Thanksgiving in the Time of COVID-19

If there’s anything that didn’t change too much for us this year due to COVID-19, it was Thanksgiving. That’s not to say things weren’t different at all, but we never travel for Thanksgiving, so at least we didn’t miss that, and we don’t always have family over, so while we missed seeing them, it wasn’t necessarily expected either. So, a lot of our three-day Thanksgiving holiday looked pretty much the same, starting with Pie Day on Wednesday, when we baked eight pies (seven for our family, and this year, one to give away).

In the middle of the baking, the children also made their yearly hand-and-footprint turkeys…Turkey and Bunny were kind enough to play along again this year at my request, since it is their last year in my homeschool.

We watched a very different version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning (in the words of Al Roker, it wasn’t the parade we wanted, but it was the parade we needed), which we enjoyed very much because it was something somewhat familiar. The same went for the National Dog Show, which was extra exciting for me this year because the dog I wanted to win actually did! And then we got ready for dinner. One of the best parts of any holiday is setting the table:

And the food. There was a lot of food, even with the turkey mishap we had in the morning (I ended up having to throw out the turkey I had purchased to roast, and we decided to order a second Beast Craft BBQ smoked turkey to ensure we had enough leftovers).

It’s always a pretty-looking dinner!

After clean-up and Holiday Inn, I got out the pies:

I limited myself to trying two kinds. This was my first attempt at lemon meringue pie, and I was very pleased with the results!

I made sure to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and helped Franklin prepare his holiday feast:

The day after Thanksgiving has been pretty different. We didn’t get to see Moose march in our town’s Santa Parade this year, which was disappointing…I’d really come to enjoy that event. And there was no town tree lighting or gingerbread house walk or trolley ride to look forward to after dinner. This morning, though, the family traditions did continue with pie-for-breakfast:

And turkey sandwiches for lunch, which I almost like better than Thanksgiving dinner itself!

Lego building is also part of our day-after-Thanksgiving celebration…I built the free-with-purchase A Christmas Carol set we received:

I always make turkey soup for dinner the day after Thanksgiving:

And after dinner, the Fab Five built a Lego Harry Potter set to add to our Hogwarts setup in the school room.

It wasn’t exactly the Thanksgiving we had planned, but all things considered, we had a very nice family celebration!

Pie Day 2020

Happy Pie Day!

We baked eight pies today. Not a record, but still a lot of pies, and our house smells like a bakery!

Caramel-apple (Bunny made this one, and it’s definitely the prettiest of the bunch!):

Lemon meringue:

Cranberry-apple:

Peanut butter:

Pecan (Someday I’ll make a pecan pie that actually looks pretty, but until then, at least it tastes good!):

S’mores:

Butterscotch:

Pumpkin:

Now we just have to wait until tomorrow to dig in!

Tasty Tuesday–Spiced Buttermilk Waffles

We have made A LOT of waffles this year. Right now, one of our favorite kinds is a spiced waffle of my invention (more or less). It’s the perfect warm treat for a cool fall day!

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. hawaij (if you can’t find this spice blend, you can mix and measure from 1 Tbsp. ground ginger, 1 Tbsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon…this blend is also great in coffee!)
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/3 c. melted butter
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla

Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix wet ingredients, and then slowly incorporate into dry ingredients until just blended. Cook according to waffle iron instructions.

Doing the Dishes

Aside from holidays, when I do both a lot of food prep and cook large amounts of food, I have always felt guilty about running the dishwasher more than once in a single day. That’s not to say it’s never happened, but I try not to do it too often. In general, once the dishwasher was at full capacity, I’d just finish the dishes by hand, or occasionally leave a few (usually something that needed a soak, anyway), for the next day. In a weird way, I guess I was punishing myself for using more what I thought was a “normal” amount of dishes in a day.

But this year has me looking for ways, if not to make my life easier (because what is easy this year?!?), at least to make a little less work for myself. And one way I discovered I could do that is by running the dishwasher twice in a day if I need to. After all, I don’t limit myself to how many loads of laundry are permitted to run through the washer and dryer in a day or week, and then wash everything else by hand once I hit that limit. Why should dishes be any different? As a large family, we use not only more clothes than “average,” but also more dishes (just think about how many dishes seven people can go through in 24 hours!), so why shouldn’t I run the dishwasher twice in one day like the washing machine if I need to?

