This time of year brings people to ask "what are you thankful for?" of each other and ourselves. Some of the answers are very pat and broad, and clearly what "should" be said. I think gratitude loses it's meaning or impact. I'd like to be more specific and clear about my thanks for big and small things, material and intangibles, for myself and as an example. Since it is easier to write (for me at least) I figured I'd start here. I am grateful for so much that I'm sure I won't manage to get it all "on paper", but I'll try to touch on some of them over the next few weeks.
I have a wonderful friend, A, who is a gift in and of herself. I could write an entire post (and them some) on how my life is enhanced by my relationship with her. But for now, I'll focus on her mother and father in law, who are two of the most thoughtful people I have met. The in laws brought me a gift of a huge box of apples last week. So you say, apples, so what? They have a 10 lb bag at Costco for 6 cents! Nope, not these apples. These are McIntosh apples that came from their own tree in upstate New York. The tree and fruit have never been treated in any way, and the harvests are varied. At the end of the summer, they brought some apples for my friend and she made some applesauce. I mentioned how great fresh apples would be and that my kids love applesauce. Well, they remembered this and stored as many apples as they could and drove them down here last week.
I set to work, making apple crisp (made with coconut flour - yum!), apple muffins (almond flour), apple bread (with the last of our regular flour), and applesauce. We used my tiny food processor for a batch of applesauce and the kids ate it all in one sitting. So I borrowed my friends food grinder and strainer to go on my kitchenaid mixer and set about making big batches of sauce. I think I froze 20 big jars of sauce and I have another 15 small ones in the fridge (it wasn't worth canning since we eat it so fast - we have already eaten 3-4 jars).
The gift of the apples was wonderful, but the gift of having my kids see how apples become sauce and getting to help me make it is so much more. I get to pull a jar out of the freezer and remember how the kitchen smelled of hot apples and cinnamon; that will warm me up on a chilly afternoon in February. Having a fresh homemade dessert that was "good for us" on Thanksgiving and being able to give loaves of apple bread to other people who deserved our thanks was lovely. The actual gifts people give lead to other gifts in our lives. And we in turn bestow gift on other people. It just feel good.
It didn't stop there. Peanut really loves the sand in M's (A's son) sandbox. She calls it chocolate sand because it is so dark and soft. Well, the in laws heard this as well, and yep - a huge load of sand came with the apples. The kids helped mix the sand in and then got to play around in it for a bit. I think Peanut didn't realize what she was getting until the third or fourth bucket of sand went into the sandbox - then she got really excited about it. So once again, a gift of thoughtfulness that will get to be shared and enjoyed by my kids and their friends. Thank you G and L for spending the time and energy to collect and load up apples and sand and drive it all the way here so my Peanut and Pumpkin could enjoy such treats!