Recently…November 2016

Ah, NOVEMBER…a month filled with…falling leaves…shorter days…the election…my birthday…unplanned car expenses…Thanksgiving…Giving Tuesday and the start of the advent season…In the midst of it all, these are things that filled my November days…

RecentlyNov

Reading…with airplane time & holiday time, an eclectic assortment of books were completed…Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance…The Bookman’s Tale by Charles Lovett…The Last Oracle by James Rollins…Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope…The Mackinac Incident by Len McDougall…The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale…and listening to Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda…

Vote

WatchingThe Durrells in Corfu was a delightful Masterpiece Theater find…easing into Christmas movies on The Hallmark Channel…

Listening…thoroughly enjoying the latest Pink Martini album

Travel1

Traveling – Part 1…to Milwaukee to start the month with a 2 day trip that extended to 3 days & confirmed why I always pack just a bit extra for the unexpected delay…on a crisp autumn evening, dinner at a favorite cafe was perfect…

Travel2

Traveling – Part 2…a long weekend over to State College with my girls…on Friday morning I had to get the girls off to school – Miss V was ready for the bus way early so we were outside for 35 brisk minutes…fun times exploring local shops & getting a jump start on Christmas gifts…taking Christmas card photos…celebrating my birthday…impromptu concerts…intense board games…all around fun!

Travel3

Traveling – Part 3…home to the ‘Ville for a week…(minus a few days for a quick MKE trip)…plenty of R&R time at home with the family…Rebecca & I enjoyed 2 sessions at the local salt room…the family that reads together – one afternoon I looked up from my reading to see that we all had our noses in books or other reading…

Travel4

Traveling – Part 4…another 2 day trip to Milwaukee from the ‘Ville…I brought my “traditional” Thanksgiving Monday leftover Nantucket Cranberry Pie for breakfast, even on the road…

Leftovers

Cooking…a tasty family Thanksgiving menu that included “my” Brussels sprouts…inspired by the Thanksgiving in a Blanket video recipe making the rounds, Mom turned our leftovers into a delicious Stromboli that used her fabulous yeast crescent roll dough…once back home from the Ville, a go to Shepherd’s Pie was whipped up for the week…

Bake

Baking…a delicious Cranberry Pumpkin Muffin recipe that is much healthier than my “go to” of the Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix of years past…an easy Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroon recipe to take to the office Thanksgiving luncheon…my Nantucket Cranberry Pie for the annual Thanksgiving lunch at church in the ‘Ville…

SipNov

Sipping…Lots of coffee & tea…both hot and iced…splurging on a Vernors during a layover in Detroit…

Manatee

Looking ahead…as we say Hello, December…a busy December filled with a couple of weeks of work and then a couple of weeks of time away with dear ones to relax, recharge & celebrate the Christmas and New Year…

What filled your November days?

Linking up with Leigh for the What I’m Into round-up. 

 

Hello, December

Hello, December! As the calendars flip to the last page in 2016 and the holiday season is in full swing…

Advent Evenings

HELLO to the return of my evening advent routine: a mug of Candy Cane Tea whilst reading from my favorite Advent anthology…

HELLO to the UPS app keeping track of the many deliveries winging their way to my front door as I complete my Christmas shopping…

HELLO to the glow of Christmas lights and the nativity on my mantel…

HELLO to a fresh greens wreath on the front door…

HELLO to endless pots of favorite Christmas flavored coffees…

HELLO to Christmas cards ordered…and to Christmas greetings filling the mailbox…

HELLO to my Christmas blouse & Grandma’s Christmas Tree brooch for the office holiday party…

HELLO to Christmas tunes & movies…

HELLO to the anticipation of dear ones opening gifts that were picked especially for them…

HELLO to rereading One Word and looking ahead to what my word will be for 2017…

HELLO to a couple of weeks of work & then a couple of weeks of much needed R&R as I burn the vacation days…

…HELLO to lots of reading time and a family of bookworms content to all be reading while scattered across the living room furniture..

