Sunday, November 19, 2017


"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." Willie Nelson

Thanksgiving week is upon us. In just a few days, we will be celebrating our blessings and preparing for Advent. It's my most favorite time of the year.
I am grateful for sunny days.
My daughter arrived last week and we had a couple of days together before she left to work. It was wonderful having her home.
I had some great tennis matches this week and was blessed with fun partners.
Jon and I had a bumpy week with our cars or our failures of our cars. But, we got through it. I am glad we survived and I am glad that the malfunctions have been resolved.
I spent three hours cleaning the outside balcony. Everything on the balcony needed a good cleaning. It seemed that as soon as I made progress on one thing, I noticed two others that needed attention. After a lot of reaching, twisting, and scrubbing, I now have a pristine section to my home.
I've been working on my art and feeling satisfaction from the process. It's a good feeling to be immersed in something I enjoy.
Ashley competed in a BJJ tournament and took home a gold medal. She loves jujitsu and succeeding at a tournament reenforces her hard work. She was very pleased and I am happy for her.
Happy Thanksgiving, Friends.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pairing Meat with Jam

It's commonplace to pair fruit with meats - think cranberries with turkey at Thanksgiving or preserves with a Charcuterie platter.
Pairing a main course meat - (ham, pork, turkey or chicken) with a fruit jam is delicious and balances the savory flavor from the meat.
Here are sophisticated options to serve as an alternative (or addition) to Cranberry Sauce at your Thanksgiving table:

Tennessee Whiskey Jam uses plumped raisins, allspice, orange, and cinnamon to create an rich flavor to balance bland meats.
Whiskey Honey Marmelade uses only three ingredients to create an unusual side dish.
Bacon and Whiskey Jam is a somewhat sweet and salty addition to main courses. It combines garlic, paprika, cinnamon, shallots, and bacon to make an interesting side dish.

And if you're partial to the cranberry flavor, try this Cranberry and Orange Marmalade.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Artwork for Advent

I love doing artwork during Advent. I find December so inspiring and it's easy for me to record memories, draw sketches, and work on various things.
 Currently, I am working on the "skeleton" for my Advent Journal. I've added a few things along with the blank pages - some sketches, and some ephemera.
I sketched out 25 tags for Christmas tied together with a Christmas Tree theme. I like the idea of a series and using 25 examples of trees is an exciting one.
Lastly, we're doing a family picture at Christmas and I think it will be fun to incorporate the theme of a snowman into it. Hats, scarves, and cold weather... Let the season begin.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Closed Thanksgiving Day 2017

Black Friday has been a huge shopping day, one of the most popular of the year. In an effort to extend the financial holiday, many stores have opened earlier and earlier, some even on Thanksgiving. Finally, the backlash from consumers and retail employees has made some stores reconsider being open on Thanksgiving. Here are a list of the stores that are closed on Thanksgiving:

  1. A.C. Moore
  2. Abt Electronics
  3. Academy Sports + Outdoors
  4. Ace Hardware
  5. At Home
  6. Babies R Us
  7. BJ’s Wholesale Club
  8. Blain’s Farm and Fleet
  9. Burlington
  10. Cost Plus World Market
  11. Costco
  12. Craft Warehouse
  13. Crate and Barrel
  14. Dillard’s
  15. dressbarn
  16. DSW – Designer Shoe Warehouse
  17. Ethan Allen
  18. Gardner-White Furniture
  19. Guitar Center
  20. H&M
  21. Half Price Books
  22. Harbor Freight
  23. Hobby Lobby
  24. Home Depot
  25. HomeGoods
  26. Homesense
  27. IKEA
  28. JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores
  29. Jos. A. Bank
  30. La-Z-Boy (all corporately owned stores)
  31. Lowe’s
  32. Marshalls
  33. Mattress Firm
  34. Micro Center
  35. Mills Fleet Farm
  36. Music & Arts
  37. Neiman Marcus
  38. Nordstrom
  39. Nordstrom Rack
  40. Office Depot and OfficeMax
  41. Outdoor Research (closed Black Friday too)
  42. P.C. Richard & Son
  43. Party City
  44. Patagonia
  45. Petco
  46. PetSmart
  47. Pier 1 Imports
  48. Publix
  49. Raymour & Flanigan Furniture
  50. REI (closed Black Friday too)
  51. Sam’s Club
  52. Sears Hometown Stores
  53. Sears Outlet
  54. Shoe Carnival
  55. Sierra Trading Post
  56. Sportsman’s Warehouse
  57. Sprint (Corporate & Dealer Owned Stores; Mall Kiosks May Open)
  58. Staples
  59. Stein Mart
  60. Sur La Table
  61. The Container Store
  62. The Original Mattress Factory
  63. TJ Maxx
  64. Tractor Supply
  65. Trollbeads
  66. Von Maur
  67. West Marine

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Working On...

Thanksgiving is approaching and that means there's lots to do. I'm currently working on getting our home ready for Thanksgiving dinner.
I'm planning the menu, trying to list everyone's favorite foods, remembering traditions, and thinking about decorations.
Here are some old likes for recipes and one craft to get you in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Each day is filled with blessings. Seeing them is as much of a gift as getting them. There are hundreds of things for which to be grateful, yet sometimes I struggle to see them. I want to be better about that because it makes me happier to be thankful.
Jon and I played in a local tournament last weekend. It was exhilarating, challenging, frustrating, and hard work. Jon played in the finals of the men's match. He and his partner lost to our friends. They all played so well!
Steve and I made it to the finals of the mixed doubles. The matches were challenging and a real test of our teamwork. Steve's a great partner and I am fortunate to play with such a positive, supportive, and thoughtful person.
Tony, Jon's tennis partner, recently wrote a book called Time Everlasting. He signed it for me and was  so kind.
I spent early this week recovering from the craziness of the tournament and found solace in doing artwork. I spent a few hours recovering by designing and painting. I was grateful for the ability to get lost in my artwork.
I met a friend for lunch who I haven't seen in a while. We laughed, caught up, and chatted. It felt great to spend time with her again.
Ashley threw a retirement party for her uncle at work. She sent me pictures of the cake and balloons that she got for him, and then the pictures of him at the party. He was thrilled and it made me so proud of her to see the good work she had done.
My daughter flew in for a few days. It's been great to see her again. I miss her so much.