Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve is our dressier celebration where we pull out the fine china, crystal and silver punch bowl (filled with eggnog!) and put on our Christmas finery!  We have dinner, attend church service together, come home and have dessert and then read our traditional Christmas books together. It's one of my very favorite evenings of the year.  Here are some snapshots...

We received this Christmas china as wedding gifts and I simply adore it still.

Grace made place cards for everyone.

I adorned a flour-less cake with a holly sprig from our yard.

Bryce makes a really yummy eggnog!

Harris left a note that read, "if you can not have dairy then there is silk in the refrigerator."  It seems that having an allergy certainly makes you a little more sensitive to others dietary needs.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

I wanted to pop in and wish each and every one a very Merry Christmas.  I hope your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is filled with love, magic, blessings and beautiful moments!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Customizing Christmas Pajamas

Every Christmas Eve, after our church service, the children come home to find new pajamas waiting for them on their beds.  As they have gotten older, I've found it harder and harder to find Christmas pajamas that I love, that they will also love and that they will wear for the rest of the year.  I don't want it to just be about matching in pictures because as great as that is, it's also a waste if they never wear them again.  Thus, at some point I had to give up getting Grace nightgowns as she just doesn't wear them since they get twisted up as she sleeps, aren't as warm nor as cozy for her as pajamas are.

I'm a traditionalist and prefer the classic plaids, stripes, etc. for Christmas morning.  This year, I found pajamas that I really liked, but they didn't have a girls version and a boys version.  However, the cut and the pattern of the pajamas could go either way so they worked perfectly.

However, I wanted Grace's to be a little more feminine than Harris' pajamas.  I purchased a little bit of eyelet trim at the fabric store and my Mom sewed it on the collar for me (I know, I should be able to do that myself!).  I think it made all the difference and turned the pajamas into a really sweet set.  I can't wait to see them on the children Christmas morning!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Weekend Before Christmas

This weekend felt luxurious in a way that doesn't come around very often. There was a lot of doing nothing, with wonderful somethings sprinkled in between! Friday was Grace's last day of school, so that was my cut off for being all done with gifts and as many holiday details as was possible. This allowed us to go into the last weekend before Christmas relaxed and excited instead of stressed and run ragged. Our Friday evening was spent at the Shepherds Play, which is performed by Waldorf teachers, for the students and family, on the Friday before Christmas around the world! It was beautiful, funny and a great reminder what the season is all about.

 Saturday was our annual breakfast with friends, which is always a highlight of the season. As always, it was wonderful to enjoy our special friendship with these families who we feel so blessed to have in our lives (even though one now lives in a different state!). I hosted and even though my gluten/dairy free gingerbread waffles were a complete bust- I had to quit midway and abandon ship- I was so happy to have the house full with friends and children.

After our friends left to get on with the rest of the day, we worked on finishing touches for the children's handmade Christmas and not much else! The fire was going all day long and we found that we just kept coming back to it like a moth to a flame! I don't even think Harris ever changed out of his pajamas!

Saturday evening, Bryce and I attended fun Christmas parties. I love getting dressed up and took this opportunity to wear a "new" vintage dress!  Also?  The Christmas parties had such fun entertainment!  One had a tarot card reader (I've never done that and it was surreal!) and another had a photo booth! So, so fun!

(photo by Harris)

Sunday was possibly the laziest day in history and it was so wonderful.   It was spent, once again, in front of the fire where nothing was really accomplished except for spending time with one another. Which is just great in my book.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Truffle Wreath (teacher gifts)

Our class puts together a basket for Grace's teacher every year, and this year my contribution is a truffle wreath.  According to Grace, her teacher loves chocolate truffles (who doesn't?).  I hot glued peppermint truffles from Lindt Chocolates* to a wire frame that I picked up at the craft store (the smallest size).  I loved that it only took about 10 minutes to do the whole thing.  I added a bow to finish it off.

I had enough truffles to make one for Harris' teacher as well!

*When I visited the Lindt website, I noticed that today they are having a flash sale for 50% off! The exact box that I used to buy these truffles is only $12.50! Wouldn't it be cute to get the pink ones and make a Valentine's wreath?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Festive Moose

Even though Harris didn't want a Christmas tree in his room, doesn't mean that he doesn't have any Christmasy cheer in his room.  We strung garland on Melvin, his felt moose, to add just the right festive touch.

P.S.  Just in case my Mother is reading this; I know the kermit picture is too high, but I needed to cover up a hole that was already in the wall and didn't feel like patching (that was two years ago! ha!).   I'm sure that I will get to it soon!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Tree For Grace

For many years Grace has had a darling pink tree in her room during Christmas time.  Last year, or maybe even the year before that, we heard the first hint that maybe a pink, fake tree was not exactly her style and perhaps we could replace the pink tree with a real tree?  So this year we made it happen by purchasing an inexpensive mini tree at Home Depot (we think it's the top of a tree!).

Grace popped popcorn and threaded it and cranberries to make a garland for her tree.  Her Gran and Grandpa had already given her battery operated lights so she added those and her favorite little gnome. She also made a star for the top.

