Happy New Year

Much has happened between now and the time I last posted.

I feel like I’ve been sick for way too long. From dealing with muscle issues in my back for a couple of months to catching a cold on Christmas night. It finally feels good to have the old me back.

A big Happy New Year shout out from our home to yours!

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Little reminders from the last couple of months.

This friendly reminder was shot at the salon. A nice reminder that shows how they love to treat their customers.

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A nice reminder of my love for putting all things Christmas up on the day after Halloween. Better known as November 1st. It makes perfect sense to enjoy those evenings when the time change hits and makes the world dark before it should.

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The best reminder of family. We traveled to see family for thanksgiving. What a special treat to have my two siblings, all nieces and nephews. Our nephew and his new bride. Our nephew and his fiancé, mom and dad and my grandma. Talk about great memories with family, it doesn’t get any better.

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A reminder as I was getting ready to have my bookclub friends over to discuss our 2016 schedule.

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A reminder of the morning beverages for the girls.

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And a little reminder of the fruit bowl and other morning snacks (brownies and biscotti) on the dining room table. Following our morning meeting, we girls headed to Olive Garden for a wonderful lunch and more fellowship.

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A reminder of the hubs amazing smoked brisket over his 2 week Christmas holiday. Loved spending those two weeks together around home sweet home.

While I don’t have a photo of the amazing chili he made with the brisket leftovers, I will never forget how wonderful it was. I rank it as the best chili ever made.

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I don’t have a reminder picture of the fish we purchased for our pond, but I’ll never forget that wonderful experience with the hubs over Christmas. If you are reading this, My Love, Thank You!

A reminder of carolers on Christmas day.

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A pretty reminder of where we sat enjoying our Christmas dinner. The view of ice-skating beneath the palm trees with an ocean view, what a delight.

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A beautiful reminder of how we stayed until nearly sunset. We savored desert and slowly ever so slowly sipping my coffee while visiting with the hubs and taking in the view.

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Approximately 2 hours after our Christmas dinner, I told the hubs “I feel a sore throat coming on”. And on the morning of December 26th, I woke  to a sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy head sort of cold. The sort of cold where the hubs dropped everything and took care of me. After the 1st week, I told the hubs, “This feels like a 3 week cold”. Turns out, it was a 3 week cold.

A reminder of how pretty it was one morning as the sun came up. Especially since it rained the day before. A reminder of how the hubs made me promise to stay inside while I was sick. A reminder of my view from the sofa where I sat feeling miserable from my cold that morning. A reminder that I obeyed and took this image from inside the house. Thank you for taking care of me, My Love. And bringing medicine to me when I did not feel like moving. You’re the BEST!

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Our New Years Reminder – I was still sick, but we watched the ball drop at Times Square, per usual. We kissed, yes, the hubs kisses me, even when I’m sick. And wished each other a Happy New Year. And chose to get an early start on sleep that night. No staying up for us until the New Year on the west coast, when we can watch it ring in on the east coast.

While I only have a few reminders in picture form, I’m thankful for the blessings of family, love and feeling back to my old self again.

Happy New Year!

Blessings – Debbie

Happy New Year

I’m still here!

Whew tho, I have a lot of catching up to do over the last couple of months. So I’ll try to make it as brief as possible.

November was pretty packed, as I was learning a lot (in school) about using the paintbrush and tools in Photoshop. That’s when things began to fall off my plate. Like the blog, unfortunately.

And things were added to my plate.

I joined the girls for a day trip up to Rogers Gardens. It was great way to step away from my school work. It was the best distraction and just what I needed to kick off the Christmas season.

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After my much needed day away, it was time to refocus on school work. The image below is one of the two paintings I finished in Photoshop.

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Then Thanksgiving rolled around. We dined at the Hotel Del.

The view from our table.

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Everything was cooked to perfection.

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After dinner, we watched some ice skating beneath the blue sky and palm trees.

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And we took a selfie to remember the day.

