Monday, December 29, 2014







Well, we have come to the end of this meme for the year.  I haven't participated each week but hopefully that will be different in the upcoming year because this is a great site to be introduced to new books.

This week I am reading "Rosengren's Books:  An Oasis of Mind and Spirit" written by Mary Carolyn Hollers George.  It is a non-fictional work about a bookstore in San Antonio, Texas that was founded by Frank Rosengren.  This bookstore was a intellectual haven for authors such as Robert Frost and Bennett Cerf and a whole host of others.  It was a "hang-out" for the local intellectual crowd as well and had the ambience of a well used, well worn personal library.  This book was of personal interest to me because my father was a friend of the family.  I already knew a lot of the history of the family but this just adds more.  I always felt that they were an interesting lot but I had no idea -- I wish I could go back and talk to Figgi as an adult -- I am sure he had many more stories to tell. 

One of the fascinating things about this book, other than the subject matter, are the vintage photos.  Especially interesting to me, obviously, are the ones of  San Antonio.  Being a native of SA, I have always been interested in local history and the local characters.  This is one of the more interesting families.

Moving on through the next few days, I will be organizing some of the books for my challenges.  Last year I only did one challenge and that was fun but this year I have signed up for several more and am looking forward to getting started.  I have already decided on my book for the Newbery Challenge -- The Giver.  It is poised and ready to go.  Will be looking for my next Aunt Dimity book and my next Agatha Raisin book.  I think I will have to order my next Elm Creek series book as I can't seem to find it in any bookstore.  So, that is my plan for the next few days -- I wish I could get my house as organized as my reading plan!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmastide!

Advent 2014 is a memory and we are firmly into the Twelve Days of Christmas! I thought I would share a photo of the nativity and how it has progressed.





The lighting isn't the best -- you can see it better in the header.  I am so glad to share that the shepherd managed to make it even though he was a bit late.  He had a bit of a bounce on the floor resulting in him getting bruised and battered -- smashed to smithereens, actually -- but my DH was determined that he would see Christmas so he painstakingly glued him back together with fingernail polish and there he stands -- a little worse for the wear but he is there.  A replacement is in the mail but I have a feeling this won't be this little guy's last Christmas with us.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the baptism of our newest granddaughter, Emily Therese.  I won't be posting photos of the child as per her parents request but I will post photos of my gift to her.  I made her a baby quilt as I have all the babies.  I made it in the form of a "wrapping paper" quilt which is really just a striped quilt.  This is the second I have made in this style and I have to say it works better with bright colors and bold prints but I do really like the little bunnies.

These colors look brighter here than they really are

Cross stitched monogram

Little blurry but trust me,  it is cute.


My husband is gifting the sweet babe a wall cross that he made.  He did a wonderful job -- I love the pattern.





Sorry for the flash -- seems it reflected off the black background which is our tv cabinet.

So, tomorrow we will celebrate the baby, the baptism and Christmas all in a day.  It will be tiring but it will be good.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Reading Challenges


I have signed up for five reading challenges in addition to the 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge.  I have added the buttons to the sidebar and I will be listing my books there.  Obviously these are going to overlap because I do have to spend time doing other things like eating and sleeping -- well, ok, maybe not so much eating.

The Cloak and Dagger Challenge will find me beginning with 5 books -- the Inpector Lestrade level.  Considering that I am really enjoying mysteries these days (something I never thought I would ) I think this should be do-able.


Cruisin Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge is going to be fun.  I am deeply entrenched in two cozy mystery series and plan to continue with each of those.  I am starting with Level 1--Snoop -- goal is 6 books.  I don't think this will be a problem!

I think this will work nicely with the next challenge --





This series I am going to use to finish the Elm Creek series as well as the Aunt Dimity series and the Agatha Raisin series.  Sounds like a lofty goal and I might not make it but who knows -- if we actually get snow and ice I won't have anything else to do.  The only problem with this is, I am really enjoying these series and I don't want to rush them because I have separation anxiety issues when I finish a book I really enjoy!


