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Showing posts from 2010

2010: That's a Wrap!

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It's that time again.  Time to say goodbye to the old year...hello to the new one.  As we prepare to welcome in 2011, we are also welcoming a new Drool Gang member into the (extended) family, so I thought I'd lead this post off with a photo (right) of Dixie.  She is such a cutie-pie and is joining Missy M and Ella Rae (who I'm not supposed to refer to as my grand-dog...:) in L'ville.  She's 2 1/2 years old, with red and white coloring (she looks a lot like Elmo, don't you think?).  And, she's got a big voice for such a little girl.  I haven't met her in person (canine?), but I have heard her bay over the phone.  Woo-woo!

So, it's New Year's Eve.  Most people celebrate by going out on the town, putting on party hats, and toasting with champagne at midnight.  Us?  Well, we are such party animals (NOT!) around here that our agenda for the day has been a bit different.

We have been enjoying the results of Mr. T's BirdCam that he got for Christma…

What a Christmas!*

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*To explain the significance of the title
...as said by the incomparable Sydney Greenstreet, playing Mr. Yardley,  at the end of one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, A Christmas in Connecticut...the 1945 original, starring Barbara Stanwyck as Elizabeth Lane.  Don't even speak to me about the remake; it doesn't exist in my universe.  BTW, I really want to be Elizabeth Lane when I grow up.Anyway.

I do hope you've had a wonderful, marvelous, heart-warming, and soul-restoring Christmas, too.  One that just took your breath away.

I finished up my baking with a three-layer coconut cake (photo, right), made with 7-minute icing and ambrosia (pineapple, orange, and coconut cooked in a sugar-syrup) filling.  My step-great-grandmother, Ner (who was married to Nananny/Ed Lee Stewart and whose "real" name was Nelle Rhea Stewart) used to make fabulous coconut cakes and ambrosia at Christmas, and I inherited this labor of love.  I just can't grate the coconut …

The Baking Begins

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Diabetics beware!  Do not come within 5 miles of our house for at least the next couple of weeks.  It just isn't safe.

OK.  You've been warned.

Although the high winds we've endured as we entered the Red Zone before the Holidays have done their best to destroy...or at least rearrange...all the outdoor decorations, I'm happy to report that we have escaped relatively unscathed.  It took some hasty hammering of stakes to anchor the Reindeer, but they are still standing as of this A.M.

The one casualty is Santa...he of the blow-up variety.  His chimney filled with water...from the rains and wintry mix...and that turned to solid ice when the temps dropped into the teens.  I attempted to free him from the frozen chunks, and in the process managed to hopelessly entangle one of the motors in the folds of the fabric.  Arrrggghhh.  So, Santa is currently unplugged and in triage, awaiting the arrival of decorating specialist Dr. T from his Baltimore/DC trip on Thursday.

Anyway, i…

Decorating for Christmas is Almost Done

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We got up this morning, had coffee in our Christmas mugs, and turned on the fireplace to enjoy a calm, cozy Saturday morning.  The house is decorated for the Holidays, (well, all except the dining room) and it feels so warm and happy. 

Check out the photo (below) of the great room.  You can see some of the nutcrackers on the mantle (since the collection now numbers 58, there are gaggles of them all over the house), some of the bears on the trunk (that's the new 2010 Belkie Bear on the right, with the 2003 Harrod's Bear in the middle, and Belkie Bear 1994 on the left) and in Missy M's tiny red rocker (Belkie Bear 2000 holding some bear buddies), and the sentamental ornaments on the tree.  Ahhh...



 Then we turned on the local weather station.  Drat.  Weather people were saying we were in for rain, freezing mix, wind, and a big blast of Arctic air...along with a hurricane-style barometer reading.  About the only thing they weren't predicting was a plague of loc…

Holidays are Upon Us

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Whew!  Let me catch my breath.  And, maybe have another cup of coffee.  I need some caffeine!

I've been decorating the house for the Holidays (photos in the next post), doing some baking, writing the annual newsletter, signing and addressing the Christmas cards, and...in my spare time on Thursday...driving Miz Edith.  Mom had made her list and checked it twice...and she was ready to go shopping as soon as the sun came out.  Cold weather or not...

To get me moving in the direction she wanted to go, she tempted me with an offer of breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  I'm a sucker for country ham and biscuits, don't you know?

But, she had a bigger plan than just enjoying a meal together.  Power shopping!  I'm telling you, that little lady (photo, right) can spend with speed!  Even using her walker didn't slow her down much.

