Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pie for Breakfast

One of the things I love about holiday time is pies.  Especially when you have multiple pies and days off, so pie for breakfast just seems right.  After all, 3 pies for 4 people (especially when one person only like one of the pies) is just too much pie to eat it only for dessert!  

So, this morning, D and I had mince pie for breakfast.  Because the pumpkin pie will be making another appearance at our Thanksgiving the second, I was mean and denied the kids a chance to have pie for breakfast.  If there's any left, they can have some tomorrow morning.

Tonight though, is turkey and trimmings all over again.  And again for dinner tomorrow probably - or maybe we'll have fish soup tomorrow and turkey dinner Monday.  Whichever way it is, it will all be delicious!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We're heading off in a bit to have Thanksgiving at my aunt's house.  It will and yet it won't be like Thanksgivings of my childhood.  It will be at a familiar location - my aunt's house, which before that was my great aunt's house.  But there will be many fewer people there - only 11 and I will know all of them.

When I was growing up, our extended family usually had Thanksgiving dinner together - all 40 plus people.  Invariably there was someone there I didn't know.  Maybe it was a cousin's college roommate who lived too far away to go home for the holiday.  Or someone's BIL or neighbor who would otherwise be alone.  a boyfriend/girlfriend/new spouse possibly as we got older.  But now, most of my generation has moved away and we haven't done this for a long while.  

I know many people remember sitting at the kids table as somewhat of a negative.  But when you have a full dozen kids there, there wasn't any negative to it for us.  It was fun - no adults to tell you to quiet down and listen.  No listening to your uncles debating politics.  Just kids/teens.  I don't remember not sitting at the kids table, but I suppose until the age of 5 or so, the kids had to eat with a parent.

What I remember is a gaggle of cousins with about a 9 year age range, though most of us were within 5 years of age.  Today I expect we'll all sit together, which will be nice as well.  And since the 4 kids range from 4 to 12, that's probably too big an age range for them to really have much in common.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about the turkey dinner....  

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Baking Frenzy

I got busy baking today, mostly for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  For tomorrow I baked 2 pumpkin pies, a cranberry/apple/ginger pie and brownies.  Then because I had a half a bag of cranberries left (and OJ in the fridge from D's cranberry sauce Monday), I decided to make 2 loaves of cranberry nut bread.  Finally something I could get into today!  We cut into one loaf this afternoon and the other has been wrapped and put into the freezer for taking with us for Christmas.  

I'm very pleased with myself at how the baking is going.  I have 3 loaves of quick bread all ready to take with us.  Plus I've baked and frozen 2 types of cookies.  Of course I still have my biscotti to make and it takes the better part of a day.  Still, I'm well on my way and it's not Thanksgiving yet (for a few more hours).  


Sunday, November 23, 2008

2008 Christmas List

We've been working off and on on the Christmas list for over a month now - and true to form from last year, M's list is the most detailed.

I'm sure we'll have updates to this - and if you are family, I'll email you when we have updates.

M's list
animaniacs DVDs
Wii games, maybe Mario Kart or others
manga-One Piece,
Nintendo DS game, Drawn to Life
iTunes gift card (!!!) - ! added by M
cold, hard cash
Computer Game, Spore
sketch pad, preferably spiral bound at the top

A's list
Nintendo DS game - Sonic Chronicles, the Dark Brotherhood
Wii, Legend of Zelda: the Twilight Princess (also for M)

(K & D)'s list
small ice cream maker - we have one that makes 5 qts. I want one that will make 1 or maybe 2 quarts - enough for the 4 of us - but not huge quantities
HD converter box for the TV - we have 2 TVs, no cable and no plans for it (much to the kids dismay)

K's list
blue terrycloth kitchen towels
reusable non-plastic water bottles (that fit in the car cup holders)  I'd like ones that have an opening big enough to put ice cubes in

D's list
he says he emailed people with 2 suggestions, but he didn't email me (and I've forgotten what they were)

For All
Leopard software for Mac


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wintery weather

Yes, I know its not technically winter yet, but it sure feels like it here! The high for today was in the 40's - and of course, today was the walkathon at A's school. It had initially been scheduled for last Saturday, but they postponed at the last minute when it looked like it might be raining. As it turns out, the rain had ended by around 8 am, so by the start at 11, it would have been fine. Well, today wasn't rainy, but it was awfully cold.

