Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year 2024


"Wishing you a year of happiness, success, and filled with love. Happy New Year!" 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

A Very Merry Christmas to You & Your Household

 Hello friends and fellow bloggers, 

This is a very short note to wish you all a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

May you and your loved ones have a safe and special time together.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 

Luke 2:7

Thursday, December 21, 2023

I'm a Huge Fan

I just got two large surprises! 

My 'baby' brother who usually joins me and other family members for Christmas, has just advised me that he will be away as of Friday, December 22nd until sometime in the New Year 2024.  The trip came up very suddenly as he was at a conference recently and won the trip credits as a door prize.  He is always lucky that way when it comes to winning air credits for travel.  The same thing happened last year though it wasn't right at Christmas holidays. So it's a huge surprise.  I'll will miss his presence over the Christmas holidays and I'll also have less help eating the turkey and all the fixings.  I just bought the turkey today. Had I known he wasn't going to join us, I may have bought a chicken instead. Oh well, I bought a Butterball turkey so it ought to be tasty.

The second big surprise is my Christmas gift from him.  He wanted me to open my gift right away.  He presented me with a cute little gift box with a Santa waving on the front of the box. Inside was a handwritten note saying 1 ticket for me to attend the Rolling Stones concert when they pass through the city in July 2024.  I can't believe it!!! 

I've been a huge Rolling Stones fan since I was 16 years old. I still have very fond memories of me playing my only two (2) 8 track cassettes on a cassette track player I bought with my babysitting money.  The 2 cassette tapes were Janis Joplin (I don't remember the name of the album) and The Rolling Stones (the Jumpin' Jack Flash album). 

I would play those 2 cassette tapes all day long after school and play them loudly on constant repeat. Mom and dad were so good about it. They never, ever complained. In fact, they enjoyed the fact that I was enjoying the music.  They didn't have any concerns about my music choices because they actually liked some of it too and they knew I was a 'good kid' who didn't hang around with the wrong crowd despite the music.  My little brother who bought me the concert ticket, would have been about 5 years old during the time I was listening to these tapes.  He would have barely been out of his "Ruby Ducky" and "Country Roads" phase, lol.😂

Anyway I look forward to hearing the concern next summer Lord willing. When I first heard the Rolling Stones was stopping in Vancouver, I thought I'd like to hear them. However I'm not the kind of person who will do whatever it takes to get a ticket. I thought I wouldn't stand a chance anyway but I did happen to mention to my brother that the band was coming to town and it would be my last opportunity to see them if ever since Mick Jagger, the lead singer is now 80 years old! Keith Richards is also 80 and Ronnie Woods is 76. They are all considerably older than I am yet they still have the stamina to put on a concert every night and travel the world. 

Here is a video of the band performing Jumpin Jack Flash a few days ago in New York City.

What about you dear reader? Are you a Rolling Stones fan? Have you ever seen them live in concert?

Christmas Gift to Myself

Hello friends and fellow bloggers,

I hope you are well and enjoying the festive season so far.

I have been taking it easy. Doing a little of this and a little of that. DH has been working a lot and is fighting off a cold. I seem to have finally gotten over the cold I've been struggling with. I hope it good and gone now though with DH fighting one I have to be careful.

I don't have big parties or too many events to attend this year. I've already attended Handel's Messiah and the annual Christmas Festival of Lights at the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens. Other than that I've been catching up on appointments and meeting friends one on one if they are free. It's a nice balance of quiet time alone with a lot of reading in between household routines, shopping and Christmas errands and the more social aspect of attending festivities and meeting with friends.  I'm more or less ready for Christmas but still have to buy the turkey, hopefully on Thursday and I'm also hoping to see a family member before the big day. 

So the title of this post is Christmas Gift to Myself. Do you ever gift yourself at Christmas or any other time? I will often buy myself something at Christmas that I may have wanted to get throughout the year. That way I get what I want and I usually get it on a sales promotion. 

I don't remember if I purchased anything last year.  But the year before that I purchased an Instant Pot (IP) and it has become one of  my favourite kitchen appliances. I actually had an IP for a year or two before that but it got damaged in a kitchen incident and needed replacing. When I bought the last one I purchased a slightly smaller one to take up less counter space.

