Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Eve

Just a quick post today. Hope to have a longer one with goals tomorrow. I'm still working on them! How is that for procrastination? Anyway, just wanted to pop in and wish everyone a Happy New Year. If you're out tonight, stay safe. If you're inside (like I am) enjoy your nice night in. I'm staying inside and will probably read, watch a little telly and maybe do something crafty. I will be ringing my Mum close to her midnight time. We always listen/watch Big Ben and see in the New Year together.

I am spending the day today clearing up and doing some crafty things up in my craft room. It's been a while since I've been up there. I am finishing up my 2018 album - I have actually stuck at this all year!

Here's a photo from our walk yesterday. We were planning to do this walk on New Year's Day, but the sun was actually shining yesterday so we made the most of it!

I took lots of photos yesterday. We walked the 3.6 mile round trip out to Ludington lighthouse. The trail to the lighthouse is through some sand dunes. Although the sun was shining yesterday it was really, really windy. We met one couple on the trail who said they had only got halfway before they turned back as the wind was whipping up the sand and it stung! This photo was taken from the top of a small dune. There's a path leading down to a shipwreck. We haven't gone up and down this dune before (usually in summer the sand is horrible, but it was frozen so I thought it was a good idea!). We got to the top but it was terribly windy we didn't go any further. Hubby went right back down as he got a mouthful of sand. I stayed at the top for a few minutes and inspired by a comment left by Rose stood at the top, closed my eyes, opened my eyes and just enjoyed.

I usually post a lot of photos on Instagram. So if you are on Instagram give them a look. My Instagram

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Winter Joy List

I have managed to put a few things on my Winter Joy List. I am keeping it on a pad by my chair in the living room and when I think of something I add to it.

This is my list so far:-

* Drinking hot chocolate - there are so many yummy flavours!
* Taking walks along the ice by Lake Michigan
* Reading lots of books snuggled under my fluffy blanket
* Taking snow photos
* Soup - making and eating!
* Enjoying having my old cat, Shadow, sit on my lap for prolonged periods. He really likes the fluffy    blanket. In the warmer months he doesn't tend to sit on me as much.
* Putting out bird seed for the birds in the garden and enjoy watching them especially when
   everything seems grey and dull.
* Doing some crafty projects when the weather is bad outside.

How are you finding joy in the winter?

A photo from the walk this morning. There was a smattering of snow on the ground and it was quite cold. First things, not long after dawn the sun shone for a little while casting a lovely reflection on the water. Not long into our walk the sun disappeared and didn't show itself again all day!

Friday, December 28, 2018

What Comes Next?

Today I'm thinking about sorting out some bits that got neglected before Christmas and tidying up a bit. Next week I hope to get back into my craft room. I'm also thinking about January goals. I hope to have some written down to start off the New Year. I will also be choosing a Word of the Year again. I'm still thinking about what that will be. It's usually one word that I try to remember and carry through my life for the year. This year's word was Explore. We've done quite a bit of that this year!

I'm also working on a Winter Joy List. This is something I read over at My Two Cents. I love Bless' blog. She always has such great daily and monthly goals and to-do lists. She posted about her Winter Joy List and I thought it sounded like a good idea. I don't like winter - at all. I'm hoping concentrating on the good will help me get through it with a smile! Is there something you really enjoy about winter?

I'll leave you with a photo of the hot chocolate packets my hubby found me. I love this brand of hot chocolate. Last year I could find it most places, this year not so much. Hubby managed to get it at a great deal and I have enough (along with cuppa soup!) to get me through winter. Hot chocolate is definitely on my Winter Joy List!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Boxing Day

Well, I survived Christmas Day. It went okay. I did talk and text with daughter throughout the day and she sent photos which really helped. I think she knew I was having a tough time and I'm sure she was missing us too.

Although Boxing Day isn't celebrated within the US we usually do something on Boxing Day. Hubby usually takes the day off and we sit around, playing with presents and eating lots of food. This year middle son is coming over and we're actually going to open all our presents!! We didn't open any at our house yesterday as middle son had to work. So today will be an exchange of presents. They are all currently sitting under the tree awaiting his arrival (which shall be soon!).

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and if things were tough, you made it through it.

A few of the wonderful hand-made ornaments on my talented MIL's Christmas tree.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Eve Eve

Well, the time is almost upon us. I have finished shopping. The presents are wrapped. I still have sausage rolls to make and maybe some cookies. We went out and took a walk today to get away from everything Christmas-y. It was cloudy, dreary and quite cold (really cold by the lake!) but it was nice to get outside and take some photos. I am already thinking about the days after Christmas and sliding into the New Year. There are some many thoughts and plans running around in my head. I know it's just another day, but it feels like the slate can be wiped clean and I can start again. I will be choosing a word of the year, but I don't think I'll be declaring resolutions. I think if I do that I am setting myself up for failure. Instead I think I might do monthly goals. Those seem a lot more manageable. So each month I shall set myself a few goals.

