Archive for the ‘ Holidays ’ Category

I set up my dining room 10 days before the holiday, because I have a lot of people and a lot to do before Thanksgiving in between working. Some years, I set a very formal table, and this year I was in the mood for a more rustic look. I make all the food from scratch and choose to shop at many different markets so I can get the highest quality foods possible.

I’m having 12 guests so I need 2 tables. This is the main table.

Chocolate turkey pops are the place cards, set on top of my granny’s English china from 1945.

Second table pushed against a wall leaves plenty of walking room and seating for 4 more.

Gotta have a horn of plenty!

Buffet table right in the dining room so it’s easy to get up and get 2nds or 3rds! I use boxes under the table cloth to raise the back row of food. You can get a lot more on the table that way, plus it’s easier to reach the back food and it looks nicer. I put notes inside each plate/bowl so I know what goes where.

 

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If you’re like me, you find that the countdown to Christmas is much more exciting than the actual holiday. I thought a lot about why. It’s the decorating, planning, shopping, baking and wrapping that create the excitement. When the actual holiday comes, I enjoy it, but that anticipation is gone and I allow the thought of it all being over to somewhat depress me. Plus our daughter goes back to college. This year, I am going to work on controlling my thoughts better, living more in the moment and not worrying about what will be when it’s over.

No matter how I try to control my thoughts, there will always be January 1st, when I cannot wait to get the decorations down and put away and the house cleaned of pine needles.

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It seems to me that this holiday season is arriving way too fast. I’m not really ready yet! But today I compiled a list of events going on in Greater Fort Lauderdale in December and it started to get me in the spirit of things. It made me think about my childhood and how my paternal granny took me and my sister to see the Nutcracker at McCormick Place in Chicago. It was always amazing, and I’ll cherish those memories forever.

Now to really get me in the mood, it’s about time for me to break out the holiday crafts!

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I’ve always found it to be depressing to see Christmas decorations in stores this early. But for some reason, it’s not bothering me this year. I wrote an article about all the indoor shopping malls in my area, and as I studied all the mall websites and saw all the holiday gifts and deorations, I began to get excited about the holidays.

Last year, my family bought gifts and provided dinner for a very needy single mother and her 8 children.  This year, I’d like to help a US veteran’s family. There are so many ways we can all reach out in our communities at Christmas time.

If you have any ideas about ways to get involved helping in your community this holiday season, please share them with us.

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The fondest memories I  have of one-on-one time with my daughter as she was growing up were when we were doing crafts together. This time of the year is the best time for crafting, and although my daughter is away at college and I miss her terribly, I try to carry on the tradition of creating fun crafts all on my own.

 

My home craft closet

One of my favorite past times is to wander around a craft store to see the latest craft products and get ideas for new projects. There’s so much out there that it’s both overwhelming and exciting!

Here are links to some of our favorite crafts:

Painted Wood Ornaments
Christmas Shadow Boxes
Colorful Glass Ornaments
Child’s Dinner Tray
Adorable Sock Snowman

Now I’m off to the craft closet to see what inspires me!

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© Bobbie Peachey, http://webclipart.about.com

 

If you have a child, niece, nephew or friend in college or just want to mail a care package to someone special, here are some ideas for your box:

  • Homemade canned soup
  • Homemade jam
  • Homemade ginger spice cookies
  • Pumpkin spice coffee
  • Candy corn
  • Halloween candy
  • Pumpkin carving kit
  • Halloween or fall themed socks
  • Stickers
  • Fall-colored hoodie or long sleeve shirt
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown DVD
  • Slippers
  • Scarf
  • Halloween make-up
  • Mask
  • Wig
  • Fake spider web

 

You can get the best ideas for your box at the grocery store, superstore (like Target or Wal-Mart), coffee shop and costume shop.  Here are more tips.

 

 

 

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We don’t have weather changes in South Florida to mark the onset of fall, but my birthday, which is 2 days away, always does the trick. The leaves may not be changing, and the air conditioning may still be running, but I know fall is here. To celebrate the season, my favorite thing to do is to make or buy a Halloween costume and also to start planning my Thanksgiving dinner. My family actually has an official Thanksgiving  meeting to discuss who we are going to invite, what theme we will have, and most importantly, what will be on the menu. The pies and flavors of ice cream seem to stir up the most heated discussion. We always buy our fresh, hormone-free turkey at the same place, The Delaware Chicken Farm in Hollywood. It’s got the best poultry you can find anywhere!

Last night my husband and I Skyped to have our traditional meeting with our daughter at college and her friend, who is coming home with her for Thanksgiving . We chose a theme, which I will not share with you just yet. You’ll have to wait until I post photos after the holiday. But in the mean time, feel free to take a look back at some of our previous Thanksgiving celebrations:

Thanksgiving Table Settings

Chocolate Cornucopia Centerpiece
Thanksgiving Day Preparations
Make a Paper Bag Turkey
Thanksgiving Pies and Breads
The Long Process of Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Whatever you choose to do for Thanksgiving, make it really special!

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After visiting a haunted house at Gulfstream Village in Hallandale, I got inspired to start decorating my house. I decided to make a scarecrow that was not so cute this year. I stuffed his torso with a giant roll of bubble wrap and shoved beach towels in his legs and arms. His eyes will light up at night too.I can’t wait until it gets dark tonight! Hey, if you love to dress up for Halloween why not enter the Seminole Hard Rock Costume Contest? They’re giving away $25,000 in prizes!

Now if I could just stay away from the Halloween candy all month . . .

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Tree Tops Park

 

Well, here in the South Florida tropics we don’t have much of an autumn as far as weather goes. But people are really into the entire fall festival and the pumpkin thing here nevertheless. We have to surround ourselves with things that put us in the fall spirit. One of my favorite places to go in the fall is Tree Tops Park in Davie, FL. There are no autumn leaves or cool breezes now, but there’s a vibe in that park that is reminiscent of a cooler place, with its big shady trees and wide open spaces. There are many birds, fish, butterflies and turtles at Tree Tops Park that really make visitors feel like civilization is far away.

Baking Ginger Spice Cookies and making fall crafts are always great ways to get that fall feeling too. Among my favorite crafts are wreaths, felt Halloween ornaments, making a scarecrow and of course, carving pumpkins. As far as pumpkins go, did you know that we cannot put pumpkins, carved or uncarved, outside here on our porches, because the heat and humidity rot them immediately. In fact we cannot keep a carved pumpkin inside the house for more than 24 hours either, as it starts to mold. In addition, farmers cannot grow them here even in the winter because the temps are not cool enough. At least we can buy them at our farmers markets and at church pumpkin patches and pretend that it’s fall, even though it’s just like summer.

I hope it’s fall wherever you are.

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