I wrestled my first bird today. Only dropped in on the floor once! Woo hoo!
I'm taking a break between dressing the bird and the rest of the stuff. Now I need to peel potatoes and prepare the Swiss Corn Bake.
Packer's game on TV. Hubby limping around after his football game this morning. Christmas decorations going up (I know, don't puke or yell at me, here's why): Our big Christmas party is next Saturday, Dec 1 at which we have between 70-80 people help us welcome the holiday season. Since we are going to my Mom's tomorrow and won't be back until Sunday, we need to get some stuff done now.
I'm thinking it's about time to break out the cocktails...????
My first attempt at hosting Thanksgiving...not with the entire Robinson family, but with one other family coming over. A good way to break myself in.
The morning starts with hubby and oldest son off to play football with their friends. Before they left they made cinnamon rolls. Myself, I made fried eggs. These are not your ordinary fried eggs, however. They are backyard fresh eggs courtesy of my good friend hvy TK who is, along with his beautiful wife, Left Coast Mom, are not only raising two beautiful girls and a Great Dane, but also two beautiful, egg laying chickens named Zsu Zsu and Sophia. You can read about this endeavor over at hvy TK's blog, Urban Chickens.
As my younger son still sleeps and the big boys are out playing ball, I am here in temporary peace (except for the dogs) with the Macy's parade on TV. I don't even like parades, even this one, but it seems necessary to have it on for some reason...
So now I'm off to chop and dice and brown and bake...more soon.
For years, one of our favorites at Thanksgiving is a side dish called Swiss Corn Bake. It came from my in-laws and my husband used to be the king of the bake but over the years, somehow, it has become mine (at least outside of my in-laws). This year I made it several times just for the family with ham. It will, of course make an appearance as we host our first Thanksgiving. Here is the recipe (I usually double it):
There are so many cool things about this, I just don't know where to begin.
The video below shows you how to charge your iPod using an onion and Gatorade.
First of all, you could say that this was a way to "go green." No pulling electricity from the power grid, just using some household food items.
You could also use this as a way to charge your iPod in case of a power outage, say in an earthquake where you might be out of power for days. (I say earthquake and not some other natural disaster because I do, after all, live a couple of miles from the San Andreas fault).
The only bummer is that you now have an iPod USB cord that has onion goobers in it.
My first stop on the road to giving thanks this holiday is at the place where I realize the abundance of meaningful relationships in my life. This Thanksgiving, we will be sharing a meal with Payton's best friend Zack and his Mom and sister, and then leaving the next day to spend the rest of the weekend with my Mom, stepfather, nephew and grandparents.
We are hosting on Thanksgiving Day, a relative first for us. We did this only one other time. About 15 years ago we had my Mother-in-law and her sister for dinner. The two of them being expert turkey cookers and overall Thanksgiving hosts really made that a piece of cake as they did all of the heavy lifting.
This year, we're on our own.
Of course the first thing I did when I realized that this was actually happening was to Google "how to cook a turkey." I founds several helpful sites, one of which was the Better Homes and Gardens site where they have a place to enter what time you want to serve dinner and how much your turkey weighs, and then they tell you exactly when to put the turkey in and when to take it out to let it stand before serving.
That was a good start. But then I found myself wondering if I should be buying a frozen turkey and letting it thaw, or am I better off buying a fresh one (which sounds better all the way around). But if it is fresh, how long will it keep? There are 3 full days before cooking day; is that too much?
So I then Googled "fresh or frozen turkey" and found this really great site, The Perfect Turkey Handbook. It answered all of the questions that I had as a rookie turkey cooker. Stuffing inside or out? Fresh or frozen? How to tell when it's done, making gravy, carving methods...it's all there! I'm sure that there are other opinions, other great sites, other methods.
But for me, it's all I need to jump in my car and get my rookie ass to Whole Foods. I'm sure the folks at Whole Foods will also be very helpful, however I anticipate that this Sunday before Thanksgiving I will be fighting my way through the isles with all of the other Silicon Valley yuppies who are spending their "Whole Paycheck" on dinner for Thursday night!
It just dawned on me today as I was having lunch at CPK with my oldest son and my husband that Thanksgiving is only a little over a week away. Now I know everyone always says, "Where does the time go" etc. but this realization really shocked me.
Could it be that we have been experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures through October and November? Could it be that because I now have 2 kids in high school it now seems that everything that I have been about for the last 16 years is quickly coming to an end? Or could it be that because I've been swamped at work for the last 6 months, I just don't have the energy for much of anything else and so it seems that life is cruising by me at 100 mph?
I'm sure it is all of these things. An explanation doesn't make it any easier.
I love this time of year. It fills me up in every way. All of the friends, and food, and gifts (giving AND receiving), and attention to detail, and holiday music and giving thanks for what we have; everything just comes together.
So for now I will take a big, deep breath. A moment to chill. To slow things down. To enjoy. Before things get too crazy. Slow and easy. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Seems to me that the world is all jumbled about right now. We could debate about the causes for all of it (like global warming, states of war, mean people), but that would go on forever. Instead, here are some the clues that have pointed me in this direction:
And we're not talking about a rural town in India or Africa. We're talking about Tennessee!
Note: This is NOT a flashback...you are in 2007...
Really? NORTH Korea? OK, so maybe a good thing, but surreal none-the-less.
It's just a crime that the the word "toy" would ever be in the same sentence as the phrase "date rape."
Do you get where I'm going with this? What's up? Can someone please explain? And you can't use the full moon as an excuse.
What to do first?
