National Cherry Pie Day

Did you know February 20th is National Cherry Pie Day? How do you celebrate? Eat some cherry pie, of course.

  • Family Night: Cherry pie for dessert is a great way to celebrate your weekly family night.
  • Guilty Pleasure: Eat a delicious piece of cherry pie while binge-watching your favorite new series.
  • Homemade Cherry Pie: Pull out your favorite recipe and bake a homemade cherry pie.
  • Local Bakery: If you are not a baker, stop at your local bakery and buy a cherry pie. Not only will you get a tasty cherry pie to share with your family (if you want), you are supporting a local business.
  • Give One Away: Whether you bake or buy, consider dropping a second cherry pie off to your neighbor, friend, or family member.

Why celebrate National Cherry Pie Day? Why not? The weather, social distancing, and simple daily routines have a way of making life dull. Celebrate silly holidays with your family, significant other, roommates, or your cat.

 

 

 

 

Sugar Cookies: A Christmas Tradition

Are you looking for another simple way to celebrate the Christmas season? Baking during the holidays is a long-standing tradition. Sugar cookies are a tasty treat to decorate, share, and eat. Helping to reduce the stress of the holiday mad-dash of baking, sugar cookies can be frozen to decorate later.

Dig out your favorite sugar cookie recipe, find a new one on Pinterest, or grab a tube of dough at your local store. Regardless of your method, sugar cookies are a fun way to celebrate the Christmas season.

  1. Bake your cookies from the method of choice.
  2. Allow your batch of sugar cookies to cool.
  3. Frost cookies.
  4. Decorate

Do you want to get the kids involved in making sugar cookies to celebrate the Christmas season? Set out different types of holiday sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, and other toppings. Then, ask your children to help decorate the cookies. Making up new designs and colors provides added fun. Enjoy the creative process going into each cookie.

Finally, time to eat the cookies! Put a plate of cookies out as part of family night. Share a batch with a neighbor.

You can always add a nice cup of hot chocolate or milk to the celebration. Now, the next challenge, who gets to pick the Christmas movie for family night?

Simple Halloween Ghost Cookies

Halloween (or any holiday) is an excellent time to start new traditions. Whether you are staying close to home due to the pandemic or avoiding the cold weather, making simple Halloween ghost cookies is a great way to celebrate. Anyways, who doesn’t like warm, gooey marshmallow cookies?

Grocery List

  • Cookie dough or the ingredients to your favorite cookie recipe.
  • Marshmallow shaped ghosts
  • Halloween sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven.
  • Bake cookies as directed.
  • Remove at the proper time.
  • Place the ghost marshmallows and sprinkles on to the warm cookies. The marshmallow begins to melt from the heat.
  • Serve warm.
  • Enjoy the extra sweet, gooey goodness of simple Halloween ghost cookies.

These simple but tasty Halloween ghost cookies are a perfect snack for family movie night.

January: Sunday Supper Month

Did you know January is National Sunday Supper Month? Is spending more quality time part of your New Year’s resolutions? Combining the two is the perfect way to start off the new year.

Getting the Most Out of your Sunday Suppers

January 2020 has four Sundays. Each one is an excellent time to gather your family together. And, yes, National Sunday Suppers Month can be a group of friends enjoying each other’s company.

Plan Ahead, Make a Meal

Start by planning a meal. Remember, Sunday Suppers is a great way to try a new recipe or make a special dessert.

  • Make your favorite meal
  • Make the entire meal together as a family
  • Let your kids pick the meal
  • Gather friends for a pot-luck style meal

Order In

Didn’t have time to go to the supermarket? Do not worry.  Pull those menus out of the drawer and pick a meal for supper. Yes, pizza does count. Remember your trying to encourage family time.

Go Out to Eat

When was the last time your family went out to eat at a restaurant?

  • Go to your favorite restaurant
  • Be a tourist in your hometown and try a new cafe, eatery, or restaurant
  • Let the kids pick the place to eat

From a crockpot full of homemade bean soup to the restaurant of your choice, enjoy National Sunday Suppers Month. Spend quality time with your loved ones. Who knows, staring Sunday Suppers in January may result in a new tradition for the rest of 2020.

Host a New Year’s Day Blessings Buffet

New Year’s Day marks a new beginning, a new year. Moving into 2020 brings a new decade. Celebrating New Year’s Day is easy with a Blessings Buffet. Basically, gather your friends and family together to wish everyone good luck, health, and fortune for the new year.

