This has been a very odd week in the Midwest. We woke to snow on Thursday, and we’ve also had sun, rain, and temps varying from the twenties to the seventies; but that’s life in Ohio. Today is bright and sunny, if a bit chilly right now; and numerous businesses are closed this year for the holiday; so it’s a good day to celebrate spring, family, and for those of Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Our own celebration will be small, since so many of the family live in other states, but we will make the best of it and try to catch up by phone with everyone we can. Of course we’re planning some yummy food, including this trifle I made last night. I think it turned out well, but it’s a new recipe so the real test will be in the taste, later.
I hope everyone has a great day; and however you choose to spend it, I hope you find some time to relax, unwind, and simply be happy.
It’s time again for the ultimate American football game- the game that decides the winner of the national championship-and also at my house, the time we usually throw a casual little party. For my family, the Superbowl is less about the game (apologies to avid fans out there,) and more about the excuse to entertain, to eat delicious food, and of course to enjoy the commercials and halftime show!
This year, of course, everything is different. We are having a very small gathering; some of the usual most notable participants in the expensive commercial race are instead donating funds to COVID research (kudos to them!); and far more people will be watching the game from the comfort and safety of their own homes than attending in person or going to parties, sports bars, etc. to watch with friends or strangers.
Still, we can make the best of the current situation and embrace a festive mood. To that end, I decided to share a recipe my family loves, that my husband actually perfected and makes for special occasions, Reuben Dip. I hope you enjoy it!
Baked Reuben Dip
16 oz. sauerkraut, rinsed and drained, available in bags in the deli section of most grocery stores
8 oz. sliced corned beef, chopped into small pieces
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded swiss cheese
1 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. thousand island dressing
Mini rye breads, for serving
In large bowl, mix ingredients well.
Transfer to greased 8×8 baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 27-30 minutes or until bubbly and browned at the edges.
Serve warm with rye bread or crackers.
This recipe can easily be doubled for larger crowds.
I have to apologize for the irregular timing of my posts of late. Many of us are currently dealing with the normal holiday activities such as shopping, wrapping, decorating, planning menus and get-togethers. Like I’m sure many of you, I have found myself a little overwhelmed with the bustle and craziness that is natural for this season. Add in some major upheaval in my day job, along with the added stress of dealing with the public due to necessary safety precautions this year, and I have had my hands full.
Still, I am hopeful that everything will come together, and this will be a wonderful holiday, not just in spite of the current situation, but because we are still able to celebrate. My family has been relatively lucky this year. We are all healthy; we are still working; and my daughter was able to get leave, so our immediate family at least is able to be together.
So while we still have to be careful around the public at large, and wear masks outside the house and try to stay 6 feet away from people, the holidays will still come according to our calendars. Instead of focusing on what is wrong with the world on Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukah, Cuanza, or whatever or whenever you choose to celebrate, I urge you to focus on what is good in our lives, the blessings that still exist despite the turmoil around us.
We all deserve a little peace and joy this year.
Thank you always for reading, and best holiday wishes from my family to all of yours. May 2021 dawn brighter, healthier, and happier for all of us.
This coming weekend marks American holiday Labor Day. Though the official holiday is Monday, September 7th, for many the celebrations will begin this Friday and continue throughout the extended weekend.
What a year it’s been! At this time last year, most of us were planning to celebrate this American holiday in our own style-with family and neighborhood gatherings, cookouts, and fireworks shows. What a difference a year can make! Now, many of us fear, not unreasonably so, to venture out unless absolutely necessary.
Labor Day, officially a federal holiday celebrating the efforts of American workers, and unofficially the” last hurrah of summer,” means many things to different people. Some take it as a welcome break from work, as federal and state offices will be closed, as well as many businesses. For others, it’s about shopping the big sales, or an excuse to party, or just a last summer blowout as children are returning to school.
This year, though many schools are finally back in session, albeit many are using a method of staggered attendance, the holiday doesn’t have quite the same meaning. Many, my husband included, are still working at home and will be for the foreseeable future.
