Tag Archives: holiday

Thanksgiving Wrap-up

29 Nov

Wow, what a week!  It feels like I haven’t posted in forever!  I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend with much love and family and/or friends.

My Thanksgiving was wonderful…mostly, but I’ll get to that.

I tried to spend all day Wednesday in the kitchen in the attempt to get everything pre-made as much as possible so all I would have to do Thursday is the turkey and gravy.  Nice thought, but real life happened and I only got a few things done in advance.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Kelly, and her family stayed with us and she was a HUGE help all day Thursday.  We would have eaten on Friday if it wasn’t for Kelly.  Thanks, Kelly!

We chopped, we assembled, we baked, we washed dishes, repeat.

We made delicious food, I must say.  My little stove got some major action.

I was in charge of the stuffing, of which I made WAY too much!  But, it was delish and I am still eating the leftovers.  I made it with cornbread,  sausage, roasted chestnuts (yes, I roasted chestnuts), mushrooms, and granny smith apples sautéed in white wine. Yum! I love digging through and finding all kinds of treasures.  I’m weird like that.

Then, much to my husband’s chagrin, I made brussels sprouts.  I think I converted a few brussels sprouts haters over to the dark side.  All I can say is everything is better with bacon!  Even my husband loved them.

I wish I had a picture of our turkey!  We got a 27 pound fresh, organic turkey from our store, of course, and it was the best turkey ever.  We brined it in the morning and cooked it without stuffing for about 6 hours.  It was a beaut!

I also made a pumpkin goat cheese cheesecake that was absolutely sinful.  I made it for my mother-in-law, Patti, who was turning 70 on Saturday.  All of her sons were there to sing Happy Birthday to her. Happy Birthday, Patti!

I really wish I had a better camera so I could capture how pretty the table looked, but you’ll have to just use your imagination.  I think it turned-out quite lovely.

We gave each couple a small jar of local raw honey to take home with them since most everyone was visiting from out-of-town.  My new antique dishes mixed beautifully with my china, thanks to my lovely daughter.  Thanks lovely daughter!

I think the coolest part of the table was the thankful tree.  We placed bowls with little paper leaves in them on each table and asked people to write what they are thankful for and hang it on the tree.  That was our centerpiece.  Here is the undecorated tree.

Did I mention I love sparkles?

Here’s a view of part of the table from upstairs.  Don’t look at it too long or you’ll get dizzy, or maybe it’s just me.

Here’s a peak at the kid’s table.

And the “teen table”…

I think everyone had a nice time.  I know I did…until…

I ate something funky that didn’t agree with me.  I know what it is, but I’m not going to say.  I will say that it had oysters in it and cayenne pepper; not a good combo for my tummy, apparently.  One minute I was washing dishes and the next minute I was lying on my bed unable to get up.  Such a bummer!

Not only did I miss the big family picture, but I missed dessert!

Thankfully, the ladies all pitched-in and finished the dishes (all 3000 of them) before they left.  What a blessing!

And I was fine the next day:)

Happy Thanksgiving from the Bradley Bunch!

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Thrift Store Blessings

22 Nov

I have been to our local thrift store so many times during the past two weeks, I know the guy who helps unload your car by name; it’s Juan.  Juan and I are becoming buddies.  I may need to bring Juan a Christmas present.

I drive a suburban, and I have filled the back of that baby several times.  Look at the funny face my son is making.

Once I got started, my whole family caught the de-clutter bug.  My two big kids were both in their rooms last week getting rid of clothes that didn’t fit, toys they don’t play with and books they don’t wish to read for the 10th time.

The funny this is, I never asked them to clean-out their rooms, they just did it.

Every morning I get up to find old pants and t-shirts in the trash that my husband doesn’t want anymore.  He got the bug!  I just add them to our thrift store bag to bring to Juan.

I have noticed a peace in my brain that I have not had is several years.  They other day, my hubby came home and said that it seemed quieter in our house.  I looked at him like he was insane because the kids were making a ton of noise at the moment.  I knew what he meant, though.

I had been accumulating “stuff” to do something with “later”.  I really wanted to have a garage sale and sell some of my “stuff” on Craigslist of Ebay.  I had some nice “stuff”.

