I just did a thankful list yesterday, but I'm feeling especially grateful over this holiday weekend because of a visit from my in-laws! Steve's parents and little brother arrived late Friday night and stayed until after lunch today. While they were here...
Steve, his dad and his brother kept busy working on house projects. Their main goal was designing and building trim around the stairs, which for the last three years have looked basically like this (with the addition of a temporary railing). The upstairs renovations at our house still have a long way to go--but Steve decided it would be best to finish the dining room/stairs first, since everyone who comes over sees that part (and since its a particular area of expertise for his dad). It's fun to see it take shape--hopefully we'll be able to paint and post some "after" pictures soon.
The guys also worked to repair some plumbing downstairs after our kitchen sink backed up...and filled our washing machine...and they discovered that, once again, previous homeowners had done some really "special" DIY work on pipes downstairs.
And, the Kannel men went and picked up a chest freezer for the basement! I typically have our regular freezer packed crazy-full, and we've long been wanting to get another freezer--all the more so as the arrival of baby #2 approaches. Our church will provide some meals at first, and our moms will be around in the early weeks to help cook for us, but it would be so nice if I could do some extra cooking and baking now, while I have the time and energy.
So, after they got the freezer downstairs and hooked up, I went to work in the kitchen. Thus far I have made and packed away:
~two gallon bags of pasta fagioli
~one gallon bag of chicken tortilla soup
~one gallon bag of taco soup
~two gallon bags of chicken noodle broccoli cheese soup
~four dozen super-healthy pumpkin mini-muffins for Elijah
~three loaves of zucchini bread
I am SO excited to be planning and working ahead like this! I completely overdid it on Saturday and paid for it with back and hip pain...but it was worth it. I am still planning to do a little extra cooking as we go--just making double of things I am making for supper anyway, and freezing half--but we tend to eat a lot of fresher, simpler meals in the summer, not the soups and casseroles that freeze well. The beauty of making all those soups was that I didn't even have to heat up my kitchen--all but one could be mixed up cold and then can be thrown in the crockpot all day when we want to eat it.
I'm feeling really motivated to keep at it now that I can see our freezer filling up. I have a list of several more meals and baked goods (which will make for quick & easy breakfasts/snacks) I hope to put up before October.
My sweet mother-in-law was my kitchen fairy, doing endless mountains of dishes as I made messes. She also got in on the food prep, chopping--are you ready for this?--TWENTY CUPS of rhubarb, which we also froze. Awesome. And when she wasn't helping me, she was entertaining Elijah, playing the piano and singing songs with him.
In between the productivity, we played Settlers of Catan, enjoyed Papa John's pizza, and took in a fireworks display. My in-laws even ran to the store and bought ice cream "for the grandkids" (mainly the one in my belly :) ! We were so glad to have a visit from them and spend some extra time together.
So as you can see...lots of blessings to thank the Lord for this weekend. Not the least of which is that my hubby had both yesterday *and* today off work--so we get to enjoy having him home with us. Since he's hard at work now continuing the stairway trim project, I better get back to my own work: the paper I'm supposed to be writing for my CCEF class. Lots of new blog post ideas in the works...stay tuned.