Sunday, December 30, 2007


For some reason, the link wasn't included in the last post. It's

Dinner at the Hamlet

I'm working on a new blog entitled "Dinner at the Hamlet" My intention is share recipes, entertaining plans and ideas and decorating ideas for parties. Since Lynn and I host a monthly family breakfast, I'll have at least one chance each month to post something! My goal is to post recipes 2-3 times weekly, but don't hold me to that standard! Eventually, I'd like to get in the habit of posting a new recipe every day. However, that is going to require being organized,'s hoping! Just remember, this is still a work in progress!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Flea Market Fun

Today, I discovered that a fellow flea market lover lives in my house! Jacob, my 15 year old son, and I hit a couple of local markets today, and he said the same thing I ALWAYS say when I go to one of those great places-"I have to come back when I have more money". We had a ball looking at all the cool stuff...vintage Christmas ornaments were in abundance, due I'm sure to the time of year, as well as other things that we drooled over. Jake bought 4 vintage VHS movies-he got a new VCR for his birthday a couple of weeks ago, remember. He found a whole booth of old comic books and vowed to go back and buy some as soon as he saves his allowance to do so.

I found a few things that I"m mulling over...a fabulous pair of red ceramic boots with gold "laces", a little kitten heel and high tops...very ooh, la la! I am going to pair them on top of the linen cabinet in our bathroom with a gold handbag and a sweet hat. Very, very cute in my mind...let's hope it works out that way in real life!! Also, I found my newest burning desire to collect...whimsical, vintage rabbits. I found a great Peter Rabbit sitting on an egg, a cute little brass bunny shelf sitter and a darling ceramic bunny planter, along with a momma and two babies cast in concrete. I just hope I can remember where they are when I get ready to purchase them. Today was a research trip!

I really am researching for an article I'm trying to write for Vintage Indie, a cool website that has great stuff. I hope to get it done in a couple of weeks or so. In the meantime, I see lots more "research" in my future! We only were able to hit two today, and didn't even get all the way through one of them! We'll be going back, soon!!

Gotta love a 15 year old that not only will spend an afternoon with his ancient mother, but will do it flea marketing!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Catching up, Part II

I managed to wrestle the Christmas tree out the door this morning, and have almost everything down that screams "Christmas". However, I will leave the kitchen decorated through February, it's mostly just wintery, not Christmasey. I did manage to get some pictures downloaded this evening, so here goes:

This is "Big Red", the horse I received for Christmas. He is part of a series called "Trail of the Painted Ponies". I love him.

This is the hand-carved angel weathervane that my brother in law, Jimmy, made for me. She's a replica of one in a museum in Mercer, Pa. Ironically, my church sponsors a mission in Mercer. Hopefully one day soon I can visit the mission and the museum!

Here's a picture of a plate that my mom made for me for Christmas. She has made a ton of them, and is taking orders. She makes them with paper or fabric or photos...whatever you want on a plate she can likely do it...if you want to see more of her work, contact her at

One of my projects for 2008 is to redo my kitchen, especially the tops of the cabinets. I know that the plate above will be on the wall by the windows. Here's some other elements that I know I'll be using somehow...

This is my painted candlestick that I mentioned in one of the first posts. I added this Christmas ornament for the holidays, but I like it and think I'll leave it.

This is a sweet little teapot Mom got me for Christmas. I love it's curves and the great handle. I think it's so French looking! I'll certainly be using this!

This is the top of a great pedestal cake plate Mom got me for my birthday. It's lovely and Frenchy also...another piece that I will be using.

I'll post pictures when I get it done, but it will likely be a few weeks before I get it finished. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After...

We had a Christmas Fiesta for our dinner last night. Mom prepared a feast of our Mexican favorites. We had cheese dip, 7 layer dip (with beans, guacamole, cheese, sour cream and lettuce and tomatoes, scooped up with a tortilla chip), enchiladas-beef, chicken and cheese, tacos, burritos, tortilla soup, chili, rice and cheesecake for dessert. It was so good, Lynn and the boys and I went back up there for lunch today! Nothing like Christmas leftovers to make a great lunch.

