Saturday, November 29, 2008

Note to Self

My favorite breakfast of the year. It doesn't get any better than this. And, pardon me, but while the day is still fresh in mind, I need to have a little conversation with myself.

Dear Lori,

Next year, please remember the following.

1. Nobody likes stuffing except for you. Cut your recipe down to one fourth the original, because, girl, you DO NOT need that many carbs. And go ahead and put nuts in it; you may as well have it the way you want it.

2. Work on your gravy techniques. It was rather, well, lumpy this year.

3. That crockpot mashed potato recipe was phenomonal. But don't put it in the crockpot. It was awesome right after you mashed it, not so great after sitting in the crockpot all day.

4. Don't forget that people get hungry and want snackies. Even though you are totally not hungry, for some weird reason, they are. They want crackers, cheese, and summer sausage. Get the cheese sliced the night before, because you seriously don't want to do it the day of. Please get yourself one of these before next year.

5. Keep a secret stash of Diet Coke. You need it right about in the middle of the day.

6. Get those darn pie crusts done before Thursday. Annika knows how to roll them out now. Use her.

7. I'm speakin' the truth in love here. Your rolls were terrible. Get a new recipe. And then practice making them. I'm just sayin'.

8. Don't forget, it's not just about the food, so don't try to go all Martha with it. It doesn't matter that you didn't finish making the placemats. Think of it this way--you have a headstart on next year. (I'm not really sure where your head was on that one.) The day is about so many other, more important things. Don't lose sight of that.

9. Remember to sit down and enjoy your family, even if you hate their movie choices. They love you and want you to participate. They don't want a martyr in the kitchen. On the upside, your attitude was much better this year. Good job!

Lots of Love,

Okay, conversation over. Talk to you right after Christmas!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Turkey and the Tortoise

Our Norman Rockwell moment

But before that could happen, a lot of this had to happen. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT!

Here's my foolproof trick for freeing up oven space. Oh yeah, a man and his grill. Works like a charm!

Let's take a closer look at that bird. Mmmmm...nothing beats a mesquite smoked barbecued turkey. And the drippings (because yes, we catch them in a little pan, down there with the coals) are to die for. The gravy is a-maz-ing.

Carving the bird is the hated task of the day.

But I did my part this year. I supplied the instructions. Lots of pictures. Minimal wordage.
Good Thing.

Mama gets a little love from the college kiddos. . . .
It was a day of family surfing
sisters singing

and little brothers smiling.
And it was a lovely day to lie in the grass!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Means Football, and lots of it

Hey, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a little football, now would it? So here ya go. More football.
Don't let that green grass fool you. It's not real. But our sunshine, now that's the real deal! This game in particular took place two weeks ago, as part of the boys' undefeated march to the state championships. The championship game happens on Saturday!

And so, without any further ado, I give you the PopWarner Northeast Pirates (applause, applause, applause).
Remember: 65, he's our man.

Check in Saturday evening. I hope I have good news to share!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

in which Big Guy plays the part of the Big Dog

You may remember that the Big Guy was slated to play Nana in his school's production of Peter Pan. Being the true stage mom that I am, I got special permission from the director (whew, I feel important now, and why am I letting myself feel intimidated by a college kid for heaven's sake?!) to take some pictures while the actors were warming up.

So, the truth is, I'm not very pushy, and I try to be sort of a little teensy bit sensitive to embarrassing the heck out of my kids. That's my lame excuse anyway. The majority of these pictures came about because the Big Guy handed off my camera to a cute photography major who actually knows what she's doing. The others came from The Land to Which I am Forbidden to Go.

This was a super fun production with lots of audience participation and imagination required. We felt that after lots of bark coaching from our Resident Puppy (otherwise known as Annika) Geoff performed his role admirably. We especially enjoyed the nod to the famous Hannah the Dog Attempts to Drag Baby Colin into the Bushes while Geoff Hangs on for Dear Life and All the Children in the Backyard Scream at the Top of their Lungs incident, a moment that has obviously gone down in the annals of Radcliffe folklore.

What has been weird about this whole experience is the gender confusion. I speak of Nana as a she, because, well, she is a she. I speak of my son as a he, because, once again, a "he" he is. And I guess I'm not enough of a method actor's mom to think of my son, or even speak of my son, my manly man son, as a she. Call me old fashioned. Enslaved to gender specific roles, even. I'm just sayin'.

You'll notice that because of his superior acting skills, the Big Guy played 2 roles in this production. (Okay, never you mind that so did several of the other actors; he's brilliant, I tell you, BRILLIANT!) Hence, the little boy garb as we see Nana play the part of Curly, Lost Boy Extraordinaire.

Apparently, acting is quite the workout.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Engage Me

These stats are shocking. I'm inspired to teach more effectively.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Old Houses and Good Friends

This weekend we went back to our old hometown, spent time with some good friends, drove by our old house, and visited our old church. It was kind of surreal. So much was totally the same, and so much was completely different. Our old house is really cute. Cuter than when we lived there, to be honest. It's good to see that it's getting some love and attention. I didn't even recognize the house I grew up in because it was so different. Then we drove one neighborhood over. The kids asked if this is why we moved. The answer? No, we moved because of Daddy's job. But this is why we'll never move back. That neighborhood is sketchy with a capital S. I'm glad we drove through it. It helped to keep the nostalgia from getting out of hand.

If we ever do move back to California, it will be because of Daddy's job. And people like these--my beautiful friend Vienne and three of her four kids. Well, we like her oldest, Jacob, too, but he was at church with his girlfriend. And we adore her husband Paul as well, but someone had to take the picture.

Mason has grown a foot since we last saw him. Seriously. A foot. As in 12 whole inches.

These crazy kids stayed up till 1 in the morning! And then got up and went to church together. My favorite comment came from Colin: "I didn't know all you had to do was say you were a Radcliffe and everybody would know who you are!" Yeah, well, when you have 6 kids, you kind of make a splash, whether you want to or not. You can't exactly slip 6 kiddos into the children's program without somebody noticing!
Now the real reason for our visit to Californ-i-ay has to do with a dog named Nana. More about her later.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hooray Hooray for Christmas Ornaments!

As you may have gathered from my crafty owl and emo owl posts, I participated in this fun ornament exchange this year.

blogger ornament exchange
Guess what?! My ornament arrived! Except it wasn't one ornament; it was FOUR!! It was so much fun to see a little package by my front door! (Whoa, can ya tell I'm a little excited?)

The package came all the way from The Land of Texas, from a sweet lady named Frieda. Here's what she sent me:
This fun little guy is full of styrofoam beads that wiggle around when Santa moves.

Frieda stitched these next two with her embroidery machine. Aren't they beautiful? It's amazing that they are just thread! They are really thin, almost like a stiff piece of paper, and just as delicate as can be.

Here they are practicing for their debut on the tree, because even though the trees are up at the mall, mine doesn't go up until AFTER Thanksgiving!Thank you, Frieda!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Turkeys

Here's a fun idea for leaf prints and handprint turkeys. Just to let you know how long ago I did this project, the largest handprint goes with the big guy up there on the right in the banner. The smallest handprint belongs to the tall kid with the glasses! Colin was only two when we made his little turkey; now he's a big cheese 15-year-old!

We made the Indian corn with fingerprints. If I could do the project over again, I would embroider the words instead of using fabric crayons. Or better yet, use the crayons and let the kids write the words. Maybe, let them letter it in pencil, and then Mom could go over it in crayon or embroidery. I would have loved to preserve their handwriting as well as their little handprints. Trust me, it goes by all too quickly!