Mike and I are getting ready for a feast! A Thanksgiving Feast!
A couple of days ago I baked up some cornbread and baked some sweet potatoes.
Today I mixed up some dressing and also added oysters to a small pan of dressing for Mike. I am using the two new casserole dishes that Bonnie and Stephen gave me for my birthday!
Then, I mixed up a sweet potato casserole. I'll add the toppings right before I bake it Thursday morning. For yesterday, I simply covered them with clear plastic wrap and put them in the fridge to be ready for baking later. The dressing needs to chill overnight anyway. I know it looks rather juicy in the photo below but trust me that the bread is going to absorb a lot of that chicken broth and I may even have to add more to get it as moist as we like it.
I started on a pumpkin cheesecake. I used my basic cheesecake recipe except that I used ginger snaps instead of graham crackers for the crust and I will simply add pumpkin to the cake filling.
We won a turkey at the Lion's Club Turkey Shoot last week. Well, our friend's grandson won a turkey at the Lion's Club Turkey Shoot. All we did is give him a donation and wished him good luck.
This brine smells delightful!
So, yesterday, I put the turkey in the brine and I didn't even take in that shot, either! Below, you can see that he is soaking up some goodness and will be ready to rinse and for Mike to fry him up.
While I was cooking dinner last night, I also cooked up some sliced onions and some of the squash we froze this summer. I mixed it with some cheese and a bit of butter and added some cream of mushroom soup to it and will add a topping and bake it.
I'm planning to set the table, sweep, and swipe the dust off the high spots sometime today. Plus, today's recipes include hash brown casserole, broccoli, green bean casserole, and rolls.
Then, that will leave topping and baking what I don't get done today, cooking some cream-style corn, mac and cheese for the grands, and making something chocolate for Stephen and me. I think I'm going to stir up Rocky Road Chocolate Cake in a Crock Pot.
At the end of these days I wonder how my ancestors did all this and milked a herd of cows, too! I've grown soft and don't know that I can keep up! I'm thankful right now that I have the whole week off from work and can do bits and pieces without having to prep all this as a marathon. It will be great to visit with the family and I am thankful that they are all planning to try to make it in here at some point on Thursday. Feeling old and tired like I am at the end of the day, it is a good thing a Thanksgiving Feast happens only once per year!
My children will often tell me stories or send me photos of their own children telling me about things they do which are really quite humorous to me. I mentioned some of Luci's antics yesterday and that I'm thankful for technology which allows them to share these stories. It also makes me frequently say things like, "I can think of nobody who deserves that more." Often, I say that because I recall their own antics.
Another message came to me yesterday from Bryan. First, I got this photo.
Of course, his attire stands out at once - Cowboy Harris. Look carefully, please and notice that he is standing atop the coffee table. And, please notice that he has his chair turned sideways atop the table to serve as a counter for his tablet and a toy music machine.
Sometimes, during the days, I will get random messages from the children of things that my grandchildren are doing. It certainly brings a smile to my face and brightens my day. There are also stories that are shared which bring laughter and, later, smiles as well.
Like when Bridgette shares with me that Luci has really been getting into some things lately that were not really appreciated. First, she was given a large box and some markers. Bridgette had "eight minutes, Mama. Only eight minutes!" to finish up a project she was working on for a client. When she turned around, the box Luci had been given had a few marks on it but Luci was completely covered in marker.
Then, a few days later, Bridgette was exasperated with Luci because one of the bean bag cubes we gave the children had suffered a seam rip. Luci noticed the Styrofoam beads and became a bit curious and well, I will stop the story there. Suffice it to say, the ending was not so pretty.
Only a few days later, Bridgette let me know that she and Luci had placed a load of laundry on the sofa which is only a few feet away from the door to Luci's bedroom. Bridgette folded the laundry and Luci went to her room to play. When Bridgette finished folding and took Luci's clothes in to put them away, she found Luci with a tub of baby powder that had been about three-fourths full. Was being the operative word in that last sentence. At that point, there was no powder left in the tub because Luci had shook it out all over the bedroom. Again, the ending here was not so pretty.
Yet, today, I get photos like these two and one wonders how on earth such a sweet face could create such chaos.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. This is a health issue that is close to my heart because in our family we have members who are Type 1 Diabetic and members who are Type 2 Diabetic. The blue circle above is the global symbol introduced by the International Diabetes Federation in 2006 giving it a common identity and helping to raise awareness. For more information, check out JDRF website.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with part of our family on Saturday looking through the lens of my camera.
This one is Mike's favorite!
The photographer Bridgette has used for a few years was unavailable for this year's fall photo session. Since Bridgette wants to get going with their Christmas cards, she was a wee bit frantic about getting the photos and asked me to take some shots for them.
We had a pretty good session and I was lucky enough to get a few that we liked in about an hour. Then, we took some time to go in and have lunch. Most of the time there were smiles with a little bit of goofiness thrown in for good measure.
Taking group shots is just as difficult as one might imagine when there are five of them and one is three-years-old! When I sat down to do some editing and cropping, I was thankful I had several shots of the same general 'pose' to choose from.
Sometimes everybody is cooperative and paying close attention and smiling pretty for the camera. And sometimes, well, sometimes, not so much!
There were also times when the gesture I mentioned turned out to be a good thing. And there are others that the look didn't seem to match up what I had in my head - at least not for all of the crew!
There were a couple of times when it seemed that we were going to have a Sunday school meeting in order to get everybody in the same mindset. At times it seemed we were going to kind of have a laying on of hands, if you know what I mean.
All-in-all I shot well over 700 photos that afternoon and I'm glad I'm not the one having to pick which one will be the front of the Christmas card! After lunch, we went back out and I made a few individuals of the children and some of just the three girls without their parents. I must say that I really like taking the one-on-one shots far better than the large family groups! (I will share some of those later.)
Having this opportunity certainly helped to drive home just how fortunate and blessed we are! I'm already looking forward to the next photo session.
When we cleaned out the milk barn to prepare for my Daddy's estate sale, I told Mama I wanted to keep the brass tags that we used to hang from a chain around the cows' necks. At the time I didn't have a clue what I would do with those things but I just couldn't stand to part with them.
Earlier this year, I bought a few supplies at the craft store and put them together as wind chimes. There were enough of them to make a chime for each of our children and one to keep.
The design is simple with a wood piece painted with metallic paint. I screwed eye-hooks into it and strung the tags onto a piece of nylon cord. The 'clapper' part of the chime is a plastic tag that hangs down below the others with a large galvanized washer that clangs into the tags. They have a nice little tinkle in the wind and it brings back memories of getting the cows out of the pasture and up to the barn.
I wanted the children to have the tags for sentimental reasons, obviously. Little did I realize that the tags had any value! I saw a blog post today which featured a similar tag as a keychain. The post referenced this Etsy link as a source for the tags. Wow! My gift was far more valuable than just the sentimental feelings I had, evidently!
Hope they appreciate theirs as much as I do my own and I'm sure my Daddy is smiling about that!
On Halloween the older two granddaughters wore their costumes to school. So, Luci thought she should wear her costume all day as well. Her parents had some errands to run, so off to town she went in her princess costume. Bridgette said that she gets exasperated with Luci because she takes the hairbow out of her hair and often misplaces it. Yet, the crown she wore when dressed as a princess stayed on her head all day. Plus, if it got a bit tilted, everything stopped and the crown got straightened. Maybe Luci's mom just doesn't understand what is important to a real princess!
We were lucky enough to have a couple of trick-or-treaters this year. They were dressed in orange T-shirts and smiles and we loved the short visit we had! Of course, I was enjoying the visit so much that I neglected to make a photo. I know, failure of a grandmother.
We got photos of the other grands in their costumes sent to us by their parents.
Lillie, Luci, and Lydia
Lillie was Maleficent. Luci was a princess. Lydia was a witch.
Look at the sassiness of that princess!
Harris was a cowboy - complete with a rugged beard.
Linley was a gumball machine and quite a sweet one I think!
Pumpkin carving has always been a tradition in my family. My parents did the knife work when I was too little. Then, my sister and I carved them as we got more grown-up. Even though we lived about a quarter-mile from the street and hardly had any trick-or-treaters because we lived in the country, we still had a shining Jack-O-Lantern each year just like the kids in town.
Lillie, Luci, and Lydia working on their pumpkins
I carried on the tradition with my children and they scooped out the guts until they were grown-up enough to carve it all alone themselves. Our only trick-or-treaters were usually the two little girls across the road but we still had a shining Jack-O-Lantern each year just the same.
Harris working on his pumpkin
That tradition goes on. We were sent photos of the grands crafting their Jack-O-Lanterns. As you can tell, it is intense work.
Linley watching Harris work on his pumpkin
Everybody participates in some way or another. Sometimes napping while the carving takes place is the most important participation for some!
Of course, the finished product has to be shared and admired.
Luci, Lydia, and Lillie
Harris and Linley's Pumpkins
Hope your porch was shining with smiles on Halloween!
About a month ago I got a bag full of fabric and this drawing from Bryan and Jessica.
I asked for some window measurements and a couple of days later I got a text with this drawing:
Part of the fabric in the bag was curtains that I had stitched together for Harris's bedroom when they lived in Clarksville. In their new house, Harris's bedroom has two windows. So, we decided to just split the two panels I had already made and use them again in this bedroom.
I had lined them. So, I decided to take them completely apart down until I simply had pieces of fabric and strips of ribbon. Then, I cut them in half, making two panels for each of his windows. Here's how that project turned out:
They almost look custom made for this bedroom!
The rest of the fabric in the bag and the drawing was for Linley's curtains. So, that was my next project to take on during my fall break. I really like how they turned out as well.
They are simple, sweet, feminine and work well with her coverlet and other decorations. Next time I'm over there, I will try to remember to make photos of all that sweet girliness.
Bridgette sent me a text message the other day accompanied by the picture below. She explained that on a recent fast food stop she and Lillie got the same drink and Lillie didn't want any confusion about which cup was hers...
When I was on fall break, I gave Jessica a call one day and she said Harris was also on fall break. She was trying to come up with ideas to keep him occupied. She created a game with colored stickers, numbers, and little cars. It took Harris only a few minutes to complete the sorting game. She suggested that he help her scramble them up and complete the sorting game again. Nope. Not happening. That was old news.
Another day, she sent me this photo and said they were trying to do some things that were calm and quiet so Linley could rest undisturbed. She also mentioned that she may run out of ideas before the end of the week.
I gave them a call when I was on my way home from work that afternoon and complimented his craftiness. I learned that Harris had been practicing with scissors and glue.
A couple of days later, I got another photo and message. This time from Bridgette. Lillie, Lydia, and Luci had also been crafting.
Another day when I was talking to her on the phone, I reminded Jessica of the age-old craft of gathering leaves and using a crayon to create a rubbing on a simple white piece of paper. Then, Harris could use the scissors again. She said she had forgotten about that and right about that time, Harris returned to be within earshot. He said, "Did Grand B have an idea for an activity?"
We both burst out laughing. What does he know about an 'activity' and such vocabulary?
Hope all your Jack-O'Lanterns are smiling. Happy Halloween!