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.

Monday 30 December 2019

Winter is the Time for Home

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. ~ Edith Sitwell 

Hello dear ones! I hope you all enjoyed the Holidays and you are looking forward to what the new year will bring.

Winter has settled in upon us with some fresh snow and outside my window looks like a Christmas card. In the evenings we like to watch a movie or sip hot chocolate in front of the fire. New Year's Eve we are supposed to get a snow storm, so winter is definitely here. 

I will be one year older come New Year's and to be honest, I will be glad to put the old year behind me. It has been a trying year for my family what with my mother passing a few months ago and other matters.

Christmas was very busy but quiet, does that make sense? We were happy to have a couple of our family members with us. We have next summer to look forward to now when everyone will be coming home for a visit. It will be a very full little cottage with everyone here including a furbaby. Full of love, that is! 

Every year I send my one little granddaughter a Christmas ornament to decorate her tree with when she grows up. Isn't she a cutie? I miss her so much because she lives out on the west coast.

She's getting older and appreciating the ornaments more every year. My son sent me a picture of her newest one from me hanging on their tree. The wee candy cottage looks so cute hanging there next to the candy cane and she loves it!
Every year my hubby gifts me with a new tree ornament and this is my newest one. It is large with an embossed design of chickadees and cardinals on it. 

My Island son took this picture with his new i-phone and I thought it pretty enough to share with you. This is my crystal hurricane lamp in the middle of the coffee table.

I am taking pictures with my phone right now because my camera won't run off the pictures on to my computer. I have no idea why. At least my phone takes a decent picture.

I was surprised to see the tulips are in the grocery store and since it's still the holiday season, I picked some red ones. The holidays are coming to an end but I'm now looking forward to Spring so the tulips are a welcome sight.
The teapot is a gift I received one Christmas.  Perfect for the winter months.

My Vista teacup was an antique find several years ago.

Chocolate cake with a raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream was one of the desserts I served at Christmas. The cake is made from scratch and has no eggs in it. It is a very dense and moist cake.

Many of my recipes you can find on my sidebar when you print in the recipe in the box marked "Search this blog."

A cup of tea, a yummy dessert, and my friends dropping by, what more could one ask for on this pretty winter day? 

Have a beautiful day everyone and this week, as we begin a new year, may we look forward to all the delights it will hold. 

This is your year to SPARKLE!

God bless and watch over you all! 

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called OPPORTUNITY and its first chapter is New Year's Day. ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Monday 23 December 2019

{There is No Place Like} Home for the Holidays

Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays
'Cause no matter how far away you roam
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays you can't beat home sweet home! 
- Perry Como

Happy Christmas, dear friends! I love those old holiday songs, don't you? Those songs are so nostalgic and bring back so many lovely memories. I like the instrumental version even better.

We're looking forward to spending Christmas at home with some of our family. It will be a quieter Christmas compared to last year when we had eight for dinner and we will miss those who can not be with us this year. We have family in Ontario, British Columbia, and our youngest is spending Christmas with his in-laws in NY. So, we're spread out quite a bit.

From home to home, and from heart to heart, from one place to another, the warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other. ~ Emily Matthews

My menu for Christmas dinner this year will be fairly simple. There will be turkey of course, dressing, potatoes and gravy, brussels sprouts and carrots. Cranberry sauce and pickles will also grace the dinner table. Dessert will be pumpkin pie with whipped cream,  chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and whipped cream, as well as an assortment of homemade goodies. 

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

I have taken a few photos of my decorating to share with you. Some things you have seen before so I won't share those.

In the dining room, the pink poinsettia graces the table with a new runner. The little red rimmed pitcher holds tea spoons.

I hung this wreath I fashioned a few years ago, in front of the patio doors this year. 

Here is my little tree that sits on the green cabinet which houses a number of dishes. The tree used to have pink and gold striped ribbon like that on the wreath above, cascading down from the top, but I think I like it better without the ribbon. It was a bit too fussy before.

I made the wreath above this year to match the little tree and the big wreath in the window.

