Sometimes You Lose

Today has not been a very successful day, despite all my efforts to make it so. This morning I got right to work putting together today’s Geography food—a South American chicken stew that has a really long list of ingredients, including fresh thyme, which is the only thing that has survived my neglect of my garden this year.

Jasper helped me set up, and we even got the garlands up on my teacup tree, but that is all. Maybe tomorrow I can get the lights and ornaments on!

As class time neared, Jasper made quesadillas to go with the stew. We watched a video during lunch like we always do. These boys have been very enthusiastic eaters and I thought they’d like the stew—but they did not. I really, really hate to throw food away but they barely touched it. At least we have a dog—who had a very large fancy dinner today!

The boys were more enthusiastic about the array of German goodies I put out for dessert—and the mochi ice cream too. Then we spent the rest of the class reviewing for next week’s test.

After class I finally had time to sit down and put the glitter glue on one side of my red diamond. That was another fail. That was some seven hours ago and it still isn’t dry. I may die of old age first! And this is even with using my hair dryer on it at regular intervals! I wish they had mentioned on the glue bottle that using this glue may benefit your grandchildren rather than yourself. [I just Googled it and learned that it may take 24 hours to dry. Good thing the parade isn’t until Saturday!]

Meanwhile, I picked up the poster I had ordered with the card back on it, but now I have to go out and buy more foam board because someone else volunteered to do the front and she’s using a different size of paper. So tomorrow I’ll be heading back to Hobby Lobby one more time.

I have spent all evening critiquing student papers and have finally finished doing the ones that have been turned in. It is a very slow and time-consuming process. I have no sense of victory because I have so much other grading and school work to do!

A Big Red Diamond

Today I wasn’t sure if the blond brothers were coming or not, since one of them had been sick, but I prepared anyway and it’s a good thing I did because they both came! I also got some more student papers critiqued and still have more to go.

This afternoon I went out to get some groceries for our Geography class tomorrow. It’s a “bonus” class for review so the boys will have a better chance at doing well on the test next week.

I also made it to the gym for a walk. I can’t slack off on exercise now, especially as I’ll be walking in that parade on Saturday. My handy husband very kindly went to work on making me a diamond to go atop my scepter. I’ve never had a real diamond, but now I’ve got one made of wood! Jasper is going to paint the staff and I have already begun painting the diamond red. Once it’s painted on all sides I will cover it with red glitter so it will sparkle (I hope). I still have to cobble together a costume and make myself a cheesy crown. It looks like it will be a cool evening so I need to take that into account.

First Christmas Party of the Season

Well, we are into that very busy time at the end of the semester when I am behind on my grading and so busy that we don’t even have our Christmas tree up yet.

Yesterday I fell asleep at my computer and that’s why there wasn’t a blog entry. Today I was up preparing for my elementary school class’s last class of the semester and Christmas party. I made some gluten-free brownies and chocolate jello before I even got dressed this morning. I had already prepared the jars of my decadent hot chocolate mix to give my students.

The kids came and took a couple of quizzes before they could dig into the snacks (everybody brought something to share) and read their stories out loud to each other. As always, I was amazed by their creativity!

This afternoon I had a series of errands to run. We needed laundry detergent from Sam’s. I needed a broomstick from Lowe’s but settled for an extra-long dowel rod. I need it for my scepter that I’ll carry in the parade on Saturday. From there I went to the health food store to pick up a couple of things, and on to a store that I’ve been shopping at for forty years. It used to be a bookstore, and my future husband and I went there every weekend when we were dating. Now there is just one small corner of books and the rest is an upscale boutique. I miss the bookstore days!

I made a final stop at another store to pick up a plant and then continued to the hospital to visit my friend Robin, who had surgery this morning. She is in the same hospital on the same floor where I was after my surgery earlier this year. It was good to visit with her and her daughters and other friends and relatives.

At the same time, I was worried about my mom. She has been in terrible pain for several days and tests have not revealed the cause. She will be going back to the doctor tomorrow so please pray that they will be able to figure out what’s causing all this agony! My dad said even narcotic painkillers are not helping.

I have spent the evening working on critiquing student papers and still have plenty more to do tomorrow, so maybe I should get some rest . . .

First Sunday of Advent

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

by Aurelius Prudentius

Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framèd;
He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean
In their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun,
Evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion,
Death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children
Doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below,
Evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
Evermore and evermore!

This is He whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
And extol our God and king!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!

Righteous judge of souls departed,
Righteous king of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted
None in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive,
Evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men,
Thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens,
With glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring,
Evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!

