Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Some New Christmas Ornaments

Every year I add to our collection of Christmas ornaments, and this
year is no exception.  I couldn't pass up this little red truck filled with
Christmas trees.  It reminds me of when David and I were first dating
and he had a red pick-up truck.  I had never dated anyone with a red
truck before and I fell in love with him and his truck too.  The first
time we traded vehicles and I got to drive his truck all afternoon, I
was smitten.  I have loved pick-ups ever since.  This pick-up came
from Pottery Barn.

These ice skates are new too.  When I was a little girl, my parents took
me to outdoor ice skating rink.  It was the same one that Kevin slid
across in the movie Home Alone.  I took figure skating lessons for a
few years and I loved every minute of it.  These skates from Hobby
Lobby will be perfect for the tree in our family room.

I bought this reindeer just because I love it.  It is also from
Pottery Barn.

And finally, this little snowman, trees and lantern is also from
Pottery Barn.  It lights up too.

I can't wait to see it on our tree!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, November 28, 2016

Back From Our Mini Vacation

David, Bentley and I headed to Austin over the weekend to
spend our Thanksgiving at Barton Creek Resort.  We left
on Wednesday evening. We arrived to a very festive and 
packed resort which really made the occasion so exciting.

The resort put on a huge Thanksgiving afternoon brunch
with great food, great music and lots of champagne.   We
enjoyed all of it knowing that afterwards we didn't have to
drive anywhere.

Bentley enjoyed a turkey dinner up in our room and a long walk
following his feast.  There were quite a few other dogs at the 
resort and Bentley had fun meeting them on our many walks.
He is just so sweet with everyone he meets, even other dogs,
and I never have to worry about taking him anywhere.

Austin is such a fun city and we had fun joining other
Black Friday shoppers.  I picked up a few extra ornaments at
Pottery Barn.  They have such a big focus on tartan this
year and I just couldn't resist.  Every year I keep saying that
I won't buy any new Christmas decorations, and every year
I weaken.  Does that happen to you?

When we returned home last night, we checked our bedroom to 
see if the mouse was caught.  He had been in my closet.  We knew
this for sure based on two signs.  First of all, I left an empty Coke
bottle with some peanut butter inside.  The bottle was empty and
there were mouse droppings inside.  Then the one bait box that
was left on the closet floor was moved from the wall and pushed
out to the middle of the closet, so he went for the bait.  The sticky
traps were left undisturbed.  According to what I have read, the
bait takes anywhere from four to six days to kill the mouse, and 
since I don't see him anywhere, I don't know if he is in fact dead.
So now, I wait and in the meantime, I spent last night sleeping in
my studio.  

On a very sad note, I am afraid that my iMac desktop has died.
With Christmas coming,  that will be my present.  I can't remember
when I bought that Mac, but it's been quite a while.  For now, I
am using my Macbook Pro.  I am missing my laptop with it's 
27 inch screen, but I will muddle through for the time being.

Tonight we have our meeting with the police department to
discuss setting up a new neighborhood watch program after
the recent break-ins.  Some of our neighbors are talking about
hiring an off duty cop to patrol regularly.  I am glad that our
new security system is working well now.  We had a few
glitches, but it's all functioning properly now.  I am looking
forward to rodent free, burglar free days ahead!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Shopping, Fun and Food

David, Bentley and I have been having fun since Wednesday night
when the holiday weekend began.  We have been shopping,
eating, sleeping in late and having fun!

No work, no worries, and no news.

The weather has cooled off here and I we are wearing sweaters 
and going for long walks with Bentley.

It's time for trimming trees and stringing lights.  I hope y'all 
are enjoying the long weekend.  We sure are!  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Uninvited for Thanksgiving Dinner

The election earlier this month has created quite a bit of
friction between the supporters of the winning candidate and 
the ones who supported the loser.  Of all the elections I have
witnessed in my lifetime, this one has created the biggest
rift not only between the voters, but between family members
as well.

I have refrained from discussing the results and am not
focusing on them here.  I am however, concerned about the
nasty, snarky comments that are being written on Facebook
between friends and sadly, between family members.

It's often been said that the discussion of politics and or
religion is best avoided in social situations.  From what I
have read on Facebook, that is a concept that is not
currently being followed.  I have read some very nasty,
snarky comments between people who are supposed to be
friends.  There has been a great deal of name calling and
belittling of those who voted for the "wrong" candidate, 
whoever that may have been.

This behavior has not been limited to Facebook.  Families are being
torn apart by this election as well.  I recently read about a mother who
uninvited her own child to Thanksgiving dinner because this adult child
voted for the "wrong" candidate.

