Sunday, December 31, 2023

New Year's Eve

It hardly seems possible that 2023 will have come and gone in just a few hours, and we'll begin a new year.

Thank you for reading and following my blog this year.  A lot of living has occurred since I wrote my first post on January 24, 2012.  Whether you've been with me from the beginning or have just recently started reading, thank you for traveling through life with me and all the wonderful adventures it's presented.  

I wish you God's blessings in 2024 and lots of delicious tea in beautiful teacups!


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

More Estate Sale Purchases and a Wedding Anniversary

In addition to the Royal Albert Old Country Roses Chintz tea set that I purchased at my friend Linda's estate sale, I also purhased a 6-cup teapot in the Empress Royal China pattern.  It's the china used at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in British Columbia.  I already had two trios in the pattern purchased during one of my visits and Ebay.  The gift shop website says Queen Elizabeth and King George VI personally selected the pattern for dining at the Fairmont Empress when they visited in 1939.

The teapot looks lovely sitting on the shelf in my living room with the other pieces in the collection. The only thing missing now is the cream and sugar bowl, and for a total of $150 I can purchase them both at the Empress Gift Shop via the Internet.  It will happen!  

I also bought a unique novelty/figural Bride and Groom teapot from Linda.  She had so many other beautiful things I could have purchased, but I restrained myself.

You may recall my blog post of December 1st when I wrote about a dear friend who passed away [two good friends passed away within a couple of weeks of each other]. The family graciously let me pick one of her tea-themed treasures as a keepsake. I looked at all the photos provided and picked a teapot lamp.  It will go perfectly in my living room and be a wonderful reminder of my friend.

Yesterday was Steve and Sharon's [son and daughter-in-law] 31st Wedding Anniversary.  It doesn't seem possible 31 years have passed so quickly [and we have all changed so much!].  I wish them at least 31 more wonderful years together!


In closing, this post has taken me much longer than it should have because I turned on the television while I was typing and got interested in a great movie, One Special Night [1999], starring Robert Garner and Julie Andrews.  I highly recommend it, but keep some tissues handy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

2023 Christmas Gifts and A Movie

My friend, Linda, that I've blogged about many times, moved to the western side of the state to be near her daughter.  She lived in a house that was over 5,000 sq, ft. with a full basement underneath, and it was packed with treasures collected and accumulated over the 37 years she lived there. Many things were tea related.  She recently had an estate sale to downsize, and I purchased a Royal Albert 3-piece Old Country Roses Chintz tea set.

When my children asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I thought it would be nice to have some teacups and luncheon plates to go with it.  Since it's no longer being produced, the only way to acquire the pieces is through Ebay, Etsy, Replacements Ltd. [all pricey] or estate sales [if you're lucky to find the pattern].

This was my gift box on Christmas Eve from Lori, Steve & Jeremy and their spouses.

And this is what it contained...


I haven't had a chance to watch Season I DVD's of the Gilded Age yet, but I'm looking forward to it when the hustle and bustle from the holidays settles down.  We don't subscribe to HBO so I haven't been able to watch any of Seasons I and II on television.

Izzy gave me an adorable teacup tac pin that I'll look forward to wearing to work, and a box of chocolate covered cherries [a throwback to my childhood days at Christmastime].

Ellie gave me a tea-themed, revolving carousel candle holder and a few more chocolate covered cherries.

You really can't see the carousel very good in the above picture so I put it on a shelf in the family room china cabinet.  The heat from the lit candle causes the carousel to revolve.

And granddaughter, Tiffany, sent this book.  They also posted two pictures on Christmas Eve that I'm sharing.

~ Photo taken on Christmas Eve in California ~

This is the first Christmas since Jerry and I have been married that we didn't exchange gifts. Neither of us could come up with any ideas or suggestions, so we just decided to pass this year.  

On Christmas night, Steve suggested we all go to a movie together - minus Jeremy who lives to far away.

When Steve was in grade school, I was a para-professional library aid at an elementary school, and the students loved British author Ronald Dahl's 1964 book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".  I read it to Steve and Lori when they were young, but it made the biggest impact on Steve, and to this day he still likes it.  Willie Wonka is one of the fictional characters in the book, and the movie, Wonka just came out on December 15th, so that's the movie we went to see.

The 6:30 p.m. showing was almost sold out.  Who knew movie going was so popular on Christmas? It was definitely a first for us, but we all enjoyed the movie very much, including the British accent of the actors.

~ Brooke and Brianna in their front row seats ~

~ Lori, Dave and Steve ~

And that sums up Christmas with my family.  Was Santa good to you this year?

Monday, December 25, 2023

Christmas Eve 2023

Since Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday this year, we began our day at the 9:00 a.m. Christmas Eve service at Orchard Ridge Church of the Nazarene.  The fifth and last candle of Advent was lit - the Christ candle which was white and taller and more brilliant than all the other candles. Praise be to God for giving us the Gift of His Son, Jesus.

The Worship Team led us in some wonderful Christmas songs, followed by a Christmas message by Pastor Steve.

Then we hurried home to get everything ready for the family to arrive at our house at 3:00 o'clock.

Lori and Dave were the first to arrive, and Lori helped with last minute prepping.

Steve, Sharon, Brianna and Brooke were the next to arrive.  We were so glad Brianna got to be here from Nashville.

 ~ Jerry and Me ~

Jeremy, Sam, Izzy, Landon and Ellie arrived last.  Ellie was feeling under the weather so I didn't get a family picture of them, but thankfully she perked up enough later on to join in most of the festivities.

