I hope you had a glorious Thanksgiving. It’s been a while since I’ve posted because I was consumed with all that goes into prepping for our family’s big day of thanks. Here’s a rundown of how our week went:
All Hands on Deck!
Since we were expecting to host and sleep several out of town guests I was busily cleaning every inch of my home, barking out orders to my kids, and finishing up year-old paint and home renovation projects. Everyone got on board! There were no exceptions. I needed all hands on deck to clean the fridge, the oven and to dust the blades of ceiling fans (you know, the ones that you never pay attention to until company comes over and you happen to look up and cringe and you are completely mortified because they are so dirty?).
My husband painted and plastered and buzzed with wood saws and cleared off a couple of items on his “Honey-Do” list. I was busily washing bed linen, counting pillows and coordinating bath cloth and towels sets. I was carefully crafting and shopping for a list of food items that would feed my son’s military friends – who have bottomless pits for stomachs (but we love ‘em!).
Canada or Bust!
Just to add to the craziness of the pre-holiday rush, my husband and I went to Canada the Monday before Thanksgiving to attend the graduation of our oldest daughter, Ashely, who graduated from cosmetology school. We left at 6am Monday morning, arrived by 3:45pm, attended her graduation at 5:30pm, left Canada to return home at 2am, and arrived home at 11am Tuesday morning to begin to prepare for Thanksgiving. Whew! We are so proud of her. She’s the beauty at the end on the right who didn’t get the “wear black” memo. :o)
Thanksgiving Door Charge? (Cha-ching!)
By the time we were finished with the excitement of inviting guests for Thanksgiving, there were three sets of out of town guests coming: my son’s Marine buddies, my BFF and her daughter from Pennsylvania, and Angel’s special friend from Canada. That’s a lot of people for our Little House on the Freeway with only one bathroom. And when one of my kids heard how the out of town guest list had ballooned, he asked if people were sleeping on the roof. My husband joked that our food bill was going to be so exorbitant and that he was going to charge per-plate! We laughed until our stomachs hurt. (It was either that, or cry.)
When all was said and done several out of town guests sadly dropped off the list . . . but as life would have it, their attendance was replaced by the usual addition of unexpected guests on the very day of Thanksgiving! To compensate, my husband removed a couple of interior doors and we extended tables and I ripped decorative paper plates off of the table at the last minute and replaced them with mix and match dining plates, cloth napkins and long stem glasses. But we made it work:::formal seating for 16!
Gracious Hosting vs. Mini-Meltdown’s
I know what gracious hosting looks like, and honestly, at times I struggled to display it. Thankfully, I caught myself before I left any negative lasting impressions on guests that I was just meeting or others that didn’t know me well. But that’s probably only because I unleashed the brunt of my fury on my husband (and a little on my kids). Like I said on my About page, at this point in our marriage my husband is fully adept at dealing with my occasional psychosis. He calmly continued to carve the ham and turkey as we prepared for guests, and he gave me hugs and didn’t respond to my escalating level of frustration. I was not proud of my mini-meltdowns. Overall, I give myself a Thanksgiving Day mental wellness rating of a B- / C+. Oh well, better luck next year!
Edible Decorations? Beware!
Our last house guest flew out of town this morning (which saddened me) and things are pretty much back to normal. Which means that I spent my morning letting my hair down, letting it all hang out, and relaxing by vegging out on copious amounts of The Food Network. Of course, just in time for Christmas, one of the food segments showed how to make an edible wreath. How clever! And cute. But let me warn you about edible decorations: this year, my Fall Harvest garden display was ruined by a very persistent squirrel. For the first time ever – and I’ve been doing this for years – the squirrel repeatedly ate my decorative corn and mini pumpkins. He won, and I lost, and that’s all there is to it! Think about that before you hang anything edible from your front door.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce (Woo-hoo!)
So, I’m trying to grow-up and expand my culinary skills. Honestly, you can’t watch as much of The Food Network as I do and not be inspired to be a better cook. So this year, in my attempt to be more authentic I decided to make cranberry sauce from scratch! Bam!
Now don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoy cranberry sauce in the can, but if you confess that in “foodie” circles they will look at you like your crazy because it’s . . . c . . c . . c . . canned! After googling recipes the night before until I needed toothpicks to hold-up my eyelids, I decided to merge these two recipes from The Pioneer Woman and McCormick.com. Overall, it was pretty good, but still too tart to please the palates of my guests. However, I think a sweeter version of it will definitely make an appearance next year at my Thanksgiving table.
The Kids Are Dating (He-He!)
I spent the week entertaining my older kids and their “significant others” (which is code for boyfriends and girlfriends). This is a totally new and very exciting dynamic for me as a mom. They would sit at the table with their significant others chatting-it-up and playing with each other and I would sit there too, tickled pink and blushing, turning red and grinning from ear-to-ear (and sometimes cringing!) while listening to them horse around and make goo goo eyes at each other. Where did the time go? How can this be happening? (I happen to love it!)