Thanksgiving Memories

 

Wow, last week was such a beautiful holiday week. It started out with my daughter’s birthday on Monday. In the midst of preparing that I also got to drive the car pool for my son’s Knights of Freedom trip to the Ogden Railroad museum. I heard they needed a driver since one of the usual mom drivers was ill. So I volunteered, knowing that is was about time I contribute something to the group. I got to visit with my friend Karen as I drove. She is really into the Headgates stuff (see http://headgates.org) so I got to quiz her on that and ask her about her Headgates journey. I agree with the basic principles of Headgates but some of the applications of Keri, the author, seem too spartan. Later in the week I read Karen’s blog and decided I like how she applies it. Here’s her blog, http://thetaleofourquest.blogspot.com. Just go there and do a search for Headgates, or TJED, or education and you will find some good stuff to read. I like her approach of spending all morning doing family work with the kids, and then having school time, which she calls free time, in the afternoon. Then it makes the kids/core phasers really appreciate the opportunity to play and learn because they have been working all morning.

 

Anyway, that night after all the driving I did, we celebrated Virtue’s birthday with a dinner, FHE, and dessert. She turned 16. For her presents we got her the ticket to the etiquette simulation, clothes (which she took back on Wednesday to exchange), a copy of Jane Eyre, and a copy of a book about President David O. McKay. She turned 16 but I was thinking, “OK, so just wait to drive and date until you are 20.” I think teens should drive at older ages when their brains are more mature, and I would rather kids date until they are ready to get married. She ended up getting her learner’s permit by the end of the week (at least it wasn’t her full driver’s license) and went on a date, a group date, mind you, on Friday night that her brother organized. This young man who likes to flirt with her in her Thomas Jefferson Youth Certification class asked her out.  Her dad and brother’s influences got to her, what can I say. I have been thinking a lot about dating and will blog about that later.

 

With big brother, after her first date.

 

Wednesday afternoon I made pies. I cheated and did them without crusts. They are so much easier that way. We did apple crumble “pie” and pumpkin. I use Diane Hopkins’ recipes from her cookbook but I have found that I have to double the honey in the pumpkin pie for it to be sweet enough for me and I have to quadruple the recipe to make two thick pies that don’t shrink down.  I had the little kids do the apple slinky maker to slice and peel the apples. Apparently I didn’t do that well of a job supervising because one of the stickers on the apples showed up the next day in the pie! The kids didn’t take it off the apple and the apple slicer corer peeler didn’t take off the peel. Oops! Fortunately it was in my son’s serving, not some other relative I am trying to impress who wouldn’t just laugh it off.

 

I am really thankful that my oldest, Valor, was able to come home from college. He had to work Wednesday at his new job until 11 PM.  He took the bus from Cedar City at 2:30 AM on Thursday morning and got to Provo at 5:30. His uncle picked him up and we met him at Grandma’s home in Provo. Thanks to the bus driver for driving on Thanksgiving Day and for Uncle Sam picking him up. As we drove to Provo we listenened to William Bradford’s story of Plimouth Plantation that I dowloaded from librivox.org. I really enjoyed it. He was really down on evils of the papacy.

 

Grandma, my mother-in-law, had this cute poem pinned on her bulletin board when we got there on Thanksgiving Day.

 

When GrandMa Is "Ready" For Winter

When the last green tomato was pickled,
And the last blushing peach had been peeled;
When the last luscious pea had been quartered,
And the last can of plums had been sealed;

When the grape juice was all corked and bottled,
And the corn made into salad or dried;
When the beets and the apples were buried,
And the side meat and sausage fried.

When the last yellow Quince had been honeyed,
And the last drop of chili sauce jugged;
When the last stalk of cane had become sorghum,
And the last barrel of vinegar plugged;

When the flower seeds were gathered and packaged,
And the house plants were potted and in;
When the fruit cakes were baked for the holidays,
And the mincemeat was canned up in tin;

When the catsup was made and the sauerkraut,
And potatoes were stored in the bin;
When the peppers were stuffed with cabbage,
And the pumpkins were all carried in;

When the honey had all been extracted,
And the comb melted and beeswax in molds;
When the jellies were all glassed and labeled,
And the horehound juice syrupped for colds;

When the celery was blanched and nuts were gathered,
And the beans had been shelled and hulled;
When the sweet potatoes were dried in the oven,
And the onions were pulled up and culled;

When the tallow was made into candles,
And the ashes were leached into lye;
When the rushes were bundled for scouring,
And walnut hulls gathered for dye:

When the cheese was unhooped and ripened,
And the beef corned in the brine to be dried;
When the ham and shoulders were browned in the smokehouse,
And the lard rendered from crackling and tried:

When the popcorn was tied to the rafters,
And the wood was piled high in the shed;
When the feathers from goose and from gander
Were picked for the warm feather bed

Women folks were most ready for winter,
To rest as they knitted and sewed:
As they spun flax, carded wood, pieced quilt blocks,
Is it strange that Grandma's shoulders are bowed?

