Thanksgiving Around the Corner

Hi friends–  I afraid to say that I’ve been stewing a bit over Thanksgiving. For the first time in a few years, ALL our family will be together in Ojai for a Thanksgiving weekend (It warms my Mom-heart!!) and I think I’m letting the details of getting us all together overwhelm my heart and mind.   I need to back up and not lose sight of this time of Thankfulness…


Some Family together about this time last year.

So here I am– stopping to sit in quiet and thank God for a few things today:
1.  The maple trees turning in the backyard, beauty out my window.
2.  My people (especially Larry) who walk through these days with me.
3.  Food in the fridge and a fire in the fireplace.
4.  MOPS moms and young adults at church who keep me from feeling old.
5.  Our kids–scattered and settled and doing well.
6.  Grand-kids learning and blossoming– nothing dearer.
7.  My Monday ladies who listen and understand and pray with me.
8.  Books and music and mugs of tea in the quiet of our home.
9.  Our parents who know us well and keep us grounded.
10. A walk with God, who loves us more than we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3)

I’m sure you have your own list– Doesn’t it bring a calm to your soul to think through your blessings??

O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”  — William Shakespeare

 

And I wanted to send you one last pumpkin recipe (Thanksgiving breakfast??).  So quick and luscious!  Made these with two baking buddies– Jenna & Bekah.  Love those girls!!

PUMPKIN TWISTS
1 egg
2 tsp. water
2 sheets puff pastry (1 box), defrosted
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tab. coarse sugar

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tab. milk
1 tsp. vanilla (or maple syrup)z

In a small bowl whisk together the egg and water.  Set aside

Open out the puree pastry onto the counter.  With a rolling pin, roll both pieces into 12″ by 16″ rectangles.  Cut each piece in half to have 4 !2″x 8″ rectangles.

Mix together the pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Then spread the the pumpkin mixture to cover the 4 rectangles clear to the edges.

Starting at the long side, roll each rectangle into a long cylinder.

Then with a sharp knife cut clear through the cylinder, leaving a 1″ part at the top that is not cut.  Turn the two cut halves of the cylinder around so the pumpkin layers are showing.  Then braid the two stands together, so that the cut layers of pumpkin show on top.

Then twist the braid into a circle and carefully set the circle of pastry onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Repeat until you have 4 braided circles (so pretty!)

The brush the egg mixture onto to coast the tops of the pastries and sprinkle on the coarse sugar.

Pop them all into a 400 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the tops are crusty and golden.

While they are baking whisk  together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla for the glaze.

When the pastries come out, let them cool for 5 minutes and then drizzle on the glaze.  Delicious warm from the oven!!

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Thanks Bekah & Jenna fo dropping in on a Saturday morning to bake and talk and eat.  Love you two!

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“What we’re really taking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday in November, when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?”  –Erma Bombeck

 


Thankful  Heart Charts with the grand-girls 2016

And every Grandma needs a few easy tricks up her sleeve when the family gathers for Thanksgiving.
#1.  Thankful Heart Charts– Been making these every year since our boys were small.  Provide a cup full of markers and everyone draws tiny pictures of all they are thankful for (or contributes to a bigger chart to share with everyone).

#2.  Gratitude Basket –Last year Jodi had everyone write what they were thankful for on a slip of paper (keeping it a secret!) and then after dinner she pulled the slips from the basket and as she read them, we guessed who had written each one.  Some easy to guess, some hard, some hilarious.  So fun!

#3.  A to Z Thankfulness — Go around the circle and think of things to be thankful for, starting with the letters of the alphabet.

#4.  Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt– Give each grand-kid a brown paper bag with this list on the front– a turkey, a pretty rock, 3 leaves, something fuzzy, something smooth, a small pumpkin, something green, a stick, something you think is beautiful.  See what they come up with!!

     
Grand-girls in homemade turkey hats & standing by the welcome turkey at the front door.

 

“In November, people are good to each other. They carry pies to each other’s homes and talk by crackling woodstoves, sipping mellow cider. They travel very far on a special November day just to share a meal with one another and to give thanks for their many blessings – for the food on their tables and the babies in their arms.”– Cynthia Rylant,  (a favorite children’s book author)

And finally, here’s a few of our favorite Thanksgiving books to share together after the turkeys eaten and there’s time to sit cozy on the couch.
      

    
Best Thanksgiving Books   (Link to theses books & more)

 


Finally as you sit down around the table for Thanksgiving ahead, I hope for you that your heart is happy and settled and full of gratitude for your blessings great and small.  Thanksgiving Blessings to you, dear Readers.

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”  — Cicero

 

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Out & About In Ojai

 


Hello friends– Last weekend Larry and trekked up the coast to Ojai for a day with the 3 grand-girls and their dear parents.  After these crazy winter rains, the citrus groves and hillsides stretched out green and lush–beautiful drive into the valley…

Jodi pulled out the wok to make us a tableful of a delicious lunch, while Mary Ann and Grandpa set up for a round of her latest game invention– Buzzing Bee.
     

There was a hike down to the creek and some splashy wading (for girls, not grandmas!)

   

Also, a lot of browsing and a few selections at Bart’s Books (a rambling indoor/outdoor used books store) — followed by pizza and gelato at Papa Lemon’s.
     

     

And Jodi rounded us all up for a few family photos just outside their front door (thanks Jodi– you know this grandma loves family pictures!)

Thanks Micah and Jodi– loved loved the meals, the talks and time with you all… It’s the best!!

Orange Cupcakes

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Hi there– Our kids live in Ojai– and if you’ve ever been there, you know it’s nestled int a valley teeming with citrus groves.  There are spans of orange and mandarin trees lining the roads that lead up to their house.  So when they come down to visit, they often bring in the door a big red net bag of oranges, fresh from the farm!  There’s a big bowl sitting on kitchen the table here next to my lap top.

So when I wanted to make cupcakes this week for friends coming in on Thursday night, I thought– how can I use a few of these oranges??!  And here they are– orange cupcakes:

Cake:
Orange cake mix (Duncan Hines)*
2 large oranges
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla

Use a grater to grate off all the orange skin of the two oranges.  Set aside.  Then juice the oranges keep the juice aside as well.

Make the cake mix according to the directions on the package (mine asked for oil, eggs and water) — But substitute 1 cup of orange juice for the water called for!!  (save 2 tablespoons of the orange juice to use for the frosting)  Stir in half of the grated orange peel into the batter (save the second half of the peel for the frosting).

Spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with cupcake papers about 1/2 full.  Should make about 24 cupcakes.Pop them into the oven for 15 0 18 minutes at 350 degrees, until they come out firm to the touch.

Let the cupcakes cool completely and then make the frosting– With an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, 2 tablespoons of the orange juice and the rest of the grated orange peel).  Spread it thickly on the cooled cupcakes and you’re ready for a party!

* If your market doesn’t have orange cake mix, a yellow or white mix would be just as well.

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Back in Ojai!

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Sun setting off the back porch in at Micah and Jodi house

Hello friends–  So happy to say that Jodi and the 3 grand-girls are back from China!!  Been missing them all 4!  So today we trundled up to Ojai for welcome home hugs and a little birthday cake for Jodi.  Loved the sweet time together.

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Out and about in Ojai– trying out the new Sushi restaurant in town–a grand-girl favorite.

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And back home there was some awesome double rainbow watching and a little soggy puddle jumping.  Things are never dull with the grand-girls back– Love those lively, lovable  girls.