Aunt Nan, Alex, David, Matthew, Jonathan, and Steven engaging in a traditional after-Thanksgiving dinner activity: Poker. Grandma and Grandpa's dining room hosts many such activities at every gathering.
A lovely bright red bush at the end of the driveway greeting me each day as I pull into the garage, all my other little plants there gone for the year...soon it will be time to string twinkle lights on the fence for Christmas cheer.
Per requests, here is my favorite Thanksgiving side dish...and you can support the Native Americans who hold the monopoly on Wild Rice cultivation in the United States by making it at your house this Thanksgiving!
This has been the best fall weather I can ever remember. It is still incredibly nice outside, the leaves are still brilliant (the reds are drop dead gorgeous this week and against the yellows, oh, be still my heart). The tree pictured is our Red October Maple that sits just beyond the deck, so I had this wonderful view all afternoon while I was cooking...is life great, or what?
On Wednesday afternoons I cook...it is one of my favorite times of the week actually as I cook a nice mid-week dinner for my family and make twice the amount so that I can transport the same dinner over to our priests at the rectory. Wednesday is the only day they get to dine all at the same time, so this makes it nice for them to come home to an already-made meal on Wednesdays and the three of them eat together. (Gone are the days, at least around here, when the priests all had housekeepers and cooks.) At any rate, on Wednesday afternoons I factor in the cooking for us, them, and usually one other family who needs some extra love that week by way of a meal delivered to them...sickness, new baby, death in the family, financial problems, whatever. I love taking care of people.
One of my favorite parts about the whole cooking process is that I have, in my possession, many items that belonged to my great-grandmothers, grandmothers, mother, aunts, great-aunts, etc. that I enjoy using because they remind me of all my times with them as I was growing up. I know this sounds morbid, but when my Grans all passed on, the family members could ask for things to remember them by, you know, probably the same in all your families also, and no one ever wanted the simple everyday things...which was GREAT for me because those were the things that I did want...the beat up measuring spoons that I used when we cooked together, the rolling pins, the measuring cups, the mixing bowls...the recipe boxes...no one wanted them. They are my most prized possessions.
So, on Wednesday afternoons (and other times of course), you can always find me in the kitchen cooking with all my memories and using all the implements that my family, some present, most gone now, used while I was growing up and learning to cook at their sides. I don't part with people easily...I like to keep them with me as long as possible, and this is just one of the ways I can do that...so, if you are in need of a meal...call me...it will give me the greatest pleasure. It's one of the things I do best!
Today at Pizza Hut for the homeschoolers Book-It monthly lunch (yes, even when I don't have a homeschooler anymore, I still attend some of my favorite functions with the people I love dearly), we all had the opportunity to sing the Birthday Song for Regina as a surprise. Humble little Regina just looked stunned as she looked around, not thinking for a moment the song was in her honor. She said, "Who's birthday is it?" We all said, "Yours!" She was so surprised that we would all sing for her...this child has the most humble of hearts and the most loving personality...and one of my favorite things about my relationship with Regina is that she loves to read, loves books, and I always, always love to hear what she is reading and what she thinks of it all. Regina is a champion speller and I can always count on her adding lots of pink to my life! Best of all, Regina, as you can see, gives the BEST hugs in the world. There is NO ONE who hugs like Regina...she hugs from the bottom of her heart, with all her soul, and by the time she finishes, you are left with tears in your eyes from the sheer joy of just knowing her and being so loved to get such a hug. She is the sweetest of souls and I can't believe she is ten already...where has that time gone so quickly? Happy Tenth, Miss Regina...you are a beautiful, beautiful soul and I am so honored to know you...each year you just grow more precious to us all. Regina: Queen of Goodness, Beauty, Humility, and Hugs!
Lora, Sarah, Jenny, and Mary enjoying a PICNIC lunch outside the library today...it was 48 degrees outside! I am always telling all the girls that I need to have photos of them for my albums because otherwise there would be no PINK in my life (having all boys around here and all)...can you believe it...today they were all wearing blue! Next week, girls: PINK!
Figured I should include a fall photo of our little Ash tree while I still have the opportunity. The others around us have been stricken with the dreaded little bugs and I am afraid that it is just a matter of time until we will have to say goodbye to ours, too. For now, she looks fine and very pretty on this overcast day. Important to appreciate these things while you can.
It was a beautiful morning here with bright sunny skies, etc., but now it seems to be changing a bit...I can hear the wind starting to howl down the chimney a little, the skies are clouding over, the temperature seems to be dropping, and I am ushering in the rest of my herb pots hoping that I can salvage enough yet for the season to last through the holidays. There is word of snow flurrying about this evening...definitely not ready for that yet.
Mark's new redo of the network situation (and I still don't understand what it completely involves, other than I know it will allow us to watch the Big Ten games here in our family room instead of hiking up to Majors Sports Pub to watch them there, a big plus in my mind, winter being what it is and all) is set for Friday and he informs me that I "will be able to tape TV shows like one would with TiVo" (which is probably some sort of cousin to Blu-Ray...just kidding around). This, I am thinking is not a particular selling point to me as I don't have any "shows" to tape. I am not much into the TV watching world that I would have a regular type show to tape, etc. HOWEVER, I am thinking today that maybe I do have a show...or I will have if I can figure out how to tape it. And, this will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me well...I can TAPE THE MARTHA STEWART SHOW and watch it. Okay, now I have a show! Now all the teasing about me being a "Martha Wanna Be" (minus the crafts, of course, as I am not particularly good at most of those, but who knows...I have more free time now, who knows where this could take me in the future) can be stepped up even more. BTW, today on her website, her tip for the day was to go to the orchard and pick apples and make a pie, etc., so I am feeling really good because I did that yesterday! Okay, I didn't actually pick the apples as the orchard already had nicely bagged apples right there waiting for me...but the apples did come straight from Stuckey's Orchard and since Mark was such a sweetie and picked up Matt from swimming after work so that I could have a shift relief and not have to fight through rush hour traffic, and it is important to reward such sweetness with something sweet to show you really really appreciate these kinds of gestures, I did make him his favorite pie with said apples, and now I am thinking that maybe Martha is copying ideas from me to use on her website the next day. Okay, silliness aside, I am thinking that I will need to figure out this TiVo-type deal so that I can tape Martha and finally be able to say, "Of course, I do...I have a show that I tape and watch!" And, as Martha would say, "It's a Good Thing!"
Another view of my favorite Still Waters place at Butler...Matt and I arrived a little early, so we sat here and he spent 20 minutes trying to walk me through leaving a message on my cell phone...after 20 minutes, he said, "Give me the phone, Mom." The message on it is the result. I know you will all be amused at my expense. Maybe next weekend.