Thursday, December 31, 2015

What to Eat OR Not on the Eve of the New Year

Back in 2012 when I was looking for new dishes to serve for New Year's Eve, I came across an excellent article on what to eat and what not to eat on the Eve.  I served only what was on the "to eat" list and ate plenty of it.  I must say (and this may be coincidental), I’ve had better years (financially), NO, I did not get rich nor was I ever hit with a huge windfall, but I didn’t feel overly strapped for cash each week.  I may change up a few dishes this year, but I will be including plenty of green food!  Here is the original post:

What are you eating this New Year that may bring you good luck throughout [2016]?  When I sat down to plan my New Year’s menu and typed in “foods for New Year’s”, I was led to this, an excellent little article on traditions and what are believed to be lucky foods.  There are six major categories: grapes, greens, fish, pork, legumes, and cakes.  I also found it interesting that the amount of greens that are eaten may predict one’s fortune.  That could explain why I am so poor.  Our tradition was to eat a spoonful of sauerkraut at midnight.  This year I am eating tons of sauerkraut.  I’ll also be serving pork (it signifies wealth and prosperity) and I’m thinking of trying my hand at baking a dessert from Holland: the ollie bollen, a puffy, donut-like pastries filled with apples, raisins, and currants.

There is also a list of What Not to Eat.  “Lobster is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.”

I'm thinking of following with the German custom (or superstition) of leaving a little bit of each food on your plate past midnight to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year.  Nothing wrong with cleaning up in the morning.

©2015, TM Drake, Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 20, 2015

COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS, WEEK 8 (4th Sunday in Advent)

You should be pretty much ready.
Though these next few days will either be totally hectic or super calm.
1.  Review your menus and supplies once more. Any last minutes shopping needed?
2.  Keep a list of each gift as it is opened for writing those thank you notes later.
3.  Be sure to leave a snack for Santa and his reindeer.
4.  Stuff the stockings. 
5.  Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!
If you keep an Advent wreath during the Holiday Season, today you will be lighting the fourth candle – a purple candle.  This candle represents Peace.
Peace and happiness!

Saturday, December 19, 2015


We are SO close to the big day!!!  I love Christmas movies.  I will counting down to Christmas with a favorite each night beginning this evening.  With mugs of Old Fashioned Hot Cocoa and a few Christmas Cut-Out cookies, a favorite throw and snuggled up with my fave little guy, Elliot, we will begin our Christmas movie kick-off with:

1) Frosty the Snowman
2) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
3) Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
4) A Christmas Story
5) A Charlie Brown Christmas; and 
6) Disney’s A Christmas Carol (a particular favorite of E’s).

Let me say briefly that the weather here in Pittsburgh, PA has been divine!!!!! Today, actually, is the coldest (high of 36).  Tomorrow's forecast is COLD, perfect for the cocoa.  However, although winter begins next week, our temps are soaring back up to the 50's. No White Christmas like the ones I used to know.  

No matter the temps, enjoy your day!

Peace and happiness!

©2015, TM Drake, Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 13, 2015

COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS, WEEK 7 (3rd Sunday in Advent)

This is it. The final week (with a few days just before) to get it all together.  Will you be ready???
1.  Make your lists and check them twice! Are all catalog and on-line orders received?  (I have a few outstanding and fingers crossed they all arrive before Tuesday).
2.  Buy (or create) thank-you notes.  As gifts are received, or parties attended, you can begin writing out and addressing the cards to be sent on the 26th.
3.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus finalized? Non-perishables purchased? 
4.  Cookies baked? Food gifts assembled? Presents wrapped?
5.  Purchase any supplies needed, such as batteries (in abundance!).
6.  Charge the camera(s).

7.  Tree up and decorated? Cards sent?

If you keep an Advent wreath during the Holiday Season, today you will be lighting the third candle – a purple or pink candle.  This candle represents Joy.

Peace and happiness!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Holiday To-Do List
1. Christmas menu finalized.  Begin purchasing everything needed except fresh produce.
2. Trim the tree.  Hang lights around window. Decorate.
3. Check list of gifts ordered.  Everything received?
4. Complete gift wrapping.

If you keep an Advent wreath during the Holiday Season, today you will be lighting the second candle – a purple candle.  This candle represents Love.

Peace and happiness!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015


1.   Celebrate Brendan’s 8th birthday and my, um, oh, 29th!
2.   Put up the tree and decorate it.
3.   Document each day (i.e., December Daily and Journal Your Christmas).
4.   Bake cookies.
5.   Make Cinnamon Applesauce ornaments.
6.   Sing Christmas Songs.
7.   Wrap presents.
8.   Spend an evening driving around to look at Christmas lights.
9.   Write letters to Santa.
10.  Watch holiday movies.
11.  Read holiday books.
12.  Hang Candy Canes.
13.  Host an Ornament Exchange party.
14.  Send Christmas Cards.
15.  Hang Stockings.
16.  Celebrate the Winter Solstice.
17.  Make small gifts for stuffing stockings
18.  Bake red wine cake (as gifts) (recipe here
19.  Make a list of New Year’s Resolutions 
20.  Keep Calm and Be Merry!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Welcome December!


Watching:  Lots of Christmas themed movies - they are my favorite treat, such as This Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Christmas With the Kranks and The Family Stone (just to name a few). Also, Minions every night with Elliot.

Eating:  K and Doug have been pitching in, making dinners.  It's such a timesaver, I'll eat whatever they make.  Doug is good cook and a meat, veggie kind of guy.  So, we are eating lots of more veggies. 

Drinking:   Hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows.

Playing:   Criminal Case. 

Looking Forward to:   Tonight.  We are planning on getting mini trees for two of our rooms, drinking hot cocoa, hanging strings of lights, and decorating the trees. 

Reading: The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson.

Enjoying: Playing trains with Elliot - every day he says something new, He is such a delight.  Getting the house ready for the Holidays. Making gifts.   

Participating in: A combination of Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas and Ali Edwards' December Daily.

How wonderful is your December?

Peace and happiness!