Preparing for Christmas Dinner

Hey Everyone!

As I am writing this, it is the wee small hours of Christmas Morning. Yes I am still up, and yes Christmas presents can wait until it is daylight outside and I have been to bed.

Yesterday, being Christmas Eve, there was time spent working on doing some prep work for Christmas Dinner. Green Beans were cooked, Cheesy Potatoes were made, Cranberry Salad was prepped for tomorrow, Cherry Pies were made from scratch, and Rolls were mixed up from scratch. I won’t be having any of the Cheesy Potatoes or Rolls. The Cheesy Potatoes have a ton of dairy in them, and with the rolls I am really trying to be careful how much gluten I eat, and I would rather have a piece of pie than a roll or two anyway.

Today we just have to cook the ham, bake the rolls, and reheat the potatoes and green beans, as well as put the cranberry salad together. Finishing up getting dinner ready and served should not be super difficult.

Thanksgiving dinner seems to be the most labor intensive of the holiday dinners, but I love them all. I love cooking these more complex / full meals. I love cooking from scratch and putting a meal together to then serve to those I love and care about.

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Making Hot Cocoa by the Gallon

Hey Everyone!

Each evening this weekend, I have helped make hot cocoa by the gallon for an event that drew over 5,000 people over the course of the weekend.

We were using the professional (1.75 lb) size bags of Nestle Hot Cocoa mix. We were making batches in large pots on the stove with 3 – 4 bags and the appropriate amount of water for each bag of mix in each batch. So each pot made 3.75 to 5 gallons of hot cocoa.

Over the course of the weekend, 170 gallons of hot cocoa was made. We only had a batch plus a bit left over.

When you are making hot cocoa for such a large crowd, seeing individual serving size packets is weird. Over the course of 3 nights we used 10 cases plus 2 bags from an 11th case of the 1.5 – 1.75 pound bags of cocoa.

There were a few times each evening where I left the kitchen to take a pot of hot cocoa out to the service line, but for the most part I stayed in the safety of the nice quiet kitchen where there weren’t so many people.

As far as timing goes, I definitely hit it right to see a few friends and family who had come, most of whom I haven’t seen in months or even years.

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Thanksgiving Dinner and Preparing for Christmas!

Hey Everyone!

Wednesday I had helped my mom start preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner. I had made the Pumpkin Pies and mixed up the rolls.

I had made myself a Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie for thanksgiving, and made two regular pumpkin pies for the rest of the family.

This year we had kept Thanksgiving dinner simpler than we have in years past. Now that it is down to just my immediate family, as my grandparents and great – aunt who used to join us for holiday dinners have all passed away, it is a lot simpler.

After we had had dinner and before I had to take a nap before going to work Friday morning, I put up and decorated my little artificial Christmas Tree.

Over the past couple weeks I have been ordering Christmas gifts for those in my life, to make sure I get them in, in time for Christmas.

As I am getting older, what I want for Christmas, is less about just things, or getting the latest and greatest electronics. I have what I need and some of what I wanted in that department. I don’t need the latest and greatest. I have a smartphone, that is a bit older, but still works great and has everything I need. This past year, I have been learning how to be content with what I have.

This year for Christmas and my Birthday I know I am getting some practical things. Well practical to me things. They wouldn’t be practical for everyone.

That is how I am trying to live my life, is more practically, and be more frugal. That is part of the focus of this blog, is Homemaking made simpler. Those who know me, know I love history, especially the era of westward expansion / frontier life / pioneer life / Homesteading as well as the 1950’s. I also have been interested in learning about and diving into Women’s History. While these are two very different periods in history,

In the years since my food intolerances really began manifesting themselves, learning where my food comes from, and the concept of being self sufficient and eventually living on one income, has been something I have been researching. At least with where I am from, living the more traditional lifestyle where the husband works and the wife is a homemaker and raises the kids is all but a memory.

I have always preferred being able to go outside and work on the land, like having a garden, some fruit trees, and maybe some chickens, pigs and goats. I also enjoy cooking and baking, as well as knitting.

I am one of those who wants a home of my own, but I don’t want anything fancy. I want a home to keep, and hopefully one day raise kids in. I also have realized that I am more of a country girl than a city girl. I would also make memories than have a bunch of things that I don’t need and will not use often enough to justify buying them.

As I get have gotten older, having frivolous things is less and less appealing. Which is why when I am asked what I want for Christmas and my birthday (they are less than a week a part), it is getting harder.

Preparing for Christmas

Hey Everyone!

I am one of those people who waits until after Thanksgiving to decorate. That doesn’t mean that I don’t start preparing for it earlier.

This year, beings that I have been working Retail, in a store that carries Christmas Decorations, I have been inundated with Christmas Decorations for the past month and a half. I have also been slowly working on purchasing the decorations I have liked over the past month or so.

This year, at work, one of the main themes for our decorations this year is “Nordic Lodge”. Beings as it has taken up more than 3 fixtures on Center of Floor, it is a pretty big deal. There have been a few decorations that I have seen every time I have gone to work that I loved, so I have picked them up.

Autumn and Christmas are my two favorite times of year to really decorate for the season. I love decorating this time of year and make where I am living look festive. When I was in college, I didn’t care so much about my first apartment, as it was kind of a crappy apartment, that never felt like my. My second apartment while in college, from the time I first walked into it, felt like home, and I decorated it a lot more.

I definitely want to decorate more when I get my own place again, and make it feel homey and cozy.

Yesterday, the newest Holiday Scentsy Warmer I had ordered (as well as some bars and a holiday brick) arrived. I got the winter stag Warmer, as well as 3 bars of lavender white Balsam and a brick of Silver Bells. One of my favorite scent combos this time of year is Very Merry Cranberry and Silver Bells. On its own the very merry cranberry is a bit to sweet and a bit too much for me. The Silver Bells helps tone it down and add in a light minty, cold & crisp mix to it, which I love.

It definitely struck me yesterday when I had pulled the warmer out of the box to see it in person that the side of the reindeer has a bit of the Nordic pattern similar to what some of the ornaments I had bought at work have on them.