Wednesday, December 28, 2011

recipe box Wednesday

Realizing I have completely neglected my semi-regular feature on Wednesdays, today I have a new, EASY recipe that you can whip up in no time.

I claim no creativity here, I found out about it on the interwebs and I am sharing it with you, in this season of giving....

Do you love turtles?  (not the slimy ones, the candy kind).  I do, and my mother has always been a big fan.  My favorite turtles are from Tremblays (I have been to their stores in Stillwater, MN and  Hayward, WI),  here is their on-line store:

But with no time for a fun day of shopping in either of those picturesque cities, I made some!

Easy Turtles

1 bag of Rolo candies (you will need to unwrap them)
OR 3 or 4 rolls of Rolos (you won't have to unwrap the individual ones)
mini pretzels (I used the square ones from Snyders, and the stars from Old Dutch)
pecan halves, or whole cashews, or roasted almonds-choose your favorite nut!

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place pretzels on a baking sheet, top each with a rolo.  Pop in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes.  As soon as you take them out, use a spatula to slip them onto a cooling rack.  (this can be a little messy, so be careful, as the rolos are melting as you work).  The minute they hit the rack, top them with a nut and smash the rolo down a bit.

Let them cool (you will be very tempted to eat them all up-but they won't be as messy once they have cooled)!

Not as good as Tremblay's, but they sure work in a fix!  Sorry I have no photos, I ate them all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I must SHARE!

Long time blog readers will know of my absolute adoration for Susan Branch.  She sends out a wonderful monthly newsletter and writes an amazing blog.  She never fails to bring a smile to my face, and lift my spirits.  I own all of her cookbooks, which are some of the very favorites in my collection, and was even fortunate enough to meet her once and autograph my books.

(image from

I regularly check in to her blog, it is one of the best parts of my day when she has a new post.  This one I absolutely had to share-she is a movie girl like me- and this post is the most comprehensive list of wonderful movies ever!  So go here and be assured you will find something you have not yet seen:

Pop some corn, grab a cozy blanket and a cup of tea (or glass of wine!) and find a new personal favorite on a cold winter's night.

Thanks to Susan for sharing her love with us!

Monday, December 26, 2011

our Christmas baby

It was December of 1973 and my mom was expecting her third child.  At eleven years old, most of my friends moms were done having kids, so it was kind of strange to have a pregnant mom.  (She was 31 at the time, which back then seemed SO OLD to be having a baby, boy how things have changed!)

And of course at the age of eleven, all I was worried about was how much having a baby in our house would change MY life.  I had been five when my brother was born, and had been in total heaven helping to care for him.  But this, this was different.  I already knew I was going to be sharing a room with this new baby, which didn't sound fun to me at all.

Christmas eve we were at my aunt's house, busy eating snacks and opening gifts.  My mom seemed quieter than usual, and every once in a while I caught her wincing, hoping no one was noticing.  But it was Christmas eve, the BEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR when you are a kid, so I didn't pay too much attention to her.

When we got home, my brother and I were busy putting on our new pajamas, making sure there were cookies for Santa, and desperately trying to go to sleep.

I awoke early on Christmas day, as most children do, and hurried down the hall to see what Santa had brought.    I couldn't figure out why my aunt was there, on the couch, until she told me that my mom and dad were at the hospital!  Then it hit me, today would not be a normal Christmas day at all, I was getting a new brother or sister for Christmas!  (Bless my mom's heart, she wouldn't leave for the hospital until she had filled our stockings and put the gifts from Santa under the tree, she did everything she could to keep things normal.)

I remember my dad arriving home shortly after that, glowing and smiling from ear to ear, proudly telling Kelly and I that we had a beautiful new baby sister, and that our mom was resting and ready to sleep the day away.

We dressed in our Christmas clothes and headed out to my grandparent's house for Christmas dinner-it just wasn't the same without my mom.  Back then, kids weren't allowed to visit moms in the hospital, so we didn't get to see her until she came home a couple of days later.  With our amazing new baby.  And oh, she was the most beautiful baby ever born.  And she still is.

