Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thus Beginneth the Holiday Saga

Holidays are full of traditions ~ some of which are very old, some of which start new with each generation.

How do you keep young ones occupied in a basically adult home?
Aunt Mame reminded me of napkin making. Plain white napkins, fabric pens
and no expectations of design and you have an art project for all ages, 
and extra napkins when there are 14 people around two tables.

Even older cousins join in the fun. 

The Grinch is a favorite reading tradition whether on Skype to distant grands
or up close and personal at rest time.

This seems to be the favorite position to "read" a favorite animal book, 
naming them all and making most of the sounds.

Texas families often play 42 ~ and each year cousins are taught 
the rules by patient fathers and aunts. They even played a "dishwasher" game,
the loser of which had to do the dishes. I Like that variation!!

~ and the tradition continues.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Blatant Advertising

I know I probably should be telling you all about the arrival of some of our family last night and the chaos and delight that comes with little girls for whom Christmas is still in progress. However, one thing that has made the chaos and delight possible for me is that I have Finally found a zinc product that works for me and is keeping the cold at bay.

Never mind that it is cherry flavored and tastes like a kid's candy. For me it works. For years friends have said, "I feel a cold coming on, I take zinc and it goes away." And for years that hasn't worked for me. I still got the cold, felt bad and had to deal with it the best I could. This year - zapped it with the first lozenge. Yes! 
Now, this may not work for you any more than your recommendations have worked for me. I'm just saying that I am happy to have found it and pleased to be enjoying the whirlwind of grands that is sweeping through my house. What a blessing!

Friday, December 26, 2014

On the Second Day of Christmas . . .

. . .well, not exactly. On this Christmas Eve my children gave to me . . . a gift that included a few more things than the two shown here. These however were two I didn't know and have now come to love in 48 hours. 

I drink Twinings' English Breakfast every morning. Of all the Christmas spiced teas I have seen and had in my tea drawer, I had never seen Twinings Christmas Tea. Trust Twinings. Their Christmas Tea is perfect. Just the right blend of spices without being overpowering, a trait of every other holiday tea I have tried. Drink Twinings, you are actually drinking tea with some spice instead of spices delivered in tea. 
I have been fighting off my regular Christmas cold taking lots of zinc. Now the absorption power of zinc is minimized if you drink or eat citrus while taking it. What do I like on my sore throat? Hot tea with lemon of course. *sigh* And then arrived  Twinings Winter  Spice, Camomile with apple, cinnamon and nutmeg. Herbal with no citrus. Perfect to give me hot tea on my throat any time and it actually tastes good. I had a cup in my hand before I ever called my darlings to say Thank You!
The gift doesn't have to be big or flashy or expensive to be perfect. And these are so perfect, I can recommend them to you with delight. May your Christmas blessings continue ~ 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

The Christ candle is lit ~ Joy to the World

~ the fire burns brightly,

~ the tree sparkles in the morning frost, 

~ other candles are lit,

~ it is a white Christmas,

~ Santa has made his rounds and is happy for us all.
The music plays, the presents are eager to be opened, the
Christmas breakfast aromas fill the air.
A blessed and Merry Christmas to you all!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Blessed Solstice

Hanukah candles are lit. All 4 candles are lit on Advent wreaths. Bonfires are lit on the hillside and candles throughout the homes of those who celebrate Yule. The Seven Candles of Kwanzaa may not be lit yet but they are prepared. We are a people of the Light and the darkness shall not overcome it. Whatever our beliefs. Whatever our problems. Whatever our fears. Tomorrow there will be a little more light in our lives. May we prove once again that Peace and Hope and Love can indeed shine in what seems like a very dark world. Blessed be and blessings be to all. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014


*sigh* With so much family of so many ages coming to visit over the holidays, Dean wanted to order some LED night lights. Fine. Now I like having options but Oh My Goodness. 

Light sensor?
Motion sensor? 
Click on?
Long, round, flat?
Blue, green, white?
Up, down, straight ahead?
Wall wash?
Plug in or battery powered?
And don’t even think about the children’s themed ones. At least the grands will only be here a short time on any given visit so we can have plain night lights for all ages of company. 

Phew. When he first told me what he wanted to do, I said, OK. Then he started telling me the options and asking my opinion. I offered my opinions and we settled on what to buy and now my head hurts. I think I will have another cup of tea in the assurance that company will be able to make their way around in the semi-darkness of a LED lit night. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Random Pictures

This week I have pulled my phone/camera from my pocket and taken a bunch of pictures. Here they are just because they were taken. They do sort of reflect my week so far.

