A Relaxed Thanksgiving, Todd Plays the Hero, and Cyber Monday Shopping

A Relaxed Thanksgiving

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

I’d been making one or two things a night all week and on Wednesday night set up the slow cooker with chicken leg quarters and vegetables so that, Thursday morning, we woke up to the heavenly scent of homemade chicken broth filling the downstairs. I’m only sad I didn’t think to do this before.

Since we didn’t have anything too pressing at the moment, I was able to kick back and watch the Macy’s parade and the National Dog Show while I polished the silver and did a few small tasks from the couch. (The one down side to a closed-plan house is that you can’t see the living room tv from the kitchen, especially when they’re a couple of rooms and a hallway away. Maybe we’ll install one of those little under-cabinet units when we redo the kitchen some time in the future then I’ll feel really fancy, hah!)

The turkey didn’t have to go in until 2:30 for our 6pm dinner (thanks to the speedy nature of our tabletop roaster oven which, once again, served us in good stead) and then it was short work putting together the casseroles to wait for their time in the oven. The only thing I was still working on when my family arrived was the pumpkin brownie trifle for dessert.

We usually watch a movie after dinner, allowing everyone time to digest before digging into dessert, but this time we landed on a marathon of Who’s Line is it Anyway? and laughed our butts off between that and Molly the French Bulldog’s antics.

I think it was one of our better holidays, and definitely our best turkey to date!

Todd: Not Just My Hero Anymore

Ah, neighbors. Unless you live on serious acreage you’ve got them and you just have to learn to live with them, or at least near them. We’ve gotten used to the neighbors on our west side, the personal care home, bringing an ambulance, firetruck, and police cruiser or five to the end of our block on a regular basis as well as the frequent caterwauling of one of the residents–I don’t know her story, but I do know she seems to shout everything, to anyone or no one at all, while wandering their back yard or between the small cottage she shares with her father and the main house.

On the other side, to the east of us, are two sets of duplexes that officially belong to the cross-street, and are more or less separated by trees and a partial fence. There are young kids in these duplexes and, thanks to the thin (read as: un-insulated) exterior walls, it frequently sounds like they’re right under my office windows when they’re outside playing. Aside from the occasional check to make sure they’re not flailing makeshift weapons around our cars, I just think of the day when we’ll get our privacy fence up on both sides and the noise barrier that’ll bring.

All of that to say, I didn’t think too much of it when I heard crying outside on Sunday afternoon. I figured it was the lady next door and briefly peeked out the kitchen window to confirm. Only I didn’t see her, and the noise wasn’t so loud in the kitchen as it was in my office. That was kind of odd.

My next thought, as I stood in the back doorway, was that one of the kids on the other side of the yard was crying out his or her displeasure at being disciplined. Not pleasant, but also something you kinda feel awkward intruding upon, if that’s the case. Or is that just me?

But then I heard the very definite cry of “Help me, please!”

Turned out that one of the boys next door had been climbing in the tangle of trees that divide our properties and had gotten his knee wedged between two of the trunks and was undeniably stuck. I couldn’t easily get to him but got his parents from inside (the kids had been called in and none of them mentioned their sibling was stuck in a tree!) and then went back to our house to get Todd (and his saw). He had to saw through a good bit of one of the trees (they’re not super thick, thankfully, but pretty sturdy) before they could pry the two apart enough for the boy to remove his knee.

If Todd hadn’t been home I think we would have had to call the fire department.

It’s Shopping Time!

I’ve decided that I’m going to do my level best to make the presents to my family this year (both due to budget and the simple desire to), even though I’ve decided this a bit late in the game (it helps that we’re a small group for Christmas or any other holiday). Still, I’d be a poor excuse for a maker if I didn’t let you guys know what’s available from my own shops this holiday, just in case they fit someone on your Christmas list!

