CASSEROLES AND FAREWELLS

Before December takes full hold of me, I had to set aside a few words for November.

November, my favorite month, swept in quietly from the hold of October and greeted me with the known & thrilling excitement of family, friends and delicious food. November, a month that was kind to us, was filled with much family time – visitors from West Virginia, gatherings in Guthrie with the Grays, the discovery of a new church home and dates with lovely friends.

I could not help to think of Lucia this time last year. Our trip to Houston, her prancing around Sasha’s mom’s house in point shoes eight times too big. Her words that were there, but more strangled beneath her tongue -slightly less abundant. Suddenly she has blossomed in my eyes. But maybe that is because my memories from this time last year are so prevalent and strong. November has a way of sticking to my bones. I can see her, with her bouncy curls – shorter at the time – requesting milk and sitting on Lance and Sasha’s couch, watching Sleeping Beauty. Sasha’s childhood bunny at her side. A more limited palate she had –  though cheese and jelly toast are still among her favorite snacks – just maybe she shared a few snap peas with me as we put our groceries away last week.

Thoughts of my grandparents and family – memories of my childhood and good times fill my heart during this time of year. I miss those that I cannot be near & hold the ones that I am with even closer. I dream up activities for my little family, try valiantly to create a holiday season for my daughter, just like the ones I always knew.

This year, though I could not have my Grandpa George’s green beans or my Grandma Airie’s chocolate pie, I made a casserole in their honor – my first ever – because I know they would have had something eighty times more delicious at their table, and I know that they would be proud of me for using that damn stalk of celery: waste not, want not. They must have been watching over me that Thanksgiving morning that I baked because my dish came out of the oven a huge hit – my dad says my Grandma Airie must have left a gift to me. I like that thought.

Happy December.

Ingredients:
1 bunch of celery, thinly sliced
1.5 cans creamy onion soup
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of butter
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a two quart casserole by greasing the bottom and set aside. Chop and prep all other goodies. In dish, layer celery, soup, almonds, cheese and bread crumbs. Repeat. Top with bread crumbs and some dollops of butter. Bake approximately 40 minutes.

WHAT LOVE IS: OKLAHOMA CHRISTMAS

There is a queer peculiarity about the atmosphere when a little family goes-a-Christmas-tree hunting with crunchy leaves under foot and not even the slightest chill in the air.

On such an early December day, we went to meet our tree match. My husband clad in shorts and my daughter, overly dressed in her “snow boots.” But I would not have had it any other way. We galloped down the lanes of trees, circled the great harvest with joy, and anticipated the hot cups of chocolate and candy canes we would later have, never minding the seventy degree weather. Lucia scurried in excitement, her daddy yelled from behind to watch for the holes where trees had already been claimed from the earth. From time to time she would give pause and investigate the trees with her mama – me, an overly curious gal, obsessed with the various pine specimens, comparing length of needles and widths between boughs.

Our afternoon was filled with a new tradition – the collection of our first real tree, picked out and fastened to the roof of our car. Our house later filled with the delicious smell of pine, hot cocoa and the sound of Christmas records scratching in the background as we trimmed our pretty. Cozy.

Through Lucia’s Lens

I can hardly keep my camera away from Lucia; she gets her hands on everyday it and goes to town. She captures a little bit of everything from an entirely different angle, which is always fun to see. Not only do I find it endearing, but I think I might have a little artist on my hands. Here is a viewing of her latest work: 
This weekend was packed: from Plaza Live on Friday; to a Saturday with a sweet baby shower, a bit of basketball, an old friend in town and  filling up on sushi;  to Sunday with a trip to Ponca City and back. I feel too tired for it to be Monday!  But it is going to be a good day… here is some Jack White to prove it:
Hotel Yorba by Jack White on Grooveshark
xoxo 

Stripes + Vinyl + BBQ + Vintage Beads: A Father’s Day Complete

On Father’s Day Mister Mateo woke to a big fat present of new fishing goodies; a little gift I dreamt up because one of his latest wishes is to take my little Chee on fishing dates at the pond near our house. In his bucket-o-goodies, I included a Barbie fishing pole and life jacket for Lucia, bug spray, sunscreen, a new tackle box for him and a first aid kit. Ha! A first aid kit you ask? Yes. Because my memories of fishing include getting stuck with hooks; I imagine my little L needing a band aid if such a travesty occurs at her expense. 
Later we went along for a ride, a ride in which I drove because, after all, it was Father’s Day. I hate driving, but again, it was Father’s Day. Guess where we ventured? Record Stores, oh my! GuestRoom on Western did not have both vinyls that the hubs desired, so we ventured down to Bricktown, (rhyme unintended). Two new records procured and a stroll through the bricked streets later, we headed back through Mid-town, up to Iron Starr where the fried okra might be the best I have ever had and the Choc Beer is deliciously cold. 
Such a lovely family day and such joy to celebrate my husband, her daddy. 
We love you, Mateo.