2016 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?  We took another epic vacation. Yellowstone, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and more. On a much smaller scale, the boys and I joined a homeschool coop. I’d looked into various coops in the past and just felt like it wasn’t a good fit for us, but this one is new and it’s only 15 minutes way so we decided to give it a go. The jury is still out on whether we’ll sign up again next year, but it’s definitely been a change.

2. Did you keep your New Years resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I always resolve to try and eat healthier and exercise more. And I do a little bit better every year. (Same old, same old)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My sister gave birth to my nephew, Grant. He’s so handsome!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No. Thank goodness. We didn’t attend a single funeral or wake this year.

5. What countries did you visit? Just more of the U.S.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? Better health and more confidence!

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Our vacation included the best moments. Faces of Presidents etched in stone, donkeys begging for treats outside our car window, dramatic clouds hovering over the badlands, a never-ending hike to a gorgeous waterfall, the world’s biggest jackalope, alien landscapes of sulfur and heat-loving bacteria in a riot of color, and the best pancake breakfast ever.

The worst moment is private, but was heart-wrenching and will be seared on my mind forever.

8. What was your biggest contribution of the year? My biggest contribution was in loving well, learning, growing, and finding my voice.

9. What was your biggest failure? I’d so wanted to really master…something. Photoshop, Illustrator, LightRoom. Instead it all got away from me as I focused on the mundane things of life.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? This has been my healthiest year yet!! I’m still working on some things; fatigue and weight, but overall I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Soft-as-butter leggings. No, I don’t wear them outside the house.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?I’ve seen Gabe grow a lot this year. He’s always had low muscle tone and it’s something that he’s self-conscious about. He’s been pushing himself, though, and I’m really proud of him. He’s been learning to ride his bike, he learned to tie his shoes. He’s also learned how to stand in front of his peers and give a report. He struggled to find his place and his strength after watching Luke pursue music. I love watching him come into his own.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? This is vague, but…I’m so tired of my intelligent, strong-minded friends and family ignore the vaccine issue. Not everyone is capable of rational thought – I’m well aware of that – but I have so many people in my life who “get it” on a wide range of topics, but they refuse to do their own research when it comes to vaccines and I think it’s a tragedy in so many ways.

14. Where did most of your money go?Paying off a surprise debt.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Again, our vacation. It was just amazing.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016? Anything by Lauren Daigle.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier. I feel like 2017 is full of possibility.
ii. thinner or fatter?Thinner, woot woot!
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer. By a lot. And for no good reason.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Photoshop and photography. Blogging.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?Conforming to other’s ideals.

20. How will you be spending the Winter?Reading. Playing board games, and, by gum, learning Photoshop.

22. Did you fall in love in 2016? Same loves as always. :)

23. What was your favorite month of 2016? August, the month of our vacation.

24. What was your favorite TV program?We actually sort of stopped watching TV. It wasn’t planned, we just kept finding other things to do in the evening. We’ve also been annoyed at the lack of truly good programming.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope. Not a hater, such a waste of time.

26. What was the best book you read? Self-help type books include Rising Strong, Making Peace with Your Past, Victory over Darkness, and Boundaries.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Luke. Brag-gy? Yes. Can’t help it. He’s my little musical genius.

28. What did you want and get? A new blender. We won a Vitamix from our chiropractor. Well, technically Luke won, but he’s letting us have it. 😉

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Finally saw Broken. I LOVED the book and was afraid the movie wouldn’t do it justice, but it was well-done and made me cry.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 36.  Ben surprised me with a squatty potty and tickets to see Beauty and the Beast at the Fox. Unfortunately, I got SO sick and we only got to see half the show. The live-action movie is coming out this coming March so we joked that we should try again.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?Staying off of FB. Giving up TV freed up a lot more time and I know I’d “find” more time if I could just dump FB.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? I’ve made a little bit more effort. I really want to go ahead and create a capsule wardrobe. That’s one of my goals for 2017.

33. What kept you sane? Prayer, journaling, friends.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? None.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Vaccines. The pressure is intensifying to mandate vaccines across the board.

36. Who did you miss? Chelsea. Acutely. We were supposed to spend a bunch of time together when they came up over Christmas, but she ended up getting strep. Beyond disappointed.

37. Who was the best new person you met? Steffanie, a mom from my St. Louis Holistic Moms group. She lives 5 minutes from me! And she has two boys. I’ve been blessed to meet several SLHMs in real life. The vast majority of them are quite a bit younger and are still in the pregnancy/baby stage of life, but they are all ah-mazing women and I’m grateful to know them.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016: This is difficult because this year has been full of insight and lessons. I could do about 5 different posts. Right now, thinking of the year ahead, I guess the thing that really stands out to me is learning to live authentically. I realized that I’m a HUGE people-pleaser. Like major, major people-pleaser. But it’s something that I’m working to overcome and I’ve already seen progress. Anyway, right on the heels of that discovery, it hit home to me that if I want to start living the life that I’m meant to live and do the things that are important to me I have to do things that are going to disappoint people. Or don’t do things that others feel are important.  Or even just letting go of things that people maybe think are weird or over-the-top (like giving up TV).

For example, we’re trying to pay off debt. There are so many things we’ve had to say no to. And yet we’re planning our yearly vacation. I’m sure there are a lot of people who will be miffed that we said no to xyz and yet have the audacity to go on a 2 week vacation. Too damn bad. #noimnotgoingtoapologize

39. Best quote of the year? “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” – Pema Chodron

I’ve been looking for a way to help others for a long time. I’ve had a strong desire to get a degree in counseling, but the money and time made it clear that that’s not an option right now.

I started looking at other avenues and was excited about an opportunity to be trained as a peer counselor. I had to take the class Making Peace with Your Past as a prerequisite. A friend offered to facilitate the class for myself and 2 other ladies. It was amazing. When it came time to take the peer counseling class I was informed that I wasn’t eligible because I hadn’t taken MPWYP with the organization offering the peer counseling classes. I was so frustrated. It was just another brick wall.

But God started working in my heart and as he revealed my strong people-pleasing and perfectionist issues he gently reminded me that small is okay, too. Things don’t always have to be big to make an impact.

I slowly began to realize that I don’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to have all the answers to be able to reach out and help others. I began to see that when I leaned on him and acted as a conduit of his truth and compassion that he could do big things through me.

So, despite all my misgivings (“I don’t have a degree,” “I’m not perfect,” “I don’t have all the answers”) I’m taking small group leader training at my church and then I’ll facilitate the Making Peace with Your Past class for other women who have grown up in dysfunctional families. That’s the plan anyway.

So, 2016, it’s been real. 2017, I’m looking forward to everything you have in store. Bring it on!

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Christmas in 2016

This was the most relaxed Christmas we’ve ever had and I’m sad that it’s coming to an end.

Because we hosted Tim’s 40th, I wanted to get as much Christmas stuff done early so that I wouldn’t be stressed trying to cram it all in mid-December.

We did a good job of sticking to the Something you Want, Something you Need, Something to Wear, and Something to Read with the boys.

Luke:

Something you Want gift: Signed Rob Scalon LP and Rocksmith

Something you Need gift: Headphones (he’s been stealing mine all year)

Something to Wear: Sushi rock band t-shirt

Something to Read: Mysterious Benedict Society book set

Stocking: guitar picks, mints, Good Mythical Morning sock hat

Gabe:

Something you Want: A bucket of plain Legos. He’s been building more structures and wanted just regular bricks.

Something you Need: a super fluffy blue blanket (I have the same one in green and he’s been stealing it from me)

Something to Wear: a shirt that looks like a penguin

Something to Read: Minecraft book set

Stocking: clear glue (for making slime), Good Mythical Morning posters, rubber shoe lace thingies to replace his laces, penguin coffee mug.

For a family gift we purchased season passes to Six Flags and we also got them an educational gift of 3 Tinker Crates (total $8).

All that to say, we stuck with the plan and were able to order everything early on. As things came in I wrapped them right away and put them under the tree. Easy-peasy.

We simplified gift giving to others, too. We bought for our parents, nieces, and nephews. No grandparents and no neighbors this year. Oh and I bought a couple things for the bestie, but she’s worth it!

It really helped cut down on the agony of finding, buying, and wrapping all those gifts.

Bonus? We were able to donate a tidy sum to our church’s outreach. They did a big offering with 100% of the proceeds to go right into the hands of 4 carefully-chosen organizations that are all amazing. This felt like the right thing to do. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday – not ours.

Now some things we can’t take credit for: one family get-together was rescheduled due to some crazy ice storm. Another family get-together was cancelled because too many people were sick. I myself felt under the weather for several days. I was able to use my hippie powers to keep from getting sick-sick and no one else in the family caught what I had, but it was enough to keep us pretty well homebound.

Ben is taking the week off between Christmas and New Year and we’ve done a lot of reading, moving watching, etc. It’s been the best thing ever and I know that we can’t expect this to be a yearly thing, but it’s been wonderful and I know I’ll look back on it fondly.

On the 23rd, Chelsea and Nate come over, ate dinner with us, and then rode along with us to Six Flags. We were only there an hour, but the lights were beautiful! We had such a nice time.

On Christmas Eve we attended church and then had dinner, opened gifts, and played games over at Karen’s.

Christmas Day was glorious! We opened gifts and then had a yummy breakfast. I made the gingerbread waffles from Against All Grain’s website. We played board games over at Karen’s for a bit and then had a turkey dinner at home.

The rest of this week has been very chill. I did two weeks worth of grocery shopping right before Christmas so that I wouldn’t have to cut into my stretchy-pants wearing time too much. We did got out to see Rogue One and a couple of films at the Science Center (I promise I wore real pants).

We have just two days left before the real world begins again. I think I’ll be ready for it. Ready-ish. Ready enough. Eh, I’ll make do somehow.

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Light Painting

How do you survive an entire weekend indoors? If you’re us, easily!

I know so many people hate winter and cold and ice and snow, but I really don’t mind. I don’t like the stress of driving in crummy weather, but I’m perfectly content to settle down for days at a time.

Friday afternoon I happened to be emptying the water from the vacuum and saw Tim pull in next door and proceed to slide down the driveway and into the yard. Then Ben came driving by…slowwwwwwly. He crept down the road and into the driveway. I had no idea what was going on until I peeked out the door and saw them talking out back and the whole driveway was a sheet of ice.

Poor Karen had to drive home during the worst of it but she went slow and was fine, thank goodness. We saw many people struggle to get up the hill in front of our house. I am amazed that our mailbox is still intact and noone had to camp out in our front yard.

By Saturday morning the road were fine so I volunteered at the thrift store like usual. Ben and the boys helped assemble prisoner gift bags next door. Luke was able to get to music and then home before it started to get bad again. We got rain and then freezing temps so we were back to ice.  Christmas at my dad’s was cancelled so we stayed in and watched Elf and Winter Soldier.

Church was cancelled on Sunday. Luke came up with the idea of light painting. We had to guess what was “painted.”

Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man

Joy

Joy

Squiggle

Squiggle

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

 

We watched a ton of movies. Star Wars Episode 2, Winter Soldier, Elf, Storks, Jason Bourne (that was Ben and I). Read a lot of books, did some crafts, and just rested. It was so nice.

Rest is one of the things I like most about winter. In Spring, Summer, and Fall, there’s hardly a good reason to stay inside and just rest. Winter gives us the opportunity to do just that. And this introvert couldn’t be more pleased.

