December 23, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here and getting colder by the day, brrrrr. By December 26th the high may be only 3 degrees above zero. Yuck! But it's nice and cozy inside, and filled with the scents and sights of Christmas and Yuletide!

Today I made a crock pot full of my easy-peasy Beef Burgundy, made with a soup can full of sweet red wine (to rinse out the soup can, of course), and four other ingredients: beef (this pot I used beef already sliced in the package for beef stroganoff, and then cut the long thin strips into bite sizes), a can of Golden Mushroom soup, an 8 ounce package of whole button mushrooms cut into halves and thirds (depending on cap size), and a packet plus a little extra of a second packet of dried onion soup/dip mix. I also added a generous helping of ground pepper, dried thyme and dried - and aged (a year and three months, yikes!) of whole basil leaves that I ground up in between my fingers. Then the pot cooked on the "low" heat setting for 4 hours, with only one stir half-way through. The scent permeated the house and even managed to waft out to the street - wowsers - guess I need to get some additional insulation in these 1956 walls! My mouth was watering by the time I made up my first dish (over on-purpose a bit dry mashed potatoes) and gobbled it down, then had half a second dish as well! Now I want a nap.

I have my dark chocolate covered Queen Anne brand cherries (a Christmas must!), Beringer White Zinfandel wine, plenty of new fuel for my gel fuel fireplace and a host of Christmas movies to watch. Best of all, Solstice is done and we had a bit of sunlight day, late this afternoon. Every day, although it is not noticeable right now, it will get lighter a few minutes earlier and the Sun will sink below the horizon a few minutes later each day until the Summer Solstice on June 21. The worst is over, except for the bitter cold of January and February. I think I will go visit my friend Isis in Las Vegas in March - that always perks me right up :)

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all, and may the Season's blessings shower you with good fortune for all of 2018.

Jan

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What About That Back Hall Mess - It's DISAPPEARED!

Hola darlings!

I resolved to do something today about that back hall mess that I (and guests) can see when sitting at my dining table.  I wrote about in December.  As I'm trying to gussy-up the place as I work on the kitchen redo, I wanted to come up with an easy and inexpensive way to hide the mess.

I'd been stewing on it for awhile, plowing through Pinterest for ideas, shopping online, looking at all different sorts of put-together closet storage solutions, armoirs, etc. and all cost more than I wanted to spend.  The ridiculous part is -- I believe I had mentioned just hanging a curtain on a rod back in December -- and then proceeded to ignore this simplest and least expensive idea!

Finally, sick of looking at it as I sat hacking through my income tax returns with a machete, today I had enough!  ENOUGH!  I took a short walk to the Family Dollar near me and bought a tension rod that I knew would fit.  Within a few minutes after I got back home and unwrapped the rod, voila!  The mess was hidden away.  I should have done this a long time ago, duh!

Now you see it:


And now you don't!


It doesn't get much simpler than this.  I think I'll press the curtain, though.  Maybe shop for something a bit more "elegant."   This is one of the curtains that was taken down from my Shezebo outside when I winterized it.  It's a little hard to tell in the photo, but the stripe colors are darker and ligher grey, cream, blue, a sort of goldish olive green -- all colors that "go" with the colors used in both the kitchen/dining area and the back hall.  The rings make it super-easy to move the curtain back and forth on the rod and one curtain fits the opening just fine.

I keep staring at it, LOL.  I think I'm in love...

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