Sunday, December 31

Seven Swans-a-Swimming

Miss Margaret Waters and her sister Mary were quietly at work in their cottage in the village street.  They sat, one on each side of the big round table in the living room, penning their Christmas cards in meticulous copper plate.  Music tinkled from the large old-fashioned wireless set on the dresser by the fireplace, vying with the noise of the bells outside.  Mary's grey curls began to nod in time to a waltz, and putting her pen between her teeth, she rose to increase the volume of the music."

Miss Read

We had our simple Nativity Pageant today and, thankfully, it was a success.  The children were so cute...  especially the darling little baby in the manger.  The church school teachers had a little party for the children afterward, which was great fun!

We always have Saint Basil's Bread on the Sunday closest to New Year's Day.  There is a nickle hidden in the bread from the nuns who bake the breads and Father John adds a special gold coin to each loaf, as well.  I love opening the boxes to see what design the nuns chose for the top.  It is always different!  There were a few extra slices of bread left this year, so I have been able to enjoy it lightly toasted with butter (such a decadent treat!).

We decided (once again) to have our New Year's Eve celebrations after Vespers using the Netflix countdowns.  It is nice to be tucked into bed before midnight, due to the Saint Basil's Day Liturgy that always happens on January 1st.  This year we went all out with masks, glittery 2018 numbers, and little crowns.  It's a lot of fun to make a big deal out of these things and see the Trio's excitement! 

2017 Books

 1.  Greenbanks
 2.  Miss Buncle's Book
 3.  Belgravia
 4.  Miss Buncle Married
 5.  Pride and Prejudice
 6.  The Thirteen Days of Christmas
 7.  The Two Mrs. Abbotts
 8.  Emma
 9.  Good Evening, Mrs. Craven:  The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Brown
10. The Handmaid's Tale
11.  Jane, the Fox, and Me
12. All Creatures Great and Small  
13.  Enchanted April
14.  The Bird in the Tree 
15.  Ethel and Ernest
16.  Nurse Matilda 
17.  High Rising
18. The Home-Maker
19.  Mother Maria Skobtsova:  Essential Writings
20.  The Making of a Marchioness
21.  Few Eggs and No Oranges
22. Carrie Pilby: A Hilarious and Charming Story
23. Humans of New York Stories
24. Queen Lucia
25. Kilmeny of the Orchard
26. The Accidental Tourist
27. Sense and Sensibility
28. The Shopkeeper's Home
29. The Maytrees
30. Miss Mapp
31.  Kitchen Essays
32. Emily of New Moon
33. Emily Climbs
34. Emily's Quest
35. Women in This Town
36. Miss Marple:  The Complete Short Story  
37. French Country Cooking:  Meals and Moments from a Village in the Vineyards
38. Village Diary
39. Winter in Thrush Green
40. News From Thrush Green
41. Battles at Thrush Green
42. Return to Thrush Green
43. Gossip from Thrush Green
44. Affairs in Thrush Green
45. What She Ate:  Six Remarkable Women and the Food that Tells Their Stories
46. A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse
47. Home Fires: Spitfire Down
48. Esperanza Rising
49. At Home in Thrush Green
50. The Girl Who Drank the Moon
51.  Thornyhold
52. The Year of Magical Thinking
53.  Blue Nights
54.  Wonder
55. Friends at Thrush Green
56. No Holly for Miss Quinn
57. Village Christmas
58. Pientre Claire Basler
59. Snow and Rose
60. Celebrations at Thrush Green
61.  The Year at Thrush Green

2017 Knitting

Crowns for the Three Kings


Before I started to recall the things that I had knitted this year, I thought that it would be a pretty underwhelming list.  To be sure, I knit mainly small things this year (mostly dishcloths and socks), but I am proud that I was able to conquer the fear of knitting socks.  I have to admit that I mostly like sock knitting and will continue to try to improve my skills. I'd like to try to knit twelve things again this year (especially a Ramona Light Cardigan).

Saturday, December 30

Six Geese-a-Laying

Together, the three trimmed the hall and parlor and great dining room with shining holly and evergreen, lay fires ready for kindling on the hearths that had been cold for years, and made beds fit for sleeping all over the house.  What went on in the kitchen, only Dolly could tell.  But such delicious odors as stole out made Grandma sniff the air and think of merry Christmas revels long ago."
Louisa May Alcott


I braved the crowds at the grocery store today after a hearty breakfast.  I prefer to not shop on weekends when shops are at their busiest, but that couldn't be helped today.  It felt good to be back in the kitchen after a few days away from home and great to be making one of our favorite meals:  chicken stew and biscuits.  It's such a warming meal on a cold winter's day.

I cast on to three crowns for the Wise Men in our Nativity pageant tomorrow.  I used the Circlet Crown Pattern and found that it was quite easy to follow.  Thankfully I was able to complete all three and even get to bed at a decent hour.  Sugar Plum gathered up some vessels for the Wise Men to carry and I also put together some headbands for the sheep to wear.  I'm looking forward to seeing the pageant and hope that the children have fun!

Friday, December 29

Five Golden Rings

Anne was already tasting Christmas happiness.  She fairly sparkled as the train left the station.  The ugly streets slipped past her...  she was going home...  home to Green Gables.  Out in the open country the world was all golden-white and pale violet, woven here and there with the dark magic of spruces and the leafless delicacy of birches.  The low sun behind the bare woods seemed rushing through the trees like a splendid god, as the train sped on."


We left for home after popping into Granfather's church for a few minutes, eating an amazing breakfast at the bagel place, and scooping up a few great deals at the mall.  I hate leaving my sisters and parents, but it is good to see my husband after being away.

Thursday, December 28

Four Colly Birds

The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting."

Lousia May Alcott

It was bitterly cold when we woke up this morning and prepared for our day.  Breakfast at Grandfather Bear's favorite diner was the first order of business, and then we drove over to my parents' house to see the aunts, uncles, and cousins.  It was so good to see everyone and give them hugs and kisses!

The drive to my aunt's house was enhanced by good chats with my sweet sisters.  Two of them drove in with us.  Juliana even agreed to battle city driving for me, so I got to spend a little time knitting in the back of the van.  I relish the time that I get to spend with my grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and I know that my children love to see the cousins they don't see very often.  My aunt always orders Chinese food from Kum Kau and it is one of my favorite meals of the year!

The time always goes much too quickly and before I knew it, it was time to head back to my father-in-law's.  We'll be driving back home tomorrow, and though it will be so good to see my darling husband again and sleep in my cozy bed, I will miss everyone so much.

Wednesday, December 27

Three French Hens

And now it was time for Mother to go down to the large parlor and light the Christmas tree.  Then it was really Christmas.  Astonishing, how it could see just as solemnly wonderful year after year, Mother thought.  In the big fireplace a large blaze of resinous pine knots cast a flickering red light across the pine-paneled walls that were smooth as silk to the touch and mellow with age, and brightened the gilded pictures frames and the old brown bookbindings with the faded gold printing.  The candles on the Christmas tree and the candles in the two old chandeliers that had once hung in a church were mirrored in the windows, where the night pressed blackly against the panes.  There was the good odor of fir boughs and melted wax, of lily of the valley, and of hyacinth."
Sigrid Undset 

After a quick (but civilized!) breakfast, the Trio and I headed up to visit our dear family.  We spent several hours driving and decided to have our lunch at the mall near our destination.  Everyone chose something different:  a medley of different Chinese foods, salad topped with apples, chicken, bacon, and feta, and a steaming dish of crisp french fries dripping with cheese and bacon.

We had a lovely visit with Grandfather Bear when we arrived, and then some friends came for dinner with their sweet little daughter.  We had a good time catching up with them in Grandfather's cozy home.  

Tomorrow brings another adventure:  Brooklyn for our family's annual Christmas party!

Tuesday, December 26

Two Turtle Doves

...In the bat-black, snow-white belfries,tugged by bishops and storks.  And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea.  It seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our fence." 

Dylan Thomas


We began the day breakfasting on fried eggs, bacon, and toasted rolls.  The boys built a Kapla block table (with a Magna-Tile top) while I cooked and ate their meal on that.  Our daughter was thrilled to discover that he favorite show, When Calls the Heart, had a special Christmas episode, and so she watched that while wrapped in one of her favorite gifts, a cozy evergreen colored bathrobe.

We took Uncle Greg and Auntie Danyella to see the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi.  I am not really a fan of these types of films, but I have to say both my daughter and I enjoyed the film.  I think that story-line has improved a bit.

Next of the agenda is to prepare for a little Christmas getaway to see family tomorrow! I'm looking forward to it very much!

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Tucking Ruthie into her little bed, Mama whispered, "The folk shall have their Christmas tree, and you shall be the heavenly angel this year."
Ruthie fell fast asleep, but Mama sat long by the firelight sewing as fast as her nimble fingers could move."
Gloria Houston 
Christ is Born!  
Christmas Day was lovely this year.  The children opened their stockings prior to Liturgy and after we got dressed in our Christmas finery, I had a bit of time to mix the dough for our annual Christmas bread.  We ate snacks and opened presents once everyone from church left, and the children watched The Nativity Story with their papa while I prepared the Christmas feast.  We ate and visited with some of our relatives and enjoyed Christmas Night Vespers in the candlelit quiet of our little chapel.  I always try to drag Christmas Day out as long as possible and so I didn't climb into bed until long after midnight.  I'm so glad that we have eleven more days to celebrate the feast!

Monday, December 25

Christ is Born!

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, 
 Has shone to the world the Light of wisdom! 
 For by it, those who worshipped the stars, 
 Were taught by a Star to adore Thee, 
The Sun of Righteousness, 
And to know Thee, the Orient from on High. 
 O Lord, glory to Thee!

Sunday, December 24

Christmas Cookies

 Every few years I get the urge to bake Christmas cookies.  This year, I got all of the recipes from the King Arthur Flour Website.  There are the types of cookies I made:

Our Christmas Menu

 After Liturgy Appetizers
Pinwheel Sandwiches
Vegetables and Dip
Fruit Salad
Christmas Chocolate 

Christmas Dinner
Roast Beast with Onions and Carrots
Roast Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Buttered Peas and Sauteed Mushrooms
 Christmas Bread and Butter
Sparkling Apple Cider

Christmas Cookies 
Coffee and Tea

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