An Italian Family Christmas

table setting

family dinner

In my kitchen, surrounded with a blue curtain and blue placemat, folks gathered around the tables with moustaches and Burger King crowns for a family Christmas. One of our daughters came down with our special granddaughter the day after Christmas. Our son and his family joined us this year and we were able to do FaceTime with our other daughter and family. Technology is so wonderful for reuniting families. Do you use Skype? Photos for Blue Monday

Italian lasagna

Fortunately, Costco has large quantities of party food and supplies for purchase. I made my special sauce with our own canned tomatoes, homemade pesto and herbs, with Italian sausage. There were no vegans this year. All the pans of lasagna were assembled Christmas Eve night, so our hot meal was ready to enjoy, along with garlic bread and salad within 30 minutes. I love lasagna. How about you?

Starting to set out the appetizers, I served several dipping sauces for garlic bread, along with Brie and apple slices, meatballs, shrimp ring and poppers. We all were grazing on munchies around noon.

Italian soda on the menu

I picked the "Italian Grapefruit" on Christmas morning...

"Il mio nome e Giorgio Pompelmo.  Che piacere visitare la vostra fattoria.  Grazie tanto y Buon Natale!"

Translation: "My name is Giorgio Grapefruit.  What a pleasure to visit your farm!  Thanks so much, and Merry Christmas!" 

Funny thing is that the lasagna is overpriced. If 1 euro = $1.32, then no one is going to pay $30. for a portion of the main course. We all chuckled over this but fortunately, today the Christmas dinner was free! lol Photo for Mellow Yellow Monday

Barefoot Books The Genius of Leonardo

Bimba Landmann's richly colored iconographic illustrations both illuminate this stunning life of Leonardo and create an air of mystery around this far-reaching genius. At once instructive and entertaining, the story is told by ten-year-old Giacomo, who comes to respect, love, and learn from Leonardo, his wise and eccentric master. The many facets of this towering genius of Renaissance Italy are explored in a book that will inspire everyone to search for their own greatness within.

A great biography with beautiful illustrations for children 7 years old - adult; a wonderful book!
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Visit Melanie for the one word blog buttons.

 Wishing you and your family a wonderful new year of praise in 2013.


“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C. S. Lewis
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Blue Biscotti Sky!

mountain range

                                   Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!
Here's looking at our mountain range to the east. Over to the right, you can see smoke signals.

siamese cat Earlier in the month of December, we were just beginning to decorate the tree. It doesn't look anything like this now. But I thought it was so cute to find our cat, Jazz resting quietly under the tree by the piano ornament. So there's one lonely ornament for Blue Monday

biscotti and cranberries with pecans

 We're having an Italian Christmas this year and I'll be serving homemade lasagna for 12. Perhaps I'll be able to take photos later on during all the holiday meal preparations. Biscotti and cranberries with pecans will be the take-home party treats, along with a basket of avocados and tangerines.

It's been a wonderful year of blogging, meeting online friends, teaching children and adults how to play the piano and reading books to my grandchildren. Hope you'll fill your home with music; it sure makes one feel good!

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!


“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C. S. Lewis
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A Winter and Summer Cap

grandson in the snow

Such a delight to see our grandson, adorned in his blue fleece snow cap and warm knitted sweater,  frolicking in the snow. What a beautiful site to see snow this time of year in Maine.
Photo collage for Blue Monday

summer car show

Summer car show, with our grandson sporting about in his orange baseball cap. Such a stark contrast in weather and clothing attire. Here in California, we just don't have the four seasons. We pretty much live in shorts and sandals, somewhat. Do you experience the changing of the seasons or miss the snow where you are? Photo collage for Mandarin Orange Monday

yellow vintage car

red car with orange flames

More car photos for Mellow Yellow Monday. 
I like to see those fiery flames on cars and motorcycles, too.

children's books

Bear Has a Story to Tell

Winter is on its way and, although Bear is getting sleepy, he is keen to tell his friends a story. Sadly Mouse, Duck, Frog and Mole are far too busy making preparations for surviving the winter to listen. This gentle, touching story is quite beautifully told and illustrated, conjuring up the changing seasons and the animals’ habits as the kind, endearing bear patiently helps his friends - and is eventually rewarded. A perfectly paced bedtime story with a delightful twist in the tail.

