Category Archives: Holidays

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick's Day

In previous years, I’ve had a virtual party on occasions such as this. Well, life got in the way and I’ve had to dig out a short post from a few years ago, and resurrect it.

For all you Irish folk or descendants of Irish folk or anyone who likes to get together and listen to good music and drink green beer…

St. Patrick's Day

May the luck o’ the Irish be with you.

St. Patrick's Day

 

 

Happy 2017! #resolutions #Hogmanay #celebrations

To all my Scottish friends and family…

Happy Hogmanay!

Welcome 2017!

2017!2017!2017!While 2016 sucked in a number of ways – particularly unkind to celebrities – my year turned out okay. No, better than okay – it was GREAT!

High points for me in 2016:

  • Published my book, The Secret of Hillcrest House in April. It’s gone on to sell over kindle 500 copies since it’s release and sells well in paperback at the events I attend.
  • Another trip abroad – England, Wales and Scotland (aka #SEWES2016)
  • Joined the Prescott Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market where I’ve developed a loyal following of readers who are waiting for me to release yet more books.
  • Published the  sequel to A Shadow in the Past – Shadows From Her Past.
  • I should even make a profit this year on my writing. Wow! That will be a first.

Happy 2017!

What are my plans for 2017?

  • Release two books (I know ambitious – insane even) – one in mid-summer, one in late-autumn.
  • Read as much as I can when I’m not writing.
  • Attend as many events as possible.
  • Continue building on the relationships I’ve made with my customers and fellow vendors this year.
  • Travel.

Auld Lang Syne

SHOULD auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.—For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a
weary fit,
Sin’ auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

Robert Burns

The stockings were hung…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

The stockings were hung…

stockings… by the chimney with care…

waiting for the arrival of the man with flair

not to mention his long, curly white hair

stockingsShh… he’s arrived, sat on a barrel as his chair

Sneak in and see what what he has, if your dare

But remember, t’is the season to share…

And now my poem is over (thankfully, you say)

But before I bid my final adieu, if I may…

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Merry Christmas everyone!

**********

 Wishing you all the merriest of Christmases. May all your wishes have come true.

What did you get in your Christmas stocking? Were you naughty or nice? Treats or a lump of coal?

 

Santa Claus Comes Tonight

It’s Christmas Eve…

Santa Claus comes tonight!

 

Santa Claus

The lists have been made. The shopping is done. Perhaps a wrapping marathon is in your future tonight? And there’s always the assembly of bicycles and other toys so that everything will be perfect in the morning.

Did you know you can track Santa’s progress as he makes his way around the world? NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense) has a website dedicated to following the jolly old soul’s whereabouts. 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) tracking Santa’s flight. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

Tracking Santa is a fun activity for everyone, not to mention it keeps the little ones occupied when you’re trying to clean up after your Christmas Eve supper. You can follow Santa at the Official NORAD Santa Tracker site.

And in keeping with Santa coming tonight, enjoy this video.

 

Christmas baking ~ Treats I grew up with…

Christmas baking

When I was growing up the Christmas baking started before Halloween to ensure there was enough to get us through from Christmas Eve to after New Years.

My mum had a set of metal Christmas themed cookie cutters – Christmas tree, bell, holly leave and Santa with his bag of toys on his back.

Christmas baking
By No machine-readable author provided. AdinaB-O’B assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mum’s shortbread recipe:

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.

Once these were out of the oven and cooled, they were put in special cookie tins that were only used this time of year.

Another treat that was made for Christmas was chocolate fudge.

My mum used the Carnation 5 minute fudge recipe. Easy to make and did it ever taste good!

Christmas baking
By theilr (originally posted to Flickr as fudge) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I loved being home when this was made because I got to lick the wooden spoon that was used in the making of it and have the scrapings from the pot.

The fudge was stored in a waxed-paper lined tin with sheets of the paper between the layers of candy to keep them from sticking to each other.

Mum also made mincemeat and cranberry tarts which she froze. Now we didn’t have a big freezer and the tiny one in the top corner of our fridge was barely big enough for a brick of ice cream.  Being the resourceful person she was, all the tarts were individually wrapped in foil and placed in one of her large roast pans and buried in the snow outside the backdoor.

