Our Thanksgiving Menu

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Do you have your menu planned for Thanksgiving? It’s always really hard to narrow down what exactly to cook. I have had our menu set up for quite a while, because I am a planner. If you need some inspiration, here you go!

Appetizers:
Little Smokies
Gouda and White Cheddar Cranberry cheeses
Assorted crackers

Lunch:
Turkey (One smoked and one baked)
Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Green Beans (for those who hate casserole)
Sweet Potato Casserole
Mashed Potatoes and Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Rolls from scratch
Fruit Salad

Dessert:
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Silk Pie

 

Tomorrow, my mom and I are going to be baking our pies so that the ovens will be free for the rest of the goodies!

 

I would love to hear what is on your menu!

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Thankfulness and Finding the Good

Our autumn leaves have been so vibrant this month. I am loving it, and feeling a bit sad that they are quickly falling. Look at this picture from Saturday!

I didn’t use any filter.. it was super rainy and dreary, but they are still SO bright. Agh. Please never leave.

We also got some giant snow flakes on Saturday. What on earth? It was so gross outside, but I am so thankful to have a warm coat that keeps me super warm. If you are in need of a WARM and cute coat, go buy this!! Only, maybe wait for a better sale if you can? It’s not super puffy.. which I love. Who needs MORE fluff? Not me.

I am really excited for this week. I get to host Thanksgiving for my parents and Scott’s mom and brother. Our families have done SO much for us (especially this year) and it feels really nice to be able to do this… and to have our families together will be really special; especially this year.

We are really struggling with this being the first holiday without Papa here. They used to come visit for Thanksgiving really often, so it will be hard. We have a sketched picture of him in a frame. Addi made him a birthday hat when it was her birthday. He is now wearing a pilgrim hat. I think we’ll just dress him up for all of the holidays. If you think that its inappropriate, you really need to know him. He would have loved it.

We had our Thanksgiving feast at church yesterday. Our pastor has always allowed plenty of time for people to give testimonies of what the Lord has done in their lives. I wanted to so badly to say something, but every time I thought about it I would choke up.

My parents opened their home to my family without batting an eye. We gave them two weeks notice that we were moving in with them, and they went right to work making space for us and renting a storage unit for us to store our “life” in. They fed us and spoiled our girls rotten through a difficult transition. My mom helped me sew some projects I had been working on. We laughed and loved our time together. I miss sitting up at night chatting with my mom and dad. But, I live less than two miles from them and can go see them any time I want! I am always thankful for my parents, but especially grateful to them for this. My mom’s knee surgery went really well. She had surgery two weeks after Jim passed away. My uncle suddenly passed away after hip replacement surgery, so I was a nervous wreck. Not only did she make it through surgery well, but she is thriving with her recovery!Β  My dad had to have a heart cath and there was a possibility of more risky procedures on Friday. I was so worried, and am so thankful that everything went really well and he is feeling good.

My mother and father-in-law also played a huge role in helping us get back here while we are in this transitional time. This house we live in is all because of them. My father-in-law really fought hard to get us back to IL, and I am really grateful that he did. We got to spend his final months with him. We also got to be close enough to spend his final days with him; something I will never forget. They are some of the most selfless people, and have always done so much for us also. My mom-in-law has loved on the girls and been so strong through all that she has been through. I loved Jim dearly and love Denise dearly. I’m so thankful to have known them for the last 14 years.

My older sister stepped up for me and dropped everything to watch my girls while we dealt with a lot. She let us go on a date night. She let them stay for a sudden slumber party while we said goodbye to Jim. Her and my brother-in-law loaded up six kids and took them to a parade. They kept life fun and lite for our girls during a difficult time. Amy has brought me coffee and always stops by when I need a lift.

My younger sister had been farther away, but was a huge help. She has always been an encourager to me. She was always there when I would call or text her. She still is, even though she just went through a big move. Her move has gone much like ours did last year.. where everything goes wrong. But, she has continued to pray for me through it all.

Being close to family the last 6 months has been the biggest blessing.

I am so thankful to be back with our home church for this season. They truly are the hands and feet of God. They welcomed us back in as though we had never left.

This year has been hard. If I sit and list all of the reasons why 2017 has been awful, that list is long. But, the blessings really do outweigh the bad. It is just hard to see it sometimes. I will be glad to put this year behind us, don’t get me wrong. But, I am trying really hard to focus on all of the good. Because there is SO MUCH. I have so much to be thankful for, and I know that I am only scratching the surface with this list.

I pray that no matter how hard the year has been for you, that you can look for the good. If you are grieving and hurting, know that you are being prayed for.

Thanksgiving Favorites- Crafts

Thanksgiving Favorites

I have little ones. Obviously. Crafts are our jam, and also the perfect way to entertain your littles while slaving away in the kitchen. Thanksgiving gets a little tricky to invite little ones into the kitchen. But, we let them help with the prep food days before.

