I found this tutorial for an adorable skirt. I love that it’s meant to be worn both during and after pregnancy. I have such an aversion to sewing something that can only be worn for a few months. And being a skirt, it’s nursing friendly as well, which is something that I haven’t been taking into consideration these last several years, making my postpartum wardrobe limited. Though probably not as limited as my current maternity wardrobe, which can only be described as completely pathetic.
She looks cute as can be. I look like that girl in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ that blows up all huge and blue and ends up getting rolled out on her side. meh. Some women pull of pregnancy well. I just look lumpy and frumpy and well fat. Remember when I used to have an actual waist? I do not think I appreciated that time enough.
When I first tried it on, the kids laughed and laughed and laughed. It does look at least a bit better now that it’s hemmed.
I thought maybe a cardigan would help…
It didn’t really.
Clearly, I should have heeded her advice on cutting w-a-y back on fabric when working with cotton.
Hey look, there I am! In the front anyway…
Perhaps I should just walk around with one arm wrapped about my belly and one tucked under my behind so that people can tell where all the fabric ends and I begin?
Is it strange to say that even though I think it’s terribly unflattering, I still kind of like it? It’s very comfortable and certainly quite feminine. The pockets make me happy. And when I look down, I like the way the gathers lay over my belly. Not owning a full-length mirror probably helps a great deal too.
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week.
Iain and Elijah: Hang more Christmas lights every time I turn my back. I don’t even know where they keep finding new strands.
Galen: devised a new way of knitting- He sits up at the top of the stairs, throws that ball down to the bottom and scoots down one step for each row knitted.
Màiri Rose: feeling festive
the little one: the great name debate rages on
Scenes from the first day of Advent. They couldn’t stop at just one wreath.
Our advent stocking activities for the year, in no particular order (more about this tradition can be found here):
make hot cocoa
make an advent wreath
get a tree
read holiday books
listen to holiday music
holiday party at the dance studio
cut paper snowflakes
get out Christmas dishes
watch ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’
celebrate the Solstice
Christmas craft- still to be decided
decorate outside with edible ornaments for the birds
watch ‘White Christmas’
watch ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’
visit the light display
“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” read by Pop-pop
There are 3 movies planned this year, more then usual and with more people included in the watching. And more media in general. I think I’m ok with that. I feel like I need to take things slow and go very easy this year, where I can, because there is a great deal that is beyond my control. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Sparkle Stories. When I saw that they were offering an advent story series with a new story each day, I thought it would be a lovely treat. Would it be better and more “Waldorf” if I researched stories for each day to tell myself or better yet made them up? Definitely more Waldorf and possibly better in some ways, depending on how you define better. But I’m quite content to have this sweet family time together to listen to wholesome, heartwarming stories while we all knit or sew or just cuddle together. At the moment I think it’s all the better that I don’t have to struggle and stress to make this time happen. That feels like a true gift to us all.
There are a great many more decorating and craft ideas on my Winter pintrest board.
This was the first Thanksgiving with just our own family in a while. Galen made gnomes to decorate the table. It was fairly calm and quiet; peaceful. I did a bit of yoga during the first phase of turkey cooking and took a bath while the Brussels sprouts were in. There were a lot of card games. After dinner we went for a walk despite the cold, cold, cold. When I’m getting all bundled up I always think that I’m not going to want to be lugging my camera around, as it is rather bulky. And it’s nearly impossible to operate with gloves on. So I end up leaving it home. Then halfway through the walk I always rather regret it because the sun is going down and the sky is glowing in shades of pink and purple. And Iain and Galen are playing a game they made up, the rules of which I don’t quite understand, all I know is that it involves balancing in a certain way on the icy ditch along the side of the path. Meanwhile Màiri Rose is alternating between riding on Elijah’s back and holding his hand, while deep in conversation about the holidays. And I think, “oh, I’m going to want to remember this!” Perhaps a word picture will be enough.
