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December 31, 2015

Looking Forward to 2016


Christmas 2015
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Unfortunately 2015 ended poorly for our family.
My brother in law passed on Dec. 23rd so our family Christmas was difficult to say the least.  We all felt like we were on auto-drive and just going through the motions. 
Rest in peace Jim- you will be missed.
The funeral was yesterday.  There was a wonderful turnout and lots of love and support for my sister and her girls.  After a gathering at the American Legion Hall we left for home in Traverse City which is a good 3 hr. drive.


We came home to a snowy wonderland.  Nearly got stuck at the end of our driveway but we made it in!  When the county plow goes by they leave you with a nice fat ridge of snow and we kind of sunk in but thankfully Dan was able to "rock" (reverse-forward-reverse) the car and get it to move.  My snow tires are the best thing!

We had to shovel a bit to get in and then we found out our furnace had quit!  Yep… the icing on the cake you might say!  Fortunately Dan was able to get it running and determined what was wrong.   The house was down to 49 degrees and took a long time to feel warm.  We have a call in for some repair work but for now we're okay.

Before we had left I took this picture because I wasn't sure if I'd still see my amaryllis blooming when we got back.

To my delight when we got inside I found my amaryllis was still blooming.  I imagine since the house was cool it helped keep them from blooming too fast.

The amaryllis was supposed to be a deep red color but turned out to be orange!  Though it's not what I expected it's beautiful and I enjoyed having it bloom.

Not to end my year on an entirely sad note.  While our son and daughter in-law were visiting we took a day for ourselves.  We had lunch and walked around exploring the stores of my hometown Rochester, Michigan.  This window made my day at the bakery.  Of course we went inside and found some irresistible goodies too!



Kevin

Stuart

Bob

I'm ready for 2016- bring it on!

Wishing you all a Healthy,
Loving, Prosperous and Happy New Year!  

December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas To All!


From our home to yours...
Wishing you all a blessed, joyful and peaceful Christmas Day!




December 23, 2015

Holiday Roundup

Each year I like to do a roundup of my holiday posts.









I've had fun this year decorating for Christmas and I hope you have too!

Wishing you Christmas Blessings!


December 21, 2015

Christmas Morning Dining at the Kitchen Table

There is something special on the morning of Christmas. Perhaps you'll open gifts first and then prepare breakfast.  Enjoying the aroma seems extra special Christmas morning.
I wanted this to feel old fashioned.

 The silverware was my Mom's and we used it for every gathering at the formal dining table.  I chose this for it's sentiment and I wanted silver as an accent.  I crisscrossed two table runners (Kohl's-marked down now) and layered a charger and two dishes.  I've seen runners laid across on a formal dining table going from side to side and dishes placed on them which can look really nice.  They act as a placemat.

I know a few of us have this set- I love these!  The green dish came from One King's Lane a couple of years ago- no name.  The wood chargers are from Pier 1- a classic. Napkin rings from Pottery Barn from a while back.

The tartan napkins match the tartan tablecloth I used in the post last week from my "2015 Department Store Styled Vignette"  I like that pattern so much I bought 8 of these (Sur La Table)!  Since my table is so small I added the fork to the napkin ring.

I kept this cloche on the table for a centerpiece and all we have to do is remove it for dining.  The wood pedestal serving piece will hold a platter with food.  There will be just three of us this year.  The 4th place setting will be removed and we'll use that area for extras food items at the table.

I put straws in there for a festive look but we won't likely use them.  They could be stir sticks though for hot chocolate!  

I had to use the tripod for these pictures and put the camera on manual again since it's so dreary out.  This causes the outside to become nearly whited out but it's actually not that way in person.

I've been running the lights on the globe frequently and they seem to be lasting a long time.

You can see my amaryllis has shot up and there is actually a third stem coming up.  It should be blooming very soon!  I turned the light on behind the etagere for the full affect.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you want to make a luxurious form of French Toast try this recipe!  I've made it before and it's very delicious.  It's fairly sweet all on it's own and you likely won't need any syrup for it. 

*Prepare this the night before so the bread can absorb.*
Bake it in the morning and it's wonderful!  You'll need a bottle of Grand Marnier so plan ahead! 
Add some other things like hash browns, eggs, bacon, sausage and you've got a very nice breakfast!

