thanksgiving day, 2018

I’m sitting in a quiet house for the first time in over a week.

I can write again!

Our three older children were back home from college for Thanksgiving break and I’ve been busy, because we were able to host Thanksgiving dinner again this year.  The kids helped in many ways, especially in distracting me from my unfortunate tendency to get anxious over how everything would turn out.  They helped by:  coming down with hives, needing to go to football practices, piling up dirty laundry, putting interesting movies on for me to watch, being funny and entertaining, arguing over the newly arrived Playstation, forcing me to play lots of games of bananagrams, and so on.  The weather was also a factor as it dropped down into the teens for days.  Life is good.

It was son David who had the hives.  I never had a child with hives before.  For no apparent reason his hands and feet would become painful and itchy, break out in spots and a rash between his fingers, and then clear completely, only to return 3 or 4 hours later.  This went on for a solid week.  I put in several calls to the Pediatrician just to give us all peace of mind that he was okay and that he wasn’t contagious for our guests.

He felt fine except for the episodes.   In fact, he felt good enough to find a Sharpie and create Neville Squashbottom:


That’s Dave crossing his arms in the background and saying, “NOW we can’t eat him for thanksgiving.”  Maybe this was his way of perhaps getting me to NOT make squash, which he doesn’t like?  He created a Thanksgiving Mascot.

Over the next few days I would come across Neville in random places and the children became attached to him.  I just laughed to myself.  Of all things, a squash.


Thanksgiving morning.  I woke up, Rich made me coffee.  Seth was awake so I put him to work tearing bread into pieces for turkey stuffing.  Sarah had mentioned that she wanted to do it, too, but she was still asleep and I never wake a sleeping child unless absolutely necessary.  Somehow she woke herself up, came slowly downstairs to the kitchen, and sleepily began breaking bread.  After about five slices I noticed her stop to stretch and say to herself, “I’m not even awake yet!”  They filled up the bowl with bread, Squashbottom watching them, while I stood at the stove and sautéed onion and celery (which Jacob helpfully chopped the night before) in plenty of butter.  I poured them into the bread, added plenty of salt and pepper, poultry seasoning, and a touch of broth, tossed it together with a wooden spoon, and then stuffed our 24 pound turkey with it.  The smell of thanksgiving morning is my favorite.

Just three short hours later, brother David arrived with my parents.


And I found Neville on top of the fridge with a mortal stab wound.

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Grace, laughing over the cheese tray.


Seth and Grandpa saying hello and catching up on each other’s news.


Sarah, shooting some hoops.  The basketball hoop doesn’t get played with unless it’s on the closet door, right by the kitchen.  These kids just love me way too much.  (by the end of the day, the “by grace alone” plaque had flown off the wall.)


Rich found me cutting the squash into quarters and took a photo to document his end.


The ladies; Sharon (Abbie’s church friend), Brittnee (Jacob’s girlfriend,) Amanda, Abbie, Grace, Naomi, my mom, myself, and Sarah.


Dad and Sarah

Rich was at the sink washing pots and pans, he was my number one kitchen-cleaner-helper this year!!!  As soon as Mom and I threw a dirty dish in the sink, Rich washed it.


We put all the food on the kitchen island and served the meal buffet-style, after we all stood together and joinded Dad for a heart-felt prayer of gratitude.  We loaded our plates, the adults sat in the livingroom, and the children sat around the table in the dining room.


My extensive collection of fiestaware was put to grand use.  All three gravy boats, lots of casserole dishes and platters, too!  More than enough plates for everyone!




A pleasant game of football was on tv-but kept on mute so we could still talk and laugh and hear each other.

After dinner was over we took some time to shoot our annual “Who are the Guests of this Year’s Thanksgiving” portrait, and some other photos, as well.fullsizeoutput_5d17


Rich and I with our children.


My sister’s family.


Amanda with her daughters.


me with my brother Dave and our sister (our brothers Nate and Isaac couldn’t come this year)


I love this photo of my mom and dad with their dog Kublai Khan.

Mom likes to pretend she’s jealous of Kublai so this was what happened when my sister said, “Lets put Kublai in the middle!”

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soooooooooooo funny


Heads togehter, looking at the camera to see how the portraits turned out.


we played Apples to Apples


Mom was reading through the family genealogy and we decided that David looks just like one of our ancestors.  Especially with his ears that way.


Jacob and Brittnee braved the cold for some photos outside.


Sarah went out to play and was so cold she came back inside again and kept her coat on.  Here she is, enjoying Grandma’s homemade pickles made with her own garden produce.  Mom saved this big jar for our feast and let me keep it, too!  (pickles are gone and the jar is washed and put away).

Our beautiful thanksgiving day was over.  After many hugs, Mom and Dad left with Dave to go back home, and Amanda left with her family, too.  Rich and I relaxed on the couch for the rest of the evening and then we all went to bed except Jacob, Grace, and Brittnee, who went out at midnight to go shopping.







On the last morning with Joanna before heading for home, we dressed in our matching clothes and went out to breakfast at a low-key friendly diner not far from her house.


And then, good-byes. . . . . .


Sarah and I stopped a few times, including once near this pretty stream.  She made a most pleasant little traveling companion.


Grace got home Friday night!  She’s currently at the other end of the couch asleep.  I was sleeping next to her until the phone woke me up.  At her feet are two big cats sleeping in the soft blankets.  The wood pellet stove is going and the sun is shining today, although it is only 33 degrees.  She and I went to the grocery store this morning for her last paycheck before she left for college and…..thanksgiving ingredients.  It’s so windy that as we walked the cart of food to the car the disposable turkey roaster blew off the top and half way across the parking lot!  It made us laugh as Grace chased it down.

