Category: Fun Stuff
Monday, November 24
This post is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and reflects a collaboration with NEA’s Raise Your Hand for Student Success campaign. All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own. Be sure to visit the NEA Parents’ Page for great resources for parents!
My kids have this entire week of Thanksgiving off from school. I remember back in the day only getting Thursday and Friday off, leaving you with just a few days to enjoy the holiday. I actually really appreciate having three extra days to relax with our family and enjoy some time off together. But having the whole week off means almost 10 days of no school!
I’m not one to buy workbooks and pull out the flashcards on school breaks. Honestly, I love getting a break from the homework grind. But just because homework and class time are on hiatus doesn’t mean learning has to be. Here are a few things we’ll be doing this week as a family to facilitate fun learning during the Thanksgiving break!
- COOKING! Of course we’ll be cooking up a storm this week and you can bet the kids will be involved. Not only will having the kids cook with me help form lasting memories, but there are ample learning opportunities in the kitchen, especially around math. Anna even got up this morning and made up her own “recipe” with yogurt and milk, so she is ready to go in the cooking department!
- READING! I am lucky that we have kids who love to read, so they’ll do plenty of reading on their own over the break. But even if kids don’t love reading, Thanksgiving break is a good time to get them excited to read. I always buy Christmas books during this week and we kick off the holiday season by reading those books together as a family. We also have fun Thanksgiving books to share together, too.
- DAY TRIPS! We have passes to the Natural History Museum in LA as well as the San Diego Zoo. We will be visiting one of those spots for sure this week! Museums really are a great way to mix learning with fun!
- CRAFTS & LEARNING ACTIVITIES: My Anna loves science more than a million ice cream scoops, so I’m sure we’ll break out our Green Kid Crafts science kit and do a science project together. My friend Marie also has about 1 billion projects on her website Make and Takes, so I’ll be seeing what ideas she has for us, too!
What do you have planned this week with the kids? I’m sure you all have all kinds of creative ideas, so please share them with the rest of us!
Sunday, November 23
It’s Thanksgiving week – I can’t believe it! Today it’s mostly all about the Thanksgiving menu, but I’ll also share our menu for the whole week, which is pretty sparse because all the attention will be on the turkey!
This year we will have Nate’s sister Jess and her family here with us for the entire week, and the Czarnecki family will be joining us on Thanksgiving. We will be surrounded by people that we love dearly and I can’t wait!
Time for the Thanksgiving menu! Here’s what we’ll be having. As usual, we’re sticking with everyone’s favorite classics.
- Turkey (Every year I try a different technique. This year I’m going with the technique that my friend Amy claims is the best, most reliable way to cook a turkey. I also bought 2 smaller turkeys instead of 1 big turkey, hoping for more delicious results.)
- Classic Mashed Potatoes
- Classic Stuffing
- Crescent Rolls and/or Squash Rolls
- Cranberry Slush (my great-grandmother’s recipe that we have EVERY YEAR NO MATTER WHAT)
- Cranberry Sauce (as per Jess’s request, there will also be canned jellied cranberry sauce)
- Sweet Potato Souffle
- Broccoli Casserole
- Butternut Squash (I’m going to cube it, roast it, then pan fry it in browned butter)
- Rose’s Creamed Onions (this recipe is from Nate’s great-grandmother)
- Pumpkin and Apple Pie (not sure what recipes we’re going to use yet!)
I’m not making green bean casserole this year, but if you are, you really should try my homemade version. It’s kind of to-die-for.
As for the rest of the week…here’s the menu plan!
MONDAY: Malibu Melt Wraps
TUESDAY: Taco Night
WEDNESDAY: Taco Leftovers
FRIDAY – SUNDAY: Leftovers Galore!
Please share your weekly menu as usual…but we REALLY want to see your Thanksgiving plans! Share, share, share!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 11:33 am 16 Comments
Categories: holidays, thanksgiving prep, weekly menus Tags: dinner plans, free printable, meal plan, menu plan, PRINTABLE MEAL PLAN, shopping list, thanksgiving, thanksgiving menu, thanksgiving prep, weekly menu, weekly menu planning |
Friday, November 21
This post is sponsored by Q Squared NYC.
I was recently chatting with my dear friend Amy about the holidays and she mentioned the dishes her mom used when she was growing up. Amy talked about how those dishes are firmly entrenched in her memory and that the dishes themselves are as much a part of the experience of the holidays as anything else. As she got thinking about it, she found she felt the same way about the dishes her grandmother used, too.
I loved this conversation because it really got me thinking. Often when I look back on holiday meals with the family, the food is what I focus on. In fact, when I pass traditions on to my kids it’s almost always focused on the food and sharing family recipes. But I haven’t thought much about the significance of the dishes we used. After chatting with Amy I realized my experience was the same as hers, that the dishes actually played a large role.
