Thanksgiving Celebration

Mike took the whole week off, which makes us all so happy. We have gotten several Honey-do’s crossed off the list, which makes me very happy. We cleaned and organized the little barn for the first time since we moved in. Before, it was nearly impossible to walk inside. Now it looks like we don’t have anything in there, since it is all put away so nicely. I organized it to have a yard work corner, a gardening corner, and an animal supply corner. Then Mike brandished his pressure washer on the lanai and pool deck.  There is hardly anything in this world more attractive to me than a man cleaning something. Anything. Every time I look at that sparkling pool deck I think good thoughts about my man. 

While we were in the barn, we found an old tire we intended to make a swing out of. I was thinking of a swing like this one. 

 But the children asked us to mount it sideways, so they could get more people on it. That sounded reasonable. Mike did some math and the swing was ready for action in an hour. The Boy Scouts did the required safety test ride, while the little ones looked for weaknesses in the design. 

When the little ones were sure it was sound, they piled on for a tamer ride. However, they did get a little out of control, spinning so fast that they lost a passenger. I took this picture before I realized what was happening. You can see Hopesie leaning out, about to take a backwards dive. Paul softened her fall and tried to put her on her feet, but she was so disoriented she kept tipping over. I wish I had kept snapping pictures, but I was laughing so hard, they would have all been blurry anyway. 

The scouts went to feed the homeless, while I did a little more cooking for our own dinner. Here is what is on the menu. It is enough to feed a small army and I am hoping it will hold us for a few days. 

The Menu

Maple Tarragon Glazed Turkey with Orange Gravy

Cornbread Dressing

Brandied Cranberries

Linda Britt’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Bacon Smothered Green Beans

Parmesan Pepper Rolls

Apple Cranberry Pie (Brenda Ford’s Crust)

Triple Chocolate and Vanilla Cheesecake

Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies

Sparkling Cider

We always make holiday sugar cookies for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have let the children roll and cut them out the past few years, but they always end up crying in frustration, which does tend to suck the joy out of the activity. This year I rolled, cut, and baked when they were outside and just let them decorate. The dough has to be just the right temperature or you really do want to cry. And if you knead it like Playdoh, it warms up in your hands, requiring more flour, and they become tough to the tooth. It is always interesting to me to watch how different children approach the decorating. I give them bowls of different colored icing, sprinkles and candies, then step back. Some children are fond of the “throw up cookie”. This one has a little of everything on it and it appeals to the first time decorator or to the sugar addict. These people are often attracted to weird color combinations, such as blue pumpkins. 

Then we have the artists, who try to make each cookie a masterpiece. Then they don’t want anyone to eat it. I guess we are going to put these in a keepsake box with the baby book. 

Lastly, we have the cookie monsters who just want cookies. Or sprinkles. Or whatever they can get out of this deal. 

Somewhere along the way today, we lost Hope. I was watching the little ones enjoy the swing, when it occurred to me that I could not remember seeing Hope in the recent past. I quickly checked the pool. No, thank God. Children ran around the house looking for the missing toddler, and I ran upstairs, where I found her sound asleep. What a great baby! Puts herself down for a nap. I just wish she would give me a good night kiss first, so I wouldn’t panic. 

Back to the celebration...

I usually aim for an unrealistic holiday experience. Complicated food, fragile decorations, happy dispositions, all by myself- all day long. A few years ago, it dawned on me that my reality was not worth it. I began to mentally readjust. I decided it might be worth it to use the good dishes two or three times a year, though I will strongly urge my girls to choose china that does not need to be hand washed. It is not really worth it to worry about stained table cloths, and certainly not worth it to iron them. So, even though it is tacky, I purchased a big sheet of thick plastic at the fabric store to place on top of my table cloth. Now we can have sorta pretty and eat, too. Incase you are wondering about the white napkins, those are expendable. I only have eight, which is not going to be enough when Hope is able to wield a napkin. If they perish, they perish. For everyday, we use dark burgundy cloth napkins, which hide stains very well. (I bought 24 at Sam’s for cheap.) We use those silver napkin rings, which each have an initial engraved on them, to help keep the napkins at the right place. They might be silver, but they are very washable. 

I have learned to keep my decorations simple. The table has a candle and a fall wreath on a pedestal all season. The coffee table has a seasonal selection of literature. Actually, the literature is usually on the floor. It is still seasonal. The mantle is graced with a leafy swag and real squashes, which we will eat in the next week. We already ate the Butternut squash. 

I let my children wear whatever they want, get dirty, and act a little bit wild. I also try not to notice if Mike takes a big nap. 

We did not have a Thanksgiving play this year, mainly because the oldest boys were at the homeless shelter for a large part of the afternoon. The little ones still dressed up and ran around outside, pretending to be Indians. For awhile we had a cowboy among them, but he defected to the pilgrims by dinner time. 

Everything was wonderful and I hope yours was, too!

© Being Fruitful, 2012