Monday, November 30, 2015

Getting Ready for Christmas

I don't have our large Christmas tree up yet, but over the weekend I unpacked my mother's ivory and gold ceramic Christmas tree, and set it in the living room so she'd have a presence during the holidays.  The tree is at least forty years old, but she cared for it lovingly.  I just discovered this year that there's a music box in the base that plays Silent Night.  

Next to the ceramic tree I decided to display my Royal Albert Old Country Roses 3-piece tea set in the 'Basket weave' pattern.  It's not really a Christmas set, but I always associate it with Christmas since that's when I received it, and the bows make it look Christmassy.

It occurred to me, I've never done any posts featuring my Christmas teapots, so tomorrow I'll begin a series on them.  

There used to be a Royal Albert outlet a little over an hour's drive from where I live.  On one visit I bought their Old Country Roses 'Ruby Celebration' teapot and luncheon plates.  I associate it with Christmas too since ribbons run through the roses like a garland. Sadly, the outlet closed, and there are none in Michigan or any nearby states.

Today I'm joining Rose Chintz Cottage for No Place Like Home

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Reflection...

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  Advent means the 'arrival' of Jesus to earth as a baby in Bethlehem two thousand years ago.  The four weeks before Christmas are dedicated to honoring His first and second comings.  His first appearance has already transpired, but we await His second coming.

It's easy to become caught up in the commercialization of the Christmas Season with its stress and shopping frenzy, but staying focused on the true meaning gives peace and hope.

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means, "God with us."  Matthew 1:23 NIV

Jesus is the Reason for the Season.
May God bless your week!

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Movie on Black Friday

Not one to enjoy shopping in huge crowds, my hubby and I decided to go to a movie matinee today instead. 

I had been seeing TV advertisements for the movie, Brooklyn [released at select theaters on November 4th, and nationwide on November 25th], and it looked like my kind of movie.

The 2015 historical period drama is based on the 2009 award-winning novel of the same name.  

Eilis [pronounced AY-lish] Lacey [played by the Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan] is a young Irish immigrant who comes to Brooklyn, New York in the early 1950's for a better life and future.  

With Eilis being Irish, there are several tea scenes. The movie begins in Ireland [Enniscorthy] before Eilis comes to Brooklyn.

There's romance when Eilis meets an Italian plumber at an Irish dance.

Eilis gets a job at an upscale Brooklyn department store.  The Internet photo below is in the department store employee lounge.  Notice the large tea kettle in the background.

The fashion designer for the movie [Odile Dicks-Mireaux] said she and her team spent a fair amount of time letting down vintage skirts and dresses to meet the appropriate tea-length hemline of the early 1950's, and she stated tea-length skirts are back in style again for 2015!

It's a GREAT movie, and I highly recommend it.

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was enjoyable.  15 of us gathered at my son's house - our entire family except for one granddaughter - and we all got to see Tiffany's new puppy, "Ollie."

Below are a few photos my hubby took on Thanksgiving Day.  My tongue was assisting in cutting the turkey breast.  Jerry loves catching his subjects off guard.  ;-)

[L-R:  Granddaughter, Brooke, Daughter-in-law, Sharon, Granddaughter, Brianna]

[My son, Steve, and Me]

With the leftover Thanksgiving turkey I made turkey chop suey for lunch today - one of my favorite ways to use up the leftovers.   What do you make with your leftover turkey?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

For our family's Thanksgiving, it won't be "Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go..."  Instead, it'll be onto the freeway to Uncle Steve's house we go [pictured below]. Steve is our middle child. Most of the snow that fell last weekend is gone, and the Thanksgiving Day forecast is 55 degrees with 60% chance of rain.  Whatever weather it'll be a great family day!

What am I cooking up to take?  Two boneless, roasted turkey breasts with gravy [alas no wishbone], cornbread dressing, corn pudding [Susan Branch's recipe], maple candied sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, tea, and coffee.  One daughter-in-law is making cheesy potatoes, and the other Amish noodles and cranberry punch.  My daughter is bringing apple and pumpkin pies, so we definitely won't go hungry.  

Did you know...