Turns out I LOVED taking care of her.  My parents would tease her that I was her real mom.  Which may be why we are so very close, to this day.

Happy Birthday to my amazing sister.  You are brave and strong, courageous and caring, kind and smart.  You are independent and the most incredible mom to your son. You were the best thing that ever happened to our family, and we are so blessed that you are in our lives!!!  LOVE YOU!

And I can't wait to help you celebrate in a few days.  After all, when you are born on Christmas day, you should get to celebrate for an entire week!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

...and to all, a good night!

Christmas Eve is here.

Will you spend it waiting in line at the grocery store, wondering why you didn't pick up milk a couple of days ago?

Will you be wrapping gifts and looking for extra scotch tape?

Are you all done, and ready to enjoy a quiet day with friends?

Did you stay up all last night completing things, and today just want a nap?

Or maybe you will be traveling, heading home to family.

Perhaps you have to work today, and look forward to leaving early to start the holiday.

My gifts are wrapped, but I have not started baking, so I am hoping to get a thing or two made in the morning before we head in to ACES.

And I will also take the time today, to remember Christmas Eve in the past:  Taking out the pink sponge curlers from my hair and putting on a skirt for our church Christmas program, looking forward to the candy cane sundaes we would have at Bridgemans after it was over.  Trying to get to sleep on Christmas eve-listening so hard to hear the sound of sleigh bells in the cold night sky.  Wrapping the presents my dad bought that day for my mom.  Helping my mom get treats ready for the evening's celebrations, so happy to be home from college.  Helping Charlie put out cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer, and staying awake until Charlie fell asleep so I could fill his stocking and put his gift from Santa under the tree.

It truly is, a wonderful life.

Merry Christmas to all!  May the love of family and friends surround you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

house full of memories

Since the holiday season isn't busy enough, we have recently started house hunting.


Yes, I have said this was the house we were never leaving, remember when we spent weeks last fall painting the exterior and reglazing and painting almost all of the 252 panes of glass in our house?  A labor of love for our little house, that we were spending the rest of our lives in.  (here it is prior to the big paint make over):

But suddenly, we have decided it is time, as our 'starter house' is no longer suited for our lifestyle, so we have begun the search.  A very good friend is a realtor, so he has been helping us dig up potential sites.

Some days I think we may have lost our minds, as I can't even begin to imagine packing up our twenty years of living.  And getting this house ready to sell.  And dealing with all that a move would involve.  Leaving behind our neighborhood, where the little grocery store is just a short walk away, and we can walk to The Nook for a burger and beer.

But the other part of me, that has always dreamed of a bigger kitchen, a room just for my Etsy creating, a porch, and a big back yard, is nearly giddy with excitement.  It's a great time to buy a house, not a great time to sell one.  So we will see what the next few months will bring.

I sit on my couch, in the early morning hours before the rest of the house has awakened, and think of all the memories secured in these walls.  The first day we owned it, painting walls as our realtor delivered champagne. The moving in party we had with all of our friends, who generously gave of their time and trucks to help us start our new life.  The dinner parties we have had over the years, or parties celebrating engagements, baby showers, anniversaries.  The family celebrations for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  Bringing Charlie home from the hospital, listening to his first steps echo on the wood floors.  The sounds of our neighborhood drifting through the window screens on a warm summer night.  The many dinners in our backyard, planting new flowers in the window boxes every year, bringing in the Christmas tree and enjoying it's warm glow on cold winter nights.

How can I possibly leave that all behind?
This just might do it....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday musings

At this time next week, you may be sleeping in.  The presents will all be unwrapped, no more secrets to be held tight.  The box holding the cookies will just have crumbs and colored sugar remnants in it. The holiday meal leftovers will be stored in the refrigerator, perhaps you will look forward to reading a new book today, or hitting up the after Christmas sale at your favorite store.

