Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Are you surviving the Season? Stop for just a moment to brew some Celestial Season Holiday tea and perhaps snack on cinnamon toast. I'll cut the bread with cookie cutters, as I did when Stephanie was little. :)

Christmas can be stressful, it seems to magnify all our emotions, doesn't it? Perhaps because there are many expectations and so many memories are wrapped up in this Season. Things to ponder...

On a brighter note, I rarely watch Saturday Morning TV but yesterday morning Nigella was going to be on The Food Network for two half hour shows, both pertaining to Christmas. I love to watch Nigella cook.

I have heard unkind remarks about her but I personally think she is wonderful and at least she is... clothed. Which is more than I can say about some TV personalities (yes, even cooking shows).

I'm not doing any entertaining this year but I came away with a couple new recipes to try as well as a way to cut potatoes for roasting. How much fun it was to sip my morning coffee and watch her put together Holiday menus which probably cost as much as I spend for months of food. But it made my heart sing and I learned a lot, which I can use on a frugal budget. Potatoes are cheap.

One of the years when hubby was sick and out of work, with no income for over a year, he noticed I was watching either a cooking or decorating show and asked me... why? I could not afford those meals or that house. Well, for one thing... hope. The hope for that one wonderful meal I can prepare and there is always so much to learn about cooking and baking. The hope that one day I'd have a sweet place to decorate again (which I do now). :)

If we wait for perfect circumstances to read, or watch, or learn, or try a recipe, or look through magazines for ideas... we will never learn and prepare... perfection will always be just out of reach. For skill only comes with doing something over and over and it is only when we are prepared that we can cook.. or bake... or decorate... or write... or sing (well, not me)... or play a musical instrument... or any other creative endeavor... when the times does come.

All this to say that my Christmas season will not be perfect and neither will yours. Some things will not get done that I wanted to do giving limitations of time and money. Others are being enjoyed each day as I think through the hours ahead and choose how to spend them wisely. But that doesn't stop me from embracing Christmas.

I can look at pictures of houses decorated belonging to people who are far beyond my tax bracket. Within those pictures I see ideas to use in my own home on a smaller scale, as well as objects to be on the lookout for at thrift shops and garage sales.

The same with cooking shows and magazines where menus are far beyond my budget... but I can take one or two ideas and recreate them at home for much less.

Never perfect but always learning...

19 comments:

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Just exactly so...and the very reason that I enjoy perusing blogs or magazines. There's always a new recipe, a different way of looking at an old problem. Now I'm so curious about how to cut a potato for roasting that I don't know what I'll do!

Have a relaxing Sunday in preparation for your week ahead.

Celestial Charms said...

I think your post is so meaningful to anyone who reads it. I'm glad you took the time to write what those of us whom are blessed acknowledge. The season is for enjoyment and relaxation, not for being frazzed and jealous of others. I have learned this only after many years of unfullfilled expectations about decorating and attempting to acheive perfection. Thanks for your words of wisdom!

freetobeme - Anita said...

I so enjoyed your Sunday afternoon tea today. It's a time of just forgetting everything else and reading and enjoying your friendship. Thanks so much for sharing.

freddie said...

Thank you Brenda!!
Pace e Bene
fr.freddie

Mrs. Rabe said...

There is always something to glean or learn, so even though we may not have a big dinner party or an enormous house, we can find something on these shows that we can use to make our home warm and lovely.

Enjoy your tea, I will be making a pot soon!

Debra said...

Thanks for your comment at my blog, Brenda. I've been reading your blog today and am remembering what kindred spirits we are...fun! :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Blessings, Debra

Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...

Thanks for another great post! Your blog is so encouraging. :)

Angela said...

I've started a 'dream' binder. During the spring and summer months,when going to yard sales, I buy decorating, gardening magazines. The most I ever spend is 25cents. Mostly I buy them for 10 cents a piece, compared to over 6.00 dollars brand new. I've accumulated ALOT this summer, so just a few months back, I went through them all, cutting, tearing and organizing the pictures. I glued, wrote with pretty coloured pens beside the pictures and placed them in the binder. There are ideas for Christmas decorating, crafts, wooden pieces that I hope one day hubby will make for me, decorating tips and ideas on how I want to decorate my rec room as we remodel it. Like you, I visit blogs where even though my house, my income, and my lifestyle is so different, I still leave with little bits of wisdom and ideas to bless my little haven that I call home.
Just as I starte to read your post, I did what you told me to do, made myself a tea and than sat back down to read!Yesterday we went Christmas shopping for some items that I have wanted for awhile (frying pans,lol) that were marked down 65%. As we were leaving I noticed a toy that goes with a collection my daugther has. It was on sale. Put it in the cart. Asked hubby what he thought. "Whatever". Walked around some more, than I asked him again, 'she already has alot'. I put it back on the shelf. He was right. Was I just 'buying' just to put another gift under the tree? Was it really necessary? I kept thinking, simplify! It felt good to walk out that store with only purchases that were made wisely and not on the spur of the moment, and purchased with cash, not my visa!! God bless you this evening.((hugs)) Enjoyed the tea with you sweetie.