"Over the River and Through the Woods" was actually a Thanksgiving poem written by Lydia Maria Child in 1884 recalling her visits to her grandparent's house in New England, before it was set to music by an unknown composer.  The house still stands near the Mystic River in Medford, Massachusetts, and was restored by Tufts University in 1976.  

Although we sing "to grandmother's house we go," the poem originally read to grandfather's house we go. There are twelve stanzas in the poem, but only four are typically included in the song. Can you sing it from memory?  I may check my family's memory, and make them sing it for their dinner, in addition to the doxology.  We always sing the doxology as the blessing for our meal on Thanksgiving:
 "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
 Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
 Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen" 
[published in 1709 by Anglican Bishop Thomas Ken]

From our family to yours,
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Celebrating America's 394th Thanksgiving

Just as the Plymouth Colonists gave thanks on that first Thanksgiving proclaimed by Governor William Bradford in 1621, and our country rallied in the midst of the Civil War to give thanks following President Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863, may we, on this special day of thanks in 2015, pause to acknowledge God's continued blessings on our great nation with grateful hearts.

While the Plymouth Colonists were celebrating Thanksgiving in 1621, the Netherlands granted a charter to the Dutch West India Company giving it a monopoly to trade and found colonies along the area of America's Hudson River, designated as New Netherland.  Peter Minuit was appointed governor of the small colony in 1624.  He purchased the island of Manhattan from Indian Chiefs and named it New Amsterdam.  By the time Peter Stuyvesant arrived as governor in 1647, records of household inventories indicate that tea was very popular among the settlers in New Amsterdam, and their tea-drinking habits were equal to those of their native Holland.  I'm so grateful the Dutch [followed by the British] brought tea to the United States for us to enjoy in abundance today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tea, Friendship, and Glad Hearts

I recently received a phone call from an out-of-state friend telling me someone dear to her had recently moved to an assisted living facility in Michigan not far from where I live.  She wondered if I'd be willing to pay her a visit and have a cup of tea with her.

I told her I'd be delighted to, and last Friday I packed a traveling tea party basket and set out for the assisted living facility.

A traveling tea party doesn't have to be elaborate - tea, tea cups, napkins, and cookies or scones.

Tea is such a great connector. We chatted and sipped tea as though we had been long-time friends.

As I left the assisted living facility, I smiled knowing a cup of tea and a little bit of kindness had brought gladness to both our hearts, and the seed of friendship had been sown.  

"...Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."
Proverbs 11:25 NLT

Monday, November 23, 2015

Turkey Cookies and a Winner!

We had our first snow fall on Saturday.  It didn't amount to much in our area, but I decided to admire it from inside my house rather than going out in it.

Knowing I was scheduled to present the program at the monthly tea at Shorepointe Village assisted living facility on Sunday afternoon, it was the perfect day to make Thanksgiving treats for the residents who'd be attending the tea.

I've been making these turkey cookies for many years, and they take only four easy steps, but look like you've spent hours on them.

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I decided to share them on the blog.

You will need chocolate candy coating disks [amount depends on how many cookies you're making] for the "glue" to assemble the cookies.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler, then transfer into a squeeze bottle.

Lay chocolate stripped shortbread cookies on parchment paper, and "glue" two candy corn feet onto the cookie with melted chocolate.

Glue chocolate marshmallow cookies onto additional stripped shortbread cookies.  The marshmallow cookies are the turkey's body and the stripped shortbread cookie is it's tail/fan.

Glue a piece of candy corn onto the top-center portion of the chocolate marshmallow cookie for the turkey's beak.

Lastly, when the chocolate glue has hardened in the steps above, you're ready to attach the body to the shortbread cookie with the feet.

When completely set, place in cellophane bags [available at cake decorating stores] and tie to close.  Set one turkey aside for yourself to enjoy with a cup of tea!

Children and adults alike love these treats, and if you recall I used them as place card holders on the dining room table for my luncheon last week.

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Congratulations, Laura Lee!  You are the winner of the giveaway.  Please send me your address and I'll get your Norman Rockwell plate mailed off right away.

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Today I'm joining Rose Chintz Cottage for No Place Like Home

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Reflection...

Are you thankful?

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more fortunate than the million who will not survive the week.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a religious meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are freer than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you can read this message you are ahead of two billion people who cannot read at all.

