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Monday, December 29, 2014

Where The Wild Narcissus Grow

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We sure did! Ours was filled with lots of family get-togethers.... good food, giggling cousins, playing games, fun presents. We also had a beautiful and meaningful Christmas Eve service celebrating and contemplating Jesus at His birth. It was a great Christmas!

So, it's about time to wrap this year's Christmas celebration up. Soon the decorations will all come down. (We usually wait until New Year's Day around here.) But I wanted to give you a funny little update on something you may have noticed was missing from my Christmas Home Tour. If you remember, back in November I planted some Paper white bulbs (also known as Narcissus.)
When I took the photos for the home tour, they were growing well, but didn't have any blooms yet. Since they weren't quite ready for their beauty shot, I left them out. I thought I would write a separate post when they bloomed and looked perfect like I had imagined. Remember my inspiration?
That didn't quite happen though.
Two of the three containers grew and grew and eventually they each had two blooms....that's it. The other container was a little stunted and didn't grow very tall at all.

The two grew so tall that I had to stake them up. And eventually they were even too tall for that!


I guess you could say that paper whites were a bit of a FAIL for me. I mean, they mostly grew, but I didn't get tons of blooms. We haven't had a whole lot of sunshine lately in northeast Ohio, so I wonder if that was part of the problem. I also read somewhere where you can add alcohol when you water them to keep them from growing too tall. But I will have to look into that a little bit more.
So even though they didn't turn out as I planned in my head, I just have to laugh. And maybe we'll do better next year.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas

I've so enjoyed sharing this Christmas season with you! Getting the house all decked is a lot of fun. Traditions are meaningful and remind us where we've come from. The time spent strengthening connections with family and friends is important.


But it all comes down to this.....

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2)

Jesus, the Savior of the World, has been born!

Emmanuel has come! God is with us!

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Merry Christmas!!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Passing Down the Christmas Spirit: Part 2

In Part 1, I told you a little bit about how the Christmas spirit was passed down to me from my maternal grandmother. Today, I want to tell you about my Dad's mother.

I'll be really honest, I don't have many memories of Christmas shared with my paternal grandparents. You see, when I was very young, they became "snowbirds" and would spend winters in Florida. And eventually they moved there year-round. Most of my memories of them when I was very young are summertime memories of when they would come north and spend weeks with us at a time. Or when we would spend time in their summer cottage on Lake Erie in Canada.

A picture I took of my Grandparents, my parents, and my sister on a visit to Florida. About 1980.

Since I was so young, I'm pretty sure most of the Christmas memories I do have are in my mind because of photographs I've seen and stories that have been the one about the Christmas when my sister ate too much of Grandma's Christmas fudge and, can just imagine how badly THAT turned out.

And so when I found these photos from Christmas at their house, I was delighted. What treasures!

Me and my sister at Grandma and Grandpa's house on Christmas. I'm the short one.

Me and my Grandpa.

Nevertheless, my Grandmother still managed to instill some Christmas spirit and memories into me, my sister, and our cousins.  She did this through the special Christmas ornaments she hand-made for all of us.

I have memories during visits to our house, of her sitting in front of her "program" (General Hospital) and constantly working with her hands. She loved sewing and crafting and was always trying new things. One of the results was the collection of ornaments she made for us.

On my tree I have snowmen,

Christmas houses,

beaded bells,

and all the cousin's favorites....the felt chickens!

Last Christmas, one of us (I can't remember who) posted a picture of one of Grandma's chickens on their tree on Facebook. What unfolded was so sweet. We began talking about our ornaments and memories of Grandma making them. One cousin even shared how they always have a "Grandma tree" at their house.....a small tree that holds only those special ornaments made by her. Isn't that great?

The whole Facebook conversation made me think about how blessed I am to have had the influence of Grandparents in my life and what a heritage they have given us. I sit here with tears in my eyes writing about it.

So, my Grandma also passed down her Christmas spirit to me. Maybe not in the memories of Christmases spent together, but when I place those ornaments on the tree each year, I'm reminded of how important her family was to her and how much she loved each one of us. That is a true blessing indeed.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Christmas Home Tour: In The Kitchen

Happy Monday! As promised, I'm bringing you the second part of my Christmas home tour today.

C'mon in to the kitchen!

The table is set for Christmas breakfast.....which is really kind of funny. We have never sat down as a family for a big Christmas breakfast....ever! With celebrating our own family Christmas at home and then preparing to make the rounds to both Grandparents', we usually wind up having a quick Christmas cookie or maybe something leftover from our Christmas Eve gathering. But I wanted to set a pretty table for you today.
Over the last couple years I have fallen in love with these Better Homes & Gardens Christmas dishes from WalMart. Each year I've collected a few more pieces. This is the first year that, mixed in with my other china, I have enough to set a whole table. There are several different Christmas-y scenes on the salad plates.


