Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Side Dishes from the Garden

CRANBERRY CILANTRO SALSA....great for a Holiday Party! 

Cranberry Salsa on Cream Cheese Dip. check out the recipe HERE.
I've been cooking myself into a food coma these past few days. I had the missionaries over tonight and made a ham and cheesy potatoes and pecan tarts. I also tried a new cranberry and crushed pineapple raspberry jello recipe that was really good! And tomorrow I'm cooking a turkey! EEK!

 These potatoes were DIVINE!The secret ingredient in the twice baked potatoes is cream! And of course the bacon makes everything betta! 

Chinese Chicken Salad with dried cranberries and mandarin oranges. I added some slivered almonds too. Yum. 

Corn pudding. I'd never tried this before but it was good! Kind of sweet and savory at the same time. I found a recipe at Taste of Home HERE that got a 4.9 rating! It would be a fun, new recipe to try! I loved it! 
I made some cute Thanksgiving cupcakes too...Scarecrows and Turkey Cupcakes with Orange Slice Candy hats and Lemonhead heads and Candycorn feathers and beaks.
I also found these fall colored Reese's Pieces candies that added a yummy touch to these Peanut Butter Cookies. They looked pretty on my fall brown crockery platter. 

Another one of the teachers made these delectable chocolate turkey cupcakes. Yummo! 

And these pecan tartlets were to die for. I ate two of them! They are like a tiny pecan pie! I found a similar recipe at All, HERE.  It's my favorite cooking website because everything is rated by like thousands of home cooks. You KNOW it's gonna be good.
Had to have something healthy too! Everything tasted really great. 
Another yummy thing we had was Cranberry Sprite! It's NEW and Superbly YUMMY! Try it this holiday! 
I am planning my menu for Thanksgiving Day too. I'm going to do my favs but add some of those pecan tartlets and some Sweet Potato Casserole too.

Little Pinecone Turkey Placecards....check out my previous blog post for the tutorial Here at Weekday Chef.
Besides making some excellent memories with your kids and family this year doing some fun crafts like Gingerbread houses, Little turkeys out of pine cones (above... my granddaughter is modeling them as hair bows lol) or making sugar Christmas cookies or breads....we play Pin the Hat on the Turkey. 

 What side dishes do you plan to go along with your turkey and stuffing? 

Side dishes....besides your obligatory potatoes, gravy and stuffing, WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER FAVORITES? 
WELL....And besides all of the wonderful pies we all make....My daughter-in-law Cait made these cute mini apple pies....So cute....what else do you love on Thanksgiving Day???! 
My favorite salad is one my mom always made.....fresh cranberry....Check out the recipe HERE at Weekday Chef. The fun thing about it is my siblings all make this one too. You make family traditions with all of your side dishes, did you KNOW THAT? Yeah. It's true! 
My son  Devin made this spinach salad....doesn't it look yummy? So pretty too! It is seriously one of my very favorite side salads to any meal....with spinach, candied pecans, avocado, strawberries and a sweet raspberry vineagrette. 
My niece Becky made this to die for sweet potato casserole...I found a recipe for it at All HERE. is really yummy and tastes almost llike a dessert it's so good! 
One that I have always made is the French's Fried Onions Green Bean Casserole with Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup in it. You just Have to have some green bean casserole! The recipe is on the back of the French's Onion Can. 
And of course you can't forget the homemade rolls and real salted butter. I love to have some really good raspberry jam to go with it.

Here is the link at Patties Place. I have lots of Thanksgiving decor I've taken pics of.  It's my other blog. Try a new side dish this Thanksgiving you haven't tried before. And have fun at YOUR get together this fall holiday!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Decorating at My House

 LOOK what I found at the Dollar Store! These are dancing solar pilgrims and a turkey! They will be so cute for my kiddie table this year at Thanksgiving!!
The little turkey is the cutest. You just set them under a lamp and they bob and dance! It's really sweet! I hope the kids don't fight over the turkey. It was the last one in the store! Maybe I can find a set at another dollar store if I go today....hummm.....