I don't have much of a family any longer.  My parents are both gone now
and my beloved Aunt Susan died last year too.  I have some cousins, but
with the exception of one, I do not hear much from them.  I am fine, and
not asking for your sympathy because I have a loving husband and a very
good marriage, a dog we both adore, very good friends and especially my
adopted "sister" Robin Carr who fills my heart with joy.  I feel blessed to
have so much love in my life.  That being said, when family members
have passed on, there is a void in your life that cannot be replaced. 
Please consider that tomorrow.  Don't disinvite anyone to share your
holiday feast because their political views differ from your own.  Let
the holidays be a time for making happy memories, not tearful ones.

We are fortunate to live in a nation that allows freedom of speech and
the opportunity to choose our leaders.  Please embrace this idea and
allow for some tolerance.  Don't allow an empty seat at your 
Thanksgiving table become a regret.

Some years back, while my parents were still alive, they had a 
neighbor who they liked very much despite the fact that they had
very different political views.   This woman always spent 
Thanksgiving alone until we found out she did so.  Since I always
hosted the dinner at my house, I decided to invite her to our
holiday feast and included her with our family and friends.  We
did this for many years.  She always brought the most delicious
pie in a sweet basket and my parents would pick her up and
drive her to our home.  For one day, we would put politics
aside and focus on what we shared in common.  Jeanne was
a beloved friend of us all and when she passed away we were all
deeply saddened.  

Family and extended family are precious.  Life is fragile.
Please don't let politics cut the ties that bind.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving 
filled with good food, and most importantly, good memories.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Coziest, Comfiest Bed

I know you have seen this bed in my studio hundreds of times.  I have
always loved this little twin four poster, but have never actually slept in
it before.  As you may remember from yesterday's post, there is a mouse
that took up residence in my closet in the master bedroom.  David 
opened the door to see what was going on and the cutest little mouse
ran out.  We have been unsuccessful finding him and don't know if
he left the way he came in, or if he is hiding somewhere.  I decided
that until we know for sure, I can't sleep in our bedroom!

So last night I decided to sleep in the little four poster in my studio.
Oh my gosh!  It is the comfiest, coziest little bed.  When I climbed in
last night I opened up the book I am currently reading, and could
hardly keep my eyes open.  The comfiness of the bed just lulled
me to sleep.  I woke up very briefly and put away the book and 
turned out the light and slept the night away like a baby!

When I awoke this morning, I thought to myself, "this little bed that
I never use is comfier than our big bed in the master bedroom!"  There
is something wrong with this picture.  I need to deconstruct the bed to
duplicate this level of comfort for our room.  The mattress is perfect 
and the pillows too.  The down comforter has just the right amount of
fill and even the sheets are comfy.  Now I am thinking that I need to
check out the bed in the guest room.  That one has one of those 
wool fleece mattress toppers.  I have never tried sleeping in there 
either.  I am determined to make our big bed this comfy too.

Our exterminator, John, came over earlier today for our quarterly 
spraying for roaches. Please don't judge me. Roaches are 
everywhere in South Texas.  I see them running along the curb
when I take Bentley for a walk.  John also placed some bait in the
crawl space and some sticky traps in the corners of our bedroom
to eliminate the mouse we have not been able to find or catch.
I hate the thought of killing or harming a poor little animal, but
John also warned me about the damage that mice can do, 
particularly to electrical wires.  I am hoping that neither of these
methods are necessary and that little mouse has already 
escaped our house and is living happily ever after in an
outdoor nest somewhere safe from neighborhood cats. 
Until then, I am sleeping in the cozy, comfy bed in my studio.

On a happier note, I must tell you something fun about
our new alarm system.  During the day, when the system is
disarmed, we still get messages whenever a door is opened.
For example, if I open the French doors leading to the
back porch, a voice says "breakfast room door".  What I 
really love about this is that the voice we hear has a 
British accent!  Perfect for me because y'all know what an
Anglophile I am ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, November 21, 2016

Beef Stew, Christmas Decor and a Mouse!

What a wild and crazy weekend we had.  It was not the peaceful,
relaxed, laid back one I had envisioned.  Do you have some time?  
This is going to be a fairly long post because it's full of lots of news.

Most of the day Friday was devoted to the installation of a new
security system in our house.  There have been a string of break-ins
in our normally quiet neighborhood, so it was time to update to
the latest technology.  No one has been hurt and the property that
has been stolen has been minimal, but home invasion in the middle
of the night is something none of us want to experience.  So, a
brand new system was installed to keep us feeling safe.

