Thanksgiving Prep

The Great Thanksgiving List
because proper preparation and planning prevents poor performance!

at least 1 week before1. order brine
2. purchase turkey
3. if you are cooking a turkey for the first time, or trying a new method, do a practice turkey
4. press leaves for table decorations
5. polish silver
6. make & freeze pie crusts
7. finalize & delegate menu
8. clean oven
9. confirm table coverings
10. collect table decorations
11. confirm that your turkey fits in your pan
12. confirm that you have a working food thermometer

weekend before
1. clean house
2. make duty cards: door host, coffee sergeant, appetizer server, table waiters, before dinner kitchen tidier, sous chef, table clearer, after dinner kitchen tidier, garbage taker-outer, dessert server, after dessert kitchen tidier. Folks draw one card on arrival and that is their duty for the day (I assign some of them as I see fit).
3. timeline food prep
4. wash living room & dining room windows
5. figure out turkey thawing schedule
6. empty front hall closet and confirm available hangers

1. make mashed potatoes
2. roast pumpkins
3. make pumpkin soup
4. clean off all ancillary surfaces and tables

1. brine big turkey
2. set up tables
3. set tables
4. set out and label serving platters & utensils
5. set out extra platters and serving bowls for guest use
6. mix up turkey rub
7. make dressing
8. make pumpkin black bean casserole
9. mix up pecan pie filling
10. stage apple dumplings
11. lay in fire
12. clean house again
13. move living room furniture to accommodate extra chairs
14. filter and chill water for table

1. remove potatoes from fridge
2. rub down turkey if you didn't brine
3. run & empty dishwasher
4. confirm garbage can is empty
5. sweep front porch and walk
6. stage tea station
7. sniff check animal litter boxes just in case

1. make a thermos of coffee & prep coffee maker for next round
2. make sure you have eaten something sustaining

1. confirm small lamps and candles are on/lit
2. recruit valet for parking
3. confirm dishwasher is empty
4. turn on coffee pot
5. close and latch bunny room door against visiting dogs and small children.

:: read the rest of Thanksgiving Prep


oh the heartache

In the fall of 2006 we brought home from Russia two confused and neglected children, ages 5 and 6. Here are two snapshots of the grief that our little ones carry:

December 2006: our son had been with us for nearly three months before this conversation occurred, during an alphabet lesson:

We did the letter "B" last week:

"Ball. Banana. Bunnies. Bread. Breakfast. Baby." I said.

"Mama doesn't like babies," Dandy replied.

"Yes I do! Why do you think that?"

"Why did you give me to the detskydom (orphanage)?"

Whoops! All this time he has thought I parked him there for six years because I didn't like babies. All this time, he had thought I was his tummy-mommy. When I met him at the orphanage, he thought I was returning after being away. The amazing thing is that he 'welcomed me back' with open arms and heart, in spite of being abandoned.

After I explained that I was a new Mama on the scene he said it was very sad that we had had to wait so long. "I needed you," he said. "I was a sad baby. I needed you no bolshoy padashdi (big wait)."

And a few months later, in February of 2007 our daughter, who sings all the time, was singing over her breakfast.

I love my mama.

Yes I do.

I love my mama.

Yes I do.

My Ruskie mama.

No I eat.

My Ruskie mama.

No I eat.

I love my mama.

Eat. Eat. Eat.

I love my mama.

Eat. Eat. Eat.

My mama loves me.

Eat. Eat. Eat.

My mama loves me.

Eat. Eat. Eat.

My Ruskie mama . . .

The song stops.

A small voice asks, "Mama, did Ruskie Mama love me?"


"Why no I eat?"

We read all the books, the blogs, the list-serves. We had buckets of knowledge about the circumstances that children come from and the struggles of adapting to the new lives. We knew a lot. But how could we possibly anticipate moments like these? Moments when we that show us the confusion, the questions, the sad wonderings with which they live

:: read the rest of oh the heartache


hope for America

DIY Chicken Coop!

me! me! me!

Here I chatter about books, parenting, election 2008, recipes, teaching college writing, and the adventures of getting settled in with our two freshly (Fall 06) adopted school-age children from Russia. This blog is chapter two; chapter one is posted at Jamie & Suzanne go to Russia. I live in the City of Subdued Excitement, Cascadia, Land of the Free.

I am the wife of a man I call My Gift from a Generous God. I am mama to two lovely children, Dandy and Chickadee that became ours in September 2006 in a court-room in Siberia. I am the daughter of two people whom I love and admire. One of them, my dad, is a new (Dec 06) paraplegic.

In my previous life (B.C. - before children), I was a college English teacher, specializing in composition and ESL composition.

:: click here to read my 8 things meme



older child adoption


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This blog started life as hackosphere's neo and has been heavily tweaked and widgetized by Suzanne :: I got all the coding for the peek-a-boo posts over at hackosphere :: All my pretty little icons came from famfamfam :: The coding for the rotating banners came from Vince Liu :: The very cool tabbed sidebar widgets are thanks to the very cool hoctro :: The fun "Feeling Lucky?" toy -- which is currently disabled -- came from phydeaux3 (fido 3?) :: The pretty label cloud also came from phydeaux3 :: The elegant and easy to install related posts widget came from Jackbook :: I got all the social bookmarking icons nicely packaged for me at the aptly named Social Bookmarking Script Generator :: The 3 column footer came from Technodia :: The pretty sliding photo galleries are from CSSplay :: The recent comments widget is from Hackosphere::