Friday, November 30, 2012

Of Magic and Mooses

The other day I noticed this all over the back of the Baby's door:

Me: [Baby], who did this?
Baby: It wasn't me. It was Audrey the Moose.
Me: [Baby], you know that you shouldn't draw on the walls or the door, right?
Baby: (whispering) Bad Audrey the Moose.
Ahhhh! I had some hope that a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser might work its magic on the moose scribble, but I didn't expect that it would be so easy:

I just dampened the Magic Eraser and rubbed off the crayon. Good as new. I have to give credit to a former teenaged babysitter who watched the Girl and the Boy before the Baby (or Audrey the Moose, coincidentally, I'm sure) existed for telling me about Magic Eraser. I guess that the sitter grew up in a home where parents imparted practical advice to children about proper cleaning techniques and how to balance a checkbook and change a tire. Growing up in my house you learned about antiquing, making gravestone rubbings, and the NATO phonetic alphabet. I had a liberal arts kind of upbringing. I'm not saying that one is better, just different.

No one was more relieved than the Baby that the Magic Eraser lived up to its name:

The day after the scribbling incident, I received this in the mail:

I love One Kings Lane and I was supa, dupa excited (as the Baby would say) about what was in the box. Here she is, everyone!

Y'all, it's Audrey the Moose! Well, technically it's a chindi wrapped moose, multi colored, but we all know who it really is. She's a little more whimsical than my usual taste, but she is so perfectly Audrey that I had to have her. She is supposedly Christmas decor, but I don't think that the chindi is really holiday or seasonally specific.

It's funny that the Baby chose a moose to be her imaginary friend/object of blame. The summer that I was pregnant with the Baby we went to Maine for a couple of weeks and I was meeting up with Sister to go for a walk. I was walking down the dirt road (the same one where I had my first driving/crashing lesson) and as I came upon a clearing I saw the ugliest horse ever. You know in Cinderella, her old horse? He looks like this?
That's sort of what this horse looked like, only even uglier. Then after a minute I realized that it wasn't a horse at all, it was a moose! It sized me up and kind of shrugged and ambled off through the woods from whence it came. Whenever I tell this story, I tell the Baby that she and I saw the moose, only she was in my belly. When she tells the story, it's like she was really there.

Anyhow, we're happy to have a tangible and decorative moose join the family. It was certainly easier to obtain the moose than it would have been to build on extra rooms for all of the imaginary brothers that the Boy had when he was the Baby's age. Even Abe (aka Blade, according to the Baby) got into the act:

Love it! Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Better to Give

Abe's not the only elf in our house. I've been working on two fundraisers this week and, while I'm (mostly) happy to help, I'm also getting plenty psyched to see the finish line. For the last two days my friend Katie and I have been decorating mailboxes for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. We were assigned 13 mailboxes to decorate and those people should thank their lucky stars that they drew Katie. She's a honest-to-goodness designer and did a beautiful job. I mostly held greenery in place while she secured it with floral wire and agreed with all her decisions on what else we needed to add to the displays. I'd say there were a dozen times during the two days when I wanted to throw up my hands and say we were finished because it looked halfway decent, but Katie would adjust a ribbon, or add another Cyprus sprig, and it would look a million times better. Attention to detail is just my downfall.

Before I show you all some pictures of our handiwork, I should mention that other than some pine boughs, we had to collect all the plant materials that we used in the decorations. I am fairly certain, having gone to law school, that I committed several illegal acts to obtain these items. Let's just say that we used Cyprus, nandina, magnolia, pine cones, and holly and I only have one of these plants in my yard. Trespassing? Yes. Petty larceny? It depends on your perspective. I could have been providing free pruning services. In fact, here is a picture of neighbor Ed and Em's nandina before I clipped some berries for the project:

Here it is afterwards:

What? Don't you believe that I have mad Edward Scissorhands skills?

