Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Day

Christmas Eve is always a relaxing day. This year my son and husband went to the Seahawk game while we worked on dinner and brunch. As I said, we changed things up at our house this year and it was wonderful.
Sometimes you have to take a look at traditions and see if something might work better. This from the "Queen of Tradition" sounds strange, but as children grow and parents age things change and needs change....
This year we decided to do a long leisurely multi coursed meal and take breaks to open presents. We opened stockings in the morning as usual, and had parents over for brunch. 
Then the twins went home for naps,(as did many of the adults.) we all gathered back at the house at three to start our dinner and gift exchange.
It worked out beautifully!
We started with an appetizer of a crab souffle with a thyme sauce. Each course was accompanied by a glass of wine chosen by the chef for that course.
From there we moved onto the salad course.
Winter Spinach Salad with Roasted Pears, Blue Cheese Toasts, and Dried Cranberry Vinaigrette
Wild Mushroom Soup with Madeira

A break for gifts. Lola loved her new slippers, ballet dress and Angelina doll!
Jack loves his new chain saw, and wearing no shirt.
Seared Halibut with Parsnip Puree, Spinach and Saffron Vanilla Sauce. This was my favorite, absolutely Divine!
Prime Rib served with a Beaujolais sauce, Chanterelle mushrooms and Pommes Anna
The cheese plate was fabulous. I have come to enjoy this as dessert rather than the traditional sweet ending to the meal.
Well, until we were served homemade 
peppermint ice cream!
What a great ending to a wonderful Christmas season.

Christmas Adam

Wow, where did the holidays go! 
We had a great first Christmas in our new home. Well, I know we were here last Christmas, but we had just moved in and it was all a blur so I am calling this our first Christmas. 
Appropriately enough, being our first year in this house, we changed things up for Christmas day. 
But first Christmas Eve Eve, or as my kids renamed it, Christmas Adam. Get it, Adam came before Eve.
Christmas Adam is when my brothers family and mine get together for dinner, games and we always end up in the hot tub at the end of the evening. We have so much fun!
My brothers family heralds their arrival by standing in front of the porch and singing carols.

Every year we do a "cousins" picture. This year the twins were a part of it.
It is beautiful outdoors, the wide open sky, a glass of wine and all the family. And yes, we have a very large hot tub!
Merry Christmas Adam!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Tea

If you haven't figured it out by now, traditions are a huge part of  Spada family life. When my beautiful granddaughter Lola was born we decided to start a new tradition for the girls in the family. Each year we go to the Christmas Tea at the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle. The room is gorgeous, the tea delicious and the sandwiches and treats are to die for. But most of all, it is about spending time together and creating memories. While we are at tea, Lola's twin brother Jack goes with his dad to pick out a railroad car for his train set, adding a new piece each year. 

The Georgian Room where tea is served

My beautiful girls
Lola, Momma Robin. Sarah and Aimee

 First, I want the chocolate gingerbread man, then....

                                                                  The Lobby

Full of tea and treats and ready to dance!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

All Wrapped Up....

So, every year I vow that I am going to wrap my presents early and they are going to be so beautiful that no one will even want to open them. The wrapping will be so exquisite that it will be breathtaking! And every year I fail to achieve that goal. By the time I assemble my gifts time is running out, and I just don't have the heart or time to work on 25 plus presents. I tend to do theme gifts so I have to wait for all the parts to arrive or I have to shop my favorite stores in our little town and all that takes time and by the time I have it all assembled... well you get the picture and I am getting redundant!

This is what I end up with when I finally wrap my gifts.

This is what I had in mind!

I won't even show you my finished product! Way too embarrassing! 
Next year, I'm just sure I'll do it next year.
In the meantime......

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Is there anything that stirs memories of the holidays more than the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves wafting through the air? I love our Christmas baking day. Everyone chooses a recipe, an old favorite or a new one to try out. 
Several years ago my daughter Aimee gave me a binder specially made for holiday recipes and it is one of my favorite things. As I pull out my crinkled page with my fruit bread recipe on it, I swear I can feel the memories of past baking days. It is stiff with age and use, spotted with butter and the occasional piece of dried batter, and I love it. 

This year we were missing my middle daughter Sarah, who was at school with her class of first graders, but we received one of our Christmas miracles when it turned out to be an early dismissal day and she joined us for the second half of the day. 

The newest little bakers!

Traditions really are the backbone of the holidays. Ours are so important to us and as our family grows it brings us back  together and reminds us of both how lucky we are to have each other and how much we enjoy spending time together.

Relaxing after a long day

Friday, December 9, 2011

If these walls could talk....

I want to share some photos from our old home. This was our first serious home together that we designed with an architect. We moved in when our oldest was sixteen and our youngest was six. The yard was a hayfield and we put every tree and plant and blade of grass in it. We spent seventeen years there and really thought we would never move. When we had the opportunity to build a new house on the family farm we knew it was what we wanted to do, but I will always love this house, it holds the memories of a lifetime.  

 I love this color of yellow. I went with a neutral in my new house and I really miss the cheerfulness and warmth of this beautiful shade. I am going to sit with the new shade a while longer to see if I want to keep it or try something new.

 One thing I don't miss is the yard. I was young and full of energy, and I put in a 1/2 acre of gardens. They were incredible, but they took so much time to maintain. My new yard is much easier to keep up with, especially since the majority of it is a pool! More on that later......

 It takes so much time to get the feel of a home, to learn patterns and where things should go, to place pictures and furniture. We have lived in our new house 11 months and I am still working on the basics. I hope you will enjoy watching it evolve. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on paint colors.....