Will there be snow?  Here in St. Paul it looks to be a brown Christmas this year.  You may recall Christmas for the last two years was decidedly white, this was Christmas Eve, 2009:

In fact, we had such a snowstorm on Christmas Eve that the Mall of America closed EARLY.  Definitely a first in their history. So since we didn't have to work we were able to start our Christmas eve celebration a little early.  We played Monopoly, and you could only open a gift if you landed in jail.  A great way to make the fun last.

How has Charlie changed so much in just two years?????

I think on this date last year we already had at least 3 feet of snow on the ground.  The streets were narrowed by giant snow banks, and we were wishing for a giant flame thrower to come and clear the ice from the streets. I don't think it all melted until April.

I am okay with no snow for now, running errands yesterday in the 40 degree sunshine was certainly more agreeable than sliding down icy streets and climbing over crusty snowbanks to get to your favorite store.
But a light, fluffy dusting, to coat the grass and tree branches, would be just fine for Christmas eve.

Last night I was at a Christmas cocktail party (thanks Julie!  such fun!).  It was the only holiday party on my calendar this year, and it was so nice to sit with other moms and just enjoy the season.

Less than a week now, to finish shopping and baking.  I took holiday cards off my plate several years ago when we moved to the MOA, I just couldn't make it work.  Now I send Happy Winter cards, or Valentines, to those on my list instead.  I may do some baking, but other than Aunt Katie's sugar cookies there is nothing I feel required to make, in order for Christmas to arrive.

I have stocked up on lefse, and family favorite treats we only have on Christmas Eve:  Chicken in a Biscuit crackers for Mike, tiny sausages for Charlie, a nice Brie for me that I will wrap in pastry dough and bake, then serve with a little chutney or jam.  I will need a Trader Joe's run this week, to pick up olives, and favorite crackers and meats.

We already  have our holiday bottles of real Coke, and several good bottles of wine and beer.  I love the quiet of our little house on Christmas eve, we have music playing in the background while we snack and open gifts, then we usually put in a movie:  Elf, or the Grinch, or Charlie Brown.

Charlie has requested Mike's spaghetti for Christmas Day, so I will be able to relax rather than spending the day in the kitchen making holiday ham and all that goes along with it.  I can whip up a crunchy green salad and throw a baguette in the oven and call it good.  I should come up with a fun dessert, perhaps some cookbook browsing is in order.  And for sure I need to make Tracy Lane's Ricotta cookies-oh my heavens.

We will get to see our families in Bemidji after Christmas, we will be spending a couple of days with them before New Years, a nice, relaxed time.

Are you ready?  Are you already looking forward to next Monday?

Friday, December 16, 2011

the holiday spirit

Since I work from home, I try to keep the house as cozy and stress free as possible. It can be tricky to separate business from home life, especially at this time of year, when I am fulfilling gift cards from the dining room table, receiving inventory for the store,  and finding hiding places for presents.

One way I do this is to throw splashes of holiday wherever I can, to remind me that the holiday is about being jolly, not stressed out.

Pulling out red and green that I already own in the kitchen:

Decorating my shipping area for my Etsy shop-it's been a busy December for bracelets!

Using things I already have to create a festive touch:

I found this edition of The Night Before Christmas a few years ago, it was the exact book we had growing up (that had long since been sold at a yard sale).  Love it!  There is a little mouse hiding in a shoe on the shelf next to it.

This is the one new holiday decoration I purchased this year, I found it at Gypsy Moon (one of my favorite local little stores).  Isn't it sweet?  I used to do paper cutting, but no longer have the patience (or eyesight) for it:

Some years I like to decorate the same spots as the year before, but usually I like to shake things up and see  what new ideas I come up with.  But some items always have to be in the same spot, or it just isn't Christmas-this little stocking has hung in the same spot for almost 20 Christmases:

How do you like to decorate?  Is your tree up yet?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

ode to the December mom

When the calender flips 
to the month of December
Most moms take a deep breath.

