Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Did you think we were finished with our feast just because the 25th has slipped by us? No way! We are still rolling along.
Laurie and Joe live in Alabama and there are lots of deer in 'Bama. So they brought a cooler containing 50 venison steaks... now, I admit, even that is a LOT for a family our size. At first I thought the steaks must be smallish. But no, upon thawing, they filled the biggest bowl I own- and you guys know I own some really big bowls. A BIG bowl of venison steaks. Joe and Laurie were such troopers as they chicken fried those steaks that seemed to come out of the bowl like the widow's oil pot. Never ending. There was gravy to go with. We made cheese sticks for the appetizer- a new thing for most of my kids and a big hit. Then there were crispy fries and creamed corn. The pop was in the cooler packed with snow- bottles of orange, strawberry, and rootbeer. That cooler has seen more action this winter than it did all summer! Her dessert... well, we had to forego dessert- which was no hardship as we were all thoroughly stuffed. She had made two big pans of dirt dessert- a favorite, but apparently there is a BIG difference in "instant" pudding mix and the "cook and serve" variety. Who knew? So we popped them in the freezer and we have had them this afternoon as a mid day snack- enjoyed by a house full of cousins and kids and such. Joe and Laurie found really cool shades at the dollar store and that was their gift to the kids. How neat, and very Joe and Laurie. The scripture reading was from 2 Timothy 2- about being a workman that need not be ashamed.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Will is...generous and kind. There's nothing that he has that won't be yours if he thinks you could use it. And there's nothing he won't try to get for you or do for you if he thinks you need it. I have a wonderful quilting room to prove it and I am sure there are many people out there who have benefited from his generosity. He's fun-loving and loud and everything a guy should be- he'll watch the movie Persuasion with me and is very opinonated about how much sweeter Ann is than Lizzie of Pride and Prejudice. Then he'll get a kick out of Clint Eastwood. Cracks me up, but that's Bill. He has a way of taking care of everyone. And I love how he takes care of us.
His feast... well, it had his name written all over it. He had a beach party in mind- I am so thankful he resisted the urge to buy a few bags of sand- though I hardly think the floors would have suffered from it... Beach Boys were blasting from the CD player. He strung a volleyball net across the dining room. There were plastic tableclothes and plates and forks. He grilled out- in the garage- burgers and hotdogs and we fixed baked beans and mac and cheese (our friends Scott and Nena joined in the fun.) He had his drinks chilling in a cooler filled with snow. And for dessert he had chocolate cake and as his gift... well, he bought these foam sun visors and letter stickers with dolphins and fish and such to decorate your own visor. He always gives his guests a giant chocolate bar, and he didn't disappoint this year. We had so much fun and our guests were such good sports with our sillyness. He read 1 Tim. 5:6-12 about being content and pursuing better things.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Here's Paul. He was surprisingly agreeable about posing for a picture. I'll not look a gift horse in the mouth. He is 15 and has always seemed older than he is- but it looks like he is catching up with himself. Sigh. He is a very good kid. Tends to be quiet- except when he is ordering the "little maggots" around. Then he bellows and the little ones just giggle and squeal because it's impossible to take him seriously- if he were really angry he'd be real quiet. Plus, he has a real soft spot for the little ones. He loves football and everything sports. His asthma slows him down a little these days- not that he would ever admit it. He's singularly stubborn. He's bold. And very spiritually minded. And we just love him to peices.
His feast was... well it was a bit Chinese. He had paper lanterns and candles on the table- not near each other. Paul had fortune cookies and chopsticks with his dinner along with sweet and sour chicken and rice- for the appetizer. Paul always has a way of going overboard, but no one around here seems to mind! His main course was pasta shells and cheese, homemade. Pretty good I must say. He had bought all the kids a round Coke- have you seen those bottles? They are so cute. But just in case they needed more to drink he had sparkling grape juice in the fridge. See? Always planning for things. And sure enough we drank it all. His dessert was a peach skillet cake with vanilla ice cream- very small servings as everyone was stuffed. His gift was an assortment of candy. The scripture reading was the end of Col. 3 and the beginning of Col. 4, about being the kind of servant we should be.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
I love key lime pie and this is one of the easiest recipes I have ever used. It is just delish!
Key Lime Pie
one 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup of Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime juice(found in better supermarkets)
combine milk, egg yolks, and lime juice and mix well until smooth.
pour filling into a 9" graham cracker pie shell
bake at 350* for 15 minutes
Cool, refrigerate until chilled and top with whipped cream.
So simple and sooooo good.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
- Quite a few years ago, I decided that the holiday season was just too full of thoughts and energy surrounding the "stuff we get." (As the parent of 8 children, I just didn't see any way around the holidays being a disappointment because of tight finiancial circumstances.) Children are naturally generous, but we can really ruin that by making the holidays about material things- which, let's face it, they won't remember a month from now, much less as they grow into adults.
- So I decided to use, loosely, the lesson of Esther and create a month of meditation on the "service we give." Let's just try to do something simple in the service of others. Acts of kindness. Memories of time spent with family that will last them a lifetime. Not about stuff that money can buy, but about service that can be freely given.
- Hence, Feast Days! On the first day of December, the children draw numbers to set up the sequence of Feast days- all fitting within the month of December, but may overflow into January. After the numbers have been drawn they all meet with me, individually, in my room and make out their menu for their Feast. It's all a grand secret. It becomes obvious that they have been putting a lot of thought into their menus for several months- and keeping it a secret- amazing! They try their best to choose dishes that are family favorites- ones they know their brothers and sisters will love. They also plan how they are going to decorate the kitchen and what small gift they hope to give their siblings- there is a $5 limit on all 6 gifts and decorations, so you can imagine they are quite simple- like a pretty sparkly pencil, a holiday cup or a fancy bit of candy. The decorations can be gleaned from the attic and with a bit of tinsel thrown in, it usually is quite festive!
- I usually take each child to lunch before their feast and then we go shopping for their ingredients. They have to heft all the food into the house while the other children are hiding upstairs. The kitchen is curtained off from prying eyes and we begin to cook. What fun this is for me to have the company of each child as they excitedly giggle and whisper about who is going to be the most surprised and who is going to like which dish the most!
- Then, my favorite part. The child opens the curtain and very ceremoniously invites his guests to the feast. The children are so sweet and encouraging about the decoations and the good smells. We sit around the table and Bill reads a scripture then we each say what we are thankful for and after the prayer, the feasting begins. The server is the child who prepared the feast and they always wait until last to serve their own plate. The food is usually stashed away in the oven to stay warm and so it is a lot of fun to see what comes out next!
- Finally the dishes are done by me and the host. More time together and the feast ends.
This is Boo and she's a doll. Just a doll. She is one of those children that is very easily pleased and has no trouble making up her mind about what she likes and doesn't like. Take her to the candy store and she see what she wants right away! No dithering around, worrying about making the right/wrong choice. She's not crazy about big rambunctious dogs- which puts our dog on the list. She is silly and fun- as you can probably tell by the sparkle in her eyes. She loves to dress up and she put on her best frock for the occasion. Her feast was so uniquely Boo. She had all the bacon you can eat- a rarity in a big family. And sausages and then she served pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream. She made little kabobs of fruit and marshmallows. For dessert she made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and sprinkles- the girl loves her chocolate. Oh, and she had chocolate milk. Her gifts were little penny mazes- you know the ones with a tiny ball that you have to get to the center of the maze. Jacob won first with his maze. I John 4:6-11 was our reading- about loving others as God loved us and gave his son. We had a grand time, but now I need to be rolled to bed!