Monday, November 26, 2018

PAUSING TO BREATHE...PRE~CHRISTMAS CHAOS


Hey!  It's me.  Seems I was just here but it was a bit of a cheat.  I was feeling very overwhelmed by life and simply posted my December column for the lake newspaper.  I shared a lot of Christmas decorating tips and some holiday-ish recipes so if you are interested, go take a peek here.  

I'm in the here and now, and with Thanksgiving behind us, I can breathe and try to make the next few weeks feeling a little less harried.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, albeit a little more quieter than recent years.  The Husband really loves his holiday dinner so I made the turkey and all the trimmings with a plan to have leftovers.

My stuffing was insanely good, but I learned from the best.  My late sister, who coincidentally  worked for Pepperidge Farm for over 25 years, gave me my very first Thanksgiving Day stuffing tip.   I asked her how I would know that my stuffing, or dressing if you prefer, wouldn't  turn out dry.  She told me very seriously, to pick up a handful of the mixture and throw it at a wall.  If it stuck, it would be too dry.  If it dripped down, it was perfect.  Of course I've never done The Wall Test,  but I think of her every time I make that carb casserole.  And I always use Pepperidge Farm seasoned bread crumbs.  One thing I learned after deciding not to actually stuff the bird, is to fill the cavity with roughly chopped carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, whatever you have.  These will steam in the turkey and make it nice and moist.  Good idea for roast chicken, too.  I discard the veggies before we carve.

 I always use brown Idaho potatoes for the mashed potatoes but I used red this time.  I'm not sure if this was a mistake. There was something sort of earthy tasting about it, and even with some cream cheese and sour cream added, the taste wasn't so great...sort of like dirt.  Another one of my sister Leslie's tips was on how many potatoes to cook.  Her answer?  Nine.  Nine large or small?  Just nine.  I can't tell you why, but it always works, whether I'm having five people or twelve   The same number  goes for potato salad.  

The turkey was nice, as was the gravy. I'll share more further in this post.  Sorry, no pics but I set a nice table with flowers and candles burning in mercury glass containers.  Remember when we all had to have mercury glass?  Well I love it and still have every bit...somewhere.




November is such a perfect time for getting out of the house, especially on a Sunday when there is nothing but football all day.  I'm not much of a football fan and really don't understand it, maybe that's why I don't like it! :). A few of us gals in the family decided to go to brunch recently and we had such a nice pow wow.  You need that with your tribe once in awhile.  And the Bears were on so there was a nice friendly, happy, crowd.




This spot has a really great menu and they serve breakfast until 3:00.  I've had the steak salad that's loaded with sliced avocado and a festive Baja vibe, and recently I had the breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs, chorizo sausage, avocado and a little salsa.  I love brunch, the possibilities are endless.  And look at these Bloody Mary's.  They are like a salad in a beverage.  I don't really care for liquor or mixed drinks, but one of these (or close runner up, a lemon drop martini) is so refreshing.  

We had a great time and the next week my friend Snow and I met at the same place for--yeah, brunch.  Again. the Bears were playing and it was a happy crowd.  It was good atmosphere for two friends to catch up. Summer seems to spread family and friends out in a lot of ways, but you really have to reach out.  Snow and I will be doing some Christmas shopping together soon.



I've been sharing a lot of home decor on Instagram (I'm here).  As with blogging, I never wanted to compartmentalize what I wrote about or photographed.  Sometimes though, the accounts I look at with so many ideas and inspiring photos is like leafing through a magazine, only they are real people just doing what they love.  So very much like blogging but 'portable'.  You can browse through when you are sitting in a waiting room, standing in a long line, feeling like you can't sleep but don't want to get out of bed...it's so easy. And I've made a lot of new friends along with visits from long time blog followers.  It's just fun.  

