Christmas Past and Present

These vintage cards are from my mother-in-law’s stash of Christmas goodies that ended up with us.  Happy to know our cards with our Christmas greetings are on their way to friends and family. We also have antique postcards from Dear’s great great aunt. The postmarks are from 1908-1912.

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We still need to buy our tree to bring home and decorate.

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We’ve had several dry and very cold days. That is about to change so I’m telling myself that today might be the day to go buy our Mystery Tree before the rains come. For those of you new to my blog our Mystery Tree tradition is an idea I borrowed from my sister-in-law Kelly several years ago. We go to the local big box home improvement store and grab a tree that is wrapped with netting and throw it into our truck or car and bring it home without knowing what it will look like. The one thing we look at carefully is how straight the trunk at the bottom of the tree is. When we get it home we set it in it’s tree holder in the right spot in our living room before we cut away the netting and see what we got. We choose to enjoy it no matter what. We’ve found it to be a tradition that works well for us instead of searching for that perfect tree that caused a lot of stress in the past. (The only problem with this reveal is that we don’t get the chance to shake out all the needles that might have accumulated in the netting)

Do you have traditions that carry on from year to year? Do you still send out Christmas cards? Do you do live or artificial for your tree?

Happy Hanukah to any of my Jewish friends who stop by here.

Purple Haze Hodgepodge

1. ‘Hurry less, worry less’…what’s your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How’s it going so far?

Well, we threw in an overnight getaway to La Conner to celebrate our 43rd anniversary and that included lots of country roads less traveled instead of the interstates. It was good to take the time away from our renovations and decorations. Our leisurely walk along the waterway in La Conner was relaxing. So far so good.

2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?

Winter is not that harsh in the Puget Sound area. Generally all we need to do is lock the windows so they are shut tight and disconnect the water hoses so they don’t freeze. Sometime after Christmas and before Spring we need to prune the apple and pear tree. We do all these things ourselves. I still need to cut back my lavender plants!

This is what the apple tree looks like before pruning and all the branches that are growing straight up need to be cut. After pruning it looks more like this with still a few more branches to cut. Ignore the evergreen in the background.

3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What’s the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?

The first thought I had was healthy trends aren’t my thing. Maybe I’ll add more veggies.

4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site ‘Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.’ What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple.  If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?

I don’t mind the color purple. I did see the movie. We have three University of Washington alums in our family and we live in Husky country where slogans like “let purple reign again” are alive and well.

Purple evokes passionate pride. It’s the color that stands out as most quintessentially to our University and is therefore the dominant color in our communications. Gold symbolizes excellence. It’s a sophisticated hue that speaks to our extraordinary standards and immense quality. And when you combine the two? That’s the UW.

Sometimes I wear purple. The little girl with the W on her shirt is now an alumnus of Udub and her husband will soon be a graduate of the Udub, too. I helped put my Dear through the UW school of Pharmacy so I wear my purple with pride.

We do have some walls at this old house that remind me of lavender sprigs . Not the vibrant variety.

You can see that color in what used to be my master bathroom? Here’s what it looks like now.

If I was in charge of such things the color of the year would be China Blue.

5. Favorite book read this year?

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today I’ll be mailing our Christmas cards. We’ve received a few already and I always enjoy being brought up to date on what is happening with friends from far and wide. We still do not have our tree and that’s the last purchase we need to make for Christmas. Once the tree is up I’ll start thinking about wrapping the presents that will be going under it.

Thank you to Joyce From This Side of the Pond for asking the questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you to whoever takes the time to read the answers.

Angels From the Realm of Glory

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

The heavens roar, the angels sing, all glory to our God and King ~ Chris Tomlin

This little one continues to delight us. We were texted a video of her taking steps already. The video showed her taking three steps. Yikes! She’s not even 9 months yet. Mommy and Daddy are going to have to be on their toes to keep track of her.

All our Christmas decor is up now and all that is left is the purchase of our mystery tree and decorating that mystery tree. In the meantime Dear and I are escaping  for a night away to celebrate our anniversary. Hope you all have a good week and that you are enjoying holy nights with the bright lights of Christmas.

O, Come, Little Children

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Oh, Come, Little Children

Oh, come, little children, oh, come, one and all,
To Bethlehem’s stable, in Bethlehem’s stall.
And see with rejoicing this glorious sight,
Our Father in heaven has sent us this night.

Oh, see in the manger, in hallowèd light
A star throws its beam on this holiest sight.
In clean swaddling clothes lies the heavenly Child,
More lovely than angels, this Baby so mild.

Oh, there lies the Christ Child, on hay and on straw;
The shepherds are kneeling before Him with awe.
And Mary and Joseph smile on Him with love,
While angels are singing sweet songs from above.

Words: Christoph von Schmid, 1794

A friend of ours faxed me the music and words for O Come Little Children in the Russian language. I learned this song by heart in Russian and it’s been fun to sing it this week. We have started the Advent Season and I’ll be posting Christmas Music for the rest of the month. Some of the words in Russian translate different than the English version.

