Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Our Little Christmas~

Christmas eve morning through the window~

The potting shed looking quite festive~

We didn't have far to go..so the weather could be frightful..it was beautiful actually..not frightful:)
Caroline and Frédérick hosted Christmas Eve..and I was relieved they didn't have to host w/ out power like last year.
Fred is an amazing cook..I mean pheasant with wild boar stuffing for a starter?And Roasted Goose with Calvados and apples?

Their home looked beautiful..see that snowman bag? Katie to me..how sweet was that?

Little monkeys♥
Santa gave them each about 12 pairs of socks in their stockings..their mamas were happy.

So we had a wonderful Christmas eve..we were all there..Giuliana and Adamo also.
It makes me happy that they want to come and be with us..

There was a Littles table..and the adults table..it's such a good idea..

As I said the food was so good..I don't know why I just keep eating and eating the appetizers when I know there will also be starters and a main meal..
Boxing day I tried to sway myself away from the sucre a la crème..and the shortbreads and Christmas crack..who knew something not good for you and so sweet could be a downfall for me.The first and the latter had a strange hold on me this year..and sweets are not my thing..

After dinner..LET THE FIREWORKS begin!Thank you Fred~
How wonderful to think of doing this..the kids are in awe..and so are the adults..this year Katie's family joined us and another family on their street..magical..
I never had Christmases like that.
Even a toast of champagne.

Christmas morning was at our home..I love that too..everyone comes in their pjs..and we exchange gifts..stockings and Santa has been here.
Noah got an electric keyboard..they brought it downstairs and all of a sudden I heard a gifted virtuso playing Fur Elise etc..!
I looked at his mommy in surprise and she said:"mom they come pre-programmed".
:) The little virtuoso..made all the gestures a pianist would make..very funny.

I think I had shared with you the flat gingerbread houses I had made in preparation for a cake..this was it.
I was pleased with the finished result..albeit..it weighed 10 lbs I am certain..
last year I had seen cakes like this and knew I would make one..

I can't find the link:(
The cake recipe I used..is this one..you can find it on a few links here and there.
I used one cup less icing sugar asked for..and I would use one less again.the cake is good..dense yet moist..but I would have preferred a fluffier icing...so less icing sugar.

Christmas crack?
Here you go..

the above is ONE of many variations on the web..I have tasted with pecans..and smarties..and sprinkles on top of the choco..I used slivered almonds..

Sucre a la crème is a fudge that is very popular at Christmas..I have made many through the years..thermometer..no thermometer..sometimes hard as a rock..sometimes a sloppy mess:(
I have found the recipe that works for me..to a T..and it could not be easier.
Again..all these recipes are not part of a Weight Watchers menu..or  someone who does not eat sugar.
All these things are for a sweet tooth..as indulgences...as Christmas treats..

La recette

Grease an 8x 12 pan..and lay parchment

1 1/2 cups of heavy cream..here it is 35% and I buy the whipping cream
3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter
3 cups icing sugar..

Mix the heavy cream..butter and brown sugar..bring to a boil.lower the heat a bit and boil for 6 minutes.
remove from heat  and add the icing sugar..
mix until homogenous

NOTE..I use a hand beater..I just knew when it would be perfect..it's not instant..you will see the consistency change..the ridges will remain ..not HARD..but as if soft peaks kept their shape..spread in pan..refrigerate.
I made half the recipe in a 6 by 6 pan..square springform..
I did not refrigerate..this is QC:)  
Cut when cooled..
Also I put 1 drop of Watkins Maple essence..I am on my last drops..you can't find that here.
A few of the comments/opinions say the fudge stays  too soft..not..you have to keep beating till you see what I said:).

PS..after much searching..I found my link..it's Martha Stewart Town Square cake recipe..  you will find the templates there although smaller and the cake is all different..as I mentioned I did not make her cake recipe.
I loved making this..I made the gingerbread ahead it stores well.
I made the cake at the beginning of the wek and froze the 3 layers..I knew it would be easier to ice..the rest..you just add what you like.
2017..so soon?  In some ways it flew by..in others it dragged..a year is mostly like that don't you find?
Straight lines are hard to draw.
All the best to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Soon~it will be Christmas day.

