Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Unveiling of the Brinkley Christmas Village -- 2011

Christmas Crafting

I have always wanted to do more crafting at Christmas but I never seem to find the time and, before you know it, it is too late.  This year I started early -- like in the summer -- but I can't show you photos of those endeavors as they are gifts -- that will be a later post.  However, I did decide to do a little crafting for our Christmas Village.

As you might know, I have been collecting Christmas village houses for absolutely years and years and it was always a joy to play with at the holidays.  The last couple of years, though, I have gone apathetic toward it --probably because of my former cat -- (he is still a cat, he is just not mine anymore).  This year, however, because the Hubs is home, we decided to get an early, relaxed start on it so we could actually enjoy the process.  You can see earlier photos of the village here

There is a tree in the middle of the village that we decorate -- sort of like Rockefeller Center if you use your imagination!  The year Hubs had his surgery, he couldn't really manage the big tree so we opted for this little one and it served the purpose nicely.  In fact, I am considering not putting the big tree up this year at all.  I digress.  Anyway, this year I decided to go with a "natural" look for the town center tree and this is what I came up with -- pine cones, paint, glitter, rusty jingle bells, ribbon and candy canes.  I think it came out rather nice, actually.

Adding little eye screws to the pine cones wasn't easy

All done

creamy white paint to add "snow"

that was a quick snow storm!

Added a little gold accent to the rusty bells -- later added white paint

clear glitter

never have used clear glue before -- it worked really well

can't see the glitter but it is there

wasn't really happy with this but it was done so I left it alone

added the ribbon hangers to the glittery pine cones

Hubs in the beginning stages of the "process" -- it takes a while to build a village

Uh - oh , the book props are coming out

Next blog you will see the finished village! We have added things from those first photos a couple of years ago and we have tweaked it until we think it looks "right".  Can't wait to see what you think!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Musing Mondays

It is time for another Musing Mondays hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.  Today's question is -- "Will you be buying books for the holidays, this year.  If so, for whom and why?"

I have already done.  I buy books every Christmas for almost everybody on my list.  My hubby is always looking at some sort of woodworking or barbecue book.  My kids and their spouses read and, of course, there are the children.  I don't think there can ever be enough books in the home of a child.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A View From A Window -- Or In My Case -- A Door

A while back, Jane from The Maple Syrup Mob began a weekly Thursday post of a photo taken from the same window.  It should be interesting to see how the scenery changes throughout the year.   She invited anybody who wants to join in to--well, join in.  So, here I am, playing catch up, as usual so I have two weeks worth of photos.  I will honestly try to do better this week but, in all fairness to me, this last Thursday I had to chop pickles and make dressing and quietly supervise the bird roasting or rather smoking -- my hubs does a mean turkey in the kamado.

Anyway, here we go.  These photos are taken from my back door, with me inside, of my back garden.  It is  a little shabby right now because the weather was so horrible over the summer and almost everything went dormant and now it thinks it is spring and everything is coming out -- including the weeds.  There is no keeping up with the weeds.  The first three photos were taken Thursday week.

The next two photos were taken this past Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

I don't see much difference between the two except I think the hollies have more berries in the more recent photos.  Can't wait to see what is left of the garden this next week after these horrible winds we are having.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just Letting You Know--

I am not dead.  I am just swamped.  Have been doing some babysitting and planning a birthday party for my 90 year old mother in law whose birthday is tomorrow.  I said I didn't want to plan this party -- I said it loudly -- yet, here I am planning the blasted party which just goes to show that when I tell people they don't listen to me, I am right no matter how much they protest!!!

I have been in the mood to Christmas shop but not in the mood to go shopping.  Clearly there is conflict there.  So, I have been letting my fingers dance around the keyboard and am shopping online.  This weekend is a special weekend here in North Texas -- we are all being encouraged to shop  at our favorite local, independent, small business.  I would love to but -- well, I went by my favorite little independent, local, small toy store today and everything is twice or three times as expensive in the store as it is online.  It used to be a very unique little place but now, yeah, not so much.  So, I don't guess I will be doing my bit for local, independent businesses this weekend.  Well, except for the party venue so that must mean something.

So, if anybody has missed me, that is where I have been --- sitting, sitting, sitting, planning, planning, planning.  Now I have get in the mood to cook for Thanksgiving.  Whew, I think I am tired already.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Forwarder I Go, the Behinder I Get

Thirty days of Thanks --

November 11 -- thanks for the veterans ( my dad, grandfathers, uncle, and cousins) and for our current military personnel.  They do a vital job and yet are so under appreciated.

  November 12 -- Thankful for a fun activity today.

Current Read:  Still reading The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin.  I am behind because I left the book at my daughter's house on Thursday but I will catch up tonight.