December is not just wrapping gifts.
December is coming up with the ideas,
Racking your brain for that perfect thought.
Shopping for those presents,
Sometimes standing in line,
Or checking out several stores.
Wrapping those presents,
Mailing those presents, 
to make sure they arrive in time
or delivering them to where they belong.

Teacher gifts
Caregiver gifts
Did you remember your mailman?

Is the school concert on the calendar?
Do the dress shoes still fit, 
or do you need another shopping trip?
Do the dress pants need to be hemmed?
Don't forget to charge the batteries in the camera.

It's snowing, where are those boots?
Do the snow pants still fit
and where the heck is that other mitten?
Of course I can make hot chocolate
when you come in from the cold
but the marshmallows may be a little stale.

Advent calendars (it's okay that it's December 5th)
and elves on shelves
that need to move each day
and of course don't forget to fill their shoes
on St. Nicholas Day.

Now where did I put the stockings?
And do I have enough to fill them?

Thank goodness I made a copy of the Santa letter
before he brought it to the mailbox
except he has already changed his mind,
can I still change that Amazon order?

The school needs treats for the bake sale
and could I fill in an extra volunteer day this month?

And what about those children
with December birthdays?
Do your best to make it perfect
so they don't feel neglected
in the hustle and bustle
and please don't use Santa paper
on their birthday present.

Our holiday card isn't done, 
we need a funny photo!
Shall I just print them at home?
Wait, not enough printer ink.
And the internet is down,
maybe they can be New Year's cards.

Forgot to pick up the holiday stamps, 
and where is my address book?
I don't have the Smith's new address, 
that card can wait until I get one from them.

And now the Christmas Eve menu
did I remember the cocktail weenies?
Does Target carry lefse?

What are we wearing for the big day?
Does last years red sweater still fit?

The cat is running low on meds, 
and the dog needs a walk 
and a teeth cleaning
and a new bag of food.

Where to get the tree this year?
What kind did we have
that wasn't our favorite
and where the heck is the stand
and HOW many lights are burnt out?

After working all day, 
stay merry and happy 
as you prepare dinner for your family
before you tackle the laundry
and head out for more gift shopping.

Now one of the kids has a fever
and the husband is feeling neglected
and your flex money in your health plan
needs to be spent by the end of the month.

Don't forget the work party
and Secret Santa in the office
and your mother-in-law
would like you to shop for her.

You find yourself flipping the calendar
to January
and dreaming of quieter days and nights
and a nice long nap.

To all of you moms everywhere, doing it ALL this month.  


(this was inspired by all of the moms in my life-YOU are a true gift to your family)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

fa la la la la

My halls are decked!
They were actually decked the weekend after Thanksgiving, I am just getting around to sharing with you.
This is the first year in a long time that I actually felt joy while I was decorating.  Owning a business can suck the fun out of the season, if you let it.  I decided this year I would pursue joy!
I own a lot of Christmas things I have had for years, that hold fond memories of times past, as well as new things I find along the way that spark my interest.
I like to pull out red and green things I already own, that make me happy.  Teapots, coffee cups, cookbooks, and then find a way to let them join the fun.
Today I share with you the tiny things I have tucked here and there. You will find I have quite a fondness for snowmen.
Yes, old telephone nooks do still serve a purpose!

More to come as my little Christmas tour continues.  Are you decking your halls?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

you call THIS a holiday gift?

Now don't get me wrong, I believe in the spirit of giving, at all times of year, not just Christmas.
But some items that are being marketed as holiday gifts really set my teeth on edge.  (remember, I have been in bed for two days watching daytime television....)

Items that should NEVER be given as a gift:

1.  Rain gutters.  Even if the squirrels are wearing santa hats in the ad, DO NOT buy your loved one a rain gutter system.

2.  Vacuum cleaners.  While I adore my Oreck vacuum, I would literally cry if I received one for a Christmas present.  A vacuum is a necessary household tool, not a GIFT.

3. Teeth Whitening.  While I would like whiter teeth, please don't give me this as a present.  Personal improvement gifts that also fall in this category are foot sloughing products and hair dye.  Gentle reminders are not very well disguised as presents.

