A Haven for Vee

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tidying Up Loose Ends

Is there anything new under the sun? No. Good. Now that that has been settled, I'll just carry on as per usual. As you have figured out by now, everything here is a big old backstitch and I have some topics to bring to some sort of conclusion.

First up—vanilla sugar. The two cups of sugar and a vanilla bean (plus one extra) have been hanging around since November 14. I tried it yesterday for the first time and again in my morning coffee, which is now parked to my right. I just sipped my coffee once more to be sure of what I'm about to tell you. It's true. My taste buds are so undiscerning that I can't tell the difference. That's right. Weeks of sugar hanging around with a couple of vanilla beans all for naught. So there you have it.

Next up—snow. We have some. It arrived overnight so we missed the gentle falling. We did not miss the rumble of the snowplow at five this morning.

(Edited to Add: As promised...a picture or two. It's actually turned to ice and the tree boughs are getting very heavy. I hate to see this.)

Third—Santa Hat Snack Mix. I'm conflicted on this one. It's kind of cute now that I am a few days from having made it. Though it just doesn't have the punch (this has proven to be a horrible pun...forgive me) of a regular snack mix. It's much too sweet for me. I did learn that I love those caramel Bugles they are made from.

 Dipped Bugles which began to look like noses to me. (See reference to pun above. Groooooaaannnn...)
This was the best part...broken noses Bugles that couldn't possibly be made into anything.
In the end, the entire process looked like a battlefield to me. So this is what I really think: this was not an easy project and the result is not so satisfactory that I ever want to try it again. The grands were completely and totally unimpressed.

Speaking of unimpressed grands. That's the fourth thing—Jake and the backed afghan.


I have saved the best for last—the fifth thing was an unexpected visit from family who arrived from California. I have not seen this young man, who was a baby when I first began dating his oldest brother, since 1995. Because I had taken Cheryl's Class on Hospitality, I was prepared to open my home despite its not being ideal. Nothing is ever ideal so why do we cling to that? Anyway, it was a sweet time and I am glad that we could get together.

Anyone notice a resemblance between my son wearing the cap and his uncle? I think so!

Thank you for reading my novella. Always fun to have you drop in!


  1. Soooo, now we know what your first husband looked like. -grin- Well, kinda'... Brothers do not look totally alike. At least ours (boys) don't.... :-)

  2. I know. I am such a *Silly-Pusssss*! After finding your last night's mosaic and being so put-out, that you didn't allow comments, I just had to be the first comment here, this morning!

    Yes, I am a *Silly-Pusssss*! ,-)

    Lovely family gathering pic. Boo-hissssss on them, for dropping in. Sorry but... That is my view. NO ONE can just DROP IN! "Auntie" sezzzzzz...

    Nahh, that Santa Hat mix doesn't seem worth the work.

    You got SNOW!!!!!!!!!!! We got/are still getting RAIN! -pout-

    Sorry Jake wasn't impressed with the backed afghan but.... :-) He makes a cute pic, though... :-)

    1. They didn't just "drop in." They were scheduled to meet with my kids at their home; however, a roofing job going on there prevented that meeting. I think it is important to be able to grab the best and let the rest just go... Meeting at my house gave everyone a place to safely park without a nail in a tire. It was worth it!

  3. I didn't even know that they still made Bugles. The Santa hat is cute but I can see where it would be a lot of work. I guess you could use the crushed pieces as a casserole topping.

  4. good morning! Enjoyed this as always...too bad the mix didn't work out, or the sugar either for that matter, haha. And the unimpressed Jake is quite cute. I am not usually happy with "pop in" company, but glad this visit worked out so well. Enjoy your day!

  5. Looks like a fun weekend, and I can't believe there are caramel flavored Bugles. Those Santa hats are cute but intricate. I like Bugles and so do my birds, when Kiwi eats one it looks like she is playing a horn. Never could get a photo, though. Seems snow fell last night in a few places. It is mild and really foggy here. xo

  6. Oh Vee - you make me laugh out loud! You are so funny and tell it like it is - I like that. The bugle hats are a cool idea but I can see that it may not be worth the time to make. We have been unable to buy them here in Ontario for several years except this year they're back....I'm happy because I like to use them (not the caramel ones) in my Nuts 'n Bolts mix which I will be making today! Have a great week and keep your delightful sense of humour.

  7. Well, I know I won't be making the Santa bugle hats! I am looking forward to your snow pictures!

  8. I had to laugh about the vanilla sugar. Once I needed it for a recipe, and I had no idea what it was, so I just put some vanilla into the recipe!
    And as for the Santa Hat Snack Mix - they look like a chore to make. I have no idea what Bugles are, so I will pass on that one.
    Have a wonderful week, and thank you so much for dropping by my blog today, and for your message.

  9. Thank you for the honest reviews! I good hostess is one who can entertain at a moments notice, you fit that description. Can't wait to see snow pics!


  10. There is a very definite resemblance there. How nice to enjoy this quick visit and for you to go with the flow.

    I'll be happy to skip the unsuccessful vanilla sugar and snack mix. We are going to be making lots of baked goods here for a fundraiser for Chels's trip. Thankfully MOST of it will be leaving the house. "Just" the brokens and samples will touch my lips.

