The One with all of the Turkey

Thanksgiving in a nutshell:  awesome.  delicious.  busy.  loud.  fun.  uniting.  perfect.  

We ended up with 19 total around our tableS for Thanksgiving.  My parents arrived Wednesday evening and showered us with gifts for the house, including the set of China dishes my mom is giving to me.  I was also given some wonderful belated birthday presents such as photo frames and beautiful serving bowls.  Stuffed in the truck trailor was also the head and footboard for our bed along with matching side table–all of which coordinate with our dressers.  And to top that all off, they had completely shocked both of us with a great ping pong table and gorgeous brand new foosball table for the youth room.  HOLY SMOKES!  Kevin has been saying how much he’d love to get a ping pong table down there but we didn’t think it’d happen for a while.  Wow.  Kevin spent most of Thursday (before and after eating) setting up the foosball table from the box and Friday they put up the ping pong table.  There are pictures below.  We have already had a blast with these two items and we know the teens and probably all our college friends will LOVE them as well!  I can toss all the boys downstairs and they will probably be content there for hours…wireless internet, dish tv, a huge stereo system, lots of couches, chairs, and cushions, and the above mentioned tables of goodness.  
Thursday went off without a hitch.  The Eccles arrived mid-morning with a trailor pulling the amazing Balwin upright piano (with baby grand strings) that was placed perfectly in our living room.  Oh and they also brought my birthday gifts–a leather laptop bag from Brian and a 7 qt. crockpot (a request of mine) from mom and dad.  Moving right along….I had never cooked a turkey before…and here I was roasting two twelve pounders.  The herb rub I put on the them tasted perfect and the timing went well.  Ten pounds of potatoes were peeled and mashed, and sweet potato casserole was attempted and won awards.  Besides the rolls I threw in the oven, our guests provided Waldorf salad, cranberry jello salad, green bean casserole, cooked corn off the cob, and more rolls.  And of course there was the huge spread of appetizers (cheese balls and crackers, nuts of all sorts, candies, and deviled eggs.)  Don’t forget dessert!  I baked two apple pies (lovely & delicious if I don’t say so myself…my guests seemed to agree!) and two pumpkin pies (a first for me…but very delish!).  Eccles brought 2 yummy elderberry pies and Kaufmans brought a huge Texas sheet cake for our chocolate fix.  
I worked hard to set a beautiful table.  or three. :)  We fit all 13 adults in the dining room and the 6 people under 22 in the living room at a lovely round table.  Check out all the pics below.  





Our new bar stools & lamp
After we took down the extra table, we added a sheet of plywood to expand our current table.  We added the 3 chairs we were given with a table we’re using in the teen room and now our dining room is more aptly filled and ready for visitors. 

The One with Today

Saturday we…
…watched Ohio state stomp on U of M.  The only day of the year our household will be divided and for the 5th time my alliance dominated. 
…drove to Sam’s club. Bought a 22″ HD LCD flatscreen tv.  Bought bulk groceries.  Bought two 12 pound turkeys.  Bought pizza and ice cream for dinner.  (I’m in love with their soft serve.) :D
Sunday we…
…forced ourselves to Meijer to purchase draperies.  finally.  I had headaches all week from online shopping of window treatments.  In an hour we were home and I was thankful.
…participated in the Community Thanksgiving Service @ church.  Around 200 showed up.  I sang How Great Thou Art for a special music and wow!  I have never worshipped like that before.  God’s hand was on me.  So many (including myself) were blessed.  Also, I met lots of great people–some new teens that might join us, some current students’ parents, a few people in our church that I didn’t know too well before, etc, etc.  I was truly a time of thanksgiving.
Today I…
…whipped out the electric drill I had borrowed in order to hang the drapes and rods.  It didn’t work.  I used a screw driver and removed all the existing hardware.  Then I used the screwdriver and drilled the new hardware into the window frames.  Then I hung the drapes.  I was happy.  Now no one can peep in at us at night.  We are thankful.  
…got a horrible headache.  Probably from the arms raised to the level of my head using a screw driver for 3 and 1/2 hours.  
…made Sante Fe Chicken Chili.  We loved it.  My stomach is not too happy with me right now.

