Seasonal Party Favors

I like to have a little something to give my guests when they come to the house for a party.

One year it was mini-cinnamon brooms for 99 cents each.

In the past I have given mini-cinnamon brooms, ring pops, and other small items.

The styles are varied.

This year Trader Joe’s has chocolate advent calendars for 99 cents.

An advent calendar for cat lovers.

I found 4 different types and bought a half dozen.

Less than 11 calories per piece of chocolate.

If the whole thing were eaten at one sitting it would only be 260 calories, but an advent calendar has 24 pieces of chocolate to be eaten one each day.

How do you count the days until a holiday?


Sweet and Spicy Hot

I am planning easy-to-eat snacks for game night.

One bag is about 2.5 cups.

I bought a bag of roasted unsalted almonds and decided to give them a quick treatment with ingredients I had on hand.

The ingredients are simple.


  • 2-1/2 cups whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used pretzel salt.)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
Trader Joe’s unsalted and dry-roasted almonds.

Toast nuts on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven. (About 10 minutes)

Sugar, salt, and cayenne

Mix sugar, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.

Use a pan large enough to hold all the almonds.

Heat water, honey, and oil in large frying pan until it bubbles.

Hot almonds are coated with oil, water, and honey.

Add almonds and coat with mixture.

Sugared with a little heat.

Pour almonds into sugar mixture and stir until covered.  Return to baking sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.

Is your favorite snack salty/crunchy or sweet/gooey?

Meringuing Again

Last year I made meringue tarts as the base for Pavlovas to serve at a tea party.

Half cup of eggs whites -- whites of 4 eggs -- previously frozen brought to room temperature.
Half cup of eggs whites — whites of 4 eggs — previously frozen brought to room temperature.

Again I found myself with frozen egg whites.  This time I tried a slightly different technique.

I combined 4 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar, and 1 cup of granulated sugar in the top of a double boiler and whisked it over simmering water until the sugar was totally dissolved.

Egg whites and cream of tartar in the mixer.
The warm egg white mixture is poured into an electric mixer with a whisk attachment.

The egg whites were mixed on high until they formed stiff peaks.

The egg whites go from foamy to glossy as the sugar is incorporated.
The egg whites go from foamy to glossy as air is incorporated.

I filled a pastry bag fitted with a #21 Wilton star tip with the sticky mixture. I piped approximately 2-inch diameter meringue kisses onto parchment paper.

Two trays fit into the oven at the same time.

They dried in a 225 degree oven for 1.5 hours then another half hour in the turned-off oven without opening the door.

This meringue is very tasty.

I had one more pastry-bag-full which I’m storing in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic.

I managed about 20 kisses per tray.

Hoping these last until game night.

Do you have a favorite snack?

Another Game Night

Thanks to the men and women who serve to protect our freedom.  We’re proud to be Americans. 

The last time we organized a game night at The Glade was over a year ago. We have scheduled another one for next weekend.

Skewered food was easy to eat at a game night.

The menu for that party was skewered food.  The favorite of us all was skewered mozzarella cheese, chicken sausage, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Easy, funny games.

This time the plan is to play some combination of Pictionary, MadGabs, or Boxers and Briefs.

Chopped almonds, craisins, and celery are added to chicken in equal parts to make chicken salad then held together with mayonnaise.

I also have planned an easy to execute menu with some tried and true food and a few heart-healthy snacks.

  • Chicken salad sliders
  • Crudités with hummus
  • Fruit plate
  • Walnuts, sunflower seeds, and dark chocolate
  • Iced tea, Glade fizz, coffee and tea
We started cleaning last night by bringing the olive trees into the conservatory in response to a cold snap forecast.

My plan for today is to clean up the first floor of the house so everything will be ready for the party. And we’ll have plenty of time next weekend to prepare food.

Do you have a favorite board game?

101 in 1001 #4 — First Update

Here is my new list beginning May 10, 2017 (first list ended 11/13/2011, second list 8/11/2014, third list 5/9/2017) until February 5, 2020. Completed items are in blue, black is the color for original post.

  1. Get a dog.

    My favorite breed: long-haired dachshund.
  2. Have ancestry confirmed through DNA.
  3. Write a personal mission statement.
  4. Stain the interior wood doors.

