December 24 and 25, 2012 – Pilat Eve, Hannukah, Christmas

Being a very ecumenical household, we glom our celebrations together taking in everyone’s favorite way of celebrating. Pilat Eve is always an event that we all look forward to. At Pilat Eve the emphasis is on tasty hors d’oeuvres, potato latke making, opening presents and having fun.

John gets things rolling by setting up his frying station on the back patio. His latkes are really delicious. And Nathan has provided a new menorah for this year made from his December Kiwi Crate.

John at his latke fry station

John at his latke fry station


Mmmm, latkes!

Mmmm, latkes!


Nathan's Kiwi Crate menorah

Nathan’s Kiwi Crate menorah

Of course the buffet table is laden with all sorts of holiday treats. This year we have chicken liver mousse, bean and cheese dip, meatballs, dukkah, cookies and more!

Ryan and Jon at the buffet table

Ryan and Jon at the buffet table

Now it is time to open presents. We exchange gifts on Pilat Eve with Jon and his family. On Christmas morning John, Sarah and I open presents.

Nathan and Sam open presents

Nathan and Sam open presents


Jon opening a present

Jon opening a present


More presents!

More presents!


Sam seems pleased

Sam seems pleased


On Christmas morning we have our traditional breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, capers, onions, and lox. This year John, Sarah and I recall our great trip to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic by including a breakfast beer from the Schneider Brewery in Munich. Hmm, I think the beer may be a perfect addition to our traditional Christmas breakfast.
Traditional Christmas breakfast

Traditional Christmas breakfast


Later we go to Jonathan’s for Christmas dinner. He and Ryan have prepared a feast which includes a standing rib roast and all the trimmings. It is really good! After a really exciting day, John reads Vader and Son to Nathan and Sam. Sarah has given the book to the boys for Christmas and it is a real hit.
Zayde, Nathan and Sam enjoy a quiet read

Zayde, Nathan and Sam enjoy a quiet read

December 13, 2012 – The Birthdays!

Now that we are home from Florida, we can get to the real task of celebrating the birthdays. The first time George and I had a joint birthday celebration was when I was 29 and he was 34. That’s a span of some 35 years. Of course, we have had some breaks when he and Karen moved to California and it took us 12 years to come to our senses and move to California too!

Today we start the day with wine tasting at Stone Edge Farm Winery. Our old friend and winery manager, Phillipe who used to work at Chateau St. Jean, is there to show us the property and give us a private tasting.

Stone Edge Farm Winery's vines in their winter garb

Stone Edge Farm Winery’s vines in their winter garb

At Stone Edge Farm Winery with George, Karen and John

At Stone Edge Farm Winery with George, Karen and John

Karen, George and me with Phillipe

Karen, George and me with Phillipe

Phillipe leads us around the vineyard discussing their various cultivars and his hopes for the winery. We stop before an old barn and are ushered inside to a lovely tasting room. The wines we sample with Phillipe are stupendous! And there is a platter of tasty snacks to eat. One new hors d’oeuvre to try is dukkah, a middle eastern spice mix that is served with bread dipped in oil. Yum!

In the tasting room with Phillipe

In the tasting room with Phillipe


We enjoy the tasty treats that Stone Edge Farm Winery has supplied

We enjoy the tasty treats that Stone Edge Farm Winery has supplied

After lunch at La Salette in Sonoma, we head off to do a little more tasting and end up in Yountville where we have dinner at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega. It is a fine birthday celebration this year and I look forward to many more.

John, George, Mary and Karen at Bottega

John, George, Mary and Karen at Bottega

John and George peruse the wine list

John and George peruse the wine list

Happy Birthdays to us!

Happy Birthdays to us!

December 8, 2012 Mike and Becca’s Wedding (and my birthday)

Our nephew, Mike, held his wedding to Becca on my birthday thus disturbing our time honored tradition of celerating “The Birthdays” with George. But it was a good disruption and George and I managed our celebration albeit a little late.

First order of business - celebrate my birthday l. to r. Phyllis, Peggy, Mary, Andy and Gary with Lacey the dog

First order of business – celebrate my birthday l. to r. Phyllis, Peggy, Mary, Andy and Gary with Lacey the dog

Andy, Mike and Becca at the rehearsal dinner

Andy, Mike and Becca at the rehearsal dinner

Peggy with Andy and Mike on the day of the wedding

Peggy with Andy and Mike on the day of the wedding

Mary with Andy and Mike

Mary with Andy and Mike

Phyllis with Andy and Mike

Phyllis with Andy and Mike

Mary, Peggy and Phyllis

Mary, Peggy and Phyllis

The White Family

The White Family

While we waited for the wedding to get started we took some pictures of each other. John and Mary

While we waited for the wedding to get started we took some pictures of each other. John and Mary

Peggy and Ted

Peggy and Ted

Mike and best man, Andy, await the bride

Mike and best man, Andy, await the bride

Becca being escorted down the aisle by her dad, Ben

Becca being escorted down the aisle by her dad, Ben

Becca exchanges vows with Mike

Becca exchanges vows with Mike

The new Mr. and Mrs. Michael White!

The new Mr. and Mrs. Michael White!

The wedding cake

The wedding cake

Phyllis and Gary toast the happy couple

Phyllis and Gary toast the happy couple

Andy looks happy

Andy looks happy

Becca and Mike dance

Becca and Mike dance

We wish Becca and Mike much happiness and success in their marriage.

We wish Becca and Mike much happiness and success in their marriage.

November 22, 2012 Thanksgiving

I am way, way behind in my posting. It’s January and I haven’t done a thing since our trip to Spain and Portugal in the fall. So I shall do my best to catch up starting with Thanksgiving.

I made two of these arrangements for the table.

I made two of these arrangements for the table.

Dining room table waiting for participants

Dining room table waiting for participants

These are roasted creamed onions. Our dinner consisted of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, the roasted creamed onions, death by broccoli, chipotle sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, various pies and Indian pudding.

These are roasted creamed onions. Our dinner consisted of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, death by broccoli, chipotle sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, various pies and Indian pudding.


Our yearly Thanksgiving photo.  Left to right -  Jonathan, Sam, Ryan, Leigh Henderson, Mary and Nathan, John, Sarah, John Henderson and Rose Henderson

Our yearly Thanksgiving photo. Left to right – Jonathan, Sam, Ryan, Leigh Henderson, Mary and Nathan, John, Sarah, John Henderson and Rose Henderson


A good time was had by all.  Sam started a little early on the after Thanksgiving meal nap.

A good time was had by all. Sam started a little early on the after Thanksgiving meal nap.

As much as we love this menu, we’ve decided to lighten it up for next year. There is way too much butter and cream in the current rendition.