Friday, November 23, 2012

The Making of a Black Friday Shopper!

 Does this scene look familiar to anyone?  This is a family tradition on Thanksgiving eve.  After the dishes are cleared, we haul out the paper and pens and start making shopping lists.

 This is the first year that Maddison has shown any interest in participating in the ritual.  She got to go to the local discount store for "Event 1".  Scott took her with him, and he reported that she was amazed at the number of people and activity going on there.
 She is very serious about making a list for her Mom's Christmas gifts.  She has said very little about what she wants for Christmas, but she has a list all ready to give her Dad for what her mom wants.  I love this unselfishness!
Mason is still into picking out what he wants. . . which is mostly Superhero and electronic gaming items.  It is hard to tell in this picture, be he was a little under the weather this Thanksgiving.  He skipped the meal and watched Shrek.  He did manage to eventually eat a little so he could later have some dessert.
I sat out of the Black Friday shopping this year.  I just wasn't feeling the shopping and crowds.   I had fun hearing all the stories and seeing the bargains.  Hope if you participated this year, you "brought it home"!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Thanksgiving Stones

For the past few years I have done a great deal of reflecting at Thanksgiving time.  This holiday, more than any other, makes me realize how short life is and how I must enjoy each and every minute of it.  I am not sure why I get so nostaligic about Thanksgiving, but if I had to guess, it would be because of the simplicity of the holiday and the focus on family. 
Growing up, I loved Thanksgiving.  My parents always got up early so Dad could help Mom stuff the turkey and slide it into the overn.  By the time my siblings and I got up, the smell of the turkey and dressing was already spreading through our two story house.   I loved to help my mom in the kitchen and was often asked to stuff the celery with cream cheese and stir the salad.  The menu was simple, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and some kind of fruit salad.  My mom didn't go overboard with a lot of different foods, but what she fixed was delicious and plentiful.  We would always spend some time outdoors and the weather was usually cool and overcast (at least in my memories!).
When I became a wife, I wanted to continue with the same sort of traditions that I had as a child.  Randy and my first Thanksgiving as a married couple was anything but joyful.  Newly pregnant, I found cooking a less than pleasant task.  Randy's mother had died the summer before, at the age of 46.  I was determined, in my naive way, to help my husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law have some sort of happy Thanksgiving experience.   Their grief was raw and exposed that holiday.  My cooking skills were just as raw.  To say I was "out of my element" would be an understatement.  I had always helped in the kitchen, but to prepare a turkey with all the side dishes was way over my culinary ability.  To make matters worse, Randy's mom, Berniece, had always put on an annual Thanksgiving spread that was  fit for royalty.  She made all of her family's favorites, including German Chocolate Cake, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and numerous salads and vegetables.  She cooked for days in preparation of the meal. 
I won't bore you with all of the details, but my meal included a turkey not quite done, a pumpkin pie not quite right and canned biscuits.  The best thing you can say about that supper was that I had good intentions!
Fast forward a few years, and my family was again faced with the death of a mother, my mother to be exact.  The first Thanksgiving after Mom died, my sister, Debbie and I got together and decided that we needed to create some new traditions and not dwell on the ones we were missing so desperately.   My mother, Elizabeth, had died the February before at the age of 52 from breast cancer.  We had small children, our brother was in college and our father was deep in the grieving process. Debbie suggested that we scrap the traditional foods, and fix all new dishes.  She had a woman's magazine with recipes for a Thanksgiving meal and we cooked every one of those dishes.  And they were awful.  I can't remember exactly what they were, except for the bread, which was some sort of black rye. . . I threw more food away that year than I ever have.  No one wanted any leftovers.  But we were together, we laughed and cried while doing the meal preparation, and we somehow made it through. 
There have been many memorable and joyful Thanksgivings since that year.  Some with extended family, some with a very small group of us.  There were the years the kids were home from college, the years that we added a daughter in law to the table, then two grandchildren, and then we added our son-in -law, all joyful times for us.  And I won't forget last year when I turned the kithcen over to my daughter and daughter in law because I was recovering from surgery.  The meal could not have been better!
Over the years, I have honed my cooking skills and have found a few family favorites that I stick to every year. 
As I get older, I find deep meaning in celebrating all the blessings and joys we have in our lives.  Blessings as simple as a roof over our heads and food on the table to the great blessings of healthy and happy loved ones at the table. 
I love Thanksgiving.  I love the food, the family, the time spent in preparation and the time spent cleaning up.  I love that my "girls" and I clean off the table and spread out the Black Friday ads.  I love that we all stop and share what we are thankful for and usually cry a little and laugh a little as we go.
This year, I decided to participate in daily Facebook posts, during November, sharing for what I am thankful.  I started off strong, but then began to have some second thoughts about what I was sharing.  My reluctance reminded me of the stones we have around our house.  My grandchildren love looking through these rocks and picking out their favorites.  They often come to me and ask me to pick which rock I like best.  Instead of selecting a favorite, I find myself pointing out the unique and special qualitites of the different stones.  Maybe one has a pinkish tint, while another sparkles in the sun.  Sometimes they have smooth, rounded sides, while others reveal layers of different colors.  They insist that I tell them which one I like the "very bestest".  Oh the pressure!  Like the many blessings that I have in my life, each stone is special and unique.  This year on Thanksgiving, I am going to think about the rocks and the blessings that surround my home.  I am going to be grateful for each and every one of them and their unique qualities.   I hope you have a blessed and special Thanksgiving, full of memories and blessings!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Josh!

