“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Fruit Salad is one of my favorite dishes! It is always a beautiful addition to your buffet with all its vibrant colors and let’s face it, it’s just plain delicious!
But…we all know how daunting it can be to make fruit salad. First you have to hope the grocery store has all the fruit you are looking for, FRESH, AND at a good price. Then if you can get that to happen, you have to wash and cut and peel and wash and chop and WASH!!! LOL! So, over the years I have discovered a little trick to have the beautiful and delicious fruit salad without all the worry, work, expense, and stress!
You will need:
*I usually double this recipe for my big family gatherings!
-1 can of Del Monte Very Cherry Fruit Cocktail (with sugar added) -1 can (any brand) No Sugar Added Pear slices (I cut them in half)
-1 can (any brand) No sugar added Peach Slices (I cut them in half)
-1 can (any brand) No Sugar Added Pineapple Chunks
-1 can (any brand) No Sugar Added Mandarin Oranges
**All cans are approx 14.5-15.5 oz.
-Fresh Strawberries (sliced), or Blueberries, or Blackberries, or Kiwi Fruit (you can use all or any of these if you have them) I like to add a little fresh fruit for added pop of color and basically because fresh is just better! When I made this salad for Easter (in pic) I wasn’t able to get any Blueberries or Blackberries, so I just used Strawberries and it was still so pretty…but I do prefer the pop of blue in this salad!
-Fresh Lemon Juice
Drain all cans and add contents to a large mixing bowl. Gently stir. Add fresh fruit of choice and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the salad. Stir gently again. Refrigerate at least 1 hour so flavors can marinate. Add to your favorite serving bowl. Can be made day before and is amazing leftover or to put in lunches for the week! **For a little twist you can sprinkle a teaspoon, or to taste, of cinnamon over the salad when you add the lemon juice. Gives it a “mystery flavor” that will surprise your guests when you tell them!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1Thessalonians 5:18
Today I was doing what I normally do on a Monday and as I was coming home from the grocery store, I felt VERY STRONGLY I needed to come home and write this article. As you know if you follow me, you are aware of my feelings on this subject. In my own personal experiences when God wants me to do something I FEEL it with no doubt most of the time. Now there have been times when I would question if I was imagining things, but I will tell you that it eats away at you and is on your mind until you do it…and that’s how you know!!
So, here I am!! Writing this article! Groceries are still on the floor lol! And this comes from my opinion and my experiences and just what I have learned on my road traveled as a Christian. I have way more to learn in my life and as much as I like to think I do; I will never know it ALL! But…I love to let my Husband think I do!! 🙂
I first want to say that I think this subject is my biggest challenge as a Christian…as well as letting it go and leaving it to God. I think the way the world is today we have been almost programmed to talk our problems literally to death and continually focus on the negative. It’s what sells. And I believe some people aren’t happy unless they are complaining about something or someone every minute! And don’t think I haven’t been guilty of it myself! UGH
When you suffer a loss or have unforeseen awful events happen in your life, this is when your faith is the most tested. That is the very human side of us. THAT is why Jesus died for us. So that all our HUMAN sin would BE FORGIVEN, and we would have EVERLASTING life. WOW! Think about THAT! Forgiven of ALL sin. If I give Jesus my heart and believe He died FOR ME… I AM FORGIVEN. I live my life for Him… I am FORGIVEN. EVERLASTING LIFE….now tell me…how could we EVER NOT feel blessed? That in ITSELF is enough to feel blessed every minute of every day!! But it doesn’t stop there!!! We are blessed with SO much more! The sun, the moon, the stars! The sweet smelling air! The flowers! Our children, grandchildren! Our jobs! Our working limbs! The food in our pantry! Our sight! Our spouse! What can you name? Sit down one day and make a list. One side is a list of blessings, and the other is a list of the challenges in your life. Which will be the longer list????? Try it!
I will admit that recently we personally have had some pretty big challenges come our way. A big test of OUR faith. When things happen, we want to INSTANTLY worry. I am a worrywart for sure! I have worked hard through all of the stressful events in our lives to get better at letting it go and not worrying. We need to realize, myself included, that where God puts you is on the way to where he wants you to be. He has a plan for us. It’s not OUR plan…it’s His. Sometimes we will hurt, suffer loss, heartache, and things we don’t understand. Most especially in today’s world, but as Christians we HAVE to be strong and hold on to the FAITH that GOD HAS IT! He’s got the whole world in his hands, and we aren’t to question, just to have faith and LET IT GO.
