Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas

I just want to stay home and relax this Christmas.  Last year's was not much fun.  OK, it sucked!!!!  Hubby was a little upset when I said I didn't want to go to his parents.  I don't want to go my brother's house either.  I'd like to get together on another day and enjoy the moment.  So, we had a family sit down.  What would be your perfect Christmas day I asked?

Son - get up have french toast - eat all day like we do on Thanksgiving - stay home and eat.  BLT's for lunch and ribs for dinner.

Youngest - open presents, pancakes, see my niece and nephew, come home for supper - Go to the open house on Christmas Eve at our friends

Hubby - (yes he said this) come home from work and make love to my wife, have breakfast, open presents, make love again

Well, then we stay home and eat well I said.  I pulled down the calender.  How would everyone like to celebrate with Grandma and Grandpa?  Son - can we call them?  Youngest - dinner and board games  Hubby - dinner  Well let's see what night works.  I'll make dinner and we can play a game.

MIL and FIL stopped last night for tea.  She thought it was a great idea.  And then she says, I don't want another Christmas like last year - it was awful.  Can you repeat that for your son?  She did.  See, I'm not horrible for saying it was bad.

And hubby, the kids and I have the whole week off for vacation.  I'm actually looking forward to Christmas again.  Yeah!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving

The celebration of the event we call Thanksgiving starts way before the actual day.  Where will we celebrate? Who will we invite?  What will we have to eat?

I have hosted most Thanksgiving meals for my family since moving out of the house 20 years ago.  This pleases all involved.  I LOVE to cook.  My family loves to have someone else cook.  When I married hubby with his rotating schedule and only sometimes having the kids caused a hiccup in this set up.  But, now that bio has moved and we have the kids we are back on track.

The menu stays pretty much the same.  Sometimes I introduce a dish or two.  Sometimes they stay sometimes they're a one shot wonder.  Because I am a little anal I have a list of dishes and notes on quantities needed saved to the computer.  I also include the guest list each year.  It's fun to look back.  I print off this menu and go from there.  So, the final menu was
Turkey
Mashed potatoes & gravy
sausage & cranberry dressing
wild mushroom & cornbread dressing
roasted butternut squash
creamy Brussels sprouts
turnips (mom)
whipped sweet potatoes (Sister-in-love)
green bean casserole (sister-in-love {my brother's favorite})
cranberry & horseradish sauce
olive tray (black and green olives, pickled garlic, pickled mushrooms, pickled beets and herb cheese)
apple pie
pumpkin pie
maple pecan pie
homemade vanilla ice cream

Wednesday night I baked pies.  I talked to my girlfriend on the phone as I rolled dough.  She was coming by when her husband got home to collect some spices for her brine.  Her mom surprised her and made pies.  Her parents live in an in-law apartment at their house.  Her mom who was a great baker in the day is in early signs of dementia.  She arrived home and was asked to put the pies in the oven.  She had made a mincemeat and a pumpkin pie in thin tart pans.  The pumpkin pie had a top crust.  Apparently she put store made dough in the pan, spooned in a can of plain pumpkin and then topped it.  My friend did not want to hurt her mom's feelings but really wanted a piece of pumpkin pie for thanksgiving.  I just put one in the oven I said.  You can take that when you come and I'll make another one. 

It was a quiet day.  Family came.  The food was good.  The company was good.  At night hubby, the kids and I watched a comedy show. 

I read message after message on facebook of what people are thankful for.  It was sweet.  It made me think.  I give thanks every day.  That is my constant prayer.  Each day I say thank you and go from there.  I have a great husband, good kids, a home, a job, good health, both my parents, wonderful friends, and I have had the opportunity to do everything I've ever wanted to do. I'm comfortable with who I am and where I'm going.  I am really blessed. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saturday backwards

Mom already treated herself to salmon and she had my niece with her so I made glazed roasted chicken thighs, Armenian rice, corn and broccoli followed by Mexican brownies.  And no, they are not made with Mexicans as my son joked.  They have cinnamon and a hint of cayenne pepper.

Youngest and I went to the hairdressers today. I let her pick out feathers for her hair.  Gray and red - nothing subtle about her.  I was a hero for a nano second.