The One with the Chocolate Surprises

Guess what else happened on my birthday??  Not only did I receive some beautiful cards in the mail and 3 adorable e-cards, but just as I had put a cake in the oven to share with the prayer group tonight, I heard the garage door open.  Sure enough, Kevin had completely surprised me by coming home EARLY!  And not only that but he had Chocolate Moosetracks ice cream, chocolate cake, and birthday candles in tow!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  How wonderful is he??  =D  
Oh, and for those of you who may be waiting in suspense to hear the gift I referred to about a month ago…I was given my birthday present from my husband yesterday.  (And he even found the gift bags and had it waiting on my desk!)  I am now the excited owner of FRIENDS:  the complete series.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m pumped. =)

The One with Another Year Older

Today is my birthday!  And for the first time, it’s just not quite the same.  Not that everyone isn’t make it a wonderfully special day so far, but inside the feelings of excitement and anticipation have just diminished this year.  Typically, I count day from the first day of November and everyone and their brother knows when it’s my birthday.  This year, I practically had to be reminded. :)  Sheesh.  Maybe I’m just getting older.  And maybe I’m finally past all of those birthdays to look forward to.  You know, growing up you think of reaching double digits at ten, being a teenage at thirteen, able to drive at sixteen, graduating from high school at eighteen, being an official adult at twenty-one, and completing a college degree at twenty-two.  But now, I’m just a year older.  And I kinda feel older.  hmm. Nothing bad.  Just different.  
Since tonight is worship team practice and prayer meeting, Kevin decided it would be fun to take me out a day early to celebrate together.  Kevin left work much earlier than I expected him to–he wanted to spend more of the day with me. :)  When dinner time rolled around, we drove to Canton to BD’s Mongolian Barbeque–a fantastic restaurant.  We had a wonderful dinner and the grill guys sang to me twice–both times I filled my plate!  So funny! =D We opted out of dessert (I was feeling pleasantly full and didn’t want to ruin that feeling) and went over to IKEA to do some shopping.  The realization that IKEA was right down the road was a pleasant surprise to me!  We found him a desk chair, bought 3 bar stools, a full length mirror, and a couple other items like serving bowls and such.  After checking out I spotted the advertisement for $1 fatfree frozen yogurt cone at the in-store restaurant.  We placed our order and topped off the evening with the frozen treat!
This morning, I was greeted with breakfast in bed with my love.  So wonderful!  I’m planning on enjoying this day to the fullest…even if that means baking a butter cream chocolate cake to take to prayer meeting for everyone to enjoy. :)

The One with the Snowflakes

I love the look of the sky when there’s snow on the ground.  Sure, it’s just the first dusting I’ve seen (as opposed to the feet fallen in Bula!), but there’s something different and beautiful about the sun reflecting off of my favorite flakes that just makes me happy.  I’m looking forward to winter.  I LOVE winter.  I hope to get Kevin to hit the slopes with me something…maybe we could both learn to snowboard. :)  We need to get a shovel asap.  I think a treadmill would be a good investment…since I’m a walking fiend and there’s no sidewalks out my way.  Also, I’m already wanting to get the Christmas decorations up.  I’ve never been this way–the one who rushes past autumn and into the Christmas season.  Maybe we’ll be those people who set up their Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving.  I think that would be fun.  Also, it would mean our families could see our holiday decor since I don’t think they would get to another time.
Also, in case you’re curious our fishies are doing wonderfully.  I love them.  And they love the lava lamp.

The One Where She Marks Her Territory

The title is accurate but not in the customary feline way.  I feel that I have marked my territory in our new home–cleaning things I never wanted to clean but bringing it up to my standard of cleanliness recognizing that this is now our home.  I never wanted to do this at the apartment.  Not sure why…I guess it just grossed me out twice as much because millions more people have lived there and it felt temporary (even though it wasn’t supposed to be.)  It was a great accomplishment to complete the dreaded job of scouring the kitchen floor (all those speckles weren’t really speckles at all…darn dirty grooves) and all the grody corners where dirt and who knows what else accumulates.  (grody=possibly mispelled made up word indicating disgustingness.)  Seriously, though, you could eat off the floor.  Then this afternoon I took apart the stove and scrub, scrub, scrubbed even inch of the surface and burners until it shined.  =D  And I finally washed the dirty fingerprints off the pantry door.  
Now I shall go enjoy the newest members of our family–Princess the guppy and Sprinkles and Red Stripe the two tetra. :)

The One with the Scrubbing

On Tuesday I was in Spring Arbor for the monthly conference pastors’ gathering and as always I met new faces.  One of them, a fellow youth pastor no less, said, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Pam Beasley?”  I was a bit taken aback and smiled my reply, “No.”  I don’t know.  Watch The Office and you be the judge.  
I baked chocolate chip cookies as a thank you to a wonderful older couple at church.  Today the husband said, “Those cookies were fantastic!  Really wonderful!  The only bad part is you always have to have another one.”  I was proud. 
This morning was church cleaning day.  Boy, you don’t realize how dirty things are until you start scrubbing them.  I was in charge of washing down the fellowship hall table and chairs, cleaning out the currently-empty-soon-to-be-filled baptismal tub, and cleaning the kitchen.  (Man alive…it must be some secret church creed to put plates back in the “papertowel”-labeled cupboard and the papertowels in the “salt and pepper” labeled space.  Rinse and repeat.)  After I was done with my kitchen cupboard organizing and counter scouring and floor sweeping and et cetera one of the ladies walked in and exclaimed, “WOW!  This kitchen looks great!”  Again I was proud.  “Thanks,” I said, “I love organizing.”  
I do not, however, love mopping kitchen floors on my hands and knees.  That unfortnate task awaits me in my own kitchen.  
 

