Peace Love Joy

Our first Christmas tree was actually a little” Charlie Brown” tree. The year was 1979 and we were living on a tight budget as newlyweds. Looking around the Christmas tree lot on that cold night in Iowa we realized we couldn’t afford any of them! As we were leaving hubby Tom spotted this little tree sticking out from under the trailer on the Christmas tree lot. He asked the guy how much and the reply was “Oh, you don’t want that, the trunk is bent!” Actually we did. It took a little convincing but finally the guy realized we were serious and on a budget! After trimming off a good portion of the crooked trunk he charged us a mere $4 and sent us happily on our way.

We proudly took our first Christmas tree home. We didn’t have a tree stand so we improvised with an empty coffee can on top of a little bamboo stool and draped it with some red felt in place of a tree skirt. I bought some ribbon and made little bows and strung some popcorn. Hubby Tom surprised me with a beautiful Hallmark angel ornament. If you look closely you can see the little angel is hanging about center on the right side.

Thus a tradition was born, as this angel ornament has taken center stage on our Christmas tree every year since. I loved it then and thirty two years later it still brings me joy when I carefully unwrap it and hang it on our tree. It takes us back to that first tree and the start of our lives together. Since then we have moved on to bigger trees, more ornaments and a beautiful tree skirt but that first Christmas tree will always be one of our favorites.

Nutmeg Notes

On Thursday as I was cleaning house I decided to purge my old Cooking Light and Clean Eating magazines. A 13 gallon waste basket was filled to overflowing! Things went wrong when I attempted to move it out to the trash by myself. What was I thinking?

Friday morning when I got up I had some serious lower-back pain going on, but I pushed it out of my mind as I had a few things that needed to be taken care of. After running errands in the morning with Katy I came home to get ready for a girls’ lunch out with a few of my friends. As I got up from the bar stool at my kitchen island my back seized up and I couldn’t move! Thank goodness my cell phone was right there and I texted my friends that I wouldn’t make it to lunch.

I will admit that I experienced a moment of panic since I was home alone and not sure what to do next. I seemed to be frozen in an upright position. After 10 to 15 minutes I was able to move around the kitchen and eventually made my way to the family room. I spent the rest of the afternoon in a chair with an ice pack – aka a bag of frozen peas!

I have never experienced back pain like this. Today I feel about the same as yesterday. A restless night didn’t help. Needless to say, my holiday weekend isn’t going as I had planned. Thank goodness I made two kinds of soup on Thursday- one new recipe and a batch of Brazilian Ham & Black Bean Soup as well as Mexican Shredded Chicken in the slow cooker. We have enjoyed the ease of heat and eat meals! 🙂

Hopefully tomorrow I will be recovered enough to make our traditional Christmas morning breakfast. If not, it will be a learning, growing experience for the family to learn how to make aebelskivers – Danish pancakes!

Thank you for visiting my blog and supporting me with your comments and emails this past year. Without you, the reader, there wouldn’t be any point in posting.

Wishing you much Peace, Love, and Joy this holiday season.


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  1. Sharon says:

    Your Christmas tree story is my favorite holiday story of the year!! Most likely because it brings back such memories of my own. We married in 1977 and experienced many of the same things. I have a similar picture of me in front of our first tree and the similarities are hilarious. We are dressed much the same, our hair is the same and i LOVE the TV in the background cause it looks just like the one we had!!

    Merry Christmas to you and all your family! Looking forward to many more recipes in 2012!

    And BTW, saying many prayers for your back. I know it would break your heart to be incapacitated today.

    1. Tami says:

      Sharon how fun that we have similar photos from our early years of marriage. I love it! We only had that little black and white tv for a couple years in fact. It is so much fun to take a look back and remember those good times.

      Hope your holidays were lovely.

  2. Carol says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS to you & your family Tami! Love your Christmas tradition with the beautiful angel.
    We were married in 1966 and our first tree was so tiny we could hardly see it.

    So very sorry to hear about your back. I can sure relate to that kind of pain. hope it is much better this morning. When you were at the Cafe you asked about heat or ice for treating…my chiropractor told me if it was a burning pain, use ice to calm the inflammation otherwise use heat. When in doubt, use both alternately. Sure helped my back problems. I also lather on Bio-freeze.

    We had a lovely Christmas Eve with Sydney, Dean & Rosa. Her boys were with their dad. Today we will be with mom and my sister & their families.

    I love reading your blog and trying your recipes…made your last minute lasagna last night & it was a hit!
    I thank you for being part of my little Cafe!

    1. Tami says:

      Carol so glad you enjoyed the lasagne. I bought the ingredients to make it this week. It goes together so quickly but is big on flavor. Thank you for your tips on caring for my back-it’s working for me. Enjoy all of your celebrations.

  3. Jody - Fit at 54 says:

    OH NO Tami – so sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reminds me of my back deal a while back when standing for me was more comfortable than sitting & took me about 2+ weeks to get thru it but I still did what I could – HUGS!!!!!!!!!! Hope your Christmas is still a nice one!

    I LOVE the past pics & story & thank you for sharing!!!

    1. Tami says:

      Yes, sometimes standing is better or actually today walking felt better than standing in place. Thanks for the well wishes i am getting better everyday. Christmas was lovely here. I hopeyourswas as well.

  4. Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds says:

    Merry Christmas, Tami!!! I love the story about your first tree together!!! It was a beautiful tree!

    So sorry about your back! I hope that it’s feeling better today so that you can enjoy Christmas with your family. Sending you healthy healing wishes!!!

  5. Helen says:

    Mine was way too busy – and I didn’t feel like I had enough time with Little Helen what with all the family gatherings.

    Hope you’re feeling a bit better today!

  6. Renee@Mykitchenadventures says:

    First off, Merry Christmas Tammy!!!!

    Second, so sorry to read about your back going out. I have had this happen a few times. Not fun. It is so silly that doing something so simple can put it out. The first time it happened to me, I almost passed out from the pain. I found lots of pain meds and time is what will heal it. But yes, very scary. They say a strong core is the key to prevention. Feel better!

    1. Tami says:

      I guess I had better work on my core Renee! Thanks for the well wishes. 🙂

  7. Judy says:

    Hi Tami,
    Loved the trip down memory lane! The angel ornament is precious! Tom had/has great taste! What a nice snuggly memory!!
    So sorry to hear about your back–hope the pain is easing up!
    Here’s to another wonderful year of “Nutmeg Notebook”! Its as awesome as you are my friend!

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