Sunday, November 29, 2015


Week 5 has officially begun.  
To-Do this week:
1) Christmas parties are coming up. What will you wear? Do clothes need dry-cleaned, pressed, repaired. Or will you be buying something new? What accessories will you wear? Shoes?  Think about it.  This is the perfect time to buy YOU a new gift;
2)  Schedule time for a hair appointment and/or manicure.  Salons get very busy at this time of year, so get your appointment booked.
3) Mail Christmas cards.
4) It’s time to finish up with on-line and catalog shopping so that the ordered items arrive in plenty of time to be wrapped and put under the tree.
5) Plan the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus. Order fresh turkeys, hams or goose now.
6). Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water. RELAX and ENJOY!

Today is the first day of Advent. If you keep an Advent wreath during the Holiday Season, today you will be lighting the first candle – a purple candle.  This candle represents Love. 

Peace and happiness!

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I've been staying up with my Countdown. Here's my Countdown for the Fourth Week of November:
1. Be thankful for all you have, and all that you've accomplished to this point.
2. Enjoy you Thanksgiving! You deserve it.
3. Send out invitations for the Christmas Ornament Exchange.
4. Pick up those Advent candles.  Advent begins Sunday.
5. Begin addressing Christmas cards.

Peace and happiness!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

8 Favorite Thanksgiving Themed Films to Watch this Season

My Eight Favorite Thanksgiving Themed Films

1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles - John Candy, Steve Martin – What Thanksgiving is really all about.

2. Jack and Jill – Adam Sandler. Fun!

3. Home for the Holidays  - Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Holly Hunter, Robert Downey, Jr.  This file is one of my absolute favorites.  Going home for the Holidays has never been more fun.

4. Pieces of April – Katie Holmes. This film is different, and I like it.

5. What’s Cooking?– Mercedes Ruehl.  Love this film!  

6. The Big Chill – Star studded cast including, Glenn Close, JoBeth Williams, Tom Berenger.  I can't even count the times I have watched this film. What a soundtrack!

7. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – The Peanuts Gang – it’s not a holiday without them.

8. Holiday Treasure – Jason Robards. I watched this as a young'un and it has always stuck with me.  I really like it.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Week 3 has officially begun.  
You can see Week 1’s Holiday To-Do List here and here, and Week 2’s here
To-Do this week:
1)   Continue shopping for gifts;
2)   Update Christmas card list;
3)   Purchase or order Christmas cards.  I have so many boxed sets that I really do not need to buy any for a few years.  However, there are so many adorable cards that when I see a set that appeals to me, I just have to buy them;
4)   Make and freeze a batch of baked goods (unfrosted cookies, bars, quick breads);
5)   Start collecting boxes and gift bags to use for gift wrapping, or do what K and I like to do – buy a roll of brown mailing paper from the dollar store.  Gather paints, stickers, ribbon, trim and create your own gift wrap.  One year, using an envelope template from Mirkwood, K fingerpainted on the brown paper and we cut out envelopes for money and gift card gifts;
6)   Start wrapping gifts as they are bought.  I must do this because I really do not like to wrap; and
7)  Finalize Thanksgiving dinner menu and entertainment plans.
Peace and happiness!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Grocery List

Thanksgiving – it’s almost here!  Okay, I realize it’s two weeks away but my paychecks are twice a month and that’s how I measure the time to each next big event in our lives. For instance, Christmas is three paychecks away.  Scary, huh?  So for me, Thanksgiving is one paycheck away which is why you will find me at the grocery store this weekend, shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner (plus the weeks leading up to the big day).  A few years ago, I wrote out a menu plan for Thanksgiving week and have used the same list for a couple of years now.  I figure it's already written and been family tested so it's become tradition.  And I do like tradition.  Here, I share with you my (totally genius J) menu plan and shopping list.

Thanksgiving Week Shopping List and Menu Planner.  

      The Grocery List
Thanksgiving Dinner
Mashed potatoes                                          potatoes, milk, butter
Green Bean Casserole,                                 green beans, mushroom soup, onions
Turkey                                                              turkey
Cranberry sauce                                            cranberry sauce
Stuffing                                                             bread, mushrooms, onions, butter, milk
Cole Slaw                                                        cabbage, carrots, mayo
Crescent rolls                                                   rolls
Pumpkin pie                                                    canned pumpkin, condensed milk
Gravy                                                               pie crust

Apple Dumplings for Breakfast

Pulled Pork Barbecue                                    Pork Roast  (Make extra)
Cole Slaw
Buns (Buy extra)

White Chicken Chili                                       Chicken tenders, McCormick’s spice,
                                                                        White Beans
                                                                        lettuce, cheese, sour cream

Barbecue Pork Tacos                                    Taco Shells, Cheese

Spaghetti and Meatballs                   Pasta, ground meat, seasonings, cheese,
                                                              Sauce  Make extra meatballs

Turkey Casserole                                             Leftovers from Thanksgiving

Meatball Sandwiches

Easy Chicken Casserole                               Chicken Tenders (or leftover turkey), 
                                                                        cream of chicken soup
                                                                        Sour cream, butter round
                                                                        crackers, onions.

Swiss cheese
Chocolate chips

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!"

~ Maya Angelou

Thank you for the freedom we enjoy each and every day.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Week 2 has officially begun.  You can see Week 1’s Holiday To-Do Lists here and here.  I had originally planned to countdown to each holiday individually, but decided to combine the lists as we will be doing many of the tasks for both holidays and why not do it all at once???  We will be much more organized in the long run (and have less lists).