I was scheduled to work in the food booth for half an hour and boy was it cold there - no sun under the tent, so we all had a tendency to huddle just outside the tent in the sun when no one was there to buy baked goods.

I couldn't believe that they didn't have any hot drinks for sale! We could have sold many, many cups of coffee and hot cocoa today. It seems that last year (when it was quite warm - many kids in short sleeves) they offered cocoa and only sold about 5 cups, so they decided not to offer it this year. Even though it was in the upper 30's while I was there. I was very surprised that they didn't find a way to offer hot drinks once they saw (yesterday) how cold it would be today. Luckily I had brought some hot cider in a travel mug - I had assumed they would have drinks, but was afraid it would only be coffee. I was VERY glad to have that cider!

Another thing that was surprising was how few people showed up for the walkathon. And not just because of the cold - they said that only 70 kids had signed up to walk - out of a population of over 500 kids in the school. Big difference from last year. Last year I think they had over 200 kids signed up. Our school population is changing somewhat, but I don't think its changing that fast. I suppose some of it may be the economy also, but I'm still surprised more people didn't sign up to participate, even if they didn't raise much money - there wasn't a minimum to raise to walk.

Because of lack of participation, I ended up working at the food tent for 2 hours instead of the 30 minutes I had signed up for. They really wanted me to help longer, but A was cold and ready to go home (me too). My mom had come by to see A and visit the bake sale (hoping for some coffee) and she ended up staying and helping out for a while after I left.

The lack of participation worries me about the school. I keep hearing that they are having problems getting volunteers for various things. I was at the school Friday helping to take down the book fair and there was only 1 other parent there helping, whereas previous years have usually had 3-5 other parents. I'm not too surprised when I hear of problems getting people to run programs or take on big commitments, but when they have trouble getting people to help out for 30 minutes - that does surprise me.

A managed 15 laps around the track in the 30 minutes they had to walk. And to make that many laps, he alternated running and walking. Way to go A!

After all that cold, I decided a nice big fire would be just the ticket tonight. And it was. It was quite cozy tonight, sitting in front of a roaring fire, playing San Juan.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unproductive Christmas shopping

I spent 3 hours in the mall today and managed not to buy anything. It wasn't that I wasn't looking to buy, but I just didn't find anything that I liked (and thought was a reasonable deal). I was actually trying to buy a certain Christmas present, but couldn't find anything that I thought the recipient would like - at any price. Hmph. I may have to go hunting online or branch out to non-department stores.

I even had a free $20 gift card from the mall, but didn't manage to spend it. I did buy a few things from stores outside the mall, but they don't take the mall cards.

D and I need to have a discussion on what exactly I'm looking for for the kids so I can have a better focus when I go out shopping again.

It was very interesting at the mall as it was getting downright crowded in some department stores by noon, even though it is the middle of the week in November still - and everyone is complaining about the economy. Some of the smaller stores, though, had very few people in them.

I expect I'll be back at the mall at least once before Christmas. Although, maybe if I don't need to, I could skip the crowds and use the gift card in the relative calm and bargain of January.

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Green signs

I've seen a few signs of stores going more green lately.

Publix has signs out in front of the stores saying something like "Did you remember your bags?"

Kroger now has directions on how to use your own bags on their self checkout. Evidently it involved reprogramming the machines, so that if you add weight to the bagging station before starting your checkout, it asks if you want to use your own bags. The last time I had taken my own bags to Kroger I was very frustrated, so I had stopped taking them in. Now, I'll have to try to remember it again.

It's strange how I never forget and leave my bags in the car at Aldi (they don't supply free bags), but I often forget at Publix or Kroger. I guess its not an ingrained habit yet.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas Baking has begun

The fruitcake is made and soaking.  D made it on Sunday.  It smells delicious - I can't wait to try it.  It's a slight variation on his usual fruitcake (but still dried fruit, not candied).