  11. I saw that Santa snow hat mix somewhere on blogland too. I haven't tried it yet...probably won't. Love the caramel bugles though!

  12. Oh...Jake and the "real" afghan? The. cutest. picture. He is adorable and I love his expression here!

    And those Santa hats? Also cute (though not anywhere near Jake on the cuteness scale!)...but I can feel your pain. For Kristin's 9th birthday, I made these hot air balloon cupcakes that my mom had seen in a magazine. They looked so cute in the photo, and were supposed to be so easy to do. "Supposed to be" is the key phrase here. They were the devil. You used four straws to hold up the balloon over the cupcake and then tied them with ribbon. Almost impossible. The balloons kept shifting as I tied the ribbons. I imagined the person who had made the ones in the magazine photo laughing maniacally as he/she imagined the real people who were going to try to imitate these. :D

    So happy to hear of your family reunion! I am sure that your guests were made to feel welcome and that your efforts were well rewarded. It sure looks like a happy photo! Sometimes unexpected is the best, do you think?

  13. I'm so glad that you shared the results on this recipe. I have wasted more ingredients on recipes that I've pinned onPinterest. I think I'll just stick with my old family favorites from now on.
    What a sweet family photo!
    I'm still dreaming of a white Christmas!

  14. Oh, you've been busy Vee. We are getting a pretty snowfall here this morning but it will turn to ice pellets and freezing rain later. Schools are closed. Hubby, after being home for 3 weeks, decided it would be a 'nice' day to go to the office! No school means, no snowplows until later. I love Bugles and find them in the stores here once in a while. We enjoy them with dip on occasion. Must buy some. The Santa hat treats look quite sweet and messy to do. Think I'll skip that idea. :) I thought your mosaic yesterday was beautiful! Enjoy the day. Hugs, Pam

  15. I'm feelin' very up to date. Sorry to hear about the vanilla sugar. And although I'm from California, I promise to call before I come over (:

  16. The crashed Santa hats would make a great ice cream stir in.
    Thanks for the warning on unworthy projects. A friend posted pictures of Santa strawberries she had just made that she was to take to a party the next day. I could tell she used canned whipping cream and it was already evaporating into a runny mess.

    Visiting friends and family are always welcomed. Once a house is filled up with people you can't see any messes any way.
    My only in breakable rule is that I be given enough warning to make sure there is not pet up chucks around...thankfully our current cat clowder has strong stomachs for a change.

  17. Your home looks so warm and welcoming, that I just know drop-ins don't faze you at all! And you always seem to have some baked goodies on hand, too.

    Brrr...on the snow and ice! I'm not a cold weather person and am dreading winter weather. It's arrived here today temperature-wise after having some nice days.

  18. #1) Yes, your son definitely resembles his Uncle! So sweet of you to open your home to them.
    #2) Wow, I never would've had the patience to even attempt your Santa hat project. This tells me a lot about you Vee!
    #3) I am still coveting your shelf above the TV! I just casn't get my hubby to make one for me:( Maybe Santa will bring me one.
    We got a bit of snow lastnight here-finally. I love the glitter of ice on the trees at your place, but I hope you don't lose any branches because of it.
    Happy Monday!

  19. Hope the tree boughs survive under that ice. If it snowed here we wouldn't hear snowplows for days. I think Seattle only has 5 of them for the whole county! LOL! I'm exaggerating but you catch my drift. Ha.Ha! "drift"
    Glad you had a nice visit from your people from So.Cal.!
    Have a good week Vee and thanks for the heads up on what snack tricks to avoid...

  20. Totally...I see the resemblance between those two. How fun that you could meet up after all theses years!

    Hope your trees don't give in to the weight of all the wet snow. We are just having 'wet' here...not snow or ice.

    Thanks for your review on the Santa Hat Snack mix. We've been forewarned.

    Have a fine day!

  21. Enjoyed your "sharing" with us. Have a feeling there is more to the story than you are telling. lol The "boys" look quite a bit alike. It is too bad the Santa hats were kind of a flop, especially after all that work. (Nothing beats the plain old snack mix. hehe) Hope branches don't break from the ice. Hugs.

  22. Glad you were able to spend time together! You're right, about letting the small things go! With families spread out all over the country these days, you chose the best thing - time together!

    Those bugles are a cute idea but I think my gang would probably devour the bugles first and not bother with the other stuff! ;)


  23. Hi Vee
    Well that's good to know about the vanilla beans in sugar and the red bugles - sorry but they didn't appeal to me the first time I saw them. (too much work!)
    'Tis the season for families to gather and good for you to have learned about relaxed hospitality. I learned so much myself from those posts.

  24. You have snow. We have fog and a temperature of 60 this afternoon.
    I laughed as you described the battle field of noses. : )
    I like unexpected guests - no worrying about things being just so. I seem to have more fun when I don't worry about anything.

