Friday, November 28, 2008

In the details

I felt as though I needed gentle lighting for our Thanksgiving table. So the night before Thanksgiving I ran out to Home Goods and found some really sweet crackle glass lanterns and pillar candles. And while I was there, they had teacups on sale. But not just any teacup. They had turkeys on them. In the details. On clearance. And perfect for serving up Butternut Bisque.


This year's menu featured:

Lanie and I spent the morning cutting out mini turkey and pumpkin shapes in the pie crust. We baked them for a few minutes to make the perfect dipping utensil for the pumpkin pie dip. Delicious.




The bisque ... that was a last minute choice at the store because my original plan of roasted zucchini and red onions fell through at the sorry sad condition of the zucchinis. What a relief! This soup was so delightful and smooth that I helped myself to it at lunch before the guests came and then at dinner ... and would happily eat it without so much a second glance at any other side. Except maybe the stuffing. I think it tasted so good because I used the fresh thyme from Denise's garden that she generously shared with me. Again, details.

I packaged up take-home gift bags for our guests of cranberry bread, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie dip. I traced out leaves from our backyard onto fall colored paper and cut them out, gluing them to the bag. Topping off with orange tissue paper. Festively written "Happy Thanksgiving" across each leaf. I didn't send home leftover plates this year as the meat market announced they were shorted for beastly turkeys, so I was offered up a skinny, weaker cousin: a seven pound breast. Boo, meat market!

Cloth napkins in sugared cranberry napkin rings. Turkey themed teacups. Gentle, crackled glass lighting. And the words: joy, peace, love, displayed around the kitchen. Some fruit from the Spirit. And all the details that made up a lovely holiday.

Of course, let's not forget the jelly sandwich for Lanie since she won't eat turkey. When I told Shane I was making butternut bisque, he said, "I'll eat a jelly sandwich too." Now I see where Lanie gets it ... I hope all the little details of your day yielded a rich and satisfying holiday.

Tomorrow: Valley View Farms.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We've got a busy one in store today. Looking forward to all the preparations but hoping love doesn't get lost in tasks.

I stop by A Holy Experience every time she has a new post, but today I decided to click a link within her post that took me here. So, I'm sitting at the computer, crying over my waffle plate, reading some of the most beautiful prose I've ever encountered. I challenge you to visit the link and see if you don't somehow view your life differently.

Friday we'll be fixing these little turkeys for breakfast ... it's probably the closest Lanie will actually come to eating a turkey this year. Or in her life. I'll take what I can get.

And Saturday is our annual visit to Valley View Farms for Christmas ornament shopping. Yeah, and then Wegmans (be sure to say it in song because it's that good).

I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cold hands, warm hearts

Yesterday the flakes flew, much to Lanie and Erin's delight. In fact Lanie, who almost always complains of cold at having to walk down the dairy aisle at the store, was the first to suggest going out to play in the snow.

"It's flurries, honey," I said. "There's nothing on the ground to play in."

"That's ok," she said. "I just want to run around in them."

At 8 a.m.

So, at 8:20 a.m., we went outside. They took off like horses from the gate.

"Snow, catch!" Erin said. She spun around and fiercely swatted the flakes. After five minutes, we were all freezing. We went back in to get gloves (oops, oversight in the thrill of running through flurries), at Lanie's insistance. Gloves, hats, Erin wanted nothing to do with them. So Lanie played solo for a while. She came in requesting hot chocolate. Which she generally prefers cold. But yesterday was a first for her, and she drank it warm. All of it, warm. This was a big deal, and she wanted to tell Shane about it herself when he came home from work.

My dinner lettuces were funky, so I had to make a 6:30 p.m. run to the grocery store. I took Erin with me. Lanie played while Shane ran on the treadmill. It was cold and blustery outside, but the sky was so very clear.

"Look at all the stars, Erin," I said, holding her close and pointing to the sky.

"Stars," she said, reaching high. "Reach it!"

Sweet, sweet children. Your simple joys reach deep inside me. Cold night, cold hands, warm hearts, full hearts.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The reading list

There are so many good books on the market. I have to rush past book tables at the store. Or avert my eyes from beckoning shelves--even the grocery store has a significant book section. I don't dare visit amazon.com ... often. Today before Lanie's dentist appointment, I went into a Christian bookstore for the sole purpose of getting something pretty for my kitchen, you know, like something for the walls. I walked out with 2 VeggieTale movies (for the kids), a VeggieTale board book (for Erin), and three books (for me).

I have an in-basket on my desk, full of great books I mean to read. And on the bookshelves behind me, I can say I've probably read half of them a long time ago, about ten percent recently, and most need to be reread or just plain read. I'm drowning in books.

I suppose what I need to do is prioritize my reading list and my time. I would love to form a book club because then I would have deadlines to meet. And discussion groups to help cement concepts in my mind. I am so guilty of reading books and almost immediately forgetting what they're about. But it would have to be a book club slash playdate. And the books wouldn't be the fun fiction best sellers. It's the non-fiction stuff, historical, analytical, Biblical, soul-searching stuff. I wonder how many people actually care for this type of study or introspection. Especially people who want to come to a group with others and talk about it.

Anyway, not one for New Year's resolutions ... I do feel the necessity to publicly announce that I resolve now to not buy another book for myself, no matter how good the sale, no matter how good the jacket, no matter what--for the next year. Yes, until the end of 2009. Yes, I said it. For those of you who know me, or have helped me move, you know how many books I have, and how much books mean to me. So, this is big.

If I win books from other bloggers or receive books as gifts ... that doesn't count.

I will even (try to) curtail library rentals for myself in hopes of making a dent in my own collection.

Does anyone else have this problem? Am I the only one with an over-ambitious book appetite who's short on time and memory?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The contenders for this year's Christmas card

Technology makes making things so easy. Generally, we do a photo holiday card. But children's original artwork is nice too. I'm going to order our cards this week. Like Saturday. Or maybe even Friday. So if you get a minute, even if you don't care, even if you aren't on my Christmas mailing list ... could you take a vote for one of these:
Lanie's Christmas Angel:

Or a photocard of Erin and Lanie:





Thanks. Just leave your pick in the comments section. You too, Christy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sneak

Now, normally I wouldn't find this shot of myself worth saving (or posting for the Internet to see). I got my hair cut today, and was hoping to capture how fresh and smooth and straight it looks. Shane saw me snapping self-portraits, and thought it would be funny to sneak up on me.
I snapped this one before I realized what he was up to. I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face! What a clown!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mad libs

A good and faithful babysitter is a treasure, but an irresponsible and unreliable sitter dries the bones.

This isn't biblical. But it certainly rings true! It's very frustrating trying to find a babysitter who:

is Christian
doesn't have a boyfriend
has a license and access to a car
likes kids
has a good attitude
comes from a good family
and honors her commitment.

We thought we had one in the girl who watched our kids sometimes in the summer, but she has canceled at the last minute several times when I've had doctors appointments or other things. The missed appointments were frustrating, sometimes resulting in Shane missing some work to help me out, but if it was just so I could grab some me-time without having to wipe a bottom, fix a lunch, referee an argument--then it wasn't such a big deal. It was just life as usual. And that was just fine. And cheaper.

Shane and I haven't had a date night in six years. We recently started to consider church our date night because it was a Saturday night, we got to listen to live music, and our kids weren't around us. I think my pastor would be appalled to hear me refer to worship as date night. And forgive me too, Lord. I don't mean it in quite that way. But that's the closest we've come to it. Until this week when we actually planned a date night. I'm talking dinner at a restaurant that doesn't serve chicken nuggets, and a movie that isn't animated. And it was for tomorrow. I was looking forward to it all week. Until today when the sitter e-mails, "Something came up. Sorry!"

So I'm working on my mad mad-libs. The kind of rant where you just fill in the blanks with nonsensical stuff, because if you put the real words in, it would sound like a bunch of complaining, grumbling, jealous covetous stuff about what other people have and enjoy but you don't and, well, you get the picture. And it isn't pretty. Even after I started to write the real rant and replace the words, it still wasn't pretty. Or funny. Because nothing can really make light of the yucky stuff in our hearts. So I deleted the copy. Instead, I'm going to sit down and write a list of all the many blessings I have received, and just give thanks for them. Which is way better than any restaurant or non-animated movie anyhow.

Really and truly.

And I'm going to enjoy Friday night with my man and my kids. Maybe even get a movie from Blockbuster and some popcorn. Because this is the life: What better way to spend your time than with people who love you.

Generosity

Generosity is this month's virtue at Lanie's school.

It looks like this:

It's lunchtime in the cafeteria, and Lanie's school buddy, Madelyn, walks up to her and gives Lanie a quarter for the bake sale.

Lanie takes the quarter and buys a cookie.

She gives the cookie to a favorite friend, Olivia.

Generosity.

Before and after ... and after

Before. When Erin broke my glasses.

And after, when I got the affordable, but business-looking glasses.

And after again, when we took back the afforable-but-business-looking-glasses. I waited two weeks for these babies. I'm not letting them out of my sight. No pun intended.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween

Erin was Minnie Mouse. Only she didn't like the costume.

Lanie was an ice princess and felt very glamorous. We trick-or-treated about eight houses, then Lanie said her tummy hurt from all the walking. Houses are acres apart around here.

I ate too many candy corns and felt really grumpy.

Once we got home, it was nice to just relax and enjoy the evening together. We have so much candy left over!