The next challenge is the Newbery Reading Challenge.  When I was in elementary school, we received a reading list each year from which we were to choose books and write book reports.  Many of these books were Newbery or Caldecott winners.  I loved most of them and I have some of them in my personal library.  Obviously some of these will be re-reads but I think that is ok.  I don't think there is a limit on how many books we can read however there is a point system for the number of books you read. I am going to begin with the L'Engle level which is 15-29 points and I will see how it goes. I am going to try to find copies of some of the early Newbery winners -- however, actually acquiring them is a bit cost prohibitive if you try to find those from the 1920's!





I also signed up for the I Love Picture Books 2015 Challenge hosted by Gina at The Book Dragon's Lair.  I routinely read to a four year old.  This is a no brainer.  Easy peasy.  Plus, I love picture books.



All of the book on these challenges will be included in my 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge.  I haven't put up a button, though, because there doesn't seem to be one yet.  I will probably leave my goal at 20 books for that challenge as that seems to be a do-able number for me.

So, that is my reading goal for this year.  It sounds overwhelming but I think it will be ok.  I am doing a lot of reading on my Nook glo-light and I find that I read faster when I use it.  I have read that people who use e-readers don't retain the information as well but I don't find that to be true -- I have gotten a lot less resistant to using an e-reader as heavy books really hurt my hands to hold.  Plus, there is just something about that instant gratification of being able to push a button and voila! there is the book you just couldn't wait to read.

So, happy reading for 2015!




Getting Ready for the New Year


It seems that 2014 is going to go out with a crunch ---  possibly that of ice underfoot.  We have had reasonably nice weather for the Christmas holiday, so far.  It has been gloomy enough to look like winter yet mild enough to go without coats.  However, it appears that may be coming to an end.  We watch one specific weather report every night and I have absolutely no faith in one of the forecasters.  However, the head meteorologist is usually pretty good and when he says, several days out, that ice is a possiblity, even a small one, I tend to listen and make sure I have certain necessities in the house.  So, after the events of this weekend, I will be heading out to make sure I have those necessities -- bathroom tissue, milk and chili.  Everything a person needs for the duration.

I will also be spending some time re-doing my blog.  I have signed up for several reading challenges for the upcoming year.  Yes, I know, I said I wasn't going to do that but they ARE fun and they do keep me reading and they do give me goals throughout the year.  I am finding that as I get older, if I don't have a goal things just tend to not get done.  I am not particularly bothered by that -- I have spent a good many years "getting things done" so if something slides I don't get my knickers in a twist about it.  However, there is something fulfilling about ticking things off a list.

I might actually create a monthly cross stitch challenge for myself.  I do like to cross stitch and it is coming easier for me these days than quilting.  For instance, I have quilted myself into a very sore and swollen wrist right now and that was doing it on a machine! Sometimes I think machine quilting is much harder than hand quilting but I digress.  In any event, I might be putting something up about a personal cross stitch challenge.

I need to re-do the side bar of the blog to reflect my reading progress in all of these challenges.  If it is there, in front of me, I will remember it and pay attention.  If I jot it down in some obscure place, like a little notebook, it will be lost forever and sometime down the road, when I do remember it, I will be playing catch up and that just never works well. 

I think I will leave the 2014 Reading Challenge list up there at least until New Year's Eve.  I might leave it period.  That way I can see clearly what I have already read without having to go to Goodreads and look it up.  Goodreads and I don't seem to play nice.

So, that is my goal for the blog this year.  I think I will keep the same design because I really like sharing my own photos and I like changing the colors around.  I have one of those little flag holders outside my house and I like to change the flag each month to celebrate something special for that month -- every month has something special.  That is sort of how I view my blog header -- changing it up every month.  Who knows, maybe that is where I will display the ongoing cross stitch challenge.  We will see.

Well, time to go work on the baby quilt.  I will post photos when I am done.

