A Haven for Vee

Monday, December 30, 2019

Happy New Year, Too!

A compassionate open home is part of Christian responsibility, and should be practiced up to the level of capacity.

Francis A. Schaeffer

This quote really doesn't apply here because I love my family and I was thrilled to have them all in my home on Christmas Day. The wee haven may have been bulging at the seams, but it was all good and I enjoyed myself tremendously. This post is mostly for documenting purposes so don't feel that you have to read when you have better things to do.






The bubble over my niece Kea's head says You're going to jump, aren't you?
Gearing up

Phew! Thought better of it..

What is it?
Joel (Little E's dad), Little E, Kim (Little E's grandmother), Jake

What is it?!

Oh! A blue dinosaur. (The best photo and I blew it. Oh well, Little E was very pleased with his new friend.)

Of all the people here, I didn't get my daughter Laurel's picture. She arrived the day before Christmas to help me clean and set up for Christmas Day. 

Yes, I am sending a secret message. ☺

She took me for my treatment on Friday last.

Laurel studies the menu at 99

She hung with me all afternoon when I'm sure that she had better things to do. It's nice to have company for that process. Before you ask, I am doing well, my doctor is pleased, and I feel pretty good most of the time. Oh, and my hair is growing back. Yay!

Many blessings to you and yours in 2020!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Merry Christmas, Darlings!

The wonderful bloggers I visit and who visit me are among the most loving, generous, incredible people I know. I wish that I could send Christmas cards...I can peck words out on the keyboard, but writing is a challenge. So is everything I do actually. When one doesn't have much use of the dominant hand...oh my! You should see the wrapping. Hilarious! γƒ„ 

So that is my excuse for not sending Christmas cards this year. I am working on sending e-cards so don't ignore that notice if it should arrive in your inbox. 


Noted on the back: "Christmas 1955 At least the cat took a good picture." Ouch!

Look what I found recently. It is a vintage photo from Christmas 1955. I am almost two years old happily reading my book. The interconnection of family is interesting to note. My grandmother is helping me hold the book, my mother is holding me, and my mother's grandmother is holding her arm. 

Then there are the neighbors. Dear friends. This little boy has been featured on the blog before here and as an adult here (in the collage at the end).


Oh my, it smells good around here. Abby made me a beautiful Maine potpourri with fir, pine, cedar, winterberries, and seashells, so fresh and clean!

 In case my kitchen windowsill is getting boring...My daughter-in-law's kitchen windowsill

Son and family's Living room fireplace and mantel

The grandsons chose this year's tree

Love the vignettes that Michelle creates in vintage suitcases. Note the snowman roasting a marshmallow over the candle.

A favorite print at my sister's home

Sister says that she isn't done. Looks done to me...she has even placed our dad's cap in the tree...unique, meaningful, and fun!

In case, I am not back before December 25, do have a blessed and wonderful day. The Lord is with us and there is nothing better or more worthy of celebrating.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

One Box

First of all, thank you for your thoughtful comments on the last post. I learned some things! You know how much I enjoy the opportunity to cogitate a spell.

I was so pleased that my daughter Laurel put up a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Some years, she thinks it is just too much. The difference between Laurel and me is that she is not a homebody and I am.  

Her cats were very impressed with the tree and I am sure that there will be a lot of batting of ornaments in the days to come. All ornaments are cat-proof.

Isn't it amazing that she can store all of her Christmas things in one box? One box! I shall not mention how many boxes of stuff I have and I won't  ask you either. ッ

↑A photo shared on Instagram. Though I try not to use duplicate photos, I wanted to share the interesting program I was watching: A Victorian Christmas aka  A Proper English Christmas. (Thanks, Cathie!) I watched it on Amazon Prime. The lengths those Victorians went 
to celebrate Christmas. Anytime the lady of the house, in her long skirts and dainty boots, is stomping about in horse manure proves her devotion.

Have you tried the Peppermint Tootsie Roll Pops? Very refreshing.

It is fun to style the only "mantel" I have. This is what it looks like this year.

Tweaking, tweaking, always tweaking. No, I did NOT eat all the Peppermint Tootsie Roll Pops. They've been moved to the kitchen table.

I am very thankful to my neighbors who are sharing lots of lights... It sure is pretty around here in the evenings, especially at the blue hour.

Okay, I am certain that even I have overdosed on this tree; however,  I would like to share my secrets what I do. 

