November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Week

What a fun week this has been! So much fun that I have obviously not been taking time to blog about it! Ted's mom, "Grandma J," flew into town Saturday evening, and we've been having loads of family fun. Ted, Rhonda, and the older kids just left for some time at Pump It Up, and I stayed behind with Kenna, who just went down for her morning nap. I'm taking advantage of the quiet to catch up a bit on blogging, fold some laundry, make some bread, and...just on some Christmas cards. I don't know, though--Pump It Up is only available until 11:30 a.m.!!

Anyway, I can't seem to remember anything specific we did Sunday, other than go to church and play LOTS of games. The kids are game freaks these days, and we've (or rather, they've) begun pulling out "new" games like Chinese checkers, chess, and cribbage, begging to be taught. Rhonda has patiently played many a game with Charis, Tobin, and/or Arden. She's also read lots to them, built things with them, and listened to all their excited chatter!

Monday afternoon I taught a "Mind Your Manners" class for the homeschool co-op. There were about 50 kids there, and I had fabulous table guides that made things run very smoothly. Rhonda took care of Kenna, who did a GREAT job, having had a 3-hour nap that morning. My kids were less than thrilled about interrupting game time with Grandma to go to a manners class, but on the way home, Charis gave me a compliment when she said, "Mommy, that was so fun! When can we do that again?!" Rhonda treated us to yogurt parfaits at McDonald's, and the older kids got to play for awhile at the play place before we headed home.

On Tuesday we (minus Ted, who was at work) went to Bonnie Springs--it seems we always end up visiting there in the fall, and we always enjoy our time there. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera, so I don't have any pictures of our outing. We first went through the petting zoo, and Arden was nearly traumatized when a white burro snarfed his arm looking for some food. Arden was convinced the donkey was trying to eat him! Kenna, on the other hand, didn't even blink when the donkey nosed around the stroller. She sat up, wide-eyed, listening to all the animal noises and taking everything in.

Then we walked over to the replica of an old western town, where we watched a cheesy but fun melodrama in the "saloon," followed by a "hanging" in the town square. By the time that was finished, it was 2:30 and the sun was already dropping behind the mountains, making us feel more than ready for a late lunch in the warm Bonnie Springs restaurant. We headed home after eating, feeling we had gotten our $10 worth and then some.

Wednesday morning Charis and Tobin had PE, so I dropped them off and did some last-minute grocery shopping while Kenna napped and Arden played games with Grandma. We were planning a picnic lunch after PE, but a cold front had swept into town along with some strong winds, so we ended up coming home for the afternoon. I did, however, get out for my first run in 8 days--between a head cold and general busy-ness, I hadn't felt like running much at all. But with the half-marathon date fast approaching (it's Dec. 2), I decided I'd better get out and see if my body will be able to handle running 13.1 miles in a week and a half! I went 3 1/2 miles and decided to reserve judgement for after a few more runs.

Ted was able to come home a couple of hours early, so we enjoyed a yummy dinner of parmesan Ranch chicken (recipe to follow in case you're interested) and watched our traditional Thanksgiving kids' show, the Veggie Tales' Madame Blueberry. Oh, yes, and Charis, Rhonda and I worked to put together our construction paper "Blessing Tree." Last year on Thanksgiving Day we wrote things we were thankful for on apples and put them on a poster-board tree. The year before that we wrote on leaves and simply taped them to our pantry door. This year there was nearly a fight over whether we would write on apples or leaves, so we decided to do both. Hey, apple trees have leaves, don't they?! The kids really got into the activity; we broke out the markers after dinner, and they kept writing and writing and writing! (Arden dictated his to us!) You can see Tobin writing on his apple. (He and Charis are wearing their PE shirts, by the way.) We had to stop the kids after awhile so we could save some leaves and apples to write on for Thanksgiving Day!

I'll wrap this post up for now and do a separate one for Thanksgiving Day, but it wouldn't be complete without one more picture--since the other kids are featured above, here's one of Kenna and Ted taken Wednesday evening. And yes, I will put the chicken recipe below--it's simply too fantastic not to try!

1 stick butter or margarine
3/4 cup crushed cornflakes
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (the kind in a can)
1 packet Ranch salad dressing or dip mix
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

Mix cornflakes, parmesan cheese, and salad dressing mix together in a bowl. Melt butter and dip chicken strips into butter, then coat with cornflake mixture. Place in a 9x13 pan and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Oh, so yummy!!

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