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A new car, what to do with left-overs, working on the garden, a thank you...

Thanksgiving is over and a resounding success. Good food, good company, beautiful weather, and lots to be thankful for.

This was the smallest group we have had in years. Tony was able to come from Missouri, and Matthew came down from Edmond.  Benjamin had to work so he didn’t come. Douglas is saving his days off to come at Christmas, so they did not come, either.

But Maria, Travis, and Zander were here. My mom, and Gabe (a nephew) and Ross (basically, an adopted son) were here. 14 in all. We usually have 20-30 people. It was nice having a smaller group, although we missed having all of our loved ones together.

The children always want the largest group possible. They want their cousins, friends, brothers and sisters here for every occasion. It is true that they have more fun. The house is alive with laughter, games, friendship, and love.

Yes, there is more cooking to do, more dishes to wash, but there are more hands to do the work. It is really true the old saying that, “More hands make light work”.

I did several errands on Monday after work, including going to the Boy Scout office and finishing up the paper work for Felipe’s eagle. His Eagle has been such an exercise in tangled bureaucracy. He is our fifth son to make it to Life and our fourth son to do an Eagle project, but in the other states and districts where we lived, they were not particular or picky or policy oriented as this district is.

I think this district is more concerned with how perfect the paper work is instead of how successful the project is, how many people it helps, who it benefits, etc.

Monday, I took some pork, cut it into small bite-sized pieces and cooked it in a little water, salt, and pepper. I cooked it until the water was all cooked off and the meat browned. I also made Spanish rice. Yummy and easy dinner, and cooking the meat that way is healthier than frying it in oil and still browns the meat nicely.

Tuesday after work, I did the Thanksgiving shopping. Wednesday, I put up the Christmas tree, made Rice Krispy treats and Puppy Chow. I also made bacon and eggs for dinner.

Thursday morning, I woke up early and Fito and I went for a walk, after I put the turkey to cook in the roasting pan. I made a Spanish Turkey.

Then I MADE everyone go outside, and I told them that for the birthday (which is in December) and for Christmas that they had to help in the garden. I think I told you that we have been working to take out a large garden in front and also make one of the other front gardens smaller.

Both gardens were edged originally with cut telephone poles. The previous owners meant for them to last forever because they were in the ground more than 3 feet deep. We had to dig down around each pole, then work it loose, then use a bar to lift the bottom, and then tie chains or ropes around it and pull, pull, pull. They are now all out and piled in the burn pile.

When this drought is over and we can burn again, they will become ash. The previous owners had also taken bags of cement and laid them in rows as edging, and then they must have wet them down, and then removed the paper. Then they painted them red. Not the prettiest edging.

David and I dug them out almost two weeks ago, and then Fito and the boys loaded them into the trailer, took them to the back, and put them in a line in the vegetable garden where there is an erosion problem.

Thursday, Felipe and Fito, then Felipe and I loaded up cut limestone rock that we had brought from Kansas. Years ago, when Fito and I were much younger…we took apart a limestone building for the gas company in return for the rocks.

The rocks had been cut into a brick shape, then stacked and put up with mortar. Really pretty rocks. They make a great edging. The garden is probably a third smaller, as well, so less work.

(See where dirt is...was garden...then I think I will put river stone in front of largest stone).

(this is the other garden we took out. It was large and you couldn't even see it from the road...yea! less work!)

(Previously, I showed a pic of our new mailbox, but I hadn't put stucco on it yet, here it is done).

I would have been happy if we had finished half of the work, but with the extra help, we finished the whole garden, and I was ecstatic.

I then went inside, put the two hams in the oven, and proceeded to make a green bean casserole, a sweet potato treat, and Spanish corn with peas. Elizabeth had already cleaned the kitchen and she and Maria already had the mashed potatoes cooking.

I then took a shower and came back, finished the meal, waited for everyone to come, and then then great meal.

Everyone had to say something they were thankful for, and when it was Matthew’s turn he said, “Making out”. Ohhhkaay. Of course, we vetoed that comment.

The day after Thanksgiving, we used the left-over turkey and made Bolios. A sandwich made with a small French-loaf like bread. We pile on lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pickled beets, onion, radishes, sliced cooked potatoes, cilantro…anything.

