Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Highlights

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Our son and daughter-in-law [Steve and Sharon] opened their home for our family celebration this year. I cooked the main meal and transported it.  My daughter, Lori, baked the pies, my granddaughter, Brianna, made some yummy chocolate chip desserts, and my daughter-in-law, Samantha made some after dinner snacks.  We all ate far more than we should have, but Thanksgiving only comes once a year, right?  ;-)
  Isn't the tablecloth pretty?  The adult table had 10 seated around it.

One of the ladies in our church made pumpkin rolls to sell [pictured below], and put her profits [$300] in the building fund to go towards our new church.   

The children's table with cute Pilgrim chair covers.

L-R:  Granddaughter Brianna, my mother, and daughter, Lori.

L-R:  Sons Jeremy and Steve, and daughter-in-law, Sharon.

Hubby Jerry, and daughter-in-law, Samantha.

Grandson Landon, and Granddaughters Isabella and Brooke.

Youngest grandchild, Ellie.

Brianna and Sharon 

Back in 1997 I had an artist draw a watercolor painting of our home.  My son, Steve, especially liked the painting, and said he'd like to have it someday.  Two years ago at Christmas I surprised him by wrapping it up and putting it under the Christmas tree as a bonus gift.  While we were there today I took a picture of it.

In my October 23rd post I mentioned wanting to name our house, and I was hoping to do it when the family was together on Thanksgiving Day.   I gave the challenge, but Jeremy was the only one who responded [it's hard to compete with TV/football games and other activities], so I'm going with the name he suggested:
Marrocco Manor
[of Memories]

Technically, a manor is the mansion of an estate, so our house wouldn't qualify by that standard, but it's our mansion.  Marrocco is the name of our street, and we brought Jeremy home from the hospital here.  It's the only house he ever lived in until he married and left home, and he's the only one of our three children with that longevity in the house.

Lots of memories have transpired within these four walls over 35 years, and as I looked at the watercolor painting I still pray the words to the song, "Bless This House:"

Bless this house, O Lord we pray,
Make it safe by night and day.

Bless these walls so firm and stout,
Keeping want and trouble out.

Bless the roof and chimneys tall,
Let Thy peace lie overall.

Bless this door that it may prove,
Ever open, to joy and love.

Bless these windows shining bright,
Letting in God's Heavenly light.

Bless the hearth, the painting there,
With smoke ascending like a prayer!

Bless the folk who dwell within,
Keep them pure and free from sin.

Bless us all that we may be,
Fit O Lord to dwell with Thee.

Bless us all that one day we may dwell,
O Lord!  With Thee!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving From My Home to Yours!

I have a large collection of turkey tureens, but I only photographed one for this greeting to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

A devotion I read yesterday stated that practicing thankfulness actually produces good health benefits.

"...Thanksgiving can actually make us healthier. Studies have shown that being thankful improves our physical and emotional health... Feelings of thankfulness boosts our immune system and increases blood supply to our heart... The habit of keeping a weekly gratitude journal can increase our alertness, enthusiasm, energy, and improve our sleep. People who describe themselves as feeling grateful tend to suffer less stress and depression than the rest of the population..."  

For several years when my family gathered around our Thanksgiving dinner table I gave everyone a little paper cup containing two or three kernels of Indian Corn.  Each kernel represented something family members were thankful for as we went around the table counting our blessings.  As the little song goes, "Count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done! Count your blessings... And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!"

"Let us come before Him with thanksgiving..."
Psalm 95:2

Amidst all the turkey and trimmings, may tea abound at your Thanksgiving celebration today!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A New Daffodil Teacup

During a recent E-bay visit, I came across a February teacup, which is my birth month. February teacups usually have violets on them, so when I saw daffodils I decided to bid on it, and I won the auction for $7.50 plus shipping.   

The teacup is made by Royal Patrician.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tea for Three

Yesterday the postman delivered an unexpected package.  Upon opening it I found a new Laura Childs book - Tea for Three an anthology of her first three books, Death by Darjeeling, Gunpowder Green, and Shades of Earl Grey.

