Archive for December, 2015

Holy Holidays

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows; —
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are; — a Fairy Tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

Christmas et verbum caro factum est

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A Joyful Christmas

(Note of explanation) for some reason WordPress published this December 25th post before my December 18th post and I have tried to fix this as well as I could….It is not perfect. Sorry!



I think I am coming down with a cold again and only hope it will not be the kind that lasts forever! But despite this, and with a lot of help from Alice and Andy, we got everything ready for our usual Christmas traditions. We celebrate mainly on Christmas Eve and Alice, Mike, Andy, Nathan, Stephen and I were gathered in the candlelit kitchen singing Advent and Christmas songs from our family songbook. We take turns choosing and going around the circle. With Stephen so young and not able to read yet we have a lot of Frosty the Snowman, Deck the Halls, and Jingle Bells, but not only those.

Christmas 2015 Andy reading nativity

Then Andy reads the nativity from St. Luke and we sing some more. And the doorbell rings to let us all know that Baby Jesus and the Angels have left. The youngest ones race into the living room and see the tree and the gifts. It is a crazy time of opening gifts and I always think we could do it in a more calm fashion, but it never happens. And it certainly doesn’t matter.

christmas 2015 ertzgeberge nativity with candles

After we go into the family room and have a  lovely supper with wonderful cookies and beigli (the traditional Hungarian nut rolls). Both Nathan and Stephen got lego sets from me and also from Baby Jesus. He uses a different paper….And as soon as they finished eating and drinking eggnog they rushed over to the sofa to begin working on lego. Both of them….Everyone was filled with a sense of wonder and joy


I am trying to fix the fact that my Christmas post was published after my Dec. 18th post…..

Even if WordPress did lose the draft of the post I was just working on which had several paragraphs and two photos on it already.

I’ll try try again…..

On my way home from babysitting for Stephen this afternoon I noticed IT WAS SNOWING! Yeah! I hope the children will get lots of snow for winter fun this vacation!

Alice spent most of the afternoon with Nathan’s class, teaching them a crafty way to make a cute owl out of pine cones and felt, among other things. I wish I had a photo to show you the darling demonstration model she made of three of the owls perched on a bit of pruned off birch branch. I hope I have one soon.

But I have another owl for you. Today is Nathan’s real eleventh birthday and he woke up to discover an owl in his doorway with his acceptance to Hogwarts! It’s so wonderful. He was very excited.

Nathan dec 2015 birthday greetings from a wonderful Mom

This evening is the Hungarian Girl Scouts program and Sofia and Clara are in the performance and needed their hair braided. So dear Aunt Alice came over and did this. (Their Dad does not have confidence in his braiding skills, plus he is baking madly for tomorrow’s last market before Christmas. ) Emily is flying home from being on a grant panel in Washington, D.C. and will miss this. But they look very sweet.

Sofia dec 2015 with Clara for hung scout xmas prograrm

A few days ago Stephen went to the home of some friends to see The Polar Express….All the children dressed up in their Halloween costumes to watch this Christmas movie. Don’t ask me why, please!


Stephen dec 2015 polar express

It can only get better from here.


  • Not a single snowflake in sight here – we’ll be having a green-brown Christmas instead of a white one. But I am not complaining, as I can cope with winter much better this way 🙂

    The girls look so pretty, shame we can’t really see their braids. The group of friends with Stephen look like a bunch of kids who know how to have fun! I do love that astronaut suit, you know.

    How wonderful to wake up on one’s 11th birthday and find a letter from Hogwarts!

  • I like the “News From the Thicket House” and these ones have a taste of Chritmas. All children are lovely and seem to enjoy themselves. Adults are keep pretty busy!!! 🙂
    And your site belongs to Hogwarts as far as magic is concerned: this is the third time I am writing my comment. It always diappears before I can press the key “send”. Are you a magician, Kristi? 🙂

    • Not a magician, but if I were I would never make your comments disappear! I love getting comments.

      • Everybody likes comments! I like comments. And I like answering comments. And I have even received comments on my FB page and by tweets and by e-mail. I am surprised by the number of DES group members who read my blog and when I feel blue (as during these days) it gives me some light.
        But to read the Thoughts from the Thicket House always gives me a smile and I always feel like writing a comment. This lifts the blues as well. 🙂

  • edit this on December 19, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Reply brendacoffeeteabooksandme

    Those kids are absolutely adorable!

