Tag Archives: tradition

#ThrowbackThursday Christmas Village 2010 and this year’s village!

Wow, counting down to Christmas Eve. Lights are up. Tree is up. Gifts are being wrapped and the Christmas Village is up. I changed it up a little this year from year’s past so today’s Throwback Thursday is a look at the 2010 village as well as photos from this year’s village!

You can click here to see the 2010 Christmas Village video if you can’t see it below.

Here are photos from this year’s village!

#ThrowbackThursday My Mom – Best friend and Mentor

My mom was my best friend and mentor and I know my daughter feels the same way about me. My daughter is my best friend and I am blessed to have her in my life.

This is another picture of my mom as a toddler. She’s wearing the traditional Galician dress and I’ve even got a little doll at home with this outfit. I’ll have to snap a picture of that for you to see it. The dolls were sent from our family in Spain for my sister and me. My doll has green eyes like me and my sister’s doll has blue eyes, like her.

Anyway, my mom. She was so cute as a kid and my sister looked just like her then and now as an adult.
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Pecan Pie An American Tradition

One of the things my mother stressed when we were kids was that we should honor the culture and traditions of the Nation that had gifted us with Liberty and a wealth of opportunities we would not have had in our native land. Because of that, when it came time to celebrate American holidays, my mom went all out to bring to our family and friends those things that she thought were truly American.

Pecan pie was one of those things and my sister continues with this tradition every Thanksgiving. Sis is the one who does this fantastic American holiday while I do Christmas Eve with a meld of American, Cuban and Italian flavors.

So why is pecan pie so American? For starters, pecans come from a hickory tree that is native to South-Central North America. While that means there are some pecan trees in areas of Mexico, the pecan tree is really prevalent in most of the southern United States.

Did you know “pecan” was an Algonquian meaning that the nut required a stone to be cracked open?

As for the origins of the pie itself, there is some dispute about that. Some say it was first made in New Orleans when the French learned about the nut from the Native Americans. But recipes for the pie itself do not begin to appear in more well-known cookbooks until the 1940s. That could be because Karo Syrup made the dish popular in the 1930s.

My sister follows the Karo syrup recipe which you can find by clicking here. But the trick to make this really nutty and hearty is to at least double the number of pecans suggested in the recipe.

So instead of six ounces, use at least twelve or maybe even an entire pound bag of pecans. You will have to adjust the size of the pie plate to allow for the greater volume, but you will get a delicious, sweet, chewy, nutty pie with this variation.

You can also add some bourbon and/or chocolate to the recipe. Substitute 2 tablespoons of bourbon for the vanilla or add 3 ounces of semi-sweet chopped chocolate to the mix (or make it a combo of bourbon and chocolate!).

Pecan pie is wonderful served warm with a topping of either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Fun Friday – Christmas is almost here!

Saturday we went and chopped down our tree in our annual holiday tradition. The weather was brisk, but not too cold as we traipsed through the fields, searching for this year’s victim… I mean tree.

We went through a number of different evergreens, avoiding the kind that had drawn blood last year with incredibly prickly sharp needles. The white pines were looking a little yellow due to bouts of warmer weather the week before so we walked and walked, avoiding holes and stumps from prior years. Finally we found a patch of odd-looking pines. Some kind of cedar I suspect from the smell of the small round we cut from the end, another holiday tradition. Hubby has a box filled with a piece of the stump from every Christmas tree since my daughter was born, each one carefully labeled with the year.

After dragging it home on the roof of the Jeep, we set it up and began the decorating. As always half the lights were dead, so we ran out and bought some new LED bulbs. Very bright and they’re shaped like the old ones hubby and I remembered from when we were kids. Hopefully I won’t have to replace them again next year.

So today’s Fun Friday is a little video of our tree selection and decoration! Hope you all have a fun weekend!

Tuesday Tips – Easter Egg Hunts

bunnyAs kids, my mom always held Easter Egg hunts for us. She would fill plastic Easter Eggs with candy, little toys and loose change, hide the eggs all over our yard in Levittown and then set us loose to find them. Sometimes we didn’t and months later, as we were weeding or planting a garden bed, we’d find one of those brightly colored eggs.

My sister and I have kept up this tradition with our kids and even though they are into their teens and early twenties, they still line up to find the eggs hidden in the yard. Of course, at this age the prizes include a bit more money than candy and toys, but it’s still a lot of fun to head out into the yard to hide the eggs and then watch the kids try to find them. Much like it happened when we were kids, months later my sister will find an Easter Egg that someone didn’t track down. We’ve even included the neighborhood kids on some years, some of whom had never done an Easter Egg hunt in their lives!

So if you want to try this tradition out, purchase the plastic easter eggs. They come in all different kinds of sizes and we usually mix up everything from the very small robin’s egg size to the larger nearly ostrich egg size. Candy and change are always good. Sometimes we make one the Super Egg and put in $5. Small toys are good, but make sure they are appropriate for the age of your kids.

Good sources for the candy, eggs and toys: Five Below, Target, Walmart and Oriental Trading (which is online). Actually, if you’re doing anything themed or need funky small gifts, Oriental Trading is a great place to find stuff. We use them all the time for our annual block party so that we have reasonably priced prizes for the assorted contests we have.

So, this Easter, take a moment to explore your inner bunny! Fill up those eggs, hide them out in the yard and watch your kids have a blast trying to find them!