Last weekend started with a baby shower for Josh's cousin. This wasn't her first child, when showers are customary. Instead, it's her first girl, and the first girl in the family to be born in Lebanon in a while, or it seems that way anyway. As would be expected, the party and all the gifts were very pink. I on one of the games, to see who could find the most words in the new baby's first and middle name. Yay for Scrabble & Boggle skills, huh? The first activity we did was very creative- everyone got a card and was assigned a birthday, and decorated a future birthday card for her for that year. I did her three-year-old birthday, and wrote a silly poem "Dresses and bows!/Standing on tiptoes!/Excited for Lexi!/She's
Check out a few pictures from the event:
Well, the plan for Sunday was to cook desserts for our small-group dinner on Monday night at one of the couples' houses, then cook a large casserole to take to the "Sunday Supper" our church does once a month- each person that signs up gets the recipe for the week & cooks a casserole for 20, then we go together and serve it at an inner-city church Sunday afternoon after their service.
The plan changed when I checked my email Sunday morning before starting on the desserts- An email with the subject "surprise" from the couple in the small group
whose house we were to eat at Monday to inform us they had their baby Saturday and were at the hospital. I went and woke Josh up to tell him :) Instead of cooking desserts Sunday morning, we went to the hospital to see them, and it was good to visit and see the new baby, even if he was in the NICU and won't be coming home for a little while. New Mom finally blogged yesterday.
Anyway, that made for a very exciting morning. Along with almost passing out while in the NICU, I also lost track of time because I had taken my watch off. Once I realized how late it had become, Josh and I rushed home to throw together the casserole and let it cook for (about) an hour before rushing to church and heading downtown. The whole experience serving at the church downtown was very cool. There were lots of kids with lots of energy running around. The church reminded me somewhat of the "4:00 church" I went to my freshman year at Taylor, but larger. It brought me joy to serve the members of the church and the people that came off the street for a hot meal. We didn't just set up a buffet line, we told them to sit down at the tables and we served them, like a restaurant. Setting things up this way, it showed more dignity and worth to a group of people that are often ignored, marginalized, cast off and downtrodden. I was glad we went.
Sometime Sunday morning, Josh & I had decided to host the small group dinner, because it wasn't going to be at the original couple's house, for obvious reasons. When we got home from Sunday Supper, we started to scramble to figure out how we were going to cook dinner for 8 people with 24 hours notice, and not enough chairs to go around. Luckily, my parents had given us a bigger kitchen
table (with a leaf!) the week before, and another couple brought some folding chairs to give everyone a seat (we threatened that if they didn't, someone would be sitting on an ottoman.). We had just enough place settings for 8 as plates, salad bowls, glasses, and silverware go, but not enough placemats & napkins, of all things. I don't think anyone noticed. The menu decided on was chicken alfredo, and I cooked & cut the chicken Sunday night for the Monday meal, to drastically cut down the preparation time Monday. Josh made brownies, his specialty. I was delighted how well everything went once everyone got here. I was also delighted everyone found the place with my directions :) The company was good, and everything went smoothly.
Josh cooked brownies, but I had another dessert planned that didn't come to fruition (pun intended). A traditional fall/winter dessert in Josh's family is persimmon pudding. I had some at the first Christmas party I went to with his family, and have had some every holiday since. I asked a few people what a persimmon was, but the best answer I could get was, 'well, it's a fruit.' Last week sometime, I found out definitively. A recipe blog I read, Simply Recipeshad none other than the traditional pudding cake as a post just as I was thinking of it. The post has a good explanation of not only what a persimmon is, but the different varieties, and the importance of ripening the fruit. It was fascinating as I continued to research it, how key the state of the fruit is when using it in this recipe. I found another article that does nothing else but poetically describe persimmons and the importance of patience:
A bite into the spiteful flesh of an underripe persimmon is indeed like sucking on a huge ball of felt or a mouthful of emery boards or a wad of soggy tea bags. A roly-poly and supple ripe persimmon is another creature altogether, though, transforming what was a shudder-inducing experience into a seductive seasonal obsession.So I bought some persimmons at the supermarket and am practicing extreme patience going on a week now. The problem I'm posed with: I don't know what a persimmon is supposed to look/taste like, besides these written reviews, so I'm crossing my fingers hoping I get it right, and hoping I don't jump the gun and end up with bitter fruit. I think there might be a spiritual lesson here.
And, in closing, here's the pictures from early last week's Halloween festivities, for the short time that Josh & I were there: