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Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Friday, December 6, 2013

December Tea Party - Tamera Lynn Kraft and Dina Sleiman!!!



Hello and welcome to the lovely Shield's Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. For a glimpse of our town and wonderful Christmas decorations on your way in, please see the previous post by our friend Cynthia. Once inside the tavern, pull up a chair and enjoy some festive Christmas treats along with our normal fare of beef pasty, tarragon chicken salat, potato-leek pye, and wild berry crumble. We also have a special selection of nice warm beverages, since I know most of you will be traveling far in your carriages in this brisk winter weather. So have a mug of mulled cider, chocolate, or coffee. We also have some "fortified beverages" in case you brought your men folk along. And since it is a tea party after all, we can offer some local herbal varieties like mint, lavender, or chamomile, but no imported British tea today!!!!

Our serving maid, Constance Chambers, is adamant on this issue. She is quite the patriot, and has made a real fuss over the issue. We're celebrating the release of two very different novels today, and Constance makes a brief cameo appearance in Dance from Deep Within, a contemporary by Dina Sleiman. But Contance's bold, independent spirit and the backdrop of Colonial Williamsburg inspire a young Muslim (Saracen or Mussulman to those of you from an earlier era) lady in the book to search out her own American identity and to seek true freedom in her life. Here's a little more about it:

Despite her conservative Muslim heritage, Layla Al-Rai longs for a chance to earn her degree in engineering and perhaps even...dare she dream...to choose her own husband. But young women from her background rarely enjoy such freedoms. When she finally talks her parents into letting her attend college, she is drawn to fellow twenty-something students, Allie and Rain, over a class project. Allie, the blonde ballerina, faces her own struggles as she deals with an ex-fiancé and a church she had hoped to leave behind. Rain, the bi-racial hippie chick, longs for something to believe in, but her questioning could cost her the love of her life. When Layla s childhood sweetheart reenters her world, it seems her dreams might become real. Until everything falls apart. When she meets truth face to face, will she find the courage to accept it even if it requires the ultimate sacrifice?

Join these three unlikely friends as they learn to dance to the song of the spirit. You can order Dina's book in print or for one of those new fangled ebooks here. Especially take note of the ebook price of $3.99. Not bad, even by Colonial standards. And Constance says to tell you that they'd make great Christmas presents too!

Our other featured novel today, A Christmas Promise by Tamera Lynn Kraft, is a traditional colonial novel, and perfect for the holiday. The main character, Anna is here from Schoenbrunn Village, Ohio to add her Moravian touches to this Christmas party. She has brought the sweet buns and coffee she’ll serve at the Moravian Christmas Eve Lovefeast. And she brought some wild roast turkey, potatoes, cabbage, turnips, sweet corn bread, and squash pie. 

She’s been boiling syrup for months to make sure she had enough sugar for the Christmas feast. And she decided to decorate the tavern with Moravian traditions such as a Christmas tree and candles and verses to hang on the tree. She brought a putz with a manger and the Bethlehem village to place under the tree. No Moravian Christmas would be complete without them. Here's a little bit about her story.

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away two days before Christmas to help at another settlement, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day. When he doesn't show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas. Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

This title is part of Pelican's Christmas Holiday Extravaganza novella collection. It's also a great price at only $.99, and you can order it here. Be sure to snatch up a copy and curl up by our hearth to read it. We'll provide blankets and a rocker if you like. 


So again, welcome. We are so glad to have you. Please introduce yourselves and share with us where you hale from and what brought you out to Williamsburg on this blustery winter day. Let Constance and Anna know which refreshments you'd like. They'll be happy to serve you. 
Moravian Star ornament

Anna has also brought along some great prizes, so be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of A Christmas Promise and your own Moravian star Christmas ornament.  It looks beautiful!

