Monthly Archives: November 2011

The big, giant Thanksgiving post. With pictures.

Who’s feeling proud of herself this morning for solving the network connectivity error that has kept the family off the Interwebs for the last four days???

But let’s not tell the husband because then he’ll expect me to solve all technical issues from here on out and the extent of my problem solving involves unplugging the modem and hitting ALT CTRL DEL.


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It might have something to do with unfettered access to pans of cornbread dressing followed by state-sanctioned napping to the dull roar of the Lions losing yet another football game or it could have everything to do with hanging out with those you love and enjoying the blessings of another year spent together without the hassle of dealing with mounds of hermetically sealed, twisty-tied-to-death presents.

Take your pick.

About a month ago, our friends NotNed and Momologuer called to float the idea of our two families meeting up for Thanksgiving and spending time at a neutral site where we could just hang out, visit, and enjoy some time with each other.  NotNed, being a researcher extraordinaire, found a beach house for us in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, just a few miles south of Corolla and a mere 100 steps from the ocean.

Oh, it was bliss.

We arrived Wednesday night at the same time as a massive cold front and Mom of the Year here had dressed her young ‘uns in shorts and t-shirts because, you know, we were going to THE BEACH even though it was November and we all froze our patooties off until we could get inside and dig through the suitcases for something a little more appropriate.

My friend Momologuer, on the other hand, came prepared.

She ALWAYS has everything we need for any occasion.

In this instance, it was a kite and designer Wellingtons.

And this is why I love her.

The children seemed oblivious to the cold and spent a few hours every day on the beach, building sandcastles, playing IN THE WATER, and generally catching pneumonia.

They also spent time testing the operational capacity of the elevator in the house.

Hours of fun.

And the adults?  Well, let’s just say that someone had to consume the food we brought for an army.

Except for the pie that I dropped after spending an hour baking it.

There was lots of napping –

And more eating….

And more reclining….

And more eating….

Peanut butter glazed with chocolate drizzle.

And all too soon, our idyllic time in the fifty-degree weather sun came to an end.

But not before Craig stopped at 7-Eleven and picked up the tubular meat product from the rolling tray under the heat lamp.

And it was the best Thanksgiving ever.

Have a nice day.

P.S. For NotNed’s version of the trip, go here.

Happy Thanksgiving

May all your pies survive transfer from the oven to the table.

Unlike mine.

Have a nice day.

In which it starts to snowball

I spent most of yesterday morning prepping food for Thursday. We’re hauling part of our Thanksgiving feast to another location and I’m not sure what my kitchen situation is going to look like so I’m trying to get as much done ahead as possible.

We’re sharing our holiday this year with special close, dear, would give my right arm for friends and we’d planned on having a stripped down, low-key event ( paper plates, a deli rotisserie chicken and some Bob Evans mashed potatoes fresh from the grocer’s refrigerated section all while sitting cross-legged on the floor wearing our stretchy pants) and that was all well and good until Craig started hyperventilating. For the record, he had originally stated that he’d be happy just munching on a deli turkey sandwich but as we’ve moved increasingly closer to the day, his idea of low-key has expanded.

A few weeks ago we moved from rotisserie chicken to smoked turkey.

Then stuffing.

Two pans, please, so there will be leftovers.

Then last week he started making rumblings about maybe it would be nice if we had some sweet potatoes with the pecan and brown sugar topping.

By Sunday, he was looking through the pantry to make sure we had the makings for green bean casserole and tossing the house for paper and pen with which to make my shopping list. “Spring for the name brand fried onions,” he declared. “Thanksgiving comes but once a year.”

On Monday morning, he called me from his business trip to Charlotte to see if I could make a chocolate pie. Oh, and maybe a pumpkin one, too. Because even though he doesn’t particularly care for pumpkin pie, he likes to have a bite just to complete the holiday. I’m thinking by the time he comes home this afternoon he’s going to add roasted chestnuts and Baked Alaska.

I’m also thinking it might be time to just say we’ll save that for Christmas.

Have a nice day.

Monday Musings: In which I am uncharacteristically crafty

I am blessed with a child who is curious.

His favorite book as a toddler?

Curious George.

He spilled many a glass of milk at the table when he was learning to drink, why?

Because he was more interested in observing liquid flow over the edge of the glass than ingesting it.

And once he sported a lovely red mark around his neck for a week when he was curious to see if he could tie himself to the ceiling fan, jump off the table, and spin around and around like a superhero.

By the way, that’s when I started getting curious about Xanax.

He’s always asking to play “Will it blend” or “Will it burn?” and because a) I love my Vitamix and b) I’m not sure how much replacement value we have on our fire insurance policy, we’ve tried to steer him into other arenas to satisfy his quest for knowledge and fortunately he’s developed a new interest in the culinary arts and has recently been asking to try new recipes and I’ve been more than happy to oblige.

He’s tried grocery store sushi before and liked it and this weekend he asked if we could make some at home and I told him we could and made plans to buy nori and a rolling mat so you can imagine my surprise when he said we’d need Rice Krispies and Swedish Fish for this project and then informed me that we were making candy sushi.

Well, alrighty.

So we made Rice Krispie treats and smashed them onto a jelly roll pan that had been sprayed with cooking oil –

Then trimmed it into “sheets” and layered in the gummy fish

And we all tried not to notice the shoes in the middle of the kitchen floor.

And then we rolled the Krispies over the fish and trimmed it with a knife

And then we took different colors of Fruit Roll-ups and slightly stretched them and wrapped them around our sushi rolls

And then sliced and served with chopsticks.

And there was much rejoicing.

Have a nice day.

P.S. If you’re curious about candy sushi, check out this video tutorial



Five on Friday

1.  I’m on the mend and I’m attributing it to Sandy’s taco soup and chicken tetrazzini that she sweetly (and from a safe distance) delivered last night so that my children would be fed something other than Pick An Item From A Frozen Box.

2.  I’m glad that my energy is back because this house looks like an F5 hit it and Craig comes back in 8 hours and though I may have been down and out, it’s important to me that he come home to a picked-up house.

Even though most likely it was picked up two seconds before he walked in the door.

Because I like for him to think I have it all together.

Even though I don’t.

Trust me, it fools no one.

3.  One of my boys has been talking about a very specific girl in his science class this week.  This is the child who has to be reminded of my first name on a regular basis and yet he knows her first and last name and what she wears to class every day.

Which includes leopard earmuffs.


Stay tuned.

4.  I’ve been having inordinately obsessive thoughts about eating stuffing next Thursday.

And I realize that I don’t have to wait for the fourth Thursday in November to make it but for the sake of my thighs, I limit myself to once (four times if you count leftovers) a year.

5.  Speaking of thighs, I’ve become a convert to dark meat.  I don’t know how or when that happened but it delights my children and husband to have one less person scrapping over the white.

And yet I don’t like dark meat in Chinese food or chicken salad.


It’s part of my charm.

Have a nice day.


Thankful Thursday

1.  I’m thankful for soft Kleenex, hot tea, heavy quilts, and that I haven’t died from the plague.

2. I’m thankful that my colleagues were kind enough not to mention I looked like death warmed over on my video conference call this morning.

3.  Related, I’m thankful for concealer.

4. And lipstick.

5.  I’m thankful I’m sick this week and not next week.

6.  I’m thankful that I feel better enough to think I’m going to live to next week.

7. I’m thankful for sweet boys who haven’t complained about eating off paper plates this week.

8.  I’m thankful for Pizza Hut.

9.  And all manner of frozen processed food that can be heated in the  microwave.

10.  I’m thankful that it’s almost Friday and my husband comes home tomorrow.


Have a nice day.

Tuesday Tidbits

Would someone please get the license plate of the Mack truck that hit me?




I am sick.

I spent all day yesterday under a pile of blankets and drinking hot tea and chicken soup trying to stave off this cold/flu/bubonic plague and I feel like I’d have to get better to die.

I don’t think it helps that I am slap wore out from this weekend’s festivities at the house.  Yes, this was Metamorphosis weekend and we had over 15 kids  sleeping in our house Friday and Saturday night with all their accompanying hoopla and lemme tell you, I learned A LOT about 6th grade boys in 48 hours.

Mostly that they use a lot of Axe. 

At 7:30 in the morning.

There was an unusual amount of girl talk.  There were a couple of boys that have decided that girls are all that and a bag of chips and they were pestering  the older leaders for advice on the best ways to pick up chicks.  One kid said that he would drop a piece of paper on the floor near the girl he liked “because girls always pick up paper off the floor” and when she stood up, “Ta dah!  There I am!”

Yeah, not so much.

Another one said that “I wear Axe because, to girls, it smells like chocolate and girls CANNOT resist chocolate.”

Another one said that he tells a girl his name and then says “Remember that when I call you.”

Oh, there was lots of eye rolling from me in the corner on that one. 

I had to endure all the jokes about farting passing gas.

And a lot of the smell of passing gas itself.

Note to self:  No beans at next year’s barbecue.

There was massive chips and coke consumption  (I lost count after eight bags and my recycling bin is going to earn the city a ton of money this week) and, surprisingly, these twelve-year olds drained my coffee pot on Saturday morning.


And the hair product?  And then inordinate amount of time it took to apply the hair product?  I had to check twice to make sure the girls hadn’t snuck in the back door.  These boys could have outfitted an entire Sally Beauty Supply.

But it was worth all the noise and smell and primping and exhaustion to see these boys have fun together and learn and apply lessons of eternal consequence. I feel really good about the kids that my kids are hanging out with and grateful to parents who are working really hard to instill good values into this loud, plucky gang to which we belong.

God is good.

And so is DayQuil.  I’m off to bed.

Have a nice day.

Five on Friday

1.  I had early appointments every day this week which is why I haven’t been around.  I kept having visions of coming back later in the day and updating but nothing of significance happened that I felt was worth blogging about and for once I decided to keep my eyebrow waxing to myself.

You’re welcome. 

2.  Our cat disappeared exactly one week ago today and I think it’s time to put away the food bowl I’ve been keeping on the back porch just in case he’s still around.  It’s not like him to miss a meal or ever be gone for longer than six hours because he loves that we feed him us so I’m pretty sure that something bad happened to him. 

As they say in some parts of the South, I think he done got ate.

But I’m living in my happy place that says someone else is giving him cat treats and snuggling with him in their lap right now.

3.  In an attempt to expand our eating horizons, I’ve been trying some new things out.  I’ve brought home different milks and cheeses and yogurts and this week we tried kefir for the first time and were pleasantly surprised.  The tartness was a bit much for the kids at first but once I added some fruit and honey and blended it into a smoothie, the tang mellowed and they liked it.

At least that’s what they told me.  I think they’d tell me anything just to make sure that I never again brought home that nasty goat milk that tasted like the goat died in it.

4.  Yesterday was Craig’s 47th birthday and we celebrated it by purchasing matching reading glasses.


5.  I’ve been forcing myself to walk down different aisles in the library and checking out books on new and unfamiliar subjects.  This week I brought home a book on cheese-making but by the time I got to the third chapter I was starting to get the feeling that it was going to be a bit more complicated than I had anticipated and the author kept emphasizing words like “sterile” and “cleanliness” and just a cursory glance around my house told me that dog just wasn’t going to hunt.

Have a nice day.

Five on Friday

1.  I bought the first Christmas present yesterday and I have to say, it has put me in the spirit.  I am a rule follower when it comes to observing holidays in their season and not rushing ahead to the next one (and I refuse to have even the slightest hint of green or red in the house until the weekend after Thanksgiving) but in my head I can already hear the sleigh bells.

2.  I signed up to host the 6th grade boys retreat at our house next weekend.

I think the Christmas spirit might have made me temporarily insane.

3.  It’s Fun Friday which means I try to do something that gives me joy so today I’m going to the library to check out a boatload of books and I’m also going to spend some time in the sewing room working on my quilt (yes, the one from JANUARY) and a dress that I had planned on making back in September but never got around to cutting out the fabric.

I am also going to do some serious thinking about whether I want to finish this top I’ve been working on for a month that has turned into an unmitigated disaster.  There’s no way I’m going to be able to wear it out in public without a sweater over it to hide my inability to attach sleeves so I think I’m just going to chalk it up as a “learning experience” and move on.


4.  Speaking of things that aren’t going so quickly, we’re attempting to build T’s stamina in his walker.  He’s fighting it (it takes an enormous amount of effort on his part) and being a physical therapist is not my favorite part of the Mom job.

I’d appreciate your prayers that all of us would be disciplined and successful.

5.  And finally, a Ranger Rick Safety Tip: If you submerge a Yankee Candle in water while the wax is still melted, it will never light again.



Have a nice day.

Thankful Thursday

1.  I’m thankful that my cat decided to abandon whatever slithery thing had him occupied for most of yesterday morning.

And that The  Thing has not made its presence known in the last twenty-four hours.

Out of sight.  Out of mind.

2.  I’m thankful for little boys who make lemonade out of lemons.

Or s’mores out of a shish kabob skewer, a mini marshmallow, and a Christmas Magic Yankee Candle.

3.  I’m thankful for windows that let in warmth and sunlight because I haven’t figured out how to change the programmable thermostat and right now I might just be three shades of blue.

4.  On that same theme, I’m thankful for sweatshirts and hot cocoa.

5.  I’m thankful for a husband who makes me laugh.

We were watching (well, I was watching, he was ogling) Faith Hill sing the football theme song the other night and I happened to notice that she was wearing white capris (out of season!  out of season!) and yet he was curiously silent on the subject about which I can assure you he is most passionate.  So I turned to Craig and smilingly said, “Sweetheart, darling, love of my life, how come you don’t say anything when Faith wears capris and yet you rail against the fashion gods every time you see them on me anyone else? ”

And without missing a beat he grinned and said, “What good is a principle without a healthy dose of flexibility?”

Have a nice day.