Skagit Valley Sprint

Skagit Valley Sprint

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Non Traditional Holidays

My DH and I had already planned on having a non-traditional Thanksgiving. It was to go something like this; we were going to spend the actual  TDay watching movies and relaxing  with our boys, with Friday being spent with family and friends. It was a good plan, win-win for everybody and the day went well, if you don't take into consideration that the dog ate my pie crust! The rest of the plan, however, went slightly askew from there...

Friday morning came, DH and I did some Black Friday shopping, took a well-deserved nap and awoke refreshed and ready to get the party started!  I re-made the apple pie, peeled potatoes, cut up yams, put the meatballs in the crockpot to warm in lovely cranberry and bbq sauce (yum!), threw together the hot crab dip in my fondue pot and set the wine outside to chill in the balmy 24 degree air.  Precisely at 1:30, the stuffed 20.99 lb turkey went into the oven and all that remained now was to get cleaned up, fill the dishwasher and wait for the guests to arrive at 4:00, which they promptly did!

We visited while noshing on appetizers, watched a little tv and generally had a great time, the boys even had an impromptu snowball fight with the neighbors in our front yard...I did find it a bit odd that I couldn't smell the turkey at this point, it's delicious aroma should have been wafting throughout my house enticing us.  Well, not to worry we'll just pull the roaster out and give that bird a basting and check its progress.  I lifted the lid, everything looked okay, the skin was browning nicely and the drumsticks appeared as if they were almost done, hmmmm....I'll just adjust the oven temp a bit to speed things up, put the lid back on and slid him back in the oven. 

The dinner hour arrived at 6:30  and still no lovely roasted bird smell met my eager nose, so again I pulled the bird out and this time noticed that the broth was still yellow not brown, nor was it bubbling, it was then that I located the source of  the problem...the element to my oven had broken in half!!!  It's not very often that I am left without a clear plan of what to do next, but I have to admit, my mind was blank and at this point a bit frantic.  It was now 7:30 and I had 8 hungry guests waiting for me to present them with a much anticipated feast! Yikes! Home Depot is just up the road from us, they should have still been open, but by the time that we would have gotten another element, assuming that one was in stock, we would have been eating around 9:00...the bird still had about an hour left to roast!

My girlfriend from work Kim, looked at me and was really all we could do at that point, that, and send the guys down the hill for pizza!!! So, we ate pizza, it was good, but it wasn't the turkey and all the trimmings that everyone had their hearts set on.  My kitchen, was a complete disaster and it at least looked like a holiday meal had been prepared and enjoyed. (Sigh) Not all was lost, I suppose, we still had pumpkin and apple pie for dessert AND we did  accomplish the fact that our Thanksgiving was (extremely) non-traditional! I vote that somebody else in the family is responsible for the Christmas feast!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What's up on the design wall and other ramblings

Yesterday afternoon, while my DH and OB were performing open-transmission surgery in the garage on a '91 Suburban, I had this wild idea to keep a tradition alive.

My Father is over half to two-thirds Norwegian, somehow his family line is related to the king of Norway there is even a family island in Norway (Elvik Island where the family farm still stands)
Dad had open-heart surgery on October 7th to replace the leaking mitral valve and heart murmur that he has had his whole life. Over time it has weakened his heart and suddenly began to  cause him to black out. He gave us quite a scare, his heart became weaker still, so much so that he wasn't allowed to get out of bed, for fear that he might go into v-tach. Thankfully he sailed through the surgery, went home to recuperate and was doing well, until a little more than a month later, he blacked out again.  We had always known that he might need a defibrillator to correct the arrhythmia he had been suffering from. Sure enough, he was transferred by ambulance on November 19th to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane...not a minute too soon either, he was only there an hour before he blacked out twice  in his room and had to be rescusitated, CPR performed and ultimately shocked back into rhythm, his surgeon, a tiny little woman from Eastern Europe, they call Dr. B. came in on a Sunday to do the procedure.  Thankfully now, he is back home, resting, regaining his strength and enjoying some home-cooking! Alas, my Mother, who is not used to all this activity (the banking, Coumadin clinic, driving hither and yon) has not been feeling up to making the traditional holiday goodies this year.

I found myself on this particular Saturday afternoon with not much on the agenda, so almost as an afterthought, I boiled up 5lbs of russet potatoes, riced them, added butter (it was supposed to be melted...oops), cream, sugar, salt and flour, mixed that up and stuck it in the refrigerator to cool. That was stage 1 of lefse making and the resulting gooey mixture is supposed to cool optimally for 12-24 hrs. I have never done this part of the operation, my Mother has always handled that part. I figured, heck...I am a 40-something woman, able to follow a recipe and adept at phase 2 of the lefse-making process, heck yeah, let's do this thing!!!

