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The girls and I were outside raking leaves and we found a rose on another rose bush!

The two big November things were potty training and a trip to my grandparents’ for Thanksgiving.
We were not expecting to be potty training but she told us she wanted to wear underwear so we jumped at the chance since she has been so resistant previously.

Lessons learned:
– less messy but more exhausting than expected
– don’t give her a warning that it’s almost time… She will take that as a hint to pee now in her panties.
– she needs a lot of non-potty time attention
– teething baby sister also needs more attention
– papa is a miracle worker

This podcast and this blog post (not the series; we didn’t use this method) were so helpful in preparing me for it!

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Horrible photo, but I finally made the one recipe in Jerusalem we had skipped due to not being able to find turnips and beets out of season in Japan. My childhood favorite, pink pickled turnips!

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SNOW. Twice. In the first week of November. Ugh.

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Bubble wrap occupied her very well on our walk!

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Making almond roca for some early Christmas presents.
It took longer to cook than the recipe said, but was so easy and turned out beautifully!

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We still have some warmer, clear blue skies, but mostly grey days now.

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Thanksgiving preparations at my grandparents’. We had a restful almost-week down with my family and extended family.

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Enjoying the last of the crunchy leaves.

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It does occupy her well!

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Turkey bullion! I make stock and then boil it down and freeze it in cubes.

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Got the wassail ready to simmer and we hopped in the car to go pick a tree! I had never gone to a tree farm for a tree so we wanted to do that this year… and because the forecast is now rain forever, we decided not to wait for good weather.
This year for wassail I just dumped in some cider we had in the freezer, frozen cranberries, an orange, and some whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, and we simmered it during nap time.
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They didn’t have any u-cut ones that were small enough for our budget and home, but we found a beautiful, feathery one that was the perfect size and price. The branches are so soft, but that also means that they aren’t as sturdy so the heavier ornaments were a bit difficult to put up. And we didn’t want to buy more ornaments so the back is basically empty, but you don’t see it unless you’re in the back yard.
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This silver aspen leaf was a birthday gift I picked out last time we were in the Rockies (thank you, Mommy!), which was also the last time I saw my great Uncle and my cousin Kristen, both of whom passed away last year, so it’s become not only my prettiest ornament but also the most special. This year I thought of Kristen often as it’s my first Thanksgiving in the US where it has been really Fall in a long time, and the last few Fall-weather USA Thanksgivings were with Kristen. It made me sad, but also made me really long for seeing her again in Heaven where she will have a new body that will be able to partake in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb without pain.

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And this is our Japan ornament!

Hymns of the month// still reviewing Children of the Heavenly Father // Sleepy Eyes (a favorite lullaby)

favorite recipes// our favorite Paleo chocolate cake // cultured dairy (though the creme fraiche didn’t really work) // sourdough pie crust // sourdough pumpkin pancakes // braised French onion chicken // pasties // chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (used 1 c cream and 2 c milk instead of coconut milk) // chocolate sourdough cake (my favorite chocolate cake!) // no-knead sourdough bread // salsa verde // plantain gingerbread (left out any sweetener other than the plantains and molasses) // pork roast // combined this and this for a delicious Thai yellow curry soup! // almond roca //

best of online// smartphone dystopia // why church shootings don’t intimidate the church // why we can rejoice that marriage will end // momma, Jesus invites you to come and rest // tea blending // a mother’s microbial gift (did you know mom’s body tailors milk based on the bacteria in a nursing baby’s mouth?!?) // how does your body know you’re full? // James White’s Keys to Effective Debating // can my son be friends with white people? // look up: trading introspection for awe // love the life you never wanted // 14 Secrets of US Postal Service Carriers // Lessons Learned on Sexual Abuse (Newheiser) // my biggest mistake as a mother // WWJD about transgender? // miserable millenials (video) // aborted baby parts in vaccines // learning the lost language of lament (part 3. All of this series is good!) // this has some good tips on sourdough bread (video)

reading of late// The Lifegiving Table (Clarkson) // Gilead // Sanctification (Powlison) // a few short stories from a P.G. Wodehouse Anthology // The God I Love (Joni) // Different (Clarkson) //

thinking about// a gem from Sanctification: “God is light so bright that no man can dwell in His presence. God is love so tender that He makes His dwelling place with man.” // the pride and guilt that minimalism can take on: “We know that we don’t deserve more than another person, but we also know that we have more than another person. And so in an attempt to deal with this guilt, we can pursue a form of asceticism, all the while keeping ourselves at the center of the conversation… we miss the fact that even the ability to embrace a minimalist lifestyle is based in abundance.” (from Humble Roots) // rest isn’t the same as an empty schedule, but is relinquishing control and letting Him be God // loving my children > being on time // Christmas lights are wonderful no matter what, but when you’re so far North that it’s dark when you wake up and dark long before dinner time, there’s a whole new wonder and worth to them //

what brings joy// dough // the girls making each other laugh // Ezra’s long weekends

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