Sunday, December 24, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

thank you, Mary!

Yesterday out of the blue I got a call from Mary, the artist who painted my antique rocker, and also a few other things in my house. You may recall that I met Mary through my mother in-law, who has had Mary paint children's rockers for all 9 of her grandchildren. I haven't seen Mary since last spring, but oddly enough, I was thinking about her yesterday morning. I was thinking of a small hall mirror in my house and wondering if she would be interested in painting it sometime next year, but that's another story...

Anyway, Mary called after lunch and wanted to know if she could stop by because she had something that she wanted to give me. She said she had something for me and for my mother in-law for Christmas.

Well, you've seen the rocking chair and in time I'll get around to spotlighting Mary's other work around here (like the shelf that's on the wall there, partially hidden - that's one of my favorites), but this display speaks for itself. Mine is the little blue and yellow house (you could call it a cottage), and my mother in-law 's is the beautiful church. I wish you could see the windows that go around each building. Mine have shutters around them. The church windows are made to look like stained glass.

I have no idea what I've done to deserve this. But my house is so darling, so unbelievably cute, that I don't care. I am just happy that it's here and that, by default of my being related to my mother in-law, Mary sees me as someone worthy of one of her creations. Merry Christmas, Mary!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

special gift

My Christmas gift this year is that my family is coming here. My mom and dad, 2 of my brothers, and my parents' dog are all arriving on Friday and will stay until early next week. I am so excited to have them here. Beyond excited. Usually we go to them...either before Christmas to stay through the holiday, or right after Christmas. My parents have come to celebrate with us before, but they came the weekend before Christmas, so technically they've never been here on December 25th.

I have a big family, and my parents were high school sweethearts, so everybody on my side pretty much lives in the same town (except me. Also, my youngest brother moved to Los Angeles this past spring but we're optimistic that some day he'll move back closer to home.) When we go for a visit, my mom cooks up a feast for us every day and looks after our every needs, both spoken and unspoken. She leaves us wanting for nothing. My dad takes us out to wonderful restaurants and insists on paying our way if there's anything we want to do - movies, a day at the zoo, a show. I always tell people that I get spoiled when I go to see them. I'm not sure if I can do the same thing for them exactly, but I can do my best to make sure they have as nice of a visit here as possible. I just want them to relax and not worry about anything. I want to cook for them. I want them to enjoy as much time as they can with my sons. I will (hopefully) make them feel like they are on a holiday.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

no regrets

We are feeling pleasantly plump after the third weekend in a row of good food, good friends, and, oh yes, Christmas cheer! Wait a minute. Is it just me, or are my pants starting to feel a bit snug? hmmm. Must be my imagination. What's that, you ask? Why, yes, I think I would like to try your gorgeous dessert. Oh, and yes, I do need a refill! - thanks! A girl could get used to this schedule. Good thing the schedule comes to a natural conclusion on January 2nd.

This morning we joined my husband's parents and family for a Christmas brunch, and tonight my husband's parents came over for dinner. This is how our table looked as I was setting it (incidentally, I don't know how to manage blogger so that my pictures fall into the text where I want them. Does anyone have any tips?)
We also exchanged Christmas presents with my husband's parents. Look what they brought us! This is one of a set of folding tray tables that I had spotted in a store back in August. I told my mother in-law at the time how cute I thought they were...little did I know...she went out and grabbed them up for us right then and there. Each table is a different (painted!) beach scene. They are so cheerful. What a wonderful addition to our cottage!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

and this too

My new handpainted Christmas deserves some recognition, too. I should have posted it earlier when spotlighting Santa. I just found it the other day when I ran into a shop to look for an "extra" gift for my dad that my kids could give him. Isn't that always the way it goes with shopping? You're out looking for someone else and find something for yourself, too!


In the midst of the fun, the craziness, and the excitement of the season, there's still time to appreciate the beauty of handpainting in the home. This Santa bowl was painted by my mom's friend. Isn't he handsome? Love your beard, Santa!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

from my mailbox

Here's a Christmas card that must be shared in blogworld. This came today from our dear friend B. She's a card-making wonder. Remember me telling you about my friend who hosted a card party awhile back? Well, that was her. You can see that she totally "got it".

B, you are one creative girl. Your homemade cards are always darling, but I really think this one takes the cake. We will have this displayed proudly in our home all season long, and maybe even next year, too!


