Newport at Christmas

We had a busy weekend filled with lots of driving and walking  one thing on my Christmas Bucket List while Grey was in Nigeria was to see the Newport Mansions decorated for Christmas  I didn’t realized I’d planned this for the Newport Stroll so it was packed, but even a crowded day in Newport is a great day.  Three houses re open: The Elms, Marble House, and The Breakers  we made it to two before deciding we needed some lunch, which turned into shopping…

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Weekend Recap

How do long weekends go by so quickly?!? I promise you I just walked out of school and now I am sitting here getting ready to go back. I think, and hope, that the next four weeks go quickly and with minimal stress.  I’ve already sorted the student-made ornaments and have planned the class party for the 23rd. If I can manage the in-between…


Thanksgiving was blissfully quiet. I have way too much in the way of leftovers, however.


I have a pair of Giants themed socks underway. I’m not technically knitting anything else for the holidays this year so these should be done in time for Hanukkah (their recipient is Jewish).


We got our tree very early this year since my husband is off to Nigeria and won’t be back until mid-December. Happily my daughter did most of the decorating while I supervised from the couch.


This morning we packed up the new car and headed to New Jersey. After a six hour journey, four of which were returning to Connecticut, my husband is checked in and awaiting his flight to Africa. And, miraculously, his luggage of mostly donations for the school there weight in at just under the 50 lb. limit.

And now, those lesson plans won’t write themselves…

Thankful for…


Popping in after a day of cooking and feasting for a bit of reflection. My husband is getting ready for a humanitarian trip to Nigeria which has me thinking of how much we have to be thankful for.

  1. Love
  2. Motherhood
  3. Kids who make life crazy and fun
  4. Education
  5. Family, near and far
  6. Home
  7. A career I love
  8. Knitting
  9. Good books
  10. The sound of the waves on the beach
  11. The beach
  12. Food on the table
  13. Money in the bank
  14. Healthcare
  15. Creative friends
  16. A supportive community
  17. Amazing teachers
  18. Crisp autumn weather
  19. Snowflakes on the window
  20. Coffee dates with my daughter
  21. Early morning talks with my son
  22. A husband who humors my crazy ideas
  23. Nantucket!
  24. Manhattan
  25. Pets

I am sure this could be an endless list but I’ve got some post-feast tidying to get to! Hope you had a fabulous holiday!

Top 10 Holiday Movies

There are some people in my house who have felt the need to limit some of my movie watching because, for some odd reason, they feel watching A Christmas Story in May is just not ok. So to keep the peace, I try to keep some movies to certain times of the year which makes me look forward to them that much more.  Today I’m doing a top 10 round up of my favorite Holiday movies since they are free game come Thursday!

a-christmas-story-1983 A Christmas Story – I adore this movie. I love the 40s feel and the innocence of the movie. And the dad reminds me of mine sans the Leg Lamp which would have made my father gag. I also love the department store scenes. I remember going to Woodward & Lothrop and Garfinkel’s as a child to marvel at the Christmas displas.


Miracle on 34th Street – the original, no remakes please. This is such a hard movie to catch on TV. I swear they play it on Thanksgiving when 99% of us are watching the actual Macy’s Day Parade. But this is just as much of a holiday season kick off as the parade itself and imagine being able to watch the parade from your apartment. Hello?

51yqackba2lDeck the Halls – this is a recent addition for me but I adore how OCD Matthew Broderick’s character is when it comes to Christmas.  I may, perhaps just a little, but of similar persuasion.

loveactuallypubfLove, Actually – sadly this is one I can’t watch with the kids because my daughter might faint seeing John Watson (aka Martin Freeman) as a porn star and Alan Rickman as a would-be cheating husband but I try to catch it at least once during the season.

scrooge_stewartdvdA Christmas Carol – Patrick Stewart only, please. This one is my absolute favorite. I also like the Alastair Simms version, but Patrick Stewart is Scrooge doesn’t get much better. I couldn’t find it listed anyone two years ago and bought it from Amazon Prime so I can watch it whenever I want.

the-polar-expressPolar Express – This is definitely more of a classroom watch but I enjoy it. The book is one of my all time favorite read alouds and I love how the film expanded the visit to the North Pole. I’m planning a whole Polar Express Day for my class the day before we get out for Christmas Vacation.

movie_46864Holiday Inn – It doesn’t get much better than Holiday Inn for giving a person the Christmas Spirit. Give me some hot chocolate and some Bing Crosby, maybe throw in some knitting, and I’m all set.

national-lampoons-christmas-vacation-52b7196f0cc1bNational Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a movie everyone in the house loves. We went out and chopped down our tree during our first year in Connecticut that was so huge it has become family lore as the “Griswold Tree.”  This is the one movie we will all agree to watch without too much complaining. (I do have teenagers, after all.)

christmas-in-connecticut-movie-poster-1945-1020427380Christmas in Connecticut is such a fun movie. Can you tell my parents were older when I was born? I love these old movies.


It’s a Wonderful Life, believe it or not, is a recent addition. My mother never liked this movie so I never saw it growing up. Grey just couldn’t believe I’d never seen it so he sat down with me last year to watch it. I’m not quite sure why my mother doesn’t care for it, but we definitely enjoy watching it as a family.

So those are my Top 10 Holiday movies. Are there any you’d recommend?


Thanksgiving Week Menu


Well, I already shared the Thanksgiving Menu so I thought I’d share the menu for the remainder of the week. I’m on operation clean out in anticipation of a massive grocery trip at the end of the week in the hope that I don’t need to set food in Stop & Shop until mid-December other than for fruits and veggies.

Monday – friends are up to deal with their boat that was unexpectedly stuck in Long Island Sound instead of Virginia so we’ll be having dinner out with them

Tuesday – Spaghetti & Meatballs (I say this without verifying that I have the ingredients on hand for said meatballs)

Wednesday – Grilled Cheese & Soup during pie baking

Thursday – Thanksgiving (I don’t cook anything else)

Friday – Tree Lighting on the town green so we’ll be having a quick meal of leftovers

Saturday – TBD: we’re getting our tree early this year since Grey will be spending part of December in Africa. This will be his last meal on US soil for a while

Thanksgiving Preview

Somehow Thanksgiving, despite being my favorite holiday, snuck up on me this year. It might have something to do with my husband’s upcoming trip oversees or my son’s application process to study abroad. It might have to do with a new job and the children being at TWO new schools. But I suspect poor planning on my part to be the main culprit.

Happily, however, a turkey was purchased just after applying for my son’s passport (were you aware both parents have to be present for this?).  Once that turkey is in the house, I feel like I can relax…somewhat.  We’re fairly traditional and our menu doesn’t really change much from year to year. The only real difference is that I am no longer mother to picky eaters so I can dispense with things like multiple stuffings.

~On the Menu~

Roast Turkey and Gravy
Mid-Atlantic Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry & Apple Pie

I’m considering, if time allows, some fall/Thanksgiving themed cookies like Sarah Vickers posted on Instagram. My baking skills are passable and my frosting skills even less so, but perhaps I can convince my daughter to help…


What I Read Wednesday

The HopefulsThe Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let me just start by saying that if you are looking for a book about the political machine, the people inside it, and the excitement of DC, this is NOT the book for you. Instead, it focuses on Beth and Matt Kelly, an aspiring writer and candidate, respectively. Matt has uprooted his wife from their home in New York to follow his political aspirations to the District under the Obama administration. Beth, meanwhile, has an incredibly whiny time trying to adjust to a city that she thinks is boring where her best job offer is writing fluff content for a gossipy blog and trying to figure out who is gay or sleeping with whom.

The Kellys have moved back to Matt’s boyhood area of suburban Maryland so Beth also has to navigate a tense in-law relationship. But the real meat of the story begins when the Kellys meet the Dillons – Texas rich kids with more connections than talent. Matt is constantly jealous of Jimmy Dillon and Beth, despite thinking her new friend Ash Dillon is a bit silly, finally finds someone who makes life in DC bearable. Until the Dillons pick up and head back to Texas. Before long the Kellys end up there, too, so that Matt can oversee Jimmy’s campaign for the railroad comission that has nothing to do with the railroad (?).

