Sunday, November 28, 2021

First November Snowfall of 2021

Nothing ushers in the holidays like a gentle snow fall like the one that welcomed me when I walked out of work late yesterday afternoon, after serving tea to 125 guests.  Northern Michigan may have already had snow, but this was our first one of any significance.

My son, Steve, took a picture of our church last night that looks like a Hallmark Christmas card.

And I took the picture below from our front porch this morning as we were leaving for church. The snow will melt quickly as the temperatures are going to warm up, but today has been a relaxing, cozy, wintry day.  The two girls across the street even made a snowman.

I set some of the pieces inside the globe that will eventually be my Nutcracker centerpiece. Nothing's been glued down and the ballerina isn't in place yet - she'll go in the center a little higher than the nutcrackers.  I plan to glue a piece of Nutcracker sheet music to the bottom of the base, and add some kind of glittery gold enhancement to the outside of the wooden base, but you get the idea.

I went into Hobby Lobby to get a Gingerbread cookie jar for a Christmas gift and found a cute Nutcracker cookie jar to add to the theme. 

And... I found four Nutcracker appetizer/bread plates online at Sur La Table that I ordered. Just have to find spreaders and the tablescape will be finished.  I'm so anxious to actually use everything in a complete tablescape with family and friends.  I'm thinking a brunch menu will be perfect.

Hope this has been a nice holiday weekend for you.

P.S.  It is now Monday morning, but I had to add something I saw at Bernideen's Tea Time Cottage and Garden blog [click on the picture of her blog at my sidebar and it will take you to her blog].  Bernideen has an Etsy shop called BernideensTeaTime and she sells tea cozies there.  When I saw the picture of her Nutcracker tea cozy on her blog, I went to her Etsy shop and ordered one.  If you're in need of a tea cozy check out her Etsy shop.  She has them in several different patterns and themes.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving Recap

I hope you and you and your loved ones had a blessed Thanksgiving.  It was a busy day for me, but a wonderful day.  I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. and the first thing on the agenda was to bake the yeast rolls that had been rising over night.

The next thing was to get the dressing mixed and into the crockpot.  I made the cornbread and cubed it to dry along with white bread cubes on Wednesday, so it was ready for preparation yesterday morning. After the dressing was cooking, I got the two boneless turkey breasts in oven. Together they weighed almost 9 lbs. - enough to feed our group of 15 for dinner at our son's house.  Sweet potatoes and cranberry relish were made on Wednesday.

I wanted to try something new this year for the younger children - Rice Krispie Drumsticks.  They were a bit of a challenge for my first attempt, but turned out good and were a tasty treat.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

My hubby said they looked like trees instead of a drumstick, but you could tell the white chocolate covered pretzel rod was supposed to be a bone, and the finished project was a turkey drumstick.

We left our house a few minutes before noon to transport the food to our son Steve's house.  Sharon, his wife, made several side dishes to go with the food I prepared, and my daughter made the apple and pumpkin pies.  

At 1:00 o'clock we all joined hands in a circle and sang the Doxology for our blessing.  Then we enjoyed the bounty of God's faithful blessings.  No one went hungry that's for sure.

Brooke and Sharon

Brianna and Brooke

Lori and Dave

~ Juliette ~

~ Jerry, the Patriarch ~ 

John, Tiffany and Evie

Steve, Sharon's parents, and a man from church.

After dinner we played games, watched football, ate dessert, and took more pictures.  Jeremy and his family joined us later in the afternoon after they spent some time with Samantha's family.

Our clan began with Jerry and me

Daughter Lori and husband Dave

Lori's daughter, Tiffany, her husband, John, and their two little girls, Evie and Juliette

Steve, Sharon, Brianna and Brooke

Jeremy, Samantha, Isabella, Landon and Ellie

Jerry and me with the two great-grands, Evie and Juliette

The Barkey clan minus Lori's other two grown kids, Brandon and Marissa

Today was a quiet, restful day.  I won't even tell you what time I got up this morning!  There was no black Friday shopping in crowded stores, and we enjoyed yummy leftovers.   It was a great family Thanksgiving with SO many blessings to thank God for.  The doxology says it best: "Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow..."

Sunday, November 21, 2021

A Nutcracker Tablescape Coming Together

Using up some Sur La Table gift cards recently, I purchased four nutcracker salad plates and four matching mugs [haven't been able to find any reasonably priced nutcracker teacups anywhere]. Thus began my quest for a Nutcracker tablescape.

Last Wednesday my hubby and I drove to Ann Arbor, MI to shop at the closest World Market store. I saw online that they had nutcracker napkin rings and nutcracker soup/cereal bowls.  I thought they'd go perfectly with my new plates and mugs.

They had half of what I wanted - the nutcracker napkin rings, but the soup/cereal bowls they advertised haven't made it to the store yet due to supply chain issues.  They're hoping they arrive before Christmas.  World Market is a fun store to browse and I came home with a bag of goodies, but the prize was the nutcracker napkin rings and a box of molded nutcracker chocolates wrapped in foil [perfect for a favor].

Macy's had a great sale on Spode nutcracker salt and pepper shakers and Villeroy & Boch dinner plates [Toy's Delight pattern], so I ordered them and they've arrived. They have stars and nutcrackers in the design which go perfectly with the salad plates from Sur La Table.

The nutcracker tablecloth and linen napkins by Windham Weavers that I ordered from E-bay also arrived.  Both are new and never been used.