 Photo..courtesy of their mom..Lucas with Katie's dog.The big brother..the sweetie who likes to scare his nana and jump on her sofa and toss the cushions♥

Photo, courtesy of their mom
Oli..still has all his baby teeth..wish he could stay this way..forever.
He's the last Little.
Photo courtesy of Caroline

Do you remember eating snow?
I do:)!
Lucas loves his funny face here ..he told me to look at it..
the only little girl..on their street ..Katie....is right here..w/the boys♥
Smart..funny..not shy..lots of conversation..personality plus.
And how cute are they all?
She is the one that has said :"and when we are all older I will live in my house with my kids and the boys will live in their house with their kids".
I think they are adorable together..

Every year..I look through my old Canadian Living Holiday Baking magazines..some are 2006..they are the only Canadian Living magazines I have saved over the years and I have not found any the last 4 -5 years..

It's something I like to do..
one of my small traditions..

It's not Christmas without linzers..

I love the flaky cookies with the jam filled centers..cut outs and a dusting of icing sugar on top.
A classic.

You can go here for one of 3 of my favorite Linzer recipes..

That's the year I started blogging..makes me a bit nostalgic to see and remember how some of us got lost..
there were some good bonds..
hope everyone is well~

We made our tourtières..
A tradition..in a French Canadian home..
my mom made them..Jacques' mom made them.
To Jacques..that taste and smell  are  Christmas to him.
Scents have such powers over us..for memories.

I made a chocolate house instead of a gingerbread house this year..and named it: "Linger Lodge":)

It will be on the children's table I guess..Christmas eve..Adamo..Giuliana and Lucas..will be at the big people's table:)
Marshmallow roof on  the chocolate one:)..a little white tree inside..Ferrero Rocher shrubs..
I still have things to bake and I am looking forward to them..

Cards do add love to a tree..

A little while ago..I mentioned our family Christmas stockings..
I must admit..every year when I take them out..several things go through my mind..

 I was taught..step by step how to make these..the materials were sent to me to get started.
Photos of her doing the stitches were sent.
Prior to that I had asked someone I worked with if she could show me the stitch in person..even though I did crewel and needlepoint for years..years ago..the process escaped me for a stocking.
I was met with impatience.
Let me just say..you never forget a kind act..and lol you rarely forget an unkind one..case in point at my office.
Back to the beginning..so ,I have never forgotten the time,patience,and generosity of the person that got me started on these.
That's number 1:)

When I pull them out now(they are stored  in my mom's hope chest)..I can't really believe I stitched them all  as there are 11. 
I never thought I would get through one.I promise.

I don't think I could do them today..not sure..but I don't think so.I was extremely motivated to not let the person down..and I wanted to create them so my family would have them long after I am gone.

So many stitches!!!!

I stitched a few of them in Florida on the beach..our friends would come and peek..and I did finish   a couple in their entirety ..right there.

They are so big!
18 inches plus to the base not counting the foot
I have bought wine to put in my son-in-laws stockings and the clerk has said to me..you cannot fit a wine bottle in a stocking....well I can..2 plus stuff ..I am sure.


The kind kind kind kind woman..here..that turned my tapestries into the beautifully lined and velvet stockings..w/ a fabric hook..and all the binding.
I had gone to Arnaldo the tailor..sweet as ever  he was but he said:" I am afraid I cannot turn your stitched stockings into stockings..but I know someone w/ fairy fingers  who makes all kinds of things for the church bazaar".
He gave me her number and I called her..
I had to take a chance..

A beautiful widow..in a cute cute house..greeted me with such kindness..I knew one of her daughters and son-in-law by chance.
She agreed..
To begin with..she did my mentor's stockings too..quite a few if I remember..and she did mine..all 11 of them.
Her workmanship enhanced the stockings 10 fold.
I am always always grateful to her♥
We exchange a Christmas card ever since..wishing each other well.
A wonderful woman who cherished her husband and talked about him with such love and pride.

