Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Few Things I'm Thankful For 2010

Before I start thinking about resolutions I thought it might be nice to focus on the great things about this year and several highlights come to mind.   Here are some things I'm very thankful for:
Nonprofit friends from AVLF at our firm for a training session

•Work.  It's hard some days and hectic most of the time but the work I do has meaning and I'm so happy to work with absolutely the best of people.  It was a great year and I'm looking forward to another exciting year.
Colleagues at Starbucks celebrating our "No Department, Department Party"

My granddaughters got to go to school in Germany.  I'm sure their mom has missed them terribly (I know we have), but it was good of her to let the girls have 6 months with my son and to let them have that life experience.  I hope they can do it again next school year. 
 Speaking of Germany, this year brought lots of travel.  It was great to be able to visit the countries of Germany, France and Iceland.  It was also fun to be able to visit, and catch up with friends in the Hamptons, New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. 

Vatnajökull - the largest glacier in Iceland

I gained a penpal!  Blogging is great but it was so exciting earlier in the year when French Village Life launched a snail mail/letter writing experience.  I was paired up with the most wonderful penpal and blogger, Pondside. One of my goals for the coming year is for us to be able to meet up (fingers-crossed).   
  Have I mentioned the Atlanta bloggers?   There's a fun group of women (generally organized by Sue and Joyce) who gather throughout the year.  These gatherings are always memorable occasions and I treasure the time we spend together.  I hope we are able to do something REALLY BIG in 2011!

I finally joined a book club, The No Guilt Book Club, and it is amazing! Maybe I've mentioned it before but my book club has a mix of doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, a film maker, an environmentalist, nonprofit leaders - both local and internationally and a stay-at-home mom.  When I was approached about joining this group I was asked to write something about myself.  It seemed odd at the time and it made me quite nervous.  Now that I'm an official participant it makes sense.   This group leans to the left and seeks diversity in every way and I'm grateful to be a part of such a great group of women reader/leaders.  Oh, and can I mention Wine Club here too?   An equally eclectic group of friends, all with whom I enjoy spending time.  
Monthly meetings with Marta.  Back in the 90's I worked with a dear friend and we were so close at the time.  Over the years, life and changes have gotten in the way but in 2010 Marta and I were able to re-connect and decided that we would enjoy meeting for lunch or dinner once a month.  It's been so nice to have a special once-a-month meeting sharing discussions on religion, books, movies and travel.   You'll be learning more about Marta and her studies in the coming year and it's very fascinating I assure you, especially for the FOODIES! 

Love my family.  We're always going in different directions, both mentally and physically, but I think that's one of the things I love and appreciate most about my family.  Though it isn't always easy, we work to accept one another as we are.  
Yes, here I am.  Lost in Grand Central Station and my son is photographing me the whole time!  See me standing by the ticket window.
 • I'm so grateful for good friends - Caitlin, Cappy, Aggie, Judy, Heidi, Ginabeth, Fran, Alice, Mary, Missy, Chris, Melanie, Marta and Stacey.  I've been so blessed to have such good friends throughout my lifetime.  You mean so much to me and this year was especially great because I was able to spend time with most of you in person!!!!

Big hug to all!
  This post wouldn't be complete if I failed to mention blog friends in general.  There are several of you that read my posts, leaving comments and sending emails.  Your blog friendship means so much.  Thank you Penny, Sarah, Pondside, Patti, Pat, Kathleen, Janean, Linda, Debbie, Marie Arden, Jojo (yes, there are two of us), Jane K. Schott, Chatty Crone, Cheri, Keetha, A Taste of Beirut, Frenchy, Vagabond, Rettabug, Joyce, Sue, Susan, Eva Agnes, Phivos, From A Writer's Kitchen, Angie, Jade, Jenny, Teresa at Splendid Sass, Laura and Pamela Terry and Edward.   Oh there are lots of other blogs I read and will often leave comments but you guys are the blog friends who stop in at my place and frequently leave a comment.  Sorry if I overlooked anyone but please accept my heartfelt thank you for being a very special part of my day. 

It's time to start working on some resolutions but for today it's nice to spend time thinking about the good things of 2010.  

Monday, December 27, 2010

Still Celebrating Christmas

We are still celebrating at our house.  Are you?   Christmas was wonderful.  
After attending early mass, we made our annual Christmas eve trip to the movies.
 followed by a visit to Waffle House.  

On Christmas day there were fun gifts,

Christmas jazz courtesy of KMHD 89.1 Jazz Radio Portland, and the sounds of Fruition String Band.
Later in the evening good friends stopped in 
to enjoy a visit and incredible performances by Parker Smith

and our very own Mimi.

