Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Whistle a Happy Tune*

When I saw the topic for this week, a line from this song immediately came to mind, so here it is for your listening enjoyment!

I think of all things, music is one of my biggest comforts. Driving home from Thanksgiving with my husband's family, we were listening to Weezer's first album (my husband's sister found a bunch of his old tapes in his room while she was cleaning recently, and oh it's been fun listening to them!) and my memories shot me right back to my high school bedroom and all the hours I spent there just listening to music. And then there was college insomnia, the only sure-fire cure was to sing myself to sleep. I don't even know how many times the hymns have helped me pull through some stressful situations. And when my babies were, well, babies, I learned that calming the baby is only half of the reason to sing lullabies - the music was calming to me, as well.

Oh, I have other things on my list: big fuzzy socks, my favorite pajamas, a cat in my lap, lots and lots of pillows, definitely hot cocoa - and they each have their time and place. But music is the anytime, anywhere, never fails, tried and true when I need some comfort.

How about you?

*Like Grover!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sweatpants and Slippers

Tonight I was too comfortable to get up.  I was in a serious comfort zone and there was no way I was going to get up and write a post about this subject without fulling enjoying it's possibilities.  I had on Mark's jammie pants, a giant hoodie that could fit two of me in it, a bowl of warm popcorn on my lap, a cozy quilt, a warm husband by my side and the best cushy-can't-get-out-of-it-couch ever.  It only took me a few minutes of enjoying this before I had fallen blissfully asleep. 

That doesn't happen to me much.  I take it back...the falling asleep part on the comfy couch -yes, but normally I am passed out in my work out clothes (shoes included) with a pile of wrinkly laundry by my side that is half way folded and the TV blaring something obnoxious.    Not exactly what I was describing before. 

Definitions of Comfort

A state of being relaxed and feeling no pain - Yup...that was me!

A feeling of freedom from worry or disappointment - Finally had about an hour of this.

Consolation: the act of consoling; giving relief in affliction - Does it count if Mark was doing this just by sitting by me instead of off doing business in another state?

Ease: a freedom from financial difficulty that promotes a comfortable state - It's cold outside but our home is warm and safe. I feel blessed to be where I am.
 Satisfaction or physical well-being provided by a person or thing - That couch and popcorn was sure helping out a lot.
Give moral or emotional strength to - Somebody did that for me today by easing a burden.  Thank you!

Quilt: bedding made of two layers of cloth filled with stuffing and stitched together - I mentioned the quilt. Who else loves that this is in the definition? 

Lessen pain or discomfort; alleviate; "ease the pain in your legs"- Well I wasn't on my feet which seem to hurt always and I wasn't having to use my hands which hurt too these days.

So you see...I was experiencing it all minus a good comfy pair of slippers. I should have put on my favorite slippers.

We had a big week here.  Lots of food, guests, places to be, shopping, church programs to write, laundry, painting and a house to take care of.  I think it all stopped tonight around 7 pm and I took advantage of that...sorry for the late entry.  Our week was fun and crazy and enjoyable but not super comfortable.  I seem to ache for comfort some days and tonight I was happy to have lived like this.

What's your go to comfort?  Do you have days when you reach for your husbands clothes, hoping for a break from a waistband or a shirt that hugs you too close?  Is it a food?  A person?  Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!  Who doesn't want new ways to find comfort.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Grateful for the Chaos

There is a small sign hanging in my little corner of the world that reads, "Creativity comes from Chaos." However, during this Thanksgiving holiday I have learned that creativity is not the only
product of chaos...no, there are many great things to be gained in the realm of chaos. And I am grateful for a family who has taught me this.

As you can see from the photo, our family knows a little something about chaos. When we all get together, it either begins with chaos and ends with chaos, or the chaos is packed in the middle like a double-stuffed Oreo. Mmmm, and who doesn't love that? But even amid the sometimes tense and stressful moments, we somehow manage to come out smiling.

I wish I could post photos of all the smiles we've had with family this week--some as the result of a super yummy turkey!--but due to current computer limitations, those will have to be saved for another blogging moment. However, I have learned that amid the chaos that often accompanies family gatherings and activities, love can increase, patience can shine, respect can build, and weaknesses can be made strong.

This week, I am grateful for all that I have been given to help me learn these things.

Apron Winner...