If you know me, you know I was out of the room when they handed out the shopping genes.  I'm not much of a shopper...never have been, never will be. …

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

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 Snow! Snow!! Snow!!! Snow!!!! S-n-o-w!!!!! (Sung to the tune from "White Christmas."  You know that one, don't you?  When Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye meet up with the girls, played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, in the train's dining car?  On their way to Vermont?  You know the one I mean, right?!)

Yes, it's the first snowfall of the season for us here in HPNC.  And, as always, I'm loving it!

Mr. T and I got up earlier than we usually do on a Saturday morning so we could take the Houndz to the Fluff 'n Fold...our pet phrase for the Grooming Center at PetsMart. Although they are never happy to make this journey, they all really needed to go to the salon; their nails were turning into talons! Duchess' dew-claws looked like the Wicked Witch of the West...and she certainly knows how to use 'em. Ouch.

After herding the Basset Brigade behind the swing-door in the store, we humans headed for Bruegger's Bagels in Friendly Center.  We don't h…

Garden Shed - The Big Reveal

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Whoosh!  That was the sound of November rushing by.  I really must be getting older 'cause every month seems to go by faster than the one just before.

I took that picture (right) this morning, looking  out the dining room window...AKA my office (or, droffice, if you will...:) to document the last leaf left on the dogwood tree in front of the front porch. Mr. T spent nearly an hour with the leaf blower, trying to corral all the ones that had fallen on the sidewalk and driveway, blowing them back into the area we call the Natural Area.  It's a hopeless cause if done before all the leaves fall, but we are pretty close now.  Only the oak trees are holding on to theirs now.  Winter is truly on its way.

The last full month of Fall has been a busy one for us here at Casa 3917.  As you know from reading the previous posts, building a garden shed has taken up most of our spare time. 


 You will recall this project started early A.M. on 11/11, with the delivery of the kit from Home D…

We Give Thanks

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What a wonderful day it was!  Even though the weather outside was not the best (drizzling rain, cloudy, etc.), we were dry and warm and well-fed inside.  For these and all our many blessings, we continue to give thanks.

  Anyone who knows me knows I love to decorate for the holidays...pretty much any holiday.  I have color-coded plastic containers in the attic for practically every special day...and Thanksgiving gets two boxes.  Mr. T got them out when he put the Halloween boxes (3 of them...:) back up, so I've had the mantles and the dining room table decorated for several weeks, adding a touch here and there.

As you can see in that picture (right), the centerpiece on the table again this year is the stuffed turkey I made 20-25 years ago.  There are also matching placemats, napkins, and aprons.  I add lots of fall colors in the leaves, the flowers, and the candles...and I sprinkle leaf-shaped confetti about on the tablecloth.  A pain to pick up...but a fun touch nonetheless.

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Garden Shed, Days 4 - 7

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OK...so where was I?
The walls were up on the Garden Shed, and the inside had been painted and covered to protect it against the elements.  Mr. T had to return to work (which means he had to return to the road...:), so we were on temporary hiatus from construction.
  
No more.  He's taking a few more of those "vacation days," so we've been building as fast as our hammers could nail.  After the walls came the workbench (and you thought I was going to say something silly like "the roof," didn't you?) and the interior shelves that form the "attic" and two side storage areas.  Then came the roof trusses and the trim boards (photo, left).  Hey, this instruction book is very specific about the order of things...and we're doing our best to follow their lead.
 
Finally, on Day 5, the roof went up and the windows went in.  That was an exciting day for sure, 'cause now the weather could change without our having to be overly concerned …

The Sun Returned, the Shed's Still Standing, So Let's Celebrate!

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Good news!  The wind and the rain huffed and puffed on the new Garden Shed walls...but to no avail.  They're still standing after a long night of rough weather.  Whew!

And, today dawned bright and glorious.  Carolina Blue skies...red, gold, and orange leaves...clean and fresh breezes...just an absolutely beautiful Autumn day.  As Mr. T is still out-of-town, I'm putting away the hammer and nails and declaring this a no-construction zone day.  I decided to leave well-enough alone, as they say, and celebrate our good fortune.

A celebration calls for...cupcakes!

I have been craving a cupcake for the longest kinda time.  Devil's Food chocolate cake with creamy vanilla buttercream icing...and lots of it!  Hey, I'm making 'em, so I get to choose the flavors, right?

I checked the pantry and decided to do my best imitation of Sandra Lee...you know, the "Semi-Homemade" lady on HGTV?  "Keep it Simple, keep it smart, keep it sweet, and keep it semi-homemade.&quo…