• family magnified

    We’ve spent the last few days visiting family in Pennsylvania and New York. Sunday, the day we were at my aunt and uncle’s log cabin house (along with about several dozen other people), was the day I indulged my camera compulsions.

    There was a brunch of everything brunchy. My stats: one wholegrain waffle with butter and maple syrup, half of a ham and cheese omelet, a piece of date bread, and several cups of coffee. Later, there were crisp, red apples, deer bologna, toasted ham and cheese croissants, raisin-filled cookies and chocolate crinkles, leftover cottage cheese cheesecake with strawberry sauce, and more coffee. (I’m not going to tell you my stats.)

    Something new happened this year: The Great Box Divide. My cousin Zoe, an expert seamstress, had a bunch of high quality leftovers from a bazaar: bags of all sizes and colors, hot pads, aprons, napkins, and extra goodies like paper star ornaments, fabric necklaces, and dried oranges. We could take what we want, she said, and did we ever. I may have gotten a little giddy.

    Other sundry activities included card games, baby holding, conversations, and paper flower making. Ordinary things, really. But when shared with family (both the ones well-known and the ones rarely seen) they became exotic: a rich, glorious, chaotic mess of energy, emotions, exhaustion, and excitement, family magnified.

  • a mistake-based education

    I’ve decided that life is just a series of mistakes. Hopefully we learn from them.

    Some people might find this discouraging, but I think it’s liberating. People aren’t trying to be bad intentionally, they’re just learning.

    This is a helpful perspective to have when it comes to parenting. I make mistakes, yes, but my children? They make them all the time. This baffles and frustrates me, but I’m learning to take it in stride. For example, when the pretty lanterns get re-filled with smelly kerosene instead of the scentless stuff, it’s just a learning opportunity: I learn to bite my tongue (after letting it have free rein for a minute or three) and the child learns there is a difference between lamp fuels and to never fill them without permission. Or when a child empties the garbage and presses down on the bag and slices open the back of the hand with a piece of broken glass, proper-handling-of-garbage skills are acquired (and not to be forgotten any time soon).

    Those are private, at-home examples. It’s not quite as easy to maintain perspective when the mistakes are made in public. When I get news that a child of mine is messing with a teacher’s Sunday school room or breaking someone’s stuff or not paying attention or getting downright sassy, my freak-out alert goes off. My kids are a mess! Erp! Erp! Erp! The sky is falling! The world is ending! I’m sure everyone’s shaking their heads over my miscreant, hyperactive, odd-ball little brats. And far and away, the most enthusiastic head-shaker is me.

    But then, after ricocheting around in La-La Panic Land for a bit, it dawns on me, “Wait. Kids are kids. Of course they’re going to screw up. Get over it already.” And then I do damage control, stage an intervention, whatever, and that’s it.

    I’ve recently had several conversations with friends regarding their kids’ behaviors, the ones that are setting off the parental Erp-Erp Alerts. One child was hitting other children. Another was fiercely resisting any sort of chores. Others kept getting down from the dinner table despite the parents’ best attempts at civilized meals. What to do? What to do?

    Where I sit, in all my 42-accumulated-years of parenting (just add up the ages of your kids if you want to feel super wise and super old), their problems seem healthy. This does not mean their panic and concern is any less daunting—no, not at all—but I do know it is perfectly normal, and that, glory be, it, too, shall pass.

    As my children get older, I’m losing the freedom to share about their temper tantrums or anxieties. Those stories belong to my children and that’s as it should be. But it’s also weird because my husband and I are still up to our eyeballs in the stresses of parenting. The difference is that now we can’t scream Help! I’m drowning in poppy diapers! to the general public. Instead, our problems, though every bit as shitty, have to be handled with caution. Shouting them into the void is about as helpful as lobbing them at a whirring fan.

    So, when I’m up to my eyeballs in progeny screw-ups, here’s what I do. I dredge up all the pulling-out-my-hair moments of parenting: the constant taking my children out of church services, the exhausting hours spent playing bedtime whack-a-mole, the battles over tasting new foods, the trashed bedrooms, the nerve-racking doctor visits, the miserable car trips with screaming babies. And then I think, Look now! The children (mostly) sit through church services, putting them to bed at night is 90 percent a piece of cake, they are gaining tolerance for flavor differences, bedrooms are manageably clean, doctor visits don’t require weeks of prep and hours of debriefing, and car rides….well, car rides still need work. I ponder all this family history real hard, and then I tell myself that whatever it is we are dealing with—an extra-mouthy kid, a lack of respect of personal items, a propensity for doing headstands on sofas—all this, too, shall pass. Glory be.