There are so many gift choices available now, you could literally do all of your shopping on Etsy alone!  So don't fall into any marketing traps that lead you to believe that ANYTHING is a good gift.  You all have a better heart than that.

And did you know Chia pets are still around?  In more varieties than ever. I do believe I need a White Elephant gift this year...

(Enough griping, I will get back to happy holiday postings tomorrow!  Thanks for indulging me...)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Sorry-down and out here on the corner of Hamline and Hartford.

Woke up early yesterday morning with stomach distress, it got progressively worse until I was just a lump under my covers.

My head was pounding, it felt like an alien was trying to break out of my body.  A flu bug?  Food poisoning?  So I went through a litany in my head of what I had eaten the previous day (which only made me feel more nauseated....)

At that point it didn't really matter, I just wanted to feel better.  Nothing helped.  Sips of water was all I could manage.  Every muscle in my body hurt, there was no comfortable spot to be in.

You know I am sick when I don't even want to read, or knit.  So I spent the entire day, under the covers.

I HATE being sick!  I have too much to do!  Charlie needs his lunch packed, there is laundry piling up, gift card orders to mail, my Etsy shop to manage.

Today is a bit better, I was able to keep down toast, and open my laptop, and see what was going on in the world.  I even read a little bit, in between the pounding in my head.  Had a little turkey broth, going to try some tea next.

Charlie is an excellent care giver, he set up a movie for me on my laptop last night, to watch in bed.  This morning before he left for school, he asked if I could hurry up and get better so his life could get back to normal.

How do you battle a stomach bug?  No matter if it is the stomach flu or food poisoning, you pretty much have to treat them the same, and hope to god they go away soon... My wish to all of you, my dear readers, is that this particular bug does not find you this season!

Friday, December 2, 2011

turkey day remembered

Was it really just a week ago that the holiday madness began?  That yummy turkey dinner seems far more than a week ago, what happens to the passage of time in December?

Here we are, enjoying our meal (the desserts are on the table to remind us to leave room....):
Here is the food:
And yes, Mike is growing his beard for the winter, here he is in profile enjoying a piece of lefse.  We really love lefse.  Maybe someday I will make my own, but for now Mrs. Olson's from Gonvick fills the bill.
The leftovers have been tossed, and I made a huge batch of stock from the carcass.  Moving on to December.

What will you do this first December weekend?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

recipe box Wednesday

So Thanksgiving may be all about the turkey, but I think it may be more about the pie.

Last week I had shared that I was going to make an apple pie, since Charlie had declared his dislike of both pumpkin and pecan pie.  But when Thanksgiving eve arrived, I was swamped with work and trying to decide how to fit in pie baking along with everything else.

My friend Tracy (yup, the sellabitmum one) had called from La Patisserie, and I got all spontaneous and joined her and Astrid for a very quick cup of coffee.  Luckily Deb, the amazing owner of La Patisserie, had made extra pies, so I decided to give her my business and brought home an incredible Dutch Apple pie.  So Charlie was covered.

With a pie crust in my fridge just crying out to be baked, that night I dug through my recipe box and pulled out my mother's Pecan Pie recipe.  I decided to get really wild and make miniature pecan tarts, that way Mike and I could still have our pecan fix, and I could freeze the rest for another day.

As with many heirloom recipes handed down, this one had the ingredients, but not much for directions.  Here is exactly what was on the recipe card:

Mom's Pecan Pie

1/2 stick of butter, melted
3 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. white corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. pecan pieces

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, 350 degrees for 30 minutes until knife in center comes out clean.