I'm so excited to send this beauty off to...
who's winning comment was:

"Honestly? One of the things I love about this blog is that it doesn't overwhelm me. I read other blogs and wonder how in the world these women keep it all together. But this one is real. And I feel good when I read it."

Thanks, Amanda, and to everyone who commented. I loved reading your thoughts and suggestions. It is so nice to hear from each of you and know that we have so many friends comming to our blog each day. I had one request to post the apron pattern here...which I think would probably be a copyright infringement, but you can find the pattern online at a couple different places... just search for Emmiline Apron. And if you do decide to make one of your own, enjoy it! It was a great pattern to sew and it feels great on. I've received tons of compliments too. I just have two suggestions: first, add a pocket (I thought about it, but didn't do it and still kind of wish that I had...); and second,buy enough fabric to make one for a friend!
Amanda--email me at lovelypraiseworthy@gmail.com and I will get you your apron in time for all the Christmas cooking and crafting you will want it for!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

One Simple Question

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a neat video of random people all asked the same question; What are you thankful for?

I am thankful for my family, my children, my husband, my friends who are practically family, since we have no blood relations here on this side of Washington. Those are some of the most important things I am thankful for this thanksgiving. The are almost the easy answers that I hope almost every one can give. Some of the others are... my home, my awesome neighbors, the snow, apple cider packets, warm blankets, that my moms surgery went well, that my brother has practically stopped drinking, that my husband has a stable job, etc... I seriously could go on and on. (I have had this post up and keep coming back to it and making it longer and then editing for length.) There are so many things to be thankful for.

So, what are YOU thankful for?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winner Winner!

And the winner of the notebook is....

Kristy @ Next to Heaven!

Kristy, email me at lovelypraiseworthy@gmail.com and let me know your color preference and your mailing address, and I'll get it right off to you!

Thanks to all of you for your nice comments. I appreciate you opening up to someone you (most of you, anyway) don't know, and when you said what kinds of things you've learned about yourself, I found myself either relating to it or thinking "Oh, that's a good one...I hope I get there too!" There's so much we can learn from each other.

So, here's to many more lessons to be learned and hoping you have a pretty place to record your dreams.

For you Holiday travelers

Or even if you're not traveling, whenever and wherever you see any of our military, be sure to thank them. Think of how you feel when someone tells you "Thank you." Small gesture, right? Maybe so, but its meaning is far-reaching.
My mom made me a wallhanging quilt that is right inside our front door that says "Give without remembering. Remember what you've been given." I know I've been given more than I can comprehend sometimes, but I also know I can be grateful for each moment as it comes.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saying Grace

Just a simple reminder. And here's where you can find the template.

Here are the two best prayers that I know:
"Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

- Anne Lamott in Traveling Mercies

Around the time of my high school graduation, I was doing a little soul-searching, trying to figure out what I wanted to become, where I wanted my life to go from there. With the whole world open and my entire life ahead of me, there was only one thing I was certain of: I wanted to cultivate a life of grace. I still do.

Every once in a while, I like to think of just the word: grace. It's such a little word, but it means so many big things. Here are some of my favorites:

elegance and beauty
seemliness and propriety
a disposition to kindness and compassion
the state of one who is under divine influence

Is it any surprise that the words grace and gratitude come from the same Latin word (gratus: thankful, pleasing)? Think of how the two are connected: grace as the result of gratitude. When we are grateful, we see more beauty; we become more attuned to doing what is right and proper; we have a greater disposition to kindness and compassion; our lives are divinely influenced. All in return for a simple, daily "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thank You is an Expression of Gratitude

To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.
President Thomas S. Monson

Today I plan to make one of these for my own daily thoughts and thank yous...  

and this gratitude tree for the thoughts of our guests...

as a centerpiece for our Thanksgiving Day feast.

I have so much to be thankful for.  I don't need to bore you with my list but I do believe that, for me, this has been a year to notice.  I think that I have actually been a little bit overwhelmed by all of the blessings we have received as a family.  We are grateful and now aware of our responsibilities.  What an exciting way to grow.

Today I am grateful for the snow and for it's blessing of making us slow down and be together.  I am so lucky to have a warm home with electricity to warm up our toes after being in that snow.  I am thankful for amazing friends who answer my prayers almost daily and for a husband who will stand by me even if he dislikes the task. 

