Saturday, December 31, 2016

Biltmore House, 2016 Christmas Candlelight Tour

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!  Can you believe yet another year is about to come to a close?  I'm going to keep the talk to a minimum here, because I can't wait to share these pictures with you.  This year, we were allowed to take pictures inside the Biltmore House during the candlelight tour, and we were trés excited about this.  ;)  Of course, people weren't allowed to use a flash (understandably) and the lighting was a bit of a challenge, but I think Hal captured some amazing shots.  I took a bunch of pictures on my iPhone, but I haven't even looked at all those yet.  You might want to get a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, because this is a picture-heavy post. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas in the Living Room

Hi everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are taking things easy today.  We did and we are. 😉

In an earlier post, I promised I'd share some pictures of our Christmas living room and foyer.  I don't have the foyer pictures ready yet, but here is the living room all decked out for Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

"For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father,  the Prince of Peace."

Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Christmas Card Exchange

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!"~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Hello friends.  Can you believe we only have a week left until Christmas day?  Have you finished your preparations?  I haven't, but I'm working on it.

I'm joining Amy at Love Made My Home, for the Christmas card exchange that Amy was kind enough to organize for us this year.  This is the third year Amy has hosted this fun Christmas event for bloggers.  Once everyone had signed up for the exchange, Amy matched us up with someone to send and receive a card from.  This is the first time I've participated, and I thought it was great fun.

My partner in the Christmas card exchange was Vee, who blogs at A Haven For VeeI have been fortunate to get acquainted with Vee through our mutual blogs over the past four or five years.  She is a very dear person, and I was so excited to send a card to her.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Our Christmas Dining Room and a Tablescape

Hi everyone!  Have you all been busy as bees?  I've been absent once again -- trying to get Christmas done here at Forest Manor.  Whew!  I still have so much left to do, but I wanted to share a bit of our home with you today.

I have several tablescapes in mind for Christmas this year, but this may be the only one I have time to do.  It's not a typical look for Christmas, but I really love it.  Last year, I saw two or three pretty blue and white Christmas tables, and I fell in love with the look.  I had honestly never thought of using blue and white for Christmas.  There was a really lovely one in my Southern Lady magazine last December.  That table featured blue and white Christmas dishes.  I don't have any blue and white Christmas dishes, but I decided I could use my Staffordshire "Liberty Blue" ironstone dishes.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

I Love Christmas Music

Happy December everyone.  I hope you're having a good week.  I'm doing it again folks; I just can't help myself -- I love to share my favorite Christmas music here in December.  I'm always behind the trends on everything, so I hope you're not sick of this song already.

Anywho, I think this is a pretty song with the cutest video.  Hope you enjoy!

Have a great day and thank you for stopping by!



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Replacements, Ltd. at Christmastime

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and enjoyed a harvest feast with loved ones.  We had a wonderful holiday and a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal.  

I'm knee-deep in Christmas decorations, so I've decided to re-publish a few of my older Christmas posts this week.  Today's post was originally published back in December of 2011 -- my very first year of blogging.  I did a little bit of editing to the original post and if you haven't seen this one yet, I hope you thoroughly enjoy it.  My husband and I had paid a visit to Replacements Ltd., in November of that year to pick up some dishes we'd purchased, and while we were there Hal took some photos of their marvelous Christmas displays.  Their Christmas dishes and accessories were swoon worthy!

ORIGINAL POST:  This post is for dishaholics everywhere. We made a trip to Replacements, Ltd., today, and I just had to share these pictures with all of you.  The store is just outside of Greensboro, and it takes us about an hour to get there.  We've been several times before, but never at Christmas; and oh my goodness, I couldn't believe the decorations and gorgeous displays.  They always have beautiful things, but this was some serious eye candy.  We took so many pictures, I'll have to make this a two-part post.  I wanted to share the Christmas pictures this evening for Seasonal Sundays, so here goes.  You can find Part 2 of the tour Here.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Our Thanksgiving Table

My husband read an interview with a British actor many years ago.  The actor had been temporarily living here in the U.S. while filming a movie.  The interviewer asked him what he thought of American holidays, and the actor replied that he really enjoyed Thanksgiving.  He said it had many of the best qualities of Christmas -- time spent with family and good food, but without the pressure of gift giving.  We had never thought of it that way before, but we realized he had made an excellent observation.  Thanksgiving is special, and we love it.