So I took a deep breath, and rolled out the pie crust  (I didn't even do homemade).  I pulled out my mini muffin tin, and cut out 24 circles with my largest biscuit cutter.  I filled each tin with the little rounds of dough, and melted my butter.  I beat the eggs and added the sugar (I used packed brown), corn syrup, and vanilla, and slowly added the melted butter.   Then I stirred in the pecan pieces.  Using a small ice cream scoop, I filled the little pie crusts.  I had saved the pie dough scraps, and cut them into little leaves, and placed on the pecans, then I brushed them with the remaining syrup in the bottom of my bowl.   I popped them in the oven at 350 degrees, and started checking them at 15 minutes.  They took about 22 minutes total, and looked delicious coming out.  (Of course your oven timing may vary...)

After the turkey, the dressing, the mashed potatoes and gravy, the green bean casserole, the sweet potatoes, lefse, and cranberry sauce, those little tarts were just calling out to us.  So of course we had to try them, with a dash of whipped cream.

And guess what?  Charlie LOVED them, so a few days later there were none left to put in the freezer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

classic movies

Cooking turkey, eating pie, nabbing bargains, decorating mantles, creating pine wreaths.....not much time for blogging lately!  Mike took some pictures of our feast, when I can get them loaded I will share the yumminess.

We love having movie night at our house, and as Charlie grows we are sharing with him some of our favorites.

You may recall our Hitchcock sessions, Mike and Charlie just watched "North by Northwest" again a few weeks ago.

Over the holiday weekend, we laughed and cried with "Forest Gump".  I never grow tired of watching Tom Hanks create such an amazing character, and Gary Sinise as Captain Dan is so memorable.  And no matter how many times I watch it, I always end up in a puddle of tears at the end.  Charlie really liked it,  it was very nearly a mini history lesson.  He understands the underlying emotions and conflicts going on, it's so much more than just a good movie.

The next night was "The Shawshank Redemption", another one on mine and Mike's favorite movie list.  So absorbing, and thought provoking.  I read they had originally planned Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford for the main roles, rather than Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.  I can't even imagine that!  Brutal (it is a prison movie, after all) and the warden personifies evil-but so well done.

Now that Charlie is older there are more movies we can start to share with him.  We can't wait!

Did you watch any movies over the holidays?  (new or classic....)

Updated:  Recording "To Catch a Thief" and "Dial M for Murder" for this weekend's viewing!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

tales of Thanksgiving past

As I sit here this morning with my coffee, the guys are still sleeping and Claude is curled up next to me.  I have picked up the 50 lb. bag of holiday advertising that came with our newspaper this morning, and the ads are already in the recycling bin.  I am not a big shopper, I make as many of my gifts as I can, and I am not a fan of crowds.

I am thinking of other Thanksgivings, and remembering:

Thanksgiving as a young girl was always spent at my grandparents house on the Mississippi River.  My grandma Betty would sing as she cooked, and always wore a dress and heels and a pretty apron.  My great grandma Ethel would be there helping make dinner, and I remember my Grandpa Don meticulously carving the giant turkey.  He was a bit of a perfectionist, so the turkey was usually cool by the time it got to the table, but that's what gravy was for.  After the dishes were cleared away (always by all the women, the men would retire to the living room for their post-feast naps), the tablecloth would be pulled away and the Yahtzee game would come out.  Ethel and Betty would pull out their cigarette cases and ash trays and fill their coffee cups, and the sound of dice hitting the hard surface would echo in the blue haze of smoke.

Thanksgiving in my college years was such a treat, my '69 Chevy Malibu couldn't get to Bemidji fast enough from Grand Forks (having to stop halfway each time to fill it with oil didn't help....).  My mom would cook and my dad would peel potatoes and I would spend as much time snuggling with my little sister as I could, so happy to be home and know I would be well fed and surrounded with love.  Grandma Doris would come and bring her zig zag carrot sticks and peanut butter stuffed celery and almond bark coated pretzels.  We would cram around our table and fill up on stuffing and green bean casserole, my dad would be the only one enjoying his favorite side dish-lime jello with celery, green olives, peas, and onions, topped with Miracle Whip.  My mom still makes it for him to this day, even though he is usually the only one to eat it.