1.This is the second year that I have used Brenda's suggestion for creating cohesiveness for the tree. She uses red, but one can use any color ornament that reflects 
light—silver, green, blue–I used gold. These are placed inside the tree and really don't show up all that much except that they reflect the light. If you check the link, you'll see that my rememberer is not remembering so clearly. For whatever reason they are used, I really like the method.

Moving right along...2.I read a suggestion from the White House Christmas decorators who suggested using a short hanger for ornaments instead of longer ones. It has the effect of putting the focus entirely on the ornament instead of introducing a distraction. 

3. Burlap is still my favorite garland for the light it allows through. It used to be more of a pain because strips of burlap would have to be cut. These days, I just pick up burlap ribbon with my Hobby Lobby coupons making it pretty economical. It also tames down a fussy tree like this to one that better suits the rustic environment. I like elegant rusticity. 

4. I love the old-fashioned tinsel, but have zero patience for it, especially the new flyaway variety. So all my adult life I have used crystal icicles. The first sets came from Silvestri and were quite pricey for me in those early years. I bought more just recently and they were more reasonably priced...cheap even. This selection has two lengths, which surprised me at first, but works out quite well in practice.


Is there anything that you are doing differently with your tree this year? Have you ever done a Charlie Brown tree? I am thinking that I could give it a whirl next time. That whole one box thing is appealing.

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Secret of Christmas

Do you remember this song from the good old days circa 1959 when it was written for Bing Crosby? (What? You weren't even born yet? Goodness I am growing old.) I still love Crosby's smooth, warm voice and so listen to a lot of his Christmas music. Yes, I am most particularly fond of some secular Christmas music and this song ranks high. It may be the discussion my mother had with me when I found her shedding tears while listening to it. My mother was a sensitive spirit married to a way less sensitive one, which explains a lot about the marriage and my childhood.

Anyway, in the end, the song says that the Secret of Christmas is not the things that you do at Christmastime, but the Christmas things you do all year through.

Now on the face of it, THAT is not the secret of 
Christmas — or is it? I might be able to make a case for it because The Child Who came to us is NOT a secret. No, the story is told from Genesis to Revelation and preachers have been telling the story for centuries, not to mention those pesky bloggers who just keep sharing their faith when what people really want is a pretty picture or a new recipe. ☺

Once again, this Christmas is not shaping up to be the most perfect one ever. All the same conditions that existed before are still with us. And that is why it is good to remember that the entire reason for Christmas is to acknowledge that He came to rescue us over and over again. It is His desire to live in our hearts and to be called upon first. (John 15) Sometimes I practice counting all the times (that I am aware of...there are probably too many to count of which I know nothing ) where He rescued me. So many. He's been rescuing me for years. I expect Him to continue all the way to Glory.

Now as it happens, I do have some pictures to share and so will be returning, The Lord willing and my resolve holds. I certainly have been enjoying visiting you and seeing what you are doing. I love all the variety of experience, place, decor...

 Before you wander off to enjoy this wonderful day: What do you think the "secret" of Christmas is? 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Not Up to Much

Puttering away here at my wee haven. Christmas is coming! Packages arrive daily; sometimes it's a challenge to keep them wrangled. It is a lot easier than it was years ago now that we have tracking and all. There's something fun about watching an item make its way across the country. I did take advantage of some of those Cyber Monday prices. This year, I am unable to shop until I drop so I am grateful for online shopping. 

The Christmas tree went up the week before Thanksgiving, though no decorating until the day after. I am still fiddling with it. It is the same tree that I had last year, moved to a different location than last year. Some folks have a spot that lends itself year after year to the tree...like a bay window. I like changing it up a little and have four spots to use on some sort of rotational schedule.

Here I am yabbering on about Christmas when I have not yet documented Thanksgiving.

My daughter and I enjoyed Thanksgiving with my sister and her husband, my nieces, Joel, and Little E. We had the added excitement of a gender reveal because Little E will become a big brother in April. The reveal was in the form of a chocolate cream pie with pink inside. Yes, a girl! This will be the first girl in the family in 35 years so I think it is time.

One of the joys of the day was reading to the soon to be big brother. He has a book that he dearly loves titled How to Babysit a Grandpa. I had to chuckle when he kissed the Grandpa when it was suggested that giving Grandpa a kiss would be a good idea. I think that this means that my sister's husband has become a wonderful grandfather for her grand just as John did for my grands. It is a joy to see.