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Thursday, December 25, 2014




A very blessed and Merry Christmas to all by blog readers!  Wishing you a wonderful day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge




Today I am officially winding up the 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge.  My goal was 20 books and it appears I read 21 although I somehow counted incorrectly because I thought I only read 20.  Oh well, it doesn't matter, I met the challenge and am moving on to the challenges I have signed up for in 2015.

I will be participating in the 2015 Reading Challenge as well as a few others mentioned in a previous blog entry.  Obviously they are going to have overlap because I do have to do other things besides read -- darn. 

I couldn't possibly begin to tell you which book was my favorite this year -- I loved them all.  However, I have to say the Elm Creek series didn't disappoint and neither did the new Jan Karon book.  This year I left behind the Aunt Dimity series for a while and picked up the Agatha Raisin series which was very enjoyable.  I haven't finished either series but completing those will work into one of my challenges for 2015.

So, with that said, it is time to put down the Nook and the book and get busy completing Christmas prep -- almost there but not quite.  I will be back with more on my reading plans for the future long around New Year's Eve.

Have a wonderful, safe and very Merry Christmas!



Monday, December 22, 2014








22 December 2014


Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer






I am currently reading -- or rather just finishing -- Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer.  It was a Newberry Award winner in 1944.  It is a fantasy book about a young girl who travels through time but as she grows she knows she will, one day, have to stop.  It is a coming of age book in that respect.

I started this book without having read any background information on it so I really didn't know what it was about.  However, I have really been enjoying it and sort of hate for it to end. 

This will be the last book to complete my 2014 Goodreads Challenge and I think I chose a really good work to end up the year.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

'Tis the Season!!!!!

To be completely strung out.  Yes, indeed.  Full on pre-holiday chaos.  None of my own making.  Well, except for the procrastination part.  Minor detail.

I was doing pretty good in the preparation department  -- most of the shopping done.   I made a decision this year to do things differently.  In the past I have given my big kids money but still went on to buy gifts which somehow defeated the purpose of the money being easy.  I managed to stick to my guns on that one this year -- they will be getting money and I have included gifts but they are small token things which don't require copious amounts of wrapping. 

For the children I have chosen to do the same thing.  The small token gifts are just that, chosen not to have any conflict with Santa or other grandparents.  They will be getting gift cards as well -- even the newest arrival. 

So far so good.  On the Christmas front. 

The baptism of the newest arrival has been planned for three days after Christmas.  There will be gifts there as well.  Handmade items to become heirlooms -- maybe.  One trick there --  have to finish said future heirlooms.  Time is beginning to crunch, crunch, crunch........

The house, which was relatively ready, is now strewn with thread, sewing supplies, and all the other Christmas stuff I have dragged in and just sat -- more ornaments -- paper, ribbon, paper bags......brain shutting down.

Was going to have a lovely day on Friday attending the Bean's Christmas program and party.  It was lovely until......the cookie.  The cookie with nuts....brought into a "nut free" environment.  Now, Bean has never knowingly had a nut before because her father has a nut allergy and it has always been one of my daughter's greatest fears.  So, half the cookie was consumed before a cry commenced -- "my mouth itches!".  Yes, indeed, her mouth itched, her lip swelled, she said her tongue was getting big.  Picture this -- chaotic classroom to begin with now punctuated with a rather short, panicky child surrounded by three hulking adults trying to force Benadryl down her throat.  It worked, she was fine and now the question of the nut allergy has been answered.  She now has a referral to an allergist and an epipen.   Nona is wondering if a little spiked egg nog would be really wrong before noon.

And to top it all off --- today is my son-in-law's birthday! Happy Birthday, SIL!  Who knew?  I thought I did.  I thought it was next weekend.......oh dear.

And what do I want to do?  I just want to sit and read.  Yep, read.  My ultimate escape.  I had planned this holiday to be stress free -----

Stress -- comes like a thief in the night to steal my joy!  I thought my plan to streamline Christmas and be organized would be helpful but I guess not. So......

Next year -- next year.