He loves it when I get dressed up and put on make-up (so rare!) and always asks for a “kiss tattoo”.
The picture above was from this morning. Màiri and Galen are inside. They are playing “little house”, only in their version Pa plays the ukelele instead of the fiddle.
Let me start by saying that this post was completely unplanned. If I had planned on writing it, I would have done it a couple of weeks ago to help people prepare. Instead what happened was that I was deep in my own preparations, when I thought back to previous years and the fact that I occasionally get this question from readers, and I thought huh, maybe I should just write a post. So if this is coming too late to be of much help to you this year, maybe it will be of help next year.*
Cooking such a large meal from scratch is a major undertaking, but it needn’t be stressful. The key to success, as with so many other things in life, is careful planning.
Plan on doing your shopping the week before Thanksgiving.
You’ll save yourself the stress of crowded stores and have everything you need on hand well in advance making it easier to do a little bit at a time.
Make a detailed menu
Before you shop you need to know what to buy. Before you can know what to buy, you need to know what you are making! Write out a full menu. Don’t forget sauces and drinks.
There are calculators all over the internet to help you determine how big a turkey you need and so forth.
Plan for leftovers
You don’t want to spend all of this time making a single meal that’s going to be gone in one sitting. After all that time in the kitchen, I know that I’m all for taking a day or two off. In our family, the day after Thanksgiving, after the guests have left, is traditionally devoted to laying low; playing board games, sledding with leftover pie for breakfast!
Once you have your menu and amounts determined, it’s time to make your list. Look at the recipe for each thing on your menu, one at a time, and make sure you have every ingredient you will need.
Consider bake ware and other supplies
Do you have a large enough pan to roast the size turkey you are trying to cook? Do you own two pie pans, but plan on making four pies? Do certain recipes require twine or cheesecloth? Make plans to buy or borrow whatever you need.
Clean out your refrigerator
I can’t stress this one enough. Probably best done before your big shopping trip. Eat up all of the leftovers. If you have multiples of the same item, try to condense containers. Organize everything to make the most of your space. Fair warning: you will be re-organizing many times over the next several days to make everything fit. Save some time and energy by starting off with a fair bit of open space.
Make a schedule
There are a lot of considerations here. Some things can be made in advance, some can’t. Only so much can fit in a single oven or refrigerator at once and different dishes need to cook at different temperatures. It’s something of a balancing act to be sure. Come up with a basic plan that seems to work. Write it down. Don’t even think about trying to keep it all in your head. More on this below.
Make your base ingredients in advance.
What I mean by “base ingredient” is any ingredient that you need to make something else. So if you make your own ghee, cheese, pumpkin puree, bread, broth, etc, make a nice big batch in advance so that when you go to make say, stuffing, it’s not actually making 4 or 5 things, it’s just making stuffing.
Consider your assets
Does your oven have a warming tray? Do you have a double oven? (if so, lucky you!) Does your mother-in-law live right next store, making her kitchen possibly available to you as well? Are there certain dishes you can prepare in the crockpot, freeing up oven space?
Start cooking well in advance
No one wants to spend all day Thanksgiving in the kitchen while everyone else visits and enjoys themselves. Plan on having as much ready as possible so that you can do the bare minimum on the actual day of.
Think of easy ways to pad out the meal
If you have a lot of guests coming and you put up a lot of apple sauce this year, put a few jars out on the table. There is no extra work for you and everyone has another dish to sample.
Can you do it all yourself? Yeah, actually, you can. There have been years that I’ve done it out of necessity. But it’s always nicer to have an extra set of hands around and someone to chat with while you work.
Wear an apron
Just trust me on this one.
