26 November 2009


perhaps we should rename the day Thankgivings Day. Because, really, we all have much (plural) about which to be thankful. (yes, punch me in the face for being such a dork)

I am thankful for bandaids.

For friends in medical training who call to advise about a blender injured finger.

For God creating fermentation.

My mama, who answered the phone no fewer than ten times over the past 48 hours, from her vacation in colorado, to answer my questions about family recipes that i've not quite committed to memory.

My daddy, who read to my children last night and tonight so i could have glass(es) of wine and put my tired feet up.

This man below, who told me this morning that he thought the cooking, "could have been more efficient." He repented, clearly, and gleefully did exactly as i hinted the rest of the day - including carving the pretty yummy orange-rosemary turkey that i had (in)efficiently prepared.
(i planned for us to sit down at 1 pm. first person sat down at 12:58 and last person, me, at 1:08. inefficient my ass. we can all tell i've not yet forgiven him his slip of the tongue...)

this kid, who napped from 11 until 1:30 today. he knew. he knew what his contribution should be. he knew, and he rose to the occasion.
go colLINS (that's how eason pronounces his name. come to my house. hear for yourself. it's the best thing ever)

this kid, who is just awesome. sure, he misbehaves, and is almost constantly being disciplined. but he loves all of us- truly - paul, me, ada brooks and collins - loves us. loves jesus, his grandparents, his godparents, his siblings' godparents, his sibling's godparents' little girl whose name he pluralizes, our dogs, our cat, others' dogs, random babysitters, and he is freakin' hysterical, most of the time. except when he's bad. but hey - he's two - and unsanctified... =)

and of course this kid. she's awesome. she wore an apron all day today and yesterday, mainly so, as she said, i wouldn't feel so alone. i heart her and her burgeoning self definition. i can honestly say that her personality today is informative to me about what her personality for the rest of the days will be. she's my favorite little girl in the world. and she's a great assistant cook. and a pretty good big sister. and she reads aloud to her brothers, making her the winner.

i'm also so very thankful for our dear friends. those that love us, put up with us, eat with us, and laugh with us. those that make me smile. those like these:

and many more, whose pictures i don't have handy.

Basically, God has gifted us with people. amazing people.

and bandaids and wine. bandaids and wine are key.

25 November 2009

this is not my turkey. my turkey is still in the refrigerator.

i had this brilliant idea that for my children and their children i was going to blog, with pictures, through making thanksgiving dinner this year. they'd have a nice keepsake, some advice, and some antiquated practices at which to laugh.

it would be fun.

but yesterday, when i started with a pumpkin cream cheese pie, it all fell apart.

i learned recently that my mother in law loves pumpkin pie. i don't like pumpkin or pecan pies. i'm unamerican. but you have to have at least one at thanksgiving. i had been doing pecan. but i've switched. now we're doing pumpkin. paul's mother said so.

so anyway.

i started making the pumpkin pie. i had the brilliant idea that i would use my immersion blender.
this model.

i was about to mix the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla. but first i gave a safety lesson.

hey kids - the immersion blender can only hurt you if you put your finger near the blades like this.
*i put my finger near the blade*
a chunk of my finger flew off into oblivion.

i know - too much imagery. but it's true. the pad of my left pointer finger is now gone. i have no finger prints. i could go on a one fingered crime spree.

but i've no time, because i have to be on a nine fingered cooking spree.

so, because of that, my cooking has not left a lot time for commentary and lovely picturesque photos of whole food ingredient spreads.

Pause. take a minute to relish my idiocy. or idiodacy as our recent president used to say. i blended my finger during a safety lesson for my two year old.

But, if only i had the time/energy/wasn't too maimed for my hands to appear on camera, then i would be writing and photographing through the spread.

but, i can at least report.

i have made the pumpkin cream cheese pie (in Come On In, one of my favorite cookbooks),

the apple cake (my mother's recipe, and one i requested for many birthday cakes. because i was the dorky kid requesting apple cake for birthday cake....),

a broccoli gruyere gratin, a recipe out of Real Simple this month. I usually do asparagus casserole, but paul hates it (it has in it one of the four things he doesn't like to eat: brown rice, squash, blue cheese, and..... canned asparagus). I needed a green vegetable cheesy dish and chose this one. I'll report how it turns out.,

a new potatoes in cream sauce recipe of my great grandmother's. it looks super yummy. i've never had it, but tasted the cream sauce and it was great. will report back.,

sweet potato casserole. this is ada's idea of heaven. " 'cause of the marshmallows, Mama. same reason i love hot chocolate." hard to argue with that.