No outdoor photo today as I haven't sorted through them yet, but I'm sharing this lovely Christmas ornament my talented MIL made. I LOVE it! I really enjoy taking photos of squirrels so it seems quite fitting. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Winter Solstice/It's CRAZY out there!

Happy Winter Solstice! It's a dull day here in Michigan. I don't think there's a lot of hope seeing the moon tonight. I was hoping to perhaps catch a glimpse of it. I always look forward to this day. I know it's the shortest day of the year, but it means that the days will be getting longer and, though we are in Winter, Spring will be coming again!

I had a couple of errands to run and it was raining so I got out early instead of going for a walk. It was busy even when I went out! By ten o'clock I was done and I was really glad! It was CRAZY out there! There were too many people and drivers weren't really paying attention to what they were doing. I am looking forward to things being a little quieter when the holidays are done. I think, apart from a couple of foodie things, that I am done shopping.

I did pick up a couple of things that weren't on the list. My middle son has to work on Christmas and I think he's feeling a little down about it. I couldn't buy a tree or plant as he has a kitten, but I did get him a couple of Christmas-y things to hopefully cheer him up!

Moon from Wednesday night when the skies were really clear!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Is it Thursday Already?

Yikes. Time is running out!

Yesterday was my daughter's birthday. I tried not to be too sad as I couldn't see her, but I did get to talk with her for quite a while so that was nice. She said she had a pretty nice day. She had a dentist appointment. Ick. That, for me, would not be a good day! She said she had scheduled it so that she could leave work early! I did go out to lunch with a friend so that was nice. She's always good to talk to. Her younger son moved quite a way away (though he did come back!) so she understood how I felt. She also helped with a couple of other things I was having issues with. I enjoyed talking to her as I didn't feel stupid or that my problems were insignificant.

Things are coming along. We finally got our tree up. I didn't take a normal photo of it, but I was playing around with lights and what-not.

It's my abstract tree! I like that it is actually in the shape of a tree. I'm going to try doing some bokeh photography while the lights are out.

I made a card for someone I'm giving a GC too. I thought I'd just tuck it inside.

It's done by decoupage toppers. I really enjoy doing these. I didn't think I would, but I had a few in my stash. I think this one was 'free' with one of my magazines. The card base is from Docrafts Christmas with Wellington. I got these in the US from There are 12 6x6 card bases (with - I think - 4/5 different prints) and I paid less than $4! They also come with some really nice envelopes.

I think I might have to get some more of these! I really like them.

I've also been doing this 'Currently' thing for The Awesome Ladies Project. On Fridays I fill out this little note and it's just a way to keep track of things. They fit quite nicely in a little notebook I had.

Once I get through this week it will be nice to be able to work on some me projects again.

I really feel like next year I need to be organised. How do people organise for Christmas? Do you buy things throughout the year? Do you make lists of ideas for people? Things to do? I feel as though all this running around and feeling stressed is unnecessary. Thanks for the input!

I always enjoy reading all your comments!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Start of a New Week and Peppermint Patties

I know I was moaning about the cost of the Post Office last week (and ouch it was expensive) but daughter rang to tell me today that the boxes had arrived! I only sent them out Saturday. Can't beat that. I was a little worried that they wouldn't arrive for her birthday as one contains her cards and a couple of presents. Now I can relax a little.

I did get some wrapping done today. I hate wrapping. I'm not good at it. I don't have the patience for it. I am hoping if I get some done each day it won't bore me silly and I won't be doing it on Christmas Eve. Husband has a couple of days holiday left and is taking Christmas Eve and Boxing Day off so we're hoping to go out one of his days off. Boxing Day isn't a holiday here in the US but we've always sort of done something for it. This year middle son is working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so we will be celebrating our Christmas on Boxing Day.

As promised here is the Peppermint Patties recipe

1lb powdered/icing sugar (here in the US I buy a pound bag)
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2-3 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup evaporated milk
package melting chocolate (this is to coat the peppermint patties) - I use Candiquick.

Combine first four ingredients. Add milk and mix well. I then put this into the refrigerator for about half an hour. It can be a little sticker so getting it cold helps. Roll into one inch balls, placed on wax paper and flatten. The mixture can be sticky so to make it easier to work I keep some icing sugar/powdered sugar on hand and put it on my hands to help things not stick! Cover and freeze for 30 minutes.  Melt chocolate and coat the patties. I use two spoons to coat and sort of drip of excess. You can get special tools to do this, but I've been doing it a while so have a system. Place them on waxed paper until set.

