Thanksgiving week is full of traditions.  After eleven Thanksgivings with TJ, we have meshed together a lovely week of traditions both old and new.  From some of the foods we ate at our Thanksgivings as children, from ideas that other families have done, and new ones that we have begun as a family.  I think tradition is the glue that holds a family together.  It's what you look forward to with every season change and every holiday. The memories that flow from doing the same things year after year are what I hold onto and cherish so.

Something we have begun as our own family is to make pies and deliver them to people we are thankful for, the day before Thanksgiving.  The Sunday before, we get up early and make all the pie crusts to stick in the freezer.  This year it was fourteen pies!

During the week, we'll make a pie here and there until all are done.  We made pecan, TJ's pumpkin dessert that I turned into a pie, and cherry.  Not the cherry pie from a can, oh no.  I can't stand that thick, gloppy cherry pie filling.  Tart frozen cherries made the most wonderful pie ever!  I saved that one for our own Thanksgiving dinner and ate about half the pie myself.

We delivered pies to our beloved Pink Sisters who are cloistered nuns that live right here.  They pray all day, and we are so blessed to have them so close.  Our Bishop, George's godfather who also was celebrating his birthday, the kids teachers, our two wonderful priests, Matt Talbot Kitchen, and friends. 

Thanksgiving morning. 

Something my good friend Sarah's family always did when I was little and would be at her house was to set up a card table and have a puzzle going.  I bought a new one for the kids to try and work on in the morning.  Star Wars.  And although we didn't get too far on it, I like to leave it set out from now until through Christmas. 

The only stuffing I have ever had on Thanksgiving is my grandma Becky's.  It is fabulous.  Her stuffing is Thanksgiving to me.  I would never dream of making a different one.  The familiar smell of the green pepper, onion and celery sauteed  in butter on the stove affirm that it is indeed Thanksgiving!   We lay the bread out on the counter the night before so it can get all good and hard.  I love that the kids want to help with this so that they hopefully will make grandma's stuffing for their own Thanksgivings.

Another dish that we always had growing up was noodles.  This is from my grandma Gladys.  Kelsi noodles boiled in chicken stock.  Simple, and a must have.

My mom never made cranberry sauce when I was little.  TJ's dad has always made a delicious one and this year I was set on making my own.  I got the recipe from Laura and, oh my was it fabulous.  It could possibly have been my favorite dish at the table.  I think that Tom and I were the only one's who ate it, I can't remember if anyone else did...doesn't matter, more left over for me!!!

I see a new tradition for George beginning....he'll probably wear a Green Bay Packer shirt EVERY Thanksgiving day of his life, since they play every year on this day.  Of course we watch the game as a family traditon! 

And although many things don't go the way I've conjured them up in my mind to....the family prayer, sitting for hours at the table in conversation, the perfect Thanksgiving table, playing family games all day....I'm learning that especially with young children, to not expect perfection, but embrace the moment.  I'm not going to lie, that is hard for me.  I paint pictures in my mind of what I want a day to look like and when it doesn't happen that way I get disappointed. Oh, but I'm learning!

So much to be thankful for, so many gifts and blessings....thank you Lord.


A Big Day

Today was a big day for the younger half at our house.  George did his first lesson in the book "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons", a book that both Thomas and Annie made their way through when they were his age.  He mastered the sound mmm and sssss exceptionally well and even was able to write the letter.  This is BIG people.

And the news on Evelyn's end is that she finally went potty in the toilet today.  After many days of trying and wearing princess panties, she did it.  Although not without a fight, mind you.  Had you been a fly on our bathroom wall, if you heard how she screamed and begged for me to put a diaper on her so she could go in it, instead of the potty chair.....for whatever reason she was terrified.  Once she could hold it in no longer and wet began to run down her leg, I stuck her on the seat, she went, and then AFTERwards, she finally laughed when George and I cheered in excitement.  This could be a long road ahead, but hey, at least we started.


Saintly Snacks

Annie's Little Flowers group celebrated an "All Saints" party this month.  I was able to make the snack, and as I was thinking of what to make, it came to me to make a couple different small finger food snacks that symbolize a few saints.  It was fun.  So, we ended up with...

Saint Lucy's....eyes.
Saint Lucy is a martyr who had her eyes plucked out for being a christian.

Saint Therese's....Little Flower cupcakes.
Saint Therese is known as the Little Flower and promised to send a shower of roses down from heaven after her death.

Saint Clare's....eclairs.
There is no correlation here, it just sounded good!

Blessed Mother Theresa's....caring heart mints.
Mother Theresa walked the streets of Calcutta India caring for the homeless, dying, and the sick.

Saint Blaise's....candlesticks.
On the feast of St. Blaise which is in February, the priest will bless every one's throat at mass with candlesticks.  It is said that St. Blaise saved a young boy who was choking on a fish bone.


Preparing to Give Thanks

 I've been noticing a lot of these pennent banners all over the crafting blogs world lately.  They are adorable, stylish, and look so darn pretty, I just had to try and make one.

The best part about this whole project was that I used whatever I had already at home.  Zero spending, which is always a good thing!

Now, the possiblities are endless.  I'm already planning to make a banner for every holiday, season, feast day, and birthday possible, as well as Christmas gifts...why not?

The past few days I've been browsing through my recipes and making lists of what dishes will make it to our Thanksgiving dinner table this year.  There are the non-negotiable staples that MUST be there...grandma Becky's stuffing, grandma Gladys' noodles, sweet potato casserole, green been casserole, turkey with Durkey's dressing, and pies.  Lots of pie.  I always like to try a few new dishes as well.  Last year it was brussels sprouts and a wild rice and mushroom soup.

I love spending time planning what my table will be decorated like, what name cards to make, different ways to share what we are thankful for and planning to make about fifteen pies!  Oh, how I love to make pie.


Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them O Lord....

The feast of All Souls is celebrated on November 2nd.  It's a day we remember to pray for those who have died.  We remember and pray for the poor souls in purgatory, all unborn babies, and our friends and relatives who have passed away.  It's a good reminder how short our life is here on this earth and that heaven is for all of eternity.  

This year on the actual feast day, we had some crazy weather.  It started with a mix of lightning and thunder, rain, and then ended with a beautiful snowfall.  Needless to say, I wasn't going to be able to surprise the kids again and take them for pie at the cemetery.  I'm glad that we waited, because the very next day it was a lovely, chilly, fall day.  The sun was shining, and although it was cold, it was perfect.   

I had the kids called out of class again and we went over to the cemetery where Joseph is buried.  We ate a yummy, warm, fall lunch among the babies who have died and then wandered over to the older part of the cemetery.

I walk around quietly, watching the kids run from headstone to headstone to check out who can find the oldest grave there.  They are running and loud amongst the stillness of the cemetery.  I don't mind it at all.  It makes me grateful that they are full of life, even though I am reminded that we will all die one day.  

"Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and perpetual light shine upon them.  May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen."