Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Happenings 2019

Christmas draws ever closer. I hope you are all enjoying the festive season thus far.

I am enjoying everything and the pace of activities. It isn't quite as quiet as I had hope but that isn't so much because of Christmas activities. It has more to do with unexpected events and timelines concerning my dental work. After all the planning and waiting for insurance approvals and so on, it turns out I can't get a bridge after all. Or at least I've decided not to proceed with it after discussing with my dentist.  One of my teeth is not so strong and over the long term the bridge isn't a good solution. The alternatives are a partial denture or an implant. I've decided to go for the partial and have talked to the dentist about possibly doing an implant in the future.  Unfortunately, this unfinished business will be going with me into the new year though I had hoped to complete the dental work in 2019.  At least I have now have a firm plan of action and I am comfortable with the way forward.

I finally completed the book on Coco Chanel. I say finally because when I really enjoy a book I can finish it within a few days even if I'm busy. But this book took me a few weeks to read. It was interesting and very detailed. I think the detail put me off a little because Coco Chanel lived a very long life.  Of course, like most people, the events in her life were repeated a few times over the decades of her life. So the book was a bit repetitive in that way but necessarily so.  Her rise to prominence is made more interesting because she lived during the WW2 and she retired for a long while before resurrecting her career and focussing on inroads with the United States.  Besides discovering these things I also discovered a lot of things I didn't like about Coco Chanel.  However, one thing is clear.  She achieved a lot and she left a lasting legacy despite not having any children of her own to carry on the business.  The author of this book did a good service in writing such a detailed and well researched book about Coco Chanel.



On Sunday afternoon I joined a friend for the one and only Christmas concert I planned to attend this year. It was quite enjoyable and different from what I usually see.  My friend and I enjoyed the concert and we exchanged some small gifts with each other.


The concert itself  featured JS Bach's joyous cantata BWV 62 ‘Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland’. It also featured Christmas works by Poulenc, Chilcott, Rutter, plus audience singing.  Next year I plan to try and see a Christmas program featuring harpists. It is a very popular concert here and generally gets sold out each night.

Some of you might remember I purchased 2 small fiddle leaf fig trees. I was a bit concerned about tending to them over the cold winter months. They are tropical plants that need very precise and favourable conditions in which to thrive. I'm happy to report that one of the two plants, the one that looked less healthy, is actually sprouting a new leaf. Can you see it in the center? I am very happy about this and I hope I can continue to nurture it through until repotting is necessary in the spring.


A few years ago I saw a humongous Christmas cacti in the window of a barber shop and it was in full bloom. It looked so beautiful that I had to find myself one and see if I can get it to that point too.  I purchased a small Christmas cacti about one week ago and right now all the blossoms are coming out. I heard that they only bloom at Christmas.



I have finally been able to coordinate and organize a short trip with close family members to visit out of town for a few days. I'm looking forward to seeing my niece and she is looking forward to going to a movie with us and a good old family visit.
🎄 🎄🎄


I don't usually do much baking at Christmas but this year I decided to make Christmas bark. Later I may also make some dream bars (my late mom's recipe).  I made the bark last night and it was so delicious and surprisingly easy. I thought you might like to try it too.



Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. (225 g) Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 pkg. (170 g) Baker's White Chocolate
  • 1 cup chopped toasted almonds, divided into 2 batches
I also added about one half cup of chopped, dried cranberries to to each batch of chocolate

Directions

  1. Microwave semi-sweet chocolate in microwaveable bowl on MEDIUM 1 to 2 min. or until almost melted; stir until completely melted. Repeat in separate bowl with white chocolate. Stir 1/2 cup nuts into chocolate in each bowl.
  2. Drop spoonful’s of chocolate mixtures alternately onto waxed paper-covered baking sheet; swirl gently with knife.
  3. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces.

TIP: Prepare as directed, substituting pecans for the almonds, and stirring 1/4 cup each dried cranberries and chopped dried apricots into the melted white chocolate before spooning onto prepared baking sheet as directed.
Substitute toasted flaked coconut for the chopped almonds.
How to Store: Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.


Joining Our World Tuesday today.

That's all for now blogging friends.
In my next post I hope to continue with the travel update.
Thanks for stopping by.
Enjoy the week ahead.
♥♥♥



26 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello, The Christmas concert sounds nice. Dental work can be awful when it has to be done in a few visits. I am going to save your Christmas bark recipe, it looks delicious. Enjoy the visit with your family. I will be away so I will wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

stardust said...

