Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Party

The Pilgrims came to America not to accumulate riches but to worship God, and the greatest wealth they left unborn generations was their heroic example of sacrifice that their souls might be free.
~Harry Moyle Tippett

When I think of Thanksgiving, the holiday falling on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States (and the second Monday in October in Canada), I think of the richness of its history. I love the stories of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, the Indians, and Squanto. Thanksgiving is a celebratory holiday meaningful in its simplicity: Gratitude, Giving Thanks to God, Appreciation. It's my favorite holiday.


This is where all holiday preparations begin at my haven—in the dishpan! I'd like to be one who uses the best china all year through; unfortunately, mine stays in the china cupboard and is brought out for special occasions only. It needs a good hot bath.

Next up is preparing the table, which in my world means a table pad. This provides the foundation for the tablecloth and the table settings. If you ever find one in a flea market, nab it. Do they still sell them in stores? I have not yet found one. My mother never owned one; both grandmothers did. Perhaps it's an old-fashioned thing. I have always made a makeshift one using triple tablecloths or sheets or even a blanket. This year, I finally made my own from quilting batting, an old tablecloth and an old sheet. It works like a charm.

My! What lovely photos I'm showing. Well, let's just continue in this vein shall we? 

This was what was going on right outside the dining room bay window while I set the table. I'd love to know what he was thinking as he watched me play while he worked. Up and down that ladder again and again. (We're both thankful for the amazing weather and I am especially thankful for his knowledge and hard work.)

And it was fun to play. I think the table is too matchy-matchy, though I have time to think of ways to change it up a bit. Perhaps dig out the chargers or use different water glasses. I still love my paternal grandmother's Friendly Village set after all these years.

In our world, the food is the centerpiece, though I do hope that there'll be fresh flowers in the house.

 This simple decoration...a Jack B. Little pumpkin on a candlestick is thanks to seeing something similar at Penny's Comforts of Home.
Time ran away on me again and so I have two simple Thanksgiving/Holiday recipes to share. Simple being the operative word.

1. To dress up a pumpkin pie, make some cinnamon sugar and lightly sprinkle it on top of the pie in the last five or so minutes of baking. It will make the pie look even more festive and it tastes great.

2. These yummy little treats, kind of healthful, too, if one doesn't go overboard on the cream cheese, can be made with the above ingredients: dates, walnuts, cream cheese.

They're a holiday tradition around here. Neither John nor I minded eating a few for the cause.

Two blogs have been doing a wonderful job with Thanksgiving specifics. Specificity is not a talent I am gifted with so I really admire what these gals do.

The first is Jen at My Southern Table whose post titled Holiday Entertaining Timeline is invaluable. 

The second is Cheryl at Thinking About Home whose post titled Thanksgiving: Making It Fun for the Kids discusses a subject near and dear to my heart. (Thanksgiving hasn't always been my favorite holiday.  = )

Happy Thanksgiving planning to you...

Love Vee

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Party Tomorrow!

Really, really, wasn't going to post today. (You do believe me, don't you?) Have spent a relaxing morning sipping my coffee and enjoying the mosaics without commenting (for the most part). Every now and then it is pleasant to treat my dear blogging friends' blogs as if they are magazines only. So despicable of me!

Anyway, as I was saying, I wasn't going to post today and then looked at my sidebar and gasped. Tomorrow is Debbie's Thanksgiving Party! See it? That little button there with Debbie's cute picture? I had planned to chat about it long before this. Time is slipping away so quickly these days. So tomorrow I'll be participating. Perhaps I'll share a tablescape...I've only ever done it once before...and some Thanksgiving recipes and some terrific links to blogs that are doing so well with Thanksgiving planning. I hope to make it all very attractive, too. Just like the big gals do! < insert chuckle >

Today, I'm sharing a flea market find and a new wreath. I have been looking for a youth chair to pull up to the table for one of the grands. Maybe I'll stick my daughter in it! We need more room at the table so I'm hoping that this works.

Does your kitchen have a corner? My grandparents' kitchen did and every morning my grandfather would tuck himself into the corner and listen to the news on his radio and have his first cup of coffee while Nan made breakfast. This is mine and this is the new youth chair.

It's red, it's solid as in strong, and I could afford it!

Correct! Seventeen dollars and fifty cents brought this home to the Haven. = )

The youth chair's price was about the same I paid for the wreath up there on my
finally-finished-with-the-painting door. I asked John what he thought and he said, "It's falling apart." Men! They do not get it. I think it'll work for all seasons with very minor adjustments.

Hope to see you tomorrow...

Love Vee

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November's Colors

Oh I had hoped to keep my promise to myself. It hasn't worked. I didn't get to everyone who participated way back in October so I'm punishing myself by not linking this post while still linking to this week's Mosaic Monday at Mary's Little Red House. There are just amazing things to see!

Comments are closed so that you may look and run.

Background is from Kim Klassen.

Love Vee

Taste and See

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. ~ Psalm 34:8

Leftover Hot Apple Cider with Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Hot apple cider is a very enjoyable beverage for me. I have been surprised, though, by how many of my guests have not wished to try it. Not even one little sip. Last Christmas, my brother-in-law said that he wouldn't try it for a five-dollar bill. Yesterday, at our leaf jumping party, my sister-in-law said that the mere thought of hot cider gave her "the willies." No amount of coaxing seemed to help, no amount of saying how much I enjoyed it, how warm and soothing it was going down the hatch nor how pleasant to hold the warm cup in the chilly outside air. Nothing.

Grand; John Sipping Hot Apple Cider with His Sisters

Sometimes it's like that when Christians share the Lord with others. No amount of coaxing helps. One has to find out for oneself. You may be glad to know that my sister-in-law later reported that she had tried the hot cider and liked it. The cold had driven her to it. So I encourage you, if you haven't tried hot cider, go ahead, you may enjoy it. And, far more importantly, if you've never tasted the Lord and found Him good, go ahead! You will be pleasantly surprised.

More Leaf Party Silliness

A delightful Sunday to you...

(As always, Sunday's comments are closed.)

Love Vee

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Grands Are Great!

Last Sunday, when I wasn't sure how I'd make it through the day because I was feeling so low,  I learned something quite wonderful — re-learned something quite wonderful. Grandchildren are sent just when you need them most!

My son made a wreath holder, my daughter purchased a wreath, I made an arrangement, the grandsons brought their bikes and we struck off for the cemetery.

Where I learned that activity and fresh air are antidotes for the gloomies. (I also noted that the bike seats on those grands' bikes need to be raised already. They are growing like weeds.)

When bike riding ended, we sat on a granite wall and talked for a while. Then the eldest grand said, "Let's go to Nonni's!" Oh dear. I remembered that there were ladders up, inside and outside, paint cans, nails, a regular fright show so I suggested another day. This did not compute with grands at all. I explained. Still no understanding. More explaining. Finally, Sam said, "So you don't have time for me today, Nonni?" Nearly broke my heart in two. And, though his father intervened reminding him that we'd spent a nice long time already, the gloomies settled in. 

In the end, a party was planned, which is when I re-learned another important thing. Make plans! Plans are good.

The party is today. I'm prepared more or less. Must do an apple cider run and a doughnut run. This will be one of those growing posts. When I have more pictures, I'll be popping them in.

A happy Saturday to you...

Such fun; such silliness!

It was a happy day!

Love Vee

Friday, November 11, 2011

Brrrr...It's a Novembery Day

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.
~Sara Coleridge


Hear those skittering leaves and the gentle howl of the wind?

We've been enjoying a busy Novembery day. John has been working outside and has now come inside...more on that in a bit.

This morning, he put the new siding on the cheekwall outside my sewing room. While I puttered in my warm and cozy room, he was outside in the wind and cold.

When I went outside to see what he'd been doing, I saw this little leaf in the puddle. Looks as if it has been there too long and is becoming a frog!

It even looks cold, doesn't it?

John's Afternoon Project

I am loving my new window and will show it again once the moldings are on.

Hope that you are having a pleasant Veterans Day and I hope that you've had the opportunity to thank a veteran. If one lives at your house, would you thank him or her for me?

Love Vee

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Heavens Declare

Did you see the asteroid last night? My daughter called at 6:15 telling me that it was clearly visible to the right of the moon and that by 6:28 it would be at its closest point. That sent me scurrying for the tripod, camera, and a housecoat.

So there I was after dark on the front lawn snapping pictures when a group of teens walked by. (Some of the very same teens who have been on the wrong side of the law lately.) They looked at me kind of funny (I do not blame them for this. It's not every day that you see an old lady on her front lawn wearing a red housecoat taking pictures of the sky.) I said, "Some asteroid, eh?"

