The Leaves are gone!
Well, the leaves are all gone...and the snow will be here in no time!
This is without a doubt, our favorite time of year. My husband and I enjoy this time more than any other Holiday or season. Friends and family gather, there's cheer in the air...and the decorations make you smile!
I've started my Holiday Baking and of course really enjoying myself. My hubby will jump in every now and then to sample or help out for a bit. Usually more of the sampling! Making homemade goodies for friends & family has been a tradition for over 20 years. I have my Holiday Cards selected and ready and will get them out next week! I don't enjoy the STRESS of the Holidays......so I really try to take a few pro-active steps...so I don't wind up in a panic two weeks before Christmas! If we plan accordingly.....like purchasing one small gift a month during the year.....we're ready when December comes. Not everyone want's a sweater or Winter Item....buy something spring or summer! I usually have my presents purchased no later than December 10th...and wrapping done by the 15th. This way I can spend the rest of the days before Christmas planning our Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes. It's a wonderful Old Italian Tradition that I spoke of in my "Traditions" Blog Post. I also have some chicken and pasta on hand for those who do not enjoy the fish as we do.
Try and Remember these three things and make your Holiday Season more enjoyable and less stressful:
1. Plan ahead and purchase small gifts all year long...so all you have to do is wrap them in December.
2. Pick a few time slots during the year to at least address your Holiday Card Envelopes, and schedule one or two TV Night's in December to write out your Holiday Cards instead or while watching a Christmas movie....That aught to put you in the spirit!
3. Christmas is a time to Celebrate the birth of Christ (whether you believe or not - It's His Birthday!) and to celebrate our family and friends. The presents are a bonus! Don't go overboard (unless you can & want to). It seems sometimes we complains about how much we have spent - after it's over. It's so not necessary. Show the Love & Kindness, really listen...and be PRESENT with all you encounter. When you shop for people - really know & listen to what they like & want. It's not about what WE think is cute. Sip on a peppermint mocha or some winter beverage. Enjoy yourself - whatever you do!
Blessings to you this Holiday Season & Always! Happy Baking or ORDERING! Contact me to find out more.
Please leave your comments! They add in the fun......Tell us about how YOU prepare & stay calm during the Holidays.
A little Turkey Day History
Good Morning! What do you think of when you think Turkey Day? I've been searching the web and the vast archives of museums and libraries in search of a vintage image...and here you go.
We all learned the Native Americans celebrated Thanksgiving with pilgrims in New England in the 1600s, but this year marks the 150th anniversary of Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday. In 1863, right in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the last Thursday of November would be a day to celebrate “the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies,” as well as the soldiers and their families.
You could probably have guessed that the modern Turkey Day feast—Butterball birds, mashed potatoes, gravy, et al—was not what was served at the original feast, and that these “traditions” have been morphing for decades. According to Edward Winslow, an English leader who attended that first meal, there were various types of fowl (most likely geese and ducks) and venison. Governor William Bradford, another pilgrim, also mentions wild turkey, as well as Indian corn. igeons—as Foodways Culinarian Kathleen Wall explains, “Passenger pigeons—extinct in the wild for over a century now—were so thick in the 1620s, they said you could hear them a quarter-hour before you saw them. They say a man could shoot at the birds in flight and bring down 200.”
Pumpkins and squash were also native to New England, though today’s familiar pumpkin pie would not have been present. According to Plimoth Plantation, “The earliest written pumpkin pie recipes are dated after the First Thanksgiving, and they treat the pumpkin more like apples, slicing it and sometimes frying the slices before placing them in a crust.”
Linda Coombs, an Aquinnah Wampanoag and director of the Wampanoag Center for Bicultural History at Plimoth Plantation, guesses they ate "sobaheg," a Wampanoag favorite: a stewed mix of corn, roots, beans, squash and various meats. Plus the easy-to-gather local food: clams, lobsters, cod, eels, onions, turnips and greens from spinach to chard.
So how did turkey get to be the Thanksgiving bird?