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Then it was time to plan for our annual Christmas party. Hors d’Oeuvres, dinner, white elephant gift exchange, and a bonfire with s’mores – those were the highlights of the party. But it was our friends that made the party so special. If I remember correctly, we had 14 guests in all.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t take that many  pictures. But the Starbucks mug with gift card was a big hit.

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By this time, the month of December was in full swing. And the churn of my busy schedule kept right on churning.

We had a lot of rain and I found that to calm my nerves as I planned my next and final school project. I had to give a speech. There was a lot of planning and the hubs helped out so much with my powerpoint presentation. He’s the BEST! Then I rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed some more. Finally the day came (mid December) and I was ready to present to the class my evolution and passion for art From Crayons to Photography.

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And then, as time marched on, we only had one weekend to do our annual Christmas newsletter. I was inspired after all the rain to take an image of our ornament in a puddle. Turns out, we liked it so much that we made it our 2014 Christmas card. The only regret, we did not have a lot of time to review our newsletter and we found some type o’s. For shame!

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Finally, we got to relax while the December dust settled. And I found the time to put my nose in a book called Delicious by Ruth Reichl. What a great read!

Our dear neighbors brought the most delectable plate of homemade yumminess over on Christmas Eve. What a treat!

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Soon it was time to celebrate Christmas.

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The hubs and I, along with our friend went back to the Hotel Del for Christmas dinner.

The image below was taken on our stroll along the pacific after dinner.

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I kicked my shoes off to enjoy the soft sand between my toes.

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And to check out this sandcastle.

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A close up – it truly was a marvelous work of art, all the way around.

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Our friend came back to the house to spend the late afternoon and early evening visiting.  And we watched The Christmas Story together.

Then, the hubs and I found ourselves alone and made a mad dash for jammies!

Our Christmas picture later that evening.

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On the day after Christmas, we decided it was time to put all the decorations away for another year. It actually took 1.5 days to get everything put away, cleaned up and back to normal.

The only thing resembling Christmas, are the candy-canes tucked in the bud vase.

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I’m ready for the New Year. And ready to add more things to my plate. Like family/company coming from Alaska this weekend and the blog and other things of importance.

Until next time – Happy New Year and many blessings to you this year…

Blessings – Debbie

Dear September

You went way too fast! And I did not get my act together to keep up. However, I’m back to recover some of little things in life last month.

Catfish – Our latest edition in May. They (we have two) were about 2″ + when we got them, now they are approximately 9″ – Finally I got a shot this month – These guys love to hide under rocks and come out of hiding for breakfast – The perk = we don’t have “fry” this year – While the fish did spawn, the catfish took care of all the eggs. Nice edition if you were to ask me.

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September school assignment – The lesson called to shoot 6 different categories in the Urban Environment with a total of 42 images. Then select two of our favorite images to print out on 11 x 17 for critique. And hand in the other 40 images compacted on two 8.5 x 11 contact sheets.

The six different categories – 1. Bench where people come and go – 2. Absence of people 3. Twilight 4. Collection of things (anything) 5. Non sequitur, something that looks out of place 6. Nature and manmade blended together

One of my favorite images printed on 11 x 17 and mated it for critique in class. Category = Bench

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The second image I used for my final urban assignment. Category = Twilight

On a good note – the professor was so thrilled with our work that it was all hung in the school gallery.

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What my contact sheets for the assignment (printed on 8.5 x 11) look like…

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Next…. I still don’t have my grade, but I hope it’s a good one.

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Guess who thought it necessary to be there with me, as he did not want me alone out there on my urban assignment…Makes my heart smile…

He’s the BEST!

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Friendship – Lunch with friends at the beach, is always a good idea. It’s times like this that I kick myself for not having my camera. But ever so thankful for the trusty cell phone.

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Fresh cool air – sipping soda beachside with friends – enjoying the visit – more than a girl could ask on a summer day.

