Saturday, December 26, 2009

the wrong decade

Recently I have come to the realization that I was born in the wrong decade. I like afternoon tea, pearls, china & formal events. I own a copy of Emily Post's guide to etiquette and consult it frequently for various social events & other situations that dictate such a reference.
One such example of my love of antiquated social practices was going to afternoon tea at the Brown Palace in Denver with my aunts & cousins the day after Christmas. The 3 sisters and their 3 daughters all went to tea, which was delightful! The Brown Palace is a historic hotel in downtown Denver, and they have a very special afternoon tea during the holidays. We had scones with Devonshire cream, cucumber canapes & other finger sandwiches, and assorted pastries. We picked three teas to drink which included a vanilla rooibos (decaf, because we actually get to have a little addition to our family this coming summer! My cousin is expecting!), jasmine & an Indian chai. All of the tea & accompanying food was excellent & perfect for the day after Christmas. I am so thankful for my family this Christmas season.

The Moms/Sisters

The cousins

An artsy take of the teapots

The incredible chandelier decorated for Christmas and everything!

The sisters/moms and their daughters!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

dear santa

Dear Santa,

I know that tomorrow is Christmas Eve, but I was wondering if I could add something to my list. I would especially love a garage or a man for Christmas so that I don't have to scrape all the ice & snow off my car. I know this is a tall request, but seeing as I continue to get snow dumped onto my car on a regular basis, it is a much needed solution. Although, if you would like to bring me nice weather from now until summer so I have to scrape my car less frequently, I would be ok with that too. Or, I would settle for moving to Hawaii. Thank you for listening to these requests and I look forward to seeing what solution you come up with on Christmas morning. Oh, a sparkly diamond with the man (if that's the option you go for) would be great as well. Thank you!

Mele Kalikimaka,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Isaiah 9:6

This week has left me reeling & asking lots of questions. I've had a difficult time believing in God's faithfulness & I continue to wonder whether I made the right decision to move here. I've been reminded that so many faithful & dedicated Christians in ages past have still struggled with times of drought & feeling like God is not near. I've been working on memorizing Isaiah 9:6 as it is the verse going out in my Christmas cards. Here's the NASB translation:
"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders,
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

So many thoughts enter my mind with this passage. Not only did Christ come down, but He was given to us. He came as a humble baby, not as a triumphant king riding out of the clouds with a mind to destroy. Christ was given all authority as head of the government. I thought about this a lot and what it means. I thought about how Christ came & totally changed the law & instead put into place mercy & grace for those who believe. Now for His names: Wonderful Counselor - He listens to me & gives sound & wise advice for He knows all. Mighty God - He is powerful & more than able to rescue me from myself - my sins & selfishness. Eternal Father - He is infinite. He loves & disciplines me as a Father. Prince of Peace - this is my favorite & I'm still not sure I can wrap my head around why it's so powerful to me. I think that I envision a ruler who doesn't impose on His subjects war & destruction & poverty. But instead a ruler who provides steadfastness, peace & a stillness to His kingdom.
I also found some great insights into Isaiah 9 when I looked at Matthew Henry's commentary. Here are just a few: "As He was the Lamb slain, so was He the child born." "He is given, freely given, to be all that to us which our case, in our fallen state, calls for." "Note, Christ's being born and given to us is the great foundation of our hopes and fountain of our joys, in times of greatest grief & fear." Something about the last quote is just so moving for me. I think it's the thought of Christ being my rock, my starting point, my unshakable base & foundation for hope and the well-spring of life-giving joy. I hope that I can continue to meditate on this during the Christmas season.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Handel's Messiah & Truffle Making

Wow has it been a long time since I updated this blog - almost a month! My life hasn't been too eventful, just full of work. I was so blessed last weekend to be able to go to my Aunt's in Denver for Thanksgiving & spend 4 days up there with family. I love my Denver family so much!
Last night I attended Handel's Messiah as presented by the Air Force Academy Cadet Chorale. For a novice concert, it was surprisingly good! Nic told me about it, and being the chronic "inviter" that I am, I invited two other people to come with us. Needless to say, one of the people I invited called and asked me what Handel's Messiah is...the poor man needs some culture! We drove up to USAFA only to be nearly blown away by the most frigid wind I have experienced in over 4 years (the last time I was there in the winter time). Seriously gusts strong enough to pick you up off your feet. At the end of the concert, we hung around as long as possible inside the chapel to avoid going back into the cold. I think I might move to Hawaii as the thoughts of the Aloha State were what got me back to my car. Warm beaches!
Next weekend I am hosting a holiday event, and this week will be full of preparations. I started the process toda
y by making truffles. Coffee liquor & Bailey's truffles to be specific. Truffles are surprisingly easy to make. Here are some pictures of the process. Excuse my extremely white hands.

Here is what the saucepan looks like after you've simmered the cream, added the butter & the chocolate. I also added Bailey's Irish Cream to this batch.

After you take the saucepan off the stove, you transfer everything to a bowl & refrigerate the chocolate mixture for at least 2 hours. Then you scoop it kind of like cookie dough and form it into balls.

Here is what one of the truffles looks like. Now I like to add a little extra to the truffle.

So I rolled the Coffee Liquor truffles in a little bit of green sugar & the Bailey's ones in cocoa powder.

Here are some of the finished Coffee Liquor truffles.

And here are the Bailey's truffles.

I can't wait to try them both next weekend! If you'd like to try your hand at truffles, I recommend this recipe from Tasty Kitchen for Simply Rustic Chocolate Truffles. Enjoy!