As I see these brave people fighting against Russia in this horrible turmoil, I wonder…did they LET IT GO? Did they have that wonderful BLIND faith? Did they KNOW they didn’t need to WORRY? Did they fight WITH FAITH?
I really believe that in order to have faith you cannot truly see it or totally understand it…you have to just HAVE FAITH with blind eyes. No “guarantee” or big concrete explanation will come along. Nothing will ever be black and white. It is something you just have to tell yourself “IS”. No matter what. And we all know that isn’t easy. It’s definitely a journey of acceptance. Accepting WHAT YOU CANNOT SEE but believe in your heart… IS.
And, when you get to that place as a Christian…as you grow…it is AMAZING!!! The burdens you let go of…the feeling of peace…the different way you tackle life’s never-ending challenges is actually extraordinary! You will never be perfect…. that’s not our job lol but the art of feeling joy and feeling blessed even through the bad times is life changing! And you can get there too. I still fail. Everyday. I am a sinner. But because I am saved, I know I will do better. I know I have the biggest and best support group there is! A group of 1! Who has my back and has saved my soul! The days I fall, He will pick me back up. When I am weak, He will make me strong. When I am in need, He will provide. It might not be riches, but it will be just what I need…and it will be perfect!
What you will realize when you get to those glorious, good times in life where the blessings are OBVIOUS, is that these times WAY outweigh the bad. If you focus on the blessings in every situation, you will see that clearly. What we think about, we bring about. If we focus only on the bad that is what we will see, it is what we will feel. And that negativity will take over. You will not realize the blessings bestowed on you that truly outweigh it all. In tragic times, that is hard to do, even by the best of Christians, but it truly can bring you peace to feel His love and know he’s got you!
If you take anything away from this, I hope it is to realize you are NEVER alone and you are not in CHARGE. When you are like me that is definitely a challenge! I want to do everything myself! But at times I have to step back, take a seat and be quiet! I need to let God do His thing and work in my life! Good or bad! And to mostly HAVE PATIENCE!!! With Him, myself and the people in my life. Things and events aren’t up to ME! I can’t control you, me, or anyone else. We need to be the best example we can be. Be a light to those around us so THEY can SEE too!!! So, THEY can see what FAITH looks like. That is how it is defined. THAT is how they will say…. “I want what she’s having.” 🙂 It’s that simple.
“Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to Heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves” Matthew 14:19
Most of you know I struggle with writing out recipes. I do not measure, and everything is just in my head, so when I have to come up with exact measurements it is a bit challenging!
This soup is really not a traditional recipe. It is basically just a guideline for you to follow. This soup starts with a few basic ingredients and then you add whatever ya have “in the pantry”! 🙂 What I will do is guide you thru the first steps then give you suggestions of what types of pantry items you can add. You can always message me with questions. 🙂 Honestly, if you follow this formula OR follow a recipe, I think soup is one of the simplest most rewarding things you can make in the kitchen!
You will need:
8–10-quart Dutch oven or large pot
1 large onion chopped (any type but sweet) You could chop 2 onions if you like more onion
About 6 stalks of celery sliced (again add more if you like celery)
6-8 carrots sliced (or more if you like extra carrots…we do!)
Salt and ground pepper to taste (I like to add a little red pepper flakes too but this is optional)
Any seasonings you prefer. I love Italian seasoning in soup.
Any type of oil
Canned tomatoes if you have them
2-4 containers of broth/stock any flavor you prefer (I use the no salt added)
Pour a generous amount of oil into the pot on medium heat. Add onions, salt, pepper, and whatever seasoning you have chosen. I would say about 2 tsp to start. Saute onions for a couple minutes.
Add carrots and celery (Here is where you could add some minced garlic if you like garlic) Stir occasionally until carrots are about 1/2 softened.
This is now your base for the soup. Now if gets fun!
This is where I like to add canned tomatoes…any kind…1 lg can or 2 small. Stir.
Add at least 2 containers of broth. You can adjust and add more as you go. (and when you eat the soup leftover sometimes you have to add more broth so it’s good to have extra)
Let it warm on low/medium heat then add more seasoning 1 tsp at a time and salt and pepper to taste.
Now here is where you can add everything else!