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Truly a glorious day to remember…

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Happy Fish and Cloudy Water – We’ve had the pond guy out a couple of times to try to help us figure out why we can’t seem to get the clarity back. Turns out, I’m cleaning it TOO MUCH and backwashing TOO MUCH. Jokingly he said, this is not a pool, it’s a pond. And you need to allow the algae to grow on the sides to develop a good ecosystem.  And he said “don’t touch it ’til I come back the end of the month.” On a good note, the fish are happy and the water ph is just dandy. But the clarity we are used to seeing is just not there. My bad.

The get this thing clean and backwash mentality is hard to let go, but I must.

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New Frames – The hubs is up for new frames. The supposedly really nice frames he picked up the last time continue to have a screw loose ALL. THE. TIME.

We’ve shopped a few places and took a pic the last place we visited over the weekend. Now to go back to the other place to compare notes with the other frames we liked.

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While I still love my frames, it’s a growing concern that I could use bigger frames do to wearing progressives and the need for a little more room to see. Totally not something I’m thrilled about.

But I think I found something that may fill the order next year. I think…

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October Class Assignment – I spent the last couple of weeks in september working on images that could be used for my upcoming assignment. Images were not to be taken in direct sunlight.

I was quite fond of the bubble I captured as it was moving down the waterfall over the stem of the leaf.

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But this image captured days later caused my heart to sing. Getting ready to print this guy and mat it next week.

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I must say, this semester has brought a lot of doubt. Doubt on the days we have a solid 3 hour lecture.

And I come home feeling discouraged that I’m unable to carry out the task. And when I tell the hubs all about it, a tear or two may trickle down my cheek. And he listens, while the look on his face tells me that he wished he could make it all better. And that’s what makes everything better.

And it’s weeks like this (in class) when we’ve had a solid 3 hour lab, that things begin to sink in. Somehow when we as students get to sit at the computer and begin to work on our assignments, ask questions and put to use what we’re learning, the process kicks in.  And somehow I’m able to grasp what he was saying all along during those lectures.

And now I could practically do the assignment with my eyes closed. And I smile and say, it wasn’t that bad after all.

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Cheers to learning new things!

And may I remember that it’s alright if I don’t come home from school knowing everything the professor finished lecturing about. Somethings take time to process.

On a Happy Note – Happy October! Puts me in the holiday spirit already. Yup, I’m one of the crazies that love to blend Pumpkin, Thanksgiving and Christmas all into one.

Blessings – Debbie

Family Days in Florida

This post is going to be a bag of family images during the week stay in FL. I still have so many images to process. But for now, I’m ready to get a few out there.

A few of the things we did that week = had the famous roast beef sunday dinner at mom and dad’s, with the family. I got to play with my nieces hair, did their nails, got plenty of rest, played poker, played backgammon, enjoyed a nice river dinner out with my little brother and his wife (my big bro was not in town as early as we were for this), enjoyed Cold Stone, went to Bass Pro with the family, enjoyed pumpkin pie every day from Thanksgiving – December 1st, purchased fudge, went to visit my grandma, aunt and uncle + cousins, enjoyed lunch with my aunt + uncle + their family + my mom = a total of 11 of us family members, had dinner with friends, went shopping with mom, I’m a heavy on the olives kinda gal and had all of the olives on my Thanksgiving plate disappear from a certain brother :), helped mom with Thanksgiving preparations, enjoyed a dinner out with just my parents, enjoyed watching my parents get surprised by one of the twins (she said she was not able to come as she’s in the middle of exams following Thanksgiving = she lives in Washington), having her there made our family complete, I got to take amazing pix of everyone, enjoyed a big family dinner with everyone at my little bro’s (guy on the far right of the first image in this post), met quite a few of my nieces and nephew’s friends, visited my parents church and enjoyed listening to our nephew play the piano and sing during service, talked to my nephew about coming out to Cali, to take his Sr pix this year and much much more.

Meet the family

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My two siblings + parents. My older bro on left, he’s a year older than me and my baby bro on right, he’s a year and 1/2 younger than me. Feeling blessed to be right smack dab in the middle.

