Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

Year by year the complexities of this spinning world grow more bewildering and so each year we need all the more to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities.

-Women's Home Companion, December 1935

Happy New Year dear friends, some things never change. The world was complicated back in 1935, and will be in 2011. How we decide to live, well, that happens in our hearts. Wishing you peace and comfort in the simple things in life.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow outside, Flowers inside...

Just wanted you to see a beautiful arrangement that my dear Elizabeth made for our Christmas table. The pure luxury of hydrangeas in the winter. Roses, freesia and green carnations made such a soothing combination.
Here's the pop of red poinsettia's from my sweet nephew Greg. One wasn't enough, he had to bring me three. So cheerful, and I was so touched by this act of love to his ol' Aunt.
The last precious days of 2010 are counting down. I'm enjoying these quiet days, time to take it slow and easy... How about you?
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In the Bleak Midwinter... JOY!

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Enjoying the beauty of the midwinter, and my visitors from the east that are snowbound here in the bosom of their family. Pure joy!

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Sweet Memories of Christmas

The cookies were plated and delivered.
The table was filled with treats.
The Luminerias lined the walk.
The house filled with family. We were blessed to have a wonderful Christmas Eve, with only one family member missing. My baby brother had to keep the airport running in the snow, and missed all the fun. It was a beautiful evening, filled with hugs and kisses
and a lot of laughs. There was plenty of food, we were snug and TOGETHER. It's what I wait for all year long. Hope your Christmas was a happy one too.

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Monday, December 20, 2010


By Martha's Holiday Show...

By Dawn's little skater...

By Nina's incredible talent... Thanks for all the pierogi love!

You made my day!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making Pierogi

Buscia's rolling pin!

Every nationality has their dumpling, and here in English Valley we make Pierogi, Polish filled dumplings. It's a messy, labor intensive process. My Buscia, though in her 80's made them by the hundreds. This third generation, soft from an easy life granddaughter, made about 100, with the help of kind man. I have no recipe to follow, just the experience of seeing them made every year of my life that my Buscia and Mom shared with me.

When I was little, Buscia took over the kitchen for the day. We ate lunch at the dining room table. Occasionally the door to the kitchen would open and a billow of steam would escape. Buscia covered in flour, might say hello to us, but there was no time for chatting.

Crimping the edges, an important job, usually given to toddlers, though a kindly adult will suffice.

I filled all my pierogi with potato. It's the family favorite.

The pierogi are boiled in salted water, till they float to the top. On Christmas Eve, I will fry them in butter and watch them disappear.

Another family tradition kept, remembered and cherished.

Wishing to remain anonymous, I'd like to thank ______ for his help and support!
Love you honey ;-)

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Baby Jesus

My Mom found this baby in an antique store many years ago. She thought, in fact, we all thought that it was Baby Jesus. As far as we were concerned, it wasn't Christmas until Baby Jesus took His honored spot underneath our Christmas tree. Now that Baby Jesus is mine, He still is my most precious Christmas item, even though I now know that this is a Piano Baby, and not in fact Baby Jesus. While shopping in an antique mall, I found another Piano Baby. I sent the photo to my daughter with the caption, "Baby Jesus has a sister!" Piano Babies were all the rage in Victorian times. No self respecting piano, was caught without a shawl and a piano baby.

Nothing will change my our tradition, and I will continue to display our Baby Jesus for as long as I'm able. Someday, I hope that one of my children will do the same. Just a reminder that it all started with a Baby, Bambino Divino... One cold and blessed winter, in days beyond recall, a Child was born to save us, born to save us all...

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Kristen!

This is the girl who made my dream of being a Mother come true, my daughter Kristen. Today is her birthday, and though we're apart, I hope she knows how very much she is loved today, and everyday. Happy Happy Joy Joy Kristen, may all your dreams come true!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Big Chill

When your furnace goes out on the coldest and windiest night, you channel your inner Laura Ingalls and take charge. Luckily we have a fireplace, but it's like lighting a match as far as actually heating a house goes. I turned the oven on...(I know, "they" tell you not to do this, but I bake all day, with no carbon dioxide reading on the detector, so why not.) The plan was to keep the house reasonably warm for two of my littlest residents. I don't think I've mentioned them here before, but I have two cheerful parakeets named Blue and Dill. Parakeets are tropical birds, they can take a drop in temperature, but not a cold draft. I covered them in their regular cover and added a warm quilt over their cage. Jon (who was visiting) and Mike camped out in the family room, with one electric throw and tons of covers. I heard laughter, my favorite sound, coming from the family room until very late in the night.
My husband and I snuggled in, and despite the coldness of the room, were quite cozy. Thanks to our new windows, the temperature on our main floor was 52 in the morning. (It was 12 degrees outside!) The repairman was in by 10am and out with a check in record time. The warmth came back into the house slowly, and even after the heat being on most of the day, the surfaces upstairs were still cold to the touch. We are so lucky to have heat at the touch of a finger, hot water at the turn of a faucet. The last two weeks we've been reminded of how fortunate we are. How in the world did people survive before all these conveniences? I like to think I'm hardy stock, but waking up to a warm house sure is a blessing. The sun is out this morning, the house is snug and it's back to baking! Enjoy this beautiful day.

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