28 November 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We left Saint Charles around 7:30 with cups of coffee and hot chocolate in hand.  Also in hand:  homemade noodles, homemade cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts and a container of cool whip!  Bob turned on Christmas music and away we went!

We met Ashley and Eric in Columbia, where Ashley promptly suggested we stop for coffee at Starbucks.  We did, with coffees for the three of them and a Chai Tea Latte for me.  Bob bought cake pops for all.

We arrived in Marceline in good time, and when we walked in, Tammi, Mom, Pat, Debbie, and Emilee were already there.  The turkey was out of the oven and the kitchen was a bustle of activity.  We refrigerated our food and sat down to talk.  Tammi already had a story to share about the turkey.  Tammi is always looking for ways to perfect the turkey.  She had seen on TV that the first hour or so of cooking should be without foil.  Let the turkey get the perfect color, then cover it with foil.  Mom had already covered the turkey and it was ready to go, but Tammi took the foil off the bird and popped it into the oven.  After an hour, Tammi asked mom to go and get the foil and that's when she discovered that Mom was out of foil!  Somehow they managed to borrow some foil, but not before the turkey got more brown than intended.  After tasting the crispy skin and the wonderful meat, the turkey was declared perfect!

Tammi and I held our annual wishbone pulling contest.  It very well may have been a draw!  Ben came in with a new haircut!  It was so fun to see him, since the announcement of his awarding of the Dean's List!  We are so proud!

A look of surprise at the draw!
Mom made her sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy, and a meatloaf for Ashley.  The meatloaf was wonderful!  Debbie brought a strawberry pretzel salad, Beth brought a broccoli/cauliflower salad and cupcakes, and Rachel brought cheesy potatoes. The rolls were browned to perfection and it was time to eat!

Bob said our blessing and we filled our plates.  We took our food to the living room and talked and ate.  Football was in the background.  The sound of our voices drifted between rooms. 

Chris and family didn't make it while we were there.  Car problems kept them away but they did make it to see the rest of the family.  We left around 3:00 and made our way to Moberly to spend some time with Gary and Joy and Irene.  Irene seemed happy to see everyone.  She told Ashley how pretty she was and it seemed like she knew who she was!

When we left Moberly, we headed to Ashley and Eric's car and then home.  Bob made black bean enchiladas for dinner.  We all watched 22 Jump Street (the movie) together and then off to bed!

Another fabulous Thanksgiving in the history books.

26 November 2014

New Traditions for Thanksgiving


With my mom standing at number 1 on the waiting list for a senior apartment, this very likely could be the last Thanksgiving celebration we have in our family home.  We have encouraged mom to let the house go to another family, as it is too costly for her to maintain.  It took her awhile to get to the place where she was ready to let it go...she raised two girls, had a son, lost her son, remodeled every inch of the place, and cared for her husband while he fought cancer and eventually losing that battle.  The house held a lot of memories, or, was it her?  Of course, the answer is her, wherever she is, so are all the memories.

So we are looking now at closing a chapter on the house on Lake Street.  I hope we will use the Frankoma brown dishes, with all the matching serving pieces.  Those dishes will be divided between my sister and me after Thanksgiving.  Mom cannot take all those dishes with her in her new tiny place.  It would be fun to use them together one last time.  As we wash them up, we can divide them and crate them to take home.

Mom is making the turkey.  She has done this for 50 of my growing up years, as I recollect.  Mom doesn't claim to be a good cook, that's probably because her own mother, my Grandmother Lorraine Wilson Holt, was a fabulous cook.  Mom cooks pretty good, I think.  I love her potato soup and the way she makes hamburgers and fried potatoes.  Yum.   She will make a green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey gravy and cranberry sauce.  In the past she has made the noodles, but I am going to take on that task this year.

I will admit, I am a bit nervous about making the noodles.  For YEARS Tammi and I have made fun of mom and her noodles.  They are on the chewy side.  Mom said her mother's noodles were always tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture.  Frankly, I like the chewy noodles!  Mom has always liked our teasing, but I am not sure I have the same grit as her.  I guess we will be finding out. 

Tammi always makes the rolls.  She used to use Grandma Holt's recipe, but I believe she has found her own that she likes better.  All I know is, if I have Tammi's rolls, Mom's noodles and a slice of dark meat turkey, I can call that Thanksgiving!

Ashley has had nothing good to say about Thanksgiving food ever since she was able to say, No!  The only thing she would eat were noodles and sometimes a roll.  Now Mom will make her meatloaf, Bob will bring roasted Brussels Sprouts and I have promised to make mini brie and apple quiches. She'll have her own style of Thanksgiving!

Typically I would bring pies but this year mom wanted to order them from a lady in Marceline.  Mom loves her pies and mine usually were squashed by the time we hauled them up to Marceline.  My favorite memory of my pies was the last Thanksgiving when Dad was still alive, I made a pumpkin pie using honey instead of sugar.  He said it was the best pumpkin pie he ever had.  He offered so few compliments that I was really excited about this one!

I am excited about seeing my cousins, my nephews and their families, my sister and mom and spending time with Ashley and Eric and Bob.  Who knows what memories we will be making this year!

19 November 2014

Birthday Wishes

Before Facebook, I would receive a good number of birthday wishes from my students, parents and family.  A few of my friends would remember with cards and phone calls.  Now, the world seems to respond to my birthday. This year there were over 400 Facebook posts alone.  Not to mention texts, phone calls, emails, and a couple of cards.  I tried to respond to each Facebook post and text messages, emails and cards.  It was a bit overwhelming but I wanted to express my gratitude.  To this day, I feel unworthy of all this attention.

This doesn't count the belated birthday wishes, the ones that came the day before or ones that were tagged onto another post.  Still, 394?  Amazing, and I feel humbled by the attention!
 Bob cooked a wonderful meal of a pan fried bone-in pork chop with diced acorn squash that was roasted with a little balsamic vinegar.  He topped this with white asparagus and served it all with home baked garlic bread.  We had a white chocolate cheesecake slice for dessert.

My birthday gift was a tiny Santa charm for my Pandora bracelet.  During my birthday month I have received two University of Missouri tree ornaments, two Pandora beads for my Christmas bracelet and a dinner out to Tenacious Eats to see The Wizard of Oz.  ALWAYS a great time.

When I was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, I didn't allow myself to hope that I would have a 56th birthday.  Here I am, stronger, healthier and happier!  Here's to the 57th!