A continuation of our table talk with Kristin’s actual real-life neighbors, discussing how they continue to foster community after first coming together years ago. You’ll hear honest interaction about the vulnerability of “putting yourself out there” as a neighbor, and how introverts and extroverts approach getting to know one another. Kristin’s Kitchen segment features one of Kristin’s favorite “go-to” recipes–so easy that the most difficult part of the recipe is using a can-opener!
Kristin: Welcome to the Turquoise Table. I’m your host Kristin Schell, and today is part two of our Neighbors’ episode where we sit down and I actually have my real-life neighbors around the table with me. So, if you missed the first part of the episode, come back and take a listen. Because that’s where you’ll be introduced to my neighbors Monica, and Mandy, Amy, Shannon, Nicole, Mary Beth, and Kristn. We have the gift of gab and we’re obviously passionate about community, and each other, and our life together.
So, we had to actually break this segment into two parts because we talked so much. It is a very big pleasure to introduce you to my neighbors, and in this part of the episode we really talk about being introverts and extroverts, and some of the early days of getting to know one another. We also share about our fears and misconceptions and what it’s like to get to know one another. We talk about a hospitality failure or two. If you didn’t listen to the first part, I encourage you to go back and listen to that.
Now join us for part two of the episode with my real-life neighbors at the table.
Getting To Know Our Neighbors
Kristin Schell: I started … just to keep kind of the … To share on that point, because it does start as parties, we all know that. It starts as sort of … And if you’re listening, I think you will find, whether it’s, you know, something simple like donuts or a happy hour, or whatever you do to bring people together, it does start with that. I mean, it has to.
You know Nicole, I’d be real curious to know, because didn’t one of your early on parties, on your block, was a fundraiser, right? For an adoption. But tell us that really quickly.
Nicole Vicky: Okay, so yeah, that is the history of our front yard in a nutshell. We had just moved into the house, and our youngest is adopted from Ethiopia, so super obviously does not look like me, who is a red-head with freckles.
Neighbors were walking by with their dogs, and the young woman stopped, and she said, to our other neighbor, “Where is your son from?” Neighbor’s like, “Not my son.” And we said, Ethiopia, he’s ours, over here.
She says we’re in the wait to adopt two girls from Ethiopia. And they lived four houses down. It was like, just one of those God moments, where we were like, “Jen and I were meant to … to ‘mom’ together.”
They had a really long adoption journey, as did we, and so to have our kiddo home and to watch another mom in the wait, and get to walk alongside here through that, and through now that their girls are home and doing really well has just been such a privilege for me because I’ve drawn on so many adoptive mommas when I was in the wait through all of the ups and down that come along with that.
So, she … the only other person I knew when we moved to Austin was Jessica Honegger, who runs Noonday, which is a jewelry company that a lot of their proceeds go to support not just giving meaningful and respectful work to women in third-world countries, but also to adoptive families that are raising funds to adopt.
She and I went camp together as kids, and so Jen was a rep for them. She said, “Would you have a Noonday fundraiser for our adoption in your front yard?”
We were like, “Okay, I’m not usually the direct sales party girl.” But the idea of … At that point, they’d been expecting one child and when they got their referral, it was for two. Adopting is really, really, really expensive, and they were kind of like, “We have to say ‘yes,’ but we don’t really have the money to do this.”
So, we put together just … all of the neighbors came over and I invited all the few people we knew, because we were still pretty new to Austin. It was really interesting, our neighbor across the street, who I’d never spoken to, came over to me and said, “I was adopted.”
She’s a grown woman in her 60s, and she said, “I remember my mom telling me how when they brought us home, all of the neighbors were standing in the yard with basinets, and onesies, and diapers …
And she said, “It’s like coming full circle, watching this happen across the street.” And then the 17 year old, who we didn’t know at all, from across the street came over and said, “I was adopted, and I want to give these girls my allowance for the next year.”
Participant: Oh my gosh.
Nicole: So, it turned into this thing that just raised so much more money than we thought a little jewelry sale and some cookies would, but it was a really special thing for my son, because he got to really feel a part of bringing those girls home.
And then there’s another family that looks just like ours right there. That was kind of where we broke in The Turquoise Table, like that was the sort of big gathering. We have a lot of casual gatherings on our block, but that was the first time really, like wore it out.