On every one..I try and add something linked to the person in my family..On Mylène and Caroline's there are tiny initial charms that were theirs as little ones..some pearls from one of my mom's broken necklaces.A small police car for Alain..the Littles names on each one..Jacques as the  the patriarch..mine as a gardener etc etc..the latter 2 don't get filled..we are just that way..we don't need anything..

As I type..they are filled and on the sofa of my craft room..they will come out Christmas eve.
Re very first one I ever made..was for Frédérick..and how appropriate..the snowman father holding the baby snowman's hands.
Geesh I even get teary writing about them

My wish is that they do remember all the Christmases..past present and to come w/ even their families much later on.

Max..my little fashion icon:) one of the  MVPs for his football team that won the provincials..he was so excited..
he kept telling us..IF we win the regionals..we go on to Provincials..inside we were thinking..you are dreaming big, Max.Well he proved us wrong..dreams do come true♥

He is living up to his shoveling obligations...so cute.

Noah had to wear a Christmas sweater today..his mommy dolled up a black one..♥
My other fashion plate:)

Photo courtesy of Mylène~

His look:)  Mom said he was not too sure..hahaha I love it.

 Thank you for all the nice friendly comments this year..Jacques reads them all..and has said numerous times..:"they are all so nice on your blog..or..  tes commentaires sont tellement gentils..and it's so true.
Thanks for all the posts you post..about everything..inspiring..I learn so much.

I wish you peace and love
I read this..and I thought..yes that would be my wish for everyone..
I want to add health too.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ten days left..and the Littles are excited..

Fast approaching ..December 24th and December 25th..
I do love the preparation..nice..I remember when I worked I would bake and freeze starting October..
one thing I love about not working anymore..is that I can now do it in December..it just feels more in the spirit for me..
We had abeautiful snowfall..the first that takes your breath away..I just feel bad for  Jacques..the snowblowing etc..
Max ..he still has a few more shovelings to do..if you remember I bought a gift cert..for the less fortunate and the benefit was stair shoveling and he has been once..this snowfall our son-in-law came and did the front steps..

..but that's not the story I want to tell..

..this is..

Frédérick  told Caroline he was going to Costco to pick up food..w/ 3 big boys..they need to do groceries..a lot..

anyways..Caroline said she looked in her fridge this morning and it was almost empty..I said:"Fred just went to Costco.."

She said..ah yes..but (she didn't know)..everything he bought..was for the less fortunate..bags of rice ..cereals....canned goods..etc..apparently he told his co -workers that at their Christmas dinner they all had to bring things for the less fortunate and he would deliver it all.
I mean..♥

That's my sweet story.

So as tradition calls for..I made Auntie Bernice's shortbreads again..some in a pan..some shaped like this..I like the round pie shape..last year also I did one..

I made cut-out ones..and burnt a batch..trying to do 3 things at once..;)A different recipe..
That was not the sum of my bloopers this year;)
Thank goodness everyone bakes..:)

Some cards are just too pretty to not use as tree ornaments..case in point this lovely cutwork card♥
Family and friends photo cards..my daughters friends..:)
Those get hung on the tree..my daughters have beautiful cards made at Shutterfly..Noah's is not here yet but the  other boys one arrived 2 days ago..

Some of the Littles are getting a gift and their stocking..but mom knew they would like a gift certificate..
happy I had these little baskets and tags for the 6 of them~

You know how much I love the ocean..fresh snow and a blue sky..gives me the same awesome feeling.Awe.Awe of nature..
Christmas is a short 10 days away..and before we know it 2017 will be around that very corner..
I love having a desktop calendar ..or 2  ..but I like one hanging in my art room..in front of me..

I have this one to look forward to all year long..every month is so adorable..all different..the calendar is a little jewel.
Marie makes them.
It's already on my wall so photo is off a bit..I shot it directly on the wall♥  Cuter than most calendars on the market..I'll show you every page through the year.

La recette..for the shortbread..