    If all this mistaking-making truly is a valuable learning experience, shouldn’t I be counting it as such? As a homeschooler, I keep a log of the children’s learning experiences: plays we see, choirs they sing in, trips we take, etc. I’m beginning to think it’d only be logical to start including things like backing the van into the dog kennel and writing an apology letter for sassing the music teacher. Because that kind of education is every bit as valuable as learning the multiples of four and that potassium nitrate is an explosive, right?

    And speaking of potassium nitrate, would you let your children make their own gun powder? ‘Cause I’m really interested in helping my children be top-of-the-line pupils…

    I should probably go memorize the Serenity Prayer now.

     P.S. The photography models are the aforementioned star pupils, though not necessarily actively engaged in their mistake-based education.

  • cheese ball

    I just wrote a post on a totally non-Christmas related topic but I can’t bring myself to post it because it feels like a breach of etiquette to talk about something other than evergreens and lights. But here’s the truth: when I came downstairs this morning and squatted by the Christmas tree to plug the lights in, the needles jabbed me rudely in the head and I thought, How many more days till we can take this thing down?

    This morning I yelled at the kids to do (or not do) something and I realized, Ooh, I haven’t yelled for thirty-six hours. This feels great! And then I yelled some more, just to get myself back in top yelling shape.

    This year, Christmas has felt noticeably bulky. I’ve been acutely aware of its awkward heft, like a bunch of hours strung together into a tightrope that I’m supposed to get across with three pounds of butter in one hand, a sack of gifts in the other, and a gallon of heavy whipping cream on my head.

    Please everyone.
    Be happy.
    Keep the house clean.
    Smile and appreciate.
    Pig out.
    Spread joy.
    Rhapsodize and revel.
    Embrace the ones you love.

    But sometimes the ones you love step on the rising dinner rolls.

    Metaphoric truth-telling facts aside, I did have a good Christmas. Top of the Oh My, Isn’t This Lovely! list was our copycat tablescape which my older daughter made at my request. We even cracked out the iron and pressed the linen tablecloth which used to belong to my husband’s grandfather (I think?), and I dismantled an old piano book for the sheet music place mats (if you’re going to copycat, you might as well go all out). Our Christmas Eve supper of cheeses, fruits, pickles, olives, meats, and eggnog was, according to my younger son, “The best meal in the whole world!” There was a spontaneous art-making session devoid of any sibling squabbles (bliss). And my parents came over for a mid-afternoon dinner and then whiled away the rest of the day eating, playing cards and doing science experiments with the kids, sleeping, washing dishes, and visiting. I knitted by the fire while leisurely visiting with my mother and it was enchanting. The children stuffed themselves on sugar and no one threw up.

    When I started this post, I was sipping wine and munching on leftover cheese ball and crackers. (And before that, I was sipping leftover eggnog and munching spiced nuts.) I even mentioned I was doing so in the very beginning of the post, but then I deleted it because that’s what I do when I write. I delete almost everything. Anyway, the cheese ball was part of our Christmas Eve supper.

    I already had a bunch of cheeses and meats ready to go—mozzarella and prosciutto roll, rosemary and olive oil asiago, soppresatta, smoked Gouda with bacon, nameless hard cheese that resembles Parmesan, cranberry and cinnamon goat cheese (and the kids went wild)—but I decided a cheese ball, though not necessary, would be appropriate. So I made the most basic recipe I could fine and it was delicious and so I’m telling you about it now.

    Cheese Ball
    From about.com. (I told you it was basic.)

    I used a white cheddar cheese because 1) I like the all-white ball effect, and 2) it’s what I had.

    8 ounces cream cheese
    8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
    2 teaspoons grated onion (more like onion mush)
    2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
    2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    ½ – 1 cup finely chopped pecans

    Cream together the cheeses. Beat in the onion, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Shape into a ball. (If the mixture is too soft, let it firm up in the fridge for an hour.) Put the nuts in a shallow bowl and roll the ball in the nuts until every inch of cheesy surface is covered. Cover with plastic and store in the fridge until ready to serve.


    There. Now I’ve addressed the Christmas happenings and can move on to non-seasonal postings. Stay tuned!

  • the quotidian (12.23.13)

    Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
    everyday; ordinary; commonplace

    Setting moon.

    Sun-kissed moons and stars.
    A house built of already-burned matchsticks. 
    Because not-already-burned matchsticks would be counterproductive.
    A stellar combo: boys and all-you-can-eat cheesy chips and salsa.

    They had high hopes. 
    (I did not meet their expectations.)
    He plays Yahtzee with them. I do not.
    My, aren’t we a bright-looking bunch? (Good grief.)
    Backstory: we had just finished reading a book about Handel’s life 
    and were listening to bits of the Messiah to drive home the connection.
    P.S. She’s fake picking. When I warned her the picture was going on the blog,
    she still kept it up. So… Honey, the joke’s on you.

  • fa-la-la-la-la

    I’ve checked with several sources and the verdict is unanimous: Christmas is a lot of work.

    When else do you choose to add “poking thread through popcorn” to your list of daily tasks? Isn’t the cooking, laundry, house pick-up, errands, and simply existing enough already? It’s crazy, guys. We’re up to our eyeballs in planning for family gatherings and then to top it all off we have to pick out a tree and decorate it, listen to music, be relaxed and festive, bake an insane amount of cookies, go to parties, and feel happy-appy-appy all the time. No wonder half the world’s breakdowns happen in December.

    What makes it all the more stressful is that these extra, celebratory activities must be done together, as a family. Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum, please.

    Under normal circumstances, my family does things well together for about 23.4 minutes. Even within that time frame there are the wobblings of breakdowns and and a few sharp reprimands to keep everyone in line. The fact is, the entire time we’re merry-making, we’re teetering on the brink of disaster. This is nerve-racking, at best, and at worst, it’s flat-out terrifying.

    Last week we had five nights in a row of family activities: plays, concerts, a star show, etc. Plus, there was company and tree-getting and tree-decorating and cookie-making and house-cleaning and food-and-stocking-shopping and hot-chocolate-and-donuts-at-bedtime and, and, and… By Sunday afternoon, I was shot. I couldn’t bear one more minute of let’s-be-jolly togetherness. So my husband took all four kids shopping for underwear and I snoozed on the sofa and went for a walk. It was great. Except then they came home (why does that always come as such a shock?) and we had our family movie in the late afternoon followed by another Christmas play, a play in which I had the honor of sitting beside The Child Who Never Ceases To Move and then three kids (of mine! who know better!) filched extra cookies from the refreshment platters and I pretty much lost it all over again. When Monday arrived in all its blank-calendar glory, it was such a relief.

    Getting the Christmas tree was fun. Everything was covered in fresh snow and we were the only ones up in the fields (at the start). There were snowball battles. And my older son ran up behind my oblivious husband and yanked his feet out from under him so that he first hung in the air, horizontal with the ground, before crashing face-first into the snow. He came up sputtering, but when he saw me and my son convulsing with mirth, staggering around the field and nearly falling down, he laughed, too. (Later we tried to have a serious talk with our son about why that trick’s not such a good idea because broken bones, but, hahaha, boy oh boy, heeheehee.)

    While we were trekking all over the place in search of evergreen perfection, it began to snow. I don’t think I’ve ever picked out a Christmas tree in the falling snow. It was magic, I tell you, pure magic. I had to slip my camera down in my shirt to keep it dry. It made me look mechanically (maniacally?) pregnant, but I didn’t care. It was snowing!

    The children delivered the tree to the worker men for shaking, wrapping, and loading, and we all headed over to the springhouse to warm up by the fire and drink hot chocolate and suck on candy canes.

    Now the tree is up and, as I type this, the kids are fighting over whose ornaments are whose. Why am I not surprised?

  • the quotidian (12.16.13)

    Quotidian: daily, usual or customary;
    everyday; ordinary; commonplace

    Waking up slow.

    Breakfast chess.

    A terrifying education: Harry Potter in Spanish.

    Jumping over the truck with a broom. 
    How do you get ready for work in the morning?

    Voldemort and Harry.

    A snowball tree.

    Gingerbread men and butter cookies: a Christmas necessity.

    Pre-breakfast sledding.

    Fly on a leash.

    “I wanted the room to look cracked.”

    Serenading weekend guests.

    Helping (ha!) their cousin master (ha!) the art of the bow tie.

    Coming to our house is always a black-tie affair.

    They teach each other!
    A-waiting the lucky children: the laundry train.
  • bits of goodness

    Hello! It’s me (imagine that!) just popping in with some wonderful bits of juicy goodness to share with you!

    1. Our family is finishing up a wonderful read-aloud: Because of Mr. Terupt. I first heard about it on NPR. They said something like, “The next book of the month is Mr. Terupt,” and I ran right to the phone, called the library, and put it on hold. This book has everyone—EVERYONE—enthralled. My seven-year-old, my 14-year-old, my husband. Which is quite a feat and I’m very proud of NPR for making such a smart selection. (And of myself for heeding their advice.)

    2. I am musically challenged. In other words, I don’t listen to music hardly ever (gasp), nor do I know much about it (gasp, gasp). But I do enjoy it. Enter Songza, a website dedicated to musically clueless people like me. The playlists are sorted by mood. Ha! Now moods I know! Say, for example, I’m gearing up to bake cookies mid-afternoon. Do I want a dance party? Loud and festive Christmas carols? Something to mellow me out? Whatever my situation, songza has it covered. (Thanks, Karen, for the heads-up.)

    3. Speaking of music, my parents sent me this link to a TED talk about classical music. I liked it so much that I had the older kids watch it, too. And then we had a conversation about the Holocaust.

    4. And speaking of TED and NPR, check out this lecture on…wait for it…grammar. I first heard bits of the talk on the radio while I was fixing lunch for the kids, and then when they were in rest time, I watched it on TED. It’s about the dark side of the subjunctive and the strength of the indicative and it totally rocked my world. The guy bubbles with amazing quotes, such as (yes, I took notes), “…spinning my wheels in the quagmire of the subjunctive.” Goose bumps!

    5. Best blog post of the week goes, hands-down, to Mama Congo with “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…depression.” I laughed and I cried and then I read it all over again (over my husband’s shoulder) and laughed even harder. I guess you could say it struck a chord? (Attention all expats: READ IT.)

    6. My older son is reading a book on the Birmingham children’s march, as well as Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I am reading them, too, in an effort to know what it is I’m having my kid study. I can read the children’s march book just fine, but Uncle Tom’s Cabin is almost too much for me to handle. After watching 12 Years  A Slave, I can hardly bear to read the horrors. Which makes me think that, for me, the movie bordered on the traumatic. This week I read an “On My Own Biography” book about Aunt Clara Brown to the children and I almost burst out sobbing. It’s like I have PTSD or something. What makes it even crazier is that I want everyone (over the age of 26, preferably) to go see it. Hey world! Watch this movie! It will traumatize you! (Aren’t I a good salesperson?)


    The plan for today is a good house scrubbing, a trip to the tree farm, company, and a Christmas concert. However, the snow is falling steadily (beautifully!), so we may switch to baking, books, movies, popcorn, and cider. (The cleaning will happen regardless.) Have a great weekend!

  • sunrise, sunset

    I’m a little worried about getting older. When I think about it, I feel sad.

    This is silly, I tell myself. Growing old is a privilege. It’s a gift. Why feel sad about it?

    In every previous stage of my life, I looked forward to the next one. When I was six, I wanted to be seven. When I was ten, I sat in church and realized that in the year 2000 I’d be twenty-five and probably (hopefully! eek!) married. When I was 20, I looked forward to adventure and babies. When I was 30, I looked forward to babies not being babies and making a garden and homeschooling and turning our new-old country house into a home.

    And now I am 38 and I have never been happier. I’m in the thick of family suppers and every-bed-is-full and piles of picture books and art projects, and stinky, dirty shoes of all sizes piled by the back door. We have each other. We have energy. We have ideas and opinions and dreams. We have work. We have friends and money and space to call our own. We have life. It’s all I ever dreamed of and then some.


    The children will leave. The dreams will dissolve into memories. Our health will fade. We will slow and eventually stop.

    This is silly, you say. Why whine and moan when everything is just fine? No need to make a mountain out of the molehill.

    But, I say, don’t you see? I’ve been improving—physically and mentally—all my life. But that improvement won’t continue on forever. My mind will trip. My body will hurt. I will die.

    I have always looked forward to the next stage of life. This time, I’m not so sure I want what’s next.

    I try to be logical.

    1. Every stage has been better than the one before. Trust the track record.

    2. Each life stage—childhood, teenager, young adult, new parent—has had its share of angst and turmoil. In each stage, something is lost and something is gained. Getting old is just another stage. Focus on what’s to be gained.

