Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We interrupt the evening's dusting, sweeping, cooking, dicing, mincing and chopping to bring you a special announcement.

I WON! Oh yes I did! I never win ANYTHING (sorry, prepare for a bit of yelling and what is sure to be excessive italics--I am 1/4 Italian) and yet, YET, I have WON this charming, adorable, positively delightful little fairy door!

I WON it! In a random drawing held at my new BFF's blog, Restyled Home! I saw that dear little door over there the other day and was practically drooling over it. I entered, never dreaming I'd actually win, but I DID think perhaps I should try my hand at making one of those.


I'd like to thank my parents, for all their support and encouragement, my agent, my publicist, my yoga instructor, my pet psychic, my facialist, personal trainer, plastic surgeon and all the little people who made this event possible.

Okay, that's annoying so it's over.

I must get back to destroying my hands and nails so my house can be in perfect Thanksgiving order!


P.S. WHY isn't my signature working correctly lately?


Okay, it's go time.

Today, the first of the culinary preparations for Thanksgiving are taking place. This morning, while the kids were getting ready for school, I cubed the "good-quality white sandwich bread" (as demanded by the recipe) and set it out on the island to begin drying out. I am supposed to be cleaning the kitchen so I can begin making the cranberry sauce, but, would you look at that! I'm blogging! I can't cook in an untidy kitchen so cleaning it always has to be the first step. Plus, it just feels more festive that way. And, later, I'm heading to the store for the perishable feast items. I will have to make one more trip out tomorrow, as the store I'm getting the turkey from isn't open today and I have a few other things to get there, but that will be a short, but fun trip. The Viking is off the rest of the week so I'm hoping he'll go with me. I'd like to drop the kids off at school, grab a cup of coffee, and head right out to get the turkey and other last-minute fixin's just the two of us. To me, that's the perfect way to start the day before Thanksgiving. Baking pies is the perfect way to end it.

But today, today, is cranberry sauce day! Those photos above are from last year's batch, but it will look exactly the same when I make it today, I promise! I make it from scratch because it's so good, so easy and so FUN! I love hearing the cranberries pop like bubble wrap as they cook! It fills the house with good Thanksgivingy smells and it truly, officially, makes it feel like Thanksgiving is upon us when the cranberry sauce is made!

I have other, non-fun things to do today, as well, such as cleaning the living room AGAIN, sweeping the floors, and wiping down the bathrooms. And I'd really like to take Man-Cub to our favorite consignment shop and look for a new coat. I noticed two days ago, a day that was particularly blustery, that his current coat is rather shabby, has a temperamental zipper, and seems woefully inadequate in the warmth department. So, hopefully, we'll get that accomplished, too!

Right, so I must be off (do I end every post that way? Seems like it)! The Viking has returned home with pumpkin spice donuts and is brewing coffee (and no one makes coffee like my Viking) so we're going to enjoy a quick little breakfast together with NO KIDS!

Hope your day is productive and pleasant!

My Eyes, My Eyes!

Boy, anyone who has visited this blog during the past 24 hours must have thought I was on some kind of special Thanksgiving acid trip!

The graphics, I KNOW, the graphics! It looked like Thanksgiving and Christmas got together and had a kegger and then threw up all over my blog!

That was accidental. I have a test blog that I use to try out new layouts, graphics, images and such and yesterday I was fiddling around with stuff, finalizing my Christmas blog layout. I must have accidentally pulled up and tried a code on the wrong blog and didn't realize it.

Thankfully, my sister alerted me to the fact and the painful visuals are now gone.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

And, I promise, the Christmas layout will NOT be that dizzying!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Almost Here!

So, are you almost ready? I think I am. I hesitate to declare it confidently because there is always the very real possibility that I have forgotten something or am just completely underestimating how long it's going to take me to do everything. I tend to do that.

But things are going well. This weekend we got a few necessary chores out of the way, including some organizing, dusting, a little painting and general cleaning.

Poor Nutmeg spent most of the weekend outside or shut in the laundry room. Because of the STANK that emanated from her every, oh, 5-10 minutes or so for more than 24 hours! I don't want to go into indelicate details or anything, but she must have eaten something half-rotten because she had a case of the vapors that were nearly paint-peeling bad. I woke up at dawn to use the loo and when I opened the bedroom door, the stench hit me like a brick wall. She literally stunk up the whole house. I was afraid to light a match fearing the house would explode from the accumulated methane gas.

