Thursday, December 31, 2009

December Collage

During this month, concentration in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord was our entire focus. After all He became flesh and dwelt among us(John 1:14), it is in Him we live and move and have our being( Acts 17:28), and to Him we owe everything(Romans 11:36).


First row from right:
* Perfect picture girls
*New snow-white fuzzy slippers and holiday corgi
*A gift of foggy gray fingerless mitts for a friend
*Christmas breakfast table
* Fireside romance
Second row:
* Last minute knitting projects
*Girls in the kitchen
*Creating gift tags
* Cookie cutouts
*Christmas morning delight
Third row:
*A Monday morning ladies brunch
* Christmas morning traditional foods
* Carol singalong
*Rolling in cinnamon
* Guitar worship
Fourth row:
* Ham biscuits, cheese grits and sweet breads
* Shiny icing Christmas cookies
*Precision decorating
*Krispy Kreme doughnut hats
*Corgi reindeer
Fifth row:
*All aglow
*Betrothed love
*Grandmother's vintage tablecloth
* Marriage
*Snickerdoodle balls in a row

A glimpse of this past month. Happy, busy, merry...are the days of December.

May your enjoy this last day of 2009!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Delectable Pairing

Certain foods make a game of deciding what might be the tastiest choice to pair with it as a topping or as a side.

A pan of gingerbread may open several possibilities.

But for me there is no contest...homemade lemon curd; made tart, then warmed and plopped on top to drizzle down all four sides of the slice of gingerbread as it sets upon the dessert plate.


Other noteworthy choices one might consider:

whipped cream,
chocolate sauce or
vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a morning breakfast

Vacation mornings,
lazy mornings,

enjoying good things such as eating breakfast in the dining room where the Christmas roses still sit on the white tablecloth, showy and companionable.

A breakfast of chipped beef gravy served over fresh buttermilk biscuits steaming hot from the oven.


A pajama clad affair.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ornament Exchange

Four years ago I was invited to be a part of a ladies' ornament exchange. The other evening we got together and with a little hoopla, exchanged the ornaments we had made for one another in true Christmas spirit. What stories were shared of the seventeen years some of them have been getting together. Precious, godly ladies sharing ornaments, Christmas, laughter and even sorrow this year, as a mother and daughter had very recently lost a husband/ father.

D_ is eighty years old and her painted creations are some of the most favored. She paints them on brown paper grocery bags. Last year she delighted us with Raggedy Ann. Andy completed the pair this year.

C_ knits little things on tiny needles.

M_ forms holly leaves with wire.


Of course, my favorite ornaments do not come from the exchange at all, but from the hands of my children.
Charlotte made this and hung it on the tree. I loved finding it there,
hanging amidst the green boughs.





Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Readings and Ovaltine Power

"Something was stirring in him; something strong and deep and definite. Suffice it to say he was beginning to know that Christmas was coming-not just on the calendar but in his very soul."

Shepherds Abiding
Jan Karon

I have a list of Christmas books and stories that are pulled out as dear friends to be read over and over every year. The children have their favorites too and we enjoy snuggling up to read them, in the evenings especially.

It never ceases to amaze me how parts of the Christmas story can be found throughout the entire Bible. For example, the girls and I have been studying the Israelite's journey as they have now finally reached the Promised Land, the first battle to be fought is that strong-walled city of Jericho. I am keeping the girls on edge by telling them there is something really wonderful about Rahab. And this week as we get more detailed in our Bible reading of the Christmas story, I will unfold the beautiful lineage of Jesus. Hers is truly a story of grace and truth.

And as I find myself rather discombobulated in finding time to eat as I run from one event to another with everything in between, sometimes I find a drink of Ovaltine with 2% organic milk does the job. Especially if there is yet another food gathering to attend. Thank you Deborah for sharing...it rather reminds me of Instant Breakfast, and has a very good energy boost. Today it served as my late lunch, because tonight I will head out the door at 5:45 bearing my fifteen ornaments to the annual ornament exchange of which I am a part.