The tea towel with Rose Chintz Cottage on it is displayed on the cabinet doors; a gift from Kitty, several years ago, which I keep there year round. It fits right in with its tassels and gold trim.

This large shelf is on the wall behind the table and it has a collection of red transferware on it. The sheep were both gifts from a friend.

I absolutely love red transferware at Christmastime!

In the kitchen I have my Hallmark Gingerbread house. As you know, the gumdrops keep time to the music of "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" when the doorbell is rung. The little ones always loved to ring that bell!

And here is the main tree this year. Much the same as last years only I did the ribbon differently.
Lights off

Lights on just before sunset. 

The nativity is sitting on a table in the corner. I have more pieces but I think they take away from the Holy Family. The little Testament is opened at Luke 2.

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. ~ author unknown

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

I am sipping a cup of tea which I have stirred with a cinnamon stick. It is delicious!
A cinnamon stick makes it just a wee bit more festive, don't you think? 
I made some butter tarts and mincemeat tarts the other day as well as some sugar plums. My family loves these treats.
My son who lives in the US tells me they don't have butter tarts down there and he misses them. So I made some with him in mind even though he isn't here. Someone in the house keeps sneaking them however so I had to hide them, at least long enough to snap a photo or two. The kids have long since left the nest so you know who the guilty party is. If he wasn't so cute, he wouldn't get away with it!

Well, my break is over and I have lots yet to do so  I had better continue on with my day. Thank you to all of you who have visited my blog this past year and left such lovely comments. 

From my home to yours, I wish each and every one of you a Very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with many blessings.

Love, Joy, and Peace to you all!

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
For loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away 
Like the bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf. 
The good you do to others is good you do yourself. ~ Norman Wesley Brooks - 1976, from "Let Every Day Be Christmas"

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Monday 16 December 2019

No Place Like Home - A Child's Christmas

There's mistletoe; there's holly;

And whispering, and smiles;
There are parcels needing wrapping,
To be sent across the miles.

There are snowflakes lightly falling;
The Christmas season's here--
I hear Santa loudly calling
To his spirited reindeer.

There are candles to be lighted;
I hear sleigh bells from afar;
Then there comes to mind a wee Babe,
And a brilliant, guiding star.

Let our hearts be filled with gladness,
And our spirits lifted high;
Let us breathe a prayer of joy and peace
As Christmas Day draws nigh. ~ Lucile Naylor

Greetings all my Christmas loving friends and welcome to my last No Place Like Home for the season! Thank you to Mrs. T for sharing the poem above in one of her posts. I thought it was perfect for my posting today.

This is a long post so please pour yourself a warm beverage and join me, won't you?

I have written this post in memory of my parents.

Is there any other season that tugs at your heartstrings more than Christmas? Those days of yore when the family gathered around the Christmas tree all a-twinkle with coloured lights and those vintage ornaments lending their charm to each evergreen branch. There was just something special about those days. 

I wonder if I may transport you back to my Christmases as a little girl? 

As a child, we didn't have any more than the average family. After we moved to the Island, I grew up in rented houses and apartments. But when Christmas rolled around, I felt like we were as wealthy as the royals. The weeks leading up to Christmas were always busy ones with Christmas concerts and church festivities, my mother baking, and lots of secrets. My parents worked very hard to make Christmas as special and magical as possible.

My little brother and I would have been mistaken for angels those weeks leading up to the big day!

Mom and Daddy would trim the house before bringing in the big spruce tree. I can still remember the smell of fresh boughs hung over doorways and windows, sparkling with silver glass balls and icicles. Then there was the tree itself. Never was there a more beautiful tree! My mother had a gift for decorating and I always thought our tree was the most beautiful in the neighbourhood.

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, which Daddy built and my mother painted, took his place of honour in the front window and when he was plugged in, his nose glowed red and all along the base were many coloured lights. To us kids, Rudolph was quite magical!
This little china deer was a gift from my mother many years ago. He comes out every Christmas and spends time on the window sill reminding me of the Rudolph in our window so many years ago.

