November 27, 2009

So Very Blessed

I hope your Thanksgiving was lovely and filled with happy smiles and lively chatter and family and loved ones you hold dear. I enjoyed a fairly relaxing day (thanks to all of my advanced planning) with my husband, three beautiful children, parents-in-law, sister-in-law and her husband (who washed all my dishes for me afterward *awesome*). We hung out, watched some football, Fred played computer games with the girls, Alex refused his first Thanksgiving dinner, and all was peaceful and enjoyable.

Marah felt beautiful

It is always at this time of year that I miss my family more than usual. My parents and sisters live in San Diego and my brother is currently residing in Japan. I have not spent a holiday with them since 2000, and I miss experiencing the joy of the season with them. I often feel a small pang of anguish as I watch my children at Christmastime, wishing that my parents could see what I'm seeing. It's not easy.

My mother-in-law working on lemon pudding for a pie

However, I have been blessed with wonderful in-laws all around and while I miss my family immensely, I am grateful for the second family that God has given me and all that they do for me and my children. Our financial status keeps us here in Smalltown, USA and I know that if I were living back in California I would not be able to afford to stay home with my children and therefore homeschooling would be impossible. So although it does bring me sadness at times, it also brings me joy to be where we are right now.

Sweet potatoes- RECIPE

Cranberry Sauce- RECIPE

Our dinner was so good! Thanks, in no small part, to The Pioneer Woman and her wonderfully delicious and simple recipes. I was first introduced to PW last year when my cousin-in-law, Erin, posted on her blog about brining their turkey which was taken from this Pioneer Woman website. She raved about it so much I had to go take a peek at the excitement and I just got sucked in! It was thanks to this website that I felt confident in hosting my first big family holiday meal last Christmas, and it was a great success!

Jenna helped Grandma make meringue for pie

So this year I wanted to try to brine a turkey and volunteered to host the dinner at my house and cook all the food. I was determined to cook the turkey my own (well, really PW's) way and even told my well intentioned mother-in-law as much when she took the turkey out to baste it before I was ready to start basting. One thing you should know about me is that I have a VERY tough time with speaking up about things to other people, so this was a big deal for me and I was so worried that I would come across as rude. She assured me that she completely understood and that she would back off. I'm so glad that my mother-in-law is so wonderful! I really do love her.

Homemade crescent rolls- RECIPE

Me, realizing I needed to take a picture of myself in the kitchen (like my apron? Target clearance score for $2.75!)

The gorgeous turkey- Brine RECIPE and Turkey Roasting help

So, my first Thanksgiving dinner was perfect! I'm telling you, if you haven't cooked from PW's website, you must give it a try! Her step-by-step photos have given me a confidence in the kitchen that I never had before.

Oh man, this was all so good! Turkey, cornbread stuffing (RECIPE), corn and wild rice (RECIPE), sweet pea casserole (which is the French's green bean casserole but with sweet peas. I thought it was so much better!), cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecan topping, and the crescent rolls.

~ Make each day count ~


  1. Oh, how I wish you guys lived here! And, although I'm glad you have Eric's family nearby to help, I can't help but be a little jealous when I see photos of the kids with their other grandparents. It just kills me that they are growing up without knowing their other grandparents. Thank you for doing such a good job of posting photos. It really helps! We missed you so much at Thanksgiving!

  2. I know mom, it hurts me too. Like to the point of almost not posting them because I know it's hard for you. My kids love you though. They miss you too and I do wish we lived closer but this is just the way God has designed our lives for the time being.
    And you know, you could always move here :)

  3. Are you kidding? I'm freezing in San Diego right now!

  4. :) rad blog. i wish i could see all yall too! you could always move to japan...


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