The Wind in the Willows: An Annotated Edition

Few stories have the lasting magic of Ratty, Mole and Toad, but each generation must have their imaginations awakened by a fresh interpretation and David Roberts’ magnificent contemporary illustrations will delight anyone coming to this adventure for the first time. Cautious Mole, kindly Ratty and wise Badger are vividly realized but it is the outrageous, boastful Mr Toad who leaps from the pages so memorably.
Age 6+

Boy Who Swam With Piranhas

Orphaned Stan lives with his Uncle Ernie and Auntie Annie, until Ernie starts a new business - canning Stan’s pet goldfish. Stan leaves to join the circus where the daredevil star Pancho Pirelli encourages him to try swimming with piranhas.
Almond’s rambunctious prose sweeps us along in its slipstream, and his exaggerated characters and ridiculous situations are pure slapstick comedy, but gradually the story builds towards its climax and its message hits home: give a child belief in himself and there’s no limit to what he can achieve (but don’t try this at home).
Age 6+

Pirates Love Underpants

Big, bold pictures and excitable, energetic verse.
Pirates are the latest to delve deep into drawers territory, seeking the elusive Golden Underpants by sailing across Big Knickers Bay but they been beaten to it.
Bundles of bloomers and boxers are guaranteed to get the little ones giggling, and there’s plenty of shouty piratical yo-ho-ho-ing to join in with.

Port Side Pirates (A Barefoot Singalong)

 You'll love this one!
Traverse the high seas with a lively band of buccaneers as they enjoy a melodic adventure aboard their galleon. Includes fun information about historical pirates, pirates around the world, and even a helpful chart naming the parts of a ship. Includes a dual-purpose audio and video CD to listen to the singalong on a CD player or listen and watch the video animation on a Mac or PC.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and many blessings for the New Year!


“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C. S. Lewis
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Bird, Book and Candle

blue bird by fountain

I was so surprised to look outside my piano studio window and find some visiting birds in our fountain, especially this beautiful male bluebirdsialia mexicana

As farmers, we welcome bluebirds for their beneficial properties because we need them to rid the garden of insect pets! Perhaps my husband will want to build boxes with a sloped roof to help them build their nests. Do you have a bird house or bird feeder in your yard? If so, what type of bird visits your area? I love birds, especially the sound that a red tail hawk makes. Photo for Blue Monday

yellow golden finch

The American Goldfinch, is a small North American bird (Wild Canary) known in the Finch family Here he is nestled in our Crepe Myrtle Tree that has lost all its leaves for now. We're very happy to see their arrival around the running water in our fountain, and on the avocado tree limbs. Photo for Mellow Yellow Monday

crepe myrtle tree

Our Crepe Myrtle Tree in our back yard hasn't lost all of its leaves yet. Although it's nothing like "the turning of the leaves" in New England, we sure get a thrill seeing this fall color amidst our many Palm Trees throughout our ranch. Photo for Mandarin Orange Monday

homemade beeswax candles

Along time ago, I had won a candle kit giveaway by from a fellow blogger. There were 12 sheets of 8" x 8" of beeswax and 4 yards of cotton wicks. I finally had a moment to roll them out with the help of my grandson. Don't you think they'll make lovely stocking stuffers?

bees in honeycomb

picture book illustration

The Beeman children's picture book

Although this is temporarily out of stock on Amazon, there are used ones for sale. I remember selling a lot of these books to teachers who had a "bee unit" to cover. This is a very educational book with rhyming text. I really like this one, especially because we once were bee keepers. Do you like honey?

The Beeman

Happy Reading!

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C. S. Lewis
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