Succulent Squash

The other day I searched high and low for decorative gourds to adorn my Thanksgiving table. The supermarket must have had a rush for them because there wasn’t any left. Walking around the corner where they should have been, suddenly I discovered some unique squashes that could stand in for the gourds and serve my purpose.

 

 

Aren’t they beautiful in colors and shape?

 

 

I chose a golden acorn, an orange squash I’ve never seen before, a bright yellow acorn, and a slender squash and that resembled a gourd. With a little research I discovered that the slender tan squash is called a  Delicata squash. The multi colored acorn shaped squash is a Carnival squash. The orange round one resembles a pumpkin and is called a Golden Acorn. I threw in my home-grown Buttercup squash from our garden to add a little dark color and complete my display.

 

We had eleven diners so we had two long tables. On each table I scattered the colorful squashes amid my pilgrim people and turkey leaf display. My one regret is that I didn’t have time to snap a photo because I was deep into a cooking mode but they did look beautiful! Interspersed with the plates were my niece’s lovely thankful turkeys and artwork.

 

 

Now I have all these squashes and it’s fun to search for different uses. I plan to make all of them within the next couple weeks. In years past I’ve baked squash wedges with a little brown sugar and butter or boiled it. Winter squash is tasty either way and a healthy side dish to any meal! Tonight I baked the golden squash with butter and salt and pepper. It was yummy and accompanied my spiral pasta with local sausage. ( See my side note)

 

A Little Side Note:

Recently my husband and I started buying meat from a local farm in our town. I saw the post on our town blog  from a local farm. They are selling a holiday package of a variety of meats all from their farm and processed in a FDA facility. We were excited to invest locally with GMO free and grass-fed meat and will continue buying from this farm. It feels good to abandon grocery shopping for meat that has traveled many miles from who knows where. Not knowing where your food comes from is pretty scary…especially in this day and age of additives and the Genetically Modified Organisms nightmare.

 

I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and spent it with people you love! I did…it was a special day of feasting, love and family.

Here is a photo of the dinner crew after eating and indulging in these desserts, pumpkin pie, apple pie, apple crisp, Reese’s peanut butter pie, cherry pie and  chocolate cream pie. Wow, there were lots of desserts and leftovers!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

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Thanksgiving Preparation

This will be my third year hosting Thanksgiving at our home. It’s been a learning process and it still continues as I work on planning the cooking. Somehow it all comes together in the end like a perfect wrapped package, despite anxiety over the details. While I have planned on  how things will go, my go to for organization is to make many lists. I jotted down a simple menu and as the big day approaches it’s been tweaked a bit. It changed as I discovered which relatives will bring what dishes. Next I wrote a grocery list. This year I had two, one for a week ago and one for fresh veggies for today. I picked up chicken broth, pickles, olives and the turkey last week and today shopped for fresh veggies and last-minute additions.

 

 

I brushed up on recipes, talked to my mother-in-law about her tasty sausage stuffing and my sister-in-law Bev on her fabulous gravy. I will make these dishes the best I can in the next few days and every year it should get easier and become a science.

I’ve already made my son’s cookies since he prefers them to pie and tomorrow I’ll make deviled eggs and start roasting veggies for the gravy. I’ve planned what I’ll make on which day and the big pie baking day will be Wednesday. Wahoo!

Here’s some advice for your Thanksgiving planning that have helped me. I always love to read my blogging friends holiday tips!

* Go early to the grocery store to avoid crowds. The next few days will be hectic

* Write a list of dishes you wish to prepare and a separate list of items needed for them

* Communicate with family and friends to see what they are bringing

* Ask your spouse and family members to help peel veggies, vacuum the house or other tasks you may need done while you cook and bake

* Light the candles, wear your favorite apron and play Christmas tunes as you cook. It will lighten the mood and relax you.

 

My son Dylan laughing with our company, my brother-in-law Chris

Laugh with your loved ones. Doesn’t Dylan look happy?

* Most Important, have fun and thank your blessings as you plan and prepare the feast! 