Then another day, I cooked some egg noodles, drained them. Added the left-over turkey to the leftover gravy, heated it up, then added the two together…turkey and noodles…and it was incredibly good.

Then the following day, I baked some huge baking potatoes in the oven then added sour cream, butter, salt, and pepper, then cut up left-over ham, and then shredded cheddar cheese. Super yummy. I even packed one into a Tupperware container for Fito for his lunch.

I then took the two ham bones (that still have meat stuck to them, but it doesn’t want to come off), and put them last night in my large canner and added 6 pounds of small black beans, lots of water, garlic, onion, pepper, and 2 packets of Sazon Goya Cilantro and Tomato. I am still cooking the beans today. I will add a small can of diced tomatoes with green chilies and salt later when they are soft.

David invited some youth for Friday which is why I made so much. Also, when the beans are done, I will bring them to a boil, then crack eggs and drop about 7 or 8 eggs into them and let them cook.  Eggs and beans are an incredible combination. The Spanish then crunch of chips or tear up tortillas and add them to the soup. We also add cut pieces of avocado, shredded cheese, or other toppings…yum, yum, yum.

Saturday morning, we went to the Temple as a family. Afterward, we met Tony at a Mexican Restaurant. We very seldom eat out as a family. It was fun and they even had live Ranchero music. Tony then headed back to Missouri after he dropped the children off at home.

Fito and I were going to do some errands when we saw a car in a small car lot priced at $1400. We stopped to look at it and drive it. It pulled really hard to the right and had hail damage, but everything else seemed okay.

We took it to a mechanic and he said it looked good. It is a 04 Chrysler Concorde with 147,000 miles. We bought it for $1200 and then went immediately and put new tires on it. No pulling and drives great.

Our day was spent, but a great car for Felipe.

(It has leather seats and a sun roof, too.)

Now we just need to find a car for David (he turns 16 in March), and try to find better cars for Benjamin and Matthew….ahhh the joys of parenthood.

Rebeca, Elizabeth, and I went with Maria and Travis to their ultrasound today. They found out they were having a boy. But then they spotted a cyst on the brain of the baby. They have to go back in six weeks to do another ultrasound and to do blood work.

There is a possibility that it is Trisomy 18, an extra chromosome, which usually leads to death in males…not a good prognosis. But the doctor said that since the hands were not curled, and since the heart is in good condition, that it might not be Trisomy 18, and there is a chance the cyst will go away on its own.

We are fasting this Sunday for the baby, Maria, and Travis. 

Travis’s grandparents were in a wreck on Thanksgiving Day. They both are okay, but very sore and beat up. But what a blessing that they were not killed or injured even worse. Their Mercedes was totaled and it was a bad wreck.

It was cold today and I just started a fire in the fireplace. There is nothing quite as comforting as having a blazing fire, eating chocolates (which I am) and having all the Christmas decorations up (which I do). I am almost ready for Christmas.

I am till practicing for the Choir (we’re getting better…we had a full choir rehearsal last Sunday which went well, and we have a full rehearsal Saturday with the orchestra…getting exciting!)

for information on our concert. It will also be on TV...see details on website, and a smaller group of us are singing December 15 at Penn Square Mall at 6:00 pm.

I also need to buy gifts as I have only bought some of them. We always struggle to play Santa Clause, but it always somehow works out…it always does…and I am amazed year after year how it does.

There was one particular year when Fito was in school and only had a part-time job. We did not have a dime, but someone or several individuals…we do not know to this day who did it…but we found a large garbage bag on our porch and it was full of wrapped presents. There was something for each of our children.

I still tear up when I think of that person’s charitable act to our family. Thank you to each of you for each act of kindness that you perform daily. For your smiles, for your patience when I do something dumb while driving, for your kind words, for the sincere compliment, for noticing when I do something well, for helping the homeless, the sick, the elderly, the young, the busy, the frustrated, the lonely.

Thank you for service to humanity, for making the world a better place…one act at a time, one individual at a time. Thank you. I and many others appreciate all that you do.

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