Christmas Holiday Recap

posted in: Europe | 2
It’s Sunday morning and as I write this the church bells are ringing here in my little German village. It’s one of my favorite things about Europe – the bells. For this journal I don’t have any particular European experiences to relate, despite the previous journals about the build-up of the Christmas season. This year I spent the Christmas holidays in Florida, so I’ll tell you about that. I flew on the 15th of December and had just enough time to catch my breath before my husband and I boarded the worthy, seagoing vessel of our friends Audrey and Dick for the annual boat parade. Boat parades are particular to coastal areas, and I never heard of them until I moved to Florida. Since I grew up in landlocked Indiana, they are a treat for me. I’ve seen several, but I’d never been in one before. We boarded the handsomely decorated boat just at sunset: The crew donned the proper uniforms: Under a full moon, we collected with other decorated boats and formed a line. We weaved in and out of the canals along the coast in Audrey and Dick’s neighborhood. It was very chilly, but the festive spirits were high. People had gathered along the backyards along the canals and we shouted, “Merry Christmas!” back and forth across the water to each other during the entire parade. It was interesting that we couldn’t really see the audience! Suddenly a thick fog creeped in, making it hard for Captain Dick to see. He deftly steered us out of harm’s way, though, and we completed our journey. The fog lifted just as suddenly near the end of the parade. We sat in the docked boat for a few hours after the parade chatting and catching up. We SO enjoy spending time with this group! You’ll see them again later for a New Year’s party! I have written here and on my freelance site about my hand-carved wood nativity set from northern Italy. It’s LEPI from Val Gardena. One of the treats of my trip was setting it up for the holiday season and adding the three soldiers I had bought this year. Here’s the collection so far: During my trip I made several trips to my friend Lauren’s house. She is the one who dips my quilled creations in clear acrylic and makes jewelry and window hangings out of them to sell. Lauren is from Maine and has retained a lot of her New England flare. She decorates her house like no one else for the holidays. Here is but one of her Christmas trees. The luscious buffet beneath it was for a small get-together she hosted in my honor! The food was even more delicious than the decorations! Check out her Parsimonious Cookery Book blog. She is one of the best cooks I know! There are so many things I did during my trip. I visited my friend Ralph’s Old Time Radio group’s rehearsals a few times. They read radio scripts and perform the readings for senior groups and other events in the area. I was part of the group when I was gallery director before taking off for Europe. Ralph is one of those people who I want to be when I grow up!

I was introduced to Sugar Darlings cupcakes by my good friend Spellbinding Sherry. They were so good I got them for my birthday instead of a cake.

Our good friends Bob and Sharon took me and my husband out for my birthday dinner at a lovely little restaurant called Oscar’s in St. Pete Beach. There was delicious food and live jazz piano music. The next weekend the four of us spent Sunday at Safety Harbor Spa where we dived into the Sunday brunch and enjoyed the relaxing services. What a day! I’d highly recommend their brunch for Mother’s Day. read more

Making Lebkuchen, Germany’s Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

posted in: Bavaria, Europe, Germany | 0

Join me as I get a hands-on tutorial for making Germany's famous gingerbread Christmas cookies, Lebkuchen. You can do it, too! The authentic German homemade family recipe is is my book, A Travel for Taste - Germany, available by clicking the Shop tab at the top of the blog. It will be like you visited Nuremberg's Christmas market in person!