Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Have Yourself A Merry Little Hodgepodge

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge. Nobody has anything else they should be doing today, do they? So why not join the party here? As a reminder the Hodgepodge will be on Christmas vacation next week, so no questions/answers on Dec 23/24th. We'll be back to ring in the new year together the week after, December 30/31.  

Here we go-


1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who do you think is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen?

I'm happy Time selected people who are positive role models, doing noble work, doctors and nurses engaged in helping others, as opposed to some of the more negative news makers on the finals list. Time's criteria is the person or people who most affected the news (for better or worse) in a given year, and heaven knows they had plenty of bad behavior to choose from in 2014. I'm glad they selected a group of people doing good in the world. 

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now and she asks, "What's your favorite something old? Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue in your home? Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today!

Something old? The leather couch in our family room. Hubs and I joke there's catnip inside the cushions because of the spectacular naps taken there. 

Something new? Well I have a pretty amazing dress hanging upstairs, hemmed, pressed, and ready for me to wear on my daughter's big day. 

Something borrowed? A library book? Other than that I don't know if we have anything borrowed in our home at the moment.  

Something blue? The first thing that came to mind was paint. I have navy blue walls in my living room, dining room, and powder room, and I'm not at all tired of the color. I still love it, and will probably use it again in my next house. 

3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?

I like fudge, but don't love it. Too rich. I enjoy a teeny tiny piece and that's enough. My favorite flavor is Rocky Road, so definitely with nuts, otherwise it's not rocky.  I sometimes make fudge around the holidays, but haven't in recent years. Fudge is one of Daughter2's favorite sweet treats, so maybe she and I will make some when she's home in four days. FOUR DAYS!! Whoohoo! 

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks?

I'm not sure how old I was the first time I flew. My first clear memory of flying was when I was about eight years old, and my family flew from NJ to Colorado to visit my grandparents. I'm sure I've flown at least a million miles since then.  

Do I like to fly? Not particularly, but it does get you where you want or need to be faster than any other form of transportation, so I can't complain too much. 

I've been to Kitty Hawk, and lots of the little towns along the Outer Banks. I love it there. We've stayed in beach houses in Nags Head, Avon, and Corolla, and except for the traffic getting in and out (Ka-razy!) it's a wonderful spot to vacation. 

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?

Not really. My grandfathers were farmers and painters, and my dad was a Marine. My mom was an art major for a while, and she's always been creative. I do see that in my daughters and their chosen fields, one works in graphic design and event planning and the other in education. 

I was a teacher as is my youngest daughter, but that has always been her passion, so I imagine she'd be a teacher regardless of my career path. We're not one of those families with generation upon generation of firefighters, politicians, or Generals.  

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?

One? Oh dear. You know I have a wedding happening in less than three weeks, right? 

Post the final payment to our floral designer.  
Return the signed transportation contract. 
Place order for the last little special treat to be included in our welcome bags.

You get the idea. 

7. This Christmas I hope______________________________________.

All is calm. All is bright.  

8. Insert your own random thought here.

How about a throwback? Taken more than ten years ago in the Outer Banks. FYI-the sand dunes there are worth the climb.  


Merry Christmas to all and to all a happy Hodgepodge! 





Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 202

Hello Hodgepodgers! Here are this week's questions, and by now you know the drill. Hop back here tomorrow to share answers and a cup of Christmas cheer. Also, by way of announcements today...the Hodgepodge will be taking a holiday break next week, so no questions Dec 23rd/24th.  I'll be back with another set the week after (December 30th/31st) so we can all ring in the new year together. 

Here's what we've got for today-


1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen?

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home?  Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today! 

3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?  

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks? 

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?

7. This Christmas I hope___________________________________.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Heart of the Matter

My daughter gets married in a little less than three weeks and I feel like I should be writing something profound. Instead I'm checking off scary long lists that include purchase eight cases of water bottles for the welcome bags, mail Christmas box to my mom, pick up spray paint, card stock, and gold frames from the craft store, wrap, don't eat too many Christmas cookies, figure out who is sitting where at the reception, call the breakfast caterer, pay the water bill, approximately one hundred and one other to-dos, and lastly (or rather, firstly) make time every single day to sit in the twinkling quiet of the Christmas tree and soak in the stillness and the hope.