Back to my book.




Friday, December 19, 2014

Asylum -- A Review


As I am trying to conclude my 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge, I am also trying to read some of the books I have downloaded to my Nook.  So, when I finished my latest Agatha Raisin book, I decided to fill in with something different.  And I did.

Since my Nook library is listed alphabetically, I decided to start at the beginning and this was the first.  It is a Young Adult book written by Madeleine Roux.






It is the story of three teenagers who meet while attending a summer session at a college that used to be an insane asylum.  Two of the kids had very strange connections to the asylum and let's just say it came back to haunt them. 

This was a very easy read, engaging enough with enough spookiness to probably charm teenagers.  There wasn't anything blatantly bad about it and the vintage institutional photos go a long way to increase the creep factor.  Over all, it was pretty good.

Would I recommend it?  Well, that is a question -- for an adult it is a quick read that is really rather predictable without any unusual twists.  For a young person -- depends on the young person. 

Over all it was pretty good.  I might even try some more YA offerings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Baby Echo

For those of you who have been praying for Baby Echo, please know she is getting better every day! There have been no major setbacks for several days and she is beginning to get grumpy and more verbal so that is a good sign according to her mother!  Under these circumstances, I would take a complaining child, too!

There is a photo of her on my Facebook page but I can't seem to copy it to put it here but just know she is looking good and getting some rest. All the attached equipment is slowly disappearing and things are looking up.

Thanks for continued prayer -- she needs it as does her poor mother -- but things are looking so much brighter! Thank you, God!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reading Challenges



Ok, I said I wasn't going to do this.  Last year I said I was only going to join one reading challenge and I did -- the 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge.  I am only two short of my goal and I think I will make it -- maybe.

However, I am really into mysteries these days and I happened upon two challenges that I find interesting.  One I learned of from JLSHall's blog.  It is the Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Amy at a-bookish-girl.com.







This should work right into my reading preferences these days.  The other is Cruising Thru The Cozies --http://socratesbookreviews.blogspot.com.






 I think I will make more of an effort this year to read some of the modern Welsh literature for the Welsh Literature group.  I joined this group ages ago and have never really participated so I think I will have to take a closer look at this one in 2015.





 I will, of course, continue with the 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge because that is what keeps me reading.

I have been looking for a good "series" challenge but so far I haven't found one so I will just list those books on the Goodreads list.

It is hard to believe that we are gearing up for another year -- time flies when you are reading good books!

Editing because I found another challenge for series books -- it is Finishing the Series also hosted by socratesbookreviews.blospot.com.





Ok, done now.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree --


Oh bother! I enjoy decorating for the season in spurts.  I like to spread it out.  Today it is the tree.  I don't really like putting it up too early because if I do by the time Christmas gets here it is very scraggly looking and nothing is more annoying than a scraggly looking Christmas tree.

With that said, I must admit that I will never have a tree that looks like it was done professionally.  Ever.  Why?  Because I still delight in the kids ornaments.  I still like the ones I inherited from my mom that have yellowed with age.  I still like the idea of it being ordinary.

However, I have spent the last couple of hours (3 to be exact) trying to get this tree decorated.  A couple of years ago we purchased a new tree that is really tall (exciting for a short one like me) and narrow -- fits in the corner really well.  But......it looks like I stood back and threw the ornaments at the middle.  It is tall, I am not, there isn't much up there.  I can't bend down well because of gimpy knees so there isn't much low so -- yeah, the middle looks - crowded.

It is all my daughter's fault.  She always loved decorating the tree --to the point that she was so OCD about it nobody helped her -- we all just left her to it and it always turned out fine.  She got married.  She moved. Now she has her own tree to do and has left me to my own devices.

It is not pretty.

I found myself googling "how to decorate a Christmas tree".  Really?  How sad.  There has got to be a formula to this.  I wonder if there is a "Christmas Tree Decorating for Dummies" book out there?

Ok, enough of the rant.  Back to the project -- hopefully it will be done before bedtime!






Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist


I just finished reading this title in the Agatha Raisin series and I have to say it wasn't my favorite.  Now, I didn't dislike it enough to give up on it  but I didn't like it as much as I have the others.  I don't know if it was the setting or what but it seemed like there wasn't as much plot and an awful lot of driving around North Cyprus. 

At any rate, I will still recommend the series and they are really fun to read and I hope that the next one is better.  Maybe I just need a break and should go back and read one of the Nancy Atherton Aunt Dimity series. 

Or, maybe I should read "Animal Farm" -- my daughter is reading it for her class right now and I have never read it so maybe I will give it a go.  I still need a couple of books to meet my 2014 Reading Challenge so I need some small books -- maybe children's books? I think I could just about manage two of those!




Monday, December 08, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I like to do my decorating in small spurts.  I don't do a whole lot but I still like to spread it out.  Yesterday went like this:

I usually hang a large, real jingle bell from this door knob but this is quieter

Ok, it isn't up there correctly.  The bow should be at 11:00 and the gingerbread men at 4:00.  I gave up trying to explain and was just thankful it was up

I really liked this cheerful little guy



So, yeah, I am about done, I think.  Oh, wait....I still have to put up the Christmas tree.  Almost forgot.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Progressing --


As we progress through this season of Advent I am aware that one of the things I love about the season is the tradition -- the things we do over and over again year after year.  There is peace in that tradition again bringing calm to the chaos -- closing out the world for just a little while as we allow ourselves to be caught up in the familiar routines and customs of the season. 

Once Thanksgiving is over, we try to do most of the decorating and rearranging before December 1st because with the first Sunday in Advent we try to take a quiet approach to our days.  It doesn't always work, sometimes we are caught up in the excitement of the season but we try. 
We generally do our Advent lessons on Sunday.  Our granddaughter participates with us as we light the candles and have our devotion.  This year we have started doing something different.  I purchased a small nativity where everything is detached and able to be set out individually.  I also purchased a small stable.  So, prior to the first Sunday I set out the stable and on the first Sunday, after devotion, we set out Mary and Joseph.  Tonight we added the angel.  This little set is so cute and sweet and is just the right size for this sort of activity.




We also added the second candle to our Advent wreath.  When my children were little I had a children's wreath but the candles were an odd size and hard to find so I finally replaced it with the one I am using now.  Again, this is a tradition we have done for years now and I look forward to it every year. 




So, while we move on toward Christmas, progressing through the remainder of the year and looking forward to a new year I am struck by the sameness of the rituals -- looking forward to the new and yet loving the security of the old.

I hope you had a wonderful Second Sunday in Advent.










Nativities

Last year while browsing through a gift shop in North Richland Hills -- Apple Annie's -- I just caught this little nativity in the corner of my eye and knew I had to have it.  It is just the sweetest thing.

The same thing happened to me this morning at church.  Our church is in a historic neighborhood full of gorgeous old houses (stjohnsfortworth.com).  Each year in early December the neighborhood hosts a tour of homes and our church, being the gorgeous building that it is and being that it is in the middle of the neighborhood also hosts a tea room and a craft bazaar.  Today during coffee hour I had the opportunity to look at some of the offerings in the bazaar and  found the cutest little nativity.  It was only three pieces -- Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus -- and it appeared to be carved from rock.  There were actually two of these sets -- one large one and one small one and I would have bought one of them on the spot but the bazaar hadn't begun yet and there was nobody there to buy it from.  The booth it was in was sponsored by a children's book store, Monkey and Dog, that is owned by a fellow parishioner.  I am planning on visiting her store later this week and if the little nativities are there I will be bringing one home with me.  I wish I had a picture to show you but I will share if I actually buy one of them.

I really do enjoy collecting nativity sets -- I have several but they are all small or one piece and unique in some way.  I find that just looking at them brings peace to the chaos.   What do you collect to dress up the season?

