Saturday, December 31, 2011

All I want for Christmas.....

All I want for Christmas...

(well, at this point)

 ... is to blog about it!!!

I've had just the time and energy that I've needed, this year, to get around to all of the Christmassy fun that was to be had - except for blogging!

So, I thought that I'd share just a little wash of what it looked like at our home, this season.

First, there's the hunting for one of our trees - including hide and go seek and hot chocolate with peppermint sticks!

but.... would it be tall enough?

The tradition for the second tree started the first year that we were in this new home and we hadn't found and unpacked our normal ornaments because of uncompleted renovations (that, eventually, happened just in the St. Nick of time!) We huddled in this room as the only place, really, to be in our big house and we made our own makeshift Christmas. Now, we continue the tradition and the boys decorate this tree with our cheery handmade ornaments.

(It's taken me till now to get a picture of it. I've given up on perfect - life keeps moving a titch to fast for that; so... one scraggly Christmas tree and one scruffy little boy - here you go! ;) )

There's another funny little tradition that I forget about every year until it happens again. Somewhere, a week or two into December, I sit down on the couch, after decorating the family room up above, and I see the large and clear moon beaming at me through the frosty bay window and I attempt to get pictures of it. Of course, it's a wonderfully silent and amazing, living experience that I'll never catch on 'film'.)

Our snow, this year, keeps coming and going. Happily, a heavy dusting came on the 23rd. It casts such a beautifully glowing light in through the windows.

Christmas Eve....

Christmas Tea or mulled wine?!

We had dinner on Christmas Eve, this year.

The sight of the pond through the windows, all day and into the evening, was so beautiful!

reading the jokes from the crackers....

"who is the most famous married woman in the US?"

Mrs. Sippi!

(groan! What was really funny was how many times the question popped up! =])

It was so funny to glance back and to see my sister's persimmon pudding (her own recipe) jumping out from the photo of all of Martha Stewart's puddings. (Martha has the perfect brandy sauce to go with it!)

and it was a good blaze, this year! =]

and the house was all aglow....

The only sad thing that I can think of is that, now, we have to wait a whole year for Christmas to come, all over again.....

I don't know if I'll make it!

Happy Holidays to you all and, especially, wishing you a very wonderful next year!!!


Katy Noelle xxoo

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Hurrah for the pu-umpkin pie!"

Goodbye, November! (although, the way you kept snowing, I kept thinking you were December!)

Maybe, a few of you will remember reading my post on Halloween. We got a foot of snow, a few days before, which panicked my youngest into thinking that we might just possibly skip Halloween, this year. All was well and expectations of candy galore were filled but, the day after ("All Saints' Day" and, better still, Grandma's birthday), when Toby came home from school and we were vacuuming to have her over for a special tea (and because of all the special hub-bub and the snow), Toby exclaimed with strained and excited voice, "is it time for the Christmas tree, now?"

The snow is pretty festive!

(but it melted)

First, however, we had a lovely Thanksgiving. I hope that my friends, here in the US, did, too. It's awfully fun to have a good old fashioned Thanksgiving in New England. Perhaps, I feel closer to the pilgrims' experience. ;) Well, alright, they had it a titch rougher than I do....but, I mean, it just seems very 'right', somehow. =]

Perhaps, 'traditional' is the word for it.

Anyway, speaking of Thanksgivings past and age old traditions, I've often heard stories from my friends who are a generation or so ahead of me - stories of how the pond was always frozen and everyone would go ice skating after dinner, on the day. Well, our pond was frozen over but it was very thin ice. The day before, however, we got a foot of snow (again); so, it turned out to feel rather truly like the typical old fashioned holiday of lore!

The best tradition, of course, is being all together and sharing a special feast to celebrate....

just to celebrate!

...and to set apart time to recognize that we are, indeed, so full with good things (even when there are hard things, too) - and glad about it!

and, then, look how warm and inviting Grandma's house is...

Grandma's house is amazing! The kids are always perfect. Everyone is always happy and has a wonderful time and I have no idea how she so effortlessly spins out that huge dinner. She's very Jeeves-like!

The "Ha-ha" game with too few players (all cousins)....

The only thing I was responsible for was the pumpkin pie! It was a breeze of a day and I was so thankful for that, too! ;)

 (although, I'm fully aware that the Christmas Feast is all mine to do and coming!!! ...soon!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apple Picking Time

 One thing that I just love about living in the New England Countryside is the sense and celebration of the changing of the seasons.

Here, in Vermont, our lifestyle and activities, our mindsets, really, our whole psyches, change with the light and the weather. Well, it's hard to ignore the pending frozen wasteland that we can feel in our bones is about to beset us. We may complain about the cold and being housebound and (for those who have to shovel it) the snow but, really, I think that most of us genuinely appreciate the down time - the cozy, homey hibernation that winter brings. (Mostly, those who, truly, don't like or appreciate it, pick their lives up and migrate to Florida.) When, autumn comes and the scent of woodsmoke tantalizes our senses and there's that certain crispness in the air and nature, in a severely festive mood, decorates the hills with those lively colors, we feel a thrill of the shift of the season. We start bustling excitedly about, getting ready, inside and out for the relief of the exiled quietness to come.

Well, in this household, in October and November, it's not only the need to stack wood that sends this pod into hyper drive, it's, also, the arrival of my mom and dad for a three week visit. There are adventures to be had, when Nana and Grandpa are in town! Festivities, celebrations (five birthdays, no less!), explorations, outings and traditions are on the agenda and they range from the elegant and out of the ordinary, to the simple and subtle.

One simple tradition that we enjoy, most years, is apple picking. This year, my mom and I were a little worried that the boys might be getting a little too old and find it uninteresting. We forged ahead, though. I made corn muffins for a reviving snack-to-go and, when three scruffy, tired, young men tumbled off of the school bus, we bundled them right back in to the truck to go for a late afternoon, spur of the moment outing. Hey! They were willing!

The apple orchard is only a fifteen minute drive from our home and is situated on a very high hill. It's truly a gorgeous spot!

and,... errr, I like this tractor well enough but what I really want to show you is the beautiful setting of the autumn colored hills.

What surprised my mom and I is that, what the three maturing men were interested in the most, was the petting zoo. It was really fun, funny and sweet to see how they interact with the animals - now, that they have so many at home - now, that they're older - now, that they've developed these funny, dry senses of humour!

(er, exotic.....chickens!)

I have to confess that the experience of watching these piglets attack their mother for food was a bit unnerving for me.....

and, I can't believe that I didn't get a picture of the bunny metropolis that they have going in the petting zoo! I did get a pic of one of the many, many escapees, though.... (there were rabbits all over the place!)


The joy of living here means that we don't have to come on the weekend when the masses are visiting. The down side is that the orchard seemed to be stripped bare by the apple locusts! After wandering for about fifteen minutes, we were overjoyed to finally see this sign! (we were supposed to turn right after the mulch pile and keep going but we never found the mulch pile. We were lost in the orchard and too mellow to be found!;-))

 Twist, snap!

A freshly, just picked apple is so crisp and juicy and has such an alive, appley flavour!

but, at the end of the day (which it was), this is a working orchard.

apple sauce, anyone?

Up next is what we did with the apples....

and, I just want to give a very warm welcome to my new friends/'followers'! It amazes me that I can journal my simple joys and experiences - throw them out to the winds - and they find resonance with others from different parts of the world. How fun is that?!