Let it seep into my skin and permeate my soul.

The days are full here. They always are in December, but a wedding adds another dimension to the season, and I'm trying to find balance. Yes there is much to do before the big day, but I don't want to be so busy with all of that I miss the other BIG day. The day that comes to us wrapped in swaddling clothes.

I want Christmas. I need Christmas. The world needs Christmas. I know the holiday has been commercialized to the nth degree, and maybe it's because of that I find it easy to feel more focused on what's important right now. Maybe all the unimportant is so loud and big and everywhere this time of year, that it forces me to look harder for what truly matters.

In a way, preparing for Christmas and preparing for a wedding have something in common. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the stores, finding just the right gift, parking space, table scape, whatever...easy to miss the beauty of what Christmas day means for all eternity.

When preparing for a wedding it's also hard not to get caught up in the planning. In figuring out all the personal touches and little details you want in place on what is without a doubt a very special day.

But Christmas isn't about having a perfect tree-house-life, any more than a wedding is about having the perfect dress-band-bouquet. Christmas is about the hope for mankind that was birthed in a manger. It's a  single day that's about the rest of our lives.

A wedding is more than cake and flowers. It's the words you say and the promises you make. Words like love and honor, for better or worse, til death do us part. A single day that's about the rest of your life.

The months leading up to the wedding have not been without challenges. Oh sure, when you're planning a wedding you have to figure there will be a few bumps in the road, but we've encountered something a bit more, and it's that bit more God has used to remind us it's what comes after the wedding that matters.

My daughter has been trekking south and west and south again, before landing in the soft place called home yesterday. Home for just a little while longer. Home until she moves home. Her home.

So we're ticking off the wedding lists and sipping tea poured from a Christmas pot. We're meshing the holiday and the big day and all the days between now and then because love. It's at the heart of a wedding and it's the beating heart of Christmas.

We sit in front of the twinkling lights of a decorated tree and we celebrate that love. We celebrate all the hope a single day brings. May you celebrate that too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Hodgepodge

Welcome to another week in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If your week is like my week, you're busy, so thank you for taking the time to play along today. Here we go-


1. What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two?

Advent. I didn't grow up celebrating Advent in any sort of intentional way, but I try to do that now.  I did grow up 'unofficially' marking the season with church programs, special music, carol sings, watching my mother set out her beautiful nativity and hang her 3 Kings tapestry, and all of that was wonderful and meaningful, but I don't think we marked the days one by one. I really enjoy the early morning quiet in front of my Christmas tree, with my Bible and Advent devotional -The Greatest Gift

2. It's the second week of December. Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? Wrapped a gift? Opened a gift? Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Lit a candle? Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person? Watched a Christmas movie or special? Read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus?


I like eggnog okay, but I'd rather spend my holiday calories on a cookie, so no eggnog this year. I have wrapped a gift or two, but I'm a little behind on this one. I haven't opened any gifts yet. No to the mistletoe, but I'm not opposed to it-ha! I burn candles year round, and my home is full of them at Christmastime. It's 6:30 AM and I have one burning in my kitchen right now. As far as I'm concerned one can never have too many candles.  

I've sampled a Christmas cookie (possibly two), and have also seen Santa. He was at a fundraiser we attended this past Sunday. I have not watched a single Christmas movie or special yet this year. I'm stockpiling the movies for a pajama day once both my girls are home. I read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus every day during the month of December. He's the reason for the season! 

While I'm on the subject-what's the big deal about saying Merry Christmas? I don't get why that's offensive, and why in heaven's name we need to label something a 'holiday tree'? If you don't believe, then don't celebrate Christmas, but for those who do can't we just agree to call it what it is-Christmas?

3. Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime? Explain.


I think both are wonderful, but the best thing in my mind is to be an adult with small people living under your roof.



Small people enthralled with the magic of twinkle lights and Christmas trees and waiting for Santa. Small people who sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing slightly off key because they learned it from their momma. 

4. It's often said, 'Good things come to those who wait'...agree or disagree? Why?

Sometimes. And sometimes you snooze you lose.  It depends what we're talking about, but yes I think it can be true.  I think waiting is something of a lost art.  As it relates to Christmas, the waiting for it to get here is one of my favorite parts. 

