This part of my blog is all about the things I collect or the things I make myself. I love so many things, I paint and draw and want to learn oils and pastels. I knit and crochet but want to learn tatting. I embroider and can turn my hand to most things given a chance. So much still to learn and do. I live in hope of some day reading all my books, learning all I want to learn and now I am learning to blog. You will often find my original poems, poor as they are I offer them here. I also appreciate other people art and will feature things I find that I have enjoyed. That includes pictures of fairies and fantasy or maybe just anything beautiful.
I try to use my own photo's as much as possible, sometimes I borrow from the web. If I inadvertently use your picture without giving credit, please do let me know and I will either credit or remove it, I hope you will do the same with mine.
If you wish to leave comments on my blog you can do that by joining google if you do not have a blog yourself, please comment if you can I appreciate that.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cranberry, walnut, oatmeal Cookies.........

I have two bags of Cranberries left over from Thanksgiving. I need to use them up so, first off I made another batch of mini loaves. I used the yellow cake mix recipe again. I did mess up, I used two sticks of butter instead of one and that instead of the oil. Well I think I will go back to the oil, I am not sure the butter made a lot of difference but when taking out from the pans, they stuck. So my loaves were a little battered. Still I frosted them and they taste great so no worry. I just want them to look good next time.
So, the cookies I made were Oatmeal, Cranberry, Walnut. Sounded good so here we go.
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Cranberry, Oatmeal, Walnut Cookies
..................................
2/3 cup of butter softened
2/3 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup of oats (Instant)
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teasp cinnamon
1 teasp baking soda
1/2 teasp Sea salt
1 cup of dried cranberries (I used fresh diced in the food processor )
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup of white choc chips (I didn't have any so used Hershey's toffee chips.)
.............................................

Preheat the oven to 375
In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and brown sugar with vanilla until fluffy
Beat in the eggs
Add the oats and mix well.
Stir in the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
Add the walnuts, cranberries and choc chips (whatever flavour you desire) mix to combine.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a non greased cookie sheet
Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Should be lightly browned on bottom.
Makes about 18 or so.

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I thought that they didn't look very pretty. So I added some left over frosting from my loaves.
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They certainly tasted good so I left some unfrosted for me. My husband does not like (so he says) Cranberries. Well with the frosting he will like them.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trying another new recipe...Ziti.....

So I apologize, this is not a cooking site. I just seem to have been doing some experimenting recently so why not post it. I have not had time to do anything else for goodness sake. Got to fill up my blog somehow right. so today on facebook I saw a recipe that appealed to me so figured as I had no plans would give her a shot. Here it is. The only comment I have, this being done in a crock pot, is I miss the crunchy cheese on top that you get from baking. However this is so easy that it may be worth the sacrifice.
Slow Cooker Baked Zita.
.....................


1 pound of turkey burger (I don't use beef)
1 onion finely chopped
1 teasp minced garlic
1 teasp salt
1 teasp dried Basil
1 teasp dried parsley
1 can diced tomatoes 28 oz
1 jar of pasta sauce.
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth (or Water)
Salt to taste.
1 box of Penne pasta or Ziti about 4 cups
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese.


In a large skillet cook the ground meat and add the onions till browned.
Put everything (except the pasta) in the slow cooker on high. Cook on high for 3 hours.As nothing is actually raw you can adjust this time to your needs.
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About an hour before your are ready to eat add the pasta.
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Once the Pasta is cooked turn the cooker to warm until ready to eat.
Then stir it and add the cheese on top. Replace the lid and wait until the cheese is melted. Serve with warm bread?.
I have to say it was really good. My husband had two helpings.

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I adapted this recipe from Recipe Rebel on Pinterest.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Recipes...................

I have been, for some reason, probably since not eating beef and pork, trying new recipes. Phew!!, that was a mouthful.
Well, it began with seeing a recipe on Facebook. For Brownies no less. Now I am not overly eager about Brownies. I had some Nestles cocoa powder sitting around as it turned out and I am trying to reduce the waste. You know, you buy something and only use a small amount, the rest goes to waste. So, when I saw the recipe I figured I would give it a go. So here it is.

Lunchroom Ladies 50 year old recipe.
..........................

