Christmas Songs and Sights

Christmas songs and sights rule the festive fun around Places In The Home this time of year.

Why certain things come to mind when we hear Christmas songs is anyone’s guess, but I believe traditions old and new, coupled with cherished memories near and dear to heart and mind, work together to awaken the spirit of the season that beautifully dwells within all of us.

As I was listening to classic Christmas songs late Saturday night, an imagined slideshow broke out in my thoughts- some obvious, some silly, but all telling.

So here you go, my wonderful friends, a Christmas songs and sights ’tis the season pictorial.

dashing through the snow


Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring tingle tingling too
Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you
Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling “yoo hoo!”
Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you

snow covered Smoky Mountains2

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I met a man who lives in Tennessee, and he was headin’ for
Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie
From Pennsylvania, folks are travelin’ down to Dixie’s sunny shore

Santa on beachFrom Atlantic to Pacific

– I know it means from the Atlantic to Pacific Ocean(s), but the line always brings to mind thoughts of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known to some of us as A&P

A&P Coffee

Gee, the traffic is terrific

Christmas traffic

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas


Chasing Daisies

Children laughing, people passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you hear
Silver bells (silver bells) silver bells (silver bells)

Christmastime in the City


It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling (ring-a-ling)
Hear them ring (hear them ring)
Soon it will be Christmas day

Santa and friends

Santa and Friends

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland

blue jay in snow

Gone away is the bluebird
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song, as we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland


Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel

Frosted window panes
Candles gleaming inside
Painted candy canes on the tree
Santa’s on his way
He’s filled his sleigh with things
Things for you and for me
It’s that time of year
When the world falls in love
Every song you hear seems to say
Merry Christmas
May your New Year dreams come true


And this song of mine
In three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours
The same thing too

heading home in the snowstorm

Fine Art America

the snow’s comin’ down
(Christmas) I’m watchin’ it fall
(Christmas) lots of people around
(Christmas) baby, please come home


Elle Decor – Photo by Douglas Friedman

Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow



Have a holly, jolly Christmas
It’s the best time of the year
I don’t know if there’ll be snow
But have a cup of cheer
Have a holly, jolly Christmas
And when you walk down the street
Say hello to friends you know
And everyone you meet
Oh, ho the mistletoe
Hung where you can see
Somebody waits for you
Kiss her once for me
Have a holly, jolly Christmas
And in case you didn’t hear
Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas
This year


In The Fields

For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Candles in the window
Carols at the spinet

Christmas-tree-on-pianoYes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Hasn’t snowed a single flurry, but Santa dear we’re in a hurry

retro Christmas partyThere’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting


And caroling out in the snow


There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago

twas the night before christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse


Country Living Magazine

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.


Christmas eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

Christmas songs




Creole Seasoned Brown Sugar Pecan Crusted Baked Tilapia

Creole Seasoned Brown Sugar Pecan Crusted Baked Tilapia.  Now that I have your attention, let me share with you this delicious recipe developed in the Places In The Home test kitchen over this past Mardi Gras celebration weekend.  In this the season of crawfish, Mardi Gras and Lent, fish recipes are in the menu spotlight.  Mama Places In The Home (my mother) picked up a 2lb. bag of Tilapia fillets at our Walmart Neighborhood Market Friday afternoon, and promptly placed her order for fish.

tilapia fillets

Dave the Builder requested potatoes in cream sauce topped with fresh parsley, and my brother placed his order for my family famous creamy coleslaw.  I do like a now we’re cooking weekend.

A bag of pecans and a bag of walnuts left over from holiday baking started the wheels of recipe development turning.  Creole seasoning is always on hand, and everything is better with brown sugar on it. Baking fish, chicken, chops, etc… is healthier not to mention I can’t stand the smell of fried foods in the house.  I contemplated soaking the fish in buttermilk, mustard and Tabasco, but will keep that flavor key exclusive to my catfish recipe.  Traditional bread crumbs, fresh lemon slices and fresh chopped parsley round out the ingredient list.

tilapia on plate (1)

Creole Seasoned Brown Sugar Pecan Crusted Baked Tilapia


2 pound bag (approximately 9 fillets)

1½ cups traditional bread crumbs

¼ cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning (see recipe below)

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, finely chopped

2 sticks butter

2 lemons, sliced

½ cup chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a baking dish, stir together the breadcrumbs, chopped pecans/walnuts, brown sugar and Creole seasoning.

creole seasoning pecans walnutsLine a cookie sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Place defrosted tilapia fillets on foil lined sheet.  Melt one (1) stick of butter.  Pour melted butter over fillets to lightly coat.


Working with one fillet at the time, dredge each fillet in dry mixture, coating each side.  Place the fillets on the cookie sheet.  Top each fillet with a lemon slice.  Top each lemon slice with a pat of butter (1½ teaspoons).

coated tilapia baking sheet

Place cookie sheet in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn oven up to 400 degrees F.

fresh parsley1

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and top each fillet with a generous pinch of fresh parsley.

baked tilapia1

Return the cookie sheet to the now 400 degree F oven.  Continue baking fillets for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

pecan walnut crusted baked tilapia2

Recipe for Creole Seasoning

1/3  cup paprika

3 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated onion

4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons granulated garlic

In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.