Diet and Exercise Update -- What diet?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Update - Update - Update

Thirty days of Thanks -- Day 10

I am thankful for these early mornings.  Really.  They are quiet and I have a little while to do a few things that require quiet.

Diet Update --

Yes, well, have fallen off the program again -- after years of keeping a food diary I just can't do it any more.  However, after doing it for several days I am aware that it isn't my calorie intake that is causing me problems but more my lack of exercise.  So.....yesterday I began an exercise program.  I walked on the Tony Little Gazelle for 20 minutes -- need to start slow and I did some sit-ups.  My goal is to do this every day and see if it matters.  I received some old photos of my dad from a dear friend this last week and I have to say that if heredity is mostly to blame then I am doomed.  I am just the female version of my dad and there is nothing much that can be done about that so maybe, instead of focusing on appearance, I need to focus on health, put on a big smile and just carry on!

Current read --

I am currently readiing "An American Heiress" by Daisy Goodwin.  It was loaned to me by my daughter who still had loads of library time on it.  She reviewed it as "Jane Austen only readable" and I have to agree.  It is very Downtown Abbey with a whole lot of America thrown in and it is very engaging.  I have already located a copy at the bookstore around the corner just in case I don't get done before it is due. 

It is hard to believe it is Thursday, already but then it is hard to believe it is close to mid-November.  I think the days are doing double time the older I get.  For some reason, the time change has really bothered me this autumn -- it usually doesn't but this year it has been a bear.  Does the time change bother you?

Well, the quiet time is drawing to a close and time to start the day.  I will check back later to see what excitement all of you have been up to today!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Opps -- I slipped -- Thirty Days of Thanks

Yep, got busy and just didn't post -- oh well, making up for it now.

November 7, 8, and 9 -- I am thankful for our good weather, aspirin, and the internet!

Why you say?  Well, the good weather is a great blessing after the horrible summer we had.  I just hope the horrible summer isn't a precursor to a horrible winter but for now it is really nice.  I am thankful for aspirin because I seem to need more of it these days what with the allergy issues and the aching knees.  The internet is the last, probably the least, and the diciest of all -- but think of the world it has opened up! Yes, there are bad things out there but those can be ignored.  Just think of how much information is out there to be gleaned and for somebody whose childhood was filled with days of reading the World Book Encyclopedia it is like a candy store!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanks -- Day 6

I am thankful for my faith and that I live in a country that gives me the freedom to worship and think as I please.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanks -- Day 4

I am thankful for my children

Diet Update

I am  staying on track and making full use of  It is the easiest calorie tracking site I have found yet.  I have managed to meet all my goals within reason and feel good -- although a chocolate chip cookie would be really good right now but I don't have any so problem solved.

So, trying to keep thing light and upbeat here are a couple of chuckles to keep things in perspective! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 03, 2011


I was just re-reading my last post and it occurred to me -- I am older than Godzilla!!!  I don't really know what to say about that!
3 November 2011  -- Famous Birthdays on this Day

Ok, second (or fourth, depending on how you look at it) post for the day.  A while ago I discovered a really interesting, fun website called Brainy History.  It is full of all sorts of fun facts about all the days of the year.   I hadn't visited for a while so I thought I would today -- you can tell I am having a slow start to the day! So, this is what I learned about some famous birthdays on today's date.

Godzilla, Japanese monster, 1954

Kate Capshaw, Fort Worth, Texas, 1952 -- a hometown gal!

Roseanne Barr, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952

Last but definitely not least -- Lulu -- 1948 -- Scotland -- well known for her performance in "To Sir With Love" one of my all time favorite movies!

This one --

not this one!

There were many others, of course, but these are the ones that appealed to me.
BTT, Thirty Days of Thanks, and -- groan -- The Diet

Today's question is "All other things being equal, would you rather read a book that's hard/challenging/rewarding or light/enjoyable/easy?"

This a difficult question because I think it depends on the book.  I love historical fiction and sometimes that gets very involved and difficult to keep up with yet, in the end, it is very rewarding.  There are some days, however, where something light/easy is just what you need.  I read for entertainment and pleasure and I don't need too much of a challenge -- this isn't school, after all.

Thirty Days of Thanks

Day 3 -- I am thankful for my husband.


Ok, I will admit -- I have always had weight issues.  Even when I was a teenager and appeared thinner, I still had issues.  Part of it is my build -- I always tended to have longer arms and legs but my body was short and a bit squarish.  I was always envious of my mother's short, yet proportionate, stature.  I was always a bit out of kilter.  When I would  sit next to my mother, we were the same height, however, when I would stand, I was several inches taller than she, thanks to the long legs.  I always likened myself to a kiwi bird -- short, stocky build (thanks Dad) and long arms and legs (have no clue where they came from).  So, even if my weight was normal, which it was most of my life, my shape was just a bit wonky.  I was never happy, even when I was a size 5 when I was about 23.