1 lb of butter
1 cup of icing sugar
4 cups of flour..here I go crazy and substitute dome for rice flour..flakier.
Bake at 300 ..1 hr.
Cream butter and sugar..add flour..knead..
Pat into 8x8 square molds..or a round one..and prick w/ fork.
There are several shortbread recipes on my blog..Just enter shortbread in the search bar that Linda showed me how to add.:)

BRR it will be in the minuses over night..BRRR

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas..and This Is Us~

My piping needs work..I am hoping the finished product will make the piping less noticeable.

Remember how I loved Parenthood?

I have my new favorite Parenthood..

It 's a show called This Is Us..

And nothing bad ever happens Christmas Eve..

Love this show..my husband.. loves it too..

..not one show have we not shed a tear or two..

watch the first episode..you may be confused..but just get ..that these are flashbacks to now..

The other show we like..and in this case the reviews are bad..is Pure Genius..
a billionaire Silicon Valley guy(adorable)..Augustus Prew..♥ starts a state of the art hospital called Bunker Hill and hires the best of the best.Dermot Mulroney..is the DR in chief..need I say more?♥
The Christmas one..you got it  ..we cried..
so who cares about reviews...

I have been baking..listening to Spotify.. Christmas..with the light shining in..granted Monday it snowed so less sunny.. you can tell by the darkish photo of our front taken through the window..but is is SO BEAUTIFUL...but we made our tourtières..who cares less sunny if the snow is blanketing every square inch of our little town..

I look forward to that day..Jacques is the assistant baker and does a lot..unwraps everything..taste tests..wraps up and admires..he loves those few hours also.

My mom made them..his mom made them..so many different recipes..we make ours by flair now..

..no potatoes though as our mothers never used potatoes either.
I made the gingerbread cutouts I need for something I am hoping to make..I made the gingerbread cookies from: Baking A Moment..no spreading and good..
Max had a reindeer..Lucas did and Oli did..Max looked at me and said..mmm..these taste like Christmas..
you can find her recipe here.

I made some toffee shortbreads dipped in chocolate with sea salt on top..
Lucas salted them..and milk chocolate as it's favored by the boys in cookies.

I am happy to say..things are underway for our traditional Christmas eve and morning..

..things have changed through the years..we used to host Réveillon and breakfast..

Caroline and Frédérick took over the eve..w/ a full course meal..last year no electricity:( Yet they were troopers..)

Christmas day is here for brunch..in pjs..and for  Santas gifts that he drops off here♥

Flashback...not Flashdance:)

Found this little gem going through old pics..not many of me..my parents did not seem to be into photography..this photo was taken by a studio..
..and it was one of my Mary Beetles   school of dance shows.. our Christmas show..we had to somersault out of a box that had tissue paper and dance and then do the splits..I have no idea what this costume was supposed to be..I did find another that makes us look like the Rockettes;)

This I think was 1960-63..

I have very few memories under the age of 10..but this I remember..
..the smell of my pale pink leather  ballet shoes..the underneath like a paw:)..the feel of my black patent tap shoes..looking at the precisely placed taps under my ribboned shoes..

the sound I made..tap dancing.

Days of Yore and Joy.

my leotard set..I LOVED everything..

when we moved to the suburbs..I was ten..and MB school of dance ended there:(

I would love to go back..for one more moment in time..

Can you guess where I am?

We have a real life Elf on the shelf here:)

He had to do a presentation in class..so this is it:) A series of a number of photos at his home..being the Elf on the shelf:)

Photos..courtesy of his mom:)
Bonne semaine:)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

~Christmas memories ~

Through the years we all will be together

If the fates allow

Hang a shining star above the highest bough

And have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now.

I actually love the  Christmas preparations..I love feeling cozy..indoors..looking outside..baking things:)There is NO place like home..every time we come home we say..I just love coming home..there is something so safe,private,and cozy about home.
Any size ..
Sometimes pretty Christmas songs and light pouring in...

The tree is up and is festooned with meaningful decorations..nothing matchy matchy..
memories..family..friends..events..moments in time..my baby Jesus in our crèche was mine as a child♥

The Littles have grown so MUCH..