This year I bought myself an air fryer/oven combo. I have been looking at air fryers for some time. In the end I liked the idea of a combination appliance that has several functions just like a real oven but much smaller. I purchased the model in the photo below. It's a ChefMan brand and I got it for less than 50% of the current Amazon price.  I actually purchased a second gift for myself.  Am I naughty or what? LOL. That one I'll unveil one day in the new year as it's related to my new word for 2024.

I'm pleased with it so far. I made baked chips on two occasions. The first time they weren't so good but after I figured out how to use it (I don't read instructions, lol), the chips were much better.  DH was so surprised that he didn't notice any difference in taste.

These chips were cooked using the bake function.

These chips were cooked using the air fryer function.

The pork chops, onions and apples were fried on the stove top.

I want to try roasting a whole chicken in the counter top oven soon.

Have you ever bought yourself any Christmas gifts and if so, what did you buy?

Thanks for stopping by! 

I'm sending you my best wishes for a very Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Notes ~ Reading Stats

  • 24185 words read to date 
  • 67 books read to date 

Last book completed December 19, 2023 Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier 

Currently reading: Beyond the Door of No Return by Senegalese author, David Diop, winner of the International Booker Prize.

Currently reading:  You Could Make This Place Beautiful, a memoir by Maggie Smith (not the British actress). 

Currently reading:  Coming Home to Eat, The Pleasures and Politics of Eating Local by Gary Paul Nabhan.

Currently reading:  Accessing the Blessing of Heaven's Currency by Kerry Kirkwood.

Book on Hold:  Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry

I have several other books on hold but I doubt any of them will be ready before the new year.

It will be interesting to see how many words and books I am able to finish by end of 2023.

Cheers and I hope you are enjoying whatever you may be reading.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Tuesday 4 ~ Gifts

If you missed my reading challenge update, you can find it at this link. Thank you.

Welcome to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4.

It's the giving season and people are shopping for presents for people they love.  Can we talk a bit about it?

1. Do you enjoy shopping for gifts at the holidays? Why or why not?

Yes, I enjoy shopping for gifts at the holidays. It puts me in the holiday spirit. I really enjoy pondering over what a particular friend or family member might like to have and trying to do it within a budget.  Often I give hand made gifts and without exception, most of the people I've gifted with a handmade gift appreciate it.  They recognize how much time was put into the making of it and it touches me.  In general people don't appreciate the time it takes to make things when they have to pay for it but if you make it and you gift it, they seem to love it.

2. Is the price of things putting a damper on buying this year?

Not really because I don't buy expensive gifts anyway. I enjoy looking for gifts that don't break the bank yet are nice to receive. I keep my gift giving in mind all throughout the year and buy things here and there for those birthday and Christmas gifts that will be needed.  I also make handmade gifts and the fabric and yarn I use can add up to a large sum if the item made is large.  Usually in those cases I am using what I already have on hand and have purchased at sales prices throughout the year.

3. Do you shop online or in stores and why do you choose that way to shop?

I do both. I would say I shop on line for 50% of what I need and 50% in person.  Sometimes you just need to feel or see a gift to determine if it is the right thing so in person shopping is preferred. The beauty of on line shopping is convenience.  So far, I've never purchased a gift on Amazon though I do order from the site for myself. I tend to shop at the big box stores in town online and in person , and in the small shops in person.

4. Which people do you find hard to select gifts for and what do you do when you just have no clue!

So far I've never really had an issue with selecting gifts although I do find for the men in my life, it is harder to buy them something.  My gift ideas for them are not as plentiful as for the women but so far, it's all worked out.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Update on Reading Challenge 2023

Hi friends, Every year I set a reading challenge. It helps me keep moving forward in my reading. I remember when I started the challenge I was just coming out of a lengthy period of very poor concentration and could barely read a page before great fatigue would set in. I've come a long way since then.

This year my goal was to read 50 books or 20,000 pages.  Fifty is a much smaller number than I've set in previous years. I was flexible and didn't mind reading more if time permitted; especially since 50 books wouldn't likely reach 20,000 words.  I wanted to read more than a few books but not be so pressured that I didn't have time for anything else. 

