Putting Together an Easy Thanksgiving Celebration

The final countdown to Thanksgiving has arrived; we’re down to just six days! This is our second Thanksgiving celebration this year as we enjoyed a feast of fine proportions last month when our Marine was home on leave. I’m very much looking forward to doing it all again and seeing my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews!

I don’t know how your plans are going, but there have been a flurry of text messages between my sisters, momma and myself as we finalize the menu and plans for Thursday. Momma has already decided we are using her Blue Willow on the table which is by far her favorite china.

We seem to stress too much over holiday celebrations, so today I thought it would be timely to share some ideas for a gathering that’s relaxed and lively as we celebrate the end of the autumn season from harvest fruits scattered across the table to organizing your time so you enjoy the relaxed feeling Thanksgiving Day should truly have!

Putting Together an Easy Thanksgiving Celebration / ohfiddledeedee.com

THE TABLETOP:

Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest, so besides cooking with autumn’s bounty, decorate the table with it too! Lay a tablecloth or placemats out that coordinates with your dishes, then add pumpkins, leaves, dried Indian corn. Grocery store flowers really add to the festive atmosphere of the day and won’t cost you a lot of money. Round off your centerpiece with candles. Seriously, who doesn’t love candlelight?! Besides keeping the decor seasonal and simple, you can set the table (or tables) a couple of days in advance and have that knocked off your to-do list!

If you desire to use paper plates, by all means set them out! If you prefer china, use it! Here in our home I have a set of Thanksgiving china that adorns the table every year. They are mostly white and neutral in color which allows me to coordinate with my plain white dishes for serving the meal.

I plan out the dishes I need for serving in advance so I’m not rushing around Thanksgiving morning like a mad woman looking for everything. Things like gravy boats, deviled egg trays, and soup tureens aren’t everyday pieces so it helps to be organized.

GETTING READY:

Having a perfectly prepped dinner allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your family. Six days out should see your menu completed, grocery list made and a trip to the store imminent. If you don’t want to find yourself in a madhouse or unable to find ingredients, head to the market as soon as possible.

*Make a list. Seriously, sit down with a note pad to write your menu, who is bringing what, your grocery list, and what must be done around the house. It takes 30 minutes. Make the lists and put them where you see them.

{Then, use them.}

*Allow plenty of time for your turkey to safely thaw out. I have a 20 pound bird that will land in my refrigerator tonight to begin thawing.

*Most pies can be baked a couple of days in advance so take advantage of that; it takes a couple hours to prepare bourbon pecan and pumpkin pies. Having them out of the way is a huge help come Thanksgiving Day.

*If you are ordering any part of your dinner (Honeybaked Ham is my friend), order at least two weeks ahead of time and pick up early the day before so that you miss the heaviest of crowds.

*Have all of your ingredients measured, chopped and placed in prep bowls before you begin cooking. By taking care of as much as possible beforehand, you’ll leave plenty of time to visit with family and friends.

*Prepare a soup a day in advance or put together a fruit and cheese board for everyone to snack on while the turkey is in the oven.

*Offer a range of beverages to compliment the meal. Besides tea and soda, consider serving a spiced cider or flavored tea.

*On Thanksgiving Day plan to start cooking early – your turkey needs 3-4 hours (maybe more) in the oven, plus an additional half hour to rest before carving. If you are using stuffing in your bird, cook it before the turkey so that the bird has time to cook.

It doesn’t take much to put on a memorable Thanksgiving dinner. Just don’t let the little things stress you out. Taking a couple of evenings beforehand to knock out prep will make the day so much easier, and I hope I’ve given you some ideas to get you started!

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2019 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse

Last week I was invited out to the 2019 Atlanta Designer Showhouse for media day. Each year Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Magazine puts on this event as a fundraiser for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and this years home is just amazing!

Instead of a new build, the home was a remodel of a 1950’s era saltbox in Sandy Springs taken on by Harrison Design and decorated by some of Atlanta’s most talented designers! They proved you can do absolutely fantastic things with a remodel!

Besides showcasing the interiors of this home, the talented designers of each room also decorated for Christmas! Room after room of elegant interior and holiday inspiration awaits as you wander through each room.

Here’s a peak at the beauty this home boasts, beginning with an exterior before and after!

BEFORE:

Via Harrison Design

AFTER:

This 5,500 square foot, five bedroom home with limestone foundations now boasts an office tower, keeping room (butlers pantry), a dreamy and totally enviable kitchen, new master suite addition and open floor plan with plenty of space for entertaining year round. The exposed beams, marble counters, spiral staircase and amazing bathrooms make this a dream home for sure, but at the same time a home that is warm and welcoming.

Enjoy a glimpse of this fabulous home!