This hasn’t become a daily occurrence (at least not yet), but I’ve given myself permission not to feel guilty about it when it does. And if a little guilt does creep in, I find consolation by reminding myself that I could be using disposable dishes instead of running the dishwasher more frequently, and doing that would make me feel much worse!

Sartorial Saturday…On A Sunday–My Second Dapper Day (At Home)

Back in April, I got to participate in my first Dapper Day…at home. They’re back this weekend with the fall event, and I figured, why not dress up again? This time, I went with my Miss Candyfloss dress, a Splendette duchess bangles stack, an Erstwilder brooch (the one hint of Christmas in my outfit!), gloves from Unique Vintage, and a necklace and handbag from Talbots. Oh, and my very favorite hat!

I’m really happy I got to participate in these events this year, because even pre-pandemic, Dapper Day wasn’t something I thought I’d get to do. After this whole mess is over, though, I kind of hope I might get to attend an in-park event someday!

A Chilly Morning at Cahokia Mounds

One annual tradition that we didn’t have to change too much due to COVID-19 was our Thanksgiving-adjacent trip to Cahokia Mounds. We decided to go on Wednesday morning, and it was the perfect clear, chilly weather to enjoy the climb up Monks Mound. I actually think we had the clearest view of St. Louis and the surrounding area that we’ve ever enjoyed!

After making our way back down from the top of Monks Mound in the midst of some biting wind gusts, we took what we call our “Turkey Walk” along one of the trails across the highway. We actually walked farther on the trail than we have in the past (we were never really sure where it went before; this year, we decided to find out!), and while we didn’t see any turkeys, we did see tons of deer and even a woodpecker!

The only real loss this year was not being able to visit the Interpretive Center, but we’ve done that so often in the past, we didn’t miss too much. The upside was that Moose got to come with us…his school schedule hasn’t always allowed him to, but this year, he has way more flexibility thanks to distance learning!

Sartorial Saturday–Christmas Town

Every year, I think to myself, “I don’t need any more Christmas print skirts.” And every year, I come across another amazing Christmas print skirt to add to my wardrobe. Only this year, it wasn’t just a skirt, it was a skirt with a matching cardigan! The lovely wintry print on the skirt may be called “Christmas Town,” but I can see myself wearing it all winter, especially since the background of the skirt is a fairly neutral navy. And the embroidery on the cardigan isn’t specifically Christmas-y, either, although the red color certainly makes you think Christmas!

I accessorized with a basset hound brooch from Erstwilder, which fits right in with the embroidery on the cardigan, a bow belt which makes me think of Christmas presents, and a green doctor’s bag-style handbag from Collectif, plus a fun Christmas lights scarf (that looks more pink in pictures than it does in person).

This outfit, including the green and white striped top, is from Unique Vintage, although it’s not their store brand. The label says Royal Monk, and I think that’s somehow related to Banned Retro, which is a brand that has had Christmas prints in the past that I’ve regretted not adding to my wardrobe.

I love this festive look!

Have you added any new festive fashion to your wardrobe?

2020-21 School Year–Week Fourteen

Hymn of the Week–“Now Thank We All Our God” (Lutheran Service Book #895)

I always enjoy the week before Thanksgiving in school, because not only do we read all of our favorite Thanksgiving books, this is also usually the week we visit Cahokia Mounds, which we did on Wednesday. It was a beautiful, clear, chilly day, and we had most of the trail to ourselves, which made our masks pretty unnecessary. I’m extra thankful for the few traditions we can continue to do in this very strange year!

As for the rest of the week…Turkey and Bunny continued to work with derivatives in calculus…I guess that’s pretty much all they’ll be doing for the near future. They started reading A Tale of Two Cities…I think the themes of the book are going to very timely and appropriate. They read about Yankeedom and New Netherland in American Nations.

Ladybug multiplied binomials by trinomials in algebra. She finished the first section of Treasure Island. In science, she read about cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension. She and Chickadee learned about the Russo-Japanese War and the Treaty of Portsmouth in history.

Chickadee continued to practice division in math. She finished the chapter on birds’ nests in science. Instead of starting a new book right before Thanksgiving, we read some extra Thanksgiving stories together. She learned about conjunctions in grammar.

Next week will be a super short week of school because of Thanksgiving, so I’ll save my next wrap-up for two weeks from now…have a happy Thanksgiving!