We also have a lovely mob cap from Colonial Williamsburg for one of our guests! Please leave a comment (in character preferably!) to be entered for the prizes!
White mob cap from Colonial Williamsburg

For more info on today's authors, please visit their websites:
Dina's http://dinasleiman.com
Tamera's http://wordsharpeners.wordpress.com/

79 comments:

  1. So glad to be at the tea party today! Christmas teas are a favorite of mine - I just attended a Christmas tea at Christiana Campbell's Tavern in Williamsburg last week. The ladies were not only dressed in their finest silks and brocades but in full voice to sing several Christmas favorites. Congratulations on your new books, Tamera and Dina! And a most merry Christmas to everyone!

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    1. Welcome, Cynthia, and let the singing commence :)

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    2. Thanks, Cynthia. Enjoy the party. Since it's a little early for lunch, Anna is serving sweet buns that she makes for Moravian Lovefeasts in Schoenbrunn.

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    3. Congratulations, Dina and Tamera, on your wonderful new books. And thank you, Tamera, for the delicious sweet buns, as well. If you'll excuse me for a moment, I will pop over to the e-book shop and check our your novels.

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  2. Nothing would please me more today than a colonial tea with these ladies! I have such admiration for Dina and the story she has here-- her heart to touch young women with Dance From Within! It's going to be around for a long time (and a sequel, we hope!)

    Congratulations Tamela! I imagine your Christmas novella will be a big success. Can't wait to read it.

    Happy Friday and Merry Almost Christmas, everyone. I will just take one of those lovely little treats before I return to my editing... have fun!

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    1. Thanks, Deb. Yep, book 2 in progress and book 3 in the plans.

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  3. Anna: Please enjoy a sweet bun before you go on your way, Debra.

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  4. Wow, what a ride that was ! I have come all the way from central New York to tea with you fine ladies this morning and it has been a chilly ride for sure, being as it is 33 out this mornin...brrrrrr You can bet that I am wearing my best morning dress, but underneath is my flannel bloomers and petticoats. I had to throw on my finest heavy cape this morning of heavy wool. That wind will whip right on through ya. Tamera , I think I shall enjoy one of your Sweet Buns this morning with some Mint Tea, its a tad early for me to be filling up on all that wonderful food just yet but perhaps later on if I get a chance to stop back , or if I am still here, I will indulge ! Congratulations to you two fine ladies on the wonderful books you have written and I am so hoping to have time to read them in the very near future.
    I will have to summon Diana to come over to enjoy this wonderful array of foods and drink, she will love to join us in a bit, she was under the weather this past week with the flu and I think some time out would do her some good. So, what are you ladies up to ? Are you making your own presents ? Any homespun things being made for the giving ? Have you all donated to Charities locally ? I am just waiting to hear all your stories. I am hade up homemade Spiced Tea for the giving, you can ask Diana when she gets here, she and Kathleen have be testing it for me ! I am working on some fine handspun projects for giving also, afghans and I need to make some baby things as my son and his dear bride are due to have a wee one about the 25th ! They are in TN and I am hoping that this year they will come up for a visit or we can get down to pay them one. This will be my 7th grandchild...smile Well come now do tell me , what have you fine ladies been up to ?
    Many Blessings Upon You
    ~ Linda Marie Finn ~
    Faithful Acres Books
    http://www.faithfulacresbooks.wordpress.com
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

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    1. Linda, how wonderful! Congratulations on your newly arriving 7th grandchild, just in time to celebrate our Savior's birth! I'll join you in a cup of your Christmas tea, and hope you will share your recipe with us.

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    2. Well, good news everyone, it is clear and nearly 70 degrees in Williamsburg today. Enjoy our warm weather after your long trip.

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    3. Linda, That is so exciting! That has to be interesting having a 7th grandchild when you have two children at home, still! Praying you have a wonderful Christmas! I have been doing some bead earrings but not too much home made this year. Hugs!

