Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanks Giving is approaching!

I love Thanksgiving and am so looking forward to it!! I am a traditionalist when it comes to our feast. I also guess you could say it's one of the few times during the year I'm a control freak a little (this would include, Christmas and Easter). Last year we had a friend come with her family for Thanksgiving and she brought the stuffing/dressing (well she made it here) and Chad was not a happy man, he loves mine...that's it (well my mom's as well, since it's her recipe).
We're HOPING and PRAYING that my best Army wife friend, who lives about 2 1/2 hours away and just moved back to Germany last month. We're still waiting to see if they're going to make it here or not. We're also having a couple single soldier friends over for dinner. Here's our menu:

Turkey (25 lb...yep it's BIG)
Ham (just a small little one)
Homemade Dressing (although we call it stuffing, it does not go into the bird)
Homemade noodles (using the broth from the turkey...mmmm!)
Artisan Bread (I just recently started making this and my family LOVES it!)
Greenbean casserole (not that nasty healthy version either, the classic good one! LOL)
Gravy from the turkey broth
Mashed potatoes
Cranberry Sauce (sadly from the can, my kids love it)
We'll have a cheese and veggie platter for appetizers
Deviled Eggs (Chad will be making these....yuck to me!)
Pumpkin and Chocolate Pies
I feel like I'm forgetting something, but think that's everything.

I LOVE and I do mean cooking this meal. I make the same thing for Christmas and Easter. It's what I grew up having and love the tradition of it. I make my pies Wednesday, the goal this year is to have them done Wednesday by 3 PM. I will make the bread on Wednesday as well, well the starter for it, then it'll just have to rise for 2 hours and bake for 30 minutes, it can rise between 2 to 5 hours so I'll be able to pull it out in the morning and stick it in the oven right before we're ready to eat, plus it makes 3 loaves, so it should be plenty of bread!
I cook my turkey all night long, on 200 heat, then in the morning you wake up and your whole house smells of turkey (mmmm, nothing like it!) then I have my oven free for everything else throughout the morning and early afternoon and just brown it up the hour before we'll be ready to eat!

My love for cooking this meal is how much my family loves it. How it lasts us for a few days afterwards (no cooking for a few days afterwards!! Wahoo!), and well lets get real good it is! I can remember the first time I made a turkey on my own, we were stationed 13 years ago in Baumholder, was our first Thanksgiving now with family. I was so nervous and called my mom at LEAST 5 or more times, so scared I was going to ruin everything. We had a ton of people over, 2 families, and I think 10 single soldiers. The only mishap was the pumpkin pie, one of the pies (out of 2) I used the frozen pit crusts, and left the plastic lid in one of them and poured the pie filling right on top! LOL But it amazingly didn't melt and Chad happily had a pie to himself! We had thankfully served the other pie first and between the pumpkin, chocolate, and a cake a friend brought we never cut into that 2nd pie until everyone else had left and we discovered my foul up! LOL We still laugh about that. I hope everyone has a funny mess up from a big Thanksgiving dinner that they and their spouse can laugh about for years to come.

One thing I have learned, is I like being the cook. I don't want to share any of the responsibility! I want to be the only one to cook it all, if someone wants to bring an appetizer or a side dish I didn't plan to make, or dessert...I'm good with that, but I want the "heavy cooking" left to me. I know it's selfish, I just seriously love it. Plus we've discovered, if someone makes their stuffing/dressing differently than yours and it's not good...well it's kind of disappointing lol.

We have also went to serving it buffet style. It's just easier for us, when we have so much food and more than just our famly at the table, goodness with all that food, it's still easier to have it buffet style with just our family!

So what are your family food traditions, any other traditions? We go around our table and share our Thanks to God for various things throughout the year, depending on the friends, we'll play cards or a boardgame as adults and the kids normally are playing, if it's not too cold they'll playoutside for a while, if it's been snowing, they'll go sledding, watch a movie (normally a Thanksgiving or Christmas one). Lots of family time and laughter and praising GOD. Is there anything better?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Heaven Gained an amazing woman

I got a call this afternoon from my mom. My "step" Grandma (step is such a loose word, as that was NEVER EVER EVER how she treated us or how I felt about her.) Her first name is Nona and it's always what I called her. My Grandpa married her when I was a junior in high school. Nona was an angel on earth. No she wasn't perfect, but she was perfect for my Grandpa and our family. She had a beautiful heart and had no problem speaking her thoughts either.

