Tags Posts tagged with "Thanksgiving"

Thanksgiving

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I’m a self confessed stuffing snob.  I love it so much, and look forward to it so much when Thanksgiving rolls around that I take it super seriously.  It has to have the right blend of texture, ingredients and spices, and when they all come together it’s magical!  This is by far my very favorite stuffing recipe.  You can eat it alone for your Thanksgiving meal.  It’s THAT good.  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

CRANBERRY-CORNBREAD STUFFING

 

4 cups cranberries

1 cup water

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 pound sausage meat, cooked and crumbled, with drippings

9 cups baked, crumbled cornbread (3 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix, baked)

1 cup diced celery

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 teaspoon sage

1 small unpeeled red apple, cored and chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup applesauce

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer ten minutes, or until berries are tender.  Drain off juice.
  3. Combine drained berries with the remaining ingredients. Turn into a greased casserole and bake one hour.

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and although most of us look forward to a big Thanksgiving feast with family, the prep work and festivities can feel overwhelming at times!  It takes a lot of planning and patience to have a stress-free holiday.  Here are some tips to make it a truly enjoyable season for everyone involved!

 

 

1. Get organized. As Meghan Trainor says, “All the right junk in all the right places”.  A stress free Thanksgiving starts with a clean and organized home.  If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, hire someone a week before to come in and least do the deep cleaning for you, or ask a friend to come in and help.  Clean and organize your fridge, as well as your oven and kitchen areas.  Put stray papers and knick knacks away so all of your prep surfaces are free from clutter.  Wash linens for guests, and make sure necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, and toiletries are well stocked. You don’t want to have to make last minute trips to the store for your guests.

2. Plan your meals.  We put a lot of emphasis on Thanksgiving dinner, but make sure your other meals are planned out for the week as well, especially if guests are coming into town.  Make casseroles, or meals you can prepare easily.  Don’t break your back slaving over fancy meals for your guests, because you’ll be on your feet enough on Thanksgiving day!  Write down a menu and ingredient list for the week, and stick to it!

3. Don’t wait until the last minute.  Start preparing now. Buy your turkey and all the trimmings ahead of time.  You’ll be glad you did when the grocery store lines are a mile long next week!

4. Delegate responsibilities.  Typically family and friends are happy to help. If you have a large guest list, ask Aunt Norma to bring the green bean casserole, and cousin Sally to bring games to keep the kids entertained. Ask each family/guest to contribute in some way and everyone will feel needed and appreciated, and you’ll feel less stressed.  It’s a win-win situation.

5. Plan your menu.  Pin down your guest list first.  It’s key to know how many people you are cooking for. Figure out how you’re going to cook your turkey, how long it will take, as well as all the side dishes you want well in advance. Pinterest is a great tool for finding new recipes, but so is asking friends for their tried and true Thanksgiving side dishes!  Consider having a Thanksgiving recipe swap party to share and try your favorite Fall recipes!

6. Budget wisely.  Hosting Thanksgiving can easily become expensive. Asking everyone to bring something helps with this, but also make sure you have enough silverware, dishes, chairs, etc. to accommodate everyone.  If you don’t, consider borrowing these items to limit your cost. Simplicity is key.  Remember that your guests are there to spend time with you.  We want our home to be welcoming, but that doesn’t mean it has to look like a Pinterest board or break our budget.

7. Make a plan for the kids.  Adults are happy to just to sit and chat, but kids may need a little more direction with how to spend their time on Thanksgiving Day. You’ll be busy cooking, so make sure to designate another adult or older cousin/friend as caregiver/wrangler. Make sure the kids have activities, games and/or crafts to do to keep them busy while you’re busy.

8. Don’t forget the leftovers.  Make sure you have plenty of storage baggies and take home containers on hand for leftovers.  Sending your guests home with some leftovers frees up space in your fridge and ensures you’re not eating turkey until Christmas.  It will also make clean up a breeze!

What are some Thanksgiving tips you would recommend? We’d love to hear from you! 

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Most of us look forward to the holidays, because who doesn’t love family, food, and fun?! But if you’re in charge of Thanksgiving dinner, you know how things can get a little chaotic and dare I say stressful… because let’s face it, it’s not easy getting a huge meal prepared on time for a whole bunch of family and friends! Here are some practical and easy Thanksgiving hacks to make your day go a little more smoothly!

 

 

1. Put newspaper under your tablecloth

If you’re using your best table for your Thanksgiving feast, you can protect it from heat stains, spills, and cutlery dings by laying down a layer of newspaper before putting down your tablecloth. You’re welcome!

