Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Darling Baby Boy

Welcome to the World!
We're so glad that you're here!

A sweet little treasure
sent from above,
a coo and a smile,
wrapped up in love...

One small hand to hold in yours,

One small face to smile,
One wet kiss as he says "good-night"
One small child.

Catch the moment, put it in your heart
The years too soon will fly.
These are precious moments,
more than money can buy.

Two small arms to hold you tight,
Two small feet to run,
Two small eyes full of love for you,
One small son.

Catch the moment and put it in your heart
and never let it go.
Save it for the years to come
when he, too, will know.

One small hand to hold in his
One small face to smile.
One small kiss and he says "Good Night"
One small child.

Darling baby, Jacob Scott
Many happy hours you'll share with those who love
you as they generously dote on you, teach you,
and share life's lessons with you.

Congratulations to your happy parents!

And special congratulations to my friend, Paula.

I know you'll enjoy many precious moments being grandma
to your adorable, new little sports guy!
What a wonderful Christmas present; a sweet little one!

Happy times ahead!
Enjoy them all!!!

Baby photos
Copyright Paula and daughters 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

B L I S S of 30

To my love. . .
anniversary wishes.

*This beautiful bread-dough ornament was a gift to us upon our marriage.*

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold,
everything is softer and more beautiful.

~Norman Vincent Peale~

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Home for Christmas

Home for Christmas

There is an empty chair in the parlor
An empty bed in the guest room
There is an empty plate on the table
An empty place in the heart.

Still can be heard the sound
Of childish laughter
Still the unmistakable muffled sound
Of childish tears.

There was love in this house
Love in every pore
And God was in this house
Morning, noon, and night.

The house is quiet now
The children grown and far away
The letters, oh, the letters are so few
And the telephone's so still.*

But listen, Father;
Could that be a car in the driveway?
Voice, such familiar voices. . .

The children! Oh, Mother!
The children --- all the children --- have come home.

Joseph Leininger Wheeler

*But thankfully, at our house the text messages, instant messages, and emails abound!

* * *

Blessed Christmas Eve to you and yours! Happy Birthday to Jesus!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Going to Be. . .

. . .a White Christmas!

It's beautiful and fluffy, but oh, how it hampers normal life. It's a good thing it's the holiday season. Family life is busy with home projects galore; crafts, baking, stitching, gaming, creating movies, and relaxing together.

I hope your holiday's are wonderful!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gifts of Tea

Tea gifts! Karleen brought me a Christmas present filled with some unique and interesting 'tea' things. They made me smile! The figurine is 'brimming with hospitality' and is so cute! Would you like cream and sugar with your tea?

Since last week when I was at Karleen's house sewing, she found some 'tea themed' flannel which resulted in a special 'tea' pillowcase that she made for me. I'll have 'sweet tea dreams' when I sleep on this whimsical pillow case!

Karleen also made a pretty set of 'tea coasters' using 'teapot and teacup' prints. The tops fabrics are folded into half and pressed, then woven together into a foursome. Backing is placed on top, stitched on, and then each one is turned. Very pretty and perfect for 'afternoon tea'.

Thank you for the pretty 'teatime Christmas gifts', Karleen! I'm sharing your idea with others who love tea in blogland.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


We've had another snowstorm with blizzard conditions. It's a white world out there! Normal life comes to a near halt during times like this. Reports of both Greyhound and Amtrak canceling routes, Snoqualmie Pass over the Cascades closed due to rapidly falling snow, and people staying closer to home because of bad roads have been heard. It's been a good day to stay home.

The pets are cozy and warm inside, establishing territory on the comfy chairs as theirs. The dogs coats are long, as it's been too cold to clip them when we have 9 degree weather outside. They would be so cold with their usual Schnauzer cuts. They are now the Shaggy Schnauzers and loving it!

With the family all together, it was a relaxing day to catch up with events in the boys lives and to visit with Sally. University life keeps them busy. It's good for them to kick back awhile and recharge. Arriving from school with them are their computers and wires and gadgets galore. The family room has been turned into a computer lab with a Christmas flair!

In addition to surfing the net and chatting with friends, snow days are great days for working on a craft project. It was time for something new that I'd never done before. I thought maybe Sally would enjoy beading, so bought all sorts of wires, hooks, and beads at the craft store last evening. I felt like a fish out of water, but with the assistance of a helpful clerk and a beginners book, I made my selections. Beads of red, pink, blue, gold, pearl, and more were matched to gold wires and hoops.

