Sunday, December 8, 2019

Cristy's French Cottage Christmas Tea

Cristy Bennett came out of retirement to host a few French Cottage Christmas High Teas in December.  My girlfriend, Lori, and I traveled to East Lansing yesterday for the first one of them. Like all her other teas, it was a delightful experience and stimulated all the senses.

The outside of her cottage-style home was whimsically decorated for Christmas and set a fun stage.

Inside everything was elegantly decorated in beautiful shades of French country pink, mauve, white and silver - a real fantasyland.

I'm glad Cristy let me be a shutterbug!  There was SO much to photograph.

Lori and I knew in advance that the color scheme was going to be shades of pink, so we dressed accordingly.

I discovered Noel is a French word originating from Latin meaning birthday.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!

That's the end of her beautiful living room.  Now here's the dining room.

Cristy also decorated her year-round sunroom and first floor bathroom, but I didn't photograph them.
Her tablescape and menu was just as stunning as her room decorations!

The beautiful menu cards, doilies containing Dove chocolate candies, and mini-floral arrangement of two white carnations and a pink rose were ours to take home.

At the base of every water glass was the name of the person who'd be sitting there.

Our tea began with a toast of chilled sparkling Cranberry-Apple Juice.

Our tea was a blend of two Harney & Sons black teas - Cranberry Autumn and Hot Cinnamon Spice with a splash of Orange Juice added.

The first course consisted of Cristy's signature pinwheel scones [Cranberry Orange] and a cup of Noel French Chestnut Soup.  Love the pink poodle spreaders for Devonshire cream.

The main course was Chicken Puff Pastry Pot Pie, Apple-Cucumber Slaw, and homemade Cranberry-Orange Sauce. It was served on Cristy's grandmother's French Limoges china.

Dessert was Peppermint Brownie Teacup Trifle.  Everything was delicious!

Here's the couple who made it all happen... David & Cristy with their dog, Soapy.

What a wonderful way to usher in the Christmas season!  Thank you David & Cristy!

Friday, December 6, 2019

A Well Deserved Surprise

Before our son, Steve, went into full-time Christian ministry, he was a high school history teacher.  Even though he's a Senior Pastor now, he still substitute teaches occasionally to keep an outreach presence in the community.  He's on the high school baccalaureate committee, and was recently one of the grief counselors at the high school when a student committed suicide.  In recognition of his service, the Romeo school administrators surprised him yesterday by honoring him during a Romeo/Washington Chamber of Commerce event.  

His father and I are filled with gratitude as we watch him shine for Jesus in a hurting world that needs to hear the Good News that Jesus came to earth to give.  

On another subject, the residents at the assisted living facility asked me to repeat my Lucille Ball presentation when I was there for their monthly tea on Nov.  24th.  I did it for them in 2015, but there's new residents since then. Two ladies from The Daughters of Isabella [a Catholic ladies' organization] sat in on the presentation because they want me to do Lucy for their group in 2020.  They sent me the pictures below yesterday.

I LOVE chocolate covered cherries.  They go back to my childhood when I used to get a box every year for Christmas.  With the Christmas holidays approaching, I found Cella's cartons containing three chocolate covered cherries for each resident.  It was perfect to represent the episode of Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory.

Now I'm working on December 29th's presentation Images and Memories of Christmas - the Nutcracker, caroling, Christmas trees, the manger, a candlelight church service, Santa, reindeers, elves, and so many other things. What makes you think of Christmas? 

It's said deaths come in threes, and it's proven true recently... a high school classmate, a good friend we attended church with until our paths went in different directions, and a girlfriend's mother.  A cloud of gloom could prevail, but I recently read something that softens the sting for a Christian believer. 

Day 5 of the Tea Advent Calendar featured Dragonwell Green Tea - one of China's very best  green teas.  The taste was very smooth and delicate with no vegetal or grassy taste.  Best of all, the pale green liquor yielded more than one delicious steep.

Just as the month of December is getting underway with all its Christmas activities, my Tea Time magazine for January/February 2020 arrived in the mail.  I'm not ready to welcome 2020 just yet, but I did enjoy the article about Julie Andrews and her lifelong habit of tea drinking.

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Tea Advent Calendar

I've never had a Tea Advent Calendar before, so it's been a fun experience each morning opening the compartment containing a new tea for the day.

Day 2 was Vanilla Rooibos.  Rooibos is a caffeine-free herbal tea, also known as red tea grown in South Africa.  To me, rooibos is an acquired taste and my taste buds aren't quite there yet, but I drank it anyway because it's very healthy.

Day 3 was English Breakfast - a popular, robust black tea guaranteed to get the morning off to a good start.

This morning's tea [day 4] was Chestnut Tea - my favorite so far.  When I opened the package a wonderful aroma wafted out.  It's a black tea with chestnut flavoring - perfect for the holidays.

On another subject... in October I saw a gold shears bangle bracelet by Lux Additions advertised on Facebook.  I thought it would make a perfect Christmas gift for my beautician. It was comparable in price to the Luca and Danni bracelets, so I ordered one on October 31st.  They billed me promptly the same day, but I waited and waited for its arrival.  The two Luca and Danni bracelets I ordered for Christmas gifts arrived within a week, but I think the shears bangle bracelet literally came by a slow boat from China!  It finally arrived yesterday.  I'm not sure of its quality, but it will be a cute extra with her cash gift.

How's your Christmas shopping progressing?