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  5. Anna and I have traveled from NE Ohio, so we understand about the cold. Here's a sweet bun and some mint tea, Linda - American made of course. Anna loves to make a Christmas Putz with her children out of pinecones and wood scraps. I was thinking about trying my hand at that also. As far as charities, our church is collecting for churches in the Philippines hit hard by the typhoon. We've decided to make that our Christmas charity project this year. Do come back later, Linda. We are serving some wonderful dishes, and I hope you enjoy A Christmas Promise.

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  6. Greetings from breezy, balmy Charleston! The journey up the coast was just lovely, thank you! I believe I would like coffee with just a touch of cream. :-) I must hurry back soon to continue preparing for our family's coming journey to the frozen northern plains.

    Warm felicitations to Dina and Tamera for such intriguing stories. I look forward to reading them both!

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    1. Anna: I hope you'll take a sweet bun for your journey, Shannon.

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    2. Welcome, Shannon. Ah, balmy Charleston. My husband and I boated around the harbor last September.

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  7. Dear ladies, a warm blanket, a rocking chair and a warm cup of lavender tea sound heavenly on this brisk morning! Congratulations Tamera and Dina on your new releases! I am so excited for you both as your long hours of labor are now birthed into your beautiful novels! Thank you for all that you have poured into these words wrought with love and much research. Blessings and best wishes!

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    1. Thank you so much, Elaine. Yes, this is defiantly warm blanket and rocking chair weather. Please have a sweet bun.

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  8. Congratulations, Dina and Tamara on your new releases! They both sound wonderful and I wish you great success with these stories.

    How delightful to join this pleasant company in such a lovely setting at this time of year. I'm Elizabeth Howard, as many of you know, and I'm so pleased to be back at Williamsburg! It's been too many years since I last visited, and I've been longing to return. There couldn't be a better setting for us to celebrate this occasion.

    Linda and Tamara, I couldn't agree more about the chilly ride. I'm also bundled to the eyebrows for my ride down from Saratoga, NY. Congratulations on the little one expected so soon, Linda, and perhaps a Christmas babe at that. I know you're thrilled and my prayers are with your daughter-in-law for a safe delivery!

    I'd love one of those heavenly sweet buns with a cup of tea. Thank you so much! It's such fun to learn about different Christmas traditions! I'm very much looking forward to attending a choir presentation tomorrow eve at my church. But with all that's been happening this fall with the British taking over Philadelphia, our Northern Army defeating General Burgoyne at Saratoga, and General Washington forced to withdraw to Valley Forge, I've had little time out of the saddle for making Christmas gifts, as I've been carrying intelligence back and forth. My parents and little sister are arriving from London at any time, so as soon as I return to Boston I must get busy preparing a happy welcome home for this very special Christmas. And I wish each one of you also the most blessed of Christmasses!

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    1. Anna: We appreciate all you do Sister Howard. Living in the Ohio wilderness among hostile natives, I know what it's like to be in constant danger. Do stay safe this Christmas.

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  9. Congrats Tamera and Dina! Very excited for you both! Just brewed some fresh tea (American grown of course!) I've been looking everywhere for my father but can't seem to find him. Perhaps you can help me. He's of middling height, broad in the shoulders, brown hair streaked with grey and he's wearing a navy frock coat with tan breeches. Sigh, that could actually describe several men here. Anyone care for some green tea? I'd be happy to pour.

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    1. Anna: Thank you, Sister Pagels. I haven't seen your father, but I will certainly keep a keen eye out.

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    2. I haven't seen your father either. Hope you find him soon. Maybe he's just enjoying the shops and the lovely weather.

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  10. Hi everyone. I'm at ye olds Christmas play at the moment, but will be back to join the party soon.

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    1. Anna: I do hope you may return soon, Sister Dina.

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    2. I typed "olde" but I guess auto correct didn't believe me. LOL. Yes, I'm back to stay.

