Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the true meaning.....

so i'm about to get a little deep here... hope you all don't mind....

today we packed up the kids and took them to the mall in their coordinated shirts to see santa. we got there around 1pm, and santa had just left to take a much needed lunch break..... so... we were forced to walk around the mall. we could have done the easy thing and taken the kids to the play area but it was packed with too many kids and germs and strollers for chris to handle so we went to the bookstore and walked around the mall instead. the book store was empty we killed some time there.... then walked around the malll. we were solicited to a minimum of 3 times. for dumb stuff.... flying helocopters, heated sacks of something.... curling irons, cell phones, the list goes on, you all know what i'm talking about right? you've all been there....

the solicitation and flashing lights, the sounds and smells of the mall are enough to push anyone completely off the edge... i mean, chris and i aren't big spenders, we live pretty modest lives. we drive used cars, i buy most all of our clothing on sale, in fact i usually by most of our household items on sale or at a discount store. the thought of spending money on gifts just because it's what we are supposed to do is just NOT sitting well. we encounter this delema each year..... and each year we end up being quite crabby about the whole process. which is really not how christmas is supposed to feel. right?

i mean, it's just jammed down our throats that we have to spend spend spend on gifts and tips and what-nots when i would so much rather take that money and spend it on my kids or pay some bills or put it into savings.

so once the kids were home and down for their naps, chris and i were enjoying a cup of coffee and discussing the gross and repulsive nature of the mall and the season when we came up with an idea.

a little background first: both of our families are quite small, we each have one sibling and only my brother is married. our kids are the only grandchildren. this year and last year we had decided to pull names for christmas. we each buy for that one person, we have a set limit. last year we just pulled names and went on our merry way. this year on one side we put our names on a slip of paper and listed a few suggestions for whoever pulled our name. on chris's side it had already been discussed that my mil wasn't planning on sticking to the rules of only buying for the person who's name she pulled. she didn't like the concept and is only playing along in theory... even though we told her that we would all prefer that she spend the money on the kids and that we don't need anything. her choice i suppose. however, chris and i are still not comfortable with this process. we both feel like the suggestions we recieved were rediculous and unnessesary. (read: underware and water gobblets.) then, during our conversation, i mentioned how i love to give gifts and i enjoy seeing people open the gifts that i give because i very rarely purchase a gift just to fullfill the void of a gift but i rather give something that i know that person would like. (read: knitted or handmade gifts.) so we have come up with an idea... however i'm not sure how to proceed.

since we've already pulled names in both families i'm not sure how to really bring the subject back up. i HAVE to do it on thursday or else the window will close. but our suggestion is going to be that we each need to scrap any ideas that involve going to the mall or stores. and instead we all need to get creative. i know that i won't have a problem doing this, but i'm nervous for a few family members.... i would like to urge anyone who has already shopped to return gifts and to instead think about the person they are to get something for, think about what they would like and make something. bake something, write something, arange to watch the kids for a night while chris and i have some time alone. ya know? somethings are priceless right?

however i feel like if i suggest this, a few family members are going to think we've either lost it or that we are being cheap. i don't want them to think that..... i just want to bring back the true meaning of the holiday.....

am i wrong to suggest how others purchase their gifts? am i wrong for requesting that people return their store bought items? should chris and i just proceed in this direction ourselves and not worry about how the rest of the family fullfills christmas wishes?

i hate to feel this way during the holidays. i love spending time with our families and it's become such a wonder filled time of the year since having children (max is totally into santa this year btw). i just want it to be stressless and painless and not revolve around shopping and the mall and the horrific and ugly commercially driven monster that it has become.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

curried turkey soup

i've had a few requests for this recipe in the past few weeks, so i thought i would share it here.

i look forward to making this soup with thanksgiving leftovers more than i look forward to the actual thanksgiving meal....

curried turkey soup

4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup minced onion (i keep mine more chopped, i like a lumpier soup i suppose)
4-8 tablespoons flour (this depends on the amount of mashed potatoes used)
5-6 cups turkey or chicken stock, hot
optional ingredients: mashed potatoes, broccoli, asparagus tips, rice.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 generous cup diced turkey (i usually double this)
4 tablespoons minced parsley

in a large stock pot, melt butter stir in curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
add in the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until very translucent.
meanwhile, heat stock in a separate pan or in the microwave.
stir in flour (NOTE: i would start with 4 tbls first depending on if you're using mashed potatoes), cook for 2 minutes then remove pan from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes.
vigorously whisk in hot stock and return to stove, simmer for one minute continuing to whisk.
if using mashed potatoes, add them 1 tablespoon at a time until desired thickness.
stir in cream by spoonfuls, simmering slowly.

season with pepper to taste

stir in turkey and other optional veggies and again bring to a simmer.
sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Friday, November 7, 2008

halloween and a few other things

this is us on halloween! taking photos of more than one family member has become a bit difficult. no one looks at the photographer at the same time! ever... max has decided that he's not keen on having his photo taken regardless of who else is in the photo. so we have to sneak them in while he's not paying attention. it's really bizaare... he used to smile perfectly for the camera, now he hides his face and runs in the other direction. anyways....

halloween was a great time! max really enjoyed it! he especially enjoyed handing out our treats to all the other little kids :) it was super cute! andy did pretty well too!

i've started a new knitting project. i've bought two different kinds of yarn to knit this scarf, plans are in the works for two scarves for two ladies. so far, i'm enjoying the pattern. i also bought yarn for max's winter hat. i suppose i should cast on for that since he's probably going to need a hat before christmas.

this week has been a long week, a stressful week, but i'm glad it's almost over. tonight i'm headed out for drinks with a friend. and tomorrow, my mom is coming to watch the boys while i go shopping for ME! she's decided that she's apparently sick of seeing me in the same old duds... so she gave me a bit of cash to use on ME! and only me! i can't wait! chris will be shooting a wedding while i shop :) then on sunday, weather permitting, we're going to take the boys on a hike then head to my parent's for dinner. should be a fun weekend!

OOH! and i found a babysitter! fun times are ahead with this find! she's super smart, has lots of experience, and the kids really got along with her. she lives a block away too! i had her come over for a little intro with the kids then towards the end of her time with us, i ran a quick errand to the grocery store and left the kids with her. it was perfect! and i can't wait to hire her again!

AND, here's something fun, she crochet's but wants to learn how to knit! she asked if i would teach her! how fun!