Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thanksgiving with the Tuthills

This past summer we were forced to make our annual pilgrimage to the Midwest at an inopportune time in order to attend the memorial service for Eric's grandfather.  It was a beautiful time and a lovely trip but, since Eric's semester wasn't quite over, we had to return again quickly and we had very little time to visit with Eric's family.  They decided to put aside their distaste for Thanksgiving travel and join us on the East Coast this year to make up for some lost visiting time.  We were thrilled to host Marga and Larry and even more thrilled that Ben flew all the way from school in LA to join the fun.  

I was all in a flurry preparing for their six-day visit and, at one point, Eric said, "So, basically, you want to renovate the whole house before Thanksgiving?"  To which I replied, "Yes."  I didn't, of course, but those of you with a good eye will see hints of several of the projects that have kept us busy this fall and which will get their own treatment before too long.

I love hosting people and putting together menus and while I certainly don't claim to have any particular expertise in that area, it's something I'm actively working on.  My "decoration" budget is pretty much non-existent but I was pleased with the results of working with stuff I mostly had on hand.  I sprang for a pot of mums for our sideboard and ransacked the attic for every small mason jar I could find.  

Pumpkin, Apple and Pecan.  
Of course I forgot to take any pictures of the table set for dinner because we were all starving but imagine a darkened room and all those jars behind the pies lit with candles.  And then a whole bunch more jars with candles on the table.  And food crammed into every square inch.  It was sort of amazing to see that candlelight can really overcome a multitude of shortcomings in the Fine China and Table Linens department. The food was delicious, the company was even better, and we enjoyed nice time with all three Tuthills through the weekend.

The shells make me crazy so these are a real treat around here.

Margaret can peel potatoes!  And squash!

A belated birthday present.

This is what my in-laws do when they are here:  wash dishes.  They can visit anytime.  It was like being on vacation.

Cranberry-red wine-cinnamon.  Note to self:  make a triple batch next year.

Remember Margaret's chicken apron birthday present?  Marga had a matched set made for  us.  I love them except that they make us both look fat.

I had a sinus infection over Thanksgiving which is why I look like death in these pictures.  Someone must have snagged the camera and caught me trying to relax with some knitting while the turkey roasted.

This is NOT our Thanksgiving table but, rather, our Leftover Tea that the three "girls" had on Friday .  We bought that china at an estate sale when we were engaged but we seldom use it because we only have four place settings.

Ben, in the Familial Garb.  Ten points to anyone not related to Eric who can tell me what the real family name is.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Joseph's Birthday, a little late

Guess who finally forked over six dollars and bought herself a new cable to connect the camera and the computer?

We rearranged our "office" awhile back and my not-so-UniversalSB cable for my camera disappeared.  I'm sure I'll find it tomorrow now that I've finally replaced it.  In the meantime, we've been pretty busy and I'll try to catch you up a bit.

Joseph also requested coffee cake for his birthday breakfast but we held off on a birthday cake until his party the next night.


I think he's excited about the treasure hunt.  Not sure why Isaac rearranged the furniture.

Joseph is now seven and we  had a lovely time celebrating accordingly.  After the big shebang we had for Margaret I was hoping for something a little quieter for Joseph and he was fine with that idea.  We had coffee cake for breakfast on his actual birthday and fried fish for dinner (his choice).  The next day his best friend, Andrew, came over, as usual.  I planned a very simple "pirate treasure hunt" for them.  Honestly, I wasn't sure it would be blog-worthy.  I typed up six very simple clues like, "Where do we go when we want to read about Hammurabi?"  Answer:  his history text.
Retrieving a clue from Margaret's sweater bin.

Studying a clue in the kitchen.

 I was worried about making them too easy or too hard but I think that the following along of the game was what was most fun.  Joseph didn't have to think more than a few seconds about each clue but he had a blast "hunting" for his treasure.
Thinking hard . . . where could the last clue be?

Found it . . . but where's the treasure?

On a whim I also made a very simple map of the entire route and this turned out to be a hit with Andrew who loves anything in the in maze/map genre.  He took charge of the map, Joseph read aloud the clues and together they found the treasure. At the end, Andrew immediately made another treasure map and convinced Joseph to play again.

A treasure chest!

With treasure!

Since Halloween was a bust due to sickness and rain the "treasure candy" was a nice stand-in.

And how is our not-so-little seven-year-old?  Joseph spends pretty much all of his spare time either reading or drawing. The last few weeks he's branched out a little into creating 3-D toys out of paper.  He's been really interested in drawing various characters lately and is working on a whole crew of pirates to decorate his bedroom walls.  We love his drawings and it is really fun to see the evolution of his artistic sense.  I will try to scan and post some of his work before too long.

He reads voraciously and has inherited my tendency to be completely oblivious to everything around me if I have a book in my hand.  Now that I see how annoying this can be, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to my parents.  But, of course, we're thrilled that Joseph reads so much.  He likes everything:  novels, picture books, non-fiction of all kinds, poetry, magazines.  He'll even pick up the Wall Street Journal, in a pinch.  And, happiest of all, from my perspective, he's often very willing to read to his younger siblings.  He has a real knack for expression and nuance when he reads out loud.

So there's a bit about our most recent birthday boy.  More to come!