Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An early Christmas tradition

Each year after Thanksgiving, we have an annual tradition of visiting a neighboring town for their Light Up Night festivities heralding in the Christmas shopping season.  It's full of small town quaintness ~ decorated store-front windows, horse-drawn carriage rides, a holiday parade, carolers, hot chocolate and donuts, bonfires, luminaries lining the sidewalks, fireworks, and of course - 
a visit with Santa!!

The park pavilion to see Santa!

 It was a bitter cold night this year, but we were prepared!  We bundled up and braved the frosty elements.  My son and I had just finished writing out his list to Santa earlier that day. He didn't want to forget anything!

 We walked about the town, taking in the sites and sounds.  Christmas carolers filled the night air with their songs and the little shop windows were all aglow.  We stopped to marvel at the ones with animated displays and browsed through several of them in search of unique gifts for family and friends.

For a 4-year old child, this a magical time of year.  There's excitement and wonder almost everywhere at Christmas.  He marveled at the lights strung from the trees and at the horses pulling the carriages. 

Throngs of smiling people were walking around clutching their holiday purchases. Some were warming themselves by one of the corner bonfires, others waiting in line for a train or carriage ride. 

All of the nearby Victorian homes were decorated and lit up.  You could almost close your eyes and imagine yourself transported back in time to a Christmas long, long ago.

I don't know if my son was more excited to get to see Santa, or to watch the fireworks display at the end of the night!  He did get so excited that he forgot to tell Santa what he wanted!!

 Thank goodness I remembered to bring his list! :)

Hope this holiday season is your merriest ever!

Monday, November 29, 2010

An unexpected Thanksgiving

I hadn't planned on contracting the flu just two days before Thanksgiving.  I had been looking forward to having time off of work, to rock my domestic diva side - to cook and bake and decorate!  Instead, I was in bed with a 103 fever and a severe case of the chills the night before...and not a single thing ready!

Just when I gave up and assumed that either Thanksgiving would have to wait - or else my dear husband would be in charge of cooking this year, I got well enough Thanksgiving morning to drag myself from bed and get right to work.  
It wasn't the Thanksgiving that I planned - I had to scale back some of my more lavish plans...but the dinner turned out to be my best yet.  

I know some folks enjoy trying new things over the holidays - but I'm an old-fashioned girl at heart :)  It's all about tradition for me and my little family.   Tradition is what brings us comfort - knowing what to expect, having familiarity...it gracefully links us to the past :)  But that doesn't mean that tradition has to be boring or blah

Our Turkey Day Dining Room

Since it was just the three of us for our little celebration, I took my time and made everything just the way me and my guys like it!  We leisurely watched the Macy's Parade while I got things going in the kitchen.

As I do with every holiday, I re-used my son's seasonal artwork as the cornerstone of our holiday decor.  Some may find it tacky, but the little artistic treasures he brings home from daycare and school make my mama heart happy!  I save them from year to year to add to our growing gallery (the turkeys are my favorites!  The body is made up from tracings of his feet, the feathers from his hands!  Fun to see how they "grow" from year to year!)

I have them hung everywhere - and they never cease to bring a smile to mine and his daddy's faces :)

The centerpiece was very similar to the one I did last year...an assortment of gourds and my cornucopia that I fill with a mixture of roses and seasonal flowers.

The dining room awaits us!

I bought this turkey platter several years ago ~ I loved it for its heart-warming verse (I'm a sucker for quotes and the written word). 

Simple turkey transferware dishes - and a little turkey placecard holder complete the place settings. 

I bought these delicious mini baby pears at a farmer's market when I bought the gourds for my centerpiece.  There were a lovely and light snack for us as the dinner was cooking. 

Since it was just a small, informal family affair - I didn't have to do a kid's table.  But I STILL wanted to make the dinner kid-friendly!  So I put this cute little fellow atop a square pedestal at my son's placesetting.

Tweed Turkey Tee :)

Thanksgiving is NOT a time to diet!

Time to say Grace and eat!
We hope this Thanksgiving was a joyful and blessed day 
for you and your loved ones, as well!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nothing says lovin'...{and Thanksgiving Inspiration}

Like something from the oven...

As the November days grow colder, it's so nice to give your family a homemade tummy warming treat!   After all, pies aren't just for Thanksgiving!

We were all home bound over the weekend with colds, as the rain was pouring down outside and the winds were blowing our giant maple trees in a violent manner that looked as if they might topple over.  With nothing to do, and nowhere to go, I popped in "A Miracle on 34th Street" in the DVD player and headed off to the kitchen to make the guys a special treat...

Homemade Apple Pie

The aromas of nutmeg and cinnamon almost instantly filled the house, 
putting any store-bought candle or infuser to absolute shame!


Too bad no one has invented scratch-and-sniff for computers ;)

My son could hardly wait to sink his teeth into an appley, buttery bite!

Homemade delicious goodness!

This weekend I'll be in the kitchen again...
baking tasty pumpkin concoctions for Thanksgiving :)

Oh and speaking of Thanksgiving -
don't forget to take your turkey's out of the freezer!

If you're looking for some Thanksgiving tablescape inspiration,
Visit some of my previous Thanksgiving posts:

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Giving Thanks

Table Setting Anxiety

That smile was so worth it! :)
Happy Baking!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beauty is a Piece of Cake

What woman doesn't love to feel pampered? 

As a mommy to a preschooler,
and also as a career woman,
I seize every opportunity I get to indulge myself
because sadly it's usually pretty rare!

While in Toronto this past summer,
I feel in love with Cake Beauty products!

They're luxurious,
smell divine,
and make your skin feel baby soft and smooth...
loved and cared for!

And now through November 16th,
you can get any of their products
(excluding limited editions)
50% off!!

Just enter the promo code:
at checkout!

You (and your silky soft skin) can thank me later!

P.S. - I wasn't reimbursed in any way to promote these products,
just saw the promo code on Facebook and wanted to share!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Warm Frost and Holiday Thoughts

Autumn Greetings sign in my garden.

Each morning as I awaken to greet the day, I peer outside my window to see frosty covered rooftops and steam swirling from the houses - reminding me that we are now well into autumn, and winter's icy breath is blowing ever closer.  Brrrrr!  

With Halloween behind us, my thoughts have turned full swing to the holidays!  I've been spending my precious free moments (what are those you ask!?) to the projects and shopping that I'd like to have done for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

The workspace my husband built for me :)
I know I say this often, but being a working mommy, I have to stay organized so I'm a list maven!  I simply don't know how I'd stay on top of things if I didn't write them down.  Holidays have a not-so-kind habit of sneaking up on me.  Keeping organized and on track keeps special occasions somewhat less stressing for me and my family.  

I encourage each one of you as you make your holiday plans this year to take time to write out not only your shopping lists, but also your list of priorities and expectations.  What are the key ingredients to your family's holiday that you consider essential?  What are the things you would like to include but never seem to find the time?  What could you begin doing now that would save you some time/money/stress come December?  

I know I'll be asking myself these questions and more.  I realize there's a balance between being a go-with-the-flow person that seizes opportunities as they arise and the person that meticulously plans out every minute detail of their life...but I think the middle ground can be achieved.  

I'd love to know what you do to make your holidays a little merrier and more joyful.  Please share your tips.  The greatest part of blogging is the community we have with each other...to learn and inspire!

In the meantime, stay warm and toasty!