Pliers and cutters were put to work as we threaded and bent and clipped. Beads were grouped in designs we liked and we strung to our hearts content.

Some of those beads were so tiny! Even with the ever helpful bi-focals, they were sometimes hard to manage. It was really fun to see how Sally and I each had a different 'vision' and used the supplies in completely different ways to create pieces that were unique and interesting. Even Brandon was pulled into the creation process, giving his spin to creative jewelry making.

It's hard to see them well on this plate, but we ended up with seventeen pairs of earrings! We put a snowy day to creative use! Some are Sally's. . .and some are mine. Since I don't have pierced ears, I've been counting up all my friends who do have them. . .and am thinking of being Mrs. Santa for them! I hope they are good enough for them to wear. Some of the bends and twists of mine could use some improvement!

It was a lovely day --- and I enjoyed having the family together again for the holidays.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Santa's Workshop

Santa's workshop was busy today! Karleen invited me to her house to sew. And what a productive day it was. First things first, though. Lunch! Karleen served a delicious meal with homemade pizza.

She recently purchased a cookbook of artisan bread recipes. A dough is mixed together and placed in the fridge for up to two weeks. Needed amounts of dough are used for fresh baked breads and things like pizza crust. Today the pizza crust was from her recipe and it was perfect!

Karleen worked on a beautiful quilt. The colors were cheerful for a wintry day.

And we worked on cozy flannel pillowcases. Simple and fast, the coordinated flannels with rick-rack trim made a pretty case. There's no handwork anywhere on them because we used both the sewing machine and a serger.

Here's a set of 'his' and 'hers' --- in pink and blue. The cow jumped over the moon!

And for one who enjoys all things western, a cowboy pillowcase!

We sewed other things as well, but I'll share them another time. I'm already giving too many clues as to Christmas gifts by sharing what I have.

Is your Santa workshop busy too? What are you making? I'd love to know. . .

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mulled Tea

Mulled Tea Bag

2 1/2 tsp. loose tea leaves
1 tsp. coarsely crushed cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. dried orange peel
1/4 tsp. dried lemon peel
3 whole allspice berries
2 whole cloves
5-inch square of fine-mesh cheesecloth
Cotton string

Blend together tea leaves, cinnamon pieces, lemon and orange peel, allspice, and cloves. Place in a cheesecloth square. Tie with a string to form a bag.

To brew tea, place the bag in a mug and add boiling water. Steep for 4 - 5 minutes and enjoy.

Serves 1

Celebrating 105

A very special birthday to Grandma Iva. Born in 1903 into a large farming family in northern Pennsylvania, Grandma's life has been rich with experiences of all sorts. Grandma's quick wit, gentle spirit, and willingness to share with those around her are attributes that her family and loved ones have enjoyed and benefited from. We have all enjoyed Grandma's stories of her early years. It's been said that on one of her first dates with Grandpa, the horse drawn sled they were riding home in somehow drifted off the road and they ended up turned over in a snow bank! That story has made family history! Grandma has always been an excellent cook and excelled in home arts. But she was also very much a farmers wife, harvesting crops, driving truck to deliver lumber or hay, and taking care of champion Charolais cattle or of the wild horses shipped to the farm from the west by train. As the years went by, Grandpa and Grandma expanded their farm operation to include a ranch in Arizona. Grandma retired to Arizona with Grandpa more than thirty years ago. She lives there to this day, enjoying Arizona sunshine and the TLC of her daughter and family close by. Tomorrow they will be all gathering to have lunch with Grandma Iva. How I wish we could be there too! We cannot, but send our love, greetings, and devotion to a Grandma who has made the world a much happier place to be. Happy birthday, Grandma Iva!

Photo: from Grandma's 104th birthday party; shown with her son-in-law

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Stay Warm!

Sending warm wishes your way! It seems that winter really has arrived for those in the northern states. Brrrrr --- it was a cold day! Snow this morning and temperatures in the teens has encouraged everyone to find their winter mittens, gloves, and boots! There's nothing like snow and cold weather to get everyone into a holiday mood!

Stay warm!

Love and Tea

I'm sending you love and tea,
To warm your winter's day.
Think of me as you pour your cup
And all the good things we would say.
If we could be together now
Instead of miles apart,
We'd sip our teas and memories,
The sweet warmth fills the heart.

- Susan Young

*A winter tea served on Aunt Marcella's porch on a sunny day.*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Prayer

"Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake, Amen!"