Every little thing that I was going to do something with, was taking up room in my brain…cluttering my brain.  Like I need more clutter in my brain!

So I let it go!  My brain is much less cluttered! This is good.

Today, after my daily drop-off at the thrift store, I decided to go in and take a look around.  I think I had some morbid curiosity about the fate of my “stuff”.

I found EXACTLY what I needed to complete my Thanksgiving table service;  four white dishes with a gold rim and TEN matching bowls!

Aren’t they purdy?  Not only are they classy, but they are antiques!  I looked-up the marking on the back and discovered they were made by Zeh Scherzer & Co from Bavaria, Germany.  The mark on the back commemorates their 50th anniversary in 1930.

Just for giggles, I tried to find some other pieces online on Ebay and Replacements.com and the closes I found cost $25 per plate.

Want to know what I spent?  $4.99 on the whole box!  SCORE!  That’s, like .36 cents per piece.  My dear hubby is so proud of me:)

It just goes to show you, give a little to bless others and you will surely be blessed.

Dressing or Stuffing?

22 Nov

There’s no difference between stuffing and dressing, according the The Food Lover’s Companion.  Both are mixtures “used to stuff poultry, fish, meat and some vegetables.”

The Joy of Cooking differentiates between the two by saying it’s stuffing if you put it in the bird, and dressing if you serve it on the side, but the National Turkey Federation says that “both terms are used interchangeably.”

I read somewhere that the term dressing became popular because the term stuffing didn’t sound mannerly.

Who cares?

I LOVE it!  I love it so much that I have been dieting all week so I can eat as much as I want.

I love it so much that I am serving three different dressings/stuffings on Thanksgiving.

I will stuff my bird, but the majority of our dressing will be made the day before and cooked in a separate dish.

Since we are hosting 300 people…I mean 25 people, my mother-in-law is making several things and bringing them to help out.  I am so grateful!

One of the things she is bringing is Oyster stuffing.  Hmmm.  I have had this once at my sister-in-laws house and just don’t get it.

I think it’s the fishy thing with the turkey thing that just doesn’t jive with me.

That was a few years ago, so I am going to give it another college try this Thanksgiving and see if my taste buds have matured.

In light of the oyster stuffing selection, I will be making a cornbread stuffing with sausage, apples, and (Lord willing) roasted chestnuts.

I am getting hungry just thinking about it.  I will be altering several recipes to create my own pan of deliciousness!

Here are the recipes I am pulling from:

Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Apples by Pioneer Woman

Buttermilk Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage by Country Living

I am also going to try a southern-style dressing that I think my kids will enjoy.  Really, I’m just trying to keep them out of my stuffing.  I found a good one by Paula Dean, but I’m going to try one from Shoshanna at the Bulk Herb Store.  I love her.  If you watch her video, spend some time checking-out some of her other videos.  She is awesome.

The southern dressings are more like a pudding with a bunch of eggs.  I love my dressing all chunky with lots of bits of yummy things.  So I thought the contrast would be good.

No matter what you call it, enjoy it.

Antique Store Miracle

14 Nov

I am so proud of myself:)

I have been looking around for a good deal on dishes for Thanksgiving.  I am serving 27 people and currently have 14 mismatched dishes.  The problem is that I have champagne taste and a beer budget.  I also love antiques.  Antiques equal pricey…usually.

So I drug the kids to an antique mall near my house and scoured each space for a set of dishes that I could use for Thanksgiving.  I found several beautiful sets that ranged from $250-$600.  A bit over my budget.  Not to be discouraged, I continued to hunt.  Low and behold, way down on a bottom shelf far off in a dark corner, sat MY dishes.  Well, they weren’t mine yet, but they were just SCREAMING my name.

Check-out these beauties:

Cute huh?

OK, so it’s not a complete set, but you’ll never guess what I paid.  Forty-five dollars!  I was doing the happy-shopper dance right there in the store.  My kids would have thought I was nuts, but they  were too busy glued to the TV set in the corner.  Those kids are like moths to a flame around a TV.