Entry into the house

FRONT/SIDE PORCH:

The original entry is now a beautiful covered side porch, perfect for dining or lounging.

Sigh…. THE DREAMY KITCHEN:

Sitting area off the kitchen… part of the open concept

DINING ROOM:

LAUNDRY ROOM:

DOWNSTAIRS BATH (just one of them; this one includes a built in foot bath in it own space!):

HOSPITALITY LOUNGE:

MASTER SUITE ADDITION:

Shower and tub together with the tub being drawn from the ceiling!

Those Views!!

 

UPSTAIRS SPACES:

There is so much more to this home than what I shared, but you must visit the Homes for the Holidays Showhouse for yourself to catch it!

 

The Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 2019 Home for the Holidays Showhouse is presented by Harrison Design and The O’Donnell Group, produced by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The home is located at 4825 Woodvale Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA 30327, and runs now through December 8, 2019. Advance admission is $33. Tickets at the door are $35. Parking is available along Woodvale Drive Northwest with a shuttle running daily. Find more information at atlantaholidayhome.com.

17 Retro Happy Meal Toys Are Returning to McDonald’s This Week

40 years ago this month McDonalds introduced the Happy Meal to the delight of parents and kids around the world! Finally there was a bargaining chip on the table (literally) that could be used to coax every child to behave at the doctor, dentist, worship service, piano practice, Cub Scouts and to pay attention on the little league field!!

Laugh if you must, but I remember that ploy quite well. My mother used the tool on me, and I on my kids.

Admit it, we’ve all been there!

Seriously though, I do remember the feeling of being special when we got a Happy Meal as it was a real treat! Years down the road, when Audley and I were dating, and I was preparing to become Samantha’s momma, we made many a visit to McDonalds for play days and a Happy Meal as we searched for the ever elusive Pink Power Ranger!

The things we do for our kids, Right?!

Well, McDonald’s is unlocking that childhood joy across the globe in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the first-ever Happy Meal by introducing the limited-edition Surprise Happy Meal, featuring favorite throwback toys from the past four decades.
 

My baby sister totally remembered many of these!!


The Surprise Happy Meal will be available in more than 90 countries starting November 7 at participating restaurants. If you’re in Atlanta like me, you can get your hands on the Surprise Happy Meal until November 11, while supplies last.

Over the years Happy Meal toys have put a playful spin on the foods McDonalds is known for, showcased movies from Disney to Looney Tunes, and had fun with pop culture by including matchbox cars, beanie babies and the always adorable Hello Kitty! It was the original “unboxing”!

Are you ready for a trip down memory lane? Here are all the toys that will be returning for just a handful of days this week: 1988’s Cowboy McNugget, Fireman McNugget, and Mail Carrier McNugget, 1989’s Hamburger Changeable transforming toy, 1990’s Grimace, 1991’s Dino Happy Meal Box Changeable, 1993’s McDonald’s Hot Wheels Thunderbird, 1995’s Hamburglar, 1995’s Power Rangers, 1996’s Space Jam Bugs Bunny, 1997’s Patti the Platypus (yes, the Beanie Baby is back!), 1997’s 101 Dalmatians, 1998’s Tamagotchi digital pet, 1998’s My Little Pony, 1999’s Furby, 2002’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey, and 2013’s Hello Kitty.

While this is a global release, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey and 101 Dalmatians are exclusive to the US.

To help you celebrate this fun event I am giving away a gift card from McDonalds to one of my readers. All you have to do is share your favorite, first or most entertaining McDonalds Happy Meal memory!! This is not a place to discuss your opinions of McDonalds, or anything negative, but to look back and have a little fun!! I will draw a winner on November 7 so hopefully you will have your gift card before the promotion ends!

Happy Monday Y’all!!

Apple Cider Cupcakes

My sweet Momma is a Halloween baby and turns 70 today!

We celebrated big over the weekend with lots of family, food and of course yummy cupcakes!

I was looking for some inspiration for cupcakes when I happened on a recipe where you replace milk used in most cake recipes with apple cider. That sounded like the perfect seasonal recipe so I adjusted the recipe to fit what I needed, gathered together eggs, flour, vanilla, apple pie spice, etc…. ad got to baking!

I loved how the cupcakes turned out and they were so moist! Honestly using Apple cider was a fantastic call! The fact the cider was fresh from Crow Mtn Orchard nearby made it even better!

I used a basic decorators buttercream icing tinted with Wilton gel colors for decorating.

Momma loves seasonal flavors and this was a great way to utilize her favorite!

Let’s not talk about the candles… seriously y’all , sometimes you have to improvise.

Here is the full recipe you can print for Apple Cider Cupcakes

BTW…. If you aren’t a fan of icing, serve these babies up hot with butter. Yep, they make fantastic muffins, too!!

Happy Halloween Y’all!