Thursday, December 8, 2016

December 2016 First Week

Looking at Calendars

Hi! How is you December going? Seems to be flying away here. I actually started this on Monday!

Advent Calendar

We took a vote and will reveal fives this year. What are fives? Five days of builds.
Day one gave us Emma and day five Naomi. In between we have a skate stand, mail box, and decorative candle.
Here you can see them better.

Desk Calendar - Part 1

Our holiday house shifts from Thanksgiving to Christmas. How many changes do you think were made? You can see a few even without seeing the entire house.
Here's the full view. I think it's great.
Since we aren't doing the Advent Village this year we thought we'd put an Advent wreath in the holiday house and "light" one candle each week. See it here. 
I wish we had a pink piece to match the purple ones. Oh well, must be creative. The first two candles are lit. One represents hope, the other love.

Desk Calendar - Part 2

Awesome! Since Kaya didn't get to post her piece Monday, I can add to it!
See Xyra was down at the Lego store Monday night picking out a gift for Toys for Tots and was drawn to the big pick a brick bin. While sifting through she found the pink piece we needed! Check it out!
So now our candles match! 
The two unlit candles represent peace and joy.

What do you think? Do you have an Advent wreath or calendar? 

Thank you very much for joining us today!
Come again soon! Have a great day!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1, 2016

The Season of Preparation

Hi! Advent has begun! Officially it started last Sunday; and we've already seen so many great photos of Christmas decorations...we tend to lag behind just a bit. But we have a few different things in the works to celebrate the season of Advent.

Friendly Build

Lanie, Lea, both

So this is the Lego Advent calendar?
Yeah, isn't it great!? We weren't going to get one this year, but then saw one picture that made us think of Gramma Enne. Looking forward to that build. Can you figure out which one?
Ooo, I see it. I wonder if she'll see what it is. (giggles)
Well, open door number one.
[opens door]
Hey, it's a person.
She's great! I love the green sweater.
I'm going to tuck her back in her little room. 
We don't want any paws to find her. (laughing)

2016 Advent Plan

Last year our daily post was the build from our Lego Advent calendar. We're not going to do that this year, but will definitely share the builds with you. We also like to share opening the Advent Village doors with you, but we want to change that up a bit too. There are many Advent traditions and we have something in the works. Hope you come back to see what we are up to.

Do you like Lego friends? What about the elves? Or maybe the Mega Bloks sets?

Tchau! See you again soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday Wonders #5

Return of a Post Series

Wednesday Wonders is back after a 7 month hiatus. Thought this would be an easy series of posts...not as easy as we thought. Not all book covers lend themselves to being translated into a tableau or photo shoot. Yesterday's weather planted a seed and today saw a sprout.

It's Forksy

Okay, I bet you are looking at the screen saying, "Forksy?" Xyra is a huge Twilight fan. I've lost count on how many times she has read the four books in the saga. The main location setting is Forks, Washington a small town that "exists under near-constant cove of clouds" where "it rains...more than any other place in the United States of America." Forksy is a term Xyra's GUSIALI book club friends coined when describing rainy days.

We have had very little rain over the past months and the reservoir water is very, very low. Xyra has seen it lower, but I haven't. It's creepy. There was even a wildfire in Reading, PA last week. Thankfully yesterday and today have been overcast and rain filled. And a nice gentle rain too, so it can soak into the ground and not cause instant flooding. 

Anyway, since the weather made me think of Forks, Washington I grabbed our copy of Twilight.

What do you think? Could I be a stand in for the hands model at comic con? Here's the original...


"Isabella Swan's move to forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella's live takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear."

"Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite."


  • There are four books in the saga: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn...and five movies.
  • Sister Stereo and Gramma Enne read the books before Xyra. Sister Stereo gifted the books to Xyra for her birthday back in 2009.
  • Stephenie Meyer was inspired by a dream and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to write Twilight. The other books are also inspired by other literature: Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Twilight inspired Xyra to join two fandom websites: The Leaky Cauldron (Harry Potter, of course) and the Twilight Saga which shifted over to a book club sight called GUSIALI. In both she connected with wonderful people who inspired her to be more comfortable working online. Though the sites have shifted usage or been phased out she has remained friends with many through Facebook. One of those wonderful people is Lady Marvin of the Lamppost, our first tea guru.
  • For more information about the Twilight Saga and other works by Stephenie Meyer check out these links:

Hope you are having a good day. It is now twilight here in real time (giggles) and time for a cup of tea to ward off the dampness. 