I managed to get some laundry done, and a few decorations put away today. I leave the snowmen and snow village up until spring, but I'll take the trees down and put the Santas away. I put my Christmas dishes away and pulled out the snowman plates. It was sleeting while I was doing it, so it felt right! I only wish we would get some accumulation instead of everything melting on contact.

Santa was good to us, as usual. The boys got genuine carbine Red Ryder BB guns (I know, I know, they'll shoot their eyes out...thanks, "Christmas Story"), fishing gear and a bunch of John Deere stuff. I don't even know what all.

Jacob got an MP3 player, not the WII he wanted. Santa made a stand about that last year and told him he had to buy his own, and is not going to back down from that. I hope.

I'm planning lots of winter projects to keep me busy. I am planning to redecorate the kitchen, using the stuff I have, along with a few thrifted and gifted items. I love that phrase...thrifted and gifted. Mom gave me a beautiful black teapot for Christmas, and I have the hand-carved angel weather vane I already told you about. I know those two elements will be involved! I'll post pictures when I get some work done on this project! I also want to paint the bedroom and possibly the living room, but don't tell Lynn about that yet!!

I haven't forgotten about the pictures of the angel and the Christmas horse-just haven't taken the time to download them. I'll do that soon.

I hope you had a peaceful, happy, blessed holiday. What's up for New Year's Eve? I imagine we'll stay home, as usual...the Hogs have a 10:30 kickoff in the Cotton Bowl, so I need to be fresh and alert for that!! I think we'll have breakfast snacks for the game-breakfast sandwiches of bacon, ham and sausage on biscuits, hashbrown patties, and cinnamon rolls or coffeecake, along with juice, milk and coffee to drink. Take out that you don't have to go out for!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good night!

It's 2:30 pm on Christmas Eve, and I have everything wrapped and waiting for Santa to put under the tree, my meatballs are done, waiting to gently warm in the spaghetti sauce simmering in the crockpot, the eggnog/donut bread pudding is steaming in a water bath in the oven and the floors are swept! I only have to toss the salad and bake the bread for dinner to be ready. I am about to set the table for dinner. I won't be posting again today or probably tomorrow, so I am taking this moment to wish you a a very blessed, peaceful, blissful and Merry Christmas along with a prosperous and happy new year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wrapping up!

I'm almost done wrapping all of the gifts! That may not sound like much of a big deal to you, but it's HUGE in this house! Lynn and I have spent more Christmas Eves than I'd like to admit to wrapping gifts after the kids went to bed. Santa used to leave all the stuff he brought unwrapped, but Benjie commented that you'd think Santa could "wrap at least a few of these things". So, now he wraps most everything. However, this year I think he'll wrap "a few of these things" and leave the rest.

Our Christmas Eve dinner will be very non-traditional this year-at least for us. We are having spaghetti, salad and garlic bread, with a dessert buffet that will include marble layer cake with chocolate icing and bread pudding. I have left over donuts from my Sunday school class this morning, which will make yummy bread pudding. I'm not sure what else we'll have, because it's pot luck.

Remember the Wal-Mart gift card I got at the Dirty Santa exchange? We put it to good use tonight-we put $15 worth of gas in the van and drove the kids around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music. It was the best $15 we've ever spent.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Road Trip!

We took a short road trip this weekend. We left Friday night and went to Lynn's sister, Linda's home to celebrate Christmas with them. We spent the night with them and got up this morning and opened gifts and had breakfast with them. It was so nice! Linda's home is so pretty with her holiday decorations, including a gorgeous Christmas breakfast table set for us. So festive.

Linda and her husband gave me a wonderful horse with Santa's on it. It's part of a collection called The Trail of Painted Ponies. It is beautiful! Also, Jimmy, her husband, made me an authentic angel weather vane from wood. It is so pretty. I'll post pictures of both tomorrow...I'm too pooped tonight!

