Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Being

I don't get into the family drama much on this blog. That's not what this blog is about. All of the heartache and angst goes on the other one. This blog is mainly about keeping family and friends updated about our lives and what we're doing for school and that kind of stuff. Someone commented to me one time that everything is always rosy on this blog. Our lives are by no means perfect, but we do the best we can with what we have. My kids are happy, well fed and well educated. Hubby is tired from working, but generally he's pretty content as well.

The holidays, however, seem to bring out the blech in everyone. I have heard more stories about dysfunctional families than I care to hear. This year, we are no different. While I won't go into detail (again, you should be reading the other blog. That's where all the good stuff happens), we are highly dysfunctional this year. So much so that we will not be having holidays with my in laws for the foreseeable future. It really is just better that way.

And before you weigh in, please make sure you have all the details. Suffice it to say, because some people didn't get the details but made up great stories in their minds, I am the pariah. I wear that badge proudly. Now they know I am not one to just sit back and take it. They should have known a long time ago. Yeah, I haven't been a door mat in many, many years and have no plans of starting now.

This holiday season, we are focusing on our family pod. For us, that's what's the most important. We are just going to be, however that needs to happen. I'm thinking that should happen with pie. And ice cream cake because I forgot to make one for the big girl.

Have a great day. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It is going to be so, so busy today at my house. I'm getting an early start, hubby has fired up the frig in the shed, and I'm blogging. What a way to spend a busy day!

The pumpkin has been cooked and is cooling. I was going to do a pumpkin pie and a cheesecake, but I think I'm going to do a pumpkin cheesecake instead. I can combine two things and it won't take near the time to make each one seperately. I'm halfway there already.

Next on the agenda is applesauce. I had made some on Monday, but we had a spillage accident. By accident I mean I opened the door of my overstuffed fridge, the bowl the applesauce was in fell onto the floor and went EVERYWHERE. By EVERYWHERE, I mean under the crisper doors of the fridge, under the fridge, and all over and under the dishwasher, which is across from the fridge. Let's just say I had a moment. Hubby was great and cleaned it all up. He even took out the drawers in the fridge and cleaned that mess up. So, I start again. And then it goes in the outside fridge. Where there's room.

Next is the pomegrante compote. I'm mixing pomegranate, orange juice and zest, honey, and water. I'm going to cook it down until it is super thick and sweet. We'll use that to put on top of the cheesecake. I may use it as a side dish as well since we aren't having cranberry sauce.

Then the brine. I am super excited about this part. A brine can make your turkey so, so tender and flavorful and juicy. This will be the first year I cook a brined turkey, so wish me luck. That, too, will go in the outside fridge.

The I prep the broccoli rice casserole. I have a feeling I may have room in the inside fridge for that. After getting rid of tons of stuff putting the rest of the dishes together, I better have room! The casserole will go in the oven tomorrow as the turkey rests.

Thursday all I have to do is make stuffing, stuff and cook the turkey, make sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes, warm the casserole and breads, put together the kale salad, and eat until I cannot eat anymore!!! I should buy bigger stretchy pants.

Have a great day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gobble, Gobble

I'm sitting down trying to get my ducks, or turkeys in this case, in a row and figure out what in the world we're having for Thanksgiving. Then I get to figure out what I have and what I need. Then I get to go to the grocery store. The closer it gets to Thursday, the worse the grocery stores get. So far, here's what I've got.

  • Turkey!! Love me some turkey and a turkey coma. This year I am going to brine the turkey. I have had brined turkey before and it is super tender and juicy. This will be my first attempt at it so hopefully, all will go well. A brine is just a salt water bath for the turkey. You can brine any meat, but for a large cut, it helps to tenderize it. I bought a 20 pound turkey. It is so beautiful. And I am stuffing it. I'm pulling out the recipe that my FIL gave me that was his grandmother's. But where my FIL uses regular white bread, I like to use chiabatta. It's crusty and adds a different flavor and texture. Look at me messing with tradition. Like you expected anything less.
  • I am making a healthier version of broccoli rice casserole. I'm using fresh, organic broccoli instead of frozen. I made my own cream of mushroom soup, organic of course. And Amish cheese. It isn't organic, but it'll do. Not sure how it's going to taste, but instead of white rice, I'm using organic brown rice. Won't that be interesting?
  • Homemade apple sauce is going to make it's first appearance on the Turkey Day table. That's what I should be doing now, but as you can see, I found a way to distract myself. I do a combo of apples and pears. My kids don't know I use pears and we need to keep it that way. So mum's the word. They would eat it all in one day if I let them.
  • Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. Tomorrow, hubby will cut the pumpkins and I'll get them processed and make a couple of pies. I was actually thinking about making mini pies in a muffin pan, but we'll see what happens. I may not have time for that, but that's my goal. Bite size pumpkin pie could be dangerous. At least when I eat three pieces, I know I've eaten three pieces of pie. But when they're smaller, I may eat the equivalent of ten pieces. I may have to rethink the mini pies. Or not, depending on how tight I want my stretchy pants to be.
  • Green beans. I'm not sure about those yet. I may actually use my brussel sprout recipe for these. I'm going to look at recipes when I check out the brines.
  • I'm making a kale and avocado salad. We like kale and it is so good for you. I have a couple of recipes and I'm pretty sure I know which one I'm going to use.
  • Instead of regular sweet potatoes, I'm making fries. I bake them in the oven and that's about the only way I can get my family to eat sweet potatoes. I think they're nuts, but what are you gonna do? I'm just glad they'll eat them because that gives me an excuse to buy them.
  • My last item, probably not, is mashed potatoes. I love mashed potatoes. I try to make them as healthy as possible. I could bore you with the details, but that just sounds like bragging. I'm pretty good at that, too.
  • And bread. You just cannot have a great big dinner without bread. Carb overload and a great big nap for Thanksgiving. Yea!! Instead of brown and serve rolls, we're doing cheese foccacia and chiabatta rolls. Yummy.
That's most of our menu. I'm going to try to make a cheesecake with a pomegrate compote to drizzle over the top. If I don't eat all the pomegrantes first. And maybe a chocolate pecan pie. I like different and I like delicious. I try not to follow too many trends when I plan a big meal. Must be my high dollar tastes. Hopefully I can make a great meal with our low dollar budget. Thank goodness for coupons and sales.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Artistically Speaking

I know nothing about art. I'm about to find out, though. The kids have been champing at the bit to do more unschooling. Hang on to your hats, kiddos, because here we go. I've been preparing for an art unit study. I have a list of artists, I have copy work and notebooking pages, I have excursions planned, and I have art lessons that I downloaded. The big girl really likes to draw. She has so much artistic ability, and I am so jealous. She dances, sings, and she draws. There are certain things she has trouble with in regards to her drawing. I downloaded lessons that discuss those areas. She has a hard time with eyes and sometimes mouths. Not for much longer, I hope. The boy is in to Pokemon. I downloaded lessons that teach you how to draw Pokemons. And for the baby, I downloaded cartoon characters.

We are going to incorporate our origami. I would love to find an exhibit that displays origami. That would be way cool. My next step for library books is the history of origami. I think it's important that we know where the idea and the art behind origami came from. And I have a feeling we could always go eat Japanese food when we're done. Don't judge. I always want Chinese food after we watch Kung Fu Panda. I want to see how intricate our origami will get. Will we stick to dogs or go for life size elephants? Maybe not life size. I cannot even begin to think about the cost of the paper.

The boy and the baby have started practicing their guitar and piano together. And the piano tuner is coming Friday!! Whoohoo!! Piano on a piano instead of a keyboard that sounds nothing like a piano. After they do their practice exercises, they get together and play songs. They both know how to play Old MacDonald. Sometimes they take the guitar and keyboard outside and practice. I absolutely love it. The girls think piano is the coolest thing and the boy has a list of instruments he wants to learn. He and the baby are trading lessons. I've wanted the kids to take music lessons for so long. I'm glad that we were able to do this for them. What a great thing to be able to take through their lives.

The two big kids are going to be dancing in the Christmas parade of a neighboring town. They've had practice once a week and we have two more left. Then the parade. So proud of those two, let me tell you what. They've worked really hard and they will do an amazing job in the parade. The girl has this great funky side to her that most people don't know she has. That's too bad. The boy is an excellent leaper. You should see his grand jetes. He likes his new class and likes the challenge. He comes home determined to master whatever new step or dance they learned in class. The big girl has found a quiet comrade in her dance class. Well, maybe not so quiet. At least she doesn't have to say much. She is ok with that.  

There's really not much else going on right now. We are finishing some things up this week so we can start our art study. You never know where this could lead. Hubby and I may have our own variety show troop on our hands, goodness gracious.

Have a great day.