So, Katie and I met up with our purloined and borrowed clippings, and those big bows that I helped make, and sized up the situation:

Somehow, Katie looked at the bare mailbox, worked some magic with our materials and came up with this:

And we got two of those ginormous monument mailboxes:

The picture makes this look like a hot mess, but it is actually very pretty. We finished up our work decorating Katie's parent's railing. I think it might be my favorite:

Now, the problem is that I'm now under the misperception that I could do this at my house. We have a big railing across the front of our house and a few of these babies would look fabulous on that railing. Ha! You know the likelihood of this happening is about the same as Audrey the Moose being an actual moose and not a figment of the Baby's imagination.

So, I've also been baking my fingers to the bone (wow, that sounds gross) for our big fundraiser at the elementary school that the Boy and the Girl attend.

Basically, the kids' school is transformed into an artists' market and cafe with homemade soups and desserts. If you like Etsy, the shopping experience is like that, only better because of the immediate gratification. My favorite thing to do at Marketplace is to take the kids to the cafe, let them pick out a yummy dessert, and then sit back and listen to the music. This is a major, major undertaking and pretty much every parent in the school contributes in some way to the production. I volunteered to bake a couple of items, one of which was the chocolate cake with mocha icing that I've already blogged about. My second contribution is a little sweet deliciousness called Congo Bars. I've made them so many times, my cookbook looks like this:

They're basically blondies or cookie bars and are easy to make and good. Who could ask for more?

Here is the recipe:
Congo Bars
Combine in a medium bowl:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
Mix dry ingredients.

Combine in large bowl:
1 pound box (2 1/4 cups) light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (cooled)
Mix all wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. 

Add dry ingredients to butter-sugar mixture. Mix until well blended.

2 cups chocolate chips. Mix well.

Bake in a greased 13x9x2-inch pan for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. 

They are so good that the kids insisted that we make a batch to keep for ourselves because I have scads of free time to bake something else. But, of course, glutton for punishment that I am, I baked another batch. Here's a picture:

Are you licking the computer screen. Seriously. So. Good. Sister made them for a friend who wondered how they took so long to get here from the Congo. Ha! We think that the name originated because they were served at Congregationalist Church picnics, or maybe just enjoyed by church congregations. This recipe comes from Sylvia's Cakes & Breads, which I've mentioned before on the blog. The Congregationalist Church originated in New England and Sylvia is from Maine, so the Congregationalist Church theory makes some sense. But, my step-grandmother, Emily, who was from North Carolina and not a Congregationalist had a similar recipe for Congo Squares. I was thinking that she may have been Baptist, but then I remembered that she and Grandaddy had this clock on their screened porch: 

So, I'm thinking probably not Baptist. Grandaddy and Emily's house had two other amazing features. One was a grill shaped like an Arkansas razorback hog (I tried and failed to find a picture). The grill was red and smoke came out of the razorback's nostrils. Awesomely crazy. The other feature of their house was a doorbell that played "Dixie." It probably explains a lot about me that I thought that all three of these things were incredibly cool, and knew that I had to live someplace that fully embraced cocktail hour(s), college sports, and nostalgia. Nearly 20 years later, here I am. 

Well, I think I'm going to let Abe do the rest of our elf work because I need a break. Speaking of Abe, I wonder what he'll be up to tonight!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Obligatory Elf on the Shelf Post

With an early Thanksgiving, it seems like Christmas is bearing down on us with unrepentant fury. Every day I sift through emails with titles like: "We love Christmas Cookies! Dozens of Great Recipes!" and "101 Christmas Decorating Ideas." I feel like the hoopla surrounding the holiday season is a will-o'-the-wisp that draws me off the path of what is important about the holiday and on to tangents full of table settings, cookie recipes, and gift-giving guides. I feel like Christmas has too much content. What other holiday do we have that involves extreme house decorating:

Extreme baking:

And extreme gift-buying:

And, I haven't even touched on holiday cards, holiday parties, and all the charity events and activities around in December. We could easily split Christmas into three different holidays and have more than enough to do for each one. Never mind that not one thing I mentioned has a smidgen to do with the birth of Jesus. He was born in a manger for goodness sake, not a suburban house festooned with colored electric lights and inflatable snowmen in the front yard.

