Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cryin In My Water...

My friend, Karen has "Cryin in my water music- because I don't drink beer" on her blog. I think there is a song about "cryin a tear in my beer for ya dear"... :) Any way I guess this is my "cryin a tear in my water (also because I don't drink beer) post. I'm feeling rather blue- the empty nest syndrome always hits harder at holiday times. Basically I'm just missing all of the kids and the grand kids- it's just me (and mom) and the "yard man" left. I guess I could have gone to Stillwater, to help Annie cook- but too many cooks spoil the turkey :) I could have gone on the 14 hour road trip with Ashley, Daniel, and Jaden, but there would not have been enough room in the car :) I could have gone to Highland with Alison and Micah, but 1 mom on a holiday is enough :) I could have gone to Cape Town, but after a 24 hour plane trip- there might not even be Thanksgiving there :) I could have gone with Sam and Audrey to St George, but I can already hear Audrey exclaim, "awkward!" Or I could have gone to Denver to see my brothers, but I'm not very good at the turkey "bowling" thing. (Similar to the turkey bowl, but real "bowling".)
Its funny- when the kids were younger, it seemed like we were all alike. We ate the same foods, we did the same activities, we all thought alike. Then as they each got older- their own personalities began to appear. They began to be influenced by other people and other families and other activities. Now they each have their own likes and dislikes, their own activities and other families to spend time with. Which is exactly the way "the plan" works. They are only ours for a brief time, then its time to start families of their own and its just "me and the yard man" left. And that's okay- as long as everyone "blogs in" :) so we still feel connected even with the actual distance between us. And did I tell you that the "yard man" does a great job ? :) He also did the dishes and his usually Thanksgiving job- of taking all of the turkey meat off the bones :)
Life is still good.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fourth Child- Third Daughter



(Before you look any further- my disclaimer is that, "If I'm going to get into trouble, I might as well do a good job of it :) Audrey, Alison, and Ashley are all together in Utah for the next few days- this post should prove to be interesting to them and to "their guys" :)
Alison was my only hope of one of my girls being interested in fashion design, sewing, and the dress business. Things were going along fairly well- at one point it even looked like she would have a fashion design degree and work at my store. Then... along comes Micah and snatches her off to Utah :) While Alison and I still have an interesting connection in the dress business, she is not here in Houston working at The Silver Hanger- she is in Utah working for Beautifully Modest. (the next best thing)
Alison is an interesting combination of Ron's personality and my personality. While the other kids might tend to favor more of Ron or more of me- Alison is an even split of us both. She is a rare combination of athletics, intelligence, and creativity.

Alison has two famous childhood stories. (sorry Alison, but I have to tell)
When she was about 4 years old, she and Audrey were playing together in our family room. Alison decided it would be fun to jump off of a book case. When she landed on the hard floor she broke her elbow. She always claimed her broken arm was Audrey's fault for not catching her when she jumped.

Later, when Alison was alittle older and learning to ride a bike, she was good at getting started but not good at stopping. We had lots of trees in our yard, so when she wanted to stop, she would ride straight toward a tree- jump off the bike and let it crash into the tree. I think she also tried that same technic with the riding lawn mower :) When she sent pictures back from her mission of her on a bike- we thought, oh no- don't let her ride a bike, she will need a tree in order to stop!


Audrey and Ashley introduced Alison to a wonderful young man, who was one of their neighbors in Highland. Their wedding was a great family event last June. What a cute couple! We love you Micah, oh and you too, Alison :)

































Friday, November 21, 2008

Recipe

Sweet potato and apple casserole.
4 med. sweet potatoes, 2 granny smith apples, 1 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 3 T. flour, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 c. butter, 1 c. chopped nuts. Cook potatoes and slice-either pierce the potatoes and place on foil covered baking sheet- bake at 400 for 1 hour- cool, peel, slice. Or peel and slice, then boil for a few minutes until almost soft. Peel and slice apples. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Place apple slices in the pan- put potato slices on top of apples. Stir together orange juice, sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour over apples and potatoes. Sprinkle with nuts, dot with butter. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes. (For those of you who might want marshmallows, add those and return to oven- just until brown :) This makes 12 servings- I am going to do "half" of everything for us. Plus I will use the splenda sugar instead of the real thing :) You could also add pineapple- either crushed or tidbits- drained. (Or use the pineapple juice instead of the orange juice).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting Ahead of Myself

Since I'm still learning this "blog thing", I didn't realize that when I save a draft and post it later- it doesn't go to the top. So for those of you watching the "titles" to see a new post, I actually have three new things- this one, the Ada Faye one, and the talking turkey one. I don't know if anyone else is enjoying the blogs- but mom and I are having a great time! Everyone is keeping us well entertained- we love the sense of humor that radiates in our family :) ILY all LT

Monday, November 17, 2008

Last But Not Least














Alison was the last one to check in and she is the only one of us that might have the most similarities to Ada Faye Wilson. (Yes, Audrey gets the prize- we will try to send the mummified turkey to her :)
Ada Faye was born on Sep.7, 1905. She married Paul Harkness in January of 1926. They had two children, Donald Lee and Ruth Ann. She died in 1970 at the age of 65. She lost her battle with throat and lung cancer. So to most of you she is great grandma. One of my rather unusual memories is eating frosted flakes and cinnamon toast at grandmas house. Who knows- maybe Arika Faye is the one who most resembles Ada Faye.

