Sunday, December 7, 2014

Weekly Update: 'Tis the Season


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... at least at this nearby inn/restaurant where we celebrated our 29th anniversary last Monday. Seeing their gorgeous tree reminded me of all the decorating and shopping I have yet to do. This will be the week!

Reading//


I finished Christmas at High Rising by Angela Thirkell - delightful stories with characters from her Barsetshire series, but not quite as much Christmas as I was expecting.


They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple (for the Classics Club Spin) is my current read, and it is wonderful so far!

Listening//


I'm still working on Finding Florida by T.D. Allman and can certainly understand why this book is controversial. What a wild and colorful history that state has had!


Today's Daily Deal (12/7) at audible.com is Everything I Never Told You written by Celeste Ng and narrated by Cassandra Campbell. It's just $3.95 and I couldn't resist. I'll probably need a break from the 21 hour Florida history soon.


On the blog//
Weekend Cooking: Review of Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen  by Laurie Colwin
The Classics Club: 50 Questions
Tuesday Intro: Finding Florida

In the kitchen//
Are you looking for a simple, delicious soup? Try this Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup from Gimme Some Oven... it doesn't get much easier and everyone here loved it. I'll definitely make it again over the holidays when all the girls are home.



Watching//
College basketball. Now if my Orangemen could just come up with a win...

The Red Tent  will be on Lifetime tonight and tomorrow, and my DVR is ready. I loved Anita Diamant's book... have you read it?


Later today//
We'll bring in the Christmas tree and put up the lights, but will wait on the ornaments until everyone is home. There's also a family gathering to celebrate my father's 79th birthday later this afternoon. But right now, I'm going to pour another cup of coffee, catch up on some blogs, and read the newspaper.

What are you up to today?

This post will link to It's Monday, What are You Reading?  hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.


56 comments:

  1. That tree really is gorgeous! We got ours up--over the course of a few days (looking forward to the day when I have helpful hands that can reach higher than the lowest branches). I can't believe that Christmas will be here in just a few weeks and then the new year following so closely behind.

    I loved The Red Tent when I read it years ago. I'm not sure I'll catch the show now but maybe it'll go to Netflix eventually. I'll look forward to hearing what you think!

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    1. Trish - Putting up the tree really is a process! We cut it down last weekend, brought it inside today, will get the lights on later tonight or tomorrow, then finish decorating the weekend before Christmas.

      I'm going to DVR The Red Tent. I'll never make it until 11:00 two nights in a row and can avoid commercials, too ;-)

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  2. Oh that Christmas tree is stunning! Makes me excited to put up my tree. We Were Sisters sounds interesting. It's not one I've really heard of before so I'm curious to see what you think of it. Have a great week. Enjoy your father's birthday celebrations!

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    1. Katherine - We always try to visit the inn once during the Christmas season. They have the most beautiful tree and decorations I've ever seen! We Were Sisters was written in the 1940's and it seems to be taking a more serious turn. Whipple seems poised to address domestic violence.

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  3. We plan to decorate Tuesday. I have no idea when the shopping and cards will get done though.

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    1. Kathy - I'm starting to wonder if I will even get cards out this year...

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  4. That is a beautiful tree and it looks like a wonderful restaurant for your anniversary celebration. Enjoy your father's 79 birthday!

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    1. Pat - The first time I was there, it was to celebrate my 30th birthday... quite a few years ago ;-)

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  5. That tree looking gorgeous, I am not spirited enough yet to decorate 😹 I do write and Mail the cards though and have a tenderloin roast for dinner. Trying to read a Christmas book today for inspiration.

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    1. Diane - Hope the Christmas book helps. I was looking for inspiration with Christmas at High Rising, but only a couple of the stories were about the holidays.

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  6. Oh, I love soups...and that slow cooker one looks so tempting! Only thing...I need to go out and buy a slow cooker! LOL

    I have Everything I Never Told You...must read soon!

    As for my moving my blog to WP, I took the chicken way out and only moved the posts (reviews) from 2014. Most of my previous posts would have required a lot of changes in links, etc., so I opted for the Lazy Way.

    But I'm still happy to have moved.

    Thanks for visiting my blog...and enjoy your week. That is one awesome Christmas tree!

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    1. Oh, and I have programmed the DVR to record The Red Tent. Can't wait!