A couple of weeks before Christmas Day arrived, we always got a call from Santa. We could hear his bells ringing in the background as Santa asked my brother and me what we wanted for Christmas. We didn't know it until much later, but Santa was really a family friend, a policeman, who made a hundred calls every year to talk to the children of his friends and relatives. When I grew up and had my own little boys, Santa called them too. The dear man carried on that tradition until he left this earth. Bless his heart! He had been one of my father's best friends ever since we moved to the Island. Lloyd made hundreds of little ones very happy while he was here.

On Christmas Eve, the stockings were hung and the next morning my brother and I would get up to find them bulging with candy canes, fudge, nuts, barley toys, and hard candy of every kind imaginable, including the beautiful ribbon candy that was such a delight to the eyes. In the toe was the biggest and juiciest orange and the biggest Delicious apple we had ever seen.

Did You Know?

The Victorian rule of thumb for filling a Christmas stocking was "Something to eat, something to read, something to play with, and something they need." - from "Christmas Teas of Comfort and Joy" by Emilie Barnes

We always had the best presents because Daddy worked as an accountant at a home and auto shop which had a toy store on the second level.

These little tykes build a snowman every Christmas on my window sill above the kitchen sink.

Did You Know?

It was Queen Victoria's influence that allowed children to play more and work less. The queen held parties at Christmastime especially for children, encouraging them to take part in the festivity of the season. - from "Christmas Teas of Comfort and Joy" by Emilie Barnes

One magical Christmas when I was about six  years old, my brother and I found the most adorable puppy next to the Christmas tree in his brand new dog house which Daddy had built. He was a cocker spaniel and he was the sweetest thing! He had big brown eyes and a sprinkle of freckles on his nose.

That was the best Christmas ever! We called the puppy, Jingles.

This ceramic spaniel puppy was made by my son in High School which he gave to me. The pup reminds me of our puppy, Jingles.

After the gifts were opened we always had a big dinner. The turkey took center stage and all the fixings were spread out around the turkey on the festive tablecloth my mother would use that time of year. Of course everything was homemade in those days. The dressing, rich with onions and summer savoury, sweet and tart cranberry sauce, home made pickles and relish, and the wonderful savoury gravy. What a feast! Dessert was always mincemeat pie with whipped cream or plum pudding. My brother and I always enjoyed both!

In those days, Walt Disney had an afternoon special to watch on TV every Christmas Day. That is when my father would get down on the floor with my brother and me and watch the cartoons with us. He laughed and enjoyed them as much as we did. Lady and the Tramp, Chip and Dale, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, etc. Walt Disney was the icing on the cake so to speak because we knew Daddy was going to enjoy the cartoons as much as we did. If the truth was known, he was just a big kid himself at Christmastime. 
Sometimes Daddy would take us ice skating on a pond or for a drive in the neighbour's horse and wagon. He always made the holidays extra special. Such warm memories of family times! 

My parents.are both gone now and Christmas will be somewhat bittersweet because this will be our first Christmas without both of my parents. Daddy had passed many years ago and this will be our first Christmas without my mother.
But my love for Christmas burns bright because of the legacy my parents left me. 

Christmastime is so very special because of the extraordinary Gift that was given to us over two thousand years ago. 
"....for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, 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

So enjoy the music, the food, the decorations and the presents. Greet one another with kindness and extend good will to all men. And remember to thank Him for it all. For without Christ, there would be no Christmas!

The greatest Christmas gift of all
Was never placed beneath a tree,
But lay within a manger
Beneath a star, for all to see. - Unknown

Thank you for joining me today. If you have something to share, simply let me know in a comment and I will add your blog to the list of participants below. I will be happy to come and visit you.
Please share any of the following: Cooking and baking, recipes, antiquing, artwork, ceramics, crafts, crocheting/knitting, quilting/sewing, collections, floral arranging, home decor, homemaking tips, hospitality, refinishing furniture, tea time, tablescapes, thrift shopping etc....Maybe there's a new baby in the family or you have a new fur baby you would like to introduce us to. They are welcome too! Anything and everything which makes your HOME more enjoyable to come HOME to, for your family, your friends, and yourself

Merry Christmas, dear friends, and God bless you!