Two hundred fifty years after the original Thanksgiving dinner, one of the hottest cookbooks in America, a collection of recipes from Ohio housewives called the Buckeye Cookerie, suggested a bunch of 'traditional' Thanksgiving dinners, and many of them, says Beahrs, ignored the turkey:
[Buckeye Cookerie] suggested oyster soup, boiled cod, corned beef, and roasted goose as good Thanksgiving choices, accompanied by brown bread, pork and beans, 'delicate cabbage,' doughnuts, 'superior biscuit,' ginger cakes, and an array of fruits. Chicken pies were a particular favorite and seem to have been served nearly as often as turkey (usually as an additional dish rather than a substitute).
We Americans have adapted and adopted many of our own Traditions and have been adding different types of our favorite foods for centuries.
PLEASE share some of your favorite Holiday Traditions and give our readers some of YOUR ideas so we may continue some of the Old and Many NEW Recipes and ideas to come! This is why America is the Melting pot! Ever changing, ever adapting, ever great!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING & MANY BLESSINGS TO YOU & YOURS!
Some comments and facts taken from Krulrich Wonders....and NY Historical Society.
GETTING A START ON ORGANIZATION
Sometimes it’s the little things that can cause disharmony or arguments in the household. Try these few tips to start the organization process. You'll be amazed before you are halfway through, how much better you'll feel! If you were able to read my blog about 7 Holiday or Anytime Stress Relievers...it’s true that Organization offers a sense of control and peace of mind, and there’s a number of ways we can improve in this regard. If you’re the kind of person who’s always running around, it can help to make lists so important things aren’t missed. If you’re the kind of person who feels edgy in their own house due to unnecessary clutter, tidy up. Studies have shown the mere sight of clutter can put us on edge and cause symptoms of nausea or depression!
So here we go! These are a few easy things to get us started:
1. KEYS: Keep your keys from getting lost by giving them a specific place where they go the minute you walk in the door. You can use any of a number of key hangers available in a diversity of styles. You may choose to go a more inexpensive route of just mounting a hook for the keys on a wall or other nearby surface. If you have multiple sets of keys — including backup sets of your house keys and keys to locked sheds, second or third cars, and relatives' houses — store the ones you use every day in your "key Area", and the back-up sets should be kept in a safe place that everyone in your household is aware of.
2. UMBRELLAS: Umbrellas should be stored standing up. If laid on their side, the ribs can get damaged. The best umbrella stands allow for air circulation around the umbrellas so that they can dry effectively when brought in out of the rain. You don’t necessarily need to run out and search for an actual umbrella stand. Wicker or wire-mesh trash baskets will work perfectly fine!
3. SCARVES, HATS, GLOVES: Scarves, hats & gloves are usually thrown on a shelf or hung on hangars in your closet right? One way to keep them neat & tidy and not seen to the naked eye when opening up a closet is to put them in pretty colored storage bins.
4. FOOTWEAR: Shoes should be put away or kept neatly on a mat or on a movable supporting rack so that the floor underneath can be cleaned on a regular basis. In a formal foyer, you can use mats placed inside the closet under the coats. In a less formal entryway or where there's no closet, use attractive shoe racks to hold shoes and boots. You may also consider fun baskets for each family member (to keep in mud room or out of site from your guests). This encourages everyone to put their shoes in their basket! Shoe racks are a low-cost item and really help wet or damp footwear dry.
5. PHONES & OTHER FORMS OF COMMUNICATION: Create a “Communication Area”. This will include your cell phone charging area, possibly near your home phone. It’s great to keep a Bright and Cheerful message pad here to jot down important messages, calls, etc…..as well as a communication Pad of Paper to leave little love notes or Reminders. I love this area we implemented long ago. We always know where to look for important reminders.
6. CALENDAR: Whether it's a desk pad calendar or one for the fridge….A VISABLE ONE is highly recommended. With everyone on technology overload….it seems as though we have most of our appointments and dates on our smart phones or electronic calendars. If you don't live alone, its fine for you, but there may be some conflicts if your family has no idea of what your schedule looks like. To avoid this, either “Share” your electronic calendar, or write it
down, visible to the entire family.
7. MAIL: Set up a mail station in your kitchen or office that will be the designated “mail area”. If you have open space on your wall, mount wall files like those used for magazines, or hang a decorative home made fabric pouch. I labeled mine: “New Mail”, Bills to Pay”, and “Follow Up”. If you have a table in your entryway, use trays or bins to keep mail under control. Whatever storage solution you use, keep it out in the open as a reminder of your things
to do, but in an easily removable bin so you can hide it when guests come over!