After taking Bentley for his last trip outside for the night, we set the alarm
and headed for what we expected to be a good night's sleep.  All was well
until 2 am when the alarm went off.  We jumped out of bed and stumbled over 
to the command center to see what was happening.  We checked the door
it was referring to with tactical flashlight in hand.  All seemed to be safe
and secure.   Why did the alarm go off and what could it possibly be
sensing that we could not see or hear?

David called the 24 hour number and went through some protocol with
them and we felt sure it was a false alarm.  The problem then was how to
get back to sleep?  We talked for a while and then fell asleep once again
only to be wakened at 4 am by another alarm.  This time we knew a bit
more and were able to trace the problem.  That was great, but we 
couldn't fix it and knew that we would not be able to get anyone out
until Monday, so we just accepted our fate.

On Saturday I started pulling out Christmas decorations.  I normally wait until
the day after Christmas, but I am just so anxious to begin decorating that I
gave in to my desires.  My plan is to give each room it's own theme.  Then
I headed out to the shops to fill the gaps.  Every year I like to combining old
and beloved favorites with something new.  

The weather is beautiful right now and since I want to spend as much 
time as possible outside, I will start with the back porch. 

After all my shopping was finished and the groceries put away, I 
prepared our usual platter of tasty little tidbits for our appetizer
Saturday night.  David had a cocktail, I had a glass of wine and
we settled in to watch college football.  It was the perfect quiet 
evening at home I had envisioned. 

Bentley went outside again for his last check on the backyard
for the night.  I went into the bedroom to change into pajamas
and a robe.  I heard  scratching and gnawing sounds coming from
inside my closet.  What is that???  

I went out to the family room and told David about the noises
I heard.  He said it was probably a mouse in the crawl space and
that he would get a trap the next day.  So with this bit of info
to assure me, I timidly opened the closet door.  No little animal
came out, but there was a small pile of sawdust on the floor
near the pocket door opening.  I ran back into the family room
to tell David, who by the way was NOT overly concerned about

That did it for me.  I decided to make sure that any of my 
good shoes were off the closet floor and into their appropriate
boxes on the shelves.  I swept up the sawdust and felt a bit
relieved that everything inside was neat and tidy and that
we would buy a trap the next day.  Then I drifted off to sleep
only to be aroused by the alarm that once again went off at
2 am.  

After a sleep deprived night, I had a surprising amount of energy.  I 
spent the early afternoon browning beef cubes and chopping onions and
carrots for beef stew.  Everything was going to be fine I decided.  That
happy, cheerful attitude all changed when I went back into the 
bedroom and heard the gnawing again.  No!!! Not again!!!

Off we went to Lowe's to find a product for eliminating the 
intruder.  When we got home, David opened my closet door and out
ran a little mouse.  He was pretty cute, but the only problem was 
that David didn't catch him and now he is hiding somewhere in the

We could let Bentley's terrier hunting skills do the job, but I don't want that
either.  I spent last night sleeping in my studio while David slept in the big
chair and ottoman in the family room.  The door to our bedroom is closed.
Tomorrow, John our bug man, comes over to assess the situation.  I would be
happy to build the little mouse it's own house to live in if he would just be
willing to move out of mine.

Meanwhile, our alarm system has been tweaked and we should not have
any more false alarms.  Scratch one issue off the list :-) 

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sneak Peek At Christmas 2016

I have waited long enough ....

let the Christmas decorating begin!  It truly is the most wonderful time
of the year!!  See you tomorrow with more decorating, cooking, chatting
and some hilarious adventures from our weekend.  Until then, have
a happy Sunday.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, November 18, 2016

Getting Ready For A Cozy Weekend

Ooh baby, a cold front is moving in.  It's supposed to go down to 47 
degrees ;-)  David is in a golf tournament all weekend and he is thrilled
because he hates the heat.  I know, he's a Texas boy, but he went to school
up in New England for many years while he was young and really adapted
to the cooler temps.  And then of course, we lived in Northern Virginia
for four years when we were first married and it got cold there too.

I am hoping that it is fireplace weather starting tomorrow.  There is nothing
I like better that a wood burning fire and we don't have the opportunity
to have them very often.   I really became a good fire builder when we 
lived in our sweet little farmhouse in the horse country of Virginia.  We
used to order wood from a local mill.  We would buy the tailings which 
were perfect because they were already split for the most part.  They
would drop off a load and I would stack up a small pile on the front porch.
I could have a fire going in no time at all.  It was especially nice in the
evening after David worked hard all day and would drive down our
country lane and see the smoke coming out of our chimney and walk
inside to yummy smells coming from the kitchen.  Our cozy and 
comfy little nest.

