Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns;
I'm thankful that thorns have roses."

Thanksgiving has once again come and gone, and I have to admit that I was feeling the holiday spirit much more this year than I did last year. Maybe it's because I'm living back home with my family, or maybe it's because I have a new love in my life. But whatever it may be, I had a lot to be thankful for this past year. All the positive and happy energy that was running through me played out in the week leading up to thanksgiving. It took shape in the form of LOTS of crafting and decorating.

The first stop on my "Thanksgiving makeover" was our drab fireplace mantel. 

 I vaguely queued my boyfriend it as to what I wanted the mantel to look like. He was a good sport and ran around to multiple stores with me as I searched through the extensive holiday decorations in each aisle. I only ended up buying a couple of wreath-type decorations. Other than that I couldn't see spending $10 on pinecones when my yard was littered with them. The best part of living on a farm with 140 acres of un-buildable land behind you is the endless supplies of nature crafting supplies.

My parents and I walked around the property and picked up various types of evergreen branches, pinecones, acorns, and bittersweet. I have to admit, I was quite happy with the end result.

The night before thanksgiving I decided to make hand-made placemats. This project was pretty simple. I took some poster board (I used a pinkish color to pop against the red tablecloth), cut each one to the size of a placemat and drew out a square with lines in it with the words "I am thankful for..." The whole idea behind it was that while everyone was sitting at the table, I wanted them to reflect on what they were thankful for. Everyone had a designated space on their placemats where they could write down what they were thankful for. This went over pretty well with everyone. My nephew was a little begrudging with it, but it was great to sit at the table afterwards and read them all. I will be cutting out everyones notes to frame for a Christmas gift for my mother. 

The next project on my list was to make a nice centerpiece for my mother. We bought two bouquets of assorted flowers at the market two days before thanksgiving. I decided to use those and two candles to create the centerpiece. Of course I had to throw in some left over evergreen branches from the mantel. 

But after all was said and done, it just didn't seem life enough for me. The table was missing something (other than all the food!). My inner country girl got a little creative with this one! I went out to the barn and took two pieces of split wood, drilled some holes in them, and placed tea candles into the holes. It made for a great decoration, and looked amazing in our country-style kitchen!

After most of the decorating was done I moved on to one of my favorite parts of the holiday! BAKING!! Now mind you, we really don't have a lot of people over for thanksgiving. It's my, my boyfriend, my parents, my sister and her husband and my nephew. But I swear to you, we cook enough food to feed an army. I can't even say "Well we will eat the left overs" because there's too many left overs to eat!!! But that's never stopped us before. By the time we were done baking the desserts we had as followed:
1 apple pie
1 pumpkin pie
apple pie cookie bars
chocolate chip cookies
Pumpkin dip with gingersnap cookies
This also doesn't include all the "finger" foods we make to pick on before dinner. Those included pigs in a blanket, pickles, olives, chips and dip, and I'm sure something else that I'm forgetting. So if you're ever looking for a place to eat on thanksgiving, or you know...the next couple of weeks to follow...just stop by my house. Even the dogs eventually get sick of eating turkey!

The first step on my baking extravaganza was my apple pie cookie bars. I found this recipe on pintrest (of course), and just had to try it out! They were so successful that they were almost all gone before dessert was even passed out!!

Next we dove into making the pies. My mother made the apple pie and I helped out with the pumpkin pie.

By the time Thanksgiving morning rolled around it was safe to say that everything was finished, minus the actual dinner. We purchased a 20lb turkey and I was slightly worried that our oven wouldn't be able to handle the weight! My mother made her famous french-stuffing which is a meat stuffing. It is made with the usual stuffing stuff, but also sausage and ground beef. We had mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes, butternut squash, peas, corn and of course cranberry sauce. Before we could put the food out I had to make the table look presentable. I think I did a pretty good job!

My brother-in-law carved the Turkey while we gawked at him with drool coming out of our mouthes. 

After we finished our dinner and dessert we all sat around the table an played a game I had bought the night before called Telestrations (if you've never played it before you are certainly missing out!). Our holiday was filled with fun, laughter and love. This thanksgiving was hands-down the best thanksgiving we have ever had. We have all had so many life-altering changes in our lives this past year. Last thanksgiving was spent at my sisters house because she was practically bed-ridden from her car accident. Now she is healthy and lively and stronger than ever! My parents make sure that our household is filled with love and respect. We all have amazing dog-children that keep smiles on our faces. And above all, I was incredibly blessed to have my first thanksgiving with my boyfriend this year. Luckily my family didn't scare him away!

So to wrap this up, remember to be thankful for all you have in life. Try not to complain about the way things are in your life. Remember that no matter how bad things are they could always get worse. Be thankful every day. I certainly am. I do not need one day out of the year to reflect on all that I have to be thankful. However, I will certainly use it as a good excuse to eat as much food as I can possible handle!!!

(Shango giving the stink-eye because he wanted more turkey!) 

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