Thanksgiving 2016

We had another fun and happy Markel Family Thanksgiving celebration today!

This year, we had two tables, which were twice as much fun to decorate. I also tried my hand at napkin folding, and was pleased to discover that even though it wasn’t intentional, the napkins rather looked liked turkeys:

We had an extra dish in our food lineup, so the beverages got their own counter:

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We had all of our favorite Thanksgiving foods: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, green beans with almonds, carrots, brussels sprouts, corn and wild rice casserole, and cranberry sauce.

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And a record NINE pies for dessert!

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I love our Thanksgivings…I hope your day was as happy and filled with love and laughter as ours was!

Chickadee Thursday

Chickadee has Thanksgiving all figured out at this point…it’s a day that involves a lot of waiting! But she’s a good-natured little girl, so it doesn’t bother her too much!

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2016-17 School Year–Thanksgiving Week

This was definitely a short week of school!

We did some work in our two days of school. We continued talking about the means of grace in Lutheranism 101. We covered confession and absolution and the first of several lessons on the Lord’s Supper. Turkey and Bunny had math and science tests, and Ladybug worked some more on her current chapter in science. We also continued our study of the Constitution, where we learned about freedom of expression and religion.

We also had some fun this week. We finished our study of Thanksgiving with some of our favorite, more whimsical books. Our thankful tree is also almost complete, and very full of all the things for which the children are currently grateful.

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And, as always, today we made hand-and-footprint turkeys. I know the year is coming when no one will want to make them, but I’m glad that for now, everyone at least tolerates this craft!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Pie Day 2016

It took me about seven hours to make the nine pies we need for Thanksgiving this year. We’ll be enjoying caramel apple, cranberry-apple, chocolate hazelnut, pecan, s’mores, butterscotch, pumpkin, apple, and vanilla cream pie…but definitely not all at once!

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Fifty-Six Months

Chickadee’s favorite of our Thanksgiving books is A Turkey for Thanksgiving, so of course she had to “read” the story to Dolly!

Tasty Tuesday–Turkey, Cranberry, and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

I modified this recipe from one our local grocery store suggested as a way to use up leftover turkey…the combination of flavors is amazing! I will definitely be adding this one to our Thanksgiving leftovers permanent collection!

  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup leftover or whole berry canned cranberry sauce
  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 8 oz. package chèvre (goat cheese) with herbs, softened
  • 2 cups chopped leftover or cooked turkey
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • salsa and/or guacamole

Zest limes. In small bowl, stir together cranberry sauce and lime zest.

Place tortillas on work surface; evenly spread each with one ounce chèvre, then cranberry sauce mixture. Evenly top four tortillas with turkey and jalapeño; top with remaining tortillas to close quesadillas.

In batches, spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray; add 1 quesadilla and cook over medium-low heat 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Spray top of quesadilla with cooking spray; turn and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until bottom is golden brown. Cut each into 6 wedges; serve with salsa and guacamole.

A Markel Family Thanksgiving

I’ve shared bits and pieces of our Thanksgiving traditions here and there, but if you ever wondering what the whole event looks like, from start to finish, here is your chance to find out.

In our house, Thanksgiving is a three-day event. It begins on Wednesday, or what I like to call “Pie Day.” I bake a different pie for each member of our family (although we all eat all of them), and so Wednesday is a day of baking pies. Lots and lots of pies. I also prep the stuffing and make the cranberries on this day, and do a little prep work for Friday’s dinner, as well…lots of vegetable chopping! We have a few fun family activities, like making hand-and-footprint turkeys and reading our favorite Thanksgiving books, too. And we have our favorite shows to watch…the children get to watch the Gilmore Girls “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” episode as well as the  Mad About You episode “Giblets for Murray” with us, and when they’re not around, Ryan and I watch all the Friends Thanksgiving episodes, plus the Chuck Thanksgiving/Black Friday shows. In some ways, I like this day better than the holiday itself!

Thanksgiving Day always begins bright and early with Ryan buying me breakfast from Jack in the Box or McDonald’s (to fuel me through all my work), the Macy’s Parade, complete with bingo cards for the children, and a bath for the turkey in the sink, because no matter how early I start thawing it, it’s always still partially frozen on Thanksgiving Day. We usually watch some of the dog show after the parade, and we have fun playing Animal Crossing, and helping Franklin not be part of the town dinner! A lot of this day involves waiting…waiting for the turkey to thaw, waiting until it’s time to put it in the oven, waiting for it to be done (often earlier than I’m expecting), waiting to smack Ryan’s hand when he steals some of the stuffing from the crock-pot, waiting until it’s time to work on the rest of the side dishes, which include a corn and wild rice casserole, green beans with almonds, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes and (store-bought) gravy, and rolls. Somehow, it all gets made, and it’s all usually even warm when it hits the table!

After dinner, it is, of course, clean up time. Cleaning up the dishes, putting away the leftover food, and boiling down the turkey carcass for soup the next day. While I’m working on this, we always watch Holiday Inn…I’m so glad the living room is open to the kitchen so I can multi-task! After the clean-up is done, and the broth is put away, we enjoy our seven pies for dessert…although I don’t think anyone has ever tried all seven on Thanksgiving Day itself! Once all my work is done for the day, the children might get to have some bonus video game time, while Ryan and I either finish watching our TV shows or Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Our three-day celebration concludes on Black Friday, a day where we avoid any and all stores if at all possible. Instead, we begin our morning at a decent hour, and enjoy leftover pie for breakfast. The rest of the morning is pretty low-key, but after lunch, the fun begins again, with the building of the yearly Lego Christmas set. This is one of my favorite newer traditions, and is a great family activity. At some point, I start the turkey soup for the night’s dinner, which isn’t too much work thanks to all of the prep work I will have already done. And right after dinner, we head out to our city’s town square (which is really a circle, but I digress), for the town tree-lighting, a community sing, and a trolley ride past the stores hosting the annual Gingerbread Walk. While we’re out, Ryan always buys two bread bowls at St. Louis Bread Co. for our soup leftovers lunch the following day, and then we head home for a quiet evening…or what’s left of it!

I’ve really come to love our Thanksgiving traditions, and even though it’s a lot of work, I can’t imagine doing it any other way!