Flight Failures…

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Y’all – it happened again! I think someone should change my middle name from Shea to Flight Travel Troubles – at least then all this business with airplanes and always having issues would make sense. I’ll keep this short(ish) and sweet because I’ve got things to do, delicious foods to bake and time to spend with my family – plus, at 5 tonight I finally get to see Catching Fire! Yes!

I was booked out of Meridian; which we thought was taking a chance anyway but we went ahead with it because it meant I didn’t have to drive home from Jackson later at night…because, let me be frank…the old Silver Bullet is on it’s last shot and I try not to do too much with it besides work/home/church. I got up at 4 AM (which, side note: who knew 4 came twice in one day…I thought it was only that hour before I got off from work in the afternoons…) dragged all my stuff to the car in the freezing cold and drove to the airport…to discover that my flight had been cancelled – and not because of any type of weather, oh no…it had been cancelled for maintenance. Better yet? The next flight didn’t leave till 12:36. I got booked on that flight and a different connecting flight out of Atlanta: my new arrival time in DC was now 6 as opposed to when I was supposed to arrive: 11. FAIL.

It gets better though…it certainly does. I went home and went to sleep for a couple hours and then talked to my Dad at 10; my flight had been delayed now until 2:36 – so if I stayed in Meridian, now I would have to be on yet another flight out of Atlanta and I’d arrive in DC around 7:30. I should mention that at this point I’d cried about 4 times. Earlier in the week one of my “kind” co-workers had mentioned how funny it would be if I ended up stranded alone on Thanksgiving and here it was Wednesday and it seemed like it was about to come true.

Finally on a plane.

I headed toward town around 10:30 to just sit at the Meridian airport and hope that plane leaving at 12:30 (which was now supposed to be 2:30) might arrive early. I got a call from my family right about the time I got to the four way stop in Collinsville: I was to go into the fitness center, tell Hope I was ready to go, get in the car with her and she would drop me at the Jackson airport in time to catch the flight leaving at 1:09 for Atlanta, arriving at 3:30, giving me 50 minutes to race through the airport and catch the flight leaving for DC at 4:20. I can’t say if Hope was speeding or not but I do know we left Collinsville at 10:45 and I was stepping out of the car and onto the curb of the airport at 12:02. Amazing. It also makes you amazingly thankful for friends who are in the right place at the right time and don’t mind having a tag-along on the journey to Jackson.

Blessedly – from that point on, everything went so smoothly it was like a miracle. The flight from Jackson left a few minutes late but managed to get into Atlanta 10 minutes early. The flight from Atlanta to DC should have left late but everyone did such a great job boarding the plane (so said the pilot) that we still left on time and arrived in DC almost 15 minutes early. I won’t lie – when the plane landed, I had a moment up against the window of the plane where I cried. And when I finally rounded the corner at the airport and saw my family all clustered together smiling so hard it had to make their faces hurt…I almost cried again, but instead I just got lots of hugs and took it all in. I made it – even if it took all day.
Some pictures from the window of the plane – flight one.

In the boarding tunnel – the computer countdown to take-off. I thought it was funny; I’ve never seen one of these before. 

Hello engine – I was sitting right in front of it, so every once in a while I’d open my window (I had two windows) and watch it spinning….

The sunset on the second flight – so beautiful.

Plane two was HUGE – and I was on the third row from the very back. I thought I’d never get off.

Reagan International Airport – I made it, I finally made it!

NOW – let me off this plane!!!
So – there you have it. As always, I can’t just have an easy travel day. Hopefully that won’t be an issue on the way home…but you know, I’m not hoping for much. Like I said – my middle name should be Flight Travel Troubles. I’m not going to worry about that for now though; I’ve got turkey to eat and things to do with my family. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! 

Counting Down the Days

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It’s Monday – which…this week, while my Monday is actually Monday…my Tuesday will be my Friday. I love interesting weeks like this. I love them mostly because it means only two days of work and five days of freedom. I don’t love knowing that the next day and a half will probably pass slower than molasses. Trust me on this – when you’re anticipating something, the time ahead of that ticks down to slower than slow…I’m experiencing it now. Having shared that thought…a look back at the week I’ve just finished. Mostly pictures, maybe a story of two.

