Sometimes I am SO READY for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Othertimes, I am not.
I can get a little overwhelemed with the travel, planning, shopping, cooking, and all the details I want to invest in the season to make memories with my kids.
This year, I was pretty close to the overwhelmed-with-life, underwhelmed-with-holiday-preps category.
I WANT to be excited about the season, but sometimes it’s hard. School, activities, DH’s schedule, and obligations to extended family can put a damper on my cheer. This year, that was definitely the case.
Then… I got to reveiw a copy of The Old Schoolhouse ebook “Cranberry Christmas”.
When I first got the book I read through it, and I’m not being trite or exageratting when I say that I was instantly encouraged to get ready for Thanksgiving. Growing up in Boston, cranberries are huge. We used to start Christmas morning with Cranberry Nut Bread, and making cranberry sauce was the first REAL cooking I got to do at Thanksgiving and Christmas. With Thanksgiving a week away, and a bag of fresh cranberries in the fridge, my son couldn’t wait and made the Canberry Relish recipe for dinner that night. I enthusisically encouraged his idea and started grabbing him the food processor. It only took a couple of minutes to make and we LOVED it. We did cut the sugar to 1/2 cup, making it a little extra tart, but it will definitely be a staple at our holiday tables from now on. I’ll even stock up on berries to freeze so we can keep making that relish after cranberries disappear from the stores this winter. Seriously, it was YUMMY!!
On our long holiday drive, and shortly after we got home, the kids and I read through all the stories and cranberry information in the Cranberry Christmas book. I was wishing I had younger kids to read the sweet stories to, with hot chocolate and some Cranberry Nut Bread. I know mine would have loved that when they were little. My kids (12 and 13) enjoyed the stories, but preferred the nonfiction segments about the history, nutrition, and growing of cranberries. I was honestly disappointed to learn that Wisconisin produces more berries than Massachuestts. Seriously! That was a bummer. I appreciated learning about cranberry harvesting, and was surpised by how they do the winter protection of the plants. I don’t want to ruin it for you – the information was really inetersting! – so you’ll have to read it to get more of the details. It’s totally worth it!!
Our Thanksgiving this year was at my Brother in Law’s house, so I didn’t get the chance to do much cooking. I LOVE the whole traditional meal, so when we got home we made our own dinner – complete with “ALL the fixins”. In keeping with tradition, my daughter made the cranberry sauce, this year using the delicious recipe from Cranberry Christmas. It was perfect! When we mixed the tart cranberry relish with the sweet sauce – oh my!!! We highly recommend this combo!!
If we had a little more time – we would have made the place cards and napkin rings. We will be saving those for next year, (or for Christmas!) along with the crossword. I think I’ll make up a little kit for the kids with the puzzles, the napkin ring coloring sheets and some silly jokes. I think even the adults at our table would like that!
Would I recommend Cranberry Christmas? Yes! I think the recipes are great and totally doable for any kid over about 8 (with some supervision at the stove). For parents on the lookout for kid friendly real recipes – it’s a great find. We also enjoyed the information on cranberries, and the stories would be great read alouds for the 8 and under crowd. And in the end – the book left me more motivated to prep for the holidays and make memories with my kids – and I think that’s a great reason to buy a book!