Party Participants:
Tea in the Valley
This Beautiful Life
Across My Kitchen Table
Kitty's Kozy Kitchen
Open Doors, Open Windows
Just a Little Southern Hospitality
Karen's Cottage and Castle

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Monday 9 December 2019

"Christmas Time is Here" for No Place Like Home

Snow flakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share.

Sleigh bells in the air

Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there.

Christmas time is here

We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see,

Such spirit through the year.... ~ From A Charlie Brown Christmas

Hello my lovely friends and welcome to another No Place Like Home! 

I love the song above, don't you? I just love this time of year! Our kitchens are filled with the aroma of baked goods fresh from the oven. You know, those treats we only bake for Christmas? The Christmas lights twinkle from our trees and windows and the sound of music permeates every room of the house. There is a sense of expectancy in the air and one cannot help but feel thankful for such a beautiful season. 

I have been enjoying all the Hallmark Christmas movies. I have simply enjoyed them for the warm story they tell without the usual smut you see on every day TV. Oftentimes, I am inspired, how about you? I even learned of a new recipe a couple of weeks ago.

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

Today, I am having a tea time in front of the tree. I have set out two teacups; one for you and one for me.

Pretty teacups

I think it's important to take some time to relax and not allow the hustle and bustle to rob us of the beauty of this holiday season. 

Taking time for tea is a lovely way to just sit and savour not only tea and treats but the traditions passed down. Perhaps like I do, you have a tree that is filled with ornaments gifted to you by loved ones. I call both of my trees, Memory Trees, and I can recall pretty much who gave me which ornament and when. These ornaments make the tree so special.

Most importantly, it is good to slow down and remember the Reason for the Season; the first coming of our Lord Jesus. Think about how dark our world would be without Him.

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 

This wee Bible ornament came from a family member and I have had it for years. It holds the book of Psalms and Proverbs. 
The rocking horse is from Avon which I've had since my children were young.

This little drum is one of the oldest ornaments on the tree. It represents all of my children and their musical gifts. All of them play drums although our youngest prefers the keyboards and all the percussion instruments while the oldest guy loves to play guitar. Our middle guy loves the drums best of all.

This is a demi-tasse my beloved Auntie P gifted me with. I have two of them on the tree. They had been part of her Rose Chintz Collection before she passed them on to me. 

I have been doing some baking. I finally got my fruit cakes made and I am sending some to my two sons and their families who live away. 

The sultana cake above and the dark cake below. Both of which are heirloom recipes that have been passed down. The dark cake is moist enough that sometimes we use it for pudding with a sauce over it.
I also made some wonderful cranberry muffins for our tea today. These are really good!

The sugar on top makes them look like they have a dusting of snow.
I cut one open so you could see the cranberry goodness inside. They are very festive and moist.

What kind of treats do you bake for Christmas?

Home is the nicest place there is. ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

A cozy atmosphere with Christmas lights and soft music, with a fire blazing in the fireplace. There truly is no place like home.

I am delighted to have you join me today. If you have something to share, simply let me know in a comment and I will add your blog to the list of participants. I will be happy to come and visit you.

Please share any of the following: Cooking and baking, recipes, antiquing, artwork, ceramics, crafts, crocheting/knitting, quilting/sewing, collections, floral arranging, home decor, homemaking tips, hospitality, refinishing furniture, tea time, tablescapes, thrift shopping etc....Maybe there's a new baby in the family or you have a new fur baby you would like to introduce us to. They are welcome too! Anything and everything which makes your HOME more enjoyable to come HOME to, for your family, your friends, and yourself.

Lord, this humble house we'd keep 
Sweet with play and calm with sleep. 
Help us so that we may give 
Beauty to the lives we live. 
Let Thy love and let Thy grace 
Shine upon our dwelling place. -
 Edgar A. Guest

Party Participants:
Tea in the Valley
Kitty's Kozy Kitchen
Thelma's Days
Mrs. T's Christmas Kitchen
A Debbie-Dabble Christmas

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi