Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! In appreciation, the Thanksgiving sale is now in progress until Sunday, Dec 1.  Click on the image to go directly to the website.

72 PPI Thanksgiving sale

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Making the Most of the Holidays

I love the holiday season! I am determined to make the most of the season again this year. I am well into my preparations for Thanksgiving and I have started preparing our holiday treats too so that my family members will be able to take some treats with them to enjoy during their holiday hustle and bustle. I have also started on two other goals. One goal is to play some Christmas music on the piano every day between now and Christmas. Yesterday, the piano technician came and picked up the action (that’s the working parts that move with the keyboard) for my nearly 100 year old grand piano to have some work done. I can’t wait to see how it turns out and I am confident in the company that is doing the repair work.  Meanwhile, I will be playing on our electronic piano.

bell ringer nutcracker 1

My other goal is to put something in every red bucket that I pass. This requires extra effort since I don’t always have cash on me but so far I haven’t missed one yet! I would encourage you to do the same.  All of our decorating will be starting immediately after Thanksgiving.

nutcrackers 1

The nutcrackers will be put out for enjoyment.

snow village 1

The snow village will come to life.

Bethlehem Christmas 2

The table will be set.

nativity mantle 1

sunroom mantle 2

Mantles will be decked.


Cherished collectibles will come out.


Trees will go up.

And I will savor every moment. I hope that you will too! If you would like to see more photos of previous posts, you can click here,here,here,here and here.

Don’t forget, there will be a great Thanksgiving sale this week on Bethlehem Christmas dinnerware! Click on the photo to go directly to the website.

5 Piece place setting 72ppi for web pages


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I will be linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Great Gift for the Men in Your Life

For me, this is THE BUSIEST week of the year! My “to-do” list is a mile long and I am tackling it as quickly as I can. Christmas will be here before we know it and I have a great gift idea for the men in your life. My husband recently purchased this book and has thoroughly enjoyed it. He has enjoyed it so much that I thought I was going to have to call 911 several times. He has laughed so hard that I thought he was going to need emergency assistance. I am not exaggerating!! After regaining his composure he would say “I have to read this to you.” It has certainly brightened several evenings for us after a hard day of work.

Ten Was The Deal book

This book is filled with humorous and heart warming stories of outdoors in the south. While my husband would not be considered an outdoorsman, he grew up hunting and fishing with his grandfather and this book brought back great memories for him.  Obviously, I can’t give this to my husband because he has already read it, but we will be gifting it to other men on our list. Ten Was The Deal comes in all formats, hardcover, paperback, and eReader. You can go to this link to find out where to purchase it.

I will be hosting Thanksgiving this year and am planning to try something a little different for seating. I hope to be able to post my table soon. The menu will be traditional. My family does not like it when we switch things up for the holidays! I will be baking my fresh apple black walnut cake and can’t wait to have a slice!

apple pound cake

You can click this link to get the recipe. I hope to post the recipe for our pumpkin pie too. It has a secret ingredient that makes it better than any other we have had. I’ll also be making my 5 Minute Sweet Tea.

ready to drink sweet tea w text

You can see how I make it by clicking here. Of course, there will be  a whole lot of cooking in this house! I hope to make some Christmas treats for my family to take with them to enjoy during the holidays. I will have my dishpans ready before Thursday. If you haven’t seen it already, you have to click here to get the best tip ever if you are hosting a large meal in your home. I have used it several times and it works great! I have two Christmas Decorating installations to do and am ready to get started on those. And lastly but not least, I will be packing and shipping dinnerware.

5 Piece place setting 72ppi for web pages

You can click here to place your order. There may just be a great Thanksgiving sale a little later this week!

I am so thankful for all of my blessings including my online friends and readers. I hope that you have a wonderful week and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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I’ll be linking to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life and to The Scoop at Stone Gable.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Holiday Housekeeping

With Thanksgiving next week, I’m in a mad dash to get this house clean. I am making good progress but still have a way to go, especially upstairs. As I was scrubbing my stainless steel sink with Barkeepers Friend, I picked up a small hotel silver cream pitcher that sits by the sink. It was black with tarnish and I was simply going to leave the tarnish and wipe off the dust. Boy was I surprised when the tarnish came off too! I had never thought of using it to remove tarnish.