We also made a trek to Fabric Row in Philly for more red ticking for the coat cupboard doors. The Viking wants them finished before Thanksgiving and was ready to staple the stuff up there the minute we got home. I, of course, am pondering the most aesthetically pleasing way to arrange the fabric, which means it's been sitting draped over the door for more than a day now. I think it's driving The Viking crazy; he wants it done NOW. But that's how I do, you know?

We had two of Redheaded Snippet's friends with us and our errand turned into a delightful little jaunt when we combined all our girl power to strong-arm The Viking and Man-Cub (with the promise of cookies) into going to a cute, little, pink pastry shop a few blocks away. It was cold and we were a bit peckish, so popping into a charming little shop for a hot cup of tea and a cinnamon bun/key lime tart/chocolate chip scone/chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookie was just the ticket, even if the tea was Twinings and I could have made a better cup myself at home.

I've gotten all the grocery shopping done that could be done 6 days in advance and I've got my list ready for the rest of the things I need to get on Tuesday and Wednesday. I still don't have a turkey roaster and I'm still a few serving spoons short, but Mom said I can borrow anything I need from her, so maybe I'll go "shopping" at her house tomorrow!

Tonight I packed away the Halloween decorations. I know, it's November 23 and I still had Halloween decoration out? Yes, I did! I love Halloween and packing all my spooky stuff away is always a solemn occasion for me. I left the Harvesty stuff that isn't overtly Halloween out so Thanksgiving can be festive, but the spiders, bats, jack-o-lanterns and potion ingredients bottles are all wrapped in newspaper and waiting by the basement door to be stored away for another year. It won't be long before the rest of the Harvest stuff is removed and the Christmas decor is put in its place. But that won't be for at least another week or two. I don't like to put my Christmas stuff out too early, and I like to leave it up pretty late.

Well, I'd better get this sack of bones to bed. Today, I woke with a start, sat bolt upright in bed, saw the time and bounded out of bed in a panic after slapping my sleeping husband's bottom and hissing, "It's 7:53!" I got clear around the bed before The Viking informed me it was Sunday. No school. We don't have to leave the house at 8:00 on Sundays. I was never so relieved in all my life and never more glad to be able to snuggle back under the still-warm blankets for another hour. But tomorrow really is Monday, so I'd better get to snuggling.

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Award and a Give-Away

Just a quickie today as I have a MILLION things to do (understandably as it's my last regularly scheduled shopping day before Thanksgiving--with one extra day to procure the perishables on Wednesday, of course).

I've got an award and a give-away to tell you about!

First, the award:

Well, I am fond of cake...

It seems I am a recipient? nominee? of the Marie Antoinette blog award. The honor was bestowed upon me by Angela over at Yippee Vintage. It's my first award on this blog and I am very honored, though I'm not sure what the award means. But, rather than looking a gift horse in the mouth, I'm going to assume it's just because she likes my blog. How nice is that? Pretty nice!

But, alas, there are rules. You know, with great blessing comes great responsibility or something pithy like that.


1. Please put the logo on your blog

2. Link it to the person from whom you received the award

3. Nominate at least 7 or more blogs

4. Put the links of those blogs on your blog

5. Leave a message on their blogs to tell them

This is the hard part. Some of my favorite blogs are big-time, you know? An award from little ol' me will hardly be noticed. I feel silly nominating them at all. But I guess I will have to do it cause them's the rules! So here are my favorites:

Stacy at 19 Butternut
Laura at Amongst The Oaks
Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter
Another Angela at Cottage Magpie
Kim at The Twice Remembered Cottage
Linda at Restyled Home
Amber at The Shabbee Chick

I stalk you all regularly so as recompense, I nominate you!

Now for the giveaway. It is not mine. I am giving away nothing. But, one of my favorite bloggers is giving away a fairy door!

And not just any fairy door:

THIS fairy door! Look! It's all Christmassy and cute!

Now, would you look at that, the same blogger giving away the adorable fairy door also happens to be one of my nominees up there, Linda of Restyled Home. But, I swear I'm not sucking up (even though I think she is oh so talented and her blog oh so delightful). I actually thought twice about posting the link to the giveaway here because that would mean more people to compete with for the prize, but posting it does give me the opportunity to be entered twice. So, I'm being self-seeking here. Just so we're clear.

