Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year!
Grant that I may bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
~Edgar Guest
Cheers and blessings to all for a most wonderful and happy New Year!
(p.s...see ya at the giveaway tomorrow!! ;-p )

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tablescape Tuesday

Susan, from Between Naps on the Porch is once again hosting Tablescape Tuesday. I couldn't WAIT to show you this week's tablescape!! It is from my fabulously talented sister-in-love, Kathleen, who along with her husband hosted Christmas dinner. She puts glitz and glam into everything she touches!

She layers everything...first a placemat, then a mirror that she embellished with rhinestones and black swirly rub-ons, then a silver paper doily. Even the napkins were layered--one with cloth the other is paper, all wrapped prettily in a paper napkin ring and charming jingle bell.

Their chandelier gets the royal treatment too with pearl garland, bird and tree ornaments....

This is their table in the breakfast nook...small little espresso cups filled with coffee beans accentuate the center of the place settings..

More again with the layers--a beaded placemat, garnet colored chargers and a gold doily--gorgeous!
We had fun Christmas with them. Kathleen just made everything look magical!!
Thanks for popping in for Tablescape sure to see other beautiful tablescapes listed at Between Naps on the Porch! Thanks again, Susan, for being such a wonderful hostess!!!
Also, I'm celebrating my 100th post by having a giveaway....leave your name in the comments here if you'd like to be entered. If you post about my giveaway on your blog, let me know and I'll enter your name twice!! The winner will be announced on New Year's Day.

Have a great day!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

My First Giveaway!!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Ours was relaxing...took a little drive up the road to the snow to experience a White Christmas....then over to Steve's brother's house for dinner and gift exchange.

So, as promised, is my giveaway in celebration of my 100th post! It is a mirror that I embellished with music sheet, patterned paper and lace. All you have to do is leave a comment that you'd like to be entered in the drawing--if you post about my giveaway on your blog, let me know too, and I'll enter your name twice!!
I will announce the winner on January 1st, New Years Day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Mother's Heart--Christmas Eve

Almost 20 years ago, when I was in the midst of mothering, I used to write articles for the newsletter of a church we were attending. My column was aptly called "A Mother's Heart". The following is from the December issue 1989.
P.S. This is also my (gasp) 100th post! Tune in on December 26th for news of my first Giveaway!
As I was thinking what to write about for Christmas, my thoughts kept turning to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Maybe because mothering is such a significant part of my life right now; and because we've both borne babies and cared for children, I feel a sort of kinship with her.
God knew ahead of time that she would be a wonderful mother, to bestow her with the awesome responsibility of giving birth to and caring for His Son. That baby, who would grow up to be the only Person in the world that would have a major impact of billions of people, and be able to literally change their lives, to eternal life!
The Bible is silent on the subject, but I like to think that Mary was a typical human, imperfect mother. Perhaps she had bad days when her bread dough didn't rise properly or turn out right, or her broom broke and she couldn't sweep, or she wasn't able to finish her laundry--days when things didn't go accordingly and she felt overwhelmed and frustrated. Maybe on those days she was a little too harsh to young Jesus. But then she'd realize her attitude and seek forgiveness from her son and her Heavenly Father. God know all that before He chose Mary; that she was going to have stressful days and react from them, but He knew her heart. And He knew that in her heart she wanted to be the best mother that she could be. She depended solely on God to guide and direct her mothering (there were no "How to Parent" books back then!)
What I also like to think is that God felt the same way when I was having my children. He knew in my heart that I wanted to be the best mother that I could be and He entrusted me with three very precious children. He also knew what kind of days I would have. When I would feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and tired and I would be harsh with my children simply because they were the most convenient. Then, realizing that my attitude needed adjusting, I would go to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. And God is always faithful to forgive and restore peace and harmony. The same peace that He would give Mary on "those days" 2000 years ago.
Luke 1:46-50
And Mary said, "My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond slave. For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and Holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation towards those who fear Him."
May you experience God's mercy and grace this glorious Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tablescape Tuesday

For this week's Tablescape Tuesday, hosted by our lovely Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, I am posting pictures of a Fall Sunday Brunch I did about a month ago. We are blessed to attend a church that has services on Saturday nights as well as Sunday mornings and we generally go to church Saturday night along with our daughter, Courtney, and meet our son Caleb and his wife Kristen there.

I often host a Sunday brunch where the above mentioned come with occasionally some other family members or friends.

This particular morning I served German pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon (served in the covered dishes). The pancakes are really crepes, but growing up, my mom always called them German pancakes. I guess because we're German. I suppose if you're Swedish you'd call them Swedish pancakes, and so on....but I digress...

We like to serve Mimosa's at brunch--(sparkling wine and orange juice). It always seems to jazz up a breakfast! :-) I used a brown and white transfer ware (planter?) to hold the sparkling wine--a thrift store find.

I dressed the table sans tablecloth or place mats--wanted to go for a 'rustic elegance' feel.

The covered casserole dishes came in a box of antique brown and white floral dinner plates, cups and saucers and soup bowls and two large serving platters. Got the whole box at a garage sale for 20 bucks!!