First, there’s the CyberWeek sale over at The Crafty Branch

CyberWeek Sale

Our first four Creative Mischief kit releases are all available: Portable Plein Air, both Holiday card kits (which work great for scrapbook layouts, gift tags, and more if you miss the card-sending window), and our new Bound & Determined bookbinding kit. Kits range from $40-$50 plus shipping, but you’ll get 10% off through this Sunday and free shipping if you order 2 or more kits (which saves you about $9 each, at current rates).

For the girl who’s got everything, may I suggest a Character Cocktail? What’s a Character Cocktail you ask? Only a custom-designed, personality-based cocktail presented as a ready-to-frame piece of original art.

jvanderbeek-12

This close to the holidays I’d suggest getting a gift certificate for that hard to shop-for girl or guy on your list (we have pretty ones available for you to place in a stocking, just note that you want the gift certificate in the PayPal checkout), since they usually take 2-3 weeks to create.

Finally, for the foodie, gamer, or comic book lover on your list, What to Feed Your Raiding Party is a perfect gift.

wtfyrp_cover

Whether you’ve got a cousin who’s moving into their own place and will have to fend for themselves for the first time or your dear Aunt Agnes collects unique cookbooks, this book works either way! We’ll even gift wrap it and tag it at no extra charge. And don’t worry if they’re not a gamer–not only do the recipes stand up just fine on their own, the comics that open each of the five chapter are parodies of popular movies, so anyone can enjoy them!

So, dear readers, what’s your holiday plan: make, buy, or buy handmade?

46 thoughts on “A Relaxed Thanksgiving, Todd Plays the Hero, and Cyber Monday Shopping

  1. Heather says:

    I’m doing a little of all three for Christmas this year. I love a handmade Christmas and have done that several years, but I didn’t start early enough this year (you know, like in January) to get it all done. Sounds like quite the ordeal with the neighbor and the tree!

    1. Scraps says:

      I’m sure the dinnertime conversation was interesting next door after all of that! As for gifts, it’s my brothers that usually stump me when it comes to handmade gifts, but there’s always edibles!

  2. yanique says:

    The kits sound like fun! It would be nice to make presents for my family and friends but because of time I am going to store bought route.

    1. Scraps says:

      I’m brainstorming handmade items that either use supplies I already have or are something low-cost like edibles. One year I did pasta gift baskets–took a good day in the kitchen to make the fresh pasta close to the holiday, but it was actually pretty fun!

    1. Scraps says:

      I’ve gone to the movies once on Thanksgiving day—wasn’t as much of a madhouse as I expected it to be, but I’m not sure I’d chance it these days.

  3. WholeFoodBellies says:

    Sounds like you had a lovely thanksgiving! I did not have to make the turkey this year for our thanksgiving, which made it a lot less stressful! We are doing a mixture of bought and handmade gifts this year 🙂

    1. Scraps says:

      I admit, the control freak in me likes being responsible for most of the dinner. That roaster oven, though, makes it a lot less stressful, I can’t sing its praises enough!

  4. workoutwithdi says:

    Wow that sounds like a crazy adventure. How did the parents not know one of the kids was missing??? I can’t believe there are only 31 days left till 2016! Holy moly!

    1. Scraps says:

      Seriously, I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it before. And I need to do this more often, like any random Saturday or such, just to keep homemade broth on hand.

    1. Scraps says:

      Watching the parade was a bit of a treat, this year, as I’m usually getting dinner started. Between having a later supper and my advance prep it was a really nice way to start the day 🙂 I’ll bet the good parts of the parade, if not the whole thing, are available online 🙂

    1. Scraps says:

      I go through bouts of liking shopping and others where I detest spending any money whatsoever. I’m apparently in that latter phase right now!

  5. Yona Williams says:

    This holiday, I will be buying a few handmade items…actually have already paid a visit to this local shop that has jewelry made out of crystals and such (it’s my new favorite place).

  6. sarah says:

    What a great Thanksgiving. I’m not American but I’m beginning to get into the Thanksgiving spirit. This article helps.

  7. Pam says:

    Sounds like you had a great holiday! I love the idea of watching a movie to allow for digestion before dessert! We played games after dinner and it was awesome. 🙂

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