Kristin S: You did, and that’s when you reached out to me, you said, “Hey, I have a table if you want to stop by.” And I did, because I was still curious because this, at the time, it was still just sort of beginning to go from a block to a block to a block or what-not. I remember being there, and I remember being like …
Nicole: That was our daughter’s idea. She was like, “Why don’t you invite The Turquoise Table Lady.” And I’m like, I can’t invite The Turquoise Table lady, she’s The Turquoise Table Lady.” And she was like, “She looks really…”
Kristin S. : Does anybody wanna take a selfie with me right now …
Nicole: Because at this table, you were known as The Treehouse Lady, so it was all, what was in people’s front yards.
Kristin S. But that was when you and I then, got to have, you know our friendship …
Nicole: Another one of those God moments, where you just recognize …
Kristin S: Another one of those God moments, but I love that because what you just described, is what I hear consistently all around America, that yes it starts maybe with the first casual gatherings; it kind of needs to.
“[Community] starts with the first casual gatherings; it kind of needs to.” – Kristin Schell
You would have a few little gatherings, you know, or what not, but it doesn’t take long before something, whether, you know, it’s a fundraiser for an adoption, or whether it’s a life crisis that you just need someone to not tell you what to do, but just to listen to … It happens. Like it happens pretty quickly … you know, just by being available. Just by being available, I think.
You didn’t do anything extraordinary, did you?
Nicole: I didn’t have to clean my house for a giant jewelry party, and that adoptive momma now has a Turquoise Table now in her front yard.
Kristin S: She does?
Nicole: And those girls are out there playing, all the time. It makes my heart so happy.
Kristin S: I didn’t know that! Ahh, I can’t wait, see I didn’t know that.
Nicole: We get to say, like, “Your table or ours?”
Kristin S: I know, isn’t that fun?
Nicole: She actually left some Ethiopian injera bread on my Turquoise Table the other night. I got a text that said, “Go out to the table, we were at the Ethiopian restaurant and knew Beck would want some of this, there’s a bag of it.”
I’m like, only in Northwest Hills would my Turquoise Table get, you know, injera bread gifted …
Kristin S: Which is so good, which was so delicious …
Kristin S: Oh my goodness, that’s awesome.
Starting Small to Grow Deep
Shannon Maroney: You know, Kristin, I think it’s a great point that you make about how quickly it grows. And for people that might be listening, that may be a little bit nervous, or you know, think it’s too much for them to do, to think about the stories we’ve told here today about how it started small, you know?
It started with a lot of different small things we were all doing in our front yards, a swing, a pogo stick, a whatever. And if you’re too scared to put a Turquoise Table out there, put a swing out there.
Kristin S.: Absolutely.
Shannon: Put a pogo out there, maybe paint a pogo turquoise, or paint your swing turquoise, or whatever you can do. Like, because I know when you did The Turquoise Table movement, we already had the tree house, and I was like, “I feel like a table might be a little much … on top of a tree house in the front yard … “
Kristin S: Never.
Shannon: ” … So I’m just gonna paint the door turquoise. So, do whatever you wanna do, but do what’s comfortable and you’ll be shocked at the ripple effect.
Nicole: Shannon, I think you’re right. I hear a lot of, “Well, you know, if I put one of these in my front yard, and I sit out there, is anybody gonna come? Is anybody gonna talk to me? Are they gonna think I’m weird?”
I cannot tell you how natural it’s been, because I had those same concerns, I’m not and extrovert, I’m not a party planner, and it just happened.
We laugh that there are front yard parties in our front yard that we’re not a part of. Like my kids will look out the window, and they’re like, “There’s 15 kids out front.”
Kristin S: Right?
Nicole: We’re like, “Should we bring them snacks? Okay …” You know, and it does, it…
Shannon: Because everybody’s hungry for it. Everybody’s hungry for community and friends, and for bonding. Like Monique was hungry for a conversation about the job she had just left and what she was gonna fill that space with, you know? Everybody’s hungry for something, so … It just happens.
“Everybody’s hungry for community and friends, and for bonding.” – Kristin’s Neighbor, Shannon
Kristin S: It did just happen. And you brought up a good point about being an introvert, and so Mary Beth, I know …
Mandy Niles: Mary Beth, yeah.
Kristin S: The first thing I get asked, “Does it have to be turquoise?” Of course not. It was my favorite color. You know, we have a purple Turquoise Table there are people that have gold, or you know, other colors for high school mascots, so no. It does not have to be turquoise.
Amy Hoyda: I don’t know, I will drive down that street, and I’m like, “Ooh, they just moved in, oh, they need to paint their furniture turquoise.” I mean, I do think that. And I don’t know why.
Kristin S: Well, okay…a little territorial, and that’s y’all saying that because y’all know now, how much, you know …
Nicole: But don’t you drive past a house with a Turquoise Table in it, and immediately go, “Oh, I would be that person’s friend”?
Nicole: You know, like …
Kristin S: It’s a shout out.
Nicole: It’s lovely to see it in other cities.
Amy: That’s what I’m saying, so when it’s not turquoise, I’m like, “Ooh, we gotta let them know.”
Kristin: Well, just baby steps is what I’m … I’m giving permission, that if someone doesn’t want to have it turquoise …
Amy: Don’t let that be the barrier.
Kristin S: Don’t let that be the barrier, and don’t call Amy, because she will talk you into turquoise.
Shannon: But it’s super easy to turn something normal into turquoise, like I went to Home Depot and bought a random can of turquoise spray paint, and I felt so great when I was spray painting that door.
Kristin S: It is the color of friendship, just gonna leave that there. So, the first question I get asked, is you know, “Does it have to be turquoise?” Yes, but no.
Nicole: Can’t you just get a turquoise tablecloth? Like if you wanna fly the flag …
Kristin S: And then the second question I get is what about homeowners associations, and we do not live where we have a homeowners association. And so most people then say, “Oh, they’re not gonna be super excited about a picnic table in the front yard that’s turquoise.”
That’s where, you know, the Adirondack chairs that are turquoise that … Or a pop up table with a tablecloth, there are so many work-arounds, you know?
Neighboring Insights from Introverts & Extroverts
Kristin S: But the third question I always get is, “I am an introvert, or I don’t have … Hospitality is hard for me, or entertaining is hard for me …”
Participant: I don’t like to entertain …
Kristin: Yes, so, “What do you say about that?” So since, I am clearly not an introvert and I would probably, and have talked to these walls, and they probably do talk back, I’d love to hear from y’all, you know. What are the hard parts about it? But then what’s been easy about it?
And there’s dead silence from our two introverts!
Mandy: Maybe an extreme extrovert, I’m like, “Let me tell you, Mary Beth, what you think about it.”
Amy: No, but Mary Beth, your table … When you got your table, the first thing you did … You had that activity box, that says …
MaryBeth: Okay, yes. That’s true. Yeah, we had the activity box. So that was easy. I need a buffer. I like to have a little buffer, whatever that is. Whether it be your swing, or … I don’t know, it’s interesting.
Shannon: So you don’t have to personally sit there and make the conversation, right?
MaryBeth: Or just to like, lead into the conversation. Just something that’s not like us, standing there.
Kristin S: So, here’s a question, is it easier, then, for you to have people in your front yard at a picnic table than maybe come inside, and like hang out at your kitchen table?
Nicole: She’s saying yes.
Participant: The two introverts just said, “Yes,” at the same time.
Shannon: I love that the two introverts are seated next to each other, by the way.
Nicole: We feel each other’s energy. I get anxiety when people come in my house after 5:30. Like I am like, “When are you leaving? Are you gonna stay really long? How do I make you leave when it gets to the time that I need to put my kids to bed?”
My husband’s the same way. So like, we will have like, a good family friend … you know, a family over, because they’re people that we can be like, “It’s bedtime. Go on. We need to recharge, by ourselves.”
And we have big wall in front of our house, which I love. But it is not the most welcoming, you know, of feelings. And the table has been because I can come out and engage when I want to engage, if the party’s still raging, and my little guy needs to go to bed …
Participant: You go back in…
Nicole: That is what’s so great.
Shannon: It’s not a wall, like the Trump Wall …
Nicole: It was there when we bought the house. But I mean, you know, I drive by Kristin’s house when I’m dropping my kids off at school, and you know, I see her whole family in their bathrobes having breakfast. And that is like my worst nightmare.
I am like hidden, but I love my front yard. I can choose when to engage in the front yard, and I can chose when I’m tired and I need to go recharge on my own.
Nicole: And I don’t have to …
Mandy: It’s even better than your backyard, like once somebody’s in your backyard, same problem, like, “How do I get them to go back out?” But your front yard, I mean really you can say, “Y’all can just keep playing, keep swinging, we gotta go in.” It’s the best, just…
MaryBeth: Just like Front Yard Fridays, we just go in. We know some of our late-night folks are out there, and we’re like, “We’re going to bed.”
