Monday, December 11, 2017

A Postal Surprise

Most all bloggers agree - the best part of blogging are the friends we make!  I'll soon be starting my 7th year of blogging, and I've been blessed to meet some 'tea and blog friends'  in person, and others through correspondence.

Last Friday a package arrived from Texas, and I couldn't wait to share its contents with you.

~ Linen Christmas tea towels ~

A Polish pottery miniature teapot ornament.  It inspired me to put up a Christmas tree this week decorated with all my tea-themed ornaments.  When it's done I'll post a picture.

~ Mints for my purse. ~

And a package of Apricot Mango black tea.  The wonderful aroma of this tea permeated the entire postal box.

And it tastes yummy too!

Thanks for your friendship across the miles, Frieda, and the nice surprise!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Pine Lake Country Club Christmas Tea

Yesterday I attended the 3rd Annual Holiday Splendor Tea to benefit the Governor Warner Mansion, held at Pine Lake Country Club.

We had our first light dusting of snow yesterday morning, but thankfully it didn't last long since I had to drive 25 miles to West Bloomfield, MI.  The tea began at 11:00 a.m.

The country club is always decorated so beautifully for Christmas.

When I was taking pictures, one of the staffers asked if I'd like to have my picture taken in front of the beautifully decorated Christmas tree.  I was so bummed because I bought a gold fascinator to wear with my outfit, but left it laying on the bed at home.  When I realized I forgot it, there wasn't time to go back without being late for the tea.

The decorated alcove below made the perfect backdrop for pictures before the tea began.

Jennifer [R] is a member of Pine Hills Country Club, and sponsors the fundraiser.  Linda [L] is on the planning committee for the event.  They were both dressed so festive.

Barb Gulley [center] owns Barb's Tea Service.  She's a tea and etiquette specialist who conducts tea tastings and seminars, [you may have heard her at Meadow Brook, the Townsend Hotel or one of the local libraries], and she is the author of Michigan Tea Rooms.  She also writes a tea blog, Barb's Tea Shop.

The food at Pine Lake is excellent, and after more than a week of my cabbage soup diet, it was truly savored!  'Starters' were mini-cinnamon rolls and slices of assorted tea breads.

Their Butternut Squash Bisque is absolutely divine.

The tea was "Christmas Sparrow" blended locally by Mary Jones, specifically for this event.

Our main entree was Asiago Chicken with vegetables.

Dessert was a decadent Chocolate covered Devil's Food cake ball with a crunchy Peanut Butter bottom.  

When the tea ended, we traveled a short distance to the Village Club [a private women's club where Linda is a member] in Bloomfield Hills, MI for their Holiday Tea that started at 3:00 p.m.   Two elegant teas in one day.  It doesn't get any better than that!  

As the Christmas song goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Christmas Present to Me from Me!

While recently reading Lady Carnarvon's blog [which is always a great read], I decided to buy her latest book, At Home at Highclere - Entertaining at the Real Downton Abbey.   It arrived in yesterday's mail.  I can hardly wait until I have time to sit down with it over a cup of tea!

~ Front Cover ~

~ Back Cover ~
 Lady Fiona, the 8th Countess of Carnarvon leaning on the balcony railing.

~ Table of Contents ~
As you can see there's a chapter on Afternoon Tea.

~ Gorgeous Color Photos ~
The Drawing Room where many scenes of Downton Abbey were filmed.

~ The Dining Room ~

The 283-page book is filled with history and lots of great recipes, in addition to the beautiful color photographs.  

~ Lady Carnarvon ~

~ Photo taken on May 5, 2015 during my visit to Highclere Castle ~

The book is available at Amazon. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas-Time Happenings

Granddaughter, Tiffany, posted the family picture of them [below] yesterday and I just had to share it with you.  I love the expression on little Evie's face.  She'll be 7 months old by the time Christmas gets here, so she's still too young to fully appreciate it, but she'll definitely make our holidays brighter and happier.

She even smiles while sitting on Santa's lap.  Most babies would be screaming!  ;-)

I've been downloading pics of her to make two Shutterfly albums.  Who wouldn't love to receive an album filled with pics of this sweet baby girl? Once I get all the pictures downloaded, I hope I'm able to figure out how to make the albums online. 

Below is my second-born child, Steve, and his wife, Sharon.  [They're always your 'child' even when they've grown into adulthood!]  The photo was taken Monday night in Frankenmuth, MI at Zehnder's restaurant during a Pastor's and Wives' Christmas Banquet. 

Steve loves the Christmas Vacation movie, and it's become a tradition at our house to watch it on Christmas Eve after dinner, the Biblical reading of the Christmas story, and gift-giving is over.   I ordered him a set of these Moose Mugs as a 'bonus' gift this year.  If you've seen the movie, you'll know the scene they're in. Susan, at the blog Between Naps on the Porch, blogged about them and gave me the idea.  She even has the Dept. 56 Griswold House as well as Todd and Margo's house [their neighbor's].  To see her fantastic post about using them in a tablescape click here.