Invites

Yes, this close to New Year’s Day, you still have time to plan a blessings buffet. Simply start planning now. Send emails, messages, texts, or call your family and friends who want to come. Once you get a headcount on the number of people coming, you can start planning your menu.

Menu

The menu is entirely up to you. A buffet-style or potluck is easy to serve and maintain if guests drop in at different times on New Year’s Day.

Traditionally, certain foods represent good luck for the new year.

  • Pork: Serving pork as part of the buffet, symbolizes prosperity for the upcoming year. A pig will root forward, which is why the meat is thought to be lucky.
  • Long Noodles: Eating long noodles on New Year’s Day represents long life.
  • Cornbread: The same color as gold, cornbread represent good fortune. Many believe eating cornbread on New Year’s Day will bring extra spending money for the year.
  • Green Veggies: The same color as money in the United States, green symbolizes good luck. Serve kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, green beans, or collards.
  • Peas and Beans: Traditionally, eating lentils or black-eyed peas means luck and prosperity for the coming months. Many believe black-eyed peas resemble coins.
  • Cake: Everyone likes cake. Eating round cake or pastries on New Year’s Day represents coming full circle. In some traditions, the cake may contain coins. The person who receives the piece of New Year’s cake with the coins will have extra luck in the coming year.
  • Fruit: Eat pomegranates for good fortune and prosperity. In fact, many believe the more seeds in the pomegranate increases your luck. For those who wish to become pregnant within the year, eat figs. Figs represent fertility in the new year.

Activities

The decision to have activities is entirely up to you. For many, New Year’s Day is a time to relax and watch football. Enjoy each other’s company. Laugh about the antics from New Year’s Eve. But if you decide to host activities, consider the following.

  • Play cards
  • Play board games
  • Play multiplayer video games
  • Relax and binge-watch your favorite movie
  • Create a craft area to keep children busy

Regardless of your menu or activities, enjoy New Year’s Day with family and friends.

National Watermelon Day: Picking Out the Best One

Today, August 3, is National Watermelon Day. Eating fresh, ripe watermelon is the best way to celebrate the day. Gather your friends and family together. Host an impromptu BBQ and serve a watermelon as part of the menu. 

Do you see people at the supermarket thumping the side of the watermelon? Do you wonder what they are trying to find? Don’t worry. Picking out a watermelon does not need to be a mystery.

Check List for Finding the Perfect Watermelon 

Most supermarkets display watermelons in large, cardboard bins. As an informed consumer, finding the best watermelon may require searching through the bin.

  • Check for the Right Shape: Look for a watermelon with a uniform shape. Most watermelons are round or oval. Checking the shape for smooth appearance ensures the watermelon grew properly.
  • Check for the Proper Weight:  A ripe watermelon feels heavy. Even a smaller watermelon will feel heavy. When picking out your watermelon, compare the weights. Check watermelons of similar size, pick the heavier one out of the bunch.
  • Check for the Yellow Spot: When a watermelon rests on the ground in the summer sun, a creamy yellow spot will develop. Generally, the larger yellow spot means a riper watermelon.  If the spot looks white, the watermelon was picked too soon.
  • Check for the Right Sound:  Tap the side of the watermelon. The thumping technique should produce a full sound. watermelon is a must.

Picking a ripe watermelon may require lots of practice. But don’t worry; watermelon is always a tasty treat. Checking for the different signs for a ripe watermelon helps in finding the perfect one every time. 

Watermelons go from the field to the shipping bin. before cutting the watermelon,  wash the outside layer. If you slice through the thick outer layer of unwashed watermelon, you risk pushing germs or other pollutants into the interior fruit.

Enjoy your tasty watermelon.

 

Creating Traditions for the Holiday Season

Are you looking to start a new family or friends’ Christmas tradition? From volunteering to outdoor fun, creating new traditions is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Call a family meeting or text your friends to find your next tradition. Who knows maybe you will find more than one.

Ideas for Creating New Traditions for the Christmas Season

Before starting a new tradition, ask your friends or family members’ input. Use the following ideas as inspiration to find the perfect new tradition for the Christmas season.

Family Night or Friend Gatherings

Work, school, and other commitments take up a lot of your valuable time. Making the time to spend with family and friends is important to your well-being.

