O Christmas tree…

I am tired, and I really don’t want to mess with dogs eating ornaments while I’m at work. So, voila, an improvised Christmas tree.

Whew.

Thanksgiving was chaotic, but wonderful.

The prep went very smoothly. We never found a Tofurkey in stock, but made do with two Quorn roasts, which I am actually a big fan of. We made, I would say, a good half of the meal in advance, so the cooking was much less of a stress than it could have been.

The dogs were much more trouble.

As I was making the bed about an hour before guests were to arrive, one of them plowed into me while I was bent over (in a game of run back and forth between bed and couch). Like full force into my head, and almost knocked me out. Thanks for the headache!

We lost one pan of bread to the broiler, but after we took the smoke detector off the wall all was well again. (Don’t worry, we put it back.)

The table turned out beautifully. I almost forgot that I had a set of Martha Stewart plates with a brown leaf pattern, but I’m glad I found them because I only have service for 8 otherwise. Also, clearly I am a freak because when all the napkins from dinner got dirty I realized I had 10 more matching napkins for breakfast the next morning. Apparently I am a napkin hoarder.

Some photos from the table:

Mike’s homemade rolls.

The not-turkey.

This cornbread stuffing was AMAZING.

Charlotte was intrigued.

Reggie needed a hug.

Sadie passed out.

A good time was had by all.

Me and Andrew Zimmern, we’re like this

Lucky me, got a free pass to the media reception at the Celebrity Food and Wine Expo we’re having this weekend. And just as I was walking in the door, Andrew Zimmern came in.

I cannot express to you how starstruck I am by this guy — I love watching him eat all manner of rotten fermented tofu and testicles on his show, “Bizarre Foods.” Plus, he lives in Minnesota. And that’s, um, close to Iowa.

(I have to admit that my friend Sophia was also in this picture, but due to a spot on the camera it looked like a weird orb was floating above her head.)

We had a lovely 2-minute conversation and then I devoured a mini cheesecake and left. ‘Cause you know, if it looks good, EAT IT.

Also check out my interview with Guy Fieri, who has 3 or 4 shows on Food Network, but most people seem to recognize from TGI Friday’s commercials.

Happy news/sad news

Well, I’ll give you the good news first. I’ve just gotten two opportunities to sell my candles at local events. More information to come on those (in November and December), but I hope to have my logo done and big batches ready just in time for the holiday season. I will also let you know how you can buy them online. Soon. I promise. These things take time (so much more than you realize).

The sad news is that my great aunt Dorothy passed away at the age of 94. She was the sweetest lady, and I’ll never forget the vacations we spent at her house in the Ozarks, collecting snails in the woods and catching a glimpse at wildlife through the giant windows. Apparently when I was a little girl, I was enamored with these cats.

The peck we picked

At Center Grove Orchard near Cambridge, Iowa. McIntosh, Jonagold, Chieftan, Honeycrisp, Empire, golden and red delicious, and some wacky one we can’t pronounce.

Mike promises pie.

See ya!

I am off to a friend’s wedding in New York and then traveling all over New England next week. When I get back I should have lots to share with you, including a pattern for the gorgeous crocheted blanket I just finished (it’s one present I’d love to keep!) and a first look at my homemade candles. Hopefully there is an Etsy shop in my future?

Angelina Jolie: How does she do it?

This is pretty old, but I just came across it today. It’s from Rebecca Walker’s blog on the Root, and it’s five questions for Angelina Jolie about motherhood, including how does she always manage to carry her kids (kids are heavy!) and don’t your kids get jetlagged with all that world traveling? Given that she’s just had two more, I think she’s gonna need more arms. Or another Brad.

Run, dad, run

Today as I was rounding the corner onto my Beaverdale street to go home from work a man crossed the street with his baby in one of those jogging strollers with the giant wheels. Then he took off running. And I just thought, YES!