Monday, January 8, 2024

Home in January

 

Home in January

The holidays were wonderful, and it was amazing to be in Paris on Christmas...but so good to be home!  It did not take too long to pack away Christmas as we did a "basic Christmas" since we would be away.
I love the peace and calm of January...cozy tea, good books, a fire, a comfy throw, and good movies.
While a lot of people don't decorate for January, I do - and find it fun and a nice change from all the holiday colors.
My chair is all set for reading and watching the snow fall.  The pillow is old - after Christmas sale at Hobby Lobby.  The silver bird from Target, and the Winter book by Mary Englebreit has been mine for years.

Some Christmas balls purchased at K-Mart years ago - a steal after the holidays - fill a tray from Dollar Tree on our coffee table.  I cut up some winter berry picks from JoAnn Fabrics to liven it up, then added a votive with a snowflake ornament ( also from Dollar Tree) on top.

Switched out the red holly for some white and blue picks on the mantel...

added a snowflake and winter bird to my ivy...

and made a simple centerpiece for the dining table.  The white "snowballs" are Martha Stewart ornaments I picked up after Christmas at Lowes years ago...the blue candle is new.  All of my candles looked more cream than white so I just ordered this one - a set of three - from Amazon.  I really like it because they were very inexpensive, and come with a remote, making it easy to light when we have dinner.
You can find them here - Blue Candles


Some snowmen and a snowflake in the kitchen corner...

and the snowmen are enjoying some wine, too.

This snowman was an ornament gift from a friend...I use it for January and used some nail polish to make the wine glass look like it holds a nice red blend!

Our foyer welcome guests with a winter greeting and another snowman...

as well as the snowman on our door.  It usually snows as soon as I take down the Christmas wreath and put this up...and this year did not disappoint.  Not much snow, but enough to feel cozy watching it while it fell.
Yesterday was Epiphany and it is our tradition to bless our home on that day.  When I was a child our parish priest would visit every home sometime after Christmas and bless the house for the coming year.  The door is marked with the year, a cross, and the initials of the Three Kings - Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar.  My mom was a wonderful cook and our parish priest always seemed to be at our home right before lunch - so my mom would invite him to stay for something to eat.
That tradition is fading away, and priests have not visited homes for many years....but we carry on the tradition by blessing our home with holy water and praying that everyone who enters our home is blessed.  
Today is our 47th wedding anniversary...so we do feel very blessed to have all these years together.  We are going out this evening to try a new restaurant  - and glad the weather is going to cooperate.  So many anniversary dinners have been snowed out over the years!
Love this meal for lunch or dinner during the cold winter months...so very cozy!
Do you decorate for January?  Are you a fan of the winter - or are you longing for Spring?  Please leave a comment below - I love hearing from you !
Have a cozy winter!

Monday, January 1, 2024

Paris is always a good idea!

 Paris is always a good idea!


That Audrey Hepburn quote has always inspired me...and yes, Paris was a great idea and the perfect way to celebrate my dear husband's 70th birthday and Christmas combined.
We even made our Christmas Card "Paris themed" by taking this photo in our guest bath!  That is our Paris shower curtain in the background and it worked great.  Our guest bath is "all Paris" - as you can see here - We'll Always Have Paris


We set out on a Viking River Cruise called "Christmas on the Seine" with a few days in Paris before the start of the cruise.
Our hotel - Hotel Rochester - was just a few blocks off of the Champs Elysees and perfect for exploring the city.


I took WAY too many photos...having a phone that takes photos makes it too easy to keep snapping shots.  In the past - when you had a camera with real film - I was so careful to make sure I did not use up all the film before the end of the trip.  Then came digital cameras, and I was a little careful not to fill up the memory card.  But now, even though I want to be in the moment and not take so many photos, it is so easy to keep snapping away.
Here are some highlights from our wonderful trip...



A beautiful morning walk through Le Marais  -  past beautiful shop windows and buildings filled with history.






We walked all over the city...one day logging over 24,000 steps - riding the metro, eating crepes, visiting the Christmas markets, museums, the amazing department store displays, and a very moving ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe that honored the Unknown Soldier and all veterans.
After all that walking we were happy to board the Viking Radgrid for a trip up the Seine, but the river was swollen with too much rain so we had to board the ship about 10 miles away from Paris.  Viking did a great job in shuttling us into Paris so we did not miss anything.


I have some great video of the Eiffel Tower sparkling - as it does every 15 minutes - but having trouble loading the video!

I decorated our cabin door for Christmas, we had the first of great meals on the ship, then headed back to Paris for a boat ride around the city to see the lights...MAGICAL!
We got to make ornaments to decorate the tree in the ship's lounge...



Hear fabulous organ concerts in old cathedrals in little towns along the Seine...



Have delicious food and wine...

See amazing old cities...
And even hiked to see Richard the Lionheart's fortress!

Several trees on the ship to make the holidays festive!

Christmas Eve Services at the American Cathedral.

A Happy Birthday toast to John!

What a wonderful adventure and great way to celebrate Christmas and a special birthday.  Now we are home again, ready to begin the New Year of 2024, and excited about all that is to come.
Thanks so much for coming along on our trip.  
Have you traveled over the holidays?  Would you do it again?  
Please leave a comment below - I so enjoy hearing from you!
Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year filled with health, happiness, and peace!

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