Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Merry English Christmas 2014

Well, as previously noted, Christmas 2014 was one that I mostly slept through due to a powerful attack of what I think the doctor called bronchitis and from which I am still healing.

I had meant to finish my son's new college quilt for Christmas. Instead I presented the blocks to him in a box and teased him that "there it is!" Truely this Christmas my family has learned to laugh and make the most of the little things. =) I never got to finish Christmas shopping and plan B has now moved into plan C. Alas...

From the costume sewing basket I had meant to handsew a new 18th century shift for my daughter and a new 18th century frock coat for my son. Alas...

So what did we do?

We got to attend a beautiful candlelight service at Patrick Henry College in early December, which can be viewed here in gorgeous photo format. This lovely depth of meaning of the Reason for the Season carried us through the rest of the Christmas season. One of the guys who stayed with us for Thanksgiving was in the chorale, which made it all the more exciting. Also one of the chorale members, Teresa Scanlan, is a previous Miss America! I follow her on facebook and it was fun to finally see her in person. Yes, she is a PHC student! This beautiful concert, Lessons and Carols, can be viewed here.

The weekend before Christmas my family decorated the house. Then on Christmas Day, I had my husband bring me an America Test Kitchen cookbook where I showed him the recipe to follow for roast beef. I grew up with turkey dinners for Christmas but that is labor intensive, whereas I prefer to play with my family on Christmas. Years ago we started the tradition of ham for Christmas, but my husband has high blood pressure and is on a low salt diet.  Last Christmas the ham was too salty for all of us and simply wasn't enjoyable.  This year I thought I'd do a roast beef and replicate an English Christmas, with a touch of colonial history. Alas, I succombed to the bronchitis and any movement on my part, or even attempts at spoken words, brought horrible coughing. I literally slept and coughed through Christmas as powerful meds worked to slowly heal  me. Therefore the idea of an English Christmas never took full fruit, however, my husband and son made the most of it (because by now my poor daughter was sleeping and coughing through Christmas too).

Thus I told my husband about a Yorkshire Pudding recipe in a Colonial Williamsburg cookbook. I love Yorkshire Pudding, which we rarely have, and I knew it would make the dinner more special and English. For the rest of dinner I suggested mashed potatoes (which my husband loves), gravy, salad, and green beans with almonds, served with sparkling cider.

For once my husband, who likes every detail of Christmas busy-ness to happen, did not feel like clearing off the dining room table of my past sewing project (the quilt for my son) to become festive. I told him I was okay with eating at the kitchen table.  As it was, my head usually succombed to wanting to lay down to sleep in the middle of family dinners, yet I did want to be with my family.

When my husband called us to dinner, I found this festive kitchen table!


Then the dinner plates arrived!


Oh my goodness! This was the most succulent roast beef I have ever tasted! This is saying a lot, because the only other roast beef my husband cooked was over 20 years ago which burnt to a crisp! And that Yorkshire Pudding was a delight! Everything was delicious and all agreed that this intimate table settle and English dinner was perfect!

Thus these were the highlights of our Christmas season this year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Doctor Time

So last Tuesday I went to the doctor and was loaded down with a z-pak, cough syrup with codeine, and my first inhaler. I slept through Christmas and the rest of the week.
Today I took my daughter to the doctor and she got the same meds I did. She's not as bad off as I've been...perky, up and about pretty much, talking lots. However she's coughed and coughed for too long and her chest muscles are starting to hurt. She's now loaded with the big artillery of battle and resting.
I'm finally doing better, as long as I do not talk. If I talk I cough and cough and it hurts enormously because my chest muscles are in extreme pain from all the coughing. 
I can't imagine my son went through this from before Thanksgiving through finals. I had sent him back to college after Thanksgiving with a cough med that was used up before finals. His RA was so kind to run to the store for him and get some cough syrup and a tea to soothe his throat. My son was enormously stoic yet suffered enormously through those last days of the semester. He's been telling me all about how his symptoms were just like mine are now...and I have the luxery of sleeping through the day and night. As it was, when he came home for Christmas his chest muscles were still in pain from all the coughing he did. 
 These last few weeks have not at all gone the way I'd like. My son has Swing Dance lessons in our future! They do a lot of that at PHC and we've been wanting to learn. I looked at the calendar yesterday and was shocked at how much of December has disappeared and there isn't much time left for us to have fun together before college days resume for both of the kids.
Perhaps tomorrow I can post pictures of the Christmas my husband and kids put together for me while I slept through my illnesss.      

Friday, December 19, 2014

Or...the flu?

My husband just informed me that I have the flu, which my daughter confirmed. The flu? But I never ran a fever. It's mostly coughing and being knocked out of commission. I feel so much better when I simply lie down, watching another cycle of Hallmark Christmas movies while I fall asleep. When I mention my various symptoms  my son concurs that he felt exactly the same way during Thanksgiving, coughing and falling asleep while studying. Surely I'm going to turn a corner soon and find Christmas!  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Perhaps a Christmas Eve Tree?

I've been very much under the weather, having caught the cough my son had over Thanksgiving. Now I know why he was so terribly knocked out of commission. This was the week I thought I'd start decorating and shopping and baking for Christmas but instead I'm watching everyone on the Hallmark channel do that. Well, a lot of them put up the tree on Christmas Eve for various reasons. I think my mom once told me that her parents used to do that with her. That might be us this year. If so, my husband says he's keeping up the tree all winter to get some enjoyment out of it!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


My son came home from Patrick Henry College today and all seems right in the world again. He came home for Thanksgiving with a couple of PHC friends and it was all wonderful, or almost wonderful. The sad thing was seeing how exhausted he was and all the coughing. He's at high risk with Reactive Airway Disease and I told him to kick in the use of the inhaler to protect his lungs. He otherwise seemed fine, but he was so exhausted. He'd work on schoolwork, then I'd find him asleep. He coughed so much for two weeks that the muscles around his ribs were in pain. We couldn't get an appointment with our doctor so I listened to his lungs before he went back to college and they sounded clear. He's usually so full of energy and joy that it was sad to see the exhaustion consume him. Rejoicing now that he finally has his energy back and hardly coughing at all! 

And now that life seems right...I think my blogging thoughts have returned. =)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Secret Sister 2014 from Alabama

This year my Secret Sister was from Alabama! (I think. I'm finally catching up on SS posts, today in 2015 and back dating them. The next day I was very busy picking up my son from college, then the day after that I came down with a severe illness. The rest of December was a blur. However this box of beauty from a lovely Lennelle arrived at my doorstep!

Oh my goodness! I felt spoiled!

This lovely package when beribboned revealed...
...a journal and gift cards! These will be quite fun to use!
Treats! Quite tasty!
A frosted snowflake ornament!
A tatted cross! Since she knew of my interest in historic sewing, she included the history of tatting. I do have a tatting kit because I've been wanting to learn! It's so pretty! 
A dress form/sewing machine ornament! And she made 2 infinity scarves for me which I wore a lot during my illness when I had to venture out in the ice and snow. The frigid air literally took my breath away which I think was caused by the illness. The scarves helped a lot!

Thank you, Lennelle!