A Peaceful Holiday

The full moon hovered brightly over the land last eve and Yule was nigh.  The 12 days of Christmas was originally the 12 days of Yule.  Festivities, bonfires, hearth fires, the yule log, the decorated trees, feeding the birds and other wildlife, exchanging gifts, and checking on the elderly and homebound fill the days of Yule leading to new year.

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It is a quiet morning here in my cozy home.  Father Sun peeks through the windows while climbing to start the day.  I sip my warm coffee, the earthiness and steam filling the air.  We keep the lights on the tree on often.  Just sitting in my rocking chair watching the glimmering lights, scanning the many ornaments that hold place as story tellers, makes me joyful and calm.  I put a Christmas album on.  My favorite is Andy Williams.   The presents are piled on the bed ready to be wrapped in paper and bows.

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Christmas past when my children were very young. (1999)

The birds outside sing and dart about.  The fat squirrel looks at me through the window.  She is out of bird seed.  Sweet thing; I wish blessings on all the wildlife.  A young eagle landed in the tree the other day and we sat together for some time.  The geese fly overhead noisily, their synchronized flying like swimmers in the sky.  Upon this great landscape of earth is such a lovely place to live.  I am thankful each day for health, for life, for family, for this cozy home where the hearth fires burn.

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Dreaming of Christmas cookies

Yesterday I did ceremony on my friends who are getting married beneath the full moon by a fire outdoors.  Today I get the honor of officiating their wedding.  Tomorrow we are off to my cousin’s, the next day to our friends’, home again for Christmas eve and my children will all gather here.  Santa knows to come to Grammie and Pa’s house.  Christmas morning will shine bright with the love of family.  A late Hannukah celebration with family and my daughter’s birthday round out the festivities before the new year dawns with promise and light.

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Christmas present. My beautiful granddaughters, Maryjane and Ayla.

What are your plans for the holidays, my Friends?  From our home to yours, I wish you the happiest Christmas and a blessed Yule.  May you be with those you love and may peace fill your home.

Homemade Amaretto Eggnog

20171201_182058Folks, this little festive cocktail is so delicious.  Of course, you can leave out the spirits.  What I like about the amaretto is that it isn’t as potent as whiskey or rum so it doesn’t go to my head!  And the flavors of the amaretto meld marvelously with the fresh, frothy eggnog.  Leave Santa a little of this with his cookies and he’ll be nice and warm flitting around the world.

In a blender combine well:

2 1/2 cups of fresh milk

3 farm fresh eggs

1/2 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pour 2 ounces of amaretto over ice in a high ball and add a 1/2 cup (or to taste) eggnog.  Best enjoyed while listening to the Andy William’s Christmas album.  (My all time favorite.  Even named my son after him!) Cheers!

 

The Power of Letters and Holiday Cards

letterOpening the mailbox, I peek inside, hoping for the seasonal item that I adore, a holiday card.  This time of year as we skip to the mailbox there are more than just bills and advertisements, there are notes and photos and messages of love and good tidings.  Someone took a moment out of their busy day to scribble your address and send you a message of love for the season.  That is indeed special.

Each year I give you my postal address.  I invite you to send me a card and I shall do the same to you.  Such a beautiful tradition, Christmas cards.  Some of these cards have turned into pen pals that I have had and adored for years.  It makes it fun to go to the mailbox all year round if a hand scribed letter should be delivered.  If you would like to exchange letters, please include one!

A letter in someone’s stocking or sent via post simply stating all of the things you love and honor them for can bring an unexpected twist to someone’s day, or life.  We do not hear enough the things that are positive.  Consider in your gift giving taking the time to write someone a letter.  It would surely mean more than any tchotchke that you could come across. letter

In the age of quick messages via media, a hand written letter, note, or Yuletide card is indeed fine.  The carrier walked away with a large stack of mine.  I hope to hear from you!