Anywho, I thought I'd quickly show some pics of the family room here in the city.  Its actually large for a room in a house like mine, but I filled it with a lot of oversized furniture and while it's super comfy, I should have considered scaling down in size.  I've had the slipcovered furniture for about 13 years.  I've never had to wash it.  I have two little ink pen spots that I'd be afraid would spread out if I even tried to spot clean them, but I'm okay with it.  I'm ready to have the room repainted next spring.  When I was redoing it all those years ago, The Husband was insisting that I have color on the walls.  I was just so flustered and could not decide on anything.  And then I chose this yellow and have hated it ever since.  Sadly, it's also going down the hall.  


I'll change out the curtains, too.  These are from JC Penney and I like the fabric, but I think they are a pretty bright white and I'll look for something a little creamier in color.  And maybe I'll store some of those pillows!


The other side of the room is an area that we made for the kids to do homework or projects, but it basically became a place for them to play cards, as in poker, as in when we weren't home, possibly with real money and cold beverages.  But I still enjoy writing here.  The back door is in this room and the windows look out at the backyard...




...and I'm feeling a little sad looking at this picture, because right now it's 22 degrees with snow and ice on the ground.  Brrrrrrrrrrr...



In other news (as in jumping-up-and-down news), I got a new car last week.  This is me and my salesman Antonio posing in front of it.  The Nissan dealer takes pics for their website so this wasn't planned.  I do look happy though, don't I?  

It was a strange week from the start.  Remember the line of Lemony Snicket books, A Series of Unfortunate Events?  My girls read them when they were little.  That's how all of this felt, for a little bit.  I'll keep it brief. 

 I went to a mall as I heard Old Navy was having a good sale and there's nothing better than a lot of cheap clothes to lie around in all winter long.  Especially new cheap clothes.  On the way out of the mall I lingered by a nail spa dreaming about how great a pedicure would feel.  I really can't remember the last time I had one, especially in the winter--I mean who sees your feet?  The pretty Chinese owner smiled and motioned me in.  I ended up getting some sort of tropical package for the pedicure that took over an hour, and then signed on for gel nails, which I've only done once as they really damage your actual nails.  But I felt like a fearless woman apparently.  So much that as my fingernails were drying, I was watching women go in and out of a room in the back and then saw a little sign on the door--Waxing.  Ugh.  No.  No way.  I'm blushing as I type this.  And sure enough, the pretty Chinese owner came to me and gestured to the room.  She said, "Eyebrows?"  Ha!  If she couldn't tell, I use my fair share of pencil.  Then she talked me into having a semi permanent brow filler, it is 'sketched' on and wears off in a few weeks.  Well, of course!  And I walked out with very dark eyebrows and a much lighter purse.  I regretted the whole day.

The next morning I was back to Old Navy with a pile of clothes which didn't fit.  On a good note, they were too large.  I tried to pull my face down into my wool scarf as I walked past the nail salon but that pretty lady saw me and waved enthusiastically.  I grumbled and got my cash refund in Old Navy, and then went on to an appointment with my back doctor.  The receptionist looked my name up in the computer and said, "Ms. B.  Your appointment was last Thursday."  Egad, that's embarrassing for anyone, but when you are getting on in the years like me, it's downright scary.  So I rescheduled and as I walked away, maybe because I looked so sullen, she said, "Don't worry, go shopping!"  Well, obviously she hadn't been around me for the past 24 hours.  Nevertheless, driving home I passed a Nissan Dealer and remembered I needed a new battery put in my key fob.  And that's how I ended up with a new Nissan Rogue.  I guess I can be talked into just about anything.  



I'm off to bed to start devouring this book.  It's just been sitting on my coffee table since my last trip to Target, the day it came out.  Does anyone have it?  Thoughts?


And very, very briefly, I was determined that we wouldn't eat turkey sandwiches for days so I made these three recipes for dinner:

Shepherd's Pie
I used up my mashed potatoes. 

Turkey Tetrazzini 
Used up dark and light meat.

Turkey Chili
More turkey...

Click the links if you want to go to the recipes.


I also made Turkey Enchilada's, and was going to make Turkey Pot Pies but I ran out of turkey.  I'll post that next time as it's insanely simple when you use puff pastry for your crust.  And you'll have your Christmas leftovers to use up.    

