Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Something from my archives! Time has moved on but we are still making memories.

Darlene Foster's Blog


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I have  many wonderful memories of Christmas growing up. It doesn’t surprise me that many of them have to do with my grandma. She had many grandchildren but always made sure I got something special under the tree. She gave me my first stamp album, books I treasured and even my first Elvis Presley album! Christmas dinners at grandma’s place was special.  Her small house brimmed over with aunts, uncles and cousins. The meal would be delicious with special treats we only got at Christmas time. Grandma provided these treasured memories that always return at this time of the year.  I don’t think I ever told her how much they meant to me.

My 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren live in another province so I don’t see them as often as I would like. I’ve only spent a few Christmases with them over the years. Every year I enjoy…

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I hope everyone is gearing up for the holidays, however they are celebrated. Check out my thoughts and pictures of my first real Christmas in Spain, written two years ago! My time flies when you are having a good time.

My good friend, Sheila MacArthur, hosted me while I was in Calgary and drove me to my events and family visits. We had some time to spare between appointments and she treated me to a visit to the Lougheed House, a local historic site and museum.

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Since it was the beginning of December the house was all decked out for Christmas, as it would have been in Victorian times. What a treat to be transported back to the time of Lady Isabella Lougheed and Sir James Lougheed. It felt very Downton Abbeyish.

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This 14,000 square-foot sandstone prairie mansion, built in 1891 for the Lougheed family, was the political and social hub of fast-growing Calgary until 1938. The Lougheeds were among Calgary’s most influential citizens. They entertained many notable guests in this house including Princess Patricia, Edward, The Prince of Wales, Stanely Baldwin and Price Erik of Denmark. Their grandson, Peter Lougheed, served as the Premier of Alberta from 1971 to 1985.

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The house sparkled with 16 decorated Christmas trees, thousands of lights, holly draped bannisters, candle-lit hearths, ornaments, original stained-glass windows and more. A warm, festive atmosphere was created as the temperatures outside dipped to -25 celsius.  Scattered throughout the mansion, furnishings and artifacts from the turn of the 20th century included original objects from the House.

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Lovely stained glass windows

 

 

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I love the birdhouses on this tree.

 

The dining room was open for lunch. It looked appealing but we had another commitment. Perhaps next time. The spacious gardens are open in the summer for tea or lunch as well.

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As you can see, we were very comfortable in the surroundings and were reluctant to go back out into the cold.

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A cosy nook to relax with a good book.

 

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year full of joy, wonder and adventures!

I barely get over my jet lag and it’s time to get ready for Christmas! I keep thinking about the wonderful time I had with friends and family back in Canada and I feel happy all over again. So I thought I would share some of my memories.

In between promoting my book, I managed to meet up with many friends in three different cities. They fed me well, gave me places to stay,  and were a joy to spend time with. Here are a few pictures.

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Homemade pizza waiting for me at a friend’s after a busy schedule in Vancouver. Do I purposefully pick friends who are good cooks?

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Workmates from Medicine Hat, many years ago. So glad we have kept in touch.

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A group of friends from elementary school days

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Good friends from BC

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A friend I worked with in Vancouver who made high tea for me!

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A dear friend from my first job in Medicine Hat who provided me with a comfy place to stay, fed me well and was great to relax with after a busy day.

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My good friend and travel buddy who drove me all over Calgary in the snow, gave me a warm place to stay and also fed me well.

I am truly blessed when it comes to friends.

Precious time was spent with family too.

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Spent three fun filled days with my daughter. We got to babysit a puppy too.

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Cousins from Vancouver Island who made the trip over to the mainland to have lunch with me.

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My aunt and best pal from Arizona, with a cousin from Calgary.

My Aunt, who is my age, came all the way from Arizona to support me and my book tour. How special is that?

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My great-aunt and great-uncle in Calgary.

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Visiting Santa with  second great-granddaughter

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Visiting first great- granddaughter at her school. Almost as tall as me!!

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My youngest grandson, not so little anymore!

My oldest grandson, all grown up but still my buddy. Treated me to a sushi meal.

My oldest grandson, all grown up but still my buddy. He treated me to sushi.

I spent a good amount of time with my dear mom. We made her an early birthday/Christmas party as she will turn 88 on Christmas day. She was delighted to have all of her siblings there, even her sister from Arizona.

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Mom with all of her remaining siblings

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Five generations, mom, me, my son,  grandaughter and great grandaughter

It was a wonderful time as you can see. Full of family, friends, fun and food. This is what makes life worth living!!

I hope you are all ready for the Holiday Season. Make sure you enjoy fun, food, family and friends!

Book gift ideas for the children and those young at heart on your list!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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Welcome to the latest update from Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore. Throughout the year over 120 authors have been promoted weekly on the blog and their books now reside in the virtual bookstore along with their buy links and websites. In the run up to Christmas I will be visiting all the authors in the store and checking for updates and new reviews on their most recent books. If you are in the bookstore and have recently published a new book, received a rave review then please let me know.. Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

My first update is to congratulate Deanie Humphrys- Dunnefor being voted a winner 2016 for ‘50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading’for her wonderful children’s books. Also an update on reviews for her book Charlie The Horse which was released as for Kindle earlier this year.

15420974_1317393351625880_1720499298908026472_nAbout Charlie the Horse.

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Charlie dreamed of becoming a famous…

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Happy Three Kings Day – Fiesta de Los Tres Reyes Magos
Here is my post from last year.

Darlene Foster's Blog

Here in Spain the most important date in the Christmas season is not December 25. It is January 6, Epiphany, the day Three Kings from the east brought gifts to the infant Jesus.  Fiesta de Los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) starts on January 5 when the Three Wise Men arrive and parade through the streets handing out candies to all the children eagerly waiting. The parade ends at a church where the Kings become part of a human nativity scene. That night the children put out their shoes and in the morning, if they have been good all year, they find gifts from the Magi. They leave out treats for the Kings and water for the camels. (Like children in North America do for Santa Claus) There are many parties and family dinners on January 6th.