Right, so go check out the fairy door and enter yourself for a chance to win it (or don't and I'll have a better chance).

As for me, I must be off. Lots to buy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Phase I: Complete!

That's right! The planning phase of Operation Give Thanks 2008 is complete! I've got my lists written and organized (with pretty fonts, bullets, indents and everything) and I'm ready to move into Phase II: Mobilization.

I have lots to shop for, though, shockingly and thankfully, the list is not as long as in years past. I guess I've succeeded in simplifying this year. That or I've totally forgotten something essential. I've got about an even chance of it being either.

I've agonized over menus and recipes and have come up with a very simply, but very yummy-sounding plan. I'm relying heavily on my old standby, America's Test Kitchen (have you checked them out yet? You should because, honestly, I cannot say enough about them; they are the reason I know how to cook), with a dash of Martha Stewart and the official Chambers cookbook thrown in.

Thanksgiving 2008 Menu


Crudite' Platter (just a fancy way of saying we're dipping stuff into other stuff)


Roast Turkey made the Chambers way


Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Pear

Classic Bread Stuffing with Sage and Thyme

Mashed Potatoes

Lobelia's Sweet Potato Surprise (she isn't calling it this, I am because it's a surprise!)

Skillet-Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

Refrigerator Rolls


Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

Pecan Pie

Homemade Whipped Cream






So there you have it. I'm quite proud, I must say. I'm even prouder of the fact that I know when I'm going to accomplish preparing and cooking it all. I've got all that planned out, too. I did that last year and it worked so well, I'm doing it again. Anyway, after all that planning, I'm quite bushed, so I'm going to take a break and reward myself with a little couch time with Man-Cub. The Viking is out picking up our wood stove...

Hey, yeah, did I mention we decided to get the wood stove? Merlin's Pants, I must've forgotten! We're not sure we can afford all the materials to install it this year, but we're going to buy all the supplies as we can and it should be in by next winter for sure! But The Viking thinks he may have found a place that has the stuff we need at a much lower price than we had seen elsewhere, so it's a distinct possibility that we may indeed have actual chestnuts roast on an actual fire in our own home this Christmas! Oooops, but there I go, saying the forbidden word. We are on complete and utter Christmas lockdown until Black Friday over here. No music or decorations until Thanksgiving is over! Of course, tell that to Redheaded Snippet who rebels by keeping the radio in her room set on the local station that's been playing nothing but Christmas music and blaring it every chance she gets! Hey, it could be worse!

Right, off to the couch!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some Enchanted Evening

The children are both out of the house. We've been child-free since 6:30 last night. Man-Cub is with Gram and Redheaded Snippet is with her BFF.

The Viking and I realized this was an opportunity not to be wasted. An entire 18 hours (and counting) of having the house to ourselves, without having to referee an argument, stop anyone from picking on anyone else, prevent or wipe up spills, free entangled hair or limbs, examine bumped heads or bruised knees, dodge flying Nerf darts, or tell anyone to stop making such a tremendous racket!

An evening in which to regroup, reconnect, recapture the spark of romance that sputters feebly in the winds of everyday life. An evening to forget we have two children, two sets of in-laws, a snot-nosed dog and a mortgage. Time for just the two of us, man and woman, lover and beloved, husband and wife.

Even Man-Cub sensed it. Just before he left with his backpack bulging with treasures necessary for an overnight outing to Gram's, he turned to us and said, "Now you can get on with your smoochin'-lovin'!" We tried to get him to tell us what "smoochin'-lovin'" meant, but he just pulled his usual fake-a-seizure-to-avoid-answering-a-question routine.

So, what did we do with our golden opportunity? Something we haven't done in a long, long time...

We shared fried chicken, a few beers and a few bars of chocolate while snuggled up under a blanket on the couch watching Get Smart!

It was so wonderful to feel young and in love again! To feel like a woman again!

Okay, I'm making fun of us, but, truly, we had a lovely evening! I wasn't feeling well enough to go out on what you might all a "classy" date, so The Viking brought the date to me. You gotta love a man who brings his cranky, crampy wife a bucket o' chicken, a dvd and three bars of her favorite chocolate. That, right there, is the benefit of experience. You can tell he's been married a few years.

Next time, dinner and dancing at a supper club. But for now, we're back to our usual Saturday routines: I'm blogging and he's gettin' jiggy with his power tools.

Only this Saturday, there are no kids in the way.

