Saturday, December 30, 2023

Auld Lang Syne

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you all had a peaceful 
Christmas filled with the true spirit of the season.  
Here we are at the end of another year
already, with wistful hope for the new year to come. 

We woke up on Christmas Eve to this amazing sunrise. 

We were up early to get ready to celebrate our family Christmas 
at my daughter, Jennie and husband Steve's beautiful home. 

We had been busy for days wrapping gifts for the grand-boys, 
and preparing treats to share and exchange with the family.

I baked dozens of sugar cookies 
(my grandmother Beatrice's recipe), 
and the Mr. helped me decorate them :)

Aren't they pretty? I found the gold sprinkles 
at my local grocery store.
The frosting is just powdered sugar mixed with milk. 
I leave the cookies out overnight under waxed paper 
so that the frosting will set. 

I wrapped them up by the dozen and added a sparkly, fun ornament
to give to each family. 

I made peppermint bark, too. 
Here it is freshly poured with crushed candy canes sprinkled on top. 
I add 2 tsps of peppermint extract to 3 small bags of melted white chocolate chips.

So good! 

I broke it up into pieces and put them in cellophane bags,
then presented them in this year's version of my decorated 
candy cans. 
The Mr. spray-painted the cans dark green inside and out,
 after adding wire handles, then I decorated them with 
Christmas cards and glittery pipe cleaners. 

I used Mod Podge glue and brushed it all over the back
of the cards cut to size, then placed them around the 
front of the can and secured with elastic bands 
until dry. 

I brushed the top and bottom edges with glue
and applied the pipe cleaners, twisting the ends 
I brushed glue onto the handles and applied the pipe cleaners
by wrapping around the wire. 

I made phyllo cup appetizers with slices of brie
topped with pepper jelly and dried thyme
and baked in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. 

I wrapped up another loaf of eggnog bread and some 
of the home-made mints I made for the wreath party. 
(They freeze beautifully). 

Rather than a big, elaborate meal, we all agreed to 
bring appetizers to nibble on, and meet early in the 
day so each family could enjoy Christmas Eve 
and Day at home with their loved ones. 

We loaded the gifts and goodies and were off...

It was a beautiful, mild day and the roads were not too busy. 

There's beauty even in winter. 

Jennie and Steve's entry. 

So pretty and festive! 

Hot cocoa bar. 

Mimosa bar. 

Ice cubes made with juice and fruit. 

Just add champagne! 

Some of the delicious offerings. 

Home-made cranberry compote over feta dip. 

Corn muffin sliders with ham and cheese. 

Dried apricot, mascarpone and candied walnuts. 

Specialty cheese made with cranberries. 

My phyllo cups and eggnog bread. 

Barbecue pork with sweet-hot mustard, Chinese sauce and sesame seeds. 

These were just some of the goodies...
There were many more, but trying to get close to them to take a photo
when everyone was enjoying these delicious tidbits, was next to impossible! 


After the grand-kids opened their gifts, we posed for a photo. 
From left, back row - son Dustin (the Seahawks won the game!), wife Jen, 
me, Ramblin' Man surrounded by his gaggle of grand-boys (one of whom
is into making funny faces this year :), Steve and daughter, Jennie
with Steve's two beautiful daughters in front, daughter, Heather and 
husband, Eric, and kneeling at right front, son, Gabe, 
and left front, his wife, Erica. 

The loves of my life. 

It was a wonderful day. 

On the way home, we saw some 
lovely Christmas light displays. 
Then, right as we drove into our little town, 
someone put on a fabulous fireworks display
in their back field! 
We pulled over to the side of the road so that we could watch it. 

Then we drove through town to see the beautiful, 75 foot, live 
Christmas tree, and Main Street all decorated for the holidays.

Some of the sweet gifts I received. 

On Christmas morning, the Mr. and I exchanged stockings
while enjoying our coffee with some delicious biscotti
we received as a gift from my daughter and family. 

The Mr. gave me a lovely pair of earrings
among my stocking gifts, and one of my favorite 
Here, I am practicing
"Dolce far niente" 
Italian for 'the sweetness of doing nothing'. 

Our main gift to each other was a photo-printer 
so that we can frame our digital family photos. 
Of course, we need one of our sons to set it up for us! Lol! 

I cooked a nice Christmas dinner for the two of us 
and we watched Christmas movies all day.
I think I've seen every Hallmark Christmas movie 
at least 3 times already! 

The best part of these sappy Christmas movies,
besides the wonderful decorations and cute shops,  
are the beautiful coats, sweaters, and Christmas dresses.
The main characters seem to have an endless wardrobe 
of these, in lovely seasonal colors.  
I truly think that someone could start a business 
selling copies of the beautiful clothes shown in these movies. 
I am fascinated with the coats, especially. 
They are wonderful.  

The next day my son, Gabe took me to the cinema
to see 'Boys in the Boat'. 

He had gifted me with the book when it first 
came out. He had read it and thought 
I would like it, too.

It has a special connection to our little corner 
of the world, as the main characters were from Seattle. 
It's a true story of how a young man who 
grew up in poverty and abandoned 
by his family at the age of 14, was determined to succeed by 
getting accepted to the University of Washington
(My son's Alma Mata) and then the row team, 
making it all the way to the 1936 Olympics
in Nazi Germany. 

The movie is wonderful, but of course, 
the book was even better. 


It was so nice to spend the day with my son. 
With such a big family and everyone so busy 
these days, it was nice to have some one-on-one time together. 
And he brought my little grandson to spend the day 
with his grandfather. 


Today, my youngest son, Dustin is here helping his Dad 
take down a few dangerous leaning trees and cutting them up for firewood.
We are blessed. 

Yesterday I went out to do some errands. 
I stopped at the post office and was about to open 
the door when a young man rushed over and held the door open for me.
Then, when I was about to walk into the grocery store, 
two young boys, about age 12, were coming out of the doors
with their scooters, and one stopped and held the door for me, too. 

It reminded me that other mothers and fathers are also 
blessed and have raised wonderful sons that they can 
be proud of. 

"Our purpose in life is to help others along the way."

- Sandra Day O'Conner -

So, here we are, another year over and a new one ready to begin. 
Do you have any resolutions? 
Mine is a continuation of my dream...
to stop and enjoy each and every day. 

I bought myself a pretty, new journal to start the year. 
It's nice and big, with lined pages that stay open 
on their own. 

"Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. 
Write a good one."

- Brad Paisley -

We are planning on staying in on New Year's Eve and 
treating ourselves to Chinese take-out.

We'll spend the night reflecting on the year that was, 
and making plans for the New Year. 

The hills will be lit all around us with beautiful fireworks at midnight, 
and we will stand on the deck, raise a glass, and watch it all unfold; 
each little sparkle a wish and a prayer. 


Happy New Year, Dear Friends!

For Auld Lang Syne
(Old Times' Sake)  

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And ne'er brought to mind? 
For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
for auld lang syne. 



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