Any canned vegetable, any canned beans, any frozen vegetable, cooked or frozen meatballs, more tomatoes, kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, etc. You can really get creative! And the more you practice the more you will discover what ingredients you prefer and in what combination. Then you can keep them stocked for a soup day!
After these ingredients warm, you can add a starch if you prefer. Rice, pasta, or dumplings. (I actually prefer to make the pasta or rice ahead and keep it in a separate container and put it in the soup when its being served in the bowl. When you put it in the pot of soup and you like to eat it leftover the rice or pasta tend to get mushy. The dumplings hold up well in the soup so you may add them if you prefer. The nice thing about the dumplings is they soak up the soup flavors especially when eaten leftover. I use just a simple Polish drop dumpling. If you need the recipe…again I don’t measure lol, just message me here or on social media and I will send it to you. You can make the dumplings ahead or while you are making the soup or use frozen.
Let the soup simmer on low, do not boil, until its good and hot and carrots are softened.
Remove from heat and then I like to add a couple pats of butter and a healthy splash of half and half. Both optional. Stir.
Ready to serve! And of course, it’s usually so good the way it is, but if you like toppings like crackers or cheese…go for it!!! You can get creative here too! Avocado and green onions are delicious on top!
Another little tip is I like to squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the soup when I add the butter and half and half. It just gives it an extra “something”. You don’t realize it’s there, but it really gives it more flavor!
Soup is AMAZING leftover and can also be frozen for later!
If you prefer homemade stock, I have a great recipe on here for a Low Sodium Chicken Broth. You can make it ahead and keep it in the freezer for those cold days when you want to make soup.
Again, please let me know if you have any questions!
This is such an easy dessert and so delicious! You will want to make it for every event! It’s also so pretty and a bit fancy! It will look like you spent hours on it!! I was inspired to create this recipe from a delicious peanut butter pie my sister-in-law Angie used to make. Enjoy! 🙂
You will need:
Creamy peanut butter and powdered sugar
2 large boxes instant chocolate pudding (I believe it’s the 5.1 oz)
2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding
Milk (to make pudding) **I have used almond milk but it doesn’t set the pudding as well. But it works!
1 large 16 oz tub of Cool Whip thawed
1 Hershey chocolate bar
A Trifle bowl and a vegetable peeler
In a small bowl put about 1/2 cup of peanut butter and start adding the powdered sugar a little at a time…use a fork or a whisk. The idea here is to create a crumble. The peanut butter will soak up the powdered sugar and it will almost look like granola, (it takes a little while) This is something I have never measured lol. You can add more peanut butter or the powdered sugar. You really can’t mess this up! And if you make too much it’s so yummy by itself! Put to the side.
Prepare both the chocolate and vanilla pudding according to box directions in separate bowls.
Now the fun begins!! 🙂
You can layer this in any order you’d like. I do recommend ending with cool whip.
I like to put a layer of the cool whip, crumble, vanilla pudding, cool whip, crumble, chocolate pudding, cool whip, crumble and in that order until I hit the top. Top off with cool whip and the remaining crumble. Take your Hershey bar and using a vegetable peeler create chocolate curls all over the top. Take the remaining chocolate blocks and arrange them in the center. If you prefer you can also put the chocolate curls throughout the layers. And really you could use any of your favorite candy in this recipe. Reese’s cups would be awesome!
Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
When serving it scoops out like pudding so I would recommend serving in little dessert cups or bowls. Eating it straight out of the trifle bowl works too!! HAHA 🙂
I call this recipe “magic” because it’s literally like you wave a magic wand and dinner is done!! Any day and anyway. I make this weekly. It’s fast, easy, and the serving possibilities are endless! We are talking.. burritos, tacos, nachos, pizza, taco or burrito bowls, salads, or anything else you can come up with. And guess what? It’s one of my Healthy Selection recipes! You just can’t go wrong. Another plus is you can easily interchange some of the ingredients to match whatever you have in the pantry. So, just don’t sit there.. make this tonight!! And don’t forget it’s great leftover 🙂
First you will need:
1 lb. Perdue ground chicken ( you can also use ground turkey or any other meat or seafood.. but when you use beef the nutritional numbers will change)
2 TBS Canola Oil
(I prefer Simply Organic herbs and spices in my recipes)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
Every year it’s the same. I swear that THIS is the year I will start to downsize my Christmas decor. Especially after the 6th day of hauling it up and down the stairs and limping because my back and pretty much every joint in my body aches and I am completely sleep deprived (what’s new lol). After I have finally put up the 8th tree, hung the 100th piece of garland, and found that perfect spot for yet another snowman (I have never actually counted how many I have, probably best that way). I stand around staring at it all in all its glory, with chills running down my spine just marveling at its spectacular sentimental beauty and COMPLETELY forgetting all the misery leading up to this point. Kind of like giving birth…as soon as they hand you that beautiful baby all the pain goes away. 🙂
I realize I am getting older and soon downsizing will be the smart thing to do, but I am in denial. The thought of choosing from this collection what to keep and what to part with makes me so sad! I don’t know if I could choose! Literally every piece has meaning in some way. Either who gave it to me, who made it, where I was when I bought it, or the most meaningful, who handed it down to me.