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    2. Laurel-Rain Snow - Gimme Some Oven actually posted a 20 minute recipe for the same soup that doesn't involve a crock pot, so there's still hope!

      Quite a few end-of-the-year lists came out this week and Everything I Never Told You has been on several...can't wait to start listening.

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  7. Funny. You're about to read Everything which I just finished and I'm about to read Home Cooking which you just finished!

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    1. Deb - We'll have to compare notes ;-)

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  8. That tree is certainly inspiring!
    I didn't love Red Tent, I think my expectations of it were too high...

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    1. Sam - My mother, one sister and I all loved The Red Tent, but another sister has never been able to get into it. I loaned her my book almost ten years ago (it's still on her nightstand) and it has now become a family joke.

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  9. I had a similar reaction to the Thirkell stories. I enjoyed them, but I was expecting more Christmas! I recently found one of Dorothy Whipple's books on the library sale carts, and I'm curious to read it. I keep seeing her name on blogs.

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    1. Lisa - Even that beautiful new Virago cover has me expecting more Christmas... oh well. Dorothy Whipple is a gem.

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  10. Wow that is a beautiful tree!! I am so excited for Christmas although I still have so much to do. :)

    Christmas at High Rising has a great cover! It sounds really good too, although with the name I would expect a lot of Christmas too.

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    1. Erin - The stories in Christmas at High Rising were very good, but I was disappointed that there wasn't all that much Christmas. I still love the cover though ;-)

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  11. I can't decide whether I am going to put up a tree this year or not. Last year I did the book tree, but I don't really want to upset my shelves after I just organized them. I might just get a little tabletop tree instead. I haven't ever read The Red Tent but the previews on Lifetime for the TV adaptation certainly look intriguing!

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    1. Anbolyn - I remember your book tree from last year (it was amazing!), but can certainly understand not wanting to turn the shelves upside down again. We're all set to record part 2 of The Red Tent tonight... maybe I'll watch it this weekend.

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  12. That soup looks so good! I love the Red Tent too, I've got the miniseries set to record.

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    1. Melissa - I just finished the last of the soup for lunch today. Will definitely be making that one again!

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  13. I loved the Red Tent when I read it a number of years ago - maybe I will catch the mini-series on demand over a winter weekend. That inn looks just charming - a perfect destination during the holidays!

    Thanks for the recommendation re: the daily deal - I really like Cassandra Campbell as a narrator so will definitely pick this one up today.

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    1. Booksnyc - Cassandra Campbell is one of my favorite narrators. I listened to a few minutes of Everything I Never Told You last night and think I'm going to like it!

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  14. I read and loved The Red Tent. Will have to set it up to record. Have a great birthday celebration.

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    1. Nise' - Thanks, we had a great time last night!

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  15. I hadn't even heard that The Red Tent was going to be on t.v.! Of course, I can't watch because, you know, football.

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    1. Lisa - I would have missed it if my mother hadn't mentioned it, but we're not quite as big into football here ;-)

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  16. Oh my! The cover on They Were Sisters is divine. Lucky you to spin such a delicious looking book at this time of year :-)

    Good luck with your trimming!

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    1. Brona - My cover is classic Persephone dovegrey with the endpapers and bookmark in the print shown above... it's gorgeous!

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  17. Happy Anniversary, JoAnn! We celebrated our 26th last month, so we're not that far behind you guys.

    I'm hoping to finish my shopping and wrapping this week so I can get packages in the mail. I can't believe Christmas is 2 weeks from Thursday! I'm going to have to let a lot go by the wayside this year. Just not enough hours in the day. Oh, how I look forward to retirement!

    I've heard good things about Everything I Never Told You and I'm #9 on the waiting list for the audio at my library. Glad to know Cassandra Campbell's the reader!

    I just made a super easy Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup tonight for dinner. I'm always looking for slow cooker recipes, though, so I'll have to give that recipe you shared a try!

    No tree for us this year. We're going to Oregon on the 25th, so I can't bring myself to go through all the hassle for a couple of weeks when it's just the two of us. I was going to order Christmas cards with photos this afternoon, but couldn't find a good photo, so I changed my mind about that. Maybe I'll go the old-fashioned route and buy cards and actually write a little note in each. Or maybe I'll just skip them this year. So many people stay in touch via Facebook, that a photo or card is a little redundant. I blame my Scrooge attitude on working retail. Like I said, I can't wait to retire. ;)

    Have a great week, JoAnn!