Lets Talk Turkey
















If you are just checking in and did not read the post called, "Turkey Bowl Dilemma"- read that one first and then come back to this one. Two other disclaimers here- 1. I did not know how to cook when I got married either- it has all been trial and error. (luckily not too many errors:) And my main man loves everything I cook :) :) Okay almost everything :)
2. I'm sure that I will offend the "make it from scratch cooks". (the trial part of 'trial and error')
So the short version of this post would be- just go goggle "turkey" and I'm sure that you'll find more info. than you ever wanted to know about turkeys :) Now for my personal opinions- what ever they might be worth.

I don't really think there is much difference between the expense turkeys and the cheap ones. Thanksgiving dinner really is a very economical holiday meal. In the store I found everything from $.39 a pound to $2.99 a pound. (Audrey if you've got the money- go for the $2.99 a pound- already cooked turkey- just thaw, heat and eat:) I expected the fresh turkeys to be more expensive than the frozen, but they were about the same. (Except, no $.39 ones, but between $1.29 and $1.99 a pound) Fresh, can just be kept in the refrig- no thawing. The frozen turkeys just need to be in the refrig. for 1-3 days, to thaw, while still kept cold. A quicker method is to put the turkey in a sink full of cold water (turkey still in plastic bag- remember you asked for details :) You will need to turn it over several times and maybe change the water, if it gets warm. Don't thaw the turkey at room temp. (like just setting in the sink or on the counter without the cold water) Using this method probably only takes a few hours (but don't quote me on that) The best method is in the refrig. with a tray or towel under it. You will be able to tell when its thawed- soft to squeeze. And probably a puddle in the frig. (hehe) unless wrapped in really good plastic with no holes. When you are ready to cook- unwrap the turkey- remove the paper bag of giblets from under the skin flap and take the neck out of the inside. You'll know what I'm talking about when you get to that point. (One of my early trial and errors was not knowing those paper bags were there and cooking the whole thing :) The next step is to get a 'good grip on that bird' and rinse it inside and out in the sink, by holding it under running water. You will probably only drop it a couple of times :) By doing these first couple of steps- you will quickly determine if the turkey is completely thawed or still frozen on the inside. (In fact rinsing the inside will help thaw that part if still slightly frozen) Place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan. I have a black roaster pan- but an 8x12 cake pan will work- 0r an aluminum roaster pan (just be careful with the aluminum one, it will be flimsey with the weight of the turkey). Most directions say to brush the entire outside with veg. oil- simple way- spray it with 'Pam". Cook in an oven temp. of 325 degrees. A 12-14 pound turkey will take about 3 to 3 3/4 hours- unstuffed. (I don't recommend putting the stuffing inside the bird- see comments later on stuffing). Each turkey will have specific directions on the package or inside the wrapper. There are also plastic 'Oven Bags' that you can use, when cooking the turkey. They claim to be the easiest way to the "juiciest, most tender turkey". The directions are on the box.
A few other random thoughts- using a meat thermometer, really is a good idea so that you know the internal temp. of the turkey. (I bought the honeysuckle turkey that has the "pop up" thermometer already in it.) (Call me for details on the meat thermometer if needed)
I used to spend hours 1.cooking giblets, 2.peeling potatoes, 3.making pie crust, 4.drying bread crumbs and chopping celery/onions/mushrooms etc. At least I am wiser now-
1. My homemade gravy comes straight from the Campbells soup can. That way I can get low fat, low sodium (if I want it), always creamy texture, tastes good etc. They also had a canned turkey gravy that is fat free and cholesterol free. My gravy will be a can of turkey gravy, a can of chicken soup, and a can of mushroom soup. (add enough milk or water or both, for what ever thickness you like) I know one of the uses for the 'giblets' (which means inner turkey parts, like heart, liver, and gizzard) is to flavor the gravy. But have you actually tasted those parts? (Sorry Ron and Grammy, but those parts get thrown away) When I thought very carefully about my feelings for gravy- I realized that I had a tramatic experience when I was in high school trying to make traditional gravy by thickening the turkey drippings- it was not a pretty sight nor was it anything that tasted good! I just can't do the thickened meat fat gravy :)
2. 'Idahoan' instant potatoes taste great. Instant potatoes used to taste like the cardboard box- but these taste like the real thing, only much simpler. Just heat water, stir in potato flakes and serve. Also comes in lots of flavors, or you can add more "fatting stuff" to them- like cream cheese, sour cream, butter, and bacon. (Just think- you could top all that with thickened turkey fat gravy. hehe)
3. The refrigerated or frozen pie crust turns out good every time. My favorite is the refrigerated Pillsbury Pie Crust. It is usually with the refrig. cookies, pudding etc. Just unroll and bake. We will be having sour cherrie turnovers and pumpkin cake for dessert. Remember always use real Cool Whip- no Dream Whip allowed :)
4. Homemade stuffing just doesn't taste as good as Stove Top. And they have already done all of the bread drying and veg. chopping. Make it with chicken broth rather than with water, if you want. I am going to try mixing a box of stove top with a box of cornbread stuffing. I'll let you know how that works.
One last thought- fresh or frozen green beans are better than canned. But remember on your way to the freezer isle- the fresh ones would have to be washed, cleaned, and cooked. The frozen ones just pop into the boiling water or microwave :)