The day after Thanksgiving wasn't spent shopping, it was spent in the woods collecting pine boughs and princess pine.  Dad would always have peanuts in the shell, and we brought cocoa in a thermos to keep us warm.  The next day was spent in my dad's shop. standing on the cold concrete floor, listening to country music, the heat from the barrel stove keeping it toasty as we crafted wreaths for friends and family.

Thanksgiving after marriage was a completely different affair, I usually had to work the day after turkey so we would often host friends in our little apartment in Bloomington.  I remember our first Thanksgiving after we got married, we were living in a furnished apartment as we didn't know if we were staying in Bloomington.  We invited all of our friends who also couldn't make it home for the holidays, and it was such fun.  Food and games and later on we all went out to a movie.  It made the sting of being away from family bearable for all of us.

Thanksgiving in our little house in St. Paul started happening when Charlie came along, both sets of grandparents have journeyed down for the holiday weekend, we always made sure to include shopping and picking out our Christmas tree in the weekend plans.

Since opening our store at the MOA, we have mostly enjoyed our own little Thanksgiving with just the three of us, a relaxing day of just being together, playing games, and watching classic movies.  Resting, and gearing up for the craziness of the next few weeks.  I did host Jed and Tracy and their girls last year, it was great fun to cook for more than just three of us, and figure out fun things for the girls to do.

I am so grateful for the lifetime of memories contained in this day, thankful for all of my friends and family, and blessed by the love that surrounds me.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

nearly turkey day

Thanksgiving is pretty much the perfect holiday.

The smell of turkey roasting, and the aroma of onions and celery and sage sauteing on the stove.

No presents to buy (unless you are dining elsewhere, and are bringing an excellent hostess gift).

No religion required.  Thanksgiving is for everyone!

Giant balloons flying over New York City-is this a great country, or what?

It's about good food, and being grateful.  Grateful for who and what you have in your life.

One of the few days of the year, where stores are closed (or SHOULD be), and people can be with family and  not be concerned with finding a parking spot at the mall.

And the last day of the year to see her:

I really need to get a fancy red track suit and some heels....

Monday, November 21, 2011

making a list...

...and checking it twice!

Is your turkey thawing yet?

Have you bought your groceries?

Or are you lucky enough to be invited somewhere?
Honestly, I really like cooking for Thanksgiving.  When it's for more than just Mike and Charlie and I, I do get a wee bit stressed, as of course I want everything perfect, but this year it's for just the three of us.

I spend Sunday pouring over my cookbooks and searching for recipes on-line.  We discussed the merits of different side dishes, and mulled over dessert options.  Charlie reminded me he doesn't really like pecan OR pumpkin pie (which I don't get, as he is quite a foodie), so both of those traditional options were out.  Some traditions can't be messed with, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Susan Branch's Mashed Potatoes.

The menu is now set, my grocery list and corresponding coupons are ready, and today I will head out to finish buying supplies.  I picked up most things already, as I had a Trader Joes run last week, and stocked up on sweet potatoes and bacon and their version of fried onions for the green bean casserole.  So here's the menu:

Brined Turkey Breast-recipe courtesy of Southern Living, it's the one I used last year and it was AMAZING.  None of us like dark meat, so it is pointless to prepare an entire bird for just three of us.  And finding room in my fridge to brine a breast is far easier than a whole bird!

Susan Branch's Mashed Potatoes with Trader Joes Turkey Gravy.  Yes, I usually make my own gravy, but we tried it last year and it was delish.  I add drippings from the bird to up the flavor factor, but please don't tell my mother that I am not making my gravy from scratch.

Sausage and Apple Stuffing (recipe here:  )  I had cut this out of a magazine a couple of years ago, my guys just love this one.  I make it on the stove and then pop it in the oven for a bit right before dinner, as some of us like the crunchy bits.

Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Bacon (recipe here:  )  This is my new recipe to try this year, I always like to try out at least one new thing.  Doesn't it sound yummy?  You can't really go wrong with bacon....

Green Bean Casserole:  I prefer to make my green beans a healthier way, but the guys requested this, this year, so I am giving in.  And it will hearken back to Thanksgiving in Bemidji, as this dish always has a place at my family's table.