Participant: I’m glad they’re out there, I’m glad they’re partying down.
MaryBeth: I know, me too.
Participant: I’m like, “just put stuff in the trash cans when you leave.”
Front Yard Activity Box
Kristin S: Mary Beth, talk about your activity box and what’s in it.
MaryBeth: It is full of … just … Uno is in there …
Shannon: Right, kid-friendly.
MaryBeth: Yeah, bracelets …
Shannon: Arts and crafts, games, whatever. And it’s sealed, so it doesn’t get wet in the rain …
MaryBeth: We put it in a plastic box …
Shannon: It sits on top of her Turquoise Table so anybody can walk up and play with it.
Kristin S: It’s a brilliant idea.
MaryBeth: We like it. In our family, we like games, we’re game people. And games, too, it’s just something to kind of get things … the conversation started.
The Power of The Table
Kristin S: Right. Right. Okay, well, I love that. Well thank you for speaking into that, because that answers … I mean I know there are others that are thinking, And then Kristin, okay, sorry. Finally, that’s the last. So you had just moved here.
Kristin Campbell: I’m the new one, yes.
Kristin S: So, you moved into this, and I mean, are we crazy? What did you think?
Kristin C: This is, yeah, well, we say to all of our friends and family back in Australia, “We feel like we hit the jackpot in our neighborhood.” So, by far and away, this international move with our family, the best part of it has been our neighborhood.
When we were driving through the streets when we first moved here, we would drive around and we were starting to realize, “We want to live here.”
My husband noticed, “What’s the deal with these tables?” And some people would just have turquoise chairs in their front yard. Some people even had concrete poured for their table, or for their chairs. And we would walk up and down the streets, or drive, and he would say, “This is so cool, Kristin, this neighborhood seems like a family sort of neighborhood.”
Then to buy a house on the “J,” so I live where the J turns into the curve, so I feel like we hit the jackpot, because we were kind of … We bought a house where the grass roots Turquoise Table started. And I just feel …
Kristin S: Did you know that?
Kristin C: No, we had no idea. We did notice that there were more Turquoise Tables on this “J.”
Mandy: That’s a lot on one block.
Kristin C: So you know what, for real estate agents, it’s a good selling point. In fact, I told my real estate agent, he went out and got books, he got so excited, he gave them out to all of his clients. He got a table.
So, even my friends and family back in Australia, they think it’s great. And I hear my boys talk to their grandparents in Australia, and they say, “We have these Turquoise Tables, and we can’t wait until we have a front yard party.”
So, they’re counting down the days, and we feel so blessed, because being from a different culture, and being that everything is new to our family, The Turquoise Table brings us together, and it brings us to our neighbors.
“The Turquoise Table brings us together, and it brings us to our neighbors.” – Kristin’s Neighbor, Kristin
So, we feel so blessed. I’m new, I just got a table, and as soon as I get paint on that sucker, I’m inviting you all over for a glass of wine.
Neighbors Moving Out, Neighbors Moving In
Kristin S: I love that. And this is funny, too, because we’ve talked about this as neighbors. So now, sitting around the table, I think everyone … Shannon, you moved, so you did leave us. Was it something I said? Shannon, you moved. I mean, still in the neighborhood …
Mandy: Half a mile away.
Kristin S: Half a mile.
Shannon: We carried our stuff over there on a little red wagon.
Kristin S: Well, I know, but, you didn’t leave us …
Shannon: Right, I could never. I could never leave you. But it’s funny that you say that, because my husband and I actually had a really ridiculous conversation when … Because we weren’t looking to move, at all. Who would leave these amazing people in this fabulous neighborhood?
But I was looking for a rental property. And I was looking for properties that needed work, because I wanted to find something cheap and you know, do the work myself because I like doing that, too.
This house, that I saw, was being marketed as, you know, “renovation ready,” or whatever. It was an original 1972 that had never been touched and was pretty awful, but on a little quiet cul-de-sac, a perfect floor plan for our future family … you know, we were going into our next phase.
And it had a view, which I had always, always, always, always wanted. And so, I started looking at it, and Mike looked at it, and we were like, “Oh my God, this is really perfect, it’s still in the neighborhood, it’s not very far, it’s like six blocks down.” Really perfect, nothing wrong, same schools, all that. I was like, “Mike, we can’t leave this street.” It’s amazing, I mean, these are the best people and the best street, I mean, we just can’t leave, you know.