1 cup of butter
1/2 cup of cocoa
2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup of chopped nuts
Pour in 9X13 pan and bake for 20 to 25 mins at 350

Icing.
........
1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of cocoa
3 cups of powdered sugar (or fine sugar)
dash of salt
Mix together and frost as desired.

Well there were no instructions along with the recipe but it really speaks for itself.

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Actually all I did was mix everything in my food processor. It is a really stiff batter, almost a dough. I had sprayed the pan first, lucky I did, it helped to spread the batter.
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I forgot to add the nuts so decided to wait and put it on top.
It baked for the full 25mins.
Then I made the frosting. Again, just mix it all together. The butter was soft enough by this time at room temperature.
I waited to spread until the Brownie had cooled a little but was still warm, again, the frosting was thick and stiff. It spread well on the warm brownie though. Then I sprinkled on the chopped nuts to finish it off.
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They taste awesome, really chocolate flavour. Better than a mix for sure and very easy. It's a 50 year old recipe, that seemed really old until I realized I would have been 20 at that time. Sigh!!!
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Then to crown it all I didn't have any plans for dinner. I had taken out some chicken so as I had seen another recipe I figured I would try it. No time like the present right?. So here it is. I did wait to be sure it was good.

Melt In Your Mouth Chicken Bake
................................

1 pound of boneless chicken
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of fresh Parmesan (grated)
1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic minced (I used some from a jar)
1/2 cup of Italian Breadcrumbs (I used Panko)

Directions
..........

In a 9 X 13 baking pan
Chop the chicken into bite size pieces and lay out into the baking dish.

In a small bowl mix together the Mayo and all the rest of the ingredients except the bread crumbs. I used fresh Parmesan, so I had more and after mixing up the ingredients you need to spread it over and cover all the chicken before adding the bread crumbs. I then grated more Parmesan on top but that was not in the recipe.

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Bake at 375 for 30 -35 minutes.
This is very tasty, it went well with Cauliflower.
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The chicken was very tender.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Another cooking post.........................

I had another baking day today. I love homemade bread. Well, I just love bread, and butter. Yum, straight out of the oven with gobs of butter. Yes my bread is really only a vehicle for my butter but its nice if the bread is good. I have made both of these breads before because they are easy. I got them a lot better and more tasty this time around. I added more salt to the Artisan bread and it is more dense because I actually had some whole wheat flour this time. It calls for whole wheat and white. So that came out great. I also threw in some dill.
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This bread is dense.It was not quite so much when I used all white flour.
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I did the olive bread before and was not happy with it, it seemed bland so this time I added more garlic and cheese.
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It was yummy, hot from the oven. We will have that tonight with Spaghetti. Can't wait.
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My mum used to make Mince pies and I just loved her pastry. Well I have never found the recipe and never had luck making it. Well I found a shortcrust pastry and tried that one. It was all butter and sugar. Well that was it. It was delicious. Not quite as good as hers but I bet I can work it out with that base.
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Yesterday I opened the jar of mincemeat because I was determined to use it this year one way or other.
So I got my yellow cake mix out and threw in 1/2 the jar of mincemeat. I topped with crystalized brown sugar. In England we call it Demorarah. The spelling is wrong but anyway, its used to top cakes. More like cane sugar. I don't know but here's a picture
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It makes a light fruity cake, tasty.
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I made 4 small loaves. One got eaten right away two I froze. I was going to give one to Laura but she is sick so wont be over today. Pity as I had mince pies too. Anyway, I do have some more mincemeat left so I could make another batch.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Something new to eat..............

Today we had Salmon. I know, that's not new. Well I did make a new sauce though and a new side dish.
I pan fry my salmon most of the time, I use butter (of course I do) I put on some sea salt and some herbs and put a lid on, that keeps it moist. It almost steams.
Meanwhile I had looked for a recipe to use a Cauliflower that I had on hand. It sounded a bit bland to go with Salmon and I didn't want to do Potatoes. I am starting to get back on my "diet". Not a real diet, just cutting out Bread and Potatoes, Pasta and Rice. I had lost a bit of weight doing this last time and it also helped my blood sugar. Time to get back to it after the holidays full of treats.
I found a recipe for the Cauliflower that sounded tasty and it was. I forgot to take a picture and so I took one while I was eating it. At least I knew by then it was good.
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The salmon turned out delicious. Very moist and tasty. I made a different Sauce to go with it. I normally like Horseradish but fancied something different so I made a Creamy Dill Sauce.
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Here is the recipe.
Creamy Dill Sauce

3/4 cup of sour cream
2 teasp of English Mustard (or Dijon) or any hot mustard.
1/2 teasp of garlic powder
2 1/2 table sp of fresh Dill ( I used dried)
1 - 2 tbsp of lemon juice (If fresh add some zest as well) I didn't measure I just squeezed
1/4 teasp of salt
1/2 teasp sugar
The recipe also calls for 2 tablespoons of milk if desired to thin it down but mine was just fine. My sour cream was older so not as stiff.

Just mix it all and taste, alter accordingly. I liked it just as it was.


Next I made the Cauliflower Bake.
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Cheesy Cauliflower Bake
Preheat the oven at 450
Boil Cauliflower for about 5 mins just to soften it. Don't over do as it's going to bake as well. Drain and set aside.
8x8 baking dish sprayed or buttered.

You will need.
1 cup Panko crumbs
1/4 cup of butter melted (Or use olive oil)..you know me I use butter.
1 teasp Oregano
1 tblsp Paprika
1/2 teasp cayenne
1 tblesp chopped parsley
1 teasp black pepper
1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella shredded

Now I admit I did not use that much Paprika I just gave it a dash and didn't put in the cayenne. I was tasty enough even so,

So drain your cauliflower and I put some left over chopped onion in the b.ottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Spray the dish first. Lay the drained Cauliflower in the dish. After mixing the dry ingredients with the melted butter, throw some of the cheese over the cauliflower and add the rest to the Panko.
Spread the Panko mix over the Cauliflower and bake for 15 to 20 mins or until your cauliflower is tender and the topping is crisp.

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It is a perfect side dish for fish because it's flavorful. Let me know if you try it. Now another thing you can do is do 1/2 Cauliflower and 1/2 Broccoli. That would be good. That topping would go on just about any veggie that you can bake.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Cranberry leftovers...........................


When I was done with my Cranberry Jam making I had a bunch of cranberry left. I had chopped it up in the food processor. Not wanting to waste all of it that was left, I got creative. I had on hand a yellow cake mix, so using that as a base I made some Cranberry loaves.
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Initially I was going to give them as gifts. Only one of the 4 got to be given away they were too good.
I did not have any cream cheese left and wanted to make frosting, so I looked up a recipe for sour cream frosting and made that.
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Oh my was that ever good.
So having mixed up the yellow cake mix, I added a small amount of orange juice and some grated orange skin (zest if you want to be posh) to that I added about half of the cranberries I had left. The rest the birds will get.
I mixed that all up and divided into 4 small loaf pans. '
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At the store today I picked up another yellow cake mix because it was so good, I just have to make it again. Then the frosting, oh my, that was sooooo good. When the cakes were cool I frosted them and grated more orange over the top.
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This is the recipe I used..............I have to say I like it better than the Cream Cheese frosting. The picture with the recipe made me want to make it.

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Sour Cream Frosting:
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
4 Cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 - 1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring
dash of salt


Place ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until moistened, then turn up to med-high and beat for about 5 minutes, until fluffy. Cover with plastic wrap if not frosting the cake right away. This recipe will frost and fill one small layer cake or one dozen cupcakes.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Glitter.................

I love the glitter and glimmer of the Christmas season. I must have been a Magpie in some other life (if I believed in such things). I love glass, as I have said often enough. I love Crystal and I love glitter. I love the ornaments that go on my tree and even though this year, I cut things in half and gave away most of everything, I know I will buy more.
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As I get older and older I begin to worry about the mess I will leave behind. Still, why worry aye, the kids can sell it all and make a bit maybe. I have at least cleaned out the crawl space. Our storage area. Just a few more things to tidy down there and that's done. I did find some more things in a closet that I can sell next year, or give away depending on my mood.
Anyway.....Christmas glitter just gives me a cozy feeling. Full of memories. Not so much having the objects themselves but enjoying them either at my home or others. It is the memories though and you cant put a price on that.
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Our old fashioned Christmas trees were just a stick with branches by the time the holiday was over. So by 12th night one was glad to get rid of the fire hazard. We had real candles on the tree and not much under it. The glass ornaments though, brightly coloured glass. Plastic did not come till much later. We decorated the ceilings, windows and doors with paper chains and Chinese lanterns and we made them ourselves more often than not. A project that kept the fever up for the kids. We made them in school and we made them at home in front of a cheery fire. Faces burning from the flames and bums freezing from the drafts. Mum had thick heavy curtain that hung over the doors in Winter to keep away those drafts as good as possible.
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Dad would get up first and light the fire. He learned how to bank the fire at night and draw the fire back to life in the morning before throwing on more fuel.
Despite all the discomfort back then, there was still something magic about the fire, and the frost on the windows. To go upstairs was to hit a wall of cold air. We would undress in front of the fire turning back and forth to keep all sides warm. Mum would have put hot water bottles in the beds, so a quick run upstairs and dive into the mattress and snuggle down to burrow in the stuffing of the mattress. Those mattresses were really lumpy. You would wake up cold when the bottle got cold and maybe pull on your hat and scarf. I had my poodle pal Poppet and we would snuggle and shiver together as the snow piled up on the window ledge, Coats thrown on the bed and anything else that one could find to make more layers. The covers would get so heavy it was hard to sleep. Worse thing was Poppett didn't come to bed until she had her last walkies and so her feet would be wet and freezing cold. She would push her way down under the covers to find the hot water bottle and my feet, when that cooled she would snuggle in my tummy and I would curl around her.
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We hung our stockings on the end of the bed, if we had one. Somehow the gifts would be there in the morning no matter how long I stayed awake. It was often too cold to watch out the windows, even after you scraped a hole to look out of. Beautiful when there was a full moon sparkling on the snow. We didn't always have snow but by December we sure had the cold.
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The pictures painted of those old fashioned Christmas make it idyllic but it wasn't really so why do we treasure those memories. Even the idea of going outside to the loo in the middle of the night, we can laugh now. Not so funny then and most of us had a "chamber pot" under the bed, even then it was a last minute thing as it was too cold to get out of bed.
I digress, this is about glitter isn't it.
So the old ornaments were treasures to be tenderly wrapped and put away year after year. I had a few left that I brought with me and gave to Laura. She does not have my memories she was too young, but has heard them. She treasures anything that comes from "home" after her then all will be lost.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pecans................

I tried something new today. I had bought pecans, can't remember why. So as I was done with anything that may have seemed like I might have need them I decided that maybe candied Pecans would be an idea. So, I looked up a recipe, and actually found two possible ones.
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Both seemed easy enough. The first one was to be baked. 300 degrees
1 bag Pecans (calls for 4 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (white)
1/2 cup brown sugar.
1 tblsp cinnamon
1 teasp salt
1/8 teasp Cayenne (I did not use this)
1 egg white whisked

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, in a zip lock bag.(some recipes call for a dash of cayenne) Whisk the egg white. Toss the pecans in the egg white until evenly coated. Then drop in the bag and coat with the sugar mix.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 40 minutes.

It was pretty good, but I think I prefer the next version.

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This one is easy too and I did it while waiting for the one in the oven to be done.

3 cups of Pecans ( I just used one bag)
1 cup of sugar
4 tbsp butter (1/4 stick)
3 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Melt the butter in a large pan and add the sugar. Keep stirring so it does not burn.Toss in the Pecans and be sure they are well coated, add the vanilla a teaspoon at a time as you continue to stir and then sprinkle in dry stuff and stir for about 3 mins. Turn off the heat and let cool. When cool turn out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.Break up any large clumps. Store in air tight container when cooled.
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Of the two, I liked the 2nd one, it was not as dry and had a buttery taste. I had an admirer while doing these.

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Pretty sure she thought I might need a taster. I miss Tristen being my helper.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Goodies..............