Be Merry…

Things have finally settled down enough in our kitchen renovations so I could start decorating for Christmas.

I’ve acquired a few new nativity sets over the last few years. I’ve had a conversation with myself and have agreed to not purchase any more.

Looks like the theme this year at this old house is to Be Merry!

You can see my neighbors lights out the window. They really light up the night! We have not purchased our Mystery Tree yet.

My extra motivation for decorating was our small group Christmas Appetizer potluck. I made Lovella’s Cocktail Sausage Wreath again.

I’ve been real slow in catching up with visits to blogs. I hope to come by soon.

With clear and cold days here and more to come it is a good time for Dear to replace the windows in our new Master Bathroom renovation. He has to work out on the roof so it’s nice to have it dry and less slippery. Slowly and surely with long work days things are getting done. The kitchen backsplash is all done and the last thing to do is the new trim around the window above the sink.

Anniversary Hodgepodge

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

Preparing for Change

Today is our 43rd wedding anniversary and we are preparing for another major change in our lives. We were married in 1974 and in 1975 we bought our first home moving to Huntington Beach from West Los Angeles. In 1976 we moved to our second home in Huntington Beach where our two sons were born. The photo above is from our first Christmas in that home. In 1984 we moved from Huntington Beach to Ventura, California with our two young sons (our hearts and minds are with the people of Ventura during the latest Thomas Fire). In 1988 we made the huge move from California to Washington State with our two sons and 3 year old daughter so Dear could go back to school (University of Washington) to become a Pharmacist. We settled into Washington State nicely but in 1996 we experienced a major landslide behind our dream home and after many setbacks and huge costs mounting on saving our home we walked away and gave the home and all our equity to the bank. We lived in 3 rentals. A month after moving into our 3rd rental home in 1998 the owners told us they needed to sell the home even though we had a 1 year lease. We could not face another move and offered to buy the house and were surprised that the bank would give us a loan since we had defaulted on our landslide home. We have been in this old house, the only house we didn’t really choose to buy for almost 20 years. I’ll need to add that because of a job change we moved to Camarillo, California for 4 years from 2006-2010. We did not sell this old house but left two of our adult children to live in it and to care for it while we were gone. Now we are making some extra improvements on this old house to get it ready to sell in Spring of 2018 and make a major move across the mountains to a small country town in northeast Washington. I have to say that change at this stage of life is a little more scary then when we were in our twenties, thirties, forties, or fifties!

But…the consolation is that we will be close to one of our sons, daughter-in-law and little miss Addy!

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what’s the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

Frozen entrees like lasagna or corn on the cob or artichokes. Yes, I’d be able to survive without a microwave.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

Away in a Manger

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you’ve ever taken.

We’ve experienced so many beautiful drives that it’s very hard to choose one. I’ll choose drives in the Cotswolds on narrow lanes that were so scary but beautiful.

5. What’s something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

I went with actual. Gift cards to nice restaurants in Seattle. We are moving to a very small country town 6 hours from Seattle and I want to get my fill of the restaurants I’ll miss.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance,
baptism without church discipline,
Communion without confession….
Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thank you to Joyce From This Side of the Pond for providing the questions and to all of you who take the time to read our answers.

This morning we see that there are multiple fires in Southern California fanned by Santa Ana Winds. A few freeways have been shut down. I’m sad to see the fires near the Getty Center, Santa Clarita, San Bernardino and of course Ventura. Prayers are up for the people in the paths of these fires and all those who have to evacuate. So frightening, thinking of all my family and friends down there. Go outside and water down your roofs! Be wise about evacuating!

Merry and Bright

We met at Herb and Anneliese’s home this year for our annual Mennonite Girls Can Cook Christmas dinner party. We were greeted to their beautiful home and enjoyed many well thought out details of the season.

We all contributed some dishes for our gathering from appetizers to main course and dessert. Julies gluten free roll-ups were a big hit.

It had been a while since this many of us were together and it was good to catch up with one another.

Anneliese went the extra mile with veggies, fried potatoes, cucumber salad and home made rolls along with her Rouladen.

It was Dear and my first time enjoying Anneliese’s Rouladen and Bev’s Spaetzle and both dishes were delicious. Judy’s salad was a great starter to our meal.

For our exchange we decided to each bring one gift from our kitchen or something gathered for our kitchens to share with one another. We brought one gift and left with one gift.

We roused the guys to help take our annual Christmas shot and Lovella’s beloved captured both sides of the photo shoot.

Lovella’s Black Forest Torte and Marg’s Hazelnut Roll topped off the evening.

Dear and I headed for the border at 9:30 and were safely home by 11:10. We had two great border crossings and safe roads. We are in recuperating mode here at this old house. No decorations here yet so it was really nice to enjoy Anneliese’s home all decorated and ready to go.