Countdown to Turkey Day: Reminiscing and Reflecting

I am defrosting two 18 pound turkeys in my sink. They were removed from the freezer Monday evening and placed in the fridge. This morning they were still very cold and hard to the touch. I'm not too worried though, I'm sure they will be ready for their respective turkey bags come morning. I usually just do a basic rub of butter, salt, pepper and sage. I've never used a brine, but I have always been tempted to give it a try. I was watching an episode of the Farmer's Wife and her brine piqued my interest. I believe it was water, vinegar, kosher salt, multi-colored peppercorns, rosemary twigs and orange slices. She placed the turkey in a large ziplock bag and added the brine, she then placed it in the fridge overnight. In the morning she removed the turkey from the brine and gave it a good rinse. She stated the bird may absorb too much salt so she soaks it in a large stock pot full of water (no heat) for about 30 minutes prior to drying it and seasoning it. I said, I'm tempted to try it. Maybe Christmas. Have you ever used a brine?
I tackled the grocery story this morning for my produce. I wanted everything to be as fresh as possible and my shopping excursion on Sunday just seemed way too early. I've made it a point to add everyone's requests for our meal tomorrow. My daughter Briana wants us to make roasted corn. I bought 24 fresh ears of corn and her Dad (my better half) will be firing up the pit for her special request. We are excited about having her home. She'll be flying in at 6pm and I can't wait to have my arms around her.

My husband has asked EVERYONE to bring him a pecan pie. He devours the stuff. Here is our pending menu:
Turkey (of course, I need to remember to save the wings for my mother in law. Heaven forbid I forget. Uhm, let's not go there.)
Candied Yams
Corn Dressing
Bread Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Corn
Mashed Potatoes
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Rolls and Croissants
Relish Tray
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Bud Light (my husband insists the pilgrims had Budweiser, lol) 
Dang it! I just remembered I forgot the cranberry juice! (calling mom in law as she is at Sam's!)

In the end, it is all about sharing with the family and making memories. I always tend to feel my paternal grandmother near me during these days. As I work my way through her various recipes and as I dust off her china cabinet I can't help but give a light smile. Although she passed 19 years ago I just know she is with me, you know?

May each of you have a wonderful day with family and friends. I am blessed to have made many new friends with my journey into online writing, HubPages and blogging. May you each be blessed with good times and good hearts. Cheers! MO

Wow, that awkward moment when you realize how old your childhood pictures are. This picture is over 40 yrs old (ouch, that hurt to type that). Dad looks like he's had a not so pleasant day and mom looks especially proud and refreshed for having cooked a Thanksgiving meal. Lord knows where my 4 older brothers are. 
Guess what? I'm sitting in the same kitchen,  at that very same table and right where my dad was sitting as I type this. It is those subtle realizations that make me sigh, smile and well, tear.  

By the way, my mom in law just called. She couldn't find the cranberry juice at Sam's and is on her way to Wal-Mart. She also told me she ordered two boxes of croissants from Sam's and that I need to pick them up at

Lunch with James Crowley: Author, Film Director, Location Manager

It isn't everyday one gets to have lunch with someone as interesting as James Crowley. This wasn't a fancy Hollywood setting either. Crowley came to speak with the students at my school. What a neat down to earth guy.
James Crowley is based out of Austin, Texas and is currently working on his third novel, the first of which is Starfish
I could sit and pick at this guy's brain for hours! What an interesting resume too. He has worked on numerous films as a film director, location manager and pretty much as a jack of all trades. He has rubbed elbows with the likes of Johnny Depp, Nicolette Sheridan and James Caan. His latest film work has been alongside Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, for the movie Bernie. Uh, YEAH! I'm impressed this guy is even sitting in our south Texas library! Forget the fact he has a paper plate of pasta in front of him. Oh, and we can't forget his work with the Narnia series. Totally cool!
The kids and teachers were fascinated as he went through slide after slide of behind the scene shots. I had a class so I missed a significant portion of his presentation, darn!
Anyway, I sat in during the lunch with our most avid reading students and soaked in what I could. I even video taped some of the lunch discussions. I need to get those edited and published off of my iPad though. Anyway, be sure to check out his IMDB filmography bio and his book Starfish. We are trying to set up a group dinner, I'll be sure to write about that if it takes place. 
By the way, I found the following comment to be totally inspiring and passionate. I'm paraphrasing, 
I might be working on the next Narnia film, but I really want to sit down and write my next novel. Sometimes you need to decide between your passion and your job. Still not sure what I'll do yet.
Can you imagine having the opportunity to make this decision?

MissOlive's Classroom: Journal Prompts

Prompt: How do you help someone that doesn't want to be helped?

A couple of my classes have just finished reading Full Tilt by, Neal Shusterman. Blake, the main character and protagonist, is constantly watching over and bailing out his brother Quinn. The prompt above will be presented after reviewing and discussing the following section of the novel.

Full Tilt: Page 88
"What's out there for me, huh?" Quinn's eyes flowed with tears, and those tears flowed with a dozen different emotions. "What's ever been out there for me? When I'm at home, it's like I''s like I'm empty on the inside. You don't know what that's like." They say that before someone takes their own life, there's always a cry for help. Sometimes it's loud, and you have to be seriously deaf not to hear it. Sometimes it's just a word or a look, like the look Quinn was giving me right now. I might have been deaf to it before, but that look screamed louder than anything now. I had no skill in talking someone in from the edge, and that space between us was still a whole universe wide. "Quinn..." 'It's not your job to save me, so give it up, huh? Please...just give it up."

Parents: This book is listed as a 6th grade book in the state of Texas. It does cover some tough issues. Parents, please don't underestimate the thought process and real life issues your teen may be reading and analyzing. Talk to them about what they are reading and how they feel. Connections to novels and real life are a great way to communicate with your kids. 

Jimmy Fallon: Music and Improvisation, "Your Body"

Jimmy Fallon has always made me laugh, and I have to admit he is pretty adorable too. I've always enjoyed his skits and I especially like it when he incorporates music. I was catching up on Jimmy's twitter feed a couple nights ago and was glad to see this link, otherwise I might have missed it.
Being a high school band geek I always enjoyed the antics and improvisations of my classmates. This spilled over to my college years as a dance, fun, fun...enjoy! Oh, and be sure not to miss the time frame in between 1:42 - 1:57