It's countdown to Christmas, that means that me and probably many others are making their home made goodies to give as gifts. To day was jam making day. I was going to do more jams but today I just did the Cranberry and Jalapeno jam. The Cranberry is Cranberry/orange/raspberry. It is tart but sweet, my husband says he doesn't like it but I do. Not that I eat jam very much. Still some of my friends like it and so I still make it every year photo 102_0305_zpsqbxo3obb.jpg
I also made a batch of Jalapeno jam/jelly this time. I didn't last year and wished I had. Not only is it pretty but it tastes so good on crackers with cream cheese. A nice party gift, something people can use this time of year even if they don't like it themselves. It is hot and sweet.
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Both of these jams are easy to make and have always set for me. Can't say the same for my Strawberry jams. I bought a fresh pineapple and some oranges to make Pineapple/orange jam. That sounded really good but can wait a few days. Tomorrow I go out with Edna and meet Barb for supper. I will give them their cheese balls that I made and the jams and some treats. We used to exchange gifts but have sort of given up on that part. Just me and Edna still do that. I am going to give her a Christmas mug filled with fat quarters. If you are a quilter you will know what that is. I have yet to put that together. I will get to it tomorrow morning.
The other thing I made today was the "Saltine cracker chocolate treat" The other day I made some, it was my regular and when I was making it I wondered about doing some with white chocolate (I had some to use up)
It looks and tastes really nice actually.
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This I will call "Chocolate bark" I don't know why. The recipe is very simple.
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You will need.
--------------
Two sleeves of Saltine crackers. (use Saltines rather than a cheaper version if possible)
2 sticks of butter (do not use margarine)
1 Cup of brown sugar packed.
1 large bag of chocolate chips. I use semi sweet because the toffee is sweet enough. Now I have also used white chocolate chips. (The white is what I used today)
I bag of crushed walnuts. (for the dark chocolate) or I bag of Slivered Almonds. I will make one more batch with regular chocolate chips using Toffee/chocolate pieces.
----------------
You need to have lined a baking sheet with foil and sprayed with Pam so the crackers do not stick to the foil. Lay out in rows to cover the entire tray.
In a medium saucepan combine and cook the sugar and butter. Bring to a boil. Keep stirring. Once rolling boil time 3 minutes. Watch and do not burn, keep stirring all the time.
Pour on the caramel from the pan and spread it over the crackers to the edges.
Place in a 400 oven for 5 minutes and it should come out bubbly.
Pour on the chocolate chips and spread once they begin to melt.
Cover up to the edges.
Let the pan cool and then refrigerate until cold and set. Then you can break it up and freeze until you are ready to use.
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I do believe I have posted the jam before but if you want a recipe I can post it later. Just let me know.
This is a very simple, very tasty and pretty looking treat, good for gift giving.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Quick trip to the Thrift..........................

On Friday after Thanksgiving we finally got to take the 4 poodles in to Brenda, the groomers. We had to put it off because of Bijou having surgery. Well we got the stitches out and dealt with the flea invasion and so she is all set. So along with surgery and grooming, there goes Christmas. That's OK. I have to...... I really do have to, get used to this. We can no longer afford to do all the splurging that we always do at Christmas. Each year has got leaner. Well this year I really will try to keep to what I said. So, here is this years plan. I am going to go through all my Christmas stuff. Oh boy!!!!!!
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Just to show you the monumental task this will be........
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I love Christmas decorations, almost as much as I love Christmas shopping, planning and buying gifts. Well when you put it all together and really look. I sort of over do things. I am not happy with just a few special things I have to do it all the way. Every year I have put away every ornament and picture in every room. Replacing them with Christmas stuff. When it's time to put away christmas it is my chance to do some Spring Cleaning. I have always really enjoyed that. Well.............I just can't do it anymore. It takes a whole day for Gerry to drag the stuff upstairs and then I pack up everything and he hauls it all downstairs to storage. Then all the empty boxes once I have put every out. Then in January sometime we do it all in reverse. I just don't want to do it any more.
So this next week I will go through all the boxes. I will decorate what I feel like doing and then as I go along I will select things to put aside for the girls and give Laura and Carrie a bunch of things. I will even set some aside for Tristen. He likes the little train that runs around the Christmas tree and I have his baby tree ornaments.
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So this is two of the poodles after their grooming.
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Bijou and Bella.
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The groomers is right near my Thrift Shop so naturally I just had to go in and check it out.
They had a lot of Christmas stuff.........I picked up a couple of wreaths and a Santa and a couple of snowmen. Then I put them back. Well look above.............do I need them? NO NO NO.

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What I did get, two purses that looked new. A glass candy dish. (can't resist glass) A nice Christmas can/box that I can use for treats to give away and a couple of books.
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I wanted a new purse, and the yellow one was just right for me for summer. I had looked at yellow ones at Kohls and resisted so that was nice.
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The Yellow one and a nice red one that I liked.
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So I was very good and totally resisted the Christmas stuff.
I may have already got one of the books but hey I can pass that on no worry.