Steve and Sharon will celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary on December 26th.  It's a wonderful milestone for them.

My hubby [aka Papa] has been busy in his workshop building a miniature house for granddaughter, Brooke.  I can hear the Christmas music playing in the basement as he works.  As you can see, it won't be done in time for Christmas, but it wasn't intended to be a Christmas present. It's in the electrical installation phase right now.  When the detail work is finished Brooke will come over to work on the project with her Papa.  Making memories is what it's all about!

So that's what's been happening at our house during these early days of December. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

'Tis the Season...

For children's Christmas concerts and unexpected packages in the mail.

Yesterday, my hubby and I drove to Chelsea, MI for granddaughter Isabella's 7th grade band Christmas concert.  It's always a joy to watch her perform.  While waiting for the concert to begin I took a photo of Papa and Ellie in her Christmas penguin outfit.

Izzy is 3rd chair clarinet, so it was difficult to get a photo where she could be seen. I'll have to talk to the band director about moving her to the first chair for the next concert!  ;-)   I indicated her with an arrow in the photo below even if it is just the side of her face.

We took photos in the 'student commons' area after the concert.

Landon was missing because he was away on a sports trip to Florida with his dad.

One of Izzy's friends saw Samantha taking our pictures and offered to take one so she could be in it too.

After the photo shoot Papa treated us at Big Boy's restaurant.  His favorite dessert there is Hot Fudge Cake.

I've been trying to watch my calories lately, so I knew I couldn't order that.  A week ago I made a 12 quart stock pot of cabbage soup that I've been eating every day.  It's like the widow's jar of flour that wouldn't run out that Elijah talked about I Kings 17:14!  I'm weary of eating it, but will keep on until it's gone.  I rationalized that since pumpkin is a vegetable, I could have a piece of pumpkin pie!  ;-)

Last week I received a mailing envelope from my girlfriend, Sandy.  Not expecting anything from her I hurriedly opened it.

Inside was a package of 'Mere ChristianiTea' from Fresh Grounded Faith.  Author and speaker, Jennifer Rothschild holds events for women of all ages, denominations, and ethnic groups in cities around the country to empower them to live a tenacious faith in Christ. Jennifer was in Detroit for a women's event October 20-21, and Sandy must have attended, and purchased some of her tea. 

I didn't have time to sample it until this morning.  It's a robust, unflavored black tea, perfect for beginning the morning.  It's packaged by Churchill Coffee Company in Springfield, MO. [A coffee company that distributes tea can't be all bad! ;-)]  The cover of the package has the quote by C.S. Lewis - "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

Mere ChristianiTea was perfect with my breakfast this morning - pumpkin oatmeal with chopped walnuts on top.  I added just a tad of honey to the tea  Thank you for thinking of me, Sandy!

It was great with my devotion this morning too - Imperfect, Yet Loved from the Nov. 30th devotion in Our Daily Bread booklet.  I was six days behind in that particular devotional, but it's as meaningful today as it would have been on Nov. 30th.  The devotion is based on Romans 5:8 "God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  I'm so thankful for that!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Rhapsody in Blue Christmas Tea

Last Saturday, my girlfriend, Lori, and I made our way to East Lansing, MI to attend Cristy Bennett's 2017 Christmas Tea "Rhapsody in Blue."  It was the perfect way to begin the month of December, and set the stage for the Christmas season.

As always, Cristy's house and tablescapes were beautiful.  A knitting group of 12 ladies sat at the long table in the living room, while Lori and I, and two other friends - Cheryl and Ann - sat at the round dining room table.  It was like our own private room.

The hour and a half travel time, put us there right at 1:00 o'clock when the tea started, so I couldn't take pictures of the living room until the tea was over.  

~ Dining room table ~

The individual menu cards were gorgeous, and ours to take home along with the snowflake box of chocolates.

The cookie bag [with a delicious frosted Christmas tree sugar cookie] was our place card.  

Cristy served a blend of Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice black tea and Cranberry Herbal tea.

We toasted the holidays with Martinelli's chilled Sparkling Apple Juice.

The first course was a Spiced Hot Fruit Compote, served with a Peppermint Chip Pinwheel Scone and Peppermint Cream.

The main course was Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo in a Pasta Shell, Caesar Salad in a  Snowflake Wonton Cup, and Blue Cheese-Pear Crostini.

The dessert course was a Santa Hat made with an Eggnog Mini-Cheesecake and Strawberry.  So cute!

All our 'goodies' went home in a gift bag provided by Cristi.  [Sugar cookie, menu card, individual floral arrangement, and snowflake box of chocolates.]

[Lori and Me - we dressed in keeping with the blue theme] 

~ Cristy's dining room fantasyland vignettes ~

After the tea was over and most of the ladies had gone, I went into the living room to take photos.

The combination of royal/cobalt blue, white, and silver truly had a fantasyland effect.

~ Living Room Tablescape ~

Thank you Cristy and David for another wonderful afternoon!  See you in April for your Downton Abbey tea.