It was no ordinary leftover consumption, however. You entered her kitchen and were instructed on how to make The World's Greatest Sandwich. I had the pleasure of doing the same thing this past Friday.
Ingredients: Everything you ate on Thanksgiving, plus your favorite artisan bread (thinly sliced), some cheese that melts easily (we used co-jack), and some nice thick bacon. I also have a cranberry-honey mustard that tastes excellent on this sandwich.
Cook bacon. Heat everything else up. Warm up a griddle.
Layer on your bread: cheese, bacon, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and anything else you might think of (some people like gravy...I think it interferes with everything else). If I didn't think avocado would taste weird on this sandwich, I would probably find a way to work it in. You can put the ingredients on in any order, but put the cheese towards the outside so it melts when you grill the sandwich. Press down hard. Extra points if the mashed potatoes start leaking out the side.
Butter your bread and put the sandwich on your hot griddle, flipping until the bread is nicely toasted and the cheese is melted.
We realized while making the sandwiches this year that this was actually a three-meat sandwich: turkey, bacon, and the sausage in the stuffing. Good stuff.
(I can't find our camera cord right now, but when I do I will post pictures. I know you can't wait.)
Lester, who began the season on an extended rehab minor league assignment, was 4-0 with the Red Sox this past season, and was their Game 4 winner in the World Series sweep of the Rockies. It was almost 15 months ago that he was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, since making a rapid recovery back to the major leagues.
More, More, More Said the Baby
Make Way for Ducklings
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (at Christmas, of course)
The Little House
The Snowy Day (this was the first book I read to Cameron after he was born)
Ox Cart Man
Zin, Zin, Zin, a Violin
The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders
How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
KnuffleBunny: A Cautionary Tale
It's not complete, of course...but these are the ones that came to mind today!
I tag Joy, Amber, and the Blacks.
Cameron is getting over his bout of pinkeye, and it looks this morning like Ben might have caught it. I bought some homeopathic drops at the drugstore on Sunday that are working well for Cam, so I hope we can head it off before anyone else gets it.
And besides that, there are the usual sniffles and sneezes. The usual bumps in the road with little ones.
BUT THERE'S NO STREP (THROAT OR OTHERWISE) IN THE HOUSE. And for that we are exceedingly grateful!
I was up and at 'em, eager to get there for the opening. We had banana bread for breakfast and headed out the door. After a quick stop at the library, we turned into the parking lot at 8:45. Some spaces were unoccupied and I was happily anticipating a peaceful shopping trip when...
...from out of the backseat...
...a vomitous noise erupted...
...and Jonathan started crying...
and that was the end of that.
Nicole, who was on her way to meet me there, sweetly brought me what I was shopping for: children's echinacea. Maybe we'll go later this week.
I am grateful that we have a very talented friend named Jason who was snapping away all day long. Here are some that he shared with me....
Remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!
~Henry Ward Beecher
It's 7:30 a.m. and there's acorn squash in the oven...
Today's list is too long to relate, but let's just say that today's school will be largely in the "home economics/life skills" arena. Cutting vegetables, washing dishes, etc., etc.
9:45....the leeks, apples, and celery just went into the pot to start off the
Bake pumpkin cheesecake (it's in the oven). This is the first step in a two-day process to make this cheesecake!
Make Maple Herb Butter (this is used on the turkey and in the gravy).
Today's disaster was a great one: I poured the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and was impressed with how full it was. I picked the pan up by the sides and discovered too late that the springform was..."unsprung." Batter oozed out the sides as I quickly slammed the ring down and fastened it tightly. The accident left an impressive creamy orange ring on my counter, but there was still enough batter to make a decent cheesecake, so I quickly shoved it in the oven before I did any more damage to it!
I made a cranberry-apple pie. You can find the recipe here.
- 26 -- people expected, ourselves included...about a third of these people are under the age of eight.
- 2 -- turkeys expected. I'm doing one and my friend Joanne is doing another, and we'll both reap the wonderful leftover benefits.
- 22 -- pounds in my turkey. I've named her Gertrude. She's been in the fridge since Saturday evening.
