Holidays, 2015

Holidays, 2015
A Winter Scene - red door, a dusting of snow, and a vintage bicycle

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sledding the Day after Christmas

On the day after Christmas, Grandma and Grandpa Moose decided to take their granddaughters sled riding....we had had quite a snow about 4 days before Christmas and it was beginning to diminish, especially on southern facing slopes, so we packed the munchkins into the car and headed up to Estes Park.....Even though we warned them not to wear all their gear in the car, they were so excited.....
 When we got there, we got the sleds out and gave them a test run....
 The girls are now 7 and 10, but the 7 year old is about the size of a peanut....and so hilarious!

 That shadow is ME....I look scary!
 I packed a picnic lunch of hot tea, hot chocolate, chicken, chocolates, and fruit.....not exactly healthy, but fun~

 We sledded for about 3 hours total, until the sun started to come down behind the mountains....that's when we started to pack up and drive home.  I actually fell asleep on the drive home (I wasn't driving!~)
Hopefully, this video will work and you can get a glimpse of our day......Wheeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Surprise Tea

Many of you know that just days prior to Christmas, we traveled to Arizona to visit my mom....

While the 'boys' watched some sports on the television, mom and I ventured out to some of the stores just to get into the spirit of things.  Even though my mom gets around fairly well, 'Pop' doesn't walk easily now and so store visits are fewer and shorter.  'Pop' is my step-dad as my father passed when I was only twenty.

Here's mom at Pottery Barn....we didn't buy anything on this day, but we had fun looking.

It was quite chilly...highs were in the 50's, so we had warm jackets and scarves on....
On the first night there, my mom roasted a capon with stuffing and mashed potatoes.  On the second night, we took them out to a local Italian is mom studying the menu....
My mom had lots of Christmas decorations out.  She LOVES jeweled fruit and put together this dish of fruit with a candle...
She also put together this arrangement with some live flowers
She hung glass ornaments from her light fixture in the dining area
Every table had a little something on it for Christmas

The circular lacy thing on the window is edelweiss I brought her back from a trip to Germany and Austria a few years ago.....that's where my mom was born.
We don't wear shoes in the house; this 'tradition' or house rule came from my upbringing.  Here, at the front door, is a set of slippers for guests to wear in lieu of their shoes....

                                           I wanted to do something special for my mom for Christmas and gifts aren't something she likes.  I did get her some face oil and a new lipstick, but the real gift was a Christmas tea....We went to Loew's Ventana Canyon Christmas Tea....     
Here's mom and Pop walking in....
                                                                                   They had a large gingerbread house          

There's the ramp to the area where we had the the center, far into the photograph, is the huge REAL Christmas tree....
They served Champagne with the tea as well...
Chantilly cream and raspberry preserves for the scones
                                                               Cactus for the centerpiece (well, it IS the desert)         

Here's mom and I.....
the little tea sandwiches
Mom pouring some tea
and all of us in front of the big tree

some of the decorations in the hotel lobby

looking into the tea room area

Even though it was quite cold and gloomy, flowers were blooming everywhere
                                                                     It was really hard to leave, knowing that mom and Pop would be alone for Christmas as I'm an only child......we spoke on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.....but I KNOW she had a great time at the tea and loved getting dressed up as that is something they never do anymore.....she's STILL talking about I consider that a blessing!!!  And yes.....she was very surprised!

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to host a tea party in someone else's house....

Remember a while back when I catered the desserts for the Art Auction that

my former high school (where I was employed) was doing a fundraiser to create scholarships for needy students???? Well, I also donated a tea party for eight people.  The winning bidder (who is the gal in the hat at the end of the table in the foreground) then contacted me and set up a date that she wanted.  I then sent her a menu to choose from, which included 3 different sandwiches, 4 desserts and 2 tea varieties.

She chose:
  • roast beef with herbed goat cheese
  • savory cream puffs filled with curried egg salad
  • traditional cucumber and cream cheese

For her desserts, she chose:
Madagascar vanilla merinques dipped in dark chocolate
Lemon madeleines with lemon zest frosting
Lemon tarts with fresh blackberries
Traditional Cream Puffs with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Her teas were:

Susan Branch's favorite....earl grey with lavender and rose petals  (which was a HUGE hit)
and Boulder Blues....a green tea with rhubarb and strawberries (made in Colorado)

I arrived about 2 hours before the event and brought the linens, dishes and serving pieces, made the sandwiches, boiled the water for tea and got everything ready....when the guests arrived, they chatted a bit and everything was on the table for them to enjoy....