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Pop and me

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I love how he just cracks me up!

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My niece all the way from Washington State.

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And her twin sis in Florida.

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And their baby bro – He’s the senior who mentioned coming out to So Cal for me to take his senior pix in the spring.

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My nephew from North Carolina

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And his little brother from North Carolina – This guy is also a senior this year. And he’s also the nephew who plays the piano and sings.

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While enjoying the cool of the evening with friends, aunt Deb (that would be me) told the girls to “work it ~ work it” I just love the result!

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Our three nephews – There is never a dull moment with the fam. As you can see, the proof is in the pudding.

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My nephew and his buddy – Boy’s certainly know how to work it too!

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When friends arrive late one evening – Hot chocolate + a bon fire in the backyard, made for the best way to spend the time with friends.

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Here we have pops enjoying the cool evening hours as I was out shooting the grandkids. It is then when they brought my attention to grandpa. As this shot begged to be taken.

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I don’t know where the funny bone genes came from, but I think you are looking at two possible candidates.

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There are a lot more images to share from our Florida travels. But I’ll leave you with our Thanksgiving dinner picture, gathered ’round. I love my family and so thankful we could all be together. Even if my little bro took all my olives. 😉

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Blessings – Debbie

Happy Thanksgiving

Apparently that is how far behind I am on the blog. And I say it’s time to do a little catching up, before this gets out of hand.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, (November 23rd) the hubs and I were off to spend Thanksgiving with the family in Florida.

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What we did to pass the time on the long flight from coast to coast.

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And I was thinking how cool it was going to be to see the folks that evening.

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A little layover with a latte in Atlanta = Perfection!

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All set for our sunset flight, down to south Florida.

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It’s taxi to the runway time.

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And we flew into the sunset.

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One of my favorite shots of the day was the sunset + contrail from a jet plane.

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All images and collages (documenting our little trip) were created with my cell and collage apps on the cell phone. I can’t express the amount of fun it was creating images = the time went by so fast.

The end of the first day.

Blessings – Debbie

That Nagging Frustration

When you just had your hand on something and next thing you know, it’s gone.

If I were a pencil, where would I be? That is still the question two days later.

We just had the hubs 0.9mm Pentel P209 pencil the night before last. By morning we could not put our fingers on it.

So I started in on the 4 day holiday weekend laundry + checked all pockets per usual. Searched high and low. Found a stray sock under the bed while conducting the search.

And what do you know, I found the other missing pencil (image below), but there is still another missing as he has two. This guy was found in the stuff we were working on over the weekend. Goodness knows where the other is lurking.

And why is this driving me nuts and consuming me for two days? The hubs and I chalk it up to bizarre. Who knows, maybe the aliens took it?

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Crystal Clear – So I was in the mood for a little abstract today. I took this image of a small crystal votive, held up to the beveled glass window with the garden providing the background light and color.

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And a few blurbs running thru my head:

  • This week feels rather short.
  • The fish are happy as ever. And the little fry are getting SO big! I dare say we have 100 if not more little babies from all that spawning. Anyone out there want some free goldfish? I’m serious! As far as the big birds go, we have been able to successfully keep the birds away from the fish. Knock on wood.
  • It’s hot in So Cal – The “summer” came unannounced a week or so ago. But we don’t look for it to last too long.
  • I’m already thinking about Thanksgiving dinner.
  • I get such a hankering for candy corn this time of the year. I usually splurge at some point with one small bag. And then you know what else I could go for? A small bag of peanuts mixed in with the corn. Love those two together.
  • We’ve talked about where the Christmas tree is going – Speaking of which, we’re getting a new pre-lit tree this year = Excited!
  • The hubs played a little Christmas music over Pandora the other evening. Makes me happy.
  • And I’m particularly looking forward to the weekend.

Blessings – Debbie

Thanksgiving

We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving day with family.

I’m especially happy that the hubs made a note years ago of how much I enjoy Thanksgiving when we don’t have to slave in the kitchen for days.