When you walk around my house there is so much to take in. It takes a while! You almost need a tour guide! I always say…”If you see floor or wall when you decorate for a holiday you have not done your job!” So… when you enter my house you truly don’t know where to look first! If I had to pick a number, I would say it takes me approximately 6-8 full days to get everything decorated. Inside and out. I do get a little help on the outside. My husband just recently over the last couple seasons has taken a bit of an interest in it. **If you look on the reels section of my Instagram page you can watch a reel of my outside decor.
Everyone thinks I’m crazy. Especially my husband. I often feel bad during this time because it turns out to be a lot of work for him and my youngest child. Since she’s the only LUCKY one, lol, to still be at home they get the pleasure of hauling dozens of bins and boxes up and down the basement steps. I am lucky enough to have plenty of storage in my house. In fact, I have an entire room in my basement JUST for my Christmas decor. Then another room for all the other holidays. Fall comes pretty close to Christmas as for the amount of decor, so it takes up most of that room. Then I have another room just for entertaining items. Stoneware. dinnerware, serveware, and tablescape decor. Like I said my house was made for me! It was one of the many reasons I fell in love with it. So much really smart and well planned out storage. Including closets etc. But here’s the kicker…the more storage you have…the more you fill it!!! UGH!
I truly have tried to limit what I buy over the past 5 years or so. I only buy things I feel are just too special to pass up. Like something I’ve never seen or is just really unique. I WILL however still gladly take something someone made for me or wants to hand down. Just too meaningful. 🙂
When I walk around my house looking at it all, it makes me very emotional. All the things all the kids in my life have made for me, family heirlooms, decor I have had over 40 years… it’s all timeless. How do you let that go? I know as a Christian I should not glorify material things. I am quite sure I can’t take it with me! But…I have always said that when I get to Heaven, God will put me in charge of kids, food, and Holidays! 🙂
My hope of course is that I will hand it all down to my children. But ya know, their generation is much different than ours. Most of them struggle to buy their own home so they say…where will I put it? I totally understand that. That is another reason I have held on to it because I just CAN’T go drop it off at goodwill. I have to give it to someone who will love it the way I do.
Now I will admit, a lot of my decor doesn’t measure up to all the modern gorgeous styles you see everywhere you look. Most of what I display is what I describe as, “Sentimental-Whimsical-Vintage-Traditional” There are times when I feel very “out of style” or like I shouldn’t be sharing MY style or MY decor on my page because it doesn’t measure up to all the beautiful and latest out there. But then I will get a comment here and there that will make me realize there are others out there just like me, and they understand the love you can have for your collection, and it makes me feel a bit normal again LOL!
So, in-the-meantime, I will struggle with the hauling, the joint pain, the grumbling, the “Why do I do this?” the “Why do YOU do this?” the “You are crazy!” and the general craziness of it all! Because my heart can’t do it any other way. 🙂
**Stay tuned for my next article with tips on how to decorate for Christmas with very unusual affordable things you would never think of! Check out my Instagram page for the first post of the series on the subject! 🙂
“Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4
Every year it’s the same. I know Thanksgiving is coming but as it gets closer the same panic ensues thru me. It’s accompanied by excitement and just a sheer love of the holiday but the fear of not pulling it all together in time seems to always take over.
Although, I have to admit I have gotten much better over the years and in my “older” age of chilling a little more and just basically learning to suck it up and work around the challenges.. I have also in all my many years of entertaining learned what works and what doesn’t…and those of you who know me, know I LOVE to share my tips and knowledge! LOL!
