In the early years of our marriage, it took much trial and turmoil (and probably more than a few tears) to get the Official Thanksgiving Schedule sorted out. You know...eat with Kendell’s family one year, eat with my family the next, only it’s not just us, it’s getting everyone on his side to eat together on odd years and everyone on my side to eat together on even years.
It took awhile.
But for the past ten years or so, it’s been running pretty smoothly. This year was our year to eat with Kendell’s side. As our oldest niece, Hilary, was leaving for her LDS mission a week before Thanksgiving, we decided to have our dinner early. So a few Saturdays ago, we all went to my sister-in-law Cindy’s house and ate Thanksgiving dinner.
It made the rest of November feel sort of weird. A post-Thanksgiving limbo.
And it also left me with the question of what I’d do for the real Thanksgiving day. You know...the day that Haley could come home. Cindy’s family went to a movie and a restaurant, but somehow I couldn’t bear to do that. So instead I decided I’d just fix Thanksgiving for my little family.
No big deal, right? How hard could it be to make the whole meal by myself? (Something I’d never done before.) Not, I discovered, technically difficult. Just really, really exhausting. To make it worse, I didn’t ask for Wednesday night before Thanksgiving off, so I started preparing at 10:00 pm.
We finally managed to sit down to eat at six o’clock.
It’s true: I’ve never been known for getting meals on the table at the time I say we’ll eat. (This used to drive my father-in-law nuts, when they’d come to our house for birthday dinners. I’d say "we’ll eat at 5:30" and it’d be 6:45 before actual food was placed into mouths.) But the food, while untimely, was delicious, so that’s OK, right?
Here’s what I cooked:
- turkey (I roast a pretty good turkey breast but I’m a little bit afraid of whole turkeys; all the boys were disappointed at the lack of turkey legs)
- mashed potatoes (Haley and Adam peeled the potatoes for me; I set them lose and then got busy doing something else and before I realized it they’d peeled nearly the entire bag; we had enough potatoes to fill my two biggest pans. Jake mashed the potatoes, which has become one of his responsibilities)
- gravy (one of the secrets to delicious gravy: you must make a roux, not blend the flour with milk; if you cook the flour with butter or turkey fat it adds an extra layer of flavor)
- stuffing (my mother-in-law’s stuffing was one of my favorite things about her; I’m not really adept at stuffing-making but this year it was just about perfect)
- green bean casserole (only Kendell and I like this so I made a little pan)s ok. Leftovers!)
- cranberry sauce (only I like this)
- chocolate cream pie (I modified THIS recipe so it would fill my deep pie dish, as everyone but me loves chocolate cream pie so I wanted a big one)
- pecan bars (using THIS recipe; Kendell loves pecan pie but I wanted something easy and these? they were the surprise Thanksgiving hit!)
- two mini pies, apple and raspberry (I made small pies because it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them but I’d already made two enormous ones for our Saturday Thanksgiving)
Some other Thanksgiving-week highlights I’d like to remember:
Kendell and I took a quick trip up to Salt Lake to visit the new Trader Joe’s, go to Nordstrom (oh how I miss having a convenient Nordstrom! and as a side note, the one at City Creek makes me feel inadequate and intimidated on so many levels), try out our new car, and just hang out together. It was a pleasant day!
Haley came home on Wednesday. It was strange—in a good way—to have her back. She brought home a bunch of dirty laundry and asked me if I’d wash it for her and dare I confess: I got a little teary-eyed. Just...I know, it’s just laundry. But it was good to know that there is still some taking-care-of left to do.
On Thursday morning Kendell and I went out to buy a newspaper so we could see the Black Friday ads. We had to try about eight different places before we found one, as they were all delivered late. We ended up finding one at Macey’s (a local grocery store); I made Kendell go in and get it since I was still in Pjs and slippers!
Kendell took all of the Bigs back to Macey’s once we discovered it was open, to get some groceries for Haley. They kept calling me and asking me questions about prices and brands and what to buy.
Kaleb was dying to spend time with Haley. She took him to get a haircut! (What hair salon is open on Thanksgiving? The one right next door to Macey’s...)
Even though I’m not supposed to because my ankle is still bugging me, I went running. I couldn’t stand not squeezing in a few miles on Thanksgiving. Just two miles around the trail by my house, but it was enough to take away my grogginess and make me feel bright. I had the kids come with me and throw the football together in the grass by the trail. (Some were not so happy about that, but I insisted.)
We took a quick family picture outside in the front yard. I haven’t looked at them yet, but there better be a good one because it’s the only chance I have for a Christmas-card photo! The kids kept getting distracted because our neighbor’s cat was in our yard...yeah, that was perhaps the shortest photo-taking session in the history of Sorensen photo-taking sessions!
How was your Thanksgiving?