Foodie Friday: December Menu

Can you believe it is already time to do the December menu? I have young children, so I know all too well the days are long and the years are short. November was good to me. I finished my master’s thesis and passed my oral defense. I spent lots of time with family and I completed all the requirements for my master’s degree in nutritional sciences! I am ready for December, though because I love the Christmas season and the magic that it brings to my home. I remember loving Christmas as a young child, then feeling disappointed by Christmas in my teens and early adult years…. but having children of my own has elevated Christmas to a whole new level! I try to keep things simple with my kids, mostly because I want to enjoy it too, but I absolutely adore the sparkle in their eyes when they see Christmas lights and Christmas trees!

Anyway, we also gotta eat in December, so here’s my menu:

December 2017 Menu

December 2017 Menu

Please find the recipe collection on my December 2017 Menu Pinterest board!

Happy holidays!! Happy eating!

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Season of Thankfulness: Spend time

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If you are thankful for your people, let them know by spending time with them. It may be your actual family, your in-laws, or your closest friends who have become like family. No matter who your tribe is, spend your time with them. If you have a relative or close family friend who is getting on in years, make it a priority to visit during the Thanksgiving weekend.

That’s all I’m going to say about that.

QuickTip Tuesday: Christmas Decorating

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I know a lot of people decorate for Christmas early and a lot of people (like my husband) are “after Thanksgiving” purists. If you are the latter, I suggest you soften a bit. Getting an earlier start on holiday decorating means you can spread the chore out over a week or two, making it more fun and less stressful!

I like to put up the tree, fluff it out (because it’s artificial) and put on the lights. Then I need a break. I may put the ornaments on in the next couple days and take another break. I put up garland around my living room door frames a day or two after the tree is decorated, and I set up a nice display of other holiday decor on the top of my china cabinet. If I were to try to do this all in one day, I would be exhausted and crabby!

Then there are the outdoor decorations. Do you put lights on your house? This week we are having some mild afternoons. It’s going to be a little windy, but not too cold to be up on the roof. Those “after Thanksgiving purists” might be pretty cold if they wait another week!

Season of Thankfulness: Giving Back

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This is the time of year when we all start seeing the “thankful” posts on Facebook. Everyday is a new day to be thankful for something in our lives- especially in November. There is nothing wrong with telling your social media world about all the things you have to be thankful for, but there are ways to make your gratefulness extremely meaningful for someone else. This season, I challenge you to give back.

I realize that not everyone has a ton of extra money lying around to donate to charity right before Christmas, so I am going to give you some ideas for giving back that cost money and some that do not.

  • Send a card or care package to a military service member overseas. Don’t know how to go about this? Check out the USO Holiday Care Package Program.
  • Donate to the USO Veteran’s program.
  • Volunteer in a food pantry in the weeks leading up to the holiday.
  • Invite a lonely neighbor over for dinner on or before Thanksgiving.
  • Organize a community clean-up day and clean graffiti off local playground equipment, make repairs public property, pick up trash, rake leaves for the elderly or disabled…. the possibilities are endless.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter on Thanksgiving, cooking or serving food.
  • Visit a nursing home- take your kids.

Whatever you choose to do, do it to make your community a better place. What other ideas do you have? I would love to hear from you!

QuickTip Tuesday: Christmas Prep

If you don’t already have a Christmas budget, it is time to get that done! Decide how much money (a specific dollar amount) you want to spend on ALL of your Christmas gifts. Then make a list of everyone you will be giving a gift, and decide how much you want to spend on each recipient. The total of the gift recipient amounts should equal your total budget amount. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got a Christmas gift budge. You could take that a step further and make a budget for holiday food- Christmas cookies, dinners, party appetizers…

If you already have a budget, it is time to start putting together gift ideas for each of your gift recipients. Just take a sheet of paper and write down a list of your gift recipients. Put their budgeted dollar amount next to each name. Then on the other side of that, start jotting down ideas that will cost close to each budgeted amount.

Trust me, starting early will save you so much stress down the road!

Use this budget tool if you are having trouble getting started:

christmas budget form

You can print it out to write on it here:

christmas budget form

Season of Thankfulness: Say Thank-You

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When someone does something nice for you, do you say “thank you?” Our moms and dads teach us from a very young age to say “thank you” when we receive gifts or compliments. We know to say it when someone goes obviously out of their way to do something nice, but how often do you say it? And how often do you mean it?

When I was in college, I was an instructor at cheerleading camps. It was great fun and a lot of hard work. One thing our company did that others did not was teach our campers about true leadership. We had one instructor who really touched me while teaching these leadership lessons. She told the campers to always say thank you to everyone who is doing a service for them- including waitresses, fast-food workers, grocery store employees… I immediately took this to heart and have made a habit of saying “thank you” a lot more than I did as a teenager.

I often hear people saying that if a person is being paid to perform the service, they don’t deserve the thanks. Some people think service employees are simply doing their jobs, they get paid for it and that’s the end of it. I think anytime someone is preparing or organizing your food, you should definitely say thank you. And you should really mean it. Sure, it’s a job. It might not be a very prestigious job, but the people working the drive-thru window at your favorite fast food chain are meeting one of your most basic needs- food. Even if you are paying for it, and they are being paid, these people deserve for their customers to be polite, respectful, and grateful.

Being truly grateful will also be of benefit to you! According to Forbes.com, gratitude can improve physical health, improve psychological health, help you sleep better, reduce feelings of aggression and open the door to more relationships!