Crème Brûlée French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • an 8- to 9-inch round loaf country-style bread
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Preparation

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.
In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350° F. and bring bread to room temperature.
Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.
Serve hot French toast immediately.


                                          Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!


Joining:
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for
Inspire Me Tuesday

Between Naps on the Porch
For
Tablescape Thursday 

Between Naps on the Porch
For Tablescape Thursday 

December 18, 2015

Friday Quick Notes and Ideas #6

I hope you are all ready or nearly ready for Christmas!

I sat in the guest room wrapping gifts all afternoon on Tuesday.  Unfortunately I still have a bit more to do!  I didn't really think it would take so long.

Last year I bought wrapping paper from Ballard's when it went on sale.  I really like the quality- it's heavy like craft paper.  I also like the ribbon and gift tags they offered.


This link takes you to a page with all their wrapping paper and ribbons "Ballard's Wrapping Paper"









I used some of their satin ribbon and tied a knot in the center.  I added one of those curly ribbon bows like you often see for a gift bag to the center under the ribbon.  Then I grabbed some of the curly pieces and pulled them under the ribbon and tossed them around to cover the knot and I like how it came out.  I like things easy!


 I went to T.J.Maxx the other day and found some fabulous ribbons, bows and gift bags.  I also found some great wrapping paper although I restrained from buying much of it since I still have a bunch of the Ballard's paper. 
There are three curly bows on a card.

 These are big- about 5" across.  Loved the finish on them.



Now don't smack me but I already bought something for Valentines Day!
Yes they are already getting things in for Valentine's Day at T.J.Maxx.  I decided to grab it since LOVE is universal and could be used anytime!  I don't really decorate much for Valentine's Day but this might be fun to include in my kitchen area for VD.

Bad news on the home front… my brother in-law isn't doing well and I'm concerned how next week is going to go.  I may be heading down to see the family sooner than expected.  

Good news though our daughter, son and daughter in-law are coming home for Christmas!  We'll all meet at my mother's place to save some extra driving for them.  

Christmas long ago...
That's me on the left!  I was about 2 1/2 yrs old.  My sister Jen on the right is 2 yrs. older than me.  See that metal saucer/sled behind her and the wheeled horse behind me yee-haw!  I get a kick out of these pictures.  Dig the slippers I have on and how I'm strapping on my new skates!  I have a feeling I was one of those kids that raced through opening my presents- what do you think??  LOL… 

Christmas 2013
According to the extended forecast it doesn't look like we'll have any snow for Christmas.  In a way that's ok because we have to drive 250 miles to see everyone. Perhaps a little dusting would be nice!

Have a great weekend!







December 17, 2015

Crystal, Reindeer and Angels

Not long ago I showed a few pictures from the garden center I visited just after Thanksgiving.  They also have a Christmas section that I always find something at.

There was a large chandelier with ornaments hanging from it so I bit the bullet and bought a few pieces to create my own.  I wanted an all crystal look.

I was going to use ribbons like this but I don't have that much space to work with so I decided not to bother.

I used a short garland made with pine needles to start with. I draped it around like a wreath.  Then I topped it with another short garland made with a stick like material and heavily coated with a chunky glittery silver finish.  Then I added another layer with these jingle bell strands. I hooked on the crystal ornaments below  
and that's it!

The lighting is driving me crazy- I just can't get the look I want.


I bought the snowflake tablecloth on mark down a couple of years ago and lost track of it.  When I found it this year I decided it was going to be my backdrop for this arrangement.

This is a silver mercury glass bowl I've used for several years.  The ornaments are a collection I've been building from Pottery Barn for a while.  

The two silver mercury glass vases have been with me a while.  I put candle rings at the bottom that match the one layer on the chandelier.  I put two arrangements of red amaryllis, holly and pine boughs.
I decided to put the reindeer on here this year instead of grouping them with the Santa sleigh.



Angels
 This area is beautified with lots of angels!

 This angel has been with me since the days of the Bombay furniture stores.  I think I got this in 2006.  Still miss them!

 This one is new- she caught my eye.

This is my other poinsettia that I picked up at the garden center.  I love red- can you tell!! This large Angel piece looks good with a glowing candle but this year I popped the poinsettia in there and I liked how it looked.  I'll probably do this again next year.

 All this resides on the built in cabinet that divides the room where we added on in 1996.

There you have my crystal, reindeer and angels!

Joining
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Tablescape Thursday

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