Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So, the countdown begins...

... and true to what is very normal for us, this is a photo made in my dining room...

... seems that we've sprung a leak, in the bathroom, under the sink...

the ONE bathroom that is in this house. 

And I do believe that we have upwards of 20 people coming for lunch... so the new handwashing station is in the kitchen, unless Mr. Plumber guy gets the bathroom repaired.

You know, real people do live lives like you see on those crazy holiday movies...

and sometimes, we resemble that very, very much.

And as I pour up two pans of cornbread into skillets, the cat runs by, all stealthily.. like she doesn't want you to notice.... (very not normal for her)... so I go check and she has a lizard!  IN the house... and she's growling...  Now thinking forward just a wee bit, I can see that a lunch of lizard could cause upset stomach, so I wrestle the little cat for her prey.  I am only bleeding a small amount... not near enough for a transfusion.

The preparations go on. 

Many casseroles are made today, Wednesday, in advance of the frantic bake off in the morning. 
They're tagged with their content and cooking instructions and popped into fridge I or fridge II to spend the night. 

The cheesecake is ready and the aroma of baking cheesecake and toasty graham cracker crust fill the kitchen.

Now I do not make the dinner rolls until the morning of.  But this is what they'll look like.
Yesterday, the teenager brought home his buddies for a 'boys night in' of video games.
The college age son made his way home, weary of exams and the senior year rush.
The younger boys grabbed an entire pan of rolls and headed up the stairs with them when they came in.
Really... is there a nicer compliment to one's rolls~?
It did sound like the boys had  a good time.

I am not a fan of celery... I think I've told you that already.  But you have to put it in dressing, and it's on sale this time of year, so I buy a bunch or three and chop it for future use.  
I noticed that they're selling it pre-chopped this year.
An 8 ounce cup of chopped celery was $3.99.
I chopped up three stalks of celery that I paid 69 cents each for and netted 3 quarts for the freezer, in addition to what I'll use in the Thanksgiving meal.

 I'll admit it was beautiful... so pretty and crunchy and green.

This years sweet potatoes are huge!  And a gorgeous dark color... and so very sweet.

I used the hand blender stick for the task of creaming the sweet potato casseroles.

Two topped sweet potato casseroles, which will hang out in the fridge overnight!

Because I'm some weird mix of organized and obsessive compulsive, and because last year, I lost two old hand written recipes during the holiday rush to prepare, the usual stack of recipes on the end of the table has been put into a binder.  Several days or a week before, while I'm planning, I pull together the recipes.
This year, it was rather easy, as I used the printable ones that I'd been typing up for the blog.
Slid into plastic sleeves, they're also tagged with the labels that will go on the casseroles in the fridge.
It's a small thing, but it streamlines the morning and helps to organize the oven time.  I'll line things up by
temperature and time spent in the oven and proceed without much drama.
By backing up the lineup from the time I expect to serve dinner, I've determined that if everything is underway by 9 am, I'll be putting it all on the table at 12:15. 

So, that's about where I am.... turkeys are nearly thawed, casseroles are done, tables are waiting for tableclothes and there'll be one last crazy relocation of furniture to make everything fit.
Everyone's calling... " Do I need to pick up anything before I come?"  and the sweetest....

"I'll see you tomorrow",  "I'll be there as early as I can", and " I'll be so glad to be home."

So, no matter how long since they traveled the road to get here, and regardless of the craziness of broken plumbing and anything else that can go wrong, I'm so looking forward to seeing my folks, and feeding them and watching their twinkly eyes over the plates in the dining room.  I love to hear them talking and laughing and sharing with each other.  I love the hugs and the kisses.

I love the connection and the coming together for a holiday designed for thankfulness.

I am blessed another year with health and love and family.

For this, I am grateful.

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