What a Thanksgiving!

I baked all day Wednesday and accomplished everything on my list, except for the most important thing. The day started with a jolt when I realized that our beverage supply was depleted and we needed bread and milk, and I needed apples to make apple pie (Emma and Abby love those green apples), so Anna, Abby and I went to the store. Then we ate at Subway, using our coupons. Then we went home and Anna and I got busy with our pies. She made two pumpkin pies, and I made an apple pie. Fiona and Emma made the Chocolate Crinkle cookies. Garrett baked brownies. Katie and Kelsey made turkey cookies with the little ones. We even went to the YMCA that evening.

Then we set out to accomplish our most important goal of the day – picking up Daddy at the airport. Shawn went with me as usual, and this time we picked up another passenger. Emma wanted to go pick up Daddy. After all, she had drawn a map to help him find his way home.

So we headed south for Baltimore. Suddenly, as we crossed into Maryland, I had to go to the bathroom really bad. We were running a little late, so I thought I would have to wait until we got to the airport. We were humming along, making pretty good time when the phone rang, and Gary, with much furiosity and contempt for Continental Airlines told Shawn that his connecting flight took off without him. He was stuck in the airport in New Jersey with no way of getting to Baltimore that night. He told us to turn around and go back. I needed to find a place with a bathroom, so I kept driving until I found an exit with a McDonald’s. It was after 11:00 PM. We finally found one, and I was never so thankful for a McDonald’s in my life!

Gary called again and said that he was going to fly into Harrisburg the next day by 1:30 PM. I would have to drive north tomorrow in the middle of Thanksgiving Day and pick him up at the other airport. But I was fine with that. At least he would be home for Thanksgiving.

He had to sleep in the airport. Continental did not provide anything for him. They said it wasn’t their fault. Gary won’t be flying with them again.

So my plans got rearranged a little bit. I put the turkey in the oven when I got up like I had planned. I started making the dough for the dinner rolls. I made the Peanut Blossom cookies, peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s Kisses in the middle. I put Kelsey to work on the sweet potato casserole. We got the recipe from a picture book called Thelonius Turkey Lives.

I told her to start on the green beans after that. Katie was taking a shower, so I didn’t get a chance to tell her what to do. But I left my list on the counter.

Shawn and Anna and I went to pick Gary up, and I left the other kids watching a free NEST showing of William Bradford on my new laptop.

Kelsey was in charge until Katie got out of the shower.

We picked Gary up without a hitch – PTL. He had settled down and wasn’t so angry any more, but he still has no love for Continental.

We got home and Katie was busy with thawing the frozen Hawaiian Rolls. She started on the corn. Anna worked on the dishes. Katie made the Stove Top stuffing. I cut up potatoes for mashed potatoes. Kelsey formed the homemade rolls. I made my kind of stuffing. Anna cooked the asparagus. I cooked cream corn. Anna made gravy. I mashed the potatoes. I put the rolls in the oven. We were like a well-oiled machine, kind of. Katie kept finding bowls for everything and setting them on the table.

I went over to the table and saw that we didn’t have any room for plates, so we could sit there and eat! We took all of our centerpieces off the table and started setting out plates and silverware. Morgan had been guarding the food from the little ones, so he helped me set the table. Fiona helped set out the silverware.

We were just about ready when I heard Gary say something to one of the kids about going to start playing a game. I told him we were ready!

I put food on plates for Emma and Abby before the rest of us sat down to keep them occupied.

I had everyone say what they were thankful for. Some were silly, some were serious; nobody was very eloquent, everybody was hungry! Then Gary gave thanks for all that God has done for us. His prayer wasn’t very long, either. He was starving! Then he carved the turkey, and we all dug in.

We had our usual Peanuts music playing in the background.

Everybody ate until they were stuffed. Very few of us had room for dessert.

After dinner we watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We had put it in for Emma and Abby to keep them occupied while the rest of us ate. We watched and reminisced about how we watched those with Shawn when he was little. He’s about to turn 21 in a little more than a month.

The boys put the leftovers away and cleaned the dishes.

I had the kids watch The Charlie Brown special about the Mayflower Voyage. We told Gary some of the new stuff we had learned about Squanto. Then the older kids played some X-Box with Gary. They refrained from playing it all day until then.

Then the day was over. A peaceful, relaxed holiday spent with the people we love most, rejoicing in spite of adversity and hardships (like spending the night on the cold floor of the airport – poor Gary), and remembering the goodness of the Lord.

Thanks for the memories! At this point, I’m thankful to have a memory!

Thankful to Be Thankful

I have so many things to be thankful for today. I really can’t even begin to thank God enough for all that He has done for me.

I guess I could mention a few things…

I’m thankful for this blog. It has been a blessing to me.

I’m thankful that I’ll get to see Gary in about 4 hours. Even though his connecting flight left without him and he had to spend the night at the airport, I’m so glad that he will be able to be here for Thanksgiving today.

I’m thankful for the good health of our whole family.

I’m thankful that God gives me the grace to be thankful in the midst of trying circumstances.