Final Day

Can you believe there is only one month left in this year? I can’t believe that when I was a kid I thought a year was a long time. The years flash by so quickly now.

I failed to mention a notable even that occurred yesterday, and that is that my new roaster oven arrived in the morning. Missed Thanksgiving by one day!

So today, I was planning on doing a pork roast for supper, and what better time to inaugurate my new roaster? I learned a couple of things about it in the process. It is a little narrower and deeper than my old roaster (larger overall capacity). It has no indicator light to tell me when it is on and when it has reached the set temperature. And “350°” according to this roaster is not as hot as 350° in my old roaster. So I will have to either set it at a higher temperature or add a considerable amount of time to have a roast come out the way I want it.

We had a leisurely morning today. Mary went for another run. Jordan and Jasper and Daniel went out for donuts. I made a huge batch of my famous turkey salad and also went to Walmart to stock up on Vitamin C in hopes that we can stave off Lina’s plague. And after we all returned to the house, we enjoyed a video chat with Flynn and Tiffany.

After lunch I set off for Hobby Lobby. I needed a candle for the middle of our Advent wreath and also some supplies for my costume. I am once again going to be participating in the Mount Pleasant Christmas parade and I am going as the Queen of Diamonds. This year I volunteered to walk beside the float instead of riding on it.

Meanwhile, Mary and Mercy’s friend Joy had arrived and most of the kids went out for coffee. When I returned home, only Lina and Jasper were here. Poor Lina is still so sick and just needed to lie down for a while.

After everyone had returned, including Spencer and Jade, my four daughters and I took off for a little mother-daughter outing. We went to Books-a-Million since my favorite bookstore is now closed on weekends. We bought some drinks and browsed through the store. I ended up bringing home my first three 2020 calendars—which makes me realize I’d better get going on my annual calendar for the family!

We had our roast for supper and afterward watched a silly movie. Tomorrow everyone is leaving. So I guess I ‘d better get the peanut butter fudge made before I go to bed tonight, so Mary and Jordan can take some with them.

Parting Shot:

?

Three of my daughters in their matching plaid shirts.

A Family Outing

There was no big hurry to get going this morning, although I was up at 7:30 in order to make sure that anyone who wanted breakfast would get food, and that my bone broth had not boiled down too far overnight. It smelled heavenly! Mary and Mercy went to meet up with a friend. Others played a table game. Spencer and Jade had other plans for the day so there were just nine of us.

Meanwhile, even though it was Black Friday, a day I prefer to stay at home, I went to Aldi to do the grocery shopping after snagging a couple of Black Friday deals online. It wasn’t crowded at all. Maybe everyone was out shopping Black Friday deals at other stores.

After I got back from the store we ate lunch and then set off on our outing. We piled into three different cars and drove down to Nacogdoches so Lina could show everyone her apartment and the school where she teaches. We all enjoyed seeing Lina’s cozy little apartment and saying hello to Neko, our former cat who now lives with Lina. I think he was a little startled to find so many people in his space!

From there we drove on to Regents Academy, the classical Christian school where Lina teaches. She gave us a tour and we got to see her classroom and the projects her students are working on.

I had hoped to get a chance to see Lina’s local yarn store, but it closed right as we arrived, so we went to a coffee shop where all the kids got coffee before we headed back home (it’s a little over an hour’s drive).

Nobody objected to having Thanksgiving leftovers for supper. Lina is actually quite sick with a severe respiratory infection, and we are all hoping she doesn’t share it. I think I’ll be going to Walmart tomorrow to stock up on Vitamin C!

More game playing finished out the evening. Tomorrow we’re hoping Spencer and Jade will make it over for at least part of the day.

Parting Shot:

?

Lina in the doorway of her classroom.

So Grateful

As usual, I was the first one up today, working in the kitchen and baking the breakfast casserole. Then Mary got up and went for a run before breakfast. She is training for a half marathon that is coming up soon!

We had nine of us at the table for breakfast after Spencer and Jade arrived. Mercy and Daniel didn’t make it till closer to noon since they hadn’t even arrived in town until after 3:00 this morning.

Instead of having lunch on Thanksgiving we set up a snack bar and then have a somewhat earlier supper. Almost everyone played a table game while I worked in the kitchen, and then we worked on making paper airplanes for our annual paper airplane races.  It was a gloomy overcast day and we wanted to make sure to do the airplanes while we still had good light.

I know you’re dying to know how the races went. We have three categories: Artistic Design, Distance, and Air Time. Here are this year’s winners:

Jade for Artistic Design, Lina for Air Time, and Daniel for Distance. We had some good planes this year!

