Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Kitty

Whiskers loves the Christmas season, because it gives her some very lovely surroundings in which to take her morning, afternoon, and evening naps.


Eating for Good Luck

Eating for good luck.  Now that's a superstition I can sign up for!  Actually, when I think about it, I think I only have one "good luck" tradition that involves food, and it's on New Year's Day.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolutions? or Intentions?

I've been thinking some about whether or not to make any New Year's resolutions.  It's not been a habit of mine.  For one, it seems artificial to me to just make a lot of promises to myself just because the earth happened to drift to the same place along its orbit as the last time we made a big list of promises.  There are other times during the year that seem more appropriate to make changes or improvements in my life - back to school time, birthdays, etc.  And also, I'm not all that great about keeping up with promises to change the way I do things.  Turns out my habits have been formed and it's hard to change that.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Look Back on 2010

Taking a moment to look back on this year, I'm remembering the highs and lows, the joys and challenges.  Taking all the good with the bad, it turns out that I'm blessed beyond my wildest imagination!  What a joyous feeling!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eat What You Want Night

On New Year's Eve, our family has a somewhat odd tradition for our dinner.  Rather than have an extravagant holiday meal, or hosting or attending a party, our tradition is to have an "Eat What You Want" night.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top Ten Reasons To Love the Week After Christmas

Here we are, two days after Christmas, and I'm guessing many folks are battling the "post-holiday let-down" that can hit us right about now.  But surprisingly, I've not been affected this year.  I'm still loving this holiday season!

So here are my "Top Ten" reasons why I'm enjoying this week after Christmas:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Eve Table

Welcome to our home for Christmas Eve dinner.  I know, it's the day after Christmas, but heck, things were too busy to post this on Christmas Eve!

Rather than cook a big meal on Christmas Day, we always make our big Christmas meal on Christmas Eve.  That way the cooks (usually me and my husband) can spend Christmas Day with the rest of the family, relaxing and enjoying our new "toys" and each other's company.  This year, we celebrated Christmas at home with just my husband, our son, our daughter, and me, we had no other family visiting with us this year. So it was a quiet Christmas Eve dinner in our dining room.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

We had a very happy Christmas morning, with plentiful blessings  - which always leads to a messy house.  Just keeping it real, folks.  All things considered, this is a beautiful sight this morning...


I hope everyone enjoyed a Merry Christmas today!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

On this Christmas Eve, I wish you peace and love and happiness...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Poll: Thoughts on the "Read More" feature

As I've been wandering around blogland, I've been gathering ideas for how to design a good blog.  I'm noticing features that I like, and am noticing some features that kind of bother me.  I've only been blogging for a little over a month so far, so I'm still not sure what is going to work best for me, and more importantly, for you, the readers.

I've made a design choice for my blog that I'm noticing is not very often used by others.  When you go to the home page of my blog, each blog post is shown only for the first paragraph and maybe the first photograph, then there's a link that says "Read More >>".  If you want to read the rest of the article, you have to click on that link.  I chose this style because my blog posts tend to be long with lots of photographs.  I feel that if I let the entire post show on the blog home page, then readers who are looking for additional content beyond that first article might have to scroll a really long way.

But I'm wondering if readers might not want to click to see more in the article.  Maybe you want to have the articles scroll down the page, and you can just read them all together.  This would be the more typical approach.

I wonder, what is your reading preference?

Over on the side bar, I've put a poll. I'd love to have your input.  Would you mind taking the poll to let me know what you think?

And just for grins, I've put this whole post on my blog front page - no need to click the "Read More" link for this one.  ;-)

Our Family Christmas Tree

Though we have four Christmas trees in our home, there is really only one that we consider our "Family Christmas tree", and that's the one in the family room next to the fireplace.  This is the only real tree in the house.  This is the one that holds all of our precious family ornaments that have been collected as mementoes over the years.  This is the one that is surrounded by gifts, and the one that Santa visits on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Simple and Fun Vignettes

I'm having a party at our home tonight, and so I've been spending the day mostly cleaning up, but also putting little touches of Christmas cheer here and there.  Thought I'd share some of the little vignettes I put together today... Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December Makes Me Feel This Way

I'm taking a quiet moment this evening to be still.  The Christmas season is coming to its peak, and the hustle and bustle is in full swing.  But tonight I am still. Listening.  Being.