When nap time came, Little E settled down in a nest of coats on his grandparents' bed. He looked so cozy. 

It was lovely to sit here on the end of my sister's kitchen while she and her husband were busy getting dinner on the table. Everyone should have a sitting area and fireplace in the kitchen!

I took no photos of the beautiful Thanksgiving table, but I did get this one with the clearing of said table not quite complete. ☺I'm mean like that.

Now that I have learned that my sister has no china...she is getting back the set that belonged to our maternal grandmother. It has a lot of pieces, but not many plates. She'll have to supplement. Currently, it's all over my dining room table, but it will be packed up tomorrow and sent along.

My tree is not quite "there" yet. Nothing new or unusual with it. Its charm is that it represents my entire life. I have read so many bloggers describing this very phenomenon. Putting up the tree on a yearly basis is like a wander down Memory Lane.

A wreath on the door and I am done with outside decorating. Laurel referred to my little attic tree in the garage as "ghostlike." Well I never! Good thing that only my Instagram friends  have had to see it.

Hope that all is coming along beautifully in your corner. If anything interesting happens, I'll be back. Thank you for stopping by! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Eve

Remember God’s bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!

~ Henry Ward Beecher

Are you in the thick of kitchen duties? I hope that the turkey is thawed! ッ

Although I am not hosting this year, I am indulging in a wee bit of baking. That makes the house seem properly Thanksgiving-like. I am baking Pioneer Woman's Pecan Pie and Karen's Kitchen Pumpkin Bread. If I have any extra energy, I am considering baking some of Mary MacDonald's Molasses Cookies.

Though the tree is up, I haven't been able to decorate it yet. Apparently, I have great loyalty to Thanksgiving. Friday will be time enough for that. In the meantime...

I became so charmed by a vignette seen at Susan Branch's that I tried the impossible—to copy her. 

In the end, I did something quite different, which is just what Susan suggests in the first place. 

It's a charcuterie of objects instead of meats, fruit, and nuts.

It's nowhere near as darling as Susan's...  The best that can be said is that I made it my own. I borrowed the recipe box, the cookbooks, and the wooden spoon. I tossed in a wee Christmas tree and a squash.

Source: Pixaby free images

Wishing you a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving... 

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Beautiful Day...

Laurel and I sniffled a bit off and on all the way back to my house after the movie. 

It hit a lot of our buttons. Great movie! My recommendation? Go see it. Just go. Trust me. That's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood with Tom Hanks playing the role of Fred Rogers.

It is based on the article Can You Say...Hero? written by Tom Junod for Esquire magazine in November of 1998, which can still be found my searching online. Why the writer's name is changed to Lloyd Vogel in the movie is the director's prerogative. 

Anyway, I don't do movie reviews so I'll quit talking about the movie and start talking about why I loved Fred Rogers as so many others did as well.

When I first began teaching, I realized immediately that something was "off" with many children. Their attention spans were almost nothing and they seemed easily annoyed and upset. I blamed it on societal woes such as drugs and the lack of cohesiveness in the home. Even decades ago there were few children whose parents were married to each other. And so many people were involved with drugs. Sadly, all of this continues to be prevalent today only now we not only have parents who are involved, we have grandparents and great-grandparents. The poor children!

In the early 1990s, I attended a seminar on children's television programming. Seems that the popular PBS network program featuring a big, yellow bird may have been responsible in part for those short attention spans. Their segments were fast moving and short

The instructor shared two stories of taking his own children to shows, one featuring the big, yellow bird and company and one featuring Mr. Rogers. In the first, the children were literally bouncing in their seats and off the walls. When the characters came on stage, the place went wild. It was like a rock concert. He, and probably every other adult there, had a massive headache.

At the Mr. Rogers concert, the children were also bouncing off the walls. Then the beautiful Lady Aberlin came on stage and, with her finger to her lips, smiled at the audience and said that Mr. Rogers was a quiet man who needed quiet spaces. If the children would be quiet and sit in their seats, he would indeed come out and they'd have their show. The children settled down immediately and spent a rapt hour listening to Mr. Rogers tell his stories and sing his songs. 

My daughter did not begin childhood as a Mr. Rogers' fan, though she has become one. My son, on the other hand, was a Mr. Rogers' fan from the beginning. Perhaps he best loved Lady Aberlin and Daniel and the Land of Make Believe folk. I'll have to ask him. I know that I was smitten then as now with Mr. Rogers himself, a gentle man if ever there was one.