Thanksgiving 2014 Part 2 – The Food!

I have made it my little tradition to post our menus each year. It is so good to look back. This year there were a couple more grown-up items and I can see how our family is growing and changing. If I could speak to that younger self of mine five years ago or so, I would say: breathe, enjoy the process, let love be the theme and atmosphere, simple is okay, remember to look in their eyes and smile – who knew these little children would get so big and make multiple recipes all by themselves one day. Treasure the days and look forward to growth. It is all good. I think I would give myself a big hug, too, and offer to clean the house. 🙂

There is something about the process of making our Sweet Potato Bake that delights my soul.


I find myself happy, relaxed- swirling ingredients, colors blending, flavors rising. This year, I discovered another recipe that produces that same sense of well-being, joy, and aesthetic pleasure. Light Italian Salad.



One of the reasons I had a melt down on the big food preparation day was due to the state of our recipes and binder. All the different recipes were in different places and it felt so overwhelming to locate them all. Some were linked on the computer, some in cookbooks, some in computer print-outs, some a Word document, some in our Family Cookbook Binder. So. I took it in hand and got it all organized and in one section of our Family Cookbook Binder.


Easy to use for all cooks and everything there, complete with some notes. However, the getting to that point was unorganized and a little raucous (and I just double checked the definition of raucous- and o, yes, that word is just about perfect, I am sorry to say). It is a great project- but challenging to work on with all the little people under foot. I haven’t been able to get much alone time at any time where I have energy to work on things like this. There have been some health struggles in the last few months. The ideal would have been to handle this project during nap, bedtime, or wee early morning time.   I am hoping to get a head start on the Christmas section now that this went so well and forgo any more raucous experiences! I am thinking I will be able to get my older children on board to help with the littles so I can do this now that we have all experienced the blessing of the organized binder. I must say that Nathanael did navigate Elenorah for almost the entire time it took me to get everything printed and he was amazing with her. So, I am thankful!

Abigaile eagerly asked if she could arrange the vegetable platter. She did a beautiful job! She mentioned arranging the platter for another gathering that we had and wanted to do so again.



Abi’s Vegetable Arrangement. 🙂

2014 Menu



Vegetable Platter

Deviled Eggs

Light Italian Salad

Ham and Pickle Rolls

Triscuits and Special Sauce

Snowballs (aka Popcorn Balls)…these are a first snow day tradition here…although I don’t always get to make them like I wish. They turned out perfect this year.


Main Meal:

Roasted Turkey

Holiday Cranberry Relish

Sweet Potato Bake

Whipped Mashed Potatoes

Steamed Corn

Crusty, home-made rolls

Broccoli Salad

Steamed Green Beans

Light Italian Salad



Pumpkin Pie

Chocolate Chip Pie with Chocolate Ganache

Jewish Apple Cake


Beautiful Jewish Apple Cake by Nathanael

Pumpkin Bars with White Frosting

Pumpkin Roll

Popcorn Balls- these were the perfect treat for the Thanksgiving Night Movie Time with our older children





Sparkling Grape Juice



I will post Part Three- The People tomorrow (Lord willing!).

Blessed Thanksgiving!

Psalm 106:1English Standard Version (ESV)

Give Thanks to the Lord, for He Is Good

106 Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

Thanksgiving 2014 Part 1 – preparation day(s)

Let 2014 be remembered as the year we had a White Thanksgiving!



Our holiday prep takes several days.
I was amazed and proud this year as my two oldest sons took wonderful initiative- all on their own. O, it does my heart good to watch them shoulder duties with strength and initiative.


My precious teen-age sons

Son 1 looked at the dessert list and was ready, willing, and able to conquer it all on his own. I stepped in and we divided it up so that all cooks could lay claim to some of the fame. 🙂 But, he still managed to knock out 2 pumpkin rolls (help from me with the filling), two batches of home-made rolls, and three pumpkin pies all by himself. Then, he suited up, and went out to shovel our driveway and our entire sidewalk…which he did… all by himself. Todd came home to a completely shoveled house. I am all astonishment. We are living Psalm 127. Living it.

Son 2 chose the two most time consuming recipes as his personal responsibility and he happily and adeptly went to work chopping massive amounts of fruit. The end result- two Jewish Apple Cakes and our family (and his personal) favorite: Cranberry Relish. We didn’t originally plan to have two Apple Cakes. There was a slight mishap in cooking that led to us having to adjust to save the recipe. It’s all part of the learning process!


Son 3 and oldest Daughter made both the frosting and the batter for Pumpkin Bars.


Son 4 helped me make Chocolate Chip Pie and Deviled Eggs. Oldest daughter also helped with the hard boiled eggs.

Son 5 was convalescing on the sick couch… a little longer than necessary, I might add. He was very happy to be bathed and up again before the end of the day!

Babies were playing and being supervised all throughout.

I could really feel and see the difference between last year and this year. Wow! They are getting so big and capable.

If I do not choose to “lift up my eyes to the hills… from where does my help come? It comes from the Lord, Maker of Heaven and Earth” (Psalm 121)
I will just stumble on my way, blind, blind, blind to His Goodness, Grace, Mercy, Kindness in my midst. I had a few major melt downs on food preparation day. I am sorry to say- yet not sorry to share- because it is true and my heart was very sad. I was blessed by one happy older son expressing his happiness in his day today. Thank You, Lord. Help them to remember the good and block out the bad!