Then it started to snow.
 On Sunday we joined friends for dinner

Before going to the Atlanta Thrashers game.

Tonight we're watching the Falcons (RISE UP!) and visiting with friends.  There are lots more Christmas carols to be sung and memories to be made.  
I'm so happy to keep my Christmas tree up until after the Epiphany.
At our house, we're going to keep celebrating the season.  Season's greetings.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Macarons and Good Times at Viking Cooking School

This past weekend was dedicated to baking and what a wonderful baker's weekend it was! 

Saturday morning kicked off with a class at Viking Cooking School.  It was my first class there and I can assure you it won't be my last.  I ended up in a group of four fun macaron-making wanabees.  It just so happened that one of our group members had just completed culinary school but was taking the class to perfect his macaron.    Rolf is a personal chef.   I'm not sure what all that entails but I would like to have one!

Having a chef in our group was a great excuse to let Rolf take the lead on preparations and he was great in explaining what he was doing.  It was like getting bonus instruction because our teacher was great.  

As you can see she was very "hands on" and oh so animated.  I enjoyed her enthusiasm. 
We mixed, 

and whipped,
and piped,

and waited for "legs" to appear. 
They did!!!
Adding filling was the easy part and Mary Ella and Christi went right to work filling our orange macarons with an incredible orange marmalade butter cream filling flavored with Triple Sec!!!  Wish I could share one with each of you but trust me, these delicious, delicate crisp bites just melt in your mouth.  Yum.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Girl

While European travel is filled with delays, the grand girls in Germany are having the time of their lives with the never ending snow.   These southern chics are sledding, having snowball fights and just completed their first snow girl. Please note - snow girl is also a Falcon's fan!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Ornaments

Update!  Congratulations to Cheri@Cheri's Chatter!! She won the giveaway-a copy of Joyeux Noel!  Thanks to everyone who participated.
You may recall from an earlier post that my son and daughter-in-law are living in Germany.   When my son moved last year, he gave me something I'd wanted my entire life, a Christmas pyramid.   

 Our family grew up with one of these (see picture below) but we had neighbors from Germany who always put out a Christmas pyramid each year and I loved it. 
 When we visited Germany one of the places we traveled was Rothenburg ob der Tauber, home of Kathe Wohlfahrt.  WOW!!!!  Now if you love Christmas and all its trimmings, never, ever visit Kathe Wohlfahrt!!!  Speaking of Christmas pyramids, they have one inside the store that is 30 feet tall!  Sadly no pictures are allowed in the store.  

Back in the 80s my sister also visited Germany and my souvenir was a beautiful pewter ornament.  I've treasured that pewter piece and have used it on my tree every year.  This year's trip to Germany started a whole new collection of ornaments.  
 While in Rothenberg ob der Tauber, I bought several more pewter ornaments. 
 Then my friend Marta, traveled to her home town this fall and brought me a lovely Wendell August ornament made right here in the USA.  My friend explained that the forge near her hometown burned recently and she and many others in the area are trying to support Wendell August as they rebuild their business.  

One of my other favorite decorations are the nutcrackers.  I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I found "garden girl" nutcracker, but truthfully I love them all.
My son, daughter-in-law, and grandgirls won't be coming back to the states for the holidays but I've got my favorite Germany postcard out, just imagining the snowy, beautiful Christmas they will be celebrating. 

And we've got lots of
keepsakes and memories from our wonderful trip this year to help keep us warm. 

Well, I'm off to my cooking class this morning AND THEN drawing the name of the winner of my giveaway.  If you haven't entered yet, leave a comment by 5:OO eastern today, December 18th.  Good luck!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Several years ago my sister introduced me to some beautiful ornaments that are part of the Dillard's Trim a Tree collection and each year I've continued to add to the collection.  

The ornaments are cloisonne which means less chances of breakage/damage if something falls or gets knocked off the tree, and each comes with its own velvet box which means storage is a breeze.   

But I collect them because I think the ornaments are beautiful and many of them have meaning.  

We eat lobster for Christmas dinner but that's another story!
The hot air balloon reminds me of my trip to Cappadocia, Turkey and the ride over the valley as the sun came up (confession, my son took the ride, I watched from the ground...fear of heights)!
Coffee is VERY important in our house,

 as is music.
There are the important ornaments that remind my family why we celebrate Christmas.

Of course there are the fun ones that remind us to celebrate and have fun.

Notice the ballet slippers.  I took ballet until a couple of years ago.   
The slippers remind me to dream.   
There are lots more and I treasure each one.  

Click here to find the post to enter