We have much to be thankful for here at Forest Manor.  We have each other, our son, our extended family, and Duncan.  ;)  We also have a home, plenty of food to eat, medicine, clothing, and money left over to enjoy our hobbies.  We are thankful, also, to live in a free country.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November Super Moon

The moon was so beautiful last night; was it visible at your house?  It seems like lately every time there's supposed to be something interesting to see in the night sky, it's too cloudy here to see anything.  Not so last night.  My husband said the super moon was actually supposed to be visible in the sky at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning.  As much as we would have liked to view it then, we were too tired to roll out at that hour.  ;)  We had a busy weekend.

Last night, we decided to go downtown for dinner, and the moon was just gorgeous on the drive there.  Mr. Forest Manor parallel-parked on the street (something I still can't do) and then he took some pictures with his iPhone.  I thought they turned out pretty good!

Monday, November 14, 2016

I'm Starting Early

Hi everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend!  Our son, Will, got up lots and lots of leaves here while my husband waxed Will's car for him.  I made a double recipe of chili in the crockpot, and sent some home with our boy.  ;)  Here in North Carolina, there have been serious forest fires in the western part of the state, and we're all hoping the fire fighters will soon be able to get those under control.  It's so dry here in our Piedmont region; we just really need to get some rain soon.

Well I've always said I wouldn't start on Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but every year I find it harder and harder to get everything done in time, so this year I'm going to start early.  It feels a little strange, but next week is Thanksgiving week, and wow, I already feel like I'm behind.  I know, right?!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Autumn in Mitford

Hello Dear Readers.  Have you had a good week, and are you enjoying this lovely fall weather?  It's been beautiful here this week, but high temps. in the low 80's.  It looks like November out there, but doesn't really feel like it.

Today I'm sharing some more pictures from our visit to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, last fall.  This little town has been immortalized in Jan Karon's "Mitford" series of books.  A few weeks ago, I re-read the very first book in the series, "At Home in Mitford," and that reminded me I still have to show you the rest of the pictures.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Autumn at Biltmore Gardens

My husband took this past Friday and Monday off from work, and on Monday we visited Biltmore Gardens.  Our annual pass will expire the end of December, so we're trying to get a few more visits in.  We were last at the gardens for the spring blooms, which were spectacular, by the way.  We thoroughly enjoyed the fall offerings, too.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Checking In

Hi everyone.  I hope you've had a good week.  I'm personally wondering if there's another country I could move to, because I'm sick, sick of this election coverage.  So, I've been hiding out here -- 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Making Christmas Memories

First, let me say that I'm not one of those people who likes to rush the season.  Oh, I look forward every year to Spring and Fall, but I never start working on Christmas until November.  I may have to change that and start earlier, seeing that it seems to take me longer and longer to get ready these days.  ;)

I was asked to work with "Paperless Post" in putting together some of my favorite Christmas memories.  Some of you are probably already thinking ahead towards how you'll decorate this year and perhaps starting your shopping and baking.

We love Christmas at our house, and I loved it growing up in my parents' house.  If you can manage not to get weighed down with too much commercialism and not stress out over trying to make everything perfect, it really is a wonderful time of year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Apple Pudding Cake

I'm so glad to see October -- how about you?  Unfortunately, it looks like we have a hurricane headed towards the coast, but I'm loving these cooler temperatures.  I've got to get my fall wardrobe ready and change out my pocketbook.  ;)

I'm sharing a recipe with you tonight.  It was my first time to make this, and I think it turned out well.  We bought apples in the mountains this past weekend at my favorite produce stand on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We got a bag of Rome Beauties and a bag of Golden Delicious.  I have to tell you that I've made apple pies for years with my mom's recipe, and it's a killer apple pie, if I do say so.  Everyone we serve it to loves it, and I'll be making one of those soon, too.  However, I've challenged myself to try some new apple desserts this year, so this was the first.  I would definitely make this again.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Netflix Series

Hi folks!  I hope you're having a good week.  Our son posted a link to my Facebook page for a new Netflix series titled "The Crown."  He knows how interested I am in Great Britain's history and their monarchy.  This series airs on Friday, November 4th, and has ten episodes.  I have to say it looks really good to me.

