Archive for December, 2013

I know my camera is here because I saw it downstairs after we returned from Maryland. But just at the moment it is hiding from me very successfully. So, since it is already late for Christmas pictures and I want to post something about 2014 soon, I am borrowing photos sent to me by my dear sil Ingmar.

Sofia christmas 2013 seeing a tree with real candles

I think this photo shows their tree with real candles best of all…And it is a tree with somewhat of a German sensibility when it comes to decorating the tree, a sense of less is more….It was their largest tree ever, and amazingly beautiful, though Paul always said there are no ugly brides and no ugly Christmas trees.

(Oh, did I mention that Andy’s gift to them was a fire extinguisher?)

Sofia christmas 2013 gifts and gingerbread houses

Sofia has a beautiful happy smile! On the right, on the floor, are two gingerbread houses their dear father made for Sofia and Clara to enjoy eating.

Sofia Christmas concert 2013

Sofia sang in a Christmas concert at school. It happened before we arrived, but I love this picture. I notice she is wearing a set of bells on her wrist and wonder when she used them.

Sofia christmas 2013 with Clara

Clara and Sofia opening presents. Click on the photo to see all of it.

Sofia christmas 2013 ingmars home made rolls xmas morning

Ingmar baked wonderful rolls for us, for Christmas Eve supper and Christmas morning. He also roasted a delicious duck and made his wonderful napkin dumpling (An enormous semmel dumpling tied in a linen towel to cook in water) and many other wonderful things to eat with great enjoyment.

Sofia christmas 2013 new chalk on the driveway

Chalk was one of Sofia’s favorite presents. She loves drawing on their driveway!

Sofia christmas 2013 clara can write her name

Clara can write too…Here she is writing her name at a beach a few minutes from their home.

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One More Picture

Last night was Nathan’s birthday party and the Hungarian Girl Scouts came later to sing Christmas carols for us……….There were twelve of them, making a very full sound in Alice’s living room. My niece Ilona was home from Ohio State and joined them.

Alice Christmas 2013 kantalok

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I thought I would have time to blog more here, but, alas, it is not so. Two big family events today and tomorrow and I leave with Andy early on Monday for a week in Maryland.
Plus, a few other things have come up which have taken a lot of attention away form my blog….But for all who visit here, I wish you a Blessed and Joyful Christmas.

Here is a gift for those who like sentimental Christmas novellas from a century ago. (I think perhaps all of you do not! But I do.)



Christmas some of my best friends are flakes

No insult intended. I’m a flake myself!

Christmas ornament bird hungarian

The bird is a Hungarian Christmas ornament….I have a lot of embroidered Hungarian ornaments……

Christmas card cozy picture

I wish you all a very Joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Well, perhaps not really, even though it has been snowing, snow on snow on snow. And it does feel a bit like the bleak mid-winter. But visually, it’s still a winter wonderland.

Yesterday Alice and company went to cut down their Christmas tree and bring it home. And it’s really beautiful! However, one sad thing happened. Their big Christmas surprise for the boys, a Lionel train which was planned to appear under the tree Christmas morning was shipped without any covering box and was at the back door when they returned home. Nathan and Stephen saw it right away, and so the big surprise was an early big surprise. This is so crazy to me. The company in question, a large company which once sold only books and now seems to offer pretty much anything one could want, usually uses much too much packaging. Still, Nathan and Stephen are thrilled as they told me at the Bethlehemezes yesterday evening. I’ll explain about that in a few minutes, but first some photos from the tree cutting.

Alice christmas tree 2013 3

Alice christmas tree 2013 4

Alice chrimstmas tree 2013 5

During our Christmas season the Hungarian Scout groups have two special events based on folk customs of Christmas in Hungary. The Girl Scout Troop has a day when they go from house to house (homes of people associated with the troop who want to host this) Christmas caroling, and they always come to one of our houses. And I am proud to say they tell us we are one of the few homes where the people know the words to the Hungarian Christmas carols….

The Boy Scouts or the folk dance group goes from house to house another day to perform a Bethlehemezes. We have not had them offer to come to us very often, so last night when they came to my sister in law’s was very special… They come in costumes. The shepherds are dressed in what would have been a Hungarian shepherds best go-to-church outfit in past times. The three kings are more imaginative. And there are angels and a star, as well….They carry a fairly large manger scene, perhaps two to three feet high, which is set up on a piano bench or sometimes on the floor, and they narrate and sometimes act out, the nativity from the Gospel of Luke. Afterwards, the hosts offer food and drink and gifts of money to support the scouts. Aniko, my sil, outdid herself with all the food she had set out for them. She made traditional Szekely Gulyas, and lots of pizza (not a Hungarian custom, but always popular with American teenagers) and all sorts of delicious desserts: homemade vanilias kifli and beigli (nut and poppyseed rolls which are always made to celebrate Christmas) and lots more.

I am terrible about remembering to bring my camera and hope Alice will have some photos from last night that I can share. Next Saturday the Girl Scouts will be at Alice’s house for caroling. But here is an old photo of a Bethlehemezes with younger actors than we had last night…

Bethlehemezes long ago

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here!

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Sweet Quiet Days

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

Last night my grandsons put out their shoes for Mikulas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikul%C3%A1s I imagine Sofia and Clara did too, and I’ll hear later what they found in them…. Here is a video of Mikulas arriving at the Kossuth Street Preschool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuvrPk-cWW0

Stephen is temporarily quite disappointed because the temperatures warmed up and the snow is all vanished. This has convinced him that he’s missed it all, winter, Christmas, everything. But I believe we have another snow coming this weekend, so I think he’ll cheer up again. And in the meantime, he has “kiki”, his word for candy, from St. Nicholas. He speaks quite well, but with some of the individual expressions of a three year old. We all laugh about him being secretly German because of the way he always uses the word “mine” instead of “my”. He says, “mine house”, “mine digger truck”, mine snow pants”.

Stephen dec 2013 wishing for snow which is all melted

Meanwhile, I am proud to announce that all my Christmas presents have been bought and now I just have to wrap them! But all the decoration has not been done, so I better keep on. I am somewhat slowed down by all the memories that go with each ornament. But I’ll get there.

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Alice posted a sort of mosaic of her kitchen with before and after pictures which show clearly how improved her counter space is. She’s been working for several days now cleaning up the drywall dust from the builders, even though they taped plastic to try and contain it, and picking up after the holiday with four guests in a house where the real guest room had been turned into a temporary kitchen. It takes a lot of energy!

Alice Dec 2013 kitchen before and after

Today Nathan had an extra day of no school and so accompanied Alice and Stephen to Stephen’s preschool class which meets once a week with mother and child together. It is taught by Nathan’s dear first teacher, Mrs. Noble, who found ways to include him in the activity. Stevie was very proud to have his big brother with him.

The theme was gingerbread, as you may have guessed.

Stephen dec 2013 at preschool

Nathan dec 2013 at preschool dec 2

Nathan dec 2013 helping stephen at preschool dec 2

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From Tuesday morning until yesterday afternoon we had the pleasure of being together most of the time, Alice, Michael, Nathan, Stephen, Emily, Ingmar, Sofia, Clara, Andy and I. And we were joined at times by other guests and divided ourselves into groups for different activities such as sledding (Thanksgiving doesn’t always provide the weather for this but 2013 had wonderful snow on the ground at Kendall Hills), and swimming, more than once. Walks in the frosty air. Some shopping for the Maryland group who do not have as many possibilities where they live. (But no one went shopping on Black Friday.)

Alice and Mike’s new kitchen was almost finished by Thanksgiving and now it is as finished as it will be until the carpenter can do some work which is not on his books until May. But basically, it is finished. While Mike was in Europe Alice moved the working kitchen and eating area into the playroom/library. And today she is transforming it back into a playroom….

Alice's new kitchen 3

Alice's new kitchen 4

Alice's kitchen new nov 2013

Yesterday Emily and her family left after lunch. Well, they left at three o’clock in the afternoon, but this gave them a wonderful lack of traffic as they circled around D.C. on the last leg of their journey home. On the 23rd of December Andy and I will be driving to southern Maryland to spend Christmas with them. We should try to time our travels to miss the rush hour! But I hate driving in the dark…..We’ll see.

I brought my grandmother’s wild turkey plates to Alice’s and we ate off them. So my four grandchildren ate from their great-great grandmother’s china. I love continuity, even though it’s a very brief time in our universe. I love remembering my grandmother who was a very loving person in my life, and my ideal of what a grandmother should be like.

Thanksgiving 2013 at Alice's

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