Blue Monday

Hi, friends!

Did you know that this Monday was “Blue Monday“? I’ve got to say I felt it.

Truthfully, I’ve had a blue week. I’ve been sick and just have no energy whatsoever. I’m looking forward to the weekend. It’s been warming up a little as we get toward the middle of January, and I’m hoping that the weather holds. I want to go explore some trails in the area – I miss the sunshine.

Aside from soaking up what winter vitamin D I can, my weekend plans are all SCA-geared. I’ve worried and stressed and planned all the wedding stuff I can handle this month, and I want to focus on some fun projects.

I got a Michael’s gift card for Christmas, and I’m going to (finally) pick up a beginners’ carving kit, place my linen order, and maybe even head to Jo-Ann’s for some instant fabric gratification, so I can get a jump on some other projects. I also have wanted to make a batch of mead, and the Fellow said he’d help, so I’ll hit up the local brewery supply store! I’m sure that this will be a most entertaining story for you later.

Here’s hoping the coffee and vitamin packs pay off, and I get to everything on my list!

While this week was blue, last week we had our Marvelous Midweek at work. Originally planned for the first Friday of the new year, we postponed due to snow and on Wednesday everyone wore their fancy clothes.

We had tiaras and flat caps, prom dresses and curled mustaches; it was fun! I was originally going to wear an old bridesmaid dress, but I had forgotten how uncomfortable I was at the wedding when I wore the dress the first time and opted for comfort. I borrowed a groomsman’s gift of the Fellow’s from the last wedding he was in – a  Tux T-shirt. I paired it with a full crinoline skirt, and I had to share the outfit with you. I loved it!

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Bow ties are cool!

 

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Sorry for the picture quality!

 

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Here Comes Suzy Snowflake

I discovered “Here Comes Suzy Snowflake” over Christmas. It’s a cute little song, and I love anything by Rosemary Clooney.

It seems like the last few years it’s been waiting to snow until after the New Year. I’ve been waiting for it this year. (I really wanted some before Christmas, but what can you do?)

My grandmother volunteers at a hospital gift shop, and I asked her to check the gift shop for some snowflake earrings on clearance. When I got up on Thursday, it smelled like snow and after I checked the forecast, I was wishing I had the earrings to wear to work. I was so excited when I opened the mailbox to see she had sent them to me as she didn’t know when we were getting together next. They’re perfect!!

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The new house means that I can also enjoy the view from my window and not stress about driving over half an hour on a major highway. The road to work is a snow emergency route, so it’s pretty much always clear. I went to bed ready to wear my snowflake earrings and ready for a snow day.

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The world was quiet when I woke up yesterday. No matter where I live there is something magical about waking up on a snowy morning when the normal sounds of the outside world are muffled by a soft, white blanket of snow.

 

 

 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Everyone knows that song, right? No? Go listen; then come back.

Fall is campfire weather, and I’m all about it! I’m in charge of our team at work’s bulletin board, and I went with a camping theme.

I was a bit concerned about how it would turn out as my campfire was much bigger than the tent, and the background poster board wasn’t as large as it needed to be, but I think it turned out cute. The stars list all of our team members.

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S’mores are one of my favorite treats, and I was a bit skeptical when I found s’mores-flavored coffee flavoring, but it is sooo yummy. It even has that smokey flavor!

I eat s’mores all year round. What’s not to love about crunchy, gooey, chocolatey deliciousness? They’re pretty easy to make indoors as well.

I make mine in the toaster oven. I pop the whole thing directly on the rack – graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. (I usually end up using mini marshmallows as that’s what I have on hand.) The toaster oven browns the marshmallows and melts the chocolate. You need to keep an eye on them though because the graham crackers can burn if left too long.

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If you don’t have a toaster oven, the next best thing it to toast your marshmallows over an oven burner. (I don’t recommend candles as they release the scents/chemicals into the food.)

My third option is the messiest. You can microwave your marshmallows for about 10 seconds. Be forewarned; they get HUGE, and the marshmallow becomes more plastic-y and stretches.

When I can get to a camp fire though, that’s my absolute favorite choice for a s’more. Nothing beats that authentic campfire taste and going to sleep with the lingering scent in your hair, still humming campfire songs.

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I’m cheating

Shhhh . . .  I’m cheating! I’m cheating on my tea with coffee that is.

I love my tea, and after 10:00 AM you’re more than likely to see a “Cuppa Rosie” (rhyming slang for tea – actually a really neat side language you should check out!) in my hand, but most mornings I need some java in my life.

I fully blame work for this addiction. I made it through college without drinking the stuff daily, but work has made it a necessity, and a convenient one, since I’m just two feet from the coffee pot.

Coffee gives me energy. I don’t know that I particularly like it; it’s not the same experience as tea (A blog post for another day will have to be the experience of “taking” tea.), but it does exactly what I need it to – wake me up and keep me moving.

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Check out these other fun graphics.

I’m kicking around coffee options for my tiny apartment. I currently drink instant coffee when I need a cup at home. Yes, coffee purists, go ahead with a horrified gasp, spew out that mouthful of gormet coffee as you shriek in terror. Instant coffee. It works for me, and since I’m not a huge true “coffee person,” I throw some milk and flavor in there and I’m good – time to start my day.

Seriously though, people are insanely picky about their coffee. I’m pretty serious about my tea, but my rules are basically this: no Lipton tea (and even then there are exceptions if  I’m desperate for a cup), and I must have real milk (even almond milk works), but not coffee creamer. Two rules.

I think the most likely candidate for my coffee needs will end up being a small French press as I have my electric tea kettle already, and it can get tucked in a cabinet instead of living on my counter top, but we will see.

Please feel free to share thoughts or opinions!

Strawberry Fields Forever

For all my attempts at organizing, streamlining and downsizing, sometimes sentimentality wins out. This is why I have ancient birthday cards, scraps of poetry and pictures tucked away in folders and boxes. Sometimes this soft spot results in new purchases that strike an old memory in my heart.

While at the outlets the other day with a friend, I found the sweetest little porcelain berry basket in a soft mint green. I saw a smaller version at Target a few months ago and passed it up, telling myself I would pick it up later, but I never saw them again.

I was so excited as I walked through the entrance at Harry & David and saw a full-sized berry basket greeting me on the table – I bought it on the spot.

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Summer is forever tied with strawberries in my mind. Fresh berries straight from the bush, the way your mouth waters right before you first taste their tangy flavor, bowls of berries sprinkled with Sweet N Low in a 70s green Tupperware bowl, watching the red juice stain the paper towel my grandmother sliced them on . . . Delicious!

I remember my grandfather in his strawberry patch. It stretched the length of the back yard right by the pool; there were rows of red strawberries soon to fill green cardboard berry boxes in my grandparents’ garage.

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For me, the smell of strawberries seems incomplete without the smell of chlorine. In the summer we would go swimming at my grandparents, and Pappy would work in the garden. As he made his way down the strawberry patch putting berries in his pail, he would every so often toss one or two into the pool for my brother and me. We would swim or dive, grab the berry and munch away. The time spent at my grandparents and in the pool floods my memories when I think of how I spent my early summers.

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There was also a summer, more sad, when I helped my grandmother with the garden. It had been a long day, and the strawberry patch seemed to stretch out twice its size. I was picking strawberries as the sky darkened. While I put berries into the bowl, the song on my iPod shuffled to “Strawberry Fields Forever” and just at that moment it began to rain.  So I sat in a light summer rain, and I picked strawberries and sang along.

The little green porcelain berry box reminds me of those summers at my grandparents and brings up memories as bittersweet as ripe strawberries.

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