Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015-Happy New Year to You.

{Xmas morn}
I can't believe it's here!  I don't have everything checked off my list from 2014!  Do you?  I still have miles to go in fact.  I didn't write enough, didn't do enough downward dogs, and I'm three books behind on my Goodreads challenge.

I can reflect back and know that while I didn't get everything done I did get so much accomplished. And I'm grateful for the year that I've had especially school-related.  I didn't think I could love kids the way I loved Highland students but Hansen proved me wrong.  Grateful.

I've survived a year with handsome son out of the house and living in Colorado.  I miss him fiercely but I'm happy he's working on the next part of his own journey.  I love to text back and forth with him and have received some amazing messages from him throughout the year.  Grateful.

Groovy Girl and I have survived the first half of 7th grade together.  Middle school is harsh because her elementary school was like home; filled with love and understanding.  Middle school is the opposite of that. Rules, rules and more rules.  She's learning though and I've learned to listen as she rants about this teacher or that rule.  In the long run we'll both be better off.  Grateful.

I'm happy that oldest daughter has figured out her next step after graduating in May from Oberlin. She'll be off to Portland, ME in a week to study at the The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.  Just browsing their website makes me know she will love it.  It's good when each person knows what their next step into space is going to be.  Grateful.

This new year will bring more surprises, more journeys, and more inner peace.  What will the new year bring for you?

{Last night together for 2014 @Ciao Bella/Minneapolis)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The night before Christmas...

and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.  I stirred most of the day though.

What a beautiful Christmas Eve day we've had here in the Holt household.  The kids woke up lazy and late, eating breakfast for lunch.  I, on the other hand, had been up since 5 a.m. putting together dough for three loaves of bread, making my last list and checking it twice.  I dislike to be all crazy on a holiday yet I didn't want it to be Christmas Day and not have what I needed for our meal and our, most importantly, mimosas!  So I did have a long list of things to do since it was my first day off and even though I'd shopped previously.  I blame it on our too small refrigerator.

We've done a lot of sharing over this holiday since it is now rare for all 5 of us to be together.  Somehow it's made us more appreciative.  The older kids have shared many memories and both said that eating breakfast together on Christmas morn is very special to them.  That over opening gifts!  That is a happy thought I will savor all through the year.

Tomorrow morning we are having this french toast recipe which I picked just because I could make it in my crock pot.  I adore the idea of getting up and having it all ready.  We usually only look at Santa gifts and stocking gifts before we eat so this will be perfect.  I am also going to cook some bacon (for our meat-loving men) and fried eggs to round out the meal.

(Bon Appetit clam chowder)

Christmas Eve meals have always been special in our house and many times I've many lasagna but the last few years we've had clam chowder.  In my family we always had oyster stew with fresh bread which was so perfect but I married a man who cannot eat oysters so we came around to clams-for some reason clams are okay.   I will use this Bon Appetit recipe again -it had excellent flavor and I'm sure it came from the pound of real clams I started with and I was so excited when they all opened.  The fresh bread was perfect for dipping and soaking up the broth.  I made a double batch and we have just a small amount for leftovers.

Tomorrow we have a hodgepodge of favorites for all types.  My husband and son will enjoy a spiral-cut ham (a gift from a friend) and the rest of us will enjoy a variety of veggie dishes + a big salad.  Mostly I want to just sit and enjoy my kids as we laugh together, go for a walk, and play board games.  I think watching a movie is in the works as well.

Appreciate the love of your family as you celebrate this holiday season!   Feliz Navidad.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tough beginning to December

My kid's favorite month has had a tough start for me.  I've been sick for about 4 weeks with a cold that turned into a sinus infection.  I finally took myself to the doctor (which I'm always slow to do) and am now on an antibiotic (which I really dislike) but I am beginning to feel human again.

I watched copious amounts of Parenthood, making me cry, and read several books (The Wednesday Wars, The secret life of bees, The invention of wings).  In all that sick time I just didn't get any blogging done-I blame it on a the snot.  Really though I was just so tired.  It took all the strength I could gather just to finish a day at work.

I wasn't writing but I did do all this:

I made this lasagna from Martha Stewart.  Good flavor but a bit dry.  It tasted much better the next day.

I hosted my husband's work Christmas party so we had 11 people over for a potluck dinner; I made bread and the lasagna.  We cleaned house for 2 days.  It was dusty.

I went to my school Christmas gathering hosted by my principal.  It was lovely and I made this artichoke dip from Paula Deen.  It doesn't have any butter in it but it was a huge hit.

I made a second artichoke dip for book club (The invention of wings) which happened on the exact same night as aforementioned school party.

I also hosted a reception for my husband's Christmas play (A Coney Island Christmas by Donald Marguiles.)  The play was a huge hit and Groovy Girl even had a good role.

In between but mostly just the last two days I've been able to finish Christmas shopping and prepare for our two oldest to come home.  We picked up the oldest, Kaylee, yesterday in Iowa City.  Tomorrow the second, Tristan, flies into Mpls/St Paul airport.  Last spring for Kaylee's graduation is the last time we've been together and we are so excited to be together.

You can see from my list why the writing drops off the list so easily unfortunately.  Too tired, too much to do. I hope your list isn't as long!