
Each year as I'm busying myself with the Christmas decorating, my thoughts turn to home.
The traditions at Christmas that have stood the test of time throughout many English households.

The partaking of mince pies, raspberry trifle, sausage rolls, steamed plum pudding, and Christmas cake laden with dried fruit , marzipan and Royal Icing...hard as a rock.
Gathering around the television or the radio and listening to the Queen's Speech.
Afterwards a tipple of traditional sherry, or port, toasting the season and good health to all !

The pulling of the Christmas crackers before eating turkey dinner, wearing the paper party hats, laughing at the silly paper jokes inside, and delighting in the small prizes, most often magic tricks, or plastic trinkets.

Happy times, that are gratefully forever etched in our memories ..........


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

They're Off...


 
 
Not a minute too soon, with forecasts of Winter weather moving in over the next few days, I took a trip to the post office early this morning and posted off the Christmas cards.
Mostly to relatives and friends in England, and other parts of the U.S.A.
It seems each year, there are fewer and fewer to make out, as my address list continues to shrink.
I think it is still an important part of the overall Christmas goodwill, and look forward to catching up on people's comings and goings throughout the year.
Don't you agree ?


Monday, December 5, 2016

The Scents Of Christmas


🎄

I ventured amongst the masses yesterday, taking myself off to the thronging Christmas shopping mart, I must confess, it's not my cup of tea.

I much prefer the kind of shops that are a 'hole in the wall' kind of place, brimming with antiques and time-worn utilitarian pieces, their finishes worn with years of use and enjoyment.

And so before long, I found myself rambling around my favorite little shop, decorated to the hilt with fresh Cedar boughs, Magnolia branches, and Rose hip berries, mingled together with gingerbread cookie ornaments and hot mulled cider ; the scents intoxicatingly delicious.

This is the magic of Christmas.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Making A Start


The Christmas decorating has begun.
A little here, a little there, and before you know it, the house is transformed with the magic of Christmas.
Later this evening, the tree will get decorated, sparkly faerie lights, dried apples and orange slices, baubles and red wooden-bead garlands.
Rust-colored Christmas bells, and  grape-vine mini wreaths.
Ornaments from seasons past,  reminding of treasured memories.




The hearth is lit, and the hot chocolate is simmering.
Two portly felines watch with interest.
"Tis the season.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Autumn's Waning

The days are seemingly flying by.
Can you believe that we are already into the month of December ?
The month, where for the most of us ladies, find ourselves running around in circles, chasing our tails. 
The month of decorating, planning,  list-making, and shopping......ooh, the endless shopping.
The weather is mild for December, in just four short months, Spring will return........unbelievable..