Three Full Days…

Before we are swept into 2015 I’ll share our full three days of celebrating…

We had a very quiet Christmas Eve. Early in the morning we braved the parking lots at Costco and Safeway and bought the last minute items we needed for Christmas day. We bought a Costco rotisserie chicken and macaroni & cheese for any hunger pangs we might have as we got ready for Christmas day.

Our Christmas Eve service followed the theme of peace in the midst of pain and chaos. We enjoyed singing traditional Christmas carols with a few modern twists and we even had snow fall during the service inside church! After work on Christmas Eve Andrew and Katie arrived for the night enjoying our treats from Costco and after Dear and I went to sleep I heard Josh and Laura arrive for the night after they celebrated with Laura’s family.

Early on Christmas morning Dear and I heard some ducks quacking and it took us a while to spot them on the neighbor’s roof. A quacky good morning made us smile.

More presents were added next to the tree as Dear and I slept.

We woke the kids up to a favorite Christmas CD by Twila Paris to see what gifts Santa delivered to our stockings.

Our breakfast table was all ready to go for our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of Swedish Pancakes that Dear makes for us.

After breakfast I changed out the table for our Christmas Dinner with two places added for Dan and his fiance Jamie who were on the road from Eastern Washington to join us for dinner and the rest of the weekend.

Christmas Day 008Our meal on Christmas day was our traditional Prime Rib Roast and Yorkshire pudding with roasted root vegetables and creamed corn.

Our kids with their loves!

The original family with our three children.

Our oldest, Josh, married Laura in 2001.

Our youngest, Katie, married Andrew in 2011.

Our middle son Dan who will be married to Jamie in 2015.

All of us together.

The day after Christmas we had another fun evening celebrating Dan and Jamie’s engagement and Katie’s birthday with family and friends. We had appetizers and Dear’s Tomato Rice Soup for our gathering.

Katie, Andrew, Steve (BIL), Lana (My sister), Beth (mother of Dan’s best friend growing up), Dan, Jamie

Laura, Dave (Father of Dan’s best friend growing up), Dear, Ellen b., Josh and Katie. Unfortunately Dan’s best friend growing up was home sick along with his little daughter so his family wasn’t able to join us.

We toasted Dan and Jamie and then we sang to Katie before she blew out the candles on her Applesauce Spice Birthday Cake.

Our hearts are full and flowing over.

Dan and Jamie left our home on Sunday morning headed across the mountains again to Eastern Washington. We got the text that they arrived safely and that is always a good text to receive.

How are things at your place?

Unveiling of the Mystery Tree

Some of you are new to my blog and aren’t familiar with a Christmas tradition we started several years back to take the stress out of finding the perfect Christmas tree. Our “Mystery” tree tradition goes like this…

We go to the nearest big box store and look for a tree in a certain height with a straight trunk and grab it with it’s string or netting in tack. This year the 6-7ft. trees in the Douglas Fir variety were about $25.00. We throw the tree in the back of the truck and head home wondering what it might look like once we cut away all the string.

This year it took most of the afternoon for the branches to relax as we had freezing temperatures here in the Seattle area and the tree was frozen. As it thawed we could see that it was another fine Mystery Tree choice. We’ve resigned ourselves to be happy with however it might look. Once the lights and decorations are added I’ll show more photos.

Slowly but surely it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at this old house.

I was so excited to see that WordPress is continuing their tradition of adding snow to my blog for the month of December!

Have you gotten your tree or started your decorating for Christmas?

I’ll be linking up to ABC Wednesday for the letter U soon. Thank you ABC Team and Denise Nesbitt!

She’s Trimmed Up…

Twinkle 019Fewer than usual ornaments were unwrapped to put on her. The crocheted angel still has it’s place on top.

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Speaking of angels I have been on a quest to find angels that are not the sweet faced variety. I found this next angel at clearance last year and I appreciate the fact that the face is blank. I wanted to find angels that would have to say “fear not” when you looked at them. I suppose the sudden appearance of angels could also warrant the need to say “fear not”.

Xmas close up 019Our one big event during this Christmas season was last Thursday and from here on out we’ll be enjoying the quiet, cozy, twinkling of the season.

Twinkle 011We had all the leaves in the table for our dinner event last Thursday. I bought this Lenox Laurel red tablecloth at Goodwill this year. It was long enough for our table with all the leaves in. There were 12 around the table and I had enough Santa Hat chair covers for 12. Those I bought at Target Clearance a few years back now.

Our table is back down to just 2 extra leaves now and that will be big enough for our Christmas festivities from here on out. There will be six around the Christmas breakfast table and six at our Christmas dinner table. This week is a quiet week at home for us but a very busy week at work for Dear. Do you have lots of gatherings this year or are you enjoying a quiet cozy time?

Fortnum & Mason

I enjoy walking through this department store in London. It’s been on Piccadilly since 1707! The Queen and Duchesses made a special visit here.

2013-09-22 London Sunday4On 1 March 2012, with enormous joy and excitement, the refurbished St James’s restaurant was opened by HM the Queen accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, and renamed The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

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There are 6 floors of merchandise in the store.

