Saturday, November 26, 2011

Week in Review

I know, I know, I didn't do one last week - it just flew by so fast, I didn't have time to 'review' anything - and now, if you asked me what happened, I would just have to stand here with a puzzled look on my face!

This week hasn't been any quieter, but I can remember a few blurbs:

SUNDAY: S. and L. were pretty demanding of my attention last night. I felt badly for C., who was very good, but didn't get much Mommy time. I had resolved to spend some time with just him this afternoon, but didn't have a definite plan. As we were crossing the parking lot after church, a gentleman I don't know pulled up and asked C's name. I told him and he said, "Merry Christmas, C.!" and handed him a brand new Mater (from Cars) Lego kit! How perfect, and completely unexpected! We had fun putting the first half together while the little ones napped, and will finish it up over the break.

While Daddy and M. were out in the evening, the littles and I watched the second "Alvin and the Chipmunks" movie. S. of course ignores every movie until there is music (which is fine by me). When the credits rolled, that was the signal for everyone to start getting ready for bed, but somehow we ended up dancing to all the songs instead. Usually C. will do a few spins, get embarrassed, and stop, but this time we were all spinning and jumping around the room like idiots. Even L. was bouncing along and grinning in his rainforest jumper. You just can't beat moments like that...although I am getting a little old to keep that up for very long!

MONDAY: So, how long have we been doing foster care with the BIA? Since before C. was born, right? Today we get a letter from them (wow, actual print communication?) saying that they are suspending our foster care payments, because they have NO RECORD OF US. Wha??? Called the supervisor, and while there is a file for C., there is no file on us. Anywhere. I have no words. How!!!

See, no words.

This is Norman:

I named him Norman when Daddy started drooling over him. You can't eat something you have named. Norman comes into the yard every morning to graze. Most of the dogs ignore him, but Kota has to bark, because Kota is a lab and has not yet grown a brain. Lab brains are like wisdom teeth; you don't get them until you are older, and some don't get them at all. Kota barks, Daddy chases Norman off, Norman trots a few yards away, Daddy goes inside, Norman comes right back. Repeat. As annoying as the barking dog can be, I absolutely love that I live where this can happen on a regular basis.

WEDNESDAY: Norman!!! Did I just say I loved this? Actually, I'm surprised it took this long for the larger critters to discover the mulch pit.

The chipmunks discovered it long ago, but no chipmunk did that...or left those footprints!

Spent all day at work setting up for the Scholastic Book Fair, which starts Monday. Pulled about $1600 in books we want for the library, so I sure hope sales go well! We closed at 5PM, and everyone pretty much ran home to start cooking and cleaning. The plan was, Daddy would get one turkey started in the smoker and occupy the kids, while M. and I made a bajillion side dishes.

And then the pager went off.

So, M. tried to keep little ones from helping, while I cooked and Daddy dealt with cars stuck on ice. S. managed to escape M. and sample just about everything multiple times, but it all got done by the time Daddy made it home. I LOVE to cook, so this is my kind of holiday! I tried a couple newish recipes - nothing bizarre, just not the way I've made things before. The Asparagus Casserole from Mennonite Girls Can Cook was good, but I'd skip the cheese next time - or maybe use Parmesan. Daddy liked it with the cheddar, though, so it's all good :)

I made The Pioneer Woman's Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples, and her Soul Sweet 'Taters. I doubled the latter recipe, and they turned out pretty sweet - I think if I do that again, I won't double the sugar. S. sure liked them, though, much to Daddy's disappointment (he says squash is what you do to bugs.)

THURSDAY: Too. Much. Food. I wanted to try everything, but couldn't quite manage. Both turkeys (one in the roaster, one in the smoker) turned out great. I thought the one in the smoker might be dry, but both were scrumptiously juicy. In fact, despite having two whole turkeys, there was hardly any left over!

There were pies left, but only because everyone was so stuffed. I was especially looking forward to my neice's chocolate pecan pie, but I wanted to wait until I had enough room to really enjoy it...which wasn't until about 7PM! And boy, was it worth the wait! S., on the other hand, had at least three of what we are dubbing "M.'s Mistake Brownies". M. made these Wednesday while I was at work, and according to her, was too tired to pay attention to the she ended up with something entirely different, but probably better. Here's her version:

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
8 oz. sweet butter
5 eggs
1 T vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 T powdered Maxwell House Cafe Francais
3 3/4 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups flour

Prepare your pan (we lined with foil) and preheat the oven to 425. Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Set aside. Lick spoon thoroughly (then wash it, if someone is looking.)

Mix eggs, vanilla, almond extract, salt, coffee, and sugar. Add chocolate and beat only until mixed. Add flour and do same. Pour into pan and smooth top.

Bake for 35 minutes and then STOP. If you insert a knife, it WILL come out with stuff on it, but it's still done, trust us. Let stand at room temp until completely cool, then you can take it out and cut it. If the edges are dry, you can trim them off, or just save those pieces to top with ice cream.

Finished product (or what is left of it, anyway - this was a large pan...):

As you can see, nice and soft in the middle, but not undercooked.

Of course, as good as the food is, Thanksgiving is more about the people you get to spend the day with. In addition to family members we don't get to see often enough, we were joined by our friend Priscilla, a retired teacher. I watched her play a dice game with C., and was reminded once again of what an awesome teacher she is. The game was quite obviously teaching him addition, but if I tried to do it, it would have an air of "this is an educational game". Somehow she makes everything seem like just pure fun, and he had a blast! I wish everyone could have stayed longer, but there were long drives under turkey-induced comas ahead.

FRIDAY: No, we did NOT go shopping! After an overtired, early bedtime, the kids all woke up rested and wound and ready to go. Daddy and M. left, suggesting a barricade myself in the corner with C.'s light saber. Not a bad idea. Actually, C. and S. spent most of the morning playing with the folding chairs we had borrowed from Grandma. They made a fort:

a tunnel

and a superhero headquarters

Batman and Superturd!

And yes, that is the same shirt she was wearing yesterday. Nobody cares.

I made sweet potato rolls with some of the leftover sweet poatoes, and twice baked potatoes with the leftover mashed potatoes. Now I have leftover rolls and twice-baked potatoes.

SATURDAY: Quiet day at home. Worked on a present for Daddy while he was out (hah!) and tried to teach C. that he is not supposed to volunteer information about his person while playing "Guess Who?" Planning to finish out the evening with one of the most quotable movies of all, until next week, be careful, or...YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!

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