Adamo is 17
Giuliana  is 15
Lucas is 11
Max is 9
Noah is 8
Oli is 7

Onto the beginning of baking..and every recipe..I will try and halve like this one..

Starting w/ shortbreads..my faves..

these  are a new recipe..that you can find HERE~

I am the tester..remember?:)Not a creator of recipes..a taste tester:)

These are jam filled almond shortbreads.

Now..stocking stuffers..

..the boys from here on end will get useful things..w/ some whimsy..
my girls..I love what I put in them:)
My mom always had the dearest..simplest things.
A highlight for me.

I have funny things this year..yet useful:)For the girls..and the boys won't be jumping for joy..neck warmers..lots of socks:)..mittens..better find one last fun thing for their stockings..

If you have time..listen to one of these artists singing this famous song.
Rosemary Clooney..her voice ♥

Michael Bublé

Rod Stewart

Bing Crosby

Frank Sinatra

James Taylor

Judy Garland

Rosemary Clooney

Next year all our troubles will be out of sight~
I LOVE this song..
Above..a few of my favorite artists singing it..have no idea why..but this is one of the Christmas songs that make me cry..I do have a few..;)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 2016~

When we returned from our visit south..we both knew we wanted to get our tree up as soon as possible..and we wanted scones..
We love the tree..we bought this artificial one about 12 years ago.
It just wasn't working for us anymore a natural tree..the needles..cutting the trunk dragging it in..watering it..not to mention scraping door frames..

so after Christmas that year..we spotted this one and bought it..it was so tall and the girth was so wide at the bottom..we took that part off.
There's no theme to the tree..decorations since we married almost 43 years ago.

Some I leave in the box/bin..because some have become a little more favorited..
Jacques is a child at heart for Christmas..he puts the tree up..and it's a feat..especially when the pre-lit tree became less and less lit until it just didn't light one light this year..so all the lights are strung by him....he sets all that up..and then I add the decorations..it takes a few hours..I even forgot the topper.and I am not going back up the ladder...I place each one carefully and we admire..
I think I told you that story about our tree when I was young.The lights were larger..multicolor..and I would see my mom in the dark..contemplating the tree..and the light of her cigarette was the only other light..smoking wasn't that frowned upon 45 years ago.
I have wondered what she was thinking about..her daughter that passed away,my dad's health? Financial concerns?My brothers? Me?
I just know she seemed to be in another quiet place.
Have I mentioned I loved her so much?♥

Anyway that's our tree and I feel lucky to be able to look at it.
It's getting old and it seems to be getting bigger as we get smaller.,shorter,weaker.

Then the scones..I think he is hooked..
so I made them more Christmasey yesterday w/ cranberries..I've shared this recipe many times it is one of the several we like..It's from All Recipes..from Mylène our daughter..Noah's mommy.

Our dear friend Nancy is in Thailand..relishing every spiritual moment..she is there for 1 month ..she returns Dec 24th.
I have received an email..and really..that place is her.She was looking at it as a pilgrimage.
I call her my Buddha:)
She obviously ordered the pointsettias before leaving as they were delivered after her departure.
A box arrived also with dear dear things in it for Christmas..
As you know Jacques and I don't exchange gifts..fun to see someone thinks about you.

I'll start some baking soon..but not to much since my girls make so many for Xmas eve.I do brunch Xmas morning..and everyone is a little less on the desserts.

Who knows how long we will be able to keep doing this?
So I will appreciate while we can.
I must say I LOVE the simple vignettes people are posting..of a white stark room and Charlie Brown real tree..and hardly anything in it.
Maybe that's the future for Jacques and I.
Jesus is already in his crèche under the tree..it was mine as a child..he is missing a wax arm..
The boys always go and look:) And ask me questions..
I hope The holidays will be All Is Calm All Is Bright..for you.
That's it..health before everything.
I hope you feel the love of people that have left us:(
Or the peace of just being on your own..
Maybe with friends..or maybe not.
Just peace in your hearts..in your families and friends.
Those of you I know battling illnesses.
Here's to a cure.