“I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.” PHILIPPIANS 4:13
I am very excited!! I have recently had some big changes in my life. Found myself living in a very different house…not really an empty nest but pretty close. Most certainly an atmosphere I hadn’t experienced in 34 years! Our youngest went off to college but comes home some weekends and of course on her breaks. I am sure that will change swiftly when her softball season starts to kick in come January. So needless to say, the house has become a lot quieter and my Momma duties have slowed way down! Part of me is heartbroken, but the part of me that has been put on hold for all these decades…and I wouldn’t change it for anything, has had an exploding rebirth!
It took me a while to accept this. It’s like I didn’t know HOW to be myself…well, my old self. It felt completely unnatural. I found myself having time for things I hadn’t even THOUGHT about in so long. Like taking time to really FIX my hair or OMG going to bed ON TIME!!! I hadn’t had more than 4-6 hours sleep a night in decades! I have since remembered how WONDERFUL sleep can be! Been cleaning out closets, drawers, reading, crocheting, etc. Amazingly though, still feeling like something was missing. I was having a hard time TRUELY enjoying this new found existence. Couldn’t shake the sadness of all my babies being gone and I couldn’t settle into it. Something or SOMEONE was working on me and I just hadn’t figured it out yet.
When I was growing up I had a plan from a VERY young age. I WAS going to be a Mom and the best one that ever lived! I knew as the years went by that I had talents that God gave me. Talents that could have been very marketable or could have turned into some nice careers for me…but, none of that mattered to me. I told my husband before we even walked down the aisle that I was going to be at home with our children, and if that wasn’t something he agreed with than he needed to find another girl! Luckily for me he agreed and didn’t run for the hills!
Now let’s face it, not having 2 substantial incomes in a family nowadays is a struggle. And we did our share of struggling to make ends meet…and sometimes we didn’t. I always did what I had to do to bring in extra money and still be able to be at home. Fortunately, we were blessed with my Husband’s hard work up the ladder and his income growing over the years that we were able to make it all work and send our kids to college. It has never been easy and still isn’t but that’s how life is. God never promised us a perfect life…but He did promise EVERLASTING life and to be with us always.
When we took a transfer with my Husband’s company to Tennessee I had the opportunity to not have to work. We were in a new place and we needed to get settled and had a 6th grader, (our other 3 kids were grown or in college and stayed in Ohio) who at the time had a lot of adjustments to make. So, we felt we would revisit bringing in some extra income at a later date. Once we were settled, I got inspired to do something I had always thought about but never took seriously. Remember, I was MOM and that was my job! I wasn’t exactly sure what lane I would pick, because I enjoy sharing SO many things I have learned over my very educational life! I was often told that I have a plethora of knowledge that I need to share with the world. I was always like…yeah that would be fun and I would really enjoy that…I LOVE to help people and make their lives easier but my life is just too busy and my family needs me…just no time. Well, I started to revisit that idea when I wasn’t working and my daughter was now settled in school and making friends. I started to feel like it could actually be a possibility! Whoa!
Now my oldest son has a knack for technology, among other things, but I knew he was the one I needed to go to for advice of how to implement this great idea I was brewing! So long story short, he helped me take my little concept and form it into a reality. I could see in my mind, almost like a vision, how and where this dream of mine would go and I was ready! So I got to work! Creations_by_Char became a reality! After I felt comfortable with the concept I started a blog and social media pages. I went to work on formulating recipes, tablescapes, holiday entertaining, you name it! I was on a roll!
As time went on, we decided some extra income was needed so I took on some work from home to help out. I was still able though to continue on my mission to make my little “brand” a reality! And, it was beginning to really work!
A little show lol called The Chew on ABC was beginning to use some of my food photography and one day wanted to showcase one of MY recipes ON THE SHOW!!!! I almost died! To this day I still can’t believe it! They literally made my recipe and taste tested it on the air! Michael Symon ate MY Mushroom Horseradish burger on the show LIVE and LOVED it! At that moment I really felt like I was on my way! I felt like maybe my little idea wasn’t so crazy after all! So, I kept at it!
I have NEVER wanted to be famous and STILL don’t want to be. I like my “under the radar” life, but I would love to get paid for my abilities and help our family financially. I kept working hard and the ideas just kept flowing. I truly felt God was helping me along and wanted this to be my path. When He talks, I listen and I really believed he was guiding me down this new road I was on.
As many of you know my new little path was taken down a big detour and brought to a screeching halt when my husband fell ill and had 2 heart attacks. You can read about it in my story called “17 Days” at the top of my blog page.