- 18 -- pounds in Joanne's turkey. See what I mean about leftovers?
- 9:00 -- is the Macy's parade. I always turn it on early, thinking maybe I missed it. Has it always started at 9? I remember wiping the sleep out of my eyes while watching it on my grandmother's little black-and-white TV on Thanksgiving mornings in my childhood. Was I really that late a sleeper? (the answer here is "Yes, you were. That's why we always made fun of you for sleeping in at the farm and not going out to do chores with your grandfather like your sister did.")
- 1 -- table, I hope. We're going to do our best to have everybody together.
- 8 -- leeks in my refrigerator. I only needed six, but they were sold in bunches of four. What should I do with the other two?
This year I'll be making the same thing as the past two years: New England Sausage, Apple, and Dried Cranberry Stuffing, and Roast Turkey with Maple Herb Butter and Gravy.
The chorus goes:
So, sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
Well He gave up His pride and He came here to die like a man
Andrew: Mom, who is the brave little boy?
Mom: Jesus was the brave little boy!
Andrew: Oh. How old is He?
Mom (mind swirling with possible theological implications of any answer to that question: Eternal sonship? Trinitarian implications?): He came here as a little tiny baby and grew up into a boy and then a man!
Andrew: But how old was He?
Mom: Well, at one time He was three, just like you!
Andrew, with a look of delighted surprise: Like me?! Wow! But how old is He?
Mom (considering the tenacious nature of her son in a positive light): Well, he was a baby, and then he was a boy, and then he grew up to be a man, and when He was thirty-three, He died on the cross and rose again and went to be with God in Heaven!
Andrew is finally satisfied with that answer. :-)
It reminded me of the Rich Mullins song, "Boy Like Me/Man Like You":
You was cryin' in the early mornin'
You was born in a stable Lord
Reid Memorial is where I was born
They wrapped You in swaddling clothes
Me they dressed in baby blue
I was twelve years old in the meeting house
Listening to the old men pray
And I was tryin' hard to figure out
What it was that they was tryin' to say
There You were in the temple
They said You weren't old enough
To know the things You knew
Well, did You grow up hungry?
Did You grow up fast?
Did the little girls giggle when You walked past?
Did You wonder what it was
That made them laugh?
Did they tell You stories
'bout the saints of old?
Stories about their faith?
They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
Stories like that make a man walk straight
But was You a boy like me
Well, I grew up around Indiana
You grew up around Galilee
And if I ever really do grow up
Lord I want to grow up and be just like You
Did You wrestle with a dog and lick his nose?
Did You play beneath the spray
Of a water hose?
Did You ever make angels in the winter snow?
Playing hide and seek?
Did You try not to cry
When You scraped Your knee?
Did You ever skip a rock across a quiet creek?
And I really may just grow up
And be like You someday
By the way, that little three-year-old is at this moment running with glee around the house, having recently realized that corduroy pants whistle when you walk. I wonder if the boy Jesus ever did that?
Today we tend to talk of "work" and "leisure" as opposites. Work is serious, leisure is play, it is said. Work is drudgery, leisure is fun. Work is for pay, leisure is free. Work is what we do for someone else, leisure is for ourselves -- and so on. But a moment's thought shows this is not so. Far closer to the mark is the observation that the modern world has scrambled things so badly that today we worship our work, we work at our play, and we play at our worship.
From The Call by Os Guiness
We are using the schedule at Ambleside Online (year one) for literature, history, music, art and nature study. I agree with much of the teaching philosophy found in Charlotte Mason's writings. They are available online here, also.
- Phonics: The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
- Math: Mathematics Enhancement Programme from the University of Exeter (this is a great FREE curriculum! I have been very impressed with it. For Kindergarten, we used Singapore Earlybird workbooks.) I also supplement using the Quarter Mile Math computer program.
- Bible: We just finished reading through the Psalms at breakfast. This morning we started the Gospel of John. I'm also trying to follow the memorization schedule used at Capitol Hill Baptist (with limited success...I need to improve in this area!).