Here's the official Netflix trailer if you're interested.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Autumn Mantel

Hello my friends!  I got my fall mantel finished, and hubby was kind enough to take pictures for me last night.  Believe me, I've tried taking pictures of this mantel on several occasions with very sad results.  ;)  This is the WORST SPOT to take pictures because it gets no direct light.  Hal uses something similar to a softbox to reflect his flash, but he has to get everything just so because of the light reflecting off the picture above the mantel.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Favorite Season

"No spring nor summer's beauty has such grace,
As I have seen in one Autumnal face..."~John Donne, "Elegy IX, The Autumnal"  

Hi folks; I'm still here and thank you for not giving up on me.  :)  As of this evening, we finally have all our blinds back on the windows and all the curtains back up, too.  We had replacement windows installed in our home on September 15th, and we had 13 sets of blinds to re-hang.  On this Wednesday, September 28th, they'll be here to put up all new gutters for us.  We're thrilled because they'll look so much better, and we won't have to worry about cleaning those bad boys anymore.  ;)  Now it's time for me to get over to the carpet store and start selecting new carpet for our den and hallway.  I'd really like to have that done by Christmas if possible.

Are you ushering in fall in your part of the world yet?  Have you started to enjoy some cooler temperatures?  Today was the first cool day we've had in over a week.  I'm busily putting out the fall decor in our house, so I'll have some pictures to show you later in the week.  Those of you who are new to House at Forest Manor, you might enjoy seeing some images from previous fall posts.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A New View

I had planned to wait and do a post on this after the next project is done in order to show you a more complete version of our latest update.  I went outside just to snap a few pictures yesterday, and then I got so excited I decided to go ahead and do a mini-post.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy Friday!

Hello everyone and I hope you've had a good week.  As much as I would like to post more often, I just can't seem to accomplish that this year.  If it's not one thing, it's another -- or as Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, "It's always something." ;)

Anywho, we just had an update/improvement made to our home today, and we are quite excited about it.  I don't have pictures to show you here yet; we have another related exterior project to be done, and then I can show you the before and after pictures.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

There and Back Again

Hi everyone and Happy September!!  I do LOVE this time of the year!  I've been absent from blogland for a few days because we were at the ocean.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Nautical Tablescape

I've been fascinated with the ocean and all things nautical for as long as I can remember.  Today, I'm sharing a tablescape with you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mid-Week Post

Happy Wednesday everyone!  What a busy few weeks we've had here.  I'm taking a little blog break for the rest of the week because, once again, I'm trying to cull out some things we no longer need.  Since our son moved out, we've been trying to get the house re-arranged and make some improvements.  It's never ending.  {:/

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Vacation Wardrobe

Hello and how was your weekend?  Ours was busy, but nice.  I've enjoyed seeing some of the fashion posts that various bloggers have published, so I decided to share my travel wardrobe for this summer.  If you're a regular reader here, you know we went to Charleston, SC, in early May this year; then we traveled to Disney World and Savannah, GA, in the middle of June.  I was able to use some of my existing summer clothes, but I bought several new things this year.  I got lucky and found some good sales at our local mall and our Stein Mart store, as well.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

It's time for another (nearly) wordless post.  :)  These pictures were taken in the French Quarter of historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August Already?

Happy August everyone!  I wanted to publish this post yesterday, but for some quirky reason, I couldn't get the computer to download these few pictures from my camera's memory card.  Even my husband, the photography expert around here, had trouble with it.  So, today is the second of the month rather than the first, but Happy August anyway.  :-D

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Random Bits and Pieces

Hello friends and Happy Thursday to you!  Where in the world has this week gone?!  Friday's almost here, and I've still got a bunch to do.

