A weekend to be thankful for

Those that know me know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Don’t get me wrong Christmas is great and all, but there’s way too much stress with finding gifts for others, hoping they like it, worrying about spending too much money, etc. that kind of takes the “magic” out of it. Thanksgiving is about family, friends, thankfulness, and food! While there’s lots of fuss over cooking food, turkey poundage and thawing times, and oven logistics, there’s little else to worry about.

This was our first Thanksgiving in our home and we have been looking forward to hosting since last year when we knew we would have a home for next year’s celebration.

Parties have always my mom’s thing. She’s just awesome at throwing and hosting. I’ve had lots of years of watching and practicing and this was my final exam! I started preparing, planning and purchasing in October because it’s never too early. Thanks to Google Docs planning was easy with my other contributors. The week leading up to Thanksgiving was full of preparations and Wednesday was a full day of cooking, baking and mulling (more on that later), and a whole lot of excitement!

Thanksgiving always begins with attending mass. It’s one of my two favorite masses in the year- it’s not an “obligation.” People come who want to come and the congregation brings non-perishable food and monetary donations for the St. Vincent de Paul in town. It’s amazing watching everyone bring their bags up at offertory.

Preparations began after church and we were in full swing prep mode. Jeremiah helped me spatchcock the turkey. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should look it up and give it a try. It’s our second year in a row doing it and it turned out delicious! Not to mention we cooked a 22.96# turkey in three hours flat. I’ll never cook a turkey any other way. You carve the thing before it goes on the table anyways so who cares if it doesn’t look like a turkey.

I had to use some innovation at times! We kept my sister, Erin, out of the hot zone of raw turkey so she could assist in other ways. I forgot to preheat the oven- I’ve never been good at remembering to do that, so I had to use some crazy moves to do so.

We served appetizers downstairs in our basement and were able to prepare the rest in the kitchen. I made a cranberry cosmo punch where the cranberry juice had to be mulled ahead of time. It was a strong and tasty drink. Thankfully, I was short two cups of vodka and added two more cups of cranberry juice or else I would have had guests sleeping in my living room over night.

No need to bore you with the details of our Thanksgiving as they are much the same as yours but we had a wonderful meal with family and soon to be family.

Friday we gathered with my mom’s side of the family to celebrate the November birthdays. My grandpa played his accordion for the first time in 50 years. He said he didn’t remember anything but he did remember some. The cousins gathered at Erin’s after and watched some gems from family videos.

Saturday was our annual ravioli making. We’ve been making them for more than a decade and then they are frozen until Christmas Day. It’s always a fun but exhausting day! The evening meal is always homemade pasta and sauce. So we get to taste part of the fruits of our labor.

After dinner we had our third annual beer tasting. The best part are the comments we make about the beers. The person who rates each beer the highest then gets to bring the rest home.

It was a successful weekend to say the least. I’m still exhausted and I slept past 6:30am, which is a rarity.

And in case you are wondering, I received at A+ on my party planning final exam. Now to start planning my next party…

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