Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Post-Christmas post, part II.

I definitely need the structure of school days. I am not getting much accomplished this holiday!

We had a quiet Christmas morning compared to years we are with my family and have all the aunts, uncles and cousins under one roof. Vivian did pretty well with fewer people, though, and even reasonably tolerated the afternoon when we gathered with all of Robert's family at his mom's house to exchange gifts and have Christmas dinner.

Here are some pictures from our Christmas Day:

Heading downstairs to see what Santa has brought (Will is carrying Percy in an effort to lure Vivian)

Santa has come!

Hockey Boy surveys his gifts

Dots tries on her new UGGs

Following Percy, Vivian slowly makes her way to the Living Room

Santa brought Vivian a new Water Baby

Vivian gives her new baby a pacifier

Opening gifts under the tree

Think Dots is happy with her new Converse Chuck Taylors?

Opening gifts at Mimi's


Not opening gifts at Mimi's...

Dots models some of her new gifts

After finally getting out of the car and letting me dress her and fix her hair, Vivian enjoys playing with one of her new presents

One of the best parts about Christmas: hanging out with your cousin

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post-Christmas post, part I.

We had a wonderful Christmas! I am woefully behind in everything - putting away gifts, writing thank you notes, taking down the tree and other decorations, and blogging. Thank goodness I have a whole week to catch up a bit. I'm going to recap our Christmas in a couple of posts.

I hosted twenty-two people for dinner on Christmas Eve. It was a lovely evening, with everyone seeming to enjoy the food and the company. The highlight for me was gathering around the piano to sing Christmas carols after dinner.

I hope that your Christmas included the opportunity to gather with those that you love as well.

My tables all set for Christmas Eve dinner





Keepin' it real here - my kitchen was a mess after I got all the food ready!

My friend Wendy stopped by with her family to carol for us before our family arrived

Robert carved the beef tenderloin, which was fabulous!

Along with beef tenderloin I served tamales (Robert's family's Christmas Eve tradition), cheese grits, corn and green bean casserole, hot fruit casserole and homemade rolls

I didn't have placecards, but the kids segregated themselves to their own table

Dots sporting a new short haircut!

My sister-in-law Patti helped light candles

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas.

Christmas Card 2008

Warmest greetings of the season from our family to yours

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


In our home I try to emphasize Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Christ. Toward that end I have quite a few nativity scenes on display. This one, by the same artist as my Thanksgiving people, is one of my favorites.

This set is the centerpiece on our breakfast room table, but the lighting in that room was so poor due to a garland in the chandelier that I had to relocate the creche to the kitchen for this picture

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas progress.

Despite spending very little time on the computer yesterday, I did not get as much accomplished as I had hoped. Between church, an Open House with Dots's piano teacher that I almost completely forgot (someone please ask Santa to bring me a new brain for Christmas or at least to return mine to its former splendor) and family birthday dinner for Robert and his twin, I only had small snatches of time here and there. But I was able to get all of my dough made and chilled, and today I have been baking away.

Rolling out gingerbread boys

Enlisting the help of Hockey Boy, Dots and their cousin Hollis to press red hots into the gingerbread boys


Cheese drops in the oven

Cookie press Christmas trees awaiting their turn in the oven

My baking should be done by this afternoon. I'll assemble tins for neighbors and get Hockey Boy and Dots to deliver them. Then I will tackle the mountain of gift wrapping that awaits me in the guest room. Joy!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Time waster.

I have my Christmas cards finished (hooray). I have wrapped and mailed all out of town Christmas presents (yay!). But... I still need to wrap EVERYTHING for people in town, I need to do a lot of Christmas baking for my family and neighbors, and I need to start preparing for Christmas Eve dinner, which I am hosting at our house for 20+ people.

So how did I spend my day? Not on anything Christmas related. I messed around on that time-waster, Facebook. I have reconnected with a lot of old high school and church friends from Atlanta there, which has been quite fun. But Friday, someone invited me to join a Facebook group comprised of friends from my church in Houston (where my parents moved while I was in college). Today I have been in touch with several people from that period of my life who were very dear to me but with whom I'd lost touch. One guy posted some 400-odd pictures of our old youth group. I haven't even come close to looking at them all, but boy, did they ever bring back great memories!

So, did I accomplish anything of substance today? No. Did I have a wonderful, wonderful journey down Memory Lane? Yes!

Tomorrow, though - no computer for me!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas mantle #3.


When we built our house, I thought having a fireplace in our dining room would be great. I had recently seen the movie Gosford Park and admired the stunning manor house dining room with its blazing fire. Also, from the exterior the right side of my house needed a chimney to maintain its Georgian symmetry so we included a dining room fireplace in our plans. In reality, however, a guest's back would become unbearably hot should I ever light a fire there while we were dining, so I've never used it.

But... it does provide another place to display Christmas decorations (and Herend figurines the rest of the year). This year it is home to the majority of my Steinbach nutcrackers.

