Our Thanksgiving Meal

Tomorrow, I’m hosting my family for Thanksgiving. My mom and dad have been here all week, and Mom’s helping Hubby and me get things all ready. It is going to be a beautiful blend of traditional things in my family meeting the gourmet tendencies of Hubby’s family. It’s going to be some kid-friendly items, and some things that my kids likely won’t touch. I’m really  excited.

Here’s our list of things we either have/made already or are making tomorrow:

Prime Rib
Honeybaked Ham
Chicken and Dressing (For you northerners, that is not inside the chicken. The chicken is in the dressing.)
Green Bean Casserole
Potato Salad
Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Onion Pie
Cranberry Salad
Kale (prepared in the southern style of collard greens)

I know. No turkey. But don’t those other meats sound SO GOOD? And a little GBC can’t go wrong, especially coupled with potato salad, and cranberry salad. What’s a southern Thanksgiving without something called “salad” that doesn’t include lettuce?

My aunt is also bringing homemade rolls and various desserts… including her amazing rum cake (yum?!) and at least one meringue pie. FOR THE WIN.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Are you hosting or traveling? Either way, I hope you have some fun plans!

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying a last day or two of prep for the biggest meal of the year! Here are a few funnies from my family this week…

EK, randomly: A school bus fell on my lip!

At dinner, J says to me: I put snot on you.

After J kicked his brother, I told him to say he wouldn’t kick his brother anymore.
He said: I won’t kick any more brothers.

J: Know what I wanna be for Halloween? A sea diber.
Me: A sea diver? Cool!
J: Yeah! With a mask and a lid on my mouth and one of those things you swim in.

J: You know what I want for merry Christmas? A crane. For snow.

After a fun evening out of town, we were getting ready to go home…
J: I don’t wanna go home! I wanna stay here!
Hubby: Well, you can stay here in the parking lot.
J: Well… is my family coming, too?

J was drinking out of this cup:And then he asked the question: Where is the blue sipper thing that you sip the beer out of?
I wasn’t sure how to respond.

EK to G-Daddy: Squish me as much as you miss-ed me!

Hubby and I were working out and talking about squats. J then exclaimed: I’m gonna do ten squashes!

J, when first waking up: You know why I love everybody? Because I’m so happy.

J has a kids’ Camelbak cup. The rubber spout pops into a closed and locked position, just like the regular Camelbaks do, except it’s so tight that he often has trouble getting it back open. One day, he literally threw a tantrum about his inability to get it open. I saw that he was using his index finger, so I said, “Why don’t you try using your thumb instead? Our thumbs are really strong.” He tried it, and of course it worked. So now, every time he opens his spout, he says, “Mom! I used my thumb! Thumbs are REALLY STRONG!”

Well, are your kids excited for Thanksgiving? I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Currently 

Happy Thanksgiving week! I know I’m already getting ready for the big day, so I bet you are, too. We’ve had a really busy weekend, resulting in my first NaBloPoMo miss (Saturday). Oops. I’ll try to make up for it this week, and cram an extra one in! Anyway, here’s a little update of what’s been going on around my house.

Listening || to a little bit of Christmas music. I’m planning on justifying myself a little more in tomorrow’s post, but let’s be honest: we all need some cheer!

Watching || Once Upon a Time. We get so behind on this one so quickly. I guess it’s because the episodes are an hour long, so if it’s late at night when we get a minute to watch TV, they’re often too long to want to watch. So now we’ve got four unwatched episodes – oops. Anyway, I saw this “family tree” on Pinterest and I loved it. (If someone knows the source, help me credit it!) (Also, is it really Nealfire? I sorta thought Rumple was saying “Balefire” all this time.)once.jpg

Planning || our Thanksgiving dinner! We’re hosting my family at our house, so we’ve got 12 people total, counting my kids. We don’t care much either way about turkey, so we’re having prime rib instead, and I’m SO excited. My aunt is making a bunch of desserts, and we’re combining some trusty family traditions with some new fun things. It’s going to be a good day!

Anticipating || Advent. It’s my favorite season in the church calendar, and I can already feel the excitement in the air as we plan our Christmas music, services, parties, and events. I can’t wait for this time with my family and my church family!

Well, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with delicious food, relaxation, and sweet time with family and friends. What’s your favorite food to eat this week?!

Bedtime Stories: Best or Worst Time of the Day?

My kids LOVE being read to. I’m glad – really. I enjoy reading to them whether it’s at bedtime or before naps or whatever other random time they ask. We’ve got hundreds of books (not a lie) and we go to the library to borrow more. I get it from my mom: books are the one thing I almost never say no to. I buy them for no occasion at all, simply because I saw it when I was by myself and wanted to read it to them.

So naturally bedtime should be a wonderful opportunity for snuggles and reading. I should pine for this moment all day long, right?
Well. It doesn’t always go as planned.

Sometimes, for whatever reason (over-tiredness, too much energy, the need of potty or water) it gets difficult. They might be too tired to relax. They might be too wound up to concentrate. They beg to watch TV instead. They might just be using the reading time to put off bedtime. But they won’t stay around, won’t actually listen, won’t acknowledge that someone is reading. It’s like I’m shouting nonsense words just to make them giggle.

But those times are fewer and farther between with each passing day. My little sillies love reading more and more, and I look forward to each night that I get to share Charlotte and Wilbur, Pete the Cat, or 12 little girls in two straight lines. Even Rosie Revere (Rosie Revere, Engineer) and Stillwater  (Zen Shorts) make a weekly appearance in our routine.

I’ll take what I can get, if every few nights, they snuggle up next to me for book after book until my voice is gone and my own eyes are droopy. I’ll keep reading until they would rather read to me, or read under their covers with a flashlight. I know these days are passing quickly, so I will read, read, read to them as much as I can.