If you can hold your head high with a smile on your face and be truly thankful, you are blessed because the vast majority can, but most do not.

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!"
Psalm 150:6 NIV

May God bless your Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mission Accomplished!

I left home yesterday morning in search of a vintage ceramic Christmas tree for my granddaughter, Tiffany, and after several stops at resale/consignment shops and antique stores, I finally found one.  

The person who made the tree engraved the year on the base - 1974.  I'm glad it's going to Tiffany and John's home where it will continue to illuminate the Spirit of Christmas for many years to come.  Special thanks to those who offered suggestions on where to find one.

Do you have a ceramic Christmas tree?  It will soon be time to get it out.  They make the coziest night lights.

On another subject... John recently got Tiffany a golden retriever puppy they named Oliver, but will call Ollie. I thought you would enjoy seeing Tiffany and Ollie.

The two loves of Tiff's life - John and Ollie! ;-)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Giveaway

I like Norman Rockwell's work, and quite some time ago I purchased the numbered, 1983 commemorative plate "Gossiping in the Alcove" to hang in my dining area.  Each lady is holding a teacup, and a teapot sets on a table off to the side.

It's been a long time since I've offered a giveaway, and when I saw a plate like mine in a resale shop recently, I decided to purchase it for a giveaway.  

~ It's the 6th issue in the Rediscovered Women Series ~

U.S. residents interested in entering the giveaway may do so by leaving a comment between now and Sunday night, November 22nd.  The winner will be announced on Monday.  Good luck!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Freedom from Want

This Sunday afternoon I'll be returning to Shore Pointe Assisted Living for their monthly tea and program.  Since it's the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the theme will be Celebrating Thanksgiving.

I'll be talking about things associated with Thanksgiving - songs, movies, parades, foods, and Norman Rockwell's 1943 Saturday Evening Post painting, Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving Picture, and sometimes, "I'll be Home for Christmas."

I ordered a print [below] to display on Sunday.

The research on this painting was very interesting. It's the third painting in the Four Freedoms series, that were inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union address, also known as the Four Freedoms, delivered to the 77th United States Congress on January 6, 1941.   

The painting [along with the other three in the series] gave a tremendous lift to American morale during a critical point in the war.  It was Rockwell's gift that he translated into positive terms the very principles for which the war was being fought, and is one of his most famous works.  The painting is permanently displayed at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

And speaking of turkey... I'm providing the recipe for the turkey casserole in puff pastry that I served at my girlfriends' luncheon yesterday. It's perfect for leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I usually make it as a casserole instead of individual servings in puff pastry, so that's the recipe I'm providing, but you have the option of preparing it either way. 

Turkey [or Chicken] Casserole

4 cups diced turkey 
2 boxes Uncle Ben's "Country Inn" Rice Mixes 
[Chicken & Wild Rice, Rice Pilaf, or Chicken & Broccoli]
2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup [undiluted]
3 heaping Tbsp. Cheese Whiz
1 bunch green onions, finely sliced
1 cup finely diced celery 
1 small can of water chestnuts
[I substitute a small package of slivered almonds for water chestnuts]
1 can mushrooms, drained
Topping: 1 stick butter or margarine, melted
2 cups crushed Ritz crackers 

Cook rice according to package directions.  Mix first eight ingredients together, and pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.   Mix cracker crumbs and melted butter together and sprinkle over top of casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, uncovering the last 15 minutes of baking.  Enjoy!

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I'm enjoying the bouquet of autumn flowers the girls brought me yesterday. Aren't they beautiful? Thanks, girls!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Girlfriends' Luncheon

This afternoon I had the privilege of having a luncheon for six girlfriends I went to Jr. High and High School with.  We've known each other for over 50 years, and always have fun whenever we get together.

I served a pre-Thanksgiving menu, and the tablescape was set for the holiday as well.

Place setting cards were attached to chocolate turkeys for the girls to take home.

We began  with Minnesota Wild Rice soup [sorry, no photo], then Turkey and Uncle Ben's Country Rice in Puff Pastry, Sweet Potatoes, and Cranberry Orange Relish, with savory rolls. Instead of hot tea, we drank hot spiced cider.