The middle guy is a Boy Scout. Hockey Boy was mortified when I bought him in his honor

Geppetto is a nod to Vivian's love of
Pinocchio. Pinocchio's nose can be either short or long; this year Dots decided to use his short nose

Thursday, December 18, 2008



Dots's BFF Allison lives two doors down from us. The girls have been inseparable since they were two.

Yesterday Dots and Allison exchanged Christmas presents. Allison gave Dots some peace sign earrings (that she LOVED). Dots gave Allison these footie pajamas. Think Allison liked them?! This picture was taken about 5 minutes after they got home from school, and they played on Hockey Boy's Rock Band game wearing their matching pajamas until Allison had to go home for dinner!

Having such a BFF is a great gift in and of itself.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas mantle #2.


This is the mantle in my living room. I needlepointed the stockings for Robert and the children. Notice that mine is missing. That would be because it sits, grossly unfinished and untouched, in a bag in my closet. It is a beautiful canvas, and I need to either finish it myself or admit that I'm never going to and pay someone to do it for me. {sigh}

The little stockings on the right belong to our cats, Percy and Ginny. Dots picked those out, and then she and Daddyman beaded the cats' initials on them.

Also in my living room is my collection of crystal ornaments from Tiffany. Each year I buy one for myself and one for my little namesake, Eloise, who lives in Birmingham. The year that we celebrated my 40th birthday in New York, I gave the candy cane ornament to each of the couples who joined us there as a remembrance of the weekend.


I have some Tiffany porcelain ornaments displayed on our coffee table.


Oh, how I love Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday recap.

Yesterday was a diverse and full day at our house.

Robert got up early and ran the White Rock Marathon with his twin brother. This was Robert's 12th marathon and probably the 6th he's run with his brother. Our weather was much hotter than ideal for a marathon (or so I've been told - I certainly have no experience in such matters, having run less than 26 miles cumulative in my lifetime), but they both finished the race in just over three and a half hours.

My only contribution to the race was getting up early to take a blurry picture of the runners

Later in the morning my sweet friend Donna came to the house to care for Vivian while the other children and I went to church. Our sanctuary is decorated beautifully for Christmas, and I love the music this time of year.

In the afternoon Dots and I joined our Mother/Daughter Book Club at the Dallas Children's Theater to see Madeline's Christmas. One of our Book Club members, Dots's good friend Eliza, was playing one of the twelve little girls. The play was very well done and enjoyable, and Eliza did a fabulous job.


Dots and her friends await the start of the show

Photography was not permitted during the production, but I snapped this picture during birthday recognition at intermission. You can get an idea of how cute the set and costumes were. Eliza is the girl in the center

The cast members autograph programs after the show. Note the microphone taped to Eliza's forehead

Eliza poses with her Book Club friends

We were thrilled to run into Vivian's teacher and her daughter at the show! They're the ones who stayed with the kids when Robert and I went to Italy this fall

Last night I fixed dinner, but due to the Cowboys game, the boys and girls in our family dined separately. Robert and Hockey Boy retired to the third floor and its big screen TV, while Dots and I ate on trays in the den and watched The House without a Christmas Tree. It was such a great movie! I was thrilled that it had held up so well. Dots enjoyed it a lot too.

I also finally started working on my Christmas cards. I only finished through last names beginning with 'F,' but it's a start.

All in all yesterday was a good combination of holiday fun and productivity.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas surprise.


I mentioned in my Christmas Quiz post a week or so ago that as a girl I had loved a made-for-TV Christmas special called The House without a Christmas Tree.

Well, lo and behold if a DVD of that movie didn't arrive on my doorstep yesterday afternoon! My dad had located it on Amazon and ordered a copy for me. I was absolutely thrilled and can hardly wait to watch it. The movie stars Jason Robards and its reviews on Amazon are very positive, so I'm hopeful that I will still enjoy it.

Honestly, though, I can't say if I'm more surprised about the movie or about the fact that my dad read my blog!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sip 'n see.

My party yesterday morning went very well. I didn't have to do any of the food - just had to have my house ready and provide the beverages. I made my mom's wassail in my coffee urn which was a big hit (it's very cold here right now). We had a great turnout, and my friend with the new baby was very appreciative. I got busy and didn't take any pictures once the party was in progress, but here are some from beforehand.

Notice my silver baby cups in the center - I had them arranged with white roses and Christmas greenery

I used three china patterns: Brittany by Royal Crown Derby (left), my Lindy Neuhaus Christmas plates (right) and Spode Christmas Tree (at the other end of the table)

Close-up of one of my Lindy Neuhaus plates. She is an artist in Houston who hand paints china. I have eight of her plates and each one is different.

Our little guest of honor!

I had quite a few requests from guests at the Sip 'n See for the wassail recipe so I thought I'd share it here.


Tie together in cheese cloth:
6 sticks cinnamon
16 whole cloves

1 t ground allspice
¼ c sugar
2 c cranberry juice cocktail
1 12-oz can apple juice concentrate, diluted
1 extra can of water
1 t bitters (optional - I use them but have no idea if they add much to the flavor or not)

Simmer 10 minutes and remove spice bag. Serve hot.

**If made in a large coffee percolator, place spices in basket (use same amount of cinnamon and cloves and multiply everything else times four).