This art of Mary and baby Jesus features the Christmas Star, which was visible in some parts of the world the year I painted this for the Christmas Show 2020. The star will sadly not make another appearance for 2021. And neither will my dinner gift from last year’s Secret Santa exchange.
Last year instead of cooking for the whole family (which we are doing this time), we drew names and cooked for only one person. I drew my husband’s name. Since I’ve been cooking for him for many years, I wanted to make things very different by making something that he likes, but I’ve never made because I have an aversion to the main featured spice- chicken curry. It seemed to be some sort of allergy to curry, that I only discovered after repeated ingestion of it.
Well, when I cooked with the curry, the allergy was so strongly felt that I had difficulty breathing! It was quite scary really. My throat was closing over and I had to actually leave the room, where my husband had to eat alone and then clean everything up by himself! LOL, well, that didn’t go as I’d intended it to! He enjoyed the chicken curry, so that’s a positive note. Most importantly, he was touched that I was willing to make something I’m allergic to, but he assures me that I should never attempt that again! 🙂
This year I’ll stay away from curry! I’ll share how this goes when it’s my turn to cook (as opposed to most days when I do the cooking, this will have the fun surprise factor). They never know what I’ll do. And neither do I! But it will be more interesting to see what the rest of the family comes up with, as they don’t usually cook for the family.
If you’ve not already tried a Secret Santa dinner exchange, it really is great fun. It makes for wonderful memories, and if your chefs do well, everything is delicious! You can make the surprise the dinner part only, and each person cooks for everyone on their turn (as we are doing this year), or you can exchange names and the surprise is both the person you’re cooking for and the dinner you’ll make (we did that last year, but now prefer to cook for the whole family). If you try this Secret Santa dinner idea, don’t forget to take pictures of everyone’s culinary creations!
Can’t you just hear the jingle of the sleigh bells? Christmas is coming soon! Do you have plans for how you will celebrate this special time of year? Maybe you’d like to try something new?
My family started a Secret Santa tradition that is a bit different from the usual. Instead of exchanging presents, the “secret” is a home-cooked meal. We don’t know what each other is planning to cook for us until it’s dinner time on their scheduled day to be the secret (chef) Santa. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do for my turn, but I plan to go BIG!
Last year I knew exactly what to make and that’s a bit of a funny story that I’ll tell you about tomorrow. I’m afraid I have to leave you in suspense for now because I am tired and need to get to bed. Goodnight, dear friends!
I’m still enjoying the holiday weekend, but this morning I was by myself while the family slept in, so I had time to dabble with something I’ve been working on: a video channel for binge watching all of my painting videos. It will mean hours and hours of peaceful videos, so you’ll need to refill your coffee or other favorite beverages many times. The new page is set up with a few playlists started. This project will take several days to finish, as there are over 200 videos to upload. If you want a sneak peek before the video channel is officially linked and released to the public, here you go! Video Channel (in progress).
As usual, I’ll post my paintings here on the blog, rotating my older ones and chatting with you about things on my mind. When I have a new painting finished, I’ll put “New Painting” in the title so you know it’s fresh off the canvas, never before seen. But, if you’d like to see a whole series of videos without clicking back and forth, the new video channel will be a good place to be. You can easily spend all night there when all the videos are uploaded!
If you’ve already subscribed to me, thank you. It helps knowing that you are there, waiting for me to post something new. It applies pressure to me to keep working toward my lifetime goal of 1,000 finished oil paintings. If you’ve not yet subscribed, please do so. There’s no such thing as too many friends! 🙂
Our house is already changing from pumpkin spices to gingerbread. Today we decorated the Christmas tree and made cookies. Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a glorious feast! I was proud to use fresh garden rosemary, parsley, and basil to stuff and season the turkey. I went outside early in the morning while it was not quite light out, but I could see my breath in the chilly November air. I was like Santa choosing only the best reindeer for the mission- only the greenest and prettiest herbs made the cut for our Thanksgiving turkey.
I have more stories to share, but this blog post is getting rather long! So, I’ll just leave this at the food highlights for now. I hope all of you have been enjoying your Thanksgiving break, and if you don’t celebrate this holiday, may you have a joyful weekend anyway!
This has been a wonderful day. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. I’m sleepy and will soon go to bed. If you celebrate this holiday, I hope you had a joyous day. And even if today was a regular day for you, peace and good wishes to everyone.
This painting is of a peach pie, but today my firstborn daughter baked a pumpkin pie for tomorrow. I baked ahead the homemade macaroni and cheese. My youngest daughter made a green bean casserole. The two hot dishes will be on a heating & warming tray tomorrow. In the morning I’ll prepare and roast the turkey. We’ll have a flurry of activity in the kitchen when it’s time for making all of the other parts of the feast: stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, yams (I don’t count them as vegetables and I won’t eat any, I don’t like yams) and heating the french bread my husband baked. My son will open a can of cranberry sauce and slice it. I won’t eat that stuff either, but he sure will.
I put matching turkey and harvest themed tablecloths on the tables, finished making festive potholders, and washed the pretty new holiday apron my daughter gave me. I’m ready! I’ll be up very early to finish thawing the turkey, going outside to cut the fresh parsley and rosemary to stuff the turkey, as well as a lemon, orange, onion, and apple. This is a new variation I’m trying, based on tips I found online. I like to try new ways to prepare the turkey. Every year it seems to be “the best turkey ever!”
I wish you all a happy day tomorrow, and those of you who celebrate this holiday, may you have a joyous Thanksgiving!
This painting was inspired by a rare snowfall in the Deep South (Savannah, Georgia), the first year we moved here. Of course it would snow! It would have been the first year of my life to live in a place that doesn’t snow, and yet it snowed, just like it had in Ireland where it can be somewhat rare to get measurable snow. It seemed that endless winter followed me wherever I landed. I was born in upstate New York where we had “lake effect” snow which resulted in snow banks so high that it was impossible to see cars coming at a crossroads. I remember a snowy day when the snow was up past our front door and it was hard to get out. I lived in places in the Midwest and up North in Minnesota, where it was not uncommon for snow to start in October and the last snow to drop in May! I grew to feel despair when winter was settling in.
So, I was looking forward to something new. Funny how the locals all told me that it “never” snows in Savannah (untrue, it snows every few years). It was amusing and not surprising that my arrival felt like the reason why it snowed heavily that first winter, between Christmas and New Year’s. It was a blessing for us, as our son was upset about no snow and was having a hard adjustment in general. It was as if by a miracle it snowed in the Deep South. It was a Christmas present to our family and helped us through that first winter.
Finally, the following year here in Georgia there was no snow for the first time in my life, and hasn’t been since. But, it’s cold tonight and there is a possibility of dropping temperatures below freezing. This may be another rare Southern winter in which there is measurable snow. We shall see!
I struggled to think of what to say for today’s blog post. World events paint a bleak, angry, and fearful picture. What popped into my head was this dolphin. It’s nearly impossible not to feel happy when we see a dolphin playing in the ocean. Even when humanity thinks the sky is falling, dolphins are happy anyway. Perhaps it will lift your spirits to see a picture of a dolphin, as a break from focusing on the picture that the news is painting.
The holiday season is fast upon us. Don’t let anything steal your happiness. We have but one life, and each day that is wasted in worry or despair is one day less to live our purpose, love our families, and experience what we are meant to know.
God bless and keep you. May His face shine upon you, and give you peace.
Sometimes tragic events unfold and there’s nothing we can do but pray. Tonight something heartbreaking has happened in America involving a horrific attack via vehicle during a Christmas parade. In this modern age, we hear bits and pieces live from witnesses online before official accounts are assessed, compiled, and released. I don’t know what has happened, but it’s clear that this is a dark and sad day for many families. God be with all those touched by this devastating incident. May those injured quickly recover, and those grieving find peace and healing.