As with my role as a Mother, I didn’t and still don’t regret my sacrifices as a Wife to help my Husband and my family through that challenging and very scary time of our lives. As you can imagine through those coming years of adjustments, financial struggles, and all the unknowns, my little dream was put back in that little box…for safe keeping…just in case I would be blessed again to open it and say hello. To again revisit that part of “Char” that made an appearance for a short time that I was still so grateful for.
Then to add to all the craziness, we took another transfer and moved back to Ohio. It felt like the right thing to do with all that had happened. We wanted to be close to family and be back with our older kids. So we got settled AGAIN and life went on. We got SUPER busy with school and sports with our youngest and I started working full time from home. My little “dream box” by now was pretty dusty and had cob webs! And still, I was fine with it. The Mom and Wife role was now 24/7 and it wasn’t changing anytime soon!
So, here I am, years later with another opportunity to open that little box. This time however, the feeling of being guided by God is even more strong and I have been listening! I do still work from home so my time is somewhat limited but recently I had some time off and I think God gave me a little kick in the butt and it motivated me! SO….my mind got to work! All those old creative juices started flowing and I am ready to carry on with my plan! We live in a different world now than when I started so my goals and inspirations have changed a little but it’s all still coming from my same heart filled with the desire to spread positivity, creativity, and love.
I want to get back to old fashioned values and bring it to today’s world, our youth, and our beautiful Mother’s, future Mother’s and families. I want to bring back forgotten joys we have lost along the way. I want to share God’s love and inspiration and bring people to His word. I want to get families excited again about the dinner table and slowing down to ACTUALLY talk and enjoy each other. I want to bring attention to the value of prior generations and their knowledge and the beauty of what they lived and experienced. I want to give women the courage and inspiration to take a break and BE OKAY WITH IT…to slow down and see beauty where it has been overshadowed by all the craziness of this world. There is so much in this world to see and appreciate and it lives in simple little places that the forces all around us want to take away and hide forever. I want to with God’s help, bring out my dream and bring about a way of thinking filled with faith, hope, joy, beautiful things, knowledge of all I have learned on my very long journey of hills and valleys, and hopefully have fun along the way! And maybe, y’all will have plenty to teach ME along the way too!
So please join me as I start this new chapter of Creations_by_Char! Please follow me on Instagram and Facebook so you don’t miss it when I finally become brave enough to go LIVE! I plan on going live in my kitchen with cooking, entertaining, holiday planning, crafts, projects, life lessons and so much more! If God gives me enough strength, I may even sing a song or 2! Ya just never know! 🙂
Thank you for supporting me along the way and please spread the word! I want to inspire and help as many as I can! A dream isn’t a dream without beautiful people to join you along the way!
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven”
Those of you who have followed me through the years know of my love for Thanksgiving. I really can’t remember how many years I have been hosting it but it’s been a lot! I remember the first Thanksgiving meal I made and even though it wasn’t the greatest, I was only 18 and it was pretty darn good considering that! I do recall that the love of this holiday started long before that. There is just something so special about it that no other holiday can capture.
When I was growing up we always went to either my Aunt’s or my Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving. The memories are STILL embedded in my brain in total detail. The smells, the comforts, getting to see my cousins, and just the sheer happiness I always felt that day. I remember getting out of the car when we got there, which was pretty quick since we didn’t wear seatbelts lol, and smelling the food cooking outside before we even got in the door. It was an instant flood of joy literally through my soul. Now I LOVE Christmas just as much, but you have to agree, that between the Christmas movies, the decorating, the stores being flooded with Christmas retail before HALLOWEEN has even happened, it has really begun to thoroughly overshadow Thanksgiving more and more every year…..and it makes me so very sad.
Thanksgiving is so special for so many reasons. I love it’s simplicity. I love how old fashioned it is without anyone even realizing it. So, what IS Thanksgiving….really? We learn about it’s beginning when we are in school. It’s history we all know, with the Pilgrims, the Native Americans and the Mayflower. I think we celebrate it every year not even realizing what a gem it is. What a joyful and blessed tradition those special people created for us. It is truly one of the most underrated, simple, and old fashioned, traditions still alive and well in this world. Unfortunately, today we have lost sight of some of our most traditional pastimes, that we need to remember and get back to before it’s too late. We owe it to our youth to hold on to these special traditions so they can pass them down as well.