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    1. Thanks, Les. It's hard to believe 29 has passed already... and we knew each other for 5 years before that. Such a long time!

      I haven't wrapped a thing yet, but did a little shopping this morning. We're in for another storm, so I'm going to head our early tomorrow and get more done before it hits. Still up in the air as to whether I'll get cards out this year.

      I finished the last of the soup for lunch today and found another super easy Red Lentil slow cooker soup to try next. If it's good, I'll include a link next week.

      Safe travels. Hope you have a wonderful time in Oregon over the holidays!

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  18. Some interesting looking reads and the idea of waiting till all are home to put the ornaments on sounds like a great family tradition.

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    1. Kathryn T - We started waiting to decorate the tree when my oldest daughter went away to college. She always appreciated it and now the younger one is very happy to have us wait for her. We can still enjoy it with just the lights up for a couple of weeks.

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  19. That Christmas tree is AMAZING! It's lovely to get to partake in someone else's tree without having to do all of the work, isn't it!? :-)

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    1. Deborah - That inn is one of my favorite places to visit over the holidays... it's always so festive!

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  20. Congratulations on your anniversary! Great deal on Everything I Never Told You...I really liked it...not Best Book of 14 for me like Amazon said, but still a great debut.

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    1. Sarah - 2014 has been a great year for debut novels! It's funny because prior to this year I was very vary of debuts.... hoping Everything I Never Told You is as good as the others.

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  21. Lovely covers on the first two books. Everything I Never Told You was one of my favorite books of the year. Hope you enjoy it too.

    The inn looks like a wonderful place to celebrate your special occasion. Happy anniversary!

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    1. Catherine - I'm glad to know Everything I Never Told You is one of your favorites this year! The opening of the audiobook sounded very promising.

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  22. Happy Anniversary! What a lovely place to celebrate. :)

    Good luck with getting everything done and fitting in your reading. It is certainly challenging this time of year!

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    1. Lindsey - Thanks! I know everything will get done, just wish there wasn't so much stress involved.

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  23. I just canceled my Audible account, but now I'm wishing I had waited, as I'm curious bout Everything I Never Told You! I just don't use all my credits and couldn't afford it anymore. :(

    I am DVR-ing The Red Tent, but haven't read the book, so I'm wondering if I should hurry up and do that first. I tried to put it on hold at the library, but the miniseries must have renewed interest in it, cause the hold line is long!

    Happy Anniversary!

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    1. Carrie - There were a couple of years when I had trouble using my audible credits and considered canceling, but my consumption of audiobooks is up again. Do you get audios through overdrive from your library... I use that a lot, too!

      I usually like to read the book before I see a movie/television show, but sometimes it works out just as well the other way. The Forsyte Saga is my #1 example of that.

      Thanks for the anniversary wishes. Hard to believe it's been so long!

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  24. I was going to ooh and ahh over your beautiful tree but I guess I'll congratulate you on 29 years instead :)

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    1. Thanks, Stacy. Sometimes 29 years seems like an entire lifetime and it's hard to even remember what life was like before we got married. Other days, it seems like yesterday... or maybe last year ;-)

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  25. Cassandra Campbell is a wonderful narrator! I'll have to check out Everything I Never Told You. Happy anniversary!!

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    1. Diana - Cassandra Campbell is one of my favorite narrators. Hope you get a chance to listen!

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  26. I really should read that Florida book. I am fascinated (and horrified) at Florida's history. I think it is as interesting as any state's history could be. Can't wait for your review! There are so many wonderful books out there right now and I've read none of them. I'm so far behind. I'm not sure if getting a new dog will help matters any! LOL I have gotten a handle on Christmas stuff I think. Still have some shopping to do, but not much. All decorating is done, cards are out. Major parties are done. Just need to sit back and enjoy it now.

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    1. Sandy - In some ways, the book is a little boring and then it gets wild & outrageous. He says a lot of the stuff taught in schools is just flat out wrong! I'm up to the beginning of the 20th century and am enjoying it much more now.

      Still so much Christmas left to prepare here. The weather got in the way of my plans today, but I WILL get it done in time..

      Can't wait for you pupdates! :-)

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