November, 2007

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Craft Fair

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Dave and I are hosting a table at our church’s Christmas Craft Fair this coming Saturday and Sunday. So we have been diligently working to put together everything we want to try selling. Over the weekend I finished 4 homemade “poinsettia” wreaths. (I took pictures so I could post how to make them.) I’ve also been working on homemade Christmas cards to sell. Dave will be bringing maple syrup, maple sugar and a couple of maple themed gift baskets as well as some pine bough Christmas decorations.

Yesterday Dave began our Christmas newsletter. I’m usually not fond of the idea of mass producing a newsletter for everyone. There are just so many people back in Illinois and even family around here that we haven’t been able to spend time with this year and I still want them to feel part of our lives. And thus is born the mass produced newsletter. So this morning I added some things to the letter too. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get our Christmas cards in the mail before Wednesday.

This week, I’m also working on putting up our Christmas decor. A dear friend of mine is coming from Illinois in early December so I’m also getting the house ready for her visit. I’m so excited to have her visit. The year before Dave & I got married I didn’t spend much time with her or her family and this year has zipped by without getting to see her at all. So we have some catching up to do!

Thanksgiving

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

We had a really awesome Thanksgiving; even though both Dave & I were sick. My voice was absolutely zapped so I sounded like Minnie Mouse all day. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law and their baby were also sick, but none of us any worse than a nasty cough.

Dave’s mom made a great feast for the seven of us present. We had a marvelous turkey, chestnut & sausage stuffing, kale, butternut squash, creamed onions, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, biscuits, gravy, ambrosia, pumpkin pie and apple pie. And we brought home some great leftovers too.

After dinner we took a drive down to New Haven to drop our sister-in-law off so she could travel back home for work today. I felt sorry for her having to work the day after Thanksgiving, bummer. When we got back, we had dessert and came home because by then our colds had gotten the better of us.

Today we are doing some much needed household & yard projects. Dave got his new snow blower delivered this morning. It is poised in the garage awaiting a great snowfall.

Thanksgiving Family Recipes

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

This morning, I’m headed over to my mother-in-law’s house to learn how to make a couple of Dave’s family’s recipes. I’m pretty sure the Chestnut & Sausage Stuffing is New England fare, but the kale made with onion, kielbasa, oatmeal dish is Northern German.

My family isn’t much of what I might call “food traditionalists”. No real secret family recipes or food traditions except for maybe Christmas. My parent’s use to order half-cooked pizzas from our favorite pizza place (which has since closed) on Christmas Eve so we could cook them “fresh” for dinner Christmas Day. Thanksgiving has frequently meant anything but turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pies. From what I remember neither of my Grandmother’s are (or ever were) much for special family recipes either. I suppose that isn’t entirely strange though. Spending all that time cooking probably doesn’t appeal to a lot of families these days.

I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY desire to get into to all those food traditions. I want there to be special HOMEMADE recipes that only get fixed maybe twice a year and everyone loves. None of this stuffing from a box, mashed potatoes from a box, pie from a box and pre-prepared turkeys. Now I just need to master these culinary art forms! I already make a pretty yummy mashed potato and I’ve made one or two decent turkeys. Oh, and I’m getting the hang of homemade gravy too. So I’m looking forward to learning a couple of new (to me) traditional family recipes today.

One thing I wish one of my Grandmother’s had been good at and shown me how to make is a biscuit. Biscuits and I mean great biscuits are rare and I certainly can’t make them. Bisquick just doesn’t cut it. A nice buttery, flakey melt in your mouth biscuit is what I want to learn to make. I need to find a nice old Southern grandma to teach me biscuit making!

Our First Anniversary Weekend

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

For our first anniversary, we decided to go to Philadelphia. I made arrangements to stay at a 4 diamond hotel in Center City (downtown) Philadelphia. I also made arrangements with the hotel before we left to have a bouquet of flowers waiting in the room to surprise Andrea. The bouquet included Calla Lilly’s which were in Andrea’s wedding bouquet.

The weekend was a great getaway for both of us. We had leisurely Friday evening and I surprised Andrea with several James Bond movies. The cabin we rented in Minnesota for our honeymoon had all of the Sean Connery Bond films and we watched them on our honeymoon. We called it ‘Bonding’ when we would sit down to watch one in the evening.

We spent Saturday visiting different sites around the city. We saw Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Franklin Institute. We also had Philly Steak sandwiches for lunch. For dinner, we went to an upscale Mexican restaurant.

We left Philly on Sunday morning to drive down to the National Cathedral in Washington, which is a shrine dedicated to Mary. We thought it was fitting that on our first anniversary we honor Mary by going to mass in her shrine. It was a wonderful High Mass with a full choir. After Mass we drove down to the National Mall and saw a few sites there before heading over to the Maryland shore for dinner. We arrived back in Philly in the evening.

We drove home Monday, but not until we stopped at the Delaware and New Jersey state high points. We’ve been trying to visit the state high points and we visited the Iowa state high point on our honeymoon. We also drove on the Lincoln Highway (another pet project of mine) on our honeymoon new Philadelphia and so on our first anniversary we drove a section of the Lincoln highway west from Philadelphia connecting our first anniversary with our honeymoon!