And he was like, “Do you understand what you just said to me? We found our dream house, and you have the dream plan for that house, and you’re telling me we can’t leave because of people. And we’re only going six blocks away.”
I was like, “All right, fine.” So, we …you know, I finally got comfortable with it, but it was super hard decision because of the community that we had and the bonding, you know, that existed. So it was … I really had to talk myself into, like “It’s not gonna go away,” you know, “Nothing’s gonna change,” and here we are, still around the same table, and I love that you guys are still keeping me on the list and including us.
Mandy: Somebody asked me … I’ve been asked this several times, lately, “Well do you get taken off the list if you move?” I’m like, “Y’all, you don’t get … Our list is huge because nobody ever goes off the list.” Like once you’re on the list, which you just really show up at a Front Yard Friday, and if I have your email address, you’re just gonna get the email next time.
Like it’s so inclusive, no one ever goes off the list.
Kristin S: Right.
Mandy: Unless you ask.
Shannon: Well, when we finally had, like a kind of house-warming party at our new house, the most important people to me to have there were this group. I went through that list and made sure that everybody was on the list, and it was so important to me to have those people there to christen the new place. So, it was awesome. Even though Mandy didn’t come. Kristin couldn’t come,
Kristin: We couldn’t come either, sorry. But you know, that’s okay. That’s … It’s fine. This is, I think, too … So, two points, I was headed there, because I’m looking around and everybody has a Turquoise Table, but maybe you don’t yet.
Shannon: I don’t yet in the new house, but the coolest thing happened. The only person I knew … We’re now on a little, tiny cul-de-sac, like you are, Kristin, and there are only seven houses on the cul-de-sac, and most of them are seniors.
They’re kind of, not original owners, but they’ve been there a while. Except for the lad across the street from me, Amanda, who, is a Turquoise Table girl. She doesn’t have a table, but she has a pillow, and she knows the whole movement, and she was the very first person, when we said, “Hey, we bought this house and we’re moving,” she was like, “Oh my God, I’m so excited! It’s gonna be so fun!” So, I just fell immediately like it was gonna be okay, because I had this neighbor, who got it.
Kristin S: We’re gonna bring you one in the middle of the night. That would be our gift, so you’ll know it came from our neighborhood. From six blocks over.
Shannon: It’s on my birthday gift list for this summer … We redid the landscaping as the last piece of, you know, after we redid the house. We redid the landscaping, so I didn’t want to do the table before we finished that. My birthday’s coming up, so, it’s happening.
Nicole: Hopefully your husband is a little bit more subtle than … I asked for mine for Mother’s Day and it arrived like a week early, so he covered it with a sheet
Kristin S: Because how do you hide a Turquoise Table?
Nicole: “What’s that Jesse?” “Nothing, nothing.”
Shannon: Mother’s Day’s before my birthday, so doing that.
Neighbors Are The Heroes At The Table
Kristin S: Well, and I think it’s important, too, to say that you know, of course The Turquoise Table … I always say this, The Turquoise Table isn’t the hero of the story, you guys are. You know, and I, I just get to tell the story now, in a more public way than y’all do.
“The Turquoise Table isn’t the hero of the story, you guys are.” – Kristin Schell
And … But you guys are the glue … You are the turquoise … You are the people that make it happen. And it started … little, little, little baby steps. And so, I want each of you just to think … If you could say one thing, or two things, quickly, to people who are listening.
Maybe it’s, “Just start.” Or “Don’t be afraid,” or whatever, you know, is really on your heart, because the simplicity of this is what makes this happen in my opinion. And that I would love … People hear me. I want them to hear you.
Mandy: What keeps coming … This is Mandy. What keeps coming to mind is that … So, for my grandmother, who was in this neighborhood, they built their house in ’67, and you know, peers with the Gary’s who we’ve talked about … They had … What this looked like for them, was Garden Club.
So, my grandmother was a very active member of Garden Club, but Garden Club was not like Front Yard Friday, it was, “put out your china,” it was beautiful cookies, it was “get dressed up.” So, I think, now, with Front Yard Friday, we’ve evolved that concept of community to something that fits this generation.
So. it’s “Show up, tired, with your children messy, come on Friday and we just will accept you how you are.” But my favorite part about this whole thing is, what it has taught our children. And our children are our favorite spotters of Turquoise Tables, and they are not gonna grow up knowing it any different than, “You go out in your front yard, and you start talking to the people who are around you,” and y’all, it is ingrained in them, I think. Wouldn’t y’all agree?