 

 

I love this poem! It helps me remember my roots in terms of food, where my food used to come from. That’s partly why I love Thanksgiving. It reminds me of our roots, how this nation started by people searching for religious freedom. I like the idea that Thanksgiving involves food that we harvested ourselves. There have been plenty of Thanksgivings over the years that didn’t involve any food that we grew, but I am slowly getting into that concept. This year our pumpkin pies came from pumpkins and squash that we grew.

 

 

I am grateful that I don’t have to do all those things that our grandmas used to do to have food, but I think it would serve me to learn more of those lost arts so I can be more self-reliant. At this point I am working on figuring out how to store all the squash that I harvested. Right now they are all in my dining room on the floor  in the corners. I am going to dry it all like it shows at http://dehydrate2store.com and then grind it into powder.

 

So we had Thanksgiving Dinner with my mother-in-law, my husband’s brother, three of his daughters, another niece who is attending BYU, and my immediate family. The BYU niece is a Young Ambassador so we had fun talking to her about that. I like it that my mother-in-law likes to get out her china and silver and her pretty Thanksgiving tablecloth. We did the five kernels of corn things. That’s where you remember that the Pilgrims went down to rations of five kernels of corn to survive.that first winter. We went around the two tables and everything mentioned five blessings they are thankful for.

 

 

On the way home from Grandma’s home we stopped at my  brother’s home, The kids were doing a project that involved making turkeys out of cookies and candy. My husband, ever the anti-sugar person, saw all the sugar and said, “yuck!” But then my sister caught him eating some and called him on it. He said he was just having a little treat. Busted! We played Ticket to Ride with my sister and her husband. That is a fun game. I was really lousy at it. You have to think about more than one thing at once, in order to win. Not just building a track, but securing different routes before someone else gets them, building more than one track at once, and building long tracks. I realized I can improve my multi-task thinking abilities.

 

 

On Friday instead of going shopping, I stayed home. In the morning I gave my two middle boys piano lessons, which I do every Friday, then after lunch I gave myself the gift of an afternoon of sewing. I worked on a Christmas apron. It’s going to be so pretty! I had to restrain myself from staying up past midnight to finish it. Venture surprised me by helping me sew. He was so thrilled to be able to help me by ironing the ties. In the evening we watched 17 Miracles (and I sewed) while the two big kids went on their date. We lost count of the miracles at about #10. The star of the show is my mother-in-law’s great-grandfather, Levi Savage. His baby in the show is her maternal grandfather. Now I am wishing we had watched it with her, as I am sure she would have liked it. My favorite miracle in the movie is when the young woman prays for help for her friend to not quit but keep walking and then she turns around and there’s a pie on the prairie ground! Amazing!

 

On Saturday I wanted to finish my apron but there was all our Saturday chores to do, which I didn’t finish with the kids, and then I decided that instead of going to the temple in the evening with dh for our date, we should go in the afternoon, so we did that. I am slowly getting the endowments done for all these people my kids have been baptized for.

Fishing on Nephis’ boat at the Book of Mormon Fiesta exhibit.

 

Sunday was the perfect day. We went to church, of course. I stayed with Bugsy in nursery since he has been acting clingy lately whenever I take him to nursery and I don’t believe in abandoning him. I had fun talking to some of the ladies about their Black Friday shopping.  Then we came home and had some tender roast beef cooked all night in the crock pot, veggies, and salad. After this mid-day dinner, my husband and I went to have F.E.C. but ended up taking a nap. That nap felt soooo good. The best part is the four big kids did all the dishes while we napped. Then we went to Temple square as a whole family, to do something together before Valor left for college the next day. My son Venture has been bugging me to go back to the children’s exhibit. the Book of Mormon Fiesta, at the church history museum for a long time. We played hooky from all of our leadership family obligations, like FEC and mentor meetings, but hey, we were still “sharpening the saw,” with a nap and wholesome Sunday family recreation.

 

 

So we went to that while the big kids toured the Conference Center. During our visit at the children’s exhibit I wondered about Headgates ideas and if these activities at the museum would pass Keri’s tests. It seems a bit challenging to walk around following your kids at their cousins’ home or museum exhibits, not to mention friends’ homes, saying, “No, you can’t play with that. You can’t play with that. That toy has a script so you can’t play with it. You won’t be making anything useful or beautiful, or, the thrill of that activity comes from the toy and not you so you can’t play with it.” Every toy has some thrill to it, or the kid wouldn’t play with it.

 

 

Then we met in the square to see all the lights. I loved it because it was warm, with no snow on the ground, and we left during twilight, at 5:30. That is the way to see the lights at Temple Square, before it’s so cold that you freeze your fannies. It was a beautiful day to top off a beautiful week of Thanksgiving memories. The best part was coming home from Temple Square and eating pie, ice cream, and pumpkin bread for supper. Dh had said he was so stuffed from dinner. Hey, I think that’s the trick for every Sunday, make such a huge dinner, like on Thanksgiving Day, and then just serve dessert for supper. I am thankful it only took me 20 years of marriage to figure that out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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