I hope you're all having a good week.  I want to say "Thank You" to those of you who read my post earlier this week.  As I've said many times, I'm grateful for your interest and your visits.  I especially thank those of you who took the time to leave me a comment this week and for being classy about what you wrote.  Emotions are running high right now, and it's always risky to write something about political, social, and cultural issues.  I just hold my breath and hit the publish button when I write these pieces (not that I've ever written many).  May I just say that you've once again proven my faith in you because you've expressed your opinions honestly, but civilly, and that means a lot.  You all are the BEST!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Will You Sit This One Out?

Recently, I saw something shared on Facebook that caught my eye.  It was a minister's response to some Christians' declarations that they don't like either party candidate for the upcoming presidential election and they will probably just "sit this one out."  How do you feel about that idea?  Before I go further, this piece is not about whether you are, or aren't, a Christian.  I would not dream of lecturing anyone on that subject.  That just happens to be the context in which the piece on Facebook was framed.   However, if you're an American, as the commercial says, "This Bud's for you."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Favorite Bacon Cooker

Do you eat bacon at your house?  I love bacon, but I try not to eat it more than once a week, or so.  At the moment though, we have fresh tomatoes from the Farmers Market, and I decided to make BLT's for our dinner tonight.  Cooking bacon was always time consuming on the stove top; I was glad when we learned to cook it in the microwave.  However, the cleanup was a mess because I used one of those bacon pans with the ridges made just for the microwave.  Afterwards, I'd have to work to get the grease out from between all the grooves and the sides before I put it in the sink.  No way was I going to have that bacon grease get into my drain.  It was a messy job to clean up, and I always dreaded it.


Monday, July 18, 2016

I Love the Farmers Market

Hello all!  I hope this post finds you well.  We went to the Farmers Market this weekend, and I got such good-looking produce.  I hope it tastes half as good as it looks.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Buckhead Betties

Hi folks!  Do you plan to do much traveling this summer?  If you're a regular reader here, you probably know we took a trip in early May and mid-June this year, so we'll be staying home for the remainder of the summer.  Anyhoo,  I wanted to show you a nifty type of luggage/tote bag that my sister gave me for my birthday last year.  I have so enjoyed using this piece!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Boone Hall Plantation Part 2 - The Gardens

Almost two months ago, I wrote about our visit to Boone Hall Plantation, when we traveled to Charleston, South Carolina.  I promised then to share the gardens with you, so here we are.  Better late than never.  :)  To learn some of the history of Boone Hall Plantation, you can read my previous post Here

New Curtains

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you've all had a good week.

I want to give you a quick glimpse of the new curtains I purchased for our guest bedroom.  It seems I just keep working on this room, don't I?  ;)  I really am almost done until the time when we can get it repainted.  At that point, I'll have the wallpaper (and the corkboard between the windows) removed, but for now, I'm close to being done.

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Patriotic Tablescape

Happy Friday everyone and Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian blog buddies!  I hope you have special plans to celebrate your national holiday.

We always look forward to July 4th here at Forest Manor, and I finally got a table set in the dining room.  Whew!  What a crazy, busy year this has been.  I've only done one tablescape since March, when I set a table for St. Patrick's Day (another favorite at our house).  I'm excited to show you these dishes we purchased a few years ago; they really are perfect for celebrating our country's birthday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Some of This and That

Hello and how is your week going?  Ours has started off well.  I got some things accomplished in the house yesterday, and we've gotten some rain here -- nice rain that falls rather softly as opposed to the gully washers that summer often brings.  I'm so sorry for the terrible flooding and deaths the people of West Virginia are dealing with right now.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Checking In Again

Hi folks!  I've missed you and feel like I haven't been online in forever.  We have been sooo busy.  I just wanted to show you a few pictures of where we are at the moment; we'll be heading home tomorrow.  I've had a wonderful adventure, but I miss our bed and Mr. Duncan.  ;)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Checking In...

Hello to you all!  Summer is well and truly here in the state of North Carolina.  Whew -- hot and humid.  I first want to say that there are still some of my regular readers that I have fallen behind in visiting.  Not many, I hope, because I did pay some visits earlier this week; but what I want to tell you is that once again, I must take a few days off, as we are set to take another trip.  Yep, we're going to the "Happiest Place on Earth" -- in the middle of June with scorching hot temps. and a few gazillion  million other people.  😜  That's right folks, we're heading to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mother Nature Always Wins

This, my friends, is why I HATE raccoons and squirrels --

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Different Kind of Post

Happy June, everyone!  I hope you're ready for hot weather.  It's definitely arrived in our area, dragging all that humidity with it.

