Sunday, December 10, 2017

Shopping in a Winter Wonderland

Had a super fun shopping day with these two ladies today.

Our friend, B (on the right in the photo above), has been planning this shopping day for a while. She had the whole route mapped out, with stops at local handmade artist shops and farms selling their wares and lunch and a surprise stop.

It was a very good, snowy, cold, super fun-filled day.

The snow was falling gently as we headed out in the morning. We got to the first shop about ten minutes before it opened. It gave us time to wander around and take all these outdoor photos. As it got closer to opening time, another car pulled into the lot. Yay! The worker had arrived.

Nope.

It was another shopper waiting for the shop to open. 

It was getting cold out so we got back in the car to keep warm. B has seat warmers which are very nice things indeed.

We waited and waited.

Finally, another car pulled into the lot and a woman got out holding a set of keys. She headed to the door and opened up the shop.

"Yay! She's here! She's here!" we sang as a chorus. It was like seeing Santa arrive on his sleigh. Can you tell we were a little excited to get into this shop?
There were so many pretty things inside. But it was kind of packed in and in very close quarters. Rather tight and narrow, if you ask me. 

My big tote bag kept coming dangerously close to several displays. The owner saw me maneuvering it to avoid wiping out an earring tree. 

"Would you like me to keep your bag behind the counter?" she asked as politely as she could. In other words, would you like me to keep your bag so you don't knock something over and break it and then we willl all be sad because you broke something and I have to make you pay for it?

"Yes, please," I said, promptly giving her my bag. She liked it a lot and kept making comments about how nice it was. I kept a good eye on that bag while I was walking around the shop.

"Oh no, it jumped out and fell behind the display," said M. She had been looking at a small display of something and evidently one of the somethings fell off and landed behind the display and M couldn't reach.

"That's okay. I'll get it later," said the shopkeeper.

A few minutes later, M almost knocked over another display. And a few minutes after that, either M or B knocked into yet another display.

"Get out," said the shopkeeper, smiling. She was joking. I think.

We paid for all the items we had gathered and thanked her profusely for being such a good sport about all the displays we almost wiped out. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked about the history of the building. She told us it was built for a movie that had been shot in town and the owner/landlord had somehow gotten the building and moved it to its present location.

We wished her happy holidays and started to leave the store. My bag hit a display and I heard something fall to the floor.

"Just go. Get out!" the shopkeeper said, laughing at us. 

What a good sport she was considering we almost took out her entire shop in one visit.

After we left the shop, B took us to a surprise location.

An alpaca farm! Yay! Yarn!

And although we didn't actually buy any yarn we had a wonderful time looking at all of it. We wandered around and checked out all of the beautiful hand knit items in the store. 
I found some dog bone cookies while I was wandering around the store. Brady is getting a treat.

Did I tell you that K got a new dog, Brady? He looks very much like our old dog, Jack. We are all madly in love with him and spoil him rotten.

Hence the dog bone cookies. He's going to love me the most.

The owner was very gracious and let me take as many photos as I wanted.

She had all kinds of pretty little Christmas touches everywhere. I went outside to catch some snow scenes since the snow had started to fall a little heavier while we were in the store. I caught up with M and B and we all walked around to the back of the store, near the barns.

Alpacas were everywhere. There were absolutely adorable. I asked the young man working with them if they spit like llamas. He confirmed they did, but only two of the herd were spitters. He pointed them out to us and thankfully they were in the back of the group and not near us.

I loved the brown one with all the snow on its head. That's how I feel when I'm walking in snow.
Next stop was another farm. This one makes cheese.

Yummy, creamy, stinky, delicious cheese.

We sampled a couple, okay, several, kinds of cheese and picked out pieces we wanted to take home. I'm saving mine for Christmas Day.

A special treat. 

We got back on the road and decided it was time to break for lunch.

The snow had picked up a bit and it was starting to look like a winter wonderland. As we were driving along, M looked up from her phone.

"Why are we the only car on this road?" she asked, her voice tinged with a bit of concern.

"Yeah, why ARE we the only car on the road?" I thought to myself. That happened to be a very good question.

"We're not," said B. "There's a couple cars behind us."

Good. It's much better to have company if you find yourself driving on a road that might or might not be closed because of slippery conditions.
Lunch was in a pretty little town with a picture perfect Main Street.

I loved taking photos outside the pub. M and B went inside to get a table and I snapped away, happily taking photo after photo.

We had a very tasty lunch in the toasty warm pub. Guinness in front of me. Christmas tree behind me. Very cozy and welcoming but not too busy,  with only a few people at the tables around us.

A couple young girls started Irish step dancing in front of the window. I wish I knew how to dance like that. It looks like fun.

Lunch was nice and it was a welcome break from the snow and the cold.
We checked out a couple more handcraft shops, picking up bits and pieces along the way. I got a few Christmas gifts and found a couple things for myself, including a tray made from a board taken from a barn built in the 1700s.

