Thanksgiving: How-to host the perfect holiday dinner!

“Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.
~Willard Scott

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year right along with Christmas. Autumn is so beautiful with the splendid colors, the rustic smell of fallen leaves, and of course the cackling of the blue jays. But even better than all that, I love to decorate for the the holidays.

I wanted to share a few of my holiday decorating tips with all of my wonderful Dragonfly friends. I thought I’d start with Thanksgiving as I don’t really do a lot of Halloween décor. I generally keep to a fall theme. I hope you enjoy this post, and please be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

My delicious recipes will be coming the week before Thanksgiving, so if you aren’t already following me on Facebook, click this link & hit the LIKE & Follow buttons so you don’t miss any of my wonderful posts!  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

I always prep the day before I host a holiday meal or party. I love to entertain and make my guests feel incredibly special. As most of you know I am a mother of six with two grandsons, so we often gather at my home as it has the most space.

Pro tip: If you are bringing in additional tables & chairs, bring them in the day before and get them set with whatever linens, dinnerware, flatware, glasses, etc. This will alleviate so much day-of event stress! As you can see from these pictures, each guest has a linen napkin tied with a piece of raffia and then a special name tag at their place.

Layering makes a showy table! As you can see, I have a table cloth, table runner, dinner & salad plate along with a linen napkin. Each place setting is different which adds to the elegance of the table.

Name tags make people feel special! When your guests arrive and see the extra effort you made to the point of making handmade name tags, they will feel all the love you put into this task!

Use real greenery & gourds!
I have a smorgasbord of living vines including bittersweet in my woods and the ditches around me. I love to incorporate beautiful fall leaves as well. A table centerpiece is so inviting!

Pro Tip: To make name tags I simply cut 4″ x 4″ squares of card stock, fold in half to make a tent style card, and then place a black name label on it. I used chalkboard paint markers to write my guests names. Be careful to let them dry adequately or they will smudge!

Pro Tip: Be eclectic!!! I do love things to match, but I also love showing off several different styles of linens & plates.

My grandson’s love to see their special plates and personalized name tags!

Pro Tip: Shop the dollar stores & thrift shops! I love to find interesting, one-of-a-kind pieces of glassware, linens, and glasses.

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

All these wonderfully yummy recipes will post on November 16th right before Thanksgiving, so keep posted on my Facebook page for that reminder!

What is a holiday with a Mimosa!

Pro Tip: DON’T use Brut Champaign, it is too bitter!

Herb Roasted Turkey

Our Favorite Pecan & Apple Pie Recipes!

Pro Tip: If you are not a baker like my daughter Taylor is, don’t feel bad to purchase pies from a bakery new you. Supporting local is awesome!

So-Yum Mashed Potatoes & Dad’s Delicious Stuffing

Grandma’s Cabbage Rolls!

Mimosa’s are so easy to make! All you need is a Spumante Champaign, some orange, pineapple & cranberry juice.
Mix 1 part Champaign with 1 part juice. I like to mix the orange & pineapple, but my favorite is a cranberry mimosa!

Pro Tip: If you don’t want all the work of making cabbage rolls, you can make a cabbage roll casserole! You can find this recipe in my popular cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats. Purchase at this link: www.fordragonfliesandme.com

Of course we will have my famous Real Pumpkin Pie as well. For those of you who have my cookbook, this recipe can be found on page 304 of my cookbook.

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think ! I love your feedback!

Happy Day,
Jean

Preserving Your Fall Pumpkins!

“… Just for one’s health… it is very necessary to work in the garden and to see the flowers growing.”
Vincent Gogh

If you’re like me, you want pumpkins from September through Thanksgiving! But how do we keep them from rotting prematurely & preventing little critters (AKA squirrels & others) from chewing them to pieces you ask? Well there are a few ways to stop them.

I’m going to discuss both a natural & chemical way to preserve your pumpkins. You choose the path you feel most comfortable with.

The natural way to deter critters from gnawing away at your beautiful pumpkins is by using cayenne pepper!

Please note, if you accidently purchase a pumpkin with any cuts, scratches, deep wounds, or if the stem is broken off this alternative will not work. The cayenne pepper will simply deter insects & critters from attempting to eat them, it will not prevent rotting.

Using Cayenne pepper is a natural alternative to chemical means. It is very easy & inexpensive, however you will need to reapply the pepper after each rain.

Rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks will take one taste & quickly scurry away!

It’s cute, but it will destroy your beautiful pumpkins!

The not so natural way.

An alternative way to keep those critters at bay is to simply coat each of your pumpkins, gourds & even your Indian corn with clear acrylic spray. This is also an inexpensive way to protect them, however you do not want to toss these pumpkins into your garden as compost. I happen to live on seven acres with five of those being woods. We generally toss our corn stalks, pumpkins, Christmas trees &  any other live garlands into our woods. They naturally compost, act as habitat for the wild life, and of course food for the animals as well.

Depending on how many pumpkins & gourds you have purchase 2 to 3 cans of clear acrylic spray.

Taking a damp rag or paper towel wipe down any debris and moisture on your pumpkin or gourd.

Watch my video on how to appropriately spray your pumpkin with clear acrylic spray!

How to pick the perfect pumpkins!

I wanted to share a few tips & tricks on choosing the perfect pumpkin. 

First, be sure the pumpkin or gourd has a securely connected stem. If it is loose at all, or even worse broken off DON’T buy it… no matter how cute it is, no matter how perfect it is, walk away. It will rot and attract insects & critters that will be happy to chew away at it.

This pumpkin has a securely attached stem and no wounds or knicks.

The stem of this pumpkin is broken off. It will rot much more quickly as well as attract insects & critters.

Secondly, be sure there are no cuts or wounds on your pumpkins.
Unfortunately even with our best attempts to be cautious, we can miss them. A perfect example is the pumpkin I used in my video. In this case the price tag was covering the large wound & I had no idea until I took it home and removed the sticker. I was so thankful I did as this allowed me to take care of it.

This is a very deep wound, so as you saw in the video I sprayed a lot of acrylic spray into it.

With this wound using cayenne pepper unfortunately would not work.

Lastly, support your local farmers & farmers markets with the purchase of your pumpkins and other holiday decorations. As we continue to spend our dollars locally, it naturally benefits our community.

If you enjoyed this post, please Like, Share, & of course follow me here and at my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778.

Happy Day,
Jean