And it’s so cool to see. I don’t feel like my children have a lonely day. Because if they’re bored in our house, they just wander out into the front yard, and they know to go find their people and that’s so natural to them. So, to me, that’s like the big win.
We are bridging into the next generation in such a good way. A time when they need to get out of their houses, and go out and be with people.
Kristin S: Get off their screens.
Mandy: Yes, and off their screens. It’s so … It’s just the best. So, that’s my thought on it.
Finding Your Neighboring Groove
Amy: This is Amy, I’ll say, I’ll never forget, Ava went to school on a Monday and she’s like, “So and so had a Front Yard Friday,” like, “That’s our thing!” And I’m like … it was the people on …
Participant: Turf war.
Amy: Off of … Amy, Amy! Your friend, Amy. And I said, “Well that’s what it’s about, that’s what it’s about.” So you know, she likes to brag that we were like, the “first” one, and I’m like, “Come on, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about spreading the news, and …”
But I just feel like it’s such a gift, because the neighborhood … So, we moved to this neighborhood because these were the schools that we wanted Ava to go do. And in our former neighborhood, older, older, generations, I mean, it was starting to turn over … But a lot of older people instead of coming here, just all the kids, and … I mean just for me, there’s just nothing better than talking to people and getting to know people and just getting to know the people around me.
I’ll say, I’ll never forget … And this probably, isn’t, I don’t even know if this is okay to say, but, being at a Front Yard Friday, I packed my ice chest, and had it all, and Ava’s like, “Mommy, where’s my water?” I’m like, “Does anybody have water?” I mean, I was fine, my husband was fine …
Participant: You have no idea how many times I did that.
Amy: My poor child had no water, but I…
Kristin: But everybody else was well-watered.
Participant: Momma had her wine.
Amy: But it’s just so … love it.
Kristin: I love that, though.
New Neighborhood, New Adventures
Shannon: I’m just gonna say, oh my gosh, so many things I gotta tell you. Y’all I’m a cryer, so, I’m probably, like, “I’m gonna cry at some point,” but … I am gonna quote a verse, that is “Fear not, for I am with thou.” Because that’s really what The Turquoise Table represents to me, like it is scary, it was so scary for us. This is Shannon. It was so scary for us to move to a new street and a new neighborhood where we had none of this, and didn’t know, you know, if we’d ever get it back and knew what we were leaving, which was so amazing.
But, fear not, because once you make these bonds, they are forever, you know? And they are just so deep and amazing that they’ll never leave. And, it gives you the strength to recreate them wherever you go. So, exactly what you were saying, our kids just carry it on, you know, we got to the new place and the first thing my kids said, is “When are we having a Front Yard party?” And our little neighbor, my friend Amanda across the street has a little boy a year younger than them, and their most excited thing, is that, “Bradley likes Nerf guns! We’re having a Nerf gun party in the front yard as soon as we move in!”
And that was like the best thing ever, and they did it, they had that thought. Just don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid to take that … whatever that first step is for you. Turquoise Table if you’re ready. If not, then, it’s a Air Pogo, or a swing, or a whatever. Start small, and work your way there, because you’ll be amazed at how easy, and natural, and awesome it…
Nicole: This is Nicole, and I will …
Shannon: Introvert Ally.
Nicole: … I will echo that completely. I had a lot of fear around, just “Would people come? And would people have coffee with me?” I’m not an extrovert, I’m whatever. We just started as a family, picking one thing that we would normally do inside our house, or in the backyard, and we would just intentionally, once a week, do it out front. In our house, that looks a lot like coloring, and playing cards, we make a lot of pancakes on the weekends, because I have a kid won’t eat anything that doesn’t look like a pancake.
So, one day, he said to me, “Can we make the pancakes out at the table?” And I was like, “That’s gonna be a giant pain, okay, but sure.” And I brought the electric skillet out there, and this 15 year old boy who lives across the street, who would never say, “Hi” to any of us, because we all had little kids, he was like mortally embarrassed to be neighbors with us. We’d all wave at him …
And I’m making pancakes, and he comes sidling over and he says, “Hi, Mrs. Vicky.”
“Can I have some pancakes?” And sat down at the table amidst all my sticky people and ate like 3 plates of pancakes. And that made my heart so happy, but we weren’t doing anything different than what we normally would do in our kitchen, or what we would normally do in our backyard.