Cranberry Sauce:  I picked up fresh cranberries at the Farmer's Market, I like to cook them with red wine and a little brown sugar and some orange zest.

Apple Pie:  I am going to try a new recipe, found here: and make some of the adjustments I read in the reviews.  I will serve it with Trader Joes sea salt caramel sauce and some vanilla bean ice cream.  Again, don't tell my mom, she would be horrified, in her mind apple pie is NOT for Thanksgiving.  I can almost hear her now "Kris, aren't you at least going to make some pumpkin bars?"

So Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning will be spent in the kitchen, and it will take us about 20 minutes to eat it all, and then it will be done.

What are YOU cooking for turkey day?

Friday, November 18, 2011

I promise -

- that next week I will talk about something else, really.
It's just that getting ready for this show has pretty much taken over my life (and my home) for the last few weeks, and I have to get it all out of my system.
The feeling I am going for in my booth is the idea that you are in your grandma's bedroom, going through her treasures and button tins and jewelry boxes.  I am using lots of vintage purses and clocks and jewelry boxes to help set the mood.
(if this pic is too blurry, the clock says "time to indulge")

The sneak preview last night was a rousing success-and now I have a day to decide if I have enough product or should whip up a few more things.
 And I need to pack up my little Fit with all of my goodies and displays and get a good nights sleep.
My dear friend Tracy is spending the entire day with me tomorrow, helping me out.  If you follow her blog and want to meet her in person, stop on by! I couldn't do this show without her advice and support, and having her join me tomorrow is the best gift she could ever give me.
My hubby has been so helpful to me, he is really supportive of this crazy part of my life.  He grabbed his camera yesterday and took pictures, he is much better at it than I am.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who showed up last night, it was great to catch up, have a little hot cider and wine, and enjoy each other's company!
And perhaps I will see some of you tomorrow!

More info on the show here, and it was just announced that WCCO TV will be reporting live from the show tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

more sneak peeks, and an invite

The Knightsbridge show is only a few days away!  I am feeling good about being ready, but of course I am still working on more goodies in my spare time.  I can rest on Sunday!

Today I share with you some of the other goodies I will have for sale, along with the scarves I showed you in the last post.

This all started with my button bracelets last fall when I opened my Etsy shop.  I love to create, and I adore old notions, so I figured I would share my creations with the world.  You will find a huge variety of bracelets at my show:

Fun color combinations:
Antiqued and vintage looking:
Elegant and understated:
Bright and cheerful:
And buttons that make a statement:
Over 100 styles to choose from-a style to suit all kinds of people on your holiday shopping list. (sorry for the less than fabulous photos, my hubby, the photographer was gone hunting so I had to take my own pictures....)  Prices range from $24-$38 (which includes the sales tax).

For this show, I decided to make a variety of necklaces too.  There are simple chain pieces, with fun charms and baubles and beads, available in shiny silver, blackened silver, antiqued brass, and copper:
I have an assortment of unique pieces that feature different types of chain, charms, and some even have real working mini harmonicas!   Those are available in either brushed silver, blackened silver, or antiqued brass.
I also made two of these truly unique pieces, they are long and gorgeous and I am tempted to keep them for myself!  I have one in silver and one in antiqued brass, both feature fine chain, pearls, and an assortment of charms and baubles. (that's my mannequin Betty, looking to need a little repair before the big day on Saturday...)
These are a repeat from my show last fall, they were such a big hit I knew I needed to make them again-they are made with Swarovski crystals and pearls and Vintaj brass.
And now, a last minute invite!  Since I will have my table all set up at my house (I always do that to make sure I have enough space for everything I am bringing, and to make set-up easier on the day of the show), I decided to invite friends and neighbors over for a sneak preview at my house on Thursday night from 6-9 pm.  I will have wine and snacks to enjoy while you check everything out.  So if you can't make it to St. Louis Park on Saturday, I hope you can stop by my little house on Thursday night.


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