Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!  
I will be back in 2014...and we'll be "kicking it old school" for awhile....

Be safe.

Be blessed.

Be grateful for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Week Away

Where has the time gone?  Meant to post....really I did....but life kept me busy.  I am doing a MASSIVE cleaning/decluttering/organizing/simplifying project in my house (which my dear friend and decorator calls "The Gracious Home").  It is a HUGE project, but I am having a marvelous time...finding all kinds of things, which have been missing for ages.

Today, for fun, I got into a few cabinets (8 shelves worth) and wash, dried and reorganized.  8 shelves down today....only 18 more to go!  Plus 15 cabinets and 23 drawers.  (It's a great kitchen...the house was built in 1980 and has good storage.)
Four of the eight shelves I tackled today!

I was inspired not long ago to commit to something for the end of this year and all of 2014....Not to buy anything new (clothes, jewelry, decorative accessories unless there was a real need.  So, if my eating plan keeps working and I lose these last 15 pounds, new pants might be in order.  Otherwise, I am shopping in my closets!)  Organizing my house has shown me that we have a real abundance (stockpile) of things which are more or less unused... That's changing.  Some things we got rid of. Don't want them or need them.  Others have been cleaned, pressed or polished and are ready to go!

I am anticipating a 2014 with a lot of luncheons for friends and nicer dinners for my family as well as for our friends.  I think this coming year one of my tag lines will be "A Meal Should Be a Big Deal."  Cloth napkins, silver, crystal....Those things will be making a weekly/bi-weekly appearance, working their way into daily employment.  I can't wait to get started....

Have you started thinking about your New Year's resolutions yet?

Some of my great-grandmother's crystal is pictured below... She was born in 1861, married in 1888 and died in 1952.  Her name was Minnie Calhoun Ragsdale McMeekin.

Her mother, Elizabeth Louise Hunter McMeekin (1835-1921), was the first of four Elizabeth's in the line (my grandmother, mother, myself and my older daughter).


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Part 2

Today would have been Miss Betty's 90th birthday!  (For more on Miss Betty, check the Label list on the right side bar.  It's not up to date, but it will get you started...)

I have received some requests for the video of my walk back down the aisle where I curtsy to The here it is, along with a picture of a reenactment at the reception!

Thursday Thoughts: Friends And Family

Last night we had family over...but family that was not actually related to us.  Our church family!  I love, love, LOVE these folks.  We are all a part of a new church plant, Christ Anglican in Richmond (  We are a small group for now, but a loving group for sure.

It was just dessert...and very simple... but we had a marvelous time together.  My family is so blessed to have these dear friends be part of our larger family....

Only had time to take a few pictures before everyone started to arrive...

A little dark corner in the Butler's Pantry for those who want soft drinks

The other side of the Butler's Pantry, for those who wanted a little champagne,
straight up or with cranberry juice

Simple desserts and punch set out in the dining room

North Carolina Sweet Tea Punch (sweet tea, pineapple juice and ginger ale)

Simple, tiny cookies for any children that might drop by with their parents

Love, love, LOVE my glass plates... Perfect for any kind of party

Every time I use use these candelabra, I think of my precious grandmother

The corner cabinet and dining room table were my grandmother's as well...
Wonderful childhood memories!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday: Christmas Kitsch

Before I show you any more of my "elegant" Christmas decorations, I want to show you two of my "fun" pieces...

The Christmas tree cookie jar was a gift from my dear sister-in-law about 18 years ago.  We still love it and it is one of the first things to come out each year!  The Christmas radio is something I won at the Hallmark store last week, and I ADORE it!!!  I had just spent the week before, thinking of my grandmother's cozy kitchen and the vintage radio she had on the counter.  Then, voila!... I won this "Christmas countdown" radio!  Each day there is a cute message and there is also a place in the back to plug in your smartphone or MP3 player...for Christmas music all day long!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday Thoughts: Pictures To Come

Been so busy....haven't had a chance to take any pics, but will post some tomorrow!  In the meantime, this is one I snapped a couple of years ago...Memories of my (now grown up) babies!!  The silver bell on the tree engraved Frances is for our middle daughter, whom we lost at birth in 1994.  The bell is in honor of the famous line from It's A Wonderful Life.  "Whenever a bell rings, somewhere an angel gets his wings."  It always brings me great joy to hang that ornament on the tree....and I keep it on a shelf with the girls' baby cups during the rest of the year...where it brings sweet memories as well.

And here is an updated picture of my White House Christmas tree on the entry hall table.  I was missing a few ornaments when I photographed it before.  The tree has ornaments from the year we were married (1989) on!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cozy Christmas

We're tucked in, all warm and cozy on this icy, rainy Sunday.  One Christmas party down (30 people from my husband's office last night) and one to go (church friends on Wednesday)... Love, love, LOVE this time of year.  I'll add pictures this week of Christmas around Bellevue.  (Yes, our house has a name. And it does have a beautiful view...but it's also a bit of a madhouse at time, so the name really fits!)

Our Christmas tree in the corner of the library...
9 ft of memories from the past 50+ years!

A tiny tree on the entrance hall table with nothing but White House ornaments.

Close-up view

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Find: Worth Watching

I played hooky yesterday afternoon and went to see The Christmas Candle, and I am so glad I did!

Make this part of your holiday season.... You won't regret it.  (And remember, this is Susan Boyle's first attempt at acting.  She tries, but she does look a bit uncomfortable during much of the movie, just like Carrie Underwood did in The Sound of Music. But, like Carrie, she has a wonderful voice...and her rendition of the show's theme song is amazing! (December 8th UPDATE: Susan Boyle has just come out with an announcement.  She has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Not sure if that affected her acting or not, but I think her statement about her condition was beautiful.  It's here.)

Merry Christmas!  This is the season of the birth of our Lord and Savior.  If there ever was a time to believe in miracles...candle or no candle...this is it!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tuesday Thoughts: More On Thanks

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We did...always do, because we always spend it with dear family and friends....  Mostly the same traditions, but this time there was the addition of a new (to us) restaurant for our "traditional Friday Italian dinner."  Back on the eating plan!!

Speaking of family, have you had the chance to see Philomena yet?  Starring the incomparable Dame Judi Dench and the amazing Steve Coogan, this is a "don't miss."  Both deserve Academy Award nominations (with Dame Judi for Best Actress and Steve Coogan for Best Screenplay)!!

P.S.  The woman who plays Jane in Philomena is starring as Elizabeth Bennett Darcy in a most interesting BBC series, coming this Christmas.  A follow-up to Pride and Prejudice!  Looks VERY interesting if you ask now I just need to figure out how to see it in the US!!