Pre-Thanksgiving Pump Day

Our whole household has caught a cold. So I’m forgoing the pumps today. Or real clothes in general. I’m totally in my pajamas and a robe I pilfered from my husband’s side of the closet. I’ve been plying the kids with tea with ginger, lemon and honey… and just hoping we’ll all feel much better tomorrow. We’re still on track with school. The kids have learned a couple of new songs and are getting better with some short sentences and phrases in Chinese. We found a cute little exercise song, and Xiao Tu Zi Guai Guai. They’re both immediate favorites.

I’ve started some baking in preparation for tomorrow’s feast. Right now I’ve got white chocolate-cranberry muffins baking in the oven. I’ve got an apple pie and a pumpkin pie to make today as well. I’ll be doing the turkey, ham, yams, green bean casserole, parmesan corn muffins, rolls, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy all fresh tomorrow.

And in closing, here’s a recipe for apple cranberry stuffing. I like to prepare mine outside the bird, but it can be done either way:

  • 4 cups cubed tapioca bread, (6 slices)
  • 4 cups rice (or brown rice) bread, (6 slices)
  • Giblets from 1 turkey, liver discarded
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, rubbed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries,
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine chicken broth and cranberries; let soak for 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, giblets and celery; cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently or until tender. Add apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl. Stir in chicken broth mixture. Add toasted bread, thyme, and sage, stirring gently to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until center is set.

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Leibster Award

I was nominated for a Leibster Award. This is my first such thing. Go head over to http://tlohuis.wordpress.com to read her Leibster Award posts, and to read about her journey with CFS. Thanks for the nomination. I’m supposed to nominate 10 other people, I think. But I’m not entirely sure I have 10 followers… So if you’re reading this and you’d like to do it, go for it!

1. What is your favorite movie?

I haven’t thought about this in a while. And the answer has definitely changed since the last time anyone asked. It’s a toss up between Iron Man or Inception.

2. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Steak and shrimp with fried rice from Samurai. With that mushroom soup. Yum.

3. If you could live forever, what would you do today?

The same thing I’ll do anyway, most likely. I doubt immortality would cause me to behave differently. Except that I’d definitely have more time to get stuff done.

4. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

I think I’d enjoy teleportation… as long as I could take along anyone who was touching me. Best way to get the family to church ever. 🙂

5. Which would you rather? 4 legs, or 4 arms?

4 arms.

6.  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Boston Cream Pie from Ben and Jerry’s.

7. E-reader, or paper book?

Paper book. I have an ereader and it is convenient… But I still enjoy a real book. And am generally inclined to purchase them in paperback.

8. Which activity is next on your bucket list?

I don’t have a bucket list, necessarily. I’d like to get to a place financially where I can go to school to become a midwife.

9. If you could invent anything in the world, without limitations of time, matter, space, or money- what would it be?

Cure for autoimmune disease. And I’d make it free.

10. What will your next blog post be about?

I don’t plan my blogs out ahead of time. So… likely it’ll be about whatever I did with my kids that day.

It’s pump day again….

We’re on lesson 5 of the Grasp Chinese videos on YouTube. My children seem to be much more interested in lesson 3. (We review the last two before starting a new one.) In lesson three they go over ordering coffee etc. So my children are now constantly telling me they want coffee. “Wo yao…” every food word they know. It’s cute. Almost as cute as the fact that my children walk around singing the Spiderman theme song. All. The. Time. And making up other songs… to the spiderman theme song tune…

Best story lately:

“Venom is not happy. He is always mad.” – M

“Yeah… It’s almost like the dementors sucked all his happy out.” – K

So I’ve managed to complete my Thanksgiving menu. We have almost all the ingredients at home. Mr. Music will be picking up the turkey today and we’ll be grabbing all produce this weekend. Below is the menu plan:

Turkey (of course)

Stuffing

Ham

Corn muffins

Green bean casserole

Candied yams

Mashed potatoes

Gravy

Olives

Cranberry sauce

Crescent rolls

Apples and caramel dip (for the kids)

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Spiced Apple Cider

Ups and Downs

It really does seem like when something is going right, something else has to be going catastrophically wrong, doesn’t it? Like we should be forever anticipating the proverbial “other shoe” whenever life is going smoothly for once.

