Tag Archives: Holidays

Candy Cane Train

We went with Katie, Jolie, Leah, and baby Calvin to the Candy Cane Train at the South Coast Railroad Museum. The kids loved it! The engineers (who I think loved it just as much, if not more) pointed out all the hidden Christmas decorations planted throughout the park. At the end, they got a candy cane. What more could a kid ask for?

Waiting for the train (pictured in the background)
Waiting for the train (pictured in the background)
Warren, Leah, Jolie, and Frosty
Warren, Leah, Jolie, and Frosty
All aboard!
All aboard!
Searching for ornaments
Searching for ornaments

Christmas Parade

On Friday we went to the 57th Annual Christmas Parade in downtown Santa Barbara. This is the second year in a row that we’ve gone with our friends Billy, Ingrid, Billy, Seth, and Grace. Such great parade companions!

The kids had a blast watching the fire engines, balloons, and marching bands go by. And, although it’s a pretty long time to be sitting there and we have yet to see the end of the show, we loved being able to listen to the sounds and watch the sights of the Christmas season with good friends and good food.

Waiting for the parade to start
Waiting for the parade to start
Seth and Warren in their hats
Seth and Warren in their hats
Seth & Warren anticipating the next act
Billy, Warren, and Seth making the most of folding chair scraps
Billy, Warren, and Seth making the most of folding chair scraps

Giving Thanks

This year’s Thanksgiving was truly wonderful. We spent the holiday with Hotda, Nana, and Kakya (what Warren calls Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle in Zuni). Nothing special or out of the ordinary… just a peaceful, relaxing day filled with family traditions. For instance, corny as it may be, I’ve always enjoyed watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as we put the finishing touches on the Royal Bird before it goes in the oven. To me, that’s part of ringing in the holiday season.

What a great family day: we cooked, played games, talked, laughed, watched a show or two, and remembered all of the reasons we have to be grateful. And I am grateful.

These last few weeks have been difficult for me, for various reasons. But when all is said and done, I know that I am blessed immensely. I am thankful for the life I have and the people I have with which to live it. To all of my family and friends: thank you. I am happy for the gift of knowing you all.

The BEST Post-Thanksgiving Day Sandwich

I’m going out on a limb here and claiming to know of the best possible sandwich you will ever eat the day after Thanksgiving. Some naysayers would suggest that a good old-fashioned turkey, cheese, and mayo on hoagie will do the job just fine.

You need to trust me on this one.

Colin never liked stuffing all that much before we got married. Then a co-worker introduced him to this sandwich. He’s never been the same since.

It’s as simple as the tradtional turkey sandwich, but instead uses more of the leftovers from the big dinner. The only thing that I urge you to do is use a crusty baguette or demi-baguette bread. Not just any old sandwich bread will do. Costco sells a package of 6 demi-baguettes for $4.99 that are simply divine.

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The Day After Thanksgiving Sandwich

1 small baguette or other crusty bread
cream cheese
cranberry sauce
stuffing
turkey slices

Slice bread open and spread a generous amount of cream cheese. Stuff sandwich with turkey slices, stuffing, and top with cranberry sauce.

My mouth is watering in anticipation!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

 

Since I believe in the old adage, “waste not, want not,” I feel compelled to use up as much of the pumpkin from our Jack-o-lanterns as possible. Therefore, it’s tradition in our family to toast the seeds that would otherwise get chucked out with the rest of the sloppy innards. And oh, what a tasty tradition it is!

Now, I’m not going to lie. This is a fairly labor intensive process. But, in carving the Jack-o-lantern you get a lot of the work out of the way. So, take the stringy, seed-filled mess from your carvings and plop it into a large bowl.

Next comes the sorting stage. You’ve got to really get in there and squish it around to detach the seeds from the fibers. This is long and tedious and kinda makes your shoulder cramp up if you are working at it alone. And once you’ve separated most of them you’ve got to pick the seeds out of the goo and throw them into a colander or strainer. Are you still reading? Good!

Rinse the seeds thoroughly in cold water, making sure to remove any pumpkin bits that may have passed your first inspection and sneaked into the colander. Alright, on to the easy part. Spread out the seeds on a baking sheet and let them air dry over night. (Note: You could put them in the oven wet, but they wouldn’t come out as crunchy because of steam.) Once dry, use the following recipe:

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

2-4 cups raw, rinsed, and dried pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
dash of cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Place seeds on a parchment- or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, lightly coated with oil or cooking spray.

3. Sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper according to taste. Toss lightly.

4. Place in oven on middle rack for about 30 minutes. Take out and toss again. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Such a fantastic snack! Hopefully, some of you have yet to carve your pumpkins and can still find this recipe useful. If not, there’s always next year!

P.S. If you’re totally lazy and don’t mind the strong pumpkin taste, you can completely skip the rinsing step and just bake the seeds coated in their pumpkin goo!

Avila Valley Barn

 

For the last three years, we’ve gone out to Avila Valley Barn to pick our pumpkins. Sure, there are closer farms (one just down the street from Colin’s office, in fact) but we really like the feel of this one. And the fudge! I can’t leave without buying some of their velvety pumpkin fudge. Talk about a good tradition!

There are artisan crafts and goodies galore. Many, many, goodies and tasties made from the pumpkins, apples, and berries grown on the farm. The samples are endless. We always get the fresh apple juice and roasted corn on the cob.

Too many fun items you “need” to spend your money on.

Continue reading Avila Valley Barn