Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sweetness, Finding Nonni, See You...Before Too Long!

1. I think he is to have wavy, red hair. He is so mild-mannered and sweet that we all want a turn holding him.
2. I love to hear the grandchildren when one of them calls, "Naw- nie!" "Are you?!" Their little voice goes room to room looking for me.
3. Everyone was here at the same time! Never mind that it breaks my heart when they leave and the house is too quiet. I find consolation in knowing that love is to blame.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Really??, All Mine, It's Beginning to Feel Like Christmas

1. The look of joy and disbelief on R.'s face when he asked his wife if the guys could smoke cigars in the house and she said yes.
2. I crammed all my errands into yesterday just so I could free up today to stay home. I hoarded the  entire day to myself to sew and bake and decorate and wrap. (The laundry and chicken soup happened, but they were incidentals.)
3. It was cold and wintry feeling outside. The sky looked like it could snow at any moment. Even though a snowflake never fell, it set the right mood for Christmas preparations.
4. Tess and I ended the day by setting up the lighted village together. We weren't going to bother with it this year but, in the spirit of Christmas, we changed our minds : )

Friday, December 19, 2014

Baking and Giving

1. Packaged up and ready to give; gift wrap transforms the ordinary into something divine. It's only cupcakes and apple butter, but way more fun now.
* The Cooks Nook (and maybe Michael's) sells ingenious cardboard inserts for the cupcake boxes so the cupcakes can't slide around.

2. Lynn gave me the lead on this Red Velvet Cupcake with White Chocolate- Amaretto Frosting recipe last winter. It is a heavenly combination of flavors and worth every minute in the kitchen.

3. Tess' friends ask for these Hermit Bars every year. She takes the whole batch to school and shares them in the cafeteria. I like the box we used for these.
*I omit the candied ginger on top and only use it as called for in the dough.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Happy Place, Elves Are About, We Both Stayed Awake

1. That moment when I realize I'm in the Baking Zone and how happy and content I feel to be there.
1a. The packaging for all the goodies are as much fun as the baking. The Cook's Nook has all the bakery boxes, labels, to meet every baker's needs. I love that store : )
2. I walked away from my desk for only a minute and found a gift there when I returned.
3. Steve and I found a little common ground on a movie choice and watched it together. Godzilla. (His choice really, not mine) It was fun that we watched it together.
3a. Throughout the movie we each occasionally glance at each other to see if the other is still awake. We're getting old together.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Silhouettes, Warm Plastic, The Jackpot

1. These intricate, laser-cut, wood silhouettes were given to me by B. She purchases them directly from the craftsman at the Kriskindlmarkt that is held each fall in Clifton Forge. I got the bright idea to hang them on the lamps so we can enjoy the detail.

2. The warm plastic smell from the hot laminater at school smells just like Christmas. I think it evokes a memory I have from childhood of making wreaths from strips of plastic. We tied dozens of plastic strips to rounded-out wire coat hangers. Bunched together, they formed  fluffy white wreaths. We added shiny red balls and they were hideously pretty. I hope somebody uses the laminatoer again tomorrow.
3. I went to the mall for two small things. I ended up spending two hours there and got a little too warm and too tired. However, one my way out, as I passed Victoria's Secret, I remembered a coupon I had in my purse. It was one of those secret kind that the sales associate has to reveal for you. I figured it would be a 10% discount or something nominal and I would check it and be on my way. It turned out to be for $50.00! It was my lucky day. I did a quick look around and used it to purchase something for someone else.

Monday, December 15, 2014

New Old, Old and New, Mood Lighting

1. Tess gave me my Christmas gift early this year. Considering the gift, it was definitely the right thing to do.

An antique pine cone ornament...

and an antique bell ornament.
2. Tess had her last Christmas recital as a piano student on Saturday and tonight she had her first Christmas recital as a piano teacher. I've been listening to her practice Rhapsody in G Minor, Op 79, No 2 by Brahms for months now. I may just know it by heart. Following is a performance of this Brahms piece by a twelve year old. Enjoy!