I'll show you what I have planned for it in another post.
__________

It was starting to get dark and the snow was really starting to come down so it was time to end the day.

Sigh.

A wonderful day filled with {so much} laughter, some trip planning as we talked about our next adventure together, Christmas cookie eating, snow falling, winter wonderland scenery, and lots of love.

Always the love. Thanks, ladies, for such a fine day.





Saturday, December 9, 2017

Another Nancy Drew Mystery

This one is going home. It's just waiting for its people to come and get it.
I hope this one is going home too. It's probably a little lonely.

Just sitting by myself, watching the tree lights twinkle. Everyone else is asleep and I have "White Christmas" on the television. I love singing along and boy, I wish I could tap dance like Vera Ellen. 

We had our Christmas party at the library tonight. Good food and lots of laughs. The games and prizes were fun and people were smiling so I think they had a good time. It's not easy being the party coordinators. I feel like Julie on "The Love Boat".
__________

Yesterday, one of my coworkers came in and she was dressed in a beautiful red holiday colored sweater. LK saw it and said, "What a pretty sweater! How come you're not wearing it to the party tomorrow night?"

My coworker pointed at me and said, "SHE told me not to dress up for the party. And that I shouldn't even do my hair!"

What???

I looked at her to see if she was kidding but she was very serious. I told her I had never said that. I didn't even had a vague recollection of saying anything like it.

She was insistent that I had told her not to dress up for the party and not to do her hair. No matter how much I denied saying it, she wasn't having any of it.

I decided she must have dreamt it and just kept laughing about it all day long. Every time LK and I saw one another, we would say, "And don't even think about doing your hair tomorrow!" It was a fun day.

When we got into work this morning, we were telling another coworker about the rather strange conversation and she remembered saying something like that to our friend. It turns out she had relayed that we might be playing a game that involved putting a hat, scarf, and mittens on and was joking with our friend about not bothering with her hair.

It wasn't me at all. I was off the hook.

Another mystery solved, Nancy Drew.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Simple Pleasures

Still looking for homes.

The smell of the pines intoxicated me as I walked around a local tree stand.

I wanted to take them all home and fill the house with the smell of fresh pine.
Simple wreaths.

Bows and pinecones.
Enjoying the simple pleasures of Christmas.
_________

The Man and I sat on the couch tonight, snuggled under a new {super} soft blanket, chatting about stocking stuffers for the kids. As we were chatting, I was flipping through Netflix, trying to find something {ANYTHING} to watch. 

I saw "Fireplace" and clicked over to it. It was a beautiful roaring fire with soft Christmas carols playing in the background. As "Silent Night" was playing, the Man and I got quiet and just sat there for a while listening to the music. 

It the best thing we watched all week.

I want to remember this night my whole life and pull it out when I'm old and gray. A peaceful night with the man I love. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Lost and Found Prizes

One of the rejects from the family Christmas photo shoot.

The Man thought we looked like we were singing. I thought we looked like Byers Choice Carolers. Kind of the same thing.

(photo credit to The Wooden Duck Shoppe)

Needless to say, we are NOT using that photo.
__________

A friend, LK, and I are in charge of coming up with holiday party games for this year's work party. We put a few games together last year and people seemed to have a good time so we were drafted to do it again this year.

I kind of figured we would be taking charge again so after Christmas last year I found some marked down holiday items and picked them up to use as prizes for this year's party. I stored them in the basement with all the holiday decorations and we found the prizes a few weeks ago when we were pulling out the decorations.

Since the party is coming up in a couple of nights, we needed to start putting the prizes together. But we couldn't remember what we did with them. We remembered finding them in the basement so we went down there and searched all over. We opened every single box possible. We looked on shelves, in cabinets, under chairs.

No prizes. 

Uh-oh. That's where we last remembered seeing them. We could have a problem. We talked back and forth, trying to think of where we could have put them. Somewhere safe, that's for sure. So safe we couldn't find them.

LK's face lit up. "Did we bring them upstairs? Didn't we put them in the coat closet?" she asked.

"Oh, yes! I definitely remember doing that!" I exclaimed, so happy we remembered where we put them. We took the elevator back upstairs and checked the coat closet.

Uh-oh. No prizes. Gulp. Where could these prizes be? We started opening closet doors, checking drawers, looking in boxes. No prizes. I couldn't believe we were going to have to buy more prizes for the party.

Suddenly, LK said, "The Cheez-It box! Under my desk!"

And we looked under her desk and found the prizes in the Cheez-It box.

We started laughing. She's been seeing that box under her desk for the past few weeks and gets hungry every time she sees it. She knew she couldn't throw it out but didn't remember why.

Ha.






Monday, December 4, 2017

Penguins on Ice

One of my family's favorite Christmas decorations. 

When you wind up the music box, the two little penguins on the pond spin around and "Winter Wonderland" starts playing.