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Christmas Stories

Christmas stories can evoke such an emotional response. As they express the meaning and the gift of Jesus, they can touch all our senses. The sights, smells, textures, tastes, and sounds of Christmas can be expressed so well with words, given from the pen of gifted writers and those who express from their hearts. My personal library contains volumes of books dedicated to just Christmas stories. Notebooks of Christmas stories collected over the years and stacks of children's Christmas books grace the shelves. But of all the stories, my favorite is the one I have posted below. I first read it as a teen-ager who's task it was to read and analyze it for a literature class. It's meaning touched my heart. It became my favorite and continues to be so to this day. I hope you enjoy it and are blessed by it as I was.

The Gift of the Magi

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad. In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young." The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good. Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag.

She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art. Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length. Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet. On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie." "Will you buy my hair?" asked Della. "I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it. "Down rippled the brown cascade. "Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand. "Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present. She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically. "If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?" At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops. Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty.

"The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves. Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face. Della wriggled off the table and went for him. "Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you.""You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor. "Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?" Jim looked about the room curiously. "You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy. "You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table. "Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat. For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!" And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!" Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit. "Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it." Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled. "Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.

"The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

by O. Henry

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Holiday Spirit and Tea

A package arrived in the mail from "Secret Santa". Isn't it beautiful? Thank you, Secret Santa! I love the beautiful Christmas teapot and the crocheted doily you made. They will enhance our holiday spirit. I think it's the perfect gift for a "tea lady". When the time is right, I will link your blog to this post so readers can see some of the other lovely things you've made.

Festival of Little Trees

It's the season of trees, and some beautiful and creative little trees have been in my sights this week. Their simplicity adds character to each tree and draws the viewer to appreciate each one.

Yesterday I enjoyed an delightful afternoon with Karleen. She made a yummy lunch of minestrone soup and fresh-baked artisan bread. After lunch we spent time sewing together, working on stitched Christmas gifts. I found these pretty little coasters sitting on her table and thought they were so cute. To make, colorful cotton print was ironed onto fusible webbing, then cut into a tree shape. Then iron onto felt, cut with pinking shears, and decorate with a fabric bow and button on top. Aren't they cute?

This week a talented friend sent me this Christmas card. It is so elegant in its simplicity! I love it! Marilyn used card stock for the card, and stitched on two layers of a Christmas tree cut-out. The stitching goes from the top of the card to the bottom and a tail thread was left at the beginning and end.

The tree cut-outs are left flat for mailing, but once to their destination, the top layer can be folded upwards, giving a 3-D effect.

Marilyn tied a beautiful angel charm to the top of the tree. And look. . .

. . .there's a sweet message on the back! Made for an angel. My own little 'festival of little trees'. Which reminds me, today is the day to decorate our own Christmas tree. I've been savoring the holiday each step of the way. Our mountain tree has been appreciated for it's simple beauty as it stands in front of our picture window with nothing but Marilyn's tree card in it's branches. It's time to add some lights and ornaments. I'd better get busy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Joyful Gifts

Do you have a difficult time thinking of creative ideas for gifts for teens and twenty-somethings? Grandpa had a great idea this year for Christmas presents for his grandkids. Since he's a "snowbird" and heads for Arizona right after Thanksgiving, he presented his Christmas gifts early. His gifts were thoughtful, well-received, and fun! He spent time well in advance, preparing them. Each grandchild was given a United States collectible quarter holder and a container of quarters. The containers held at least one quarter from each of the fifty states. There was much activity around the table as everyone worked to find the appropriate quarters and put them in their proper place. Before long, each set was properly matched in each book and each grandchild went home with a state quarter collection lovingly collected by Grandpa over the years. Evidently the bank tellers at Grandpa's bank were also enthusiastic about his project! He was missing quarters from Hawaii. He thought they would be missing until the grandkids could find them later, but when he walked into the bank the day before his presentation, a teller called over to him --- "I got them"! She was nearly as happy as he was about those quarters! For the grandkids, it was a Christmas gift that was meaningful, fun, and interactive. Simple joy --- a thoughtful gift. Thank you, Grandpa!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Tea

Christmas is the perfect time to reach out, sharing from our heart with those we love. Sometimes our friends are far away, but a loving sentiment can still be sent. Have you ever had a long-distance tea party? Usually the consist of an established time to 'take tea' alone at home, while your friend does the same at theirs. If you wish you can talk together on the phone, or send text messages back and forth, but I like it best when the tea is a quiet time to think of my friend and to pray for them. It's special, at the end of such a tea, to hand write a short note to them and drop it in the mail so they receive confirmation of your tea experience in just a few days. Sharing this idea with a friend can be done sweetly by sending them a specially wrapped package that contains a new teacup and saucer, or a pound of your favorite loose tea. Wrap them beautifully, adding a bow or some Christmas glitter. Then write a verse such as the one below on a pretty card and send your package on it's way. Here's the verse:

On Christmas day, at half past three
Brew yourself a cup of tea
I'll think of you while you think of me
Sitting beside the Christmas tree.