Going to double down on more decorating this week and then I just have to get a tree and do some baking.  Simple, simple, simple.  Has anyone started shopping?  What's your thing...malls, shops, online, Etsy?

See ya soon!

Jane x

24 comments:

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I have never considered putting carrots and onions into the turkey. What a good idea! Generally I buy the pre-stuffed frozen turkeys, but if not, I will try this. That was one persuasive lady at the nail salon ;) Can't say I 've ever bought a vehicle on impulse, but I'll bet it's nice to drive a new one! -Jenn

Jeanie said...

Now THAT's an impulse buy! I broke up with a guy eons ago and bought a new sofa and I thought THAT was extreme!

Your holiday sounds terrific. I'm not a turkey fan so I was glad to have two TGs at other people's houses so there were no leftovers. (Although I confess to liking turkey better IN leftovers like pot pie and soup more than from the bird.) I'm with you on the decorating. I'm behind, although maybe not because TG was early this year. But I ended up with surprise carpeting being put in my family room (which was great) -- apart from the fact that I had to dump two large and over-packed bookcases, a small cabinet filled with china, a large trunk filled with dishes that don't fit in the cupboard and more. And somehow that turned into cleaning the garage (which needed it but not that day!) and now I think I AM behind! But it's coming back together. The good thing about snow days (the ONLY good thing about snow days) is that what else are you going to do besides put your house back together. Unless it's decorate for Christmas or do cards or wrap presents to mail or bake or....!!!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

We cook chicken here instead of turkey, but all the other sides are traditional. You had quite the day at the salon!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Oh boy, you just needed some shopping therapy. I have been talked into services I did not want or need. I never return to those stores.

I always stuff my turkey with veggies and herbs. I also stick two half’s of lemons under the breast skin. It looks pretty funny but gives a nice taste to the bird. We had little leftovers because we make a take home package for all the guests. I just don’t want to deal with a fridge full of containers. I do keep all the leftover desserts though.

Congrats on your new car.

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

Bloody Mary's are my favorite and those look so good. I'm working on Christmas this week and love when Thanksgiving is early. It feels like a bonus week😀

laurie said...

oh I needed a smile today and you my dear friend gave me one,,

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Jane... my favorite line "I walked out with darker eyebrows and a much lighter purse." LOVE it. Those little nail ladies don't take no for an answer. One lady told me that I would be a pretty lady if my eyebrows didn't look so uneven. I went home and spent 4 hours in the mirror with a tape measure. Damn it, she was right. Hope you have a relaxing couple of days ahead.

Vee said...

Oh you had me chuckling. I am also feeling ever so much better about the impulse purchase of a candle. Love the way you tell a story! I am going to write down your sister’s advice. (My stuffing was a bit too dry.)

Scribbler said...

You always make me laugh! I even read part of this to the husband. He laughed, too, although he was a bit taken aback about the idea of buying a car on a whim. Actually I think he was probably afraid you might have given me an idea...

Stay warm! It is is in the 30s (cold for Alabama). I am almost done with my physical therapy. I think it might be a good idea to celebrate with brunch and a great looking Bloody Mary!

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Yup, given the right (or maybe wrong) state of mind, I can be talked into most any beauty treatment! Love that you spontaneously bought a car! Can't say I ever did that, but my husband would have spontaneously bought a house if I didn't restrain him! I actually make a darn good turkey and all the trimmings. My sister makes the stuffing, and it's usually great, but this year, well, let's just say it wasn't even close to sticking to a wall.

Junkchiccottage said...

Jane you really had quite the shopping adventure. Wow lots of purchases in that period of time. The car is pretty and you do look so happy. Hope you like your new ride. Glad you had a great Thanksgiving. Now onto Christmas and all the fun of baking, cooking, decorating, gift buying and wrapping!!!!
Hugs,
Kris

JanL said...

What a day you had! I recently took my car in to the dealer due to a message light, and left with a new to me car. I have tried to be forgiving of myself ever since. We had pork chops at home on Thanksgiving, and then turkey & ham at my son's home on Friday. The pork chops were good, but my husband needed the traditional meal so lesson learned. Enjoyed your writing.