Thanksgiving decorating has begun! I've gotten out all my boxes of junk and started switching out Jack-o-lanterns for Turkeys!
This was my very first Thanksgiving decoration I ever made when I became a newleywed. I remember getting the hubs to cut out the 2 x 4 pieces of wood to make these cute little Pilgrim Pair. Then glue guns were all the rage and I could add the felt clothes, the jute hair and the spanish moss in the basket of apples. 
This was another Thanksgiving decoration I made soon after. It's a mop doll scarecrow, made from a cotton mop. It's cuter if you hang it up. 
The kitchen counters with  all kinds of turkeys and here a pumpkin, there a pumpkin, everywhere a pumpkin......
I love the gourds and pumpkins of fall but what I LOVE are those amber colored glass pumpkins and leaves.  So pretty!

I got this cute Happy Thanksgiving wooden banner from Taipan Trading along with these beautiful glass acorns. They are some of my favorite Thanksgiving decorations. 

I LOVE the stuffed turkey sitting on pumpkins too. I got that from my favorite store Kohls. KOHLS ALWAYS HAS THE CUTEST LINENS AND FABRIC DECOR. 
   The kitchen buffet was decorated with Thanksgiving pilgrims.....
My little Thanksgiving Indian couple is so pretty, I love these fall colors and the little lucite acorns too....and Look! I even made a little fall subway lettering in a picture frame! 
   More pilgrims.....the little girls love my tiny set of pilgrims and Indians at a tiny table. The legs are broken off of two of them now, but we still set them out just for the grandkids to enjoy. 

We always play games at Thanksgiving llike  pin the hat on the turkey....the girls and Devin love it! (Devin is just a big kid, didn't you know?) He will be missed at Thanksgiving this year. But we will see him at Christmas! Woot! 
We can start making those gingerbread things we love so much too but I think I'm gonna do little candy bar trains for the little should be fun....
Entry table in the great room is so cute! Don't you just love my broom handle adding charm to this area? Yeah I forgot to put that away. 
Here was my Thanksgiving table decor last year. I loved these placemats so much. I usually find pretty ones at Kohls or T.J. Max. 
Here was last year's kiddie table....I got 2 little pilgrim bears and a soft turkey for the kiddos to take home with them......all of them loved the turkey. Megan got to take it home..... but look what I found for this year! I should have gotten a set for each little girl. 
One of the end tables in the great room......I love fall decor! 
Pretty Fall Wreath ... made with gold and brown ornament balls
I love this wreath I found on Pinterest. I might have to try and make it!
The piano is getting decorated for fall too....I love those autumn colors! 

Gotta love a scarecrow on a Coffee table.....OH and LOOK! Candy Corn! They are cute but they are disgusting to eat! Yucky...give me some Reeses Pieces ANYDAY! 
End table in the living room......Turkey love....
Desk decorated for Thanksgiving in the living room...I'm going to go over to Kohls with my coupon today to see if there is anything shiny and new.

Well, I'd better get to work now. I still have 30 report cards to do before Monday morning. EEK! I get so sidetracked when I'm playing with my decorations. snicker.....

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10 Reasons Fall is the Best Season

I have always loved this time of year. FALL IS THE BEST SEASON OF ALL!  I love the holidays, the scenery, the weather, and the traditions I keep with my family, and for all sorts of other reasons. Here are just a few of them. My TOP 10 REASONS why the Fall Season is the BEST
1. I LOVE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!  I am a teacher and I just love all the excitement of kids and parents planning for a new school year. Everybody gets new clothes and backpacks and lunch pails (who doesn't remember their first Barbie or Hot Wheels Lunch Pail?), a new haircut and shoes, and we get to meet our students for the year and decorate up our classrooms. It is a lot of fun for a teacher to do Back to School.

Back to School Buses with some of our school rules....
 We haven't seen our teacher friends for a few months and it's fun to reconnect again. I laugh at the Staples commercial where moms and dads are skipping happily through the store with carts full of school supplies while the kids trudge unhappily behind them while they are singing "It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!". I concur. :D

Balloon Festival at the park down the street from us...her's the hubs taking pics

2.HARVEST FESTIVALS!  I love the harvest time. Up here in Utah at the end of summer there are lots and lots of festivals celebrating the harvest. We have Peach Days, Onion Days, Scarecrow Festival, Lavender Days, Raspberry Days at our Bear Lake cabin and many others. Each  and every festival is unique and lots of fun. Some of them people dress up for too like Swiss Days in Heber and the Witch Scavenger Hunt at Gardner Village.  I love to go to a pumpkin patch or pick cherries or apples from an orchard with family members too. I like to then go make things out of my fruit like cherry crisp or fresh peach pies.  I enjoy going to a pumpkin patch too. Do you have to be a little kid to enjoy it? Nope. You can just smile at little kids enjoying it. :D
Raspberry Days at Bear Lake where we have a cabin. It's a blast.

