Thanksgiving week

clip-art-thanksgiving-turkey-free1It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States which means that most of us are either getting ready to cook, travel or host visitors. We’ll be having turkey day at my brother’s house so it will be my big ol’ family all together in one house – that’s my parents; my brother, his wife & their 2 girls; my sister, her husband & their 2 kids and then The Professor, myself, Busybee & Babybee. Not to mention two cats and a Great Pyrenees. Thankfully my brother’s house is sizable and can handle the crowd.

The women in my family all divide up the dishes so that not one person is in charge of cooking everything. It makes it nice to share in the duties and we all get to visit & look at Black Friday ads while we’re cooking. The men generally watch football during this time. You know, typical American family activities.

I always make the sweet potato casserole because it’s everyone’s favorite. I’m not even gonna lie, it’s ridiculously good and frankly should just be in a crust because it might as well be a dessert. But my favorite is my mom’s cornbread dressing and I can’t wait to get my first bite of it. So what’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? 

Here’s my sweet potato casserole recipe…

4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed (2 large cans)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
¾ cup melted butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 cups marshmallow
1 cup coconut

~Praline Topping~
1 ½ cup crushed corn flakes
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
¾ cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 400°. In large bowl, mash potatoes. Mix in sugar, eggs, butter, evaporated milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Fold in marshmallows. Add coconut. Bake 20 minutes.

Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl then crumble onto the casserole and bake an additional 10 minutes.

When It’s Cold Out, Special Memories Can Warm You

It’s a BRRRRRRRRRR kind of day here in typically sunny Florida.

Okay, so I know there are people snowed in up north. Kids are off from school. Some offices and businesses are closed. Folks are already skiing or sledding or building snowmen.
Florida Winter
But down here in the Sunshine State—land of sandy beaches, waves lapping the shore, seagulls drifting on the wind—winter jackets don’t make it out of the closet too often.
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So, when I say it’s a “bitter 41 degrees” outside this morning, that bitterness is relative. I’ve got friends in the northeast corner of the US who’d love it to be 41 where they live as they bundle up and head out the door. Another friend lives in New Mexico and she’s posting pics of her snow-covered house doing a darn fine impression of a scene on the front of a Christmas card. I got shivers just looking at her post.
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But while this Florida girl isn’t too keen on living in a snowy, icy, bone-chilling place, I do think it’s fun to play in the snow. And I wouldn’t mind spending a day on the ski slopes, then heading back to a warm cozy lodge for hot chocolate and a blazing fire in the fireplace. I’ve been known to plop down on the snow and make a snow angel or two. And my family has risen to the challenge when our neighbors pounded our door with snowballs—a definite call to arms initiating an intense, laughter-filled snowball fight in our front yards.
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With Thanksgiving around the corner and December holidays not far behind, my nesting instinct starts kicking into high gear. Baking, gift buying, gift wrapping, family get-togethers, gingerbread house building, carol singing, mugs of hot chocolate, old memories shared, new memories made.

Can you tell I’m a big fan of the holiday season? Not because of the shopping and present buying, though I do love to gift giving and bringing a smile to someone’s face. But because it’s a time for families and friends to spend quality time together. A time for fun, frolic and smiles.
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I won’t ask about December holiday traditions—that’s an entire blog for later—but instead, I’d like to know what’s the one thing you’re looking forward to the most during the Thanksgiving holiday?

In this high tech world of social media and tweets and Snapchats and Instagrams and all the other apps I’m not cool enough to have heard about yet, there’s still nothing that can beat the feel of two hands held together in greeting. Or two arms wrapped around you in a welcoming hug. Or two lips pressing an I-missed-you kiss on your cheek.

For me, I’m most looking forward to when my family and I’ll gather around the table, clasp hands, and give thanks we’re all together. That’s when I’ll close my eyes, take a deep breath and give the hands I’m holding an I-love-you squeeze.
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And even if it’s just for that briefest of moments, all will be right in my world.

So what’s your special moment, memory or tradition this time of year? I’d love to hear what you’re excited about!

Wishing you and yours many many many blessings! And a warm place to snuggle with your loved ones. ☺
couples holding hands.