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November 30, 2007

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!!!

Thanksgiving has come and gone which means its back to school, back to reality, and time to hit those books really hard (literally) to get ready for finals. But have no fear because winter break is just around the corner and that means that it's almost time for my favorite holiday of all time...CHRISTMAS!!!

So we all know the story of Santa Claus...the Big Man makes toys all year long with the help of his trusty elves up at the North Pole. But of course Santa needs a little bit of help here and there and that's where the department stores come in. And what's the craziest shopping day of the year? BLACK FRIDAY of course...dumdumdum. This day of frenzied, competitive shopping occurs every year the day after Thanksgiving and is the official start of the Christmas season for many. Want to learn a little bit about Black Friday? Check it out here on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_(shopping)Talk about commercialization of the Christmas spirit...but I guess you can get some pretty good deals on gifts.

To give you insight into how crazy Black Friday really is, the name was first coined in 1975, referring to the heavy traffic on that day, an "implicit comparison to the extremely stressful and chaotic experience of Black Tuesday, the 1929 stock-market crash"...talk about chaos! I watched the news on Black Friday and all they were showing over and over again were the lines of people standing outside department stores waiting to get inside and take advantage of all the great sales. Let's not forget that some of these people were standing in line since 4 am in the morning...now that's intense, or a little sick, you can be the judge of that one.

Anyway I found it interesting that in previous years a new day has been created to signify the start of the holiday online shopping season. It's called "Cyber Monday" and apparently it started because back in the day when most people had really slow broadband internet, they would do all of their online Christmas shopping at work where the internet connection was much faster and more reliable.

Unfortunately Black Friday has come and gone already but you can still prepare for next year by checking out the "Top Ten Tips to Survive Black Friday" at this site : http://blogs.consumerreports.org/shopping/2007/11/our-top-10-blac.html
In my opinion, the best tips on this site are to "do your homework" to unearth the best deals before waking up for battle the day after Thanksgiving and also to not assume that you are getting the best deals just because it's the most publicized shopping day of the year.

Anyway, I hope you all have been good this year because Santa Claus has been watching! Enjoy the holidays and try to stay warm despite the Michigan Weather!

I leave you with this:

Kinda scary...

- Kristen

Posted by khenkels at 09:06 PM

November 18, 2007

The History of Thanksgiving

As we get ready to go home for the holidays and (over)indulge in the traditional feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce I thought it might be a good idea to learn a little bit about the origins of these traditions. The History Channel has a great documentary on the History of Thanksgiving and some of the facts it presents on this website http://www.history.com/minisites/thanksgiving/ are quite eye-opening. For instance, did you know that the first Thanksgiving feast lasted 3 days long and probably consisted of roasted goose, fish, venison and lobster instead of the typical turkey and mashed pataters?

And what about table manners? Did Pilgrim moms scold their kids for holding their forks the wrong way or putting their elbows on the table during the feast? In fact, Pilgrims didn't even have forks to eat with! They mainly used spoons, knives and their hands to shovel the bountiful feast into their mouths. This Thanksgiving, I dare you to start eating with your hands and see what happens...your mom will probably scream at you but you can casually respond, "What? I just want to replicate the table manners of the first Thanksgiving, is that such a crime?" Ok so maybe this will result in you not getting any pumpkin pie for dessert and having to clean all the dishes by yourself, but at least you will be historically accurate, right?

Another thing that I found interesting on the site was the page called "Mayflower Myths" that describes various myths about Thanksgiving and proves them false, http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&content_type_id=874&display_order=2&mini_id=1083
I found it very interesting that the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated in 1691 was not actually repeated as a tradition in that time period. Instead, Thanksgiving was considered to be a religious holiday associated with the Church and giving thanks for the winning of a battle or something similar. Thus the feast would not have even been considered a "Thanksgiving" by the Pilgrims because it was a completely secular celebration. I find it very intriguing that over the years our culture has changed Thanksgiving so much from its traditional meaning. There are lots more cool myths on the site so I recommend checking them out.

Alright well I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and eats lots of food. To start the holiday off right I want to leave you with this quite humorous comic, I hope it at least makes you smile :)

Haha poor Big Bird...

Later,

Kristen

Posted by khenkels at 02:37 PM

November 06, 2007

Halloween's over...Time for Thanksgiving!

So the Halloween festivities are now over and done with...time to throw away those rotting pumpkins, finish off that stale candy corn, and get ready for Thanksgiving! So besides the fact that we all get to go home for a long weekend and get a mini-break from studying, the best part of "Turkey Day", is of course the Turkey! Food is what makes the world go 'round...(or is that money...) and so I thought I'd share with you a few recipes to make this year the best Thanksgiving ever!

I'm assuming you'll probably leave the turkey cooking to your parents and I'm sure they don't trust you with an electric carving knife...so let's focus on dessert. A really simple dessert that you can make and impress all of your guests with is easy pumpkin cream pie. It's so delicious and barely takes any time to make, even if you've never baked a thing in your life. The following link is from Cooks.com and contains the ingredients and directions to easily make a scrumptious pumpkin cream pie: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1737,149188-245200,00.html

Looks easy enough, right? I highly recommend trying the recipe out, you'll definitely impress you parents. They'll ask, "where did you learn to bake a pie!" and you can respond "in my business information technology class, of course!"...ok so maybe you don't want to say that because they might re-think all of the tuition money they're paying...

If you're a bit more of an expert when it comes to baking you might want to try baking a homemade berry pie. Here's a very helpful video that leads you step by step through the process of making the crust, creating the berry mixture, and how to serve this mouth-watering creation:
http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Crumb-Topped-Pie-Video/Detail.aspx

If all goes well, your final masterpiece should look something like this:

Well I hope I inspired you to try out some of these fun recipes for Thanksgiving this year. You'll impress your family and friends and better yet, you'll have a delicious pie to eat for dessert! Just imagine, this could be you:

Happy Baking,

Kristen

Posted by khenkels at 12:15 PM