HELLO to the hustle & bustle giving way to calm as the calendar flips to the 25th and we pause to say…

HELLO to the nativity and to the promise held in that simple manger birth!

Linking up for Think, Write, Thursday hosted by Carole & Kat. 

Recently…October 2016

Ah, OCTOBER…a month filled with…leaves: changing colors, rustling in the wind, scattering across the yards…beautiful autumn skies…brisk days and some “last gasp of summer” heat…In the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my October days…

Reading…it was a busier month (& only 1 flight on the 2nd) so only 4 books were completed since sharing reads…a fun celebration of childrens books in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein…more in the James Rollins Sigma Force series: Black Order and The Judas Strain…another visit to Three Pines in A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny…

Watching…most of my shows via DVR…enjoying Designated Survivor, Timeless, This is Us from among the new shows…continuing to be amazed with how Code Black can “get me” in their stories…HamilDoc was a fun insight into the phenomen around the musical and Alexander Hamilton..

img_4711

Hosting…a fabulous girls weekend with my fave girlies & their Mom…we packed a lot into just over 2 1/2 days…Independence Hall…The Crayola Experience…Cheesesteaks…pedicures…shopping for winter gear for all…just hanging out…all around fun for all…

img_4710

Crafting…not much…but M’Amy had plenty of crafting options available for the girlies while they were here…coloring books…decorating pumpkins…

img_4389

Cooking…lots of fall flavors…a new Spinach Artichoke Soup recipe – I seasoned it like my “famous” dip & have decided this is a ‘keep the ingredients on hand’ recipe for the days ahead…lots of roasted veggies…putting a pumpkin spin on my go-to no bake cookies…a new fave breakfast is a pumpkin smoothie…a batch of Autumn Butter was a great way to rescue aging apples & pears in my fruit basket…

img_4419

Sipping…as I try to add bone broth to my daily routine, this Lemon-Cumin-Turmeric version is delightful…tinkering with a dairy free make ahead creamer to pair with Oolong tea & ice for day long sipping…

img_4652

Welcoming…a few trick-or-treaters on Halloween night…it has been years since I have actually been home on Halloween…

Looking Ahead…November is always a favorite month with my birthday & Thanksgiving…

What filled your October days?

Linking up with Leigh’s monthly What I’m Into connection. 

Recently Read…the Summer & September List 

As fall is in full swing, it is time for a long overdue reading roundup. By Labor Day I reached my summer reading goal – 12 books. Between work travel on planes & a book filled September, I’ve now surpassed my reading challenge for 2016 – of course that doesn’t mean that my reading comes to a halt. Here, some brief reviews of the pages that filled my July and August and September reading moments.

