Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Middle of November

My new bar! Now that I don't have kids living at home, I splurged on this. It's set up now for holiday festivities, cocktail parties, dinner parties, and snowy evenings requiring whiskey.


  • Check over your budget (financial and time wise) for the rest of the month.
  • Look at your calendar, noting any doctor, dentist, vet, hair or other appointments. Check for upcoming birthdays, too.
  • Clean out your fruit bowl - any spoiled fruit you need to throw out? Need to put fresh fruit on your grocery shopping list? I'm eating up a pear and resolving not to buy any more avocados since they go bad too fast.
  • Is it time to get your snow tires put on your car? Around here I don't have to worry about that yet, but since I drive over a snowy mountain pass to see family, I might need to do this in a week or two.
  • Do you have an ice scraper in your car?
  • Return any phone calls or texts you might be behind on - I've forgotten to get back to three or four people since Monday!
  • Need to do any mid-week laundry or vacuuming?
  • Try to clean out your email inbox (if needed) today. Answer and delete or archive emails.
  • Need to wrap and label any Christmas gifts tonight? Or like me, have you not been shopping yet?
  • Thanksgiving is in less than two weeks. How are you doing with preparations for your meal, guests, or your own travel?
  • Do you send out Thanksgiving cards? I have just a couple families I want to especially tell that I'm thinking about them on Thanksgiving. So I'll mail some cards off this weekend. I'm hoping to finish writing them tonight - and I don't mean just signing my name!
  • Start thinking about making your New Year's Eve reservations. In some major cities, by now it's already too late to get a reservation at the chicest, swankiest hotels and trendiest restaurants. But you can always try! I've found the hostesses try really hard not to laugh out loud when you call late and they're completely sold out.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Overall Cleaning and Tidying

Spray Bottles, from The Container Store

Today I'm doing a quick once-over on almost every room of my house. I've worked hard to clean and organize it this autumn, but I want to make sure it's still in good shape. I'm not hosting Thanksgiving, but suspect I'll have overnight guests in the form of nephews or friends staying here during power outages. I also have a mind to throw some dinner parties. I want my house ready to go, and pleasant to come home to after my San Diego trip next week.

I'll quickly vacuum my living room and family room, put a freshly laundered autumn colored tablecloth on the dining table, empty my kitchen and bathroom trash cans, declutter my mail table, sweep the front entryway and front steps, do a quick mop on my kitchen floor, put a few dishes into the dishwasher, wipe down the sink, and make my bed. I suspect I'll need to dust off my home bar and mail table too. I'll run around the house really quickly looking for mugs and drinking glasses that need to make their way into the kitchen, and I'll check to be sure that all three bathrooms have toilet paper, clean hand towels, and a lack of kitty litter on the floor.

What overall housecleaning projects might you need to get done today?

LOVELY BLOGS: The Old Design Shop Vintage Image Treasury

Here's a really useful blog. The author shares out-of-copyright and public domain vintage images and clip art from her personal collection. You can use the designs on your blog or craft project. She also sells high resolution images for your art or blog projects in her Etsy shop.

LOVELY BLOGS: The Vintage Mixer

Becky romanticizes her grandmother's era. She writes, "The heart of Vintage Mixer is about a meal, a table and a conversation." Instead of cooking with processed foods, she likes to cook the way her grandmother did, using fresh ripe veggies and fruits, fresh eggs, and real butter. I'm enjoying her recent posts on Honey Whole Grain Dinner Roll Recipe; Pumpkin Yogurt Waffles with Local Honey; and her Seasonal Produce Guide for November. (A lifelong vegetarian, I had to skip over her graphic post on Proscuitto-Wrapped Turkey for Thanksgiving but many of you may enjoy it!

LOVELY BOOKS: The Children's Book of Thanksgiving Stories

This vintage 1915 children's book might lend a short story or two for you and your children to take turns reading aloud on Thanksgiving. (Read the stories first and pick a couple that might be appropriate and not too preachy for modern young ears?) Too bad most of the pictures inside are black and white or uninteresting. I'm going to skim through a few of the stories here, as they have intriguing titles: Thanksgiving at Todd's Asylum; Miss November's Dinner Party; Mistress Esteem Elliott's Molasses Cake; and The Master of the Harvest.

The Children's Book of Thanksgiving Stories, on The Internet Archive

LOVELY FOOD: Turkey-Shaped Pasta

I love serving shaped, themed pastas for various seasons. I usually serve it with a simple Alfredo or cheese sauce so the shapes show up (gloppy tomato sauce seems to obscure them). Or better yet, I make a cold pasta sald with them! Here's a cute set of turkey-shaped pastas. One for you and one to make and drop off for a friend!

Turkey Shaped Pasta, on Amazon

LOVELY GIFTS: Thanksgiving Cornucopia

I'm thinking of sending a cornucopia to some relatives I won't be spending Thanksgiving with (I refuse to become part of the crazy travel holiday, so I stay in town). I also might want to send one to the hostess who has invited me to join their Thanksgiving meal - though I worry if I send it ahead of time, she'd feel obligated to put it on the main table despite any possible earlier plans for a different decoration. I'd hope she would use it somewhere else in her house as part of the decor! I've had great experiences ordering from this florist in the past.

Thanksgiving Fresh Flower Cornucopia, from Calyx & Corolla

LOVELY MUSIC: Bette Midler's New Album

Here's a gift idea for your mother-in-law, aunt or great-aunt who is older than you, or other ladies of a certain age who might be fans of Bette Midler. Her "It's the Girls" album is a series of cover songs from girl bands including The Ronettes, The Andrews Sisters, The Shirelles, the Chordettes, and (of course?) The Supremes. This looks like a really fun album! You can listen to "Be My Baby" on YouTube; as well as "One Fine Day" and "Waterfalls."

It's the Girls, on Amazon

LOVELY TV: Northpole

Hrm. It's REALLY early to be showing a Christmas themed movie. Still, I might just record it on Saturday night (8pm on the Hallmark channel) and watch it in a couple weeks when it's actually December. I really like the actress Tiffani Thiessen and this might be a nice pleasant film to have on in the background while wrapping Christmas gifts and decorating for the holidays.

Northpole, on The Hallmark Channel


Cranberry Bread Pudding with Honey Whiskey Maple Sauce (Will Cook for Smiles)

Cranberry Butter (Sugar Dish Me)

Crunchy Cole Slaw and Vegetarian Borscht (Lifewise/Canoe)

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie (Sally's Baking Addiction)

Fig Cranberry Sauce (TheKitchn)

Garlic and Chive Mashed Sweet Potatoes (A Couple Cooks)

Grilled Eggplant with Pomegranates (Olive Oil and Lemons)

History of Reading: Traveling Library Made in the 17th Century (Slate)

How to Seed Pomegranates (Grateful Table)

The Man Who Kept Trader Joe's Whimsical (The Atlantic)

Pear Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad (Busy at Home)

Pomegranate Apple Cider with Amaretto and Whiskey Cocktail (Saucy Pear)

Pomegranate Cheesecake (My Persian Kitchen)

Pomegranate Margaritas (Pink Parsley)

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion, Pomegranates and Orange Slices (Greens and Sweet Things)

The Undisputed Right Way to Chop an Onion (Slate)

Vanilla Rum Roasted Pumpkin Ice Cream (White on Rice Couple)

Veterans' Day's Other Name: Armistice Day (The Atlantic)

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