She died in her sleep last night. My sweet precious Grandpa is who I'm aching for the most. His first wife, who's my mom and her brothers mom, died when she was only 23 years old. My mom was 2 and her brother was 1. He remarried with in a year or so, to a woman who he and my grandma had known and used to play cards with her and her (ex) husband. The woman who ultimately raised my mother was not a kind woman. She brought 4 boys into the marriage, Grandpa had 2, and together they had 1 (son). My mom was the only girl. She was pretty classicaly treated like Cinderella to put it lightly. When I was in the 2nd grade she had a heart attack, she was taken to the hospital and had surgery and when the dr came out to tell Grandpa the surgery went well, she went into cardiac arrest and died. He was alone for 10 years. He never dated, worked for Sante Fe Railroad, and was a devoted Grandpa. When he met Nona a joy came into his life that's so hard to explain. He'd always been a happy man, but this was a whole new happiness. It was a joy deep in his soul. Both are devoted Christians and very active in their church. When they got married there was never a moment that my brother or I felt like we were "step" Grandkids. She simply loved us.

I miss her and have missed her since we've been living in Germany and now knowing I'll never get to see or talk to her again, my heart breaks. We're working right now on trying to get our passports renewed so we can get back to the states for the funeral and to spend time with my Grandpa.

Please be in prayer for my Grandpa and all my family.

Lord Undo Me

I'm listening to and JD (the current DJ on) just shared this beautiful poem.....

I don’t really worship these day
I don’t really stand up to praise you with songs
Or prayers or actionsor with anything
I am full of all the right moves
I am full of all the right words
I am full of all the right religion
But it is all just illusion
I am really
Too religious
Too realistic
and well really just to lazy
to worship you anymore
I have lost my first love
I have lost the joy of your presence
But most of all I have lost the fear of your glory
Father I need to see you again
Like Isaiah I want to stand in awe of your glory
To fall down at your feet
To come face to face with your
I want to stand before you and see you for who you are
and me for who I amI want to be undone
I want to know me for who I really am
I want to see the depths of my heart
And know that you are the only way
You are the only truth
You are the only life
I want to see me and understand
What it really must have taken for you to
Love me
Care for me
See me
Speak to me
Want me
Communicate with me
Die for me
Die for me
Die for me
Lord, I want to stand in that place where all I can see is your glory
And my sin
Because in that place I can’t help but worship you.
Lord let me come undone
Undo my heart
Lord, undo my heart
break down these walls that I love so much
No, wait don’t,I’m scared I don’t know if I can handle this
But I can’t live this way anymore
I can’t stand here in this half-lifet
his going through the motions life
this not really alive life
Father, I need you so come in and do what you must
Cut out the tumor on my heart
Break down the walls that I love
Lord let me come undone
Undo my heartlet me worship you again
*Blake Williams

Wishing Days Away

This morning I wrote a status update about not wishing away days with your children, but you know I can expand on that to anyone in your life (spouse). Days are precious and we're never guarenteed a single one of them, they're a gift from God. When I see person after person posting how they can't wait for this day or that day and it's a constant day after day, month after month issue, it breaks my heart. They don't get it. They justify it. "Well, my husband's deployed so I just want this year to go by fast so he can be home and then I want time to slow down" No, I'm sorry but to "me" that doesn't cut it. I've been through 5 deployments the last being 14 1/2 months long, yes I missed Chad more than I could ever describe in words, but I did my best to enjoy the days I had with my kids, and not wish our days away. We ALL have bad days and look forward to bedtime, but that shouldn't be a day in and day out thing, if so...I think that's when we need to take a good, hard, long look at ourselves and ask ourself why. What's our attitude. Is it one of selfishness or gratitude? Are we looking at the days we have as something we just have to get through or are we really living each day to the maximum? Did you praise God for this day? Have I praised God for this day? No, then lets do it right now. Thank you, Jesus for today. Thank you for my husband and my children: Jordyn who's safe in your arms, for Jacob who's growing up too fast and was recently said to himself and to me that he's looking like a teenager (he's not one yet and it broke my heart a little to step back and look at him and see how old he's getting, it seems like just yesterday I gave birth to him), Jackson who's got an innocence and immaturity about him that many 8 year olds are discouraged to have, yet is such a part of WHO Jack is, and what's wonderful and frustrating all at the same time. Emma who's our beautiful little girl, our princess, who's growing up far too quickly, who's smart and beautiful and loved by everyone who meets her. Noah, my sweet baby boy. He's sweet and loving and just enough ornriness that days with him are full of laughter. This baby who's growing inside of me, I do not know who she or he is yet, but God does. This child is a miracle and blessing and just a simple gift from GOD. Thank you for Chad. For the man he is and the man he's constantly becoming with the help of GOD. Thank you for bringing him home from every deployment he's been sent on to war torn nations, thank you for the father he is to our children, and the husband he is to me. He loves me no matter what size I am, how ugly in attitude I can be, how emotional and all over the place I can be, no matter if I'm irrational and irate or calm and peaceful...he loves me and challenges me to be better, but loves me no matter where I am.

Let me enjoy watching Emma throwing the balloon around and ancing around to Klove, as Noah runs around all crazy and silly and begs to go back into the kitchen because he's always hungry. Let me enjoy our homeschooling days, even when the boys procrastinate and sit there just looking at their pages. Please don't let me take any of these moments for granted.

I want to be gentle in my words and actions. Please Lord remind me everyday, not to take a moment for granted.