I thought I’d share some of the Thanksgiving crafts and games that I’ve found around the Pinter-web. (Get it? Pinterest. Web. Yeah..)

Stuff the Turkey Game

Fabric Turkey Wreath– kids would love tying the knots on this one.

Pin the Gobbler on the Turkey

Don’t Topple the Teepee – we have tons of pencils.. easy peasy

Turkey Rocket Races

Turkey Windsocks

Make the Kids Table More Fun

 

Some of these would be really fun if you have a big group of kids at your house.

I hope you all have a fun and restful weekend before the official kickoff to the holiday season!

 

Winter Wellness

Cold and Flu season is upon us. Holiday parties are coming where germs always abound. It’s the most stressful time of the year.. along with the most wonderful!

Usually, one of the kids will come home with the stomach bug; either from church or the store. We haven’t been to a holiday party in quite some time. I end up rushing to the store in a panic trying to get what we need. This year, I am determined to get a head start and not feel overwhelmed if/when sickness hits. I figured I’d share some things that I plan to stock up on to maintain our wellness this year.

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  1. Β Fruits and Veggies– a healthy diet is obviously really important in maintaining wellness. This is the launching point. If you do nothing else to stay well, DO THIS!
  2. Probiotics– I am thinking I will give these a try for the girls. The best probiotics are typicallyΒ  in dark jars that you have to keep in the fridge. We have limited refrigerator space, so this is the next best thing. Yogurt is also really great, but you have to watch the sugar content.
  3. Multivitamin– I have these for the girls. Most kids vitamins are full of junk. These have no artificial flavors or colors, just check out the label. I bought a vitamin from Sprouts earlier this year for myself, and got these for Scott.
  4. ElderberryThis combined with my essential oil regimine kept strep from spreading to everyone else in my house earlier this year. Amazon has a $2 off coupon for Zarbees right now!
  5. Vitamin D– I have never given my kids a vitamin d supplement, but realize how important it is for all of us. Most people are lacking vitamin D, so this is a great supplement for everyone; especially in the winter when you aren’t getting as much (if any) sunlight.

You should definitely check out Bridget’s homeopathic travel wellness kit. I saved her post immediately and have snagged a few of the items that she recommends. I always forget to pack anything for possible illnesses, and then stress when someone starts sniffling. I would definitely pack a thermometer. (This one is the best!)

Is there anything else that you would add? I am determined to stay well this year. We are under less stress and not moving, so hopefully that will help a lot!

 

It is worth noting that I am certainly not a doctor, and you should check with your doctor before taking anything.

Colds and Contentment

Is anyone else late everywhere they go? I have NEVER been this person until recently. We are battling our children to get out the door. “You can’t wear flip flops, it’s cold outside.” “You need to wear leggings under that skirt, it’s cold outside.” “Harper, YOU HAVE TO WEAR A COAT TO THE CAR!” It goes on and on. I hate being late. It’s so disrespectful to everyone that is left waiting for you.

Our family is still fighting colds or some kind of allergies straight from Satan himself. Scott had a super sore throat yesterday and has been coughing like crazy. All of the girls have nasty noses. Mama is finally on the upswing other than the cough that never leaves. I still have been avoiding shaking anyone’s hand just in case I can pass something to them.

Yesterday, our pastor’s sermon was on contentment. Just hearing that word convicts me. I have been one angry person. I have been holding on to anger… anger over the way I have had to watch my husband be treated. Anger over my father-in-law passing away. Anger that I felt like God had abandoned us. Anger everywhere. Anger for things that I don’t share here. I haven’t been depressed.. I have been downright angry. That is a miserable place to be for everyone who has to come into contact me.

He asked us the question “What will be enough?” He told us to fill in the blank. “I will be happy when _____________” Everyone will answer that question differently. I challenge you to ask yourself the same question.

I realized that I needed to let go of all of the negative feelings that I have had this year. These trials have been heaped on my plate and they aren’t going anywhere. I have to deal with them or they are going to sit there and start to rot. It’s not going to be easy. This plate is pretty heavy with all of the stuff I haven’t wanted to face.

I got to test my contentment after church in a small way. I always have a meal ready in the crock pot (or Scott does if I am getting a slow start.. every sunday). I have a new crock-pot that I am still figuring out the groove of. When we got home, our meal was no where near done. I was really frustrated because there wasn’t a back up. We needed to run some errands and everyone was hungry. Scott told me that it was fine.

We packed our family up and went out for Culver’s. I’ll be honest, I dread eating out with my kids because it’s usually chaos, but I’m trying to shift my attitude. We had a lot of fun sitting at that oval table with our kids that don’t understand INSIDE voices. Everyone ate all of their food. We gave Harper some custard, so we will see how her dairy allergy is. (The only way to test with FPIES is to feed her some.) So far so good.

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Fun fact: This Culver’s is where my first job was. I got to be in the building before it ever opened.

Will you pray for me as I deal with this attitude shift? Contentment is a struggle for me because I am an expert at the comparison game.

