Wednesday, December 20, 2017

'tis the season

I've tried to be less busy this month, preferring quiet moments.
And I haven't done any Christmas shopping in a store this year. Maybe
I should do a mall visit just for fun--but probably not.
We've enjoyed having friends in, going to a couple of parties, and most recently,
a tea party for our oldest granddaughter and some of her friends.
It was fun (at least for me.) They did consume the sweets!
Then there was the school Christmas concert. Now we have two to watch.
And a visit to school to help grandson with the blankets they were
preparing for "babies or old people." Both cutting the
fuzzy fabric and tying knots was a challenge for KG.
Thus the required adult participation,
Every grandchild has played with this creche 
more than anything else when at Grandma's during Christmas.
Just as their dad and uncle did. The Story never grows old.
The jury is still out on this pencil tree, giving our new knee and repaired back
 a break from bringing our big tree out of the "crawl in" attic space.
I'm missing some of the ornaments that didn't fit.
The grands are just happy it's not their tree!

My sister once wrote, "Everything we need in this life and the next was 
held in that Bethlehem manger 2000 years ago. Our hopes, desires, dreams, 
and above all, our need for forgiveness and fellowship with God are all 
gathered up and met in the baby born that night."
May your joy be full and complete as you celebrate His birth.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

simple fare

Just plain cooking--laced with a little ambience--and so we invited good friends to 
join us at the kitchen table for "supper." Perfect for a cold winter night.
I made spaghetti--a favorite of ours. And a salad. 
Our friends brought some of their holiday treats for dessert. 
Coffee--and then an old movie, based on an Irish Italian restaurant. 
You probably know it. One time when we were talking, the movie had came up and
we discovered they'd never seen it. Since we have the movie (on VHS) 
we planned the evening, and we chose the menu to go with the movie.
With a pleasant fire going in the fireplace, we cranked up the old VCR, 
passed around blankets and we were set.
An easy and fun evening.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Invitation to Tea

Rhondi (@rhondimullins) and I first met when we started 
to recognize photos on each other's blogs and realized we lived 
just a few miles apart. Soon Rhondi was coming to 
our book club and has added so much.
She is upbeat and just fun to be around and finds beauty everywhere.
 So when she invited some of us to tea there was no
doubt we were in for a treat. Her house is beautiful and full of character and comfort.
So much is thrifted or created simply with her own hands.
 Just walking around her house is great fun and inspiring!
The beautiful table included cucumber sandwiches, 
her mother's shortbread cookies,
and so much more, including great conversation.

Good memories of a pleasant winter afternoon.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

the thirteenth plate

We were planning on 14 for dinner, but then one husband needed to sing in the Messiah. 
So we were down to thirteen. The Gardener surprised me with 12 Christmas plates 
a few years ago, and how I have enjoyed them each Christmas. 
We liked the pattern so much we gathered from here and 
there enough everyday castle dishes to use the rest of the year.  
So a thirteenth, I thought a castle plate would barely be noticed.
This group of friends gets together almost every Christmas season, and it's usually at our house. 
I was thinking 13 would be quite a squeeze for us, and since our kids were going
away for the weekend, they kindly agreed to let us use their house for the party.
It has more room in the dining room, and well, everywhere.
I was determined to bring everything that we needed from our house.
That was extra folding chairs, tablecloth, dishes, glasses, napkins, cutlery,
table decorations, my apron, etc. It was like catering for a party.
I went over in the morning to set the table. It was fun getting ready in their pretty house. 
Everyone brought part of the meal. It was delicious. 
It was festive. It was fun.
And we laughed a lot.
After we all went through the buffet line and settled down to eat,
I suggested they each look inside their place card to see a question to answer.
If they did not like the question, they could trade with one other person without
knowing their question. I'll list the questions we came up with at the end. 
They created a good deal of laughter and discussion.
The only damper to a lovely evening was discovering this 
when we arrived to get the final details in order. 
Our kids, sadly, lost favorite ornaments. Glass scattered far and wide.
One couple came early to heat their food
and helped us clean it up and stabilize the tree again.
The lights kept working, so it still looked pretty.