Okay, I think I'm being a bit of a Grinch because I really haven't done anything yet for the holidays and I'm kind of freaking out. Every day that passes, I see decorations going up and cars with trees tied to the roofs. I check my email and I realize that I've missed all the big sale days and now will be forced to pay full price for something I could have bought yesterday in exchange for some shiny rocks and beads. I look at Pinterest and I'm overwhelmed by pictures of cakes and pies and quick gift ideas and evergreen centerpieces. What I really need is a pin that tells you how get through Christmas with a shred of sanity remaining.

So, it's with a heavy heart that I am joining with the holiday insanity by posting about Elf on the Shelf. If you don't know what the Elf is, read the manufacturer's description on the Amazon link. Also, how have you avoided hearing of Elf on the Shelf? Were you perhaps on a sequestered jury and unable to access any media or small children? Never mind. There seem to be two Elf camps: one is that group of over-achievers who have gazillions of ideas of funny things for your elf to do. You know, like this lady over at Blossom Bunkhouse (Mayim Bialik just let out a big "oy vey") whose list of 101 Elf on the Shelf ideas has been all over Pinterest. Even though this has been pointed out, many of her ideas involve the Elf making a huge mess. WTF? We have children to do that. In the other Elf camp, there are folks like this chick who want to punch over-achieving Elf moms in the throat. Also in this camp is the Baby Rabies lady and her Inappropriate Elf Contest. It's the second annual contest and please, if you have a minute, go check out some of last year's entries. Look at this one:

So, in which camp am I? I haven't figured that out yet. Here's the deal: this is our first year with the little guy and we're in the honeymoon period. Since Elf on the Shelf is far more like a month-long April Fool's Day joke than anything Christmas-related, I'm kinda in my element. I may not be able to make a Christmas cookie that doesn't look like an amoeba, but if sufficiently sleep deprived, I can be pretty creative. I should add that doing Elf on the Shelf doesn't contradict my earlier statement that I haven't done anything for Christmas because he arrived in mid-November in a box from Amazon and all I did was open up the box and stick him on the bookcase in our family room. Nary a sprig of holly decorates the shelf on which he perches.

The kids named our elf Abe (I'm thinking it's as in Lincoln, rather than Froman, sausage king of Chicago). By the way:

Abe is not a mess-making elf. He is a silly elf. Here are some of the things that Abe has done:

Made off with our remote controls:

Swung from the chandelier:

Read in the guest bathroom:

Lifted some marshmallow weights:

Gorged himself on Halloween candy:

Helped himself to a drink in the fridge:

I can promise you that Abe will never, ever do anything that requires me to do more than laugh with the kids and put him back on the shelf. Forget about cleaning up feathers or replacing all the lightbulbs. I have better things to do, like complain, procrastinate, and then blog about complaining and procrastinating! Do you all have any good Elf ideas that don't involve messes? Or, do you have something to submit to the inappropriate elf contest? They're giving away some good stuff, so don't hold back. I know you all could come up with something really inappropriate! Unfortunately, Honey Boo Boo Elf, Hoarding Elf, and Spring Break Elf have already been taken. Poor Santa.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

That's My Baby

The Baby (which is rapidly becoming a misnomer) turned four years old today. She wanted three things for her birthday: a scooter, a rainbow unicorn light up Pillow Pet, and a Little Mommy Doctor Mommy Doll (not a typo). The lucky girl got all three gifts and was so completely and honestly thrilled and excited that even I can't be snarky about it. We haven't tried the Pillow Pet's light up feature yet because it requires three AAA batteries and who has those things just lying around? I did have some AA batteries, so we were able to get Little Mommy Doctor Mommy up and running, and the Baby and I immediately regretted her ability to talk.

In case you do not have a four year old child, let me briefly describe the doll. The doll "interacts" with the child by telling the child about her ailments and the child is able to then treat the doll with the medical instruments. Sounds pretty innocuous, right? This doll is like every old lady that used to hang out in the lobby of my grandparents' apartment building in Philadelphia and complain to anyone who would listen about her aches and pains. She seriously kvetches endlessly to the point of hypochondria. A sample of her chatter:
"*cough, cough* Mommy, I feel yucky. Am I sick? My ear hurts, Mommy. Are you gonna check my ears? Is there a boo-boo in there? Make it better, okay? *cough, cough* I've got a sore throat. Are you gonna use that tongue depresser? I don't feel so good. Can you make me feel better?"
After this last statement, her forehead starts glowing bright red.

