Family Traditions around the Thanksgiving Table

Our children are married with families of their own and some of their children are married so our attendee number for holidays varies every year.

This Thanksgiving we were only missing the members living out-of-state. The rest of the clan – all seventeen of them – arrived with their traditional offerings to share.

Daughter #2 served as hostess and prepared a Pioneer Woman brine turkey that was moist and tasty and the dressing and homemade cranberry sauce. Her traditional chess pies were baked this year by her step-daughter. Tradition remained though the cook varied. As she said, “it’s good to pass the torch.”

Daughter #1 brought pecan-crusted sweet potatoes and a bag full of yummy baked goods like cranberry orange bread, enough for all to carry home. And, a can of jellied cranberry, a husband’s favorite.

One Aunt brought deviled eggs and brown-and-serve rolls, her annual contributions. She served the eggs on a special egg dish of another gone-to-glory aunt. We felt her presence, smiling down from heaven.

Another Aunt brought her special recipe cheese ball. This was the first Thanksgiving she and her husband weren’t together in their fifty years together. His Parkinson kept him at his Memory Care home. The beginning of new tradition, we’re hoping.

Granddaughter #1 brought her husband’s family tradition – a pound cake made by his grandmother’s recipe. A new tradition, we all agreed when she and hubby join our festivities. Newly married, they alternate holidays between their families. We had them this Thanksgiving.

Step-daughter’s mom joined in with homemade mash potatoes that were creamy and smooth. We’re counting on a repeat performance for next year’s Thanksgiving feast.

I contributed the scalloped corn and the classic green bean casserole and an orange pineapple jello salad no one has eaten since they were toddlers. I can’t seem to stop myself

A vintage 1950s fall tablecloth covered one of the tables. A remnant from family or a prize antique shop purchase, no one remembers. It’s just always been around along with the honeycomb tissue paper turkey in the center of the table.

Pepa carved the bird and grandchildren lined up for first tastes of slices from the carver himself. We all know nothing tastes better.

The football game played on the very large screen TV. Grandsons and Pepa cheered their team to victory.

The granddogs, banished to the bedroom, quietly wondered at all the commotion and Auntie’s dog, who came along, relished the pats and extra laps.

All in all a lovely day filled with traditions that remind me of Tevye’s words in the song from Fiddler on the Roof.

“Tradition. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as… as a fiddler on the roof!”

But I was also reminded Thanksgiving traditions, while lovely and touching, aren’t based on the things on the table or around the table but in the love that surrounds us.


Thanksgiving Blessing

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The day to think about all the things we are thankful for. You, our readers, are top of the thankful list for Chicken Wrangler Sara and me. We offer this Irish blessing for you and yours.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Door Quotes – John Barrymore


Let the Holiday Shopping Begin

Good news for those of you who have started your shopping already. I have a new release to offer.

Book Blurb

When David Sands lost his wife, he promised he’d sell their condo contents and donate proceeds to their non-profit that supports families of MIA and POW soldiers. He’s been procrastinating for three years.

Debra Hughes, antiques business partner and best friend to David’s late wife, promised to look after David, to help him through his grief. Debra kept her promise to her friend, but the strong feelings she developed for David rocked her calm world.

Now the estate executor requires David to fulfill his promise and hires Debra to oversee the antiques sale. Will David and Debra be able to work in close proximity without avowing their love and declaring new promises -- this time to one another?

It’s taken awhile to get this one written. Lots of life erupting, but at long last Book 4 of the  PROMISES series is here.

There are now four published novels telling a continuous story of two men and one woman who met at Eighth Army Headquarters, Yongsan, South Korea in the sixties.

The idea for these stories came from my days as a Department of Army Civilian at Headquarters, Eighth Army. Though the books are completely fictional, you’ll find much from my days in South Korea sprinkled throughout.

Each sequel is a standalone novel that chronicles the stories of Lily Johnson, Alex Cabot, David Sands, and Shirley Carlson from the turbulent Vietnam War years through the decades that follow. To paraphrase a reviewer of the series, if you were around in the sixties, you will be immersed with memories. If you weren’t around then, you’ll understand better what it was like.

Buy links are in the column on the right. Simply click on the book cover. Or click here for my Amazon author page.


Candy Corn Fan Club

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I’ve discovered there are two kinds of people in the world – those who love candy corn and those who don’t.  Guess which group includes me. <grin>

I wrote a Candy Corn Song (to the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree”)

Oh candy corn, Oh candy corn

You are my favorite candy.

Oh candy corn, oh candy corn

I think you’re fine and dandy.

You are the one I like to eat

Because you are so very sweet.

Oh candy corn, oh candy corn

You are my favorite candy.

I make candy corn cookies:I even dress the part: My mom supports my habit.  She bought me these place mats:One year she sent me a candy corn shirt which I proudly wear every October.  This year I discovered a fellow candy corn fan at my new school.  She just may be my favorite student!


