I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Thanksgiving in Canada and the US

thanksgiving medleyIn North America, Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.  Canadians have already celebrated this wonderful occasion in October and this week the Americans will begin their celebration.

So what are the differences between a Canadian and an American Thanksgiving?   Actually, except for the dates, not very much.  I have joined forces with Kendra Thornton, a travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mother of 3 to compare the differences between my Canadian Thanksgiving and her American Thanksgiving.  You can follow Kendra at

Both Canadians and Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with family gatherings, sharing a  huge meal, watching parades and football games and attending Black Friday shopping sprees.

When it comes to food, the popular choice is turkey, accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, corn, fresh rolls and pumpkin pie.  It makes me hungry just thinking about all those yummy foods!  Of course, everyone  likes something different and there are many variations in choosing foods and how to prepare them.  I’ve been to homes where the choice was Thanksgiving ham, chicken or meatloaf.  It seems weird to me, but it depends on what people like and what their family traditions have been.             

When my youngest daughter prepares the meal, she goes to a lot of trouble to make something special every time, just as I did when my girls were growing up.  Sometimes she will have pumpkin soup, mixed veggies or tossed salad and cheesecake or pudding for desert.  I usually stick to the traditional dishes now as it doesn’t take a lot of thought and I like preparing easy meals so I have more time to visit.

My favourite part of Thanksgiving is getting together around the table to pray,  give thanks and share a family meal that has been prepared with loving hands and hearts.   After the meal, we usually sit and chat, then watch a good family movie together.  Nothing beats family time and sharing.  I’ve also had the pleasure of taking part in both a Canadian and an American Thanksgiving as both my husband and myself have sisters who are Americans.   My son-in-law also has an Aunt with whom we shared a second Thanksgiving two years ago when we were visiting her in Florida.
Now let’s hear from Kendra with her thoughts on Thanksgiving.  She has titled her post,  It’s a Thornton Thanksgiving from the U.S.!
Autumn is here once again with crisp days, chill nights and warm, cozy family evenings. Besides thinking about football, campfires and pumpkins, here at the Thornton house, the cooler fall weather gets me started making plans for the upcoming holidays. Because of its emphasis on gratitude and joy, Thanksgiving has to be one of my very favorite holidays. This year, the Thornton family will be having all our family come to our house in Chicago for Thanksgiving. I am so looking forward to this time of togetherness, memories and family fun!Kendra Thornton Picture

Pinterest has completely changed the way that I plan for Thanksgiving. I love having visuals to go along with recipes, and I love getting feedback from my friends on how well the recipes worked for them. Now that the kids are getting older, I like finding recipes for desserts and appetizers  that they can help prepare. While they enjoy creating yummy new recipes, it seems that everyone disappears when it’s time to clean up the kitchen. That is why I am choosing recipes with few ingredients and easy instructions.

Although I love a traditional Thanksgiving with a turkey and all the trimmings, this year I have been hunting unusual new recipes to go with our stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. After all, while Thanksgiving is not really Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie and turkey, so there is no reason that you should not try some new flavors to keep things interesting. I found a fabulous article on Gogobot that gave me some inspiration!

Pumpkin SoupI will be using these ideas as a launching point for some Thornton culinary creativity. I hope that everyone loves them, but even if these new recipes are not everyone’s absolute favorite foods, I think that having some new dishes on the table will spark some great conversations and liven up our holiday. The Orlando Waldorf Astoria will be serving up an elegant pumpkin soup to guests who are visiting on Thanksgiving Day. At the Thornton family Thanksgiving table, this velvety dish will include a little bit of lobster for an indulgent, pre-dinner treat. I can just imagine the faces of my family as they savor every drop of this amazing dish. I think that soup is the perfect way to warm everyone up on a snowy Chicago afternoon.

