pegkerr: (Both the sweet and the bitter)
I usually post these promptly, but I'm over a month late. We had a lovely Christmas, something we were rather worried about. Our family breakfast on Christmas morning was the heart of our Christmas every year, and the girls and I wondered what it would be like without Rob. We wanted to keep our precious ritual, but we wondered whether it would be possible to find any joy in it with an empty place at the table. We solved this by moving the breakfast to the new coffee table in the living room, where we lit Rob's memorial candle. To our relief, the breakfast gave us comfort rather than pain.

Here are a few pictures:

pegkerr: (Default)
Everyone's home for the holidays


I have my Christmas manicure, so I'm ready




Breakfast preparation! Here is our Christmas star, uncooked:


And golden brown, hot out of the oven:


The table is set with yummy things

Rob and the girls


Me and the girls

My place setting:


Fiona, rejoicing as she does every year when Delia gives her extra pastry stars to eat:

Rob enjoys his breakfast:

For the fifth year in a row, I am the only one in the entire house awake during Christmas afternoon

Merry Christmas from us all!
pegkerr: (Glory and Trumpets)
After YEARS of searching, I have finally, finally found a menu for Christmas morning that EVERYONE likes all the components.

Christmas breakfast 2015

This was a new experiment this year: a 'snowflake' made of puff pastry layered with Nutella. (The gold-rimmed plate it is resting on is from a set that belonged to my great grandmother).

Nutella Snowflake Christmas 2015

Fiona tackles her favorite part of the breakfast, the pastry stars that go with the fruit.

Fiona pastry star Christmas breakfast 2015

Then we made these rolls, which are crescent roll dough, rolled up with raspberry jam, ham and swiss cheese and cut into spirals.

Delia Christmas breakfast 2015

Peg Christmas breakfast 2015

Gifts were wonderful. Everything was wonderful. Our Christmas Eve dinner last night with guests was wonderful. A very satisfactory holiday.

Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas from our household to yours!

Christmas breakfast 2015
pegkerr: (Default)
Fiona has a work shift and wants to get back to her apartment, so we held our 12th night celebration today, a few days early.

On the menu was sweet rolls, bacon, fruit salad and cocoa:

Sweet rolls

twelfth night table 2

Twelfth night table

twelfth night gifts

More pictures behind the cut )

Happy Twelfth Night (early) to you and yours:

Family 12th night
pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
We have been visiting with family this week, but I wanted to get pictures up of our Christmas morning breakfast.

The menu included chocolate eggnog bread pudding,

Chocolate bread pudding

bacon, and fruit with pastry stars:

bowl of stars

Here's what it looked like, all put together:

the meal

Family gathering

More pictures under the cut )

All done
pegkerr: (Default)
It is really an advent carol, but almost entirely unknown, I think. About its origins says:
John Taylor, Postbridge aged 85, Tune not recorded in Killerton Ms but can be found in the Rough Ms. Baring-Gould gives a second version which he says is closer to the broadside ballad.
K3 p297
from Sabine Baring-Gould and the folk songs of South-West England

The gorgeous version I have is by Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra (here you can hear small sample).

I found another artist who put the whole song online, giving it a different title.

Here are the lyrics of the version I know )


Dec. 1st, 2014 06:10 pm
pegkerr: (A light in dark places ice candle)
Some things just must continue. Despite the cancer, despite the girls being off at college.

Advent 2014

No matter what.
pegkerr: (candle)
When I had moved out in my twenties, I needed a kitchen table. My Mom and Dad brought one to me at my apartment. I still remember them carrying it across that long parking lot on a hot summer's day. I'm not quite sure where they got it. Used, maybe, or perhaps from a relative. It was painted an ugly shade of thick brown paint.(Edited to add: Rob remembers that there was a thick coat of dark green OVER the dark brown.)

I spent weeks stripping and sanding that table down to the bare wood, working in the outdoor patio behind Rob's apartment (this was before we were married). It took so long because I had to dig into the crevices in the legs with the edge of a nail file to chase every last bit of brown paint out in the detailing of the lathe-turned grooves. You can still see tiny bits of the paint, like shadows, proof that I was not an expert used furniture refinisher by any means. I don't remember what the wood was, but I stained it a red maple color and covered it with a protective gloss. I remember how vexed I was by a stray hair that floated in on a breeze and caught in the gloss and affixed itself there, like an insect caught in amber.

