Happy Thanksgiving from the Brandel Family!
Today, but also every day, I am thankful for the peace of home, the love of family, and the ability to make my way in the world the way I see fit. It's been ten years since I celebrated Thanksgiving Day *on* the actual fourth Thursday of November, but I wouldn't have it any other way now.
Since I spend time on the road on Thanksgiving every year, taking Kira to her dad's, we started the tradition of making a traditional turkey feast on the day before. Around here, the kids are usually out of school, and Travis often has or takes the day off. We cook and eat early in the day, then spend the rest of the time watching movies, playing outside and hanging out together. This year, Kira and I went to see a 7pm show of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One'.
The reason our Thanksgiving occurs on a Wednesday is because Kira must be at her dad's farm by 2pm on Thanksgiving Day. Because the farm is an hour and a half from here, and because we don't meet halfway, we leave the house at noon in order to be there on time. As you can probably imagine, leaving at noon, driving an hour and a half one way, then an hour and a half the other way takes up most of the prime turkey-eating time of the day. Rather than have a holiday in which my oldest child is not really a part of the feasting (unless we feast at 10:00 in the morning!) and our family's togetherness, we have opted to celebrate the day before. We ALL get to spend time together, then the next day she gets to celebrate with her dad's side of the family. I'm sure she is sick of turkey by the end of the holiday weekend, though.
We had a huge turkey, which we will be eating for the next week (which is ok, because I love turkey). There were plenty of side dishes too: sweet potatoes baked with apples and brown sugar, green bean casserole, ginger-glazed carrots, cornbread dressing....my mother in law's recipe for mac and cheese, which we lovingly call "heart-attack mac"....and no feast is complete without STC (Savory Toasted Cheese -- a cheese sauce) over broccoli.
Noah loves to help in the kitchen, particularly if it involves using the stove, or stirring anything that is on the stove. He's my little kitchen elf.
Daddy also taught him how to put beer in the fridge. In this case, a few bottles of Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale.
And after we stuff ourselves silly, and get the table cleared, it's time for Mommy to play Fridge Tetris with the leftovers, which I am very good at. It all fits in the fridge when I am done. Strategic use of plastic containers and ziploc bags make it all possible.
After the recovery from dinner and the game of Fridge Tetris and the endurance of many, many plaintive little cries of "Is it time for pie!?", then it is time for pie. This year, it was three pies for the five of us, because I couldn't decide and I wanted to try a new pie recipe this year. Clockwise from left, Cranberry-Fudge Pie, Peanut Butter pie, and pumpkin pie. That cranberry pie was amazing. Very very rich, though...the bottom of the pie is a dark chocolate ganache, then a layer of walnuts, then a cranberry sauce. Oh. To die for. I'm contemplating having it for breakfast as we speak.
As predicted, not one of the kids wanted to try that pie. That's fine; more for me, then.
They did enjoy the other pies, though!
I hope that everyone reading this is having a terrific day and enjoying (rather than enduring) time at the table with family and friends and good food. Another year is coming to a close, and I am truly thankful for all the great gifts in my life, not the least of which are these three beautiful children that I have been blessed with, and a faithful, loving and generous husband who is an outstanding father to our brood. Among my other blessings this year have been a couple of independent trips and opportunities for learning, discovering new friendships, professional work I enjoy and colleagues I love to work with, a comfortable home, and everything I need for a happy life. Oh, and the rich blessing of re-discovering a deep and significant friendship. That means so much to me.
Thanks to all of you for everything, and blessings for all of you and your families!