Thanksgiving Day : Part 2

Our day is coming to a close.
For the first time in our years in NC, we had company for Thanksgiving. A sweet family with three year old twin boys joined us for the day. This friend has been a blessing to me in my journey as a twin mom. She generously loaned us much twin gear that has been well used and loved. Her boys are adorable. They were 29 week old preemies and are just amazing.

I only got one photo from the whole day. My baby twins, especially, well- mainly Aymee, were not quite themselves. Little Aymee has been fussy a bit for a few days and she really exchanged places with her twin today and became the one shy and upset with unknown people. She warmed up later when it was just Jennifer and I, with Mellie and her- in the play room area. There were a lot of tears and needing Mommy initially- fortunately- we timed the meal and gathering serendipitously. They were napping for the first part of it. This allowed us to get the food all out, enjoy appetizers/snacks and the entire main meal before they were up.

Todd and I were both really happy with the way we had everything laid out and the use we made of our tables. It felt altogether cozy and comfortable. We had our smaller table set with the appetizer/snacks and then later, spread out all the desserts on it. We moved our big brown chairs to face out from the fireplace- tucked as close into corners as possible. We all were able to eat together around our big table which was really nice. I had a happy time with Abi on one side and Joshua on the other.

Asher ate an entire turkey leg. Grin. Gnawed it right down to the bone. I love how my family relishes Thanksgiving. It makes me laugh to think of some of the memories. Asher and the turkey leg, Nate stuffed to the gills- doesn’t even want to look at food until maybe tomorrow- Todd sampling every single thing we had- including one raw cranberry. Ha! Jonah and I happily loved the dessert we made together. It was not a favorite of everyone- but we thought it was yum! Out of all the food that we made- based on our leftovers- I would have to say that our Holiday Cranberry Relish is the most highly loved food item. There is barely any of it left.

I created a centerpiece for our main table by placing polished apples, a pear, and raw cranberries in a glass bowl. We had two white pillar candles on each side. It made me happy with its wholesome beauty. I tried to take a picture- but it was well, well after the second of the feastings and there were crumbs and bits galore.

Somehow, it all came together, clean house, tasty food- happy children. Company served.

We were even able to end with Skype and family. I didn’t realize how important this was to my children until they all started asking about it. Somehow, the day doesn’t feel complete without truly checking in with loved ones far away.

1 Thessalonians 5 :
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Thanksgiving Day: Part 1

Happy Thanksgiving!!

2012 Menu

Appetizers:
Vegetable Platter
Deviled Eggs
Triscuits with Special Dipping Sauce
Pretzel Bowl

Main Course:
Roasted Turkey (21 pounds)
Home-Made Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Corn
Steamed Green Beans
Holiday Cranberry Relish
Coleslaw
Broccoli Salad (brought by a friend)
Sweet Potato Bake with Marshmallows
Fresh, Home-Made Rolls

Dessert:
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Bars
Chocolate Chip Pie
Jewish Apple Cake

Alas, I have no whipped topping substitute- and for some reason this is really bothering me this year. Maybe next year- we will have coconut and I can create all those lovely vegan coconut cream recipes.

Thankgiving: Preparation Day 2

Today was clean- the – house day and we did get a lot done. The most surprising and noteworthy item is that Abigaile and Asher made our special Sweet Potato Bake all. by. themselves. I merely greased the baking dishes and poured it into to them. I also skinned the potatoes- but Asher mashed them all. I was busy working on other things and asked them to get started on the recipe. Before I knew it, they were in full swing and managed the whole thing alone.

We also had a fun time gathered together before Family Bible. The children were relaying multiple funny stories of twin memories. Many of them came from yesterday… when they had more time with them. Hmmmm.

Several deep and thoughtful blog posts have ministered to me this November… this start of the Holiday season. Not all are Holiday related- but they are all from November.

I read them very fast, in a blur, and catch bits.
Here are three, no, four- I read and pondered. Some a bit more than others…:
Elizabeth Foss
Sarah Clarkson… just today…thinking hard with this one.
Lanier at Lanier’s books… I had to read it twice, but once I did… I leapt to comfort… there IS a time for every season and purpose under heaven…
Ann Voskamp.

Endless Gifts

I am very behind in posting Offerings of Grace and Thanks.

This is a list I have accumulated over these past many months. There is much unsaid, too.
But it is time to begin again… so I share this and will start anew.

It is amazing how much dear sweet babies inspire a slowing down, wonder, appreciation… cupping the sweet days…

Endless Gifts

The way she gathers her baby dolls into her arms. She is definitely a twin girl. She always cuddles two. (A)

Her sweet, empathetic ways. Patting and stroking lovingly. Tearing up and crying in sympathy when someone else is sad.(A)

How I took their 14 month pictures, and Aymee patted Melodee’s back over and over and hugged her- and then suddenly, Mellie- just reached over hugged Aymee and gave her a big kiss- and I, I camera in hand- missed the lightning fast moment. At least Todd and I experienced it together and it will forever be in our memories- how I missed the sweetest little kiss.

Her little, interested bright eyes and social interaction, waving and calling “bye” every time she leaves a room in someone’s arms, her kisses, sweet little songs she sings nestled under my chin. (M)

Peek-a- boo times two- in sync.