- Art: I splurged and bought Artistic Pursuits and I LOVE it. The kids like it a lot, too.
A mother…by her planning and industry night and day, by her willfulness of love, by her fidelity, she brings up her children. Do not read to me the campaigns of Caesar and tell me nothing about Napoleon’s wonderful exploits. For I tell you that, as God and the angels look down upon the silent history of that woman’s administration, and upon those men-building processes which went on in her heart and mind through a score of years;—nothing exterior, no outward development of kingdoms, no empire-building, can compare with what mother has done. Nothing can compare in beauty, and wonder, and admirableness, and divinity itself, to the silent work in obscure dwellings of faithful women bringing their children to honor and virtue and piety.Henry Ward Beecher
Gene Fedele, ed. Golden Thoughts of Mother, Home & Heaven, (Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2003), pp.75-76.
Here are the notes that Ben and Cameron included in their boxes:
Ben's letter included a picture of him carrying a gift
Cameron's had a Christmas tree
- Constructive Playthings
- Rainbow Resource Center (I ordered many of our gifts here last year. They have free shipping for any orders over $150, and you're supporting a homeschool family to boot!)
- The All-American Boy's Adventure Catalog and The Beautiful Girlhood Collection at VisionForum
- Back to Basics Toys
Moms, are there any I've left out? Leave a comment and I'll amend the list.
The Behold the Lamb of God tour is returning to Mecklenburg Community Church on Wednesday, December 12. You can check out my posts about last year's concert here. I HIGHLY recommend this concert! The first half is a sampling of music -- usually two songs each -- from all the artists who are on tour together. After intermission, the artists return to the stage to play through Andrew Peterson's 45-minute trip through redemption history, culminating in the birth of Christ.
This year Derek and Sandra will still be touring, so they will not be a part of this tour. (say it with me, "awwww...") But the featured artists will include Sara Groves, Bebo Norman, Andrew Osenga, Andy Gullahorn and Jill Phillips. The band usually includes Garrett Buell (the percussion genius who's part of Caedmon's), Ben Shive (the musical genius who arranges and produces all of Andrew Peterson's albums, as well as many others'), and Gabe Scott (the hammer dulcimer and obscure-instrument genius who often tours with Andrew Peterson).
SO, anyway, enough chatting. Tickets SOLD OUT last year. They are $10 general admission. We may be able to get a group rate if we get more than ten people together to go. If you are interested in joining us, please leave me a comment or send me an email. I'd like to get a bunch of tickets ordered by Thanksgiving, if it's possible.
Parents, we brought our two oldest kids to this last year and they really enjoyed it. They will probably like it even more this year since we have the CD and they are familiar with the music now. If you would like to introduce the music to your children, you can find a player on this page, which will play all the music for you...or just order the CD!
And yes, this is one CD I'll probably break out before Christmas. It's for the kids. ;-)
I wanted to spread the word: Tomorrow night (Friday, 11/9) at 10pm, Diane Sawyer will be airing her follow up 20/20 special on "Poverty in America". She focused on Camden, NJ and UrbanPromise Ministries, which is where my husband and I now live and where he works. Her efforts prompted "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" to build a home for one of the Camden families featured. That show will air this Sunday, 11/11 at 8pm. I encourage all of you to take some time to watch (or DVR) both shows and ask you to add Camden to your prayer list. It's a city that is very dear to my heart and as Mike and I endeavour to spread the love of Christ here, we would covet your prayer covering.
You can read a bit more over at Becky and Mike's blog.
Sandra sang a BEAUTIFUL new song called "The Tie that Binds." She said she'll be back in the studio in January.
Tonight we're skippin' down to NoDa to the Neighborhood Theatre to hear two of my favorite people in the world, Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken.
