Last week, although I had planned -well at least thought at it anyway -to write a post about things for which I am thankful, I didn't get around to it. Didn't get around to doing all that much blog reading either, for that matter. I didn't realize until today when I opened my blogger account that my last post was a week ago. What the heck did I do all last week that kept me from doing a post anyway? Was I really all that busy?
I was pretty tied up between trying to get a tablecloth I was working on finished and finally, I did get that completed late Saturday night. So one mission accomplished and I was pleased too with the way it turned out so that was good. The craft company that I purchase almost all my embroidery stuff through sent out an e-mail on Wednesday announcing a big sale they were promoting for two days -their "Thanksgiving Sale" -for merchandise at extra low prices on Thursday and Friday. Although I don't really "need" any more kits, ya know, as my current stash has more than enough things waiting for me to pick up and take a needle to but, well ask most any crafter what their response is to a good sale for things in the genre they normally enjoy and most will say they can't really resist a good sale after all. I combed through their website and found a whole bunch of things I wanted but the logistics of my checking account did sort of force me to cut back a bit on my purchase powers. However, I couldn't resist ordering two more tabletoppers that I had been watching for a long, long time now and so they went into my shopping cart along with some terry towel kits with Christmas themes. All was well until I went to check out and somehow their website processed my order almost automatically, to take the payment out of my checking account and didn't give me a choice if I wanted to use that or my PayPal account to pay. Lucky for me, my account was stable enough to withstand that payment, but it irritated me a bit that I had not been given a choice in the matter. Then, the day after my little shopping spree, I received a new catalog from the company with a special coupon good now thru the end of December for free shipping! Sheesh! Wish I'd waited one more day cause then I could have saved at least another $10 buckaroonies on my purchases! Typical of my luck -a day late and a dollar short, ya know, as that old saying goes!
My kids and I had determined by last Sunday that we would have our Thanksgiving family dinner on Saturday as older daughter's work schedule -midnight shifts on Wednesday and Thursday nights -would have made it impossible for her and my older grandson to be here so Saturday was the most logical choice then for our day with the turkey.
While everyone around here it seemed was busy-busy doing all kinds of preparations for their respective feast, my procrastination skills were in high gear and I didn't begin fixing anything for our meal until Thursday night when I made a container of fresh cranberry-orange relish. Friday morning though, things went into high gear here as I had my own cook's version of Black Friday Rush! I started around 11 a.m. to try to get my equipment and materials all in order and out of their respective hiding places which also turned into an episode of reorganization of my kitchen cupboards -a task I hate and should have waited to do that but my obsessive-compulsive side took charge and said "NO! Do. It. Now!" And so I did which delayed my start on the actual food prep until about 2 p.m.
I started out by mixing up a batch of the Swedish Flat bread my kids and I love. It's called "Kaka" bread and I have no clue how that name for it came about nor have I encountered any recipes specifically for this bread on any ethnic cooking sites I visit from time to time, but it's a main staple for many in our community here amongst those of Swedish ethnic background. It's kind of ironic too that the finished product is a round but flattened loaf of bread which takes three rising (of anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes each rising) to get it ready to bake! Go figure, huh? As soon as I had that bread dough working on its first rise, I dug into making a big batch of pie crust -enough to bake 5 pies! Got that stuff done, pies ready to go into the oven of one each of cherry, peach and lemon and two pumpkin pies! After that it was time to make the stuffing -in between punching bread dough down and resetting it to rise. Stuffing mixed, next up was making a broccoli salad.
By the time I got through all of that and with the bread dough finally up to par in the rising department, my last task -after stuffing the bird and getting it ready to put in the oven and to slow roast overnight -I still had one last thing to fix to complete my cooking for that day.
I had to make meringue for the lemon pie! And this was something that was a first for me as, believe it or not, at age 67 and being a life-long lover of lemon meringue pie, this was the first time I had ever made it myself! I was a tad on the edgy side as I began mixing the meringue -something that always happens when I am trying to make something new to me in the cooking department, but when I removed the finished product from the oven, I was really pleased with the outcome as it looked beautiful! Really and truly, it did.
I proudly showed the pie to daughter, Mandy, who did a number of oohs and ahs over it -especially when she learned that under that coating of meringue was a thick lemon pudding that she too loves!
By this time, my kitchen clock was reading about 10:15 and I realized I had been on my feet, in the kitchen, since two p.m. -a bit over 8 hours -and when I sat down then, my back and legs were really talking to me big time, telling me in no uncertain terms that I had definitely pushed them to their utmost limits! I made a comment to Mandy that if she was really a good daughter and really appreciative of my efforts -especially the creation of this lemon meringue pie -that maybe she would see fit to doing a teensy bit of rehab efforts by rubbing my old and very tired feet now!
The family joke here now is that Mandy will do just about anything in payment for homemade lemon meringue pie -including rubbing Mom's aching feet and legs!
And let me tell you, for that gift I am very thankful!
Saturday morning came and with it, my final food preparations began -cooking sweet potatoes to make into candied sweet potatoes and peeling and cooking up the white potatoes for mashing. Removal of the stuffing from the turkey, deboning "Tom" and then making gravy and all that was left was for my son and his girlfriend, older daughter and the grandson to arrive and we were ready to eat!
Mandy fixed a box of Mac'n'cheese for the two finicky eaters in the family to allow the rest of us the luxury of indulging in way too much of the foods I had prepared without having to listen to lots and lots of whining and wailing from Maya and Kurtis about the various traditional food that they "don't like" and won't touch! And that little entry to the table did make a very big difference in their -and our -meal! There was a little whining at one point from Kurtis who tried to ignore the pieces of turkey on his plate, saying "I no like chicken" until I realized we had omitted our usually sure-fire method to get him to eat poultry -and Mandy grabbed the bottle of ranch dressing and placed some of that on his plate by the turkey and like magic, the turkey went right down then quite easily! Amazing isn't it, what a tiny bit of dipping stuff will do for a fussy five-year-old!
The pies all got sampled with one pumpkin pie being finished completely and several samplings -by small children -of the other flavors of pie on hand too. Also another big surprise there as normally pie is something those two don't hold in as high as position of respect as do the rest of my family! (Well, pumpkin pie is the exception to that as they both have liked pumpkin pie for a long, long time now but trying any thing remotely like fruit pies has always been totally verboten! Don't even think about suggesting that to them has been the motto here until -well until now -as they both indulged in at least a tasting of the other flavors!
Little things like that -progress it's called -in mealtimes with two small children with autism and boy that is something for which I am always grateful, very, very thankful as I see them becoming less rigid in their ways where food it involved!
Maybe one of these days we can actually have a meal of the things the grownups in the family all like without having to run a "family restaurant" in the house and fixing some separate entre for the kids! It does look like that has a definite possibility to happen sometime in the future anyway!
Now, on to Sunday -and church -and yesterday being the First Sunday in Advent, our family was the one chosen to light the first candle on the Advent wreath and give the reading for the day too. Mandy was the reader, as Maya, Kurtis and I stood by the candle and listened to her and watched then as Alex -the older grandson -lit the first candle. A very pretty ritual in our church and surprisingly enough, it went quite well too with no surprises from the two younger family members while doing that.
However, the service itself tended to be rather problematic due to a lot of interference coming from the people in the pew directly behind us! Those two -a lady and an 8 or 9-year-old who is a newcomer to our church and who was sitting with this lady (apparently a family friend) while her mother sat and sang with the church choir. That little girl also happens to be friends in school with Miss Maya and throughout the majority of the service she kept tapping Maya on the shoulder to get her to turn around and talk to her! And all that shoulder tapping and twirling around on Maya's part kept old Grammy's hand pretty busy then too as I was constantly turning Maya back around to face the front of the church and at least to be quiet and respectful of the service.
When church was finally over and I stood up to leave, the little girl behind us asked me -quite pointedly in fact -"How's come you kept making Maya turn around?" Hmmm! What to say and how to say it to keep my voice tone in check?
My response -and I tried to keep my voice very low and level -not tinged with the bit of anger I was feeling inside -was that I did that because in church, you are supposed to face forward, to pay attention to the service out of respect for that and to the Pastor too who is trying to speak. Kind of like you are supposed to do in school, you see. I'm not sure if she understood exactly what I meant there and I worry about having said that as firmly as I did for fear that her mother may take offense to my comments there and perhaps no longer come check out our church and become a member.
Little things like that can make some individuals really persnickety and sadly, drive them away too in the process.
But on the other hand, Mandy and I have worked long and hard to teach Maya and Kurtis about church and behavior that is acceptable while attending services you know. It's been a long hard road at times with the issues each of the grandkids has pertaining to social skills and appropriate behavior but for the most part, we've got them both now to a point where they rarely have any outbursts that are totally inappropriate for public behavior and I really don't appreciate having someone allow another child to disrupt what the kids have learned and are accepting of that process now!
I am however very thankful that with each of my moves to get Maya turned back around and not participating in the talking this other child wanted to do that she didn't decide to take the offensive with me and launch herself then into what could have worked up into a full-fledge meltdown -the likes of which we have not seen in church for several years now from her!
Once again -progress gained here and after all, as in the old GE ad campaign years ago "Progress is our most important product!"
Yep, and I firmly adhere to that adage too!
And so ended another Thanksgiving Holiday in our house -which ultimately reminds me that I should give thanks not just on one day out of the year but on a daily basis for those things I hold near and dear to me -my children and grandchildren, for openers. And for a house that may need lots of repairs and such, but is still way better than many others have for a roof over their heads; a refrigerator and shelves that are generally filled to the gills with more than enough food all the time; for fuel to fire the furnace and keep us warm; for things that entertain us -a tv, radio, computer and all kinds of other things that can and often do keep two small children occupied as well! Along with those things, there are friends here -friends scattered around this country and even a few world-wide as well who are always on my thankful list too.
And to keep all those things in perspective, I'm also thankful for being blessed to live in a country that has the freedoms offered to us by the government we have -such as it is at times, in my mind when I get provoked by some of the ways said government operates from time to time! It's kind of akin to lumpy gravy in my book -taste is still good, just the texture needs some help. I still love it all the same!
So all in all -behavior issues aside -it was a wonderful time to share with family a bounteous meal, lots and lots of laughter and knowing the love that exists between my family members and me -including and really, especially, those folks who are also part of my family through my church and my Faith!
Everyone should be so lucky to be able to enjoy days like this and to do it frequently too!
Now, if someone would just tell the muscles that are still stiff and sore and aching in my legs this and to get them to be a little more understanding of my occasional overuse of those body parts, life would be -dare I say it -perfect!
Hope you all had a Thanksgiving as filled to the brim with all the things each of us holds near and dear! And may we all enjoy many more of the same!