Friday, January 4, 2013


We've done it! We've done it again!  We have celebrated Christmas.  The frantic last minute rush is over.  Bright, bow-decked packages have disappeared from under the tree, and a rainbow of crumpled paper spills out of the garbage can.  Bows and bags, saved each year, have been carefully placed in my Advent box - the pre-Christmas box I use to help me remember what comes out first.  As I close up this box and get ready to put it back in the attic, I start to recall that it wasn't very long ago that the presents were wrapped so nicely, stacked on my extra bed.  They are all a part of the love and excitement that will follow from the spirit of giving, the Christmas spirit in my house.  I'm so anxious to clean it all up, but maybe it's a little early to do that - January 4th.  I start to feel a little guilty, since I just put baby Jesus in the manger not long ago.

Christmas, rightly called a festival of good will: "Good will towards men" literally from the Greek, means, 'God's peace in/amongst/on men' who are being good to one another.  It is right for us even on and especially during these days after Christmas Day, to sing carols and hymns about goodness, tenderness, warmth and love.  Words like:

"Comfort, comfort my people. Tell of peace so says our God; comfort those who sit in darkness.
Hark the glad sound the Savior comes; let every heart prepare a throne, let every voice a song.
What child is this who laid to rest on Mary's lap is sleeping; joy, joy for Christ is born; Yea
Lord we greet thee, born this happy morning. True faith and love to us impart, that we may hold you in our heart."

My thoughts continue. I start to think and wonder about the preparations for making Christmas a memorable event - the sounds, sights and smells of the homemade gifts (thanks, Pinterest!); the traditional foods of plum pudding and white sauce, French

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
It's a beautiful sunny day in Northern Michigan
14 degrees
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Tea Time Magazine" by Hoffman Media, LLC

Phylllis Hoffman "Celebrate"

These two magazines give great ideas on food, table scapes, teas to serve for special occasions and those that could accompany your menu, recipes, wonderful photos, education on tea plant growth, history, tea rooms from many different places and cultures, and a personal tea story from a reader.

Like many readers of these magazines, when my next copy arrives in the mail, I set it aside and save it for a special time when I can devote my attention to absorbing the colorful photos, descriptions, stories, menus, recipes and much more. Taking time out for for the latest issue is such a treat whether I am in my favorite chair, with an afghan and a nice hot cup of tea during our Northern Michigan winters; or taking a break in the warm summer sunshine of the back yard.

"Christmas Cottage Cookbook" Volume I

The Christmas Cottage Cookbook Volume I has been a delightful addition to my collection of tea party menus and ideas. I have cooked, baked and served many of the selections and would recommend this book to anyone who likes to make unique foods to serve or gift.

Other tea books I've collected and used through the years are:

Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs

"Totally Teatime Cookbook" by Helen Siegel and karen Gillingham, 1995

"An Invitation to Tea"
"The Twelve Teas of Friendship"
"Let's Have a Tea Party"
By Emilie Barnes

"Tea Times Southern Style"
By Rosemary Newman and Sharon Strictland, 2001

"Tea with Friends"
By Elizabeth Knight

"A Cup of Christmas Tea"
By Tom Hegg

"A Memory of Christmas Tea"
By Hegg and Hanson

"Delectables for All Seasons"
By Koch

Check your local public library, where they may also have these on e-books.

Thank you Notes

Do you send thank you notes?   I do.  Hand-written ones, that is.  I must admit that I use electronic media often to communicate, but try to send hand-written cards and notes as much as possible.  Recently while visiting my mother, she shared with me a hand-written note that was in my father's wallet.  It was about the joy of loving and being loved.  I treasure old things, like vintage belongings, especially from my own family.  If we gradually stop sending hand-written notes, what will there be to treasure for the generations that follow?