Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

What a fantastic week ahead! I will be spending the rest of my evening baking pies, making salads and snacks for a fun-filled several days at the Turner household! There's just something in the air when the holidays are here. The anticipation is exhilarating!

The apple pie I just made for Thanksgiving!!

I can't wait to spend the rest of the evening cooking away, preparing for the weekend of eating, and I look forward to packing my bags and spending several days and nights with the Turners! What a great break from work and the normal pace of life it will be. Time to just relax, cook, eat, laugh and spend time together.

The holiday season is here. The most wonderful time of the year!!

An interesting thought I've had is.....why must we wait to have kids to start holiday traditions? I would love to start some Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions with my husband. It's important to make holidays special and memorable and I also believe that traditions and memories are so much more than food and recipes. So here are some ideas of traditions this Thanksgiving that I would like to start this year:

1. Make a "Holiday Notebook". Have everyone in both families write

1. What they are thankful for this year:

2. The best thing that happened this year:

3. What they pray for the new year:

People can bring photos from throughout the year of special events or significant times

they were thankful, and we can also take a picture of the whole family each year too. Making it a "holiday notebook" makes it so that we can use it from Thanksgiving to the New Year--to get both families involved. And what a fun memento to look back on down the road?

2. I love the tradition of standing around the dinner table before Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, holding hands as each person says one thing they are thankful for. I think maybe a more fun way would even be to use a video camera each year. Have someone go around and ask each person individually throughout the day what they are thankful for. How fun would that be to watch over the years?!?! And maybe everyone should say it again at the dinner table, so everyone can hear all the answers.

3. Hostess gift. I learned this from my mom and two grandmas the first year I was married, Josh and I hosted Easter dinner in our small apartment and I couldn't believe it, when all 3 of them walked in with a "Hostess Gift"! It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. From that point on, I've committed providing a small gift to whoever is responsible for hosting and cooking the dinner for that holiday when it's not at my house.

4. I think it would be fun to chose someone each Thanksgiving to express thankfulness to. It would be fun to choose someone in the family each year and that year everyone does something for that one person. Whether it's a small gift, a note, or just a verbal declaration of Thanksgiving, I think it would be so special to choose one person out of the family to really shower with Thanksgiving. Or if family members aren't comfortable with that, we could always pick a person in the military or pastor in a church and do something special for that person.

5. Thanksgiving Craft: I think it would be so much when Reece gets a little older, and other kiddos are added to the mix on both sides, to have a special Thanksgiving "Craft" that they can work on together that morning before dinner.

6. I would love to start making the Friday a tradition! Whether it's always "Black Friday" in the morning and family time that evening. Or a completely chill family day, staying in PJ's all day, watching movies, putting puzzles together, snacking on all the leftovers and desserts and candy from the day before and making a flag football field in the backyard for everyone to play. I don't know what I want Friday to become, but I would love if it became a tradition! (this one might have to wait until we have kids, right now we might just be at the mercy of whoever is hosting I suppose) :)

So, you see, you don't have to have 3 kids to start family traditions! From the moment you say "I Do" family traditions and special moments and memories can be made!

I'll let you know how much traditions go this year! :) I'd better get on it, since we leave tomorrow for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hairdressers, Doctors and Dentists

Growing up in the same town from birth really had many advantages. One of those being that I had the same service providers for things like doctor visits, dentist appointments and hair cuts.

The one disadvantage is that you are not stretched, it's easy to get stuck inside a box and think..."This is the ONLY way I can cut my hair" and "this is the only way to get my teeth cleaned" and "I must not have anything wrong with me because this one doctor said so".

The major advantage is that...."this hairdresser knows my hair and my personality like the back of her hand, she will know what's looks best on me and what I'll feel comfortable with" and "this doctor knows all my medical history, I could call them up and they might even write me up a prescription over the phone!".

All that to say, until I actually got married and located myself permanently in another city, was I forced to make some drastic life-changing decisions! :) I don't think people realize how much of a pain it is to change the businesses you go to that provide services to you.