I think it's time for them to come home. I miss them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Decisions, Decisions...


That's right! I don't want to panic anyone, but there are only two weeks left until Thanksgiving here in the US of A! And, if you're like me and having a small horde of people over for dinner you'd better get crackin'! And if you're like me and struggle to keep your house tidy on a good day, let alone sparklingly spotless on a major Holiday, you'd REALLY better get crackin'! And if you're like me and have foolishly told a few of your guests you're hoping to serve the best Thanksgiving dinner ever known to Man, you'd better learn to stop running off at the mouth!

I'm setting myself up for failure, Man.

No, no, no, no, no, I'm setting myself up for an opportunity! An opportunity to shine, to come through, to rise to the occasion!

Yeah, whatever, let's move on, shall we?

So, I'm spending the morning looking through menus and recipes in earnest. I want to buy some of the supplies I need tomorrow so I don't have to venture forth (or send The Viking out) on an exhaustive shopping blitz next week when I'll be half-mad with desperation and distraction.

Anyone else having a hard time deciding on what to serve? I mean, we've got the basic outline planned: turkey, stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, biscuits, and pie. But, we all know there's more to it than that. There are a million little decisions to be made!

For example, the turkey: Should we just go with the usual Rosemary Roasted Turkey The Viking has made the past 3-4 years? The ingredients list is as long as your arm and that gets kind of expensive so I'm thinking of using America's Test Kitchen's method of dry-salting and their recipe for Roast Turkey instead. But then, there's the recipe found in the 1958 edition of The Idle Hour Cookbook written especially for Chambers stoves. I've used their Roast Chicken recipe and it was the most delicious, moist, juicy, tender chicken I've ever had. I'm thinking reproducing that in turkey form on Thanksgiving would be rather excellent.

Then there's the stuffing: Bread or cornbread? Apples or apricots? Walnuts or pecans? Sausage or bacon? America's Test Kitchen or Martha Stewart? The possibilities are endless!

Also? Appetizers: Butternut Squash Soup? Some kind of nutty, fruity salad? Dip? Crudites? Salsa and Chips? I just don't know!

Drinks are another annual problem: Lenny is usually our Wine Master (a role he plays with great success--and great relish--I might add) so I am blissfully leaving that to him once again. But not everyone in the family drinks alcohol and there are always the children, those breastfeeding or pregnant, and those who simply should not have more than one glass of wine but would still be thirsty to consider. In fact, now that I think of it, this year, there will only be 3 people who can enjoy liberal amounts of alcohol, so we will definitely need other drinks.

At least there are a few things squared away: Mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes as long as you know how to make them right and we do. That's covered. Lobelia is taking care of the Sweet Potatoes. She won't tell me what she's doing with them, but as long as they're cooked, moderately sweet and free from soy products, I'm happy. We're making the same Cranberry Sauce we've made from scratch for the past two years because you just cannot improve upon it. It's America's Test Kitchen all the way and the recipe is included below. Same with the Brussels Sprouts. We've decided on giant biscuits this year instead of the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and are keeping pies to a minimum, with Mom making the Sacred High Holy Most Revered Grandmom Fisher's Pumpkin Pies (shhhhh, they're really Libby's), Lobelia bringing her man's favorite Apple Pie and me making my man's favorite Pecan Pie. With copious amounts of homemade whipped cream, coffe, and tea, of course.

So, all in all, this isn't the worst two-weeks-before-Thanksgiving I've ever had. And this isn't going to be the busiest Thanksgiving I've ever had. But I still have lots to do and reeeeeeeeally better get crackin'! I gotta go!

Cranberry Sauce With Pears and Ginger
(America's Test Kitchen)

Makes about 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour cooling time

1 c sugar
3/4 c water
1/4 t salt
1 T grated ginger
1/4 t cinnamon
1 (12-oz) bag fresh cranberries, picked over
2 pears, peeled, cored and
cut into 1/2-inch chunks

Bring the sugar, water, salt, ginger and
cinnamon to a boil in a nonreactive medium saucepan (stainless steel, nonstick,
or enameled) over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to help dissolve the
sugar. Stir in the cranberries and pears and simmer until slightly thickened and
the berries begin to pop, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature before
serving, about 1 hour.