I can’t help but smile.

But we did one thing wrong this year. We decided to take pictures after dinner.

Full tummies and picture-taking do not go hand in hand.

But the question remains. Is it better to take family pictures when we’re starving or after dinner when we’re ready to prop our feet up?

Our nephew had a fun time on the ice working off some of that turkey…

Our daughter posed while we watched her cousin skate…

I got kissed on camera…

There’s something magical about my guy that makes me smile…

I/we had to bribe our daughter to (PLEASE, pretty PLEASE) let me take her picture…

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is walking on this wonderful soft sand. It’s hard to describe what sand between my toes does for me on Thanksgiving, but it’s magical.

Proof we all had turkey. Truth be told, the fixins’ here at Hotel Del Coronado are amazing.

I love our Thanksgiving tradition. And I love that the hubs equally enjoys this day as much as me. I love that he suggested he wear a coat and tie and I like that he is all about the festivities this time of the year. It’s these little things that make these special days so extra special for me.

I have so much to be thankful for.

Blessings – Debbie

Who Cares

So I’ve been thinking…That’s nothing new.

This time change has really done me in. And why is it that this year feels worse than any other year?

Somebody break out the violin, because it’s one of those kind of posts that I’m going to need it.

I mean, keeping my eyes open much past 8:30 is a very big deal for me these days. BIG – HUGE! Every time I say that, I think of that line in Pretty Woman. Not that it has anything to do with this post, I just thought you would like to know.

And just a few nights ago, I was fast asleep by 6:30 pm. Don’t ask what time I’m waking (in the middle of the night) in the morning.

I believe this time change has everything to do with me wanting to spread Christmas cheer way before Thanksgiving. In fact, this cheer become a part of our Thanksgiving tradition years ago.

And I’ve already declared that next year I will put up the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. And I really don’t doubt that one bit.

Who cares? I didn’t think so, as I feel pretty alone in this. For those of you who picked up the violin, thank you, I needed the sympathy. Truly, I did.

But I’m feeling extra happy that the hubs enjoys this spirit with me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings – Debbie

That Time of Year

It’s that time of the year!

The time of year when I’m rushing to finish up things on the to do list.

A time when I look forward to quality time with family and friends.

A time when I’m ready for the rush to settle.

Perhaps somewhere in all of this, it’s the reason I started (years ago) putting up the tree a week or so before Thanksgiving. It’s one less thing I have to do over my much cherished Thanksgiving weekend with the hubs.

Here I am, enjoying having a week of no class. And thinking about the assignment that’s coming up on the syllabus. It looks like a self-portrait is in the making next week. I’m not going to worry about that now, but I can’t help but wonder what the instructions will be for that assignment. I already know the internet will be involved…

In honor of having the week off. I had my hair cut and colored this morning.

My nails and pedi were checked off the list last week.

So now all I have to do is work up an appetite for Thanksgiving as I’m not cooking! It should be good.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Blessings – Debbie

A Thanksgiving To Remember

Hubby and I have a Thanksgiving tradition.  The tradition revolves around sleeping in, getting all pretty and driving to the place where our reservations were made.  I suppose it has to be one of my/our newer favorite traditions.  Here are the perks:  no cooking ~ no leftovers ~ no mess ~ no clean up ~ where the two of us enjoy each other and the day.  I’m so happy we started this tradition a number of years ago.

Where hubby and I spent our Thanksgiving, The Hotel Del.

I was able to catch a break in the clouds when the sun came out for a spell.  May I insert that it was so cool to be barefoot on the beach on Thanksgiving?

Blending Christmas decor with Thanksgiving seems the thing to do and now I can’t imagine not blending the two.

 

The food was amazing!

In fact, there wasn’t room enough to try everything.  But I’m sure it was all cooked to perfection.

The dinner music was so lovely…

And the ambiance was perfect.

Hubby and I were lucky enough to have this window seat, looking out to the ocean.

There was ice skating in paradise.