    3. And when all else fails: Girl, SUCK IT UP. You’ve got no choice but attitude. The train’s not stopping so you might as well enjoy the ride.

    And yet…


    P.S. A thought-provoking, brand new TED talk by Stephen Cave on the four stories we tell ourselves about death. (It is not death I am anxious about (at least not yet), but the decline that precedes it.)

  • constant vigilance!

    We have some new patterns around here. They are probably old hat to most of the rest of the world, but in our little kingdom, it’s a brand new invention. It’s called:

    1. Keeping our bedrooms tidy.
    2. Saturday cleaning.

    I’ve told you before about the minefield that is my children’s rooms. (Or was, rather. But hang on a sec.) My younger daughter, in particular, was notorious for trashing, dumping, tossing, and hurling all the contents of her shelves, dressers, closest, and bed with in two minutes of going to her room. It mattered not her mood. She walked in. The room fell apart. Period.

    The other kids’ rooms were better, but not by much.

    (Our room wasn’t that hot, either.)

    And then we went to Guatemala and got a maid. Because the maid did the cleaning and not the sorting and putting away, we all got in the habit of making beds and putting our stuff away on a daily basis. And then we came home and kept doing it.

    The kids don’t do this on their own, mind you. I make them. But hey! I MAKE THEM.

    We have a system. Every morning they:

    1. Get dressed.
    2. Brush teeth and hair.
    3. Make bed. (No hospital corners required.)
    4. Straighten room. (In other words, pick up and put away EVERYTHING.)
    (5. A few other things depending on the child.)
    6. Come to me.

    When they come to me to report they are finished, I do a quick check. Some days I run upstairs and peek between the sheets for toys and underwear, and other days I say Fine and call it good. And then I give them a star.

    Yes, a star. (A hand-drawn one, not a sticker. But still.) Fifteen stars and they got a free pass on the dishes. The next fifteen earns them five sticks of gum. I haven’t decided on the third set, just yet.

    Two key rules: if I have to prompt them to do their tasks, no star, and if they fight amongst each other, no star. I was drill sergeant strict the first few days (as evidenced by a streak of starless days), but now we’re in a drama-free pattern, more or less.

    Which all leads to Point Two: Saturday Cleaning.

    I’ve always been opposed to Saturday morning cleaning. It’s such a killjoy.

    Whoo-hoo!!! It’s Saturday! Pajamas! Pancakes! Play—

    Oh crap. Time to clean.

    But then I woke up one Saturday and realized that the whole house was pretty much picked up (or, rather, the things in the house were picked up) and it wouldn’t take us but an hour or so to go top to bottom with a dust cloth and vacuum.

    It took a couple Saturdays to get my husband up to speed with my plan (i.e. brainwashed) . The man is fundamentally opposed to dusting. Plus, he likes to do things his way and on his schedule, so, Sure, I’ll clean, and then he starts vacuuming the downstairs and I’m all like, WAIT. WE HAVEN’T EVEN DUSTED YET. AND BESIDES, EVERY DODO KNOWS YOU START UPSTAIRS AND WORK YOUR WAY DOWN.

    It wasn’t exactly the best way to start out.

    But then, whenever my husband was around, I started randomly asking people what’s the best way to clean a house, and everyone declared up and down and forwards and back that ANY DODO KNOWS YOU START UPSTAIRS AND WORK YOUR WAY DOWN.

    Three cheers for aggressive passive aggression!

    So now Saturday morning we run around the house, cleaning weapons in hand. The kids do their regular pick up and any other jobs that we bark at them, such as Sort the shoes! Empty the trashes! Dust the baseboards! Bring in wood! Wash that window! Shake that rug! And before you know it, we’re done!

    Our new patterns are so basic, so simple, that I have a hard time believing that it took me this long to catch on.

    Mom, stop rolling your eyes.

    But then I realized two somethings else:

    1. We came back to a very clean house. Drawers and closests and shelves were empty. Toys were in the attic. Walls were painted. There was no clutter. It was a perfect time to hit the reset button. And…

    2. My children aren’t little anymore. They still make a ton of Dirty, but they also chip in an awful lot. (Not voluntarily, mind you, but I’m choosing the half-full cup this time.) Perhaps leaving the country for most of a year helped us to better see, appreciate, and utilize the jump in their maturity? Perhaps I’m getting smarter?

