Life Needs A Hefty Bag

Something that will hold everything, expand beyond comprehension, and still not split at the seams.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Spread

The final result of all of the slaving over the hot stove turned out looking like this:

Yay for us!! I thought the kids having sparkling grape juice instead of milk for once would be special for them, and they liked it :o) No wine glass for the baby yet...he still does better with a handle ;o) Oh...and the coveted "orange plate" a necessity of mealtime around here! LOL


Proud Thanksgiving Day

I feel so accomplished today! I had Wednesday and Thursday off from work, my kids had those days (and today also) off from school, and their father never called to meet me for their visit with him, so I didn't even have to travel! YIPPEE!! So, I thought Wednesday I'd take the day and do something I'd never done before....bake up batches and batches of cookies in preparation of Christmas. So about noon I took the two older boys and we set out to finish shopping for the things we needed to pull this off. First though, we stopped at our church and picked up the donations from our final day of our food drive at Sunday School, and donated them to the local food pantry. That was kinda cool! There were families in there that day, the day before Thanksgiving, receiving donated food. One lady in particular stood out, as she had two small children with her, and another was coming in as we were leaving who was carrying a baby, couldn't have been a year old yet. It made me grateful for all that we have, and even more proud of our Sunday School kids that they helped out our local families in need, especially around the holidays. I made sure to point out the lady with the baby, since we were in the car and it wasn't horribly obvious what I was talking about, and reminded them that the food they helped donate would help families like hers and little kids like them, and I think they felt a certain pride after seeing that, too :o)

Then, it was on to Wal-Mart. We picked up odds and ends that we needed for baking, some stuff for our Thanksgiving dinner, and odds and ends for around the house. Then, we headed home. It was 2:30 already!! We wasted no time getting started, and we kicked off our bake-a-thon with Russian Teacakes. I love these nutty little sugar puffs...but I'd never made them before. To my delight, they turned out perfectly!! Next came peanut butter kiss cookies. I didn't realize I was going to wind up with 300 of these! Okay, not that many, but it was a LOT! And the left over chocolate kisses wound up mysteriously disappearing by the time we had Thanksgiving dinner the next day LOL That's okay, it's all part of the fun! Then came sugar cookies, so that way they could chill for a few hours before we baked them. Guess I shoulda started with those first, huh? Oops...guess I'll know for next year!! Finally, snickerdoodles came to join our little party. I decided at 9:00 that one of my best friends might like some of the cookies, particularly since they were all compatible with her daughter's special diet. So I brought over some of each, which she was happy to receive, and I was happy to give...cuz we sure don't need ALL of those cookies hanging around here! We sat down and chit-chatted for awhile...a LONG was 3:00 AM before either of us thought to look at the clock!! So I hustled home and hopped in bed, knowing I had an early morning coming to kick off Turkey Day!! Successful first bake-a-thon...YAY!!

Yesterday, 7:30 AM came, and I guess my body figured 4-1/2 hours of sleep was plenty cuz I was AWAKE! Or maybe I was just really excited about starting my first real Thanksgiving dinner ever. Every other year we've gone to some relative's house, and I've either helped prepare things there or brought something (like cookies!) from home to add to the feast. But yesterday I tried my hand at baking a turkey. I set the stove at 250 and put the bird in after putting in a broth, lots of butter, and an apple in the center (I read somewhere that the juice from the apple adds moisture to the turkey, sweetens it up a bit and gives it just a hint of flavor...which it did!) I made cuts all around the outside of the apple so the juice from the inside could steam out...just made sense. Then came the waiting and basting part. So we basted, and we waited, and we basted more and we waited more. At about 3:00 it wasn't done yet, so I turned the stove up to 350, and at 4:00 I took the cover off and let it go the rest of the time uncovered so it acquired the coveted "golden" look without getting all dried out. After that it was Bubba's turn with it...the slicing, dicing and serving of the meat. Apparently this job was fairly easy since, as he put it, the meat just fell off the bones. YAY!!

Also at 3 I sliced up the jelled cranberries (figured they'd be more appealing to the kids than the actual berries at this point) and stuck those in the fridge, and Trey and I started making the potatoes for mashed potatoes (they have to boil for a long time here...DH hates lumpy potatoes), started the corn soaking in butter, salt and sugar (tastes like corn off the cob...delicious!) and then my body decided that it needed a nap. So I took a quick half hour nap from 4 until 4:30. Then started the real work. Mashing the potatoes so they were creamy but not soupy...DONE! Boiling up the corn and peas...DONE! Warming up the gravy...DONE! Warming up the biscuits...DONE! Turkey cut and on the table...DONE! Cranberries ready...DONE! Stuffing ready to serve...DONE!

