30 December 2008

Hanukkah – Cote de Texas Style

 

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Ready and waiting for the overcooked beef tender and soggy potato latkes!

 

I promised I would show the pictures from my family Hanukkah party this year.    Unlike my husband’s Webb Family Christmas which means 3 to 4 gifts for everyone, the Cohen Family Hanukkah party is more subdued, thankfully!!!!!    The adults all pick names on Thanksgiving, with a limit around $50 to $100 per gift, but you can go over or under if you find just the right thing.  The grandchildren each get a present from all the adults.    I have tried to institute picking names in the Webb Family, and one year we did do it, except Ben’s mother cheated and bought presents for everyone!   So, we went back to not picking names.  With the economy getting so scary, I think picking names is a wonderful way to keep the holiday season manageable, so maybe in 2009 we’ll try it again at the Webb Family Christmas.  

For the Cohen Family’s Hanukkah, we served beef tender, potato latkes, salad, and green beans.   Dessert was a tiramisu picked up from Carrabba’s.   Unfortunately, the beef tender was a disaster this year, as it was totally overcooked!   I like my meat well done, but beef tender is NOT supposed to be that way.  Sorry guys, next year it will be better!   Latkes are a universal problem for Jews everywhere.   They only really taste delicious when someone stands over the stove and fries them right before they are eaten.    Of course, then your house stinks like stale grease for about a week – it’s awful!!!   Plus, its hugely labor intensive, someone has to peel and prepare enough potatoes to feed a small army  and then the cook might as well not even be at the party – she’s just busy frying at the hot stove.   So -----  a lot of people make their latkes early, or pick them up from a deli, and then heat them up.   Unfortunately, ours were not really crispy this year.    Oh well, the point of any holiday is getting together with family and having fun, but still, you do want the food to be good.   Each year is a learning experience for me as I am not the best of cooks.  And, I promise to get new baking sheets and have them ready to go next year.  (Don’t ask!)    I serve buffet style off the kitchen table where there is plenty of room to spread everything out.

 

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The only preparation in the living room were fresh flowers and a few lit candles.   I used peach roses and white tulips in this room.  I love my reflection in the mirror – still in my sweats!

 

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The “adult” table.

 

At the “adult” table – I used pink roses to match my china.   Since I have an oval skirted table in my dining room, I really can’t fit a lot of people at the table, so I put out a couple of extra tables around the house.  This year we were missing a few people – so I only needed two tables.  Actually  - this is a perfect time to discuss skirted tables and dinner parties!   Underneath the white linen table cloth is my silk yellow skirt that I use daily.   But, in order to protect it against food and water spills,  when entertaining,  I first cover it with a plastic waterproof, table liner with a felt backing.   These can be bought at places like Bed Bath and Beyond.   You just cut them with scissors to fit the table.  Over this, I then place the white table cloth – or any other festive cloth for the occasion.  This way – if someone spills a glass of wine, I don’t have to worry about my “real” table skirt being damaged.  Whenever I have a client that wants to use a skirted table in the dining room, we go over this procedure in detail.  It’s a “must”  - skirted table cloths are not made to be eaten off!!   (Alyse – are you taking notes?)

 

 

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Pink roses, wooden dreidels and chocolate gelt.

 

On the tables I spread chocolate coins or gelt, a Hanukkah tradition for the kids.   Also, I put out a handful of little wooden dreidels for some holiday spirit.    There is one interesting tidbit about my china.   When I got married, I chose the same china that my mother, my two aunts and my sister all had!   This way, in our family, we have a huge set of place settings in one pattern.   As long as you all like the same pattern – it’s a great way to accumulate a large set of china – in case you ever have the Russian Army for a dinner party.   It’s hard to see in this picture, but the rim of the china is a celadon green color, so I used fun green colored wine glasses and put the napkins in the bubble water glasses (before the water was poured, of course – I’m not quite that inept.)

 

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The “kids” table.

 

The “kids” table is right across from the dining room – I actually used my wine table that is usually here and my breakfast room chairs.  The table is set exactly the same as the “adult” table.    I do have several  round office conference tables that I store in my infamous garage that seat 8 or 10 for when the crowd is bigger.  The wine table is a little wobbly, but it was the perfect size to use this time.   This year the party was a little early – set for 5:00 p.m. because we have a new baby in the family!!!

 

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AWWWWW, here she is, my great niece – Laine !!!   Can you help but smile?   She’s six months old and she arrived in her new pink coat and hat that was a gift from her great grandmother, my mother.   Isn’t she just the cutest thing!!!!  The other cute thing in the picture is her uncle, my nephew, Jeffrey.   Still available, ladies!

