Doing Life - Over a Cozy Winter Meal!

Winter, warm fires, frost, snow, ice, snowball fights, fun times … Winter.
(Abby, December 2007)

This is how my daughter described winter a year ago. But I’ll take it a step further and add good food and friends and conversation.

It was time to schedule our annual Christmas dinner with our friends. We had a hard time finding a date that worked for both families during the busy holiday weeks. So we opted for a cozy winter night – after the mad rush!

When our friends called and said they’d bring the lamb roast, I couldn’t have been happier. We said “no” to appetizers because of our vast menu – how much should we really eat?

I’ve learned to express my own style in my home, starting with the dinner table

I used what I had and created a cozy, wintery look

Warm boots lined our entry way

Hubs relaxing and reading before company arrives

Caesar Salad, garlicky and fresh

Homemade dinner rolls, hot out of oven

Lamb Roast, cooked to perfection by Ted

Potatoes, sweet Vidalia onions and green beans -the last of our small, tender garden potatoes

Apple Pudding Cake – a winner of a recipe

As our kids have grown to teenagers (how did this happen so quickly?), our conversation around the dinner table is different now. And no longer can we fit all “10” of us around one table. So we now add a table to the end.

Passion is flowing from person to person. Each person tells a story or shares their opinion. Some are louder than others. We parents listen, and interrupt when needed.

We give our input when we feel it’s right.
We lead and we guide.
We talk.

How do we pass our faith on to our children?

What is the mysterious, magical formula? How do we impress their tender hearts to love God more and to make a difference in society? These are questions that we parents have. And we know that our children will make mistakes and that they will fall. We’d be lying to say they haven’t already. We’ve learned to practice grace by helping pick them up and setting them on their feet again.

We talk about small group living – and our two families know small group living starts with our own “family.”

The family is the most powerful discipleship small group ever devised, where spiritual growth happens in a context of relationships, where we “do life together,” and where true authenticity can be found (for better, for worse) every minute of every day.
(Rob Rienow, taken from Ministry Today publication)

One of my goals for 2009 is to “do family” better. I’ve always said that hospitality begins with me. If I do not choose the direction the barometer moves, then our family is floundering!

I also want to thank my faithful readers for your support and encouragement this past year. Even though I may lack extra time to "blog" or comment on your site, I appreciate each and every one of you. I'd love a personal email or comment as to how I can encourage you more through this blog in 2009!

Until next year – be blessed and

(Are you interested in my easy homemade dinner rolls or apple pudding cake recipe? This is different from my No Peel Apple Cake!)


Sandy Toes said...

YES! I have scrolled up and down looking for that apple recipe...are you sharing! That ceasar salad looks so yummy and fresh!
Happy New Year!
-sandy toes

Homesteader in Training said...

Oh what a most excellent post. I agree with every word whole-heartedly. I love your entertaining ideas and your heart on the matter of family time. I wish more people had your heart of hospitality.
Keep up the good work. I wouldn't change a thing.

Lora said...

YES!! Please share those yummy-looking recipes:)

I really enjoyed this post! I love what you said about small group living begins with our family--so true!

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am interested in any recipe you want to share! That apple pudding cake looks wonderful.

Lisa said...

Yes, I'd love the recipes!! Thanks for being such an exhorter in homemaking!
Lisa in WA

Melanie said...

Sandy, You continue to inspire me that hospitality begins with my own family. That is my goal for this year...to love my family more by being a gracious hostess to those living under my own roof...and then extending that to others!
I would love to have the apple and roll recipe. Please post them ~ I'll check back!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

At my daughter's wedding reception, both she and her new hubby gave a speech to honor their parents.

In her speech to us, she thanked us for the love of books and learning... and for "all those conversations at the dinner table".

And all I thought I was doing was reading and eating. :)

Life At Camellia Cottage said...

Oh yes, I would love to have those recipes! That cake looked delicious, and I could almost smell those rolls from here! Becky .

Carmen said...

As always, everything looked delicious and beautiful.

Happy New Year!

~j~ said...

I think you have already laid the best foundation possible for doing family well and that is the dinner table... seriously one of the most important relationship builders with your children ever!
and yes the recipe please :)

Jen said...

How to encourage me through winter would be fantastic. I dont get out as much with the cold air. Finding things to do around my home to entertain myself and others would be awesome...Happy new Year friend!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that meal looks amazing! I had to laugh at the comment you made on my blog (regarding depression and diet). As I was reading it, I was eating commerically processed peanut butter and crackers for lunch! LOL

Mod Girl said...

Share the recipes... and keep up your encouragement by simply being your transparent self, showing us how you do it!

Momma Roar said...

Oh, everytime I stop by here, I want to have people over...but then something stops me...perhaps the dust I see..LOL!!!

We are thinking we might be able to host my family for Easter - so YES, please POST recipes!!!

For several years, it is has been my new year's resolution to host more company. Do you have any posts as to how you did that with little ones? Mine are 6, 4 and 2. Typically, we have friends over with children the same ages, but it still feels overwhelming at times. I hope this is the post to get that resolution into gear!

Sabrina said...

Yes, I would love the recipe for easy home-made rolls.

I love your site. You have inspired me to have people over. Even though my house is not perfect and it scares me to death.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

ellen b. said...

Oh we are lamb lovers over here so that meal looks exceptionally yummy to me :0)
A very Happy New Year to you and yours!!

Moxie said...

YES! We are interested in the recipes!!! Happy New Year to you and yours :)

Ms. Tee said...

