Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Tea Trolley: Thanksgiving

Certainly this has been one of the fullest weeks of the fall! Last Saturday morning found us at Traders Point Creamery participating in their Thanksgiving market. We had fresh flowers, wool flowers, and mom's artwork.

We had so much fun! We all loved interacting with the people that attended and getting feedback in person is also very helpful.

Behind the table I made good use of my wonderful "airpot" and we all enjoyed hot tea (that's my new from Scotland green enamelware teapot!) or hot chocolate in my vintage mugs and I brought along a basket of my gingerbread muffins to go with it.

Here are some of the hard workers:

We had lots of visits from friends and family members which made the morning feel so festive!!!! We will be back at the Christmas Market on December 14th and looking forward to what a beautiful setting that will be!

I tried another new soup recipe this week: Portuguese soup. Something similar to this recipe but mine had turnips in it as well as a tin of tomatoes. It was a popular creation.

Our visitors this week began with missionary friends home on furlough. Dr. Jim is very popular with the kids. Maybe it is good for everyone involved that he lives so far away??? Here are the boys sporting their beards.

Grandma spent the night one evening so that Michael and I could travel south to visit friends we rarely get to see. The next morning I woke up to gluten free apple fritters on the stove. Nice!

Tuesday a friend came over for wedding flower planning! yay! Tea was a necessity.

Winter seems like it will go on forever, but in three and half months, when we do this wedding, spring will be about to burst forth in all its glory. Something to look forward to.......

I just happened to spy this tea at Meijer this week and snatched up the very last box on the shelf! YUM!!! Christina and I have been looking for an American version of the Twining's chamomile and spiced apple we love so much from the UK. This is it! I'll be buying a winter's worth next time I go to Meijer and it is in stock.

We were so happy to have a brief visit from Michael's sister-in-law and her sister as they made their way east for Thanksgiving! We rarely get to see family from out of state and the children had lots of fun making music with Crystal's sister and we all enjoyed catching up a bit.

I got my hutch changed over to winter dishes on some of the shelves (thanks to mom!) and got the bunting made just in time for Thanksgiving. Nothing like last minute.......

Thanksgiving was at our house this year! The first time for me to cook State-side. We had a lovely day with friends and family here.

Since I'm running a bit on empty, it was not surprising that when I went upstairs around 11am to grab the white tablecloths I discovered they had never been washed after the last event six weeks ago! (They were waiting for special treatment). Fortunately, there was still time to run them through before the 2:30 arrival time!

Laura was the littlest at the celebration this year.

It was fun to have one long table.

Everyone pitched in and brought something delicious. We had turkey, potatoes mashed with turnips, blue cheese green beans, pear, fennel, and leek stuffing, cornbread sausage stuffing, sauerkraut, rolls, kale salad, cranberry relish, and a root vegetable gratin.

Mom helped out by getting the kids to make all these name place markers.

The best parts of the year are always those times gathered around the table.

 I was so happy that the turkey went well! I tried a parchment paper roasting technique that left the turkey nice and moist!

Emily's chocolate tart from Jamie Oliver was the star of the dessert table.

We also had pumpkin pie, apple pie, blueberry pie, and pear/raspberry pie.

The children enjoyed themselves and we all knew when the sugar hit their systems!

My dessert plate:

Friday was quiet and I had the chance to slip away for a few hours and enjoy tea with a friend in her glass conservatory room surrounded by books and crochet. A good recovery plan!

And now I'm catching up on desk work, planning school for the coming month, and mentally switching from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD;
And to sing praises unto Thy name, oh Most High.
To declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night."

Psalm 92:1-2

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Words and Wool

I finished the baby hat last Friday and then forgot to take a picture until it was in the gift bag! I was very pleased with the results and started immediately on a tea cozy of the same pattern. It is so fun to just be knitting something simple and festive.

I'm trying to make headway on my reading:

Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower is a DVD we watched this week in preparation for Thanksgiving. It was very well done! A dramatized documentary about the pilgrims, why they had to leave England, why they couldn't stay in Holland, and what the trip was like to America. Perfect for the children in view of Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Beasley's Christmas Party by Booth Tarkington was finished just today as I was browning sausage for the stuffing. Michael is returning it to the library as I type -- it's due today! I enjoyed it. What I like in a Christmas story is either "old world" (i.e. British) or "old Christmas" (i.e. not modern). This was "old Christmas" and took place somewhere in the midwest maybe 100 years ago. It's a short story (100 pages) narrated by a journalist who has just moved to town and is intrigued by what appears to be a very strange neighbor next door. It all ends in a very satisfactory and sweet way.

Now it is time to hit the housework! The pies are baked and the stuffings prepared and tomorrow will be the BIG day for getting it all on the table! I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving!!!

For more ideas on books and knitting, visit Ginny's Yarn Along.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mondays are for Grace

"The name of the LORD is a fortified tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe."

Proverbs 18:10

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Scotland: A Cottage in the Lake District

As part of our Scotland trip we headed south and spent four days and nights in the English Lake District. Oh the beauty, history, and joy of this area! It hit me so deeply and profoundly that I will be forever different in some way.

Here is Hole House, the 16th century cottage that we stayed in during our visit, formerly owned by Beatrix Potter's husband, William Heelis, before being donated to the National Trust. The cottage itself was worth driving down for, let alone the countryside around it and all the sites we wanted to see.

We spent much of our time in the cozy sitting room with the tiny wood stove burning and a pot of tea ready to hand. The ceilings were low and the black beams sagged with the centuries. And there was a paned window to gaze out of.

The Lake District is a very wet place. And while we were there it was also on the cool side which made the fire very attractive.

In the UK, all the houses seem to have doors on every room. This is meant to help conserve heat. It also lends to the cozy feeling. I loved the ancient black boards on which the coats hung. I never see wood that old in my normal life.

And I loved the little holes in the entrance way -- perfect for the glass bottles of milk that arrived each morning from the dairy.

It was the view out back that completely captured me. Everytime we drove in the driveway I had to run out back just to see how gorgeous it was! And not another soul or house visible.

I had to take picture after picture of this, trying to memorize it forever in my mind's eye.

The kids found the barn yard to be full of adventure and took the liberty to turn the fencing posts into war machines.

Isn't this the ideal situation for children to grow up? Countryside, farm yard, outside, fresh air, etc. Too bad it only lasted a few days!

Michael enjoyed time for reading in the shelter of the entrance way.

I discovered an ancient Bramley apple tree out back and thought how perfect it would be to make a Bramley apple and bramble (blackberry) crisp with apples from our own garden and brambles from the hedgerows about.

Even with the simplest of ingredients, this was delicious! (Especially with the thickest of local dairy cream poured on top!)

One morning I heard a very loud "moo" and looked down the stairs to see a cow staring at us in the window!

There were other things that stared in the window too!

I definitely had to make use of the dairy delivery and phoned in my order the evening we arrived, ready for delivery in the morning.

Every morning I stuck my head out our window and inspected the day. It was just too story-bookish.

Another view from my open window:

And this is the food we ate the night we arrived: Karen's Lake District Soup. Since we couldn't stay the whole week at the cottage we'd sent a friend on ahead of us to use up the first few days. When we arrived she had the leftovers of her invented soup in the fridge and since there were still more ingredients, suggested I make this for dinner. Oh it was so good, and so perfect for a cold, autumn night. Leeks, mushrooms, ham, rice, cream, and hard cider. The combination is delicious!

So that is where we stayed in the Lake District. At some point I will have to post about what we did.......