  • No snow here, indeed it is so warm I have a PRIMROSE in flower, outside in the garden! It was 17degC in parts of the UK yesterday. It will be a green Xmas. But still something to look forward to. Your grandchildren all are building enviable memories, hope the Scount evening went well. Do Fia and Clara speak Hungarian, or maybe the Hungarian scouts ‘work’ in English? Also hope Ingmar did well at the market and Nathan’s birthday went very well, which Hogwarts house does he want to join?

    • Sofia and Clara speak English, Hungarian and German. Hungarian Scouts only speak Hungarian and they also go to German school. I hope to do a post in the next few days about the wonderful party last night.

  • those cute Halloween costumes are too cute not to be used for other occasions! and so are, in fact, the traditional Hungarian outfits.

  • Such an imaginative family! Merry Christmas, Kristi, to you and all the family!

  • Oh my gosh! They are super adorable, costumed or not. Wishing you all a Mele Kalikimaka from the islands, Kristi!








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That Time of Year!

Despite the fact that the weather is so warm that one of the people in the activity I’m blogging about today  was wearing nothing over his tee-shirt, it is high time to get a Christmas tree and put it up.

(Yes, it does remind me of the way my mother would always say, “Where there’s no sense, there’s no feeling,” when she saw children not dressed warmly enough!)

Alice has gone to a local tree farm every year since she was sixteen except for one Christmas, I think the first one of her marriage, when she and Mike had a Charlie Brown tree, a branch from a spruce in their yard stuck in a vase.

Today they all set out to the farm and found their tree!Stephen dec 2015 getting the tree

This was the picture a year ago. Much colder, though no snow….I think the pictures I was thinking of were from February when there was lots of snow…

Stephen dec 2014 getting the tree

Besides getting the tree, there are many Christmas parties going on. Alice took this photo of Stephen at a rehearsal for his.

Stephen dec 2015 practicing for Christmas program dec

Don’t you wonder what he was thinking?

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Memories and Now……

Nine years ago when my dear daughter Emily got her PhD at Penn State I offered to give her the gift of her hood and cap (PSU has a different sort of hat, not a mortarboard). She thanked me very nicely but never got around to ordering them at the time. I think this was 2006.  When she became a professor, I asked her if she would like Paul’s academic robe and offered to pay for it to be altered for her…But she didn’t do this at St. Mary’s College when she was there. But finally! Finally! She arranged everything and marched with the faculty in a CSU graduation this morning.

Emily is a professor at Cleveland State University where her Dad taught, though in another department. She posted a photo of herself this morning.

Emily dec 2015 graduation in Palis robe

She wrote, ” At CSU graduation, wishing my dad were here with me so we could make jokes together ! I am actually wearing his robes which only had to be shortened by 2 feet to fit me.”

I guess the two feet must also include the sleeves because Paul was less than a foot taller than Emily. He was 6’2″. And somehow, this photo makes her look less tall than she is, and I’m confused about why, though I see the photographer must have been at a slightly different level.

The woman who did the alterations was very interested in this older robe because her father was a designer of clothing in an Eastern European country and taught her a lot. This robe is not constructed in a way one often sees here. But I digress.

I am so proud of Emily and so remembering Paul whom I saw at many graduations, including my own, and oldest daughter Alice’s. We are blessed and we are grateful.






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Desultory Early December

We continue to have a very warm fall (and it will be fall until the Solstice is over……But I’ll take it! It saves energy and many people who cannot afford to heat well enough if at all will be better with this mildness.

But one morning we had a small amount of early snow and even though it disappeared very quickly, my sweet outdoor boy Stephen, my youngest grandson, was out making snow angels.

Stephen Dec 2015 first snow

I have hardly begun to decorate which is late for me….But soon. This weekend. Meanwhile, I’ve almost finished buying presents, though none are wrapped as yet.

Tomorrow I will go to a local theater (Weathervane Theater) with daughter Em, granddaughters Fia and Clara, sil Aniko and great nephew Janos to see The Christmas Carol. I’m really looking forward to this!

And a week from tomorrow I’ll be at Nathan’s 11th birthday party after which the Hungarian Girl Scouts will come to entertain us with beautiful Christmas Carols.

I’ve also been enjoying the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar for the third year in a row. I give it to my daughters for their children, too. It’s online and interactive and everyone likes it a lot.

My screen saver for this December is one I came across by accident, but one that makes me smile many times a day.

Art Hare in the Meadow Jane Crowther christmas scene fb 2015



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