New Year's Eve!

Here's a sneak peek at what's happening at our house tonight!  Colette is throwing a Gatsby-style New Year's Eve party!  There's glitz and glam and bubbly!  Full details to follow.

Christmas at our Home

I hope you had a delightful Christmas day!  It was a fun and relaxed day at our house!

In the morning, there was breakfast and present opening.

The itty-bitty girl and the big, big box!

The mystery gift was "from" me and "to" Technohubby, Colette, AND Max.  What could be inside here?

Happy with their new snowshoes!  (I bought a pair for myself too.)  We can't wait to try them out on some trails!  Now all we're waiting for is snow.  Where IS that this year?

My adorable grandkids in their new coats, which were our gifts to them.

Afternoon was devoted to naps (for all ages!) and dinner preparations.  Colette took charge of the table decor this year and went with a Scottish Christmas theme...fresh greens, tiny pears, pheasant feathers, and tartan!

-Christmas Dinner-

Brown-Sugar Glazed Spiral-sliced Ham
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Shallots
Green Beans
Cloverleaf Rolls and Butter
Chocolate-Raspberry Trifle

And now we're on to preparing for a New Year's Eve party!  A glimpse of that tomorrow!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our home...

...and our family

to yours!

Angels from the Realms of Glory

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:


Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.

Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:


All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.


Christmas Doors in New England

I love to see all the creative way people here in New England decorate their front doors for Christmas!  Here, from the last two Christmases (last year's with snow and this year's without) are some of my favorites.

Sabbath Rest

"Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye, who sang creation's story
Now proclaim Messiah's birth.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King."

James Montgomery (1816)

Blooming on Cue

Right on cue, the paperwhites are blooming!  Yay!  Success!  Our annual Christmas party is Saturday evening, and I was hoping for blooms from then through Christmas, and I do think it might just happen.

Christmas Playlist

Ever since I made the jump to a smart phone, one of the features I like best is having my favorite music at my fingertips all the time.  And never do I utilize that feature more than at Christmastime.

My phone follows me everywhere to play Christmas the small table where I bundle my Etsy orders, at the large table set up just for present wrapping, and always in the kitchen for baking time.  I organize my extensive collection into multiple Christmas playlists, so I can play whatever fits my mood at the time.  And every year, I try to add a few new ones.  

If you're looking for some new tunes this Christmas, here are the newest ones on my playlists.  My musical taste is eclectic, so there's a bit of everything.  You can purchase them on iTunes, or take a listen on some of the links I've provided.  Happy listening!

Straight No Chaser's - "Nutcracker"
(Must confess this is my favorite new-to-me Christmas song this year.
Has me chuckling every time I listen!  Warning: one objectionable phrase.)

Mariah Carey's - "All I Want for Christmas Is You"

English Renaissance & Michael Stoddart's - "Gloria In Excelsis Deo"
(Positively transporting!  I can just imagine this must've been how the angels sang to the awestruck shepherds the night of Christ's birth.)

Magdalen College Choir, Oxford & Bill Ives - "Wassail Song"

The Bird and The Bee - "Carol of the Bells"
(Fun, slightly discordant, hip you might hear playing in Starbucks.)

Michael Buble's - "Cold December Night"

Hearth Cooking

For many months now, I've been trying to attend a series of hearth cooking demonstrations, and finally, last Saturday my calendar was open.  So, off I went!  We do not live in an historic home, hence no cooking fireplace in our home.  However, I would really love to learn to cook well over an open fire in our fire pit, so was anxious to learn what I could.  The demonstration took place in this small, colonial house which was decorated for Christmas with boughs of fresh greenery.

My domestic and history-loving heart just adores this sort of thing!  The event was a drop-in-any-time and stay-as-long-as-you'd-like sort of affair, and for that I was grateful because I stayed quite a long time.  The scene appeals to all of my senses...the happy chatter of the docent, the timeworn softness of the wooden table, the deliciousness of all the tasty edibles I was invited to partake in, the aroma of wood smoke (my favorite smell in the whole, wide world!), and the simple beauty of it all.

It was a very bustling kitchen!  Everyone who attended was invited to sample: roast chestnuts, doughnut holes, bread with butter and blueberry jam, mulled cider, carrot soup, and mincemeat pie.

Mmm...the aroma!  There was a chicken turning on a vertically hanging spit.  The hanging pots contained (from left to right): white pot (a type of steamed pudding), and mulled cider.  The open pot on the hearth contained carrot soup.  And the pot covered with ashes contains a mincemeat pie.

I had never had mincemeat pie before, and honestly, I wasn't even sure what "mincemeat" was.  It was explained that mincemeat originally was small pieces of venison mixed with fruits (apples, raisins, etc.).  But as tastes changed over the years, the amount of venison decreased and the amount of fruit increased, until now it is nothing more than fruit.  Here it is straight from the dutch oven.  Quite tasty!

I would love to go back for more of these demonstrations!  Quite inspiring...and tasty!

Christmas Shopping in Boston

This week, Colette and I made a trip into Boston for a day of Christmas shopping and fun dining.  We did this last year too.  I think it may become an annual tradition! The first half of the day was cold and rainy, but we were undaunted.  We started the day walking the brick sidewalks of this historic area of Boston, peering in shop windows, and having lunch at Figs.

We explored affordable shops, a spectacular antique store that is devoted entirely to dining room antiques (china, crystal, silver, etc.), and a few truly beautiful the Ralph Lauren shop where even the stairway walls are a thing of beauty...

...and the Brooks Brothers shop, with its tie-inspired chandelier.

Then it was off to H & M, where the sales were great!  With tired feet and feeling a bit peckish, we stopped in at L.A. Burdick to refuel on their ultra-rich hot cocoa.

After a must-stop at The Paper Source (nothing like that in New Hampshire!), we headed back towards the parking structure, our car, and home.  I couldn't help but notice how all the lights on our walk were either Christmas lights, or red and green.  It's Christmas time in the city!

Bringing Home the Tree

Down some snow-packed dirt roads, we found a Christmas tree farm to get our tree this year.  An employee pointed out to us where to find the different varieties of trees.

The bigger trees were down the hill...way, w-a-y down the hill.

We hadn't even stopped to consider that the recent ice storms we've had would've encrusted all the trees with ice.

But after descending the hill about two-thirds of the way down, we found one we liked...mostly for its slightly quirky shape.

The tartan scarf came with me!

Loading up and heading home.

Decking the Halls

Decking the halls is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season!  Every year, the night of Thanksgiving, or the day after, Max hauls all the Christmas decoration boxes up from the basement, and Colette and I spend the next several days decorating for Christmas.  I enjoy the creativity that pulls raw materials from the boxes...books, candles and candleholders, ribbons, and more...and arranges them in a slightly different arrangement each year.

Colette wanted to be in charge of the family room mantle this year.  She had a plan and set to work with greens, pewter, beeswax candles, and pheasant and turkey feathers.

A little touch of Currier & Ives and she was satisfied.

The nativity scene was set up.

Love touches of tartan for Christmas!

The living room gets more formal touches.  The Victorian carolers take up residence on top of the piano.  And Christmas music stands ready for playing on the 1885 piano.

And hanging from a luxurious, velvet ribbon on my mahogany secretary is a mercury glass acorn, in a nod to the many oak trees on our property.

And even when everything else is in place, it never quite seems like the house is decorated before the staircase has been strung with greens.  Fresh roping was procured and then it's time to decide of the ribbons.  I have an entire plastic storage bin stuffed full of ribbons.

We opted to use the same tartan ribbons as last year, but adding in a black velvet ribbon too.

A wreath on the front door, and even the dog approves!

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