Friday, December 31, 2010

All Was Calm, All Was Bright

"Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved."
~Augusta E. Rundel

A Kaufman Family Christmas in Photographs

The warm and cozy.

As always, I wrapped my gifts in brown paper.


Glitz and Glam.

Plenty of card playing.

Charlie and Millie get presents, too.

Sparkle City.

Glowing Memories.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Almost Here...

"Peace on earth will come to stay,
When we live Christmas every day."
- Helen Steiner Rice

It's Christmas week, you know. Thankfully, I'm just about set- only a few more treats to purchase and two more sets of booties to knit.

Nothing like kicking off the festivities with chocolate chip cookies and hot, creamy coffee for breakfast. It is Christmas week, after all. grin.

And the hearty dusting of freshly fallen sparkle snow that I woke up to? Perfect.

Have a wonderful week, full of special memories and fun.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


"If you want to make a snowman,
I'll help you make one-- one, two, three.
If you wanna take a sleigh ride,
The ride's on me."
~Rosemary Clooney

I got my wish.
Another snow day.
Happy, happy me!

The Winter Spa

"I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
~ Maya Angelou

I've always been a "hand-person". I feel that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at his/her hands. The hands, in my opinion, are an insight into the life, struggles, triumphs, and successes of an individual.

Perfect polish or chewed cuticles? Filed edges or french salon tips?
Chipped cherry-red nail lacquer, or buffed pink shine?

I look at rings on both men and women, and I smile when I see those bands of love. I think back to how my great grandmother never even had an engagement ring or wedding band, yet she enjoyed years of marriage to her very best friend.

I look at callouses and admire the effort and intensity put into hard work. I see scars and age-spots and think of a life well-lived.

I imagine all the wonderful things those hands have done. The tears they've wiped away, the high-fives they've given, the children they've comforted, the love ones they've carried.

But, on another, perhaps more uplifting note, I'm also obsessed with soft hands. I try so hard to keep mine silky and supple through the harsh Pennsylvania winters.

I spent the day wrapping presents and knitting, so I figured I'd take a small break and treat myself to my favorite, all-natural sugar scrub. I hope you try it, too. I promise that you will fall in love- with the sugar scrub, that is.

In a small bowl combine:

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

Rub all over your hands, rinse with warm water, and follow up with vanilla lotion or coconut oil.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy, Happy and a Good Read

"Star light, star bright, wish upon a star tonight.Add Image
Let it snow and snow all night,
so school's let out by morning light."

I just took my sweats out of the dryer. Mind you, they were already plenty dry and neatly folded away in my closet. However, it's a tad freezing and I needed some extra warmth. Ten minutes on the fluff cycle was like slipping away in a hot bubble-bath.
happy sigh.

While I listen to the wind whip and whirl outside, Charlie snuggles close to her pillow and gently chews on her little paw. Perhaps she's cold, too.

But, even though it's cold-- make that freezing-- you won't hear me complaining. I love nothing more. This cold, severe winter weather puts the sprinkles on my cookies. It makes me wish that I lived in a snug log cabin with a huge stone fireplace and a generous hearth. Worn braided rugs, a dutch oven full of potatoes and veggies roasting over a wood stove, sheepskin slippers, and rugged flannel shirts. Yes, that's what I dream of this evening.

I've always been one to connect with what I read, and lately I've been absorbed in a book called "The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love" by Kristin Kimball. And as I read this memoir about a thirtysomething, Harvard graduate who falls in love with a farmer, I find myself drawn into their life. I feel their struggles. I smell the potatoes, freshly pulled from the ground. I hear the floorboards creek and groan, as they rise at 4:00 a.m. to tend to the milking duties. I shirk in pain as they take frigid showers because they don't have hot water.

But, most of all, I marvel at Kristin and Mark. I admire their dedication, teamwork, and shared vision-- to grow everything needed to feed an entire community. Two people, from two completely opposite backgrounds, who come together to nourish and feed and provide.

mmmmm....I can practically hear the crackle of my imaginary fire, and I can almost reach out and stir my invisible vegetable stew. But, it's only a dream, a little vision and hope that I've tucked away for my someday.

For now, I'll celebrate the fact that school let out early. I love early out days. It's like a bonus point in the test of life. Dare I wish for a snow day tomorrow?

(Yes! Yes! Yes! Come on wind...kick it up a notch. Come on cold temperatures. Start dropping already.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thanks, Dad.

"To her the name of father was another name for love."
~ Fanny Fern

I'll never, ever forget last Thursday. It was a father/daughter moment at its best.

Only my dad would come to my rescue at a local hardware store and help me transport the perfect little Christmas tree. You see, I had found this tree, and simply put, I fell in love. And, yes, you guessed it; the tree was the display model and wasn't for sale.

After a fair amount of persuasion and smooth-talking, I succeed in winning over the poor woman who had the unfortunate job of manning the outdoor garden center. Frown. Other than being a housekeeper at a sleazy motel, that's got to be the most miserable job ever. I silently thanked my parents for making me go to college, and then set about waiting approximately 30 minutes for the head of the holiday center, Gino, to unbolt the Christmas tree from a wooden palette. Poor guy. He probably hated me.

While waiting, my dad and I practically had ourselves a little tailgating session in the parking lot at Lowe's. Classic. All we needed were a few drinks and some bratwurst and we'd have had ourselves a party. Finally, Gino arrived, unbolted the tree and helped us load the pine delight into the back of my dad's car. We won't talk about how much water ended up in his trunk, but I will tell you that he was a real sport about the whole thing. Bless him.

We arrived back at 403 and despite the blustery winds, flying snow, and darkness, he helped me set up the tree on the front porch. I wish I had video of him and I putting on the lights. We laughed till we cried and I'm pretty sure those babies are never coming off. Never. Never. Nev-er.

Thanks, Acey. What a hilariously great time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Warm Puppy

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."
~Gilda Radner

I didn't sleep much last night. As a matter of fact, I woke up at 4:30 am, ran to the window, gazed upon a white wonderland, and began my "Snow Day Watch".

Charlie T. seemed pretty thrilled about having mama to lounge on the couch with. We didn't waste a minute of such a snuggly morning. At warp speed we plugged in the tree, grabbed our favorite blankies, turned on the news, made tea, and watched- not so patiently- until our school's name scrolled across the bottom of the television screen.

Happy. Happy. Joy. Joy!

Nestled? You could say so.

And all day, she's been this way. I think she's pretty thrilled that I'm here with her. She and I have been cuddle buddies all day. We've studied, done laundry, studied some more, and worked on a paper. Dinner is in the crock pot and the yummy smell has us both in an intoxicating grip.

Snow days- we love 'em.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tap, Tap, Tapping On Our Window Pane...

"When I no longer thrill to the first snow of the season, I'll know I'm growing old."
~ Lady Bird Johnson

Munchkin and I already have our paws and fingers crossed. We're hoping for a snow day tomorrow. A day away from work and the normals of the Monday-Friday grind. She and I, well, we really need a mother-dogger day.

We're thinking: coffee, the Today Show, knitting, studying, and cooking.

Yes, it's the first big snow of the winter season and we couldn't be happier about seeing our favorite friend, Suzy Snowflake.

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