We left Linda's house and went to Lynn's cousin Becki's farm house to have another celebration with the extended family! We had a fun game of Dirty Santa-I scored a $15 Wal-Mart gift card!! More importantly, we had a great time visiting with family that we don't see very often! Fun, fun!!

Tomorrow I plan to get as much done as possible between church services. I have a couple of quick (well....I hope they're quick) errands to do, then I'm home for a marathon wrapping session to get finished. I have everything wrapped except what I bought this weekend. I am so happy to have it all purchased and almost all wrapped!

If we don't talk again, have a great pre-Christmas weekend! See you tomorrow!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The wall tree in the hallway

This is the tree in our master bath.

My reading nook in our bedroom

This wreath is on our closet door in the bedroom

Be sure to jump over to Tracey's blog, She has some gorgeous houses on the tour, and it's so fun to look at everyone's decorations!

Thursday, Thursday...

I've been trying to post some more pictures, but for some reason I can't. So, here's a link to photobucket that has some more pictures.

Yesterday was Jacob's 15th birthday! Happy birthday a day late, Jake. And, he won first prize last night at the "Bad Christmas Sweater" party at church. Yes, he was wearing one of mine. The one with the snowmen and the wooden Christmas ornaments on the tree. The good thing is he got a Wal-Mart gift card as his prize. The bad thing is he traded it to a girl for a nerf basketball hoop. Gotta love 15 year old boys!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Home Tour

Here's a small glimpse of our holiday home! Hope you enjoy it! I like themes, and my overall Christmas theme this year is "Old Fashioned Country Christmas". Welcome to our home!

Thanks to Tracey for hosting this holiday home tour! What fun!

Soaking in the Season

It's hard to believe that Christmas is one week from today. Sometimes I wish I could slow down time, not to allow more hours in the day to get things done, but to enjoy the season more. I get so wrapped up in getting things done on a schedule that sometimes I forget to soak in the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of this wonderful time of year. So, for today, I'm soaking!

I am currently sitting on the couch eating popcorn for breakfast and watching a Christmas movie-"Last Holiday" with Queen Laitfah. I LOVE her! I love curvy women who aren't afraid to show our curves!! Yes, the house needs a going over, there are piles of laundry waiting on me, Braylen is coming in about two hours and the house needs to be Bray-proofed and the floors ALWAYS need to be swept. But, it will all get done. Right now, I'm watching Queen do her thing.

By the way, if you haven't seen that movie, you really should. Now that girl knows how to soak in the season!!

So, take a few minutes and slow down. Think about why we even have Christmas-because God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to die for us. How amazing is it that He chose to send a baby.

Put some cloves and orange peels on the stove in a small pot of water to simmer, pop some popcorn or bake some Christmas cookies (the break and bake kind are fine), brew a pot of tea, or coffee or hot chocolate, and find a good Christmas movie to watch. You probably have your own favorite, but if you don't check out "Last Holiday" or my absolute favorite-"Miracle on 34th Street". Not one of the remakes, even though the newer one is pretty good. Get the original with Edwin Gwynn and Natalie Woods. It is stellar.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Virtual Holiday Home Tour

I will be participating in a virtual holiday home tour on Wednesday, December 19. I found a wonderful blog that is hosting it and signed up to participate. Now I have to get busy taking pictures to post. It's a simple concept, really. I'll post pictures of our holiday home here on Holiday Hamlet and it will be linked to the host blog, I hope to get lots of visitors to see how we've decorated our home for Christmas and the winter. The great thing about doing it virtually is that I only have to clean what I photograph!

Drop by on the 19th and have a virtual tour, cookies and tea!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's almost Christmas!!

I managed to get some shopping done this weekend. I need to do a little more to be finished, but I feel like I can breathe now. I hope you are done with your shopping and are able to enjoy your holiday.