What 5 things would you grab to take with you in an evacuation?
What are you especially thankful for this year?
What new thing have you learned this past year?
If you had to live in a cubicle, what things would you want around you?
What does comfort mean to you?
Describe one of the most memorable persons you've known.
If you had the chance to do one thing over again in life, what would it be?
If money were no object, what would be your ideal vacation?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It's That Time Again

It's our turn to have Thanksgiving dinner on Friday.
We alternate with our DIL's family.
Our kids seem to love two Thanksgiving dinners in a row.

On Saturday the pumpkins and autumn colors will go away
and Christmas will show up at our house.
This year we got a pre-lit pencil tree and are leaving our
big tree tucked away in the attic for next year when hopefully
my knee will be totally healed and we'll have more energy!
"Not so little one" wrinkled up her nose when she saw the very thin tree and said it looked
like it belonged to a great-grandmother in a nursing home.
She has one of those, so knows just what she's talking about!
But simplifying is my goal this year and the smaller tree will help
Do you consider making things simpler as Christmas approaches?
I've had some time to think this year as our December calendar starts to fill in.
All such good things.
But does that mean we should try to do them all? 
As I get older I find I'm yearning for more time to read and think and just be.
I enjoy the Christmas season so much, but should I fill the calendar
so there is little time for reflection?

In the book Radical Hospitality, the author says,
"We do not even know how to imagine our lives without all the bustle."
I don't know if I'll slow down this Christmas––
But I hope so. 
I long for quiet and stillness.
Time for slow conversation with good friends.
Time to savor thoughts of the Christ Child.
And to worship and adore.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Littlest and Puppy

It's so hard to keep the grandchildren from growing up.
It's actually impossible.
Therefore I'm savoring time with them this school year.
I volunteer in the original "Little One's" (now 9) classroom one morning a week.
I can't express the delight it is for me to sit at a table and listen to the kids
read their chapter books aloud.  Every so often we have to stop and chat.
They often have twinkles in their eyes as they mention something 
they learned from their grandparents about the "old days."
I pick up the next youngest from KG two days a week and bring him back
to my house for a couple of hours. It saves his mom carpool time.
These are precious times, at least for grandma.
As far as Littlest, now in preschool, we enjoy special arranged times.
The other day, on the way from school to my house, she was missing her "puppy"
and had the idea of making a house for him.
Little did she know Grandma had the perfect box,
just an hour before placed in the recycle.
She described just how we would make it--and we did!
The buttons her tiny hands used to sort were now used for decorations.
The green decorative arches doubled as handles in case it becomes a "puppy carrier."

Back at home it was a perfect fit for Puppy.
I even heard Puppy, in the "Carrier," went along for trick or treating!

(not my photo)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

the large and the small

Anytime I extend the dining table for an occasion (as I did for our recent book club)
 in the fall that comes within a month or ten
of the coming holiday,  the Gardener says, "Let's leave it up for the next event."
Usually I want it back to normal, even insisting I will do it myself.
I'm so visual, I like the smaller size in place.
But this year I'm a little tired. Probably still recovering from the new knee, and now a
very stubborn virus…so stubborn I want to take my fists and just beat it to death.
So the table stays stretched to its max, patiently awaiting the turkey and fix in's.
Some of you may remember my p*nterest experiment in my last post.
Grandson wanted to play with the painted skewers and that started me telling
him about the game we all loved as kids--his dad included--Pick-Up Sticks.
We tried to play but needed points at both ends of the sticks.
Amazon to the rescue!
A cute little box arrived. But the sticks are only maybe 7 inches.
If you ever get the privilege of going back to your childhood home,
or your grandmother's house, you may think it seems awfully small from
what you remember when you were a smaller size.
Could it be the same with the pick-up sticks?
That I was small so the sticks seemed longer?
I've already gathered contradictory opinions on this.
 But I did get the G. to play a game with me for old time's sake.
I'm thinking I'm too tired this year to drag our big tree from the attic.
This sale on small trees caught my eye. This still needs fluffing and I forgot
to put the bottom piece on the urn.
But is very pretty and pre-lit and so simple.
But will we miss our big tree this year?
Time will tell.
They are meant for porches. Covered porches, I assume.
Lastly, this caught my eye at our favorite resale shop, Magpie's,
that only opens occasionally, I noticed these big and small dishes glued
together, I assume, and hung on the wall.
A novelty I'd say, and my guess is more than one of you have
 more than one of these dishes at your house. I do.

