Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas is Coming and Santa is in a Boot

Well, like it or not, Christmas is coming! I don't officially begin the countdown until after Thanksgiving, even though radio stations have been playing Christmas songs for two weeks and retail stores act like I should be finished with my shopping already. Last Friday, I made it official. It's Christmas time! Mr. Pearl and the minis and I drug down the umpteen boxes of Christmas "stuff" (after the tenth box or so, Mr. Pearl has another word for it!). We set-up our tree (artificial because of our allergies), carefully placed baby Jesus in the nativity and I decided on a way to make more work for myself! I am going to make everyone new stockings! (at least in theory) I will visit that later and let you know how it is going!

I have been shopping for the perfect ornaments for the minis. Each year, I buy them an ornament for our tree and when they have trees of their own someday, I plan on passing them on. If I can part with them. I become rather attached to my ornaments. I sign the back of the ornaments and date them. When anyone gives us an ornament, I write who it is from and date it as well. Opening-up the ornament boxes is a trip down memory lane. I treasure each little ornament and the person and memory that it represents. Yes, I am a sentimental fool, as illustrated by the beautiful ornament above. This flocked velvet boot with Santa and the Mrs. plays "Somewhere My Love" and was given to me by my mother's dear friend, on my first Christmas. I LOVE this thing! It has a very special packing box and is carefully stored away each year. It's not Christmas until Santa is in his boot in a place of honor. The last several years that place has been under a cloche. Everything looks important under a glass dome, right? Its a little harder to see the years of "love" that are showing on this poor ornament under the glass! Anywho, I hope that all of you will take a few moments to enjoy old memories and make some new ones and have a wonderful holiday season!

Peace and joy!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Family Camp - Happy Thanksgiving!

Family Camp family photo

Happy Thanksgiving all! I can't believe it is here already. I am making my fresh cranberry sauce and getting the pearls ready to head over the river and through the streets to my parents' home in a few. We have had a wonderful week off. We started the holiday last weekend at family camp with two other dear families. It was an amazing time in the beautiful hill country of Texas.

The camp sits on the FrioRiver and it is crystal clear

The Texas Hill Country

Family camp was at Laity Lodge in Leakey, Texas. This is in the area we Texans call "camp country" as quite a few of the summer camps are located in this area around the Guadalupe and Frio Rivers and it is gorgeous. Each family got their own cabin and we ate at the lodge dining hall (in case you wondering, the food was incredible, as the camp is owned by the H.E. Butt foundation - they own HEB and Central Market stores). We had some family enrichment time and lots of fun praise and worship, and we all participated in camp activities: hiking, arts and crafts, fishing, horse back, zip lines, mountain bikes, archery, riflery - a good time was had by all. The minis had friends, as one family has a son and daughter the age of Fisherman and Sweet Pea and the other family has a daughter and son the age of Sweet Pea and Sport Cort. All of us grown-ups were at TCU together, so we were a purple group!

Allison and Paul
(thanks for organizing the weekend A!)
Katie and Jeff
Alyssa, Caroline and Sweet Pea
(they performed in front of the ENTIRE group Saturday evening at worship)

Alyssa, Caroline and Sweet Pea ready to hit the trails!

Fisherman and Patrick

Sweet Pea

Sport Cort rolled around these giant hamster wheel thingys all weekend.
He won't ever be the same.

My boys

Sweet Pea and me, Katie and Caroline at arts-n-crafts

The weekend went by fast and Sunday came quickly. We pearls decided to take the "long way" home and drove to Luckenbach. Yes, like the song. It really exists. It is a dirt road in the middle of nowhere with a bar, a dance hall and a post office. We shared the afternoon with a bunch of Harley riders and a few hippies. Luckenbach is always an experience. My brother and sister-in-law were married near there and had there rehearsal dinner in Luckenbach and it was the most fun I have ever had at a wedding rehearsal! We were sad to head back "north" to home. The weekend was fun and we were tired. What a great way to kick-off our holidays!

Tired minis

I hope you had a good kick-off to your holidays and that you are surrounded by those you love and who love you. I am so very thankful for my dear family and precious friends. I am thankful to be a Texan and an American and I am thankful to my blog readers! Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flashback Friday- Royal Wedding

The happy couple!

I am so excited! A royal wedding is in the making! I have spent a lot of time huddled around my television this week watching the news reports on William and Kate (she is supposed to be Catherine now- her given name is Catherine Elizabeth) and their royal engagement. I teared-up when I saw that sweet William had given her his mother's engagement ring. Of course, after dating the boy for nine years, future king or not, she deserves the moon! Sources say that the wedding will be sometime next spring or early summer.

