Monday, November 27, 2006

Around the corner

Thanksgiving has passed and you know what that means! Christmas is right around the corner! Now, I know there a lot of you out there that have started putting out Christmas decor. In fact, I'm sure some of you have even put up your tree. I, however, can not even fathom putting up anything until December 1. I don't if it's because I primarily have Winter decor with a few Christmas touches and don't count my Winter season starting until December or if it's because I want to enjoy the Autumn season just a bit more. Whatever the reason, no cheery Holiday decorations in my house until Friday!

In fact, I even got a Christmas card(!) that is sitting forlornly on the counter, waiting to be placed somewhere!

The one thing I have started doing though is my holiday goodie making! So far I have pumpkin fudge, mock turtles, mallownut bars, and double peppermint bark all sitting in the freezer patiently waiting to be packaged up and given as gifts. I will be sharing those recipes and more with you as the weeks progress. Also on the list of goodies to make are thin mints, hard candy, peanut brittle, buttery cashew crunch, sugar cookies, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, and chocolate covered peanut butter cracker sandwhiches. Oh, and pretzel kisses (for lack of a better term) and truffles. I think that's everything!

I will also be sharing my simple Christmas/Winter decor (everything fits into three boxes!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey and the stuffing
Gravy in the boat
Let's all give a shout
For Thanksgiving--it's the most!
----Rhonda, age 6

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Taking a Thanksgiving Break

I thought I'd take a little break from Thanksgiving chit chat and talk about something else, especially with Winter and all of it's wonderful holiday's.

Have you ever thought about the way your house smells? Is this a question you even want to contemplate? If you are a vigorous or even moderate homemaker, your house most likely smells like whatever you clean with. And thus I give you this idea, gleaned from Brocantehome, in which Alison proposes giving your house a signature scent.

When I read of this idea I though it was brilliant. I make my own cleaners anyway and it would be easy enough to add wonderful fragrence to them. However, I of course had to go one step furthur. With my love of the Seasons and the way they are different, each having its own uniqueness, I decided to find a signature scent for each Season in my home. I have chosen lavendar for Spring, orange (or lemon) for Summer, rosemary for Autumn, and peppermint for Winter. Think about the scents you like and how they may fit into your home for a signature scent.

My favorite is a very simple recipe. It's for carpet fresher (like Love My Carpet, ect.) Simply fill a container (an old parmesean cheese container works fabulously!) with baking soda. Add 11-15 drops of essential oil of your choice. Shake. Let sit overnight. To use, simple sprinkle generously on the carpet and let set an hour. Vacuum up.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Tip!

"Think you could freeze it with one slice missing???"

This was a question posed to me recently in response to my pumpkin pie recipe that I posted. Here's a little tip I got from Paula Deen...

Cut a small sliver of pie to taste it, cover the top with whipped cream and no one will ever know!


Here are a few great ideas for Thanksgiving centerpieces!

1. Hollow out small sugar pumpkins. Fill with water and Autumn flowers!

2. This idea comes from Nick Jr. Magazine and is one that I am going to use this year. While dinner is cooking, let the kids go outside and gather nuts, leaves, berries, twigs, ect. Put all the findings in clear vases and set on the table. Not only is it a fun activity for kids, but it produces an attractive centerpiece too.

3. Place a small glass inside of a larger one. Fill the space between the glasses with cranberries. Fill the smaller glass with water and flowers.

And while it's not a centerpiece, I must say I *love* this idea from Monica over at Homespun Heart!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Well, guess what I did today? I made the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Already?, you may ask. But of course! Making pies ahead of time is one of the things you can do to get ahead of the game. Other things you can make ahead, freeze, and serve on Turkey day without stressing are stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, and other desserts. Heck, you can cook the turkey, slice and freeze it too, but I like to cook that on the actual day.

Here's the pumpkin pie recipe I used today:

1 9" graham cracker pie crust
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 small box instant vanilla pudding (I used sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350*. Whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, egg, and milk until well blended. Add in the pudding mix. Mixture will start to thicken. Pour into crust. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Cover (I used the plastic piece that comes with the crust) and freeze. Take out the day before serving and place in the refrigerator to thaw. Serve with real whipped cream for a homemade touch!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Decorating for Thanksgiving!