When I was very young, most of our holidays were spent with the extended family, so a lot of the memories of dishes I have are from my grandmothers. My Grandma Wallin was the type of woman who would bring china to the beach for a picnic, so you can imagine what her table would look like for the holidays. Crystal glasses (perfect for serving 7-Up!), crystal bowls and china dishes abounded. As a young girl, I loved it. Her dishes made those family dinners feel extra special and fancy.
My Grandma Blomquist had 7 children, so when that family got together it was always a large group. I’ll never forget the tall stacks of plates on the buffet table or the basket she used for her giant rolls. What stands out most, however, is the silverware. She had several sets of silverware, complete with intricate patterns. I remember helping get the silverware out of the drawer in her china cabinet (and how that drawer was always a bear to open!). We would wipe the silverware down with a towel and, when dinner was done, carefully put it all back in the drawer.
Eventually we moved far from our extended family, at which point the dishes my mom used for the holidays take over my memories. My mom had a set of Christmas china that made an appearance very year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We loved those dishes and using them at Thanksgiving quite literally marked the start of the holiday season in our home. Once the holidays were over, we would scour the post-Christmas sales to find more pieces to add to the collection. Those dishes are firmly planted in my holiday memories and, to this day, whenever I see that set of dishes at a store, I am transported back in time.
As I mentioned before, while I’ve always had these memories, I’ve never stopped to think about how strong they are. And, on a related note, I haven’t really thought much about the dishes I use for the holidays and whether or not my kids have the same kinds of memories. Our family is young, relatively speaking, so I’m still in the phase of collecting those dishes that will play a special role at our holiday dinner table year after year. After doing all this thinking about these particular memories, it makes me that much more excited about adding new dishes to our holiday collection and setting the table with my kids each year.
I want my children to have similar memories to what I have, memories like polishing silver and pulling china down from the high cupboard. Of course I have fond memories of the food, but as I ponder those holiday meals from the past, I find that the act of preparing the table for those meals is where the strongest memories lie. Making the table special and beautiful with the women that meant the most to me in my life ended up being the times where we talked and bonded most and I will be forever grateful for those memories.
I hate ending posts with open-ended questions because it feels super cheesy, but I’m breaking my own rule today because I really want to hear from you! Please tell us about your own memories!
Pictured above: I’ve added some really lovely pieces to our holiday dish collections from Q Squared NYC. For Easter we use white dishes combined with serving dishes from the Heritage collection. For Thanksgiving we’ve added serving dishes from both the Ruffle and the Diamond collections, both of which are pictured above. Also pictured is the Maple Apple Bijou candle, which is the perfect scent for Thanksgiving and looks beautiful on the table, too!
Friday, November 7
I have a LOT of cleaning to do, so I’m gonna make today’s Show and Tell super quick! I have two links on Babble this week – I kind of love both of these posts!
As usual, please share stuff with us! Whatever you want! Things from your own blog, great stuff you found on the web this week, anything! And have a great weekend!
Friday, October 31
Happy Friday! I hope you all had a great week and are having a ghoulish Halloween!
If you are on Pinterest or Facebook, today’s Show and Tell is for you! I have some info on Facebook and Pinterest settings that could make your news feeds include more of what you want to see.
Pinterest: Recently Pinterest changed the way you see the pins on your home page. Previously your Pinterest home page was chronological, so you would simply see the most recent pins from all of the boards that you follow. Pinterest recently adjusted this so your pin news feed is based on web cookies and your browser history. Essentially Pinterest’s smart algorithms are now curating your feed, pushing pins to the top that they think you will be most interested in as well as featuring sponsored pins more heavily. If you’re fine with this, then you’re all set! But if you’d like to get your feed back to the way it was before, you can do so. Here’s how!
- Go to your profile page on Pinterest.
- Click the gear icon in the top right corner and then select “Account Settings.”
- Under the first section “Account Basics” you will see a small section called “Personalization.” Switch both buttons in that section to “No.” Your feed should revert to the original stream.
Seeing Content from Facebook Pages You Like: Did you know that just because you “Like” a page on Facebook doesn’t mean content from that page will actually show up in your feed? In fact, it most likely will not. As I talk with friends I’m learning that Facebook users who do not manage pages have no idea this is the case. (People who do manage pages are very well aware – any given item I post on my Facebook page may only be seen by as few as 100 people and rarely tops 3,000, which does not match up to the nearly 18,000 likes I have on my page.) SOOOOO…if you “Like” a page and actually DO want content from that page showing up in your news feed, here’s what you need to do!
- Visit the page that you like.
- If you haven’t already, “Like” the page.
- The little box that says “Liked” has a drop down menu – click on that then select “Get Notifications.” Now that page’s content will appear in your feed.
Hope that’s helpful!
Here’s one fun food link for the week, this time on Cosmo: 15 Red, White, and Blue Snacks and Drinks to Serve on Election Day
As usual, show and tell is for everyone! Please share whatever you like. (Cute Halloween costumes are especially welcome!)