I've read 63 books to date for a total of 23,169 pages, thereby exceeding my goal. In fact this is the most words I've read in any given year since I started keeping track over a decade ago.  The good news is I didn't feel any pressure whatsoever to read.  I'm currently reading 3 more books (Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge (224 pages), Coming Home to Eat:  The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods (336 pages) and Accessing the Blessings of Heaven's Currency:  Withdrawing Power from Your Heavenly Account for Answered Prayers (196 pages).  Once I finish there will be another 756 pages to add making a grand total of 23,925 pages for 2023 if I've done the math correctly.  If I have time I will read another book or two between Christmas and New Year's Day.

I enjoyed a number of books in 2023 and others not so much.  But as each year goes by I'm challenging   myself to read new genres or expand the scope of my reading within a particular genre.  For example,

  • Confederacy of Dunces (hard to classify but seems to fit into comedic satire)
  • The Removes (historical fiction based on expansion of the American west and the mistreatment of Native Americans)  
  • The Sorbonne Affair, (murder mystery),
  • There, There, Valley of the Birdtail, Bad Cree (all written by indigenous authors)
  • Remarkably Bright Creatures (fiction centred around friendship between humans and an octopus). 
  • One Drop (biography written by the daughter of a man who passed all her life and the impact of finding out her real roots).
I enjoyed Valley of the Birdtail a lot, followed by Remarkably Bright Creatures and The Sorbonne Affair, but I would recommend all of the above books for various reasons.

Having reached a reading milestone in 2023, I'd like to say I'll continue reaching new heights.  The truth is, I'm not quite sure what reading goal I'll set for 2024.  I suspect it will be a more modest goal because there are a lot of other projects I would like to get to but we will see.

I hope you too have had a successful year of reading. Happy reading in 2024!

  • One Drop by Bliss Broyard
  • The Sorbonne Affair by Mark Pryor
  • I'll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable
  • Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor
  • Jacqueline in Paris by Ann Mah
  • When in Rome by Liam Callanan
  • The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
  • The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  • Counting the Cost by Jill Duggar
  • The House in the Pines by Ana  Reyes
  • Summer on Sag Harbor by Sunny Hostin
  • The Woman on the Bridge by Sheila O'Flanagan
  • Lady Tan's Circle of Women by Lisa See
  • Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx
  • Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
  • Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict
  • Spare by Prince Harry
  • Chita by Chita Rivera
  • You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap) by Tammy Strobel
  • The Removes by Tatjana Soli
  • Stoneface by Stephen Kakfwi
  • The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
  • Verity by Colleen Hoover
  • Lizzie & Dante by Mary Bly
  • Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly
  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • Small World by Laura Zigman
  • The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning
  • Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes
  • If a Poem Could Live and Breathe by Mary Calvi
  • The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn
  • Paris by Edward Rutherfurd
  • The Comforts of Home by Caroline Clifton-Mogg
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • Kaffe Fassett in the Studio by Kaffe Fassett
  • His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
  • The Little Wartime Library by Kate          Thompson
  • Bad Cree by Jessica Johns
  • The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable
  • The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
  • In Royal Service to the Queen by Tessa Arlen
  • Valley of the Birdtail by Andrew Stobo Sniderman
  • I Love You, Send Money by Jordan M. Alexander
  • The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
  • Little Family by Ishmael Beah
  • Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber
  • Riding the Bus with My Sister by Rachel Simon
  • The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking by Peter Reinhart
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • Naturally Sweet Baking by Carolin Strothe
  • If Not for You by Debbie Macomber
  • PlantYou by Carleigh Bodrug
  • Little Wishes by Michelle    Adams
  • A Russian Sister by Caroline Adderson
  • The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan
  • Happy Homemade by Yoshiko Tsukiori
  • Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter
  • The Last Debutantes by Georgie Blalock
  • Dear Emma by Katie Heaney
  • Simple Healthy by Jean-François Mallet
  • Revenge by Tom Bower
  • Bakerita by Rachel Conners

Sales, Promotions & Stocking Up

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, How are you today? I'm writing this on Saturday and I'm feeling very tired.  I even slept in unti...