Faith Family Friends

Celebrating the Joy of Living & Home Making ~

Baking, Cooking, Decorating, Tea Time, and taking Inspiration from those I love and the world around me...

A sharing of my heart and my home from a Christian perspective

...with a wee bit of whimsy added.

Friday 21 December 2018

A Cozy Christmas Tea

Hearts are aglow when we fill our homes with domestic warmth, nostalgia, and the beloved trinkets that symbolize the season. ~ Victoria magazine

Hello my dear friends and welcome to a cozy tea time I have set out in front of the Christmas tree!

This beautiful blown glass teapot ornament was a gift from my youngest son last year.

The holidays are a time of family traditions and gatherings with friends - simple moments to savour like a cup of tea.  

I just took butter tarts out of the oven but they are too hot to serve just yet. I have all of my baking done now except for the pies for Christmas dinner. It has been a busy month and so it's nice to put my feet up in front of the fire and sip a cup of Cinnamon Rooibos Chai tea while enjoying the soft lights and music playing in the background.

The sun is setting and soon there will be a golden glow from the tree. Taking time for tea is a lovely way to just sit and savour not only tea and treats but the traditions passed down. Most importantly, the Reason for the Season; the first coming of our Lord Jesus. 

Christmas is that moment in time when God, in His unconditional love, stepped out of heaven and onto earth, in order that we might one day step out of earth into heaven.- Charles F Stanley

...Perhaps that is the true gift of a teatime celebration: It fills our cups with joy and warmth and friendship. May the echo of the teacup's message be heard not only at Christmas, not only on special occasions, but anytime friends come together. ~ Emilie Barnes

I had a hankering for gingerbread cookies the other day so I'm having some gingerbread cookies and sugar plums with my tea. Would you like to join me?

On the table is my Ganz teapot which was a gift from my oldest son and his family a number of years ago. A Royal Stafford teacup and a Royal Albert Christmas Rose which is the December cup in the Flowers of the Month series. The pretty plate is Andover made by 222 Fifth. 

Christmas is a season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame for charity in the heart." ~ Washington Irving

My family is home now so this will be my last post until the New Year. 
Last night, the guys made dinner; Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, with steamed Brussels sprouts. It was delicious and what a treat to get waited on for a change! I'd love to keep them here for a while. *smiles* 

Thank you, dear friends, for your visits and lovely comments over this past year. You all encourage me and I appreciate you all so very much. I wish for you the Happiest Christmas filled with the love of family and friends. May our Lord's beautiful presence fill your hearts and your homes this Christmas season and may the New Year bring you blessings overflowing. 

See you in the New Year!

A little Child...a shining star...
a stable rude...the door ajar.
Yet in that place, so crude, forlorn,
The hope of all the world was born. ~ unknown

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Thursday 20 December 2018

The ABC's of Christmas ~ Z

The ABC's of Christmas ~ Z

Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We've been good, but we can't last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast
Want a plane that loops the loop
Me, I want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late. - The Chipmunks

Welcome to the last letter of the ABC's of Christmas.

I have to smile whenever I hear that song sung by the Chipmunks because it reminds me of my youngest son who loved the chipmunks and had all the stuffed toys. He took very good care of them and I actually found them a few months ago along with all of his other stuffed toys. He plans to take them back with him after Christmas. I love that my guys are all so sentimental about their childhoods.

Now, on to the remaining letter of the ABC's of Christmas.

is for....

As well as the sleep of anticipation on Christmas Eve, it is likely that in every household at least one member of the family will find themselves settling down to a well-deserved nap while others play charades, try to squeeze in one more mince pie, or cozy up to a treasured and much-watched film. {Excerpt from An English Christmas, a supplement of The English Home magazine}.

Photo courtesy of Companion Animal Psychology

As we celebrate this most beautiful and generous time of year, I pray we will all make room in our hearts for the Reason for the Season who is Jesus. The Lord be with you and bless you and your loved ones not just during this holiday season but all year long!

I hope you have enjoyed the ABC's of Christmas and I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

"For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a Baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger." Luke 2:11-12

"The  light that shines from the humble manger is strong enough to lighten our way to the end of our days." ~ Unknown

I'm keeping Christmas in my heart all year round! 

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Wednesday 19 December 2018

The ABC's of Christmas ~ Y

The ABC's of Christmas ~ Y

Christmas is an event that one carries in one's heart, not just one day a year, but all year round. - unknown

Welcome to another ABC's of Christmas. Today's letter isY.

is for...
Yule log and Yuletide.

The Yule log is an ancient tradition that has its roots in celebrations of the winter solstice. Later it also began to have connotations with not only the light of the sun, but also the light of Christ, to give it religious symbolism. 

In England, a log so large that it had to be dragged by horses would be brought into great country houses and burned for the twelve days of Christmas. A remnant of the log would be kept to light the next year's log. The lighting of the log on Christmas Eve would commence the celebrations of Christmas.

