Saturday, December 31, 2016

Out with the old...

2016 overall hasn't been a bad year. This was my first full year at home. We're adjusting to one income. We enjoyed more time together. We went camping - first time in many, many years - and got to see things we hadn't before. We visited lighthouses and state parks. I got to spend more precious time with my Mum.

We 'discovered' wonderful places close to home like the wonderful Nature Preserve seen above (photo from today's walk). People thought I'd get bored staying at home. I still haven't accomplished half of what I set out to do. 

There are so many things that I would like to do in the year ahead. I have a sort-of list. I'll post more tomorrow. The New Year will bring a really big change - Wednesday morning (about 2am!) daughter and I will be setting off for her new home. It will be a new state, a new home and a new job for her. More adventures. I have been thinking about a word for the new year. Seems it is the 'thing' people seem to do. I hate to narrow it down to one word, but I think 'Adventure' fits my outlook for the year ahead.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy Our Art

There is a little place near us called Happy Our Art. You pay money to go paint a picture and bring your own wine to drink while you paint. Really not my thing as I am not a painter. I am crafty in other ways but painting isn't my thing. Daughter really, really wanted to go. She pulled the old "I'm leaving in a few days. It will fun for us to go together. A mother/daughter thing" so how could I resist?

Last night as it started to snow again we grabbed a couple of bottles of wine and had hubby drive us over there. I was sort of dreading it as I am not a painter and the thought of painting in a room full of strangers was a little....stressful. It was a full room.

The instructor takes you step-by-step through the painting. Have to be careful not to mix up drinking cup with water cup! It was actually quite fun. Of course, I ended up sitting next to the only 'real' painter in the class. She put splashes of colour onto the canvas and made her bridge look really cool and abstract. LOL.

It ended up okay and we did have a lot of fun! Admittedly the wine helped. We were giggling away by the time hubby came to pick us up. Definitely something I'd do again and I had a great time with daughter!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Icy walk

Most of the snow has melted, but as there was so much of it and where people walked it packed down, it has now all turned into ice. I would prefer walking in the snow. It is certainly easier!

The beach looked wild and icy. Nothing like it does in the summer.

Chunks of ice on the beach

You can see where the ice and snow was on the beach and how it melted to create a hole.

We couldn't walk up to the lighthouse as the walkway was covered with ice!

We travelled down the lakeshore to another lighthouse.

I think our next visit to one will be when/if the lake ices over. It was icy on this walkway but underneath the rails was quite clear and we stepped along gingerly. It was really cold, but beautiful in its own way. Another reminder that there is beauty to be seen in winter.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

WOYWW - Last one of the year

It's the last What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday so I just have to join in. Julia over at Stamping Ground is our gracious host. I'd love to say Thank You to Julia for hosting this lovely weekly get-together. Also thanks to the lovely Jan who took over hosting duties while Julia was poorly. I really enjoy visiting weekly and seeing what fellow crafters are up to.

I don't have a photo of my desk this week. It looks basically the same as last week - messy! I haven't been up in my room a lot in the past week. I did finish the album for my daughter - she loved it - and the album for my Mum - she loved it!

I did receive crafty goodness myself - yarn from my daughter, a knitting book & a photography book from husband and some stamping blocks as well as lots of other non-crafty goodies including books!

I will knit those hedgehogs gloves by the end of 2017 so hold me to it! The photography book goes along with an online/email photography course I'm joining in with in 2017.

My MIL made me

She is in her mid 70s and still does this fiddly work! Lots of patience too. She also knitted us all scrubbies

Yesterday we (me, MIL & daughter) went out together to some local craft stores where yarn was on sale and both MIL and I stocked up. Today we all ventured out to some charity shops where I found some crafty bargains along with (more!) books.

So that's it. I'll probably visit a few this morning but more later in the evening. Daughter and I are taking a (chilly) visit to the lakeshore and then taking the dog on a long walk in a nature reserve. This time next week we will be on our way to Minnesota where daughter will begin her new adventure. Sniff. Sniff.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


I did actually bake/make some goodies this year. I was in charge of desserts. I really enjoy baking but I don't do it that often as we don't eat a lot of it any more.

Oreo balls. These are so yummy and really easy to make! They look pretty good too.

Sausage Rolls. I did cheat and buy the pastry. I do usually make my own, but didn't want to stress myself out so I cheated!

Snickerdoodles. The name of this cookie just makes me giggle. It's my middle son's favourite and really easy to make!

Chocolate Chip - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Delicious!

