Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Memories and Happy New Year!

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! 

We had a white Christmas, as you can see, 
which came as a surprise when it started 
snowing on Christmas Eve. 

We were invited to my youngest son, Dustin and wife Jen's
home for Christmas Eve, where they hosted 
a lovely gathering of extended families. 

On the hour and a half drive over, we passed this view
of Mt. Rainier half hidden by 
 the impending snow clouds. 

You can see that the Cascade mountain range is 
covered with snow. 

Mt. Rainier is over 14,000 feet tall, which gives you 
a perspective on how high these mountains are. 

We were one of the first to arrive, so I took
a few photos before the rooms filled with guests. 

When Dustin and Jen were cutting their tree 
at a nearby tree farm, they were filmed by 
a local company, which aired it's 
commercial during the Seahawk's game! 

They are die-hard fans and get season tickets every year. 
In fact, we were invited over for a Christmas Eve game viewing! 
Of course, the Seahawk's won! Go Hawks! 

My daughter in law made the amazing throw
with giant stitches, on the sofa :)

My son, all decked out in his Seahawk's 
Christmas sweater :)

His Seahawk's Christmas corner up in the 'Man-Cave'
where the guy's watch the game. 

Our littlest Seahawk's fan with 'The Grinch'
wearing Papa's glasses :)
(photo taken a couple weeks before when we were babysitting)

The 3rd stocking is for their cat, Lucky. 

 He's almost human.....
He doesn't like being treated like a cat -
don't pick him up, and don't talk to him 
in a fake, high pitched voice. 
He will let you know what he thinks of that! 
Not much!

Jen was in charge of the rest of the pretty decorating.....

Dustin made the card display frame with chicken wire. 

These two have completely transformed their 'fixer-upper'
in the 3 years that they have been married. 

You can see me in the mirror taking the photo. 
I love the amazing chandelier. 

The hot chocolate bar. 
You can see a miniature gondola on the window sill. 
They are avid snow-boarders and Dustin proposed to Jen
at Canada's Whistler ski resort. 

So many delicious goodies. 

I made this cranberry-pear salsa served over cream cheese. 
Despite looking a bit like road-kill, it really was delicious :)

Here's the recipe:

Cranberry-Pear Salsa

1 and 1/2 cups (12 oz) whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 tbsp chopped green onion
1 firm pear or apple, cored, peeled and finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
(I used 1 tbsp canned, minced jalapeno)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice from 1 lime
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp packed brown sugar or 1/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt 

Mix all together and serve over cream cheese
 with crackers or crostini 

It was so wonderful spending the day with family, 
but by nightfall it was snowing hard, so we took the long 
drive home fairly early. 

We arrived in our little town to nearly deserted streets. 

We woke to a winter wonderland on Christmas morning. 

We had about 5 inches. 
Just enough to make things pretty. 

Snow angel. 

I set the table for Christmas dinner
 - Ham, scalloped potatoes, pear and cranberry salad -
for my daughter, Heather, (who is expecting twins soon and couldn't attend 
the Christmas Eve celebration so far from home) 
and her little family (husband, Eric and our 1 yr old grandson). 

My younger daughter, Jennie and her family (Steve and the 2 girls)
 decided to come at the last minute, too, so I had 10 at the table. 

I found these Johnson Bros. plates last year - they reminded 
me of my dear Mother-in-law who has been gone a year now. 
She had the whole set, and I have 4 of her original plates
that are very similar. 

Here she is with her son, my sweet Ramblin' Man, 
one long ago Christmas day. 

The years fly swiftly by but sweet memories remain. 

And now.....
Our little Christmas elf playing with Papa :) 

The sweaters I crocheted for my little grandsons. 

It was a wonderful, magical Christmas. 


Some years are better than others - some years 
you want to forget. 
This year I made a blessings jar to record all of the good things, 
and I am happy to say that it is nearly full. 
I will open it on New Year's Eve and then start a new one. 

I don't know if I have more than the average blessings this year, 
or if I have simply decided to notice them more. 
I think it may be the latter. 

As I have grown older (and hopefully wiser), 
I've made a conscious decision to focus on all that is 
good in this life. 
It takes a certain discipline.......
it's easy to focus on the negatives, but some days
it's not so easy to force myself to find the good. 
It's easy to feel sorry for myself, to find fault, to blame......
It's much harder to take full responsibility for 
the happiness in my own life. 