Plan Your Holiday to Make the Most of It

I have learned from my online mentor, Cindy Rushton, to really think ahead and plan for holidays so that meaningful, fun memories are created, and I’m not stressed out or disappointed with the way they turn out.

Tonight we watched Squanto, A Warrior’s Tale on Amazon instant video. It cost $1.99 to rent for 48 hours, and it came on my computer screen so we all gathered together in my room to watch it. It was not completely accurate, but Disney made it, so we expected that.

We’re planning to watch the Charlie Brown special when Gary’s here, because he is a big fan of Peanuts. It’s about the Pilgrims, and it’s very educational and entertaining. I posted it here last week.

I’ve read several Thanksgiving books to the little ones, including a book about Squanto that told us more than we knew about him, even though we study this stuff every year. It was called Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchac.

We’re going to make turkey cookies tomorrow. We use fudge stripe cookies and bon bons. We glue them together with melted chocolate chips. Then we put a beak on them made out of candy corn. We put eyes on them with the melted chocolate. Here’s a post from the past to show what they look like.

We made our Thanksgiving tablecloth yesterday with all of the handprints and “thankful” verses.

We have done our regular school this week. We’re using Diana Waring’s curriculum and it’s pretty well planned out for me, so I’ve been reading from the book and playing the tracks that go with the pages I read, sort of. I’ve gotten some things out of order, but it’s close. We’re reading a chapter of Acts each day, too.

I have written out my list of things I’m planning to do tomorrow so that I have time to do all of the cooking I need to do on Thanksgiving Day and get everything done.

I’m writing my list here to help me remember.

Maybe it will help someone else, too.

Tomorrow, the day before Thanksgiving:

Make apple pie

Have Anna make 2 pumpkin pies

Have Garrett make brownies

Make the chocolate crinkle cookies – Fiona and I made batter for them tonight and put dough in refrigerator to chill.

Make Peanut Butter Blossoms (peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s kisses in the center)

With the kids make the cookies that look like turkeys.

Go get Gary at the airport and bring him HOME!!!

For Thursday, Thanksgiving Day:

We will plan to eat around 3 or 4 in the afternoon.

Put turkey in oven as soon as I get up.

Make dinner rolls.

Sweet potato casserole

Stuffing – 1) Stove Top
2) My own stuffing from bread crumbs

Corn with butter and salt and not much liquid

Cream corn

Green beans – seasoned with chicken broth and ham

Carrots – steamed in the rice cooker

Mashed potatoes – Cut up potatoes and boil them. Then mash them and add the milk, butter and salt.
Make gravy.

Get out Hawaiian Rolls


I have to write everything down that I plan on serving, or I might forget something that I intended to have. I remembered some things as I was typing these that I didn’t have on my list in my notebook.

I have tried to list things in the order of the time it takes them to cook and when there will be room in the oven. That’s why I plan to do most of my baking the day before. The only other things I’ll need to bake are the two kinds of stuffing. I’ll probably have to bake them after the turkey is done.

Thanksgiving Tablecloth

We should be pro’s at making handprints by now, but we’re still learning the best way to do it. I was going to pour out paint on paper plates when we found out that all we need to do is to squeeze a bunch of paint right on the hand and lay the hand on the tablecloth.

Morgan likes to explain things to Garrett, his little buddy.

We used fabric paint and accidentally got it on some fabrics we didn’t intend to (like Anna’s, Abby’s, and Kelsey’s shirts), but it washed right out when we washed it right away.

I’ve learned that I need to help even the older kids with this so that the handprint comes out right. I press down on each finger and every part of the palm to make sure we get even coverage.

I wanted the verses to be written in beautiful, flowing script. My oldest kids have learned Italic cursive, but I haven’t. Someday, I intend to learn it. But I asked the kids to do the writing for me and was surprised when Shawn volunteered to do it. He planned it out, got out the tape measure to keep his lines straight and started copying the verses. I thought it turned out beautifully!

Abby and Emma behaved very well through the whole project. They didn’t make any messes. It was us older people that made all the messes this time. We spilled purple paint all across the floor when the spout was jammed and Kelsey squeezed the bottle as hard as she could. Fortunately, the little ones had already left, so they didn’t try to skate in it or paint the walls with it.

Patrick was a good sport and cooperated with another one of my crazy ideas.


Here’s the almost-finished product.

I’m going to have each of them write what they’re thankful for on or near their handprints.

Another thing I learned the hard way was that I should have laid newspaper on the table under the tablecloth before I had them put their painted hands on it. Live and learn!

They ate lunch at the table, and we already have a spot on it from food that was spilled. We put a vinyl covering on it just a little bit too late. I got the white tablecloth and fabric paints and the vinyl covering at Walmart.

I got this idea from a friend on Facebook who also has 10 kids. She said that they put new handprints on it every year. I think we’ll try to do that, too. I wonder how long it will take to fill the whole thing up until there’s no room to put another print on it.

I am very happy with our Thanksgiving Tablecloth and very thankful for kids that put up with all my sentimental memory-making activities that I make them do every holiday.

Tomorrow we will make our cookies out of fudge stripe cookies and bon bons that look like turkeys. Most of the kids will make those, too. Of course, they will get something out of that. They get to eat them when they’re done!