"CHEERS!"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Layering

I've always loved the layering of things. Whether it be the everyday clothes I am wearing, dressing for snow play outside, making lasagna or salads, whatever, layering makes complete sense to me and is a process I find gratifying.

I also have a weakness for tiramisu. Therefore, when a dessert was needed to carry to Claire's Christmas party I decided a tiramisu trifle would be just the thing.

This recipe is a combination of many other recipes, I made it my own by incorporating what I think was the best of them all.

Homemade custard with mascarpone cheese,
Ladyfingers dipped in coffee and kahlua, and a topping of whipped cream dusted with a layer of powdered cocoa.

Carried in my arms along the highways and byways in order to arrive safe and sound.

Heavenly Songs

A big red bow adorned her hair, and Rose wore her new spectacles, their very first time to experience the annual performance of Handel's "Messiah" by the Oratorio and Symphony. We stood with the audience as the beginnings of the Halleluiah Chorus started; the sound of the seats, as the people stood, reverberated throughout the auditorium. I love it. Every year I love it the same, but yet even more. And I assured them they would too.




I must say the promised doughnuts added extra sweetness as we continued to enjoy our late night out.



And afterward we rode to see the Christmas lights decorated along the residential streets. There were times I felt as if I was in a canopy of colorful stars all dazzling and bright,

suspended in the heavens.


And He shall reign forever and ever...
Halleluiah

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ganache Glazed Cake

Remember the story about my past birthday cakes?


Well, this year I was delighted that Charlotte pulled up a stool and helped me bake the cake. I genuinely figure by teaching her how to bake cakes she will be able to bake my birthday cakes in the future. I know, shameless.

Anyway, this particular cake was a basic yellow cake with the rich addition of buttermilk. The icing was ganache and since it was such a simple and delicious icing I wanted to share the recipe in case you have never tried it.

Easy Ganache Glaze Icing

1 12 oz. package, plus 1 cup (roughly 3 cups) of semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 Tablespoon butter
A pinch of salt

Place the chips in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan bring the cream just to a boil. Pour over chips, add butter and salt. Whisk until the chips are melted and the glaze is shiny and spreadable. Cool until barely warm before placing on the cooled cake.

If your glaze is not thick enough to your liking, you may add another layer. But first place your glazed cake in the refrigerator until cool and then spread on the second layer.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bountitul Gifts

It all began with a telephone call. A local CSA was starting up this spring. But in the meantime there were organic fall vegetables available to be picked up. It was summer once again for me, but this time the colors of purple and green were predominant and I was giddy with the bounty.


Collards, purple kale, broccoli, fennel, cauliflower, turnips and kolrabi...a literal feast.

I diced, chopped, boiled, and roasted, concocting delicious things to eat.

There was no end to the manner of things that could have been done on this day. Possibly many of them were actually considered at one time or another. But when it came right down to it, being home with my family was one of the best birthday gifts of all.


Another year, older, wiser, and still happy in love.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Glitter

I want to think God said, "Let there be glitter!"

And there was glitter.


No messes here.

I like glitter coatings from my cheek to my bare toes and everywhere in between. Making carpets shiny along with its flashing rainbows on the bumpy texture; chairs, how simply wonderful, the lucky recipient can then walk around with a sparkly bottom; and speckles all over the table, thought of as fairy dust magic remaining for days, or maybe even weeks.

This super fine glitter is shimmery and soft like petals. It is a perfect asset to my Christmas ornaments, to add pizazz and extra shine.

Just a tiny puff of breath or the wisp of a fine brush will remove any excess glitter.



But only add blueberries to the pancake batter, please!

Monday, November 30, 2009

putting on the rose


An afternoon tea party with the best of friends found Rose rolling linen napkins into "roses". This girl lives up to her name and can be persuaded to get ritzy from time to time- rose style.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving

I noticed the silverware was tarnished as I placed it on our Thanksgiving table yesterday. The same silverware my mother inherited from my paternal grandmother years ago. Finding out some things matter little and realizing comfort is found in the familiar even with its unpolished burnish.