However, for many, including the adults in my family, it is still a paid holiday we intend to enjoy. While we are planning a cookout, we will be having a smaller crowd this year, and any shopping we do will probably be accomplished online. Still, the day gives us a perfect excuse to pull out our smoker, and prepare too much good food, which will furnish leftovers for a few days at least.
Labor Day also means that autumn is just around the corner, and I’m already looking forward to cooler temperatures, putting up fall and Halloween decorations, and planning autumn treats to bake and share.
While the world is a vastly different place right now, we still can take joy in the day and wherever else we can find it. I choose to be optimistic that things will get better. In the meantime, we need to continue about our lives as best we can. This means planning as near a normal holiday celebration as possible, and rejoicing in the time we have as a family.
As I was driving home from work one night this week, I heard the radio announcer call our current times “The Era of the Staycation.” How apt and how current he was.
Due to the coronavirus that is impacting us all in so many ways, people are staying home. Some of us are working at home, others have lost their jobs, and some are simply choosing to stay home because of health concerns. Many recreation facilities and events that we might normally visit or attend at this time of year are closed, either temporarily or for the duration.
Whatever the reason we are not venturing out, we are spending the time and possibly the money we would normally put towards a summer vacation in the security of our own homes.
Since we are staying home, many of us are choosing to make upgrades to the place we live 24/7. We are spending our resources on sprucing up our spaces; with paint, with landscaping, with pools and recreational equipment. In short, we are making our homes a vacation destination tailored to our needs and desires. If you have a large budget to make upgrades, think how best to spend your dollars so that whatever changes you make will add long-lasting value and function to your home.
If you don’t have a large vacation/remodeling budget, there are still things you can do to make your enforced staycation fun, memorable, and happy for entire family. Even minor changes, such as paint or houseplants can give your space a new look. Try “shopping” around your house for furniture, art, pillows, and lighting that might look better in another spot, or simply refresh your scenery.
Plan activities to set the mood for fun and relaxation. Let the kids camp out in the backyard, and consider moving the TV to a patio for family movie night. If you don’t have a fire pit, you can always make s’mores in the microwave to eat on your deck or balcony.
To get a completely new view, try sites such as https://artsandculture.google.com/ where you can take virtual tours of parks and museums from your computer or blue toothed TV.
The choices for a staycation are limitless; all it takes is a little imagination and effort, and of course, those closest to you for a truly memorable vacation at home! I hope you get to enjoy one soon!
I have a new piece of artwork hanging on the wall in my office. This past Christmas my daughter gifted me with a poster that many of you may have seen before-a clever assembly of quotes from various science fiction and fantasy series that forms a statement about its fans.
This mass-produced copy of a somewhat popular poster, though, means more to me than just a cute quote or novelty art piece. To me, this picture represents a statement that it’s okay to like the things I like, to be interested in the things that interest me, and that I’m not alone in my opinions. This series of quotes contains memories of family time, of trips to movies and listening to books on tape, of nights spent in together in front of the TV and competitions to see who could finish the next book first.
But above all, this poster points out that it’s okay to be geek and nerdy, because we are people too. In the not-so-distant past those who share our interests may have been teased and ridiculed, but as “geek” has moved firmly into the mainstream those same interests are now considered acceptable, to the point that many closet-trekkies and vamps and cosplayers have now come out of the figurative closet, and feel free to express themselves.
These days I care far less about other people’s expectations or negative views than I did growing up, and mostly relish in being myself. (Such comes with age and supposed maturity.) Still, I am glad that I have family who share the same interests as me, and together we can debate over whether the next superhero or wizard movie will be worth the trek to the movie theater, or make recommendations to each other about books that we are sure will find an appreciative audience.
There are so many things about this world that need work and change, but it’s nice to know, that sometimes acceptance can still be found. That there is hope for all those kids who had the oversized glasses and maybe weren’t very popular in school or were more interested in drama than playing sports. It’s okay to be us.
I hope that those who read this post take comfort, and find comradery for your own inner geek, and I hope you feel free to express yourself, as only you can. Let me hear from you how you make out. Bonus points for those of you who can accurately name the source of all these quotes!