The big boys will be arriving from college later on today and this mama’s heart is ready for all the children home again.  God’s blessings never end.


Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness.  JR Miller

the day of thanksgiving


My brother Dave got some great pictures on Thanksgiving day.  I thought I would post the ones he sent to me, along with the few that I was able to take on that day, as well.  It’s funny as I look at them I feel peace…but in actuality the day was quite busy with lots and lots to do and think about (and I never did get the pumpkin pie out of the fridge to serve!  totally forgot about it).  I had lots of help from my Mom and everyone.  It truly came together wonderfully.



Seth was determined to peel potatoes.  I let Jacob help me peel when he was four years old and he peeled his finger so it’s always been an emphatic “no” from me to Seth.  He took matters into his own hands and found a peeler in the drawer for himself.  And yes, he did just fine, after all HE is almost eight.  Thank you, Seth!


His look of intense concentration was just the dearest.


We turned all the heat off in the house but it was still too warm to start a fire in the fireplace.  But I love this room….(we added it to the house a few years ago)


I played a few hymns for the potato peelers.


Rich, Jacob, and Ethan watching something on a phone….

I like how Dave took wide photos to get the details of the rooms.



my husband and his boys (plus Michael, Jacob’s best friend) watching TV


Sarah started eating the homemade rolls as soon as they were done.  They are obviously her favorite thanksgiving food.


Grace and her Aunt Maria made the corn casserole.


Mom, sister Amanda, sisters in law Cassandra, Maria, and Melissa, daughter Grace, myself, and my niece Abigail (who turned 16 yesterday!)  surrounded by lovely fiestware.  😉


Caleb and Dad having a chat.


kitchen help 🙂


Dad played football with his grandsons.  Seriously, he’s the best.


quick family photo before we ate dinner



My sister Amanda took these during Dad’s prayer of thanksgiving to God for all His numerous blessings to our family and the world……..


and then we served up our plates of food and ate all over the place….yes indeedy it was delicious

(I had no appetite which is the only downfall for being the hostess….I get so busy and distracted that I can’t enjoy my food! LOL)  the leftovers have been delicious, though.



and then there was time for a few goofy sibling photos…….


so thankful…whenever we can all be together in the same house….there’s just nothing like that feeling.  I never want to take it for granted.


Happy Thanksgiving!

PS.  and now on to Christmas.  🙂


day after thanksgiving

The dryer is humming.  An orange cat is at my feet, busily cleaning his fur.  The bed is made and I’m sitting on top of the blankets with blue jeans, a flannel, and brown moccasins on.

I can hear Sarah’s movie from the other room, I can hear the cat licking itself, I can hear the dryer, but as I look around the room, everything is quiet and still.  Motionless.  The trees outside are like statues.  If I wasn’t typing, I would be motionless as well.  My eyes would stare; at the shiny doorknob of my bedroom door, at the curtains, the fan on the floor, the patterns of the wood grain of the dresser.

What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday at this time the kitchen and dining room were swarming with family, everyone talking, gesturing, laughing, working, eating, cleaning up, taking photos.

Everyone has gone.


It’s almost a lonely feeling.  To make so many plans and then have a holiday over.

Caleb is loudly whistling.  Rich is at the school setting up for wrestling season.  I can hear the boys digging through the lego bin.  Seth is singing a silly song.

I’m tired.  I’m wearing the day after thanksgiving like a cozy blanket.

preparations for Thanksgiving


Wow what a nice sunny day it is here in good ol’ *hometown* USA.  As soon as I got the kids to school and took my shower I made my way to the grocery store for thanksgiving groceries trip #1.  Trip #2 is tomorrow because my husband has the day off and he loves Costco.  (We’re getting the turkey at Costco…….)

And lest you think I was going to bring all the groceries inside the house myself:

..and yes, he did get up and do it.  🙂

So, for preparations today, I am slowly getting organized to make sure I have all the things I need for the dishes I will be preparing on Thursday.


~Disposable turkey roaster because who wants to scrub out a turkey roaster?
~Bread for stuffing.
~Poultry seasoning, of which I have plenty because it’s one of those things that I never want to run out of so I end up getting more of it than I need.
~Turkey bags to roast the turkey in.


~wheat pilaf


~punch (sherbet in the freezer)….I will be putting the juice and soda on the porch to cool.


~pickles and olives (tray which used to belong to Rich’s grandmother)


~chips and dip

~I could make deviled eggs but haven’t committed yet.


~Orange jello salad (cool whip in freezer)


~crackers and cheese tray


~miscellaneous– more serving pieces


~corn casserole (sour cream and butter will be added, and eggs)


~more trays, plates, and dishes if needed


this along with the dishes that are in the kitchen (plates, bowls, and mugs)

These are the wonderful people attending our meal on Thursday, Lord willing:

Jacob-going to VT today to get Ethan, thank you J!
Sarah Joy
Mom-will be helping me in the kitchen
Maria-bringing pies, baklava, and wine
Amanda-bringing sweet potatoes, coleslaw, wine, and homemade cranberry sauce
Melissa-bringing a vegetable tray and a birthday cake
Makayla-birthday girl!
Cassandra-bringing salad
a guest invited by my sister

Now that I’m done with the groceries I am going to watch a movie, fold laundry and do some cleaning.  Seth and Sarah will be home in an hour.


thanksgiving preparations


We are hosting thanksgiving dinner for our family on Thursday and this morning I began preparations.

I made the rolls…….


let in a kitty


kept making rolls….


including a round pan of cinnamon rolls to be baked on Thursday morning for breakfast.

(for you, E)



At this point, everything went into the freezer.  On thursday morning I will take the rolls out and put them in pans to rise and then bake them so they are nice and fresh for our feast day.


next I will make a couple of


pies, but first some


coffee.  With