My family love these!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Saturday...and a funny

Typical Saturday here - walk with hubby and then Skype with Mum. I got a couple of daughter's packages out and now that those are sorted (one more of misc. to go) I'm a little more relaxed. I decided not to do anything holiday related this weekend. I did clean up my craft room a little and sort out a couple of things in the living room to get ready for putting the tree up. Tomorrow isn't supposed to be too bad out (cold, but that's a given) so we'll be off for our Sunday walk.

Hubby must have been really tired. He fell asleep downstairs after doing his own hobby stuff. He made it up to bed later. We said goodnight and I told him I'd see him in the morning. He said 'yeah, for a little while'. I stared at him, not sure what he was talking about. So I said 'why? Are you going somewhere?' He looked at me a little puzzled and said 'work'. He hasn't been working overtime for a few weeks so I said 'are you going to work tomorrow? It's Sunday". He thought it was Monday! I looked at where he usually set his work clothes and sure enough they were all laid out ready to go! He must have still been half asleep!

Here's a photo from yesterday. I sometimes forget that, when things are frozen, the birds find it really hard to find fresh water. So yesterday I got rid of the frozen water in the bird bath and added some fresh water - they really enjoyed it!

Joy had asked about the Peppermint Patties recipe. I will post it tomorrow. Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Busy Day

Had quite a busy day today. I got up quite early and, as it was raining, decided to run a couple of errands first. I had a GC to pick up for daughter's boyfriend, a video game daughter wanted and a couple of household items missed from yet another list. By the time I was done it had stopped raining so I went for a quick walk. It was quite foggy out and rather eerie, but the walk was calming. My plan was to make some peppermint patties when I got home. I thought I had all the ingredients. No. I forgot it had 1/4 tsp vanilla in it and I didn't have any! I used it up the last time I baked something. Sigh. Made me so mad as I had looked at vanilla in the shop when I went and thought 'no, I have plenty of that'. Off out I went, back to the shop up the road, where I promptly got distracted by a couple of friends who work there. They were on their break so I sat with them and had a good old natter.

I did end up making the peppermint patties. One batch at least. I barely remembered to take a photo before packing them! The photos are taken with my phone so not the greatest. Maybe I'll be a little artistic with the next batch!

I have two boxes packed up for daughter - which will go out tomorrow. I have one more to send. I wanted to at least get these out as some things are for her birthday on Wednesday. I'll certainly feel a little bit better when these are on their way. I do need to know how much these ones cost first. I've heard rumours that the post office is in trouble financially. I don't know why! It's always packed when I go in there and they charge an arm and a leg to post anything! I might have to rethink how I do things next year. Sigh.

It 'might' be sunny this weekend, so maybe walking is in the cards. It will be nice to think about something other than the holidays for a couple of days! Hope everyone else will have a good weekend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Annoyed with Myself

As some people who read this know, I'm not good with lists. I've been really trying to do better. I've been (sort of) on the right track. Last night I made myself a list to take with me to the shops today. In the past I've forgotten the list. I took it with me. I bought just the things on the list. I got in the car, driving home and I realised that I forgot to add some things to the list.

Going back to curling up in a ball.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

On Track...Maybe?

I managed to get my Mum's calendar, album and her and sisters' cards all done. They are packed up and on their way to England! I'm so glad I got them out. They should be there in plenty of time for Christmas. Next on my list is to get daughter's boxes ready. I was going to sort and start wrapping them up today, but when I woke up (sneezing) my nose started running like crazy and I didn't feel like doing much past the errands I needed to get done (including Post Office to send Mum's gift). So...nope, nothing much more done except usual house stuff. There is always tomorrow! I hope my nose stops running. I'd rather it be stuffed up!

A few pages from my Mum's Wales album. Looking at the photos brought back memories. They make me feel both a mixture of happy and sad. Does that make sense?

Hopefully I'll get a little more done tomorrow. I'm planning on taking some cold medicine and getting an early night. Extra sleep might help!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Some Thoughts

I treated myself yesterday to Bella Grace Magazine. It's expensive, but I really enjoy it. Barnes and Noble had sent me a $10 you've-spent-a-lot-this-year thank you gift card (that's what I call it lol) so I used it as part payment for this beautiful magazine. There's always a little editors story/note in the front and this one got me thinking. It was about feeling the need to apologise for what you like, or clarifying why you like something. The example given was that she (the editor) was sitting in a brewery tasting room reading a book. Her friend, who was working, came up and asked what she was reading. The book she was reading happened to just be a fun mystery book. She was a little embarrassed to hold up the book and felt the need to explain why she was reading it - that she had just finished an intense book and wanted something a little light. She really didn't want to just say she enjoyed it.

