The wind is barreling through the cove right now like it’s got a bone to pick with the entirety of Hominy Valley, the specific area of Candler in which we live. At the same time, it’s registering right around 68 on the outdoor thermostat. This autumn/winter mash-up is equal parts exhilarating and vexing. I mean, how am I supposed to finalize my Thanksgiving plans when it feels like early spring outside?!
Weather abnormalities aside, I’m pretty pumped about turkey day this year. We’ve decided to borrow a page, as it were, from my book Handmade Gatherings, by turning the meal into a potluck. Today’s count is for 20 adults and 6 kids. Our bungalow is “cozy”, to use the euphemism for small, so it’ll be comfy and close together, to be sure. More conducive to merry-making, right? Right!
In thinking about potlucks and Handmade Gatherings, I remembered a video our friend Ian put together for us. It was a montage of “cutting room floor” bits of Huxley, parts gleaned from all the footage he assembled when filming the book’s trailer. Last year, he and his wife Kristina surprised us with the video, which serves as a visual time capsule of our little guy, from around 20 months to 2 1/2 years old. How fun to see him so wee, frolicking, tottering around, clearly sporting the mullet Glenn insisted he had and I totally denied the existence of. What a beautiful time in all of our lives.
Thank you, Ian! And happy Thanksgiving planning, friends, whether you’re intending to potluck it up with loved ones or pull off the entire feast yourself.
Okay, friends. Truth time. This parenting gig? It’s hard. Really, truly, sincerely hard. Infinitely rewarding, though, because caring for them forces you, in the process, to become a better person, your “higher self”, if you will. That said, keeping your cool while they’re loosing their minds, or whining in a way that would make Urkel stand up and applaud, or just handling bathroom issues or blood sugar crashes or dirty, muddy clothes can be taxing, for anyone, even those super moms in our midst.
Because of that, I have a newfound appreciation for both of my parents, especially my mother. My parents split up with I was 1 1/2 years-old, and divorced several years later. That left mom caring full-time for both me and my 3 year-old brother (we’re 21 months apart). Caring for Huxley is challenging enough with Glenn around, but raising two toddlers, by yourself? Well, I can only imagine the tired nights and weary days mom must’ve endured. The upside is that she loved us to pieces, and still does (she likes to hold my hand and give me hugs and kisses in public, despite my protests of “Mom! I’m 37!”; I’m fairly certain I’ll be doing the exact same thing to Huxley until my very last breath).
Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday here in the states. I think Handmade Gatherings would make a fine gift to your hard-working mama, or grandmother, or wife, or sister, or baby mama, or any woman in your life with little ones, really. Shameless self promotion? Sure! But, also, as a hardworking mama myself, this is exactly the kind of gift I’d love to receive this holiday, had I not authored it.
Not only are the recipes tried-and-true, honed in my own kitchen, the entire spirit of the book is about collaboration. Busy mamas can still have epic gatherings and feasts, only in my book, they needn’t do it all themselves. Food, decor, crafts (if that’s your game-no big deal if not, just skip that component of the gathering)-it’s all pulled off together. Moms can have their get-togethers and not feel like they’re going to collapse from anxiety, fatigue, and an empty bank account once the guests depart.
To all the mamas of the world, I salute you. Mothering is hard work, and you deserve every good thing that comes your way!
Let’s meet up! With the upcoming launch of Handmade Gatherings quickly approaching, (April 8th, woohoo!), I’ve got two local events to chat about it in person. I’ll read some excerpts, discuss some potluck-hosting and attending tips, and then share a treat (or two) from one of the spring gatherings. It’ll be a good time, promise.
If you’re in the Asheville or Charlotte areas next month, I’d love to say “Hello!” (or, to use the parlance of the south, “Hey!”) and share my potluck fervor with you in person. Come on out!
Here are the event details:
Hope to see you there!
Someone recently asked me which of the books I’ve authored is my favorite. My reply was that having to choose one would be like choosing a favorite child, they’re all so dear to me (although, truth be told, maybe my Dad actually does favor one of the 5 of us, but, the thing is, I think that’s a truth he can keep “in the vault”, knowwhatImean?). Each book took considerable time and effort and sweat equity and time deferred from other projects and tasks and endeavors and are all, simply put, personal. But then, along came book number 6, Handmade Gatherings…..
To date, this book marks the most personal project I’ve undertaken. Its pages are filled with my friends, my family, my home, my plates, cups, spoons, linens-my life, really. Glenn and I worked on it tirelessly, tossing ideas for recipes, crafts, and activities off of each other late into the night and over our morning cups of coffee. My mom and our dear friend Denise alternated taking care of Huxley while we shopped for ingredients, developed and tweaked recipes, and staged and executed the photo shoots.
The book officially publishes three weeks from today, on April 8th. My imminently talented friend Ian Urquhart put together the book trailer shown here. This is only a snippet of all he captured, but my hope is that it’s enough to give you a sense of, and a glimpse into, just how fun and inspiring these potlucks were. I don’t have a staff of helpers or assistants. It’s just me and Glenn, cooking in our kitchen, shopping for pumpkin carving tools, foraging for wild edibles in our yard, and otherwise doing whatever it took to make the 16 gatherings featured in the book happen. Like I said, it’s personal, and I feel immeasurably grateful to have been given the opportunity to nurture this seed of an idea to fruition. Huge, heartfelt rivers of gratitude are flowing in the direction of all who worked to bring this book to life. You’re the most mackenest!