2. Use a cheese grater to grate cold butter for pies

Homemade pie is the best!! But the very best pie crust calls for super cold butter, which is hard to cut! Grating it with a cheese grater gives you the perfect size pieces to form your dough with.

3. Use paper plates as splash guards

Gravy and whipped cream (and other recipes) that may call for a handheld mixer can also be messy! Lessen the splatter by poking a hole in a paper plate, fitting it on your mixer and over the top of the mixing bowl. Voila! Your very own cheap and easy splash guard!

4. Keep food warm in a slow cooker

Make mashed potatoes ahead of time and keep them warm in a slow cooker until it’s time to serve them. You can also keep your turkey warm and moist this way!

5. Keep gravy warm in a Thermos

Keep your gravy warm the entire meal by storing it in a Thermos! Less stress and more room on the stove!

6. Invest in a Turkey Lifter

Sometimes the trickiest part of Thanksgiving dinner is lifting the cooked turkey out of the pan! Instead of fumbling with forks and utensils, you can buy a turkey lifter which cooks with the bird, easily lifts it up and can be thrown into the dishwasher.

7. Have the kids make place cards

Keep the kids busy by having them make place cards for the guests! Give them some crayons, stickers and other craft items that they can decorate the cards with. They’ll have fun, and the adults will be able to chat and enjoy visiting.

8. Make a “Gratitude” door

Another fun activity for everyone! Cover one of your doors on the main floor with butcher paper and leave a bucket of crayons close by. Every guest can write all the the things they are grateful for on the paper. It makes for a great visual.

9. Drape dish towel over your KitchenAid mixer

Things can get a little messy when you’re using your mixer. Simply drape a dish towel over your KitchenAid when using it to avoid unnecessary splatter!

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It’s “Pumpkin Everything” season, but call me crazy… I have never been a huge fan of pumpkin pie. However, I DO love me some other pumpkin desserts, so I’ve been on a quest find some of the very best! It’s the perfect weather and time of year to turn the oven on and fill your home with the scent of freshly baked goods.  Give some of these delicious pumpkin dessert recipes a try!  (Your family will thank you!)

 

 

 

 

 

1. One-Bowl Chocolate-Pumpkin Swirl Cake with Chocolate Ganache

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2. Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

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3. Pumpkin Delight Dessert

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4. Pumpkin Crumble Bars

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5. Double Pumpkin Poke Cake

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6. Easy Pumpkin Swirl Chocolate Brownies

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7. Pumpkin Roll

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8. Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

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9. Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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Thanksgiving is this week and whether you are hosting the big day or traveling to someone else’s home, we have some fun activities for the kids in your life.  We searched Pinterest and found some easy and FREE printables to keep the kids busy and hopefully instill a little thankfulness in their hearts. Check out our Pinterest page for more ideas on kid friendly Thanksgiving activities.

 

 

Thankful Turkey Paper Bag Puppet – This was originally a Sunday School teacher’s lesson for her class, but would work great for any number of children during a Thanksgiving celebration.

thankfulturkey

Thankful ABC Sheet – Not only are they thinking of 24 things to be thankful for, but it encourages creativity and it can be a conversation starter.

Thankful ABC Page

 

Thanksgiving Coloring Sheets – Print out some of these coloring sheets and put out some crayons. This is super easy and even big kids can get in on the fun.

colorpages

Thanksgiving Word Search and Other Activities — Maybe you want more than just coloring pages, here are some word searches, puzzles, table decorations and much more.

tdayprintables

Start a Conversation with these Thanksgiving Conversation Cards.  Put one at everyone’s seat and see what your friends and family are thankful for.

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Make a Blessing Tree! This is an awesome way to showcase all your kids are thankful for this year.

blessingtree

 

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Judging by this hilarious video that just went viral, I am not the only one who completely loses their cool about the cleanliness of his or her home before company arrives.  My favorite lines from this video are, “Hurry… if you haven’t made your bed, throw it away, it’s too late to make it now.  Company is coming.  Get rid of the couches, we can’t let people know we SIIIITTT!!!  The chairs need to be pushed in.  There cannot be any sign of living in this house.”

I’d be really interested in meeting the person who has never overreacted like this just minutes before the doorbell rings.  Is it actually possible to have your home pristine and company ready at all times, especially if you have kids and/or pets?  Considering the popularity of this video, I’m guessing no. But I have been making more of an effort the last couple months to keep my home a bit tidier so that I could actually enjoy these busy holiday months and not fret if someone unexpectedly pops by.  And really, who wants to be running around like a chicken with her head cut off the entire week before company arrives?

I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite cleaning tips. Hopefully you can put some of these hacks in motion, and get the work done in time to enjoy a clean and relaxing holiday.