Today this practice is not so common, although it is often honoured in the way the French do, with a Buche de Noel, a chocolate cake shaped and decorated to look like a log. { Excerpt from The English Home}  

Yule or Yuletide is a festival observed by historical Germanic peoples. It is celebrated with gatherings that involve a meal and gift giving. It
later underwent Christianized reformulation resulting in the term Christmastide. {Wikipedia}

Please come back tomorrow for the final letter of the ABC's of Christmas, the letter Z.
Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Tuesday 18 December 2018

The ABC's of Christmas ~ X

What is the Christmas spirit? It is the spirit which brings a smile to the lips and tenderness to the heart; It is the spirit which warms one into friendship with all the world, which impels one to hold out the hand of fellowship to every man and woman. ~ Anonymous

Welcome to the next letter in the ABC's of Christmas! 

Today's letter is X.

is for...
Xmas, Xylophone, and Angels We Have Heard on High.

The term "Xmas" is a bone of contention for many since it seems an informal and crass abbreviation of what is a very traditional and celebrated event. 

The X stems from the Greek word for Christ, so the abbreviation is accurate, however it is a term that is discouraged since it seems to gloss over the importance of Jesus. While the term was used on occasion by the likes of Lord Byron, Samuel Coleridge and Lewis Carroll, in secular society it is also considered rather abhorrent by many, including myself.

I feel it is of the utmost importance to write Merry Christmas on your Christmas cards and not Xmas.

Please, let's keep Christ in CHRISTmas. He is the Reason for the season and without His coming that first time, there would be no Christmas.

I wish you all a Very Merry CHRISTmas!

A vintage xylophone by Fisher Price, courtesy of the Internet

Xylophone ~ The xylophone is an instrument belonging to the family of the percussion musical instruments. It's bars are made of wood. There is a similar instrument also in the percussion instruments called the glockenspiel. It's bars however,  are made of steel. 

My youngest son got a xylophone for Christmas when he was a little fellow. He always had an ear for music as did all my guys. 
He played percussion in the school band but he always preferred instruments like these rather than the drum kit. I remember at one Christmas band concert, he had to run from one instrument to another while performing. Percussionists play many instruments in the course of their music and I am always amazed at how all those instruments together can make such beautiful music. My son also loved to play the keyboards. 

I think most little ones probably had a glockenspiel or a xylophone at one time or another. 

Angels We Have Heard on High is inspired by the French carol known as Les Anges dans nos campagnes composed by Francois- Augiste Gevaert in France. The French song has received many adjustments including Angels We Have Heard on High written in 1862 by James Chadwick, the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, northeast England.

I chose this particular song for today's letter X because the chorus goes, "Gloria, in ex-cel-sis Deo!

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o'er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in ex-cel-sis Deo!
Gloria, in ex-cel-sis Deo!

Thank you for visiting today and I invite you to join me again tomorrow for the letter Y.

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Monday 17 December 2018

The ABC's of Christmas - W

W - The ABC's of Christmas

The first snowfall is not only an event but it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up to find yourself in another quite different and if this is not enchantment, where is it to be found? ~ JB Priestley

Welcome to the letter...W.

is for...
Wreaths, White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Wish List, and Walt Disney.

Wreaths are used at Christmas time as a welcoming adornment on front doors and as part of the advent wreath which encircles five candles - that are lit in the four Sundays before Christmas and on Christmas Eve. 

As a never-ending circle, wreaths are symbolic of eternal life and strength.

I love a wreath and especially at this time of year. I have them in my home, greeting you at the door, hanging on mirrors and cabinet drawers, even around a hurricane lamp on a table.

I think they make a most welcome and delightful decoration in one's home, don't you?

The wreath above is one I fashioned for the patio doors which also matches a little tree beside the fireplace. 

And this lovely wreath surrounds the hurricane lamp on the coffee table.

We have been enjoying a winter wonderland for a while here on the Island. We have had lots of snow this season and a snowfall always puts folks in the mood for the holidays. A white Christmas is almost a sure thing for us this year. I'm sure most folks are happy about that; particularly the children.

The song, Walking in a Winter Wonderland was written in 1934 by lyricist Richard B. Smith and the music was composed by Felix Bernard. 

Sleigh bells ring, Are you listening
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
We're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland.


White Christmas is one of the most famous and popular of all the  Christmas songs. The music and lyrics were written by Irving Berlin in 1942. The lyrics of White Christmas struck a chord with the soldiers fighting in the Second World War and their families who were waiting for them back home.   

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May all your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May all your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.

Wish List is one which children of all ages love to write out for Santa.

My hubby insists on me making a list out for him every year for Christmas. Only trouble is, each year, it gets harder for me to make a list because I feel I have everything I need. How about you? Do you make out your Christmas list for anyone?

Every Christmas Day when I was growing up, there was a Walt Disney special on TV in the afternoon. All of my favourite characters were showcased; Cinderella, Snow White, Lady and the Tramp, Chip and Dale, and Bambi, among others. It was a special afternoon my brother and I looked forward to every year because that was the day our father would get down on the floor with us and watch. That was the day that the little kid would come out as he laughed along with us. My Daddy made Christmas so much fun! I have so many lovely memories of him at Christmastime.

