Monday, November 30, 2015

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

     I so love the holidays from Thanksgiving right through New Year. It’s a time of family gatherings, celebrating birthdays, meeting old friends for drinks and embracing long held family traditions.
For my family one of the oldest traditions is our Davis Family Christmas party. It all started over sixty years ago when my first cousin Debra Davis Ward was born. My mother’s family is large. And my grandparent’s Lina and Howard Davis wanted to celebrate Christmas with all of their children and grandchildren. (We are now up to great/great grandchildren.) So the Saturday before Christmas is the date we all gather for our family party.

     Woven into this tradition are several longstanding ones. First off every year we do a stuffed Piñata for all of the grandchildren under the age of ten. In the past Uncle Paul and Aunt Shirley were in charge of the honor but a few years ago it was handed down to me. We also draw names out of a hat and exchange one gift per person.  There is a family Christmas tree that we decorate, too. Everyone brings a pot luck dish to share. Aunt Diane makes her famous molasses cut out cookies. Aunt Marie might make a lasagna or her scrumptious scalloped potatoes. Cousin Tinker can be counted on to make her peanut butter Chex mix dessert.

     After dinner is done and the gifts are unwrapped, we close with the most beloved tradition of all; we sing.  First up are the Christmas carols selected from the little John Hancock music books which have been carefully kept for years. Afterwards we each delve our hand into an envelope to pick out a tiny square of tissue wrapping paper that marks our part of the Davis Family rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Then we boisterously sing our parts!

my generation circa 1972 bet you can't pick me out!
a portion of my kids' generation circa 1986
Nothing warms my heart more than when four generations of the Davis Family gather on that special Saturday each year. I’m not sure my grandparents ever envisioned that a tradition they started decades ago would still be growing strong….or maybe they did…

I'd love to hear about your family traditions! Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Share a Holiday Recipe!

There's always that one recipe that is only made during the holidays.
Life is hectic. Kids grow. Families spread out and get busy with everyday events that tend to keep us from the dinner table. In my house, Sunday is usually the day I can get the four of us together for a meal. During the week, most meals are something that's easily made and is quick.
But during the holidays, the dishes require time and patience. Have you ever noticed that on a holiday, cooking seems to take a lot longer?
The turkey goes in the oven first. While it cooks, the side dishes are created and waiting in the wings for their turn to make the house smell wonderful. The one holiday I enjoy cooking for is Thanksgiving. I get up early, prepare the turkey and shove it in the oven. I used to make the side dishes after I got the turkey started, but I've learned to spread this task out. Now I prepare the sides the day before, refrigerate them and as soon as the turkey is done, I slide them in the oven. All the mixing and mess happened on Wednesday, leaving me more time to enjoy the parade on TV.
When I was younger, I loved watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I used to sit there thinking, "One day I'm going to go there and watch it in person."
I outgrew that fantasy. I'm not one for big crowds, the cold, or not being able to see it all. I'm short. A tall person in front of me would block my view. LOL. It's so much more fun to sit in the comfort of home, with the smell of turkey in the air and a cup of coffee in hand.
I'm sharing one of my families favorites that is usually only prepared on a holiday.
If it was up to my husband and daughter, they'd eat this everyday. It's their all time favorite dish.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup of milk
½ cup of butter

Potatoes, sugar, eggs, vanilla & milk. Add melted butter. Pour into a casserole dish.

Topping Ingredients:
1/3 cup of flour
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup softened butter

Combine brown sugar and flour. Add softened butter until it becomes a crumbly mixture, then add nuts. Mix well.  Sprinkle on top of casserole.

350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
Share your favorite recipe please. I'm always looking for something good to try.
Tara Nina
Hot Romance~Sexy Attitude

Monday, November 16, 2015

Decking The Halls Is Not Just for Christmas

By nature, I am a decorator. I love to decorate my house every opportunity I get. Unfortunately, the first eight and a half months of the year just don’t provide quality holiday-themed decorating opportunities. But come mid-September, it’s time for autumn.

I love the colors of autumn; warm oranges, deep yellows and golds, rich reds and some shades of brown thrown in for contrast. To me, it’s like a painting and probably the prettiest season in Warwick. During apple picking season, my “fall-wear” comes down from the attic. In the early stages, there are a few jack-o-lanterns, witches, ghosts and spiders included for Halloween, but on November 1, Thanksgiving is the star of my show. And never under any circumstance does Christmas overlap!

However, once the turkey is finished and leftovers bagged; dishes done and company returned safely home, I’m ready for Christmas. Yes, I am a "Black Friday" shopper. I get up at a ridiculous hour and drive in total darkness to my annual mall of choice. When my kids were babies, it was a rare opportunity to shop without them, but now teenagers, they come too! After shopping and a very early breakfast, we go home for a nap before removing the autumn decorations and pulling out the Christmas décor.