Good Movies With Great Music

Good movies with great music offer the much appreciated alternative to the he said she said conventions and media circus the last two weeks. Roku, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video gaveled in a call to order of what do you want to watch-I don’t know, what do you want to watch.  A majority ruled over the suggestion to match good movies with great music.  A good movie can easily become a great movie when the soundtrack or songs from (not all songs in a movie make it onto the soundtrack) make a lasting impression.  Here’s what’s on the screen and stream:

Silver Linings Playbook

Comedy/Drama starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Good movies with great music

Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing- Stevie Wonder


Frankie & Johnny

Drama/Romance starring Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Frankie and Johnny

Clair de Lune- Claude Debussy



Crime/Action starring James Caan.


Soundtrack – Tangerine Dream

Dave the Builder and I watched this movie over and over when we were dating.  James Belushi, Dennis Farina, William Petersen, and Robert Prosky all claim Thief as the first film of their acting careers.  The soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and Composer Craig Safan is mesmerizing.


The Graduate

Drama starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman.

The Graduate

Sunporch Cha-Cha-Cha- Simon and Garfunkel


Jackie Brown

Thriller/Drama starring Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson.

Jackie Brown

Strawberry Letter 23- The Brothers Johnson


 High Fidelity 

Drama/romance starring John Cusack.

High Fidelity

I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)- Stevie Wonder


Love your style!

For Your Dining Pleasure: Dinner Party Ideas

With May through to August graduations, weddings, and festivities comes the celebratory ritual of culinary and social interaction and entertaining, and with that the need for dinner party ideas.

Bob Ryan is a larger-than-life fictional character from the classic HBO series Entourage.  

Portrayed by the late Martin Landau, Bob Ryan is a lovely idea of a man.

Martin Landau as Bob Ryan

He is well spoken in the language of ramble, but what he has to say is about the art of dining is worth a listen.

Bob will have no part of stressful topics being discussed before, during, or after dining.

Ambiance is key in the art and aid of proper digestion, a priority high on his list of dinner party ideas.

top hat owl

Bob Ryan reasons that proper digestion is an important part of the dining experience.

Fictional or real, the wise old owl has got a point.

What if I was to tell you a rich cup of  Louisiana coffee or tea, fine wine, accent lighting and great music is Bob Ryan 101 at Casa Places In The Home.

In the immortal words of Bob Ryan, “Is that something you might be interested in?”


From menu to music to the personalities of the diners, you’ve got to put some thought into it.

Much like the perfect wine pairing, getting it right enhances the flavor of the event.

Rose wines

I don’t believe it is terminal if the music or the wine selection doesn’t perfectly fit with a course, but it can feel like there’s been a death when we’re paired with bad dinner guests.

Ther is an art to accomplishing that particular pairing- a social sommelier, if you will.

In case of social emergency, make sure the wine is flowing and hope the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.


Melvin Sokolsky ~ Jump, Paris, 1965

If the quickest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, music is the shortest route to their soul.

A casual meal goes well with the greatest hits of whatever decade you have the fondest memories from.

A romantic meal naturally slows down the pace of life, speeds up the pace of the heart, and goes well with a smooth groove.



Music makes the mood, and no respectable formal dinner party is complete without the music.


Your crowd doesn’t have an Appetite for Destruction?

There’s a lot to be said for the advice offered up from a fictional character in a cable series.

Palatable peace existing in perfect harmony in the name of digestion is at the top of my dinner party ideas list.

And yes, Bob, that is something I am very interested in.


Holiday Inspiration and Festive Favorites

The holiday season is in full swing, and there is so many sites and sights to glean holiday inspiration from.

This is the time of year when treasures, goodies, ideas, and pretty images flood the day in the best possible way.

Holiday inspiration is all around.

holiday inspirationPinterest

Olive by Farrow & Ball is festively featured in the gentleman’s study designed by Tammy Connor at  The Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Christmas House.

the night before Christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas crackers from Williams-Sonoma are a Noël novelty done elegantly and festively right.

George Sheridan KnowlesPinterest

The Duet by George Sheridan Knowles masterfully exhibits the allure of green in shades of trend.

vintage Christmas

Fox Photos / Getty Images as seen on BuzzFeed

When I can’t sleep I don’t count sheep, I try to recall the stores and shops that lined the downtown area from when I was a kid.

Do you remember shopping downtown at Christmas time?

Santa Claus in his red house with white trimmed windows, Christmas lights and tinsel stars strung from store front to store front, and department stores display windows decked out in holiday finery.

Lerner Shops, Bakers, JCPenney, W.T. Grant, S. H. Kress & Co., Rexall, Morgan & Lindsey’s…

Charlie Brown Christmas

Christmas time is here!

Have a great weekend!