Friends, Monday is a great day to make a fresh start.

Thanksgiving Favorites- FOOD

Happy Friday!! I’m going to change up my Friday favorites and share some of the recipes I am eying for Thanksgiving. I obviously won’t be making all of them, but maybe you will find something that will inspire you.

Thanksgiving Favorites

Beverages:

Thanksgiving Punch

Salted Caramel Eggnog

 

Appetizers:

Goat Cheese and Honey Bites

Pomegranate and Cranberry Bruschetta

Cranberry Orange Cheese Ball

Chicken Cranberry Brie Tartlets

Slow Cooker Cranberry BBQ Meatballs

 

Main Dish:

Citrus and Herb Butter Roast Turkey

Old-Fashioned Ham (is there any other way?)

 

Sides:

Turkey Gravy

Thanksgiving Slaw

Panko Sausage Stuffing

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

Sweet Potato Casserole

 

Dessert:

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars

Cranberry Pear Tart with Almond Cream

Turkey Leg Treats (too funny)

 

Leftovers:

Turkey Cranberry and Brie Eggrolls

Turkey, Cranberry, and Dijon grilled sandwiches

Turkey and Cranberry Quesadillas

Croque Madame

Turkey and Dumplings

 

We are hosting Thanksgiving at our home this year, and I am really excited. We don’t usually travel for the holidays, with the exception of last year. Scott’s mom and dad were able to come to us for several Thanksgiving Days, so we never felt alone. I am thrilled to be planning a delicious meal for our families.. and hoping I can make all of the ideas swirling in my head come to life.

 

Educational Games & Toys

I’m on a kick of sharing my favorite things. Personally, I like to go off real-life recommendations when purchasing things. I love getting toys that are educational and fun. I also grew up playing games with my mom and sisters all the time. I’ve tried to instill a love of board games in my girls also, so figured I’d share my favorites on both sides of that fence.

Educational Toys and Games

 

Magnetic Tiles – My kids all LOVE these. They are able to build houses for their ponies, machines, and anything else they can dream up. Usually, I am blown away by what they create. {Some people like this style better.}

Interlocking disks– We have a different style of these that I cannot find. I actually think these look sturdier than what we have though. Again, this is really great open-ended play. Tiaras, rocket ships, trains; anything that a child can dream up and put together is possible.

Scrambled States– This game has been on my wishlist for quite some time. Scott and I both really like geography. Admittedly, Scott more than me. This is a fun way to teach.

Imagination Magnets– I have heard wonderful things about this for quiet play.

Dominoes– I love playing dominoes with my girls! I love that it teaches them how to count, match, and follow rules.

Memory– If you want to realize how terrible your memory is, play this with your kids. Chloe has been beating me at Memory since she was two!

 

Some other fun games- Spot It, Hoot Owl Hoot, Sleeping Queens, Enchanted Forest

 

If you have any to add to this list, please let me know!! I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Festive Pajamas

Is anyone else suffering from Daylight Savings Time also? My kids were FINALLY sleeping until a decent hour.. and then it all ended Sunday. We really need to get rid of this torture device that serves no purpose anymore. Just saying. If your children are going to wake you up at an ungodly hour, they should have some cute jammies. (That way their cuteness helps you stay a little sane.)

Festive Pajamas

 

striped // pink reindeer // santa & sleigh // moose // Christmas tree // santa //
striped footies // baby gown // hot cocoa // cozy clothes

I love Christmas pajamas!! Really, all things FESTIVE!! It’s never to early to get your Christmas jams. I really love those moose pajamas. There are so many sweet pajamas to choose from that it’s hard to pick just one favorite. We still haven’t decided which ones are THE ones for our girls. We like to get them matching Christmas jams, and that always makes it a little more difficult to find the perfect ones.

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I know that many people love to get Christmas pajamas as a Christmas Eve present. I love that idea. At the same time, I want to see my kids in their fun pajamas alllll the days before Christmas.Β  I’m torn. Which side of the camp do you fall in?

Thanksgiving Style for Little Girls

Happy November!! I feel like November 1st is really the start of the Holiday’s. There’s a shift when I turn the page of the calendar. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about cute outfits for our littles.

Thanksgiving style

Maroon Dress // pink ballet flats (toddler size) // rose gold bow // tights

I love this deep maroon color for the holidays. It is so beautiful. Paired with rose gold, it is super fun for little girls!!

Do you do fancy dresses for your little ones, or fun turkey outfits? Or maybe I am the only one who thinks about these things. πŸ˜‰

Happy Halloween!!

We had so much fun at Light in the Night last night. Games, glitter tattoos, and candy make everything fun. Throw in good friends and it’s magic. 

We’ve had festive meals today; jack-o-lantern pancakes for breakfast and octopus hot dogs with silly face apples for lunch. 


Have a safe and happy Halloween tonight. However you celebrate, make loads of memories! πŸŽƒ