Here are a few of our favorites, in case you need some fresh suggestions!

Zen Shorts and Hi, Koo! (by Jon Muth)

Yum Yum Dim Sum (by Amy Wilson Sanger)

Rosie Revere, Engineer (by Andrea Beaty)

Dragons Love Tacos (by Adam Rubin)

The Witch’s Hat (by Tony Johnston, and I know this seems Halloween-themed, but my kids LOVE it.)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (by Martin/Archambault, and yes, many children have projects based on this one in kindergarten.)

Harold and the Purple Crayon (by Crockett Johnson)

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (by Virginia Lee Burton, and I remember reading this one to my enamored little brother twenty years ago.)

Little Owl’s Night (by Divya Srinivasan – a GREAT bedtime book)

The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child (by Julia Donaldson, and they’re also on Netflix as short cartoons!)

And last but not least, a total favorite: Jesus Storybook Bible (by Sally Lloyd-Jones). You can see how much I love it in this post from last Christmas.

Wild and Free – Book Review

I don’t know if you like reading Christian books. Depending on what they are, I don’t always like them. A lot of times, they seem a little “self-help” for my taste. Or other times, they’re too deep and require a little more brain power and concentration than I usually have these days. Reading is strictly for pleasure and sanity around here, and I have been unable to read for longer than five or ten minutes at a time for what feels like years (and might actually be). Therefore, I need a book that will hold my interest, but let me stay with it even though I go days without reading, then come back to it much later.

I first heard about Wild and Free because a writer I follow on Instagram had been an early reader for the authors, Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly. She raved about it before it even became available for purchase, and so naturally, I preordered it.

It’s been an incredible journey to follow these women’s stories about their own lives, and being set free from expectations, duties, and “Christian lifestyles” and learning to live as wildly and freely as Eve – just as God created us to do.

Being Uncomfortable 


Today, I had a meeting about a ministry I’m a part of. It was a room full of Christians, some my friends and some strangers. Some of us were writers, some artists, some more practically-minded. We were meeting to discuss the future of the ministry, to brainstorm, to dream a little. 

One thing that came up and stuck with me was discussing things that were current. Less about church history (not to be discounted, by the way!) and more being a Christian in today’s world. Less about the easy stuff and more about being uncomfortable

The world we live in isn’t comfortable. It shouldn’t take you much effort to see that. Even if you are in a comfortable home situation, a comfortable job, or a comfortable relationship, you don’t have to look very far (or scroll very far back through your Facebook feed) to see, read, or hear things that are uncomfortable. As a Christian, what can you do about it? You can’t give to every single charity, and you can’t  volunteer for every single event or drive or whatever. There are thousands of ways to “help” and frankly I get quite overwhelmed by it. 

What does it look like to be a good Christian? What does it look like to reflect Jesus in my culture? Or at the very least in my circle of influence? I don’t know all the right answers. I don’t have a solution to the question of “when and where and how much do I do”. But I do know that most change (and yes, change is what we need) begins with doing something uncomfortable

What this looks like for you, I cannot say. But what I’m afraid (Yep, I went there. Afraid is what I meant.) it means for me is that I’m about to get uncomfortable in my writing. And that makes me really nervous. 

Before I scare you off, let me explain. 

Uncomfortable for me might be writing about things I don’t know as much about. It might mean doing a little more research, or changing my style for a piece. It might mean writing about a topic I don’t usually like, or something I’ve never written about before. It might mean baring my soul to you about an uncomfortable topic, and opening myself up to criticism (please be kind). It might mean writing something that challenges you and me to think out of the box, or to try something new. Those things are uncomfortable for most of us. It may just get crazy in my little corner of the Internet. 

But you know what? Jesus was radical. He did things that weren’t allowed. He said things that were unconventional and rocked the boats of the Pharisees and the priests. He also spread the love of God and paved the way for salvation for all who would listen and believe. It might’ve been uncomfortable, but that’s where I want to be. I want to be there with him, spreading the Gospel in radical and unconventional ways, rocking boats and making a change. Now, the work I have to do is get used to being uncomfortable. 

My Love Affair with Breakfast Food

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: breakfast is my favorite. 

I grew up in a household that made sure breakfast was important, healthy, and delicious. There was usually a carb involved, probably some eggs, maybe a cured meat or a sweet item. But there was always plenty of it, because my brother and I came hungry. 

You see, it was love at first sight with me and breakfast food. And it has been ever since. If I’m at lunch at a restaurant that also has a brunch menu, I don’t think twice about which menu to choose. If a restaurant serves breakfast all day, it’s a no-brainer. When I visited Texas and became aware of breakfast tacos, my life was changed forever. 
In related news, brunch is pretty trendy nowadays. We’re all “Let’s get brunch!” and “Brunch is for lovers!” and “Mimosas!” I agree with those things. But do you know what you’re typically doing at brunch? Having breakfast later in the day. Breakfast is the heart of brunch. 
I’ve done my best to instill the love of all things breakfast into my children as well. They love bagels or biscuits. They love French toast. They love scrambled eggs and fruit. They REALLY love pancakes and waffles, especially when I flavor them with strawberries or pumpkin. They don’t even need the sweet things in their breakfast. They will, of course, gorge themselves on cinnamon rolls. They will also eat a mountain of grits. 
In short, breakfast is the king of meals. It doesn’t matter when you eat it, or what it looks like. All things breakfast are greater than all other things. Pair the breakfast item with coffee during the week, or a mimosa on Saturday, and you’ve got a perfect way to start your day. I’m pretty sure there’s even some science to back it up. 
Breakfast, I love you. 

This post is a part of my NaBloPoMo, where I publish a piece every day in November.