I get all my Christmas shopping done on Black Friday because I love everything having to do with celebrating Christmas and don’t want to waste a moment of it in the mall. I love getting hot chocolate and watching the tree lightings and carolers. I enjoy seeing all the houses lit up when driving around at night and the beautiful floral decorations adorning our village by day. I watch holiday movies ad nauseam and actually enjoy writing Christmas cards. I go to the local holiday performance of The Nutcracker and always make sure to schedule at least one trip to “see the tree” in New York City. I love the holidays so much that several years ago I went to the Hanukkah Menorah lighting and enjoyed it so much, I go every year and I’m not Jewish.

But my favorite holiday memories always involve our Christmas tree. Growing up, my mother insisted live trees were dangerous and we had artificial trees. When I got married, my husband would have none of that and each year, since our first Christmas in 1992, we went out to find that year’s perfect tree. We’ve had great ones and awful ones, but each and every year, the day we go looking for “our” tree is my favorite memory. So, what's the consensus: artificial or live tree?

Elisabeth Mayer

Monday, November 9, 2015

It’s the Holiday Season!!

I’m one of those people who starts celebrating the holidays the moment the last trick-or-treater leaves our doorstep. If you’re thinking bah humbug thoughts about anyone wanting to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving arrives, no worries. I’m just as excited to keep Thanksgiving as I am to keep Christmas.

I Love Thanksgiving…

Some of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving are spending the day at my grandparents’ house. I loved every moment of those holidays—the smell of roasted turkey that greeted you at the door, the bowls of fruit and nuts and candy scattered through the house, the apple cider kept cold by leaving it on the front porch (and as I got older, the beer and wine), sneaking into the kitchen to snitch a bit of stuffing before dinner hit the table.

Their home was small, but I never noticed. We always seemed to find room for one more. We often had twenty or more people scrunched together around the Thanksgiving table. I can still hear my grandfather leading the Thanksgiving prayer, the laughter and snorts that rang out as dishes were passed, and the groans that came as pants were unsnapped as we all reached for seconds and thirds and still somewhere found room for pie.

I think for me, the way my grandmother treated Thanksgiving was the model for how to live life—surround yourself with friends and family, take the time to enjoy every second, always make room for one more (whether it's people or slices of pie), and remember to take a moment to give thanks.

But Sometimes We Need a Little Christmas... 

I might hold tight to all the traditions of Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean I don’t start thinking about Christmas come November first. I count my blessings while I start my Christmas shopping. I peruse cookbooks for new pumpkin dessert recipes with Christmas carols playing in the background. And Hallmark Channel Christmas romances are a must starting the day after Halloween.

I can’t help it. There’s something magical about Christmas. And I’m ready to invite that magic in pretty much all the time.

How about you? Are you ready for Christmas all through the year like me? Do you feel like sticking your fingers in your ears, closing your eyes, and chanting lalalala as you pass stores decked out for Christmas before Thanksgiving? When does the holiday season start for you?

Happy Reading! 
Amy Lamont

Monday, November 2, 2015

Welcome and Happy November!

Welcome to the very first blog post from the Warwick Valley Romance Authors!

The Warwick Valley is in southern New York with a rich history of living off the land, a hard day's work, and real craftsmanship.

This region is also known for its commerce and culture. It's full of artists and musicians who love to share their unique talents with neighbors and visitors.

As authors living in this great area we wanted to do the same thing. Collaborate and share our resources so we can reach more of you ... the readers.


November is a very exciting month for it holds one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving.
It was the one holiday I could always count on to do my favorite and watch football.

My mother taught me how to make just about every awesome Thanksgiving dish there is, although I've now learned a few more from my mother-in-law.

We spent days in the kitchen together. Planning the meals and desserts. Chopping and slicing. Simmering and baking. Making the dining room table festive.

My dad would get up at some unreasonable hour on Thanksgiving Day to put the gigantic turkey in the oven so we could eat our big meal early.

There was always too much food, and even though you swore you'd never eat again, later that day we would make thick turkey sandwiches and eat them while we watched the football game.

These memories are such a huge part of my life. I'm very lucky to live so close to my parents, and my husband's family, so that we can keep these traditions alive.

Heather M. Gardner


The WVRA will post each Monday so make sure you come back to visit us to learn more about our holiday memories and traditions in November and stay tuned for some holiday recipes in December!

You can find the sign-up for our newsletter on the right-hand side of this page. The first one will be out in December 2015.