I've been doing a lot of thinking, and that can be a dangerous thing folks.  ;)  I recently joined the legions of people on Facebook (not my blog Facebook, but Facebook for me personally).  This was something I had shown no interest in for years.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was kind of fun to reconnect with people, many of whom I hadn't seen in at least 30 years.  You don't realize how much time has passed while you were in the process of raising children, having a career, etc., etc.  What I had failed to consider was that while I had been changing, maturing, and growing older, amazingly enough, so had all the people I used to know.  ;)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Productive Weekend

Hi everyone!  Can you believe it's the last day of May?!  I want to thank all of you who left such nice comments on my wedding anniversary blog post -- I appreciate you so much!!  You all are the best.  :)

I hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend with family and loved ones.  

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Wedding Anniversary

Today is my wedding anniversary.  Twenty-nine years ago today, Mr. Forest Manor and I got married at our local Methodist church, where we also held the reception.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The French Huguenot Church in Charleston

Today I'm sharing a bit about the church we visited while in Charleston a few weeks ago.  We didn't attend the service there, but we were walking by snapping some photos, and I noticed the front doors were open.  We walked around to the steps and were met by two church members who greeted us and invited us to go into the church.  They said we were welcome to look around and also welcome to take pictures.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What Are You Reading?

Hello all!  I hope you're having a good week so far -- we're almost halfway through.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Historic Boone Hall Plantation

Hi folks!  I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day yesterday; I know I sure did.  We are so blessed to still have both of our moms with us, and I'm so thankful to be a mom myself.  :)

We just got home Friday evening from four days spent in Charleston, South Carolina.  What an amazing city -- full of elegance, grace, mystique, hospitality, history, and good food.  If you've never been, I encourage you to put that on your list of places to see.

While we were there, we made a side trip to Mt. Pleasant, where we toured Boone Hall Plantation.  I believe I went there as a child with my parents and sister, but I really didn't remember it at all.  We spent the afternoon there, and it was a fascinating visit.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Busy Weekend

Hi everyone!  There are lots of things happening this weekend -- college graduations, the Kentucky Derby, and Mother's Day.  If you have a new graduate in your family, or are a new graduate yourself, congratulations to you!!  Earning a college degree is an accomplishment to be proud of.  :)

Last, but certainly not least, I wish all my blog friends and readers a Very Happy Mother's Day.  May your day be special in every way!



Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Hi folks; it's my first post of a new month.  I hope you had a good May Day!  We spent yesterday on the road to this destination--

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Take Time to Smell the Roses

Today it has been misting rain here, and our rose bush is covered with pink roses.  Not to be dramatic, but it seems as if it burst into bloom overnight.  We cut some of the blooms (and a few buds) to put in the house because we're sort of expecting more rain, and the rain tends to beat up the delicate petals on the roses.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Duncan Is Two

Actually, he's two years and three months old.  I had planned to write about him in January, when he turned two, but I was still sick at that time and wasn't really blogging.  However, I haven't posted about Mr. Duncan in ages, so I thought I should bring you up to date on the little rascal.  :-D

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Biltmore Gardens

I think maybe I should do wordless posts more often.  ;)  Based on the number of views on my "mostly wordless" post, there's a lesson to be learned here.  ;)  This post will have more words, but I promise to keep the words to a minimum.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A (Mostly) Wordless Post

Silence is golden.  :)  Enjoy...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wisteria in Old Salem

It's been quite a while since I took you through our little community of Old Salem.  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

An English Spring

Except for a couple of cold snaps and frosts, I think this has been the most gorgeous spring.  I've heard more than one person around here say so.  Has spring been beautiful where you are?  Are your flowers and trees putting on a show this year?  It helps a lot, here in the south, when the weather doesn't turn hot too quickly.  The heat tends to shorten the bloom time for the spring flowers.

I told my husband earlier this week that it feels like we're having an English spring here this year.

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