I've found that it's all in making the choice - to keep things in perspective, 
to always take the high road, to have faith that all is
as it should be. Every single thing is a reflection
and opportunity of what I need to learn. 

I am still a work in progress, so as this new year 
approaches, I've made a list of things to improve upon..... 

My sense of humor when things don't go right.

Taking a moment (or an hour, or a day) before and if, speaking my mind. 

Setting an example of how I would like to be treated, 
by being kind to others, even when they are less than kind to me. 

Having more patience. 

Getting more sleep and eating healthier so I will feel my best. 

Getting outside more for fresh air and exercise. 

Doing more of what I love to do and putting that on my daily list. 

Looking for opportunities to bring a smile to others - 
we all know this world has enough hate and negativity. 

Make a vow to promote what I love instead of bashing what I hate. 
Nobody wants to listen to complaints. 


So as we say goodbye to 2017 and usher in the New Year, 
I wish you all the very best that life can give you. 

And because I am part Irish, 
I will leave you with an Irish Blessing for the New Year :

Always remember to forget
The Troubles that pass away.
But never forget to remember
The Blessings that come each day. 


Happy New Year, my Dear Friends and Family! 

Today I am linking with:

Thankful Thursday

Won't you join in?



  1. Hi Karen awesome post ,so glad you had a wonderful Xmas and how nice to have snow,thankyou for sharing you lovely time with us 💋

  2. Hi Karen, what a lovely recap! Wow, I can't get my head around that much snow on those chairs from overnight! I just love those plates, they look so special! I think I'm going to put it on my list to look for some nice Christmas plates! I have to agree with you on those thoughts for next year - mine could be pretty much the same thing! Lovely crocheted sweaters and look at the old tv in that photo of rambling man as a youngster with his mum! Blessings for the new year my friend!

  3. So enjoyed your post and beautiful snowy pictures. What a great idea to have a blessings jar. It’s good to see things positively, mind you retirement helps you to do that. Wishing you a happy, healthy new year. B x

  4. You had the exciting Christmas snow. Have nice days.

  5. You are adorable...Thanks for sharing this amazing post...Happy New Year too!

  6. Beautiful post. Wishing you everything you wish for yourself for the New Year.

  7. Hello, your daughter has a beautiful home. I saw some of my nieces photos from Snoqualmie, she had about 6 inches of snow too. The Hot Chocolate bar is a great idea. Your food looks delicious. The Blessing Jar is a great idea, I am sure your year was filled with lots of blessings. I wish you and yours all the best in 2018, a happy and healthy New Year.

  8. You had a wonderful Christmas for sure, it was very nice reading about it.
    I love the huge crochet throw.
    And twins on the way wow !!
    The story about the cat is pretty entertaining also HAHA

    Happy New Year

  9. Wonderful post, how pretty the snow looks (in pictures, that's how I like it, not in person), cute grandkids and you're going to get some little girls, lucky you.

  10. Hello Karen, Like you, we had a little snow on Christmas Day, too. Not nearly as much as you did, and it was mostly gone by the afternoon. Today is dripping rain, which means snow elsewhere.
    Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas celebration with family - the best kind.
    Happy New Year. It's so true that when we focus on the good gifts and blessings, they abound!

  11. Dear Karen ~ What a wonderful post in photos and thoughts.

    Thanks for sharing and may you & RM have a fantastic 2018 ~ FlowerLady

  12. We had an ice storm here and I was trapped Christmas eve at a friends home and had to send the night, as well as the other guests that evening! LOL Was not able to leave their home until ice melted around 2 pm Christmas day! I do not make resolutions for the new year, just plan to live life with joy and love and cherish each day!

  13. Lovely, lovely post! We had a white Christmas here too and it is still so pretty but very frigid temperatures....7 degrees with below zero wind chills. I love your list of things to improve upon for the new year. Very refreshing and humbling! Thank you for sharing your life on your blog and I look forward to "seeing" you in the new year.

  14. It looks like you and your family had a wonderful Christmas, Karen! This past year, I have kept a journal of one thing that I'm thankful for each day. It certainly does help to see the blessings that we have. I like your list of things to improve on. I must remember to do the same. Happy New Year, sweet friend!
    p.s. Love those crocheted sweaters!!

  15. Such a lovely post.
    So nice seeing all of your photographs.

    The Blessings Jar sounds an excellent idea, and I do think we should all focus on the positive,

    Sending my good wishes to you and yours.
    Enjoy these last December days and have a Happy and Healthy 2018.

