Happy Thanksgiving weekend, all! Hope everyone had a nice, relaxing turkey day. Ours was excellent! My mom, sister, brother-in-law, and niece came to our house for dinner, and despite the turkey being done almost ninety minutes before it was scheduled, everything came together just fine. Chris and I were still working on the side dishes, thinking we had at least another hour to get them all prepped and baked, but no…the turkey finished up 90 minutes early. So the turkey sat and rested for an hour and a half while everything else caught up. 🙂 But surprisingly, it was still moist and tasty. Kudos to Chris, the head turkey chef!
Unfortunately, I have very few pictures from Thanksgiving Day, as I was busy cooking and such, but I have a ton of pictures from other days this week, as well as a little video of our latest set of family pictures, which I just got back. I love them! Sam looks like an adorable cherub in so many of them, and our photographer even got a few good ones of Theo, who is in a phase where if he knows you’re taking his picture, he tends to try too hard to smile and ends up with this odd, raised-eyebrow expression on his face. 🙂
Anyway, back to Thanksgiving! My sister is on the FODMAP diet right now (Google it if you’re interested—it’s a very restricted diet for people with GI problems), and although she insisted that I shouldn’t alter the menu on her behalf, the truth is that (a) I enjoy messing around with new recipes, and (b) the FODMAP diet is actually very much like the diet I follow for myself anyway, so it didn’t take all that much tweaking to prepare a meal she could eat too. And it turned out pretty tasty, if I do say so myself! The best part, in my humble opinion, was the FODMAP chocolate fudge pie. I thought it would be dry and perhaps passable—it looked like a somewhat grainy brownie. But oh…my…goodness! It was gooey and rich and decadent and absolutely delicious! Aunt Sally, you would wholeheartedly approve!!
I also made a FODMAP green-bean salad, pumpkin mac and cheese, and butternut squash casserole, as well as cranberry sauce. And just because I couldn’t resist, I made two non-FODMAP dishes—Chris’s favorite cheesy potato casserole and my niece Stevie’s favorite pretzel Jell-O! Anyway, that chocolate pie will be making a reappearance the next time I have to bring a dessert somewhere. Easy and yum, yum, yum!
On Black Friday, we avoided stores at all costs—except Barnes & Noble, which actually wasn’t the least bit crowded. We had to be in Walnut Creek very early to take care of a banking matter, and then we had a couple of hours to kill before meeting some friends. So, we decided to go to Barnes & Noble, get coffee, browse a bit, and let the kids play at the train table. Thankfully, it wasn’t crowded at all! (Which actually probably doesn’t bode well for B&N, but at least it made our visit nice and peaceful!)
Then we headed over to Pixieland, a very small children’s amusement park in Concord that we’ve somehow never made it to. We met Theo’s best friend, Gavin, and two other good friends from his preschool, Emma and Mateo. The kids had a blast going on rides and then feeding the ducks afterward! We’ll definitely have to go back there, as it’s a very nice little low-key amusement park, as those things go.
And because that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, we wrapped it up a trip to the Christmas tree farm to get our tree! We have a wonderful little farm just five minutes from our house, and last year our tree stayed so fresh, even though we got it very early. Hoping the same holds true this year!
Saturday we had some more big excitement: the delivery of our new-to-us piano! Truly, this piano is in “well loved” condition—it’s a 1946 spinet, and it could definitely stand to be refinished. But the tone is good enough for our purposes, and it was only $100—how could I pass it up?!
Let me back up for a moment. I have long wanted a piano. Like, for probably 20 years. I’ve always wanted to learn to play, and even when I was living back in Arizona in the 1990s, I used to talk about wanting to get a piano someday. But, I’ve typically lived in small houses with no room for a piano, so…you know… However, the house we are renting is quite spacious, and when we moved in two years ago, I told Chris that perhaps someday we could get a piano, so both Theo and I could learn to play. But pianos are expensive, so that was a wish-list item.
Until! Until I joined this lovely little Facebook group called “Clayton Treasures.” It’s basically a group of local people who buy and sell items from each other. It’s a closed group, which keeps out the crazies, so you can trust that you don’t have strange people coming to your house to buy things. (You have to know someone in the group to be accepted into it. Our landlord is in it, which is how I got in.) I’ve sold some things on the site, and I’ve also bought a few things for excellent prices. And in fact, I found Theo’s babysitter through it! (But I didn’t buy her. I just pay her every week to watch him for a few hours—HA!) Anyway, a woman who lives just a mile down the road was selling this piano, as her kids have given up playing. She mostly just wanted someone to get it out of her house, so for the lovely price of $100, we acquired a piano! We did decide to pay a piano mover to move it for us, as it’s heavy, but it wasn’t terribly expensive.
Theo is so excited! His face absolutely lit up earlier this week when I said we were going to go look at a piano that we might buy, and he has been talking about little else since. The minute the movers left this morning, he sat down to play. And then we had to go out for a while, but when we got back he immediately wanted to play. Sam even gets in on the action, pushing a few keys here and there! Theo has actually been asking me to restart his piano lessons for a couple of months now, so this afternoon we stopped by the local consignment store where he took lessons before, and I left a message for their piano teacher to call me back about restarting. I’m thinking I may take lessons from her too, as I’ve always wanted to learn and she charges a ridiculously reasonable price of $10 for a 30-minute lesson!
Anyway, I’m getting tired, so I’m going to wrap up this week’s blog and head on to the rest of the list of items I need to finish before going to bed. See the video below if you want to check out our family pictures this year, and be sure to see this week’s gallery, too!