Then I had a great idea. I decided to try it on the brass handrail on the back stairs. Boy was it the trick!

tarnished brass rail

As you can see in this “before” picture, it certainly needed a good polishing. I assembled my cleaning supplies: an old t-shirt, Barkeepers Friend, and a spray bottle of water to dampen the t-shirt.

Barkeepers Friend cleaning supplies

I dampened the t-shirt and sprinkled on a little Barkeepers Friend. Then I gave  a gentle wipe or two.

making progress

Can you see the shine coming through? It took a little elbow grease, but I soon had it clean.

Barkeepers Friend shine

It was much quicker than the product I have used in the past.

Let’s take a side by side look.

tarnished brass railBarkeepers Friend shine

I love it when I have a bright idea!

I hope you are having a great week preparing for the holidays!

And, there’s still time to order Bethlehem Christmas Dinnerware!

5 Piece place setting 72ppi for web pages

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I’ll be linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style and to Grace at Home at Imparting Grace.

Monday, November 18, 2013

More Repurposed Shoeboxes!

Christmas is fast approaching and I am holding off on any Christmas decorating posts until after Thanksgiving but some of my preparations must be done early. One such activity is our family tradition of packing a shoebox with small gifts for Operation Christmas Child for Samaritan's Purse. We have participated in this project for years and it has almost become a personal challenge to see how much stuff we can get into one shoebox!

Boxes ready to go

We always pack one for a girl and one for a boy.

Girl Shoebox

We usually include a hat and gloves and  a couple of pairs of socks. For the girl we added a small notebook, pencils, pens, a coloring book, a box of Crayola crayons, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a couple of bars of soap and a couple of washcloths, a hairbrush and hairbands, a small teddy bear, a small mirror, a tiny purse and necklace, and fill any extra space with candy.

packed for a little girl

All of that stuff fits into one shoebox. Of course it helps that my assistant claims to be a professional shoebox packer with 20 years experience!

Boy Shoebox

For the boy’s box we also included a hat, gloves, and socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, a couple of bars of soap and washcloths, a small teddy bear, a few toy cars, a small football, a toy baseball, a small notebook, pens, pencils, a box of Crayola crayons, a coloring book and candy.

packed for a little boy

It all fits perfectly!

Boxes ready to go

It’s very important to label the boxes for boy or girl and the age category. If you haven’t already packed your shoebox you still have time but hurry because this week is national collection week! Click the Samaritan’s Purse link at the top of the page for more information.

As I scanned through my blogroll this morning I was saddened to read that Laura’s husband at Decor to Adore will be losing his job as his facility is closing. Laura has listed a few things in her Etsy Shop to help with Christmas expenses. I bought this

pink putz house

and this.

blue putz house

I want to encourage you to click over to her shop and help a sister out!

Today I am so thankful that I will just be cleaning up this mess.


Our yard is a mess and all of the leaves are now on the ground but that pales in comparison to the devastation of the storms in the midwest. My prayer is that those affected by yesterday’s storms will find strength to face the days ahead.

Lastly, there is still time to order Bethlehem Christmas dinnerware. Heads up, there may or may not be a Thanksgiving sale coming up!

5 Piece place setting 72ppi for web pages

I hope that you have a great week!

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I’ll be linking to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll through Life, to the Scoop at Stone Gable, and to Grace at Home at Imparting Grace.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Staining the Dock with the Deck Pro

When I attended the Haven Bloggers Conference a few months ago I was quite interested in the Homeright products. I volunteered to give a couple of products a try and write a review. I am delighted with the first product I tried! I used the Deck Pro to stain our dock at our summer cottage and it worked like a dream!  You can read more about it or purchase it here. It is well worth the price for the amount of effort it saved me.

Deck Pro 1

I attached the Deck Pro to my long extension handle. I did use the small paintbrush to trim along the front edge of the dock to keep the stain off of the rubber edging but I’m not even sure that was necessary. I cannot overemphasize how quick and easy this job was. The last time we stained this dock we used a brush and it took forever, crawling around on hands and knees! This was so much better and took less than 30 minutes!!

Deck Pro 2

The gap wheel fills in the gap as you go, eliminating the need to try to push a brush in the gap for good coverage. One pass is all that was necessary for good coverage.

Deck Pro 3

It was a very smooth operation.

Deck Pro 4

Deck Pro 5

It was a dramatic difference after one quick swipe.