They were brought in as and when needed and warmed in the oven.

I always knew when I came home from school at lunch time and my grandmother was perched on the stool at the end of the counter that it was fruitcake making day. She always came to help.

During the Christmas baking season our house always smelled so good with the aromas of the various holiday treats. Thinking back to these days, I’m getting hungry.

What seasonal treats did you have when you were young?

 

MEMORIES OF CHRISTMASES PAST

memories

MEMORIES OF CHRISTMASES PAST

For Minnie (1892-1971) and my Dad (1913-1969)

As a child, spending time at my Grandmother Minnie’s farmhouse east of Athens was something I always looked forward to. Christmas Day was even more special because all the aunts, uncles and cousins were there, too. No matter how horrendous the weather or long the journey, everyone always made it. Without fail, the Petawawa faction was always last to arrive, leaving the rest of us chomping at the bit so that Christmas could begin!

You have to picture the scene – nine kids, six parents, Minnie and my Uncle Winston cheek and jowl in the two rooms downstairs and without benefit of indoor plumbing until 1970. Dishes were washed and rinsed in two large galvanized washtubs that were hauled up onto the table and filled with hot water from the kettle on the woodstove and cold from the buckets on the counter brought over from the well on the other side of the road. And if you had to go, it was either make the long trek to the outhouse or use the thunder-mug upstairs in Minnie’s room or the one on the stairs.

My love of reading began during those Christmases at Minnie’s. My cousin from Toronto gave me a book every year from the time I turned ten.

1970 was the last year for family Christmas at Minnie’s and the first with indoor plumbing. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but to us it was. With how commercial the holidays have become, I long for those simpler times.

I still have most of those books (I think I only ever parted with one – a book of fairy tales).

What are some of your favourite Christmas memories?

Love is in the air…

Happy Valentine’s Day

love

Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions? Will you give or receive flowers, chocolates or other candy? Are you in the early stage of your relationship like the “young love” couple below?

love

Or are you in the “lasting love” stage like these folks?

loveMr MR-K and I will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary later this year. What can I say, time flies when you’re having fun. Except we’re not as grey as the folks in the clipart above, we’re still just as much in love as when we first met.

Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree… where for art thou? Oh wait, that’s a cross between the Christmas carol and Romeo and Juliet.

I couldn’t bring myself to put up our regular tree and since I’m such a nut when it comes to nutcrackers, I thought I would do something different this year. I had to go shopping the other night for a gift bag for our Christmas Gift exchange at work and as I thought more about that, I came up with a brilliant idea. Well not all that brilliant. Not until I got into the store. So what started out as a gift bag, became a full-fledged shopping spree. I got a small LED lighted tree (not of the artificial evergreen variety), a new tree skirt, a couple of new stockings (our old ones were getting pretty dilapidated), and three (yup THREE) new nutcrackers. One about 36″-40″ tall, and two about 18″ tall.

christmas

Missing from this picture (perhaps out partying or whatever it is that nutcrackers do when they’re together, or maybe just mad because I brought new ones into the fold and are staging a protest) from last year’s photo (see below) are the small ones on the rocking horses, the small one in green on the left, my kilted one wearing the tartan tam and the one in red beside him. Or they could be in the bottom of one of the totes. The lighting in the basement under the stairs isn’t the best and I didn’t have my glasses on.

nutcrackers in front of tree (2013)

In addition to our Secret Santa Gift exchange Friday, we decided to liven it up and wear our ugly Christmas sweaters or jumpers to my friends across the pond. Seeing how I don’t own a Christmas sweater (ugly or otherwise), I had to think up something. So this is what I came up with…

ugly Christmas jumper

I had bought two strings of battery-operated LED lights recently for illuminating my Eiffel Tower statues so threaded them through the sweater then took a couple of pairs of tacky Christmas earrings and affixed them in strategic locations. I topped the ensemble off with my Santa hat.

What did I get in the gift exchange? Well, a cordial set and a really cute stuffed polar bear. What can I say, I’m a sucker for stuffed animals.