The pies traveled well in the car and most were in agreement that a tiny slice of each kind would top the end of the meal quite nicely.

The day's temperatures were temperate and called for us to come outside, so while dessert and coffee were lingered over inside, Charlotte practiced "edge walking" out front, hoping to master her skill of walking on the edging.


This dress was made for twirling.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the making of the pies

Today, amongst other things, I baked three pies to be served at Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

Pecan, a favorite of my husband's.



My fellow pie baker, Charlotte helped with the crusts. A creative twist was added to the pumpkin pie crust's edge, a leaf motif of sorts. Now mind you this was all done freehand.


But it turned out fairly well we thought.

Coconut Cream pie is usually only made at Christmas, but since it is my father's favorite and we will be seeing him tomorrow, I wanted to please him with this pie. And it is so good! As I licked the spoon, the memories of how good it is delighted my taste buds with its vanilla custard sweetness.


This pie requires a prebaked pie crust. A good way to keep your pie crust from puffing up is to line your pie crust with foil and fill the crust with beans. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.

My dear mother's illness is marching on. The original plan was for my brother to come and pick my parents up and take them to his house for the holiday; which is in the state they lived in up until about three years ago, before circumstances merited moving them down the street from my sister (about 1 1/2 hours away from me) in order to better care for them.

The days have finally solidified that traveling is entirely too overwhelming for her now. Therefore, have Thanksgiving will travel, we pack it all up and will spend the day with them...being oh so full of thanks for every one of His tender mercies toward us, of which there are many.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Will you....YES!

"We're going to the chapel and we're gonna get married...
Such exciting times. He had the question and she had the answer. We couldn't be more happy or thankful that our son has chosen Claire to be his bride.

Sunday was a busy day for this couple as they visited family from here to there to celebrate their engagement and allowing the entire family to share in their joy. I hope to always remember how she glowed when I saw her that evening.


Witt and Claire
November 22, 2009

Wedding bells will ring on May 29th!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Calls to Answer

Last weekend began a Mission Conference held at our church which continued through the week.


Our family was able to host a missionary couple who have served in Africa for twenty years. We were so busy the week before getting everything ready for their arrival, but it was such a wonderful experience to have this couple gracing our home. They had such interesting stories to tell. They literally became a part of our family, as Charlotte can well attest as she packed her bags with full intentions of going home with them on Thursday morning.


And there were special weddings to attend too. On Saturday evening we were able to witness a very good friend of ours perform the marriage ceremony of his second daughter. I especially appreciated how every aspect of her personality was woven into everything from the music to the pistachio wedding cake. This was the little girl that had a crush on my son when she was about eleven years old and they have remained such good friends through the years. I am so very fond of her.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Some of the things I have been doing


Making a pot of Vegetable Beef Soup. The colors of autumn stored in a glass canning jar. This soup can make for the most satisfying of lunches or supper, all one needs to add is crackers.


Snipping the most favored flower in my garden, I call them my garden gems, to bring inside the house; so what if little bugs come in to rest in the warm crevices or my house too.

Pulling out the newly purchased watercolors, brushes and paper to try my hand at capturing some of these lovelies. This is a newly acquired pursuit and even if my paintings are so elementary, I certainly enjoy the process.


Here are the cuffs that go on the dress that goes under the pinafore being made
for Charlotte to wear on Thanksgiving.

Rather has the beat to remind me of the nursery rhyme,

"Here is the cat that killed the rat that are the malt
that lives in the house that Jack built".

I have so much I could share of God's blessings in my life of late. And I hope to be able to very soon.But I wanted to just drop by and give some snippets of simplistic happenings that border my days too.

Thank all of you for your recent comments. My countenance is lightened upon reading each and every one. It inspires me to go on and attempt some more posts when thoughts of taking an even longer break have been cluttering my brain lately.

wednesday granola

A Wednesday morn in May appears to be a very good day to begin a binge of healthy eating once again.  This granola is super easy to make...