Thursday, November 25, 2010

~Happy Thanksgiving!!!~

Ah! on Thanksgiving day....
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.
What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?
...John Greenleaf Whittier

If I have enjoyed the hospitality of the Host of this universe, Who daily spreads a table in my sight, surely I cannot do less than acknowledge my dependence. ~G.A. Johnston Ross

The rain has foiled our plans to eat outside to recreate the feel of the original Thanksgiving, yet it is still shaping up to be a nice celebration.  The calm,  the smells, the absence of stress of high expectations.  This year it is just our own little family, and while that fact depressed me when comparing to times past, it is also a new beginning in a new place and I am grateful.  

With that, the bird roasting, fudge setting, and Macy's parade gracing our great room we indulge in a little known phenomenon called nothing to do.  Doing what we like.  Meandering through our celebration as the feeling strikes, truly relaxing and reflecting.  

Perhaps next year we will go to the city and experience the parade in person!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

It will be just our little party of 7 this year.  Normally my dad joins us but this year he is not up to traveling 5-1/2 hours as I found out this morning, and my eldest daughter is staying in MA to spend the holiday with her boyfriend's family.

I cut down my menu after receiving my dad's news today.  He usually makes the french meat stuffing which my grandmother always made for Thanksgiving and Christmas.   It was my grandfather's mother's recipe but my kids don't eat it.  Since I've already shopped twice, and I'm not going back, it is going to be off the menu this year.  I am noticing it's going to be quite easy for me to not go overboard and do too much damage weight wise.

Since it's just the 7 of us, and I don't want to get stuck with so much food and temptation this is our simple little menu.  I think it is enough for our kids since they are less adventurous in the taste bud department anyhow:

Turkey with gravy
classic stuffing
mashed potatoes
Sweet potato Casserole with pecan topping
green bean casserole
parker house rolls
cranberry sauce
pumpkin pie
granny's fudge
with french vanilla ice cream
egg nog



I am glad that God gave me the desire to have six children so that when they grow up and have spouses and children they will all have lots of family.  There will be aunts, uncles, cousins etc,...  I am sorry they never had that growing up, but I do look forward and pray for the day they do have just that.  God Bless everyone, and remember to savor these times, as things do not stay the same....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend

This afternoon we arrived back home after a whirlwind trip down to MA for a good friend's kids' birthday bash.  I decided to go down on a Friday so I could visit with some family also beforehand.

On Friday the kids and I took a run up to the Yankee Candle flagship store in South Deerfield after a brief visit with my mom.  It's one of the two flagship stores in the country.  It's such a wonderland, and the boys were in wonderment taking it all in!!!!  I couldn't take pictures inside because I have no flash .

Later we got together with my dad and aunt at Friendlys where the kids got the royal treatment, literally.  Wow what a feast complete with 3 appetizers for our party of 9, dinners and desserts.  WHEW.  I enjoyed it with reckless abandon and just right back on my WW plan immediately after.  I don't think I did any real damage.  It was so nice to see my favorite aunt, lots of good memories I have involving her home around the holidays and such when I was young.

The next day we moseyed around a bit and around lunch time made our way to Liquori's to get the famous pizza slice!  If you haven't read the famous "slice story" you can find it here.  Actually we bought 3 cheese slices and 1 pepperoni for the 5 kids and my grandmother to share.  We were on our way to visit her.  My mom and I split a foot long sub from Subway to keep me within my points.  Then we visited for a few hours, and my eldest daughter Autumn met us there to visit as well.  Later the kids and I met my dad for dinner at Applebees.   I love how easy it is for me to stay on plan at this place!!

The next day was Sunday, so we went up to my dad's place for late morning after an early lunch on the run and stayed a couple of hours.  We watched a movie and the kids watched his canary.  He is very active and can be fun to watch!  Then it was time to head over to Jenn's for the big duel birthday bash.  The kids had so much fun and it was so great to see Jenn and her family, and the new baby I was seeing for the first time in like 7 mos or so!!!  A lot of other friends were at this party too so it was great fun!

Anyhow the weather was beautiful, sunny and in the 60's, perfect party weather!  It was camo themed, and the activities were an obsctacle course with lots of leaves and physical  challenges, there was also tug-o-war, a bounce house, cotton candy maker, pizza with wings and soda, goodie bags made with camo material squares tied up with ribbon, a tanker pinata, as well an awesome military cake Jenn made herself (man she is good!)  The night wound down with a camp fire which was great as it grew quite chilly afer the sun set.