 All in all it's a charmingly simple and festive tree!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Christmasy Bar

We have a little tray table that we use as a sort of bar, usually with just a decanter or two, in our living room.  When our Christmas tree gets put up, the tray has to be relocated to our dining room to make space for the tree.  I actually really like the table in the dining room and have been on the lookout for several years for a replacement of some sort in the living room, but have had no luck.
This year, I put out more libations than we usually have and I think it's fun, festive and ready to celebrate!

When Bryce and I were first married, I saw in a magazine an old cocktail shaker that had been made into a lamp and knew I wanted to make one too.  It was on my first visit to Scott's Antique Market in Atlanta that I found both the shaker and the tray table.  Up until that point I had been a "no antiques" sort of person, but looking back I realize that that trip changed my perspective and it's been since then that I've been drawn toward antiques and vintage items.  

I switched out our decanter stopper for this Santa wine stopper and Bryce added the scarf!

I also put out our glass frog drink stirrers.  I'm not entirely sure what stirrers are really for (they sort of get in the way when you go to take a drink!) but I love them!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Physics Project

The past month or so, Grace has had a physics block at school.  A teacher came in especially to teach this block and he did really wonderful, hands on experiments with them (having them use a pulley to pull him up to the second floor of a barn, pulling his car with a rope in the parking lot, etc.).  He made physics, for Grace at least, fun, exciting and approachable.

At the end of the block, he gave the children the option of doing a project or taking a test; Grace chose the project.  The only requirements for the project was that it had to incorporate all 6 simple machines- a screw, lever, pulley, wedge, incline plane and a wheel and axle.

Grace made lots of plans and notes for the project and then enlisted her Dad to help her put it together (he had to man the power tool!).  Even though she did much of the work herself, it was a wonderful opportunity for them to work together.

(can we all agree to ignore our messy basement)

When Grace first started working on the project, she had the game Mousetrap in mind and her final project does remind me a bit of the game.  She also wanted a big finale, so she and her Dad rigged up some electric lights (Harris got in on the action too) to come on once the metal ball hit and completed the circuit (I have no one here to confirm that that's how it actually happened, but it sounds right!).  

A little video of the completed project...

Monday, December 8, 2014


Weeks ago, I caught I nasty cold and even though I'm most definitely feeling better, this stuffy nose just won't quit!   When my nose was at its stuffiness, I picked up some eucalyptus at the grocery store since it can help clear sinuses.

My grocery store carries stalks of eucalyptus that they will sell whole for about $4.  I cut the branches off and tied them in bundles to dry.  I took a bundle and tied it around our shower head hoping that the steam would release some of the sinus clearing power from the leaves.  I found that the scent was strongest if the leaves were in the stream of water for at least a little bit.

I can say without a doubt that having the pretty eucalyptus hanging from the shower lifted my spirits and I enjoyed the fragrance, but I can't say that it cleared me right up.  However, it felt like I was bringing a bit of the spa to our home so I would definitely do it again.  Plus, it just feels good doing something to combat not feeling well!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Favorite Things #45

I use a lot of olive oil.  A lot.   Growing up I don't ever remember my Mom using olive oil and so I'm not sure at what point I discovered its wonders, but it usually features in my cooking on a daily basis. Now that we've been off dairy for Harris, I've been using olive oil in the place of butter and it's worked beautifully!

(I always decant my olive oil)

This past summer, Bryce brought home an olive oil that a colleague brought him from her families vineyard in Italy and I couldn't believe how good it was!  It quickly became clear I had never really had great olive oil!  This prompted me to start doing a little reading and research where I discovered that many olive oils that consumers use are actually mixes of various oils and not virgin olive oil at all!  I was dismayed to learn that my regular olive oil was on the "fake" list!  It was about that time that I spotted California Olive Ranch in the grocery store and liked that it was from the US and that it was affordable (I also liked the bottle)!  I bought it without reading any reviews or doing research, but was pleased to later learn that it's a highly recommended olive oil and featured on the lists of "real" olive oils!

I love this olive oil!  It has a very clean, distinct taste that we love and I can't imagine going back to using the bland, tasteless olive oil that we previously used!

P.S.  I would love to have an olive oil tasting party like this one.  Who's in?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our Christmas Tree, Trimmed

 As much of a literal pain as our Christmas tree was to pick out and bring home, I must admit that now that it's all decorated it is quite beautiful.  No one will go near the tree, but we all like to admire it from a safe distance.

We started our evening off with a nice meal of ham, beans and sweet potatoes.  This is a far cry from our usual, and traditional, meal but with Harris' allergies we decided to go simple.  And you know what?  It was nice.  It was relaxed, easy and not a ton of clean-up.

Nothing required a lot of prep or work and so I did make the effort to putting together a fun dessert.  I think the tree cake came out darling!  (the idea and instructions on how to make the trees came from here, but I made a gluten/dairy free coconut cake).

This years ornaments were a pointe shoe for Grace and a sword for Harris (to signify his spell of making swords in the basement and binge reading Percy Jackson over and over again).

Turns out that the tree was still very prickly and our evening was punctuated by cries of pain all evening but we finally got the ornaments on!  Having two children who are of an age where they can help sure does make a difference as it used to take forever to put the ornaments on and now it goes by pretty fast.  Grace really enjoys seeing all the ornaments and reminiscing about what they stand for.  I love that.

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