When in Doubt…

Sometimes you just can’t remember exactly what that protocol rule book would have instructed for the situation you’re in…

Not sure what to do? Just remember the very reason that protocol exists:

Always put others’ needs, wants, and comfort before your own: ask yourself how your actions and words will affect those around you.

Love and serve your fellow man.

Galatians 5:13-14

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Busy Season

Hey, y’all!

So sorry I haven’t been posting lately. Life has been extra crazy these last few weeks due to traveling, starting up the lemonade stand at another farmers market, and lots of music.

I’ve decided it will be better to take a bit of a vacation from the blog, and hopefully start back up in August or September.

Until then!

Dance Etiquette Basics: Before the Dance – What to Say, etc.

Now that we know how to respond to the invitation, and how to choose what to wear to the dance, it’s time we discuss what to say.

What to Say

Gentlemen, if this is not your area of expertise, I recommend not over complicating this part. Simply walk up to a girl, politely get her attention (say her name, or “excuse me, ma’am,”), and ask, “May I have this dance?”.

Ladies, when presented with this offer, your response should be something similar to, “Certainly!”. If you would rather sit this one out, be straightforward, and say something like, “I’m not dancing this one, but thank you!”.

Mr. Darcy asked Lizzie if he might have the next dance. Even though Lizzie, at the time, was striving to loath the man, she did the polite thing and agreed to dance with him. (found on Pinterest, as always… This is a scene from the Pride & Prejudice film with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen.)

What Not to Do

Gentlemen, unless she is your wife, do not ask the same girl to dance multiple times in a row. In some settings, it’s best not to even ask the same girl twice in an evening! But, use your judgement here. You do not want to monopolize her evening, and (if the ratio of ladies to gentlemen is as it usually is) you want to give other girls the opportunity to dance.

Ladies, do not refuse to dance with one man, then accept the offer of another man for the same dance. If you especially want to avoid dancing with a man who has just asked you, you may politely decline (as stated above), but you should sit out for that whole dance. This is more honorable and considerate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope y’all are set to have a wonderful day with loved ones, reflecting on what a wonderful life we’ve all been given!

I found this Norman Rockwell painting on Pinterest… From best-norman-rockwell-art.com.

Do you ever wonder what other folks are feasting on for their Thanksgiving meal? Here’s our menu this year, along with the names of the folks preparing each dish:

  • Turkey (smoked by Daddy!)
  • Dressing (Uncle Craig & Family)
  • G-F Dressing (Daddy)
  • Cranberry Sauce – No kidding: we actually eat this out of a can – no changes made. It’s one of probably 2 or 3 foods I can ever remember eating like this regularly… (Mama)
  • Green Fluff – You know… That delicious, unidentifiable green fluffy stuff that’s served cold and probably has Jell-O and marshmallows in it… It’s amazing. (Mama)
  • Broccoli Souffle (Aunt Carol)
  • Rolls (Aunt Carol)
  • Sweet Potato Casserole (Grammy)
  • Fruit Salad (Grammy)
  • Squash Casserole (Grammy Evelyn – Haha, yeah, we call both grandmothers the same name… So, I have to delineate by adding one or the other’s first name…)
  • Pies – Possibly chocolate pie and caramel pie??? (Great Aunt Lou)
  • Pecan Pie (Aunt Carol)

Since the menu was shared by the whole family, each household only needs to prepare a dish or two. Plus, this way everyone’s able to contribute. It adds that special dynamic of family recipes and memories…

Festive Fall Table

Last year, Daddy bought Mama a set of each color (at the time: red, cobalt, green, yellow, orange) of Mainstays dishes.

At the time, this color was not available… But, this is the kind we purchased – Mainstays 16-Piece Round Dinnerware Set ($26.88). Click on the image to see it at Walmart.com.

So, this year, I was able to set a festive, fall-colored table using all but the cobalt.

It is so simple, affordable, and festive. We paired them with alternating green and gold napkins (avoiding setting the gold by the yellow, or the green by the green…). On the table, we have a white (off-white would work great) brocade table cloth, covered with an off-white lace cloth. A centerpiece of a few varying-sized pumpkins – some white, some orange – makes for an excellent fall table.

 

 

Recipe: Homemade Tomato Soup

Once again I find myself getting ready to type out a recipe for something that… doesn’t have a recipe. But, I can at least walk you through the process of how I like to make this. 🙂

 

Tomato Soup

  • Tomatoes (peeled fresh, or canned – diced, crushed, whole… anything that’s just tomatoes)DSCN9271
  • Fresh Garlic (pre-minced should work fine, if you don’t have fresh)
  • Onions
  • Butter and/or Bacon Grease (for sautéing in)
  • Chicken and/or Beef Base
  • Brandy (I’d never added this before, but Daddy splashed some in, and it was delicious! But, you only want a hint.)
  • Water, as needed
  • Cream, if desired
  • Fresh Basil (I used some fresh-frozen that we had grown this past summer.)

Sautee onions and garlic until golden and tender.

Add tomatoes and basil. Let this simmer for awhile, to allow the flavors to meld.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until you reach the desired consistency. With just a stick/immersion blender, you probably won’t be able to reach a perfectly smooth consistency. But, we like it this way!

Taste your soup. At this point, you can start playing around with the rest of the ingredients, until you reach the flavor you want. If the tomatoes are just too sharp, add a little beef base. If the soup lacks flavor/depth, try adding chicken base. Brandy will add some depth and character, but you only need a little. Water helps thin it out, and cream makes it a little more mild… and creamy. 😉

Serve hot. We like to serve it alongside grilled cheese or cheese toast. The other night, we served it with some delicious gruyere mac & cheese!

Enjoy!

Review Some Feasting Basics

With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about family get-togethers, gift-giving, and feasting. Here are a few basics you might want to review with the family prior to the holidays:

For children (Yes, trust me, they can do this! It just might take a little practice.):

  • Remain seated at the table until you have been excused. Ask to be excused if necessary.
  • Never complain about any of the food (this goes for adults, too, of course). Instead, be gracious and try everything.
  • Be considerate by remaining quiet, or carrying on pleasant (“inside voice”!) conversation when appropriate. No rowdy behavior at the table!
This is a favorite Norman Rockwell painting that I edited just a bit to show a little of what I'm talking about...

This is a favorite Norman Rockwell painting that I edited just a bit to show a little of what I’m talking about…

For everyone:

  • Your napkin goes in your lap.
  • The salt and pepper always travel as a pair. If one is asked for, both are passed.
  • Be aware of your elbows. Family gatherings often mean tight seating arrangements, so try not to invade your neighbor’s personal space even when cutting into that steak…
  • Always thank the host, the hostess, and compliment the cooks. This makes for positive, uplifting conversation.
  • Wait to start eating until everyone has been served.
  • Try to keep the conversation appropriate to mealtimes (e.g. Avoid disturbing/gross topics, etc.).
  • Being an adult does not win you the right to complain about the food, or be inconsiderate by appearing “picky”. Please don’t ever make a big deal about foods you won’t eat. Be gracious and try everything. It’s simply not that hard.
  • If you or a loved one has food allergies/sensitivities, now is not the time to make a fuss over it. In fact, the topic does not even have to come up at the table. If you’ve brought special food, allow it to be enjoyed, but not as a focal point. It’s just not all about you. It’s about a feast, family time, enjoying the blessings that God has given us.