Thanksgiving is truly my favorite and best holiday! The beauty of it is that it’s simply about being thankful.
Most folks I know are excitedly anticipating their holiday activities and feasts in their bellies. We’re doing a lot of the same here. Only, Mr. Old School doesn’t get the weekend off, so we’re home instead of with extended family. I really don’t mind it. We love being together, and my goal is to parlay these moments into precious memories for us all, so it works out. As this posts, we’re sitting down to our family meal. I am giddy about this meal!! (Pix soon!)
Our Thanksgiving Tree
Building up to Thanksgiving, we’ve been hanging leaves on our Thanksgiving Tree. (I was too lazy to make one, so I bought this one… only in brown.) During our nightly family dinners, we’ve discussed our reasons for thanks and we collectively pick one to write on that day’s leaf. Stinker Relly writes the date and our thanks and Stinker Bell hangs it. The boy would love to hang them too — and has asked as much — but I keep explaining to him that his sister needs to feel like she’s a part too; that he can’t do everything. He’s having a little bit of a hard time with that. (I think I see where his little personality is taking him. Just like his momma, poor kid. That’ll take some extra special parental attention as he gets older! YEESH!!!)
The Thanksgiving Tree has been a LOT of fun for us! It’s also given Mr. Old School and me some incredible open doors to talk about things like the fact that not everyone in the world sleeps in a bed (much less a good bed); or even under a roof; and so many other things. God is so good to us. Every day, I thank God for our ancestors who came to this nation to be American and pursue life and liberty to give us our best possible life. We are incredibly BLESSED. Incredibly, unfathomably, overwhelmingly blessed.
When November is over, I’ll make a list for you of everything we wrote on our leaves.
Thanksgiving means FOOD!
As many of you know, we’ve had some serious picky eater issues for the past few years. This year, we’ve entered kindergarten and things have taken a dramatic turn! PRAISES!!
The man child decided to try green vegetables because green is his favorite color. I am not complaining at all!! He started with broccoli and we’ve moved on to carrots, asparagus, brussel sprouts, and then… MEAT. WHAAAAA???? I know. Right?!?! The child loves meatloaf, of all things! This momma is not mad about that!!
Our Thanksgiving Menu
So this year, I’m ever mindful of our taste limitations while still trying to stretch the boundaries because, after all, these children are the products of foodies. So here we go:
First, we start with breakfast!
Any day that Mr. Old School is home during breakfast hours is a huge treat, so we go big … because we’re home! (Like how I did that??) With that in mind, holiday breakfasts have to be simply ridiculous and I have found my solution! French toast casserole is a crazy awesome way to make a hearty, special-feeling breakfast without working too hard.
SIDE NOTE: Mr. Old School LOVES the recipe I’ve linked for you. I, personally, think it’s too sweet and custardy. In my experimenting, I find that, if your bread soaks in your egg mixture over night, it’s more like a bread pudding (duh); breakfast dessert. I personally prefer to soak the break for an hour before popping it in the oven. It still gives good soaking, but is less gooey. I also just use my own french toast concoction (which is just a little of this and a little of that). If you aren’t sure where to start and you’re not an experimenter like me, google it. There are TONS of options out there.
While we waited for our casserole to soak, we enjoyed a little Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and The Mayflower Voyagers. I love that our kids are exposed to great music and the real Thanksgiving story while being entertained by Snoopy and Woodstock all while cuddling cozily on the couch. And then we enjoyed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 🙂
And now, Dinner!
Spring Mix & Spinach Salad
tossed with crushed walnuts, craisins, apples, gorgonzola cheese, and topped a homemade mustard vinaigrette
Sage & Lemon Roasted Cornish Game Hens
Our kids love chicken on the bone, so when Mr. Old School found these babies at Sam’s, we instantly threw out the turkey dish idea. It’s my first time making cornish game hens, so I’m super excited!!
We lovingly call this “corn cake” so the boy will eat it. HA! He requests it all the time, so this dish is for him. Stinker Bell doesn’t really care for it. I’m not sure why. This literally takes 3 minutes to mix and toss in the oven. Super simple, yet decadent and DELISH! Again, I’m referencing Paula Deen here, but you can cut your wet ingredients down to make it more dry and less fatty. Sometimes, I don’t have cheese for topping and it still tastes awesome. Go with your gut!
Citrus-Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
The whole family will eat this! YAY!
I learned this from my favorite chef. It’s incredibly simple and incredibly delicious. You just need to roast baby carrots and then make your glaze with brown sugar, orange juice, and butter. Google it if you need a reference. YUUUUUM!!!!!!
Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts
This one’s for the girl. She’ll tell anyone who’ll listen that her “favorite begetable is brussel sprouts!!” (Mark that as a win for Momma!)
My Final Thanksgiving Words
It sounds kind of trite and hashed and rehashed, the way folks say to be thankful all year round. But it’s so true. Thankfulness is a lifestyle.
With my word of the year being “gratitude” this year, our journey of gratitude has walked us through a considerable amount of financial lack and stretching and dreaming and growing and wondering and praying and blessing. Through it all, I’ve gotten events and photography jobs that paid when we really needed the cash the most. I’ve been looking back through our budget spreadsheets and I really don’t know how we’ve managed it. Well, I do. It was truly the Lord! We are still making improvements to our financial management — that’s wisdom — and we’re so very thankful!
It’s easy to get stressed about preparing the perfect meal and creating the best memories and braving family … or not. In the end, we are thankful for the provision that keeps the roof over our heads, the heat running, the food on our table, and the love that surrounds us.
We are so very blessed.
Praise be to God!
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.