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Dipping My Toe in Holiday Waters

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Last year, our holidays were difficult. My mother-in-law was fighting metastasized breast cancer that had spread into her bones. She was in a great deal of pain most of the holiday season and passed away just a few days before Christmas. It was hard to enjoy much of the holiday. I suppose this is why my thoughts have been drifting into Christmas; No apologies given.

Two of the nearby radio stations started playing Christmas music constantly around the clock. For me, this was nice because I could listen a little when the mood strikes me. I know there is Christmas overload in our country, but some people, like me, have reasons for wanting to extend the joy of the holidays. Now I am not going to decorate my house now, but if you want to, I will support you for whatever makes you happy.

We have an internet radio hubby bought me for my birthday a few years ago. Last night he discovered a way to connect his SiriusXM to my internet radio. I will certainly enjoy listening as I work in the house. There are 8 holiday stations, including Radio Hanukkah so that will be fun to explore.

My mind was drifting to holiday candies we enjoyed as children. The first one that came to mind were little golden peanut butter filled pillows. These came in a can and from my research they are still available for purchase. I loved these little morsels! Unfortunately, my late in life peanut sensitivity will not allow me to enjoy them, but you can!

One of my other favorites was ribbon candy. Now, this I am extremely picky about. The ribbon candy MUST be thin. There are lots of lesser quality ribbon candy, but my advice would be to stay away from those. The brand I am most familiar with is Sevigny’s, now made by F.B. Washburn candy company. This photo shows the peppermint variety, but my favorite is the multicolor which you can see on Amazon or other online sites.


Adrigon (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PeppermintRibbonCandy.jpg), „PeppermintRibbonCandy“, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode

Washburn’s also sells a variety of filled candy which was never my favorite but was always present in our home.

Now, being raised in Virginia, one of my all time favorites are the boxes of stick candy made locally by Helms Candy Company. This company was just down the road from my grandparent’s farm and has been in business since 1906. I still buy the Virginia Beauty assorted candy sticks, but the peppermint candies were a staple at Christmas.

Homemade candy was always big at our house during the holiday season, too. My mother was a master at making the often failing divinity fudge. We always had peanut butter fudge made with both brown sugar (penuche or caramel) and cocoa powder. Being a kid, the best part was eating the samples from the old fashioned soft ball test. I loved waiting for the hot sugar mixture to be dropped into a glass of cold water. And of course who can forget the rolled refrigerator cookies some people call peanut butter potato candy?

Of course, when I lived in Maine, every Christmas meant Needhams. This is a Mound or Almond Joy type of candy made with mashed potatoes, and coconut.

So, no, I am not thinking about decorating any time soon, but I am enjoying thinking about the holidays and remembering the memories from my past.

I am not ready for the stores to go full blown holiday, but in my own space where I can control it, I am having fun.

For those who might want to criticize me, I say, you do you and I’ll do me.

blessings, Blog, friends, thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Day 49

Today is Thanksgiving. I, like most people, will be spending the day with family and friends.

Today I want to thank my online friends and those following along on this 365 day journey with me. I am thankful for your presence in my life. I appreciate you taking this journey along with me.

I hope today will find you celebrating the blessings in your life. You are among mine.

For those who are lonely or struggling, I hold you in my thoughts and prayers and hope you will be uplifted today.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Blog, christmas, Cooking, Family, Home, thanksgiving, traditions

Easing Into the Holidays

Day 45

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving. Normally we would be caught up in the swirl of preparations, but not this year. Our family will be spread hither and yon, so we decided not to cook a lot of food just for the two of us. Our daughter who lives fairly close by invited us to join them and we happily accepted.

Morning

It was another beautiful day here in the foothills. We had our coffee and took a morning walk. Ugh. I am really out of shape, but I am determined to get some exercise and move a little more.

The morning was cool, but not brisk like it has been. It felt good to be out in the morning air. It’s getting harder for me because I am showing signs of arthritis in my knees. But, we walked and after a short distance, it became a little easier.

The neighbors have horses and one was grazing by the fence that runs alongside the road. I noticed it had a blanket on this morning. I paused long enough to snap a quick picture on my phone. As we made our trek back toward the house, I stopped again to take a picture of all the horses grazing. The leaves and the grass are slowly disappearing into winter.

IMG_7827Breakfast was simple this morning. Hubby had cereal with organic blackberries and organic raspberries. I scrambled an egg in avocado oil and had a sliced avocado. It was really tasty. I am trying to be cognizant of all the unhealthy fats we add to our food and breakfast can be one of the worst! Afterward, I had a handful of organic blueberries. It was a marvelous way to start the rest of the day.

Afternoon

I spent the afternoon catching up on some blogs of my friends and responding to comments on my own blog. It is nice to take a few minutes to see what is going on in everyone’s life — it makes you feel closer somehow.

Today we planned a simple evening meal — chorizo, kale and potato soup. It’s simmering on the stove now, almost ready for consumption.

IMG_7834While I cooked, I decided it was time to turn on the Christmas music. Normally I wait until Thanksgiving day, but since we aren’t cooking this year, it just felt right. Next Friday we will make the trek to McAffey’s tree farm in Waynesville to pick out a Christmas tree. This has become a tradition for us. They cut the tree and then we get a cup of hot cider or hot cocoa. It’s a great way to kick off the rest of the season.

We have never shopped on Black Friday and I doubt we ever will. Our gift-giving is limited and we just enjoy the lights, the feeling and the meaning of the holidays. It doesn’t matter to me what any of us celebrate. For me, it’s Christmas, but for many of my friends and family, it is Hanukkah. What is important to me is that we cherish the reason for the holiday, be kind to one another and focus on what is important in our lives.

It is a time of giving. I encourage everyone to think about giving outside of your own family. It does not need to be a lot because every donation matters. There is so much need right now, especially following all the hurricanes and fires. Then add in all those struggling with health issues and work issues and financial issues, there is a lot of good to be done.

I cannot help but think back to the two times I worked for companies that decided to ‘downsize’ the first week of December. I pray that companies do a better job in managing their own finances so families will not endure such a hardship at the end of the year.

Off to have dinner. I am ringing in the holidays in my own simple way.

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them,
is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” 

W. T. Purkiser