- start thinking about what kind of food and drink to serve at our Christmas party on Dec 1
- start thinking about and shopping for various decorative items for said party
- start writing family Christmas letter
- answer a bunch of emails re: the auction I'm working on that is this Saturday
- plan what to wear for said auction
- start big cleaning project in prep for the party and the rest of the holidays
- move all of Darren's basketball game schedule info to my digital calendar
- get my oil changed
- freshen up plantings in the front and back yards for the holidays
- finish the book I'm reading
- start the new book and finish it before the movie comes out in 2 weeks
- buy more music on iTunes so that we freshen up our mix for the party
That's just the beginning and I know there are many of you who have even more to do. How about if we commit to each other that we will take care of ourselves during this crazy time.
I think I'll start by meeting my friend Deb at Starbucks next weekend just because it would be fun and just because I want to.
My youngest son has recently been learning how to play the guitar. He has self-taught himself how to play parts of many fun songs including songs by Guns and Roses, Journey, Boston, Don Henley, and Plain White Tees. I am infinitely proud of him and love hearing him try new tunes (lessons are coming as soon as he can find time between school, homework and basketball).
But you gotta see THIS kid. AMAZING!
Something a little different this time...instead of posting what we are going to eat on which night this week, I'm just going to post the what, not the when.
With Darren having basketball practice just about every night during the week and the other things that pop up, it is really difficult to say exactly when we will have which meals. Here is what is on the menu for the week:
Meal #1) - Meatloaf and Au Gratin potatoes (we already had that tonight)
Meal #2) - Crock pot chili and corn bread
Meal #3) - Bolboli pizza w/hot Italian turkey sausage
Meal #4) - Nachos with chili
Meal #5) - Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
It's been a nice weekend that is ending with a little difficulty. Darren has been off of his ADHD meds all weekend and we can tell. He is argumentative and bouncing between angry and full of himself. He is picking fights around every corner and it is really hard not to fall for it. I have been hoping beyond hope that he can do without his meds, but he just gets so oppositional when he has been off of them.
I must own some of this, though. I have to have a couple of difficult conversations with people tomorrow and being the non-confrontational person that I am, it is weighing heavily on me. These are not earth shattering conversations, just negative feedback. If I'm smart, I'll have those conversations as early in the day as possible to get it over with. Otherwise, I'll stew all day on them.
Just finished a FAB dinner of Italian sausage ravioli's with pesto sauce, garlic bread and a nice Chard. (see photo to the left). We've been groveling on the couch all day watching college football. Navy vs. Notre Dame (go Midshipman!), LSU vs. Alabama, Washington vs. Stanford (WOOF!), and now Cal vs. WA State.
My oldest son, Payton, got a taste of what it is like to be committed to his girlfriend today. He announced to us this morning that he would be spending his day at a "cheer competition" up the city (SF) . WTF? As hubby dug further into why in the world he would be doing something like that, we found out that his new (1+months) girlfriend Alex was participating in this cheer competition. OH! OK, it's starting to make some sense. When we asked him how he was getting there, he explained that he was going with her DAD! Come to find out that Payton didn't volunteer to do this. What happened was:
"She mentioned that it was happening and then next thing I know she has made plans for me to go and spend the day with her Dad watching the 3 hour competition, of which she will appearing for no more than 3 minutes."
That's when we started laughing. Dude, you got roped. There's no way out. You just gotta suck it up. He better get some major brownie points for this one. Honestly, I think it is sweet. In a sick sorta way.
For some reason, I tend to like to write about books before I've finished reading them. Maybe it's because I don't have to worry about spoiling the ending if I don't know it to begin with. Whatever the reason, here I go again...
This book is not one that I'm reading with my book group. They are reading "Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me" by Pattie Boyd. Sounds interesting enough, but since I can't make the book club meeting in November anyway, I decided to use this month to read some stuff on my own.
Which brings us to "A Three Dog Life" by Abigail Thomas. It is a memoir about the author's life, specifically about when her husband is critically injured and suffers permanent brain damage. His short term memory is gone and she must put him in a full-time care facility.
She gets through the trauma of this situation in large part because of her dogs. Her husband's injury occurs when he is walking their dog, and then she adds two more dogs to her life as she is coping with her husband's situation.
If you love dogs, you'll love this book. It is sweet and sad and honest. Thomas writes about the guilt that she feels for enjoying the solitude of her life after she moves her husband into the care facility. It takes a lot of courage to even admit to yourself that you are enjoying the outcome (part of it, anyway) of a tragic situation. Thomas opens up and admits to the world that she is happy with her life after the accident. She isn't happy that her husband, as she knew and loved him, is gone. But she enjoys being alone with her dogs and having peace.
It is a short read, and an easy one. I highly recommend it. Even though I haven't finished it yet.
I'm doing it again!
No, not THAT!
I've done this before and it was a really great way to get me writing again after struggling for a bit. LIKE I HAVE LATELY! So I'm going to do it again. For those of you who don't recognize this, it is NaBloPoMo which stands for "National Blog Post Month 2007." The idea is to commit to writing a blog post every day, each day, in the month of November. It is a spin-off of sorts from NaNoWriMo which is National Novel Writing Month. That is the more aggressive commitment to write a 50,000 novel in a month.
Yeah. 'Cause, like, I could do THAT. Actually I would love to do it someday, just not now.
So here I go. This is my first post of the month. It will get tricky as we go through Thanksgiving and as I prepare for our big holiday party which is on December 1st this year. Look at me, making excuses already!
Only now I have to run off to pick my son up from basketball practice. At 9 o'clock at night. Sheesh.