Tag Archive | celebrations

Holiday TV Guide

2079_1383681066If your family is like ours you LOVE watching all the great Christmas programing. Somehow, every year, we miss some show we really wanted to see. This year, I hope to avoid that because of the helpful guide from iheartradio.com. This guide lists all your favorite holiday shows (plus some other great family shows) with the network and airtime so you can make sure to watch or DVR your favorites.

Caution: This list is fairly comprehensive and includes several programs I do not endorse and would not show in my house. Use your best judgement as parents to make sure you don’t expose your kids to entertainers or shows that conflict with your values and vision for your family.

Flag Day Ideas

Today is Flag Day. How about celebrating by teaching the kids some fun facts about our national flag or making some great Flag Shirtsflag crafts. Here are some ideas:

Add your favorite Flag inspired ideas in the comments!

Saturday Project: Super Bowl Party

The Super Bowl is a big deal in our house. We are mega football fans, no matter who is playing. So we will gear up in our Sunday Best – Bears jerseys – and scream at the TV for one last game this season. Of course, what is a Super Bowl experience without great football food? Here are some party ideas:

10 Awesome Ways to Decorate Football Cupcakes – We prefer the football look or the helmet! football_ball_2

Food.com Super Bowl Recipes

Pinwheel wraps

5 Super Bowl Party Ideas

FREE Advent Devotionals

The season of advent is upon us. This is a great time to refocus your heart and your family on the wonder of His love, in the face of all the materialism and commercial hype that comes with Christmas in America. Here are some great free resources for advent: 

Born A Child Yet A King (Christ the King Church) – Once a week devotional

For Yonder Breaks A New and Glorious Morn (Christ the King Church) – Daily devotional

Jesse Tree Advent Book (AHolyExperience.com) – 25 daily devotionals with activities

Reasons for The Season (WomenLivingWell.org) – 24 family devotions

Jesse Tree Printables (TiredNeedSleep.blogspot.com) – Free printable Jesse Tree ornaments

Saturday Project: Thanksgiving

The Saturday before Thanksgiving is bust around our house. On this day we do the shopping, make any items needed for centerpieces and table, and gather all the supplies we will need in one place (I use a dish bin and keep everything in one place). Here are some projects and a collection of Thanksgiving recipes to keep you busy today and in the days leading up to Thanksgiving:

To Do:

  • Wash any special occasion dishes that you will want to use on Thanksgiving. China, crystal, special servicing plates etc. don’t get used regularly and often need a good washing before you use them.
  • Gather all supplies needed for each dish you will prepare and keep then all in one place. Make a list of anything you are missing so you can go to the store.
  • Make centerpieces and decorations.
  • Gather any supplies you will need for Thank You notes or hostess gifts. Add anything you need to your shopping list.
  • Go to the store and get anything you need.

Crafts:

Recipes:

Don’t forget the basic etiquette rules! Following these simple rules will help make this Thanksgiving and other special occasions even better!

Celery & Sage Stuffing

I grew up on StoveTop Stuffing as the staple for Thanksgiving. So when we were living in a place where we couldn’t get StoveTop I had to learn how to make stuffing from scratch. I am so glad I learned! Here is an easy recipe for stuffing (that I don’t actually stuff inside the bird). You can do a lot of the prep work for this the day before and just save the baking for Thanksgiving Day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of white bread. This can be regular sandwich bread or another favorite white bread. I prefer a thick-cut slice (think Texas toast).
  • 1 small onion, diced (I don’t like large onion chunks so I dice this pretty small. If you like onion pieces, go with larger slices.)
  • 4-6 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) of unsalted butter 
  • 3-6 c. chicken stock
  • Sage, parsley, garlic, onion, salt to taste

Instructions:

  • Let the bread dry 1-2 hours in open air. Depending on how humid your environment is the bread will dry differently, which is why you need a wide range of chicken stock. Cube bread.
  • In a skillet melt butter
  • Sauté onions & celery until translucent
  • Add seasonings
  • Stir in bread cubes until well mixed with veggies & seasonings
  • Add chicken stock 1 cup at a time until all the bread is moistened. Stir to distribute stock. Stop adding stock when all bread is moist (almost soggy wet)
  • Place in an oven safe dish and cover with foil
  • Refrigerate 2 hours to over night
  • Bake uncovered at 350°F for 30-45 minutes until browned and crispy on top. Cover with foil if it seems to brown too quickly

The Best Turkey I Ever Made

Maybe it was because of the way it was cooked or maybe because it was our first Thanksgiving living outside the US, but the Turkey we made our first year in Taiwan was amazing. We had a local friend find us a turkey that year. He went to a turkey rice restaurant and asked if we could buy a turkey. They wanted to sell us a 44 kg turkey! We convinced them to sell us a smaller size. Little did we know that would mean we would get half a turkey. Literally, they took a chainsaw and cut the 44 kg turkey in half and we were presented with the right side.

When my husband brought this giant side of a turkey home, he was pretty proud. Right up until he had to break the thing down and get rid of the neck. Cooking this thing cook creativity. We had a slow cooker and a toaster oven. Since cooking a turkey in a toaster over would take days, we opted for the slow cooker. This made the best roasted turkey I have ever eaten. Here are the steps:

  1. Defrost turkey completely.
  2. Line the bottom of the slow cooker with several loose foil balls. These will support the turkey and turn the slow cooker into a roaster.
  3. Surround foil with carrots, celery, onions & garlic. Don’t worry about how these look. They are just to flavor the turkey, not to serve.
  4. Add chicken stock so that it covers half way up the depth of the foil. Don’t add too much as the turkey will produce moisture too and you aren’t trying to braise the thing.
  5. Rub your turkey with butter and spices (basil, sage, garlic, onion, parsley, etc.)
  6. Place your turkey in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 6-8 hours until the internal temperature of the turkey is 180°F.
  7. Allow the meat to rest 15-30 minutes before carving.

We ended up with a wonderfully juicy roasted turkey, with lovely golden color. This turkey was so good that this year my husband and kids are asking me to do our Thanksgiving turkey in the slow cooker again.

TIP: If your turkey is too large for the slow cooker, do it in sections. We roasted the dark meat part of the turkey the night before and simply reheated it. The turkey was still juicy and wonderful.