06 December 2010

A four week round up

In the last month, our lives have changed again as we (finally, after 42 weeks of pregnancy!) welcomed our third child to the world. As I write this, I'm surrounded by a hazy bubble of baby goodness. My husband is taking extraordinary care of me-- preparing gourmet meals around the clock and picking up where I left off with shuttling our daughter to and from school, taking our four-year-old out on the town for endless adventure, giving me lots of room to rest and time to bond with our newest darling. A few thoughts on having a baby in Thailand will be included in an upcoming post, but for now I thought a quick round-up of the last four weeks would be worthy of a post. So much celebrating has ensued, it seems appropriate to share a bit of the fun that has been happening at our home in Thailand.

My husband took his final long business trip before starting paternity leave. During this time, I had the kids crafting themselves into a project stupor. Weekend days and after school evenings were spent with glue, scissors, bits and baubles creating ornaments for each of the celebrations mentioned below. Laughter rang loud as they created crazy renditions of the project at hand.

Halloween involved a four-year-old werewolf screaming through the house (who morphed into a spiderman and then a batman before the night was complete) and a fluttery six-year-old butterfly swirling right behind him. In the week leading up to the holiday, a massive squash search occurred. Local markets were stopped at and street vendors pestered. The kids and I lit up each time we placed a new one in our growing collection. Paper mache pumpkins, made with a big mess, sat next to our market finds.

My husband and I have both celebrated our birthdays with nights out in the city, celebrating one another while feasting on Vietnamese food one night and Thai food another.

We enjoyed a long visit from my parents as they made their way to Thailand to welcome their third grandchild, stocked with bags and bags of wonderful goodies 'from home' for us. (I now have a healthy supply of my favorite pastel coated licorice candies. The top shelves of my walk-in closet are towering with with wrapped and ready to go Christmas presents. Our favorite coffee is restocked... and, as I write this, almost again depleted! And, the depleted felt supply in our house has been rejuvenated.) But, most importantly, we are fortunate to have spent the time with my family as we approach a very different holiday season (the first Christmas season to be spent in Bangkok, rather than in the Pacific Northwestern States chilly air with family and friends).

We listened repeatedly to the Loy Krathong song over and over again as we prepared our flower bedecked floats and then pushed them out onto our swimming pool after dark in celebration of one of the biggest and most serene holidays in Thailand. My parents, still visiting, joined in the celebration this year. We spent the morning of Loy Krathong browsing Chatuchak and then hopping over to Or Tor Kor (the Green Market, located next to Chatuchak) to buy our krathong making supplies-- rounds from the banana tree's trunk, banana leaves, orchids, chrysanthemums, joss sticks and candles.

We shared a relaxed Thanksgiving meal complete with what has become my favorite cranberry sauce (see below). This year marked one of my favorite Thanksgiving celebrations to date. We had our four day old newborn in the house, dished up (fantastically delicious food!) buffet style and then lounged around our family room enjoying one another as we dined. My two older kids loved the familiar flavors of the holidays and enjoyed plate after plate.

Somewhere in there, my husband managed to treat my dad to an overnight adventure in Kanchanaburi where they slept in a stilted village over the river, crossed the River Kwai, dined on Thai food in the warm November heat and swam in a waterfall.

And, I enjoyed the final weeks of my pregnancy with my mom by my side getting unlimited manicures and pedicures, going to the theatre, hitting Chatuchak's weekend market a few times and sipping far too many of Starbucks' seasonal red cup drinks (note to self: lay off the peppermint mochas now that you're no longer pregnant).

Then, on one miraculous day, we managed to get to the hospital, survived labour and welcomed our third child into this marvelous world.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 92:
Stewed Cranberries
We eat local and fresh ingredients mostly, but on certain days of the year we make an exception. Thanksgiving is one of them. Sure, we opt for the locally raised chicken instead of that frozen rock of a butterball flown in from the States and priced outrageously. But, I just can not fathom celebrating Thanksgiving without cranberries. And, after three Thanksgiving celebrations in Bangkok, I have yet to find any fresh ones. So, our first year here (desperate for a cranberry sauce) I created the following recipe. While I'm sure fresh berries will remain a favorite, I strongly suspect that I'll continue to make this version in tandem. The flavors are intense and now a personal favorite for the holidays.

4 cups of dried cranberries
1 cup of orange juice, freshly squeezed
zest of one orange
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup of water

Place the cranberries into a large bowl, cover with water and wrap tightly with plastic wrap or parchment. Refrigerate overnight (up to three nights). When ready to cook, drain the cranberries from the liquid (reserving the liquid for later use). Place in a heavy bottom saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Over low heat, simmer, for approximately 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and watch closely so that the sauce doesn't scald. Add portions of the reserved liquid, as necessary, to make into your desired consistency.* Serve warm or cold. Place over meats or eat as a side dish.

*I prefer for the sauce to have a bit more liquid so that it takes on a thick gravy-like consistency.


  1. I don't remember how I found your blog, but I do enjoy it, as we are currently living in Thailand and I love to cook. I wondered if you have a Makro nearby you, because I bought frozen cranberries from them recently, using them to make some wonderful cranberry fluff, a tradition from my growing up years! This recipe looks really good too!

  2. Beautiful pictures!

  3. !!!
    Shelby! How wonderful to welcome a new baby into your warm and loving home.
    How is it possible that I didn't know about your blog until this very second?
    Neither you or Sue ever mentioned it to me! I just found it by accident while wandering around in my twitter account tonight. Much love to the whole family. Enjoy your babymoon.

  4. Congratulations on your new baby! I look forward to the stories you'll write about them.


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