 

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Homeschooling in December

Random homeschooling notes.

We put together a cheapy science kit early in the month.

weather-vane

It has a thermometer, rain gauge, weather vane and barometer. Oh, and compass. It was easy to assemble and while it probably won’t last long, but even a year or even a season would suffice for most homeschoolers. My boys are a bit old for it, but I can see little ones really enjoying this set.

Ben’s been teaching the boys about computers this year. Every Monday, while I’m at Bible study, they settle in for class. Hardware, software, etc. Ben pulled together a bunch of parts and has been teaching them about all the components and how they function and work together. I can’t believe I actually had looked around trying to find a program or book to teach them all of this! What was I thinking?

 

Computer class is in session.

Computer class is in session.

 

A FB friend is always doing cool outdoorsy things with her kids and it really inspired me. She added me to the Wilder Child group and I’ve been spending time on there and the website.  A lot of the activities are geared toward younger children but some things have worked for us and it encourages us to get outside more. We’ve done a lot of fire-building because the boys are always willing to go outside for that, but we’ve also found neat rocks and twigs, and cool seeds and berries.

Yellow berry

Yellow berry

Burrs

Burrs

Fluff

Fluff

Red Berries

Red Berries

Thistle

Thistle

Finally, I bit the bullet and payed the $50 to join the St. Louis library system. I love our little library, but it’s so very limited. I got along grudgingly, but the boys really started putting up a stink. They get so into different series and then have to wait months upon months for the next book to become available. It’s really frustrating for them. So we signed up and it’s SO fancy! Why did I wait so long?

How cute is this card?

How cute is this card?

 

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Thrift Store Scores: Christmas Edition

My mom and I hit a couple of thrift stores the other day and I came home with several exciting (to me) things.

First off, was this gingerbread sweatshirt. For me. It was 25 cents.

Gingy Sweatshirt

Gingy Sweatshirt

Then I found 2 coats for Luke.

Blue coat

Blue coat

Brown coat

Brown coat

I found the brown coat first, for $1. I picked it up because even though I knew he wouldn’t be excited about it, it was a coat and would keep him warm. Toward the back of the store I ended up finding the blue coat. The blue coat was size 14/16 so I went ahead and grabbed it, too, because I figured for $3 why not? Turns out the blue coat is only a little big on him and now he has a more rugged play coat to boot.

These were my best finds of the day because I didn’t realize until about a week ago that Luke didn’t have a coat! We had such nice weather for so long that he’s been wearing hoodies and sweatshirts. Once it turned cold we remembered that we’d gotten rid of his coat because the zipper was broken. An unexpected $50 purchase is never a fun thing. But $4? I can handle that! Thank you, Lord!

I also picked up this ugly sweater:

ugly-sweater-ben

Luke’s music school is hosting a Christmas party and there’s an ugly sweater contest. I picked this one up for 25 cents. Ben borrowed it for his work Christmas party (he’s the one in the red Santa hat, 4th from the left). I didn’t notice until I got home that it’s missing a button, but that just adds to the ugliness.

I picked up two of these cute Christmas village houses to repaint.

house-church house-home

I’ll do them in silver and white to match my silver and white decor.

 

And, finally, this little guy:

tree-scraggle

I haven’t decided what I’ll do with him, yet, but he was only 15 cents so I’ll decorate him and welcome him to my Christmas tree collection. I’m thinking some flocking might be in order. And some sparkles.

Overall today I spent a whopping $9. $4 of that was credit from volunteering at Peace by Piece so only $5 was out of pocket!

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Mid December

This is where it gets good.

The beginning of December was a flurry of activity. I planned and hosted Tim’s 40th birthday party amidst all of the usual holiday activity. After getting the tree we put it up. Then we hauled up all the tubs of Christmas decor and spread holiday cheer around the house.

We decided to place the tree in the “school room.” Usually my desk is in front of the window and the boy’s desks are where my desk is now. We moved the little desk and computer back to the music room and moved my desk in its place. It looks so nice I want to keep it there!

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

I decided to take the extra time to pull all the decorations off of the cabinets and put Christmas decorations up in their place. This meant that decorating took more time, but oy, everything up there was so dusty and desperately needed cleaning.

Here’s my budding tree collection:

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things is not like the other…

Yes, I took the picture without fixing the crooked tree. #lazy.

On Dec. 1 we took the boys and some friends to the St. Louis Science Center’s Dr. Who-themed First Friday. The girls weren’t into Dr. Who at all, but they were good sports and the kids all had a wonderful time.

dr-who-first-friday

Dec. 4th found us at Paul and Amanda’s. They have an awesome VR set that the boys can’t get enough of. I played, too, this time and it was SO fun! I can see how it could be addicting!

While walking up their driveway I saw the trashcan shift and went over to inspect. This is what greeted me:

Well hello there!

Well hello there!

It was SO CUTE!!! Oh my word. It was the most adorable thing. We watched, from inside, as he waddled across the street to the neighbor’s driveway. It was hilarious. The owner was outside, car hatch open, loading things into the car and going back and forth between the vehicle and the house. That chunky little raccoon moseyed right up the driveway and into the garage. Ben ran out to give her the alert and we saw the trash panda scuttle away and up the street. I wanted to take him home.

I spent the next week cleaning around the house, party planning, decorating, and errands. On the 8th I was cleaning the front of the fridge and I noticed some tickets. I’m glad I really looked at them because they were for a show that I’d completely forgotten about!

So, on Dec. 9th, Ben and I attended an Ambassadors of Harmony show.

aoh

We were so impressed and I kept wishing the boys could be there with us because it was an amazing experience. Not only were their vocals astounding, but their love of God really shined through every word. I’m so glad we got to see that show.

Tim’s 40th birthday party was on Dec. 10th. We had around 22 people here. The whole day was a flurry of activity. Ben and the boys helped a ton. We did a “favorite things” party. Legos, superheros, Dr. Who, cats, photography, board games, Simpsons, Star Wars…It was like every 10-year-old boy’s birthday party thrown together in one.

We made a donut cake, Mt. Dew ice cream, and sliders. Karen made a big pot of soup. Various friends brought oatmeal cream pies, covered pretzels, M&Ms, corn chips and hummus. People stayed late and we just talked and talked. Such a good time.

On the 13th and 14th my mom came up to hang out. She had two days off. She works 3rd shift so it’s hard to spend time with her. We did crafty stuff on Tuesday and thrift store hopping on Wednesday. It was really nice to spend time with her. We always have a good time.

Also, on the 13th, I met up with the bestie to chat over coffee and exchange gifts. I hate that we don’t see each other as often as I’d like. I got lazy because we were seeing each other every Wednesday at coop. Anyway, she gave me a whole box of cute, crafty things including some washi tape! I see a new obsession in my future. I’ve already washi-ed several things.

On the evening of the 14th was the last meeting of the women’s Bible study I’ve been participating in. I’ve really, really enjoyed it and feel like I could write a whole post just on what we studied and learned. The interesting thing is that I ended up not learning much from the study itself, but the study prompted me to dig further and figure out some things. It was a book about Biblical marriage. I was disappointed with a lot of what the author was saying because her examples were poorly supported by Scripture. She cherry-picked verses from the Bible, ignore context, etc. This had me digging into the Bible on my own and discovering some surprising things. It forced me to think more about women’s roles in society, church, and marriage. It’s been quite a journey.

This weekend will be busy again, but it’s a good kind of busy. I’m so looking forward to these next couple of weeks. #itsthemostwonderfultimeoftheyear.

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Oh Christmas Tree…

Today we went to a Christmas tree farm and chopped down our tree.

Tree huggers!

Tree huggers!

My loves.

My loves.

tree-ben-copy

My guys

My guys

Family

Family

Sweet, handsome Gabe.

Sweet, handsome Gabe.

tree-buds-copy tree-sky tree-piney tree-little-tree

Heading back.

Heading back.

We’ve been buying live trees for years now, but we’ve never cut our own so that was a nice change of pace. I think we agreed we’ll do the same in the future. There was a bit of a squabble between the boys regarding which tree we took home. There were several really good ones. Overall we’re really happy with our little tree!

Can’t wait to show her all decorated!

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Homeschool Update: Life of Fred Financial Choices, Schedule Change, and More

Gabe finished the Life of Fred Math Series so I had him start on the Financial Choices book. He said it isn’t his favorite, but he’s also talked about some of the principles he’s learned so I believe it’s making an impact. When he’s finished with this I’ll move him to Saxon.

We started a new school schedule. We now do school from 10-1. The boys finish their bookwork so quickly that I felt like we were kind of missing out. I don’t think that kids need to be stuck sitting at a desk (or table in our case) for 7 hours a day, but they need more time then we’ve been dedicating here lately. So they do their bookwork in about 45 minutes and then we do history/Bible together. The rest of the time is spent playing educational games or doing hands-on activities.

Today, for example, we put together a large puzzle that depicted all of the presidents. Then we played with some math manipulatives. We finished off by going through a stack of landmark flash cards. Then the boys did their Spanish lesson. Luke then had music so we called it a day.

I can’t recall if I’ve posted about this before, but this is the book Luke is currently reading for Language Arts. We’re borrowing it from the library. It’s pretty easy as far as LA is concerned, but Luke really enjoys reading it every day. Never a single complaint. The Life of Fred series really impressed upon me how much kids can learn when we they are enjoying themselves.  When he’s done with this we’ll move onto another Total Language Plus booklet.

I’m seriously considering joining a second co-op in February. I just can’t decide. It’s about 30 minutes away. It sounds like this other co-op has more classes available. It would be really, really nice for the boys to take an art class. I can do crafty things with them and I can teach them art history, but the hands-on stuff is more difficult for me. So we’ll see.

Either way, we’ve been plugging along and despite our late start I feel like we’re finally getting somewhere in our books and we’re racking up the hours. It always makes me feel accomplished when I see it all come together!

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With Thankful Hearts

Our Thanksgiving week was gone in a blink!

Grateful

Grateful

On Monday we had our regular chiro appt and then music. According to muscle testing, Gabe is reacting to cat hair. We’re going to try a few natural remedies and I’m hoping and praying they work because I cannot imagine having to get rid of our sweet furry friends.

Waiting for brother to finish lessons.

Waiting for brother to finish lessons.

Tuesday we spent a good many hours at the Science Center. We don’t go there often, but this year we have a membership. It’s nice because the kids feel like they can really hang out at each station and spend their time building and creating. We met up with some of our friends.

Science Center fun!

Science Center fun!

We met up with some more friends on Wednesday to jump at Skyzone. We were there for an hour and the boys were a sweaty mess! Luke had a good time, but Gabe was ready to hunker down at home. That boy can only stand to be social for so long.

I also did a good bit of cooking and baking just to make our Thanksgiving Day less packed. I’ll post the recipe later, but I made an awesome sweet potato cake that I cannot wait to make again. Probably for Christmas.

We spent Thursday in Desoto with my dad, siblings, and grandparents. It was a relatively small crew this time which was fine with me. It’s easier to spend time with everyone that way. My little nephew is 4 months old and is so alert and chunky. He definitely stole the show!

Before we got home we dropped by a friend’s home to feed and water her dogs and chickens. She sweetly left a little gift for me: comfy socks and some essential oils! Such a nice surprise!