Mrs. Katie Sanders

1901 Brown Ave

Pueblo, CO 81004

The Storytelling Tree

Ornaments are special.  They tell stories and relive memories on the glistening tree.

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This year when we went on our family vacation and visited the North Pole I picked up an ornament that held nine names.  It helped seal the moment.  We will look back at that ornament and relive the fun we had riding the train and petting the reindeer.

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A glass doll named Sarah that my grandmother gave me when I was very young.  Ornaments from my other grandmother’s tree.  Doug’s first ornament (he grew up Jewish) and our granddaughter’s first ornament mingle on evergreen limbs.  Decades of tales whisper among branches.

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From our trip to Las Vegas with the children in 2004.

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Ornaments that were given to me by my students in the dance company I had brighten my day. That was a special time.

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A gift from Rodney and Pat some years back. We all dream of getting our own adobes.

The tree is filled with memories of our trip to Las Vegas.  Of our honeymoon cruise.  It tells of Bronco fever and the children in elementary school.  Ornaments that were given as gifts.  Quite a few from New Mexico.  Next weekend we will pick up another.  Everywhere we go, we get an ornament.

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My Andrew at seven years old.

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Shyanne at seven years old and Maryjane’s hand print Santa.

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A very sweet five year old Emily.

When we look at our tree, it clears its throat and begins its sweet reminisce and dreams up ideas for the future.  Future names written on the tree, travels yet to be, but the comfort of home and hearth will always be the theme of our humble Yule tree.

What are your favorite ornaments?

Enchanting Christmas Decor

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Decorating for the holidays is one of the great joys of the season.  Transforming your home into an even more enchanting version of itself adds to the details of Yule.

#1 Adding faux fur rugs and blankets creates a warm, cozy feel.

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Even if the children have moved out, or if you never had children, still hang the stockings.  One for each kid, or one for each dog, it matters not.  No nails or hearth?  Hang them from the curtain rod!

#2 Decorate as if your home were filled with children.  Your inner child will thank you.

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Oh yes, this year we have a fence around the tree!  You can get inexpensive, folding fencing at an agricultural store like Big R.  It keeps puppies and toddlers out, but the kitten is still in the tree!  This year we opted for a faux tree.  It is decked with ornaments from our travels and beautiful creations our children made.

#3 Choose a tree.  Faux trees are easier to put up, last many years, hold onto the ornaments better, are a little sturdier, and don’t die in a few weeks.  But I don’t know if they ever decompose.  Real trees are fun to pick out, make the home smell nice, create a woodsy feel, and can be used as firewood after the holidays.  But we always get one with a crooked trunk, have to tie it to the wall and since I love putting up a tree right after Thanksgiving, it does look pretty shabby by Christmas.

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#4 A wreath symbolizes unity and strength, family and wholeness.  It is the universal symbol of welcome.  Make sure you put one on the door!

#5 Greenery is one of the key ingredients to a festive home.  This stuff costs five dollars at the hardware store.  Once floofed and placed around it instantly becomes Victorian style decor.  The front porch with the ristras and my old grandfather clock look festive with their draping of faux swags.

The bar is set up in festive glow ready for visitors and guests.

#6 Tuck photographs of Christmases past into mirrors around the house.

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#7 Amaryllis bulbs tucked into potted plants burst forth with tropical Yule flair.

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#8 Scatter twinkly lights and tea candles everywhere.  Winter is ever lovelier with lights.  If it’s going to be dark at 4:30 the indoors ought to be inviting!

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#9 Have plenty of firewood on hand for chilly nights.  I do adore the glorious smell of wood smoke.

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#10 Make sure you get out and enjoy the holidays!  Go see the Christmas lights around town, go to the zoo and see their light show, have dinner by a roaring fire.  If you are in Pueblo make sure you see the Riverwalk, eat at The Place, see our darling zoo, and enjoy the beautiful weather.  And pop by to say hello!