(I can't say "top ten" because I will probably think of something else after I'm done, and I hate to hedge myself in that way)
1. Derek talks about how sinful he is...all the time, in everything he does: check out I Repent, I Want a Broken Heart, Crooked Deep Down, Thankful, Trouble
My current favorite lyric is "it’s not just a struggle/Well it’s the blood running through my veins/And it’s all the clothes I’ve ever worn"
2. Sandra has an appreciation for old language and old hymns. See her album The Builder and the Architect.
3. Sandra's voice. Mmmmm. Sweet, beautiful and a little sad at times. Go listen to "Portadown Station" on her MySpace page. *sigh*
4. Derek is a rabble-rouser, in a good way. He's shaken me out of my Christian-culture complacency more than once. Here's a snippet from T-Shirts (What We Should Be Known For):
"They’ll know us by the T-shirts that we wear/They’ll know us by the way we point and stare/At anyone whose sin looks worse than ours/Who cannot hide the scars of this curse that we all bear"
5. Their album "thanks" sections frequently end with cute little references to each other, like "I wouldn't trade you for all the Guinness in Dublin."
6. Sandra's lyrics...even though Derek has more notoriety in the US, she's the better writer, and Derek would be the first to tell you that. I give you...The High Countries: "We are just pilgrims /of the great divorce/I am witness to the light /and I am captive to my own remorse"
(this song was inspired by Lewis' The Great Divorce, so it may not affect you if you haven't read that book, but if you have? Wow. And the fact that she somehow made that rhyme? Wow, just wow.)
7. Derek introduced us to BloodWater Mission, Jars of Clay's mission to build wells in Africa.
8. One time David and I stayed after a concert to help the band load the van, and Derek told me to stop carrying things. I was about five or six months pregnant with Jonathan at the time, and I was only carrying a guitar, but still, it was nice of him. :-)
9. You've gotta love a guy who just wears white t-shirts all the time. No pretense. He just wants you to listen to the music.
10. Derek's gospel-laden album She Must and Shall Go Free has inspired countless conversations with my young children about the complicated doctrines of propitiation, the atonement, and sanctification.
In keeping with his "rabble-rouser" status, those of you who are going to the concert can expect to hear Derek use an expletive from the stage tonight. If you are sensitive, you might want to stop up your ears....
The Rabbit Room
Two years ago I walked the streets of Oxford with my wife. We were in London for a few days during the final throes of Spring and took the train to the famously literary town to visit, among other things, the former home of C.S. Lewis.
From the post "Welcome to the Rabbit Room," penned by the "Proprietor," Andrew Peterson. Please read the whole thing; it's perfectly lovely. I look forward to spending more time with these folks.
It’s a two-story brick house called the Kilns, in what used to be the outskirts of Oxford and is now buffeted by subdivisions. Fifty or sixty years ago Lewis sat upstairs at the Kilns and wrote, or he strolled around the pond behind the house smoking his pipe; now college students live in the house and the pond is littered with old tires and oil bottles.
Not far from his house is a picturesque Anglican church building made of hewn stone and tucked in a quiet hollow of Oxford. We walked through the old empty building where Lewis and his brother used to sit through the homily until five minutes before the end of the service, at which time they would sneak out the back door to beat the lunch rush at the pub down the street.
Behind the church is the cemetery where Lewis is buried. My wife and I stood at his grave feeling the peace of the place: the long-haired cows tearing grass from the hill visible through leafy bowers, the sun pushing through gray English skies as soft and easy as a yawn, the green of new grass well-kept. As hokey as it sounds, I felt like we were in the Shire, and I suppose that in a way that’s exactly where we were....The world knows darkness. Christ came into the world to show us light. I have seen it, have been blinded by it, invaded by it, and I will tell its story. I cannot help but see that story everywhere I look. I see it when I am full of joy and weightless as a cloud, and I see it when grief and self-loathing root me to the cold earth; it is remembering the story, Christ whispering it in my ear, that kills the despair, sets me gently on the donkey, and takes me to an inn to recover from the wounds. How can I keep myself from singing?
The Rabbit Room is a place for stories. For artists who believe in the power of old tales, tales as old as the earth itself, who find hope in them and beauty in the shadows and in the light and in the source of the light.