Here are my cute little granddaughters at one of the festival picture booths.
Fall Festivals are so much fun in Utah.  I love them!!

 I love the fall scarecrow festival and the witch scavenger hunt at Gardner Village.
And who doesn't love getting a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch? We love it! 
3.MY BIRTHDAY is in October. Well you can't blame me for liking my birthday. You have to go on an adventure as you get older and have some kind of new experience. That much I have learned. Because as you get older your birthdays start to suck. So you have to change it up. Try something scary or new. Go experience a concert, a new sport, go see a wonder of the world. My brother and my nephew and I all share a birthday. So it's fun to message each other and remember birthdays past that we've done together. It's fun to get 100 likes on Facebook for your birthday too and get new things you buy yourself for a present (like my cool, new laptop I'm writing on right now). Spoil yourself on your birthday no matter what season it happens on. I try to also give presents or a party to somebody else near my birthday so I don't feel like it's a sucky day. It makes it lots more fun to give than to get.
The Band Perry Concert
Hiking Dog Lake 
The hubs and I at Mary's Lake above Brighton Ski Resort. 
Grandpa's 87th Birthday Party at my house in September.
Hanging out with some of the grandkids 
Singing Happy Birthday with about 30 of the family gathered. Family is so fun. 
Here he is with one of his youngest great-grandsons, my only grandson, Dylan. 

4. HALLOWEEN PARTIES AND DECORATIONS! I just love seeing black and orange and purple and lime green decorations all over the stores right now. I love a cute witch or frankie and I love to see Jack o lanterns decorated in all sorts of ways. My favorite time to decorate my house is Halloween time. I have almost more decorations for Halloween than I do for Christmas! EEK! I know, it is an illness. 
Drink station at a Halloween Decorated Dinner Party I had recently. 
Entry table all in orange and black. 
I love me a good Halloween Party. Add some dry ice and bobbing for apples and a pumpking carving contest and a bunch of weirdos in costume and you can't help but have fun. And add some little smokies pigs-in-a-blanket that look like mummies and some green jello and some kind of meat on a stick  and you've got it made! 
My favorite holiday and some of my favorite decorations are at Halloween time. 
Getting ready for trick or treaters. 
Fun treats for the kids made from rice crispie treats and M & Ms.

Ladybug Lady.

And my grandkids coming over in costume to trick or treat grandma is one of the best traditions there ever was. I love those little witches and pirates. And I always plan something fun to give them like trick or treat baskets, stuffed animals, glow in the dark toys or some rice crispie treats on a stick or candy house
Halloween Party in my classroom with my grandkids and I as ladybugs and bees. 
My daughter and her 2 oldest kiddos.
Trick or Treat! My first Granddaughter Marisa. 
5. THANKSGIVING FUN! I love having people over for turkey dinner and eating till I'm stuffed with all of my favorite foods. And everybody is always so happy on Thanksgiving. There are no expectations like there are at Christmas. It's just a fun holiday to get together.We play games, decorate gingerbread cookie houses and we pin the feather on the turkey. And we always go to the movies in the evening after everybody has gone home happy.
Entry tables and coffee tables are so pretty in the fall! I love the rustic colors. 
  I always have lots of fun pulling out the Thanksgiving Plastic Bins and getting reaquainted with all of my cool Fall decor again. I love the fall colors, the fake leaves, glass pumpkins, and scarecrows!
I love pretty placemats for every season and scented candles and silk flowers too.

I love Thanksgiving almost as much as Halloween Decor. 

 Here's the family and lots of Autumn decor on an end table in my great room. Every year it looks a little bit different. It's fun to decorate for each season of the year.
Fall picture wall....I change out the flowers and ribbon color and usually put a new swag of beads along the wrought iron picture holder.
Thanksgiving table decor 

Kitchen counters.....