 

 

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Laine’s father, my nephew Philip, and her great grandmother, Nana, get ready for Laine’s first Hanukkah.

 

 

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Here we go! 

Usually, the youngest in the family says the prayers in Hebrew and English and then lights the menorah, but since Laine didn’t know the prayers and my daughter was away for her BBYO Regional Convention, the prayer lighting fell to Philip.   That’s my mother and father and my nephew Jeffrey, on the right, who doesn’t look too happy here for some reason -  I think he just anxious for his present!!!!

 

 

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Everyone got Laine a present, of course.   Philip is smiling because he’s glad he won’t have to buy her anything new for a while.  That’s my sister Cathy, the new grandmother, and Allison, Laine’s mom. 

 

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Watching Laine open her gifts – the three biggest UT Football fans in the world:   Ben, my brother in law Robert, and Jeffrey, still waiting for gifts!!!

 

 

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Ben, Elisabeth and I gave Laine this rocker toy.  I think she really liked it.   I thought it would look cute in her nursery – always worried about design.

 

 

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She really liked it!!!   In case you like it too, I ordered it online from a Dallas store – www.roomservicebyannfox.com.

 

We had our party on the first night of Hanukkah.   For the next 7 nights, we lit the menorah ourselves while Elisabeth was gone and then with her when she came back.    It’s really pretty on the 8th night, when all the candles are lit, but it’s always a little sad that it’s over for another year.  Sunday was the final night.    I’m sure it’s the same feeling at your house the day after Christmas when it’s all over after all the planning and decorating and cooking.    We spend Christmas at my sister in law’s ranch and it is such fun, but it all goes by so fast.   There is always lots of laughs and great food – so much food that we all need to go on a diet by New Years.     Every Christmas Eve, they have a dinner party for the family.   My sister-in-law, her sister and their mother put on quite a feast.  Here’s a peek at her table this year:

 

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 My sister-in-law’s dining room is part of a big living area – so she can have a large table with all the leaves in place – something I would really like one day.  Everyone fits around one table, even all the children, which is so nice.  

 

 

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Holding the flowers is a large silver epergne – something you get for a wedding gift and then put away, which is a shame because epergnes are so beautiful and make such wonderful centerpieces!!  Also, she put out three sets of mercury glass candleholders with gold candles and lots of holly and pomegranates.

 

 

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Each place setting was marked with a gold charger, and the napkin rings were made of velvet roses.  She used red crystal stemware and her Christmas china.  She served beef tender which was properly cooked, and yes, I took a lesson from her!!  There was also a to-die-for cornbread casserole type dish that was out of this world.    But the best thing of all was a coconut cream cake that her sister’s husband baked.  We finished it all off, it was so delicious.  There was plenty of beef tender left over, so it made great sandwiches for a few days.   One thing I know – I’ll eat really great when I go to the country for the Webb Christmas.

 

A few of you have asked to see pictures of the KW Ranch.  If you are interested in seeing the ranch,  I wrote about it last year.  Follow the link HERE to see those pictures.   I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza!!    We’re looking forward to the New Year and the UT Bowl game, go Horns!!!!!

70 comments:

  1. I am up late. Everything looks nice. Everyone seems so happy. You do a great job at this.

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  2. I really like the kids table, lol... And the adult table was so charming, the chine is soooo pretty!
    Really cozy home and really sweet family traditions!
    ¡Feliz Navidad!

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  3. What a wonderful look into the house. Even with the meal problems, everything is so beautiful and immaculately put together.
    Since it was just 4 of us for Chanukah dinner it was very simple at the house, though I did put out some beautiful flowers.
    alyce

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  4. It looks like you really are blessed with a lovely family and the table settings looks really wonderful. And of course, Laine is so cute:)

    Just dropping by to wish you a Happy and Prosperous NEw Year!

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  5. Karen at Junking in GeorgiaDecember 30, 2008 at 6:44 AM

    such a cutie pie that Laine thanks for sharing your holiday... I enjoy your blog Happy New Year!

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  6. Minton Haddon Hall! I have that china too, beacause my Mother in Law had it and I fell in love with it!!!
    Your house looks so beautiful.

    Laine is adorable! Love the lamb rocker you got her.

    happy New Year
    -Linda, NY

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  7. Joni, Joni, Joni, OMG...I thought those were pictures from a magazine...what a beautiful place you have created to gather with family...best to you in the new year :)

    Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Great pictures of your really beautiful tables! I particularly love the faux bois candlesticks with birds. Thank you for sharing your beautiful holiday pictures with all of us.

