I can’t believe we’re almost to the end of the year. Next week kicks off the holiday season, and as the years have gone by, I’ve dived deeper and deeper into it. For the last few years, I’ve gotten up at dawn on Thanksgiving, participated in a charity 5k downtown with my daughters, then come home and cooked a huge meal for my husband, children, mother and grandmother. Then I spend the weekend decorating. The first day, I put up a village that I’ve been collecting at a rate of one or two houses per year since my daughter was eight.  Here’s a picture from last year.

Christmas Village

The second day goes to decorating inside. I have a nativity scene that my father gave me years ago. It’s absolutely beautiful, and now that he’s gone, it means even more to me. That goes up, along with the tree and some table decorations that I scatter around my living room. The third day is spent outside. My neighbors across the street are wonderful people—a 94-year-old widow and her late-fifties daughter who never married and moved away from home. They open their living room curtains and watch us install the decorations, then when we turn them on at dusk, the daughter always comes outside and tells us how much her mother enjoys the lights. For the rest of the season, they open their curtains every night when we turn them on.

But this year, I have a Milo. He’s eight months old, and he’s something of a tornado. Here he is–isn’t he cute?


Milo is twenty five pounds of lovable, curious, happy-to-be-alive bull in a china shop. He loves new people and greets them with a flying tackle that would take down an NFL quarterback. He doesn’t bark a lot, but when he has something to say, he’ll sit down in front of me and speak his mind (he was on a roll one day, and I took a video which I posted here). He plays pranks on my other dog, a seven-year-old Bichon-Poodle named Bear:


He’ll lay on top of the bed and wait for Bear to walk by, then pounce on him from above. When Bear looks away, he’ll swipe whatever toy Bear is playing with and run off with it. While Bear is trying to eat, Milo will lay down near him and bump the bowl with his paw. Bear loves his little brother, but his patience starts wearing thin when he can’t even get a bite of food from his bowl. I don’t really blame him.

But with all the cuteness that comes with a sweet, fuzzy goofball like Milo, there has to be a dark side. He chews. Everything. Socks. Shoes. Glasses (he LOVES glasses). Boxes. Papers. Leaves. Ice. Bark. The list goes on. And with right at a week before I usually put up the decorations, I haven’t figured out how I’m going to manage, because he will literally eat, break and shred everything that’s waist high and below. He’s going through obedience training for the next month (well, actually, I’m the one she’s training), but we’re not even close to ready to resist the temptation of a Christmas tree yet.  So I might have to tone it down this year. Either way, I have to put up my outside decorations. I can’t stand the thought of disappointing the lady across the street.

But before I can get to avoiding the Black Friday crowds by staying home with my decorations, I have to cook Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe is a family favorite, passed down to me by my mom’s mother who is, coincidentally, almost the same age as my neighbor (grandma is 93 and still lives at home by herself). I’ve written about both of my grandmas in previous posts. Dad’s mom was the old school country cook who could make some of the most amazing meals out of a few simple ingredients. Mom’s mom…well, not so much. It was her sister’s fault. I posted that story here.

This recipe is a delicious and easy exception to the rule. It’s a staple at our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and a recipe that I frequently get requests for whenever we take meals to holiday parties. My stepson even made it for a work potluck last week. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Easy Corn Casserole

Easy Corn Casserole

1 stick butter

1 can creamed corn

1 can whole kernal corn

8 oz. sour cream

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix


Melt butter in microwave for thirty seconds. Add remaining ingredients and stir till well blended (do NOT add ingredients called for in Jiffy cornbread instructions).  Grease 8 x 8 casserole dish and pour in mixture. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.