We had the pleasure of experiencing this event here on the Costa Blanca. In Torrevieja, a coastal town…

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Wishing all my wonderful readers a very Merry Christmas wherever you are!!

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Christmas on the beach!

My article on Christmas in my part of Spain was recently published in Travel Thru History.

CHRISTMAS ON THE COSTA BLANCA
Torrevieja, Spain
by Darlene Foster

Christmas in Spain is a month long party consisting of numerous fiestas, parades, fireworks, brass bands, markets and food, lots of food. The first weekend in December is the official start of the Christmas season and it doesn´t take us long to get into the festive spirit. In our part of the Costa Blanca, it starts with a number of events celebrating Torrevieja´s Patronal Fiesta, dedicated to the patron saint of the city.

Enjoy the rest of the article here:

http://www.travelthruhistory.com/html/culture102.html

May your Christmas bring you much love, joy and peace!!

This will be our second Christmas in Spain. Last year our boxes hadn´t arrived so we decided not to decorate the place we were renting. (The first time in my life I didn´t decorate for Christmas) This year we have our own place and hubby cleverly packed some Christmas lights in his boxes. He went all out and decorated the terrace and even the palm tree. Ours is the only place on the block decorated and the neighbours love it!

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We bought a small artificial Christmas tree (another first). I then realized I didn´t pack any ornaments. They went to our daughter´s place so they are in good hands. So I picked up a few things at the local dollar store and decorated it. I think it looks cheerful and makes the place very cosy.

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Christmas in Spain is not the crazy commercial event it is in North America. The malls are decorated for Christmas but are very quiet with tons of parking spaces and no line ups at the tills. It didn´t seem right. I wanted to scream, “What is wrong with you people? Don´t you know it is only two weeks before Christmas??” Then I remembered, that is why we moved here. So we joined the others and relaxed over a cafe con leche.

Brass band by a coffee shop

Brass band by a coffee shop

Carol singing in the mall.

Carol singing in the mall.

There are many Christmas Fayres, brass bands playing around town and carol sings. Most events are in support of a charity. We attended a fun Christmas Fayre in a small town square last weekend and watched our wonderful eight-year-old friend, Ana Lucia, dance.

Before the performance

Before the performance

Dancing n the town square

Dancing n the town square

She was also part of the Nativity scene that assembled as a talented man sang “When A Child is Born.” It was very moving and made me feel full of the Christmas spirit.

The Nativity scene made up of children

The Nativity scene made up of children

Guess what part of the Nativity Ana Lucia was

With my favourite sheep from the nativity scene

Our young friend came for a visit with her parents to see the Christmas lights, the tree and sample some Christmas baking. She sends a Christmas greeting to my family and friends in Canada and all over the world! It just isn´t Christmas without kids and I´m so happy we have Ana Lucia in our lives. She is bi-lingual and helps me with my Spanish too.

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A special visitor

A special visitor

I Skyped with my soon to be 87 year-old mom last week from her room at the retirement home. My brother set it up for her and my lovely granddaughter arranged it. My grandson and great granddaughter were there as well. My son stopped in for a surprise visit and we had a Skype party. It was great to see Mom so happy. The next evening my granddaughter and great granddaughter attended the Christmas dinner with mom at the home. Mom had a great time, as you can see, and enjoyed a glass of wine.

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Mom with her great granddaughter and great great granddaughter.

Mom with her great granddaughter and great great granddaughter.

I am enjoying Christmas on both sides of the Atlantic. There is so much joy in my life my heart is bursting.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas full of Joy and Peace!!

This is just too great not to share.

‘Twas the Tweet before Christmas….

I admit it, I am a Christmas nut. I love it. Yes, it can be stressful and yes, it has become too commercial, but I still love it. I enjoy picking out gifts for my friends and family. I start picking things up in the summer at craft fairs and in my travels. I like to give handmade items or things with a special meaning. Of course I give a lot of books but I tuck other little things in too.

I find Christmas a time to be joyful, hopeful and most of all thankful. I am thankful that I have so many wonderful people to find gifts for and spend time with. I don’t expect gifts back, it is not an exchange. Friendship is gift enough for me. Often it is the smallest most thoughtful gift that I enjoy the most. Home made baking, jams, and spiced nuts are appreciated. A special book from a second hand book store that someone spent hours finding, a poem, a song or a family photograph. Christmas gifts do not have to be expensive to warm my heart.

I sometimes feel that the meaning of Christmas is lost to the young people who are caught up in the advertising for toys and electronics, but then a grandchild will say, “Thanks for those pajamas you made me, the ones you make are the best”! When a friend shared a letter to Santa her eight year old wrote, I knew the meaning of Christmas was not lost on children Here it is unabridged and unchanged:

Dear Santa

What I really want for christmas is for my great grandma TeddyBear to come back to life. The reason I want her to come back to life is because she was really really nice and cool.

Another thing I really want for christmas is for the Doctor doing a good job for my grandma’s cancer to go away. The reason I want her cancer to go away is so she won’t have to get anymore oporashons and she will be Happier.
One other thing I want for christmas is for my half sister Rylee that lives in England to come to Vancouver for this summer. The reason I want her to come is because I don’t get to see her that much and when I do we have a good time.

I will close with a quote sent to me by a fellow Christmas nut, Naomi:

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” – author unknown; attributed to a 7yr old named Bobby
What ever your beliefs, however you celebrate this season of giving, not just of things, but of love and joy, may it be special.


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