Champagne glasses I got at the Thrift. Also, a new (old) butter knife acquired at a garage sale.

The syrup pitcher and plate it sits on was my mother's.

I've been really drawn to the brown and white color scheme lately....I'm already planning those colors in the family room when Christmas is over!

Be sure to check out all the fabulous Tablescapes over at Between Naps on the Porch!

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Red Coat

In honor of the official first day of winter (December 21) I thought it appropriate to share about my 86 year old Dad's red coat he used to wear to Evanston Township High School in Illinois from 1938 to 1942.
I just recently acquired it when he offered it to me before he moved away. I had never known about it before, and thought it sweet and touching that he'd kept it all these years. I also thought how perfect this newly acquired "heirloom" will begin a new tradition of appearing as part of our Christmas decor every year from now on....
And now, in his own words that he emailed to me, is his explanation of his Red Coat:

The warmth of my favorite winter coat is unbelievable. It is a Hudson Bay, solid red with a wide black stripe near the bottom. I was warm as toast when the snow came down or the temperature dropped to an uncomfortable low. This may sound like a fake story, but I really did walk a full mile to high school in Evanston Illinois. I walked regardless of the weather, rain, snow, hail, sleet and even sunshine. But the red coat came out when the weather turned bitter cold and I was toasty all the way to the high school. Of course, adding to my comfort were galoshes, and lined mittens that came up over my wrists. When the temperature was above 15 degrees then no ear muffs were called for. But below 15 degrees, the ear muffs went on and kept my ears from freezing. If the temp was down around zero, then a muffler would be put on to protect my nose and mouth. All in all, it was a fun time. Four years of trudging through six foot drifts was really a thrill, you see, this was before snow shoes were invented!
My best love to you Myrna, get well and stay well. Dad
P.S.: All of the above is true except the six foot drifts paragraph, and it really did snow in Evanston but the neighborhoods through which I walked were pretty good about keeping their sidewalks clean, and even if they didn't, my galoshes protected my pretty little feet. In any event, it was better than sloshing through the real drifts that happen in South Dakota.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Victorian Christmas in Nevada City, CA

One of our favorite little trips Steve and I like to take is just up the road (about 45 min.) into the Sierra Foothills to a quaint little historic town named "Nevada City". It's full of darling little shops in old buildings, great restaurants, and just an all-around quiet, relaxing 'feel' to it.

On our last trip up there, a shop-owner told us about their Victorian Christmas--told us to come early mid-week around 3 to get a good parking place..tootle around the shops till about 5, go have dinner, and when you come out, the streets will be transformed to all things Christmas.

We did exactly that--even arriving at 3! What was so wonderful is Nevada City received SNOW and that just added to the romance of it all.

I snapped a few pics of some darling old houses while it was still daylight....then tootled thru some shops before venturing into an Italian Restaurant for dinner....

And when we came out after noshing on Chicken Parmesan and Linguine Alfredo--it was nightfall and the streets were transformed to Christmas Carolers decked out in Victorian garb, vendors selling everything from crafts to Hot Spiced Wine and Cider, musicians strolling all was so festive and wonderful!A large screen was up outside of a little cafe with tables set up playing "It's a Wonderful Life"

Christmas Carolers...."Fa la la la la la laaaaa"

It was all so wonderful and fun! This experience is going to be added to our new list of Traditions that we've started upon moving here to Northern California!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tablescape Tuesday

Every year around Christmas our church, Bridgeway Christian Church, holds a holiday tea. The women sign up to decorate and host a table. And the men sign up to serve dinner. I attended this year with my friend, Cheryl, and sat with another friend of mine, Jessica--who, along with her mother, decorated a table. She had never done it before and the above picture is the results! I think she did a fabulous job! If you get a chance, pop over to her blog and let her know!

The following are a few other tablescapes that I snapped a few pics of---I just loved all the creative ideas!

So that's my Tablescape Tuesday for this week! Check out Between Naps on the Porch for other Tablescapes!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hooked on Houses Holiday Tour

Julia over at Hooked on Houses is hosting a Holiday Tour. Be sure to check out the other fun tours that are going on over there!
Here is our front entry. I was going for a "Winter Wonderland" kinda feel...

We're in the front door..Courtney (my daughter) decorated the tree...see the red coat by the archway? Stay tuned for a story about that!! ;-)

This is a Victorian calling card holder, on display with a vintage-looking Santa on the secretary.
Below is the view of the sitting room....

...and on into the Family Room--Courtney decorated pretty much all of it. I was thrilled to have help. I think she did a fabulous job! Thanks so much, Sweetie!

All I added was this vintage soda pop holder--filled it with candles instead of soda bottles.

On into the kitchen--here is a sampling of my snowman collection...

And the small silver Christmas tree I got a the Dollar Store last year..

A view of the kitchen table and buffet..

The garland over our kitchen window--I go with pastels in the kitchen to blend with the wallpaper and tile. Here I can still express the pink side of my personality!! :-)

A vignette in the formal dining room...
And my collection of antique ornaments displayed on the buffet.

A small display in the 'Loo'...

Hope you enjoyed the little tour through our home and leave with a little more Christmas spirit!