Redecorating for the Season (easy tricks for a beautiful home)

20171027_071224In the winter I was experimenting with how to set up our new house.  An art and writing area, a music and reading area, and a sitting area took up separate sections of the old living room.  Then my classes started and I needed to be able to seat ten people comfortably and have a bigger conversation area.  The living room was rearranged again.  Now I am looking at having my family over for Thanksgiving dinner and entertaining for the holidays.  I will need a place for the Christmas tree (I know, I know, it’s not even Halloween…) and I wanted the seating area to surround the wood stove for cozy nights with a delicious book and a cup of hot chocolate.  Add to that I wanted to display my medicines for when customers come by, and have a place for all of my plants so I tapped into my inner Martha Stewart and spent the day redecorating!

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Faux fur rugs and gold toned throw pillows cozy up the velvet futon which reclines to become a double bed for guests.

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On the other side of the wood stove the love seat sits. A colorful sofa cover and earth toned throw pillows set a comfy space to play the guitar or have a drink. Guess what is behind the cow painting? The television! Wish I would have thought of it years ago. I am always trying to hide that thing!

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I knew our life transitioned into a new stage when I agreed to buy matching recliners. To me, recliners are the ugliest things ever and I swore I’d never have them in the house. (They are awfully comfortable though…)

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There wasn’t room for the coffee table in front of the recliners so I made it into a stand for my farmer’s market kit of medicines. Games, movies, and music are stored on the bottom shelf of the coffee table.

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Books are always at the ready and Maryjane’s books are easy to reach for when she comes to visit. A set of old doors creates drama, and my lovely grandfather clock adds charm. My collection of Native art and my feathers adorn the shelves.

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The table is closer to the front door than the kitchen now but I have more space to expand the table here. I can roll the giant aloe plant to the corner and add another table in here to accommodate more guests.

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My desk is an old sewing machine table and it can be rolled into the bedroom when it’s time to add a Christmas tree after Thanksgiving.

I didn’t spend a penny on this redecorating day and it only took a few hours.  The house feels cozy and the pumpkins and colors add an autumnal spirit.  Twinkly lights are always in order for a charming home.  Wishing you a beautiful season filled with warmth and family and home.

 

 

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours

 

This beautiful season allows us to think on the year past, hope for the year to come, and find time to be grateful for our many blessings as we gather with those we hold dear.  My wish for you all this Christmas season is that you will find inspiration and joy in your heart.  That you will find enchantment in lights, and food, family, and childlike wonder.

 

Ten Yule Gifts To Give Yourself

The Yule-tide season oughtn’t be just about giving gifts to others.  Why, we might want to be a bit self indulgent.  Lord, I think we have all spent enough time learning from society that it isn’t about us, and that we should just give, give, give to others.  I don’t know about you, but I think I deserve a little treat now and then.  I work hard, love hard, and I should treat myself as I would treat a small child in my home.  With comforts and love abound.  Here are just a few ideas to make the holidays at home sweet.

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#1 If you have a queen sized bed, splurge on king sized sheets.  Even better, get those glorious plush, micro-fleece sheets.  Soft, comforting, and enough leeway to share with your partner.  Curled up under warm sheets pulled to your chin (a treat when you are as tall as I am) and still have your feet covered is indeed heaven.

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#2 The Christmas tree is magical.  Treat it as such.  Twinkly lights, memories in ornament form, the smell of pine if it is a real tree, and the tall evergreen monument in the living room for but a month is a joy to have.  Pull up a rocking chair and opt to sit in it a few minutes with the lights on morning and evening.  A cup of coffee or tea, a magazine or book.  Perhaps a little music.  Magic.

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#3 Treat yourself to smoothies whipped up with fresh vegetables and fruits in the morning and a glass of fresh pressed juice before dinner.  You will infuse your body with a great number of nutrients and fiber and perhaps won’t eat so much of the not-so-great foods.  Eat well.