The book includes a new foreword and 16 new recipes.  It's where it all begins with Theodosia Browning and her charming Indigo Tea Shop, her dog, Earl Grey, and Drayton, Haley, Delaine, and the rest of the quirky cast of characters from Charleston, SC.

The book will be released on December 3rd just in time for Holiday gift giving.  If you know any tea lovers and/or mystery lovers this is the perfect gift for them, and the price is right at $17 [paperback].  Or maybe you'd like to purchase it for yourself.  It's the perfect accompaniment for a steaming cup of tea.

Laura Childs is a New York Times bestselling author, so the book is sure to please.   Visit the website at for more information.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Catherine of Braganza!

Catherine of Braganza, queen-consort of King Charles II of England.   

[Internet Photo]

375 years have passed since Portuguese Princess Catherine was born on November 25, 1638, but she is still remembered.  Why?  Because she is credited for introducing the custom of drinking tea to Britain - a custom that was very popular and fashionable among the royal court where she grew up.   

History reveals that Catherine didn't actually 'introduce' tea to Britain, because Samuel Pepy's, a wealthy Londoner, made a reference in his diary to drinking tea for the first time on September 25, 1660, and Catherine didn't arrive in England until May 1662.  Tea was an uncommon beverage in England at the time Pepy's wrote his diary statement though. 

Catherine loved taking tea daily, and her dowry included a chest of tea.  She adapted to English customs, but much preferred drinking tea over ale - the common British beverage of that time.  Soon her taste for tea created a fad at the royal court, which spread to aristocratic circles, and then to the wealthier classes.  Catherine definitely  'popularized' tea in England.

As well as being important to tea's popularity, another gift in her dowry was Bombay in India, which enabled Charles II to lay the foundations for the growth of the British tea trade. The valuable port became the Far East trading headquarters, which was important to the tea trade.  

[Internet photo - Statue of Catherine of Braganza]

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Reflection...

I love Psalm 100:4 that's printed above, as well as David's Song in Psalm 9:1:
"I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart.
I will tell about the wonderful things you have done."  [ERV]

The Doxology is a short hymn of praise to God often sung at the end of a church worship service.  It was written in 1674 by Thomas Ken, an Anglican Bishop, and was published in 1709.  It was intended for morning and evening worship in England's Winchester College. I can't think of a better way to begin and end each day in the twenty-first century, can you? We have so much to be thankful for.   My family often sings the doxology as the blessing for our meal on Thanksgiving Day:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

May God Bless Your Week!

Friday, November 22, 2013

John F. Kennedy and Tea

Those living on November 22, 1963, remember exactly where they were when John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas, TX.  I was sitting in a high school [10th grade] history class when the announcement came over the P.A. system - 50 years ago today.   What a horrible tragedy!

Kim Claunch has created a John Kennedy Tea for Adagio Teas.  It's a blend of chamomile, black tea, rooibos, cocoa nibs, natural chestnut and chocolate mint flavors, and peppermint leaves. The $24 [6 oz.] tin bears the President's picture.

[Internet Photo]

Ireland issued a tea-themed stamp commemorating President Kennedy's visit to Ireland in 1963. He is being served tea by his cousin's daughter, Mary Ann Ryan in Dunganstown.

[Internet Photo]

Having tea in Ireland in 1963 with relatives.

[Internet Photo]

The fall 2002 issue of Boston College Magazine features an article with the title "How Kennedy Beat Lodge by Inviting Women to Tea."  The article states that the 1952 tea parties were carefully planned by Polly Fitzgerald - Rose Kennedy's first cousin - and were a successful effort to get the women's vote for JFK's senate race.

Most of the teas were held in large rented halls or elegant hotel ballrooms.  With JFK's charismatic mother and sisters by his side, he would begin the teas by thanking everyone for coming, and asking for their support.

[Internet photo of Rose Kennedy at the microphone with JFK and his sisters seated]

Henry Cabot Lodge said after losing the senate race to JFK, "He floated into Senate on an ocean of tea."