I have gained weight twice in my life and  I have seriously dieted twice in my life and I lost the weight by portion control  and exercise.  Note to anybody who might be reading this with the same issue -- trust me, if I can do it, anybody can do it.  The first time was right after we were married -- I gained some weight not unlike the "freshman 15" but more correctly the "newlywed 20".  Well, I got a look at myself in the mirror one day and knew something needed to change so out came the calorie counter, the notebook and onto the floor I went doing the pilates routine I did in my college dance class.  I lost the 20 and a lot more.  I was pretty happy until I saw a photo  and didn't recognize myself.  My little round face bore all the signs of a raging anorexic -- so did the visibly prominent hip bones.  It didn't matter because shortly thereafter, I was pregnant and it wasn't a problem anymore.  I only gained a little with the baby and it was gone immediately.  I went home from the hospital in pre-pregnancy clothes and all was right with my world.  Four years later I delivered my second child.  I had gained too much weight, went home in maternity clothes and struggled from then on.  At one point, when the baby was about 6 months old, I had my thyroid checked, it was overactive.  The situation was never addressed and nobody ever mentioned it again.  So, I plodded along through any number of family/personal "situations" and the weight just gradually, but steadily, crept up.  About seven years ago  I read a book called "Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat".  It involves a diet of 1000 calories a day for 28 days followed by a number of calculations to determine how "under active" your thyroid is as an explanation to your weight issues.  I did it, I lost a lot of weight, I did the calculations and whoa -- my thyroid was working at 150%.  Back to the hyper business.  But, in true Melissa form, did I had to the doctor to get tested again?  Nope.  I stayed on the diet for nine months, losing a LOT of weight, until one day I decided I was hungry, actually feeling ill, and that was the end of that ball game -- not unlike the recent World Series for Texas Rangers fans.  The weight all came back on, minus about 20 pounds, and I am back to square one.  I am not happy -- actually, miserable would be a good adjective to use here. 

Fast forward to Halloween.  I dressed all in black with cat ears and a, drum roll please, tail to go to my daughters little shindig.  Well, my dear hubby seemed to have forgotten the cardinal rule of no photo taking of Moi -- future generations  will just have to be satisfied with high school photos of me.  Well, the photos were downloaded, I looked at them, and here is my summation -- Hubs needs some photography lessons, particularly in regards to lighting, and I need to lose half of me.  I was one fat cat.  So, here I go again.

I have tried getting back in the calorie counting routine any number of times, each requiring some new recording supplies -- cute notebooks, special pens -- color coded even -- an app for my nook -- I even tried Weight Watchers -- twice.  Guess I just wasn't in the mood.  Well, after the Halloween photo shoot my mind was changed so I went online trying to find some sort of easy calorie tracking program.  I thought I had tried them all but apparently not.  I ran across my fitness pal and set up an account.  It is so easy.  I have actually kept up with it for a couple of days.  It is very user friendly and straightforward.  I think I might be able to do with this program for a while.  I weighed in this morning and am down 1.5 pounds.  I don't ever intend to disclose my beginning weight -- use your imagination -- whatever a fat cat would weigh -- but I will record my loss here.  Maybe if I share it I will be more successful.  Maybe it will be like weight watchers meetings -- haha -- never would go to one of those! So, anyway, from time to time expect an update on my latest endeavor.  It shouldn't be a surprise that this would be my next step in building my new, frugal life, now should it?  I mean, it is just another  type of frugality, isn't it?  We will see how it plays out.

Ok, must go get my Thursday started.  It is cold out and quite dark even though it is after 7 a.m.   I will be glad for this weekend with the time change.  I could use a little more sleep!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The FaceBook Thing

There is a "thing" going around Facebook -- 30 Days of Things to be Thankful for.  I won't participate on FB but I thought it might be nice to add to my blog.  It started yesterday but I didn't even get online yesterday so I knew nothing about it until today so I will have to make up for lost time!  So, here goes.

November 1 -- I am thankful for the time I had with my grandfather.  He passed away on November 1, 1969. 

November 2 -- I am thankful for such a nice, day today in spite of the cold front.

In other news, it has been pretty busy around here.  We were invited to visit a pumpkin patch with my daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and my son-in-law's parents who are visiting.  It was a good time but it was cool and breezy and that is never good for all our allergies.

Then, of course, there was Trick or Treating.  My daughter decided to host a little party but since it was on a school/work night, not many people came but great fun was had by all who did.

Granddaughter seemed to know exactly what to do in regards to trick or treating and she even shared her haul with the little lion in the stroller! Very generous little chicken, I would say.

So, now, I am on a diet -- more about that tomorrow.