Living in close quarters and working side by side begins to unravel relationships which comes as no surprise since the reader can see that coming from page 1. Still, despite its predictablity, is an entertaining novel. The timing of reading this as the presidential election wound down may have given me an extra push to finish it, but it was still an enjoyable read. Although, truth be told, I really couldn’t stand any of these characters with the exception of Beth’s no-nonsense, take no crap college friend, Colleen.

View all my reviews

Menu Monday

julia-child-never-apologizeShall we talk about dinner? I really detest the whole thing.  The planning, the shopping and the cooking. I’d also say I hate the clean up but the kids are in charge of that. Trying to eat at home more often, eating healthy, and making quick meals is just not my idea of fun. But here I am, trying my darnedest to make it happen.

Monday: Supermoon Party at the Beach and Rotary Board Mtg. The kids and I will be having pasta and sausage.

Tuesday: Faculty Mtg and Alcohol Awareness Mtg at the High School. French Beef Stew in the crockpot

Wednesday: Dijon Chicken and Spinach Salad from Virginia Hospitality (my home League and best Junior League cookbook ever)

Thursday: Fundraiser at a local restaurant for a family who lost a husband/father suddenly to cancer

Friday: Leftover Brunswick Stew and Pulled Pork BBQ from the Rotary Mtg.

Saturday: Ordering in Chinese or Pizza


It was a busy one! I’m sorry to see Monday arrive for a few reasons, but mostly because we haven’t had a lot of down time.  My husband and son headed into New York Saturday for Rotary Day at the United Nations, while my daughter and I filled the neverending shopping needs of public school students.  (Have I mentioned I miss uniforms?!?!)  We also managed to see Dr. Strange so not a total loss.


Working to eradicate polio in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan
Working to eradicate polio in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

While they were enjoying their day at the UN, I managed to finish the Monkey Socks, lose them to Maia, and swipe them out of her room while she wasn’t paying attention. I offered to knit another pair (we both LOVE Lambstrings yarn) but she felt she could share with me.  Um, we’ll see.

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This is shaping up to be another crazy week! Hopefully school will be quiet so I can focus on my own children.  Could happen, right?

I May Have Problem

Photo via Crocheters Anonymous
Photo via Crocheters Anonymous

So my son has a great opportunity to spend the day at the United Nations but, we thought, he needed a photo ID. Naturally school IDs have not been given out yet (um, it’s November). We literally tore the house apart looking for his birth certificate which we did eventually find after we learned he didn’t need a photo ID because he’s a minor. –>insert eyeroll here<–

In the midst of all of that, yarn appeared in every.single.corner of my home. I mean to say that it was bad and more than a bit sickening. People, I am a yarn snob. I like nice yarn. So I buy nice yarn which often means I spend a pretty penny for some yarn. And then I stash it. Yes, I pack it away and wait for the right project, although I almost always find a project and then buy yarn for it.

Photo via Stitch and Unwind
Photo via Stitch and Unwind

And my husband has not said a word. But I’m feeling a tremendous amount of guilt over the size of my stash.  Really, I do. I understand why my kids refuse to buy me yarn for birthdays and Christmas, or Mother’s Day. Way more yarn comes in than goes back out. The yarn stash is only rivaled by the book collection.

Photo via Craftsy
Photo via Craftsy

So today, since I am off for Veteran’s Day after a week of election and veteran activities at school, I am going to sit down and weed through the stash to come up with a plan.  I’ve already got a few plans for the most recent stash acquisitions to keep my busy for the next month or so.

Coastal Pullover by Hannah Fetig for Maia

Susan B Anderson’s Socks for a few folks (trying two at a time so maybe this will go faster?)

A Mystery Knit for my husband

The Beekeepers Quilt for all of that leftover sock yarn!

Crofter Cowl which has been in my Ravelry queue forever