We’ve been using GraspChinese.com lessons for K to learn some conversational stuff. Today we made it through lesson 3 and stuff seems to have sunk in. She also decided to read, all on her own. She just picked up a book and asked to read to her little brother. How can anyone not be proud of that? We’re trying to work on her penmanship and sentence structure as well. K wrote me a note on my refrigerator white board yesterday informing me that she would be in her room for the next hour taking some time to herself… and it was illegible. She ran out of room and just randomly popped words between other words. I was pretty sure that trying to decode it would result in an aneurysm. So today I busted out the manuscript paper and we wrote some classic nursery rhymes. And then the ABCs in upper and lower case. In unrelated news… K lost another tooth.

As for the things going wrong… Oh. There aren’t enough words. Let’s just say, I enjoy having water. And our utilities company is apparently run by insensitive jerks. Who don’t know the merits of having water when you have a house full of littles.

I started P90X yesterday. I’m a little worried about doing plyo today during nap when I know I can’t take a shower afterwards. I took my measurements this morning. I need to do plyo. I’m not going to share them. Just believe me when I say that it is true. Anyone else into fitness? I’ve been missing it lately. I was getting into the whole bodybuilding thing for a while over the spring. I miss my abs. Admittedly, I just snuck the leg off a gingerbread man… But I’ve been dieting the past few days and I’m excited to start seeing results rather than gain weight over the holidays.

Embracing other blog traditions…

As you’ve all probably realized based on the fact that I comment, I stalk other homeschooling blogs. And of course anything containing recipes for gluten free foods… or coffee… And today I’m embracing a tradition from one of my favorites: Pump Day. Just a little mid-week pick-me-up. I like to dress in my pajamas all day while I teach. I’m lazy like that. And it’s warm. I don’t exactly live in the warmest state in the world. But what woman doesn’t like to feel pretty occasionally? So today I decided to throw on some nice jeans and some pumps. I’d like to invest in a variety of colored tights so I can continue wearing skirts and dresses, but it’s not in the finances right now.  If you want to read more Pump Day goodness, head over to http://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.com and read through her posts.

Back to talking about school… We’re bringing a little more structure to our homeschool classroom this week. My boys were getting wild and wiggly and distracting poor K from her studies. So we’re locking it down. A little more time on the workbooks, reading aloud and focusing more on conversational vocabulary for Chinese rather than just the songs and fun stuff. M is able to write his name without help now. A still just does an a… but I think that’s epic for a two year old, to be honest. K is working on her proper capitalization and doing pretty well lately. I’d like everyone to be able to hold a basic conversation in Mandarin by the new year and I think we are on the right track.

A lot is going on in my personal life right now, so I’m sorry if I’ve been neglecting the blog a little or seem distracted. I’ve been keeping a personal journal as well and it presses me for time. I have been spending the middle of my day in prayer and Bible study. Eliminating most of the time I would spend in the blogosphere.

Fall Jam

As we all know, yesterday was Halloween. Of course I chose a Halloween themed Chinese lesson for the kids, despite the fact that Halloween isn’t really celebrated anywhere but the west. My children aren’t well versed in Chinese culture or the meaning of Halloween, so I figured they’d let it slide. It was a good chance to add some vocabulary words, and make sure they actually know a few others. So they notice if I call the pumpkin anything but orange. Or refer to it as an apple. Fruit is oddly their favorite thing to learn about.

Last night, we dressed the kids up in their respective costumes and headed over to a local church for their “Fall Jam.” We enjoy large church events because it never falls to be cold and wet here in the Pacific Northwest. Last year we went to a place up in Everett that was pretty awesome. This year we hit CFAN. They seemed to be a little newer to the idea. A little unorganized and understaffed. But all their volunteers were happy to be there, they were generous with the candy, there was an inflatable, and the kids had a great time. I did learn, however, that my homeschool routine is greatly lacking the “dance party” arena. They had a room for a black light dance party. The Music Kids were pretty excited at the idea… But immediately froze in the middle of the room. They seriously just stood there. Eventually M (a power ranger) managed some jumping and arm waving. But K (Tinkerbell) cried and we cut it short. A (Buzz Lightyear) didn’t seem discontent being there… but he also wasn’t exactly getting his groove on.

At home we sorted through the candy. I managed to get rid of all the gum, taffy and war heads to a pair of trick-or-treaters who ended up on our porch because my husband didn’t realize that turning on your porch light means you have candy. And so now I’m doling out the not-so-chewy stuff to K, the gf stuff to M, and… primarily suckers A. His choice.

Today is, of course, the first day of November. So I’ve started my menu planning and shopping list for Thanksgiving. I’ll probably share my choices here. And I’ll just mention now, everything will be gluten free, or have a gluten free duplicate for M. So if you need a recipe, feel free to ask and I’ll share it. Somewhere I’m pretty sure I have a gluten free cream of mushroom soup recipe… which is a must have for making green bean casserole.