Thanksgiving 2013

It is the day after Thanksgiving. The house is all back together and this has to have been the most organized and least stressful Thanksgiving we have ever had. We took notes last year, and so we had all our ducks in a row before we started. Hubby took the day off on Wednesday and both the youngest and the wild child were home. So we all worked together, and had a wonderful day.

The girls and I got a big chunk of the food made the day before. We had the tables and chairs all set up, and arranged with plenty of room for everyone to be able to get around. We even dug out all the serving dishes, gravy boats, warming trays, and the turkey platter. I even found all the serving spoons! I had bought my new Fiestaware dishes earlier in the year, so we were set.

Turkey cooked in the oven

Turkey cooked in the oven

Turkey from the smoker

Turkey from the smoker

Hubby made two 15.5lb turkeys this year. We didn’t do the fresh bird route like last year. That just didn’t work. You can’t count on getting a good weight, and we ran short of meat. We can’t have that!

We still have to work on the timing a bit though. The oven one was done a little too early, and the smoker one had to be finished off in the oven. But every year they are still good eatin’. This year we had plenty left over for “hotshots” (that is turkey and gravy over toast or rolls) for Saturday with Mom and Dad, and what kids stop by.

 

 


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Grandpa always carves the bird(s), while Grandma makes the gravy. This is tradition. This is just how it is.

But things do change, the youngest took a lot of the pictures, that is usually my job. Traditionally . . .

grandma_gravy_1757_smHubby made ice-cream this year too. It was maple-walnut, made with the maple syrup our cousins brought us from Canada when they came to our son’s wedding. Oh so yummy!

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving; one of the best ones yet. But I am sure we will find a way to top it next year 🙂

Homemade maple-walnut ice-cream, YUMMY!

Homemade maple-walnut ice-cream, YUMMY!

 

Visiting the BIG City

Well it has taken me some time to back to writing. After my one day back from Canada the wild child and I set out for our day in New York City. We drove out to New Jersey to stay with the cousins, and the NJ Mom, and NJ Daughter were to go with us to the City. The next morning we got on the train and met up with my paternal cousin and her boyfriend at Penn Station. They were visiting from England for a week to do nothing but roam around New York City with their cameras and photograph. So we joined them for the day.

can_you_believe_the_leftovers_1511_cropsmWe grabbed some lunch, but the meals were so ridiculously big! NJ Mom’s leftovers were enough to feed two more people! There were so many wonderful things to see and photograph. We thoroughly enjoyed the day, and the company.

 

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heading_home_1633_smAs we made our way back home we talked and talked. It was a wonderful trip. Not just the adventure or the time spent with our cousins, but getting to spend time with my daughter. She is 25 now, she has graduated from college, and her life is all ahead of her. This trip was special, and something I will remember forever. For the laughs, the connection, the togetherness, but mostly for the time with my wild child.kissing_ginger_beer_sm

A brief time off the merry-go-round

50th_party_1382What a two weeks it has been! On October 24th I got on a plane to Ottawa, Canada for five days. My cousins RF & RM were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Now to give a little background, these are cousins I found while working on my family tree. We connected, and met in person in 2001 at a family reunion in California. I actually connected with the couple’s daughter first. She and I have been emailing and Facebook friends for quite a while. So last year we took a trip up to Canada to visit.

RJ_9014_smYou see they live on acres of land, and still live off that land in many ways. RM built their home, and heats it with a wood burning system that you would never know was there (heats the water too). To the city folk it looks just like a storage shed, but inside, and underground, it connects to the house and with wood off the land gives them the heat they need. At one time they grew enough vegetables to feed the whole family. Now it is just a small garden, but they still do it. RM “putters” in his shop. But even after the loss of numerous fingers, he will never stop. They have no internet, not even cell phones. But what they do have is a wonderful marriage, and a wonderful life.

Their daughter and I were supposed to do something together while I was there. But due to an ankle injury she wasn’t able to. Instead I spent a quiet 5 days having a peek into their life (well 4 as one day was celebrating their anniversary with all their friends and family). RF is the epitome of “early to bed, early to rise”; bed at 9pm, up at 5am (or was it 5:30, like I’m up to know!). She is all about her family; her four children and grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She has dear friends who mean the world to her, but the most important to her is RM. You can see it in her face; you can see it in her eyes.

chipmunk_stuffed_cheeks_1348_sm It may sound silly, but one of the best parts of the trip, and the part I will probably remember the longest was when RF and I went tromping through the property looking for the perfect tree for this Christmas. We found it, and she tied a red bow on it so that RM could find it to cut down just before the holidays. You see, it had to be just right as this may be the last Christmas there. They are selling the land, and moving to a smaller place on a lake. It is time, yes. It is a bit sad, true. But life moves on, they will still have the same kind of activity outside their window they love to watch so much, and to be honest, I got the biggest kick out of as well. Can you believe how full that chipmunk’s cheeks are?!

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I left Canada with such an appreciation and adoration for both of them. I was sad that I wasn’t able to spend as much time with their daughter as I had hoped, but instead I was given a gift of time with them. I wish more people could stop and get off the crazy merry-go-round of life, and spend some time in their world, as I did.