Get Rid of the Excess- You’re really going to want to make this your first priority. If you don’t throw away or donate the items in your house that are no longer serving a purpose, you will be caught in a perpetual loop of cleaning, caring for, and moving these items.  This is a massive waste of time and energy.  Getting rid of the those things you no longer need will free up emotional and physical space.

Have Your Supplies Ready and Accessible- Whatever your favorite tools and supplies for cleaning, be sure to have them gathered and ready to use.  Who wants to waste time tracking down the glass cleaner that you left in the laundry room in the basement, when you’re ready to clean the bathroom mirror upstairs?  The best way to solve this problem is to invest in a sturdy cleaning caddy with a strong handle.  You can carry the caddy with all the supplies you will need from room to room as you are working your way through the house. Another option is to keep caddies under each sink (with childproofing locks, of course) with all the supplies needed to clean those specific rooms.

Sit Down and Watch an Episode of “Hoarding-Buried Alive.” 

I’m only half-joking on this one.  This show produces magical motivating properties.  I think it might actually be scientifically impossible to watch an episode and not feel an undeniable urge to get up and start cleaning.

 Do Another Round of Purging  Now that you’ve watched that episode of Hoarders- go ahead and do a double take on your belongings.  Chances are, your home is filled with items you no longer use.  Go through each room with especially critical eyes.  Ask yourself, “Do I still need this?  Do I even like it?  Do I have items that could serve more than one purpose?  Does any of this stuff frustrate me?  Do I have things that make me sad or that weigh me down?”  I have learned from my years as a professional house cleaner that most people have actually come to resent their “stuff.”  Most of the emotional attachments we have to things aren’t even positive.  Do you still have all those ticket stubs from the concerts you went to with your ex?  Does it really make you happy to see that box in your closet every day when you’re getting dressed?  How about old bank statements, artwork that doesn’t do anything for you, clothing that doesn’t fit or is outdated.  How about furniture?  Do you enjoy stubbing your toe every day on that love-seat that doesn’t quite fit the space you have it in?  The bottom line is…  

Start From the Top and Work Your Way Down- One of the best things I’ve learned is that you will save yourself a lot of trouble if you clean each room from the top to the bottom.  You don’t want to wipe down your furniture and baseboards, and sweep and mop your floors, only to get them dirty again when dusting the blinds and ceiling fans. 

Your Vacuum is your Very Best Cleaning Tool- I use my vacuum as my primary duster.  It’s so much easier to use the wand from my vacuum to dust because it actually traps the dirt instead of dispersing it into the air.  I also use the wand with the brush attachment to clean along my baseboards, ceiling fans, blinds, etc.  Before wiping down bathroom counters, you can use the vacuum wand to suck up hair (especially if you have a man that shaves and leaves behind all those tiny hairs) and even bits of dried toothpaste.  This little trick will save you so much time and elbow grease.  When you’re cleaning- just make it a rule to have your vacuum with you at all times.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is your Second Best Cleaning Tool- Do I really need to say more on this one?  We’ve all used them.  We all love them.

Put Things Where They Belong Right Away- I grew up in a home where we had baskets of stuff every where.  It was my mom’s way of keeping clutter at bay.  If something was out of place in the living room, she would throw it in a basket at the bottom of the stairs.  Eventually these baskets would fill up and become a huge headache to empty because the contents were so random.  Save yourself the trouble of “Clutter Baskets” or piles, or drawers, or closets…and just put the item where it belongs the first time you touch it.  If it’s trash- throw it away.  If it’s a document that needs to be filed…file it.  If it’s laundry, either launder it or hang it back up.  Everything in the home should have its own designated place.  If it doesn’t, it’s most likely crap and you can feel justified in getting rid of it.


Keep it real.  Let’s face it…nobody’s house is always clean. So relax and focus on doing what works for you and your family, and forget about how clean so and so’s house was when you went there for that Christmas party two years ago.  What really matters is how you feel each day when you walk in your own home.

Here are a few more awesome tips from some of my friends and family.