Dessert was Pumpkin Pie Parfait

The gift of friendship is a blessing all year long!

Standing L-R:  Linda, Elaine, Birdie, Charlene and Deidre
Seated:  Peggy and Me

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Today I'm joining Rose Chintz Cottage for No Place Like Home

Monday, November 16, 2015

Vintage Blue Willow Condiment Set

My granddaughter, Tiffany, called last Friday to say now that she's married she'd like a vintage ceramic Christmas tree like mine.  I had recently seen pictures of one at a local estate sale, so Saturday morning my hubby and I went to see if it was still there. Unfortunately, since it was the last day of the sale, someone else had already purchased it. I'll be keeping my eyes open, however, and hopefully my chances are good for finding one.

The estate sale wasn't a total loss.  My eyes are always drawn to blue and white dishes, and I spotted a 7 pc. vintage Blue Willow condiment/cruet set.  The living room shelves are filled, so it's got to be unique before I'll consider adding anything new. The condiment set fit that criteria, and everything was 50% off since it was the last day of the sale.  It was originally marked $50, so $25 was a bargain!

It was in great condition, so my hubby bought it, and it now resides among the other Blue Willow pieces.

There are four listed on E-bay right now ranging from $50 to $160,  so we're happy with our bargain.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Reflection...

[Church of the Nazarene]

Jesus told his disciples before he ascended into Heaven, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows" [John 16:33], but He promised, "I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart!  And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives.  So don't be troubled or afraid." [John 14:27] TLB 

No Jesus, No Peace
Know Jesus, Know Peace.

In the Old Testament the Lord promised Joshua "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  [Joshua 1:5]  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." [Joshua 1:9]  NIV

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace...
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,  
all other ground is sinking sand.
[Lyrics by Edward Mote based on Matthew 7:24-27]

May God bless your week!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Michigan Historical Museum

Happy Friday the 13th!  As promised in my Veteran's Day post on Wednesday [Rosie the Riveter], I'm sharing photos from our visit to the Michigan Historical Museum in today's post - our destination after we left the Capitol Building just a few blocks away.  I visited the historical museum with my girlfriend in 2011, so this visit was a lovely review for me.

There are three floors of fabulous historical displays for the students to see.  It may seem like I photographed everything, but I really didn't.  

~ Recognition was given to Michigan's Motown ~

I remember saving S & H green stamps [and Gold Bell], and redeeming the filled books for merchandise, do you?

When I was growing up, our kitchen had Frigidaire turquoise appliances instead of pink. When I got married coppertone and avocado were the rage.  When we moved into our current house harvest gold was popular, and after a while we replaced those with almond. Black was popular for a time, and now stainless steel is the trend setter.  Throughout the colors, classic white has always been available.  What's in your kitchen?

The photos below were in the same area as Rosie the Riveter, and show the interior of the houses built at Willow Village.  

~ Notice the teapot and teacup sitting on the kitchen table. ~

~ A Victory Garden display ~

Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without!

My daughter loves Craftsman bungalows and she'd happily more into the one pictured below!

I promised I'd show some tea memorabilia, and the handle-less teacup and saucer below was from Henry Harrison's 1840 presidential campaign.

~ A tea caddy from an 1835 Michigan pioneer family. ~

~ A 1829 earthenware teapot made in Ann Arbor, MI ~

On one of the floors was a one-room schoolhouse, and Izzy appointed herself as the teacher.

I recently purchased a set of primer thru sixth grade McGuffey readers [reprints], so it was interesting to see them in the one-room school house.

~ Izzy ~

There was a display for S. S. Kresge [the forerunner of K-Mart], and I definitely remember shopping at Kresge's dime store with creaking wooden floors, soda and lunch counters, costume jewelry counters, a sundry of other products, and my favorite - the candy counter with the individual bins and scales for weighing the candy. 

~ J.L. Hudson's Department store was also recognized. ~

~ And lastly, a recreated Victorian house. ~

~ A human hair mourning wreath in the parlor. ~

I don't know which I enjoyed touring the most - the State Capitol or the Museum.  It was a great day!  Thanks for going along with me vicariously.