The big dinner was bountiful as usual, and almost all of it was gluten free and therefore safe for Mary. I was more restricted in what I could eat, but I did make a couple of the side dishes low carb so that I could have them. Afterward we watched a movie Mercy had brought—The Swan Princess, which was a huge favorite with our kids when they were young. So they really enjoyed the nostalgia trip.

We took a break for dessert when everyone had had enough time for their dinner to settle. Mercy made a beautiful apple pie, Lina made a lovely gluten-free pumpkin pie, and I made a layered dessert that is a big favorite. And there was ice cream. I had planned to make a keto pie but it just seemed like so much effort. I was quite content with a couple slices of cheese and some roasted pecans.

Now the kitchen is mostly clean and I have bone broth simmering on the stove and the house is quiet again. It’s been a good day with family and I’m so glad we have a couple more days together.

Parting Shot:

Thanks to Mary’s expert level selfie skills, we all managed to squeeze into the same shot!

Anticipation

Today was my third day in a row of cooking a LOT. My legs are tired from just standing in the kitchen all day! But I’m doing really well and am not going to have to stay up way past midnight to finish cooking tasks.

Today I made the fruit salad for tomorrow, plus a batch of regular pumpkin bread and a batch of gluten-free pumpkin bread. Due to a couple of requests, I made a huge batch of candied peanuts, something I haven’t done in years. I haven’t missed making them—it took 2 hours of cooking and then breaking them up after they cooled was very hard work.

Lina arrived this afternoon and made a gluten-free pumpkin pie. Then I made supper and a couple of dips and regular and gluten-free breakfast casserole for tomorrow. And a second attempt at my keto crackers, this time successful.  In case you’re wondering why I don’t just make everything gluten free, it’s because of the expense. Gluten-free ingredients are so much more expensive.

Walter arrived home from his road trip in time to join us for supper, and a couple of hours later, Mary, Jordan and Jasper arrived (and Mary and Jordan’s cats, Howl and Calcifer). It is good to have more people around after a few days with just Lucy and me.

Mercy and Daniel will be arriving very late tonight and will be staying at a motel. And Spencer and Jade should be with us for the day tomorrow also. We will only be missing Flynn and Tiffany.

R.I.P.

As I continued to work in the kitchen today, I planned to make something in my roaster oven, which is an appliance I use all the time. I turned it on to preheat, but when I went to check on it, it was not hot at all. I tried plugging it into another outlet, but no luck. The light was on, but it was lying.

I was miffed. How dare that oven go out on me two days before Thanksgiving after 30 years of trouble-free performance? I had already decided I would have to brave driving the Beast (my husband’s work van) to go to the bank, so I continued on to Walmart intent on getting a new roaster oven. Normally at this time of year they are in plentiful supply.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, our Walmart had apparently never heard of how useful roasters can be for the holidays. There were none at all. Then I was more miffed. I came home and ordered one, but of course it won’t arrive in time for Thanksgiving. All the more reason to be glad I’ve been making so much stuff ahead, since I’ll be having to heat it all in the “main” oven.

My reward for all my efforts was to go to a movie tonight. Before I ever knew that my husband would be out of town this week, I bought a ticket to go see Never Surrender, the Galaxy Quest documentary that was showing tonight only. I had to drive the Beast again, and without any dash lights so I had no idea how fast I was going. When I arrived at the theater, I texted my husband about it and he explained that you can get the dash lights to go on; you just have to sort of coax them into it by turning the knob ever so slowly until you find the magic spot. I am happy to report that I achieved this elusive goal on my way home.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed the documentary and tried not to think about my to-do list. Once I returned home I got a couple more things made. Tomorrow is dessert day!

Parting Shot:

This is what a dead roaster looks like after 30 years of hard use, including going to Africa and back.

A Finished Task

Yesterday I stayed home since I didn’t have a way of getting to church. Lucy was sick and stayed home also. I spent much of the day working on my big project. When I agreed to do it, I thought it would take an afternoon. It took 3 days! It involved drafting, sewing, writing, and photography. I am so glad to be done with it. The pattern is up on Etsy and I’ve put the word out to the people who requested it. So glad to be done with it!

Meanwhile, I have been taking breaks to work in the kitchen on advance preparations for Thanksgiving. And yesterday I made dinner and Spencer and Jade came over. Today I made some things and then failed miserably at making my favorite keto crackers because I left out a vital ingredient. Now I have a bag of keto crumbs.

Tomorrow will be mostly in the kitchen, but I get a reward at the end . . .