    Now when my husband walks through the house picking up stuff, he chant-roars, “You know how to keep a house clean? CONSTANT VIGILANCE!”

    And that, my dears, is all I have to say about that.

  • stuffing

    So. We had our Thanksgiving feast at Mom and Dad’s house in West Virginia. I already told you about that. But then we came home and there was not a speck of turkey in sight and I realized that there are some perks to hosting the feast. Mainly, leftovers. Lots and lots of leftovers. We, the guests, didn’t have to do a stitch of cleaning (lucky us), but we were left with nary a bone to pick (unlucky us). Bah humbug.

    So I decided to right the wrong and roast a turkey just for anyhow. Here’s where things get complicated.

    Our local grocery store does a “turkey feather” deal where, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, you get a turkey feather for every X amount of money spent. Then you can cash in your feathers for a (small) turkey or, if you don’t like turkey (silly you), ten dollars off your regular purchase.

    An industrious friend of mine was collecting un-needed feathers from people at our church, buying lots of turkeys, and then donating them to our church’s food pantry. Come the last day of the deal, this friend had a couple extra feathers, as did I, so I said I would get a food pantry turkey along with my turkey. But because it was the last day to redeem the feathers, when I got to the store, there were no more turkeys! I got 20 bucks off my order (nothing to sneeze at) and left feeling slightly defeated.

    However, a couple days later I get a call from the church and, well, it ends up someone put a turkey in the church fridge instead of the freezer and the week’s pantry night was over and now there was a thawed turkey and no one was claiming it and would I please take it?

    Would I? Heck YES.

    So that’s how it came to be that last Friday found me roasting a turkey. (And, if a church person is reading this and wondering where their turkey went, well then, I’m sorry and Thank you.)

    Now. You might shoot daggers at me for saying this, but… I don’t really get why the turkey meal stresses everyone out so dang mightily. It’s a turkey. You put it in the oven and it roasts and then it’s done (because this plastic do-hickey pops up and tells you so) and you eat it.

    In all fairness, I expect people get their panties in a twist not because of the turkey but because of the sides. Because when people make the sides, they do fancy stuff like cream their veggies and put them in casseroles with toasted slivered almonds and expensive dried fruit. Each dish is A Production. Me, though, I go for simple and lots of it. I figure if you put enough regular stuff on the table—canned applesauce, corn, green beans, mashed taties, cranberry sauce, etc—it will feel fancy even though it’s not. Fools ‘em every time.

    So anyway. I had this turkey ready to go and then I realized that it was a pity to eat a Thanksgiving feast all by our lonesomes, so I called up the friend who got me the turkey in the first place and invited her and her husband and three kids out for supper and they said yes, yay!

    We had a lovely time, except I kinda shot myself in the foot. See, the whole point of the meal was so we’d have leftovers, but thing is, if you give a feast to friends they eat it. Amazing how that works.

    So the next day, I made more stuffing.

    And then a couple days later I made more mashed potatoes. And then two days ago a sweet potato pie and yesterday another batch of cranberry sauce.

    If I play it right, it’ll be the feast that never ends!

    About the stuffing. I am entranced by all the fancy stuffings out there. I read about the stuffings with nuts or cornbread or sausage or leeks or mushrooms and it all sounds so luxurious and wonderful, but when it comes time to actually making the stuffing, I turn to my mom’s recipe every single time. It’s just so good! My requirements are simple: a simple stuffing to compliment the turkey and to soak up as much gravy as possible. This one fits the bill. Ain’t no need to mess with it. The end.

    My mom’s recipe, more or less.

    I used white wonder bread (gasp). Use whatever odds and ends you have banging around the freezer or bread drawer. (I don’t bother to toast it, either.)

    1 pound bread, cubed
    5 tablespoons butter
    ½ cup chopped onion
    1 cup chopped celery (leaves included)
    ½ teaspoon dried parsley
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 egg, beaten
    1 1/3 cups milk (or maybe 1½ cups)

    Put the bread cubes in a bowl and set aside. Saute the onion and celery in the butter for ten minutes, or until tender. Add the veggies (along with every single drop of delicious butter) to the bowl of bread. Add the parsley, salt, and pepper. Combine the egg and milk and add to the bread. Toss until the bread is wet. Put the mixture in a 9×12 baking pan (greased or ungreased, your choice). Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the edges are brown. (Or use the mixture to stuff a turkey.) Serve warm, with a roasted bird, mashed potatoes, and lots of gravy.