*To Make Ahead
The sauce can be
refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Skillet-Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots
(America's Test

Serves 4
Start to Finish: 30 minutes

4 oz bacon (4
slices), shopped fine
2 shallots, sliced thin
1 lb Brussels sprouts,
stem ends trimmed, discolored leaves removed, and halved
through the stem
1/2 c water
1 T unsalted butter
1 T red wine vinegar

1. Cook the bacon and shallots together in a 12-inch skillet
over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the shallots are browned, about 10
minutes. Transfer the mixture to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

2. Add the sprouts, water and 1/2 t salt to the skillet and increase the heat to
medium-high. Cover and simmer until the sprouts are bright green, about 9
minutes. Uncover the pan and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the
sprouts are tender, about 5 minutes longer.

3. Off the heat, stir in the
bacon mixture, butter, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste before

Monday, November 10, 2008

An-glo-phile   /ˈæŋgləˌfaɪl, -fɪl/ [ang-gluh-fahyl, -fil]

–noun a person who is friendly to or admires England or English customs, institutions, etc.

I may have mentioned, or you may have deduced, that I am an Anglophile.

People always look at me askance whenever I tell them that, so I've learned to not tell too many people (I think they think I'm confessing some kind of weird fetish--Philistines)!

However, in such a forum as this, it cannot long be denied.

I love British things. I don't know when it started, I don't know why, but I want to be British. I like to blame it on my heritage, having a very English maiden name, a father descended from an English pirate, and a mother who can trace her English and Scottish ancestry through numerous signers of the Magna Carta, King John, Eleanor of Aquitane, all the way back to Charlemagne.

But I'm also German, a smidge French and 1/4 Italian (though we choose not to talk about that side of the family much; that's the side EGOD represents) so I guess my theory doesn't hold water.

For whatever reason, I love Britain and British things. The Viking and I went to England to celebrate our 10th Wedding Annivesary four long years ago (chronicled here, here, here, and here) and it was like coming home after being homesick all my life. I still get homesick for a place I've only been once.

Well, I don't get to indulge my mania very much here in the States, but today? Today, I made my bi-monthly trip to replenish my stores of tea. And not just any tea, but this tea:

Ah, sweet nectar! My friend from London brought this back for me from a trip home and I have been irrevocably hooked ever since. There aren't many places around here that carry it and even less that carry the decaf variety so I have no choice but to make a special trip every two months or so to get it:

Somehow, I summon the strenght. Today was that lucky day. I. Love. This. Shop. For a shop it is, no commonplace name such as, "store", will suit it!

I never take the kids with me so I get to browse, undisturbed, to my heart's content, drooling and dreaming over all the lovely goodies inside. Sometimes I pick up some bangers or pasties from the freezer case, and every time I pick up the red Brown Betty teapot, wondering a)if it can still be called a Brown Betty when it's red and b)when I'll be able to take it home with me. Once in a while I'll buy two kinds of tea, maybe a box of Yorkshire Gold or Lapsang Souchong for a little variety. But I always bring home something lovely for the children from the sweets selection. Ah, the Cadbury chocolates, the HobNobs!

Today, I saw the Advent calendars I'm going to get the kids this year:

Just perfect!

And a few lovelies I'm pretty sure I'm going to be handing out with some frequency to friends and loved ones this year:

I can think of a few people, in particular, who will love getting some of those (including myself)!

I considered buying a small shepherd's pie for my lunch tomorrow, but paying almost $5 for a dish I can easily make myself was too much. So, I only got the package of tea, and sweets for my sweets, of course.

Today's selection was two Curly Wurly sweets. It's a lattice of caramel, covered in chocolate. Chewy, simple, delicious (I was granted a bite of each of theirs). Kind of like a Twix bar without the cookie.

So, I may not have been able to bring the red teapot home yet, but I'm pretty happy at the moment, with the dregs of my bedtime cuppa in front of me, coasting along on the fumes of my afternoon jaunt into fantasyland, knowing a full package of Typhoo tea (minus two bags--Redheaded Snippet had her bedtime cuppa, too) is secure in my cupboard, waiting faithfully for me to heat the kettle first thing tomorrow morning.

Why didn't I grab a sleeve of digestives?

Good Eats

MENU PLAN MONDAY! Come on, share in the excitement with me!

This one must be short and sweet cause I have chores. So, what's new, right? But, no, today I'm actually doing them. Yeah I've turned over a new leaf, whatever.