So I am keeping my fingers crossed and perhaps I'll be stoking the fire
tomorrow too.  

Perhaps with some morning coffee and a good book by the fire.

I love to cook and I especially love to make yummy soups and stews.
I am longing for some homemade chicken pot pie too.  I remember 
going into the city (Chicago) with my Mom.  We would take the train
into the city for a day's shopping adventure and we would stop for 
lunch at the Walnut Room at Marshall Fields.  Mrs Hering's chicken pot
pie was so yummy.  Here is the Recipe in case you want to try it
this weekend.

David will be on the golf course and I'll be in the kitchen.  I'll be
loving it.  Listening to music I love and creating yumminess.  Bentley
will be nearby of course, hoping for some tasty tidbit to fall on the
floor ;-)

But then it's hard to say no to that sweet little face!

And on Sunday afternoon I am planning to curl up in bed with Bentley
and watch old Christmas movies like, Christmas in Connecticut, The Bishop's
Wife (the old one with Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young), and 
White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street.   Later in the evening, when
we call it a day, I'll have sweet dreams of starring in our own movie ....

Bentley and I are hams ;-)

So get ready and start making your own plans because it's Friday
and y'all need to make your own nests cozy for the weekend too.
And .... you might need some great recipes, so enjoy this last 
day of the Holiday Recipe Blog Hop

Today you can visit these savvy girls ~

And a big Texas thank you to our hostess Carol from
Blue Sky Kitchen.  Carol is always creating something
yummy in her kitchen!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Just Because

Sometimes you just need one.  Help yourself.  Don't worry about the
calories, they are tiny ;-)

And if y'all are in the mood for something yummy, be sure to check out
the bloggers featured in today's edition of the Holiday Recipe Blog Hop!

I took a peek at what these girls are serving, and everything looks
really good!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Planning My Christmas Cookie Baking List

With Thanksgiving just a week away, it's not too soon to start thinking
about Christmas cookies.  Planning the cookie list is part of the fun.
I love to make favorite recipes from my Mom and from my friends.
Every cookie brings back a treasured memory.  

The tarts above are not technically cookies, but they start with a 
refrigerated cookie dough and baked in a muffin tin, then filled with
vanilla pudding and topped with raspberries and powdered sugar.
I made these for the first time last year and took them over to share
with a friend.  I will have to dig out the recipe and share it with you.

I have baked these candy cane cookies for as long as I can remember.
It's a simple butter cookie with peppermint flavoring added to the dough.
The dough is then divided and one batch is mixed with red food coloring.
It's my signature cookie.

I always bake some gingerbread cookies too.

Thumbprints filled with raspberry jam are another one of 
my favorites.  This recipe comes from an old Betty Crocker

The week after Thanksgiving, I will begin to share cookie recipes 
with you.  I always bake plates of cookies to share with our neighbors,
so you will be included in the process.  Until then, be sure to stop by
the Holiday Blog Hop for more recipes from our friends.

Today's participants are:

And a very big thank you to Carol at Blue Sky Kitchen for
organizing this recipe blog hop!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tuna Walnut Ball and Crackers Holiday Appetizer

I found an old recipe in one of my vintage recipe boxes that seemed
like the perfect compromise for me.  Let me explain, I am a fish lover
and I especially enjoy fish based appetizers.  I love oysters, clams, shrimp
and smoked salmon.  My husband David will only eat tuna, and never
fresh tuna, only tuna out of a can.  

So, when I discovered a recipe for Tuna Pecan Ball, I knew I must give
it a try.  Now for the tweak on this recipe, I didn't have any pecans,
but I did have a three pound bag of walnuts just purchased from Costco,
so I made one substitution.

Here is the recipe:

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 (6 1/2 oz) can solid tuna, drained
3 T diced green pepper
3 T diced scallions
3 T diced celery
2 t prepared horseradish
1/2 t hot sauce
1/2 t worcestershire 
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Combine all ingredients, except walnuts; stir well.  Shape into a ball;
cover and chill at least one hour.  Roll in walnuts; cover and chill.
Serve with assorted crackers.

This fish board has just been waiting for a recipe such as this :-)

Don't forget the assorted crackers.  

It's really yummy and even my picky eater loves it!

Be sure to visit the other recipes bloggers are sharing today at the 
Holiday Recipe Blog Hop.  Today's bloggers are:

By the way, my official little taste tester Bentley, loves the
Tuna Ball too ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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