Bacon Wrapped Turkey
Twice Baked Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Sparkling Grape Juice
And our schedule:
clean out the refrigerator
cook pumpkin (the last one from our garden)
make pumpkin puree- there are some nice instructions here.
make cranberry sauce
start chicken stock- to have on hand for gravy and stuffing later in the week
harvest (out of the snow!) and prepare brussel sprouts- I don’t cook them at this point, just chop and season them and store them in a baking pan in the fridge, all ready to slide into the oven Thursday morning.
thaw steak- for the non-turkey lovers- I usually do a roast in the crockpot, but steak was requested this year making day of oven timing extra tricky, we’ll see how it goes!
brine turkey- I use this brine- I have a large stockpot that fits the size turkey we usually get. I tie and tape the lid on tightly and store it on the porch overnight, as it’s always cold enough here at this time of year.
make stuffing- again just preparing, not cooking
first bake the twice bakeds- this is Steve’s specialty, he’s even mastered a dairy free version for us. On this day the potatoes get baked, the filling gets made and they are stuffed, all ready to be heated through on Thanksgiving.
And Iain, who acted as secretary when we sat down to make a schedule as a family wrote:
The kids and I usually make and decorate all of our pies on Wednesday night.
Set out cider to chill first thing- our cider also tends to get chilled on the porch, unless there happens to be room in the fridge.
Prepare the turkey for roasting. I use this recipe.
Cook turkey and steak, heat up everything else.
Put in the squash to cook. If there is room in the refrigerator I’ll cut it and de-seed it the night before. If not it’s not a big deal to do it the day of.
Make gravy right before dinner is served.
A very happy Thanksgiving to one and all!
*We had a surprise snowstorm, causing Steve to work from home and me to not have computer access, so now it’s really, really late!
We grew cranberries for the first time this year. Eight plants installed to grow and spread as a ground cover for our high bush blueberries. Those are the plants on the porch, early in spring. Now they are buried in snow. Such pretty little things! Their leaves turn burgundy in the cold. We froze the ones we harvested to use, with supplementation, for our Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. It was just a small harvest this year, but in years to come I look forward to baking cranberry bread and experimenting with adding some to batches of applesauce and many other culinary delights. I’m thinking of adding lingonberries to that bed, as they have similar growing requirements and at their mature height they would fall right between the cranberries and blueberries.
Knitting in Cranberry, Knitpicks Wool of the Andes. Adaptation, with cuffs knit to longie length. And the Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker. The cardigan, as written, is supposed to fit for the first 6 weeks or so, for babies weighing 7-9 lbs. As half my babies so far have been bigger then that at birth and all have been 10 lbs by 2 weeks, that didn’t seem terribly practical for us! I went with a heavier yarn and larger needles to hopefully get a “newborn” fit by our standards, I guess we’ll see!
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week.
Iain: Has been very busy lately.
Elijah: Maybe I should make a pie chart showing the percentage of photos taken this year with him lost in a book?
Galen and Màiri Rose: He’s been choreographing entire shows for them.
the little one: No picture this week, but a big growth spurt.
Just in time for Thanksgiving. I’ve posted my gluten-free pie crust recipe before. And I’ve posted how to adapt it to make it grain free, but I know I personally find it annoying to have to switch back and forth between two pages, so I thought I should type out an official recipe so that people have ingredients and instructions all in one spot.
Grain-free Pie Crust
1 C almond flour
1 C coconut flour
1 C arrowroot powder
2 T sugar (optional, regular sugar, coconut sugar and most substitutes should be fine)
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. With a fork or pastry cutter, blend in:
1 C palm oil “shortening”
until dough forms little crumbs. Add in:
1/2 C cold water mixed with 2 T. apple cider vinegar
If you plan on rolling the dough, let it chill in the refrigerated for around an hour. It may need a bit of extra water kneaded in when it comes out. If you plan on just pressing it into a pan, it can be used immediately.
The pie above was mostly made by little hands. It’s this recipe. Only we used honey instead of sugar. And thinned Cashew Cream Cheese instead of sour cream. And almond flour instead of regular flour. And ghee instead of butter. So I guess it’s not really that recipes at all, but only something kind of a little like it.
I also snapped a quick shot of the little shawl from yesterday’s post for people who had questions about ribbon placement.