One more last thought- I do have a good recipe for sweet potato, apple casserole. I haven't found a good substitute for the real sweet potato yet. I still peel those and make ahead of time. (And sorry Audrey but no more marshmallows, those went out when the 'low carb-low sugar" came in.) I will hunt down that recipe and give it later. (Ashley, I will also look for pork chop recipes)

Good luck- ya'll know how to call and ask questions :)

The Turkey Bowl Dilemma

So here is the dilemma of the Thompson girls- (and a few family secrets for Sam)- every Thanksgiving, I would get up early, while everyone else was sleeping and put the turkey in the oven. About mid morning, Ron and the girls would all go off to play "turkey bowl" football and soccer with the guys. About mid morning , I would finish all of the dinner preparations. The turkey would be cooking and I would be peeling potatoes, making stuffing, green beans, gravy etc. I usually made the jello and the pies a day or two before. Anyway...
Ron and the girls would get home about noon, take showers, and sit down to Thanksgiving dinner about 1:00 pm.
Just like magic, everything would be cooked :)
Annie had an interesting comment last night, she said,
"It is pretty obvious what talents the Thompson girls got from Ron- lots of athletic skills. They must have some hidden talents from mom." My comment then was "It's just that those hidden talents are still hidden" :) So after three phones calls this weekend- "Mom how do I buy a turkey?" and "Grandma how do I thaw out a turkey?" and "Mom, we have company coming, how do I cook a turkey? And be specific, I need details."
Check back in later today. We will TALK TURKEY!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lookin Good !

Here's a couple more pics. for Sam- I just couldn't resist.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hey Ashley...

Hey Ashley, this one is for real. I'm taking guesses on who she is and which one of us looks the most like her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11

Today is a national holiday- everyone is celebrating Gary's birthday :)




































Happy, Happy Birthday!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bridlegate, Bandera, Texas









We spent Friday night in San Antonio and went to Bandera on Saturday. For those of you who don't know the "Bandera" story- we bought some property there, hopefully to retire there. I guess we want to be cowboys in the "cowboy capital" of Texas :) Right now it is still just dirt, rocks, trees, and lots of cedar. The next time we go, the cedar should be cleared out, letting us get a better look at the layout and where we might build a house.

This One's for Sam
















































Audrey's famous childhood story is this- When Audrey was in first or second grade, the teacher asked all of the children to write down some answers to a few questions. One of the questions was some thing like- " If you could have anything that you might desire, what would it be?" While most of the children wrote down things like particular toys and other items, or vacations like going to Disneyland, Audrey's answer was, "I want to see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ". (Spiritually she has always been the "center" of our family) Talent wise, Audrey is very well rounded. She loves her sports- she will make a great soccer mom/coach. She keeps balls, shoes, and rackets in her car at all times, so she is ready if a sports opportunity comes her way :) She also loves her music- she has a great voice. A good memory for all of our children has been singing together. Audrey served a mission in Bulgaria. I remember the night she called me to tell me where she was going to serve. I did not sleep very well that night- I just kept thinking- "Bulgaria- I don't even know where Bulgaria is!" :) Audrey graduated from BYU and is now working as an internal auditor at JC Penneys. Audrey is stuck with two "labels". She is the "middle child" and she is "daddy's girl". She is the "middle child" of five. She got the best of two worlds- two older siblings to lead the way for her and two younger siblings for her to lead the way for. Audrey's personality is most like Ron. She is the one that spent the most time with him at sports activities. He was always at her games, either as a spectator or as a coach. When she was a small child, she could always be found sitting on his lap.
She is still "daddy's girl". (for now :)