    3 sets finished – 2 sets to go.
  5. Hang a door at the entrance to the laundry.

    This solid wood door with 4 lights might fit the opening in the laundry room perfectly.
  6. Take a trip to the UK. Planned for Fall, 2018.
  7. Get rid of 50 books.

    No matter how many books I get rid of I still seem to have more.
  8. Evaluate and upgrade home electronics: CD player, speaker, turntable, tape deck, DVD player, TV.
  9. Make the guest room ready for guests.

    The treetops room needs to have all clutter removed before it is ready for guests including my shoes piled in the corner.
  10. Revisit my will, trust, and POA.
  11. Visit National Wildlife Visitor Center
  12. Visit Cryptographic Museum
  13. Make a stone patio with firepit.
  14. Host a swap meet.

    We’ve had book swaps and soup swaps. Maybe we’ll try something new.
  15. Get rid of 101 items. I am forty items lighter.
  16. Hang photos in upstairs hall
  17. Take dance lessons
  18. Host a Casablanca party/movie night.

    Someday I’m going to have a Casablanca themed party.
  19. Host a dinner party for 8
  20. Organize trip to a Caribbean island Planned for February, 2018.
  21. Work on family recipe book
  22. Visit a waterfall Cunningham Falls, Thurmont MD Complete! 8/1/2017 

    Cunningham Falls in Maryland
  23. See the Southern Cross in person  Planned for February, 2018.
  24. Go to the beach for a long weekend

    The last time we were at the beach (in California).
  25. Host a scavenger hunt.
  26. Make a month’s worth of meals one weekend. Planned for November, 2017
  27. Make a home maintenance calendar.
  28. Set blogging goals.
  29. Work on wardrobe: buy what I need, get rid of what I don’t, make a          list of everything
  30. Sort out things in attic by attaching children’s names, give away, sell, etc.

    The attic is overdue for a major tidying.
  31. Learn to copyright (watermark) photos
  32. Complete legacy file
  33. Make a photo album of Mommie
  34. Paint some canvasses
  35. Chapel in the yard at The Glade

    There must be an appropriate spot for a small chapel in our yard.
  36. Ride on a Vespa
  37. Locate and catalog local thrift stores
  38. Develop a cleaning schedule
  39. Write a novel based on work
  40. Increase net worth by 25% Currently up 6%
  41. Visit Statue of Liberty.  Complete! 10/27/2017 

    How beautiful is Lady Liberty!
  42. Paint landscapes/seascapes on canvas/wood
  43. Take a cruise.
  44. Memorize a poem.
  45. Make a household inventory with photos
  46. Finish laundry room
  47. Give heirlooms to children – hope chest, china, desk/chair, Christmas china, sleds – 1 for each

    3 sleds
  48. Finish painting trim in pink bedroom
  49. Make a master menu for 14 days of meals
  50. Wash all the windows in the house

    We have a lot of windows.
  51. Paint dining room table – finish sanding, prime and paint
  52. Use my God box.
  53. Build bench for mudroom.
  54. Build shelves in master bedroom.

    We must finish the bedroom shelves.
  55. Landscape the front yard

    We’re working on the foundations plantings.
  56. Read 2 biographies
  57. Read 2 classics
  58. Design Etsy boutique packaging
  59. Fund my Revocable Trust
  60. Achieve my personal weight goal
  61. Get rid of 5 big items from the house:  4 down, 1 to go                                 Lawn mower 

    Lawn mower


    High chair


    Yard cart


    Cedar chest, Skittle game, Rocking horse, Chandelier, Easel,  Dollhouse, Saddle/horse gear

  62. Design and print business cards
  63. Celebrate our 10th anniversary. 9/12/2019
  64. Organize papers, bills, and contracts from renovation
  65. Trip to Venice/Serbia/Greece.
  66. Attend 5 concerts — Rheinberger’s Organ Concerto No. 1, SaintSaëns Organ Symphony, Glenmar Dance Music, 50th Anniversary Organ Concert, BSO Gala 2017 Complete! 9/9/2017 
  67. Visit Smith Island (or other Maryland island)
  68. Start a new blog: “Let’s Fake the Music”
  69. Lead a Bible study at home
  70. Plan my funeral
  71. Hang exterior shutters Complete! 9/23/2017 

    The before and after of the shutter installation.
  72. Build a structure for trash cans and recycle bins
  73. Upgrade deck off master bedroom with new surface and railings

    The master deck.
  74. Make curtains for master bedroom
  75. Install all trim
  76. Paint all trim
  77. Finish painting exterior details (oil tank, vents, etc.)