Best wishes,

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tea Review: H&S Paris

Tea for Tuesday #7

Harney and Sons Fine TeasParis

Bonjour mes amis! Notre thé du jour est le mélange de Harney et Fils Paris.

Do you know what that means?  Let me translate. Hello my friends! Our tea of the day is Harney and Sons Paris blend. Xyra and Melody picked it up at the Coffee and Tea Festival Philly in early November. The Harney and Sons representatives were very nice and a lot of fun. They brought several teas for festival goers to try. 

They brought the sachets in the classic tin. 
You get 20 sachets in the tin. Each sachet makes at least 2 cups. I love the tin. It has all the information you need to brew and understand the tea. This side gives you the brewing instructions.

This side gives you the ingredients as well as the character descritption of the tea. 
The Paris blend is a black tea with natural vanilla, fruit, and citrus flavors. Hmm, the website mentions black currant and caramel flavors. It's enlightening, not that brisk, but has good body and a robust aroma.

Sachets are bigger than teabags and are usually pyramid shaped so the leaves inside can be bigger and have more room to expand during steeping. 

I've put the sachet in our prepared pot and am setting the timer to 5 minutes.

[Timer beeps]

Nous avons thé! (giggles) We have tea! Thé is pronounce "tay" not the.

It does have a bold aroma! 
You can really get the bergamot and vanilla and even some black currant.

The color is nice and dark.

Now how about the taste?
Mmmm, very nice plain. The flavors mesh well to give a hint of sweetness. I'd like to try with granulated sugar.
Not bad. I added a scant teaspoon of regular, granulated or table sugar. Not entirely sure it is needed. of course, I need to try it with milk too.

I've added a tiny bit of 2% milk, just enough to make it tan. 
This adds a creaminess and brings out the black currant. Again, not entirely sure it is needed.

Overall, I really like the Paris blend, but think it is best plain. It may not be the best choice if you do not like vanilla in tea. Vanilla stands out in this blend and even though the description mentions bergamot, the citrus is a minor note.

Xyra's Notes

  • Grace and I aren't in complete agreement on the Paris blend. She likes it much more than I. In fact, we picked it up because Melody enjoyed the sample at the festival and figured Grace would love the theme.
  • Since the festival I have had several cups of Paris blend. I fixed it in my normal haphazard, running out the door method; automatically adding different sweeteners and milk each time. Well, it seems I have been understeeping and adding too much. Today made it clear this blend needs the full 5 minutes steeping in a properly warmed pot; and is best plain - nothing added.
  • My tea tends to get forgotten when I get to work and cools off. Temperature shifts the flavor notes. To me the vanilla takes over completely when cold and it becomes somewhat perfumey. When hot, drinkable hot, the blend can be very comforting and smooth.

I hope you enjoyed our review and will stop again. 1 down; 17 to go. 😊 Who do you think will review the next one?

A bientot! 

Note: Tea Time with melody Q is not affiliated with American Girl or Harney and Sons or the Coffee and Tea Festival Philly. The above review is unsolicited and comprised of our own opinions, thoughts, and words. The tea mentioned was purchased specifically for our collection to review for our readers. All links are provided for educational and informative purposes; no purchase is required to enjoy this post.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Model Monday: Kaya #3

Interesting Fall

Usually fall days are cool, clear, bright, and crisp. We've been having a lot of wind this year and overcast days. Not great for motivation. However, Xyra thought my Thanksgiving outfit unique and deserved a Model Monday post. I don't mind; I love it too. (giggles) So I put it back on and we headed out.

What have you been up to since Thanksgiving? We got to stay up really late the one night and watch the movie Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russel! Really awesome movie and it made us think of our very own Great Auntie Mame in Arizona. We miss her.

The Shoot

Which is your favorite photo?

Shoot Details

Jacket: Virginia Gaudiello creation for ArtFusion 19464
Tee shirt: Silly Monkey (no longer available)
Jeans: American Girl (store exclusive)
Boots: Springfield Collection
Bracelet: Lanie's Accessories (AG retired)

So glad you stopped. Come again soon!