The One where You Might Want to Ignore the First Paragraph

I sit in our “office” watching Regis learn how to be a Starbucks barista (I say if he can do it [and he can’t!] I could have done it.  but no.  no one would hire me…) as I let the sweat dry off my forehead.  I am not ashamed of my propensity for perspiring.  No, in fact, I feel as if I have truly worked out if I’m drenched.  Now, you might wonder why I’m sharing this rather digusting information and my answer to you would be “I don’t have a clue.”  Also, in case you don’t know me very well or haven’t been in my vacinity for more than 10 minutes I thought I should ease your fears.  I wear deodorant and I don’t just start dripping sweat on command.  I just have my gene pool to thank for enormous sweat glands.  
[oh my gosh.  I just realized what I was writing and I offer my sincere apologies.  *sigh*]
I spent a few hours yesterday focusing on Thanksgiving plans.  I can’t remember mentioning this before but we’re hosting at least 14 family members for the holiday dinner.  We’re both pretty pumped about opening our home and getting to use our perfect kitchen to its full potential.  So I went through the notes I had been jotting down and compiled a precise list of the recipes I am in charge of for the day.  (Thankfully everyone is more than willing to bring whatever is needed.)  I typed all the recipes into one document so I don’t have to have a million books and notecards laying around that day and then I went through and made a list of ingredients that are necessary.  I have a long and very precise grocery list and hope that my organization pays off (as it usually does. *smile*)  I’m really looking forward to this holiday season.  And I love baking.
Speaking of baking I have been contemplating doing a bit of advertising to start a little baking business.  By this I mean I could take orders from people in the church or the neighborhood (or anyone willing to pick up their stuff) and put my enjoyment and growing skill to quench that sweet craving (or help out around the holidays). :)  I’m not sure how this would work at this point seeing as how I don’t have a car and if I would run out of ingredients it could be difficult finding a way to the store…but it’s a bit of a hope.   I don’t want to get overwhelmed, but I would like to have a little something fun and “on the side” to work on during the day and at this point I would send the proceeds into the youth group fund.  I’m sharing this because I figured some of you might have thoughts, advice, or even business for me. *wink*

The One Where November Snuck Up on Me

I forgot how cool Back to the Future is.  I have eaten way too much cookie dough as of late.  I love getting involved in church…really involved…and having 3 dinner invitations in the same day.  I am so thankful for my wireless mic.  I am a bit amazed at my own confidence in playing piano in church worship team.  I can’t wait to have our very own piano–gorgeous sounding and looking.  IKEA is an unexplored love of mine.  School buses bring back floods of memories.  My youth are fantastic and I am undescribably pumped for them…the relationships, the activities, the growing passion.  I am an adult.  What in the heck?!  I am learning I mean really learning that everything I have is God’s.  Giving it back is really no problem.  He just keeps pouring out blessings.  

The One with Our New Home

We have been so blessed in the short time since moving into the parsonage.  On Wednesday I was finally able to make it to worship team practice (Kevin had exams till 9pm!) and then to prayer meeting at a family’s home.  One of the ladies had a lovely gift bag for us full of our favorite snacks (crackers and cheese spread, peanut butter, and cookie dough!).  Yesterday morning, one of our neighbors dropped by with a plan–to help me get our windows “treated.”  (Yes, we’ve been living shadeless, curtainless, blindless for a week.  I’m thankful for the bedsheet in our bedroom. *smile*)  This wonderful lady is a great seamstress and has great fabric to make drapes for the big dining room window.  Then she pulled out a JCPenny catelog with draperies on sale.  She whipped out a large bill that she said was to help us pay for some of the cost.  How cool is that?  
Then, later that afternoon, one of the women who was at prayer meeting (where I announced we love visitors…) stopped by with a lovely harvest door wreath she had made.  We enjoyed nice conversation and soon after she left, Britt arrived.  We hung out from 2-8pm…taking house pictures, measuring windows, watching a B movie, looking at scrapbooks, eating chocolate, and browsing clothing catelogs.  :)  It was a great time!  
Now I will share some pictures of our new home.  Hope you love it as much as I do!  (Don’t mind the highly outdated carpet and do not be frightened by the Red Rose Room.  You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it!)
Here’s the great moving crew:
Eccles, Arvidsons, Fishs, Gavin, Nick, Ben, Collin, and Bill from church



That huge kitchen is my favorite!


Our Bedroom (with 2 dbl wide closets.  This house is packed with closets!)
YIKES!

There is actually a full bathroom right beside this room which we made our office/hangout room (which is on the opposite end of the house from the 3 other bedrooms, full bath, and half bath.)