Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Recent Happenings...

My hubby returned from Chelsea late Saturday afternoon after being relieved from his babysitting responsibility by the grandchildren's maternal grandmother.  He enjoyed his time with them.

Below is a picture of Jerry and Landon at their birthday celebration at a local pizzeria on Nov. 12th.

The grands enjoyed their snow day from school on Nov. 11 and below are some pics of them sledding near their house.

[Izzy and Landon]

Sledding down the hill is so much fun, but walking back up the hill not so much!  

Jeremy and Samantha have seen Rome, the Holy Land, and are now in Greece.  They're having a great time.

Sunday afternoon we went to see granddaughter Brooke's high school performance in Trap [a mystery play].  
 ~ Cast Photos ~

~ Brooke [seated at desk] as Danalyn Morse ~

~ Curtain Call ~

~ Steve, Brooke and Sharon ~

~ Jerry, Brooke and Me ~

The Whitney was decorated in all its Christmas finery last week.  The mansion is beautiful any time of the year, but especially at Christmas.  The Christmas Tea is scheduled for December 21st.  If you're a tea lover and live locally, make plans to attend.

Between the snow and the Christmas decorations at The Whitney, I was inspired to do some Christmas shopping.  I purchased matching pj's in the popular red 'buffalo check' pattern for Tiffany and her family.  [With two little ones, Tiff doesn't have time for blog reading, so I feel safe sharing their gifts here.] 

John and Tiffany's are pj's, Evie's is a nightgown, and Juliette has a onesie.  Matching slippers have been ordered for John, Tiff, and Evie, but they haven't arrived yet.  

I even ordered a matching pajama for their Golden Retriever, Oliver!

I ordered a personalized Christmas tree ornament for them too from Miles Kimball.

Yesterday I had lunch with my friend, Linda.  We have been trying to get together for months.  I still had her Christmas present from last year [2018], as well as her March birthday present.  Between my work schedule, and her winter months in Florida, summer months at the lake, and a busy social schedule, it was hard to get a date that worked for both of us.  We decided it was probably best to suspend gift-giving this Christmas.

She fixed a wonderful healthy lunch.  Have you ever had a beet sandwich?  It was yummy, accompanied with homemade sweet potato fries, and a bowl of Veggie Bean Soup.  

Linda recently attended the Chicago Tea Festival [Nov. 1-3] and she bought home several wonderful teas which we enjoyed throughout our leisure afternoon.

Linda's gifts to me were wrapped and packaged inside a Hudson's [Woodward Shop] hat box.  

~ A Muffin Tin Cookbook ~

A box of Japanese 'Maccha' Pralines [made with Matcha green tea] and a wedge of artisan White Cheddar Cheese rubber with Earl Grey tea.

A beautiful fall scarf and a pair of tea-themed socks.  Thanks for a lovely afternoon, Linda, and all the wonderful gifts.

Have you been watching Season III of The Crown?  My hubby and I have watched episodes 1-4 so far.  The new actors portraying the queen, Prince Philip, and Princess Margaret are a bit of an adjusting for me, but I'm enjoying the new season.

The temperatures the past few days have been above freezing, so most of the snow has melted. My hubby took advantage of warmer temps and raked leaves in our backyard today before we get another snowfall.  Mother Nature took the trees off-guard with last week's large snowfall, because many of them hadn't finished shedding their leaves yet.

Have a good week, everyone!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Yesterday's Record Breaking Veteran's Day

Snow was predicted yesterday, but not as much as we got!  The previous snowfall record for November 11th was 4.1 inches and some areas of southeastern Michigan got up to 10 inches. We got 6-7 inches.  You can tell by the top of my car when I went out to shovel the driveway and sidewalks yesterday afternoon.  All the schools are closed today and the kids are happy!

Below are two of my favorite veterans that I posted on Facebook yesterday.  On the left is my hubby, Jerry, who was in the Air Force during the Vietnam conflict [but he only did some air reconnaissance missions over Vietnam, he wasn't stationed on the ground like his brother was].  My dad is on the right and he was in the Marines during WWII serving in the South Pacific.  God bless our military who sacrifice to keep us safe and free!

