~From Our Family to Yours~

Celery and onion, chopped and ready to be sauteed in butter. Cornbread and biscuits, fresh from the oven, broth and eggs; key ingredients for my mother's dressing recipe. The scent of sage conjures up memories of Thanksgiving past, as I prepare for the annual feast.
Thoughts of Mother and Granny, the women who provided the delicious meals of long ago Thanksgivings, come to mind. I can see them, as they were then. I watched and learned their rituals. The legacy of preparing age old family recipes will pass to my children and grandchildren.
At times, we add a new recipe or two. This year, I'll prepare Diane's green beans and Mrs B's cranberry sauce. You can find their recipes, by clicking their names.
As I bake and blend in the tiny kitchen of our condo, at the lake, I reflect on the blessings of 2008 and find we have much to be thankful for.
Thanks to all who visit the Back Porch. Thank you for the Thanksgiving cards, e-mails and comments. J and I wish each and every one of you, Happy Thanksgiving!


~Christmas Past & Tablescape Tuesday~

A view from windows, at a home on the 2007 Garden Club Christmas Tour. We have our tickets for the December 14, 2008 tour. I'll have my camera, in hopes of taking a few photos.

My contribution for Tablescape Tuesday is all about Christmas past. Many of you have seen these photos, previously. I thought you might like to see them again and perhaps find an idea or two, to use for your tables, this Christmas.
Please visit Between Naps on the Porch, for more Tablescape Tuesday posts, from all around blogland.
A beautiful mantel decorated for Christmas, in the home where I took the photo of the outdoor scene, in the top photo.
Our front porch, Christmas 2007. An old metal sled, child sized wooden skis, a wooden Santa, a lantern and rustic tree, are among the elements used. This year, the porch is done in a simpler style, using a greenery filled white wicker plant stand and greenery around the door, accessorized by red ribbon.
The dining room tree, as it looked in 2007. The gold ornaments will be used in the living room tree. We'll use the tree, shown in the breakfast room, in another photo.
A table, in J's "lodge", as it was set for the Christmas tour, two years ago. The postcards, under the glass are from our travels and those of family and friends
The dining room table, set for the 2006 tour, of our home. In many ways, I went over the top, in staging for the tour! The elements include, J's mother's stemware, a wedding gift to his parents during the 1940's. Plates from Wal-mart and garage sales and Santa bells from a shop at the lake, were also used.
I used twig placemats, bird houses, Jim Shore snow folks, birds and raffia on the breakfast room table, for the 2006 tour. The dinnerware is Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday. I've collected this pattern for several years, picking up pieces at after Christmas sales and outlets. Just the other day, I found a tealight lamp at HomeGoods.
I tied wreaths to the backs of the chairs, using red and cream gingham ribbon.
The 2007 breakfast room table is set with Mikasa French Countryside and red and green trimmed Christmas plates. I don't remember the pattern of the Christmas plates and since I'm posting from the lake, I'm unable to check.
The carved swan was used as the centerpiece. The tree is decorated in red, silver and white ornaments and the red checked ribbon, also used to tie the wreaths to the chair backs. The packages are wrapped in craft paper and tied with the gingham ribbon.
A glimpse of the hearth room, during 2006. Molly, lying in the sun, is wondering if we will ever cease to decorate for Christmas. As always, we hope to continue for a long time.

A collage of photos, from Noah's first birthday party, last Saturday. His mommy chose a cowboy theme. It was so cute! She made a vest and chaps, from felt. Noah wore them with jeans and chambrey shirt. There were cowboy hats for Gabi and Drew. Noah thoroughly enjoyed his own personal 1st birthday cake. Bet you would never have guessed that by the photo! Many gifts were enjoyed along with lots of hugs and kisses.


~Over the River~

To grandmother's house we go.
The horse knows the way,
To carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.
Our Thanksgiving begins today, when we have lunch with 2 of our grandchildren at their daycare. We also plan to spend the afternoon with them.

Saturday afternoon, we'll celebrate with our youngest grandson, at his 1st birthday party. Saturday evening, we'll shop for Thanksgiving dinner, with eldest daughter.

Sunday morning, before leaving for our place at the lake, we'll meet our family for brunch. Another Thanksgiving celebration.

