christmas has left the building

Bit by bit, Christmas has left the building. It has taken longer this year post knee surgery. I also have been sorting the ornaments, honing down what I actually use versus what I haven’t been using.

I did decide I really liked the look of my copper tray loaded up with my old glass candlesticks, so that I am keeping that the same way. I have just put away the Christmas candles and the Christmas tablecloth I used this year which was a cheerful tartan. Now I have one of the vintage damask tablecloths I own on the table. It’s sort of a deep teal to green shade. Totally mid-century and totally fun.

Only the tree remains up and that is indeed a process to take down. The old ornaments all go into their own boxes. One by one. It’s old mercury glass topper has already been put away.

One thing I linger on is my great grandparents’ German Kugel that hung in their home in Lancaster when Mumma, my maternal grandmother, was a little girl. Mumma gave it to my mother, who gave it to me. I don’t have any daughters so I don’t know to whom I will pass it some day.

What I can’t ever decide about the Kugel is should I put it away. It hangs on the dining room chandelier and I love to look at it. So should I keep it hanging? I want to, but realistically if I keep it hanging all year round, chances are I will damage it. So into it’s box it will go until next year.

That is the funny thing about Christmas decorations. There are some you could look at all year round like the Kugel, and others like the Santas and Nutcrackers who seem to stare at you after a while.

Until next year, Christmas, until next year.

the last christmas eve of the decade

Christmas Eve is here! Only it feels more like March today. I thought I would go traditional for my readers. May your Christmas be magical and may the blessings of the season extend all year long.

The Night Before Christmas/ A Visit from St. Nicholas By Clement C. Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,

With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

the christmas blizzard of 2010

The past decade, which is drawing to a close, had some doozies as far as storms go. One that sticks in my mind was the Christmas blizzard of 2010.

I was in New York City at my sister’s and it had already snowed quite a bit by the time Christmas Day rolled around. But then on December 26th into December 27th was a flat-out blizzard. I still wish I had taken more photos.

You haven’t seen anything until you have seen Park Avenue in New York City with no cars or taxis or buses moving, just a blanket of snow.

I remember when the snow was really coming down in earnest how eerily still New York City was. You always expect a major metropolitan city to be constantly noisy. But it wasn’t, it was still and quiet like you were in the country.

A city in a major snow storm is vastly different from suburbia. Except it forces everyone to slow down whether they want to or not.

And I remember even snow plows getting stuck as they started to move the snow once it stopped.

And once it stopped that year, it felt bitter cold because I remember it was so incredibly windy.

Thanks for rambling down memory lane.

white chocolate oatmeal hazelnut cookies

I seem to have created something new. I had wanted to make my white chocolate cinnamon cookies with oatmeal, but then I decided I could improve on it. And I didn’t have any cinnamon chips. So I did improve my recipe and changed it up…and…taa daa! The 2019 White Chocolate Oatmeal Hazelnut Cookies were born.

RECIPE:

1 cup of butter softened (2 sticks)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup quick cook oatmeal (plain no flavoring)

2 cups white chocolate baking chips

1 cup dried currants (I used Sunmaid Zante Currants)

1 cup chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350°

Cream together until well mixed butter and both sugars in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla, beat until light and fluffy. Add 2 tablespoons buttermilk.

Add cinnamon, salt, baking soda.

Mix in 2 cups of all-purpose white flour until mixed well. Stir in oatmeal, followed by white chocolate baking chips, and finally the hazelnuts.

I chilled my dough about an hour.

Drop by rounded teaspoons on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. (I line my cookie pans silicone baking sheets for the most part now.)

I actually like to roll might dough into about 1 inch balls instead of “drop”. I place them a couple inches apart on the sheet.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 11 minutes depending on your oven.

Do not overbake and please cool these cookies at least five or six minutes before removing from baking sheet to cooling rack to cool completely.

This recipe makes a little over 4 1/2 dozen cookies. They seem to be an instant crowd pleaser in my house, so I hope you like them too!

need some more merry festivus? try brandywine view antiques in chadds ford!

We had an appointment down in Chadds Ford late this afternoon so I asked my husband if we could stop at Brandywine View Antiques.

Brandywine View Antiques is locates at 1244 Baltimore Pike in Chadds Ford, PA 19317, incidentally.

I adore the owner of Brandywine View, Lisa. She is just an awesome human being and I love to be around her. She’s a straight shooter and real. And she has an awesome eye.

When the holidays roll around, Lisa is always is on point. She has a carefully curated collection of old, new, and vintage. This year is even better than last year and I didn’t think she could top last year.

I went for some reproduction decorations including red mercury glass pinecones. I have been looking for red and green ones. I walked into Brandywine View and there they were!

Now because of the state of my knee I could not venture upstairs at Brandywine View Antiques. There are literally three floors of fun!

