I reached an adult milestone last week....I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner. Brandon and I decided to host Thanksgiving at our house this year, and we invited my parents, his parents, and his brother and sister-in-law. Pepper offered to help me, and boy was I glad for that (she's not only a great cook, but also was so helpful in keeping me organized so I could get it all done by dinner time on Thursday!)
John and Pepper arrived on Tuesday night. They got to see a sleepy, but still awake Ella, and then we all went to bed to get ready for a long but fun-filled few days ahead. On Wednesday, John and Brandon went to work refinishing a table and chairs that HAD to get done if we wanted to seat 8 people all together. We had been given the set by Brandon's mom, but it sat in our garage, in desperate need of attention, for months. The task seemed to loom over us, so it ended up being a good goal to set: if we have Thankgiving at our house, we have a deadline to meet. There's nothing like a looming deadline to make you move, right? Well, I didn't take before pictures, but here is the finished product. We sanded off countless layers of grime, paint, and stain, then restained it a dark walnut color, cleaned and replaced some hardware, and repadded and upholstered the seats. I think it turned out to be beautiful, and was so thankful that John was willing to work on it with B.
Meanwhile, Pepper and I got to cook and hang out with babies for a while. We made casseroles and pies and vegetables....favorites of our families that we were proud to serve. I lost count at how many sticks of butter we used (or cans of cream of mushroom soup, carrots, celery stalks, etc...).
On Wednesday night, Brandon went over to the church for a youth concert, and John and Pepper took the girls out on a date. They were gonna go to Chuck E Cheese, but Ella pitched such a fit that they wisely decided to go more low-key and hit up Chic Fil A instead. Ella's never been to Chuck E Cheese, so it wasn't that she didn't want to go there, but she was just in a pill of a mood. I found myself with a few minutes of peace and quiet (which I used to cook dinner for me, make stuffing and greenbean casserole and then sit on the couch for a few minutes.)
By Wednesday night, I thought we had the bulk of the cooking done, but found on Thursday morning that there was still much to do. Breakfast casserole (by Pepper), lots of different appetizers and munchies, setting the table, roasting the turkey...finishing the table!!! We threw in a couple of quick trips to the Dollar General for some last minute items such as parmesan cheese, gravy (we decided against the homemade stuff because we couldn't find the giblet bag in the turkey...little did we know there were TWO openings in that bird...I didn't find the bag until after we had all finished eating and I was cleaning up and putting things into Tupperware!), and a newspaper so we could check out the deals for Black Friday.
So, for the official 2009 Thanksgiving menu, we had:
Pigs in a blanket
2 different cheese balls w/ assorted crackers
Fresh veggies w/ dip
Chips & Salsa
Homemade Spinach Artichoke dip
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Maple Butternut Squash with Bacon
Green Bean Casserole
Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
Macaroni & Cheese
Cranberries and Harvest Apple Casserole
Aunt Jane's Famous Pecan Pies (made w/ Brown sugar, not Karo syrup)
Turtle Pumpkin Pie
Paula Deen's Gooey Pumpkin Bars
Honduran Coffee w/ assorted flavored creamers (Thanks to John who brought us the coffee from his latest mission trip!)
Needless to say, we were in need of a walk and a nap after that extravaganza!
But, friends, there's no rest for the weary because at 4am Pepper and I were on our way to save our husbands lots of money at Target! :) We arrived to find that at least 400 others were thinking that BEFORE us! We stood in line and got what we wanted and were home again before anyone else was awake. Target actually did a great job with organizing the shoppinig event, and I was thankful for the order that they brought. Hats off!
After a round of golf for the men, everyone met back up around our new table to help us get rid of the ridiculous amounts of leftovers we had, and by 4pm it was all over. Brandon and I sat face to face with full bellies and a smile on our faces. We had pulled it off (with some major help from John and Pepper!)
Sooooooooo unbelievably, incredibly thankful for the amazing blessings in my life.