[Internet Photo]

[Internet Photo]

[Internet photo of Jackie with her mother at a campaign tea]

At Kennedy's request, Lady Bird Johnson took an expanded role during the 1960 Presidential campaign, due to Jacqueline Kennedy's pregnancy. Over 71 days, she traveled 35,000 miles through 11 states and appeared at 150 events, some of which were teas.  

Famous photo of President Kennedy having a tea party with his daughter, Caroline, in 1963.

[Internet Photo]

In adulthood, Caroline will be drinking lots of tea as the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Japan.  The Kennedy political legacy continues on.

[Internet Photo]

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tablescape 'Sneak Peek' and Silver Quill Finds

A friend and I will be presenting a Christmas tablescaping program on December 3rd at Longacre House in Farmington Hills, and the same program will be repeated at the Ladies' Christmas Tea at my church on December 7th.  My friend came over for lunch on Tuesday, so we could finalize the program.

I didn't want to set-up the complete tablescape on Tuesday, so I used a card table with just one place setting of the dishes and tabletop items that will be used in the program.   My silver table runners are still waiting to be made [so we can talk about layering linens], but they'll be done by the 3rd. As you recall, I shared a photo of the centerpiece that was a work in progress after I attended a bow making workshop.    

Below is the downsized tablescape that will be demonstrated step-by-step, from choosing a theme, to incorporating the five senses.

After lunch and discussing the program, we went antiquing.  I found some treasures at Silver Quill Antiques which are pictured below.

You know how I'm always on the hunt for anything pertaining to J.L. Hudson's.  The shop owner had a Little Bo Peep milk pitcher that was used for some of their children's menu offerings.  Hudson's ordered them from Hall pottery.  




I also purchased six green beverage tumblers, bringing my collection to a total of 10.  They will be perfect for Christmas.  

And speaking of J.L. Hudson's... below is a tea tin that was up for auction on E-bay earlier this week.  I bid on it, but dropped out at $31.50.  The auction ended Monday afternoon with a winning bid of $46 plus shipping.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hints for the Holidays - Part III

This post concludes my photographs from the church tablescape viewing and dinner last Friday.

The table below had an Oriental theme, complete with Japanese Sushi!

 Oriental Lanterns hung above their table.

"Sweet" is the best way to describe the table below! ;-)

Red is the color of Christmas!

Pink Floral

I loved the whimsy of this Coca-Cola table!

Christmas Plaid

The table below was the table where my daughter and I were guests.

When life gives you lemons...  ;-)

Below is the Church Cafe where we were served our delicious, buffet-style meal.

The menu consisted of a Spinach Salad, Chicken Marbella on Rice Pilaf, and Pumpkin Pie for dessert.

I had never heard of Chicken Marbella, so I Googled it after I got home.  It's a delicious Mediterranean dish made famous by the Silver Palate.  Below is a photo and recipe.   I can hardly wait to make it! 

[Internet Photo courtesy of Perfect]

Chicken Marbella

This is the famous Silver Palate recipe, slightly adapted.  Serve with Rice Pilaf.   Yield:  8-10 servings.

12 boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
Few cloves of garlic, crushed [depending on preference]
1/4 cup dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup dried plums
1/2 cup small pitted green olives with pimiento
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped [optional]

In a large nonreactive [glass or stainless steel] bowl, combine chicken, garlic, oregano, pepper, vinegar, oil, plums, olives, capers, and bay leaves.  Cover and let marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange chicken in a single layer in shallow baking pan, and spoon marinade over it. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pour in white wine.  Bake 35-40 minutes, uncovered, basting frequently with pan juices.  Place in a serving  container or chafing dish, and garnish with chopped parsley.  Can be made a couple of days ahead, as the dish improves with age.

The caterer's mother sat at our table so at dessert time she [the caterer] came to our table. She shared that the pumpkin pie was 'semi-homemade.'  She purchased the pies, but enhanced them by sprinkling a streusel topping of crushed gingersnap cookies over the top, drizzled with caramel sauce, and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.  Yum!

Gingersnap Streusel Topping
25 crushed gingersnap cookies
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix together and spread on a cookie sheet.  Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Cool and sprinkle on top of pumpkin pie slices.