Josh is 31 years old today.  It is hard to believe that he is that old, which makes me 24 years older . . . yikes!  We had a little inpromptu get together Friday night to celebrate.  His favorite foods are lasagna and apple pie, which was, of course, what we had.  I had planned on doing something for him on Sunday, but his work schedule changed, so I got a call on Friday morning asking if we could change the day.  Friday was a bit crazy, as I had to work all day, go to the store, pick up the kids and then come home and cook.  But it all got done, and it was a nice supper.  We all pitched in and got Josh a Kendall Fire.  He loves to read and will use it when he is away from home.  Josh has grown up to be such a nice young man.  He was a sweet, ornery little boy and certainly gave me some gray hair during his teen and young adult years.  I am proud of the man he is today. . . he works hard, takes good care of his family and loves his wife and children fiercely!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I love looking at children's drawings.  Mason made these about a year or so ago on the ipad.  I just found them saved to our computer and had to share them.  He enjoys drawing and I love his little people.  His sister is also quite a little artist.  One of the best gifts the kids have been given is a wipe off board/easel.  I love to see them play school and write little messages on this board.  Kids love to create and have so much pride in their work.  On a bad day these little sketches make me smile!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Good bye Fall!

In spite of predictions that the fall would be colorless due to the hot dry summer, we had a gorgeous fall in our area this year.  A cold front moved in last night and dropped our temperatures by 40 degrees.  I believe that fall is over and winter is setting in.  I am going to enjoy a little retail therapy today indoors since it is too chilly to be out much.  Have a great Veteran's Day!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mason Man

Mason now wears glasses.  This has not been an easy proposition with him, especially since he is in school.  The first pair of glasses were lost at school.  The second pair broke within a week of wearing them.  He is now on pair 3 and his parents are hoping that the third time is the charm for the specs.  He is supposed to wear them most of the time, and all of the time when he is playing computer games or on the ipad.  Mason doesn't seem to mind wearing them, but he does have trouble keeping track of them.  I love to see him in his glasses. . . they make him all the more adorable.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fire, fall and fun.

It has become an annual tradition for my family to get together at our house in the fall.  This year we were christening our new outdoor shelter house/fire pit.  All together I think there were 26 of us in attendance, including a 13 year old, 3 7 year olds, 2 5 year olds, a 4 year old and a 10 month old.  We roasted hot dogs, took a hay ride and some of us played in the leaves.  We ranged in age from less than a year to 80 years of age.  I love hosting this event and look forward to finding new activities each year for the family to enjoy.