We moved it to our first apartment together, and it became our first table. When we moved again, to our house where the girls were born, the table was put in the dining room. Rather too humble, aesthetically, for the space, but it fit perfectly, and when we covered it with a cloth, and put the best dishes on it, it suited us well. Two leaves could be pulled out from the ends to add length whenever we had guests.

Over the years, of course, there were scars. Delia the toddler banged her spoon incessantly, and so there is a patina of half-moon shaped scars on her side of the table. (We always sat at the same places.) Once, someone put a candlestick on the table, and some liquid spilled and soaked the felt cushion underneath, leaving a stain which marked the varnish. There is the smear of nail polish where Delia was experimenting, and I couldn't rub it off. I didn't want to try anything stronger that would take off the finish. I'll admit I wasn't always scrupulously quick about wiping away everyday stains.

It's used, battered, and hardly an heirloom. But we loved that table. We grew our family around it, and told our jokes, and traded our bon mots and cracked each other up. We had raging arguments, often about whether onions must be eaten or not. Fiona banged the back of her head against the back of her chair 1,346,234 times and never never remembered not to do it the next night. We ate our Christmas breakfasts and celebrated twelfth night there. We brought various hopeful Boys to join us. Fiona perfected her pterodactyl mating call there. We held hands around it and blessed our meals, and cried and screamed and raged and loved each other there.

We didn't have a hearth, so we used a table instead.

My mom is moving from the apartment she shared with Dad to a smaller senior complex. She had to downsize, and so she offered us her dining room table, the one I grew up with. It, too, has a rich family history, and many happy memories. It is bigger than ours: we will have to take leaves out and put the ends down, and we can't sit in the same configuration, because you can't put your feet under the drop leaf ends.

But. It, too, is the family table with a lot of lovely memories, and I hated to see it go to some strangers. Yes, we will take it, I said, and when the girls leave home, Rob and I can take all the leaves out, drop the sides, and it will work as a long narrow table for just the two of us. And then one of the girls can take our table when they leave to set up their own household.

Mom is going to be using the old oak table she had in her kitchen, the one she received from her mother-in-law (yet another generation's worth of memories).

So I have taken the legs off our table...

Dissassembling the table

We will have to do our Valentine boxes breakfast Japanese-style, on the floor, tomorrow morning,

Dissassembling the table

and then hustle it into the basement, so the dining room is clear when the truck brings Mom's old dining room table to our house.

And our old table will wait, patiently, in the basement, until either Fiona or Delia move out, painstakingly reassemble it, and gather friends and a new family around it to make a new generation of memories.
pegkerr: (Default)
I know I do this every year. Which is sort of silly, because our Christmas breakfasts really look quite the same. But I love them so much; they mean so much to our entire family, so humor me. I'm posting our Christmas breakfast yet again.

Table Christmas morning 2013

More pictures of the table )

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Fiona Christmas morning 2013

Delia Christmas morning 2013

We are each given four pastry stars. Of course, this is not enough for Fiona, and some swapping of bacon for pastry stars is usually traditional.

Passing a pastry star

Fiona reveling in pastry star

Om nom nom

One of the neatest gifts this year, I thought, was something that Fiona brought back from England. If you have ever read Regency Romances, you are familiar with Bath, which Fiona visited for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austens' Pride and Prejudice. The town was built as a spa because of the mineral waters. The bottle she brought back has some of the famous waters of Bath, touted in prior centuries as being a cure-all for every conceivable ill. A funny and touching gift for her daddy with cancer. She had quite a time getting it through customs in her carry-on luggage, given that there are strictures on liquids. Finally, they passed it through on the same theory that they pass snow globes: an object meant as a gift.

Waters of Bath
pegkerr: (Default)
We started with some Pomegranate Punch. (The leftover champagne will be finished up with the mimosas tomorrow morning).

