Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 ~ In The Garden

January ~  amaryllis

I love to look back at my blog and see how my garden progresses and changes throughout the year. I thought it would be fun to pick out my favorite photos from each month in 2013 to close out the year. I visit a lot of gardens but these photos are all flowers and plants from my own garden.  Nothing is ever the same in the garden and I know 2014 will bring new plants and new ideas. Happy New Year!

February ~  maidenhair fern

March ~  hellebores

April ~  bleeding hearts

May ~ tree peony

June ~ lacecap hydrangea

July  ~ zinnia

August  ~ fall anemones

September ~ pots

October ~ nandina

November ~ oakleaf hydrangea

December ~ evergreen pot

Monday, December 30, 2013

Celebrating in Cleveland

We were in Cleveland this past weekend to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my sister Linda and her husband Rich. Hard to believe!! They had a big dinner and party at Pine Ridge Country Club, and all of their children and grandchildren were there, along with lots of other family and friends. It was so great to be with all of our family, and many old friends who we have known for so many years. We looked at old pictures and of course reminisced about their wedding on that cold December day 50 years ago. We carried white poinsettias! (I was a bridesmaid.) We talked about and looked at pictures of the 50th anniversary parties of our grandparents and our parents, all joyful occasions for our family, and now it's their turn.  It was a great party,  a delicious dinner, and with loving speeches by their oldest son Rich and oldest grandchild, Claire. All the grandchildren came out with posters showing what they love most about their grandparents. We danced until late, and it was so much fun to celebrate this occasion with Linda and Rich and their family. Quite a milestone.

Walt and my brother Tom
 Tom and Evie

Linda, Rich, Richie (dressed as Rich as a Providence College basketball player back in the 1960s), and JP

More grandchildren

Grandchildren at dinner--Shea, Owen, JP, Grace, Sophie, Colin, Emily

Rich, Grace, Emily, and my niece Kathryn

Richie, Shea, Connor, JP, and Colin dancing


On Sunday, my niece Kirsten was sworn in as Council President for the City of Euclid, and we were able to attend the ceremony--here she is with her family after the ceremony. We are so proud of her!

Connor, Kevin, Emily, Kirsten, and Dan

Kirsten and Emily, relaxing

Dan, Richie, and Connor holding our grandparents'  50th anniversary plate 

Chilly day on Lake Erie

And a snowy Lake Erie, end of December

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cookie Exchange 2013

Prudy and Eileen,  Cookie Exchange 2013

Eileen, Prudy, and I had our annual cookie exchange on Friday night at Eileen's house. After exclaiming over the beautiful presentations of the cookies and having a few yummy drinks, Eileen served us a delicious dinner of spaghetti bolognese. Cookie exchange is a tradition we have been doing for many, many years, and we all agreed it is one of our favorites parts of Christmas. Along with the cookies and a cute container we always add a few small gifts. It's always fun to see what each other has picked up during the year.  Between us this year we had hazelnut crescents, date and fig pinwheels, molasses cookies, chocolate peppermint drops, chocolate chip bars, and Rolo-filled chocolate cookies. Yum, they were all delicious.

Now if we could only get rid of this 75 degree weather it might feel like Christmas...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Gingerbread Houses

The other day while at Reston Town Center I stopped to see the gingerbread village that the chefs at the Hyatt make every Christmas and display in the hotel's lobby. I've always loved gingerbread houses. I love every single gingerbread house I've ever seen.  I love the colors, the candy, the imaginative ways people decorate the roofs, the shingles, the windows, just everything about them. The more the better when it comes to gingerbread houses. And if there's a train running around it, all the better.

And of course it got me thinking about all the gingerbread houses I have made over the years. I started making them with my kids when they were little and we made them most every year. It was always a highlight of the Christmas preparations for me, making the gingerbread and cutting out the pieces of the house (no pre-made kits then), buying the bags of candy,  and watching my kids' faces when I pulled it all out and said we were going to make the gingerbread house.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Books On My Nightstand

Always important to have lots of good books for the holidays--

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert--a novel about an 18th century female botanist.

The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud--"How angry am I? You don't want to know." Great first line. 

The Goldfinch--this novel has gotten rave reviews and the New York Times just named it one of the 10 best books of the year.

Sense and Sensibility, by Joanna Trollope--a contemporary version of the Jane Austen classic. I love most of Trollope's books, so am looking forward to this one!

Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline. Someone recommended this book to me, and I've had it on hold forever. 

O Pioneers, by Willa Cather--book club pick for January. We loved My Antonia.

Monday, December 16, 2013



by Michael Laskey

If you can't bring yourself to build
a snowman or even to clench
a snowball or two to fling
at the pine tree trunk, at least
find some reason to take you out

of yourself: scrape a patch of grass clear
for the birds maybe; prod at your shrubs
so they shake off the weight, straighten up;
or just stump about leaving prints
of your boots, your breath steaming out.

Promise. Don't let yourself in
for this moment again: the end
of the afternoon, drawing the curtains
on the glare of the garden, a whole
day of snow nobody's trodden.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snow Day

 Yesterday we woke up to a winter wonderland--well sort of, there was snow on the ground and it was snowing heavily, looking like a great snow day. The federal government was closed, schools were closed, even the never-closed libraries were closed. It was Walt's birthday, so he took off for his traditional run on his birthday, something he does every year. He really likes to run in the snow, especially when it is still snowing, so he was happy and felt good.  By early afternoon the snow had stopped and the town plows were starting to make the rounds, so about 3 pm we decided to go to the nursery and pick out our tree.

Birthday boy off for a run

Why are Christmas trees never easy?  Usually it's the lights that cause problems,  but this year once we got the tree into the stand and into the house, I started pouring water into the stand and it totally poured out of the bottom--the bottom had a leak. After soaking up all the water on the carpet with towels, we had to take the tree out of the stand, back into the garage, drive to Home Depot hoping to find a new stand (we did), then start all over again. No lights or decorations yet, that fun is for tonight.

On Sunday I made a few outdoor pots for the front steps, using greens from my yard and a few branches of winterberry that I bought at a nursery. I love how they turned out. They looked especially great in the snow.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sparkly Monday

We had a wintry mix yesterday with mostly icy rain in the evening. This morning I looked outside and everything outside looked so sparkly and icy, I had to venture out and take my camera.  Every branch is encased in ice, it really looks beautiful.

I love the ice-covered lavender...

And an ice-covered lilac bud.