The Christmas season is such a special, magical time, it's hard to put into words. More than any time of the year, the season reminds me of God's wonder, of God In Us.  There's a little known song by jazz artist Dave Koz that captures the simple magic of the season in a way that few other songs do, at least for me.  I hope you enjoy this song and that it reminds you of the Spirit of the season.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chocolate Christmas Candy

I had a big day of making chocolate candy this weekend.  Each year I make a dozen or so different types of hand-dipped chocolate treats, usually spread out over the course of 6 or 8 weekday evenings in December.  But this year, I had a couple of good friends come over to spend the day, and we knocked out a lot of it all at once!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

US Capitol In The Snow

Today the Washington DC area received its first snowfall of the year, and lucky me, I had occasion to be down on the National Mall in the early evening.  What a pretty sight it was!  Thought I'd share some views of the US Capitol in the early evening snow.  I'll just let you enjoy the photos, no narration necessary.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Singing About Town

Tonight I had an opportunity to sing with my chorus, the Harbor City Music Company Show Chorus, at the Mormon Temple in Washington DC.  The Visitor Center at the Temple is a beautiful facility, with a lovely amphitheater-style auditorium and beautiful Christmas decorations.  There are 1/2 million LED lights strung in trees around the grounds.  It makes for a magical, beautiful sight.  Thought I'd share some snapshots of the evening...

What could be better?

There's nothing like relaxing on an evening in December, turning the Christmas lights on, pour a glass of wine, light the candles, and put your feet up.  Just basking in the glow of the house, soaking in the spirit of the season.  Sometimes I listen to Christmas music, sometimes we watch TV.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Easy Pretzel Kisses

Here's a really easy recipe for making a Christmas treat that is yummy and pretty and takes no culinary skills.  In my house, these are all good things!  I call these "Pretzel Kisses".  I don't know what the real name might be, but it really doesn't matter, because they taste yummy no matter what you call them!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Twinkle Bear

One Christmas season, a long time ago when our kids were very small, Twinkle Bear came to live with us.  He told me that he was Santa's special helper, and he lived at the North Pole.  He was sent to live with us in December, because Santa needed his help to see if our son and daughter were being naughty or nice.  Each night in December, Twinkle Bear would magically go home to the North Pole to give Santa a recap of the day's events.  Then he would arrive back at our house before morning, always landing in a different spot.  There he would sit all the next day, watching the kids play, and then he would go home again that night to give another recap of the day.

Our kids with Twinkle Bear, about 12 years ago

Christmas 2010 Tour of Our Home

I've been posting here and there all month long with photos of our home and our Christmas decorations.   In preparation for The Nester's Christmas 2010 Tour Of Homes party, I've put together this launching point so you can see all the various things we've done this year.  Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Peppermint Kitchen

Last weekend we finished decorating the house, including the kitchen, which is in a peppermint theme this year.  I posted earlier about our kitchen tree and other decorations, and also about creating an easy and cheap table runner.  Today I'm sharing the rest of the kitchen, which is the easy and low-stress centerpiece, and the gingerbread houses.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sounds of the Season

Last night we had the pleasure of hearing our daughter and her friends play in a trombone quartet at a local bookstore, as part of a fundraising event for our high school music department.  This performance was really special in a number of ways.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

German Smoker Santas

Fifteen years ago, I had the fantastic opportunity to travel for my job quite a bit.  I often found myself in Germany, and sometimes at Christmas time.  Germany is a beautiful country, with lots of wonderful people, food and customs.  In particular, Christmas time in Germany is lovely, with so many traditions that resonate with me and my family.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Best Decorating Trick This Year

This year I found a new trick for putting together our Christmas decorations this year.  It all began when I read a post on Tinsel & Co's blog about how to decorate a tree.  She recommended using green pipe cleaners to hang ornaments, so that you don't end up with stringy-looking wires all over your tree.  After having read that tip, but before I started decorating, I found a cool thing at the Dollar Tree.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Welcome To Our Home

We have finally finished our Christmas decorating for this year, and everything has been cleaned up and put away.  I thought I'd share the view of our home from the front door vantage point.

Entering the front door, looking to the left is our dining room.  I wrote about the tree in a previous post.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fa la la la la!

Am just settling into a nice evening at home after a weekend full of singing with my quartet and chorus.  Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday afternoon were all filled with performances of Christmas music.  What a great way to spend the holidays!

Dining Room Tree

Sharing our new Dining Room tree with you today.  You might remember that I previously shared photos of last year's tree, which was a table top tree with a "sugared fruits" theme.  I have been imagining a full height but slim tree in this corner of the dining room for quite a few years, and now it's here!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Christmas Tree Farm

Last weekend before our son went back to college for the rest of the semester, we drove out into the country a little way to a Christmas Tree farm.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Not-Quite-Finished Holiday Tablescape

Despite my best intentions, I am not really finished with my Christmas decorating.  In fact, I'm not even finished with my fall un-decorating yet.  So my beautifully imagined but not yet executed Christmas dining room tablescape is still just a figment of my imagination, and my reality is quite a bit more chaotic and messy.