We had one of our Saturday Night Dinners for our Thanksgiving this year. We thought we’d keep it simple—we’d do a turkey, mashed potatoes, instant stuffing, fresh bread, and mulled cider; one couple was bringing a sweet potato casserole; and one couple was bringing dessert. Easy, right? Well holy hell it was still a lot of work. Last minute stuff, really, and not hard, but still craziness. Especially at the last minute when I realized I had completely forgotten to start the gravy! (At least I already had the stock ready so it didn’t take long at all.)




My very first use of a selfie stick!


I don’t think this is nearly enough food.

We were invited to a friends’ house for Thanksgiving. She and her other guests cook in quantity like we do…so there wasn’t quite enough food for six adults and nine kids. :)

Katie’s dinner? A roll, crackers, and cheese. For dessert she tried pumpkin pie, said she liked it, then proceeded to eat just the whipped cream.

Owen’s dinner? A roll, ham, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

I did really well overall. I splurged on two glasses of wine throughout the evening…and it was deeelicious. (I haven’t had a glass of wine in probably four months.) Foodwise:

  • 1oz deep-fried pork loin
  • 1/2oz smoked turkey
  • about 3T each of Easter/funeral potatoes, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, and smoked corn casserole
  • 2 deviled eggs
  • 1 small Hawaiian roll

Dessert was cheesecake. I took a full slice intending to eat the whole thing dammit. And then about halfway through I said “This doesn’t even taste good anymore.” And that was that. Voodoo. :)

This is what she picked to wear. And she was damn cute. :)

The kids all had fun playing and the adults ended up watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles. :)

Anyone else hate doing art projects with their kids?

Owen’s pieces usually start out decent enough but then he keeps adding stuff and adding stuff and adding stuff and soon it’s unrecognizable. I realize a first grade project isn’t a big deal but my OCD can’t handle it.

This is disguising Tom Turkey so the farmer can’t find him for Thanksgiving dinner.


  • There was one zig-zag string of lights and it was perfect…and then he just off and scribbles on another zig-zag strand on the side.
  • I thought the yellow star on top was good…then he decided to color it green.

Maybe I need to start drinking wine again…

Owen’s Thanksgiving Feast

All the kindergarten classes were having a combined Thanksgiving Feast today. We had all signed up to bring something and Owen really wanted us to come, so I kept Katie up from her nap and off we went.

To say it was all a bit disorganized would be an understatement. I joked that at least it wasn’t a state dinner—it was just a kindergarten meal. :) The feast was supposed to start at 1:45 and at 1:35 the last of the kids were still eating while parents and teachers were cleaning the empty tables and taping colored paper tablecloths on. No one knew which teachers were going to sit where so all these parents had no place to put their food donations and just kept moving them around.

Katie was being good, actually, and kept herself busy with an acorn she had scooped up on the way in. And then playing with my Visitor sticker.



Then I realized that parents were just making plates ahead of time and putting them on the tables—so the kids wouldn’t even get to pick what they wanted. I knew Owen wouldn’t eat any of it (except maybe the corn and a roll) so I had packed his lunch. But with all the confusion (and seeing that their class assistant was running around setting up), I was positive the lunch would not make it to the cafeteria. I asked her if it was okay to get his lunch and she said yes, so I had to take Katie to the classroom. The classroom was dark so I figured the kids were all being held somewhere beforehand. So it was a quick grab, but I was glad I did it because I got to see the other turkeys that had been disguised! :)


On the way back to the cafeteria, I saw all the kids in a lower hallway with their feather headdresses and pilgrim hats. Owen saw me and got very happy. Katie, of course, wanted to go down and sit with Owee. :) Back in the cafeteria, Katie wanted to hide.



The centerpieces:


I grabbed these entrance pictures from the school’s Facebook page. Each kid walked in with a “friend” from another class, so each Native American walked in with a Pilgrim.



Then it was time to line up for the exchange of necklaces:

And then the first few songs. Things seemed to be going as expected. Owen was happy and laughing.


Then the singing started. And he saw me. Remember his meltdown/panic attack last year when he was line leader for his pre-K graduation? Yeah, it wasn’t a one-time thing. I do not have a public performer. And I could slowly see it happening—he was getting shy and starting to tear up and definitely wasn’t participating. I’m not sure if it was performing in front of a big crowd or seeing me or a combination of both…but it killed me to watch.


Here’s exactly what I saw. Poor kid.

And then it was over and he got to come sit down to eat lunch and he was fine.


But he REFUSED to put his hat back on so I just took a picture of it.


And by then, all the plates of food the parents had set out were ice cold. Which didn’t really bother Owen as he was eating PB&J—though he did have three bites of corn and a roll. I picked at the rest of the plate but it wasn’t very appealing cold.

While everyone was eating, they were playing a slideshow of drawings the kids had done in the computer lab.


This was Owen’s:


The music teacher came up while Owen was eating and asked him what was wrong because she saw how he had been acting. She told me that he was amazing in class and loved to sing!