Her serious concentration and focus when signing, singing, moving, standing.(A)

Her delicate, feminine ways, little long fingers exploring. (M)

5 boys – matching hair cuts.

How the aroma of home-made pizza fills our house on Saturday night. It is an incredible smell. And I hope it impresses a lovely, homey memory into their hearts. And I am thankful that it is the work of his efficient hands, and he is faithful.

The work of grace in my heart and life. Molding, yielding, surrendering.

Lego Champion and pizza, veggie tray, kettle-cooked popcorn, and Todd’s mp3 player rolling thru all the years in music. And the songs are sweet with memories.

How he loves Rich Mullin’s “Songs” CD and how we all love. Such great songs. (N)

A good, encouraging meeting at a Boy Scout troop. And I blur thanks and grace.

Strong reminders that life is more than food and it is important to press on with the things that really matter, give it our all, give it our best. Keep trusting and keep persevering after what is that good, perfect, and acceptable will for our family. (Romans 12:2)
Luke 12:23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

Lots of hard lessons learned in the last two weeks and while their sting still burns-I hope and pray we learn and grow from it all. From it ALL. (this was actually a couple months ago now)

Sitting on my rocking chair, in the cool of their room, singing to my babies, one at a time. Rubbing noses and giving kisses.

Driving through the mountains on Sunday mornings.

Gathering for church in a home that is scenic- just like it was transported out of a Beatrix Potter Tale (rabbits and all). Rain or Shine- unchangeably lovely.

Anne of Green Gables on VHS down through the years. A little more than usual these last months…

Surprise Camp-Out.

A phone call to my mom- and it is just comforting to know that your mom will “rise up” on the phone in your defense. Just something about knowing she’s on your side. Priceless.

Combing little girls hair after a bath. Love.

No wind, no snow, no ice.

Big Girl with a little sister on each side. Kneeling together, studying something…

Kisses from my babies… mmmm… mah!

Wild, blond hair and sweet, brown fuzz.

Two crawling, baby girlies with ruffles on their pink bottoms.

Thanksgiving: Preparation Day One

Today was Baking/Cook Day in Preparation for our feast on Thursday.

We are on complete Thanksgiving break for three days- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Usually when we take a break, my children still continue in all independent work including math. However, today, they were assigned only reading during our nap hour. This enabled them all to help freely in the kitchen.

I have quite a few helpers now. This means meals are becoming a bit more elaborate and we all had a nice time working together around our big table today.

From oldest to youngest…
Micah mixed Pumpkin Bar batter. He collected the two 9 by 13 cake pans with lids we use and greased them for this dessert. He mixed the bread dough for rolls to go in the bread machine, mixed Pumpkin Pie mixture, peeled two hard-boiled eggs for Deviled eggs and helped mix the filling. -I peeled the 22 other eggs and completed the egg yolk mashing. 😉 He also made part of our lunch, which was Taco Bake, while I made the second part.

Nathanael washed all the fruit for Cranberry relish and gathered all the ingredients. He then chopped two whole bags of cranberries with Abigaile’s help. He added the other chopped fruits as I prepared them. After all was in the bowl, he added the sugar and mixed the entire creation. We then taste tested to make sure the sugar was at a good level – we used one cup less in the double batch we made. Nathanael also dried and put away a load of hand washed dishes. He also brought up chicken tenders for our dinner and put them to defrost in the microwave all by himself.

Asher washed and peeled (with a vegetable peeler) 6 large apples for Jewish Apple Cake. He and Abigaile made the frosting for the Pumpkin Bars entirely by themselves, working together (under my supervision…) Asher and Abigaile dried and put away a second load of dishes (this is yet to be done… to be done this evening.)

Abigaile helped prepare Cranberry Relish and Pumpkin Bar frosting. She unloaded her half of the dishwasher twice along with drying and putting away preparation dishes.

Jonah helped me to make a Chocolate Chip Pie. He also unloaded his half of the dishwasher twice.

Joshua helped to make the Jewish Apple Cake.

Aymee and Melodee had a rambunctious day under the watchful eye of different siblings. They barely took their naps and were hustled to bed at an early hour to recover.

I formed rolls, let them rise, and baked them. Poured Pumpkin Bar Batter, Pumpkin Pie Batter, Chocolate Chip Pie Batter, and Jewish Apple Cake Batter into various baking dishes. Chilled Cranberry Relish in two separate containers. Boiled, peeled, cut, filled deviled eggs. And will soon be popping Sweet Potatoes in the crock pot to cook on low overnight- to prepare our traditional Sweet Potato Bake tomorrow.

Today was also a very special day as it was the first night our oldest sons will officially be Boy Scouts and went to their troop meeting in uniform (of which I sew-ed!!! the patches). They also went to their first Thanksgiving Scout feast toting favorite offerings. Micah- Deviled Eggs and Nate- Cranberry Relish.

I was feeling quite a bit overwhelmed as I faced this day and all the cooking I needed to complete. Mainly because I want to enjoy these days with my children and I entirely dislike the feelings of tension and strife than can arise with the need of much help and children not on the same page. I am happy to say, after a little bit of a bumpy start-it really went well and I would really like Tuesday of Thanksgiving week to become a baking tradition!

Off to clean the mountain of residue left in the kitchen and finish some final details for this day of cooking.