Something to Smile About: Preparations

20151117 something to smile about pinnable

My son arrives home for Thanksgiving break a week from today, and I can’t wait to see him! I intend to enjoy lots of family time with him, his sister, and their father as well as with our extended family on both sides. We’ll have to spend some time in the car but we’ll get to see lots of very important people…so worth it!

Sweet Potatoes

20151117 sweet potatoes with logo

In order to be free to enjoy my family over the Thanksgiving holiday I need to get some work done now. Even as I type I have about 22 pounds of sweet potatoes cooking on my stove. Yep, it took my two largest stock pots, a 16-quart and a 20-quart, to hold them all. Once they’re cooked and cooled enough to handle I’ll peel and mash the sweet potatoes and then ruin all their nutritional value by adding lots of butter and sugar and homemade vanilla. Sweet potato casserole is supposed to be a side dish but it tastes like dessert to me! This batch should yield enough sweet potato casserole for two church dinners and one family dinner. Hopefully I’ll also have enough for another meal…we’ll see.

Soup

20151117 soup with logo

Since I’ll not be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house I went ahead and cooked a turkey for the meat and broth, plus bones to make Junk Stock. We enjoyed some of the meat in sandwiches and packed the extra meat and broth for the freezer, but tonight we indulged in one of our favorite turkey meals…cream of turkey soup! Yes, we like this soup so well that I’ll cook a twenty pound bird just to get the meat and broth to make it! It’s my cousin’s recipe and a family favorite (that I don’t have permission to share, sorry). My mother calls it “sloppy soup” but we tend to refer to it simply as “THE soup” at my house. It’s cold and rainy here today, quite miserable outside, but inside it’s warm and cozy with music playing and sweet potatoes cooking and soup in our bellies. Very homey!

Stockings

stockings

A fun and festive preparation Jay and I did with our daughter this week is to fill Christmas stockings for a church service project. Our congregation is working with a local organization to provide filled stockings for those in our community who might not otherwise have much for Christmas. Our church provided the stockings and church members are filling them according to their own ages. So my husband filled a stocking for an adult man, I shopped for an adult woman, and my daughter picked out items for a teen girl. We had so much fun! We’ll return the filled stockings in a couple of weeks so our partner organization can distribute them in time for Christmas.

Stocking (the pantry, that is)

And while I don’t like to drag out the decorations or start listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, I do try to get my gifts made or purchased before Thanksgiving so I can avoid the madhouse of schedules and stores at Christmastime. I’ll also try to be sure the pantry is well stocked before Thanksgiving so I can minimize grocery runs at such a hectic time. Thankfully most of our favorite celebratory foods, even baked goods and candies, can be made with items I have in the pantry. It makes preparing for our celebrations so much easier and allows me that precious family time that I value!

I hope your Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations are bringing a smile to your face and reminding you of the reasons you have to be thankful. And if the holiday season brings back hard memories from the past or heightens awareness of a loss, I pray you’ll find peace and comfort as you have opportunities to make new, happy memories with your loved ones.

What are you doing to prepare for Thanksgiving or Christmas?

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2 responses to “Something to Smile About: Preparations

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