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I suffer a lot from sticker shock in London so needless to say I wasn’t filling any shopping baskets!

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London Sunday 064Before I got my hand slapped by a sales lady in the hat section of the store, I managed to get a photo of Laura in one of the hats! The sales lady said no photos but we could try on any hat we wished to…

2013-09-22 London Sunday7When we were done at Fortnum and Mason we walked over to Selfridge & Co. to meet Josh who had gone to an Arsenal Soccer game at Emirates Stadium. It was interesting to see the store after watching some of Mr. Selfridge but…this store was not my cup of tea. And to quote my dear daughter in law…”oh the humanity!”

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We walked through one other shop that the younger duchess is said to enjoy and then headed to the underground dragging our tired feet. We picked up a take away pizza for dinner and enjoyed eating with our feet up in our flat. The next day we would spend our last few hours in London and we had a special destination for breakfast that will be my last post about our trip to England. Here are some views on our way back to the underground…

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I’m happy to report that our Christmas tree is decorated to the point that it is going to be decorated. Translation: I didn’t put all the ornaments on the tree cuz I just wasn’t up to it and it is what it is…

Thursday night is our Small Group Christmas dinner and White Elephant Exchange here at this old house so I’ll be busy doing a little clean up before our company arrives.

How are things progressing at your house?

O Mystery Tree, O Mystery Tree…

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Our Mystery Tree tradition is continuing this year. On Sunday we put the back seat down in the jeep and headed to the Home Depot to pick out our tree. Our round trip from home to the store and back again took a little under 45 minutes total! We arrive, we spy out the trunks of the trees in our height range in the piles where the trees are still all tied up, we pick one, buy it, throw it into the back of the jeep and head home where the stand is ready and waiting. Dear cuts off a portion of the trunk and gives it a good thrust into the stand. Tighten the screws on the trunk and get ready for the reveal…

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It’s so much fun to stand back and watch as Dear cuts the string off the branches.

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Tah Dah!

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When I got home late last night Dear had put the lights on the tree so I can now finish decorating it. We’ll see what gets done today.

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Little by little it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around this old house.

Life continues to keep us on our knees in the midst of this joyful time of Advent and more and more we look to the Hope we have in Christ. We had one of those 3 A.M. phone calls where you know the news can’t be good. A Brother in law had a heart attack that was caught in time and arteries were cleared. He’ll be home soon. We know the reality of how fragile life can be. We always wait for good news from Afghanistan. “Made it back from the Mission, I’m O.K., going to bed now, talk more later.” We rally around each other supporting each other in whatever life throws our way.


I will have faith,
However dreams are shattered;
I will have faith that righteousness can live;
I will have faith e’en when my heart is breaking,
To work and pray and give!

I will have faith
When troubled is life’s ocean,
When low-blown clouds the Pilot’s face shall hide;
I will have faith when my fair ship is battered;
I will await the turning of the tide!

I will have faith
That God is still in Heaven;
I will have faith that He is by my side;
I will have faith though every star is darkened,
That He and truth abide!

The Residence, Denver

Oh Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!
Your boughs are green in summer’s clime
And through the snows of wintertime.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur
zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson
That constant faith and hope sublime
Lend strength and comfort through all time.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson.

We had a very nice evening with our small group and it was fun to get 10 people crammed around the tree for a very friendly White Elephant Exchange. No fights erupted for any particular gift that was opened. The party was casual with lots of tasty food items to share. I was very surprised when I finally woke up this morning at 8:30! That doesn’t happen very often. We are looking forward to this weekend and the weeks to come. First off Dear will finally be relieved of being on-call. He’s been running solo for a couple weeks now. We have a fun event on Sunday to attend. It involves driving to another country.

What’s on your calendar for the weekend?

The Mystery Tree…

…the tradition continues!

Mystery tree rules…

Go to nearest most convenient place that sells lots of trees. We went to Home Depot.

Pick a bundled tree, throw it on the cart and pay for it. Do not unwrap it!

Bring it home as is and saw off a little of the bottom of the trunk and bring it into the house to the desired tree location.

Cut off the string.

Voila! See what you got! Not bad. Pour water in the Christmas tree stand.

See if the angel fits on top…

Put the lights on the tree. Vacuum excess dry needles off floor. I’ll be waiting a day to let the branches settle a bit before I put on the rest of the decorations and the tree skirt.

This is the best stress free Christmas tree purchasing method that we have enjoyed for the last few years. We had the years of going to Christmas tree lots trying to find the perfect tree at the best price. I would make Dear pull out tree after tree and turn it this way and that. You get the picture. Oye! A few years when the kids were little we trekked out to a Christmas tree farm and cut down the tree we chose. That was fun when the kids were little. Now in our empty nest years I find this method to be very relaxing…

Tonight we are going out to a new to us restaurant called Cantinetta  for our Anniversary Dinner. Another mystery that I’m sure will end up as good as our tree! Hope you have a good week…