~ The Grands, Brooke, Izzy and Landon ~

~ Brianna, Steve, Sharon, Samantha and Jerry ~

~ Jeremy, Dave and Lori ~

After our Italian-themed dinner served buffet style - a copy-cat Olive Garden Salad and rolls, Lasagna Roll-ups, Chicken Parmesan, Corn Pudding and Broccoli Gratin served with Sparkling White Grape Juice - we went into the family room for our Christmas Eve festivities.  We didn't have our Birthday Cake for Jesus until later in the evening.  I didn't order a Cassata cake from the bakery this year, but made Chocolate Mound and Boston Cream cakes.

Every year Jerry asks a different family member to read the Christmas Story from Luke 2: 1-20 and this year Jeremy read it.

This year Steve requested something new to our celebration gathering.  Since Luke obtained his information for the writing of the Christmas Story in his Gospel from Mary the Mother of Jesus, Steve asked me if I'd share with them and the grandchildren my recollections of their [Lori, Steve and Jeremy's] birth, from the time of conception, throughout my pregnancy, and their birth and hospital stay.  He said none of them had ever heard details beyond the date and time they entered this world and thought it would be meaningful.  I didn't have to do a lot of thinking because I remembered each of their births vividly.   It's something a mother never forgets.  They were all grateful I retold their stories. Jerry and I are so blessed and thankful that God gave each of them, their spouses, and children to us to love and enjoy.

Then it was gift time.  We start with the youngest and go in order to the oldest so everyone can see what each other receives.

~ Ellie ~

~ Landon ~

~ Izzy and Brooke ~

~ Brianna [she and Brooke loved their jewelry/music boxes] ~

I didn't take pictures of the adults opening their gifts, and will share pictures of what I received in a separate post.  None of Lori's children were with us this year.  Brandon has moved to New York City, Tiffany, John and their two little girls have moved to California, but we Facetimed them during the evening and included them that way.

After our Birthday Cake for Jesus, we played a few rounds of the Christmas version of Family Feud.  It was so much fun and I highly recommed this game for your Christmas gatherings next year.

Jeremy and family had a 3-hour drive back to their home in Zeeland, and Steve was exhausted [although he didn't let it hinder his celebrating with us] from preaching two Christmas Eve services, so our evening ended around 9:00 o'clock - the earliet everyone's ever gone home, but it was a great Christmas Eve!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas Eve as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 22, 2023

2023 Whitney Christmas Tea

Today was The Whitney's Christmas Tea and 95 guests attended.  I made more favors than needed, but better to have more than not enough.

Everything went well and everyone seemed to have a good time.  There was a trio who sang Christmas Carols...

One of the guests was dressed as Mrs. Claus and wanted to have her picture taken with me.  

The photo below is some of the guests in the Music Room.   All the rooms on the first floor were used for today's tea.

~ Tea Menu ~

I didn't get photos of everything on the menu because it was so busy, but I did manage to get three.  They loved the Mistletoe Kiss black tea and I made four urns to accommodate them.

After they finished their sandwiches, they all assembled in the Great Hall where I read Tom Hegg's book, A Cup of Christmas Tea.  It's become a tradition to read it at the Christmas Tea and this is the third year I've been asked to do it.

When I finished reading the guests all went back to the dining rooms for dessert...

... and I came home to frost two cakes for our Christmas Eve Birthday Cake for Jesus.  Tomorrow is another work day at The Whitney, so when I finish this post I'm going to go rest my weary feet.  But it's been a good day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A Bittersweet Day

Today my husband and I attended a beautiful memorial service for a wonderful friend.  She knew Jesus as her personal Savior and is in Heaven now free from pain - that's the sweet part, but earthly partings [even though temporary for believers] almost always come with tears. 

I went through some of my pictures tonight and found several of my friend, Lucille.  One was taken at Christmas time several years ago in Frankenmuth, MI with her and her husband and my parents.  [Who is that skinny lady in black - I barely recognize her! ;-)]  

[L-R front row Ron and my Mom.  Back row my Dad, Lucille and me.]

The photo below was taken at my daughter's bridal shower which Lucille helped give.  One of Lucille's spiritual gifts was hospitality, so it's not surprising she was in the church kitchen working before the shower started.  

[Lucille is wearing the red sweater]

In 2004 when I was a Sandy Clough tea lady doing home parties, Lucille hosted a party in her home.


Here she is doing what she did best - serving others!

[Lucille and Me]

Perhaps my most favorite memory of Lucille [in view of her recent 'homegoing'] was in Dec. 1987 when she and her husband, Ron, and Jerry and I had a role in the Warren Woods Community Choir presentation, "Let's Make a Memory This Christmas."  They portrayed our parents and were grandparents to John Watson and Kristy Ingram. 

~ Jerry and me before one of the four performances began ~

36 years have passed since that choir presentation, but Lucille made a wonderful memory this Christmas for everyone she left behind. In the tributes given by family and friends, they all shared how Lucille didn't blame God for her terminal cancer.  In fact, in the midst of her pain she gratefully thanked God for all the blessings He had given her throughout her life.  She excitedly anticipated seeing Jesus! As I listened, I breathed a prayer that when my time comes to leave this earth, I will make a memory like Lucille's for my family and friends.

Speaking of Christmas and family...  Have you ever bought a present that you could hardly wait to give?

I ordered two jewelry music boxes for granddaughters Brianna and Brooke this year for Christmas. It comes with a lovely poem for granddaughters in the lid, but also has the option to put a personalized photograph in its place.  I opted to insert a photograph.

The music box plays "You Light Up My Life."   To put inside the jewelry box I had necklaces made with their names.

This is the necklace that goes in the little white box above.

I only have to wait four more days until I can give it to them.  They don't read my blog so I'm safe sharing it.