Holiday Favorites



Chocolate Pecan Cake

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!   I want to send my sincere wishes for happy blessings to come your way in 2016!  Today I’m sharing some of my holiday favorites,  because I wasn’t able to do much posting throughout November and December.   Just before Thanksgiving we managed to catch a terrible cold virus.   We missed out on all the festivities and stayed in bed for most of a week.  My Thanksgiving holiday favorites this year?  Bowls of hot Cream of Wheat cereal!  To cheer myself up, I used mini cookie cutters to make shapes with the butter. It’s fun to watch it melt,  stir it in, and eat it up while it’s hot.

cream of wheat cereal

First of the Holiday Favorites: Benefit Concert for  Meals On Wheels

One of my  holiday favorites just after Thanksgiving  is the benefit concert
that the Coastal Communities Concert Band performs every year.   I play flute and piano in the band, and I’m also the announcer.  This year was our 21st annual concert to benefit Meals On Wheels.

Meals On Wheels Benefit Concert

Throughout the year, the wonderful volunteers of Meals On Wheels deliver nutritious meals to seniors in our community, taking the time to spend a few minutes in conversation, and keeping a friendly eye open in case that person might need extra attention. Over 3,100 local seniors are served throughout the year and may receive meals for every day, including holidays, enabling many to continue to live independently and stay in their own homes.There are even meals for pets dogs and cats!

Here is something you may not know about Meals On Wheels: On their birthday, each client receives a bouquet of flowers and a gift, and a special present during the holidays too. These special gift boxes are donated, sorted, and lovingly wrapped by volunteers as well.

For seniors who can no longer go out on their own, Meals On Wheels volunteers are a friendly connection to the community, to show them that they are not forgotten, that they are remembered, appreciated, and cared for.

Unexpected Gifts!

Gourmet Garden dried herbs

It’s a real treat when a delivery truck pulls up to my doorstep with something unexpected.   I was so grateful to receive a full set of Gourmet Garden lightly dried herbs, including their new Chives,  delivered to my door as a surprise.  These lightly dried herbs are perfect to use in homemade soups and casseroles.  I would have to say that one of my  holiday favorites is having a fresh set of herbs in the fridge, ready for anything I might decide to cook!

The Glenaires of La Costa Glen Retirement Community

As the month of December flew by, we were putting the finishing touches on the holiday performance of the Glenaires Chorale of La Costa Glen Retirement Community in Carlsbad, Ca.  I am honored to direct this  enthusiastic group of singers, meeting every week and presenting two shows each year; one in June and one in December.   This year we had new scarves and bow ties,  a feisty elf to add some special effects to our music, and an ambitious musical program that they performed to the delight of a full house!

Glenaires holiday concert

The following week The Glenaires presented concerts for the Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing units of their community.   Our daughter came along to help turn pages while I accompanied the singers on piano, and she played a flute solo as well.  Making music with family and community is one of my all-time holiday favorites.

Glenaires Chorale

Oh Christmas Tree

This year we almost didn’t have a Christmas tree.  We just didn’t have the energy to go out and get the tree, and then decorate it.  On the day before Christmas Eve,  our son found an enormous tree that had not been sold because it was so big.  He hauled it to the ranch in his pickup truck, and with the help of The Farmer,  got it into the house and all set up while I was at a rehearsal for Christmas Eve choir and orchestra.

Christmas tree

It was so special to come home after a full day,  still tired from that nasty head cold,  and find the most gorgeous Christmas tree EVER in my family room.   The next day The Farmer helped me decorate it, even though he was also recovering from that head cold,  and on Christmas morning our family gathered around the tree for our celebration.   The greatest holiday gift of all  is when family comes together to make things happen for each other.

I Saw Mommy Quiche-ing Santa Claus

A wonderful package of Kerrygold cheeses arrived in the mail,  just in time for Christmas!  Of course I made some quiches for our Christmas morning gathering.  One had gluten free crust and the other had a regular crust,  but both quiches included that wonderful Kerrygold cheese!   Quiche is the perfect dish to serve when you need to have it all prepared ahead of time.  Even though we were out late for Christmas Eve church services,  the quiches were all ready to heat in the morning when the family arrived to open gifts.

Kerrygold Cheese

 Each year during the holidays,  we are reminded of the years gone by and the special memories of celebrations and happy times with our family.   Now that our children are grown,  our house is much quieter,  but the ornaments and decorations that we have accumulated over the years help us remember those years.

Christmas ornaments

Friends and Family

One of my holiday favorites is taking time to stop and visit with friends we haven’t seen in a long while,  or connecting with telephone calls, cards, and greetings via e-mail.

Recently  I learned about WhatsApp,  which allows me to send photos, messages, or talk on the phone for free!   I was especially happy to reconnect with my German exchange sister in Bavaria via WhatsApp and look forward to a closer relationship with her in 2016.

Looking Forward!

All of the 2015  musical performances are finished now, and they all went well.  I’m busy selecting and planning the music for the seasons coming up in 2016.  As a family we’re especially excited because we’ll be welcoming a new baby in May!  I’ll be a grandmother for the very first time!

grandchild expected

As we begin 2016,  here’s to beautiful California avocados and healthy living!  Fuerte avocados are in season, and the Hass avocados are beginning to size up now too!  California avocados (especially Fuertes) are among my holiday favorites too!


Fuerte avocado

California avocados and Cutco knives are  holiday favorites!

 Many thanks to YOU, loyal readers,  for all the fun we share through the seasons.

I’ll leave you with this as we look forward to another year together: 

“Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.”
Swedish Proverb 

Fuerte avocados

photo by Rachel Holtz










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