After figuring out the menu for Thanksgiving Day, I need to give some thought to which specific thing for which I am most thankful. Each year, one of the Thornton family traditions is to go around the table, allowing each member to share one thing that they are grateful for. The difficulty that I always have is narrowing down my choice because there are so many things that I am so very thankful for! If you are looking for a new family tradition, we won’t mind if you borrow this one. Remember, Thanksgiving is about more than turkey, football and food. It is about gratitude, family, love and sharing what we have with others who are less fortunate. I would love to hear what some of your traditions are – hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving already in Canada!Thanksgiving Table

1 Comment »

Friday’s storm

This past Friday, my husband and I drove to visit my daughter who lives about 3 hours north of us.  We have to drive through Toronto Canada, and this can be a real challenge on a Friday when there is heavy traffic, slow-downs and sudden stops causing delays that could result in double the driving time.  We decided to avoid these problems and take a secondary highway through some small towns.

As we drove, we noticed that some black clouds were forming overhead and hoped it might rain to cool things down.  We’ve been experiencing a heat wave that has hit Southern Ontario and parts of Eastern US.  Temperatures have reached over 30 C for the past few days and the heat has been unbearable for many people with health issues and those who don’t have access to air conditioning.

The afternoon got terribly hot, but thankfully there was a good breeze, so when we arrived at my daughter’s house, we were able to sit comfortably and chat.  My daughter was doing her laundry and she brought it outside to hang up.  My husband likes to keep busy, so he puttered around in the garden and then started cutting the grass.

As we listened to the hum of the lawnmower, we watched as the black clouds got blacker and then felt a few drops of rain.   My daughter went out to grab her laundry and my  husband was just finishing the grass.  As he was putting the lawnmower away, the wind suddenly picked up and the lawn chairs flew across the yard.  The sky was black and the rain poured down.  We rain into the house, soaking wet.  Within seconds, the lights went out and we stood there watching the storm through the window.  Below is a picture of the sky overhead.

sky over mel house juy 19, 2013

The storm only lasted a few minutes but it did a lot of damage.  Power was out in many areas, trees and branches fell causing damage and people were hurt.   A cool front had mixed with the heat and humidity causing storms which resulted in the severe weather.   So I did get what I hoped for – things did cool down.  I’m just thankful that more people didn’t get hurt.

Leave a comment »

Happy Victoria Day!

victoria dayWhat a beautiful day!  Until last week, it was pretty cool outside, but today the sun is shining bright and I can feel the warmth beating through the windows.

It’s a long weekend here in Canada and tomorrow is a statutory holiday.  The official name of the holiday is Victoria Day which celebrates Queen Victoria, who was a former Queen of the Common of Nations.  Canada is still a member and the current Queen Elizabeth II is still the head.

The holiday usually occurs around May 24th, although it isn’t always celebrated on that date, but instead being held on the Monday before May 25th.  We call the weekend by various names:  the Victoria Day Weekend, the May Long Weekend, the May Two-Four Weekend, and the May 24th weekend.   Americans celebrate their Memorial Day Weekend the following weekend.

People celebrate this weekend in various ways, usually including some kind of get-together with family and friends, going to a cottage, planting a garden, taking a short trip or attending a celebration ending with fireworks.

Yesterday, my husband and I spent the day yard-saleing, shopping and visiting a nursery to buy plants to put in our garden.  I just love seeing all the different kinds of flowers with their magnificent colours and shapes.   There is so much beauty in this world if we just stop once in a while and take the time to look.  I used to be too busy to even pay attention, but now I make sure I don’t miss anything little detail and life is so much more enjoyable.

Today after church, we went to a bakery/fruit market, had a nice lunch and now we are waiting for our young grandson who is visiting us overnight.  Tomorrow morning we’re taking my grandson to a local school that is having a Springfest with vendors, music and children’s activities and then we’ll be joining up with his parents for another local event that ends with fireworks.  We took my grandson last year to see the fireworks for the first time and he was a little scared.  This year he is almost 2 years old, so he might enjoy them.  Will try to stay a further away so the noise isn’t so loud.

I hope you all had a great weekend and are looking forward to a greater week ahead!  Don’t forget to stop and enjoy all the little precious things in life!

Leave a comment »

Canada looking at criminalizing cyber-bullying

This morning I wrote a post about bullying and I just read this news article.  Yeah Canada!  Glad that something is being done about cyber-bullying.    When anyone hurts another person intentionally, it is a criminal act and should be punished.

Canada is looking to criminalize cyber-bullying, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Friday, after a pair of teenage suicides provoked by unrelenting online harassment.

Leave a comment »