FRIDAY: Cobb Salad made with leftover baked chicken. Some carrots, black olives, tomatoes, hard boiled egg, blue cheese...MMMMMMMM! And soooooo healthy, not to mention low-carb. Yay, Me!

SATURDAY: Tacos. This is Man-Cub's favorite even though he only eats meat wrapped in a tortilla. He could eat meat-wraps every night. I took Redheaded Snippet dress shopping so I had to switch this one with a more complicated one so The Viking could, let me rephrase that, WOULD make it for Man-Cub and himself while I was gone. Redheaded Snippet and I had Chick-Fil-A. But don't tell anyone.

SUNDAY: Marinated Pork Loin and Butternut Squash with Brown Butter. I forgot to pick up a green veg. Have I told you about the marinated pork loin? Oh, it's deadly. Deadly good (thanks, Dharma)! I get it at my very favorite Amish/Mennonite market and it's already marinated so all I have to do it slip it out of the bag, plop it in a foil-lined pan, impale it on a meat thermometer and roast it until it's 135 degrees! Perfectly Pippa-proof and perfectly delicious. Every time. Even the kids get excited about this one. And the butternut squash with brown butter? Our new favorite side dish. I can't remember where I got the recipe, online somewhere, probably Martha Stewart of Everyday Food.

MONDAY: Spaghetti. Or "macs" as EGOD would say. Why, WHY does a bonafide Italian woman call what is probably the dish that defines her culture something stupid like "Macs"? Not even "pasta" or "sa-ba-GED-dee"! And she doesn't call tomato sauce, "gravy," either, like most "real" Italians. Something is wrong even with her "Italian-ness". I'm so in the mood for spaghetti, I'm glad it's tonight.

TUESDAY: Roast Beef, Potatoes, Carrots, Green Veg. I'll decide on the veg when I get to the store and see what calls out to me. We haven't had roast beef in a long time and it was on sale this week so I went for it.

WEDNESDAY: Greek-style Chicken and Cucumber Salad. This was on the menu last week but, somehow, it never materialized. And I don't have anything else interesting to say about that.

THURSDAY: Burgers and Salad. See above. What, did we skip two meals last week? How did that happen? What did we eat instead? That's gonna bug me...

So there you have it. And now I'm hungry.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Happy Day!

My, my, my, what news, what news!

First, it must be said that Dharma is 28 weeks pregnant today! After years of infertility, countless miscarriages, numerous failed IVF attempts and the tragic loss of her twin girls at 21 weeks of pregnancy, there was very little hope of her being able to get pregnant let alone stay that way until viability. AND HERE WE ARE!

Sure, she's got 12 weeks until her due date and 8 until she's considered full term, but when you're used to preemies, 28 weeks is the "magic number"!

So now, Baby Bee is getting a baby sister!

We're all just so excited!

In other, much less important news, The Viking installed two new windows in our living room today. Well, yesterday and today. He just up and tore the old ones out and put the new ones in. He's been wanting to do this for 10 years; the old windows were so drafty and this should help lower our heating costs this winter. I would have shared pictures if it weren't for the fact that new windows are so dead boring. It's a glorified hole in the wall. So, don't bother even imagining. Just rest assured that we'll be warmer this year.

I ordered our turkey on Friday. I am on top of things this year, oh, yes, I am! I very carefully calculated just what size fowl we'd need (after consulting both Martha Stewart and America's Test Kitchen, naturally) and ordered accordingly, so, of course, my mom called today to ask if she could bring two International Students with her to Thanksgiving. They're far from home, have no place to go and want to see how a typical American family celebrates Thanksgiving. I told her she should send them somewhere else, in that case! No, seriously, how could I say no? Isn't that part of the meaning of Thanksgiving or whatever?

So, now we might have juuuuuuust enough turkey and very little leftovers. And we don't know anything about who is coming, as Mom just signed up for two generic students. But it will be fine. Except if the students happen to be from anywhere besides Europe (as in not white), which will be hilarious because EGOD, ambassador of goodwill that she is, will be absolutely scandalized and horror-stricken and will probably be too shocked and too busy guarding her purse and counting the silverware to speak the entire day.

I'm beginning to think we should invite International Students every year!

Lobelia and I have made very little headway on our Thanksgiving plans since I last posted, but I did fill the entire back of a bulletin insert with Thanksgiving dinner notes during church this morning. Yes, I still doodle in church. I find I can't concentrate as well if I have to just stare straight ahead of me and sit still.

