A Thankful Heart

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Thanksgiving seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye.

I had to take Summer back to the doctor last Friday.  The doctor was very concerned about Summer’s lungs, and sent us for a chest x-ray.  Oh…and did I mention…that our hot water heater had gone out, so the installation was supposed to happen that afternoon, as well. Between the doctor and the x-ray, we were at appointments for over 2 hours, and when we got home, they were installing the hot water heater.  The doctor called as soon as we got home, and they were very concerned about Summer’s lung capacity because her lung function had diminished.  She told us to do breathing treatments every 4 hours through Monday.  The fact that we only had to be without hot water for just over a day and that we already had a nebulizer and the albuterol for the breathing treatments were both huge blessings.

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Unfortunately, I got sick last Saturday afternoon.  Luckily, I had just returned from a massive grocery shopping trip so that I would not have to get back out for the week.  That, in and of itself, turned out to be a huge blessing.

Sean and Gabriel went on a camping trip with two other dads and two of Gabriel’s friends Monday through Wednesday.  They had a great time.  While they were gone, the littles and I watched a lot of movies and rested in bed together.  Since Ethan was healthy, he was a little bored with it, but, as always, he was a good sport about it.  And, the fact that Gabriel and Sean were able to enjoy their trip without getting sick was another huge blessing.

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On Wednesday, Summer took another turn for the worse.  My sister came over to assess her and agreed that we needed to get her to the doctor.  Given that I was still sick and weak, my sister drove Summer and I to the doctor while Ethan stayed home with my nieces and brother-in-law.  Luckily, the doctor took the lung information and the fact that Summer has been sick for over a month, very seriously.  He ordered another chest x-ray, as well as blood work.  Thankfully, the chest x-ray was clear, which allowed us to stop the breathing treatments.  The blood work showed signs of an infection, so he gave Summer a stronger antibiotic, and it worked like magic.  By the time my parents arrived Wednesday night, Summer was almost back to herself, which was an incredible blessing.

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On Thanksgiving, my family showed me what family really is.  I literally could not do the things that I wanted to do.  I just did not feel well enough.  So, while I sat, visited, and watched the parade, my mom bustled about my kitchen while my sister bustled about her kitchen, preparing food and making sure that we had full bellies and thankful hearts.

The day was a bit of a blur to me, but I do know one thing.  It was the exact day that it was supposed to be.

There was family.

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And food.

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And love.

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And littles.

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And laughter.

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It was not exactly the peaceful, celebratory week that I had envisioned.  It was different, but, as I learned on Halloween…and on Gabriel’s birthday…and on Summer’s birthday…sometimes life just has to go on, regardless of the Norman Rockwell image that we have in our minds of what it should be.  In the midst of accepting that, the beauty of real life often unfolds.

As I looked all around me, I was so thankful.  We were blessed with having our entire family surrounding us – Sean’s parents, my parents, Sean’s brother and his family, my sister and her family, my sister’s in-laws, and my sister’s brother-in-law and his family.  Yes, it was different than I had expected because I was not nearly as involved as I normally would be. However, as I sat in the recliner enjoying the parade and watching everything around me, I realized that the day truly was as it should be.  I seldom get the chance to just sit back and breathe in the moment.  I did that this Thanksgiving.  And, I was very, very thankful for all of our blessings.

 

Trying New Things – Recipe: Shredded Brussels Sprouts

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Yesterday I learned a hard lesson.  I baked some cupcakes for someone, and I had never tried the recipe before.  I actually baked them on Tuesday to be delivered on Wednesday.  When they came out of the oven, I knew that they looked different.  But, honestly, I did not feel well and did not want to start over.  I had tried the batter, and it tasted great.

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Well, fast forward to yesterday.  The cupcakes were not great.  They were not even good.  And, everyone knew it.  My husband had to deliver the bad news to me.

