Our Christmas brunch is always graced by this wonderful syrup pitcher from talented potter-artist Julie Whitmore. Check out her blog and her etsy site for some of her amazing work. If you see something you like, act quickly, her works disappear from the site almost immediately.
And the winner is...
Good bye dear Tasha book, but I must say, you're flying into a great, new, life-filled home with lots of joyful activities and children. You'll be well used and well loved by Suzanne from the fabulous Down in the Meadow blog. Her name was pulled out of a basket with 140 other hopefuls, but Suzanne it was and off Tasha goes. I think this couldn't happen at a better time for Suzanne. Last week her home was struck by lightning. Nobody was hurt, but her computer and all her addresses, etc., were blitzed. Please drop her a line and establish contact again. Suzanne please send me your mailing address.
Holiday Joys and the invisible thread of family traditions
Sara's faerie mailbox was visited by the Christmas faeries who filled this mini sock with treats. The miniature socks are available from Christmas Cove Designs in Maine. They also made all our large stockings. I always add a little bell to the toe. Faerie voices!
The faeries filled Mo's sock, too.
My dear friend Marilyn (from Maine) sent me this wonderful Bodleian Press advent calendar. We have an advent calendar every year, but this is my all time favorite. I'm saving it for next year, too. This is such a simple tradition for the children, but they anticipate the calendar every year and take turns opening the windows each day.
How wonderful it is to share the holidays with children. I enjoy every minute of their excitement and discoveries. This will be a short post as I have more family arriving this afternoon and lots of cooking to do in preparation.
I haven't finished setting the Christmas eve table, but look at the crop of wheatgrass! I will have a healthy, thriving garden this year if the French fable is true (which I am sure it is).
What would I do without my Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home cookbook? This is their tried and true pork roast on a bed of apples. I pat the room temp roast with salt and pepper and a mixture of my homegrown herbs de Provence, then sear the meat, and nestle it onto the apples. The apples have salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar sprinkled on them. This cooks for an hour at 350 degrees and comes out moist and perfect.
Cookies on a platter.
Just like clockwork, the old Christmas cactus burst into pale fireworks.
Candles are lit, the little tree glows with tiny lights, Christmas music fills the rooms, but the children can't venture in to shake packages or squeeze their stockings until after supper is finished. Delightful torture. I remember how excited I always felt at my Nonie and Bopie's home each Christmas eve.
Each of us has a long, hand knit stocking, that hangs by the chimney. I spend hours finding and wrapping small things to fill them to overflowing. The tip of the toe always holds a miniature glass log cabin filled with Maine (of course) pure maple syrup.
I buy these from Maine Gold. My grands adore them. Asher, our 9 year old, arrived one February cradling the little syrup in his hand. "I want to have breakfast for dinner," he said, "and I brought my own maple syrup."
What are Sara and Mo doing? They're looking for a long, long gold thread, which will lead them to a special hidden gift. This treasure hunt along the thread is always exciting and lovingly anticipated.
See the thin, golden thread beside Mo? I loop it around legs of furniture, go up and down steps, over books, and finally, after he has searched and giggled his way along the line...
...he traces the thread to its hide-out inside the Amish cupboard.
Sara follows her gold thread through four rooms and ends up peeking into the little blue chest in the entry hall.
Anticipation (and simplicity) makes this such a sweet tradition.
Christmas morning brunch usually features a vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg laced french toast made of brioche or challah (of course, the Maine maple syrup is liberally applied to it).
On Christmas eve Jeff brought me a special and unexpected gift, which he picked up with the last of our cards and other mail. "Here is a great gift," he said as he handed it to me.
Yes, it was a great surprise and a very special gift, but nothing, and I mean nothing, was as great a gift as having my family and friends here for the holidays.
Until next time (and next year),