Anyway, there are still a few days of Christmas shopping left so don’t forget about places like Chadds Ford and Kennett Square too! Brandywine View Antiques is the perfect place to start!

I am not compensated in any way for this post. I am just a happy customer.

this christmas 🎄 , defend what you ❤️ love/support your neighbors 👩‍👧👨‍👧

P.k. Ditty photo

A place where the above photo was shared had a couple of people who left a “laughing” emoji where you can like this post or find it sad or find it angry. To them I say there is nothing funny about this and you don’t have to like every post anyone posts – but at least TRY to be understanding of what other folks not too far away from you are dealing with. It could be your family, your neighborhood, your house affected.

Someone else made a comment about these pipelines and rights of way. Umm land agents and threats of eminent domain for non-compliance with these corporate bullies does not equal a traditional right of way does it?

I didn’t really understand this issue until I moved into Chester County. And while I am blessed that I don’t have one of these things going THROUGH my property, if the Adelphia pipeline comes through I will be in a potential “blast zone” with one of these pipelines either 1030 feet from a corner of our property or 1060 feet. We are also on wells where I live.

I have a friend who lives up the road apiece from me into West Whiteland Township. When she and her husband bought their house no one told them about the pipeline easement on the property. As in it didn’t show up at the settlement table from either realtor. They are barely in their house a hot minute and Sunoco/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer shows up. As it turned out, the people they bought the house from had sold an easement to the pipeline company maybe a year or less prior. Now she has a ticking time bomb in her front yard.

These pipelines are dangerous and they pollute our wells, they are problematic and sinkholes occur because of how they are digging (in disregard for the geological composition of the area), roads have had visible issues in spots and the “plans” for first responders won’t save anyone including them and oh how about they are drilling right next to Goshen Fire Company at Boot and Greenhill in West Chester? What happens if something happens there? Who will save the first responders?

They ARE drilling next to schools, libraries and so on. You may have even driven by a site where they are working and not realized what’s going on behind giant temporary construction walls that to us never seem temporary at this point.

If and when there is an explosion do you think the people on the road driving by are going to be any safer than the rest of us?

And then of course there is the giant fairytale that these companies like to tell everyone which is you’re getting gas, etc because of these pipelines. What is being taken from the ground here and shipped through these pipelines through residential neighborhoods is going overseas. To places like Scotland to make plastic.

And the other fable they like to tell is how this brings lots of local jobs. All you have to do is drive by a site and count the out-of-state plates. And I’m not talking New Jersey and Delaware out of state I’m talking Oklahoma,Texas and so on where the wildcatters are from.

And then there is all the stuff in the news about the constables who were working for these pipeline companies through a security company and not reporting the income or the job on their ethics form for the state. A constable is an elected official and they took an oath and the ones who did this thought it was all ok? (And the Commonwealth Constable Association can write all the letters to the editor they want it doesn’t change what happened and how wrong it was does it?)

My mother, who lives in the city, was stunned at what she saw when we were driving back from a Christmas lunch in West Chester a week ago. She couldn’t believe what she saw and compared it to the issues and conditions with coal mining companies in PA in the 19th century (the Molly Maguires era).

I think we all in this area have to become more informed on what is going on with regard to this issue even if it’s not in our backyard literally.

The above photo was originally posted by someone else with the following:

My neighborhood has been held hostage by Sunoco/Energy Transfer for over 2.5 YEARS now… with no end in sight.

This dangerous export pipeline project claimed eminent domain for overseas plastics production. It carries highly explosive and highly pressurized by-broducts of fracking.

Sunoco continues to cause sinkholes, contaminate private drinking water, drilling mud spills, etc. They are an egregious operator who’s latest illegal tactics include false reports to law enforcement authorities.

We want our backyards back. We want our safety back. We want our clean air & water back. We want our peace & quiet back.

#DefendWhatYouLove

So when this all first started, residents were told “you won’t even notice we’re here.”

Did you know on a clear and quiet day if they are working in a neighboring Township I can actually hear the rhythmic thump thump thump of whatever that machine is they use to move the pipeline along?

State Impact PA has referred to these pipelines as the “risky mystery beneath our feet”.

And then there is the recent incident I find disturbing. The pipeline workers at one Chester County site had residents and people visiting them arrested for walking on a public street in a public neighborhood? Yes you heard me, public street. Not anything but.

And as far as gas explosions go, want to SEE what a gas explosion does to a neighborhood? Check out CNN and their coverage of the deadly explosion this week as in yesterday in South Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer too.

I will also share what a lovely lady I am privileged to know named Carrie wrote the other day. These are her words and her photo:

#CleanWater is a human right.

We stand in solidarity with our friends David Warren, David Mano, Rosemary Fuller, Erica Tarr, Ralph Blume and many others across Pennsylvania who have had their private well water contaminated by the destruction of the dangerous Mariner East export pipeline project.