One of my aunties gave this to the Man and I for Christmas many (yikes!) years ago. When I first opened it up, I thought it was supposed to be funny, like a joke gift.

But it wasn't. She really thought we would love it. And you know what? We do.

I had no idea it would become the decoration everyone would search for when I pull out all the Christmas stuff. People wind it up randomly, just to watch the penguins spin around and around. Sometimes the winding mechanism gets stuck and it stops playing only to start up again hours later. I woke up in the o'dark thirty part of the night last year because I heard it playing in the living room. Scared me half to death.

Every now and then a penguin goes missing and it's all hands on deck until we find it. Rugs are lifted, cushions are overturned, pillows are scattered, and nobody leaves the house until we find it. I'm amazed we've been able to keep the two penguins for this long. The thing is about twenty five years old.

I guess my auntie was right. We do love it.
__________

Say less and mean more. 

I saw this written somewhere recently. Truth.



Sunday, December 3, 2017

Weekend in Review

My sister found one of these baskets made from Christmas cards at an antique shop near her home a couple of years ago.

I've been wanting one ever since I saw it. I looked all over for one. Nope, not here. Nope, not there. Nope, not over there either.

I was going to have to make my own.

Off to Pinterest I went and found some most excellent instructions and pattern pieces. You can find the instructions here

It took me a few nights to make it. One night was devoted to cutting out all the pattern pieces, gluing them together, and punching the holes with a tiny hole punch. The second night was devoted to sewing the blanket stitches all around the pieces and then putting it all together.

Some of you may recognize your card since I used the Christmas cards I received a couple years ago. I save them for future use. Don't you?
__________

What a weekend.

K and I went with my sister and nieces to see "A Charlie Brown Christmas" a few nights ago. We had a wonderful time seeing the show. It was fun to see all the little ones so excited when Santa showed up in the theatre. Everyone was waving to him, trying to get his attention and hoping he would wave back. What a great way to kick off the holiday season!

Yesterday, K and I traveled over the river and through the woods to my sister's house to decorate the gingerbread houses. Decorating day is always a fun day since we're surrounded by all kinds of candy and frosting, all the while listening to Christmas carols. There was dancing from E to some of the peppier carols, some bits of frosting on a couple noses, and dogs playing all around us, hoping we would drop bits and pieces of candy. Busy and fun. After K finished decorating, we had to hurry home to take the family Christmas photo.

Something we all look forward to. Ha.

The photo where we all look so happy and joyful. Ha.

I know the truth. But it got done and I'm happy with the results so I ordered my holiday photo cards and can't wait to get them.

After the torture session, er, I mean photo taking session, the Man and I changed into our fancy clothes and headed out to his company Christmas dinner. The office manager always picks out a fantastic restaurant for the dinner and this year was no exception - the meal was mouth-wateringly delicious. Scallops so tender they melted in my mouth sitting on top of creamy, comforting risotto; bowls of sauteed brussels sprouts with bacon pieces that we fought over at the table; and crunchy vanilla bean creme brulee to finish off the meal.

Top ten meal.

It wasn't until after church this morning that I got to sit down and relax. I picked up some handwork that I'm doing for Christmas gifts, watched some football while I stitched, and enjoyed the quiet with a hot cup of coffee beside me.

A seriously full, but fun, weekend.









Friday, December 1, 2017

Speaking Up


A quick pic while we were waiting for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" to start. My sister and I took the young 'uns to see the show to kick off the holiday season.

E and D had to have Christmas Snoopy dolls. So cute. They look so grow up but there is still a tiny bit of little girl left in them.
__________

I was working in the Children's department this afternoon and was overrun by lots of children from a local preschool. I love when they come visit - the place starts jumping and jiving with activity. It takes a little bit for them to get comfortable talking to us but once the first child breaks down the wall, they all start talking. Question after question after question. They line up to ask me questions. 

"Where can I find this book?"

"Where are the Harry Potter books?"

"Do you have to pay for the bookmark?" 

"Can I buy this book, please?"

All kinds of questions. It is super fun to hear what they come up with to ask me. 

So I was sitting at the desk, typing something or other, and two little ones marched by me. They couldn't have been more than five or six. The boy was leading the way, clutching a hedgehog puppet, and the girl was right on his heels, trying to get him to hand over the puppet.

"No! You can't have it. You're not a boy," he said, not looking back at her at all. He missed the exasperated look on her face. I was taken aback by such a comment from a little one. I sat there for a moment, wondering if I should intervene. As I was thinking about that, I heard a voice say, "Hey! Anyone can do anything!" I looked over and there was an older boy, about eight or nine, sitting at one of the computers and he was looking right at the little guy who made the comment. He stared at him for a little while before going back to the computer.

It didn't fix anything. The little guy still wouldn't give the little girl the puppet. But I hope it made him think about what he had said. 

It sure made me happy to hear another little guy speak up for the girl. Maybe the next generation will get it right.