Peggy. said...

You are so right we have to have hope...hope that we will someday have a bigger home...hope that we will someday be able to afford more groceries...
And who says that our little houses can't look just as charming as those big ones or that our simple meals aren't just as tasty.

Peggy
http://pegslifeinthebuttonjar.blogspot.com/

Kelly said...

So very well said!!! i may not be able to afford those wonderfuly decorated house and all the lights and fresh balsam but I sure do walk away with alot of ideas and inspiration to use within my own budget, same goes for the cooking!
And yeh why do some of those cooking shows fail to properly dress their *cooks*????? I have asked myself that over and over again, lol.

Warm Winter Blessings~
Kelly

Heather L. said...

I think my first comment may have gotten lost. :(

I was going to say -- I'm so glad you like Nigella too!!! I just love how she can write about food. I've only seen her once on tv but maybe someday I'll see more. Just today a friend gave me my very first Nigella book to own as a late birthday present! So exciting!

moreofhim said...

I love your post. It's so true that we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. I was sharing that exact thought with my hubby yesterday. I think it's especially common to feel that way during this season.

I, too, love to watch the decorating shows and cooking shows. I love to search for things at thrift stores and garage sales for my home.

I feel like we're kindred spirits. Thank you for sharing and making me take a deep breath and just remembering to relax and enjoy.

God bless you ~ Julie

Abounding Treasures said...

Such a refreshing post Brenda ...

I'd also like to know how to cut a potato for roasting ~ didn't know there was a special way :o)

Brenna said...

Ah, we are on the same page. When my hubby was out of work for six months, I treasured the magazines I had and the shows I could watch on cooking and decorating. Not that it made me feel bad, although sometimes it did, but it gave me hope and something to look forward to when our situation changed.

Anonymous said...

Yes I imagine a lot of us have had husbands out of work for months on end. Through watching those shows though or reading our used magazines we saw how another person framed this or that or did a table scape and tried it on things we already had and wala we had a fresh room! Our hearts sang and our burdens were lifted for an instant! You see your home with fresh eyes and it brings a smile. We do so love to dress our little nests don't we. To keep them snug and cozy for our families. You are so right. I have gleamed ideas from your home too! ...add me to the list of commenters wondering about the other way to do the potatoes ;-) Now ya got us all wondering about that ;-)! Jody

Anonymous said...

Hey, Brenda..remember me?? your ole friend from Muscatine...I love your blog,,even though, I know nothing about this stuff..rookie here..I loved reading everyones ideas and thoughts that they shared, plus yours..great job..I will write to you on your e-mail address. I too love crafts, cooking, cats, tea, esp. coffee...all kinds of coffee, and finding old friends on line...
Love, your long lost friend..???

Helen said...

Hello Brenda. Glad to hear that you enjoy Nigella. She has just started a new Christmas season series of programmes here too. Wonder if its the same one. I watched her for half an hour last night and am waiting for episode two to start very shortly. Have you seen her 'Girdle Buster Pie' yet? Yum. These programmes are pure escapism, aren't they. Another one I enjoy is Escape to the Country. Such lovely homes in ideal, beautiful countryside. We can dream, can't we?

Mrs. Staggs said...

What a lovely post this is, Brenda. I know from experience, that some of the happiest memories are made with the simplest of things. Tea with a friend, and cinnamon toast is a favorite of mine. A good book, a pretty view. My granny, lives in a tiny little house with a great big garden, and some of my happiest times have been spent with her, eating corn bread, beans and chow chow. She usually bakes lots of cookies, some for her guests,and some for the "boys up at the police station" who are only 3 blocks away. She makes people so happy, with so little, and is a role model for me. I admire you, for knowing what you truly have, and for knowing what makes a life.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog so much and you have a great way of wording your feelings. Merry Christmas to you and yours
Another Brenda (from Ga.)