Saturday, January 13, 2018

Happy New Year - Happy Winter !


Winter 2018

Happy New Year!  How long into January do you think you can keep saying "Happy New Year"?  I hear different opinions...and I think if you have not seen someone since the New Year began you can greet them with a wish for a Happy New Year.   I am guessing that this weekend is the latest you can do Happy New Year to all !
Every year when the Christmas wreath comes down this Snowman makes an appearance.   In our last homes each time we would bring it out our neighbors would yell "no, please don't bring the snowman out yet" because he always seemed to bring cold weather and SNOW!  This is the first year he is hanging in the hallway of our new apartment building - and while the new neighbors do not yet know of the legend, it did get VERY cold the day he was put on the door.
I love decorating for Christmas...but I am always happy to put the lovely baubles away for another year and get the clean, cool, winter decor out.   This is our Philadelphia Eagles snowman guarding our foyer - and we hope he brings us good luck in the playoffs.   Also, a framed holiday card of the Three Kings.   The Three Kings are always good luck, and they are in our foyer to protect our coming and going.  We always bless our home on Epiphany - January 6th - and ask for blessing on our home and on everyone who visits us.  When I was a little girl our local parish priest would visit every home in the parish and bless the house, marking the doorway with the initials of the Three Kings ( Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar) and the year.  Somehow, the priest always found he was at our home just in time for lunch...knowing what a good cook my mother was !
It is a little hard to see...but you make out the initials and the year.  When we traveled to Germany several years ago we saw these markings on the outside doorways of many homes in different cities.  It is a nice tradition that I am happy to keep going.

More winter and snowman decorations all around the house - and some new pillows for the new sofa.   
I searched for a fabric that would tie in all of the colors in the room...and found this - Waverly Panama Wave Gem.  I made two pillows and a table topper for the end table.
I think they turned out great...and love the way it pulls in all the colors.
I purchased the fabric on sale at JoAnn Fabrics...and then found I needed a little more and was not going to be anywhere near a store for a week or so.   Surprisingly, I found a one yard cut on Amazon...and it came in two days.   Gotta love Amazon !
We have been in our new space for 5 months now...and have made SO many new friends.  Truly, moving here to Willow Valley Communities has been AMAZING.   The right move for us!  A lot of our new neighbors are heading to Florida or points south for the next few months.   We hosted one couple for a dinner before they leave and it was so much fun to set the table for a winter dinner.   I planned Beef Stew, crusty bread, salad, red wine, and chocolate mousse for dessert.  The stew is a great recipe that cooks for 3 hours in a 325 degree oven.  Wouldn't you know that the day we had the dinner it was a freakish 65 degrees and the apartment got so warm I had to open all the windows.  Here is the recipe for the stew - 

2 lbs. of beef cubes
2 cups carrots , diced
2 cups potatoes, diced
2 medium onions, sliced
1 cup celery, chopped
2 tsp. quick cooking tapioca
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups frozen peas

I always use a little more carrots and potatoes...trying to eat less meat.  Place the raw beef cubes in a single layer in a heavy roasting pan.  Add all veggies except the peas.  Sprinkle tapioca, salt and pepper, over veggies.  Add juice and water and sprinkle brown sugar over everything.   Cover and bake for 2 hours at 325 degrees.  Add peas and cook for one more hour ( or you can microwave peas and just stir in before serving.)  This is easy, sure to serve with good bread to sop up the juices!

 Loved the way the table looked with my Blue Willow.   Not all of my pieces are "good" Blue Willow - some came from GoodWill, some from a giveaway in the grocery store, and some from my dear Aunt Mamie who would always go to sales in her apartment building and buy whatever she found.  What a treat to visit her and see her smile and say "I found some more of those blue dishes you like."  While we downsized a lot in this move, and sold/donated/gave away many dishes and glasses...the Blue Willow made the grade and moved with us.  So glad !
And the final photo....our mantel all ready for the BIG game today.   The Eagles have to win is win or go home.   Hope by the time you are reading this the Eagles are one step closer to the Super Bowl.
What team do you root for ?  Do you have a Super Bowl party ?  
Please leave a comment...and thank you so much for stopping by!

Trip !

  TRIP !!! And not the trip we were looking forward to...out for a walk and waiting for the crosswalk to say WALK.  A tractor trailer turned...