Monday evening skies…absolutely beautiful!

My college jump drive. I found it Monday night….still haven’t put it in the computer to see what might be on it…

Using my cooking skills to make a cake for an office mate’s birthday – I dedicated a whole post to it!

I went to Ross on Monday with the big idea that I’d get some dresses. A co-worker went late last week and found four dresses for just $57, so I had big plans to do the same thing. Well…I guess everyone and their Mother had come to Ross to do the same thing because I found nothing. Nada. Not a single dress. I mean, I found dresses but they were NOT cute and looked like something a great-grandma would wear. Since dresses were a bust, I went for the old stand-by: shoes and purses. I didn’t find any shoes, which is a miracle in and of itself because I love me some shoes and can go nuts…but I did find the awesome purse pictured below. I wasn’t sure at first…so I walked around a little longer, but it was calling my name. And was only $25. I also rationalized that if people got in my way in the airport, I could poke them with it. Ha-ha! So there you have it. 

My new purse – I call it Spike…because well, I think that’s obvious.

I need some of these trees in my yard….so much color!

Watson loves to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Cooking fail – supposed to be a quesadilla….just looks like burnt, smashed crap. 

Oh cooking fails – we all have them. Wednesday night I thought I’d really be crafty and use the leftover Mexican rice and black beans that I had to make a really delicious quesadilla; it seemed like an excellent idea and so I set out to accomplish it. Well…it didn’t really translate quite as well as I’d planned. I had 4 tortillas left and I ended up trashing the first go. You see, the tortilla was in shreds, half stuck to my pan and the other half mangled beyond recognition and all the filling flung out in the pan and scorched. Attempt two went just a little bit better but the end result was far from pretty…and I may have set the smoke alarm off in my attempt with number two. Granted, my smoke alarm goes off when you look at it funny…but all in all, not exactly a success in the kitchen. I told my Dad the next day that I really just need one of those quesadilla makers and all my problems would be solved!

More colorful trees! There’s a reason why Autumn is my favorite.

Tis the season…for all things awesome. And these certainly fit that description 100%

Wednesday – the day I arrive in VA. Let me proceed to pack every scarf I own…good grief!

Update: There is now a 100% chance of snow/rain in DC. Also, it might snow here – in Mississippi! So, if you’d like to please pray for safe traveling weather this week, I greatly appreciate it. I’m headed out early Wednesday morning from Meridian, through Atlanta and into DC. I’d love to not have any issues – flying alone stresses me out; flying with delays and difficulties makes me come unglued. Blegh.

This would be nice – can I have this for Christmas?

Such delicious food for supper on Friday night, with the company of a wonderful friend!

I have been having a major Olive Garden craving for weeks now. It is probably in large part because I had a $25 gift card that a sweet friend sent me for my birthday and it was just hanging out in my wallet, begging me to use it to buy some delicious pasta. I finally wrangled a friend into going to eat supper on Friday night and I’m so glad I did. This girl loves some Italian food and Friday night did not disappoint! I got the Mozzarella Smoked Chicken (I think that is what it was called….) and it was divine: cream sauce, bites of chicken and red peppers. So yummy! Since my friend was celebrating her birthday a day early, she got some pumpkin cheesecake for dessert and shared a few bites – and let me tell you, that didn’t disappoint either. It was moist with a delicious flavor and the crunchy crumbles on the top sealed it’s perfection! It was a great night out and the best part? Since Olive Garden was running their buy one/take one promotion, I got to have Olive Garden for lunch on Saturday, curled up in my chair with my pup begging for a bite of penne pasta. Delicious!

Watson’s less than thrilled reaction when he realized that he was hearing raindrops on the roof….

Ready to get out and about…even in the wet drizzle, as the temperature dropped rapidly…

My friend’s tree just had a carpet of leaves under it…so I had to take a million (okay….four) pictures…

I love it. Just love it.

Ready to go outside and play on Sunday – coat and all.

Some of my sweethearts from Sunday morning – I love each sweet little one that I get to spend time with. 

My rhino ornament that I got from our church’s Ornaments for Orphans tree – so cute and for a good cause as well.

Rocking with my sweet Sadie on a chilly Sunday night!

Thanksgiving feast – take one. Supper at church on Sunday night; which was delicious!

As mentioned above, I spent Friday night with a friend. We decided on Friday night to meet up again on Saturday and explore a couple shops in Collinsville (Moonbeams Vintage and Embellish) to see what they had for their Christmas open houses. Moonbeams was a huge hit, as always and I found a perfect gift for a friend for Christmas – as well as a little something for me. Sadly, Embellish was closed so we just stood and pressed our faces against the (cold) glass door to see if we could see anything. It looked neat…I guess I’ll have to check back another day. I’ve posted my finds below…except for the Christmas gift, of course. Check them out!

Okay – this actually came from Ross on Friday night, but it was $8.99, matched my living room perfectly & is just the kind of teeny table I needed. Too great to pass up!

My Moonbeams find. I’ve needed a larger, better looking version of one of these and I found it on Saturday. I told my friend that I now I just need more earrings!
And – that’s all for now. It is chilly outside, rain is supposed to be moving into the area and all I want to do is get through the rest of this workday, get home and bundle up with my pup! Hope you’re having a good Monday and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

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I know – Thanksgiving is still a week away – but guess what? I really am not concerned about all that. You see, Thanksgiving is SUPER late this year. Super late. And I’ll be in Virginia until late on December 1st and I consider it absolute sacrilege to let December 1st come and not have Christmas decorations up. So, last Saturday I was feeling a little blue and unproductive and decided I’d turn that mood around and throw up all my Christmas decorations.

Throw up – maybe that’s not the best way to phrase it? Gross. Just kidding, I decided to fling Christmas cheer from one end of the house to the other. That sounds a little bit better. I’ve got to make the place look good since my family is coming to the land of Mississippi this year for Christmas. So – the cheer has been spread and I’ve decided to share just a few pictures with you. Trust me – this really is just a few. If I took a picture of everything Christmas in my house, you’d just stop reading. Ha-ha!

THE Christmas tree. 

Okay – this was only going to be pictures but maybe I’ll share some stories too. My “big” Christmas tree has such good memories attached to it. My Junior year at the University of Southern Mississippi, I was living with one of my closest friends (then and now) Kristen. About a week before Thanksgiving break, we decided to make one of our late Sunday afternoon Target runs (I miss living near a Target SO much. Just oh so much.) and we were swept into the magical Christmas section of the store. One person who is crazy about Christmas is bad enough, but we both absolutely love the holiday and so we were overwhelmed with excitement. All the Christmas trees were on sale – like, hugely on sale – and so then and there, I picked out a tree, Kristen picked some ornaments and well…honestly we both went a little nuts on the Christmas aisles. We went home and spent the rest of the night listening to Christmas music, decorating our apartment for Christmas and I do think we even watched Elf. Once I graduated from college, my tree became the centerpiece for my own Christmas decor in my own house. I love my first tree and I love the memories attached to it. That being said, I think next year it might be time for a new one – this tree is starting to get to looking a bit sparse; not to mention I have so many ornaments that this tall, skinny tree almost can’t hold them all!

The guest room tree!

Done in US Air Force colors – because this tree was given to me for safekeeping by Lindsey. Go Falcons!

Watson’s tree – and oh gosh, maybe ignore that dust. Yikes!

My Peanuts Christmas band…and my stocking. Ready to be filled!

My Christmas village and snowmen…

One of many Nativity that I own.

A hat and antlers hung by the door…

My Peanuts Christmas village!

Some holiday decor in the kitchen – all they do is hang there; they are WAY too pretty to actually use.

A little holiday cheer on the kitchen counter!

My Willow Tree Nativity – which took several years to put together and is something I absolutely love. So beautiful.

Christmas dishes – a gift from my sweet Nanny!

Just a little centerpiece…

The Christmas tree in my bedroom – as well as my Smokey Mountain Nativity.

A wreath on the front door.

Instead of a flag – there are some Christmas ornaments hanging on my shepherd’s hook…

A reindeer waiting for Santa to arrive.

Well – maybe it was just one little story. I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas and I love coming home to a house all decorated. There is something a little bit more special about this time of year; twinkling lights and a sense that maybe we can all be just a little bit kinder. It’s a feeling we always wish we could have year-round but there is a part of me that thinks if the warmth of Christmas was with us 24/7, the Christmas season wouldn’t be quite as special. The season is almost here – have you gotten ready yet?

Strawberry Cream Cake

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I made a cake! I made a cake! Okay – maybe I’m a little too excited about my cake, but I get pretty thrilled when I have to make something new and it turns out well. How do I know this turned out well? You see – I had a whole office full of people confirm to me that it was delicious, so – cheers to me!

My Nanny (who is my Mom’s Mom) makes a cake that is very similar to this one and I’ll probably make it her one someday soon as well, but instead of pineapples…I threw in strawberries and the result was something delicious and strikingly similar to strawberry shortcake. So – check it out!

This is easy folks – there are very few ingredients!

Sugaring up my berries…nothing wrong with a little extra sweet!

Mixing things up!

Making this cake look delicious…in one, two, three, four…

Strawberry Cream Cake

-one box white/vanilla cake mix of your choice & the ingredients needed to make it
-one tub Cool Whip
-one can sweetened condensed milk
-one carton (or more) of strawberries, sliced & mixed with sugar
-1-2 tsp. sugar
Wash and slice your strawberries. Put them in a bowl and cover with 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar, mixing well. Refrigerate.
Mix and bake your cake according to the directions on the box. Let cool.
Once the cake has cooled, poke holes in the cake using a fork. Pour the sweetened condensed milk onto the cake and let it settle into the holes. Top with sliced strawberries. “Ice” the cake with your tub of Cool Whip and then refrigerate (if you don’t eat it immediately).
This was supposed to be a really nice shot of all the layers of delicious…but it’s kind of blurry. Oh well, you get the idea.

You could mix this up really any way you want – like I said, my Nanny uses pineapples and it tastes divine. I think it would be absolutely delicious to use a whole mixture of fresh berries – that would be especially delicious during the summer since this cake is light and fluffy! Whip up one for yourself and enjoy!

Gray is the Color I’m Feeling…

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I started this post once and erased everything I’d written – so here I am, starting again. I was having a bad day the first time I wrote the post and even though today isn’t much better (it’s Sunday, I’m feeling pretty ill and Monday is looming much too close on the horizon), after looking at what I’d originally wrote, I felt like I needed to start again. I had a rough end of the week and it’s colored my mood a lot, but my week as a whole wasn’t awful; although there were bits and pieces that were pretty lousy and it ended on a bad note.

That being said – I am desperate for Thanksgiving break. It’s seven work days and one weekend away and I’m hoping I don’t break before it gets here. Prayers are always appreciated; especially where the work place is concerned. This one is mostly pictures…it was a quick and pretty boring week.

Monday morning blues – I feel you all too well little pup!

A pink tinged sunset on Monday evening – so pretty.

He sweetly decided that he’d sit in my lap to watch Bones. I loved it.

New jewelry – another thing I also love; I love it lots. I’m a sucker for beads, bling and shiny things.

Not always the easiest lesson to learn.

I ran across this picture/quote this week; completely by chance, but it’s amazing how something so simple and unexpected could drive home a point. Let me preface by saying, I’ve not been in some chaotic romantic relationship…there are all types of relationships and there is one in my life that I’ve realized…well, maybe I need to quit trying so hard when the other person involved doesn’t try at all. I’m done crossing oceans for a person that wouldn’t jump a puddle for me.

Colder temperatures came to visit us, so Watson made sure he was dressed accordingly!

Everything is trapped in the ice! Brrrr!

So. Much. Mail.

It was just a bit nippy on Thursday morning.

The weather outside finally…if only for a couple days, felt like I think Fall is supposed to feel. People on Facebook were going on about how “bitter cold” it was and that they were freezing to death; I may have been one of the only people that thought it felt absolutely amazing. God’s AC was on full blast and I was enjoying it. I also think my dog really enjoys it; he stays outside running around like wild once it gets cooler. I think he just loves the feel of the brisk night air in his fur!

Jack Frost put on his skates & did a number on my windshield on Thursday morning…

Watson enjoying some Saturday morning shenanigans…in the rain.

I’ve felt generally crummy for most of the weekend but before I really started feeling under the weather, I decided on Saturday morning to just go ahead, bite the bullet and decorate my house for Christmas. It didn’t seem to take as long as I remember it taking last year – granted, most of the time I was decorating I was also engrossed in watching an HBO miniseries called Parade’s End. I love Christmas, so it really isn’t a struggle for me to throw garland, baubles, lights and twinkle all over the place. Plus – I’m going to Virginia for Thanksgiving and the day I return is December 1st. I think it would be an absolute tragedy to have the month of December arrive and not be prepared 100%. So – this house has been Christmas-ified.

I went ahead & decorated for Christmas; I stopped in the midst of doing something to see that I already had one little present under the tree.

Cooking up some supper….red beans & rice!

Watching a movie by the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree…

My sweet pup keeping me company today when I felt sick.

Just a few of my Christmas ornaments…

A gray day to end what was; all in all, a pretty gray week.

Well – there you have it. I’ve tried to grasp at every available hour left in the weekend and hold on as hard and fast as I could…but before I blink, Monday will be here again. I’m not sure about you, but that in and of itself makes me feel pretty gray – maybe the coming week will be less bleak than I expect. Only time will tell.

Black Bean Soup

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This may be one of my favorite soups ever – I’m not sure why I don’t make it more because every time I cook it, I remember how absolutely delicious it is. I have trouble deciding whether I like this or potato soup better – I suppose it all depends on my mood. It has definitely been soup weather here in MS; it was 24 when I woke up on Thursday! Brrr! Since it was almost that cold on Wednesday night when I got home from work, I decided to whip up a pot of this soup and I’ll share the recipe with you now! It’s easy and delicious!

Ingredients…ingredients…not too many!

The smell of these things cooking, they make the house smell wonderful. And it makes my stomach rumble.

Simmering up some goodness!

Making a hot black bean smoothie for an appetizer! Just kidding…kind of…

The smoothie goes back in to join the rest of the soup!

Black Bean Soup

-3 cans black beans
-1 bell pepper, chopped
-1 onion, chopped
-32 ounces of beef broth (or chicken, I’ve used both & it really doesn’t alter the taste)
-garlic powder; about a teaspoon…I usually just eyeball it.
-1 tbsp. cumin
-1 tsp. chili powder (or less…how spicy do you like it?)
-salt to taste
-Canadian bacon; chopped…or ham, which I used because I couldn’t find Canadian bacon
-cheese; mozzarella or Swiss for a topping
Chop up your onion, bell pepper and Canadian bacon/ham. Add to the soup pot with garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to become translucent. Add in cumin, chili powder and salt and cook for about another minute.
Add all three cans of beans and the broth; simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Take out approximately 2 cups of soup, puree in the blender/food processor, add back to your soup on the stove and cook for 5 more minutes – this serves to thicken the soup a bit.
Serve with shredded mozzarella as a garnish, or even go the route of most French onion soups and just lay a slice of Swiss on the top. I’ve had it both ways and it’s delicious no matter how you do it! You can even add tortilla chips if that’s your pleasure – I prefer to enjoy it without them, but I’ve tried it that way before too! Enjoy!

Without cheese/with cheese…either way, it tastes amazing!

Almost Monday Again!

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I really don’t know where the last week went. I’m no scientist and I don’t dare to begin to question the whole space/time continuum, but I swear that as the year draws closer to a close the days are passing faster and faster! If I close my eyes for just a moment, I’m sure I’ll be sitting here again on Sunday night writing another post. Having said that – before all this swiftly passing time catches up with me, a look back at the past week.

Time change…I actually love it except for one part; I hate getting home from work after dark!

There are 47 days – and yes, I counted them out. Sherlock has some ‘plaining to do…. I’m excited. 

In the world of things Watson does to be funny (which honestly, could be a blog in and of itself…but I think only my Mom would really be interested in it…maybe my sister) – he is completely spoiled rotten and I was reminded of that this week on more than one occasion. He’s always more than happy to sit on the couch in the evenings and watch TV with me, as long as certain requirements are met first. He wants his very own blanket to curl up on and he doesn’t want to be petted or messed with too much – in fact, he’d rather you sit on your corner of the couch and he’ll sit on his. If you can do all that, then he’ll be glad to sit with you and watch TV. If you break the rules, he will probably abandon you for his own bed because he just can’t handle being messed with. He’s crazy…and I think I made him that way.

