Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Thanksgiving of Firsts

As I reflected on this Thanksgiving, I realized it was one filled with firsts.  A couple not-so-great firsts, but I'm going to look past those and sum up the great firsts we celebrated.


This was the first year that we celebrated Thanksgiving with a 6-day weekend, compliments of snow and ice that kept the schools closed two extra days.  The kids spent hours sledding and then coming back in to warm up, then sledding some more, then coming back in to warm up...a cycle that produced both enormous amounts of fun and enormous amounts of laundry!  Ridiculously enough, I did not get one picture of the snow this go-around! 


This is the first year that I made Bobby Flay's Pumpkin Bread pudding...and it certainly won't be the last.  It was so delicious...all the flavors just blend so masterfully.  You know I could go on and on about this one.  I love you, Bobby Flay.

Food Preparation:

This is the first time, in making the above mentioned, over-the-top fabulous dessert, that I cooked something using a whole vanilla bean.  I've watched it lots of times, but never have I tried it until recently.  Really, when someone has done all that work for you and somehow turned all that into that easy-to-use bottle containing the vanilla extract, why would one go to all the trouble of slicing and scraping and simmering???  BECAUSE IT ABSOLUTELY MAKES THE MOST DIVINE VANILLA TASTE I HAVE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE OF EATING!!!  Oh, the sweetness!  You know the difference between real, homemade vanilla ice cream and the giant party-sized tub of "vanilla flavored" ice cream?  Same difference.  Huge.  I loved it.  Again, I love you, Bobby Flay.


Thanks to the genius planning of Emily, this was the first time that I tried to make an Oreo cookie go from my forehead to my mouth using nothing but facial expressions.  I said I tried.  It wasn't successful, but it was fun.  She also organized a host of other "Minute To Win It" games for us.  I'm proud to report the following:

*3 out of 5 Carlsons were able to stack 3 golf balls on top of each other in less than one minute.

*my husband, with his swimmer lungs, is a champ at blowing up a balloon and using the air from the balloon to knock plastic cups off a counter in less than one minute.

*I learned that, when trying to get pasta tubes onto a thin spaghetti noodles, it would have been better to get on my knees rather than squat.  A one-minute squat was good for the quads, but bad strategy for the game.

*Brenna has an amazing ability to swing her hips, even though she has no hips, in an effort to bounce ping-pong balls out of an empty tissue box tied around her waist.  Not as amazing as Emily, but she gave it a great try!

Once again, I'm a proud mommy.

Frightening Faces:

Every year, every. sweet. year., we go through the agony joy of trying to get a satisfactory family picture.  I've lowered my expectation of "nice" family picture, or even an "ah, that's great" family picture, to just satisfactory.  Really, who likes pictures of themselves?  I mean, once you are over the age of 18-ish, who really likes to look at pictures of yourself?  So that's one problem with a good picture.  The other, that I thought would lessen as the kids grew but hasn't, is trying to get FIVE people looking good in one shot.  But we try.  We are persistent.

Usually we bait the kids this way:  let's just get a couple good pictures to choose from - please! - and then you can do one silly picture.  I say we are baiting the kidS, but really it is baiting one kid.  I won't reveal which one, but let's just say the oldest is a sport, and middle loves to have her picture taken. 

So at our traditional trip to The Christmas Forest after our big feast, we tried to get a good picture.  This is the best we got:

I'm getting shorter every year.

And then, here is the frightening result of "silly" faces:

Apparently, Brad thinks kissing is silly.  Alex thinks putting Brenna in a choke-hold is silly.  Brenna totally nailed "silly".  And Beth?  That is simply disturbing.  We showed her the picture and then sent her to the bathroom to find a new silly face.

And, lastly:

Mushy Movies:
This year Brenna has discovered the joy of cheesy, mushy, Hallmark Christmas movies!  She watched one with me last night, and we both got all teary-eyed!  I've apparently passed down my love of all things cheesy and emotional.  And that makes me very happy.


  1. Oh Beth... That silly face makes me laugh harder then anything! I am so glad you guys came over! Thanks for all of the fun!

  2. ok, I'm coming to Brenda's house for Thanksgiving next year...from what I can see the food, the entertainment, you can't beat it! Looks like lots of fun, and the picture, I think it looks GREAT!

  3. who is this family? I work for the game show "Minute to Win it" and want to talk to them! please have Leanne email me at