They started looking around...at least they were looking up...and I pointed them to the bright, bright "star" to the right of the moon.

"Oh wow!" they said and kept on walking down the street looking up at the sky. It was cute.

l–r Moon, Asteroid, UFO, Streetlight

Last Night's Moon

Last Night's Hexagon Asteroid? Jupiter!

I'm not sure about this asteroid. I thought they were just chunks of rock, not six-sided golf balls dropping by. I may actually have to do some research: here, here, and here.

Jupiter! That daughter of mine! And I am nearly hysterical thinking of standing out there on my front lawn for lame old Jupiter. Shoot. I have learned my lesson, thanks Christine!

More on yesterday's topic another day. There were nearly as many behind-the-scenes comments that I'd like to discuss (protecting everyone's identity, of course) and perhaps in the new year. We'll leave pretty Blogland to enjoy the holidays.

Love Vee

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Voting Results 2011

Morning's news found that Mainers are a pretty uninformed lot over all. I'm so unimpressed with us. It's going to be hard to get over it. I'm feeling about the same way I felt in '08 when I woke to what faced us for the next four years and I believe my feelings were far more justified than I could have ever imagined on that sad morning.

So what have we done? We've decided to hang onto same day voting registration, which means we have the most liberal voting registration in the county. Come one, come all, come vote today. No time to check your creds. We don't really care.

Locally, we've passed the same school budget that has been voted down three times prior because we're just too tired to hold the line anymore. We'll take that grant money— thank you very much— even though it will disappear in one year's time and then we'll just add the program to our burdgeoning list of money pit items so that the tax payers can fork it over once again. I know that good education, no, EXCELLENT education does not cost an arm and a leg. In fact, the best educators I know are the homeschooling parents and the private school educators who care about basic education and have no need of the latest "bells and whistles." We continue to toss extra monies at our public school system with precious few results, but can one say, "It's not about the money, people. It's about the teacher and the support behind him or her" ? That would be no.

And so I am riled up enough to clean that nasty sewing room of mine, which is saying a lot. If I  disappear for a month, you'll know where I am.

Love Vee

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Different Perspective

And I'm speaking literally.

The projects continue outside and inside. Sometimes the projects are interrupted by another's agenda. Like yesterday when I saw my neighbor enter the garage door and so went to ask him if I could help. What did he want? He wanted to clear the leaves from the front lawn for us, but there was that dastardly pile of snow.

Thus ended my indoor project for the day as I soon found myself chipping away at snow and ice. Then I found myself dog sitting Shadow while my neighbor mulched leaves. It was the least I could do and everything looks so neat and tidy now.

Because I was hanging out with Shadow, I was able to take some photos of our home from a different perspective. I got to see what my neighbor sees. I'm so happy that his view is slowly improving.

Notice all the color that still remains toward the ravine?  We've had a wonderful extended autumn, if one doesn't mind an unexpected snowstorm and more muted colors than usual.

And if the foliage disappoints, one can always look up to those crystal clear blue, blue skies.

Thanks, Shadow, for getting me out of the house!

Today it's off to vote and finish that project.

A happy Tuesday to you...

Love Vee

Sunday, November 6, 2011


...All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.~ Psalm 139:16 NIV

I take comfort in that for myself and for my loved ones. Last year, when Nan was going through her final days on this earth, a commenter (thank you, Lea) prayed the most comforting prayer: May she live every one of her intended days.

In our humanity, my family and I would never have chosen November 6 as Nan's departure date because it is also my mother's birthday. So we're all struggling a bit with this anniversary that presents a double whammy. You'll be happy to know that we are talking about it. So important.

My daughter and I will be working on a project together trying to create some new memories for this day and my sister and her family will be doing something together that will be meaningful for them as well. And we'll continue to talk about it.

I'd also like to share something that a friend told me recently. She was probing a bit to see how I was "really" doing, asking those pertinent questions. I responded with my usual, "I know where they are and I could not wish them back." To which she replied, "Your grandmother and mother are having an entirely different experience from your own. It is all right for you to say that you miss them terribly and to acknowledge your own pain."

Perhaps at that point I mentioned that scripture teaches us not to grieve and she reminded me that it does not. What?! No, it teaches us not to grieve as those who have no hope. We have a great hope.

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. ~Psalm 119:114 NIV

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart today...