    All the best Jan

  16. A wonderful recap of your Christmas days. That snow was a nice surprise. Makes for some tricky travels, though. What a nice home for entertaining a crowd. I really like those Johnson Bros. plates! What a nice keepsake of your dear MIL. The sweaters are great! Happy New Year!

  17. sounds like you had a lovely Christmas, I just loved your place setting for Christmas, just gorgeous!! The sweaters you made were just too cute, you did a fabulous job on them!
    You have a great list there to improve upon, I think we all could use that list. I have a book I write my daily thankfulness in, it makes you sit and concentrate on the good in your life than the bad.

  18. That little baby is so sweet, and those sweaters you knitted are perfect. Happy New Year!

  19. It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas! So excited to hear about twins! We have twin grandsons, who couldn't be more different:) You have some good goals for the new year - good ones for all of us. have a Happy New Year! (We haven't had our Christmas. We're waiting for our son to get here on the 1st.)

  20. Dear Karen,
    thank you for this wonderful Christmas Memories! It must have been lovely, to have them all arround! I love the sweaters you made for your grandsons! :O)
    Thank you for all the lovely pictures, wihsing you all teh best for a happy, healthy, blessed and wonderful New Year 2018!
    Take care my dear friend, much Love and hugs, Claudia xoxo

  21. What a beautiful post and lovely pictures! Oh guess, I just LOVE The Grinch!! I see the movie every Christmas and I feel just like him :)
    Have a great New Year now and take care...
    Love from a grey Sweden and Titti

  22. Oh Karen, this was a wonderful post! I love all the decorations, and the way everything is so beautifully laid out and displayed. You are like the Martha Stewart of the northwest! :-) Everything is always so beautiful! That cranberry-pear salad sounds awesome. I loved the blessings jar. What a wonderful amount of snow you received on Christmas eve, too! We got a dusting at the kids's but came home to see we'd had over an inch here at home. I plan to do some baking next year...I've really gotten away from it. Glad your Christmas was so sweet...hope 2018 is amazing! (By the way, I have been working on my patience too. I am a care-giver, and I also have chronic fatigue, so I get irritable when so much is expected of me...I am asking for God's help in that one! I also went to the Dr. yesterday to a five-pound gain over Thanksgiving & Christmas, and since I gained ten pounds over last year as well, I'm pretty I'm working on that now too! Keep me in your prayers!)

  23. HAHA...I was in the middle of commenting and I lost it somehow!! Here I go again. What an adorable home. Your daughter in law did an amazing job decorating the house for Christmas. I love...totally love that chandelier! I am obsessed with them. I have replaced a builder grade light in the guest room with one! Looks like you have an amazing time. And so glad you are getting snow. Us here in Nashville will probably not get any at all. The big a few weeks back went all around us but only in the Mts. here in TN got any. I WANT SNOW! haha....hoping you have a very Happy New Year!

  24. Dearest Karen,
    Not easy for driving long distance at night and through the snow...
    For us it was a usual Christmas for 2. Only one year, in 2004 we had our foster-daughter Anita staying with us for 2 months. Only time in 34 years...
    For a heavenly midnight Mass i drove the 4 hours to Jacksonville, FL and we walked a couple of minutes from our Hyatt Regency Riverfront hotel. Next day I drove the 4.5 hours through hectic and heavy traffic, south of Ft. Lauderdale to our 'home' at Hyatt House. A 1 king bedroom suite with full kitchen. Pieter did prepare our Christmas dinner from the filet mignon we brought frozen and kept in the fridge at our previous hotel, than in the toolbox. I relaxed and recovered from my mid back pain. Now I'm for the 3rd day pain free; so happy. We visited with dear friends who came to our suite where we served them coffee and Caramel Tres Leches that I picked up at Costco nearby.
    It feels wonderful for being in 80s weather and for seeing everything green around you!
    Your daughter-in-law sure knows how to create a cozy atmosphere by making lovely things herself, just like you do!
    As for sports, Pieter and I are absolute illiterate and are only amazed at the impact it has on so many people; more than a religion!
    Wishing you a Happy New Year in good health; that is the most important thing we have!!!