View from my walk. No mountains showing. Two strong bands of sun across a steel grey lake.

Oso keeping watch from the hill above the house.

I have a number of fun, special tea pots. I did not have a Christmas one until we went thrift store shopping. Now I do. 

Dean on his way to work - for no reason except I thought he looked very handsome. The jacket even has elbow patches.

Tree in the forest, burned years before I ever arrived in Tahoe.

Tracks - allowing my eyes to see what Oso's nose knows all the time.

This is a baby - so where is mom? Why in this bitter cold is he not snuggled next to her hibernating?
Maybe his nose brought him close to the cold frame and the tomatoes still inside.
Enjoy your winter ~ blessings

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Tea

Several years ago I had a friend and her daughter to tea. The daughter was probably in the 5th or 6th grade. This year, she is in 8th grade, and asked her mom if there was any chance they might come here for tea again. I was thrilled that she wanted to do this again. So today we had a Christmas tea.

The table setting. I chose to use the Christmas china I have and little Christmas mugs.
We sat on the side of the round table so we could look at what decorations we have.
The tea itself was very special. My friend from Wales brought me a box of the tea created for William and Katherine's wedding breakfast. It is a rich strong tea and I thought it would add to the story of the afternoon.

Tea sandwiches included the traditional cucumber and cream cheese; ham on sharp cheddar spread topped with a slice of walnut that has been softened in a rich sauce; and egg salad. Yummy.

My friends enjoyed the spread.

The picture is fuzzy but the scones were Perfect!! They were accompanied by real butter, lemon curd, strawberry jam, and creme fraise. Take your pick. 
Sweets were a rich brownie and a lemon square.
I had such fun and it was so easy. I really must plan this more often. It is so nice to stop in the middle of an afternoon and eat and visit with friends.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

By Any Other Name

Two things happened in the last two days. First daughter Michelle posted a gorgeous new picture of herself to FB causing me to comment, “ ~ and half of those genes are mine!” Second, a picture of two grands in ballet costumes were posted causing Dean to comment, “ Grandpa’s sweethearts”.

Contemplating these two posts, I realized how important and special it is to be related in a way that allows you to use a name. There are two people in the whole world who call me Mama. There are 12 people in the whole world who call Dean and me Grandpa and Mama Susan. Technically I am genetically related to only 3 of them, but that doesn’t matter. Whatever other relationships are (aunt, uncle, dear friend, neighbor, sitter), I am their Mama Susan and Dean is their Grandpa. We are linked by a relationship that allows the use of a special name. And to use that name or be called by it is amazing, delightful, and truly a show of love. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Old Dog, New Tricks

This week Dean and I went to Reno on Wednesday morning and stayed through Saturday afternoon. Reno is only an hour away and we had night events all three nights so rather than drive over the mountain late and get up early to return, we just stayed. One of the events was Dean's company party. As I was going to be at the office anyway, I offered to help decorate. Katie, the Amazing Katie, who runs the office although she lets Dean and Dre think they do, first asked if I minded a menial task. No. I was a stage manager and have done many a menial task in my day. So Wednesday afternoon, I unwrapped hundreds of round peppermints and tiny candy canes. 
Thursday morning, Katie showed me a room full of candies, red balls, ribbon, vases, baskets, pine cones and greenery (from our back forest), and candles, both real and battery powered. Now, folks, I am a creative person so you don't have to defend me to myself. And ~ my creativity has never  gone down the path of seeing a room like that and creating 10 or so table decorations from scratch and my own imagination.
However ~ running home to mama (meaning clicking back into stage manager mode), the job had to be done so to work I went. What I am going to show you may look very simple. To me, they are a delightful example of the fact that I have learned something new and been rather successful at it.
This was my first attempt: take what was already on the lobby table and make it different.
Once I accomplished this, I had confidence that maybe I could do more.

So ~ start with a plain file cabinet.

Cover in red and lace vinyl.

And create ~

Note the "platter" ~ Katie laid out peppermints on a round pan
and melted them. The white under the candle is Epsom Salt which
she thought would look like snow. It also helps support candles
and tree branches and pine cones. 

This was my first after the lobby table and probably my favorite.
Katie created several as well and filled in a glass fronted book case with
our "left overs". Cocktail tables had small vases filled with M&Ms, Skittles, and 
peppermints supporting a battery powered tea light. People thought it was fun
to take out the light and eat some candy.

I had a great time, felt needed, worked hard, partied hard, and enjoyed every minute of it. Next Christmas may find my house with some different decorations, because I have spent some time outside my creativity box. Thanks to Katie I have learned a lot.