Bethlehem Pennsylvania

Mr Rosemary Lane and I had our first date in Bethlehem Pennsylvania 12 years ago on the Saturday after Thanksgiving...

...the following year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving we were married...

...and last year we took the kids back to Bethlehem for the day on our 10th wedding anniversary.

Here they are on the steps of the historical Sun Inn. The day of our first date Mr. RL and I went up these steps and opened the door only to find a wedding taking place.

Last year we were witness to another November wedding...

...this time from a little further distance.

The streets of Bethlehem are lined with quaint little shops and specialty stores...

...along with beautiful brick buildings dating back to the 18th century.

How about a hoarse and buggy ride?

And if you are in Bethlehem at Christmas time you simply must take a walk through the fabulous Hotel Bethlehem to see it all decked out for the holidays!

It was a magical way to kickoff the Christmas season!

Happy Anniversary honey!!!

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Parenting ~ Grabbing A Teachable Moment

As a parent I am always looking for teachable moments. Something unplanned, a "just sort of happens" kind of thing, and what's even better is when I have a story to illustrate my point.

The kids were home early from school since today is the day before Thanksgiving. I gave them lunch and promptly told them that I wanted certain chores to be done. Specifically I needed them to take the wheelbarrow to the back of the yard where my husband had stacked the wood he split from trees we lost over the past two years, load it up with the wood, bring the wheelbarrow around to the front of the house and unload it's contents onto the firewood rack. So of course as soon as the words finished coming out of my mouth Grace immediately threw her head back while letting out a big "ugh" and then says to me "Why do I (emphasizing the "I") have to do it?" My reply was a stern..."Because I asked (emphasizing the "YOU") you." Reluctantly she put on her shoes and jacket and headed, no stomped her way out to the back yard. I reminded Michael to go with her as it was his chore too.

About 20 or so minutes went by when Grace reappeared inside the house and made the big announcement that she "loaded up all the wood and stacked it onto the rack while Michael stood by doing nothing." I looked at her and very calmly said that I wished she hadn't told me that tidbit of information. Grace gave me an inquisitive look which quickly turned into the grimace of someone who was about to be treated unjustly. It was at this point I told her this story...

There is a legend of a rich man who came to visit a cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will only be covered up by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees. 

Grace still wasn't sure what I was getting at so I then put it to her this way. I said to her...do what is right and do not seek any praise or glory by going around tooting your own horn. God is the only one who ever needs to know about any good deeds you have done, as He will have already bore witness to your actions.

Then I decided to take it one step further and explained to Grace that when you do a good deed, whether it was something you were asked to do or not, perform the task and when you are done quietly move on. But if you perform the task and then make an announcement to the world that you did the job, or seek repayment in anyway, then the work you have done has now been diminished by your own words and actions, thus leaving your efforts regarded as something very close to meaningless.

Grace looked at me and thought for a moment. And as I looked back at her, I could see the corners of her mouth slowly begin to curl up. 

Wishing you all a very Blessed Thanksgiving!



Tables of Christmas Past

Well the holidays are upon us as this week we kick them off with one of my favorite holidays Thanksgiving. Although I am not trying to rush Thanksgiving, I couldn't help but to think it would be kind of fun to take a look back at some of my previous Christmas table settings, you know to see what I came up with creatively along the way of my holiday table evolution.

(Just click on the first image of each tablescape to see the entire post.)

"A Dining Room Dressed for the Holidays"

For this setting I used my good old Lennox china paired with white and green touches accented with gold.

Here a quilt was used as a partial table covering which gave the entire table a very countryish vibe. I paired it with a table runner and napkins from Pottery Barn along with wicker place mats and wicker napkin rings to round out the look.

"Winter White Tablescape"

This winter tablescape incorporates natural tones on white which gives this table a romantic feel. Then plenty of candles were added.

"It's a Holly Jolly Dining Room"

And last year I went country again but with black as my new neutral. Natural boxwood topiaries plus red cranberries in the candle globes brings out the festive colors of Christmas.

We are still putting the final touches in the dining room, in the way of Mr. RL's wainscoting, and I will be posting the reveal soon. (I know I am a little behind but it is coming.) And now that the dining room has received a new color plus accessories, I wonder what I will come up with for this year. Right now I am thinking touches of GREEN and some silver for bling, to go with my Boothbay gray!


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How to Make Your Own Fragrant Fruit Holiday Wreath

While in Williamsburg Virginia earlier this month (click here for pictures of this revolutionary town) I picked up a couple books on decorating Williamsburg style, and ended up falling completely in love with the natural fruit wreaths of the colonial times. 

So I decided to try my hand at making one of these gorgeous wreaths. I found a great 4 minute tutorial on line which gave me a good basic idea of how to start. Just click here to view.

What you will need to make this wreath...

1 12" fresh (or faux) wreath
1 twig wreath
18 gauge wire
24 gauge floral wire
wire cutters
some type of work glove(s) if you have them
apples and naval oranges
faux berry sprigs
cinnamon sticks
whole cloves
small pine cones

I did start with a 12" fresh wreath from my local nursery and a twig wreath from Michael's. Just be aware that the twig wreaths are about $22 each, so make sure you print off a Michael's coupon before heading out to the store. (I found a Michael's coupon on-line for 50% off one regularly priced item here) In addition I also grabbed some faux berries which happened to be on sale for 60% off.

Next I purchased a roll of 18 gauge wire from Home Depot and picked up a bag of apples and a box of clementines at the grocery store. You really do need that 18 gauge wire to support the fruit in this wreath. You can use a heavier wire but it will be a bit more difficult for you to bend and manipulate around. Also if you have them, I strongly urge using some type of protective gloves as the wire does go through skin pretty much like a knife!

I wired the two wreaths together using 24 gauge floral wire, then as the tutorial suggested, I measured out how much fruit was going to be needed before stringing it on the wire.  I left a tail on either end long enough to wrap around the wreath and tightly secure in the back. As I was doing this I decided to make a loop with one of the tails and then wrapped the second tail around the base of the loop, this became my hook for the wreath. The wreath is going to be a fairly heavy one when all is said and done, so the 18 gauge wire is the perfect size for the hook.

Next using either the 18 or 24 gauge wire, secure the ring of fruit to the wreath by wrapping a piece of wire around the fruit wire and securing it tightly in the back of the wreath. I did this about 6 times around the wreath using the 24 gauge floral wire .

The berries and their leaves are just poked into the twig wreath and the cinnamon sticks were stuck between the two bound wreaths. The extra pressure of the wedged sticks makes the wreath a wee bit tighter. Finally I wired on some pine cones and added whole cloves to 3 of the clementines.

And boy let me tell you is this wreath fragrant!!! I am actually giving it to my friend Christina on Monday as an early birthday gift. 

I would definitely recommend hanging the wreath outdoors, so it stays fresher longer. But make sure to hang it where the little woodland creatures can't get to it or your holiday wreath may end up a Thanksgiving feast. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
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