Since this is a particularly busy weekend, for us, I'm writing a small post, with few photos. I hope to publish something from the beautiful Ozarks, Monday. The plan is to relax during the early part of the week.

Some of our children will arrive late Thanksgiving night. We are designated babysitters, while the girls Christmas shop, the day after Thanksgiving. While they shop, I'll prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I imagine G'pa, will be keeping up with the young'uns. Or at least trying to.
Since my last post was published Tuesday evening, I thought I had better write a little something before we leave. I remember a couple weeks ago, when we were away, sweet readers told me, they were a tad worried about us. We thank you, so much, for your concern.
Hoping you all have a wonderful weekend!

The snow photos were taken 3 years ago, on the road to our place at Lake of the Ozarks. The last photo, a winter sunset view near Big Cedar Lodge, a few years ago.


~The Blue Dining Room Christmas~

I actually finished decorating one room! Yes, it's the blue dining room. The focal point of the room is a tree in an urn. It was decorated in gold, last year. I'll use the gold for the living room tree, when it is decorated after Thanksgiving.

I had not intended to have a tree, in the dining room, this year. When we visited the Kringles Shops in Branson, I found the blue poinsettias. After that, there was no turning back. Of course, our family knew all along there would be more than one tree. They were also extemely skeptical when I declared there would be no tree in the dining room, in 2008.
Standing in a corner, near the window, the tree is decorated in blues, creams and glittery silver. A copper and blue bow and white poinsettia top the tree. Santa, dressed in white, sits on the floor next to the urn. The Santa was a gift from J, one Christmas more than 15 years ago. I neglected to get a close up of the Santa. I'll make a note to do that and attach it to another of my Christmas posts.

The centerpiece is made from elements of two different arrangements, used in past years. It sits on a Mikasa French Countryside plate. We removed the table leaves, for the holidays.
Simplicity was my goal, in decorating this room. I added blue ornaments and silver bells to the drink dispenser and a Santa, to the shelves that hold my white dinnerware and serving pieces. A bit of blue glittery garland is twined along the top shelf.
More of the blue garland was used on the top of my mother's cabinet. Merry Christmas is written on the glass sign, hanging from the latch. The cream jars are Lenox, purchased at a Lenox going out of business sale, at Osage Beach Outlets. When I see those jars I am always reminded of the day I bought them. I was at the outlets with my oldest daughter Terrie and granddaughter Xanti. J, who was along for the ride, found a bench outside the shops, while the girls and I browsed the book store. When we came out of the store, J pointed out a 75% off sign, in the Lenox store's window. We've never let him live that down. We shopped and shopped that day and the next, thanks to J's telling us about that sale!
More Lenox is seen in this photo.
The day before we toured Biltmore Estate, in North Carolina, during Christmas week, last year, I shopped another Lenox going out of business sale, at an outlet in Tennessee. I found 12 Holiday dinner plates at $7.50 each. I looked them over very well and could find no flaws, even though they were marked as seconds. I also bought three sets of 4 canape plates, marked at 50% off. I had another great bargain day. I believe all Lenox Outlets are closed now. I miss them and the Mikasa Outlets, which are also closed.
The small round bowl in red, with holly, is from a shop at the lake. The bowl is unmarked. Gathering Family, is written inside the bowl. I have four of these bowls. Something different is written in each.
We'll use the Lenox dinner plates when our family is here for brunch on Christmas morning.
For this setting, I used a square silver charger, from the Tennessee Lenox Outlet. I found only 2 and wish to find more. The dishes are Mikasa French Countryside. Even though J and I were about 40 years old when we married and it was the 2nd time around, I registered at Famous Barr, a May Company store, now Macy's. I was working at Famous and my co-workers encouraged me to register. I had lots of fun choosing patterns and such. I registered for the Mikasa and was touched when my co-workers gave us several place settings, as wedding gifts. I've added pieces through the years. French Countryside is versatile. I've used it in two place settings, pictured in this post. Above, I used Mary Carol (Mary Carol Garrity, of Nell Hill's fame) plates, as accessories.
The duck napkin rings were purchased over 25 years ago, while I was working at Famous Barr. The first department I was assigned to was China, Crystal, Silver and Linens. I later became a flyer or floater and worked many departments, which included "china".
In this place setting, using French Countryside, I added a reproduction cobalt plate and sherbet. The napkin is from a clearance shelf at Wal-mart.
***A reader asked about the chickadees under the hearth room tree. I don't remember exactly where I found them. I've found similar ones in gift and home decor stores.
***Another question concerned Christmas storage. We have a basement. Half is finished, as a "lodge", for J. The other half, unfinished, is dedicated to storage. One section, measuring about 12x12, under the hearthroom, is where we keep our Christmas. We leave the trees assembled. They stand at the edge of the "room". Clear plastic containers are stacked around the perimeter. The hooks, used when pouring concrete, were left on the basement walls. Rather than snip them off, J decided to leave them. They are the perfect solution for hanging wreaths and greenery. I suppose, one day, when we downsize, we will pass along all this Christmas stuff to the kiddo's. They read the Back Porch, so this is my fair warning, to them!

