Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy, happy Thanksgiving

in no particular order:

  • my parents, for raising me with love and discipline
  • my mother- and father-in-law, for having an amazing son and welcoming me into their family
  • my siblings (my own and my in-laws), for laughter and friendship
  • my church, for being an extended family
  • my job, for the means to provide for my family
  • my husband, who loves me in spite of my many flaws
  • my daughter, who is a constant joy and blessing
  • my Faith in God, without which I would be lost in every sense of the word.
I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.  What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Loved and Lost

Sometimes it's hard to be thankful.  This year seems to have been filled with death and heartbreak for my family.  Two grandparents, several dear friends and my own dear, unborn baby were taken this past year.

There is a saying, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."  I don't think I ever understood that until now.  I am coming to believe that my grief is a gift.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chicken with Dumplings!

This would be great with your left over Thanksgiving turkey!

Here's what you need:

Chicken! (I like to use a whole chicken but you can use just breasts, thighs or whatever you like)
salt (I like Kosher for lack of chemicals)
1 stick unsalted butter1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
Veggies! About 2-3 cups diced into bite-size pieces. I almost always use carrots but you can use whatever you like, broccoli, cauliflower, etc
1-2 tbsp dried parsley

1/2 cup flour

For the biscuits:

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup dried parsley or whatever dried herbs you want (I like Mural of Flavor from Penzey's)

Here's how you do it:

Put the chicken in a large pot, cover with water and boil until cooked through, no pink remaining. Remove from water and de-bone and de-skin if necessary, dice into bite-sized pieces. RESERVE BROTH! You'll need about 5 cups of broth.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste and the heavy cream. Add the chicken, veggies and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a baking dish.. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. (You can do this by hand but I'm lazy). Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and roll out to 3/8-inch thick. I usually cut mine into squares to keep from wasting any dough but you can do circles if you like OR even drop the dough directly onto the filling with a spoon.
Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.
Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.

Thanks to Ina Garten for the original recipe, but I've changed it so much it's pretty much mine :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A healthy dose of perspective.

Today I found myself complaining about holiday-shopping traffic, poor customer service, this, that and the other thing and then remembered that my Up North pastor just lost his wife of several decades and what must he be going through?

One one hand it must be something of a relief (as guilty as that sounds) because she was in so much pain from cancer and a multitude of other ailments.  On the other hand, she was his wife, his help-meet, his one and only for most of their lives.  How must it feel to have that void?

I am so amazingly, abundantly blessed.  I must try and remember that.

Friday, November 21, 2014

My daughter is

almost two.  Apparently, she's already Terrible Two in her heart.  Also?  Having a toddler is like having a schizophrenic grandparent living with you.

Here's a conversation that occurred about five minutes before bedtime:
Me: Ok, get Anna (one of her "babies") so we can get ready for bed.
Katharine: NO! Don't want! *throws Anna*
Me: Ok then, let's go brush our teeth and get ready for bed.
...brushing teeth, saying prayers, tucking in...
Katharine: *with much weeping and wailing* Where's AAAANNNNNNNNAAAA!?!?!
Me: *le sigh*

Here's one that happened just this morning:
Me: Breakfast time, do you want milk or juice?
Katharine: NO!
Me: How bout some Cheerios?
Katharine: NO!
Me: *pours milk and Cheerios*
Katharine: NO!!!
Me: *puts milk and Cheerios on the edge of the counter, just within her reach*
...five minutes later...
Katharine: *devouring milk and Cheerios*

Repeat times infinity.

She's a mess but I love her.

Monday, November 17, 2014

For your perusal

Me and My Bitsy

Presented without further comment.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's easier

for me to go to work when Katharine is asleep.  I can sneak out the door and pretend she doesn't exist until I come back home.

If I have to see this before I go, I am oh-so-tempted to slam the door, throw my purse and keys and plan a play date just for she and I.  One sign of that little, curly head, one little voice saying, "Mom?" and I am a goner.

Love my little girl.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I had a

miscarriage in June.  Since then, I've been struggling with grief and guilt.  Grief because, though my child was only with me for three months, I felt like it's mother.  It feels like losing my daughter.

I had a dream that she died and I thought that was the worst pain I could feel.  I was wrong.

Part of me thinks it would have been easier to bear if this had happened before I had a living child.  Because then I wouldn't know what I was missing.  But another part of me knows that going through a miscarriage before having a living child would make me very reluctant to try again.

Guilt because I know there are families who have lost so much more than me.  I feel like I'm overreacting, or that I'm not entitled to grieve, or that I should just forget and move on.

I've had friends, acquaintances and strangers give me accounts of babies they have lost and most seem to treat it like it's no big deal...or maybe it's just that enough time has passed that the pain and shock isn't so sharp.

Is that what I can look forward to, that blunted pain?  Lack of feeling, loss of interest?  Is it possible to heal, to forget?

Do I really want that?