Deck Pro 6

The photo above is before I stained the bench. The photo below is after I stained it.

Deck Pro 7

After staining the dock, I ran out of stain before I got the bridge up to the dock done. I was afraid that I would not be able to use the Deck Pro the next day when I purchased more stain because I did not try to clean it. To my delight, I gave it a try and it worked just as well on day 2 as it did the first day! I could not be more pleased with the outcome and with the ease of use for this product. I would highly recommend the Deck Pro for staining your deck or dock and I can’t wait to try out the other products!

I was not compensated for this review but I did receive a complimentary Deck Pro for my use. All opinions are absolutely my own!

I’ll be linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style and to Tips, Tidbits, and Tutorials at Stone Gable.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Honoring Our Veterans

I may be one of the most patriotic people on the face of the earth.  I love America! My church  does a great job honoring veterans each year around Veteran’s Day and I look forward to the service every year. I get teary eyed as a member of each branch of the military marches into the service. This is the one day of the year when I miss my grandfather terribly. Being a veteran of World War II, my grandfather saw to it that many of our vacations taken when I was growing up involved a visit to some type of war memorial. Having been able to travel to other countries, including Communist countries, I have a tremendous appreciation for those who have fought to preserve our freedoms that so many in this country take for granted.  Our family was able to travel to a Communist country when my kids were young teenagers. That was probably the most educational activity they have ever participated in, including graduating from high school and college! Thank God, they get it! They understand that we are privileged to live in the USA and even get angry when they see others who so grossly lack an appreciation for our country. I also get teary eyed when we see young men and women of the military coming and going through the airports when we are traveling. I always quietly pray for their safety and for their parents and families who are left at home. Our pastor always encourages us to “buy someone a Coke” and we have been honored to pick up the tab at various airport eating establishments for military personnel that happen to be in the food line near us. They have always very graciously accepted our small token of appreciation. I encourage you to do likewise. You will be blessed.

This past week we had the honor of attending the funeral of a family member at Arlington National Cemetery. It was a well deserved honor for a career Marine and was a very impressive ceremony. The setting was beautiful. It was a very crisp fall morning, about 35 degrees, and the foliage was gorgeous.

Arlington 1

Arlington 2

Arlington foliage 3

Arlington foliage 4

Arlington foliage 5

The funeral started at the Administration building and proceeded to a meeting point to meet the caisson.

Caisson procession

A large group of Marines was waiting for the family to arrive.

maraine salute 1

Marine salute 2

There were so many Marines there, I couldn’t get all of them in one photo! I understand that this funeral was with highest honor which is based on the honors received while in service.

After a salute and a brief hymn played by a Marine band, the Marines led the procession to the site of the service.

Marine procession

Caisson procession 2

Soon we arrived at the site for the service.

Arrival at the service

at the service

The service lasted about 30 minutes and was conducted by a military chaplain who did an excellent job. Even the ceremonial folding of the flag was very impressive.

folding the flag 1

folding the flag 2

The service concluded with a 21 gun salute followed by the playing of Taps. There were 7 Marines in the photo below but one was cropped out so as not to include any                         non-Military personnel attending the funeral.

21gun salute

This photo taken with my phone, gives an idea of how many Marines were involved in the service. We counted at least 100!

recessional 2


It was very fitting that this was just before Veteran’s Day. After the service, we hustled to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to see the changing of the guard.

tomb of the Unknown Soldier 

Notice the skyline with the Capitol and the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

Changing of the Guard

We also took a couple of family photos. The first one is of my parents and my daughter. My mother has kept my grandfather’s Navy pea coat from WWII all these years. I now have it and we wear it on special occasions. This was one of those occasions. My daughter had the honor of wearing the “coat” to the funeral in honor of my grandfather and our other military family members.

family shot 1

I am in the next photo of 3 generations.

3 generations

The last photo is of my husband and daughter and me.

family shot 2

We love DC and all of the historic buildings and monuments. One of my favorites is the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Iwo Jima

Another favorite is the World War II Memorial. My grandfather would be so proud. He and three of his brothers were all deployed at the same time! My grandfather was from South Carolina and served in the Pacific, specifically in Guam. My daughter is wearing his Navy coat in all of the photos below.

WW II memorial

South carolina



To all of those who are currently serving or who have served in the past, I am forever grateful.

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I’ll be linking to Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings - the Heart of Your Home, to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch and to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life.