5. What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?

I baked two batches of cookies yesterday (Monday)...Butterfingers cookies to send to my future son-in-law, and candy cane snowballs, which I have to say are both pretty and delicious. 



I posted this picture on Instagram and had a request for the recipe so am linking to it here.  I'm giving the Butterfingers cookies away, and will take some of the snowballs to a Christmas party this weekend. 

6.  This question comes to us courtesy of Jhona who blogs over at The Red House at the End of the Lane. Everyone hop over and say hi to Jhona this week!  Here is her question... "I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse. Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you might have to wait together? Why or why not?"


Sure I talk to strangers. I do think you need to test the waters though. Not everyone sitting in a doctor's office wants to gab. I think you know when it's okay to chat, and when that person waiting with you is distracted or doesn't want to be bothered.  I think it's awkward not to at least acknowledge that other person waiting with you, particularly if it's just the two of you. 

7. Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? What put you there?


I would like to think I'm on the nice list. Perhaps we should ask my family?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I hosted a little giveaway last week and had a great response. If you posted a comment you received one entry, if you added a question for a future Hodgepodge you received two entries. There were 48 comments, but some bloggers posted their question in a separate comment, so for the drawing we had-
  • 38 bloggers entered 
  • 26 of the 38 were entered twice because they asked a question
  • for a grand total of 64 entries
I printed out all the names, twice where appropriate, and put them in a Christmas bowl.  Hubs did the honors and drew the winning name last night.  

Now time for the big reveal...the winner of the Wednesday Hodgepodge Volume 200 giveaway is...drum roll....


Michelle, who blogs over at New Horizon ReviewsCongratulations Michelle! Message me with your mailing address and I will send you a box of Hodgepodge. 

That is- seven random holiday items plus one to make an even eight. I'm not going to show everything in the box, but I will show you all the one little item I had personalized-



A first edition Wednesday Hodgepodge Christmas ornament. 
It's a desktop computer in case you can't tell from my stellar photography. 



Every tree should have one!  




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 201

A winter wedding + Christmas = not a lot of time to blog.  I do however always have time for the Hodgepodge. Almost always anyway. Here are this week's questions...hop back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe, and find out who won the giveaway.

Also, thank you for the wonderful questions submitted as part of the giveaway. I'll sprinkle them into the next several Hodgepodges, and will link back to the brilliant bloggers who came up with them when I do. Here we go-


1. What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two?

2. It's the second week of December. Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? Wrapped a gift? Opened a gift? Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Lit a candle? Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person? Watched a Christmas movie or special? Read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus?

3. Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime? Explain.

4. It's often said, 'Good things come to those who wait'...agree or disagree? Why?

5. What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?

6.  This question comes to us courtesy of Jhona who blogs over at The Red House at the End of the Lane. Everyone hop over and say hi to Jhona this week!  Here is her question... "I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse. Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you might have to wait together? Why or why not?"

7. Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? What put you there?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Party like it's 1976!

Some of y'all have no idea what that title means. You weren't around in 1976. Lucky for you in 2014 we have Google, so you can go find out.

Well here we are-Volume 200 of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I've taken a week off here and there so we've actually been at this since early November, 2010. Kudos to us! Let's have a giveaway! You'll find all you need to know about that in today's random thought, which is #8 for those of you visiting here for the first time.

Thank you for making Wednesdays on From This Side of the Pond a little bright spot in the blogosphere. I love the way we're different, but the same. We come from different parts of the country and the world. We're marrieds, singles, grandparents, Generation X'ers, Y's and Z'ers too. We're country mice and city slickers. We love to travel and we love to stay home. We love our pets and our gardens and our air miles. We love to cook and we hate to cook. We read, write, craft, run, and do a hundred different things in our individual lives, yet we're connected by this seemingly light, but oftentimes surprisingly deep, little meme called The Wednesday Hodgepodge.

And for that I'm grateful.

Every week as I write the questions I answer them in my head. My brain instantly heads in a particular direction and I'm always amazed when I read around and see how someone else went in a whole 'nother direction. I love that. I love the way your answers make me nod my head in agreement, or consider something from a different point of view. The Hodgepodge is good for us I think, and I thank you for being a part of the neighborhood.