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  11. Congratulations on both your new releases! :)

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  12. Good morning so happy to be in out this awful cold. I'd like a cup of tea please warm up me bones. Those vittles sure sound yummy you got there. I'm coming from Indiana very cold here this morning about 22 degrees. I have my snuggle blanket here on the couch with me. Great day ladies to stay inside and chat and drink some tea. May the Lord Bless ye all with some heat this day.
    Blessings
    Diana
    joeym11@frontier.com

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    1. Anna: Thank you, so much, Sister Montgomery. Coming from the Ohio wilderness, I understand how frigid the temperatures can be in the West. Stay warm this Christmas. And when you're finished with your vittles, please have a slice of my squash pie.

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    2. I think we found that heat in Virginia today, but hopefully we'll get some snow in time for Christmas.

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  13. Good morning!
    When I left Frederick, MD in the wee hours this morning it was 46* and raining, making a very wet and damp ride in my covered carriage. It has been many years since I visited Williamsburg and I have longed to return.
    I would like the Lavender tea and the berry crumble, it smells so wonderful. Thank you ladies for such a lovely tea. It is so good to see "old" friends and new friends. Not sure if I will be able to stay for the lunch as it is a long ride home.


    Congratulations, Dina and Tamara!
    Merry Christmas Colonial Quills

    Blessings, Tina



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    1. Thank you so much, Sister Tina, Do fortify yourself with food before your long journey home. I've never visited Maryland myself. This is my first journey to Virginia. Before moving to Ohio, I lived in a small Moravian village in Pennsylvania called Bethlehem.

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    2. I think I'll join you with that lavender tea. It's one of my favorites.

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  14. (Chaplain Debbie enters with her granddaughter Cassie. Both are wearing lavender dresses with matching bows in their hair.)

    Hello ladies! What an inviting place, so warm and cozy! How are all of you this cold, brisk day? May I introduce you to my granddaughter, Cassie? This is her first tea party and she is a bit shy. We could sure go for some warm beverages and something tasty to go with it, any suggestions? I will have coffee and Cassie will have chocolate, if you please. I want to congratulate these ladies on their new releases, they both sound very good! Now, to warm up a bit. Shall we mingle with the other guests, Cassie? (Cassie nods) Okay, then mingle we shall, come along.

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    1. Chaplain Debbie, Sister Cassie, how lovely you look in your lavender dresses. May I recommend some roast turkey of venison. I've have potatoes and turnips to go with it. Oh, and you must try to sweet cornbread with squash pie for dessert.

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    2. Oh, that sound just yummy, Tamera, thank you so much. I've never had squash pie before, sounds very good.

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    3. Anna makes squash pie every Christmas in Schoenbrunn.

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    4. Maybe your granddaughter would like to try her first tea as well. Something child friendly like berry tea, perhaps.

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    5. Well, I am willing to give it a try!

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    6. What do you think, Cassie? Do you want to try some tea?
      Cassie shyly nods her head and says, Yes, thank you Miss Dina.
      Thank you for the suggestion, Dina, I think she would love that flavor.

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    7. Then, please do bring her some.

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  15. Cassie, shall we go over to the window and look at the gorgeous view? Make sure you don't spill your tea on your new dress, my dear.

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    1. So many visitors here in Colonial Williamsburg--it is such a magical place!

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    2. Well, it's a very magical time of year! How are you feeling today, my dear. I have been praying for you.

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  16. Anna: Cassie, you also might like to hang a verse and a candle on our Christmas tree. We Moravians celebrate Christmas by having trees in our house that we decorate. It's part of our Christmas traditions.

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    1. What a lovely idea, Anna. What do you day Cassie, do you want to hang a verse and a candle on the tree?
      Cassie: Yes, please.
      Okay, let's go do that now. Thank you for the suggestion Anna.

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  17. (Chaplain Debbie sits in a comfy chair and watches as her granddaughter places a verse and a candle on the tree)
    Oh what a gorgeous tree, don't you think so Cassie?
    Cassie: Yes, Grammy, very pretty.

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    1. Oh that is so sweet, Debbie. I have my own Cassie but she's a grown up girl now!