But right now, the kids are in bed (almost), the kitchen is clean and I can't get to my ironing or laundry folding because the living room is still a wee bit of a mess so I get some guilt-free computer time! And as soon as I'm done here, I'm looking around for Thanksgiving stuff. I've got old recipe files to retrieve, new recipes to find and I'm hoping I can count on Martha for some checklists so I can have me a happy, serene Thanksgiving.

Right. Time to fill the kettle, make some toast and find a warm blanket...I'm settling in.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Little of This, Little of That

Whew, so I survived another Wednesday! My house is still a shambles, but at no time did I dissolve into tears, drive into a tree or scalp anyone so that's a good Wednesday in my book.

Wednesday, for those of you just tuning in, is the worst day of my week. Ironically, it's because we all go to church. It makes me feel devilish to even say that, but it's true! Man-Cub has his Pioneer Boys class, Redheaded Snippet has youth group, and The Viking and I go the Men's' and Women's' Bible Class, respectively. So, what's the problem? The problem is multi-faceted, but the biggest issue is we live 30 minutes away from the church. It really is a pain, but as I once heard someone say, "A church that's alive is worth the drive".

In order to be on time for church at 6:30, we need to be on the road at 6:00. We pick up 1-3 of Redheaded Snippet's friends to take with us each week so that means we need to leave the house by 5:45. Except for the two weeks between each athletic season, Redheaded Snippet has either practice or a game after school until 5:30 or even 6:00, which means, most Wednesdays, I've got no more than 15 minutes to get her home, fed, cleaned up, if necessary, and back out the door. The Viking doesn't get out of work until 5:30 which means he doesn't get home until almost 6:30 so he goes to church right from work.

All this means I have to pack our dinner to bring with us, which means I have to have it ready by 5:30 unless there's a game. In that case, I have to have dinner ready by 3:00. The kids eat in the car, I drop The Viking's off to his classroom, then I eat mine during my class.

If there's an away game or traffic or an accident, I can be up to 30 minutes late for my class. And class isn't over until 8:30 so that means we get home after 9:00 which is when the kids can finally get to their homework. They are always up late on Wednesdays and always tired on Thursdays.

All that to say, it's a very hectic day and I really rather hate it.

Last night it rained and traffic was absurd so we were late despite having no practice or game to deal with, but everyone in our classes is pretty much used to that by now.

Today, the kids have off from school. And tomorrow. And I couldn't be happier. Getting to sleep in and not having to wake Man-Cub in the morning for three days straight might be exactly what I need. That, and a bullhorn.

I am being the meanest mother on the planet and making them clean on their day off. This house is really out of control and there is no reason I should be expected to do it all alone. I bear most of the responsibility, yes, but I have two healthy, able-bodied children who can be expected to pick up after themselves and complete regular chores. So that's what we're doing today, catching up on chores.

Meanwhile, I'm feeling the itch to fill the house with the seductive aroma of something lovin' from the oven, but I'm a little gun shy right now. Saturday, I woke up and decided I was surprising my family with homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I had all the ingredients and know how to follow a recipe so I set out with enthusiasm.

Two failed batches of dough later, I threw my gooey, gluey hands up in defeat. I cannot tell you how enraged I get when I follow a recipe and everything goes haywire and I don't know why! The first batch, yes, I accidentally put too much buttermilk in the dough. It was like batter. Like pancake batter. So I mixed in an egg and made rather firm pancakes. The second batch, I made exactly as specified. It was like beige slime.

Remember that stuff? I had the variety with worms. It was purple, the worms were black and I left the little plastic trash can open and on its side one night and found it the next morning caked solid all over my mother's antique hoosier where I had been playing with it. She was not happy with me.

Anyway, I had to throw away a second batch of what was supposed to be dough and yielded control of the kitchen to The Viking who has an uncanny knack for breakfast. He whipped up some southwestern omelets in no time at all and made me fall in love with him all over again. And now I have a Ziploc bag full of cinnamon roll filling that I am determined to use somehow. I'll have to look for a solution while I'm culling through recipes for Thanksgiving!

That's right! It's in 3 weeks! And I, for one, am determined to be ready! Lobelia and I are planning everything again and we've decided to do our best to simplify, simplify, simplify. We want the menu to be simple, but exquisite. But there's plenty of time to share about that so I won't go into it now.

I'd better go be mean to my children. Time to suffer!