Quotes about Doors – Mehmet Murat ildan


Why Red and Blue for Political Parties?

Mid-term Election 2018 campaigning is over. No more political robocalls. No more political ads. Are you as relieved as I am?

There’s a no politics policy here on the blog so we’re not discussing election results.

Instead, we’re going to look at how color designations for the two political affiliations came into being.

So why use red and blue colors to identify political affiliations? The simple answer is those colors project more clearly on screens, but there is more to the story.

Most of us are so accustomed to watching the United States map turn red or blue on our television screens as election returns are tallied we forget for many decades television broadcasts were black-and-white and color didn’t matter. A check mark beside the totaled vote indicated the winner.

Also remember for the first 40-plus presidential races newspapers were the only means of relaying results. There was no television!


But, as you can see on this chart from Philip Bump’s article in The Fix, prior to 1988, networks chose whatever color they wanted to designate state wins by political party. Red designated Democratic wins and blue or yellow Republican wins.

By 1992, networks switched the color designations, settling on red-for-Republican, blue-for-Democrat. That assignment solidified with the historic election of 2000 and all the missing chads.

For those too young to remember that election, Al Gore won Florida and then he didn’t; George Bush won Florida and then he didn’t.

For weeks, the public had no idea who the next president would be.

The media spent hours upon hours discussing maps of the states and speculating how Bush or Gore might win. Commentator discussions centered on election night maps. States that voted Republican were colored red and states voting Democratic noted in blue.

The shorthand usage of the specific color simplified reporting. Red states meant Republican electoral votes and blue states meant Democratic electoral votes. The party color association became firmly established.

Nothing prevents the colors from changing, but it’s become so familiar there’s no reason to think it will. Not when election night audiences understand the code.

Want to read more history:


Rooster Dishes

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

A friend of mine recently found herself in possession of a set of rooster dishes. She immediately thought of me and called to see if I was interested.

We still have most of the set of stoneware we received for wedding gifts along with two sets of Talavera we purchased in Mexico. But none of these have roosters on them so I had to at least take a look.

I am so glad I did – they are wonderful!

They were packed in plastics bags and labelled with a Sharpie.  As I unpacked the bags, I made an interesting discovery.  The bag marked “salad plates” contained larger plates than the one marked “dessert plates.”

Here is a picture of the dinner plate, salad plate and dessert plate stacked for comparison: In researching the dishes I discovered they are Poppytrail Red Rooster manufactured by Metlox probably in the 1940’s.

I should have known they were from a different time period.  Today our dessert plates are much bigger than salad plates, if there is a distinction at all.

I have packed up the Talavera (it wasn’t dishwasher or microwave safe) and replaced it with the rooster dishes.  While they say they are dishwasher safe, there is no indication about microwaves – probably since they weren’t in use yet.

I hope having the different sized plates will encourage me to eat more salad and less dessert.


Quotes about Doors – Akiko Busch

This quote in the November Martha Stewart magazine got me to thinking about doors.

Doors not only appeal to our sense of arrival and coming home, doors also signal welcome and give a first impression of our homes and our personalities. Doors can remind us of the current season or holiday. Doors can be open or closed. Doors can be metaphors for life. Doors can offer opportunity or keep us from opportunity.

November’s Wednesday quotes about doors should get you thinking about doors too.


Two Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

I know blogging about thankfulness and gratitude in November is cliché, but what better time to focus our thoughts on thankfulness and gratitude.

After all, we do celebrate Thanksgiving Day in America this month.

Too often, though, our attention on thankfulness is missing for the rest of the year.

Being grateful is a choice. If you’ve lived most of your life NOT focusing on gratitude, it’s not so simple to change that perspective.

Here are two ways to help you cultivate an attitude of thankfulness beyond one Thursday in November.

Keep a thankful list.

It’s sometimes hard to write down things that you’re thankful for, especially on those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days, but over time the act of physically writing out a daily list can produce an grateful attitude.

Start your list with simple things like a bed to sleep in. A house that keeps you dry and warm. The sunrise/sunset. If you look around you, there is so much to be thankful for.

If writing out a list isn’t for you, you could try grateful beads. That’s what I use.

My grateful bead string has ten beads to help recall things to be thankful for. Three beads for three people who touch your life. Six beads for six things, events, and occurrences and the final bead to remind you to give thanks to your creator.

You can find beads like mine here  or do a search online for grateful beads. There are many options.

Share thankfulness on social media

We are a plugged-in culture, which makes it next to impossible to avoid social media altogether no matter how hard we might try. Social media sites are filled with an abundance of thoughts and images of wars, earthquakes, floods, fires, sick children, murdered spouses and, lately, politics.

By sharing positive, uplifting posts, memes, and videos instead of those, you encourage attitudes of thankfulness in yourself and others.

Give these two ideas a try, I think you’ll find an attitude of gratitude grows the more you use it.