Shortbread Jam Thumbprints. Another family favourite. They have a hint of almond in them. I also made a Twinkie Dessert but didn't take a picture. It has bananas, pineapple, vanilla pudding, whipped topping and Twinkies. I love making the cookies as they don't cost a lot and most of the stuff I have on hand.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Day - it's over

Well, it's all over. Presents are opened and food has been (mostly) eaten. We had a really good day at MIL's house. Only downfall - I pulled my lower back Christmas Eve and could barely move. Ow. Ow. Still not a lot better today. Sigh.

Shasta got all worn out! I think the rest of us felt that way too!

Me and my dear daughter. We're now into her last full week here in Michigan. It's time to concentrate on the 'big' move!

My three 'kids' together. I warned them I was taking a picture as I'm not sure when they will all be back together again! Really enjoyed the day. Family, that's what it's all about for us.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

It's all coming together now. Today I'm baking cookies and finishing up the little wrapping I have left to do. Sausage rolls, breads and sweets already made. A feeling of calm is coming over me. I have done what is done and that is it. I am looking forward to Skyping with Mum today and spending time with my kids and family tomorrow.

Last night daughter persuaded me to go with her downtown to look at the lights in the park. It was cold and rainy but we did go. We weren't the only ones! It was nice to see families with kids walking looking at the lights.

Shasta came with us. She enjoyed the attention.

My first trip to America when hubby and I first got married was at Christmastime. My new MIL & FIL took us to this park. At the time there was a horse and cart taking trips around the park. That is gone now, replaced with this...

...the Holly Jolly Trolley!

Happy Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Week in Review - Five on Friday

No great post this Friday (ha ha) but I am going to link up with Amy over at Love Made My Home for another Five on Friday. I'm just going to post five things from my week.

A CAR!! - I have wheels again. I am SO excited. My dear daughter has been 'borrowing' one car, my son 'borrowing' the other car and I have been without a car for a over a year. It isn't so easy over here in small town America without a car. There is limited (really terrible) buses and nothing else. Shops are all mostly away from one another. Daughter has purchased a new-to-her car that has four wheel drive (better in the snow!) so I have my dear old car back again. I know it was a choice we made to lend the cars to the 'kids' but they needed them to get to their jobs and get on their feet. Since I stopped working I didn't really 'need' a car.

READING - Do I need any more books? Nope. I did however have some on hold at the library that seemed to come up at once and I actually have a car to go pick them up! Now all I need is the time to read them.

EATS - lot of goodies around at this time of the year. One of our family favourite sweets is this great Perfect Peppermint Patties recipe. The trick to these is keeping the actual patty really cold.

Lots of other goodies in the works and I will try to take pictures and share in another post.

MAKES - I always end up deciding to make 'just one more thing'. Last year it was an album for MIL & FIL of our trip to Washington. This year it's a mini album for daughter of her first year with Shasta, her rescue husky. I haven't quite finished it - that's how crazy I am - just embellishments to go. They arrived today so will work on in the morning.

And lastly I want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season whatever holiday you celebrate. I have really enjoyed meeting new people in blogland this year. I've 'discovered' lots of new blogs and feel that when I visit I'm visiting with a friend. It's been a truly interesting and inspiring year. Thank you all who visit with me. Also want to thank Amy who has kept Five on Friday going despite tough times in her life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Messy Desk - hanging head in shame

It's Wednesday again so it's time to join with Julia and the gang over at Stamping Ground for another What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. Things are busy here and I'm trying to spend as much time with daughter before she leaves at the beginning of the year for a new state and new job - big changes ahead! It was her birthday on Monday too so we fit in a celebration for that too.

Now on to the nitty gritty. I'm really hanging my head in shame. I was really tempted to move some things around but I didn't. I took the picture as-is late on Tuesday night.

I had cleaned up all the Christmas stamps and bits, but they were in regular boxes. I saw these Christmas ones at Michael's for $1.66 each so I bought enough to put Christmas things in so I would know exactly what was in them! I was in the midst of sorting when I had to leave to meet daughter.

In the background you can see some stickers from a dog set. I'm not sure what I was thinking but with only six days left before the big day I decided to make daughter a mini-album filled with pictures of the dog and all that we've been up to this year. It will be done!

Hope everyone has a Happy Christmas. It's Winter Solstice today so the days are only going to start getting longer - how's that for some happy news?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Crisp and Cold

It is supposed to warm up a little today. Yesterday was really cold at -15C (5F) air temp. I've stopped looking at the wind chill as it just makes me feel colder. I felt a little cooped up in the house and it was daughter's birthday so we decided to take the dog for a walk and see if the lake was ice yet.

Shasta loves the cold weather and snow. Not really surprising as she's a Siberian Husky. It's her kind of weather.

She was really tempted to go out onto the ice, but it's probably not that thick so we kept her close.