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    2. My Cassie is only 2 years old, but she LOVES to pretend. Of course, she isn't really pretending with me right now. It's too cold for a visit today and it might snow, so she is staying home with her mommy and baby sister. But, she is here in spirit!

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    3. Cassie, your candle looks lovely on the tree. What verse did you decide on?

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    4. Cassie: Thank you. I chose Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given....

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  18. Upon the Rock retweeted your invit! Miss Chambers, I will take whatever you have on your tray, dear! Thank you so much. Snow? Yes we have 7-1/2" yesterday and through the night. Our communications were out from 7pm last night to 2pm this afternoon. Beautiful sight, tho' it be! Anna's meal is ready? Oh, yes, please, that would be delightful and tastefully soothing! I am famished! The white mop cap would be a pleasure! Especially, during these cold winter nights and the draftiness with the wind blowing against the panes! half-Irish Kathleen

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    1. Put your feet up Kathleen, by the fire and rest yourself. I've a full plate coming to you and a hot pot of coffee or tea for you, too! So wonderful to have you in attendance!

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    2. We'd be pleased to serve you, Kathleen.

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    3. Anna: There's plenty left, Sister Kathleen. Let me bring you a plate of roast turkey, boiled potatoes, turnips, and sweet cornbread. Let me know when you're ready for a piece of squash pie. My husband, Brother John, loves my squash pie.

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  19. Hello Ladies. Good to see so many here with the bad weather we've been having across our nation. This 70 degree weather feels good, since we're having a cold spell in Texas right now which is unusual for us. Usually in our area it is more like hot most all year. Yummy, I smell good food. I think I will take a plate of that Moravian food. It sounded delicious. And some hot sweet tea please. Ms. Maxie

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    1. MAXIE!!! Great to see you here. Some nice hot chamomile tea coming right up and the Moravian food does smell so heavenly!

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  20. I guess I better start putting post it notes on my forehead to remind me of important things.

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    1. I would advise against such action, Mrs. Traher ;) !

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  21. Well, ladies, me and little Miss Cassie need to be heading home. The snow is starting to come down thicker...so pretty! Have a wonderful evening/night/weekend! Congrats again on the new releases! God bless!

    (Chaplain Debbie and Cassie head towards the door, hugging everyone as they go!)

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    1. Debbie and Cassie, Felicitations!!! So wonderful seeing you again! Blessings!

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  22. Oh this wild berry crumble is simply divine! *sipping mulled cider* I do declare these tea parties are wonderful. Listening to the delightful conversation about the books is a great way to spend an evening. Just don't mind my mob cap. ;)
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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    1. Your mob cap looks perfectly starched, unlike mine, Susan! And the mulled cider tonight is divine, isn't it! So glad you could visit with us!

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  23. Congratulations on the new book releases! Great tea party. Sorry I'm arriving late. Had to work.

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  24. Guess the party was over in the little while I had to leave. Sorry didn't get to say goodnight. But, look forward to our next tea. I do so look forward to them. So, will bid you good night. Maxie

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    1. MAXIE, thanks so much for coming to the Tea Party! Hugs!

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  25. SO sorry I'm so late for the tea party - snow & ice prevented my arriving here sooner, a stop on my way to visit my aunt - who lives in a neighboring town. I would so love a mulled cider, if there be any, to warm myself - before starting on my way again.

    Misses Sleiman, & Kraft, have written such lovely new books, with wonderful storylines - I enjoyed each of them immensely!

    Thanks for your kindness, hoping I'll be able to arrive at the next tea party - in a timely fashion!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Glad you could make it, Bonnie. Better late than never.

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  26. Oh, I just love tea parties and Christmas one makes it all the more exciting. thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  27. Don't know why my comment yesterday didn't post but I also want to Congratulate Dina and Tamara on your new releases!

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  28. Sorry to have missed the party, but I want to add my congratulations and best wishes to Dina and Tamera. Blessings and much success!!

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