Saturday, November 30, 2019


Thanksgiving was pretty fab this year.  Instead of hosting or going somewhere, we stayed put and spent the meal at my brother's house after which we returned home and were free to do what we wanted the rest of the weekend.  I enjoy having the out-of-towners and visiting others but it's also real nice to keep it chill sometimes.  Highlights include:

1. Cooking olympics Thursday morning.  We were making stuffing, mushrooms and cream sauce (per my request) and three pies.  It was bananas, let us just say. My pies did not turn out well. The banana cream was fine except I used monkfruit sweetener that didn't work so great in a basic custard. There isn't much to hide any kind of aftertaste or effects and while the flavor was ok, there was an after-something that made it less than ideal.  Plus I struggled with incorporating the eggs, as always, so there were some scrambled eggs in there.  Custard! *shaking fist*  The chocolate was too thin and the mixed berry was all kinds of terrible.  But the best was that Sean and I were busy in the morning, scurrying around doing this and that and Julian came down soon after ready to go.  "Do you want some breakfast first?"  I asked.  "No, I want to help!"  And help he did. He is such a frigging champ these days.  I think we've hit some magical sweet tween spot and I am  He prepped the 50 tons of mushrooms, stripped the thyme, something nobody wants to do, and all sorts of other jobs I didn't see due to the pie stress sweat dripping into my eyes.  But the three of us cooking together was, dare I say, magical.

2. As mentioned, I can definitely take or leave Thanksgiving dinner, the traditional food itself. In fact, immediately afterward last year I totally got the runs, you'll be happy to hear.  We're just not super compatible.  This year I fared better but I really need to make a Pie-Giving II.  Banana, pumpkin, maybe a berry. Then I'll feel ok.  But after dinner, we played some games including Heads Up and I overly enjoyed myself with my favorite category-- the singing one.  I love trying to sing pop songs and trying to get them guess.  I like to close my eyes and use my hand to help me hit the notes and just talking about it now is making me want to play it again.

3. When it was Julian's turn to say what he was thankful for he said his cats and then proceeded to recite the poem from Calvin and Hobbes and if you don't know the poem I mean, then it's probably not worth telling you.  But I was proud. 

4.  Several years ago it was tradition to have Sean's brothers, perhaps separate, perhaps together, visit us for Thanksgiving and it was the BEST.  My favorite Thanksgivings.  Cooking in our tiny kitchen. Introducing one of them to Hunger Games and letting him read it and babysit while Sean and I bolted.  But during one visit, a special tradition was born:  Pizzagiving.  How we went to Eataly the day after and let our Italy expert brother/in-law choose all the goods and we had ourselves a real feast, one much more to my liking. And every year after that we would make it a priority.  We still carry it on even though this brother wasn't here.  Pizzagiving this year was delicious at a good restaurant.  When the food is good, we order a ton of it and the servers are a little bit shocked.  And then we usually end up eating it ALL.  Also it should be noted that i got a caramelized pear tea in my own iron teapot with cream and raw sugar lumps with tiny tongs and it was the greatest. Super delicious and oh-so fun. I love tea culture so much.

5.  Snowy snow.  Obviously under normal circumstances this is a detriment to any occasion but it was fun this holiday.  We drove in it a lot, got a little slippy slidy, and took to the mountains for some sledding and snow shoeing.  It was the prettiest snow possible, where it clings to every branch. My word.  We traversed up the mountain and snow shoe'd ourselves a sledding run and took it a few times. I landed hard on a tree root but the good news is it wasn't on my spine, just bruised some organ or perhaps another bone, so it was fine! 

6. Julian and I made a paper chain out of brown grocery bags.  This was the best. He did most of it, including writing little activities on each one, something I started a few years ago and then regretted because he then demanded it every year.  Add this to my list of why I love 10.  When I initially showed him out, I snipped off the handles, but then he later said this to me:

"I love that it says "pull up, not out"-- THANKS! *rip* Now I know how to get the handles off! If I followed their advice I'd have to fill it with bowling balls until they fell off."

And we had a good discussion about how sometimes it's better to think outside the box and not let rules get in the way.  

Examples of things he wrote on the chain links:  "Everyone give Dad a hug."   "Laugh at someone's joke even though it isn't funny."  (me: I do that all the time!)  "Sing a Christmas carol."   "Donate $5,000 to a charity."   "Nuzzle a cat."   Oh my lands, I love it so much.  I'm hoping I can turn this into a forever thing. 
7.  We watched It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Julian really loved it, interestingly.  He liked the "heaviness" of certain themes.  I felt glad to be able to introduce serious themes to an already aware child.  He craves realness.    And then I made them watch the DUMBEST hallmark movie. I thought we could just make fun of it but it was too bad for even that.  It was so bad it was just nothing.  Did no one think this through??  I felt a little bad but it was still funny in a painful way.

8.  Brie.  I just wanted it so bad and haven't had it in such a long time. I think about it a lot. We got some this weekend. It just needed to be mentioned.

9.  We finished our Christmas tradition a little ahead of schedule: Watching the LOTR trilogy.  I love it so.  And then we play Trivial Pursuit with Julian asking the questions and Sean and I battling it out. This time we brought out the ringwraith who chases you and takes away your wedges if you get close and who legit scared me.

10. We went lego-hopping.  I took Julian to various locations that sell Legos just so he could look at them. Time well spent.

11. Started on Christmas cards.  Sean's favorite Christmas movie and perhaps of all time is It's a Wonderful Life and I always drag my feet a little bit watching it. Last year we waited too long and tried watching it on Christmas Day when Christmas is basically over. So that was a mistake. This year we watched it early which is a good call, and while we worked on cards, an even better call.  Watching it while crafting definitely helps.  He's offended by my views. 

And that'll be that. 

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