Tag Archives: printables

Our “First” Thanksgiving

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Our “First” Thanksgiving

The dishes are washed, the leftovers divvied up or stored, the linens are waiting to be laundered. Yesterday was the big day. We had the family here for Thanksgiving: the forty-something-th Thanksgiving hosted here and our first without Mom’s help. There were smiles and a lot of grateful hearts but also a few weepy/melancholy moments along the way. It’s just so strange to be doing the Mom-things when Mom is still here just not herself.

The two things I was really anxious about were the rolls and the gravy. I know–really? But yes. I bought Williams Sonoma turkey gravy base so that was covered. (Although to the lady in the store who said in a shocked voice, “That will never be enough for sixteen people, it’s barely enough for the six of us;” It might be time to evaluate your gravy usage! It was more than enough for the sixteen of us…in fact we had half of it left.) The rolls looked fantastic (phew) but the bigger pan was a little doughy in the middle. Oh well, we didn’t want it to seem too easy right? I tried to take photos of everything along the way but of course I didn’t get any of the table when it was finished or of the table when it was full. Oh well. I’m sure it looked just like every other table in America yesterday.

Delores was awesome and just what I needed every time I turned around. Really, really, really can’t imagine walking through the day yesterday without her. Thank God for sisters!

Once we chose the printables, we got this gorgeous wired satin ribbon. I was soooo excited to use it.

I used the dark brown on the handle of the basket we used for “thankful cards.” As each guest arrived, Dad asked them to write something they were thankful for inside. He told them to think of something somewhat unique to them and then not to write their names. He collected them all and after dinner he read them one by one and we guessed who had written it. I loved it! It was a great way to find out that David got a promotion, that Uncle Jack’s son, Cousin Greg, is home from Afghanistan, that Jimmy is looking to expand his business, and that I am evidently thankful to have been married to the man of my dreams for twenty-two years now. (Thank you, Glenn, for writing my card for me.)


We set the table with white tablecloths, white dishes from Dollar Tree, Mom’s crystal saucers, and brown paper napkins. Safeway had those wheat sheaf things so we got three of them and then tied the taupe ribbon over the burlap and raffia so you didn’t even know they were there!

You can see here that Mom wanted to help set the table: as I was setting the silver on one table, she placed this plastic measuring cup (in a lovely golden-rod color from the 70’s) and wooden spoon at one setting.

We tied the place cards on the backs of the chairs using both of the colors of ribbon. The ladies’ place cards were tied with bows and the guys with knots. And praise me! I successfully tied the ribbons in not-a-pattern. This is unheard of for me. Every time I think I’m doing something not in a pattern I look closer and sure enough, I’ve done it again. Delores helped me tie the ribbons. I think they looked amazing.

After dinner, when everything was cleaned up, Delores stacked our Dollar Tree dishes up next to things from the table and I thought it was so pretty I snapped a photo.

Here’s a closer shot of the basket. The unused cards are sitting on the tea cart but look at the cards in the basket–I love that there’s a gravy stain on the top one.

So we did it. It wasn’t the same but it was good. You know how you view everything through your own lens and assume the rest of the world views it the same way? (No? I’m the only one on this?) I thought about how much I wanted this to be lovely. How it felt like a coming-of-age thing to take the reins on this. I wanted it to feel the same for Mom. I didn’t want to change it up too much because I didn’t want her to feel odd about it. I’d never want to make her feel de-valued. But I didn’t think about how important it would be for the rest of the family until I read this sweet facebook post from my niece…made me cry a bit:

What am I thankful for? Today for starters, My Mom and Aunt for putting together a Thanksgiving feast exactly how Grandma would have done it had she been feeling better… I love you Grandma (Nanc’ and Mom) with all my heart!

Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with family and friends and little bit too much to eat.

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Thanksgiving with Thankful Hearts

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Thanksgiving with Thankful Hearts

It’s officially Thanksgiving week. This is such an odd year–full of change and, well, oddness. Thanksgiving for my family has been at my parents’ since I can remember. Before, actually. Mom and Dad have long been the anchor for our family and Thanksgiving is the perfect reflection of their role. Because of Mom’s health though we planned last year that I would be in Portland (Boring, actually) for this year and that we’d be hosting the family Thanksgiving at camp. Instead here we are, all under one roof, and so the changes will be less jarring I think. In fact, I’m trying not to make too many changes. Everyone loves Thanksgiving precisely because it is just how it has always been so I’m not planning to mess with it too much.