They had a second set of songs planned for after lunch so I tried to tell him that he didn’t need to be shy and that he just needed to look straight at me and pretend that no one else was there…and that I really really wanted to see him sing and I knew he could sing the songs because he sings them at home all the time. He would barely even look at me or acknowledge what I was saying! He said he didn’t want to do them and wanted to come home with me. I told him that wasn’t an option. I told him again if he was scared to just look straight at me and don’t pay any attention to anyone else. I got him to laugh a bit and kept my fingers crossed.

Lining up—so far so good.


And then he actually participated in the closing songs! Without melting down! YAY! I’m guessing it was more luck of the draw then my pep talk but I’ll take it. :)

Proof I was there! (I found this pic on Facebook afterwards!)


Heading back to class!


Thanksgiving, photo fail, and friends.

The day started out well enough. Owen was very VERY excited about going to Uncle Roger’s for Thanksgiving…and kept asking me how many minutes how many minutes how many minutes. I told him it wouldn’t be until after Katie’s nap, so then he started asking how many minutes until her nap. Over and over and over. At 9am. :) He told me he was going to go get in the car. I told him no, it wasn’t time yet. I finally told him it would be a few hours, and I would let him know when it was time…I wouldn’t let him miss it.

Fast forward until after Katie’s nap. I had the mashed potatoes going on the stove and their nice outfits all ready…and of course she woke up too early. Fine, no problem. I got them both dressed for pictures. Katie wasn’t terribly happy (she’s got a cold—as does Owen—and her nap wasn’t long enough) so it was challenging to say the least. And she was really REALLY cute, too, so I was disappointed. But I was snapping away and hoping I’d at least get one decent shot.

Then it was off to finish the potatoes. And take breaks every minute or so to wipe Katie’s nose. And try to get Owen to RELAX about getting his shoes and coat on and wanting to get in the car. And then I decided to take more pictures…AND DISCOVERED THERE WAS NO MEMORY CARD IN THE CAMERA SO I DIDN’T HAVE ANY PICTURES. I wasn’t in a great mood before that, so that just pushed me over the edge. (It’s the little things, I swear.)

So I was rushing to get everything packed to leave the house (changes of clothes for both kids because it was Owen’s Clean Out Weekend and because Katie accidentally got some of Owen’s “poop juice”, diapers, pull-ups, snacks, etc.), get the potatoes finished and in the crock pot, stack all the dirty dishes, let the dog out, and then—since I’m apparently a masochist—TRY TO TAKE MORE PICTURES WITH UNCOOPERATIVE KIDS… Needless to say I didn’t get one good picture.

The best picture of the super cute hand-me-down dress:


The best of the awful sibling pics:


The good thing about the day was going to our friend’s house—my babysitter’s house—so she took over Katie duty while her younger sister played with Owen. This became Katie’s favorite new activity:


The kids were having a great time playing (Owen even asked to play on the big outdoor trampoline!), I was drinking wine and visiting, and all seemed well. Until Owen came over to me asking where the bathroom was, so I went with him to show him—and watched as he puked in the toilet. Twice. Oh lovely. I told him he might be going home—if he was sick, we really couldn’t stay. He immediately started whining that he didn’t want go…he wanted to keep playing. So I told him we had to take his temperature and if he had a temp, we had to go. He didn’t have a temp, so we stayed.

The dinner was nice and it was good to be with friends—it helped not to miss Tom quite as much. But of course Owen was frustrating. He had told me he would try all the new foods…but come time, he didn’t touch anything. He claims he ate a bite of mashed potatoes but he didn’t. He didn’t even want his yogurt. Sigh. Then he had to go potty—and I went to check on him (I don’t trust him when we’re not at our house)—and it’s a good thing I did because he had peed all over the toilet, floor, and waste basket. SERIOUSLY?! Breathe. Breathe. I know where the cleaning supplies are, so off I went. It wasn’t a big deal (and they didn’t care) but still, it was like WHAT ELSE IS GOING TO HAPPEN?! Then we called it an early night because Katie was getting tired and I really just wanted to get into jammies and relax.

Once we got home, I tried pictures again…and didn’t have much more luck.



Both kids were in bed by 7 and then I got to relax…

Thanksgiving Up North

Since Tom had the entire long weekend off, we decided to go to Traverse City to stay with dad and Linda—it would be the first time we had been there in years. They also invited everyone (mom & David, Marge, and Marsha & Rob) for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday!

The trip up didn’t go quite as planned. Owen was a pretty good trooper on the ride—it was his nap time when we left, so we hoped he’d sleep at least two hours…but 30 minutes was all we got, and then he was hungry shortly thereafter, so we stopped in Midland to eat dinner and feed him. That added about 45 minutes to our trip. Then we discovered US 131 was closed and the resulting back roads detour took us a good half hour out of our way. GRRRR. (Apparently everyone knew about this but either forgot to mention it or thought we were going another direction.) |-| But Owen did sleep the whole way after dinner, and made the transition form the car to his crib nicely (he did wake up, but fell back to sleep easily). I was happy about that because that was what I had been most worried about, as I hate to do anything that might mess up his great sleep schedule.