Love Vee

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tell Me a Story

Tell me a story. In this century, and moment, of mania, tell me a story.  Make it a story of great distances, and starlight. The name of the story will be time, but you must not speak its name. Tell me a story of deep delight. ~Robert Penn Warren

My grandmother was a great teller of stories. Not lies, rather the facts and impressions that shaped her world and the world of her parents and grandparents. It is a fascinating oral family history that I have loved hearing all my life.

For example, I know that my great-great grandmother died of typhoid fever. Serepta was her name. I know what she said as she lay dying, I know that she was the first cousin of the only Canadian Premier (Prime Minister) to hale from New Brunswick. I know, I know, I know so many intriguing tidbits.

My mother was a storyteller as well and so I think I come by storytelling myself quite naturally. Now whether anyone is interested in the stories...

I'm feeling so Paul Harvey-like this morning. Here is the rest of the story behind *the making of the pillow*,  written about day before last, and a bit about my grandparents' love story as first told to my sister in an email sent after she had received the pillow, which did, as some have suspected, make her cry.
                    Dear Sister,
A few years ago, when I was giving Nan her baths, *I found a stack of letters tied with a ribbon on her side table with these words printed on the top: "To Be Destroyed."

They were the letters that Jack had mailed to her through the years and, when questioned, she'd said that they weren't anyone's business but hers. I asked Mom to do something, if she could, to rescue those letters.

So I was delighted to find a few...a precious few...among the letters and cards here. Somewhere, I even have the "to be destroyed" note.

Anyway, I noticed that Jack often used the phrase you see lifted out there to close his letters: "Hope that you are well and happy, Honey."

About two months ago, I entered a contest at a blogging friend's  blog for a fabric design. Incredibly, I won, which meant that I had a bona fide fabric artist create this fabric using the images I sent her. I wanted a way to tell the "love" story if you will. The letters turned out to be chatty descriptions of Jack's days and not so much about being "love letters" after all. (You will remember that Nan spent summers between the lake and Moncton and not home in Maine. Since he was a railroad man, Jack could meet up with her at either location.)

My friend was so patient with me as I kept adding this and that or taking it away. When she had it all done, I was still feeling that it wasn't
quite right even to the point of sadness and then I realized that it wasn't quite right because the pillow did not have any reference to Mom who, as their only child, was a huge part of their love story. So that's when Mom's little girl self got tucked in as well.

You probably remember the story of their courtship...how Jack owned the taxi service and picked Nan and a friend up for a dance the first evening and dropped them off. The friend was going to sit in the front, but he said that Miss Delahunt was small and would fit better. Then he asked her if she'd go out with him sometime and she said,"Why don't you call me and find out." Cheeky little gal that Nan of ours!

He made her an offer that she couldn't really refuse...that of being able to call for a taxi free of charge at any time. That's why I really wanted to get that business card on there because Nan was certainly pleased with that.

Then when they started going out, he was very impressed with her musicality and on their first date, he asked her to sing "My Pal" or "My Buddy" which was a song about a man and his son. (Very sad song...I know since she sang it for me sometime within the last decade while we were going through her sheet music one day.) He would repeat that request one September evening in 1951 just before he died and she sang it without breaking down. When someone asked her how she could manage that, she replied that it was the least that she could do for him.

I didn't include the older picture only because I couldn't find it in time for the fabric to be done. In the end, I think the younger photos look best. The young lady Nan would have been the right age for when Jack met her; Nan with the chipmunk was taken the summer Jack was ill. I included both passport photos just to get the link between Canada and the USA, which is so important in family legend and lore. That pretty much explains it, but if you have questions, I may come up with more answers.

The back of the pillow is made with the Irish linen that Sharon had me pick up last summer. It's kind of fragile, actually, so I doubled it. I thought that it would be a nod to Nan's Irish roots. I did the best I could with making it, but don't look too close because, since I sewed it, it is full of flaws. I did bind all raw edges in a hope to keep it around for a long time. And I made it so that it can be removed and washed by hand in Woolite.

Now I have enough fabric to make another for myself. Don't know when I'll get to it...
Since my grandfather John "Jack" died before I or my sister was born, we've always referred to him as Jack just as his friends and my grandmother always did. Interestingly, he always signed his letters to her "John."

And, of course, the story has many more tendrils as all stories do. Thank you for reading...

A happy and relaxing weekend to you!

Love Vee
*First discussed *here* and proving that eventually everything comes full circle on this blog.