weekending :: welcome, winter

as weekends go, this was one of the jam-packed-in-the-best-of-ways kind of weekends.   it started with a visit from a dear old friend and the beginning of a two week break from work for this mama.  the next day more dear friends (a college roommate and beyond, and her lovely husband) came to town.  we turned Claire's birthday ring into a makeshift menorah and sang a bit, and then we girls (the adult girls) headed to Asheville for the solstice show being put on by the beautiful and amazing Rising Appalachia.  oh my goodness, those ladies are good.  as were their very inspiring opening act, Climbing PoeTree.

the following day we officially greeted winter.  I must say in recent years I am finding it so much easier than I used to to embrace these dark and cold winter days.  I actually quite love them now, while I used to find them dreary and depressing.  whether that is a shift brought on by changes in perspective or surroundings, I'm not sure.   we celebrated the day by making treats for the animals, as usual.  suet and birdseed pinecones and strings of popcorn and cranberries.  we hung the pinecones around the yard and then took some of the strands up into Montreat to hang them on 'Gary's tree' along one of the trails.  it was grey and misty, with just the right mix of bright mossy green thrown in.  it quite reminded me of my new favorite Pandora holiday station- Celtic Christmas.  anyway, the atmosphere felt just right for the solstice.  we got back a bit after sunset and had dinner by candlelight, another makeshift menorah surrounding the candle we used to represent the sun in the center of our nature-inspired solstice centerpiece.  shortly before our hike, the dining room light burned out- which I found quite funny since we'd planned the candlelit dinner anyway.  I like when the timing of things works out like that.

dinner was very festive.  our friend's husband is a composer and is such fun to have around.  (truly, Gilad- you are fast becoming like family!)  Claire can't get enough of it and he happily obliges, playing Nutcracker songs on a terrible old guitar of mine, and following her around playing music according to how she dances.  our 'solstice dinner show' featured papa on the djembe as well and it was a very merry collaboration.  then, out to the fire.

today we headed to Asheville for lunch and dessert in the tastiest of places.  we finally ate at Rhubarb, and I will just go ahead and say I think it is my new favorite restaurant.  wow.  and then we followed that with dessert at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.  Claire chose cranberry ice cream and I had a lavender-honey hot chocolate and then picked up some truffles to go.  they are in a pretty little box and I'm going to put them under the tree of myself.  how's that for restraint?

to top off the festivities, earlier this evening we joined neighbors for what has become an annual Christmas caroling party.  close to twenty of us packed into their small living room and laughed and sang and ate and drank.  Gilad played a few tunes for everyone as well and it seemed a great time was had by all, but most especially by the little ones.   additionally, it was confirmed that I quite adore the song 'Good King Wenceslas'.  and the Greek cookies with orange peel that my neighbor baked.

a very happy solstice/hanukkah/christmas week to you and yours!
*weekending with Karen


  1. Sounds just wonderful! Happy Winter Solstice Amanda. So very happy the blog world brought us together this year :)

    Wishing you and your family the most wonderful holiday week. All the best. xo

    1. and a happy (belated) Solstice to you and yours, Kim!
      oh me too, most definitely me too~


  2. Gorgeous! I love that mossy rock. Sounds like the perfect melding of holiday festivities.

    1. we had a lot of fun, for sure.
      I can never pass up a bright patch of moss, but most especially on a grey and misty day.

  3. I love the dark days and the approach of the winter solstice, I get a little sad knowing each day is longer. But I'm the odd one out! Happy birthday to your little girl and my oh my what a great weekend celebration!!

    1. oh Karen, I felt the exact same way this year! I've so been enjoying my little hibernation of sorts. I find I crave winter's darkness and quiet more as I age.

      Claire will have a birthday soon- she will be five in January! we dug out the birthday circle so that we could make a menorah to celebrate with our friend that was visiting :)

  4. so... much... goodness. LOVE it ALL.


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~