To-Do this week:
1)     Continue shopping for gifts;
2)     Begin buying nonperishable items for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
3)     Decide what table settings and linens you will be using for each holiday dinner.  Do you need to purchase something new? Mend or launder a tablecloth or dinner napkin? Replace a table setting or polish silver?
4)     Stock up on Holiday themed paper products, i.e., plates, cups, eating utensils, place mats.  While I set a pretty table using china and linens for the main dinners, I like to use Holiday themed paper products for my Annual Ornament Exchange, potluck and impromptu get togethers.
5)     Decorate for Thanksgiving.

Last week, we worked on the guest list for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Now it’s time to send out the invites.

Peace and giving,

Friday, November 6, 2015

Ten Reasons to Love November

November here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has come in like a lamb.  The weather is gorgeous!!  This morning at 5:50 a.m. it was a balmy 64 degrees.  I just wore a light sweater to the office.  While this sort of weather won’t last, we are enjoying it right now.

I like Thanksgiving.  I do; and while I like spending time with my whole family (that includes nieces/nephews and their young ones), I like that Thanksgiving is just a small affair for us.  Oh, I still cook up a fairly large turkey and all the yummy sides, but it’s a much more relaxing day with just a few of us. 

Thanksgiving, a time for reflection and thankfulness.  A time for counting your blessings.  Here’s what I love about the month of November.

1.         Thanksgiving dinner (of course)!

2.         Sweeping the falling leaves into piles and (this year) Elliot jumping in them – that was just last night.

3.         Christmas cactuses are beginning to bloom.

4.         Fall scented candles – such as Yankee Candles Sugar & Spice and Vanilla Bourbon.

5.         Family traditions.

6.         Preparing for Christmas.

7.         Wearing super-soft sweaters.

8.         The Thanksgiving Day Parade.

9.         The scent of lit fireplaces in the air.

10.       Counting our blessings.

What are your reasons for loving November?



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Looking forward to...

Catelynn's 1st Birthday Party and spending time with family members;  
Playing trains with Elliot, my sweet little man;
Washing the dishes, cause the Lord knows, know one else in that house can do them;
Organizing, planning, laundering, cleaning and a little decorating for the next holiday; and 
Being grateful to have dishes to wash.
That's about it for this weekend.  Hoping for a somewhat laid back weekend.

How about you?


“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


This week I begin my Christmas countdown.  I’ve counted down Christmas for what seems like forever.  I start by purchasing a new journal for writing all my holiday lists and to-dos.  This so gets me in the mood for celebrating and making the most of the holiday season.

On my Holiday To-Do List for Week 1:
1) Set budget for gift giving;
2) Write out gift list (confirm sizes, colors, etc.);
3) Work on Thanksgiving Day guest list
4) Work on Thanksgiving Day menu;
5) Create Holiday Calendar – mark special dates;
6) Begin shopping; and
7) Browse catalogs for gifts, begin ordering.

Peace and giving,

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


1.  Rake Leaves
2.  Make Butternut Squash Soup – share with family & friends
3.  Crochet a sweater
4.  Bake a pie
5.  Send Happy Thanksgiving Day cards
6.  Watch Thanksgiving themed movies
7.  Make acorn art with the kiddies
8.  Celebrate Joey and Ben’s birthdays
9.  Go to Light Up Night
10.   Read a book
11.   Buy Indian corn and gourds – make a centerpiece
12.   Make homemade cranberry sauce
13.   Start shopping for gifts!
14.   Go for an evening walk around the neighborhood
15.   Keep a gratitude journal

Relax, Enjoy, Be Thankful!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Thanksgiving Planner 2015

Now that Halloween is over, it's time to put away the witches, ghosts and pumpkin decorations and turn our attention to the next holiday - Thanksgiving.  Besides Christmas, Thanksgiving is my next favorite holiday.  This November, I want to focus on family, home and all that I am grateful for.
November is going to be a very busy month.  Halloween just ended and Christmas is right around the corner.  I think sometimes, Thanksgiving gets a little lost in the shuffle.  So let's bring on the excitement, and start planning a grand Thanksgiving today.  Ready to start?  Grab your favorite notebook and your favorite pen. My current favorites are a Mary Engelbreit Journal (Christmas cover), you can find these for $1.00 at Michael's Arts and Crafts Stores.  The pens - Sharpie Pen (LOVE THESE) in red, black and blue.  Try Staples or Office Depot.  Alright, let's get started.

1. If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, now is the time to think about your guest list. Write it. Finalize it. Send invites, telephone, text or email.  Keep a list of the RSVP's.
2. Plan your menu.  Gather your recipes all in one place - this will save time later.
3. If you are having a fresh turkey, order it now.  
4. Think table-scape. Choose your serving pieces, such as platters, over-sized serving bowls, gravy boat, serving spoons, etc.  Are you using your best china? Pull out your tablecloth, linen napkins, do they need laundered or pressed? 
5. Think centerpiece.  Are you making it, buying it or using a special family heirloom?

That's it for this week.  Not too much, but just enough to get you started and keep you organized.

So Grateful,

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Another month ended! How fast this year has gone.  November, host to Election Day and Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving Day, and in our family, three birthdays.  I like Thanksgiving Day. It's one of my favorite (Christmas is huge, too!)  Here's what's happening around here:  

Watching:  American Horror Story

Eating:  Apple Dumplings as found here

Drinking:   Pumpkin Spice Lattes (too many)

Playing:   CriminalCase

Looking Forward to:   Thanksgiving Weekend

Reading: TheReturned by Jason Mott

Enjoying: Elliot at age 2 ½; so much joy!

Doing: Making lists – for gifts, for cooking, for cleaning, for living!

DID YOU TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK AT 2:00 A.M.??? That's what time Daylight Savings Time ended.

Cheers to a New Month!