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  9. Beautiful home....gorgeous table.... and wonderful family!

    Thanks for sharing it all with us!

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  10. So much for us to look at! Your home is gorgeous! Kids at the "white" table? Brave woman!! Your SIL's house at Christmas Eve...looks very beautiful too! Wishing you a happy New Year! ~Cheryl

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  11. Thank you for sharing your special family time with all of us. As usual, Joni you get an A+++!!!! Everything was picture perfect!!!!!

    And, that sweet baby Laine...... PRECIOUS!!!!! (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that sweet rocker!!!!!)

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  12. Joni, I just can't get enough of your home! I truly love it! And I'm in lust with all of your blue and white pieces. Thanks for sharing all of these pics and the ones of your SIL's house, too. :-)

    And your little niece! What a darling baby girl! She's so plump and precious. :-) I really like that lamb you got for her, too, and I loved seeing all the rest of the family lighting the Mennorah and celebrating Hanukkah. Fine looking group you have there, but that's no surprise to me! :-)

    I read about the ranch, and that's fascinating about your SIL's dad being a portrait artist. My husband has two listed artists in his family, and we love portraits and have several. We'll have to swap stories. :-)

    I am so happy you posted all of this for us. I'm sure your beef was fine, AND I love potato latkes. I have something I recently bought at the health food store that is a latke type thing... one with spinach and one with broccoli... which are actually quite good. I was in there trying to eat right (since I've been eating wrong for over a month now) and found these. You broil them in the oven. I serve them with country dijon mustard.

    Enough of that... I could chat all day. Thank you for sharing. I loved it all!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  13. P.S. I am a nut about those table protectors, and they really can SAVE you!

    Sheila

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  14. Joni - it all looks gorgeous, of course. I worked for a man once who pulled me aside after a meeting. I had started off, "I'm sorry, this isn't exactly...and went downhill from there." He told me - never tip your hand - wait until they notice. Stop on the tenderloin already! Looks like a great family evening. Looks like no one cried or threw up - that's success in my book.

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  15. Your home is just so beautiful, so warm and inviting. I love that mirror in your living room. The reflection looks so antique.

    The tablescapes are to die for. One can learn a lesson from these photos. Oh....look at the sideboard at your sister-in-laws! The epergne is so perfect, elevating the large floral display high enough to allow conversation at the table.

    Thanks so much for the Christmas/Hanukkah tour.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

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  16. Your table looks beautiful! I have a few pieces of that same china!! I always thought it was really fun and pretty :-)

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  17. Just perfect Joni. I never noticed before that your coffee table is so high. I really love that. Is that a signature look for you?

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  18. All just beautiful, Joni! Your SIL's table is just stunning, as is your home. And that niece of yours is adorable, what a cutie.

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  19. What a gorgeous holiday at your home. Thank you for sharing!

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  20. Oh just love that slice of your family life! Love your silver hotel covered dome . All your windows are so gorgeous, and your flowers...so simple but perfect! Your whole home is so meticulous...(my crew wouldn't last a day in it.)Just lovely! And...that little lamb on her little lamb is just adorable!!!

    Took the tour of your SIL's ranch...how FUN!

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  21. I loved reading about your family traditions and seeing all the beautiful rooms. Thanks for sharing! I am in love with your slip covers for the chairs used at the children's table, and I would love to have the bottom part (my chairs are too different for the top part) in my own house. Did you have them made? Could you please give me a little information? Thanks, Connie

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  22. Joni- thank you for the info on the tablecloth. A great idea!
    The photos are beautiful! You did a wonderful job! It is so true the small stuff doesn't matter as long as you have family around you.
    Enjoy your day!

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  23. Joni, your house looks lovely. It's fun getting a glimpse into other bloggers' lives and families. Jeffrey and Philip look just alike! And that Laine is adorable.

    I love Ann Fox's decorating and her store. She's really branched out with her online business.

    Happy New Year!

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  24. Joni, oh my, I love it all. Your home is so gorgeous, and filled with much love and tradition. I need to take time to look at the Ranch also. The family pictures,especially little precious are adorable!

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  25. What gorgeous tables! Love all of the soft candlelight -- and the pretty china! And yes! I usually have an inconsistent track record for cooking and baking! LOL! Always a surprise -- and a lesson!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  26. I love your table settings it looks lovely. And that niece of yours, what a doll!

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  27. love it and aspire to it. i have a 3 yeard old and 6 yeard old, so our hanukkah party is crazy and has 50 kids tearing up the house. and, i have the latkes catered.

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  28. Beautiful Joni, and while I was reading parts of this to Scott, he was nodding and laughing at all of the Jewish references - Latke especially! LOL! Happy New Year!

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  29. What a nice post about a wonderful family, and a wonderful family tradition!

    It makes me a bit ashamed about my table settings this year, but we did not entertain at all during the holidays. We usually have at least one party or family event. Maybe next year!

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  30. Love all your post & pictures!

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  31. Thanks for sharing your Chanukah celebration. You have a beautiful home filled with lovely items.

    Laine is just a cutie on her darling sheep rocker.

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  32. Joni- Your Hanukkah party and your home, looked absolutely perfect. My Mom used to make potato latkes... hearing of them again has me yearning! I loved seeing and reading the recap of your traditions.

    Happy, Happy New Year!

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  33. Thanks for sharing your family and traditons with us. I love the living room...especially the lovely daybed...is it French? I have a beautiful Swedish Rococo table in my shop that is similar to yours in the photo. It is a perfect height for serving tea.

    Happy New Year!

    Tricia
    Avolli

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  34. I found it striking to compare your Hanukkah table with your xmas table scape. Also, it sounded like your meal wasn't so good. At the least you were not into it. Our Hanukkah meal is always wonderful. Maybe you should start with some new recipes. Lastly you were always saying your husband was waiting for his present. He just plain looks bored. Hanukkah just doesn't seem to be your thing. Why blog about it?

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  35. You've taken my breath away AGAIN


    ....tell me again how you format your photos so large....you told me but I've forgotten.

    Be blessed

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  36. W-O-W!
    Your house is lovely and that little girl is GORGEOUS!!! I love your big photos and being able to see everything. I think that cream hutch with all the cubbies is fab!
    And wow again, is that Anonymous commenter a family member giving you a hard time to be funny? I sure hope so!

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  37. p.s. anonymous is just a little testy, eh.....It IS your blog and you can do whatever you want, right

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  38. Joni - your house looks so beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
    -Lana

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  39. Joni, Your tables are stunning. Love your china pattern and what a great idea to have the same pattern in the family. I feel your pain with the cooking. That's just never been my strong suit either, although I keep trying and sometimes enjoy it when not rushed with a lot of company coming. Unfortunately, I had the stinky grease thing going on at my house this year and my husband opened the dining room window and even went and got a box fan to put in the open window to get the smoke out. It is rather funny to think about it now after I got over the horror of it at time. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful famly home and the ranch during Hanukkah and Christmas. Laine is adorable. We had a new baby in our family this year too. The holidays are even more special with those precious arrivals. Now where is that kitchen of yours, missy?

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  40. Joni-Loved your holiday decor. So much better than all that tacky christmas stuff that is shoved down our throats. You've inspired me to change my traditional decorating next year to one that is just pretty instead of predictable. Kinda wish I was Jewish!

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  41. Love what you do ! Perfection-!
    Thanks for the Lovely Post-!!

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  42. Thanks so much Joni. Beautiful tables!

    I loved hearing how you celebrate Hanukkah.

    Laine is a cutie pie!

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  43. Joni, your home looked so warm and elegant. Looks like a wonderful celebration! Your great niece is a doll- all that hair!

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  44. What a beautiful Hanukkah!
    The latke situation is what binds us together as a community! I think I have finally solved the problem after years of being the woman who stood over the frying pan only to find no latkes left for me when I went to sit down at the table. My friend introduced me to "Linda's Latkes". I don't know if they have them in Texas, but they are the best frozen latkes I have ever had. They come out of the oven crispy, and I don't need to live with a layer of grease all over my kitchen and me!
    If you can't find them next year let me know and I'll fedex them to you!

    xo
    Brooke

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  45. Wow!! What do you do for the High Holy Days? To be a good wife I need to say Go Bucks!!

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  46. Hi Joni:

    Thank you for sharing! It's nice to read about your holidays and to see your family and of course your beautiful tables! Happy New Year!

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  47. Joni, it all looks so beautiful I wish I were Jewish and part of your family!! And don't be so hard on yourself about the food - I doubt anyone but you really noticed it wasn't absolutely perfect. Thanks so much for sharing this part of your life. xo

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  48. Joni,

    well done !!

    just a beautiful post.
    it brings back memories.

    xxx renee

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  49. Beautiful table setting, and I love the idea of the whole family collecting the same china!

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  50. Your home is awesomely beautiful.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

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  51. Your house looks like a sad and contrived nightmare. I feel sorry for your husband and your family for having to deal with all of that bullshit stuff. The forced and fat feeling of your home reeks of a need to fill some sort void. Your family deserves better than being forced to sit around some shitty skirted table. Stop thinking about it too much...just makes it awkward. Get real.

