Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2023

I was hoping to come back today and share my Thanksgiving table, but our plans have changed for tomorrow and I'm instead going to show you my jumbled ornament table, share a fantastic recipe, give some decluttering inspiration, thoughts about careful holiday spending, and more. But first, just look at that table! I'm only putting up one tree this year and so will try to see if I can fit ALL my ornaments on my modestly sized 7' living room tree. Do you think I can do it? My husband is doubtful. I'll find out soon and be sure to let you know, but first...

Donated! I couldn't believe I had more to donate, but I did.

Last weekend we were exposed to Covid and because we were so very exposed for such a long time we both assumed we would get sick and cancelled our Thanksgiving plans. My husband and I thought it was silly to prepare for a big dinner only to wake up Thursday morning feeling sick. But turns out we are feeling just great, no symptoms at all and tonight I will go to choir practice if I test negative again. Tomorrow we will be a very small group and attend our club's Thanksgiving buffet, which is amazing from all we hear, and we are looking forward to it, assuming we test negative. So what did I do with all my freed up time that was meant to be spent  preparing for the feast? I started decorating early and I decluttered some more. Yep. I had MORE to declutter. The last time my grandson was here I asked him to clean out his toys, but as he has always been reluctant, I got smart and put some cash on the table. I gave him $5 for each bag of unwanted toys and it worked. Over the summer I asked all family members to trek up to our tiny attic and go though my mother's Christmas ornaments and take what they wanted and I would donate the rest. This was not an easy thing for me to do as Mother loved Christmas and I associate her pretty things with my memory of her. She died in 2019 and it really was time to say goodbye to the things we didn't plan to use. Of course I know my memories will not leave if I give away her things, but still it took some effort. You can imagine I kept plenty, but only the things I plan to use myself. Nothing could live in the attic that was not going to be used. So I added the toys and Christmas things to the rice cooker (I like to make rice in a saucepan) and a fondue pot (eye roll) and a multitude of other things that have gone unused since my last declutter. How could there be more?

See those lovely candles above? I had to box them up and give them away. My husband and I are both very sensitive to fragrance. Our lotions, soaps, shampoos, and cleaning supplies have to be unscented and have been for years, and whenever I lit a candle we both teared up and complained so I rarely lit them. I then looked for candles with "natural" fragrance but that didn't help. It finally dawned on me that we were not a house that could light candles with any fragrance. I told a friend about this and she suggested I watch the documentary, "Stink". I found it for pay on Netflix and it was a real eye opener. I highly recommend watching it as it will give you an insight to how absolutely unregulated the fragrance industry is. Very disgraceful. I came away thinking that product fragrance in general is not safe, and since it bothers me anyway, I'm happy to look for alternatives. I gave my candles away and did a little research and now only use unscented pure beeswax candles with unleaded cotton wicks. I kept my high quality Root tapers and will use them up because they don't have a fragrance, but when I have to replace tapers I'll be more thoughtful in what I purchase. I now buy tealights that last four hours because I like to use candles once. I also found that some candle makers will say "beeswax and other thoughtfully chosen ingredients" and I stay away from that nonsense talk. I am now looking for local beekeepers who make candles and hope to find a local supplier this season in the holiday boutiques, although there are fewer and fewer boutiques these days. In the meantime I bought tealights from Bluecorn and they are very high quality and I'm very happy. How about you? Any one have the same experience with fragrance candles?

Since I'm hopping all over the place, I'll just jump to yet another subject, baking! At our knitting group a friend told us about a recipe she has made for years. It sounded intriguing and since I had to bring a fall dessert to a party to serve 12 people, I decided to try it. It's a wonderful recipe, not too sweet, slightly tart, with a sugary crunch and buttery texture, plus it's easy to make. It is meant to be served with ice cream or whipped cream as a dessert, but I plan to make it again as a coffee cake. It would be equally nice on a dessert buffet, a brunch buffet or to use as a snack cake in place of a tea cake or banana bread for an after school treat. Nantucket Cranberry Pie.

You start by mixing sugar, chopped pecans and fresh cranberries in a pie or cake tin.

A thick batter is poured over it and baked. Could not be easier. 
Try it! We all loved it.

I'm knitting two projects right now. Above, the Field Sweater by Camilla Vad, and below, a shawl test knit for Jen from Shady Stroll Knits. I also have a few sweaters that are finished and need to be photographed. 

If you reside in the United States and are celebrating Thanksgiving, either big or small, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with good food and happy chatter and thankful thoughts. And again, I have to say I'm grateful for a great many things, not least of all, YOU. Thank you for making my day brighter by stopping in for a peek and for making such sweet comments. I feel very much a community with you all. We've knit together, decluttered together, cleaned together, ate through our freezers and pantries together, and even made turkey stock together! This holiday season I am going to curb my purchases and spending habits and invite you to join me if that is what you'd like to do too. I did peruse through all the high end shops like Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Neiman Marcus, Crate and Barrel and more, and while I thought the Christmas merchandise was gorgeous, I lamented that the prices were so high. Next I went to Target and Walmart, and although the prices were much lower, all I could think of was "how long before this stuff will end up in the landfill?" Not long I would guess. I didn't buy a thing and came away thinking that the things we already own are perfect enough. I do have some money saving tricks up my sleeve that I've employed for years that I'll share in another post, but I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts on practicing careful holiday spending. I know we would all appreciate being more thoughtful when it comes to purchases and anything you'd care to share on this subject would be greatly appreciated. I'll make up a post soon.

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  1. My husband and myself are also very sensitive to smells. He will not walk through the perfume department at the Mall, when we went to the mall. I buy Dr. Bronner soap for the laundry and use Dr. Bronner soap at the kitchen sink. It has been hard to find under arm deodorant that is unscented and still works. We always for pure things that are unscented. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Mary

  2. Try Ursa Major deodorant unscented. It works for me and is made here on VT.

  3. I am not particularly sensitive to scent but just have never liked artificial scent or artificial anything. So that cuts down on candles a lot. I’m kinda plain, not fancy, so I only make the effort to liven up my household with fresh flowers (if I happen to think of it) and candles almost never. I am a clothes horse, however, and really REALLY need to donate a lot of them. Since my weight varies and I often find myself wearing things again that I haven’t worn for years and still grieve for a few items I discarded to downsize, this

  4. …purge may be a while to execute. We ARE actually feeling a desire to spend less on gifts this year, which is indicative probably of both getting older and realizing that we have enough. (We are at least ten years older than you). And I kind of like Target. They emphasize industrial design - an Isaac Misrahi white cotton sweater that I’ve worn for years - and I like looking for things that look pretty but don’t need to last long.This has been fun..


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