I made some very good friends during the short year that I lived in London. My friend Karen, who I met at work, was among the small group of people there who became my closest pals and confidants. Except she wasn't a pal, exactly. She was more like an older sister. There was a significant age difference between us, yet we had a real connection with each other that made the difference seem nonexistent. We talked and laughed together like true peers. Perhaps there is someone in your life - older or younger - with whom you feel the same kind of connection?

I didn't know anyone from the U.K. before I went there. Upon meeting her, I thought Karen was the epitome of what it meant to be English. She had the most perfect accent (when my brother visited and met her he told me that she sounded just like Mary Poppins.) She was very small and graceful; she had been professionally trained as a ballerina. Her hair and clothes were always neat neat neat, and she never said anything without purpose. That is to say, all of her words were chosen carefully, and she never said "um", or had any kind of unnecessary fillers in her speech. She was like a character out of a book.

Before I give you the impression that she was some kind of perfect, stiff English lady, let me assure you that I'm strictly talking about her mannerisms and speech. She was also wickedly funny, and she had a real devilish side. My job as a peon was fun because Karen made it so.

When I left she gave me this pretty box. Inside there was a lovely card and a gold locket for me to remember her by. It was a beautiful presentation - thoughtful, unique, carefully chosen. It was exactly who Karen was. I keep the box in a drawer with my stationery and use it for things that go along with correspondence - different colored calligraphy pens, stickers, gift insert cards. Sometimes I find a greeting card that I like I save it here until I know who I want to send it to.

At this time of year I am constantly reaching in the drawer for stationery and all the things that go along with it. And in seeing the blue box, I'm reminded of my friend.

Friday, December 08, 2006


I heard back from my friend Ellen about the Oreo pretzels in the picture below, and also her other delicious pretzel treats. This is so simple it's almost silly to print. Still, here goes:


Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the pretzels - they are EASY - I just bought Target brand white chocolat chips, melted them in the microwave, and rolled in crushed double stuff oreos. The others were melted milk chocolat chips (Target again) rolled in tiny M&Ms or rolled in crushed toffee chips (sold in bags by the chocolat chips.)

See you soon.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm in trouble

Last night was the cookie exchange at book club. I didn't go...just in case...even though I felt completely fine by then. But my friends saved some cookies for me. When I got home tonight this plate was waiting for me on my front step. How sweet is that? Thanks, reading buddies! The only thing our household of 4...I am the only one who will eat these. My husband is way too healthy to go for a plate full of cookies, and my oldest son doesn't like sweets. My youngest son prefers store-bought cheapies over a homemade cookie, but we'll see. Heck, I can't make excuses, it's my own lack of willpower that is the real problem here. Everything on this plate looks good to me. See? This delightful surprise is both a blessing and a curse.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

on the mend

We're on our way back to happy health here in the L.C. Taking it easy today, but that's just a precaution. Strange but true - I'm grateful the cloud of illness passed over us in December, when there are so many things to look forward to and being sick will soon be a distant memory. Feeling bad in dismal January just adds insult to injury.

Another reason yesterday wasn't too bad is that it gave me a chance to catch up on some of my current to-do's, and you know how many of those there are this time of year. I finalized the schedules for our neighborhood bunco group, and also the new dinner club that we are starting with neighborhood couples in January. Both of those things had been hanging over my head a bit. But not any more!

One thing I didn't do yesterday but need to do right away is complete my Christmas card list. I lost my list from last year when we upgraded our computer earlier this year. Hopefully it won't be too hard to recreate. At least my Christmas shopping and decorating is done. I will post a picture of decorations soon, but wanted to show you some pretty garland I am using this year. Isn't it fun? I bought it during our trip last year to Wisconsin. The trick is that it's supposed to hang vertically, because that's how the flying snowman looks best. I'm still not sure it's in the best spot, but I'll post a picture when it is.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

comfy on the couch

The flu hit us all on Sunday afternoon. My husband and I are a little better this morning, but the boys seem to be feeling worse today. Which is the lesser of two evils? - all of us sick at the same time, or taking turns? As my husband says, "pick your poison". Hopefully this will be a short-lived thing. Even a marathon of Teletubbies movies can't sustain the little guys much longer.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

12 degrees

Baby, it's cold outside!

Friday, December 01, 2006

snow day

Beautiful!! About 3 inches on the ground, and maybe another 1-2 headed our way? (no matter what those doubting blogging Moms may say)? We're going to stay in our jammies til noon.