I created a little Christmas "award". There are no rules, to follow, when accepting this button. I'm giving this to each of you, in appreciation for your many visits, kind comments and e-mails, to the Back Porch, during 2007 and 2008. It is my wish you all experience Comfort & Joy, throughout the upcoming Holidays.
A Reminder!
Don't forget Trim the Tree Thursday at The Southern Hostess.


~Setting the Thanksgiving Table~

We have a fairly busy week ahead of us, so I decided to compile my Tablescape Tuesday post, today.

My Tablescape Tuesday contribution, this week, is what I'll use for Thanksgiving dinner, at the lake. This is the first time I will pack up tableware, for our trip to the condo, since we moved in 5 years ago.
I decided to make the place setting simple. Glass plates from Wal-mart, $1.00 each, added to brown salad plates from my collection of dishes, white tablecloths and napkins, gold chargers and bronze leaf napkin rings. I'm also taking two birchbark candle holders, with berry wreaths and copper and brown ribbon, to decorate the tables. Dinner will be served on two small round tables. I'll use flatware and stemware, already at the condo.
The menu:
Dressing (my mother's cornbread dressing recipe).
Mashed Potatoes
Gravy (at J's request)
Green Beans
Corn Casserole (at Gabi and Drew's mommy's request).
Cranberry Relish
Raw Veggie Platter
Relish Tray
Pumpkin Dessert (the one I wrote about, awhile back), topped with real whipped cream.
Besides taking along dinnerware, I will also need various baking pans and dishes, from home, to prepare the Thanksgiving feast. Space is limited at our condo, therefore I don't have a full complement of cookware. I'll just load up a couple of rubbermaid storage containers. Easy Peasy!
Because we will be away from home, during Thanksgiving week and the weekend after, we've been working on Christmas at our house. Today, I finished the dining room decorating. Will write about it, soon.
I began decorating the hearth room, today, and took a few photos. I still need to do some work in the breakfast room. The big farmhouse table is piled high with this and that, to do with decorating in other rooms.
J will do the front door decorating, sometime this week. I'll finish a few other things around the house. When we return from the lake, week after next, we'll decorate the big tree, in the living room.
When we've finished all the rooms, I'll do a post, with more detailed photos.
The "theme" for the hearth room sort of took on a life of it's own. We brought the cabinet from the back porch, for beside the fireplace. I borrowed Lori's (All About Home) empty frame, with wreath, idea, for above the mantel. The tree with bunnies and birds nestled beneath, has a sort of woodland look. So we just went with that idea and things seem to be coming together.
Hope you've enjoyed the sneak peek.
Here is another little peek at what is happening in the blue dining room.
I'll be back, with another post, later this week. In the meantime, we are decorating decorating decorating! A friend of ours once told me, I wouldn't be going to all the trouble of decorating for Christmas, by the time I reached the age of 60. Well, we're both past that age and even though we've slowed down a tad and downsized, ever so slightly, we are still delighted to decorate for Christmas.
Tablescape Tuesday
Be sure to visit Between Naps on the Porch, Tuesday, for lovely table settings throughout blogland.


~Evergreen Inspiration~

Shoppers, from all around the midwest, visit Evergreen Mfg, Osage Beach, Missouri, throughout the year. We were unable to attend the Holiday Open House, last weekend, but we did stop by Evergreen, Monday morning, on our way home from the lake.