  25. How wonderful that you got to be with your family at Christmas. I always have a full house this time of year as well. It's so special. I really like your son's house and all the pretty decorations, especially those trees on the table. And I love that grey throw - it looks so soft and pretty. The hot chocolate bar is a great idea. Your cranberry-pear salsa with cream cheese looks Yummy, Karen. The crocheted sweaters are a very special gift from Grandma. And you had a white Christmas! My son was in the room when I was looking at your post, and he said that he has seen Mt. Rainier when he visited Seattle. It's beautiful.

    Happy New Year, Karen, and I hope it's filled with peace and much joy. Your positive words at the end are sweet, and Yes, always needed in this sometimes chaotic world.


    1. ps...we can never have too many blessings. They are gifts from God. : )

  26. Love this post so much dearest Karen! Not only for all the wonderful Christmas memories with your beautiful family contained here...but especially for your sentiments at the end. I couldn't agree more with taking more time to focus on and enjoy the blessings. I think in the world today it's even more difficult to keep that focus. I started a gratitude journal a while ago and make a conscious effort to write in it daily - focusing on only those beautiful blessings in my life. It's amazing how it can change one's thinking.

    So happy you had a such a wonderful Christmas with family. Those grandsons of yours are such dolls! Love the sweaters too! Your talents are endless. ;) I'm hoping you have a very blessed New Year's!! xoxo

  27. It looks like a great time for you and your family for Christmas! I hope your New Year brings awesome things :)

  28. Jan sounds great manager of parties she decorated house brilliantly!

    Merry christmas to you and family dear Karen.
    everthing is magnificently STUNNING,you made beautiful sweaters for your grandsons,his smile is PUREly awesome !

    Thank you for sharing the BEAUTIFUL precious photo of your mother in law she was GORGEOUS lady with lovely smile :)

    blessing jar sounds like an amazing idea
    more joys and happiness to you my friend

  29. Beautiful pictures. Happy new year.

  30. It looks as though you had a wonderful Christmas! I love all the beautiful touches in both your home and Jen's. Have a wonder new year!

  31. Lovely sentiments Karen...and beautiful images...
    All the best to you and your dear family in 2018...and always...
    Linda :o)

  32. Beautiful Christmas time photos! It looks pretty white just like do here. It's beautiful! Thank you for the recipe! It looks very good. I looove the crochet sweaters. Wonder where you got the pattern. Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

  33. Karen, your Christmas looks and sounds so wonderful! The new year will bring much joy (and work!) with the arrival of the twins. God bless you and Happy New Year!

  34. Wonderful pictures and post Karen, best of the New Years to you and your family.

    I am glad the snow only lasted a few days.

    Hugs diane

  35. I so loved this post Karen! It's so important to focus on our blessings, and you are so fortunate to have so many.

    Wishing you a year filled with many more ❤️

  36. Happy New Year, Karen. Just wanted to tell you I'll be taking a blog break, but I will continue to visit your charming posts. They are so heartwarming, and I appreciate them. The girls will fill in for me and try to post as often as they can - it may only be every couple of weeks, as they are so busy, but I'm grateful for their help. I hope you still stop by and say hello.

    The happiest new year to you, Karen.


  37. Such a wonderful post Karen and thoe little crochet jumpers are adorable!
    Wishing a Happy New Year to you and your family :)

  38. Hi Karen I’m glad you had a magical Christmas. The snow on Christmas Eve just made it feel more special. Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best in 2018.

  39. Happy New Year. It looks like you had a good Christmas. The snow looks lovely. Your advice is wonderful for the coming year.

  40. It's wonderful you had great time for Christmas! I love this time, because I can spend some time with my family.
    This year I didn't have nice Christmas Eve, because my parents in law, but the rest Christmas days were nice and calm.
    I also with you everything nice for New Year, a lot of successes and health :)

  41. How nice to have a white Christmas, Karen, and yours sounds lovely, with cozy family time and great food. Happy 2018.

  42. What a fantastic post! Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas holiday. Lovely settings, lovely memories! All the best to you and yours in 2018!

  43. This was such a special post dear friend, and your thoughts shared at the end were so beautiful. How wonderful to keep a blessing jar. Truly our blessings will outnumber the sorrows of life when we look for them. Such a beautiful time had by your family on Christmas Eve. What fun that they are fixing up this little home together, I love the chicken wire card holder. Setting a pretty table for dinner is always a joy, I think food just tastes better on china! I love the plates you used. Praying that the Lord continues to focus your heart on His blessings in your life in this new year. Hugs to you dear friend!


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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