UPS made a delivery that I enjoyed looking through last night - the official Downton Abbey cookbook.  Also included in the order was a package of 100 red lace hearts that I'll be using to decorate my favors for my Lucille Ball presentation at the assisted living facility at the end of the month.

Another delivery that came on Saturday was a relish dish/tray, small enough for week night meals.  Martha Scott, blog writer of Lines from Linderhof [name of her home in Kansas] recently wrote a post about relish dishes/trays.  She commented that they were a gift all brides of years gone by used to receive, but they have fallen out of popularity.

I have a large clear glass lazy Susan relish dish/tray that I received for a wedding shower gift, but it's too large for everyday use, and I never think to use it for large family gatherings. My mother and mother-in-law always had a relish dish/tray on the table at family gatherings, and they always left it sitting out after the meal ended to nibble on.  I'm going to use use mine this Thanksgiving to see if my kids and the grands will even eat relishes.

Martha posted a picture of a small relish dish/tray that she got at a church bazaar for $12.  Her article piqued my interest, or maybe it was just nostalgia, but it sent me searching on e-bay.  I found her identical relish dish for $6.99, but as usual shipping was more than the item [$7.89].  I bought it anyway because I know my hubby will enjoy relishes with his evening meal [and I will too].

It's embossed with the relishes that go in the divisions.  Celery in the top section, pickles in the lower left, and olives in the lower right.  Of course, anything can be put in the sections - carrot sticks, radishes, cucumber slices, bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes, etc.  Do you use a relish dish/tray?

Today is my hubby's and grandson, Landon's birthday.  I asked for the day off from work so I can go to Chelsea to celebrate with them.  My son, Steve, and his family are going too and will be picking me up.  I made Jerry & Landon's favorite cake to take - Chocolate with cream mounds on top.  

Lastly, yesterday a member of the Facebook group Afternoon Tea Across America [ATAA] posted the picture below of chocolate baby grand pianos filled with chocolate mousse. Aren't they beautiful? I went online and found the chocolate mold at Amazon for $6.15 [plus shipping].  The mold has great reviews and a 1 lb. bag of chocolate discs makes two pianos.  I'm ordering two molds to use when I have my daughter and her two piano teachers over. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Weekend with the Grands

Jeremy and Samantha [our youngest son and daughter-in-law] left yesterday for a Mediterranean Cruise in celebration of their 40th birthdays.  We [mainly my hubby since I have to work most of the week] are watching the grands this week and their maternal grandparents will watch them next week.  I went out with my hubby yesterday morning, but I drove separately and returned home tonight.

They live in a wooded area, and the photos below show the contrast between a few weeks weatherwise.  I much prefer photo #1, but Michigan definitely experiences all four seasons. Photo #2 was taken yesterday.

Tomorrow the landscape will change again as most of southeastern Michigan is under a winter weather advisory with our first substantial snowfall occurring tonight and tomorrow [3-5 inches]. We awoke to a mild snow last Thursday, but it melted quickly.  This snowfall will officially kick-off the winter season.  

Two deer [both does] meandered around Jeremy's backyard while I was eating breakfast this morning and I watched them through the window.  On Friday deer hunters will have their rifles ready to shoot them when hunting season opens.

Saturday was relatively quiet as Landon was at a Michigan State football game with a friend, and Izzy was at a church teen retreat.  Ellie had Papa all to herself to play games.

Jeremy and Sam's first flight took them to Amsterdam and a second one to Rome.  They spent today in Rome and will be there again tomorrow before their cruise officially begins.  I asked Jeremy to keep an eye open for Babingtons tearoom in Rome before he left, and he said he would.  Below is a pic Jeremy texted from the airplane just before they took off from Detroit Metro Airport.

This afternoon he sent a picture of Samantha standing by the front door of Babingtons.  He said the tearoom is about 15 minutes from their hotel.  He called to see what kind of tea I wanted him to bring back.  He read the 7 teas of Rome that Babingtons offers and I chose #5 - Roman Holidays. It's a black tea with the following description:  Romantic, elegant, soft.  An extraordinary blend of 7 black teas from India, Sri Lanka, and China scented naturally with rose and vanilla to celebrate Piazza di Spagna, the most beautiful piazza in the world where Babingtons was opened in 1893.  I can hardly wait to try it. 

