Category Archives: holidays

entering the holiday whirl

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We got our Christmas tree this weekend, which is remarkably early for us. We even managed to put it up the same day. (There have been years when the tree sits outside for a few days before coming inside.) I got a few photos of the kids decorating the tree, and this one was my favorite. The motion blur was completely unintentional, but it made such a beautiful circular pattern. As one friend commented on Instagram, it captures the feeling of the holidays.

Full of thanks (and full of food)

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving, which is a holiday bound in tradition for me. And much of that tradition involves food. Not just the eating of it, but the preparing of it, the serving of it, and the discussing of it. I love that we have this holiday which centers around spending time with family and friends, and about sharing a meal with them.

Thanksgiving always leaves me full of thanks and of food, but also of nostalgia. More than anything, I think of Thanksgivings past at my grandmother’s house. I remember setting the table with the special china, fancy glasses and candlesticks. I remember being shooed out of the kitchen so my grandmother could manage the entire feat of feast-making in her own way. (Also because her kitchen was tiny, and she didn’t want us in the way.) I remember enjoying so much of the feast when it came time to eat, pretty much loving all of it, except for the dreaded liver lumps in the gravy. (My grandmother would cook up and dice up the giblets, and toss them into the otherwise smooth and tasty gravy.) And I remember the extended time in the kitchen after the meal, typically with one or two other family members, hand-washing and hand-drying all of the dishes from the meal. (Because my grandmother’s house did not have a dishwasher. Also, my grandmother was happy to get out of the kitchen at the end of the day.) I usually got the job of drying. I can still remember the feel of the dishtowels in my hand, typically linen and worn rather thin from years of use, and getting more and more damp until finally you had to get out a fresh dry towel.

I spent much of yesterday and most of today preparing food and preparing the space to eat that food. (Our dining room had gotten rather buried over the past 8 months or so, but I was bound and determined to unearth it.)  We had a few guests (my mother-in-law, and a friend and her 2 kids), so there were eight of us. In spite of the moderate numbers, we had an immoderate number of food items on the menu.

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Some of the dishes I prepared: roasted root vegetables, roasted butternut squash with shallots and cranberries, roasted dijon cauliflower, and vegetarian stuffing.

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My plate. The plate itself is from our good set, a pattern that John and picked out when we had our wedding. I love using the good china for special holiday meals, because that is what we always did at my grandmother’s house. As for the food, the plate holds the 4 dishes listed above, plus green beans, mashed potatoes and vegetarian gravy, and cranberry sauce. 

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Pumpkin pie. The dairy-free version that has become a tradition for me. I had delusions that I would have time to also make something like an apple crisp. Ha.

Now that the day is done, and I’ve turned in for the night, I am still feeling full from the feast (which was blissfully free of liver lumps). I am also feeling full of thanks for the bounty of our feast, for our comfort and safety, and for the people in my life who make my life so full.

smooshing pumpkins

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What happens when early November is warmer than usual? For one thing, your carved pumpkins may melt on your front steps, to the extent that you need to use a snow shovel to scoop them up.

balls, dropped and otherwise

In about half an hour, many around the world will watch the ball drop in Times Square. I’m not sure whether I’ll watch that ball drop, but here are a few balls that I’ve watched in the last couple of weeks. (“Watched” in the sense of “looked at while I took a photo.”)

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A shiny glass ball on my Christmas tree.

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A soccer ball, and the bowl shaped depression it left when it was frozen in a puddle.

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A new ball for the puppy, out on the frozen slush on the back patio.

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A glittery decorative ball on the sparkling aftermath of a craft project.

 

While it had some good times, 2016 was a tough year in many ways. I feel like a dropped a lot of balls. Here’s hoping the new year has me successfully juggling my various projects.

Happy New Year, in any case!

look whose stocking (again)

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On Friday, I helped out in my son’s classroom holiday party. We were encouraged to share holiday traditions. I organized a craft making little felt stocking ornaments, and shared the story of the time my family made our own Christmas stockings. (It’s amazing to realize that I wrote the post about that 10 whole years ago.)

Go see me in a concert!

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I missed posting yesterday, because I was getting ready for a concert. Actually, what I was doing was putting together my late submission for the The Eleventh Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert, graciously hosted by Neil at Citizen of the Month. Go check out all the songs and photos! (And look for my stop-motion video doodling, accompanying a recording of “We wish you a Merry Christmas.” )

 

half-baked

The cookies in the photos are fully baked, but only about half of yesterday’s dough has been baked into cookies. Of those cookies that have been baked, some number were eaten before being decorated, and many more were eaten after being decorated. In all, the cookies were more than half-eaten. (Or at least more than half the cookies were fully eaten.)

This post is half-baked because I just spent far too longer organizing and deleting photos in order to do a new photo import to my laptop, because I’ve gone and filled up my hard drive yet again.