If you stop and think about it, what is complicated about Thanksgiving? Well, NOTHING! That’s the beauty of it! Let me explain it the way my kids like me to explain things…my GROWN kids…We cook…we eat…we watch football…we sleep…we clean up…we go home. That simple! Can we say that about any other holiday? Nope! And it’s all in ONE day! There is no gift giving, no shopping deadlines, no trees to decorate or to bring home from the tree lot, no worrying about Aunt Mildred giving you that look because she didn’t like the gift you gave her, (well, she could still give you that look if she doesn’t like the way you cooked the turkey :)) no stringing lights on the house and fighting about it or falling off the ladder, no fighting people at the stores, (WELL.. I guess THAT could still happen if you and 3 other people have just realized there is only one turkey left in the cooler…ya know, supply chain and all) no endless wrapping…are you getting my point? It’s just as simple as it gets. Now, if you are the one that hosts it, maybe not so much….but, it’s still easier than Christmas, in my opinion. Yes, we have to meal plan, do some decorating, (well, some of us go a little crazy in that department, but if you are a NORMAL person you do SOME decorating haha) shop for what you need, etc. But, so much can be done ahead so on the day of, it just flows! I explain how I do this in an article I wrote a few years ago about entertaining in the Fall.
So…I guess what I am trying to say is PLEASE don’t get so consumed with Christmas every year that you let it overshadow the absolute beauty and simplicity of Thanksgiving. It’s sad how some people can’t wait for Thanksgiving to be over so they can rush to the “pre-Black Friday sales” before their Thanksgiving meal has even had a chance to digest! And if that’s your jam, and it makes you happy, than who I am to judge? I am just fighting for a tradition that modern times and the retail world want to push further and further away. The stores aren’t going anywhere and neither are the sales. I remember when people who worked in retail and food got Thanksgiving off because EVERYTHING was closed. I even remember almost running out of gas on one of our Thanksgiving trips because there were no gas stations open!
And, as for putting up Christmas decor before Thanksgiving…I am for it, but then I’m not. Let me explain… I used to put all my Christmas decorations up starting November 1. It made everything so much easier! You had SO much time to put it up and it was ALL done by mid November and then you could enjoy it longer. But…then I started hosting Thanksgiving and I just could not do it anymore! Remember the “smells” I was telling you about? Well, all the beauty of that goes right out the icy frosted window when it’s mixed with pine and peppermint!!!! It feels UNNATURAL! Also, when you put up 6-10 trees there isn’t much room for 20-30 people to eat turkey! Santa is ho-ho-hoing, reindeer are flying around, Christmas music is humming from all the snow globes and mechanical snowmen. Now the small children are confused because they see trees and Santa’s and are wondering why all they get is a chair at some “kids” table in another room with a plate of food they don’t even like and NO PRESENTS! See what I’m talking about? 🙂
My solution for this, over the years, is I keep my Christmas decor up throughout January. I alter it a bit to more of a “Winter” theme. There is another article I wrote that you can read if you haven’t. It’s called…”Not Totally Letting Go of Christmas…Just Movin on to Winter” It explains how I transition from Christmas to Winter but still have that wonderful feeling around us like we get from Christmas decor.
In this world of crazy, and I mean crazy, and more everyday…if you are lucky enough to celebrate Thanksgiving with family, loved ones, friends, or anyone special to you, please appreciate and savor it’s beauty and soak it all in for that ONE day…that ONE meal. It’s a time to just BE. To just love and appreciate each other, good food, God’s love and what amazing joys are still all around us….and don’t forget the SMELLS!!!!
This is similar to my other chunky meatball recipe but with ground chicken..LOVE.. and lower in sodium and just so much healthier! These meatballs are so versatile. You can have them with pasta, rice, pasta sauce, white sauce, or just by themselves. I love to add mushrooms to them but my daughter wouldn’t stand for that…so I don’t have them in this recipe. Try to add them if you are a fan or for variety. And for large groups you can double or triple the recipe very easily. Enjoy! 🙂
You will need:
2 lbs. Perdue ground chicken
1 egg beaten
1- 1/3 TBS Olive Oil
10 saltine crackers crushed
1 medium white or yellow onion chopped a little “chunky”
1/4 c fresh chopped Basil ( chop a bit more for garnish)
(I prefer Simply Organic or Olde Thompson herbs and spices in my recipes)