Tag Archives: Holidays

Books I Read in November 2022

library book

November was a fun month! We had family from out of state visiting in the area for the Thanksgiving holiday. There were lots of visits to catch up and learn what is going on in each other’s lives. At our house, what is going on almost always involves dogs, cats, or gardens! That’s ok, most everyone in our extended family has dogs or cats, or at least has had them at some point. We also enjoyed lots of good food. My daughter hosted Thanksgiving for the first time. She and her boyfriend are both excellent cooks, so everyone was happy. Even the kids enjoyed homemade mac and cheese. With all these preparations and goings on, I still managed to make an acceptable dent in my reading stack.

  1. Forks Over Knives, the Cookbook-Del Sroufe (Non-fiction)

The Knives Over Forks movement started with a documentary pointing out the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet (WFPB).  The documented results are amazing. As far as the cookbook goes, once you understand the basics, I think it is pretty easy to come up with recipes on your own. This book is a good place to start.

2. Meet Me Under the Mistletoe-Jenny Baylis

Elinor Noel owns a secondhand bookshop in London. She is from a small village where she attended school at Robinwood castle on scholarship. The old gang spends a week there before the wedding of one of them. Elinor reconnects with an old nemesis and even develops a romance with said nemesis. Of course, something goes wrong, and misunderstandings must be worked out. I only recently discovered this author, and her books immediately go on my “to read” list!

3. Boards & Spreads-Yasmin Fahr (Cookbook)

There are some recipes in this book, but it is mostly about assembling charcuterie boards. Most of them are things I make anyway, served on boards. Still, the book is worth looking at for the beautiful pictures alone.

4. Eat Like You Give a Fork-Marryat Ibrahim (Cookbook)

Contains new concepts of eating for your health. Even though the diet is not vegetarian, it is too restrictive for me. It also incorporates a lot of not so common foods. You would have to be very disciplined to make this diet work.

5. To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before-Lizzie Shane

Elinor Rodrigues’ dog is an escape artist. She’s a quick-witted Australian Shepherd that can work levers and knobs. She also moves chairs to help her reach windows as an escape route. The chief of police, who is also Elinor’s ex-fiancé, chases the dog around town and returns her many times. Elinor and Levi, the police chief have been best friends most of their lives. Now, Elinor is just so mad at him. Can they move past it? An enjoyable read

6. Bloomsbury Girls-Natalie Jenner

Evie Stone, whom we met in The Jane Austen Society, is discharged from her position at Cambridge College. She takes a job at the Bloomsbury Bookshop in London. There she meets coworkers Vivien and Grace, as well as an Indian gentleman, Ash Ramaswamy, who also works there. The women struggle to be respected, as does Ash, being in a foreign land. They become friends and work together, with support from unexpected places, to take control of their lives.

7. Peg and Rose Solve a Murder-Laurien Berenson

This is a new spin on the Melanie Travis mysteries. The main characters in this book are Melanie’s Aunts Peg and Rose. They have a history of getting along like oil and water. Still, the ladies manage to team up to join a bridge club and solve a murder. They may also be on the way to forming a friendship. I look forward to reading more installments in this branch of the mystery series.

Magazines: Cottages & Bungalows (2), Country Living

It’s hard for me to pick a standout from this month’s list. If you want to stretch your mind a little, I recommend Bloomsbury Girls. It concerns racism and the repression of women while still being fun. Meet Me Under the Mistletoe and To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before are both fun romance novels although the former, also addresses racism. I think you would be happy with any of these fiction choices for a nice relaxing time. Then again, maybe you want to pick a Christmas themed novel since the month is upon us. If you have a good one, let me know about it!

At Least There Was Cake!

Zekie and me

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

As I’ve mentioned, my husband puts on a Valentine’s dinner for the family every year. This year was rather challenging trying to pull it all together. In the morning I was vacuuming the house and discovered that the drum filter had slipped on the vacuum so was not seated properly. This allowed dust to blow into the air. My husband is allergic to dust. Not a good time.

After that, normal preparations continued and arrival of the first guests was scheduled for four o’clock. At 1:30 pm, the power went out. Most of the food was ready, so we waited. At 3:30 there was still no power so we moved the location to my mother in law’s. As soon as we finished loading up the five course dinner, our power came back on. The truck from the electric company was still parked down the street so we opted to stick with taking the dinner elsewhere.

We spent a large portion of the week preparing and cleaning with no one to appreciate it. In a couple more weeks this will probably seem quite humorous. Hey, at least there was cake!

Black Forest Cake

A Holiday Dinner

In our family, Valentines Day is a family affair. My husband started the tradition because he wanted to do something special for all the women in the family and it became a couples event. There is much planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, and baking that takes place.

We get out the good dishes. There are decorations, and flowers.

And of course there is cake made from scratch! This one was a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

The menu was:

Homemade potato vegetable soup with heavy cream

Marinated salad with cucumber, olive, onion and other delights

Flank or tuna steak from the grill with reduced mango sauce


Asiago Cheese Bread

Carrot Cake

Occasionally a guest joins our family to partake of the fun. Sadly, this year was an adults only event since my nieces were sick. We didn’t get to see them in their matching tights with hearts on them. We did have three guests of the canine persuasion in addition to our own so it was still an exciting event.

Starting the New Year Off Right


Zekie has a new friend. He and my mother-in-law’s dog Paisley have become fast friends. They played chase and wrestled until they were both soggy from play biting each other. Turns out Zeke has very good inter-dog skills. They were both exhausted by the time they were done.

This was yesterday, New Year’s Day. Because in our family, as you may remember, dogs are included in family gatherings. Because, well, they are family.

Since it was a holiday and we planned to be gone for a while, we loaded up all five dogs and took them with us to grandma’s for the afternoon. This was somewhat necessary with Zeke’s anxiety issues.

Here are Shelby, Cassius, and Zeke supervising the peeling of the potatoes.

Even Nikki came along with the rest of the crew.

And of course Baxter Puppers!

After a busy day of begging and supervising…

everyone was worn out.

We wish your family a happy and healthy New Year in 2019!

Christmas-Gone to the Dogs

I’ve been off work for 6 1/2 days for the Christmas holiday. These photos sum up my days. I am one blessed girl.

Our family obviously considers the dogs an important part of the family. These photos span two separate gatherings and dogs are welcome.

Ok, the photo of the cats is at home. But they were part of our family celebration.

My favorite photo is the one of Zekie sitting on grandma’s lap on Christmas Day. He went along because we are in the process of treating some anxiety issues and it was too long a time for him to be alone. More on those issues when we have a resolution. But since Zeke was with us, he was well behaved (mostly) and enjoyed being part of the day. And I was certainly more relaxed knowing he was safely with us. Understanding families are a blessing too!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. In this world of electronics we make friends far and wide via Facebook, email, etc. I know I have become acquainted with people that I value highly and who are a part of my days. Many more than I could ever get cards out to. These various media forms allow me to stay in contact with friends both old and new in addition to reconnecting with far away family. So to each of you, may the spirit of Christmas be present in your lives through the coming year.

Happy Memorial Day from the Dogs!


Dogs are always a part of our holiday gatherings. We have fun times and lots of laughs because of it. As you can see, Phoebe wears a cap well.


But mostly we have dogs at our family gatherings because, well, they are part of our family. All of these photos are taken at my brother’s home. And not one of them is his dog. Here Baxter solicits a belly rub.


His dog Dakota passed on a few months ago and we miss him still.


Even wet dogs are welcome with us. Coco provided lots of extra fun and amusement.

Happy Memorial Day!