My Thanksgiving weekend plans

My scribbled list for the long weekend ahead holds a healthy mix of work and play, in fact, most To-Do items overlap in an enjoyable blend of domestic duties and favorite fall pastimes.

There are Cortland apples to be picked and later sauced with cranberries; I’ve got a canning swap on the calendar ahead and need a few dozen jars of fruit butter to exchange. So we’ve penciled in an orchard outing with friends and there will be a hay ride and apple pie too, of course. It’s Thanksgiving weekend after all.

The ‘coons have been in my beet patch, enough of a prompt to get the rest of the root vegetables harvested. Autumn is my ideal time to garden, with scarlet leaves under my feet, an invigorating wind blowing, and the whispers of winter haunting the earth with patches of early morning hoarfrost. The chill in the air is the perfect excuse to light a campfire and warm hands that have been burrowing in the damp soil to bury tulip bulbs.

My trusty black canning pot sits on the floor of the kitchen where Clara can crawl over at least five or six times a day and beat her hand on its lid like a drum. This weekend, however, it will be simmering on the stove, ready to welcome a few dozen jars of preserves. I have a case of tomatoes threatening to spoil if I don’t roast them into a sauce rightthisminute, a spiced pear & ginger chutney to jar up, and the aforementioned cran-apple butter to set in motion. It’s going to smell exceedingly good in my kitchen. [Read more…]

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

This week has been a busy blur of Christmas preparations, wrapping up projects, getting greeting cards out and a hundred other small tasks. Each day I packed lunches and got Danny and Noah out the door to work and school before starting on my own day, which inevitably went too fast. And on top of everything, I developed a cold. Again.

We’re ready for a break, a long one, and it starts this afternoon when Danny wraps up work for two weeks and Noah has holidays to match. We’ve planned a quiet Christmas, (no back-to-back parties, thank you very much) and I am looking forward to putting my feet up with my knitting project and a plate of cookies.

Today’s post doesn’t offer any last minute appetizers, turkey tips, entertaining pointers, or menu suggestions. I figured you had probably had enough of those! Instead, I’m sharing a little peek into our home this Christmas. Welcome!

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Home for the Holidays: Bloggers without Borders

Christmas isn’t just about giving and getting (although we’re so excited to bring your our annual giveaway week) which is why for this year’s Home for the Holidays, we wanted to highlight some great organizations doing amazing things. Specifically, five organizations that are near and dear to our hearts. I hope that after reading this post, you’ll take a minute to browse the other SLM sites and learn a bit about our favorite charities.

I’m so excited to spotlight Bloggers without Borders today as it is an organization that occupies part of my time, much of my thoughts, and all of my heart.

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A Thanksgiving Dessert Twist: Black-Bottom Maple Pumpkin Pie

Written by Shaina of Food for my Family.

Sheets covered the couches to protect them from the greasy little hands that would scoot away from the table and be wiping their hands on them faster than you could spread butter on your roll. The kitchen was always bustling, but it was full with only one body, that of my grandmother.

She would hurriedly but with great precision move pots and pans from stove top and oven to serving dishes, all lined up with serving utensils and ready to be whisked away as if by angels out to the dinner table.

Still, if you stood silently and perhaps offered to take a dish to the table for her, you could observe the magic from the corner of the room. If you happened to do so, you’d notice first that the encore to the meal was nowhere to be found.

A plate with carved turkey, homemade gravy in a decorative boat, the dressing in its bowl, a gelatin mold, cranberry sauce, vegetables and baskets upon baskets of rolls to be slathered in bright yellow butter, but the room was void of any sweet eats.
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St. Patrick’s Day Feast: Guinness Beef Stew

Written by Shaina Olmanson.

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Tomorrow, in fact. I’ve been cooking up a few Irish-inspired meals for the family to celebrate with stews, corned beef and plenty of potatoes. You’ll find no green beer here, but a pint of Guinness may be consumed by the of-age participants.

With Chicago dyeing the river green, parades and people dressed as leprechauns, it’s hard not to get swept up in the magic of St. Patrick’s Day and embark on a treasure hunt for that pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. It all begs the question: What is St. Patrick’s Day really?

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