My first Thanksgiving Menu

Apparently, due to some of my family’s indecisiveness (we know where I get it from), I am now preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my mom’s side of the family.  While I’m not thrilled about the roundabout way we got to this plan, I am excited to make lots of yummy food!  I’ve never had the chance or time to make anything for Thanksgiving in the past, so I’ve been trying to brainstorm a plan for our meal.  Here are some ideas I have:

  1. Gruyere Mushroom Caramelized Onion Bites or Cranberry Bacon Jam Crostinis or Savory Pumpkin and Bacon Dip – Right now I can’t decide between these 3 for appetizers.  I’m thinking the cranberry bacon jam crostinis would be a nice way to include cranberries without making a cranberry sauce.
  2. Slow Cooker Maple Dijon Chicken and Broccoli – I was thinking, since I am making an entire meal to feed 11 people, I should probably minimize as much work as possible.  What better solution than a slow cooker recipe?  And while I would love to cook a special red meat (no way am I attempting a turkey), my aunt does not really prefer red meat, so I thought I’d go for Thanksgiving chicken.  Self high-five.
  3. Green Bean Casserole – I love making it from scratch, and it can be made ahead of time.  A great Thanksgiving vegetable!
  4. Cornbread Stuffing – I’ve always loved the idea of this, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten it.  I do love me a good cornbread, too.
  5. Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Balsamic Reduction – If I decide I need a second side, I’ll make these beauties.  Love brussel sprouts.
  6. Dinner Rolls or Sour Cream Horseradish Mashed Potatoes – I’ve never tried making rolls before, but now seems like a good time as ever.  I can’t decide if I should make rolls or mashed potatoes, though.  I made these mashed potatoes for Easter and they were a hit.  Or maybe I’ll just end up making both.
  7. Pumpkin Pie – I have not had enough pumpkin food this fall.  I’m an eat-pumpkin-all-year-round believer, but I enjoy the concentrated season for pumpkin, and have certainly not yet had my fill.  I definitely have to make maple whipped cream, too!
  8. Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider – A cocktail, perhaps?

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Math, Maybe.

Yes, I did check out an SAT Math I book from the library.  Yes, I know I was an English major and that I’m not in school anymore.  Nor am I tutoring anyone in math (as if).

I checked out a math book from the library because I have noticed more and more how much I am losing my math skills, and I don’t want them to disappear.  I haven’t done any formal math since my AP Stats class my senior year of high school.  No wonder why it takes me so long to do some simple addition or subtraction.

It’s the sad truth of “use it or lose it,” and while I know perfectly well that I will never purposefully enter an industry that involves a lot of math, I don’t want to rely on my husband to help our non-existent future children with their math homework for their entire educational career.

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Now, you might be thinking I’m crazy for giving myself unnecessary homework in life.  But if you knew Tammy of Younger Years, you wouldn’t really be that surprised at all.

I’ve always loved playing school with my stuffed animals, and I’ve always been that oddball child that enjoyed giving myself worksheets of homework (mostly math) to do during the summer when school wasn’t in session.  I was a weird child indeed.  I think it was the fact that it was something I could challenge myself with minus the pressures of deadlines and grades during the school year.  I wasn’t disciplined enough to necessarily keep up with something weekly or regularly – I wasn’t THAT crazy – but I was internally motivated enough to do something like that every summer.

In any case, I’m not doing so well so far.  I worked on 10 questions almost every day of the first model test to see what I remember and what I need to work on, and it turns out I basically skipped half the test and got a whole bunch wrong of the ones I answered.

It was a little disappointing, given the fact that I was so good at Math A (close to Algebra I?), and had a more difficult time with Math B, which is not the math this practice book is covering.  Sigh.  But hey, it’s just further proof as to why I need to work on this.

Now comes the fun part of going back through the questions, why I got them wrong, seeing if I understand what I did wrong, and then going back through the beginning of the book to review the different types of problems and rules.  Fun, because no one is requiring this of me.  Fun, because I like to get better at things and keep my mind sharp.  Fun, because my husband is a math machine and loves helping me with my questions – which means that he won’t be annoyed by my slew of questions 🙂

 

A napkin idea

photo-1470169048093-08ac89858749If I didn’t write in my journal this morning, I’m pretty sure I would have exploded.

I’ve been having a lot of feelings lately.  Just pick an emotion, and I’ve probably felt it at some point within these past couple of weeks, if not all within these past few days.

Unfortunately, I have not been on top of my reflection/processing game as I usually am.  My job keeps me busy, so there’s always a crazy long list of things to do, but this season of work at the beginning of the academic year is always a bit more chaotic and crazier.  I’m more physically tired, so it’s easier for me to prioritize sleep over reflection, and I am stretched way out of my comfort zone more frequently in this season, so it’s easier to re-energize with other life-giving activity and overlook taking the time to pause and be still.

But I decided that today I needed to make sure I did that before all my feelings spilled out of my sleeves.

As I was reflecting in silence, I noticed how the clouds were moving pretty quickly through the perfect blue sky.  It made me think about how stressed out I and other recovering perfectionists like I can get about things not going the way we planned or hoped, or the unfinished tasks and failed attempts to complete them – and yet the earth keeps on spinning and the clouds keep on moving no matter what the outcome is.

It kind of felt like the beginning of a song.  The words would be different, of course, because the image of clouds feels pretty cheesy to me, but I like it as a subject – the constant rolls of stress and yet the little control of movement we have and the reminder to slow down, take account of the really important things, and don’t forget that the world won’t fall apart if we mess up.

That’s about as far as I got with the idea, though, because I still needed to sort through my trough of feelings (ugh, feelings).  But I wanted to write a little bit of something here to remember that moment and that little idea to see if I could spend some more time on it later.  Kind of like when you have an idea and you grab a napkin because you want to write it down before you forgot and that’s the first or only writing receptacle you can get your hands on.