There are so many things to be thankful for.  After today I'll have another place to record it and to remember it when I'm most unaware.  I have kept a gratitude journal in the past and loved waking up each day knowing that there were blessings right in front of me and that I am being taken care of. You notice heaven's hand in things when you want to look for it.  That's gotta  help even the most difficult of days?

What are some of your traditions you participate in at Thanksgiving that help you remember how blessed you are?


Monday, November 22, 2010

And the winner is...

herbsRgreat  who said...

I love to read your blog. It is one way to keep in touch with what goes on in your lives. I am inspired by what inspires each of you. It is also fun to get new ideas to try. I am looking forward to more free time after the first of the year so that I can accomplish some of the fun projects I have been waiting to work on. Keep up the good work.

 Send us an email at lovelypraiseworthy@gmail.com with your name and address and I'll get you these fun scraps right away.

You were all so sweet to comment and share your thoughts.  I wish I could send you all something.  Hearing those encouraging words makes this all the more worth it. 

It's late and I should have posted today...instead I'm going to go to bed.  I am beat from playing in the snow, scrubbing floors and painting my son's room. 

Our theme this week is "thank you" so come  back.  I'll be sure to get mine up first thing in the morning. 

I love you all!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Five Women, One Topic, 365-ish Days

Five women, one topic each week, all wrapped up in the phrase "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." That was the middle-of-the-night idea behind Praiseworthy. And I was immediately sold on it. What would each of us come up with; how would our posts be different; how would they be similar? Was I up to the challenge?

Over the past year, sometimes the answer to that last one has been "yes" and sometimes it's been "uhm ..." It's been a hard year. A life-changing year. And sometimes I've been so tired. But writing here every week - even when I'm late! - helps. It helps to have something to think about; it helps to feel surrounded by my best friends even though we don't live around the corner from each other anymore; and it helps to know that we're doing just what we set out to do - putting a little more lovely in the world, maybe inspiring somebody along the way.

Last year around this time, I was dreading the holidays. I was overwhelmed by impossible expectations of myself. I felt like I had to do everything all at once - I'm sure you know the feeling - and I knew it was ridiculous, but I didn't understand why I couldn't just be as talented as so-and-so, or as tidy and organized as what's-her-name, or as playful and patient with my kids as that-other-mom, or ... whatever ... the list went on and on. And then I realized that I was being unfair. To myself, yes. But also to those other women I was comparing myself to. I mean, really, why did I feel like I had to be the star of the show anyway? When we all have strengths and are willing to share, we're all blessed. And that's one thing I've learned here. Five women, five different women; one topic. Think of how boring it would be if we all came up with the same post - it wouldn't matter how fabulous it was, it would still be boring. Writing for and reading Praiseworthy, I've learned to honor others' talents rather than just want them all for myself.

This year, my house is still cluttered and untidy, my brain is still scattered and my lists are endless, my dishes are still not done, my laundry is still sitting there folded (at least it's folded!) on the sofa, but my heart is in the right place. And that, to me, is definitely a blessing worth seeking after.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Praiseworthy Needs

Whenever I have something to do where I'm not quite sure how to do it, or even where to start, I usually think of my mom or one of my girlfriends and ask myself "What would she do?"

Women need other women. It's really just that simple. We need good examples. We need good friends. We need someone who will listen, understand, and care.

That is what Praiseworthy has become to me. At first it was a want--I wanted to do the fun, cool, enviable blog that had thousands of followers and got hundreds of comments on each post. I wanted to join in the popular social network of talented bloggers who seemed to be able to do everything. I wanted to show my creativity and talents, to show that I could be a part of that world too.

Now, thinking about what has developed on Praiseworthy during the past year, I realize that what I wanted and what I really needed were not the same. And thankfully, with the help of my friends, I got what I needed and not what I wanted. Praiseworthy is exactly what I needed.

I needed a commitment to write. I needed people to listen. I needed encouragement to push myself further. I needed people to share my talents with. I needed a place to connect with other women. A place where I had some control, but where responsibility did not rest solely on me. A place where I was uplifted, where I could expand my perspective and appreciate realistic expectations.

Before writing today, I sat and read through some of our old posts. I couldn't believe how recent some of the oldest posts felt. And then there were some I had forgotten about--and was so glad to be reminded. Reading my own words, I began to realize that maybe I should listen to myself more often. And reading what each of my friends has shared made me so grateful to be doing this with them. They are what I need the most.

One thing I have not done yet, in a year of blogging, is a give-away...until now! Last week I posted about an apron I wanted to make myself--that is the one at the beginning of this post. I also promised an apron to share with one of our lucky readers...and it was so fun making it! I love sewing more and more with each new project, and this was no exception. I love picking out the fabrics, I love the process of seeing the pieces come together, I love learning new skills, I love the time thinking about the person I am making it for, I love the satisfaction of a job well done when I'm holding...and in this case wearing!...the finished product. And here it is... :)

Yes, it is just one apron with two fabulous sides. Do you like it? Do you love it? Do you need it? I promise it is a worthy need. :)

Leave a comment and let me know what you like about Praiseworthy and you will be entered into the drawing to win this apron. Leave another comment with something you would like us to write about or an idea for us to improve during our second year, and you'll be entered twice! Leave a third comment...and say something nice...and you can be entered a THIRD time! :) I've never done this before, am I getting carried away? Leave comments until next Thursday...Thanksgiving Day!...and I will announce the winner next Friday.

Love from me to you,

Holiday Planning....it's here!

Each month I write for Steady Mom, on something related to the topic of organization (yes, really, I write about organization!) and yesterday's post is most fitting for anyone planning for the holidays. Thanks to the friends and family who contributed ideas and advise for this one...I hope everyone enjoys it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010



A year ago when I was asked to write on this blog,the first thing that came to my mind was "huh? You have seen how I write, so you have got to know that it is bad." Then I said yes before I could think myself out of it. It was the cool thing to do. I was not going to let down some of my best friends because of my selfish fear.

It is a good thing to be afraid of something and then to do it. I have grown a ton. My writing, I am not so sure about, but with in me I feel I have grown. There are still things I want to do that I have posted about but I am still afraid to try, like the quilt squares I have sitting around waiting for me to piece together. Yeah, that is from almost a year ago. But hey, sometimes you really just have to go with the flow and give in sometimes. As long as you know only good will come from it even if it scares you senseless.

Now I am not saying go and stick you hand in a bowl full of snakes while eating a live spider. That is just gross, creepy and not going to get you anywhere, but we all have rational fears that are holding us back. We all are continually growing and learning. Sometimes we just need that peer pressure and extra push to do something we would normally not do. Sometimes we need that peer pressure to inspire us to become better and to grow. So that quilt I am scared to finish, I promise, I will finish it by Christmas. I will then take a picture of it and put it up here.

Now this is where I invite you for your input here. What are you afraid of? What is holding you back? Is there something you want to do but are scared to do it? A project you have started but never finished? Leave me a comment, or send us an e-mail with pictures. I will post your ideas here, if you want of coarse. Then you can have some positive peer pressure to go for it! Then you can know that you are not alone. We can all work on our fears together and grow. That has been this last year for me. Thanks Cortney, for inspiring me and helping me grow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Notebook Therapy

I can hardly believe we're celebrating one year on this little ol' blog of ours. Not only am I celebrating for us girls, but my own wedding anniversary is coming up this Monday. Eight years ago right now I was getting ready to make the biggest change in my life to that point. I was 29 years old when I got married, old enough to have completed college, traveled all over, and established my career. I knew I was making the right choice to marry my best friend, knowing my life would change dramatically but not knowing just how much.

That first year was a wake-up call in so many ways. Here I was a mature, independent and capable woman who, as it turned out, was very immature when it came to dependence on someone else, and lacking in communication skills. We grew up together and grew closer together *quickly* that first year, through funny experiences and some tears too.

Why share this with all of you? I've always been a devoted journal-writer, until a couple of years ago. I fell out of the habit of writing regularly, justifying my complacency with our family blog being a "journal" of sorts, and later this blog being a kind of journal. But I know I need somewhere to write for me and only me.

This is one I revisit regularly, bursting with stapled-in newspaper articles, funeral programs, thoughtful notes, movie stubs, to-do lists, and other stuff.

While I seem to look forward most of the time to plan and prepare for what's next or what needs to get done, or where we need to be, I forget to look back and see where I came from...me, just me. This past summer when we hiked here and, as fatigue started setting in, I focused so much on the steep, rocky path ahead that I almost forgot to take time to stop and look how far we'd come.