cranberry sauce. not my favorite, but a staple. it's also one of those things to which i'm befuddled that there is a canned alternative. it's surprisingly simple and surpassingly superior. (go alliteration!)

i've also prepped for many of the dishes i'll make in the morning -

made the cornbread for the cornbread dressing, peeled and chopped the carrots to glaze, blanched the green beans and caramelized the onions for the green bean dish (which has blue cheese in it. i cannot help that three of the four things paul hates, i happen to adore...)

i think i did some other things, but my brain feels like my left pointer finger looks.

this thanksgiving i am thankful for.... my daughter and her dear godfather, they trimmed the green beans and peeled the sweet potatoes - AND did the awesomely fun job of crumbling the cornbread for the dressing - at least forty minutes of work i didn't have to do. And my husband who took all three children to the zoo and to sams for lunch.... Go Team!

(tomorrow! i love you tomorrow! you're only a day away!)

I'll do the turkey, finish the dressing, make corn casserole, finish green bean salad, glaze some carrots, make gravy, whip up a chocolate chess pie, and welcome Paul's family for lunch and some stragglers for supper.

Yay for food, holidays, tradition, chefdom, gas stoves, helpers, wustof knives, laughter, aprons, taco bell for supper, and wine.

yay for wine.

oh, and for bandaids.

typing with nine fingers.... oh the new skills i am mastering.

19 November 2009

catching up.

[I'm behind. I'm aware. This is why my children don't have baby books. Because I cannot even keep up with an online version of a baby book....

Also, because baby books seem silly to me. This is in large part due to the fact that babies don't hold the same level of fantastical magic over me that they do for most people, especially those that are maternally inclined. I much prefer a talking child. I've said this before and I'll say it again - the babies in my house are lucky to have Paul around. Someone to like them. (we all know i actually do like my babies - i just don't go koo koo for coco puffs about them, like i'm apt to do about a witty two year old...)

and now to the business of actually catching up]

We are in full-time fall mode. I thrive in this season. I want to actually dance. The other day, before house was awake, I went on a walk. I actually caught myself skipping down Kings Highway, a very populated street in Fondren. (please don't think I regularly get up and walk before the house gets up...I don't...I am, actually, often the last to roll out of bed - usually because all other four Forsters are demanding that I do)

We do a lot of outside time - sometimes at the park, sometimes the zoo, sometimes the science museum trails, but a lot of the time, just in our little old back yard.

I get to pull out old fall favorite meals - chili, red beans and rice, chicken pot pie, roast. And we all know that food is what matters most.

And it's even been cold enough for hot chocolate, hot tea, sweatshirts and sleeping in real pajamas.

The leaves have really been falling - which is awesome for the kids and me to play in, but terrible for Paul and his mowing, but, you know, life is hard for all of us at some point.

Things I'd like to write in depth about, but supper is calling:

1) Our thanksgiving menu plans - i'm thinking of taking pictures and actually food-blogging all the way through the holiday (I do the entire dinner from scratch, pretty much alone, every year - it is my fourth baby and minds very well)

2) Our friends, Alexander's and Josh's, recent nuptials at the beach - i promise to write and post pictures. Definitely beautiful - and pretty much perfect.

3) The recent loss of a dear friend's mother to cancer. What this means for our view of God's providence and how incredibly hard it is to live that out in the face of things that seem only to be terrible.

4) Adventures in Christmas Shopping at the Forsters (I found little men!!)

5) Pink, painted, naked bums of Eason.

6) Eason as a turkey at his Thanksgiving Feast.

7) My tone deaf daughter and how thrilled she makes my soul. Especially when she sings.

8) How the way in which you dole out an apple as a snack to your children indicates almost exactly what kind of parent you are...

9) The church calendar and how incredibly valuable it can be to family and church life.

But - alas - shrimp and potato soup to concoct before we head to the fondren district for shopping (ha), wine-ing, snacking, fighting with a boy or two to keep them in the stroller -

(Don't you wish someone would paint your bum pink? Just once before you die? I mean, really, what are the chances?)