I think that everyone who knows me, knows about my little obsession with the royal family, past and present. I am a self-confessed Anglophile and really love all things British. I have read countless books on the crazy history of the British monarchy and can't get enough. You can't make the stories up! They are fascinating! Kate will be the sixth Queen Catherine in history. Yes, she will be queen. If William was a girl though, his husband could not be King (like his grandfather). That is one of those silly little Britishy "royal rules." Kate and William appear to be a couple in love and are confident and self-assured. I think Wills is trying to overcome the bad rap that his family had received over the years. He will do it! He actually seems to be "normal" if that is possible with Prince Charles as your father. Diana did an amazing job!

I remember thirty years ago,when I was ten, and my parents woke me up to watch "live" all of the wedding coverage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding. That was a defining moment in my life. A fairy tale was unfolding, right before my eyes. The beautiful, young princess, the not so good looking Prince, the glass carriages, the AMAZING, poofy dress, the tiara... it was a dream! That day stuck with me. When it came time to select my own wedding dress, Diana's image was the one that I imagined for myself (poofy with a train). I even selected my wedding music to be like hers. Trumpet Voluntary that is so often played as the bridal entrance today, was played at her wedding. "Here Comes the Bride" was never good enough after that day thirty years ago.

The engagement - after a six month courtship.
The 18 carat sapphire engagement ring.

The dress with a twenty-five foot long train.
The location- St. Paul's Cathedral.

The arrival carriage - her train was smooshed in there!
Lady Diana's arrival

Oh how I wanted to be one of the little pages!



I love the back of the dresses! All bows and poof!

The exit carriage


Love this pic! Don't you know they were all exhausted!


The famous balcony kiss!


I am planning on watching the wedding next year. Sweet Pea doesn't seem all that interested, but I will be waking her up to watch. My wish for William and Kate is that theirs really is a fairytale. I wish them true love and happiness and that they will do something good with their position. The idea of a monarchy is somewhat obsolete in our world today, but I think we could all use a little romance and fairy tale magic in our lives. It certainly doesn't hurt!

Have a jolly good weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sit Down and Feast

Sit down and feast and welcome to our table.
-William Shakespeare

A week from today, I like many other proud Americans, will be participating in the sacred ritual of Thanksgiving preparations. Thursday will find me and the pearls gathered with my family and extended loved ones at my parent's home. But Wednesday, Wednesday is for cooking and baking and trying to get in a good run or two to make room for Thursday's meal. Our meal consists of a smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, deviled eggs (Texas is considered part of the South you know), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, fresh cranberry relish, rolls, stuffed celery, lime Charlotte (that's a jello salad - it's not the holidays at our gatherings without a congealed salad), pumpkin pie, pecan pie and I know I'm forgetting something...gravy? We will all be seated around the table and say what we are thankful for and some of us will cry (mom) and we will all laugh and tell stories and enjoy the company of one another. I really love Thanksgiving. I love that we all linger around the table because there are no presents to open and all the other chaos that surrounds other get-togethers. Thanksgiving is all about family and friends and our love for one another and how blessed we are to be able to gather around our dining table and share a meal and ourselves. I hope next Thursday finds you gathered with those you love around a dining table and giving thanks!

Happy Wednesday!


Monday, November 15, 2010

What a Man!

Last Wednesday at 5:25pm, I was sitting in the car, waiting for Sweet Pea to finish dance class. I received a text from Mr. Pearl that read, "Pack a change of clothes, something to sleep in and a swimsuit. We leave for the airport at 7pm." This is not the first time that Mr. Pearl has done this. He has surprised me numerous times with fabulous vacays to boutique hotels and the like, but on a Wednesday, with soccer practice, dance class, brownies that had to be made for Fisherman's teacher appreciation luncheon, a field trip to chaperon for Sport Cort and a baby shower to attend... He had asked me several times earlier in the week what I had going on. He took my "not much" answer at face value. I never give him a play-by-play of my week, as he usually doesn't listen, so why start now? Thank goodness I had actually showered and was somewhat presentable, and had the brownies cooling on the counter. I had no time to get ready!