  • Board game night
  • Make homemade hot cocoa
  • Christmas movie night
  • Host a Christmas craft day
  • Christmas cartoon movie night
  • Dress up and go out to eat at a fancy restaurant
  • Bake cookies and other goodies
  • Make homemade ornaments
  • Make Christmas crafts
  • Pack some snacks and go look for Christmas light displays

Volunteer

Giving back to your community is a wonderful contribution at Christmas.

  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen or other community non-profit organizations
  • Adopt a Family in need
  • Visit a nursing home
  • Collect can goods and other non-perishable items for a local food pantry
  • Buy toys for community programs

Attend Community Events

Search your city’s website or other hosting pages to find different Christmas themed events in your area. Along with community events, churches offer a wide array of Christmas concerts, plays, pageants, and other activities. Even if you are not a member, most events are free or require a minimum donation to attend.

  • Attend a live Nativity
  • Go to a community Christmas concert
  • Go to Christmas church service or midnight mass
  • Attend a Santa Parade
  • Attend a tree lighting ceremony
  • Go to a Festival of Trees event

Host a Holiday Party     

Hosting a holiday party is a great way to gather friends and family under one roof.

  • An Ugly Sweater Party
  • A Harry Potter themed Christmas Party/Yule Ball
  • A birthday celebration for Jesus
  • Christmas party for your children and their friends
  • Ornament swap party
  • A Grinch themed party
  • A Christmas tea

Go Outdoors

Being outdoors allows you and your loved ones a chance to get away of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

  • Go sledding
  • Go skiing
  • Go hiking

Gathering friends and family together is part of the Christmas season. Creating new traditions or expanding on old ones provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy activities year after year.

25 Days of Celebrating Christmas

The 1st of December means the holiday season is officially here. Celebrating 25 Days of Christmas is the perfect way to ring in the festivities. Gather your family and friends for a memorable Christmas time.

Ideas for Celebrating the 25 Days of Christmas

  1. Put up Christmas tree and other holiday decorations
  2. Address and send out Christmas cards
  3. Go to the local bookstore or library for holiday books
  4. Start a new tradition and make homemade Christmas ornaments (Pinterest is a great resource for finding ideas)
  5. Try a new holiday-themed recipe
  6. Attend a local Christmas concert or play
  7. Get a professional Christmas portrait done
  8. Host a Christmas party for your family or friends
  9. Host a Sunday Christmas Tea
  10. Attend a live nativity
  11. Go caroling
  12. Build a snowman/go sledding
  13. Write letters to Santa
  14. Volunteer your time/donate to a toy charity
  15. Host a Christmas themed craft day
  16. Ride around and look at Christmas lights
  17. Visit Santa
  18. Make gingerbread houses
  19. Christmas themed movie night
  20. Fill Christmas stockings or baskets to hand out to friends, family, or neighbors
  21. Celebrate the 1st day of winter, make cut out snowflakes to decorate windows
  22. Bake Christmas cookies
  23. Host a family or friends’ night with games and other activities
  24. Celebrate Christmas Eve
  25. Christmas Day dinner with family and friend

Planning and hosting different events is a great way to celebrate the Christmas season with family and friends.

National Indian Pudding Day

Today, November 13, 2017,* is National Indian Pudding Day. Is your reaction the same as mine? What exactly is Indian Pudding? Or perhaps, you have heard of the old fashion recipe.  For myself, when I first read this, I had no clue what to expect from the recipe or even how to create the dessert.

So, like most things, I had to start with some research. The recipe is actually well known in the New England area. The history of the tasty dish goes back to the early 17th century. The dessert was mainly served during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Prior to making the new dessert, I searched for different recipes. For the people who know me well, they are fully aware I am not the best baker. I basically do not have the patience to bake. For the most part, I do know how to bake and cook. But my skills are not top notch in the kitchen department. We all weaknesses. Admittedly, I do enjoy canning and making homemade jam.

After reading the recipe, I knew I was in over my head. I never even heard of the term “temper the egg” before reading the instructions. So, I did what I normally do when I cannot understand a recipe: I called my mother. Of course, she came over to help me. (By the way tempering an egg means slowly adding the hot liquid to the egg mixture to bring the two different temperatures together).

Most of the recipes called for cornmeal, molasses, sugar, milk, and spices. So, my mom and I picked the one, we thought would be the simplest to try for the first time. The recipe was an older one, but the sugar amount was reduced. I did not want or need a lot of sugar in my dish.