04 November 2009

fairly wonderful!

For those out there in the ethereal masses who don't know, the fair is to my family what Christmas is to many others.

I have been to the Mississippi State Fair every year since I was either zero or one, we don't know for sure. I have been down the big yellow slide every year since I was one. I love it. I thrive on it. If i ever write a book, there will be a large chapter about the fair. And I'm sure people will want to read it.

Being a child at the fair is almost as great as being a junior high kid at the fair (hoping to sit by the boy you like on a scary ride). Which is almost as great as bringing home your boyfriend from college to go to the fair (and kissing at the top of the ferris wheel). Which is almost as great as being a parent of young children at the fair. Which, according to my parents, is almost as great as being a grandparent at the fair.

We love it. Every minute of it. And this year was no different. Our first fair date was rained out, so we had to postpone. But we went, on the last Sunday of the fair. Mama, Daddy, Little Brother Cliff, Paul, Me, All three Kiddos.

We have a fair routine.

We park fairly far away, and walk down the hill on Amite Street, always taking a great pic of the view. We park, up to 20 minute walk away, because we are cheap and we don't want to pay for parking.

We head straight for the petting zoo. Because it is free and just inside the gates - a great meeting place for the stragglers in our party. We look at things like Zebus. These are just Asian cattle, but "zebu" sounds so exotic, we are all amazed. The children beg to feed the animals. One of their parents or grandparents gives in because, well, it's the fair. (And if you say yes to this 25cent expense, you can later say "aww - we cannot ride the elephant (7$) - remember - we bought that animal food back in the petting zoo")

And then we head up the midway - get a free biscuit from Lester Spell, who has served as the commissioner of agriculture in MS since I had to ride in the backseat of cars. He gives away the best biscuits ever. He is my hero. As we munch on the biscuit, we start walking. We use the biscuit as a distraction as we walk past all of the fair games. We were never allowed to play and we aren't starting now!

And then we ride. (Eason and me on my favorite ride ever, The Orient Express - a dragon roller coaster that makes my heart sing with joy. And his too - see arms upraised.) (Ada on Bee - she is a cautious child, and this is about as exciting as it gets), (Paul and Eason on the merry go round - they don't look alike at all, i swear),

While Eason and I were in line for the dragon roller coaster, two different sets of children, approximately age 8, tried to cut in line. At their mother's behest. Hell in a Handbasket, I tell you - we're on our way. I mean - can you imagine - teaching your children to cut in line for a ride. In front of a two year old? One time i just poked my hip out, making it too awkward for them. The other time, the mother actually asked me if they could cut, and I, as politely and firmly as i could said, "Actually, we've been waiting in line for about 20 minutes..." (i don't do firm, polite very well - my usual mode is to be a pushover, and cuss about it later), and she said "Oh, well, they're kids and..." and I said "Well, so is he..." (pointing to Eason) and she said "hmmph" and walked off.

Who tries to bully mothers and two year olds so her eight year olds can cut in line? Who teaches their children such moral bankruptcy? I wish I would have had the woman-testicles to tell her exactly what she was doing to them. But, I am proud that I didn't let them get away with it.
Baby Steps.


And then we eat, making everything, even rude, soulless fair goers, all better. Mama always ALWAYS gets roasted corn, we always all get Penns chicken on a stick (which we could get 365 days a year, but never do), and sometimes we get dessert, as seen above. I like the pineapple soft serve, but i forewent it this year because it was slightly chilly out.

Collins also managed to eat the fair. That was a feat necessitating modesty and hygiene never to be surpassed.

And then, then, ladies and gentlemen, we always ride the big yellow slide. Some poor s.o.b. has to sit at the bottom and take pictures. But not this Mama. I've never missed a year and I won't start now.
I just love it.

This year, after Eason stood up, he said "I have to do it again. Please" in the most sincere, desperate, sweet voice he's ever used. My mother immediately gave in, bought more tickets, and a lucky few got to go twice.

The fair is awesome. Not objectively, really - it's dirty, expensive, and full of unattractive, often rude (see above) people. But, it's also full of families who are like ours - just like us in that they are making memories.

Memories so strong that my parents, who are no longer married, come together, laugh, and take their grandchildren to do the things that have made their children smile for over two decades. The fair is awesome, because not even Christmas can do that around here.