Just when you think he can’t get anymore spoiled and lazy – he steps up his game.

I needed this on Wednesday. I stuck it to the side of my desk because technically, I need to see it every work day.

Let me be frank – if you ever have a thought of me during the day, especially between the hours of 8-5 on the days Monday through Friday, prayers are always welcomed. Even more so in these last two months of the year. My job makes me feel….strained….as it is, but Obama Care is really doing a number on insurance (I’m sure you’re aware…) and also doing a number on certain people in my office. So – prayers always appreciated. Better yet – you can also pray that someone buys my house – because my heart is elsewhere these days and the rest of me wants to be with it. Anyway – I veered off course. If you think of me, pray for me…especially where work related things are concerned. That is all.

I sent this picture to Lindsey – not sure what a Snootball is, but I’m excited for the Sherlock half and she’s thrilled for the Downton Abbey half…so, bring on the Snootball!

Truth – also posted on my desk at work. It’s rough y’all…I cannot even exaggerate. 

Little rotten taking a “nap” on Wednesday night before bed….

As mentioned above – I’ve ruined him. See the above picture for yet another form of proof. And let me assure you that when the flash went off to take that picture…well, I may have taken more than one picture and that was all he wrote. He got up, looked at me with an expression that said “really??” and abandoned me. *sigh* So rotten.

And then a cold front moved in & the world was chilly! Yahoo!

Autumn!

The face of concentration…no doubt watching a squirrel out the front door.

Even though this was my “slept-in” hair look, I was tempted to wear it out on Saturday…because I kind of thought it looked fancy.

My weekend was a little more “busy” than usual – in that I actually had some things to do this weekend. I’ve spent the past…oh….six weeks just sitting at home by myself. I’m not going to elaborate on that too much because honestly, I might make myself cry. Moving on – I had stuff to do! I saw Thor: The Dark World on Friday night and it was excellent! I won’t elaborate too much here because it will make my end of the month post – but Loki is still my favorite character. I know – he’s a villain. I also know that I don’t care. I kept my sweet “babies” on Saturday – except they aren’t really babies anymore. I’ve kept Hayden and Ashlan since they were born and I cannot believe that they are already 8 and 6 – they make me feel old – and Hayden makes me feel short since he’s almost as tall as I am. They educated me on (among other things) the movie Pacific Rim, all areas of the Star Wars universe (and were equally impressed that I knew quite a bit myself) and quite a bit on the Marvel universe. Apparently Iron Man is the least admired of the Avengers because he’s drunk sometimes – ah, the logic of an 8 year old boy. Seems a good enough reason to me; I’ve always been a Thor fan anyway…well, Thor’s brother at least. I closed out my night with a re-watching of Star Trek: Into Darkness while I ate potato soup. All in all, not a bad way to spend Friday evening and Saturday!

My babies…that aren’t babies anymore. Oh dear, time passes much too quickly.

I do love pictures with my sweet girl – and she takes pretty good pictures, if I do say so!

Christmas is slowly but surely taking a foothold at my house…

Intrigued by the voyages of the USS Enterprise…but…

Distracted by the possibility of getting a bite of brownie….

Me & my buddy in the nursery on Sunday morning…or actually outside the nursery, since she was being so sweet, she got to come sit outside in the hall with me!

Today – Sunday, has been fairly calm as Sundays go. Some of the kids at church this morning seemed a wee bit moody or unhappy, but I’ll be honest – I headed into the nursery, scooped up my sweet Sadie and cuddled with her while someone else bounced the fussier tots. I get my fair share of soothing fussy babies on Sunday mornings (and afternoons…and nights…) and so today I just enjoyed the cuddles of a sweet baby. That being said – all my babies are usually pretty sweet, today some just weren’t having very good days!

The new window on the front of the church…

Sunday lunch  = delicious!

I have reading to do….

And now – that is all. I’m about to go watch Once Upon A Time and have some supper – and then, well…I’m not really sure what I’ll get up to. Maybe I’ll read about Sherlock Holmes and in the process I’ll get my very own Watson to sit in the chair with me. Ha-ha, unlikely – I’m sure he will want the comforts of his own bed. Either way, tomorrow is Monday so I’m going to enjoy these last few fleeting hours of the weekend!