I love to decorate for the Seasons as well as for different holidays. I try to keep it simple! Here are the Thanksgiving decorations. This is a simple cornucopia that I made.

Here is the lovely Mrs. Staggs in her new home! Isn't she beautiful? She has made herself quite comfortable amongst the pumpkins and mums. I just accuired the metal pumpkins, turkey, and Give Thanks sign recently. I got them at a party supply store on sale! The mums were .88 cents a bunch and I think there are three bunches in there. The candles were $1.00 a piece. The candle holders were a gift several years ago from my mom. Mrs. Staggs, of course, came over from Merryville!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

History of Thanksgiving Part 2

At the turn of the century, retailers were using Thanksgiving to get a jump start on Christmas sales. Newspapers would count down number of shopping days until Christmas and, in 1921, Gimbel's held the first Thanksgiving Day parade to kick off the shopping season. In 1939 however, trouble arose. Thanksgiving was the last Thursday of the month and though that was usually the fourth Thursday, in 1939 it was the fifth. That meant only 20 shopping days until Christmas! So, still trying to dig themselves out the Depression, the National Retail Dry Goods Association asked PresidentFranklin Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving back one Thursday, saying it would boost sales. He agreed and announced the change. Political debates abound and since his change was only binding with federal employees and in DC, govenors of individual states had to ratify the decision for it to apply [to their own states]. In the end, 23 states celebrated Thanksgiving on November 23 and another 23 celebrated on November 30. Texas and Colorado celebrated both days and Minneapolis celebrated from November 23-November 30. However, retail sales did not go up as predicted. In fact, some retailers believed all the confusion caused the sales to drop. Fearing future presidents might do something similar, several congressmen introduced legislation to make the change (making the fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving) permanent. So, Roosevelt signed the compromise and Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the fourth Thusday in November ever since!

I hope you've enjoyed this look at the history of Thanksgiving. In upcoming weeks we'll be looking at ways to enjoy a relatively stress free Thanksgiving, traditions, and recipes!

Thanks again to Uncle John!

Friday, November 03, 2006

History of Thanksgiving Part 1

Today we continue our fascinating look at the history of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving started as a Northern holiday. All the Northern states celebrated it, but no Southern ones did. This isn't to say it hadn't been tried. Congress tried in 1777 and George Washington tried in 1789. Then, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed two days of Thanksgiving. One, on August 6 for Union victories and one on November 26 to celebrate a year "filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies." He did not intend to celebrate another Thanksgiving, however when General Sherman captured Atlanta in 1864, he again proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving. After Lincoln was assassinated, other presidents turned it into a tradition as a way to honor him. By the 1890's Thanksgiving was celebrated in almost every state in the Union.

On November 26, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a compromise bill: that Thanksgiving would always fall on the fourth Thursday in November, whether it was the last Thursday of the month or not. Why? Find out tomorrow as we go to part two!

Thanks again to Uncle John!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy November!

I thought I would start out the month with talking a little bit about the upcoming holiday. Today, I'll be dispelling some myths that you may or may not know about Thanksgiving!

Myth #1:The settlers at the first Thanksgiving were called Pilgrims.

Truth:Early Americans called all early colonists "pilgrim" and it wasn't until the 20th century that it was used exclusively to name the folks at Plymouth Rock.

Myth #2:It took place in November.

Truth: It was between September and mid October, after the harvest. It was a three day festival too!

Myth #3: They had a feast every year.

Truth: There is no evidence supporting this. The harvest was bad and they had new Pilgrims to deal with.

Myth #4: They ate turkey.

Truth: They ate deer, fish, clams, oysters, berries, plums, water, and beer.

Why is it celebrated in November? Why on the fourth Thursday? Why do we eat turkey? Join me tomorrow as I delve into the first part of the fascinating history of Thanksgiving!

all myths and truths presented today were taken from Uncle John's Ultimate Bathroom Reader