Here is the #2ndhandspirited December Daily Prompt Calendar. Hoping you have a wonderful December!
Someday Afternoon Society and the Birthday Tea
The Someday Afternoon Society is one of my side projects. I often don’t focus on it but it is always hovering in the background of my mind. The Someday Afternoon Society is a promise that I make to myself to continue to engage in fun, fulfilling activities that I always said I would get to “someday”. Over the weekend, I had a Someday Afternoon Society meeting. I held a tea party for my sister’s birthday. The event was inspired by a recent St. Valentine’s Chocolate Tea and by my amazing and unique sister, of course.
I was browsing around at the Salvation Army during the weeks before my sister’s birthday and I came across a beautiful, 14 karat gold tea set. It was not a completed tea set but it was one of the most complete sets I had ever come across. I am not much of a tea drinker, but I was captivated by the old set. My sister collects old tea cups and her birthday was on the horizonso I snapped a picture and sent it to her to see if she would like it. I almost left it there. At the last minute, she responded and the set was purchased. There were 6 tea cups, a creamer, a dozen saucers and 6 shallow bowls. The dishes are adorned with a small blue and red cabbage rose inside the cups and gilded edges with the perfect amount of crazing. Having just attended the Victorian tea at the Mary Stegmaier Mansion, an idea formed inside of me. I would hold a tea in honor of my sister’s birthday. All of the pieces came together at the perfect time to inspire this Birthday tea!
My sister also noted this would be her “Year of the Gnome”. In honor of her current gnome infatuation, I looked for some gnome-y décor. The Dollar Tree and Dollar General provided some cute and inexpensive little gnome and fairy garden figurines. Those were used to decorate the table and cake. A few other décor items were purchased, white doilies from the dollar tree, a sparkly rose gold table runner and rainbow backdrop from Five Below, and Bigelow Tea, variety pack, from Amazon. I also borrowed a fancy ceramic tea pot from my younger sister. I used my vintage tatted table covering over a white table cloth and added candles and mini daffodils I had transplanted into a vintage planter to adorn the table.
The menu included cucumber sandwiches and small ham finger sandwiches prepared with fresh Italian bread. Fresh grapes, pretzels, crackers and jam were also available for nibbling. My mother provided fresh cheese buns from Sanitary Bakery, one of the birthday girl’s favorite treats. I took a chance in making a cake and some cake pops. I used two funfetti cake mixes to make two small, round cakes and a larger cake for the cake pops. I also used simple syrup to sweeten the cake. To match the theme, I made a gnome home cake. The cake was decorated with chocolate melting candy “bark” and green frosting “moss”. Some of the cake pops were fashioned in to mushrooms to add to the fallen log gnome home cake.
To make the event more special, we dressed up and wore hats. In addition to tea, I served mimosa’s with champagne for the adults and sparkling cider for our under-age attendees. It was small, intimate girl’s tea for my mother, sisters and nieces. We spent our time talking about memories and future plans while French café music floated around us. It is a fun and beautiful memory of time spent with people I love.
The transition between the new year and the passing year can be a time of reflection and hope. 2018 fades away and 2019 waits patiently to bring new possibilities. What has brought you joy in 2018? What do you wish for 2019?
2018 was a good year for me. It followed a particularly hard year and I am grateful. In 2018 I completed a year of my Master’s degree, visitied Disney with my family, and spent lots of time by the ocean. I feel closer to my family than ever. My daughter is growing and learning so fast it takes my breath away. I began a new career and continue to grow and change personally and professionally. 2018 was good to me.
2019 is shaping up to be intense. My last year of my Nurse Practitioner Program requires intense focus and I know it will be challenging but worth it. We are working on a major home project that will bring much change and excitement. 2019 will be busy and demanding. That is ok. Whatever challenges await me, I am ready. I know I have all the tools to get me through, most importantly the backing of my incredible family.
I love a white Christmas. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards this year. Our winters in Northeastern Pennsylvania are getting warmer and warmer. I believe white Christmases will be very rare. There is something magic about a snowy Christmas. I do, however, remember a a Christmas in which we were struck by a horrible storm that stranded us at home. So, I could be wrong about the changing weather pattern. I know that my daughter would be please by a white Christmas, so we will keep it on our Christmas wish list for now.
