There are few holiday tasks more daunting that hosting Thanksgiving dinner. All those people, all those dietary restrictions, and all those expectations! Regardless of how laid back your guests are, we all know that people can be a little judgmental when it comes to things that are so steeped in tradition. In all honesty, 9 times out of 10 I serve things up buffet style and astound people with the fancy disposable plates and flatware I manage to procure (seriously, it’s a skill). I do know, however, that many of you dream about that perfectly executed Pinterest worthy table, complete with seasonal centerpiece and coordinating linens. Not always possible, but a quick and relatively easy way to elevate your holiday table is place cards. Place cards let your guests know that you gave them a little extra consideration and they also make a great keepsake for anyone who likes to save mementos from these type of things.
Place cards also give you a little extra control over you holiday table. You can manipulate your seating chat to keep your aggressively alt right uncle away from your vegan lesbian friend Kate… or not if you want to keep things lively. You can also make sure that any newcomers don’t find themselves ostracized at the far end while everyone else is chatting it up in the middle. I also like to consider guests with any disabilities or who are a little older to make sure that they get up and down as easily as possible, not to mention closer proximity to restrooms.
turkey pinecone cards
golden succulent cards
thankful for place card
mini rosemary wreath
wood slice place card
gilded leaves place card
Thank goodness for the internet, right? Hopefully, this will help you get inspired for your own table. I am, fortunately, off the hook this year as we will be heading to NC to spend some time with Andy’s parents. So I wish you good luck and happy crafting!
It’s happened, guys; it’s finally happened. I dare not speak it aloud, but… I believe… fall has reached Tallahassee. For the last week it has been consistently cool outside, we’re talking high 60’s – low/mid-ish 70’s during the day, 40’s and 50’s at night. It’s been WONDERFUL! I know that isn’t super cold for most of the country, but for us? It’s almost a freeze. As the ability to wear both socks and long sleeves has gone a bit to my head, I have rediscovered my desire for a reading nook. Not just a comfy chair, a designated cozy spot with good light, storage area for my books and well… that comfy chair or really a comfy reading surface.
I have to say that there is a part of me that is really liking that many of these have some sort of covering. I mean, a reading nook is awesome, but a reading fort is even cooler. That’s right; I’m a 31 year old woman daydreaming about making my own fort. As I’m typing this, I am realizing that whatever I make I’ll need to account for at least two cats. Reading is better with cats, and mine are a little spoiled and tend to commandeer any horizontal cozy area.
As much as I am loving this idea, it may end up on my “to-do” list for 2018. A new nook for a new year and all that.
Images from here.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, my dislike of sweet potatoes has peppered any remarks around holiday recipes/meal planning. So this year I decided to set aside the distaste and give it another chance. I mean I eat broccoli now, and no one saw that one coming. Tastes change, right? Supposedly? Maybe? Okay, maybe not in this case. The cupcakes are good, but I’m still not a huge fan. My taste testers really enjoyed them. Oh well, at least I tried right?
- 1 cup cooked sweet potato
- 1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 1/3 cup butter
- 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 4oz cream cheese (softened)
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract
- 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Cream together sweet potato, brown sugar and butter until smooth.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time.
- Add bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
- Sift together flour and baking powder.
- Add milk and flour mixture alternating until everything is incorporated.
- Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- While cake bakes, brown butter in a pan and set aside to cool.
- Cream together cooled brown butter and cream cheese, then add vanilla.
- Add powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency.
- Thin frosting with cream if it becomes to stiff.
- Frost cooled cupcakes, top with toasted pecans and enjoy!
Note: Now something I feel like needs to be said is that these are not your traditional light fluffy cupcake, they are a bit more dense. Still good, but more of a “one with a cup of tea” and less “holy crap, how did I already eat three of these”.
As the countdown to the end of the year becomes disturbingly small, I am doing my best to get the things I have to do as “wrapped up” as possible so I can concentrate on the things I actually want to do. Here is what is going on in my life currently.
Smelling – CINNAMON! I’ve been baking with it, burning scented candles, and indulging in cinnamon brooms and pine cones. It’s always been something I’ve found warm and comforting, but Andy is a cinnamon fiend and my fondness for the spice has increased exponentially over the years. We keep it reasonable throughout the most of the year, but during the holidays… we definitely indulge.
Planning – Holiday merriment. There are a lot of holiday things that take place in Tallahassee and the surrounding areas. This year I am trying to put all of the information in one list for myself so we can get to as many of these events as we want. Of course there are personal traditions to be considered so we are adding those in as well to make sure nothing is forgotten. So much to do and so little time!
Remembering – Holidays past. When I was younger, a large part of my mom’s family lived a mere hour and a half away. We saw each other regularly for birthdays, holidays, and sometimes just because. Thanksgiving and Christmas were always the biggest get-togethers stretching to include family from further away and friends near by. There was always plenty of food and laughter, so much laughter. It was a common occurrence that outsiders would inquire about the general level of inebriation, which to my young mind was hilarious because nobody drank a drop at these things. These days we’re all spread out, and there are some perpetually empty seats. I still deeply love this time of year, but there is always a tinge of bittersweet thinking about the way it was and the ones who are gone.
Anticipating – Traveling. Andy and I are going to be heading up to North Carolina around Thanksgiving to spend some time with his family, some of our visiting west coat friends, and then my college roommate. It doesn’t end there. My mom is meeting up with us on the last leg of our trip and then coming back to Florida with us for a few weeks. If everything works out, she and I will then head even further south to my hometown of Lake Wales for some nostalgic sightseeing. It’s a lot, but it has been a long couple of months and I am very ready for some holiday merriment.
Wearing – Almost the same things I always wear, it’s still pretty warm here. But every few weeks or so we’ll have a bit of a cold snap and then I get the rare chance to don longer sleeves and optimistically fuzzy sweaters. The arms might end up rolled within an hour or two, but I’ll still take it.
What’s going on in your life currently?
Image from here.
I’m trying so very hard not to jump the gun and go all out on the Christmas insanity. After all, I am not quite ready to bid farewell to fall in favor of a winter wonderland. The appeal of changing leaves and light layers cannot be denied. The internet, however, is trying to very hard to change my mind. Just the other day I was doing some online Christmas shopping and I found myself on the Keds website, and I was so very tempted to forget those convictions and go ahead and buy myself my holiday sparkle sneakers, a tradition that I started in college. I mean, the Holiday Sparkle & Shine Collection is just so damn beautiful! How am I supposed to say no?
Usually I go for straight up glitter kicks, but the more subtle shimmer and gilded patterns are really speaking to me. Actually, not so much of a “no” as a “later”. Later, with the hope that maybe they have a sale between now and Christmas so I don’t have to feel guilty about the price tag. A little more than I usually invest for something that only get worn a few times a year, but it’s tradition, right?