"Owie. My ear hurts. Do I have a fever? I'm hot. Are you gonna check my temperature? I don't feel so good. Do I need the purple medicine? I'm hot. I feel yucky. Mommy? Do I have a fever? Are you gonna do that thermometer?" 
I hated to tell the doll this, but if your forehead is glowing, there's not much the purple medicine or anything else, short of a head transplant, can do to help you. The doll went one round of her complaints and the Baby had had enough.
"Turn her off, please, Mama. She talks too much." 
Disclaimers all around, the Baby really wanted this doll and Dad obligingly purchased it for her at my request. Any errors in judgment are entirely mine. She is also utterly charming when her switch is in the off position. I do think it is kind of hilarious that someone invented a doll that does something that most people find annoying in humans. For their next trick the creators of Little Mommy Doctor Mommy Doll will bring you a doll who chews with her mouth open, fails to signal when she changes lanes, and tells the same boring stories over and over again.

I enjoyed going to the Baby's school where they celebrated her birthday with much fanfare. Y'all there is a special place in heaven for preschool teachers. I would last maybe a day with a class of 14 three and four year olds before I turned to drink. The Baby got to make her ideal birthday cake out of felt:

The Baby and I have similar cake-decorating skills which is why her birthday party cake will be from Publix. Here's the birthday girl getting ready to blow out the candle on her cupcake.

I always let the kids pick their birthday dinner and the Baby, with much encouragement from the Boy chose Chick-fil-A. Now, I realize that ole Truett Cathay made some statements with which some of you may disagree. I may feel the same way, but I cannot quit Chick-fil-A. It's as simple as that. If my children's eating out options were a Venn diagram there would be about two places in the overlapping region and one of them is Chick-fil-A. Also, the employees are always lovely and the restaurants are very clean. I don't care how everyone and everything got that way, I just like that they are. I'm sure this makes me a terrible person, but what can I say? My bad.

Mom joined us for the dinner and even sweetly picked up the children's food. Despite my impassioned defense of eating more chicken, Mom and I opted to have something more grown-up for dinner. I had a ton of roasted vegetables left over from Thanksgiving, so I decided to make them into a soup. This was actually Sister's suggestion and she is a far better cook than I am, so I trusted that it would be good. I had roasted carrots, parsnips, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes a la The Barefoot Contessa, who I love. Here's the recipe.

I just threw the whole mess into the food processor. I sauteed half an onion in some olive oil and tossed that in, as well. I added chicken stock to thin the puree, because, as I discovered, there is a fine line between baby food and soup and that fine line is chicken stock.

Once it was all pureed and thinned to a soupy consistency, I put it in a pot to warm and seasoned it with some salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

It was actually palatable which was a relief because I didn't have any other options. After dinner we had more cupcakes and the Baby was thrilled with her special day. Yay!

In other news, the Boy got irritated by the Baby getting too much attention and tried to take me down. In related news, don't take pictures of your legs from this angle. 

 Tomorrow I am going to be decorating mailboxes for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. I'm meeting my decorating partner bright and early and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of our beautiful creations. Night!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Letter Canvas

On Black Saturday when I was trying to entertain the children, I tried to get everyone excited about a craft project. Well, you'd thought that I'd suggested that they help me clean out the refrigerator. The Boy started wailing and threw himself on the floor and declared that only football would make everything better. I do feel for the Boy. I know it must be hard to hang with the girls and me all the time, especially when you're a boy who likes typically boy things. When the Baby was born he was willing to keep her, but he asked if we could "swap" the Girl "for a brother from one of those countries with lots of boys, like Russia or England." I told him that, unfortunately for him, it didn't really work that way.