After my fish and chips in the back room of the Eagle and Child, I noticed a paper sign attached to the gable. On it was written the name of the little room where the Inklings met: the Rabbit Room. I don’t know why it was called that. There was no explanation to be found. But the name struck me, stuck with me, and grew into this website. Here you’ll find writings and reviews by artists and appreciators of art, conversations about creation, storytelling, songwriting, and the long journey of becoming who we’re meant to be.
Today I went to the store to get the pictures developed (I am long overdue sending out updated ones to the family).
As I stood at the picture machine, the photo department lady caught her breath and briskly said, "where did you get these taken?". I replied that I had taken them. She then called her manager over and they agreed that I should sign a form agreeing that I would pay any damages should the "copyright owner" decide to sue the store for violating the law.
Well, I am the copyright owner, so I don't think there's any danger of that.
But I chose to take this as a compliment that my photography practice is starting to pay off.
Here's my favorite:
The community that we have in Christ naturally gives us an interest in human society. We are concerned about the structures of human relationships, not simply because they affect us as individuals, but because we know the transforming power of the gospel. We know this because we have experienced it in our relationships in the church, where there is "neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
Despite its commitment to community, the church has often been slow to speak out against racism, sexism, individualism, and other social problems. This has done serious damage to our witness. Secular culture has filled the void by addressing these issues, but without the biblical values that are necessary for making real social progress. As a result, some Christians have concluded that the pursuit of social justice is itself a secular ideal, when in fact it is thoroughly biblical.
God has called us to live out our faith in committed, reconciled relationships that have a transforming influence on social structures. The proper Christian approach is not to shy away from social problems, but to address them in a positive way that shows the hope of community in Christ.
From He Speaks to Me Everywhere: Meditations on Christianity and Culture by Philip Graham Ryken
Are you going to vote today?
Here's the Observer's voter's guide for you last-minute types.
"One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh no," I said, "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late."
"I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."
"Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis."
"I bet a funny thing about driving a car off a cliff is, while you're in midair, you still hit those brakes! Hey, better try the emergency brake!"
"Anytime I see something screech across a room and latch onto someone's neck, and the guy screams and tries to get it off, I have to laugh, because what is that thing."
I was saying that in those icebreaker games, I often have very little to answer when the question is, "name one thing about yourself that nobody would guess." I always say the same thing...I know how to tap dance. It's getting a little stale as an answer. But I've not been on any exotic vacations or done anything risky. As I said last night to my friend, "I graduated from college, got married, and had four babies."
It was at this moment that she looked at me and said, "That seems like a vacation every day to me."
And this friend...she works as a journalist. So she travels everywhere. She's been everywhere. She can speak with aplomb about which area of Scotland is the prettiest. Last month she was in Korea. A few months before that? The Ukraine.
But my life seems like a vacation to her. I'll quote the article (again -- it seems like this woman was listening to our conversation!):
I don’t think people who are on the other side realize what it’s like for those of us behind the fence. Perhaps that’s not fair, but that’s how it feels to be there. It’s like waiting for a plane to vacation, where everyone else is, and not knowing when the plane is going to arrive, or if it is. And yet you keep getting reports of how great it is to be on that vacation, and that when you get there, the wait is worth it. And you believe the people - you believe that it will be so amazing to be on this vacation, but you really doubt that you’re going to end up on the vacation, or worse yet, you fear everyone else will be done with vacation by the time you get there…I guess I'll just say that this was a much-needed perspective adjustment for me.
I am grateful for my life for certain, and I resent it when people suggest that I've rushed into motherhood. I often laugh when I think about returning for a ten-year reunion at my uber-feminist all-girls high school and how people would have gasped at my wasted education. Most of my classmates were fresh off earning their advanced degrees, and were just entering into marriage. Me? I wasn't able to make it, because I had just given birth to son #4.
But in the day-to-day life of breaking up arguments and whining and laundry and illness, the fact that my life is a dream to some women becomes a bit fuzzy. Better said, that fact disappears completely. It is self-centeredness on my part, I know.
So, I'm going to pack my bags for another day on vacation...
But at least one Charlotte radio station is now playing Christmas music. At least they waited until after October 31st this year.
Buckle up, Charlotte. Andy Williams wants to serenade you.