    The tank is painted.
  78. Clean out car
  79. Clean up all paint cans
  80. Clear out the basement
  81. Remove 10 boxes from the attic
  82. Set up a better home office

    Perhaps we can set up the office area in the pink bedroom better.
  83. Refinish sleigh bed Complete! 9/23/2017 

    A recent project was refinishing the bedframe of the sleigh bed.
  84. Build frame for full length mirror

    This mirror needs a frame.
  85. Renovate pink bathroom
  86. Renovate powder room

    Let’s update the bibliotheque.
  87. Paint all interior doors grey

    First floor doors finished; 3 doors on second floor still need painting.
  88. Have 5 parties.
  89. Coffee table for conservatory
  90. Paint secretary

    I think painting will improve this secretary.
  91. Finish living room curtains 
  92. Dye hall rug

    This rug is a little bland.
  93. Fix hall water wall
  94. Paint green vanity

    The dressing table in the master bathroom might not want to be green anymore.
  95. Refinish tall dresser
  96. Finish cushions in dining room
  97. Clear out mud room closet

    The closet has become a storage spot for lots of stuff that doesn’t belong.
  98. Whiten my teeth
  99. Plant sunflowers Complete! 7/14/2017 

    A wall of sunflowers attracts bees and gold finches.
  100. Fast for 24 hours
  101. Private

List, 2017: November Plans

November is a cold month here in Maryland so I’m planning indoor projects.


Much, but not all, of the dirt was removed when we cleaned the rug in spring.

Clean and store for the winter the rug from the master suite deck.

WE should have enough trim on hand to finish the laundry room.

Install interior trim and clear up pile in hallway.


The center cushion of the windowseat has never been upholstered like the other two but I have the fabric.

Work on sewing projects.


I have a cabinet full of party games.

Let’s have a game night in November.


No tickets or events on the schedule for November.

Exterior Outsourcing

Someone might just need this chandelier over their Thanksgiving table.

Relist some large items on Craigslist like saddle, chandelier, Christmas items.


I’ve been back at the gym for a month riding the recumbent bike.

The gym has all sorts of equipment including weights.

Now it’s time to up the game to include some weight lifting.

When do you put up holiday decorations?

List, 2017: October Progress

At the beginning of the month I had made rigorous but reasonable plans for projects I wanted to accomplish.  I’ve been posting updates regularly but here is the summary.


We refinished our king-sized bed frame for the master bedroom.

We started by cutting down the footboard.
The new finish is charcoal grey with a darker drybrush finish.

We cut off the sleigh end on the footboard then painted it.

We’re still working on baseboard trim.

While the bed was pulled away from the wall we installed baseboard trim.


While we were concentrating on projects in the master suite I stained the doors to the closet much like the ones in the conservatory.


Charlie and I have both started working with our Christmas choir.  There are only 8 Sundays left until Christmas eve. Yee ha.


We had no guests at the house. We stayed totally focused on DIY projects.


Charlie, Sug, and I took a day trip to the Statue of Liberty.  It’s as grand as I remember.  My traveling companions were very excited to see this welcoming icon up close.

Lady Liberty

Our tickets were for the crown. We climbed the 146-step spiral staircase. Miss Liberty is fantastic.

Exterior Outsourcing

I listed some old Halloween costumes on Craigslist but was not successful off-loading them.  Maybe next time.

Hoods and leggings are crucial for cool Halloween nights.

It was fun to revisit old photos of our son when he was a little boy.

I cleaned up the old computer.

Time to get rid of this old computer.

It’s been plugged in for years without being used or hardly used.  We have a new set-up now so it is time for this relic to go.

We’re scheduled with Sug’s contractor to install window trim on 3 interior windows in the house.

The master closet window needs a sill and casing then I can hang a curtain.

Two round windows and the window in the master closet are trickier than we think we can manage ourselves.


I’m back at the gym on a regular basis riding the recumbent bike.

I have advanced to level 9.

Maybe next month I’ll add weights.

What’s your plan for November?