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.

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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.

Making Cherry Cream Cheese Pie

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Beings that this month is my mom’s birthday month, Thursday, I made her a cherry cream cheese pie. Cherry cream cheese pie is one of her favorites. Her birthday is closer to Thanksgiving, which is why I have began the tradition of making it earlier in the month so she can enjoy it, as well as pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and not be overloaded with pie all at once.

It is a super easy recipe and each pie has 6 – 8 servings. All you need is:

•1 (14 oz) can of sweet and condensed milk

•1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese

•1/3 cup lemon juice

•1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

•1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie crust

•1 (21 oz) can Wilderness original country cherry filling / topping – chilled (the wilderness brand also has other fruit toppings similar to the cherry if you wanted a different fruit)

Directions:

•in a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and lemon juice with an electric beater until smooth

•pour cream cheese mixture into graham cracker crust (and putting the plastic cover that comes with the crust upside down to cover the pie)

•chill in refrigerator (also put the can of cherries in the refrigerator) for at least 3 hours or until set. (6 to 8 hours is preferable)

•prior to serving top with chilled cherries

•refrigerate leftovers

Eating Venison

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To some, eating venison is adventurous. (If you can’t find it in the grocery store than it’s exotic).

Today I had some Venison for the second time that I can remember, as an adult. I may have had some at some point when I was a kid, but I just don’t remember it.

I definitely love trying different meats. I eat so much chicken, and don’t care for beef.

Venison is texturally similar to beef, but isn’t as heavy and has a totally different flavor. I actually like the more gamey flavor of Venison.

Not counting Beef, Chicken, Pork, Shrimp and Salmon from the Grocery Store, I have had fresh caught salmon from the Pacific Ocean, as well as fresh caught trout. I have also had crab, clams, tilapia, cod, lingcod, tuna, bear jerky and wild boar sausage. I have also likely eaten Elk, and other types of seafood that I can’t think of at the moment. The best chicken I have ever had was one that my my cousin had raised on his property. That chicken was definitely cage free, and allowed to roam in a large pen.

Part of my whole goal and desire with simple homemaking is to be more self sufficient and self sustaining in how I live my life. With that, while still in the process of learning about how to live the life I want is trying new things.

While I don’t want to live completely off grid, I am definitely tired of living a completely on grid life style in the city.

I don’t fault anyone who lives in the city, and / or enjoys and prefers city life, that is their right and choice to do so.

I do make some foods Vegan, because I am dairy intolerant, and egg sensitive, but I am by no means actually vegan. If it weren’t for my food intolerances and sensitivities I would still be eating eggs and dairy products (dairy free yogurts and cheese alternatives are not the same as the real thing, and I definitely miss eating Tillamook Cheese and Yogurt).

I am all for ethical hunting and fishing. I also love being out in the Garden, and I would love to raise chickens and maybe some goats.

Working to make my place a Home

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Today I went shopping at the store I work at, to purchase the rest of the Christmas ornaments I have been eyeing for the past week and a half, since we got them in stock.

I started buying the ones I like last week and picked up the last few I liked today. I might as well pick up the cute ones while they are in stock, before the mad rush for Christmas everything happens, and all the ones I like sale out.

Beings that my store is in the same complex as a mall that has a yankee candle store I decided to walk down to the Yankee Candle and at least smell the candles. I found one scent I actually like, which is the apple pumpkin. They were having a sale, the small jars were buy one get one free so I got two of the apple pumpkin candles.

On my way home I had stopped at new seasons and picked up a couple boxes of my favorite Steven Smith tea maker tea – no. 47 Bungalow.

While I am working to live a more minimalistic life, having a few things to make my future house a home. Besides just the fact that I enjoy Homemaking, hospitality has also been on my heart. Whether it is extending friendship and an open door to young women in college who are away from home and need that support system, a listening ear of someone who has already gone through it, and a home cooked meal every so often. Being that someone who helps them make their new home feel like home because they will be there nine months out of the year for at least four years. As well as young women who are through school and starting out on their own, and maybe moved someplace new for work and trying to figure out the whole adult with a job thing. Starting college and new jobs are always hard, and it is even harder when you move someplace new to do that, and pursue your dreams. I have been there, I have been through it. Being able to be there for other young women who are going through similar situations I have been through and be able to open my home to them to help ease the transition is something that is on my heart.

It’s time for Pumpkin

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Yesterday after I got home from work I felt like baking. Beings that I didn’t have to work today, I had the time to bake.

Now that autumn is finally here, as well as the fact that I love pumpkin food, and the weather is cool enough to actually warrant baking, I am back in my element. I love cooking and baking.

A couple weekends ago I made split pea soup, and this past weekend I made Chili.

Fall is definitely my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, pumpkin scents, pumpkin food, hot tea, the changing colors of leaves, I love the fall colors anyway.

I am actually excited that summer is over, and on to cooler weather.

Baking Brownies

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I have wanted brownies for the past couple of days, so I finally made some today. I had today off so it was a perfect time to bake brownies.

While I love baking all year round, I love it even more when the weather is cooler, and now that Autumn is here and today has been in the low 60’s, it was a perfect day to do some baking.

I used a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie mix and a stick of earth balance vegan butter alternative. I did use eggs this time because I wanted the brownies to turn out right.