And that's the large and the small of it.

Joining Monday Mosaics.


Monday, October 23, 2017

a bird among pumpkins

I placed a little bird among pumpkins for our recent book club gathering.
 The only other nod I could give to the book was some French pastries.
Attendance was nearly 100% for this riveting book, and because
of the busyness of hosting, I forgot to take photos.
We read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It's hard to describe how good the book
is. The writing is exquisite. In case you don't know about the book, two sisters, separated
by age, circumstances, ideals and passions, live their lives 
in war-torn, German-occupied France. 
The novel celebrates the strength of women and the resilient human spirit 
Our discussion was rich as our leader particularly emphasized the characters.
The Gardener and I listened to the book on cd as we drove many miles on a recent road trip.
The reader read with great expression and skill so we got to know the characters
even through her voice. It took many hours (but made the miles fly!) Normally I wouldn't
have time to listen to a book like that, but it was amazing to experience the story this way.
And we enjoyed listening together, stopping the cd occasionally to discuss.
I tried to get a little fancy with something I saw on P*nterest.
Apparently donut holes are not as popular as I thought, but
the grands sure loved having the left-overs.
It was fun to do! 
Now to find the next book.
"In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are."
Kristin Hannah

Sunday, October 15, 2017


 There's a little retro vintage and antique shop where my sister lives.
We like to drop by there each time I visit.
This year I noticed the place had changed a fair bit.
Gone were most of the furniture antiques.
And there was very little pottery or china on display.
 But we did see an exact replica of our mom's old kitchen aide.
Then there were what I call little bits of things. Like a bowl of
old wooden spools. Clothespins wrapped in bric-a-brac.
A banner of old letters, envelopes and vintage alphabet cards. 
The letters were interesting to read and I loved the idea.
I asked the proprietor why they were selling little bags of old slides.
"The college kids find them fascinating as they have never seen them before."
Notice the half made lamp shade above. 
Apparently preparing the slides to hang on the shade was a very slow process.
 "Does anyone use the old sewing patterns?" I asked.
I learned that people bought them to actually use. 
Those that don't like the idea that children 
in other lands may have had a part in sewing the clothes at stores.
 Also missing was the vintage bridal shop in this back room.
But there was a lot of other unique clothing, shoes and hats.
The shop's changes remind me that peoples' tastes and interests evolve.
Joining with Mosaic Monday.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Which one is different?

Returning home from a three-week road trip to even warmer climates, 
we noticed a change in the air. The intense heat is gone and temperatures 
are much cooler at night, while still warming in the daytime. Rain has finally come, 
and the leaves are starting to turn. Autumn has never felt more welcome. 
My thoughts turn to pumpkin scones, 
apple pie, acorn squash, white chili, sweet potato soup 
… and I'm sure you can name other favorites.

This mosaic from an autumn market I visited
makes me think of little worksheets I used to make pre-schoolers.
"Which one doesn't belong in this group?"

Joining in Maggie's Monday Mosaics.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

eggs and a little more

Farm fresh eggs as local as from the backyard where we were visiting.
 Such gorgeous shades of "egg" and, yes,  delicious.
Friends … I think.
No matter how short the country visit, refreshment comes in large doses.
It's hard to believe my father would be 100 this week.
He loved to read and could pick up any book and enjoy it for a few minutes.
Of course he also read whole books.
Two editors eating lunch had a little
discussion over this sentence that Mr. Thomas
supposedly wrote.
How would you write it?

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