  25. I'm glad I didn't try those santa hats... looks like a lot of work and messy. My baby grands wouldn't be impressed either... probably a lot of finger licking too lol
    big hugs,

  26. Hi Vee, Glad to see your family visit - what a beautiful group you all are! Bummer about the vanilla sugar! Maybe you would enjoy French vanilla creamer in your coffee?
    Christmas blessings, Beth

  27. I just laughed and laughed ... thanks! Especially the "battlefield" and unimpressed grands. I didn't know they still made bugles!

  28. hee hee! your experiments have helped us out . . .
    by warning us not to worry about them.

    now, if you have an extra $20 hanging around,
    order some vanilla paste from william sonoma.
    adding 1/4 teaspoon or less to your coffee, takes
    from ordinary to sublime. i even use it in all my
    baking instead of real vanilla.

    it has the vanilla bean in it and a little sugar.

    merry Christmas!

  29. As welcoming as you are here, I have a feeling that your home is even more so. - Jake just has to enjoy the new-found warmth of the "real" blanket. - So glad you let us know about the cooking project. You might have saved me from giving it a try!!

  30. I tried those Santa hats last year and I agree - they were not worth the effort. Cute, but not worth the hassle. They were messy and way too sweet for me.


  31. Yes, I do see the family resemblance. How nice that you had an impromptu visit which will, no doubt, be a good memory for all who were there.
    I made vanilla sugar once and had the same outcome. Couldn't taste any difference.
    What a shame that the Santa hat snacks didn't turn out as you would have liked. They sound like a lot of work, but I did have to giggle at your description of the battlefield.
    I think Jake needs to wrap up in the afghan and maybe then he will realize that it is indeed a real blanket.
    Hope your trees remain intact despite the frosty coating.

  32. Hi Vee, Your family looks quite cozy in your beautiful home. I never tried anything as intricate as Santa hats myself, I stick to the norm Christmas cookies each year. Snow, how nice. We had 55 degrees and a bit of fog. Although they mentioned about Maine having ice and that we might get colder later in the week.

    Thank you for posting my Advent Calendar Vee.


  33. How fun to have such a reunion after all these years. I can see a resemblance between your son and his uncle. I think the way genes are handed out is amazing. Everyone is so unique with bits and pieces of ancestors.

    Glad to hear the results of the vanilla sugar experiment and the Santa bugles. I wondered how sweet the mix would end up being.

  34. Thanks Vee it was nice to catch up. Hmmm.. I'll have to ask my friend if she's tried the vanilla sugar that she's made and see if she noticed a difference. Love that you enjoyed family from a far!


  35. I always enjoy a good novella...really!
    It is always a treat to visit you Vee no matter if there is anything new under the sun or not.
    I did think of you today....let me know if I need to put some macintosh toffee in the mail for you. I rarely see it without thinking of you.

  36. What a newsy post!! I can't tell the difference in the vanilla sugar either!!
    You have such a gift of hospitality I am not at all surprised the visit went well. I love the Bugles too but THANK YOU for the honest thoughts about all the trouble that was! If I go to a lot of trouble I sure want the grands to be IMPRESSED!!! Although I haven't found much to impress my older ones! They were sorely disappointed in their Christmas gifts (PJ's.....I KNOW!!! WHO gives kids clothes??) and requested 'something we REALLY want!' next year!! Families!!! They are all so REAL!

  37. Vee,

    You always make me laugh. The queen of puns, too, who knew? (wink)

    GLAD you opened your home - they are never quite right and we can die waiting for the perfect (fill in blank) to arrive before just delving in. Glad you did- look at that pic, it is priceless!

    Sorry about the bugle recipe, looks bleh, haha. But coulda woulda shoulda worked, haha, I hate tasks like that.

    I loved Bugles years ago till I read the box and discovered a weeks worth of sodium in every bite....no WONDER they were so good, huh?

    Big hugs.

  38. Now Vee, you wouldn't have missed this visit for the world! I sometimes think that drop-in guests are the best! They came to see YOU not your house! And it's perfect all the time! Uh, yes, I do see a resemblance in the family guys.

    I laughed out loud when I saw Jake with the afghan - He's totally unimpressed! This is great!

  39. Wonderful to have unexpected visitors even more wonderfuler (yes, I know it's not technically a word) to not needing to apologize for how your house looks. As far as junk food goes, bugles are pretty good, I don't think though that I'd like them dipped in something. Love the slate on your windowsill, great idea. ~ Abby

  40. How nice to have surprise visitors and that your family came together to greet them! I do see a resemblance between your son and his Uncle!

    Sorry the treats were not as expected..at least you tried and enjoyed them a little bit. Nothing ventured nothing gained, or lost :)

  41. I love what you said about opening the doors of hospitality even when things aren't "ideal". I let that kind of thing stand in my way for years, but I am getting so much better about it now. I'm so glad you opened YOURS. It sounds like it was definitely a blessed time.

    (And I love it when someone tells the projects and recipes that aren't impressive as well as those that are. I was thinking about making that vanilla sugar, but I didn't get around to it. Looks like that's OK...)

  42. I'm really sorry you did not enjoy the vanilla sugar; I feel terrible. I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas.

    1. It is not your fault! It rests with me. I could not tell the difference.


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