… with the people, plants and decorations that you love!
Here’s a few of my favorites…
gardening and enjoying life in Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is one of those places where you can take a walk down most any street and find interesting views…
Check out these doorways on Federal Street.
Some are decked for the holidays and some are very simple…
their all welcoming and beautiful in their own way.
This guy at the end of my walk really made my day. 🙂
Hello out there! I miss you!! Just like everyone else, I’ve been so busy with Christmas and lots and lots of people in my house that I haven’t had a chance to post anything. Where did a week go? It’s still the holidays around here… Michael is home from work, the kids are home from school, we’re eating and visiting and avoiding most of the every day routine. I thought I’d just check in and post a few photos from the past few weeks.
Uncle Mark was here a few weeks ago… he’s a fun uncle. My kids think he’s part jungle gym. I’m always a little bit worried for his back and my lamps when he’s around.
These two were dancing angels on Sunday morning then became soldiers, gumdrops and polichinelles in the afternoon. They are busy, busy girls!
My Magi’s Assistant (I love the hat)…
Prepping for the Christmas pageant… our church has a wonderful collection of costumes, so much glitter and gold.
Our beautiful church during the pageant. I love this place.
Winter at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. We had never been there and really enjoyed a walk one day. I suspect that you’ll be seeing more Arboretum photos in the future.
Is this not the most patient sixteen year old sister in the world? Really. I think she was trying to read something.
Probably the biggest gift hit this year… he loves it!!
Yes, that is the computer and I in the sunroom/office! It still needs furniture and shades and decorations, but it’s almost there. I love, love, love it!!
I won this, along with a basket of other baking goodies from Amy at A Healthy Life for Me. We kind of like to bake around here so it was a great surprise!
We made Linzer cookies for the first time (very fun and surprisingly easy)… along with Gingerbread and Christmas Tree sugar cookies…
Life has been sweet…
Hope it’s been for you too.
Two of my girls performed in the New England Ballet Ensemble’s production of The Nutcracker this past weekend. It’s always wonderful to watch the many, many weeks of rehearsal come together in this beautiful ballet. It was a wonderful show and being part of it made memories that will last a lifetime. I was helping backstage during dress rehearsal so I ran out to the auditorium when I could to take photos…
The party children danced….
The Mouse King and his helpers…
Soldiers marching onward…Two of my favorite toy soldiers. They’ve been friends since they were babies. My Snow Lyrical dancer…The reindeer bringing the sleigh out for Clara.. There’s the choreographer, Joe Istre, with them. He comes from New York to work with the production. The weekends when Joe is in town for rehearsal are a highlight for the dancers. He has a way of using humor to bring out the best in everyone.Here’s my Marzipan dancer, ready to go…And again, with her adorable little lamb partner…
Here come the Gum Drops!There’s my girl!They add so much fun to the show!Marzipan on stage…and dancing with the lambs.Could they be any cuter?
The Polichinelles dancing for Clara…
My favorite Nutcracker photo this year…
And here’s Mother Ginger. This man comes to Massachusetts from his warm retirement in Florida to appear as Mother Ginger. It’s always great to see him! Apparently it’s a tradition that Mother Ginger be a man, dressed as her…
The ballet is over and it’s time to get ready for Christmas. I can still hear the music, I hope it stays for awhile!
There’s nothing like the smell of gingerbread. Yesterday one of my friends came home to the scent of gingerbread baking and posted a thank you note to her husband on facebook. I thought that was so cute! It really does welcome you in. We love to make gingerbread in our house and my oldest daughter has taken our gingerbread recipe to new heights.
Here she is baking a batch last Christmas.
These days she uses a very simple confectioners sugar and water icing and pipes designs on each cookie. If we make them this weekend I’ll try to share some photos. They are simple and delicious!
Here they are a few years ago with lots and lots of buttercream frosting…the younger the kids the more frosting and sprinkles.
This is last weekend’s creation….
Piping is big right now, Buddy Valestro does lots of this…
We love this gingerbread! Here’s the recipe:
4 Cups flour
1 Teaspoon ginger
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon allspice
1 Cup molasses (or 1/2 cup molasses and 1/2 cup honey, that’s my preference)
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup margarine, softened (we often substitute butter)
2/3 Cup boiling water
1 Teaspoon cream of tarter
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift the flour with the spices, set aside. Blend the molasses, sugar and margarine in a large bowl. Add the boiling water, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture gradually, mixing well after each addition. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 8 to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned; do not overbake.
Remove carefully from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.
Combine powdered (confectioners) sugar with a few drops of water to make icing. Then use a plastic bag with a pinhole to pipe decorations if you’d like to. Or eat without icing, or you can go crazy like my younger kids did in the photo above and embellish away!
Today is catch up day for me. I’m trying to house clean before we start the holiday baking and cooking, and before the Grandmas start arriving next weekend. I just handed the bulk of my Christmas cards to the mailman. I have pulled pork in the crock pot, and I really, really need to fold and put away a ton (literally) of laundry! If I can do these few things, all will be well with the world… It’s coming along, that’s all I can say. Of course, over coffee this morning I did a little bit of blog reading and wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.
First off, Amy-Sue at a Healthy Life for Me blogged about how to make these adorable terrarium ornaments. They would make a wonderful gift, but I can also see them hanging in the windows of our new office. Here’s the link for you to check out.
Then I thoroughly enjoyed this post that my friend Eunice at Living and Lovin had re-blogged from a new-to-me blog called The Garden Diaries. It describes the blogger’s adventures as a volunteer decorator at the White House last year. “Decorating the White House for Christmas” has now been added to my bucket list. What a great story and wonderful photos!
Lastly, I loved this post shared by my dear friend Joy at Diary of a Crazed Housewife.
Joy is fortunate to be related to Santa and she shares that privilege with special children in her life… very, very cute!
So, that was my early morning reading… I hope it makes you smile 🙂
I’m off to dust, vacuum, fold and take kids places and I have two hours and twenty seven minutes before the little kids get off of the bus!