I have a secret about my "tablecloth." I actually used rolls of Christmas wrapping paper to create my own tablecloth. Who has the money for those pricey ones that you only use once a year? It was a simple project.....well, except for having to wield an unruly roll of paper....and that whole "measure twice, cut once" thing. But really, I just rolled the paper out, taped it down in a couple spots to hold it secure while I traced around the oval shape of my table, and then cut it out. I even made a runner for my table. I loved the script paper I found in the Target Spot.

For my centerpiece, I used these fun red house lanterns that I got for 80% off at Target after Christmas last year. I surrounded them with some faux greenery and pinecones. Cute!

 The shelf above our table doesn't look that much different than last year. But a new addition is the platter that is part of the BH&G dishes.

My kitchen cart even got a quick little holiday makeover!


And it's all against the background of our December calendar on the chalkboard wall.

Over on the other side of the kitchen there are some Christmas touches as well....fresh and faux greenery mixed with some ironstone and pretty dishes.
I hope you enjoyed my little tour today. If you missed it, you can also check out Part 1 of this year's Christmas home tour. And last year's home tour is HERE.
Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

A Quick Christmas Wreath Re-Do

Last year I posted about how one of our traditions is to put up Christmas lights inside and outside the house. Well, I'm just going to be honest here folks.....unfortunately it ain't happening this year. <sad face>  With the combination of a late Thanksgiving, lots of family birthdays, a wedding, and sick kids home from school, the time has gotten away from me.

I did manage to get a Christmas wreath put up on the door. I love this frosted berry wreath. I've had it for a few years and with the lighted garland and mini trees that I usually put out on the porch it looks fine. But all by itself it looks a little lonely and said, don't you think?


The other day when I was supposed to be Christmas shopping at Target, I found this cute Christmas sign. I knew I could do something with it, so I brought it home. This was the perfect project.
I gathered together my wreath, the sign, and some burlap ribbon I already had at home.
Ten minutes later, my wreath was transformed into this.....
A wreath that can stand alone on the door.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 Christmas Home Tour: The Mudroom And Living Room

Greetings and welcome to the first part of my Christmas home tour!  I took so many photos that I decided to divide up my tour. Today we'll look at the mudroom and living room and next week I'll show you the kitchen.

If you're here for the first time...welcome!

I'm so excited to be joining Jennifer Rizzo's Holiday House Walk link party. Did you see all the amazing homes in last week's House Walk? Oh my! Such inspiration! Make sure to take a look at all the other amazing home tours that are being linked up this week.

Now normally I would off you a hot beverage when you arrive. And today....everyone gets a squirt of hand sanitizer on the way out as well. Ha! Yep, I have sick kiddos at home this week. Fever, stuffy noses, coughing.....blech! Seems that there is a bug going around their whole school district. Having the kids home made my little Christmas photo shoot a bit of a challenge as well. I'm quite sure you didn't want to see kids bundled up on the couch or thermometers and medication taking up room on the kitchen counter. But I did my best!

So let's start with our mudroom!

I love these little trees that I purchased at Target a couple years ago. I use them differently each year. This time I "planted" one in an old galvanized bucket and dressed it up with some burlap and ribbon. You'll see another one in my kitchen in the second part of my tour.


Let's move into the living room. I love tradition and I use most of my decorations from year to year in different ways, with maybe something new thrown in. This year I used a lot of the ironstone that I've accumulated over the last few months.
I also generously used fresh greens from our back yard. I MAY have gone a little overboard....NAH!
As much as I enjoy seeing other homes decorated with non-traditional colors or neutrals, I love to decorate with the traditional colors. I always find myself drawn to some black and white with pops of red, real or faux greenery, and a little bit of sparkle as well.



Our mantel and hearth are pretty much the same as last year. I did add a couple little ironstone syrup pitchers with some pine.


I also added these little chalkboard tags with our names to our stockings. You may remember seeing them on my Thanksgiving table as name cards. After Thanksgiving they quickly made their way over to the stockings. I didn't even have to rewrite our names!

Some more pine and ironstone.



And our tree....covered with ornaments that mean so much to us because of the memories they hold.


So that's it for this part of the tour. Join me next week for a peek at my Christmas kitchen.
You can click HERE for a look at my Christmas tour from last year too.
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