8. WORK STATION FOR COOKING: The first and most important rule here is to keep your cooking and prep area CLEAN. I use an antibacterial spray before and after cooking and also put all cutting boards in the sink and spray on a cn antibacterial cleaner with bleach to disinfect them after every use! Change your dishtowel and dish rag at least every other day and after each use….soak in the sink in dish soap then rinse in hot water. Also for easy prep & cooking, Clustering your basic implements and ingredients you regularly use in cooking, can make meal preparation quicker. Self-contained units do the trick here. Keep often-used utensils on a lazy Susan, (or in specific drawers or cabinets near your cook area). I love the new Silicone Flexible cutting and prepping mats. Easy to use…pick up & drop into pans or pots and then also easy to rinse off & clean.
9. KITCHEN TABLE: Use this for that reason. Meals, having your morning cereal, coffee, etc. and maybe opening mail or reading. Try avoiding using this space for storage or laundry (unless you just fold & remove)….If one person want’s to actually sit down for it’s purpose…avoid the argument by helping to keep this sacred area neat & tidy. You can beat clutter and the general disorganization of your table space by "centerpiecing" whatever is stored on the table and by keeping the table prepared for meals such as having the napkins, salt & pepper always in the center of the table.
10. DRESSER TOPS: Good rules of thumb; Whatever is on top of the dresser should be self-contained! Some items are ok for your dresser top; ie: your jewelry box, a man’s jewelry tray,
accessory bin…or anything that you put things into. It’s not like strangers or your company will be trampling through your bedroom….but you never know, and why not keep things put away?! Other things like cosmetics and toiletries are best suited for your bathroom – unless you get ready in your bedroom mirror, then keep your cosmetics in a bag or box stored
away and take it out for use. Many a fight has arisen between spouses or significant others, over cosmetics and toiletries taking over a counter or sink area! I speak from experience;)
These are just a few simple steps to start tidying up and getting organized. I hope they are helpful! Who knows, they just might take a bit of stress out of your life and keep Your Happy home Happy!
More organization tips to come - stay tuned - leave your comments - share with others!
With the Holidays approaching fast, I cant help getting a little Nostalgic. A big part of my memory growing up was my Mom's cooking....especially around the holidays, family gatherings and other special occasions. I was blessed to inherit my mom's collection of over 30 cookbooks dating back to the 1940's!
I'm in nostalgia heaven today going through some of the recipes she had *Starred off* as a reminder of a "Good One". You know when you see "Lard" or Spry" you are reading an older cookbook. My mom's potato salad was to die for and her Turkey Stuffing was second to NONE! Over the years I've been able to perfect both and carry this tradition forward. One of the things I loved most about my husband when we first met was his strong sense of "Family" and the level of importance his parents played in his life. For twenty five years I've been collecting his Mom's and Grandmother's recipes as well. I'm happy to say, my husband say's I've perfected all of his childhood favorites!
Another tradition we have is collecting Christmas ornaments every place we travel. Our two grown sons "got it" and have given us many to add to our collection.......from their childhood "school art" ornaments to current one's from around the globe...Our Christmas tree has a lot of history! A few others are roasting chestnuts, eating seven different kinds of fish for Christmas Eve (the feast of the seven fishes: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/12/13/christmas-eve-italian-style/ an old Italian Tradition), having many different kinds of fruit and desserts after dinner, along with Cappuccino or Espresso. Drinking Eggnog with Nutmeg while opening presents on Christmas morning is always on the top of our list.
I know today that having Traditions in my life is extremely important and has given our children stability and the inkling of creating their own family traditions now that they've grown into adults. Our older son now has his own Thanksgiving Dinner (not on Thanksgiving) with a group of his friends. They absolutely love and look forward to this gathering every year! Exciting to see Traditions, in any form being started and carried through year after year. Making more memories of good Food, Family and Friendship will always be a part of our lives.
What are some of YOUR family traditions? I'm looking forward to hearing about them all! Please leave me your comments....maybe they will give someone else a good idea!
As always, Happy Reading.....and here's hoping you will continue yours or start some new...Teach your Children while they're young! It really gives them something to look forward to large or small. Have a blessed day!