The sky was so bright and blue. It was lovely to see the sun even if it was bitterly cold. It is supposed to 'warm' up the next few days and we might get above freezing. Only problem then - the snow starts to melt and everything gets wet and muddy.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Daughter's Birthday

My youngest child, my 'baby' girl, turns 23 today. Where have the years gone? It only seems like just yesterday she was just a baby and meeting her big brothers for the first time. She was overdue and hubby and I were both hoping she would put in an appearance in time for Christmas. We had two little boys - 4 & 2 - and I didn't want to be away from them for THE day!

The night before she was finally born FIL & MIL suggested a trip to a nearby city to take the kids to see the Christmas lights. I was having pains, but decided to go along. I wanted to wait before going to the hospital but not too long - I was determined that with this baby (we weren't sure whether it would be a boy or girl) I was going to have pain medication. The other two were born without and the second one had not been very pleasant.

We saw the lights, got everybody tucked up in bed and I tried to sleep. Finally I decided it was time to go. MIL came over to watch the little ones while hubby took me to the hospital. It was cold out that day and I was wrapped up in all my winter gear. The road to the hospital was bumpy and I could barely sit down - not a good sign!

I gave birth to her fifteen minutes after reaching the hospital - still dressed in my winter coat!

She's a great daughter. I was worried about having one as I wasn't a nice teenager. She's got some good things happening for her this next year. She'll be moving a long way away at the beginning of the year and I'll miss her like crazy, but I am so very proud of her and lucky to have her for a daughter.

Card Swap - Love Made My Home

I was so glad to join in with the card swap that Amy over at Love Made My Home organised.  I was paired up with Lorraine over at Mamasmercantile and was sent this lovely card. I really enjoy reading her blog and seeing all the wonderful photos she takes.

It's always good to receive happy post especially when it's such a lovely festive card! I've had a really good time getting to know everyone this year and love reading all the blogs.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

More of the same Saturday

Still snowy. Still cold. This is the last of the three ex-Christmas trees we have planted around our house, this one in the front garden.

You can see the snowy road out front. Luckily it is a little warmer today (-3C) so salt does work on the roads. Salt trucks came through up the hill earlier and the road now is looking a lot better - you can actually see wet patches and not just snow and ice!

Hubby went out and put some salt around and some of the icicles are melting a little. The temp is supposed to be back down to -12C tomorrow so I'm sure there will be more of them.

My plan for the rest of the day is to wrap what I picked up this morning and what was delivered yesterday and then sit snuggly wrapped in my blanket, watch a little Midsomer Murders and knit.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Stockings are hung.... - Five on Friday

No, actually they are not. The tree is not yet up, the stockings are still in the cupboard and the wrapping has barely began. The shopping isn't even finished yet. Arrgg. I can't be the only one feeling behind. I thought I was doing really well. I think it's more the expectation I put on myself rather than others putting on me. I don't really feel in the 'holiday spirit'. There is plenty of snow outside. It looks really pretty but it isn't fun to be out in. It's so cold out that the snow has turned all crunchy. Daughter had been up earlier in the week to visit a friend in the town she used to live and had to drive back this morning when the roads were quite bad. She said it was really surprising as just 90 miles away (where she had gone) it wasn't bad at all - just when you got close to our town!

Enough of that - here's my five. Rather random, but no lights or tree to show!

Nothing like lovely homemade soup and cheese toasties when the weather is cold outside! In this case it is Leek and Potato. Yum.

Bread and Butter Pudding. It is made by my friend as a gift for me. She makes it for me for my birthday and Christmas. It is just delicious! She has to hide it from her family so I can have it. Good friends and good food and especially pleasant at this time of year.

Homemade cracker boxes filled with yummy chocolates and handed out to friends. The friend who made me the pudding loves Cadbury Twirls. I always bring her some back when I go home and I picked the minis out of my box of Heroes to put in her box.

Wrapping has begun, but it is not that pretty as, admittedly, I am not that good at wrapping. I compensate by putting the presents nicely in bags. Obviously that hasn't happened yet either. Wrapping is taking place in my craft room so at least I can make a mess and no-one is any the wiser!

Lastly, I'll wrap up with pictures of a couple of the live Christmas Trees we've had that we ended up planting in the garden. I have visions of decorating them maybe with bird feeders and such, but at this point the snow in the back garden is deeper than my boots and I don't relish the thought of cold, wet feet.

These were taken a few days ago - there has been more snow since then! Unless there is a dramatic warm-up we will be having a white Christmas. We are under a Winter Weather Advisory from 7am tomorrow morning until 7am Sunday morning. This one, if believed, could bring another 7 inches of snow and maybe some freezing rain!