Lynne said...

Love, Love, LOVE your writing style . . .
I feel like I am sitting with you enjoying one of those “Salad B Mary’s” . . .
And the nail salon bit . . . (I am still smiling.)
And, “why not” a new car . . . if the old key fob needs a new battery.
I feel refreshed . . . ready to decorate . . . think about next days, weeks . . .
Happy Season Jane . . . you are priceless!

Kim said...

Congrats on your new car! And I love the "wall test"...that's what we used to do with spaghetti! It's messy, trust me. ;)

Kit said...

Hello! I was thinking about you when I heard about your blizzard. My oldest just flew in yesterday and is headed to Wisconsin. No shopping here this year and it feels great! The whole family decided we all have plenty of stuff so we will just get together both days and enjoy our time together. Talk about lowering the stress of finding the perfect gift. Enjoy your new wheels! :) Kit

It's me said...

Wowwww Jane...your new car is amazing....!!....beautiful ...love your de decorations at home.... wishing you a happy day...love Ria x 💕

Lorrie said...

I chuckled reading through your post from the wrong colour on the walls to getting talked into all the treatments at the salon and then to impulse purchase a new vehicle! When you do something, you do it big! Hope you enjoy zooming around town in your new Rogue! Enjoy the preparations of the season!

Linda said...

Hi Jane....
You needed a battery, and you bought a new truck! I like your style! Hahaha,
I like that you take time to brunch with your girlfriends 🖤
I got my toes painted the other day...and it turned into a 3 Stooges Movie!
Let’s just say...”The customer knows best”... my flip flops need to go on BEFORE the polish!😂😂😂
3 different girls had to fix my big toes....3 TIMES!.... get me outta here!
Have a great weekend...we are going to friends tonight....can’t hardly wait!
Cheers!
Linda :o)

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

Oh my goodness! You actually bought a new car on impulse? What did hubby say? Mine would have had a heart attack! We actually need a new car though, so maybe I should take a page from your book.

Karen Ann said...

I finished my christmas shopping and everything is already wrapped and bagged upstairs in the spair bedroom! Now to start the cookie baking - or not. Uuugh don't want to eat it. LOL

Congrats on the car!

Rita C. said...

Oh Jane, you crack me up! Where was Abby when you needed her, right?? We all fall into random, impulsive buying sprees every now and then. Just be thankful you didn't go for permanent eyebrows. The car...well, I can't even imagine that. My husband is the type who researches things to death, and his car just turned 100,000 miles. He says he won't buy another car until self-driving ones are more easily accessible. What he doesn't realize is that his self-driving car might end up being ME driving Mr. Daisy!
Happy Holidays. Find some good cheap clothes that fit and stay cozy with Hallmark movies. We've been watching at least one a day!

ann said...

Laughing out loud! How does one go in to get a key fob fixed and walk out with a new car?! You will love the Rogue. I see them on the road and they look so chic. I drive a Ford Edge and love the little SUV. My husband drives a F- 350 Ford pickup, which you will never find me behind the wheel of that big boy. I can barely climb in it. And the eye brows! I do get mine waxed and my upper lip. My eyebrows are getting white hairs. I don't wear make-up anymore; only for special occasions. Too much trouble. And thanksgiving dinner. you should write a cook book. One that is sort of the anthesis of Martha Stewart. I was thinking today who taught me how to cook? Well, my mom mostly, but I really think that Martha Stewart taught me the fine art. My mom was a great cook, but I don't cook many of her recipes because they don't turn out tasting like her.

I really enjoyed this post. You should really think about a writing a book.

handmade by amalia said...

I've enjoyed this, Jane, looks like you're making the most of this busy, crazy season.
Amalia
xo

Mereknits said...

I think you deserved a little pampering Jane, you have been so busy. And a new car, wow! I love it. I have indeed been shopping, some online, some in stores. I still have a bit more to do but am well on my way to being done. Next it is wrapping and getting my tree up. Have a good week.