Now I'm anxious to read all about Babingtons.  Imagine a tearoom 126 years old.  If those walls could talk!  


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

An Unexpected Surprise

Yesterday before I left for work my hubby gave me an envelope that arrived in the mail.

It contained a Downton Abbey style booklet of English Country fashions for paper dolls, Lady Gwyneth and Lady Anne.   The 30 detailed outfits are from 1910 to the 20's era and were inspired by the Downton Abbey television series.  

What fun to see designer Paul Poiret's harem pants and lampshade tunic among the collection of garments.  There are also travel outfits, a walking suit, tea gowns, dinner gowns, a garden party dress, and much more.  So fun! 

My thoughtful friend, Louise, sent the paper doll booklet thinking I'd like the outfits for my Downton presentations. Thanks, Louise!  You're such a classy lady, and I'm glad you were able to attend the Downton Abbey tea at The Whitney recently.

Another book that I ordered from Amazon arrived in the mail too.  It's an informative book written by Penelope M. Carlevato.  Her mother was born and raised in England, so she's made many trips across the pond.  In fact, she conducts tours to England.

Her book is a treasure of information about Highclere Castle, servant life, the history and tradition of tea, plus lots of English recipes.  

I love one of the quotes in her book by Tim Chester "The focus of entertaining is impressing others; the focus of true hospitality is serving others." Extending hospitality is so much more rewarding than entertaining, and a lot less stressful.

I'm anxious to try her recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Welcome November!

It's hard to believe we've entered November already.  Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving is on the horizon.

Today is very 'fallish' in southeastern Michigan with a temperature of 44 degrees.  The rain that soaked Thursday's trick-or-treaters has subsided and the sun is actually peaking through as I type this post.

I debated about going to the Michigan Depression Glass Society's annual show today, but decided to pass this year.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of the Blakes' Apple Orchard truck parked in front of my local Kroger supermarket.  My church is scheduled to have our annual Harvest Festival at Blakes' orchard tomorrow.  Hopefully I'll get some pics to share.

As you may recall, I did a presentation about the Wizard of Oz in August to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the release of the 1939 motion picture.  

While Judy Garland was the star of the movie, her canine co-star was, Toto, the female cairn terrier, whose real name was Terry before the movie came out. Toto was actually in more scenes than Judy. 

I ordered the book, I, Toto, written in 2001 by Willard Carroll, but it didn't arrive until my presentation was over.   Today I bought a plush toy Toto in a basket for half-price at Target. Both book and Toto are great props if I should ever do a Wizard of Oz presentation again.  If not, I'll give them to granddaughter, Ellie.

The Toto book is adorable.  The author has the largest private collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia [which, of course, includes Toto], and he co-founded the National Oz Museum in Maine. Toto's autobiography is conveyed through a scrapbook Carl Spitz compiled [Toto's owner as well as Hollywood's foremost Dog Trainer in the 1930's and 40's].  It's written as though Toto is telling her life story.

 Judy Garland was 16 years old when she portrayed Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz. 

My hubby and I recently went to see the movie, Judy, portrayed by Renée Zellweger.  Renée did a great job, but it was so sad to see how MGM abused Judy Garland as a young teenager by giving her drugs to make her sleep, to wake her up, and to control her appetite, predisposing her to drug addiction and a life of self-destruction.  She chased after the rainbow without ever finding true love and happiness in her short 47 years of life. It wasn't a heart warming movie, but it was true to her life's story.  I was glad to leave Hollywood behind at the theater when the movie ended.  

Have you begun watching the Hallmark Christmas movies yet?  They are guaranteed to have a happy ending with a romantic kiss!  ;-)

My sweet tea friend, Nancy, from the Upper Peninsula, sent me a Wild Huckleberry Scone mix and tea bags quite a while ago.  They got hid behind other things in my pantry and I almost forgot about them until recently.  Fortunately they're still good through May 2021.  

Today was the perfect day for making them, and my hubby pronounced them yummy!  I'm having mine in the office while watching Hallmark's Once Upon a Christmas Miracle.  What goes better with a Christmas movie than tea and scones!  Thank you, Nancy!

Have a nice weekend and enjoy your extra hour of sleep tonight - 'fall back'!