Saturday, December 06, 2014

This and That


I have been away for a few days because I have been busy avoiding all the things I need to do!  There is something in my personality that makes me just stop when things get hectic.  I have always been this way -- I tend to avoid chaos.  And that is what I have been busy doing.

Yesterday was my son's birthday -- he turned 39! How in the world did that happen?  Oh well, at least he is the only one aging!

I have been having fun waiting for the mailman these days.  I don't know about anybody else but shopping in actual brick-and-mortar stores is dismal -- they don't have a large variety of things and I guess a stockroom is a thing of the past.  So, I have done most of my shopping online.  I used to love Christmas shopping in stores, I loved the decoration and the displays but now I seem to get a kick out of the mailman coming around and leaving packages on my doorstep!  I am still waiting for one more thing to arrive and I will have received all my purchases and can set about wrapping things up and put them under the tree.

Oh, wait -- I haven't put the tree up yet......reference paragraph #1.

I have been playing with DIY dishwasher detergent.  I am forever on a quest to do things frugally with fewer chemicals in my house.  I will never buy commercial laundry soap again and I think I might have found an acceptable recipe for DIY dishwasher detergent.  It is 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Washing Soda, 1/2 c Kosher salt and 5 pkgs. of unsweetened Kool-aid lemonade mix (or you can use citric acid).  The first load I ran turned out really great except for a couple of things -- this stuff isn't ever going to get tea stains out of cups if it has sat for a while.  I didn't use a rinse agent.  With the second load I did use a rinse agent -- white vinegar.  I didn't put it in the rinse agent receptacle because it might corrode the rubber gaskets and things so I put it in a small glass in the top rack.  It worked really well but I have to say that to use this method, you really have to make sure that dishes are rinsed off before loading the dishwasher.  I know that sounds like a lot more work than it should be but the pay off is that you aren't overcome by chemical fumes when you open the door at the end of the cycle.  I will continue to use this until it is gone and then I will re-evaluate if I really like it.  I think I will but time will tell.

I have been trying to keep up with the Christmas movie marathon but I keep falling asleep.  My favorite Christmas movie of all isn't really a Christmas movie but traditionally I watch it at Christmas -- "The Bells of St. Mary's" with Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman.  I began it last night and about 45 minutes into it I was snoozing quite well in my chair.  I really don't like it when that happens.  So, to update, I have watched PART of "White Christmas" (again with Bing Crosby) and PART of "The Bells of St. Mary's".  I have watched several things on the Hallmark Christmas channel but honestly, I can't remember the names of any of them.  I have watched "You've Got Mail" which is sort of Christmas-y and "Love Actually" which is definitely Christmas-y.  I am planning to watch "Sleepless in Seattle" and, of course, "The Christmas Story".  Hopefully I will catch "Miracle on 34th Street" and no way will I watch "Home Alone" -- that is the most painful movie I have ever seen.

Unrelated to Christmas, I have really been enjoying "Doc Martin" and we are now beginning the final season and I am really going to miss it when I have completed the whole thing.  I have also started the series "Call the Midwife" which I am enjoying as well -- I really like Miranda Hart.  I cancelled my Hulu subscription and instead subscribed to Netflix streaming and I am really glad I did.  While I enjoyed "The Rev" and "Coronation Street" on Hulu I am finding a much bigger variety on Netflix.

I am also continuing with the Agatha Raisin series.  I have really enjoyed all the books so far but I am not enjoying this one -- "Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist" quite as much.  I don't know why but I am almost done so I can move on with the next one.  I really wish we were going to receive the new Agatha Raisin series here.

And last, but not least, I have been working on a baby quilt for the new baby in the family.  It involves rabbits and stripes and I will show a photo when I get done with it which should be soon.  It is going to be a gift for her christening. 

So, that is what has been keeping me busy as I try to avoid the chaos.  I can't believe it is already the 6th -- this month and this year will be gone before we know it.  I remember when my father was waiting for the countdown to the new millenium -- and that has already been 14 years ago. Time is just flying by and I don't think I like it -- so, I am avoiding the chaos and trying to slow the pace and enjoy my days rather than just rushing through them -- I want this beautiful season to last a while, I want to savor it and all it has to offer. 