The Gift of Gifting
Christmas brings many gifts. Not just the physical gifts that are given and received. Also, the gifts of happiness, family, and love. Gifts have the ability to show the ones you love that you understand and appreciate those things they enjoy. It gives the opportunity to demonstrate your appreciation for the receiver of the gift. My favorite gifts to give are to the kiddos in my life. They are at the age where they are struck by the wonder and excitement of everything. I know that this time is limited for the wonder that Christmas brings for the kiddos. Maybe that is why I love this time with them, because I know I need to savor it because it is limited.
I have a love affair with white lights. I think they are so beautiful and classic. My husband loves color. He would put colorful lights up everywhere if he could. And so, we learn to compromise…white lights everywhere. Just kidding, of course. We have mostly white lights around the house. Our front porch has blue icicle lights, which are very pretty. We also added a cool snow fall effect this year, which I was able to get for a steal at LTD Commodities. Tell me about your lights.
Urbinwoodcraft (The Mr. to my Mrs.) wrote this response to my blog post:
I have grown to really enjoy the white lights over the years. Although adding some color isn’t a bad thing, the white lights, just like you babe, are classy and beautiful, and I really enjoy them.
When I was younger (not that I am ancient now, but less experienced) I used to complain about the fuss over Christmas. All the stops we would have to make and people I would complain about seeing. I would think about how taxing all of this was instead of recognizing the love that was expressed on this day. I was immature and ungrateful. Time has a cruel way of revealing the truth. I look around now on Christmas and I am so thankful for my family and for the opportunity to show how I love them and spend time with them. It isn’t until members of your family start to disappear that you understand their importance in your life.
Growing up I was fortunate to have both sets of grandparents and a network of extended family. These people helped to shape me in to who I am today. Now I look around and their numbers have dwindled. Time has taken them away. I believe the old saying “youth is wasted on the young”. Wisdom and appreciation arrive with experience and it is sometimes too late. There are times I wish I could go back to years that I wasted thinking about what an inconvenience it was to spend time with my family. I know now that the only thing that I can change is the present. Live in the now and show thanks for what and who you have. Sometimes the present is the present.
One Christmas Tradition that our family observes every year without fail is Wigilia dinner. Our family is of Polish and Slovak descent, so this tradition Christmas Eve Dinner is a practice that has been occurring for generations. My mother has been the host for as long as I can remember. She always sets the most beautiful table complemented by the Christmas flowers my father sends her each year. Prior to the meal we break bread called Oplatki. This tradition is meant to symbolize the unity of the family. It also symbolizes forgiveness and reconciliation which can be particularly important this time of year.
This dinner is meat free and typically begins with mushroom soup. Although this dish may not be a favorite of everyone, we still eat it because tradition, right? Additional
dishes include shrimp, fish sticks, pierogies, and pagach. It is very carbohydrate friendly. Often times my grandmother will make homemade nut roll for dessert. Which is delicious, particularly warmed and smeared with butter.
Wigilia dinner is a great tradition. Though we celebrate our family with weekly family dinners, Wigilia is special, and it feels special.
I cannot say that I have a favorite ornament. Though I very much enjoy looking at the ornaments that my sisters and I created when we were kids. I think it is heartwarming that my mother continues to save and place those ornaments on the tree. I have my own daughters ornaments on the tree and I see how her eyes light up when she pulls it out of the box. The ornament sparks a memory within her, “I remember when I made this.” She smiles and proudly places the ornaments on the tree.
This prompt really made me look at my ornaments. I realize they tell our family story. There are ornaments marking many milestones in our lives such as our first year of marriage, babies first Christmas, dog and cat ornaments. The also chronicle our likes; baseball and Philadelphia Phillies ornaments for my husband,
Halloween ornaments and birds for me, Elsa and Disney characters for my daughter. As I take the ornaments out and place them on the tree I am reminded of our life and family. It is a visual representation of us.