Oh and the babies!  I got to see 3 friend's babies all at about the 7 month old stage.  And for the first time since we had moved up here 8 months ago, right before they were all born.  I got to see the two kiddos I used to babysit for, and sadly the youngest didn't remember*hoo!

sadly my flash died 10 mos. ago so as it gets dark, my picture taking is promptly ended

We left shortly after dark, grabbed a movie for the kids and back to grandma's we went.  Can you believe that I was in bed around 8:30 each night.  Granted I was up at 6, because my body is accustomed to our regular rhythm after all these years with children, but STILL!  haha

I am so glad we were able to go, and while we were gone Mike got some father/son time alone with Michael who is now 12.  They were even privileged to go to a Buffalo Bills game!!  What a big deal!  And they even had the courtesy to win the first game while my guys were there.  WHAT A TEAM!  My son was so overjoyed by the heated stadium seats...hehe  What an all around great weekend.  Now, I am ready to hibernate for the winter.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

16 Candles

This weekend we celebrated Felicia's 16th birthday.  Hard to believe as it seems Autumn just turned 16 a few months ago, yet in reality she will be 19 in two months.  Two of her new friends came to share the day with her, and we made our own personal size pizzas for the activity.  There were Hawaiian pizzas made, pepperoni, and the works with mushrooms, onions, peppers and pepperoni.  It was fun.  

Afterward Felicia opened her presents.  Her friend Bianca drew her a sketch and gave her a blockbuster gift card, and he friend Christina gave her a movie which she really liked and we watched later that night.  

Carvel ice cream cake topped off the celebration and boy was it good!  I even managed to stay within my points range on Weight Watchers with a little pre-planning.  WOOT!  

The girls walked Bianca home, then when they came back they watched a scary movie in their room.  What a fun night.  Here are some pictures:

Aiden rolling out his pizza dough
 Ryan's turn

 Felicia and her friends trying to get the dough to stop sticking!!

 The finished product

 Danny creating his dinner
 Happy diner ;0)
 Here comes the cake!

 ~16 candles~
Friends that make a birthday more special

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Looking Ahead to a New Year

November in all it's red and gold splendor is upon us and with it comes the frost and cold air which makes me want to stay closer to home.  Stocking up our pantry and craft supplies is very much on my mind.  Also on my mind is the New Year ahead.  Each year is a renewal of sorts, for we are not the same as we were last year.  Individually and collectively this is true in our little community.  We look upon things we have learned, experiences we have shared, ideals we have practiced and we are molded little by little into who we are at this moment, and we move ahead to who we will be tomorrow.

For me, finding a balance was a major shaping theme as of late, and simplicity.  Knowing and believing that I can embrace and practice what is useful and lovely without having to carry everything to a "T".  All or nothing is not a requirement in most areas, though I have struggled with that in all areas of my life. 

Simplifying is another theme for my days.  Unplugging at times, getting back to the earth, physically engaging in the world around me, art, bringing ideas to life by creating.  It's so easy with all of what the world offers to live in our heads and I find that dissatisfying and barren land which I am happily leaving.

I want more creativity in our home and exposure to experience for our children.  I am looking ahead with much anticipation of a new life.  Getting rid of lots to make room for the best.

Monday, November 1, 2010

~Simple Crafting for Christmas Part Two~

Make a lined basked here for gift giving any time.

Soap  always makes a nice gift.

You can learn to make fancy Salt Dough Ornaments with the instructions and examples shown.

Use this tutorial to make a super crinkly sounding inside baby toy yourself!

Perhaps baby would love a felt ball with bell inside for a handmade Christmas.

For an older child, these home made stilts could make someone very happy and very occupied for some constructive hour passing, and balance gaining!!!
**note on this craft:  My husband went to buy the materials to make a friend's little boy stilts for his birthday.  Well....because he could not buy the screws separately but had to buy boxes of them for each type, and apparently wood has gone up since this tutorial was published, it cost close to $75 for the materials.  EEK!  Just thought I should warn you!!  The good news is now that we have all those screws we can make additional pairs for our own children for $40. 
Here is a site with lots of hand made toy ideas from wooden block sets to all natural material dolls.

Perhaps an older child would like their very own pencil or crayon or variation of both rolled supply holder.

Try your hand at some handmade cards.  This is just a photo idea to get your ideas flowing.

Perhaps a beautifully decorated chipboard momento box is just the idea for a young lady on your list, or yourself.  ;0)

I thought this french memory board tutorial was elegant and useful.

Take a peek at this super cute ruffled shirt tutorial!

I really want to make these beautiful tree branch drink coasters.  No tutorial, just photo.  So beautiful! 

This is a simple Father's Day book tutorial, but it can be suited to any occasion.  I have done similar for my husband, and he was very touched.  

ideas & tutorials for the fellas

Just a few ideas I found that looked fun and to get the creative ideas flowing.  Happy Crafting!!