While doing an investigative search online for nutcracker glasses I discovered Neiman Marcus had a set of four on sale for $34 so, of course, I ordered them.  They're beautiful and have now returned to the original price of $68.

I ordered a nutcracker table runner and placemats [the placemats haven't arrived yet].  

E-bay is great for hard to find things and I stumbled onto some new Noritake nutcracker soup/cereal bowls to replace those that weren't available at World Market.  They were a little pricier than World Market's, but not unreasonable, and I also found some new Kurt Adler nutcracker place card holders.

All I need now are some nutcracker spreaders and appetizer plates and I'll be all set. My centerpiece will be a cloche with nutcrackers and a ballerina underneath.  I have all the supplies, just have to put it together.  
I love it when a plan comes together, and I can't wait to share it with family and friends.  I've already contacted my cousins about another 'girl's luncheon.'" 

Before signing off on this post, I thought I'd share a deja vu moment.  When I went to work on Friday I saw the hutch that tumbled over on me recently, sitting by the dumpster waiting to be picked up by the garbage truck.  Goodbye, good riddance!  So thankful for God's protection and goodness!  My bruises, black eye and soreness are almost gone.  I've SO MUCH to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Romeo Monday Club

I thoroughly enjoyed doing a tea presentation Monday night for about 20 ladies who are members of the Romeo Monday Club.

When I was contacted to speak several weeks ago, the contact person said they were a historical group, so I thought they were the Romeo Historical Society but I found out differently last night.

The history of Romeo Monday Club is very interesting.  It was founded in 1879 by a group of  Sunday School teachers, and is the second oldest women's group in Michigan.  It was originally called "Chautauqua Circle" before changing to Romeo Monday Club in 1892 in keeping with their Monday meetings.  

Chautauqua is a lake in New York and the nearby location of Chautauqua Institute, which offered a course of adult education studies that took four years to complete.  Several of the founding women completed the course.  

The club has a maximum of 40 members who meet once a month in private homes.  They host fundraising events to provide charitable donations to the community, and since 1907 have offered fine arts scholarships to Romeo high school students to further their study of fine or performing arts.

There was a brief business meeting at 7:00 p.m. before I spoke.

Renee hosted the meeting at her house, and was the contact person who invited me to speak. She and her family attend the same church as me.

In keeping with my topic, scones, fresh fruit and tea were served.  I had a yummy peach scone. I don't normally provide the tea when I speak, but I did Monday night.  I took my 55 cup urn and made the tea on site - Sweet Royal Delight, a black tea with chocolate, butterscotch and caramel flavorings.  It's a very good tea and was enjoyed by all.  The blend was created when Prince George [son of Prince William and Kate] was born, hence its name.

Each lady brought their own teacup and it was fun to see the different teacups.

It was a delightful evening, and I enjoyed the privilege of being their speaker.  It's always fun to talk about tea.  I passed out tea related quotes to ladies as they arrived and had them read them at the end of the presentation.  There was also a time for questions, most of which pertained to how tea is done at The Whitney.  I hope I have the opportunity to see some of them again there.

Monday, November 15, 2021


Happy Monday!  Before I finalize my notes for tonight's presentation to the Romeo Monday Club [I hope to take pictures], I thought I'd write a quick blog post from the weekend.

I made tea for 104 guests at The Whitney on Saturday - one bridal tea and two seatings for Mansion Tea.  It was a busy day!  We have so many bridal teas these days.  They've become a lot more popular than brunch.  I'm always too busy to take photos, but there've been some lovely tea-themed tablescapes by those hosting the event.  One of the servers [whose name also happens to be Kristin] took photos of the tea last Saturday and sent them to me.

Each lady in attendance received a teacup in a lovely round box to take home along with a teapot or teacup shaped decorated cookie.  The floral centerpieces were in teapots and were given away as prizes.

When I got home from work I set my own table for Jerry's 75th [and Steve's 52nd] birthday dinner.  There were 10 for dinner.  It was dark outside when I took the pictures [it's pitch dark at 6:00 o'clock now with the time change], hence the dark living room in the background. The menu was seafood lasagna [shrimp and crab], chicken casserole [for the non-seafood eaters], corn pudding, and toss salad.  Dessert was a version of Boston Cream pie made in cake layers instead.  

I was too busy to take pictures of the family after they arrived, but we had a great time together.  We sat around the table talking for over three hours after eating.

Landon shares the same birthday with his Papa, but his dad took him to a football game in Las Vegas for his birthday present [Raiders vs. KC Chiefs].  While we were eating dinner Jeremy sent his well-wishes to everyone via a text and included a picture of Landon enjoying the pool at their lodging.  The temps were in the 80's compared to our 39 degrees and snow flurries!  I think it's safe to say Landon had a very nice 13th birthday!

A friend who lives in California, and was a Sandy Clough tea lady in 2004 with me, posted pics from a fundraiser tablescaping event she participated in.  She set three tables and her Gingerbread House table took third place.  The pics are so cute I had to share them.  As much as I'd like to, I'm NOT going to start collecting gingerbread themed dishes and linens.  Will someone please hold me accountable to that statement! ;-)

The dishes are by Sandy Clough but were not a part of the sales kit.  She designed them before she started her company.  I have the teapot and cups and saucers, but not the dinner plates.  I love the candy cane handles on the teacups.