Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sarah and Lunch

Today was the second Bible study I recently began in my home.  We're still in the Book of Genesis, and Sarai, whose name became Sarah, is the woman we studied.  Our 'take-away' from her life is that [1] God is a God of miracles [2] Never doubt what He says He'll do, because He works on a different time-table than ours [3] Don't mess up your life with 'do-it-yourself' alternatives when God has promised the very best for you [4] God accomplishes His purposes through us despite our frailties,  lack of faith, and self-reliance.

After Bible study we had lunch - 'copycat' Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup in bread bowls [which I ordered from a bakery], multiple cups of tea [Sweet Royal Delight - a black tea flavored with butterscotch, chocolate, and caramel which I repeated from the first Bible study since the ladies liked it so well], and Chocolate Fudge Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream between layers.

The recipe for the cake is one I made many times when I was a Sandy Clough tea lady.  It's the cake I served at all the home parties, and was a recipe Sandy adapted from the Texas sheet cake recipe.   Do you remember it from the early 1960's?  Here's the recipe:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 sticks butter or margarine
4 teaspoons cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange extract [optional]

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and coffee granules.  Set aside.  In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine.  Add cocoa and water and bring to a boil.  Pour over flour mixture.  Add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan.  Bake at 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

1 stick butter or margarine, melted
4 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 box powdered sugar [4 cups]
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

In a saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and buttermilk.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in vanilla and coffee granules.  Reduce heat.  Add powdered sugar and nuts.  Mix well and pour over cake. When the icing sets up it tastes like chocolate fudge.   

Slice pieces of cake in half and put a slice of vanilla ice cream between the layers.  Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.  Enjoy!

Below is the view from my front porch this morning when Mother Nature sent a new ground covering of snow.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mystery Tea Trip

Last Wednesday, January 25th, my friend, Linda, planned a "Mystery Tea Trip" for three ladies - Barb, Lori, and myself [all participants of last fall's Michigan Tea Tour].  We had no idea where we were going only that we should be dressed for tea [wearing comfortable shoes], and be at her house by 9:15 a.m.

Turns out she had been in contact with Teresa [another Michigan Tea Tour participant from Ohio] and we were meeting at Swan House Tea Room in Findlay, Ohio at 11:00 a.m. Findlay is 126 miles from my house.  This was my third visit to Swan House - 2004, 2012, and 2017, and each time with a different owner.

Lovely 1865 Italianate Style House at 225 W. Sandusky St., where the tea room is located.

Teresa was there with her mom, daughter, grandson, and four other ladies, so we filled a room all to ourselves.

The tables were set with Blue Danube china in a vivid blue design - used by all Swan House proprietors.  Swan napkin rings held the white linen napkins.

Our tea began with a scone, and three different kinds of tea.

Afterwards three-tiered servers were placed on our table.

The bottom plate held slices of Herb Quiche, Apple Walnut Tea Bread, and Spinach Dip with crackers.

The middle place held a Carrot Ginger Canapé, Rosemary Chicken Salad Sandwich, and Fruit Salad.

The top tier held the desserts:  Signature Swan Cream Puff, Nanaimo Bar, and a Lemon Thimble Cookie.  All this for $18.95 plus gratuity.

After the meal it was time for pictures...

[L-R:  Barb, Linda, Lori, and Me]

~ Linda who planned the enjoyable "Mystery Trip." ~

When we left Swan House we went to Dietsch Brothers Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream Shop, and lastly before heading home, Jeffrey's Antiques Mall.  Amazingly, I didn't make a single purchase, but I enjoyed browsing the mall.

Thanks for planning such a delightful day, Linda!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Giveaway Winner

Nancy Waldron
Winner of the Giveaway!

My granddaughter, Isabella, is here visiting and she drew the winning name.  If you will send me you mailing address, Nancy, I'll put the teacup and note cards in the mail to you.

Thank you to everyone who entered.  The Kind Heart series has a matching teapot which will be offered as a giveaway at another time.

Here's to beginning another year of blogging!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

International Woman's Tea

Saturday, January 21st, my girlfriend and I went to the 6th annual International Women's Tea held at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

When my hubby went to Israel last December, Cynthia Khan, her husband, and her adult son were a part of his travel team.  When Jerry told her about my passion for tea she invited me to attend the International Women's Tea. She is the coordinator of the tea, as well as an executive at Poblo International - an evangelical Christian organization serving to meet the spiritual, physical, and social needs of immigrants and refugees in the U.S. by sharing the love of Jesus in practical and culturally relevant ways.  The proceeds from the tea went to Poblo International. Cynthia was born in Pakistan, but has lived in the United States for several years. 

Hostesses volunteered to set tables using décor from their native country/culture, as well as preparing ethnic foods, and dressing in their native apparel.  I don't know the table or attendance count, but it well supported and attended.  The doors opened at 1:30 p.m. and the tea began at 2:00. The theme of this year's tea was "In God We Trust."

My girlfriend and I tried to see as many tables as possible, but I only photographed a few.   We were seated at a table with an Ireland theme [pictured below].

After the Welcome, Pledge to the American Flag, National Anthem, and Prayer, the "Food Fest" began.  Empty plates were provided to take to as many tables as desired to sample the ethnic foods.  My girlfriend and I went to less than half of the tables, but it was more than enough to fill our plates and tummies.  We didn't know what a lot of the foods were, but it was all very good.

Our table hostess provided a box of Taylors of Harrogate tea bags for us to select our tea from. Large urns of hot water were provided.  I chose a Lemon & Orange Black Tea.

My plate below.  As you can see, I didn't go hungry!

The program began at 3:00 o'clock with a Romanian singer and dancers.

~ Mexican Dance Team ~

Five ladies shared their testimonies of how they were converted from the Muslim faith to Christianity, and as a result they had to leave their homeland and relocate to America.  We take our religious freedoms for granted in America until we hear stories from people in other countries being persecuted and even put to death for their faith in God.

~ Dancers from the Philippines ~

~ Russian Dancers ~

There was a Parade of the Nations [national flags], while music to "This Is My Father's World" was played.  I counted 30 flags [but I might have missed a few].  It was very impressive seeing Christians from around the world. What a great, all-encompassing God we serve!

I had to photograph the flag from Sri Lanka since it's the world's fourth largest producer of tea.

The tea closed with prayer and the singing of "God Bless America."  It was probably the most unique and interesting tea I've ever attended, and I enjoyed it very much.  God and tea span all countries and cultures, uniting all people.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

5th Blogging Anniversary Giveaway

On January 24, 2012 I published my first blog post.  Five years have sped by, and to date I've written 1,283 posts!  If you read my blog in those early days, you may remember I wrote about being a Sandy Clough tea lady [independent distributor] for A Sandy Clough Tea back in 2004.  The company wasn't in business very long [three years], but I've kept my kit intact except for the Quilters Collection.  

When trying to decide what the giveaway would be for my 5th blog anniversary I decided on a teacup and saucer from the Kindness Makes Friends Collection along with a box of 10 accompanying note cards. Sandy's things are collectible, and the teacup is in its original box. On the inside rim of the teacup are the words, Kind Friend, which is how I feel about each of you who visit my blog.

If you would like to be in a drawing to win the collectible teacup and note cards, leave a message at the bottom of this post between now and Friday, January 27th, and I'll announce the winner on Saturday, January 28th.  Regrettably, due to high shipping costs, this drawing is for U.S. and Canadian readers only.

Regardless of whether you've been a reader who has taken the time to leave comments, or if you've just followed along silently, thank you for visiting my blog!  Good luck on the drawing.

Monday, January 23, 2017

58th US Presidential Inauguration

On January 29th, my monthly tea presentation at Shore Pointe Assisted Living will be about Presidential Inaugurations, so I was sitting in front of my TV shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Friday morning, January 20th, ready to watch the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as he took the oath to become the 45th President of the United States of America. The actual ceremony began at 12:00 noon, so my cup of tea, pen, paper, and camera were beside me in readiness.

In 1981 Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President, said presidential inaugurations are both commonplace and miraculous.  Commonplace because they've routinely occurred every four years in our country for almost two centuries, and miraculous because of the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in our Constitution. Most Americans take it for granted, but in the eyes of many around the world, it's nothing less than a miracle.  With that in mind, the theme of this 58th inaugural ceremony was "Uniquely American".

The inauguration isn't about Democrats or Republicans, it's about America, and I would have watched this inauguration with pride regardless of which candidate won the election. It's a celebration of our country's great democracy, and patriotic respect for the Office. Sadly, not all Americans have respect for life or the Presidential Office, since four U.S. Presidents have been assassinated, and unsuccessful plots and attempts have been made on the lives of 14 others.

The Mormon Tabernacle choir [below], dubbed "America's Choir" by Ronald Reagan, gave their sixth inauguration performance by singing America the Beautiful accompanied by the Marine Band.  

In Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address [16th President] he sought to bring unity to our divided nation with the words, "...with malice toward none and charity for all...", appropriate words to embrace in 2017 as well.

Hatred, intolerance, refusal to accept the outcome of the election, fake news reports, and rioting will never bring our country together. The Bible commands Christians [I Timothy 2:1-2] to pray and make intercession for those in authority over us, so I pledge to pray for President Trump, just as I prayed for President Obama.  Regardless of personal preferences, it's hard to dislike someone while praying for them, and prayer truly does change things - if not the person being prayed for, then our attitude towards them.

President Trump's inaugural speech was just under 20 minutes.  George Washington's second inaugural address [1st President of the U.S.] was the shortest in history with only 130 words.

The longest inaugural speech was given by William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States.  It was 8,445 words and took an hour and 45 minutes to deliver.  President Harrison developed pneumonia after delivering it in a snowstorm and died shortly after taking office, leaving vice-president, John Tyler, to take over.

The most memorable line from an inaugural address was probably uttered by John F. Kennedy, our 35th President [1961]:  "...And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

Myrlie Evers-Williams, an American civil rights activist and journalist, was the first non-clergy woman to deliver an inaugural prayer at the second inauguration of Barack Obama in 2013.  

Paula White-Cain, who prayed at President Trump's inauguration, was the first female clergy member to pray an inaugural prayer at a U.S. inaugural ceremony.

[Internet Photo]

God bless America, my home sweet home!