Celebrate Snow

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gathering the Tree

Today; tree day! It was a warm and sunny day, a perfect day to head to the mountains for a Christmas tree! Gloves and a warm coat seemed enough --- but as the mountains came into view, snow could be seen at the highest points. Oh dear, I should have brought my boots! As we traversed up the mountain, we were glad for four-wheel drive as the snow appeared and got deeper and deeper. We arrived on the mountaintop on a day filled with perfect displays of light and shadow; sunshine and clouds on ridges and bowing, snow-laden trees. It was like arriving at another world.

I really did miss my boots as we started trekking through the woods in search of the perfect tree. An foot of new snow and my Nike's made a cold combination! But finding that perfect tree was important, so I followed in Brent's tracks as we hiked through our woods. A perfect tree means one that not only makes a pretty Christmas tree, but one that won't be missed in the woods. So, a tree that might grow to crowd out another, or is in a hidden hollow is what we looked for.

Others had been through the woods before us; we followed deer, elk, squirrel, and bear tracks as they wove through the woods. Each year we talk about marking a Christmas tree when we can see it without snow, but somehow we never get it done. This year was no exception. Brent carried a broom to brush off snow as we looked for a tree that wasn't too lopsided, crooked, or sparse in spots.

Eventually we found the one; the perfect tree in a spot where it wouldn't be missed. We are quite particular about trees. Those growing in prominent or sparse places in our woods are nurtured. But in far corners of the densest woods or where crowding is happening, they can be cut to allow light to come in or to give space for little trees to grow. Brent brushed off our find and it seemed straight and symmetrical. We hiked back to the cabin to get the pick-up and chainsaw, then returned to the 'perfect tree' to cut down and bring back to grace our home.

Isn't it pretty? It's safely home, soon to be graced with lights and ornaments. The adventure of getting the tree was as fun as decorating it will be. It was a good day.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Chai Hot Chocolate

Christmas Chai Hot Chocolate

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy milk
1 chai tea bag
1 (.55 ounce) package instant hot chocolate mix*

Stir the water and milk together in a microwave-safe mug. Cook on high in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove, and add the chai teabag. Allow tea to steep about 2 minutes. Remove the tea bag, and stir in the hot chocolate mix.

*vegan alternatives available; check at health food store

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Magic Wand of Christmas

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

~Norman Vincent Peale ~

Christmas Traditions

It's time to think about Christmas! How I admire my neighbors and my blogging friends who are prepared and decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. I'm not one of those people. Instead, I tend to savor Thanksgiving for as long as I can before I move on to the next holiday. But I think my week of savoring needs to end and I should move along! Before I know it, Christmas will be here and past!

I remember grade school days when mom and dad were busy teachers; sister and I busy students at school. It wasn't until Christmas holiday that we decorated for the season, putting up a Christmas tree decorated with homemade ornaments and paper chains. Once the tree was up, the household took on an air of secrecy, as we were a 'homemade Christmas' family --- and sewing, gluing, hammering, and sawing were the activities that filled the days before Christmas. Home-baked cookies and breads, Christmas lights, caroling parties, new dresses for the holiday, and cups of hot chocolate --- helped make a great holiday.

So. . .it's time to catch the spirit of the holiday! I'm ready.

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

Monday, December 01, 2008

End of Season

Autumn is such a colorful season! Although it's the first of December, winter is not yet officially here. I'm relishing autumn while I can. I love the vibrant red, orange, and yellow colors that nature provides. Bringing these colors inside helps to create a cozy and comforting atmosphere. It's the season for warm potato soup, a cup of hot tea, and fuzzy slippers. Here's a poem that describes some of the elements of autumn that I especially enjoy:

When the wind's blowing hard
Through the trees in your yard
I can promise you this ---
Tea and blankets are bliss.

~Eileen Spinelli