I must admit that I do that sometimes. Why can I not just say I enjoy/like something without feeling the need to explain it? Different people like different things. We shouldn't feel the need to apologise or be embarrassed by what we like/enjoy. Sometimes when I'm posting photos of the same thing several times on Instagram I feel I should apologise. Why can't I just stand up and say I take the photos because I enjoy taking them? Or when I was at work in the lunch room I was rather like the editor - not wanting to show the book I was reading. I think it's all about being comfortable with yourself. I've been thinking a lot about it and want to make it a goal next year to be more comfortable with myself and less apologetic.

Friday, December 7, 2018


I am addicted to watching Vlogmas videos on YouTube. I didn't know it was a 'thing' until some of the craft people I usually watch starting doing this. It's quite interesting. I am still trying to get in the holiday mood so thought perhaps watching some Vlogmas might help get me there. I'm not sure whether it's getting me in the mood for the holidays or making me more depressed! I can't imagine doing a video everyday. My life is just not that exciting and I don't have the energy to do things just to fill the vlog.

Anybody else watching Vlogmas videos? If so, what's your favourite to watch?

My Mum's album is coming along quite nicely. I will be finished by Monday at least. I'll be satisfied with that. The beginning of the album is a little shaky and I have to go back and do one page, but once I got into the swing of it things are coming along quite nicely. I will have her things boxed up and out by Tuesday or Wednesday. When I go to the post office to post hers I will pick up the large priority boxes for daughter's things. I want to get them off by next weekend. Once I am finished with Mum's things I shall feel a lot better. The box to send is quite expensive. I got prices the last time I was at the post office and it is better to use a flat-rate box so I shall fill it up completely. I am putting my sisters' cards and calendars in the box too and will have Mum pass them on.

This weekend is supposed to be cold but there is supposed to be sunshine! I hope so. I always feel a little brighter when there is sunshine!

Oh I finally finished the knitting project that has been on my needles forever! It wasn't difficult, but I had to concentrate on the pattern. Any distraction and I'd mess up. The good news is that, despite getting myself in a muddle, I managed to work through it. I'm not that pleased with the colour. It was supposed to be different shades of grey but didn't work out that way!

The photo isn't the greatest. I took it with my phone while sitting here in my chair. I might make another one. It will keep my neck nice and warm during the winter months!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

And the Week Rolls on....

It's Thursday again already! I have such good intentions of writing more on the blog and then things (life) just seems to get in the way. I'm still working on my mum's album. I can't find some of the photos! YIKES! I had cleaned up when daughter came and now I can't find what I did with them. After I am done with this I think I'm going to have a good sort out. I really don't feel like doing a lot of other holiday crafting. Perhaps next year....

It's been another week of ups and down on the weather front. It's cold and mostly grey, but on Tuesday we had a beautifully sunny (still cold) day. I spent far too much time walking and then spent the rest of the day trying to get warm again! I miss the sun and wanted to make the most of it.

Look at that reflection! No wonder I am behind on things lol.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Another Week...and thanks

Thanks for all the comments on the last post! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's heard/used the saying.

It's the start of another week I'm going to try to approach it a little more cheerfully. The snow - for now - is gone and that, at least, makes me a little happier. It is still grey and horrible but at least I can get out and take a walk - albeit a muddy walk, but it's out! On snowy days I really miss walking. Anyway, this week I have lots of projects to get done. I am happy to report that I am finished with my Mum's calendar! Yeah! One big project down. I am going to start working on one of our holidays in a small album for her to send with her package. I have the photos and the album so now it's a matter of picking out the photos, embellishments and stories to go with them. This is where the travel journal I kept while on holiday helps. I can look back in there to help jog my memory.

I think I have all my Christmas cards done. I found up some decoupage die-cut sheets and have been having lots of fun making them into cards. As soon as we get some decent light I WILL take photos!

Daughter and her boyfriend have finally managed to get up the fence around their garden. She sent me a lovely video of the dogs running around for the first time. It was lovely to see despite not being there. Sometimes I really love modern technology.

How is everyone coming with holiday projects? Do you make lots of things or just a select few? I usually just make for people I know will really appreciate it. Which reminds me - middle son just gave me his list and a knitted scarf from me is on it! I made him one last year and he loved it. Makes me quite proud.

To end on - last week I took another walk in the park I visited at the beginning of the month. It was amazing to compare the same view.

November 3rd

November 29th

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sayings - has anyone heard of?

I was talking to my husband and son (both Americans) about the death of George Bush senior and I said that my Mum would have said that he had a good innings. They both stared at me like I was crazy. I know Mum uses it - and I heard it a lot growing up - and it means they had a really long life. Does anyone else use this? Or have heard it? I know it has to do with cricket, which is why husband and son probably haven't heard of it.

Anyone else?