Friday, November 28, 2014

An Attitude of Gratitude

Granted, my Facebook greeting yesterday had just a touch of Debbie Downer: "Shedding tears of both gratitude and guilt! Who am I to have so much?"

Hey, that Debbie girl has a point sometimes.

I'm just sayin'.

Now pass the cheesecake.

It is true that on Wednesday night, at nearly midnight, as I wrapped discs of pie dough to bake the next morning and took one last side dish out to the garage (aka a Minnesotan's giant walk-in), I was kind of thinking it was all too much

The American way is just TOO much. 

And then somehow, miraculously, and by the gift of grace known as a (semi) good night's sleep...

It all turned out to be worth it. 

T-Day Desserts Minus Zero! Ready and waiting to be served.

~ My Handsome Man and My Little Man ~
(probably my favorite photo from the day)

~ Some anonymous (and slightly crazed) gravy stirrer, 
caught nipping Kitchen Bouquet straight from the bottle.

The Big People Table...

...and the kids' table, which is WAY better 
because of the Fruit Loop-Stuffed Bugles.

Serving the Gorgonzola-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates 
(pronounced "disgusting" by the local 10-year-old
but gobbled up by the grown-ups)...
...and serving the bird, that glorious bird, 
that was garnished with love by my oldest daughter
and which has come to symbolize so MUCH.

The family...the fun...the failed side dishes... 

(My stuffing! Too dry! And slightly burnt on the bottom!)

Thanksgiving is about all that's right with this country. In the words of President Abraham Lincoln,
"To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of almighty God."

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Netflix in November: What I'm Watching, with Whom, and Why

As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I'll be doing a monthly post highlighting certain themes and movies from their service. In exchange for these posts, I received a year's membership to Netflix and a streaming device, but the opinions expressed are entirely my own! So be warned. : )

My family's got a big weekend coming up—back-to-back birthdays for Cate and Felicity, who turn 14 and 12 respectively. Yes, I know I'm supposed to be out shopping for turkey...and I'll get to that...maybe...though right now I'm trying to wrap my mind 'round the fact that my baby girls are growing up.

Can't I just, like, spray them with some sort of anti-aging lacquer?

"Please will you just stay ELEVEN?!"

"And YOU THERE! Would you just stay THIRTEEN?!!" 

Time, like the seasons, keeps marching along, and I hang on for the ride because WHAT CHOICE DO I HAVE? I'll tell you what I have been doing—I've been watching movies with my sweet, sweet girls and know for a FACT this is a good way to bond.

The way to a teenaged son's heart is through baked goods.

The way to a teenaged daughter's? Back-to-back episodes of Psych

* * *

That said, when it comes to watching movies with your teens and pre-teens, the key word is preview. Preview! Preview! Preview! And if you can't pre-view—i.e. view the program before they do—then watch it with them, 'cause there's lots of junk out there.

For example, I've recently discovered The Gilmore Girls and am smitten (already!) with the characters. Is it appropriate, though, for my almost-14-year-old? I'm not sure yet.

We also watched The Boy in Striped Pajamas as a family, but when I saw where the movie was going, and sensed that the ending would be really sad, we turned it off and just had a discussion. 

(I do like a good dose of reality now & then. It's a good remedy against being too superficial and spoiled, both for myself and for the kids.)

Here's a good website with plenty of common-sense advice. It's called Common Sense Media, coincidentally, and here are three great articles to get you started:

It's hard to be vigilant, especially with the holiday season approaching. We were at another family's house for dinner once and Forrest Gump was on the TV. I walked through the living room and it was just...playing to an empty room! Now I happen to really like that movie but it's definitely not for kids.

That Jenny girl had some issues. 

* * *

Getting back to the idea of my girls growing up...

We're talking a lot about school and friendship these days, and what it means to be a real friend. My 8th grader has commented on some of the cliques at her school and that some girls can be "extremely negative."  I feel anxious when I hear this and want to give these gals a stern talking-to, yet what can you do? You can be there for your girls and you can keep your home a cozy, safe place.

Bake them some peppermint chocolate chip cookies ('cause who doesn't love pairing peppermint and chocolate?) and cuddle up with some super-cute shows. I find that even my "big" girls like to watch the old favorites, and hey! Veggie Tales has a new movie on Netflix! It's called Veggie Tales: In the House and previews on November 26th.

We'll be making these cucumber rolls alongside those cookies.

The movie's called VEGGIE Tales, after all. ; )

Monday, November 17, 2014

In which I inadvertantly dye my hair black and attend a Garth Brooks concert

...We interrupt this blog's normal High Brow Reporting with a completely ridiculous and irrelevant post...

Last Friday night started out normally.  Well, "normally" for me, anyway, in that I was getting ready to go out with friends and was using that as an excuse to color my hair. (These days I need a good excuse because coloring my hair is  SO INCREDIBLY BORING.)

I poured a glass of wine and opened my 830th box of hair color. I buy the same brand every time: L'OrĂ©al Feria in my usual shade, "Bronzed Brown." 

Except for whatever reason it wasn't Bronzed Brown. 

It was Jane-from-Breaking-Bad-Blue-Black.

 Only older and with fewer drugs in my system. 

I immediately complained on Facebook, of course, and then finished my glass of wine and left for the concert. 

Jan, Amy, Tina & Raven

A Goth Brooks concert, in my case.

Get it? Ha ha. The joke's on me.

 Yes, this shot is really blurry. 
"Blame it all on my roots..." 

The concert was a ton of fun. He puts on a good show, as did his band.

(This from a gal who's less country than most.) 

(I do love me a good fiddler, though, and Garth Brooks is touring with one of the best.)

It was interesting to me, his approach to this tour. He took a break from touring to be home with his family--he's married to Trisha Yearwood, which you probably knew--and is now 52 and doing two shows a night for most of his tour.
Proof that the tiny little guy in the above photo was Garth. 

We attended his second show of the evening, which started at 10:30 and went until 2:00 a.m.

That's stamina, for both him AND me.

* * *

Now I am back to being your average wife-and-mom, albeit one with jet black hair.

You can bet I'll check the label next time.


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