Family has truly been amazing as this season approaches. There’s been an embarrassment of riches in offers for help from these kind and affectionate people that I usually only see at Thanksgiving. Pretty sure there’s a lesson in there if I look closely.

My sister, Delores, took the week off so we are having fun while we prepare and hopefully keeping thankful hearts too. Today we hit Costco and Fred’s for all our grocery needs. As you can imagine, we were the only ones there. HA! It was crazy at both stores–people everywhere in every state of hurry you can imagine. When we combined the chaos of the stores with Mom’s slower, somewhat confused pace, the stores were a little crazy-making. It was the perfect time for me to practice my new “think this, not that” phrase: “I have all the time I need to accomplish what I need to accomplish.” It totally works. I have long been skeptical of the whole positive self-talk thing. I know it works for athletes and blah blah blah, but I feel like Stuart Smalley whenever I try it. (Say it with me, “I’m good enough; I’m smart enough; and doggone it, people like me.”) But this phrase actually helps me. It helps me because it causes me to take a breath and recognize that I am getting ridiculously impatient over something that will add literally seconds to my time in Costco or Fred Meyer or at the traffic signal or in the kitchen. If the guy needs that parking spot that badly, then he should definitely cut me off and park there. I can be gracious and find another. The perfect chance to practice living generously. It was also the perfect time to be thankful for my sister. I cannot imagine shopping by myself with mom in that chaos and actually accomplishing anything on my list. It really took both of us. And she is indefatigably sweet and cheerful with mom. Truly remarkable.

We got home and my sweet niece, Mistie, met us here to help with preparations. We’ve talked about making this happen for years but this year was the year evidently because we finally did. And she gave me a great cut and color while we worked. How can that be bad?!?

So if you’re keeping track, here’s what we accomplished today:

  • groceries purchased? check.
  • hair cut and colored? check.
  • eggs boiled and prepped for deviling? check.
  • bacon vinaigrette made for green beans? check.
  • pies baked? check.
  • place-cards printed and cut out? check.
  • adorable candles holders created by Mistie? check. (I love that the fonts match!)

Since we’re keeping most things the same, I’ve only messed with our table setting. I purchased dishes at Dollar Tree (hard to beat $1 per plate and that way I can have matching dishes for all of us.) I used a printable Thanksgiving suite from Love the Day that is elegant and simple. We’re using the place cards, tying them with beautiful satin ribbon to the backs of the chairs; the cupcake flags on the picks for our appetizers; the Thankful for You cards for guests to write what they’re thankful for; and I copied the cupcake flags to make headers for my menu, grocery list, and to-do list. (It’s always more fun if your list is pretty, right?) I’ll post more photos after the table is set.

In the meantime, here’s the menu:

Appetizers: Glenn really wanted to add these items and I am all for finding ways for this to become his celebration too.

  • caprese bites (tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella on a pick)
  • prosciutto wrapped asparagus
  • crudite

Dinner: Pretty much none of this is negotiable because everything is someone’s favorite.

  • deviled eggs
  • autumn chop salad (this is usually just straight up green salad but I like the fruit in it and the nod to the season)
  • fruit salad with whipped cream
  • cranberry cloud
  • turkey
  • Gauntlett dressing
  • mashed potatoes
  • gravy
  • Cathy’s green beans
  • corn (I bought fifteen ears of corn a few weeks ago, cooked them, cut them off the cob and stuck them in the freezer just for this. Yum!)
  • sweet potatoes (my fantastic cousin, Linda, is bringing these. This is a new thing too. Mom never wanted anyone to have to bring anything. Me? I say, “Bring it!”)
  • cranberry sauce
  • Mom’s yeast rolls

Dessert: Believe it or not, I’m cutting back here. Mom usually had multiples of each pie. I’m not exaggerating to say that she usually had at least nine pies.

  • apple pie (Linda is bringing this too!)
  • berry pie (aka Uncle Jack’s pie.)
  • chocolate silk pie
  • mincemeat pie (Does anyone else on the planet make this? I’ve never ever heard of anyone else having this.)
  • pumpkin pie (Delores is bringing this one.)
  • rhubarb pie

If you’re interested in a recipe, tell me in the comments and I’ll be sure to get it for you.

Tomorrow we’ll finish table settings and prep some things to make Thursday super easy and keep Thanksgiving in our hearts.