Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Simple Holiday Salad and My Sister's Table

     For the past few years, my husband, son and I have spent Thanksgiving at home, just the 3 of us. With family scattered, it was just the way it worked out. We really didn't mind, most years we just ordered our meal from Cracker Barrel because I wasn't going to cook all that food for 3 people. This year, when my sister invited us to her house (about an hour and half away) we said yes. She cooked, I cooked, and while both of us had one of our kids who couldn't make it, we did have 4 of our 6. One of the things I took was my mother's very easy recipe for Cranberry Relish/Salad. I don't like the "normal" cranberry sauce, but I like this and it is so simple to make.

2 bags of fresh cranberries, rinsed
2 oranges, washed and with just the stem end removed
2 cans crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup (or more) nuts-chopped (walnuts or pecans)
1 1/2 cups sugar

In a food processor, coarsely chop the cranberries,
place them in a large bowl.

Next, place the oranges in the food processor
and chop them peeling and all. Add to
cranberries in the bowl.

Chop the celery, add to the mix.

Add the cans of drained pineapple.

Add the sugar and the nuts and mix well.

This is a colorful and really fresh tasting salad/relish.
 It not only works well for Thanksgiving,
it is also perfect for Christmas.

     It was the first holiday meal my sister and I had been together without our parents. My dad was in Florida and my mom has now been gone a year and a half.

My sis had the table set beautifully.

She used my mom's china, sterling flatware and crystal.

We had all the trimmings, way too much food and a really great day!

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch
for Tablescape Thursday, and
Michael @ Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'll Have a Blue Christmas...

     It has been a busy few days at our house. I'm sure the rest of you have been decking the halls, putting up the outside lights, shopping, wrapping or at least thinking about doing some of those things as Christmas suddenly seems as if it is almost here. We decided to do things a little differently this year and "walk on the wild side" by adding some blue lights to the mix. We have only used white lights outside for more years than I can remember. The above picture is the right side of our front porch. I always hang out my old skates, a vintage lantern and some lights, greens and berries.

    The left side of our small front porch has our twig trees and a sleigh that my husband found at an auction for $15 this summer. I filled it with fresh greenery and a few more blue lights. Ignore the roping, it is so windy here that we just can't get it to stay put. The large wreath above our garage is also blue this year. It was surprising to see that several of our neighbors mixed blue in with their white lights this year. There is a blue glow in the neighborhood.

     I decided to use the blue outside, because I was using the blue inside! With the puppy (she is 11 weeks old now) I knew that we couldn't have our regular tree. I bought this silver tinsel tree at an auction for $1 this summer. It isn't as tall as what we normally use, so I could sit it up on a table. So far, the pup hasn't discovered the packages. There are way too many shoes, toys and people to chew on.

     I knew I wanted to use turquoise with the silver. The topper is a variety of silver twigs and sprays along with three turquoise fan shaped pieces. I wired them together and then added a single turquoise peacock. I like to use more than one ribbon color, so my bow is layered with turquoise ribbon and a silver/jewel toned ribbon. I also added royal blue, hot pink and purple ornaments to the tree. You can find instructions to make both bows and tree toppers on my sidebar.

A mix of silver wrapping papers tied with both colors of ribbon finishes the look.

     Last year I put 1300 lights on my tree. This tinsel tree has one strand of lights wound around the center "trunk" of the tree. The tinsel sparkles from just those few white lights. I also put fewer ornaments so that the tree would be more visible. It was like taking a vacation from tree decorating this year. I have to admit, I loved the fact it only took an hour to decorate instead of the normal 8 or more. I may never go back to my usual look!
I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I'll be around to visit you soon!
I'm joining Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday and
 Kim @ Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays.
 Please take time to visit our hostesses!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas...

     Every year at this time, I try to make a music playlist of Christmas songs that are not "traditional" but touch my heart in some way. I have many Christmas CDs that I play often, but I love finding new or at least "new to me" holiday music. I thought I'd share my playlist for this year. I found all of the songs on iTunes. You can click on the ones that are highlighted to hear them. Enjoy.

The Heart of Christmas-Matthew West
Bring Christmas Home-Lee Greenwood
I Pray-Benjamin Utecht & Jim Brickman
Day After Christmas-Matthew West

Christmas Just Does This to Me-Matt Wertz
When Love Was Born-Mark Schultz
Christmas Eve-Benjamin Utecht
Christmas Spirit-Richard Marx

Give This Christmas Away-Matthew West & Amy Grant
When the Rain Turns to Snow-Lee Greenwood
The Blessings-Alabama

It Could Happen Again-Collin Raye
December Makes Me Feel This Way-Dave Koz
Christmas Eve With You-Glee Cast Version

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fire! Well, almost!

     The one thing that we have missed since buying our house 8 years ago, is a fireplace. With the exception of our first little starter house, we have had always had one. Each year at this time, we find ourselves talking about adding one, but the cost to add a wood-burning fireplace would be impossible. Last year we even bought the Fireplace DVD for our television (it wasn't too bad really)! We finally decided to do something about it over the weekend and we are thrilled with the result. I try to avoid pictures of our television and entertainment center...not blog pretty, but when we bought our flatscreen television 2 years ago, we also bought an entertainment center for it.

     It is currently sitting in our dining area, waiting to go live at one of my friend's homes. Lucky for both of us, we had something to get rid of and it was something she needed. I liked our cabinet and it was perfect for what we needed it for. However, at the time we bought the new television, we couldn't budget an entertainment center that we really wanted. Please excuse the is dark, gray and raining here today.

     This is our new one! It is larger than the old one, a little longer and quite a bit taller. It also has glass on the cabinets, which I am not used to. If I behaved like most bloggers, I would only have "pretties" sitting behind those glass doors. We live in our house, so I have CDs on one side and DVDs on the other. They are not nearly as pretty as white pitchers and pieces of coral would be, but it just makes sense for us. The fireplace is very realistic looking. It puts out a nice amount of heat (or you can turn the heat off) and it has a tiny remote. I thought I'd miss the "real" fire, but actually, this is so easy and no worries about putting it out before going to bed.

     It is still an entertainment center and that big television is still a bit of an eyesore, but we certainly couldn't live without it, the TIVO or stereo at our house. It also will be perfect when we finally get to move south in a few years. I'm not sure that between the warm puppy in my lap and a warm fire, I may ever get anything done around here!

I'm joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday.
Please stop by to say hello to her!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tablescapes for Charity

     Every year one of my favorite area events is a charity event called "Settings for St. Anthony's". Wright's Furniture in Dieterich, Illinois hosts the event and the proceeds support St. Anthony Hospital's Mother/Baby Home Care Program. Business owners from several area towns each sponsor a table and it is fun to see what they create. I am posting pictures of some of the tables. The lighting in the store is a little strange, so the colors aren't quite "true". Which is your favorite?