Christmas Eve with Pomagranate Punch

Christmas Eve 2013

Here was the finished plum pudding. I took pains with the presentation (and yes, I DID go out and fight the crowds to go to the grocery store just to buy a sprig of holly to put on the top).

Plum pudding

We may have not let it sit a day, but [ profile] naomikritzer's [ profile] notthatedburke's recipe for hard sauce still turned out wonderfully.

I attempted to light it with brandy, but I didn't use a high enough proof alcohol. We DID achieve a flame, but not long enough for me to capture it with the camera. We all agreed that we witnessed it, however!

Om nom nom

Verdict: I liked it and did not miss the sugar I forgot to add into the recipe. With the hard sauce and dried fruit, it was more than sweet enough for my taste. Rob and Fiona allowed as they were glad to have tried it and wouldn't mind it making an occasional appearance in the holiday rotation.

Delia tried it, too, but with her sensitivity to texture, she found it rather confounding. I was pleased that she tried it at least. Even if she didn't enjoy eating it, we sure had fun making it, and that's what I'll always remember about it. And at least it's something we can all say we've tried.

On its way to being demolished
pegkerr: (Default)
Cutting butter into the flour and spices:

Cutting butter into the flour and spices

Greasing the pudding mold
Greasing the pudding mold

Adding the dried fruit. So much dried fruit.

Adding the dried fruit. So much dried fruit

Adding the bread crumbs:

Adding the bread crumbs

A crucial ingredient!

A crucial ingredient

Ready to add the batter to the mold:

ready to add batter to mold

Ready to go into the pot:

ready to go into the pot

A rack is set in the bottom of the pot:

Rack in the bottom of the pot

Putting pudding in to steam:

Putting pudding to steam

Water is added up halfway the height of the pudding mold

Adding water to the pudding steam pot

We will let you know how it turns out!
pegkerr: (Family)
I am being brave and attempting to make a plum pudding for the very first time. I blame [ profile] minnehaha K and B, who invited me to their home for a wonderful live reading of A Christmas Carol. I plan to take some pictures to show you how it turns out.

We will be having a quiet Christmas at home by ourselves. Rob works today until 6 pm (curse you, retail America) and he is going into work at 4:00 am on December 26 and working for three hours, and then is heading to the doctor's, where we will get the results of the PET scan from last Friday and learn then if he has chemo that day. Consequently, it just wasn't convenient for us to travel anywhere to join the family (thinks of the rest of the family enjoying Christmas at my sister's cabin. Sigh). Oh well. We will have beef tenderloin and plum pudding to console ourselves!

Happy holidays to everyone near and far. Pictures (I hope) of plum pudding construction to follow.
pegkerr: (Default)
Yesterday we celebrated Twelfth Night, our last Christmas hurrah, by having breakfast together with scones and cocoa. I have miniature stockings at the table, which I fill with after Christmas sale items. Rob was practically comatose, but we enjoyed this last, special tradition together. The recipe this year was for peanut butter chocolate scones. The girls settled for Swiss Miss cocoa (they honestly prefer it, go figure) but I had the real stuff, by god, made from scratch with a healthy dollop of both whipping cream and Bailey's Irish Cream. What the heck. Like I said, it's Christmas' final hurrah.

Twelfth Night 2012

Twelfth Night 2012

Twelfth Night 2012

The tree was taken down and the decorations put away today. It feels like Christmas is truly over. But it was a very good one this year. I hope your holidays were as merry and bright as ours.
pegkerr: (Default)
We had a very quiet Christmas. Rob had to work until 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and so we couldn't coordinate dinner plans with siblings on either side of the family, and so we just had Christmas Eve dinner at home, just the four of us. Flank steak and cheesy potatoes.

Christmas Eve 2012

The next morning, after stockings, we had our traditional Christmas breakfast. )

Fiona had a special package at her place setting. She was happy when she opened it! )

Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you!

Christmas morning 2012
pegkerr: (Default)
You may remember our tragedy at Christmas last year. Fiona went to set the table for our traditional Christmas breakfast, and her treasured baby mug was broken. (This is what the mug originally looked like).

So I took the critical piece, the porcelain Pooh that peeks out from the inside of the mug, and I turned it into a Christmas ornament. Here it is. It will be wrapped in the original mug box at her place setting on Christmas morning. Shh, don't tell!