We managed to get out the door by 7pm. My mother in law came to take care of the mini-pearls and off we were going to where, I did not know. We arrived at the airport, valeted the car and made it to the security line. I knew we were only going for one night, as we were carrying on our bag and did not bring enough clothes to stay longer. What I could not figure out was where in the world we could be going for twenty-four hours that was warm enough for a swimsuit and close enough to justify traveling to for one day. This was to throw me off his scent! Meanwhile, back at security, the conveyor security belt stops on my purse and the guy at the screen calls in reinforcements... oh no. What did I do? Then I remembered, Mr. Pearl had purchased a gift for me last week, pink and white polka dot POCKET KNIFE! Why? Because he thought it was cute and I might need it. Sweet thought. Just not the gift for me. I appreciated it so much, that I forgot it was in my purse and now it was being confiscated at airport security. Oooops! The security team did not find this cute or funny. Oh well. Minus one pink polka dot pocket knife, we made it to the gate just in time to board our plane for our romantic getaway to... El Paso!
W.T.F.? El Paso, Texas, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a border town in far, west Texas. It is ok, just not a "romantic getaway" kind of place. It is the kind of place that you go to because you have to. No, this wasn't a joke. Then, I remembered... about twelve years ago, I started my "bucket list" when I saw a pair of custom boots by RocketBuster. I wanted a pair for myself! Then, about three years ago, I decided that I wanted to do this for my fortieth birthday (which is next month). Mr. Pearl was taking me to RocketBuster Boots which is located in, you guessed it, El Paso! Yeehaw! I am excited now! We spent most of the morning with Nevena, the owner of the company. She showed us around the awesome, renovated warehouse showroom and factory. She then measured my feet and then set about to design my boots. They are going to have two birds on the foot - to represent me and the Mr. and three birds on the calf for the minis. There will be roses and vines and my initials will be "hidden"in the scroll work on the toes. I am sure that some of you non-Texans are cringing right about now and declaring me a "country hick" or something, but we take our boots seriously and these will be seriously cool, so don't knock-em before you see-em! Anywho, Mr.Pearl did it again! He surprised me in a big way and we had a wonderful time. My birthday is already the best ever and it hasn't happened yet!

The mock-up of my boots!

Go check-out RocketBuster at http://www.rocketbuster.com/ and have a Happy Monday!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Flashback Friday- November 1958

The current mag doesn't look much different from this!

Love this house!

This is the kids' playroom from the above house - I want it today! How fabulous is this? The checkerboard floor, the chalkboard, the fun turquoise walls and the light fixture!

And to think this was done before Martha Stewart!

I can't resist the ads. I can't help but picture Don Draper and company pitching these ideas.

Soooo 1950's.

Ok girls, this is a pattern for a trapeze dress, apron and pinafore. If you can't read the print, it says it was designed by "famed New York designer, Joset Walker." "Off comes the pinafore and you're well dressed for the market." (because apparently that was the only place you had to go) The short apron is "for tending baby." It also says that the "trapeze top slips easily over any toreador pants for fashionable relaxing at home." I do love the look.

"Casseroles for Casual Suppers" - the names of these gastronomic adventures are the BEST!
Salagumundi Bake
Baked Lasagne (is there any other kind?)
Club Chicken
Chopstick Tuna
Please leave me a contact under the comments if you would like a copy of the recipes.

This ad epitomizes 1950's America. The loving, perfect family preparing to entertain in their nicely appointed home with a card table and folding chairs. How swell!

The first post that I made here on Birdie Pearl was about my grandmothers. They are the namesakes of this here blog. Pearl is my paternal grandmother. She turns ninety on Christmas Day. She gave me a bunch of her old magazines that she has collected throughout the years and I ran across the November,1958 issue of Better Homes and Gardens today. My dad and aunt would have been around the ages that Fisherman and Sweet Pea are now. Knowing my Nanno, I am sure she gathered and used some entertaining ideas from this magazine. She has always tried to entertain beautifully and elegantly. I think it was to make-up for the fact that she isn't a very good cook.

Everyone should know how very much I love and respect Nanno, but cooking? Not her strong suit. Go with me to ninth grade: I invited my boyfriend over to a family dinner at Nanno's house. Remember now, this is junior high. I wanted to impress this boy and everything in a fourteen year old's life is "life or death" - understand? We muddled our way through a mediocre dinner. Everyone was seated around her large, dining table. The table was set with her Franciscan ivy dinner plates (my favorite) and we all laughed and had a lively time as was usual. At the end of the meal, Nanno got a twinkle in her eye and disappeared into the kitchen to prepare a "special" dessert. She then asked my brother to turn down the lights, and a few minutes later, in she walks with a crystal bowl that has flames shooting-out the top of it. She elegantly set the bowl in the middle of the table, as everyone was sitting there speechless and announced "Flaming fruit!" Yes, Nanno had dumped fruit cocktail into a bowl, soaked a few sugar cubes in some liquor, set them on fire and called it "dessert." Pan over to me - shame,horror! All this in front of my boyfriend! I told him I was not really related to these people. It was a long time before I invited anymore boyfriends to dinner. Maybe that was the point!

Ok, back to the magazine. Perhaps you too will glean some holiday entertaining wisdom from it's pages. You never know!
Happy Friday!