Everything looks soooo good and so cozy. ;) I hope you have a wonderful & blessed 2009!

Betts said...

EASY homemade dinner rolls? You bet I want that recipe. Happy New Year to you and your family. I look forward to seeing your on your blog and mine in 2009.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Oh My! Everything looks so yummy! Happy New Year to you and your family.

Rhonda said...

Sandy - Thank you for continually inspiring me.

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

Oh Sandy!

Do you live around the corner from me? I would love to hang out with you and your family. I love your simple, elegant, and carefree heart.

I love your "Ten Commandments"!

I have really enjoyed visiting your blog and I am so glad you stopped by mine.


Elizabeth G. said...

I feel like I haven't thanked you enough for all the help you have given me this year, including the post you did on getting out of the "doldrums" with homemaking. I have gained so much by coming here. I can't wait to see what the New Year will bring...

Gosh, you can post about anything and I will be uplifted.

Thanks, friend!

God bless,

Grace said...

hello, apple pudding cake. :)
and if i'm being honest, i don't think frost, snow, and ice should be in the same list as fun times. :)
happy new year, sandy!

Christine said...

You are so special, and this corner of the web is so encouraging. I pray for you and your family a new year filled with all the good God can bring.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Every time I read your posts, I just want to put passionate exclamation points on every line. You have hit the nail on the head with doing life and family together. We have strategically started a 200 year generational plan for our extended family...a big phrase to say that we are being intentional to pass on this legacy to our children and childrens' children.
Looking forward to creating lasting legacies together through this surreal world of blogging. :)

Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall said...

I agree, it starts with the family. Looks like you all had a great night.

Do hope you share that yummy looking apple pudding recipe?!?!?!

Robin said...

Your blog is ALWAYS such an inspiration. I enjoy rading it so very much!! I look forward to much more encouragement in 2009.

Happy New Year!

Beverly said...

Please share the recipes! Everything looks so good even the Ceasar salad! Hope you and your family have a blessed 2009.

Susie said...

What a beautiful meal. My mouth is watering as I just showed my husband the pictures. I've talked him into making a meal for me tonight that looks and tastes as good as yours. He loves a challenge.

Thanks for everything you do to encourage and support all of us out here. I wouldn't change a thing.

Lovella said...

I believe with all my heart. . that the reason our family worked well during those teen years, was because we ate family dinner every day. . together. . without the TV on. God was so good to bless us with this wisdom for we never purposed to think it was a brilliant idea. . it is what we did. We also had another family that we were very close too. . .and had many family dinners with them. . .
You do such an excellent job of showing your kids and your blog friends how to do family .. keep up the great work.

Nathalie Thompson said...

OhMyGosh, you are so right about being the barometer in the family. Thank you for that-- I could use that resolution too! I just now realized that I've been on the computer too long and need to clean off the dining room table for our own fancy supper tonight!

Kirstin said...

I am always interested in your recipes. Oh my, if someone offered to bring lamb roast to my house, I'd be in heaven!!! I was eyeing the lamb at Costco the other day. If I wasn't having so many people over at Christmas I was going to buy one!

As always, your posts are so inspiring. I truly want to get better at making a beautiful table. It's not something my mom every really did and not something I picked up anywhere, so I never bothered, but yours look so pretty.

Kim said...

Beautiful table and meal...what wonderful memories! May God bless you in this new year!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for inspiring me to welcome more folks into our home. I endeavor to have more opportunities to entertain in 2009. Please continue to blog when you can, each one is a treasure.
Lynne in NC

Jennifer said...

I'm always in awe of people who are good at entertaining and decorating. I'm challenged in this area. I look forward to checking in often to see what more I can learn.

God Bless!

Donnetta (momrn2) said...

I was reflecting on similar thoughts just this morning. Moving forward even more consciously during this next year instilling the things of true value in and with my family.

And I hope you know... I always find your place here a source of inspiration, encouragement and warmth!

Happy Beginning to 2009 dear friend!

Rebekah said...

I share your goal to "do family better". It's so easy to get caught up in surviving and making it through chaotic days that wonderful opportunities and moments can be overlooked. I love this post and the pictures as usual. Thank you for sharing!

Happy New Year!!!!

Rhonda said...

I love homemade dinner rolls! Were they difficult to make?

laurel said...

The food in this post looked soooooo good!! Please post the dinner rolls recipe! I enjoyed this post a lot. Happy New Year!

LuLu said...

Lovely evening with friends. I sure wish more of that happened between good friends and family's. You have inspired me to start with myself and my own family to have more cozy meals... the busy life of schedules needs to change for 09.
thanks and happy new year,

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Just lovely! Here's wishing you a Blessed New Year and 2009! :)

a woman who is said...

We talk about small group living – and our two families know small group living starts with our own “family.”

I have found this piece of wisdom to be so true. Our children as they have grown up seemed to have "caught" more by example of lifestyle than what has been "taught" by lectures. I am positive that your children will some day be sitting around their family tables entertaining and exploring real relationships as you have so wonderfully demonstrated this to them.

I would like to take this time to thank you for demonstrating your faith and lifestyle to all of us in blog land. It has been a worthy endevor and many have been encouraged and blessed by your blog.

I am sure what ever you choose to do next will be a blessing to others!

What ever you choose to do in the future I am sure will be wonderful too!

Mommy's Kitchen said...

all that food looks wonderful. Are you going to post the dinner roll and apple pudding cake recipe. They both looks divine.

Miss G said...

I have green sorbet dishes like those! :) Kelly