Saturday, October 25
Happy Saturday! I didn’t get a chance to publish this week’s Show and Tell post yesterday because I was at the AYA Summit for Women and Girls put on by ONE in Washington, D.C. It was AMAZING. I can’t even begin to process everything I saw and heard this week, which included meeting one of the girls who was kidnapped from school in Nigeria earlier this year. Needless to say, many tears were shed hearing so many inspiring stories. I will most definitely be sharing some of my week with you soon, but until then check out this news story the local D.C. CBS news did about the conference!
Today I would love to share a beyond-cute book with you that is perfect for the upcoming holiday season. My friend Kami’s new book Washi Tape Christmas came out this week. I received a copy and it is wonderful. I highly recommend it! You can buy it on Amazon, but if you buy it through Kami’s site you can get a signed copy! Even me, the most craft-averse person you will ever meet, is ready to dig out the washi tape and start creating!
Here are a few posts I wrote for Babble this week:
As always, please share your own stuff! And have a great weekend!
Tuesday, October 21
I have a monster of a post for you today (mwah-ha-ha!!!), complete with ideas for completely cute yet simple Halloween party table decor as well as a 13 (mwah-ha-ha!!!) ridiculously adorable Halloween recipes.
When it comes to entertaining, I keep it simple. I like to have a whole bunch of white serving dishes in storage that I can pair with a few accent pieces and a colored tablecloth for the occasion. Then I just throw a few decorations on the table – simple but elegant. A vase of flowers, a Christmas wreath with candles, a few pumpkins for a Halloween party…you know, SIMPLE. There’s enough going on to get ready for parties I just can’t go over the top with my decor. But I find by playing in a simple way with color and using lots of white dishes, the table always looks impressive.
My ruffle dishes from Q Squared NYC are just such pieces that come in handy for all kinds of occasions. The ruffle design is elegant and a little bit different than your standard white dishes. BUT…if you pair it with a black tablecloth and a few of Q Squared’s slate platters, those wavy white dishes suddenly take on a spooky air! Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I loved using these dishes to decorate a Halloween table! Throw a few pumpkins on the table and make Halloween-themed food and you’re all set!
I think Halloween food is the most fun food in all the land. Whenever October rolls around, I am always so impressed with the creative food I see in magazines and on blogs! Here are a few favorites I’ve found this year, including a couple I used for my own Halloween party decor!
My friend Kristen from Dine & Dish shared Frankenguac just this week. Is this not the cutest guacamole ever? Be sure to click through to Kristen’s post for details! (I put my Frankenguac on a slate platter and it was beyond adorable and a great centerpiece for the table.)
My friend Sommer from A Spicy Perspective posted these adorable Halloween skewers, which my kids happily gobbled up! I couldn’t find dark grapes, so I used blackberries instead. I think blackberries (i.e. black pickled brains!!!) might even be spookier. Check out Sommer’s post for more details! (The skewers looked perfect on the ruffle long platter.)
Here are a few more Halloween recipes I am dying to try! (Mwah-ha-ha!!!)
Butterbeer Popcorn from An Edible Mosaic (because I simply cannot resist anything Harry Potter!)
Well, that list should keep you busy until Halloween rolls around next week. Happy Hallowen!
This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Seriously, those dishes I used are PERFECT for Halloween. Get shopping!
Friday, October 17
I have just one quick thing to share with you today! I wrote a post for Babble this week called 9 Crazy Ways Parents Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies and it is pretty darn funny. I polled my friends for stories and got some great stuff. Be sure to click through and check it out! Also, how awesome is Owen’s “I Hate Veggies” face? He’s a natural! (As in, he really, truly hates veggies…little stinker.)
You know the drill…share your own stuff with us! Show and tell time!
Friday, October 10
One quick food link to share from Babble – making pumpkin rocks with my kids for all the neighbors. We had a blast!
It’s show and tell, your turn!
Friday, October 3
Time for Friday Show and Tell!
Do you have a comfort TV show? You know, TV that’s like eating a big plate of mashed potatoes and gravy? Gilmore Girls is mine. For sure. No question. I LOVE THAT SHOW. The only thing I asked for at Christmastime several years ago was the complete DVD box set, in all its low-def glory. (Nate thought I was nuts.) Even with the DVD box set, I can’t tell you how pumped I am that the show is finally on Netflix. YAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!! By the way, whenever I meet someone who loves Gilmore Girls as much as I do, we are instantly bonded. Family. I don’t know what it is about that show. If you are a fellow Gilmore Girls addict, you know what I mean. Okay, so today, you have to tell me if you are also a Gilmore Girls fan. And, if for some ungodly reason you are not, tell us what YOUR comfort TV show is! (Also, is it bad or impressive that I knew pretty much all 293 of these references?)
Just one quick food link from me this week on Babble, which includes a SUPER cute story about my 6-year-old Anna that totally makes me crack up: Copycat Recipe: Starbucks’ Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino.
Feel free to share other stuff, but mostly I just want to know if you love Rory and Lorelai.