We hosted the December family breakfast today. We had a small crowd, but it was fun. We ate bacon-peppered and regular-, sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy, French toast, tea, coffee and juice, and citrus salad. Benjie discovered that he liked grapefruit!

Speaking of Benjie, he'll be baptised Sunday night! We are so proud of him. He is growing up so fast. I don't think Jonah will be far behind him.

I have finally finished decorating the house. It didn't turn out completely like I wanted it to, but it's ok. I have 14 trees this year, including the small ones and the outside one. It's a lot of work to get it all done, but it's so fun. My house is very small, but there's always room for another tree!!

I'll check in later with an update on the shopping! It'll get done, or it won't! Either way, Christmas is in 10 days!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas shopping

I am so far behind in my Christmas shopping! I am a finish by Thanksgiving girl, but this year...not so much! Here it is, a few days before Christmas and I'm still not anywhere near done. I'm about to begin to panic. Santa is in danger of being a Scrooge this year if I don't get going.

I plan to make some candy today or tomorrow, then shop on Friday. Saturday is our December family breakfast. I began a few months ago hosting breakfast one day a month for both sides of the family. I try to have a different theme each month. This month it's "Winter Welcome". I'll post some pictures of the festivities! My original idea was to have a different menu each month. However, Lynn has requested the same menu every time-bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy and pancakes. Since he works so that I can have parties, I've decided to go along with him! I think this month, though, we'll get a little wild and crazy and have French toast instead of pancakes. Hope we can stand the excitement.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ladies' Christmas Brunch

I attended the funnest thing yesterday-a Ladies' Christmas Brunch. I went with my sister in law Kim. It was at her church and it was really nice. All of the tables were decorated by the "hostess" at the table. Everyone used their Christmas dishes and pretty stemware and flatware. One lady used her wedding china-and she's been married 50 years. It was beautiful-silver and white china on a white tablecloth, with red chargers and napkins in the crystal glasses. So Christmasy!

We used my Christmas dishes on a green tablecloth, and put my wedding chapel from my Snow Village on a cake plate as a centerpiece. I thought it looked pretty. I love that piece of the village, and the Christmas dishes are a special treat to use. They belonged to my mother in law, and she gave them to me before she passed away. We use them from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day, then we switch to snowmen, which we use until Valentines' Day.

The food at the brunch was yummy, especially the chocolate fountain! I dipped pretzel twists, cherries and strawberries. It was yummy! In addition to delicious food, we had pretty music and a great speaker.

It was just the thing to get me back in a Christmas mood and on the ball toward getting projects started and finished. I love Christmas, but I've had a hard time getting things done this year.

I hope I get invited back next year!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas Sweaters

I recently ran across a blog that was doing a poll on the internet, asking about Christmas sweaters. They seem to think that wearing a sweater, sweatshirt or tee-shirt with Christmas images is tacky. There were some very strong opinions. They used ugly language to describe these fashion choices-words like tacky, tasteless and dorky. I beg to differ.

I wait 11 months to wear my Christmas clothes. I have a sweater with snowmen that has actual wooden light bulb charms hanging on a Christmas tree; another wool jacket that has Santa and snowmen on it; I have a sweatshirt that Mom made that has holly leaves painted on it; and several button up blouses that have various holiday scenes. I don't care if they are tacky, tasteless or dorky. I think they show my Christmas spirit, and every time I wear one, someone comments on it in a positive way. I don't need some internet snob telling me I am tacky when I wear my holiday finery. I have a family for that.

And while I'm on the subject.....

Minimalist Christmas

Currently there is a trend in home decorating magazines, tv shows and newspaper articles toward minimalism at Christmas. They actually advocate barely decorating for Christmas, with a spindly little tree with about 7 ornaments on it, a single wreath with no embellishments at all save a small red bow (no glitter or sparkles anywhere on it) and using hot pink, purple and lime green as your Christmas colors. Excuse me???

