Monday, 4 November 2013

Giving Thanks Isn't Just for Thanksgiving

Turkey Time

In Canada we had our Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, so we are midway between Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving.  I thought that this would be the perfect time to share a few things that I am thankful for.

In our family we each take one major holiday to host in our home.  My mother takes care of Easter.   My mother-in-law does Christmas Eve at her home (Hungarians celebrate on the day before Christmas so it leaves my husband and I alone with our kids on Christmas Day).  And I take Thanksgiving.  It works out well because we never have to worry about leaving anyone out, or trying to work someone in.  We have standing invitations to all family members on both my side of the family and my husband's side. So, I guess the first thing I am thankful for is having everything pre-arranged so no one gets left out during the holidays.  Hurray for being pro-active!

I know that this is an unusual arrangement because I have never heard of both sides of a family coming together on all of the holidays and celebrations, but I am so lucky that my parents get along so well with my in-laws.  My mother and mother-in-law are genuine friends and they even talk on the phone weekly.  So, the fact that my parents and my husband's parents are friends is number two on my list of things to be thankful for.

Number three on my list of things that I am thankful for, is that my parents get along even though they are divorced.  They have been divorced for about 20 years, but they have come to terms with their parting of ways, and have an odd sort of relationship.  They are almost...friends.  They flirt with each other, and make jokes with each other.  Occasionally my mother does lose it and she will let fly with a searing remark, but my Dad usually just laughs it off.  It has been great for the children, because this means that my kids don't have to choose a grandparent for special events or school shows and they see that adults can still have a relationship even though they aren't together anymore.

I am thankful for so many more things and I could probably go on indefinitely and bore you to tears, but these were directly related to making our Thanksgiving so much nicer for everyone involved.  Oh wait, I guess I have one more thing that I should share...I am thankful that I served another great turkey.  See that picture of the turkey at the top? That was my turkey.  Looks pretty good, eh?  

Saturday, 2 November 2013

This is Halloween, This is Halloween

I have to say that the best thing about Halloween are the families that go all out, and decorate their homes like an amusement park.  You know the houses...the ones that your kids tell you that you have to visit on Halloween night.  Even though the kids are exhausted, and even though the people might not be handing out candy anymore, we still visit the best homes in the neighborhood at the end of our rounds.  There was one this year that was quite outstanding and it all happened over night.  On the 30th of October there were merely a few fall leaves on their front yard.  By 6pm on October 31st, it was this...

They built a full fence around their property with weather worn barn-boards.  They had corns stalks, hay bales and hand carved pumpkins everywhere.  There were scarecrows and grim reapers.  They even had an industrial fog machine that gave the whole property an eerie atmosphere once it got dark and the lights went on.  My children just loved this house.  It was their favorite house of the night.  And I have to say that it was mine too.  The people who live there have been doing this since they moved into the neighborhood six years ago, and all of the kids in the area look forward to see what they have planned every Halloween.  You can see how much this family likes Halloween by how much care they put into decorating their house for Halloween.  

The families that go to the expense and effort to decorate their homes to make Halloween night a memorable event for the kids, are what really makes Halloween one of my favorite holidays.  On the flip side, there are the Halloween Grinches that really can take the fun out of the evening.  Now before you react, please understand that I am not talking about people who just don't celebrate Halloween.  I am perfectly ok with that.  I am talking about the vertically challenged barbarians that go running about on Halloween without a care for protocol.   Really?  There are only a few simple rules...

1. Wear a costume. This is non negotiable. 
2. Ring the doorbell once and only once. You should not be trying to play Bohemian Rhapsody on the bell
3.  Greet the person who opens the door.  You can say "Happy Halloween"  or "Trick or Treat" or even just "hello"...don't just open your bag and grunt
4.  After the person puts the candy in your bag you say "thank you" because you are after all getting free candy

I don't know if I am just getting crabbier as I get older, but I have been developing some pretty well-defined pet peeves about Halloween...  

  • It feels weird going to a house that has their front lights on, but they don't answer the door.  If your front porch light is on, we will ring your bell.  
  • I really don't like it when to Teens come to my door without costumes.  I don't mind giving candy to teens, but teens please at least attempt to make sort of costume, or at least give me a song and dance.  
  • I am bugged by parents who carry their infants door to door and neither is wearing a costume.  This is purely a candy grab.  Not nice.  
  • And last but not least...children who don't bother to say "thank you." Last year I only had 2 children out of about 50 say thank you.  This year none.  \
Halloween should be fun, but that doesn't preclude some common sense with a dash of manners.  How were kids in your area?  How many thank you's did you get?

Friday, 1 November 2013

Goodbye October

As we head into November, and into the colder weather, I wanted to say a little goodbye to October.  In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, before Halloween, so for me, Thanksgiving is the ramp up to Halloween.  In my family I always host Thanksgiving...because my turkeys are blissfully awesome.  I make a rice stuffing that is always the first thing finished.  The house is filled to the brim with relatives from Grandparents to children, After thanks is given, the turkey is finished and leftovers are put away, I pull out the cobwebs and creepy decorations.

On Halloween we all get dressed up, including my husband and myself. I have a full cedar closet filled with costumes for children to adults, unicorns to zombie, Cleopatra to Cowboy.  You get the idea!  We like costumes.  Well, probably more specifically, I like costumes, and by osmosis my children love dressing up as well.  We visit all of our neighbors, friends, and family.  The kids are exhausted by the end of the night and they usually flop into bed without a grumble, 

I have to say that October is probably my favorite month of the year and I wanted to share a few things that I love about it.

  • Leaves changing colours
  • Hot days a thing of the past
  • Pulling out fall clothes
  • Pumpkin spice lattes
  • Apple picking
  • Waking up to foggy mornings
  • Kids working in a good school routine
  • Walks in the forest
  • Seeing the squirrels getting ready for winter
  • Shushing my feet through the fallen leaves
  • Carving pumpkins
  • Cardigans
  • Decorating the house for Halloween
  • Mulled apple cider
  • Thanksgiving (for Canadians)
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Pumkin everything
  • No more mosquitos
  • Picking Halloween costumes
  • Pumpkin patches
I would love to hear what you like about October or what you are thankful for.