The older I get, it seems I become more desperate, for lack of a better word, to not forget who I was pre-college, pre-marriage, pre-kids, or whatever. How am I to know where to go if I don't know where I've come from? I'm thankful that I know where I can look back, remember who I was and am, and figure it out.

So, in honor of our blogiversary, my wedding anniversary, and to thank YOU for coming back here and taking a peek into our lives, I'm making one of these to give away:

I'll even make it in your favorite colors, and maybe you can use it to record a little bit of you, for you, to you. Just leave a comment, and let me know a little something you learned about yourself this past year, or two, or eight! :-)

I'll choose a winner next Wednesday, November 24th.

Monday, November 15, 2010

One Year

One year of something new can change your world.  That's all it takes to change a person completely... I'm sure of it.   That's all it takes to develop a love for something and want to share it.  One year is all it took to make my tiny doable pile of scraps turn into this heap of loveliness!

I love this basket!  This is my look-at-it-and-remember-everything-I-actually-finished-this-year basket.  There is something really great about creating something.  We spend most of our days doing tasks that will never be complete...never be finished.  I will always and forever have laundry to do.  I will always get to pick up stuff off the floor.  Dinner will always need to be made and family will always need to be taken care of.  Although these things are extremely important and fulfilling at times these things are never really finished.  A quilt, on the other hand, when completed, is finished, useful and will always be beautiful to look at..unlike my kitchen floor. Sometimes it just feels good to do something and know that it will become a finished work. 

Can you believe it has been a year since we started sharing our lives and ideas on this blog?  It feels like just a week or so ago we were all sitting around my dining room table at 2 in the morning thinking of fun topics to write about and where we wanted this blog to go.  We hoped it would uplift and inspire our readers.  We also hoped it would help us discover new things that are praiseworthy.  For a year now we have sought after those things and it has changed me! 

I am the most unbalanced person on earth.  I always will be.  I try to do it all and I literally feel like I have to.  I put way to much on my plate and I say yes to everything I'm asked to do plus I add on more only to find myself  tired and overwhelmed.  I catch myself grumbling and throwing a pity party the day of the task but the truth is I love everything I do and I should be grateful for all of these experiences.  I don't have to go to work and hate 8 hours of my day.  I take it all on because I know I'll grow and I know that there are hoped upon blessings waiting around the corner for my family. 

Busy schedules push out time for self and for serving others.   I can tell you that this blog has kept me centered on the things that are most important regardless of my workload.  I have made time for sewing, for cooking, for writing and for pondering.  I know myself better.  I know my limits now and I know how to use my time for things that matter.  I have made time for baby quilts on blessing days, time for added holidays traditions and memories, and experienced fun new ways to brighten my home and strengthen my testimony.  Today as I think back on our year, I am happy with what I've learned and so excited to keep seeking after these things that are praiseworthy. 

I wanted some tangible way to share this with you.  So... leave a comment with your name letting us know what keeps you coming back to our little world and one of you will get the scraps from my past - fabric pieces from the things I have made this blog year. Big and small pieces that I love and that I look at often, from our quilt along, tree ornament tutorial, stuffed chickens, skirts for weddings, aprons for newly married sisters, Sadie's baby clothing memory quilt, bibs, a work in progress for a special little girl of mine who needs a quilt for her big girl bed, and blessing quilts 1,2 and 3 soon to 4 and 5.  This way you can make something awesome and pass on the feelings I get when I create.

So leave a comment.  Don't be shy. You know you want to.  I'll pick the random winner next Monday (Nov. 22nd).  You'll also want to keep coming back every day this week.  There will be more!


Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Turkey Time for Me...and a little surprise for you!

This is going to be my first year cooking a turkey! WaHOOOOOOOO!
Until now, I have been completely content letting other people do the dirty work and bake me a turkey for Thanksgiving. To my mom, grandma, and mother-in-law: thanks for all the years of delicious, juicy, holiday birds. But not this year. Nope! I am totally geared up and ready to cook that bird myself!

Will it look like this beauty above? Hmmmm...most likely, no. But will it taste amazing? Yes! Will the meat fall off the bones and melt in my mouth. Yes again!  I am cooking for my in-laws and I am determined to make them the best turkey dinner they have ever had!

