Merry Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas from Charlie and Jo and Sug to all our followers and readers. We have some trips planned for the new year in addition to projects that we hope will have a helpful tip or two.

The Christmas Family

Thanks for all your comments and questions. I look forward to continuing our conversations.

Have a Blessed Christmas today, tomorrow, and throughout the year.


What are you grateful for?


5 Days Until Christmas

Final choir rehearsal tonight for 2 Christmas Eve services. After those services both Charlie and I can relax and enjoy Christmas.

I’m the gift buyer and wrapper in our family.

All my gifts have been bought and delivered.

I’ll work on something like this.

Now I need to finalize the Christmas decor, mantel, tablecloths, etc.

The dining room where we’ll enjoy Christmas dinner.

Happily we’ve been invited to a large Christmas dinner with friends. We just have to provide some music.

What is your favorite holiday food?

First Party of the New Year

Tonight I had a notion that we should have a get-together early in the New Year.

Popovers are an easy party food.

A couple years ago we had a New Year’s morning party where we served only popovers and beverages.  It was a hit and easy to pull off.

Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th.

But I don’t like to repeat parties exactly the same from previous ones so I looked more closely at the calendar.  Actually my first action was to get Charlie and Sug on board.  The three of us are a great entertaining team.

This image of the Magi traveling in the desert can help me with a color scheme.

So January 6th is Epiphany, the feast day that commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.

The Adoration of the Magi by Albrecht Durer

We’re planning to invite people from many different constituencies. Design themes might include stars or camels or gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I’ll try to come up with something.

Galette des Rois — puff pastry with almond creme.

I also like to find out if there is one special food that is unusual and unique to the event.  In Europe Epiphany is often celebrated with galette des rois, or King’s cake.  Unlike the king cake used at Mardi Gras, this king’s cake is a puff pastry tart filled with almond creme.

These three Kings will figure in the decor.

I have less than 3 weeks to get this party planned. I need to put myself in high gear.

Do you party at the New Year?

I Wasn’t Sure about a Christmas Tree This Year

Yesterday evening Charlie drove up to the house with a Christmas tree on top of his car.

The top of the tree is at the bottom of the photo.

He had stopped by Home Depot and picked out just the right balsam fir. He’s much more selective than I am.  I get tired of looking and I’ll take the next one. Charlie will look at every tree for form, height, and proportion.

Sawing the bottom of the tree.

He cut a small slab from the bottom of the trunk to allow the tree to soak up more water.

A tall, slender tree.

Then we propped it up in a bucket of water on the porch.  I’m hoping Charlie will set up the tree in the living room while I’m at work.

Do you have a tree? Real or artificial? Cut it yourself of choose it from a tree lot?


We made advent wreaths yesterday just in time for the first Sunday in Advent.

Charlie lit the first purple candle in our wreath.

The theme for the first Sunday is Hope.

The advent wreath made by our youngest guest was used today for the first time.

Hope keeps us going.  Wishing great hope to everyone.

Are you hoping for something special?

Setting Up the Wreath Factory

It seems we’re still having a wreath-making party today even though may invitees have called out sick.  I can totally understand their dilemma.

Getting ready to wreath.

Charlie has set up the card tables as work spaces and all the ingredients are ready.

Recipe for 1 dozen muffins makes 6 dozen mini-muffins.

The soup is simmering and muffins are in the oven.

One for me, one for a friend.

Hoping the healthy ones who show up will consider making two advent wreaths: one to have and one to give.

First Sunday of Advent starts tomorrow. How to use an advent wreath can be found here with pertinent scripture and devotionals.

Hoping your weekend is full of joy.

The Season Begins

Today is the day we begin to bring Christmas decorations down from the attic.

Top of the attic steps — The Christmas Collection

Over the next week or so we’ll be decking the halls with boughs of holly and other evergreens.

This year’s theme.

Bears and bows and boughs and balls.

2014’s blue Christmas

I’ll start with the mantel as soon as I finish writing the narration for 3 Christmas programs (which I have not yet started).

What’s hanging over your head?