I started the cleaning ball rolling and everyone in the house got involved.  Ahh!  Much better.

 I clicked away and completed holiday shopping for half my list. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Finding the up side

So, after blogging about gratitude my refrigerator dies.  The freezer is still working but the fridge is not holding temperature.  Luckily I hadn't been shopping yet, we have another fridge in the basement and the hatchway is cold enough for more storage.  The repairman is coming Monday.  I modified mt grocery shopping.  And I laugh - last year at this time a part went on my stove.  Maybe my appliances anticipate the holiday double duty and rebel.

The chiropractor's office called.  They had a cancellation so I was able to get in before my massage.  No way I was going after.  I can really feel the difference in my hip and shoulder though I'm not 100% yet.  I'm doing the exercises Doc gave me.  I'm just not fitting in that hour of walking a day yet.  I know, I know......

Hubby took my car in for some recall work.  At the same time he had them look at the undercarriage.  I bottomed out on something during the snow storm.  Very little damage, they had the part in stock and it was pretty cheap.  Yeah!

Last night was rotini, turkey meatballs, homemade tomato sauce and killer garlic bread.  Tonight son is making us fried BBQ bologna sandwiches out of the Diners, Drive Ins and Dives cookbook.  Unless my Mom comes for dinner - then he will cook Monday and I'll fancy it up a bit for her.  Dad is in Florida with a buddy for the NASCAR races.  Actually Dad hates when she cooks fish so I'll make us salmon.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude

I was reading a blog the other day and the thought occurred to me that I try to live in gratitude not just have it.  What does that mean?  People have gratitude for people, things, places, circumstances and I have that too.  But living in gratitude for me means that I start from that place within me.   Oh, you may not see that side of me.  I come to this little blog to vent many times.  But, the vent over I can move on with life instead of holding onto whatever is bothering me.

Maybe that's why all the whining and complaining get to me.  The extended power outage for example.  I was so glad for what we did have.  We made it an adventure at home and had fun with it.  One woman at work who has a generator hard wired into her house whined and whined.  She didn't know if she could live through one more day.  And since then I've noticed that each day she comes in with some type of complaint.  Can't they fix the roads faster or at a different time?  It makes my drive to work difficult. I have no time or energy for these vampires.  They suck the energy and gratitude right out of life.

I was told yesterday that my blog has taken on a different vibe lately.  Maybe because I've taken on a different vibe.  A few of the major stresses are out of my life.  I spend more time contemplating what feeds my soul, that of my family.  If it is not nourishing I do not participate, invite it in or befriend it (and I'm not talking about just people here).  I have been practicing letting go.

During a council of women a month ago something shifted.  I really listened to each woman speak.  I didn't think ahead to what I would say or what my reaction was I just listened.  I've been trying to stay in that place more and more.  I also connected my head and my heart in the fact that my children's relationship with bio is no reflection on me.  They chose her for a mother to learn some type of lesson and it is not for me to stop that process.  What a freeing feeling.  And one more key to letting myself live in a place of gratitude.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Half Hour

You would think an extra half hour at work wouldn't be a big deal but....

A few weeks ago my boss held a departmental meeting.  Any pet peeve she's had with anyone in the department was brought up as a general statement.  We were supposed to know who we are.  I was asked to stay after.  My three days a week now need to be the same three days a week.  It seems like you put your family needs first. Yes, that was the point of me going part time.  And I need to work until 4 instead of 3:30.  My clients need to know when I am at work and set days and staying until 4 would be more professional. 

Now mind you I have been working part time now for 5 years now but anyway..... I did get permission to continue to come in at 6:30.  It would be easier than sitting around the house to go to work.  And going in for 6:30 my drive is 40 - 45 minutes.  Coming in for 7 at least an hour.  It is the same with the drive home.  So, now instead of getting home at 4:15 I'm getting home at 5.  Which is our usual dinner time. 

So, that extra half hour has pushed our dinner time up an hour or I spend Monday cooking and prepping.  I've done that the past two Mondays.  It works for dinner time but kills an afternoon.