The main ingredients for Indian Pudding plus flour and sugar.

The ingredients start by cooking on the stove top.

The mixture coming together.

The next step requires baking. As the Indian Pudding begins to bake, the wonderful smell filled the house.

Baking in the oven.

The final product was finished. I will admit the look of the pudding was not what I had expected.

The finished product straight out of the oven.

 

The wonderful smell matched the deliciousness of the Indian Pudding. The recipe suggests topping with vanilla ice cream or heavy whipped cream. Well, I used the store bought-brand but the final product was still “yummy” good. I am glad I was able to try something new. As an extra bonus, my mom was able to help share this blogging experience.

*Note: This blog was originally written on November 13, 2015, for my other site.

 

Tips for Hosting an Outdoor Party

Summer is the perfect time to host an outdoor party. Keep in mind, an outdoor party does not require an official event. Life is short; celebrate it. Yes, celebrating a birthday or special occasion outdoors would be the great way to spend a summer day. At the same time, gathering friends or family members over just to celebrate summer is another great way to spend an afternoon.

Tips to Host the Perfect Outdoor Party

1. Planning

Begin with preplanning to help reduce the stress of hosting a party. By taking the time to write down notes and ideas, you will find hosting an outdoor party an easier task. Consider purchasing a spiral bound notebook to hold all your party planning information. Notebooks are inexpensive. Keeping all the details in one location will be extremely helpful.

2. Guests

Planning the party should begin with a guest list. In your notebook, write down all the guests’ names. The number of people on your guest list will help determine the amount of food and beverages to purchase. The list will also provide you with a general idea of the size of your outdoor party.

3. Invites 

Sending out invitations is a vital component for hosting an outdoor party. In today’s technological era, you actually have options in sending out invites.

  • Traditional Invites: Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is on social media. Traditional invites may be sent through postal mail to guarantee the potential guest receives the invitations.
  • Create an Event Page: On Facebook, you have the option to create an event. The process is simple. You will be able to send out invites to multiple guests at one time. As you get closer to the day of the party, you will be able to use the Facebook event page to determine the number of people attending your outdoor party.
  • Text or Email: Sending a text or email with all the details is quick, easy way to invite guests

4. Menu and More

Planning a detailed menu is essential for hosting an outdoor party. Menu planning ensures your outdoor party has a variety of food.

  • Type of Food: Consider a themed or potluck approach to the menu. Often, your guests will be more than happy to bring a dish to pass.
  • Grilling: If you are grilling, ask a friend or family member to be in charge of the grill. Use safety precautions in handling raw meat to eliminate the chances of cross contamination.
  • Beverages: As you plan the food, remember to add the beverages to the list. Provide the basics including tea, lemonade, and water. If you want to serve alcoholic beverages, designate a responsible person to serve.

Along with the menu, plan other aspects of the party.

  • Games: Outdoor games are a great way to entertain guests.
  • Children Area: If you have children on your list, you may want to design an area just for them. Games, outdoor chalk, bubbles, art area, and other activities will entertain children.
  • Photographer: Hiring a photographer allows you the chance to enjoy your party. A photographer will be able to capture the memories. Under some circumstances, an amateur photographer will photograph the party at a discount to gain the experience.

Along with the menu, the party set up area needs planning.

  • Location: Where will you host your outdoor party? The location is important. If you are hosting at a local park, you may need to rent the pavilion in advance. Or if you are using your own backyard, you will need to prepare to accommodate your guests.
  • Table and Chairs: Where will your guest sit? Rental pavilions usually come with picnic tables. For your backyard, you will need to consider the seating arrangements in advance. Borrowing or renting picnic tables, tables, and chairs will ensure every guest has a place to sit at your party.
  • Food Area: Where are you going to serve the food? Warmer summer months mean food risks spoilage or contamination. As the host, the last thing you want is your guests becoming ill. Consider using children’s pools or other food holding containers to place colder items in. Pack lots of ice around the cold items to ensure the proper temperatures. If you are grilling, handle raw meat with care.

6. Have Fun

Hosting an outdoor party is supposed to be fun. Do not allow the stress of hosting ruin your day. Consider delegating friends or family members to help. Allow yourself plenty of time to mingle and chat with guests.

7. Cleanup

After the outdoor party is over, cleaning up is the last step. For easy cleanup, provide trash and recycling containers in the party area. Most individuals will abide by the rules and throw items away in the proper area.