I hope she likes it!



Three cheers for Pooh!
pegkerr: (Cooking for Ingrates)
I was pretty tired last night after we got back from my sister Betsy's house for Christmas Eve dinner (apparently, I haven't entirely recovered from this week's medical procedure, and the girls had been up late the previous night, too, so we ended the evening super early). We did have one tragedy as we were setting up for the Christmas breakfast this morning. Since I was so tired, I asked Fiona to set the table with our Christmas dishes. Unfortunately, the box which held her mug that she's had since she was a baby was put, inexplicably, in the cupboard upside down. It was a collectible Winnie the Pooh mug, with a Pooh figurine inside which endearingly poked his head out once the milk inside was drunk up. Poor Pooh crashed onto the kitchen counter, and the pieces flew everywhere.
Fiona was heartbroken and many tears were shed. It's funny how such a simple thing can assume such a vast importance. My heart ached for her, too. And how ironic that her child mug should be broken on the first year she has come back for Christmas from college. I looked on ebay and didn't see one like it. We will do some searching around to see if we can find something else that would be appropriate for her new adult status.

Here's poor Pooh: we decided to put him on the table to show he wasn't forgotten: )

Stockings were a big hit )

Then we had our Christmas breakfast )

Once the kitchen was cleaned up, we opened presents.

Delia got a big kick out of the fun socks Fiona found for her )

Fiona snuggled some more with her Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles lounging pants )

A highlight for me was a mysterious package which had been left on the porch earlier this week, signed 'Santa's Elves'. I was absolutely delighted with the contents, as you can see here )

But for me the most amazing gift of all, perhaps the best Christmas gift I've received EVAH came in two parts. When I opened the first part, I laughed so hard that tears came out of my eyes for about ten minutes.

It was a promotional poster for the cookbook I always said I'd write someday, Cooking for Ingrates )

I thought that nothing could delight me more than that poster. Yet my family did better than that. As if that wasn't special enough, they gave me the actual BOOK! Delia, that clever little creative person, had dreamed this fantastic idea up and designed the book herself more than a month ago.

Here's a video of me opening the best Christmas I've ever received in my entire life )

Here's the front cover of the book:
Cooking for Ingrates: Front Cover
and here's the back:
Cooking for Ingrates: Back cover

Such a happy Christmas (aside from the lamentable Pooh cup incident). I hope yours was as marvelous as ours.

(Everyone in my household aside from me is asleep now. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and the opportunity to catch up on your sleep)
pegkerr: (candle)
Here's a song that's on my Midwinter list, and it's a lovely song that touches upon Solstice, Advent, and the end of the year and beginning of the new. It's a good wish to send out to my readers near and far. I hope you have a lovely

Jiggernaut - Midwinter (Album: The Well. See it on CD Baby here and on iTunes here)

Blossoms of spring
are the green leaves of summer
then autumn's splendor
will follow the sun
carvings in stone and
seasons encircle
the old year has ended
a new one's begun


Set a light in your heart
to ward off the darkness
set a fire in your heart
to keep till the spring
let the Advent of love
keep us warm in midwinter
find a song in your heart and sing
find a song in your heart and sing

gather regrets
like deadwood for kindling
sweep out your soul
release doubt and fear
plant seeds of joy
let your light flourish
light a fire on the darkest
day of the year


Make ready your home
and welcome the stranger
bring what you have
and take what you need
the table is set
the door it is open
love's feast is prepared
and time for to feed


keep watch in the night
a new day is dawning
when love and peace
shall blanket the earth
hunger and war
will be all but forgotten
when death will give way to rebirth
when death will give way to rebirth


(here's the song in Mog. If I'm doing it right, I think you'll be able to listen to it there.).
pegkerr: (Default)
We gathered at my sister Cindy's house this past Saturday for the annual cookie baking fun:

Cookie Baking December 17, 2011
Cookie Baking December 17, 2011

More pictures under the cut )

These are only some of the treats we made.

Some, but not all, of the cookie crew.

pegkerr: (Loving books)
How is it that I have never thought of doing this before???



pegkerr: (Default)

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