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My goodness Sugar Pies! Can you believe Thanksgiving is just days away? I’ve been bustling about in my apron all week finishing up my Christmas decorating. Yes gals…Christmas decorating! Rome wasn’t built in a day nor can I create Christmas-land at The Farmhouse in a day! (LOL) It’s taken me since the first week of November until now to finish up.  Oh I know, some of  y’all don’t like to start your Christmas decorating until the day after Thanksgiving…and that’s okay…I did that for years….but I’ve discovered that I like to get an early start, not only to get it done, but to be able to enjoy all of the glistening goodness a little longer….and I  just have to say that it feels great to have my home sparkling with Christmas! Now  my family and  I can sit back, relax and experience the sights, smells and sounds of this wonderful time of year!

Yes! Lights are twinkling, tinsel is sparkling and the sounds of  Bing Crosby are playing softly in the background…

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The songs of  Good ol’ Bing always gets me in the mood to decorate along with a crystal goblet filled with Land O’ Lakes Eggnog  (I bought this goblet at Pic-in-Save…which is now Big Lots…. about 30 years ago for 49 cents! What a hoot! By the way I took this photo with my fabulous Canon Rebel xsi Camera with a 50 mm lens…I LOVE this camera). Anyhoo, I mentioned this to my dear friend and old next door neighbor Cat at The Vintage Housewife the other day…during our two hour gab-fest on the phone! I told her that I only drink eggnog  in fancy stemware (49 cent  ones at that!) it just tastes better that way…a regular old glass just wouldn’t do…she was so  tickled at that! Well, it’s true…just like hot tea tastes much more scrumptious  sipped from a china tea cup that clinks when you set it back down on the saucer! Ahhh….life’s simple pleasures! Well now, getting back to decking my halls for Christmas….here is a sneak peak at what I’ve been up to….

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Icy milk-white blended with a snap of  candy-cane red sets the theme for my Christmas farmhouse kitchen…. a merry gingerbread-boy plays peek-a-boo in the pure glow of candlelight…

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A wintry wonderland of dripping tinsel icicles and glittered churches adorn the living room mantle ….frosted pine branches set aglow with white lights that twinkle a cheerful “Welcome Home…..home for Christmas”.

“God Bless your home and the people there, May the skies that touch your roof be fair–Your hearth burn bright, and your candle shine, And the snowflake sparkle on your pine.” ~ Esther Wood

Yes, Christmas is in the air….and I have more to share,  but for now we need to get ready for a wonderful Old Fashioned Happy Thanksgiving!

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There are pies to bake and a turkey to roast and baste golden brown, potatoes to peel, onions to chop, stuffing to mix,  cranberries to stir,  tables to  set and candles to light……doorbells will ring, loved ones will be hugged…cousins will run and play…..tummies will growl as the aromas of savory-sage  mixed with sweet ‘n’ spicy confections ribbon it’s way through homes all across America. The drum-beat sounds of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will play in the background as  aproned women-folk  chatter as they scurry around the kitchen whipping up treasured recipes passed down through generations…Mom’s sausage stuffing….Grandma’s Cranberry Jello Salad….Sue’s Praline Sweet Potatoes….Aunt Jen’s Date Nut Bars. Papa, crunching on a celery stick, will come in and lift lids curiously and peek with hungry eyes until mama shoo’s him away with her dish cloth.

Every ear will perk up when mama shouts “time to eat!”.  A quiet hush will blanket the room, hands will be joined, heads will bow,  grace will be spoken and hearts will be warmed with a wonderful sense of belonging and blessing.  Happy voices and laughter will be as bountiful as the food laden table. Memories as sweet as Auntie’s Toffee Candy will be made.