Anyway, I just love the delicate flowers and the gold around the rim.  It is going to be perfect for my Thanksgiving table.  The set is by Smith Taylor circa 1930’s and is made in the USA.  It came with 10 dinner plates, 10 soup bowls, a platter, a covered vegetable dish,  5 tea cups with saucers, 3 salad plates, a few little dessert bowls, and a sugar dish with no lid.

It was such a crazy deal that the lady at the register called the vendor just to be sure it wasn’t a mistake.  As she removed each price tag from the dishes, I asked her if I could keep them to show my husband what a great deal I got.

When I got home, I started showing him this huge pile of price tags that ranged from $6 per plate to $29 each for the veggie dish and platter.  He was getting very nervous.  Then I showed him my receipt for $45.  He kissed me and said “Good job.”

SCORE!

Maybe it was not quite a miracle, but God was smiling on me for sure.

Clean-up Mission #2

13 Nov

Counting today, which is half over, I only have 3 more days to get my house de-cluttered.  That wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t homeschooling my kids and driving all over San Diego for their various activities.  But I am determined to get my house in order for Thanksgiving, when it will be filled with family from all over the United States enjoying each others’ company in a nice, tidy home.

So I had better  get on with Mission #2: the landing.

For some reason, the landing has taken itself very literally and has become the “landing” spot for every homeless thing in the house.  Time to find a home for this stuff.  Much of it will be going in the trash:)

I also thought I would add a mini mission to this post: the breakfast nook floor.

     Although not as dramatic as the landing, these piles of books have been equally as irritating.   I moved a bookcase out of my kitchen a few, ahem, months ago, and they just never made it out of the kitchen.

Most of these are keepers, so I just need to put them in a box and put them somewhere until I can buy another bookcase.

Boy, I like the after posts much more than the before posts.  How about you?

I only have two hours to work on this today, so I had better get cracking!

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

8 Nov

Hospitality is becoming a rare commodity in our society.  I understand.  We are so busy trying to feed our own family, we rarely have time to extend an invitation to others.  This has been largely true for our family in the past three years.  But that is about to change.

My husband and I both have the gift of hospitality.  It’s our love language.  We love cooking for people and watching them enjoy the meal.  Someday, if we completely loose our minds, we may open a restaurant.  We’ll see.

In the meantime, we will be hosting a large portion of the Bradley family for Thanksgiving this year.  So far, I estimate about 26 people.

I have begun the task of counting chairs, dishes and glassware, and I am falling short.  You know what that means…shopping opportunity!

I came across this “Sparking Thanksgiving Table Setting” on the Southern Living website.  It was just screaming my name.  If you haven’t noticed, I LOVE pink!  I especially love classy touches of pink.  My kitchen has pink glass knobs, for example.

 

This is the adult table.  Isn’t it dreamy?  I already have a gold table cloth and we use silver-plate flatware every day.  I just need to count it all and buy a few more pieces at my favorite antique store in town.

I found some gold chargers  for $1.98 each.  Not quite as cute as these, but they will do nicely.  My stemware from our wedding also has a gold rim.  Perfect.  My biggest problem is that I just don’t have enough of anything.  There will be a lot of mix-and-matching going on at my table.  That’s the price I pay for having my kids wash dishes.

 

I love this china.  It’s so delicate.  These candle sticks were from a thrift store and painted gold along with some apples.  I have no idea what I will do for a centerpiece yet.

 

This is the teen table.  I think I will have seven kids ages 10-17.  I will have them sit at their own table with sparking cider and less expensive dishes.

Don’t you just love this table cloth?  I do, but I’m not sure that my nephews will.  I think I’ll stick to the cream one that I have.

 

This is the kids table.  Too cute, huh?  I love the little woodland animals.  My kids already have a little table (formerly a coffee table) with little chairs  in our kitchen that they use every day.  I will turn that into their own Thanksgiving table that they will share with two of their cousins.  I’m thinking melamine dishes:)

Well, there it is.  My inspiration.  I’m excited to see what I can come up with on my little budget.  I’ll be hitting antique stores and wholesale marts to see what I can find.  Wish me luck!