Monday, November 17, 2014

Giving Thanks this Year at Our House

We have a whole lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Two of the biggest blessings this fall are the births of two healthy little boys.
James Danford born in September
William Mark born in November
In response to God's gifts, we have tried to share his goodness with others. We made harvest baskets for our neighbors.
I decided giving in the fall is easier than baking bread on Christmas Eve--which I have done in the past. Here are the local favorites that I included in the baskets:  strawberry jam, peach salsa, home-made 7-day pickles, chow-chow, and apple butter...
 some corn chips for the salsa...
 a loaf of fresh whole wheat bread...
 and some special Lancaster caramel soft creams.
  A few ears of indian corn and a big brown bow added a festive touch.
Why did it take me so long to think of gifting in November rather than at the hectic Christmas season? I don't know, but I'd highly recommend it.

Next week, we will be hosting fifteen guests, so I have revelled in decking our home for the holiday. Here are some snapshots.

I made an indian corn wreath. It was so easy and turned out so well that I think I may go into business selling these! :)

I added my pilgrims to the entryway sideboard along with the white pumpkins hold-overs from Halloween.
Then I filled a large bowl with vegetables and set out the silver pheasants.
I left the Murano glass pumpkins on the coffee table.
And tucked the grandmother and child figure my husband gave me for my birthday next to the ceramic turkey.
Now I'm ready to wrap the Christmas presents for the little ones, so I can avoid mailing them. Then I will do the food shopping and baking. I love having everyone come home. The six young children are so fun to entertain. And this year we will have two tiny babies to love on. My heart is overwhelmed with thanksgiving.

Is it your turn to host Thanksgiving? What did you do to make your home festive? I'd love for you to post photos in my comment section.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lots to Celebrate: the Royals, Halloween & two Birthdays

My daughter, the party-planner-extraordinaire, had no less than four celebrations at the end of October. Why not?  It's not every year your team makes it into the World Series to play in your home town just before your son's birthday and right around Halloween. Here's how the parties played out.

Monday, October 20th, was Nate's actual birthday as well as the day before the Giants and the Royals played game one of the 2014 World Series in Kansas City. To commemorate two such momentous events, Rachel planned a simple baseball-themed "real" birthday party. Greatgram made the centerpieces, and Gram brought the baseball cake.

A few days later, the kiddos donned Ninja costumes to trick-or-treat where dad and granddad work. It required a Herculean feat to get four kids into garb in time to get pictures taken before loading the kids into and out of car seats and up an elevator to greet the associates and partners at Polsinelli.

Even the baby, just a few weeks old, got in the act.

On Halloween, the whole family got into costume to trick-or-treat in the neighborhood. Daddy was Splinter, and Mama was April O'Neill. Oldest brother, Will, was Michelangelo; Nate was Leonardo. Vivi dressed as Donatello, and baby James was bad-boy, Raphael. Pretty cute, huh?

The next day, Rachel decked out the house and her sister-in-law, Audra, made the food for the extended-clan party celebrating two birthday kids: Nate, who turned three years old,
and Kaya, who turned two years old.

Birthday girl, Kaya, on the right; her cousin on the left.
Here are some pictures of Rachel's decorations for the big bash.

I never cease to be amazed at this daughter's stamina and creativity. With four little ones five-years-old and younger, how she has time and energy to make so much fun, I will never understand. She must have inherited some of the Ninja powers.