What do I consider the embodiment of Thanksgiving?

Family, fall, & food.


Dad always wanted his entire part of the Homlish clan to be invited to dinner. This created problems as certain members did not contribute.

They never or very rarely hosted and were disrespectful when invited. They didn’t RSVP. It’s important to know how many are coming for a sit down formal dinner. Do I have enough space? Do I have enough dishes and cutlery? Do I have enough fancy Thanksgiving napkins that don’t wipe food off but rather just smear it all over your face?

They didn’t show up on time- and we always asked for them to show up hours before dinner was ready. It’s important to show up on time, especially when you offered to bring appetizers. Shrimp cocktail isn’t so good for desert.
They didn’t help out when they did show up. Just because you ask if I need help and I say no doesn’t mean no. It doesn’t mean you can do nothing all day. Maybe I’m shy to ask. Maybe you could hang out in the kitchen with the person slaving over the preparations and cleanup. Maybe when you see they could use help you offer specifically- hey can I dry the dishes while you wash.

After dad passed we stopped inviting the entire clan. Our Thanksgiving celebration is now a great stress free joy. Dad also used to say quality over quantity.


Yeah, we still decorate. Please take a look. We love the decorations for ourselves but we also love sharing them. Some of them are heirlooms hand crafted by our ancestors. Many were given to us by friends and family. We don’t have endless storage space so what you are seeing are the favorites that didn’t get given away of donated.


I’m not going to apologize for wanting to eat what my mom prepared. I don’t even particularly like turkey. We make a stuffed turkey exactly once a year. I love all four seasons equally and enjoy several seasonal meals that I only prepare once a year. But that’s a discussion for another post.

The vegans in our clan have created a challenge. I applaud their life style choice but accommodating it during a large family gathering featuring a traditional meal is nearly impossible. I don’t have the time or kitchen space to prepare alternative meal selections. I also don’t have the kitchen space for you to prepare your alternative meal elections – even just to heat them up and serve them.

The menu consists of:
turkey roasted in a black roasting pan stuffed with celery, carrots and onions. This creates the best drippings for gravy.
turkey gravy
mashed white potatoes
stuffing made with sausage, bread, onions, celery, and chicken broth. These are baked in cast iron muffin pans before the dinner and warmed up for dinner
Aunt Hazel’s rolls. Great with dinner and superb for left over turkey sandwiches
cranberry relish
jellied cranberry sauce
steamed yellow corn
green bean casserole
sweet potato casserole
•relish tray with sweet gherkins & baby dill & 1/2 sour pickles, black & green & garlic olives
•cheese platter with cheese & crackers & pepperoni & sometimes with dried beef rolled around salmon or chicken liver pâté
*deviled eggs
white wine, apple cider, egg nog

* You can find most of the recipes for these dishes at

Homemade bug bite relief

The goop:

1 Tbl bentonite clay
2 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops frankincense essential oil
aloe vera gel
coconut oil

In a small glass bowl, add bentonite clay and essential oils. Using a fork mix it up. Pour some coconut oil and aloe vera; stir. You want the consistency to be a spreadable paste. Continue to add desired liquid until you reach this consistency. If you end up adding too much liquid, add in bentonite clay to come back to the consistency you want.

To apply: Using clean and dry hands, scoop a bit of clay with your finger and apply a nice even coat on bug bite. Allow to dry and then wipe off gently with a warm wash cloth. Apply as needed.

You can keep the extra paste in the refrigerator until you need to use it again. Allow to come to room temperature before applying.

It works! It’s not magic but I get about a 50% reduction in itch right away. For serious bits like a spider or horse fly bite that leave a hole the itch goes away much faster than left alone- like one or two days instead of a week of nasty itching that leaves an open wound.

Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing

This post will track our experience with Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing

We finally decided to have a basement system installed after we had a catastrophy with our sewer and underground spring

We received 5 quotes for the work and decided to go with Mid-Atlantic for several reasons. Their price was actually the highest, but we liked

  • Guarantee of the entire wall and the floor up to 3′ from the wall.  Every other company only guaranteed where the wall meets the floor, if they offered  a guarantee at all
  • Only company to grade the collection pipe down to the sump pit
  • Only company that didn’t want to hide the wall after the work.  Instead they recommended we don’t use Dry Lok to seal the wall but instead allow it to breath.  They also would install ports at the top of the wall to facilitate air flow
  • They use a patented self cleaning collection pipe