The red flowers of “Kani Saboten” (Crab cactus), what you call Christmas cacti, is brightening my living room, too, together with red and pink cyclamens. Your Christmas bark looks so delicious, I can almost feel sweet crunch in my mouth. Have a nice trip you’re your close families.

Regarding your question, Christmas is not a holiday in Japan but my family enjoy secular Christmas like many other Japanese people. Young children learn the joy of giving and sharing, love and forgiveness, the essence of Christmas, I think. Wish you a heart-warming Christmas.

Yoko

Joanne Noragon said...

When acclimated to my house, my "Christmas" cactus bloomed year round. I hope yours does, too.

Diane said...

I feel for you with your teeth. I have 4 gaps and I tried a partial plate and found I could not speak properly it lasted a week and I gave up. Transplant is way too expensive and my teeth are not strong enough for a bridge either. Problem solved; I just have gaps. I do though have to have a cap done next year; the temporary cap is doing well but the dentist will not allow it to remain permanently!! Good luck hope all goes well. Diane

Tom said...

..I hope that you have good luck with your Christmas cactus. Several years ago I bought a nice one before Christmas, it did well , but never flowered again. I gave it to a friend and now it's gorgeous!

Jeanie said...

Thanks for the recipe, Penny. I might be able to do that, since no oven is required! Your concerts sound lovely! In fact your whole season is sounding quite nice indeed. Good for you Not super stressful, apart from the dental issues which are no fun. Thanks for the review on Coco. I think I might like that one.

Lady Fi said...

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas! That bark chocolate concoction looks delicious.

Nancy Chan said...

Merry Christmas to you too. My Christmas cactus has not bloom for a long time. Delicious looking chocolate bark.

affectioknit said...

Merry Christmas Penny,
...we came home from Alabama to find our Christmas cactus blooming...yours is pretty...and I'm definitely making your almond bark...I have all the ingredients...
~Have a lovely day!

diane b said...

Christmas bark-never heard of it but it looks and sounds delicious.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Oh, that Christmas bark looks yummy. I may have to try it! I love your Christmas cactus. I had some before we moved, but they were old and not in great shape, so I left them (or someone took them to try and nurse them back to life). I would love to get a new one. I do hope you have a wonderful visit with your family over Christmas. That sounds delightful. Glad you were able to enjoy the concert. Have a blessed and peaceful and joyful Christmas!

Hootin Anni said...

That chocolate bark looks scrumptious and so easy. I'm wondering if zi can use white chocolate only (I can't have chocolate with caffeine). I think I'm gonna try it.

PENNY: I'm here to wish you and your loved ones a very merry holiday season!

Joyful said...

Hi Anni, yes you can use white chocolate only. It just means you do not swirl them together. I too wish you and your loved one a very Merry Christmas.

Joyful said...

A very Merry Christmas to you too Pamela!

Joyful said...

Merry Christmas Teresa.

Joyful said...

Merry Christmas Nancy. I hope your cactus will surprise you one day.

Joyful said...

Merry Christmas to you too Lady Fi!

Joyful said...

It's cool that one doesn't need a stove for this one :-)

Joyful said...

Thank you Joanne. Merry Christmas.

Joyful said...

It was Diane. In fact I will make more now for the children. Merry Christmas.

Joyful said...

Hi Tom, I think the plant goes dormant now and then. Perhaps it needs fertilizer. It seems some people can manage a tropical plant better than I. I'm glad at least you can enjoy the beauty of your friend's cactus. Merry Christmas.

Joyful said...

Oh Diane, I'm sorry for your troubles. I didn't want a partial because some people just don't tolerate them well and how does one know until you've tried it. But I really had no choice so we will see. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Joyful said...

Yoko, How lovely that you have a Kani Saboten and that it is blooming. They look so lovely don't they? I do look forward to my short journey as I like to do with family for as long as we can do it together. Thank you for telling me about your traditions where you live.

Joyful said...

Hi Eileen, I thank you for your good wishes. I hope you and your husband have a marvellous and safe journey and a very Merry Christmas. I also send you my very best wishes for a fantastic New Year.

shayndel said...

Hi JOyful!! A Merry Christmas to you and beautiful holiday season! May it be a fruitful time and a deepening in the LORD!! and may all the projects and plans you have "blossom" !! Blossom and rejoice! Blessings and Love!! Thank you always for your kindnesses in this year!! Love, Shayndel

❤️

The Liberty Belle said...

Your Christmas bark looks yummy! I like the addition of the cranberries. Thanks for sharing and have a happy Christmas.

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