3. Evenings at Christmas time are when all the bright house lights are turned off and only the tree and candle lights remain. It almost makes me feel the need to whisper. (Although anyone who knows me knows that I rarely have a whisper setting.)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Helper, Ice Breaker, The Last Hour of Today

1. A little boy in Spider Man pajamas kneels on a stool and helps me make punch for the party. It's his home and I am a guest. He is confident and in charge as I slice limes for him to drop into the punch. He insists they are green peaches. I ask if he would like to taste one. He says no, he doesn't like green peaches. He cleverly uses tongs to pull cranberries, one by one, out of the bag and plop them into the punch. Once finished, he is off to bed.
2. People whom I judged to be shy were shouting and singing during a game we played.
3. Late into the night, a perfect half slice of moon, tipped on its side, was on the rise. The eastern horizon glowed with its white light. I paused and took in a breath of sharp, cold air. Turning to the south and west, I tipped my head back and saw a sky filled with brilliant stars.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Neverland, Dressing It Up, Sitting Near the Fire

1. In reality, time is racing by. In theory, I live in Neverland where "time is never planned". Ever since Mary Martin's Peter Pan aired on TV, I believed in Peter Pan. As a child, I truly thought Captain Hook lived under a hill near my house. I became a Todd Rundgren fan in high school and Neverland became my theme song. I often sing it in my head, especially on days like today.

"And that's my home where dreams are born and time is never planned."

2. Slowly, slowly, the house is getting decorated for Christmas. It's a tender little affair this year, being done in small strokes at a time. We first put up the tree. On another day, a snow globe. Today I put the candle lights in the windows. And so it goes.
3. Lunch at B.'s! I so enjoy this time with friends to talk about things and hear one another's perspectives. The friendship of these two ladies is a blessing to me. Our husbands are also good friends and I'm aware of the rarity of such a friendship. I purpose to treasure it. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, Bountiful Pecans, For When Baby Visits

1. This ancient hymn gives voice to the mystery of God's plan for our salvation. Originally composed in 275 AD. and set to a 17th century folk song , it remains hauntingly beautiful to this day. For me, it provides the focus and pace that I crave at Christmas time.

Steve hones his technique

Mini pecan pies ready for the oven

2. Pecans! Sara and Walt gave us a bag full of fresh pecans from their parents' tree. In our kitchen today was the sound of hammer on pecan...for about an hour. Steve whacked and cracked. I stirred and baked : ).
3. We secretly bought all baby items for our party's gift exchange. Sippy cups, wipes, a bumbo seat, etc. We wanted to surprise one of the couples who welcomed their first grandbaby last week. The look on Sherry's face as we all took turns opening gifts that were baby items was priceless. At the end of the game we handed all our gifts over to Sherry and Sam. (Great idea, Lita!)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Order! I Demand Order!, Sending Love, Ready for Printing

1. Some kind of  'messy bomb' exploded in my house and I am extremely grateful to have this day to set things right again.
2. I wrapped gifts for our far away loved ones and padded them into parcels with care. My desire is to gather love and sentiments and make them tangible so they can be put in a box.
3. It was a long evening of spreadsheets and numbers, accounting programs, and notes. We were rewarded at the end with a cleaned up budget that was ready to roll for 2015. My "little" math mistake of putting a plus sign instead of a minus sign wasn't too embarrassing.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Love My Job, Razor-Cut Mullet with Heavy Bangs, The Week That Flew Right By

1.How Things Go at the Office
"Good Morning!" work work work work laugh work work laugh work work work work laugh laugh laugh work work work..."See you tomorrow!"
2. Poor Chelsea got a really bad haircut the day before, to the point of tears. (I was torn between telling the truth or saying it didn't look too bad.) We were to go shopping and have fun together but her mood was pretty low. I suggested we go and try to have her hair fixed. With hopeful optimism, we headed to Indulgence where Amanda worked a miracle. She had to cut off all the hair Chelsea spent months on the trail growing out, which was disappointing. But at least she was smiling again.
3. These cool gray days suit me. I prefer clouds to sun and cool over warm so I am in my element this week.
4. The kitchen table is spread with fabrics, notions, pins and threads. I thought about how long it's been since I sewed anything and how good it feels to be back at it. 
5. Audrey was hanging out at the house when I got home this afternoon. I walked in to find her and Bella camped out on the sofa. Bella's eyes are very expressive and I had to stop mid-sentence because of the way she was looking at me. Like most of our beloved pets, she thinks she's human and I have to agree.
6. Audrey and I walked over to the tree farm, cut down a tree, and carried it home by hand across the field. Bella ran circles around us and Henri...well, let's just say that Henri had to sniff every leaf and twig. The four of us had a good time. : )

Sweet Bella and her funny faces.