Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Musings...

This is my Thanksgiving table.  I used olive napkins and aubergine zebra plates. I kinda like the contrast.

  In the spirit of the holiday here's a bit of all my thoughts and photos that were meant for several posts, but never got written. It's been so darn busy the past week! I cobbled it all together, so I could get it out before everything turns Christmas. Hope you can cope with my haphazard style on this...

I love Thanksgiving. I just hate ironing. Right now, I'm ironing when I could be one with couch and  watching the Dancing with the Stars finale! I swear there is no such thing as, "permanent press" tablecloths! Just sayin' Ralph Lauren.

Flowers I bunched together. I'm not good with flowers. I may make this into a  bunch of low small arrangements. I really liked the colors though.

Check out these glasses. $2.99 at Homegoods. I know. They made the tables!

Anyway, as much as I despise all the grunt work involved with a big family gathering, it's what we do. I want to have my boys grow up appreciating family celebrations and the rituals that go along. Yes, they have to wear sweaters or nice shirts, use their best manners, chat with grandparents, deliver drinks, help serve and clean-up. I did it too when I was little. They feel like hosts when I ask what music we should play and which napkin looks best. I hope they will one day do the same in their own homes.

My other tables.

My mantle now. I'll add candles on Thanksgiving day.

My boys last year.

 The decorating and entertaining part is fun to me. The cooking itself, not so much. I don't know why, but as a forty-something woman, I still haven't become comfortable with making turkeys. Maybe that's because my Mom has done it for so long, and well. why mess with a good thing? The last time I made the turkey I left that bag of stuff, (yucky- gizzards and whatnot), in the turkey. Everyone was grossed out! From then on, I became the side-dish chef and head of table decor, which was fine by me!

My Mom and I at my first Thanksgiving as hostess, 1999.  Love my Mom.

I do like making sides like parmesan brussel sprouts, gourmet mashed potatoes, harvest salad with apples, cranberries and walnuts, green beans with almonds, sweet potato casserole, and rolls. My Mom will bring her yummy stuffing and gravy. My Dad is making the turkey with a new recipe! (Hmm, we'll see about that, Dad. We like to encourage him though :)

Grandma with my sons about a year ago.

 My 94 year-old Grandma will bring her cranberry jello with mini marshmallows that the kids love and all her pumpkin pies made by scratch. Yep, she still is making them all and they are delicious. We are so blessed to have her. My brother Peter's family of five will join us from El Dorado Hills. I can't wait to see my sweet niece and nephews and my sister-in-law, Line. This year we also have my Aunt Wendy and Uncle Tom from Discovery Bay. They will be bringing the wine and they know what is good. Lucky us!

 I am fortunate to have a husband who is more than helpful. He's my sous chef, my bartender, my dish-washer, and handsome co-host. I couldn't do it without his help! He is patient with me when I start to freak about 15 minutes before everyone arrives! I can't help it, it's just how I am...He usually gets me a glass of champagne then.

Look at this cute pumpkin from my friend Ann, love it!

My house is a bit on small side, so I will be piling all the tables into the living and dining together. I really want us all to be in one room, including the five kids, (now all teens and pre-teens.) No, I don't agree with the kids table in Siberia thing. I want to chat with them too. So, I've moved some furniture and have three tables. I'm hoping I can make it all look pulled-together, get the fire going and have it cozy.

This is  my friend Jen's house- don't you love her mantle? Super cute with the books and pumpkins.

In the past, I've also moved the house all around. My husband absolutely hates that. Here's a picture of the first Thanksgiving we hosted. We had no dining room, so we turned the family room into one giant dining space using the yard table too. I think it looks cute, considering we were young and had no clue. My 13 year-old was just one! I've always gone for the natural look and used gourds, pumpkins and leaves to decorate. It didn't cost me hardly anything then either.

Us  12 years ago. What were those red things? I don't remember, maybe pomegranates.

We try to include my two boys in the production. I get them making place cards and arranging the tables. We start by foraging around the neighborhood for acorns, or pretty leaves. They always come out so cute, I've saved a few for keepsakes. Those are sweet to me and the grandparents always love it too.

From two years ago and below a bit longer. My littlest wrote, "cookie grandma, " which is what they call their Great-Grandmother, who makes them cookies all the time.

Another year when my smaller guy and I made a candy corn cake. This year we made acorns with dark kisses.

I have to always include these chickens and turkey hand whittled by my husband's Great-Grandad from Kentucky. Aren't they amazing? They look very primitive.  Usually put 'em on the kids table. 

I will be wearing my camel sweater and trying to look like this !  (photo by Tommy Ton.)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Kim :)

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