What do you think of breaking with tradition and doing something different?

Canada Day 2014

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day

This year, I spent the day at the Canada Day Morrisburg Market. The heat was oppressive as was the humidity. I think it felt like 41C outside – and that was even under a canopy in the shade. Thankfully, there was a breeze coming in off the river, but that also posed a few problems.

Canada Day
My table. Notice hubby is also wearing A Shadow in the Past T-shirt.

My little table (while it looks very nice decked out in red and tartan looks so small under the 10’x10′ canopy. And because there was so much room in the tent, people took the short cut through the one end to go to and from other parts of the park.

I rearranged the table after this photo was taken and put the easel with the “what people are saying about A Shadow in the Past” in the middle behind the calendars and moved the stacks of A Shadow in the Past to the edge of the table.

I had a few people ask if we had T-shirts for sale but I only ordered the two – one for hubby and one for me to wear to assorted signings (unless more formal attire is required).

Canada Day
Showing of my A Shadow in the Past t-shirt

The militia reenactors scared most of the people (me included) when they started firing their guns… without warning I might add. Still I managed to get a couple of pictures of them.

canada day 2014 3
Militia reenactors
canada day 2014 4
Militia reenactors

Early in the afternoon, the wind changed and my easel became a sail, so it spent most of the afternoon under the table, although I did manage to get it back on display a few times. It meant having to hang on to it and even then there was no guarantee it would remain upright.

By the end of the day, I had sold 4 copies of A Shadow in the Past and 2 copies of The Consequences Collection. In addition, a number of people took my postcards and were quite pleased that both books are available as ebooks. Now we’ll see if that interest translates into sales.

How did you spend your Canada Day?

Merry Christmas!

I’m well behind in my Christmas preparations, shopping, cooking, decorating. The only thing I believe I managed to get done on time was my cards written and mailed to the folks on this side of the pond as well as the other. And since the opposite side has an earlier mailing deadline, fingers crossed everyone received theirs in time for tomorrow.

During the ice storm this past weekend, I finally got around to putting my tree up and decorating it. I started Saturday and finished on Sunday.

christmas tree (2013)I love the fur-trimmed, red outfit my angel wears. It reminds me of the gowns in the movie White Christmas. And no Christmas would be complete without my nutcrackers putting in an appearance.

nutcrackers in front of tree (2013)This isn’t all of them either. I have two 42″ ones that I didn’t get out this year. And I believe there’s another 12″ one tucked away somewhere, too. You’d almost get the impression I like nutcrackers. I even think I have enough nutcracker ornaments that I could do my tree in nothing but them. As it is there are some of them that didn’t make it to the tree. I have other ones that need to go up – the pairs of hockey skates, figure skates, the photo frame ornaments, Santa ornaments, train, rocking horse, gingerbread men… the only one that doesn’t go on the tree is the one that used to be on my grandmother’s every year that she gave to me when I was a little girl. I used to put it on the tree (usually up high where a wagging tail wouldn’t knock it off) but after getting more old-fashioned looking ornaments, I decided I liked the look better than with the glass baubles.

I can’t believe that today is Christmas Eve. It certainly doesn’t feel like it. We’re going to have a  white Christmas this year, albeit with a crust of ice on top of the snow. Most of our trees have half an inch of ice on them and two of my evergreens are bent way over.

ice crusted treesThe deciduous trees look beautiful coated in ice when they’re backlit by the sun. And at minus double-digit temperatures, they’ll stay that way for quite some time. At least the winds haven’t picked up – like predicted – so we shouldn’t have to worry about limbs coming down.

The poor evergreens, on the other hand, while they still look beautiful, they’ve lost their fullness – their branches weighted down under a layer of snow and ice. And in some cases, the entire tree is bent over from the weight like my juniper that stands at the back corner of our garage.

bent juniper tree Dec 24 2013Wherever you are this holiday season, I wish you warmth and safety. If you’re without power as many people in parts of Ontario and the US are from this storm, I hope you get it restored quickly.

All the best to you and your families for the remainder of 2013 and for the years to come.

From all of us here at The House of King,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!