It started with a hairdresser. Living in a small town and paying $14 for a haircut was quite a bit different than $40 for a haircut (+that hefty tip!). Not to mention that they don't know the personality of my hair. They don't realize that even though you can make it full of body beautifully bouncy in the salon, 2 short hours later, my fine, thin and straight hair will be limp and lifeless, lying on the side of my head. And there I am, stuck with a haircut and style that I have no idea how to style (because I haven't changed my haircut since high school, remember). Who knows how it will look for the next whole year now because since I just got married, of course I chopped it all off. Is that in the marriage vows; "Every bride must chop her hair off completely after the honeymoon"!?! (well they do! Don't ask me why!) So there I was in my new city for 9 months of our newly married life, with short hair, that I couldn't control, and by now was on my 2nd hairdresser. Finely, I was starting to feel more comfortable with my hairdresser and style...after spending all that money on product and brushes and straighteners and curling irons, who wouldn't look good??

Then my husband tells me we are moving to Missouri! Excited for the adventure, we are off, but shortly after the move, I realize -- I need a haircut! So there we are, knowing no one to ask for a recommendation, I call and make an appointment at the salon 2 blocks away from our apartment. Holly. The first year with Holly was rough. She encouraged me to try the straight style, but I could never quite get it figured out and the color she gave me was never what I wanted. Then after a year, we found the groove! I started using the curling iron and asking for styling tips and she got the color right on and for 9 months, it was bliss!

Then back to Kansas we moved. Oh know. Here we go again! Luckily the same hairdresser was still around-although my style had changed and I loved it! It's taken 6 months now, and we haven't hit the nail on the head, but I'm confident in December at my appointment, it will be perfect!

To save you all the pain of hearing my unreasonably long stories about doctors and dentists, I'll just let you know that now, I've been back to Kansas for 6 months and I have yet to make an appointment with a doctor or dentist....it's SO hard to find the perfect one, especially when you loved the one you had in another city. I'm just thankful my eyesight is excellent, can you imagine the extra stress of finding an eye doctor too?!? :)

I need to do it though, I had a lot of dental work done last year and I need to get my teeth cleaned and get familiar with a dentist. And I need to get my cholesterol checked too (thanks to the terrific genes from my dad and grandpa, I have the wonderful gift of high cholesterol and need it checked at least once a year...really should get that done!).

All that to say, it's so easy to procrastinate, and be frustrated for at least the first year after moving to a new place as you try to figure out who you choose to provide services for you. So for those of you newlyweds, or oldlyweds, who are living somewhere new, it's ok to be frustrated as you find new providers, but don't procrastinate! Just take the bull by the horns and get 'er done! After all, if you end up with H1N1, you want to be able to easily call a provider and not have to give them your whole life's history as you pass out on the table, or let a toothache go on longer than it should as it causes the need for a root canal, or heaven-forbid, get split ends!!!

Ok, I've motivated myself, I'll call the doctor and dentist today.....ok, maybe tomorrow....

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt

Ok, so as you all know, I'm still in search of my specialty food! The Pioneer Woman has an awesome blog that I love following and recently she had a recipe for Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt...one of my favorites! So I had to try it out! Maybe, just maybe, this could be my specialty.

It's starts of with 8 or 9 oz. of semisweet and 8 or 9 oz of bittersweet chocolate, placed in a double broiler, or just a glass bowl in a pot. :)

I melted all the chocolate.

Added the sweetened condensed milk.

Stirred until it was similar to a marshmellow consistancy.

Added the vanilla.

Mixed well, covered and put it in the fridge for 2 hours (although I think next time I will leave it in the fridge longer, it wasn't quite stiff enough).

Rolled it into small balls, put on cookie sheet and put in the freezer to set well before dipping in chocolate.

Melted chocolate and dip truffle balls into chocolate.

Placed on wire cooling rack and immediately sprinkled sea salt on top. I couldn't find a bottle of sea salt to sprinkle with, so I had to grind it up and then sprinkle.
I thought they were a success! Very delicious...extremely rich, but if you love chocolate, you will love these! Next time I will try to figure out a way to make them all perfectly round (I think if it had been chilled longer, it would have been easier). And I will try to find grains of sea salt, so I don't have to grind it up.
Maybe, just maybe, this is my new signature food! If anyone wants to try one and give me their opinion, just let me know, and I will deliver it to you!