  • Wash jeans in cold water with a little vinegar (no detergent).  Hang or lay flat to dry.
  • When putting kids clothes away, roll them up into outfits.  It takes a bit longer, but it makes it so much easier to get the kids dressed in the morning (and easier for their daddy to help them).  If the kids are old enough, they can dress themselves and mom can rest easy knowing they will match.
  • Run a dryer sheet along the baseboards after you’ve cleaned them.  This will keep dust from building up on them.
  • There’s no need to dry clean a down comforter.  Just use a mild soap, and throw clean tennis balls in the dryer to keep the feathers from bunching together.  The blanket will come out fresh, fluffy, and clean.
  • To unclog a drain, pour 1/4 cup baking soda into the drain, and them pour 1/2 cup vinegar.
  • To clean a dirty microwave, place a bowl filled with vinegar and nuk it for a few minutes. The condensation will soften the debris and make it much easier to wipe down.
  • To get blood stains out of clothing, pour hydrogen peroxide on it.
  • If you have a habit of not finishing your diet cokes, pour what is left around the brim of your toilet bowl and let sit for an hour and then flush.  The corrosive acid will break down any stains.  This might also help you break your soda habit.  Yuck!
  • Empty your vacuum canister often to help with the suction.
  • Go through your closet twice a year and donate what you haven’t worn in the past six months.  Then turn all your hangers the wrong way.  When you wear something, turn the hanger the correct way.  This will allow you to see which garments you have not worn in the past six months.
  • Organize your closet into groupings of tank tops, short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, and long sleeves.  This will help you find what you’re looking for much faster.
  • Before Christmas and Birthdays, go through your children’s toys.  If they don’t play with them or if there are missing pieces, donate or toss them.
  • Hang a magnetic board to the wall in your bathroom.  Put magnets on the back of your make-up, brushes, eye liner, etc. and hang them.  This frees up counter space and saves you time.
  • Put a shoe organizer inside your garage or closet door for hats and gloves.  It would also be a great idea to put one in the back of your car for wipes, diapers, umbrella, snacks, etc.
  • Keep a plastic cereal container in your car lined with disposable shopping bags.  When you stop at a gas station, you just toss the trash bag and line the container with a new bag.
  • Always put extra trash bags in the bottom of the trash can so when you take the trash out you have a clean bag ready to go.
  • If water minerals make the tub look funky, sprinkle a little powdered dishwasher detergent and use a scrub brush.  This will cut down on elbow grease.
  • Almost anything can be safely cleaned with baking soda, vinegar, or blue Dawn dishsoap.
  • Use newspaper to clean mirrors and windows with no streaks or fuzz left behind.
  • Teach your kids to clean!  When they’re toddlers, they want to help, but it can often be frustrating when you can do it faster yourself.  However, if you accept what they CAN do and continue to show (trying not to criticize or redo), they do get better and their help will become very beneficial.
  • Wrap Christmas presents as you get them.
  • Color code your cups or glasses for each child.  This will cut down on dishes.  This also works with towels.
  • Clean, chop, and bag your produce the day you bring them home so they are ready to eat throughout the week.
  • Rethink storage furniture.  Almost anything can be multi-functional if you are creative enough.
  • Use baby oil on stainless appliances after you clean them to leave them shiny.
  • Make your own wood polish out of olive oil and lemon juice.  Rub it on with a clean sock, and then buff with a second clean sock.
  • Throw a few ice cubes and a wrinkled shirt in the dryer for 10 minutes…ironing done.
  • Toss citrus wedges in the garbage disposal to keep it smelling fresh.
  • Keep a magic eraser in the shower and use it to wipe away the soap scum every day after showering.  Bonus…Naked housework! 


I hope you all have a very healthy, happy, and clean Thanksgiving! 

Thanks for the input, Shannon Foote, Christy Parr, Amanda Malnar, Tricia Schroeder, Janette Coleman, Meghan Harrop, Melissa Smith, and Ali Griffith.

By Janet Schlosser @ forgetthefinishline.blogspot.com

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Need a last minute craft idea to dress up your front porch for the Holidays?  This project is versatile, dramatic, and simple.  My talented friend, Amanda Malnar, came up with the idea for this adorable sign, and I think you will absolutely love it.  

 

 

 

 

 

I used a 1 by 10 common board and cut it to 6 feet tall.

You can use any wood stain or paint color you like.  I chose a weathered gray so it would coordinate well with the brick on the exterior of my home.  But you can skip this step altogether if you prefer the look of natural wood.

If you do choose to use stain, brush on one coat and wipe clean with a rag.  This will allow the natural grain of the wood to shine through.

I just printed letters on plain computer paper. Then I cut them out, placed them evenly, and traced around them.

Next, I used a small paint brush and a creamy paint color to fill in the letters.

 

Once the paint dried, I used a fine grit sandpaper sponge to distress the board and the letters a bit.  I prefer the weathered look, but you can choose to skip the sandpaper and keep the letters nice and crisp.   My next step will be to trace and paint the word “Peace” on the other side for Christmas.  It’s going to be so nice to save storage by getting two holidays out of one decoration.

I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

By Janet Schlosser @ forgetthefinishline.blogspot.com