Later in the day after the roar of the football game  and things  begin to  quiet down, you’ll be able to hear the soothing sounds like the ticking of the clock  and the crackle and snap from the fire. Rosey-cheeked little ones, breathless from playing chase outside, will warm their icy hands by the glowing hearth ….grown-ups will gather again around the table, the coffee will be poured, the pie will be cut and topped with dollops of whipped cream, and conversations will continue…

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May I encourage you Sugar Pies, in the midst of the flurry of your Thanksgiving celebration that you take a minute to step back and intentionally  savor the moment….by that I mean, take a minute  to stop and look around you…take note of your loved ones… their faces….their smiles….the sounds….the aromas….the blessings…breathe in the beauty and the wonder of the moment. Take in the view.  Right then, thank the Lord for His goodness, grace and mercy….for family and friends….for the freedom to worship….for God’s provision….for HIS SALVATION through His son JESUS…for HEAVEN ….for the ability to see, hear, taste, smell, touch….and for His amazing love and bountiful blessings.

I remember 31 years ago on my wedding day a dear friend told me to do this same thing…to take a minute or two to “breathe in the beauty and the wonder of the moment” to remember and cherish that moment in my heart. So as the guests were being seated I gathered up the billowing train of my gown and briskly climbed the stairs to  the balcony  where I was able to peer over the railing for a birds-eye view to watch the lighting of the candles, and my grandparents and other loved ones being seated….I could clearly see the platform filled with baskets of flowers,  a white picket fence and garden benches. It was such an exquisite feeling  as I stood there in awe  realizing  the significance  of this life changing day. I kept thinking …oh my goodness Lord, this is my wedding! I’m getting married in just a few minutes! It was a stunning me and God moment.

You know, we need to do this on an everyday basis not just special events. Every day is precious and life itself is a gift. We need to stop and smell the pumpkin pie….stop and listen to little girl giggles….stop and hug grandpa a little longer…stop and breathe in the sweetness of a newborn baby….stop and thank the Lord for His blessings…. so  we will remember…so that these moments of our life  won’t be just a blurr when we look back, but will stay as glimmering treasures  in our hearts.

We Have This Moment, Today

Hold tight to the sound of the music of living,
Happy songs from the laughter of children at play;
Hold my hand as we run through the sweet fragrant meadows,
Making memories of what was today.

Tiny voice that i hear is my little girl calling
for daddy to hear just what she has to say;
My little son running there by the hillside
may never be quite like today.

    

Tender words, gentle touch, and a good cup of coffee,
And someone that loves me and wants me to stay;
Hold them near while they’re here, and don’t wait for tomorrow,
To look back and wish for today.

We have this moment to hold in our hands,
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday’s gone, and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today. ~ Bill Gaither

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Okay Sugar Pies, now in order for us to savor our Thanksgiving  moments, we need to prepare as much as we can in advance so that we are not feeling stressed and anxious. If you are hosting this holiday at your home, here are just a few tips to get y’all going in that joyful direction:

1. Pray and give thanks: ask the Lord to help you, to give you wisdom, and patience, and a joyful attitude. Thank Him for His blessings and the opportunity to open your home to share with others.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!” Psalm 100: 4 ( Amplified Version)

But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory (making us conquerors) through our Lord Jesus Christ”.     1Corinthians 15:57

2. Plan your menu. Make a list of everything you will be preparing. Gather your recipes in one place and make a grocery list.

3. Plan your meal potluck style: In our family we have everyone bring a dish and a dessert, so it makes it easier on everyone. Decide the menu then divide it among all those who are coming.

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4. The day before Thanksgiving take out all of your  platters and bowls for each item you are going to prepare. Print out the name of those dishes and place them in the  serving pieces so if guests arrive early to help they will know what goes where.

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5. Gather the serving spoons and forks that you will need for each dish, that way you won’t be rummaging through your drawers in a panic at the last minute….”where in the world is that carving knife?!”

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7.  Get your table cloth ready ( cleaned and ironed) and decide on your centerpiece and candles, and set the table and or tables, the day before. You can turn the plates upside down to keep them dust free until the next day. If you want name cards have them made up in advance–a great project for the kids!

8. Put on your grocery list some parsley, fresh cranberries, and an orange to slice for garnish around the turkey if you carve it at the table.

9. Don’t forget the whipping cream!

10. Make sure your baking powder is fresh  or your biscuits, rolls, cakes or muffins may not rise.

11.  Make your gravy ahead of time! Here is a link to a video of Tyler Florence making Turkey gravy…you may need to turn off my music–lower right side–before you head over there.