Last year’s gravy, apple crisp, cherry pie and pumpkin pie

 

As I wrap this post up I wish you all a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! Indulge in good food, company and remember to acknowledge what you are grateful for! I’m beyond thankful for my loving family, they are my anchor and life is so sweet with them! I’m thankful that my son Dylan proposed to his girlfriend Alexis this month and will marry her in August! I’m so thrilled to be gaining a sweet daughter in law! I’m also grateful for my friends, my little job at school and the children there.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

 

 

 

The Perfect Morning

I want to share with you all my perfect morning yesterday. Since it was Saturday the alarm clock could stay off. Thankfully I peacefully slept until I woke up. That’s this working woman’s prayer…that at least once or twice a week I can slumber without a blaring wake up.

 

I don’t have a photo of this mornings sunrise but look at this stunning sunset from a few years back.

 

Waking up sleepily, I glanced out my new bedroom window just feet from my bed. As gorgeous pink ribbons painted the heavens, I sat on the edge of my bed absorbed in this  wonder. It’s amazing how beautiful the sky can be the same day as a storm, a calm miracle preceding a turbulent event.

 

 

Trudging down our stairs, I heard a crash against the window and saw a little chickadee fly away unharmed. About six other chickadees fluttered and swooped in front and into the roadside bushes. They flew with angelic grace but with an energetic speed. One landed on our front stoop and pecked at a dried plant sprig and at that very moment, I knew this morning was magical and a gift from God above.

 

 

So I want to thank God for my perfect morning! After these beautiful sights I cradled my hot brew and sat comfortably in my favorite chair. It’s these moments that increase my faith and affirm my belief in Him. I know He’s watching out for me! The only regret from this experience is that I don’t have photographs to share, instead you’ll have to take my word for it and  I’ll share a sunset I enjoyed a few years back.

 

All the beauty and love in the world is proof of God’s love! I happily embrace God’s magic and I hope you do too!

Be looking for a Thanksgiving post soon!🏡

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

Use the Fancy Dishes

 

 

Make an ordinary day into an  extraordinary one by celebrating beauty!

 

Use your pretty and delicate China dishes that live in your china cabinet instead of storing them  like priceless gems.

 

Break out the finest china on any day just because you want to.

Sometimes people wait for that special dinner party or occasion, instead of realizing that everyday you are alive is special!

 

Indulge in the fancy dishes, wine glasses or teapots and cups.

 

 

Sunday quiet mornings go best with dainty teacups , saucers and that antique spoon that you cherish like gold.

 

I do…I break out our blue Willow plates often and love them very much. I love the fact that we can use fine plates on a week day!

Do you use your fine China often or not?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💜

 

Finding My Way

Just when I think I have my life together something happens that brings me down. Although my heart hurts, I choose not to wallow in self-pity and discouragement from someone’s behavior ( that I took personally). I’m going to get up and move on. I desire to stand tall through it all and pray for peace. I’m choosing to reflect on  two of the Four Agreements, don’t take things personally or don’t make assumptions. 

Life is full of challenges especially with the many personalities we deal with. Occurrences will definitely happen to you, like me, and they might affect you in some way. What we need to remember is that standing strong in faith and prayer will guide us through the dark tunnel.

I already feel better by writing this down, like a heavy weight has been lifted. Maybe I don’t know the whole story or took something too personally. I forgive and forget and pray that you can too.

 

Thank you all for being here and investing in my blog! It means the world to me to be part of this community, one that I feel right at home with. Come back again for a more positive post…this one I needed to write, though.

Blessings to you all as you travel through challenges.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

Gather By the Stove

This poem was written in a cozy recliner chair just feet away from the stove. 

There’s a faint crackle and pop

a forced heat that doesn’t stop

a flicker of orange

and illuminating light

a warmth that feels so right

While the frigid whipping winds

push at our window

an armful of wood fuels

the steady warm glow

Coming into the winter months it’s a common sight to see gloves, hats and shoes parked at the stove. Visitors are drawn to its presence and stand huddling over it, as many have over the years. Our in-laws had this stove first in their quaint log home. I vividly remember standing over this beauty. Within minutes the suppressing heat would scorch my legs and I would have to back up, but not too far. Now our future daughter in law, Lexy, stands over it too!

Here’s to a little heat in the chilly days ahead!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