Wow, what a crazy few weeks it has been! The musical is fast approaching, and my classroom has buzzing with students eager for holiday breaks and field trips (the most notable one would be that our 100-member marching band took over Disney this past week!). We've also launched a very successful fundraiser for the theatre arts club: 2017 calendars featuring photographs by a local man whose work is adored by many in our area. The photos are beautiful shots of Montoursville -- from town to countryside -- placed within a gorgeous design by a local printer.
Take all that and add the hectic social and academic lives of my three children and Gene's three children, and we have a lot going on!
That also means we have a lot to be thankful for.
Because of work schedules, we hosted Thanksgiving at my house on Friday this year. My kids were at their dad's for the actual holiday, but they came back home in time for our family dinner. We have one of those turkey fryers, so we put Gene's son Kody in charge of the bird.
While it doesn't look like we are taking it too seriously in that photo, I promise the turkey was amazing.
Ellie and I baked pies on Wednesday, when we didn't have school. I let her take the lead in all the recipes, from the measuring to the mixing to the baking -- and she did a great job. We also make traditional sides like stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, baked corn, and rolls.
Oh, and the less traditional, but equally delicious, cranberry Moscow Mule. (If you haven't had a Moscow Mule, you need to drop whatever you are doing and go have one. It's ginger beer, vodka, lime juice: basically heaven, served in a copper mug. This holiday version adds a splash of cranberry for festive flair.)
I have two traditions that I like to do at holiday meals -- The first is to set an empty chair/empty place setting as a symbol of respect for those who can't attend the meal because they are no longer with us, physically or emotionally. I found a small prayer and placed it on the plate, and Aidan read it for us before we said Grace. The second tradition is to somehow share something we are thankful for with each other -- this can be verbal or written. This year, I found a cute clipart that I liked so, I printed one for each person to write on. At the end of the meal, Kaylea pulled them from our Gratitude Jar and we had fun guessing who wrote which one.
These two were perfect. The first was written by Scarlett, nearly age 3 (well, OK, someone helped her do the writing); the last one is by Liam, whose gratitude was brought to us by a rectangle roughly in the shape of Pennsylvania and the number 5.
The sunroom was the perfect place to host so many wonderful people, and I found myself constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have the family and friends that I do in my life. So, even though it was a day after the calendar holiday, our Thanksgiving was everything it is meant to be: a fun gathering of people who love each other, a bountiful feast of delicious food, a strong reminder of our many blessings. I hope that your own Thanksgiving meal was the same for you!