Thankful

I am thankful for the little physical beings of my children in the world. Their clear brows and bright eyes and shiny hair. I am thankful for good health. (Knock on wood.)

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I am thankful for the man I share all these riches with.

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I am thankful for sane families. We’re not perfect, but we are all perfectly fine. I don’t have to dread anything except bad traveling weather at the holidays.

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I would like to be thankful for my new bathroom, but in the meantime, I will be thankful that I have to cross a few feet of grass in the mornings to get a shower.

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I am thankful for in-laws who clean my kitchen floor, and parents who come down to help me get ready for parties.

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I am thankful for blog readers and commenters and Twitter friends. I am thankful for all my friends IRL, too. I hope we all get to raise a glass together over the holiday season, even if it’s just at the same time and not necessarily the same place.

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And I am thankful for conversations like this:

Kate: That’s Liam. He was Batman. We didn’t actually kiss, no, no.
Me: You know you’re not allowed to kiss anyone not in your family, right?
Kate: Right. For now. I can when I’m older. When people have boyfriends and girlfriends.
Me: Sure. When you’re older.
Kate: Like 10.
Me: Like 16.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Stay safe, stay sane, and give thanks for the little things.

Meatless Monday: Thanksgiving Cookies

This is one of my all-time favorite cookie recipes.

Sweet Squash Cookies
(adapted from new classics from the moosewood kitchen cookbook)

1 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup pureed squash
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the squash, egg, and vanilla and mix until well blended. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and add to the mixing bowl. Stir well to form a soft batter. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a large, unoiled baking sheets, allowing a little space for the cookies to spread as they bake. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cookies just begin to brown slightly on the bottom. Use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack or plate.

Note: To make pureed squash, you can either bake or steam squash of your choice. I use butternut squash because I get so many from my CSA. If steaming, peel and cut into chunks; steam until tender and puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor.

Life with Kids

It took me four hours to make mashed potatoes yesterday.

I had originally intended to cook exactly nothing (just bring some faux meat — and not of the Tofurkey variety), but then I discovered about 14 potatoes from my CSA in my refrigerator. So I called my MIL Wednesday and offered to bring mashed potatoes to dinner as well. I had butter and milk, even, so I didn’t have to make a store run. Bonus!

I should probably know better than to think I would just ‘whip up’ some mashed ‘taters. But I truly didn’t think it would take me four hours.

I got the potatoes out of the refrigerator around 11 a.m. I wasn’t whipping those puppies until 2:30 p.m. It was ridiculous.

But life with children is all about interruption, and I don’t know why or how I forgot that.

I got the potatoes out of the refrigerator — and had to make Kate lunch.

I got out the vegetable brush to scrub the potatoes — and had to make Flora lunch. Actually, since she wanted eggs, Dan was pressed into lunch duty (1. He makes better eggs. 2. He had slept until 11 a.m.). I just had to make Flora’s toast.

I ate some lunch, too.

I started to clean the 14 potatoes —  and had to help Kate down from her chair.

I went back to the sink — and had to rinse lunch dishes and put them in the dishwasher.

And on and on. The washing, peeling, cutting, and cooking of the potatoes were interrupted by: asking my children to stop screaming in the other room; asking them to clean up the other room; trying to get Kate to go on the potty; changing Kate’s diaper; helping my children clean the other room (which had been ritually toy bombed while Dan & I were… well, reminding each other of one of the reasons we were so thankful to be married); reading Skippyjon Jones; helping Kate brush her teeth before her nap (she had had a lollipop); getting Kate in for her nap — twice; and sending Dan upstairs to help Kate actually fall asleep for her nap. (He was cleaning the office.)

I had no clue that making mashed potatoes was going to be so exhausting.

Apparently, the secret to great mashed potatoes is lots of butter and four hours. Because there weren’t even leftovers.

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for (in no particular order, really):

10. Family. Beyond my husband and my children (which, der), I love being with my parents, my siblings, even — gulp — my in-laws. I got to spend a couple of hours with Dr. Sis Tuesday night (we picked her up from the airport), and it was nice to just sit and talk about our lives and how she is doing in North Carolina. I am extremely fond of my sisters-in-law, who are extraordinary women in their own rights. I have been so lucky and blessed in this area.

9. Craft beer — what we used to call microbrews in the ’90s. And places like The Sharp Edge and Bocktown to drink them.

8. Social media. If you don’t “do” social media, it’s hard to explain to you why I am thankful for this. Suffice to say: I’ve met some neat people who do some neat things. I hope to become more involved as time goes on (and my children get older…). You’re all awesome!

7. That my kids make me laugh.

6. Health insurance.

5. A day off in the middle of the week. Middle-ish.

4. That I am almost done Christmas shopping.

3. Comments.

2. My new hair style. (Yeah, I’m reaching. I mean, it’s true and all.) How about: my stylist, who is a great friend who gives me great hair plus loves my kids like crazy.

1. That I am not hosting Thanksgiving today; all I need to do is whip up some mashed potatoes and remember the Morning Star stuff, and walk across the yard. I love to cook, but this year, hosting anything and/r cooking a ton of food are the last things I need on my plate.

Happy Thanksgiving, all y’all. Do it up.