I used my little Samsung camera to get a few photos of this huge store.

Have you shopped at Evergreen?

Not only are there a variety of decorated Christmas trees, for inspiration, the back room is filled with silk stems and other florals and greenery, for any season or occasion.
Home decor accessories can also be found, throughout the store.

Just in case your sweetie accompanies you to Evergreen, he can find solace with the other guys, in the "men's room", at the back of the store. Comfy couches, TV and coffee, are provided for the fellows who always find they have a certain commonality, at Evergreen.
Preview of Coming Attractions!
Click photo for Trim the Tree Thursday, at Hostess With the Mostess.

This arrangement, in the breakfast room, is the first of many vignettes, I'll put together for Christmas. Since we will be away, over Thanksgiving, I couldn't resist starting Christmas early.

Remember the snowman's top hat, in the previous post? I had to bring one of those home from All About Home. I bought the sled, at the 2007 after Christmas clearance sales. The scarf, with white fringe, was included with the hat. I found the JOY sign at Evergreen. Some of the greenery is new and some I found in our Christmas storage. The wool runner, under the sled, is from Karen at My Yellow Farmhouse. I'm looking for a pair of mittens to use in the vignette. For now, I'm using my own Isotoners. I think, if the weather continues to change, I may need my gloves, soon!

I moved the black table from our room, to the breakfast room and replaced it with a glass top sofa table from the living room.

Have a wonderful weekend!


~Christmas Tables At All About Home~

I've written about All About Home in past posts. Last Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, I was delighted to put together several tablescapes, with the assistance of shop owners, Lori and Greg. Saturday afternoon, the tables were used to demonstrate versatility in table settings, using what you have. I was the "speaker".

I'm not very adept at speaking in front of groups. After a very short talk, I took questions from the group, gathered in the former home of Oddfellows Cafe. I want to thank Lori, Greg and Lauren for lending their, much needed, support.

I've included several photos of the tables.

A snowman theme, set on a small table, with ice cream chairs, is shown in the first photos. I used black and white check napkins, tied with a glittery spiral, to resemble a bow tie. Evergreen wreaths, with a snowflake in the center, are attached to each chair back with black and white checked ribbon. A snowman's top hat is filled with greenery, for the centerpiece.

The table with white feather tree centerpiece, is set with brightly colored dishes. "Candy" accents and tea towel place mats, complete the whimsical luncheon table. The dishes and accessories for this table and the snowman table are found at All About Home.

The round table is set with dishes embellished with holly. There are four place settings, using the holly dishes. Each place setting is different, yet tied together, by the holly pattern. The dinnerware, used on this table, is from Lori and Greg's private collection. The accessories can be found in the shop.

Susan, of Between Naps on the Porch is, once again, hosting Tablescape Tuesday. Click HERE, Tuesday morning, for lovely tablesettings from creative bloggers.

Last Thursday evening, a mantel decorating demonstration was held at All About Home. I've added a few photos of the beautiful mantels.

This is the sunrise that greeted us, from our deck at the lake, this morning.
Saturday evening, we drove to the lake, where our daughter and son in law spent the day painting, at the condo. Our bathroom was painted, using Sherwin Williams Interesting Aqua, leftover from our dining room project. When the little makeover is complete, sometime after the first of the year, I'll post about it here.
Sunday, we shopped at Osage Beach Outlets and had lunch at City Grill. I managed to make a serious dent in my Christmas list. The sales were phenomenal. The mall was filled with bustling crowds. The temperatures were cool, adding to the spirit of holiday shopping. We were amazed at the number of people out and about at the lake. My friend, JoAnn, who shopped Tanger Outlets, at Branson Missouri, Saturday and Sunday, told me there were crowds of shoppers there, as well!
Later this week, I'll post about our visit to Evergreen Mfg, this morning, before leaving Osage Beach. I took a few photos of the beautiful Christmas trees, using my little pocket sized Samsung camera. A very convenient little camera!
My thanks to all who have stopped by and left comments, lately. I am just overwhelmed with your generosity and, as always, I appreciate you, so much. I hope to have time, this week, for visiting in blogland. I've missed you!