Today I tried out a new recipe for pumpkin bread.  It's yummy.  One loaf is going to M's breakfast with parents tomorrow and the other is in the freezer for Christmas.

Then, since I was already baking, I decided to make 7 layer bars.  Oooohhh, I love those things!  I couldn't quite fit all of them in the tin, though.  Aw darn, I guess I'll have to eat the last 2.  Well, actually I already had to test one out, to make sure it was good enough to share.  Yep, it was.  The other will be my treat tomorrow.  I may have to make another batch between now and Christmas... I like them that much.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Silly Supper Story

At dinner tonight M wanted to play a game. Not the usual thing at dinner, but this wasn't a usual game either. He wanted to have us each take turns helping to tell a story. We decided each person could add anywhere from a partial sentence to several sentences.

Our story started with an alligator and a ninja. It then included dimensional portals and sock puppet ventriloquist dummies that come to life. I'm sure the kids would correct me and tell me I got details wrong, but it included gems such as:
  • the alligator escaped through a dimensional portal into the past where he became very rich, because no one had ever seen a talking alligator
  • the sock took the dimensional portal and ended up in a fridge, next to some butter (which was really something else in disguise), which talked and the sock said "I can't believe you're not butter" (this one had me laughing more than it really deserved)
  • the sock was looking for its one and only mate, but unfortunately it had been morphed into a meatloaf, so then it looked for a portal to another dimension and found it easily in the dryer (of course, we all KNEW the dryer sent stray socks somewhere else!)
  • the voice of god came from the cloud saying something to the alligator, but he didn't like that, so he shot the voice and declared himself to be a god, to go along with the fact that he had declared himself king of a small country
  • and on and on

The kids, especially A, have gotten much better at this than the last time we tried it. That must have been 2 years ago. I can see it coming up again - especially on our long trip to VA for Christmas.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

20 Years

Sorry for the hiatus, but once I haven't posted for a few days, then it seems like I'm way behind and I don't know what to post.

Anyway, D and I went to Houston over the weekend for our 20th college reunion from Rice. A friend had warned me that we might not see that many people we know - and in a sense that was true. But since D's brother and his wife (both Rice grads with us) and our friends from Houston (also both Rice grads) were all there, it didn't really matter if we saw other people we knew or not. Oh, we did run into other people we knew - some we all knew, some only some of us knew, most that one person knew and the others kinda-sorta recognized. Other than the friends/family we had talked to beforehand, there wasn't anyone there that I was really delighted to see.

But, still, it was fun. Relaxing! A weekend away from home, without the kids, with interesting people. And Rice even won the homecoming game. I think they are now 6-1 in conference and guaranteed a bowl bid. Though, as usual, the first half was better than the second half.

Half-time was fun. Rice has a tradition of naming unconventional homecoming king and queen. This year was no exception. Homecoming queen was a VP of some sort at the school. Homecoming king was Hurricane Ike! They had someone wearing a hurricane symbol running wildly around the field. The crowd loved it!

We got to eat Turkish food one night and Persian food the other - neither of which we can find easily around here. There are some around Atlanta, but not anywhere near where we live. The Turkish place, though, we walked to from Rice. We had walked from the hotel to campus and then after the alumni gathering we walked out to the village - it was the first place we saw and it looked good (and it was good).

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We got some free food

D and I each wore our "Georgia Voter" stickers today - we had actually voted early last week in fear of terribly long lines today. As it turns out, in our county over 50% of the people voted early, so the lines weren't bad. I drove past 2 polling places near us at about 5:20 pm and neither had many cars there - looked more like a local election than a presidential election.

D got his free Star*bucks this morning. They changed their policy on needing a voting sticker and anyone could get a free coffee.

Then my mom told me this afternoon that Dunkin Donuts was offering free donuts. I couldn't find anything on their website, but I called one near me and they said that they hadn't known anything about it until lots of people came in this morning saying it had been on Good Morning America. When I went to a different DD this afternoon, they didn't know anything about it, but they called the store I had called earlier and, sure enough, gave me a free donut. D is going to try to go by the first DD and get a donut for M tonight, after Scouts.