While most of us have never met in person, we're still a community. I have been encouraged, prayed for, challenged, and entertained by you here each week, and isn't that what community is all about? Hodgepodge on Hodgepodgers!


 1. What is something in your life right now that feels a little 'hodgepodge'?

I'm not my usual organized self in terms of Christmas this year, but I'm giving myself a little grace and leaning in to the meaning of the season.

2. What does 'peace on earth, goodwill to men' mean to you?

Such an angry place Planet Earth is these days. Have we lost our ability to be nice? I bet we could start there...with everyone being just a little bit kinder, a little less distracted, a little more gentle in our interactions, a little less harried, a little less determined to have an opinion heard no matter what.  

I think that refrain as it's written in the book of Luke offers hope to those who believe the baby in the manger is God's only Son, the Savior of the world, the Prince of Peace. 

3. Which edible treat are you most looking forward to sampling this December?

This is a good question because I have a mother of the bride dress to wear in January. Maybe I need to tape that reminder to the cookie plate! I do love a homemade Christmas cookie with my cuppa, but I just can't make that a daily habit this December. 

4. It's that most wonderful time of the year...do you agree, and if so why is it wonderful?  If not, what would you say is the most wonderful time of the year?

It's one of the most wonderful, how about that? For me, I really love the autumn, and autumn ushers in this season (hey, technically it's still autumn!) I think 'the most wonderful time of the year' begins in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and lasts through the first of the year.

5. What was the last word you looked up in a dictionary (actual or online), and why?

Community.  To know why, glance back at that whole big long blurb in my intro above. Obviously I know the definition of the word, but sometimes I like to see what the dictionary says. The nuances and variation if you will.  

6. Besides a Christmas tree, what's your favorite thing to decorate this time of year?

I really enjoy decorating the mantle, and I also love changing out the apothecary jars that sit on my kitchen island. 

7. Share one thing you've learned (about yourself, people, or anything at all) in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, or through blogging in general.

I've learned quite a lot in the Hodgepodge. Sometimes its in researching questions, sometimes it's something someone shares in their answer. Hodgepodgers are a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics.  

In general I love blogging because blogging helps me pay closer attention to the lovely little things in my day and in my life.  

Also, in spite of all the negativity attached to social media, this little random meme has been so comfy cozy. It's like a happy little coffee break in the middle of my week, and I always look forward to catching up with you all here. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

So I have a fun little giveaway to announce today to help celebrate all our words here on Wednesdays.

Here's the deal-

To enter, leave a comment on this post. Easy peasy. And just for fun, if you can find it, list the date you first played along in the HP. 

To be entered twice, leave a comment on this post, and along with your comment, submit a question for a future Wednesday Hodgepodge. The question cannot be strictly yes/no style. If it's a yes/no question at least add the words 'why?' or 'please explain'. Also, the question has to be new to the Hodgepodge, something I've never asked here before. 

What do you win? In keeping with the spirit of the Hodgepodge you'll receive seven holiday related items and one random gift that has nothing at all to do with the holidays. I can tell you this much...one of the holiday related items I had personalized and it turned out super cute. 

Entries must be submitted by noon (EST) Monday, December 8th, and a winner will be chosen the old fashioned way. I'll throw all the participants names into a hat and have my hubs draw one. 

The winner will be announced in this same random space next Wednesday (12/10), when we'll be back here for Volume 201. 





Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Bicentennial aka Volume 200

This week marks the 200th edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge! In honor of that I'm going to host a fun little giveaway on 'this side of the pond', but you'll need to check back tomorrow for all the details. Today is Tuesday, and like the 199 Tuesdays prior to this one, it's just the questions today.

Here we go-


1. What is something in your life right now that feels a little 'hodgepodge'?

2. What does 'peace on earth, goodwill to men' mean to you?

3. Which edible treat you are most looking forward to sampling this December?

4. It's that most wonderful time of the year...do you agree, and if so why is it so wonderful?  If not, what would you say is the most wonderful time of the year?

5. What was the last word you looked up in a dictionary (actual or online) and why?

6. Besides a Christmas tree, what is your favorite thing to decorate this time of year?

7. Share one thing you've learned (about yourself, people, or anything at all) in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, or through blogging in general.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.