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Baking can be very unpredictable.  I should have tried out the recipe before I ever made them for someone.  We have just been so crunched for time between appointments, events, traveling, and getting ready for Christmas.   However, even though cupcakes do not always turn out the same every single time, I would have known that this particular cupcake recipe was not going to work if I had just tried it first.

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Sometimes, though, trying new things turns out wonderfully the first time around.  Such was the case with Martha Stewart’s Shredded Brussels Sprouts that my sister made for Thanksgiving.  It was fantastic.  Out of all of the things at the feast, it was the Green Bean Casserole and the Brussels Sprouts that had me wanting seconds.  I know that people either love or hate Brussels Sprouts.  But, even if you have never been a fan, I honestly think that this recipe might change your mind.  It is truly delicious.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

1/2 pound thinly sliced pancetta, diced small

Extra-virgin olive oil, if needed

1 3/4 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded (10 cups)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook pancetta over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. With a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain.
  3. Pour off all but 1/4 cup drippings (if necessary, add enough oil to measure 1/4 cup).
  4. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in pancetta.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/12/15/trying-new-things-recipe-shredded-brussels-sprouts/

And…if you ever make a huge baking blunder, I hope that you have a husband as sweet as mine.  He knew that I needed a little pick-me-up yesterday.  Because, for some reason, it is in human nature to beat ourselves up for the bad days instead of lifting ourselves up about the good days.  However, ending the day with my favorite flowers put a smile on my face and allowed me to reflect on the good that I had learned, in spite of the bad experience.  Trying new things is good…just make sure that it is with family first. 🙂

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Thankful for Cheers – Recipe: Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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We have this little tradition in our house.  When we are having a fancy family dinner for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, Birthdays, etc., we let everyone have sparkling grape juice out of real wine or champagne glasses.  We started the tradition a few years ago without a real thought about where it would lead us.

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Fast forward to present day.  It is now a nightly tradition.  Ethan takes it upon himself to make sure that a dinner does not pass us by without us doing a “cheers”.  And, we have a big table.  But, that does not stop him.  Sean and I have to make sure that everyone’s cup touches everyone’s cup.  If someone has not “cheered”, Ethan will notice, get up, and go to that person or insist that they come to him.

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We love it.  It kind of just started out slowly and has progressed into this wonderful thing that everyone enjoys each night.  Sometimes Ethan will even do it when we are not at home. I am sure that other people wonder what we are doing.  Just having a proper meal, of course.

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I am thankful for the little things.  I am thankful that what started out as something little done to celebrate something big has now turned into something big to celebrate something little.  I love that we are able to sit back each night, whether we are having a fancy meal or simple grilled cheese sandwiches, and reflect on the day, our family, and the joy that comes with celebrating life, through the eyes of our children.

Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients

Honey Mustard Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons mustard

1 tablespoon Karo syrup

1 tablespoon honey

Sandwich Fixings

Sliced sourdough bread

Spreadable butter

Turkey

Swiss cheese

Cheddar cheese

Leftover cranberry sauce

Instructions

    Preparing the honey mustard
  1. Mix the mayonnaise and mustard together.
  2. Add the Karo and honey, and whisk together.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Preparing the Sandwich
  5. Heat large skillet over medium heat.
  6. Using a large work area, spread butter on each slice of sourdough bread (depending on how many slices that you need for your family).
  7. Spread honey mustard on the other side of one slice (repeating as you go), and place the bread, butter side down, on the skillet.
  8. Top with Swiss cheese, turkey, cranberry sauce, and cheddar cheese.
  9. Add another slice of bread, butter side up, to the top of the cheddar cheese.
  10. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, and then flip to the other side.
  11. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  12. Repeat with all sandwiches, cooking as many at a time as your skillet will allow.
  13. Slice in half and serve with extra honey mustard and/or cranberry sauce.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/11/23/thankful-for-cheers-recipe-turkey-grilled-cheese-sandwich/

Cheers!