With all of that finished, I went and set the table. I pulled our our tablecloth, and the red taper candles. I just can't see a celebratory table without candles. Then I started putting the food on the table, making sure that none of the kids' favorites were near them for fear of them eating only those and nothing more. Evil, I know LOL I had also picked up a set of 4 wine glasses and some sparkling grape juice because I wanted the kids to have something special, and I love the elegance that wine glasses add to a table. Especially a table with candles LOL

Before we ate, I had everyone share one thing they were thankful for. Talin was thankful for the turkey (which he had drowned in gravy, along with everything else on his plate...he loved the gravy I guess! LOL), Bubba was thankful for family, Trey was thankful for parents and I was thankful for each and every one of them because they're all super special to me. Sappy, but true. Then we said grace and dug in! Everyone ate a little bit of everything, no one turned green and I was thrilled!! Everything tasted AWESOME!! I was, and am, so proud of myself for pulling off our first actual Thanksgiving here at home! I will post pictures later today of our table...I was thrilled with how it looked, and I'm sure I'll refer to this on days I'm feeling a little low.

You're probably all wondering why Pumpkin Pie wasn't mentioned in there. Well, when we were shopping Bubba had picked out a pumpkin pie by Sarah Lee that looked awesome. So I had that out and thawing during the day while I was cooking our Thanksgiving meal. When Bub went to slice up the pie, it was THEN that he realized that it needed to be baked, as filling sloshed out of the shell and on to the counter and down his shirt. Oh well...had to be one hangup for the day, didn't there? LOL In fairness, I hadn't read the instructions either, so I guess we'll just keep that in mind for next year :o) Along with making sugar cookies first ;o)

Hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday, and that the "official" beginning of the Christmas season brings all of you happiness and contentment even through the stressors and frustrations that can accompany this time of year. I'll be sure to get that picture of our table up ASAP. I also have one of the turkey, but it's on the camera itself, not the card, and the USB cord for the camera is MIA right now. Have a good one!!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Murphy's Week

Yes, this was one of those weeks where if I could have just slept through it, I probably would have. Oh. My. GOSH!! It started out with my mom, last Sunday, asking me what we were doing for Thanksgiving. I told her I wasn't sure yet as I STILL hadn't heard from Trey & Talin's father, who lives in North Carolina and is court-ordered to have visitation with them for the holiday this year, and I'd called him 3-1/2 weeks prior to my mom asking. So I told her I imagined we'd probably be in Oshkosh if we were traveling for my kids to see their father, otherwise I wasn't sure. She informed me then that her parents, my grandparents, had really aged a lot in the last six months, and that it wasn't that they didn't want us (my family) there, but maybe it would be best if the little kids weren't there to upset the older folks. Okay, I understand the logic, but you can't tell me that anyone with half a heart wouldn't be just a little bit offended. So fine, I'm uninvited to one Thanksgiving...makes my decision much, MUCH easier...either go to my mother-in-law's house or have a meal here. The way things are going, it's looking like my ex isn't going to call, and at this point he can't realistically expect me to throw together a trip like this in less than 48 hours...I mean traveling from NW Wisconsin to NW Indiana takes time to put together, organize, make arrangements for, especially with a little guy here at home and the man of the house works nights and so will likely be catching up on sleep. Try finding daycare mid-week last minute during a holiday week. Not so easy!! Again, anyone with half a brain would have that one figured out by now, but I guess that just points out the obvious now, doesn't it?

Speaking of daycare, the person we've had watching our kids for 6-1/2 years decided early this week to take a day job out of her home, where she's had her daycare at, and so we've been spending our evenings this week interviewing other daycare providers in the area. We found a girl probably close to my age that also does in-home daycare with an opening, and Derrick took to her like a fish to water, so we've been very pleased with his easy adjustment to this change thus far. Our former sitter has practically become a member of our family, so it'll be hard to let her go, but easier in that we're happy she'll be using her double major college degrees to further herself and do something she enjoys. Best wishes to her!!

Yesterday, Saturday, was Trey's first swim meet. It was SO exciting to be a swim parent!! It was always fun and exciting and nerve-racking to be a swimmer...but what a dynamic shift to be on the dry side!! Trey was in four events; the medley relay in which he swam back stroke, 50 free, 50 back and in the 200 free relay, where he was the third swimmer in a relay of 4. If any of you are lost on this, lemme know and I'll post a blog explaining more. His best event was his 50 back, where he won his heat and received a ribbon. I don't know who was prouder, him or me!! Probably him LOL ;) He did a great job with sportsmanship and conducted himself very well. My ex's mom, her husband and her mom also showed up and stayed for his first two events (his last two were quite a ways later, and they had another commitment), and he was thrilled that they came, and I was happy that they were there to support him. He loves swimming so far though...I can truly see him going far with this if he sticks with it!

Today was the last day of our Sunday School Service Project, the food drive we've had for the last few weeks. The top team received a $5 gift certificate to McDonald's...I mean, who doesn't love a Happy Meal, right? LOL Our pastor recognized our efforts by having us wheel a cart up the aisle during the offering and giving a prayer of thanksgiving for us, which was really awesome and I hope the kids enjoyed it as much as I did. They all did such a great job, and I made sure today to help them realize that though they were in separate teams during this, none of this would have been possible if we all hadn't worked together as a group, the end result wouldn't have been as fruitful. Now this week sometime I need to bring our donations to the local food pantries and I'm going to ask that a small thank-you note be sent to the Sunday School if possible, because I really think that would be something they'd enjoy...some positive feedback from the places we all hope they never need to visit.

Then at home Derrick decided that he was going to take a nap, so Trey, Talin and I took advantage of his nap time and played a few hands of Uno. It was a lot of fun spending time with them that wasn't interrupted by Derrick. I love that little monster...but sometimes he makes "big kid games" impossible! He wants so much to do everything Trey & Talin are doing, but isn't quite there yet. Soon enough....soon enough.

I'm off to bed. Today was a nice ending to a hectic week. Thank goodness for a short week next week! Happy Thanksgiving, safe travels and even safer hunting to all of you!!

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Holy Cow, A WEEK?!?

I can't believe that it's been a week since I've blogged!! Well, I guess I've been busy!! Between work, kids, keeping up shop, Bub starting a new job, dentist appointments, church, and just the normal hum-drum other stuff, I guess a week slipping by isn't SUCH a big thing LOL

So, the first few are pretty self explanatory. Trey has been practicing really hard the last week at swimming for his first swim meet this weekend. YAY!! Bub goes for orientation for his new job tomorrow. He'll be working three 12-hour shifts a week, which will hopefully help me around here, too. Trey & Talin had another dentist appointment on Wednesday, where Trey had some fillings done, and Talin had a tooth pulled. The tooth fairy forgot to come, so brought his 50 cents with her when she went to wake him up in the morning for school. I couldn't find the tooth!! So of course Talin wakes up, sees me standing there, turns and grabs his tooth, which was laying right by his cheek, and I'm standing there with this money going "Okay, NOW what do I do??" Thankfully, no one is at their sharpest first thing in the morning, so I quick slipped the change under his pillow, which he found shortly after I placed it, and he couldn't figure out why his tooth was still there and he STILL got the money!! So then he thought that since it was still there and it was a school day, it'd be a GREAT idea to bring it to school and show his friends. Talking this kid out of anything is's easier to just help him "forget" about it LOL He got so distracted getting ready for school and packing his own lunch that he seemed to have left the idea of his show and tell tooth upstairs! Ahhh...gotta love kids!

The last few weeks at church the kids in Sunday School have been having a food drive. Next week is the last week of it, so I convinced the pastor to let the kids walk down the aisle with him at the beginning of the service pushing the shopping cart with the stuff the kids have donated so he can acknowledge their efforts to the church. Then after the service we'll all count up the final donations, and the team who wins gets a prize. It should be a really good time!!

Today I decided to do something insane. I raked leaves. Now normally, a house in town wouldn't have a TON of leaves, but our house is surrounded by trees that rival red woods. The biggest tree is only half bare, and the rest have let go of pretty much all of their leaves. I had some help from the kids, until they decided to take a break. Six different times. I had one pile that was nearly as tall as I am!! When all was said and done, about a dozen 55-gallon bags were filled as full as they could be with squashed down, crumpled up leaves. It's only been a few hours, and I can already feel my muscles carrying out their revenge. My biceps have that trademark ache to them, like I just did 100 pushups. My back isn't as supportive as it usually a sports bra with no elastic left in it. My legs have decided that moving half-speed is fast enough for them. A snail could beat me in a foot race right now. And, to top it off, I'm too exhausted to get up and do much about it, like stretch. So, ibuprofen will once again come to my rescue. I hope.

This week should be much less hectic. Looking forward to my two days off from work next week, so hopefully that will help keep me focused this week. Okay, you're right, who am I kidding?? LOL Have a great one, and I SWEAR I'll get back on here before another week's up!

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Finally Friday...Weekend's Here!

TGIF never sounded SOOO good! And what a Friday it was! It started at 6:07 AM, when Trey came into our room, woke me up and announced that he was all ready for school. He was dressed, ate breakfast, brushed his teeth, took his pill, even fed the fish! Just as some inside info, I set my kids' alarms for 6 AM, and I'm usually am happy if they are ready to go out to the bus stop by 7. So for Trey to be completely ready by 6:07 AM, it brought on the question, "What time did you get up?" He told me he'd been up since 5 AM! As happy as I am to have a morning kid, considering Talin and Derrick are NOT, I told him to please not do that again unless he's going to go to bed earlier because his body needs sleep to keep him awake in school, and healthy and strong to fight off colds and stuff (tis the season!). I don't think he liked the idea, but he agreed. Talin actually got ready for school pretty well too, which helped since Derrick was NOT at all willing to have a happy morning. I woke up exhausted from having brought Bubba in to the ER Thursday night (he was really, really sick, I thought maybe it had something to do with his diabetes, but it turns out it was just a really wicked virus that's making its way around from home to home, and decided to bite Bubba HARD), so I was grateful for only one crabby baby.

I worked my usual shift, Talin came home and asked to go to a neighbor's house, which was fine with me since he lives across the road and down the hill. He likes riding his scooter down the hill because he A: Goes fast, and B: Winds up almost at the other end of the block by the time he slows down enough to stop. I had asked him to please be home at 5, so when 5:30 came around I figured I'd better go get him. I walked, figuring he'd brought his scooter. Silly me...he used his roller blades instead! Luckily he remembered to carry them so he didn't run around barefoot outside the whole time he was playing! Though he did manage to leave his blades and his jacket at another friend's house. So we went to that home, collected his belongings, and he wanted to blade home. Fine with me. He put his blades on and then scootched on his butt down the grassy incline to the sidewalk! All I could think about was "How am I gonna get those stains out!?" Then I asked him if he'd brought anything else with, which he had...his football. Okay, where's that? At the first friend's house, down the aforementioned hill. Remembering seeing the kids break downhill skiing time records going down that hill on scooters and bikes, I realized that I would have probably needed to get stains out of the back of Talin's pants regardless of whether he'd gotten grass stains or scared himself rollerblading down the hill.

Saturday we did nothing. Trey & Talin went to a birthday party for a few hours. I went out with a friend of mine Saturday night, which was fun! We played pool & darts at one place, we checked out another that usually has a band, but no luck that night. Then we found a little place that had a LOT of cars at it, so we decided to check it out! Turns out there was a DJ there, who played pretty good music, so we danced some. Then there was a wet T-shirt contest, something my friend and I had never seen before, so we stuck around for that! One girl one, and all of the T-shirts were lost by the end of the night! We called it a night after that.

Sunday we went to church and Sunday School. Our Sunday School food drive is off to a great start! Hopefully I don't bomb for the kids! Then we came home and cleaned up the house. Mostly. I wound up passed out on the couch for a few hours, as did Derrick! I guess we were both really tired! Talin realized he'd lost another book from school, so we spent about half an hour looking for this thing, no luck. What I did find, though, was how Talin managed to keep his room so clean most of the time. The underside of his bed was CRAMMED full of clothes, toys, cards, puzzle pieces, stuffed animals, and goodness only knows what else! I figured he might as well clean that out and see if his book managed to find any friends under there! Unfortunately the book is still MIA. UGH! I think I'm gonna have to teach that kid that books are like money...keep them WAY out of reach of anyone who might just walk off with it and leave it somewhere strange! LOL

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