Ok, first off, Christmas is no time to start reining in with your decorating. That's what Christmas is all about...ok, ok, I know Christmas is about the birth of our Saviour and being with family and all, but why not do it with a little style. What would Jesus do? He would put up a 9 foot tree, load it with lights, ornaments and glitter and have a killer party for all His friends. Well, maybe He wouldn't, but I don't think He minds it if I do.

Christmas houses need big fluffy trees loaded with multicolored lights. It's ok to use all white, as long as you don't have small children in the house. If you have children under 12, you need to use multicolored lights. White lights don't look like Christmas lights to children. Also, if you must have a designer tree, try to have another for the kids. Kids like bright colors, traditional Christmas colors of red, green, gold and silver. Blue is ok, if there is some red and green somewhere in the room. Have a tree that they can decorate with their homemade ornaments. It's best if it's the main tree, but if you can't stand the idea, let them have one in their room. My kids love having trees and lights in their rooms. Right now Jacob has green lights strung on his red bed. Benjie and Jonah have a string of multicolored lights around the window. There should be at least one nativity scene. I've started collecting them, and have two big ones-one I received as a wedding present, the other I received the same year as a Christmas gift from a coworker who was my secret Santa. I've picked up several more at discount stores, flea markets, antique stores and even the dollar store. They are all very pretty to me.

You need a collection of something-Santas, snowmen, reindeer, icicles, something. Three of anything is a collection-just group them together and point to them when you mention collections in conversations with friends. They'll get it.

You should also have stockings. They are critical and should reflect the person they belong to. Right now at our house we have multicolored chenille stockings with cranberry red cuffs. I think they reflect me more than anyone, but I have boys. They don't care what they look like, just that Santa loads them down with oranges, apples, nuts and candy on Christmas morning. Oh, and the occasional movie or video game doesn't hurt!

Outside, there should be lots of lights, a tree on the porch and a wreath on every window. Even the mailbox needs some decoration-evergreen wreaths and big red velvet bows.

I don't like minimalism in decorating any time, but if you must do it, please, don't do it at Christmas.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Parade

Tonight we went to our city's Christmas parade. It was the usual assortment of marching bands, ROTC, scouts, beauty queens, church floats, police cars, antique cars and horses. But, the big finale was the best-one of the best Santas I've ever seen, riding on top of the city's biggest fire truck-the one with the big, tall ladder that they use mostly for putting up and taking down Christmas decorations. But if we ever get a three story building in town, the fire department will be ready.

After the parade, we walked down to the courthouse and the kids looked at all the life-sized displays. They are so cute-the displays and the kids!! We had so much fun. We took thermos of hot chocolate, as we always do, and it was a welcome warmer upper tonight! It was cold! Benjie and Jonah went on a two man mission to drink as much hot chocolate as humanly possible. When we got to the courthouse lawn, some ladies had a booth set up with free cocoa and cookies, so we all had a sugar cookie, just in case we didn't have enough sugar in our systems!

Then we came home and did homework.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Midnight Musings...rambling insomniatic thoughts

This is such a busy time of the year for everyone. It's hard to believe that it's almost Christmas again. I plan for it 12 months out of the wouldn't think that it would still surprise me when it gets here!

I walked into the church this morning, and it almost took my breath away. It has been decorated for Christmas to the hilt-there are so many lights and poinsettias that you'd swear I had something to do with it, but I didn't. I don't think I've ever seen the church look so beautiful, except when it was decorated for our wedding. It was pretty beautiful that night!!

Someone told Lynn that they had used 500 poinsettias in the decorations. I'm sure there's at least 10,000 lights-and I'm not exaggerating at all. It is just gorgeous. Good job, flower committee!!

Another beautiful sight is the courthouse downtown. I drove by there on my way home tonight, and it was so pretty that I had to stop and look for a minute. While I was looking, Bing Crosby started singing "White Christmas" on the radio. It was a true Kodak moment. It almost made the pain of putting several hundred dollars in the night deposit at the utility department less. Almost.