Saturday, November 26, 2011

Home for the Holidays: Round 1

Thanksgiving is the kick-start to the holiday season and we always begin ours by making the trip to Kansas City to spend it with my family.  Being home for the holidays always makes me think of the movie "Home for the Holidays" with Holly Hunter.  Our lives are exactly like that.  A bunch of odd people, doing a bunch of odd things, but none of it is really odd because it's all so perfectly normal.  That's us.  Nothing overly exiting, nothing overly perfect - but wouldn't trade it in for anything else.  That's us.

We began the trip on Wednesday with a seamless drive out - we made it in seven and a half hours.  Bam!  Dad had take-out ready for us when we got there, the boys were reading their fortunes...and then Mom informed me that we were going to make pies that evening and that I was in charge of rolling out the dough.  There are times when I'm in the mood to fight pie dough and there are times when I am not - this was definitely one of the times when I was not.  I was tired from the drive and mom had been fighting off a flu bug.  So I did the next best thing and sent Dad and Shawn to the grocery store to get ready made pie dough.  Meanwhile, mom and I got started on the pumpkin pie filling.  Mom's recipes are hand downs from grandma and many of them are written on a piece of scrap paper by my mom.  This equated to a pumpkin pie that was a tad short of pumpkin and a lemon pie that ended up with whole eggs in it instead of just the yolks.  So the pumpkin pie was moist, to say the least, and the lemon pie was a little more custardy than the recipe intended.

Colton, Zack, Tori, & Jeffrey

Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day.  This is when Mari decided to enter the picture (thank God) and help cook.  This is also when we discovered that I do not know how to roll up crescent rolls - this evidently takes more kitchen skill than I possess.  If you don't angle them just so, you don't get the little points on both of the sides of the roll.  It's weird and I only managed to roll two correctly out of two whole Pilsbury cans while mom did the rest. So I removed myself from the cooking area and made myself useful by sitting at the kitchen table, drinking a diet coke, and looking up information for the real cooks on dad's iPad.  Turns out, this is what saved the mac & cheese this year.

A little Black Friday ad shopping

Mom had gotten the ultimate crock pot - four individual crocks in one set.  This was a great idea until she had me pouring the milk into the mac and cheese.  Somewhere in the history of my reading about cooking in crockpots (not actually doing any cooking) I remembered that I had read that milk curdles in crockpots and that you should use canned or evaporated milk.  Of course, mom wants to know why I didn't share this tidbit before we poured the milk in.  I thought she knew what she was doing!  So we took the entire crock out and baked the mac & cheese in the oven (yes, you can put the crock in the oven - looked it up on the iPad).  Turned out great!  Spent the rest of the afternoon going through the Black Friday ads and shopping online.  Important to note:  I love to go through the Black Friday ads - I do not, however, actually shop on Black Friday.

Manny's on the Boulevard

On Friday, after Mari and Jason recovered from their Black Friday shopping extravaganzas, we went to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in town - Manny's on the Boulevard.  Bottomless baskets of tortilla chips and salsa - Yum! - at least until Colton got a piece of chip stuck in his throat and starting crying because it hurt.  I will say that one of the things I miss most about Kansas City is the Mexican food.  When I first moved to Indiana, there was not a Mexican restaurant to be had - there's a few around here now but it's just not the same.  Post Manny's and and the choking child, we sat down to watch the new Conan (I wouldn't exactly call this the highlight of the visit).  Mom offered for me to take my baby book home with me.  I sat down to go through it and show all of the special memories to Shawn - when I saw that mom had second-child-syndrome with me and my book isn't even halfway filled out.  Can't complain though - you should see poor Colton's book (hey, it's been busy!).

The trip back to Indiana took nine hours.  You might be asking yourself how we managed to add an hour and a half to our trip?  It started with rain in Missouri.  Rain anywhere may slow traffic down a bit but rain in the Show-Me-State on I-70 equates to risky driving.  Which is the root cause of problem #2 - a car accident.  When you have a bunch of people driving bumper-to-bumper, in the rain, on I-70, in Missouri - you don't just have a car involved, you have multiple cars involved.  Which means the highway shuts down for an hour (at least).  When we finally got passed the accident, we hit the next available exit (Wellsville) to use the restroom - as did everyone else on the planet.  After fifteen minutes of waiting in line to go to the bathroom, I think you've found that lost hour an a half.

But, we made it in one piece and made a lot of memories so we'll be ready to head back home at Christmas for Round 2!  And if you're wondering why Colton seems to be favored in all of the pictures, it's because all of the older kids were too busy playing with electronic devices during the times I thought to grab a camera - or maybe it's my guilt because I know how week his baby book is!

Tomorrow, we're off to cut down our Christmas tree.  Watch out Griswolds - the Randles are back in town!

1 comment:

  1. Lilah does not even have a baby book yet! She will be 2 in February. I will have to add that to my SAHM to do list! Great tip about milk in the crockpot..I had NO idea! Glad you had a memorable trip to KC!