Today I dry rubbed the pork ribs and baked them low and slow.  Tonight I will throw them on the grill with some BBQ sauce.  I made a baked potato salad to serve with it.   Tomorrow is beef stew.  I prepped all the veggies and I'll put that in the crockpot tomorrow morning.  And I made a lasagna for Wednesday night complete with instructions on the top so it will be done when I get home.  Thursday is leftover night.  I also baked two batches of cookies for hubby's fire department meeting tonight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

my life revolves around food

Hubby's birthday fell in the wake of the power outage.  It took three days over the course of the week to complete his celebration.  His presents were left in the dark with a card.  I couldn't find the energy to wrap them.  When the power came back and I had time to restock the larder I made his spaghetti with meat sauce and some killer garlic bread.  (I only make meat sauce for his birthday - I prefer meatballs and sauce)  By the time this was simmering away it was too late to bake a cake.  So, the next night he received his cake - a buttermilk cake with fluffy white frosting.

Son decided that the last person to eat the cake should make a new one.  He is my sweet tooth kid - just like his dad.  So, cooling on the racks is a maple walnut cake.  A new recipe I found.  It calls for a brown sugar frosting made with cream cheese, butter, brown sugar and confectionery sugar. 

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away.  It is a fairly small group this year - 11.  I picked up my turkey from work and that is thawing in the fridge.  My menu is printed off and grocery list made.  I'm working half a day on Wednesday (the kids have no school) so I can make my pies - apple, pumpkin and maple pecan.  Hubby gets off work Thanksgiving morning.  Something to be truly thankful for.  We get to celebrate with him and me and the kids have him all week end.

I asked the kids what food I needed to have to make it a real thanksgiving for them.  Son said pickled garlic and pecan pie.  Youngest said olives and pumpkin pie.  I need to have leftovers to make turkey sandwiches - good bread, turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.  Yum!!!!

Friday hubby and I had a breakfast date.  Those are the best.  I haven't seen much of him lately and it was so good to catch up.   We discussed everything including Christmas.  I keep a budget and only spend cash.  The list is small this year.  The big thing - I have that week off from work.  I usually take the week after thanksgiving off to prep for the holidays.  But with the kids getting older there is less prep.  So, I suggested we go away for a few days.  We talked about a few places we could go.  I'll be looking into things and booking something soon.

I have a yule dinner to attend.  I'm deciding between making green beans with cranberries or a potato and leek gratin.  Hmmm! 

Christmas Eve open house I'll be making my scalloped sweet potatoes.

Celebration with my parents will be breakfast.  Dad has mentioned several (at least a 100 times)  how much he enjoys that.  Sausage gravy and cheddar biscuits,  ham & broccoli strata and baked french toast.

Youngest asked for pancakes on Christmas. 

Ahh, a stress free holiday season this year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Power Outage Blessings

Last Saturday youngest and I went to a Native American Sweat Lodge ceremony hosted by a friend.  It was a beautiful experience.  It was snowing when we arrived.  It snowed really heavy really fast and by the time we left there were many inches on the ground.  We arrived home safe and sound to hear the crack of branches falling everywhere.  Thankfully none fell on us, the house or car.

A few minutes after arriving home the power went out.  It came back Thursday late afternoon.

My husband was called in early to work.  He had an alarm sounding at the Sears store in town.  The Sears man mentioned he had 5 generators in house.  Hubby was able to purchase one as soon as he opened in the morning.  My hero.  Hubby worked late Sunday and had to work again Sunday night.  He did stay up long enough to hook the generator up for heat.  We rotated between the furnace and keeping the fridges running.

Son worked on building a model and youngest and I read.  I cooked on the gas grill.

Monday hubby hooked up the generator to the water pump.  I could take a hot shower and flush toilets.  A shower never felt so good.  I spent the day reading and making meals on the grill.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I went to work and hubby was home with the kids.  We rose with the sun and crawled in bed soon after night fall.  A lot of reading, drawing, model building and board games.  The kids got along great.  Electronics were not missed.  Water was a blessing.

I think I may throw the main breaker every now and then just to unplug the house. 

I was truly thankful for all we had.  I reached out to those less fortunate.  I feel bad that even today 8 days later some are still without power.  Prayers that heat is restored soon to those without. 
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