Monday, December 01, 2014

Bye-bye Thanksgiving!

Today is December 1st! Advent has begun.  Thanksgiving 2014 is now a memory -- I would like to say distant but considering there is still leftover food in my refrigerator, not so much! I have to say that no matter how much pre-planning and paring down I do, Thanksgiving is the most exhausting of holidays -- more than Christmas.  I think it has to do with standing on my feet for hours cooking.  However, I am glad it is over and I am looking forward to the next month.

I am about done with my shopping -- really doing precious little of it this year.  Opting for a simpler approach.  We have reached the point in our lives where our adult children really don't need much and whatever they do need, they have the means to supply themselves.  The children are all growing and settling into their own interests so the days of mass toys are drawing to a halt.  E is still new so all she needs is a cuddle which I will be glad to give in excess -- can't have too many hugs.  So, Christmas this year will be more of a celebration of time together, time to reflect on blessings and just a time to kick back and chill-- an appropriate word considering the 45 degree drop in temperature over night.

As things wind down from a visit from my husband's sister and her husband on the occasion of my mother-in-law's  93rd birthday and, of course, the food frenzy known as Thanksgiving, I am enjoying some time to explore new DNA information on my Ancestry.com account.  When I did the DNA test I wasn't sure how that information would evolve and be used but it seems that it is an ongoing thing with new information being added all the time.  The DNA matches are becoming more specific which is fascinating.  When you have a DNA match the people at Ancestry have designed the results to compare your tree to the "cousin's" tree so you can see the relationship very clearly.  It is all very exciting and interesting, especially when most of my DNA matches are to the part of the family that was the most elusive.  I will be watching it quite closely to see more relatives.

Speaking of relatives and roots and all that -- it is no surprise to anyone that I am of extreme British extraction -- I have hardly any other ancestry except some Dutch and a tiny bit of German.  I have always identified with my British self -- in spite of the fact that Ancestry DNA seems to concentrate on my Dutch ancestry.  I was quite close to my grandfather who was the son of Welsh immigrants and many of the things I still do hark back to his habits which were, of course, from his parents. 

However -- there is the question of tea.  I have always been a tea drinker.  I remember having tea and toast with the aforementioned grandfather -- more Pet milk than tea but tea and toast was sort of a ritual of ours.  That and the Welsh rarebit but that is another story.  You would think that I would have tea making down pat, wouldn't you.  Well, with a tea bag, yes, but my daughter brought me some lovely loose tea from Fortnum and Mason on her last time to England.  It is loose tea and really good.  However, I don't seem to have the knack of tea infusers -- they all seem to shed the leaves a little too much.  So, here is my solution today -- yes, a coffee filter in a ceramic infuser.  It worked quite well, actually!  
ceramic infuser




I think I should look for some smaller filters

water added

Maddening infusers!



This nice warm tea was very welcome this morning as the temperature had dropped 45 degrees overnight.  I went to bed in the tropics and woke up in the arctic!  I did brave the cold wind to take a couple of snaps of the yard after a couple of freezes and a lot of wind.  It is lovely, actually but I didn't want to stay out there too long!

Pear tree in lovely fall colors

Another pear tree

and yet the OTHER pear tree

the crab apple tree today!

and the mint just keeps on keeping on

I know that north Texas isn't really known for it's fall color but I think we have done a pretty good job in our yard, don't you?

And now, totally unrelated, I thought I would share with Mary, Bonnie and Jane some pics of the Bean on her trip to England this last summer.  I sharing these with permission from her mother, of course.

Bean and the Pig

Such a grown up little bridesmaid!

Bean and her mother at the church in Bramley

I wasn't at the wedding but the photos are lovely and I think it was a wonderful day for all.

Ok, now I need to go deal with those leftovers! It is lunch time, after all.