the perfect turkey, the sad Christmas

Calvin put it wisely when he said, "i always keep my expectations low, that way i'm always satisfied". 

Christmas eve before going to sleep I lovingly looked at the tree, all peaceful and quiet and ready for the children. Then when they woke up, they tore into the room and the first thing they notice is Santa "forgot" to move the pickle ornament and put a dollar bill in it. 

Great. Failed again. Way to go Santa, you stink.

Luckily they were distracted by their presents and for the first time in our family we tried to stay home and relax but our kids wanted MORE presents from MORE family. Because you know, opening presents Christmas eve from Great Grandma and Christmas morning isn't enough. Insert self loathing and the irrational fear that I have ruined my children and turned them into materialistic monsters for the rest of their lives. Oh, and did I mention my parents are in Guatemala? Yeah, that wasn't so fun either.

Of course I was cranky the rest of the day which makes Ty cranky for the rest of the day and voila! Welcome to holidays as a parent!

But...BUT! I found the best turkey recipe and I can't wait to use it for Thanksgiving. I will never roast a turkey on Christmas day again, holy work batman. But I've made this recipe twice and I can't believe how flavorful and moist the turkey turns out for such a simple recipe. 

Have a happy new year and make this turkey:

The Perfect Roast Turkey Recipe
Prep time:  20 mins
Cook time:  3 hours 30 mins
Total time:  3 hours 50 mins

Serves: 16
1 15lb turkey
1 stick of butter
onion powder
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 onions chopped
3 carrots chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
1 cup of water
Preheat the oven to 500 F.
Remove the gizzard and giblets from inside the turkey's cavity.
Thoroughly clean, rinse and dry the outside and cavity of the turkey.
Lather the turkey with at least ½ stick of butter and try to get under the skin of the turkey as well.
Generously sprinkle salt, pepper and onion powder over the lathered butter.
Rub the seasoning evenly over the outside of the turkey.
Place the rest of the butter inside the cavity of the turkey.
Add 1 chopped onion and 3 cloves of garlic minced.
Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan and add the other chopped onion, 3 chopped carrots and 3 stalks of celery chopped.
Roast turkey at 500 F for about 20 minutes or until the turkey begins to brown.
Reduce heat to 350 F and continue to roast.
Baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the drippings and liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan.
The turkey is done once a thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the bird reads 155 to 165 F.
It should take about 3 hours and 30 minutes for the bird to cook, but make sure to use a thermometer.
Remove the turkey from the oven and let set for 20 minutes before carving.


a clear Christmas

this Christmas season has been as interesting journey. i've let go of a lot of traditions and responsibilities I felt i needed to do and instead focused on the few memories we want to create with the kids. speaking of that, i've got a gingerbread house to whip up. ack.

but what if your not having a pleasant holiday season? what if the Christmas time is a time of regrets, sadness, painful memories and family strife? death? divorce? sickness? what if the financial burden is crippling and the stress to keep the "kids" happy suffocates you? are you destined to be miserable every Christmas season? i can't tell you how many Christmas nights I have sobbed because of the guilt and regrets that I wasn't a good mom/family member/wife at Christmas. I didn't do enough, give enough, plan enough etc. etc. etc.  Do I have to feel this every year? We all know the famous song quotes:
the wonderful memories are there, but so are the pain filled ones. and it feels as though they grow stronger with each passing year and the older the children and i grow. what if you don't want to remember those all through your life? what if you want to stop pretending and really feel JOY, just like every windowpane and wrapping paper has written on it?

this is my thought today, that because of Christmas, the coming of the Savior of the world, I can start anew, you can start anew.

I can let go of the pain and regret, the stress and the burdens and embrace the Peace that my Heavenly Father freely gave me. i am not my past or my memories, and because of Jesus Christ I can start over and try again any day, week, year or Christmas time to feel His love and love others and myself more.

so for you, dear reader, that struggles at this time of year but plasters a smile on as you go through the motion, know that there is Peace and happiness and a way to make wonderful things happen in your heart this year, that you will remember all throughout your lives. know that you are not alone, and that there is a wonderful Gift for you today, just as the happy days of past.


Christmas guilt

Christmas guilt, I have it, and it seems to be getting worse every year. I can slowly feel it taking over my holiday spirit as each day clicks by.

Confession: I know that the stress and anxiety of TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH and not being prepared or having a plan for the holidays adds to this guilt condition. I used to follow flylady's holiday survival guide and it was amazing. Why I don't do it anymore is beyond me. I'm a big fan of being stressed I guess.

The stress and anxiety keeps me from making a list, being prepared and going shopping. I HATE shopping, someday I'll figure out how to make Ty do all the shopping like Stephanie does. haha.

When I focus on my favorite Christmas memories and their happiness I am content. I can focus on most of these traditions and pass them down onto my children. When I look on social media and see what/when other people do to decorate etc feelings of inadequacy wash over me and practically paralyze me. No joke. I slowly pulled out decorations yesterday and really analyzed them, are they in my house because I love them and they have meaning to me? Or because I feel like I "need" to have them out? Honestly, some are going to the thrift store. Less is more! My new motto.

A few of my Christmas favorites:

Christmas traditions I enjoyed growing up:
Picking the Christmas tree, this was a HUGE deal for me. It had to have the perfect shape and fullness in my mind to feel Christmasy enough. Do we have decorations long enough to cover that bare spot? no? then find another!

Decorating the house: I loved this part. Don't think I didn't go full blown with the tinsel icicles every year. My poor mom.

Gingerbread houses: my mom would make the real deal, real gingerbread, real icing (no super glue) houses for our teachers every year and Bishop. I have been piggybacking on her baking the last few years and sluffed but now she's gone in Guatemala! on their mission. time to strap on my big girl pants i guess.

Christmas music: I am a daughter of my father, I only love the NAT KING COLE, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Singers Unlimited, Bing Crosby and a few others. That is real Christmas in my ears.

Christmas carols: I have always loved them, the words, the music, the peaceful feeling. I'm a terrible singer, but I still love to belt them out whenever I have the chance.

Granny's sugar cookies: fluffy, thick, and with the best frosting, i have memories the most of decorating them with my brothers and sister and then having sugar toots the rest of the day/week/month. Remember that car trip mel?

Traveling to see cousins: this was the highlight from as long as i could remember. dad would always get a speeding ticket on our way (even on Christmas day once!) the shopping, movie watching, eating eating eating aunt lynne's marzipan and other wonderful memories i treasure in my heart.

*since writing this post i've found some great advice from friends (becca!) and online and my mother in law shared this quote with me that is just a perfect dose of Christmas wisdom:

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