Christmas Shopping

I think I’m about done with my Christmas shopping. I love getting to go gift shopping! But, even at the holidays, I try to shop smart. Here are some of the best places I found:

Click the image to go to the website.

  • K&G (They have great prices on fashion jewelry, men’s ties, etc., so it’s perfect for gift shopping.)

Click the image to go to the website.

  • Ross (This is an all-time favorite. Though they have lots of clothes, they also have quite a lot of fashion jewelry, purses, luggage, misc. electronics, and home items. The prices are awesome!)

Click the image to go to the website.

  • Burkes (I put this in the same category as Ross. I think I prefer Ross, but Dickson only has a Burke’s. 🙂 Luke and I did find some deals here, though.)

Where do you like to shop for gifts?

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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…

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.

Recipe: Spritz Cookies

This week we had our first “winter weather”… Meaning, for us, a mixture of sleet and snow.

We still have some green grass, lots of falling leaves, and occasional warm weather. But, winter precipitation calls for action. This time, it meant that Luke made one of our favorite Holiday traditions: Spritz Cookies.

This is the recipe that our family has used… forever, I guess. 🙂

Spritz Cookies

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening

Cream this, then gradually add:

  • 3/4 cup sugar

Add and beat well:

  • 1 egg

In a separate bowl, sift together (then add to shortening mixture):

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash+ salt

Add:

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • green food coloring (optional)

Fill cookie press with dough; press onto baking sheets. Add festive sprinkles (optional).

Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

Christmas Cards

I just got an email this morning from Vistaprint, announcing that their Christmas cards are 50% off right now!

I’ve used Vistaprint many times now, over the past few years. The products are professional, the customer service is awesome, and the site is very user-friendly.

So, if you’re looking for a good place to buy customized Christmas cards, look no further. 🙂

Click on the image to go to Vistaprint.com.

Plus, you can even customize your own gift tags, or fun products like mugs and phone cases.

They have so many great designs, or you could upload your own!

‘Tis the Season…

… for boiled custard, A Charlie Brown Christmas, holiday scents simmering on the stove, choir practice for caroling, and stealthy shopping for loved ones.

(by Frances Tipton Hunter… Found on Pinterest)

For that perfect seasonal scent in your house, simply fill a small pot with orange peels, cloves, cinnamon, and water. Keep it on a warm eye on the stove all season! Just refresh ingredients and water as needed.

 

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving/Christmas traditions?

 

In General…

… Leave a place BETTER than you found it. (Pick up trash, sweep the floor, arrange the throw pillows nicely… Whatever you can do to show you care.)

… Return borrowed items PROMPTLY, and in top-notch condition.

… Treat other people’s houses and property BETTER and with MORE respect even than your own. (Just because you don’t care about wearing shoes in the house, does not mean they don’t care. Just because your couch has had lots of little dirty feet on it does not mean theirs has, etc.)