I have lots of end tables I decorate for each season.....I get carried away....
Pilgrims and Indians....
Thanksgiving decorating 
Kiddie table I decorate for Thanksgiving every year. 
6. HIKES IN UTAH MOUNTAINS in early October. It's not too hot, not too chilly, and the autumn colors on the mountains are just awe inspiring! I love the mix of orange, yellow, green and red. And the animals are all about too. Just yesterday I saw a young family of deer walk across the street as I was driving home from school. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough! 5 little deer will just make your day, believe me!
Hiking Minnetonka Caves in Idaho with my sis. 
Hiking around Sundance Ski Resort in Utah. We didn't see Robert Redford though...sigh....
Bridal Veil Falls hike on October day with the grandkids.....

Just above ALTA Ski Resort look what we saw doesn't get any better than this! 

Hiking in October is really the very best weather.....
We are surrounded by a dozen lakes and reservoirs to hike around-- this was Bell Canyon Reservoir in October. 
7. I LOVE THE FALL SPORTS!  I love watching the World series in Baseball, and the start of Sunday Night Football. It is fun for my hubs and me, and for the guys in the family to get together and talk about our favorite teams while eating great football snacks
Fun Football Snacks
Football starts in the fall....Sunday Night Football is fun to look forward to! 
Lots of the kids do fantasy teams and that adds to the fun. I love watching my little grandkids playing sports too. Have you ever watched 4 year olds playing sports? It's a HOOT.
Love the football snacks too. 
HERE you can check out how to tmake these soft pretzels for Monday Night Football!
 Or some football cookies or Pigs in a Blanket!
.And who doesn't love a good, rough, hockey game in person? I love to go see the Utah Grizzlies and watch the clown shoot hot dogs up in the stands and stand up to dance to YMCA. And have you ever done "Chuck a Puck"? Well you haven't lived then. It's a fun sport, hockey is. My son Danny loved it and we loved watching him play and end up in the penalty box. It makes me smile thinking about it. We've got tickets for November already! 
 We make little individual pizzas in these cast iron pans They turn out like Pizza Hut deep dish pizzas.Gotta love football snacks! And I LOVE pigs in a blanket!
Football Snack Pizzas

8. FAMILY QUAD RIDING  at our Cabin in the mountains during the Fall season too. It is one of the most fun family outings a family can have. We take the little ones and put them on the back of the 4 wheelers in their own little helmets and go tour the national forests around our cabin. The weather is nice and crisp and breathing fresh air when you are doing something physical and beautiful at the same time is a rush. I love it!
Fall Family photos and quad riding....
The beauty of nature on display.....
Some of the most fun times we've had are riding the quads as a family up in the mountains above Bear Lake.
I'm always at the end of the

  I love coming in half warm half cold to get by the fire and drink some hot chocolate and grab some BBQ chips after riding quads or hiking out in the mountains of Utah. It's just so neat. My hubs is a biker and he loves that too. I love watching the pelaton of bike racers whizzing around a curve at the mountain bike races they have right near our cabin too. But I just take the pictures. I don't bike.
I love quad riding out in nature. 
9. MY GARDEN  looks good but it's not as much work as summer gardens are.  I've done all the back breaking weeding and hoeing and mulching all summer and everything has slowed down but everything still looks good. It hasn't all died yet but the workload has shrunk down to nothing but the occasional odd weed or watering. Mostly it is just beautiful and colorful with fall orange and red foliage, a harvest of green, yellow squash and orange pumpkins and red apples from the trees and vines and lovely fall mums and shrubs in shades of orange, yellow and burgundy.
Fall gardening...when the deer don't eat the lilies I am a happy camper. 

It just makes me happy. Every year I put down a new door mat in fall colors for my front door and add a beautiful fall wreath with some Hobby Lobby Doo Dads of some sort.

It is just inviting to walk up my front path in the fall seeing the green pine trees, the aspens and the fall leaves changing colors on our other trees and shrubs. Fall is the best season for beauty in nature, I think.
I have 4 fruit trees and lots of veggie gardens......and 2 ponds. 

Some of the fruits of my labor.....
10. FALL FASHIONS  I love when all the new fall sweaters and scarves can come out and I can cover up with some of my favorite boots and overshirts and sweaters and scarves. I love the new fall looks in magazines and trying new fall colors of jewelry and nail polish. It all feels new like a new school year.

Even though I love Christmas in the winter and Easter in the Spring, and a good, long, summer vacation, I've always loved fall the best. I remember skating down my street, my cheeks flushed and pink, panting and happy with my new, red, birthday skates, loving the weather and being outdoors. And here I am 50 years later and I still feel exactly the same way. FALL ROCKS!

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