The family dinner went well. Linda had said that everyone was welcome after 1, and mom was pulling in at 1:03 and Marsha was pulling in at 1:07. :>> Mom was actually three minutes later than I expected her. Hee. Owen was freshly bathed and in a new (from cousin Nick) outfit and was just such a dashing little gentleman (aka cutie pie):

Grandma Linda and the dashing Owen

We had lots of yummy hors d’œuvres, everyone brought goodies to add to the meal, I did the mashed potatoes, then watched and helped my mom make the gravy (I figure if I watch it enough times, I might be able to do it on my own one of these days :oops:). I also really enjoyed a few glasses of wine. :p Everything was delicious, and Owen even had Thanksgiving fare—albeit the baby food versions. We did give him a bunch of tiny bites to try, though, including turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash, and rolls—which he ate, but didn’t really enjoy (he still has texture and thickness issues).

And then. Unfortunately. At the exact moment we gave him some pistachio fluff to try, he barfed up his entire meal. I guess the fluff broke the camel’s back, so-to-speak, and his little stomach/gag reflex said ENOUGH! Thankfully it all landed on him, his bib, and the high chair, and none hit the table or the carpet. Poor Owen. But he was no worse for the wear and we all got a good laugh out of it.

I wanted to be sure to get a group picture since it’s not a common occurrence to have all the grandparents together. We only took two, so imagine my surprise when one of them came out pretty damn good!

The whole fam damily.

Thanksgiving with movies!

I spent Thanksgiving with our good friends the Mitchell’s. The food was yummy, of course, and it was nice being able to spend the day with friends.

The most bizarre thing to me, however, was that the weather was SO gorgeous. I think it got to 74—and even though I logically knew it was warm out, the Michigan girl hidden deep inside me expected it to be cold and wintry outside! But, since it wasn’t, we decided to watch movies under the stars! They have a projector and screen for outdoors, so I ran home to get some Christmas-themed kids movies and then we sat outside for hours! It did get chilly, but we just brought out the blankets and it was great!

First we had A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, then a Charlie Brown Mayflower one I’d never seen, the kids wanted to skip A Charlie Brown Christmas in favor of The Grinch, and then we moved on to the more adult Christmas Vacation, and then the very adult non-holiday-themed Casino Royale (the newest Bond).

It started sprinkling toward the end, so we had to bring everything inside and finish the movie indoors, but still, a good time was had by all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are waaaaay too many good smells coming from our kitchen today—and we’re not even having Thanksgiving at our house!

I decided to make another loaf of Spaghetti Bread this morning, so we were smelling italian seasoning, garlic, and parmesean…

Then I made a new cornbread recipe (Tomatillo Cheddar Cornbread) for our breakfast—delish!—so we were smelling spicy-ish mexican.

Then, while both of those things were going, I toasted some pecans and coconut for the Sweet Potato casserole I’m making for dinner at our neighbor’s this afternoon!

I love cooking and baking!!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We wish we could have spent the time with our families, but since we couldn’t, we were with the next best thing—our friends here!

We had quite the feast—if possible, I think we had more food than our “mini-Thanksgiving” when dad and Lin were here!!! Unfortunately, most of the stuff I was making was last minute, so I had pretty much all day to do nothing! I did, however, make two things ahead of time.

So, 3:30 rolls around and I start preparing. Everything was going smoothly and on schedule, but it felt like I was forgetting something. I had put all the ingredients on the table so I knew I wasn’t forgetting anything (or so I thought). So 5:00 comes and everything is pretty much done except the stuffing, gravy, and corn. We all sat down to eat and everything was soooo good and there was soooo much…and we were all just making pigs of ourselves…and just about the time we were all finished, I said “OH MY GOD! I forgot two things!” I had forgotten the stuff I made ahead of time (and were in the refrigerator)—the pistachio jello salad and the deviled eggs (both things, ironically, that I have never before made—EVER!!). So, everyone then had to have more food… (I had to force them, you see… Yeah, right!)

We had TONS of leftovers (which is what I wanted)…I did about 8-10# of potatoes and one of those industrial-sized cans of green beans from Sams. (I also wanted to be able to send home leftovers!) It was all heavenly…

Our final menu:

  • deep-fried turkey injected with creole butter and rubbed with creole seasoned salt
  • mashed potatoes with loads of butter and sour cream
  • green bean casserole
  • candied yams with walnuts and marshmallows
  • corn bread muffins
  • stuffing (boxed, but altered with onions and celery)
  • corn
  • pistachio jello salad
  • deviled eggs
  • homemade macaroni and cheese (from Ursula)
  • homemade white chocolate chip/macademia nut cookies AND chocolate chocolate chip/walnut cookies (from Cindy)
  • two different ice creams (from Cindy, which we never even opened because we were so stuffed)
  • pumpkin pie (from Ursula, which we never even cut into because we were so stuffed)

All this for six people and one child. :) Like I said, leftovers.