I'd make sure teacups were filled with piping hot fresh tea, but basically stayed in the kitchen and tidied things up so that I'd be ready to clean up as soon as her event was over...

I think that she and her guests were pleased and I received lots of wonderful comments, which, of course, made me feel awesome.....One of the guests was a teacher I used to work with, so there was a hug and a few personal exchanges there, too....which is so nice....I miss that community of colleagues so much!

So, come along and see the party!

I did say the auction was for EIGHT, right?  Well, one call decided to bring her 16 year old daughter along, so we had NINE instead.  Thankfully, I brought extra of everything, including the dishes!

For this event, I used my Desert Rose pattern....I have LOTS of vintage teacups and saucers, but not enough that match for this many.....but Desert Rose is now considered vintage, too!! (first came out in the 50's)

the plates on my tiers are removable, so guests were able to pass around the goodies

sandwiches went so quickly!

I even brought along my silver teapot...

the owner of the home provided water and water glasses for anyone who wanted some

Here are the cream puffs on the bottom, lemon madelienes, and vanilla meringues on top.  On the plate was another dessert which I forgot to mention....MY GENOISE....I created mini genoise cakes with my fresh berry compote and freshly whipped was a hit!

Look closely and you can see the little teapot place card holders I brought, too....

The conversation was continuous...I think everyone had a great time...of course, the hostess is charming....I don't know her personally at all, but what a sweet gal!!

Back in the kitchen, the 'son' had some dessert with me and their kitty licked whipped cream off of the plate.  I was enthralled with this kitty as she (Natasha) looks JUST like our cat who recently passed.  I almost slipped her into my cooler and took her home!

some guests brought the hostess little gifts, which are on the table here

I took this photo from her kitchen you could see all the snow here

and in another direction.....just beautiful, but NOT fun to drive in!
After I do something like this, I always ask myself: "What did I learn?"
Here's what I learned:
1.  I love to bake. PERIOD.  And since I learned I'm gluten intolerant, I haven't done as much.  I baked most of Friday and all of Saturday morning prior to this event.....the kitchen smelled glorious and I was in HOVEN....that's heaven in an oven!
2.  I love to do good things for others.  It made me feel good to donate to this give back to a school that brought me so much joy and love
3.  I need to continue to follow my passion....there is NO WAY I can make any money doing this....with all the time and money spent on this one event, I would have to charge $1,000 to make a living....considering my time, ingredients, cost of running oven, transportatio to and from, etc.....I need to have place where people come to me.  This is not cost effective
4.  I love to serve others and if YOU want to sit down and have a cup of tea with me, we'd better go out; otherwise, I can't sit down long enough for a conversation; I'll be wanting to get up and get you something.
5.  I love to bake.  Did I already say that??

I would have LOVED to have you all there.......but thankyou for peeking in!!! xo

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving.....and being ever so THANKFUL

We waited all year for Thanksgiving.....and it came and was finished so many much anticipation......Here, 'Shorty' awaits a little nibble or something that inadvertently might have been dropped during prepartions in the kitchen.....
                This year, Thanksgiving was at my oldest daughter's house....we had 16 for dinner.....
the little table was for the 3 children in attendance...
                                                                 It was so much fun!!!

 And a lot of hard work, too....

10 lbs of potatoes boiling away.... (in 2 separate pots!)

My youngest daughter's dog came along, too

I made pumpkin pie, apple pie and 2 pumpkin mousse pies, along with cookies and YES, Susan Branch's spiced pecans....which, by the way, were YUMMY!!

                                                      This bowl was emptied FAST!!

                                      There was some hair braiding taking place prior to dinner

There was some chess playing and tea drinking and looking at sales' flyers

And of course....watching the Macy's Day Parade....which is a tradition
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving....

We all have so much to be thankful for....

Count your Blessings