That made it feel safe, to me. If no one else shows up, we’re still doing what we’re gonna do. And they showed up.
Mandy: And now, I’m like, “We have to take a skillet out to …” I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I love it, that is the perfect idea, we gotta do the pancakes.” Now we’re gonna have pancakes …
Participant: I love that.
Mandy: That’s our next Front Yard Friday, pancake party.
Participant: Harder than donuts, stickier than donuts.
Mandy: Love it, yeah.
Kristin: Let’s just keep it simple and keep the donuts.
Kristin: I give you permission to only do …
Nicole: But I guess the point is, whatever it is that your family finds connection time within your family doing, just put it out at the table, because it’s like this antennae that you’ve put out. People will come over, even the ones who grumble at you and won’t say “Hi,” and are, you know, they’re like, “Ooh, pancakes.”
Winning Over The Grumpy Guy
Shannon: Well, you said that, so there on our street, over here, there’s this one grumpy guy that nobody knew, he was only reputed … The guy right across the street from our house. Like, who has the Porsche, and he built the garage to closet the Porsche … And nobody knew, him, he was just reputed to be an angry old man, guy, right?
Like the only story I’d ever heard, was Veronica told me once that her kids were having a Nerf gun war in their yard … or maybe it was Lisa, but, like some of the bullets landed in his yard and he came out and yelled at them about the bullets, and was like, “Get those bullets!” You know, the typical, you know, “Get out of my yard” kind of angry old man thing.
And the time we had the grill in the front yard, I looked over, and Mike was talking to this random old man at the grill, and I was like, “Who’s that dude? What’s going on?”
And I went over there, and I’m like, “Hey, how’s it going?” And it was the angry old man. And he came out because he saw, this awesome inclusive party that was multi-generational, and kids going everywhere, and he didn’t give a crap about the Nerf gun bullets in his yard.
Nicole: But there, so he saw a grill, which was probably a space he was comfy in, “I can go help that guy with the grill.”
Shannon: Exactly, “I’m a flipping burgers on the grill kind of guy,” right? And so, it’s … I mean, it works. It totally works for everybody. The 15 year old, the 60 year old, the …
Nicole: All the grumpies.
Mandy: Hey, who you calling old at 60?
Kristin: Careful there.
Amy: Are you 60?
Kristin S: What about you?
MaryBeth: Um, this is Mary Beth. Just to continue on that path, I wanted to say, it doesn’t have to be a night-time thing, either. I’ve done things where I just go and read my mail at the table, or I bring my lunch, just by myself outside, and it is just such a blessing to just get away from the noise and the piles of laundry, and to just go outside.
That is just, so lovely. It’s just so easy. It’s not that hard, like Nicole was saying, anything that you do inside, just take it out to your front yard and people are walking by with their dogs, and you say, “Hi,” and you know, it’s just easy.
Kristin S: And even if they don’t stop, they’ll probably stop the next time.
Nicole: It’s true.
MaryBeth: Right, right. So, I don’t know. As a whole, it’s such a beautiful story, and our neighborhood, for me, as an introvert, like we were talking about before, I moved to the neighborhood pre-kids, and I was working, and then I was home after I had my babies. Our neighborhood at that point was a lot older people, and a lot of people that were working during the day, and I was lonely.
Mandy: You were gonna move.
MaryBeth: We were gonna move, we were gonna move to a different neighborhood, one that had a lot more younger kids, just because I was … I didn’t really, you know … wasn’t connecting with people. Then these extrovert party animals….
Mandy: People who won’t get off her front yard moved in, and …
MaryBeth: Yes, and …
Mandy: We trapped her.
MaryBeth: And all we did was ordered a pizza. It wasn’t that hard. And it has … you know, I have gone from being just kind of lonely, in my house, as a young mom, to really feeling connected with all of you.
Mandy: You’re still a young mom, though, so that’s a good thing.
MaryBeth: And I’m still young! And that’s a miracle …
Mandy: Which is so amazing …
Kristin S: You don’t age at The Turquoise Table.
Mandy: No, exactly.
Kristin S: Yeah, but I think that that’s … you know, too … Well, you say, Kristin, and then I’ll …
Community = Inclusion
Kristin C: So, carrying on what you guys said, I think it’s because we are living in a multi-generational neighborhood, and some people are professionals, and their kids, like our very next-door neighbor’s, their kids are out of the house, they’re at college.