12. Have plenty of foil, plastic wrap and plastic containers available for leftovers.

13. Have your camera charged and ready to go.

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14. At some point during the meal or after during dessert, go around the table and take turns sharing one thing that you are most thankful for.

15. If something doesn’t turn out the way you wanted don’t let it steal your joy….just carry on. Things don’t have to be perfect…the fact that you are with your loved ones is all that matters. Stay thankful on Thanksgiving…now that’s a novel idea! LOL!

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16. For a barrel of laughs get the game Apples to Apples! It’s fun and easy to play! I can almost guarantee it will be one of the highlights of the day…next to the  pumpkin pie of course!!

17. Share the blessings…if you know someone who may not have a place to go for Thanksgiving dinner or a family who needs a little tender-loving-care why not invite them over.  Or maybe your church has a food pantry that you can contribute to. Today, I’m taking Summer to fill a shoebox with goodies for the Operation Christmas Child organized by Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s purse is a wonderful organization started by Franklin Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, they reach out all over the world to those in need. Here is the link to their web site if you feel you would like to help.

Almost everyone I know has felt the crunch of our economy here in the USA, some more than others. Let’s reach out and share the Love of God to those in need.

18. Please say a special prayer for our troops and their families…God bless them! Pray for their protection, that they would feel God’s love and His presence. Pray that they would be comforted and to be able to come home soon! God Bless the USA!

19. Make your pumpkin pie the day before. Refrigerate until you serve it. It’s well…easy as pie, let me show you!

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Martha Stewart loves the recipe on the back of Libby’s Canned Pumpkin…it’s so easy…Here is the link!

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you just mix a few ingredients together …..

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and pour it in an unbaked pie shell….bake, cool and eat!

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Here  is my pie crust recipe and  a few of my tips….

2 sticks cold salted  butter cut into cubes (1 cup)

2 cups unbleached flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup ice water ( and maybe an extra tablespoon if too dry)

Mix butter, flour, sugar in KitchenAid mixer (or by hand with a pastry cutter) until it looks like coarse meal with little chunks of butter. Slowly drizzle water while mixing. Stop as soon as the dough clumps together. Cut dough in half and form into two disks. Wrap one disk in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator to use for another pie or use as the top of a fruit pie. Roll out dough. Put in pie pan and then in refridgerator to keep cool until your filling is ready.

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Make sure to use icy cold butter (cut in cubes) and ice water…you want to keep the dough as cold as possible…roll out on a lightly floured surface, turning to dough a little with each roll…use a spatula to loosen dough underneath so it won’t stick….

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Roll the dough about  2 inches larger than your pie plate…

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Fold under the excess…

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And crimp the edge…I use my knuckle to push in and with my other hand I use two fingers to hold that shape ( I couldn’t show my other hand because I was taking the picture!LOL)img_19521

If you are going through the steps to make a fresh pie, go one step further and whip your own cream. It’s as easy as pouring heavy whipping cream into your mixing bowl, adding a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar (to taste) and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla if you want and whip it for a few minutes until fluffy.

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Yum! If I can do it you can do it!

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My dear Sugar Pie Sista  Dee made this sign for me! I love it so much I want to MaRRy iT! Thank you Dee! It fits perfectly in my pie cupboard of course!

Check out her darling blog Farmhouse Country Style! And go see the cute-as-pie signs she sells at her Farmhouse Mercantile!

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I hope y’all have a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget to breathe in the beauty and the wonder of the moment!

I’m thankful for all of you my Sugar Pie Sistas! I thank you for the encouragement and kindness you share  through your comments. I truly wish I could respond to each and every one, but please know that I read them, treasure them and pray for you by name. God knows you, adores you, loves you, and sings songs over you! He knows your struggles and heartbreaks. Trust Him to carry you through any storm. Keep a thankful heart….His mercy is new every morning.

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His Love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (See! God sings over you!!) What a wonderful God we serve! I am thankful.

God Bless you my Oh HOneY’s!

Aunt Ruthie

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