So...here is what I've been told: put one stick of butter and an apple inside the turkey and cook it for 12 hours at 250 degrees. Anyone done this before? My friend Trisha says it's the best way to do it. I'm tempted to try the Martha Stewart recipe, which is a brined turkey and requires cheese cloth, but I am also thinking that maybe I should keep it simple for my first attempt. And I am without a doubt going to make Jenni's stuffing recipe!

Amy suggestions from those experienced in the field of turkey roasting?

But, regardless of how the turkey turns out, I plan to look dang cute while I'm cookin' it... in my new Emmeline Apron. :)

Isn't that cute? I've been wanting to make myself an apron for a while, so I'll be sure to take a picture of mine when it's all finished. I might add some ruffles... and heck, maybe I'll make two aprons...

...and give one away next week for our  

Can you believe it? We've been doing Praiseworthy for a whole year now.

Be sure to join us next week for the fun occasion! Oh, and let us know how we're doing...we love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Growing up, I was always the pie maker in the house. I LOVED that job. I loved making the pie. We would always use a store bought crust.

There are a few Thanksgiving's I will never forget though, like the one when I was 12 or so. I got to help my dad make the whole dinner. My mom was flying home from visiting either my dying uncle or grandpa. It was a blast. Even though the turkey was cold, slippery, and gross I was still determined to make it my own. We had so much fun.

There was also the time a few years back when we were visiting my mom and dad. The grand kids, parents and grandparents were going to go see a movie, Madagascar 2, and I forced my mom to go. My son was only a few months old, and my mom was not in the best of health, so I told her I would take care of it. I got to do almost everything as well as delegate to my siblings. It was so fun because everyone pitched in and I had a great time with my older brother for an hour or so waiting for the family to come home. There is something about making a big dinner for people you love. OK, so I know this is similar to Rachel's post, but it is so fun to include everyone in making dinner. My nieces and nephews helped roll up the rolls into crescent shapes. Some were pretty deformed, but who cares. We had a blast.

So even if you are using the Libby's pumpkin pie recipe, as well as a store bought pie crust, who cares. It does not always have to be original and labor intensive. If you can cut a few steps here and there, it can be very worth it. So amidst the craziness of thanksgiving, share the responsibilities, go easy on yourself. It is way more fun that way! I am sure you can find something for the smallest to the largest person to do.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Warm Inside and Out

Have you been seeing this lately?

Or even this?

I hope you find a little time for yourself to relax here:

Or curl up in your favorite spot with one of these:

Enjoying your favorite one of these:

With a steaming mug of this:

Here's our family recipe for extra creamy hot cocoa mix:
1-32 oz. box instant cocoa mix (like Nestle or Hershey's)
11 cups dry powdered milk (approximately the amount in the box that makes 8 quarts of milk)
1 pound powdered sugar
1-11 oz. jar powedered coffee creamer (like Coffeemate or Creamora)
Mix together well in a large bowl. Store in cannister or jars. To make one serving, mix 1/3 cup mix with 8 ounces hot water.

Have a warm Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Move Over Turkey!

It's Thanksgiving time again, and turkey is on everyone's mind. Oh, for the love of stuffing, what's a vegetarian family to do?

Well, for the first year of our marriage, we tried to keep it somewhat traditional and had tofurky with all the usual trimmings on the side. How was it, you ask? Um ... I think it's enough to say that we didn't do it again the next year. We were still eating some fish very rarely then, so for the next few years we made a special occasion of it with some small pieces of salmon. And then ...

(Dal with homemade cheese (paneer) and peas; homemade naan, apple salad, and the potatoes-with-gravy that I'd choose over the mashed kind any day)

... and then! One fateful year my husband decided to try cooking Indian food. It was an instant success, and that's what we've done every year since then. It's so much fun to cook, and it fills the house with the yummiest smells, and the kids roll up their sleeves and pitch in too - which means no one person is stuck in the kitchen all by his or her lonesome - and I love this tradition so much that even if the world turns upside-down and we go back to eating meat, I think we'd still make Indian food on Thanksgiving.

(Making the Naan, Thanksgiving 2008)

And so. For your reference and inspiration, here are some of our favorite books to get ideas and recipes from:

Truly, if you're going to try cooking a different cuisine - besides Mexican or Italian - Indian is the most fun and the easiest, I think, by far. I dare you to give it a try!

And for dessert, as long as we're being non-traditional, we've also abandoned pumpkin pie for this:

Which is my bunt-pan take on this cake, which I blogged on just about a year ago, right here.