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Funny Thing About Blogs

The funny thing about blogs is "the first shall be last and the last shall be first". But I doubt if that scripture was talking about blogs :) Hopefully my "PostScripts" don't get confusing - if you don't keep up with me on a regular basis, scroll down to the bottom and read up :)

PS to "Me or the Government"

Looks like my shopping days are over :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Me or the Government

As I have thought more about this election, I have decided that it really boils down to one question. "Who is going to spend Ron's hard earned money, me or the government?" :) :)
I think I could do a good job of "spreading the wealth (?) around". I love spending money :) I'm willing to do my part to stimulate the economy. I'll still buy clothes, shoes, groceries, gasoline, toys, crafts, home goods, all that "stuff" that we need. We will support our local restaurants. We will buy airplane tickets. If we had a tax break, we might even spring for home improvements and a new car. We will continue to give money to charity and to Boy Scouts. I promise we will still be fully tithed and we will be generous with those people who need our help. I might even occasionally hand out money to the peddler on the corner. I've also, already taught my children to be generous with what they have and to share with others. I will strive to keep my small business going so that I can provide some income for 5 other ladies. If other consumers get a tax break, they might continue to buy things like dresses and shoes :) So who will it be- me or the government spending Ron's money? Either way he won't have much left :) :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

PS to Opposition in All things

I wish I had looked at Ashleys blog before I wrote my post, "Opposition in All Things". When I went there a song called "Glory" by Selah was playing. It summed up all of my feelings-... one day blind eyes will see clearly... all those who deny will finally believe... hearts made of stone will break in pieces... voices that lie will be silent...death will retreat and wave its white flag...one day love will defeat...
so we wait."

Opposition in All Things

This post is as close as I will come to anything political :) As I have watched the campaigns for the past few months, the most amazing thing to me can be described like this- "Two people can watch the very same talk, ad, news program, debate, etc. and one calls it good and the other calls it evil." It really makes no difference which side you are on, the two peoples opinions are like night and day- or black and white- or dark and light. The scripture that immediately comes to mind is about "good being called evil and evil being called good in the last days". When I am trying to understand this mystery- I first think, "okay, two people can have such differing opinions because they have lived life with very differing experiences, influences, and culture. That does explain some of the differences. But when the opposite opinions start coming from people who have similar experiences and back ground (like members of the same family) then the "plot thickens". (I don't expect that I will understand this mystery in this life time- I think that knowledge will come much later when all things are known) But I do understand that two basic gospel principles will always exist- the need for opposition in all things and free agency. There will always be both good and evil, allowing us to choose what we will do. The real wild card here is satan's influence. He doesn't care whether you are democrat, republican, or independent. His influence is everywhere and he will take hold any where he can. He will influence all of our thoughts and feelings with things like greed, pride, untruth, arrogance, backbiting, revenge, etc. Oh what a tangled web we weave! So how is a person to know if what we think is good is really evil and what we think is evil is really good?
My belief is that God helps us choose but he won't force us to choose. The help that He gives us, as Elijah learned, can not be found in the " wind, or the earthquake, or the fire, but in a still small voice". (There are also a huge number of factors that influence our ability to recognize "the still small voice"- in fact , far too many to be typed here. ) Sometimes it takes a significant emotional experience for us to change our way of thinking and realize- maybe I was wrong in my judgment. God also allows those things to happen to us. The question was asked by someone who believes there is no God- "If there is God, why would he allow so many bad things to happen in this world?". One answer that was given, was "bad things happen so that we can choose to love God, rather than being forced to love God. " All about opposition in all things, and free agency for our own good. So... back to a more political thought- no matter who wins the election, half of the people will call it "good" and half of the people will call it "evil". Whatever the outcome- there will be lessons to be learned. Our only hope is that God is ultimately in charge and "all things will work for the good of those who love Him". That even all of the bad things will give us experience and will be for our good. On a more personal political note, Ron and I are toward the one end of the scale where things like increased capital gains tax could hurt. And we are also on the other end of the scale with a small business, wondering how it will pay its personal property tax and stay "a float amidst the (economical) storm".

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Free Halloween Candy

I only had enough "trick or treaters" to give away half of the candy. And that was giving each child two or three candy bars a piece :) I would send them to my grandsons, but they would melt before they got there. Besides Annie and Ashley are both thinking- don't send candy to us! Mike and Carrie can only get flat, paper mail- thus saving them from receiving any candy. What's a Baba (grandma) to do? The good news for the day is, I picked Ron up at the airport at 6:45 this morning. He is glad to be home- 3 weeks was too long to be away. While flying back from China, he actually got two nights. Kind of like "Ground Hog Day". He arrived in LA before he left Hong Kong- so the night started over. My one night was short because I got up at 4:30 and Ron kept sending me text messages during the night :)