On the other side, there’s a high school student, and then everybody around that, there’s young, elementary school age. And I think The Turquoise Table helps people … or just the front yard movement, helps people come together.
Maybe I wouldn’t have known my neighbors who have the babies, or the college grads that are now off, and they’re off at work every day. But it brings people together at the end of the day. And you realize, you have common bonds with people, and with us being new and from a different country, it helps us learn about our neighbors.
That’s been so lovely. It’s been so lovely. And so you don’t have to have kids with the sticky fingers, and all of that anymore, you can meet the older people that are walking past, or …
Nicole: I’d like to go to a table that’s not sticky.
Shannon: But I think it’s so important that it is multi-generational, because having Leon, and the other seniors of our community come out, and meet our kids, and get to know our kids, and our kids listen to them …
Kristin C: And how special it is for them, because it could be isolating for a young mom, but for an elderly person, how isolating is that?
Shannon: Like how exciting was it, that he saw you guys at the table, and loved it so much that he ran to McDonald’s …
Kristin C: Yes.
Shannon:… and got cookies and came back, I mean that is awesome. You know? For a senior, that’s amazing that he found something that made him so energized and excited. And they love getting to know our kids, they love it. And it gives them a little boost of youth and it gives our kids a great appreciation for our senior citizens and how awesome they are, and it is an amazing cycle.
Kristin S: It’s a win-win. Well, ladies we could talk all day, that’s what we do best. This is kind of evidence of what happens once you gather at the table, but this is going to be what we hope, is sort of a frequent occurrence, where, my neighbors, you know, real-life people just like you and me will go deeper and share, but I wanted to introduce you to them in one of these initial podcast episodes because we’re the real deal. And you are, too. Wherever you’re listening. I hope that you hear something that resonated with you and that you’re encouraged, you know, to just take that chance, keep it simple, and meet a new neighbor.
So, we’ll be back with our original front yard people in a future episode, and thank you all for being here. I’m delighted that y’all would join me today.
All: Thank you.
Kristin’s Kitchen Sponsored by Shipt
Chicken Tortilla Stew Recipe
Kristin: Welcome to the kitchen. Today we are going to be cooking up one of my go to recipes–chicken tortilla stew. Do y’all have one of those recipes that you just go to over and over and over again? Chicken tortilla stew is the recipe for me and this recipe actually comes from one of my best friends Julie, and it’s almost embarrassing to share with you because it is so simple, and you probably have everything you need in your battery. If you can hear me, I’m opening up a can of beans. This is actually the hardest part of the entire recipe is opening up cans, so if you can do that, you can do this recipe.
What you’re going to need are:
- two cans of kidney beans,
- one can of white beans,
- one can of black beans,
- one can a whole kernel corn,
- four cans of Rotel tomatoes,
- a packet of tacos seasoning,
- and then I add a protein because I have four teenagers who like protein, and so I add six to eight boneless skinless chicken thighs to this recipe.
We’re going to put it in the slow cooker and then we’re going to have a whole day to do whatever it is that we need. It is so, so simple.
We had a little fun with this episode that I actually recorded a video, so I would love for y’all to pop on over to the show notes and I will make this recipe for you in the kitchen and make a little bit of fun of it on the video, because it literally is opening cans. So, if you can open up a can and you have a slow cooker, that is about all you have to have to make this recipe. It freezes very well and it’s awesome to take to a neighbor–a super crowd pleaser.
So, hop on over to the show notes and join me in the kitchen there. Thank you for being here. I hope that you were encouraged by the conversation that we had. It was such a pleasure to introduce you to my real-life neighbors. Let me know what you think, because I would like to continue to share stories of real life people–people in our Turquoise Table community–not only in my neighborhood, but in your neighborhoods as well, as you all know we have tables all across America.
I am the holder of stories, if you will, every morning. It is such a pleasure and joy to wake up and hear what you all are doing and the creativity that you are expressing in your own community and in your own neighborhoods. So, wait for stories to come. Because this is going to be one of our favorite parts of the episode is sharing real stories from real tables and real people. So, I hope you enjoy my neighbors today and I hope that you love the chicken tortilla stew as much as I do.
So, hop on over like I said to the show notes and watch the video and get the recipe there. That’s it for today’s show. Thanks for listening. You’ll find the complete transcript of this episode at the TurquoiseTable.com/podcast. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Turquoise Table Podcast on iTunes and leave us a review. Until next time gather small and love deep.