Reading in Transit

July Reads
  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – A summer read that has generated a lot of buzz and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. While I’ve seen a lot of comments about not reading this while flying, most of this was read on a plane for me.
  • The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr – A good narrative non-fiction that focuses on the journey to discover a long lost Caravaggio – The Taking of Christ. From dusty archives in a family compound in Italy to an art restorer in Ireland, a fascinating tale is told as clues come together to reveal the painting.
  • Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough – From under the Christmas tree. A fantastic look into the family life that shaped a young Teddy Roosevelt.
  • The 14th Colony by Steve Berry – The latest from a favorite action/thriller series. The premise this time involves a flaw in the Constitution and presidential succession act, an upcoming Inauguration Day, a Cold War era weapon and ex-KGB agents.
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple – One that had been on my to read list for a while – I finally snapped it up – a fast & quirky read.
  • In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume – Just meh.
August Reads
  • Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan – The second in a sweet series that chronicles a remote beach town in Wales through the life of a young baker.
  • Still Life by Louise Penny – Finally starting into this mystery series that seems to be mentioned a lot. I enjoyed the story and the characters being developed – I’m next in line for book 2 on my library Overdrive – I look forward to working through this series as they are available for checkout.
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald – Just meh. Another in the genre of stories that use a litany of books to help the cast of characters navigate through life.
September Reads
  • When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – Wow! From the first I read of this in The NY Times I was looking forward to reading this one. I waited through a long library overdrive list for this. It was a quick read for me – it grabbed me from the beginning and by the time I read his widows afterward the Kleenex were at hand.
  • I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – I’m wary of the “for fans of Gone Girl or Girl on a Train” tag for books – but the synopsis of this overrode the tag for me. And from the beginning this story drew me in. On a rainy street, a young boy is hit and killed by a speeding car that flees the scene. The story of who did it unfolds through the stories of several involved in the incident and the police who won’t let the case go.
  • The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton – a children’s Kindle freebie on 9/11, this is a short & clever story with a cast of animal characters to help children navigate through when bad things happen to see that there are plenty of people who care.
  • Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart – A fun tale (based on history) of a women in New Jersey that doesn’t fit the expected mold for who and how she should be in the early 1900s – a horse & buggy vs. car mashup in town leads her on an adventure as she seeks restitution for the damage to the family buggy. Before long she is roped into unofficial detective work by the local sheriff. This is turning into a series and I look forward to continuing the read.
  • Books 1 & 2 in the Sigma Force series by James Rollins: Sandstorm and Map of Bones -A new to me series in the action thriller genre that I enjoy. This time, the main characters are members of a covert team within the U.S. Defense Department – former special forces with advances studies and knowledge across a breadth of scientific topics. The stories involve international locals, history and science blended with myth to deliver the fast paced “can the world be saved” stories that remind me of the adventures found in the Cotton Malone, Dirk Pitt and Robert Langdon series.
  • Books 1 & 2 of the Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen: Her Royal Spyness and A Royal Pain – Pure fluff wrapped in an amateur detective who is the 34th in line to the crown (a penniless cousin of King George V) who stumbles into mysteries as she tries to make it on her own in 1930s London. I think I’ll work my way through this series via Overdrive when I need a quick and non-taxing read.

What are you reading these days?

Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy for the monthly QuickLit roundup.

Think, Write…Breakfast

For today, a writing prompt: Talk about your favorite breakfast.

 

When this prompt arrived in my inbox, I immediately started thinking of all the possible options to write about: vacation breakfasts, Chicago brunch memories, sunrise coffee & Egg McMuffin along the bay in Marinetts, a consulting job interview over cinnamon rolls at Ann Sathers on a Saturday morning, watching Transformers and eating oatmeal at Grandma’s on Saturday morning, Christmas Eve ebilskivers, and so many more…

 

Instead, recollections of a favorite Artisan Family tradition: Christmas morning breakfast.

Christmas coffee in a new mug from our excellent family camp adventure
Christmas coffee in a new mug from our excellent family camp adventure
We ease into Christmas – Mom is normally the first one up & gets the coffee going and finishes prepping the orange rolls to go in the oven. Once we are all up and have a mug of coffee in hand, we open our stocking – all sorts of goodies in & around our needlepoint stockings that Artisan Dad has stitched over the years.

After the stockings, we gather around the table for a simple (and quick) breakfast of scrambled eggs and Mom’s amazing orange rolls. And of course, more coffee. When done, we quickly clear the table and refill our coffee mugs before heading back to to the living room.

Then, we open presents. Instead of a free for all, we have always passed out presents and taken turns opening gifts. At some point, we pause again for more coffee. In recent years, the role of “hand out gifts” has moved from Dad to me. There are normally stacks of books under the tree for us – we have learned that we put them at the very bottom of the gift pile so they are opened last – otherwise, we would be lost to books before the gifts are all unwrapped.

Time passes quickly & slowly on Christmas morning – before we know it, it is late morning – the reusable fabric gift bags are folded in a stack to be used again next year; there is maybe one small bag of gift wrap trash; new clothes are tried on; new books are cracked open – Christmas day continues.

 

What is the best breakfast that you ever had? What made it the best? 

Joining Carole and Kat in the newly launched Think, Write, Thursday prompt.