And so I embarked on an adventure...A tasty adult beverage (or two) was mixed, not sure my ancestors did the same, but there you go. I followed the recipe, adding 1-2 cups of flour (just what the recipe called for) with the dough hook of my trusty Kitchenaid...hmmmm...still looking pretty sticky, let's add more flour...still pretty sticky...let's add a bit more, until I don't know how many cups of flour later, I ended up with something that resembled what I was used to seeing, a tidy little mound of dough...ready for, you guessed it, still more flour and a proper rolling out with the traditional ridged rolling pin used by my Mother's Mother Emily. I inherited Emily's grill, her turning sticks and her rolling pin and well,  it just feels  homey and warm to use them, knowing that her hands performed the same task many, many times before me, making lefse for the annual bake sale at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Arlington, Washington and our holiday table,  but I digress...
Some two or three hours later, my kitchen is a disaster, it's covered in flour and my feet are killing me, but I have reached the end and my nice pile of warm lefse is cooling beneath several layers of kitchen towels.  It's been taste-tested with butter and cinnamon and sugar...yum!!! Got the thumbs up on that one and now I sit typing and resting my weary little feet...In other news, here is what's up on the design wall!!!
It's a baby blanket for a grandchild on the way...not mine, thankfully (all in good time) but the Civil clerk at work's daughter is having a baby boy sometime near the end of December...Eli Benjamin, I believe is to be his name!
Yet another news's snowing in our little armpit of Washington!! I mean, it's really coming down!...we live in the desert (yes, there is a desert in Washington, put on your history hat and remember WWII and the Manhattan Project) I wonder if school will be delayed tomorrow morning, I have a 13 year old that is hoping...At any rate, I think that it's time for bed...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's that time of the year again

For the Blogger's Quilter Festival!  It's always amazing to me to peruse everyone's entries, read their stories and their blogs...there is so much talent and creativity amongst us all!After pondering a bit about this year's entry, I decided on my youngest son Tanner's quilt, partly because it relates back to this quilt, which was my first entry in the quilter's blogfest.
I recently finished this quilt up for my son after he patiently waited (a few years) for it's completion.  You see before I undertook the huge project of the raffle quilt, I had made a quilt similar to this one for a coworker who was undergoing dialysis. It's color scheme was predominately yellow, pink, purple and lavendar. I wanted to do something to help her, I felt awful for her situation, but she is a very private person and didn't want a big fuss made. So, I found myself with a finished quilt, unsure of how to approach her with this gift that I had made, time went by, she was off on medical leave and in the meantime, I just sort of wrote it all off as a good idea whose time had passed, a little embarrassed at myself for not having stepped up and given her the gift.  Little did I know, but during all of this Tanner had sort of adopted this quilt as his own! 
Then, word came that Tracie was to have a kidney transplant and a group of us at work wanted to find a way to raise some money to help with medical expenses. Thus came about the raffle quilt!  So now here I am, engaged in the large undertaking of organizing the making of  the raffle quilt and I mention that I had this other quilt to give to Tracie, but didn't know if it was still a good idea to give it to thing leads to another...and I sit down with Tanner to explain to him that this nice lady (for whom the quilt was made for originally) really needs (his) quilt to feel better and did he mind if I gave it to her after all? 
He readily agreed and handed it over, I left his room and went about my evening only to realize sometime later, that he hadn't come out and that was a bit unusual, since it was nowhere near bedtime!  I ventured back in to see what was up, only to find him quietly crying on his bed! After giving him a hug, asking what was the matter and explaining that I was a bit suprised that since the quilt was in "girl colors" he was so upset, he put a little tear in my heart by saying, "yeah but Mom, I love it because you made it"...Well, that cemented 8pm on a school night, we hopped in the car, headed to JoAnn's and he picked out all the fabric for his very own "boy version" of the same quilt!
I think he was 8 or 9 at the time, but I still remember the look on his face as he explained his tears to me and how horrible I felt for having hurt his feelings...after all, he was a "big boy" by then, all rough and tumble with holes in his jeans and skinned knees from climbing whatever would hold still long enough for him to scale it...but deep down, he was still my little boy who might not let me give him kisses at night, but needed a blankie now and then and a Mom to understand that he can't always tell her when he needed some tenderness once in awhile. I cringe to say that it has been about 4 years since we bought the fabric for his quilt. My youngest son Tanner is now 13, he's six foot tall, wears size 13 tennis shoes, his hair is longer than would be my choice, his pants don't always cover everything I would like them to cover and his quilt is a bit too short for him, but he takes it everywhere he plans to sleep at night!
What did I learn from all of this? Well hmmmm...always get things done in a timely manner, buck up and do the right thing (again, in a timely manner), boys (no matter how old) still need their Moms once in awhile and never, never, never underestimate the comfort that is shared when the gifts we give are handmade and given with love!