And a very happy couple.  We spent a good 4 1/2 hours and enjoyed everything all the way around…

As I wake from fond memories of Thanksgiving, I’m so thankful we have no treats lurking around to tempt me.

I’m thrilled to announce that I lost a little more weight during Thanksgiving week.  To be exact 2.2 pounds!  I also measured my waist this morning to see how I’m coming along.  Turns out, my waist is a whole 5″ smaller so far this year.  I’m so thankful for that too!

It’s been a great year and so far, I’ve reached my weight loss goal and then some.  This was done by setting mini goals + reaching them + continuing to set mini goals = success.

But the most exciting key I have in my pocket is the fact that hubby is right here doing it with me.  He’s my biggest fan and for that, I’m grateful.  I wouldn’t be where I am on this journey without him.  We both look forward to reaching our goals and keeping this healthy lifestyle for life.

May we continue to give thanks long after Thanksgiving.  May we continue to love and appreciate our loved ones.  And may we never forget WHO has given us these blessings.  Thank you Jesus!

Blessings – Debbie

Happy Thanksgiving

Wha??? It appears I’m having difficulty keeping up with my blog these days. So let’s take a step back to Thanksgiving as Christmas will be here soon.

Hubby and I have celebrated Thanksgiving the last 5 years by making reservations and cutting back on the mess as it’s just the two of us. It has proved to be such a great experience and by now it feels like Thanksgiving. It’s a big treat for me and hubby would have it no other way.

This year we celebrated at The Del Coronado Hotel


What a beautiful place


Almost castle like


My dearest and me in “The Crown Room”


We got down to business with a yummy slice of turkey


And didn’t hesitate to jump right in to the fixin’s ~ lots of good stuff under those lids, let me tell ya.


Everything so beautifully displayed


There was a section of nothing but salads.


I didn’t get too cozy with the salad on Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong, I like/love salad but tried saving all the space for the stuffing, turkey, deserts and the like…

More food along the line of appetizers


I wanted to try clams in the worst way but I didn’t even go for them. If it’s not a food I relate to on Thanksgiving, I don’t touch it. The meal was amazing and the food was all cooked to perfection. This is definitely a place I would eat Thanksgiving dinner over and over again.

Can’t believe I didn’t get some shots of the deserts. All I know is that the pecan AND pumpkin pies were delightful!

A little pumpkin décor


in the midst of Christmas decorations


Our dinner music was lovely


Up close


After dinner ~ looking through little shop windows in the hotel


Pretty flakes strung up in the windows


The wood detail inside made a statement, we even met the gentleman whose company fabricated the wood for the hotel.


We truly enjoyed every facet of our day. And this makes another Thanksgiving dinner we won’t forget.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you my friends! You pepper my life with friendship, provide wonderful thoughts and give back while I enjoy your posts more than you’ll ever know. Sorry I haven’t taken much time with you lately and know that if you visit, I promise to stop by and visit you too!

We developed a little Thanksgiving tradition of eating out as it’s just the two of us. And we were so pleased with the new place we found. Reservations were made months ago and we enjoyed our drive through the country. I told hubby that it felt like we were going over the river and through the woods… The pines were simply magnificent standing so tall while the snow outlined each bough.

The place we dined


One of the light posts that outlined the drive


Warm Cozy Atmosphere


This man ROCKS my world!

And puts a smile in my heart each day!


The meat carver and owner ~ He’s in charge of carving the rack of lam, turkey, ham and roast. ~ Everything was cooked to perfection and each bite was a yummy explosion of goodness!


A bowl of nuts with a view!


Pie, sweet breads and cookies ~ The pumpkin pie was amazing, you can take my word for it.


Cheese Cakes and Pies ~ Bobby loved his pecan pie.


View out the window from where we were sitting.


After our meal we relaxed a bit with some coffee and then we dove into the desserts. I had a marvelous piece of pumpkin pie and carrot cake too! That was the perfect way to polish off my Thanksgiving Dinner.

Hoping each of you were blessed this day.