#AllIWantForChristmas

In 2010 the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.* There are many families throughout the United States who are currently living without clean water. Industries, like the fossil fuel industry and other resource extraction industries, have continued unchecked to contaminate our water resources.

There are too many examples of a lack of clean water. Here in Pennsylvania, fracking and pipelines, like the Mariner East Pipeline Project have poisoned people’s aquifers and have left residents to fend for themselves. In fact, some may be drinking poisoned water and they do not know it yet. Leaving individuals and families without clean water is unacceptable. Clean water is our right and we need to hold policy makers accountable.

Two states and only a handful of municipalities have legally established their rights into local constitutions and municipal regulations. For example, in Pennsylvania’s constitution

“The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.**”

*Resolution 64/292

**Article I, section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution

Thanks for listening and thank you to our founding fathers for our First Amendment Rights.

And in closing please take a minute to read what State Senator Andy Dinniman wrote this week. It’s also on the subject of pipelines and very important and timely.

passing down recipes

 

I have started baking. It’s a much slower process this year as I am hampered by my formerly “good” knee. Actually everything Christmas is hampered by it, so this morning to be honest, I was mopey.

What I was thinking about this morning is I never had children of my own. So I’m a stepparent of a son. When he was little I tried to get him interested in making Christmas cookies but he was into it for about 20 minutes and then would evaporate. He likes to eat them, but he’s not really into cooking . And there are no girls.

Well I do have a niece but she’s a big city girl. They order things like cookies, not bake them. Fashion, make-up, and selfies are where it’s at now. Maybe that will change as she grows up, but I don’t think so. And that’s ok, I am happy to bake them.

It’s just when you are growing up female, or at least for me, there was always this little day dream of when I was grown up and had my own kids I would bake Christmas cookies with them. Like my mother did with us. When we were little my mother did this. Gingerbread men, chocolate chip cookies, cut out cookies with bright sugar sprinkles, Russian tea cookies, and these amazing things called Florentines with bittersweet chocolate and candied orange peel. I still don’t know how to make the Florentines.

So this morning I was all down about this whole wondering who would eventually want the recipes I had collected and written over the years? They fill three 3-ring binders. And then there are my cookbooks.

Then I realized sometimes family extends to friends. And I do have friends with daughters. And one is already a baker at 13.

And I also realized I do share my recipes with my readers too. So hopefully down the road, as the years progress people will find my recipes and use them. Of course I could actually write a cookbook if I would just get down to the writing of it part. I have the recipes and I have the photos. I just haven’t done it. It’s on a “I will get to it list.”

 

Then I also remembered I had shared a collection of recipes last year with my readers, friends, and members of my cooking group.

So….sharing again: Fa la la la la. No cookie grinches here! Follow this link and see embedded below a curated collection of cookie recipes from ALL over the Internet

Also included?A few of my own personal cookie recipes. For web-based recipes at the bottom of each page is the link to the originating sites. Gathered here to make my life easier! Yes a lot of them are in landscape – I do that when I print – easier for me.

Happy Baking!

no billboards for christmas please, east whiteland

Just when you think more headaches can’t possibly arise for East Whiteland residents, along comes the possibility of…..BILLBOARDS…BIG ELECTRONIC ones.

So riddle me this East Whiteland— why did you spend ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money on a Route 30 Corridor Study only to allow further deterioration via billboards? I mean What The ever loving F ? is Lancaster Ave / Route 30 / Lincoln Highway supposed to improve by being turned into I-95 in Philadelphia by GIANT television screens that are on 24/7/365? You haven’t even addressed the smaller one that blinds people near Lincoln Court!

Way to sneak in the holiday surprise, right? (Here is the link to the Planning Commission Agenda but the links to each of the items on billboard, but those links go absolutely nowhere right now .)

And about the E. Whiteland Outdoor, LLC?

So does that mean East Whiteland now has a lot in common with other townships like Tredyffrin, Haverford, Coatesville, and even more? (See the Community Matters Blog in Tredyffrin.)

And hey East Whiteland all those apartment dwellers you want on Route 30? Townhouses, etc? Do you really think these people and future residents want to have to buy blackout shades to avoid the glare of I-95 in Chester County? Because that is what people already face driving by that small non-related overly bright TV in front of part of Lincoln Court, right?

And it looks like East Whiteland zoning for off premises signs doesn’t exactly match the supposed spirit of what they supposedly wish to accomplish with the Route 30 Corridor Study?

I just can’t EVEN with this township. Sign me disgusted. If YOU are disgusted too please go to the Christmas Surprise Planning Commission Meeting. Wednesday December 18th at 7 PM. East Whiteland Township is located at 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, PA 19355