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  52. I lift my glass to husbands who live in their wifes' home....after all we're not out in the garage designing the workbench....HE gets to do that
    He goes to Home Depot ALONE to buy the things he needs and put them in their proper place on the workbench

    ..most of us were born nesters so dig in and nest, ladies.

    The dynamics are very clear here...your adoring husband choses to curl up in this beautiful nest WITH you.

    I would say you done filled the void!

    Cheers

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  53. wow! such a gorgeous family and lovely flowers.

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  54. Thanks, Joni, my friend, for sharing your wonderful family traditions of celebrating Hanukkah. I just loved it!! Your home is so lovely and warm ....you are a very talented lady!

    I look forward to much more inspiration in 2009 from COTE DE TEXAS!!

    I cannot believe that anon's comments.......that is one sicko!

    All the Best, Joni! xoxo

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  55. Oh my God, I love your house! Thanks so much for your comments on my blog and for adding me to your list - you are on mine!!

    Happy New Year!!

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  56. Ok, Is it just me or does everyone else assume that Anon's house looks like IKEA and that is why she is so miserable?

    How does one get that cranky over a DESIGN BLOG???

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  57. Great to see a picture of Laine, now at 6 months. So cute and happy!! The little pink coat is adorable. Happy New Year!

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  58. This makes me want to do the holidays all over again!! And why don't they make furry little rocking sheep in grown up sizes???

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  59. Such a beautiful family and such a beautiful home! How brilliant you were to select a china pattern that was already in your family, and what a lovely pattern it is. All of those pink roses are wonderful. Such an elegant look. laurie

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  60. Hi Joni
    Thanks for sharing your celebration with us. I feel like I was there with you. Your house and your family looks lovely and the peach roses and white tulips are so beautiful.

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  61. Lovely post, Joni. Thanks for sharing your home and holiday with us. Happy New Year to you and yours. (Can't wait to see what you have to show us in 2009!)

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  62. I just wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year!

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  63. Laine is sooo adorable. I can't stop smiling when I look at her in the pink coat and hat and the last photo of her on the rocking sheep. As for your home and table, fabulous! The kids table is terrific. You made them feel extra special. The sister in-laws table is elegant. I especially love the centerpiece. Thank you for sharing Joni. Happy New Year.

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  64. LOVE-LOVE-LOVE the pink/green ensemble on Laine!! Oh yeah- your tables looked beautiful and your hard work paid off! Thanks for sharing--- Lisa

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  65. Love the post! Gooooo Longhorns! We drove to Santa Fe for New Years and are making the trekk to the UT bowl game in AZ- actually, my boyfriend is meeting friends there and I'm flying home before the game since I'm a "sooner". I can't be seen there! ha ha!

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  66. thanks almost everyone for being so supportive and sweet and nice and loving and I just will never get over your kindness, never!

    First off - to Anon - if you had READ it - you would know that the bored person was my NEPHEW - NOT my husband, who is shown SMILING in the picture!!! I adore my Hanukkah - so don't tell me I don't. I wrote this to APOLOGIZE to my family for the less than wonderful food I served. Is that OK with you??? Cooking is not really my forte - but I try. I really should just erase your comments, but they are soo funny. Filling a void? Yep - that's what people do who like a pretty home - they are filling WHAT void, I wonder? And the only FAT thing about my house is ME!!! Like I said - if you hate me and my blog so much - don't read it. I mean, why waste your time and everyone else's?

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  67. Your home looks so incredibly elegant and the tables were divine. I was glad that the kid's table didn't get the shaft like it so often does. I am sure your family was so overcome by the fabulous setting that you created that they didn't notice that something may have been a bit over cooked. I would like to take a closer look at the sconces that flank the doors in the dining room. Beautiful...

    Also, Fuddy Dud's comment was so rude. I am puzzled...why someone that obviously lacks an interest in aesthetically pleasing things would read a design blog?

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  68. Joni, I am a new follower of your blog and check in regularly. Your family's table is delightfully simple but elegant. I enjoyed seeing into a bit of Texas from Georgia. The best part of the holidays is not only remembering Who blesses us but to be with and enjoy family.

    Have a wonderful New Year.

    Blessings to you.

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  69. Hi Joni,
    I tried to send you an e-mail at the e-mail address shown under your profile, but it bounced back...so here's an abbreviated version :-)

    Didn't know if you knew about Site Meter...it's free:

    http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=home

    Probably won't give you all the info you would like...like how many hits on each individual post, etc...but it does help.

    Susan (betweennapsontheporch@gmail.com)

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