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#4 Use a vaporizer that has a little well for essential oils.  Lavender reminds me of my favorite places in New Mexico and lulls me to quiet sleep.  Pine invigorates and smells of holidays and forests.  Find your scent (and your moisture).

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#5 Stretch gently in the morning.  Or vigorously.  Yoga and meditation is beautiful.  Prayers said while lighting candles is healing.  Remembering our loved ones is essential.  For all those passed and those that are here helping us along, be grateful.

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# 6 Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to coffee before brewing.  Add a cinnamon stick to a cup of hot tea.  (It stabilizes blood sugar tastes great.)

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# 7 Write love letters to those near to you.  Then write a love letter to yourself.  I dare you.  You will feel awkward and giddy the entire time you write your missive to yourself.

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#8 Say no.  Stay in.  Watch silly Christmas shows and movies.  Drink hot cider and eat popcorn and a few cookies.  Snuggle on the couch.  Look at the stars for a moment before darting back into the warm house.  Start a fire.  (That has several meanings.)

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#9 Start planning your year to come.  Dream.  For dreams cannot possibly come true if we don’t dream and plan them first.

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#10 Love you.  Merry Christmas to you.  All the magic in the world is at your fingertips.  you can make anything occur.  You are made perfect, look perfect, are perfect.  Just love you.

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Cheers, Friends.  Time to light the Christmas tree and candles.  The sun is sloping towards the west.  I hope you are enjoying your season so far.

 

Bringing Christmas Cards to Life

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Every year we have sent Christmas cards.  When the children were little they drew adorable pictures on the cards.  As they grew older, our farm was growing and we cheekily signed each and every farm animal’s name.  The chickens, cats, goats, dogs, ducks, sheep, alpacas, the whole troupe were displayed on the card along with the kids’ names.  Last year we found ourselves without children at home or farm animals and from our friend’s basement we penned just a few cards and sent them out.  This year we are sending quite a few!

Are Christmas cards important anymore?  We have instant correspondence with friends and family any where in the world.  Social media, texts, or good old fashioned phone calls are all ways to stay in touch.  But Christmas cards are different.  A bit of yourself in the design of the card.  A sweet note inside.  A sign that one took time out of busy schedules to sit and pen a note of love for the season.  That feeling of finding an envelope with card stock in the mailbox, the heavy feel, the glossy stamp, the sound of the envelope opening.  A note of cheer inside.  Yes, Christmas cards are still important.

Now, take care that you don’t just purchase a box of cheap cards and hastily scribble names.  A simple little note, photo, or heart brings that same card to life.  Sad or bragging Christmas letters are out, notes of cheer and personal touches are in.  Just as they were all those years ago when the Christmas card began.  A way to let the homefolks know all was well.

Every year our card list changes.  Turning pages of the address book show a life of friends and family that venture in and out of our days, those that have passed, those we wonder what happened to, new friends that have entered.

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This is what I have learned over the years, send cards to who you want.  Include a photo.  Write a personal note.  Sign your pets’ names if you wish.  Affix a sticker to the front of the envelope.  Use pretty stamps and your best penmanship.  Send a little love and cheer.  It is just one way to make the world a slightly sweeter place.

I’d love to exchange a card with you or even an old fashioned letter.  Mrs. Katie Sanders, P.O. Box 2012, Elizabeth, CO 80107.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Christmas Dreaming

 

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As winter snow danced lightly down, the moon still held her luminous crown

and watched as each child in town went to sleep softly in the night.

Dreams of Santa filled their minds as they looked at moon’s generous light

and so wondered if they would see his reindeer cross her face in flight.

Warm with hot chocolate, jammies on, their stockings hung above the fires

their eyes grew heavy as they watched the tree with her glimmering wires.

Old Bing Crosby did croon, the sounds of the season on down through the hall

but sleigh bells were the most beautiful sound of all.

When they awake they will see who’s been here

Santa Claus and his eight glorious reindeer.

Merry Christmas!