Thursday, November 30, 2006


"Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."
-Oren Arnold

And, to a fellow crafter, a lovingly handmade Christmas ornament to hang on her Christmas tree.

On one of the blogs that I check daily, I was introduced to the Holiday Ornament Swap 2006. It sounded fun, so I signed up and forwarded the link to my mom, who I must thank for the crafty blood that runs through my veins. We both got in on the fun. And, today I sent my packages for their journey all over the world!!

This is the note that I sent along with each ornament:
"Hi friends,
Thank you in advance for sending me your beautiful Christmas ornament. These ornaments will adorn my first Christmas tree in my first apartment. I have had so much fun decorating my home for the holidays.
I have always been a crafty person [it's in my genes], but with the free time I now have [sorely missed through my four years of college] I haven't been able to motivate myself to get a project started, much less finished. My apartment was filling with craft supplies, and my time was filling with reading craft blogs, but I just couldn't start. Then this swap came along! Although I can sew and have just learned to knit, I chose to make these ornaments with my favorite craft supplies: patterned paper and a little bit of Mod Podge. Hopefully this project will give me the momentum I need to complete all of the Christmas crafts on my to-do list.
Along with this shabby chic ornament, I'm sending along my blessings for you and your family this Christmas and throughout the New Year!
Merry Christmas! Jana"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Feast

"Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants."
-Kevin James

The holidays have begun!! To start the season: Thanksgiving. I cooked my first feast. Rob and I celebrated Thanksgiving here in town by ourselves this year. Although I missed being home and visiting with all of my family, I was looking forward to celebrating low-key this year. It's funny how quickly low-key becomes not so much. I spent several days poring over my cookbooks and surfing recipe websites, trying to find the best dishes to prepare and serve on the big day. I tried hard to blend both of our traditions, making sure that nothing super important was left out. One last clarification of turkey cooking time, two grocery trips, three hours of cooking, and at least 7 dirty pots and pans later, dinner was ready. And only 25 minutes later than my expected serving time of 3:30!

I was doing so well at the beginning, cleaning the dishes as I went. But then the timer dinged, the water boiled, the gravy needed stirring--all at the same time. I needed like four extra hands and lots more counter space. Rob showed up just as I was transferring it to the table [he had gone to find a newspaper with Black Friday ads!] Just in time to carve the turkey.

The Menu:
Sage Roasted Turkey Breast [a 4.5 pounder takes 75 minutes!]
Mashed Potatoes [with my new Cuisinart stand mixer]
Gravy [gravy takes skill, which I do not have]
Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing [so-so taste, but super easy]
Sauteed Green Beans [my new favorite recipe]
Candied Yams [talk about sugar overload]
Pillsbury crescents [can't beat 'em]
Kroger Bakery pumpkin and pecan pies [a half pie of each, so we could both have our favorite]

Let's just say after we stuffed ourselves, we spent the afternoon scouring the ads, watching a little football, and then going back to bed.

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