Something in the air is different. Maybe it's the frenzy of the birds at the feeders, or the fact that now I'm getting up before the sun in the morning. We were out of town for a few days, and when we drove through the front gate I noticed right away that the bluebird plum tree is losing its leaves.
The holidays take planning though, so I'm putting some projects on my calendar and letting some ideas simmer in the back of my mind. Making homemade gifts takes time.
Like all families, we have treasured traditions. For me, nothing says Christmas like a warm loaf of pumpkin bread. We set up a very old creche that belonged to my husband's family, and a special Advent wreath. Each year I put the Christmas "village" on top of my grandma's cedar chest.
I've collected these buildings over the course of many years; some were gifts, some came from places we've visited. I recently started buying one for our middle granddaughter each year so she'll have her own village.
The Big Dinner
I've put together a section in my recipe notebook that makes my holiday dinners easier to prepare. I started out one year by writing down our menu for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners; I always make the same meals with possibly a few small changes. My secret weapon? I saved the menus!
The next year I wrote down where the recipes were for the dishes I always made: the name of the cookbook and page number. The year after that, I copied those cookbook pages and kept them with the menus in the front of my 3-ring recipe notebook.
One Christmas morning when I realized I'd forgotten to buy a roasting pan AND whipping cream, I typed up a shopping list. Now I just compare the list with what's already in the cupboard and I instantly know what I need to buy.
Here are the links to some of our favorite holiday dishes:
What to Do With Your Thanksgiving Turkey
What to Do With Your Christmas Ham Bone
How to Make Pie Crust
I'm always behind with the cards too. I wish I were better at keeping in touch with those I love. If you're like me, you might want to check out Paperless Post's 400+ Christmas card designs. Add one or more photos to your favorite design or choose a classic card like this one that's quick and easy yet full of meaning, then add options such as envelope liners and having your return address printed on the envelopes.
Hubby's Perfect Gift
Three years ago I came across an idea for the perfect gift for my husband. Since he had to be involved in the making of it, it wasn't a surprise but it was still perfect. Our family is strung out across the country so getting a family portrait isn't feasible, but I really wanted to give him one.
Using this post from My Mix of Six as my inspiration, I started early and had each of our children's families hold a letter cut from white posterboard. I asked them to stand in front of trees so that the background would be relatively uniform. They sent me their photos via email and I converted them all to black and white, then put them together in a long strip to spell our last name. Hubby and I are holding the first letter. Matted and framed, my husband treasures it.
(I apologize for not showing you the finished product,
but I don't show my grandchildren's faces online. I'm sure you understand.)
I want to do this again since we have some new family members to include. It takes some planning and coordination so I'll need to start early.
Have you started thinking about the holidays yet?
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Leave a comment!
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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