But, back to the project. About a month ago, the Baby and I went to Paper Source which is a dangerous place if you like paper, stationery, gift wrap, ribbon, stamps, stickers, and high-end crafting materials. I could spend hours in there and waaaaay too much money, so it turned out to be a good thing that the meter parking at the Virginia-Highlands Paper Source was something like 6.5 minutes for each quarter. Plus, the meter maid (is that still what they're called?) was literally sitting across the street from where I parked, poised to slap that ticket on my windshield if my time ran out. So, the Baby and I had every incentive to browse briskly.

I ended up getting fixated on these cardboard letters that they had displayed with jars of Modge-Podge. I've always wanted to Modge-Podge, but I've never taken the plunge before. There are some great websites and blogs with Modge-Podge projects and tons of pins on Pinterest, if you are so inclined. Did y'all know you can Modge-Podge shoes?? 'Tis true!

That seems ambitious for my first trip to the Modge-Podge rodeo, so I grabbed a "K" for our last name, picked out some pretty wrapping paper, and the Modge-Podge and the Baby and I were pulling out of our parking space right as the red "expired" flag popped up on the meter.

All my materials sat in my "Mom's Stuff Keep Out" basket, which the kids have more or less respected, for a month before I got to actually do the project. So, I was psyched to work on it, even if the kids were not. Here is what I had:

Plus, a canvas I bought at Michael's with one of those ubiquitous 40% off coupons and burlap that I had left over from my Thanksgiving wreath project and the wrapping paper that I picked at Paper Source:

First off, I traced the letter on the back of the paper and cut it out. I have no pictures of this because I was trying too hard to engage the kids with this project and forgot to take any pictures. Take my word for it. My next step was to paint the sides of the letter with some yellow paint. It took about four coats of paint because the craft paper kept showing through. Then, I Modge-Podged the paper onto the letter.

After it dried, I sealed it with several coats of the Modge-Podge:

Do you feel like this post would lend itself to a drinking game in which you have to do a shot every time you read "Modge-Podge?" Modge-Podge, Modge-Podge, Modge-Podge, Modge-Podge! Are you drunk? Good, maybe you won't notice how crookedly I attached the burlap to the canvas and the K to the burlap-covered canvas in this next step! (Note: when I refer to "the K" in this post I mean the letter, not the husband. I did not attempt to attach my husband to the canvas).

So, I attempted to stretch the burlap over the canvas, securing it with a staple gun. The best part of this step was using the staple gun, which I liked a little too much. 

Next, I used fabric glue to attach the K to the front of the canvas. Voila!

I have a gallery wall in the kids' play room, so the K art found a home there:

Is that wood art on the left driving you as crazy as it is me? It just needs to be shifted a smidgen to the right. I'll get to that after the holidays. And by holidays, there's a good chance that I mean Flag Day and the Fourth of July. Not a chance of that happening before Christmas. Hope you enjoyed the craft! Have a great week!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Saturday

On Black Friday morning I opened up my email to find about 50 messages and all of them were from retailers offering up holiday door busters (which, maybe should have a new name when they're for on-line stores. Portal busters?). I deleted all of the sale messages. I get so overwhelmed by all the offers that I just can't begin to sift through everything to separate the good deals from the bad deals. I'm also convinced that if I wait something better might come along. Sometimes I'm right about that.

The one thing I did do was to order our holiday cards because there was a 15% off deal at Minted on Thanksgiving Day. While everyone else was watching football, I jumped on the computer to order the cards and get the discount. Imagine my irritation when one of the 50 messages I received on Friday was from Minted with a promotion of 20% off holiday cards. As Sister would say, "Son of a biscuit!"

As for actually going to the stores on Black Friday, the thought never crossed my mind. The Baby will get homemade lip balm (a real thing) before I stand in a seven hour line for a Doc McStuffins doll.

Last week a friend mentioned that she was going to remodel her kitchen soon and was planning to get all her appliances on Black Friday. "That's so smart!" I said, even as I was thinking that I'd rather host a children's archery party at the High Art Museum than shop for appliances on Black Friday.

Small business Saturday is a more manageable concept and I would have liked to patronize some of our great local businesses, but instead I was stuck in the monkey house with one sick monkey and two cranky monkeys. I also learned that the only thing worse than having a kid with strep throat is having a kid with all the strep symptoms, but a negative strep test, and a doctor who tells you to expect a phone call the next day because he can't imagine that the test won't turn positive. Don't these doctors understand that if the Baby doesn't start antibiotics until Sunday, she can't go to school on Monday?!  When you've been with your children for eight solid days this is significant.

The Baby spent the day being sick or well, depending on which condition suited her purposes.
The Baby: I want to go outside and play.
Me: You're sick, sweetie. You need to stay inside.
The Baby: (screaming) I'm not sick! I feel okay! I weelly, weelly, weelly want to go outside.
Me: (defeated, worn down by the whining) Fine. At least put on some shoes.
 Cut to five minutes later. Baby's screaming grows louder and louder until she appears, shoeless, hurling herself against the back door.
The Baby: [The Boy] tackled me! He tackled me and I'm sick! I'm weelly, weelly sick and he tackled me. (tears, carrying on)
Sigh. You know, I've always thought that as you get older you become more and more like yourself. So, if your tendency is to be critical of others, you will become super critical of everyone as you get older. I think this theory also applies to families who spend a lot of time together without organized activities or outside influences. In our case, the Girl, who is a natural instigator, will instigate more. For example, the house next to us is for sale and the Girl told the Boy that the realtor and the clients viewing the house yesterday were burglars. (This is funnier if you saw the people who could not have looked less like hardened criminals.) The Boy becomes more violent; tackling and tripping his sisters. He also gets more randomly ridiculous. He stuck the Baby's hairbrush into her cup of lemonade and then sucked the lemonade off the brush. Why?  I have no clue. The Baby becomes more sensitive and likely to dissolve into tears if someone looks at her. As you can imagine, this makes for a charming dynamic.

It also dovetails unpleasantly with the salient features of my personality and the K's personality. The K gets impatient and frustrated with the children more easily and quickly than I do. I'm not sure if it's the children becoming more like themselves that makes him even more impatient and more frustrated than usual, or if it's his personality traits becoming more pronounced, but it is decidedly un-fun for all. At heart, I am an introvert who likes to have time alone. I also like everything neat and tidy. To misquote "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," I'm not obsessive, I'm just drawn that way. When everyone is cooped up in the house it's pretty hard to get any alone time and it's impossible to keep anything neat. So, then I get cranky and the children feed off of the crankiness and we all end up arguing and the children end up crying. Usually I'll remember that I'm the Mom and that job confers some responsibilities, like pulling it together when you feel like hiding in the basement with your iPhone and a snack. Typically, I'll come up with some random thing to distract everyone. This is why our Elf on the Shelf has been creating mischief for two days already and why my children spent some time watching several iterations of the "Gangnam Style" video on YouTube.

Words to live by!  I have to think that I wasn't the only parent who resorted to entertaining children with the South Korean video over the long Thanksgiving weekend, since Saturday it pushed past Justin Beiber's "Baby" for the most watched YouTube video of all time. Poor Justin. First he splits with Selena Gomez, then he gets surpassed for YouTube supremacy by a video in a language that the vast majority of the viewers don't understand.

So, things could always be worse! Ah, schadenfreude. It always makes everything better. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks

We have had a busy few days here which is why I'm just getting around to posting. We had this holiday called Thanksgiving? Are you not familiar with this, the American-est of holidays? Please allow me to explain. First, you cook a lot of foods that you would never, ever eat at any other time during the year. (Hello, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, I'm talking to you!) Next, you consume these foods with the reckless abandon of a carb-loading marathoner. Then, you loosen your belt a few notches and declare that you can't eat another bite. And, finally you fall asleep on the couch watching the Jets stink it up against the Patriots.

That's the basic outline of the holiday, and your family can embellish this framework with its own traditions. That's what we did, beginning with the Third Annual Turkey Bowl. The Boy loves him some pick up football and hounds the K relentlessly to throw passes in the backyard. We have some neighbors with similarly football-loving kids, so the K and some of the other menfolk have organized an annual Thanksgiving Day game. The Girl announced that she would be the referee, complete with the K's coach's whistle. Here they are, ready to roll:

As a little girl, I always dreamed of having children that I could dress up in coordinating wind pants. Wishes do come true! As an aside, I had a law school classmate with a penchant for wind suits. You could hear him coming from a mile away in the quiet law library, swooshing past the carrels, looking for an open seat. Apparently the love of wind suits is hereditary, or at least learned, because his father wore a lovely wind suit to our law school graduation.

One of our other Thanksgiving traditions is me somehow screwing up with the turkey. We checked this one off our list, despite the fact that we'd picked up a smoked turkey from Fox Bros. that only needed to be reheated. I neglected to read that you were supposed to bring the turkey to room temperature before heating. Whoops! Delay of dinner by an hour. Well, on the plus side, that means a longer cocktail hour. (The turkey ended up being yummy, by the way.)

Yet another Thanksgiving tradition is making the centerpieces. This year we did one for the kids' table and one for the adult table. The girls helped me out. Of course, if you hadn't guessed already, this involved pumpkin planters. Yay! Let's see if all my practice paid off:

This is the one for the grown up table. I thought it looked pretty cute. I am sorry that the magnolia leaves look so wilted. They look better in real life.

That's the kids' table in the foreground. I've never done a kids' table before and I have to say, that I kind of liked it. The children didn't complain and actually seemed to enjoy eating off the fancy china and having their own little adult-free zone.

Another Thanksgiving tradition is having guests for dinner. Sister and her adorable doggie, Cappy came down from Washington:

The K's sister (SIL) and brother-in-law (BIL) came from Michigan via Amelia Island (isn't that the way to do it)?! Mom was the organizer supreme and divvied up the dinner duties between us.

Remember our new Thanksgiving tradition, the Thankful Wreath? Well, here it is all filled up with leaves:

Truth be told, those leaves are just barely sticking to the wreath. If Audrey the Moose came galloping by the rush of air would send those felt leaves a-flying. Yes, an imaginary moose might destroy the wreath. That's just how precariously those leaves are attached. So, we were originally quite good about writing down something that we were thankful for each day, but somewhere around November 12th we go behind. On Thanksgiving morning I was hounding the children to list off multiple things that they were thankful for. By the end of the exercise they were all just tremendously thankful that I was finished with my thankfulness interrogation.

My plan was to read the things that we were all thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner. The kids all groaned, objected, and complained until I relented. I'll show them, though, by sharing it now with everyone. Bwahahaha! Okay, I'll share my list, and then selected, unattributed items from the kid's list. I am thankful for:

  • Electricity
  • Spending time together
  • Being able to talk
  • My family
  • The K's safe arrival in Seattle for a work trip
  • Being able to vote
  • Good health
  • Bedtime
  • People who help you unstick your car
  • Watching soccer
  • Girls on the Run
  • Cough drops
  • Antibiotics
  • Sleep
  • Feeling better
  • The nice lady at the church who gave me change for a dollar when the parking lot was full and I had to park on the street
  • Google maps 
  • The Girl's nice soccer team and their parents
  • Sleeping until 6:45
  • The Girl's birthday
  • Seeing Sister and Cappy
  • Family being together
Some of the more interesting items on the children's list:
  • Flowers
  • Chick fil-A
  • Broccoli
  • Juice
  • Freedom
  • Life
  • Band-aids
  • Basketball
  • Toys
  • Air
  • Books
  • Bananas
  • Family
  • Animals
  • Awesomeness
  • Jumping in the leaves
  • Math
  • Santa
  • Balloons
  • Not being constipated
  • New shoes
On Thanksgiving, the Baby donned her traditional holiday attire:

Yes, that is a white shirt under a red checked sundress, flowered skirt, and multicolored tights worn backwards. We were all thankful that the Baby was with us and not pushing a shopping card full of her belongings down Boulevard like others dressed in similar outfits. 

Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving traditions, too!