This Bambi and Thumper snowglobe was gifted to me many years ago by a family member. It plays the Skater's Waltz. A wonderful reminder of those days spent with my father and brother on Christmas Day watching the Disney show.

What we remember from childhood, we remember forever. - Cynthia Ozick

I hope you enjoyed my take on the letter W and tomorrow you will join me for the letter X.
Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Saturday 15 December 2018

The ABC's of Christmas ~ V

Country Christmas

It's Christmas in the country,

The mantel's trimmed with cards;
Friends and neighbours far and near
Stop in with their regards.

A cheery wreath adorns the door,

An angel tops the tree,
And coloured lights are strung about,
Twinkling merrily.

Mistletoe hangs from the door,

The children just can't wait;
Time seems to pass so slowly,
They want to celebrate.

Then when at last the day arrives,

There's magic in the air--
It's Christmas in the country,

And what a grand affair! ~ Kathy A. Schaeffer

The ABC's of Christmas - V

Welcome back to the ABC's of Christmas. The days and letters before Christmas are winding down. Are you ready for the big day? Today's letter is V.
is for...
Visions of Sugar Plums.

Christmas Eve is a time of anticipation, excitement and magic, as children drift off into dreams, hoping that come morning their stockings will be full of everything on their wish list. 

This sentiment is immortalized in Clement Moore's poem, "The Night Before Christmas" when he writes, "the children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads."

It also echoes the story of "The Nutcracker," a family favourite, which tells of the adventure of a young girl who finds herself in a magical world that culminates in the Kingdom of Sweets with the Sugar Plum Fairy
The sugar plum fairy is a vision dancing at the Royal Opera, courtesy of the internet

She balanced on one toe on the floor and spun around in a tutu that looked as though it had been fashioned from clouds and snowflakes.~ The Nutcracker

The ballet was based upon a book, "The Nutcracker and The Mouse King" written in 1816 by E.T.A. Hoffmann.

A sparkling performance of The Nutcracker is performed by the Royal Ballet and other wonderful ballet companies around the world especially at this time of year.  

A few years ago, I hosted a Sugar Plum Fairy Tea and my little sugar plum fairy was the center of attention.

This is my little sugar plum fairy atop my little white Christmas tree.

Those of you who are grandparents or those who simply love little ones, will forgive me for sharing a picture of my real live little Sugar plum fairy.

My little granddaughter, Jenna-Lynn, loves ballet. Who knows, perhaps one day she will dance the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Thank you for joining me today for another letter of Christmas ABC's. Please come back on Monday for the letter W and have a joyful weekend.
Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Friday 14 December 2018

The ABC's of Christmas - U

ABC's of Christmas ~ "U"

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar every month. ~ Harlan Miller

Welcome back to the ABC's of Christmas. Today we're doing the letter....

is for...
Under the Mistletoe, under the Christmas Tree, and It Came Upon The Midnight Clear.

Mistletoe was a plant of peace in antiquity. If enemies met by chance beneath it in a forest, they laid down their arms and maintained a truce until the next day. This is thought to be the origin of the ancient custom of hanging a ball of mistletoe from the ceiling and exchanging kisses under it as a sign of friendship and goodwill. 

According to the Anglo-Saxons, kissing under the mistletoe was connected to the legend of Freya, goddess of love, beauty and fertility. According to legend, a man had to kiss any young girl who, without realizing it, found herself accidentally under a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling. 

courtesy of the Internet

If a couple in love exchanges a kiss under the mistletoe, it is interpreted as a promise to marry, as well as a prediction of happiness and long life. In France, the custom linked to mistletoe was reserved for New Year's Day: "Au gui l'An neuf" (Mistletoe for the New Year).

The custom for a beautifully decorated fir tree encircled by piles of presents was introduced by Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, who had both experienced the tradition as children. 
Source Internet

The origins are thought to date back to the legend of Thor, when St. Boniface cut down the sacred tree of the god, in the German town of Geismar, and replaced it with a fir tree. This practice was repeated each year and the custom evolved as part of the Christmas traditions, beginning with a tree in each town decorated with garlands and later candles, to the popular practice of today bringing a fir tree indoors and adorning it with baubles and twinkling lights. The tree is now a focus of Christmas morning as children excitedly discover what Father Christmas has delivered. {
Excerpt from "An English Christmas"} 

Underneath my tree you will find a collection of dolls and teddy bears as well as a rocking horse or two which wait patiently before the gifts are placed underneath its branches. 

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear is a Christmas carol that was written by Edmund Sears, a preacher in Wayland, Massachusetts, in 1849. The melody was composed by Richard S. Willis also in 1849. A beautiful carol that we still enjoy today at Christmastime.

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven's all-gracious King."
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Please join me tomorrow for the letter V.

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi