Happy Birthday John!

I have to say, this was a really fun dinner, even though I was rather late arriving because I had some turkey business to attend to.  I had however dropped my girls off before hand so they would be there for dinner.

Much to my shock, there was Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner, which I am almost thinking my brother-in-law chose just so I would have something to write about.  He ALWAYS chooses lasagna when given the opportunity.  There was also a salad with a homemade berry dressing, Italian sausage, asparagus and sesame bread.  For dessert he did choose as I expected, Banana Cream Pie (all the guys seem to be in love with this pie).

When I arrived everyone was pretty much done eating and there were; 2 babies, 1 toddler one 2.5 year -old (who apparently had fallen asleep in her food and was tucked away in bed), 1 tweenager and 14 adults (yay! a full house again!)

Recently our city flooded and declared a state of emergency, so there, of course, was a lot of talk about who experience what, and fortunately, none of us were majorly affected.  Just some minor water the in the basement, flooded garden sort of situations.  Many of us knew people however that had lost a lot of their possessions.

We talked a lot about future craft shows and looked through some of the very cool StickmanLeatherWorks that the neighbors brought over. My daughter announced she wanted to start decorating the Ukranian eggs again.

The little girls were all in a babbling mood and cheerful baby words and giggles were easy to hear.

We talked about the library’s summer reading program and getting all the kids signed up and excited.

And then…

The fans came out.  Just before dessert and just after a few glasses of wine.  Now, these fans are like the fancy lace fans you think of at social balls and what not.  The fans in question well lovely to look at came from the dollar store.  Initially purchased to entertain the little girls at horse shows and help keep them cool.

Now, however, we were in stitches learning proper fan “lingo” and etiquette.  Nothing like a tall guy waving around a pretty blue and gold lace fan you know.  While you might think this entertainment would quickly pass, it actually lasted like two hours… well past dessert and until my toddlers were ready to go home.

But before we could leave, we had to learn some new yoga stretches for my oldest daughter to help strengthen her legs for horse riding…. I think most of us pulled a muscle just watching her.

Happy Birthday Amanda!

So by now I am sure you are noticing we have had quite a few birthday celebrations.  It gives testament o the number of people that come to Tuesday Dinner.  In fact, November 8th is actually also one of my “sisters” birthday– Happy Birthday Liz!– but she is not home with us so Amanda (my biological sister) got to celebrate this birthday solo.

We had a couple new faces, my cousin, and his son, so happy to see them! And another dear friend of mine popped into play with the babies.  In attendance, there were 11 adults, 3 tweens, 1 toddler and 2 babies.  The meal had a bit of a Greek theme to it, Gyros (made with lamb brats from our lamb) complete with Tzatziki sauce and fresh pitas, stuffed grape leaves, rice with tomatoes and green onions.  The kids had hamburgers, being slightly less adventurous.  For dessert, there was Tiramisu Cheesecake.

Hey! How are you!!!

She was so excited to see her cousin when we got here!

He was pretty excited too!

You’ll have to bring him over this summer, I am planning a kiddie farm camp, get some work out of these kids!  My friend has a little boy who wants to help me garden, so why not?

Just let me know, it’d be good for him.

You’d just have to watch him around the sheep… we wouldn’t want him having a “blueberry” mishap like his father…

…Don’t even go there!… Laughing all away around (My cousin may have mistaken sheep pellets for berries when we were growing up, it’s one of those things you can never live down)

Did you really just pipe whipped cream into her mouth?

So how many teeth does your little guy have now?

You can definitely feel at least four.

Ouch, she’s got two and is working on more… and bites!

Oh yeah, he does too.

(meanwhile said babies are destroying a basket of toys happily together, the older kids and toddler are causing mischief elsewhere)

Kids, come get your plates.  Yes, you are going to eat the rice too.

Hello,

Hey! you brought me jars!  AND gift bags and paper! You are awesome!

The rest of you better sit down. Take a seat or you won’t eat!

Well Hi there! (My friend that isn’t usually with us walks in) We weren’t expecting you!

Oh, I just came in to play with my babies.

There is an extra burger if you want one…

Now you’re speaking my language.

Prayers, please!

Bless this house, Lord we pray, keep us safe by night and day.  Amen!

Thank you!  I wanted to make sure she did it this week, she totally skipped out last week.

No, I heard her.

I think you were imagining things.

Well, Tuesday Table, said she didn’t so it was written in stone last week.

What no bread!?!

The pitas are bread, have two.

Wait! We are missing a bunch of stuff! (Mom runs back into the kitchen, and brings back the stuffed grape leaves, lettuce, and tzatziki sauce).

Here this one doesn’t have cucumber (a tiny bowl) and this is regular good stuff.

So the Tzatziki sauce is made with the real yogurt.

Have you tried the milk yet?

No, not yet.

You should, this is skimmed milk and it is going to be more like whole milk from the store than skim.

So have you noticed a difference with the milk?

Yes, I was having a real issue with heavy dairy product, like sour cream and whipping cream, see even the little bit I had the other day made my hands break all out.  However, the heavy cream from my cow doesn’t do that to me.  I also have a friend that was having dairy issues and doesn’t have the problem with the farm milk.

Why do you think that is?  What’s the difference?

I think some of it is how I treat it, it’s not high pressured anything.  I just gently pasteurize it, and the other is that my cow is an A2 type.  Which basically means she doesn’t have a gene for a protein in the milk that a lot of people have an intolerance to.

(Here is a link to some very basic information in case you are curious)

(BAHBBBAAAAA BAHBHA BHA BHA)

So what made the grape leaves sweet?

Golden raisins.

Hmm, interesting.

So, how does one eat a hamburger with only a bottom bun? ( Toddler was ripping pieces of the top bun off and feeding it to my friend, feel free to insert a toddler/shark chomping sound here)

He is very chatty tonight! I think that is the most I have ever heard him talk!

He sure is, I did promise him a taste of tzatziki sauce too.

I tried to get her to have lasagna for her birthday, but she just wouldn’t do it.

Consider it Greek lasagna.

Don’t forget to write down your birthday’s everyone!  There are getting to be too many for me to just know!

Who’s birthday is in March? I’m sorry, you are just going to have to choose another time.  I am not sharing.

There is some talking about CSA (community supported agriculture)

That is what I would like to do ultimately.  It would really help us get going.  I have stacks of facts and figures and plans.  While I was pregnant I was totally gonna do it!  Then the baby came and I said, well maybe in a couple of years…

So what does a CSA do?

Well it reduces the risk for the farm a little, because the customers are basically share holders and they get a share of whatever they are purchasing like a crop share or a share of an animal.

Right, but if the farmer is bad and isn’t producing obviously people wont want to “buy stock” in that farm.  It also helps provide starter money.  That is our biggest challenge right now.  To provide beef, we have to buy a calf two years in advance out of pocket.

Some more chatter along this line goes on, and can I just tell you, the babies in the back ground are just going wild tonight!  Such volume!

I don’t know that I could do organic.  One its expensive and two, I just could not give antibiotics to a sick animal to save its life.  Even if it is meant for food.  So many of those farms don’t.

Well the one I go to does!

Oh! That’s awesome!

Yeah, and so those animals obviously aren’t organic any more, so they go to a different part of the farm, but really they are obligated to treat the sick animals.

That’s good, that makes me feel a lot better about organic animals, I never really understood how they could not treat dying animals, just to keep a title.

No, they are supposed to, in fact in my next magazine I am planning to write more about it.

I look forward to reading it!

Hey you found “The birthday candle”

Sure did! So lets all sing..

Wait! Where is she at, she was going to sing happy birthday special for her aunt.

She already told me she had a special song for me.

Ok everyone “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Amanda, Happy birthday to you!”

Ok, it’s all you!

“Sto Lat! Sto lat!

Niech zyje, zyje nam.

Sto lat! Sto lat!

Niech zyje, zyje nam.”

WHOA!  What language was that?

Polish.

Where did you learn to sing happy birthday in Polish?

My teacher.

It was really cool at their Halloween party, which was also their teachers birthday, one of the other room moms had told them it was time to sing happy birthday to their teacher, and they just all busted out singing with Polish Happy Birthday.

Well, I am going to have to take off, my kids are waiting for me.

Thanks for visiting!  See you soon!

So what kind of cheese cake is this?

Tiramisu

caffeinated cheesecake huh?

You have to at least try one bite.

If anyone feeds this to the small child, she will be spending the night with you. You have been warned.

Can she have ice cream?

That’s fine. (Just imagine a two-year old eating ice cream with her hands)

You eat ice cream the way I want to eat icecream.

Uhoh looks like a brain freeze!

What desserts don’t you like?

I really can’t think of any, I used to say chocolate cake but you proved me wrong there.

(People are moving around, some have gone home, the kids are goofing off and getting in trouble in turns.)

So, I have to say Mom, I am pretty impressed with my body and it took having her help me with the chores to realize it.  Its  pretty amazing that eight months ago I couldn’t even walk and now I am able to carry hay bales with one arm.

You couldn’t walk?

Oh, you probably don’t know the story.

I almost died having this baby.

What!

Yeah (laughing) I am really lucky to be alive.

Well, its good you can laugh about it now….

I know right? I’m just happy to be here really.

(I tell the whole story it, but it is long and graphic and it will emerge in a different article I am working on that just isn’t quite where I want it to be yet.)

Nite nite mama, nite nite.

I guess its time for me to get going, the little one is already down and she is ready to go too.

Lets go get your jammies on.

See you all next week!

Happy Birthday Chris!

I usually arrive early with my girls on Tuesdays, after picking my oldest up from school we head home to do chores or go to riding lessons or something of that nature that usually end about an hour before the dinner crew arrives.  Tonight was typical in that manner, we were already settled into a groove, changing diapers and chit-chatting about different things.  Tonight I brought a box of baby clothes for the mama’s to be to pick through.

So what kind of outfit is this one supposed to be?

I’m not really sure, I think it’s just a cute little summery crop top.  Did you see that there are some pieces that go with the last batch I brought?

Here, let’s put this top with that, there we are making our own cute outfits!

Neither of us can really use this ‘little sister’ onsie (giggles) since we are only having our first.

Well, I don’t know, leave it here or as a rag, I don’t want it!

Hi!  And hello to you handsome baby!

He’s getting so big!

..standing with Dad next to the stove…

Man, there’s a lot of babies here tonight.  In a few months, there might be more babies than adults.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or if I should be scared.

Hmm.  I am  not sure either, but I know I am not contributing any more!  It is going to be busy for sure.

Hey guys!  Here, try a piece of the bread.

Is it Challah?

Yes is it good?

Yeah!

I was supposed to help make it for you, but that didn’t work out.

You were going to help?

Yeah….

Dinners Ready!

No, he needs a real chair, your little you can sit on one of the folding chairs.

Fine…

Mom, you can sit on the other side.  Then you can just stay there.

Yeah, the girls and I will be on the clean up side tonight.

Really?  Are you sure? OOOOK.

(General murmuring and conversation as people settle into slightly different places than normal, but all very cheery)

Is that Spanakopita?!

Close Spinach Ricotta Pie.  It also has pepperoni and mushrooms in it.  It’s is kind of like pizza.

Can  you say prayers please?

Bless this house oh Lord we pray.  Keep us safe by night and day. Amen

Amen.

So was the birthday dinner chef’s choice tonight?

Yeah, the idea was Italian, but not spaghetti or lasagna.

So, how do we go about this?

The pieces with the toothpicks DO NOT have pepperoni

Oh good!  I hate pepperoni.

Really? Like even on pizza.

I have never liked it, even when I was little.  I am really not even polite about picking it off pizza.

Well, the Caesar won’t care.

The pie is a savory pie crust filled with cooked spinach, ricotta cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms and a little ham.  You put the red sauce (marinara) over it.

Then this is chicken parmesan like we had it growing up.  Pieces of chicken pounded thin and coated in parmesan cheese and seasoned bread crumbs, pan fried until it is crispy.  Then you just put a little sauce on the top and sprinkle with a little extra cheese.

Mom, made the sauce tonight?

No, your dad did.

Really? But it’s not sweet…

That’s because your mother says I make it too sweet..

For this kind of dinner, you don’t want it sweet….

Well, that’s not what Nana would say (insert cheesy grin here)

Here you want more noodles?

What kind of noodles are these?

Rotelle, I think that’s how you say it.

The babies sure like them.

Are you guys taking any classes?

I am taking the labor and delivery class, baby 101, the boob class and infant CPR

… Well I signed up for the labor and delivery (hem-hawing about the other stuff)

That’s great the offer infant CPR, I am pretty sure mine were just all lumped into one, you definitely want the hospital tour, though.

WAAAHHH!HOOOO!!AAA!!

GAHHOOO!!!!!!

Well, they are enjoying dinner!

Do you want some more noodles and chicken?  Becareful its hot!

BABABABABABABABA!!!!!!!

All right girls, this side cleans up!

Mom “Wow, this is so weird.  But I’ll have to get up to do dessert.”

I can handle getting dessert served you are fine.

Ok, but you have to find the candles.

(Opening a cabinet and rummaging around)

No they are on your right

(I totally look left, to where there are zero cabinets)

No! Your other right.

RIGHT RIGHT! Keep going RIGHT.  Not the corner.

(I am now rummaging around for about three minutes)

Anywhere else they could be?

They should be in a ziploc kind of bag.

Uhhuh, where else?

Hey!  Turn the lights back on!  We haven’t found the candles yet silly girl!

Well, I’ve been looking for like five minutes

I can just have a virtual candle…

I can pull one up on my phone.

See, virtual candle just fine.

I officially give up, they are not in there.

Well, we at least have to sing.

(Kid shuts the lights off again)

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you (Dad lights a match as a ‘candle’)  Happy birthday dear Chris, Happy Birthday to you!

(Now in the middle of this I am also trying to move the candle and cake across the table and of course the match blows out resulting in much laughter)

image

I guess I don’t get a birthday wish.  “No, wish for you!”

Wait! You can’t eat that yet!

Why? It looks amazing.

It hasn’t been turtled yet. Hey, go grab the carmel sauce from over there.

Now it is Turtle Cheesecake.

 

(I can’t even begin to explain the silence that falls here.  It is the absence of sound that can only come from being in a near food coma from a delicious meal and then being presented with the most decadent of desserts)

See, no one ever is this quite for dinner.  Everyone only comes for dessert.

I told you Dad, its because there is so much more dinner.

Oh, mom’s are always the mean one’s.  You’ll just have to get used to being the bad guy.

We’ll  you’ve met Michael.  He comes from a family of mean Italian women.

Italian women? Mean? Never heard of such a thing (Dad being very sarcastic)

I swear, I am so lucky I married a favorite and she likes me!

Of course, we always joke that because of our families we both have to behave so it works out.

Dinner was amazing, but it is time for me to be heading home.

Me too.  John will be  hungry.

Oh by the way, I wanted to let you know we are totally interested in the beef.  And I just have to tell you that I have had four pot roasts turn out!

This is a big deal for me! It is one of my husbands favorite meals and one I have never been able to make turn out for him.  And since your beef I’ve made four!

That’s awesome!  I should have some ready in March.  I will let you know!

(Some shuffling around while things are getting re-organzied)

So my company is expanding across the country to California.

You have a compnay?

Yeah, it started on the East Coast and when it came to Michigan I jumped on it.  Now it is expanind across the country.

Wow, I did not know that.

You aren’t moving to California right?

No, we like our neighbors too much, have to wait until they move.

We’ve actually talked about that.  What would we do if our neighbors moved?

Talk to the realator, here is the deal, we need two houses right next to eachother.

Well, by the time we move we would need that kind of care anyway.

Napa Valley?  International?

Hey, how do I get in on this international thing, wont you need someone to do the herd management for where ever you are sourcing your food from?

Of course…

Then I could be like on the Perdue chicken commercial?  “Never mind this chicken behind me that has been bred to have a crazy huge breast, it tastes delicious and we feed it things like sage.”

(Laughter)

Do we need another bottle of wine?

I really like this one.

Yeah, it wasn’t so good at 10:30 this morning.  Now it’s great.

If we open another bottle, I will be in trouble.

You don’t want Mom to have anymore.

Hi Aunt Royleen!! (she came in late)

How is that cheesecake?

It’s delicious, I start with dessert first because I can.

So the peer pressure is working, my grandson should be coming in the next couple weeks.

They go to school together and are only a year a part.

So you know, cousins have to watch out for each other.

Hey, did you tell Chris how you did at your horse show this weekend?  Got to show of those belts he made?

Oh yeah? Sell a lot of them for me did you?

They went over really well, they worked out perfect…

Yeah… I took a fourth, a first and a third.

Wow, good job!

Ok, we’ll I am losing the little’s quickly here.  I think its time for us to go.

(We leave plus a sippy cup and a giant tupperwear of animal crackers, that she wont let anyone touch or help her carry out the door.)