39 Days ’til Christmas!

Christmas has made an appearance at our house.  Not done decorating but do I have “my” tree up. Every year we put a live tree in the family room decorated with ornaments from our travels and other special or handmade ones from my children’s gifts and projects through the years.  However, when they were little I began to put up a tree that was stylized.  Faux and decked with fancier ornaments and theme it occupies one of the more formal areas of the house each year.

christmas tree 2 fallbreeze.net

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Moon Gates

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Image result for moon gate bermuda

image via pinterest, originally from Houzz.com is a project by ‘The Stone Man’ aka stonemanrocks.com

While all garden gates practically beg you to peek over, around or through them because what lies beyond is a secret space, a private place, a MOON GATE is a rather special one. The moon gate invites you to step through, it beckons you come enter this magic world.  Continue reading

Moss In My Garden?

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“You might be asking the wrong question,” I recently heard a Master Gardener say. “Instead of asking how do I get moss out of my grass? Why are you not asking how do I get the grass out of my moss?”

Moss Lawn

image from southern living

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A Man Called Ove – Book Club

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A Man Called Ove: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]

image: Amazon.com

Read it for yourself – read it for book club – give it as a gift! When your friends ask how to pronounce Ove ask how they think it is pronounced – worth a few minutes of laughing. Which is what my book club did after agreeing to read for next month. Finally, we watched a youtube  on the correct pronunciation. I downloaded the story that night onto my kindle and quickly became engrossed in Ove’s personality and actions, which can be at odds sometimes.

The basics of the book are this: it is the story of a grumpy man named Ove. Well, actually it is composed of the backstory that slowly changes our perception of Ove’s true character and what made him who he is, AND the current events and interactions that offer that perception change to others. Keep reading below for a brief synopsis.  Continue reading

Lentil Soup the Easy Way

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It was snowing yesterday and I had not planned ahead like all the other pre-snow shoppers, who loot northern Virginia grocery stores each time snow is forecast. Usually I am right there with them because I always make a soup or chili for lunch on snow days, sometimes experimenting with new recipes.

So, realizing I was unprepared, I surveyed the pantry and refrigerator and was lucky enough to find a bag of lentils, a can of tomato paste and some fresh spinach leaves. I threw it all together with some seasoning and achieved a satisfying soup.

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Best Way To Overcome The Post-Christmas Blues

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Adopt a dog on New Years day!

new-years-dog

So I was going to post about putting up my brand new mirror and redecorating my mantle with a winter theme on Saturday, but then…all the post Christmas Blues were suddenly gone. We were notified that we were selected from several eager candidates to be the new family for a 2.5 year old pure-bred Chocolate Lab. Well that is enough right there to want to get Christmas decorations put away and get on with making her (and our) transition as stress free as possible. Continue reading

No Fail Cookie Exchange Cookies

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Image result for christmas free clip art

FOUR COOKIE EXCHANGE COOKIES TO BAKE AND TAKE

When presented with Christmas Cookie Exchange parties I have three go to Christmas recipes, and the fourth is a new addition from a friend. I have tried several other cookies for doubling, tripling or even quadrupling (depending on how many cookies the host has requested) and have had some truly terrible results, so I plan to stick with these four no-fail recipes from here on out, not just for cookie exchanges, but any time I am baking cookies under pressure.  Continue reading

“Sausage” Bread for Christmas Morning

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img_5738I make “Sausage” Bread for Thanksgiving morning and again Christmas morning. It is tradition, and you don’t mess with tradition. If you are a lacto-ovo-vegetarian (eat eggs and dairy) keep reading, there are options for you too. Continue reading