I made a full Thanksgiving dinner for just the 4 of us because I realized it had been several years since we’d had anything like that, due to food allergies. When we eat with family we eat whatever meat they have and then whatever veggies are available and that’s it. I made a turkey breast, cranberry sauce, gluten free stuffing, green beans, roasted potatoes, and paleo muffins. Plus the sweet potato cake and coconut milk whipped cream.

Gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving Dinner.

Gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving Dinner.

I wish I could say it was all good, but it wasn’t. The turkey ended up being too dry. The gluten-free stuff was some boxed stuff from Trader Joe’s and just not very good. The potatoes were such a disappointment because my baking stone broke and I had to make them in a regular casserole dish. Not even close to the same. The greenbeans, cake, and cranberry sauce were all tasty though!

My biggest blessings!

My biggest blessings!

I was hoping to relax on Friday, but Luke wanted to invite a friend over. He’s been trying to get together with this friend for a long time and they were actually available. It’s totally fine with me so he spent about 6 hours with us. Then I had to feed the dogs and chickens once again, and then my mom and siblings on that side came over for the evening.

It was a small group this year. Mom, Anna, Jacob and Jhamie, Karen, Tim, Tiza, Alli…I guess that’s it! Chelsea had to work so they didn’t make it up to Missouri at all.

We still had a nice time. I brought out my coloring books and they ended up being a hit. They women colored at the table and the guys played board games in the livingroom. The evening flew by and before I knew it everyone was heading home.

Uh oh, Grams is trying VR.

Uh oh, Grams is trying VR.

The artist of the family.

The artist of the family.

Saturday started out busy as well. Luke was in an impromptu show in Kirkwood. The kids played about 7 songs. The weather was really nice and they sounded good and drew a nice little crowd. I was grateful to see him play this show since I’d missed the other.

Set up

Set up

Rocker

Rocker

After the show Luke had his 2 hour band practice. Since it didn’t make sense to go home, we sat around at Kaldi’s and chatted and browsed the web. We didn’t make it home until 3:30 and we were starving!

Ben had the idea to make a huge Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. It took longer to make that I would have liked, but it was pretty epic. So good.

Super awesome amazing leftover sandwich of doom.

Super awesome amazing leftover sandwich of doom.

Ben’s brother came over and the guys played games and watched youtube shows while I binge-watched Gilmore Girls. And yes, I watched all 4 episodes. I honestly wasn’t planning to, because I didn’t realize they’d all be released at once. Once I saw they were all available I was hooked. Didn’t get to bed until 11 and it was totally worth it! Ahhhhhh!

Sunday was our day to break out the Christmas decorations and finalize our Christmas plans. Ben is really excited about getting the most out of the season. I love his enthusiasm, but I just hope we can pull it all off! 🙂

The house is decorated except the tree. The outside needs some lights and I need to do some clean up out front. There are a few potted plants that are now officially dead and need to be composted, the hose needs to be stashed away, etc. Hopefully we’ll get to all of that in the next day or two and we’ll be able to relax a bit.

I’m thankful for a day to really practice gratitude. I know the first Thanksgiving wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I’m okay with letting that part go. But, to me, Thanksgiving is all about family and gratitude and, yes, yummy food. God’s given us a lot to be grateful for. Today and every day.

 

 

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I Tried It and I Liked It: Dinner Rolls

I tried these dinner rolls a couple weeks ago to go with a vegetable soup. I’m really enjoying the texture that tapioca flour brings to baked goods so these seemed like a safe bet. They turned out….odd. Chewy, I guess. Funny enough, the boys went crazy over them and thought they were the best thing ever.

It just seemed like the rolls didn’t want to firm up or brown up but by the time they did they were almost over-done. Not sure what happened, but I will try them again.

The next time around I think I’ll go ahead and add some seasoning and maybe some garlic and cheese. If I can get the texture right I think it has a lot of potential to be an awesome sub for cheesy garlic bread.

Posted in Food, Glorious Food, I Tried It And I Liked It! | Leave a comment