I wish I could have gotten the free ice cream, but the closest B&J's is probably 30 miles or more.

Now, it's on to election watching. They say coverage will start at 7, but its hard to see how they will have anything to report other than how long the lines have or haven't been yet!

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Vote and get free food?

I've read that if you show your voting sticker at various places, you can rack up some free food. I guess it's a good thing I saved my sticker from voting last week!

So far, I've heard you can get:
Chicken strip meal at Shane's
Sandwich at Chick-fill-A
regular coffee at Starbucks
ice cream at Ben and Jerry's
donut at Krispy Kreme

I know I won't be hitting up all those places, but maybe I'll try to get one. D is probably going to try for the coffee at least.

However, I saw an article online in the AJC saying that it's illegal to offer an inducement to vote, so maybe they'll be offering free stuff to everyone. Wonder if that works if you're under voting age?


Sunday, November 02, 2008

iPod Touch

M finally saved up enough money to order an iPod touch. He was so excited! He really wanted to get 2 day shipping also, but alas, he didn't have enough money for that also.

So, we watched the tracking on the Fed*Ex website.

Mon: The order was processed
Tue: The package arrived in Sacramento
Wed: no change
Thur: no change, until late that night when it showed it arrived at Ellenwood
Fri: made it to local Fed*Ex facility, onto the truck for delivery by 7:50 am.

First thing out of M's mouth when he walks in the door at 4:30 is "Is it here?" No, not yet. Still not here at 5 or 5:30. Every time we hear a vehicle on the street, M peers out the window to see if its here. Finally, finally at just after 6pm, the truck arrives. M, A and I all leave the table (we were having dinner early due to trick-or-treating) to go get the package. The Fed*Ex guy is happy to see us - since it was Halloween, he said most of his late afternoon deliveries hadn't been home. In fact, he already had out the sticker to put on our door (since I had to sign for the package).

Quickly, M opens up the package and starts it charging. Then its back to the last bits of dinner.

In the past, trick-or-treating has always started around here right around 6 pm. It was getting dark by then and kids would be coming out in force. This year, though, I don't know if there was any official type notice/decision to start later, but we didn't see any kids until just after 7 pm. While we waited, A carved his pumpkin and M played with the iPod while it was still plugged in and charging.

Then came the surprise to me - M decided to stay home and play with the touch rather than go out trick-or-treating. I knew the day would come, but I thought he would still go out at least this year. In fact, he'd been planning on it, up until the iPod came so late on Halloween. So, he may still decide to go out trick-or-treating next year.

The other surprise to me (and seemingly it wasn't just me, but happened in various places around the country) was how few trick-or-treaters we got. We never get huge numbers of kids because we're on a dead end street down rather at the end of our subdivision. At first we thought that it was because our street was darker than usual - 2 vacant houses will do that. But then we heard that it was quieter throughout the neighborhood. D said that there were fewer houses participating (lights on) and fewer kids roaming the streets. I would guess that we got about 25 kids this year, compared to around 50 (maybe more) usually. Who knows why - Friday night, football games, family parties? Whatever it was, we ended up with a lot of extra candy.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween photos

I realized on Wed night that it was only 2 days til Halloween and we didn't have any pumpkins yet. I had a minor hope that the kids would decide that pumpkins weren't really necessary this year, but no such luck. So, Thursday morning I headed out to buy pumpkins. Note - Oct 30th is not the best time for a good selection of pumpkins! But at least I found 2.

Neither kid could be bothered to work on his pumpkin on Thursday, but Friday afternoon A started working on his. I had warned both of them that I would be too busy Friday afternoon to help. And besides, at 9 and 12, they are really old enough to scoop pumpkin guts and carve a face.

Here's A scooping pumpkin guts.  

Since daylight savings got pushed back til after Halloween, it was still light after dinner.  So, since the trick-or-treating hadn't really started yet, A got busy carving his pumpkin, while in costume.

A's pumpkin.  Also note the scary deer skull between the pumpkins - A found it in the woods several years ago and it has lived on the porch ever since.
A the Bionicle, ready to go collect candy.

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